Sunday, November 29, 2015

Carol starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara: A Conversation

Happy Sunday! Im going to a screening of Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara at the DGA tonight with my husband. The director Todd Haynes will be there for a Q&A but as no recording devices or cameras are allowed, and my notes are historically illegible, I’ll do my best but I’m doubtful I’ll come away with much new usable data to share with you. I’ll do my best to give you my take on the movie though. 

As far as Q+A’s go, I’ve got a great video from The Guardian. It features Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, screenwriter Phyllis Nagy and director Todd Haynes. I’ll do nicely for today’s #SundaySlacker post.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Misery starring Kathy Bates in Oscar winning performance. #SaturdayMatinee

You may have heard Bruce Willis is currently starring on Broadway in the stage production of Misery. The play, costarring Laurie Metcalf, runs through mid-February. I dunno if tix are still avail but if they are, youll find them here

The movie, a horror classic based on a Stephen King book, came out twenty five years ago this month. If youre one of my writerly friends, the idea of having a number one fan the likes of Annie (Kathy Bates) rescuing you is probably your worst nightmare. 

Today’s Saturday Matinee stars James Caan as Paul Sheridan, the writer—Regency Romances are his genre— that Annie rescues from a roadside accident and nurses back to health ... until she reads Misery’s Child, Sheridan’s most recent novel, and loses her mind when Misery dies at the end of the book. Imagine having a reader so thoroughly invested in your character’s lives!

Kathy Bates won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the crazed book fan, and if you havent seen it, or even if you have, Misery, based on the Stephen King novel is most certainly worth curling up in front of the TV for. 

You can stream it on YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and Amazon. As often seems to be the case, Netflix offers Misery, but only in DVD or Blu-Ray form.

Friday, November 27, 2015

While you were eating: The Winter’s Tale starring Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh

While you were eating, stuffing yourself to the gills with Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, your friends in the British Isles were flocking to the theatre to see Judi Dench in a live broadcast of Shakespeare’s The Winters Tale, co- starring by Kenneth Branagh who also had a hand in directing.

The play, which began running in the UK in London’s The Garrick Theatre in October, continues through January 16th. The live airing sold over £1.1million in tickets, beating out Mockingjay!

We’re supposedly getting the ‘live’ broadcast here in the US, in movie theaters on November 30th. I can’t find it anywhere, but I hold out hope for the Shakespearian classic to at least hit our TV screens at some point. 

UPDATE: Here’s what it’s playing Fathom Events

Were you lucky enough to see The Winters Tale, either on stage or at the theater. Would love to hear your thoughts!

British Isles Friday 

And on Past Tense, Perfect/Imperfect 
To Read: Photographic Memory

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving #ThrowbackThursday

Everything I try to write about Thanksgiving is as corny as my corn casserole so rather than make you queasy, let me just say I’m grateful for many things, including you. Thanks for stopping by. 

Now, watch this scene from The Blind Side based on the book by Michael Lewis. Lewis is the same author who wrote Money Ball and the novel the upcoming The Big Short movie is based on. I’m grateful for mega talents like him too. 

The Blind Side is available on Googleplay, Amazon, You Tube, iTunes and Vudu.

May your turkey be stuffed with blessings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fly me to the moon with Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong

Being a loyal Ryan Gosling fan, I’m always excited when I hear the Canadian actor has a new project in the works. I’m pleased The Big Short is getting great reviews and the idea of Ryan as a piano player who falls in love with an actress played by Emma Stone in La La Land, thrills me. Today I was over the moon to see Ryan Gosling is in discussions to star as the astronaut Neil Armstrong in a biopic based on James Hansen’s autobiography. 

Damien Chazelle, the young writer/director who gave us Whiplash would direct. Chazelle is currently directing La La Land so there’s a natural progression here. Like Nicholas Winding Refn who teamed with Gosling in Drive, then again with Only God Forgives, and Derek Cianfrance who worked with him in Blue Valentine, and once more in Place Beyond the Pines, some directors can’t help but fall in love with Gosling’s collaborative energy and his willingness to dive deep into a project. He’s funny, charming, a tall, lean acting machine whose great sense of humor and good nature are endearing. Of course they want to do it again. That’s not just me talking, that’s how my husband (not a director, an AD) viewed Ryan when he got to know him on the set of Drive. Not that he’d use my specific gushing words, mind you.

Ryan Gosling and Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn

Not everyone agrees. Below the Deadline piece on the biopic, couple of snide comments questioned Gosling’s casting.
sacha • on Nov 24, 2015 2:58 pm   Gosling!?, with that whiney Mickey Mouse voice of his…

Anonymous • on Nov 24, 2015 6:59 pm  This is an abomination. Will he deliver “That’s one small step..” with that fake DeNiro accent? How will he use his main acting asset, his abs, in a space suit?

How about you? Are you a Gosling hater too? Go ahead, risk my ire and tell me so in the comments section.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy: “My” review of an early screening

My husband and son saw a screening of The Revenant at the DGA yesterday and said theyd never seen anything like it. Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu put them in a cold dark place where they both felt completely immersed in the brutally frigid world of the film, a world it took 11 months, with just two hours of available shooting light each day, to create. Cinematography from Oscar-winning Emmanuel Lubezki was a key component.

The strenuous schedule, the difficult climate and conditions, reportedly took its toil on the cast and crew, a rumored mutiny on the set may even have come to blows between the director and one of its stars. 

All the production difficulties fade in the light of the creation however. After the screening, which received a standing ovation from the Guild audience, acclaimed director Michael Mann interviewed Iñárritu, making the point that nature was a key character in the movie, the frontier testing the men, questioning their makeup and what they believed in.

My son, who said all the Oscar buzz seemed apt and that the film will likely be nominated in all the categories from Best Picture, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Supporting for Tom Hardy, directing, cinematography, editing etc etc, was struck by the characters’ stubborn insistence on sticking with hard tasks.  He questioned his own response, the temptation to set the task aside, curl up into a ball and hope for better weather tomorrow. He said you feel everything, you feel the cold, deep in your bones, the misery of having to live in these conditions. 

Iñárritu told the audience everyone was miserable. There was no fun. They were shooting in the wilds of Canada. They weren’t in New York. There was nothing to do. They were all just cold and lonely. Miserable.

My husband, who woke up this morning talking like Tom Hardy’s vicious frontiersman, said Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass isn’t your typical DiCaprio role. A small guy, an average guy, with a huge spirit, he was indomitable. Not a tough guy, a guy made tough by his need for revenge. As for Hardy’s John Fitzgerald, he’s the type of man who sees the entire world as a foil, as if everyone else is just deliberately trying to make his life harder. He didn’t stop complaining from the start of the film through to the finish. If you’re like my hubby, you’ll be mumbling tough like him for days. According to our son, Domhnall Gleeson as Andrew Henry was reportedly fantastic as the young patrician commander too. 

While the cinematography by Lubezki was absolutely instrumental to the movie’s visceral look and feel, Iñárritu used 5 different composers to create the score. In the post-screening discussion he said he wanted the music to come in like a soft breeze, almost unnoticeable. As for the musical mix, he called it ‘a spicy guacamole of sound.’ 

The story, of a man left for dead after a bear attack, also featured an ‘Indian’ attack; Iñárritu got this right too. While Hollywood has often shown Native Americans (and yes, indigenous people played all the parts of indigenous people) with a binary dichotomy, either as demonic monsters representing dangerous forces or pure angelic spirits that the white man ruins, the reality is much more complex. As real people, not other, they are in fact like us, not good, not bad, but a realistic mix.

The Revenant, based on the book by Michael Punke—but with which the director took liberties—comes out on January 8 after a short Oscar qualifying run in December. I canwait to see it for myself.

In the meantime, I’ve got the trailer...

UPDATE: 11/25/2015
I told my husband there have been reports of a few people walking out of early screenings citing too much gore. He rolled his eyes. It’s realistic, he told me, but not overdone. Would they walk out of a Quentin Tarantino movie? 
My son said it’s a western you’ve never seen before, that the violence is incredibly visceral. He said it’s disturbing and he can see how it might be too much for some audiences. Look, The Revenant is not a love story. All movies are not made for all audiences. And that’s okay.

Eve Babitz: Iconic 1970’s Party Girl, Writer, Artist story coming to TV

Hollywood can’t get enough of girls who have both boobs and brains. They just can’t fathom them coming together in one package. That was part of the Eve Babitz allure. 

Eve Babitz was an original L.A. woman, a wild child who wrote several memoirs about her life in LaLa Land. While all four books— Slow Days, Fast Company; Sex And RageLA Woman and Eve’s Hollywood—were first published in the 70’s and 80’s, Eve’s Hollywood was recently reissued and all four books have been optioned by Amy Pascal as the basis for a television series at Sony Pictures TriStar Television. 

Eve Babitz, born and raised in LA to an artsy, boho, intellectual family, famously made waves at 20—in 1963— posing nude for a photograph of her playing chess with the artist Marcel Duchamp. Well known for her quasi-fictional writings about her life as party girl, writer and involvements with a series of famous men ala Jim Morrison, Steve Martin, Harrison Ford and Ed & Paul Ruscha, Babitz, was also an artist/designer, this cover for Buffalo Springfield one of her best known works.

She was something. If you want to know how much of something, check out this Vanity Fair piece which sums up the un-summable, quite nicely. And here author Dan Wakefield, an old boyfriend of Eve’s from 1971 (she would have been about 30) who says he had a great year with Babitz but he couldn’t handle a second one. 

Pascal was the studio head demoted when a series of inappropriate emails came to light in the SONY hack. She was making $3 million a year and I’d be surprised if she wasn’t still doing very very well. But I digress. Pascal is partnering with producer Elizabeth Cantillon, the two, who go back to high school together, are also teaming on a sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
As a longtime LA resident, a tv series based on Eve Babitz life, set in the LA of the 70’s will be right up my alley. You know the one, that dark alley off Santa Monica and ... oh, never mind. But yeah, it’ll be one to watch for.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chris Hemsworth flaunts his gaunt bod for In the Heart of the Sea

This [above]is how I want to picture Chris Hemsworth. 

This [below]is not how I want to picture Chris Hemsworth. 
Wait for it!

The actor tweeted out this image revealing the weight he lost for In the Heart of the Sea. All I can say is the movie better be AMAZING! 

Helmed by his Rush director, Ron Howard, In the Heart of the Sea opens December 11th with, um, a whale of a cast (I HAD to!) including Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Holland and Benjamin Walker. Which might leave you wondering if there are any women on board? Only one in any kind of sizable role and that’s Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) as Peggy. 

Who’s Peggy? I dunno. This is another movie based on a book I didn’t read (makes sheepish face).

 The newly released international trailer

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