Category Archives: flicks

Heeeere’s Janet! The “For Colored Girls…” Movie Posters Debut

Here’s one of the series of character publicity posters for Tyler Perry’s upcoming film adaptation of Ntozake Shange‘s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf… You can see the rest of them by clicking here and going to the film and media site Shadow and Act. Funny, though: I’m guessing Janet’s playing the Lady in Red, but the poster says she’s playing a character named Jo. I don’t recall the characters in the play having actual names, do you? I’m personally still out on how I feel about any adaptation of one of my favorite plays. But I’d love to hear what you think.

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Race, Fandom, and The Years of Living Mel-lessly

{I know the right way to approach the Mel Gibson story (if you don’t know about his racist, misogynistic outbursts caught on tape you  might wanna read this first) is to be either hiply cynical (y’all sure he didn’t say nigga?) or just casually jaded (racism! from Mel? whatever, man!), but maybe cause I was a fan, neither approach satisfies me. I’m too old to be shocked, yet too shocked to avoid it…}

I’m one of those people who likes to know which movies people consider their favorites. Especially if I sense you might be a person I might get close(r) to: I ask, very early on, “What’s your favorite movies?” It’s not that I judge their tastes—God knows I’d prefer someone to have very bad taste than no taste at all—it’s more that I like to learn from others, and if you seem cool, your choices in movies might be cool, and I’ll discover something I didn’t know about.

I’m also the type of person who, depending on the day, will try to make sure that you see at least some of the movies that I love—partly because I have a tendency to quote them, but also because sharing flicks is, to me, sharing a deep part of me: the movies I love really do, like the books I love, I think, define who I am. I am a fan, and proud to call myself one, someone who nonetheless understands and relishes his fandom as a complicated site of oft-needed pleasures and cultural belonging.

Two movies I’d always refer peeps to: The Year of Living Dangerously (problematic in some ways but oh so sexy) and Tequila Sunrise (problematic in other ways but endlessly fascinating as an investigation into the nuances of male friendship). Both because I think they’re top-notch examples of Hollywood filmcraft, rich of character and ambience, filled with grace notes of longing and loss, and because they starred one of my very favorite movie stars: Mel Gibson.

Suffice to say, it’s been years since I’ve watched a Mel Gibson movie. Dating back to 2006, to be exact.

When I was a teenager, Mel Gibson was The Man: coming off the over-the-top action of the Mad Max flicks, he was infinitely watchable in the Lethal Weapon flicks, and by the time I was an adult, Mrs. Soffel and Gallipoli (which I discovered late), showed him off to be quite the actor, equipped to perform touching moments that felt real and true, who also had—compared to other big stars—impeccable taste in material and the directors he worked with. And though I saw Payback and Signs, the last Gibson film I can say I really liked was Ransom. A Ron Howard throwback to high-Hollywood suspense burnished by a sleek contemporary world-weariness that wore well on its entire top-flight cast, Ransom felt in many ways like Mel cementing his eventual Clint-ness (as in Eastwood)—as wrinkles deepened along with the presence, as maturity began to take the place of rip-roaring braggadaccio.

I didn’t much love Braveheart; it felt a little over-determined to me, and I won’t even get started on the blatantly nasty homophobia that marred the representation of King Edward as such a complete, I don’t know, nelly(?), that he might as well have been—as the direct opposite to “masculinity” in which he was portrayed—literally, a Queen. Thinking back, was this the beginning…?

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Ladies and Gentlemen…Spider-Man is NOT the New Black…

So it seems as if Hollywood’s found it’s new Spider-Man, for the relaunch of the blockbuster franchise.

Sadly it won’t be this guy, the former 30 Rock writer and Community actor/comedian, Donald Glover, who’d actually sorta campaigned for the part (personally? I was rooting for him or Jamie Bell):

Turns out, surprise, surprise!, that the studio wanted to go another way. So here’s the new Spider-Man:

Is it just me, or doesn’t he look like a grown-up Harry Potter…I mean, Daniel Radcliffe? He does have great hair. Too bad it’ll be hidden underneath a red white and blue stocking cap for most of the flick…You can read the whole story at EW…and here’s a cute interview with him from a coupla years ago…

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Hollywood’s Big Night

Quote of the Day: You commie homo-loving sons of guns!” — Sean Penn, winning his second Best Actor Oscar

I really enjoyed the Oscars last night. I know one’s not supposed to say that. It’s not hip or fashionable to enjoy an Oscar telecast; one is supposed to be all sarcastic and nasty about it, commenting solely on the clothes and hairstyles to have any real impact in the general post-game conversation. Well, ha! to that, I say. The new production team (Bill Condon–who directed Dreamgirls–and Laurence Mark) kept their ideas a closely-guarded secret–and it worked. Setting up the show as a “lesson” in how movies get made, lining up the awards (for the most part) in the order of how the elements of a film production fall into place–a stroke of producerial genius, I say. Using groups of actors (or solo stars like Will Smith) to guide viewers on this tour–smashingly done, especially Sarah Jessica Parker/Daniel Craig and Natalie Portman/Ben Stiller (who’s Joaquim Phoenix impression was hi-larious)…Didn’t care so much for Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black–both of them seem to try to hard in general, and together it just seemed like a real sweat-fest. 

Loved Eddie Murphy in the center of things giving the Jean Hersholdt award to Jerry Lewis. Loved Hugh Jackman’s gay-straight man (straight-gay man?) shtick. Loved the “salute to musicals,” though it really could have been a “salute to Broadway” and still make the same points–and even though they had the good taste to use Beyonce, the greatest entertainer on the planet right now who can do no wrong in my book (well, until she does), there should have been more songs snippets from Oscar-winning musicals like My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music or the Gershwin-fest An American In Paris, but that’s just me, I guess… 
Really loved the “previous-winner’s roundtable” approach to handing out the acting awards. For the first time ever watching an Oscar ceremony, I felt like I was watching a community of artists celebrate each other’s great work rather than a grab-bag of diva egos vying for the gold. (I can watch the Men’s Ice Skating comps at the Winter Olympics for that!) As the evening moved forward the groups of five actors brought onstage to present awards got more glamourous, more famous, more legendary. Perfectly played–though I must give a special shout-out to Sophia Loren for bringing her curvaceous Italian gravitas to the evening. Even if the moments were scripted, I felt like each actor (give or take a couple) gave the performances of their lives by making each nominee feel special, as if, in some ways, they’d already won. (Memo to Cuba Gooding, Jr.: stay on book. You had your, well, moment when you won for Jerry Maguire. If you really had a problem with Downey in blackface you should have stayed home. Or made a smarter, more articulate point…)
(Oh yeh, loved the Best Picture montages, in which the nominees were linked to similarly-themed movies from the past, but worst montage moment, by far: putting a shot of Braveheart into the Best Picture salute to Milk…uh, old debate, but it still resonates…)
It would have been nice to see Viola Davis win (like her Broadway counterpart Adriane Lenox did for the stage version of Doubt), but I guess I can’t have everything. What I did have, though, was an entertaining evening. The Oscars will never be the free-for-all funfest that is the Golden Globes, but it did come pretty close last night, at least in terms of looseness, emotion, and ease. 
And can I just ask: How freakin’ fabulous are Brad and Angelina? Even smirking their way through Anniston’s brittly, unfunny moments, they just exuded glamor and sexiness and joie-de-vivre, didn’t they? I bet they each gave each other a real prize after they got home and made sure the kids were asleep. They truly are this generation’s Liz and Dick. I just wonder which one is the real shrew at home?

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Filed under Beyonce, flicks, Hugh Jackman, Sarah Jessica Parker, the Oscars

Sashay Shantay! Jude with Attitude…

Jude Law…handsome, British, tabloid fodder, butt of GREAT Chris Rock joke at the Oscars a few years ago, now…transgendered SUPERMODEL? In a movie co-starring Dame Judi Dench???

Yup…pic here
I’d go see that movie. I hope Dame Judi is playing someone fierce like, oh, I don’t know… Linda Evangelista!

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Goin’, uh, Batty?

Have you heard the one about the actor who loses it on the set? No? Well, I haven’t either. That’s cause it’s not a joke. Christian Bale (Batman in The Dark Knight, the lead in American Psycho) verbally rips into the Director of Photography for getting, apparently, in Christian’s method-actor-y line of sight, on the set on the new Terminator flick. 

If you like tantrums the way I like tantrums, ya gotta listen to this! By the by, wasn’t Bale the actor who’s mother and sister called the cops on him this past summer on some abuse charges? I’m just sayin…
CLICK HERE for the tantrum. And turn it down if there are kids–or testy co-workers–around…

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Fool Me Once…

Quote of the Day: “I’ve seen the future and it will be/I’ve seen the future and it works…” “The Future” by Prince

I was recently “defriended” (“unfriended”?) by an old friend on Facebook. I don’t know why. I must have pissed him off. I do have a long-time habit of doing that, and usually that would result in him just not speaking to me. Now, in the cyber world, I guess there’s a new way to express (or not express?) one’s displeasure with someone, rather than just not return calls or ignore texts—defriend the person. I’d heard of it happening, but never experienced it until now. It’s a strange feeling—at least in the Real World, you know the calls are not being returned or the texts are not being answered. But defriending? It’s akin to stealth-bombing, because you never know it’s happened until, well, you know it’s happened. I used to say that I was officially a member of the 21st century when I was one of hundreds of peeps laid off by a splashy dot-com company back in 2000. Now, I really feel like I’m living in the future. And I feel fine…

The New York Times did a cute piece about the culture of “defriending”. Check it out here.

Wow, it really is the future. Apparently the great Gabriel Garcia Marquez will be digitally publishing a novel, bypassing paper and going right to e-book. Is this going to be the trend from now on? Info here.

Do you think you could write a novel in 70 word bites so people can read them on their cell phones? They do in Japan. One of the books was so successful it spawned a whole industry around it, including a movie adaptation. According to Galleycat, 86% of Japanese teens read novels this way. Actually I don’t know why I feel surprised by this: isn’t Gossip Girl essentially writing a big Jane Austen-meets-Tom Wolfe novel of social manners with the posts she blasts about Serena, Dan et al? I love those moments on the show when those tweeny girls come up to Dan and lambaste him for his latest foul-up, like he’s Penn Badgely or some other celeb guy having a public affair with his beautiful co-star. It’s so, um, meta!

The word on the street is that Cheo Hodari Coker’s about to be following up his NOTORIOUS success by writing the Run-DMC movie. Homeboy did The SPB Q last week, and every time I asked him what new thing he had in the works, he jumped past the question…It’s all good. Never spoil it before it’s official, right? Congrats to Cheo!


Bye Bye, Betty: ABC’s putting Ugly Betty away for a while to give Samantha Who her due. Samantha Who? I like Christina Applegate and all but if she ain’t re-doing Samantha Stevens, the cute blonde witch living with her ad exec hubby Darrin, consider me not interested in watching ABC on Thursday nights anymore. I was really into UB this season, and its sad to see it go this way. What is ABC’s problem? Can’t they give a show a break already? Didn’t America Ferrara win an Emmy a coupla years back? Isn’t Vaness Williams as Wilhemina Slater the most deliciously vain and evil villain since JR Ewing? Okay, I’ll calm down now…But all I’m saying is this, if you like TV like I like TV, don’t get to attached to Life on Mars, kids. I can feel it: It’ll be following Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, and Ugly Betty right into hiatus-cancellation-oblivion land any day now….(then again, if it does, you can always buy or rent the original Brit version, which is The. Bomb.)

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