Chris Rock

The ‘Humbling’ of Al Pacino

The once-great actor, now just shy of washed up, sits in his dressing room at the Broadway theater, talking to himself. He finally gets his call and heads down to the stage, only to get locked out of the theater on the way down, sent around to the front of the house like some kind of audience member or something. This actor’s nightmare is a key early sequence in… The Humbling, Barry Levinson’s new adaptation of Philip Roth’s penultimate novel, starring Al Pacino. Yes, Levinson’s film, which opens quietly in a few markets and on demand this Friday, has the misfortune of debuting dangerously close to Birdman, a film with which it unquestionably suffers in comparison. But like Birdman, it offers the tantalizing opportunity to watch a great actor sorting through perception and persona by playing fiction that feels like fact. … Read More

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Hacked Sony Email Confirms What Chris Rock Told Us About Racism in Hollywood

Let’s tread very lightly here. In a nutshell: Over the past several days, a group calling itself Guardians of Peace has released scores of files and documents attained via a massive hack of Sony Pictures, reportedly executed in protest of the company’s upcoming release of The Interview, a goofy comedy wherein Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent to assassinate Kim Jong-un. The initial leaks were harmless enough — high-quality downloads of Sony movies — but they quickly escalated to include salary spreadsheets, film budgets, unreleased scripts, medical records, passwords, contact information, and, most damningly, private email correspondences between Sony higher-ups. The whole thing is pretty awful. … Read More

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Why Did It Take Chris Rock So Long to Make a Great Movie Like ‘Top Five’?

The moment he dropped his 1996 breakthrough stand-up special Bring the Pain, Chris Rock was dubbed the heir apparent of Richard Pryor, one of the few comics on the scene to approach the king’s potent mixture of social commentary, personal confession, and performative brilliance. But that wasn’t all they had in common; Pryor spent most of his film career failing to find a vehicle that captured his unique gifts, and Rock has experienced much of the same struggle. “Richard Pryor has two good movies out of 30 or 40,” Rock told Rolling Stone. “Rodney Dangerfield had one. So it’s easy to look at history and go, ‘Maybe I’m not going to get one’… But I guess you’ve got to make your own history.” And Rock has done just that with his new film Top Five, writing, directing, and starring in a picture that plays like a cross between Stardust Memories, Funny People, and Before Sunset, but refracted through the prism of Rock’s distinctive comic sensibility. So why did it take him so long to make a movie worthy of his talent? … Read More

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Why Chris Rock’s “Burn Hollywood Burn” Tour is Right On Time

Chris Rock has run out of fucks to give. His new movie, Top Five, debuted with a bang at the Toronto Film Festival, igniting a fierce bidding war for distribution — won by Paramount Pictures, which ponied up $12.5 million, more than twice the picture’s production budget. Reviews for the picture, which Rock wrote, directed, and starred in, were rhapsodic; they called it his Stardust Memories. And maybe it’s that position of confidence that’s prompted him, in a flurry of interviews and op-eds, to ravenously bite the hand that feeds him, calling out the movie industry for its intellectual hypocrisy and institutional racism. It’s rather thrilling to watch this razor-sharp celebrity call bullshit, consequences be damned; it’s also a reminder that even the most ostensibly liberal environments are a long way from sunny, “post-racial” America (as if we needed any more reminders of that this week/month/year/etc). … Read More

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Chris Rock Wrote “Blistering” Cover Story on the Whiteness of Hollywood for the Hollywood Reporter

Chris Rock is making the most of his time in the spotlight, his profile reinvigorated by the upcoming release… Read More

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“White People Were Crazy. Now They’re Not As Crazy”: Chris Rock Has a Valuable Perspective on Race in America

Chris Rock’s new movie, Top Five, premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival to utterly charmed reviews (The Guardian called it “winning”) and the promo that comes with winning the festival buzz by landing the splashiest distribution deal. A meta-comedy about a very famous comedian (Rock) who spends the day giving an interview to a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson), the film is small, indie, and Woody Allen-ish, according to Rock. … Read More

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