Meryl Streep

Actors, Oscars, and Afflictions: A Nomination and Award Timeline

This morning, Julianne Moore received an Academy Award nomination for Still Alice, which (in an amazing bit of great timing!) goes into official release tomorrow. It’s her fifth Academy Award nomination, but this time she’s the odds-on favorite, for two reasons: because she’s been nominated five times but hasn’t yet won and thus is “due,” and because she’s playing a woman battling a crippling affliction (in this case, early-onset Alzhemier’s). Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne nabbed a very predictable nomination for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The fact that Everything is a boilerplate biopic and Still Alice is a rotten movie and desperately transparent play for that statue don’t enter into it; as history has proven, if you want to win an Oscar, find a character with a disease, a physical hardship, a mental challenge, or a psychological disorder, and let it rip. Don’t believe me? Here’s your timeline! … Read More

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Jessica Chastain Responds to Russell Crowe’s Comments on Actresses, and It’s Magnificent

As we discussed yesterday, Russell Crowe made waves recently in an Australian magazine interview by suggesting… Read More

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Noted Gender Expert Russell Crowe Explains Why Actresses Over 40 Complain About Hollywood’s Obsession With Youth

There are already plenty of reasons to loathe Russell Crowe. He is, by most accounts, a bullying boor; he hasn’t made a good movie in years (2007, by my clock); he’s one of those actors who insists on also playing rock star. Well, if all that weren’t enough, we can now add “sexist mansplainer” to Crowe’s CV, thanks to a face-palming interview in The Australian Woman’s Weekly, wherein he just wishes that all these lady actresses would learn to act their age. … Read More

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Where Did Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’ Go Wrong?

My first exposure to Into the Woods came as a high school theater student, shuttled in with my fellow drama nerds to the auditorium of a nearby university for a “preview” of their forthcoming production of Stephen Sondheim’s Brothers Grimm mash-up. The preview consisted, as such things often do, of half the show — the first act, with the assumption that you’ll be so hooked, you’ll return (and buy a ticket) for the second. But that proved rather a dicey proposition for Woods, whose first conclusion seemed, to us high schoolers, perfectly satisfactory. … Read More

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50 Great Pre-Fame Performances by Famous Actors

This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a double bill of the mid-‘60s Westerns The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, a treat not only for fans of revisionist Westerns and director Monte Hellman, but also for those who admire Jack Nicholson, here seen in two terrific performances that predate his breakthrough in Easy Rider. There’s a specific kind of pleasure in revisiting the early work of actors who would later become famous — not the roles that made them stars, but their earlier, quieter gigs, in which we glimpse an actor just trying to do good work, yet already exhibiting the spark that would mark them for fame. Here are a few of our… Read More

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There’s a New Trailer for ‘Into the Woods,’ and There’s Singing in It!

Disney’s Into the Woods is slated to be the biggest musical movie of the year, but, to moviegoers who didn’t go out… Read More

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The 10 Worst Movies Based on Real Political Events

Last week, everybody got a big chuckle (some more than others) out of The Hollywood Reporter’s scoop that Michael Bay — best known for making movies about cars transforming into giant robots and blowing shit up — is in talks to helm 13 Hours, a political drama about the 2012 attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. And while most of those titters come from the participation of meathead entertainment maker and short-short connoisseur Bay (and from speculating on the various ways in which he could fumble the attack’s narrative, in light of its subsequent status as a political football), there’s also some rightful skepticism about the ability of anyone in Hollywood to make this particular “political drama,” since that’s a subgenre the movie industry seems so inclined to fuck up. So on this most political of days, let’s take a quick walk down that hall of shame, shall we? … Read More

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10 Wildly Unsuccessful Movie Reunions

Buried among this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is a movie that, by the looks of it, was supposed to be one of the summer’s big hits: Blended, the third onscreen teaming of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Their first film, 1998’s The Wedding Singer, reshaped Sandler into a romantic lead and got him less-vicious-than-usual reviews, while grossing $80 million domestic; its follow-up, 2004’s 50 First Dates, did $120 million. But stars can fall over a decade, and Sandler and Barrymore’s big reunion was a big disappointment, only pulling $46 million total (barely more than First Dates’ first weekend). In other words, lightning doesn’t always strike twice, and for every Hope and Crosby or Redford and Newman, there are plenty of cinematic reunions that didn’t quite pan out. … Read More

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‘The Giver’ Is a Poor Imitation of All the Teen Dystopias Lois Lowry’s Book Inspired

The main theme of Lois Lowry’s classic book The Giver is “sameness.” The Giver takes place in a dystopian society — disguised as a utopian one — without change, without choice, and without differences. Everything is identical, and no one has any emotions. The story shoots down the idea of sameness as an ideal. The movie adaptation accidentally embraces it, resulting in a film that tries too hard to be similar to YA adaptations with vaguely similar premises. It tries to force emotions out of its viewers, tries so hard that it becomes laughable. As a book-to-movie adaptation, The Giver is terrible. Even just as a movie, well, it’s still pretty bad. … Read More

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