Viola Davis

Viola Davis Cast as Amanda Waller in ‘Suicide Squad’

While DC Comics’ Suicide Squad won’t be released until 2016, information keeps coming about the distant sort-of-superhero film, and people continue… Read More

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‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Needs More Viola Davis, Less of Everything Else

If you want to know how to get away with murder, you’ll have to keep waiting for a while — who knows how these idiotic law students will fare come the end of the season? — but if you want to know how to get away with creating an addictive hit out of a mediocre story, then look no further than the first nine episodes of How to Get Away With Murder. (Hint: Just add Shonda Rhimes’ name to it.) This might sound harsher than I intend: I actually love How to Get Away With Murder, even though I recognize how frustratingly average it is, how boring any given case-of-the-week can be, how some of the characters fall into lazy boxes (but others, it should be said, are amazingly well written), and how the show focuses way more on steamy sex and rampant infidelity than, well, murder and justice. That said, I’m still completely on board with Murder, terrible plotting, laughable “twists,” and all. Spoilers ahead, of course. … 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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Viola Davis Shines in ABC’s Addictive, Flawed ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

How to Get Away With Murder is being heavily promoted as a Shonda Rhimes production, even by the network. ABC is betting big on an all-Shonda night that includes Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, but Murder was actually created by Peter Nowalk (who has written for those other two shows), with Rhimes acting as Executive Producer. Promoting it with Rhimes’ name is a surefire way to get viewers to tune in, though, especially because we’ve hit a point where any of her shows is practically guaranteed to be successful. The pilot episode isn’t exactly a great success itself, but it’s very good and definitely entertaining.  … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in September

Fall movie season is upon us, which means the studios are gearing up for their Oscar campaigns by releasing the kind of thoughtful, intelligent, adult-oriented movies that the indies have been cranking out all damn year. But the art houses aren’t shutting down for the season. Here are just a few of this month’s limited and VOD releases that are worth your… Read More

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James Brown Biopic ‘Get On Up’ Struggles to Balance Hero Worship With Real Talk

Like many cultural boundary-pushers, James Brown demanded a lot of people. He was complicated, full of flaws and vices as bold as his talents. Get On Up, the new Brown biopic, does not shy away from his uglier side — the drug-crazed 1988 car chase, the philandering and domestic abuse, the dictatorial band leader, the exact moment when cocky turns to cruel — but the film does explain these shortcomings with the ultimate cop-out: The Hardest Working Man In Show Business didn’t know how to need other people. … Read More

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Don’t Believe the Hype — ‘Prisoners’ Is a Cheap Thriller

There is a scene about two-thirds of the way through Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners that sums up pretty much everything that’s wrong with the picture. Here’s how it goes: Two little girls have been abducted. While the parents (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis) of one of them are out, the prime suspect for the crime breaks into their home. Their teenage daughter is at her most vulnerable: naked and taking a bath, talking on her cell phone. Villeneuve cuts away. We then see Howard and Davis return home. They call out for their daughter; she does not answer. They call out more, open doors, flip on lights. A good half-minute of screen time is spent on this exercise before they break down the bathroom door — and discover her walking out, chastising them for not telling her they were leaving. No explanation is provided for her lengthy silence and lack of response, because there isn’t a logical one. She was inexplicably quiet so that Villeneuve could build in a cheap, easy moment of faux-tension that wouldn’t have made the cut in a second-tier horror movie. … Read More

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James Franco, Backstreet Boys and Jane Lynch To Join the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has announced the 24 honorees who will be bequeathed a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year — if, of course, they shell out that $30,000 celebrities are asked to pay to, er, cement the honor. Some of the choices make sense to us — Javier Bardem, Helen Mirren, Jane Lynch all definitely deserve stars, even if the whole thing is a racket that ends up with gum trod into your name — but some seem a little bizarre. After all, if the HCC was going to give the Backstreet Boys and NKOTB stars, why do it in 2012 at the peak of their irrelevance? And you’re only just noticing Janis Joplin now? Click through to check out the complete list of honorees, and let us know what you think in the comments. … Read More

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