Adopt, Don’t Photoshop

So Elizabeth Olsen is talented as fuck and one of the most natural and understatedly beautiful actresses on the screen today. So why, oh why, would Empire Magazine even think they needed to photoshop her? It’s gobsmacking.

My Friend the Rapist, My Friend the Survivor

Each year I join the pre-selection committee of the Monte Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph Awards. I truly love this experience because it exposes me to a whole bunch of top flight global television that I maybe wouldn’t otherwise get to see, and my life is definitely richer for it. Over time, it’s been interesting to note the content, developed all around the world, comes in thematic waves. Two years ago it was Nazism, last year, immigrants, and this year there are several entries about the rape and abuse of women. (the above image is Emily Mortimer in Apple Tree Yard.)

Interestingly, it would so far appear that rapes in these series are not chucked in as plot points or useful mechanisms for driving the drama (I’m looking at you Christopher Nolan) but as devastating pivotal moments in the lives of real human beings. Whether this approach is because of increased awareness of global activism – #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc – or instead a cynical ratings ploy of commissioning editors jumping on bandwagons, remains to be seen. Perhaps it’s both? Film, after all is both a reflection and a driver of culture.

I’m musing on this now because the issue is close and personal. Back in 2016, Continue reading “My Friend the Rapist, My Friend the Survivor”

Three Billboards Makes America Great Again

“Three Billboards” is polished and impressive “small film” about a grieving mother and her escalating attempts to humiliate a small-town police chief into solving the murder of her teenage daughter. Frances McDormand plays the mom, Mildred Hayes, and the billboards in Ebbing are the site of her campaign. I enjoyed the film, especially Mildred’s rude fierceness. The movie’s also done incredibly well for itself – a small haul of Golden Globes and an Oscar Best Actress for McDormand herself, and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell playing a particularly racist and homophobic cop.

But, but, the movie’s not been without its detractors and indeed there’s been something of a backlash against the film. In particular, critics have objected to the casual care with which Rockwell’s character is treated given his evident vileness, as well as his shot of redemption at the end. As Wesley Morris suggests in the NYT “This Is Not America.”

The title and location of Three Billboards makes it seem like the movie is saying something grand about human nature in small-town America. But none of it rings true……“Three Billboards” is a cupcake rolled in glass. It all just feels off.

I think there’s stuff that could be said here about “it’s a fiction, not a documentary” and “it does not have to be about anything to be a great piece of entertainment”. But the more I thought about this overnight, the more I came up with this: Continue reading “Three Billboards Makes America Great Again”

Veronica and the Release Strategies

Two things. First: Veronica. It’s the latest from Paco Plaza, the Spanish writer-director responsible for the first two [REC] movies. It’s a solid, well-made horror telling the ostensibly true tale of a luckless 15 year old who invites something horrible in after an ill-advised ouija game. The ensuing drama plays out mostly in a small Madrid apartment, ramping up the conflicts bit by bit, to a suitably chaotic climax. I enjoyed it. It won’t win many accolades (except for the acting, which was great) and it was all-in-all a gripping enough way to spend 90 minutes. So far so good.

The second thing, and the main reason I mention this movie at all, is that Veronica was released direct to Netflix, with zero publicity and no fanfare. Yesterday, no Veronica, today; ta-da. Netflix would seem to be a odd release strategy for a movie maker; it seems to be a kind of marketing deadzone, an apologetic admittance of middling quality… Continue reading “Veronica and the Release Strategies”

What Oprah Did: The Marketing Onslaught for A Wrinkle In Time

From day one of production, Disney pulled out all the stops in promoting A Wrinkle in Time. The marketing enrolled the heavy-hitting social media reach of its’ stars to punt the film and its message of diversity; Winfrey reaches over 67M social media followers across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with Witherspoon counting 18.4M and Mindy Kaling north of 15M.

The entire cast worked tirelessly to engage their fanbase and promote the movie, including surprising fans at Disney California Adventure with a sneak peek of the film. There was a Warriors Who Code event in partnership with Facebook, Black Girls Code, Nissan, jetBlue and HP which hosted 50 young women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in a coding challenge to unlock prizes and an early viewing of A Wrinkle in Time, with surprise appearances by the cast. jetBlue sent out emails to its customers encouraging them to see the movie this weekend and announcing that the pic will play in flight as early as May 1. The soundtrack featured a song by Sade which was her first new track in seven years “Flower of the Universe.” There was the crowdfunding “Give a Child the Universe” Color of Change and AMC campaign to provide tickets to underprivileged kids. Questlove created the #WrinkleChallenge to encourage celebrities and followers to donate to the initiative. Bad Feminist author Roxanne Gay bought out two screenings at the ArcLight Culver City over the weekend. One of the most personal pushes for DuVernay was having her hometown of Compton, CA host the first public screening of A Wrinkle in Time. The city has no movie theaters, so Disney created a pop-up one with great sound and picture quality….

The full story at Deadline.

Prospect

In Prospect, a man and his daughter are….prospectors….for rare minerals on a dangerous planet. Next in the line for Hollywood’s SciFi buzz… This is based on a short, which you can view here.