Every periodical across the globe has invested ink praising the life and works Nelson Mandela. Borrowing a page from Joe Weisenthal, I delved into the Instagrams to see who was using their iPhones to celebrate Madiba.
In the year of Gravity—Sandra Bullock’s one-woman, $630-million-grossing show about an astronaut stuck in space and trying to survive—it’s not terribly surprising that the similar, but lower-key, All Is Lost got, well, lost. The basic plots are pretty close to one another (one person struggles against merciless nature) and Gravity features the biggest movie star in the world while All Is Lost features a past-his-prime icon.
It’s too bad, though: All Is Lost is a powerful, moving film anchored by a Hollywood icon giving it one more go.
I don’t particularly enjoy writing about abortion because I tend to make everyone angry.* But there’s something that needs to be discussed in response to those who are freaking out about the New York Post‘s Kyle Smith mentioning abortion in his response to Harvey Weinstein’s attack on his review of Philomena.
Some background, since the second sentence in that first paragraph probably didn’t make a ton of sense to you. Philomena is a recently released film about an Irish Catholic woman (played by Judi Dench) who gave up her son after becoming pregnant in her teens. Unwed and shamed, she was taken in by a convent that specialized in such cases. The film tracks her efforts 50 years after the boy’s birth to discover what became of him. Philomena has been praised, for the most part: It is currently “92 percent fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.
One of the few dissenters was Kyle Smith, whose one star review was headlined, “‘Philomena’ another hateful and boring attack on Catholics.” Harvey Weinstein, whose distribution company is handling the movie’s release in the United States, saw a chance to make a few bucks and placed a full page advertisement in the Post‘s hometown rival, the New York Times, blasting Smith by name. Smith returned fire this weekend in the Post in a lengthy condemnation of the film, its creators, and the boorish, anti-Catholic Weinstein. In his response, Smith stated that there are fewer Philomenas searching for their adopted children because of abortion:
The Washington Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA)* released its winners this morning, and 12 Years a Slave is the big winner. The film (which I found to be powerful but flawed and is driving people kind of nutty) took home best picture, best actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), best supporting actress (Lupita Nyong’o), best acting ensemble, best adapted screenplay (John Ridley), and best score (Hans Zimmer). Interestingly, Alfonso Cuaron beat out Steve McQueen for best director, a mild surprise given the fact that 12 Years is very much a director’s movie, filled with showy touches that either weren’t in the screenplay or were muted. (For a full list of winners, scroll to the end of this post or click here.)
After Nelson Mandela died, the outpouring of grief on Twitter was both expected and reasonable. Lots of RIPs and such. But Twitter isn’t a place for people to be happy and you knew the flood of emotions would turn negative soon. The only question is who would be targeted.
And then Nikki Finke came along with this totally innocuous missive:
Even after a day to mull the decision, Gal Gadot’s casting as Wonder Woman is still reverberating throughout the Interwebs. What’s most intriguing is that most of the the reactions seem to have no idea of who Gal is in the first place, despite the three Fast movies she’s starred in that have grossed over $500 million worldwide. Just goes to show people don’t know talent when they see it.
I like a dash of chaos every now and then.
As awards season kicks into high gear, critics are inundated with screeners for films they may have missed the first time around. Here are three prestige pictures—The Place Beyond the Pines, The Spectacular Now, and The Dallas Buyers Club—that are interesting for the competing ways in which they present masculinity in a time of societal flux.