Michelle Williams is someone who seems to have planned her entire career in contravention of Hollywood's usual code for beautiful young actresses: from her taste in offbeat indie projects to her shy public demeanor and pixie-ish styling, she's pretty much the anti-ingenue, and the last person you'd expect to be the subject of a raunchy lad's-mag photo shoot. Which is partly why her casting as a publicity-fed sex symbol like Marilyn Monroe is so counter-intuitively effective, as is this eye-opening QG profile, in which she further channels the star by stripping down to her underwear and posing up a storm. An ingenious ploy by Harvey Weinstein? Her own initiative? Either way, it's getting the Best Actress hopeful attention at just the right time, and for those who do read the accompanying interview, she comes off as smart and engaging. Well played. [GQ]
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A good night last night for both "New Girl" and "Raising Hope," with reviews coming up just as soon as I get smart by watching NBC comedies...
A quick review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I pretend not to be bored in exchange for ice cream...
The last time Steven Soderbergh and Lem Dobbs collaborated, the result was "The Limey," one of my favorite of Soderbergh's films overall. It's a tough-minded, broken-hearted little revenge thriller, and Terrence Stamp is awesome in it. It's got style to spare, and it's really lean. Gets in, gets it done, and then gets out.
When I first heard about "Haywire" and heard that the film was created specifically to showcase Gina Carano, a well-regarded MMA fighter in real life, I admit that I sort of wrote the film off immediately as "lesser" Soderbergh. The last film he made where he built a film around a real-life personality was "The Girlfriend Experience," an only slightly successful movie that is more experiment than experience, so I admit my hopes were not especially high.
I would argue that part of why "Haywire" works so well is because Lem Dobbs is the screenwriter, and he approached this with a wicked pulp spy movie sensibility that pays off in a film that works first as a spy film, second as an action film, and then also as a drama. It's genuinely well-written. It's clever. And while there's plenty of room in the film for Carano to snap into her own skill-set and start beating holy hell out of anyone within arm's reach, which she does in spectacular fashion several times, those moments are character punctuation. There's not a single unmotivated or gratuitous action beat in the film.
In other words, forget what your calendar tells you. "Haywire" is no mere January movie.
It was a nice change of pace interlude this evening, even if it was ultimately awards related in some way.
"War Horse" may be the World War I film currently in cinemas stirring awards talk throughout the season, and "The Artist" might be the black and white silent film leading the charge in this year's Best Picture race, but for two evenings at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, William A. Wellman is stealing some of Steven Spielberg and Michel Hazanavicius' spotlight.
Wellman's silent, black and white, 1927 Best Picture-winning WWI epic "Wings" has been fully restored in a partnership between Paramount Pictures (this year celebrating its 100th anniversary), the Academy's Film Archive and Technicolor. It was unveiled this evening at the Academy in the first of two screenings this week as part of the studio's centenary and the film's (as well as the Academy's) 85th anniversary in advance of a January 24 Blu-ray release.
The TNT version of "Southland" has grown on me slowly over time, I think. The budget cuts have forced John Wells and company to streamline the cast, and it seems the focus is now much more on how the different partnerships operate, and on LAPD culture in general, which is where the show excels. (Back when there were so many detectives floating around, the show seemed to feel compelled to spend more time on generic murder cases, when the magic was just watching the cops ride around in their cars kibbitzing.)
Tomorrow brings the first major cull in what is almost annually the most exasperating of Oscar races, Best Foreign Language Film. As has become the new custom, a shortlist of nine titles will be announced in the morning -- six of them voted on by the collected members of the foreign-language branch, with a further three added by a select committee to rectify the larger group's blind spots.
It is never confirmed which are which, though it can be rather easy to tell: there were no prizes last year for guessing that Greece's critically adored but thematically dangerous "Dogtooth" was a minority pick rescued by the committee to add cred to the Academy's roster. It's an imperfect system, but still preferable to the previous one, which regularly raised howls of critical anguish as such films as "City of God" and "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" failed even to crack the pre-nomination shortlist.
The committee itself can be pretty wily in their choices -- eyebrows were raised when they failed to rescue favorites like "Gomorrah" and "Of Gods and Men" recently -- and still can't do anything about the Academy's final (and dependably milquetoast) choice of winner, but they're pushing more adventurous titles into the conversation, and for that, one can hardly be ungrateful.
The Georgia Film Critics' Association distinguished themselves from the back last week with a fresh and considered list of nominees -- and their winners, announced earlier today, are no less intriguing. I can't think of another critics' group on the circuit that has fallen quite so hard for "The Tree of Life": Terrence Malick's intimate epic took six awards, including Best Picture and Director, as well as both supporting prizes for Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt. (It wasn't Pitt's only win from the Peach State -- he also took Best Actor for "Moneyball.")
Meanwhile, they forever earned my affection by becoming the first critics 'group to hand Best Actress to Juliette Binoche for "Certified Copy," which also won Best Foreign Language Film. In the relentless grind of paint-by-numbers precursors, even the smallest victories are sweet. Also, it's about bloody time "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" won an ensemble award. Good work, guys. Full list of winners after the jump.
In Katy Perry’s continued bid to propel “The One That Got Away” to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, she has released another version of the song.
The new version, produced by Jon Brion, is an acoustic, stripped down version that focuses on the sadness of the lost love. Brion’s nimble, light touch keeps the song from getting too dragged down in the sorrow. The track is for sale on iTunes for 99 cents.
That means fans can buy the original version, the remix featuring B.o.B., and now this edition (there are also some pretty nifty dance remixes of the song out there). Purchase of any of the three counts toward her chart position, which is a combination of sales and radio play. The song is No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, after peaking, so far, at No. 3.
[More after the jump...]
In the new music video for "Chains of Love," Ryan Adams and his backing band cause fireworks to shoot into a sunny day sky, due to the power of their rocking. But, naw, the amiable track is one of the easiest-going songs on "Ashes & Fire," the singer-songwriter's latest album.
There's all sorts of subtle color and cheeky detachment to said pyrotechnics. Ain't nothing wrong with rockers rocking on rooftops and in fields, just makes a good argument for a little nap.
"Ashes & Fire was released in 2011; Adams is touring soon in support, dates below.
Here are Ryan Adams' tour dates: