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Naomie Harris has a simple message for media outlets: Stop “appealing to people’s base instincts, which are to be titillated and intrigued, and instead appeal to people’s higher nature.” The “No Time to Die” star spoke out against the viral coverage of Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. Harris, who previously worked with Depp on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, slammed the “disturbing” amount of coverage for the “very private case” in an interview with The Independent. “It’s hard not to have followed that case because it was so rammed down our throats every day,” Harris said. “It was all over social media, all over the news, everywhere. I think there’s something quite disturbing about that, actually...
A funny thing happened on the way to reforming the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The entertainment industry started imagining the permanent demise of the corrupt 79-year-old cabal of Hollywood correspondents. While some publicists, talent, and distributors consider the January Golden Globes telecast as a vital link in the awards ecosystem, others are rooting for the HFPA to disappear forever. Back on February 25, 2021, under pressure from NBC, which broadcasts the annual Golden Globes and is trying to negotiate down the 8-year $500-million TV rights deal signed in 2018, the beleaguered Hollywood Foreign Press Association vowed major change. NBC canceled the 2022 Golden Globes show to allow the HFPA time to institute a long list...
If you’re lucky enough to live in a fairly progressive or even populous place, it can feel like everyone and everything is queer. LGBTQ identities are everywhere: From The New York Times writing about they/them pronouns to the year’s second highest-grossing movie including an (albeit chaste) same-sex kiss. For the average queer person just trying to live their life, the focus of the mainstream microscope can be exhausting. For queer filmmakers, or filmmakers who happen to fall somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, it can be a double-edged sword. John Waters, for example, bristles at being called an “openly gay director.” In sharing this fact with Luca Guadagnino, whom he spoke to recently at the Provincetown Film Festival, the “Call Me by...
This year already has big “Lemon, it’s Wednesday” energy. For television specifically, 2022 has been hectic. Two new Star Wars shows and two new Marvel shows premiered. Oscar winner Anne Hathaway blue herself and that’s not even the buzziest series on Apple. Netflix is doomed but thriving, HBO is going to revamp the best streaming service on the market, and broadcast TV is back, baby! Kind of! Maybe. A lot has happened in television and a lot of television has happened. The recurring cry of all TV critics, reporters, and viewers alike still echoes through our living rooms — “There’s too much TV!” — as the endless quest to find that next great program persists. Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. Bad news first: It’s only Wednesday...
It was all good just a week ago. Last Wednesday, pro-wrestling giant WWE had a market cap just above $5 billion. Since then, when news came out about its board investigating longtime Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon paying millions of dollars in hush money to an ex-employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, WWE has lost $500 million in valuation. At this writing, shares in the publicly traded WWE were down 10 percent in the last week. Not all of WWE’s key metrics are in decline. On the flip side are the company’s TV ratings: Both Friday’s “SmackDown” (which aired live mere hours after McMahon announced he would step aside while the board investigates the matter) and Monday’s “Raw” jumped in viewership, according to Nielsen. This...
Lots of positive news for theaters this weekend to report, although like last weekend’s even better results, they come with caveats. The standout result is that Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” (Warner Bros.) did over $30 million, at the high end of recent projections. Though not as big as “Bohemian Rhapsody” ($51 million), with the new film’s appeal to older audiences and opening in a much more competitive weekend, this is a very encouraging opening. It is both for its studio (undergoing transition under new management) but more so for the industry. As a non-franchise film, it is a more than respectable start for a high-profile but not automatically success-certain project. It’s the second biggest first weekend for any non-franchise 2022...
Emelie Mahdavian didn’t set out to subvert the tropes of the campfire western. The documentary filmmaker (Sundance 2019 entry “Midnight Traveler”) had been living off-grid for three years near Mackay Idaho, reviving a local independent cinema with her husband. She’d been looking for a way to explore the rural residents’ relationship to the land when she met Hollyn Patterson, a woman who cowboyed for a living. (For range riders, “cowboy” is a verb.) When she heard Patterson planned a cattle drive that summer with a friend, Colie Moline, Mahdavian talked the two women into letting her shoot it. The result was “Bitterbrush,” which debuted at Telluride and makes its way to PVOD today. (Magnolia gave it a week’s head start in theaters.)...
Aaron Paul gives good anguish. If he didn’t, audiences may not have made it through “Breaking Bad,” where the then-30ish actor was put through the wringer, again and again, as Walter White’s protégé-turned-pawn, Jesse Pinkman. Watching Paul embody Pinkman’s struggles with addiction, clashes with enemies, and continued torture (both psychological and, far too often, physical) could’ve grown redundant; grueling in its familiarity; as hard to sit through as it was for Jesse to live through. But Paul grows Jesse’s grief so that when another tragedy strikes, the embers of what’s already happened reignite, burning into a fresh, unholy fire. His bright blue eyes help. They’re clear, and in that clarity is an ocean. They can turn cold with...
Among the pandemic’s many side effects, it created a unique capacity to force even the most august institutions to experience identity crises and growing pains. And in the film industry, perhaps no organization has felt this syndrome more acutely than the Sundance Institute. “We have to look back at how do we sustain Sundance, for the future,” Michelle Satter, director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, told me. “We’re in a moment of stepping back and making tough decisions. You have to prioritize, and build back.” After longtime festival director John Cooper left in 2020, Sundance veteran Tabitha Jackson took over; she stepped down June 7 and the festival now seeks a new leader. Sundance Institute CEO Keri Putnam left in...
The Sundance Institute has announced details about the incoming group of Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellows. The eight recipients of the fellowship work across disciplines and stood out for their boundary-pushing work in fiction, documentary, and episodic. All eight fellows will receive bespoke support throughout the year, including mentorship from the Sundance Institute and Adobe executives, two skill-building workshops, referrals to career development opportunities, coaching, a $6,250 cash grant, introductions to industry contacts and advisors, a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, and a one-year membership to Sundance Collab. Each of the fellows has already participated in a Sundance Institute Lab or program relevant to...
Chris Hemsworth is reflecting on being accidentally hit by Oscar nominee Kristen Stewart while filming “Snow White and the Huntsman” a decade ago. During a GQ video interview looking back on his most memorable roles, the “Thor: Love and Thunder” star revisited the 2012 update on the “Snow White” fairytale, in which Hemsworth portrayed the titular huntsman. Co-star Stewart, as Snow White, infamously hit Hemsworth while filming an action scene. “I was more upset she didn’t continue on through the take,” Hemsworth joked of Stewart. “She kind of hit me and then immediately went, ‘Oh, my God, I’m so sorry.'” He added, “I was like, ‘That would’ve been the perfect, most truthful take that we had.’ I think she was more upset than I was.”...
If the future for theaters is near-total reliance on a handful of top franchise films, this weekend suggests that plan could work. It was peak playtime with Father’s Day and the first federal observance of Juneteenth and while it broke no records, these results are the best since COVID. This weekend also contains the biggest disappointment of 2022 as Disney’s “Lightyear” grossed $51 million, falling far short of its projected minimum $70 million opening. That led to the total take of $163 million, a bit under expectations, for a weekend with three major recent releases. For the second straight weekend, total grosses topped 2019’s equivalent — this one, by 20 percent. Combined with the past three weekends, our four-week rolling total...
First, the stylishly cruel Baronness in “Cruella.” Now, the wicked Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda the Musical.” Is there any childhood villain Emma Thompson can’t transform into? Roald Dahl’s beloved novel “Matilda” is getting another big-screen treatment courtesy of Netflix, this time a rock musical based on the Tony- and Olivier-winning production directed by Matthew Warchus. Thompson stars as headmaster Trunchbull who is set on extinguishing independent thought among her elementary school students, including the brilliant and uniquely gifted Matilda, played by “Darklands” star Alisha Weir. Matilda’s only role model, Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch), encourages Matilda to use her vivid imagination and maintain her curiosity, despite...
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