1049 posts categorized "MOVIES"
Gene Wilder has died at his Stamford, Connecticut, home at the age of 83 following a battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Wilder was the actor who created one of the most iconic leading-male performances in screen history—one for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe—as the title character in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). The film was not a hit until many years after its release, when it became one of those movies everyone has seen thanks to TV.
He made just 23 films, plus another five for television, worked infrequently on TV (winning an Emmy in 2003 for a guest spot on Will & Grace, which marked his final two acting gigs) and made five appearances on Broadway. His final appearance on stage was in Laughter on the 23rd Floor in London in 1996.
Wilder's work revealed a man usually concerned with quality over quantity, and with trying something offbeat rather than something safe.
Along with his signature role as Willy Wonka, he made big impressions in Bonnie and Clyde (1967); The Producers (1968), for which he received an Oscar nomination; Blazing Saddles (1974); Young Frankenstein (1974), for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Adapted Screenplay; and both Silver Streak (1976) and Stir Crazy (1980) with Richard Pryor.
In his later years, Wilder published several books, including a memoir in 2005, a novel, a collection of short stories, and a novella that was released in 2014. A still of him as Willy Wonka is a widely used meme.
Wilder was married to Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer after a long, highly publicized battle with the disease, in 1989. He is survived by fourth wife Karen Boyer, and his nephew.
Friday the 26th was the long-awaited 25th-anniversary screening of a pristine, restored print of Truth or Dare at Metrograph in NYC, featuring commentary by director Alek Keshishian (who also co-wrote W.E. with Madonna 20 years after they first met) and moderated by noted Madonna-basher Chelsea Handler.
I hardly knew what to expect, considering the week's other Truth or Dare screening—at MoMA on Wednesday—had attracted Madonna herself.
[If you live in NYC and haven't been to Metrograph, do go. It's a lovely, chic theater that offers eclectic movies, including classics, midnight movies, cult hits, first-run arthouse fare and, well, Space Jam. (Look who's snarking—I'm paying $15 to watch Body of Evidence there next week!)]
Before Truth or Dare started, my friend Raj noticed in the lobby two of the female stars of Quantico (Yasmine Al Massri and Johanna Braddy) with their dates, so I was able to get some quick pics of them. Braddy was turning 4 years old when Truth or Dare was released, BTW.
The guy who came out to intro the movie had the hipster vibe down pat, shrugging his way through a few lines about how the movie was part of a series of Madonna's masterpieces, then telling us the place has a restaurant upstairs if we ... whatever. It was actually very funny, and not the typical anal-retentive speech given at fledgling moviehouses about upcoming events.
Watching the movie for the second time in 48 hours was odd because ... it totally didn't bore me. I found new things to focus on, and even spotted the late Jack Larson in/near the infamous Kevin Costner scene.
As the movie wore on, though, I was nervous because I'd been hoping to get some shots of Chelsea and Alek before or after. Luckily, one of my companions, Anthony (who designed my book) was monitoring Facebook and noted that fellow fanboy Michael Da Rocha had posted a pic with Chelsea from outside. That was my cue to hit the lobby, where I found Chelsea and Alek holding court at the bar with a gaggle of familiar fan faces.
Nate Parker, whose The Birth of a Nation is one of the year's most widely anticipated and pre-acclaimed films, is doing an amazing job of promoting himself as a self-righteous, sexually stunted A-hole—but let's not leave homophobe off his résumé.
Parker was accused of sexual assault 17 years ago, along with his current collaborator Jean Celestin, while a college wrestler. Both were tried and Celestin—but not Parker—was convicted. The conviction was tossed.
The men were also accused of harassing and stalking the young woman, though their supporters denied this claim. She committed suicide in 2012—why, no one seems to know (which is not uncommon with suicide; there is no indication it was due to the events of 1999).
Last week, doing damage control, Parker instead did more damage, telling Variety the rape was all about him:
Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life. It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that. Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it. The reality is, I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now.
Variety also noted they'd heard Parker was entertaining the thought that this was part of a Hollywood conspiracy against him. Keeping a black man down? Hardly, when the core of the backlash is a true event. He was not convicted, so he deserves to live free. But being acquitted does not mean someone didn't do something heinous, and there's never been any sense that the woman lied—the prosecution simply couldn't get the jury to buy it as rape because she was inebriated when Parker and Celestin had sex with her.
Parker has never said nothing happened.
Charmingly, Parker also said he hadn't thought about the incident in the 17 years since it had occurred.
Regarding LGBTQ issues, Parker said in 2014 he would not play a gay character in order to “preserve the Black man.” In his opinion, Hollywood offers too many negative roles—he includes effeminate black men in the mix—so he would refuse to take any roles of “questionable sexuality.”
I find his sexuality questionable, though not in the way he's worried about.
Parker is a grown man making juvenile anti-gay generalizations (I was reminded of Denzel Washington coaching Will Smith—OF ALL PEOPLE—not to kiss a man onscreen in his movie debut because of the young men who looked up to him) in 2016, and he wants to drag his race in front of him to excuse it?
Meanwhile, Parker also seems incapable of connecting some pretty big dots. On the one hand, he is telling Ebony:
[The resurfacing of his assault case] is happening for a very specific reason. To be honest, my privilege as a male, I never thought about it. I’m walking around daring someone to say something or do something that I define is racist or holding us back, but never really thinking about male culture and the destructive effect it’s having on our community ... The crazy thing is a lot of people—a lot of men, if I’m just speaking for myself—don’t really start thinking about the effect of hyper-masculinity and false definitions of what it means to be a man until you get married or until you have kids. Because then all of sudden you have something to protect. In all actuality, we got to do better about preparing our men for their interactions with women.
On the other hand, he has yet to disavow his hyper-masculine reaction to the concept of playing a gay character in a movie.
All in all, he sounds like a smug and, yes, privileged man who is cloaking himself in victimhood. It will be interesting to see how Ava DuVernay (who has supported him so far) and Oprah Winfrey (also a booster, but a rape victim, too) will settle in their reaction to the highly controversial Parker and his film. Until then, I'm with Demetria Lucas D'Oyley and not with Cheryl Boone Isaacs. I think Hollywood has a long history of embracing scandal-tainted stars, though, so I would not count Parker out at Oscar time.
(Image via Fox Searchlight)
The Guardian wonders who Hollywood is protecting by keeping its gay leading men closeted via behind-the-scenes pressure tactics?
Marvin Kaplan, who was best known as Henry on the TV series Alice, has died at 89.
According to a statement from Theatre West:
It is with a sad and heavy heart to inform you our very own Marvin Kaplan passed away today at 5 a.m. in his sleep. We loved Marvin. He will truly be missed.
He also had to be one of the last survivors of the arguable classic It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Carl Reiner and Barrie Chase come to mind.
I met Marvin a few years ago at an autograph show; seemed to be a sweetheart.
Gay-themed Spa Night has an Asian lead, so producer saw 100 (instead of 1,000+) actors for the part.
BOUNCE ON OUTTA HERE: Big Freedia gets three years of probation for Section 8 fraud.
Out artist Troye Sivan covers V ... with a half-naked girl.
Marti Gould Cummings is returning to 54 Below to rock with you.