The transition in Hollywood from silent era movies to talkies in the 1920s is a fascinating one. Actors who were at the top of the pyramid suddenly found themselves out of work when sound became the new normal.
The 2011 film, The Artist, is the story of this transition. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the biggest star in the world. He also has an ego to match. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is a fan whose career goal is to be a dancer. During a movie premiere, they bump into each other and she kisses him on the cheek as photographers surround them.
Gaining instant fame, Peppy gets a chance to audition and sees her dreams become reality. But as she becomes a star, talking pictures start to take over and George’s time in the spotlight starts to fade.
This movie is absolutely lovely. It is charming, entertaining and the perfect love letter to the movies.
A year later, Martha’s idyllic life ends World War II explodes and the Germans invade Norway. While her husband and father-in-law stay protect the nation, Martha and her children first escape to her native Sweden before traveling to the United States. Taking refuge within the walls of the White house, she start to advocate for her native land. This advocacy could be damaging in two equally important areas: her marriage and the tenuous world politics of the era.
The first episode is absolutely brilliant. Helin is perfectly cast as Martha, who could have easily been a shrinking violet, relying on the men around her. But she is smart, tough, and passionate. I wasn’t sure about the casting of MacLachlan and Sansom Harris (who also played the same role in the Netflix series Hollywood) as FDR and Eleanor. But upon seeing the full scene, the spiritual representations of these giants of American history seem to be so far pretty good.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Atlantic Crossing airs on PBS Sunday night at 9PM.
Hollywood is full of dreamers. It is also full of racists, homophones, misogynists and bullshitters.
The new Netflix series, Hollywood, is set, in well, Hollywood. Then, as is now, seeing one’s name in lights is the dream of many. But that does not always mean that those dreams will become reality.
Jack Costello (David Corenswet) is tall glass of water from the Midwest with optimism and no acting experience. Needing to support his pregnant wife, Jack takes a job working for Ernie (Dylan McDermott). Ernie runs a gas station that “services” their client’s needs. Jack’s first client is Avis Amberg (Patti LuPone), a former actress and the wife of a studio head who is looking for “company”.
Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss) and Camille Washington (Laura Harrier) are both looking for their big breaks. Raymond is a director and Camille is a contract player. Though their relationship is perfect from inside, both are aware of the racial pressures the moment they walk out the door.
Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope) has two strikes against him: he is black and gay. He is also a screenwriter with a completed biopic of Peg Entwistle. Hired by Ernie on Jack’s recommendation, one of his customers is Roy Fitzgerald (Jake Picking) aka the future Rock Hudson. Their relationship quickly expands beyond the professional realm.
Roy, newly christened Rock has been taken under the wing of powerful agent Henry Willson (an unrecognizable Jim Parsons). Before Henry can introduce his client to the power players, he requires a down payment via his own version of the casting couch.
Claire Wood (Samara Weaving) is another young actress who under contract. Though she has extremely close connections to those who can make her career, she wants to do it on her own terms.
I loved this series. I loved that it showed what could be in terms of representation without hitting the audience over the head. I also loved it it righted the wrongs of the past. Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec) and Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah) are finally given their due, if only on film.
Created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, this series is what fans expect from this particular film making duo. But while it stays with the frame of their particular style of film making, it stands out because of the subtle and not so subtle message of equality and loving yourself.
I absolutely recommend it.
P.S. If anyone deserves any nominations or awards from this cast, it is Jim Parsons. He is creepy and disgusting in the most fantastic way possible.
I am convinced that some in Hollywood think that they are living in 1955 instead of 2015.
The trailer for the latest Peter Pan adaptation, Pan, has been released.
In this adaptation Tiger Lily is played by Rooney Mara. Ms. Mara is Caucasian.
I am sure that she is a talented performer, but I am also sure that there are Native American performers who are just as capable and talented.
Even NBC, when they were casting for last year’s Peter Pan Live saw the light and cast a Native American performer in the same role.
I understand that it is called show business for a reason. The studios are at the end of the day, looking to make a profit. That means they may be more inclined to choose a known performer with a proven track record over an unknown.
But what message do they send when Hollywood continually casts a Caucasian performer in a non-Caucasian role?
It’s not 1955. It’s 2015. It’s time to stop giving the majority of roles to Caucasian actors and open the door to greater opportunities to non-Caucasian actors.
There is no story that will ever be completely brand new. Every story has it’s origins in another story.
Hollywood, for better or for worse, is a business. Any business man or woman will tell you that when an enterprise is successful, the enterprise is repeated, hoping that the success is repeated.
Hollywood has taken that idea and reformed it in their own image. That would explain the endless amount of sequels, prequels and re-makes that have been released over the years.
As much as I enjoy sequels, prequels and re-makes, certain movies are so perfect that there is no need for a re-make. And if there is a sequel, prequel or re-make and something is not right, fans of the original will not be shy about sharing their opinions.
According to the Wrap, a re-make of She’s All That will be premiering on the big screen.
I understand the reasons for the re-make, but as a writer, it is disappointing. There are many writers (myself included, hint, hint), who would love to see their work on screen or on stage. Unfortunately, some in Hollywood are blind to this idea.
There are new ideas in Hollywood. It is just a matter of the powers that be opening their eyes and minds to new writers with new stories instead of re-hashing the old ones.
The average American woman is a size 14. But according to Hollywood, most of the Fashion industry and Madison Avenue, the ideal woman is no bigger than a size 4.
Recently, Kelly Clarkson has received some very public criticism about her weight.
Lily James, star of the newest film adaptation of Cinderella, has received her own fair share of criticism. Some have accused the actress and the filmmakers of perpetuating the idea that only skinny girls can have a happily ever after.
Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
If a women puts on a little weight or is naturally curvy, she is told in more ways than one that she need to loose weight. If she is naturally skinny or loses too much weight, there is concern that she has gone too far in the other direction.
The media and Hollywood have been telling us for decades the size of the clothes that you wear dictates your happiness and how your life will turn out.
For once, I would like to hear that every woman, regardless of her size and shape, told that she is beautiful, just as she is.
The people at Lane Bryant have the right idea. If only the rest of the world could catch up.
Some might say that to have a solid career is Hollywood means that life is easy. The truth is that being successful in Tinseltown is not all that it is cracked up to be.
Harriet Evan’s 2o14 release, Not Without You, is the story of different actresses who go through very similar struggles.
Sophie Leigh (born Sophie Sykes) is the proper English princess of the moment in Hollywood. While her career up to this point has been a successful one, the movies she has made have become the predictable and formulaic rom-coms. Sophie’s idol is the 1950’s actress Eve Noel. Eve had a string of successful films before she mysterious disappeared from the limelight.
Struggling to move on from the wounds of the past, the facade the Sophie has put up slowly begins to crumble. At the same time, we learn about Eve’s story and the events that convinced her to leave Hollywood. Now Sophie must learn the reasons for Eve’s decisions before something horrible happens to them both.
I liked this book. But I am also a fan of Old Hollywood, which was the reason that I borrowed from the library in the first place. While some might think that Hollywood has changed with the times, the reality is that some things never change. Sophie and Eve’s stories are no different than any woman in Hollywood.
Hollywood has a dirty little secret. When one movie is successful or one genre becomes the genre of the moment, the good people in Hollywood will continue until that movie or that genre has hopefully run it’s course.
In 1999, Hollywood brought back the monster/action genre with The Mummy. Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) is an English librarian who has become interested in the ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra. Rick O’ Connell (Brendan Fraser) is saved by Evelyn from death. Rick joins Evelyn and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah) at an archeological dig, but they are not alone in following the results of the dig. Another group is interesting in the results and resurrecting the mummy of a high priest who has the power to unleash a powerful curse.
This movie harkens back to the 1930’s and the era of the black and white monster movies of the era. While it is escapist entertainment at it’s best, I can’t help but think that Evelyn is just a little too much of the damsel in distress for my taste.
Three years later, after a sequel to the Mummy was released, a sort of prequel entered movie theaters. The Scorpion King, an off shoot of a character that was seen briefly in The Mummy Returns was presented to audiences. Mathayus (Dwayne “The Rock Johnson) is a desert warrior hired to assassinate Cassandra (Kelly Hu) the sorceress who evil King Memnon (Steven Brand) is using to predict the outcomes of battle. What seems like an easy capture will become much more than the hero can imagine.
Again, this movie, at best, is escapist entertainment. While it’s not completely intellectually stimulating, it’s fun ride and an enjoyable film.