One for the money: the great actors who slummed it in dumb movies

One week ago

Helen Mirrens appearance in the Fast and Furious franchise is a bit of a astound. But virtually every notable actor from Welles to Brando to Blanchett has cashed in an easy paycheque for a mindless franchise or a duffer

Helen Mirrens appearance in Fast and Furious 8 or Fate of the Furious, or whatever you want to call it is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it proves that not even dames of the British empire are impervious to the breathlessly dumb sight of a big-budget, boneheaded franchise. Second, it elevates her to the highest possible rank of actor: Thespians Who Should Be Above This But Arent.

Almost without exception, every great actor has spent at the least some time slumming it in movies that dont accommodate their talent. In fact, you could probably make a highly enjoyable movie marathon out of these appearances. Heres my suggested operating order πŸ˜› TAGEND

Orson Welles in Transformers.

Orson Welles Unicron
Transformers: The Movie( 1986 )

Well start with perhaps the most infamous. By this phase, Welless career had spiralled down to the extent that he was primarily famous for his angry, drunk, advert outtakes. His final indignity was playing a planet-eating robot called Unicron in a feature-length toy commercial. However, this raises an important point about slumming actors: although the work is beneath them, the films are often loads of fun to watch. Compare this with any of Michael Bays movies, and Welless Transformers looks like a flat-out masterpiece.

Judi Dench Aereon
The Chronicles of Riddick( 2004 )

Dench managed to win an Oscar after is available on a cinema for only eight minutes. That movie was not The Chronicles of Riddick, in which she played Dame Judi Dench Who Can Nearly Fly But Not Quite and Also Has a Drapery Over Her Head. Its long, tedious and far too self-regarding for its own good. But, as Fifty Shades Darker ably demonstrated, at least Christian Grey was a fan of the movie. He has a poster of it hanging on his wall.

Dustin Hoffman Mr Magorium
Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium( 2007 )

A film so bad it became the punchline to Breaking Bads best gag, Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium is a prime example of all the bad things that can happen if you hire a renowned actor to star in your stupid movie. Hoffman endows his character with countless infuriating tics and oddities that would have almost definitely been beaten out of him if he wasnt Dustin Hoffman. Future Oscar-winner Natalie Portman didnt do herself any prefers, either. Unbearable.

Marlon Brando as Dr Moreau

Marlon Brando Dr Moreau
The Island of Dr Moreau( 1996 )

The narratives about Marlon Brandos antics on the decide of this doomed HG Wells adaptation are much better than the actual cinema. It is said that, rather than learn the lines, Brando simply recurred whatever was dictated to him via an earpiece; a trick that ran awry when the signal was highjacked by a nearby police scanner. He also insisted that his character should intermittently wear a bucket on his head and, although this was vetoed, that he should ultimately reveal himself to be a dolphin. The film is unwatchable.

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe Lt Parker Barnes and SID 6.7
Virtuosity( 1995 )

Now its day for a twofer. This is the plot description from Virtuositys IMDb page: When a virtual reality simulation created using the personalities of multiple serial killers manages to escape into the real world, an ex-cop is tasked with stopping its reign of terror. The cinema, if you can believe it, doesnt even live up to this.( NB: the movies two results have three Oscars between them .)

Michael Caine in Jaws: The Revenge

Michael Caine Hoagie
Jaws: The Revenge( 1987 )

Caines one for me, one for them attitude towards filmmaking has resulted in a wildly spotty filmography. But his lowest point was the fourth Jaws movie. Roy Scheiders character has died and his( perhaps psychic) widow keeps getting chased about the place by an angry shark with a personal vendetta. Plus, said animal may or may not be controlled by a witch doctor. The movie is partly redeemed by Caines devil-may-care attitude towards its horrible reception. I have never seen the film, but by all accounts it was terrible, he once memorably remarked. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.

Peter OToole Zaltar
Supergirl( 1984 )

Supergirl is filled with weirdly mournful performances by performers who all seem fairly close to demise Peter Cooks role is especially sad. And yet it is OToole who takes the biggest hitting. Playing a Kryptonian trapped in the Phantom Zone( who however seems to have access to Bill Beaumonts A Question of Sport sweater collection ), he exudes the air of a trapped circus monkey who wont get any dinner unless he turns up and goes through the motions. Heartbreaking.

John Hurt Dr Turner
Tender Loving Care( 1998 )

Technically, Tender Loving Care might not count as a movie, as it never had a theatrical release, but it does stand out as a bizarre outlier on Hurts filmography. The movie is an interactive Hand That Rocks the Cradle-style thriller with the thinnest possible erotic undercurrent. You watch a couple of scenes, then answer an on-screen questionnaire about how it constructed “youre feeling”. Your answers dictate where the movie goes next. Hurts role was to guide spectators through these questionnaires, and then pull an interested face as they entered their answers. The role could easily have been taken by a monkey in a hat.

Faye Dunaway Elena Dubrow
Dunston Checks In( 1996 )

On the subject of monkeys, heres a film about a crazy orangutan pearl robber and his kooky adventures in a negligently run hotel. You might remember Dunston Checks In as the cinema where an ape dedicates an erotic massage to a middle-aged lady. Or perhaps youll remember it as the film where the same monkey climbs on to a chandelier and flings himself at Faye Dunaway superstar of Bonnie and Clyde, The Arrangement, Chinatown, The Thomas Crown Affair and Network who then topples into a great big cake. This was likely less slummy for Dunaway than Supergirl( in which she also seemed) but, because she looks like she is having fun in this, its still worth throwing on the bonfire.

Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko

Cate Blanchett Irina Spalko
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull( 2008 )

No matter how prestigious their stage and screen careers, all actors want to work for Steven Spielberg. Even if they end up working with him on a movie where people get attacked by giant ants. Even if that film has a sequence where the hero is catapulted to safety during a nuclear explosion by hiding in a fridge. Even if, at one point, Shia LaBeouf escapes demise by literally swinging away through the trees like a monkey. This is why Cate Blanchett appeared in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Owen Davian
Mission: Impossible III( 2006 )

At this point in his career, Hoffman was a true cinematic heavyweight. He had acted for Todd Solondz, Spike Lee and the Coen friends. He was a favourite of Paul Thomas Anderson and Anthony Minghella. He had just won an Oscar for Capote. He could pick any role he liked, and he chose to be an anonymous baddie in the second-worst Mission: Impossible cinema. It made a small amount of sense, allowing him to chew scenery at full volume for his largest audience yet. But what a weird selection to play second fiddle to Tom Cruises frenzied operating technique.

Robert Downey Jr Dr Kozak
The Shaggy Dog( 2006 )

You could argue that Robert Downey Jr wasnt slumming it by taking a reduced role in a fifth-rate Tim Allen movie. You could argue that, at this point in their own lives, he had scuppered his career so comprehensively that his appearance in this film counted as a kindness on Allens part. Even so, its jarring to see an actor so widely feted hopping around the interior of a courtroom on all fours with his tongue waggling around. Two years later, he would rehabilitate himself as Iron Man, becoming the worlds highest-paid actor in the process. But this performance remains a advising from history about all the bad things that can happen if you take too many drugs.

The entire casting
Tiptoes( 2003 )

Let us finish our marathon with an undiluted cavalcade of slumming actors. Tiptoes should have benefited from its murderers row of talent. It stars two-time Emmy-winning Peter Dinklage. It stars two-time London Critics Circle award-winner Kate Beckinsale. It stars two-time Bafta-winner Gary Oldman. It stars Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe-winning Patricia Arquette. It stars Matthew McConaughey, who won 18 awardings in a single year for Dallas Buyers Club. Tiptoes “shouldve been” unstoppable. But it wasnt because it was a weird hybrid of romcom and abortion drama in which Oldman played a dwarf. The whole thing was so offensive that it was never released theatrically in the US.

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The best films of 2016 … that “youre supposed to” didn’t watch

8 days ago

Guardian faculty compile a list of overlooked cinemas of the past year, including Isabelle Hupperts overshadowed make, the scariest horror film and a farting corpse

How to Be Single

The post-Sex and the City surge in cinemas and TV displays based around the dating habits of singletons was largely a conveyor belt of deceptively packaged romantic comedies still based around the idea that marriage should remain a womans ultimate aspiration. Attempting to cover up a repetition conservative agenda with cocktails and frank sexuality chat was a temporary solution to actual progress. But even, as noted in How to Be Single, the freedom of Carrie Bradshaw and her cronies was something of a fallacy as they spent the majority of their period talking about humen.

That casual aside hints at a refreshing agenda for a film that, yes, still falls into formula mode at times( prime real estate for characters on average salaries tick !), but makes a somewhat groundbreaking statement for a cinema of its ilk: its OK, and often preferable, to be single. Dakota Johnsons unbelievably nuanced performance anchors an often rambling ensemble piece that offers up a glossy yet surprisingly sharp view of relationships. Like a more multiplex-friendly take over 2014 s underrated drama Wild, we have a cinema that praises the importance of being alone and not falling into a vortex of co-dependency. Its also a warm and funny comedy with a pitched-just-right comic performance from Rebel Wilson and a damn fine genre-defying objective that comes as a breath of fresh air after years of stuffy rom-coms. BL

Kubo and the Two Strings

For sheer movie theater spectacle you only cant beat Kubo and the Two Strings, an unspeakably beautiful stop-motion animated yarn about a one-eyed boy named Kubo( Art Parkinson) who must find his fathers armor with the assistance of a silent knight made out of origami paper, a samurai-beetle with amnesia( Matthew McConaughey ), and an irascible monkey( Charlize Theron ).

The movie vanished without a tracing after its opening but it is well worth remembering. Its various set pieces stand alongside the most inventive in contemporary filmmaking: Theres a battle with a huge red skeleton ogre the skeleton itself being the largest stop-motion marionette ever assembled and theres the duel with Kubos evil aunts on a ship made out of leaves, as well as a stunning climactic sequence in which the evil Moon King is destroyed in the most unexpected, touching way.

Kubo and the Two Strings stuffs its 102 minutes with action and humor, but the movies deep well of sadness induces it memorable beyond the sheer adrenaline of its flamboyant visuals. As Kubo strays through the movies notionally medieval-Japanese put, director Travis Knight and the Laika staff offer up image upon image of ruining, the little boy stark against empty houses and abandoned temples.

The screenplays beats remain refreshingly unpredictable all the way to the movies end, and its open-hearted hero has more to offer the children of the movies intended audience than the unbearable believe in yourself or growing up is hard of its kid-movie challengers. The film-makers carefully build a desolated world with the care of the best stop-motion craftspeople, and within it, they are continuing induce hope plausible.

Swiss Army Man

Seeing a cinema that most people referred to as the farting corpse movie on the final day of a festival after watching more than 30 films at altitude wasnt ever that appealing of future prospects. Ten minutes into Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinerts gay necrophilia movie, there was an nearly irresistible recommend to walk out just after the scene where Daniel Radcliffes corpse had ridden over the waves, propelled by that most eco-friendly of gasolines: flatulence.

You cant really get around the fact that this is a feature about a farting corpse, but the directors know that and reveled in it: What if we took that really stupid idea and poured our hearts into it? was the issues to they asked themselves when stimulating it. Swiss Army Man is the result of that questionable approach. After the initial 10 minutes of head shaking, eye rolling and prudish laughters the plot have started to emerge and what Kwan and Scheinert manage, unbelievably, is to create a movie that is strangely uplifting as it is ridiculous.

Paul Danos hopeless, deluded loner is brilliantly wrought and perhaps a comment on the kind of characters he usually get cast as. While Radcliffe does as well as anyone could expect of an actor whose main motive is post-death bowel movement. It might have been the altitude, it might have been the farts, but by the end the film had gone from perhaps the worst thing Id ever experienced to something that I couldnt stop telling people about.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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Zuckerberg denies Facebook News Feed bubble impacted the election

9 days ago

In the aftermath of the U.S. Presidential election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at Techonomy1 6 to address concerns that the companydidnt do enough to stop the proliferation of fake news on News Feed .

Zuckerberg insisted that more can always be done to improve the quality of the News Feed experience, but that Facebook could not have influenced the outcome of theelection.

Personally, Ithink the idea that fake news on Facebook, of which its a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea, Zuckerberg said.

He continued by saying people are looking for a narrative to explain the election. However, he believes that a narrative that implicitly presumes Trump supporters are dumb enough to be manipulated by Facebook is insulting to those voters. In his view, It was just as likely for News Feed to highlightfake news about Clinton but the media remains steadfast inignoring that Trump advocates ultimately believed their candidate can bring them a better life.

People are smart and they understand whats important to them , notedZuckerberg.

Rather than placing blamed on theaccessibility of facts, he pointed to content involvement as their own problems. Zuckerberg noted that Trumps posts got more engagement than Clintons on Facebook.

Facebook research shows that nearly everyone on the platform isconnected with at-least someonethat hasopposing ideological notion. The real question for Zuckerberg ishow to influence the way people react when they consider a post they disagree. The key is to stop them from brushing it under the rug.

To get there, Facebook is making efforts to involve humans more deeply in thecreation of theranking algorithmsthe companyuses for content.News Feed now has a human quality panel that is usedto hone in rankings. Humans are given tales and is necessary to rank them to get a better idea of what makes a particular story fulfilling for the user.

Zuckerberg had previously only addressed the election in a Facebookpost featuring a photograph of his daughter Max. Henoted at that time that, We are all blessed to have the ability to stimulate the world better, and we have the responsibility to do it, but didnt elaborate on what that meant specifically for him and his company.

Adam Mosseri, VP of Product Management for NewsFeed, echoed much of what Zuckerberg saidearlier today in a statement to TechCrunch, though his brief comments werenotably less skeptical of the importance of removing propaganda.

We understand theres so much more we need to do, and that is why its important that we maintain improving our ability to detect misinformation, Mosseri noted.

Despite all of the global concernabout Trumps win, Zuckerberg did take a moment to makeit clear that he doesnt believe any single person can basically alter the arc of technological innovation.

The following transcription has been edited somewhat for readability. It contains the largest chunk ofZuckerbergs commentary about the role of News Feed in the election. If you want to see the entire talk, you can watch it in its entirety here .~ ATAGEND

So when it comes to News Feed ranking, I actually think we are very transparent. Every period we add a new signal or make a change we publish that, right? We explain why we are doing it and what signal we are adding and we bring people in to talk to them about it. You know that stuff is right there and we will continue to do that and thats a big part of what we do and we take that seriously.

Ive considered some of the tales you are talking about around this election and personally I suppose the idea that fake news on Facebook, of which its a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.

You know voters make decisions based on their lived experience. We actually believes in people. You dont generally go wrong when you trust that people understand what they care about and whats important to them and you construct systems that reflect that.

Part of what I think is going on there are people are trying to understand the result of the election, but I do think that there is a certain profound absence of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the route they did is because they find some fake news. If you believe that then, I dont think you have internalized the message that Trump supporters are trying to send in this election.

The quickest route to refute the fact that this surely had no impact is why would you think there would be fake news but not on the other. We know we study this, we know that its a very small volume of anything. Hoaxes are not new on Facebook. There have been hoaxes on the internet and there have been hoaxes before. We do our best to make it so that people can report that and so that we can as I said before share people the most meaningful content that we can.

Weve examined this a lot because as you can imagine I truly care about this, I want what we do to have a good impact on the world. I want people to have a diversity of information. So this is why we study this stuff to make sure we are having that positive impact. For whatever reason, all the research suggests that this isnt genuinely a problem and I can go into that in a second but for whatever reason we have had a really hard time get that out.

But here is the historical analogy that I think is useful on this. If you go back 20 years and look at the media scenery, there were a few major Tv networks in any devoted local area. There were a few major newspapers that had an editorial opinion and those were the opinions that you got all your news filtered through.

Regardless of what leaning you have on Facebook politically, or what your background is, all the research shows that almost everyone has some friends who are on the other side. Even if youre a Democrat and 90 percentage of your friends are Democrat, 10 percentage of your friends are Republican. Even if you live in some nation or some country, youre going to know some people who live in a different state or a different country.

So what we observed, and you can go through everything, you can go through religion you can go through ethnic background, only all of these different things. In a lot of cases, the majority of someones friends might fit their beliefs, but there are always some outliers. That means that the media diversity and the diversity of information you are getting through a social system like a Facebook is going to be inherently more diverse than what you would have gotten through watching one of the three news stations and sticking with that and having that be your newspaper or your tv station 20 years ago.

The research also presents something, which is a little bit less inspiring, which is that we analyze not only people exposure in News Feed to content from different points of view, but also what people click on and engage with.

By far, the biggest filter in the system is not that the content isnt there, or that you dont have friends who support the other nominee, or who are from another religion, but that you simply tune it out when you see it. So, you have your world view, and you go through and I think we would all be surprised how many things dont conform to our world view that we just tune out. We just dont click on them and you know I dont know what to do about that. We should work on that.

Presenting people with a diversity of information is an important problem in the world, and one I hope we can build more progress on. But right now, the problem isnt that the diverse information isnt there, its actually, by any study, more there than traditional media in the last generation, but we havent gotten people to engage with it in higher proportions.

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Marisa Tomei:’ I only got to be old very recently’

14 days ago

A quarter of a century after winning an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny, the actor is causing a stir as Spider-Mans Aunt May. She talks about being allowed to get old and her reputation as a great on-screen kisser

T oo hot, too young, too sexy: these were the sobs of outraged comic-book fans on social media when Marisa Tomei was cast as Spider-Mans Aunt May in July 2015. And the then 50 -year-old Oscar winner agreed with the backlash. I know, right? laughs Tomei down the phone from New York, where shes preparing for the blockbusters premiere this week. Its luck I didnt know much about Aunt May, because I might have been frightened if Id ensure the original image of a grey-haired pensioner. Dont toy with my heart, Marvel. Is that really how you view me?

She disagrees, though, that her casting was an example of Hollywoods negative attitude towards age. She points out that it attains sense in the context of the franchises latest reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming , starring 21 -year-old Londoner Tom Holland as the wall-crawling web-slinger in his high school days: They aged Peter Parker down too. Hes 15 in this movie. I aimed up picking the brains of my brother Adam, whos been an encyclopaedia of Marvel since we were little, and he has pointed out that Mays not related to Peter by blood shes his aunt by marriage to his uncle Ben. So she could be elderly or pretty young, depending what age she fulfilled her husband. I thought maybe I should lean into it and made a case in order to be allowed to age me up. A lot of young girls are wearing that silver hair now, so it was something we toyed with.

Indeed, Tomei has her own pet theory about Ben and Mays back-story. I decided that maybe he was her prof. I devoted it that sexy, naughty little twist in my intellect. Thats not in the movie, by the way. A young, hot Aunt May isnt actually a character description, so I fleshed out my own mental picture of who she is. Closer in age to the arachnid adolescent, her Aunt May is more of a taunting big sister figure than an apron-clad, cookie-baking granny type. Peters been a super-nerd with his analyses, which is laudable, but my version of Aunt May tries to coax him out of that and broaden his interests, maybe even start dating, says Tomei.

To her intellect, the 2017 Aunt May is also something of a second-wave feminist. I had numerous conversations with the director, Jon Watts, about Peter Parker being a local hero, which seems especially apt for these times. He get those values from Aunt May, who basically raised him. So we are talking about how she might be involved in the community and know everyone in the neighbourhood. We deemed constructing her a pro bono lawyer, but didnt want her to wear suits. Instead we built her a book lover who has her own small publishing firm, like a female collective. Shes got a feminist and humanist edge at least in my head.

Marisa Tomei: Every performer is frustrated, always fretted they wont get the next chore. Photo: Matthew Frost/

For Tomei, Hollywoods sexism is more of an issue than its ageism. Well, I only got to be old very recently, she laughter. The industry has decided Im an aunt-type now. Im like, is this the way it gets violated to me? But in any profession, theres a lot of sexism. That isnt precisely headline news. In our business, the numbers surely dont lie when you see how few speaking roles there are for women[ analyses show that 33% of speaking roles and 22% of protagonists are female ]. Its a numbers game and if you start adding in other factors, including age, the odds diminish of get a great part.

Is that a source of frustration? For sure, but frustration is the name of the game in acting. Every actor is frustrated, always fretted they wont get the next chore. Thats true of any actor, of any gender, at any success level. And Ive heard it from very, very successful actors. Sexism is an example of the culture, thats only a fact, but we can try to change that culture. I like to think things have improved in the century since we got the right to vote. But simply because its 75% better, doesnt mean you should stop caring about the remaining 25%. We need parity, both in accessibility of run and our compensation for that work.

Two years ago, Jennifer Lawrence criticised Hollywoods gender pay gap after the Sony email hackrevealed that she earned considerably less than her male co-stars in American Hustle and Tomei has Lawrences back. Why should we get paid 75 pennies on the dollar and be told were lucky to have that? she says. Its wonderful that someone like Jennifer speaks out. Why should she be pilloried? I dont understand why its even controversial. We should get paid on parity. And by the way, Jennifer was the strongest part in that whole package. She should have got paid more, if anything.

Tomei is speaking from her apartment in Greenwich Village( Not to be confused with Greenwich, London or Greenwich, Connecticut, she helpfully points out ), nine miles from where she grew up in Brooklyn. Shes insured her home patch transform from a sprawling, diverse borough to the hipster haven of today. Brooklyns changed a lot, for sure. You used to say you were from Brooklyn with chagrin. I always wanted to live in the Village but it seemed a million miles way. It was like in Saturday Night Fever , where their whole dream of escape was to get over that bridge. Her parents, both of Italian descent, were a teacher and a lawyer. Crucially, they were also theater devotees who took young Marisa and Adam to Broadway depicts, which so captivated the children, both went into acting.

This year marks the 25 th anniversary of Tomeis breakthrough role: as Joe Pescis brash, drawling fiancee Mona Lisa in wiseguy courtroom comedy My Cousin Vinny , for which Tomei won an Academy Award for best supporting actress. Wow, is it truly 25 years? she says. No wonder you were asking about ageism. I did get old! Its such a funny movie and it really holds up. I was fresh to the business and didnt know how movies run but Joe preferred me for the part, then took me by the hand and guided me vastly, so I get so lucky. I keep my Oscar in my little library here. Perhaps I should throw a Vinny reunion party and bring it out to show everyone? Just kidding.

As Aunt May opposite Tom Hollands teenage web-slinger in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Photo: Columbia Pictures

Tomei has since been twice nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar. Im a resulting actress caught in a supporting actress vortex, she giggles. But what can you do? First came director Todd Fields 2001 family crime drama In the Bedroom , opposite Britains own Tom Wilkinson. Hes a genius, one of my favourite performers, and it was thrilling to watch Tom work, recollects Tomei. I pestered him many times to ask how he did it, and he eventually told me he just reads the script a lot. I was like, Thats it? Thats your big secret?

Her next Oscar nod was for Darren Aronofskys The Wrestler ( 2008 ), in which she played an ageing stripper and single mom who strikes up a romance with Micky Rourkes past-it pro wrestler. I went to high school with Darren, so it was a little dreaming come true for us to work together, says Tomei. The role involved pole-dancing, lap-dancing and nudity and shes glad she awaited until her 40 s to do nude scenes. Early on, I desperately wanted to be a legitimate actress and was concerned I wouldnt be taken seriously. Plus Im not sure I could have handled it, emotionally and psychologically. Im pleased it happened subsequently not only because it forced me to exert a lot but theres also a definite freedom and confidence Ive gained in my body as I got older.

After her Oscar win, Tomei appeared in a string of middling 90 s comedy-dramas the likes of Chaplin , Untamed Heart , Only You , The Paper , Slums of Beverly Hills and What Women Want often with a romantic bent and often opposite her then boyfriend, Robert Downey Jr. The relationship didnt last, but their close friendship did. Indeed, Downey( aka Iron Man) was instrumental in Tomei being cast as Aunt May: He recommended me for the various roles and we had a flirtatious little scene together in Captain America: Civil War [ which introduced Tomei and Hollands characters last year ]. Having a familiar face around certainly attained me more comfortable.

Downey Jr has been taunting fans about a potential romance between their characters, referring to her as Auntie May I? and telling talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel: Spider-Mans got a hot aunt now. My God, imagine the possibilities. Tomei is renowned as a fine on-screen kisser: she snogged her route around Italy with Downey Jr in Only You and won an MTV award for best kiss with Christian Slater in Untamed Heart . Its nice that Im considered a great kisser, she cackles. Its all about the partner, isnt it? And its only on screen. In real life, Im shit.

She has also popped up in two of the biggest Tv comedies of all time. Tomei played herself in two-part Seinfeld tale The Cadillac as love interest for Lord Of The Idiots George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander. My name was the only reason I got cast, remembers Tomei. They just liked the way my name voiced.[ Writer] Larry David told me: When you say your name over and over, it has a really strong rhythm: Marisa Tomei Marisa Tomei But hey, Ill take it. Id love to do a TV prove with Jason Alexander. We run into each other all the time and always talking here it.

Watch a trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming.

She then romanced another unlikely sitcom sex god: The Simpsonss nicey-nicey neighbour Ned Flanders. Tomei guested in a Notting Hill -spoofing storyline about a movie star falling for a storekeeper. You should ask Ned Flanders what various kinds of kisser I am, she chuckles. Although hed probably just say I was okily-dokily. Tomei currently alternates between film and stage roles. In the past year, shes starred in a production of Tennessee Williamss The Rose Tattoo ( One of my castmates was a goat. A total diva but it had a better union than I did) and Sarah Ruhls off-Broadway play about polyamory, How to Transcend a Happy Matrimony . Marriage is being redefined in all kinds of ways right now, so that was interesting, she says. Plus I got to kiss many different people and have a great big orgy scene every evening. It was a real pick-me-up.

Projects in the pipeline include the lead role in Ms , a HBO biopic series about feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem. The scripts still being written but its definitely happening, says Tomei. Im a huge fan of Gloria and her lifes work. Were all indebted to her. Shes a fascinating figure, as were the women around her. That whole period is under-represented on screen. There are lots of great stories still to tell about the womens revolution.

At the moment, though, Tomei is relishing being part of the Marvel machine. Its so old-fashioned in a way: proper sight, gloriously larger than life. Spider-Man comes with fervent fans and intense scrutiny. They keep the script so secret, you have to give back your pages at the end of the day. But the system runs and they put out really good movies.

Will she be back for the inevitable sequels? Well see. Hopefully the fans will love this new iteration and well do more. Anyway, I think Aunt May should get her own spin-off. Something should go on with Tony Stark, and those two should get into their own capers.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is released on 5 July

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Burn Your Maps review: if the kid from Room wants to be Mongolian, let him

19 days ago

Jacob Tremblay and Vera Farmiga( as his understanding mother) are irresistible in this strange narrative, premiering at Toronto, of a young son with goats on the brain its simply a dishonor the film isnt as interested in the locals as they are

Few actors working in Hollywood today have a more expressive face than Vera Farmiga. With a crooked smile or a somewhat tilted head, she has the uncanny ability to convey complex emotions in even the briefest reaction shoot. Lucky we are, then, that this newest movie, Burn Your Maps, offers a rich character, roiled in commotion, and plopped in an extraordinary situate. This isnt to say this movie is a masterpiece, but its one that doesnt only tug on the heartstrings it yanks on them like a streetcar passenger afraid hell miss his stop.

We open in suburban Chicago, where young Wes( Jacob Tremblay) has for some reason become fascinated with everything Mongolian. He watches YouTube videos, is teaching himself the language, listens to throat-singing and takes his older sisters Uggs and builds them into shepherds boots. Its all very cute, and images of him riding around on his bicycle with goats and eagles made from toilet paper are adorable.

Our first glimpse of Wes parents Alise( Vera Farmiga) and Connor( Marton Csokas) is in a brutal couples therapy conference. They are still shellshocked from the loss of their baby daughter, and its here where writer-director Jordan Roberts( screenwriter behind Big Hero 6 and March of the Penguins) makes a gutsy selection. Despite eventual triumphant sequences of a euphoric son riding a horse at magic hour, this isnt an average kids cinema; the first scene of dialogue involves a conversation about oral gratification, but in a non-lascivious route. Im no child psychologist, but I guess the route its done here is perfectly okay.

Wess infatuation with Mongolia reaches the point where he only feels comfortable in traditional nomadic garb.( A subsequently zing comes when we learn most working goat herders on the Steppes actually wear jeans and ballcaps .) He begins referring to Mongolia as home and soon Connor, always in a suit and tie, decides to put an end to this foolishness. Alise, who teaches English as a second language to immigrants, is just happy to see the son excited about something. Soon Wes befriends one of Alises students, Ismail( Suraj Sharma ), who has aspirations to be a documentary film-maker. One videotapeed testimonial afterwards and surreptitious crowdfunding scheme afterwards and Ismail, Alise and Wes are off to Mongolia for a return.


Burn Your Maps, despite the best intents, is as orientalist as it comes. While respectful of Mongolian customs and beliefs, it is undeniable that it exploits everything about the country and uses it to help a group of well-off white people get their groove back. For some, this will stimulate the movie wholly off-putting, and it is hard to argue against that. For a long stretch in Mongolia they dont even fulfill any Mongolians! Their coterie includes a retired nun( Virginia Madsen) and a driver/ guide who is a self-described Puerto Rican from New York( Ramn Rodrguez) who plays salsa music as they ride through the very photogenic locations.

We can debate if Burn Your Maps merely fetishises a different culture or holds it in true reverence, but Id like to give it the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, the performances are terrific all around. Jacob Tremblay is just the sweetest kid there is and Farmiga is in superior form as a mourning mom who wants nothing more than for her surviving children to be happy. Csokas, ostensibly the villain, is still quite sympathetic, wanting so much to reconnect with the wife who merely wants him to leave her alone. The family attorney sessions( led by a very funny Valerie Planche) are some of the more intriguing Ive seen in quite some time, and, lets be honest, this is usually just a screenwriting crutch to get exposition out.

Mental health jargon bleeds over into every day family life, and the family is upfront about everything except, naturally, the root of their pain. A life-affirming journey to a far off land may be a bit far-fetched, but this is the movies. Well take any kind of mending we can get.

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Get Out: the cinema that dares to disclose the horror of liberal racism in America

1 month, 3 days ago

The success of Jordan Peeles Get Out it took $30 m in its first weekend in the US is remarkable for lots of reasons. This is a first-time film from a respected, but basically cult comedian, with no real big-name superstars and a premise that is anathema to most of middle America. Yet people came out to see it in their thousands and critics raved about a horror film, which just does not happen. The movie has a -A rating from audiences on CinemaScore, which as some have pointed out is unheard of for a horror, and a rare 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Like Donald Glovers Atlanta, nearly universal praise has followed the films debut and as with that series, Peele has dealt with race in America in a refreshing, funny and unflinching manner. The number of things Peele manages to reference is stunning: the taboo of mixed relationships, eugenics, the slave trade, black humen succumbing first in horror films, suburban racism, police brutality.

Film-makers have utilized absurd horror to tackle race before, like in Timo Vuorensolas 2012 film Iron Sky, which placed the action on the dark side of the moon where the Nazis had been hiding out, plotting to forcibly attain black people white. But in Get Out, Peele brought the action much closer to home. Some have dubbed the film an African-American nightmare movie; it isnt. This is an American horror narrative.( It comes after an impressive running of low-budget two-word-title horrors that place the action in middle America, and prodding at issues bubbling just beneath the surface: Dont Breathe, It Follows and Youre Next .)

The scoundrels here arent southern rednecks or neo-Nazi skinheads, or the so-called alt-right. Theyre middle-class white liberals. The various kinds of people who read this website. The kind of people who shop at Trader Joes, donate to the ACLU and would have voted for Obama a third period if they could. Good people. Nice people. Your parents, probably. The thing Get by does so well and the thing that they are able to rile with some spectators is to show how, however unintentionally, these same people can make life so hard and uncomfortable for black people. It exposes a liberal ignorance and hubris that has been allowed to fester. Its an attitude, an arrogance which in the film leads to a horrific final solution, but in reality leads to a complacency that is just as dangerous.

There was always something that didnt quite ring true about Guess Whos Coming to Dinner a cinema many have compared to Get out. It wasnt in Sidney Poitiers performance, which felt real: his anger, fear and annoyance at having to combat his own familys disapproval of him marriage a white both women and their own families liberal hand-wringing was note-perfect. What didnt feel real was the mostly calm reactions of almost everyone involved. In Get by, under that placid exterior lurks the dark subconscious, where the true horror lies.

In the screening I was at, the biggest reactions from the mainly black audience were the knowing giggles whenever Peele took on tropes people recognised from real life. There was the anxiety about meeting the family of a white partner, which proved to be well placed when Chris Washington( Daniel Kaluuya) arrives at the Armitage residency and is immediately treated to a line of ham-fisted and loaded questioning. There was the cringe-inducing way the black serving staff are treated; the interactions with the police who, unlike in most horror cinemas, arent last-minute saviors but potential fatal obstacles.

Horror tropes are inverted, subverted and turned on their head , none more so than the way Peele takes the idea of a white female being in peril as soon as shes in an inner-city region and turns that into a black human being at his vulnerable in an affluent white neighborhood. The unique history plus the fascination, fetishization and dread of dark-skinned men on this continent gives Get out even more punch. After assuring it, I started to think that it might not be a coincidence the movie “re coming out” almost five years to the day since Trayvon Martin was killed.

Peele said The Stepford Wives, because of the way it dealt with social issues in regards to gender, was an inspiration for Get out. I only guessed, thats proof that you can pull off a movie about race, thats a thriller and entertaining and fun, he said. His debut has managed to do merely that, and like The Daily Show a satirical news show which became must-watch social commentary Peele has placed real issues in an unlikely context, this time a horror film, and said something painfully true about them. Get by will be one of this years biggest dialogue starters. Just dont expect it to be comfortable.

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Attiya Khan: why I tackled the boyfriend who beat me- and made a film about it

1 month, 5 days ago

For the two years Attiya Khan was with Steve, he abused her daily. So why did she choose to make a documentary about an experience that nearly killed her?

Attiya Khan was 16 and a high-school student in Ottawa when she began dating Steve. He was a year older, he was funny, he was smart, he was her first real boyfriend. They started living together almost immediately- and the experience nearly killed her.

For the two years they were together, Steve abused Khan daily. He punched her, he hurled racist slurs against her, he strangled her until she passed out. She was often afraid for her life. Aged 18, Khan operated from the relationship; literally kicked off her heels and ran. And then, 20 years later, in 2013, Khan stopped running. Instead she sat down with Steve in front of a camera and asked: why? Why had he hurt her? Was he sorry for what he’d done?

The result of Khan’s conversations with Steve is A Better Man: an intensely personal documentary that’s often difficult to watch. But the movie isn’t just about one female, about one relationship: it’s a call to action for abusive humen to stand up and take responsibility for their fury and their actions. Before the film’s debut in New York on November 15, as part of the annual documentary film festival DOC NYC, I spoke to Khan via email.

I guess the first question a lot of people might have when hearing about your movie is why you would you want to talk to a human who violently abused you. What constructed you decide to talk to Steve?

I had been bumping into Steve every few years since escaping from him. These encounters were short and we mostly just had small talk. There was one time, around 10 years after leaving him, where Steve asked me to sit down with him and I concurred. We sat in a coffeehouse and he merely cried and recurred “I’m sorry” over and over again. I did not say much. I was waiting for him to say more. I wanted to know what he was sorry for.

Something shifted in me after this. I realized how likely it was that he had been affected by the violence he used against me. This led me to asking him if he would participate in A Better Man. At the beginning, I didn’t know what I would get out of these conversations, I just knew I needed and wanted to have them. I wanted Steve to know in detail what he had done to me and how it has affected every day of my life. It’s time for people who have harmed others to step up and be accountable for their harmful behaviors. It’s also time for people who have experienced violence to have more options to find security, mending and justice.

What did your conversations with Steve teach you about the sources of male violence and aggression?

We know that a lot of people who hurt others were hurt themselves at some phase, which doesn’t excuse their choices to use violence( after all, many people who experience violence growing up do not go on to abuse others ), but it does offer some context. Steve’s own experience of violence before he gratified me influenced his use of violence against me. At one point in the film, Steve says that he use violence to keep me at his side. He was afraid to lose me. Fear is not an emotion that many humen feel comfy expressing. Fear constructs you vulnerable, and most boys and men are learned how to never indicate vulnerability. They’re taught they should always be in control, and often they’re taught to take control by dominating other people. Although it isn’t easy to accept, it does make sense to me that Steve responded to his own anxiety by trying to control me.

You frame A Better Man as a” film that changes the conversation on violence against girls “. Could you explain that change a little more ?

Before I made this film, I worked as a counselor for women fleeing violence. My work in this field has inspired me so much, but it also stimulates me angry how much weight females have had to carry in the movement to end violence against us. If we don’t carry that weight, who will? I think hearing from people who are working to end their violence, and the people who are helping them change, shifts some of the weight off the shoulders of survivors and reminds us all where the responsibility to stop violence actually lies.

How did stimulating the film affect your PTSD ?

During the making of the film I started to heal. Every day I would sit down with Steve, I would feel some of my ache, decades of pain stored in my body being lifted. I felt this change even when Steve did not say or recollect much. This had an impact on my life in major ways. I don’t have nightmares any more. I feel safer leaving the house. When I’m out, I’m not always expecting to be hurt by him or others. I don’t spend as much time thinking about potential dangerous the status and how I would get out of them. I feel more relaxed and am enjoying life more.

Did you ever is considered that Steve should have faced prison time ?

The criminal court system is one track to justice, which is heavily focused on punishment. In my suit, punishment was not what I wanted. Some of us don’t want the person or persons we care for to go to prison, even though we really want the violence to stop.

I also don’t think the threat of prison is always successful in get people to take responsibility for harm they’ve caused. In many cases, people end up denying harm that they know they’ve caused in order to avoid prison. The criminal court system wouldn’t have asked me what I needed to move forward and how the damage could have been repaired. There also isn’t much focus within the criminal court system on rehabilitation and helping those who have harmed others move towards a life without violence. This doesn’t make sense to me.

Attiya Khan with Steve, in their late teenage years. Photo: Attiya Khan& Lawrence Jackman

What has the process of making this documentary teach you about restorative justice versus traditionally bred different forms of penalty?

There’s no single pathway to justice that will work for every survivor, which is why I think we need access to as many pathways as is practicable. When it’s doing well, restorative justice necessitates the person who did the harm to listen and acknowledge the hurt they’ve caused to others, and to try to repair the harm on words laid out by the person they hurt. I don’t think facing the damage we’ve caused is very easy for most people. Many of us run from these truths about ourselves for as long as we can, because of the shame to participate in confronting them.

Restorative justice does require some involvement from the survivor, so they can situate terms that work for them- although it doesn’t have to be face-to-face, and friends, family and facilitators help share the emotional labor. This type of process suited me because I wanted to have some control, I wanted to ask Steve questions in person and I wanted my own needs to be centered, which wouldn’t have been the case if I had pursued justice in the criminal system.

What steps do you think humen- all men , not just abusive men- should be doing to help prevent male aggressivenes and domestic violence cases ?

A lot more people engage in abusive behavior than we might gues. It may not be physical abuse, and it may be occasional rather than a pattern, but abusive or hurtful behavior in relationships is common. Manipulating our partner to try and “win” an argument can be abusive. Excessive resentment can be abusive. I think if we were all willing to look at our own behavior more honestly, abuse would be much less common. Everyone is capable of causing harm.

We also have to be willing to look at our friends and family more honestly, and tell them when we have concerns about their behaviour. It can be helpful for men to have supportive spaces to talk about these things- I think it can be hard for a lot of men to have emotionally vulnerable conversations with each other. My squad generated a discussion guide to assist groups of men to watch the cinema and discuss how it might apply to their own lives and relationship.

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Wiener-Dog review- Gerwig, Delpy and DeVito, unified by a dachshund, divided by Solondz

1 month, 9 days ago

An adorable mutt is at the heart of Todd Solondzs deeply disturbing portmanteau slapstick, starring Ellen Burstyn, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy and Greta Gerwig as the grown-up heroine of Welcome to the Dollhouse

Todd Solondz is a film-maker whos built his entire career on a divine they are able to severely divide audiences and genuinely anger his protesters. Happiness, his most memorably divisive movie, was a dark comedy that mined uncomfortable laughs from a storyline largely centred on the activities of a paedophile. It was so controversial in fact, that the Sundance cinema celebration, known for screening edgy fare, flat out refused to show it in 1998 due to its illicit content.

No child molesters creep into Solondzs eighth feature, Wiener-Dog, but his latest demonstrates the film-maker, at 56 years old, has lost none of his bite. However, the plot description would result you to believe otherwise.

Sundances official summary of the cinema reads: Wiener-Dog tells several tales featuring people who find “peoples lives” inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading a certain kind of consolation and pleasure. Indeed, that one particular dachshund features prominently in each of the four mostly unrelated vignettes that make up the cinema, although Solondz leaves it unclear how the canine lands with each of its strange owners. But Wiener-Dog doesnt find Solondz running light to deliver an inspirational medley. Instead, hes made arguably his most caustic film since Happiness.

Like much of Solondzs output, Wiener-Dog is basically a slew of short cinemas, inhabited by an obscenely illustrious cast, including Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn and Zosia Mamet.


Delpy kickings things off with her trademark acerbic delivery as Dina, a mom of a young boy regaining from cancer who really shouldnt has become a mom at all. Her husband surprises the family by adopting the dachshund, which the child names Wiener-Dog, but Dina immediately takes a deep dislike to the new addition. While tucking her son into bed, she recounts how her non-neutered childhood dog was raped by a stray puppy named Muhammed, which resulted in her pet succumbing while giving birth to stillborn puppies.

Things cheer up with the arrival of Greta Gerwig as Dawn Wiener, the grown-up version of the shy, unpopular seventh grader played by Heather Matarazzo in Solondzs breakout film, Welcome to the Dollhouse. Shes now a timid veterinarians assistant. Following a luck series of events, Dawn comes to care for the adorable dachshund, before embarking on a strange road journey with an old classmate.

Next up is Danny DeVito in a tour-de-force performance as a film professor at his humours end with his uninspired students and insipid colleagues. This sequence lets Solondz, whos never betrayed his independent roots to parlay his talents into the mainstream arena, tear into Hollywoods vacuous nature – and its a hoot to watch.

Solondz leaves his best for last with the movies closing chapter, which focuses on Nana, a massively embittered elderly female( Ellen Burstyn in her best performance since Requiem for a Dream ). When her estranged granddaughter( Mamet) shows up unannounced and asks what to call the cute household dachshund, shes shocked to learn its named Cancer. It felt right – everyones dying, says Nana.

A sequence during which Nana dreamings of how their own lives could have been better had she played her cards differently is the cinemas chief highlighting: mordantly funny, but most importantly, poignant.

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This is what users do after a Netflix binge

2 months, 13 days ago

Netflix data shows what people do after a binge.

Image: APAP Photo/ Elise Amendola, File

People can only binge so much before they need to shivering, according to new Netflix viewer data released this week.

In a study of more than 86 million viewers’ habits across 190 countries, the streaming service found that virtually 60 percent of watchers take a break after binging on a show.

SEE ALSO: No, Netflix’s The Crown isnt about feminism. It doesnt have to be .~ ATAGEND

In a post about viewing routines released Wednesday, Netflix said that watchers usually take around three days off before jumping into another series. And during that breaking more than 60 percent of those viewers opt to watch a movie.

Gene Wilder, who played ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein, ‘ dead at 83

2 months, 27 days ago

Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein.”
Image: John Springer Collection/ CORBIS/ Corbis via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES Gene Wilder, the visceral, wild-haired comedic performer and writer who played Willy Wonka and starred in dozens of cinemas including the Mel Brooks classics Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein , has died, his nephew confirmed in a statement Monday. He was 83.

Wilder died of complications from Alzheimer’s at his home in Stamford, Conn ., according to the statement from Jordan Walker-Pearlman. Wilder had chosen to keep his illness private, Walker-Pearlman said, because he “simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”

Though he started out as a stage performer, Wilder’s violate came in 1968 with the role of Leo Bloom in The Producers , for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket on the define of “Willy Wonka& the Chocolate Factory, ” in 1971.

Image: Silver Screen Collection/ Getty Images

A few years later, he reluctantly took the title role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory , one of those turns that the passageway of hour with a little help from the omnipresent “Condescending Wonka meme have rendered all the more beloved.

Wilder was a frequent collaborator with the greatest comedy minds of his time, including the late Richard Pryor. Beginning with Silver Streak , the two appeared in four movies together including Stir Crazy , See No Evil, Hear No Evil and their 1991 reunion Another You .

Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in “Silver Streak.”

Image: Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

But it was his relationship with Brooks which began via an introduction via Brooks’ girlfriend, which eventually led to the Producers role that produced what are widely considered the greatest slapstick cinemas of all time.( In fact, in a Vanity Fair interview published only hours before news of Wilder’s death Monday, Brooks calls Blazing Saddles the “funniest movie ever made.”)

On screen, Wilder balanced a madcap, wild-eyed physicality with the sense that he was the smartest guy in the room components that often triggered off one of his many signature freak-outs. It was that chemical reaction that always built him unpredictable, a live-wire who was as ferocious as he was playful and irreverent.

Wilder took a writing credit on nine of his cinemas, including Young Frankenstein , but insisted in a 2013 interview one of his last that he was never much of a comedian.

“I’m really not[ funny ], except in a slapstick … in cinemas. I induce my wife laugh once or twice in the house, but nothing special. But I don’t think I’m that funny. I believe I can be in the movies, ” he said.

Wilder’s acting career slowed down significantly in the late 1980 s, which he largely attributed to future directions in movies that he didn’t much care for.

“The swearing and the loud bombing … every once in awhile there’s a good movie, but not very many, ” Wilder sad during the course of its 92 nd Street Y interview. “If something comes along that’s really good, and I’m good for it, I’d do it. But not too many came along. A bunch came along for 15, 18 years, but then not too many.”

Wilder’s nephew said that Alzheimer’s began to take hold three years ago, but that he retained much of his faculties until the end πŸ˜› TAGEND

Wilder was marriage four times, including to Saturday Night Live alum Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. He is survived by Karen Webb, a clinical supervisor who coached him on lip-reading for his role in See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and whom he married in 1991.

Gene Wilder at the 2013 US Open with spouse Karen Webb in 2013.

Image: Uri Schanker/ WireImage

Walker-Pearlman’s statement concluded πŸ˜› TAGEND

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