There’s a great joke about acting. One actor says to another actor, Hey, I just got cast in Hamlet. The other actor says, I know this is embarrassing, but I've never read or seen it. What's it about? The first one says, It's about this guy, Gravedigger #2 . . .
Nobody goes into acting to specialize in small parts, just as no one seeks a career as a middle-inning reliever in baseball or as a third-string quarterback in football. All actors want to be stars, the fixed points around which all other action revolves, onstage and off.
Stars are the primary recipients of the fame and adoration all performers falsely believe will sate the desperate hunger for attention that drives them to exposeRead more
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens wide at midnight tonight and I don't want to get out over my skis here, but it's pretty much the most important movie in the history of cinema.
There are plenty of reasons for this. Along with Jaws, the original Star Wars changed the economics of film, ushering in the era of mass-release, tent-pole films. Even more so than Jaws, the original Star Wars created an enormous legacy: It inaugurated a hugely popular genre. It pioneered industrial-grade movie-merchandizing. It became so thoroughly embedded in the culture that characters (Darth Vader), images (the Death Star), and phrases ("May the Force be with you.") are still part of our societal consciousness forty years later.Read more
Will anyone go to the movies 25 years from now? Will there even be movie theaters 25 years from now? These are not idle questions. New research from the Motion Picture Association of America shows how the moviegoing audience of those between the ages of 25 and 39 has contracted precipitously—dropping almost 25 percent over the past four years.Read more
Last week, I wrote about how the professional left was attacking Clint Eastwood's new biopic about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. American Sniper is almost exclusively about the struggles and heroism of one remarkable man who fought in the Iraq war, but the film's critics can't seem to forgive the fact a film was made about the war on terror that mostly eschewed politics and didn't go out of its way to attack Bush-Cheney and/or denounce American imperialism.Read more
Who is the best young actress in the movies? The obvious answer is Jennifer Lawrence, all of 24 and with a deserved Oscar to her credit for Silver Linings Playbook and a second she should have won for her supporting role in American Hustle.Read more
Movie stars go cold. It’s part of the way popular culture works. For a long time, people just love watching them. People can’t get enough of them. And then, after they go to the well once too often with a formula that has gone flat, or after their messy personal lives get all mixed up in the characters they’re playing, stars become even slightly distasteful.Read more
A top of advisor to President Barack Obama is in Los Angeles to try to get Obamacare written into scripts of TV shows and movies. Valerie Jarrett explained in an appearance on Top That! on PopSugar.com:
"That's the cool thing," a host said to the presidential advisor. "You've been reaching out to people that are, you know, outside of the norm of what the president might work with. Who else are you working with? Like celebrities, personalities, things like that?"Read more
Trance has to be judged one of the great disappointments in recent cinema, given that it is only the second movie Danny Boyle has made since Slumdog Millionaire. That Oscar-winning worldwide smash may have been the best film of the past decade.Read more
Someone living in Barack Obama’s America, circa 2013, says these words to you: “I’m so behind.” In previous epochs—say, the Age of Lewinsky, or of disco—this might mean any number of things. A person might have failed to collate the year’s receipts for his accountant. Another might not have completed the longitudinal analysis necessary for her dissertation. A third might not have cleaned out the attic.
No longer. In Barack Obama’s America, those words refer to only one thing: the inability to keep up-to-date with a serialized television program.Read more
Les Misérables grabs you by the lapels from the first moment and never lets you go. In this respect it is little different from the stage musical from which it derives—and not so different from the Victor Hugo novel from which the stage musical derives.Read more
When a movie receives rave reviews from critics who say they need to see it again to understand it fully, you should treat such a recommendation as though you were Will Robinson from the old 1960s TV show Lost in Space hearing his friendly robot companion as it flails its accordion-like arms and shoutRead more
I recall an interview with William Faulkner in which he said that he didn’t read books but read in books, the distinction being that he seldom consumed a volume from start to finish but preferred to stick his toes in here and there, read favorite chapters over and over, proceeding from finish to start if necessary.Read more
A new zombie movie called World War Z starring Brad Pitt and budgeted at $150 million won’t be coming to your local multiplex anytime soon, even though it was originally supposed to premiere this Christmas. Nor will the sequel to the G. I. Joe movie I’m sure you didn’t see, which cost $125 million and was due for release in June. And there’s a martial arts film with Keanu Reeves called 47 Ronin, which no sane person over the age of 9 would choose to see, originally set for theaters this year—and not in theaters this year.Read more
There are important discoveries to be made when you see J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood’s new film about the progenitor of the FBI. I’m not referring to the movie’s wild speculations about Hoover’s supposed homosexuality, of which there is not a shred of proof—but the bald assertion of which allows director Eastwood and screenwriter Duncan Lance Black to feature a torrid kiss between Hoover and his longtime aide Clyde Tolson.Read more
Did the Obama administration compromise intelligence and sensitive military information by giving a Hollywood director high level access to details of the killing of Osama bin Laden? That’s what Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wants to investigate.Read more
First lady Michelle Obama, at a Joining Forces screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two earlier today, revealed that her husband, Barack Obama, is a fan of the megahit Harry Potter series.
"How many Harry Potter fans are here?" Michelle Obama asked the crowd. "How many people have read all the books and seen all the movies? Well, you’re right along with the president and my girls. They’ve seen the movie already. They lined right up."Read more
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal ran a special section reporting on the paper’s recent conference entitled “Women in the Economy: An Executive Task Force.” One of the taskforce members was Geena Davis, the Academy Award winning actress and more recently founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The Journal noted that Ms. Davis, “has become an advocate of gender equality in children’s entertainment” and a critic in general of gender portrayal in film and in preschool programming.Read more
Kelly Jane Torrance reviews Joe Wright's new movie, Hanna:
Films are sometimes described as "vehicles" for the big names that headline them. "Arthur," the remake of the 1981 film that opened this weekend, was made simply to showcase the outsize personality of Russell Brand. It's not often a film looks like a vehicle for a young, relatively new talent -- let alone one with a name few Americans can even pronounce.Read more
A few years ago, on Turner Classic Movies, I came upon a 1952 MGM movie called Love Is Better Than Ever that was entirely unknown to me. It turned out to be a delightful romantic comedy about a fast-talking press agent whose head is turned by a young dancer. The press agent is always insulting the dancer: “Ah, I see you took your ugly pill today,” he says, or “Hey, hideous.” It doesn’t sound very nice, but she doesn’t take it personally, and those of us watching completely understand why he’s doing it and why she doesn’t take offense. This ordinary-looking guy has to do something to cope with the fact that he is inRead more
Type in your email
address to get started:
Thank you for signing up for the Jonathan V. last newsletter! You should receive your first newsletter very soon.
We're sorry, there was an error processing your newsletter signup.