It’s still unclear who’ll be starring in the film version of erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, much less who’ll be writing the screenplay. But novelist Bret Easton Ellis, who was briefly in line for the latter job, has some unflattering opinions about the former.
In a long series of tweets over the past week, Ellis has disparaged candidate Matt Bomer, insisting that the filmmakers would never cast him or any other openly gay actor as the straight romantic lead in a movie because of the belief that audiences won’t buy an openly gay actor as a brazenly heterosexual movie stud, like kinky-sex-loving Christian Grey from E.L. James’ book.
Ellis has taken a lot of heat over those views, to which he has responded by insisting that he’s not homophobic, he’s just voicing the conventional wisdom among Hollywood moguls about what moviegoing audiences will accept. One bit of flak came from Neil Patrick Harris, who poked fun at Ellis’ stance in a tweet of his own.
Besides the damage to her relationship with Robert Pattinson, to Rupert Sanders‘ marriage to Liberty Ross, and to her public image as America’s vampire-lovin’ sweetheart, did Kristen Stewart’s cheating scandal also quash her chances to appear in a Snow White and the Huntsman sequel?
Certainly, any on-set reunion between the actress and Snow White director Sanders would be, um… awkward? Painful? Disastrous? It’s no surprise Universal, the studio behind the franchise, might choose to avoid the unpleasantness and bad publicity. But would the studio choose between Stewart and Sanders by firing the star and keeping the director?
That’s the scenario suggested by more than one trade news report on Tuesday, suggesting that the franchise may go ahead without Stewart. But other trade reports dispute the notion that she was fired, since she was under no obligation to return.
Roger Ebert has a lot to celebrate when he turns 70 on June 18. Despite the horrible ailments of the last decade that have taken away his ability to eat, drink, or speak, he’s still America’s leading movie critic, a distinction he’s held for more than 30 years. (Of course, he shared the honor for much of that time with his TV frenemy Gene Siskel, until the latter’s death in 1999.) An avid adapter to social media, he’s used the Internet to make his reviews more widely read than ever….
But what does it mean, at a time when film criticism as a profession is all but dead, to be the top critic? And what role has Ebert’s own career played in making criticism what it is today? By bringing criticism to TV, did he (however inadvertently) dumb it down to the point where it became disposable? Or did he, through his own personal example and high standards, manage to keep film criticism alive for another generation?…
When 1980s jukebox musical “Rock of Ages” opens this weekend, it’ll answer the question that has bedeviled moviegoers worldwide for three decades: Can Tom Cruise actually sing?….
Today, viewers will find out for themselves whether Cruise can really rock, or whether he belongs on the list of movie actors who stretched too far in trying to impress filmgoers with their golden throats. It’s the kind of stretch that even some top thespians haven’t been able to pull off, as you’ll see in this list of 20 films featuring horrifyingly grating (or unexpectedly good) singing performances by actors not known for their vocal skills….
When New York Times critic Bosley Crowther reviewed “The Dirty Dozen” upon its release (45 years ago this week, on June 15, 1967), he blasted the World War II action drama for its characters’ “hot, sadistic zeal,” its “astonishingly wanton” depiction of war, the way its violent-felons-turned-heroes plot “encourag[es] a spirit of hooliganism that is brazenly antisocial” and its “studied indulgence of sadism that is morbid and disgusting beyond words.”
If a similar action movie came out today, those would all be its selling points….
“How did they ever make a movie of ‘Lolita’?” asked the poster for Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation, which premiered 50 years ago this week (on June 12, 1962). Short answer, as many critics noted at the time: They didn’t.
That is, there was no way, given the Hollywood self-censorship of the era, to capture even a fragment of Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel, even with a screenplay by Nabokov himself. In fact, it’s remarkable that Kubrick managed to get a studio to let him adapt and distribute any version of the story. Today — as the ill-fated 1997 “Lolita” movie showed — no one in Hollywood would even touch the material….
Imagine it’s June 1982, and you’re faced with a decision at the multiplex between two new movies, “Poltergeist” (released on June 4) and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (released a week later, on June 11). Which film about a suburban family whose lives are overturned by a supernatural alien presence do you want to see?…
The movie “The Untouchables” turns 25 this week (it was released on June 3, 1987), but it seems to have never gone away. Based on legendary G-man Eliot Ness’ memoir of his battle against Al Capone (which had also inspired a TV series of the same name), the film made stars of Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia, and garnered an Oscar win for Sean Connery. (Indeed, Connery’s performance as a cop who explains to Costner’s rule-bound Ness “the Chicago way” of no-holds-barred street-fighting, seems to come up as a reference point whenever observers of President Obama — especially his opponents — describe his Chicago-bred political tactics.)
In the quarter century since the film’s release, some of those who made the crime drama have seen their careers flourish, while others seem to have vanished into the witness protection program….
Of the two biggest franchise-launchers of 1977, one involved a pair of rebellious outlaws with a shaggy sidekick, a runaway heroine, a Mutt-and-Jeff pair of tall-short comic relief characters, epic-length chases, spectacular stunts, and endless vehicular mayhem. The other was “Star Wars.”
Yep, we’re talkin’ “Smokey and the Bandit,” which opened 35 years ago this week (on May 27, 1977) and wound up grossing more money than any movie that year except for George Lucas’ interstellar road adventure. It also launched a truckload of sequels on film and TV, gave Burt Reynolds his most iconic role, helped make movie stars out of country guitarist Jerry Reed and TV sitcom starlet Sally Field, provided a career comeback for Jackie Gleason, and sent Pontiac Trans Am sales soaring.
Still, as popular as Reynolds and his muscle car were, there’s plenty about “Smokey and the Bandit” that you may not know. Read on to learn Bandit’s real name, the film’s unlikely Oscar history, and the story of the real-life Buford T. Justice….