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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Harry Benson: Shoot First

The filmmakers are themselves too celebrity besotted to comment in a meaningful way on how Benson’s career balanced depictions of the rich and famous with…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Thumbnails 5/28/15

1.

"Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Comedy Actress A-List in Raunchy, R-Rated Roundtable": Stacey Wilson Hunt and Michael O'Connell of The Hollywood Reporter chat with six of the funniest women on the planet.

“What was your most mortifying moment performing comedy? [Kate McKinnon:] ‘I did stand-up at the Aspen Comedy Festival once, a tight two and a half minutes. I asked the booker afterward, ‘What did you think?’ She said, ‘There wasn't enough for me to judge, but what I saw, I didn't like.’ I went to a Starbucks and cried.’ [Lena Dunham:] ‘But look at you now!’ [Amy Schumer:] ‘I was opening for [comedian] Dave Attell at an Improv in Washington, D.C., and was walking past the White House. This woman came up to me; she had kind eyes. I'm like, ‘She's a fan!’ I was like, ‘I’m a comedian,’ and she goes, ‘These people are on a hunger strike; would you perform for them?’ I then noticed there were 40 people there with signs showing how long it'd been since they'd eaten. I called some friends, and I was like, ‘I shouldn't do this, right? [Comedian] Jim Norton was like, ‘You gotta take the gig.’ (Laughs.) So I tried to write hunger-strike jokes. These people looked like everyone in The Exodus.’ [Tracee Ellis Ross:] ‘You have such a good soul.’ [Schumer:] ‘So I performed, and no one laughed.’ [Gina Rodriguez:] ‘They were hungry!’ [Schumer:] ‘I made jokes like, ‘Hey, at least no waitresses will be distracting you here!’ But I bombed. They put a video of it online, and I found out later they were a known terrorist organization. Making people laugh is what I can do to give back.’”

2.

"The douchebag factor: Why the 'Entourage' movie is bound to fail": Argues Stephen Silver of Technology Tell.

“Here’s why the ‘Entourage’ movie won’t work: Its primary ethos as a series, from beginning to end, entailed a level of douchebaggery that’s frankly a lot more frowned upon by our culture today than it was when the show debuted on HBO in 2004. In case you’re not familiar: ‘Entourage‘ ran on HBO for eight seasons, which was longer than contemporaries ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘The Wire,’ ‘Deadwood,’ ‘Six Feet Under’ or ‘Sex and the City.’ Loosely based on the life story of series executive producer Mark Wahlberg, Entourage concerned the Hollywood adventures of Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), a rising young movie star from Queens living the life of dreams in Hollywood. In those he was joined by his friends from back in Queens, including his brother/has-been actor Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), business manager E (Kevin Connolly) and driver/aspiring music producer/limo impresario Turtle (Jerry Ferrara.) The fifth major character was Ari (Jeremy Piven), a loud, profane Hollywood super-agent. The series was known primarily for projecting a glitzy, party-intensive version of Hollywood in the aughts- pool parties, movie shoots, and hundreds upon hundreds of scantily-clad women. There was also a very specific, generally accurate portrayal of loud-mouth East Coast male friendship, consisting of nearly non-stop insults and constant ribbing.”

3.

"If Corporations Are People, Some Crimes Deserve Capital Punishment": Our own Nell Minow pens an excellent essay for The Huffington Post.

“We are all familiar with the problems created by companies that are ‘too big to fail.’ But problems are even more prevalent in companies that are ‘too big to succeed,’ ‘too big to control,’ and ‘too big to behave.’ Perverse incentives reward executives, who can get paid more when the company is bigger instead of when it does better, and investment bankers, who get paid to broker deals that expand the size of companies regardless of the outcome. Therefore, we have encouraged the creation of enterprises that are so monstrously gargantuan they are beyond the capacity of any group of individuals to oversee in a meaningful and cost-effective fashion. The result, as Bob Monks and I wrote in our first book, is that the corporation is an ‘externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine--no malevolence, no intentional harm, just something designed with sublime efficiency for self-preservation, which it accomplishes without any capacity to factor in the consequences to others.’”

4.

"'We Are Not Things': Women As Depicted in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' & 'Transformers'": A must-read analysis by Colin Stacy at Movie Mezzanine.

“The dystopia of ‘Fury Road’ is a world of base, dehumanized commodity—a land completely descended into a mutated, inbred patriarchy. Huntington-Whiteley’s character, The Splendid Angharad, is one of Joe’s five ‘wives’ or ‘breeders,’ and each of them is dressed throughout in gauzy wisps of clothing. The scene when the women are introduced could have been nothing more than vulgar objectification, but like Huntington-Whiteley’s scene earlier, Miller’s gaze remains blessedly dignified. Max, serving as audience surrogate, rounds the war rig to find the five women hosing each other off. We notice their clothing and cleanliness, especially as juxtaposed with Furiosa and Max’s dingy states, all of which suggest they are not of this grimy desert world. When Max sees them, it’s made clear that he lusts not for them but for the water pouring from the hose. Even as scantily clad women bathe in the desert, Miller doesn’t allow his camera to leer as other action directors may; instead, he emphasizes simple details that reveal character.”

5.

"How did Nicole Kidman's 'Grace of Monaco' Go From Cannes Opener to Lifetime Movie? The Movie's Writer Tweets All": Indiewire's Sam Adams shares the hilarious commentary tweeted by screenwriter Arash Amel.

“Last year, the Nicole Kidman-starring biopic ‘Grace of Monaco’ made history as one of the worst-reviewed opening night movies in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. This weekend, it notched another undesirable record when it became the first movie to go straight from competition at Cannes to the Lifetime channel. What went wrong? Last night, screenwriter Arash Amel took to his Twitter to offer a running commentary on the movie that could have been. Here are the highlights, which include Amel discovering as he's watching that Lifetime is airing a third cut of the film he's never seen before.”

Image of the Day

At Vulture, Kyle Buchanan and Jada Yuan highlight "15 Winners and Losers From Cannes 2015."

Video of the Day

The beautifully shot official music video for "Take Me Home" by Sad Brad Smith.

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