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John Travolta keeps Brooklyn stayin’ alive at event honoring actor

Charmaine Blake

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Hundreds of fans gathered outside pizzeria featured in Saturday Night Fever 41 years ago to catch glimpse of and dress like the actor

“Forty-one years after strutting down a Brooklyn street, merrily swinging a paint can to the sound of the Bee Gees Stayin Alive, an older, less lithe John Travolta returned on Tuesday, to be honored for his services to the now-trendy New York City borough.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Lennys Pizza in Bensonhurst, south Brooklyn, to glimpse Travolta, who brought the neighborhood to national and international consciousness in Saturday Night Fever.

The 1977 film saw his character Tony Manero disco dance, conduct troubling relationships with women and occasionally engage in punch-ups. In the opening scene, Travolta orders two slices of pizza at Lennys before combining them in a double decker-type situation. The pizzeria claims Saturday Night Fever fans regularly order the same.

This is a great day, New York state senator Martin Golden who represents the Bensonhurst neighborhood and has submitted a 1,070-word legislative resolution commending Travolta for putting Brooklyn both on the map and in Americas hearts told the crowd.

A great day for John Travolta, a great day for his family, and a great day for Brooklyn.

Actor
Actor John Travolta outside Lenny Pizza. Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Travolta was an hour and a half late, 90 long minutes in which the MC, Brooklyns own DJ Chazz….”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jun/13/john-travolta-lennys-pizza-saturday-night-fever-brooklyn

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From Nico to Tonya Harding, womens true stories are being told on film at last

Charmaine Blake

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I wasnt happy when I was beautiful: the movie Nico, 1988 shows singers resilience in later life, signalling a change in how biopics treat their subjects

“On paper, Nico the Warhol acolyte, singer and fashion model who added international exoticism to the grungy downtown hip of the Velvet Underground would seem to be perfect biopic material.

With her glowering, angular looks and smoky drone of a voice, she was unlike anyone else around at the time. She had a string of romances with beautiful, troubled men. Further boxes are ticked on the biopic checklist by the fact that she struggled with demons heroin was her drug of choice.

But Nico, 1988, the daringly unconventional biopic by Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli, which has just opened in the US, is not about the singer in her iconic phase. Instead it deals with the last two years of her life: Nico prefers to go by her birth name, Christa Pffgen; she performs avant-garde proto-goth dirges while scowling through her fringe in European dive bars; the decades of addiction have taken their toll, but she doesnt care: I wasnt happy when I was beautiful.

Nicos value to Warhol was inextricably linked to the way she looked. When asked what became of Nico after she left his studio, the Factory, Warhol was dismissive: She became a fat junkie and disappeared. But what interested Nicchiarelli was her resilience. Unlike other Warhol superstars such as Edie Sedgwick and Candy Darling who crashed and burned once their 15 minutes of fame were snatched away, Nico reclaimed herself. Talking at the Rotterdam film festival, Nicchiarelli said, The intriguing thing about Nico was that she survived. She was so much stronger.

Nico,
Nico, centre, and the Velvet Underground. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The focus of this film on unglamorous middle age rather than gilded youth is significant. It is representative of a change in the way biopics for so long dominated by white, male stories approach female subjects. Theres no doubt that we are in the midst of a particularly rich period for female-led real-life dramas. Alongside independent productions such as Nico, 1988 and Christine (about TV news anchor Christine Chubbuck), Hollywood has also got…………………”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/05/female-biopics-nico-tonya-harding-womens-true-stories-being-told-at-last

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How did Mission: Impossible become Hollywood’s most reliable franchise?

Charmaine Blake

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Critical adoration and box office success has met the sixth installment of Tom Cruises series, an unlikely 22-year phenomenon that shows no signs of tiring

“Lets take a moment to appreciate the preposterousness of Mission: Impossible. Not the rubber masks or the exploding gum sticks or the nuclear countdown clocks that always stop with one second till death. (The usual, Ving Rhames Luther Stickell would shrug.) All franchises have their implausibilities, whether its Transformers sentient cars or the Fast and Furious sentient Vin Diesels. But only the Mission: Impossible franchise has gotten better reviews with every installment, climbing its way up the Rotten Tomatoes rankings as though wearing electromagnetic gloves. Bruce Willis cant make a good Die Hard happen. But this weekend, Mission: Impossible Fallout had the best critical approval of Tom Cruises entire career, better even than the three films that scored him Oscar nominations, and his second-highest box office opening ever, just under 2005s War of the Worlds. Fallout probably would have beaten that, too, if MoviePass hadnt glitched.

Kudos to Cruise for making the most of a career he never meant to have. Mission: Impossible is also an outlier……………….”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/30/mission-impossible-tom-cruise-reliable-franchise

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Blindspotting: Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal on Race, Comedy, and Poetic Justice for Oakland

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“We meet Collin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal), the best friend duo at the heart of Blindspotting, in the parking lot of an Oakland, California burger joint called Kwik Way. Its the grand reopening of the beloved city chain, which, under new owners, has overhauled its fast food menu with health trend bait like whole wheat buns and wedged potato french fries. The lifelong friends and Oakland natives arent too happy with the result. Why should I have to specify that I want meat on my burger, Miles fumes when he discovers that he was served a veggie patty by default.

We soon learn that this bougie Kwik Way iteration stands as a microcosm of a city in flux: Rising prices are driving out original Oakland communities to lure and make way for wealthy transplants. Employed at a moving company, Collin and Miles are forced to witness this migration firsthand. Together, they cruise around the city in a giant moving truck, gutting and refurbishing homes that will soon be filled with tech bros and culture vultures. Collin and Miles are able to make light of it all, riffing on the invasion of absurd hipster bicycles, uppity corporate types, and $10 green juice at their local bodega with jokes, banter, and impromptu freestyle rapping.

But pulsing beneath the witticisms and rhyming verse is an anxious beat. The mens hometown is becoming more expensive, more homogenous, and more vanilla, and theres nothing they can do but try to stomach it. During one moving job at a gallery, the pair is tasked with packing up photographs of local urban landscapes superimposed with oak trees. Trunks sprout out of building roofs and highways and other places they no longer grow like arboreal apparitions. During another assignment in a decrepit house, Collin, who is black, finds a dusty photo album of the black family who used to live there. He raps softly to himself as he flips through the photos. Like the oak trees, each smiling face is a ghost of the displaced.

Nobody understands the tragedy behind these changes better than costars Diggs and Casal, who also collaborated to write the films screenplay. The pair grew up together in Oakland and have been tossing around ideas for the movie for around a decade. The identity of a place being a thing thats not……………..”

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/hamiltons-daveed-diggs-and-rafael-casal-on-the-poetic-justice-of-blindspotting

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