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Why Is Sony Burying Proud Mary and Taraji P. Henson?

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Proud Mary might not be that proud after all.

The Taraji P. Henson-starrer was one of the years most anticipated films when the trailer dropped last year. Hensons turn as Mary, a hitwoman working for an organized crime family in Boston, seemed like the black response to Atomic Blondethat is until this year rolled around, where it seems like Sony and Screen Gems have completely dropped the ball on promoting it.

Proud Mary is out this Friday, and social media has been flooded not with excitement for the film but confusion as to why its not being pushed harder. Is it a case of a studio underselling a black film, as is customary in Hollywood? Or does Sony want to hide the fact that the film might not be very good?

Its not screening for critics this week, so dont expect any advance reviews of Proud Mary. Furthermore, critics attending the films press junket werent allowed to screen the film first, so interviews with Taraji will have to remain vague as its a little hard to discuss a film that you havent seen yet with an actress.

Henson herself has even voiced frustration with the promotion of the film.

In a pre-Christmas interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Henson said shes been begging and pleading my connections and doing whatever I can to make this movie the best it can be. I dont just put my name on stuff just to say it; I get down and dirty. [Studios] never expect [black films] to do well overseas. Meanwhile, you go overseas and what do you see? People trying to look like African-Americans with Afros and dressing in hip-hop fashions. To say that black culture doesnt sell well overseas, thats a lie. Somebody just doesnt want to do their job and promote the film overseas. Do you not have people streaming my Christmas specials in Australia? Come on, yall! I dont understand the thinking. Send me over there, and if it fails, then we dont do it again, but why not try? If I knew this movie was gonna make money domestically, I would try to get more money overseas. Its business!

Traditionally, Hollywood has blamed lack of interest in black films overseas as the reason why they dont promote them there. But just last year, Get Out raked in big money overseasas did Hidden Figures the year beforeand historically, films like Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Independence Day, and Bad Boys 2 have, too. If anything, its a systemic problem of assuming black films undersell in America and in turn, fail overseas. Henson starred in Hidden Figures and her television drama Empire screens internationally, so why not develop her into a burgeoning international box-office star?

As Octavia Spencer, Hensons Hidden Figures co-star, said, [Will Smith] was told the same thingthat he wasnt going to be taken to promote his film. Had he not paid for himself to fly all over the world that very first time, he would not be an international box-office star. So they have to start investing and taking black actresses and actors across the world just like they do with unknown white actors. They need to do the same thing for black actors. If you dont know em, why would you go support the film?

Speaking of Smith, even his critically panned film Bright managed to be a success for Netflix (a sequel has already been greenlit) and trust me, Proud Mary would have to do some heavy lifting to be worse than that trash.

Henson has been a star for decades and its a shame that there isnt a bigger push for Proud Mary. This week, I accidentally stumbled upon a Facebook Live interview with the actress that lasted less than 10 minutes and had her scrolling through an iPad to find fans questions to answer in real time. It looked like a thrown-together operation from a flailing media company that has decided to pivot to video.

Ive been rooting for Henson for years. Fans are excited to see the movie and want to support it and help studios realize that black filmsand films starring womenhave a hungry audience that craves more than a few tweets and TV commercials. As Henson told THR, If a man can do it, why cant we? I feel like women get better as we age. Give us the same chances as you give men.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-isnt-sony-doing-more-to-promote-proud-mary-and-taraji-p-henson

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Robert Redford’s greatest screen roles ranked!

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As the actor and Oscar-winning director reveals his plans for retirement, we rank his 10 best performances in front of the camera

10. Brubaker (1980)

“Released in the same year as his clunky but multiple Oscar-winning directorial debut Ordinary People, Brubaker showed a tougher side to Redford than anyone had seen before. As a prison warden who goes undercover as an inmate to clean up the penal system, he had to raise his game among some hardened character actors. The movies I liked making dealt with an America that was a little different from the America that was propagandised, he said. Theres a grey zone that I know, and I want to tell stories about that complex part of America.

9. The Twilight Zone Nothing in the Dark (1962)

None of Redfords early TV appearances were as haunting as his personification of death in this creepy-sad episode of The Twilight Zone. You see? he says, glowing handsomely and gesturing to an old womans dormant body as he leads her spirit into the afterlife. No shock. No engulfment. No tearing asunder. What you feared would come like an explosion is like a whisper. What you thought was the end is the beginning.

8. The Great Gatsby (1974)

Before DiCaprio there was Redford: he may never have exuded the pure electricity of the junior actor, and his chemistry with Mia Farrow (as Daisy) was meagre, to say the least, but his permanently distracted air was just right for Jay Gatsby. In the midst of even the most vibrant shindig, he seems uniquely alone. Fame does that to you.

7. Sneakers (1992)

This underrated techno caper-comedy, about a crack team of computer security experts, was led by Redford and features River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier and Dan Aykroyd. Redfords occasional returns to light comedy could be spotty Legal Eagles should be outlawed but hes having a blast here as the slightly bumbling former radical who has become something of a sellout.

Redford
Redford in The Great Gatsby (1974). Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex

6. Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Redfords most frequent collaborator was the director Sydney Pollack, with whom he made six films including the 1972 western Jeremiah Johnson and the Oscar-bait drama Out of Africa (1985). Their best, though, was this jittery conspiracy thriller in which Redford, working for a clandestine CIA group, has to be brought in from the cold after his team is massacred. Cherish the justified sense of Watergate-era dread, as well as the opening shot of Redford cycling through traffic in a goofy woolly hat and trainers…………….”

See the rest of the list here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/09/robert-redfords-greatest-screen-roles-ranked

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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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