This years movie slate suggests a sudden industry interest in female-driven blockbusters. But is this a response to the Weinstein revelations? Or does it boil down to hard cash?
After #MeToo and allegations of predatory behaviour by powerful men in Hollywood, it feels good for the soul that the year in film kicked off with news that women rule the box office. Last year, the three most popular films in the US had female leads, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi at No 1, followed by Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman in third place. And theres plenty more where they came from. Hollywood is still waking up to its masculinity problem, but 2018 looks as if it could be the year powerful women roar on screen in female-driven sci-fi, action blockbusters and super-sleuth thrillers.
First up, in February, Ex Machina director Alex Garlands eco-sci-fi, Annihilation, looks like Ghostbusters with a degree in biology; Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as scientists in boiler suits leading an all-woman expedition to the site of an alien invasion. In March, Jennifer Lawrence finds her inner Jason Bourne in the cold war thriller Red Sparrow, playing a Russian ballerina turned spy, while Alicia Vikander will shoot her way to international superstardom as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot.
Robert Redford’s greatest screen roles ranked!
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.
See the rest of the list here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/09/robert-redfords-greatest-screen-roles-ranked
From Nico to Tonya Harding, womens true stories are being told on film at last
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.
How did Mission: Impossible become Hollywood’s most reliable franchise?
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……………….”
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