Showing posts with label Bradley Cooper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bradley Cooper. Show all posts

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from August 13th to 19th, 2023 - Update #14

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


MOVIES - From Variety:  Michael Cera talks about how he was cast in director Greta Gerwig's "Barbie."

STREAMING - From Deadline:  For the fourth week in a row, the former USA Network legal drama, "Suits" (2011-19), leads the streaming charts, according to tracking service, Nielsen.  The series, which also featured Meghan Markle a.k.a. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on its first seven seasons, also continues to set Nielsen records and currently streams on both Netflix and Peacock.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  "American Horror Story: Delicate" will launch Wednesday, Sept. 30th on FX.  It's spinoff, "American Horror Stories," will launch a four-episode event on Hulu, starting Oct. 26th.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Director Greta Gerwig's comedy, "Barbie," starring Margot Robbie, has now grossed 537.5 million dollars at the domestic box office. That makes it the highest-grossing domestic release in Warner Bros.'s history, surpassing the 536 million dollars "The Dark Knight" grossed in 2008.

From Variety:  Some people wonder why its so hard to hear some dialogue in "Oppenheimer."  Well, director Christopher Nolan refuses to "record ADR."

SCANDAL - From Variety:  Actor-producer Alec Baldwin may once again face manslaughter charges related to the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western film, "Rust."

DISNEY - From Deadline:  Film financier, TSG, is suing Disney for what it claims are unpaid profits from films in which it co-financed with Disney.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Tom Hanks was so concerned for Austin Butler’s mental health after his starring role in "Elvis" that he offered Butler a next role (starring in Apple TV+'s "Masters of the Air") immediately to prevent "emotional whiplash."  Hanks co-starred in the 2022 Elvis Presley biopic with Butler as Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker.

NETFLIX - From Variety:  Netflix has released the first official trailer for "Maestro."  Bradley Cooper directs and stars in the film about late conductor Leonard Bernstein's 25-year marriage to Felicia Montealegre.

MOVIES - From VarietyMargot Robbie is the star and producer of Summer 2023's biggest hit, "Barbie."  Now, Robbie could make as much as 50 million dollars in salary and bonuses.

CELEBRITY/ECO - From THR:  A new species of snake discovered in Peru, South America has been named in honor of Hollywood icon, Harrison Ford.  The snake is called "Tachymenoides harrisonfordi."

SPORTS/MOVIES - From ESPN:  Former NFL player, Michael Oher, was the subject of the 2009 Oscar-winning film, "The Blind Side." Now, he's suing the real-life couple, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, because they lied to him and stole from him.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 8/11 to 8/13/2023 weekend box office is Warner Bros.'s "Barbie" with an estimated take of 33.7 million dollars.

NETFLIX - From VarietyAdam Sandler's daughters, Sunny and Sadie, have joined their father in the Netflix film, "You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah." Netflix has released a trailer for the film, which is due August 25th.


From THR:  American music executive, business, and film producer, Clarence Avant, has died at the age of 92, Sunday, August 13, 2023.  Nicknamed "the Godfather of Black Music," he was a manager, advisor, mentor, and behind-the-scenes force in so many music deals.  He was the manager of jazz legend, Sarah Vaugh.  Avant brokered the sale of Stax Records and co-promoted the late Michael Jackson's first solo world tour, "Bad."  Avant advised countless music producers, executives, and recording artists, including Quincy Jones, David Geffen, Irving Azoff, Jay Z, Pharrell Williams, and Queen Latifah, to name a few.

From Deadline:  The American rapper and recording artist, Melvin "Magoo" Barcliff, has died at the age of 50, Sunday, August 13, 2023.  He was best known for his collaboration with rapper/producer, Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley.  The two formed the rap duo, "Timbaland & Magoo," which released three albums, including the platinum certified, "Welcome to Our World" (1997).  Magoo also made guest appearances and collaborated with several other recording artists, including Bubba Sparxxx, Ginuwine, and Missy Elliot.  He also recorded on Timbaland's solo projects.


From Deadline:  Writers Guild (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will resume strike talks today, Fri., Aug. 11th.

From Deadline:  Meeting for the first time in more than three months, the Writers Guild and the AMPTP on Friday failed to reach an agreement to resume contract negotiations. The Writers Strike will go on indefinitely.

From Deadline:  Hollywood’s superstars are answering the call from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, donating $1 million or more each to help their fellow performers during the ongoing actors and writers strikes.  Among the big donors are Leonardo DiCaprioMeryl StreepOprah Winfrey, and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

From Deadline:  If you are interested, here is a list of the film and TV productions SAG-AFTRA has granted waivers to continue filming.

From Variety:  International superstar, Dwayne Johnson, makes a seven-figure contribution to the "SAG-AFTRA Foundation Relief Fund." Foundation president, actor Courtney B. Vance, says the amount will remain confidential.

From Variety:  Why haven't A-list stars joined the SAG-AFTRA picket line?, asks "Variety."

From Deadline:  Author George R.R. Martin, whose works were the basis for HBO's "Game of Thrones," says the strikes will be long and bitter.

From THR:  Production works at Warner Bros. Animation (66) and at Cartoon Network (22) have gone public with their attempt to unionize via The Animation Guild.

From Variety:  Halted film productions due to the writers and actors strikes are costing each Hollywood studio at least 600,000 dollars per week.

From Variety:  Said at a strike meeting: “Without a transformative change in SAG-AFTRA’s current contract with the AMPTP, the acting profession will no longer be an option for future generations of performers, and actors already working in the industry will need to pursue other careers in order to survive.”

From Deadline:  If you are a "social media influencer" who is NOT  a member of SAG-AFTRA, you can be barred from future membership for promoting a film or television series during the actors' strike.

From Variety:  The SAG/AFTRA strike begins in New York and Los Angeles.  Hollywood actors began striking today, Fri., July 14th.

From Deadline:  The site has the video of the powerful strike speech given by SAG-AFTRA president, Fran Drescher, the actress best known for CBS' former sitcom, "The Nanny."

From Deadline:  Concerning the Hollywood writers strike (via the WGA), the Hollywood Studios (as represented by the AMPTP) is to let the writers go broke before resuming talks deep into the Fall.

From Deadline: SAG-AFTRA is already preparing strike picket signs in case the actors' strike begins next week.

From Deadline:  WGA is picketing the New York City filming location of the 12th series of FX's "American Horror Story" (entitled "Delicate") after series co-creator Ryan Murphy threaten litigation against an east coast strike captain.

From THR:  TV super-producer, Ryan Murphy, in a letter from his attorney to the leadership of the Writers Guild of America, threatened litigation against Warren Leight, an East Coast strike captain and Strike Rules Compliance Committee member who has subsequently forfeited those positions.

From Deadline:  The Hollywood studios via the AMPTP has given Canadian actors a new contract, including a 5 percent raise.

From Deadline:  Writers Strike puts the spotlight back on the challenge from writers for animation productions to be covered by the WGA.

From THR:  Studios won't give writers better pay, and now, are laying off janitors.

From Deadline:  The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has reached a tentative new three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). So what does the Writers Guild (WGA), currently on strike and negotiating with the AMPTP, think of that deal.

From Deadline:  Netflix shareholders declined to support the 2023 pay packages of top executives during a non-binding vote at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.  The vote won't prevent these execs from getting their loot (an total of $166 million), but this is a rare public rebuke.  The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has urged shareholders to vote "No" because the pay was "inappropriate" at this time.

From Deadline:  Warner Bros Discovery chief David Zaslav gave the commencement address at Boston University. There he was met with jeers and also chants of "pay your writers" from picketers and from some in the audience.

From Deadline:   President Joe Biden speaks on the Writers Guild of America strike.

From Deadline:  Retaliation! The studios have starting informing writer-producers who have "overall" and "first-look" deals that such deals are being suspended.

From Deadline:  Retaliation!  Prolific HBO creator, David Simon, who is best known for "The Wire," is one of the many writers who have had their overall deals suspended the studios due to the WGA strike.  Simon has been with HBO for 25 years.

From Deadline:  The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is on strike.

From Deadline:  Disney, HBO/HBO Max, and CBS have sent letters to showrunners (the TV equivalent of film directors) instructing them to return to work, inspite of the writer's strike.

From Deadline:  The WGA's chief negotiator, Ellen Stutzman, talks about the state of the writers' strike, including the lack of engagement on the part of the strike's other party, AMPTP.

From Deadline:  What went wrong between the WGA and AMPTP? What could they not agree on that led to a strike?

From Deadline:  The site explains the WGA strike: the issues, the stakes, movies and TV shows affected, and how long it might last.


Friday, May 5, 2023

Review: James Gunn Delivers a Series Best in the Great "GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 20 of 2023 (No. 1909) by Leroy Douresseaux

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
Running time:  150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, strong language, suggestive/drug references and thematic elements
DIRECTOR:  James Gunn
WRITERS:  James Gunn (based on the Marvel Comics characters)
PRODUCER:  Kevin Feige
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Henry Braham (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Fred Raskin and Greg D'Auria
COMPOSER:  John Murphy


Starring:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Chukwudi Iwuji, Sean Gunn, Will Poulter, Nico Santos, Miriam Shor, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, and the voices of Linda Cardellini, Seth Green, Maria Bakalova, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a 2023 science fiction, comedy, and action-adventure film written and directed by James Gunn and produced by Marvel Studios.  It is the third film in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy film series, following 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  It is also the 32nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  Vol. 3 finds the Guardians fighting to save one of their members from his creator, a mission that may destroy the Guardians whether they are successful or not.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens on Knowhere, the strange space station where the Guardians of the Galaxy have established their headquarters.  Their leader, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), mourns the loss of his girlfriend, Gamora (Zoe Saldana).  The alien warlord, Thanos, killed Gamora (as seen in Avengers: Infinity War), but an alternate universe version of her appeared (as seen in Avengers: Endgame).  This new Gamora does not love Peter, and she associates with The Ravagers, which was once essentially Peter's surrogate family.

The group has bigger troubles ahead.  The Guardians are being targeted by the “Sovereign” empress Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), someone with a grudge against them (as seen in Vol. 2).  She sends her son, Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), to attack the Guardians, and he grievously wounds Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper).  To save Rocket, Peter and his fellow Guardians:  Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and a reluctant Gamora, must confront The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), the Counter-Earth scientist who created Rocket.

The original Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the surprise hits of 2014, if not the surprise hit of the year.  Vol. 2 was a fun sci-fi-action movie and a surprisingly thoughtful character melodrama.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 does everything the first two films did well and amplifies that.  Vol. 3 is the series' funniest film, and I found myself laughing throughout it.  That still surprises me because this movie has some pretty dark moments, especially concerning The High Evolutionary, who is superbly played with volcanic intensity and unremitting cruelty by the most excellent Chuckwudi Iwuji.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is one of Marvel Studios' best films in years.  I think it works for three reasons.  First, the film's production values and special effects are impressive.  The CGI-created environments, backdrops, sets (interiors and exteriors), space-ways, worlds, etc. are so dazzling in scope, color, and imagination that they surpass the impressive work of the first two films, especially the second film.  The entire entire “Orgoscope” sequence is an eye-popping collection of inventiveness.  Even the menagerie of people, creatures, and robots exceeds the first two film, probably combined.

The acting is quite good, and that makes me want to engage the characters even more.  Chris Pratt gives his best tern as Peter Quill/Star-Lord – drama, pathos, big emotions, and the sarcasm and quips are still here – but with edginess.  This is the first time that I really hoped that Star-Lord would be a long term MCU character.  It is so shocking that Zoe Saldana can convince me that she is a different Gamora.  Karen Gillan as Nebula and Pom Klementieff as Mantis do superb work with the character arcs that the story gives them.  As Drax the Destroyer, Dave Bautista makes the character seem not extraneous for the first time.  Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as always are winning in their voice roles as Groot and Rocket, respectively, with Diesel bringing some extra to Groot this time.

The third reason Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is so damn good is writer-director James Gunn.  This is Gunn at the peak of his powers.  Honestly, I liked Vol. 2 so much that I didn't think he could top himself, but he does with this third film.  I did find Vol. 3 a little dry and too dark in the beginning, but once it grabbed me, it would not let go.

This film has a heart – a center that is about the struggle to help a friend or family member no matter how bad his or her troubles might be or even if he or she resists and rejects the help.  In Vol. 3, Gunn makes all the characters unique individuals with wants, needs, goals, conflicts, and melodrama.  However, the best thing that Gunn does is accept that even the most intense relationships change, so he lets some of the characters move on.  The result is a last act for the ages and a closing sequence that recalls the beginning of the original film and leaves the viewer with the warmest feelings.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in the U.S. today, May 5, 2023.  That is 15 years and a few days after the release of the first MCU film, Iron Man (2008).  Vol. 3 exemplifies something that I just realize runs throughout Marvel Studios' film.  In almost all of them, a dominant theme is the formation of surrogate families.  Friends, enemies, heroes, and sometimes even the villains come together in a unit that is more than just a group of friends; they are family.  In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn gives us the end of one version of the family as it evolves into something larger.  What makes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 an amazing film is that it is as heartwarming as it is exciting and thrilling.  Yes, there are big, mesmerizing action set pieces, but by the end, I really believe that these guys love one another.  I could watch it forever.

9 of 10
★★★★+ out of 4 stars

Friday, May 5, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, November 18, 2022

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from November 13th to 19th, 2022 - Update #11

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


DISNEY - From EmpireOnline:  "Empire" has a world-exclusive image of Harrison Ford from "Indiana Jones 5."

SCANDAL - From NYPost:  Once upon a time comedian Andy Dick was a Hollywood star. Now, he will spend 90 days in jail and register as a sex offender related to a 2018 groping incident.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Bradley Cooper will play the character "Frank Bullitt" in Steve Spielberg's new film based on the classic Steve McQueen character.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  The latest attempt to reboot director John Carpenter's classic sci-film, "Escape from New York," will come from 20th Century Studios and will directed by the collective known as "Radio Silence" ("Scream: 2022).

MOVIES - From DeadlineParamount Pictures has dropped a trailer for its sports dramedy, "80 for Brady," which stars Jane Fonda, Rita Morena, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, and Tom Brady.

AMAZON - From DeadlineAmazon Studios is developing a coming-of-age ROTC drama from writers Jalysa Conway (9-1-1 Lone Star) and Rebecca Murga (Swagger) — both military veterans — with Spike Lee set to direct and executive produce.

MOVIES - From DeadlineCNN has announced Nov. 20th as the date for the release of its documentary "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down."  Giffords is a former Arizona congresswoman who was terribly wounded in a near-fatal shooting in Jan. 2011, an event that ended the career of a rising star.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 11/10 to 11/13/2022 weekend box office is Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Studios' "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" with an estimated take of 180 million dollars.

From CNBC:  According to data cruncher, EntTelligence, 12.7 million patrons bought tickets to "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" for an opening weekend box office gross of 181 million dollars.

From Here:  Leroy Douresseaux's review of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

SCANDAL - From THRAlec Baldwin has filed suit in Superior Court in Los Angeles in order to "clear his name" in the shooting on the set of the Western film, "Rust."  Basically, he is suing the armorer and the crew for giving him a loaded gun.  A firearm Baldwin was holding fired and killed the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchinson.


From Deadline:  The French-born American actor and Holocaust survivor, Robert Clary, has died at the age of 96, Wednesday, November 16, 2022.  Clary was best known for playing "Corporeal Louis LeBeau" in the former CBS sitcom, "Hogan's Heroes."  Jewish, Clary survived two concentration camps during the Holocaust and was rescued from the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945.



From NBCNews:   Brittney Griner will enter a system of isolation, grueling labor and psychological torment when she is transferred to a penal colony, the successor to the infamous Russian gulag, to fulfill a nine-year sentence handed down Tuesday in Moscow, former prisoners and advocates said.

From NBCNews:  A Russian court has rejected Brittney Griner's appeal of her nine-year prison sentence on (fake) drug charges.

From Reuters:  Russia says that it is ready to talk prisoner swamp for Brittney Griner and U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan, but also scolds the U.S. Embassy.

From TheDailyBeast:   Legendary NBA bad boy and champion (Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls), Dennis Rodman claims that he has been given permission to go to Russia and help free imprisoned hostage, WNBA star, Brittney Griner.

From Vox:  Vox's Jonathan Guyer talks the Brittney Griner case with Danielle Gilbert, a Dartmouth professor who is writing a book about states and rogue actors that take hostages.

From ESPN:   A Russian court sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison Thursday, Aug. 4th.  Griner was arrested Feb. 17 for bringing cannabis into the country and pleaded guilty July 7, though the case continued under Russian law.

From ESPN:  The Biden administration has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

From RSN:  "Will Support From LeBron James, Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, and Other Celebrities Help Free Brittney Griner From a Russian Prison?" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar via Substack

From ESPN:  Detained WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty on Thursday to bringing hashish oil into Russia, telling a judge that she had done so "inadvertently" while asking the court for mercy.

From CBSSports:  The Brittney Griner situation explained.

From RSN:  According to The Washington Post Editorial Board: "Brittney Griner is a hostage, plain and simple."

Friday, July 8, 2022

Review: "THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER" is Full of Love and Thunder

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 42 of 2022 (No. 1854) by Leroy Douresseaux

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Running time:  119 minutes (1 hour, 59 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity
DIRECTOR:  Taika Waititi
WRITERS: Taiki Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson; from a story by Taika Waititi (based on the Marvel Comics)
PRODUCERS:  Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Barry Idoine (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Peter S. Elliot, Tim Roche, Matthew Schmidt, and Jennifer Vecchiarello
COMPOSERS:  Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad


Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi (voice) Jaimie Alexander, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice), Kieron L. Dyer, Idris Elba, Brett Goldstein, and Russell Crowe and Natalie Portman

Thor: Love and Thunder is a 2022 superhero fantasy and action-comedy directed by Taika Waititi and produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.  It is the fourth film in Marvel's Thor film series, which began with Thor (2011).  Thor is a Marvel Comics character that first appeared in the comic book, Journey into Mystery #83 (cover dated: August 1962), and is based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.  In Love and Thunder, Thor reunites with his ex-girlfriend to fight a being who plans to make the gods extinct.

Thor: Love and Thunder finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth), using his second enchanted hammer, “Stormbreaker,” is fighting the bad guys of the galaxy with the Guardians of the GalaxyStar-Lord (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), and Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper).  Thor is at a crossroads in his life and is unsure of what to do next.

Back on Earth, Thor's ex-girlfriend, the astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), is battling stage four cancer.  Seeking medical treatment, Jane travels to New Asgard.  There, she has a strange encounter with Thor's broken hammer, Mjolnir.

Meanwhile, Thor has answered a distress signal from one of Asgard's warriors, Sif (Jaimie Alexander).  She warns him of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), a being who possesses the god-killing weapon, “the Necrosword.”  When Gorr attacks New Asgard, Thor returns to join the battle.  Much to his shock, he discovers that Mjolnir has reforged and bonded with Jane Foster, transforming her into another Thor.

Now, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), King of Asgard, and Korg (voice of Taika Waititi), the rocky Kronan warrior, join Thor and Thor on a journey to fight Gorr.  But are they enough to fight a being that has already killed many gods?

The last year's worth of Marvel Studios films, five including Thor: Love and Thunder, have been different, even offbeat, much to the chagrin of some critics and fans.  People complained that Marvel's films were too much alike, and now that the studio has given us five films that are quite different from the first 11 years of films, they still aren't happy.

Anyway, I want to make it clear that there is plenty of “thunder” in Thor: Love and Thunder.  Director Taika Waititi offers some action set pieces that are either unusual or have an unusual angle to them.  As Gorr, Christian Bale gives a multi-layered performance full of pathos, humor, and maniacal glee.  It is a seemingly effortless performance from one of the best actors of the last quarter-century.  So, this superhero movie has a great villain, one who can match both Thors and is genuinely vengeful, a vengeance grounded in love.

Still, Waititi wants Thor to be something really different.  The films trades in themes of love, death, and change.  Thor Odinson and Jane Foster-Thor are both in crisis.  The Odinson is having a sort of mid-life crisis.  If he is no longer the rascally young heir to the throne of Asgard or the Avenger's lightning, thunder, and muscle, then, what is he?  Jane Foster is facing an existential crisis; her cancer is really terminal.  Should she quietly accept her fate or should she go out with a bang and some thunder as Thor, fighting their enemy to death, if need be?

Thor: Love and Thunder is a perfect film for this time.  It chooses love over despair.  It is a post-breakup movie in which Thor and Jane Foster find their way back to one another.  Although death is an end, it can also mean change, and that is what can be in store for Thor and Thor and for King Valkyrie, Korg, and a few other characters.

I love what director Taika Waititi has created in his two Thor films, this and the earlier Thor: Ragnarok (2017).  Thor: Love and Thunder finds the humor in every situation, even the dark and dangerous ones, which might put off some of its audience.  However, I like that Thor: Love and Thunder is a film made of joy, color, and wonder that travels across the galaxy and into different realms.  But no matter where it goes, Thor: Love and Thunder full of thunderous sounds and furious love.

[This film as two scenes that occur during the credits, one in the middle and one at the end.]

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, July 8, 2022

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.



Thursday, June 16, 2022

Review: "LICORICE PIZZA" is a Dumb Title for a Freaking Fantastic Film

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 36 of 2022 (No. 1848) by Leroy Douresseaux

Licorice Pizza (2021)
Running time:  133 minutes (2 hours, 13 minutes)
MPA – R for language, sexual material and some drug use
WRITER/DIRECTOR:  Paul Thomas Anderson
PRODUCERS:  Paul Thomas Anderson, Sara Murphy, and Adam Somner
CINEMATOGRAPHERS:  Paul Thomas Anderson (D.o.P.) and Michael Bauman
EDITOR:  Andy Jurgensen
COMPOSER:  Jonny Greenwood
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Will Angarola, Griff Giacchino, James Kelley, Maya Rudolph, Iyana Halley, Ryan Heffington, Benny Safdie, Joseph Cross, and Bradley Cooper

Licorice Pizza is a 2021 coming-of-age comedy and drama and period film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  The film focuses on the adventures and misadventures of a teenage boy and a 20-something young woman as their romantic relationship develops.

Licorice Pizza is set in San Fernando Valley, California, circa 1973.  The film introduces 15-year-old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), a child actor.  While preparing for “picture day” at his high school, Gary notices the photographer's assistant, Alana Kane (Alana Haim).  Gary is smitten with her and strikes up a conversation, but Alana, who says that she is 25-years-old (although she could be as much as 28-years-old), tries to rebuff him, to no avail.

A kind of romance begins while Gary becomes a budding teenage businessman and while Alana tries to get her life together.  This version of “first love,” however, involves a treacherous navigation as both are attracted to other people.  This includes other teen girls for Gary and actors and politicians for Alana.  Meanwhile, there is an entire San Fernando Valley of adventures to be had and some growing up to do.

The Los Angeles Times described Licorice Pizza as a “family-and-friends-project” because much of the cast of the film is made up of Paul Thomas Anderson's family and friends.  The lead actor, Cooper Hoffman, is the son of the late actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appeared in several of Anderson's films.  A former local restaurant that Anderson patronized is recreated for the film.  Living and deceased Hollywood celebrities appear as characters in the film, including legendary television star and studio executive, Lucille Ball, and film producer, Jon Peters.  Gary Valentine and his adventures are based on the life of former child actor turned film and TV producer, Gary Goetzman, a friend of Anderson's and the producing partner of actor Tom Hanks.  The film even takes its title from, “Licorice Pizza” (1969-85), a former Southern California record store chain that, through sales and acquisitions, became part of the “Musicland” brand.

Thinking about Licorice Pizza, I can only regard it as perfect, and I feel that its perfection comes from the fact that the concept, plot, story, setting, and characters come from a place of love and of familiarity for Anderson.  Everything feels natural and real, and there were instances when I was watching this film that it felt like I was staring through a window in time at something that had actually taken place.

To me, Anderson's screenplay is perfect down to the punctuation and indention.  To change it would be to ruin it.  Even the soundtrack is filled with songs that seem as if they were recorded long ago, but were always meant for Licorice Pizza.

Gary Valentine and Alana Kane (love those names) are so well-developed and so naturally developed that I found myself loving them, being annoyed at them, and being worried for them – as if they were my own charges.  As Gary, Hoffman gives one of the best performances of a teenage character that I have ever seen.  Alana Haim is Meryl Streep and Glenn Close good as Alana Kane, and her not receiving an Oscar nomination for this performance is artistic theft.

Well … I love this film, and I demand that you watch it.  Or I'll beg if that's what it takes.  The lives of white kids in 1970s San Fernando Valley is a star system away from when and how I grew up.  Still, I could feel that era and the lives of these people in my heart.  Honestly, Licorice Pizza is a stupid-ass title for a stupendous-ass film.  If the title is what is holding you back from seeing it, ignore that title and see one of the truly great films of the last several years.

10 of 10

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

2022 Academy Awards, USA:  3 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Sara Murphy, Adam Somner, and Paul Thomas Anderson), “Best Achievement in Directing” (Paul Thomas Anderson), and “Best Original Screenplay” (Paul Thomas Anderson)

2022 BAFTA Awards:  1 win:  “Best Screenplay-Original (Paul Thomas Anderson);  4 nominations: “Best Film” (Sara Murphy, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Adam Somner), “Best Director” (Paul Thomas Anderson), “Best Leading Actress” (Alana Haim), “Best Editing” (Andy Jurgensen)

2022 Golden Globes, USA:  4 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy,” “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Alana Haim), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Cooper Hoffman), and “Best Screenplay – Motion Picture” (Paul Thomas Anderson)

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from May 22nd to 31st, 2022 - Update #41

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


BOX OFFICE - From Deadline:  In the final tally, the Memorial Day holiday weekend domestic box office take for "Top Gun: Maverick" is a record 160.5 million dollars.

From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 5/27 to 5/29/2020 weekend box office is Paramount Pictures' "Top Gun: Maverick" with an estimated take of 124 million dollars.

From TheWrap:  With an estimated 156 million dollars at the domestic box office, "Top Gun: Maverick" has broken the Memorial Day weekend box office record. The surpasses "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" which grossed 153 million dollars during the 2007 Memorial Day weekend.

From Here:  Here is my review of "Top Gun: Maverick."

From THR:  On review aggregator, "Rotten Tomatoes," "Top Gun: Maverick" has tied "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" (2018) as the best reviewed Tom Cruise movie of all time.


MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Indie entertainment company, A24's horror films ranked from best to worse.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Here is a first look at Oscar-nominee, Bradley Cooper, as legendary Broadway composer, Leonard Bernstein, "Maestro."

MOVIES - From WorldofReelDavid Cronenberg says that he has an idea for a movie starring "Twilight Saga" costars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster will appear in the fourth season of HBO's anthology series, "True Detective."  Entitled, "True Detective: Night Country," it will be Foster's first major adult TV role.

SCANDAL - From CNN:  Former reality TV star, Josh Duggar ("19 Kids and Counting") was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and 20 years of supervised release, during which he cannot have contact with minors.  In December 2021, Duggar was found guilty of "receipt of child pornography" and "possession of child pornography"

ANIMATION - From DeadlineSamuel L. Jackson will join Chris Pratt's in Alcon Entertainment's animated "Garfield" film.

TRAILERS - From TheWrap:  Paramount Pictures has debuted the first trailer for "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (the seventh film).  The film is due July 14, 2023.

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  The winner of the 5/20 to 5/22/2022 weekend box office is Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" with an estimated take of 31.6 million dollars.

From Here:  My review of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

NETFLIX - From TheWeekNetflix is apparently trying to end its "war" with movie theaters, but the streamer will have to make deals with its adversaries, AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas.

POLITICS - From WashPostRussia has permanently banned 963 U.S. citizens from entering the country.  The list includes President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris and even actor Morgan Freeman.

CANNES - From Variety:  "Three Thousand Years of Longing," the new film from director George Miller ('Mad Max" series), received a six-minutes standing ovation during its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.  The film stars Tilda Swinton as a solitary academic and Idris Elba as the genie she finds.


From Deadline:   Tytyana Miller, the daughter of rapper Master P, has died at the age of 29.  Paramedics found her unresponsive early Saturday, May 28, 2022.  She had appeared in the WE TV series, "Growing Up Hip Hop."

From Deadline:  The television and film actor, Bo Hopkins, has died at the age of 84, Saturday, May 28, 2022.  He was best known for appearing in films such as "The Wild Bunch" (1969), "American Graffiti" (1973), and "Midnight Express" (1978).  I remember him for his appearance in two mid-1970s films, "White Lightning" (1973), with Burt Reynolds, and "Posse" (1975), which was led by Kirk Douglas. A prolific TV actor, Hopkins appeared in over 100 films and TV series.

From Deadline:   Actor Ray Liotta has died at the age of 67, Thursday, May 26, 2022.  Liotta was best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film, "Goodfellas."  He was also known for playing Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams" (1989) and "Ray Sinclair" in "Something Wild" (1986).  He was currently experiencing a career resurgence.

From Deadline:  Hollywood mourns and remembers Ray Liotta.  This article includes comments from co-star Robert De Niro ("Goodfellas").


From YahooAP:  An 18-year-old gunman slaughtered 19 children and two teachers on Tues., May 24th, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.  All 21 victims were in the same 4th grade classroom at Robb Elementary.

From DallasNewsJoe Garcia, the husband of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, has died of a heart attack two days after the murder of his wife.  They had been married for 24 years and had been high school sweethearts.

From Axios:  Texas gubernatorial candidate, Beto O'Rourke, interrupted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's gaslighting press conference on the Uvalde elementary school mass shooting.

From USAToday:  Beto O'Rourke's outburst at Gov. Greg Abbott's Uvalde news conference shows the spine Democrats need.

From BostonGlobeSteve Kerr, head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, asks "When are we going to do something?"

From NBCNews:  A Robb Elementary teacher describes "the longest 35 minutes of my life" and the terror she now feels.

From NBCNews:  The Uvalde school district had an extensive safety plan, but 19 children were killed at Robb Elementary anyway.  Even security plans that appear to be up to the latest research-based standards may have gaps and fall short of preventing the worst-case scenario, experts said.

From MSNAngeli Rose Gomez, the mother who was handcuffed outside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, was able to get inside the school and rescue her two children.

From YahooNews:   Daniel Defense, the maker of the rifles used by the Uvalde massacre killer, has used "incendiary ads" in the past, including one in which a toddler holds one of its rifles.

From TheIntercept:  The police aren't obligated to protect anyone NOT in their custody, as the Supreme Court has ruled twice.

From RollingStone:  Right wing lies about the Second Amendment and why they tell them are killing America's childrne.

From Vice:  The law enforcement personnel in Texas that arrived at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on Tues., May 24th did the opposite of what their own training documentary videos show.

From Vox:  Uvalde police keep changing their story.

From TheDailyBeast:  The families in Uvalde, Texas who lost loved one in the Robb Elementary massacre say that the cops there are "Nothing more than cowards" and that they need to pay for doing nothing while a gunman rampaged through the school last Tues, May 24th.

From TheNewYorker:  Thoughts and prayers, Uvalde, Texas. This is the America that Republicans and the right wing have being thinking about and praying for all these decades.


From ABCNews:  A 18-year-old white MAN shot 13 people, killing 10 at a Buffalo, New York Tops Friendly Markets supermarket on Saturday, May 14, 2021.

From Truthout:  The racist attack in Buffalo at the Tops Friendly supermarket was crafted to terrorize us.  We can fight back, and here’s how we fight back.

From WGRZ:  Who are the victims of the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets grocery store shooting. This comes from local station WGRZ Channel 2 and includes video and some victim photos.

From BuffaloNews:  One of the 10 Black murder victims of the Buffalo massacre was Katherine "Kat" Massey.  She was a leader in her community and civil rights activist and advocate for education.

From NewYorkPost:  One of the 10 Black murder victims of the Buffalo massacre was Andre Mackniel. He was at TOPS Supermaket to pick up a birthday cake for his son.

From Truthout:  The racist attack in Buffalo, NY at the Tops supermarket was crafted to terrorize us, so here is how we fight back.

From CNN:  What is known about the 18-year-old MAN, Payton Gendron.

From NPR:  198 mass shooting this year ... so far.

From Truthout:  White supremacist massacre of 10 people in Buffalo, NY shows that the “Alt-Right” ideology leads to murder.

From RollingStone:  Buffalo rampage killing is "Straight Up Racially Motivated Hate Crime."

From InformedCommentRene Binet, the originator the "great replacement" was a French Nazi, and he saw all American as "Negroes," an "impure mestizo 'race'."

From WashPost:  Only 22 people saw the live-stream of a white terrorist kill Black shoppers at the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets supermarket, but millions have seen it since...

From GuardianUK:  Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets shooter may have been motivated by "eco-fascism," a focus on overpopulation and environmental degradation.

From RSN:  "What Lessons Have We Learned From the Buffalo Shooting?" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

From Truthout:  “Innocent” White People Are Also Complicit in the Anti-Black Murders in Buffalo by George Yancy.

From Truthout:  "Black Lives Matter" cofounder discovered that Alicia Garza has learned that her name is mentioned in the Buffalo Tops supermarket killer's manifesto.

From GuardianUK:   Cornell West says, "Trump isn't out there with a gun, but he's enabled this war against Black people.

From Slate:  From the Tulsa Race Massacre to the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets shootings: the legacy of anti-Black violence.

From Truthout:  After mass shootings, Republicans shield white supremacists from scrutiny


From TheDailyBeast:  Russian soldiers allegedly raped and killed a 1-year-old Ukrainian boy and have reportedly raped or sexually abused children as young as 9 months old.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Review: "NIGHTMARE ALLEY" is One of 2021's Very Best Films

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 of 2022 (No. 1839) by Leroy Douresseaux

Nightmare Alley (2021)
Running time:  150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes)
MPA – R for strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity and language
DIRECTOR:  Guillermo del Toro
WRITERS: Guillermo del Toro and Kim Morgan (based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham)
PRODUCERS:  Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale, and Bradley Cooper
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Dan Laustsen (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Cameron McLauchlin
COMPOSER:  Nathan Johnson
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, Peter MacNeill, David Strathairn, Mark Povinelli, Holt McCallany and Paul Anderson

Nightmare Alley is a 2021 neo-noir crime thriller and drama directed by Guillermo del Toro.  The film is an adaptation of the 1946 novel, Nightmare Alley, which was written by William Lindsay Gresham.  Nightmare Alley the film focuses on a drifter who works his way from low-ranking carnival employee to acclaimed psychic medium on his way to his self-made doom.

Nightmare Alley opens in 1939 and introduces Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Bradley Cooper).  A drifter, Stan gets a job at a carnival operated by Clement “Clem”Hoatley (Willem Dafoe).  He begins working with the carnival's clairvoyant act, “Madame Zeena,” (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband, Peter “Pete” Krumbein (David Strathairn).  They use coded language and cold reading tricks, which Pete keeps in a secret book.  Although Pete teaches tricks to Stan, he also warns him against using these tricks to be a mentalist that pretends to speak to the dead, known as a “spookshow.”

Stan becomes attracted to a fellow performer, Mary Margaret “Molly” Cahill (Rooney Mara), and he eventually convinces her to leave with him.  Two years later, Stan has successfully reinvented himself with a psychic act for the wealthy elite of Buffalo, and Molly is his assistant.  His act has attracted the attention of consulting psychologist, Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), and she is determined to reveal him as a fraud.  Thus, begins a cat and mouse game between Stan and Lilith that will destroy lives.

Nightmare Alley is not the first film adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham's novel.  Hollywood legend Tyrone Power starred in a 1947 version in a bid to escape from the kinds of films (romance and adventure) that had made him a Hollywood star, but had also relegated him to the same kinds of roles (romantic leads and swashbuckling heroes).  From what I have read, Guillermo del Toro's 2021 version is more faithful to original novel than the 1947 film.

Some excellent and even great films are ruined or nearly ruined by their endings.  Del Toro's Nightmare Alley is solidified as a great film because of its ending, which brings back elements from the beginning of the film.  Bradley Cooper's Stan Carlisle is a doomed fool, a man consumed by greed and self-interest.  As his lust for power and greed for money and fame become more evident, Nightmare Alley turns truly prophetic.  A con man's ultimate mark is himself, and Stan never paid attention to the warnings, especially those that came when he first started working for Clem.

Although Cooper's status as the lead actor playing the lead character allows him to deliver a powerful performance, others in Nightmare Alley are also quite good.  Toni Collette, always good, is lovely here as the saintly, whorish, motherly Madame Zeena, while David Strathairn, also always good, is excellent as the pitiful prophet and father figure, Pete.  Cate Blanchett, decked in top notch hair and make-up and costumes, is the femme fatale as demoness, Lilith Ritter.  The film's best performance, however, is delivered by Rooney Mara, who in subtle shades and quiet gestures represents kind people in this film.  In a film determined to be dark and condemning, Mara's Molly is the film's humanity and hope.

As usual, Nightmare Alley offers Del Toro's haunting gothic visuals.  The production design, cinematography, costume design, and hair and make-up all capture this film's clash of vistas:  Depression-era destitution against a world of wealth, opulence, privilege, and corruption that ignored the poverty and decay right under their noses.  From ragged carnival garb to fabulous raiment; from the rundown world of carnies to the glow of swanky nightclubs:  Nightmare Alley is a vision of the darkness beneath the American dream and its illusions of wealth and power.  I have a few quibbles with Nightmare Alley, finding it a bit too dry, cold, and brittle in places.  Still, Nightmare Alley is another great film by the master of illusions, director Guillermo del Toro.

9 of 10
★★★★+ out of 4 stars

Thursday, May 5, 2022

2022 Academy Awards, USA:  4 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale, and Bradley Cooper); “Best Achievement in Production Design” (Tamara Deverell-production design and Shane Vieau-set decoration); “Best Achievement in Costume Design” (Luis Sequeira), and “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Dan Laustsen)

2022 BAFTA Awards:  3 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (Dan Laustsen), “Best Costume Design” (Luis Sequeira), and “Best Production Design” (Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau)

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.



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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Oscar-nominated "Joker" Has Returned to Movie Theaters

Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” the Most Oscar-Nominated Film of the Year, to Be Re-Released in Theaters Nationwide Beginning January 17, Offering Audiences Another Opportunity to Experience the Bold, Acclaimed Film on the Big Screen

“Joker” leads all films with 11 Academy Award nominations and 11 BAFTA nods, and recently won two Golden Globes, including Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix’s mesmerizing performance

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s “Joker” returned to more than 750 cinemas across North America Friday, January 17, 2020. The film has garnered numerous awards and award nominations across all categories, among them: 11 Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations—including Best Picture—more than any other film; two Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards wins, for star Joaquin Phoenix’s remarkable performance and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s haunting score; and the Golden Lion, the top honor at the Venice Film Festival.

    “With the continued interest in ‘Joker’ as a result of its recognition during this exciting awards season, we wanted to give audiences the chance to see the film on the big screen, whether for the first time or again.”

Lauded by critics as a film that will stand the test of time, “Joker” sits on many coveted Top 10 lists, including AFI. The film’s other accolades to date include Variety’s Creative Impact in Directing Award for Phillips; the Palm Springs International Film Festival Chairman’s Award for Phoenix; the Camerimage Audience Award and its Golden Frog for cinematographer Lawrence Sher; two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations; a Producers Guild Award nod; and multiple guild nominations.

Jeff Goldstein, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, stated, “With the continued interest in ‘Joker’ as a result of its recognition during this exciting awards season, we wanted to give audiences the chance to see the film on the big screen, whether for the first time or again.”

“Joker” took in over $1 billion worldwide in its initial run to become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

About “Joker”
Forever alone in a crowd, Arthur Fleck seeks connection. Yet, as he trods the sooted Gotham City streets and rides the graffitied mass transit rails of a hostile town teeming with division and dissatisfaction, Arthur wears two masks. One, he paints on for his day job as a clown. The other he can never remove; it’s the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel he’s a part of the world around him, and not the misunderstood man whom life is repeatedly beating down. Fatherless, Arthur has a fragile mother, arguably his best friend, who nicknamed him Happy, a moniker that’s fostered in Arthur a smile that hides the heartache beneath. But, when bullied by teens on the streets, taunted by suits on the subway, or simply teased by his fellow clowns at work, this social outlier only becomes even more out of sync with everyone around him.

Directed, co-written and produced by Todd Phillips, “Joker” is the filmmaker’s original vision of the infamous DC villain, an origin story infused with, but distinctly outside, the character’s more traditional mythologies. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society. Longing for any light to shine on him, he tries his hand as a stand-up comic, but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty and, ultimately, betrayal, Arthur makes one bad decision after another that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty, allegorical character study.

Four-time Oscar nominee Phoenix (“Joker,” “The Master,” “Walk the Line,” “Gladiator”) stars in the titular role alongside Oscar winner Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull,” “The Godfather: Part II”). The film also stars Zazie Beetz (TV’s “Atlanta,” “Deadpool 2”), Frances Conroy (TV’s “American Horror Story,” Hulu’s “Castle Rock”), Brett Cullen (“42,” Netflix’s “Narcos”), Glenn Fleshler (TV’s “Billions,” “Barry”), Bill Camp (“Red Sparrow,” “Molly’s Game”), Shea Whigham (“First Man,” “Kong: Skull Island”), Marc Maron (TV’s “Maron,” “GLOW”), Douglas Hodge (“Red Sparrow,” TV’s “Penny Dreadful”), Josh Pais (“Motherless Brooklyn,” “Going in Style”) and Leigh Gill (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).

Oscar nominee Phillips (“Joker,” “Borat,” “The Hangover” trilogy) directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with Oscar-nominated writer Scott Silver (“Joker,” “The Fighter”), based on characters from DC. The film was produced by Phillips and Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (“Joker,” “A Star Is Born,” “American Sniper”) under their Joint Effort banner, and Oscar nominee Emma Tillinger Koskoff (“Joker,” “The Irishman,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”). It was executive produced by Michael E. Uslan, Walter Hamada, Aaron L. Gilbert, Joseph Garner, Richard Baratta, and Bruce Berman.

Behind the scenes, Phillips was joined by Oscar-nominated director of photography Lawrence Sher (“Joker,” “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “The Hangover” trilogy), production designer Mark Friedberg (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Selma”), Oscar-nominated editor Jeff Groth (“Joker,” “War Dogs,” “The Hangover Part III”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (“Joker,” “Phantom Thread,” “The Artist”). The music is by Oscar-nominated composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker,” HBO’s “Chernobyl”).

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, in Association with BRON Creative, a Joint Effort Production, a Film by Todd Phillips, “Joker.” It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. This film has been rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.


Monday, January 6, 2020

Review: "Joker" Ain't No Joke

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 1 (of 2020) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Joker (2019)
Running time: 121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
Rating: MPAA – R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images
DIRECTOR:  Todd Phillips
WRITERS:  Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
PRODUCERS:  Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff
EDITOR:  Jeff Groth
COMPOSER:  Hildur Guðnadóttir


Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill, Douglas Hodge, Carrie Louise Putrello, Sharon Washington, Brian Tyree Henry, and Dante Pereira-Olson

Joker is a 2019 crime drama from director Todd Phillips.  The movie offers a gritty character study and new origin story of The Joker, the classic Batman villain who first appeared in Batman #1 (cover dated: Spring 1940).

The film opens sometime in the early 1980s.  Gotham City is in a state of chaos because of political and social turmoil and also because of class conflict between the extremely wealthy and powerful and the ordinary citizens.  Gotham is also in the middle of a mayoral election and a strike by the sanitation workers, which means that no one is picking up the garbage.  Trash bags and refuse line the streets, and this has created a rodent problem so bad that people are talking about “super rats.”

One of Gotham's beleaguered citizens is Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man with a history of mental illness, including a stint in a mental institution.  Fleck works as a “party clown,” but he aspires to be a stand-up comedian.  He lives with his ailing, aging mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy), who also has a history of mental illness.

Living in poverty and being mostly a loner, Arthur Fleck feels he has been disregarded by society.  All his life, it seemed to him that no one even noticed that he existed, so he always wondered if he really existed.  Now, two unexpected incidents in a single day will change his life.  One is an accident and mistake that costs Arthur his job.  The other is a violent act of self-defense that will leave an already shocked city aghast.  But not everyone is appalled by the man who will become “Joker.”

After all the controversy and worry that it would inspire lonely, young men (particularly “incels,” the “involuntarily celibate”) to violence, Todd Phillips' Joker, the comic book movie that is not a comic book movie, turns out to be a somewhat more personal film and, on the part of Joaquin Phoenix, a more intimate performance than one would expect from all the hullabaloo.  Joker portrays the descent (or ascent?) of a man from mentally-ill invisible man to psychopathic murder and celebrated figure.

I don't know if Joker is Phoenix's best performance, because as good as the Oscar-nominated actor is here, this millennium has seen him deliver tour-de-force performances in varied roles across a variety of films.  If he deserves to be nominated for an Oscar or even win one for his performance in Joker, this performance is just the latest example of actor-as-artist who has been in full bloom for quite awhile.  Phoenix's performance as Arthur fleck is both gut-wrenching and utterly entertaining.  He manages to be both dark and light, pitiful and deadly in a role and performance that is too complex to describe in a paragraph or two.  I can say that in the annals of films based on comic books, Phoenix as Arthur Fleck is an immortal work of art.

Director Todd Phillips and his co-screenwriter, Scott Silver, have created a movie that is an evolution in the comic book film genre.  However, most comic book movies are meant to be popcorn entertainment, even when they are deeply thoughtful, poignant, and/or dramatic.  I believe that Joker is not meant to change the direction of such films coming from Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe (the MCU) or from Warner Bros. line of DC Comics-inspired films.  Like Christopher Nolan did with his film, The Dark Knight (2008), Phillips points towards a different direction for comic book films with Joker.  I think that The Dark Knight partly inspired Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), so, in the next five years, I expect to see at least one great comic book movie following in the inspired dance steps of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.

The film has good supporting performances; for me, Robert De Niro as television talk show host, Murray Franklin, and Zazie Beetz as “love interest,” Sophie Dumond, who makes the most of her relatively small role, are standouts.  The crazy, ominous, gorgeous film score by Hildur Guðnadóttir is also one of the film's most special elements.

In Joker, Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips have created something scary, beautiful, fantastic, exhilarating, funny, and dazzling.  I will admit that sometimes it scared me and made me uncomfortable, but I love it all the more because of that.  Joker is a bravura act of cinema.

9 of 10

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, March 1, 2019

"A Star is Born" Returns to Theaters with New Footage

“A Star is Born” Invites Moviegoers to a Special Encore Engagement of the Film, Featuring Never-Before-Seen Moments

The award-winning movie, with almost 12 minutes of additional footage, including extended musical performances, will be released on 1150+ screens in North America for one week beginning Friday, March 1, 2019

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This Friday, March 1, 2019, for one week only, Warner Bros. Pictures will release an “Encore” version of Bradley Cooper’s global hit “A Star Is Born” in theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. This special edition of the film contains extended performances of such songs as opener “Black Eyes”; “Alibi”; and Lady Gaga’s Ally in her impromptu a cappella performance of “Shallow,” which received the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 91st Annual Academy Awards, following Cooper and Gaga’s moving performance during the ceremony. Moviegoers will also be treated to never-before-seen footage of Ally singing to Jack “Is That Alright?” in the wedding sequence; Jack in his studio singing “Too Far Gone”; Jack and Ally writing a new song together, entitled “Clover”; and much more, totaling nearly 12 additional minutes.

About “A Star Is Born”
In “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

In this new take on the iconic love story, seven-time Oscar nominee Cooper (“A Star Is Born,” “American Sniper,” “American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) made his directorial debut. He stars alongside multiple award-winning music superstar Gaga, who took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Shallow,” and who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in her first leading role in a major motion picture. Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally. She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer, until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.

The film also stars Andrew Dice Clay (“Blue Jasmine”), with Dave Chappelle (“Chi-Raq”) and Sam Elliott in his Oscar-nominated performance for Best Supporting Actor.

In addition to playing Ally, Gaga—who also previously earned an Oscar nod for the song “Til It Happens to You” from the film “The Hunting Ground”—performs original songs in the film with Cooper, which they wrote with a handful of artists, including Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell, and newly minted Oscar winners Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and Anthony Rossomando (Best Original Song, “Shallow”). The music is original and all vocals for the movie were recorded live during filming.

“A Star Is Born” was produced by Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips and Lynette Howell Taylor. Ravi Mehta, Basil Iwanyk, Niija Kuykendall, Sue Kroll, Michael Rapino and Heather Parry served as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Oscar winner Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters.

Cooper’s behind-the-scenes team included Oscar-nominated director of photography Matthew Libatique (“Black Swan”), production designer Karen Murphy (“The Light Between Oceans”), three-time Oscar-nominated editor Jay Cassidy (“American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Into the Wild”), and costume designer Erin Benach (“Loving”).

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, in association with Live Nation Productions, in association with Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures, a Jon Peters/Bill Gerber/Joint Effort Production, “A Star Is Born.” The film is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from February 1st to 9th, 2019 - Update #34

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CULTURE - From Deadspin:  Who's Killing The Soul Of Sneaker Culture?

MOVIES - From YahooEntertainment:  James Cameron reveals the working title for upcoming "Terminator" film, "Terminator: Dark Fate."

MOVIES - From THR:  Phil Lord and Chris Miller's latest project, "The Last Human," is sparking a bidding war.

TELEVISION - From Variety:  "The Walking Dead" star, Danai Gurira ("Michonne"), is leaving the series after the tenth season, which is scheduled to debut October 2019.

AWARDS - From Deadline:  Sean Penn campaigns hard for Bradley Cooper and his film, "A Star is Born," at the Oscars in a "Deadline" article.

MEDIA - From THR:  Amazon god-king, Jeff Bezos, alleges that AMI (American Media, Inc.), the parent company of the "National Enquirer" is trying to blackmail and extort him.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Michael B. Jordan and Warner Bros. obtain the novel "Black Leopard, Red Wolf."  Written by Marlon James, this buzzy novel has been called an "African Game of Thrones."

MOVIES - From Variety:  Pre-production on the "World War Z" sequel has been halted.  Budgetary concerns may be the reason.

AVATAR - From TheWrap:  Edie Falco has joined James Cameron's "Avatar" sequels.  The second film in the franchise is due December 2020.  The 2009 original set box office records.

AWARDS - From Variety:  "Avengers: Infinity War" (3 wins) and "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (4 wins) dominate 2019 / 17th annual Visual Effects Society Awards.

COMICS-FILM - From Collider:  Apparently Disney CEO Bob Iger wants to keep producing R-rated movies based on Marvel Comics, like the "Deadpool" franchise.  He is also open to continuing R-rated FOX franchises.

BLM - From CBS42:  Alabama Attorney General and Exalted Cyclops Steve Marshall will not bring charges against the officer who killed E.J. Bradford, Jr., an African-American man.

COMICS-FILM - From Deadline:  Lauren Shuler-Donner, a producer on Fox's "X-Men" film franchise, speaks about the time of transition as "X-Men" moves from Fox's control to Disney.  She says Marvel will likely recast Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackson in Fox's films.

OSCARS - From YahooEntertainment:  The nominees for the 91st Academy Awards gather at the annual nominees luncheon and take a class photo.

COMICS-FILM - From Newsarama:   Brian Michael Bendis, one of the creators of Miles Morales of the film, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," says that he is still writing an X-Men film, even in the wake of Disney's buyout of Fox.

ANIMATION - From Newsarama:  "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" dominates Annie Awards.

CELEBRITY - From TheDailyBeast:  Oscar-nominated Liam Neeson once wanted to commit and act or racist murder against a Black person (or "Black Bastard," as he described his potential victim).  I'll let the article tell you the rest...

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  The ratings for (fake) Super Bowl 53 hits a 10-year low for Super Bowl ratings.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 2/1 to 2/3/2019 weekend box office (Super Bowl weekend) is "Glass" with an estimated take of $9.5 million.  This is the third week in a row that "Glass" tops the weekend box office.

MOVIES - From YahooEntertainment:  Rami Malek has something to say about original "Bohemian Rhapsody" director, Bryan Singer.

AWARDS - From TheWrap:  Alfonaso Cuaron wins the tops prize at the 2019 Directors Guild Awards for his film "Roma."

MOVIES - From Variety:  The hit 1992 film, "Groundhog Day," is getting a sequel, but it is a VR game and not a movie.

AWARDS - From Deadline:  The American Cinema Editors (ACE) announced their "Eddie Awards," with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "The Favourite" winning the feature film awards.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  The next two "Mission: Impossible" films will appear a year apart, July 23, 2021 and August 5, 2022.  Tom Cruise, of course, will return.

SCIENCE - From TheAtlantic:  Death-Cap Mushrooms Are Spreading Across North America

MOVIES - From THR:  Leigh Whannell ("Saw," "Insidious") is the latest director connected to the long-promised (and unnecessary) "Escape from New York" remake.

CELEBRITY - LGBTQ - From Variety:  Jussie Smollett speaks publicly for the first time since the anti-gay, racist attack against him in Chicago earlier this week.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Javier Bardem joins Timothy Chalamet in Denis Villeneuve's "Dune" film reboot.

MOVIES - From Variety:  There are new photo images from Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."


From YouTube:  First trailer for "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," which is in theaters August 2, 2019.


From Deadline:  The British actor, Albert Finney, has died at the age of 82, Thursday, February 7, 2019.  Finney was a five-time Oscar nominee, the first time being for the film with which he is most often associated, "Tom Jones," although he never attended the Academy Awards ceremony.  He also turned down the honor of being knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

From ESPN:  Baseball Hall of Fame member (1982) Frank Robinson has died at the age of 83, Thursday, February 7, 2019.  Robinson was the first and only Major League Baseball player to win the MVP in both the American League and National League.  Robinson was also the first African-American manager of a Major League team (Cleveland Indians, 1975).

From TheWeek:  Former U.S. Congressman, Representative John Dingell (Democrat - Michigan, 12th U.S. District) has died at the age of 92, Thursday, December 7, 2019.  Dingell retired at the age of 88 in January 2015.  He was the nation's longest serving U.S. Congressman.

From EOnline:  The actor Kristof St. John has died at the age of 52, Sunday, February 3, 2019.  St. John was best known for starring in the long-running CBS soap opera, "The Young and the Restless," playing "Neil Winters."

From TheWrap:  The actress Julie Adams has died at the age of 92 years old, Sunday, February 3, 2019.  She is best known for her role as "Kay Lawrence," the damsel in distress in the classic Univeral Pictures horror flick, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon."

From THR:  Prolific television director, Andrew McCullough, has died the age of 94, January 22, 2019.  McCullough directed Orson Welles and James Dean on the small screen.  He also directed episodes of classic family sitcoms like "The Donna Reed Show," "Happy Days," and "Family Ties."