We’re a hard working bunch of folks here at Team Pajiba, keeping you up to date with Trump fuckery, celeb shenanigans, achingly personal essays, news on the latest men who suck, and of course, all the sexiness that’s fit to moisten your lions. That means, sometimes, we just don’t have enough time to cover every issue we want to. Also, there are some things we wouldn’t force on anyone, as much as TK would probably enjoy it. Fortunately, we’re all too nice a group to force anyone to subject themselves to the latest Woody Allen movie, Wonder Wheel. Call us old fashioned but some creepy old men could do without our hard work telling them they suck.
That doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the wonderful writing done by our colleagues in the field. Indeed, we want to honour their sacrifice and have done a quick roundup of the most scathing reviews of Allen’s latest self-satisfied nostalgia fest that he probably wrote in 9 days and never re-drafted. The film is ostensibly about a miserable waitress trapped in an unhappy marriage whose affair with the token Allen stand-in (played by Justin Timberlake because of course) is threatened after he expresses interest in her step-daughter. Do you see where this is going? Because literally every other critic did too. Make sure you give these critics some much deserved clicks. Spoilers ahoy but honestly, do you really care?
Allen has constructed an entire world, including an elaborate replica of Coney Island’s boardwalk, for the purposes of once more indicting his former partner and exonerating himself. But the fact that he has to construct that world himself, and not only that, but to filter it through a thick layer of theatrical artifice, feels strangely like an admission. He’s not changing his story, but even its most careful presentation—and, to the extent it is possible to separate form from content, Wonder Wheel is a beautiful movie, elegantly designed and shot—still seems like a hollow, trumped-up fraud.
At one point, after Ginny has turned into Blanche DuBois, she announces, «When it comes to love we often turn out to be our own worst enemy.» And not for the first time you wonder what Mr. Allen, who has long blurred fact and fiction, thinks he’s doing here. He couldn’t have anticipated that his name would be in the news because of the allegations of sexual abuse upending the entertainment industry. Yet how could we not think of him… Critics have often uneasily ignored his history, but he himself seems perversely intent on invoking it.
«Oh, God, spare me the bad drama,» a character in Woody Allen’s «Wonder Wheel» implores. Would that we could be so fortunate… Getting audiences to respond enthusiastically to uninspired plotting and tepid lines like «I’ve become consumed with jealousy» and «the bad blood between us runs too deep» is likely a bridge too far… And though they are ultimately prisoners of Allen’s script, «Wonder Wheel’s» actors try their hardest in a losing cause. This is especially true of star Kate Winslet, valiantly throwing herself into her performance as if her lines were real gems instead of cubic zirconium.
It’s always dangerous to assume a movie is actually about its creator. But in some cases it’s merited, especially when the filmmaker has taken pains throughout his career to invite the comparison… Mickey is stuck on himself, seemingly trying to simultaneously be the hero and writer of two dramas, one Greek, one O’Neill, but both set in a heightened version of rough-and-tumble Coney Island. Everyone else serves his whims, and the people around him are diminished as a result, turned into stock characters to stroke his own ego — which makes for bad drama and bad living alike.
What the hell is anyone to make of Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel, in which a self-proclaimed romantic entertains leaving his lover for her much younger stepdaughter? Separating the man from the art is always difficult when it comes to the legendary New York neurotic of American moviemaking, whose personal life remains an enduring source of controversy and scrutiny, both for the sexual abuse allegation that’s hung over it since the early ’90s and for the fact that, yes, he married his ex-girlfriend’s adopted daughter. But Allen, who still operates at the clockwork clip of one or two movies a year, doesn’t make it any easier to approach his work on its own terms; he possesses what may be a pathological need to throw a spotlight over his own experiences, relationships, and hangups. Even by those standards, Wonder Wheel is uncomfortably revealing, its real-life parallels too blatant to be anything but intentional. But to what end?
Here’s a Woody Allen movie about a «moody» and «crazy» washed-up redheaded actress furious that her lover has jilted her for her kinda-sorta daughter. The redhead does something unconscionable to punish the couple and then has to find a way to live with it. Meanwhile, her much younger son, a creature of aimless rage, lights fire after fire around the Coney Island boardwalk, the place where Allen’s most beloved character — Annie Hall’s Alvy Singer — grew up. The little pyro is happy to watch the world he’s inherited burn. In Allen’s mind, is the kid Ronan Farrow?
Happy Cyber Monday! Have you blown next month’s rent on a bunch of online sales, buying gifts for everyone on your shopping list (but mostly for yourself)? Me too, me too. Cool story. Oh, hey, speaking of Cyber Monday — more than 200 internet companies, including broadband bad boys like Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and Airbnb, chose today to release a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission not to roll back the current net neutrality rules. Addressed to FCC Chairman/Fuckboi Ajit Pai, the letter notes that the «current rules provide the protections necessary to protect net neutrality and ensure the internet remains a free and open marketplace that encourages innovation and supports robust competition.»
Why does this matter, today of all days? Well, Cyber Monday earned $ 3.5 billion dollars in America last year, making it the largest online sales day in history (and today’s profits may blow that figure out of the water). More commerce is occurring online than ever before — thanks to the free and open internet that net neutrality guarantees us.
Because of the open internet, a web developer can launch a business out of their own apartment, an aspiring fashion designer in Wyoming can sell clothes in Los Angeles, or a caterer can find new customers in their town. Because of net neutrality, consumers and businesses have unfettered access to one another, increasing competition and consumer choice.
Disastrously, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week released a draft order that would end this open commerce by repealing the current net neutrality rules and eliminating the protections that keep the internet free and open for America’s businesses and consumers.
Without these rules, internet service providers will be able to favor certain websites and e-businesses, or the platforms they use to garner new customers, over others by putting the ones that can pay in fast lanes and slowing down or even blocking others. Businesses may have to pay a toll just to reach customers. This would put small and medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage and prevent innovative new ones from even getting off the ground. An internet without net neutrality protections would be the opposite of the open market, with a few powerful cable and phone companies picking winners and losers instead of consumers.
But maybe we need to calm down and give the internet service providers the benefit of the doubt. Surely such large corporations wouldn’t really take advantage of the net neutrality rollback to make more money, would they? After all, Comcast (the largest home internet provider in the U.S.) has been saying for years that it would respect the principles of net neutrality even without being forced to — principles like not discriminating, blocking or throttling internet content, and not instituting paid prioritization by creating fast lanes for certain content providers.
Except, as Ars Technica points out, lately Comcast has dropped the promises about paid prioritization. Check out this article to see the complete breakdown on the shifting language of Comcast’s messaging.
Well, at least the New York State Attorney General hasn’t found evidence of identity theft in those comments and accused the FCC of refusing to aid in the investigation, right?
My office analyzed the public comments submitted to the @FCC about #netneutrality—and found that 100,000s of Americans were likely impersonated to drown out the views of real people and businesses. This was akin to identity theft on a massive scale: https://t.co/xxFjSgoqVP
On December 14th the FCC will vote on whether to eliminate net neutrality as we know it — but it’s not too late to make your opinion heard. From Verizon store protests to petitions to calling or writing to your representatives, there are many ways to participate. And despite the 2-dimensional hellscape that is the FCC’s website, John Oliver’s handy «gofccyourself» shortcut is still active!
1. Click gofccyourself.com This redirects you to the FCC’s misleadingly named «Restoring Internet Freedom» proceedings page. 2. Click «+Express» 3. Check that «Proceeding(s)» is pre-populated with 17-108. If not, type 17-108 and click enter 4. Under the «Name(s) of Filer(s)» field, add your name, then click enter 5. Add your address 6. Under «Brief Comments» — comment away! Here’s a basic template: «Dear FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, I support the existing Net Neutrality rules, which classify internet service providers under the Title II provision of the Telecommunications Act. Please DO NOT roll back these regulations. Thanks!» 7. Click «Continue to review screen,» check your submission, click submit
I feel the need to preface this with very little. There’s a lot of bad shit happening around the world, and a lot of dark, horrible stuff being uncovered from the past. Sometimes, in between fighting injustice, we need to be reminded that good things happen too. After all—what’s the use in fighting, if we can’t even remember what we’re fighting for?
So here is a round-up of news of a more uplifting variety:
An Iranian Olympic weightlifter is auctioning off his medal to help victims of a terrible earthquake.
Last week a devastating earthquake hit the Iranian-Iraqi border. Over 400 people were killed. More than 10,000 injured.
Kianoush Rostami, 26, an Iranian of Kurdish descent and the winner of the Olympic gold medal in weightlifting at Rio 2016, has announced that he will be auctioning off his medal to help those in need. In an Instagram post, he wrote:
I am returning my Rio 2016 Olympics gold medal — which actually belongs to them — to my people. I will put my medal up for auction. All the proceedings will go to those hit by the earthquake.
A train in Tokyo left 20 seconds early. The company responsible apologised for this.
The train was traveling northbound on the line that connects Tokyo’s Akihabara station with Tsukuba to the northeast — a trip that takes less than an hour. After passengers had boarded, the crew didn’t check the time, resulting in the slightly early departure «around» 9:44 a.m., the company said.
The train had arrived at the station on time, at 40 seconds past 9:43 a.m. It was supposed to leave one minute later, at 9:44:40 — but instead, it left at 9:44:20.
«We deeply apologize for the severe inconvenience imposed upon our customers,» the Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company said, in a translation by Sora News 24.
The company also added in its statement that it had received no complaints for the incident. On the other hand, here in England, our atrocious, over-priced, fractured privatised rail network means that a train might still be considered kinda on time if it’s 20 minutes late; there probably wouldn’t be any apology for it; and we would certainly complain about it.
In another ray of hope coming from an unlikely place, a baby was found alive and well, buried in rubble, three days after the Iranian-Iraqi border earthquake struck.
In Kerala, India, the life of a 58-day old baby suffering from a critical heart condition, hung in the balance. The baby was due for a critical transfer from one hospital to another. Because of the child’s condition, however, air ambulance was a no-go. The roads were the only option. Time was precious, and Indian traffic would not make things easy. But then the whole state came together via social media to clear traffic and to ensure an easy passage for the ambulance.
The whole operation went on so smoothly that the ambulance driver Tamim said he just had to stop the vehicle for 15 minutes on the way, only to feed the baby and nowhere in between.
The thousands who were glued to their phones for hours had a sigh of relief when Rinto the paramedical staff onboard sent out the message that the ambulance has reached its destination successfully.
Australians recently voted overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage. Because in the end love will always win. This was certainly good news for Arthur Cheeseman, 85, and John Challis, 89, who have been together for 50 years, and who will now get to marry.
The theme of last night’s 51st annual CMAs was Westwood Chic and the stars moseyed down the red carpet wearing their best robot brothel attire. As such, fringe, upholstery and feathers were the order of the day. That’s Drake up top there. No not that Drake, Drake White showing ’em how they ride in Nashville. For the most part, the ladies kept things more classically formal while the men ruled the night by showing off their creative country flair. Let’s saddle up and ride the range looking for lost doggies. Giddy up!
Look yonder, huddled behind that there big ole cactus. It’s a trio of young bucks who’ve gone done raided the Sheplers over on highway 99. This group is called Midland. The middle one is committed to the rugged masculinity of a bygone era, the one on the right is committed to the high roller Las Vegas era of his grandpappy’s youth and the one on the left has a condition that makes him shrink very slowly. Midland is currently available for extra work and mustache rides.
Now sitting in the jeep over there, looking out into the sunset and blowing smoke rings with their vape pens we have a couple of more modern cowpokes. No, that’s not Santino Rice on the right, that’s some other dude. This duo go by the name Locash even though I see no clear indication that they are indeed Straight Outta Locash. Though certainly a man (on the left) who has the brass balls to combine a soul patch, goatee, trucker hat and a scarf from Ross Dress For Less would have nothing to fear on the mean streets of that fictional berg.
These two cattle bosses haven’t been on an actual horse in some time. They’ve been floating above Texas in their time machine since the mid 1970’s smoking cigars and waiting for the price of beef improve. They go by the name Brothers Osborne and they won the award last night for Tweeest Interpretation Of a Theme.
Those were my favorite outfits of the night but there are plenty more oohs and aahs to be found in the gallery below. My pick for best dressed goes to Pink and her daughter who have been consistently killing it at awards shows with adorability. There are also a lot of fun “why is she/he there“s. And Leah Michele, whose invitation did you steal?
Dame Helen Mirren stars in Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built, a horror movie about the infamous mansion that was home to firearm heiress Sarah Winchester. The Winchester House was built in 1884 and Winchester claimed it was haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester firearms. In order to fool the spirits, Winchester continually added onto the rooms and corridors of the mansion. Construction continued unabated until her death in 1922.
«On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, (Mirren) heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To the outsider, it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece (Sarah Snook) or for the brilliant Doctor Eric Price (Clarke) whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters…» — Bloody Disgusting
Now for something completely different: Attack of the Killer Donuts. This one is a horror «comedy» from Level 3 Entertainment. I would tell you some of the actors and the director, but you don’t know them. Trust me.
Finally, the eighth Saw movie, titled Jigsaw, will be in theaters this weekend. Fans of the franchise have been picking apart all of the previous films, theorizing who and what will appear in the new movie, and generally being stoked. With that, an official infographic has been compiled that lays out all of the carnage from the previous seven movies.
Of note: unlike other horror franchises, fewer women are placed into Jigsaw’s traps and the women that are tested have a higher survival rate than the men.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is universally recognized as sunshine in human form. So imagine what an absolute dumpster fire of a human being you must be for Miranda to call you out on Twitter, repeatedly. Of course we’re talking about President* Donald Trump and his absolutely repugnant tweets about the people of Puerto Rico and Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor San Juan. ICYMI, you can read them here.
Acclaimed Hamilton creator and American of Puerto Rican descent, Miranda responded with a rage uncharacteristic of his ever-hopeful Twitter persona.
It’s astounding with all your privilege and power your heart and compassion remain so stunted and impoverished. You lavish yourself and sneer at those in need. You could do so much better. https://t.co/JijAcah8ea
We’ve entered the thick of festival season. Telluride’s just concluded, Venice is wrapping up. The Toronto International Film Festival is gearing up, then comes Fantastic Fest in Austin, New York Film Festival, and BFI London Film Festival. With these, comes a slew of trailers ponying for critics’ attention, and by extension award season buzz. Of course, they can’t all be winners. Are you ready for a preview?
Battle of the Sexes
Emma Stone and Steve Carell star in this recreation of the legendary 1973 tennis match that pitted Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs.
Hot off her Oscar win for La La Land, Stone offers a powerful turn as an unexpected feminist icon. Little Miss Sunshine helmers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris re-team with Carell for a biopic that could be a heavy hitter in the acting categories. Following Telluride and TIFF, Battle of the Sexes will open in theaters on September 22nd.
Blade of the Immortal
Takashi Miike’s 100th journey is an adaptation of the BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL manga. Manji, a samurai who cannot die, crosses paths with Rin Asano, a young girl whose parents were killed. Manji swears to help Rin Asano avenge her parents’ deaths.
Okay, so Miike’s mental live-action anime adaptation is unlikely to get Oscar buzz. But it’s playing at Fantastic Fest, and us Overlords are stoked about it. Blade of the Immortal hits ambush theaters on November 3rd.
Before We Vanish
The latest from master of art-horror Kiyoshi Kurosawa is perhaps his most mainstream film yet, a throwback to 1980s sci-fi. An advance crew of three aliens journey to Earth in preparation for a complete takeover of the planet. They snatch not only bodies but memories, beliefs, values—everything that defines their conquests as human—leaving only hollow shells, which are all but unrecognizable to their loved ones. This disturbing parable for our present moment, replete with stunning images—including a drone attack and a bit of Clockwork Orange-style murder and mayhem—is also a profoundly mystical affirmation of love as the only form of resistance and salvation.
Following its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, this Japanese horror offering will play NYFF, where we’ll be reviewing it. While no US release has yet been announced, NEON’s got the rights, so expect this genre stunner to be coming your way soon(ish).
Call Me By Your Name
It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). While Elio’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Adapted from André Aciman’s novel, Call Me By Your Name has been thrilling critics since its Sundance debut last January. Director Luca Guadagnino has previously thrilled with the SWINTON vehicles A Bigger Splash and I Am Love. So Pajibans should mark their calendars. After it’s played TIFF and NYFF, Guadagnino’s lauded latest will come to theaters on November 24th.
Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, GERALD’S GAME delivers pitch-perfect performances in a faithful adaptation where the horrors of the mind are much worse than what’s in front of you.
Not all festival fare will draw Oscar attention. But horror fans will likely drool over Mike Flanagan’s Stephen King adaptation. Flanagan’s made a name for himself with horror flicks like Oculus, Hush, and Ouija: Origin of Evil, a prequel that had no right to be as good as it was. Gerald’s Game will hit Fantastic Fest ahead of its Netflix debut on September 29th.
In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.
Writer/director Scott Cooper’s follow-up to the gangster biopic Black Mass stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Ben Foster, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, and Q’orianka Kilcher. This intriguing Western played Telluride ahead of TIFF. Though star-studded, it’s currently seeking U.S. distribution.
The Killing of A Sacred Deer
The life of a brilliant surgeon is thrown into disarray when his friendship with a bizarre teenager threatens the lives of his entire family. Faced with a frightening choice, the man will be forced to assess all that he’s ever done.
Yorgos Lanthimos, the director behind The Lobster, reunites with Colin Farrell, and loops in Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone. We’re sold. Once it’s hit TIFF, Fantastic Fest, and London, The Killing of A Sacred Deer will open in select theaters on October 27th.
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a portrait of an artistically inclined young woman (Saoirse Ronan) trying to define herself in the shadow of her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and searching for an escape route from her hometown of Sacramento.
Gerwig made a name for herself with stirring turns in films like Frances Ha, Nights and Weekends, Damsels In Distress and 20th Century Women. Now, the acclaimed actress turns to writing and directing with this intriguing coming-of-age dramedy that stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, and Timothée Chalamet. Following its premieres at Telluride, TIFF and NYFF, the already buzzed about Lady Bird will hit theaters on November 10th.
Last Flag Flying
In Richard Linklater’s lyrical road movie, as funny as it is heartbreaking, three aging Vietnam-era Navy vets—soft-spoken Doc (Steve Carell), unhinged and unfiltered Sal (Bryan Cranston), and quietly measured Mueller (Laurence Fishburne)—reunite to perform a sacred task: the proper burial of Doc’s only child, who has been killed in the early days of the Iraq invasion.
Linklater’s bittersweet follow-up to Everybody Wants Some!! will make its world premiere at the New York Film Festival at the end of this month, before opening in theaters November 3rd. Can your heart handle it?
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Noah Baumbach revisits the terrain of family vanities and warring attachments that he began exploring with The Squid and the Whale in this intricately plotted story of three middle-aged siblings (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel) coping with their strong-willed father (Dustin Hoffman) and the flightiness of his wife (Emma Thompson).
Techinically this is an Adam Sandler/Netflix movie. But it’s written and directed by Baumbach and premiered at Cannes ahead of its NYFF presentation. So, it can’t be that bad. Right? Right!? The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) hits Netflix on October 13th.
Set against the backdrop of the Mississippi Delta during the Jim Crow era after World War II, Mudbound is both a timeless and timely film following two families — one black, one white — bound together by the hardships of farm life.
This striking historical drama marks writer/director Dee Rees’ long-awaited theatrical follow-up to her critically heralded debut Pariah. Starring Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks, Mudbound won rave reviews out Sundance, and will play at TIFF and NYFF before hitting Netflix and select theaters on November 17th.
The Shape of Water
At the height of the Cold War, circa 1962, two workers in a high-tech US government laboratory (Sally Hawkins and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer) discover a terrifying secret experiment, in this otherworldly fairytale from Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).
I’m deeply, deeply jealous of every single person who gets to see this before I do. Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, and Richard Jenkins also star in del Toro’s alluring follow-up to his woefully underrated Crimson Peak. After playing at festivals in Venice, Toronto, Stiges, and London, The Shape of Water will finally open on December 8th.
Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is «The Square», an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian’s foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum’s PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for «The Square». The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis.
Written and directed by Ruben Östlund, this satirical drama starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and Terry Notary was Winner Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2017. And sure, it sounds dry, but this trailer gives you a taste of its bizarre and biting brand of humor. The Square will play at TIFF and NYFF before opening in theaters October 27th.
Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja — feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself — while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.
You had me by implying «supernatural lesbian thriller.» And I don’t get what’s going on with this poster, but I’m into it. Following TIFF, Fantastic Fest, and NYFF, Thelma will open on November 10th.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
A grieving mother takes drastic measures in an attempt to catch her daughter’s killer. Challenging the police to solve the case, she posts a series of billboards that threaten the fabric of rural, Missouri.
Only In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh could take a premise this dark and spin it into something hilarious, yet heartbreaking. Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, and Caleb Landry Jones co-star in this ensemble black-comedy. But it’s Frances McDormand who’ll likely be the focus of its award season campaign, holding it down as a gruff, no shit taking, crotch-kicking mom on a mission. Once its thrilled audiences at TIFF, Fantastic Fest and London, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will come to theaters on November 10th.
In 1977, following the death of his single mother, Ben (Oakes Fegley) loses his hearing in a freak accident and makes his way from Minnesota to New York, hoping to learn about the father he has never met. A half-century earlier, another deaf 12-year-old, Rose (Millicent Simmonds), flees her restrictive Hoboken home, captivated by the bustle and romance of the nearby big city. Each of these parallel adventures, unfolding largely without dialogue, is an exuberant love letter to a different bygone era of New York. The mystery of how they ultimately converge, which involves Julianne Moore in a lovely dual role, provides the film’s emotional core.
Fans of the YA novel on which this movie is based will be happy to hear its author Brian Selznick penned Wonderstruck‘s screenplay. Aside from boasting Moore and Michelle Williams, Haynes’s latest is drawing buzz, because he’s the filmmaker wwho’s brought us such beautiful, heart-pummeling films as Far From Heaven, Carol and Velvet Goldmine. Well, that and its rave reviews out of Cannes, Melbourne, Locarno, San Sebastián and Telluride. Following its bow at NYFF, Wonderstruck will come to theaters on October 20th.
Plot synopses pulled from festival websites, IMDB, and press releases.
To say it’s hard for a woman to break through behind the scenes in Hollywood is an understatement. Of course, it’s also hard for women to succeed in Silicon Valley. Or the White House. Look, sometimes it just sucks to be a woman in general.
But especially in Hollywood, ok. A point that has become abundantly clear this week, thanks to two stories that have been making the rounds. Ready for your Friday afternoon rage-read? Sexism, take it awayyyyy!
First up: fuck The Simpsons. Ok, maybe not the show as an entire entity. Don’t have a cow, etc. etc. But fuck some of the behind-the-scenes garbage that occurred, particularly during the early seasons. Cartoonist Mimi Pond recently spoke to Jezebel about her upcoming graphic novel, and the conversation circled around to her time writing for the long-running cartoon. To be clear — she wrote only one episode. It turned out to be the very first episode, thanks to a fluke with the scheduling, but in a way she helped launch the show that would go on to become a singular cultural phenomenon. And then she was never invited to join the staff or contribute in any additional way.
You may be wondering why. And so was she. But she did eventually discover the reason — her gender. Let’s hear her explain it, shall we?
And it wasn’t until years later that I found out that Sam Simon, who was the showrunner, didn’t want any women around because he was going through a divorce. It had remained a boys’ club for a good long time. I feel like I was just as qualified as anyone else who came along and got hired on the show, and it was just because I was a woman that I was, you know, not allowed entry into that club.
Gosh, emotional men being emotional! Say it ain’t so! Clearly not being around women in the workplace is the answer. We should really respect the guy for prioritizing his own mental health above the career advancement of qualified artists, amirite?
But, you know, that happened almost 3 decades ago (related: I’m feeling old now). Surely things have gotten better, right?
Well, not if you’re an assistant who wanted to observe A Day Without a Woman on March 8th without your talent manager boss getting huffy. Rosette Laursen recently shared some disturbing emails she inadvertently received from her former boss, Michael Einfeld (who meant to share his thoughts with two of her male coworkers but instead sent them to the entire team — Laursen included). His response, with spelling errors fixed, went thusly: «Are you f—ing kidding me. At the end of pilot season. Someone should sew her vagina shut. I’m never hiring a girl ever again.»
Oh but wait! There’s more, thanks to an additional email! «No bonus for anyone that strikes or leaves early in pilot season. No one is striking in show business we are all against Trump. And women are considered diverse and being shoved in as writer and directors. Zach who is a Jewish male is being pushed out. Uppity Selfish C-t. Heather went to work. I’m sure anyone at a casting office or agency would be fired.»
Please remember, this was all in response to a subordinate staff member requesting the option of observing International Women’s Day. Kinda proves the point of the whole event, don’t it?
To be fair, Einfeld did quickly realize just how fucked up that was… but he didn’t make things better. He texted an apology to Laursen when he realized, you know, that his own assistant saw him recommend her vagina get sewn shut. But the apology somehow managed to be kind of MORE offensive? You decide: «I apologize for venting like a misogynistic faggot,» he said. «I was letting off steam I didn’t mean to hit reply all. I’m an a-hole. If you come back we can play Nazi death camp. You can beat me and put me in the oven. Or feed me cabbage and lock me in the shower. I am truly sorry.»
Yeah, so Laursen quit. Obviously. And decided to pursue legal action. But when Einfeld didn’t respond to her lawyers, she took her case to the court of public opinion by posting her receipts on Facebook. Which certainly got her old boss to pay attention! Along with, you know, the media.
Last night, Einfeld emailed a response to the controversy to his clients, friends, and colleagues. As far as mea culpas go, it’s pretty good. But it isn’t clear if he’s tried to say any of this to Laursen herself.
«Let me say without reservation — I am sorry. I used language that was tasteless, humorless and completely inexcusable. I believe deeply in workplace diversity regardless of race, gender, creed or sexual orientation, and I am mortified that the things I have said have worked against my commitment to inclusion. As I’ve searched for a response to all this, what I’ve discovered is that words fall woefully short of my extreme remorse — I am so sorry,» Einfeld wrote. «I will be undertaking some obviously needed introspection, and want to thank those of you who have expressed a willingness to standby me. To those that feel they need space from me — I am heartbroken but understand. If it were possible, I wouldn’t mind space from myself right now. Again, to everyone — I am sorry. If this is something you are willing to hear from me in person please call, or send me a note and I’ll call you. I am devastated, and hope in time you will consider giving me the chance to earn your forgiveness.»
So, that happened. But lest you think it’s all doom and gloom for ladies trying to get ahead behind the camera, this week also brought a rather delightful bit of news. At the TCAs, FX hosted a panel of seven female directors who have gotten a leg up in the industry thanks to Ryan Murphy’s Half foundation. Launched just last year, Half aims to have women, people of color, and members of the LGBT community account for 50 percent of all director positions, in addition to outreach efforts and mentorships to promote diversity.
Many of the women on the panel, including Rachel Goldberg, Alexis Ostrander, and Liza Johnson, have gotten their biggest opportunities by directing episodes of Murphy shows or other FX properties. And a big topic was the catch-22 that occurs when you’re looking for your big break. Studios won’t let you helm a film without at least a TV episode on your resume, but you can’t direct a TV episode without showing feature film experience. Basically, no one wants to be the first to take a risk and give a new voice a chance, which is why having a foundation like Half is so important to help open up opportunities.
Regarding having Murphy as an ally, Goldberg said: «He told me, ’50 year-old white men make chances, and I’m now a 50 year-old white man, so I’ll make changes.’ And he did. He shows you can give these women opportunities, and they won’t fuck it up. It’s ok to take the risk.»
Did you somehow miss all the Instagram Father’s Day posts from the sports world today? No worries, we gathered them all up for a nice holiday gallery. Dwyane Wade’s family holding a fashion shoot, Matt Barnes and his boys, family man Tom Brady in the park, and Antonio Cromartie’s football team are a few of the notable highlights.
Sidenote: This isn’t a competition, but Marcus Stroman’s dad is still the best.