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Maddox Jolie-Pitt breaks silence on strained relationship with dad Brad Pitt

<p>Maddox Jolie-Pitt has opened up about his dad Brad Pitt, giving a brief insight into the difficulty of their relationship. </p> <p>It seems their relationship hasn’t improved, he admitted in a rare interview about his famous father. </p> <p>The 18-year-old who is studying biochemistry at Yonsei University in South Korea, said on film obtained by In <em>Touch Weekly</em> that he wasn’t sure if his father would visit him while he is studying abroad. </p> <p>“I don’t know about that [or] what’s happening,” he told a reporter. </p> <p>Maddox also spoke on their relationship being over or improving to which he said “Well, whatever happens, happens”. </p> <p>Reports show Maddox and his 55-year-old Hollywood heavyweight father had a falling out in 2016 after an incident aboard a private plane. </p> <p>Allegedly, Pitt hit his eldest son in a rage - a few days later, his wife Angelina Jolie filed for divorce. </p> <p>Pitt fell under investigation by US authorities after being accused of physically and verbally abusing his children during an angry outburst, <em>TMZ</em> reported in September 2016. </p> <p>Pitt vehemently denied allegations of violence against his children, however he did admit to screaming at his son. </p> <p>The FBI cleared Pitt of any violent wrongdoings and said they would not file charges against him. </p> <p>44-year-old Angelina dropped Maddox off at university in August. </p> <p>Together, Brad and Angelina share six children; Maddox, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 11.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see the Jolie-Pitt family. </p>

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15 things you never knew about Grace Kelly

<p>Elegance personified; Grace Kelly is one iconic Silver Screen star whose adoration seems infinite. Aptly named and always alluring, join us as we take a look at 15 fun facts you may not know about the statuesque beauty.</p> <p><strong>1. Charmed childhood</strong></p> <p>Grace Kelly was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, when she was entered the world in Philadelphia on 12 November 1929. Her father, John Brendan Kelly, Sr, was arguably the greatest American rower of his generation, winning three Olympic gold medals and 126 consecutive single skull victories. Her mother, Margaret Katherine Majer, was also an athletic type, teaching physical education and later becoming the first female coach of women’s sport at Penn State University. Rather than following her parents’ lead, Grace became interested in acting at a young age and worked as a theatre actress and model in New York before cracking into Hollywood</p> <p><strong>2. The Hitchcock connection</strong></p> <p>“There are many leading women,” Alfred Hitchcock is quoted as saying. “But Grace Kelly is a leading lady.” While her early work garnered interest, it wasn’t until Kelly teamed up with director extraordinaire Alfred Hitchcock that her career was turned up a notch – or ten! First came Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, both released in 1954 and the latter of which heralded international fame and recognition for the young actress. “Mr. Hitchcock taught me everything about cinema,” she said. “It was thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes.”</p> <p><strong>3. Brief but illustrious film career</strong></p> <p>After a string of TV appearances, Kelly made her film debut as a 22-year-old in Fourteen Hours (1951). Her breakthrough role came the following year when she starred alongside Cary Grant in High Noon before her star-status was cemented in 1953’s Mogambo (with Clark Gable). In 1954 she could be seen in a number of films; Dial M For Murder, Rear Window, Country Girl, Green Fire and The Bridge at Toko-Ri. In 1955 she starred in To Catch A Thief, while her final two films were made in 1956 – The Swan with Alec Guinness and High Society with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra – when she retired from the business abruptly and entirely.</p> <p><strong>4. Academy award winner</strong></p> <p>Despite her brilliant ‘Hitchcock’ performances, Grace Kelly won her first and only Best Actress Academy Award for the 1955 film The Country Girl, in which she starred alongside Bing Crosby. Additionally, Grace won three Golden Globes and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; not bad for a woman who stuck around Hollywood for only a handful of years.</p> <p><strong>5. We can lick the back of her head (kind of!)</strong></p> <p>Kelly enjoys the title of first actress to have her likeness printed on a postal stamp, when a number of limited edition stamps were circulated in 1993 – 11 years after her death.</p> <p><strong>6. She was a Barbizon babe</strong></p> <p>After high school, at her parent’s insistence she complete tertiary education, Kelly was accepted into the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York. During this time, she roamed the hallowed halls of the Barbizon Hotel for Women in New York, where she counted Liza Minnelli and Ali MacGraw among her neighbours. First opened in 1927, the residential building was intended to give female professionals a place to stay – or a ‘safe retreat’ – in the Big Apple without male intrusion.</p> <p><strong>7. Not even Grace Kelly was perfect</strong></p> <p>During her time at AADA, teachers were concerned with the pitch and tone of her voice. Apparently, a high voice with nasal undertones and a thick Philadelphian accent was the issue, so she worked diligently with voice coaches and listened to hours of recordings until she perfected her gentle tongue that sounded almost British, and always charming.</p> <p><strong>8. Could bring grown men to their knees, or make them traipse across the globe</strong></p> <p>Famous fashion designer Oleg Cassini wasn’t just smitten with Grace Kelly: he was crazy in love! She sent him a letter while on the set of To Catch A Thief in France that stated, ‘Those who love me, follow me.’ Surprise, surprise… he did!</p> <p><strong>9. Royal romance</strong></p> <p>After a whirlwind romance, which included a proposal of marriage after just 11 days of wooing, Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly tied the knot on 18 April 1956. ‘It seemed right and it felt right, and that was the way I wanted it,” Kelly later explained. “I knew that I was going to do it, and even if there was a chance I was making a mistake, I would find out later. Right then and there, nothing mattered to me except staying together.” The love story began one year earlier after the pair crossed paths at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, where Kelly was representing the American delegation He was so taken with the American beauty that he travelled to her hometown of Philadelpia three months later to visit Kelly and meet her family. After agreeing to walk away from her film career and devote herself to royal life, she bore the Prince three children; Caroline, Albert and Stephanie.</p> <p><strong>10. Wedding dowry</strong></p> <p>Becoming a princess doesn’t come cheap, and Mr Kelly had to fork out $2 million for the Prince to seal the deal. It seems the dowry was purely a formality, and we’re fairly certain a man who proposed after just 11 days would have taken her hand no matter the sum.</p> <p><strong>11. Matrimonial censorship</strong></p> <p>Somewhat surprisingly, the screening of any film featuring Grace Kelly was banned in Monaco shortly after she wed Prince Rainier. Indeed, she was offered a plum role in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1962 movie Marnie but turned it down after fierce domestic opposition from Monaco residents (and no doubt the royal family).</p> <p><strong>12. Humble princess</strong></p> <p>“I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others.”</p> <p><strong>13. Tragic end</strong></p> <p>Grace Kelly’s untimely death at the age of 52 sparked a wave of grief across Europe and Hollywood. Indeed, fans around the world mourned for the actress-turned-princess, when she died 24-hours after a car accident on 14 September 1982. The result of a stroke, Kelly lost control of the vehicle that was also carrying her 17-year-old daughter, Stephanie, who escaped with only minor bruises. She was buried four days later in the Grimaldi family vault, where her husband would join her in 2005.</p> <p><strong>14. Famous friends</strong></p> <p>During his eulogy for the starlet, James Stewart said: ‘You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met’.</p> <p><strong>15. A fondness for flowers</strong></p> <p>After her death, Prince Rainier created a garden bordering a small lake in his late-wife’s honour. Opened in 1984, the garden was recently renovated to include more than 8,000 rose bushes. “My love of flowers opened a lot of doors for me,” Grace said. “I've made many friends because of their passion of flowers and their vast knowledge in this field.” A statue of the princess stands in the garden.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/entertainment/15-things-you-never-knew-about-grace-kelly/page/1">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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15 facts you didn’t know about the Wizard of Oz

<p><strong>For fans of <em>The Wizard of Oz</em> </strong>the mere mention of MGM’s movie masterpiece conjures instant memories: Judy Garland’s tender rendition of “Over the Rainbow”. The Wicked Witch of the West cackling, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” Dorothy and her friends dancing down the winding Yellow Brick Road. And how many kids were terrified of those sinister Winged Monkeys?</p> <p>Since its Hollywood debut on August 15, 1939, more than one billion people have seen Dorothy’s whirlwind journey from Kansas to the Land of Oz. No matter how many times we’ve watched, it’s hard not to be awed when the farmhouse door opens on a Technicolor world. Decades later, there’s still no place like home…</p> <p><strong><em>1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz </em></strong>wasn’t Dorothy’s only journey to Oz. L. Frank Baum wrote 14 novels and six short stories about her adventures. Recent movies such as <em>Oz, The Great and Powerful </em>and <em>Dorothy of Oz </em>were based on these books. Bradford Press has ­­­recreated these elaborately illustrated first editions. Learn more about these replica books at OriginalOz.com.</p> <p><strong>2. Ray Bolger wore an asbestos version </strong>of his Scarecrow costume for the scene in which the Wicked Witch lights him on fire. Men with fire extinguishers stood out of camera range.</p> <p><strong>3. The 1939 movie is a remake. </strong>Two silent film versions preceded it, in 1910 and 1925. The latter starred Oliver Hardy as the character then called the Woodsman.</p> <p><strong>4. No shade of expensive yellow paint </strong>seemed to photograph properly on the Yellow Brick Road – until someone tried an ordinary house paint.</p> <p><strong>5. The jacket Frank Morgan wore </strong>as Professor Marvel came from a thrift shop. MGM spread the story that, by coincidence, the jacket was later found to have belonged to L. Frank Baum.</p> <p><strong>6. Judy Garland wore a corset </strong>throughout filming to give her a younger physique.</p> <p><strong>7. Judy Garland was 16 years old </strong>when filming began. As a minor, she was only permitted by Californian law to work four hours a day.</p> <p><strong>8. Oscar winner Gale Sondergaard </strong>was originally signed to portray a glamorous Wicked Witch of the West. When MGM realised it would affect the whole plot, actress Margaret Hamilton was cast as a more cantankerous witch.</p> <p><strong>9. The film cost $2,777,000 </strong>to produce but earned only $3 million when it was first released.</p> <p><strong>10. The actors who played the Munchkins </strong>were reportedly each paid $50 per week, while Toto earned $125 per week.</p> <p><strong>11. The Emerald City horses </strong>had jelly crystals sprinkled over them to give them their colour.</p> <p><strong>12. Toto, a terrier, was sensitive to noise, </strong>and had to be concealed during the filming of the explosion caused by the Wicked Witch’s arrival in Munchkin Land.</p> <p><strong>13. MGM Studios boss Louis B. Mayer </strong>bought the rights hoping it would follow the success of Walt Disney’s <em>Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs</em>(1937).</p> <p><strong>14. The caps that the inhabitants </strong>of the Emerald City wore caused some extras’ hair to fall out.</p> <p><strong>15. The Wicked Witch’s crystal ball </strong>has a large zodiac on the floor encircling it. This is considered by many as a homage to the Evil Queen in <em>Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs</em>, who has pictures of the zodiac surrounding her magic mirror.</p> <p><em>Written by Jay Scarfone &amp; William Stillman. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/entertainment/Off-To-See-The-Wizard"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><em><u> , </u></em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Steven Spielberg: “Artistic freedom is everything”

<p>In box-office terms, Spielberg is the most successful movie director in the world.<span> </span><em>Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones</em><span> </span>… his movies are cinema classics. But alongside these popcorn-sagas he has also turned his hand to sterner stuff. Moviegoers all over the world found his black-and-white Holocaust drama<em><span> </span>Schindler’s List</em><span> </span>deeply moving. 2016 saw the release of<span> </span><em>The BFG</em><span> </span>(short for Big Friendly Giant), a movie version of the children’s book by Roald Dahl in which a benevolent giant ‘kidnaps’ a little orphan girl.</p> <p><strong><em>Reader’s Digest</em>: The little heroine of your latest movie is scared of giants. What were you afraid of when you were a child?</strong><br /><strong>Spielberg:</strong><span> </span>I was my own monster. My imagination was incredible, so I was afraid of everything. A chair could very quickly change into a spider. I remember staring up at the sky when I was five. One of the clouds up there looked like a beautiful swan, then suddenly it was a dinosaur. I ran home screaming</p> <p><strong><em>Reader’s Digest</em>: What did your parents feel about that?</strong><br /><strong>Spielberg:<span> </span></strong>For my parents my imagination was a real problem, so much so that they seriously considered having me examined by a doctor. After all I was constantly seeing things that didn’t exist except in my head. My mother and father thought I had some major mental problems. I probably did – but they were the gateway to a great career!</p> <p><strong><em>Reader’s Digest</em>:<span> </span>How important is it for you to preserve the child within?</strong><br /><strong>Spielberg:<span> </span></strong>The fascinating thing about children is that they’re just there. When they’re small, they don’t know right from wrong­ – it’s not important to them. Those are years of complete freedom, which come to an end when at some point the brain takes over and tells you how to behave. I remember that time very clearly.</p> <p><strong><em>Reader’s Digest</em>:<span> </span>You turned 70 this past December 2016. What do you consider your greatest career achievement so far?</strong><br /><strong>Spielberg:<span> </span></strong>The right to decide my own projects. That was ­always my only goal, telling my stories without anyone else interfering. It was also why I established my own studios. Artistic freedom means everything to me.</p> <p><strong><em>Reader’s Digest</em>:<span> </span>Which movie did you enjoy making most?</strong><br /><strong>Spielberg:<span> </span></strong>That was<span> </span><em>E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial</em>, because it was the first time I realised I wanted to be a father. Three years later I finally made the grade with the birth of my first son.</p> <p><strong><em>Reader’s Digest</em>: Do you make home movies?</strong><br /><strong>Spielberg:<span> </span></strong>Yes, I always have a video camera with me. At Christmas it’s traditional for there to be a joint movie about the family that lasts one hour. I edit the footage I’ve collected in the course of the year and combine it with our children’s videos. And of course there’s a soundtrack and special effects. We all watch the film together and everyone gets a DVD of it.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Dieter Osswald</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/artistic-freedom-everything" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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How Martin Scorsese is going to change your home movie experience

<p><span>Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers have teamed up to launch a technology that will make the experience of watching movies at home more like what they intended.</span></p> <p><span>In partnership with the UHD Alliance, leading directors including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, Rian Johnson and Paul Thomas Anderson revealed the new “Filmmaker Mode” for upcoming TVs from LG, Panasonic and Vizio that removes technical features that have frustrated the industry.</span></p> <p><span>There has been a growing concern among the creators’ community over features such as motion smoothing, a setting used to adapt movies to smaller screens and reduce blur in fast-moving scenes. It is often referred to as the “soap opera effect” due to the way it makes the actors and backgrounds appear fake or set-like. </span></p> <p><span>“Modern televisions have extraordinary technical capabilities, and it is important that we harness these new technologies to ensure that the home viewer sees our work presented as closely as possible to our original creative intentions,” said Nolan.</span></p> <p><span>“Through collaboration with TV manufacturers, Filmmaker Mode consolidates input from filmmakers into simple principles for respecting frame rate, aspect ratio, color and contrast and encoding in the actual media so that televisions can read it and can display it appropriately.”</span></p> <p><span>Michael Zink, chairman of the UHD Alliance said the initiative highlighted the importance of home viewing. </span></p> <p><span>Johnson, director of <em>Star Wars: The Last Jedi</em>, said the Filmmaker Mode provides “a single button that lines up the settings so it works for the benefit of the movie and not against it”. He said, “If you love movies, Filmmaker Mode will make your movies not look like poo-poo.”</span></p> <p><span>Scorsese said more people view classic flicks in the comfort of their home rather than in theatres. “I started The Film Foundation in 1990 with the goal to preserve film and protect the filmmaker’s original vision so that the audience can experience these films as they were intended to be seen,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>“Most people today are watching these classic films at home rather than in movie theaters, making Filmmaker Mode of particular importance when presenting these films which have specifications unique to being shot on film.”</span></p>

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How the new Aladdin stacks up against a century of Hollywood stereotyping

<p>Though critically acclaimed and widely beloved, the 1992 animated feature “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103639/?ref_=nv_sr_2?ref_=nv_sr_2">Aladdin</a>” had some serious issues with stereotyping.</p> <p>Disney wanted to avoid repeating these same problems in the live action version of “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcBllhVj1eA">Aladdin</a>,” which came out on May 24. So they sought advice from a Community Advisory Council comprised of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim scholars, activists and creatives. I was asked to be a part of the group because of <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=HZ-HRd0AAAAJ&amp;hl=en">my expertise on representations of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. media</a>.</p> <p>The fact that a major studio wants to hear from the community reflects Hollywood’s <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/696471501/hollywood-diversity-report-finds-progress-but-much-left-to-gain">growing commitment to diversity</a>.</p> <p>But while the live action “Aladdin” does succeed in rectifying some aspects of Hollywood’s long history of stereotyping and <a href="https://www.vox.com/2016/2/22/11091170/john-oliver-hollywood-whitewashing-oscars">whitewashing</a> Middle Easterners, it still leaves much to be desired.</p> <p><strong>Magical genies and lecherous sheikhs</strong></p> <p>In his seminal 1978 book “<a href="https://books.google.com/books/about/Orientalism.html?id=66sIHa2VTmoC">Orientalism</a>,” literature professor <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-Said">Edward Said</a> argued that Western cultures historically stereotyped the Middle East to justify exerting control over it.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/when-will-we-stop-stereotyping-people/p06p97cr">Orientalism in Hollywood</a> has a long history. Early Hollywood films such as “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0012675/?ref_=nv_sr_2?ref_=nv_sr_2">The Sheik</a>” and “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034465/?ref_=nv_sr_4?ref_=nv_sr_4">Arabian Nights</a>” portrayed the Middle East as a monolithic fantasy land – a magical desert filled with genies, flying carpets and rich men living in opulent palaces with their harem girls.</p> <p>While these depictions were arguably silly and harmless, they flattened the differences among Middle Eastern cultures, while portraying the region as backwards <a href="https://books.google.com/books/about/Unthinking_Eurocentrism.html?id=KqjAAwAAQBAJ">and in need of civilizing by the West</a>.</p> <p>Then came <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520244993/epic-encounters">a series of Middle Eastern conflicts and wars</a>: the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Gulf War. In American media, the exotic Middle East faded; replacing it were depictions of violence and ominous terrorists.</p> <p>As media scholar Jack G. Shaheen <a href="https://shop.mediaed.org/reel-bad-arabs-p133.aspx">observed</a>, hundreds of Hollywood films over the last 50 years have linked Islam with holy war and terrorism, while depicting Muslims as either “hostile alien intruders” or “lecherous, oily sheikhs intent on using nuclear weapons.”</p> <p><strong>Cringeworthy moments in the original ‘Aladdin’</strong></p> <p>Against this backdrop, the Orientalism of Disney’s 1992 animated “Aladdin” wasn’t all that surprising.</p> <p>The opening <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3kkVGuiKFI">song lyrics described</a> a land “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face” and declared, “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!”</p> <p>When the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee <a href="https://variety.com/1993/film/news/aladdin-lyrics-altered-108628/">protested the lyrics</a>, Disney removed the reference to cutting off ears in the home video version but left in the descriptor “barbaric.”</p> <p>Then there were the ways the characters were depicted. As <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1992/12/27/when-will-it-be-okay-to-be-an-arab-the-disney-people-didnt-have-to-invent-a-fictional-city-for-aladdin-its-set-in-baghdad/22c97a21-58f9-468b-a575-514e1c65e894/">many</a> <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1222519.Thinking_Class">have noted</a>, the bad Arabs are ugly and have foreign accents while the good Arabs – Aladdin and Jasmine – possess European features and white American accents.</p> <p>The film also continued the tradition of erasing distinctions between Middle Eastern cultures. For example, Jasmine, who is supposed to be from Agrabah – originally Baghdad but fictionalized because of the Gulf War in 1991 – has an Indian-named tiger, Rajah.</p> <p><strong>Questionable progress</strong></p> <p>After 9/11, a spate of films emerged that rehashed many of the old terrorist tropes. But surprisingly, some positive representations of Middle Eastern and Muslim characters emerged.</p> <p>In 2012, I published my book “<a href="https://nyupress.org/9780814707326/arabs-and-muslims-in-the-media/">Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11</a>.” In it, I detail the strategies that writers and producers used after 9/11 to offset stereotyping.</p> <p>The most common one involved including a patriotic Middle Eastern or Muslim American to counterbalance depictions as terrorists. In the TV drama, “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1796960/">Homeland</a>,” for example, Fara Sherazi, an Iranian American Muslim CIA analyst, is killed by a Muslim terrorist, showing that “good” Muslim Americans are willing to die for the United States.</p> <p>But this didn’t change the fact that Middle Easterners and Muslims were, by and large, portrayed as threats to the West. Adding a ‘good’ Middle Eastern character doesn’t do much to upend stereotypes when the vast majority are still appearing in stories about terrorism.</p> <p>Another strategy also emerged: reverting to old Orientalist tropes of the exotic, romantic Middle East. Maybe writers and producers assumed that depicting the Middle East as exotic would be an improvement over associating it with terrorism.</p> <p>The 2004 film “<a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/454768/pdf">Hidalgo</a>,” for example, tells the story of an American cowboy who travels to the Arabian desert in 1891 to participate in a horse race. In classic Orientalist fashion, he saves the rich sheik’s daughter from the sheik’s evil, power-hungry nephew.</p> <p>The 2017 movie “<a href="https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/victoria-abdul-stephen-frears-judi-dench-eddie-izzard/Content?oid=31655216">Victoria and Abdul</a>” depicts an unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian-Muslim servant, Abdul Karim. While the film does critique the racism and Islamophobia of 19th-century England, it also infantilizes and exoticizes Abdul.</p> <p>Nonetheless, some glaring problems persisted. <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/05/why-is-a-white-actor-playing-prince-of-persia-title-role/345435/">Jake Gyllenhaal was cast</a> in the lead role of “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0473075/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time</a>” (2010), while Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton were cast in “<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1528100/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">Exodus: Gods and Kings</a>” (2014) as Egyptian characters.</p> <p>Why were white actors assuming these roles?</p> <p>When challenged, producer Ridley Scott <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/05/why-is-a-white-actor-playing-prince-of-persia-title-role/345435/">infamously said</a> that he can’t “say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I’m just not going to get it financed.”</p> <p><strong>Does the new ‘Aladdin’ make strides?</strong></p> <p>Perhaps in a desire to avoid the mistakes of the past, Disney executives sought advice from cultural consultants like me.</p> <p>There’s certainly some notable progress made in the live-action “Aladdin.”</p> <p>Egyptian Canadian actor Mena Massoud plays Aladdin. Given the <a href="https://www.menaartsadvocacy.com/">dearth of people of Middle Eastern descent in lead roles</a>, the significance of casting Massoud cannot be overstated. And despite the fact that <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/disney-aladdin-skin-darkening_n_5a54e36fe4b003133eccb275">some white extras had their skin darkened during filming</a>, Disney did cast actors of Middle Eastern descent in most of the main roles.</p> <p>Casting Indian British actress Naomi Scott as Jasmine was <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/07/17/disney-aladdin-jasmine-naomi-scott_a_23034316/">controversial</a>; many hoped to see an Arab or Middle Eastern actress in this role and wondered whether casting someone of Indian descent would simply reinforce notions of “Oriental” interchangeability. Nonetheless, the film does note that Jasmine’s mother is from another land.</p> <p>The biggest problem with the 2019 “Aladdin” is that it perpetuates the trend of reverting to magical <a href="http://arabstereotypes.org/why-stereotypes/what-orientalism">Orientalism</a> – as if that’s a noteworthy improvement over terrorist portrayals. In truth, it’s not exactly a courageous move to trade explicit racism for cliched exoticism.</p> <p>To be fair, “Aladdin” distinguishes itself from “Hidalgo” and other Orientalist films of this trend by not revolving around the experiences of a white protagonist.</p> <p>However, once again, characters with American accents are the “good guys” while those with non-American accents are mostly, but not entirely, “bad.” And audiences today will be as hard pressed as those in 1992 – or 1922, for that matter – to identify any distinct Middle Eastern cultures beyond that of an overgeneralized “East.” Belly dancing and Bollywood dancing, turbans and keffiyehs, Iranian and Arab accents all appear in the film interchangeably.</p> <p>Just as making positive tweaks within a story about terrorism doesn’t accomplish much, so does making positive tweaks within a story about the exotic East. Diversifying representations requires moving beyond these tired tropes and expanding the kinds of stories that are told.</p> <p>“Aladdin,” of course, is a fantastical tale, so questions about representational accuracy might seem overblown. It is also a really fun movie in which Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith all shine in their roles. But over the last century, Hollywood has produced <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Reel-Bad-Arabs-Hollywood-Vilifies/dp/1566567521/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=reel+bad+arabs&amp;qid=1557265888&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-1-catcorr">over 900 films that stereotype Arabs and Muslims</a> – a relentless drumbeat of stereotypes that <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-bad-news-for-one-muslim-american-is-bad-news-for-all-muslims-61358">influences public opinion and policies</a>.</p> <p>If there were 900 films that didn’t portray Arabs, Iranians and Muslims as terrorists or revert to old Orientalist tropes, then films like “Aladdin” could be “just entertainment.”</p> <p>Until then, we’ll just have to wait for the genie to let more nuanced and diverse portrayals out of the lamp.</p> <p><em>Written by Evelyn Alsultany. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-new-aladdin-stacks-up-against-a-century-of-hollywood-stereotyping-115608"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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The Razzies and what makes a movie truly awful

<p>While Hollywood’s elites <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-predictable-are-the-oscars-more-than-you-might-think-73191">eagerly anticipate</a> the most important award ceremony of the year – and possibly their careers – another, very different group, are getting ready for a far less glamorous night at the <a href="http://razzies.com/">Golden Raspberry Awards</a>.</p> <p>The Razzies, as they are known, celebrate the very worst that the film industry has offered up in the preceding year. Since 1981 – when the ceremony was first held in co-founder JB Wilson’s living room – the awards have been naming and shaming the worst performances, directors, pictures and screenplays to hit the silver screen.</p> <p>This year, the bulk of <a href="http://ew.com/awards/2017/01/23/razzies-2017-nominations-list/">the nominations</a> (nine) go to “15-years-too-late sequel” <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/feb/10/zoolander-2-review-ben-stiller-and-owen-wilson-are-so-lukewarm-right-now">Zoolander 2</a>, with comic book epic <a href="http://www.empireonline.com/movies/batman-v-superman-dawn-justice/review/">Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice</a> following closely with eight nominations, and Dirty Grandpa, starring Robert de Niro, coming in with six.</p> <p>Since that first makeshift award ceremony, The Razzies have gained considerably in notoriety and popularity, and now even the industry is looking to it for confirmation that the movies they paid to see really were that awful. Everyone’s in on the joke, it seems, though some certainly react with more <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-7s_yeQuDg">grace and hilarity</a> than others when they hear the news that they’ve won.</p> <p><strong>Terrible films</strong></p> <p>So what is it that makes a bad movie? Just because the critics pan a film <a href="http://screenrant.com/great-movies-panned-critics/?view=all">doesn’t mean</a> it won’t be a box office success, and likewise, just because the critics love a movie doesn’t mean it will be a commercial triumph. Just look at 2016’s Batman v Superman movie. Nominated for numerous Razzies, it has a risible <a href="https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/batman_v_superman_dawn_of_justice/">27% Rotten Tomatoes rating</a>, and yet just five weeks after release it had made <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/04/29/box-office-batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-was-a-855m-wash/#738434b31e08">more than $850m worldwide</a>.</p> <p>There are also those films that were box office flops but have in later years became true classics. The 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9POizW1ucK4C&amp;pg=PT69&amp;lpg=PT69&amp;dq=blade+runner+box+office+flop&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=MDaRSQv2PJ&amp;sig=1Rvdwld0pK_2D3fK_kFfGy2TAKw&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjr8Ja8m6TSAhXoJ8AKHSA1C-Q4ChDoAQguMAM#v=onepage&amp;q=blade%20runner%20box%20office%20flop&amp;f=false">barely made back</a> its $28m budget, but later director’s cuts and video releases led to the film eventually being <a href="https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/complete-national-film-registry-listing/">picked for preservation</a> in the US Library of Congress.</p> <p>Although filmmakers can be pretty sure what will make an audience cry, or jump from their seats, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how bad movies are created. Certainly, it’s not intentional: nobody goes into the long and arduous task of producing a film with the hope that it will only make <a href="http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a460182/danny-dyers-run-for-your-wife-flops-with-602-at-the-box-office/">£602 on its opening weekend</a>.</p> <p>But it would seem that movies which are universally panned do have some things in common. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow1cnlrlank">Glitter</a> starring Mariah Carey, Adam Sandler’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJVv3PBoPMc">Jack &amp; Jill</a> and Disney’s <a href="https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/john_carter/">critic dividing</a> John Carter all feature a common mixture of overly ambitious narrative, a pitiful effects budget and length. They also all boast some absolutely terrible acting.</p> <p>It must be noted that one doesn’t have to be a terrible actor to display some truly awful acting, however. Some Oscar winning movie stars have turned in some truly woeful performances in their time. Just look at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kgYUoeOPj4">Michael Caine in Jaws: The Revenge</a>, Al Pacino in <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3100568.stm">Gigli</a>, and Nicolas Cage in any movie that isn’t Wild at Heart.</p> <p><strong>Good bad v bad bad</strong></p> <p>There are some movies which can be good and bad at the same time, however. But there is a difference between a good bad movie and a bad bad movie. A good bad movie is magical because it is genre changing. A bad horror movie, for example, denies the audience any real terror, but a good bad horror movie turns into a parody of itself and so becomes a comedy. Far more enjoyable.</p> <p>A bad bad movie, on the other hand, is a chore to watch. It’s dull, which is the biggest sin any filmmaker can commit. Long periods of nothing interesting peppered with plots so laboured that you can virtually see the exposition being pulled out of the screen.</p> <p>A <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2016.04.002">recent study</a> caused a flurry of interest by suggesting that people who watch bad movies are of higher intellect. Of course, I would agree wholeheartedly, but still how is it that films like <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/14/sharknado-syfy-cheesiest-movie-summer">Sharknado</a> or <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/story/20160212-the-room-why-so-many-love-the-worst-film-ever-made">The Room</a> attract viewers who know they are sitting down to watch a bad film? One researcher behind the project, Keyvan Sarkhosh, has admitted that <a href="https://www.mpg.de/10675056/trash-film-audience">it seems “paradoxical”</a> that someone should take pleasure in watching badly made, embarrassing or disturbing films. And yet we continue to do it out of some sort of ironic enjoyment or strange curiosity.</p> <p>Truly “trash” movies with low budgets are seen as an alternative to mainstream blockbusters, and audience expectations are a lot lower, so they are much easier to enjoy. Unlike these good bad movies, the type of films which tend to attract the most Razzie nominations are those that took the money and ran – the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6pJbjbRnAA">Halle Berry-starring Catwoman</a>, for example. Not even a bad film lover relishes watching these films.</p> <p>At the end of the day, movie enjoyment is truly subjective and what is bad to one person may be good to another. Personally, I would rather squeeze a lime in my eye than sit down to watch a Fast and the Furious movie, but their continued success suggests I might be in a minority.</p> <p><em>Written by Nicola Vaughan. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-razzies-and-what-makes-a-movie-truly-awful-73464"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Tarantino has a questionable record in the #MeToo context – so should we boycott his new film?

<p><em>This story contains spoilers for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.</em></p> <p>While promoting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the Cannes Film Festival, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was asked why Margot Robbie’s character – murdered actress Sharon Tate – was given so few lines. An “angry-looking Tarantino”, as reported the ABC, curtly replied: “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-23/tarantino-snaps-at-reporter-over-question-about-margot-robbie/11141352">Well, I just reject your hypothesis</a>.”</p> <p>Tate’s implied lack of voice and Tarantino’s refusal to address the extreme violence against women in the film has renewed discussions about his representations and treatment of women on screen.</p> <p>The #MeToo movement and cancel culture have shifted the way we consume media. So what does this mean for Tarantino and his depictions of violence?</p> <p><strong>25 bloody years on the big screen</strong></p> <p>Tarantino found instant acclaim with his debut Reservoir Dogs in 1992. Two years later, Pulp Fiction solidified his cult status. Over his 25-year career, he has directed nine films spanning western to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/11/blaxploitation-shaft-foxy-brown-film">blaxploitation</a> to samurai. Across genres, his films are united by the protagonist’s quest for justice and bloody vengeance.</p> <p>Tarantino is notorious for his stylised and hyperreal violence: macabre, shocking, and comical. When Pulp Fiction first came out, I was a first-year undergraduate studying and making films. I revelled in Tarantino’s approach to storytelling and the film’s originality.</p> <p>Tarantino was the new King of Cool, and Pulp Fiction heralded a new era of filmmaking. Discussions about the violence mainly revolved around the subject of style and Tarantino’s brand of humour.</p> <p>25 years later I’m analysing Tarantino again. But now it’s in the context of one of the largest social activist movements in contemporary history.</p> <p><strong>Contemporary controversies</strong></p> <p>Tarantino has come under the #MeToo spotlight mainly because of his close partnership with Miramax and The Weinstein Company, both co-founded by Harvey Weinstein (currently facing multiple counts of rape and sexual assault), and the distributors of most of Tarantino’s films.</p> <p>The controversy, however, goes deeper than guilt by Weinstein-association: Tarantino has admitted being a knowing bystander. In <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/movies/tarantino-weinstein.html">a 2017 interview</a>, Tarantino said: “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew [Weinstein] did a couple of these things.”</p> <p>Tarantino also faced allegations of misconduct by Uma Thurman, who rose to fame in Pulp Fiction and starred in Kill Bill: Volumes 1 &amp; 2.</p> <p>In 2018, Thurman <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/this-is-why-uma-thurman-is-angry.html">spoke about a car crash</a> during the filming of Kill Bill: Volume 1 which caused long-term neck and knee injuries. Despite airing her concerns about safety, Tarantino convinced her to perform the stunt.</p> <p>Tarantino has <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/02/quentin-tarantino-uma-thurman-regrets">since admitted</a> his wrongdoing.</p> <p>This is an example of the hypocrisy in Hollywood: Kill Bill was about female empowerment, but its star was being coerced by the director and pressured by the studio.</p> <p>Days after Thurman’s interview, an <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/quentin-tarantino-roman-polanski-rape-young-girl-sex-minor-uma-thurman-director-a8197811.html">audio recording</a> resurfaced from 2003 where Tarantino defended director Roman Polanski’s sexual abuse of a 13-year-old victim in 1977. Polanski was 43 at the time.</p> <p>Tarantino can be heard saying: “she was down with it. [ … ] I don’t believe it’s rape. I mean not at 13. Not – not for these 13-year-old party girls.”</p> <p>Alongside the era of #MeToo we have seen a rise in “<a href="https://oracle.newpaltz.edu/culture-critique-the-power-of-cancel-culture/">cancel culture</a>”, where questionable views and actions of influential figures are called out, and audiences are encouraged to withdraw support. Calls for “cancelling” Tarantino <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jul/23/cancel-quentin-tarantino-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood">are growing</a>.</p> <p>He may be a groundbreaking filmmaker still breaking records at the box office – but is this enough for us to overlook his indiscretions?</p> <p><strong>What happens in the cinema, stays in the cinema?</strong></p> <p>Should we stop watching films connected with problematic individuals? What do we gain from cancelling the works of Tarantino, Polanski, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/may/13/ronan-farrow-interview-woody-allen-harvey-weinstein-me-too">Woody Allen</a> and <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2019/01/23/bohemian-rhapsody-director-bryan-singer-faces-new-sexual-abuse-allegations_a_23651119/">Bryan Singer</a> from our collective consciousness?</p> <p>Should judgement of a movie be separate to our judgement of the people who create them? Can we judge a movie separate to our judgement of the people who create them?</p> <p>During a screening of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood my mind drifted to these matters.</p> <p>I wondered if Tarantino still had the same admiration for Polanski as he did in 2003; whether he still holds those skewed ideas about rape.</p> <p>I was irritated that Emile Hirsch was cast as Jay Sebring - Tate’s close friend and former lover. Hirsch <a href="https://variety.com/2015/film/news/emile-hirsch-guilty-assault-15-days-jail-1201571705/">plead guilty</a> to assaulting a female studio executive in 2015.</p> <p>At a time when abusers are being publicly denounced on social media, did Tarantino have any reservations about this casting choice? Was it even an issue for him?</p> <p>Despite these questions, I could not suppress my laughter and gasps of gleeful shock at the spectacle of violence in the film’s climax.</p> <p>And it is violent. The most striking death is when one of the female members of the Manson Family is maimed in the face by a can of dog food, before being fried with a flamethrower.</p> <p>Over the course of the film, my thoughts continually wandered between the story on screen to the story off screen. Real world politics kept intruding into my viewing experience.</p> <p><strong>To boycott, or not to boycott</strong></p> <p>I left the cinema ruminating on the confusing range of emotions and responses I had, ready to unpack how the baggage of Tarantino’s opinions and treatment of female characters and cast members have influenced the way I read Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.</p> <p>Boycotting a film can send a strong message – not least of all to the studio’s bottom line. But there is also benefit to viewing these films, and using them as talking points for why we find them problematic.</p> <p>Watching Tarantino now, I still have immense respect for the artistry of his films and their aura of detached coolness. They captured the zeitgeist of a Generation X that was desperate for something different.</p> <p>But knowing some of the troubling issues surrounding a production and the filmmaker has added another layer of awareness and critique. It has given the films a different sort of relevance for the times. The questions I ask don’t look the same as those I asked before.</p> <p>Tarantino isn’t making cinema in the same world as he once was – but then again, I’m not watching it in the same world, either.</p> <p><em>Written by Christina Lee. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/tarantino-has-a-questionable-record-in-the-metoo-context-so-should-we-boycott-his-new-film-121985"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Gravity lends weight to cinema – and always has

<p>Cinema’s relationship to gravity is a fascinating one.</p> <p>At the time of its birth, in 1895, cinema was seen as a revolutionary machine that didn’t simply defy gravity through moving pictures seemingly suspended in air, but allowed one to experience the forces of the world directly, sweetly, intimately.</p> <p>The stories of the first movie patrons hurrying away from the screen in case they were run over as <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000012/">The Train Arrived at the Station</a> (The Lumière Brothers, 1896) flickered before them is a startling – if perhaps mythical – account of cinema’s gravitational grandeur.</p> <p>The awe and wonder of cinema lies in its remarkable ability to visualise and texturise the weight and feel of things, to render movement and velocity realistically, and to create spaces deep, far and wide. The precipice is one of cinema’s favourite environments. Directors turn to it to create a sense of depth and distance, and to enact the experience of falling.</p> <p>An iconic cinematic moment, captured in such films as <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052357/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Vertigo</a> (Hitchcock, 1958) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114558/">Strange Days</a> (Bigelow, 1995), involves a character looking down from the precipice, to then either jump, fall or be pushed off the edge, with a corresponding cinematography that captures them hurtling, hurtling, hurtling towards the nadir. Then splat.</p> <p>The power and beauty of cinema in part resides in its ability to effectively engage the viewer’s emotions, and to envelop the body in a sea of sensations that are directly felt. Cinema is a sentient machine that awakens the senses in all of us.</p> <p>Cinema can create the conditions for viewers to sweat, feel nauseous, or be aroused. In action sequences or scenes of terror, it can lead to an increase in viewers’ heart-rates and make their pupils dilate.</p> <p>At its most awesome, when we are faced by something extraordinary or perplexing, cinema can take our breath away, render us speechless and powerless before its infinite gaze. Many critics argue that the Star Gate sequence in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> (Kubrick, 1968) is one such sublime moment. The viewer is taken along an unknown colourised vector, without “narrative” coordinates to anchor them, enabling them to experience the existential nothingness of (anti) gravity as they do so.</p> <p>Science fiction cinema is particularly suited to capturing the sensorial qualities of movement and speed. Its special effects and future settings enable it to legitimately defy gravity; to take the viewer through incandescent wormholes at light speed and out into alien environments where objects, spaces, things don’t follow gravitational laws or the iron cage of physics.</p> <p>The expansive space of science fiction creates the sense that gravity is a minor factor in the workings of the universe. When these films are set in outer space, science fiction is able to demonstrate the giddiness of weightlessness, the eerie silence of dark space, and the absolute terror of being untethered from Earth.</p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454468/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Gravity</a> (Cuarón, 2013) is perhaps one of the most perfect demonstrations of cinema’s intimate and inter-connecting relationship to the forces of nature and the forces that lie beyond them, nestled as they are amongst the vast, undulating sheets of the cosmos.</p> <p>The film’s unbroken opening “floating” shot, lasting more than 13 minutes, captures the weightlessness and the spinning vastness of space, the distant, rotating beauty of Earth, and humankind’s sense of isolation and isolating melancholy as the astronauts go about their daily, routinised work, as if they have clocked in at an inter-stellar factory.</p> <p>Gravity’s 3D spatial arrangements induce a sense of vertigo, disorientating the viewer, creating the sensation that one is in outer space, beholden by its massiveness, and yet trapped precisely because one is not tethered to anything. Debris shoots out from the darkness; lines dangle; space is not logical. There is zero gravity in Gravity.</p> <p>There is no single or singular precipice in the film: the mise-en-scène combines zenith and nadir. One is constantly falling or climbing, climbing and falling. It is difficult to breathe while watching the movie, and almost impossible to not experience one’s own body as if it is stranded in outer space, without gravitational crampons to hold onto, to root one to terra firma.</p> <p>If newspaper <a href="http://movies.about.com/od/gravity/fl/Gravity-Movie-Review.htm">reports are accurate</a>, then just as the train that arrived at the station created hysteria in those who watched it more than 100 years ago, so today Gravity sends people running down the aisles, too discombobulated to carry on watching.</p> <p>Much of contemporary blockbuster cinema functions simply to activate the senses; to enact and embody the “thrill aesthetic” through its lavish special effects and immersive 3D technology.</p> <p>There is much criticism of this as a cinematic form. Some argue that complex characterisation and serious storytelling are marginalised or juvenilised in favour of the kinetic ride.</p> <p>Thrill, however, is an expansive concept and the senses are not necessarily crude or divisible in the way. Spectacle can create the conditions for profound contemplation, as Gravity clearly does.</p> <p>Gravity releases the viewer into an unknown or unknowable void and in so doing asks, or rather compels, them to consider what it is that makes one human, social, and connected.</p> <p>Lost in space, caught floating and fleeing in the pure realm of the senses, we find out who we truly are and can be.</p> <p><em>Written by Sean Redmond. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/gravity-lends-weight-to-cinema-and-always-has-19157"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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The Greatest Drawbacks: Hugh Jackman's new heights of fame have come at a surprising cost

<p>Hugh Jackman has been one of the world’s greatest stars for years. His diverse range of talents, which include acting, dancing and singing have captured fans hearts around the globe.</p> <p>After the success of<span> </span><em>The Greatest Showman</em><span> </span>in 2017, the 50-year-old has been propelled to new heights of fame, which is something that he was surprised by.</p> <p>Jackman spoke to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/hugh-jackmans-big-song-and-dance-show-reveals-untold-stories/news-story/c96c097bdd6b823d675f311a7c2a27ad" target="_blank">The Herald Sun</a><span> </span></em>about how his life has changed since playing P.T Barnum in the film.</p> <p>“It's made it difficult going to my daughter's dance classes,” Jackman explained, as the film resonated with a much younger audience.</p> <p>“I used to go every week, and nobody really cared. The dance school was not your classic Wolverine fanbase.</p> <p>“Now I go and the songs from The Greatest Showman are playing in nearly every dance class so it's a bit different.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc1E9OfDiab/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc1E9OfDiab/" target="_blank">Showed &amp; Conquered @zacefron @greatestshowman #comalive</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/thehughjackman/" target="_blank"> Hugh Jackman</a> (@thehughjackman) on Dec 17, 2017 at 7:58pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>As Jackman has previously had a filmography that appeals to older audiences, it would make sense that the success of<span> </span><em>The Greatest Showman</em><span> </span>would introduce Jackman to a whole new and younger audience.</p> <p>Jackman shared with<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-46446499" target="_blank">The BBC</a><span> </span></em>and said he would be open to a sequel of the film.</p> <p>“If a genuine opportunity came up where it felt like the right thing to do, then yep, I'd get the top hat back out,” he said.</p> <p>“It's clear to me and to everyone that people love these characters. I loved this movie, I loved this character and it was one of the great joys of my life.”</p>

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Joan Collins on working in Hollywood in the 1960s: “The very thought was utterly repugnant”

<p>TV and screen legend Joan Collins appeared on CBS recently and opened up about many aspects of her life, including her career and courtships, to roles such as <em>Cleopatra</em> and the casting couch.</p> <p>The actress, 85, was candid about her experiences as a film star in the light of the #MeToo movement. She revealed she was promised one of the biggest roles in film history as long as she slept with the producer.</p> <p>“There were some very, very big people who promised me this role if I would be ‘Nice’ to them,” she explained.</p> <p>“This was the casting couch. I was dancing with one of the men who was the head of the studio. And he said, ‘I can put you up in a nice little apartment and I will come and visit you and you’ll not only get all the best roles at Fox, but we will see that you get <em>Cleopatra</em>.”</p> <p>Collins revealed in a column for <em>The Daily Mail</em> in 2017 that this man was Buddy Adler, the then head of 20<sup>th</sup> Century Fox.</p> <p>Collins responded quick-wittedly: “I said, ‘Great idea, and I am here with my agent, Jay Kanter, let’s go talk to him about it.’”</p> <p>Collins was questioned on whether she was aware of her actions of denying these propositions and Collins explained she had long held firm on her values.</p> <p>“I was never, ever, ever going to settle for giving my body to some old man for a role, or even a young man or anybody. I would never do that, ever, ever,” she reiterated.</p> <p>In the column she recalled Adler’s response to this remark. He said “Honey, you have quite a sense of humour.”</p> <p>She replied with the same wit, saying, “And a sense of humour is all you’ll ever get from me.” This response cost her the role of <em>Cleopatra</em>, as Elizabeth Taylor landed the coveted gig playing the Egyptian Queen.</p> <p>Collins further discussed her experience in a column for <em>The Daily Mail</em>.</p> <p>“The head of 20<sup>th</sup> Studio Fox at the time, Buddy Adler, and the chairman of the board – a Greek gentleman old enough to be my grandfather – bombarded me with propositions and promises that the role was mine if I would be ‘nice to them,’” Collins wrote for <em>The Daily Mail</em>.</p> <p>“It was a euphemism prevalent in Hollywood. I couldn’t and I wouldn’t – the very thought of these old men was utterly repugnant. So, I dodged and I dived, and hid from them around the lot and made excuses while undergoing endless screen tests for the role of Egypt’s Queen.”</p> <p>Collins further opened up about her romances, from her love affair with Warren Beatty and on-set romance with Harry Belafonte to ranking her five husbands in the interview.</p> <p>Collins alluded to Warren Beatty as one who relished in his press.</p> <p>“We used to stop on Sunset Boulevard at the newsagents and Warren would look through modern screen and see if we had pictures in a magazine,” she recalled.</p> <p>The screen legend was asked if she was in love with Beatty and replied: “I think so. It’s like Prince Charles said, ‘Whatever love is.’”</p> <p>Later, on the set of <em>Island In The Sun</em>, Collins met Harry Belafonte and romance soon followed. Although Collins revealed John Forsyth on <em>Dynasty</em> wasn’t her biggest fan.</p> <p>“John didn’t like me,” Collins revealed. “John is old school and misogynistic, and a bit sexist. He frankly didn’t like this English woman and every person saying that she made the show.”</p>

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How Martin Scorsese entwines music and movies

<p>Music and movies are umbilically entwined in the films of Martin Scorsese. It’s almost impossible to think of his cinema without the propulsive accompaniment of a track by The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, a Neapolitan street singer or any number of other smaller and even obscure doo-wop, Latino, Brill Building and r'n'b wonders of the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.</p> <p>Although Scorsese has memorably employed the services of great film composers like Bernard Herrmann and Elmer Bernstein on iconic movies such as <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075314/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Taxi Driver</a> (1976) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106226/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Age of Innocence</a> (1993), it is the music of his adolescence and early adulthood that dominates the dense, highly subjective, hyper-masculine and combative worlds of many of his best and most fondly remembered films.</p> <p>Most of the music documentaries he has made – such as <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077838/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Last Waltz</a> (1978), <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367555/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">No Direction Home: Bob Dylan</a> (2005) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0893382/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Shine a Light</a> (2008) – equally expose these formative tastes.</p> <p>This is personal and reflects Scorsese’s upbringing in the crowded neighbourhood of Little Italy with its melting pot of sounds leeching across spaces and situations. Some of the numbers in his protean first feature, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063803/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3">Who’s That Knocking at My Door</a> (1969), were even supplied from the filmmaker’s own collection. The signature music of Scorsese’s films comes to us with his “fingerprints” all over it.</p> <p>This fascination with the everyday history, materiality and atmosphere of popular music – the way it seeps into and scores the world around us – gives Scorsese’s films a musicological dimension that rhymes with his obsession with film history.</p> <p>Although his use of popular music appears more organic or sociological than Quentin Tarantino’s, it still has the sense of the archivist-collector about it.</p> <p>When the Melbourne Cinémathèque sought Scorsese’s permission to screen his documentary <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071680/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Italianamerican</a> (1974) in the early 1990s, all he asked for in return was that we send him a complete CD edition of Bob Dylan’s [Masterpieces](then only available in Australia) to add to his collection.</p> <p>Although Scorsese is deeply attuned to specific, mostly urban forms of popular music from the mid-20th century, he has also found his inspiration in the groundbreaking found soundtracks of Kenneth Anger’s homo-erotic <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058555/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Scorpio Rising</a> (1964) and Stanley Kubrick’s classical-modernist <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/?ref_=nv_sr_1">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> (1968), as well as his experience as a cameraman and editor on <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066580/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Woodstock</a> (1970). The latter, he has said, was a life-changing event that made him shift from slacks to jeans.</p> <p>The music in Scorsese’s earlier features sits alongside the pioneering compilation scores of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061722/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Graduate</a> (1967) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064276/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Easy Rider</a> (1969), but his work represents a less nostalgic (in comparison to, say, Woody Allen) and temporally shallow notion of the musical “past”.</p> <p>This is a lesson well learned by Scorsese acolytes such as Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson. The golden rule in Scorsese’s films is that the music must have been released by the time a particular scene is set – but it should also reflect the depth of music history.</p> <p><strong>How Scorsese uses music in film</strong></p> <p>Scorsese often conceives a sequence or moment with a particular song in mind.</p> <p>For example, a key motivation for <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0163988/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Bringing Out the Dead</a>(1999) was the opportunity to use Van Morrison’s fetid, churning T. B. Sheets as a leitmotif. This song weaves around intense and strung-out tracks by REM, Johnny Thunders and The Clash, a reminder perhaps that an earlier vision of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0217505/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Gangs of New York</a> (2002) prominently featured the British group (a Scorsese favourite).</p> <p>Scorsese also plays music on his movie sets to get at the rhythm and feeling of a specific moment.</p> <p>The coda of Derek &amp; the Dominos’ Layla was played on the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/?ref_=nv_sr_1">GoodFellas</a> (1990) set from the first day of shooting and lyrically scores the sequence of the bodies being uncovered. It also intimates the excess and decadence that will be the gangsters’ ultimate downfall.</p> <p>The necessary inspiration of popular music is also playfully referenced in the frantic, epic expressionist strokes of Nick Nolte’s painter working to the blisteringly loud strains of Procol Harum and Bob Dylan and The Band in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097965/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Life Lessons</a> (1989).</p> <p>Although this use of popular music reflects the director’s own tastes, upbringing and fondness for counterpoint, it is also deeply enmeshed in the worlds and subjectivities of his characters.</p> <p>The downbeat at the opening of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby ushers in the immersive world of Scorsese’s breakthrough feature, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070379/">Mean Streets</a>, entreating us to experience and even share the excitement, danger and periodic abandon of a group of small-time, would-be gangsters who then light up the screen.</p> <p>As critic Ian Penman has argued, the music does not seem to operate as a soundtrack in the traditional sense, but appears</p> <p>to be released into the air by breaking glasses or moving bodies.</p> <p>It is sound as much as it is music.</p> <p>When we see Robert De Niro’s Johnny Boy sashay into a bar in slow motion to the intricately timed and edited adrenaline rush of Jumpin’ Jack Flash, we cannot really determine where the music is coming from: is it the heightened sound of the jukebox (a fixation of the director’s cinema) or from somewhere inside of Johnny Boy himself?</p> <p>Mean Streets, like such later masterworks as GoodFellas and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112641/?ref_=nv_sr_2">Casino</a> (1995), has something of the jerky propulsiveness and programmed randomness of the jukebox. The music also drops in and out, rises and falls, in a way that reflects and galvanises the cramped bar interiors that are Scorsese’s abiding milieu. Its use of music feels programmed and even curated but also organic and intuitive.</p> <p><strong>Chelsea Morning</strong></p> <p>There is a wonderful sequence in one of Scorsese’s most underrated films, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088680/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2">After Hours</a>(1985), which features the lead character retreating to the apartment of a beehive-haired and go go booted cocktail waitress played by Teri Garr. Unworldly Paul (Griffin Dunne) has become lost down the rabbit-hole of late night Soho and is trying to find a way to get home to the safety of his mid-town apartment.</p> <p>As he unburdens himself of the nightmare of his evening, Garr’s ’60s-revivalist sympathetically changes records from the initially peppy pop confection of The Monkees’ Last Train to Clarksville (he has just missed his train) to the introspective wistfulness of Joni Mitchell’s more geographically apt Chelsea Morning.</p> <p>This moment is remarkable in Scorsese’s work, as it is one of few where characters consciously recognise and respond to the music.</p> <p>It also provides a critique of Scorsese’s own practice and how he locates songs that illustrate an emotion, a situation or work in counterpoint to the onscreen action.</p> <p>This scene shows us – in a very unselfconscious fashion – the mechanics of Scorsese’s use of popular music and the way it can shift the tone and atmosphere, create a narrative arc and embed itself into the lives of its characters.</p> <p>The use of Chelsea Morning is also one of the few times that Scorsese draws upon the early ’70s singer-songwriter tradition. Another occurs in the pivotal moment in Taxi Driver where De Niro’s profoundly solipsistic Travis Bickle watches forlornly, lost as he takes in couples slow dancing around a pair of empty shoes on American Bandstand scored by Jackson Browne’s mournful Late for the Sky (or is this only in Travis’s head?)</p> <p>In some ways, this moment seems all the more powerful due to its isolation and incongruity – Travis has earlier misread the lyrics of Kris Kristofferson’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlGZ93XcmhI">The Pilgrim, Chapter 33</a> – illustrating he has no understanding of or affinity for popular music.</p> <p>Scorsese’s characters often seem to take music with them, but Paul and Travis are so out of place they cannot imbibe the music around them other than, in the latter case, through the isolating darkness of Herrmann’s ominous score.</p> <p>After Hours features a bracingly eclectic soundtrack that reflects the gear-shifting nightmare and occasional respite of Paul’s downtown odyssey. For example, after leaving a nightclub, he returns only a short time later to find it has miraculously transformed from hosting a hedonistic, crowded and threatening “Mohawk” theme night, scored by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thnb3UlH2zE">Bad Brains’ Pay to Cum</a>, to an abandoned space with a singular middle-aged customer and a jukebox sympathetically playing Peggy Lee’s Is That all There is?</p> <p>(Once again an unusual choice consciously selected by the uncharacteristically self-aware protagonist).</p> <p>By using a soundtrack less beholden to his own tastes, Scorsese is able to stretch out.</p> <p><strong>The Italian-American gangster trilogy</strong></p> <p>Nevertheless, it is the three films that make up Scorsese’s Italian-American gangster trilogy – Mean Streets, GoodFellas and Casino – that best illustrate the full potential of his use of “found” popular music to score and populate his films.</p> <p>These movies can also be described as essentially musicals. It is important to note that music is not a constant presence in these movies, even though that may be the lasting impression we are left with.</p> <p>Music is pointedly dropped out or even abandoned at particular moments – such as during the final section of GoodFellas where the gangster’s world comes tumbling down. All that is left is the memory of Joe Pesci firing into the camera and the final ragged, debased strains of Sid Vicious singing My Way.</p> <p>Both GoodFellas and Casino use music to chart the rise and fall of their characters and the rarefied enclaves they occupy.</p> <p>In Casino this is signified by the shift from the gaming table friendly Italian-American-derived songs of Louis Prima and Dean Martin to the pointed use of Devo’s truly frustrated version of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jadvt7CbH1o">(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction</a>, B. B. King’s The Thrill is Gone and The Animals’ The House of the Rising Sun to plot the changing demographics and economies of Las Vegas.</p> <p>In many ways, Casino represents something of an endpoint for Scorsese. The energy of Mean Streets and GoodFellas is depleted by the manically expansive “found” song soundtrack, the blunt violence and the forensic detail dedicated to mapping Las Vegas and the failed relationships between Ace, Ginger and Nicky.</p> <p>The operatic, tragic dimensions of this demise are signposted by bookending Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Georges Delerue’s melancholy cues from Jean-Luc Godard’s <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057345/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Contempt</a> (1963). Where do you go after that?</p> <p>Over the last 20 years, Scorsese’s work has only ever intermittently matched the multiple highpoints of his earlier career. Films such as Gangs of New York, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/find?ref_=nv_sr_fn&amp;q=The+Departed&amp;s=all">The Departed</a> (2006) and his return to form, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993846/?ref_=nv_sr_1">The Wolf of Wall Street</a> (2013), do feature further intriguing examples of the use of popular music – and expand the director’s reach in terms of ethnicity – but don’t really develop this aspect or create truly memorable combinations of image and sound.</p> <p><strong>The documentaries and Vinyl</strong></p> <p>During this time, Scorsese’s major contributions to the nexus between popular music and cinema and television have been his somewhat conventional compilation documentaries and concert films and the recent HBO drama series, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3186130/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Vinyl</a>, co-created by Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter.</p> <p>Although Scorsese’s documentary on <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1113829/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">George Harrison: Living in the Material World</a> is commendable, and The Rolling Stones’ concert film Shine a Light provides a shared portrait of resilience, easily the best of these documentaries is No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.</p> <p>An archivist’s project the filmmaker took on as compiler and editor, it features some stunning audio-visual combinations as it explores Dylan’s explosive and mercurial early career.</p> <p>But it is with Vinyl that Scorsese’s concerns and abiding preoccupations come full circle.</p> <p>The first episode, the only one directed by Scorsese so far, takes him back to the early 1970s and the drug-fuelled, propulsive and heightened impressionism of his earlier work.</p> <p>The soundtrack features an eclectic array of period specific tracks including Mott the Hoople’s All the Way to Memphis – used 40 years earlier in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974).</p> <p>It is only during the staging of the collapse of the downtown Mercer Arts Center – anachronistically, while the New York Dolls are playing Personality Crisis – that the episode comes to imaginative life. You can almost imagine De Niro’s Johnny Boy waiting for the building to fall.</p> <p><em>Written by Adrian Danks. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-it-felt-like-a-kiss-movies-popular-music-and-martin-scorsese-59231"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Hugh Jackman reveals: The “pretty simple but powerful choice” that saved my marriage

<p>Hugh Jackman, 50 and his wife, Deborra-lee Furness, 63, are one of Hollywood’s most successful couples.</p> <p>Jackman, who is currently in Australia on his<span> </span><em>The Man. The Music. The Show.</em><span> </span>tour, recently revealed the “simple but powerful choice” that he made to his wife back when they were younger and before they had children.</p> <p>In an extract from <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.the-father-hood.com/article/incoming-the-father-hood-book-is-ready-to-drop/" target="_blank"><em>The Father Hood: Inspiration for the New Dad Generation</em></a>, a new book about fatherhood with letters penned from various celebrities, Hugh made a pact with his wife. The extract was published in this week’s <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.who.com.au/" target="_blank">WHO</a> magazine.</p> <p>He wrote: <span>“Before we had kids, Deb and I made a pretty simple but powerful choice to look each other in the eye at every crossroads in life. Those crossroads are sometimes big, sometimes they're small, sometimes you don't even realise they are crossroads until you look back.</span></p> <p>“But at those moments, we said we'd ask each other, ‘Is this good or bad for our marriage?’ Or, now that we've got kids, ‘Is this good or bad for our family?’</p> <p>“And as often as possible, we do the thing that is good for our family.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzsaCAtn0Gz/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzsaCAtn0Gz/" target="_blank">When somebody loves you ... #mydebs</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/thehughjackman/" target="_blank"> Hugh Jackman</a> (@thehughjackman) on Jul 9, 2019 at 4:11am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Jackman revealed to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/movies/hugh-jackman-says-intimacy-secret-to-long-marriage/" target="_blank">People Magazine</a> </em>that “intimacy” is key to a happy marriage.</p> <p>“Without a doubt, it is the most important thing.</p> <p>“People talk about intimacy and assume that means in the bedroom. Of course it is that, but really, intimacy is being able to share everything together – good, bad, fears, successes.</p> <p>“Deb and I had that from the beginning. We've always been completely ourselves with each other.”</p> <p>The book features chapters written by Osher Günsberg, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Stiller, David Beckham, Tim Cahill, John Krasinski, Steve "Commando" Willis and many more other prolific celebrities who explain how fatherhood has changed and shaped their lives.</p>

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The reason why Aussies aren’t watching Australian-made films

<p>Around 25 new Australian feature films are <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/wcfilmxcountry.aspx">released into the market</a> each year – so who’s watching them, when and how are they watching, and what makes them choose home-grown films over imported blockbusters?</p> <p>Australian films tend to do well on the festival circuit, with regular selections at <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/festivals/default.aspx">prestigious international festivals</a> such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance.</p> <p>But what about the local audience? Following their cinema release, most films make their way through a series of release “<a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/beyond_box_office.aspx">windows</a>” – traditionally starting with DVD, followed by subscription television and finally free-to-air television.</p> <p>Some films may also get hotel and airline screenings. More recently the video-on-demand (VOD) window has been added for many films (through, for example, local services such as BigPond Movies and Quickflix). Australian audiences have access to local films across these platforms.</p> <p><strong>Access to Australian films</strong></p> <p>In 2012, <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/news_and_events/2013/mr_130123_boxoffice.aspx">43 Australian films</a> screened at Australian cinemas, including 27 new releases and 16 films released in previous years that were still screening in 2012.</p> <p>Those 43 Australian films spent an average of eight weeks in cinemas during the year, and a median of five. At their widest point of release (the highest number of screens a film was available on during its cinema run), they averaged 75 screens across the country, with a median of 17, and at their narrowest they averaged four screens (median one screen).</p> <p>For example, Kath and Kimderella, Bait 3D, The Sapphires and Mental all went out on more than 250 screens and spent at least eight weeks in cinemas during 2012. Some 23 films reached fewer than 20 screens at their widest point of release, and 19 films ran for less than five weeks.</p> <p>Also during 2012, <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/mrstfeatsvideo.aspx">31 Australian films</a> were released for the first time on DVD (such as The Hunter and The Eye of the Storm), while audiences continued to have DVD access to the hundreds of films released in previous years – Screen Australia’s data tracking indicates that more than 600 Australian films have become available on DVD to date.</p> <p>During the same 12 months, at least 154 Australian feature films tallied up more than 2,500 screenings including repeats across 31 selected drama channels in 2012.</p> <p>Some films (such as Bran Nue Dae and The Tree) had their subscription premiere in 2012, and others (such as Daybreakers, The Proposition and Look Both Ways) had repeat seasons after premiering on subscription TV in previous years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/mrstfeatsfreetv.aspx">Twenty four Australian films</a> had their first free-to-air television screenings in 2012, including Tomorrow When the War Began (Ten Network) and Animal Kingdom (Nine Network). And an additional 63 had repeat screenings throughout the year, after premiering in previous years.</p> <p>In fact, some of the most popular local films continue to <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/about_us/pub_stayingpower.aspx">screen regularly on TV</a>, for example The Castle (16 screenings over the last 15 years), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel’s Wedding (16 screenings each over the last 17 years).</p> <p>And hundreds of Australian films, both new release and back-catalogue, have become available on-demand through BigPond Movies, Quickflix and iTunes.</p> <p>So how many people are watching Australian films on these various platforms?</p> <p><strong>Performance</strong></p> <p>The 43 Australian films screening at cinemas in 2012 earned a total of A$48 million, which equates roughly to <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/wcboprices.aspx">3.6 million admissions</a> (based on the average ticket price in 2012).</p> <p>There were around 9.5 million viewings of the first-run and repeat films on subscription television (national, consolidated, total people). (This calculation draws on OzTAM NatSTV figures for 2012. It is based on sum of average audience figures for the first release of a particular title and subsequent repeat screening between Jan 1 2012 to 31 Dec 31 2012 across 31 selection drama channels. National market data is copyright to OzTAM.)</p> <p>There were more than 15 million viewings of the first-run and repeat films on free-to-air TV (5-city metro). (This calculation draws on OzTAM 5 City Metro, total people, consolidated data for 2012. It is based on the sum of average audience figures for the first release of a particular title and subsequent repeat screening between 1 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012. Metropolitan market data is copyright to OzTAM.)</p> <p>Australian films (new releases and back-catalogue combined) accounted for <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/mrvideoall.aspx">4.4% of all film and TV titles</a> sold on DVD in 2012, and 4.8% of their retail value – a strong result considering that, with the popularity of TV box sets, movies in total accounted for only 52% of all DVD sales. Aggregated metrics on VOD viewings are not yet available.</p> <p>Australian films’ <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/wcboshare.aspx">share of the box office</a> averaged 4.3% in the 5 years to 2012, and looks set for a similar result for 2013 - around 4%.</p> <p>In 2001, when a record A$63.4 million was earned by local features (including Moulin Rouge, Lantana, The Man Who Sued God and Crocodile Dundee in LA), this represented 7.8% of the total box office that year.</p> <p>A 4% to 5% share of domestic box office is a successful result, and to exceed that level would be exceptional. Why?</p> <p>Access plays a role in constraining box office results, with only 43 films available to cinema audiences in 2012 out of a total 584 that screened during the year (or 7.8% of the films on offer).</p> <p><strong>How many screens?</strong></p> <p>In addition, the vast majority of Australian films receive a limited (less than 20 screens) or specialty (20 to 100 screens) release – 70% of Australian films were released on less than 100 screens in 2012. By contrast, 57% of US films went out on at least 100 Australian screens in 2012, and 38% on 200 plus screens.</p> <p>When the scale of release is taken into account (the number of screens each film is available on), Australian films accounted for 4% of total opening week screens in 2012.</p> <p>With easy access to continuous programming on free-to-air television, and the relatively low cost offered by subscription services and DVD (compared to the cinema experience and its associated costs such as transport and candy bar), access to Australian films in these secondary windows can be broader and more flexible. <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/hearts_and_minds.aspx">Screen Australia research</a> undertaken in 2013 confirmed that television and DVD are the dominant platforms for watching local screen stories.</p> <p><strong>The value of a cinema release</strong></p> <p>So if the main audience for Australian films is not at the cinema, why bother with a cinema release?</p> <p>Going to the cinema remains a popular activity for Australians, with 68% attending in 2012 an average of seven times. There’s a strong argument that Australians should have the opportunity to see local content across all available distribution platforms, given that <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/austories_research.aspx">nine in 10 people</a> feel it’s important to have a local film and television industry that makes Australian stories.</p> <p>And the theatrical model, which generally involves higher budgets and mixed finance sources, can allow for risky and ambitious stories which can be harder to finance through the television model where multiple factors, such as ratings, advertising and the overall program schedule need to be considered in making financing decisions.</p> <p>Without the theatrical model, many of these stories would not be available to those who only to watch on DVD or television. Cinema release also helps to establish broad awareness of films, building momentum as they make their way onto other platforms. For online viewing – where choice is virtually unlimited – <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/what_to_watch.aspx">content awareness is particularly important</a>.</p> <p>Australians value <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/hearts_and_minds.aspx">local screen stories</a> that they can relate to and learn from, and recognise that Australian filmmakers deliver subtle, nuanced stories reflecting contemporary Australian life, which could not be made anywhere else. And <a href="http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/about_us/pub_stayingpower.aspx">the numbers show</a> the impact of feature films continues to endure well beyond initial cinema release.</p> <p><em>Written by Rebecca Mostyn. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-wheres-the-audience-for-australian-films-20945"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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How the international market is taking over Hollywood

<p>Marvel’s “<em><a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/marvel-s-first-asian-led-superhero-film-shang-chi-finds-n983196">Shang-Chi</a></em>” – the studio’s first Asian superhero movie – is a sign of the times.</p> <p>Destin Daniel Cretton, <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/alisonwillmore/28-asian-american-filmakers">who is of Asian descent</a>, will be directing the film, which will feature a Chinese superhero who originally appeared <a href="https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/aN4AAOSwUElcl7nZ/s-l640.jpg">in one of Marvel’s 1973 comics</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=9Cm6ugEACAAJ&amp;dq=weiko+lin&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjGho3on57jAhVPmVkKHTQoB-cQ6AEIKDAA">As a bilingual screenwriter with projects in the U.S. and China</a>, I see “Shang-Chi” as yet another example of an exciting trend in Hollywood.</p> <p>More than ever before, studios are realizing that diverse casts and stories are just as profitable – if not more so – than the traditional Western narratives that dominated Hollywood for decades.</p> <p><strong>More “comps” for inclusive stories</strong></p> <p>When pitching a film to studios, writers and producers will commonly use what are called “comps.” These examples of previously released films that are similar in style or content bolster the feasibility of a film project; if a version of a pitched script has been successfully pulled off in the past, the studio might worry less about sinking money into it.</p> <p>A dearth of financially successful comps with diverse lead casts has made it tough to pitch films with nonwhite main characters. And that’s one of the reasons why inclusive stories were only sporadically green-lit for major studio productions.</p> <p>For years, if you were to pitch a story to a major studio with an all-Asian cast, you would have had almost no comps other than “<a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=joyluckclub.htm"><em>Joy Luck Club</em></a>.” That critically acclaimed film pulled in US$32.9 million at the U.S. box office on a $10.5 million budget. While that’s a respectable profit, it was no blockbuster, and it didn’t trigger an onslaught of movies starring Asians.</p> <p>Then “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=crazyrichasians.htm">Crazy Rich Asians</a></em>” happened. The 2018 romantic comedy wildly surpassed expectations by earning $238 million around the world with a $30 million budget, making it the <a href="https://ew.com/gallery/highest-grossing-rom-coms/">top-grossing romantic comedy in 10 years</a>, surpassing both “The Proposal” and “Sex and the City: The Movie.”</p> <p>Other successes have followed. “<em><a href="https://uproxx.com/movies/netflix-most-viewed-to-all-the-boys-ive-loved-before/">To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before</a></em>” features a Korean American teenager whose secret love letters are mailed to her crushes. “<em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7374948/">Always Be My Maybe</a></em>” is about two Asian American childhood friends who fall for each other as adults.</p> <p>The same thing is happening with films that feature African American leads.</p> <p>Just in the past few years, “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=blumhouse2.htm">Get Out</a></em>,” “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=untitledjordanpeele.htm">Us</a></em>” and “<em><a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/box-office-black-panther-becomes-top-grossing-superhero-film-all-time-us-1097101">Black Panther</a></em>” were blockbusters that starred black lead actors.</p> <p>Now, any screenwriter who wants to pitch a horror and superhero movie starring black actors or a romantic comedy with Asian characters has a handful of highly profitable comps at their disposal.</p> <p><strong>A new definition of “star power”</strong></p> <p>Some claim the lack of representation on screen could be attributed to a simple fact: <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2017/03/filmmakers-and-actors-keep-defending-casting-controversies-but-here-s-why-their-arguments-fail.html">Movies need star power</a>, and very few A-list movie stars were people of color.</p> <p>Aside from actors like Denzel Washington or Jennifer Lopez, it was rare for an actor of color to be able to “carry” a film. That reasoning doesn’t hold water anymore. Today, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who identifies as <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-mtv-movie-tv-awards_n_5d083713e4b095327838fc03">black and Samoan</a>, is the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jul/13/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-worlds-highest-paid-actor-reasons-why">world’s highest-paid</a> movie star.</p> <p>But one of the interesting aspects of films like “<em>Crazy Rich Asians</em>” is that they were huge successes at the box office without any marquee movie stars.</p> <p>This has done two things: It showed studios that star power isn’t as necessary as it was once thought to be. And it has allowed a new crop of diverse actors to emerge, with these films acting as a springboard to stardom.</p> <p>Studios have since realized it’s less of a financial risk to hire unknown actors, who they can then cultivate and, if all goes well, leverage for future projects.</p> <p>Netflix is doing just that with talents like <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4399227/">Ali Wong</a>. After two successful Netflix stand-up comedy specials, she co-wrote and starred in her first feature role in “<em>Always Be My Maybe</em>” for the studio.</p> <p>The same thing happened to <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2257207/">Daniel Kaluuya</a> of Universal Pictures’ “<em>Get Out</em>.” Before the film, he was a relative unknown. Now he’s starring in the upcoming “<em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8722346/">Queen and Slim</a></em>” from the same studio.</p> <p><strong>The expanding Chinese market</strong></p> <p>But why is all of this happening now?</p> <p>Ticket sales at U.S. cineplexes <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-hopes-reversal-fortune-worst-early-slump-6-years-1201963">are at a six-year low</a>, while marketing costs <a href="https://variety.com/2017/biz/news/hollywoods-soaring-marketing-cost-dilemma-1202530305/">are soaring</a>. As a result, studios are increasingly relying on international markets to reach profitability. Films like “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=pixar1117.htm">Coco</a></em>” – which is set in Mexico – and “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;id=furious8.htm">Fate of the Furious</a></em>” – which features Hispanic and African American lead actors – have global appeal.</p> <p>The most tantalizing market is China.</p> <p>“Coco” is the highest-grossing animated movie ever in China; it pulled in <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;country=CH&amp;id=pixar1117.htm">$189 million</a> at the box office, which almost matched the <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&amp;id=pixar1117.htm">$209 million</a> it earned stateside. And “Fate of the Furious” actually made <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;country=CH&amp;id=furious8.htm">$392 million</a> in China, easily overtaking the <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&amp;id=furious8.htm">$226 million</a> it earned in the U.S.</p> <p>China is presently Hollywood’s biggest foreign market. According to <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/china-film-market-eclipse-us-next-year-study-1215348">projections by PricewaterhouseCoopers</a>, this year the Chinese box office will rake in $11.05 billion, compared to ticket sales in the U.S. of $12.11 billion. Next year, however, China is expected to surpass the U.S. for the first time and be crowned the world’s largest film market.</p> <p>Chinese audiences love superhero flicks. “Avengers: Endgame,” for example, earned more than $600 million in <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;country=CH&amp;id=marvel2019.htm">China</a> alone. But films with modest budgets can also do well there. With a $10 million budget, the 2016 Bollywood hit “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;id=dangal.htm">Dangal</a></em>” made $193 million in China, almost tripling its $77 million take in India.</p> <p>As for the future? Disney’s upcoming live-action “<em><a href="https://www.insider.com/mulan-live-action-cast-vs-animated-2018-4">Mulan</a></em>,” which is based on a classic Chinese folk tale with an all-Chinese cast and a budget <a href="https://time.com/4707055/mulan-disney-remake-niki-caro/">exceeding $100 million</a>, has the potential to shatter box office records.</p> <p>For too long, doors to mainstream Hollywood have been closed off to stories set in diverse cultures and precluded inclusive lead characters in popular movies.</p> <p>But now, thanks to a powerful global market, those doors are cracking open and studios are rolling out the red carpet.</p> <p>The result is happy shareholders and, for audiences, refreshing stories that more accurately reflect the world we live in.</p> <p><em>Written by Weiko Lin. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/a-booming-international-movie-market-is-transforming-hollywood-118743"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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"My little hatchling!" Nicole Kidman shares first look at daughter's Hollywood debut

<p>Nicole Kidman’s youngest children are choosing to follow in her footsteps. </p> <p>The 52-year-old actress and mother of four celebrated her eight-year-old daughter’s voice role in the new kids movie <em>Angry Birds 2</em>. </p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0mjbsXgPP0/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0mjbsXgPP0/" target="_blank">My little hatchling Faith in the #AngryBirds2Movie 💕</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/nicolekidman/" target="_blank"> Nicole Kidman</a> (@nicolekidman) on Jul 31, 2019 at 6:09pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"My little hatchling Faith in the #AngryBirds2Movie," the <em>Big Little Lies</em> star wrote on Instagram, with a short clip from the animated movie attached alongside.</p> <p>The movie features both Faith Margaret and her big sister, Sunday Rose, 11. </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829198/nicole-kidman.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5bd049cb97944986921ef4d52507ba5e" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Left to right: Faith Margaret, 8, Sunday Rose, 11, Nicole Kidman</em></p> <p>The two girls whose father is Keith Urban will play young hatchlings in the film alongside <em>Wonder Woman’s</em> Gal Gadot’s daughter.</p> <p>The celebrity children appearances do not end there though as Viola Davis’ seven-year-old daughter, Genesis will play a role in the film as well. </p> <p>This also isn’t the first time Faith Margaret and Sunday Rose have gotten a taste of what it's like to be on set as they intially made their acting debut earlier this year in two episodes of <em>Big Little Lies</em>. </p> <p>"They're not coddled on the set. And that's good for them,” Nicole told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.you.co.uk/nicole-kidman-interview-2019/" target="_blank"><em>You</em> </a>magazine earlier this year. </p> <p>“It's given them a stronger understanding of what I do. It's made us all closer.”</p> <p><em>Angry Birds 2</em> is Nicole’s little girls first major roles. </p> <p>Kidman met musician Keith Urban in 2005 and they married the following year. In 2008, she gave birth to Sunday Rose and later in 2010 welcomed Faith Margaret via surrogacy. </p>

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“I’m old and fat:” Kelly McGillis opens about why she's not in the Top Gun sequel

<p>The 62-year-old actress is best known for playing Charlie Blackwood – a beautiful astrophysicist and love interest to Tom Cruise – in the 1986 film <em>Top Gun. </em>However, Kelly McGilis has not been asked to come back to any role in the sequel set to release later this year. </p> <p>The Golden Globe-winning actress wasn’t too surprised, however, and believes the reason is that she is “too old and fat”.</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Top Gun</em><span> </span>star told <em>Entertainment Tonight</em>: “I’m old and I’m fat and I look age appropriate for what my age is and that is not what that whole scene is about.</p> <p>“To me, I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829150/kelly.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6db5a0f80e9b4f2b9f9f3e7f59452e77" /></p> <p>In the upcoming film, 57-year-old Tom Cruise will play the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell once again, with Jennifer Connelly, 48, starring as his love interest. </p> <p>Since her time as an actress, McGillis said she left Hollywood after a while to “get sober” and to “figure out who the hell she was".</p> <p>"It was very challenging for me to have any kind of sense of self or self-identity or real self-worth other than what I did for a living," she said. </p> <p>"And it just – it didn't become a priority; what became the priority initially was raising my girls and being the best sober parent I could be."</p> <p>These days, McGillis spends her time with her two daughters Sonora and Kelsey Tillman. </p> <p>"I think just my priorities in life changed," she said. "It wasn't like a major decision that I made to leave, it was just that other things became more important. </p> <p>“I love acting, I love what I do, I love doing theatre, but I don't know. To me, my relationships to other people became far more important than my relationship to fame."</p>

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Space Oddity at 50: The novelty song that became a cultural touchstone

<p>When the 22-year-old David Bowie penned Space Oddity, a song that would ultimately become a <a href="https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/space-oddity/">recognised</a> classic, he was a burgeoning pop artist without a record deal. A folk singer without a gig, a sometime mime, and a purveyor of <a href="https://youtu.be/NUiboPRPOzo">ice creams</a>. His first serious relationship, with the actress <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/01/david-bowie-girl-mousy-hair-muse">Hermione Farthingale</a>, was in free fall.</p> <p>It was December 1968, and Bowie’s manager Kenneth Pitt was collating a promotional film to pimp his client’s wares to London television and film producers. He requested Bowie pen a “special piece of new material” to contemporise the otherwise retrospective nature of the film.</p> <p>And then, on Christmas Eve, astronaut Bill Anders captured his iconic photograph of Earth from the Apollo 8 spacecraft while circumnavigating the Moon.</p> <p>The Earthrise image was still resonating in the public’s imagination when Bowie retreated to his room in Clareville Grove, London to write his space cabaret. Composing on a 12-string Hagstrom guitar with a little sonic weirdness from a Stylophone given to him by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Bolan">Marc Bolan</a>, he came up with Space Oddity.</p> <p>A blatant commercial object, a “pragmatic” turn by a fledgling artist, the song would become an anthem for space exploration for decades (and for TV news obituaries on the occasion of Bowie’s <a href="https://youtu.be/mH3-HV2WDdQ">death</a> in 2016).</p> <p>Space Oddity tells of an astronaut Major Tom, launched into space in a manner akin to the Apollo missions. Yet in this instance all does not go according to plan and he is left adrift in the abyss of space, “floating ‘round my tin can, far above the Moon.”</p> <p>At the time it was considered a “novelty song” to hang alongside other opportunists riding the vapor trails of the <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-was-the-saturn-v-58.html">Saturn V</a>. (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/fashion/watches-omega-speedmaster-moonwatch-anniversary.html">Omega</a> watches, <a href="https://www.orlandosentinel.com/space/apollo-11-anniversary/os-ne-apollo-11-tang-20190704-ahrgsi5hmfdunfy4ldazrgvkr4-story.html">Tang</a>, <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/first-energy-bar">Space Food Sticks</a> etc). Bowie was acutely aware of the commercialisation of the space exploration story, of course. “You have really made the grade, and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear,” exalts ground control as Tom hurtles towards the heavens.</p> <p>Eschewing the typical pop song template, Bowie designed the piece as if it was a dramatic play. “I think I wanted to write a new kind of musical,” he <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2015/12/david-bowie-and-enda-walsh-musical-lazarus-reviewed.html">reflected</a> in 2002, “and that’s how I saw my future at the time.”</p> <p>The song – one of his earliest and perhaps most outrageous musical assemblages – is also indicative of the artist he would become, a restless creative magpie perched by the wireless, plucking phrases and vocal stylings from the inbound radio waves.</p> <p>The definitive version, recorded in late June 1969 at Trident Studios, was pressed and released as a single within three weeks – on July 11 – to leverage the hype of the impending Apollo moon landing. It also sealed a new recording deal with Mercury Records. Bowie was back.</p> <p>However, his long-time producing partner <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Visconti">Tony Visconti</a> refused to work on the song, citing it as a distasteful departure from the singer’s hippie folk leanings. Visconti’s unease led him to recommend <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus_Dudgeon">Gus Dudgeon</a> (who would later work with Elton John) as producer. The song’s adventurous orchestration and unsettling harmonics owe much to Dudgeon’s ambition.</p> <p>Through resonance, tone and unexpected harmonic shifts Bowie and Dudgeon achieved a meta-pop song full of cultural and musical references. There are lyrical and tonal references to the Bee Gees’ <a href="https://youtu.be/S43YhQ_eGTw">New York Mining Disaster 1941</a> while an acoustic passage signposts <a href="https://youtu.be/gP3-TU6xPvc">Old Friends</a> by Simon &amp; Garfunkel. Even the metallic chimes of the Stylophone recall the pulsating intro of the Beatles’ <a href="https://youtu.be/t1Jm5epJr10">I Am The Walrus</a>. This was music for space, both inside and out, an experimental sonic palette that would open up a whole <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613762/space-music-drugs/">new genre</a> of musical art direction.</p> <p>Of course, Kubrick’s <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> hangs heavily over proceedings. The two works are not only linked by name, but by their respective critiques of the cultural zeitgeist of “space fever”.</p> <p>A sense of melancholia and detachment permeates Bowie’s recording. Yet, Major Tom’s predicament – floating in a tin can far above the world – is perhaps not the perilous event we might suspect. He seems quite OK with it all. Even his observation that there is “nothing I can do” comes across as somewhat of a relief.</p> <p>We are never really sure whether the communication breakdown with ground control was accidental or by design. In Norman Mailer’s Apollo 11 chronicle <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/238970.Of_a_Fire_on_the_Moon">Of a Fire on the Moon</a>, he notes that the “obvious pleasure” of the astronaut, “was to be alone in the sky”.</p> <p><strong>Rushing towards the stars</strong></p> <p>Still, in a 1980 <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/10/06/555850186/how-ashes-to-ashes-put-the-first-act-of-david-bowies-career-to-rest">interview</a>, Bowie revealed Major Tom’s dilemma was a comment on what he saw at the time as the limits of American exceptionalism:</p> <p>Here we had the great blast of American technological know-how shoving this guy up into space, but once he gets there, he’s not quite sure why he’s there. And that’s where I left him.</p> <p>For such a challenging work, the press reaction in Britain to Space Oddity was largely positive, Tony Palmer, writing in the Observer, appreciated the song’s cynical air at a time when “we cling pathetically to every moonman’s dribbling joke, when we admire unquestioningly the so-called achievement of our helmeted heroes.”</p> <p>Music journalist Penny Valentine’s review for the ensuing album, which would feature Space Oddity as the lead track, observed that Bowie had captured “the rather frightening atmosphere we all live in as the backdrop to his songs.”</p> <p>Indeed, come July 1969, the promise of the sixties and the hippy trip of the free love movement were a few festivals and a bunch of ghoulish murders away from coming to an end. The sense of being adrift like Major Tom was not just a fantasy construction any more.</p> <p>The song’s television debut would be on July 20 when the BBC aired the track during the Apollo broadcast, albeit after the Lunar Module had safely touched down. A scenario that even surprised Bowie – “of course, I was overjoyed that they did”.</p> <p>Despite its contrived beginnings, Bowie designed a cultural touchstone for a historic moment of human engineering and blind courage. Even 50 years hence, he appears to us fully formed on Space Oddity as a moonstruck balladeer and completely in synch with the times.</p> <p>The immaculately dressed changeling who would go on to hit the glam rock jackpot with his alien stage persona <a href="https://youtu.be/3qrOvBuWJ-c">Ziggy Stardust</a>. A character who captured the abrasive temperament of the moment as he straddled the jet-trails of our collective rushing towards the stars.</p> <p><em>Written by Mitch Goodwin. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/space-oddity-at-50-the-novelty-song-that-became-a-cultural-touchstone-120071"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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So grown up! Nicole Kidman's daughters just landed major Hollywood roles

<p>They’re so much like their mother already! Nicole Kidman’s daughters with husband Keith Urban, Sunday, 11, and Faith, eight, have just landed their very own major movie roles for an upcoming film. </p> <p>Their very first role is one in a film likely to be seen by many excited children in September – <em>Angry Birds 2</em>.</p> <p>Sunday will be playing a bird called Lily, while her little sister Faith is voicing a bird named Beatrice.</p> <p>The young girls are sure to be knockouts considering their talented bloodline. It's not their first time in front of the camera either, after they joined their mother in playing extras on a TV series she was shooting in New York.</p> <p>Pictures of Kidman in her character for the HBO series <em>The Undoing</em> were captured of her on set, with her two young daughters standing alongside her.</p> <p>Both Sunday and Faith were wearing school uniforms in a street in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.</p> <p>It’s quite clear Nicole likes to keep her two youngest children by her side – and that includes in-between shoots or even when she is working.</p> <p>Nicole told <em>E! News</em> last year that her eldest daughter Sunday had gotten her own small role at school – hinting she might want to take after her talented mother.</p> <p>“My daughter just got cast in her school, so that's been the main priority, learning lines with her,” Kidman said.</p> <p>The Golden Globe winner has opened up in the past about her unconventional parenting methods – admitting she doesn’t let either of them have a phone.</p> <p>Next to that, neither of her girls are allowed to use social media, including Instagram.</p> <p>Even despite being “unpopular” in her daughter’s eyes, she still tries to “keep some sort of boundaries".</p> <p>Nicole told<span> </span><em>E! News</em><span> </span>last year that her eldest daughter Sunday had gotten her own small role at school – hinting she might want to take after her talented mother.</p> <p>“My daughter just got cast in her school, so that's been the main priority, learning lines with her,” Kidman said.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Nicole and her two daughter's spending a day on set together in New York – and how much Sunday and Faith have grown!</p>

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The secret to making movies memorable

<p>Quoted in one of the many <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/film/cinemas-most-influential-thumb-film-reviewer-roger-ebert-dies/story-e6frg8pf-1226612986736">tributes</a> following his recent death was film critic Roger Ebert’s remark: “I have seen untold numbers of movies and forgotten most of them…”</p> <p>I haven’t seen untold numbers of films, but I’ve seen my fair share. And like Ebert, I’ve forgotten most. Of the dozens I’ve seen just this year, I remember virtually nothing of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qilrVR0miPU"><em>Gangster Squad</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31_NVBkdOzo"><em>Alex Cross</em></a> or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bgw394ZKsis"><em>The Impossible</em></a>. Hell, it’s only been days since I saw <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tyhvd6t75A"><em>Cheerful Weather for the Wedding</em></a> and it’s already wiped from memory. Completely.</p> <p>Dubbing a film forgettable is quite possibly the worst indictment I could give. And yet sadly, most are. Forgettable and completely and utterly forgotten.</p> <p>And it was this idea of forgettability that I was thinking about when I attended a screening of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3DcWtkKeIY"><em>The Neverending Story</em></a> (1984) at Melbourne’s <a href="http://www.astortheatre.net.au/">Astor</a> recently.</p> <p>Generally speaking, I don’t see films twice. My rationale for this is twofold:</p> <p>I will never live long enough to see every film I want to, so justifying a repeat viewing is tough.</p> <p>Seeing an adored film, a second time inevitably destroys some of that virgin magic.</p> <p>My main reason for a <em>Neverending Story</em> repeat was that I’d never been to the Astor. That, and I hadn’t seen the film since primary school so assumed I only remembered the gigantic flying “labrador” and the Limahl song.</p> <p>And yet, from the very first scene the film was as familiar as any James Patterson novel. I knew every scene inside out. I knew every one of Barret Oliver’s (Bastian) over-delivered lines. I was awaiting every single hokey special effect.</p> <p>How?</p> <p>There’s good, solid - if OCD - reason why I can recite nearly all the dialogue from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkZcYMy85lY"><em>The Wizard of Oz</em></a> (1939), <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nZl-AyVH3Q"><em>Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory</em></a> (1971) and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzWmxjYNfz4"><em>Grease</em></a> (1978). I had VHS tapes of each and every day after school would put one on and play with my Barbies.</p> <p>And yet I’d only seen <em>The Neverending Story</em> once and it was scene-for-scene familiar. Nearly two decades on.</p> <p>Which got me thinking about why. Why did I remember <em>The Neverending Story</em> when I can barely remember anything beyond paying $18 to see <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UELonDEqAMw"><em>The Company You Keep</em></a> last weekend?</p> <p>And no, dementia isn’t the answer.</p> <p>If there were something cinematic that could make an average film memorable, the studios would have long exploited it.</p> <p>Instead, I’m convinced that films that should, in all good sense, be forgotten can be salvaged through the happenings around them. That they get remembered because of the experience of seeing them.</p> <p>My parents alternate between claiming that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taMnCjzKgd8"><em>ET</em></a> (1982) was the first film I ever saw at the cinema to suggesting it was <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bB_GiB1j20"><em>Fantasia</em></a> (1940).</p> <p>I doubt I’ve seen either.</p> <p>The first film I remember seeing at the cinema was <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFK_i5r1WJk"><em>Dirty Dancing</em></a> (1987). And even at 7 I knew that it wasn’t appropriate fare for a 7-year-old. Which, of course, is precisely why I loved it. Not a good film in the way I’d judge one today but seeing it clandestinely with an aunty who I thought was cool, made it momentous.</p> <p>I don’t remember, for example, whether I liked <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEh0kwDqZZ0"><em>Ladyhawke</em></a> (1985). I doubt I did. I do however, remember the Year 8 school excursion to see it at the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valhalla_Cinema,_Melbourne">Valhalla</a> on a very tinny bus with a driver that looked like Michael Jackson. I remember my friend, sitting next to me, reminding me that Navarre (Rutger Hauer) _also _starred in perhaps the shonkiest film of all time, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgnlJ38ntQw"><em>Blind Fury</em></a> (1989).</p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096945/">A blind Vietnam vet, trained as a swordfighter, comes to America and helps to rescue the son of a fellow soldier.</a></p> <p>My laughter, as it often did, got me a swift reprimand.</p> <p>I don’t think I liked <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQhTVz5IjQ&amp;bpctr=1366970061"><em>Inglourious Basterds</em></a> (2009). It’s memorable though, because I saw it with a man who had heard me on the radio before meeting me and thought he liked me. And who I, during that screening, thought I liked too. (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX3bN5YeiQs">cue foreboding music</a>).</p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U2LUsfeMwg"><em>The Killer Inside Me</em></a> (2010) would normally have been forgotten. Forgotten except for the fact that the guy with me held my hand throughout. Lovely normally, but he kept holding it throughout a very violent rape and murder scene. Which confused me completely.</p> <p>Seeing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4C0szpgokQ"><em>Malèna</em></a> (2000) with my grandmother who apparently decided it was perfectly okay to yell things out at the screen. (Not as embarrassing as when she did this at a live Fiddler on the Roof peformance.).</p> <p>Seeing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1Qz2x94q6A"><em>24 Hour Party People</em></a> (2002) in Manchester, in the bed of a man much more memorable than the film.</p> <p>Seeing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIdulY5N2rY"><em>L'ultimo bacio</em></a> (2001) and becoming a first-time shusher when the elderly couple behind me unwrapped their 43rd package of brown-papered deli meat.</p> <p>That I remembered <em>The Neverending Story</em> centred simply on the protracted lead up. My teacher spent what felt like a year reading the book to our class. Every scene was already underpinned by my imagination and a good dose of anticipation.</p> <p>Not every film can be great - most, in fact, aren’t even good. But my love of a story - a quality anecdote - can make a flick memorable in spite of the shoddiness.</p> <p><em>Written by Lauren Rosewarne. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/making-movies-memorable-13478"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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