Film News

Tilda Swinton Makes Impassioned Argument for Gender-Neutral Awards in Venice

"I draw a blank on the divisions of age or gender or any sense of identity."

This week Scottish actor Tilda Swinton is in Italy for the Venice Film Festival to accept a Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement award.

Swinton was one of two recipients this year, along with Hong Kong New Wave filmmaker Ann Hui. The Snowpiercer actor accepted the award at the socially distanced ceremony on Wednesday night, with a speech that included tributes to recently deceased Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman and to Swinton's late friend and collaborator David Bowie.

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TV

The 77th Golden Globe Awards, Starring the Climate Crisis

Actors used their acceptance speeches to speak out on the tragic fires in Australia and other humanitarian issues.

Though the Golden Globe Awards are intended to honor the best of motion pictures and television, last night's ceremony occurred in the shadows of the multiple humanitarian crises occurring around the world.

Ricky Gervais' brash opening monologue set the scene for a night full of critical political commentary, and many actors used their acceptance speeches to expand on a multitude of issues, the most common topic being the fires in Australia that have killed over 20 people and millions of animals. Though that crisis is happening miles and miles away from Beverly Hills, it was only a few minutes into the Golden Globes that those fires hit close to home.

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon together presented the nominees for Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for TV, among whom Russell Crowe won. But the Loudest Voice actor wasn't there to accept his award; he was home in Australia helping to protect his family and his house from the fire. Aniston shared a message from him: "The tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global force to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future."

Australian Bushfires Given Spotlight At Golden Globes www.youtube.com


Stars like Ellen Degeneres and Cate Blanchett gave their hopeful sentiments to Australia during their speeches, while others like Joaquin Phoenix used the opportunity to call out some of their peers: "It's really nice that so many people have come up and sent their well wishes to Australia, but we have to do more than that," the actor said, accepting his Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture award for portraying the title character of Joker. "We don't have to take private jets to Palm Springs for the award sometimes, or back. Please. And I'll try to do better and I hope you will, too."

Michelle Williams used her speech to call for her fellow women to vote in the upcoming presidential election, while Patricia Arquette expressed her fear for potential war following President Trump's decision to assassinate top Iran general Qassem Soleimani last week. Gervais, however, was having none of it, pointing out the hypocrisy of Hollywood "wokeness."

"If you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech," the host urged. "You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God, and f--k off, OK?"

Whether Gervais' suggestion was fair is up for a long debate, but the climate crisis was definitely the Golden Globes' surprise star.

FILM

The Best LGBTQ+ Movies to Stream This Weekend

Celebrate the passing of the Equality act with these six films.

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a historic civil rights bill protecting the LGBTQ community.

The Equality Act extends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, including employers, landlords, and public accommodations such as restaurants and hotels. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "No one should lose their job because of who they are or who they love." While it's yet to be seen if the bill will pass through the Republican-controlled Senate, The Equality Act is the first step Congress has made to elevate the rights of the LGBTQ community to equal importance as racial equality and religious freedom.

Celebrate the groundbreaking bill by watching the best LGBTQ films available to stream right now.

Blue Is the Warmest Color (Netflix)

Nominated for a Golden Globe, this 2014 French coming-of-age film follows two teenagers as they meet and fall in love. Adele (played by Adèle Exarchopoulos) is a dissatisfied teenager who meets an older art student, Emma (played by Léa Seydoux). The film is celebrated for its emotional intensity, as the two form a life-changing bond.

Blue Is The Warmest Color - Official Trailer youtu.be


The Handmaiden (Amazon)

Based on Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook's adaptation is set in Japanese-occupied Korea. Sook-hee is a young pickpocket who's hired to become a Japanese heiress' maid. They begin a dramatic affair that challenges their families' and society's expectations.

The Handmaiden - Official Trailer youtu.be

Kiki (Hulu)

This documentary explores New York's ballroom and voguing culture (a.k.a the "Kiki" scene). A worthy complement to 1991's celebrated documentary Paris Is Burning, Kiki features several LGBTQ youths of color expressing themselves in New York's drag scene in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kiki (2016) - Trailer youtu.be

Carol (Netflix)

Set in 1950s Manhattan, Carol captures the torrid relationship between a young aspiring photographer, Therese (Rooney Mara), and an older woman in the midst of a divorce, Carol (Cate Blanchett). Based on the 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, the film features some of the best performances of 2015.

Carol Official US Trailer #1 (2015) - Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett Romance Movie HD youtu.be

Appropriate Behavior (Amazon)

Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, The Bisexual) debuted in 2015 when she wrote, directed, and starred in this feature about a closeted bisexual Brooklynite. The comedy follows Shirin (Akhavan) struggling to appease her traditional Persian family while trying to save her relationship with her girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson).

Appropriate Behavior Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Comedy HD youtu.be

G. B. F. (Netflix)

Darren Stein's teen comedy stars Michael J Willett as Tanner, a gay teen who comes out of the closet and instantly becomes the most popular boy at his suburban New Jersey high school. Everybody wants to claim him as their "gay best friend." Natasha Lyonne plays an encouraging teacher while Megan Mullally plays an overbearing mother. The film satirizes the notion of objectifying gay people as a trendy symbol while depicting Tanner's genuine, enduring friendships.

G.B.F. Official Trailer 1 (2014) - Natasha Lyonne, Evanna Lynch Movie HD youtu.be


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

FILM & TV

Saturday Film School | 'Ocean's 8' Plays it Safe and Sticks to Source Material

Familiar and a Bit Derivative, Ocean's 8 Still has Enough Style to Stay Afloat.

Warner Bros. Pictures 'Ocean's 8'

The real fun is watching the style and craft of the heist, the chemistry between the ensemble and how their convenient ingenuity awards them the privilege of indulging elegant, albeit organized criminality.

When it comes to heist movies, the Ocean's franchise—elevated by the ever-watchable George Clooney—is the most entertaining of offerings in a genre that naturally follows a strict formula: beautiful people, beautiful locations, and tons of delicious, slow-building tension followed by exposition regarding the heist's logistics and plot twists. Clooney as the well-dressed, stoic Danny Ocean never failed to hit all the right cinematic sweet spots; he somehow made an inconceivable character believable and, better yet, enviable. His pack of equally handsome and charismatic tricksters—Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle—had the type of chemistry and swagger reminiscent of NYC's Rat Pack.

In 2018, it's the women's turn to do some money stealing, but you'll find that Ocean's 8, although pleasant and warm, is derivative and unchallenging. In fact, Ocean fans will recognize the score-settling pot twist toward the end as Ocean's Eleven's romantic plot twist between Danny and Beatrice (Julia Roberts); the similarity of the two films is so blatant it feels like deja vu: Are we just supposed to accept a completely stolen subplot? Yep. Because Ocean's 8 isn't concerned with creating something new, which is a shame because a woman-led heist film shouldn't have to follow the same beats as George Clooney's gang of pickpockets and genius hackers, but it does, playing things safe up until the predictable finale, when, surprise (!), eight women get away with the country's biggest jewelry heist since…Doris Payne?

Again, if you've stuck with the franchise for long enough, you know the formula: The real fun is watching the style and craft of the heist, the chemistry between the ensemble and how their convenient ingenuity awards them the privilege of indulging elegant, albeit organized criminality. Apparently, stealing is good fun when it's made to look easy and even better with women in 8-inch stilettos.

The leader this time is Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), Danny's sister—looks like their shared con artistry is genetic—who cons her way out of jail after serving five years in confinement for a heist-gone-wrong her then-boyfriend put her up to. Her excuse: She fell for the wrong guy. She's released, 45 dollars in her pocket, looking to even the score. She rallies up an old partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett), and the two assemble a team of women to help steal a 150 million dollar necklace from the Met Gala set to be worn on the neck of diva actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). Their team of thieves is just as adept and clever as Ocean's men: Nine Ball (Rihanna), a stoner/hacker; Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), a desperate designer in massive debt; Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a bored mother who fences stolen goods; Constance (Awkwafina), a fast-talking pickpocket; Amita (Mindy Kaling), a diamond expert (who's hilariously berated by her traditional mother for being unwed). The women compliment one another and their onscreen presence seems organic, sexy, and fun in the same fashion Danny's crew captivated the screen.

In the third act, James Corden plays a jolly fraud inspector eager to recover the precious necklace. He's a weird fit for the role and his presence feels like the punchline of celebrity cameos—and there are plenty in this film (the Kardashians, Heidi Klum, and Vogue's very own Anna Wintour make an appearance). Ocean's 8 is familiar, yes, but it's well constructed, with every actress pulling her own weight and making her own share of the uber expensive necklace. The pleasure is in watching Bullock strut into Bloomingdale's and steal designer perfume and cosmetics with a straight face. It never fails to find delight in a franchise that makes something as bad as jewelry theft look so good you consider making your own team of criminal thieves. Ocean's 8, no matter its uninventive tone, excels in refurbishing what was once Hollywood's A-list male-dominated playground. If there are more to come, let's hope the women will get some more room to play.

POP⚡DUST Score: ⚡⚡⚡⚡


Shaun Harris is a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.


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FILM & TV

BOX OFFICE BREAKDOWN | Women are taking over the heist game

JUNE 8TH-10TH | What's Coming to Theaters this Weekend?

A documentary, a horror picture, and some girl power are available for your enjoyment this weekend.

In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about having your pants scared off? Maybe you just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have you covered. Take a peek at our top picks for this week…

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FILM & TV

The 'Ocean's 8' Trailer has arrived

This franchise is about to get a whole lot more interesting in its latest installment

An early Christmas present was delivered this morning: a trailer for one of the most anticipated films of 2018!

After Mindy Kaling posted on Instagram the poster for the highly anticipated sequel in the Ocean's film series, the Internet started to freak out about the possibilities of an all-female cast, including big names like Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and Awkwafina. Speculation about what was in store for the film started to swirl and this morning theories started to be confirmed and denied with the release of the first official trailer.

The film stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney in the original films) who is released from prison and immediately begins to return to her crime-filled ways. She's got her eye on a $150 million necklace that will be on display at the Met Gala, and is looking for the perfect way to wrangler it from its owner, a celebrity donning it down the red carpet.

Enter Cate Blanchett as Bullock's partner in crime, as well as the rest of the gang working as everything from computer hackers to fur aficionados to help get a piece of the prize. And of course, each of them is wearing a super fabulous coat in the trailer, so those of us with cold weather wear envy as sure to be pleased.

Watch the Ocean's 8 trailer below.

The trailer looks to be in the same style as all of the other films in the franchise, even from the way it opens with Bullock's character in her orange jail duds, giving an imagined interview. However, it also differentiates from the crime thrillers that were last produced eleven years ago, where the numbers in the names signified how many members were in the pack. What livens up this premise is the female-dominated cast, much needed in the current sociopolitical environment. It goes to show us that a taste for the criminal life runs across genders in this family.

However, what still has fans up in arms is the reported inclusion of Matt Damon's character in this installment in a cameo appearance. Damon has appeared in all three films in the franchise. Critics are questioning his place in this girl-power-driven film after he recently made comments questioning sexual misconduct allegations that have flooded Hollywood, saying there is not enough discussion about the men affected. We'll see what carries out as the film inches closer and whether or not Damon's scenes will kept in final production.

For now, let's embrace the big move these leading ladies are taking on the screen and clear our schedules for a girl's night at the movies come summertime.

Ocean's 8 is scheduled to be released in June 2018.

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