Kristen Wiig & Melissa McCarthy To Star In The All-Female Ghostbusters Movie

Be still our beating BUSTie hearts: Could it finally be happening?! A Ghostbusters remake that puts ladies at its goo-fighting center? We are sincerely tickled—especially since now the potential lineup has been released and it includes none other than Wiig, McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. You know we will be Fandango'ing this as soon as humanly possibly.

The film is set to release in July of 2016 (nope, not sure we can wait that long either, but patience is a virtue and also sometimes a necessity). One thing we're pretty curious about though ... Who is going to pick up the Sigourney Weaver role? ZUL SEEKS KEYMASTER, and we are seeking Zul: We'd like to *officially* cast a vote for Sarah Silverman, who would be awesome.

Image c/o The Hollywood Reporter

Emma Watson Will Play Belle In Disney's Live Action Beauty & The Beast

It's been a pretty excellent week on the Emma Watson front, first at Davos on behalf of HeForShe (killer speech, right?) and now in Tinseltown. It makes perfect sense to us that one of the world's best-known young feminists is set to play Disney's famed nose-buried-in-a-book leading lady. We're sure she'll totally nail it.

After all, she's got a lot to work with: Belle—unlike other Disney dames scheming to get hitched (coughcoughCinderellacough)—wanted to be known for more than her looks, and turned down Gaston's surface level proposal because he didn't respect her big gorgeous brain. We can't imagine Emma standing for that kind of nonsense either. You go, girls.

So... Yeah, yeah, we know it's a kid's movie, technically, but we're definitely going to go see this one. Will you?!

Image c/o the Telegraph & Disney

Ava DuVernay's Oscar Snub: What the What?!

 

Earlier this week we discussed Ava DuVernay’s historical Golden Globe nomination and expressed our sincere hopes that she would be able to conquer the Oscars’ Best Director category. Sadly, that won’t be happening. Though the film itself deservedly nabbed a nomination for Best Picture, DuVernay was shockingly left out of the race for Best Director.

On one hand, it’s not surprising. Out of the eight best picture nominees, only The Theory of Everything (arguably) has a female protagonist, and only Selma is about people of color—the Academy Awards have been historically whitewashed and male-dominated. Why would we expect change now?

On the other, it’s incredibly surprising. As a beautifully crafted period piece about real-life events, Selma feels like prime Oscar bait. Though there are other wonderful films directed by women of color out there, we were cheering DuVernay on particularly.

The Academy missed a big ol' boat on this one. Think of all the positive press you could have gotten for a change, old, white men! We could say there's always next year, but somehow, that doesn't make us feel any better about this year.

Image c/o AFFRM

'Cake' Review: Jennifer Aniston's Noteworthy Performance is Not Enough

Cake stars Jennifer Aniston as Claire, a woman who gets booted from her “support” group for women in chronic pain for being "insensitive." Claire develops a morbid fascination with the recent suicide of one of her support group members, Nina (Anna Kendrick). She goes to the spot of Nina’s suicide and befriends her widowed husband (Sam Worthington), all the while having dark, goading hallucinations of Nina.

We know from the beginning that there’s more to Claire’s story than just the accident that has left her with multiple scars and an addiction to painkillers. She gives away toys to her gardener and has a strained conversation with her separated husband (played by the always employed Chris Messina); by the time what actually happened to her is revealed, we’re left with a fairly standard story of a grieving woman.

Cake is a film about an intense subject, but its attempted nuance leave only a mild impression. It’s unfortunate that this film never truly grasps the theme for which it’s reaching. Aniston’s performance is suitably difficult to watch; she carries herself firmly upright and walks tentatively, always in a balancing act with her pain.

When Claire tries to be kind to someone—usually for her own benefit—we can see the physical strain in her face. Her expression hardly changes because of the amount of pain that would cause, but the smallest motions hint at the deep physical and emotional pain she’ going through.

Though Aniston’s performance is commendable (and undoubtedly drawn from several other similarly minimalist performances—Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole comes to mind), it’s not enough to carry the movie. Cake wants so much to be an unsentimental take on pain and grief, but by trying so hard to be understated, it barely scratches the surface. Claire’s emotional turmoil is the kind of thing that would elicit tears in real life, but it’s doubtful anyone would react so strongly in this case

The film also totally underutilizes the most interesting character in the film, Claire’s housekeeper and caretaker Silvana (Adriana Barraza). Silvana is cast unfortunately as a stereotype—a maid with a heart of gold—but the scenes with her and Claire veer into the simultaneously melodramatic and believable. Our glimpse into Silvana’s backstory, when she encounters old (and now wealthy) friends in Mexico, hints at an interesting discussion of race and class in and out of America that never gets explored.

Cake is worth seeing for Aniston’s performance, but that’s about it. Maybe wait until the inevitable web release for this one.

Image c/o  movienewz.com

Filmmaker Desiree Akhavan On Her Sundance Success And Upcoming Role On ‘Girls’

 

Every so often, a filmmaker comes along who shows us the world from an entirely new angle. We're currently obsessed Desiree Akhavan, co-creator and star of the web series The Slope, and we're certain she's on the cusp of something seriously big.

Akhavan’s first feature, Appropriate Behavior, premiered last year at Sundance Film Festival, and has since been to a total of 90 festivals. In it, Akhavan plays a young Brooklynite named Shirin who finds herself emotionally lost after a big breakup. Though the movie is not autobiographical, Shirin’s path echoes a lot of the director’s own life: She’s having trouble coming out as bisexual to her Iranian-American family.

The movie follows the highly-relatable theme of finding oneself in the world—and it’s also hilarious,  with sardonic-but-loving view of Brooklyn and the people who live there. We recently spoke to Akhavan about Appropriate Behavior, believable relationship stories, and her upcoming role in Girls—this talented woman is on fire.

You could say that Shirin’s tragic flaw is her trying to balance being bisexual and out and a good Iranian daughter all at the same time. How has the feedback been from these communities?

I don’t necessarily think it’s her tragic flaw…I think she’s been born these things and she doesn’t necessarily quite into any of them, and that, to me, is just her journey as a person, to be OK not fitting any of them.

I’ve had a handful of closeted Iranians talk to me after screenings and say they didn’t know what to do, [asking] what advice I would give them, which is really touching because when I came out, I had never even heard of a gay Iranian person, let alone seen one in real life or spoken to someone. It felt like I was coming out as an alien. It was one of those things that I just had no example of in my life…it was such uncharted territory that I was asking my parents to wrap their brains around something that just doesn’t exist in our community.

There are a lot of tongue-in-cheek social criticisms in the film, mostly about the way privileged white people react to other cultures, like a particularly funny moment between Shirin and her then-girlfriend at a Persian New Year party. Is this a deliberate part of your writing?

I have opinions on all these things, but I don’t want watching one of my films to feel like taking medicine. There’s a lot I want to say, and I feel like using comedy is the best, most efficient way to do it. But [Shirin’s comment] also fit that situation. I never have an agenda, but when a line like that comes along I get really excited about leaving it in through each draft, because it’s important to me to make that statement.

Do you write with a specific audience in mind?

I try not to think about whom I want to please. I want to make a good film that speaks to a lot of people. I think if you focus on what you love, and what makes for something an entertaining film, that to me seems like a good way to do it…I think with something like this it would really make me censor myself if I was constantly thinking, “Oh, who’s going to be offended by this? Who’s going to enjoy this? Who’s going to feel alienated by this?” 

There are no villains in the movie—is that deliberate?

For sure. I knew I wanted to tell a love story about a couple that doesn’t last. Especially being the child of immigrants and having both my parents work a lot, I was raised primarily on television. Everything I knew about love and life I gleaned from different TV shows and movies, and it was always very black or white. There’s the love of your life, and then there’s the bad guy. There are the good parents and the bad parents, the good friends and the bad friends. I was very surprised [after my first breakup] that you could love someone who was a good person and it could just not work after a while.

I think the parents [in the film] are good people, even though we may not agree with everything they do. I think Maxine is a really good person. Everybody is trying hard and there are no villains, but shit goes down and people act stupid.

How do you feel about this new wave of female “fuck ups” we’ve been seeing in film and television lately?

I’m always being asked about this new trend of women being human beings…I don’t see them as fuckups, I see them as people who are figuring it out in the entitled, normal way that men have been figuring it out in film forever. [Men] don’t have to exist in relation to other people. The journey of this film is just finding your place in the world, and figuring out how you want to carve out a little space outside of the clichés.

So when I hear all of these things looped together—Girls, Broad City, Obvious Child—as being a part of this “new wave,” they’re all really different stories, really different protagonists. It is really hilarious to me that we’ve grouped all women and all female-driven narratives that take place in New York now into this “fuckup” world of entitlement, but we haven’t even taken a look at what’s there. Straight white male narratives, no one calls them that, no one qualifies them. We call them films.

Can you tell us about your upcoming role in Girls?

I play a total asshole. Hannah’s in writing school and I play her classmate. I have really strict ideas for what makes for good and bad work, and I don’t acknowledge her as a real contributor to the class. I went to graduate school for filmmaking, so it was a really great role to play because I understood the dynamic of that kind of heady critique of artistic work, which inherently has no right or wrong, but when you’re studying at that level, there’s this underlying feeling that there is a right and wrong. It was a really fun and absurd.

Appropriate Behavior will be in select cities and available on iTunes Friday, January 16th.

Image c/o THR

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