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Charlize Theron Should Definitely Add ATOMIC BLONDE To Her Dating Profile

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We already know from THE ITALIAN JOB and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD that South African bombshell Charlize Theron can drive the hell out of any vehicle, even with deranged bikers in tow. Now Imperator Furiosa can add a few more skills to her dating profile with Universal’s July 28 release ATOMIC BLONDE. This movie is based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series “The Coldest City,” written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart. Theron is also a producer on Atomic. Plus it has wily Toby Jones being creepy and John Goodman playing it tough.CharlizeActAB17That line “You don’t need a man, you need a champion*” applies to the female lead here. Note that Charlize can do things with a high heel that few dare dream to do, and still be a golden-hued spokesmodel for iconic French perfume Dior.CharlDior17
You’ll recall her Oscar-winning performance as a serial killer in MONSTER (2003) the minute you watch this trailer for what looks to be a new wild entry in this Transvaal native’s career. The official description follows below from Universal, but just take in the clip without context first, to see how talented and physically powerful this Queen from The Huntsman can be. TheronMcAvoyAB17After all, in Mad Max, she even made super toughie Tom Hardy look a little frightened. Here she makes James McAvoy consider his options. What a date night movie this will be.

From Universal Pictures, Bows July 28

Oscar® winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.  

The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission.  Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.  

A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2).  Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.  Kurt Johnstad (300) wrote the screenplay.CharlizeAB17Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones
Directed by: David Leitch
Screenplay by: Kurt Johnstad
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Produced by: Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, A.J. Dix, Kelly McCormick, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin
Executive Producers: Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Joe Nozemack,
Steven V. Scavelli, Ethan Smith, David Guillod, Kurt Johnstad

Official website here. Opens July 28. See it then.

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Vintage Bowie, Iggy, Blondie, Syd Barrett in SHOT, Doc on Mick Rock OnDemand Now

by Screenmancer Staff

We usually don’t cover OnDemand, but SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRTUAL MANTRA OF ROCK also opened in theaters on April 7, so this isn’t a stretch. SHOT is a voyeurist’s dream/viewfinder brought to you through the eyes of one Mick Rock.

Ziggy Also Ate Bananas...

Ziggy Also Ate Bananas…

Who is Mick Rock? Hyperbole from the press kit sets the perfect tone for “a deep look into the mind of one of rock’s greatest living photographers: Mick Rock.”
“Rock’s work with some of the most accomplished personalities of the past forty years – David Bowie, Queen, Blondie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop – created many of the images that would come to define them.”BowieIggyLou17“Presented in his own words, Rock takes us through his journey from the glam rock shimmer of London, through the snarl of NYC punk and into the new millennium, combining a portrait of the man who did the work, with a look at what the work did to the man.”SHOT1sheet17
Directed by Barnaby Clay, and featuring Mick Rock himself, “this film reveals an enigmatic Rock and his adventurous life both behind the camera and as an integral member of the artist’s entourage working with and shaping some of the most outrageous, recognized and accomplished musicians and personalities of the past forty years.”QueenShot17“An icon-maker, and icon in his own right, Rock is among a very few photographers who himself is photographed walking red carpets in Los Angeles, London, New York and around the globe.”

Blondie Is Still Bitchin'

Blondie Is Still Bitchin’

Thank you, Magnolia Pictures for that hyphen-free magnificent description of what looks to be, from the photos they gave us, a killer look back at 70’s, 80’s wild club life.

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Magnolia Pictures released SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL MANTRA OF ROCK in theaters on April 7, as mentioned, but it’s now OnDemand, on Amazon Video and iTunes.
91 Minutes

Download the poster:
http://bit.ly/2mcI59V

For More Info:
Official Site | Twitter = #MickRockFilm

Remember, it’s only rock’n’roll, but you like it, yes you do.

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Greenstrikes Over Airstrikes? Watch TOMORROW, the Documentary, to Find Out How

by Screenmancer Staff

What if you could change the world by watching a movie? Okay, what if you could change your way of living by watching TOMORROW today?  This isn’t hippie mumbo-jumbo, it’s a striking new French documentary that offers an alternative to the global pharma Frankenfood reality, where Bayer just bought Monsanto in September of 2016, and farmers in India are reported to live in peril due to GMO regs, high fees for seeds, and more. Demain17And thus their peril spreads to the world food supply, in an unnatural gene editing mosaic that has been grafted onto our worldwide food basket. But that’s only one topic. This documentary also tackles, the economy, education, and who we are as consumers in a recyclable system.

Watch and see what you can do after rethinking TOMORROW.

Tomorrow – Trailer from Under The Milky Way on Vimeo.

The Film’s Official Mission Statement, Their Caps!

TODAY, we sometimes feel powerless in front of the various crises of our times. TODAY, we know that answers lie in a wide mobilization of the human race. Over the course of a century, our dream of progress commonly called “the American Dream”, fundamentally changed
the way we live and continues to inspire many developing countries. We are now aware of the set-backs and limits of such development policies. We urgently need to focus our efforts on changing our dreams before something irreversible happens to our planet. TODAY, we need a new direction, objective… A new dream! The documentary Tomorrow sets out to showcase alternative and creative ways of viewing agriculture, economics, energy and education. It offers constructive solutions to act on a local level to make a difference on a global level. So far, no other documentary has gone down such an optimistic road…
TOMORROW is not just a film, it is the beginning of a movement seeking to encourage local communities around the world to change the way they live for the sake of our planet. Start small to grow big, and write a new story for the generations to come.

Here’s The Story, Dates, Venues

Popular French actress Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) and activist Cyril Dion’s César Award-winning environmentally-themed documentary Tomorrow (Demain) will open theatrically in San Francisco on April 14 and then in New York, Los Angeles and other markets on April 21 – to coincide with Earth Day celebrations on April 22.
In 2012, “Nature” published a study led by more than 20 researchers from the top scientific institutions in the world predicting that humankind could disappear between 2040 and 2100.
It also said that it could be avoided by drastically changing our way of life and take appropriate measures.
Shortly after giving birth to her first child, French actress and director Mélanie Laurent became increasingly aware of the dangers and the state of urgency that her son will face in the future. Along with friend and activist Cyril Dion and their crew, she decided to travel the world in search of solutions that can help save the next generations. The result is Tomorrow, an inspiring documentary that presents concrete solutions implemented throughout the world by hundred of communities.
From the US to the UK and through Finland and India, together they traveled to 10 countries to visit permaculture farms, urban agriculture projects and community-owned renewable initiatives to highlight people making a difference in the fields of food, energy, finance, democracy, and education.
Their common ideas and examples make Tomorrow one of the most essential and unexpectedly inspirational viewing experiences of our time.

Support Your Local Filmmaker, Farmer, Friend + Be The Change = Greenstrikes
________
UNDER THE MILKY WAY PRESENTS

TOMORROW (DEMAIN)
CO-DIRECTORS: MÉLANIE LAURENT & CYRIL DION
WRITER: CYRIL DION
NARRATORS: MÉLANIE LAURENT & CYRIL DION
120 minutes- DOCUMENTARY- FRANCE –In English (With some subtitles)
WINNER: Best Documentary Feature -César Awards 2016, Best Documentary- COLCOA French Film Festival (Los Angeles)
Opens in New York (Village East) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall) on Friday, April 21 with a national release to follow.
Get Familiar With UNDER THE MILKY WAY Now!
A Digital Distributor with 13 offices around the world, Under The Milky Way has steadily acquired a slate of critically acclaimed foreign gems for theatrical release in the US. Their most recent acquisitions include Un Certain Regard favorite The Student from Russia, French thriller Made in France, indie rom-com Swim Little Fish Swim and French comedy What’s in a Name?

TOMORROW Credits
Co-Directors
MELANIE LAURENT & CYRIL DION
Writer
CYRIL DION
Producer
BRUNO LEVY
Director of Photography
ALEXANDRE LEGLISE
Production Manager
SYLVIE PEYRE
Sound
LAURENT CERCLEUX
Narrators
MELANIE LAURENT & CYRIL DION
US Distribution
UNDER THE MILKY WAY
120m- DOCUMENTARY- FRANCE

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Who’s Your MUMMY: Tom Cruise & Russell Crowe Bring Mummy Back

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Oh, admit it, the team of OG Box Office Ballers Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe in Universal’s new take on THE MUMMY slated for June 9 has definite possibilities, even if Russell Crowe is a wry scale-tipper these days, mostly divining water in indie films. TCRuss17Plus it’s an IMAX® hair-raiser.
Tom Cruise, or TC to friends, is such a hot-button actor for his off-screen activities that it’s almost like a Kevin Bacon game of interconnections, but mostly interstellar ones in TC’s case. At a certain point you just have to smile and remember it’s about the movies, not the man himself — although TC has an uncanny ability to pick winners in the storytelling category, even detractors can’t argue his bottom-line earnings.
That said, let’s give the boys a chance here because they’re bringing The Mummy storyline back as a female-driven ghoul show.
Not to ruin the plot, but hell hath no CGI-empire-smashing-fury like a chick who’s been buried for a very long time. In fact, this sexy crone isn’t just breaking a glass ceiling, she’s ripping the lid off major cities like London. All this with the power of two-pupil mind-control eyeballs, mind you.TCRussOld17
Girls just want to have fun, as the Cyndi Lauper lyric goes, unless of course they’re back from the undead and none-to-happy about their demise.
Watch the trailer here, full cast and credits below. Also, the no-subtext official description follows. Thinking they’ll top the BO worldwide with the Russell & TC show, baggage and love handles and all, lol, mostly because it’s a VR eyefest. Virtual Reality is the go-to these days to pull people off their gaming consoles and into the theaters.

Why You’re Going to Love THE MUMMY
Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: THE MUMMY.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (upcoming King Arthur, television’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

The creative team on this action-adventure event is led by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producer Chris Morgan, who have been instrumental in growing some of the most successful franchises of the past several years—with Kurtzman writing or producing entries in the Transformers, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible series, and Morgan being the narrative engineer of the Fast & Furious saga as it has experienced explosive growth from its third chapter on. Sean Daniel, who produced the most recent Mummy trilogy, produces alongside Kurtzman and Morgan. www.themummy.com

Mummy17Production Team = Positron and Voyager
Founded in 2014, Positron is a technology studio based in Los Angeles that delivers engineering magic.  The team includes mechatronics engineers, designers, software developers and artists who collaborate together to create VR experiences and products that have never been done before.  Voyager is the first full-motion chair platform designed for cinematic VR. Integrating beautiful design and high-end engineering, it reflects a passion for VR storytelling. Voyager delivers a completely new level of immersion in VR by providing a comfortable, fully integrated personal VR theater that incorporates gentle motorized yaw and pitch motion, haptic feedback (physical audio powered by Subpac), and specialized seating. Its unique software and hardware technology integration enables nuanced motion and haptic tracks to be encoded along the featured content’s visual and spatial audio tracks. The chair precisely guides the viewers’ attention to points of interest in the experience, while also allowing a viewer-controlled motion mode. Voyager units are available now for select theaters, hotels, concerts, and events that desire to provide a premium VR experience. For Voyager images please visit Positron Media.

THE MUMMY arrives in IMAX® and theaters nationwide on Friday, June 9, 2017. www.themummy.com

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Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryan Reynolds, Director Daniel Espinosa, Olga Dihovichnaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Ariyon Bakare  and Jake Gyllenhaal seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "Life" the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images)

LIFE is Already Scary, Now It’s A Scarier Reynolds & Gyllenhaal Movie, Thanks

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

What is it with ‘ripped from the alt-news headlines’ movie plots lately? KONG: SKULL ISLAND has a hollow earth slash reptilian b-story, even a CIA mind control “Monarch” reference on a briefcase. Now LIFE, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, has a waterborne microbe from Mars mass-extinction horror twist.

Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "Life" the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images)

Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of “Life” the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. [Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images]

While scary stories about hostile life on Mars is a running theme since B-movies in the 50’s, this one has some actual science to back it up.

LIFE, directed by Daniel Espinosa, touts the fact that the producers and writers consulted with “astrobiologists and space medicine experts,” one of whom is Dr. Kevin Fong. “Space is an extreme environment, like any of the extreme environments we’ve attempted to conquer in the 20th century – deserts, polar ice caps, our highest mountains,” Fong explained. “What we know about extreme environments is that you can’t go there for long and it’s not without penalty. You come back literally less than the person you were.”

“It’s hard enough to stay alive up there on a routine mission when everything goes right.  When things start to go wrong, people start to die off pretty quickly.” These cheery words underscore his experience as an astrophysicist and MD who’s worked on NASA’s Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, meaning he is a medical expert on keeping folks alive and kicking in space.

No offense to the astro-geniuses, but frankly movie stars can explain a movie better.

Cast and crew of "Life" seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "Life" the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony/AP Images)

Cast and crew of “Life” seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of “Life” the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony/AP Images)

In typical Jake Gyllenhaal extreme-character mode, he plays International Space Station denizen David Jordan, who’s already clocked 473 days afloat in outer space. “It was a beautifully paced, terrifying script.  It’s a fun idea. You think you know where it’s going, and then it evolves into something where you really, really don’t,” he added. “The life form is literal, but it’s also an incredible metaphor for what can happen. Curiosity is one of the most important human traits, but I think searching too far can be full of hubris. In that way, the life form is a repercussion for that kind of curiosity.”

“My grandfather was a doctor,” Gyllenhaal shared, “and Daniel and I talked about the similarities in my character to my grandfather. It’s a bit of an homage to him.”

Next some newcomers join the freaky plot, and things get terrifying as a look for proof of life on Mars backfires. Naturally the movie includes a requisite CDC, Centers for Disease Control, rep. This one comes in the form of Rebecca Ferguson, as Miranda North. “Miranda is a microbiologist sent up to protect everyone on Earth from whatever this is that we find,” Ferguson explained.

Her character puts up some “firewalls” against extra-terrestrial contamination. “The firewall is, first, the container that the specimen was in.  And then the room.  And then the station itself.  She has to do whatever she can do to protect Earth, because we don’t know what this life form is.” No, it’s not a gimmicky ‘life form,’ either.

Producer Julie Lynn nailed it best on that front. “We didn’t want the life form to be a person in a suit or a puppet. We wanted it to be something that could evolve from a cellular piece, a tiny cell. It’s not that it comes out with an intent to do harm; it is its own creature, and it is affected by what happens to it.”

Paris, France - Monday March 13, 2017: Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson at the Columbia Pictures "LIFE" Photo Call at The Planetarium of Le Grand Palais

Paris, France – Monday March 13, 2017: Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson at the Columbia Pictures “LIFE” Photo Call at The Planetarium of Le Grand Palais

Rebecca Ferguson spins it as a relationship game with the pathogen. “We all have our own relationship to this creature. Some of us love it, we nurture it.  Some of us want to kill it off in the beginning.  And that creates an incredible tension in the group,” she said.

Ryan Reynolds rounds it out with, “this script had such a degree of reality and a feeling of constant tension,” that he reteamed with his DEADPOOL writing pals Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, to ratchet up the stakes. Coincidentally, Reynolds also went back to the well with his SAFE HOUSE director Daniel Espinosa.

Having worked well with Reynolds, Espinosa is also super excited about LIFE. “I think the reason so many great directors have walked into science fiction is to work with the unknown — the fear or fascination with the unknown,” he said.  “We live in a world that is quite mundane, but in space, you enter an adventure – you don’t know how it looks, how it feels, what it can do to you, where it is. It doesn’t make a sound. That’s terrifying.”

Whatever the hell LIFE’s monster is in this case, the SAFE HOUSE director made it even scarier when he added that “this script felt more like a realistic science fiction. Maybe science reality.” Picture waking up ’50,000-year-old microbes’ inside crystalline hibernation on Mars, that is. Or, in movie critic shorthand, the DNA from amber plot device from Jurassic Park, but with super-freaky outer space Martian microbial goo meets Alien. Sorry for the gross oversimplification but this helps put your fears to rest, folks, because it’s only a movie. We hope. Alternative news purveyors might spin it as a doomsday scenario for planet Earth, lol. LIFE, go see it before it happens. It opens Mar. 24, brought to you by Skydance and SONY (Columbia).  Interestingly, Megan Ellison’s brother David Ellison is listed as a producer. The film has bowed in Berlin, Moscow, Paris, and at SXSW in Austin, Texas last week. [Most of the photos included are from SXSW premiere.] See their official website for showtimes and venues. Hahtag #LIFEMOVIE

Directed by:  

Daniel Espinosa

Written by:

Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

Produced by:

David Ellison

Dana Goldberg

Bonnie Curtis

Julie Lynn

Executive Producers: 

Don Granger

Vicki Dee Rock

Cast:

Jake Gyllenhaal

Rebecca Ferguson

Ryan Reynolds

Hiroyuki Sanada

Ariyon Bakare

Olga Dihovichnaya

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KSIKid17

The Kong Show: KONG SKULL ISLAND, Hiddleston, Larson, Jackson Deliver “Bigly”

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When the original KING KONG was released by RKO in March of 1933, some of the trade ads included a tie-in between Kong’s big bang box office receipts and the failed banks of the Great Depression roaring back to profitability. Kong33pstcrd17It was a nostalgia sell, a heart-tug for a pre-code Hollywood monster romp, the likes and scale of which had never been seen on the silver screen.

In a quick recap, Merian C. Cooper was turned down at Paramount, then skipped over to RKO. David O. Selznick bit, but bailed out during production. Titled “The Beast,” “Eighth Wonder of the World,” “Ape King,” and “Kong,” Selznick insisted the title be changed to KING KONG. The wow-title was a huge pivot for a scream queen screenplay written by Edgar Wallace. KongTradeBankAd17

Much like the old KONG, the new KONG: SKULL ISLAND also released in March 84 years later, by Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, just shot past all expectations for the weekend opener, to the tune of $61 M USD. (*Now just shy of $150 M USD worldwide.)

And this is up against the formidable Hugh Jackman franchise starrer LOGAN.

Why is KONG SKULL ISLAND doing so well?

Nostalgia, folks, Viet Nam war era discontent, and throw-back technology right down to the brick-like cell phones and dot matrix, white and light lime green striped perforated IBM computer paper from the 70’s of this KONG. HidLarsKSI17Call it a Guardians of The Galaxy overhaul of the gorilla classic, KONG even features a key plot point role by GOTG’s John C. Reilly.

The film script has so many great touches, for example Brie Larson’s photojournalist character says she was “an anti-war photographer” embedded in Vietnamese conflict.  Shea Whigham plays a hardened Viet Nam veteran who says “we didn’t lose the war… we abandoned it.” All creative plot embellishments work here.

Plus, Bradley Cooper’s brother from Silver Linings Playbook, that same actor Shea Whigham, has some other soulful moments in this, also his Playbook alum John Ortiz makes an impact. All the supporting characters are extremely well-thought out.

Including some kid who looks like he actually is in Apocalypse Now-then, even though this is KONG 2017, ironically shot in Vietnam, here. His name is Thomas Mann, from Portland, Oregon, a kid we will see much more of based on his palpable brand of youthful sincerity in this picture.

Richard Jenkins, the one and only, shows up as a US Senator, another nice touch. The guy who should have passed on the remake of BEN HUR, Toby Kebbell, shows us why this British-born actor is still very gifted as Chapman, whose letter-writing home to “Dear Billy” is a leit-motif and masterstroke of the emotionally rich storytelling throughout this movie.

Anyway, KONG SKULL ISLAND is making money because it’s worth the money. Main stars Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World”), Oscar-nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), John Goodman (“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Argo”), Oscar-winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Trainwreck”), Jing Tian (“Police Story: Lockdown”), Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), John Ortiz (“Steve Jobs”), Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”), Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”), Shea Whigham (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Thomas Mann (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”), with Terry Notary (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and all rock the blockbuster with Oscar-nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), knock it out of the park.
In sum, everybody delivers “bigly” as the word goes these days. It’s the perfect storm of escapism for a time that parallels the economic uncertainty of the early 30’s. Our KONG, the 2017 inhabitant of this silver screen Skull Island, has his own agenda, and is rebranded as a 2.0 of monster movie heroes.

Not to give too much away, you won’t guess the plot twists, and may be slightly disappointed by a thin and pale John Goodman whose real purpose here seems to be to show the perils of weigh loss on humor quotient. That said, Goodman also pulls his weight in a line-up of truly excellent performances for the genre, and even for any genre.

Watch Tom Hiddleston and others in this official featurette on KONG SKULL ISLAND…

Here’s What Warner Bros Has to Say About Their Gorilla-Not-To-Be-Missed

Official Statement: The producers of Godzilla reimagine the origins of one the most powerful monster myths of all in “Kong: Skull Island,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Tencent Pictures.  This compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“The Kings of Summer”) tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful.  Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature.  As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.
Vogt-Roberts directed the film from a screenplay by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, story by John Gatins. Kong: Skull Island is produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni and Alex Garcia, with Eric McLeod and Edward Cheng serving as executive producers.
The creative behind-the-scenes team included director of photography Larry Fong (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), production designer Stefan Dechant (supervising art director True Grit, Avatar), Oscar-nominated editor Richard Pearson (United 93, The Bourne Supremacy) costume designer Mary Vogt (the Men in Black films) and composer Henry Jackman (Captain America: Civil War). The team also included Oscar-winning makeup supervisor Bill Corso (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and supervising stunt coordinator George Cottle (Interstellar, The Dark Knight Rises). The legendary Kong was brought to life at a whole new scale by Industrial Light & Magic, with two-time Oscar winner Stephen Rosenbaum (Avatar, Forrest Gump) serving as visual effects supervisor.
To fully immerse audiences in the mysterious Skull Island, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and his cast and filmmaking team filmed across three continents over six months, capturing its primordial landscapes on Oahu, Hawaii—where filming commenced—on Australia’s Gold Coast, and finally in Vietnam, where filming took place across multiple locations, some of which have never before been seen on film.
Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures and Tencent Pictures present a Legendary Pictures Production, a Jordan Vogt-Roberts Film,Kong: Skull Island. The film will be released worldwide in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX beginning March 10. Kong1sht17CAST: Kong: Skull Island” stars Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “Thor: The Dark World”), Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), John Goodman (“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Argo”), Oscar winner Brie Larson (“Room,” “Trainwreck”), Jing Tian (“Police Story: Lockdown”), Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), John Ortiz (“Steve Jobs”), Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”), Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”), Shea Whigham (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Thomas Mann (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”), with Terry Notary (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) and Oscar nominee John C. Reilly (“Chicago,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”).

See their website for official images and screening details.

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When Life Imitates Tart: Shirley MacLaine & Amanda Seyfried Go At It In THE LAST WORD

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Never start a headline with a bad pun, and never write your own obit might be two unwritten rules of journalism, but in new movie THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, a lot of rules are broken so let’s skip the logline and go straight to the press conference at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. The timing is key here because this takes place Friday, Mar. 3, in the wake of MacLaine’s brother Warren Beatty’s epic wrong-picture Oscar controversy and the shock death of Bill Paxton, 61, who was Seyfried’s friend and co-star on the HBO series “Big Love.”

Last_Word_JZ_3642.CR2

Selfie from THE LAST WORD cast.

MacLaine, who plays Harriet Lauler a bitter ad exec who hires Amanda Seyfried’s character to pen a loving tribute before she dies, is seated beside Seyfried, with director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road), newcomer Ann’Jewel Lee, 10, and co-star Thomas Sadoski known for the CBS TV series “Life in Pieces.” To further up the stakes, Seyfried and Sadoski met on the set of this film, and are set to become parents shortly. Plus, Amanda has brought her dog Finn to the show, which makes this event even more like a surreal Hollywood family gathering.

Every single journalist in the room has worked up a strategy for addressing the 800 pound story lead in the room. Without being so indelicate as to outright ask about either the Oscars or Paxton without ruffling the stars or overshadowing THE LAST WORD’s release, the questions veer toward the inevitable.

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MacLaine shoots down all comers. “That’s Warren and Jimmy Kimmel’s problem. It was horrific,” she says of the Oscar misidentified Best Picture fracas. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Her firm stance here quashed any other talk of current events in Hollywood. And right there, while she sorts out the room, you see the character she plays in THE LAST WORD in sharp relief. You don’t mess with a legend, and you’re not going to slip a fast one by Shirley MacLaine, who’s a master at shutting down nonsense. The best part is she also steamrolls the “who was your mentor,” and the “Ms. MacLaine you’re a legend” crap too.

“Joan Crawford. She was the first person to give me advice (in Hollywood). I didn’t listen to a word she said.” MacLaine smiles as she says it.

When you get up the courage to ask your not-political-political question, with a Marlon Brando lead-in from one of her memoirs about how Brando actually got her into politics over a death penalty case while she was frying an egg, as the story goes, MacLaine dodges that bullet too.

“You know I was named for Shirley Temple, a Republican? Well, I have to play both sides of the aisle.” The way she turns her gaze directly into your subtext after that moot zinger is a private moment, comical, deft.

Amanda Seyfried, Mark Pellington, and the cast turn their chins in her direction. You can’t help it. This is a woman who has survived Billy Wilder in THE APARTMENT, Hitchcock in THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, and is an Oscar winner, six-time Academy Award nominee, as well as a Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement honoree. Plus she has privately endured the recent deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, after playing Reynolds’ fictional mother to Fisher’s fictional daughter in POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE. Meryl Streep played Carrie Fisher’s fictional account of herself as Debbie Reynolds’ daughter. The four of them were very close during the filming, now 50 percent of them are gone.ShirlMerylDbCarrieHere’s where, even in this swank Beverly Hills suite years away from the Golden Age of Hollywood that she bridges, Shirley MacLaine melds with THE LAST WORD character Harriet Lauler. As in Madison Avenue and Show Biz, both of them had to break down doors while protecting their inner selves in a world where women were either glamorized, marginalized or downright obstructed from their goals.

Later, when it’s revealed that screenwriter Stuart Ross Fink wrote the script for THE LAST WORD specifically for Shirley MacLaine, about a hard-driving ad exec (Harriet Lauler) turned surrogate mother for Amanda Seyfried’s character (Anne Sherman), this new movie becomes almost poetic and reverential.

In the opening scenes, real-life images from MacLaine’s life slip across the screen and through time in an appreciation of a woman whose career has spanned more than 70 years as an actor, performer, dancer, show pony, and hoofer. “Shirley and I had a 20-minute discussion on the psychology of pajama versus a robe,” Fink explained. “It was at that point I realized Harriet was no longer mine. She had become Shirley’s.”

“There’s no other actress who can portray a combination of bitchiness, vulnerability, humor, and empathy like Shirley.”

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Fink, who brought the project to director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road), is also an ad man, a creative director who worked for Fortune 100 companies. Clearly he built the story around his experience. Harriet Lauler is a once-Teflon advertising veteran in the movie. Now a broken woman, she was kicked out of a company she founded, that still bears her initials in the logo, only to become an aging control freak in a secluded life headed for the bitter end. Instead of accepting her fate as a dethroned pitch maven, MacLaine’s character decides to stage manage her exit, beginning with hiring an exceptional obituary writer to cement her refurbished reputation after she dies.

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Nobody wants to write obits, especially not for a living or the living.

Amanda Seyfried plays the beleaguered essayist with a day job writing obits who is flung into orbit around Lauler’s ego as she re-brands herself for the afterlife. “I adore Amanda,” MacLaine said. “And Harriet in her way adores Anne, but her biggest problem has always been with people who don’t live up to their potential.”

When you realize this is a first movie for Fink, you begin to understand the complexity of molding the material to MacLaine. And that’s what makes this movie the proverbial love letter to MacLaine, now 82, while also carving out a poignant narrative about the inevitable displacement of productive people as they age. “Older people are invisible,” MacLaine will say at the press conference, “that’s what I wanted to use this movie for, to make older people less invisible.”

What makes the movie raw and strange is the interplay between Seyfried, MacLaine and her on-screen daughter played by a disapproving neurologist Anne Heche in one tiny scene, coupled with long sequences where Seyfried and MacLaine go through their personal pitched battles in the presence of new comer Ann’Jewel Lee, a 10-year-old who takes no prisoners.

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Heche slays as a bad daughter.

At the press conference, after the glittering sheen of star power wanes and Ann’Jewel Lee waits to leave, she wants you to know about “the cursing,” the f-word her character uses. “I don’t say that in real life,” she notes. “But it was just a movie. My mother said it was okay because it’s just a movie.” Just a decade in years and she’s got the wisdom to know the difference between what’s on the screen to make a point, and who she is as a young actor. Mark Pellington adds that she ad libbed a crucial scene with MacLaine, where MacLaine asks “what do you want to be” open-ended. Lee says “ya gotta be something.”THE LAST WORD Poster_rgbIn a surreal LA moment, after leaving the press conference and meeting MacLaine, who is so frighteningly gracious and disarmingly elegant in real life, Ari Shapiro’s NPR interview with the screen star for THE LAST WORD comes on the car radio. She’s parrying back and forth, doing her Harriet Lauler impression, “I know you’re looking for a headline, Babe,” she quips. And of course, Shirley MacLaine gets the actual last word.

Make the time to see her go toe-to-toe with Amanda Seyfried in this movie, because it’s really a moment for women, young and old, and the families we build when husbands, partners, boyfriends, children, and even a high-power career aren’t enough.

THE LAST WORD from Bleeker Street and Myriad Pictures, is directed by Mark Pellington, and stars Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfriend, Anne Heche, Ann’Jewel Lee, Philip Baker Hall, Thomas Sadoski, and Tom Everett Scott. See their website for venues and showtimes for the release run, which opened Mar. 3, in a nationwide roll-out.

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LarryMeme17

NEWSFLASH: Top 10 Most Troubling Conspiracy Videos on YouTube

LOS ANGELES, CA: Remember this little prescription? “You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” That’s how The Matrix’s Laurence Fishburne gets Keanu Reeves character NEO to enter the alternate reality that’s the so-called true reality. Newflash: that is from 1999. Now substitute Blue State and Red State for pills, and think about political party affiliations.

Who saw into the future? GuyFawMeme17The Wachowski filmmaker siblings from Australia, the pair that brought us Matrix in 1999, followed by V for Vendetta (2005). Yes, that “V.” The now-iconic fictional character who has become a rallying cry for social justice via the Guy Fawkes face mask.

Where are we going with this? During this Era of Fake News, “Alternative Facts,” and Improbable Stats, brought to you courtesy of the 2016 US Presidential Election, nobody even offered a pill.

But we were still sent down a rabbit hole that saw Reality TV Entrepreneur Donald J. Trump engage in a claymation-style Celebrity Death Match with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, before he swept into the Highest Office in the Land. This  has been the equivalent of the Red Pill anyway.

Under President Trump we expect more crazy, above and below the scroll, even by the troll, who sometimes voice popular sentiment. That’s the irony of fake news: there may be a grain of truth in it. Just as there is a grain of salt for MSM (Mainstream Media) news nowadays. The bottom-line is nobody gets away without having a filter on their brain.

JonesMeme17That said, Screenmancer has jammed up a YouTube feed (and maybe got flagged by the NSA, kidding), just to bring you the Top 10 Most Troubling Conspiracy Videos on YouTube. The order is 10 being Troubling, in descending order to Most Troubling. Next time you’re hit with outlandish news, at least you’ll have a benchmark for crazy.

While the interwebs must remain uncensored, free, and fluid, expect to encounter digital dilemmas like this, where we’re being urged to shut down free speech on a free internet because of Crazy. This happens the more outlandish the interwebs becomes. Yet this controlled chaos is reflective of the actual offline world around us and what people are actually seeing behind the privacy of their own screens.
We’re not including links for these gems because that would be an endorsement of the content.  If you Google Up the titles, unfortunately you will stumble upon the incendiary footage. Yet, the real disclaimer here is that while much of this content is off-the-hook ridiculous, some of it will give you pause. GeneMeme17

If you feel we’ve left off anything important, remember that our criteria excludes all 9/11 theories, political hit videos, unsavory magical or psychic themed videos, and anything that refers to animals, children or feathers or nudity or faked moon landings. Enjoy the new era of Curated Crazy…

Top 10 Most Troubling Conspiracy Videos on YouTube
[Includes one line description for basis of ranking.]

(Ranked 10 = Troubling; 1 = Most Troubling)

10.) Truth About New World Order This Video Blocked in 51 Countries
(Real News Studio, 175K Views)
Begins with George Carlin’s monologue about conspiracy theories, downhill from there, conflates world events.

9.) Dr. Steve Pieczenik – The American Republic Has Been Restored
‘No More False Flags, No More B^!!$#!%!’
(The River Mersey, 54K Views)
Former Govt. Operative Peczenik insists he was among many insiders who hijacked the election for Trump.

8.) You Are Being Distracted YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP
[Hillary Clinton – George Soros connected imagery]
(Anonymous Updates , 17K* Views)
A fake Anonymous group purports to know Greek Billionaire George Soros is pulling Hillary Clinton’s puppet strings.

7.) A Message To Fake Anonymous And The Deceived
(Anonymous, 338K Views)
Real Anonymous takes on Anon Updates, Anon DK, and others who pretend to be official Anonymous, which is non-violent.

6.) GOD is a Computer PROGRAMMER – Documentary*
(Hotcakes, 141K Views)
Bogus analogies invoke digital fear in this bogus “documentary” that attempts to co-opt the Digital Age.

5.) Simulacrum: The Superimposed Artificial Reality
(Doug Michael, 51 K Views)
Quotes Iris Murdoch, purports to be sci-fi-entific, is just weird, and everything might be a simulation, but who cares?

4.) 11 Cellular & WiFi DARK SECRETS You Must Hear Now & 3 BONUS features
(LogicBeforeBeauty, 82K Views)
“CERN is ‘the devil’s play toy.’ Beings from another dimension to come through cell towers;” Holy Toledo, Batman, this is wack!

3.) The Huge Secret That Princess Diana Knew
(Gary Lite, 2.5M Views)
Lady Diana knew Royal Family Reptile secrets, and Leaping’ Lizardry, enough said.

2.) ROSEANNE MK ULTRA – Hollywood Stars Kidnapped
(Robbo Da Yobbo, 140K Views)
An entire Roseanne Barr genre on topics like this and how “Illuminati Rules Hollywood with MK Ultra Mind Control.”

1.) JFK Jr. Told the world who killed his Father
(Veritas 13Fox, 388K Views)
Remember his magazine GEORGE? Now parse the phrase ‘JFK was ambushed,’ and you’re there on this one.

[DISCLAIMER: Certain topics have been excluded from the list, including all 9/11 theories, Political figure bashing, magical and psychic themed videos, chemtrails, and anything that refers to animals, children or feathers or nudity or faked moon landings.]

LarryMeme17

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and binge-watch conspiracy footage.

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20C1sht17

A24 & 20TH CENTURY WOMEN Won’t Keep The Party Polite, So See Their Film

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Okay, so that headline lyric is actually from Frank Sinatra about Luck being a Lady, and frankly that’s just one misconception about women that the movie 20TH CENTURY WOMEN hopes to debunk. That and every notion of gender from conception to girl power to the male gaze to reproduction. AnnetteB17This movie is not a “chick flick,” shall we say, but it is a flick about chicks/women/girls, and every other representation of — stealing from the novelist Raymond Carver here – what we think about when we think about Women. Plus there’s skateboarding in it, a huge nostalgic bonus. Yeah, but what’s the movie about?

Here’s the official rundown: “With 20th Century Women, acclaimed filmmaker Mike Mills (the Academy Award® winner for Beginners) brings us a multilayered, funny, heart-stirring celebration of the complexities of women, family, time, and the connections we search for our whole lives. Set in Santa Barbara, the film follows Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening), a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent son, Jamie (newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann, in a breakout performance) at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion. Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women in Jamie’s upbringing: Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home; and Julie (Elle Fanning), a savvy and provocative teenage neighbor. 20th Century Women is a poignant love letter to the people who raise us—and the times that form us—as this makeshift family forges fragile connections that will mystify and inspire them through their lives. GretaG17As if this film itself is not enough of a power statement for the cause, A24 has just announced it will make a donation to Planned Parenthood to honor every single person who sees the film this weekend, men and women. Meanwhile, filmmaker Mike Mills has just unveiled a clip of Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, being interviewed about what matters. Besides kicking asses and taking names, to use the ‘parlance of our time,’ Planned Parenthood is still recovering from brand bashing during the election. So, watch the clip below, and remember – you can either plan your parenthood or all hell breaks loose.

Here’s A24’s official word on this featurette:

[Writer/director Mike Mills, and stars Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning, reflect on those who raise us and the times that shape us in latest video ‘Modern Women’, featuring an exclusive interview with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. Planned Parenthood consulted on the film and Planned Parenthood California Central Coast shared information and resources about Planned Parenthood health centers in the ’70s. Planned Parenthood also plays a crucial part in the lives of two of the main characters in the film.]

Of his fierce support of the project, writer/director Mike Mills says, “The people at Planned Parenthood were so helpful to me with the writing and pre-production of 20th Century Women. They connected me with people who worked in PP offices in the ’70s to make sure every aspect of my scenes was correct, from the language counselors used to the very particular decor and dress of the people in those offices, to the overarching philosophy and attitude of the women who worked there. It was very important to me that we capture this moment in women’s reproductive rights accurately and they were so generous and helpful to me.”20C1sht17

Mike Mills’ Golden-Globe® nominated 20TH CENTURY WOMEN opened 12/25/2016, and is showing now in a run up to the Oscar® ceremony, to broadcast live on Sunday, Feb. 26. The film stars Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, and Billy Crudup. Mike Mills is the writer director. Find out how to see it here and A24 has some other awesome projects on their website.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and plan to reproduce.

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IBMOct17

How to Factor the Oscars: Hidden Figures, Stats on Women Revealed

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Who knew NASA and IBM would be the corporate darlings of this year’s Oscar race? Or, translated into Award Season trivia for 2017, who knew HIDDEN FIGURES from 20th Century Fox, about three NASA human “Computers,” would run up unexpected numbers at the box office and put stars Kevin Costner, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe on the Oscar radar?

HF-228 - Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

The graph looks like this according to The Numbers, an insider box-office tracking service: Dec. 25, 2016 (release date) $515,499; Dec. 26, $831,571. Not impressed? By Dec. 27, the picture barely tops $1 M USD. However, in a five-day period between Jan. 5 and Jan. 10, 2017, in a run up to the Golden Globes, HIDDEN FIGURES goes from $2.5 M USD to $30 M USD. From Jan. 10 to Jan. 15, the picture tops $54 M USD and counting.

While the film took a backseat to singing-dancing LA LA LAND on Jan. 8 at the Golden Globes ceremony, nobody can deny that the film’s bump from being included in that awards show made a huge difference as far as audience awareness, and in turn box office totals.

You may not be a big fan of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or the checkered history of their Golden Globes presentation, but this year the GG’s hit it out of the park for a film that may have stayed hidden had not this show (among others) shined a spot on three remarkable African-American women who helped ushered in a win in the US-Russian Space Race back in the 60’s. The film picked up two nominations, for Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Ben Wallfisch for Best Score, and for Octavia Spencer as Best Supporting Actress in a motion picture.

HF-207 - Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

And now a brief moment to shine a spot on the man of the hour, here, because his star-power helped get this funded by Peter Chernin and other execs at 20th who always need “a name.” From Dances with Wolves to McFarland USA (see it), and now Hidden Figures, Costner is one of the only past or present A-List leading men with an eye on the prize for under-represented groups, including women. McFarland director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) singled him out for this Disney film because he is such a likable barrier breaker and that story is about a Mexican-American community track team that defies all odds.

DF-06401_R - Kevin Costner stars as NASA official Al Harrison, in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Kevin Costner stars as NASA official Al Harrison, in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

But enough about Kevin Costner, he won’t get a nomination because Best Actor is a tough field this year, although there may be an honorary Oscar someday for his efforts. So let’s recognize him here and now for helping get some tough-to-fund projects made.

Now back to HIDDEN FIGURES, and why this movie may slip out from behind the pack and take Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards presentation on Sunday, Feb. 26. (Yes, Best Picture.) This movie is adapted from the novel by Margot Lee Shetterley from Harper Collins, and the real title is “The American Dream and Untold Story of The Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race.” Written by an actual native of Hampton, Virginia, the book casts a kind light on John Glenn (Glen Powell) whose performance here is noteworthy as he seems both gender-blind and color-blind. Shetterley herself, as described in her bio is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, as well as “recipient of a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant for her research on women in computing.”IBMOct17

Along with gritty but elegant performances by actors Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan), and Janelle Monáe (Mary Jackson), the film is a visual essay on the power of STEM in changing lives. STEM stands for Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology. It’s a plank in shoring up the American education system that is badly outdated. The notion that back in the 1960’s these real-life women of science (and of color) could have better chances than some women today is not lost on audiences. Hidden figures is a triple pun, their physical figures, math figures, and today’s still-grim stats for women in significant scientific jobs. Plus, the climate of learning in America right now is so consumer-oriented, most people barely know how to balance a checkbook anymore (much less figure payloads to the moon), as most of us live by the random swipe of plastic in a virtual ETF economy that circles the globe.

Melissa McCarthy hosted a Special Screening of this film earlier in the year, meaning it needed word-of-mouth among Hollywood’s creative community too. HIDDEN FIGURES has had music events. Pharrell Williams has a music credit and did a concert in Toronto for TIFF. It has inspired girl-empowerment events, screenings in Atlanta, all over North America, as a sleeper success story during this Award Season.

But back to the actual story. Vaughan just had a building named after her at NASA to commemorate her work, and Octavia Spencer pays off her legacy on her work getting us to the stars with a stellar performance. When was the last time you saw anyone hold up a Fortran programming book on screen and make it look like a way out of poverty. Spencer absolutely inhabits this real-life role as more than credible, but lovable. However, she is stuck in a very tough category for 2017, up against the formidable Viola Davis, who all but owns this supporting awards category for FENCES, the August Wilson screen adaptation of his literary playwriting masterpiece. Let’s just say there will be no Winner and Nominees in that category this year, it’s a win-win all the way around, no matter who takes home the statuette. TarajiHF17Taraji P. Henson, who slays in her role as Cookie Lyon as part of HBO’s urban epic Empire, did not even pick up a Golden Globe nom in the TV category on Jan. 8, but her performance in HIDDEN FIGURES is masterful in a different way. While she appears at times hysterical and high-strung as Katherine Johnson in HIDDEN, the reality her character touches is everything about all women in the workplace – from the bathroom to the Boardroom. And this is where the movie really spills out into the actual industry itself. It’s not just about women of color, it’s about all women, because no matter how you slice the stats, the stats are always lumped together as the percentages of females in key roles.

Take a look at the 2015 stats here, released in Feb. of 2016, known as the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment (CARD) from USC’s Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA). This excerpt here includes only few major statistical breakdowns on women in general for feature films. USCGenDir17Did you know 96.6% of all directors are men, with 3.4% women? Now factor women of color and that 3.4 percent divides again. Out of a pool of 6,421 writers, more than 71% are men, 28.9% are women. And, according to the study, an apologia of sorts, as in “it may also be the case, however, that executives feel more comfortable hiring women directors and screenwriters when the story pulls female.”

How many “executives” are women, you may wonder, to pull off this double miracle of generating more female-driven stories helmed by female-driven hands? Under the heading Top Corporate Executives by Gender and Position, this study reveals fully 81% of Board positions are held by men, while 79% are C-Suite (meaning C-level titles such as CEO, COO, CIO), and even in the ranks of Executive Management, another 81% are men. So we’re looking at a 1-in-5 chance changes will be coming anytime soon, as approximately 20% of the behind-the-scenes decision makers are women. USCCover17

HIDDEN FIGURES is that 1-in-5 project that got through the system. Directed by Theordore Melfi (St. Vincent (Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy)), he shares a screenplay credit with Allison Schroeder. Schroeder is the writer of Mean Girls 2, and credited on Pineapple Express, but she also has a BA from Stanford, and a went to the Producing Program at USC. Her own story is one of education and advancement, another hidden stat rolled up in this remarkable movie.

The box office for HIDDEN FIGURES continues to climb on a sharp curve upward, and this film ranked #1 in the US in popularity this week for a reason. Not because it’s diverse, not because it’s about women, not because it’s about women of color, math, science, space, or technology… because it’s beyond awesome. These three life stories, based on actual scientists from NASA who excelled and were recognized despite segregation in America, have such poignant arcs that the connection to the audience is palpable in the theater. Now let’s see if Oscar voters feel the same pull, not toward the heavens, but toward the real issue facing people here on earth.

HIDDEN FIGURES official story, full cast credits, and featurette trailers can be found on this link. And now we even send women into space, see these NASA stats from Graphiq.

Stay tuned for more Oscar predictions… and peruse USC’s CARD study here. Mostly add up HIDDEN FIGURES Oscar chances for yourself, see it now.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and go out on a limb handicapping the Oscars.

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