The handsome actor helped push Hollywood to the right
Is there anyone out there who remembers Robert Taylor, the classic movie heartthrob who would be turning 100 years old today? Born on August 5, 1911, Taylor was named Spangler Arlington Brugh until an MGM talent scout gave him the much more marquee-friendly handle.
Though not that well known today, the actor was right up there with Clark Gable for a while as the King of Hollywood and he made a lot of memorable films (“Camille” opposite Greta Garbo and “Waterloo Bridge” with Vivien Leigh were my favorites). Robert Taylor always felt his jaw-dropping good looks were more of a liability than a plus. Whenever he made a public appearance, women would literally swoon and throw themselves at his feet. He had dalliances with many Hollywood starlets, and for a while was married to actress Barbara Stanwyck. Later in his career, Taylor’s big roles include “Quo Vadis” with Deborah Kerr and “Ivanhoe” opposite a much younger Elizabeth Taylor.
Despite the misguided notion that most Hollywood types were liberals, Robert Taylor was a staunch conservative—so far to the right that I’m sure he’d be a darling to followers of the Tea Party. In 1944, Taylor founded the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which was based on the concept, later solidified by people like Senator Joseph McCarthy as well as the House Un-American Activities Committee, that there was an organized attempt by the Commies and other left-wing extremists to infiltrate Hollywood. Oy. Taylor’s conservative alliance included show biz folks such as Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney, Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, and author Ayn Rand.
The 'Tower Heist' and 'Rush Hour' director agrees to produce next Oscar telecast
Reportedly directs second unit
An Unevolved Take
In his four-out-of-five-star MSN Movies review, Glenn Kenny notes how "… it's my pleasure to report that not only does 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' not suck, but is in fact very nearly close to completely awesome, and is the best sci-fi blockbuster of the summer, in a walk, even." Glenn's cogently argued and incisive review is well worth reading, but if you're still unsure about giving "Rise" a chance, let me give a slightly less evolved set of responses to try and convince you that yeah, what looks like a star-free CGI-heavy desperate return to a better-forgotten franchise is, in fact, the surprise of the summer, gripping and smart, with special effects that are truly special.
1) Finally, we can Blame the Apocalypse Directly on James Franco
Sure, we've all felt James Franco represents the end of days, but "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is the first time it's been less of a vibe -- "Every time James Franco is on 'General Hospital,' it feels like the finale of human achievement …" -- and more of a cause-effect thing. In all seriousness, the human characters in "Rise" aren't especially well-developed … and bluntly, they don't need to be. This is a movie that knows it's a B-movie, and, as such, shoots for an 'A' grade in that regard.
2) The Effects are That Amazing
Yes, every review is raving about Andy Serkis' work as the lead ape, Caesar, and there are plenty of news pieces about how there are no real apes in the movie at all, how it's all CGI. And yes, there are a few overly-ambitious all-CGI shots where the modern moviegoing problem where you feel like you're suddenly flying through a screensaver is in effect. But, really, this is a movie that doesn't just move the needle on effects but, rather, like "Terminator 2" or "The Matrix" moves the needle on special effects while using those new technologies to tell a story that would be impossible to tell any other way.
Hollywood to just go ahead and remake everything
Unofficial first look week rides on
Tinfoil Babies and Going for the 'R' ...
In part one of our coverage of the press conference for "The Change Up," Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds -- who play an uptight family-man lawyer and a too-loose layabout who swap lives -- talked about their mutual respect and breaking up on set, In part two, they chat about their leading ladies Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde, as well as special-effects babies.
There's a few ways to do a body-switching movie: You can do it the way you guys did it, where you play the other part, or you can do it where the actors continue playing their roles and the gimmick is that the other characters see that differently. Was part of the fun taking on each other's mannerisms, or would you have preferred to do it the other way?
Reynolds: I wouldn't have. Every actor loves a challenge like that where you get to play two different people in the same film. For me, I think the only way to do it was that. Plus, it allows you to inhabit the bodies these guys are in, to really experience their world. The fact that basically if the film where two drunk idiots piss in a magic fountain, great, but they switch bodies, great, and then what happens after that is what to me was the reason to do the film. To have this mentally unhinged lunatic be looking after your children was very appealing. There's something fantastic about that setup and that payoff and vice-versa. This conservative guy is basically inhabiting the world of a guy who, unbeknownst to him, is working in porn. It's absurd, but that's what it's all about. If you're seeing it all through the perspective of other people, I don't think it would be as rewarding.
Reynolds: Thanks for weighing in.
Kristen Wiig's passion project is coming together with some unexpected choices
We’ve known about Kristen Wiig’s passion project “Imogene” for only a few weeks now, but with filming set to start this month in New York City, casting news is rolling out fast. The film, written by Michelle Morgan, sees Wiig starring as a playwright who fakes a suicide attempt in order to catch the attention of her beloved ex-boyfriend. The plan backfires quite terribly, however, as the stunt lands her in the custody of her mother. The film previously added Annette Bening to play Wiig’s mother, a sassy Jersey mom with a gambling problem. Darren Criss is (somewhat inexplicably) on board to play Wiig’s character’s ex-boyfriend.
Now Variety and The Playlist report that Natasha Lyonne and June Diane Raphael have joined the cast, rounding out some of the film’s supporting roles. Lyonne will play a “Jersey Shore girl named Allyson who works on the boardwalk.” She is also the reported love interest of Christopher Fitzgerald’s character in the film. Few people can play adorably brassy the way Lyonne can, so this sounds like a perfect fit for the raspy-voice actress. Raphael’s role has not been announced yet, but you may recognize her from small roles in “Year One” and “Going the Distance.” She also co-wrote “Bride Wars,” a sin that may be absolved by her continued work in actually good films, which “Imogene” should be.
Wiig will also executive produce the project, which she has long been trying to get to the screen. “Imogene” looks to work from a sort of “you can’t go home again” sensibility, as Wiig’s character has to deal with both her own problems, her mother’s gambling, and the issues that arise when a slightly hip New York playwright gets stuck back in Jersey.
“Imogene” is set to be directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (the pair have previously directed such varied fare as “Cinema Verite,” “American Splendor,” and “The Nanny Diaries”).