December 17, 2007

December 17, 2007

Weekend Box Office
Juno expanded to 40 theatres and took in $1.44 million with each theatre grossing $36,018 - the most per theatre of any film this weekend including the Will Smith drama (which grossed 76 million and took in $21,000 per theatre.) Atonement expanded to 117 locations and took in $1.85 million. The Golden Compass was third at the US box office but remained first overseas for the second weekend in a row.

Film Femmes Marginalized by Testosterone
Its awards time, and the end of the year, and Variety has an article that takes a look at the paucity of roles for women onscreen. I just wish that it didn't take the Oscars or other awards for people to start talking about this problem which only seems to be getting worse. Will writing about it make any difference? Does Hollywood care that women are virtually invisible in films? Some interesting points:

Women seem to have been reduced to property, prizes and pregnancy, with Jesse James' mute wife a symbol of what's become of the women in mainstream movies.
It's surprising, given how late in the year it is, but coming up with five prospective best actress nominees is something of a struggle.
Most years are a struggle.
The actors are crowding the field, while the women have been sidelined.

When the women have made it to the screen this year, their characters have been shrill, vapid or outright grotesque.
This is what Hollywood thinks about women - silent or shrill. Do they see their daughters and wives this way?
It's been a season in which audiences seem to be avoiding "serious" stories in favor of a "Game Plan" or "Bee Movie" or "Enchanted," which, coincidentally, has one of the more prominent female roles of this holiday menu -- a princess. Which proves that some things never change, including the idealization of females and the good times to be had when boys are allowed to be boys, and men are allowed to be mugs.
I did like Enchanted but I agree wholeheartedly that this is a regression for women onscreen. Enchanted will be the top grossing film that stars a woman and she is what none of us can be - an animated princess.
There seems to be little doubt that the most fun had during "Knocked Up" or "Superbad" was when the lads were cutting loose. It's like real life: When a woman walks into a room full of men, behavior changes; when a woman walks into a movie full of men, the movie changes. It gets more serious. And since audiences are avoiding serious, they're also avoiding women. And the movies are avoiding them, too.
Why is it that people perceive that a woman in a room or in a movie makes everything more serious? WTF? Is this the male view of women? That we take all the fun out of their lives - force them to get jobs, stop smoking pot and looking at porn on the internet? This is such crap. Get over yourselves.

This line sums up life for women in Hollywood
The women-friendly films -- which, in this climate, means that women are actually in the cast, and speak -- prove to be exceptions to the rule.
Hollywood should be ashamed of itself.

Film Femmes Marginalized by Testosterone (Variety)

Jennifer Love Hewitt Stands Up for Size 2 Actresses

Didn't give the Ghost Whisperer her props when earlier this month after she stood up to the tabloids for calling her fat. She fought back on her blog saying:
I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized. To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image.
A size two is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size zero doesn't make you beautiful.

What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles. I know what I look like, and so do my friends and family. And like all women out there should, I love my body.

To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini -- put it on and stay strong.
Why is Liberal Hollywood so Afraid of Abortion? (Maybe because they hate women)
Since this summer's Knocked Up and the recent Juno, several articles have discussed Hollywood's lack of reality when dealing with pregnancy. Jennie Yabroff in Newsweek makes some great points.
Hollywood is generally assumed to be a bastion of political liberalism, but when movie characters find themselves unintentionally pregnant, one of two things happens: they keep the baby, or they conveniently miscarry.

Conservative bloggers and film critics are applauding what they interpret as the film's pro-life message, which raises a question: in our politically polarized world, can a film in which a girl decides against abortion manage to be viewed as anything other than an anti-abortion film?

Films like "Waitress" and "Juno" might not seem so politically potent if there were even a handful of counterexamples, but you have to go all the way back to "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) to find one that shows a woman choosing to end an unplanned pregnancy in a sensitive, realistic fashion.

But if a majority of Americans support a woman's right to choose, why the on-screen taboo? One answer might be that while Hollywood likes to flaunt its political liberalism, it is fiscally very conservative—no studio wants to limit the size of its potential audience.

The message is that a female protagonist can't terminate a pregnancy and remain sympathetic.
A Special Delivery (Newsweek)

Jodie's Gay- So What?
The annual Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment breakfast which celebrates the most powerful women in Hollywood passed by without so much of a blip except for the news that Jodie Foster who received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award that morning, finally, publicly, acknowledged her big non-secret that she is gay and has been in a long term relationship for over a decade. Several stories have mentioned her comments but the best story on what this means or doesn't mean for Jodie, women and gay people in Hollywood comes out of Belfast of all places.
What was striking was not the acknowledgment itself. (Websites that breathlessly proclaimed Foster had 'come out' were surely overstating their case.) Rather, it was the sadness of everything that had gone before and the peculiar agony of being anything other than a straight up-and-down heterosexual in a town as supposedly progressive and forward-thinking as Los Angeles.
Here was one of the world's most successful women, with an enviable and growing body of work to brag about, and she couldn't - except in the most roundabout way and after 14 years - feel comfortable acknowledging her life partner in public.

People in Hollywood are, famously, only as big as their last film, and the knives are perpetually out to have the mighty fall and the talented go astray - but it is doubly, triply, quadruply difficult for a woman over 40 whose sexuality is, at least surreptitiously, seen as a strike against her and whose best work is often seen as being quite some distance in the past.

In the past few years, Foster hasn't been called upon to play those sorts of parts - a function of another Hollywood prejudice, this time against women too old to play romantic leads and too young to play grandmothers. In her past few performances (Flight Plan, The Brave One, Inside Man) she's essentially been a cog in the wheel of thriller-type plots that didn't require unusual amounts of soul-baring.
The Day Jodie Came Out Belfast Telegraph (thanks to AfterEllen)

AFI Named its Top Films and TV Shows of the Year
"The Savages"

"Tell Me You Love Me"
"30 Rock"
"Ugly Betty"

Chicago Film Critics Awards:
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM - "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
ACTRESS- Ellen Page - "Juno"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Cate Blanchett - "I’m Not There"
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - Diablo Cody - "Juno"

The Society of Stage directors and Choreographers (the stage version of the DGA) has named Karen Azenberg its new president.

A Walk Into the Sea directed by Esther Robinson a behind the scenes and personal look at the Warhol Factory is currently playing in NY.
Interview with Esther Robinson

Lauren Bacall is still acting up a storm at 83. She currently appears in The Walker
At 83, Bacall is Still Bold and Beautiful (Washington Post via Miami Herald)