December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007

P.S. I Love You
I saw P.S. I Love You the new film starring Hillary Swank before I read the NY Times' incredibly kind review of this sad sad testament to what Hollywood thinks of women. It must be that Manhola Dargis must have gotten so tired of seeing all the boy-centric films, that anything with a drop of estrogen seemed like a relief. I know how she feels.

I actually feel bad for Hillary Swank who started out the year with the decent Freedom Writers (that got no notice) and then appeared in the horror flick The Reaping (which I didn't see) and now tops off the year a shrill widow in this tearjerker. But I gotta say I feel even worse for Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon who play Swank's best friends. Their lines are so trite and retro that I literally cringed. Kudrow plays the typical female character on a man hunt, and as she meets a man (every one is a potential mate cause you know she's getting old already) she asks: are you single? are you gay? do you have a job? before even introducing herself. After finding her man instead of saying she's getting married she shrieks I'm not going to be a spinster! (I just can't believe that word is still used today.) Gina Gershon plays the supportive best friend married to Swank's husband's business partner. I can't remember anything about her except that I think she has too much botox in her lips and it made be want to watch Bound again.

Hillary Swank is one of our most talented young actresses today. She probably gets to look at some of the best scripts since she has won two Oscars so the thing that troubles me most is that these are the best scripts out there for female actresses. I am also pissed off at Wendy Finerman the film's producer who brought us The Devil Wears Prada. I expect more from her.

Speaking of the scripts available to Swank. She showed up with Richard LaGravenese the film's writer and director on the Hollywood insider show Shootout with Peter Bart and Peter Guber. (Note to the 2 Peters- Swank was the first female guest in a long time, not counting Anne Thompson of Variety who has appeared several times this fall.)

Here's what Swank said:

It's very challenging finding good roles. I would say that 1 in 20 scripts are good, 1 in 50 may be great and when you do find them and there is a role for a woman in it that has any substance you do everything in your power to be a part of it.
I can't believe I am even saying this out loud two Academy Awards later it's still very strange to me but nothing is handed to me and I don't think it's handed to anyone.
It makes me angry is that the studio new the film was a dud (on Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood it was referred to by an executive as PU) but the result will be that women didn't come out to support a female-centric film which will be used by the studios as another reason why not to make films starring women.

Katherine Heigl Continued
The January issue of Vanity Fair has several interesting stories including a very honest interview with Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy who hopefully will become a big star when she opens in her first starring role mid-January in 27 Dresses. I wrote earlier about her comments on how she thought Knocked Up was sexist.

Anne Fletcher her director on 27 Dresses describes Heigl:
She has the it factor. You can't buy it; you can't learn it; you can't create it; it just is. We haven't had one of her in many years. Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan- those have been our go-to girls for romantic comedy for a very long time, but we haven't had a new one.
PS- Her film price has risen from $300,000 to $6 million.

Jurnee Smollett Deserves Better
In the same issue is a very offensive image of a young African American actress Jurnee Smollett who stars in Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters opening this week. The character she plays in the film is the only woman on the debate team, and this picture is all that's wrong with Hollywood. Don't like it at all.

Here's a good piece on Jurnee that can give you a sense of who she is.
A Proud Graduate of the School of Janet (LA Times)

John Sayles & Maggie Renzi are still making small, artistic films, thank goodness.
Their new film The Honeydrippers about rock n roll in 50s Alabama and opens this week. Maggie had some interesting things to say about the difficulties with distribution.
My thing is, they gave up on the audience over 50. We're the ones who run the film clubs. And we can handle things that are at a slower pace. And I think they stopped inviting us to movies. They want a home run hit? The second-largest group is people over 50. We have money -- and time now. And there's nothing for us to see, and there hasn't been for a while.

John Sayles Talks About the Honeydrippers and the Future of Filmmaking (LA Times)

I Like Amy Adams
Always have, now I like her even more after this Newsweek article. She's had a big year with Enchanted and now Charlie Wilson's War. Next year is even bigger with Doubt opposite Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and then Julie and Julia again opposite Streep. A she has Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day with Frances McDormand opening in March.
When You Wish Upon a Movie Star (Newsweek)