Oscars 2019 verdict: lovely surprises can’t compensate for shock horrors | Peter Bradshaw – Film | The Guardian

David Lindsay: I was delighted that Green Book won. Here is a very different, condescending view, suggesting it was sentimental and slick.

“Oscars 2019 verdict: lovely surprises can’t compensate for shock horrors
The Academy voters got it right with gongs for Olivia Colman and Alfonso Cuarón, but Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody have been sorely overrated

Peter Bradshaw

@PeterBradshaw1
Mon 25 Feb 2019 01.31 EST Last modified on Mon 25 Feb 2019 09.43 EST
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Must-see moments from the Oscars 2019: Spike Lee, Lady Gaga and Olivia Colman – video
In the end, there was enough good news – or news that made a certain sort of sense – for this not to be simply another exasperating Academy Awards pageant of mysteriously over-promoted nonsense. Olivia Colman already had the title of queen of all our hearts, and, just when it looked as if Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite was going to go home with nothing at all, Colman added the Academy Award to her bulging silverware cabinet – and of course gave a speech of great charm and grace.

Her prize acceptance game this year has been off the chart: stylish, polished and with just enough pinch-me-I’m-dreaming astonishment to rival Helen Mirren’s triumphal awards season tour of 2007, when she was winning everything for her own queenly performance. Colman (Anne), Mirren (Elizabeth II), Dench (Elizabeth I) … Brits in crowns generally do it for the Academy.

Oscars save shocks for last with big wins for Green Book and Olivia Colman
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And there was justice in seeing Alfonso Cuarón picking up the best director, best cinematography and best foreign language Oscars for his magnificent artwork Roma. I have no problem with Spike Lee and his co-writers David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott picking up the award for best adapted screenplay for their fierce satire BlacKkKlansman. (Although I think I might have preferred to see Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty get it for Can You Ever Forgive Me?) The 2019 Oscar prize list was speckled with honourable wins.

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Olivia Colman’s Oscars speech: ‘this is genuinely quite stressful!’ – video
But best picture for Green Book? (Best original screenplay, too, over The Favourite and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed.) The news of that win lands like a dead weight on Oscar night, increasing the inevitable disappointment and tristesse that settles on any awards ceremony in its closing minutes, as the unacknowledged frustration of the losers’ 80% silent majority seeps into the atmosphere. A friend of mine said that by the time this awards season was over, this film should have the word “REALLY?” added to its title. Green Book REALLY? becomes this year’s technical winner of the “best picture” accolade and surely now is added to the list that includes Crash, Chicago and Argo in the What Were They Thinking? categories.

Source: Oscars 2019 verdict: lovely surprises can’t compensate for shock horrors | Film | The Guardian

Oscars host Kevin Hart’s homophobia is no laughing matter | Benjamin Lee | Film | The Guardian

Oscars host Kevin Hart’s homophobia is no laughing matter
Benjamin Lee
Benjamin Lee
The comedian-actor has been chosen to take charge of next year’s awards ceremony but a history of hateful remarks suggest he’s not the man for the job

@benfraserlee
Wed 5 Dec 2018 16.52 EST Last modified on Thu 27 Dec 2018 09.26 EST
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Kevin Hart in 2015. Why, when the Academy is desperate to show a more inclusive side would Hart seem an appropriate host?
Kevin Hart in 2015. Why, when the Academy is desperate to show a more inclusive side would Hart seem an appropriate host? Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
At first glance, the Academy picking the ebullient and experienced comedian-actor Kevin Hart to host the 2019 Oscars seems like a smart pick.

The 39-year-old star of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Ride Along has quipped his way to becoming one of the most dependable box office stars working today with his films totalling over $3.5bn worldwide. His social media presence has also been a major key to his success with 34 million followers on Twitter and over 65 million on Instagram and with ratings for the ceremony continuing to spiral down, the Academy clearly hopes he’ll help draw viewers back in.

After two years of straight white host Jimmy Kimmel’s rather dull shtick and after an increased push to improve the diversity of voters, choosing an African American host is also a much-needed leap forward on stage.

But there’s one small catch.

Hart has a rather vile history of documented homophobia, ranging from offensive standup clangers to dumb interview statements to puerile tweets to a whole embarrassing film filled with it. In 2010 during his Seriously Funny standup special, Hart delivered an extended joke based on a fear of his three-year-old son Hendrix turning out gay.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/dec/05/oscars-host-kevin-hart-homophobia-is-no-laughing-matter

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One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!

Source: Oscars host Kevin Hart’s homophobia is no laughing matter | Benjamin Lee | Film | The Guardian

Opinion | Netflix Is Shrinking the World – By Farhad Manjoo – The New York Times

Quote

Image
Credit   Max Guther

By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 22, 2019,  56 c

For months after the 2016 election, I wanted nothing more than to escape America. I don’t mean literally — in the cliché liberal way of absconding to Canada — but intellectually, socially, psychically. Donald Trump was all anybody talked about, and I needed sanctuary. I wanted to find places where the American president-elect and his American opponents and their American controversies simply did not exist.

I found such a place in a British reality baking contest. By which I mean I found it on Netflix, which has become the internet’s most invaluable and intoxicating portal to the parts of planet Earth that aren’t America.

On Sunday, Netflix will compete for its first Best Picture Oscar for “Roma,” the Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s exploration of his childhood in Mexico City. A win by “Roma” would be a fitting testament to Netflix’s ambitions. Virtually alone among tech and media companies, Netflix intends to ride a new kind of open-border digital cosmopolitanism to the bank.

For me, it was nice British people politely baking against one another that offered one of the first hints of Netflix’s unusual strategy. “The Great British Baking Show,” for those not in the cult, is an amateur baking contest, and it is one of the least American things you will ever see on TV. It depicts a utopia: a multicultural land of friendly blokes and mums with old-timey jobs — Imelda is a “countryside recreation officer” — blessed with enough welfare-state-enabled free time to attain expertise in British confectionary. To an American, the show suggests a time and place where our own worries have no meaning. And that, more than baking, is what “The Great British Baking Show” is really about.

The show was first produced and aired on British broadcast television (as “The Great British Bake-Off”) and imported to the United States by PBS, which then licensed it to Netflix. But Netflix, which has 139 million paying members around the world, has lately become something more than a licenser of other countries’ escapist television.

In 2016, the company expanded to 190 countries, and last year, for the first time, a majority of its subscribers and most of its revenue came from outside the United States. To serve this audience, Netflix now commissions and licenses hundreds of shows meant to echo life in every one of its markets and, in some cases, to blend languages and sensibilities across its markets (see Marie Kondo’s half-in-Japanese tidying-up blockbuster).

via Opinion | Netflix Is Shrinking the World – The New York Times

Felicity Jones is shy but relentless as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’ | Mick LaSalle – Datebook – San Francisco Chronicle

David Lindsay: I have good news about the State of Our Union. Kathleen and I today celebrate our 5th year anniversary of relationship.
Also, we decided to skip Trump’s state of his union speech last night, and instead we went to see “On the Basis of Sex,” the fabulous and inspiring docudrama of how the Ginsbergs stole Christmas from the reactionary, keep the women in their place crowd, back in 1972, represented in the film by Sam Waterson. Furthermore, if you are near New Haven CT, the film will be at the Criterion New Haven for another week. Metacritic.com gave this film an aggregate 60, which was a crime. But their numbers are always suspect, since they are not generated by the critic, but by a reader at Metacritic. Scott of the NYT gave the film a rave review in my mind, and the reader scored the review as a 60! What is wrong with Metacritic.
There was a good piece in the NYT today about Trump’s lies last night, which I decided not to post. You don’t need to read it, but for reference, it is:
State of the Union Fact Check: What Trump Got Right and Wrong
President Trump appeared in front of a joint session of Congress for the annual address. Here is how his remarks stacked up against the facts.
https://www.nytimes.com/…/fact-check-state-of-the-union.htm…

Mick LaSalle 

Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself, the movie about her life, “On the Basis of Sex,” sneaks up slowly, growing steadily in estimation, until a point is reached, not at the end but well into the proceedings, that it’s all downright inspiring. Here’s the story of a woman who not only shaped the journey of women in the second half of the 20th century, but whose life embodied that journey.That life translates well into the movie medium, in that Ginsburg’s story from her days at Harvard Law School through her appointment to the Supreme Court has the built-in narrative structure of a dramatic film. As in a rags-to-riches tale, Ginsburg starts off underestimated. She’s quiet, she’s little, and she’s female, and few will recognize her brilliance. She’s constantly blocked and put down and experiences doubts and disappointment, but she eventually emerges as a figure of fame and permanent importance.“On the Basis of Sex” makes you feel the cost it took to build this life, the years and years of work, in the face of almost monolithic resistance. Interestingly, and this feels intrinsically true, the movie shows that the obstacles Ginsburg faced often came from her closest male allies, who, after all, were steeped in the very same culture as her political foes. Ginsburg was at a disadvantage with these men, not only because she was a woman, but also because she was mild of temperament, not someone who could easily put herself forward. However, she did have the most significant advantage in her favor: She was smarter than everybody else.She had the further benefit of a supportive, understanding husband, whose outgoing personality complemented her watchful reserve. The old line that behind every great man is a great woman sometimes goes the other way, and so “On the Basis of Sex” is also the saga of an exceptional marital partnership.

Source: Felicity Jones is shy but relentless as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’ | Datebook

Foxfire (play) – Wikipedia

Foxfire (play)
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Foxfire is a play with songs, book by Susan Cooper, Hume Cronyn, music by Jonathan Brielle (Holtzman) and lyrics by Susan Cooper, Hume Cronyn, and Jonathan Brielle. The show was based on the Foxfire books, about Appalachian culture and traditions in north Georgia and the struggle to keep the traditions alive. The 1982 Broadway production starred Jessica Tandy, who won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance. It costarred Hume Cronyn as well as Keith Carradine who played a country music performer selling out the old traditions to make a buck. Carradine sang most of the songs in the show and most notable were the close of Act 1, “My Feet Took T’ Walkin’.” It was later adapted as a TV movie, where Tandy played the same role and won an Emmy Award. Carradine was replaced with John Denver for the Hallmark movie. Other songs in the show included: “Sweet Talker,” “Dear Lord,” “Young Lady Take A Warning,” and “Red Ear.”

Source: Foxfire (play) – Wikipedia

The Broadway Shows to See Now – The New York Times

Same-Day Strategies

“TKTS TKTS, that discount-ticket mainstay of Times Square, also has outlets at Lincoln Center, at South Street Seaport and in downtown Brooklyn. The Times Square booth has the longest hours, but it’s the only location that sells same-day matinee tickets. (The other locations sell same-day evening but only next-day matinee tickets.) On the TKTS app, or online at tdf.org, you can see in real time which shows are on sale, and for how great a discount at each location. But that doesn’t mean there will be any seats left for the show you want by the time you get up to the window, and you have to buy them in person. The Times Square booth is the most crowded, especially right after it opens, when options are most plentiful. But new tickets are released all day, even as curtain time nears, so going later can be lucky, too. Want to see a play rather than a musical? At Times Square, there’s a dedicated window for that, and the line is shorter.

Rush Tickets

Many shows, though not the monster hits, offer same-day rush tickets at the box office for much less than full price. Some – including “Hello, Dolly!,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Book of Mormon” – sell standing-room tickets if a show is sold out. Don’t count on these approaches, because availability varies – but it’s worth swinging by the theater to check. Conveniently, Playbill keeps a running online tab of individual shows’ policies on lotteries, rush tickets (sometimes just for students, often for everyone), standing room and other discounts.In-Person LotteriesSome shows (lately including “The Book of Mormon” and “Wicked”) have in-person lotteries, where you go to the theater at a designated time on the day of the performance and put your name into a drawing for the chance to buy cheap tickets. It’s more work on your end than a digital lottery, but these tickets can be substantially less expensive than those.”

How to Cut the Cord and Stream TV – Watching Guides – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/watching/tv-streaming-cut-the-cord?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&moduleDetail=inside-nyt-region-3&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&redirect=true

“Television has changed remarkably over the past few years. It might be time for your viewing habits to change as well. Unless you enjoy paying more than $100 a month for a cable or satellite subscription you only half-use, you’re likely considering joining the growing ranks of consumers who have “cut the cord” and are now getting their favorite TV shows, movies and even live sports through the internet and streaming services. Making this change requires some preparation, though. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the cord-cutting process. And once you’re set up, hop on over to The New York Times’s site Watching for personalized movie and TV series recommendations.”

Annie Baker’s Thanksgiving Retreat John Gives Ghosts Second Billing in Dallas – dmagazine.com

“A charming but spooky bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania hosts two young people struggling to hold their relationship together in a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Genius Annie Baker. On at Undermain Theatre through Dec. 10, John is set during the Thanksgiving holiday and positions its characters to contend with the mystical on top of everything else.

Audiences are welcomed into a run-of-the-mill tragic bed and breakfast, as the character Elias would say. Thousands of knick-knacks watch you from the walls and tables, but opera music and floral wallpaper from your grandma’s guest room warm it up just enough to stay in the physical present. And the characters never leave this one location, the intersection of private and public, the permanent and the temporary; that space between a home and a hotel that makes B&Bs so intriguing.”

“. . .  The quieter, more subtle eccentricities of Elly Lindsay’s inn mother Mertis are never overshadowed by Rhonda Boutté’s half-kooky, half-enlightened blind friend Genevieve. As for the couple, an off-kilter chemistry is key. Elias (Scott Zenreich) shuts down Jenny’s (Olivia de Guzman) playfulness as she tries to make their relationship work. He comes off as a lousy boyfriend but not a monster. The result is a believably unbalanced relationship; Elias’ rudeness and anger are overt. The very good reasons why Elias is so horribly unpleasant do nothing to make us like him more. Although, he makes us laugh.”

via Annie Baker’s Thanksgiving Retreat John Gives Ghosts Second Billing – D Magazine

Review: John by Annie Baker | Undermain Theatre Open In Dallas now through Sun-Dec 10-2017

Review: John | Undermain TheatreOpen now through Sun, Dec 10
Next performance today at 7:30pm
John Who?
A rocky relationship crashes into a B&B stuffed with curios built over a bloody battlefield in Annie Baker’s ambitious, ambiguous John at Undermain Theatre.

by Martha Heimberg
published Wednesday, November 15, 2017

via Review: John | Undermain Theatre

My sister, Elly Lindsay, plays Mertis in this production, which has received rave reviews.

11 Great Titles Expiring From Netflix in December – NYT Watching

waWatching is The New York Times’s TV and film recommendation website. Sign up for our thrice-weekly newsletter here.

Every month, as various licenses expire, streaming services lose movies and TV series from their catalogs. Here are 11 great movies and TV shows leaving Netflix in December.

Gene Wilder and, on the table as the monster, Peter Boyle in “Young Frankenstein.”20th Century Fox, via Getty Images
‘Young Frankenstein’
Leaving Netflix: Dec. 1
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Arguably Mel Brooks’s finest and funniest film (and released, shockingly enough, in the same calendar year as “Blazing Saddles,” his other contender for that title), this 1974 gem finds the master of broad satire taking on the Universal horror pictures of the 1930s, particularly James Whale’s “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein.” Co-writer Gene Wilder is sublimely manic as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein — pronounced “Fronk-en-steen,” he insists — grandson of the famed corpse re-animator Victor, who returns to his grandfather’s estate and laboratory to claim his inheritance and finds himself drawn into the family business. Brooks and Wilder’s Oscar-nominated script is a hit parade of comedy classics, from the candlestick bit to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” to the monster’s dinner with a blind hermit (an unlisted Gene Hackman). But most surprising is its narrative discipline (relative to the rest of the Brooks filmography), which generates genuine pathos and charm.

Morgan Spurlock in ”Super Size Me.”Avi Gerver/Roadside Attractions — Samuel Goldwyn Films
‘Super Size Me’
Leaving Netflix: Dec. 1
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This ingenious (and often uproarious) Oscar-nominated documentary from Morgan Spurlock begins with a clever gimmick: If you ate nothing but McDonald’s for thirty days, how much damage would you do to your body? Quite a lot, it turns out. Spurlock is not only the project’s director but its guinea pig, subjecting himself to a month’s worth of Big Macs, Egg McMuffins, and supersized fries while using the experiment as an opportunity to explore the dominance of the fast-food industry, the deceptiveness of its marketing and the shifting goal posts of public health.

via 11 Great Titles Expiring From Netflix in December – NYT Watching

DL: I watch mostly news, and pbs ducumentary specials, but in another life, I might sample some of the above, after I get through the second half of Ken Burn’s  depressing current 10 piece documentary on the Vietnam War.