I’d love to go one week without mourning the death of yet another musical icon, but that’s life, I guess. Donna Summer passed away on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. She was 63. She was possibly the most talented female singer I’ve ever heard, not just because her voice was so gorgeous, but because she brought emotion to every song she sang, even if the lyrics were about cakes being left out in the rain. Rest in peace, goddess.
In other music news, Dusted Magazine reviewed new releases by The Chrome Cranks and Lee Bains III and The Glory Fire this week and both are worth checking out, not only for Dusted’s always-great writing but for the sheer enjoyment factor of the sample songs they include in the reviews.
Two quick pieces of TV news: Parks and Recreation has been renewed! And for a full 22-episode season! Huzzah! However, it seems that the brouhaha I discussed last week regarding Community is far from over. /Film’s Angie Han reports that not only is the show moving to Friday nights but it is still not confirmed if showrunner Dan Harmon or star Chevy Chase will be returning. Even Joel McHale is praying about it.
I have finally seen The Avengers! And yes, it is great and deserving of the hype surrounding it. And yes, it has grossed over $1 billion dollars so far. Now, I’m not naïve enough to mistake Disney’s desire to turn a profit for one that turns superhero movies into cinematic art, but this statement (quoted in an article in The Hollywood Reporter) from Tony Wible of Janney Capital Markets depresses me a little bit.
“They’re just scratching the surface with the amount of intellectual property they have with Marvel,” he says. “It’s broader and deeper than people appreciate, and Disney will push that brand into TV, theme parks, cruise lines and merchandising.”
(Speaking of Disney and profits, you should read this article in Film Junk on how drive-in theaters are saving John Carter.)
Another good thing about seeing The Avengers is that now I can actually read reviews. Here are a few good ones you might not have seen from Bloody Disgusting, Film Junk, and Film School Rejects. In fact, Film School Rejects provides a detailed list of 10 things they liked about the film and 7 things they didn’t in addition to another piece about how it doesn’t exactly pass the Bechdel Test.
Here’s more on women in film: Both 24 Frames and Movieline blogged about a recent report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. The report (you can read the executive summary here) indicated that females were “‘dramatically under-represented’ in the United States’ top 100 grossing films last year.” Among the Center’s other findings? “Moviegoers are almost as likely to see an extra-terrestrial female as they are to see a Latina or Asian female character.”
This report echoes the findings of another one from January about women behind-the-scenes. Here’s something sad:
In 2011, women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from 2010 and an increase of 1 percentage point from 1998.
As far as African-Americans in the film industry, there’s a fantastic article and interview with Tim Story, who directed Think Like A Man, in 24 Frames. Here’s an excerpt that shows the obstacles African-Americans still face in Hollywood:
After “Think Like a Man” opened at No. 1, one studio president decided not to mention the film during the studio’s Monday morning production meeting, curious to see how long it would take to surface as a topic of conversation.
Fifteen minutes into the meeting, no one had mentioned the film. When the studio boss finally brought it up, asking who had seen it over the weekend, the room was silent. None of the all-white staff had bothered to go see it.
On the other hand, there is some good news for people of color in the television industry. Deadline notes that the upcoming Fall season is a strong one for black actors.
It’s time for trailers! While The Possession trailer doesn’t seem outright scary, I still think the plot—in which a haunted box wreaks havoc on a family—is spooky enough to keep it in my radar. (H/T to /Film for the link.)
You may remember reading about the TIFF premiere of The Incident last fall. If not, here’s the creepy and effective trailer, courtesy of Twitch.
Finally, here’s the excellent trailer for the exceedingly “Lovecraftian” (totally borrowing that one from Bloody Disgusting) Dead Shadows, which will premiere at Cannes.
This is a lot of movie news, I know, but bear with me. There are two upcoming films that I’m pretty excited about. First is The Last Voyage of The Demeter from Neil Marshall, who directed one of the best and scariest horror films ever, The Descent. It’s about the ship that transported Dracula to London in Stoker’s original novel. Although the epistolary format of Dracula gives readers an idea of how terrifying that voyage was, what with crew members vanishing and acting really weird and all, no film has really captured it thus far.
Second, here’s something I had not even heard about until this week. Brian DePalma’s Passion, starring Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams, is currently looking for buyers at Cannes. The plot is described as follows:
The offices of a prominent multinational corporation is the setting for this story of a power struggle between two contemporary women. Isabelle has unlimited admiration for her direct superior, Christine, a woman well-schooled in the ways of power. Christine enjoys holding sway over Isabelle, leads her one step at a time and ever more deeply into a game of seduction and manipulation, of dominance and servitude. The game is played for keeps, and there is no turning back.
It’s not a secret that I adore Noomi Rapace but you might not know that I also love Rachel McAdams, even though she’s been in a lot of romcoms I don’t find all that appealing. I’ll leave you with one image that I love, but there are more here.
—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor