You need cajones to play a guy who’s shortchanged in that department, so kudos to Anthony Mackie, star of “Pain and Gain.”
Mackie stopped in Philadelphia to talk about his role in the strange-but-true movie, based on three Florida body-builders and their murder/robbery crime spree in the 1990s. Mackie’s character, one of the muscle-men, suffers from the negative consequences of steroid use.
“I never take any of my roles personally,” chuckled Mackie. “And look, sexual dysfunction is a real problem in society. It’s particularly a problem in this subculture of body-building, where steroid use is common.”
When Roger Ebert's passed, it was nice to see Hollywood, in the person of folks like Martin Scorsese and Jason Reitman, paying their respects.
I remember the uncomfortable silence that attended Gene Siskel’s in memorium at the Oscars – no doubt there were some old wounds there -- and I thought that was too bad.
No such restraint of feeling for Ebert, perhaps because Hollywood knows what a powerful advocate Ebert has been for an industry that by rights should be as dead as the record business.
The DVD pick of the week is “Zero Dark Thirty,” a one-time best-picture front-runner that limped out of the Oscars with one statue for editing.
Controversy hurt the hunt-for-Bin-Laden movie, which was easily the most hotly debated movie of the year. You had a well-sourced reporter saying its depiction of torture was wrong and irresponsible. You had another well-sourced reporter saying the opposite.
You had some saying the movie (produced and directed by women, starring Jessica Chastain as lead agent Maya) was thoughtfully feminist, others saying the opposite.
The word “feminist” can be a bit of a loaded term, but clearly the idea in one form or another was on Bigelow’s mind, and in my opinion always has been.
A couple things to watch for: I think Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal intended to open the movie with a voice of a female 9-11 victim. Note too how the director makes woman-alone, woman-in-a-man’s-world images the visual subject of “Zero.”
And note how Bigelow ends up giving equal weight in the climactic raid to the killing of the female bystander and Bin Laden -- this is the scene that, to my mind, indicates the movie views Maya's process with a more critical eye than many assume (it brings us full circle to the movie’s first "collateral" victim, the voice on the phone).
That, and Maya’s moral and physical exhaustion at the end of the movie.
The Financial Times' Lex Column had an amusing piece casting the budget impasse as a series of movies. FT is behind a paywall, so here are a few excerpts:
""The opening instalment was the summer 2011 blockbuster "Debt Ceiling." The brilliant producers, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner, planted the seeds for a string of sequels. The winter showdown, "Debt Ceiling II" ended with a feel good holiday compromise. But with yesterday's release of "Sequestration," featuring $85 billion in automatic spending cuts. we have reached a mid-series malaise."
The FT makes no mention of casting, but I have an idea for a leading man.
"Argo" and "Life of Pi" had better nights at the Oscars, but "Silver Linings Playbook" is the hands-down winner right now among movie-goers.
The movie continued its unbelievable box office run this past weekend, posting another $6 million gain. The movie lost 170 theaters yet actually INCREASED its take (versus last week) by 3 percent. This is really unheard for a movie in its 16th week of release. Yes, "Pi" and "Argo" saw small post-Oscar bumps, but "SLP" is making this move irrespective of Academy Award momentum. It just keeps attracting viewers on historically good word-of-mouth. "SLP" has now grossed "$115 million, and will soon devour "Pi" ($116 million). It may eventually out-gross "Argo," at $132 million.
By the way, the weekly B.O. numbers show that Melissa McCarthy is a certified star. Remember, the definition of "star" is a performer who can bring an audience to a mediocre movie. "Identity Thief" made another $9 million to move past the $100 million mark. Take that, Rex Reed.
Scientists have reportedly used internet feeds to allow one rat to plant ideas in the head of another rat, sometimes a continent away.
When a rat in North Carolina learned to solve a simple problem, electrodes picked up his brain activity and fed it to another rat in Brazil, over the world wide web. The untutored Brazilian rat was then able to solve the same problem.