Monthly Archives: January 2017

Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Austin Powers vs The Fifth Element


Well, here we are in our second-to-last bout of this bracket game and we’ve got a pretty surprising pairing fighting it out for a spot in the final. As I did previously, I’ll be covering a couple of actors from the flicks in question.
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January 31: Happy Birthday Kerry Washington and Carol Channing


Kerry Washington is celebrating her 40th today.  The four-time Emmy nominee began acting in her teens, and started getting regular work following her graduation from George Washington University.  For a little over a decade she was a busy supporting player in film and television, with roles in films like Save the Last Dance, Ray, The Last King of Scotland, and the Fantastic Four films, along with recurring roles on 100 Centre Street and Boston Legal.

In the past five years or so Washington has emerged as a major actress.  She had a major role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained in 2012.  That same year, she was cast as the lead role of Olivia Pope in the ABC series Scandal, created by Shonda Rhimes.  Washington has received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for Scandal.  Last year, she received two more Emmy nominations for the HBO movie Confirmation, as a producer and for starring as Anita Hill.

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Are Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Bradley Cooper Stuck in a Rut?


Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey have more similarities than you might think. They both started off as promising up-and-coming actors (whose first big movie was, coincidentally enough, Dazed and Confused) but, by the end of the 90’s, it was clear that their film choices weren’t the best. This continued in the 2000’s as they kept going from stinker to stinker. However, they both had a career resurgence in the early 2010’s, even garnering some Oscar nominations. Yet recently they seem to have fallen back on old habits, as most of the movies they made in 2016 didn’t get good reviews. This begs the question, are their careers stuck in a rut?

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Boogie Nights vs Jackie Brown


Here we are in our final four, so it’s nothing but the cream of the crop from here on, right? Well, that certainly the case in this particular contest. Both started the bracket among my favorite five overall in the game, so I’m pretty pleased to have to make the tough decision when I cast my vote. Both movies feature top notch artistry from their actors, directors, cinematographers, and designers. For our final four round I’m going to be featuring members of the casts, covering not just their work in the films in question, but also in some other notable appearances.

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January 30: Happy Birthday Gene Hackman and Vanessa Redgrave


Gene Hackman celebrates his 87th today.  The five-time Oscar nominee worked for nearly 50 years in film, television and theater.  He had been acting for about a decade when he had his first big break, receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1967 as Buck Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde.  He picked up a second Oscar nomination for 1970’s I Never Sang For My Father, and then was cast in one of the relatively few genuine starring roles in his career:

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Rebecca DeMornay: My Lunch With Rebecca


Twenty-five years ago, Rebecca DeMornay was experiencing a brief comeback thanks to the thriller, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.  It had been nearly a decade since the actress became a household name opposite Tom Cruise in Risky Business and the road between those two movies had been treacherous.  When the actress met with a Movieline writer for lunch, she let it be known that she did not feel that the magazine treated actors fairly.  (One can only guess how she would feel about this site’s “What the Hell Happened?” series or her entry in it.)

The interviewer (who unfortunately was not credited in the archives), is struck both by De Mornay’s appearance and her loneliness.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: The Full Monty vs The Fifth Element


These two films really don’t have much in common do they? One is a character-havy comedy set in a working class British town and is populated by men who are either pushing or smack dab in the middle of middle age and are largely uncomfortable with their own physicality. The other is a stylish sic-fi pastiche featuring bright blue opera singers, rubbery monsters, and sleek fashion models. Let’s take a look!

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Weekly Recap: Awards Season Starts and Milla Jovovich Upsets Will Smith


Every week at Le Blog is full of excitement.  But this week, the site was bursting with good stuff you don’t want to miss.  The Movies of 1997 bracket game has proven to be unpredictable, celebrities continued celebrating birthdays and the Oscar and Razzie nominees were announced.  All that plus Lego ghosts were busted.  If you missed any of the action, I’m here to catch you up with another weekly recap.

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January 29: Happy Birthday Oprah Winfrey and Heather Graham


Oprah Winfrey is turning 63 today.  After a childhood living in poverty, Winfrey began working at a Nashville, TN radio station, then moved to television journalism. She proved to be a natural for television talk shows, and by the early 1980s was hosting a daytime talk show in Chicago.  In 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show, a nationally syndicated daytime talk show, was launched, and she quickly had higher ratings than Phil Donahue or any other daytime talk host.  Over its 25 year run, the show received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards.

Over the years, Winfrey built on her show’s success to create her own media mini-empire.  Her production company, Harpo Productions, is responsible for talk shows like Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray, just for starters.  In 2011, the Oprah Winfrey Network began airing programming, eventually including original scripted shows created by Tyler Perry.  Winfrey has periodically pursued a film career, receiving an Oscar nomination for her debut in The Color Purple, and more recently starring in The Butler, and producing and appearing in Selma.

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The Oscars Reaction: Nominees, Snubs, Predictions, and Analysis


It’s Oscar season, and despite how much we all know it doesn’t actually recognize many of the best movies of the year, this is as close as cinema junkies get to a Super Bowl. So, while we may not have a dog in the race, we still watch (or at least read about it, because watching it is excruciatingly dull). And in much-needed good news the influx of voters has actually had the effect of increasing the representation of nominees. We have not only people of color nominated for every acting category, but for directing, writing, editing, and cinematography. This is a great win for everyone.

Here’s my analysis and picks for this year’s Oscars. These picks are guaranteed to be correct. If there is a discrepancy between the winners and this list, it is the Oscars who are wrong. And they should be ashamed.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Liar Liar vs Austin Powers


One of the challenges of writing for these bracket games is in finding connective tissue between the competing films. Sometimes there’s not much to go on and it’s necessary to scrap any pretense of commonality. But this time I was gifted with a spectacularly thin excuse for a theme based entirely on the location of the presented scenes, the power dynamics which are typically at play there, and how they are undermined.
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January 28: Happy Birthday Alan Alda and Sarah McLachlan


Alan Alda turns 81 today.  The son of Tony-winner Robert Alda, he began his acting career on the stage, making his Broadway debut in 1959.  In 1967 he received the first of three Tony nominations of his career for starring in the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical The Apple Tree.  In the late sixties, he began working regularly in film, and received a Golden Globe nomination for starring in Paper Lion.

However, Alda’s greatest success came on television.  In 1972 he was cast as Hawkeye Pierce in the television series M*A*S*H (adapted from the 1970 film), and remained in the role for the show’s entire eleven season run.  Over the course of the series, Alda gradually became one of its leading creative influences, especially after the departure of creators Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, and wrote and/or directed many episodes.  Alda received six Golden Globes and five Emmys for his work on M*A*S*H.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: L.A. Confidential vs Jackie Brown


Here we have the de facto championship of our unofficial crime section of this bracket. It’s just the second competition of this second round and my format for it has already blown up in my face. How you ask? Join me below and be prepared to be annoyed with me.

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