Friday, March 31, 2017


  Many of the movies we can expect to see in theaters later this year have been unveiled for the first time in Las Vegas over five dizzying days. 
  I came back from the CinemaCon convention reeling from the onslaught of movies, star appearances, presentations, parties and non-stop hype as studio executives talk up their forthcoming movies. 
  Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Cara Delevigne, Anthony Hopkins, Mila Kunis, Matt Damon, Tom Holland, Jessica Chastain and many more were on hand to help push their movies. 
   Although I didn't see every studios' reels---that would be too much for any sane person---I got a good idea of what to expect
Matt Damon and George Clooney at CinemaCon
from this summer and autumn's upcoming movies, many of which are sequels (such as Transformers 5!). Very few of the movie clips I saw, apart from animations, didn't have guns, car chases, action, violence and, of course, NOISE. One of the few exceptions was Molly's Game starring Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, who ran the nation's most celebrated----and celebrity-filled-undergrad poker game.

   Some of the most promising footage belonged to Matt Damon, who stars in Suburbicon, which was directed by George Clooney and in which he portrays the widower of a woman at the centre of a life-insurance fraud investigation, and in Downsizing, about people who volunteer to be shrunk to miniature size in order to afford a more luxurious lifestyle--- a mansion the size of a doll's house can be had on the cheap. 
  Dwayne Johnson was there, entering through the crowd accompanied by swimsuit-clad beauties to introduce the stars of the new Baywatch movie, whom he dubbed "The Avengers of the beach---Team Baywatch."

  So....plenty of action, plenty of science-fiction and more than a few sequels. Happy cinemagoing!

Friday, March 10, 2017


   One of my favourite actresses, Brie Larson made a telling silent protest when she refused to applaud or congratulate Casey Affleck for his Best Actor win at this year's Oscars.
Brie at Kong premiere
   It was a deliberate non-reaction because of the sexual harassment allegations brought against him in 2010 and was in sharp contrast with her behaviour at last year's Oscars when she greeted and hugged sexual assault survivors who came on stage for Lady Gaga’s performance of “Till It Happens To You. She is a vocal supporter of sexual abuse survivors and has been using her status as one of America's leading actresses to raise awareness.
   At the premiere of her latest film, Kong: Skull Island, she wore red in honor of International Women’s Day.
   Brie, who won her Oscar last year for playing a viictim of sexual abuse in Room,
says her non-reaction to Affleck "kind of spoke for itself."
   Affleck has repeatedly denied the claims against him and the two harassment suits brought against him were settled in 2010.
   Affleck said after his win: “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


What a difference 15 years makes!
 Back in 2002 when the picture was taken Rupert Grint (right) was 13 years old and he, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe were awaiting the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
 I met up with him again the other day in Los Angeles to talk about his starring role in the new TV series Snatch, loosely based on the Guy Ritchie film.

 Now 28, like the Ron Weasley character he played for 12 years he is a laid back, happy-go-lucky guy who laughs a lot and has no regrets about spending his childhood on a film set although he admits he was glad when the Potter films finished.
   "I think we ended it at completely the right time," he says. "I was ready to move on and live a bit and just kind of catch up on stuff I missed out on. 

  "I did a lot of things for fun and I could relax a little bit. Being in that kind of bubble for such a long time was a little bit
suffocating at times and we worked so hard. It was about 12 years non-stop so it was nice to just have a break and do things that I couldn't do before.
  "I actually cut my hair because I never had any control of my hair during those years. It always what was right for Ron so yeah, it was really fun to just live a little bit."

Sunday, March 5, 2017


Luke Evans and Josh Gad..."a gay moment"
  So there's a "gay moment" in the new Disney live action movie Beauty and the Beast.
  So what?
  It certainly doesn't warrant all the ridiculous fuss being made about it.
 Religious groups are up in arms, an Alabama movie theatre has banned it and the Russian government is considering doing the same following revelations that the character LeFou, played by Josh Gad, is gay.  
 LeFou is the unctuous manservant to the film's hyper-macho villain Gaston, played by Luke Evans and, says director Bill Condon: "LeFou is somebody who one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings.'s a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
  Hardly surprising considering both Condon and co-star Luke Evans are openly gay.
  And it's by no means the first time animated Disney movies have hinted at some of their characters being gay.
  Consider: There was the companionship of Timon and Pumbaa and their adoption of baby Simba in the Lion King, along with the foppish villainy of the same film's Scar, an alpha lion who has never found a mate.
Same goes for Baloo, the carefree single bear of The Jungle Book, or the coy, eyelash-batting male skunk who introduces himself to young fawn Bambi with the immortal words, “You can call me Flower if you want to."
  And Ursula, the vampy, tentacled sea witch of The Little Mermaid was famously modelled on superstar drag queen Divine.
  So a gay moment in Beauty and the Beast shouldn't be the cause for all this homophobic backlash.  


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...