Browsing Tag

Sam Raimi

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ New Role: Climate Warrior


Julia Louis-Dreyfus People cover

-In her new People cover storyJulia Louis-Dreyfus talks about how surviving breast cancer led her to ramp up her environmental activism. “Once you’ve faced a near-death experience like that, you do begin to realize that, at some point, you’re going to be out of here. We all are. So, how best to spend my remaining time on this planet?”

-Media-shy Cameron Diaz appeared on Who What Wear CEO Katherine Power‘s Instagram Live yesterday and talked about motherhood and being married to Benji Madden. “I love being a mother. It’s the best, best, best part of my life. I’m so grateful and so happy and it’s the best thing ever and I’m so lucky to do it with Benj and we’re having the best time. I’m thrilled. I can’t believe it.”

Drew Barrymore says she’s cried everyday while trying to home school her daughters.

-Twitter is going crazy for this WILD clip of a Quibi show where Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan plays a woman obsessed with her golden arm. It’s apparently part of a horror anthology.

Armie Hammer is making some interesting style choices in quarantine.

Cardi B invited Bernie Sanders to join her on Instagram Live last night to talk politics, coronavirus and manicures.

Jennifer Lopez and Robert DeNiro surprised hospital staff with video messages of support.

Judi Dench‘s grandson continues to make hilarious TikTok videos with her and I love him.

Nicki Minaj dropped her husband’s name on her social media channels, but apparently it’s just because she’s getting ready to promote new music.

-A new trend on Tik Tok is people doing their makeup while lip-syncing to John Mulaney bits, which is exactly the kind of content I’m here for.

Sam Raimi has been confirmed as the director for the Doctor Strange sequel and the internet is very, very happy.

Rita Wilson described her covid symptoms. It sounded horrible.

Reese Witherspoon‘s fashion line Draper James tried to  give free dresses away to teachers, but it went very badly.

-I’m intrigued by Ryan Murphy’s new limited series, Hollywood, which revisions a world in which minorities, women, and queer people had been allowed to shine in the industry’s so-called Golden Age.

-Here’s our first look at Matthew Rhys in HBO’s Perry Mason reboot.

Jessica Simpson Gets Bare for Glamour

jessica simpson glamou

Jessica Simpson’s book promo seems inescapable, but her Glamour digital cover is great.

Brad Pitt‘s slick awards acceptance speeches during this awards season have people talking about one of Hollywood’s worst-kept secrets: awards speech ghostwriting.

Jameela Jamil says that the controversy surrounding her participation in the vogueing reality show forced her to come out. As Ira pointed out, this is a person who has previously publicly prided herself on turning down playing a deaf character because she didn’t want to take that away from a deaf actor. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about her being straight or gay. It was about her being in a show about ballroom culture while having zero connection to ballroom culture, and that hasn’t changed.

Sam Raimi may direct Doctor Strange 2 and Twitter is psyched.

Matthew Perry is the latest Friends star to join Instagram. This is starting to look studio-mandated, no? As if they’re all gearing up to promote something like, say, a reunion.

Margot Robbie is the latest celeb to eat spicy wings on Hot Ones. Despite the spectacle of it all, this is sneakily becoming one of the best interview shows on the circuit.

Eva Longoria is not impressed with the controversy surrounding Oprah‘s book club pick, American Dirt, especially that the author’s tour was cancelled because of supposed death threats — which turned out not to be true. “What made me really upset was when the publisher said, ‘We had to cancel the book tour because of safety concerns,’ which made my community look like we’re crazy people going to cause trouble. We’re not.”

-Every time Chris Hemsworth posts about his exercise routine on Instagram, I want to try bear crawls. And then I spend 0.034 seconds at the gym doing them and nope right out of it.

Billy Porter wore his Oscar gown at his appearance on Sesame Street and I love it.

-This is a very deep dive into film vs digital from the cinematographer on The Last Jedi and Knives Out.

Elle Fanning and Justice Smith star in the All the Bright Places trailer for Netflix. This seems familiar. Did I read this book? I think I read this book.

Chris Rock is a huge Saw fan, so he pitched a sequel to the horror franchise back in May. And already, we have the first trailer.

Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Rachel Weisz, James Franco, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz in “Oz the Great and Powerful.” (Disney)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

We’re off to see the wizard…except he’s not exactly the wizard yet. In Sam Raimi’s prequel to the beloved classic The Wizard of Oz, we’re introduced to Oscar Diggs (Oz for short), a travelling magician whose daily routine of conning audiences and breaking hearts gets interrupted when he’s swept up in a tornado and transported to the fantastical world of Oz. There he meets munchkins, flying monkeys and witches (some good, some wicked). But despite the familiar story, there’s nothing in this update that feels like it’s cheapening the memory of the 1939 original – possibly because copyright issues prohibited references of ruby slippers, cowardly lions and hollow-hearted tin men.

The film is a fun (if forgettable) family-friendly romp which tracks Oz’s transformation from a selfish con man to the man behind the curtain. I’m not a huge fan of 3D but Raimi manages to make the awkward glasses and overpriced ticket worth it with a couple of spectacular sequences, most notably the black-and-white opening in turn-of-the-century Kansas, and Oz’s first encounter with China Girl (voiced by Joey King), a living porcelain doll whose entire village has been smashed to pieces by evil forces. The candy-coated world of the film was so engrossing, I didn’t even experience the distracted twitch I usually get when a movie creeps past the two-hour mark.

The trio of leading ladies shine, with Mila Kunis playing the trusting but volatile Theodora, Rachel Weisz putting her British ice queen schtick to good use as the scheming Evanora, and Michelle Williams exuding dreamy serenity as the glowing Glinda the Good. (Unfortunately, one of these ladies transforms into the Wicked Witch and spends the last half of the movie unrecognizable beneath layers of prosthetics.)

There’s just one thing that keeps this good movie from becoming a great one – and it’s a biggie: the leading man.

I spent the first half of the film trying to mentally recast it, since it became immediately apparent that James Franco was woefully out of his depth. It’s not that I don’t think he can act; I found him mesmerizing in 127 Hours and Howl, and he’s getting raves for his gonzo performance in Spring Breakers. It’s just that the character of Oz, the suave trickster who’s destined to become Emerald City’s great wizard, is supposed to be a charming, charismatic con artist who leaves a trail of heartbroken women in his wake. And Franco just can’t sell that.

Both Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were originally considered for the role, and it’s easy to imagine either one embodying the cocky, irresistible lothario the film deserves. Or how about Colin Farrell or Idris Elba, who both have swagger to spare?  Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Reynolds all made their bones playing slick hustlers. I could even picture Joel McHale, Nathan Fillion or Ian Somerhalder stepping in (all have made successful TV careers playing mischievous, can’t-help-but-love-‘em rakes). But not for one second did I believe that the joyless Franco could cast not one but two of the film’s leading ladies under his spell with his flat delivery, squinty eyes and gummy smile. He exudes smugness, and the lingering feeling that the entire proceedings are somehow beneath him taints the whole movie.