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Angelina Jolie Leg & United Nations Envoy + Gay John Waters & Jessica Chastain Most Influential Person?

Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Leg + Marlene Dietrich Pioneer

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Angelina Jolie's notorious right leg (“Brangeleg” for short?) are seen backstage at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony, which took place at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood on February 26. Pitt was a Best Actor nominee for Bennett Miller's Moneyball. (Image: Darren Decker / © A.M.P.A.S.)

Pitt, 48, and Jolie, 37 next June, have been in the headlines in the last day or so after it was announced that the couple, who have been living together for years and have six children, are officially engaged. Now, before you start OMG'ing: No wedding date has been set. Both actors had previously stated that they'd hold off getting married until the United States allowed for marriage equality (i.e., gay and lesbian couples having the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples).

Previously, Brad Pitt was a Best Actor nominee for David Fincher's fantasy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), opposite Cate Blanchett, and a Best Supporting Actor nominee for Terry Gilliam's sci-fier/psychological drama Twelve Monkeys (1995), with Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe.

Pitt's competitors at the 2012 Oscar were Demián Bichir for Chris Weitz's A Better Life, George Clooney for Alexander Payne's The Descendants, Gary Oldman for Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the eventual winner, Jean Dujardin for Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. (Even though Dujardin auditioned for various villainous roles in Hollywood movies, apparently it's Ben Kingsley who'll be playing the meanie in the next Iron Man movie.)

Brad Pitt will next be seen in Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, featuring Sam Shepard, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy, and Ray Liotta. Slated to open in 2013 are Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time, which Pitt and Emma Thompson narrate, and Marc Forster's World War Z, featuring Mireille Enos, Matthew Fox, Eric West, and David Morse.

Angelina Jolie, who directed In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011, has no movies coming out in 2012. Jolie may be back in 2013 in Ridley Scott's thriller The Counselor, possibly co-starring Pitt, Javier Bardem, and Michael Fassbender. Robert Stromberg's Maleficent, possibly with Elle Fanning and Jude Law, has been announced as a 2014 release. Another 2014 possibility is Salt 2.

Jolie won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for James Mangold's Girl, Interrupted (1999). Additionally, she was a Best Actress nominee for Clint Eastwood's Changeling; she lost to Kate Winslet for Stephen Daldry's The Reader.

As for Angelina Jolie's leg? Oh, c'mon. You've never seen a woman's legs before? No? Well, then check out Marlene Dietrich (and Tyrone Power) below:

Marlene Dietrich legs Witness for the Prosecution Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich's leg, Witness for the Prosecution

Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog: John Waters Gay?

“A chair is a chair” and “a man is a man,” explains Werner Herzog in a clip from the 2007 documentary On the Ecstasy of Ski-Flying: Werner Herzog in Conversation with Karen Beckman, which movies.com's Alison Nastasi posted earlier today. “For me, a man is a man. I cannot distinguish a gay man from a straight man. I just cannot distinguish.” One exception: a man who shows up in drag.

Apparently, John Waters has never donned drag while in the presence of Herzog (I've no idea if Waters has ever done drag). For Herzog and Waters have known one another for 35 years, but only recently did Herzog remark to his wife, “I have the feeling this man is gay.” It's unclear how Waters was dressed at the time. Either way, the audience found Herzog's cluelessness hilarious.

And it is funny, though it'd have been funnier had Herzog spent three and a half decades thinking John Waters was a chair. See clip below.

Jessica Chastain The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Help

Jessica Chastain: Most Influential People in the World?

Did you know that Jessica Chastain is one of the Most Influential People in the World? No? You're not alone. Most people around the world don't know that fact, either. In fact, most people around the world have never seen or heard of the 30-year-old American actress.

But that's a minor detail, at least as far as Time is concerned, as the magazine has included Chastain, along with a handful of film personalities, on their 2012 list of Most Influential People in the World. Now, Chastain's place on the – as always, ludicrous – list may be highly questionable, but her publicist(s) should definitely be included among the most influential in the world, or at the very least the most influential in the American show business / publishing world.

Other film personalities on Time's list are Chastain's The Help co-star Viola Davis, Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig, Homeland's Claire Danes, and 2007 Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, who certainly wasn't influential enough to get a Best Actress Oscar nod this year for Lynne Ramsay's drama We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Making more sense was Time's inclusion of Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose Saving Face is an attempt to change the way women are – or can be – brutally mistreated in Pakistan; Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi, whose A Separation has led to a closer look at Iran's filmmakers, working under the thumb of an oppressive theocracy; and The Weinstein Company's marketingmeister Harvey Weinstein, who in the past few months has made headlines by way of Oscars for Meryl Streep and for a silent movie starring Jean Dujardin, and for (once again) taking on the censors at the Motion Picture Association of America.

Maggie Grace Lockout
Maggie Grace, Lockout

'Lockout' 5-Min. Clip: Guy Pearce Plays Punching Doll

Scroll down for the first five minutes of James Mather and Stephen St. Leger's Lockout, a sci-fi/thriller starring Mildred Pierce's Guy Pearce and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2's Maggie Grace. Be forewarned: there's lots of violence and, more disturbingly, countless bad jokes. The action is pretty murky, so I'm not quite sure what it's all about. But if the photo above is any indication, women in Lockout are gonna be tough (well, movie-style “tough”): Maggie Grace's weapon is far bigger, thicker, and more explosive than the weapons carried by most males out there.

Initially I was pretty surprised that Lockout was given a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, for the MPAA's censorship board members are well known for their artistic appreciation of on-screen violence and big, thick, deadly weaponry. I'd have expected at the very worst a “PG.” But then I heard Guy Pearce saying “Fuck you.” And it all became clear.

One of the Lockout's executive producers, Luc Besson co-wrote the screenplay with Mather and St. Leger; the script is based on Besson's own story. In addition to Pearce and Grace, Lockout features Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, and Peter Stormare. It opens in the US next Friday, and on April 18 in France. Its US competition will be The Three Stooges; Drew Goddard's Joss Whedon-scripted horror thriller The Cabin in the Woods, starring The Avengers / Snow White and the Huntsman's Chris Hemsworth; and a wider expansion for Gareth Evans' The Raid: Redemption. Not to mention Gary Ross / Jennifer Lawrence's The Hunger Games, which could theoretically be the no. 1 movie a fourth weekend in a row, and fellow holdovers American Reunion and James Cameron's Titanic 3D with doomed lovers Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Now, I recall reading once that Besson produces “American” movies in France; following that statement, the writer implied that Besson's “Americanness” was the reason for his refusal to sign a petition to free Roman Polanski a while back. No kidding.

Maggie Grace / Lockout photo: Open Road Films.

Parents Television Council vs. BULLY, the MPAA, TWC

Bully movie posterThe Parents Television Council has criticized the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for giving “special treatment” to The Weinstein Company's Lee Hirsch-directed documentary Bully. Initially rated R, Bully was granted a PG-13 rating yesterday after TWC opted to delete three instances of the word “fuck” from the documentary.

As per PTC president Tim Winter, “When it comes to the MPAA's content rating system, what was, at one point, a standard has devolved into a double-standard and now into no standard. Moving the yardstick from one 'f-bomb' to three essentially removes the yardstick altogether.”

The PTC also complained that the MPAA's ratings criteria should reflect “the sense of the nation and not just the sense of Hollywood powerbrokers.” The right-wing, Christian-bent PTC claims to have 1.3 million members; other sources state they have about 12,000. The population of the United States is 312.8 million people.

Right-wing Christians and their cohorts have taken a vocal stance against anti-bullying campaigns, claiming that bullying is merely a part of growing up and that bullied kids just need to “toughen up.” The fact that gay teens and children tend to be major bullying targets is no mere coincidence. Check out: Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids.

After seven days, Bully has taken in $160,000 at five locations in North America.

The Weinstein Company has been embroiled in several fights with the MPAA in the past. In 2010, Tom Hooper's Oscar-winning drama The King's Speech received an R rating because Colin Firth's king uses the word “fuck” a few times while working on his stutter. Derek Cianfrance's relationship drama Blue Valentine initially received an NC-17 rating, but upon appeal that was lowered to an R. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

Angelina Jolie: United Nations Special Envoy

Angelina JolieThe United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has named Angelina Jolie a “special envoy,” which means the Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian will represent the UNHCR to governments and diplomatic services. According to reports, that's the first time the UN agency has named a special envoy, a post usually reserved to politicians and diplomats. In her new position, Jolie may at times represent the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.

Despised by right-wingers for her liberal views, Jolie has reportedly made sizable donations to the UNHCR, and has visited refugee camps in countries such as Iraq, Haiti and Pakistan.

Now, isn't it time for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize Jolie's work with a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award? Not that she'd necessarily want it, but she certainly deserves it, and it'd just as certainly provide more publicity for her cause.

I mean, precious few give a damn about refugees, but millions want to know exactly what Jolie has been doing each moment of her life. Just look at how the worldwide media reacted when it was announced that Jolie and companion Brad Pitt were officially engaged. And to date, only six women have received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: actresses Martha Raye (at the 1969 ceremony), Rosalind Russell (1973), Elizabeth Taylor (1993), and Audrey Hepburn (1993), in addition to former Paramount chairperson Sherry Lansing and actress-producer-talk-show hostess Oprah Winfrey (2011).

The UNHCR's function is to assist about 35 million refugees worldwide.

Angelina Jolie, who directed the Bosnian War drama In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011, has no movies coming out this year. Jolie may be back in 2013 in Ridley Scott's thriller The Counselor, possibly co-starring Pitt, Javier Bardem, and Michael Fassbender. Robert Stromberg's Maleficent, possibly with Elle Fanning and Jude Law, has been announced as a 2014 release. Another 2014 possibility is Salt 2, a sequel to the action-packed box office hit Salt.

Jolie won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for James Mangold's Girl, Interrupted (1999). Additionally, she was a Best Actress nominee for Clint Eastwood's Changeling (2008); she lost to Kate Winslet for Stephen Daldry's The Reader.

Audrey Tautou Therese Desqueyroux
Audrey Tautou, Thérèse Desqueyroux

Audrey Tautou 'Thérèse Desqueyroux': Cannes Closing Film

Claude Miller's Thérèse Desqueyroux (formerly known as Thérèse D.), starring Audrey Tautou, will close the 2012 edition of the Cannes Film Festival. The 70-year-old Miller died in Paris last April 4.

Based on the 1927 novel by Nobel Prize winner François Mauriac, Thérèse Desqueyroux tells the story of Thérèse Desqueyroux (Tautou), an unhappily married woman who struggles to break free from her drab provincial existence in 1920s France. Gilles Lellouche co-stars.

In 1962, Georges Franju directed Thérèse Desqueyroux / Therese, starring Hiroshima, Mon Amour's Emmanuelle Riva as Thérèse and Cinema Paradiso's Philippe Noiret as her husband. Thérèse Desqueyroux is scheduled to open in France and Belgium in November.

The information below on director Claude Miller is from the Cannes Film Festival press release:

Claude Miller's formative years were in Nouvelle Vague cinema, working as an assistant to François Truffaut, “the filmmaker of the intimate.” Through the evolution of his work, he created a universe that could speak to a very broad audience, from The Best Way to Walk (La meilleure façon de marcher) (1976) to The Grilling (Garde à vue) (1981), from Deadly Run (Mortelle randonnée) (1983) to The Accompanist (l'Accompagnatrice) (1992) and A secret (Un secret) (2007), from the Prix Delluc for The Hussy (l'Effrontée) (1985) to the Jury Prize at the Festival de Cannes for Class Trip (la Classe de neige) (1998). As a politically engaged filmmaker, he also chaired the Association of Filmmakers and Producers (Association des réalisateurs producteurs) and was active in the “Club des 13,” a think tank for reforming the production system.

By dedicating the closing night to him, the Festival de Cannes, along with his family, friends, producers, and distributers, is very pleased to pay tribute to the memory of Claude Miller.

Audrey Tautou / Thérèse Desqueyroux photo: UGC.

Francois Cluzet The Intouchables Omar Sy
Omar Sy, François Cluzet, The Intouchables

'The Intouchables': COLCOA Movies

Among the three dozen or so films screening at the City of Lights / City of Angels (COLCOA) French film festival currently being held in Los Angeles, you'll find a couple of restored classics, several César nominees, and one of the biggest box office hits in French history.

Georges Méliès' 1902 short Le voyage dans la lune / A Trip to the Moon, inspired by Jules Verne's novel, is one of the restored classics to be screened at COLCOA. Méliès' short will be accompanied by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange's Le Voyage extraordinaire / The Extraordinary Voyage, about the making and the restoration of A Trip to the Moon.

The festival's other classic presentation is Marcel Carné's 1938 drama Hôtel du Nord, with Arletty, Louis Jouvet, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Tyrone Power's future wife Annabella, the recently deceased Paulette Dubost, and Bernard Blier. Those ignorant about the obvious – though frequently dismissed – French influence on American film noirs of the 1940s should not miss Hôtel du Nord.

Pierre Schöller's L'exercice de L'État / The Minister was nominated for 11 Césars; it won in three categories: Best Original Screenplay (Schöller), Best Supporting Actor (Michel Blanc), and Best Sound. Starring Olivier Gourmet as France's Minister of Transport, The Minister is described as “a political drama about the surreal and sordid nature of political power.”

France's biggest domestic hit of 2011 and third biggest blockbuster ever*, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's The Intouchables / The Intouchables stars François Cluzet and surprise Best Actor César winner Omar Sy – eventual Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) was the favorite. The sentimental comedy-drama has a poor black man from the projects caring for a wheelchair-bound wealthy white aristocrat.

The Weinstein Company will be releasing The Intouchables in North America on May 25.

COLCOA opened with a screening of Cloclo / My Way, starring Jérémie Renier, last night at the Directors Guild Theater Complex. The French film festival runs until Monday, April 23.

* Unlike the American studios, which (absurdly) use box office grosses (regardless of inflation, various surcharges, e.g., IMAX/3D, etc.) as the measure of a film's success, France (and numerous other countries) use attendance / ticket sales. The Intouchables has sold 19 million tickets.

Omar Sy, François Cluzet, The Intouchables photo: Gaumont Distribution / The Weinstein Company.

Angelina Jolie Leg & United Nations Envoy + Gay John Waters & Jessica Chastain Most Influential Person? © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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