Oscar veteran Meryl Streep may have her name already engraved on the Best Actress statuette for the 2012 Academy Awards – well, barring a Glenn Close upset – but those associated with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher are none too pleased with Streep’s performance as the free-marketeering Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, as reported in The Huffington Post.
Norman Tebbit, a member of Thatcher’s cabinet and former Conservative Party leader, hasn’t seen The Iron Lady, but he has been irked by the movie’s trailer. “She was never, in my experience, the half-hysterical, over-emotional, over-acting woman portrayed by Meryl Streep,” he wrote in London’s The Telegraph. (You can judge for yourself if Thatcher got half-hysterical and/or overacted by watching her defending her government’s pro-big business policies here.)
Another former Thatcher buddy who hasn’t seen The Iron Lady, but already has a negative opinion of it is Thatcher’s old PR adviser Tim Bell (now a Lord), who told The Telegraph: “I can’t see the point of this film. Its only value is to make some money for Meryl Streep and whoever wrote it. I have no interest in seeing it. I don’t need a film to remind me of my experiences of her. It is a non-event … It won’t make any difference to her place in history of the fact of what she did.”
(Among the things Thatcher did was the creation of a deregulated financial system and inept monetary policies that were blamed for Britain’s 1992 currency crisis and that many affirm have eventually led to the near-meltdown of the British economy in 2008.)
In The Guardian, Xan Brooks – who has actually watched the The Iron Lady – offers a considerably more positive assessment of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, even though he doesn’t think the movie itself amounts to much:
“Streep, it transpires, is the one great weapon of this often silly and suspect picture. Her performance is astonishing and all but flawless; a masterpiece of mimicry which re-imagines Thatcher in all her half-forgotten glory. Streep has the basilisk stare; the tilted, faintly predatory posture. Her delivery, too, is eerily good – a show of demure solicitude, invariably overtaken by steely, wild-eyed stridency.”
Despite a lack of sociopolitical affinity for her character, Streep says the following about The Iron Lady:
“It was one of those rare, rare films where I was grateful to be an actor and grateful for the privilege of being able to look at a life deeply with empathy. There’s no greater joy.
“I still don’t agree with a lot of her policies. But I feel she believed in them and that they came from an honest conviction, and that she wasn’t a cosmetic politician just changing make-up to suit the times. She stuck to what she believed in, and that’s a hard thing to do. She’s still an incredibly divisive figure, but you miss her clarity today. It was all very clear and up front, and I loved that eagerness to mix it up and to make it about ideas.”
Streep’s points are well taken … But then again, radicals and fanatics everywhere – they always stick to what they believe in, no matter how wrongheaded and destructive their clear and upfront ideas – will surely agree with her as well.
The Iron Lady photo: The Weinstein Company.
New James Bond Movie ‘Skyfall’ Begins Filming Today & Naomie Harris Confirmed
Skyfall is indeed the name of the latest James Bond movie, which begins shooting today in London after a lengthy delay due to MGM’s financial woes. Daniel Craig, whose non-Bond box office appeal has been shaky at best, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Helen McCrory, James Remar, and Albert Finney star. Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for American Beauty back in early 2000, directs.
Mendes stated that Skyfall is “its own story,” with nothing in common with either Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale, the two Bond movies starring Daniel Craig. Skyfall is to be shot in Scotland, Istanbul, and Shanghai. Previous James Bond actors include Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton.
Quantum of Solace picture: United Artists.
Lily Collins Snow White Project Titled ‘Mirror Mirror’
Tarsem Singh’s Snow White project for Relativity Media has finally been baptized: Mirror Mirror. Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, and Armie Hammer star as, respectively, Snow White, the Evil Queen, and Prince Charming. Making things a bit confusing, Universal’s rival Snow White movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, stars Kristen Stewart, Liam Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron as, respectively, Snow White, the Huntsman, and the Evil Queen.
According to various images showing Collins as Snow White, she looks precious little like Disney’s poisoned-apple-eating heroine. Directed by Rupert Sanders, Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is even further out there, having more in common with Joan of Arc or Mia Wasikowska’s armor-wearing Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
After some dancing around, release dates were set for both films. The Singh-Collins-Roberts-Hammer version opens March 16. The Sanders-Stewart-Hemsworth-Theron version opens June 1.
Mirror Mirror also features Sean Bean, Nathan Lane, Robert Emms, Michael Lerner, and Mare Winningham. Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller adapted the old Brothers Grimm tale.
Mirror Mirror photo: Matthew Rolston / Relativity Media.
Peter Bogdanovich & Cybill Shepherd ‘The Last Picture Show’ Academy Live Streaming Chat
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show with the Los Angeles premiere of the digitally restored “Definitive Director’s Cut” of the 1971 black-and-white classic. Additionally, there will be an onstage discussion with members of the cast and crew. Those include Bogdanovich, Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman, Eileen Brennan, Cybill Shepherd, and Timothy Bottoms. Luke Wilson will host the proceedings.
The good news for those who can’t make it to the event is that you can watch Bogdanovich, Leachman, Brennan, and everybody else reminisce about The Last Picture Show at http://www.oscars.org/live/. Streaming is scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 17, from 9:45 p.m. PT – 10:30 p.m. PT.
The Last Picture Show photo: Courtesy of AMPAS
West Hollywood Sunset 5 Movie Theater to Close Its Doors; Sundance Cinemas to Replace Laemmle
And speaking of Last Picture Shows, West Hollywood’s Laemmle Sunset 5 movie theatre complex, a showcase for numerous independent, foreign, and gay films is about to close its doors. The Sunset 5, where I watched movies ranging from a preview of François Ozon’s Swimming Pool to a midnight screening of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, had been in business for nearly two decades. Below is Laemmle’s press release:
It is with deep regret that we announce that Laemmle will be ending its operation of the Sunset 5 Theatre at the end of November. A mainstay of the Los Angeles exhibition scene since its opening in 1992, the Sunset 5, was vitally important in launching a wave of new directors. Filmmakers such as Todd Haynes (SAFE), Lisa Cholodenko (HIGH ART), Doug Liman (SWINGERS), Catherine Hardwicke (THIRTEEN), Bryan Singer (THE USUAL SUSPECTS), Todd Solondz (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE), and Bill Condon (GODS & MONSTERS) saw their films premiere to sell-out crowds at the Sunset.
Laemmle will be opening another multiplex in North Hollywood, on the other side of the Hollywood Hills. After I got really depressed, I found out via Variety that fancy, dine-in Sundance Cinemas, part of Robert Redford’s Sundance brand, is supposed to renovate the Sunset 5 and reopen the theater in mid-2012. Sundance Cinemas already has theaters operating in San Francisco and Madison (Wisc.), and will have another one opening in Houston in late November.
So, hopefully the movie theater complex itself won’t go the way of the Virgin MegaStore, which once upon a time had thrived in the same shopping complex. Or of The Garden of Alla – – as in Alla Nazimova, stage and screen star of the early 20th century – which was located across the street and is now a mini-mall and parking lot. (Alla’s abode later became a hotel known as The Garden of Allah.)
Currently playing at the Sunset 5 are: Oka!, 5 Star Day, Take Shelter, Margin Call, and Coffin.
A (somewhat) minor detail: The Sunset 5 is actually located in the city of Los Angeles, about half a block north of the funkily demarcated West Hollywood city limits.