Bombshell

Posted on December 12, 2019 at 5:38 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual material and language throughout
Profanity: Very strong and crude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Sexual pressure and harassment
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: December 13, 2019

Copyright 2019 Lionsgate
The word “bombshell” works both ways as the title of this film based on the true story of the #metoo moment that rocked the powerful leadership of Fox News and brought down its visionary founder Roger Ailes. “Bombshell” means a very attractive woman (check out the Jean Harlow movie of the same name, about a gorgeous movie star, and the documentary of the same name, about Hedy Lamar). And “bombshell” also means a shocking piece of news. Both are equally apt.

Those who watched “The Loudest Voice in the Room” on Showtime know that Ailes transformed the news media by creating a network that had two important innovations: gorgeous women in revealing clothes delivering news stories slanted toward white people who think their victimhood has been overlooked. As an executive puts it in this film, “You have to adopt the mentality of an Irish street cop. The world is a bad place. People are lazy morons. Minorities are criminals. Sex is sick, but interesting. Ask yourself, ‘What would scare my grandmother, or p— off my grandfather?’ And that’s a Fox story.”

The story is almost operatic in scope and drama and director Jay Roach and screenwriter Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”) hit the tone just right, the heightened urgency of the newsroom, the millions of small and devastatingly large compromises at the top of the media food chain.

The performances are sizzling. Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) is a fading star at FOX, relegated to off-peak programs. (I could not help thinking of this performance as a bookend with Kidman’s “To Die For,” with Kidman as a woman who was willing to do anything, including sexual favors and murder, to get a job on TV news.) Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is a rising star, and as this movie begins, she is horrified to find herself in the middle of a story as then-candidate Donald Trump makes ugly and crude accusations because she surprised him by asking him to comment on some of his insults to women (“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals”) in an on-air interview. Margot Robbie plays Kayla, a fictional character based on the ambitious lower-level staff and what those who asked Ailes for on-camera opportunities were expected to do to show their “loyalty.”

Some early critics of the film object to the women being portrayed as feminist heroines. But they are not portrayed as feminist heroines; on the contrary. They’re not fighting courageously for justice like Norma Rae or Erin Brockovich. They are carefully calibrating how much abuse, how many humiliations, how much indignity they are willing to trade for the professional opportunities they want, even when it means ignoring abuse of other women. Answer: a lot. Ultimately, there is a limit, though, and watching each character locate that line is what makes this movie smart and engrossing. For Carlson, it is being fired. For Kayla, it is a painful realization after the fact, and after someone else has taken the almost unthinkably daunting step of going first. And the stakes are clear. “Once you go public, no one will hire you,” Carlson is told. Her post-lawsuit career has focused on sexual harassment issues either because she now recognizes the importance of the issue or because she cannot get any other job. The week of the film’s release she wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling on Fox to withdraw the non-disclosure agreement she had to sign in order to settle her case. It’s unlikely, but if they do, maybe we’ll get another movie out of it.

The focus here is on Kelly. It is one thing to burn your bridges after you have been fired and have nothing to lose, but it is entirely another for a woman near the top of her profession who says, “I’m not a feminist; I’m a lawyer,” who does not want to be the story, who is in cutthroat competition with the other beautiful blondes and not one to raise a fist and proclaim that sisterhood is powerful. What will it take to get her to speak out and what price will she pay for saying something? Kelly is a complicated character and the way her dilemma is presented here is complicated and nuanced, more directed toward nods of recognition than standing ovations. Her career has been rocky (except for financially) since her decision to acknowledge the abuse, which makes this a cautionary tale that does not make the prospect of feminist heroine-ing look very appealing.

What is even more fascinating here is the setting. Is Fox a news organization as it has traditionally been understood? We get glimpses of other Fox personalities, including Bill O’Reilly, who left Fox following his own #metoo abuses. The way the organization responds to Carlson’s claims — handing out “Team Roger” t-shirts before any investigation even though it is generally known why there’s a lock on his door and a separate entrance to his office — says something about whether “loyalty” is more important than the truth, to them and to us.

Parents should know that this film is based on the real life #metoo upheavals at FOX News, with explicit discussions and some depiction of sexual harassment, abuse, and predation, and very strong language.

Family discussion: Why did the three women respond differently? How has coming forward affected their careers? What is the best way to prevent abuse by people in power?

If you like this, try: “The Loudest Voice” miniseries and “The Hunting Ground”

Related Tags:

 

Based on a true story Drama Gender and Diversity Journalism movie review Movies Movies

Queen & Slim Leads 2019 Black Reel Awards Nominees

Posted on December 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Copyright 2019 Universal Pictures
The gripping story of a couple on the run from the law following a traffic stop gone wrong, Queen and Slim, received 14 nominations and in the process became the third film in Black Reel Awards history to be so honored.

Director Melina Matsoukas’ piercing examination of race and justice tied both Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, scoring multiple nominations. They included Outstanding Motion Picture, Outstanding Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Outstanding Actress and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female (Jodie Turner-Smith), Outstanding Screenplay (Original or Adapted) and Outstanding First Screenplay for Lena Waithe, as well as Outstanding Director and Outstanding Emerging Director for Matsoukas.

In addition, the film received multiple nominations in the Outstanding Song category, for Collide (Tiana Major9 & EARTH GANGO) and Guarding the Gates (Lauryn Hill), Outstanding Score and nods in every technical category, Outstanding Cinematography, Outstanding Costume Design and Outstanding Production Design.

Director Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his Black Reel Award winning film, Get Out, Us thrilled voters as well on the way to 12 nominations. Led by its visionary director, who garnered a record-tying four nominations including Outstanding Director, Outstanding Screenplay, Original or Adapted, and Outstanding Motion Picture. Peele also was recognized for Outstanding Voice Performer for Toy Story 4. Us also secured an Outstanding Motion Picture nomination as well as Outstanding Actress for Black Reel Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female for newcomer Shahadi Wright Joseph, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Score, Outstanding Cinematography, Outstanding Costume Design, and Outstanding Production Design.

The story of underground cult comedian Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite Is My Name also scored double-digit nominations with 11. Led by Outstanding Actor nominee Eddie Murphy, the film received multiple nominations for its talented cast including Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female for newcomer Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Outstanding Supporting Actor for Black Reel Award winner Wesley Snipes, Outstanding Breakthrough Actor, Male for Titus Burgess. The film also garnered noms for Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Score, as well as Outstanding Costume Design for last year’s winner, Ruth E. Carter.

“I’m extremely thrilled with the choices that our Voting Academy made this year,” said Black Reel Awards founder and President, Tim Gordon. ”As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary, it is both humbling to reminisce about the journey, yet refreshing to see and experience so much new talent that graced the screen for the first time.”

Other highlights include Waves receiving nine nominations followed by the indie darling, The Last Black Man in San Francisco that scored eight nominations. Seven nominations went to the prison drama, Clemency, while both Harriet and Luce each took home six nods. In addition, three directors each received four nominations, Chinoye Chukwu, Julius Onah, and Peele.

The 20th Annual Black Reel Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, February 6, 2020, live streamed on BlogTalkRadio.

20TH ANNUAL BLACK REEL AWARDS NOMINEES
(Digital Nomination Copy)

Outstanding Motion Picture

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (Netflix)
Eddie Murphy, John Fox & John Davis

JUST MERCY (Warner Bros.)
Asher Goldstein & Gil Netter

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Pamela Addy, Andrew Coles, James Frey, Michelle Knudsen, Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe & Brad Weston

US (Universal Pictures)
Jordan Peele, Jason Blum, Ian Cooper & Sean McKittrick

WAVES (A24)
Trey Edward Schultz, Kevin Turen & James Wilson

Copyright A24 2019

Outstanding Actor

JIMMIE FAILS
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24)

KELVIN HARRISON JR.
Luce (Neon)

KELVIN HARRISON JR.
Waves (A24)

DANIEL KALUUYA
Queen & Slim (Universal Pictures)

EDDIE MURPHY
Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)

Outstanding Actress

Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features

CYNTHIA ERIVO
Harriet (Focus Features)

GUGU MBATHA-RAW
Fast Color (Lionsgate/Codeblack)

LUPITA NYONG’O
Us (Universal Pictures)

JODIE TURNER-SMITH
Queen & Slim (Universal Pictures)

ALFRE WOODARD
Clemency (Neon)

Outstanding Director

MATI DIOP
Atlantics (Netflix)

KASI LEMMONS
Harriet (Focus Features)

MELINA MATSOUKAS
Queen & Slim (Universal Pictures)

JULIUS ONAH
Luce (Neon)

JORDAN PEELE
Us (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor

STERLING K. BROWN
Waves (A24)

ALDIS HODGE
Clemency (Neon)

JAMIE FOXX
Just Mercy (Warner Bros.)

JONATHAN MAJORS
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24)

WESLEY SNIPES
Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress

SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH
Us (Universal Pictures)

JANELLE MONAE
Harriet (Focus Features)

DA’VINE JOY RANDOLPH
Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)

TAYLOR RUSSELL
Waves (A24)

OCTAVIA SPENCER
Luce (Neon)

Outstanding Screenplay

CLEMENCY (Neon)
Chinonye Chukwu

LES MISERABLES (Amazon Studios)
Ladj Ly, Giordano Gederlini & Alexis Manenti

LUCE (Neon)
J.C. Lee & Julius Onah

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Lena Waithe

US (Universal Pictures)
Jordan Peele

Outstanding Documentary Feature

THE APOLLO (HBO Documentary)
Roger Ross Williams, director

THE BLACK GODFATHER (Netflix)
Reginald Hudlin, director

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE (Netflix)
Rachel Lears, director

MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL (Abramorama)
Stanley Nelson, director

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM (Magnolia Pictures)
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, director

Outstanding International Film

ATLANTICS (Netflix)
Senegal

THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND (Netflix)
United Kingdom

FARMING (Momentum Pictures)
United Kingdom

IN FABRIC (A24)
United Kingdom

LES MISERABLES (Amazon Studios)
France

Outstanding Ensemble

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (Netflix)
Lindsay Graham & Mary Vernieu, casting directors

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (A24)
Julia Kim, casting director

JUST MERCY (Warner Bros.)
Carmen Cuba, casting director

US (Universal Pictures)
Terri Taylor, casting director

WAVES (A24)
Avy Kaufman, casting director

Outstanding Voice Performance

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (Scar)
The Lion King (Disney)

DONALD GLOVER (Simba)
The Lion King (Disney)

JAMES EARL JONES (Mufasa)
The Lion King (Disney)

KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY (Ducky)
Toy Story 4 (Disney)

JORDAN PEELE (Bunny)
Toy Story 4 (Disney)

Outstanding Score

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (Netflix)
Scott Bomar

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (A24)
Emile Mosseri

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Devonte Hynes

US (Universal Pictures)
Michael Abels

WAVES (A24)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Outstanding Original Song

“COLLIDE” (QUEEN & SLIM)
Tiana Major9 & EARTH GANG, performers

“DON’T TURN BACK” (THE APOLLO)
Robert Glasper & Ledisi, performers

“GUARDING THE GATES” (QUEEN & SLIM)
Lauryn Hill, performer

“IT’S NOT OVER” (BRIAN BANKS)
Gizzle & Sam Fisher, performers

“SPIRIT” (THE LION KING)
Beyonce Knowles-Carter, performer

Outstanding Independent Feature – Awarded to the Director & Producers

BURNING CANE (ARRAY)
Phillip Youmans, director
Ojo Akinlana, Wendell Pierce, Mose Mayer, Isaac Webb, Cassandra Youmans Jakob Johnson & Karen Kaia Livers, producers

CLEMENCY (Neon)
Chinonye Chukwu, director
Timur Bekbosunov, Julian Cautherley, Bronwyn Cornelius & Peter Wong, producers

GUAVA ISLAND (Amazon Studios)
Hiro Murai, director
Donald Glover, Carmen Cuba, Jennifer Roth & Fam Udeorji, producers

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (A24)
Joe Talbot, director/producer
Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh & Khaliah Neal, producers

LUCE (Neon)
Julius Onah, director/producer
John Baker & Andrew Yang, producers

Outstanding Short Film

AMERICA
Garrett Bradley, director

HAIR LOVE (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Matthew A. Cherry, director

IT’S NOT ABOUT JIMMY KEENE
Caleb Jaffe, director

SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT
Nikyatu Jusu, director

ZAHRA AND THE OIL MAN
Yucef Mayes, director

Outstanding Independent Documentary

16 BARS
Sam Bathrick, director

NO LYE: AN AMERICAN BEAUTY STORY
Bayer Mack, director

THE REMIX: HIP HOP X FASHION
Lisa Cortes & Farah Khalid, director

Outstanding Emerging Director

CHINONYE CHUKWU
Clemency (Neon)

NIA DACOSTA
Little Woods (Neon)

MATI DIOP
Atlantics (Netflix)

MELINA MATSOUKAS
Queen & Slim (Universal)

JULIUS ONAH
Luce (Neon)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male

TITUSS BURGESS
Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix)

JIMMIE FAILS
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24)

KELVIN HARRISON JR.
Waves (A24)

ALDIS HODGE
Clemency (Neon)

JONATHAN MAJORS
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female

MAME BINETA SANE
Atlantics (Netflix)

SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH
Us (Universal Pictures)

DA’VINE JOY RANDOLPH
Dolemite is My Name (Netflix)

TAYLOR RUSSELL
Waves (A24)

JODIE TURNER-SMITH
Queen & Slim (Universal)

Outstanding First Screenplay

ATLANTICS (Netflix)
Mati Diop & Olivier Demangel

THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND (Netflix)
Chiwetel Ejiofor

BURNING CANE (ARRAY)
Phillip Youmans

CLEMENCY (Neon)
Chinoye Chukwu

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Lena Waithe

Outstanding Cinematography

HARRIET (Focus Features)
John Toll

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO (A24)
Adam Newport-Berra

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Tad Radcliffe

US (Universal Pictures)
Mike Gioulakis

WAVES (A24)
Drew Daniels

Outstanding Costume Design

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (Netflix)
Ruth E. Carter

HARRIET (Focus Features)
Paul Tazewell

HUSTLERS (STX Entertainment)
Mitchell Travers

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Shiona Turini

US (Universal Pictures)
Kym Barrett

Outstanding Production Design

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (Netflix)
Clay A. Griffith

HARRIET (Focus Features)
Warren Alan Young

THE LION KING (Disney)
James Chinlund

QUEEN & SLIM (Universal Pictures)
Karen Murphy

US (Universal Pictures)
Ruth De Jong

Nominations Per Film

14 nominations
Queen & Slim

11 nominations
Us

10 nominations
Dolemite is My Name

9 nominations
Waves

8 nominations
The Last Black Man in San Francisco

7 nominations
Clemency

6 nominations
Harriet
Luce

5 nominations
Atlantics
The Lion King

3 nominations
Just Mercy

2 nominations
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Burning Cane
Les Miserables
Toy Story 4

1 nomination
16 Bars
America
The Black Godfather
Brian Banks
Guava Island
Farming
Fast Color
Hair Love
Hustlers
In Fabric
It’s Not About Jimmy Keene
Knock Down the House
Little Woods
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
No Lye: An American Beauty Story
The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion
Suicide by the Sunlight
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Zahra and the Oil Man

Related Tags:

 

Awards Race and Diversity

WAFCA: Parasite, Driver, Nyong’o Lead the 2019 Awards

Posted on December 9, 2019 at 8:05 am

Best Film:
Parasite

Best Director:
Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)

Copyright 2019 Netflix

Best Actor:
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Best Actress:
Lupita Nyong’o (Us)

Best Supporting Actor:
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood)

Best Supporting Actress:
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)

Best Acting Ensemble:
Knives Out

Best Youth Performance:
Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit)

Copyright Pixar 2019

Best Voice Performance:
Tony Hale (Toy Story 4)

Best Motion Capture Performance:
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Endgame)

Best Original Screenplay:
Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Greta Gerwig; Based on the Novel by Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)

Best Animated Feature:
Toy Story 4

Best Documentary:
Apollo 11

Best Foreign Language Film:
Parasite

Best Production Design:
Production Designer: Barbara Ling; Set Decorator: Nancy Haigh (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood)

Best Cinematography:
Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (1917)

Best Editing:
Michael McCusker, ACE and Andrew Buckland (Ford v Ferrari)

Best Original Score:
Michael Abels (Us)

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC:
The Report

Related Tags:

 

Awards

Pop Store Auction: Find the Perfect Gift for the “Friends” Fan

Posted on December 8, 2019 at 10:11 pm

“Friends” was a cultural phenomenon when it was on the air and continues to be one as new generations of fans find it through streaming. Now all kinds of treasures from the show are being auctioned off for charity.

Copyright Warner Brothers 1994, All rights reserved

Rachel’s employee evaluation of Tag, the invitation to Monica’s and Chandler’s wedding — and their handwritten vows, Rachel’s sonogram, scripts, costumes, Ross’s second grade report card, Joey’s Soapie award — and lots more!

Related Tags:

 

Cool Stuff Television

Bonham’s Auction: Hollywood Treasures from Mitzi Gaynor, William Wellman, and More

Posted on December 8, 2019 at 9:59 pm

Bonham’s has a dazzling array of Hollywood treasures for sale in their latest auction, including Mitzi Gaynor’s costume collection, artifacts from “Gone With the Wind” (you can get an annotated screenplay, costume sketch, Scarlett’s necklace, Rhett’s vest, or even Margaret Mitchell’s contract with MGM!), and the bodice from Theda Bara’s “Cleopatra” costume! There’s an “Adventures of Robin Hood” book signed by the cast, Paul Henreid’s jacket from “Casablanca,” a dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck and Teresa Wright in two different films, a vest worn by Bob Hope in “The Princess and the Pirate,” and a prop poster for “Springtime for Hitler” from “The Producers.” There’s even a pair of Darth Vader gloves from the original “Star Wars” (now known as “A New Hope”).

Related Tags:

 

Cool Stuff Film History Movie History
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2019, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik