A slight problem here

“This whole country is a strip club. You got people tossing the money and people doing the dance.” So proclaims Jennifer Lopez’s wily stripper turned con artist, Ramona, in Hustlers, which raked in $33.2m (£26.6m) in the US on its opening weekend, making it J-Lo’s biggest opening weekend for a live-action movie.

Hustlers is a pretty decent film about a pretty indecent proposal – namely that Ramona and her colleague, Destiny (Constance Wu), drug and steal from their moneyed clients in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

But it’s also something else: proof that, until now, praise of J-Lo’s acting talents have been confined to a few standout performances, such as her acclaimed role opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight (1998). For every triumph (see also her 1997 turn as the Mexican-American singer Selena), Lopez has been served up a total stinker of a role by Hollywood, from Gigli (a film the Guardian described as “catastrophic”) to The Back-Up Plan, a film so by-the-numbers that they may as well have projected mathematical formulae on to cinema screens. She has often been confined to perfunctory romcom territory, cliched Latina territory or both (see the sub-Pretty Woman action of Maid in Manhattan).

I’m under the impression that actors get to choose the roles they’ll do. Thus the complaint should be that Lopez – and or her advisers – choose stinkers.

There’s snowflake for you

Summertime in San Sebastián rekindled the annual debate about the strains created by excessive tourism. This year, though, residents of the Basque provincial capital have also had to put up with our city being turned into the latest Woody Allen film set. The movie, Rifkin’s Festival, is about a couple who fall in love while in town for the San Sebastián film festival, drawing on the annual event (this year’s begins on 20 September) as the backdrop to a romantic comedy.

At a time when Allen is being shunned by many people in film, the veteran director has seemingly found a reliable ally in his Spanish partner Mediapro. The company ishandling the co-production and distribution of Rifkin’s Festival, just as it did with Allen’s previous movie endeavours Midnight in Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, among others. Whatever the legitimacy of the #MeToo movement’s calls for an Allen artistic boycott, the impact his film could have on the urban fabric of the city is currently of greater concern to many of us in San Sebastián, a city which has been undergoing a metamorphosis since hosting the European capital of culture in 2016.

Cultural sorta place which hosts film festival complains about cultural film being made there.

Now that’s luvvie snowflake.

Comment of the Day

Relating to how the Festival is killing Edinburgh.

Cancel the festival then.

I’ve got a campaign slogan for you ‘Make Edinburgh Grimsby Again’

Then you’ll all be happy, happy as the residents of Grimsby who do not suffer from such afflictions as vibrant trade and culture.

From Rob H

As has been pointed out around here

A very large number of plots used in the past simply don’t work these days because cellphones. You’ve got to start inventing batteries dying, no access to electricity, wandering into an area with no coverage. Even, in a recent novel, the holding place of the good guy being built as a Faraday Cage.

That is, you’ve got to stretch credulity into order to make many plot points work:

Disney has announced that it is to remake Home Alone, almost three decades after the original version hit cinemas. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, said the film would be revived as a result of the company’s $71.3 billion (£58.7bn) acquisition in March of 20th Century Fox, which made the Macaulay Culkin original.

Mr Iger said Disney was “focused on leveraging Fox’s vast library of great titles to further enrich the content mix”, adding that his company planned to remake popular Fox films including Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper by the Dozen for “a new generation.”

The news was greeted with dismay by many fans of the original. Vice published an article headlined: “Disney Is Trying to Remake ‘Home Alone’ and Must Be Stopped”, and film executive Franklin Leonard tweeted: “Prayers up for the writers who have to solve the cell phone problem in a rebooted Home Alone.”

Well, yes.

Wibble, purest wibble

The disability charity Scope has criticised the decision to cast an able-bodied actor as Joseph Merrick in the forthcoming BBC adaptation of The Elephant Man.

Presumably we’ve got to find someone with Proteus Syndrome to play him. After all, using a legless actor – not a great challenge as it happens – would still be using someone without Proteus Syndrome and thus not meet the demand being made.

We could just say that it’s all playing dress up but that’s just so counter to modern mores, isn’t it?

Maybe it is the men who create the art?

Are female artists worth collecting? Tate doesn’t seem to think so
Helen Gørrill
The museum preaches diversity, but its annual acquistions suggest that great art is mostly created by men

So, the progressive idea is that the technocrats run things. Those who know what they’re doing that is. Within that is the assumption that those running things know what they’re oing. The Tate buyers knowing what art is for example.

So, maybe it’s true that men create most of the art then?

Bleedin’ Amazin’ Innit?

The increasing use of black and Asian actors has led some in British theatre to congratulate themselves on the growing diversity of the British stage.

But experts have warned that casting ethnic minority actors without paying attention to the way they are lit, or what colour costumes they wear, puts them at a disadvantage to white performers.

An academic at London’s Globe Theatre says that black and Asian actors can be obscured by the dark costumes and furnishings and gloomy lighting traditionally associated with the staging of works by Shakespeare and other period dramatists.

Producers are now being urged to pay more attention to the set design, lighting and costume used in plays featuring ethnic minority actors, in order for the audience to get the most out of their performances.

Different skin tones require different lighting?


It’s as if lighting designers don’t actually design lighting.

These mid-career actresses do all look the same, don’t they?

Actors and actresses are used to being recognised and approached by fans who feel they know them.

But as Victoria Beckham knows only too well, a case of mistaken identity can prove more than a little embarrassing.

Thandie Newton, who stars in Line of Duty and Westworld, has revealed that the former Spice Girl was “mortified” when she engaged her in conversation after confusing her with Zoe Saldana.

There began an awkward exchange that left Newton baffled before it dawned on her that Beckham thought was talking to someone else.

Although both women are actresses, one is British and the other American.

That annoyance at finding out that what they were renting out all those years were the fading youth and beauty, not actual talent.

So, what’s at fault here?

An art student was arrested and charged with making “revenge porn” for including a naked photograph of her former boyfriend in a university project. Lauren Smith, 26, included a heavily-cropped photograph of the man in a piece of artwork, which was awarded a first and published on her artwork Facebook page -but none of her personal social media accounts.

The University of Lincoln student was charged with disclosing a private, sexual photograph with intent to cause distress – the charge commonly known as “revenge porn” after her former boyfriend claimed to have identified himself and was “embarrassed”.

The original image had been ‘topped and tailed’ to edit out the head and genitals, but the complainant argued he could identify himself in it.

The artist made no reference as to who the image, set within a number of other photographs, depicted, a court heard.

Ms Smith denied the charge, alleged to have been committed between May and September last year, and was due to stand trial at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday.

Yes, of course it’s a stupid law and crappily written too. But what’s worse, the basic idea or the crappiness of the drafting?

Just a thought, but if we extended this idea to words – we cannot cause distress by revealing private, sexual, stuff – that’s most of the poetry of Sylvia Plath dealt with then, isn’t it?

Movie economics

Ageing cinema audiences want to watch films with intelligent dialogue that deal with real people, according to Imelda Staunton. Yet they are let down by a male-dominated industry that makes “terrible” blockbusters fuelled by violence and special effects.

The Oscar-nominated actress stars in a new heart-warming romantic comedy called Finding Your Feet, whose cast includes Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall, David Hayman and Joanna Lumley. The makers hope the movie will tap into the success of “grey pound” films such as 2011’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which made more than £100m.

Of course dahling, it’s just so terrible that those men make films that people actually want to go and see. Unlike the one I’m promoting right now…..

Why would that be then?

In the line of dire: let’s call time on Clint Eastwood’s macho movies

When peeps get all pretentious about it, when we’re talking about art rather than just a bit of dress up, we’re told that the movies should reflect and illuminate life.

Macho is a part of life – most assuredly it is, as the feminists keep telling us. So, why shouldn’t there be movies about it?

A very silly point about movies

How the western got lost: why the genre needs to innovate to survive

To a great extent the genre did innovate. What the hell is Star Wars other than a Western moved around a bit in time?

The error perhaps is in thinking that westerns are about the west when all that is is the backdrop. The tales are heroes and villains and that’s just moved on to a different scenery setting for the same old human tales.

Hasn’t the world changed?

Outgoing Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has defended his decision to delay the introduction of a female lead by saying the show isn’t around to pander to “progressive liberals”.

The argument is over whether the last Dr Who should have been female, rather than the next one will be. But, but, shouldn’t the last one have been as well?

At which point, hasn’t the world changed? That a director has to defend his decision that a male character be played by a male actor?

Well, actually, you know?

French feminists have voiced outrage over a planned retrospective of the films of director Roman Polanski, who has been accused of several sexual assaults, calling it “an insult” to women following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The retrospective is being organised by the Cinémathèque Française, a major Paris-based film archive that is partly funded by the state.

Polanski, who is wanted in the United States for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, is scheduled to attend the opening on Monday.

In a petition calling for the event to be cancelled, activist Laure Salmona said it was “indecent” to honour Polanski at a time when women are beginning to open up about sexual abuse and harassment in the wake of the allegations that toppled Hollywood producer Weinstein.

“It’s an insult to all the women who mobilised around the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc (Expose the pig) hashtags,” she wrote.

The films are the films. The man’s an utter shit of course, but the films still are the films.

We might call this a derivative of pecunia non olet.

Arthur Koestler was equally a shit – he most certainly raped at least one woman. Darkness at Noon is still a good book. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath didn’t, umm, work out well together. But the poetry stands as the poetry. From memory Einstein was less than nice to his first wife but the equations still work.

It’s not really an issue until Myleene speaks, is it?

Myleene Klass on Thursday night said that she, too, had been propositioned by the bullish New Yorker.

Weinstein invited her for lunch in Cannes, after she had interviewed him at the film festival for CNN. Over lunch he “asked me to sign some kind of sex contract with him.”

She said: “I just thought, ‘Mate, which planet are you from?’

“Then his PA came over with a confidentiality contract. I just thought, ‘Oh my God, your poor wife.’ I don’t want to be a marriage-wrecker.”

Klass, now 39

I’ve never really know what it is that she does other than employ a good publicist.

Entirely sensible

National Gallery bosses have admitted that none of the museum’s works are insured – with staff relied upon to protect the priceless masterpieces by ‘intercepting lunatics’.
The institution’s chairman Hannah Rothschild revealed the art in the central London building is worth so much that the premiums are unaffordable.
Instead, room attendants are responsible for keeping the works safe – with members of the public also stepping in during two recent attempts by vandals.

The pieces are never going to be sold. So what would be the value of an insurance payment if they were to be damaged or stolen? Thus, why bother?