|SATURDAY NIGHT LIVEJENNIFER LOPEZHUSTLERSTHE WAVEREVIEWTRONSNL|
Even though the latest 007 movie has been pushed to a release date in the fall, James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, still hosted last night’s “Saturday Night Live.” It's actually been eight years since Craig last hosted “SNL,” and you know what? After this second time, while he may not be playing James Bond anymore, he can host any time he wants.Host: Daniel Craig
If there's one thing Daniel Craig makes clear in his opening monologue, it's this: “I'm not a nerd. You're a nerd.” Fine, while he may not be a nerd, he's certainly not afraid to go all-in on a joke or, even better, be the butt of one. That is the key to this episode, and it's really amazing to realize while watching that this man's only hosted twice, despite how good he is at it.
It's always nice to see an “SNL” monologue step outside the box, and this one does, featuring pre-tape “footage” from the upcoming James Bond movie. It seems like it takes the live audience a moment to realize what's going on, as the first “SNL” cast member to show up in the sketch is Chloe Fineman, who still kind of blends in, as good as she is. Craig's “favorite scene” in the movie is apparently the one where Bond ends up becoming a craps guy and it's filled to the brim with the most un-Bondlike characters ever, on top of Fineman's progressively frustrated Bond girl. You've got Heidi Gardner and Beck Bennett as messy gamblers, old lady gambler Kate McKinnon, bachelor party boy Kenan Thompson “THIS GUY! HIM!”, and Mikey Day as the craps dealer-turned-villain.
It's simply a fun sketch to open things up with, with Bond getting way too into craps and becoming “Simba,” as he's the “king of the jungle.” In fact, Craig singing the opening music from “The Lion King” is arguably the best thing any James Bond movie has ever given us, even tangentially. Thompson showing up to do the “HIM!” bit in both the Bond entrance and live on stage then brings it all together. “SNL” also knows how good it is, as it’s provided a version of the scene without the monologue.
You can't go wrong with a pre-tape rap or otherwise from both Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd, and the live audience — who are pretty good this episode, other than the moment in the cold open with the “WOO!” for white chocolate — realizes that before it even really gets going. It's worrying at first that this is a hacky sketch about ending up “on the couch,” but it thankfully takes its first interesting turn when The Weeknd comes in. “We make dinner like lovers do / I pour wine / And I'm sleeping on the couch tonight.” That's...
There are major Oscar snubs every year, and some hurt more than others. One that was truly shocking omission this year was Jennifer Lopez, whose turn as a fierce single mom stripper-turned-grifter in Hustlers gave her acting career a much-needed boost, garnering her best critical hosannas since 1998’s Out of Sight. It was a bummer when she wasn’t one of the five Best Supporting Actress nominees, but the actress-singer has kept quiet and respectful of the people who were cited by the Academy.
But enough time has elapsed. Talking to Billboard a few weeks after the ceremony — when the award she may have received went to Laura Dern for Marriage Story — Lopez opened up about the snub
“I was a little sad,” she said. “There were so many articles, I got so many good notices — more than ever in my career — and there was a lot of ‘She’s going to get nominated for an Oscar, it’s going to happen. If she doesn’t [get it], you’re crazy.’ I’m reading all the articles going, ‘Oh my God, could this happen?’ And then it didn’t and I was like ‘Ouch.’”
If she felt bad for anyone, it was her crew. “Most of my team has been with me for years, 20, 25 years — and I think they had a lot of hopes on that and they wanted it too, so I felt like I let everyone down a little bit,” she admitted.
But like her Hustlers character, she wouldn’t let some bad news get her down. Besides, Oscar buzz isn’t nothing. “I was a good actress — always — I can say that now to myself, but what I do now is so much different than what I did then,” she said. “You realize you want people’s validation, you want people to say you did a good job and I realized, ‘No, you don’t need that. You do this because you love it.”
She ended on a bada*s note: “I don’t need this award to tell me I’m enough.”
Following in the footsteps of her Marvel co-star Mark Ruffalo, actress-turned-filmmaker Ellen Page is funneling her considerable influence and resources into raising awareness around environmental justice. Last year, Ruffalo produced and starred in Todd Haynes’ under-appreciated “Dark Waters,” a narrative feature about the Dupont Teflon case. Since her breakout role in “Juno,” Page’s acting roles have always supported feminist perspectives. More recently, she also served as producer on films like “My Days of Mercy” and “Freeheld,” projects she also starred in that touched on issues surrounding incarceration and prison reform. Now, Page has stepped almost fully behind the camera, co-directing with pal Ian Daniel a timely and informative documentary about Nova Scotia’s history of environmental racism.
“There’s Something in the Water” borrows its title from the book on which is based, “There's Something In The Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities” by Ingrid R.G. Waldron. Using Waldron’s book as a guidepost, the film opens with Page reflections on growing up in Nova Scotia, complete with adorable baby photos and a sober voiceover. A clip of Page on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” from February of last year shows the actress calling out the impact of xenophobic leadership on marginalized communities. The film quickly focuses on Waldron to give a definition of environmental racism, a social justice term coined in the 1970s to highlight the disproportionate impact environmental injustice has on black, brown, and indigenous communities.
“Where you live has bearing in your well being,” Waldron says. “Your postal code determines your health.” In Nova Scotia, that means the black and indigenous communities who have born the brunt of harmful pollution, such as improper water treatment and toxic dump sites. The film is broken up into three sections, each focusing on a different site of environmental harm in Nova Scotia.
The first and most powerful of these stories is an African neighborhood in the town of Shelburne, which had the unfortunate distinction of housing the town dump for 75 years. The town once burned industrial, medical, and residential waste that blew directly into the neighborhood of primarily African Nova Scotian residents. Activist Louise Delisle serves as a sobering but affable guide to the community’s inflated rates of multiple myeloma. Louise leads the film’s most powerful scene, as she drives through the community pointing out every home housing a polluted well, people living with cancer, or — more often — people who died of cancer.
Somehow maintaining a gentle if serious disposition, Louise recalls growing up with the...
Long before struggling actress Pearl Isabelle Fuhrmann finds herself at the mercy of a powerful man who demands sex in exchange for her career advancement, she’s already been violated by another person bent on trading on Pearl’s personal trauma for their own ends. That Deborah Kampmeier’s “Tape” — per a title card, “based on true events” — is unable to reckon with the implications of its own plot in service to a story about pervasive sexual misconduct is one of many missteps the lo-fi #MeToo drama makes, highlighting how far even the most eager of allies still has to go.
At least the film, Kampmeir’s fourth feature she’s likely best known for her similarly discomfiting drama “Hounddog” has a strong cast in place to help sell its iffy plot points and to gloss over occasionally amateur camerawork. Before we meet wide-eyed, nearly manic Pearl, there’s Rosa Annarosa Mudd, clearly reeling from her own trauma and working through it by preparing for an upcoming audition. But Rosa isn’t readying a “Titus Andronicus” monologue to present to a bored assembly of casting directors, she’s got far bigger plans. She’s also committing to the bit in shocking ways: piercing her own tongue, slitting her own wrists, shaving off her own hair, all in approximation of the Shakespearean character Lavinia, who was brutalized in similar fashion after she was raped.
No, “Tape” isn’t subtle, and neither is Rosa, who bundles up her bleeding body and hauls off to an audition, where she uses a hidden camera lodged in an unwieldy pair of sunglasses to observe and record the wannabe performers who surround her. That includes Pearl, who catches Rosa’s eye after a small act of kindness to a fellow actress makes it clear she’s different than the rest of the pack that the gathered actresses all look vaguely the same is one of the film’s smartest pieces of observation.
Muddy camerawork and blinding lighting are meant to approximate Rosa’s hidden camera a low level whirring noise that occasionally appears in “hidden” shots is one of its more wacky signifiers, as if the obviously digital apparatus was using film instead, and as cheap as it looks on the screen, it does provide a necessary distance between what she’s seeing and what’s actually happening. Perhaps that’s why Rosa feels driven to enact a plan that doesn’t involve saving Pearl from the clutches of skeezy producer Lux Tarek Bishara — which at first seems to be the idea behind Rosa’s visit to the audition and her immediate interest in the fellow actress — but of stalking her, filming her, and leaving her to Lux’s machinations, all the better to bolster Rosa’s guerrilla investigation of him.