|SUNDANCE 2020TAYLOR SWIFTSUNDANCESURPRISE|
The best part about an indie movie becoming a critical or commercial hit is watching what the filmmaker does next. Do they take that success and use it to helm a big-budget blockbuster? Do they follow up with another personal film? If you’re Academy Award-winning writer/director Tom McCarthy, you take the success of the hard-hitting Spotlight and make a detective noir movie for kids co-starring a 1500-pound “pet” polar bear. The result, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a delightful new addition to Disney+ that somehow still makes sense as McCarthy’s next project, and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Based on the books by Stephan Pastis, the Disney+ Original stars Winslow Fegley brother of Pete’s Dragon actor Oakes as the titular Timmy Failure, a quirky 11-year-old kid who fashions himself as a hard-boiled detective running his own agency in the streets of suburban Portland, Oregon with his partner, Total, a 1500-pound polar bear. Right out of the gate, Fegley’s performance sells the weird premise of the movie by playing it completely straight. Sure, the bear may or may not be a part of his imagination, and no, he isn’t exactly Sherlock Holmes, but what matters is that he’s completely confident that he’s the world’s greatest detective. Fegley addresses his classmates, teacher, and his mom’s new boyfriend with a deadpan manner, allowing the characters around him to play with the kid’s dry wit to hilarious results.
Timmy usually takes on small cases, like a missing backpack, but one day the Segway scooter he uses as his main source of transportation disappears. Timmy immediately suspects foul play, so he draws out a list of suspects that, of course, includes Russian operatives. And so begins one spectacularly weird case that may or may not be all in Timmy’s head.
What makes Timmy Failure special is the way McCarthy and Pastis who co-wrote the script portray Timmy’s imagination. Not only does this provide an avenue for McCarthy to do some experimenting with ambitious and oddball sequences, such as an extended Broadway musical scene, but it also helps add depth to Timmy by showing us how he uses his imagination as a defense mechanism. The film works as a fun caper movie, but also an exploration of how kids process the world before they fully understand it – like how Total enters Timmy’s life and his kitchen just as his dad abandons him and his mom. McCarthy brings his filmmaking crew back together after Spotlight, which serves to give Timmy Failure some gravitas, like the way DP Masanobu Takayanagi shoots the movie with bird’s eye views and tracking shots that help alleviate the concerns from those who scratch their heads at the thought of a Disney+ movie playing at the Sundance Film Festival.
Though the film has a sizable budget $42 million, it quickly...
Music is a growing presence at film's biggest night, and this year seems to have a larger piece of the broadcast than ever before.
Beyond the Academy Awards’ traditional Best Original Song presentations, this year's Oscars have a few “special” performances, highlighted by Billie Eilish, fresh off her Grammy majors sweep. What she'll sing is hush-hush, but there's speculation that it may be the title song from the upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die.
The awards air at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.
This week in music:
OSCARS SO MUSICAL: Eilish is just one music highlight at the Oscars. Idina Menzel will perform Into The Unknown, joined by nine women around the world who played Frozen's Elsa in various translated versions. Also on tap is Elton John, who will do I'm Gonna Love Me Again from Rocketman in the program, although sans Taron Egerton. Cynthia Erivo has a double shot at the audience. She'll perform Stand Up from her film Harriet during the broadcast, and appear in a NatGeo trailer preview featuring her forthcoming performance in Genius: Aretha, a series bowing in May that spotlight’s the Detroit great.
Also doing an unknown song is Janelle Monae, who has been involved in such Oscar-nominated films as Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Harriet.Randy Newman will do his Best Original Song nomination, I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4. Another surprise is This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz, who will perform the Breakthrough ballad I'm Standing With You.
The nominations for Best Song include Diane Warren's I'm Standing With You, Newman's I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away, Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Campbell's Stand Up, Elton John and Bernie Taupin's I'm Gonna Love Me Again, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez's Into the Unknown.
The Best Score nominees include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 1917, Joker, Little Women, and Marriage Story.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP IPO: Len Blavatnik's $3.3. billion bet on WMG is looking better and better. Now, WMG plans to go public. It said in a regulatory filing unveiled this week that it will hold an initial public offering, although no date has been set. The most recent quarterly results saw the company set a new quarterly record for revenues as a standalone company. In the final quarter of 2019 WMG's fiscal Q1 its total revenues grew by 4.4% year-on-year to $1.26bn, including a 12.6% increase in digital revenue to $706m. WMG's net profit jumped from $86m a year ago to $122m last quarter.
TAYLOR SWIFT PUB DEAL: Her recorded music with former label Big Machine may be a sore spot, but Taylor Swift has her publishing locked. She has announced an exclusive global publishing agreement...
High school can be a battlefield, but rarely has that battlefield seemed so dangerous as it does in Amazon’s stylish Sundance drama Selah and The Spades. The feature film debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe, Selah and The Spades follows a young girl who is chosen to be the protégé of the Queen Bee of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, and discovers that she wasn’t the first to be given this dubious honor. Watch the Selah and The Spades trailer below.Selah and The Spades Trailer
Amazon Studios has released the official trailer for Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut, Selah and The Spades, a stylish high school drama set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school. In this exclusive world, the student body is run by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects. Commanding the top faction is the titular Selah Summers Love Simone, who decides to choose a young protégé to take her place upon graduation. But as that sophomore upstart Paloma Celeste O’Connor soon finds, it’s a treacherous path to the top.
Selah and The Spades seems like a teen drama in the tradition of Brick or Thoroughbreds — stylish, razor-sharp, and populated by very good-looking teens who all act like characters in a noir film. The cast of fresh faces playing those characters include Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Here is the synopsis for Selah and The Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers Lovie Simone runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma Celeste O’Connor, to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a ened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.
Selah and The Spades premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 17, 2020....
Matthew McConaughey took some time out of his social isolation to surprise a group of senior citizens in his home state of Texas. The Enclave at Round Rock Senior Living center asked the Oscar-winning actor back in September to host their weekly bingo night, and McConaughey finally made good on that request by hosting this week’s bingo night on video chat via The Independent. The actor appeared on camera with his wife and children and called out the numbers during the group’s game. McConaughey is also quarantining with his family in Texas.
“Ever play virtual bingo with Matthew McConaughey?” the Enclave wrote on social media. “You'd be a whole lot cooler if you did! The residents at The Enclave at Round Rock Senior Living got to play virtual bingo with Matthew McConaughey and his family! Thank you to Matthew, his wife Camila, and his mom Kay for hosting our residents for a few rounds of virtual bingo! Our residents had a great time playing, and they loved talking with Matthew about his family heritage and his favorite drink.”
McConaughey most recently starred in the Guy Ritchie action film “The Gentleman,” which STX Entertainment recently made available on digital platforms on VOD early to help ease quarantines across the country. The actor is also spending his time social distancing by launching a new web series on his social media platforms called “McConaughey Takes.” The first episode debuted April 6 and finds the actor looking back at his famous romantic-comedy “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” McConaughey credits his chemistry with co-star Kate Hudson for making the film a blockbuster, and the actor says to this day “How to Lose a Guy” remains the movie that gives him the most residual money.
McConaughey is far from the only A-list talent spending his quarantine making surprise video conference calls. David Fincher made headlines last month for giving a video masterclass in filmmaking to 450 students at the United Kingdom’s National Film and Television School. The school has also live-streamed sessions with talent such as “Knives Out” composer Nathan Johnson and “1917” and “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes.