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“I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.”— Judy Garland
The Golden Age of Entertainment
Hollywood has always been obsessed with itself. We can’t necessarily blame them for it. After all, you could accuse us of being obsessed as well. However, a rash of new projects in the pipeline seems to indicate that Hollywood is really going through a moment where it is fixated on its long-ago golden age. Director Damian Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land, reportedly titled Babylon, will reportedly focus on Clara Bow, the 1920s starlet who was the original It girl (seriously, they’re called It girls because Bow’s breakthrough role was in a movie called It) and a notable example of a silent-movie star who crossed over to the talkies. Emma Stone is reportedly circling the role with Brad Pitt said to be considering joining her as a new fictional character. Across town, Ryan Murphy is working on his own golden age saga simply titled Hollywood, which will feature made-up characters among real-life legends like Rock Hudson.
Meanwhile, the legendary female talent agent Stevie Phillips’s memoir is being adapted into a TV series as well—which means that her famous clients like Judy Garland, Henry Fonda, and Paul Newman will likely appear as characters (Garland’s later life, of course, was recently chronicled in Judy). You might recall that last week we mentioned a CGI version of James Dean was being “resurrected” to “act” in a new movie, and the company that is making it possible has announced that it plans to go all in with golden age nostalgia. It’s also aiming to do the same with figures like Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Jimmy Stewart, and more.
Kristen Stewart’s Return to Mainstream Cinema
Sticking to the Underground
After the double punch of the end of Twilight and the “affair” scandal that stemmed from Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart’s career took a hard turn toward indie and arthouse films, and she’s mostly (and quite successfully) stayed in that lane ever since. She’s preferred to work with auteurs, accomplishing things like becoming the first American to ever win France’s version of the Oscar instead of racking up box office records. This weekend, however, she returns to your local cineplex in unapologetic fashion by headlining the latest spin on Charlie’s Angels. Despite some collective hesitation that the franchise actually warranted yet another reboot (the 2000 film version still stands up; the 2011 television version never did), critics have greeted the movie warmly, with Stewart in particular gaining praise for translating her skills to the action-comedy genre. That’s good news for Stewart as she transitions back into mainstream fare. Next up: the sci-fi thriller Underwater and a Christmas-themed Lesbian rom-com!
Elsewhere in cinema country, Matt Damond and Christian Bale have teamed up for the 1960s-set Ford vs Ferrari, based on the true story of a Ford engineer’s attempt to build a car that could beat a Ferrari. In limited release, A24’s Waves rolls out. It’s one of the films that seems almost impossible to describe (other than to say that it’s about a family going through some stuff), but everyone we know who has seen it has absolutely raved about it. Across the hall you might find The Report, the true story of the man who was determined to compile a congressional report on the United States’ use of torture during the Iraq War. It’s part one of the winter of Adam Driver (to be followed up by Marriage Story and, of course, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), and also approximately part 62 of the storyline of Annette Bening getting Oscar buzz throughout her career.
The Return of The Crown
Disney+’s New Material
After years of speculation and months of hype, Disney+ finally arrived in the App Store on Tuesday (albeit not without some technical problems). While the main selling point of Disney+ is its access to the vast catalogs of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and (thanks to a recent corporate merger) The Simpsons, its launch content—in terms of newness—felt surprisingly thin. The main draw for adult audiences was The Mandalorian, the first Star Wars universe live-action series about a character who is vaguely reminiscent of (but is not actually) Boba Fett. The show should more than please the Star Wars faithful, but so far the series is pretty small in scope and not some Game of Thrones–sized epic that spans across the franchise’s wide-reaching storyline.
While the service does have more shows based on its Marvel and Star Wars properties in development, it’s pretty clear that the media conglomerate does not have massive ambitions on competing with the most prestige players in the streaming TV arena.
Instead, Disney+ is more about showcasing and expanding upon it’s already existing intellectual property. Then again, Disney also owns Hulu, which is expected to grow in scope thanks to the recent acquisition of FX. Indeed, a Cate Blanchett–helmed miniseries will premiere on that streamer next year.
Perhaps it’s no surprise than Netflix chose this week to flex its awards-worthy muscle by dropping a new season of The Crown. Instead of the company’s usual Friday launch date, season 3 will premiere on Sunday (perhaps to distance it from the Disney+ press cycle, or perhaps as a shot at HBO). This, as pop culture consumers likely know by now, is the season where Olivia Colman takes over as Queen Elizabeth. Much of the focus shifts toward Prince Charles and the notorious saga of his romantic life with (Camila Parker Bowles. The girl who would become Princess Diana reportedly pops up toward the end). Despite the full cast change, critics remain as charmed by the series as ever.
After conquering indie rock, Perfume Genius’s Mike Hadreas has teamed up with the choreographer Kate Wallich to take on modern dance.