‘Mad Max: Fury Road’s’ Feminine Mystique

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ speeds past ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ for a whopping $28 million Friday.

There’s a scene in Pitch Perfect 2 that features the acapella group, the Barden Bellas, singing Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls).” Apparently, it’s girls who are running the box office this weekend as Pitch Perfect 2 made a reported $28 million on its opening day—exceeding expectations—and putting it on track to earn $64.3 million this weekend.Universal’s tuneful sequel “Pitch Perfect 2″ is far surpassing expectations with a projected $64 million weekend, putting more than $20 million ahead of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which should end up at around $41 million. “Pitch Perfect 2″ is another strong vote for the power of women at box office, following Universal’s success earlier this year with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Earlier this week, box office observers were estimating an opening just over $40 million. Warner Bros.’ reboot of George Miller’s “Mad Max” saga has garnered rapturous reviews for its visually stunning action sequences, but has a steeper climb due to its “R” rating — and possibly the fact that the last installment of the saga came out 30 years ago. The post-apocalyptic world Tom Hardy’s Max lives in draws heavily from the oil-dependent world of the original movies, but it seems to have gotten even weirder — and, dare we say it? — madder than the last time we visited post-apocalyptic Australia in 1985.

Or at least that’s the conversation being had in the “men’s rights” community right now – and it’s being picked up and bandied about in mainstream media. So we’re taking a look at the first Mad Max movies led by Mel Gibson to see how Fury Road fits in with that world, and whether it is a worthy successor to the original cult movies. Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, is “a feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy flick” that threatens to ruin movies for men forever, writes popular men’s issues blogger Aaron Clarey. He still cuts a distinctive figure, thanks to his bear-like frame and mane of white hair, and in Australia – a nation with an enduring affection for outlaws – Keays-Byrne gets recognised with surprising frequency. Playing the villain in the film – the blueprint for legions of post-apocalyptic adventures – could have been Keays-Byrne’s ticket to fame and fortune.

The first three movies — , Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome — starred Mel Gibson as Mad Max and were released between 1979 and 1985. In Germany, the sequel opened at No. 1, 271% above “Pitch Perfect,” while in Australia it beat native son “Mad Max” on Friday after opening the week before.

He spends most of his time in these movies being an emotionally closed-off loner who tries not to get involved, but never succeeds and ends up helping communities or settlements in need. Immortan, who wears a skull mask, drinks milk from lactating women and harvests organs from men he holds captive in steel cages, would make Toecutter quake in his leather boots.

In the U.K., “Mad Max” had the biggest Friday IMAX opening for an R-rated film, and ranked No. 1 in territories including France, Russia, Brazil, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain. Toecutter was a member of an “oppressed nomadic minority”, he says; Immortan is “a renaissance man – he’s simply trying to bring order into an apocalyptic world”. But this conversation does matter if only because it’s symptomatic of a larger problem in society: filtering everything through the prism of identity politics.

But despite his colorful nickname, he’s often the least mad in this post-apocalyptic world, with totalitarian societies quickly rising up around him and sometimes enslaving, often brutalizing, the weak. It shows a rodeo competitor (trigger warning: it’s a white male) getting buckled up and each time he looks in the mirror it’s not him but a different person, presumably a potential Stampede attendee. When The Dark Knight Rises came out (also starring Tom Hardy), radio host Rush Limbaugh argued the villain was named Bane because it was an attempt to vilify then presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose firm had the same name. But the only thing the titular characters seem to share are a name, the ability to survive anything and a penchant for driving fast cars and shouldering heavy emotional guilt. And filming in the NSW outback was prevented by heavy rain that turned the usual post-apocalyptic landscape into what Keays-Byrne describes as a “beautiful garden”.

Does he think his role in Fury Road might open doors in Hollywood and trigger a late-career renaissance? “I’m always open for business,” he says. The proliferation of special interest groups combined with the growth of the online voice has created a society where everything has to be nitpicked to death.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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