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Quendrith Johnson


Everything happening in film covered from LA...


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That’s Not Just Our Opinion, Man: Jeff Bridges Aced American Riveria Award Night

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When the Lebowski Fest comes to Los Angeles on March 3, you’ll see why Jeff Bridges is so linked to The Dude from that movie, but last night for the American Riviera Award in Santa Barbara, folks got to see for themselves. At the Arlington Theater, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, it was practically a Love-In. The honoree showed up with his wife of 40 years, “my sweetheart” Susan Geston, and his two c...

Sandra Oh Rides High in New Animation WINDOW HORSES

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When a film hits the zeitgeist like animation WINDOW HORSES, directed by Ann Marie Fleming, you’ve got to pay attention. Usually a preamble isn’t required in a film review, but WINDOW HORSES, voiced by Sandra Oh and in rotation this week at Santa Barbara International Film Festival starts with a funny story. You’ve heard of President Trump’s Executive Order, known as “not-a-Muslim-ban,” on seven Muslim countr...

No Shut Up And Dance Here, Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone Win Outstanding Performers

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent  Something Emma Stone says in an off-hand way when she and Ryan Gosling pick up the Outstanding Performers of the Year from Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) on Friday night really sticks. Seated beside Gosling, her co-star and co-nominee for the acting Oscars in LA LA LAND, Stone plays with the 20’s fringe on her dress, then offers this insight: “movies make us feel less alone, I guess, that’s what they...

We’ve All Had Denzel Moments, Now Denzel Just Had a Leonard Maltin Moment

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent On Thursday night, when Denzel Washington is finally presented with his Leonard Maltin Masters Award at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the award hand-off is done by a little girl from the cast of FENCES, in which he stars and directs. This is the movie that has him Oscar-nominated along with co-star Viola Davis, who gives what can only be called a go-to-God, heart-stopping performance. Saniyya Sidney, age 11, presents the honor with ...

Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowled Over In Her GHOST IN THE SHELL Spot

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Mostly what we love about the Super Bowl on TV is the ads, right? Well Scarlett Johansson is giving you one better this Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, with a custom TV trailer for her graphic-novel movie-adapt, GHOST IN THE SHELL. The tagline is: “Everything they told her was a lie,” and no small irony she just left her marriage to French actor Roman Dauriac. Maybe it was over their Yummy Pop joint venture of popcorn stores in Fran...

Charlie Hunnam Was Right To Nix 50 Shades, He Nabbed LOST CITY OF Z, First Look

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent No, you’ve probably never heard of explorer Percy Fawcett; he’s the main character of best-seller David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon." It's a non-fiction rundown on an Amazonian adventurer who found and lost his soul in the jungle. Now, what if you heard Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam is going to come out in a movie as Percy Fawcett? What an exciting choi...

LOL LOL Land: Hidden Gems Show #OscarSoRight, Tough Matchups & How Noms React

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When the Oscars streamed the announcements for the first time in their history this morning, anybody in the world got a glimpse at who AMPAS deemed Oscar-worthy for the 89th Academy Awards. The net result? You get emails from everybody and your mother about how right, or wrong your predictions were — maybe not the result the Academy expected, but announcing online is here to stay. Meanwhile, what a line-up, and let’s create the hashta...

A24 & 20TH CENTURY WOMEN Won’t Keep The Party Polite, Go See Their Film

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Okay, so that headline lyric is actually from Frank Sinatra about Luck being a Lady, and frankly that’s just one misconception about women that the movie 20TH CENTURY WOMEN hopes to debunk. That and every notion of gender from conception to girl power to the male gaze to reproduction. This movie is not a “chick flick,” shall we say, but it is a flick about chicks/women/girls, and every other representation of — stealing f...

How to Factor the Oscars: HIDDEN FIGURES, Stats on Women Revealed

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone. Who knew NASA and IBM would be the corporate darlings of this year’s Oscar race? Or, translated into Award Season trivia for 2017, who knew HIDDEN FIGURES from 20th Century Fox, about three NASA human “Computers,” would run up unexpected numbers at the box office and put stars Kevin Costner, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Mon...

Award Season 2017: And The Nominees Are… Split & No Director-ess?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent During Award Season when Hollywood has the limelight, and this includes every major guild and member-based award show up until the 89th Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, there is a shopworn practice of splitting the Nominations announcements in the news, setting up anticipation for several different dates for the same organization. For example, today Jan. 11, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced its TV, Commercial and Documentary Nominees, wi...

25 Clues Meryl Streep Is Not Overrated: Out of the “Sandra Dee Box” & Into A Twitter War

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent So, here's the story, as they say in the movies... Sunday night Jan. 8, at the Golden Globes hosted by Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), award-winning actor/legend Meryl Streep stepped in it by “calling out” the new US President-Elect with a pointed speech on bullying as an undesirable trait. Long story, short, the soon-to-be-installed President Donald J. Trump, ignited a Twitter firefight in which he dubbed Str...

Slow Clap to Wild Applause: WGA Nom for DEADPOOL is Dead On

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Say what you will about “rigged” elections and fixed ways of thinking, voters at the WGA (Writers Guild of America) just went rogue and nominated DEADPOOL. Okay, they didn’t exactly go rogue, they actually went bold by nominating the graphic novel adapt of a Marvel character, from the X-Men series, by 20th Century Fox - a genre often limited to the margins of high art. Why are they right to do so? Because it’s no...

The Dude, AKA Jeff Bridges Now in HIGHWATER, Wins American Riviera Award From Santa Barbara

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Sometimes a press release is so good it’s just fine art, or more specifically it’s the holidays and we’re lazy, plus this is great writing from our friends in show business. That said, we’d only put a slightly different headline on it, for the diehard hipsters. Which is “The Dude, AKA Jeff Bridges Now in HIGHWATER, Wins American Riviera Award From Santa Barbara,” whereas our more respectable writing colleagues b...

The Year Nobody Was a Pundit: Hollywood’s Shock, All Governments Lie, But Zero Days & Hooligan Sparrow Short-listed

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Cui Bono? That’s the famous Latin line that means “who benefits,” and in the realm of conspiracy theories, this blunt tool ranks right up there with “Historian’s Fallacy” as a go-to. The term historian’s fallacy was minted by Brandeis Professor David Hackett Fischer in 1970, who pointed out the bright idea that even when someone is going through a historic event, or having experienced a historic event, s...

Oscar Whiplash Likely for Damien Chazelle’s LALALand & Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Oh, to ruin Award Season… but isn’t that what we’re on earth for? To have our dreams shattered but then our lives uplifted, if only in the movies? Enter LA LA LAND, a singing, dancing act of pure wish fulfillment starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Wait, a musical? Don’t be fooled. This is classic cinema updated with today’s angst. Stone says “the idea of this really modern story of two artists and ...

When Stellan Skarsgård Calls About His New Movie In Order of Disappearance, You Better Answer

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent The first thing you hear when Stellan Skarsgård and Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland call at 8:00 am LA time for a phone interview from New York is Stellan’s unmistakable laugh. This is a far cry from the stoic Nils he plays in their new movie In Order of Disappearance that opens Aug. 26. Between the -40 celsius setting and the operatic violence, whereby Skarsgård picks off a succession of formidable enemies, including Bru...

Why You Should See HOOLIGAN SPARROW: For Women’s Rights, Yes, But To Free a Human Rights Lawyer Too

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It may be easier to get a trade deal with China than to get a condom, or get a jailed human rights attorney freed — these are just some of the peripheral issues on view in director Nanfu Wang’s documentary HOOLIGAN SPARROW, released last week in Los Angeles. Wang’s documentary also covers child rape, female endangerment, and the universally egregious harassment of voiceless women.  To put it in the words of its champions:...

From The Last Tycoon to Woody Allen’s Café Society: Why We Love Stories About Hollywood

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Woody Allen’s newest film Café Society just opened July 15, and it fits into a cinematic history of stories about Hollywood that audiences love. But Woody Allen himself has been a lightning rod for so long, the electricity generated off the attendant controversies could power a small town. That said, we’re talking about a movie, folks, not the personal life of the director. With that caveat, Café Soc...

Director Byrd McDonald & VINTAGE TOMORROWS, An Epic Steampunk Doc

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent That director Byrd McDonald (Haunters) is from Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, birthplace of Loretta Lynn speaks volumes about his path toward the making of VINTAGE TOMORROWS, a documentary about the movement known as Steampunk coming at you on July 19 from Samuel Goldwyn Films. Viewing this film is essential as part of any aficionado’s playlist. In the unpacking of facts as to why the Steampunk community welcomed B...

Director Susanna White on Brexit, John le Carré & Our Kind of Traitor with Stellan Skarsgård, Ewan McGregor

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent If in the fifty-odd years since British spymaster John le Carré began plying his trade as a novelist, you have somehow missed any of the screen versions of his works, know this: there are favorites. Everybody has one: from 1965’s Richard Burton classic The Spy Who Came in From The Cold to 2005’s The Constant Gardener (Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes) to 2011’s Gary Oldman-starrer Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy. John ...

From Punch Cards to Stunt Hacking to Alex Gibney’s ZERO DAYS & Symantec’s Eric Chien on Stuxnet

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by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent You have to hand it to filmmaker Alex Gibney (GOING CLEAR), he has taken on everything from Eliot Spitzer’s political downfall to the Enron debacle to Lance Armstrong’s doping to soft-money “super-lobbyist” Jack Abramoff to Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, not to mention Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti. So it comes as no surprise that Gibney goes from wrestling Xenu to rattling the NSA’s cage with Z...

Who Knew The PGA Produced By Conference Was So Cool, Like Morgan Freeman Cool

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent That’s not click-bait in the headline, and we will get to the Morgan Freeman Appreciation Society in a moment; but first Day One of the Produced By Conference held June 4-5 at Sony Studios by the Producers Guild of America (PGA). It was nothing short of a rousing success yesterday. To a person, attendees gave it raves, whether from Arkansas or Iceland or Pasadena. An Infolist sponsor rep even whispered it is the only must-attend event on h...

Pixel-Perfect BILAL Takes Screen at Cannes 69th & Took a Few Years, 22 Countries to Create

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent One of the most interesting aspects of movie reviewing is looking behind the screen at the provenance of a project, and with Dubai’s first ever CGI animation, BILAL, the story behind this 1400-year-old animation saga is truly gripping. Cannes 69th Film Festival is the perfect venue for this, where it will screen shortly. The cast includes excellent actors Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (who played the yacht assassination target for Matt Damon in...

Kate Beckinsale Is For Fangirls Too In Love And Friendship, Whit Stillman’s A+ Austen Romp

By Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent “It is a truth universally acknowledged” that Jane Austen (1775-1817) will be source material in the foreseeable forever, but it is actually surprising that director Whit Stillman (Last Days of Disco, Metropolitan) has so nailed her work in his new film “Love & Friendship,” that lead Kate Beckinsale should be Oscar-worthy for 2016.  And while giddy Fanboys still own Beckinsale for her sleek, sexy turn in the &ld...

No, Johnny Depp Didn’t Get Overlooked, He Got Leonard Maltin’s Modern Master Award

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   Tonight Johnny Depp’s alleged "Oscar slight" was put into perspective by esteemed film critic Leonard Maltin at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. “There are only five slots,” Maltin said of Depp’s absence from the Best Actor category for BLACK MASS. “It was a career high for him.” This was on the red carpet right before a sit-down interview with Johnny Depp before the Maltin Mode...
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