Following the 4th of July festivities, realizing that we have still several more weeks before theaters reopen (AMC on July 31, Regal now on July 30, sigh), cleaning up spent fireworks reminds me of something I saw earlier this week.
Charlize Theron is dialing up the diss on Steven Seagal.
The Mad Max: Fury Road star then justified her criticism of Seagal, 68, noting, “I have no problem talking s— about him because he’s not very nice to women so f— you!”
I enjoyed some of Seagal’s earliest few films, but haven’t seen an action film starring him as the lead in a long time that was worth recommending, in some cases not even worth watching.
Look, we all slow down as we age. Some will gain weight, some things sag, aging isn’t a pretty proposition. I’ve personally looked about 20 years older than I am for the last 10+ years, although because of my physical job, I’m in very good physical shape. Steven Seagal, however, looks like he went through the Star Trek transporter and had his 80s appearance and body fused with the present. I don’t think he should be in action films as the action hero in this physical condition. He never was a great actor, even in his prime, uttering lines like he’s whispering and gargling glass. Add to that, he seemed even a bit creepy at times.
Take Katherine Heigl who was a teenager when she starred in the Under Seige sequel (which I sort of enjoyed, despite it being a pretty bad movie). Listen to what she says about working with Seagal and remember, she had just turned 16:
“You know, Katie, I’ve got girlfriends your age,” Seagal said, according to Heigl on the last day of shooting. “Isn’t that illegal?” Heigl replied. “They don’t seem to mind,” Seagal said. Heigl called out, “Mom!”
And then Jimmy Kimmel shows a picture with Seagal’s hand on Heigl’s breast with her mom wearing sunglasses in the background.
Yikes. Just not a good optic. I don’t know if it’s stranger that people are laughing in the audience over this or that Kimmel even brings this up. The whole video interview doesn’t make me laugh, it just creeps me out.
Related to Theron’s angsty comments? I don’t know.
Meanwhile, Charlize Theron has been in several recent movies that were not only worth watching, but at least one that I’ve recommended. So, one is relevant in 2020, the other was relevant 20 years ago.
Anybody who has even loosely followed Megyn Kelly as a journalist and TV personality — and yes, she’s somewhat old news since going off the air on both Fox and her NBC Today Show — knows she had to speak up sooner or later about the movie.
Turns out she had some kind of private screening with alleged victims of Roger Ailes at FOX.
Kelly invited her husband, Doug Brunt, as well to watch the movie and give fresh, first reactions.
Brunt looks almost tranquilized in the few camera shots catching his expression. You can tell he feels badly for what happened to his wife.
It’s interesting to hear Brunt bring up one of my main criticisms of how Charlize Theron portrayed Megyn Kelly. The mannerisms and look are practically a dead ringer, but the voice is off. Check out this part of the video for Brunt’s comments at 3:33:
Physically it was there. I thought the voice was forced trying to get down deep and low.
Thanks for the vindication, Doug, because that was exactly the problem I couldn’t get over while watching it. There is more to a person than their looks, the way they speak is a very important part of their personality. Theron, as gifted and talented as she is, didn’t imitate Kelly’s voice.
Kelly goes on to detail several more liberties the movie took with the facts:
“They suggest that I had run my debate questions for Trump by the Murdochs. That’s a fantasy. I never ran it by Ailes or the Murdochs, or anyone other than my debate team,” Kelly said. “The notion that Roger liked the ‘Donald Trump woman question’ because it created controversy in a TV moment was not true. Roger did not like the question at all and was very angry at me for asking it. And at one point eventually asking me, ‘no more female empowerment stuff.’”
It’s puzzling why Jay Roach and his team didn’t do a better job staying true to the narrative, instead of spinning their own. I understand why some biographies sway from the truth, but in these cases it was unnecessary. There were plenty of dramatic, intense moments with the facts not to need creative license.
This wasn’t what Roach did with Sarah Palin in Game Change ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (as much, anyway) but for some reason he felt it was necessary here. I think this is one main reason the film didn’t do as well.
Another reason is it didn’t tell the story from Gretchen Carlson’s point of view as the primary character. That was the person who brought the charges first and was the most prominent in the actual case. Instead, Roach went for the more “popular” of the three, Megyn Kelly. Again, to the film’s detriment.
I’ll readily admit being fascinated by how much Charlize Theron looked like Megyn Kelly, but in the end that wasn’t enough to maintain my interest in the story.
Charlize Theron was Megny Kelly in the trailers for this movie, I believed it was Kelly starring in the movie.
Until Theron started talking. At that point the illusion was shattered.
Physical transformations have long been considered a surefire path to an Oscar — just ask Rami Malek and his Freddie Mercury teeth, Gary Oldman’s Churchill fat suit, or co-star Nicole Kidman’s (who plays Gretchen Carlson in Bombshell) Virginia Woolf nose. Theron herself is no stranger to the theory; in 2004, she won her first and only Oscar for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, a role that required her to gain 30 lbs, shave her eyebrows, and wear prosthetic teeth. It makes sense, then, that her Kelly transformation is earning Theron awards season buzz. She’s been nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award, and is predicted to score an Oscar nod for Best Actress when the nominees are announced on January 13.
Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly) vs. Renee Zellweger (Judy Garland), who was better?
Easy. Zellweger. She had the much harder performance. She didn’t just have a physical makeover complete with false teeth (your mouth is an important part of singing, because that’s where sound comes out – different teeth are an obstacle to overcome), she had to sing Judy freaking Garland songs. Live in front of the cast and crew in one continuous take. Without mistakes. Like that is some easy task — not.
Theron looks great as Kelly, but as I said in my review the Megyn Kelly voice cadence just isn’t there. Theron doesn’t have the right pauses and emphasis in inflection and intensity and again she only really looks like Megyn Kelly when she isn’t talking. That’s why the trailer with the elevator shot is so effective Theron’s imitation of Kelly isn’t speaking in that scene, she’s just standing there.
Academy awards shouldn’t go to statues, they need to go to actresses. Zellweger also had a weak script, but most reviewing the movie have praised Zellweger in spite of the source material. That says something. Sure, there have been critics of how much her singing sounded like Garland (it didn’t, really) but it was exceptional for someone who’s primary business is acting, not singing.
I’m not reading the same sort of praise for Theron. I wish Bombshell would have been more focused in its script, and actually I’d say Theron had better material to work with then Zellweger was given, the music aside.
Bottom line: I don’t see Theron winning any best actress awards for Bombshell, no more than Kathy Bates should be nominated for best supporting actress for Richard Jewell. Both performances were skilled, but not amazing.
Honestly, my vote for best actress from all the films I’ve seen in 2019 would either be Renee Zellweger (JUDY) or Scarlett Johannsen in Marriage Story. Still another week to go and some more movies with actresses, so have to wait and see how these movies fare. I don’t like how in late November, early December there are already a bunch of awards talk brewing and yet the year isn’t even over and moviegoers haven’t seen all the movies. So, feeling a bit premature typing this before 2020 rings in.
Reviews by Others
What do other moviegoers think of Bombshell?
Big Apple Reviews: “The picture as whole, though, is directed in a pedestrian way by Jay Roach, whose “Trumbo” was a devastating look at screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who in 1947 was blacklisted for his leftist political beliefs.”
Chocoviv: “Yay! It is definitely a movie that I recommend both young women and men to watch. Our young men need to learn that some jokes are not tolerated. Respect for others is important!”
Cinema Notes (Grade: B-): “A Lifetime flick were it not for the quality of the performances, Bombshell does not understand nuance.”
EYG / Embrace Your Geek (4/5): “While this story does not go as deep as it could have gone, Bombshell boasts some great performances and is worth the time to see.”
Festival Reviews: (3.5/5) “…a no-nonsense drama. It gets right to the crux the matter with little humour and with no side-stories. The film therefore turns out an uncomfortable and occasionally gut-wrenching watch”
FlixChatter (3.5/5): “…this film clearly portrays the way women have to navigate predators with power. It does a really good job of highlighting the grey areas of this morally complex issue. A person can be a mentor, a father figure, someone you respect and still act problematically. Each person ends up negotiating their limits and ultimately trying to do the right thing.”
For What It’s Worth: “…makes for a compelling fact-based narrative, but is it a bona fide testimonial or a skewed version of the truth?”
Griff’s Picks: “…fairly rejuvenates a familiar plot with alvanizing energy, sizzling with the potential to become the first major movie response to sexual assault since #MeToo became a household term — celebrating the kind of determination necessary to actually take a stand (something, I could see some finding exploitive).”
Jeff Huston (3/4): ” Ultimately, though, a certain cloud can’t help but hang over Bombshell, one that (in part) is no fault of it its own. Namely, that it is the second dramatization of Ailes’ downfall following the Showtime miniseries The Loudest Voice from this past summer.”
let the movie move us (5/5): ” one of those films that must be seen more than a few times to grasp it completely. Whether it’s the lines, performances, or its concept, everything about it matches its title. It’s smart, elegant, important and must be seen by everyone whether you’re a Fox News supporter or not.”
liamgaughan (Grade: B): “While it sometimes feels like a generalization of events and can lack the nuance when discussing the large scale impacts, there’s no bad intentions behind Bombshell, and I appreciate the perspective it provides.”
Matther Epperly Film Reviews (Grade: A-): ” Few movies carry with it a lesson this relevant and important, and Bombshell does a terrific job carrying that weight.”
Matthew Liedke on Film (3.5/5): “is a must see for the performances, the story and getting out to all the public exactly what brought the #METOO movement forward.”
Roger In Orlando: “It’s that kind of movie — on-the-nose, preachy, and when it’s being funny, not that subtle.”
Ry Guy’s Review: “Thankfully, Bombshell gives us a deeper look at power and politics without being hamfisted.”
Screen Zealots / Louisa (3.5/5): “It’s an uncomfortable but empowering movie to watch, but nearly an entire two hours are spent preaching loudly to the liberal choir.”
writergurlinny: “But, if this film has one flaw, it is that the slow burn is too slow. Anyone who watches the news knows how the movie ends. But it takes a little too much time for the filmmakers to get to that point.”
Not Recommended (or on the fence)
A Constant Visual Feast: “So, let’s not waste time: Bombshell is a disaster. No, let’s start over: It’s a calamity. No, hang on: It’s an insult to the very events it chronicles. Nailed it.”
Jack Blackwell (3/5): ” It’s a mixed bag of performances that suits what is very much a mixed bag of a film, derivative yet important, entertaining yet muddled. “
Keith & The Movies (2/5): “So we end up with a frustrating movie that certainly sees itself as empowering while at the same time giving the real women who fought this fight the surface-level treatment. Would a female writer/director team have served this story better? Possibly. Maybe they would have spent more time digging into the real story and more importantly exploring the women who made the story so important and worth telling.”
Michael Roffman: “…is at its best when it’s an amusing behind-the-scenes look at Fox News and how the entire operation is setup to enrage your parents. But the film’s at its worst when it’s trying to tell a story of empowering women via problematic real-life figures. The people who need to see it never will, and the people who will see it, will learn nothing new.”
RockAtTheMovies (6.5/10): ” At times it felt like the film was more interested in showing the real life correspondents being portrayed briefly, rather than going in depth into characterization. Not a bad film but feel like it wanted to be more and I also wanted more from it.”
Society Reviews (1/5): “…the people in charge of telling this story hate Fox News too much to put their own opinions aside and focus on the story at hand. “
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.
I looked more forward to watching this movie about Roger Ailes sexual harassment while head of Fox News than the new Star Wars. It didn’t resonate quite as hoped for, but was still vastly better than either of the other two wide releases because at least it was a coherent story.
Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly? She looked incredible with the prosthetic makeup, but her voice imitation was off. Most of the time she spoke it didn’t seem like Megyn Kelly to me who has a very familiar voice with emphasis and pause.
The movie itself kind of wandered as it tried to make a meaningful story of three women who faced harassment by Ailes: Megyn Kelly (Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who starts the complaint rolling when she’s fired and a fictional composite character named Kayla played by Margot Robbie.
Probably the standout character was the great John Lithgow, who was fattened up to look more like the late Roger Ailes and delivered his creepiness with disturbing subtlety.
It’s the only movie of the three screening wide that is recommended an d it is a soft recommendation.
I don’t even know where to start with my level of disappointment in this movie. A story that attempts to do so much and yet doesn’t slow down and breathe enough to do any of it dramatically. It’s the last freaking movie in nine parts spanning 40+ years and this is what moviegoers get? It’s not an absolute travesty like The Last Jedi⭐️½ , but it misses mark set by The Force Awakens ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was easily the worst movie of 2019 that I’ve seen. Barely any story, song after song after song with hardly any dialogue with mostly the same boring — in front of the building — set, terribly fake CGI, dancing on obvious wires and bizarre singing cat people with music that isn’t very good.
Should have known from the trailer that this was headed toward bad, but didn’t realize how far off the cliff of telling any kind of meaningful this would plummet.
I’m not surprised others are reviewing this poorly. Here’s an idea, don’t make movies out of poems. I can see how it might make an OK play though, because of the lack of need for much in the way of set changes, bizarre costumes and endless stream of music. This is one where if you like the music — and I do like different genres of music besides good rock and roll (this movie has zero rock and roll) — you might find something a little different here than me.
Then again you also have to enjoy a movie devoid of any logical story, characterization or plot. I’ve never seen a musical that played out like this, like 97% music, dancing and song and 3% dialogue and story. Maybe the story is played through the music, but if the viewer can’t get into the music enough to try and focus on the lyrics, then it’s game over.
Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?
Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good.
4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see. NOTE: of all 2019 movies seen in theaters (over 55 movies since August 12, 2019), there have been no 4.5 or 5 star movies rated. Zero. Just hasn’t been anything either of us felt was that amazing. Am hoping there will be at least one before the end of the year .. but time is running out.
If new movie Bombshell doesn’t seem like the type of movie you’re interested in, maybe something else above is still playing that you haven’t seen and want to try. Especially anything toward the top of the list. Ford v Ferrari has 98% fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes from audiences. That’s higher than any other “new” movie screening right now that has a decent number of audience reviews.
The Aeronauts ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ started streaming on Amazon Prime. That’s recommended too.
It’s the holiday season and who doesn’t love reading stories of human beings being, well, human? The kindness, warmth and generosity displayed by some very good people reminds us that the spirit of humanity will never die.
Grease is one of my wife’s favorite movies. She will love this story when I share it with her, so am sharing with others reading, too …
Sadly, singer and Grease actress Olivia Newton John has been diagnosed with breast cancer three times since 1992. Recently, she donated the jacket and her iconic black pants from Grease to an auction for her cancer center.
CNN you did a wonderful thing with this news story, especially this time of year, about a wealthy super fan who chose to remain anonymous, that purchased Olivia Newton John’s iconic black Grease jacket for nearly a quarter of a million dollars — and then returned it to her.
“This jacket belongs to you and the collective soul of those who love you, those for whom you are the soundtrack of their lives. It should not sit in a billionaire’s closet for country club bragging rights,” the anonymous buyer said in Los Angeles this weekend, in a video posted on Facebook by Julien’s Auctions. “For this reason I humbly and respectfully return it to its rightful owner, which is you.”
The second story is more humorous in nature, but still heart warming, reminding that TV and film awards, even a SAG nomination, mean a lot to actors and actresses for their hard work and dedication in films.
Enter Charlize Theron in a bathrobe jumping up and down on a bed and having an accidental, revealing moment:
The talented actress was surrounded by friends while jumping up and down on her bed when she got excited over the nomination and when she realized the bottom part of the blue robe she was wearing opened, the video blanked out with a beep. When it cut back to the clip, it showed the blonde beauty and her friends laughing hysterically as she covered herself and gushed to a cute dog about the nomination.
Wednesday is here and that means … new movies at the theater starting tomorrow!
Yes, more new movies coming to theaters this weekend (Thursday forward). Right now, at least in our area – and via Google search — only three of the five being released “wide” are actually showing as coming soon with presale tickets available.
Or Box Office Mojo is jacked up and these two movies are really “limited” release (which I think is what’s happening) for Uncut Gems and Bombshell, two movies I was most eagerly looking to see out of the five. Check this out (follow the yellow highlight in the screenshot):
If someone like me who actually follows movies and researches when they come out is confused, how is an average or “once in awhile” moviegoer going to sort this out. Come on, IMDBPro, you guys are being IMDB amateurs. Why would anybody pay for this information when you can’t get something basic right on the homepage of your website?
Stay with me. Because there is conflicting info on other major movie info sites.
I know, I know, it’s minor issue. They have tons of great data on the inside … for $20/month or whatever. It’s just annoying that I can’t figure out how and where these limited movies are playing so I can pay to go and see them. Customers should never have to jump through hoops like this. It’s no wonder fewer people are going to movie theaters these days. Some must just throw their hands up and wait for it to show up on streaming.
Rotten Tomatoes has a movie info section which shows Uncut Gems as opening on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019, 13 days from the “wide” date listed by Box Office Mojo by IMDBPro:
Same source, RT, showing Bombshell as “opening” on December 19, 2019:
See, now you can join me in confusion.
Am sure your zip code is different than what’s shown above, so maybe, just maybe you’ll find Bombshell or Uncut Gems showing somewhere near you. Since they aren’t showing in our area — at least as of this writing — we won’t be seeing them this coming weekend. Unfortunately, there won’t be a review and rating for either of these two movies until on/after the dates mentioned above.
So, let’s get the two movies we (probably) can’t see this weekend out of the way first:
My interest for this movie is pretty high. I’m bummed that I have to wait until Christmas Eve to see this and probably need to skip past numerous spoiler-laden reviews that will be coming between December 13 and December 24. Give me a big brick of cheese to go with my wine.
Charlize Theron looks so much like Megyn Kelly to me that almost for that reason alone I’m interested in seeing this film. I’m not sure how critics will receive the movie based on the underlying politics, but am hoping reviewers will rate the movie first and politics second. I certainly will, at least as much as I can from the source material. Just because I may not like what the FOX Network does or doesn’t do should not matter about whether or not the story this movie is telling is entertaining. I’ll have to wait until next week — December 19, or so I’m seeing at the moment — to be able to watch, review and rate this one. If you have it in your area, yes, I’m envious!
Anticipation: 8 / 10
Jumanji: The Next Level
Good to see the cast is back. Jack Black is almost always fun. I have preferred The Rock in more action roles than comedic ones typically but this blended comedy-action movie seems to fit his acting style.
Anticipation: 5 / 10
Directed by Clint Eastwood. A dramatic retelling of the 1996 Centenniel Park Olympic bombing hero turned suspect Richard Jewell. I have tried to steer away from learning much about this film because I saw a headline that spoiled an important part of the movie for me. I’d warn others who don’t want key plot points ruined to avoid seeking much coverage on this one. The trailers asks a pretty key question and a simple Google news review of stories about this movie spoils that. Sigh.
Anticipation: 7 / 10.
Reboot of the classic horror movie Black Christmas. Generally not a fan of horror reboots to date, but do enjoy Christmas themed horror movies, so a little mixed on what this one will bring. Trailer is just … OK.
Anticipation: 4 / 10
ANTICIPATION for Week of 12/12/19 MOVIES
How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 12-12-2019 movies? Those marked with asterisk are not available in our area this week, so will carryover in future weeks until available to watch in our area.
*Uncut Gems – 9/10
*Bombshell – 8/10
Richard Jewell – 7/10
Jumanji: The Next Level – 5/10
Black Christmas – 4/10
Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?
As noted at the start of this post, Uncut Gems is not available until 12/24 and Bombshell 12/19, the other three are confirmed wide screenings available in our area and the plan is to watch, review and rate all.
This list is sorted by most interested to least interested in seeing. Anticipation for a movie will change based on new information that comes out closer to the release date.
Uncut Gems (December 13) – FIRST LOOK -Adam Sandler in a thriller?!?! Sign me up!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ⭐️⭐️½ – PREVIEW – for me this is the end of an era that began in the 70s .Somewhat bittersweet, because I always believed George Lucas would tell this tell, not J.J. Abrams. I have to see this one, even though I haven’t been as excited about this series in a long time.
Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – PREVIEW – the story behind what brought down a FOX media mogul, Roger Ailes.
Godzilla vs. Kong (March 13) – FIRST LOOK – monster vs. monster, hope it’s old school!
Fantasy Island (February 14) – FIRST LOOK – the remake of a fun, sometimes dark TV show. Sad that the real Tattoo (Herve Villachez) and Mr. Roarke (Ricard Montalban) are gone, but if it is faithful to the material that inspired it, then yay! It has been confirmed there is no Tattoo in this movie. Would love to have seen Peter Dinklage take a shot at Tattoo. Sigh.
Bad Boys For Life (January 17) – Will Smith and Martin Lawrence doing the buddy cop thing again.
Doolittle (January 17) – FIRST LOOK– Robert Downey, Jr.
Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – February 7, 2020) – previews for this DC comic + the strength of Joker being something different has my curiosity piqued.
Sonic The Hedgehog (February 14, 2020) – FIRST LOOK – videogame movies have sucked for the most part historically
1917 (December 25) – FIRST LOOK – seeing what one continuous shot is like has attracted me to this war film.
There are more movies I’m looking forward to than the top 10 listed above and undoubtedly there will be surprise anticipated drop-in titles. This is what happened with my Fall 2019 anticipation list, which is why I continue to monitor new movies that are previewed and update.
Bombshell – or the movie that dramatizes what happened at Fox News with Roger Ailes sexual harassment – is opening limited in theaters on December 13 and wide on December 20. The following is what we do and don’t know about this movie as of this writing.
Charlize Theron looks hauntingly similar to Megyn Kelly.
No, really, the box art to the right doesn’t do her transformation into looking like Kelly justice.
Theron spoke about getting into the personality of Megyn Kelly in preparation for the movie:
“She’s tricky in the sense that there’s so much footage…there’s a lot you can see on Megyn Kelly, but it’s always in that lawyer-y and journalist format,” she said. “You kind of have to decipher what her emotional capacity is or how she would express her emotional experience because she doesn’t necessarily do it the way I naturally do it. It’s very, very different from how I function.”
Here is the real Megyn Kelly talking about the alleged sexual harassment (Roger Ailes denied) she endured:
Now watch the official Bombshell trailer. Whomever does Charlize Theron’s makeup, prosthetics, etc, should be considered for some kind of award. Wow.
Real sources were used.
The Bombshell producers talked to “about 20” former and current FOX employees about sexual harassment in the workplace.
In order to paint a vivid picture of the network’s culture, Bombshell’s makers spoke to about 20 people with a connection to Fox, including multiple women bound by confidentiality agreements, a task that sent the filmmakers into territory usually left to investigative journalists. “We have all taken an oath to protect our sources,” says Theron, who also produced Bombshell. “But we tried to communicate as much as we could with everybody. Yeah, I’ll just say that.”
Some of the women spoken to are identified in this blog post: Juliette Huddy and Rudi Bahktiar but not Julie Rogansky who said nobody spoke to her.
The great John Lithgow plays the late Roger Ailes. His transformation is less impressive than Ailes, but the fat suit and “man boobs” (lol!) has Ailes’ build correct anyway:
Lithgow said, “I was effortlessly in character as soon as I put all that stuff on. [Costume designer] Colleen Atwood, she was my co-conspirator. We spent hours and hours getting that big fat body right. If you look very closely, halfway through the shooting we decided that he really needed man boobs. We said, it depends on his mood, in some scenes he has man boobs and in some scenes he doesn’t.”
The real Gretchen Carlson who sued over the sexual harassment is frustrated that she can’t say much, due to an agreement reached in court. She received $20 million in her lawsuit and Ailes resigned.
This movie could be the 2019 poster child for the #MeToo movement and dive deep into a gritty story about sexual harassment in the workplace. I hope it delivers and doesn’t come up short. We’ll find out on December 13, 2019.