Actress Kerry Washington made a conscious decision to become a fashionista after realising she could boost her Hollywood career by stepping out in the latest styles. The Django Unchained star admits she was once clueless about clothes and couture, so she turned to the help of a stylist in order to look her best on the red carpet - and bag more film roles.
She tells America's Glamour magazine, "It started out as, like, Good-Student Kerry. OK, I'm going to admit this: There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand career wise-because they knew how to work that red carpet. I was like, 'I'm missing a really important tool. If I am the CEO of the Kerry Washington Corporation, my marketing department is really lax.' So I sort of developed a new character: Red-Carpet Kerry.
"And I researched her like any other character. I actually called (actress) Tracee Ellis Ross, who's a good friend, and literally asked, 'How do you pronounce (French retailer) Hermes?' Red-Carpet Kerry needed to know."
Washington's hard work paid off - she landed the top spot on Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List in July (13).
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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"It's very rare to have a black female role who gets to do stuff, who's not the sassy desk sergeant, or the sassy best friend, or the wise, sage, Confucius-like asexual character delivering sage advice at key points in the script, so to have the opportunity to even audition for a role like that was awesome... Kerry does such an amazing job. She set the standard so high." Actress Gabrielle Union on missing out on the lead in hit TV drama Scandal to Kerry Washington.
With each outing in his evolving filmmaking career actor-turned-director Ben Affleck has amped up the scope. Gone Baby Gone was a character drama woven into a hard-boiled mystery. The Town saw Affleck dabble in action pulling off bank heists many compared to the expertise of Heat. In Argo the director pulls off his most daring effort melding one part caper comedy and two parts edge-of-your-seat political thriller into an exhilarating theatrical experience.
At the height of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 anti-Shah militants stormed the U.S. embassy and captured 52 American hostages. Six managed to escape the raid finding refuge in the Canadian ambassador's home. Within hours the militants began a search for the missing Americans sifting through shredded paperwork for even the smallest bit of evidence. Under pressure by the ticking clock the CIA worked quickly to formulate a plan to covertly rescue the six embassy workers. Despite a lengthy list of possibilities only Tony Mendez (Affleck) had a plan just enticing enough to unsuspecting Iranian officials to work: the CIA would fake a Hollywood movie shoot.
There's nothing in Argo or Affleck's portrayal of Mendez that would tell you the technical operations officer has the imagination to conjure his master plan — Affleck perhaps to differentiate himself from the past plays his character with so much restraint he looks dead in the eyes — but when the Hollywood hijinks swing into full motion so does Argo. Mendez hooks up with Planet of the Apes makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to convince all of Hollywood that their sci-fi blockbuster "Argo " is readying for production. With enough promotional material concept art and press coverage Mendez and his team can convince the Iranian government they're a legit operation. A location scout in Tehran will be their method of extracting the bunkered down escapees.
Without an interesting lead to draw us in Affleck lets his eclectic ensemble do the heavy lifting. For the most part it works. Argo is basically two movies — Goodman and Arkin lead the Ocean's 11-esque half and Affleck takes the reigns when its time to get the six — another who's who of character actors including Tate Donovan Clea Duvall Scoot McNairy and Rory Cochrane — through the terrifying security of the Iranian airport. Arkin steals the show as a fast talking Hollywood type complete with year-winning catchphrase ("ArGo f**k yourself!) while McNairy adds a little more humanity to the spy mission when his character butts heads with Mendez. The split lessens the impact of each section but the tension in the escape is so high so taut that there's never a moment to check out.
Reality is on Affleck's side his camera floating through crowds of protestors and the streets of Tehran — a warscape where anything can happen. Each angle he chooses heightens the terror which starts to close in on the covert escape as they drift further and further from their homebase. Argo is a complete package with the '70s production design knowing when to play goofy (the fake movie's wild sci-fi designs) and when to remind us that problems took eight more steps to fix then they do today. Alexandre Desplat's score finds balance in haunting melodies and energetic pulses.
Part of Argo's charm is just how unreal the entire operation really was. To see the men and women involved go through with a plan they know could result in death. It's a suspenseful adventure and while there's not much in the way of character to cling to the visceral experience tends to be enough.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Anytime a show gets picked up for Season 2 after only six episodes, it’s obvious they’re doing something right. ABC’s Scandal has been a short, yet wild ride: A lyin’, cheatin’ President, murder at the White House, and prostitution add up to a hit show for the graceful, yet strong Kerry Washington, who plays big-shot fixer Olivia Pope. Hollywood.com caught up with Washington to chat about the upcoming Season 1 finale "Grant: For the People." The 35-year-old New Yorker said the cast has been chomping at the bit every week for the next shocking script, and the finale was no different. With the President’s infidelity on the brink of exposure and the unsolved murder of a White House intern, Scandal's finale is poised to knock our sensible shoes off. Washington dished on the outrageous episode – one she claims will have everyone begging for more.
The finale rumors include the highly-anticipated face-to-face confrontation between First Lady Mellie Grant and Olivia – something every Scandal fan has been begging for since the show premiered. Washington says she is floored by her adversary calling out Bellamy Young (who plays the First Lady) and Matt Letscher (who plays Billy Chambers) claiming they’ll both “blow you away” in the finale. Then again, we knew Young’s turn will be fantastic – who doesn’t love an old-fashioned cat fight over clandestine romance?
Quinn’s Other Identity
The teaser clip (below) not only shows Quinn (Katie Lowes) covered in blood after her reporter beau Gideon who Billy Chambers stabbed with a pair of scissors (vicious). At the very end of the trailer, Olivia tells Quinn not to call the cops because they’ll “find out who you really are.” Okay, we’re listening… Washington is kind of enough to add to the suspense. “It’s not really that simple. Like most things on Scandal, it’s a little more complicated,” she says. “But obviously this has been a relationship from the beginning that has been a little bit problematic. So, her ties to him continue to be a source of complication for the office.” Who could she be? Someone in witness protection program? The President’s illegitimate love child? Optimus Prime?
That Silly Billy
Billy Chambers, you’ve just stabbed a man with scissors. What are you going to do next? Well, he’s certainly not going to Disneyland. “He’s suddenly standing in front of the press, sort of stating his own version of the story, so it’s very exciting,” says Washington.
Billy resigns as the VP’s Chief of Staff and claims he’s telling the world the truth about his ‘love’ affair with Amanda Tanner – who he just had killed, no biggie. He proactively admits Amanda was pregnant with his baby, but that the president was taking advantage of her and using his power to sexually abuse her. But that’s not even the best part. He says the audio sex tape is of Amanda and President Fitz. Busted! Sort of. (Fans of the show know that voice is actually Olivia.) Might Olivia have to tell all in order to save the President?
A Major Reveal, and a Painful Scandal-less Summer
“At the end of this week’s episode, they’ll be a major reveal that will be really exciting,” adds Washington. “There will be an answer that people have really been looking for. It’s very fulfilling. When I read it, I was like, ‘Oh, wow ... good ... great!’ It’s a nice closure. But then there’s another cliffhanger that will make everyone scream at their TVs.” Of course there is. With shows like this, there’s always a catch!
Now, Olivia and the President have had a rocky road to travel, but it’s not devoid of love. Washington says she hasn’t fully decided where she wants that forbidden relationship to go. “I don’t know,” she laughs. “I don’t really have a dream scenario for them.” And to that we offer the wise words of Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber: “So, you’re saying there’s a chance!”
From Washington to Tarantino Territory
Washington not only has a hit show on ABC, but she is currently playing the female lead in surefire blockbuster Django Unchained, the long-awaited film from Quentin Tarantino and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. She added that because of the movie, she was the last to know that Scandal was renewed for Season 2.
“Tarantino doesn’t allow phones on set,” says Washington. “I was working, so literally it was all over the media. The whole cast and crew knew, and the producers of the movie were [hinting] like you should go back to your trailer and check your phone.”
But it seems she’ll recover. “Today I go to work with Sam Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jamie Foxx! All of us being guided by Quentin Tarantino. It’s a really profound experience,” she says. Yeah, she’ll be alright.
The season finale of Scandal airs 10 PM (ET/PT) MAY 17 on ABC.
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[Image Credit: ABC]
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The Incredibles had nothing on the hip snappy neurotic FF depicted in over 100 issues of co-creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original wildly inventive ‘60s era comic books. Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) is still an absent-minded genius who mildly neglects his loved ones but with more of a mild Tim Allen sitcom dad-type quirkiness; the Invisible Girl (Jessica Alba) is still the team’s mother hen but frets less over her man’s workaholic tendancies; the Human Torch (Chris Evans) is still a flaming id but he’s trying to ease out of his arrested adolescence; and The Thing (Michael Chiklis) is far less tortured over his freakish rocky form now that he’s got a steady date in the blind Alicia Masters (Kerry Washington). And yes someone does wonder aloud exactly how the Thing gets his freak on. A few soft sex jokes aside this ride is aimed far more squarely for a younger audience as well as those moviegoers who long for the glory days of the f/x-filled disaster films of the late ‘90s when any recognizable tourist landmark depicted is sure to be blown to bits. The threat on this go-round is Galactus a cosmic planet-eating menace who has sent his herald the sleek Silver Surfer (a CGI creation given movement by Doug Jones of Hellboy and voiced by Laurence Fishburne). The Silver Surfer wreaks havoc on places like London and Japan before the Four takes him on playfully squabbling along the way like the cosmic-powered leads of a new Vacation film. The leads are more comfortable and try to notch up the comedic possibilities: Evans’ brash Vince Vaughn-ish portrayal of the Torch was a highlight of the first film but feels far more forced this time around; the great but ultimately handicapped Chiklis does what he can through latex and a silly gravel voice but isn’t given much to do; Alba continues to gradually grow as an actress but this film accomplishes the seemingly impossible by making her look as unattractive as she’s ever likely to appear with bad apparently irritating blue contacts a distracting fake blonde wig and a makeup job that makes her look more like a plastic action figure than a real superhero; but Gruffudd comes through with more distracted charm than in his first turn. Poor Julian McMahon an actor with an avowed fondness for the comic book source material is again miscast as Dr. Doom. He has even less to work with this time around in a part that should ideally be part-ham part-Hitler and part-Eurotrash coming of instead a snarky playboy in armor. The most interesting acting save for a tasty cameo performance by Stan Lee himself comes from the CGI Surfer but despite his silvery sheen and clear intention to be spun off into his own film franchise is still a colorless personality character-wise. Aided and abetted by generally great-looking special effects from New Zealand’s Weta Workshop writer-director Tim Story moves past some of the awkward meet-and-greet of the first film but this time he’s dropped much of the intended pathos. Story’s visual style is far more polished and appealing this time around but the helmer still lacks the fully-fledged senses of the cosmic the cinematic the mind-blowing the genuinely human and the downright funny to fully convey the true head trippy-ness that defined the original comic book and launched a whole Marvel Universe of superheroes with flawed but lovable personalities. Even with all of the characters’ origins out of the storytelling way Story can’t quite equal Bryan Singer’s X-Men trick or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man successes to radically outdo the original. Still there’s plenty of eye-candy – from the end-of-the-world f/x to Alba and Evans in spandex – and the proceedings are mercifully fast-paced making for a mildly enthralling day at the multiplex for the whole family.