Beau Willimon

15 Feb 19

The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West […]

13 Feb 19
Not another script guru

Can You Ever Forgive Me? directed by Marielle Heller; starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant; adapted by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty Having a hard time making ends meet, a biographer starts forging letters from famous writers. Based on a true story, this very original film is a clever blend of fun concept and […]

12 Feb 19
David Winkle Reviews

And now for something only moderately different. I’ve spent the last few days catching up on a few films. As I haven’t had the time to give them full reviews, these are instead going to be done at a compressed length. The Lego Movie 2: Second Part The Lego Movie ended with the city being […]

11 Feb 19
No one wants their favorite series to get canceled, but in the age of revivals, reboots, and a general glut of opportunity for TV shows, cancellations hurt all the more. At Monday morning’s Hulu TCA panel, Senior VP of Originals Craig Erwich tried to explain what factors determine when the streaming giant cuts ties with its original programs — all without giving away any ratings numbers. “The metric that we’re really focused on is the total engagement of each of our viewers,” Erwich said. “We’re not just looking at, ‘Are they watching this show or that show?’, but […] ‘How often are they coming to our platform?'” To that end, he was pressed on why Hulu canceled Beau Willimon’s drama series “The First” and Sarah Silverman’s talk show “I Love You, America.” [pmc-related-link href=”” type=”Read More:” target=”_blank”]‘First Man’ and ‘The First’: Why Two Stellar Space Stories Crashed and Burned[/pmc-related-link] “We’re really proud of ‘The First’ and proud of Sean Penn’s performance in it,” Erwich said. “[But] going to Mars is a difficult endeavor. […] What Beau Willimon set out to do was really ambitious [and] hadn’t really been done before.” Erwich noted what a number of critics did as well: The series’ first season was about the first manned mission to Mars, but the narrative never actually extended to the Red Planet itself. Erwich said Willimon’s story was character-focused, “without focusing on the adventure itself.” He also said, “The show certainly took a while to reveal itself, which was a challenge.” “The audience just didn’t materialize for it,” he added. Later, Erwich was pressed on what specific factors went into the decision to cancel the eight-episode, hourlong drama — were subscribers starting the series without finishing it? Were they not watching at all? What metric was the deciding factor to end the show, as an example of what matters most for all Hulu originals? “In a way it’s a lot of those different things,” he said. “We don’t have one metric or one number. […] But really it was all of those things that went into our decision.” Still, Erwich cited similar reasons for canceling Sarah Silverman’s “I Love You America.” “I’m very proud of what Sarah Silverman did,” Erwich said. “I thought the show grew creatively from Season 1 to Season 2. […] [But] it didn’t garner a large enough audience to go forward.” [pmc-related-link href=”” type=”Read More:” target=”_blank”]Sarah Silverman on Staying Happy with ‘F—ing Colossal, Giant, Dangerous Baby’ Donald Trump as President[/pmc-related-link] Erwich also said Hulu is “looking for shows that reflect the culture and become a part of the conversation,” citing last week’s debut of “PEN15” as a show that’s done just that. Notably, “I Love You America” succeeded in one area “The First” did not (yet). It earned awards attention, snagging an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and a WGA Award nomination, as well. “The First” will still qualify for this year’s Emmys, but it failed to earn any year-end awards, be it from the Golden Globes or any of the guilds. So how important are awards when it comes to renewing Hulu originals? “Our nominations important? Certainly,” Erwich said. “I do think the nominations and awards help an audience curate [at a time] when the audience is [overwhelmed] with the sheer number of choices.” The Emmys were a hot topic Monday morning, given the network’s announcement that “The Handmaid’s Tale” will not be airing in time to be eligible for this year’s awards. Erwich said this decision was purely creative, noting how “maintaining the quality of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ takes time,” and Hulu wanted to give the producers enough space to make the best season possible. He said the decision had nothing to do with competing against the final season of “Game of Thrones” — the same series that beat “Handmaid’s” at last year’s Emmys. “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 3 will premiere Wednesday, June 5. For more of Hulu’s recent announcements, check out IndieWire’s individual stories.
11 Feb 19

Hulu SVP Originals Craig Erwich today at TCA addressed the reasons behind the streamer’s decision to cancel its Sarah Silverman talk show I Love You, America and mission-to-Mars drama The First, created by House of Cards‘ Beau Willimon and starring Oscar winner Sean Penn. I Love You, America‘s cancellation came after the show had been nominated […]

11 Feb 19
Movies directed by women

first feature A woman can’t reign as a woman (the loving, child-bearing Mary), but it becomes possible when she pretends to be a man (the childless, conspiring Elisabeth) Good leads but weak supporting personages Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, Guy Pearce, Gemma Chan, Ian Hart, Maria Dragus, James McArdle […]

11 Feb 19
Samuel Green

  ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ dir. by Josie Rourke, screenplay by Beau Willimon Perhaps plagued by expectation, Mary Queens of Scots is somewhat enjoyable but for the most part struggles to conjure interest. This contemporary interpretation of a well known story too often finds itself becoming a dull affair. Mary Queen of Scots follows its eponymous character during the rising […]

09 Feb 19
If you’re disappointed that “A Star Is Born” hasn’t been the awards-season juggernaut that many expected, you’re not alone. Sean Penn has written a defense of the film in general and Bradley Cooper in particular, following the first-time filmmaker’s admission earlier this week that he “felt embarrassed” when he did not receive a Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards. (Cooper was nominated for Best Picture, Actor, and Adapted Screenplay, however.) In his piece, Penn argues that Cooper having the appearance of success is actually working against him — that, because he’s “made the most successful contemporary love story of all time” and will continue to do great things, Academy voters are overlooking him. [pmc-related-link href=”” type=”Read More:” target=”_blank”]Bradley Cooper Gets Brutally Honest About Best Director Oscar Snub: ‘I Felt Embarrassed’[/pmc-related-link] “It has been so long since we have been able to equate a success or a love story with high art or artists that we may well have forgotten how. And now, with ‘A Star is Born’s’ eight nominations for Academy Awards, the problem is likely to be exposed,” Penn — himself a two-time Oscar winner — writes. “‘Bradley is a star.’ ‘He’s young… he’ll have plenty of opportunities.’ If this, as I suspect, explains outcomes in other awards voting, voters will have certainly missed the point. This isn’t Bradley Cooper’s opportunity, it’s theirs to appreciate the depth and value of this film before its legacy outlasts their chance to participate in it.” “A Star Is Born” is up for eight Oscars and won one of the five Golden Globes for which it was nominated. After being considered the frontrunner by many prognosticators as early as last August, however, its awards-season performance has been considered disappointing by some. With major precursor awards going to “Roma,” “Green Book,” and actors Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), the musical drama’s chances of winning any major prizes now look slim. [pmc-related-link href=”” type=”Read More:” target=”_blank”]Hulu’s ‘The First’ Stars Sean Penn, But Beau Willimon’s Drama Is Far From a One-Man Show[/pmc-related-link] “In the end, the apples and oranges of film competition, and the inequity of advertising budgets has always left the Academy Awards with some inevitable aftertaste of the alcohol most of us have to drink to get through them,” Penn continues. “To spare myself potential disappointment, I’m raising a glass in advance to Bradley Cooper and ‘A Star is Born.’ Surely a raised glass is as legitimate as a globe of gilded gold or a male statuette minus a penis (also gold gilded). God forbid it have balls this year!” Read Penn’s full piece here.
08 Feb 19
Columbia County Current

The Crandell Theatre Continues to bring movie-fans an increasing roster of diverse offerings. This weekend, there are two matinees with Amores Perros playing on Saturday, and Mary Queen of Scots on Sunday. The feature for the week is The Favourite. 

07 Feb 19

Should you murder me, remember you murder your sister… and you murder your queen!  Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Catholic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne with the aim of also taking the English throne which is her […]

06 Feb 19
The Film Blog

‘Your beauty, your bravery. Now I see there’s no cause for envy. Your gifts will be your downfall.’

05 Feb 19
Nick Lacey on films

I know a lot more about Queen Elizabeth I than Mary so I’m not sure how much of what we see in the film is ‘historical truth’ as against ‘dramatic truth’. It’s based on John Guy’s award winning book and this adaptation has a distinct modern focus on gender politics. No doubt gender was an […]

05 Feb 19
The Book Was Better.....

Directed by Josie Rourke Written by Beau Willimon Starring Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie Dave says: I thoroughly enjoyed this film, based on events in the 16th century that most of us will be able to dredge from our memories of school history lessons. The pacing is wonderfully done, intertwining the intrigue and politics of the […]

04 Feb 19
Shoshana Watches A Lot Of Things

Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Directed by: Josie Rourke Screenplay by: Beau Willimon Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, Guy Pearce   I’ve been so excited to see Mary, Queen of Scots since it was first announced — a period drama with both Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie?? That’s pretty […]