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Weekend Movie: 'The Maze Runner'

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No, Dylan, the Maze is not a metaphor for navigating your sudden stardom.  

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

The last thing anyone will ever enjoy about THE MAZE RUNNER, should they be so lucky as to enjoy it, is a review describing the finer points of its narrative. Let if suffice to say that Stiles from Teen Wolf wakes up in a large glade surrounded by a huge stone maze. The only inhabitants of this sealed environment are a group of similarly aged boys, none of whom are frequently shirtless werewolves, dammit.

Why are they there?

Who put them there?

Can they ever escape?

What’s different about Dylan O’Brien besides the largest paycheck?

Will there be a sequel?

The movie shall answer all of these questions in 113 minutes! And many more. In fact The Maze Runner so loves to ask and answer questions, that it does so in literally every scene rivalling Inception in sheer expository percentages of dialogue uttered.

Since the movie loves to answer questions, TEN QUESTIONS AFTER THE JUMP...

Entermaze

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Gay Films, Star Power, and Oscar Buzz: a Report from the Toronto International Film Festival

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Eddie Redmayne got a huge thumbs up in Toronto. Oscar-bound?

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Hello all. Just back from Canada from the Toronto International Film Festival, aka the best film festival in the world, which wrapped up on Sunday. My fellow Oscar bloggers like to shill for Telluride these days but I’m convinced it’s simply Stockholm Syndrome since Telluride actually makes the press pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a pass for the privilege of giving them free publicity. In Toronto, if you’re lucky enough to write about the movies for a living, you get your press pass for free and your only expense, other than travel and lodging (which can add up) is your time. But what person who loves movies, wouldn’t want to spend that gorging on selections from all over the world, the best of Cannes and Sundance and a ton of new ones, some of them courting Oscar gold, too.

I was so giddy all week that even when I failed to spot Reese Witherspoon at her own party for WILD (she’s short, y’all and thus hides easily in a crowd even in a sparkly dress) I remained elated to chat with Laura Dern (one of the greats who needs big roles again!) and wonder what possessed Chris Evans to what looked like gloriously form-fitting white longjohn shirt to a party where everyone else was in suits. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying. I was so thrilled that even the sight of Eddie Redmayne’s back in his daring aquamarine suit and Andrew Garfield’s giant beard at THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING party was as good as actually talking to them, but I made do with talking to Oscar-buzzing Felicity Jones who, like Redmayne, gives her best screen performance yet in that new Stephen Hawking biopic.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP..

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John Travolta On Alleged Former Gay Lover: 'It's Just About People Wanting Money' - VIDEO

Travolta

In an interview with The Daily Beast, John Travolta has addressed allegations by a male former employee that they had a six year affair.

In July, a California appeals court judge ruled Travolta can no longer stop Douglas Gotterba from telling his side of the story. Gotterba claims that his working relationship with the actor became more personal when he was employed by Travolta’s aircraft company Alto in the 1980s.

While discussing Travolta’s latest movie The Forger, interviewer Marlo Stern asks the actor about the allegations.  Travolta replies:

“This is every celebrity’s Achilles heel. It’s just about people wanting money. That’s all. It happens on many levels.

Also, I don’t care that much about it. Other people may attack it back more than I do, but I let all the media stuff go a long time ago because I can’t control it. I think that’s why it persists, to some degree.

I found [the allegations] most offensive with the loss of my son. I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt. Sex stuff is always going to be interesting to somebody, but you stay away from family. You really should. With that, I always felt like the media—not all of the media, but parts of it—went too low there.”

Watch an interview with Travolta at a premiere for The Forger, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'The Imitation Game' Wins Audience Award At Toronto Film Festival: VIDEO

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The Imitation Game, the upcoming film about gay codebreaker Alan Turing which you've seen us cover here, here and here, picked up a big win at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) over the weekend. The movie, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, was honored with the festival's coveted People's Choice Award. 

From TIFF's press release:

TuringThis year’s award goes to [director] Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Grolsch.

The Hollywood Reporter explains what this win could mean for the film come movie awards season:

Indeed, TIFF's audience award has been one of the better harbingers of Oscar success over the 36 years in which it has been presented, with almost every one of its honorees going on to garner some measure of Academy recognition.

Look for The Imitation Game to be released in US theaters on November 21, 2014.

Watch a Hollywood Reporter interview conducted at the festival with Cumberbatch and his co-stars, wherein the star describes Turing as "an incredible hero, the father of the computer age" and "a gay icon," AFTER THE JUMP.

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A History of Hollywood's Sex-Obsessed Censorship in Film: VIDEO

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If you've ever wondered why you can blow someone's head off on-screen, but you can't blow someone's "head" off on-screen, this Cinefix video does a great job outlining the early history of censorship in the U.S. mainstream film industry and how we arbitrarily put sex above violence on the "adult-content" list. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Legion

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UCLA Study Reveals Hollywood May Not Be So LGBT-Friendly After All

Lgbt-hollywood

The film industry specializes in illusion: actors can play anywhere along a gay spectrum and full storylines are effectively created for gender non-conforming, bisexual, or transgender persons, even if American "culture" is not reflective of the willingness necessary to accept those representations. The "liberal Hollywood" archetype may be revealed as just an illusion, however, thanks to a new study out of UCLA's Williams Institute. 

In a survey of 5,700 SAG-AFTRA members, over half the lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents reported hearing anti-gay comments from the crew. 53% "believed that directors and producers are biased against LGBT performers." These are surprising statistics when one considers the rapidity with which actors and actresses have been coming out in recent years, egged on by increasing levels of awareness and equal rights throughout the country. 

Deadline reports:

“We found that LGBT performers may have substantial barriers to overcome in their search for jobs,” said the authors of the study, M. V. Lee Badgett, a Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, and Jody L. Herman, manager of Transgender Research at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law...

According to the study, “gay men were the most likely to re­port they have experienced some form of discrimination, with one in five reporting an experience. Bisexual actors were about half as likely to report discrimination as gay or lesbian actors. Gender nonconforming gay and bisexual men were more likely to experi­ence discrimination, as were men who were out professionally...”

The study also found that LGBT performers are less likely than heterosexual performers to have agents, “which may put LGBT performers at a disadvantage when looking for work.

Still, 72% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents reported that coming out had had no ill effect on their career, and they recommended that other LGBT actors follow suit. The damning first-person accounts included in the study (gay actors being recast, fired, or told they "aren't right" for a role) would seem to suggest otherwise, but SAG-AFTRA is confident that the study will make an impact.

“Although our industry is heading in the right direction, there is clearly work left to do as certain attitudes and behaviors persist and continue to put pressure on actors to stay in the closet,” wrote Traci Godfrey and Jason Stuart, national co-chairs of the SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee. “We are confident that this unprecedented study will have profound ramifications for the entertainment industry as a whole. By utilizing the data it contains as it reflects the realities performers face, we can identify the obstacles to equal employment opportunities and full inclusion.”

Image via Deadline.


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