12 Years A Slave Posters Feature Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender; Lionsgate Will Recall

Posters for 12 Years A Slave featuring large portraits of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender with a small figure of  the film’s star Chiwetel Ejiofor are unauthorized, says the film’s studio Lionsgate; their Summit label is handling the film overseas.  A Lionsgate spokesperson told Variety:

The ’12 Years a Slave’ theatrical posters featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender that were recently released in Italy were unauthorized and were not approved by any of the producers or licensors of the film. Summit Entertainment, acting as exclusive sales agent for the licensors, is investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled.

Brad Pitt, who produced the film, plays a Canadian abolitionist who appears in last 20 minutes and speaks out against slavery. Fassbender is the sadistic slave owner. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of  freeborn violinist Solomon Northrop, whose autobiography is the basis of the film,  has received rave reviews. In the U.S. and elsewhere,  Ejiofor is the central figure in the film’s marketing materials.

The Italian posters have pretty much rightfully upset a large portion of the interwebs, and props to Carefree Black Girl for really getting the word out.

I was at the movies the other day ( I live in Italy) and I saw the poster for 12 Years A Slave. I’ve been following the press for months and I can’t wait to watch it but REALLY?  I don’t remember Brad Pitt being the protagonist of the film or having such a pivotal role in the story to stay in the middle of the poster…

I sure don’t know anything about marketing strategy to appeal audiences but isn’t this going to far?

Pitt previously said of his taking the role of the kind Canadian who helps Northrup gain his freedom:

It helped get the thing done. I sit in a very fortunate position where I can help push things over the edge with difficult stories, and this was one of those instances. So it’s merely for that, not so much that I was certainly needed performance-wise.

Italian marketing company Fanatical About Cinema and Italian distributor BIM clearly have taken Pitt’s part too far. Fassbender, who has received a Golden Globe nomination for his role, is given the same treatment in posters with a portrait image. The film’s Italian trailer make it clear that the story is about Ejiofor’s character, so the decision to deceive moviegoers through the posters is troubling one.

Fanatical About Cinema has already removed the posters from their Flickr account, but there are images online.

“No Fracking Way” Aussie Rock Anthem

No fracking way! Pop star Leo Sayer scored a huge hit many decades ago with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and maintained a steady presence touring and recording. He became an Australian citizen in 2009. Outraged over the way fracking for gas is destroying the nation’s land, water, farming and wildlife, Sayer joined with Aussie pop stars and recorded the anthemic “No Fracking Way” to support the environmental group Lock the Gate. The Newcastle Herald reports Sayer saying:

This is a song I wrote and recorded this year to support the organisation Lock The Gate, who work in opposition to the practice of coal seam gas mining, or fracking as it has come to be known. I don’t know if you have heard about this, but the damage it’s causing to the landscape, environment, wildlife, livestock, flora, and fauna, and indeed humans, is highly evident here in Australia and all around the world. So I’ve joined with a bunch of like-minded fellow Aussies here who are determined to stop this.


While the faces of Australian’s biggest music stars may not be familiar to us in the U.S., the sentiment of the song (and catchy melody) are ones the anti-fracking forces around the globe can relate to.

 

 

 

Here’s Sayer’s big hit, later used in the movie Charlie’s Angels:

 

God’s Not Dead? Maybe He’s Just Not Feeling Well

Is God dead? The very existence of this movie proves that God, while not yet dead, is at least coming down with a really bad case of the flu.

God’s Not Dead gives top billing to a cameo appearance by Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson (the one with the business degree), who appears as himself with his wife Korie, playing herself.  Hold onto your willing suspension of disbelief: Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo stars as a Shakespeare-quoting philosophy professor who demands all his students write the phrase

God is dead

as part of their first day of class exercises. One student refuses because he’s a Christian. Our hero Josh Wheaton is then challenged by Professor Radisson to

prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals.

Humility ensues.

(The names are important: Joshua= Jeshua=Jesus; Wheaton, bringing in the sheaves; Radisson=radical. Josh’s parents are named Ward and June in the cast list).

Based on both a book of essays, God’s Not Dead: Evidence of God in an Age of Uncertainty by evangelical author Rice Brooks and the catchy song “God’s Not Dead” by the Christian rock band The Newsboys who appear in the movie, God’s Not Dead is produced by one of the film’s stars, David R.A. White who stars as Pastor Dave (again with the names!). White has appeared in over twenty Christian-themed films, including Revelation Road 1 and 2, Holyman Undercover, Redeemed, and Jerusalem Countdown.

God’s Not Dead, which hits high points of evangelical rhetoric (liberal colleges, brave youth, standing up to faith even at gun point), opens on March 31, the spring equinox, a major pagan holiday. Interesting….

And okay, what is with former teen idols going all Jesus Movie of the Week? Kirk Cameron is full on repressive fundamentalist. Dean Cain has appeared in several Christian-themed movies. Kevin Sorbo

decided to take his faith with him while working in Hollywood

and has of late only appeared in Christian movies (Soul Surfer, What If…).  Michael York jumped to Jesus and hasn’t had a good role since.  One Tree Hill hottie Chad Michael Murray starred in the reboot of Left Behind (weirdly he played Michael York’s younger brother in Megiddo: Omega Code 2). I liked it better when stars past their prime finished off their shelf life in horror movies.

Bob Newhart Cancels Appearance at Anti-Gay Legatus Summit

Comedian Bob Newhart has canceled his headlining stand-up appearance at Legatus Summit, a virulently anti-gay Catholic organization. So happy! Wednesday Newhart tweeted:

Upcoming Bob Newhart Tour Date Change — Bob will not be performing at the Legatus Summit in Orlando FL on February 6th, 2014

A number of bloggers and activists expressed their shock that Newhart–who won his first Emmy  this year playing opposite openly gay Jim Parsons on Big Bang Theory–would headline the Legatus Summit which will also showcase Rick Santorum and the Catholic League’s William Donohue. It’s pretty clear where the ever-frothy Rick Santorum and Donohue stand on LGBT issues–and Legatus? Writing for GLAAD, Jeremey Hooper said:

Legatus pushes the idea that homosexuality itself is a “disorder” from which one must be “cured.”

Thank you, Bob Newhart for realizing some groups (even religious ones) have darker agendas and want to use celebrities to further bigotry, discrimination and hate. And thank you for looking and listening to your fans, gay and straight, who believe in you!

(more…)

Duck Dynasty: “Vile Remarks” Phil Robertson Suspended by A&E

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of  A&E’s hit series Duck Dynasty, has been placed on indefinite hiatus following an interview with GQ Magazine in which he said that homosexuality led to bestiality and sleeping around with women. The elder Robertson is often portrayed on the series as being out of touch with modern culture. He frets that the members of his family, which owns Duck Commander, a company that manufactures hand-tuned duck calls, are all becoming yuppies because of the company’s success; and he proudly states he doesn’t own or use a computer.

What Phil does own is that he thinks being gay is a sin, then quoting Corinthians before overhsaring about his feelings on how body parts might feel:

It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical…

Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

Robertson’s remarks sparked outrage in the LGBT and ally communities. GLAAD issued a statement calling the bearded grandpa’s comments:

some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication” and said “his quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”

Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.

Humans Rights Campaign stated:

Phil Robertson’s remarks are not consistent with the values of our faith communities or the scientific findings of leading medical organizations. We know that being gay is not a choice someone makes, and that to suggest otherwise can be incredibly harmful. We also know that Americans of faith follow the Golden Rule — treating others with the respect and dignity you’d wish to be treated with. As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans — not shame and ridicule them because of who they are. The A+E Network should take immediate action to condemn Phil Robertson’s remarks and make clear they don’t support his views.

Phil Robertson’s comments were also not consistent with the views of Chris Morelli and Tad Eaton, the openly gay stars of  A&E’s Storage Wars New York, who told TMZ:

[man ass] is tighter…You can’t go through life worrying what other people think. That’s their values and that’s what they think … as long as they’re not nasty to people … We’re not offended at all. We like Phil. We like the show. We like the fact that they are very godly. When we watch the show and see them say grace, we feel the same way.

Fans of Duck Dynasty–the series regularly draws 9 million viewers and has spawned a $400 million retail empire of licensed goods, which along with advertising revenues could have been impacted by an LGBT-launched boycott–have started a Facebook page decrying Phil Robertson’s ouster and calling for a boycott of A&E until he is back on. It has over 214,000 fans as I write.

Phil offered this unpology, issued via A&E before A&E’s parent production company A+E suspended him:

I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.

When asked about Phil Robertson belief that gays won’t go to Heaven, Storage Wars New York‘s Chris and Tad responded in true Socratic fashion:

How does [Phil] know that? Is he God?

Why do I feel there’s going to be a crossover show with Chris and Tad visiting the Duck Commander factory and meeting Phil? Or maybe a group of LGBT get lost and must stay with Robertson clan. Hilarity ensues, along with shared moments, and both sides come to a comfortable understanding, then grace is said, as always.

RIP: “Billy Jack” Tom Laughlin Dead

Auteur film director/actor and presidential candidate Tom Laughlin is dead. He was 82. Laughlin is best known for for his film Billy Jack in which he utters the classic line:

I…just…go…BERSERK!

before beating the crap out of racist bullies. Billy Jack was one the first movies to introduce martial arts to a mainstream American movie audience, and stressed both pacifism and vigilante justice, as Vietnam War vet Billy Jack protects the alternative Freedom School and its students from the uptight town run by a corrupt rich guy whose spoiled son gets what he deserves for picking on the Freedom School kids.

Laughlin wrote, produced and directed all four of the Billy Jack canon: Born Losers  introduced the character of half-Native American Vietnam War vet, Billy Jack; the seminal Billy Jack; followed byThe Trial of Billy Jack which helped shape the future of film distribution–the groundbreaking promotion and release campaign included TV trailers during national news and an nationwide opening day; and 1977′s limping series finale, Billy Jack Goes to Washington. After the latter film, life began to imitate art; Laughlin would ran for United States President  in 1992, 2004, and 2008.

Billy Jack was the first movie I saw for which I lied about my age to get in the theater.  I saw it after Laughlin, unhappy with the way Warner Bros.marketed the film, sued for the rights and re-released it, airing commercials on TV.  You had to be 13 to get in, or have an adult with you. Luckily I was tall and/or the ticket person didn’t care. It was a pretty grownup movie, with political themes, female frontal nudity, violence, and rape. I also bought the paperback which was actually the shooting script with photos from the movie. It gave a my first look at how movies were made.

Married for 60 years to his Billy Jack series co-star Delores Taylor, Laughlin also played Moondoggie  Loverboy in the original Gidget movie, and founded Santa Monica’s first Montessori preschool.  He is survived by Taylor and their children Frank, Teresa and Christina, his five grandchildren, and his sister Joan.

Bob Newhart to Headline Anti-Gay Summit Legatus: TV Icon + Rick Santorum = Unfunny

TV icon Bob Newhart is slated as headlining entertainer for the Legatus 2014 Summit to be held February 6 -8, 2014,  in Orlando, Florida, alongside Rick Santorum and the Catholic League’s William Donohue. It’s pretty clear where  the ever-frothy Rick Santorum and Donohue stand on LGBT issues–and Legatus?  Jeremey Hooper writes for GLAAD:

Legatus pushes the idea that homosexuality itself is a “disorder” from which one must be “cured.”

This year Newhart won his first-ever Emmy playing opposite openly gay actor Jim Parsons on the very funny and at times off-color The Big Bang Theory. And Newhart appeared onstage with Parsons to present at this year’s Emmy. Parsons was named one of OUT magazine’s 100, and recently won his third Emmy and the GLESN Inspiration Award. Legatus assures in members that with Newhart

Summit attendees can certainly anticipate a clean show, but they will also get a good dose of Catholic humor.

GLAAD is actively contacting

Mr. Newhart’s representatives to let them know how, exactly, an appearance at this event will come across to LGBT people and allied voices,

A part of  me is hoping that Newhart will pull an  “Elton John in Moscow” and use his voice to speak up for LGBT rights. Newhart will have the floor, the pulpit if you will, and an opportunity to change minds with his legendary humor. Granted, there might be a little bit of blowback, but it could certainly have an effect.

On the other hand, Newhart telling Legatus that he will not perform because of their hate-filled views that harm so many people–both LGBT and their allies– who are his co-workers, friends and fans would also be a strong and bold move.

HT: Back2Stonewall.com

Pussy Riot To Be Freed: Amnesty for Russian Punk Band, Greenpeace Protestors and Others

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are being freed under the amnesty bill being submitted by Vladimir Putin to the Duma, the Russian parliament, on Monday December 9, to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. Nadya’s husband Pyotr Verzilov confirmed the rumors to The Voice Project:

It’s from the Kremlin and official already, they will be freed. We do not know yet when this will happen, because it is unclear when the bill will be voted by the Duma and how fast it will be applied to prisons – could be from 2 weeks to 2 months until they are freed.

The Voice Project also reports that Nadya’s father Andrei has also been able to confirm this from “reliable sources.” Nadya was moved to Siberia in November after protesting conditions and going on a hunger strike at her previous penal colony in Morodovia. She is now hospitalized in a Siberian prison facility, Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1.

The BBC reports that Putin may also free the Greenpeace Arctic 30 campaigners currently on bail and facing trial on (reduced) charges of hooliganism, as well as some of the opposition activists involved in unrest in May 2012.

This all feels like a Putin move to make Russia seem less yucky-looking in the buildup to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Simone Baumann’s film Putin’s Game, documenting charges of threats, corruption, and environmental damage is screening throughout Europe. Pussy Riot jailed, Greenpeace activists facing trial, “gay propaganda” banned and LGBTQ beaten, Elton John (finally) speaking out about anti-gay discrimination in Russia. From the stage. While performing a concert in Moscow. Add in a boycott of Smirnoff vodka and Putin had to do something.

In a surprising move, NBC has named the New Yorker’s editor and a former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post, David Remnick as a guest correspondent:

Remnick said NBC had guaranteed him editorial independence with his commentary, including such politically charged issues as gay rights and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. “There is nothing in the world — and I know they don’t intend to hinder me in this way — where I would not be honest in my analysis,” Remnick said. “It would be a waste of everyone’s integrity and time if otherwise.”

Meanwhile, it could be a very happy new year for Pussy Riot, Greenpeace, and other jailed Russian activists. (more…)

Punk Rock Hero Johnny Rotten Malibu Home Sold: Asking Price $1.995 Million

 

Is punk rock dead because Johnny Rotten sold his  four bedroom, three bathroom Malibu home with beach rights at around the asking price just under $2 million?  It was listed as

Needs TLC, sold as-is

which sounds pretty punk rock. Judging from the photos of the interior, Rotten–who has gone by his birth name John Lydon for decades–and his wife, German heiress Nora Forster, may want to hire an interior designer for the next home. Seriously disappointing style. If  meant to be hipster ironic, it missed the mark. The house itself, minus the fixer caveat, sounds pretty nice:

It comes with a pool, beach rights, a big deck, pool with waterfall and spa, pool bar, cabana/gym, fruit trees, and two-car garage plus parking for four more.

I actually like it when punk rockers do well. It’s not selling out, it’s making the most of what you do, and it’s better than starving. Lydon has created great music and has had some fun with image as well, like in this  butter commercial, which helped reunite PIL and get a new album out. But again, John, please consider some decorating help!

Two Familiar Faces Come Out: Actress Maria Bello, UK Olympian Tom Daley

Actress Maria Bello, stating she was in a relationship with a woman, came out in Friday’s New York Times. And today, UK diver Tom Daley–who won bronze in the 10-meter platform at last summer’s Olympics–came out on YouTube, reports Back2Stonewall (which beat the BBC’s report on Daley by posting the story just minutes before the venerable British broadcaster got theirs up).

Bello wrote an op-ed piece, Coming Out as a Modern Family about  her extended family, the nature of partnerships and her relationship with her best friend which turned romantic after much soul searching. In his video, Daley explains that he was misquoted in an interview and wanted to be honest, even though discussing relationships makes him uncomfortable, but now he feels ready to do so since he is in a relationship with someone who makes him feel

so wonderful, so safe…and that person is a guy…something clicked…Of course I still fancy girls, but right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier. I just feel safe, and it really does feel right…Is it a big deal? I don’t think so….It’s going to be big but I wanted to say something.

Daley wanted to come out on video so his words wouldn’t be twisted, and he he says to his fans that he’s still Tom and still wants to win a gold medal for Britain at the Rio 2016 Olympics; he hopes his fans will be along for that journey.

 

HT: Back2Stonewall

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