Four critics discuss the future of the sex scene for The New Yorker; lots of Lord of the Rings news; the Oscars get three hosts and the way they’ll divide the show is unique; Batman gains approval to travel overseas. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Inventing Drama: Inventing Anna is Netflix’s new series on Anna Sorokin (aka Anna Delvey) and how she conned New York City’s elite. Margeaux Sippell has the report on how former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams, who features prominently in the story, is unhappy with her portrayal in the fictitious account of a true story.
Oscar Hosts Confirmed: A day after Variety broke the news, the Oscars announced on Good Morning America today that Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes will host the 94th Oscars on March 27. They will take a round robin approach with each comedian-actor hosting for an individual hour of the broadcast, USA Today reports.
The Batman Grabs His Passport: Matt Reeves’ three-hour super hero epic will be released in China, Deadline reports. This is notable because the list of studio films playing in the country has slowed in the last year. But Spider-Man: No Way Home has made almost $2 billion at the global box office, despite not being released in China, so maybe Hollywood will learn to be less dependent on the notoriously difficult to appease country.
Speaking of Billions: The most expensive series ever funded (at a reported $1 billion), Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power got a teaser trailer this past Super Bowl Sunday. The footage is breathtaking and looks expensive. I’m simultaneously excited for the release later this year and a tad bummed I won’t be able to view it in a proper theater. Sadly, without a Dolby Atmos setup at home, my Sony soundbar will have to suffice.
Watch The Teaser: On your laptop or your phone here:
The Showrunners Speak: Over at Vanity Fair, The Rings of Power showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne are asked “10 burning questions.” This includes exactly what Tolkien properties Amazon has purchased the rights to, how much CGI to expect and eight other essential questions.
More LOTR News: Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema’s anime Lord of the Rings movie, Rohirrim, is dated for April 2024. “The movie explores and expands the untold story behind the fortress of Helm’s Deep, delving into the life and bloodsoaked times of one of Middle-earth’s most legendary figures: the mighty King of Rohan – Helm Hammerhand,” Deadline reports. Helm’s Deep features prominently in Peter Jackson’s second film in his trilogy: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
This Follows News: From last week that rights for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth “franchise” — although I’m certain the author would never use that term — are for sale. Variety has the details on that potential deal, which will also be in the billions.
Sex on Screen: If you’ve followed our Movie News Rundowns over the past six months, you know we’ve been tracking this ongoing debate about the place of sex scenes in modern day film and television. Now, The New Yorker weighs in with an engaging, thoughtful discussion between four of its critics on the topic.
Topics Include: HBO’s Euphoria, a comparison of Philip Roth and animated series Big Mouth, the increase in male nudity of late, Lena Dunham’s Girls, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and, of course, Paul Verhoeven, Adrian Lyne and the state of the erotic thriller.
Porn’s Effect on The Hollywood Sex Scene: “I think porn does loom large here,” critic Vinson Cunningham says in the piece. “At an earlier time, when there wasn’t widespread access to porn, there were entire movies built around: I want you to be bothered the rest of the day, because this film is so fucking hot. But I do think that the proliferation of porn makes us then have to try to be smarter about sex in shows than we necessarily want to be.”
MoviePass Follow Up: Last week we covered MoviePass’ relaunch event, where CEO Stacy Spikes’ presentation was big on ideas and light on specifics. But IndieWire pressed Spikes in a follow-up interview on how the app will function in 2022. It’s a good piece for anyone — like so many of us — who were admittedly confused after Spikes’ presentation. “What became clear is Spikes’ vision is less of a traditional subscription service, and more a virtual marketplace and app in which customers buy credits. Its success will depend on how well moviegoers, theaters, and distributors utilize its tools,” IndieWire says.
ICYMI: After decades as a celebrated actor, Maggie Gyllenhaal steps behind the camera for her directorial debut The Lost Daughter. With both experiences in tow, Gyllenhaal shares with MovieMaker some of the wisdom she’s gleamed for our “Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker.” Read all her advice here.
Fresh to Death: A trailer for Searchlight’s Sundance pickup Fresh is here. Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People), the cannibal horror film is a mashup of influences from Audition to Squid Game. The film hits Hulu on March 4.
Main image: Viggo Mortensen at The Battle of Helm’s Deep, in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.