Connect with us

Film News

Jennifer Lopez & Constance Wu Are Oscars Bound



Jennifer Lopez delivers her career best performance in Hustlers, a true crime story that was a tabloid sensation. Adapted from the 2015 New York Magazine article, “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, a gang of strippers turn the tables on lecherous Wall Street businessmen. Equal parts sultry, humorous, and heartbreaking, Hustlers brings a needed female perspective to an industry poorly portrayed by Hollywood. Director/writer Lorene Scafaria never loses sight of the struggles behind the G-strings and titillation. These women took care of their families and each other, but succumbed to greed. Their bonds of friendship and loyalty were no match for the almighty dollar.

Hustlers opens at a Manhattan strip club in 2007. Destiny (Constance Wu) is having a hard time making a living. She watches as the other strippers take home bundles of cash. Shy and unsure of how to use her sexuality, Destiny uses her meager earnings to support her sick grandmother. She becomes transfixed by Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), the club’s top earner. Radiantly sexy and alluring, Ramona is a master of manipulation. She expertly squeezes every nickel from her besotten marks.

Ramona takes Destiny under her wing. She becomes a mentor and best friend. The women thrive until the recession of 2008 decimates Wall Street. Their source of easy cash evaporates. Younger girls willing to do sexual favors for peanuts compete against them. Ramona makes a bold decision to start “fishing” for clients. She recruits Destiny and her stripper family (Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart) to target wealthy men at upscale bars. Then slip them a potent mix of the party drugs Ketamine and Ecstasy to loosen their wallets.

Related: Breakout Musician Lizzo Joins Jennifer Lopez & Cardi B. in Hustlers

Hustlers gets down into the trenches of a stripper’s lifestyle. The women have to pay multiple people at the club for the opportunity. We watch as Destiny returns home with almost nothing after nights of sexual degradation. Ramona teaches her a master class in seduction, glamour, and how to work the stripper’s pole like a gymnast. The women are high school dropouts, have young children, and little income potential. A career as an exotic dancer was born out of necessity. These early scenes are compelling. Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) develops a core to the lead characters. They have a degree of complexity not usually seen in films of this subject matter. Hustlers goes way beyond skin deep.

The film ramps up the flash and sizzle when the money starts rolling in. Think Goodfellas meets The Wolf of Wall Street, girl power version. The gang kicks the partying into high gear to revel in their ill-gotten gains. Clothes, jewelry, new cars, and houses, the wealth they’ve been clamoring for finally arrives. Hustlers gets big laughs from their success. Audiences will howl as the women dupe, drug, and steal from the hapless men. Jennifer Lopez has a fantastic monologue about giving Wall Street scumbags their due. They stole from everyone, crippled the country, and still ended up with all of the money. Her reasoning assuaged their guilt.

Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez are a lock for Oscar nominations. Their roles are pure awards bait, but deservingly so. The performances are all-encompassing, with a wide range of emotional and physical effort. The actresses go from nearly naked gyrations to running a criminal enterprise, while being mothers and caretakers. They are believable from the first frame of Hustlers. The dramatic finale is quite affecting. The audience sympathizes with the characters downfall. What they did was wrong, but you’re rooting for them the entire time.

Hustlers sets a new standard for the exotic dancer genre. It never becomes salacious or exploitative. Lorene Scafaria crafts a thoroughly entertaining film with a whole lot of heart. J-Lo becomes stripper Yoda and probably adds an Oscar to her awards shelf. Pole and lap dancing classes are going to be in high demand. Hustlers is produced by Gloria Sanchez Productions, Nuyorican Productions, and Annapurna Pictures, with distribution from STX Films.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Movieweb.


Film News

Megan Fox Says She And Amanda Seyfried Were ‘Horrified’ To Make Out In Jennifer’s Body



Throughout Hollywood’s history, there have been tons of movies that originally slipped through the cracks before being embraced by audiences years later. Such is the story with Jennifer’s Body. The horror film starring Megan Fox opened in theaters ten years ago to poor reviews and fell flat with audiences with its $31 million box office earnings.

Jennifer’s Body writer Diablo Cody, who famously wrote hit comedy Juno before the now cult horror classic, cites some unfortunate marketing as the reason for Jennifer’s Body flopping. Since Megan Fox was at the height of her sex symbol status, the studio focused on objectifying the actress to sell tickets to young men over the film’s target to women on themes of female sexualization and queer representation. Perhaps it was ahead of it’s time?

Thinking back, Megan Fox remembers her and Mamma Mia’s Amanda Seyfried being timid to film one scene in Jennifer Body where the two friends make out on a bed, revealing a rare instance of bisexuality on the big screen. In Fox’s words:

Now these are the behind-the-scenes things you don’t think about! Make-out scenes such as the one between Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried in Jennifer’s Body have the camera getting as intimate with the viewer as the actors on screen. And for the two young women, the idea of baring all their blemishes was the most terrifying aspect of filming the sequence.

Counterpoint, I don’t think anyone was looking for chin acne or even thinking about that during the steamy sequence! However, it was scenes such as this one that was particularly used in the marketing of Jennifer’s Body to entice male theatergoers and largely ignore the film’s intended audience. Megan Fox told Variety in the tenth-anniversary interview that the film was sold as the ‘Megan Fox is sexy, come see this movie,’ when there was more than met the eye.

Diablo Cody also remembers predicting the film’s flop fate during a test screening with the film’s marketing target. She has one of the responses saved to this day, which read “needs moar bewbs.” Since 2009, Hollywood has certainly shifted its focus and a movie like Jennifer’s Body may have been marketed different and reached its intended audience.

Since the failure of Jennifer’s Body, Diablo Cody has moved on with critically-acclaimed projects such as Young Adult, Tully and television show United States of Tara, while Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried have found successful careers, with Jennifer’s Body remaining a deep cut (hidden gem?) during their acting beginnings.

Continue Reading

Film News

Far From Home Concept Art Reveals A Terrifying Mysterio Vision



Although he was advertised and depicted at the start of Spider-Man: Far From Home as a superhero from a parallel universe, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio, eventually showed his true colors and proved to be the same kind of manipulative, sinister ne’er-do-well that he is in the comics. Mysterio’s illusion-casting abilities were best on display during Far From Home when he assaulted Peter Parker with a series of visions in Berlin, and below you’ll find a particularly terrifying illusion that didn’t make the cut.

A warning to the arachnophobes out there, this truly is the stuff of nightmares.

Marvel Visual Development artist Henrik Tamm shared this artwork he created of Peter Parker confronting a group of gigantic spiders during Mysterio’s bombardment of illusions. And lest you think these spiders simply loomed large and were around to look intimidating, Tamm posted some other pieces of concept art on Instagram showing the Web-Slinger being forced to battle the arachnids and even becoming trapped by them, as seen below.

I know ‘usage of spiders’ isn’t criteria the MPAA takes into consideration when rating a movie, but if this illusion had made it into the final version of Spider-Man: Far From Home, I wouldn’t have blinked learning the movie had been rated R. Seeing a zombie Iron Man emerge from the grave is one thing, but having Peter fighting giant spiders would have been a way more frightening sight, and probably wouldn’t have sat well with the younger folks in the audience.

So while artistically this would have been cool to see in Spider-Man: Far From Home, I can understand why it ultimately wasn’t included. Or maybe scariness had nothing to do with it, and this spider sequence was simply a casualty of keeping a tighter running time. Either way, it was a cool, albeit unsettling idea to have Peter Parker confront the very creatures he’s modeled his superhero career after.

Mysterio has been antagonizing Spider-Man in the comics for over five decades, but Spider-Man: Far From Home marked his theatrical debut (apparently there were plans to feature him in Sam Raimi’s cancelled Spider-Man 4, though Bruce Campbell wouldn’t have played him). Thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance and the big twist surrounding the character, he certainly ranks as one of the more memorable Spider-Man film villains, especially for that mid-credits shocker, where before dying, Quentin Beck framed Spider-Man for murder and revealed to the world that he was Peter Parker.

Granted, if Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is as skilled at trickery as his comic book counterpart is, then there’s the chance he could still be alive and return in a future movie. But even if he is truly dead, he’s thrown the life of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker off course in a way that can’t be undone without some kind of worldwide, magical memory wipe (wait, that sounds familiar).

That sets up big things to come for this Spider-Man film series, although one can imagine some changes will need to be changed given the recent Disney/Sony split that’s resulted in Spidey being removed from the MCU. That setback aside, Sony is pushing ahead with another tale centered on Tom Holland’s iteration of the character, and the studio is reportedly looking to have Jon Watts sit back in the director’s chair.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is now available on Digital HD, and you can pick up a Blu-ray/DVD copy on October 1. Keep track of when the remainder of this year’s movies are coming out in our 2019 release schedule.

Continue Reading

Film News

With No Movies On His Plate, Kevin Hart In Therapy And ‘Grateful’ To Be Alive



Actor and comedian Kevin Hart was in a major car accident earlier this month when the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda he was riding in went off the road. Fortunately, Kevin Hart survived the crash, although he suffered serious back injuries that required surgery. Now, with no movies on his plate, Kevin Hart is in therapy and ‘grateful’ to be alive.

According to TMZ, Kevin Hart is feeling “shocked” recovering following the crash and quite “grateful” to be alive. He has apparently seen the photos of the completely destroyed car he emerged from and can’t believe that anyone survived. So the actor is thankful to be alive and feels that he has “a new perspective on life” following such an ordeal that could have easily been much, much worse.

Kevin Hart is a prolific actor and comedian who is always busy with some new project. So although he always has stuff lined up, there was apparently nothing on his plate work-wise in the immediate future, which will allow him time to take a break and focus on his recovery. Because while his career is obviously important, it is secondary to his health, and he’s reportedly not worried about his accident impacting his career in any way.

The actor has allegedly been in a lot of pain, which is completely understandable, but thankfully, he is apparently expected to pretty much make a full recovery. It’ll just take some time and with no movies on his plate right now, he has that time.

Following the car accident and subsequent surgery, Kevin Hart spent 10 days in the hospital before beginning his physical rehabilitation in an inpatient facility. He is home now and has a long road of rehab ahead of him, working with a physical therapist to help him heal and rebound. Fortunately he’s already in good shape and that gym rat work ethic should be an asset in his recovery journey.

Although far from the primary concern, we had heard that Kevin Hart had a movie potentially in limbo following his accident. He has finished work on Jumanji: The Next Level and Fatherhood, but his film My Own Worst Enemy from director Tim Story was said to be in pre-production.

Kevin Hart will be in physical rehab for several months, but the fact that he has nothing immediate on his plate may indicate that My Own Worst Enemy will not be setback by his accident, although we’ll have to wait and see for sure. Maybe The Rock can just fill in for him wherever needed, like he did when he left his honeymoon early to appear on Kelly Clarkson’s talk show.

After suffering serious injuries and what seemed like a near brush with death, it’s great to hear that Kevin Hart is in good spirits and feeling positive and hopefully he’ll get back to doing what he does best sooner rather than later.

Kevin Hart will next appear on the big screen in Jumanji: The Next Level, in theaters on December 13. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies coming this fall and for the latest movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

Continue Reading


Sports20 mins ago

Team India and coaching staff’s daily allowance on away tours doubled

The Indian team under Virat Kohli has done just as well on foreign soil as it has...

Film News21 mins ago

Megan Fox Says She And Amanda Seyfried Were ‘Horrified’ To Make Out In Jennifer’s Body

Throughout Hollywood’s history, there have been tons of movies that originally slipped through the cracks before being embraced by audiences...

Film News50 mins ago

Far From Home Concept Art Reveals A Terrifying Mysterio Vision

Although he was advertised and depicted at the start of Spider-Man: Far From Home as a superhero from a parallel...

Sports53 mins ago

CAB Elections: Saurav Ganguly set to be re-elected but only till July 2020

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is set to be re-elected as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president...

Film News1 hour ago

With No Movies On His Plate, Kevin Hart In Therapy And ‘Grateful’ To Be Alive

Actor and comedian Kevin Hart was in a major car accident earlier this month when the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda he...

Sports1 hour ago

India vs South Africa 3rd T20 LIVE: Bengaluru Weather may play spoilsport

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli with head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach B Arun during a practice session...

Corporation tax: FY17 might see 1-1.5% cut Corporation tax: FY17 might see 1-1.5% cut
Market Updates2 hours ago

Top 1,000 listed firms may see tax savings of Rs 37k cr on tax cut: Crisil

CRISIL Research on Sunday said top 1,000 listed companies could see tax savings of Rs 37,000 crore...

Film News2 hours ago

How Downton Abbey Convinced Maggie Smith To Return For The Movie

Warning: mild SPOILERS for Downton Abbey are in play. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, please leave this story...

Sports2 hours ago

Pro Kabaddi 2019 live score: Mumbai take on Gujarat in today’s first match

File photo: Haryana Steelers vs Gujarat Fortunegiants In today’s match of Pro Kabaddi 2019, the first game will be played...

Technology2 hours ago

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 2019 review: A home machine for casual gaming

HP’s Omen series has some great models for serious gamers. The Pavilion Gaming 15, however, is a...