CATEGORIES Movies

Why do the Oscars favor actors in cross-dressing roles? On the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog, Alexis L. Loinaz uses the upcoming 'Albert Nobbs,' in which Glenn Close plays a woman disguised as a male waiter, as a pretext for attempting an answer. His conclusion: it's all about the difficulty factor.

"I think Oscar voters really like to see profound physical transformations," Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger told Speakeasy, adding, "There's nothing as dramatic and drastic as playing with gender lines. In the right hands, it's 'Boys Don't Cry.' In the wrong hands, it's a farce. And in the really wrong hands, it's offensive. [It's] right up there, as far as degree of difficulty."

Actually, in the really wrong hands it's Adam Sandler's 'Jack and Jill.'


In other news, Terrence Rafferty of The New York Times dissects the differences between the 1971 classic 'Straw Dogs,' and its upcoming remake. According to Rafferty, there's no need for Peckinpah fans to worry, because director Rod Lurie is all about staying faithful to the original. "Both films are, in essence, about small-town hostility to outsiders and, more broadly, to anyone who seems different; in both, the community's hatred is implacable, impervious to charm or reason."

Still, Rafferty does acknowledge that the new 'Straw Dogs' is unlikely to ruffle quite as many feathers as the original, due to our current news climate and our desensitization to violence. "In the original 'Straw Dogs,' Peckinpah somehow stirred everything that seemed to matter in 1971 into one small, lethal concentrate. Even the war and race are present, by their conspicuous absence; fairly early in the film, Amy accuses David - who is American - of having buried himself in his work in sleepy Cornwall to avoid having to 'take a stand' in his home country."


Moving over to superhero news, former 'Batman' star Julie Newmar reminisces about the campier days of Bruce Wayne on the Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex blog, admitting the new 'Batman' flicks are too dark: "I don't envy someone that has to play Batman or Catwoman today. It was a heck of a lot more fun when Adam West and I did it." We don't necessary agree, though it would be fun to see the words "SMACK" and "POWW" pop up every time Christian Bale took a swing at Tom Hardy.

Rounding things out this week is an interview with Jennifer Garner by Marlow Stern of the Daily Beast. In it, Garner talks about the variety of roles she's taken throughout her acting career -- from secret agent to superhero to screwball mom. However, you can now add "breastfeeding in a politician's office" to her list of credits: "I'm looking forward to trying to figure out how I can still do what I love with three kids, 'cause I think I can. I don't see why I couldn't! I've [breast] pumped on every sound stage and airplane and senator's office, and I can do it again."

Images courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Screen Gems