ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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February 2021

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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FILM!

NOMADLAND

Frances McDormand stars in Nomadland releasing February 19th

NOMADLAND

  • By QUENDRITH JOHNSON
  • Photo Courtesy of SEARCHLIGHT

When Frances McDormand and Peter Spears optioned the rights to Jessica Bruder’s book, “Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century,” there was no Pandemic. So the maskless hugs and gatherings in this Chloé Zhao-directed film are bittersweet. But this is not a story about the superbug. Instead we get to ride along as Frances McDormand’s “Fern” discovers her later-life true self in a kitted-out van that is her home as a widow. She is part of the “gig economy,” temporary workers who migrate across country. “The book is a work of investigative journalism,” says Zhao, helming her third film here. “Half of the book focuses on nomadic living, and the other half is actually undercover reporting—Jessica went undercover at Amazon and worked at the beet harvest.” “Our process on NOMADLAND was a challenge for both of us because we were imposing the hybrid of non-professionals from the nomad community and David Strathairn and I as professionals acting our roles,” McDormand explained. “Another thing that I offered to the story from my life is a set of dishes in a pattern called Autumn Leaf… I brought my silverware, which I think is pretty nifty.”

NOMADLAND, may remind Academy voters that the journey of Frances McDormand on screen has not even reached its peak yet, nor has the remarkably emotional viewfinder of director Chloé Zhao. NOMADLAND displays resiliency with American ingenuity, and how you can work with just about anything, anywhere in this great country.

Watch for it to release February 19th, from Searchlight Pictures. For more details, click here.

THE WHITE TIGER

The White Tiger is streaming on Netflix (Starring Adarsh Gourav)90-

THE WHITE TIGER

  • By RICH ANDREW
  • Photo Courtesy of NETFLIX

Writer-director Ramin Bahrani (Fahrenheit 451) has adapted Aravind Adiga’s book The White Tiger into a provocative commentary about a man and his master. Taking on the shoulders of this tamed man is the kind-faced Adarsh Gourav (Hostel Daze), who plays Balram Halwai, a gifted child who must leave school forever so he can work in the local tea house and help pay off his father’s debts. Despite losing his education, Balram never loses his ambition, and once old enough, he finagles his way into becoming the personal driver to Ashok, the son of a wealthy coal baron. Balram’s kindness endears him to Ashok and his wife Pinky, who treat him with more respect than a servant in the Indian caste system ever dares to get. After a night on the town, a drunk Pinky forces Balram out of the driver’s seat and brutally runs over an innocent child. Ashok’s father forces Balram to take the blame, and when Ashok does nothing, a vengeance takes root inside Balram to become his own master. With an incredible cast that also includes Rajkummar Rao (Chhalaang), Priyanka Chopra (The Sky is Pink), Mahesh Manjrekar (The Power), Vijay Maurya (Gully Boy), Kamlesh Gill (Jawaani Jaaneman), Swaroop Sampat (Nano So Phobia), Nalneesh Neel (Gulabo Sitabo), and Vedant Sinha (The Family Man), The White Tiger delivers some riveting drama.

“The White Tiger” is streaming on Netflix.

Billie Holiday

Lee Daniel’s The United States Vs. Billie Holiday releases February 26th (Starring Andra Day)

Billie Holiday

  • By Kenne Hoffman
  • Photo Courtesy of HULU

The United States vs. Billie Holiday debuts as a Hulu Original on February 26. Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious), the film introduces Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Andra Day as Billie Holiday and features a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks. Joining Day in the cast are Trevante Rhodes (Bird Box) as Jimmy Fletcher and Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll) as Tallulah Bankhead. The film shines a spotlight on the legendary musician’s battle with law enforcement, stage presence, and her dedication to show-stopping fashion with Holiday’s most memorable outfits recreated by Prada.

The United States Vs. Billie Holiday brings to light the challenges of the jazz singer’s life as a struggling addict and Black woman in 1930s and 1940s, and Holiday’s love of furs, fine jewels, and her lesser-known romances with women. It follows the story of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics which is determined to imprison Holiday on drug charges as retribution for her singing of political songs like “Strange Fruit” which was about the lynching of Black people. The government did not want the story to be told. Lesser known is Holiday’s works in civil rights which is featured here. Themes of racial injustice, lynching, and censorship are still relevant in today’s political discourse considering the government’s inability to pass a law making it a federal hate crime. Early buzz could propel the film and its leading lady into Oscar territory.

For more details, click here.

Barb and Star

Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar releases February 12th (Starring Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo)

Barb and Star

  • By Debbie Emery
  • Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate

We all deserve an excuse to laugh uncontrollably right about now, and there’s no one better to deliver that than Kristen Wiig. And while most of us are only dreaming of the tropical vacation we’re going to take when post-pandemic travel opens up, Wiig and co-star/co-writer Annie Mumolo go on the trip of a lifetime in the new Lionsgate comedy Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar. The shirt-ripping, pastel-hued, fruity cocktail-fueled adventure sees best friends Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) venture out of their small Midwestern town for the first time to go on vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida. Aside from the usual shenanigans like sunburn and hangovers, the pair find themselves tangled up in adventure, love, and a villain’s plot to kill everyone in town. Sounds like a totally normal vacation … not that we’ve been on one for a long time!

While Wiig is the most familiar face thanks to roles in Saturday Night Live, Knocked Up and Bridesmaids — Mumolo actually co-wrote the latter comedy hit, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. Barb and Star also features hilarious performances by Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., Fortune Feimster and Wendi McLendon-Covey.

Escape to Vista Del Mar via at-home streaming on February 12th.

What's Hot!

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve adjusted our content this month.

LAArtsOnline now features two NEW pages: BOOKS and EXTRA! We’ll look at what’s hot in the world of books and reading along with some suggestions of EXTRA! things to check out, read about, and do!

Stay positive, stay safe.

Paige Petrone
Founder / Publisher

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