Liberace

review behind the candelabra

There seems to have been a decisive change in the mainstream biopic recently. Instead of attempting to chronicle a public figure’s emergence into renown from childhood to death, several biopics find their subject in a way that assumes the achievement of fame to be a given from the get-go. Movies like Capote, Invictus, Hitchcock, and Lincoln (not to mention the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks) choose to examine a particular episode in the life of a well-known person instead of justify its subject’s achievement of fame by depicting a summary trajectory of youth to adult achievement. Sure, J. Edgar and The Iron Lady stand out as conspicuous exceptions, as signs that the conventions of the biopic are still alive and well. But this newer approach to the biopic (Invictus excepted) seems to allow a great deal of opportunities that conventional biopics don’t (to the point where they’re arguably no longer biopics): the ability to understand the exceptional individual not through a portrait of their entire life, but through a detailed examination of a more narrative-friendly set of select events and circumstances drawn from a particular point in their life. Such is the same with Steven Soderbergh’s latest (and purportedly last) film, HBO’s Behind the Candelabra. By taking a more modest and focused route to the biopic, Candelabra is a close and fascinating examination of the bizarre phenomenon of fame itself.

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Candelabra

It’s here! Finally, with the release of its first trailer, we get to catch our first glimpse of Michael Douglas donning sequins and feathers to play famed, flamboyant musician Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming biopic for HBO films, Behind the Candelabra, and—oh boy—it’s not a let down. Douglas looks like he had a great time with this one, and it should be a ton of fun watching him chew scenery for one of today’s greatest (non) working directors.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the roughest, toughest, meanest movie news column around. It also owns one of those silly shirts and smokes cigars. Of that, you can be sure. We begin our newsy journey tonight with a photo of three f*ckin’ guys you might have heard of on the set of The Expendables 2, proving once and for all that witty banter, big scarfs and an awful flowered shirt will be part of the highly anticipated testostisequel. All I can think is… someone needs to get to dat choppa!

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Steven Soderbergh has been trying to get a movie about the life of Liberace off the ground for a while now. Or, more specifically, he’s trying to make an adaptation of a book called “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace” that was written by Liberace’s long-time live-in lover Scott Thorson. Thorson’s book details his relationship with the famous singer, what their last meeting was like, and gives a little bit of insight into both men’s childhoods. Even though it won’t be coming to a theater near you, Soderbergh will still get his wish, as HBO Films has greenlit the project for production. Don’t think that because HBO is doing this and not one of the big studios that it’s going to be any sort of B-level affair though. Very A-list actors Michael Douglas and Matt Damon have already signed on to portray Liberace and Thorson, so this movie is set to be a big deal, no matter where audiences can find it. Of the HBO distribution model, Soderbergh had this to say, “From the inception of this project, we’ve had two priorities: getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it. HBO’s fearless approach to original programming and their unparalleled ability to pull in viewers make them the perfect fit for us. Apart from my hair growing back, I couldn’t be happier.” Soderbergh himself will still direct the film from a screenplay by Richard LaGravenese. I’ll bet Douglas and Damon are off in a […]

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In a recent interview with Kurt Anderson, director Steven Soderbergh has announced that he will retire from making movies after his next two films. This isn’t the first time that he has hinted about wrapping up his career in Hollywood, but the man seems pretty well decided at this point. When explaining why he doesn’t want to make movies anymore, Soderbergh said, “It’s just a sense of having been there before. The making of any art is problem solving, and as you work at it, you’re able to eliminate the versions that aren’t any good faster, but at a certain point the salves sort of become the same. And when I started feeling like I’ve done this shot before, I’ve done a scene that’s about this before, that’s when I started thinking seriously about a shift.” I guess he just couldn’t come up with a scenario for another big heist. In all seriousness, Soderbergh is an important director and this will be a blow to movies in general. He did a lot to kick off the independent film movement of the 90s with his 1989 release of Sex, Lies, and Videotape. That film’s success worked as a model for how things that were low budget but interesting could gain an audience and make a lot of money.

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According to the folks over at The Playlist, the script for Steven Soderbergh’s next pick — a deadly virus outbreak thriller called Contagion written by Scott Z. Burns — is good. So good in fact, that Soderbergh has set aside several other projects to get this one going in the fall. It is said to be a Traffic-esque thriller that takes place across four continents and is “terrifying.”

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