Wednesday, June 17, 2015

LIZ SMITH: Hot, High-Heeled Women

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
by Liz Smith

"Jurassic World's" Hot, High-Heeled Woman — Bryce Dallas Howard. Fleeing From Dinosaurs Has Never Been So Glam. And the Movie is Ridiculously Entertaining. (It's About Dinosaurs, not Hamlet. Relax and Enjoy.) ... Charlize Theron ... Kristin Chenoweth ... Yanna Avis.

“SURE, Fred Astaire was great. But don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards ... and in high heels!” So said illustrator Bob Thaves. And women everywhere have repeated it ever since.
SPEAKING OF high heels, one of the many pleasures of the new super-blockbuster “Jurassic World” is the sight of Bryce Dallas Howard, running away from rampaging dinosaurs — in the Jurassic Park jungle — in high heels. It’s hilarious, and perfect. It’s a movie about genetically reconstituted dinos, for heaven’s sake. I did not expect anything to make sense.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in “Jurassic World."
Bryce’s character — she’s the corporate head who manages the now-thriving prehistoric theme park — is rather dumb in the old-fashioned manner of heroines in distress, but she does manage to pull herself together by the end. Chris Pratt is lovely to look at, and sprints around like mad, trying to stop the big “bad” dinosaur from wrecking the place. (Yes, some of the creatures are “good.” Well, as good as a free-roaming beast can be.) Mr. Pratt hypnotizes one of the raptors at a certain point. I believed that. He has a way about him. It’s ridiculous to go into a film like this with expectations of high art. Or even for it to be as good as Steven Spielberg’s original.
"Come and get me in my high heels."
It’s extremely entertaining if you don’t expect “Hamlet” or are not relentlessly determined to hate all sequels. (This one is head and shoulders above the “Jurassics” that followed the first.) The plot? Oh, come on. First, everything’s peachy keen. Then it’s not. Annoying children are in danger. There are basically good guys who make mistakes (B.D. Wong) and outright bad guys (Vincent D’Onofrio.) It’s clichéd, paint-by-numbers plotting. It works just fine. The CGI creatures are remarkably realistic in their look and manner. In some ways you might say they are more realistic than the humans, who are stuck with saying and doing absurd things.

By year’s end, this might be the most profitable film ever, taking into account the wildly inflated price of movie tickets. And of course, there will be another sequel. The likeable Chris Pratt says, “I think they have me signed up for like 38 more!”
Good guy: CHECK.
Bad guy: CHECK.
Good and bad dinosaurs: CHECK.
Annoying children: CHECK.
P.S. I like to mix it up for my readers. And myself! I am just as enthusiastic for flat-out “popcorn movies” as I am for works of art such as Helen Mirren’s “Woman in Gold.” This performance will likely garner Mirren an Oscar nomination. There, I said it.

Speaking of the divine Helen, I loved her contribution to John Oliver’s HBO show “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday night. Oliver persuaded Mirren to record hair-raising passages from the U.S. Senate’s Torture Report. Hilarious and chilling. And for all those who are so dismayed over the retirements of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart from satiric “reporting” check in with John Oliver every Sunday. Simply brilliant. Even if his liberal use of the F-word is unnecessary, in my opinion.
WELL, it’s about time that the dazzling Charlize Theron was immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood. Her molded form wears a flowing gold gown. (Theron starred in the latest “Mad Max” film as Imperator Furiosa. The appealing Tom Hardy was “Max” but he had little to do or say in comparison to the heavy lifting required of Theron. It has been a big success.)

At the Hollywood Tussauds visitors can enjoy “interactive experiences” with the immobile copies of their favorite stars. I don’t know what this means, and frankly I’m a little afraid to ask!
"I would do what Roger
Ailes would do."
"IF you were in charge of NBC News and (Brian) Williams were caught telling exaggerated or made-up stories on your watch, what would you do?" (This was a question asked of the irascible Michael Wolff in the New York Times magazine last Sunday.)

Wolff: "I would do what Roger Ailes would do. Through Roger's eyes, the issue is: What does my audience want? So, why should I have to run my business on the basis of what media people say I should do — people who don't want me to succeed?"

And this astonishing interview has the Times guy, Mark Leibovich, ask Wolff: "Hillary Clinton has been largely unavailable to the media. Do you think she has any obligation to take questions from the press?"

Wolff: "I certainly don't. Again this is one of those things. Why does the press always become the center of its own story?" He further says that her campaign "probably rests on her success in not having the media kill her ..."

Wolff ends saying: "I think we would all be well served to follow (the credo) ‘What’s good for my own business?’ (He blasts the press for making everything free and blames the press for dying from not acting responsibly to save itself in the face of the Internet.)

Wolff has "been there, done that" as a media critic. The Times would do well to hire him right this very minute. He predicts further that in five years The Guardian, Time, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and Sports Illustrated will have disappeared.
I ASKED facetiously of the Tony Awards show and host Kristin Chenoweth — "who does her hair?" and I had a lot of answers from readers. It seems this perky star depends on costume designer and wig designer Thomas Augustine Hewitt. He has done countless shows and designed wedding dresses for Broadway's leading ladies.
REMINDER — Tomorrow night, chanteuse supreme, Yanna Avis returns to Manhattan’s 54 Below with her “Make Some Magic” set of sultry, naughty numbers. Go to for tix info. Yanna brings back the soigné vibe of all those legendary ladies who lounged against pianos in the halcyon days of New York cabaret.

Contact Liz Smith here.