Deep Inside Hollywood: Queen Latifah, ‘Rebel in the Rye,’ ‘Southwest of Salem,’ ‘The Office Christmas Party’

Queen LatifahQueen Latifah
cooley dickinson

Queen Latifah – as we revere her swagger even more

By: Romeo San Vicente*/Special to TRT—

Latifah is taking a Girls Trip

If we have one complaint about Queen Latifah’s career, it’s that everything she does isn’t Set It Off. Not only is it our favorite film featuring her, it’s our favorite her: a butch, badass, bank-robbing lesbian. It was a cinematic middle finger to the media construction of ’90s “lesbian chic,” and if she had chosen never to act again after that movie, we’d revere her swagger for all of film history. And for the Queen’s upcoming comedy, Girls Trip, director Malcolm D. Lee (Barbershop: The Next Cut, and cousin to Spike) will reunite her with Set It Off co-star Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as the hilarious Regina Hall (Think Like a Man Too). The plot is a big secret at the moment, and it’s not due to hit theaters until summer of 2017, but we’re ready for this team-up right now. Note to filmmakers: If the ladies rob a bank or two along the way, we will not complain one bit.

Rebel In The Rye catches Salinger’s life

Actor Danny Strong might not be a person you know by name unless you’re an obsessive Gilmore Girls or Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan (and come on, aren’t you?). In any case, you might know his name from his other career as a successful screenwriter (The Butler) and for having co-createdEmpire with Lee Daniels. And he has a new project in the works: Rebel in The Rye a biopic about the life of reclusive author of Catcher in The Rye, J.D. Salinger.  Strong will direct from his own adaptation of the book,  J.D. Salinger: A Life, by Kenneth Slawenski. The period film will focus on Salinger’s rise to fame and subsequent withdrawal from public life, and will star Nicholas Hoult as the author. Supporting cast includes out actors Sarah Paulson and Victor Garber, alongside Kevin Spacey, Zoey Deutch and Hope Davis, and it’s all due to hit movie theaters sometime in 2017. If we had to guess we’d say the autumn, which is sweater weather, and therefore the most appropriately preppy time of year to see a film about Salinger.

Southwest of Salem will make you really angry

You’ve probably heard of the West Memphis Three, the young men convicted of murdering children in Arkansas in the mid ’90s. Their agonizing tale of injustice, one that included bizarre accusations of devil worship, was the subject of more than one documentary film and, ultimately, it brought them the exoneration they sought for so long. Well, now meet the San Antonio Four, four lesbians of color accused of raping two young girls, the case against them based on unreliable testimony, elements of hetero male revenge, racism, “Satanic panic,” and the usual homophobia and misogyny. Filmmaker Deborah S. Esquenazi has been following the story and produced the documentary Southwest of Salem: The Story of The San Antonio Four, and it’s been on the film festival circuit for a while, with a theatrical release due in New York and Los Angeles in September. With enough exposure, it could turn into the next Making a Murderer, and possibly result in the justice they’ve been denied.

You’re already invited to The Office Christmas Party

Dear Christmas Movie Season,

We know you’re on the way, even sooner than we think. The year is already more than half over, after all. But we’ve already decided which holiday-themed film we plan to see when the November onslaught hits: The Office Christmas Party. It’s not because of the premise, which involves a big office party to woo a big client, a client that will save the company from ruin. And it’s not because of the filmmakers, Josh Gordon and Will Speck, who were responsible for the very funny Blades of Glory, but also the not quite funny The Switch. We are there, we are so there, because of Kate McKinnon. She’s been our favorite funny person for a while now, thanks to SNL, but now the movie-going population knows that, as the MVP of Ghostbusters, she can work wonders on the big screen. There are other people in Office Christmas Party, of course: Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn, Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Randall Park and Rob Corddry, and we like them, too. But all we want for Christmas is Kate, so thank you in advance for this answered wish list item.


*Romeo San Vicente, who is not a lesbian but is giving it some thought.

banner ad