Editors note: Deadline presents the 23rd episode of its video series in which Pete Hammond and Todd McCarthy tackle the artistry of films. Each has reviewed and written about the craft for decades and built a remarkable breadth of knowledge of films past and present. What we hoped for when we asked them to do this was a concise, mature and thoughtful conversation comparable to what we saw from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.
Elvis has apparently not left the building. 45 years after his death in 1977 Elvis Presley is once again leading the pack as the two hour and thirty nine minute movie from Baz Luhrmann, Elvis to the number one spot at the box office, in the process helping to bring back the reluctant adult audience to the multiplex in large numbers. The musical biopic stars Austin Butler as Elvis and Tom Hanks as his controversial and controlling manager Colonel Tom Parker. The Presley family has enthusiastically endorsed this warts and all portrait of the King of rock n’ roll and those around him. At its Cannes World Premiere Hammond also favorably reviewed the film which stands at 79% fresh on the aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and received an A- rating from Cinemascore from audience members who showed on its opening weekend. Now in this new edition of Two Shot Hammond and McCarthy (who just caught the film last week) debate its merits and find themselves at odds with the exception of one key element. In addition to Elvis we also examine Hollywood’s fondness for the musical biopic genre including recent hits, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman among many others, films that have also brought Oscars to the likes of Rami Malek, Jamie Foxx, Sissy Spacek, and others.
To watch our conversation, click on the video above.
Hammond has been Deadline’s Awards Columnist for the past decade, covering what now seemingly is the year-round Oscar and Emmy seasons. He is also Deadline’s Chief Film Critic, having previously reviewed films for MovieLine, Boxoffice magazine, Backstage, Hollywood.com and Maxim, as well as Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, for which he was a contributing editor. In addition to writing, Hammond also hosts KCET Cinema Series and the station’s weekly series Must See Movies.
McCarthy is a veteran trade publication film critic, columnist and reporter who has also written several acclaimed books and documentary films. He served two stints on the staffs of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter and extensively covered film festivals internationally for both publications. His film Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography won the best documentary prizes from the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics associations, and he won an Emmy for writing the documentary Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer. He also directed the documentaries Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient and Forever Hollywood.