Showing posts with label Kevin Bacon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin Bacon. Show all posts

Friday, June 30, 2017

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from June 25th to 30th, 2017 - Update #30

Support Leroy on Patreon.

 COMICS-FILM - From TheWrap:  Rosario Dawson out and Alice Braga as "Dr. Cecilia Reyes" in Fox's "New Mutants."

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MOVIES - From ShadowandAct:  Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are developing an HBO biopic about pioneering African-American filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux.  Tyler Perry is attached to star as Micheaux.

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POLITICS - From RSN:  Pediatrician Mai-Khanh Tran will attempt to unseat a 12-term, U.S. House Republican (and a powerful one at that) next year.

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MOVIES - From Variety:  Michelle Rodriguez is ready to leave "The Fast and the Furious" franchise.  The actress, who plays Letty Ortiz, wants more opportunities for women in the film series.

From YahooFinance:  "The Fate of the Furious" director F. Gary Gray responds to Michelle Rodriguez.

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MOVIES - From YahooMovies:  Halle Berry said that her 2002 best actress Oscar win (for 2001's "Monsters Ball") meant nothing for diversity.

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OBIT - From Deadline:  The children's author Michael Bond has died at the age of 91, Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  Bond was best known as the creator of Paddington Bear.  The character first appeared in the 1958 book, "A Bear Called Paddington."

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COMICS-FILM - From ShadowandAct:  The return of Marvel Comics character, Blade, to the big or small screen?  Someday... says Marvel chief.

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MOVIES - From Variety:  Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars' "Captain Phasma") will join Steve Carell in director Robert Zemeckis' still untitled drama.

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OBIT - From Variety:  The Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist has died at the age 56, Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  He played a rapist in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and the villain "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."

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MOVIES - From ThePlaylist:  Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, her writing partner from the HBO series, "Girls," are in talks to write the American remake on the hit foreign film, "Toni Erdmann."

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MOVIES - From YahooMovies:  Marvel Studios boss, Kevin Feige, empathizes with Lucasfilm over the "young Han Solo" film director shakeup.

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COMICS-FILM - From LATimes:  Inside the deal the brought Spider-Man to the Marvel cinematic universe.

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TELEVISION - From ShadowandAct:  HBO is developing a TV series from Ray Bradbury's seminal novel, "Fahrenheit 451," with Michael B. Jordan in the lead.  Actress Laura Harrier will play the wife of Jordan's character ("Guy Montag").

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CULTURE - From BuzzFlash:  How to reverse the demise of the United States.

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TELEVISION - From ScreenDaily:  Kevin Bacon says that he is working on a reboot of his cult film, "Tremors," as a TV series for Syfy.

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MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Sissy Spacek came to fame and earned an Oscar nomination for her starring role in the film, "Carrie" (1976), adapted from a Stephen King novel.  Spacek is returning to the world of Stephen King in Hulu's upcoming series, "Castle Rock."

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MOVIES - From THR:  Warner Bros. is developing a sequel to Ben Affleck's hit film, "The Accountant" (2016).

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COMICS-FILM - From YahooMovies:  Highlights from the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" press conference.

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COMICS-FILM - From YahooTV:  ABC has announced Friday, September 29, 2017 as the premiere date for "Marvel's Inhumans."

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STAR TREK - From Esquire:  One of the changes that "Star Trek Discovery" will make to rules established by Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, is that Starfleet members will be in direct conflict with one another.  The first episode of this new series will air in October 2017.

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BLM - From WashPost:  A Black off-duty police officer tried to help stop a crime, and a White cop shot him.  Once again, the controversy is in the St. Louis area.

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BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 6/23 to 6/25/2017 weekend box office is "Transformers: The Last Knight" with an estimated take of $45.3 million.

From TheWrap:  "The Big Sick" and "The Beguiled" open big at indie box office.

From GoldDerby:  "Wonder Woman" is now the highest grossing live-action film by a woman director.  It's global box office total is at just over $635 million dollars (and counting), which surpasses the the previous record holder, Mamma Mia! (2008), which grossed just under $610 million globally and was directed by Phyllida Lloyd.

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COMICS-FILM - From TheWrap:  The upcoming "Spider-Man: Homecoming" is receiving glowing reviews.  The film will open nationwide on July 7th, 2017.

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TELEVISION - From Variety:  There is another project being adapted for TV from George R.R. Martin, whose fantasy novel series, "A Song of Fire and Ice," became the Emmy-winning, HBO television series, "Game of Thrones."  Now, Syfy is developing Martin's novella, "Nightflyers," as a pilot for a TV series.

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POLITICS - From RSN:  President Trump and the Congressional Republicans are trying to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or BCRA (Better Care Restoration Act) to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as "Obamacare."  President Obama says the AHCA/BCRA will do us harm.

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ECO - From TheNewYorker:  The race to solar-power Africa.

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CULTURE - From Newsweek:  Most U.S. terrorists are of the right-wing variety, not Muslim.

TRAILERS:

From YouTube:  This is the debut trailer for "The Greatest Showman," which stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum and also features Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and Zac Efron, among others.


Friday, September 30, 2016

"I Love Dick," "The Tick," Among New Greenlights from Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios Greenlights Three New Series for Prime Video

I Love Dick, Jean-Claude Van Johnson and The Tick will become Amazon Original Series and will debut next year exclusively for Amazon Prime members

Most recent pilot season was the most watched ever and Jean-Claude Van Johnson and The Tick were available on Twitch

New series come from visionary creators and producers including Peter Atencio, Ben Edlund, Barry Josephson, Ridley Scott, and Jill Soloway, and star notable actors that include Kevin Bacon, Peter Serafinowicz, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kathryn Hahn, and Jackie Earle Haley


SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon Studios today announced I Love Dick, Jean-Claude Van Johnson and The Tick have been greenlit to become Amazon Original Series. The new series will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in 2017 in the US, UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan for Amazon Prime members to watch as part of their membership via the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/originals.

    “It’s rewarding to see customers embrace them in such a huge way. We can’t wait to premiere these series next year on Prime Video.”

“These pilots were vast in scope, disruptive in tone, challenging in story and sometimes even funny,” said Joe Lewis, Head of Half-Hour Series, Amazon Studios. “It’s rewarding to see customers embrace them in such a huge way. We can’t wait to premiere these series next year on Prime Video.”

The new half hour series include I Love Dick, based on the renowned feminist novel about a couple’s marital struggles in the artistic and academic community of Marfa, Texas; Jean-Claude Van Johnson, where martial arts film star Jean-Claude Van Damme operates under the alias of “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” to serve as the most dangerous undercover private contractor in the world; and The Tick, an offbeat and dark superhero tale based on the acclaimed comic. Customers can watch the pilot episodes at www.amazon.com/pilotseason.

I Love Dick

Adapted from the cult classic, I Love Dick—referred to as “the most important book about men and women written in the last century" (Emily Gould, The Guardian)—is set in a colorful intellectual community in Marfa, Texas. Chris (Kathryn Hahn, Transparent) and Sylvere (Griffin Dunne, Dallas Buyers Club) arrive in Marfa when Sylvere is offered a fellowship to finish a book he's been writing on the Holocaust. When they meet Dick (Kevin Bacon, The Following), he taunts their imaginations and upends their preconceptions about love and monogamy. An exploration of the female gaze and how we tell stories about love and desire, I Love Dick charts the evolution of a marriage, the awakening of an artist and the deification of a writer named Dick. I Love Dick is executive produced by Jill Soloway (Transparent), Andrea Sperling (Transparent), and Sarah Gubbins (Ten Aker Wood). The pilot was directed by Soloway and written by Gubbins.

Jean-Claude Van Johnson
If you need to eliminate a political rival, debilitate a multinational corporation, or overthrow an entire government—and you need it done with the utmost secrecy—there’s only one person to turn to: one of the most internationally recognizable movie stars in the history of film. Jean-Claude Van Johnson stars Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD) playing “Jean-Claude Van Johnson,” a global martial arts and film sensation…and, operating under the simple alias of “Johnson,” the most dangerous undercover private contractor in the world. Lucky for the world’s bad guys, he’s been retired for years…unlucky for them, a chance encounter with a lost love is about to bring him back to the game…and this time, he’ll be deadlier than ever. Probably.

The pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson starred Van Damme along with Kat Foster (Your Family or Mine), Moises Arias (The Middle), and Phylicia Rashad (Creed). The show is executive produced by Peter Atencio (Key and Peele), Ridley Scott (The Good Wife), David W. Zucker (The Man in the High Castle) and Van Damme. From Scott Free Productions, the pilot was directed by Atencio, and written and created by Dave Callaham (Mortal Kombat).

The Tick

In a world where superheroes have been real for decades, an underdog accountant with zero powers comes to realize his city is owned by a global super villain long-thought dead. As he struggles to uncover this conspiracy, he falls in league with a strange blue superhero. The pilot for The Tick starred Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy), Griffin Newman (Vinyl), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Valorie Curry (House of Lies), Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin) and Brendan Hines (Scorpion). The Tick is executive produced by Ben Edlund (Supernatural), Barry Josephson (Bones) and Barry Sonnenfeld (A Series of Unfortunate Events), directed by Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight), and written by Edlund. The Tick is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television.


About Amazon Video
Amazon Video is a premium on-demand entertainment service that offers customers the greatest choice in what to watch, and how to watch it. Amazon Video is the only service that provides all of the following:

  •     Prime Video: Thousands of movies and TV episodes, including popular licensed content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Amazon Original Series and Movies from Amazon Studios like Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Chi Raq, and kids series Tumble Leaf available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership
  •     Add-on Subscriptions: Dozens of subscriptions to networks like SHOWTIME, STARZ and more, available to Amazon Prime members as add-ons to their membership
  •     Rent or Own: Hundreds of thousands of titles, including new-release movies and current TV shows available for on-demand rental or purchase for all Amazon customers
  •     Instant Access: Instantly watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets, or online. For a list of all compatible devices visit www.amazon.com/howtostream
  •     Premium Features: Top features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and mobile downloads for offline viewing

In addition to Prime Video, the Prime membership includes unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items across all categories, more than one million songs and thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music, early access to select Lightning Deals all year long, free secure, unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos, one free pre-released book a month with Kindle First, and more. To sign up for Prime or to find out more, visit: www.amazon.com/prime.

About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from April 1st to 9th, 2016 - Updated #48

Support Leroy on Patreon.

MOVIES/TV - From Deadline:  The new president of the actors' union, SAG-AFTRA, is Gabrielle Carteris, a longtime union activist.

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POLITICS - From THR:  Spike Lee interviews Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders.

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TELEVISION - From ScreenRant:  Finn Jones, the actor who will portray Iron Fist/Danny Rand in the Marvel/Netflix series, "Iron Fist," talks about his training regimen.

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TELEVISION - From HitFix:  Melissa McCarthy will appear in Netflix's revival of "The Gilmore Girls."

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MOVIES - From Deadline:  Some ugly dude will play the lead villain in "Wolverine 3."

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MOVIES - From Moviefone:  According to Marvel Studio's Kevin Feige, other Marvel characters will appear in Sony's 2017 Spider-Man reboot film.

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MOVIES - From Variety:  There will be an "Edge of Tomorrow 2," and the two screenwriters who wrote the script for the Jesse Owens biopic, "Race," will pen this sequel.

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COMICS - From HitFix:  Comic book publisher, BOOM! Studios, is publishing a comic book prequel to Universal's upcoming film, "Kong of Skull Island."

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MOVIES - From Deadline:  Charlize Theron has finalized a deal to appear in "Fast 8," the next installment of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise.

MOVIES - From HitFix:  Kristofer Hivju of "Game of Thrones" also headed to "Fast 8."

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COMICS - From SlashFilm:  AMC is bring comic book writer, Garth Ennis' "Preacher" to television.  Now, the team behind that series is bringing another Ennis comic book, "The Boys," to Cinemax.

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STAR WARS - From YouTube:  First trailer for "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

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MOVIES - From ScreenRant:  First set photo from "The Mummy" reboot with Tom Cruise.

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MOVIES - From HitFix:  Ryan Reynolds to return for "Deadpool 2."

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MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Warner Bros. moves the release date of "Wonder Woman" up two weeks to June 2017 and moves Andy Serkis' "Jungle Book: Origins" to 2018.

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MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Sony has revived its notorious "Cleopatra" film project.

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BREAKING: ATasteofCountry;  Country music singer and legend, Merle Haggard, has reportedly died at the age of 79, today, Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - which is also his birthday.

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MUSIC - From YahooMusic:  Beyonce addresses "Formation" controversy.

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TELEVISION - From Variety:  For the first time, a woman (Richard Talalay) will direct episodes of "Sherlock" starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

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COMICS - From PRNewswire:  Online media publisher, Valnet, Inc., has purchased Comic Book Resources (CBR), the comic book news site.  CBR often seemed like nothing more than a PR arm of Marvel and DC Comics, but it had its good moments.  The sale is apparently in the 8 figures.

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COMICS - From CinemaBlend:  Common talks about Jared Leto's method acting approach to playing the Joker in "Suicide Squad."

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OBITS - From Variety:  The screenwriter, Barbara Turner, has died at the age of 79, Tuesday, April 5, 2016.  She wrote such films as "George" and "Pollock."  Turner is also the mother of Oscar-nominated actress, Jennifer Jason Leigh.

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MOVIES - From WeGotItCovered:  Denzel Washington's film adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play, Fences, is scheduled to start film in July.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER - From ABCNews: Laquan McDonald's killer has a new job... with the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (KKK).

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CRIME - From ThinkProgress:  Louisiana man faces 20 years to life for stealing $31 worth of candy from a Dollar General.

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ECO - From EcoWatch:  Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlfie kills a family of wolves, although Oregon was so afraid to shot a bigger problem - the Bundy clan and their cabal.

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COMICS - From BleedingCool:  Sony Pictures has registered a domain name from its 2017 Spider-Man movie.

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COMICS - From ScreenRant:  Here is a first look at Mads Mikkelsen as the villain in Marvel's "Doctor Strange."

From IGN:  "Doctor Strange" director, Scott Derrickson, tweets a photo of leaders, Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

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TELEVISION - From TheWrap:  The cast of "Class," a "Doctor Who" spin-off, has been revealed.

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BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo: The winner of the 4/1 to 4/3/2016 weekend box office is "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" with an estimated take of $52.3 million dollars.

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THEATER - From TheWrap:  Judi Dench won her 8th Olivier Award, the British equivalent of the Tony Awards.

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COMICS - From CBR:  See a 12-minute sneak peek at "Batman: The Killing Joke," an upcoming original animated film from the DC Comics Universe.

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COMICS - From BleedingCool:  Zack Snyder on why he had to show Bruce Wayne's parents dying again in "Batman v Supeman."

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POLITICS - From BRAdvocate:  The improbably journey of new Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

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MOVIES - From ThePlaylist:  Dave Bautista of "Guardians of the Galaxy" joins "Blade Runner 2."

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POLITICS - From RSN:  Rosario Dawson's open letter to Dolores Huerta.

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CRIME - From TheDailyBeast:  Scandal involving San Francisco cops sending racist and homophobic texts continues to grow.

POLITICS - From RSN:  Response to Barbra Streisand's "Sexism in Politics" essay, regarding Hillary Clinton.

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MOVIES - From CBR:  Marvel's "Doctor Strange" was recently shooting in New York City, and the result was lots of photos of Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor in costume as Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo, respectively.

From YahooMovies:  There is smart phone video taken by bystanders of filming.

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MOVIES - From ScreenRant:  There will be a sequel to "Sicario" with the original cast returning, Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benecio del Toro.

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COMICS - From Polygon:  There is more casting news from Marvel/Netflix's "Iron Fist" television series.

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COMICS - From LatinoReview:  There has been a bit of chatter about FOX's X-Men spin-off, "New Mutants," but FOX is saying that some of the casting rumors are untrue.

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MOVIES - From TheWrap:  John Carpenter's 1984 film, Starman, is being remade by Shawn Levy, director of "Night at the Museum."

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MOVIES - From NYTimes:  Whoopi Goldberg enters the dope game launching marijuana products for women.

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POLITICS - From RSN:  Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone announces his support for Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

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ECO - From Grist:  The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gave $1 million to help the Seychelles islands protect their ocean territory.

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MOVIES - From WeGotThisCovered:  Robin Wright to star opposite Harrison Ford in "Blade Runner 2."

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MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Kevin Bacon joins Mark Wahlberg in "Patriots Day."

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CRIME - From BuzzFlash:  Another horror story about law enforcement and justice in Louisiana - Two Texas moms jailed over allegedly stealing two hot dogs.

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From YouTube:  "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Blu-ray clip, "Casting Rey."

From YouTube:  "Everybody Wants Some" clip, "Rappers Driving"


Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: Original "Friday the 13th" Movie Surprisingly Good

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 62 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Friday the 13th (1980)
Running time:  95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes)
MPAA – X
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR:  Sean S. Cunningham
WRITERS:  Victor Miller; from a story by Sean S. Cunningham and Victor Miller
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Barry Abrams (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Bill Freda
COMPOSER:  Harry Manfredini

HORROR

Starring:  Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Mark Nelson, Peter Bouwer, Rex Everhart, Ronn Carroll, Ron Millkie, Walt Gorney, and Betsy Palmer

Friday the 13th is a 1980 slasher horror film from producer-director, Sean S. Cunningham.  It was the first movie in what is, as of this writing, a 12-film franchise, which includes a 2009 reboot of the franchise and a crossover film with another horror franchise, 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason.  The first Friday the 13th focuses on young camp counselors that are being stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant, as they try to reopen a summer camp with a troubled history.

Friday the 13th opens one night in 1958 at Camp Crystal Lake, where two young camp counselors are savagely murdered.  The story jumps to Friday, June 13, 1979.  Steve Christy (Peter Bouwer), son of the camp’s original owners, is trying to reopen Camp Crystal Lake.  Seven young camp counselors are arriving early to help Steve repair the camp site before it reopens.

Annie (Robbi Morgan), one of the early arrivals, finds that the town is not exactly happy about the idea of Steve reopening the camp, which has been the site of murders, fires, and water poisonings.  In fact, some of the locals specifically try to warn Annie to leave.  As this Friday the 13th turns to evening, the counselors are not aware that someone is watching and waiting and also preparing to kill them one by one.

Recently, I watched, for the first time, Friday the 13th in its entirety, and I liked it more than I ever thought I would.  It was clearly influenced by John Carpenter’s classic, 1978 slasher film, Halloween, but it is different.  I find Friday the 13th to be both moody and matter-of-fact about the murders committed in the film.  It is almost as if the filmmakers and storytellers (which include screenwriter Ron Kurz, who did not receive an onscreen credit) are saying to us that while sad, the death in this movie has to be.  This movie is less about pandering to the audience than about depicting a tragedy that has to be.

The film score for Friday the 13th, composed by Harry Manfredini, is probably the most important creative element in making this movie a chiller and thriller.  Manfredini seems to use elements from John Williams’ musical score for Jaws (1975) and Bernard Herrmann’s for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).  If talent borrows and genius steals, it was a genius move on Manfredini’s part to emulate the best musical cues from Jaws and Psycho, strains of music that are perfect for creating an atmosphere of fear and impending doom in Friday the 13th.

After 33 years, anyone familiar with the Friday the 13th franchise knows the identity of the killer in the original movie, but I still will not reveal the identity.  I think one of the things that make the original movie stand out from both its sequels and other horror films is who and what the killer is.  Of note, acclaimed actor Kevin Bacon has one of his earliest screen roles in Friday the 13th, and that includes a rather explicit sex scene, in which his sex partner claws his buttocks.  Including the fact that this is a horror movie classic, bare Bacon is as good a reason as any to see Friday the 13th.

Seriously, I like this movie’s scrappy nature.  There is something about its awkward, not-well made spirit that actually makes the movie seem... well, well-made.  Friday the 13th has a low-budget aesthetic that surprisingly appeals to me, and in terms of photography, there are a few moments that are captivating.  In fact, some of this movie’s scenes and best moments are as effective as the best moments found in film thrillers that are much more admired.

7 of 10
B+

NOTES:
1981 Razzie Awards:  2 nominations: “Worst Picture” (Sean S. Cunningham) and “Worst Supporting Actress” (Betsy Palmer)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: "Mystic River" is Really Good, But is Too Damn Bleak (Happy B'day, Laurence Fishburne)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 92 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mystic River (2003)
Running time:  138 minutes (2 hours, 18 minutes)
MPAA – R for language and violence
DIRECTOR:  Clint Eastwood
WRITER:  Brian Helgeland (from the novel by Dennis Lehane)
PRODUCERS:  Clint Eastwood, Judie G. Hoyt, and Robert Lorenz
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Tom Stern (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Joel Cox
COMPOSER:  Clint Eastwood
Academy Award winner

DRAMA/CRIME

Starring:  Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Thomas Guiry, Emmy Rossum, Spencer Treat Clark, Andrew Mackin, Adam Nelson, and Robert Wahlberg

The subject of this movie review is Mystic River, a 2003 crime drama from director Clint Eastwood.  The film is based on Mystic River, the 2001 novel from author Dennis Lehane.  Mystic River focuses on three men who are reunited by circumstance after the daughter of one of the men is murdered.

Clint Eastwood’s film Mystic River was one of the most acclaimed films of 2003, and it earned several Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Director.  However, thanks to the onslaught that was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at the 2004 Academy Awards, Mystic River only picked up the two “Best Actor” awards:  Leading Role (Sean Penn) and Supporting Role (Tim Robbins).

Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn), Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins), and Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon) are three childhood friends reunited after Markum’s daughter, Katie (Emmy Rossum), is found brutally murdered.  Their reunion is at cross-purposes, however.  Markum is small time hood, Devine is the investigator with the State Police investigating Katie’s murder, and Boyle survived being kidnapped and sexually assaulted when the three men were boys.  When Boyle becomes the lead suspect, the reunion spirals towards tragedy.

Mystic River is a very good film, but ultimately it’s a bit too cold for too long.  At times, I could have sworn that I was watching Clint Eastwood directing a drama as a formal dinner party.  Mystic River is professional and slick, as well as being raw and gritty.  The film has weight and gravity, but it all seems so laid back and cool.  Not until the last 20 minutes does the film really begin to unleash a tour de force of film drama, but those closing scenes are alien to the rest of the film.

Mystic River really plays with the idea that people are interconnected; the action or inaction of one has inevitable, although unseen, consequences upon another – neat but pat.  Besides, the award winning performances of Penn and Robbins, Kevin Bacon and especially Laurence Fishburne have the roles that anchor the film and they almost steal the show.  In the end Mystic River is all good, but waits for the closing act to show how really good it can be.  If you like dour dramas with good acting, this one is for you, but it’s not an exceptional work of movie art.

7 of 10
A-

NOTES:
2004 Academy Awards, USA:  2 wins: “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (Sean Penn) and “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Tim Robbins); 4 nominations: “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” (Marcia Gay Harden), “Best Director” (Clint Eastwood), “Best Picture” (Robert Lorenz, Judie Hoyt, and Clint Eastwood), and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Brian Helgeland)

2004 BAFTA Awards:  4 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Sean Penn), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Tim Robbins), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Laura Linney), and “Best Screenplay – Adapted” (Brian Helgeland)

2004 Golden Globes, USA:  2 wins: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Sean Penn) and “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Tim Robbins); 3 nominations: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (Clint Eastwood), “Best Motion Picture – Drama” (Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Brian Helgeland)

Updated: Monday, July 08, 2013

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: "Crazy, Stupid, Love." is Crazy, Stupid, Funny

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 102 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Running time: 118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language
DIRECTORS: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
WRITER: Dan Fogelman
PRODUCERS: Steve Carell and Denise Di Novi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn
EDITOR: Lee Haxall
COMPOSER: Christophe Beck and Nick Urata

COMEDY/ROMANCE/DRAMA

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Joey King, Marisa Tomei, Beth Littleford, John Carroll Lynch, Kevin Bacon, Liza Lapira, Josh Groban, and Algerita Lewis

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a 2011 romantic comedy starring Steve Carell (who is also one of the film’s producers) and Julianne Moore. The film is essentially an ensemble comedy, but the central focus is a couple whose 20-year marriage dissolves. The title fits the film perfectly, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. gets crazy and stupid enough to make me love it, in spite of my best efforts to act as if I were above liking this kind of romantic comedy.

While dining out one night, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) gets some shocking news from his wife of 20 years, Emily (Julianne Moore). Not only does she want a divorce, but Emily also admits to having sex with one of her coworkers, an accountant named David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Cal moves out of their home and begins to frequent a popular bar, where his complaints catch the sympathetic ear of a dashing young womanizer, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling).

Jacob teaches the fine art of womanizing to Cal, who eventually begins a series of one-night stands. However, Jacob soon meets the one woman that can tame him, Hannah (Emma Stone), a young law student. In the meantime, Jessica Riley (Analeigh Tipton), the 17-year-old girl who baby sits Cal’s children, falls in love with Cal. However, Cal’s 13-year-old son, Robbie Weaver (Jonah Bobo), is madly in love with Jessica. As love goes mad all around him, Cal still can’t stop wanting to reunite with Emily, but does she want the same thing?

Crazy, Stupid, Love. could have the words “awkward” and “misunderstanding,” added to the title, as the film strains credulity with a number of timely coincidences. These lead to set pieces which depict one embarrassing moment after another for one or more characters. By the way, all the characters seem pretty much the same and are shallow; they are lovable, but still shallow. Still, mortification is what makes this movie such a sweet romantic film. Being married and/or being a parent is bittersweet, but you love your loved ones even in those moments when you hate them or when they embarrass and humiliate you.

Crazy, Stupid, Love., for all its contrivances, gets that, and Dan Fogelman’s script weaves the contrived and the coincidental into a lovely tale of committed love. There is a huge and shocking reveal in the movie’s last act and a speech near the end of the film that should both make us cringe. Instead, they exemplify the ability of Crazy, Stupid, Love. to make us stupid, crazy in love with it.

7 of 10
B+

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Original "Footloose" Still Cuts Loose

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 81 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


Footloose (1984)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – PG
DIRECTOR: Herbert Ross
WRITER: Dean Pitchford
PRODUCERS: Lewis J. Rachmil and Craig Zadan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ric Waite (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Paul Hirsch
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/MUSIC with elements of romance

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Christopher Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Laughlin, Elizabeth Gorcey, Frances Lee McCain, Jim Youngs, Lynne Marta, Arthur Rosenberg, and Timothy Scott

Footloose is a 1984 teen drama in which the story is driven, in part, by its pop music soundtrack. The film was a hit upon its initial release, and the soundtrack sold over nine millions copies, with two songs from the film earning Oscar nominations. Footloose spawned a 1998 Broadway musical and is the subject of a 2011 remake.

Footloose focuses on Ren MacCormack (Kevin Bacon), a teenager raised in Chicago. As the movie begins, Ren and his mother, Ethel (Frances Lee McCain), have just moved to the small Midwestern town of Bomont to live with Ethel’s sister, Lulu (Lynne Marta) and her husband, Wes Warnicker (Arthur Rosenberg). Ren soon makes a friend of a local kid, Willard Hewitt (Chris Penn), and eventually attracts the attention of a wild, but pretty teen girl, Ariel Moore (Lori Singer).

Ren, who likes to dance and play loud music, soon learns that dancing and loud music are not allowed in Bomont, mainly because of Ariel’s stern father, Reverend Shaw Moore (John Lithgow). Ren decides that his senior class should have a prom, but he and his small circle of friends may have to take on the entire town, especially the town council, if they want to hold a dance in public.

There is a lot of cheesy synthesizer-driven music on the soundtrack and plenty of weird dance moves are on display. Still, Footloose is actually a good little teen drama. It’s like an ABC After School Special with a soundtrack, and if Dean Pitchford’s script is anything, it is sincere.

The story is rarely overwrought, and Pitchford created familiar characters without making them stereotypes. I’ve seen John Lithgow’s character, Rev. Moore, described as a “bible thumper,” and Moore is not. Even if the character were, Lithgow, an accomplished actor, would never play Shaw Moore as such. He is a complex man who means well and sincerely cares about the people of Bomont. The arc of his character is a journey to make sure that his good intentions don’t pave a road to Hell.

Kevin Bacon made a star turn as Ren in Footloose, and while the character can be a bit overexcited, Bacon makes Ren likeable and genuine. Of course, Sarah Jessica Parker sparkles, showing a hint of what her fans love about her today, and it’s good to see Chris Penn young, in shape, and nice looking – the Chris Penn before the weight, the drugs, and the tragic ending.

Footloose stands the test of time. I think it is as good today as it was 27-and-a-half years ago. I will give it the same grade I gave it back then, and I’d even watch it again. Its story of friendship and small town melodrama are more engaging than quaint.

6 of 10
B

NOTES:
1985 Academy Awards: 2 nominations: “Best Music, Original Song” (Kenny Loggins-music and Dean Pitchford-lyric for the song "Footloose") and “Best Music, Original Song” (Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford for the song "Let's Hear It for the Boy")

1985 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford for the song "Footloose")

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Kevin Bacon Deserved Oscar Nod for "The Woodsman" (Happy B'day, Kevin Bacon)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 66 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Woodsman (2004)
Running time: 87 minutes (1 hour, 27 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality, disturbing behavior, and language
DIRECTOR: Nicole Kassell
WRITERS: Steven Fechter and Nicole Kassell (based upon the play by Steven Fechter)
PRODUCERS: Lee Daniels
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Xavier Perez Grobet
EDITORS: Lisa Fruchtman and Brian A. Kates
Black Reel Award winner

DRAMA with elements of a thriller

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Eve, Mos Def, David Alan Grier, Michael Shannon, Benjamin Bratt, Kevin Rice, and Hannah Pilkes

Walter (Kevin Bacon) spent 12 years in prison on charges of sexually abusing small children. Now, he’s released and trying hard to regain some sense of normalcy in his life. He lands a job working in a lumberyard only because he worked for his boss, Rosen’s (David Alan Grier), father. At the new job, he meets and begins a halting romance with another employee, a woman named Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick), but Walter’s biggest task is to keep from giving in to his compulsions and committing more crimes against children.

The Woodsman, simply put, is as riveting as the most intense horror films (something like The Exorcist) and as heart-stopping as the most extreme action films (Die Hard or The Rock). That’s built on two things – the situation and the Kevin Bacon’s heart-wrenching performance. The plot is tight and deals with the life of a child molester/sex offender in an even-handed way. Of course, there are obviously some genre conventions (Walter’s romance with Vickie and Walter’s struggle to stop another child molester from creating a victim) designed to create a moderately happy or, at least, hopeful ending. Sometimes, The Woodsman seems a bit over the top, in both the portrayal of Walter’s struggles not to offend again, and in the number of other victims or similar situations Walter encounters in what, for us, is a movie under an hour and a half long.

Still, director/co-writer Nicole Kassell and co-writer Steven Fechter do a fantastic job turning a complicated and difficult subject matter and societal issue into a small film that rings with such truth. They make The Woodsman one of those important films that is first a good movie and then, an honest and informative way of presenting the matter as art. I would quibble that the lack of time left some good characters, especially Kyra Sedgwick’s Vickie and Mos Def’s Sgt. Lucas as mere shadows, when they deserved more.

Kevin Bacon’s performance as Walter is one of a handful of performances in 2004 film releases that was overshadowed by Jamie Foxx’s super turn in the Ray Charles biopic, Ray. Bacon quietly, but with such magnum force, details Walter’s internal and external struggles in the way he moves, talks, eats, sleeps, works, etc., and the most-telling parts of the performance are in the nuances, the spaces between the obvious. Long an underrated actor, The Woodman may do for Bacon what Dead Man Walking did for Sean Penn.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
2005 Black Reel Awards: 2 wins: “Best Actor, Independent Film” (Mos Def) and “Best Independent Film” (Newmarket Films); 1 nomination: “Best Actress, Independent Film” (Eve)

April 18, 2005

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review: "X-Men: First Class" is at the Top of the Class

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 46 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

X-Men: First Class (2011)
Running time: 132 minutes (2 hours, 12 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language
DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn
WRITERS: Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn; from a story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer
PRODUCERS: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, and Lauren Shuler Donner, and Bryan Singer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Mathieson (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith
COMPOSER: Henry Jackman

SUPERHERO/SCI-FI/ACTION/DRAMA

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Zoe Kravitz, Edi Gathegi, Oliver Platt, Alex Gonzalez, and Jason Flemyng

X-Men: First Class is a superhero movie and the fifth movie in the X-Men film franchise, following X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). X-Men: First Class is a combination prequel to the first film and partial reboot of the franchise, but whatever is it, First Class currently stands as the best film in the X-Men series.

Most of First Class is set in 1962. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) are the men who would take the names Professor X and Magneto, respectively. Both are young men and also mutants discovering the extent of their powers, as they embark on their respective missions in life. A telepath with mind control powers, Xavier has recently received his doctorate from Oxford University, and he wants to find more mutants like himself who have special powers. He has lived with one of them, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), since he was a child.

Meanwhile, Lensherr, who is a Holocaust survivor and mutant that can manipulate magnetism, hunts and kills Nazi and German war criminals. One of his targets is Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), a mutant with tremendous powers. Now, a scientist and leader of a mysterious group known as the Hellfire Club, Shaw has launched a plot to start a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

After Lensherr makes a failed attempt on Shaw’s life, Xavier brings Lensherr into the CIA’s “Division X” facility. There, Xavier and Lensherr recruit young mutants they will train to stop Shaw, but both men see the world differently. As they race to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known, a rift grows between Xavier and Lensherr, one that threatens everything and maybe every human on the planet.

X-Men: First Class is everything good about the franchise: the mutant vs. mutant conflict, man vs. mutant conflict, the struggle against prejudice and bigotry, the action and intrigue, and the themes of family and brotherhood. But in this film, it is all presented in a more audacious and confident manner. There are a lot of things happening in this movie, and the story presents most of it awfully quickly. Director Matthew Vaughn guides it all with such brisk, efficient storytelling that makes most of it clear, clever, and engaging.

First Class is also a summer movie with something to say. With its Cold War setting, Cuban Missile Crisis sub-plot, and allusions to the Civil Rights movement, this movie places the plight of the mutants within a real world context. The film remains, however, cool and intense, even being sometimes playful about its dead serious elements. First Class’ last act does turn a little too much towards action movie mayhem and away from the emotional motivations, but in the end, this X-Men movie plays for keeps. These mutants want to do the right thing, but what is the right thing, the film asks? And what do you do when the people you are trying to protect and save want to kill you?

All the performances here have a youthful energy, and James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Lensherr have great chemistry together. Fassbender is Oscar-nomination worthy as Lensherr/Magneto. X-Men: First Class is not just good; it is also one of the best superhero movies ever and, so far, the year’s best film.

9 of 10
A+

Saturday, June 04, 2011

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Steve Carell Comedy, "Crazy, Stupid, Love" Get New Release Date

Press release:

“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Gets Summer Play Date

The Release of the New Steve Carell Comedy Moves to July 29, 2011

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Responding to overwhelmingly positive test screening results, Warner Bros. Pictures is moving the release date of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” starring Steve Carell, to July 29, 2011.

The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, who stated, “From our early recruited screenings, we have seen that audiences love ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ From all indications, we feel strongly that the film has a very broad appeal, so we have decided to release it where it will have the widest possible platform. The studio is very excited to include this film in our powerhouse Summer slate, alongside films like ‘The Hangover Part II,’ ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.’”

“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” also stars Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon.

Carell leads the cast as straight-laced, fortysomething Cal Weaver, who is living the dream—good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his perfect life quickly unravels. Worse, in today’s single world, Cal, who hasn’t dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth. Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protégé to handsome, thirtysomething player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). In an effort to help Cal get over his wife and start living his life, Jacob opens Cal’s eyes to the many options before him: flirty women, manly drinks and a sense of style that can’t be found at Supercuts or The Gap. But despite Cal’s makeover and his many new conquests, the one thing that can’t be made over is his heart, which seems to keep leading him back to where he began.

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa directed “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” from a screenplay by Dan Fogelman. The film is produced by Carell and Denise Di Novi, with David A. Siegel, Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock serving as executive producers. Warner Bros. Pictures presents “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” a production of Carousel Productions and DiNovi Pictures. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and has been rated PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual content and language.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Beauty Shop" is Simply a Queen Latifah Vehicle

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 57 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux


Beauty Shop (2005)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 on appeal for sexual material, language, and brief drug references
DIRECTOR: Bille Woodruff
WRITERS: Kate Lanier and Norman Vance, Jr.; from a story by Elizabeth Hunter
PRODUCERS: Elizabeth Cantillon, Shakim Compere, David Hoberman, Queen Latifah, Robert Teitel, and George Tillman, Jr.
CINEMTOGRAPHER: Theo van de Sande
EDITOR: Michael Jablow

COMEDY/DRAMA

Starring: Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Alfre Woodard, Mena Suvari, Della Reese, Golden Brooks, Miss Laura Hayes, Paige Hurd, Little (Li’l) JJ, LisaRaye McCoy, Kevin Bacon, Djimon Hounsou, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Sherri Shepherd, Kimora Lee Simmons, Sheryl Underwood, Bryce Wilson, Omari Hardwick, Jim Holmes, and Adele Givens

Gina Norris (Queen Latifah) is a long way off from Chicago where we last saw her in Barbershop 2: Back in Business. She’s in Atlanta (Hot-lanta!) making her rep with the cutting-edge hairstyles she puts on the customers at a posh Atlanta salon. However, her flamboyant, egotistical boss, Jorge (Kevin Bacon), is jealous of her, and after one insult too many from him, Gina quits. She opens her on beauty shop, but right from the beginning, she has all the usual troubles that a small business has: not enough money, state regulations, unruly employees, etc. One of her old co-workers, shampoo girl, Lynn (Alicia Silverstone), and a few key clients, Terri (Andie MacDowell) and Joanne (Mena Suvari), follow her. Now, all she has to do is maintain her family obligations and keep her struggling business afloat. That should be easy, right? At least, there’s lot of laughter and friendship along the way.

Beauty Shop is a spin off, but by no means a sequel, to the Barbershop films. This really is a women’s movie, and with its diverse cast of black and white actresses, as well as other persuasions, it’s a (grown up) girls’ movie with crossover appeal. The language is a bit blue, and the frank talk about sex is enough to make even a veteran of caustic movies like myself blanch. Still, I saw children buying tickets to see the film, and it does reach out to them. Gina has a daughter, a character to appeal to younger viewers, and frankly, girls want to hear women talk; besides, Beauty Shop’s subject matter isn’t prurient.

The plot is light, but deals with a familiar and appealing theme: the little guy taking on the evil big guy who wants to squeeze the little guy out of existence. Beauty Shop has lots of laughs, but it’s as much a drama as it is a comedy. Gina’s struggle to stay afloat is not only precarious, but has a hard ring of verisimilitude. Also, some of the confrontations between characters are filled with funny wisecracks, but also have a dark edge and tension to them.

This is also an ensemble picture, with Queen Latifah in the lead, a character-driven film that focuses on the players with the plot holding second place. Everyone plays her (or his) oddball well enough, although Alicia Silverstone’s Georgia cracker, Lynn, is a bit too much, as is Kevin Bacon’s ridiculous Jorge. The Queen is an underrated actress. She handles the topsy-turvy of the film’s comic/dramatic turns with dexterity that belies her size. She’s a beautiful movie star, and her radiance grows with each film. Without her, Beauty Shop would be another tired “urban” movie cliché full of mouthy, smack-talking ethnics. Luckily, she is in Beauty Shop, and she raises this sub-par material and takes her co-stars with her.

6 of 10
B

April 10, 2005