Archive for the 'tv' Category

15
Sep
09

In Passing… Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

patrick-swayze

 

Actor and dancer Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009 from pancreatic cancer. Swayze was born in Houston, TX and grew up pursuing athletic skills such as ice skating, ballet, and gymnastics, as well as acting skills. In 1972 he moved to New York City and appeared in a production of “Grease” before appearing as “Ace” in “Skatetown, U.S.A.” From there he went on to star in such movies as “The Outsiders,” and “Red Dawn,” and in the TV series, “North and South.” Stardom was officially achieved with the romantic hits “Dirty Dancing,” and “Ghost.” Showing that he’s a fighter as well as a lover, he starred in “Next of Kin,” “Roadhouse,” and “Point Break.” Following that he played a transvestite in “To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.” He then took roles in smaller films such as “Black Dog” and “Donnie Darko.” For the past year he has been fighting the cancer as well as starring in the A&E series, “The Beast.” Swayze was 57 years of age at passing.

 

Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

 

 

For more information, check out his IMDB page at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000664/

Advertisements
03
Sep
09

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

I B Teaser 1-Sht.

 

Tarantino rewriting history for fun

Stars Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Melanie Laurent, Mike Myers, Diane Kruger. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.

More World War II movies need spaghetti Western music. I might be getting ahead of myself here.

Let me get this out of the way: Brad Pitt and Company (Eli Roth, etc.) “aren’t much into the taking prisoners business. We in the killin’ Nazis business.” Pitt plays Lt. Aldo Raine, a Tennessean good ole boy who keeps a company of eight men inside German-occupied France and who charges each man with delivering “100 Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps,” taking a cue from the Apache Indians. Each man is Jewish and mostly American (a few are German). Among the group is Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) who made the German papers tracking down and personally killing 13 high ranking Nazi SS. Their personal dream is to take down the entire Third Reich by any and all means possible.

But the movie isn’t just about them.

Shosanna (Laurent) is a French Jew living in Paris under the name Emmanuelle. Years earlier her family hid under the home of a farmer known for his daughters and milk production. Shosanna narrowly escaped with her life from the execution brought by “Jew Hunter” Colonel Hans Landa. Landa is a keen hunter/detective for the Third Reich with fluency in several languages and the ability to detect B.S. a mile away. In short: he’s the ultimate antagonist overshadowing the other high-ranking officers.
Back to Shoshanna: she’s now living in Paris and owns a cinema supposedly given to her by her dead aunt and uncle. Her projectionist is a black man named Marcel (Jacky Ido), whom she also loves. Along comes Frederick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl), the “star of the moment” for defending a seized city and killing over 300 combatants in a period of three days. This led to a movie being made about him directed by Joseph Goebbels called “Nation’s Pride” where he plays himself. He falls for Shosanna/Emmanuelle and has her meet the high-ranking officials of the SS and persuades them to use her theatre for the premiere of the movie. She hatches a plan whereby she’ll ignite the 350 highly flammable nitrate films (a segment narrated by Samuel L. Jackson) and get vengeance on the Germans for killing her family.

And the third story:

A British film critic-turned-soldier (Gedeon Burkhard) is inducted to be part of Operation Kino by General Ed Fenech (Mike Myers). He is to go to Paris and escort double-agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) to the premiere of “Nation’s Pride” which Hitler is supposedly going to attend.

How do the Basterds weave through these stories? How is Landa involved within them? For that, you’ll have to watch the movie.

Tarantino throws in everything but the kitchen sink into this one: he borrows the book chapter titling from the “Kill Bill” movies to kick start the separate stories. Samuel L. Jackson (as noted above) narrates a section explaining nitrate film. Julie Dreyfus (interpreter in “Kill Bill”) shows up in this too as in interpreter: French-to-German, vice versa. Harvey Keitel lends some voiceover work from a telephone connection toward the end of the film. Spaghetti Western music surrounds the torture sequences of the Basterds; even a David Bowie songs makes an appearance in the movie in a very apropos segment. Camera crane shots following a character seem to mimic those from “Kill Bill Volume One.” And lest ye forget: over-the-top characters.

Ultimately this is a film geek’s movie as well as a Tarantino fan’s movie (which if you’re one you might as well be the other). From Tarantino’s style culled from his previous fare (“Kill Bill,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Jackie Brown”) to homages to his favorite films (I think there was a reference to “The Searchers” somewhere in there) it has its moments of fun. What better way to give credit to those who watch and love his movies than centering the events of a movie around film itself?

Brad Pitt is great as the Southern Lt. Aldo Raine. Eli Roth (not a favorite) works as Sgt. Donny Donowitz, “The Bear Jew,” a guy who kills Nazis with a baseball bat. Christoph Waltz is the perfect Nazi bad guy. Laurent is great as the woman swearing vengeance on the party and who ends up in a doomed relationship. One thing Tarantino has above other directors is the ability to either perfectly cast someone, or make the person work for the role they’re given.

Why should you see this film? You’re a Tarantino fan. You’re a film geek/nerd. Or maybe you just wanna see some Nazi scalping. Speaking of which watch for Tarantino in the beginning of the film as a Nazi being scalped.

Not to dismay the fun, but the film does lag at a certain point. It’s not so much the dialog as it is the story weighing down the fun of the movie. Don’t get me wrong: the beginning and ending acts are GREAT, but somewhere before the finale things tend to drag. Blame it on the pacing. Also, I wanted to see more of The Basterds in action. I was hoping the movie would be more about the group than the other stories it divided time between. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it overall but… I wanted something more. Not so much more explanations of the characters but more scenes of their adventures.

My grade: B+

19
Aug
09

In Passing… John Hughes (1950-2009)

john_hughes

 

Director, producer, and writer John Hughes passed away on August 6, 2009. Hughes was known for successful 80’s teen comedies such as “Pretty In Pink,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Weird Science,” and “The Breakfast Club,” as well as “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Uncle Buck,” and “Home Alone.” Born in Lansing, Michigan he spent time shooting small films in Northbrook, IL. In 1970 he took a job as an ad copywriter in Chicago. Continuing to write he sent in a story called “Vacation ‘58” which became the basis for “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” His breakout film was “Sixteen Candles,” which won praise and followed by “Breakfast Club,” “Weird Science,” and “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.” Not wanting to be “the teen comedy guy,” he directed “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Uncle Buck,” and “Home Alone.” His last was “Curly Sue,” in 1991. Since then he dropped off the Hollywood radar, movie back to Chicago and eventually going into farming. Using the pen name Edmond Dantes (think “Count of Monte Cristo”) he wrote the screenplays for “Maid in Manhattan” and “Drillbit Taylor.” He died from a heart attack at the age of 59.

 

Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

 

Check out his IMDB page at:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000455/

19
Aug
09

In Passing… Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

cronkite

 

Anchorman, journalist, and broadcaster Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. passed away on July 17, 2009. Cronkite was born in Missouri but at the age of 10 moved to Texas. He became part of the Boy Scouts and later edited his high school and college newspaper. In 1935 he dropped out and became a radio announce in Oklahoma City. From there he joined the United Press in 1937 and covered World War II, becoming one of eight journalists selected to fly along with a “bombing raid.” He also covered the Nuremberg Trials. In 1950 he joined CBS and worked as in anchor in various capacities. April 1962 Cronkite took over for Douglas Edwards and for the next 19 years became head anchorman for the CBS Evening News, reporting on the Kennedy Assassination, Vietnam War, Watergate, the Space program, and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Dan Rather took his spot as he left but continued to be politically active in journalism and other media. He passed away cerebral vascular disease at the age of 92 years.

 

Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

 

For more information, check out his Wiki page at:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Cronkite

20
Jul
09

In Passing… Karl Malden (1912-2009)

malden

 

Actor Karl Malden passed away on July 1, 2009. Born Miaden George Sekulovich in Chicago, IL he was raised in Gary, IN. His father worked in the steel mills and as a milkman while his mother was a seamstress and actress. With a father who had a passion for music and acting, he quickly picked up singing and drama. He took bit parts here and there and at the age of 22 changed his name to Karl Malden. After working in the steel mills for 3 years he left and went to what would become DePaul University and took acting classes on a full scholarship where he later met his wife Mona Greenberg. He graduated in 1937 and without money or a job, moved back to his hometown. Later he traveled to the Big Apple, appearing on Broadway and meeting Elia Kazan. World War II called him into action, having him serve as a noncommissioned officer in the 8th Air Force. Returning from the War he met up with Kazan and began acting again, meeting up with then unknown Marlon Brando. His first film role was as Red in “They Knew What They Wanted” (1940) while his first TV role was on an episode of the “Ford Theatre Hour” (1949). Malden is more notable for appearing in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” (won an Oscar for) “On the Waterfront,” “One-Eyed Jacks,” and “Patton.” He starred in the TV series “The Streets of San Francisco” with Michael Douglas (1972-1977). And for 21 years he did ads for American Express, reminding you to “never leave home with it.” He died from natural causes at the age of 97.

Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

For more information check out his IMDB page at:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001500/

29
Jun
09

Remake Radar: The Stepfather

stepfather_1987

 

Welcome to Remake Radar, where we take on Hollywood’s penchant for remaking films for better or worse (which is most of the time). This month’s movie:

“The Stepfather” (1987)

Stars Terry O’Quinn, Jill Schoelen, and Shelley Hack.

Director: Joseph Ruben

Story: Loosely based on the “John List” story, a guy goes around looking for divorcees and widows with families in order to secure the “perfect family.” When the family comes up short on expectations, he kills them and moves on. He next sets himself up as a real estate agent. When the teenage daughter begins to suspect that her mom’s new interest may be a wanted killer, this “perfect family” comes under threat.

What do we know now? Substitute a boy coming home from military school (Penn Badgley) for the teenage girl, Sela Ward as the mom, and Dylan Walsh taking Terry O’Quinn’s spot, and ya got yourself a remake. The director is Nelson McCormick, the same guy who directed the “Prom Night” remake.

I’ve never watched the original, so I’m not gonna call this one.

Watch the trailers, compare the two, whatnot. Enjoy.

Original trailer:

Remake trailer:

 

stepfather_2009

 

26
Jun
09

In Passing… Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

michael_jackson

 

 

Singer, songwriter, and entertainer Michael Jackson passed away yesterday, June 25, 2009. Born Michael Joseph Jackson in Gary, Indiana he was the seventh in line with brothers Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Randy and sisters La Toya and Janet. The Jackson siblings got into music and at the age of 5, Michael began showing his talent. He joined the band his brothers started and the group became known as the Jackson 5. In 1966 they won a local talent show with young Michael leading a cover of James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” and from there they toured the MidWest in a string of black clubs and venues, often opening for stripteases and other adult acts. The Jackson 5 signed with Motown Records in 1968 and their first four hits (two of which were “ABC” and “I’ll Be There’) went straight to number one. In 1978 Michael starred as Scarecrow in “The Wiz” where he met and teamed-up with Quincy Jones who agreed to produce his album, “Off the Wall.” The album was released in 1979 and gave Jackson his first two solo hits: ‘Rock with You,” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” 1982 brought the release of “Thriller,” which is in the top five best-selling albums of all time. “Thriller” contained the hits “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and the title track “Thriller” (which included the voice of Vincent Price). A video for “Thriller” was made by director John Landis who would go on to direct other Jackson videos. Jackson then became friends with Paul McCartney, singing duet on “Say, Say, Say” and “The Girl is Mine,” but the friendship dissolved once Jackson bought half of the Beatles catalog in an auction. In 1987 “Bad” was released, giving the singles “Bad,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Dirty Diana.” He went to the White House, obtained several awards, and was proclaimed “The Artist of the Decade.”

Sadly while the 1980’s crowned him “The King of Pop,” his kingdom began slowly slipping away; his celebrity status quickly overshadowed his career in music. Charges of child abuse and molestation began plaguing him. His skin seemed to become whiter each year. He married Lisa Marie Presley and divorced her in less than two years. Following that he married his dermatologist’s nurse Deborah Rowe with whom he had a son and daughter. They married and divorced in 1999. Afterward there was the debacle with his label, child abuse charges, losing the Neverland ranch and leaving the United States. Jackson was poised for a comeback beginning in the UK this summer. He was 50 years of age at the time of death.

Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

For more information check out his IMDB page at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001391/