Archive for the 'tv' Category



25
Jun
09

In Passing… Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009)

farrah-fawcett

 

Actress Farrah Fawcett passed away today. Born Farrah Leni Fawcett in 1947 in Corpus Christi, TX, she grew up attending Catholic schools and attended University of Texas in Austin from 1966-1969 where she posed in the “10 Most Beautiful Coeds” from the college for Cashbox magazine. Hollywood literally called and she answered, moving to L.A. at the end of her junior year. She first appeared in a French comedy, “Love is a Funny Thing,” as Patricia. From there she appeared in “Mayberry R.F.D.,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Flying Nun,” “The Partridge Family,” and “Harry O.” Her fame rocketed after having roles on “The Six Million Dollar Man” (she also married its star, Lee Majors) and became even more famous for playing Jill Monroe on the female detective show, “Charlie’s Angels.” She was a sex symbol for the 1970’s and 1980’s and picked up films and TV shows/movies here and there, last notably being on “Spin City,” and “The Guardian.” In 1982 she divorced Lee Majors and began a relationship with actor Ryan O’Neal which has been on-and-off. In the past few years her health declined, suffering from anal cancer. She was 62 years of age.

Thoughts and prayers for her family and friends.

For more information check out her IMDB page at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000396/

23
Jun
09

In Passing… Ed McMahon (1923-2009)

mcmahon

 

Actor, producer, comedian, and entertainer Ed McMahon passed away early this morning. Born Edward Peter Leo McMahon Jr. in Detroit in 1923, McMahon grew up in Lowell, MA attending Catholic schools. At the age of 15 he was a bingo caller in Maine, followed by 3 years spent as a carnival barker. From there he joined the Marine Corps and served as a flight instructor and test pilot. He put himself through college as a pitchman for veggie slicers and earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1949. Then, he returned to active service and flew 85 missions in Korea. Afterwards he remained in Active Reserve and retired at the rank of Colonel in 1966. In 1957 he was paired with Johnny Carson as announcer and host for the TV game show, “Who Do You Trust?” This lasted for five years. When Jack Paar left NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” Carson took his place bringing McMahon with him. The two were side-by-side from 1962 until the last show in 1992. In 1983 McMahon hosted “Star Search,” until 1986. Following “The Tonight Show” McMahon has starred in various TV movies and films such as “Burke’s Law,” “Baywatch,” “The Tom Show,” etc. In the past few years, however, his health has declined as well as his personal assets; in March 2008 he was recovering from a broken neck and subsequent injuries from a 2007 fall and in June 2008 his home fell behind in payments with Donald Trump having to buy his home so it could be “rented to him.” Troubles aside, McMahon has earned his place in American culture; his star on the Walk of Fame is on 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Jack Nicholson referred to him in “The Shining,” and “Weird Al’s” parody of “Who’s Johnny?” was “Here’s Johnny,” citing McMahon’s signature phrase from “The Tonight Show.” McMahon was 86 years of age at passing.

 

Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

 

For more information, check out his IMDB page at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0573012/

04
Jun
09

In Passing… David Carradine (1936-2009)

David_Carradine

 

Actor, musician, producer, and director David Carradine was found dead in his Bangkok hotel room. His father was actor John Carradine and his half-brothers were Keith and Robert Carradine and Michael Bowen. David Carradine has been acting in television and film since 1963 when he was on “Armstrong Circle Theatre.” His first film role was as Cal Dodge in “Taggart” (1964). In 1972 he took the role of Kwai Chang Caine in the TV series “Kung Fu” (1972-1975) which is the role he’s most identified with. His other film work includes “Death Race 2000,” the “Kill Bill” movies and most recently “Crank 2.” He has worked with such directors as Roger Corman, Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman, and Quentin Tarantino. Aside from acting he was a musician having recorded 60 tracks in multiple genres and sung in several films. He was 72 years of age.

It’s still early for details but as of this writing the story is that Carradine committed suicide by hanging himself in his hotel room.

Thought and prayers to his family and friends.

For more information, check out his IMDB page at:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001016/

Or visit webpage at:
http://david-carradine.com/

25
May
09

Movie News and Views May 25, 2009 Poster Edition

DIST9_TSR_1SHT_3

 

– Hollywood isn’t done proving that they’ve ran out of ideas. “Bazooka” Joe,” the cartoon kid with an eyepatch will be coming to a movie theatre near you.

– Michael Moore’s new movie about the evil of wealthy people is slated for release on Oct. 2, 2009.

– ABC has put the re-imagining of “V” in their Fall 2009/2010 lineup.

– Wayne Allwine, voice of Mickey Mouse, passed away. He was 62.

– Dan Akyroyd is talking “Ghostbusters 3” and rumor has it that Alyssa Milano and Elisha Dushku will be in it.

– Chace Crawford is now in the “Footloose” remake.

– The Blue Man Group will be releasing a 3-D IMAX movie.

– J.J. Abrams and company hid an R2-D2 in the new “Star Trek” movie. If you can find it e-mail Paramount and you’ll be entered into a prize contest.

– Mickey Rourke has signed for a remake of the Eighties movie, “Mona Lisa.” Also starring is Eva Green.

– Terry Gilliam is resurrecting his “Don Quixote” movie.

– Dreamworks is set to remake “Fright Night.”

– “American Gladiators” will get a movie.

– The last “Wizard of Oz” munchkin, Mickey Carroll, passed away. He was 89.

– Kevin Smith is working on a movie based on the Warren Zevon song, “Hit Somebody (Hockey Song)” and believes it will be an Academy Award contender. Uh…… ok.

– Vinnie Jones and Gerard Butler are among the most current actors facing jail time.

– “Cliffhanger” is slated to be remade.

– Robert Rodriguez’s “Barbarella” is officially off.

– Disney is removing Special Features from rental DVDs.

– “Little Fockers” is now casting.

– “Drop Dead Fred” is looking to be remade.

 

That’s it for now!

achristmascarolagorabruno2_largeexpendablesg_forcehumptydumptynewmoonninjaassassintheprincessandthefrogtransformers2whateverworks

12
May
09

Movie Review: Star Trek

star_trek_xi

 

Rebooting… the Final Frontier

Stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Bruce Greenwood, Winona Ryder, Eric Bana, and Simon Pegg. Directed by J.J. Abrams

This ain’t your daddy’s “Star Trek.”

“Alias” and “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams was given a somewhat unenviable task: resurrect “Star Trek” for the “next generation” of moviegoers. And he did just that. Straddling a line between “trekkies” and casual scifi film enthusiasts, “Star Trek” has gone hyper-frenetic and action-packed. It is as much “Star Trek” as it is a Hollywood blockbuster and for this franchise, that’s a good thing.

“Star Trek” has its followers rooted in a world set forth by ten movies, six TV series, books, etc. Those who know “Trek” KNOW “Trek.” And there’s the social messages: pay attention to the environment (“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”), watch for political conspiracies (“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”), technology becomes God (“Star Trek: The Motion Picture”), keep your enemies closer (“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”) and Shatner can’t direct (“Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.”) The “Next Generation” cast did what they could (four movies) but didn’t have the same gravitas as the original series. With Picard and Co. bowing out after “Nemesis,” the big question was: what happens now?

The story rests on a premise that could itself be a fan fiction novel: what if a Romulan named Nero (played by Eric Bana) watched the planet Romulus become a black hole and upon revenging said event travels back in time 129 years? And in doing so George Kirk, father of future captain James T. Kirk, gives his life so his son has a future and thus creates an alternate reality? That’s the premise going on.

And that’s how Abrams plays it safe; instead of altering the actual past of characters beloved by many, you subvert them by changing/tweaking their pasts for your own purposes and through a big “what if” and go from there. Abrams boldly went there and it pays off, but not without a whiff of being “highly illogical.”

I’m going to interject for a moment: I usually hate it when “Star Trek” decides to lean on time travel to get its story across. Yes, I enjoyed “Yesterday’s Enterprise” from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” And I know everyone loved Kirk and the Gang going back in time to save the whales in “Star Trek IV,” but the entire franchise has done time travel to death. Sometimes I wonder if there just aren’t enough alien races for the Federation to start shit with.

Back to the story. Kirk grows up to be rebellious as shown in the scene where he drives his step-dad’s Corvette off a cliff. Years later he gets in a bar fight with some Starfleet Cadets and is saved by Captain Christopher Pike (Greenwood). Pike recognizes Kirk’s potential and challenges him to join Starfleet Academy which he accepts. On the shuttle trip he meets Dr. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), a man joining Starfleet only because his wife took everything he owned except his “bones.”

Meanwhile on the planet Vulcan there’s a different rebel with cause: Spock (Quinto). Born to a Vulcan father and human mother, Spock is considered a liability due to his half-breed nature. Upon acceptance into the Vulcan Academy he instead chooses Starfleet and upsets the council elders. While at Starfleet he becomes a mentor to Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and develops an attachment to her.

When Kirk takes the Kobayashi Maru simulation and fails the second time, he reprograms it and wins. This causes friction between him and its programmer Commander Spock and he quickly finds himself restricted from duty. McCoy, taking some pity, stows Kirk away on the Enterprise as its maiden voyage  is to answer a distress call (the objective of EVERY “Star Trek” movie) from the planet Vulcan. Once there the seven other starships arrived before them are being systematically destroyed by Nero who is planning on creating a black hole using Vulcan. Nero takes Pike hostage and the Enterprise’s attempt to save Vulcan has its complications, leaving Spock and Kirk to fight over command and what should be done to save Earth and the rest of the Federation.

I may have already told you too much.

That’s the crux of this movie. Sure, Leonard Nimoy returns as Spock (again, the time traveling stuff) and we get to see how Scotty got recruited by the Enterprise. This movie is as much about it’s “what if” premise as it is an “origins” movie, and that’s not entirely bad. Karl Urban is great as McCoy, Pegg offers an interesting Scotty, Saldana is a hotter Uhura, Quinto is a formidable Spock, Cho gives Sulu more than sitting at the helm and Pine is the best Kirk we got. As far as how close to Chris Pine plays Shatner’s “Captain Kirk,” I think he gives him a degree of 21st century impulsiveness mixed with action and thought. He doesn’t have Shatner’s stilted dialog however he does pick up its cadence on occasion.

The main objective Abrams seems to display with “Star Trek” is for it not to be exclusive to its environment or fanbase. This movie is more “mainstream” than the other “Treks” and as I’ve said before that’s not a bad thing. And yes being a product from the guy who created “Lost” means that for the most part you gotta let this puppy play out; don’t try understanding it from fear that it will all unravel and you’ll walk out of the theatre with a massive headache.

Why should you watch it? First, to cure your curiosity. If that doesn’t suit you reason #2: the special effects. This is stuff-blowin’-up, fist-punching, breathtaking action-adventure at its best. Even if you hate the storyline it’s worth the effects alone. Lastly, it’s one of the best blockbusters in a while. 2008’s “Iron Man” was the popcorn blockbuster everyone was waiting for and this year that crown goes to “Star Trek.”

Let me also give credit to the music. Michael Giacchino, who also did the music for “Alias” and “Lost,” does a great job of mixing cinematic orchestration with music that sounds like it came straight from the 60’s series. I was really impressed with that.

Great effects, action sequences, and overall fun. It may not be the greatest movie ever made, but it’s the greatest “Star Trek” movie ever made.

My grade: B+

 

The Trailer:

And for some fun, check out this piece from The Onion:

07
May
09

Movies on DVD: Appaloosa

appaloosa

Not the Western I was hoping for.

 

Stars Ed Harris, Viggo Mortenson, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons, and Lance Henriksen. Directed by Ed Harris

 

When Marshall Jack Bell (Robert Jauregui) is killed by outlaw Randall Bragg (Irons), the three people who run the town of Appaloosa call in gun-for-hire Virgil Cole (Harris) and his hetero-lifemate Everett Hitch (Mortenson) to stop the outlaw from destroying it. Virgil and Everett are immediately deputized and go to work. Allison French, a new woman in town, complicates matters by falling for any guy within three feet of her, especially Virgil. Virgil makes it his mission to put Bragg away or see him hanging, while Everett tries to help Virgil keep his cool as well as watching out for him in regards to new love Allison.

 

I haven’t watched a Western this boring since “Open Range.” At least it had a shootout.

 

That’s not to say that the movie is bad; it’s just that it’s far from great and damn close to being forgotten. I’ll give Ed Harris his ability to act and pairing with Mortenson works well. The real problem here is the story (which Harris co-wrote) and direction (as noted above, he directed it too). Maybe Harris was aiming for some lamentation of the West as he would imagine it. The problem as much as he would like to be he’s not Clint Eastwood.

 

In all honesty it’s not easy to go from acting to directing. Several have tried with mixed results. Robert DeNiro did “The Good Shepherd,” which could have been better. Kevin Costner did “Dances With Wolves,” which was good but was followed with “Waterworld,” “The Postman,” and “Open Range,” which are mediocre at best. Kevin Spacey directed “Beyond the Sea” which I enjoyed. Anthony Hopkins did “Slipstream” which I haven’t seen nor heard anyone talk about.

 

And therein lies the question: who is the movie being made for? In this case I believe that Harris wanted to make a Western (as so many actors do) and got the funding and found that other actors (Mortenson, Zellweger, Irons) wanted to do one as well. While it may sound fun as a pet project and may have looked good on paper, the final product was less than desired. The sets looked okay and there were some story elements there but the rest seemed stale. I was literally waiting for the ghost of John Wayne to appear onscreen at any moment and start slapping the shit out of everyone.

 

Long, tedious, stale, and boring,

 

My grade: C

27
Apr
09

In Passing… Bea Arthur (1922-2009)

bea_arthur

 

 

Actress and comedienne Bea Arthur passed away from cancer on April 25th. Arthur was born Bernice Frankel in New York City. She began on the stage until she was in Sid Caesar’s “Caesar Hour” in the fifties. From there she split time between stage and TV, notably playing Yente the Matchmaker in the original Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Her TV breakthrough came in 1971 when she starred as Maude Findlay, Edith Bunker’s cousin, in “All in the Family.” Viewers were so crazy about her character that in 1972 “Maude” had her own series. In 1985 Arthur, along with Estelle Getty, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan, was part of the hit NBC series, “The Golden Girls,” which ran for seven seasons. Afterwards Arthur retired to her California ranch occasionally appearing on TV or film over the next 17 years. Bea Arthur was 86 years of age.

 

Thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends

 

 

For more information, check out her IMDB page at:

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0037735/