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Elizabeth Peña has passed away. The actress, with a professional career spanning nearly 40 years, left us on the night of October 14 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She had recently wrapped work on the first season of the El Rey Network's action series, Matador, where she played the title character's mother Maritza.
Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and raised by her Cuban immigrant parents, Peña was destined for a career in the arts. Her father, Mario, was a playwright, director, actor, and designer in their native Cuba, who opened up the Latin American Theatre Ensemble after establishing a life for he and his family in New York. As a teen, Peña began making a name for herself as a formidable young actress in the New York theatre scene. She attended, and graduated from, the High School of Performing Arts and began her professional film career in 1978 with León Ichaso's El Super. »
- Mario-Francisco Robles
Born in Memphis, raised in Mississippi, four years in the Air Force, acted off- and then on-Broadway, spent the '70s on The Electric Company, spent the early '80s on Another World, earned one Oscar nomination as the street smart one in Street Smart, earned another Oscar nomination as the one who wasn't Miss Daisy in Driving Miss Daisy, stole Robin Hood from Kevin Costner, almost stole Unforgiven from Clint Eastwood: This is what Morgan Freeman did for his first 57 years on this planet. Technically. But even if you know that Freeman had been a working actor for close to three decades beforehand, »
- Darren Franich
Cristela Alonzo has come a long way from her childhood, eight years of which she spent living with her family in an abandoned diner in South Texas. It wasn’t exactly the townhouse from her favorite childhood sitcom, The Cosby Show. Which is why it’s funny that years later, the 35-year-old comedian now has her own semi-autobiographical show, about a law student-turned-intern who tries to balance her career with the concerns of family life. “I think I got here because I grew up really poor,” Alonzo says of her piecemeal-to-primetime story. “My family didn’t have money and I think it made me fearless. »
- Nina Terrero
Kristen Wiig has been enjoying a lengthy run of success since leaving Saturday Night Live in 2012. Her humor is punctuated by awkward, uncomfortable stares, or lines delivered with more weight -- loneliness, sadness, regret -- than they seem to require. Thus, Wiig is right at home playing Alice Kleig, a woman with borderline personality disorder and delusions of grandeur, in Welcome to Me. Alice lives in a dingy Palm Springs, CA home that is appropriately decorated with all the hallmarks of an occupant with a severe mental disability: color-coded shelves, rows upon rows of VHS tapes with TV shows recorded onto them, and an overzealous collection of animal nick-knacks (in her case, swans). A voicemail from her psychiatrist (Tim Robbins, one of many famous...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Denzel Washington.s films have raked in more than $4 billion at cinemas worldwide but the superstar.s latest movie was beaten in Australia last weekend by a bunch of barely known youngsters.
Pro-rata that was well below the Us weekend debut of $US35.1 million, which ranks as the biggest September launch for an R-rated film, eclipsing Jackass: Number Two, which pulled in $29 million in 2006.
In Oz the action movie, which casts Washington as a former member of the special forces who comes out of retirement after Russian gangsters ensare a young girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), trailed the second outing of sci-fi action/adventure The Maze Runner.
- Inside Film Correspondent
It's hard to believe now, given the film's ubiquity, that "The Shawshank Redemption" didn't get much notice upon its initial release 20 years ago this week (on September 23, 1994). The movie was not a hit, earning just $28 million in theaters. It did get nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Morgan Freeman), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for writer/director Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption"), but it was shut out on Oscar night. Maybe it was that ungainly title.
Nonetheless, the film found its following on home video and endless cable reruns. Today, it's considered a modern classic, everyone's favorite movie about prison, and maybe everyone's favorite Stephen King adaptation as well. Its two leads, Freeman and Tim Robbins, went on to win Oscars years later. Other cast members weren't so celebrated. Here's what happened to the cons »
- Gary Susman
When it premiered on September 23, 1994, “The Shawshank Redemption” barely registered at the box office. The prison drama opened at No. 9, below the odious sex comedy “Exit to Eden” and just above Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show,” already in its fifth week. Though nominated for seven Academy Awards, the film failed to connect with audiences and vanished from theaters with little fanfare. And then, slowly but surely, its fortunes began to change. On its 20th anniversary, here’s how “The Shawshank Redemption” beat the odds and became a beloved classic.
Prior to 1982, most readers thought of King as an author who wrote only horror, but the publication of “Different Seasons” changed all that. A critically acclaimed bestseller, this beautifully crafted collection of four dramatic novellas introduced King to an even broader audience. The book’s first story, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” remains one of his most deeply humane and hopeful works of fiction. »
- Matthew Chernov
No film industry in Europe has been harder hit by crisis than Spain’s, yet the level of creativity from local filmmakers and producers is often firing on all cylinders.
Sixteen Spanish films will have their world premieres at San Sebastian, at least one local shingle is forming a joint venture with a Euro counterpart, and directors, though often working on far-reduced budgets, are aiming for a wider audience.
To put the Spanish woes in perspective, a couple of facts: Spain’s central government subsidy fund fell 56% from 2011 to 2014’s €33.7 million ($44.3 million), while average film budgets have plunged 50% to $2 million over the 2009-14 span, per producers’ association Fapae.
Yet, says San Sebastian Festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos, despite the crisis, the industry is “spectacular in creative terms.”
Spain’s surviving producers are also making some bold moves abroad.
Take, for example, Morena Films, one of Spain’s biggest and best-financed shops, »
- John Hopewell
We all know Los Angeles is the land of film and television; home to all of the major studios and a hub for independent production, the road to on-camera stardom undoubtedly lies somewhere near Hollywood and Vine. But L.A. actors are not limited to digital versus celluloid; the 99-seat theater plan, introduced by Actors’ Equity as a way for performers to showcase their work in a low-risk/low-cost environment, is alive and thriving. L.A. actors take note: Here are 9 99-seat companies that are definitely worth following. Actors GangThis prominent 34-year-old company is helmed by founding member Tim Robbins, and has produced work in its Culver City home and all over the U.S. and five continents. The Gang stages unconventional new works from major playwrights and exciting re-interpretations of the classics—their most recent production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” fresh off its tours of Italy and China, »
Borderline personality disorder turns out to be more of a laughing matter than it probably should be in “Welcome to Me,” a strange and often startlingly inspired media/mental-illness comedy directed by actress-filmmaker Shira Piven. After drifting into a semi-dramatic mode in her earlier Toronto-premiered indies, “Hateship Loveship” and “Girl Most Likely,” , where she proceeds to work through her deep-seated emotional and psychological wounds on live TV. At 86 minutes, this breezily bonkers item doesn’t overstay its, er, welcome, spelling a possible warm reception in niche theatrical and VOD play.
The chief virtue of Eliot Laurence’s first-produced screenplay is not just its simple yet comically fertile premise, but also the brisk and blithely implausible manner in which it’s presented. This is not a movie that wastes any time trying to explain itself. Not long after she’s introduced watching her massive VHS collection of infomercials and “Oprah” reruns »
- Justin Chang
To celebrate the release of For No Good Reason on DVD & Blu-Ray, we’ve got a rather enticing prize pack to giveaway to one lucky reader: a Blu-Ray of the film along with a signed poster by artist Ralph Steadman.
The feature — which first cropped up during the London Film Festival two years ago, where it was in the running for best documentary — follows the aforementioned artist and his twilight years working alongside renown Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson.
Joining Steadman in the film are Johnny Deep, Tim Robbins and Terry Gilliam, who each share their respective experiences with the eccentric illustrator. Spanning across fifteen years of his life, the documentary showcases Steadman as he witnesses his ideas come to life in the form of animation.
To enter for your chance to win this prize pack, all you have to do is like We Got This Covered over on Facebook »
- Michael Briers
When I reviewed "The Judge" last night, I talked about how one character in particular really rubbed the wrong way. In the film, Robert Downey Jr's character has a younger brother who is portrayed as "slow." I put that in quotes because the film goes out of its way to avoid ever naming what's wrong with him, and it's that movie thing where they're afraid to offend anyone so they make it so generic that it's basically offensive to everyone. It bothers me because it treats the character as an easy punchline, a cheap laugh, and they use him for convenient exposition. Need to explain something? Just have the slow brother ask someone to explain it to him again. I'll be honest… it made my skin crawl, and they certainly aren't the first to do it. When I first heard the premise for "Welcome To Me," I was afraid »
- Drew McWeeny
Life of Crime, 2013.
Directed by Daniel Schechter.
Two common criminals get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer who shows no interest in paying the $1 million dollar ransom for her safe return.
Life of Crime, based on one of legendary author Elmore Leonard’s great collection of novels, ‘The Switch’ reminds us of that period in the 90s when adaptations of his work were effortlessly hip and cool. Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Jackie Brown, made by three very talented directors each with a style of their own opened up Leonard’s work to a whole new generation; Life of Crime also reminds us of the gulf in class between those films and this.
The story begins promisingly, like a cool version of Ruthless People (yes, I »
- Gary Collinson
In Bull Durham, Ron Shelton’s classic 1988 baseball movie, Kevin Costner’s sage journeyman catcher, Crash Davis, is sent to the low-level minors to mentor a flame-throwing knucklehead named Nuke Laloosh (Tim Robbins), who couldn’t hit water with his fastball if he fell out of a boat. One of them is on the fast-track to the big leagues, and the other is just trying to hang on for one more season of baseball—both of them are madly in love with a local Bulls’ groupie named Annie (Susan Sarandon).
On Sept. 3, Bull Durham the musical began a month of »
- Jeff Labrecque
Life of Crime, Daniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, is now playing on VOD and in theaters. The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around. The story features Hawkes and Bey kidnapping the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins) only to find out he doesn’t actually want her back. The film also stars Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher, Will Forte. Life of Crime is loaded with juicy characters and great dialogue, and it’s definitely worth checking out. For more on the movie, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer. At the recent Los Angeles press day for the film I landed an exclusive video interview with Will Forte. He talked about making Life of Crime, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
★★★☆☆Adapted from crime author Elmore Leonard's novel The Switch, Daniel Schechter's Life of Crime (2013) is a polyester clad, bell-bottom sporting time capsule of seventies kitsch. An intelligently plotted crime caper starring Jennifer Aniston, rapper Mos Def and John Hawkes - as well as a glitzy supporting cast that includes Isla Fisher, Nebraska's Will Forte and Tim Robbins - Schechter's latest marks its arrival with a fanfare of style and sass, but lacks the necessary bite to leave a lasting impression. Mickey (Aniston) is the trophy wife of corrupt real estate developer Frank Dawson (Robbins). Her position in high society makes her the perfect mark for aspiring kidnappers Ordell (Def) and Louis (Hawkes).
- CineVue UK
The famous prison at the center of seven-time Oscar nominee and tearjerker The Shawshank Redemption, which boasts a set of fine performances from Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and Clancy Brown (not to mention numerous other character actor favorites), will soon be open for visitors in the real world. Cinema Blend, via the Pittsburgh Gazette, reports that the Ohio State Reformatory, where the 1994 film took place, will be open for tours. Mansfield, Ohio is the site of the towering historic prison built between 1886 and 1910. City officials were prepared to tear down the stone structure, but destroying and removing its massive walls (stretching 25 feet into the air and measuring six feet thick) would have been a complicated procedure. The local preservation society came to...
- Alison Nastasi
Life of Crime, Daniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, is now playing on VOD and in theaters. The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around. The story features Hawkes and Bey kidnapping the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins) only to find out he doesn’t actually want her back. The film also stars Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher, Will Forte. Life of Crime is loaded with juicy characters and great dialogue, and it’s definitely worth checking out. For more on the movie, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer. At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with John Hawkes. He talked about making Life of Crime, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Life of Crime, 2013.
Directed by Daniel Schechter.
Just what do you do when you kidnap a man’s wife for a million dollars, only to find that he was about to divorce her anyway, and doesn’t want to pay the ransom?
Arriving in the UK on the 5th September without too much fanfare and even less hype, it would seem, is the latest offering from director Daniel Schechter (Supporting Characters, Goodbye Baby) who here adapts Elmore Leonard’s novel The Switch, a wannabe comedy crime caper set in the late seventies, starring Jennifer Aniston as Mickey, the trophy wife of millionaire Frank Dawson (Robbins), who gets kidnapped in the same week as Frank disappears to visit his mistress (Fisher) for a few days, just as the divorce papers he is sending to his wife are »
- Steve Leadbetter
Despite two new releases, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" remained at the top spot this Labor Day weekend. While the official numbers have yet to be revealed, all the movies released during the summer of 2014 will barely crack $4 billion, making it the lowest result in eight years. "Guardians of the Galaxy" earned an additional $16 million, bringing its worldwide total to $547 million. Domestically, it's currently the highest grossing movie of 2014. The first new wide release, the horror film "As Above, So Below," landed in fourth place with $8.3 million. Since it cost only $5 million to make, it's already considered successful. The film has a 33% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes. The other wide release was Pierce Brosnan's action film "The November Man," which opened in sixth place with only $7.6 million. The movie cost over $20 million to make, which means it will need international box office to break even. It has a 36% fresh rating. »
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