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5 items from 2005

Hawn, Russell co-host 'Mockingbird' benefit

20 December 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are co-hosting a Dec. 29 Aspen, Colo., screening of Robert Mulligan's classic 1962 adaptation of the Harper Lee novel To Kill A Mockingbird for Grand Classics, a film series initiated after 9/11 to bring artists to lower Manhattan. Held at Aspen's Wheeler Opera House, the showing will benefit Hawn's Bright Light Foundation charity and feature sponsorships from such companies as Infiniti and J. Mendel. It's part of Grand Classics' program revolving around actors screening films that have inspired them. Launched by Katrina Pavlos and Vanessa Wingate of the production company Indyssey Entertainment in April 2002, Grand Classics has expanded to include screenings in London, Los Angeles and its current debut in Aspen. Plans for similar events in Miami and Paris are in the works. The organization has held screenings hosted by actors including Jude Law, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Caine, Tim Robbins and most recently Gwyneth Paltrow, who introduced a London showing of Woody Allen's Annie Hall on Dec. 12. Grand Classics' efforts also benefit motion picture preservation through its contributions to the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute. »

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Arthur Miller: 1915-2005

11 February 2005 | IMDb News

Arthur Miller, the playwright who wrote Death of a Salesman and was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe, died yesterday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut of heart failure. He was 89. Often called America's greatest living playwright, Miller was 33 when he wrote one of the quintessential plays in the 20th century canon, Death of a Salesman, about Willy Loman, a man struggling with his past inequities while facing his own mortality and worth. The original 1949 play was directed by Elia Kazan and Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for his work. Miller's other best-known play was The Crucible, about the repression and mass hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts that resulted in the Salem witch trials. It was later made into a film of the same name starring his son-in-law, Daniel Day-Lewis (who married Miller's daughter, filmmaker Rebecca Miller, in 1996). Arthur Miller was born in Manhattan on October 17, 1915, one of three children in a middle-class Jewish family that had emigrated from Poland. He worked as a laborer in an automobile parts warehouse and on the night shift of the Brooklyn Naval Yards. It was through hard work that he gained entrance into college, which enabled him to pursue his love of writing, while the Hopwood Award, a university prize for best student play with a purse of $250 that he won--twice--made him enough money to see his degree through. Upon leaving college he married his college sweetheart, Mary Grace Slattery, and promptly had two children. His first plays were summarily rejected by producers and Miller had to keep afloat by returning to the Navy Yard. Success finally came with All My Sons, a play about the tragic deaths of Army pilots due to a mechanical defect and the politics and chicanery that followed in their aftermath. But it was Salesman that catapulted Miller into the upper stratosphere of fame. In addition to the Pulitzer, the play won the Tony and the Drama Critics' Circle awards. He would never equal it and lived, for some time, struggling in the shadow of its singular acclaim. The Crucible, a thinly-veiled indictment of the House Committee on un-American Activities, was somewhat of a success (bad attendance yet it won the Tony), but it caused a permanent rift with Miller and Elia Kazan (who saw it as a personal rebuke on his decision to name names to the committee). Miller refused to testify before the committee, placing him in contempt of court, but he was engaged in an even more tumultuous struggle with his new bride, Marilyn Monroe. Their marriage lasted four years in which Miller wrote virtually nothing save the screenplay for The Misfits, a play about Gay (played by Clark Gable), an aging cowboy, and Roslyn (Monroe), an aging beauty with a heart-of-gold. John Huston directed it but Monroe was offended by the character of Roslyn, which she thought was a caricature of her. Their marriage ended shortly after, and Monroe was dead of an overdose six months later. Miller went on to remarry Inge Morath, a still photographer who was working on The Misfits, a year later. He had a daughter, Rebecca, with her, but Monroe still seemed to haunt him. In 1964 he wrote After the Fall, which was deemed his most autobiographical play and detailed the trials of living with a drug-addicted, emotionally needy blonde. Miller was roundly criticized for capitalizing on their relationship though he insisted the characters were entirely fictional. That pretense fell when, in October 2004, Miller premiered "Finishing the Picture," a play based upon the making of The Misfits and the dissolution of his marriage to Monroe. It was again attacked as a scathing and unfair criticism of a woman dead nearly 35 years, though it had its defenders as well. Miller's last lines in the sad and beautiful The Misfits, the last full roles for both Monroe and Gable, are not Miller's best known, but they may serve as an epitaph for a playwright who struggled to shine a light on the human condition: Roslyn: Which way is home? Gay: God bless you girl. Roslyn: How do you find your way back in the dark? Gay: Just head for that big star straight on. The highway's under it. It'll take us right home. »

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Day-Lewis To Be Honored in Berlin

3 February 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis will receive a special award at this month's Berlin Film Festival to honor his contribution to cinema. The My Left Foot star will be presented with the Berlinale Camera - an award given to individuals the festival's organizers feel "particularly indebted to". Day-Lewis will be praised for the "sensational start" to his career with acclaimed performances in My Beautiful Laundrette and A Room With A View, and a "great number of celebrated roles" in later productions. The 47-year-old has previously been nominated for awards at the Berlin Film Festival for his part in four movies: In The Name Of The Father; The Crucible, The Boxer and Gangs Of New York. »

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Berlin fest taps 3 for Bear hug

1 February 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

COLOGNE -- The Berlin International Film Festival will honor Korean veteran director Im Kwon-Taek and Spanish multihyphenate Fernando Fernan Gomez with this year's Golden Bear lifetime achievement awards, while Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis will receive the prestigious Berlinale Camera Award, Berlin Festival organizers announced Tuesday. Gomez and Im are perennial Berlin favorites. Over the years, the Korean auteur has screened several of his films at the festival and twice has premiered in competition: with the political drama "Taebak Mountains" in 1994 and with "Gilsoddeum" in 1986. Im will receive his Golden Bear at a ceremony Feb. 12, after which the festival will hold a special screening of his historic epic musical "Chunhyang". »

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The Ballad of Jack and Rose

21 January 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

PARK CITY -- Rebecca Miller's critique of the "tune in, turn on, drop out" generation of the '60s and early '70s is scathing enough in The Ballad of Jack & Rose. But her insights into people are as pat as they are unconvincing. The writer-director's strategy is to isolate her characters so most influences are psychological rather than societal. Then she watches them disintegrate. Yet the schematic design behind her plot and characters is so rigidly predetermined that nothing feels lifelike despite the naturalistic acting and filmmaking.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Catherine Keener, this Ballad should entice art house audiences, but boxoffice will be modest. The film opens March 25.

The story takes place in 1986, when most of the counterculture communes have petered out. Jack Slavin (Day-Lewis) is the last Utopian, a hard-headed man privileged by an inheritance to continue living in the remains of a commune he helped create on an island off the East Coast. His only companion is his 16-year-old daughter Rose (Camilla Belle), whom he painstakingly shelters from the influences of the outside world.

Even he realizes though that these indolent days of idealism and innocence are nearing their end. Rose is entering womanhood, whether he likes it or not. Plus, he suffers from a fatal heart disease that could take his life at any moment. Furthermore, a developer (Beau Bridges) has invaded his island sanctuary to build a tasteless housing tract near Jack's property.

So Jack makes a foolish decision that triggers the story's conflict: He invites his sometimes lover Kathleen (Keener) to move into his earth-covered house along with her two teenage sons, Rodney (Ryan McDonald) and Thaddius (Paul Dano), who don't much like each other. Predictably, the boys hate the isolation, Rose feels threatened by having to share her father's affection with another woman and the two parents lose control over their increasingly wild offspring.

To pay back dad for this "experiment" in living, Rose offers her virginity first to Rodney, who out of sensitivity or other sexual preferences declines, then to Thaddius, who is wired for fornicate without discretion. When Rodney's free-spirited pal Red Berry (Jena Malone) drops by, a flashback to the flower-child era if ever there were one, the experimentation grows wilder.

Jack inexplicably tolerates Rose firing a shotgun in the general direction of Kathleen -- he actually laughs it off. Even her bringing a copperhead snake into the house to scare his girlfriend doesn't faze him. But then he's a guy with heart disease who chain smokes, so we're not talking about a responsible adult.

Indeed the real point here, for all the surface melodrama, seems to be that Jack is willing to create chaos to distract himself from the knowledge he has fallen in love with his own daughter. And that this superannuated hippie is really no better than the land-raping developer -- each does what he pleases without considering the consequences of his actions.

Ultimately, the coming-of-age story eclipses the depiction of a man's failed legacy. So strong is the performance from young Camilla Belle -- touching, sincere, gutsy -- that this ballad belongs to Rose. She is her father's daughter, both strong- and narrow-minded, willful and determined. The major difference is she is still innocent

Day-Lewis and Keener essentially play parents cursed with unacknowledged guilt, as each is careless with his or her emotional life. So the youngsters rebel: Rodney overeats, Thaddius grows remote and self-absorbed and Rose creates a life of her own.

The production work on Canada's ruggedly beautiful Prince Edward Island is terrific, especially designer Mark Ricker's tumble-down communal home in its state of arrested development and Ellen Kuras' intense, crystal-clear cinematography.


IFC Films

IFC Prods./Initial Entertainment/Elevation Pictures


Screenwriter/director: Rebecca Miller

Producer: Lemore Syvan

Executive producers: Jonathan Sehring, Caroline Kaplan, Graham King

Director of photography: Ellen Kuras

Production designer: Mark Ricker

Music: Michael Rohatyn

Co-producer: Melissa Marr

Costumes: Jennifer von Mayrhauser

Editor: Sabine Hoffman


Jack: Daniel Day-Lewis

Rose: Camilla Belle

Kathleen: Catherine Keener

Thaddius: Paul Dano

Rodney: Ryan McDonald

Red Berry: Jena Malone

Marty: Beau Bridges

Gray: Jason Lee

MPAA rating: R

Running time -- 111 minutes »

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5 items from 2005

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