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As “Tomorrowland” attempted to remind us earlier this summer, our society has gotten so obsessed with contemplating our demise that we’ve stopped thinking optimistically about the future. That’s not entirely true, however: “Z for Zachariah,” for instance, takes place following a devastating apocalypse, but it’s far more concerned with what comes next than with how we got there in the first place. Adapted by Nissar Modi from the novel by Robert O’Brien — and borrowing at least the basic premise from the old Harry Belafonte movie “The World, The Flesh and The Devil” — “Zacharaiah” suggests that both the best. »
- Alonso Duralde
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted the awards at their Aug. 25 meeting. Following tradition, AMPAS reps withheld the announcement until they could notify the recipients.
This is the second time the Academy opted for only three nominees. The org can salute up to six people each year: four honorary Oscars, and one apiece for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Thalberg Award, which goes to a producer for their body of work. It’s generally been four honorees, except for 2011, when there were three.
Despite the Acad’s recent attempts to increase international membership, it’s an all-American lineup. And while Rowlands and Lee have worked for major studios, they made their name in the indie world. In reflecting the Academy’s diversity push, the trio consists of two women »
- Tim Gray
Following the success of his galvanizingly uncomfortable 2012 film Compliance, director Craig Zobel teases his way into genre with subtle sci-fi in Z for Zachariah, based on the novel from Robert C. O’Brien, author of the text that provided the basis for the children’s classic The Secret of Nimh (1982). Zobel’s third film, his meditative take on an oft explored scenario is an intriguing change of pace, and along with screenwriter Nissar Modi, the film retains a low-key, vintage flavor that belies the origins of the source material. Racial identity and issues of science vs. faith break the peaceful lulls of three individuals warped into the death throes of a dying species, but despite the allegorical possibilities, Zobel prefers a slow burn of tenuous desire to simmer into a sometimes underwhelming broth. And yet, it’s exactly the type »
- Nicholas Bell
August 25 will be a big night for Academy board members: That’s when they select 2015 recipients of the Governors Awards.
According to the website, AMPAS encourages members of the Academy to weigh in. They didn’t say anything about non-members, but why not? Movie fans have strong ideas too.
So here are some proposals: Michael Apted, whose range includes the “Seven Up!” docus to “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; Tsui Hark, a key figure in Asia’s action films; Richard Lester, the influential director; documaker extraordinaire Frederick Wiseman; and actress-director Jeanne Moreau. Incredibly, none has ever been nominated for an Oscar. And how about activist Rob Reiner for the Hersholt?
Variety exec editor Steven Gaydos also offers some stellar names for consideration: Gilles Jacob, who led the Cannes Fest for decades; producer-casting pro Fred Roos, whose groundbreaking credits include “The Godfather” and “American Graffiti”; Brit filmmaker Ken Loach; American actress Gena Rowlands »
- Tim Gray
Last week, an extremely cautious Winona Ryder confirmed on Late Night With Seth Myers that a sequel to Tim Burton's beloved 1988 haunted house comedy Beetlejuice was finally in the works. Ryder will be reprising her role as Lydia Deetz, with Burton back behind the megaphone and Michael Keaton, fresh from a career-resurrecting turn in Birdman (2014), again starring as 'the ghost with the most'.
Ryder's announcement was met with the inevitable woops and cheers from Myers' studio audience, but fans of Burton's breakthrough feature will be seeking reassurances that the forthcoming follow-up will remain true to the spirit of its predecessor.
For those who've never seen it, Beetlejuice tells the story of Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), a happily married couple living »
Writer-director Matthew Cooke has launched an Indiegogo campaign to complete production of the documentary “The Survivor’s Guide to Prison.”
The film is based on the lives of former inmates Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole, both who were wrongly convicted.
“We have the largest prison population not because Americans are the world’s most evil, criminal people,” Cooke said on the crowdfunding site. “It’s because we have extreme drugs laws and sentence lengths, the longest lockups Before trial, and an enormous number of illegal things you can do to get you in jail.”
- Dave McNary
More than 27 years ago, Winona Ryder danced in the air to Harry Belafonte as the ending credits rolled in Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice.” Finally, fans of the cult classic will be able to see what happens next for “the ghost with the most” and his cohorts, Ryder said during a visit to “Late Night With Seth Meyers” Monday.
“I think I can confirm it,” started Ryder. “It was very hush-hush top secret … but then (Tim Burton) was doing some press for ‘Big Eyes’ and and he did an on-camera interview and he said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re doing it, and Winona’s going to be in it.’ … If he said it, I can say it.”
That’s all the information that we’re going to get out of Ryder, who later said, “I really don’t know much more than anybody.”
While Warner Bros. has yet to officially greenlight the sequel, »
- Mannie Holmes
Who was the real Marlon Brando? Those unfamiliar with the Method-acting icon’s electrifying early work with director Elia Kazan might recall him as a bloated recluse, sequestered away in his Mulholland Drive compound or his Tahitian retreat, only to emerge when scandal hit or to rake in a quick million with work that was beneath him.
But “Listen to Me Marlon,” which opens in New York on July 29 and in L.A. July 31, goes a long way toward debunking the myths behind the legend, who died in 2004.
“He did take acting very seriously, even to the end,” says the film’s writer-editor-director Stevan Riley. “He would do intensive research for roles, scribbling in the margins of books and scripts. Everything he learned he would somehow squeeze into a film if he had an interest in it: things about mythology, the nature of good and evil, Freudian analysis. He was »
- Steve Chagollan
Theodore Bikel. Theodore Bikel dead at 91: Oscar-nominated actor and folk singer best known for stage musicals 'The Sound of Music,' 'Fiddler on the Roof' Folk singer, social and union activist, and stage, film, and television actor Theodore Bikel, best remembered for starring in the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and, throughout the U.S., in Fiddler on the Roof, died Monday morning (July 20, '15) of "natural causes" at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The Austrian-born Bikel – as Theodore Meir Bikel on May 2, 1924, in Vienna, to Yiddish-speaking Eastern European parents – was 91. Fled Hitler Thanks to his well-connected Zionist father, six months after the German annexation of Austria in March 1938 ("they were greeted with jubilation by the local populace," he would recall in 2012), the 14-year-old Bikel and his family fled to Palestine, at the time a British protectorate. While there, the teenager began acting on stage, »
- Andre Soares
I interviewed actor Christian Slater in November, 2008 for Venice Magazine. Having long had a reputation as an "enfant terrible" in his youth, Slater surprised me somewhat with his calm, measured demeanor and thoughtful outlook. He was promoting his well-reviewed, but ultimately short-lived, TV series "My Own Worst Enemy," which we discussed a bit, but Slater was eager to reflect on his entire career and life, which he did with aplomb. My other memory of the chat is that during our dinner, the power went out in the restaurant or hotel where we met (the location of which has been lost to time) and the halogen streetlights outside casting our talk in a strange, other-worldly glow for a good 30 minutes. All these factors made our meeting a memorable one. Slater can currently be seen on the new USA Network series "Mr. Robot," which is also being lauded critically, and will hopefully »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Rollins and Joffe had producing credits on all of Allen’s films between 1969 and 1993, including “Take the Money and Run,” “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Bananas,” Sleeper,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “Zelig,” “Radio Days” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Born as Jacob Rabinowitz in Brooklyn, he broke into the business after World War II as a Broadway producer, then founded a talent »
- Dave McNary
Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of Jim Henson’s untimely death at age 53. Bill Prady, co-creator of “The Big Bang Theory” and exec producer of ABC’s new primetime comedy “The Muppets,” began his career at Jim Henson Co. Here he shares his memories of working with the innovative producer and puppeteer whose legacy lives on through the Muppets and other groundbreaking creations.
Those of us who’d flown in from out of town for the memorial were caught short. There were instructions for the service, one of which was a request that no one wear dark clothing. Steve Whitmire, the puppeteer who would soon learn that he’d been chosen to take over the performance of Kermit, went and bought a white suit. He took it to the Muppet workshop on 67th Street and had them dye it green. That green.
We gathered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. »
- Variety Staff
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has launched a streaming video site, IfYouLoveMovies.watch, to showcase videos in its collection. The move is one of several summer projects in which the Acad is seeking to extend its digital footprint.
The new site includes moments from past Oscar ceremonies, Alfred Hitchcock home movies, Academy Originals episodes, Student Academy Award-winning films and interviews with filmmakers.
In addition, the org is setting up Academy Q&As, in which fans on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit can ask questions of industry pros. The Q&As kicked off with casting director Lora Kennedy and will be held every two weeks; upcoming sessions include casting director David Rubin on May 18 and film editor Lynzee Klingman on June 4.
There are also projects on two social channels. Medium will spotlight film-related commentaries. Already posted are Harry Belafonte writing about the power of film, an anecdote from Oscar-winning sound »
- Tim Gray
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. While I tend to think of the '80s as a crassly commercial lull between the artistic adventurousness of the '70s and the independent experimentation of the '90s, there were things about the '80s that i hold dear in terms of what I love about movies. And if you're talking about the best of the '80s, the year that crystallized all the things the decade did well was 1988, a year that looks upon closer inspection like an embarrassment of riches. One of my twenty favorite films of all time, as outlined in this article, was released in 1988, which automatically makes it a year worth closer consideration. The '80s may have begun with one of his strongest films, but »
- Drew McWeeny
Michael Keaton hosted "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, and while he was there ostensibly to promote his Oscar-nominated role in the Best Picture winner "Birdman," the actor was instead bombarded by requests from the cast the reprise two of his most iconic roles: Batman and Beetlejuice.
During his monologue, Keaton was interrupted by Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan, who begged the actor to "play 'Batman' with us" and "play 'Beetlejuice' with us," citing their childhood love of those two '80s classics. The castmates broke into song to explain how much they idolized Keaton, and those movies in particular, as Keaton stammered and became more and more uncomfortable.
Things escalate until Killam and Moynihan decide to just act out scenes from "Batman" and "Beetlejuice" themselves, hilariously dressing up as characters from each film (Killam as Catherine O'Hara in "Beetlejuice" was especially inspired) and editing Keaton into the clips. »
- Katie Roberts
Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? It's another viral moment. After dominating Saturday Night Live with his Bambi impersonation, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson delivered again on the inaugural episode of Spike's Lip Sync Battle on Thursday. Instead of picking a macho metal number for his fight against Jimmy Fallon, the Furious 7 star went with something a little sweeter. To open the show Johnson mimed along to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." The former wrestler gave the "sick beat" his all, even taking on the song's rap breakdown. Lip sync veteran Fallon tried to best The Rock »
- Kelli Bender, @kbendernyc
Jimmy Fallon's Lip Sync Battle, a Spike spinoff of The Tonight Show's wildly popular segment where celebrities mime along to popular hits, premiered Thursday night with an epic showdown between Fallon and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. At stake: The championship Lsb belt.
The Rock, fresh off his fantastic turn as SNL host, opened things up with a spirited, albeit ridiculous, rendition of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Up," which Fallon followed with an unexpected choice: Harry Belafonte's calypso classic "Jump in the Line" (Aka the song that closes Beetlejuice). However, »
The first episode of Lip Sync Battle, the spin-off series based on Jimmy Fallon‘s hilarious Tonight Show segment, featured the Tonight Show host facing off against Furious 7 star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who declared their match as “the lip sync battle of all lip sync battles.” Accompanied by host of everything LL Cool J and color commentator/time filler Chrissy Teigen, each competing star “performs” two songs and the audience decides on the victor, who receives the coveted championship belt.
Johnson came out swinging (which, if you’ve seen his biceps, is nothing to mess with) by performing Taylor “Tay Tay” Swift‘s “Shake It Off.” While the superstar nailed a couple of things, including the giggle at the beginning of the tune, he missed a few cues. Still, he gets bonus points for adding a little bit of edge by flipping Fallon the bird and for making »
- Aly Semigran
Long before he scored his big break as one of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players on “Saturday Night Live,” Garrett Morris, a New Orleans native, was treading the boards in New York. He racked up mentions in Variety throughout the ’60s, but his first was for the recording of a musical called “The Bible Salesman.” Now, at 78, he’s a regular on CBS’ “2 Broke Girls.”
What do you remember about “The Bible Salesman”?
It was the first official Off Broadway show I did with Rosetta (LeNoire) way back when. A very talented composer by the name of Jay Thompson had written this piece, and it was marvelous to work with Rosetta, a great lady and great performer. At a certain time, she was the only black lady on Broadway.
What were your career ambitions?
My degree officially is in music, with a minor in composition but I always wanted to be an actor, »
- Geoff Berkshire
The revered director of the Oscar winning "12 Years a Slave" has teamed up with the author and screenwriter of last year's critical and commercial hit, "Gone Girl," to co-write an adaptation of the British TV series "Widows." The project was first announced on the heels of news that Steve McQueen had teamed up with Harry Belafonte to produce a film based on the life of the great Paul Robeson. Gillian Flynn's attachment is new. "Widows" aired in 1983, and told the story the widows of 3 crime bosses killed during a robbery attempt, who are being pressured by the police, as well as a rival group of thieves intent on taking over »
- Tambay A. Obenson
1-20 of 35 items from 2015 « Prev | Next »
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