4 items from 2015
James Best, who played the memorable Sherrif Roscoe P. Coltrane on the hit TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, passed away yesterday at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia. The actor played Roscoe P. Coltrane, the longtime rival to the Duke brothers, on all seven seasons of The Dukes of Hazzard, which ran from 1979 to 1985.
The actor was raised in Indiana and ended up moving to New York after serving in World War II. He found work as a fashion model which lead to him being discoverd by a casting agent. He became a contract player for Universal Pictures. He appeared in a number of films throughout the 1950s such as Winchester '73 alongside James Stewart and The Cimarron Kid with Audie Murphy. He ended up working in both TV and film throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, appearing in notable episodes of The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train and Have Gun - Will Travel, »
The personal doesn’t feel especially persuasive in “Straight Outta Tompkins,” 22-year-old writer-director-star Zephyr Benson’s semi-autobiographical drama about the relentless downward spiral of a teenage junkie/dealer adrift on the Lower East Side. Imagining what might have happened if his own youthful experiences using and selling drugs had taken a much darker, more extreme turn, Benson displays more energy and assurance behind the camera than he does in front of it; even still, his tonal command of his own narrative is wobbly at best, employing cynical humor and climactic eruptions of violence to jazz up what is ultimately an overly earnest and predictable cautionary tale. Although not without promise, the film (which opened March 6 in limited release) likely proved more cathartic for its maker than it will be for those who seek it out.
A scene in which young Gene (Benson) tries to fill out a life-goals questionnaire provides »
- Justin Chang
Following in your famous father’s footsteps while pursuing your own showbiz dreams can prove to be a daunting career path. Just imagine if Dad were as beloved as Robby Benson, a teen heartthrob in the ‘70s in such films as the basketball drama “One on One” and the skating romance “Ice Castles.” He would move on to more mature roles in the ‘80s such as “Harry & Son” opposite Paul Newman and leave an enduring mark on animation history as the voice of the Beast in 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast.” And then there is Mom, Karla DeVito, no slouch, either. The actress/singer, once dubbed “The Sweetheart of Rock and Roll” by David Letterman, sang backup for Meat Loaf on his Bat Out of Hell tour and starred on Broadway in “The Pirates of Penzance.“ It makes sense, then, that their progeny and quadruple threat Zephyr Benson, who turns »
- Susan Wloszczyna
Universal Studio’s original 1996 fantasy Dragonheart starred Dennis Quaid as a reformed dragon slayer, and Sean Connery as the voice of the CGI dragon who befriends him. Draco the Dragon was supposedly the last of his kind, and even though he died at the end of the first movie, Universal managed to revive him for a 2000 Dtv sequel Dragonheart: A New Beginning replacing Connery’s voice with that of Robby Benson (who had voiced the Beast for Disney). I’m not sure why it took 15 years for a third installment, but Drago (as he’s called this time) is back in the third installment, Dragonheart: The Sorcerer’S Curse, which is actually a prequel to the original. Ben Kingsley is onboard for this one as the voice of Drago.
- Tom Stockman
4 items from 2015
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