12 items from 2014
Earlier this week, Yahoo announced that season 6 of "Community" would get some much-needed new blood, with Paget Brewster and Keith David joining a cast that's lost Donald Glover, Chevy Chase and Yvette Nicole Brown in the last few years (not to mention prominent recurring players Jonathan Banks and John Oliver). Now, sometimes, late-in-life TV show cast changes and/or additions can be a death knell. "The X-Files" without Mulder (and then Scully) just isn't "The X-Files," and nobody much liked either Doggett or (especially) Reyes. Ditto "The Facts of Life" trying to swap in Cloris Leachman for Charlotte Rae, or "Welcome Back Kotter" thinking they could survive without John Travolta as Barbarino. Other times, though, a cast change can be just the shot in the arm a veteran show needs. "Law & Order" most famously made a science out of swapping actors in and out of its cast, but lots of »
- Alan Sepinwall
We’re now well into the new TV season and there were a number on new shows to which I was looking forward as well as some returning ones. I’ve now seen at least one of each and have formed some opinions. Since that’s what this column is all about, off we go.
On the returning shows, let’s start with The Blacklist. I was wondering if it could maintain momentum but so far it has, anchored by James Spader’s mesmerizing performance as Raymond “Red” Reddington. Terrifically charming, utterly lethal, ready with a quip, a story, or a bullet, Spader gives a wonderful performance.
I also wondered about Castle and the “cliffhanger” with which they left last season. They aren’t explaining things right away, making what happened part of the overall mystery for this season. It’s working. It feels as if there’s new steam »
- John Ostrander
Im-not-so-ho, the best thing about The Flash is Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and John Wesley Shipp as Barry’s father. Im-not-so-ho, the best things about Gotham are Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot. Im-not-so-ho, the best things about Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. are Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson and Ming Na-Wen as Melinda May.
What does that say about me?
Am I getting old? Am I no longer able to appreciate a pretty-boy face or a hot young thang? Am I just being nostalgic in my appreciation of Martin, who originated the part of Tony in Rent on Broadway and played Detective Ed Green (opposite the brilliant and missed Jerry Orbach as Detective Lennie Brisco) on Law & Order, which I still regularly watch in reruns, and Ming Na-Wen, who played Dr. Jing-Mei “Deb” Chen on E.R., »
- Mindy Newell
As part of my epic, foolish project to list the 100 best episodes of the '94–'95 TV season, I spent a lot of time revisiting old favorites. And it was a real treat! Particularly fun was revisiting season five of Law & Order because I went through an actual spiritual shift that I never could have predicted. For as long as I can remember, Ben Stone was my favorite D.A. I like his whininess! But rewatching some of the '94–95 episodes — which are definitely among the series' best — I've been swayed. I am now Team Jack McCoy. And that makes the '94–'95 lineup My Ultimate Law & Order Cast. For the cop lineup, I'm Briscoe or bust; I live in a Jerry Orbach–or-Nothing world, as should you. I prefer Mike Logan (Chris Noth), though I can understand people who like Rey Curtis (Benjamin Bratt) and Ed Green (Jesse »
- Margaret Lyons
Ever found yourself watching a Disney movie and not quite being able to place the familiar voice of one of the characters? Hln rounds up 11 celebrities you probably forgot have offered up their vocal talents for a Disney film: Demi Moore: Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame Oprah Winfrey: Eudora, Tiana's mom in The Princess and the Frog The late Jerry Orbach of Law and Order fame: Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast Tate Donovan of The Oc : Hercules in Hercules Eddie Murphy: Mushu in Mulan Whoopi Goldberg: Shenzi, a hyena in The Lion King Mel Gibson: John »
- Evann Gastaldo
Following this weekend's box office success of Disney's Maleficent, the studio is moving forward with a live-action adaptation of the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast, which has Bill Condon attached to direct.
Evan Spiliotopoulos (Ouija, Hercules) is writing the screenplay, although no specific story details were given at this time. The original Beauty and the Beast was one of the few animated movies to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, grossing over $375 million worldwide and spawning a hit Broadway play and other adaptations such as The CW series Beauty & the Beast and a French Beauty & the Beast adaptation starring Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux. The characters will also be featured in the upcoming Disney Channel TV movie Descendants.
Mandeville Films is »
The season premiere of Law & Order's fourteenth season, Bodies, constituted a departure from prior episodes. Cryptic markings on a dead body are matched to similar markings found on a victim in Brooklyn five years before, and then to more bodies, all of which leads Detectives Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) and Green (Jesse L. Martin) to conclude there is a serial killer at work in New York City. The killer—a psychopathic taxi driver named Mark Bruner (played by guest star Ritchie Coster)—is apprehended relatively quickly. Briscoe and Green take no actions in pursuit of the killer that fans of the show haven't seen a thousand times before: they canvass, retrace the steps of the victim, happen upon a nightclub waitress with a keen eye for creepy patrons, and finally follow a hunch that leads them to Bruner's apartment. It's not the pursuit and capture that provide the climax of the episode, »
- Spencer Short
As we continue on, I need to once again clarify that if this list was “Joshua Gaul’s 50 Favorite Movie Musicals,” it’d be a quite a different list. But, if my tastes determined what is definitive, I’d be asking you all to consider Aladdin as a brilliant piece of filmmaking and wax nostalgic about my love for Batteries Not Included and Flight of the Navigator (not for the musicals list, of course). Much to my dismay, my tastes are not universal. I’d like to think my research methods are.
courtesy of themoviescene.co.uk
30. Annie (1982)
Directed by John Huston
Signature Song: “Tomorrow” (http://youtu.be/Yop62wQH498)
Originally a 1924 comic strip, the beloved stage musical about a red-haired orphan girl was brought to the big screen in 1982 and directed by John Huston (yes, that John Huston – director of The Maltese Falcon and The African Queen, not to »
- Joshua Gaul
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Wadjda, a 10-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia, desperately wants a bike of her own, and after a bunch of her own money-making schemes fail, she enters her school's Koran memorization contest for the prize money.
Why We're In: Writer/director Haifaa Al Mansour has crafted an excellent movie, but in addition to that, "Wadjda" is the first feature-length film made entirely in Saudi Arabia, and the first film written and directed by a Saudi woman.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition"
What's It About? Mowgli is a human child who's most literally raised by wolves, but as he grows up it becomes clear to his buddies Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther that it's time for him to go live with other people.
Why We're In: It's a Disney classic with all the trimmings. »
- Jenni Miller
We all have our favorite Disney film, but for those who belong to a certain generation, the films released during the Disney Renaissance era (1989-1999) hold a special place. This era saw the company produce some of their most commercially and critically successful films in Disney’s history, by injecting its own unique brand of magic into well-known fairy tales and stories.
A key feature from this era is 1991’s Beauty and the Beast. Based on the French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, the film sees Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara), a young woman who becomes imprisoned in an attempt to save her father by the monstrous Beast (Robby Benson), a selfish young prince transformed into a monster by a curse until he can learn how to love.
Beauty and the Beast wasn’t the company’s first attempt to bring the fairy tale to the big screen. »
- Katie Wong
When Capt. Donald Cragen left the squad room a final time on "Law & Order: Svu," he did so as he had lived in it -- nobly.
Wednesday's (Jan. 15) "Svu" marked his 400th episode as the captain. Florek played Cragen in all 331 episodes of this series, now in its 15th season, and in 69 episodes of the original "Law & Order."
There's a lot to be said for the sort of decency that Florek could not keep out of his performance. Florek declined requests to speak about his exit from the series, but had spoken with Zap2it over the years in a series of phone interviews and set visits.
He was one of the originals, going back not just to the mothership of "Law & Order," but to that show's initial pilot. »
Blu-ray Release Date: Feb. 11, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
A rare combination of character study, film noir and black comedy, the film is about an esteemed New York ophthalmologist (Martin Landau, Cleopatra) whose affair with a flight attendant (Anjelica Huston, The Grifters) puts the careful construct of his life in jeopardy.
As he contemplates a permanent solution to his problems, another story is weaved into the narrative, this one about another kind of moral crisis: a struggling documentary filmmaker (Allen) considers selling out by making a doc about a Hollywood jackass (Alan Alda, Tower Heist), with the situation further complicated by the appearance of an entrancing TV producer (Mia Farrow, Rosemary’s Baby).
Highlighted by cinematography from the incomparable Sven Nykvist »
12 items from 2014
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