9 items from 2015
The Fall of the House of Cushing: Del Toro’s Haunted House Thriller Strangled by Frills
There’s much to admire within the crumbling facades of Guillermo Del Toro’s latest tantalizing film, Crimson Peak. But unlike its haunted familial mansion sinking slowly into the mire of wet red earth, the nonsensical and disappointingly basic narrative is consistent only in its utter transparency. Borrowing mercilessly from yellowed clichés of romantically inclined gothic literature, screenwriters Del Toro and Matthew Robins (whose last collaboration was the 1997 mutant insect thriller Mimic) plunder Edgar Allan Poe templates infused with the emotional melodrama oozing eternally from the pages of the Bronte sisters (while diegetic references to Jane Austen and Mary Shelley aren’t quite as effective in a film brimming with pointed symbolism). An overextended first half teases delectable weirdness to come, but beyond its brooding cinematography and expertly crafted ghostly visuals, Del Toro delivers »
- Nicholas Bell
A moldering manor house, a young virgin with a predilection for ornate nightgowns and dark passages, and an aristocratic family hiding some truly terrible secrets are just some of the ingredients of Guillermo del Toro‘s “Crimson Peak.” The insanely lush Gothic romance and ghost story plays like a hitherto unrecorded collaboration between Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton, the designers of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and whoever directed all those Bonnie Tyler music videos in the 1980s. And while the film boasts a talented ensemble, let’s give credit to the film’s real star: costume designer Kate Hawley (“Edge of Tomorrow”), who drapes the. »
- Alonso Duralde
Goleta, Calif. — Two-time Oscar winning actress Jane Fonda kept the focus on social concerns in accepting a career achievement honor presented by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Saturday night.
The 10th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film in hand, Fonda took a moment to recognize the programs that benefit from the annual fundraising dinner (which has honored luminaries such as Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford in recent years). She recalled formerly running a local performing arts camp herself for underprivileged children. It was there she said she discovered the impact art can have on youth, when one of the children there confessed she had never met people who think about the future. “When you’re poor or not loved, you see no future,” Fonda recalled understanding.
She also added with a twist that the camp was powered by alternative energies. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Newport is famed for its gilded age mansions and old world opulence. This summer, for the fifth year in a row, the lawns and vacation palaces of Doris Duke and the Vanderbilts have served as a backdrop to one of the more unusual regional film festivals in the country.
For its fifth year, NewportFilm has paired the resort town’s historic lawns and gardens with roughly a dozen outdoor showings, which routinely attract between 700 to 1,100 locals and visitors, of such non-fiction films as “What Happened Miss Simone?,” “Iris” and “The Diplomat.”
The non-profit organization plays films year-round, but its summer showings, which take place in such storied locales as Marble House — a Beaux Arts masterpiece — the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, one of the country’s oldest community libraries, are what sets it apart. It’s as if an open-air screening took place in an Edith Wharton novel. »
- Brent Lang
Novelist E. L. Doctorow, best known for the 1975 historical “Ragtime,” died Tuesday at the age of 84. The New York-born writer won numerous awards for his novels, including a National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two Pen Faulkner Awards, an Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction and the National Humanities Medal. The cause of death was complications from lung cancer and the author died in Manhattan, his son Richard told The New York Times. Also Read: 15 Books That Scored Better Big Screen Titles -- 'Cruel Intentions,' 'Die Hard,' 'Goodfellas' (Photos) His most famous work, the 1975 historical novel “Ragtime, »
- Linda Ge
Yesterday, I wrote about my first year in Los Angeles, which was all just a matter of settling in. Remember, when I moved to La, I knew a grand total of zero people who lived or worked here. I was not laden with contacts and strolling into a situation where everything was guaranteed to work out. Scott Swan and I took a huge chance when we packed up and moved out, and I am so horrified by how little money we had saved that I'm almost embarrassed to say the number. I was insanely naive when I arrived in town. I am still haunted by a choice we made in those early days, when we answered an ad in one of the trades that was looking for writers willing to work on a "per sketch" basis. I forget how much the rate was… $100 or so, but definitely not more than that… »
- Drew McWeeny
This story first appeared in the June 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe. Now that Abbe Raven has retired from A&E as its chairman, it looks like her husband, Martin Tackel, is entering showbiz. Attorney Tackel teamed with Barbara Bosch to co-create Traveling Papers, playing this June at the Lion Theatre on New York’s Theatre Row. The travel-themed show includes works by Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Anthony Bourdain and Paul Theroux. "As I said to my wife," Tackel tells THR of Raven, who is not involved in the
- Chris Gardner
These seven words comprise one of the most, if not The most, memorable lines in television history. The moment you hear them, you know you’re in for a lot of laughs, happiness, and possibly a little bit of surprise for the next hour and a half of your life.
Saturday Night Live is a dynasty on American television and has continued to stay relevant throughout its 40 years on air.
The visionary behind its legacy is creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels. He knows what works, what doesn’t, and he’s seen his vision through from the very start.
"I felt that if I could do the kind of show that I wanted to do in late night, that it would be a success," Michaels told Et back in 1989, 14 years after the show premiered on NBC. By that time »
On the eve of its 40th anniversary special (though the anniversary itself isn't until October), what is left to say about "Saturday Night Live"? There have been multiple books written about the show, several documentaries, countless essays — riding the never-ending roller-coaster between "Saturday Night Dead" and "Saturday Night Lives Again!" — best-ofs, worst-ofs, and every other kind of list you can think of. I don't know that anything I write over the next few pages will provide new insight into one of the most influential comedy shows ever made, but I wondered if you could tell the story of the show — through good times and bad, through revolutions and evolutions and retrenchments — by looking at its sketches. I wound up picking 21 in all: some among the show's most famous, some obscure but important. These aren't meant as a definitive breakdown of the best "SNL" ever had to offer, but as a »
- Alan Sepinwall
9 items from 2015
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