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With all the talk about Black Panther and other black superheroes, it's perhaps odd that Robert Townsend's 1991 film "The Meteor Man" has never really found any love. It was a box office bomb when it was first released; but unlike other black films that also bombed, and would later find an audience, becoming cult favorites (such as "Love Jones" and Townsend's earlier "The Five Heartbeats"), "Meteor Man" wasn't quite as lucky. The premise is straight out of an old comic book in which Townsend plays Jefferson Reed, a Washington D.C. teacher in a troubled neighborhood who is, one day, stuck by a chunk of a meteor, giving him super powers. But, of course, »
The decade’s underground film offering rarely gets its dues but at a new festival Jarmusch and Lynch sit next to under appreciated gems like Heat and Sunlight
It started with a conversation about Hollywood Shuffle.
Nellie Killian, programmer at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek, and Jake Perlin, director of Artists Public Domain’s Cinema Conservancy, were discussing Robert Townsend’s 1987 independent comedy born from the frustration of being a black actor unable to find good roles. “The trailer actually has him holding up his credit cards,” they both enthusiastically recalled, and this captured the essence of what the massive 60+ film, six-week series kicking off on 17 July at Bam is all about. “Was this put on the director’s credit card?” was the litmus test they asked one another when deciding which titles to include in indie 80s. The question may not have been literal, but the spirit is easy to recognize. »
- Jordan Hoffman
Songs On Screen: All week HitFix will be featuring tributes by writers to their favorite musical moments from TV and film. Check out all the entries in the series here. When we talk about underrated directors, it's hard not to mention Walter Hill. Hill is an underrated director, the way Michael Ritchie and Peter Yates were underrated directors, the way Roger Donaldson, Joe Dante, and Fred Schepisi are underrated directors. They’re all underrated because it’s only when you look at their filmographies that the numbers start to total up and you realize, boy, he directed a lot of really good movies. In Hill’s case, that list includes "The Warriors," "48 Hours," "The Long Riders," "Southern Comfort,: "Hard Times," "Trespass," and "Wild Bill." Some great. Some solid. (My personal favorite of those is Hard Times, a pulpy film about bare-knuckle boxers in the Great Depression.) There were clunkers »
- Michael Oates Palmer
"Cooley High" ought to be remembered as a cinema milestone, and its writer and director remembered as pioneers.
Released 40 years ago this week (on June 25, 1975), it ought to be celebrated for its vast influence on movies, TV, and music. As a young-men-coming-of-age movie, it deserves to be mentioned alongside Fellini's "I Vitelloni," George Lucas's "American Graffiti," Barry Levinson's "Diner," and John Singleton's "Boyz N the Hood." And yet, the film and its creators have been largely forgotten, lost to history.
The story behind "Cooley High" is even more dramatic than the comedy-drama that unspooled on the screen. It's the story of Kenneth Williams, who, like protagonist Preach, left Chicago's Cabrini-Green projects with dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter. Having dropped out of high school, he hitchhiked from the Windy City to Hollywood with $5 in his pocket and no connections, and for a while he supported himself selling drugs. »
- Gary Susman
Read More: 20th Stony Brook Film Festival Welcomes 'Best of Enemies,' 'Wildlike' and More Brooklyn's BAMcinématek revealed plans for a six-week-long retrospective screening series that is scheduled to begin in mid-July. Focused exclusively on independent American cinema from the 1980s, the program will feature over sixty films, along with special guests such as directors Ross McElwee and Rob Nilsson. Robert Townsend's "Hollywood Shuffle" (1987), a comedy about an African American actor (Townsend) struggling with the limitations of racial representation in Hollywood, will open "Indie 80s" on July 17. The series will conclude on August 27 with a screening of "Chameleon Street" (1989), which follows actor-director Wendall B. Harris, Jr. as he camouflages himself at hospitals, newspapers and court, faking as an expert in a wide range of professions in order to escape his tedious life. Other notable titles include Rob Reiner's classic »
- Sara Itkis
The PBS SoCal special “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” is among the nominees for the 67th annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards.
The interview special that features pairings of prominent actors discussing their craft is a contender in the entertainment programming category. “Actors on Actors,” a co-production between Variety and PBS SoCal, will vie against Ktla’s “Live From the Oscars” and Kcbs/Kcal’s “Lexus: Music Uncovered” series.
In the competitive investigative reporting category, Fox’s Kttv is up against Kcbs and Univision’s Kmex, which has two nominations. Hard news reporting noms went to Kcbs/Kcal’s David Goldstein and Catherine Gelera; Kvea’s Azucena Gomez; Kmex’s Antonio Valverde; and separate noms for Knbc’s Robert Kovacik and Tony Shin.
In the competition for the three regularly scheduled newscast categories, there are no nominations; all stations that submit entries are contenders. The morning and daily newscast »
- Variety Staff
In the mid-1980s, actor and comedian Robert Townsend had scored supporting roles in films like A Soldier’s Story and Streets of Fire, but was still limited in the opportunities available to him as a black performer. Frustrated by the lack of roles, Townsend created one for himself – and directed a landmark in American independent cinema in the process – by helming Hollywood Shuffle, a self-financed comedy about a young actor whose experiences mirrored Townsend’s own. Bobby Taylor (Townsend) is an aspiring thespian who dreams of playing superheroes and Shakespearean kings but mostly finds himself auditioning to play pimps and […] »
- Jim Hemphill
In honor of its 110th anniversary, Variety selects 110 students who represent the future of film, media and entertainment.
School: Northwestern U.
Major: Mfa writing for screen and stage
High Marks: Agrawal’s plays have been produced in theaters in Chicago; Evanston, Ill.; Ithaca, N.Y.; New Bedford, Mass.; and Seattle. She was a writing intern with HBO last summer and the winner of an Emmy Foundation scholarship.
School: Ringling College of Art and Design
Major: Motion design
High Marks: Not only did Ajmeri intern with Psyop and the Mill, two premier motion design studios in New York, but also has been offered a job with the latter. Ajmeri’s national and local freelance work includes a new musicvideo for Jason Derulo.
School: Northwestern U.
Major: Mfa writing for screen and stage
High Marks: Arbery’s “The Logic” was »
- Malina Saval, Christy Grosz, Seth Kelley and Marianne Zumberge
RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, wrapped last night with Shawkat Amin Korki’s Memories on Stone winning best narrative feature and Hao Zhou’s The Chinese Mayor winning best documentary feature.
In the audience awards, best of the fest went to honoree Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution; best narrative feature went to Anywhere Else by Ester Amrami; best documentary feature went to Marc Silver’s 3 ½ Minutes and best indie was Proud Citizen by Thomas Southerland.
The festival presented 165 films in total in its 17th annual edition; more filmmakers than ever before attended the event.
“Films showcased at our festival this year reflected diverse stories from around the world, immense talent from directors, many trained in Winston-Salem, and a host of passionate projects that are jewels »
- email@example.com (Wendy Mitchell)
For a novel that's been adapted into ten different films, Brewster's Millions seems to still have some life in its pages. Since 1906, audiences have had quite a few chances to see what could have been their favorite book adapted for the screen, with the most memorable one being the Richard Pryor/John Candy version from 1985. And just when we'd thought we'd heard the last gasp for any sort of modern shot at a revival, a new Brewster's Millions remake has arrived and it brought a director along for the ride! Variety has reported that Robert Townsend, director of such classics as Hollywood Shuffle and Meteor Man, will be the latest director to tell the tale of a man who stands to inherit a large fortune... if only he can spend a small one in a limited amount of time. In the 1985 version, the stakes were to spend $30 million in 30 days, »
Robert Townsend previously directed Beyonce in her acting debut, and now we want her to star in this rags-to-riches comedy
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- Christopher Campbell
That film follows a baseball fan who is called to New York city to hear the last will and testament of his recently deceased great-uncle. Said uncle makes an offer - if he can spend $30 million in 30 days, he's entitled to $300 million. If not, he loses it all. There's also strict conditions on how he can spend the cash, including having no more assets than what he started with.
Source: Variety »
- Garth Franklin
Back in 2009, it was reported that Warner Bros was moving forward with another version of "Brewster's Millions," which is based on a 1902 novel. And now comes word that the project is happening again. Variety is reporting that Robert Townsend (The Five Heartbeats, The Meteor Man, Baps) has signed on to direct. The book has been adapted for the big twice already, first in 1945 with Dennis O'Keefe starring and then in 1985 with Richard Pryor and John Candy. The story centers on a man who inherits $1 million from a rich grandfather. When a rich uncle who hated the grandfather also passes away, the will leaves the young man $7 million -- but under the condition he spends the grandfather's million within a year and not end up with any assets from the spending spree. »
If we could only agree on what ‘remake’ actually means, we could probably decide which film was the most remade. Cinderella is said to be the most retold story in cinema history, with A Christmas Carol also a hotly-tipped contender.
Somewhere high in that ranking must also be Brewster’s Millions. To date, it’s been filmed ten times and, according to Deadline, an eleventh iteration is now in the offing.
All that’s known about the new version is that Robert Townsend will be directing.
Townsend’s debut, Hollywood Shuffle, is a very sweet but also sincere and pointed piece of satire on how the American film industry marginalised and stereotyped actors and characters of colour. It’s still his most successful film, at least critically speaking, but Townsend did go on to make several other films that engaged with similar themes.
This is why I find his attachment »
- Brendon Connelly
There have been at least 5 film adaptations of "Brewster's Millions" - the 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon. But maybe the one most are familiar with is the 1985 comedy film starring Richard Pryor and John Candy, which was directed by Walter Hill (who was not really known for comedies. He got this job after directing Eddie Murphy in "48 Hours"). The movie received mixed reviews en route to a $40+ million domestic box office. Now the story will be revisited again, for the umpteenth time, in a feature film that will be directed by Robert Townsend, from a screenplay penned by Michael Williams Schmidt. The novel revolves around Montgomery »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Actor-filmmaker Robert Townsend has signed on to direct the reboot of Brewster's Millions, news which comes 30 years after the 1985 comedy Brewster's Millions was released, starring Richard Pryor and John Candy. The story is based on George Barr McCutcheon's 1902 novel, which was turned into a stage play in 1906 along with 10 different movie adaptations, including a lost 1914 Cecil B. DeMille version towards the beginning of his career.
Michael William Schmidt is writing the screenplay, which centers on Montgomery Brewster, a man who inherits $1 billion, under one condition: he must spend $100 million in one week, or he loses everything. The financial stakes in the reboot have been increased considerably, since the 1985 version, directed by Walter Hill, centered on Richard Pryor's Brewster tasked with spending $30 million in 30 days, in order to receive his full inheritance of $300 million. No further story details were released at this time.
The story is based on the 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon that was adapted into a play in 1906 and made into films 10 times — including a lost 1914 release directed by Cecil B. DeMille at the start of his career.
Producers of the new “Brewster’s Millions” are Joseph and Jack Nasser. The adaptation was written by Michael William Schmidt and follows Monty Brewster, who is set to inherit $1 billion – with one key caveat: He must spend $100 million in one week or end up with nothing more than the clothes on his back.
Apa will handle domestic sales of the film.
Townsend’s first feature was 1987’s “Hollywood Shuffle, »
- Dave McNary
The 11th - really - big screen adaptation of Brewster's Millions is in the works...
The history of Brewster's Millions on the big screen is extensive. Based on the novel by George Barr McCutcheon, that was published in 1902, there have, to date, been ten screen adaptations of it (not including television projects). They range from the first, a 1914 adaptation directed by Cecil B De Mille and Oscar Apfel, through arguably the highest profile, the Richard Pryor-headlined version that landed in 1985.
Well, number 11 is on the way (and we're indebted to Film Divider for pointing out there have been that many).
The new Brewster's Millions, the first English language take on the book since that 1985 project (that was helmed by Walter Hill, with John Candy co-starring), will be directed by Robert Townsend, based on a screenplay by Michael William Schmidt. The basic premise will be the same: for a man to inherit a large fortune, »
The last time we checked on Brewster’s Millions, Richard Pryor and John Candy were rolling in it. That was 1985. Now Robert Townsend has signed on to direct a remake scripted by Michael William Schmidt and produced by Joseph and Jack Nasser. The story, based George Barr McCutcheon’s 1902 novel, centers on Monty Brewster, who is set to inherit $1 billion, with one key caveat: He must spend $100 million in one week or end up right back where he started – with nothing more… »
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
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