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Mike Nichols Movies: 18 Essential Films You Should Watch Right Now

Few directors can be said to have changed the way films are made, but Mike Nichols, who died Wednesday at 83, was one of them. His first film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), ended decades of Hollywood censorship of adult content and freed the movies for mature language and subject matter ever after. His second film, "The Graduate," was the first serious mainstream movie to feature a rock soundtrack (spawning Simon and Garfunkel's hit "Mrs. Robinson") and, through its casting of Dustin Hoffman, expanded Hollywood's notion of what a leading man ought to look and sound like.

Nichols wasn't born in America (he and his family escaped from Nazi Germany when he was a child), but he was one of the best chroniclers of contemporary America -- its politics, its aspirations, its dreams, its aristocracy, and its successes and failures -- in movies. His youth in Manhattan as the son
See full article at Moviefone »

Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

Elaine May & Mike Nichols in the 50s"The Great Work begins..." that's a line from Angels in America but someone should've said it in the 1950s when one of the greatest figures in modern showbusiness began his career on Chicago stages as a university student. Mike Nichols, who died yesterday at 83, first gained fame as half of a celebrated comic duo "Nichols & May" with actress/director Elaine May but comedy sketches were only the beginning. He'd eventually conquer all realms of showbusiness winning a Grammy with May for a comedy album in 1961, the first of several Tony Awards for directing Barefoot in the Park on Broadway (1964), an Oscar for directing The Graduate (1967) which was only his second film, and in the last decade of his career, two Emmys for television triumphs with Wit and the aforementioned Angels.

Because I came of age in the 1980s, the Nichols collaboration that defined
See full article at FilmExperience »

Apparently We Have to Teach 20-Year-Olds Who Gilda Radner Is

Get this: Gilda's Club -- the cancer support group named for Gilda Radner, who once claimed that cancer is "an elite club I'd rather not belong to" -- is getting a new name. The reason? People born after 1989 don't know who Gilda Radner is. Uh, interesting: 20-year-olds seem to know who John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Dan Aykroyd are, but Gilda Radner, arguably the most original and explosive talent in SNL history, slides under the radar? This is unspeakable news in the worst way possible.

Quick, please memorize these six points and tell them to everybody you know who is born in the '90s. This is an important performer for many reasons. Save the advanced knowledge about her Toronto Godspell stint, Second City, Candy Slice, her Baba Wawa impersonation that used to infuriate Barbara Walters, First Family, The Woman In Red, and the failure of Haunted Honeymoon for semi-advanced children.
See full article at The Backlot »

Dial Back the Date!: March 5 Marks "Crash's" Infuriating Triumph Over "Brokeback Mountain"

We're just barreling through 2012 here, aren't we? It scares me. You understand that next year is 2013, right? What kind of freaky Kubrickian year is that? Whatever. Let's live in the now and deny that we're heading into a staggering vortex that will kill us all.

1770: The Boston Massacre claims the lives of five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, and it serves as a catalyst for the outbreak of the American Revolution. Just five lives? Five lives are lost during most Craigslist transactions. Hope those Dale Earnhardt hubcaps were worth it, Crispus.

1956: Teena Marie, the late "Ivory Queen of Soul," is born. Immortal Jive Goddess Of Caucasia. Here are my three favorite Teena songs:  3) "Lovergirl," 2) "Square Biz," and 1) "Behind the Groove." Ohhhhh, yes. Never forget Lady T!

1960: Elvis Presley ends his two-year stint in the U.S. Army. And that's wonderful. But let's talk about his most frequent onscreen costar Shelley Fabares,
See full article at The Backlot »

The Oscars: The Iron Lady's Iron Fist Knocks Us Out Cold!

L to r: Meryl Streep, Billy Crystal, Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz

The Oscars is probably my favorite award show that takes place next door to a Claire's. I'm serious. Have you been to the Kodak Theatre? It's basically a big recess in a Hollywood Boulevard mall, one with a Claire's and a Guess and an Express for Men. I remember watching Kate Winslet pick up her Oscar in 2009, the year I moved to L.A., and saying aloud, "So she basically walked past a Claire's to win that." It's tragic and telling. And kind of appropriate, because the Oscars -- much as I literally can't stop thinking about them -- are a mall-brand affair. The nominees are palatable, the format is bland, and the whole ceremony is devoted to mainstream flattery and appeal. But here's the other thing: I shop at the mall. It's at least clean.

And thankfully,
See full article at The Backlot »

DVD Playhouse--December 2009

DVD Playhouse—December 2009

By

Allen Gardner

Public Enemies (Universal) Johnny Depp portrays legendary Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger in co- writer/director Michael Mann’s take on America’s first “Public Enemy Number One.” Like many big studio releases today, Public Enemies has it all: A-list talent before and behind the camera, but lacks a heart or soul that allows its audience to connect with it. Film plays out like a “true crime” TV show with re-enactments of famous events cast with top actors and shot by the best technicians in the business, with little, if any, character or story development to hold it together in between. A real disappointment from one of our finest filmmakers and finest actors. The lone standout: the great character actor Stephen Lang as a hard-eyed lawman who’s seen a lot, but manages to retain a tiny piece of his heart. For a better take on the same subject,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

'Gilda Live' now on DVD: Anybody else excited about this?

'Gilda Live' now on DVD: Anybody else excited about this?
A few weeks ago, with zero fanfare, Warner Bros. released a DVD version of Gilda Live, the Mike Nichols-directed concert pic of Gilda Radner's 1979 one-woman show. The disc -- a bare-bones straight-from-video transfer -- ended up under the piles of new releases on my desk until yesterday, when I found it, popped it in my computer, and smiled for 96 minutes straight. (Check out the clip below of Gilda's inspired tap dance "audition.") I can't judge Gilda Live in any sort of objective way. It replayed endlessly on Comedy Central when I was younger, and the skits, the songs,
See full article at EW.com - PopWatch »

Weekend Shopping Guide 11/13/09: Knowledge!

  • Quick Stop
The weekend’s here. You’ve just been paid, and it’s burning a hole in your pocket. What’s a pop culture geek to do? In hopes of steering you in the right direction to blow some of that hard-earned cash, it’s time for the Quick Stop Weekend Shopping Guide - your spotlight on the things you didn’t even know you wanted…

(Please support Quick Stop by using the links below to make any impulse purchases - it helps to keep us going…)

As dense as a diamond and just as exquisite, the second volume of world knowledge written by the world’s Foremost Expert on All That Is Knowable (if not factual) and the possessor of soft hands and a baby’s face (the former per our handshake, the latter per Ricky Gervais), John Hodgman, is now available for purchase from your favorite book emporium In Softcover.
See full article at Quick Stop »

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