14 items from 2008
Chicago – The long-delayed remake of “The Women”, the 1939 classic film that has been in the pipeline for years, should have stayed in terminal development hell. The grating, unbelievable dramedy from writer/director Diane English wastes a talented cast including Meg Ryan and Annette Bening on a two-dimensional, cliche-ridden screenplay and the Blu-Ray release for the film represents a rare misstep for Warner Brothers.
A lot of big releases have hit the marketplace hoping to grab a little bit of the Christmas dollar, but I think “The Women” is in the mix just because its producers and studio want it to get buried in the rush. Maybe no one will notice that “The Women” is one of the worst movies of 2008 and we can all move on to bigger and better releases in 2009.
Whoever first had the idea to turn “The Women” into a modern “Sex and the City” rip-off about »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Casting directors may have power over actors' careers, but independent CD Paul Russell implores actors to treat him like a regular human being. "Don't put us on a pedestal," he says. "We're really just glorified human resources." One would think that a CD in the business for 30 years with projects for 20th Century Fox and HBO and many Broadway shows to his credit would not boast humility as a strong suit. But Russell, who began as an actor and director out of high school, remembers his roots. Growing up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Russell became interested in acting in high school. At 17 he formed Stage Right Productions, New Jersey's first all-adolescent theatre company. After graduation, he bypassed college for open casting calls and directing gigs in summer stock and at regional theatres such as the Walnut Street in Philadelphia. "I didn't have the money or grades to go to college, »
- Halley Bondy
J.T. was adopted. He grew up in Michigan with loving parents and later moved to Hollywood with rock star dreams -- but he found something totally unexpected: The dad he never knew! "I'm sure I fantasized that my dad was Burt Reynolds or Tom Hanks or somebody," he tells "The Insider." "But I never had any idea my real father was a world-wide celebrity." "I was always curious where I came from," he continues. "I saw a commercial on television about an adoption service. I called them …and gave them the information and she said, 'Your biological father is not like the rest of us.'" It turns out that J.T.'s dad is none other than Emmy-winning actor Jay Thomas, famous for roles in such TV favorites as "Murphy Brown," "Cheers" and "Mork & Mindy." Thomas had put J.T. up for adoption more than two decades ago »
The gimmick of The Women is that no men appear anywhere in it -- not as background extras, not as voices on the phone, nowhere. It's all women, all the time. Which might sound empowering and feminist, except that the women are all shallow, vain, and petty, and their primary topic of conversation is, you guessed it, men. (Also: shoes, manicures, shopping, facelifts, etc.) If this were any other film, I suspect women would be complaining about Hollywood's sexism and misogyny. But hey, we men had nothing to do with this one. This one is all you.
Written and directed by Murphy Brown creator Diane English as an update of the 1939 George Cukor comedy (itself based on a Clare Boothe Luce play), the film establishes its tone in its first scene, with two women walking their dogs in New York City. The dogs fight, and the women, their faces invisible to us, »
- Eric D. Snider
I was looking forward to "The Women," but I could tell from the first scene that this updated remake of the 1939 classic by "Murphy Brown" creator Diane English - who would seem ideally suited to the job - was a total disaster.
"There's a name for women like that that's rarely used outside a kennel," says one character in a line cribbed from the original, and you have to scratch your head.
"Bitch" wasn't used on-screen in 1939 and probably not onstage in 1936, when Clare Booth Luce introduced »
- By LOU LUMENICK
By Erica Abeel
In 1936, theatergoers were first treated to a rousing bitch-a-thon called "The Women." Outrageous and often hilarious, the Clare Booth Luce-penned play is set in a female-only zone of Park Avenue, and its plot, a flimsy affair, concerns the trials of Mary Haines, a contented wife who discovers that her wealthy husband Steven is having a fling with the "spritzer girl" at the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter. Mary's girlfriends offer solace by feeding her marital woes to the tabloids, when they're not cracking wise at each other's expense, at times literally drawing blood. (Sample stage direction: "Sylvia is about to use her nails...") In 1939, the fur flew again in a film by George Cukor that's become a cult classic and faithfully reflects the venomous spirit of the play.
- Erica Abeel
New York born Diane English, writer of TV's "Murphy Brown" series, makes her directorial debut on Picturehouse's "The Women." Based on the book by Clare Boothe Lace, the film is produced by English, Victoria Pearman, Mick Jagger and Bill Johnson. The dramedy stars Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Candice Bergen, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler, Joanna Gleason, Debi Mazar, Bill Johnson, Diane English and Victoria Pearman. »
By Neil Pedley
Some might be quick to dismiss this week as part of the post-summer lull, but others might see it as a week of films that have been years in the making . it's been 13 since the now re-paired Robert De Niro and Al Pacino were last on screen together, while Diane English's remake of "The Women" took 12 to make it to the big screen, and the Flaming Lips' "Christmas on Mars" spent a mere seven years in the offing. As for fans of the Coen brothers, it only seems like forever since "No Country for Old Men."
Another week, another 9/11 conspiracy film, this one actually getting released on the seventh anniversary of the tragedy. Loosely inspired by "The Maltese Falcon," this Dv noir offers something of a date movie for far-left conspiracy theorists who take issue with perceived abuse of power on the part of our government. »
- Neil Pedley
"There's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society - outside of a kennel!"
So concludes the 1939 movie "The Women," a star-packed black comedy of manners - the "Mean Girls" of its day, only so much better. Featuring Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and just about every other major female star of the time, the film - based on the play by Clare Boothe Luce - was a »
- By SARA STEWART
"The Insider" was at the red carpet of the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Women' -- starring a who's who of A-Listers! Meg Ryan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Debi Mazar and Candice Bergen are just a few of the mega-watt superstars in this all-girl cast. 'The Women,' a remake of the 1939 classic, is directed by "Murphy Brown" creator Diane English. Meg Ryan plays the central character, a wealthy married woman who's the last to find out her husband is cheating on her with a shop girl. Check back for video of The Insider's red carpet coverage of the 'The Women''s premiere!
[Read full story on The Insider] »
Next month's Emmys ceremony will mark the 60th anniversary of the awards. ABC and The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences are pulling out all the stops to mark the occasion -- and thankfully will be paying tribute to many shows of the past.
Memorable moments -- The Emmys broadcast will feature a countdown of best remembered moments from television history -- 10 from the comedy category and 10 from drama. The public is invited to vote for their favorites from a selection of 20 choices in each genre.
Several classic series moments are on the comedy list including the final scene of Newhart, Murphy Brown's battle with VP Dan Quayle, The Carol Burnett Show's parody of Gone with the Wind, Chuckles the Clown's funeral from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Seinfeld's infamous contest. Two clips that seem out of place are the conclusion of American Idol's first season (funny?) and »
- Packing more estrogen than the current Sex and the City: The Movie, it's no accident that the almost clinically dead Picturehouse Films (who fall into the same WB umbrella as the soon to be dearly departed outfits of New Line and Wip) are getting a leg up on promoting the next chick flick, The Women. The remake (an update of 1939 George Cukor's film by the same name) features a slew of A-list actresses in Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Meg Ryan, a dusted-off Bette Midler and Candice Bergen (who reunites with her Murphy Brown director Diane English). The whose-man-is-it-anyways story line set among the New York skyline, with venomous stares and troubled marriages proposes itself as a zany comedy about the strength of gal pals. I've yet to see the original, but I have a feeling how this one might end. Set for an »
Sooner or later our favorite TV shows all come to an end and the cast and crew all go their separate ways. If we're lucky, our favorite performers return in new shows and movies. Here's where you'll be able to see some of them.
Sasha Alexander (Dawson's Creek) is currently working on Tenure, an indie film that stars Luke Wilson (That '70s Show), David Koechner (Still Standing), and Michael Cudlitz (Standoff). The movie's a comedy and centers around a college professor who competes for tenure with a hot-shot female colleague.
Michelle C. Bonilla (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) is booked to film Montana Amazon. The film stars Olympia Dukakis (Center of the Universe) and Haley Joel Osment (Murphy Brown), and features veterans like Veronica Cartwright (Leave It to Beaver, L.A. Law) and Ellen Geer (Falcon Crest).
The annual dinner marks the 35th anniversary of Women in Film and supports WIF, Los Angeles (headed by president Jane Fleming) and its educational and philanthropic programs.
Set to receive the Crystal Award for excellence in film is English and the cast of Women, her remake of the 1939 classic. The creator, writer and exec producer of CBS' Murphy Brown, English has spent 13 years nurturing a new version of the Clare Boothe Luce play, lining up an all-female cast that includes Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler and Candice Bergen. Picturehouse will release The Women on Oct. 10.
14 items from 2008
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