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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2000

1-20 of 57 items from 2016   « Prev | Next »


‘The Birth of a Nation’ May Be the Most Timely Film the Oscar Race Has Ever Seen

12 July 2016 3:30 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Following a screening of Sundance prize-winner “The Birth of a Nation” last week, I took out my phone and saw the horrifying news coming out of Dallas. After watching the events of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion unfold on the screen — depicted with impassioned grace by director Nate Parker — a wave of thoughts and emotions was crashing inside.

Of course, it would be intellectually careless to equate the actions of Dallas shooter Micah Johnson with the retaliation of slaves against their oppressors. They’re not at all one and the same. But there is shared DNA between the emotions that sparked the two events.

Critics may invoke the police brutalities of Oakland, Ferguson, Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights while declaring that Parker’s film, which opens Oct. 7, comes at an explosive time for U.S. race relations, but the Dallas shootings put that tension in an even stronger light. This is a film about exasperation. »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Boyz n the Hood and The Importance of Supporting Diverse New Filmmakers

12 July 2016 11:08 AM, PDT | FilmSchoolRejects.com | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

What we can learn from John Singleton’s feature debut 25 years after its historic release.Columbia Pictures

Twenty-five years ago today the film Boyz n the Hood was released into American theaters to critical and commercial success. Written and directed by John Singleton, then a 23-year-old first-time filmmaker freshly graduated from USC film school, this devastatingly powerful drama chronicles the struggles of black life against a backdrop of urban violence and racial inequality in South Central Los Angeles. The success of Boyz ushered in a new wave of black American cinema, featuring superior performances by Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, and launching the careers of Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Ice Cube, Nia Long, and Regina King. A quarter century since its momentous debut, Boyz prevails as a reminder of the importance of supporting new and diverse filmmakers in telling their unique and oftentimes personal stories.

Boyz’ deeply moving tale about three friends — Tre, Ricky »

- Paola Mardo

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Cinema Gadfly – Episode 22 – Bob Roberts

30 June 2016 5:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

My guest for this month is Herb van der Poll, and he’s joined me to discuss the film he chose for me, the 1992 American-British satirical mockumentary film Bob Roberts. You can follow the show on Twitter @cinemagadfly.

Show notes:

The cast is seriously insane, with Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Ray Wise, Gore Vidal, John Cusack, Peter Gallagher, Alan Rickman, and Susan Sarandon Oh and also James Spader, Helen Hunt, Jack Black, Jeremy Piven and his sister Shira, and Bob Balaban Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know we have an election happening The film shows some strong parallels to the presidency of George W. Bush Ray Wise, of course, was famously Laura Palmer’s dad on one of my all time favorite shows, Twin Peaks In this film, he and Alan Rickman play Dick Cheney and Karl Rove type figures Folk music is often in the service of liberal causes, »

- Arik Devens

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Spike Lee Arrived at the Bet Awards Looking Exactly Like Willy Wonka

27 June 2016 5:51 AM, PDT | E! Online | See recent E! Online news »

Famed director and producer Spike Lee, who also happens to have an extensive hat collection, chose an interesting topper to wear to the 2016 Bet Awards. The Do the Right Thing creator showed up to the awards show in a blue suit, purple tie and purple top hat, and the combination immediately caused people to realize that Lee looked exactly like fictional candy bar and chocolatier Willy Wonka. Although meant to be a tribute to his late friend Prince, Lee's wardrobe choice couldn't be handled by the Internet, which immediately arrived in full force with hilarious jokes, memes and more. "Spike Lee look like he bout to send out 5 golden tickets," joked one Twitter »

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John Singleton Sounds Off On the ‘Dismal’ State of Contemporary Black Cinema

13 June 2016 11:31 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted a 25th anniversary screening of John Singleton’s “Boyz N the Hood” at the Sva Theatre in New York City last Sunday as part of their “Spotlight on Screenwriting” series. This followed an event in Los Angeles the Academy hosted for the film on Friday.

After the screening, Oscar-nominated writer and director Singleton sat down with acclaimed author Walter Mosley to discuss what “Boyz” means 25 years later, including how it launched its career, how time has shifted its cultural weight and, for Singleton, how film increasingly struggles to mean anything culturally. Read five highlights from the talk below:

Read More: John Singleton Channels August Wilson – Pens Op-ed On White Directors Helming Black Films

Singleton uses two words to describe the current state of black cinema: “Dismal” and “abysmal.” 

At the discussion, Singleton repeatedly discussed his interest in films specific to culture and afro-centric experiences. Yet he lamented that films like that are not being made by other minority directors, especially in the studio system.

“It doesn’t matter how many hits and how much money the movies are making,” said Singleton. “They don’t have any cultural consciousness to them now. They have smatterings and little bits here and there, but it’s abysmal. It’s not like every movie has to make a statement at all. Movies don’t have to preach, they’re entertainment first.”

“But in terms of cultural weight – if we have cultural weight, it will be entertaining. And that’s what I feel I try to go for. I just try to rep hard for Spike [Lee], when he was starting he was trying to get people to say ‘hey listen, we can have our own idiom in film. We can have a black film aesthetic. We can have a thing that’s unique.’ When I do whatever I’m trying to do, I’m still trying to rep that,” he said.

This lack of personal voices in film is a result of a studio culture that he doesn’t think would support “Boyz N the Hood” today. 

Mosley and Singleton broke down how unlike government-sanctioned international cinema that “gives artists free reign to have dissenting views,” said Singleton, cultural specificity is lost in commerce-driven american cinema.

“There are so many stories that have yet to be chronicled about what really went on in Los Angeles in the early 80s,” said Singleton. “Yet our film culture is all based on commerce. You have a paucity of personal voices in film. Yes, you have a lot of independent films that are getting made, but even so they’re not what they were. You don’t have as many anachronistic true voices that are different from the norm. You have that at a lower level where people are making films on their iPhones now, doing new stuff.”

“There used to be a time where you had a support of these acrostic voices. These films that were really specific…you don’t have that with the studios right now,” Singleton added. “That’s why American cinema is really suffering right now. It’s sort of like the small movies are the farm stuff for the big films. If George Lucas didn’t make ‘American Graffiti,’ he wouldn’t have ‘Star Wars.’ And ‘American Graffiti’ is specific to a sort of time and place that was changing and evolving. You could never make those films now. You could never make ‘Boyz N the Hood’ now.”

Morris believed in spite of media attention from Black Lives Matter, the push for awareness of minority voices will not translate directly to more prominence for black artists.

“In truth, Black Lives Matter says we’re paying attention to everything because if our lives don’t matter then your lives don’t matter,” said Morris. “And they’ve done a lot of work and they are doing a lot of work. But I think it’s a long journey from that to those 25, 35, 135 million dollar movies.”

Boyz N the Hood” came from a young USC grad making an identity as “a black filmmaker repping Los Angeles.”

Singleton describes his first feature as a bridge between what he saw and grew up with in Los Angeles and his study of Italian neorealism (films like “The Bicycle Thieves” and “Open City”).  Yet there was one figure in Singleton’s life who started the whole quest.

“I look at it as a time capsule of what I was thinking and feeling at the time,” said Singleton. “I was 20 years old and I went and saw ‘Do the Right Thing,” which came out in the summer of 1989. Spike [Lee] has always been my cinematic big brother. Before I went to school and he visited La he pushed other people out of the way to shake my hand. I told him I was going to USC Film School and for him to watch out for me. So I went to school for four years rapping black cinema. I was one of the only black filmmakers and students in a predominantly white film culture. It was a continued marginalization – the attitude was there was only one Spike Lee. I was like, ‘I’m not the next Spike Lee, I’m the next John Singleton.’”

The need to create “Boyz” was driven by Singleton’s desire to write a film about what he knew: to go back to his family and figure out this story.

“I was at USC, which was still adjunct to the neighborhood I was growing up in,” said Singleton. “And I wouldn’t say I was having Ptsd because I was still in the environment, but I was having dreams like that. Having dreams about the stuff I’d seen in my childhood and teenage years. But I’m on an island – if you step off the campus, you’re in the mix. This is the 80s still. The script for ‘Boyz’ came out of that.”

Read More: The 10 Best Oscar-Nominated Directors

There are promising movies to Singleton that are immersed in a time and place. A favorite of his? “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” 

Singleton and Mosley lavished praise on Benh Zeitlin’s 2012 film, which Mosley helped foster when Zeitlin brought the script to Sundance Labs in 2008.

“Beautiful, beautiful film,” said Singleton. “Benh [Zeitlin] did a great job on that. There a scene where she goes over on that ferry and goes to that place, and it’s a questionable place…you don’t know if she’s seeing her mother or a vision of her mother, and the woman fries that alligator tail. And she’s telling this quasi-sexual story. But that never could’ve been done if the filmmakers didn’t live down there. And he’s not black, but he’s a brother, you know? If you see that movie, he takes you somewhere special and different, and he does it in an interesting, lyrical kind of way.”

The two took inspiration from how Zeitlin and his crew went spent several months in Louisiana taking in the culture of a world that would become The Bathtub. “They lived with the film,” said Mosley. Singleton thought other filmmakers should take note.

“I’m interested in doing a quasi-sort of thing with Chinese kids. I’m not Chinese. But I’m going to immerse myself in what these kids are going for,” said Singleton. “There’s not enough of that. And you can be from a certain culture and not know anything about where you’re from, too. That’s why a lot of black filmmakers are making marginal films right now. Because they’re not really astute at what the weight is that came before them. If you’re making gumbo, and the base is bad, it’s not going to taste good.”

Singleton wants his work to serve as a “conduit” for the voiceless. 

Director of eight films and three TV shows since “Boyz,” Singleton has kept himself busy in the past 25 years. Yet the work that interests him to this date remains small, personal, ostracized stories.

“I always wanted to be the kind of storyteller that was still accessible to folks,” said Singleton. “I’m doing Snowfall [the upcoming series for FX], I have another show called Rebel which just got announced… I’m interested in continuing the foundation that was set with ‘Boyz.’ Near my office there’s a park I go to, and I see people who just got released, people who are schizophrenic, people who are living from halfway house to halfway house. When you’re in and around folks, you get stories.”

“Everyone has stories to tell, but not everyone has a way to tell it. Not everyone can sit down and write it, damn near make a movie about it. But what I feel is that I’m a conduit for those folks,” he said. “And I’m not so visible that I’m not accessible. I’m not on TV all the time, I’m not doing the celebrity thing. I’d like to think I work like Ernest Hemingway. He would travel to different places, and he would write about his experiences. I love listening and talking to folks, and that’s how I get the rhythm and cadence of language.”

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Related stories2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Director2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor »

- Russell Goldman

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21 Things You Might Not Have Known About Ferris Bueller's Day Off

11 June 2016 3:25 PM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

John Hughes' iconic Ferris Bueller's Day Off turns 30 Saturday. The film, which has become a beloved totem of teenage rebellion and a wonderful 1980s time capsule, is also an ode to Chicago - a teenage Hughes moved around the city's suburbs with his family. To celebrate, here are 21 things you (probably) never knew about the film. 1. Ferris' parents got married in real lifeLyman Ward, who played Ferris' father, was married to his onscreen wife Cindy Pickett, from 1986 to 1992. They met on the set of the film and eventually had two children. 2. Hughes pitched the film with one sentence… "I called Ned Tanen [then-head of Paramount films] and said, »

- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl

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21 Things You Might Not Have Known About Ferris Bueller's Day Off

11 June 2016 3:25 PM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

John Hughes' iconic Ferris Bueller's Day Off turns 30 Saturday. The film, which has become a beloved totem of teenage rebellion and a wonderful 1980s time capsule, is also an ode to Chicago - a teenage Hughes moved around the city's suburbs with his family. To celebrate, here are 21 things you (probably) never knew about the film. 1. Ferris' parents got married in real lifeLyman Ward, who played Ferris' father, was married to his onscreen wife Cindy Pickett, from 1986 to 1992. They met on the set of the film and eventually had two children. 2. Hughes pitched the film with one sentence… "I called Ned Tanen [then-head of Paramount films] and said, »

- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl

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Watch a Young Barack Obama Woo Michelle in 'Southside With You' Trailer

9 June 2016 12:19 PM, PDT | Rollingstone.com | See recent Rolling Stone news »

First dates are simply the worst, a nightmare of polite small-talk about siblings and hometowns, held-in flatulence and desperate hopes that the person eating dinner across the table isn't a serial killer. Not so for Barack and Michelle Obama, or at least, not according to the Sundance breakout Southside With You, which opens in theaters on August 26th.

Before the First Couple assumed their rightful place as the black JFK and Jackie O., they were two youngsters making tentative steps toward romance. But Richard Tanne's account of the meet-cute »

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Marvin Hamlisch's Big Oscar Haul. And Other Stories...

2 June 2016 5:45 AM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Dr Duran Duran and the Orgasmatron

1835 P.T. Barnum and his circus begin their first tour of the Us. Wasn't Hugh Jackman supposed to play him in an original movie musical? Is that still on or did the endless Wolverine show derail it? (sigh)

1840 Novelist Thomas Hardy is born. Movies adapted from his work include multiple versions of Jude, Tess,  and Far From the Madding Crowd

1904 Johnny Weissmuller is born. We just wrote about Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which you should definitely see

1926 Character actor Milo O'Shea, aka Dr Duran Duran who tried to kill Jane Fonda by excessive pleasure in Barbarella, is born.

1937 Sally Kellerman, the original " 'Hot Lips' O'Houlihan" is born

1944 Egot composing legend Marvin Hamlisch (of "A Chorus Line") fame is born...or as Cher calls him "Marvin Hamilsmisch". Classic songs include the Oscar winning "The Way We Were »

- NATHANIEL R

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Michael Davis: Dan Didio, Dorothy & The Case For Kool-Aid (Uncut)

31 May 2016 10:00 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

Mr. Khosla,

I read your piece “The Case Against Dan Didio.”

I’m rarely impressed, but you wrote an impressive article. The attention to detail, footnotes, research and overall thoughtfulness you put into making your case was indeed extraordinary.

I’m a bit taken aback by your use of my article as the motivation to write yours. My article why are we still complaining about Dan Didio had little written about Mr. Didio. It certainly wasn’t a defense of his work nor a damning of it. He and others mentioned were only used to illustrate my outlook.

Much of what you wrote regarding my views and work can do with a bit of clarity. I fear what you’ve constructed in your narrative is somewhat unbalanced and frankly unfair.

For example, placing quotes around a word when no one is speaking gives the distinct impression you don’t believe, »

- Michael Davis

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Cannes: Roger Guenveur Smith’s Crime Thriller ‘Dirty’ Sells to Gravitas

17 May 2016 7:50 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Gravitas Ventures bought all U.S. rights to crime thriller “Dirty,” starring Roger Guenveur Smith and Paul Elia, from B.A.D. Film Productions, Variety has learned exclusively.

Daniel Ringey directed the film, which marks his feature debut, from a screenplay by Benjamin J. Alexander. Chaz Bono and Adrian Gaeta also star.

Dirty” was produced by Benjamin J. Alexander, Paul Elia, Alex Ferrari and Daniel Ringey. Gravitas will release “Dirty” on July 12 on all major digital and television VOD platforms.

Smith and Elia portray two crooked police officers who find themselves relieved of more than $2 million dollars in stolen drugs and money, forcing them into a bizarre investigation to recover their ill-gotten goods and cover their tracks.

Smith starred in Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation.” His credits include “Do the Right Thing,” “American Gangster,” “Summer of Sam” and “Eve’s Bayou.”

The deal was negotiated at the »

- Dave McNary

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Southside with You Trailer Follows the Obamas' First Date

2 May 2016 2:35 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

This November, a new President of the United States will be elected, as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama leave the White House after two terms in office. Before their historic run comes to an end, fans can see how the First Couple's relationship started in the new film Southside with You, which hits theaters August 26. Today we have the first trailer, which shows how one date turned into a romance that has lasted for over 25 years.

Inspired by Barack Obama and Michelle's first date, Southside with You recounts the eventful summer day in 1989 when a young law firm associate named Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) tried to woo lawyer Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) during a daylong date that took them from the Art Institute of Chicago to a screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing to the site of their first kiss outside of an ice cream parlor. »

- MovieWeb

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Barack and Michelle Obama go on their first date in new Southside with You trailer

28 April 2016 2:33 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

A young Barack and Michelle Obama (known as Michelle Robinson at the time), future president and first lady of the United States, go on their first date in the brand new trailer for Roadside Attractions and Miramax’s Southside with You. Watch the full trailer for the romantic dramedy below…

As depicted in the film, during the date, Barack attempts to win the heart of Michelle, who was working as a lawyer, and the two visit the Art Institute of Chicago, attend a screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and end up at an ice cream parlor where they share their first kiss.

Earlier this year, Southside premiered at Sundance to generally warm reception from critics.

The above trailer certainly seems reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s Before series, as it features a potential couple having honest conversations about art, culture and life, all over the course of a few hours. »

- Justin Cook

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Obamas Go on Their First Date in ‘Southside With You’ Trailer

28 April 2016 1:14 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

“This is not a date,” declares Tika Sumpter’s Michelle Robinson in the first trailer for “Southside With You,” the film about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date in 1989 Chicago.

The trailer shows Robinson as initially reluctant to go to a community event with her law firm’s summer associate, Barack Obama, played by Parker Sawyer. “How’s it gonna look if I start dating the first cute black guy who walks through the firm’s doors? It would be tacky.”

However, the “date” for the future First Couple then goes well. The duo went to the Art Institute and saw Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” shared a first kiss and subsequently married in 1992.

Richard Tanne (“Worst Friends”) directed from his own screenplay.

John Legend exec produced. Vanessa Bell Calloway and Jerod Haynes also star.

Miramax and Roadside Attractions bought the movie following its premiere at Sundance. »

- Dave McNary

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Intimate First Trailer For Southside With You Sends Barack Obama Off On A First Date

28 April 2016 12:46 PM, PDT | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

Long before Barack Obama stepped foot in the Oval Office and made history, the biggest dilemma that occupied the mind of the would-be President of the United States revolved around one Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter), and it’s that budding romance that anchors Richard Tanne’s intimate summer drama, Southside With You.

Written by Tanne himself, the biopic shuns convention by focusing solely on the relationship between Obama (Parker Sawyers) and his significant other, who would eventually go on to become his wife and First Lady. In fact, Southside With You tells the story of the pair’s fateful first date, and what may seem like a bright and breezy premise makes for a touching, focused and poignant drama in today’s first trailer.

Taking viewers back a full 25 years, Southside With You “recounts the eventful summer day in 1989 when a young law firm associate named Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers »

- Michael Briers

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Film Review: ‘Mother’s Day’

28 April 2016 10:36 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Like the glowing briefcase in “Pulp Fiction” or the final whispered words of “Lost in Translation,” the ill-fitting Anna Wintour wig worn by Julia Roberts in “Mother's Day” seems destined to enter the pantheon of great cinematic mysteries. Did some earlier version of the script explain the wig’s presence? Why does no character in the film point out how strange it looks? Did Roberts insist on wearing the wig — a leftover prop from one of her faux films in “Notting Hill” — as a Brando-esque bit of actorly mischief, or does it hold deeper significance? We may never know the answers to these questions, but pondering them provides some welcome distraction while slogging through director Garry Marshall’s third minor-holiday ensemble comedy, which somehow makes one long for the Hallmark-card half-competence of predecessors “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.” Atrociously written, begrudgingly acted, haphazardly assembled and never »

- Andrew Barker

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Barack and Michelle Go on Their First Date in Trailer For ‘Southside With You’

28 April 2016 10:35 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Arriving just in time for the end of the Obama era, Southside With You depicts a history-changing summer afternoon in 1989 in which our future national leader took Michelle Robinson out on what would become their first date. Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers), working at a corporate law farm as an associate from Harvard Law, persuades his co-worker Michelle (Tika Sumpter, also a producer here) to attend a community meeting, which is not a date, according to her. What follows is certainly one, as we can see in the first trailer, which arrived today ahead of an August release.

We said in our review, “Writer-director Richard Tanne understands that this would be difficult to pull off if it didn’t work as a romantic drama first and foremost. Injecting personality and flair with a soulful soundtrack and warm cinematography form Patrick Scola, Southside With You impresses with its vision of a lower-class »

- Leonard Pearce

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80's Horror Rarity Vampires Hits DVD in May

27 April 2016 12:56 PM, PDT | QuietEarth.us | See recent QuietEarth news »

At a prestigious, all-girls, prep school, things go terribly awry in the underground horror flick Vampires, resurrecting on DVD May 10 from Film Chest Media Group.

http://www.quietearth.us/img/2016/4/Vampires_flat-dvd.jpg

Originally filmed as the second part of the 1989 cult anthology classic Fright House, this would be the last film of Len Anthony (Murderous Intent, Document of the Dead).

The film's principal cinematographer, Ernest Dickerson, went on to shoot Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and direct several episodes of AMC’s iconic horror series Th [Continued ...] »

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John Ostrander: Radical TV Surgery

24 April 2016 5:00 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

It was announced this week that Stana Katic, who plays Detective Kate Beckett on the ABC series Castle, was not going to be asked back If the series is renewed for a ninth season. The reason cited was cost cutting which also accounts for the shortened 13 episode season planned If the show comes back.

The premise of the show is that mystery writer Richard Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, worms his way onto the NYPD and helps the detectives solve actual murder mysteries rather than the fictional ones he creates. Central to the series has also been his relationship with Beckett; he started by annoying her but, after as many complications and delays that the writers could conceive, they fell in love with each other, acknowledged they were in love, and finally married.

Which makes the loss of Katic/Beckett difficult to understand for me. The show may have been titled Castle, »

- Glenn Hauman

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‘Mr. Church’ Tribeca Review: Eddie Murphy Fixes White People’s Lives in Retrograde Drama

23 April 2016 12:15 AM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

It’s been nearly 30 years since the timid and well-meaning race relations movie “Driving Miss Daisy” won the Oscar for Best Picture when Spike Lee‘s confrontational classic “Do The Right Thing” didn’t even get a nomination. And now “Daisy” director Bruce Beresford is back with a remarkably similar story: “Mr. Church,” in which the formerly fast and dangerous Eddie Murphy has been given the Morgan Freeman role of a cautious man who seems to live only to serve and help white people. Surely we should be past this sort of narrative by now, but “Mr. Church” has some strengths and. »

- Dan Callahan

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