Wit (2001) - News Poster

(2001 TV Movie)

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Toronto Film Review: Emma Thompson in ‘The Children Act’

Toronto Film Review: Emma Thompson in ‘The Children Act’
In the arena of law, it’s commonly known — and widely derided — that one can unfairly “win” any debate by using the so-called “Helen Lovejoy defence,” named after the self-righteous wife of the town reverend in “The Simpsons,” whose fallback argument on any issue amounts to the inarguable emotional plea, “Won’t somebody please think of the children!?” As it happens, British law has someone tasked with doing exactly that, and she is the subject of Richard Eyre’s beautifully complex “The Children Act,” adapted by Ian McEwan from his 2014 novel of the same name, which is itself christened after a 1989 U.K. law known as the Children Act, dedicated to the welfare of minors.

From the moment she awakens till her head hits the pillow at night, family court judge Fiona Maye does little more than think of the children, ruling on whether to separate conjoined “Siamese” twins with one case (a tricky decision, as
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Otd: The Whisperers, Marlee Matlin, and "The Power of Love"

On this day (August 24th) in showbiz-related history...

1890 "Father of modern surfing" and part time movie actor Duke Kahanamoku born in Hawaii. We've written about him before. Where's his biopic?

1967 The Whisperers premieres in London. It's about an old poor woman living in solitude who is beginning to lose her grip on reality. Dame Edith Evans sterling work was instantly lauded - she won Best Actress at Berlinale and from such disparate groups as the Nyfcc, Nbr and the Golden Globes. She landed her third and final Oscar nomination in the Best Actress lineup (sadly only the winner, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner's Hepburn, was less than superb in that shortlist!). At the time Evans was the oldest Oscar nominee of all time in any acting category having just turned 80 years old. That record has since been undone but she's still the third oldest lead actress nominee after Jessica Tandy
See full article at FilmExperience »

Jeanne Moreau, Star of French Film Classics, Dies at 89

Jeanne Moreau, Star of French Film Classics, Dies at 89
Acclaimed French actress Jeanne Moreau, whose films include such masterpieces as “Jules and Jim” and “Diary of a Chambermaid,” has died. She was 89.

The mayor of the Paris district in which Moreau lived confirmed her death.

French President Emmanuel Macron called her “a legend of cinema and theater … an actress engaged in the whirlwind of life with an absolute freedom.” Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, tweeted: “She was strong and she didn’t like to see people pour their hearts out. Sorry, Jeanne, but this is beyond us. We are crying.”

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Moreau was honored with a 1965 Time magazine cover story, rare for a foreign actress, and was compared to such screen greats as Garbo and Monroe. Since her rise to prominence in the mid-’50s, she epitomized the tenets of the French new wave, boasting a womanly sexuality and a fierce independent spirit. Orson Welles,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn sign overall deal with Skydance

The deal covers film and television projects through Mockingbird Pictures banner.

Skydance has entered into a multi-year overall deal for feature films and television with producers Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures.

The company has several projects in development with Curtis (pictured) and Lynn, including the upcoming AMC television series Dietland.

Curtis and Lynn first partnered at Mockingbird Pictures after producing Albert Nobbs in 2012. The pair have produced seven films together, including Arie Posin’s The Face Of Love, Victor Levin’s 5 To 7, and Rodrigo Garcia’s Last Days In The Desert.

This year the duo has released Life, The Sweet Life, and Wakefield. Next on their slate is Marti Noxon’s To The Bone, which will premiere on Netflix in July.

Curtis’ industry start was as Steven Spielberg’s assistant; the beginning of a 15-year professional relationship with the director. After working on Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, Curtis transitioned
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Skydance Media Inks Overall Deal With Producers Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn

Skydance Media has formed a multi-year overall deal for both feature films and television with producers Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures, Variety has learned. The studio currently has multiple projects in development with Curtis and Lynn, including the upcoming AMC television series “Dietland.”

“Bonnie and Julie are exceptional people and incredible producers whose boundless energy, incomparable work ethic, and collective eye for mining and cultivating creative material are second to none,” said Dana Goldberg, chief creative officer of Skydance Media. “I have known and admired both of them for a long time and l am thrilled that they have become a part of the Skydance family. I look forward to the number of exciting film and television projects in our collective future.”

Curtis and Lynn first partnered under the Mockingbird Pictures banner after producing the Academy Award-nominated “Albert Nobbs” in 2012. Sine then, Lynn and Curtis have gone on to produce seven films together, including
See full article at Variety - TV News »

‘Becoming Mike Nichols’ Director Discusses Capturing Mike Nichols’ Final Performance

The second documentary by Douglas McGrath (best known for his narrative films Emma and Nicholas Nickleby), Becoming Mike Nichols explores the early career of Nichols through three specific phases: his early life as a German immigrant living in New York, his early collaborations during and after college with Elaine May, and his early directing career on stage and eventually on screen. Playing as a cross between a biography and directing master class, Becoming Mike Nichols is an engaging study of the filmmaker’s early career. We spoke with McGrath at the Sundance Film Festival, where his film had its world premiere, about what would be the director’s final performance, so to speak, as discussed in the interview.

The Film Stage: Can you tell us a little about how you approached these interviews?

Douglas McGrath: I think of the film as a sort of film version of what his
See full article at The Film Stage »

Emma Thompson: English rose. Flower of Scotland. And all-round thorn in the side

The actress endured a firestorm of criticism for being ‘snooty’ and elitist. But she is a great British performer who will always go her own way

Wit is one of those rare English words whose scintillating but slippery side-effects can thrill or enrage in equal measure. In 2001, when the television producers of Wit, a Pulitzer prize-winning play about a professor of 17th-century metaphysical poetry who is dying of ovarian cancer, began casting for the small screen, they instinctively turned to Emma Thompson. “We wanted to mine every bit of humour we possibly could,” they said. “While the subject is inevitably that of a woman dying of cancer, this is a woman who appreciates humour and wit to her last breath. It’s at once a story of a woman dying, but also coming to terms with what it means to live.”

The producers wanted Thompson’s ability to register irony through a sideways glance,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

On my radar: Julie Hesmondhalgh’s cultural highlights

The actor on Oldham Street, Manchester, the magic of Slow Club, a friend’s brilliant memoir, British feature film Radiator and Lemn Sissay’s poetry

Julie Hesmondhalgh is best known for her award-winning performance as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street – the first transgender character in a television serial. She played her with her trademark warmth, intelligence and sensitivity right up until the end when her character killed herself (Jan 2014) after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Hesmondhalgh is now starring in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer prize-winning Wit at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, a play about a tough academic, also dying of cancer, who takes a more upbeat approach and learns how to live before it is too late. She also appears as Amanda Wadsworth in the latest series of the BBC’s Happy Valley, which starts next month.

Slow Club should be bigger than they are. They have such life-affirming songs
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Effie Gray | Review

  • ioncinema
Portrait of a Lady: Laxton’s Mannered Version of Victoria Era Repression

There’s well-meaningness to Effie Gray that makes it worthy of discussion, at least for how it attempts to frankly portray the sexual oppression of women in Victorian era England, an aspect often subtly rendered or left altogether untouched. As directed by Richard Laxton, best known for his made-for-television films of varying quality (An Englishman in New York; Burton & Taylor), there’s a sense that the somewhat ambitious emotions existing beneath all those stuffy costumes have been a tad oversimplified. Considering the screenplay was penned by Emma Thompson, who appears in a warmly attenuated supporting role, perhaps expectations are poised a bit high for a tale that’s both representative and also conveniently uncommon (this seems the only possible way for this film to reach a believable yet upbeat solution), as it relates a famous art world scandal
See full article at ioncinema »

Broadway’s ‘Lady Day’ Will Air on HBO

Broadway’s ‘Lady Day’ Will Air on HBO
Didn’t get a chance to catch Audra McDonald’s Tony-winning (and history-making) performance as Billie Holiday in Broadway’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”? HBO’s got your back.

The cable network will air a recording of a live performance of “Lady Day” that’s filming this month at New Orleans’ Cafe Brasil with a live audience. An exact air date has yet to be set.

McDonald became the winningest actor in Tony history in the spring when she picked up her sixth acting trophy for “Lady Day,” a biographical play-with-music that includes McDonald’s performances of well-known Holiday standards including “God Bless the Child,” “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.”

HBO has a long history of airing Broadway fare, either in live performance (as with “Lady Day”) or in telepic adaptations of plays such as “Angels in America” and “Wit.” (“Private Practice” alum McDonald appeared
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Ten Great Performances from Mike Nichols' Films

Amir here. Mike Nichols was a true giant of show business, with a career that lasted more than six decades and sprawled across many different media and genres. Nathaniel's heartfelt eulogy already highlighted the dreamy number of classics he directed and the collaborations with Meryl Streep that resulted in some of her most memorable roles; but Meryl wasn't the only performer whom Nichols guided to career-best work.

Team Experience decided to make a list of ten great performances from Mike Nichols' films; we were truly spoilt for choice. If you want a testament to the man's sheer brilliance and chemistry with his actors, look no further than the missing names from our list. An equally long, equally illustrious alternative list can be made of the likes of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War, Jude Law and Natalie Portman in Closer,
See full article at FilmExperience »

Emma Thompson on Mike Nichols: 'He lifted us all up'

Emma Thompson on Mike Nichols: 'He lifted us all up'
When Mike Nichols died yesterday at the age of 83, he left behind an immense legacy of work that will live forever, from his comedy routines with Elaine May to films like The Graduate and plays like The Odd Couple. But if the last 24 hours have proven anything, it's that his true genius lay in his relationships with other people and his ability to make those around him feel special and alive. During his long career, Nichols worked with and mentored the most talented writers and actors of multiple generations, and the outpouring of genuine sadness and fond recollections has been truly stirring.
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

Mike Nichols: 5 Must-See Movies

  • PEOPLE.com
Mike Nichols: 5 Must-See Movies
A movie by Mike Nichols is typically an elegant, unruffled ride across a smooth, even chilly surface - the movie's value glints upward from beneath that ice. The director, who died Wednesday at 83, over the years pared down any attempt at visual flourish - The Graduate, his groundbreaking early film that remains his most famous, is probably also one of his flashiest. What fired him up, what he bored down into, was the intellectual germ (or gem) of the story. This meant that he was willing to consider anything for his camera: erotic werewolves (Wolf), World War II (Catch-22), philandering
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Watch: The Best of Mike Nichols and Interview Videos

Watch: The Best of Mike Nichols and Interview Videos
Mike Nichols, who left us unexpectedly on Thursday at age 83, was that rare great director who excelled at every medium: the stage (he won nine Tonys, including Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing,"  the recent revival of "Death of a Salesman" and Monty Python's "Spamalot"), television ("Wit," "Angels in America") and Hollywood movies ("The Graduate" and "Silkwood" to name a few). That's the thing. He is a reminder of how far we have come from the days when the studios churned out --routinely--multiple dramas and comedies and many other genres aimed at adults.  He started out with some of his best work: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and "The Graduate," but kept his quality high within the system, and stars yearned to work him him because he brought out their best with wit and verve. He never lost touch with zeitgeist. That was his gift. (The...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Audra McDonald Remembers Mike Nichols: "One Cannot Overstate His Brilliance"

Audra McDonald Remembers Mike Nichols:
By the time Audra McDonald got to work with Mike Nichols she was 31 and had already won three Tony awards, but had done limited work in television or movies. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Margaret Edson, Wit starred Emma Thompson as a poetry professor suffering the indignities of her remaining days on a cancer ward. McDonald received an Emmy nomination playing the nurse who administers to the dying woman in what Roger Ebert called one of the best films of 2002, even though it was never theatrically released. “I learned so much being with him and feel

read more
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

R.I.P. Mike Nichols (1931-2014)

Mike Nichols, the Academy Award-winning director of The Graduate, has passed away aged 83.

Born in Berlin in 1931, Nichols began his career as a comedian in the 1950s and first gained fame as part of the comedy duo Nichols and May with Elaine May, winning a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 1962. Beginning his directing career in theatre in the 1960s, Nichols made his feature film debut with 1962’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, following this up with 1967’s The Graduate, which saw him receiving the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Director.

Nichols would spend the rest of career alternating between stage and screen, winning a host of Tony Awards for his Broadway work, and directing films such as Catch-22, Working Girl, Postcards from the Edge, Wolf, The Birdcage, Primary Colors, Closer and Charlie Wilson’s War. He would also win Emmy Awards for Wit and Angels in America,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Mike Nichols Remembered By Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks as ‘Irreplaceable Man’

Mike Nichols Remembered By Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks as ‘Irreplaceable Man’
Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” was remembered by friends and colleagues as an artist, a mentor and a constant source of laughter and inspiration.

Condolences and remembrances from across the entertainment industry poured in after news broke that Nichols had died suddenly at the age of 83.

“An inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can’t imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man,” said Meryl Streep, who worked with Nichols on “Silkwood,” “Heartburn” and the HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”

Over more than five decades, Nichols moved seamlessly between Broadway, television and movies, becoming one of the only people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — achieving “Egot” status. His notable films include “Working Girl,” “Primary Colors” and “The Birdcage,” and
See full article at Variety - Film News »

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

  • Moviefone
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, director of The Graduate dies at 83

  • Cineplex
Mike Nichols, the director of matchless versatility who brought fierce wit, caustic social commentary and wicked absurdity to such film, TV and stage hits as The Graduate, "Angels in America" and Monty Python's Spamalot, has died. He was 83.

The death was confirmed by ABC News President James Goldston on Thursday. Nichols died Wednesday evening.

The family will hold a private service this week; a memorial will be held at a later date, Goldston said.

During a career spanning more than 50 years, Nichols, who was married to ABC's Diane Sawyer, managed to be both an insider and outsider, an occasional White House guest and friend to countless celebrities who was as likely to satirize the elite as he was to mingle with them. A former stand-up performer who began his career in a groundbreaking comedy duo with Elaine May and whose work brought him an Academy Award, a Grammy and multiple Tony and Emmy honors,
See full article at Cineplex »

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 »
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