13 items from 2014
"Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems." - Robin Williams, "World's Greatest Dad" This is a very emotional "Ask Drew." This is, I would suspect, the closest you're ever going to see to me losing it on camera completely. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when there was a Robin Williams question, since it's still so fresh and so raw for so many people, but I couldn't have known just how hard it would be to talk about him. I mean, I have stared at the blinking cursor on my blank document page for almost two days now, grappling with one question: how in the hell do you even remotely begin to sum up someone as huge as Robin Williams? We could start from the personal angle. I could tell you about the occasional e-mails I got from him when I was at Ain't It Cool, or the »
- Drew McWeeny
I think Marvel’s Phase Two has been brilliantly constructed, now that Guardians of the Galaxy has put the last puzzle piece in place before we reunite with America’s most-profitable superhero team of revolving franchises next May. Iron Man 3 kicked off the Phase with Shane Black adding as much of his personal touch as possible while still making a Marvel Studios film. Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World gave into some of that universe’s weirder and darker mythology and the Russo Brothers’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller with a crazy mythology bomb at the center of it. All of them were successful in their own right, but they were a continuing line pulling you deeper into the unified storytelling world of The Avengers - with movies rising up in the middle of an ongoing ABC Television series - inviting you »
Directed by: Steve James
Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Release Date: July 4, 2014 (Chicago)
Plot: The life story of Roger Ebert, Film Critic.
Who’S It For? Anyone who has ever loved a movie.
In terms of what’s out there that is worth checking out, Life Itself is the movie of the summer. Its experience is a direct recognition of a quality that Ebert has said is most important regarding a film, before considering it for either “Great Movies” or “Your Movie Sucks” levels — to engage with it emotionally. Warmed by the embrace of this moving documentary from director Steve James, I filled Ebert’s last screening room with my big dumb laugh more than a few times, and tried to cry quietly while watching passages about the true loves in his life. To watch footage of Ebert in his twilight time, and to listen »
- Nick Allen
Truebies, set your DVRs! The "True Blood" Season 7 premiere date has been revealed -- along with an unsettling reminder that this season is its last.
As revealed in the teaser below, the supernatural mayhem continues June 22 on HBO, just in time for summer in Bon Temps. In the video, we hover over a graveyard featuring tombstones of those we've lost during the first six seasons of "True Blood" (and a few we lost prior): Corbett James Stackhouse (father to Sookie and Jason), Francis Earl Stackhouse (Sookie and Jason's grandfather), poor Adele (Sookie and Jason's grandmother), Jesus Velasquez (Lafayette's boyfriend), Tommy Mickens (Sam's brother), Benedict Talley (Eggs!), Juna Garza (Sam's shapeshifting girlfriend), and Terence Quentin Bellefleur (Andy's cousin and Arlene's devoted husband).
- Tim Hayne
1. Lead singer Matt Berninger has a brother.
As anyone who's been following the Brooklyn-by-way-of-the Buckeye-State band (or who read their extensive New York Times Magazine profile back in 2010), the National is made up of five members, with two sets of brothers: guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner, along with drummer Bryan Devendorf and bassist Scott Devendorf. Singer, songwriter and resident supermoody dude Matt Berninger is the group's odd man out, musical sibling-wise. But he, too, has a brother: Tom Berninger, a sort of amiable, slightly doughier version of Matt that's nine »
5 Televisions Shows with Enviable Female Friendships Because Girls leaves a lot to be desired. by kate hakala If you finished Season 3 of Girls last night, you might have been left with a tear-filled sour taste in your mouth. Hannah and Adam might be breaking up, Marnie is dismantling yet another relationship, Jessa is assisting someone's suicide, and Shosh won't graduate on time. The last shot of "Two Plane Rides" is Hannah alone in her apartment, smiling at herself, gripping her grad school acceptance letter close to her chest. We're left to think that true happiness, if ever achieved, is found in the celebration of our own success and not others', including that of our very best friends. The entire season was an increasingly caustic and solipsistic journey into the lives of not only white urban twentysomethings, but the institution of female friendship in its [...] »
- Kate Hakala
Written and directed by Sion Sono
In this outrageous action opus from writer/director Sion Sono, an ambitious young film director Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa) gets caught in the middle of a bloody Yakuza war sparked by the vengeful wife of a powerful crime boss who is sent to prison after massacring several of her husband’s rivals. The plot is so convoluted, your head will spin when trying to piece it all together. In short, it bounces back and forth between Mitsuko (Fumi Nakaido), a former child star and the daughter of the kingpin, and a group of independent, but talented guerrilla filmmakers who call themselves the Fuck Bombers. Mitsuko’s father, one of her biggest fans, wants to satisfy her dream of becoming a movie star before his wife is released from prison. Ten years after the »
Unit production manager and TV assistant director Abby Singer, famed for being the source of the name for the penultimate shot of the day, died Thursday at the Motion Picture and Television Country House in Woodland Hills. He was 96.
Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay said, “From his first job as the assistant to the head of production at Columbia in 1949 to his final film as unit production manager for ‘Family Plan’ in 1997, Abby Singer was renowned for working consistently, enthusiastically and most importantly – efficiently.
“It was this efficiency that led to the coining of a phrase known throughout the entertainment industry and around the world as the ‘Abby Singer shot’ – the next to last shot of the day.”
The last shot of the day is often known as the “Martini” shot.
Singer explained in an interview that announcing the second-to-last shot would give the crew a chance to »
- Dave McNary
Abby Singer, a veteran production manager and assistant director and a DGA member for more than 60 years, died this morning of cancer and old age at the Motion Picture & Television Country House in Woodland Hills. He was 96. Singer got his start working as an assistant for Harry Cohn’s right-hand man Jack Fier at Columbia Pictures in 1949 after a stint in the Navy and moved on to Universal in 1957 to work in TV. He eventually landed at Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker’s Mtm Productions, where he oversaw such series as Rhoda, Phyllis, The Bob Newhart Show, Wkrp In Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere. His last film as unit production manager was on 1997′s Family Plan. He later taught at the American Film Institute Conservatory. But Singer’s name is known to film and TV crews everywhere for a production shot that came to »
- PATRICK HIPES, Managing Editor
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series will premiere on Tuesday, March 11th and I recently had a chance to take part in an interview call with Robert Rodriguez. Continue reading for highlights, which include him talking about expanding the movie’s mythology, incorporating unused script pages from Quentin Tarantino, and working with Greg Nicotero on the new makeup effects:
Expanding the mythology from the movie: “In the original film, when I first read the script, it didn’t really take Mexico into account. I added into the original movie things that I researched in Aztec cultures and mythologies, and found a blood cult that worships snakes. The last shot of the pyramid to sort of hinted a larger mythology.
I always thought that was a cool idea we didn’t get to explore further in the film because it just wasn’t written that way. But I left it there »
- Jonathan James
Recently we had a chance to take part in a Q&A session with visionary filmmaker Robert Rodriguez about bringing a new version of his much beloved film From Dusk Till Down to the El Rey Network! Read on for thoughts from the man himself.
"I was looking forward to the challenge of it," says Rodriguez of the series. "I thought about doing it. Someone had asked about it even before the network, and I said, 'No, Quentin and I control the rights to it. We really wouldn’t want to do it for television unless, you know, at least one of us was heavily involved,' and I didn’t see myself getting into television at that time."
"But then I thought of a way to do it. This whole season takes place from dusk till dawn, and we kind of retold the original Quentin story with the Gecko brothers and Santanico. »
- Uncle Creepy
There's joy and anguish in equal measure behind the doors of Old Marylebone Town Hall
Hollie arrived for her wedding in a bridal veil she'd found in a mobile toilet. Why? We never did find out. Did she clean it before she got hitched? Let's hope: that's a sartorial question nobody should need to think too hard about.
She worked that veil with T-shirt and jeans and, along with her intended, Simon, whose outfit was less memorable, accosted strangers on London's Marylebone Road to see if they would be witnesses to their register office marriage. Welcome to modern marriage: something old, something new, something borrowed, something from a Portaloo.
This wedding, Simon explained, was just the official stuff, to placate the Man. An increasingly familiar story. Why? Turns out that Joni Mitchell was wrong. When she sang "We don't need no piece of paper from/City Hall keeping us tied »
- Stuart Jeffries
Man is there a lot of new content on streaming services this week. There are literally hundreds of new titles available for your viewing pleasure, I couldn’t possibly have written about all of it because I would be writing into next week! Just know that there is something there for everyone whether your bag is comedy, drama, action or horror.
Most impressively this week, Netflix have stepped up to the plate and unleashed a full load of good stuff. They have also announced that they are going to add an audio commentary to their original show House of Cards, which can only be good news for those holding on to their physical media love and may mean that this most valuable of DVD extras is not going away but will instead be reborn in a different guise.
This week’s new titles are as follows:
- Chris Holt
13 items from 2014
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