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In the summer of 2000 at Bonnie Franklin's Encino home, Bonnie, her agent and friend Marilyn Shapiro, and sister Judy Franklin Bush developed an organization to connect American theater to high school students.
Bonnie's sister, Judith Franklin Bush, was also a founder and is president. She is also outreach coordinator.
Ernest A. Figueroa was also a Board Member; associate producer; and director.
Victoria Franklin Kupetz (Bonnie and Judy's sister) Board Member.
Honorary Board Members: Rabbi Leonard Beerman Joan Beerman Barbara Sanders Barbara Yaroslavsky
Advisory Board: Susan Braig Alison J. Graham: Public Relations.
Educational Board: Keren Goldberg, Chair Robin Lithgow Jennifer Pust Steve Segal James Waller Mark Slavkin
Linda Tross; stage manager.
Penny Gold (1974)
She should be Dame Francesca Annis!
Francesca Annis gives quite a performance as a pair of identical twin sisters, Delphi and Diane. They are complete opposites in personalities and lifestyles. When Diane is murdered, everybody is a suspect especially Delphi who deals with rare stamps. The film is satisfactory even with a stellar cast. They filmed on location in England. Jack Cardiff tried his hand at directing. The film is a decent effort. The mystery does have some twists especially at the end of the film. I wished the film had a better ending. I would have liked to know what happened to the main characters in the aftermath. James Booth plays detective in the film. I enjoy seeing other British actors and actresses like Nicky Henson, Joss Ackland, Una Stubbs, a young Dame Penelope Keith before she became a television star.
Still Tasteless and Offensive!
Sasha Baron Cohen's Borat is quite a unique character. The comedian/actor portrays Borat, a Kazakhstan television personality. He goes to America to film a documentary. He starts off in New York City to Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, California in pursuit of Pamela Anderson. The film has some funny moments but they are overshadowed by the anti-Semitism in the film. Apparently in his village, there is a running of the Jew annual event which is not funny but offensive. When he and his partner Azamat stay with a nice older Jewish couple in America, they are so afraid that they leave in the middle of the night. The Anti-Semitism is bad enough for me but it's tasteless and offensive to actual Kazakhs who aren't' Anti-Semitic. Then there is the scenes in which naked Borat and Azamat are fighting naked and chasing each other throughout the hotel in Texas. It's gross and disgusting rather than funny. They are so afraid of Jews that they drive across country in an ice cream truck and they can't get a gun to protect themselves from the Jews so they get a live black bear. It's not funny but just offensive to Jews and to Kazakhs. If Sasha Baron Cohen wasn't Jewish himself, they wouldn't have gotten away with it in the first place.
Shock Treatment (1981)
Way Ahead of Its Time!
From the people who did the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," the same people collaborated for this film as well. Brad and Janet are back and revived by Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper. They are a married couple in the television of fictional DTV in 1981. Due to the Actors Strike in 1980, they film in a London studio. The concept was far fetched and perhaps ridiculous but now it makes sense. Brad and Janet's marriage is exploited on air. I have to admit the film is entertaining with a musical style of its own. Ruby Wax is great in it as is Patricia Quinn (also known as Lady Stephens as Nation McKinley), Richard O'Brien, Barry Humphries, and more. The film may not have been as successful or become a cult classic like Rocky Horror. Still it's not a bad film perhaps a visual feast for the eyes. The audience's costumes were actually bought in Texas thrift stores by Sue Blane and others. If it wasn't for the Actors Strike, they would have filmed in the USA.
Black Swan (2010)
I'm Not That Girl Anymore
Nina Sayers is a hardworking ballerina in a New York City ballet company. She is the perfect ballerina for Odette, the white swan, but she desires to be Odilr, the black swan. Natalie Portman's performance of Nina Sayers is heartbreaking and brilliant. She captures the madness and Nina's inner demons so well. Barbara Hershey is perfect as Nina's mother, Erica. She can be overbearing but she watches her daughter change with this career making role. Unfortunately, Erica shields and protects Nina but she can't save her daughter. Nina's self-destruction is a slow painful process to watch but she had a history of cutting and scratching and self-mutilation. Nina deteriorates quickly and Portman deserved all those accolades for her performance here. The director here also did "The Wrestler" where the title character also would risk his health for his job. Unlike career wrestling, ballet is a tougher discipline where perfection is sought. Nina's mental health is sacrificed for her career when her mother tries to save her, it is too late. It is a heartbreaking end to such a promising career. If you have the DVD, you can see Tina Sloan (Guiding Light's veteran Lillian Raines) and the director's parents at the gala meeting Nina. I found the movie hard to watch at times. Mila Kunis is wonderful in her role too.
The Great Library Misery (1938)
The Poor Grouch!
This film short is about a man who applies to be a member of the Grouch Club. He describes his experience of trying to obtain a library book as a visitor. He visits the library several times to a young librarian who quotes library rules. The poor applicant does everything to get a library card and borrow a popular book. You have to wonder why he doesn't just buy the book instead but you have to admire his determination. Is the book worth it because you can just go to the bookstore and get it. Nancy Evans is fine as the straight no nonsense librarian. The film could have gotten away with an unattractive woman in the role. The story is short and sweet.
All Girl Revue (1940)
Even though women finally got the vote in 1920, women were relegated to second class citizens behind men. This film short is a musical where June Allyson is Mayor of New York City. A world famous opera singer is coming to town. This light musical short indicates that women were still not perceived as equals in a male dominated society. New York City still hasn't had a female mayor to this day. The music is sweet and light hearted. There is not much of storyline but it is entertaining. June Allyson is terrific in the role. The other singers also do a wonderful job. If the film was meant to entertain, it did a good job. As for enlightenment or education, it displayed how women were relegated to love interests, comedic characters, but never equals to women in politics.
The Roaring Twenties (1939)
He Used To Be Big!
James Cagney steals the film as Eddie who fought and survived World War I. He returns home to New York City. He gets involved with the bootleggers during prohibition in the roaring twenties. The film shows the rise and fall of a man like Eddie. Humphrey Bogart acts in the film as well. Priscilla Lane and Gladys George play the female love interest. Raoul Walsh directed this film. Even though it was shot in a Hollywood sound stage, the film has a very urban feel to it. James Cagney was terrific as Eddie. He was really a brilliant actor who could break your heart or steal it. He brings depth and dimension to Eddie's character.
A Groundbreaking Sitcom!
Katherine Helmond and Cathryn Damon played sisters, Jessica Tate, and Mary Campbell, who lived in suburban Connecticut with their husbands, Chester Tate, and Mr. Campbell. Their families interact with each other. The sitcom was groundbreaking for having a regular gay character, Jodie Dallas (played by Billy Crystal) but it also showed infidelity. Jessica has three children and a butler, Benson Dubois (Robert Guilliame who would have his own sitcom series). Mary has two sons including Jodie and a son, Danny, in the mob. The husbands have as many secrets too. Robert Mandan's Chester Tate is an unfaithful jerk. Richard Mulligan's Mr. Campbell is responsible for Mary's first husband's death. The cast is first rate and so is the writing for the series. Despite a large cast, the series balances the company like an ensemble piece. I can't believe that I never got into it or the series ending after only four seasons. If you haven't seen this series, you have to see it to believe it.
Rise of the Reeker Returns
I only bought this film because the actor Michael Muhney was in it. I became a fan of his when he was on Young and the Restless. He is a very talented actor. This film is an independent and low budget picture. The script could use work though. There are plenty of unanswered questions about how this Reeker works. He is supposed to have killed people for their souls or bodies or heads. I don't know. This film is more gory and violent than needed be. I was not scared at all about it. The film doesn't work on making this Reeker believable. The cast is fine and so is the production crew in meeting them in the DVD special feature. The film just has a lot more questions to be answered and explained to the audience. I try to not to think too much about what the Reeker is all about and why Death Valley. The goriness and violence is grotesque.
The Iceman (2012)
The Iceman Cometh
Oscar nominee Michael Shannon brings to life, Richard Kuklinski also known as the Iceman where he freezes his murder victims to avoid time detection of his murders. Richard Kuklinaki was a brutal merciless hit man for the mob and anybody who paid him. On other side, he was a loyal husband and devoted father to two daughters. They were obviously unaware of Richie's other life and world. Unlike other hit men, he refused to kill women and children. Michael Shannon is breathtaking in his performance. Winona Ryder was excellent as his wife, Debra. Kuklinski's criminal career is not pretty where he executed perhaps over a 100 men. We learn little about his background and childhood as a Polish American in New Jersey. The cast includes Ray Liotta (a New Jersey native and star of Goodfellas); David Schwimmer (Friends); and Robert Davi. This film does a good job in recounting his life. I just wonder about Debra and their daughters. What became of them in the end?