I love movies and television.  And I love the ins and the outs of Hollywood (OK – honestly I love it mostly so I can make fun of it, but still…).  And usually when the two come together (meaning movies or TV shows ABOUT Hollywood), it rarely works.  I mean there are hits…like The Player, Sunset Boulevard, or The Bad and the Beautiful.  But, mostly there are misses.  And then there are the movies that are set in the world of Hollywood but are more about other storylines and not really entirely focused on the movie business, such as Singin’ in the Rain, Hugo, Extras (well, that’s not HOLLYWOOD, per se, since it’s set in London, but it’s still a TV show about the movie/TV industry). 

Episodes, like Extras, is a joint television presentation between Showtime and the BBC (Extraswas between HBO and the BBC).  And the cast is British/American too.  The two main characters, TV screenwriters from London who move to Hollywood to “re-do” their hit UK show there, are British (Tamsin Greig as Beverly and Stephen Mangan as Sean).  But, the “actor” who gets the part in the American version of the show is played by VERY-American actor Matt LeBlanc, best known for the iconic Joey on the iconic sitcom Friends.  Because LeBlanc is the complete opposite of the character in the British version of the show, the entire show has to be re-worked to cater to LeBlanc’s younger, more attractive character.  This, naturally, causes tension between Beverly and Sean since they know they have “sold out” for success and money. 
The writing is rapier sharp…in all the right places.  The humor is dark and sarcastic but super witty.  The “Hollywood” characters have just the right tone of dishonesty/falseness.  And the relationship between Beverly and Sean has just the right amount of homesickness, selfishness and pride.  If you know anything at all about the goings-on of Hollywood, you will love this show.  Even if you do not know about or even enjoy the “Hollywood” scene, I’m still thinking you will love it. 
Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

With the impending re-release of both Titanic (1997) and Beauty and the Beast (1991) in 3D, I decided I am fed up. Now, I confess to taking a 3D class in college (the class was actually Widescreen, 3D and Stereophonic sound). And I also confess that I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see the 3D version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial “M” for Murder, that was filmed and never released. If anyone could do 3D like a master, it would ONLY be the Master of Suspense. But, I am tired of every movie and its mother being filmed in 3D, whether it is warranted or not. And RE-RELEASING already shot films just to capitalize on the 3D bandwagon is THE LAST STRAW. Where will it end, I thought.

So, I put together a list of other “sensible” (sarcasm intended) 3D re-releases. If any of these come out in cinemas, I’m moving to Mongolia and living in among the yak herders in a nice yurt!

The African Queen
All of those mosquitoes. All of that unbridled WWII passion.

All The President’s Men
All of that typing.

Amadeus
All of that piano playing.

Babe
Little pig. Sheep. Ducks. Dogs. Need I say more.

Bridge on the River Kwai
Madness. MADNESS.

Caligula
It can only improve it, right?

Chariots of Fire
Running, running, running.

Citizen Kane
Rosebud. IN 3D!!!!!!!!!

Fargo
Marge’s belly comin’ at you like never before.

Field of Dreams
The corn. The ghosts. Go the distance.

Forrest Gump
Run, Forrest, run!

Gone with the Wind
Frankly, my dear, I would love to see Tara in 3D.

The Graduate
One word: plastics.

The Hustler
All those pool balls. All those cue sticks.

It’s a Wonderful Life
3D could only improve Mr. Potter’s disposition.

Last Tango in Paris
Butter.

The Last Temptation of Christ
Would only enhance the controversy.

The Lost Weekend
Would make it easier to find those hidden bottles.

The Maltese Falcon
The stuff that dreams are made of.

Message in a Bottle
See above @ The Lost Weekend.

No Country for Old Men
The guns and the oxygen tank alone. Not to mention the haircut.

No Way Out (1987)
And I thought that limo ride couldn’t get any better.

Oceans’ 11 (2001)
Eye candy comin’ at you!

The Odd Couple
Felix wants 3D. Oscar hates it.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Nurse Ratched softer, more three-dimensional side.

Raging Bull
Pow, right in the kisser.

Roxanne
The Nose.

Silence of the Lambs
Do I really need to elaborate here?

Singin’ in the Rain
All of those raindrop. So lifelike.

Some Like It Hot
You should see the gams on Curtis and Lemmon.

The Sting
3D would just make the cool cooler.

Tootsie
You should see the gams on Hoffman.

Unforgiven
William Mony killed women, children and 2D.

(P.S. I hesitated posting this since it’s so snarky, but take it for what it is…a movie lover’s plea for Hollywood to wake up and start creating new material and even new technology!)

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!


Now, this is not one of my favorite films ever, but, for a Quentin Tarantino film, it’s very strong…mostly because of its performance by Christoph Waltz as Nazi officer Colonel Landa. It’s a long film, and like Tarantino’s other works, it’s very stylized and very violent. But, it features performances that make it worth seeing and Waltz’s performance, in particular, propels this film from standard-violent-war-movie to an excellent work of cinema. Waltz steals every moment he is on screen…unlike most Nazi characters portrayed in movies (I’m especially thinking of Ralph Fiennes’ cold-blooded killing machine in Schindler’s List), Waltz plays Landa with a sincerity and seeming likeability. We think “what is he after,” since we never know what to expect with this quietly deranged character; his light demeanor constantly keeps us off guard. And Tarantino really does capitalize off of this stellar performance. Landa’s scenes are visually elegant and the cast in scenes with Waltz seem to be pulling out all of the stops to give their best performance to match Landa’s maniacal, yet pleasant chill. As for the movie on a whole, it is a new twist on the WWII years in Europe…told with a strong film and filmmaking element. For movie buffs (like myself), I did enjoy the dialogue between the characters about the movie industry and 1930s directors and actors, etc. And, whether you like that “Hollywood” angle or not, it is something that really has not been touched on in a major way before. The style is unique, as usual for Tarantino, and his brash, bold techniques add to the power and intensity of the film. If you can tolerate the violence, check this one out! It’s a far cry from Pulp Fiction, but it’s a strong film on its own…highlighted by exceptional performances.

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

1 comment.


Interviews with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand and Clint Eastwood, done with moderator James Lipton’s trademark blue question cards, do not get any better. Anyone who likes film, has an interest in the film business, or even just likes any one of these actors needs to see this. Lipton starts, as usual, with childhood question, but quickly moves into the acting process and breaking into the business. All four actors are candid and forthright…especially Streisand, who I expected to be more buttoned-up. Newman was Lipton’s first guest so you will also see the evolution of the show as well. Lipton focuses mostly on the acting process and getting to the core of how their individual method works. A great study on acting, actors and film in general!

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!

It looks like there will be more Best Picture nominees come Oscar time. That will change all the Oscar contests! See the Press Release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences below.

—————————————————————————

82nd Academy Awards® to Feature 10 Best Picture Nominees

Beverly Hills, CA (June 24, 2009) — The 82nd Academy Awards, which will be presented on March 7, 2010, will have 10 feature films vying in the Best Picture category, Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis announced today (June 24) at a press conference in Beverly Hills.

“After more than six decades, the Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year,” said Ganis. “The final outcome, of course, will be the same – one Best Picture winner – but the race to the finish line will feature 10, not just five, great movies from 2009.”

For more than a decade during the Academy’s earlier years, the Best Picture category welcomed more than five films; for nine years there were 10 nominees. The 16th Academy Awards (1943) was the last year to include a field of that size; “Casablanca” was named Best Picture. (In 1931/32, there were eight nominees and in 1934 and 1935 there were 12 nominees.)

Currently, the Academy is presenting a bicoastal screening series showcasing the 10 Best Picture nominees of 1939, arguably one of Hollywood’s greatest film years. Best Picture nominees of that year include such diverse classics as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Stagecoach,” “The Wizard of Oz” and Best Picture winner “Gone with the Wind.”

“Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize,” commented Ganis. “I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2. The Oscar® ceremony honoring films for 2009 will again take place at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.

http://www.oscars.org/press/pressreleases/2009/20090624.html

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!


A dark, yet I’m sure realistic look at Hollywood in the 1950s through the eyes of a director, writer and actress. Kirk Douglas stars as the son of a vicious and unloved Hollywood studio head who even has to have his son bribe people to come to his funeral. His son, idealistic at first, soon has the movie business corrupt and harden him, just as it had done to his father. Told in a series of three flashbacks from each of the main players in Douglas’ life (the writer, the director and the actress), it is a well-done film that didn’t hold back any punches when it came to the truth about the movie business and its players.

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!


After watching this film, saying “good morning” to folks takes on a whole new meaning. You say it and then just want to burst into song… “Good mornin’, good mo-o-ornin’… We’ve talked the whole night through…” etc. OK – maybe that’s just me. Maybe you won’t feel compelled to dance and sing around but I sure did after seeing this classic for the first time…and even subsequent times. Singin’ in the Rain is addictive. Yes, it is corny and hokey, but name a musical from the first part of the 20th Century that wasn’t. At least this one is poking fun at the movie industry and, in turn, itself. Unlike most of the Lerner/Loewe and Rogers/Hammerstein musicals of this same period, Singin’ in the Rain is more of a comedy than a drama. Well, OK, it does get pretty melodramatic but add Donald O’Conner to anything and comedy usually ensues. So, if you haven’t seen this one…or even if it has been a long time…check it out. When you walk into work tapping your toes, just sing “Good mornin’” to your co-workers and they will understand!

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!


Narrated by a dead man (something we learn right upfront), this film is one of the most biting, harsh commentaries ever filmed. Attacking Hollywood (which for a Hollywood movie is a risk) had been done before this film and has been done since but nothing packs the same kind of punch as the decline of the old, washed-up silent movie star Norma Desmond, played perfectly by another washed-up silent star Gloria Swanson. William Holden plays Joe Gillis, a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who becomes Ms. Desmond’s personal screenwriter and “companion.” Director Billy Wilder uses the screen here to make a film as dark and dismal as the plot…and this only enhances the story. An example would be the house Norma lives in…Wilder shoots it like a funeral home. It’s always dark and shadowy, just like Norma and her dreams of a “comeback.” There are some things in this film that seem to be just added for “dark” comic effect…like the burial of the monkey. Yes—monkey. These little oddities add to Norma’s dark and foreboding feel…she’s not only a has-been but Wilder wants us to also know she’s mentally unstable. Holden does a great job as the “sane” character in the film. His performance is crucial since it has to be the glue that holds all of the insanity together. But, it also has to be strong since we know he’s a doomed man. After all…it is his character floating in the pool, dead, at the beginning of the film…

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!


Humphrey Bogart is downright scary in this one…directed by Rebel Without a Cause director Nicholas Ray. Like another Bogart film noir film, Dark Passage from 1947, this is another one that Hollywood didn’t like to make that often…no “happy” ending. Most film noirs don’t end conventionally happy, but they do find some sort of resolution. There is no resolution here…In a Lonely Place ends even darker than it begins. The story revolves around Bogart’s character, who is a struggling screenwriter trying to get back on his professional feet. He has no desire to read the book he’s been asked to adapt so when he meets a young lady who has read it, he asks her to tell him the story…at his apartment. Nothing “bad” seems to happen but the next morning when we find out the girl has been murdered, we really are not sure how innocent Bogart really is. I mean, this is a man out of control. Right from the beginning, we see he has a bad temper and it only gets worse. This is NOT a nice guy, but somehow, due to the director of Ray and mostly to the stellar acting of Bogart, we like him. We feel for him and we WANT him to be innocent, even though we’re not 100% sure he is. One of Bogart’s best performances!!!

Facebook0Google+0Twitter0Pinterest0tumblrEmail

Be the first to comment!