November 1, 2012 |
It was only a matter of time before the found footage craze drew a bona-fide name-brand Hollywood filmmaker into its ongoing vortex. "The Bay" is directed by the Oscar-winning Barry Levinson, known for his longstanding connection to the city of Baltimore through such films as "Diner. " This time Levinson checks in on the small seaside town of Claridge, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay, with a story recounting an ecological horror show that (fictionally) occurred on July 4, 2009, and was subsequently covered up. As pieced together in a Wikileaks-style information dump, the local water, described as a "toxic soup" of radioactivity and growth hormones from chicken excrement, has become suddenly infested with rapidly growing isopods that take host inside people and work their way out. The story becomes more ridiculous as it escalates, the film's over-determined ecological focus undermining any real horror movie tension.
November 14, 1999 |
Three teenage boys slurp Cokes and chocolate milkshakes in a red vinyl booth in the Hollywood Diner, hard by Baltimore's Jones Falls Expressway and some of its dingiest streets. They're talking about girls and cars, music and an impending double date. Does Sylvia "put out"? How about her friend? After some more adolescent banter, Sylvia's date--the angelic, green-eyed Ben Foster--produces a quarter from his pocket and tosses it.
April 6, 2007 |
For most of us, misplacing an important item amounts to absent-mindedly leaving the car keys behind the Velveeta in the fridge. But if you're Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson, the stakes can get considerably higher: Somehow, someway, the first 15 minutes of his 1984 hit "The Natural" -- which didn't make the final cut -- vanished after the film's release. "These pieces of film were part of an opening we didn't do, and I thought they were gone," Levinson says.
March 5, 2000 |
There was a classic Barry Levinson moment on an otherwise banal day of shooting on the pilot of his new cop show "The Beat," which will join UPN's schedule March 21. Standing on a set dressed to look like an emergency room, Levinson remarked to executive producer Tom Fontana that nobody wears a uniform anymore--except cops. An hour later, actor Mark Ruffalo, playing a cop, was ad-libbing the same thing to a nurse as the camera rolled.
April 23, 2010 |
At the crux of the lingering debate over Dr. Jack Kevorkian is an unresolved question of character: What kind of guy would devote his life to helping other people die? Was he a compassionate visionary, fighting to end the suffering of the ill, or was there something darkly twisted about a man who defied the law and risked years in prison as he pushed the death toll well beyond 100? That sort of inscrutable extremism proved irresistible to Al Pacino and Barry Levinson. "We had talked about doing this kind of story, this kind of person ?
July 14, 1991 |
If the name Ben (Bugsy) Siegel isn't yet a part of the popular consciousness, before year's end, it should be. For Siegel--a charismatic, larger-than-life gangster who was part murderer, part visionary--is fast becoming a staple in Hollywood's larder. Siegel briefly surfaced in "The Marrying Man," and he'll reappear in the soon-to-be-released "Mobsters" as one of four young hoods on the rise.
December 13, 1992 |
If directors such as Howard Hawks and John Ford left an indelible stamp on their work, audiences walking out of a Barry Levinson movie would be hard-pressed to identify it as his. For, with the exception of the deeply personal Baltimore projects--"Diner," "Tin Men" and "Avalon"--films such as "The Natural," "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Rain Man" and "Bugsy" seemingly have little in common. "Levinson has no discernible style . . .