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Joe Breen

December 12, 1999 | DAVID GRITTEN, David Gritten is a regular contributor to Calendar
When director Alan Parker set about adapting Frank McCourt's best-selling novel "Angela's Ashes" for film, he knew casting was going to be one of his major problems. McCourt's autobiographical book traces his childhood in poverty-stricken Ireland in the 1930s and '40s. It also deals with his alcoholic wastrel father Malachy (played by Robert Carlyle), his long-suffering mother Angela (Emily Watson) and the loss of three of his siblings in infancy.
Primitive peoples, or so it's said, resist being photographed, believing that the creation of an image robs them of their souls. A quaint notion, perhaps, but how else can you explain what's happened to "Angela's Ashes"? The film version of Frank McCourt's memoir of growing up in Ireland, the most literate of bestsellers, is not the usual case of a book being trashed on its way to the screen. Far from it.
March 9, 2008 | Holly Gleason, Special to The Times
With her once ash blond hair now auburn, progressive country's crown princess Carlene Carter is the spitting image of her mother June Carter Cash. Heads turn when Maybelle Carter's granddaughter walks into the Sunset Grill, a Music City watering hole frequented by the celebrities, who scarcely earn more than a passing flicker from fellow diners.
June 22, 1997 | MICHAEL NOVAK, Michael Novak, the author of many books on religion and culture, is the 1994 winner of the Templeton Prize for "Progress in Religion" and holds the George Frederick Jewett chair at the American Enterprise Institute
At first, I didn't want to read "American Catholic," fearing it would be one more journalistic attack on the church (of which I have read my fill). But it isn't. It's journalism of a very high order. In telling a cracking good story with a wonderful cast of rogues, ruffians and some remarkably holy and sensible people, Morris is helped by the fact that he's Irish, both because of his Irish way with words and because the story, as he tells it, is nine-tenths Irish.
April 18, 1991 | JACK SMITH
Sex and violence are so commonplace on prime-time TV these days that demands for a return of censorship are resurgent. Anyone who advocates censorship should read "The Censorship Papers" (Dodd Mead), a book by screenwriter and producer Gerald Gardner. It is mostly a collection of letters written to movie producers in enforcement of the infamous Motion Picture Production Code.
July 27, 1989 | CHARLES CHAMPLIN, Times Arts Editor
The literate adult romantic comedy is not dead, only scarce now as always. And when one comes along, it is an occasion for glad cries of joy and full houses. There are ecstatic shouts and full theaters for the Rob Reiner-Nora Ephron "When Harry Met Sally . . .," undoubtedly the literate adult romantic comedy of the year to date, linking the spirit of the great romantic comedies of Hollywood's past with the textures and realities of life in a later and less easily romantic time.
December 12, 1999 | SUSAN KING, Susan King is a Times staff writer
So what did Frank McCourt, the author of "Angela's Ashes," think about Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens and Michael Legge, who play him at various ages in Alan Parker's film adaptation of his award-winning memoir. McCourt recently discussed his feelings about his screen alter egos, the movie in general and memories of his poverty-stricken childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Question: Was it an odd experience watching three actors play you at various ages?
February 7, 1999 | DAVID GRITTEN, David Gritten is a regular contributor to Calendar
It may be imagination playing tricks, but the air feels distinctly damp. Walk along an uneven cobbled street lined by a row of dismal little houses, and a chill both literal and metaphorical hits you. Inside one of these miserable dwellings you're struck by the desperate poverty of anyone condemned to live here. Damp brick walls are thinly coated by a faint, greenish slime. On the floors are ragged lengths of linoleum.
December 6, 2007 | Kenneth Turan, Times Staff Writer
Joseph Ignatius Breen is not just a name lost to history, he was little known to the public even in his own time. He wrote no memoir, commissioned no biography, talked not at all in retirement. Could this be the man Liberty magazine identified in 1936 as the individual who "probably has more influence in standardizing world thinking than Mussolini, Hitler or Stalin"? Yes, it could.
January 21, 2000 | GENE SEYMOUR, NEWSDAY
She has a face that would serve as a poor hiding place for an emotional wound. "I can't think of the right word . . . physiognomy, right?" says Emily Watson. "That's my advantage, I suppose. To have a face that reveals everything." Even, on this particular afternoon, a courtly prepossession (she offers tea to her visitor) that might startle those who know the 32-year-old British actress only for the unguarded, unsettling passion of her two Oscar-nominated roles.
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