October 13, 2011 |
Just a few years out of film school with an award-winning short in his backpack, Dennis Lee moved from New York to Hollywood at age 36 to make movies. Met with the usual crescendo of rejection, he cobbled together $500,000 from family and friends to direct "Fireflies in the Garden," the first screenplay he had written. Just weeks before he was to start shooting his tale about a domineering father's lasting impact on his family, Senator Entertainment, an American offshoot of a German film company, said it would give Lee $8 million to make the film.
August 21, 2011 |
Hollywood has been fertile ground for brothers. It has accommodated the Warner brothers, the Marx brothers, the Coen brothers, the Farrelly brothers, the Hughes brothers, the Wayans brothers. So where are all the sisters? "There's so many brothers!" exclaims Jennifer Todd, who partnered with her older sister Suzanne for 13 years to produce blockbuster movies as Team Todd. She is probably thinking of the Weitz brothers, the Wachowski brothers, the Wilson brothers. "It's endless!"
July 1, 2011 |
"Larry Crowne" is an inside-out movie, acceptable around the edges but hollow and shockingly unconvincing at its core. When that core is two of the biggest movie stars around — Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts — it's an especially dispiriting situation. Hanks and Roberts topline this adult romantic comedy about supposedly real people, the kind of movie that would be welcome were it not doomed by its tone of hopelessly contrived Hollywood sincerity. Hanks, who also directed and co-wrote with Nia Vardalos (responsible for the cloying "My Big Fat Greek Wedding")
March 25, 2011
SERIES Who Do You Think You Are? When Steve Buscemi travels through New York, Philadelphia and the battlefields of Virginia he discovers a questionable character among his ancestors in this new episode (8 p.m. NBC). Shark Tank: Jeff Foxworthy and tech tycoon Mark Cuban join the school in this new episode of the unscripted series (8 p.m. ABC). Merlin: Warriors converge on Camelot for a no-holds barred tournament, and Gilli (Harry Melling) is eager to take part in this new episode (10 p.m. Syfy)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 2011 |
Sam Chwat was a master of accents who taught Robert De Niro to talk like an Appalachian ex-convict, Olympia Dukakis to talk like a Holocaust survivor and Peter Boyle to talk like a bigot from the Deep South. A modern-day Henry Higgins, he also trained some actors to lose accents, helping Julia Roberts drop her native Georgia drawl and Tony Danza his distinctive Brooklynese. Chwat even turned his training on himself, muting his own "Noo Yawk" accent to prevent clients from miming the wrong cues.
February 27, 2011 |
There is a very particular art to playing the ordinary. Few actors do it well ? Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney always come to mind. Of those, most fail to get their due come Oscar night ? thoughts of Giamatti and Linney rise again. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at least in modern times, rather prefers its lead actor and actress performances to hit an electrifying emotional chord that can neither be ignored nor, seemingly, denied. The heroes, the handicapped, the monsters, the innocents, the leaders, the literary, the redeemed, the doomed, the artists, the doomed artists ?
August 15, 2010 |
Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir-turned-movie "Eat Pray Love" won't have to settle for a dog-eared book or a ticket stub as the only mementos of their literary and cinematic journeys through Italy, India and Bali. A massive amount of related merchandise has already been unleashed on the public: handbags, jewelry, journals, tea, fragrance, furniture and something called "firming serum" (which might be part of the "pray" portion). Though merchandise tie-ins geared to kids is nothing new, selling products based on books and films to adults, specifically women, is a more recent phenomenon.
August 12, 2010 |
Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love" have bought some 8 million copies of the magazine writer's chronicle of self-discovery, love and forgiveness. And if everyone who has read the bestselling book comes to see the movie, Sony Pictures will still have a lot of work to do. The economics of book publishing and Hollywood are as dissimilar as a pinewood derby and the Indianapolis 500. Only a handful of books print more than 1 million copies, but for a movie to become a runaway blockbuster, its studio needs to sell tens of millions of tickets.
June 9, 2010 |
On the eve of being honored by the American Film Institute, Mike Nichols shared memories of some of the actors he has directed. Elizabeth Taylor (Nichols directed her to the best actress Oscar in 1966's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"): She understood, since she had been doing it since she was 4 years old, what movie acting was, and she had that kind of secret deal with the lab that, overnight in the bath, what we had seen her do on the set was about three times better [on screen]