October 4, 2012 |
Director Lee Daniels has a habit of falling madly in love with characters nobody else wants, out of an underclass littered with sociopaths, psychopaths and their victims. He has done it again in the sweat-soaked noir of "The Paperboy. " It's the Florida Everglades of the 1960s, and there is nothing friendly about this place, including the backcountry alligator skinner on death row, the chippy who's fallen for him, or the journalists intent on saving him. An exceptional cast led by Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and John Cusack gives these tawdry miscreants a scuzzy, sexy, sad reality that is as unerring as it is unnerving.
December 29, 1996 |
Now, two new books are appearing to celebrate Jackie Robinson. His widow, Rachel Robinson, has written "Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait." The other, by his daughter, Sharon, is titled "Stealing Home: An Intimate Family Portrait." To judge them fairly, you do best to keep the subtitles in mind. With the help of journalist Lee Daniels and an editor, Rachel has produced a beautifully illustrated book, full of touching and poignant moments.
November 29, 2009 |
You can witness a number of memorable debuts in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," including the introduction of leading lady Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe and an initial glimpse of singer Mariah Carey as an accomplished character actor. But none of those premiere performances would have been as resonant were it not for the first produced screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher. "Precious" tells the unrelenting story of its titular character's emerging out of sexual and psychic abuse.
November 6, 2013 |
We can all agree that it's been a pretty great year for movies. But when it comes to this year's best picture Oscar race, that's probably where our accord ends. At the moment, the critically lauded historical drama "12 Years a Slave" and the equally acclaimed box-office juggernaut "Gravity" head the list. Their Oscar nominations are secure. Likewise, the high-seas hostage drama "Captain Phillips" looks like it's in, thanks to its estimable craft and strong commercial reception. That leaves a crowded group of contenders vying for ... what ... four, five or six (if there are nine best picture nominees, as was the case last year)
September 27, 2013 |
NEW YORK -- Can money solve a Hollywood gender imbalance? That's the question posed by a new film fund that aims to boost the number of female directors. The fund, called Gamechanger Films, will exclusively finance movies directed by women, The Times has learned. PHOTOS: Leading ladies of the fall TV season According to an announcement scheduled for Friday, Gamechanger aims to fully or partly finance up to 10 narrative feature films in the coming years, in budgets generally ranging from $1 million to $5 million, across all genres.
June 15, 2010 |
Lesley Ann Warren's first audition for the title role in CBS' 1965 version of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical, " Cinderella" was an unmitigated disaster. Warren was all of 18 but had garnered great notices for her supporting role as Snookie on Broadway in "110 in the Shade," the musical version of "The Rainmaker." "Cinderella" director Charles S. Dubin had seen Warren in "110" and thought she would be perfect. (Rodgers and Hammerstein's only original musical for TV had aired live to great acclaim in 1957 with Julie Andrews in the starring role.
July 21, 2006 |
"Shadowboxer" is a sad, warped tale that pairs a young man and his stepmother as lovers, whose lives are forever entwined after she murders his father. Sadder and more warped still is the fact that Cuba Gooding Jr. and accomplished Shakespearean actress Helen Mirren agreed to appear in this mess.
August 19, 2013 |
Her name is Lindsay and she is a chaos addict. That was the No. 1 takeaway from Lindsay Lohan's amply hyped interview with Oprah Winfrey, a “television event” broadcast on the talk show doyenne's Oprah Winfrey Network program “Oprah's Next Chapter” in back-to-back airings Sunday night. Over the course of their revealing yet somehow bloodless one-hour conversation -- taped just four days after Lohan was released from three months of court-mandated rehab at the Cliffside Malibu clinic -- Hollywood's reigning celebrity train wreck made repeated reference to the “chaos” that has governed her life: her “chaotic” upbringing, her “uncontrollable” family life and the “whirlwind of garbage” Lohan created for herself by courting high drama seemingly at every turn.
November 5, 2009 |
You'd be forgiven for not recognizing Mariah Carey in her role as a dowdy welfare caseworker in the urban drama "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." The legendarily high-maintenance pop diva underwent a soup-to-nuts physical transformation, checking her glossy celebrity patina at the door in order to convincingly portray the film's Ms. Weiss: a drab but deeply empathetic soul helping a troubled teenager in '80s Harlem. Far from the image Carey has cultivated for years, the character is no oil painting of music-video pulchritude, with her lank hair, a wardrobe of rayon sweater-coats and, yes, even a sparse mustache creeping across her upper lip. "I had to lose all vanity," Carey said.