September 13, 2009 |
Paul Weitz has been drawn to mentor stories throughout his filmmaking career. As inspired as the teacher-student relationships might have been in the writer-director's "About a Boy" and "In Good Company," they can't approach the perverse pedagogic plot of his latest, "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant." In a derelict theater just outside the French Quarter last spring, Weitz was orchestrating the final showdown between two modern-day vampires. In a luxuriant lavender jacket, Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly)
October 23, 2009 |
In the bizarre world of "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," there's a war brewing over, how to put this simply, "portion" control. It seems the truce between those who sip, leaving humans a little weaker but none the wiser, and those who guzzle, gluttons who leave death, destruction and no tip behind, has been on hold for a couple hundred years. But those peaceful days are about to end in Paul Weitz's stab at vampire camp in "Cirque du Freak," a not quite deadly adaptation of the frothy fanged kids book series by Darren Shan.
May 21, 1987
Mike Schmidt told Jayson Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "If everyone pitched like Mike Scott, you'd make a lot of money being a .200 hitter." He's not worrying about Scott scuffing the ball, however. "Hey, I hit Gaylord Perry better than any man alive," he said. He added: "I'll tell you a story about one guy, now that he's out of the league. My 494th home run ball has got a slash right between the seams. It's got a scrape on it. Here, I'll show you."
February 14, 2010 |
Numbers A Novel Rachel Ward Chicken House/Scholastic: 328 pp., $17.99 Whether it's telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, magic or ESP, otherworldly powers have long captivated young readers, empowering them, through fantasy, to believe that anything is possible. Employed by the likes of William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, one would think that the permutations of psychic abilities had been exhausted. Enter "Numbers," about a teenage girl in England's foster care system who is able to see people's death dates when she looks into their eyes.
August 30, 2004
Re "Shots Hit Kerry's Weak Spot," Commentary, Aug. 26: I have an alternative to Max Boot's theory as to why there is no media traction for the story about President Bush avoiding active service during the Vietnam War: because it is true. People instinctively respond to stories that are new or that challenge what they have known to be fact for years. What if a bite from a venomous spider turned you into a superhero instead of killing you? What if John Kerry fabricated the record of his service in Vietnam to win more medals?
July 1, 1999 |
It's a shame. The audience is sitting in anticipation, the lights go down and a couple of excited kids clap--"It's starting!"--but when the lights come up, it appears that something's amiss. Two actors make hasty entrances and exits, calling for someone named Sam. One of their company, it seems, is missing.
November 6, 2010
Television viewers were probably exposed to more political ads last month than ever before. The Nielsen Co. said Friday that nearly 1.48 million political ads aired on local broadcast stations in October. That's more than any other month since Nielsen began collecting that data in 2000. Nielsen spokesman Aaron Lewis said the company is confident that there was no bigger number before that. The previous high was 1.41 million ads in October 2008, a presidential election year.
February 15, 2011
KCBS-TV Channel 2 reporter Serene Branson, who sparked a Web sensation with her live post-Grammy Awards report in which she had trouble forming words, told her bosses Monday that she was feeling fine and that her mangled speech was not indicative of a serious medical problem. Branson was responding to concerns that she may have suffered a stroke or some other seizure while launching into a report outside Staples Center at the top of KCBS' 11:30 p.m. news Sunday. The reporter, who joined KCBS in 2006, was examined by paramedics on the scene following the report and was not hospitalized.
October 11, 2010 |
It's sad when you see magnificence decline into mediocrity or worse. Muhammad Ali, unable to speak. Mickey Mantle limping back to the dugout, head down, after striking out. Brando looking like a beached Pacific walrus, mumbling away. Liz Taylor avoiding the spotlight. Renoir with hands so arthritic he could barely hold a brush. The word "amazing. " For too long now, I have been painfully aware of the failing meaning, diluted power and loss of essence of "amazing. " I have known for a few years that "amazing" was stumbling and that it was only a matter of time before irrelevancy set in, but still it hurts.
January 29, 2011
At the Sundance Film Festival, celebrities may come and go by luxury SUV, but most folks make their way from theater to theater around Park City, Utah, via a more humble mode of transportation: the free shuttle bus. Which can lead to problems. Though festival organizers try hard, the vagaries of traffic and weather mean the buses are often later and fuller than they are supposed to be. Anxious filmgoers crowd the doors in a frantic attempt to get on and off as quickly as possible, and on the first full day of the festival, at the stop by the Yarrow Hotel, sparks ignited.