The official word: Television and movie legend William Shatner will bring his one man show SHATNER’S WORLD: WE JUST LIVE IN IT (www.shatnersworld.com) to the State Theatre in Cleveland, OH on April 14. Tickets go on sale February 3rd at 10:00 a.m. The show will play a three week run at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre from February 14 - March 4.
Tickets can be purchased at the State Theatre box office or at www.playhousesquare.org. Ticket prices range from $29.00 – $299.00.To read more or comment...
On Super Bowl Sunday, no less. The official word:
On Sunday, February 5th, beginning at 9:00am ET/PT, ABC Family will air a “Bring it On-a-Thon,” airing the five movies in the popular franchise back-to-back, featuring such ABC Family stars as Ashley Benson (“Pretty Little Liars”), Francia Raisa (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) and Cassie Scerbo (“Make It or Break It”). Following the marathon, the network will air “Mamma Mia,” at 7:00pm ET/PT, and “Dirty Dancing” at 9:30pm ET/PT.
Sunday, February 5 (all times Eastern/Pacific)To read more or comment...
That's two days after the Oscars...
The official word: Renowned director Martin Scorsese’s groundbreaking and original adventure HUGO makes its highly-anticipated debut on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD, all with UltraViolet™, On Demand and for Digital Download on February 28, 2012 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Recipient of more Academy Award nominations than any other film, HUGO was honored with 11 total—including Best Picture and Best Director—and has already won Martin Scorsese the Golden Globe for Best Director, was named the best film of 2011 by the National Board of Review, and was cited by more than 150 critics as one of the top 10 films of the year. . . .To read more or comment...
I have seen "Beginners" (which is also on video), and it's quite good, especially Christopher Plummer, who is considered the favorite for the supporting-actor Oscar. Still trying to get to "My Week With Marilyn," which is hard to find right now, so this may be a good opportunity. Tickets are $5. The info from the Palace:
"Beginners" February 2nd & 4th 7:30pm
“Beginners” commences as Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is cleaning out the house after his father
Hal (Christopher Plummer – Nominateed for Best Supporting Actor) has lost his battle with
Stage 4 cancer. Oliver nonchalantly recounts via voice-over his father’s announcing his gay predilections after wife Georgia (Mary Page Keller) passed away, then subsequently joining
gay social clubs and carousing at gay discos before meeting a much younger boyfriend,
Andy (Goran Visnjic). Oliver jogs his memory further back to his parents’ perfunctory, love-
less marriage that has spelled doom for his own series of love affairs. But if blame is to be cast,
it is only cast toward a time when people thought therapy or marriage could “fix” homosexuality.
Rated R for language some sexual content.
105 minutes Comedy/Drama
“My Week with Marilyn” February 9th, 10th & 12th 7:30pm
In the summer of 1956, Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) arrived on British
soil to produce & star in ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’, co-starring & directed by acting legend
Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). On the same shoot was then 23 year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), an Oxford graduate from a well-established family who was desperate to
make it as a filmmaker, and as a third aassitant director on the film, found himself in the most intimate situation with the screen siren, who confided in him during one magical week. Nominations for Best Actress & Best Supporting Actor.
Rated R for some language 99 minutes Drama
Friday Notebook: Cinematheque Event, Documentary at UA, Remembering Epstein, Waving Goodbye to Willows
From the folks at the Cinematheque: Don Hertzfeldt, an Oscar-nominated indie animator with a huge nationwide following, will make a special in-person appearance on Friday, February 24, at 7:30 pm at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard in University Circle. “An Evening with Don Hertzfeldt” will include the Cleveland premiere of Hertzfeldt’s latest work, the 23-min. It’s such a beautiful day, the third and final part of his “Bill” trilogy. (A character named Bill stars in all three movies.) The other two parts of the trilogy, Everything will be OK (2006) and I am so proud of you (2008), another Cleveland premiere, also will be shown, along with other Hertzfeldt short films.
Hertzfeldt’s distinctive, hand-drawn, stick-figure-filled cartoons include some of the funniest and most popular short films ever shown at the Cinematheque – among them Billy’s Balloon, Rejected, and Ah, L’Amour. His movies can be surreal and absurdist, sick and twisted, poignant and tragicomic, or all of the above. Though only 35, Hertzfeldt has already won the Jury Prize at Sundance (for Everything Will Be OK), been nominated for the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes (for Billy’s Balloon), and been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film (for Rejected). His films have been shown on MTV, Bravo, the Sundance Channel, Showtime, and the Cartoon Network, among others. In 2003 he and Mike Judge founded and curated The Animation Show, a biennial tour of outstanding animated short films. (The first three Animation Shows played in Cleveland exclusively at the Cinematheque.)To read more or comment...
The official word: WMJI 105.7 FM will host the 2012 Moondog Coronation Ball Saturday, March 31, at
7 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. This marks the 60th Anniversary of the original Moondog Coronation Ball
held at the Cleveland Arena in 1952.
Moondog 2012 will feature Creedence Clearwater Revisited, KC and The Sunshine Band, Mickey
Dolenz of the Monkees and Sam Moore of “Sam & Dave”. . . . .
Tickets, $67.50, $52.50 & $37.50 go on sale Friday, February 3rd at 10:00am at the Q Box Office, charge by phone at 888-894-9424, online at theQarena.com and at all northern Ohio Discount Drug Marts.
Performer details after the jump.To read more or comment...
This is my latest video for WEWS's Saturday-morning news. Still learning as I go, especially about things like choosing the clips to integrate into the pieces. Thanks to Joe McGee of WEWS for making me look better. And my questions for all of you: What do you think of these pieces compared to the longer videos I used to do, and what sort of topics would you like me to talk about? So far, I've done a couple on movies, one on entertainment books and this one, tied to a home-video release.To read more or comment...
I am working my way through the Oscar nominees I have not seen and recently viewed "War Horse." Best picture? Really? Better than "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," which did not get a best-pic nomination? Better than "Drive"? "The Ides of March"? Better than Harry Potter?
I think not.To read more or comment...
You can find links to my reviews of some of the Oscar contenders here. These include "The Descendants," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "The Help," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "The Iron Lady," "Tree of Life" and "The Ides of March."
There are some other contenders I have dealt with in video columns. "Midnight in Paris" is here. There's a brief note about "Margin Call" here. Some notes about "Rango" are here. I expect to add some more posts as we go through Oscar season, and to post about films I have not seen as I get to them.To read more or comment...
Robinson put it this way on Facebook: I have news I can share with all of you who have been my "rock" over the last few weeks. I get to stay in the town I love! I have accepted an anchor position at 19 Action News! I could not be happier. Thanks so much for all of your messages and prayers. My first day is on air is Feb. 2nd
The official word from the station: Seven time Emmy Award winner Romona Robinson has found a new broadcast home. Ms. Robinson is joining 19 Action News where she will be anchoring afternoon and evening newscasts.To read more or comment...
The official word: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be touring extensively in the US and Europe in 2012, making a stop April 17th at Quicken Loans Arena. Tickets for the concert go on sale this Saturday, January 28th at 10am.
Bruce Springsteen's new album Wrecking Ball has been set for March 6th release on Columbia Records. Marking it his 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball features 11 new Springsteen songs and was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau. A special edition of 'Wrecking Ball' will also be available and include two bonus tracks and exclusive artwork and photography.
"Bruce has dug down as deep as he can to come up with this vision of modern life. The lyrics tell a story you can't hear anywhere else and the music is his most innovative in recent years. The writing is some of the best of his career and both veteran fans and those who are new to Bruce will find much to love on 'Wrecking Ball'" said long-time manager Jon Landau.
'Wrecking Ball' is available for pre-order now on Amazon and iTunes.
For more official Bruce Springsteen touring news and ticket information: www.brucespringsteen.net
General Admission Floor: $98
Reserved Seat: $98 / $62.50 / $42.50
Tickets go on sale Saturday, January 28th at 10:00am and will be available at www.livenation.com,
all Northern Ohio Discount Drug Marts,
the Quicken Loans Arena Box Office, charge by phone (888) 894-9424
From the motion picture academy ...
84TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS®
OSCAR® NOMINATIONS FACT SHEET
Best Motion Picture of the Year:
The Artist (The Weinstein Company) [Produced by Thomas Langmann.] - This is the first nomination for Thomas Langmann.
The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) [Produced by Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.] - This is the first nomination for Jim
This is the first nomination in this category for both Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. They won Oscars® for their Adapted Screenplay
for Sideways (2004) and were nominated in the same category for Election (1999). Alexander Payne was also nominated in the
Directing category for Sideways and is nominated this year in the Directing and Adapted Screenplay categories for The Descendants.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros.) [Produced by Scott Rudin.] - This is the fifth nomination in this category for
Scott Rudin, who won the award in 2007 for No Country for Old Men. He was also nominated for The Hours (2002), The Social
Network (2010) and True Grit (2010).
The Help (Touchstone) [Produced by Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan.] - This is the first nomination for all
Hugo (Paramount) [Produced by Graham King and Martin Scorsese.] - This is the third nomination for Graham King, who won the
award for The Departed (2006). He was also nominated for The Aviator (2004).
This is the first nomination for Martin Scorsese in this category. He won an Oscar in the Directing category for The Departed
(2006) and has received Directing nominations for Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Good Fellas (1990),
Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004) and this year for Hugo. He was also nominated for the adapted screenplays for
Good Fellas and The Age of Innocence (1993).
Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) [Produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum.] - This is the first nomination for
both Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum.
Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) [Produced by Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt.] - This is the second
nomination in this category for Michael De Luca. His previous Best Picture nomination was for The Social Network (2010).
This is the first nomination for Rachael Horovitz.
This is the first nomination for Brad Pitt in this category. He was nominated for his supporting role in 12 Monkeys (1995) and for
his leading role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). He is also nominated this year for his leading role in Moneyball.
The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) [Nominees to be determined.]
War Horse (Touchstone) [Produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy.] - This is the seventh nomination in this category
for Steven Spielberg, who won the award in 1993 for Schindler's List. His other Best Picture nominations were for E.T. The
Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Color Purple (1985), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Munich (2005) and Letters from Iwo Jima
(2006). He has six Directing nominations, for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T.
The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan - these last two resulting in Oscars - and Munich. He also
received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1986.
This is the seventh nomination in this category for Kathleen Kennedy. Her previous nominations were for E.T. The Extra-
Terrestrial (1982), The Color Purple (1985), The Sixth Sense (1999), Seabiscuit (2003), Munich (2005) and The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button (2008).
The complete nomination list is here. Early thoughts: Tough year for Ryan Gosling, with three great performances and no nominations. Several major nominees are on video already, including Moneyball, Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, The Help, Bridesmaids, A Better Life, Warrior, Beginners and animation nominees Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2. So you can start your viewing festival now. More later.To read more or comment...
Limited extras. While I am a huge fan of Clint Eastwood as a director, this was not his best work, too restrained, too dry. But it has good performances by Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover and Armie Hammer as Hoover's longtime associate Clyde Tolson.
The official word: As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. Discover the man behind the secrets when “J. Edgar,” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download February 21 from Warner Home Entertainment Group. As seen through the eyes of Hoover himself, “J. Edgar” explores the personal and public life and relationships of a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it during a life devoted to his own idea of justice, often swayed by the darker side of power.To read more or comment...
As part of the Beacon Journal's news partnership with WEWS (Channel 5), I have begun making weekly videos to air on the station's Saturday-morning newscast. These are different from the videos I have been doing for Ohio.com; they are significantly shorter (about 90 seconds vs. several minutes on the older videos) and, for that reason, tending to be more narrowly focused. I've done three so far; the latest, on "Haywire," is posted above. If I get access to the previous ones, I will add them, too. The basic plan is to get them on Ohio.com on a regular basis.To read more or comment...
I never seem to have enough time for all the pop-culture things I want to do; there are always more movies, more TV shows to catch up with. So it should tell you how much I like "The Descendants" when I say I have seen it twice so far. Nor is my admiration unique, since it is expected to do very well in the Academy Awards nominations tomorrow, and George Clooney's performance has reportedly made him one of the favorites for a best actor Oscar. (One of his major competitors may be Brad Pitt in "Moneyball." More about that film and performance in another post.)
Directed by Alexander Payne, and based on a book, "The Descendants" is a deeply felt movie about loss and choice in life, and especially about the feelings that a man may face when suddenly pushed into a single-father role. The first time I saw this was in close proximity to another suddenly-single-dad movie, "We Bought a Zoo" with Matt Damon*, and the contrast was stark. While "We Bought a Zoo" had some merits, it felt theatrical in comparison to the naturalness of "The Descendants," contrived and too smoothly resolved when "The Descendants" knew about the uncertainty that lingers even after post-loss catharsis. And, while "The Descendants" is accomplished across the board, Clooney is remarkable; he was even better on second viewing than the first, when I could watch even more closely his character's confusion, emotional containment and struggles with his own mounting rage.To read more or comment...
The official word: One of the year’s best-loved family comedies and among the best reviewed films of 2011, Disney’s “The Muppets,” starring Jason Segel, Academy Award®-nominee Amy Adams, and favorite celebrity couple Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy -- debuts March 20 on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Download and On-Demand formats. A must-own movie the entire family can enjoy, Disney’s “The Muppets” in-home release includes the DVD and music soundtrack packaged together and also offered as the ultimate Muppets experience, a ‘Wocka-Wocka Value Pack,’ which contains the movie on Blu-ray high definition, DVD and Digital Copy (three discs), plus a download card which allows fans to own all the songs from the film’s hugely popular soundtrack.
Disney’s “The Muppets” Blu-ray Combo Pack, with its flawless picture and pitch perfect sound, comes with a fantastic slate of bonus content including the laugh out loud “The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think).” The exciting release also includes the hilarious featurette “A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through,” which follows Jason Segel, Kermit, The Great Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and others as they get ready for the first day of production, and much more fun.To read more or comment...
You may remember Jessica Whitely from the season premiere of "American Idol," where the judges declined to send her to Hollywood from the Savannah auditions -- and she told them they'd see her again at the Texas auditions. So she may not be getting much love for her singing, but it sure looks as if she is getting screen time, and not just from "Idol." Jimmy Kimmel autotuned her last night:To read more or comment...
Sony does a nice job with these noir collections. (I have the first two.) And I am especially interested in seeing "Tight Spot" again. I have vivid memories of it, and of Rogers' performance; I keep thinking there was a period when it was being rerun a lot, but I don't know if that's the case or if it just stuck in my head. But I do remember it, and fondly.
The official word: Shadowy streets, tough guys and dangerous women take center stage in an all-new collection of five classic film noir thrillers available now on DVD for the first time ever from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE).
Presented in collaboration with The Film Foundation, the multi-disc Film Noir Classics III collection is the third volume of film noir titles from Columbia Pictures. The set includes Nina Foch and George Macready in My Name is Julia Ross (1945), Mickey Rooney and Dianne Foster in Drive a Crooked Road (1955), Broderick Crawford in The Mob (1951), Ginger Rogers and Edward G. Robinson in Tight Spot (1955) and Dan Duryea and Jayne Mansfield in The Burglar (1957), with introductions by Martin Scorsese, founder and chair of the non-profit preservation group, The Film Foundation.
Film Noir Classics III is being released as part of the TCM Vault Collection. All five films in the set have been digitally remastered and feature extensive on-screen bonus materials, including theatrical trailers, photos, posters, lobby cards and more. TCM Vault Collection sets are presented in beautiful gatefold packaging. They are available exclusively through TCM’s online store at http://shop.tcm.com
The "Black Swan" piece is especially good. And I like this lyric: "Still they comin' at me like, 'Where you been?'/You should be askin' Mischa Bar-tin."
BTW, a reader called in, concerned that the content in this video was inappropriate for children. Indeed it is. So, while I would be surprised to learn that any children actually read this blog, let me warn you that the content here is adult, vulgar, f-bombing and NSFW -- and still really funny.To read more or comment...
The official word: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to present a major exhibition devoted to a truly unique American rock and roll band, Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip. The exhibit will open to the public on Thursday, April 12, as a part of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Week events. The Mickey Hart Band, featuring the Grateful Dead drummer, will perform on the Rock Hall’s Main Stage for an exhibit opening event on Wednesday, April 11.
“The Grateful Dead is a band that is identified with a remarkable era in American history, and, inasmuch as they embody that era, their work is timeless,” says Jim Henke, vice president of Exhibits and Curatorial Affairs. “They’ve inspired many performers and bands, but none has exhibited their musical depth and cultural resonance. In a 30-year career, this group wrote their own rules and created a community unlike any band before or since.”To read more or comment...
The documentary airs Feb. 20 and 21 on PBS, hitting video on the 21st.
The official word: PBS Distribution today announced it is releasing “AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: CLINTON” on DVD and Blu-ray. As the 2012 race for the White House heats up and the office of the president is in the news more and more, explore the life and career of the 42nd president of the United States with the release of “AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: CLINTON.” The program will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on February 21, 2012. The running time of the program is 240 minutes. The SRP for the DVD is $29.99 and the SRP for the Blu-ray is $34.99. The program comes on two discs.To read more or comment...
The official word: Anchor Bay Films proudly announces the March 27th Blu-ray™ and DVD release of one of the best reviewed films of 2011: Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. Fresh from its theatrical release – where it received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, The Village Voice and more – Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel presents a tantalizing and star-studded tribute to Roger Corman, Hollywood’s most prolific writer-director-producer, and seminal influencing force in modern moviemaking over the past 60 years. SRP for the Blu-ray™ is $29.99, and $26.98 SRP for the DVD. Pre-book is February 29th.
Roger Corman is perhaps the most prolific and influential Hollywood filmmaker in the history of the medium. His immeasurable imprint on American cinema not only spans over six decades, but has resulted in creating an indelible cinematic body of work as well as a legacy of training the next generation of actors, writer, directors and producers – many of whom have created cinema masterpieces of their own.To read more or comment...
The animated film was far less successful than the original "Happy Feet."
The official word: Tap into the tale of Mumble and his musical friends in the Antarctic with “Happy Feet Two,” arriving onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on March 13 from Warner Home Entertainment Group. The sequel to the Academy Award®-winning animated smash hit “Happy Feet,” “Happy Feet Two” takes audiences back to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica in superb 3D.To read more or comment...
The official word: Sundance Channel announced today its upcoming mini-series “Top of the Lake” will begin production on February 7, 2012. The seven-part mini-series will be directed by Oscar® winner Jane Campion (The Piano, Portrait of a Lady) and Australian director Garth Davis, and written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee (Sweetie). The project stars SAG® Award winner and three time Emmy® Award nominated actress Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men,” On the Road). Holly Hunter, who won a Best Actress Oscar® for her performance in Campion’s The Piano, also stars alongside BAFTA® nominee Peter Mullan (War Horse, Trainspotting) and AFI Award winning actor David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings, Australia).
Produced by Academy Award® winners Emile Sherman and Iain Canning (The King’s Speech, Shame) of See-Saw Films, and Philippa Campbell (Black Sheep) of Escapade Pictures, “Top of the Lake” is a powerful and haunting mystery about the search for happiness in a paradise where honest work is hard to find. Set in the remote mountains of New Zealand, the story follows the disappearance of a five months pregnant 12-year-old named Tui who was last seen standing chest deep in a frozen lake. In this classic mythic struggle, investigating detective, Robin Griffin (Moss), must lose herself in order to find the missing girl. During the investigation, she collides with Matt Mitcham (Mullan), Tui’s father, a local drug lord, and G.J (Hunter), a guru at a local women’s camp. Robin will find this the case that tests her limits and sends her on a journey of self-discovery.To read more or comment...
The official word: The animal kingdom has many heroes – from all over the world, from all walks of life. On March 27, Image Entertainment presents Betty White: Champion for Animals – an inspiring film that travels the world to observe its magnificent creatures and to meet the people who dedicate their lives to their care and preservation. Betty White: Champion for Animals, which has been approved by the Dove Foundation, is a stirring journey for the entire family, and will be available on DVD and digital download for an MSRP of $19.98. Pre-book is February 28th.
In Betty White: Champion for Animals, the Emmy® and Screen Actors Guild Award® winning actress and comedienne shares anecdotes about her own cherished pets, as well as unforgettable experiences with the organizations that make the world of animals available to all. Also featured are heroic stories of the military canine corps and the Humane Society. There, too, are journeys off the regular tourist’s beaten path to America’s national parks, world-class zoos and aquariums. It is a true story – heart-warming yet also heart-breaking – of humanity working to understand and protect the world’s precious animal populations.To read more or comment...
The official word: From its debut presentation at the Television Critics' Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour, Hulu today announced its original programming slate for the first half of 2012.
The line-up kicks off on February 14 with the launch of Hulu's first original scripted series, "Battleground," executive produced by JD Walsh, Hagai Shaham and Marc Webb ("The Amazing Spiderman," "500 Days of Summer"). On the heels of a successful season as Hulu's first original series, Morgan Spurlock's "A Day in the Life" will premiere its second season in March. And this summer, Hulu audiences will get exclusive access to acclaimed writer/director Richard Linklater's first episodic documentary series, "Up to Speed." All three shows will be available exclusively on the free, ad-supported Hulu service and the Hulu Plus subscription service.To read more or comment...
It will be available Feb. 7, with an MSRP of $44.99 on DVD, $49.99 on Blu-ray. The official word: PBS Distribution today announced the bonus features included on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the critically-acclaimed series “DOWNTON ABBEY SEASON 2.” “Downton Abbey” fans are clamoring for Season 2, and now they have another reason to be excited with more than 32 minutes of bonus features available on the DVD and Blu-ray. ... [Extras include]
HOUSE TO HOSPITAL
This eight-minute bonus feature briefly recaps where viewers left the house, a grand venue for evening soirees and garden parties. It is now 1916, times have changed and so has the house. Viewers are given a closer look at the changes that take place within the Downton house and shown how news of war impacts life at Downton and the lives of those that live there. In “House to Hospital,” viewers see how Downton is physically changed into a convalescent home and what this means in terms of the social changes taking place at that time. This special feature delves into the archives of Highclere Castle (which is Downton Abbey in the series) to see how houses of this period offered themselves to the war effort.
Alastair Bruce (historical advisor), Julian Fellowes, Lady Carnarvon (lives at Highclere Castle), Donal Woods (production designer), Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Jessica Brown-Findlay, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan and Rob James-Collier.
Tonight brings a couple of new shows, "The Finder" on Fox and "Rob" on CBS. The CBS comedy stars Rob Schneider as a man who marries into a large Hispanic/Latino family and proceeds to say as many ethnically insensitive things as the show can fit into 21 minutes. Skip it. "The Finder," a spinoff of sorts from "Bones," is more interesting, at least in terms of its characters, and there are several funny lines. The plotting was iffier, but I will be giving it at least one more try.
You can find my review of "The Iron Lady," with Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, here. I will also have a few words about "The Iron Lady" (with clips) on WEWS's Saturday-morning news this weekend.To read more or comment...
The official word: On the heels of their last epic adventure, Harold and Kumar once again find themselves wrapped up in hilarious mishaps in “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas,” arriving onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download February 7 from Warner Home Entertainment Group.
John Cho and Kal Penn reprise their title roles in “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas,” which comes after the 2004 cult hit “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” launched the franchise, followed by “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” in 2008. The third installment is the first to highlight the guys’ outrageous escapades in 3D.To read more or comment...
Isn't it curious that Eaton equates "best" with audience numbers? Official word: PBS announced today that America’s love affair with “Downton Abbey” continues as Sunday night’s premiere of the highly anticipated second season averaged 4.2 million viewers, not including those viewing through station replays, DVRs or online streaming. (Nielsen Fast National data, 2.7 household rating.) The Emmy Award-winning series’ second season premiere doubled the average PBS primetime rating, and exceeded the average rating of the first season of “Downton Abbey” by 18% (based on metered market averages). New episodes of “Downton Abbey” debut each Sunday night through February 19.
“MASTERPIECE has outdone itself once again,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. “I’m so pleased that audiences have flocked to their local PBS station and ‘Downton Abbey’ to enjoy some of the best drama on television this season.”To read more or comment...
The official words: Everyone’s favorite mystery-solving priest comes to DVD with the release of “Father Dowling Mysteries” The First Season. Tom Bosley plays the amiable and inquisitive Father Frank Dowling with Tracy Nelson as Sister Stephanie “Steve” Oskowski – a street-smarts nun who assists Father Dowling in his investigations. Follow the pair as they solve various murders, abductions and other high crimes in Chicago. The 2-disc set includes all 8 crime-solving first season episodes, including the Original TV Movie Pilot, and special guest stars Leslie Nielsen, Diane Ladd, John Slattery and more. [It arrives Feb. 7 with a suggested retail price of $29.99.]
As for "Eight": The Bradfords, one of television's best known and most loved families, are back for the first time to entertain viewers with their touching and memorable escapades on Warner Home Video's (WHV) DVD release of Eight Is Enough: The Complete First Season. Making its much-anticipated DVD debut on April 17, 2012, after long-standing requests from fans, Eight Is Enough is the top-rated classic television series that chronicles the lives of columnist Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten), his wife and their eight children. Eight Is Enough: The Complete First Season will be comprised of all nine episodes from the show's first season on two discs. The DVD set will retail for $24.98 SRP.To read more or comment...
The official word: Jim Donovan, long-time WKYC Sports Anchor, will join co-anchor Robin Swoboda for Channel 3 News @ 7pm. He will continue to bring Northeast Ohio the most experienced and thoughtful sports coverage at 6 and 11pm, but will expand his role into the anchor position at 7.
“Jimmy is more than sports, he’s a great storyteller and an astute interviewer,” stated Brooke Spectorsky, President and General Manager of WKYC. “Channel 3 viewers across the region love his quick wit and passion for his work.”To read more or comment...
Not a James Ellroy story, but based on a nonfiction book (which I have read, and which is uneven).
The official word: TNT has ordered a pilot for L.A. Noir, a new drama series from executive producers Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead, The Shawshank Redemption), Michael De Luca (The Social Network, Moneyball) and Elliot Webb (Tall Time Tales). The project from TNT Original Productions is based on John Buntin’s critically acclaimed book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City, which chronicles the epic battle between Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen. Alissa Phillips (Moneyball) of Michael De Luca Productions serves as co-executive producer. Darabont is set to write and direct the pilot.To read more or comment...
The official word: Tennessee Tuxedo™ and his pals are back and more dapper than ever! On March 6 Shout! Factory will release Tennessee Tuxedo™ And His Tales: The Complete Collection, a 6-DVD set featuring all 70 Tennessee Tuxedo™ episodes, most of which are appearing on DVD for the first time, as well as a 20-page commemorative book written by animation and comic book historian Mark Arnold, a bonus featurette, and new commentaries.
The box set contains the first season of Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales, from 1963, in its entirety, assembled to mirror the program’s original run, which included The King And Odie and The Hunter cartoons. The Tennessee Tuxedo episodes from Seasons Two and Three have been recreated to include the Tooter Turtle and Klondike Kat cartoons, rounding out this collection of classic animated TV.To read more or comment...
The official word: Battle Royale. A title that has shocked, thrilled and unnerved audiences. A film whose fiendishly simple premise has inspired many imitations, including the upcoming The Hunger Games motion picture. Based on the 1999 global best-seller by Koushun Takami, the futuristic tale first came to the screen in 2000, directed by the legendary Kinju Fukasaku. Authors, filmmakers and film fans the world over consider the film and its 2003 sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem sacred cinematic classics. And now, fans can own them on high-definition Blu-ray™ and DVD!
On March 20th, Anchor Bay Entertainment proudly brings the Battle Royale: The Complete Collection to Blu-ray™ and DVD for the first time in North America. Featuring state-of-the-art HD transfers, hi-res audio and a wealth of bonus features that delve deep into this truly international phenomenon - the three disc Blu-ray™ plus bonus DVD set has an SRP of $49.99 and an SRP $44.98 for the four disc DVD. Battle Royale will also be released separately on Blu-ray™ for an SRP of $29.99 and DVD for an SRP of $24.98. Pre-Book on both is February 22. Battle Royale will be available digitally via select outlets including iTunes® and Xbox LIVE®.To read more or comment...
The official word: One of television’s most popular shows is re-imagined from one of Hollywood’s most visionary directors in the chilling two-part special CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Grave Danger, arrives as a
Blu-ray Disc/DVD combo pack February 7 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution.
Acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino brings his edgy style to the celebrated series for its two-part season five finale, garnering an Emmy nomination for his direction. Grave Danger was one of the highest-rated CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episodes ever, capturing over 30 million viewers.To read more or comment...
The official word: To celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will once again open its doors to the public free of charge on Monday, January 16 in a celebration of community spirit and civic pride. This marks the 11th straight year that the Museum offers FREE admission to the public. The Rock Hall’s Community Festivals are sponsored by KeyBank.
The festival will feature an array of musical talent throughout the day on the Museum’s Main Stage, beginning with performances at 11 a.m. by the Antioch Spiritual Arts Choir, followed by Cleveland poets Nina Borsay and the Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word, vocalists Londyn and Indianapolis’ Whitney Coleman, and headlined by Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter, Ledisi. The event will be emceed by Jason Walker of Terry Macklin Entertainment.To read more or comment...
If you happen to watch WEWS's new Saturday-morning newscast (which premieres at 6 a.m. tomorrow), you may catch a segment with me talking -- in less than 80 seconds -- about three recent books. One is the Pauline Kael biography I have posted about below; the others are Diane Keaton's memoir and the massive, two-volume collected lyrics of Stephen Sondheim (with illustrations and commentary). I want to say more about those two books but time and energy have been in short supply of late. But I expect to get to them soonish. And there's a Keaton anecdote involving Dana Delany that I think goes to the heart of the book in some ways.
I am also working on a post about two current movies, "The Descendants" and "We Bought a Zoo," which may sound like an odd pairing until you consider that: both involve men who have lost or about to lose their wives, who have two children, the older of which is deeply troubled, and who are awkwardly trying to understand what the rest of their lives may be like. Both movies have some merit, but "The Descendants" is far the superior -- subtler, more rich in its characters, more willing to see life in very complicated terms. I will try to explain in more detail later.To read more or comment...
With Mark Nolan departing the station (reportedly by his choice), here's the official word on how the early telecast will look now:
Chris Tye, current anchor of the Channel 3 News @ 7pm, will be shifting gears and changing the setting on his alarm clock. Chris has been named co-anchor of Channel 3 News Today, WKYC’s early morning newscast.To read more or comment...
I'm particularly interested in what the maker of "Broadcast News" has to say about "Network."
The official word: James L. Brooks – whose brilliant career includes three Oscars® for writing, directing and producing the Best Picture winner Terms of Endearment (1983) and an unprecedented 20 Emmys® for such series as The Simpsons, Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show – will appear on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Tuesday, Jan. 10, as the network's Guest Programmer for the month.
Brooks will join TCM host Robert Osborne introduce four films, including the nostalgic comedy My Favorite Year (1982), which allows Brooks to reflect on his own early years in television. As an added bonus, Brooks will also introduce a 1953 sketch from the legendary variety series Your Show of Shows, which served as the basis for the fictional show in My Favorite Year.To read more or comment...
The official word: Donald Trump, executive producer and star of “Celebrity Apprentice,” announced today the newest and largest-ever lineup of famous faces appearing on the fifth installment of the series, premiering Sunday, February 12 at 9pm EST/PST on NBC.
The men are: late-night legend Arsenio Hall, pop star Clay Aiken, radio host Adam Carolla, the “Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno, magician/comedian Penn Jillette, rock star Dee Snider, actor George Takei, IndyCar legend Michael Andretti, and star of “American Chopper,” Paul Teutul, Sr.To read more or comment...
The ABC attempt at comedy premieres tonight. Here's my review from Sunday's Beacon Journal:
Drag comedy has a long American tradition, some of it inspired by other countries: "Some Like It Hot." Abbott and Costello’s "Here Come the Co-Eds." "The Birdcage." "Victor/Victoria." "Just One of the Guys." "Juwanna Man." "The Ugliest Girl in Town." "Bosom Buddies."To read more or comment...
The official word: A wealthy Wall Street swindler gets his just desserts at the hands of the employees he stiffed in the year’s most uproarious action comedy, Tower Heist, coming to Blu-ray™ Combo-Pack with UltraVioletTM, as well as DVD, Digital Download and On Demand February 21, 2012 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star comedy cast in this hilarious tale of sweet, sweet revenge. The film’s stellar ensemble cast includes Casey Affleck (Ocean’s Eleven trilogy), Alan Alda (The Aviator), Matthew Broderick (The Producers), Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Law and Order”), Judd Hirsch (A Beautiful Mind) Téa Leoni (Fun with Dick and Jane), Michael Peña (Battle: Los Angeles) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). The film is produced by Academy Award winning-producer Brian Grazer (8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster). The Tower Heist Blu-ray™ Combo Pack delivers the film in perfect hi-def picture and perfect hi-def sound and features over an hour of bonus features including two alternate endings, deleted scenes, a gag reel and exclusive behind-the-scenes features on the making of the film.
Included in the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack is an all-new UltraViolet™ copy of the film. UltraViolet™ is the revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, put them in the cloud and stream instantly to computers, tablets and smart phones and soon, consumers can download to devices of their choice too. The Tower Heist Combo Pack also includes a DVD and Digital Copy of the film which is compatible with iTunes, iPad, iPhone, iPod™ touch, Android or other retail partners. So now, consumers can truly enjoy their movies and TV shows anytime, anywhere, on the platform of their choice! The Blu-ray™ also includes Universal's Second Screen—a technology that enhances the viewing experience by allowing viewers to simultaneously control and interact with the film and bonus material on a WiFi-connected tablet or computer as the movie plays on the television screen. The new Flick View Feature will allow fans to interact even more with the movie and be able to move content from their tablet to their TV screen.To read more or comment...
The official word: One of the most successful films of 2011, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, will be released as a Two-Disc Special Edition DVD and a Special Edition Blu-ray on Saturday, February 11, 2012. This weekend street date allows retailers to host Friday night pre-release parties for eager fans willing to count down to midnight to purchase their copies. Participating stores will be listed at www.breakingdawn-themovie.com.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is being released more than a month earlier than previous Twilight Saga DVDs to give fans a Valentine’s Day with Edward and Jacob. “We thought the fans would love to spend Valentine’s Day watching Bella & Edward’s wedding and honeymoon. It’s really the most romantic of all the Saga films,” said T.J. Moffett, Summit’s EVP of Home Entertainment Marketing. . . .To read more or comment...
Be ready for some rambling.
In Brian Kellow's biography of the influential film critic Pauline Kael, one moment finds Kael aruging about the function of a critic with artist Al Hirschfeld during dinner with director Sidney Lumet. When Hirschfeld demanded Kael's description of what a critic should do, she pointed at Lumet and said, "My job is to show him which way to go."To read more or comment...
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