Category Archives: film

So the world’s culture changes… not necessarily for the better…

Is our view of social interaction unusually influenced by television crime drama? You Betcha!

For instance:

Dorothy, Dorothy! And what are you doing with your attack dog Toto?

Hey, did you see that they auctioned off the gingham dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie for $480,000.00?

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Busy weekend for me.

This is a busy weekend as Elly and her Sustainable Shepherdstown group are

The Goddess of House Cleaning

having a pot luck supper at our house and we have to do a lot of cleaning today and tomorrow morning. This morning I was up early and cleaned the first floor bathroom. After my radio show I’ve been assigned to the living room… much better than the kitchen!

Tonight we have a movie preceded by a dinner with an old friend of ours who is coming into town because she ha a daughter at Shepherd. So we have a weekend that is really filled up and I’m still getting over my recent health problems which I’m likely to be doing for the next couple of months. Ain’t life great.

 

 

Football Player and Film Star Alex Karras Dead at 77…

Former football great Alex Karras, died yesterday at age 77 after battling kidney failure, cancer and dementia. He was able to successfully transition from a career as a pro athelete to a successful career as an actor and Hollywood personality.

He appeared in a series of guest shots on such series as “Daniel Boone” and “Love, American Style,” but it was when his appearance as the lumbering bad guy Mongo in Mel Brooks‘ “Blazing Saddles” that his star really took off.

He capitalized on his engaging personality with a run as a panelist on “Match Game ’75,” which was memorable for his run-in with Transylvanian female wrestler Lola Kiss.

 

Do you go to a Regal Cinema in your community? Are you a woman?

 

Jim Hightower just wrote a very interesting column – “The Price of Admission”.

DaysofThunder46/Flickr

Here’s the beginning:

Gosh, I feel so much safer now that teenage ticket takers at the Regal chain of movie theaters have been directed by corporate chieftains to search the purses of their female customers.

Responding to that horrible mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, the Regalites say they’ve begun rummaging through movie-goers’ purses to protect us from…well, from what?

The Dark Knight Rises shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn’t fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he? Yet, Regal’s rummaging is apparently reserved for women, even though practically all mass shootings have been committed by male specimens of our species.

Read the whole column HERE. And thanks to Hightower for making this absurdity visible to us all.

 

 

Character Actor Herbert Lom (one of my favorites) dies at 95…

 

Anyone who has ever seen any of “The Pink Panther” films or “Spartacus” or “The Lady Killers” has seen the wonderful work of Herbert Lom. The Czech-born character actor died Thursday at his home in London at the age of 95. Lom is perhaps best known for his appearances in Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” series as the perennially agitated boss of Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau. But he moved between dramaand comedy with ease.

Lom appeared in more than 100 films, playing a wide variety of roles that covered horror, historical dramas and comedies. He appeared with Sellers in 1955’s “The Ladykillers” ahead of their work together on the “Pink Panther” films. He also did Television character parts in shows like Hawaii Five-0, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Detectives, among others.

Lom also wrote two novels, “Enter a Spy:  The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe” and “Dr. Guillotin: The Eccentric Exploits of an Early Scientist.”

 

Tomorrow night is the Emmys… here are the shows that are nominated:

64th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO • HBO Entertainment
Girls • HBO • Apatow Productions and I am Jenni Konner Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Modern Family • ABC • Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Television
Veep • HBO • Dundee Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire • HBO • Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Downton Abbey • PBS • A Carnival / Masterpiece Co-Production
Game Of Thrones • HBO • Bighead, Littlehead, Generator Productions,
Homeland • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21
Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story • FX Networks • Twentieth Century Fox Television
Game Change • HBO • Playtone and Everyman Pictures in association with HBO Films
Hatfields & McCoys • HISTORY • Thinkfactory Media in association with History
Hemingway & Gellhorn • HBO • Attaboy Films and A Walrus & Associates in
Luther • BBC America • A BBC and BBC America Co-Production
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece) • PBS • Hartswood West for

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central • Central Productions, LLC
Jimmy Kimmel Live • ABC • ABC Studios in association with Jackhole Industries, Inc
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon • NBC • Universal Television and Broadway Video
Real Time With Bill Maher • HBO • Bill Maher Productions and Brad Grey Television in association with HBO
Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video

Outstanding Variety Special
Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America’s Golden Girl • NBC • Brad Lachman Productions and Universal    Television
Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker • Bravo • Rickmill Productions
Mel Brooks And Dick Cavett Together Again • HBO • Brooksfilms in association with HBO Entertainment
Tony Bennett: Duets II (Great Performances) • PBS • A Production of RPM TV Productions, Inc.

Outstanding Special Class Programs
84th Annual Academy Awards • ABC • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards • NBC • Dick Clark Productions, Inc.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards • CBS • AEG Ehrlich Ventures, LLC and John Cossette Productions, Inc.
Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin (Great Performances) • PBS
Louis C.K. Live At The Beacon Theatre • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc.
65th Annual Tony Awards • CBS • White Cherry Entertainment in association with Tony Award Productions

Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs
Childrens Hospital • Cartoon Network • The Corddry Company, Abominable Pictures and Studio 2.0
The Daily Show Correspondents Explain • thedailyshow.com • Comedy Central Digital Media
Parks And Recreation: April And Andy’s Road Trip • nbc.com • NBC.com | Universal Television
30 Rock: The Webisodes • nbc.com • NBC.com | Universal Television
Web Therapy • lstudio.com • An Is or Isn’t Entertainment production in association with Intelligent Life Productions
The Colbert Report • Episode 7121A • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Episode 17087 • Comedy Central • Central Productions, LLC
Late Show With David Letterman • Episode 3602 • CBS • Worldwide Pants Incorporated
Portlandia • One Moore Episode • IFC • Broadway Video in association with IFC
Saturday Night Live • Host: Mick Jagger • NBC • SNL Studios in association with Universal Television

Mitt Romney out of context…

President Obama’s campaign released a new video made up entirely out-of-context clips of Mitt Romney, intended to show how the Romney campaign’s attack on Obama’s 14 year old “redistribution” comment was unfair. The Romneyites have been releasing Obama’s old statements without including the complete context, thus making him criticizable. If the same thing is done to Romney, the results change the Republican’s entire campaign.

Here’s the video:

The Christmas Present I Am Looking Forward To…

Les Misérables (musical)Les Misérables“, the movie, opens in the US on December 25th. I can’t wait. I’ve been playing the Broadway Cast album over and over… love the music.

And, from the 25th Anniversary TV special, here are four different Jean Valjeans singing “Bring Him Home“. The first soloist, Colm Wilkinson — the original Jean Valjean — will be playing the Bishop of Digne in the Les Misérables movie. Truly magnificent!

 

Colm Wilkinson is worth the whole gig!

Waking up to horrible news from Libya and Egypt…

There are two upsetting I got from the news when I turned it on at 6:00 AM and which has made this the start of a very bad day.

1. Attacks at the US Embassies  by Islamic terrorists in Egypt and Libya. Our Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens  was killed with three other Americans, at least one was a diplomat. The Egyptian Embassy was breached, the American flag was taken and destroyed and replaced with an Islamic flag.

The provocation for these attacks was apparently an internet post of an amateur video satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. It seems that the Islamic press claimed this as a major Hollywood film done as revenge against Islamists for 9/11.

2. Although the two Presidential campaigns had come to an agreement that there would be no attacking each other on 9/11, Mitt Romney blasted the President and his administration for being “sympathetic” to the embassy attackers – calling Obama’s response to the incidents “disgraceful”. He did this at 10 PM last night defying the agreement between his and Obama’s campaigns.

“Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”              

 -  Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus

Obama waited to respond until after midnight when the day of remembrance was over. He announced his consolation to the families of the victims and his outrage at the incidents. Then he made everyone aware of his aggravation with Romney’s statement.

“We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”

- Obama’s campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt

I would have to agree that I think Romney’s remarks were both unfortunate and representative of his unknowledgable command of foreign policy. That he showed lack of support for his country and its administration at a time of National crisis and at a time in which he had pledged to remain in non-attack mode in his campaign, would make Romney less than reliable as a President.

Actor Michael Clark Duncan dead at age 54.

 

Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, and David Morse in “The Green Mile.”

Michael Clarke Duncan, the tall and massively built actor with the shaved head and deep voice who received an Academy Award nomination for his moving portrayal of a gentle death row inmate in the 1999 prison drama “The Green Mile,” died today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He had suffered a heart attack in July and did not recover.

Duncan began his Hollywood employment history as a celebrity bodyguard in the mid-1990s. He received his first big acting break playing a member of the drilling team sent into space to blow up an asteroid heading to Earth in the big-budget 1998 movie “Armageddon,” starring Bruce Willis.

But it was “The Green Mile,” starring Tom Hanks as a death row prison guard in a Louisiana penitentiary during the Depression, that thrust the 6-foot-5, 300-plus-pound Duncan into the limelight. He portrayed John Coffey, a gentle giant with supernatural powers who has been sentenced to death for the murder of two young white girls.

Duncan credited acting coach Larry Moss with teaching him “how to dig within myself” for the heavily emotional crying scenes in the movie.

“I’m an emotional person, a very emotional person,” Duncan told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. “All those tears you see in the movie were mine.”

In 2002, two years after the Academy Awards ceremony, Duncan told the Orange County Register:

“Realistically, I didn’t think I would win the Oscar, but the nomination was a personal validation for me. It proved to me that I was a good actor. More important, it showed other people that I was a serious actor.”

Duncan later appeared in films such as “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000), “Planet of the Apes” (2001), “The Scorpion King” (2002) and “The Island” (2005). He also did voice work in films and television, including “Brother Bear” (2003) and “Kung Fu Panda” (2008).

(source:the LA Times)

 

Character Actor Steve Franken Dies at 80…

Steve Franken, 80, a veteran character actor whose long career included playing the spoiled young millionaire Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on the popular situation comedy “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” in the early 1960s, has died. He was 80. Franken died last Friday in Canoga Park, CA.

Franken appeared in scores of TV shows and movies over a 50 year career. These included “The Party,” “The Americanization of Emily,” “The Missouri Breaks” and the Jerry Lewis comedies “Which Way to the Front?” and “Hardly Working.”

For many TV fans, especially old guys like me,  Franken is best remembered as Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” The series, which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963, starred Dwayne Hickman in the title role of the girl-crazy grocer’s son, whose beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs, was played by Bob Denver. Franken joined the series in 1960, replacing the young actor who had played Milton Armitage, the show’s original rich kid: Warren Beatty.

When Hickman appeared at an autograph show with Franken a few years ago, he said:

“Steve told me people were still coming up to him on the street asking for his autograph and calling him Chatsworth.”

Franken, however was a serious actor who worked up to this past year.

Here is Franken playing the drunken waiter in the Peter Sellers comedy, “The Party,” from 1968:

What if the Republicans were a TV series?

:)

A great loss to my memories of Children’s Theatre in NYC – Remy Charlip dies at 83…

 

Abraham Remy Charlip  was an American artist, writer, choreographer, theatre director, designer and teacher.

In the 1960s Charlip created a unique form of choreography, which he called “air mail dances”. He would send a set of drawings to a dance company, and the dancers would then order the positions and create transitions and context.

He performed with John Cage, he was a founder member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for which he also designed sets and costumes, he directed plays for the Judson Poet’s Theater.

I remember him most as a co founder of the Paper Bag Players, one of the most important children’s theatres in the world.  He served as head of the Children’s Theater and Literature Department at Sarah Lawrence College,  was a winner of two Village Voice Obie Awards, three New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year citations, and was awarded a six-month residency in Kyoto from the Japan/U.S. Commission on the Arts. He wrote and/or illustrated 29 children’s books.

Charlip was the model for illustrations of Georges Méliès in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret ( if you saw the wonderful movie “Hugo” you know this story), written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.

Great artist. Great loss. Fortunately he left so much behind.

 

Muppeteer Jerry Nelson Dead at 78…

 

He was best known as the Count and other characters on Sesame Street.

Nelson, who suffered from emphysema, died Thursday night in his Massachusetts home on Cape Cod, the Sesame Workshop said Friday.

“Every description of his characters describes Jerry as well. Silly, funny, vulnerable, passionate and musical, for sure. That voice of his was superb… We’re having a rough day on the Street.”

“Sesame Street” executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente.

He was the Count and  Sherlock Hemlock and Herry Monster and the Amazing Mumford. My kids grew up with all of them (and I did, too.)

In recent years, Nelson gave up the physically demanding job of operating the Count and other puppets on “Sesame Street” but still voiced the characters.

 

Phyllis Diller dead at 95…

 

Known for her legendary cackle, Diller was a force in the showbiz world who began her career in 1952 and was catapulted to fame in TV specials alongside Bob Hope in the 1960s.

Diller paved the way for generations of female comedians, notably like Joan Rivers and others, who broke down the image of the American housewife.

Born Phyllis Ada Driver on July 17, 1917, in Lima, Ohio, she was the first of a new breed; deconstructing the suburban housewife and drawing in laughs on the subject of child-bearing and her fictional husband, Fang.

Eccentric in her appearance, it was balanced by a self-deprecating tone that endeared her to all she met.

 ‘Her lines were so brilliant that all she had to do was stand on the stage and say ‘em and you would have cracked up.’

- Joan Rivers

Diller died at 95 years old in Los Angeles.

 

Al Freeman, Jr.— actor, director dies at 78.

 

From NPR we have the story of the death of Al Freeman, Jr... go HERE.

 

Mitt’s gaffe of the day…

 

Oops: Romney came out before the rally crowd this morning and introduced “the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan!”

As Ryan entered to rousing cheers, Romney stopped his speech and made a quick correction:

“Every now and then I’m known to make a mistake. He’s going to be the next VICE president of the United States.” 

Then again, maybe Ryan will be the Republican presidential hope if not in name. He does seem to own the party. We will, however, have permanent documentation of Romney’s slip-up, thanks to Think Progress:

 

 

Political humor gets too close to reality…

 

MoveOn.org has put out a new anti-Romney commercial called “Pickpocket” that went out today in swing states.

Funny, yes… but as close to the real potential circumstance as you can get.

 

Geez… another one. Judith Crist, Film Critic, Dies at 90

 

She was one of America’s most widely read film critics for more than three decades and a provocative presence in millions of homes as a regular reviewer on the “Today” show… and she died this morning at her home in Manhattan. She was 90.

She began at The New York Herald Tribune, the first woman to be full-time critic for a major American newspaper; went to New York magazine, where she was the founding film critic; and then TV Guide, which most defined her to American readers.

Crist was considered by many to be the most popular film critic ever… but film directors often had a different opinion:

 “Inviting her to review one of your pictures is like inviting the Boston Strangler to massage your neck.” – Billy Wilder

 

Composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

 

Marvin Hamlisch, who composed the scores for dozens of movies including “The Sting” and won a Tony for “A Chorus Line,” has died in Los Angeles at 68.

The composer won every major award in his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes. He composed more than 40 film scores, including “Sophie’s Choice,” `’Ordinary People” and “Take the Money and Run.” He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin‘s music for “The Sting.” On Broadway, Hamlisch received the Pulitzer Prize for long-running favorite “The Chorus Line” and wrote “The Goodbye Girl” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”

Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness. Other details weren’t being released.

Hamlisch had been scheduled to fly to Nashville, Tennessee, this week to see a production of his hit musical “The Nutty Professor.”

 

It’s this attitude that reminds me of Romney’s inability to ever support his constituency…

Remember this from October 2007?

We should never forget these things when dealing with Willard.

Best part of the Olympics Opening Ceremony: James Bond Escorts The Queen…

It was a pre-recorded skit — directed, of course, by Danny Boyle (the celebrated filmmaker helming the entire ceremony) — Daniel  Craig in character as James Bond arrives Buckingham Palace, where he is taken to the Queen… the actual Queen Elizabeth… and her corgis.  Private rooms within the residence were shown, a testament to the nation’s commitment to making the evening a special one (Boyle pulled off aan awful lot of amazing things in the overall event.)

Take a look at the video and see how Bond gets the Queen to the Olympic stadium:

Great, no?

War on Health

 

I’m happy to present Gary Null‘s documentary: War on Health, The FDA‘s Cult of Tyranny.

If you are worried about organic foods, raw dairy products or other things being available, or if you are afraid of GMOs in your food, this will startle you:

 

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