Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner, RIP

I feel sad about the recent passing of actor James Garner. He was so watchable on the big or small screen! Although Garner delivered my favorite performance in Murphy's Romance, many other movies come to mind in which he excelled -- The Notebook, Maverick, My Fellow Americans, The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily, Victor/Victoria -- and the list goes on. His TV work always impressed me, but The Rockford Files belongs in a class by itself. I could watch all of those episodes over and over again. And I have!

It's no wonder Garner became so popular and received acclaim for his excellent understated portrayals. Below are some of the honors he received.

An Oscar nomination for Murphy's Romance.

Three Golden Globe Awards (Most Promising Newcomer in 1958, Decoration Day in 1991, Barbarians at the Gate in 1994)

Two Emmys (Rockford Files, Promise)

Garner appeared in many different types of films. But when asked if he would ever do a nude scene, he replied, "I don't do horror movies."

We will miss this talented, likable actor. My deepest condolences to his fans, friends and family. 

Thank you, James Garner, for the many hours of pleasure you have given us at the movies!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Congratulations, Cloris Leachman!

What a great time I had this Tuesday at the Movie Addict Headquarters SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY PARTY on BlogTalkRadio! We played clips of famous guests, talked about favorite shows, and announced a book-giveaway drawing.  Joining the festivities were: Mad Movie Man A.J. Hakari, Mr. Show Biz George Bettinger, film historian James Colt Harrison and Classic Film Guide founder Diana Saenger. The Top Ten episodes during the last twelve months were revealed as well as the guest with the most listeners during the past seven years -- who just happens to be the one and only Cloris Leachman (with almost one million listeners!).

The four film-related books below are being given away during our ANNIVERSARY random drawing that closes on August 1, 2014. (Instructions for entering the drawing are covered toward the end of the episode.)

Me and Orson Welles by Robert Kaplow
Hollywood or Bust by Susan Marg
Confessions of a Movie Addict by Betty Jo Tucker
It Had To Be Us by Harry & Elizabeth Lawrence

It was a fun -- and suspenseful -- party, so be sure to listen to the archived segment by clicking on this link:

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Cagney at His Best

Every year when the Fourth of July draws near, I can’t help thinking about James Cagney’s splendid portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. To me,  Cagney was never better. Perhaps I’m biased because Yankee Doodle Dandy ranks as such an outstanding musical, and that’s my favorite movie genre. Or maybe because my great uncle Charley Brown substituted for George M. Cohan in roadshow productions of his famous musicals.

Still, even though Cagney earned numerous honors for his on-screen work in gangster roles, it was his brilliant performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy that earned him a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar. Because I’m such an avid movie musical fan, my other favorite Cagney films are Footlight Parade and The Seven Little Foys, which also required him to sing and/or dance. And what wonderful and unique dancing he did!  It’s interesting to note that Cagney started out in show biz as a dancer. No wonder Yankee Doodle Dandy was his favorite film.  

Here’s hoping Turner Classic Movies airs this terrific patriotic movie on July 4th again this year!   

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cat Scratch Tickles the Funny Bone

Cat Scratch, a short comedy thriller, offers 16 minutes of pure fun. Expertly lensed, edited and directed by Christian de Rezendes (Memories for Sale), this little gem of a film still has me chuckling days after watching it. In fact, it’s difficult to write a review because I keep stopping to laugh as I remember how completely paranoid the main character becomes after being scratched by a neighbor’s cat. 

You can watch this very funny short film free on YouTube. Just click on the link below.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Golfing Dads and Sons

Win or lose --

You can’t choose.

Golf’s a game

made for shame.

When putts fail,

never wail.

Just have fun

in the sun.

Play away.

It’s your day!


(For Larry, Kelly and Sam Tucker -- three generations playing together in our local Father/Son Golf Tournament today.)   

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Sunday, June 01, 2014

Ode to Disney's Maleficent

A fairy needs wings.
Without them, she stings.
A fairy needs trust.
Betray her, she’ll bust.

Revenge will ensue.
A curse she will do.
But love comes along.
So can she be wrong?

And if that be true,
how can she undo
her curse so unfair
on someone so fair?  

Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the wicked fairy from “Sleeping Beauty,” deals with such serious themes as betrayal, revenge, love, and redemption. But the most impressive thing about this wonderful film involves its creative presentation. Practically every scene comes across like an intriguing work of art. That shouldn’t have surprised me, for Robert Stromberg makes his directorial debut here – and he already has two Oscars for art direction -- one for Alice in Wonderland (starring Johnny Depp) and the other for Avatar. Clearly, the visual appeal of the movie was uppermost in Stromberg’s mind. I admire this approach, because one of the elements I look for while watching a film is cinematic artistry, and Maleficent passes this test with flying colors. I also look for outstanding performances and a compelling story. Happily, Maleficent receives high marks from me in both areas 

Read the entire review at ReelTalk Movie Reviews. 

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Student Film Festival in San Diego

Wish I could be in San Diego for a special Student Film Festival on June 8! This festival will feature projects by International Baccalaureate Film Studies students from San Diego High School of International Studies. I understand there are a wide variety of short films this year, ranging from mockumentary to experimental. IB Film Studies is a two-year course sequence that explores film history, theory, and production.

If you live in San Diego and love film, please take part in this opportunity to celebrate the students’ work. The festival takes place at the Ken Cinema from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 8. Admission is free!

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