Saturday, December 08, 2018

Praise for Willem Dafoe

It’s time to praise Willem Dafoe
for his work as Vincent Van Gogh.
Watching At Eternity’s Gate,
we see painting as Vincent’s fate.

Lush with color and shapes unique,
such artistry for one to seek!
His brother and Gauguin knew this,
while others the big prize did miss.

So painting for eternity
became Vincent’s true destiny.
His sunflowers and starry skies
now please most everybody’s eyes.

A film like this may move too slow.
And yet for me it seems to glow.
Scenes touch something down deep inside,
seeing how Vincent lived and died.

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Saturday, December 01, 2018

Christmas and Love Songs Medley

Love is all around during the holiday season. That’s why Movie Addict Headquarters is presenting a special medley of songs about Christmas and Love on Tuesday, December 4. During this fifteen-minute episode, listeners are encouraged to sing along with such performers as Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Lucie Arnaz, Alice Faye and Dave Barnes. 

Each song represents the season or an oldie-but-goodie film, including MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE BAND WAGON, HELLO FRISCO HELLO, and MARY POPPINS. 

Among the songs scheduled are: 

All I Want for Christmas Is You  
You and the Night and the Music 
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 
You’ll Never Know  
Here Comes Santa Claus 

4 p.m. Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio. An archived segment will be available after the live show.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sarandon Loves To Play Mothers

Susan Sarandon, the star of Viper Club, has played all kinds of mothers – good ones, bad ones, outrageous ones – starting way back in 1978 in the role of a prostitute with a beautiful young daughter (Brooke Shields) in Pretty Baby. As I mention in my book Susan Sarandon: A True Maverick, Sarandon believes that mothers in the movies have always been played like there’s only one kind of mother. “I’m striving to make these roles more than just ‘mothers’ – but also real women,” she explains.

And she’s accomplished this goal in such films as King of the Gypsies, Little Women, Lorenzo’s Oil, Safe Passage, Moonlight Mile, Anywhere But Here, Igby Goes Down, Stepmom, The Meddler, and The Last of Robin Hood.

Sarandon’s impressive Viper Club performance as a dedicated ER nurse whose son is missing ends up being another notch on her way to becoming the “mother of all film moms.”  We get to see this Oscar-winning actress (Dead Man Walking) at the top of her game here in one of the most dramatic roles of her career. Because of Sarandon’s believability, we empathize with her character and want desperately to see son Andy (Julian Morris), who is held hostage in Syria, returned safely. We feel her frustration as she tries to deal with government officials who put her off with comments like “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” and “Your son knew the dangers involved.” And we can’t help wondering about the private group she finally gets involved with.              

Sarandon in scene after scene,
so fans will think this film is keen.
She plays a mom with kidnapped son.
Can she find help from anyone?

Emotions very hard to bare,
Sarandon shows with depth and care.
Viper Club tells a tale of woe.
So steel your nerves before you go.

(Released by Roadside Attractions and rated “R” by MPAA.)

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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Orson Welles and His Last Film

If you are a fan of the great Orson Welles and are curious about his last film, The Other Side of the Wind, please don’t miss director Morgan Neville’s revealing documentary, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead. Although the title comes from a Welles quote he denies saying, it’s still an appropriate title for this unusual film. It reminds me of another relevant quote by Welles -- “Nobody who takes on anything big and tough can afford to be modest.”

Neville’s documentary deals with the last fifteen years of Welles’ life, which were devoted to making a movie about an aging director trying to complete his last great film (art imitating life?). The always wonderful Alan Cumming serves as narrator, and clips of scenes from The Other Side of the Wind are shown as well as comments from people connected with the film who are still around, including co-writer Oja Kador and acclaimed filmmakers Peter Bogdanovich and Henry Jaglom.               

Orson Welles, we won’t forget you.
This documentary seems true.
Your last film’s ups and downs we see.
Unfinished by you. A mystery.

Lots of toil as the years went by,
but funding problems might be why.
Or to keep filming was your goal
because it formed part of your soul.

Starting at top, then going down.
Hollywood is a ruthless town.
Times a-changing, perhaps too fast.
Will films of yours be ones to last?
Fortunately, Netflix is also releasing at the same time a restored version of footage from Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind, which makes a fascinating double feature for cinema buffs everywhere. John Huston looks magnificent in the lead role of Jake Hannaford, while Bogdanovich manages to hold his own as a rising young filmmaker and friend who learns about betrayal. (It’s interesting to note that comic/impressionist Rich Little was Welles’ first choice for that part.) Also, the documentary indicates that Welles thought about portraying Jake himself. What a treat that would have been!

As a confirmed movie addict, I really enjoyed this documentary. It shows filmmaker Welles with warts and all. And it reinforces my belief that he loved making movies more than anything else. Below are two of my favorite quotes by Orson Welles to prove my case.            

A movie in production is the best electric train set a boy could ever have.

The cinema has no boundary; it is a ribbon of dreams.

(Released by Netflix; not rated by MPAA.)

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Star Is Born Film Poem

Although I haven’t seen the new A STAR IS BORN yet, I’ve read most of the reviews and watched music video clips from the film. No wonder the poem below came to me a few nights ago.

The Melody Lingers On

A film of love and of despair.
Gaga and Cooper – what a pair!

This classic romance spellbinds us.
It’s raw, heartfelt and delicious.

One star rises while other falls.
Too hard fighting those demon calls.

A star is born and music too
with brand new tunes that ring so true.

Lingering on each melody.
Oscar worthy? Absolutely.


Monday, October 08, 2018

Annette Bening's Big Evening

Hooray for four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening! At a sold-out fundraiser in San Diego on September 20, she raised $200,000 to help needy students attending San Diego Community College institutions. The event was called “An Evening with Annette Bening.” During this important gala, Annette delivered an inspirational speech about how her experience at San Diego Mesa College helped her achieve her acting goals, especially the Drama Department.

The fundraiser was organized to support a program called San Diego Promise. It pays for books and tuition for first-time full-time students who are “financially struggling.” The district now has an Annette Bening Promise Scholarship that will be given annually on each campus.

Annette’s parents, Grant and Shirley Bening, were in attendance. “It was fun to hear the students who have benefited from the program, as well as dignitaries who spoke,” Mrs. Bening said. “Annette did a good job in her speech," she added. 

Since the event was called "An Evening with Annette Bening,” how could the Benings not be proud parents?

I’m sure Mesa College is also proud of this successful alumna as well as grateful to her for heading up the San Diego Promise project.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Timeless Sisterhood

Universal truths are as important today as they were back in the 1800s. That’s why Louisa May Alcott’s family-oriented classic novel Little Women has maintained its wide appeal for 150 years. This endearing story has been filmed many times before. But this new Little Women, directed and co-written (with Kristi Shimek) by Claire Niederpruem, is a modern retelling for a new generation.

Although I have enjoyed all the previous movie versions -- partially because the old-fashioned costumes and sets take me back in time -- I realize the most important element is the story of the March sisters. Happily, filmmaker Niederpruem has brought them into the 21st century, and I'm happy to report they are still as fascinating as ever!.             

Little Women brings laughs and tears.
A tale of old that’s switched its gears.
The time is now – not in the past.
Four sisters modernized at last.

But Jo is still the forceful one.
Writing’s her life, not just for fun.
Meg, the beauty. Beth, the dreamer.
Youngest Amy, once a schemer.

And Marmee, a dear mom again.
The gang’s all here. Another win.
No period costumes to see.
But look for new technology.

Time means nothing for sisterhood.
No matter when, it’s always good!
This movie helps us understand
why sisterhood is something grand.

(Released by Pinnacle Peak Productions/Pure Fix Entertainment and rated “PG-13” by MPAA.)            

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