September 28, 2008

PAUL NEWMAN 1925 - 2008

The passing of Paul Newman is sad but not unexpected. He had been ill for quite some time and was reported to have returned to his home in Connecticut some months ago in preparation for his passing away after a battle with cancer at age 83.

I first "met" Newman in 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Then again in The Sting (1973) followed by The Towering Inferno (1974). I went on to discover other great films and performances on video & dvd, including Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Winning (1969).

To a younger generation he will be remembered for his charitable work; Hole in the Wall Camps, his salad dressing; Newman's Own Brands, auto racing; Newman/Hass Racing and his voice work in Pixar's Cars (2006).

Hole in the Wall Camps

September 23, 2008


Nerds! My lovely wife Lisa kicked my butt in our annual Emmy picks competition. With a score of 15 to 12, Lisa gets bragging rights and does the "I Beat You" dance to the embarrassment of the Academy.

That's OK honey, I'll see you at the Oscars.

September 22, 2008


BRYAN CRANSTON?!?! Seriously? Well, I didn't see that coming.
Alec Baldwin beating out Steve Carell? Yeah, I can understand that. "30 Rock" is hilarious and Baldwin & Fey are a great comedy duo.

But no way I thought that Jon Hamm would lose to AMC mate Cranston. I watched "Breaking Bad" and think it's a really good show, but "Mad Men" is certainly a superior production and Jon Hamm's performance as Don Draper is intense, complex, moody and sometimes scary.

But, congratulations to Cranston just the same. He had been passed over three times before ("Malcolm in the Middle"), so it's good to see him finally recognized.

Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad

September 21, 2008


Before the festivities begin I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring with my some of my own Emmy picks...

Lead Actor in a Comedy: Steve Carell
Lead Actor in a Drama: Jon Hamm
Lead Actor in a Miniseries: Paul Giamatti

Lead Actress in a Comedy: America Ferrera
Lead Actress in a Drama: Glenn Close
Lead Actress in a Miniseries: Laura Linney

Outstanding Host for a Reality Program: Jeff Probst

Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock
Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men
Outstanding Miniseries: John Adams

Outstanding Reality Program: Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program: The Amazing Race

Ok, that's it, check the results at the official Primetime Emmy Awards site.

September 12, 2008

PRIMEVAL: BBC Guilty Pleasure

Doctor Who, Torchwood, Life on Mars – The BBC knows how to serve up the sci-fi fantasy, time travel series and make it witty, campy and good fun. So it’s no surprise that this latest offering from BBC America (on Saturday nights at 9, Eastern) is another good diversion from across the pond.

Primeval was created by Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines, who created the Walking with Dinosaurs series. It follows a team of five scientists investigating the appearance of temporal anomalies across England that release prehistoric and futuristic creatures, into the present.

As with a lot of sci-fi fare the writing is sometimes middling, certainly not as good as LOST but a lot better than Land of the Lost. The acting for the most part is good, especially considering the amount of green screen work they have to do. The cast is filled with the usual sexy Gaelic cross section of England, and the accents add to the cool factor for us Yanks. And with the Time twisty plotlines, shocking reveals and plenty of monster-of-the-week action, I’ll keep watching and not feel the least bit guilty.

Currently Series One is airing, with Series Two to air later this year. The show is good enough to have garnered a third season order. Series One & Two will be available on DVD soon.

Primeval Official

September 8, 2008


Yes J.J., I accept the cup and drink the fanboy Kool-Aid. Never got into "Felicity" but I jumped feet first into "Alias". Couldn't back "What About Brian", but "LOST"? Oh, yeah, that show is just ridiculous! "Cloverfield"? You need only read my review (click here). "MI3", yup I thought it was great and made me think they should have come to you to re-launch the TV franchise. And a little thing called "Star Trek"? C'mon, you cast Simon Pegg as Scotty and in a stroke of genius you nabbed Zachary Quinto for the role of Spock. Talk about separated at birth, that guy was born for the part.
And now as you continue your dominance of broadcast television you bring us "Fringe", a return to the spooky, scary, sci-fi meets CSI world of shows like "The X-files" and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".

Having read interviews with Abrams and his producing/writing partners Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman I'm very excited to have yet another show to clog the DVR this fall. Also comforting is the positive buzz surrounding the show, and advance praise from those that have seen the pilot episode.

So far Abram's sci-fi actioners have been hits for ABC (LOST & Alias), but what about FOX? They have a pretty crappy track record when it comes to shows that fans and critics love but don't perform to their expectations right out of the gate or continue to meet their un-realistic expectations. Remember "Firefly", "Wonderfalls" or "Arrested Development"?

So while I am loath to fully embrace the latest and greatest from Abrams just to have the rug yanked from under me half way through the season, I will say pass the pitcher please.

FRINGE: Official
FRINGE: Fan Site
FRINGE: Reviews

September 5, 2008

"GHOSTBUSTERS III": yeah, but will it be funny?

Who ya gonna call? Apparently the original Ghostbusters that's who. As reported yesterday, Sony Studios is working on a new movie to feature the original cast.

I want to believe that getting the band back together is a good idea, but I have my doubts. Have fans been clamoring for a reunion tour? Does Bill Murray need the paycheck? Is the studio in financial difficulty and willing to cling to any life raft?
I'm going out a limb here and saying no to all of the above.

The Hollywood Reporter
Ghostbuster Fans

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

September 3, 2008

BILL MELENDEZ: Peanuts Animator, dead at 91

Yet more sad news in the entertainment world, Bill Melendez, long time Peanuts animator has died.

Melendez, the only animator permitted by Charles M. Schulz to work with the Peanuts characters, earned eight Emmy Awards, 17 Emmy nominations, one Oscar nomination and two Peabody Awards. He began his career at Disney and Warner Bros., working on classic characters at those studios, and spent more than 70 years in the entertainment industry.

The Hollywood Reporter
Bill Melendez Productions

September 2, 2008

"In A World..." DON LaFONTAINE: dead at 68

Don LaFontaine, the voice of the movie trailer died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from complications in the treatment of an ongoing illness.

What a loss to the entertainment world. Don's signature voice has accompanied some of the greatest films in history. He began his career in the early sixties and was still working today.

Don LaFontaine .Com
The Hollywood Reporter Article