1858 posts categorized "MOVIES"

Jul 24 2014
AB FAB's 'Dolly,' Dora Bryan, Dies @ 91 Comments (0)

DOra-Bryan

Dora Bryan, best known recently as June Whitfield's dotty friend on Absolutely Fabulous in the '90s, has died at 91. The British actress had a long and fruitful career in radio, TV and film.

 
Jul 23 2014
Oh, Dear Comments (0)

Dear-White-People

I didn't even think Dear White People was a real movie when I saw this hysterically funny trailer...

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Buona Sera, Ms. Grant: Attending Lee Grant's I SAID YES TO EVERYTHING Book Signing Comments (0)

Lee-GrantGrant's story of freezing on a Broadway stage in 1972 was gut-wrenching!

Lee-Grant-bookI spent a nice evening at the 82nd Street Barnes & Noble, attending the booksigning for the memoir I Said Yes to Everything (Blue Rider, $28.95) by Lee Grant (b. October 31, 1925)...though it did have some ups and downs.

First, getting there 20 minutes before the start time, I was nonplused to find the entire seating area filled. The crowd was older, and the event free, which made for an interesting time when it came to the things one overheard:

“Who exactly is this person?”

“She was in everything in the '60s and '70s.”

“How old is she? Eighty-eight? That's a very flattering photo on the cover.”

“What's she going to talk about? A book? What book?”

Joy Behar (b. October 7, 1942) had a ringside seat [later asking a loaded question about Grant's Broadway co-star Peter Falk (September 16, 1927—June 23, 2011)], while the rest of us just stood around like groupies. Grant was there early, off to the side, eyeballing the attendees and excusing herself silently to find a bathroom. It was cute that she looked so pleased by the big crowd.

Lee-Grant-audienceThey said yes to Lee Grant.

Grant was engaged in a conversation by well-known biographer Tom Santopietro, who repeatedly joked about Grant being the star. Grant was very comfortable doing the same, cracking jokes, cursing and openly reflecting about her early career, her experience being blacklisted for a dozen years and her transition to directing mostly documentaries.

Of her experience on the blacklist, she recalled stumbling into it after doing a Broadway play with J. Edward Bromberg (December 25, 1903—December 6, 1951) and many others who'd fled the House Un-American Activities. She was asked how she felt about his death of a heart attack and said she felt he'd been hounded to his death...and that quote wound up in Red Channels.

One highlight was when she reminisced about walking down the aisle to receive her Oscar and thinking it was a big fuck you to the McCarthyites who'd tried to keep her down.

For an 88-year-old woman, she looks and acts far younger, and has not only her wits but also her wit about her.

The questions were—shocker!—really great. These things usually have at least one or two embarrassing queries, but this time, Grant fielded thoughtful questions about stage fright, making diverse projects like her Columbo episode (March 1, 1971) and the '90s gay-themed movie It's My Party (1996) and how she felt when her sitcom Fay (1975) was axed after eight episodes.

Barbara-Cook-Barbara-BarrieCook (L) and Barrie (R) catch up. Barrie was going into The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1972 when Grant was leaving.

After, we lined up. I spotted the fabulous actress Barbara Barrie (b. May 23, 1931) off to the side, chatting, but she gave off a vibe of, “Don't.” So I hesitated. After I saw her sign an autograph and then receive an intro by Grant, who'd begun signing in earnest, I knew I would go for a photo. By pure luck, Barrie was with the legendary singer Barbara Cook (b. October 25, 1927) when I got over to them. I asked politely for a photo with them both. “With? Yes,” Barrie said, implicitly saying no to a posed shot of just the two of them.

Barbara-Cook-Barbara-Barrie-2The room was filled with talented ladies.

“Oh, is it your birthday?” Cook asked, why I had no idea. Turns out she'd misheard something I said, but I didn't want to correct her. Barrie was amazed that Cook had guessed that just from seeing me. I felt guilty taking advantage of birthday positivity, but it was just an oops. The pic is cute.

Barbara-Cook-Barbara-Barrie-Matthew-Rettenmund-starsWith a great singer and a great actress. Hopefully, I'm a...great writer?

When I got up to Grant, I told her it was nice to be able to admire her both as an actress and as a person, because so many major stars are—and then the guy behind me was snapping our photo, so I smiled. “What? So many are what?” Grant wanted to know, ignoring the camera. Click. So that's why the photo is less than ideal. But oh, well, we look engaged in conversation.

Lee-Grant-Matthew-RettenmundAre we deep in conversation about Warren Beatty's sexual prowess?

“Sorry, so many are right-wingers,” I finished. She pooh-poohed that until I clarified, delicately, that I meant so many who were making movies in the '40s and, like she was, the '50s. With that proviso, she agreed.

I was able to get her people/the store's rep to approve my getting a posed shot of Ms. Grant—and I do mean one—posed shot in-between the umpteen fans who were queued up to buy her book.

Lee-Grant-2Ms. Grannnnnt!

It wasn't ideal, photo-wise (though my shots of Grant and of the Barbaras turned out great!), but it was still a thrill to be able to meet an Oscar-winning, one-of-a-kind actress and director whom I truly thought I'd never get to see.

I can't wait to read her book. If you've never seen The Landlord (1970), recommended to me by my pal Gordon not so very long ago, seek it out.

 
Jul 21 2014
Mantiques: Michael Blodgett Comments (0)

ShirtlessFit/to be tied

I wasn't familiar with the late actor/novelist/screenwriter Michael Blodgett (September 26, 1939—November 14, 2007) until some Facebook postings by my buddy Michael Michaud. Blodgett was the gigolo in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) and, as if that didn't earn him his camp card, he was the screenwriter behind Rent-a-Cop (1987) with Liza Minnelli and Burt Reynolds.

Michael-Blodgett

Also of note, Blodgett's last marriage was to Meredith Baxter (b. June 21, 1947), who is now openly gay.

 
Jul 20 2014
James Garner, TV Icon, Dies @ 86 Comments (0)

James-GarnerApril 7, 1928—July 19, 2014

James Garner, famous for his roles on Maverick [1957—1962 + an '80s revival and an appearance in the big-screen Mel Gibson (b. January 3, 1956) version in 1994] and The Rockford Files (1974—1980 + TV movies thereafter)—not to mention as one half of the most beloved TV pitch-couple of all time, with Mariette Hartley (b. June 21, 1940), for Polaroid—has died at 86.

Garner-ShirtlessGarner was at his best playing anti-heroes and men with a sardonic view of life. He was handsome for sure, but always had an ironic smirk about it—he was no mere slab of beefcake. His terrific sense of comedy played against his good looks, making him funnily sexy and sexily funny.

Doris Day (b. April 3, 1924) has frequently cited him as her favorite leading man—they did The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling [the latter being the aborted last film of Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926—August 5, 1962), Something's Got to Give] together in 1963—and indeed, he was one of those actors about whom nothing bad was seemingly ever said.

Garner-DayWith Day at the premiere of The Thrill of It All

James GarnerGarner worked steadily from the '50s through the mid-'00s. Along with his indelible TV characters, he made big impressions in films, especially The Americanization of Emily (1964) with Julie Andrews (b. October 1, 1935), in the comic westerns Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) and Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), as a man in love with a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman (Andrews again) in Victor Victoria (1982) and in his Oscar-nominated role opposite Sally Field (b. November 6, 1946) in 1985's Murphy's Romance. His last noteworthy film role was in The Notebook (2004), and his last big TV role was on 8 Simple Rules (2003—2005).

James Garner-1As the guy who would be nowhere without his answering machine.

Garner had been in failing health and never worked again after suffering a stroke in 2008.

1367943546131273_animateGood-bye to a class act!

 
Jul 19 2014
Need To Know: From Russia With Hate + Not-So-Great Scott + Congrats, Oklahomos! + Clerk-Shaming + Rugby Boner Food + MORE! Comments (0)

MH17England is pretty pissed at Russia, too...

*widget boy culturePro-Russian rebel leader Igor Girkin says MH17 had already-dead bodies on it.

*widget boy culture(When will Pro-Russian rebel leader Igor Girkin become an already-dead body? Soon?)

*widget boy cultureMH17 site handled in an animalistic, callous way.

*widget boy cultureClick here if you love eating out and are a New Yorker.

*widget boy cultureSelena Gomez ready to be a human shield for Palestinian kids.

*widget boy cultureWOW. Just WOW.

*widget boy cultureGov. Rick Scott (R-Florida) is fucking nuts, and against gay marriage.

Madonna-commercial-flightSee news item toward the bottom of this post. I think this belongs in a frame in a museum. P.S. Looks good!

*widget boy cultureOklahoma's same-sex marriage ban struck down.

*widget boy cultureBlack kid vs. non-black store clerks.

*widget boy cultureGeorge Takei still hates William Shatner.

*widget boy cultureShia's a mess...but a hot one.

*widget boy cultureVia A Cause des Garcons: Footballer lets most, if not all, of it hang out:

Naked-rugbyThis old thing?

*widget boy culture7 months in, their throuple trumps your couple.

*widget boy cultureUtah doesn't have to recognize same-sex marriages. Yet.

*widget boy cultureDirected by SSION, Perfume Genius's new “Queen” video.

*widget boy cultureShort film about bullying: It Gets Better.

*widget boy cultureMadonna flies commercial, leading to oddly cool surreptitious pix.

*widget boy cultureMadonna's manager now manages both U2 and Alicia Keys.

*widget boy cultureMadonna drag queen told he has a better nose than Madonna.

Madonna-impersonatorDoes this pass the smell test?

 
We Should Be Dancing Comments (0)

Karen-Lynn-Gorney-Matthew-RettenmundYes, I wore the shirt on purpose.

My pal Bob, who is a great photographer and a starfucker after before my own heart, casually mentioned a Karen Lynn Gorney appearance to me, probably not realizing I'd be as interested as I was—but I was. She was appearing at a small memorabilia show in NYC, and it turned out to be at the very hotel in whose basement gym I work out! (Yes, I work out.)

Madonna-Karen-Lynn-GorneyBack when Madonna was hung up, hung up on Karen Lynn Gorney.

I was happy to get a chance to meet her; I think Saturday Night Fever (1977) is an American masterpiece, one that would easily make my list of 100 best films. She could not have been nicer and was very chatty. When I asked her which photo she liked best from among the ones she was selling, she had no favorite, but agreed that the one I chose was “happy.” (Her character was not exactly fun-loving!)

Madonna-Karen-Lynn-Gorney-Saturday-Night-FeverYou gimme Saturday Night Fever: I loved the photo Ms. Gorney signed 'cuz you don't have to see Travolta!

She told me she'd finally decided to turn down a movie she was offered (“Not because of anything I had to do in it, but because of what other people were doing in it...”) and was taking the summer off. 

 If you do nothing else, watch the above video!

I would like Entertainment Weekly or Vanity Fair to assemble the entire surviving cast for a reunion shoot...wouldn't you?

One more pic of Gorney from today is after the jump...

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Jul 18 2014
Movie Man: The Art Of Richard Amsel Comments (0)
  Flash-Gordon Travolta
Amsel_BetteMidler Hello_dolly_ver1 Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark Amsel_UpTheSandbox2  Amsel_ClamsHalfShell Dark-Crystal Chinatown Fuzz GWTW Katharine-Hepburn Kennedys Lucy Orient-Express Papillon Shogun The Big-Sleep

Above, some classic examples of Amsel's work—timeless perfection.

Richard-AmselYou may not know the name Richard Amsel (December 1947—November 17, 1985) but you are almost without a doubt familiar with his  absolutely classic work in movie posters, on TV Guide and elsewhere.

Amsel painted Lily Tomlin for Time and did all those drawings of Bette Midler that come to mind whenever you hear her name.

Lily-Tomlin-Time-gayTomlin the closet...

Amsel died of AIDS in 1985. The following excerpt from Emerald City is from October 30, 1978, and represents the only known footage of the artist discussing his craft, with special attention paid to his movie poster for Death on the Nile.

ThunderdomeMel Gibson, when he was appealing

The clip also features great comments from equally legendary illustrator and artist David Edward Byrd (b. April 4, 1941).

It's a real treasure...

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Chexytoons: Passing Franklin Pangborn's Smell Test Comments (0)

Poppers

Via Chexy Decimal.

 
Signs Of The Times Comments (0)

Signs

Can anyone guess the source?