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Movies

Gary Webb’s Ex-Wife Set to Attend New York Premiere

Cleveland Plain Dealer film critic Clint O’Connor had a solid feature the other day about Kill the Messenger, the journalism true-tale movie opening Friday with Jeremy Renner starring as the late Gary Webb. Webb made his early reputation as a reporter with the Plain Dealer before going on to fame and turmoil at the San Jose Mercury News.

Part of what makes O’Connor’s article so compelling are the candid thoughts of Webb’s former wife Sue Stokes. She remarried two years ago and now lives in Sacramento:

“Gary had affairs. That’s what ended our marriage,” said Sue, who is portrayed in the film by Rosemarie DeWitt. “I didn’t know about the affairs at the time. He was having an affair in 1999 and that’s what started this whole downward spiral through the divorce…”

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Tyler Perry Wows in Gone Girl

Even in reviews of Gone Girl that are mixed or negative, Tyler Perry has still been receiving the unequivocal thumbs up.

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Here for example is what less-than-impressed Boston Globe reviewer Mark Feeney wrote:

Playing a high-powered defense attorney, Tyler Perry is smooth, funny and unflappable. Gone Girl would be a lot more entertaining, and probably a lot better, if he and Ben Affleck had exchanged roles.

The choice of Perry by David Fincher is this film’s “greatest coup” (Leonard Maltin, Indiewire); the performance is “unexpectedly good” (Rafer Guzman, Newsday); it’s an “inspired piece of casting” (Tom Carson, GQ). And so on.

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Quentin Tarantino, Movie Theater Owner

It’s the best succession imaginable. After helping Los Angeles repertory house the New Beverly Cinema for years as a silent partner (and owner-landlord since 2007), filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has taken over the operation of the mid-city enterprise and is officially launching himself for the next few months as the joint’s chief programmer.

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He talked to Elvis Mitchell about the first wave of big-screen goodies on the latest episode of weekly KCRW-FM program The Treatment. Columbia Pictures, as a reward for the box office performance of Django Unchained, gifted Tarantino with a remastered print of the late Paul Mazursky‘s classic Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Mazursky even did the color correcting. The new print will be shown tonight and Thursday as part of a special two-day tribute to Mazursky, on a double bill with Blume in Love:

“We played this double feature at the New Beverly about two years ago, and Paul Mazursky showed up,” Tarantino tells Mitchell. “I was there, and we had an impromptu question-and-answer session. It ended up being crazy illuminating, really, really lovely.”

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Mark Ruffalo Embeds at the Boston Globe

ShutterstockMarkRuffaloHa ha. Check out the tail end of the first few sentences of this Boston Globe item written by the tandem of Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein:

Actor Mark Ruffalo was at the Globe on Monday to do research for his new movie Spotlight, in which he’ll play Globe investigative reporter Michael Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer-winning team that broke the Catholic sex abuse scandal. Ruffalo was seen in the newsroom, the cafeteria and the library — not that we were following him.

There’s also a nice shot of Ruffalo and Rezendes, powwowing in front of a computer.

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Deathbed State of Film Criticism Plays Key Role in Endless Awards Prognostication

BanehamOscarWe joked the other day that perhaps they should just move the Oscars to the first weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival. So as to kill two North American birds with one statuette and get the whole damn awards season thing over with, at a time when pundits are shuffling the deck at a most furious Twitter pace.

But then it hit us. While film criticism as a legitimate form of journalism has been flat-lining for years, the eleven-and-a-half-month annual rigamarole through which an increasing number of film journalists calibrate the chances of this actor and that studio for a BATFA, SAG, Golden Globe and Academy Award is a phenomenon that would meet with the hearty approval of a character played by Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston and others. It’s survival of the aisle-seat fittest.

If you filter the enterprising work of folks like Anne Thompson, David Poland, Jeffrey Wells, Sasha Stone, Roger Friedman and Anthony Breznican through the prism of changing-with-the-film-criticism-times, awards season journalism becomes suddenly a very different animal. It’s not just an attempt to keep the ad dollars rolling in. It’s also a clever and necessary way for film journalists to keep their opinions relevant.

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Critic Rolls His Eyes at Rosario Dawson’s NYT Character

ShutterstockRosarioDawsonThough relatively limited, the pantheon of New York Times reporters committed to film and TV has included such memorable characters as Sam Waterston‘s Sydney Schanberg in 1984′s The Killing Fields and Matt Borner‘s Felix Turner in this year’s HBO drama The Normal Heart.

Another NYT movie reporter is about to hit the big screen, via Chris Rock‘s Top Five. But according to Grantland’s Wesley Morris, this newsroom derivation is memorable for entirely different reasons:

Rock stars as Andre Allen, a recovering alcoholic and comedy star being trailed by the least-likely-ever culture reporter for the New York Times. It’s not that she’s played by Rosario Dawson. It’s that the plot twist around her character doesn’t make ethical sense. Together, they visit his New York universe and hers (she’s in recovery, too)…

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Ben Kingsley Expands Upon His Mother’s Profound Disapproval

ShutterstockBenKingsley2010In the spring of 2010, UK journalist Cole Moreton shared a rather startling interview with Sir Ben Kingsley. The actor, speaking in the pages of the Daily Mail not long after the death that year of his mother Anna Lyna Mary (nee Goodman) at age 96, candidly revealed her pathological inability to show affection for her children and give them any approval.

He pantomimed her dismissal of his British knighthood after it was awarded at Buckingham Palace in 2002. And this week, Kingsley went a little further, filling in the blanks of this unbelievable, ultimate slap. From the actor’s interview with Hollywood-based Filipino journalist Ruben Nepales:

Ben revealed a side story about becoming a knight. “Then [after the ceremony], my mother refused to acknowledge my knighthood, which I found bitterly hurtful. Life is all about balance, isn’t it? That wonderful woman (Queen Elizabeth II) had said, we accept you and love what you do, but my mother refused to acknowledge that it had taken place. She was embarrassed, bitter and jealous. That’s the whole story. I have never told it before.”

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Retired New York Cop Banks on MegaBall$

The general consensus is that the median age of regular metropolitan daily newspaper readers is way up there. This Saturday, no doubt, each and every one of those Newsday demo-members will thoroughly enjoy deputy entertainment editor Daniel Bubbeo‘s article “Retired Cop, 82, Still on a Beat He Loves: Showbiz.”

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A Scene Featuring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and the New York Times

On the website for NYC gay bar Julius’, the Village institution’s historic connection to the fight for gay rights is rightly celebrated.

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From the bar’s About section:

On April 26, 1966, four homophile activists staged a “sip in” at Julius’ to challenge the NYS Liquor Authority’s regulation that prohibited bars and restaurants from serving homosexuals. Accompanied by five reporters, the group visited a number of bars until they were denied service at Julius’, a longtime Greenwich Village gay bar. The incident drew a denial from the SLA chairman that his agency told bars not to serve homosexuals and precipitated an investigation by the chairman of the city’s Human Right’s Commission. (From: Becoming Visible, Penguin Studios 1998)

In the August 22 drama Love is Strange, starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, there is a great scene – shot at Julius’-  that references this historic chapter. At one point, the bartender serving Lithgow and Molina’s characters mentions there is a framed clipping of the New York Times‘ 1966 coverage, “somewhere.”

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He Went to the Journal; She Re-Teamed with Michael Bay

MeganFoxAprilONeilIt’s likely that Marshall Heyman‘s September 2009 interview with Megan Fox in Wonderland magazine had more than a little to do with the freelancer joining the Wall Street Journal the following spring. Fox’s comment that director Michael Bay “wants to be like Hitler” on a movie set was heard around the world and would be dissected for years to come.

Today, the other half of this celebrity interview circle is complete with the release of a new Fox-Bay collaboration. Or is it? LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson thinks that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles producer Bay may be extracting some belated revenge for that 2009 interview comment:

If you thought Bay had forgiven Fox for saying he was “like Hitler,” this new April O’Neil role is proof he hasn’t. It’s a set-up.

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