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Posts Tagged ‘J.J. Abrams’

Rove McManus Captures Footage of a Very Strange LA Backyard Specimen

Last night at Meltdown Comics‘ NerdMelt Showroom on Sunset Blvd., magician Justin Willman hosted the fifth edition of his monthly Web talk show Sleight of Mouth. It’s got a name-brand producer (The Late Show‘s Robert Morton), musical sidekick Billy “Bushwalla” Galewood, a very loose vibe and guests who are always game.

The highlight of Episode #5 was Down Under jokester Rove McManus, who does reports for The Tonight Show and currently films a version of his smash Australian talk show here in LA. At one point, McManus cued up some video footage taken in the back of his SoCal canyon home by means of a motion-activated camera. There were a couple of deer, a bobcat at night and, on the vacant lot next door, “something I don’t think I can prepare you for in any shape or form.”

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In This Star Wars Reporting Episode, Much of the Deserved Credit Gets Lost

The biggest Hollywood film scoop of this young year was posted Thursday at 1:33 p.m PT on TheWrap. While a number of Lucas Shaw‘s peers were immediate and effusive with Twitter praise, large chunks of the pick-up coverage about J.J. Abrams being tapped to direct the next-generation installment of Star Wars failed to credit TheWrap and this hard-working media reporter.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the trenches of THR, Variety, TheWrap and Deadline, with each being guilty at various times of co-opting film scoops by “confirming,” referencing same-subsequent “documents obtained”, slapping on a questionable EXCLUSIVE and so on. But a scoop of the magnitude of Shaw’s should have been exempt from the usual ticky-tack catch-up tricks.

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J.J. Abrams Set for MIT Media Lab Sit-Down

J.J. Abrams (Felicity, Lost, Star Trek) has done thousands of interviews. But chances are very few of the people he has been interrogated by possessed credentials on the level of MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito.

Ito, who will interview Abrams tomorrow as part of the Lab’s 2012 “Conversation Series,” currently sits on the boards of the Knight Foundation, The New York Times Company, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and several other equally august organizations. From his truly humbling MIT mini-bio, there’s also this:

In Japan, Ito helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider. He was an early investor in more than 40 companies including Flickr, Six Apart, Last.fm, Kongregate, Kickstarter and Twitter.

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Kaldi Coffee & Tea Gets Huge Sundance Shout Out

There’s a Starbucks down the street and another a few blocks west on Los Feliz Blvd. But since this particular version of the java-sipping-screenwriter-makes-good panned out at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, it seems only appropriate that the coffee house in question is the more independent Kaldi Coffee & Tea in Atwater Village.

Per Kurt Streeter‘s report in the LA Times, that’s where then-40-year-old LA writer-director Nicholas McCarthy retreated last winter for six weeks after the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, to expand his short The Pact into a feature-length project. Following this year’s triumphant feature screenings, Kaldi is where McCarthy will be cranking out his next coveted project. Per the article:

On Monday morning [January 30], he returned to Kaldi Coffee & Tea. When he walked through the door, he saw Clay Tarver, one of the regulars. Tarver’s screenwriting credits included Joy Ride, a thriller co-written with J.J. Abrams, creator of the television series Lost, and he is viewed with admiration at Kaldi. McCarthy had leaned on him for so much advice that he had included Tarver in the credits for The Pact.

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LA Times Reporters Expose Casting Associate’s Child Molester Past

It’s a sensational storyline: convicted sex offender Jason James Murphy, under cover of a shortened name, makes his way to Hollywood and finds success as a casting associate, working on films such as Bad News Bears, School of Rock, Super 8 and forthcoming biopic The Three Stooges.

The LA Times article in question by Dawn Chmielewski and Harriet Ryan, with additional reporting from several colleagues, is also the kind of bellwether piece that leads to real-world changes. Expect the Casting Society of America and-or other unions and guilds to re-examine the background check procedures currently in place for casting office employees.

Since the story was first posted last night, it has been picked up by dozens of other outlets, starting with the Hollywood Reporter and continuing through to everyone from AP to the UK’s Daily Mail (which shoddily fails to credit LAT). The Washington state mugshot of Murphy (pictured) is extremely unsettling, since he looks more like an actor auditioning for a role than a criminal staring at jail time.

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One-Time LA Hopeful is Now ‘The Singing Film Critic’

When Alex Thaler came to LA in the late 1990s to try his luck as an actor, it went the way it does for most Tinseltown hopefuls. Though he did audition for the occasional commercial, the bulk of his paid professional activities involved waiting tables at a now-defunct Pizzeria Uno’s on Santa Monica Blvd.

During this time, Thaler also started to get more serious about composing music, and thirteen years later, he has launched a funny, squeaky YouTube sock puppet character, Leland, a.k.a. “The Singing Film Critic.” Check out his clever rhyming take on J.J. Abrams‘ Super 8:

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Dynamic Journalist Duo Review Dreamworks at CinemaCon

Much like the way Hollywood likes to sometimes “re-imagine” a franchise rather than straight remake it, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) has changed the name of this week’s annual Las Vegas convention from ShoWest to CinemaCon. Same narrative, different title.

There is already more coverage coming out of “Cin City” than you can shake a Twizzler stick at, everything from Anthony Breznican of EW on J.J. AbramsSuper 8 to a quick dispatch by AP’s David Germain about a keynote by new MPAA chief Chris Dodd. There are also instant V-logs, like this summary from Peter Sciretta (/Film) and Steven “Frosty” Weintraub (Collider.com) of a morning Dreamworks presentation:

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FBLA Exclusive: Star Trek 2009 Tie-Ins Used Same DP as Film

star_trek_mirror_images.jpgIn a long tradition of making Star Trek movies and having promotions of said movies tied to fast food chains, the new Star Trek film produced by J.J. Abrams to be released the first week of May promises to do the same.

Only this time, the ante has been upped by making the commercials promoting that greasy-gross food a must-see. Yeah, Crispin Porter Bogusky – we’re so on to you.

A nerdy little birdy told FBLA that the Burger King commercials are not only shot on the set of the Enterprise (the ship not the car rental place), they also used the same DP as the actual movie, Daniel Mindel and the same production designer, Scott Chambliss.

The new Star Trek film looks fun. All the crew members are young and better looking than the original cast. Like the Muppet Babies. Aw.

‘First Lady of Star Trek’ Dead at 76

majelbarrett.jpg Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who trekkies will know as…an icon. Pretty much. Passed away at her home in Bel Air today reports the AP.

From AP:

Her romance with Roddenberry earned her the title “The First Lady of Star Trek.” A fixture in the “Star Trek” franchise, her roles included Nurse Christine Chapel in the original “Star Trek,” Lwaxana Troi in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the voice of the USS Enterprise computer in almost every spin-off of the 1966 cult series. She recently reprised the voice role in the upcoming “Star Trek” film directed by J.J. Abrams.

Her wikipedia page is excellent and worth a look.

LAT In 90 Seconds

drewbarry_jonf_12548528_600.jpgDrew Barrymore To Direct: Juno beauty Ellen Page is set to star in Whip It, which means her big Hollywood projects to date have been written by a stripper and a roller derby queen. We can’t wait to see what Heidi Fleiss is cooking up for her.

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Mum’s The Word: Reporter John Horn explores the eerie silence surrounding J.J. Abrams’ (probable) smash-hit Cloverfield.

263720.jpgPatt’s Just Wondering: In a column about the late Johnny Grant, columnist Patt Morrison says “It falls to me to broach the suggestion that Johnny’s passing is an opening to even more openness. Should the city have more say-so over the sign and the walk? Can more royalty money be made? And should it be shared with the rest of Hollywood?” Well, Patt, should it? She never says.

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