My Thoughts on the Oscars — The Good, The Bad, and the Hair!

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Did you watch the Oscars?  I did, and here’s what I thought.


1. Best Picture: “Argo.”

2. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln.”

3. Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook.”4. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained.”

5. Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables.”

6. Directing: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi.”

7. Foreign Language Film: “Amour.”

8. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo.”

9. Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained.”

10. Animated Feature Film: “Brave.”

11. Production Design: “Lincoln.”

12. Cinematography: “Life of Pi.”

13. Sound Mixing: “Les Miserables.”

14. Sound Editing (tie): “Skyfall,” ‘’Zero Dark Thirty.”

15. Original Score: “Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna.

16. Original Song: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.

17. Costume: “Anna Karenina.”

18. Documentary Feature: “Searching for Sugar Man.”

19. Documentary (short subject): “Inocente.”

20. Film Editing: “Argo.”

21. Makeup and Hairstyling: “Les Miserables.”

22. Animated Short Film: “Paperman.”

23. Live Action Short Film: “Curfew.”

24. Visual Effects: “Life of Pi.”

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Audience Vote: King’s Faith

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Faith Street Film Partners, a Rochester, NY-based collective of filmmakers, churches, investors, and supporters – totaling more than 1,000 people – decided to fund, film, and release their new movie by listening to the audience.

“Audiences are changing, and so should storytelling,” director Nicholas DiBella said. “King’s Faith” is a very personal, true-to-life story that will resonate with the realities of families and teens – this is a bottom-up experience, very grassroots and community-driven which invites the audience to be actively involved every step of the way. That is the way real transformation happens.”  Waking Giants Entertainment Group is inviting audiences and groups to decide where the movie opens. Audiences can demand that “King’s Faith” come to their local theater at

Based upon early demands, the movie will open in Charlotte, NC, Dallas, TX, Phoenix, AZ, Colorado Springs, CO, Rochester, NY, Buffalo, NY, and Huntsville, AL. The producers and distributor are planning interactive audience tools including group study materials, outreach partnerships, and a specialty youth campaign to create awareness and heighten audience attendance.

“King’s Faith” tells the story of Brendan King (Crawford Wilson) who attempts to leave his turbulent gang life behind him, but his past continues to threaten his new-found faith, family, and future. The film prompts audiences to consider questions that many struggle within our world today: Where do I fit in? How can I stand firm in my faith when life’s challenges put me to the test? Can someone find true forgiveness from their wrong choices?

“King’s Faith” reminds us that our past doesn’t define us,” DiBella said. “No matter where you’ve been, or how lost you feel, you should never give up hope or faith.”  It stars Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield (Eve’s Bayou, The Women of Brewster Place), Crawford Wilson (Judging Amy, Zoey 101), Kayla Compton (Entourage), and James McDaniel (Malcolm X, NYPD Blue).


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Rob Sheffields’ Best Rock Movie Moments

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Rob Sheffield is one of my favorite writers and I love his books about popular music.  For Rolling Stone, he has created a gallery of the all-time best rock moments in movies, with irresistible clips from the “Wayne’s World” rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” to John Cusack holding the boom box over his head to serenade Ione Skye with Peter Gabriel in “Say Anything” and “Tiny Dancer” in “Almost Famous.”  It’s a great mix of covers and originals, classics and should-be-classics.  But he should have included “Blackboard Jungle,” the first movie with a rock soundtrack.  And I don’t know how he left out my own all-time favorite, from “The Blues Brothers:”


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20 Film Collection from Warner Brothers: Musicals

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 8:00 am

Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: Varied
Profanity: Varied
Alcohol/ Drugs: Varied
Violence/ Scariness: Varied
Diversity Issues: Varied
Date Released to DVD: February 25, 2013 ASIN: B009Z59782

Warner Brothers has issued a spectacular collection of musical films, from the ground-breaking “The Jazz Singer” to classics like “Cabaret,” “Signin’ in the Rain,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and “The Music Man.”  This is a treasure that should be in every family DVD library, and every school and community library as well.  It includes:

The Jazz Singer ( 1927) Al Jolson plays the son of a cantor who wants to sing popular music in this groundbreaking film that was the first live-action film with a synchronized soundtrack.  (Remade twice, with Danny Thomas and Neil Diamond)

Broadway Melody of 1929 Winner of the second Best Picture Oscar, this early talkie includes “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “You Were Meant for Me.”

42nd Street (1933) “You’re going out there a chorus girl, but you’re coming back a STAR!”  This classic pre-code backstage musical features the title tune and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.”

The Great Ziegfeld (1936) Another Best Picture winner (and Best Actress for Luise Rainer), this story of impressario Florenz Zeigfeld has rare filmed performances by Fanny Brice (the singer Barbra Streisand played in “Funny Girl”).

The Wizard Of Oz (1939) One of the most beloved films of all time, this enduring classic has Judy Garland singing “Over the Rainbow” and following the yellow brick road to see the wizard.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) James Cagney plays the bantam-like singer/dancer/performer George M. Cohan in this biopic of the superstar who wrote classics like “For it was Mary” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.”

An American in Paris ( 1951) Gene Kelly.  George Gershwin.  Vincente Minnelli.  Glorious.

Show Boat (1951) This second version of the Jerome Kern musical based on the Edna Ferber story stars Ava Gardner, Marge and Gower Champion, Howard Keel, and Kathryn Grayson, with classic songs like “Old Man River” (sung by Wiliam Warfield in the part played by Paul Robeson in the original), “Life Upon the Wicked Stage,” and “Only Make Believe.”

Singin’ In The Rain (1952) This may just be the perfect movie as comedy, romance, satire, and musical.  Gene Kelly is the silent movie star who has to adjust to the talkie era.  In addition to the rapturous title number, the movie features Donald O’Connor’s classic “Make ‘Em Laugh.”

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) Seven rambunctious red-headed backwoods brothers named in alphabetical order (Adam, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephram, Frank, and Gideon) are tamed by love in this rollicking musical with wildly athletic dance numbers choreographed by Michael Kidd.

A Star Is Born (1954) Judy Garland and James Mason star in the second (of three–so far) versions of the story of the fading star who marries a rising star.  Garland sings “The Man That Got Away” and “Born in a Trunk” and introduces herself as “Mrs. Norman Maine!

The Music Man (1962) Robert Preston re-creates his legendary stage performance as “Professor Harold Hill,” a con man who sells a small Iowa town on the idea of a boys’ band.  He plans to skip town before they discover that he has no idea of how to teach kids to play instruments, but then he meets “Marian the Librarian” (an almost impossibly pretty Shirley Jones) and things get complicated.  Songs include “Trouble,” “76 Trombones,” “Goodnight My Someone,” and “Til There Was You.”  And a barbershop quartet singing “Lida Rose.”

 Viva Las Vegas (1964) Elvis and Ann-Margret sing and dance.  What else do you need to know?

Camelot (1967) The grand Lerner and Lowe musical about King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot stars Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero.  Songs include “The Lusty Month of May,” “If Ever I Should Leave You,” and the poignant title number.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) This is the first and best version of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book about the poor boy who finds a golden ticket to visit the world’s most magnificently magical candy factory.  Too bad for the naughty kids who are greedy and spoiled!

Cabaret (1972) The film, director Bob Fosse, and stars Joel Gray and Liza Minnelli won Oscars for this searing musical about pre-WWII Germany, brilliantly presented in an adult musical that deals with issues like the rise of the Nazi party, anti-Semitism, and “divine” decadence.

That’s Entertainment (1974) This delicious compilation includes highlights of dozens of classic and underrated musicals and led to two sequels.

Victor, Victoria (1983) James Garner, Robert Preston, and Julie Andrews star in a wildly funny musical about an impoverished singer whose career takes off when she pretends to be a man pretending to be a woman.

Little Shop Of Horrors (1986) Possibly the most improbable source for a musical was a cheap horror film about a carnivorous plant, shot over a weekend.  But the cheeky score made it a theatrical hit and this movie version is a lot of fun.

Hairspray (1988) John Waters’ non-musical film about the controversy over integration on a teen dance show in 1960’s Baltimore inspired this musical remake with John Travolta as the mother of the adorable Tracy (Nikki Blonsky).  Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron co-star in this tuneful treat that includes “Good Morning Baltimore,” “Run and Tell That,” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

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