Saturday, October 31, 2009

You axed for it!

In a still from Strait-Jacket, Joan Crawford wishes all readers a Happy Halloween.

Let's hear it for 560 State Street

Jay-Z filmed the video for his new single "Empire State of Mind," the hip-hop "Theme from 'New York, New York'," here at the "stash spot" last month. You can see us from :28-:33.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Horror-ween!

Presenting on Popdose: A consumer's guide to horror on DVD, including "The William Castle Film Collection," The Stepfather, Audition, and a new favorite that's bloody good, Trick 'r Treat.

Christopher Lee knighted...

...and Roger Corman's winning an Oscar. Wonders never ceasing.

Popdose: Antichrist

Chaos reigns.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Live Design: Bye Bye Miss Julie

It's a Roundabout world that we live in: the revival of Bye Bye Birdie (pictured) at the restored Henry Miller's, and the Strindberg "revisal" After Miss Julie at the American Airlines.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RIP Joseph Wiseman

I imagine Wiseman preferred the stage to film and TV, but he took time off from the boards long enough to get the Bond series off to a great start, adversary-wise, in the title role of Dr. No (1962, pictured). He's splendidly cool and silky in the part, and has rarely been bettered for onscreen villainy. Other memorable film roles included 1951's Detective Story, recreating a stage success, and an acid-etched portrayal in Sidney Lumet's Bye Bye Braverman (1968)--when he tells his son he hates him, he means it. (The Night They Raided Minsky's, too.) It's hard to believe his only accolade was a Drama Desk Award for his performance in the 1969 show In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, but he made the work look so effortless. I was pleased to see him in his final Broadway appearance, in the 2001 play of Judgment at Nuremberg.

RIP Vic Mizzy

One of those days again, with multiple passings to report...Mizzy's TV themes for The Addams Family and Green Acres certainly brightened the tube whenever they came on, and he brought his offbeat sensibility to films for Don Knotts and William Castle's The Night Walker (1964), too. "Two finger snaps and you live in Bel-Air," he remarked of his creepy kooky success.

Popdose: Cheri on DVD

Dangerous Liaisons director Stephen Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton, and star Michelle Pfeiffer reteam, this time for an adaptation of Colette. But was Cheri worth getting out of bed for?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Who, me?

I see that The Auteurs has named this little slice of the web one of its Best Film Sites. Honored and humbled to be in such great company.

Popdose: Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze makes a 100-minute movie from Maurice Sendak's short, sharp children's classic. Is it really wild, or merely mild? This week at Popdose.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Live Design: The Royal Family

Checking in on a handsome Broadway revival, and another drop-dead gorgeous John Lee Beatty set. Rosemary Harris, Jan Maxwell, and John Glover (who I met afterwards) star.

Lithgow loony again

I don't like Dexter. But I do like John Lithgow playing crazy people, so I'm tuning in for its fourth season. He plays the Trinity Killer, who murders in threes according to a carefully maintained pattern, and has done so for years. He's set to cross paths with Michael C. Hall's serial killer vigilante, who with a wife and kids to support is feeling restive. I find the premise of the show distasteful, dislike the clammy Hall (I wasn't over the moon about him on Six Feet Under, either), and fast-forward through everything involving the negligible supporting characters (except for returning guest star Keith Carradine, who looks great in his tailored suit and brings the right gravitas to his role of a not-so-retired detective tracking Trinity).

But mostly I'm watching for Lithgow, a favorite actor whose Broadway appearances are usually top-notch (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and who often plays eccentric, as on his long-running TV hit 3rd Rock from the Sun. No one plays out-and-out insane like him, though. Blow Out, Twilight Zone: The Movie,Buckaroo Banzai (pictured), Ricochet, Raising Cain, Cliffhanger--I love them all. Thus far he's shown an interesting reserve on Dexter, even when slashing a woman in the tub and forcing another off a ledge, but after all those years away I'm sure he's just picking up the scent again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

RIP Lance Berry

We never met, but I'll miss my Popdose colleague's passion for film; he was especially keen on science fiction, something we bonded over in our e-mails and online exchanges. A tragedy--gone too soon.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Popdose: An Education

A star is born as Carey Mulligan receives An Education, in a new memoir-based drama penned by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity). Tutoring her in life and love are Alfred Molina, Cara Seymour, and her co-star in last fall's revival of The Seagull, Peter Sarsgaard.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Through the looking glass

The harvest moon has yielded a bumper crop of retrospectives.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has just kicked off a "Hungarians in Hollywood" festival that runs through Oct. 27. Bela Lugosi as Dracula of course but also an eclectic mix of Hungarian hand-crafted entertainment, including Paper Moon, Gilda, and Blow Out.

Love him or hate him, Elia Kazan made some legendary movies, which Film Forum is celebrating with a three-week retrospective that begins tomorrow. Viva Zapata! is hard to find these days, so it's worth checking out. Also highly recommended: The delightful Baby Doll (with one of the best closing lines in film history, Tennessee Williams at his finest) and the more-valued-by-the-year Wild River, which gets a one-week run.

The folks at Subway Cinema have the skinny on the Film Society of Lincoln Center's latest "Scary Movies" fest, which runs Oct. 12-22. I had a great time at the first one some years back. The original, accept-no-substitutes version of The Stepfather (pictured) is in my DVD review queue for Popdose.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New York Theater News: Hamlet

Jude Law is a not-so-melancholy Dane in the play's (and the actor's) first Broadway appearance since 1995. To be or not to be?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Henry Hewes Design Awards noms announced

Quite a slate of nominees this year, for behind-the-scenes talent that sets the stage so well. Shrek the Musical's set and costume designer, Tim Hatley, is in good company this year.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Live Design: A Steady Rain

The forecast calls for stars on Broadway, as Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman play Chicago cops in A Steady Rain. Plus: A couple of Off Broadway shows, at the Live Design website.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Star crossed

On my way to Broadway last night to see Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in A Steady Rain (good show, spare, lurid) I walked into the tail end of a video shoot Jay-Z was having outside our lobby. (As that part of the world that cares about Jay-Z knows, this his former "stash spot," as mentioned in one of his new songs.) Beyonce tagged along and made it up to our courtyard. A crowd of on-lookers enjoyed the show.

Assuming our signage makes it into the video we'll have international renown; already, Lora said a vote taker, when seeing our address on Tuesday, exclaimed, "That famous place!" Unimpressed was Larissa, who was in transit with her dad for a pre-theater hand-off with mom; she showed her disapproval with celebrity culture by throwing her bottle on the train tracks when we got into the station. (More amused than annoyed, I sensibly let it go.) She's the real diva.