Reports are now confirmed that actor Bill Paxton passed away this Oscar-weekend at the age of 61 due to complications from surgery. Paxton began his career in Hollywood doing art department and background work before he was cast in a small cameo in The Terminator by director James Cameron in 1984. Since then, Paxton has gone on to star in many roles in an impressive number of iconic films. He again teamed up with Cameron for Aliens as Private Hudson in 1986, and has starred in blockbusters like Tombstone (1993), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Twister (1996), Titanic (1997), U-571 (2000), Vertical Limit (2000), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and Nightcrawler (2014). His most recent project was the lead in a television adaptation of director Antione Fuqua’s 2001 cop-drama Training Day.
In addition to acting, Paxton also directed a number of pictures. He directed himself and co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Powers Boothe in the violent FBI drama Frailty (2001), and Shia LaBeouf in The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005). His final role will be in a film called The Circle, opposite Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Beauty and the Beast), Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Big Short), and Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Bridge of Spies). His contribution to film throughout the years will surely be missed in the years to come. Thanks Bill for all of your great work. Our thoughts are with your family and friends. Continue reading →
Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Rango) has teamed up once again with cinematographer Bojan Bazelli (Rock of Ages, Pete’s Dragon) for a new thriller titled A Cure for Wellness. The story follows a young business executive who is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious wellness center isolated in the Swiss Alps and comes to suspect that the center, although renowned for its miraculous (if not unconventional) treatments, is not all it’s made out to be. Leading the cast are actors Dane DeHaan (Lawless, Kill Your Darlings), Jason Issacs (The Patriot, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac: Volume II, Everest), Ivo Nandi (Sons of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire), Adrian Schiller (Bright Star, The Danish Girl), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and Harry Groener (Patch Adams, Road to Perdition). Continue reading →
Location: 16180 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie Hours: 11AM-10PM Daily
When it comes to acclaimed burger joints in Minnesota, the Twin Cities metro usually garners most of the mentions, but a little known spot in Eden Prairie is a MUST stop for burger lovers. The restaurant known as The Lions Tap is situated along the Minnesota river in an area that can only be described as rural (not suburban). Their claim to fame is perfectly made medium rare patties with precision, no frills, no bullshit, no “jams” or “aiolis,” just good ass burgers. Their menu only extends to five burgers and 1 side, crinkle cut fries that always come out perfect, just like the burgers. One of the few mom & pop shops to beat McDonalds in court (undisclosed settlement), it’s no longer about funds, it’s all about the love at the Lions Tap. Although technically a brewery, this is a family establishment, so be mindful of dinner rushes and weekends to avoid crowds. If you have the time, I highly recommend you take a trip to the southwest ‘burbs to enjoy this gem, click the link below for more information.
The Twin Cities metro has it’s fair share of culinary gems, but one step further into the true suburbs might surprise you. One such low key institution is Lions Tap in Eden Prairie. Dating back to 1933, the place has come a long way transforming into one of the top 500 restaurants in the nation. Craft beer? Yup, they’ve been brewing their own for decades. Burgers? Yup, they offer 6 varieties including Bacon Cheese, Mushroom Swiss, and California; all of which come in single or double. Throw in a basket of fries and you’ve got a damn good meal at just under $10. The “after soccer game” vibe isn’t so bad once your food has arrived, if you happen to find yourself out by Valley Fair or Mystic Lake Casino, I’d highly recommend a visit.
Location: 907 W Belmont Ave, Chicago P: 773-525-7900 Hours: Mon-Fri: 11AM-Midnight, Sat-Sun: 11AM-2AM
Philly’s Best is hands down one of the best restaurants that offer the Philly style cheese steak in the Chicago area. There are 3 locations, but our go to is the one on Belmont avenue; situated between Sheffield avenue & Clark street in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Once inside, any true philly steak enthusiast will quickly notice the authenticity of this place’s attitude; in comparison to OG steak places in Philly (Pat’s & Geno’s). The sandwiches themselves stack right up to the originals and they serve some pretty good pizza as well, if you’re on a budget don’t worry; you’ll leave full for about $10. If you’re ever near Wrigleyville or the Lincoln Park area i’d highly recommend a visit, you definitely wont be disappointed.
Director Sydney Lumet‘s 1973 undercover police drama Serpico earned Al Pacino his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it was another in a long-running streak of Oscar nominations for Pacino that resulted in no wins until 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Serpico‘s other Oscar nomination was for Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriters Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust) and Norman Wexler (Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive). Although Serpico proved to be the last Oscar-worthy project of Wexler’s, Waldo Salt had a much longer, and much darker story in Hollywood screenwriting history.
Waldo Salt was born on October 18, 1914 and grew up in Chicago an accomplished academic. He was so accomplished, in fact, that he graduated from Stanford University at the same time his friends were graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, Salt was in Hollywood working as a screenwriter for MGM. There he worked on and assisted with various writing projects, but his first solo writing adaptation was with a 1937 film called The Bride Wore Red. The next year, Salt joined the American Communist Party, putting himself on the radar for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare/McCarthy era 12 years later. Continue reading →
On September 30, 1948, actor Robert Mitchum (Story of G.I. Joe, Cape Fear) was released from prison following his charge of marijuana possession. Mitchum was an up-and-coming star in Hollywood. He had received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor two years earlier for his role in Story of G.I. Joe, and appeared in four feature films in 1947, including Pursued, Crossfire, Desire Me, and Out of the Past. He also worked with director Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story) in a western film earlier in 1948 called Blood on the Moon. His recent string of success, however, only made his bust on September 1st that much worse.
Mitchum was found with actress Lila Leeds (Lady in the Lake, Wild Weed) and dancer Vicki Evans. With the 60s still more than a decade out, and public opinion towards marijuana still very much in the light of propaganda films like Reefer Madness (1936), the young actor feared the very public arrest would effectively end his acting career. It didn’t help that industry names like Howard Hughes (Scarface, The Outlaw), David O. Selznick (King Kong, Gone with the Wind), and the press constantly berated him during this period. But his famous bust that could have completely ended his career ended up doing just the opposite. Continue reading →
On September 20, 1956, director William Wyler‘s Friendly Persuasion was released in theaters in the United States. Based on the book by Jessamyn West, the story revolves around a Quaker family in 1862, whose faith and belief in non-violence is tested when Confederate troops come sweeping through their land and the family must decide whether to fight or to remain complacent. The film was written by screenwriter Michael Wilson (A Place in the Sun, Planet of the Apes), and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenwriting. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that Wilson would receive legitimate recognition for his work on the film. Continue reading →
Today’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to 1978, for the excellent cinematography in a film called Days of Heaven. Written and directed by 3x Oscar nominee Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life), Days of Heaven is an American epic that follows a young couple, Bill and Abby, during the Expansionist era in 1916. Moving from Chicago to Texas in search of work, the two become involved in a scheme to have Abby marry a wealthy farmer who is close to death in order to gain his fortune. This, of course doesn’t go according to plan and so a dramatic conflict of jealousy and deceit ensues, loosely based on a backstory that first appeared in Alexander Dumas‘ The Three Musketeers.
Starring Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Pretty Woman), Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Dead Zone), and Sam Shepard (Swordfish, Black Hawk Down), the film received Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Music – Original Score. Although it failed to win any of these awards, Days of Heaven did receive the Oscar for Best Cinematography for Nestor Almendros. Continue reading →
Legendary comedic actor Gene Wilder, best known for his roles in films like Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, passed away Monday after a struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. The actor was twice nominated for an Academy Award, one for his role in The Producers and the other as co-writer with Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein. Wilder first gained attention in a production of Off Broadway’s Roots in 1961. He then continued working in television and on Broadway for a number of years, where he first caught the eye of filmmaker Mel Brooks. The actor starred in a production of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 before teaming up with Brooks for his breakout role in The Producers, which earned him his first nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Continue reading →