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 →
Today in 1989, the eccentric and far-out vacation-gone-wrong comedy Weekend at Bernie‘s opened in theaters around the world. While critics didn’t have too many great things to say about it, movie-goers openly embraced the outlandish comedy, making it one of pop-culture’s most frequently referenced movies to-date. The script was penned by Emmy-winning screenwriter Robert Klane, who also worked as a writer on National Lampoon’s Vacation (1985) and Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993). Ted Kotcheff (Fun with Dick and Jane, Rambo: First Blood) directed the movie, which starred Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink) and Jonathan Silverman (Conception, The Hungover Games) as a pair of insurance agents who are invited by their boss to spend the weekend with him at his house in the Hamptons; when they arrive to find him dead Continue reading →
Character actor Abe Vigoda passed away earlier this week at the age of 94. According to his daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, the actor died peacefully and had not been suffering from any illnesses. Vigoda spent years working in the New York theater scene before he was cast as the mafia hitman Sal Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather. Following the huge success of The Godfather, and The Godfather Part II, Vigoda was cast as Detective Phil Fish in 1975 on the show Barney Miller, which ran until 1982 and earned Vigoda three Emmy Award nominations in 1976, 1977, and 1978 respectively. Ironically enough, the announcement of his death re-sparked an old controversy about whether or not the actor was still alive: a false report stating that Vigoda had died was published in 1986, igniting a controversy among movie-goers and fans as to whether or not the actor was really still alive or had actually died. A website dedicated to Google searches for ‘Is Abe Vigoda really dead?’ was updated this week to respond ‘Yes.’ Regardless of his questionable death status, Vigoda’s roles and contributions to film will be remembered by his co-stars like Al Pacino (Serpico, Heat), Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, The Judge), and Hal Linden (Barney Miller, Out To Sea). Abe, you will be missed!
For those who are boycotting Hollywood’s ‘Re-make Era’ or simply have no interest in sitting in a jam-packed theater this Friday night with a bunch of kids and teenagers trying to see the new Star Wars feature, a new comedy with Golden Globe co-hosts Tina Fey (Mean Girls, 30 Rock) and Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation) titled Sisters can offer you the perfect alternative! Working with director Jason Moore (Everwood, Pitch Perfect) from a script by Emmy winner Paula Pell (Saturday Night Live, The Oscars), the comedy vets pose as sisters (appropriately) who decide to throw one last party in their old family home before their parents finally sell it. Also making appearances in the film are actors Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Inherent Vice), Ike Barinholtz (Disaster Movie, Neighbors), James Brolin (Traffic, Catch Me If You Can), Diane Wiest (The Lost Boys, I Am Sam), John Cena (The Marine, Trainwreck), and John Leguizamo (The Lincoln Lawyer, Chef). I wouldn’t really expect this one to be fall-on-your-ass comedy, but Fey and Poehler are excellent comedic vets and work really well together, so if you’re not in the long line to see The Force Awakens, I would definitely give this one some consideration. Enjoy!
Every year the Toronto International Film Festival serves as one of the major international film festivals that close out the fiscal year, and this year’s festival is sure to feature an excellent celebration of Oscar-worthy filmmaking. Toronto’s film festival is usually filled with entries seen earlier in the year at festivals like Sundance and Cannes, but it also brings its own special line-up to its audience. This year several highly anticipated films will have the honor of being shown during the festivities, most notably the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass with Johnny Depp, Matt Damon‘s next space adventure following Interstellar titled The Martian, and one I personally am really excited to see, another biopic called Trumbo with Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Godzilla) in the title role of McCarthy-era screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, whose film credits were published under various pseudonyms over the years after he was blacklisted during Senator McCarthy’s famous Communist-trials in the 1950s. Continue reading →
Netflix subscribers and fans of House of Cards are already catching up on the third season of the hit original series. Starring Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey (LA Confidential, American Beauty) and Golden Globe winner Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, A Most Wanted Man) as political-power couple Francis and Claire Underwood, the series follows the two characters as they manipulate the US political system and its members in their quest to attain the Office of the US Presidency. Picking up 6-months into his term (having taken over for the former President at the conclusion of the previous season), Frank finds himself facing low approval ratings and tense foreign affairs with Russia as he attempts to push his solution to the American economic crisis through Congress, with opposition from both political parties. The series won both Wright and Spacey Golden Globe awards for their performances in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and the series has won Emmy’s for Outstanding Casting (Laray Mayfield, Julie Schubert), Outstanding Director (David Fincher), and Outstanding Cinematography (Eigil Bryld), plus nominations for Outstanding Series, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Art Direction for a Contemporary/Fantasy Series. Also starring in the series are actors Michael Kelly (Changeling, The Adjustment Bureau), Nathan Darrow (Ambrose Bierce:Civil War Stories, Rigged), Mahershala Ali (Benjamin Button, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Rachel Brosnahan (The Unborn, Beautiful Creatures). You can watch the series now on Netflix, and if you missed the first two seasons, be sure to check them out too!
Fans of the hit series Breaking Bad on AMC can now tune in for the new spin-off drama Better Call Saul from writing partners and Breaking Bad creators Vince Gilligan (The X-Files, Hancock) and Peter Gould (Double Dragon, Too Big To Fail). The series stars Emmy-winner Bob Odenkirk (Saturday Night Live, Nebraska) back in his role of Saul Goodman in the time before the character was Saul Goodman. Instead we see him as Jimmy McGill, a young lawyer trying to make ends meet but lacking in the confidence and self-assurance of Saul Goodman. Also back from Breaking Bad is Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, the former cop-turned-muscle-man under the employee of Gus, plus new-comers Rhea Seehorn (Whitney, Franklin & Bash), Patrick Fabian (General Hospital, The Last Exorcism), Michael McKean (Clue, Planes Trains & Automobiles), and Michael Mando (The Far Cry Experience, Orphan Black). The series is already three episodes in, so you should check out On-Demand if you need to catch up, then tune into AMC on Monday nights at 9pm/central.
Breaking Bad not only made Bryan Cranston a huge star, it also introduced Hollywood to the talents of his costar Aaron Paul. Paul won 2 Emmys and was nominated for a total of 4 for his role as Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s young associate and former student. Since the series finale he has received a lot of offers for various roles from many A-list names. He is currently working on Ridley Scott’s upcoming biblical epic Exodus, in which Paul plays the role of Joshua, the apprentice to Moses (Christian Bale) who played a big role in the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Exodus is scheduled to come out next December, but before that Paul will be seen in 3 movies throughout the course of the year. The comedy/drama from director Pascal Chaumeil, A Long Way Down, will costar Toni Collette and Rosamund Pike, as well as writer/director Kat Candler’s drama Hellion, in which Paul plays a father who must clean up his act in order to regain custody of his son. Paul will also appear in the action-packed street racing drama Need For Speed, which is being directed by Scott Waugh (Bruce Almighty, Last of the Mohicans) and is scheduled to come out in March. You can watch the new trailer for the movie right here on MADE. For more news on Aaron Paul, just stay tuned; I doubt it will be difficult to hear some news regarding his career over the course of the new year.
Tonight marks the end of the series that has become so popular, the Chicago White Sox felt the need to borrow its logo to try to get viewers to watch their season-closer instead! Breaking Bad became a smash hit when it aired on AMC back in 2008 with one of the most memorable series openings ever filmed. The story of a dying chemistry teacher who turns Meth-chef in order to provide for his family after he dies drew us in the minute we saw a man in a dress shirt, underwear, and a gas mask frantically driving an RV with two dead bodies in the back and an unconscious passenger through the middle of the desert. Even more engrossing is the progression of Walter White’s greed and self-consumption in his ability to cook the purest Meth in the southwestern United States.
The show has earned Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn Emmy awards for their performances as Walter, Jesse, and Skylar and has secured many other awards and nominations, including three Golden Globes and the 2013 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. The series opening scene even won Lynne Willingham the 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series! This show will surely go down as one of the most memorable and intense dramas that television has ever seen. The award winning writers have done an excellent job bringing Walter White’s story to the screen with such suspense and intensity, and such an epic could not have ended any better way, with all loose ends tied, and Walter’s mission to leave his money behind accomplished (I won’t say anymore in case you haven’t watched it yet!). To fill in the gap that is now your Sunday evening, be sure to catch up on the last season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and watch the fourth season opener on Sunday, October 13th at 9/8c.
Leonardo DiCaprio is well known for his ability to take on challenging roles with versatility and style, but these days he seems to be more focused on producing than acting. His next acting role will be in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, in which DiCaprio plays Wall Street tycoon Jordan Belfort, who fell from the top when the federal government began an investigation into his high-life activities. From the producer’s seat, however, DiCaprio has the luxury of choosing projects he finds artistically appealing, even if he doesn’t have any interest in starring in them. His production company Appian Way has already undertaken projects with major directors, including Brad Furman for the upcoming Runner Runner starring Ben Affleck. The company is also in works to take on H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, which has had several film adaptations over the years beginning in 1932 and most recently starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. Screenwriters Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman will be writing the adaptation. Both writers recently received an Emmy nomination for Hemlock Grove, a new series available on Netflix. With the project still extremely early in production it will still be a while before a release date is set, but with DiCaprio backing the film the writers may take extra measures to get it done in a timely fashion.