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Movie podcast: Zac Efron's latest, Meru, Diary, and summer recap

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Academy to honor Spike Lee, Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowlands in November

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

SPIKE LEE, DEBBIE REYNOLDS AND GENA ROWLANDS TO RECEIVE ACADEMY’S 2015 GOVERNORS AWARDS
 
Here is the official press release: 

Oscar-statueLOS ANGELES, CA – The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Tuesday night (Aug. 25) to present Honorary Awards to Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Debbie Reynolds.  All three awards will be presented at the Academy’s 7th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

“The Board is proud to recognize our honorees’ remarkable contributions at this year’s Governors Awards,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.  “We’ll be celebrating their achievements with the knowledge that the work they have accomplished – with passion, dedication and a desire to make a positive difference – will also enrich future generations.”

Lee, a champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers, made an auspicious debut with his NYU thesis film, “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads,” which won a Student Academy Award in 1983. 

He proceeded to blaze a distinctive trail with such features as “She’s Gotta Have It,” “School Daze” and “Do the Right Thing,” which earned him a 1989 Oscar nomination for Original Screenplay.  His work as a director ranges from the Oscar-nominated documentary feature “4 Little Girls” to such mainstream successes as “Malcolm X” and “Inside Man.” 

Lee’s other feature credits include “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Jungle Fever,” “Crooklyn,” “He Got Game,” “25th Hour,” “Miracle at St. Anna” and “Red Hook Summer.”  He currently serves as the artistic director of the graduate film program at NYU.

Rowlands, an original talent whose devotion to her craft has earned her worldwide recognition as an independent film icon, received Academy Award nominations for her lead performances in “A Woman under the Influence” (1974) and “Gloria” (1980), both directed by her husband and frequent collaborator, John Cassavetes. 

She got her start on the New York stage and in live television in the 1950s and has appeared in 40 feature films to date, from “The High Cost of Loving” in 1958 to “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” which she starred in earlier this year.  Her other notable films include “Lonely Are the Brave,” “Faces,” “Minnie and Moskowitz,” “Opening Night,” “Another Woman,” “Unhook the Stars,” “Hope Floats,” “Playing by Heart,” “The Notebook” and “Broken English.” 

Reynolds, a Hollywood icon since she won hearts with her buoyant performance in “Singin’ in the Rain,” embarked on the role of a lifetime as a founding member of the Thalians, a charitable organization conceived and sustained by entertainers to promote awareness and treatment of mental health issues. 

She served as the group’s president almost continuously from 1957 to 2011, adding numerous terms as board chair and frequently presiding over its annual fundraising gala.  Her tireless efforts have enabled the Thalians to contribute millions to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai and to UCLA’s Operation Mend, which helps military veterans recover from the physical and psychological wounds of war.

 Reynolds has appeared in more than 40 feature films, including “The Tender Trap,” “A Catered Affair” and “Mother,” and received a 1964 Oscar nomination for her lead performance in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

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Watch trailer for Love the Coopers (Let It Snow) filmed in Pgh.

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Here is the trailer for "Love the Coopers," the formerly titled "Let It Snow" filmed in Pittsburgh earlier this year with an all-star ensemble. It stars Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, June Squibb,  Marisa Tomei, Anthony Mackie and Jake Lacy. 

Here is the official description:  "Love the Coopers" follows the Cooper clan as four generations of extended family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. As the evening unfolds, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.

See how many Pittsburgh places you recognize.  

 
 

 

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Straight Outta Compton leads the pack for second week in row

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Compton3

“Straight Outta Compton” held onto the box office lead this weekend, putting “Sinister 2,” “Hitman: Agent 47” and “American Ultra” in their places on the top 10 list. 
 
The story of N.W.A. made another $26 million, bringing its North American gross to $111 million. 
 
Here are the early estimates courtesy of Rentrak: 
 
1. “Straight Outta Compton” — $26,756,125, for $111,479,595 so far. 
2. “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” — $11,700,000, or $157,763,039 to date.
3. “Sinister 2” — $10,633,000.
4. “Hitman: Agent 47” — $8,200,000.
5. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” — $7,420,000, for $26,636,840.
6. “American Ultra” — $5,500,000.
7. “The Gift” — $4,300,000, or $31,053,163.
8. “Ant-Man” — $4,088,000, nudging its North American gross to $164,524,370.
9. “Minions” — $3,706,290, for $319,961,615.
10. “Fantastic Four” — $3,650,000, for $49,625,362.
 
The Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck” fell off the top 10 but crossed the $100 million mark this weekend in North America.
 
The overall box office will be down around 5 percent to 6 percent vs. the same weekend a year ago when “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” attracted moviegoers, Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak, reports. 

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Movie podcast: Reviews of Hitman, Brando doc, Phoenix

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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