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The Lego Movie easily retains No. 1 title at box office

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

legobatman
 
When it came to Valentine’s Day choices, “The Lego Movie” edged out any R or PG-13 rated competition. 
 
Kevin Hart now has two movies on the top 10 list with “About Last Night” and “Ride Along” while “Winter’s Tale” didn’t burn up the box office, landing in No. 7. “Frozen,” however, is still attracting newcomers and repeat moviegoers. 
 
Here are the early numbers from Rentrak. These figures are likely to grow more than usual, given Monday’s holiday:
 
fro1. “The Lego Movie” — $48,810,000, bringing its running gross to $129,112,930.
2. “About Last Night” — $27,000,000.
3. “RoboCop” — $21,500,000, for $26,445,612 since its Wednesday opening. 
4. “Monuments Men” — $15,000,000, or $43,668,667 to date. 
5. “Endless Love” — $13,379,520.
6. “Ride Along” — $8,759,160, for $116,132,955 so far. 
7. “Winter’s Tale” — $7,785,000.
8. “Frozen” — $5,855,000, which brings its running gross to $376,046,000. 
9. “Lone Survivor” — $4,076,325, or $118,402,491 to date. 
10. “That Awkward Moment” — $3,337,000, for $21,399,946 since release.
LG-FP-119 
 

 

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Jennifer Lawrence to present at Oscars March 2

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

jenlawrence470Jennifer Lawrence will be a presenter on the 86th Academy Awards, the show’s producers have announced.

She was named best actress a year ago for “Silver Linings Playbook” and this year, she’s a supporting actress nominee for “American Hustle.” She also was nominated for her leading role in “Winter’s Bone.”

Final voting for the Oscars started this morning and will close Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Academy members can vote online or with traditional paper ballots.

As in the past, the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers will tabulate and verify the results.

The Oscars will be March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Ellen DeGeneres will host.

Photo of Lawrence at last year’s ceremony by Sara Wood, A.M.P.A.S.

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Remembering Sid Caesar, who died today at age 91

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

Obit Sid Caesar .JPEG-09ffb
First Shirley Temple, now Sid Caesar. The entertainment world is as little less bright this week with news that Caesar died today at his home. He was 91 years old. I spoke to him in September 2000 in connection with some DVDs celebrating his work. Here is that story.
 
Sid Caesar recalls the adrenaline rush of live TV
 
By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
 
Sid Caesar had to think on his feet -- and, occasionally, about his feet.
 
Take the live TV episode a half-century ago when his longtime producer, Max Liebman, shuffled the order of the comedy sketches right before airtime. The dresser, who sometimes had 70 seconds to help Caesar change costumes, told the actor everything was under control.
 
“So I went up and got dressed in this leotard that was like a leopard skin, and I had these big gold lame boots, and I ran downstairs and I looked out on the stage and it’s a bus sketch. Now, this is live. This is live,” the 78-year-old recalled in a phone call from his Los Angeles home.
 
“And I was in shock for about a second and a half, and I said, ‘Pants, coat. Pants, coat, shirt. Come on, come on.’ I took the pants off one guy, the shirt off another guy and I ran into the sketch,” where the other actor asked, “What kept you?”
 
Caesar ad-libbed that he had a little trouble getting dressed and acknowledged the funky footwear: “Yeah, they look nice, but you gotta feed them every morning and then you gotta shave them at night. They’re a lot of trouble.”
 
Live television could be a treasure trove of trouble -- scenery falling down, actors forgetting their lines -- but it also could be pure adrenaline for the performers and the audience. Caesar, whose “Your Show of Shows” premiered Feb. 25, 1950, did 90 minutes live for 39 weeks a year. For four years.
 
No second takes. No editing. No TelePrompTers. Not even cue cards, since some actors tended to read them instead of playing to their performing partners.
 
“We didn’t know we couldn’t do it, so we did it,” says writer Mel Brooks. “If anybody was asked to do that today, they’d say, ‘Impossible.’ “
 
Now, Caesar is promoting a venture that would have seemed impossible 50 years ago: the release of “The Sid Caesar Collection” on video and DVD, available at www.sidvid.com or, as of today, in stores.
 
At the moment, the collection consists of three 75-minute tapes or DVDs: “The Magic of Live TV,” “Creating the Comedy” and “Inside the Writer’s Room.” If you order from the Web site, you get a free copy of “On the Docks,” a parody of “On the Waterfront” with Caesar and actress Nanette Fabray.
 
In addition to the sketches, the tapes feature interviews with writers and cast members: Caesar, Brooks, Fabray, Carl Reiner, brothers Neil and Danny Simon, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart, Howard Morris and Mel Tolkin.
 
This is the first time that sketches from “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour” have been presented in their entirety since they aired. Also included are some bits from “The Admiral Broadway Revue,” a 1949 variety hour that ran on the NBC and Dumont networks simultaneously and gave Caesar his TV start. A couple of months after “Your Show of Shows” ended, the star returned with “Caesar’s Hour” from September 1954 to May ‘57.
 
In those days, programs were preserved on kinescopes, reels of film shot off a TV monitor as the live show aired. The kinescopes have been digitally restored, cleaned up and enhanced frame by frame.
 
Caesar had the foresight to keep 450 hours of material in Iron Mountain, a temperature and humidity-controlled storage facility in Hollywood. “I just wanted a collection for myself, to know what I did,” he said. Keeping the kinescopes proved a stroke of creative and business genius.
 
Three partners from Creative Light Entertainment originally contacted Caesar about the movie rights to his 1982 autobiography. That led to a deal to bring out the videos, which could grow to a set of 10 plus a documentary.
 
Peter Jaysen, one of those partners, said, “We met Sid a year and a half ago, and we spent over a year putting these first three together. We spent about four months coming up to Sid’s private study twice a week, watching the kinescopes to choose what we would put out there. There was just so much, there’s a wealth of material there. ...
 
“We would love to see it turn into a larger series because then there would be a definitive collection of ‘Your Show of Shows’ and ‘Caesar’s Hour’ fully restored.”
 
Deciding what to include in this first round was a matter of flow, just as it was in assembling the show. “You have to have a balance; you just don’t throw sketches together,” Caesar said.
 
“If you have one with a lot of physical action, you don’t put it up against another with a lot of physical action. You gotta start the show with something everybody understands, usually a home sketch ... since most people are familiar with that. Then, as you work on, you get a little crazier, come back again with a silent movie or something else,” such as a faux foreign film, movie satire or even an opera.
 
Obit Sid Caesar.JPEG-00bd4“The Magic of Live TV” collection opens with a sketch about a bet over the names of Disney’s seven dwarfs. It ratchets up the zaniness with a Viennese professor in a Hollywood boardroom, a rapid-fire bit about the $5 date, Caesar’s saxophone sit-in with the Benny Goodman Orchestra, a gem of physical comedy in which Caesar, Reiner, Morris and Imogene Coca pretend to be figures on a Bavarian clock, some matchmaking mischief, a performance by the long-haired Haircuts and a spoof of “This Is Your Life,” considered one of the funniest moments in TV.
 
The spoof was shot in front of 5,000 people at the sister theater to Radio City Music Hall in New York. The sketch was one of those rare bits that was not rehearsed. “The first time we did it was on the air,” Caesar recalls. “All we did was walk through it and talk through it,” to save the craziness and physical energy for the real thing.
 
Although now recovering from a broken hip, Caesar adhered to a strict routine during his TV tenure. He left the house at 8:38 or 8:40 a.m., was in his office by 9:30 and started work at 9:45 a.m. “We’d keep hours. It’s not when it comes to you. You get all these guys in, to go to work in the same room.”
 
The show had to be written by Wednesday night, to allow time for the mimeograph machines to crank out duplicates (this was before fancy copying and collating machines) and for props, scenery, costumes, makeup and sound effects to be readied for Saturday night’s live performance.
 
In between were run-throughs, rewriting, blocking and rehearsals. And if some recollections of those days are to be believed, there also were moments of comic genius, cigars, alcohol, arguments, angst, therapy and at least one writer dangled from the office window by his ankles.
 
Almost a half-century after Caesar helped to invent TV comedy, he has found a new audience in college students. “The young kids are just eating it up alive. ... They’ve never seen this type of comedy. No schmuz,” he said, using the Yiddish word for dirt. “The whole family can watch this; you can watch this with your kids.
 
“And we didn’t need it,” he says, of the off-color material today. “The audience you hear is not canned laughter, that’s from the live audience. It’s not been sweetened.”
 
2002 file photo of Sid Caesar, arriving at  NBC’s 75th anniversary celebration in New York.  AP Photo/Ron Frehm, File
 
Also, Caesar and Imogene Coca in New York for the Museum of Broadcasting's first "Salute to Television." AP Photo/Aubrey Reuben, File.

 

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TCM plans Shirley Temple cable marathon on March 9

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

heidi1937 ff 188x141 051820101232Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will pay tribute to Shirley Temple Black with a series of her films starting on Sunday, March 9 (a week after the Oscars). The retired actress died at age 85 at her home in Woodside, Calif.
 
“Shirley Temple was a good friend and an extraordinary human being who, after being the most famous person in the world at age 6 and Hollywood’s pint-sized queen at age 7, grew up to be such a lovely, civic-minded citizen, wife and mother, as well as the U.S. ambassador to two countries,” said TCM Host Robert Osborne.
 
“There will never be another one like her.”
 
The schedule on March 9: 
 
oldershirley4:30 p.m. —  Heidi (1937)
6:15 p.m. —  Stowaway (1936)
8 p.m. —  Bright Eyes (1934)
9:30 p.m. —  The Little Princess (1939)
11:15 p.m. —  I’ll Be Seeing You (1944)
12:45 a.m. —  The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947)
2:30 a.m. —  A Kiss For Corliss (1949)
4:15 a.m. —  That Hagen Girl (1947)
 
Shirley Temple Black photo by Gabriel Moulin Studios, San Francisco.

 

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SAG-AFTRA remembers beloved child star Shirley Temple Black

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

SAG-AFTRA remembers Shirley Temple Black, who has died: 

shirleypicShirley Temple Black, the 42nd Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement honoree, died Monday at the age of 85. Black captivated the world as no other child star has done before or since, and then went on to serve her country as an eminent diplomat over more than three decades.

SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said, "Shirley was a terrific actor whose vibrancy and brilliance set audiences on fire at a crucial time in our nation's history. More important, she was a conscientious and caring citizen whose work on behalf of her union and her country exemplified true service. She'll be greatly missed by so many, but never forgotten.

"She was a true icon of the entertainment industry and beloved of our her colleagues in the acting profession.  Shirley simply epitomized the word "star".  There are few more deserving of her accolades and I am personally so pleased that she was a recipient of our Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award."

In accepting her 2005 award from the union, Black said, “I'm indeed honored to receive the Life Achievement Award from my peers … When I was three years old, I was delighted to be told that I was an actress, even though I didn't know what an actress was.

“I'd been blessed with three wonderful careers: motion pictures and television, wife, mother and grandmother, and diplomatic services, for the United States government. I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the Life Achievement Award: start early!”

Photo shows Shirley Temple with Victor McLaglen in "Wee Willie Winkie, 1937. 

 

 

 

 

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