If all blockbuster-sized entertainments were even half as ambitious and ingenious as these films have been, moviegoers would be infinitely better off.
Awards season again. Last year, as you may recall, a many months pregnant Natalie Portman received the Oscar for Best Actress for "Black Swan." Her lithesome acceptance speech, without notes, thanked many colleagues she knew had helped her stand there. As both a lifelong moviegoer and a worker on films, my spirit lifted at these words: "There are people on films that no one ever talks about, that are your heart and soul every day, including Joe Reidy, our incredible A.D..." Along with so many others, I was thrilled by her sentiment -- and especially pleased for Joe Reidy.
The Grand Poobah writes: Unless we find an angel, our television program will go off the air at the end of its current season. There. I've said it. Usually in television, people use evasive language. Not me. We'll be gone. I want to be honest about why this is. We can't afford to finance it any longer.
To read the full story, visit "The Chimes at midnight" on the Blog.
Q: I couldn't let Marlon Brando's passing go by without telling this story. Over 20 years ago when I was just starting out as a teacher in Chicago, I had a student who loved Brando. As a writing assignment, I'd promised to find addresses for the stars the kids liked, so they could write to them and see who answered.