Matt writes: Garry Marshall, the comedy mastermind behind several iconic TV shows and hit films, died last Tuesday at age 81. He leaves behind a rich legacy that did not go unnoticed by Roger Ebert. The critic greatly admired Marshall's 1984 film, "The Flamingo Kid," hailing its star, Matt Dillon, as a revelation. Ebert also loved Marshall's phenomenally successful 1990 romantic comedy, "Pretty Women," which launched the career of Julia Roberts. "[Marshall's] films betray an instinctive good nature," wrote Ebert in his three-and-a-half-star review, "and [this film] is about as warmhearted as a movie about two cold realists can possibly be." For heartfelt eulogies, check out the obituary penned by Susan Wloszcyzyna at RogerEbert.com, as well as Hadley Freeman’s remembrance at The Guardian. For guaranteed laughs, check out the clip embedded below of Marshall in an unforgettable excerpt from Albert Brooks' 1985 classic, "Lost in America," a scene that Ebert claimed was the best in the movie. It's hard not to agree with him.
"The Magic of Belle Isle" (109 minutes) is available via iTunes, Amazon, Comcast, DirecTV, VUDU and other outlets. A limited theatrical release begins July 1.
Rob Reiner's "The Magic of Belle Isle" is an Easy Button of a film, as generic and conventional as its title. If you ever wondered what a Hallmark Channel original movie would be like if you threw some A-list talent at it -- namely Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen instead of, say, Jeffrey Nordling and Kristy Swanson -- here's your answer.
Freeman stars as Monte Wildhorn, an alcoholic in a wheelchair and "writer (of westerns) nobody reads." His books, once popular, are now out of print. Monte's nephew (Keenan Thompson) deposits him in the idyllic lakeside town of Belle Isle to housesit. Nephew's ulterior motive, of course, is that he will be inspired to stop drinking and start writing again, but the embittered Monte is a hard case. "Toss it in the garbage," he says of his typewriter. "She's a black-hearted whore, and I'm done with her."
So what will it take to turn this curmudgeon into a softie? Guy Thomas' simplistic script leaves nothing to chance. How about saddling Monte with a lazy old dog named Ringo (yes, Ringo) that has a penchant for licking itself? No? Well then, how about introducing a single mother (Madsen) who is going through a divorce with three -- count 'em -- daughters: one adorable, one precocious, and one sullen? Still not enough? Well then how about adding to the mix a mentally challenged boy who hops around the neighborhood and whom Monte takes under his wing as his "sidekick?"
Marie writes: I love illustrators best in all the world. There's something so alive about the scratch and flow of pen & ink, the original medium of cheeky and subversive wit. And so when club member Sandy Kahn submitted links for famed British illustrator Ronald Searle and in the hopes others might find him interesting too, needless to say, I was quick to pounce; for before Ralph Steadman there was Ronald Searle... "The two people who have probably had the greatest influence onmy life are Lewis Carroll and Ronald Searle."-- John LennonVisit Kingly Books' Ronald Searle Gallery to view a sordid collection of wicked covers and view sample pages therein. (click to enlarge image.) And for yet more covers, visit Ronald Searle: From Prisoner of War to Prolific Illustrator at Abe Books.
"Twists of fate, love and humour, perseverance and, finally, a philosophical outlook- his story has it all." - Sarah Hampson.(click photo to enlarge) From the Globe and Mail article "You couldn't write this script" published July 19, 2010.From the Grand Poobah: "A young lady with excellent taste". (click to enlarge) "Ever since I was a child messing around with a terrible paint set from K-mart, I have been obsessed with controlling pigment suspended in water. Now I paint with divine, hand-made watercolors from Holland along with brushes ranging from high-end to dirt cheap, but the obsession remains..." - from Kelly Eddington's artist statement. To read more and see her truly wonderful watercolors, visit Kelly Eddington's Website and Gallery.
Ah, watercolors.... so easy to master; only takes decades....
It's like, you know, I'm talking with Drew Barrymore and she is like so drowning me in words, and I'm like so getting it, and I'm thinking like, here is a girl who is like still only 23 years old and has been in like 30 movies and already grown beyond the problems that most people her age still soooo don't know how to handle.
The streamlined 32nd Chicago International Film Festival opens Thursday, with fewer films but better quality control. Emerging from a year of boardroom turmoil and an attempted coup, festival founder Michael J. Kutza has retained his post as director but adopted some of the changes long called for by the event's critics.