TNT & USA are premiering or returning eight series in the next two weeks and yet they get half the press of other networks. What are they doing right and are any of the new shows worth a look?
"Pearl Jam Twenty" is available On Demand (check your satellite or cable listings) and premieres on the PBS series "American Masters" at 9 p. m. (ET/PT), Oct. 21. It will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 25. For additional viewing, the grunge documentary "Hype!" is available on Netflix (DVD only).
by Jeff Shannon
Here in Seattle, we think of Cameron Crowe as an honorary native. When he married Nancy Wilson in 1986, he married into local rock royalty: Nancy and her sister, Ann, are the pioneering queens of rock in Heart, the phenomenally successful and still-touring Seattle-based band that is presently nominated for induction into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. It wasn't long before Crowe became a kind of de facto ambassador of Seattle-based rock.
At the time, the rest of the world still knew Crowe as the rock-journalist wunderkind who started writing for Rolling Stone at age 15 (an experience Crowe would later dramatize in "Almost Famous") and the author-turned-screenwriter of Amy Heckerling's 1982 high-school classic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." You could reasonably speculate that the seeds of the Crowe/Wilson romance were planted in "Fast Times": Nancy Wilson makes a cameo appearance in the film as "Beautiful Girl in Car," catching Judge Reinhold's character in yet another moment of humiliating embarrassment. One can imagine Crowe thinking "I'm gonna marry that girl." When he actually did, countless male Heart fans turned green with envy.
(By sheer happenstance, I made a friendly connection with Crowe three years before we actually met. Shortly after the newlywed Crowe moved to the Eastside Seattle suburb of Woodinville, he and Nancy placed a mobile home on their rural property to accommodate visits from Wilson's mother. At the time, my father was running a mortgage business specializing in mobile/land sales in Snohomish County, and he closed their deal. When my dad informed Crowe that I was a Seattle film critic and an admirer of his, Crowe sent me a signed copy of Fast Times at Ridgemont High to my dad's office. It was a completely unsolicited gesture of kindness, and a pleasant precursor to later encounters.)
He had these smiling eyes. And a self-deprecating manner which seemed to belie his very good looks ("He's so cute," my 19-year-old assistant exclaimed), about which he was fairly oblivious. Most of all, he was simply a very good guy.
Gary Winick, a many-hats-wearing filmmaker and digital pioneer, died of complications following a 2 year battle with brain cancer on February 27th, the day of the Academy Awards --- an especially sad irony for a vital man, weeks shy of 50, whose passion for film and storytelling had filled the decades of his adult life.
The private memorial service was held at the Time-Warner Center in Winick's beloved New York. Overlooking Central Park as the sun set, an invited group of 400 (some going back to childhood, some famous, many with whom he'd worked, even some he'd made sure got a decent meal when they were struggling) assembled to watch film clips, to hear and tell stories - to cry, yes, but also to laugh at so many experiences they certainly cherish now.
"I wanted to do something more mainstream," Kevin Bacon said. "I wanted to do something where I actually got paid, you know. I was just coming off of 'Mystic River' and I didn't want to do anything dark." He certainly didn't want to play a child molester who is released from prison and tries to control his obsession, lead a normal life, even have a normal relationship.
TORONTO -- I went to be interviewed for Stuart Samuels' new documentary, "Midnight Movies," and it started me thinking. His film will be about the transgressive movies that started appearing in the 1970s -- titles like "Eraserhead," "El Topo" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." He wanted to know who went to see them, and why, and what it all meant, and his questions started me thinking.
CANNES, France -- The 57th Cannes Film Festival heads into its closing weekend with no clear favorite for the Palme d'Or, and with critics generally agreeing there have been good films but no sensation that has pulled ahead of the pack. The most rapturous reception was for Michael Moore's Bush-whacking documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," but the applause was as much for its politics as its filmmaking.
PARK CITY, Utah--From despair to victory, the South African documentary "Amandla!" has the widest range of emotion of any film at this year's Sundance. It follows the history of the struggle for freedom in terms of the movement's music--which was, as one singer observes, a weapon the apartheid government could not disarm.
There is a moment in "Phenomenon," the new John Travolta picture, when his character gets zapped with a strange light from the sky. He was a nice enough guy before he got hit with the light, but afterward he's--phenomenal. He can learn Portuguese in 15 minutes, and get corn to grow where it wouldn't grow before, and tell the guy at the local bar how to rearrange his parking lot to fit in six more cars.