A sneak peek from AFI FEST 2018 of Chuck Lorre's new Netflix series about Hollywood has-beens and wannabes, starring Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas.
A guide to the latest and greatest on Blu-ray and DVD, including three Criterion releases, The Wall, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
An appreciation of Richard Schickel, Time magazine film critic and prolific film director and book author.
Rare interview and review excerpts with Roger Ebert are brought to animated life by Blank on Blank and others.
"The Captains" is available on Netflix, EpixHD.com, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and DVD. It will screen on HBO Canada March 21.
Stardate 65630.8 (1 March 2012)
What made "Star Trek" the most "durable and profitable franchise" in entertainment history? In his documentary, writer-director-producer William Shatner makes a convincing argument that it was "The Captains" -- they set the tone and they brought the theatricality and Shakespearean linguistic grace to TV.
"The Captains," appeared in October, 2011, in Canada, had one-night screenings here and there across North America, and helped launch EpixHD.com. That all seems in keeping with Shatner's impressive role as a new-media barnstormer. No, he's not making political speeches, but he's on Google+ and Facebook, and he's traveling around North America promoting and preserving what may be his most lasting legacy, his role as Captain James T. Kirk. He's even returned to Broadway in a one-man show covering his career before, during and beyond "Star Trek." (Yes, "returned.")
In Hollywood, people joke about the William Shatner School of Acting. He's corny. He's melodramatic. And he has a sizable ego. But he's really not a bad actor. We forget that before "Star Trek," Shatner seemed destined to become a fine stage actor. He first made the trip to Broadway from his native Canada in 1956 with a small part in "Tamburlaine the Great" in 1956. The production had two Tony nominations. He scored the starring role in "The World of Suzie Wong," which ran for two years. Both he and the female lead won Theatre World Awards for their work. In 1962, he was one of the main performers in "A Shot in the Dark," for which Walter Matthau won a featured actor Tony. All that momentum got sidetracked when he went Hollywood.
Marie writes: Having recently seen a stage play, I was reminded again of how much I enjoy them. And the buildings they're often performed in. Which sent me off looking for old ones and hopefully Theatres you never hear about - as then it's like stumbling upon a secret known only to a lucky few. And thus how I found "Minack Theatre Portcurno Cornwall" with a view over-looking the Cornish sea...
Q. I'm so glad you reviewed "Robin Hood" as a "loss of innocence." I couldn't agree with you more. I would much rather see people laugh, love, and be absurd in movies, rather than hate, fight, and disembowel. I'm so glad you felt this way, because most of what Russell Crowe does falls into the latter. Modern guys feel they have to have a certain level of intensity about them or else they are wimps I guess. I for one am glad I retain something of the dreamer, the wanderer, and the lazy laugh of my childhood. I rarely go to the movies anymore because i don't want images of violence or gore impressed upon my subconscious, regardless of whether they are "real" or not. (Stephen Sian, North Vancouver, BC)
One of my favorite pastimes, especially when I should be doing something else, is moseying around the blogs of my readers. You may have noticed that when the name of a poster is displayed in blue, that means it's a link -- usually to the author's blog, although you might be surprised. Assembled here is a distinctive readership of interesting people, not least because I am vigilant about never posting idiotic or perfunctory comments. A certain civil tone is (usually) maintained, avoiding the plague of flame wars.
More than a year ago, when the blog was somewhat new to me, I wrote: "Your comments have provided me with the best idea of my readers that I have ever had, and you are the readers I have dreamed of. I was writing to you before I was sure you were there. You are thoughtful, engaged, fair, and often the authors of eloquent prose. You take the time to craft comments of hundreds of words. Frequently you are experts, and generous enough to share your knowledge."
Q. There are several reports about extreme reactions of early cinema audiences that I find hard to believe. It is said that viewers of the first movies were frightened by what they saw, such as moving images of an incoming train.