50 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

09 July 2014

Oh no, not 'Dumbo' too!

Dumbo350r
(Walt Disney Productions)

That noise you may be hearing today might just be Walt Disney spinning in his cremation urn.

According to an article published on the Hollywood Reporter website, Disney has a live-action Dumbo reboot in the works.

I'm not sure how you feel about that, but from this aisle seat it's almost as bad as saying there's a remake of Casablanca in the works with Channing Tatum taking over the Humphrey Bogart role of Rick and Kim Kardashian as teary-eyed Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman.

"This is the latest classic animated title that Disney is turning into a live-action movie, and it’s a strategy that has paid off: Maleficent, the most recent example, is a re-imagining of the 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty and has grossed more than $630 million worldwide since its May 30 release. The granddaddy of them all is the Johnny Depp version of Alice in Wonderland, which has earned more than $1 billion," the Hollywood Reporter article states.

No word yet when the live-action Dumbo will debut.  I'm thinking the timing may have something to do with finding a lovable baby elephant with giant floppy ears that can fly and -- here's the tough part -- cry on demand.

'Tammy's' bad B.O.

Tammy320r
Melissa McCarthy's starring vehicle "Tammy" is hitting some box-office potholes. (Warner Bros.)

You think you've got problems?

Well, maybe you do, but you'll have to go some to beat the Hollywood pity party that some of the major movie studios have going on following the disappointing weekend B.O.; box-office that is.

According to an article posted on the Hollywood Reporter website, historic lows were reported over the long Fourth of July weekend.  Tammy, the R-rated lowbrow comedy teaming Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon, led the downer derby with a weekend gross of only $32.9 million, says the Hollywood Reporter article.

"Revenue for Fourth of July weekend hit only $130 million, down 44 percent from last year's $229.8 million haul and the lowest in 16 years. Granted, the holiday fell on a Friday this year — a disadvantage — but revenue managed to reach $160.2 million in 2008, the last time the Fourth was a Friday. One reason for the dramatic downturn is that no big tentpole rolled out, probably because no one wanted to open in the wake of Transformers: Age of Extinction, which debuted June 27," the article stated.

Oh boo hoo.  Here's an idea:  Make better movies.  Want more advice?  Come up with some fresh franchises and discontinue the embarrassing practice of extending and/or remaking worn out franchises like Spider-man, Batman, Transformers and the like.

The new Senior Voice is here!

SeniorV220lThere's good news for those of us who have already passed 50 without slowing down or collecting $200.

The Senior Voice newspaper is in news racks all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Editor/publisher Carol Butler has put together a great July-August issue, which includes a terrific article on Fort Worth screenwriter James V. Hart.  (Here's the link.)

If you're curious about the movies I'm looking forward to during the next couple of months, check out my Getting Reel movie column on Page 12, or click this link.

Oh, and if you get a little confused and concerned when you get to the part where I'm really looking forward to Tammy starring Melissa McCarthy, shoot me an email (MovieMemories@verizon.net) and I'll be glad to explain how long-distance deadlines work.

Pedal pushers -- Tour de film

Breaking320r
Dennis Christopher in "Breaking Away." (20th Century Fox)

Every year about this time the winding, hilly streets of France are filled with finely tuned bodies swooshing by in colorful spandex giving their all in an attempt to win the Tour de France.

I must admit that cycling is not my usual sport of choice.  What I really enjoy, though, is how the streets of U.S. towns and cities fill (especially early on Saturday mornings) with not so finely tuned bodies stretching their brightly colored spandex to the stitch-splitting max celebrating the Tour de France vicariously.

You may be asking.  What about us movie-lovers, though?  How are we supposed to glorify the thrill of pedal-to-pedal competition?

Hey, bike off.  I've got you covered.

Although Breaking Away (1979) isn't about the Tour de France as such.  It is about cycling ... and so much more.  Dennis Christopher heads the cast as a lonely recent high school grad living in the college town of Bloomington, Ind.  A college co-ed catches his eye and he poses as an Italian -- an Italian cyclist, that is -- to try to win her affections.

A very young Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and San Antonian Jackie Earle Haley round out the cast, along with Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley and Robyn Douglass as Katherine, the object of Dave's (Christopher) affection.

I saw five or six grizzled salesmen (who should have been working) stand up and cheer the exciting finish (a bicycle race, of course) when I first saw Breaking Away in a Dallas movie house in 1979.

Check it out in the spirit of the Tour de France.  If you don't stand up and cheer, I guarantee that at the very least it will cheer you up.

08 July 2014

'Tammy's' bad B.O.

Tammy320r
Melissa McCarthy's starring vehicle "Tammy" is hitting some box-office potholes. (Warner Bros.)

You think you've got problems?

Well, maybe you do, but you'll have to go some to beat the Hollywood pity party that some of the major movie studios have going on following the disappointing weekend B.O.; box-office that is.

According to an article posted on the Hollywood Reporter website, historic lows were reported over the long Fourth of July weekend.  Tammy, the R-rated lowbrow comedy teaming Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon, led the downer derby with a weekend gross of only $32.9 million, says the Hollywood Reporter article.

"Revenue for Fourth of July weekend hit only $130 million, down 44 percent from last year's $229.8 million haul and the lowest in 16 years. Granted, the holiday fell on a Friday this year — a disadvantage — but revenue managed to reach $160.2 million in 2008, the last time the Fourth was a Friday. One reason for the dramatic downturn is that no big tentpole rolled out, probably because no one wanted to open in the wake of Transformers: Age of Extinction, which debuted June 27," the article stated.

Oh boo hoo.  Here's an idea:  Make better movies.  Want more advice?  Come up with some fresh franchises and discontinue the embarrassing practice of extending and/or remaking worn out franchises like Spider-man, Batman, Transformers and the like.

The new Senior Voice is here!

SeniorV220lThere's good news for those of us who have already passed 50 without slowing down or collecting $200.

The Senior Voice newspaper is in news racks all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  Editor/publisher Carol Butler has put together a great July-August issue, which includes a terrific article on Fort Worth screenwriter James V. Hart.  (Here's the link.)

If you're curious about the movies I'm looking forward to during the next couple of months, check out my Getting Reel movie column on Page 12, or click this link.

Oh, and if you get a little confused and concerned when you get to the part where I'm really looking forward to Tammy starring Melissa McCarthy, shoot me an email (MovieMemories@verizon.net) and I'll be glad to explain how long-distance deadlines work.

Pedal pushers -- Tour de film

Breaking320r
Dennis Christopher in "Breaking Away." (20th Century Fox)

Every year about this time the winding, hilly streets of France are filled with finely tuned bodies swooshing by in colorful spandex giving their all in an attempt to win the Tour de France.

I must admit that cycling is not my usual sport of choice.  What I really enjoy, though, is how the streets of U.S. towns and cities fill (especially early on Saturday mornings) with not so finely tuned bodies stretching their brightly colored spandex to the stitch-splitting max celebrating the Tour de France vicariously.

You may be asking.  What about us movie-lovers, though?  How are we supposed to glorify the thrill of pedal-to-pedal competition?

Hey, bike off.  I've got you covered.

Although Breaking Away (1979) isn't about the Tour de France as such.  It is about cycling ... and so much more.  Dennis Christopher heads the cast as a lonely recent high school grad living in the college town of Bloomington, Ind.  A college co-ed catches his eye and he poses as an Italian -- an Italian cyclist, that is -- to try to win her affections.

A very young Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and San Antonian Jackie Earle Haley round out the cast, along with Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley and Robyn Douglass as Katherine, the object of Dave's (Christopher) affection.

I saw five or six grizzled salesmen (who should have been working) stand up and cheer the exciting finish (a bicycle race, of course) when I first saw Breaking Away in a Dallas movie house in 1979.

Check it out in the spirit of the Tour de France.  If you don't stand up and cheer, I guarantee that at the very least it will cheer you up.

07 July 2014

Pedal pushers -- Tour de movies

Breaking320r
Dave (Dennis Christopher) is not a champion Italian cyclist. He just plays one to get the girl in "Breaking Away." (20th Century Fox)

Every year about this time the winding, hilly streets of France are filled with finely tuned bodies swooshing by in colorful spandex giving their all in an attempt to win the Tour de France.

I must admit that cycling is not my usual sport of choice.  What I really enjoy, though, is how the streets of U.S. towns and cities fill (especially early on Saturday mornings) with not so finely tuned bodies stretching their brightly colored spandex to the stitch-splitting max celebrating the Tour de France vicariously.

You may be asking.  What about us movie-lovers, though?  How are we supposed to glorify the thrill of pedal-to-pedal competition?

Hey, bike off.  I've got you covered.

Although Breaking Away (1979) isn't about the Tour de France as such.  It is about cycling ... and so much more.  Dennis Christopher heads the cast as a lonely recent high school grad living in the college town of Bloomington, Ind.  A college co-ed catches his eye and he poses as an Italian -- an Italian cyclist, that is -- to try to win her affections.

A very young Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern and San Antonian Jackie Earle Haley round out the cast, along with Barbara Barrie, Paul Dooley and Robyn Douglass as Katherine, the object of Dave's (Christopher) affection.

I saw five or six grizzled salesmen (who should have been working) stand up and cheer the exciting finish (a bicycle race, of course) when I first saw Breaking Away in a Dallas movie house in 1979.

Check it out in the spirit of the Tour de France.  If you don't stand up and cheer, I guarantee that at the very least it will cheer you up.

04 July 2014

Going 4th (of July) -- Best movie

Yankee320
(Warner Bros.)

It's the Fourth of July.  Time to celebrate this great country's independence with fireworks, hot dogs, hamburgers, a beverage, perhaps, and a cold watermelon. 

There may only be time for one movie on this busy day, though.  Born on the Fourth of July, Oliver Stone's gritty biopic of paralyzed Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic starring Tom Cruise, is a good choice if you want something historic, tough to watch and very well made.

There's also some real fun to be had watching Will Smith and Bill Pullman dispatch invading aliens in Independence Day.

My choice, however, is Yankee Doodle Dandy, the 1942 flag-waver starring the late, great James Cagney as song-and-dance man George M. Cohan.  Cagney took Academy Award Best Actor honors for his spirited effort, although he had to dance up the walls to do it.

Happy 4th of July!

Classic movie lines; a retort card

We've all heard the infamous classic movie lines a hundred, perhaps a thousand times:

Gonewind310l
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in "Gone With the Wind." (MGM)

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." -- Clark Gable's Rhett Butler to Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939).

What we haven't heard, though, is a snappy comeback to those familiar lines entrenched in our subconscious.

Not until now, that is.

I've decided it's my civic duty, and perhaps my new life's work, to provide a comeback, a chance for the verbally one-upped to rattle off a clever, caustic or downright nasty topper of their own.

And in this fractured cinematic universe that came to me somewhere between the time I dozed off watching David Letterman's year long late-night victory lap before retirement and my first semi-steaming cup of Folgers this morning, the time line is as bent as my core premise.

So here goes: 

First up is Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942):

"Here's looking at you, kid."

"Get away from me, mister, or I'll call the cops on my iPad.  Mommy warned me about guys like you in trench coats.  And, once and for all, I'm not interested in the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  Oh, and something else, my name's not Louie!" -- 8-year-old walking to the school bus stop.

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." -- Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972)

"Don't bother, Cotton Cheeks.  Whatever offer you make me, Walmart will match it, right there at the register."  -- One of those smart, savvy, but slightly annoying coupon-clipping shoppers I seem to always get behind at the checkout counter.

"You talkin' to me?" -- Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976)

"I sure am, Grandpa.  And I have been for 10 minutes.  Wheel of Fortune is over and Grandma has gone in the kitchen, so turn down the TV and turn up your hearing aids so I can talk to you.  Geez, Grandpa, you never answer my texts. :("  -- Any grandchild in Anytown, USA

"The stuff that dreams are made of." -- Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941)

"No thank you.  We're tourists ... just looking around.  It's our first trip to Colorado."

"Wait a minute, wait a minute.  You ain't heard nothin' yet!" -- Al Jolson as Jakie Robinowitz in The Jazz Singer (1927)

"Yes I did, Grandpa.  We all did.  If you don't turn up your hearing aids, I'm only going to talk to you on Skype from now on." -- Any grandchild in Anytown, USA :(

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." -- Clark Gable's Rhett Butler to Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939).

"You think I care, mo#&#@)%&+@&$?"  -- Any of about a dozen interchangeable hip-hop rappers spitting out profanities while grabbing their junk.

"You don't understand!  I coulda had class.  I coulda been a contender.  I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."  -- Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954)

"Come on!  Hold that double chin up.  You're a Kardashian.  Be proud.  Don't you know you don't have to have talent to be famous.  A little plastic surgery will fix that chin, by the way."  -- Another Kardashian.

Want to join the fun?  Email us your famous movie line and caustic retort to MovieMemories@verizon.net and we'll keep the party going by adding your wittiness right here:

Make movie night a Movie Memorable night

Here's some Movie Memories news:  Announcing a new service!

Cabaret250r
Liza Minnelli belts out a tune in "Cabaret." (Warner Home Video)

Many clubs, groups and facilities have movie nights.  Now I'll host your event to make the movie evening special and, dare I say, memorable for your group.  And you and your group members still get to pick the movie.

Let's say you plan to screen Cabaret, the edgy 1972 musical that produced a Best Actress Academy Award for Liza Minnelli.

Instead of just saying something like, "Well, here's Cabaret," I will introduce the movie with background and behind-the-scene facts, including personal stories related to the film, to set the mood.

After the movie's over, I'll lead a short discussion of the film and stir some personal memories about the film from attendees in the audience.  And I'll give away prizes and make it a real movie night event.

Call 214-364-7364 to book and, once again, I'll see you at the movies.

11 June 2014

The Curtis Burch (Film) Society

Curtis Burch320
Director Fred Schepisi, left, and producer Curtis Burch on the "Words and Pictures" set in Vancouver. (Roadside Attractions)

So often, especially in this bottom-line-driven economy, the word “business” dominates the phrase movie business.

If Words and Pictures movie producer Curtis Burch has his way, that might be about to change.  At least a little.

Refreshing, isn't it?  After a quarter century doing things other people's way for some of Hollywood's biggest names, former Dallas resident Burch said something like "To heck with this.  There's got to be a better way."

Words and Pictures, the romantic comic-drama starring Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen now playing in many cities around the U.S. and opening wider on Friday (June 13), is the realization of Burch's dream to bring intelligent storytelling to mature movie audiences.

It's a fascinating tale of real-world budding romance for mature teachers at a prep school in Maine.  Also enchanting is the story of how Burch struggled to bring his movie his way to a theater near you.

I interviewed Burch for The Senior Voice newspaper.  Click here to read the article.

Oliver Stone takes on Edward Snowden project

I wasn't surprised to hear about a week ago that Oliver Stone, the gifted, but just a little goofy filmmaker who spun his version of the Vietnam War with Platoon, his slant on assassination politics with JFK, his version of a dethroned president with Nixon and then focused on President George W. Bush in W would shoot for the cinematic brass ring to bring his spin on the Edward Snowden whistle-blower story to the big screen.

Stone320
(Courtesy: indiewire.com)

What does blindside me a little, however, is the fact that Stone, whom I've interviewed several times since the Platoon days, has bought the rights to a novel penned by Snowden's Russian attorney to be used as part of Stone's upcoming movie.

"The announcement of the deal with attorney Anatoly Kucherena came a week after Stone and long-time producing partner Moritz Borman acquired rights to The Snowden Files, The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, written by journalist Luke Harding," according to Dave McNary's story posted on the Variety website.

Time of the Octopus, to be published later this year, tells the fictional story of an American whistle-blower who spends three weeks in limbo in the transit area of the Moscow airport and occupies his time there talking to a Russian lawyer about his life and what motivated him to expose a massive American surveillance program," the Variety article states.

Say what you will about Mr. Stone, a double directing Academy Award winner (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July), but the guy isn't shy about stirring the controversy pot.

Make movie night a Movie Memorable evening

Here's some Movie Memories news:  Announcing a new service!

Cabaret250r
Liza Minnelli belts out a tune in "Cabaret." (Warner Home Video)

Many clubs, groups and facilities have movie nights.  Now I'll host your event to make the movie evening special and, dare I say, memorable for your group.  And you and your group members still get to pick the movie.

Let's say you plan to screen Cabaret, the edgy 1972 musical that produced a Best Actress Academy Award for Liza Minnelli.

Instead of just saying something like, "Well, here's Cabaret," I will introduce the movie with background and behind-the-scene facts, including personal stories related to the film, to set the mood.

After the movie's over, I'll lead a short discussion of the film and stir some personal memories about the film from attendees in the audience.  And I'll give away prizes and make it a real movie night event.

Call 214-364-7364 to book and, once again, I'll see you at the movies.

10 June 2014

Oliver Stone takes on Edward Snowden

Stone320
(Courtesy: indiewire.com)

I wasn't surprised to hear about a week ago that Oliver Stone, the gifted, but just a little goofy filmmaker who spun his version of the Vietnam War with Platoon, his slant on assassination politics with JFK, his version of a dethroned president with Nixon and then focused on President George W. Bush in W would shoot for the cinematic brass ring to bring his spin on the Edward Snowden whistle-blower story to the big screen.

What does blindside me a little, however, is the fact that Stone, whom I've interviewed several times since the Platoon days, has bought the rights to a novel penned by Snowden's Russian attorney to be used as part of Stone's upcoming movie.

"The announcement of the deal with attorney Anatoly Kucherena came a week after Stoneand long-time producing partner Moritz Borman acquired rights to The Snowden Files, The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, written by journalist Luke Harding," according to Dave McNary's story posted on the Variety website.

Time of the Octopus, to be published later this year, tells the fictional story of an American whistle-blower who spends three weeks in limbo in the transit area of the Moscow airport and occupies his time there talking to a Russian lawyer about his life and what motivated him to expose a massive American surveillance program," the Variety article states.

Say what you will about Mr. Stone, a double directing Academy Award winner (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July), but the guy isn't shy about stirring the controversy pot.

Make movie night a Movie Memorable evening

Here's some Movie Memories news:  Announcing a new service -- and it's on sale!

Cabaret250r
Liza Minnelli belts out a tune in "Cabaret." (Warner Home Video)

Many clubs, groups and facilities have movie nights.  Now I'll host your event to make the movie evening special and, dare I say, memorable for your group.  And you and your group members still get to pick the movie.

Let's say you plan to screen Cabaret, the edgy 1972 musical that produced a Best Actress Academy Award for Liza Minnelli.  Instead of just saying something like, "Well, here's Cabaret," I will introduce the movie with background and behind-the-scene facts, including personal stories related to the film, to set the mood.  After the movie's over, I'll lead a short discussion of the film and stir some personal memories about the film from attendees in the audience.  And I'll give away prizes and make it a real movie night event.

And there's even a special introductory offer.

The first 10 groups that book a Movie Memories Movie Night between now and June 20 will get a $25 discount.  Please don't delay.  This offer is limited.  We've only blocked out 10 of these discounted Movie Memories Movie Nights on our calendar.

Call 214-364-7364 to book and, once again, I'll see you at the movies.

06 June 2014

Your invite S.A., New Orleans, Tulsa

Wordspic310r
Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche search for meaning in their lives in "Words and Pictures." (Roadside Attractions)

OK, San Antonio, New Orleans and Tulsa, it's your turn to get a sneak peek at Words and Pictures, the new romantic-drama starring Best Actress Academy Award-winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Oscar nominee Clive Owen (Closer of 2004).

And, thanks to the folks over at Roadside Attractions, the movie is on us.

Binoche portrays an abstract artist and new art teacher at the prep school in Maine where the English teacher (Owen) has just about had it with students obsessed with social media instead of the potent power of the written word.

Sparks fly -- romantic and otherwise -- as art teacher and English instructor battle it out to determine which is more powerful, pictures or words.

Remember when movies had something called interesting characters, an enchanting storyline and talented actors instead of superheroes in rubber tights and giant machines blasting away at each other for control of the universe?

Well, this one does, and it's well-suited to mature audiences who appreciate good stories with dialogue uttered by gifted actors.

If you are in or near San Antonio, New Orleans or Tulsa Monday night (June 9), Movie Memories and Roadside Attractions are pleased to invite you and a guest to a special screening of Words and Pictures. 

Also, if you have any problems printing your movie pass, email me at lrratliff@verizon.net and I'll email one directly to you.

Please do us a favor, though.  Plan to arrive at the theater at least 30 minutes early because seating is limited to theater capacity.

How to make movie night a Movie Memory

Here's some Movie Memories news:  Announcing a new service -- and it's on sale!

Cabaret250r
Liza Minnelli belts out a tune in "Cabaret." (Warner Home Video)

Many clubs, groups and facilities have movie nights.  Now I'll host your event to make the movie evening special and, dare I say, memorable for your group.  And you and your group members still get to pick the movie.

Let's say you plan to screen Cabaret, the edgy 1972 musical that produced a Best Actress Academy Award for Liza Minnelli.  Instead of just saying something like, "Well, here's Cabaret," I will introduce the movie with background and behind-the-scene facts, including personal stories related to the film, to set the mood.  After the movie's over, I'll lead a short discussion of the film and stir some personal memories about the film from attendees in the audience.  And I'll give away prizes and make it a real movie night event.

And, best yet, there's a special introductory offer.

The first 10 groups that book a Movie Memories Movie Night between now and June 20 will get a $25 discount.  Please don't delay.  This offer is limited.  We've only blocked out 10 of these discounted Movie Memories Movie Nights on our calendar.

Call 214-364-7364 to book and, once again, I'll see you at the movies.

20 May 2014

Tommy Lee Jones' Cannes-do attitude

Homesman325lWhen I attended the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera in May of 2005, Tommy Lee Jones drew an extended, robust standing ovation after his film, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, screened.

I didn't make it back to the South of France this year to share the experience of the world's most famous film fest, but Jones did.  And this time, according to an article by Gregg Kilday posted on the Hollywood Reporter website, Jones got his standing ovation shortly after basking in the press glow as he climbed the seemingly endless steps of the world's most glamorous red carpet and entered the Palais des Festivals to screen his new Western, The Homesman.

Starring Jones, who also directs and co-wrote the script, The Homesman co-stars a couple of double Academy Award Best Actress winners, Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry, Million Dollar Baby) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, Sophie's Choice), as well as Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender's Game), and James Spader (The Blacklist on TV).

According to Kilday, Jones has "turned in an original take on the traditional Western." Jones fans can look forward to the veteran San Antonio-based actor giving The Homesman a feminist spin, since Swank portrays a God-fearing spinster determined to transport three mentally disturbed frontier women (one played by Streep's daughter Grace Gummer) to a better place back East (Iowa in this case).

Jones takes on the role of claim jumper George Briggs, who's rescued from under a hangman's tree with a noose around his neck and sitting ever so tenderly on a skittish horse by Swank's Mary Bee Cuddy.  Briggs begs for his life, so Mary Bee sets him free on the condition that he'll help transport the trio of deeply troubled women to a better place.

As of this date The Homesman has no U.S. release date, or even a Stateside distributor, for that matter.  Watch this space, though, and I'll report when we can file into a theater for Jones' latest effort in front of and -- for only the second time -- behind the camera of what is shaping up to be a major motion picture.

Make movie night a Movie Memories Movie Night

Here's some Movie Memories news:  Announcing a new service -- and it's on sale!

Cabaret250rMany clubs, groups and facilities have movie nights.  Now I'll host your event to make the movie evening special and, dare I say, memorable for your group.  And you and your group members still get to pick the movie.

Let's say you plan to screen Cabaret, the edgy 1972 musical that produced a Best Actress Academy Award for Liza Minnelli.  Instead of just saying something like, "Well, here's Cabaret," I will introduce the movie with background and behind-the-scene facts, including personal stories related to the film, to set the mood.  After the movie's over, I'll lead a short discussion of the film and stir some personal memories about the film from attendees in the audience.  And I'll give away prizes and make it a real movie night event.

And, best yet, there's a special introductory offer.

The first 10 groups that book a Movie Memories Movie Night between now and June 20 will get a $25 discount.  Please don't delay.  This offer is limited.  We've only blocked out 10 of these discounted Movie Memories Movie Nights on our calendar.

Call 214-364-7364 to book and, once again, I'll see you at the movies.

25 March 2014

Celebrating memorable movie moms

MildredPierce350lPeople often ask me where my love for movies came from and when what turned into a 30-plus year career of celebrating movie magic all began.

The where is the 600 block of S.E. 11th St. in Grand Prairie, Texas.  The when is the mid-1950s.  To this day I fondly recall my mother and I sharing great, memorable and not-so-astonishing movies on the TV late-late show.

I think it's about time to celebrate that special memory and, in fact, expand on it.  The first expansion is to include all our movie memories with our mothers in a new Movie Memories presentation titled "Hollywood's Classic Movie Moms."

For about an hour, we'll focus on the best cinematic moms in Hollywood history.  Case in point is Joan Crawford in her Academy Award-winning performance as the title character in Mildred Pierce, a flawed, financially strapped mom who will do anything -- and I do mean anything -- to make a better life for her children.

Of course Crawford makes the not-so-great mommie list as well as the subject of Mommie Dearest (1981).  The focus will be mostly positive, however.  After all, this presentation, including film clips and behind-the-scenes info, is a celebration of moms everywhere.

Secondly, the best news.  Since Mother's Day is coming up on May 11, we're offering a "Hollywood's Classic Movie Moms" special for new Movie Memories customers and repeat customers to boot.

First-time Movie Memories customers will get $50 off the "Hollywood's Classic Moms" presentation.  Existing customers will receive $25 off.  Hurry, though, the deadline for this special offer is April 10,

Call 214-364-7364 today to book your "Hollywood's Classic Moms" presentation.  This is a limited offer because, well, there are only so many presentation slots available in the weeks around Mother's Day.

Remember, the booking deadline is midnight April 10.  Get your group together so we can celebrate Mom!

'Gravity' is pulling Bullock down to the bank

Gravity250r
Sandra Bullock, perhaps pondering, "Space, the final giant acting payday frontier," while making "Gravity." (mid-day.com)

Go ahead, guess.  How big do you think Sandra Bullock's payday is likely to be for grunting and screaming in Gravity while sporting what appears to be fairly skimpy space skivvies much of the time?

Five million bucks?  Ten, 15 ... $35 million?  You are not even close, space cadets.

According to an article by Alice Feigel posted on CNN.com under the headline Movie moola:  8 shocking celebrity paychecks (and quoting figures from the Hollywood Reporter), the Texas-based Bullock should rake in 70 million bucks for her exceptional tumbling and space-flight simulation, even if it isn't what we call a dialogue-driven performance.

Click on Feigel's article and you might need to hang onto your hat when you discover the financial year had by Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and, shall we say, an aging Batman nemesis.  (Does the hint, "Here's J-o-h-n-n-y!" help?)

Avengers250l
Now we know what Robert Downey Jr. was avenging in "The Avengers." (aceshowbiz.com)

My personal favorite, though, among overpaid -- OK, extremely highly paid -- actors has to be Robert Downey Jr.

Downey, a once-deeply troubled gifted actor, in fact a Best Actor Oscar nominee for his superb title performance in Chaplin (1992), probably already has more money than he knows what to do with because of his adventures in the Iron Man franchise.

When it came to including Iron Man in The Avengers ensemble on the big screen, however, the franchise suits had to pony up an iron fist full of dollars that boggles the mind, especially when compared to what the other superhero studs walked away with.

Some of those poor square-jawed "actors" had to settle for a lousy two or three million dollars.

I say that's a real tragedy.  Somebody needs to grab a little network TV time to raise money for down and out movie stars forced to get by on so little.  That can't be enough for an entourage of "yes" folks, a personal trainer, a manager, two or three publicists, a dietitian and Bruno guarding the door.

So, I have an idea.  If you'd like to help support a deprived movie idol only knocking down two or three million per picture, send your generous donation in large denomination, unmarked bills to this address.

I'll see that the deprived actors get ... uh, what they deserve.

Expanding the Movie Memories landscape

MM Logo265Because of some very exciting personal news (a beautiful new grandbaby in the family), Movie Memories is widening its central target area to include San Antonio and Central Texas as well as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

For all our loyal Metroplex clients, supporters and fans, nothing will change.  I will be in Dallas at least two or three days every week and more often when my Movie Memories speaking schedule requires.

The addition is that we'll now be including San Antonio, otherwise known as the original land of The Jalapeno Guy film critic 1-4 jalapeno rating system and my exciting times as movie critic at the San Antonio Express-News, the San Antonio Light, KMOL-TV, KABB-TV and Magic 105-FM radio (as well as other radio stations) into the mix.

For those of you in San Antonio who may not be familiar with Movie Memories, it's a speech/presentation series dedicated to celebrating the magic of the movies, both classic and contemporary.  It goes way beyond merely showing movie clips and talking about my 30-plus years reviewing movies and traveling the world interviewing A-list movies stars.

We'll go behind the scenes of movies you think you know everything about, such as Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life and more, and I'll share some personal -- sometimes painful -- memories; such as the time I made the late, great Paul Newman cry.

So if you haven't already done so, click around on the Movie Memories website, especially on the Presentations link. 

Movie Memories presentations, lasting about an hour, are available for groups large and small, clubs, business meetings, conventions and senior living facilities and centers.

Please make note of the new telephone number to book Movie Memories.

It's 214-364-7364.

Hello again, San Antonio.  I'm looking forward to seeing you at your Movie Memories presentation. 

11 March 2014

'Gravity' pulls Bullock to the bank

Gravity250r
Sandra Bullock, perhaps pondering, "Space, the final giant acting payday frontier," while making "Gravity." (mid-day.com)

Go ahead, guess.  How big do you think Sandra Bullock's payday is likely to be for grunting and screaming in Gravity while sporting what appears to be fairly skimpy space skivvies much of the time?

Five million bucks?  Ten, 15 ... $35 million?  You are not even close, space cadets.

According to an article by Alice Feigel posted on CNN.com under the headline Movie moola:  8 shocking celebrity paychecks (and quoting figures from the Hollywood Reporter), the Texas-based Bullock should rake in 70 million bucks for her exceptional tumbling and space-flight simulation, even if it isn't what we call a dialogue-driven performance.

Click on Feigel's article and you might need to hang onto your hat when you discover the financial year had by Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and, shall we say, an aging Batman nemesis.  (Does the hint, "Here's J-o-h-n-n-y!" help?)

Avengers250l
Now we know what Robert Downey Jr. was avenging in "The Avengers." (aceshowbiz.com)

My personal favorite, though, among overpaid -- OK, extremely highly paid -- actors has to be Robert Downey Jr.

Downey, a once-deeply troubled gifted actor, in fact a Best Actor Oscar nominee for his superb title performance in Chaplin (1992), probably already has more money than he knows what to do with because of his adventures in the Iron Man franchise.

When it came to including Iron Man in The Avengers ensemble on the big screen, however, the franchise suits had to pony up an iron fist full of dollars that boggles the mind, especially when compared to what the other superhero studs walked away with.

Some of those poor square-jawed "actors" had to settle for a lousy two or three million dollars.

I say that's a real tragedy.  Somebody needs to grab a little network TV time to raise money for down and out movie stars forced to get by on so little.  That can't be enough for an entourage of "yes" folks, a personal trainer, a manager, two or three publicists, a dietitian and Bruno guarding the door.

So, I have an idea.  If you'd like to help support a deprived movie idol only knocking down two or three million per picture, send your generous donation in large denomination, unmarked bills to this address.

I'll see that the deprived actors get ... uh, what they deserve.

Expanding the Movie Memories landscape

MM Logo265Because of some very exciting personal news (a beautiful new grandbaby in the family), Movie Memories is widening its central target area to include San Antonio and Central Texas as well as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

For all our loyal Metroplex clients, supporters and fans, nothing will change.  I will be in Dallas at least two or three days every week and more often when my Movie Memories speaking schedule requires.

The addition is that we'll now be including San Antonio, otherwise known as the original land of The Jalapeno Guy film critic 1-4 jalapeno rating system and my exciting times as movie critic at the San Antonio Express-News, the San Antonio Light, KMOL-TV, KABB-TV and Magic 105-FM radio (as well as other radio stations) into the mix.

For those of you in San Antonio who may not be familiar with Movie Memories, it's a speech/presentation series dedicated to celebrating the magic of the movies, both classic and contemporary.  It goes way beyond merely showing movie clips and talking about my 30-plus years reviewing movies and traveling the world interviewing A-list movies stars.

We'll go behind the scenes of movies you think you know everything about, such as Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life and more, and I'll share some personal -- sometimes painful -- memories; such as the time I made the late, great Paul Newman cry.

So if you haven't already done so, click around on the Movie Memories website, especially on the Presentations link. 

Movie Memories presentations, lasting about an hour, are available for groups large and small, clubs, business meetings, conventions and senior living facilities and centers.

Please make note of the new telephone number to book Movie Memories.

It's 214-364-7364.

Hello again, San Antonio.  I'm looking forward to seeing you at your Movie Memories presentation.