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What to Watch: Furious 7

image via  IMDB

image via IMDB

When you look at the theatrical release calendar for the weekend of April 3, 2015 you’ll find something very interesting. There’s only one new film receiving a nationwide release. The holiday weekend certainly has something to do with that but overall, no one wants to compete with the powerhouse production that is Furious 7. The seventh and latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise is both the beginning and the end of what we know about the series. The untimely death of star actor Paul Walker combined with aging veterans like Vin Diesel allows fans of the previous films to get one last glimpse of their favorite characters before producers do what they must to keep the successful franchise going.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Julie Andrews

Dame Julie Andrews, the legendary actress whose career has spanned over fifty years, is one of Hollywood’s greatest screen performers with an unrivaled voice the likes of which the industry has never seen since. Despite that amazing talent and having what has been referred to as perfect pitch, Andrews career was not the easiest. She often times found herself embroiled in bitter battles with studios and other artists alike. Unlike many before her time, Andrews was simply not going to be used up and tossed aside. She was one of many “modern women” of that time in Hollywood and proved that her voice in the workforce was just as strong as any man. These are a just a few tidbits that many people may not know about this classic stage and screen performer.  Continue reading

A Whole New World: Virtual Reality

Last year, I attended SXSWi and one of the longest lines (besides that for meeting with Grumpy Cat) was for the chance to experience the popular virtual reality tool acquired by Facebook, Oculus Rift. Oculus VR had created a virtual reality experience for the popular HBO series Game of Thrones that allowed users to ascend the icy wall that keeps the seven kingdoms of Westeros safe from the zombie-like white walkers. Though I didn’t get a chance to experience it myself, most of the feedback around the “Ascend the Wall” experience was overwhelmingly positive. That said, it brings into question the future of these types of experiences and what will make sense for storytelling moving forward.  Continue reading

What to Watch: Home

It’s the calm before the storm. Last week Insurgent was the first major wave to crash onto box-office shores with more following just slightly behind. Unfortunately it won’t be this week as Furious 7 is still a week away. Instead we have a very thin week for releases where most of the noise should be holdovers from the week prior and a Dreamworks film that has received little mainstream attention called HomeContinue reading

Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men in NYC

Photo of Matthew Weiner on the set of Mad Men

Photo of Matthew Weiner on the set of Mad Men via Museum of the Moving Image

As we’ve already noted, Mad Men is definitively one of the best shows on television. And, as we are all acutely aware, all good things must come to an end. This year, we get the final seven episodes of the popular program. In celebration of seven seasons, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York has launched an exhibit called “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men.” Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: The Philadelphia Story (1940)

image via kcwtoday.co.uk

image via kcwtoday.co.uk

Just one year after his departure from Gone with the Wind and his uncredited work on The Wizard of Oz, George Cukor continued to churn out films that would be remembered for years to come. In particular, his 1940 film The Philadelphia Story was not only a success but also assisted and galvanizing the careers of Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. All of whom took part in one of the quickest and most efficient productions of that era.  Continue reading

Did You Know: George Cukor

image via filmforlife.org

image via filmforlife.org

Back in the 1930’s and 40’s directors were not the superstars we know them as today. The era of directors directly influencing box office sales didn’t begin until the late 60’s and didn’t truly catch on until the invention of the blockbuster. If directors had that influence during Hollywood’s Golden Age George Cukor would have been an elite draw with virtually incomparable recognition. This week’s blog is dedicated to pulling back the veil on one of Hollywood’s most dedicated directors.  Continue reading

Mad Television World

From left: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, January Jones and show creator Matthew Weiner

Photo by Joe Pugliese via The Hollywood Reporter

Television executives have the, sometimes enviable, job of selecting programming to go on their networks. For every gem of a script they read, they also encounter many duds which can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish when something will be a hit. For example, many networks passed on the drama ER citing that its pilot’s script was fairly rough. The popular drama Mad Men is a perfect example of a show that many passed on as it really had no business succeeding. Period pieces were often deemed too expensive relative to their potential for success. The much talked about but unsuccessful Pan Am, hoping to receive tail winds of the Mad Men success, is an example of this. So why was Mad Men a success and not Pan Am? Mad Men had the perfect storm of being positioned with the right script for the right network with the right cast. Continue reading

What to Watch: Insurgent

image via bookfandoms.com

image via bookfandoms.com

One of the sleeper hits of 2014 was the dystopian sci-fi action film Divergent, based on the Veronica Roth young adult book series. The film follows a teenage girl named Beatrice “Tris” Prior, played by Shailene Woodley, who must decide between clans in an Orwellian future where we are told that Chicago is the only surviving city after a catastrophic war. The only issue is that Tris is different from the majority in her society. She is what is known as “Divergent,” a person who has the ability to use free-will more than others. This, of course, makes her a target. The first film was released a year ago and was considered a resounding success. So much so that only a year later we see the sequel, Insurgent, hitting screens at nearly 4,000 theaters nationwide.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Albert Maysles

film still from The Salesman via imdb.com

film still from The Salesman via imdb.com

Last week the film industry lost one of its most influential artists and masters of the documentary genre, Albert Maysles. The acclaimed director helped bring the concept of Direct Cinema to the mainstream in the late 60’s and early 70’s with films like Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens. His name was one of the most respected in the community and his death came as another indication of the changing times. Still, there is much to learn from the life and career of Albert Maysles. This week, we look back at a few facts on Maysles career and life.  Continue reading