Monthly Archives: April 2017

Review: Anomalisa (2015) and Don’t Think Twice (2016)

If you remember, I did retrospectives on either all the movies I saw in theaters last year or all the movies that came out last year that I didn’t get the chance to see. However, there were two movies I forgot to mention. It’s not that they were forgettable (they were both pretty good) but because, in trying to remember all the movies I saw last year, it was hard not to skip a couple by accident.

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Happy Birthday Al Pacino and Renee Zellweger


Al Pacino, who turns 77, is one of the winners of the unofficial Triple Crown of Acting, having won at least one competitive Oscar, Emmy and Tony in an acting category.  A former student of Lee Strasberg’s at the Actor’s Studio, he is now one of the Studio’s co-presidents along with Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel.  He first became known for his stage work, winning a Tony in his Broadway debut in the play Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?  He has remained committed to the stage throughout his career, winning a second Tony for David Rabe’s The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, and appearing over the years in multiple plays by Shakespeare and David Mamet.

In the film world, Pacino was a relative unknown when director Francis Ford Coppola cast him in what may still be his most famous screen role:

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Kelly Preston: One, Two, Three

In the late 90’s, John Travolta was enjoying his post Pulp Fiction comeback.  His career was firing on all cylinders.  His wife, Kelly Preston, was getting back to work after having given birth to the couple’s first child.  Preston had been working as an actress for over a decade without attracting much attention.  But after a couple of supporting roles in buzzworthy movies, Preston’s career started heating up.

It was during this period of increased relevancy that Martha Frankel interviewed Preston for a profile in Movieline magazine.  Frankel’s questions are mostly about Preston’s famous husband, but Preston doesn’t seem to mind.  The piece ran in the April 1997 issue of Movieline magazine.  From a modern day point of view, the article takes on a different tone in light of Preston’s son’s tragic death in 2009.

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Spring Break at Walt Disney World: Hitting Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios – Daffy Does Disney

In today’s installment from my spring break trip to Walt Disney World, I start my second day of vacation by applying a couple of well-worn strategies for making good use of early morning hours. My series of interviews with other park guests continues, and you get a little talk from an animation snob. Enjoy!

April 24: Happy Birthday Shirley MacLaine and Barbra Streisand


This was one of those days where the headliners were pretty self-selecting.  They were photographed together at the 57th Golden Globes, where MacLaine presented Streisand with the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Shirley MacLaine, who is turning 83 today, has worked in film for over sixty years.  She made her debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry, receiving a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year.  She appeared later the same year in the Martin and Lewis film Artists and Models, and received her first Oscar nomination (of six) for starring opposite Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Some Came Running.  One of her most famous roles then brought her a second Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award and a second Oscar nomination:

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Robin Wright: The Wright Stuff?

After a promising debut in the titular role of The Princess Bride, actress Robin Wright spent a few years toiling in movies most audiences had never heard of much less seen.  She wouldn’t appear in another hit until Forrest Gump seven years later.  During that time, she became romantically involved with her costar Sean Penn and dropped out of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to have a baby.  In the April 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello asked Wright about her relationship with Penn, the press and her frustrations as a working actress.

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Weekly Recap: Searching for Unicorns and Mystic Timbers

Today is the last day to grab a Unicorn Frappuccino at your local Starbucks.  For the unaware, this colorful frozen drink is a promotional product which has become an internet sensation.  Starbuck unleashed this fruity, pixie-dusted, sweet-and-sour beverage on an unsuspecting public for less than a week.  The resulting feeding frenzy lead to many locations selling out of the ingredients necessary to make the drink.  On Friday night, I was informed that my oldest daughter just had to have one.  So off we went in search of a unicorn.  In this week’s recap, I’ll be covering all of the goings-on here at Le Blog as well as a few details about my week outside of the site.

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April 23: Happy Birthday Judy Davis and Shirley Temple


Australian actress Judy Davis, a two-time Oscar nominee and three-time Emmy winner, turns 62 today.  She made her reputation with only her second feature, starring as Sybylla Melvyn in My Brilliant Career, and winning two BAFTA Awards, for Best Leading Actress and Best Newcomer.  She attracted worldwide notice in 1984 when she was nominated for Best Actress for starring in David Lean’s A Passage to India.  A second Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress, came eight years later for Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives.

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The 10 Most Famous Actors Who Never Won Oscars

When it comes to the Academy Awards, there are winners and losers.  It may be an honor to be nominated, but the fact of the matter is they only hand out so many statues every year.  Over the course of a career in showbiz, there are a limited number of opportunities to win an Oscar.  For varying reasons, some of the most famous actors and actresses in Hollywood history never took home the prize.  In the April 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, they compiled a list of the ten most famous actors who never won.

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April 22: Happy Birthday Jack Nicholson and Aaron Spelling


Three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson is celebrating his 80th today.  He made his films debut in 1958 in a teen drama produced by Roger Corman, The Cry Baby Killer.  He made a number of films in the sixties with Corman, and several Westerns with Monte Hellman.  His first major break came in 1969, when he starred in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider and received his first Oscar nomination.

From 1970-75, Nicholson starred in a string of classic or near-classic films—Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens, Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (as Jake Gittes), and Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger.  He capped this great run with his first Oscar, for Best Actor as Mac McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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What’s the Big Deal With Pixar’s Cars?

Kevthewriter wonders why Pixar keeps making Cars movies when no one he knows seems to like them very much.

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Spring Break at Walt Disney World: Spaceship Earth & My Little Mermaid Room – Daffy Does Disney

In this video you’ll follow onto my last ride of the day and then back to my room at the Art of Animation resort where you’ll get some initial reactions and a review of my thoughts on the first day of my Walt Disney World vacation. Yeah, I’m just getting started!

April 21: Happy Birthday James McAvoy and Patti LuPone


James McAvoy is turning 38 today.  He began acting in the late nineties and has had a distinguished career in film (mixed with some television) and on the British stage.  One of his early stage roles was as Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; he has since had the “Romeo” part in two films adapted (more or less) from that play, the 2003 film Bollywood Queen and the 2009 animated feature Gnomeo and Juliet.  He emerged as a major star in the mid-2000s with lead roles in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, and Wanted.

In 2011 he made the first of three appearances in the film role he is probably best known for, Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class and two sequels:

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