Archive for June, 2003

Last Week’s HP and Just Married Contest and BUFFY SEASON 4 QUICKIE GIVE AWAY

June 30, 2003

I’ve been focusing on the show lately and less and less on the website, primarily because I’m just not liking technology and especially the Internet these days, so I haven’t had a chance to work on the User Points module. To Win The Harry Potter Book and a copy of the Just Married DVD simply email me your User ID, complete mailing address and a links to all your posts for the last two weeks.

The two people who posted the most in the last two weeks will get the Book. The top 10 Posters during the last two weeks will get a copy of Just Married on DVD…BUFFY SEASON 4 DVD CONTESTTo win the Buffy Season 4 DVD contest, simply send me an email with your complete mailing address, User ID and the phrase of the week Originally it was going to be in honor of Finding Nemo “”Fish don’t fry in the kitchen.”” but now it’s “”Technology and the Internet SUCK!”” Note – This is an unplanned contest, the folks at Fox accidently sent me a few extra DVD Sets, so I’m going to give them to you guys. I have to fulfill this contest, so the two winners will have to send me a self addressed stamped envelope (with about $6 postage) and I’ll simply put your DVD Set in it and mail it to you.

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“Charlie’s Angels 2”

June 30, 2003

“Charlie’s Angels 2” opened in the #1 slot with
an estimated $38 milliong (which is less than
what the original opened with).

Gregory Peck Dies

June 29, 2003

I got this on the news this morning. I can remember To Kill A Mockingbird as one of the first movies I ever saw that made an impact on me….

…. and in the words of Queen… another one bites the dust….

Gregory Peck dies
June 13 2003

Gregory Peck, the lanky, handsome movie star whose long career included such classics as Roman Holiday, Spellbound and his Academy Award winner, To Kill a Mockingbird, has died. He was 87.

Peck died at his Los Angeles home overnight, with his wife, Veronique, at his side, spokesman Monroe Friedman said.

“She told me very briefly that he died peacefully. She was with him, holding his hand, and he just went to sleep,” Friedman said.

“He had just been getting older and more fragile. He wasn’t really ill. He just sort of ran his course and died of old age.”

Peck’s craggy good looks, grace and measured speech contributed to his screen image as the decent, courageous man of action.

From his film debut in 1944 with Days of Glory, he was never less than a star. He was nominated for an Oscar five times, and his range of roles was astonishing.

He portrayed a priest in Keys of the Kingdom, combat heroes in Twelve O’Clock High and Pork Chop Hill, westerners in Yellow Sky and The Gunfighter, a romantic in Roman Holiday.

His commanding presence suited him for legendary characters: King David in David and Bathsheba, sea captains in Captain Horatio Hornblower and Moby Dick, F Scott Fitzgerald in Beloved Infidel, the war leader MacArthur, and Abraham Lincoln in the TV mini-series The Blue and the Grey.

Peck’s rare attempts at unsympathetic roles usually failed. He played the renegade son in the western Duel in the Son and the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in The Boys from Brazil.

Off-screen as well as on, Peck conveyed a quiet dignity. He had one amicable divorce, and scandal never touched him.

He served as president of the Motion Picture Academy and was active in the Motion Picture and Television Fund, American Cancer Society, National Endowment for the Arts and other causes.

“I’m not a do-gooder,” he insisted after learning of the Academy’s Jean Hersholt humanitarian award in 1968. “It embarrassed me to be classified as a humanitarian. I simply take part in activities that I believe in.”

During his first five years in films, Peck scored four Academy Award nominations as best actor: Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and Twelve O’Clock High (1949).

Gentleman’s Agreement, in which he played a magazine writer who poses as a Jew to expose anti-Semitism, was considered a daring film in its time.

Peck commented in 1971 that his agent cautioned him: “You’re just establishing yourself, and a lot of people will resent the picture. Anti-Semitism runs very deep in this country.”

Peck ignored his advice. Gentleman’s Agreement proved a moneymaker and won the Oscar as best picture.

The actor listed Gentleman’s Agreement among his favourites of his movies. The others: the sea adventure Captain Horatio Hornblower; Roman Holiday in which he played a reporter to Audrey Hepburn’s princess; The Guns of Navarone (“good, all-out entertainment, though it’s really a comedy” ); and To Kill a Mockingbird – for which he won the 1962 Oscar as best actor.

He played Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defies public sentiment to defend a black man accused of rape.

“I put everything I had into it – all my feelings and everything I’d learned in 46 years of living, about family life and fathers and children,” he remarked in 1989. “And my feelings about racial justice and inequality and opportunity.”

In 2003, an American Film Institute listing of the top heroes in film history ranked Peck’s Finch as No 1.

In his 60s and 70s, movie roles grew sparse. He appeared as a US president in Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987), maverick author Ambrose Bierce in Old Gringo (1989) and as a humane company owner victimised by a hostile takeover in Other People’s Money (1991).

In 1993 he starred in a made-for-TV movie, The Portrait, with Lauren Bacall, his co-star of Designing Woman (1957), and his daughter Cecilia.

A 1998 TV miniseries version of Moby Dick cast Peck in the small role of the preacher Father Mapple. He had played the protagonist, Ahab, in the 1956 film version.

“I’m working as much as I like,” he commented in 1989. “I don’t want to do, if I can avoid it, anything mediocre. It’s kind of unseemly at my age to come out in a turkey.”

Peck’s lonely, disjointed childhood was the kind that often contributes to the making of actors.

He was born Eldred Gregory Peck on April 5, 1916, in La Jolla, California. “My mother had found ‘Eldred’ in a phone book, and I was stuck with it,” he said.

The mother was a lively Missourian, the father was a quiet druggist, son of an Irish immigrant mother. His parents divorced when their son was 6.

His next two years were divided between them, then he spent two years with his maternal grandmother in La Jolla. At 10 he was shipped off to a Roman Catholic military academy in Los Angeles where he was indoctrinated by “tough Irish nuns and square-jawed ROTC officers.”

Peck majored in English at the University of California at Berkeley and rowed on the crew. One day he was approached by the director of the campus little theatre who said he was looking for a tall actor for an adaptation of Moby Dick.

“I don’t know why I said yes,” he recalled in a 1989 interview. “I guess I was fearless, and it seemed like it might be fun. I wasn’t any good, but I ended up doing five plays my last year in college.”

Dropping the name of Eldred, he headed for New York after graduation with $US195 in his pocket.

He studied with Sanford Meisner and Martha Graham, worked as a barker at the 1939 World’s Fair and as a tour guide at the television network NBC.

After summer stock and a tour with Katherine Cornell in The Doctor’s Dilemma, he made his Broadway debut is the lead in Emlyn Williams’ Morning Star.

A half-century later he remembered opening night:

“In the dressing room I gave myself a kick and said, ‘Get out there!’ I was jittery for the first five minutes, and then I wasn’t jittery anymore. You can die up there and say, ‘Call it off, give ’em their money back and let ’em go home.’ Or you can collect yourself and do it.”

The play flopped, but Peck’s performance brought interest from Hollywood. He accepted a modest film, Days of Glory, a story of Russian peasants during the Nazi invasion, mostly to use the $US10,000 salary to pay off his dentist and other creditors. Then Darryl Zanuck offered him Keys of the Kingdom.

Soon Peck was under non-exclusive contracts to four studios; he refused an exclusive pact with MGM despite Louis B Mayer’s tearful pleading.

With most of the male stars absent in the war, the studios desperately needed strong leading men. Peck was exempt from service because of an old back injury.

A Roosevelt New Dealer, Peck campaigned for Harry Truman in 1948 “at a time when nobody thought he had a chance to win.”

He continued championing liberal causes, producing an anti-Vietnam War film in 1972, The Trial of the Cantonsville Nine and helping the campaign against the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987.

Rumours arose periodically that Peck planned to run for office. They started when Ronald Reagan defeated Edmund G “Pat” Brown for governor of California in 1966.

Brown cracked: “If they’re going to run actors for governor, maybe the Democrats should have run Greg Peck.”

“I never gave a thought to running,” Peck always replied. “Not even in my heart of hearts do I have an ambition to do that.”

Peck married his first wife, Greta, in 1942 and they had three sons, Jonathan, Stephen and Carey.

Jonathan, a TV reporter, committed suicide at the age of 30.

After their divorce in 1954, Peck married Veronique Passani, a Paris reporter. They had two children, Anthony and Cecilia, both actors.

“The Italian Job”

June 29, 2003

“The Italian Job” is a remake of a 1969 Michael
Caine film (–have NOT seen). The plot is a gold
heist in Italy; double-cross; revenge heist in
Hollywood. The actors do a good job and it
holds attention throughout.
[ Scheduled to open in late May. ]
GRADE = “B+”

“Alex & Emma”

June 29, 2003

“Alex & Emma” is a tiresome romantic
comedy set in the Boston area. Kate
does get to put on a variety of wigs,
makeup, and accents. There are a
few laughs but it is strictly for Kate
Hudson and/or Luke Wilson fans.
GRADE = “C-“

Harry Potter Spolier(semi)

June 29, 2003

Here is a website were I found a little bit more about the up and coming book. If you are worried about the book being spoilt, don’t. They do not really give away very much infromation except for one meanial fact. i would have copied it here but ther is copy right on the site, so enjoy if you wish:

http://www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon/book_op.html#synopsis

Kevin Costner Marrying His Girlfriend

June 27, 2003

Kevin Costner Marrying His Girlfriend
Jun 26, 12:27 PM EST

“Dances With Wolves” actor Kevin Costner is marrying his girlfriend of four years, Christine Baumgartner.

Costner, 48, and Baumgartner, 29, announced their engagement Thursday. No wedding date was set, publicist Paul Bloch said.

It’s the second marriage for the actor, the first for Baumgartner.

The couple met four years ago and have been dating ever since, Bloch said, noting they both once attended California State University, Fullerton � but at different times.

Costner is presently promoting his upcoming film “Open Range,” which will be released Aug. 15. Baumgartner will soon launch a new high-tech couture company that incorporates her handbag designs, Bloch said.

In addition to 1990’s “Dances With Wolves,” which won seven Oscars, Costner’s movie credits include “No Way Out,” “The Untouchables,” “Bull Durham,” “Waterworld,” “Tin Cup,” “JFK” and “Field of Dreams.”

Ralph spends time with “”The Hours”” DVD

June 27, 2003

“The Hours” is a thought provoking story comprised of three seemingly distinct strands, all of which are loosely and elegantly braided to form an emotionally stimulating whole. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also an actor’s dream. A large, highly-accomplished cast of supporting players shares the screen effectively with the big three (Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep).

First things first: Kidman deserved her statuette. In one of the most unglamorous of all possible roles, as Virginia Woolfe, Kidman calls on her talent – not her considerable beauty – to convey wisdom, world weariness, great sadness and just a bit of mischievousness. When her husband displeases her, she inclines her head sharply and looks out from beneath an unkempt hank of hair, peering through dark eyes down that great prosthetic nose in loving disapproval. Her Virginia Woolfe is horribly troubled, to be sure, but never irrational. Her despair is matter-of-factly expressed with a concise logic that is simply chilling. Plainly put, the viewer comes to care deeply for the tragic heroine, Virginia Woolfe, even as we know from history that she is a doomed character. How does an actor compete with that? I certainly don’t know, but damned if Julianne Moore isn’t very nearly up to the task. Moore plays Laura Brown, a suburban, American housewife and mother of one (soon to be two) in 1951. As we meet her, she is reading Woolfe’s novel, “Mrs. Dalloway,” and – like the book’s titular character – she, too, is unhappy through and through. She is suffocating under the weight of her very existence, craving adult company, straining under the yoke of inactivity, trapped in a life she never wanted. Her story unfolds slowly throughout the film, culminating several decades later with a gut wrenching final scene. Moore has such soulful eyes and a luminous, almost transparent skin, allowing the viewer to peer into her deepest self. And – finally – Streep! She brings the story home as a modern day sort of Mrs. Dalloway. I don’t know of anyone who would describe Streep as the sexiest of actresses; however, she has always possessed extraordinary radiance, such a sharp intelligence and a remarkable inner beauty that she seems almost on-the-verge of bursting with human kindness, and these qualities have never served her better. Her character is called Clarissa Vaughan, a woman who has lived in the service of others, while never quite able to make the ultimate connection for herself. Sadness pervades her story, as well, but it is a sadness imbued with hope by story’s end. There is a fundamental and abiding truth to the method of Meryl Streep, and indeed, a large dose of truth in the performances of the entire cast. There simply isn’t space to give credit where credit is due. Among this magnificent group of supporting players, Ed Harris stands out as Richard, a poet and novelist suffering mightily from AIDS. Richard is the subject of Clarissa’s unfailing care, and his is a performance full of anger, bitterness, sadness, disappointment and – amazingly – love. Allison Janney is superb as Clarissa’s lover, suffering in her own dignified way from the increasingly great burden of emotional distance. Jeff Daniels gives an intentionally befuddled performance as Richard’s ex-lover. Claire Danes’ career as a headliner didn’t exactly take off like a rocket, but in “The Hours,” she has wisely accepted a small role as Clarissa’s daughter. It’s easy to see what all the fuss was about a few years ago when she starred on the small screen in “My So Called Life.” John C. Reilly is his usual solid self as Laura Brown’s husband. (Quite a year for Reilly, as he also did stellar work in “Chicago.”) Jack Rovello is a little heartbreaker as Laura’s young son, Richie, and the remarkably versatile Toni Collette has one and only one scene, but it is a brilliant study in film acting. The things unsaid transcend the spoken word, and a simple glance communicates unerringly with a delicate, awkward grace. In the Woolfe segment, Stephen Dillane stands out as Leonard Woolfe. Where they found this guy, I don’t know, but he plays a difficult role with just the right blend of frustrated exasperation, anger, sadness, abiding kindness, and – once again – love. Natasha Richardson is just fine as Virginia Woolfe’s sister, and Linda Bassett has some sparkling little moments as the cook. Rarely has there been a film where so many performers deserve so much praise. In reading the paragraphs above, you might deduce that the film is about sadness, mental illness, kindness and love. You’d be right. It’s not the easiest film to watch, but it is well worth the effort. Based on a novel by Michael Cunningham, David Hare’s screenplay cleverly segues from one story into the next. Cunningham’s book presents many obstacles to screenwriter and filmmaker alike, but Hare has simply made those difficulties disappear.This is director Stephen Daldry’s second major film following 2000’s completely charming “Billy Elliot.” I can only conclude that Mr. Daldry is the real deal. These actors, after all, didn’t direct themselves (not even Meryl Streep). Additionally, Daldry and Scott Rudin have assembled an outstanding creative team. Phillip Glass has composed a score that is immediately recognizable as his, but never in a way that distracts from the story. He has written a theme for each central character and scored the film in such a way that the music heightens the story. Costumer Ann Roth was required to dress characters from three distinct eras here, and has risen to the challenge in a most satisfactory manner. Virginia Wolfe’s dresses are delightfully shapeless sacks. Laura Brown wears the carefully tailored fashions of the Fifties, while Streep’s Clarissa is smartly dressed as a modern, dynamic woman. “The Hours” is simply an outstanding example of the collaborative effort that is filmmaking. A compelling story, skillfully adapted for the screen. Technically skilled craftspeople and artisans providing just the right look to every frame. And finally, supremely talented actors giving life to complex characters. Two hours very well spent. Grade: ATHE EXTRASBonus materials included with “The Hours” DVD are about as extensive as one could hope for in a single disc package. There are two commentaries, one from the film’s stars, Kidman, Moore and Streep, and another from director Daldry and novelist Cunningham. The three stars were obviously recorded separately, which is a bit disappointing as it allows for no interaction between this extraordinary triumvirate of top shelf performers. While the whole thing has been meticulously edited to give a seamless effect, one can only imagine what these three might’ve said had they been speaking directly with one another. With that given, each woman offers a meaningful glimpse into the filmmaking process from the actor’s perspective. It’s also fascinating to hear how their acting styles differ. Kidman, for instance, likes the rehearsal process (as does Daldry), while Moore prefers as little rehearsal as possible. Of the three, Streep is the warmest, most engaging commentator. She is a supremely intelligent artist, very comfortable in her own skin. As for Daldry and Cunningham, theirs is the more entertaining commentary. In contrast to the “the big three,” they quite obviously were present together as the recording was made, resulting in the same sort of interplay that was missing from the other. Daldry is very British and very proper (there’s a redundancy for you), while Cunningham is the somewhat more relaxed American, and the combination
is most engaging and informative. They are full of insights regarding many aspects of filmmaking, including their thoughts on the actors, the locations, Cunningham’s novel (and ways in which the screenplay differs from it), and some fascinating background on Virginia Wolfe herself. They also enjoy a good laugh (or at least a hearty chuckle) from time to time, helping to lighten the tone a bit. “The Hours” is many things, but a comedy it is not, so the occasional humorous interjection is much appreciated. Also included here is an introduction from Daldry and a piece entitled “The Three Women.” Here, the difficulties presented by the lack of interaction in the first commentary disappear as we actually see the three divas (out of costume and out of character) gathered together for an informal discussion. These regrettably brief segments give us the rare opportunity to watch three movie stars of the highest order as they reminisce and laugh together, just the ingredient missing from their commentary. A properly scholarly piece on “The Mind and Times of Virginia Woolfe” provides plenty of historical context for the intellectually challenged among us (myself included). “The Music of the Hours” is explored in another segment featuring the comments of the brilliant composer himself, and the chance to actually see Phillip Glass sit at the piano and play a bit of his score. Rounding out the featurettes is a short piece on the novel, “Mrs. Dalloway.” Most interesting are remarks from novelist Cunningham, who consistently comes across as a genuinely charming and witty gentleman. It’s an outstanding collection of materials, well presented throughout. I found Cunningham and Streep to be the most engaging personalities; the individuals I’d most like to sit down with and chat for a while over an ice cold beverage, though – honestly – all of the talented people appearing throughout these commentaries and featurettes come across quite well. “The Hours” is a significant film, one that might have benefited from two-disc treatment, but – on the whole – it ranks as one of the better DVD packages I have explored, to date. Grade: B+By Ralph MangumJune 27, 2003

“Dumb and Dumberer”

June 27, 2003

“Dumb and Dumberer” is aimed at
12 – 14 year-old boys; anyone else
is warned that this is a prime
candidate for the top 10 list of
worst movies of the year!

Black Actors and Actresses in Aaron Spelling Programs

June 27, 2003

Just to remind you, Aaron Spelling has had one major black actress on one of his programs. Diahann Carroll was Dominique Deveraux for three years on Dynasty and Jasmine Guy, Vanessa Willams (not the beauty queen) and Anne-Marie Johnson were on Melrose Place. Garcelle Beauvais who’s now on NYPD Blue was on Models, Inc.