Actress/journalist Irene Kane has lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. Kane passed away on Thursday (31Oct13) at her home in New York City, her family confirms to The Hollywood Reporter.
She landed a handful of roles onscreen and on the Broadway stage in the 1950s and '60s, but was perhaps best known for her role in Stanley Kubrick's 1955 film, Killer Kiss, in which she played the lead female character, Gloria Price.
Kane, whose date of birth has not been published, later decided to pursue a career as a writer and journalist under her real name, Chris Chase. She went on to work for TV networks CBS and CNN, and the New York Times, and co-authored autobiographies with Rosalind Russell, Betty Ford and Josephine Baker. She also wrote her own memoir, titled How Be a Movie Star, or A Terrible Beauty Is Born.
Following the success of the “more action stars than you can shake a stick at” formula of 2010’s The Expendables, Lionsgate unleashed The Expendables 2 in 3,316 theaters this weekend, and the results were solid. This time star Sylvester Stallone handed over the directing reins to Simon West (Con Air, Laura Croft: Tomb Raider) so he could concentrate on more ass whuppin’ and less directin’! The first film debuted at number one with $34.8 million and was a surprise mid-August hit, and thus it’s no surprise that this latest installment topped this weekend’s chart with a gross of $28.75 million. There is almost not enough room here to list all of the action stars that take part in the mayhem, including of course Sylvester Stallone and a supporting cast featuring Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
1. The Expendables 2 - $28.75 million (week 1) (LIONSGATE)
2. The Bourne Legacy - $17,019,855/total to date $69,580,935 (week 2) (UNIVERSAL)
3. ParaNorman - $14,008,498/Week 1 (FOCUS FEATURES)
4. The Campaign - $13,385,000/total to date $51,694,000 (week 2) (WARNER BROS.)
5. Sparkle – $12 million (week 1) (SONY)
6. The Dark Knight Rises - $11,140,000/$409,916,000 to date (crossed $400 million mark this weekend) week 5
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $10,909,000/$15,187,000 to date (Opened Wednesday) week 1
Adding to the excitement of this weekend’s action movie leanings was Universal’s The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, in a re-boot of the “Bourne” franchise. Last weekend the film topped the chart with $38.1 million, and it has been holding steady all week in first place — it crossed the $50 million mark on Thursday after just seven days of release. The action re-boot had a second weekend gross of $17 million and a North American total by Sunday night of over $69 million.
Besides The Expendables 2, there were three additional wide release openers that found themselves in a box office traffic jam of sorts, with Focus Features’ stop-action animated Paranorman (in 3-D) leading lead the charge with a gross of $14 million. Produced by Coraline creators Laika, the PG-rated horror adventure performed similarly to that film, which scared up $16.8 million in its third place debut back in February of 2009.
Warner Bros.’ The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis did well in the mid-week box office primary, garnering votes in the mid $2 million range daily. As bitter rivals in a North Carolina congressional campaign, Farrell and Galifianakis duke it out on the campaign trail to comedic effect. In this its second weekend, a gross of $13.385 million put it in the thick of a very contentious fight for a spot in the top four.
Also opening this weekend was Sparkle from Sony Pictures, which had a debut of $12 million and thus earned back its modest negative cost in its first three days of release. This is a re-make of the 1976 film, which starred Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas and singer Irene Cara, and was co-written by Joel Schumacher (director of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin). This update stars American Idol Season Six winner Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston in her fifth and final screen role, in a tale of an up and coming girl group in Detroit in the Motown era 1960’s. Both films were inspired by the iconic female singing group The Supremes, and this version amps up the star power and the production values to great effect.
Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises took the number 6 spot with $11.1 million, and a North American total that passed the $400 million mark on Friday.
The fourth film making its debut, Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green, got a head start on the weekend with a Wednesday debut in over 2,551 theaters with $2.3 million. The PG-rated fantasy stars Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams in the titular role of Timothy Green, a 10 year-old boy who shows up on the doorstep of a couple that has been wishing for a child but unable to conceive. Of course the young boy is much more than he appears to be and strange events ensue. A gross of nearly $11 million for the weekend enabled the family drama to sprout $15.2 million for the Wednesday through Sunday period.
Only three summer box office weekends left (including this one) as we struggle to keep up with last year’s summer pace.
[PHOTO CREDIT: LIONSGATE]
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Following the success of the “more action stars than you can shake a stick at” formula of 2010’s “The Expendables,” Lionsgate unleashes “The Expendables 2” which opens in 3,316 theaters this weekend and the results should be explosive. This time star Sylvester Stallone hands over the directing reins to Simon West (“Con Air,” “Laura Croft: Tomb Raider”) so he can concentrate on more ass whuppin’ and less movie directin’! The first film debuted at number one with $34.8 million and was a surprise mid-August hit and thus it’s no surprise that this latest installment will top this weekend’s chart with a gross of about $40 million. There is almost not enough room here to list all of the action stars that take part in the mayhem including of course Sylvester Stallone and a supporting cast featuring Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Adding to the excitement of this weekend’s action movie leanings is Universal’s “The Bourne Leagacy” starring Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross in this re-boot of the “Bourne” franchise. Last weekend the film topped the chart with $38.1 million and has been holding steady all week in first place and crossed the $50 million mark on Thursday after just seven days of release. Solid word-of-mouth will give it a modest second weekend drop, a gross of around $23 million and a North American total by Sunday night of over $70 million.
Besides “The Expendables 2,” there are three additional wide release openers that may find themselves in a box office traffic jam of sorts with Focus Features’ stop-action animated “Paranorman” in 3-D likely to lead the charge with a gross of around $16 to $17 million. Produced by “Coraline” creators Laika, the PG-rated horror adventure should perform similarly to that film which scared up $16.8 million in its third place debut back in February of 2009.
Also opening this weekend is “Sparkle” from Sony Pictures which should have a debut of around $15 million and thus earn back its modest negative cost in its first three days of release. This is a re-make of the 1976 film which starred “Miami Vice’s” Philip Michael Thomas and singer Irene Cara and was co-written by Joel Schumacher (director of “Batman Forever” and “Batman and Robin). This update stars American Idol Season Six winner Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston in her fifth and final screen role in a tale of an up and coming girl group in Detroit in the Motown era 1960’s. Both films were inspired by the iconic female singing group The Supremes and this version amps up the star power and the production values to great effect.
Warner Bros.’ “The Campaign” starring comedy Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis has done well in the mid-week box office primary garnering votes in the mid $2 million range daily. As bitter rivals in a North Carolina congressional campaign, Farrell and Galifianakis duke it out on the campaign trail to comedic effect. In this its second weekend an expected mid-teen gross will put it in the thick of a very contentious fight for a spot in the top three this weekend.
The fourth film making its debut has already banked some green: $2.3 million worth as Disney’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” gets a head start on the weekend with a Wednesday debut in over 2,551 theaters. The PG-rated fantasy stars Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams in the titular role of Timothy Green a 10 year-old boy who shows up on the doorstep of a couple that has been wishing for a child but unable to conceive. Of course the young boy is much more than he appears to be and strange events ensue. A likely gross of just over $10 million for the weekend should enable the family drama to sprout $15 million for the Wednesday through Sunday period.
Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises” will also vie for a spot in the top 5 with a possible gross in the low teens and a North American total that will pass the $400 million mark on Friday.
Only three summer box office weekends left (including this one) as we struggle to keep up with last year’s summer pace.
Disney’s late-summer hit The Help tops the box office chart for the second consecutive weekend with $14.3 million and another modest 28% weekend over weekend drop. The film opened three weeks ago in the number two spot, but has reclaimed dominance in the marketplace as great word-of-mouth for the film continues to sweep the nation. The $100 million mark will be crossed this week for this audiences pleasing film.
Sony’s Colombiana added some late summer action sizzle to the mix with Zoe Saldana kicking butt as a cold-blooded assassin in this stylized PG-13 romp written by the legendary Luc Besson. Besson has had his hand in such films as Taken, The Professional and La Femme Nikita. $10.3 million was the result as aficionados hit theaters to get their late-summer action fix.
Yet another horror re-make hit theaters this weekend as Film District’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark updates the 1973 movie of the same name with the unique sensibility of Guillermo del Toro who serves as screenwriter. Starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce this R-rated story of a young girl who discovers creatures in her new home sent horror fans to the multi-plex looking for a good scare and an opening weekend of $8.7 million.
Fox’s Rise of The Planet of the Apes enters its fourth weekend with a fourth place finish of $8.65 million and is closing in on $150 million in domestic revenue by Sunday night.
Opening this weekend with $6.6 million is the R-rated off-beat comedy Our Idiot Bother from the Weinstein Company and the producers of Little Miss Sunshine. The film starring comedy mainstay Paul Rudd as a stoned out idealist who crashes into the lives of his sisters found favor with audiences looking for some light-hearted escapism.
A very tough weekend on the east coast as Hurricane Irene took its toll on the box office and the nerves of many on the eastern seaboard. The weekend was off a solid 23% from the same weekend a year ago when Takers and The Last Exorcism had strong late-August debuts with over $20 million each.
Weekend Box Office
Top Movies for Weekend of August 26, 2011 (estimates)
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 The Help (PG13) $14.3M $96.6M
2 Colombiana (PG13) $10.3M $10.3M
3 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (R) $8.7M $8.7M
4 Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG13) $8.65M $148.4M
5 Our Idiot Brother (NR) $6.6M $6.6M
The Tourist is about as difficult to get through as spotting the vowels in the name of its director. Florian Henckel von Donnersmark was last seen receiving a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2007 for The Lives of Others which was about a couple living in East Berlin who were being monitored by the police of the German Democratic Republic. Its positive reception made way for the assumption that Donnersmark would continue to populate the USA with films of seemingly otherworldly and underrepresented themes. But his current project is saddening in its superficiality and total implausibility.
The film’s only real upside is its stars: two of our most prized Americans. Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo a math teacher from Wisconsin who travels to Europe after his wife leaves him presumably because of his weakness and simplicity. While en route to Venice he meets Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) who situates herself in his company after she receives a letter from her criminal lover Alexander Pearce (who stole some billions from a very wealthy Russian and the British government) with instructions to find someone on a train who looks like him and make the police believe that he is the real Alexander Pearce to throw the authorities and the Russians off his track. Elise picks Frank and after they are photographed kissing each other on the balcony of Elise’s hotel everyone begins to believe Frank is the real Pearce and so begins the chase.
While Donnersmark could not have picked two better looking people to film roaming around Venice his lack of faith in the audience is obvious. Every aspect of the characters is hammed up again and again as if Donnersmark felt burdened with the task of making us see his vision. Doubtful that we’re capable of getting to where he wants us he has crafted a movie completely devoid of subtlety. Elise’s strength and superiority over Frank are portrayed by close-ups and repeated instances of men burping up their lungs upon seeing her (as if her beauty is in any way subjective?). And in case we forgot that Frank is the victim in this story -- even though he’s been tricked chased and shot at - Donnersmark still felt the need to pin him with a lame electronic cigarette to puff on. Frank and Elise somehow manage to lack mystery even though we get very few factual details about each of them.
Nothing extraordinary comes to us in the way of the film’s structural elements either. There is very little of the action that The Tourist’s marketing led us to believe and the dialog is often painful. The plot itself is almost shockingly unbelievable especially when we’re asked to believe that Elise falls in love with Frank after a combination of kissing him once and her disclosed habit of swooning over men she only spent an hour with (yes that was on her CV).
The Tourist is rather empty and cosmetic. It’s worth seeing if you’re a superfan of Jolie or Depp but don’t expect to walk out of the theater with anything more than the stub you came in with.
If you want to get a film historian, critic, or theorist all hot and bothered, mention the auteur theory, find out whether they support it or not, and then argue the other side. It’s fun. It’s fun because the auteur theory’s not like a math equation: it’s neither completely true nor completely false.
French film critics writing in Cashiers du Cinema and the French New Wave of film that it produced had this idea that the director is the “author” of the film in the same way that a writer is the author of a novel. The artwork itself reflects the personal vision of the director, regardless of whatever industrial production method the movie may have gone through as it was being made.
On the other side is the understanding that film by its very nature is a collaborative medium. In addition to the director you’ve got actors, directors, cinematographers, designers, and editors, all of whom have a significant amount of influence on any given movie both in terms of process and product.
Hollywood’s Studio System epitomizes the film as industrial product. At its heights in the 30s, Hollywood produced so many movies a week that tasks were broken down and taken care of in sequence, like an automobile assembly line. It really was a factory. The French cinephiles of the 50s promoted auteur theory as a way of fighting for individual vision within a largely faceless industrial machine.
Of course there’s a continuum here. By every account, Stanley Kubrick held complete control over every aspect of his films, up to and including acting to the extent that he would do as many takes as necessary to get what he wanted from the actor. On the other hand you’ve got, say, the films of Judd Apatow: developed through several writers, jokes written by committee, improvised under Apatow’s direction, footage compiled by an editor, these movies are made by a large collaboration of people.
The funny thing is there’s no place on the spectrum that’s better than any other. Take, for example, what many consider to be the first example of American auteur cinema: Citizen Kane. Tightly controlled by Orson Welles, the piece is a critique of itself: a movie about a ravenously controlling man made in a ravenously controlling fashion.
Contrast that with a movie made just a year after, this week’s classic movie: 1942’s Casablanca
Casablanca represents the apotheosis of the classic Hollywood studio system. It was a play written by Murray Burnette and Joan Alison, re-conceived by story editor Irene Diamond, turned into a screenplay written by Julius and Philip Epstein, rewritten by Howard Koch, with additional uncredited rewrites by Casey Robinson during production. And after all that, it was producer Hal Wallis who came up with the famous last line.
Director Michael Curtiz, brought on by Wallis after his first choice for director fell through, was hired to serve the committee-written script. Robinson has been quoted as saying that Curtiz knew very little about the story at all, given that a great deal of the dialogue was written as they went. Curtiz directed on a shot by shot, scene by scene basis. So fractured was the production of Casablanca that critic Andrew Sarris has called it “the most decisive exception to the auteur theory.” It’s also one of the clearest, most coherent and most well-wrought stories ever told by Hollywood.
Catching Casablanca on TV the other night with my friends Erin and Greg, we were immediately pulled into the story. Casablanca perfectly balances cynicism and sentimentality, romance and intrigue, lyricism and pragmatism within a perfectly wrought story filled with memorable characters. There’s a lot to be said about personal artistic vision, but there’s just as much to be said about the power of the studio system at its best. If you haven’t seen Casablanca lately, do yourself a favor and revisit one of the greats.