June 11, 2013 10:13am EST
Robert Redford is urging U.S. President Barack Obama to act swiftly in a bid to curb climate change. The Oscar-winning actor has filmed a new advertisement for environmental group the Natural Resources Defence Council in which he encourages Obama to make good on his pre-election promises.
In the clip, which will air online and on U.S. TV, The Sting star Redford says, "Climate change is happening fast. We've got to stop making the problem worse, and that means reducing carbon pollution from its biggest source, coal-fired power plants. The good news is that President Obama has pledged to act. I just hope the President has the courage of his convictions."
The advert, which also features footage of Obama agreeing to act to curb climate change in a speech after becoming President for the second time last year (12), ends with Redford encouraging his fans, "Please, urge the President to make dirty power plants clean up their carbon pollution."
June 03, 2013 3:26pm EST
The Writers Guild of America selected the 101 best written TV series of all time. Here's what we have to say about the top five.
1. The Sopranos It would be a crime NOT to put David Chase's mob drama about Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini) at the top of the list. By showcasing intense issues with an artistically graphic and entertaining flair, the writers struck ground in the mafia genre and created a family that "gave us an offer we couldn't refuse." Six un-fogget-able seasons led us to an infamous series finale that left viewers forever in disbelief. No one can remember what the episode was about, but the cliffhanger ending will forever stick in our minds. Cue "Don't Stop Believing."
2. Seinfeld There might be "no soup for you" but WGA gave a second place nod to Seinfeld's co-creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Although David's spot at #30 for Curb Your Enthusiasm recognizes the show's "retroscripting" of an outlined plot filled with improvised dialogue, Seinfeld is a sitcom where the writers essentially write about "nothing." While episodes are mainly based on the writers' real-life experiences, the fictionalized antics of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer have become a cultural phenomenon through classic episodes such as "The Puffy Shirt" and "The Pez Dispenser." Yada, yada, yada.
3. The Twilight Zone It is easy to recognize the haunting success of the sci-fi fantasy series through its evolution into a feature film, a radio series, a comic book and a variety of other spin-offs. But however revered the series is in the world of sci-fi lovers, it is difficult to decipher who should be commemorated for the series' lasting effect on pop culture: the writers of the series or the composers of the iconic theme song. The thrilling Twilight Zone achieves something that is less common in television today by allowing the politically symbolic stories to be the star of the series, even though several of the actors (i.e. Robert Redford, William Shatner, and Carol Burnett) went on to become icons.
4. All in the Family While the CBS sitcom wasn't initially a television hit, it soon blew up with its depiction of controversial issues never before seen in a sitcom format. Notorious for using television comedy to generate a national conversation on difficult issues, the writers revolved present day conflicts around family life inside a Queens home. A true test of the show's success is that even though the show ended over 30 years ago, the well-written but not always politially correct characters still influence their most faithful viewers: the recent death of beloved actress Jean Stapelton, best known as the family's matriarch Edith Bunker, has left many fans in mourning.
5. M*A*S*H M*A*S*H, starring Alan Alda and Wayne Rogers, is most notable for being the only long-running series based around a war zone. However, it is also commemorated for its flawless integration of comedy and the traumatic themes inevitable in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The series spans a three-year military conflict during the Korean War, but the real beauty of many of the plotlines is that they were founded on stories told by real MASH surgeons interviewed by the production team. To make M*A*S*H even more deserving of a top spot on the list, its series finale in 1983 was the most-watched television show of that time.
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May 08, 2013 5:38pm EST
Veteran movie star Robert Redford is teaming up with bosses at news network CNN to make a documentary series centred on the people and politics of Chicago, Illinois. The Spy Game actor will step behind the camera to executive produce Chicagoland, an eight-part show which will explore city legislation and the efforts of lawmakers to improve safety and public education.
Redford insists landing the job is an "honour" and adds, "The vibrant culture and opportunities inherent in this 21st century, world-class city run alongside profound daily challenges. Much of it falls on the shoulders of its tough, visionary mayor, his team and people doing heroic work in neighbourhoods throughout the city."
The show, backed by the star's Sundance Productions company, will air on CNN in 2014.
May 08, 2013 12:59pm EST
For all of you who think that Robert Redford retired, well, you're wrong. He just signed a deal with CNN to produce an eight-episode series called Chicagoland.
Yes, CNN looks more like a reality TV channel these days than ever before. But this is very serious reality of course. It will be looking at the challenges that face the city right now, including overhauling its educational system, dealing with crime and neighborhood safety, and figuring out just how to get the Cubs into the World Series. Okay...maybe not that last one.
Redford said in a statement, "Chicago has always had a rhythm all its own. It’s a city that wears its heart on its sleeve and I am honored to be a part of telling this story.”
The series will debut in early 2014.
Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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April 29, 2013 9:11am EST
Mia Farrow has heaped praise on director Baz Luhrmann for putting an original spin on The Great Gatsby, insisting her previous movie version was "weighed down" by comparisons to the book. The actress appeared in a 1974 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel opposite Robert Redford, but Farrow admits Francis Ford Coppola's screenplay stuck too closely to the author's original prose.
She is convinced Luhrmann's new version, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role and features a rap soundtrack, will refresh the classic story.
Farrow tells the Chicago Sun-Times, "I'm a big fan of Baz's... (Previous movies) have been too careful about following the exact language of the original book - including our film. I think that kind of weighed down those movies... (But Luhrmann's) magic... will create something (that is) very much his own thing... (It) will be wonderful."
Farrow played Jay Gatsby's love interest Daisy Buchanan in the 1974 film - a role which has been taken over by Carey Mulligan - and DiCaprio replaces Redford.
April 26, 2013 9:32am EST
There's something to be said about the jealousy of dogs. If there is more than one dog in a household, there is most likely an aggressor, a leader of the pack. The dominant dog loves to be the center of his or her owner's attention and can't stand it when the other dogs invade on this territory. Well, Thursday night, Susan Sarandon thought it would be a grand idea to bring her two dogs, Rigby and Penny, to visit Jimmy Fallon — and in the middle of her interview, the two little pets went at it.
Sarandon was in the middle of a joke about Justin Bieber being subpar at ping pong (the conversation was sparked by the news that police invaded Bieber's tour bus in Sweden this week and discovered a small amount of drugs), when Fallon decided to offer the actress' dogs a few toys. When one dog brought a toy over to Sarandon, upon whose lap the other dog that had been sitting, the stage erupted in a canine freak out. After that, it became clear which pet is the more dominant animal.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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April 25, 2013 6:20am EST
Robert Redford is taking a step back from his Sundance Film Festival because the annual event no longer needs his input to run smoothly. The actor/director founded Sundance in 1981 to showcase independent movie projects, and the festival has since become an industry institution, drawing 50,000 visitors to its base in Park City, Utah, every year.
Redford, who is currently in the U.K. to launch the second Sundance London, has now revealed he plans to gradually phase himself out of the events.
He says, "It doesn't need me any more. I'm slowly stepping back... Has Sundance got too big? That's for others to decide. Has it got too big for me? Probably, in the sense that I realised I'd been drowning in it. So now I'm content to just step in periodically to ensure it stays true to its original purpose, and make sure it doesn't spend too much time raising money.
"Sundance is a non-profit organisation. It's supposed to be about independent filmmakers, about people who don't have a chance. We have to live those values. We can't let it look like Beverly Hills."
Redford admits he initially struggled to get Sundance off the ground, recalling, "The first year we took it to Park City, there was only one ramshackle theatre. I had to stand outside trying to get people to come in, like some guy outside a strip-joint. And then it went completely beyond what I had envisioned. The whole thing mushroomed."
April 23, 2013 4:50am EST
Veteran entertainer Barbra Streisand was given an early birthday treat on Monday (22Apr13) as a host of stars gathered in New York City to salute her glittering movie career. The singer/actress, who turns 71 on Wednesday (24Apr13), was the toast of the 40th anniversary Chaplin Award Gala, where she was handed the prestigious accolade in honour of her film achievements.
Pierce Brosnan, Blythe Danner, Ben Stiller, Jeremy Irons, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were among Streisand's famous friends who attended the Lincoln Center event, which raised $2 million (£1.3 million) to promote independent cinema.
Introducing Streisand to the stage, former U.S. President Bill Clinton told the crowd, "Every great person is driven, but if that person has massive talent, big brains and a bigger heart, you want to go along for the ride."
Accepting her trophy, Streisand said, "Ever since I can remember, people have been calling me bossy and opinionated. Maybe that's because I am. Three cheers for bossy women."
Liza Minnelli serenaded her pal with Isn't This Better? from Funny Lady, telling the crowd, "She's a good lady and a helluva broad (sic)!" while Tony Bennett sang classic song Smile, written by Charlie Chaplin.
In a video clip, Robert Redford joked that he had been warned his The Way We Were co-star would be "a pain", but insisted she turned out to be "totally engaging to act with, beautiful, thorough and skilled".
Previous recipients of The Film Society's Chaplin Award include Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, Meryl Streep, Sidney Poitier and Tom Hanks.
April 11, 2013 9:42am EST
Hollywood actor Robert Redford has expressed his horror following a devastating oil spill in Arkansas last month (Mar13), insisting the incident made him feel "sick". More than 20 homes were evacuated around the town of Mayflower after a pipeline ruptured and spewed thousands of gallons of oil over lawns, roadways and suburban streets on 29 March (13).
Redford has been a vocal opponent of plans to build a new pipeline, the Keystone XL project, to transport oil from Canada to the U.S., and he is adamant the Arkansas incident should be seen as a warning.
In a blog for the Huffington Post, he writes, "When I see raw tar sands coursing through people's yards and across wetlands, it makes me sick. My thoughts are with the people in Arkansas who are dealing with this river of toxic mess. And my thoughts instantly move ahead to what could happen to farms, families, homes, and wild areas across our country if we support expansion of tar sands with permits for pipelines such as Keystone XL.
"The answer seems clear, especially when we look at the graphic video footage from Arkansas: tar sands expansion rewards the oil industry while putting us all at risk of oil spills and climate change. That's a raw deal by any calculation."
April 08, 2013 1:14pm EST
With Iron Man 3 hitting theaters in less than a month, Thor: The Dark World arriving at the end of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy casting stars left and right, and new Hulk-centric rumors smashing their way into the pop culture lexicon every week, we've just about... nope, still not even coming close to having our fill of Marvel news. Luckily, Marvel is just as zealous to give us new content as we are to receive it: the studio has announced that the previously announced Captain America 2, a sequel to the thrilling 2011 venture and its expansive follow-up The Avengers, has officially begun production.
Officially titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the film shares the above shot of a dutiful Cap (Chris Evans) perusing a dimly lit S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in the aftermath of the Avengers Initiative face-off with the Chitauri. Like Iron Man 3, the new Cap feature will follow the superhuman hero in the wake of the near-apocalyptic New York venture that took quite a toll on the team.
RELATED: Robert Redford Joins 'Captain America 2'
Alongside Evans in the Captain America sequel, we'll see Avengers stars Scarlett Johansson (as the Black Widow) and Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury), as well as Hollywood veteran Robert Redford, as S.H.I.E.L.D. top banana Agent Alexander Pierce. The most intriuging bit of casting is the return of Haley Atwell and Toby Jones, returning as Peggy Carter and the diabolical Arnim Zola, respectively. Any question of whether we'll jump backwards in time in some fashion — as both characters are from the original, 1930s-set film — is put to rest. We'll also see plenty of modern footage, with Revenge's Emily VanCamp playing the new female lead.
The Winter Soldier is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, of Arrested Development and Community fame.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Marvel]
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