Vegas stars Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis are to team up as golf buddies to host the fourth annual Screen Actors Guild Foundation Los Angeles Golf Classic. Quaid, who is one of the world's top celebrity golfers, and his TV rival will hit the Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank for a round on 10 June (13).
The event will benefit SAG's Catastrophic Health Fund and Emergency Assistance programmes.
This year's host committee includes Halle Berry's ex Gabriel Aubry, Scott Bakula, Joe Mantegna, Danny Masterson and Ron Perlman.
Los Angeles, 1949. The streets of this post-war paradise hum with the din of a thousand nefarious deeds and are soaked with liters of regret and heavy-handed film noir metaphors. This is the world in which Ruben Fleischer has set his latest film Gangster Squad. The movie is a largely dramatized account of the LAPD’s attempt to bring down west coast mob boss Mickey Cohen. Fleischer has crafted an ultraviolent throwback to the stiff fedora brims, and stiffer drinks, of the classic gangster films of the 1930s, while also nodding to the movies of the' 90s equally reverent toward that era; namely The Untouchables. This gave us the idea to assemble our own gangster squad... that is, our favorite obscure gangster movies. Here are the hoods and heavies we’d enlist.
The Last Man Standing
If you are looking for something almost exactly as kill-crazed and kinetic as Gangster Squad, with bad guys equally as exaggerated, look no further than Walter Hill’s The Last Man Standing. Essentially a re-imagining of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, Bruce Willis plays a gun-toting stranger who breezes into a Prohibition-era ghost town in West Texas. The town is run by two rival gangs, and Willis proceeds to play one off the other for his own profit. Last Man Standing is a dusty, bloody, noirsploitation, but Hill’s well-struck action sequences, coupled with the staggering cast of outstanding character actors, sets this one apart.
It would behoove you to abandon the notion that the U.S. has the market cornered on great gangster films. From the late 50s to the early 70s, French director Jean-Pierre Melville was one of the hardest hitting figures in crime cinema. Le Samourai stars frequent Melville collaborator Alain Delon as a mob assassin who accidentally leaves a witness after killing a nightclub owner. The quiet French noir is uniquely compelling from the first frame. What gives the movie its true voice, as well as its title, is the fascinating crossover of samurai culture--the rituals, the extremely modest lifestyle, and most importantly the “armor” comprised of trench coat and fedora—with familiar gangster conventions.
1948’s Key Largo is not as violent as Gangster Squad, point of fact it’s not even as bullet happy as its gangster cinema contemporaries. This film noir stars perennial tough guy Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, one of the most prevalent actors of the golden age of Warner Gangster flicks. Robinson was born to be a heavy; his face locked in permanent scowl. The prologue makes a point of noting that Key Largo is the largest of the Florida Keys, which nicely juxtaposes the claustrophobic atmosphere of being trapped in that tropical hotel with menacing mobster Johnny Rocco during a hurricane. That claustrophobia also plays into the movie’s phenomenal climax on that tiny boat. Key Largo is powerful, calculating, and sweltering with tension.
The Long Good Friday
The mustering of sympathy for the devil is a core component to scores of organized crime films. We are often asked to pledge our allegiance to protagonists who are objectively reprehensible. Scorsese’s Goodfellas is full of these compelling antiheroes. That innate ability to root for the bad guy was possibly never more strongly challenged than in 1980’s The Long Good Friday. British gangland boss Harold Shand has his turf bombed by competing thugs and he will not rest until he identifies them. Bob Hoskins plays Shand with such bitter, bile-spewing viciousness as to appear rabid. The scene of him interrogating enemy footsoldiers while they hang upside down is encapsulating of his character as a whole. Hoskins’ performance, the whodunit nature of the plot, and the stellar score are what make this film so fantastic. Watch out for a young Pierce Brosnan as a not-so-loquacious hitman.
A Colt is My Passport
It’s interesting to see how different cultures have their own gangster societies. The Japanese Yakuza have an entire branch of cinema unto themselves, just as does the Italian Cosa Nostra, and one of the best in this category is 1967’s A Colt is My Passport. The story centers on a pair of killers making their escape after an especially high-profile hit. Produced by then-thriving action studio Nikkatsu, A Colt is My Passport infuses elements of the great American westerns to create a distinctive and captivating journey for its two leads. Jo Shishido is cast as the Japanese take on the Gary Cooper strong silent hero, and his climactic showdown with a car full of enemies is spectacular.
The Coen Brothers aren’t exactly obscure filmmakers. In addition to their Academy acclaim, they have directed a plethora of films that have been inducted into pop culture canon. That being said, their 1990 crime comedy Miller’s Crossing is criminally underseen. Gabriel Byrne plays a mob lieutenant who is constantly trying to keep the peace between his boss and a rival gang. The Coen’s outrageous farce is well woven into this mafia parable and the score and cinematography are operating on otherworldly levels. Of all the sensational talent assembled here, it is John Turturro’s performance as the uber slimy Bernie Bernbaum that steals the show.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]
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A little back story - the Black List is not a “best of” list by any regard. Instead it is referred to as a “most liked” list. Each year Franklin Leonard asks several members of the entertainment industry elite - top agents, managers, executives, people like that - to vote for their favorite unproduced screenplays and each year he publishes the resulting list. Several of your favorite unique movies of the past few years (Juno, 500 Days of Summer, Lars and The Real Girl) appeared on the list and it has helped launch quite a few careers.
Having said that, there is a caveat. While the criteria calls for the screenplay to be “unproduced” several of these works have either been optioned and/or are in production. In fact, a few have already been made. And there have been whispers that some agencies and managers stack the list for their own clients so this is by no means a fair or accurate list. But alas, that’s Hollywood baby.
Anyway, on to the most promising sounding scripts!
College Republicans - Wes Jones. Taking the top spot this year is the true story of Karl Rove running for the presidency of the College Of Republicans under the guidance of Lee Atwater. Rove is one of the most devious little bastards of the American political system in the past two decades. It’ll be interesting to see this story translated to screen. Shia LaBeouf and Paul Dano are loosely attached to the project.
Jackie - Noah Oppenheim. The second place script follows Jackie Kennedy in the immediate week following JFK’s assassination. While the nation mourned the loss of its leader, she mourned the death of her husband...intriguing to say the least. Sounds heartwrenching. Steven Spielberg is on board to executive produce through Amblin, with Rachel Weisz in talks to star.
All You Need is Kill - Dante Harper. Third place goes to the first skeptical inclusion, an adaptation of a graphic novel. Its high ranking somewhat ensures that it is indeed good, but still the fact that it isn’t original isn’t promising. The story follows a soldier in the future who finds himself caught in a time loop after dying on the battlefield. His tactical skills become more concise after each "death". Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) to direct.
999 - Matt Cook. A group of corrupt cops have to shoot a fellow officer in order to get away. How can you not like the sound of that? John Hillcoat to direct, Chris Pine in talks to star.
Margin Call - JC Chandor. Our first produced screenplay! This one stars Kevin Spacey and a gaggle of gifted performers. You’ll be able to see it next year as it premieres at Sundance.
American Bullshit - Eric Warren Singer. Another true story of an FBI sting in the US Congress. This is a perfect example of the unwritten rule of the Black List: if you want your film on it, give its title a little dirty word.
The Last Son of Isaac Lemay - Greg Johnson. An aging outlaw is convinced his children are evil and sets off to kill him. However, his worst fears come to life when he meets his last remaining son. Sounds a lot like Dexter and I’m completely okay with that.
Die in a Gun Fight - Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari. A contemporary take on the Romeo & Juliet tale. This one just had Zac Efron attached to it and has a good chance of getting made.
Imagine - Dan Fogelman. You’ll be seeing this one soon enough with Steve Carell as the son of an aging rockstar discovers the life of his father he never knew existed.
Chronicle - Max Landis. Three teens discovers they have gained superpowers after contact with a mysterious substance in the woods. Things start off all fun and games until they start to turn on each other. Finally! Something not involving politics!
Your Bridesmaid is a Bitch - Brian Duffeld. A guy agrees to be a groomsman for his sister’s wedding only to discover the woman who broke his heart is also a part of the wedding. Why the guy (or the sister for that matter) didn’t see this coming remains to be seen. But again, put a dirty word in your title = recognition.
What Happened To Monday? - Max Botkin. A group of identical septuplets has to investigate the disappearance of one their siblings when the government forces families to only conceive one child due to population overcrowding. The possibilities of this seem amazing and due to the title it seems likely each sibling is named after a day of the week. Go me.
The Butler - Danny Strong. A black butler in the White House services eight US Presidents. Could be Forrest Gump. Could be TMZ. Either way, I’m there.
One Day - David Nicholls. Here’s the official Black List summary, “Dexter and Emma meet for the first time on college graduation day in 1988 and proceed to reunite one day a year for the next 20 years.” Here’s my official reactiong, “Bluuuuurgh.” This one is in post-production with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess starring. Lone Scherfig (An Education) directs.
Murder of a Cat - Christian Magalhars & Robert Snow. A dark comedy about a guy investigating his cat’s death? Why hasn’t this been made sooner?
Can You Keep A Secret - Megan Martin. A woman spills all of her secrets to the stranger on a rough plane ride. Turns out the stranger is the CEO of her company. This logline actually made me laugh out loud. I really hope it gets made.
Cinema Verite - David Seltzer. “Based on the PBS series ‘An American Family,’ cameras follow a family as they go about their daily life.” I’m sorry, I couldn’t make it through that sentence. I had to copy and paste.
The Girl With Something Extra - Terrence Michael. A girl enters high school and suddenly realizes she’s a boy who has been raised his whole life to believe he is a girl? Talk about an awkward first day of gym class.
Ricky Stanicky - Jeff Bushell. Three childhood friends invent someone to take the blame for all of their shenanigans. Eventually their wives demand to meet this person and they hire and actor to play him. Sounds like a Farrelly Brothers movie and I mean that in the most sincere way possible. James Franco is attached.
Zombie Baby - Andy Jones. You don’t need to know anything other than the title. Trust me.
Boy Scouts Vs. Zombies - Carrie Evans & Emi Mochizuko. Again, no other information necessary.
Prom - Katie Wech. “High school students prepare for their prom.” No, seriously. That is all there is to it.
Fucking Jane Austen - Blake Bruns. Again, use a dirty word, get Black Listed. But this one actually lives up to its title. Two men are pissed at Austen for creating unrealistic expectations about love among women (preach it brothers!) so they get sent back in time. Unfortunately the only way for them to get back is to have Jane Austen fall in love and sleep with one of them.
Paint - Brit McAdams. From the list, “A Bob Ross-esque PBS painting show host must fight for his career when his station brings in a rival painting host.” Stop, you had me a Bob Ross-esque.
First the good news for the Backstreet Boys: When it comes to the number of albums they can sell in a week, BSB is, by far, tops.
The pop idols sold 5 million units of their latest album, "Black & Blue," worldwide the first week out, Reuters reports -- a new record. But it wasn't as good of news for the boy band here in the States.
Released Nov. 21, "Black & Blue" sold 1.6 million copies in the United States in its debut week, an impressive feat but placing them third on the list of the largest first-week openings behind rival 'N Sync's "No Strings Attached" (2.4 million) and Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP" (1.8 million).
It’s not the first time an album by the boy band has reached platinum status (1 million copies sold) in the first week of release. "Millennium," released in May 1999, debuted with a then-record of 1.1 million units sold in one week and has since gone on to sell more than 30 million units globally. BSB is the only band in history to have the back to back 1 million distinction.
To date, "Black & Blue" has gone multi-platinum in five countries; platinum in 16 countries and gold (500,000 units sold) in 10 countries.
Backstreet's back, all right.
BILLBOARD NOMINATIONS: Hold on music fans, Santana isn’t done taking home a heap of awards just yet.
The organizers of the Billboard Music Awards announced their nominations for this year's event, and multi-Grammy winner Santana led the pack, again, with six nominations -- including Artist of the Year and Hot 100 Single of the Year.
Singer Faith Hill nabbed five nods, including Female Artist of the Year and Country Artist of the Year. Also nominated were some usual suspects in the pop, hip-hop and rock categories: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, ‘N Sync, Eminem, Joe and Metallica with three nominations each. Destiny's Child, Pink, DMX, Donell Jones, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and Creed received two nods each.
The awards will be handed out Dec. 5 at Las Vegas’ MGM hotel and will air at 8 p.m. on Fox.
LOS LOBOS MURDER CASE SOLVED: Cesar Rosas finally has closure. The singer/guitarist of Los Lobos was informed late Monday night that the body his brother-in-law led police to was in fact the remains of the musician’s wife.
Sandra Rosas disappeared from her L.A. area home in October 1999. The identification, based on dental records, came 10 days after the victim’s half brother, Gabriel Gomez, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her kidnapping and murder, Reuters reports. Gomez first denied killing his half sister, but then led sheriff’s to Rosas’ remains after he was convicted of the crime on Oct. 31.
MONKEES TOURING ... AGAIN: Hey, hey they’re going on tour, again. Three original members of the TV pop group "The Monkees" will reunite again next year for their first tour in four years, Reuters reports.
Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork will kick off their 15-city "Monkee Mania Returns 2001" tour in March.
All four original members, including Mike Nesmith, recorded a new album in 1996 and even toured for a short time before Nesmith dropped out, leaving the others to finish the North American tour that year.
CLEANING OUT THE CLOSET: Decked out in black leather, flamboyant British pop singer Elton John arrived to a celebratory breakfast today to kick off a fundraiser expected to raise $570,000 by selling more than 15,000 of the singer’s most outlandish outfits.
The proceeds will go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The fundraiser, "Out of the Closet III," marked the third time his wild stage clothes were sold to raise money. Items on sale range from cotton shirts for $56 to a grand piano going for about $71,000