Veteran TV actor Ed Nelson has died at the age of 85. The star passed away on Saturday (09Aug14) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Born Edwin Stafford Nelson, the New Orleans, Louisiana native served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman before launching his screen career in the mid-1950s, when he appeared in low-budget films such as Attack of the Crab Monsters.
His big break came in 1964, when he starred in popular soap opera Peyton Place as Doctor Michael Rossi. The show ran for five years until 1969, and he later featured in a TV movie spin-off, titled Murder in Peyton Place.
His other TV credits include The Detectives, The Untouchables, The Rockford Files, Quincy M.E. and The Twilight Zone.
Nelson's final screen appearance was in 2003 movie Runaway Jury, based on the novel by John Grisham and starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman.
Roadside Attractions via Everett Collection
To a weathered cinephile, there might be nothing sadder than a movie like A Most Wanted Man: the sort that is technically perfect, or close to it, but that lacks the panache to earn it hospice in the viewing public's minds and hearts. The latest John le Carré adaptation, a markedly superior film to Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, treats its political thriller with the patience and density that you might imagine a real spy to devote to his missions. Director Anton Corbijn is determined to build a world of espionage as piercingly authentic — if not necessarily in practice (how the hell would some two-bit film critic know what the trade is really like?) than in ambiance — as possible, paying for this triumph with the loss of accessibility and narrative rhythm. Impressively enough, the film never sinks quite to the level of tedium. But it never hits the highs of real encouragement either.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays German agent Günther Bachmann with a lovable combination of Bond-caliber determination and Office Space schlubbiness — he's a man so entrenched in his job (the "catching terrorists" racket) that his identity beyond the margins of worktime hours seems limited to sips of scotch and silent glowers. Unsurprisingly, Hoffman is A Most Wanted Man's greatest triumph: his access of the obsession and self-deprecation in a man who might have otherwise been a dimensionless vehicle not only rescues his character, but the otherwise stark A Most Wanted Man in entirety.
Roadside Attractions via Everett Collection
Without Hoffman, there is no movie. Despite acceptable turns from costars Grigoriy Dobrygin (as a Chechen Muslim targeted by Hoffman's organization), Rachel McAdams (as the diplomatic attorney driven to help Dobrygin find asylum), and — best of all — Nina Hoss (as Hoffman's colleague and friend), Hoffman is the principal feature keeping A Most Wanted Man alive.
But even at its liveliest, the film never feels particularly vibrant. Always smart, meticulous, and impressive, A Most Wanted Man lacks the nominal imperfections — the quirks and peculiarities — that might result in an active pulse. Ultimately, we are welcome to marvel at A Most Wanted Man, but it'd be nearly impossible to revel in it.
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Little Big Man author Thomas Berger has died, aged 89. The writer passed away at Nyack Hospital in New York state on 13 July (14), a week before his 90th birthday.
His health had been deteriorating in recent months, according to his literary agent Cristina Concepcion.
The versatile wordsmith, who penned 20 novels ranging in genre, is best known for his third book Little Big Man.
The 1964 satirical story was adapted into a big screen version starring Dustin Hoffman in 1970.
Berger, who served in World War II, is also known for the novel Neighbors, which was turned into a film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1981.
He was a finalist for the coveted Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1984 for his novel The Feud, which was also made into a movie, and in 2012, Samuel L. Jackson starred in Meeting Evil, which was based on another of Berger's books.
"That was awful. I'd hoped we'd be at the back of the theatre, the two of us, listening to the audience laugh." Mad Men star John Slattery on missing out on spending quality time with his God's Pocket star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died in February (14), shortly after the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Oddly enough, the body-swapping genre has been one of the most consistent in Hollywood. This somewhat campy story tradition focuses on two characters, often a parent and child but occasionally friends, swapping bodies unexpected, leading a comedy of errors to ensue. It may be hard to believe that this entire genre began with an 1800s novel titled Vice Versa. People might also not connect the countless Freaky Friday remakes with an actual children’s book by Mary Rodgers. This genre may be slowly dying as people’s interest in magic requires teenage wizards or shiny vampires. However, there have quite a number of films that have played to, played with, or played against this popular trope.
Here’s some of the most famous, and forgettable, Body Switching Movies:
Freaky Friday (1976)
Fans of Oscar winner Jodie Foster will remember her as a tomboy in this classic Disney movie. Based on the popular kid's book, Foster’s character swaps places with her housewife mother (Barbara Harris) after the two simultaneously wish to switch places (Boom! It happens just like that). This was before the days of assigning rules or logic to magic. That may be why it’s only the one Freaky Friday and not a franchise. Prepare yourself for the inevitable Thowback Thursday movie.
Like Father Like Son (1987)
Dudley Moore is best known for his role as Arthur. However, he and the now controversial Kirk Cameron starred in this body swap comedy. The two ingest a bizarre South American potion and switch bodies. This film was released in theaters but has a distinct made-for-TV feel. It’s also a lot darker and less fun than you’d expect from the genre. It’s one of the few non-Hallmark channel acting roles of Cameron… though that isn’t saying much.
Vice Versa (1988)
This film doesn’t credit the classic Victorian story but is a modern retelling of the father/son body swap novel. Fred Savage switches places with his uptight father (Judge Reinhold) after the two conveniently yell they wish to swap places while holding a Buddhist statue. Savage is great as at playing the outspoken adult despite his diminutive stature. Reinhold was also pretty childlike in his role in Beverly Hills Cop, so this isn’t much of a stretch. There are also great appearances by Swoosie Kurtz and Jane Kaczmarek.
18 Again! (1988)
George Burns stars with Charlie Schlatter in this comedy that is a little twisted. 81-year-old Burns switches places with his 18-year-old grandson, putting his life at risk, and allowing Schlatter to do a convincing old-timey accent. Don't confuse it with Zac Efron's film 17 Again... although that's its own kind of body swapping film.
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
People may forget this Alec Baldwin/Meg Ryan romantic drama. Based on a play of the same name, Ryan goes against type as a misanthropic eccentric who falls in love with Baldwin’s lonely conservative. It channels Dharma & Greg until the film makes a sharp turn. At the couple’s wedding, Ryan gets a kiss from an old man and becomes a different person. You guessed it: they switch bodies. The film then goes on an existential journey about life, love, and youth. Despite being a little depressing, it had surprisingly great performances by Baldwin and Ryan.
Freaky Friday (1995)
In this remake, Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffmann play the mother daughter duo that switch bodies because of matching magical necklaces. In the book and original movie, the mother is a married homemaker, but in this film Long plays a divorced workaholic.
Wish Upon a Star (1996)
Disney also released this other Freaky Friday-themed kid’s movie. A young Katherine Heigl plays a high maintenance pretty girl (sound familiar?) whose younger sister, played by Danielle Harris of the Halloween franchise, wishes on a star to see what the former's life is like. The two learn, through really high-stakes magical roleplay, to appreciate how tough one another has it. It’s a halfway decent movie but pales in comparison to the two other Disney bodyswap films.
This film takes a darkly, starkly real take on body swapping. FBI Agent John Travolta literally has his face taken off and attached to the head of his mortal enemy, played by Nicolas Cage. Despite the implausibility of face swapping and the fact that no one points out the vast differences in their bodies, this action movie is amazing. There’s a ton of suspense, a lot of campy fun, and some prime crazy Nic Cage.
Virtual Sexuality (1999)
This British romantic comedy really plays with the genre. A persnickety virgin goes into a machine and designs the man of her dreams. The problem, after an explosion, she wakes up in his body. Talk about loving yourself. This film is fun and focuses on the interesting dating differences between men and women, so the “magic” of body switches doesn’t get too distracting.
The Hot Chick (2002)
If Mean Girls never happened this, might be the role that Rachel McAdams would have been remembered for. She plays a Regina George type who, via a magic earring, swaps places with a thief played by Rob Schneider. Let's just say that Schneider has definitely made worse. It also features Anna Farris and Tia and Tamera Mowry.
Freaky Friday (2003)
This film established Lindsay Lohan as a teen icon. The Parent Trap was a great remake, but this new edgier, raspier Lohan is the girl who went on to rule the early 2000s. It also was Jamie Lee Curtis’ unofficial Activia audition. The actresses play the same feuding mom and daughter that swap bodies after opening up magic fortune cookies. If you haven’t seen this classic, check it out to remember when Lohan became a star.
It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006)
This forgettable film is on Hulu if you doubt it ever existed. Kevin Zegers, best known for the recent Mortal Instruments movie, and Samaire Armstrong, who is on Resurrection, swap bodies and genders in this incarnation. This film blends the body-swap with the popular gender-bender genre. This means a ton of going into the wrong bathroom jokes.
The Change-Up (2011)
Just a few years ago, when Ryan Reynolds was everywhere, this film was a pit stop on his journey out of the limelight. He plays a wild bachelor who switches places with his married best friend (Justin Bateman). The film feels like lesser Happy Madison rather than a great comedy, despite the talented men at the head of the cast.
"I've been asked before whose career I would want, and I would say him. There's some envy involved in that. But then, when you really get to know him, you go, 'Oh, this guy is like my brother'." Mad Men star John Slattery pays tribute to late pal Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's final movie role as a leading man is set to hit theatres this May (14). The Oscar winner filmed God's Pocket in his native New York last summer (13) and had been promoting the drama, in which he stars as Mickey, a man who tries to cover up the accidental death of his crazy stepson, at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January (14).
The movie, directed by and co-starring Mad Men actor John Slattery, has now been given a 9 May release date in the U.S., while it will be available on video-on-demand on 14 May.
Hoffman had also been in the midst of shooting scenes for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Parts 1 & 2, in which he plays Plutarch Heavensbee.
The first Mockingjay film is scheduled for a November (14) release, with the sequel to follow in 2015.
Hoffman died from a drug overdose on 2 February (14), aged 46.
Dallas Buyers Club and Gravity were the toast of the 2014 Oscars on Sunday (02Mar14), but it was 12 Years A Slave which was named Best Picture on Hollywood's biggest night. The Steve McQueen slave drama was a triple threat, also scoring Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley.
AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club served up a double win in the male acting categories with Matthew McConaughey earning his first Oscar for Best Actor and Jared Leto claiming Best Supporting Actor, while Cate Blanchett took home the Best Actress title for her star turn in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
However, it was Gravity which scored the most wins of the night with seven, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron and a string of technical awards.
The 86th annual ceremony was presented by Ellen DeGeneres and she opened the prestigious event by joking about the heavy rain which has lashed the usually-sunny state of California in the past few days, and poking fun at Jennifer Lawrence for her clumsy nature after she stumbled and fell to her knees on the red carpet as she arrived at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood - a year after she tripped up the stairs on the way to pick up her 2013 Best Actress Oscar.
Each of the nominations for Best Original Song were performed, but it was Frozen star Idina Menzel's rendition of Let It Go which earned husband and wife songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez the award.
Pop star Pink helped to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz by belting out Somewhere Over the Rainbow in front of Judy Garland's children Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, who were among the guests in the audience, and Bette Midler made her performance debut at the awards by singing Wind Beneath My Wings following the annual In Memoriam segment, which featured tributes to the likes of James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Karen Black, Paul Walker, Annette Funicello, Peter O'Toole, Richard Griffiths, Sid Caesar, Shirley Temple Black, Harold Ramis, film critic Roger Ebert and former Academy president Tom Sherak.
The full list of winners at the 2014 Oscars is:
Best Motion Picture of the Year:
12 Years A Slave
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
Best Achievement in Directing:
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Best Writing, Original Screenplay:
Spike Jonze, Her
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay:
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Best Animated Feature Film:
Frozen - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee & Peter Del Vecho
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:
The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Achievement in Film Editing:
Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron & Mark Sanger
Best Achievement in Production Design:
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin & Beverley Dunn
Best Achievement in Costume Design:
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling:
Dallas Buyers Club - Adruitha Lee & Robin Mathews
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:
Gravity - Steven Price
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:
Let It Go from Frozen - Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Gravity - Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead & Chris Munro
Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
Gravity - Glenn Freemantle
Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
Gravity - Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk & Neil Corbould
Best Documentary, Feature:
Twenty Feet From Stardom - Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers
Best Documentary, Short Subject:
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Best Short Film, Animated:
Mr Hublot - Laurent Witz & Alexandre Espigares
Best Short Film, Live Action:
Helium - Anders Walter & Kim Magnusson
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award:
Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a fatal mix of heroin, cocaine and prescription pills, coroners have ruled. The tragic Capote star, 46, passed away from a suspected drug overdose at his New York City home on 2 February (14), but an initial autopsy proved inconclusive.
Officials at the city's medical examiner's office conducted further toxicology and tissue tests, and the results have since revealed he had anti-anxiety medication benzodiazepines and stimulants amphetamines in his system, in addition to the illegal substances.
The mixing of heroin and cocaine is known as speedballing - the same combination which killed comedian John Belushi and actor River Phoenix.
Hoffman's death has been listed as accidental, while coroners ruled the official cause of death was acute mixed drug intoxication.
The celebrated actor had struggled with drug abuse in the past and checked himself into rehab last year (13) to battle an addiction to heroin after 23 years of sobriety.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson celebrated the life of his close friend and collaborator Philip Seymour Hoffman by delivering a touching eulogy at the actor's funeral in New York on Friday (07Feb14). The filmmaker cast the tragic actor in three of his films - Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Master - and he helped to pay tribute to his late pal at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola service by sharing his favourite memories, many of which prompted warm laughter from mourners including Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and The Master co-stars Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix.
The Wire star John Doman, who was among the 400 guests at the memorial, tells NBC News, "It was sad, it was celebratory, it was emotional, it was inspirational, it was terrific."
Playwright Jose Rivera, who worked with Hoffman at the Off Broadway Labyrinth Theater Company, tells the Wall Street Journal, "It was quite beautiful. He (Anderson) just had a lot of very personal and lovely memories of Phil. And he made us all laugh; he quoted Phil extensively and we could kind of hear his voice in the room."
After the 90-minute service, Hoffman's coffin was carried out by six pallbearers as his longtime girlfriend, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three young children looked on from the top of the church's steps.
Other stars in attendance at the funeral included Michelle Williams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Burstyn, John Slattery, Mary Louise Parker, Jerry Stiller, Marisa Tomei and Spike Lee.
A larger, public memorial for Hoffman, who died from a suspected drug overdose on Sunday (02Feb14), is expected to be held later this month (Feb14).