Bryan Cranston won rave reviews for his performance in All The Way after its opening night on Broadway on Thursday (06Mar14). The Breaking Bad actor impressed critics with his portrayal of America's 36th President, Lyndon B. Johnson, in the Bill Rauch directed play about the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Cranston's performance was hailed as "effortlessly captivating" by theatre critic Mark Kennedy at Associated Press, while Joe Dziemianowicz at the New York Daily News called him "a force to be reckoned with".
USA Today's Elysa Gardner writes, "Strutting gut-first and affecting a gruff Southern drawl, the leading man delivers the emphatic, crowd-pleasing performance that the play, and Bill Rauch's vigorous direction, require, while also making Johnson affecting as a flesh-and-blood human being."
Hermione Hoby at Britain's Daily Telegraph writes, "The play might be a star vehicle but its star delivers. It's thrilling to watch Cranston go from his default, comic stance of forward-thrust hips and slumped shoulders, to fearsome, chest-puffed, confrontation."
A star-studded audience was in attendance, which included Gayle King, Josh Lucas, Jennifer Morrison, Chris O'Dowd and Hank Azaria.
The production - which also stars This Is Spinal Tap's Michael McKean - is due to run until 29 June (14).
Oprah's jury delivers guilty verdict
Talk show maven Oprah Winfrey, who was one of 12 jurors who convicted a Chicago man of murder Wednesday, said her three days in the jury box was an eye-opening experience. "It's a huge reality check; there's a whole other world going on out there," Winfrey, surrounded by other jurors, said in the Cook County Criminal Courts Building lobby. "When your life intersects with others in this way, it is forever changed." The Associated Press reports the jury deliberated for less than three hours before convicting 27-year-old Dion Coleman of first-degree murder in the February 2002 shooting death of Walter Holley, 23. Coleman is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face 45 years to life in prison. The otherwise routine trial received more intense interest because of Winfrey's involvement, something the media mogul tried to downplay. "This is not good for the victim's family, " she said of the media hype. "This is not about Oprah Winfrey. The fact is, a man has been murdered." Winfrey, who was paid the standard $17.20 a day for her jury duty, said she plans to bring her experience as a juror on a murder trial to her TV show next week.
Trump board game hits stores
Donald Trump has unveiled his newest business venture: a new Parker Brothers board game. According to the AP, Trump, the Game can be played by up to four players who bid on real estate, buy big ticket items, including islands and office buildings, and make billion-dollar business deals. Players can also terminate their opponents using The Donald's trademark words "You're fired" from his hit TV reality show The Apprentice. Mark Blecher, senior vice president of marketing at Hasbro Games (the parent company of Parker Brothers), said the game "allows players to feel the power and make the deals." Trump, the Game retails for $24.99.
Moore to publish book of soldiers' letters
Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday that Michael Moore has two new books coming out this fall. The first book, The Official 'Fahrenheit 9-11' Reader, is a companion book to the scheduled DVD release of Moore's controversial documentary about President Bush, the terrorist attacks and the Iraq war. The other release, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?, is a collection of letters written to Moore from U.S. troops in Iraq. "Our goal is to have both books out before Election Day," Simon & Schuster spokeswoman Victoria Meyer told the AP. His previous books include Stupid White Men and Dude, Where's My Country?
The Contender loses round one in court
A California judge yesterday denied DreamWorks TV and Mark Burnett's first bid to stop Fox Broadcasting Co. from premiering it's boxing skein The Next Great Champ on Sept. 10. DreamWorks and Burnett claim Fox ripped off their own boxing reality show, The Contender, and tried to stop Champ from debuting as scheduled by arguing the show's producers violated state boxing laws in a bid to beat them to the airwaves. But according to court papers, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Linda Lefkowitz did leave open the possibility of blocking the Champ in the near future by setting a Sept. 8 hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction against the show. The judge also ordered an expedite exchange of documents between the parties to the lawsuit, Reuters reports.
Celebs gearing up for fall sitcom appearances
Joan Rivers, who openly jokes about her own cosmetic surgery, will guest star as herself on the season finale of the FX drama series Nip/Tuck, set to air Oct. 5. In the episode, Rivers meets with the show's plastic surgeons for an unusual cosmetic consultation. Newlyweds star and singer Nick Lachey, meanwhile, is set to play Alyssa Milano's love interest in an upcoming six-episode arc on the WB's Charmed, which kicks off its new season Sept. 12. And last but not least, Jennifer Lopez will return to guest star as herself on the season premiere of NBC's Will & Grace, set to air Sept. 16. In the episode, Lopez, who was recruited by Megan Mullally's character to sing at her Vegas marriage last season, returns to New York after her summer tour, where Sean Hayes' character served as a backup dancer.
Howard Stern gets animated series on Spike TV
Radio host Howard Stern will be appearing as a teenage cartoon character of himself in a new animated series tentatively titled Howard Stern: The High School Years. Reuters reports the male-oriented cable channel Spike TV has ordered 13 episodes of the show, which is based on Stern's teenage years growing up on New York's Long Island. The network said Wednesday it has not yet determined whether Stern will lend his voice to his own character. A Spike TV spokesman said Stern is serving as executive producer of the series, and added the shock jock's parents be major characters on the cartoon series. As of this week, episodes are still being written, with producers conducting animation tests. Howard Stern: The High School Years is aimed for launch in the summer of 2005.
Are the Black Crowes reuniting?
Singer Chris Robinson, who is married to actress Kate Hudson, has canceled plans for a fall tour with his band New Earth Mud, amid rumors he may reteam with younger brother Rich under the Black Crowes moniker. Billboard.com reports the warring siblings have recently met with former manager Pete Angelus to discuss a potential reunion. Fueling the reunion speculations is the recent reactivation of the Black Crowes' Web site (http://www.blackcrowes.com), which had been largely dormant since the group announced a hiatus in 2002. Robinson and Hudson, who were married on December 31, 2000 in Colorado and have a 7-month-old son, have recently denied reports their three-year marriage is on the rocks.
Film composer Elmer Bernstein dies
Film composer Elmer Bernstein, who created themes for The Magnificent Seven, The Man With The Golden Arm and To Kill a Mockingbird, died in his sleep at his Ojai, Calif., home Wednesday at age 82, the AP reports. Bernstein, who earned 14 Academy Award nominations, an Oscar and an Emmy Award in his 70-year career, is survived by his wife, Eve, sons Peter and Gregory, daughters Emilie and Elizabeth, and five grandchildren. Among Bernstein's more notable efforts were the scores for Some Came Running, Birdman of Alcatraz, The Great Escape, Hawaii, The Great Santini, My Left Foot, A River Runs Through It, Devil in a Blue Dress and The Age of Innocence. He also composed several works for symphony orchestras, some 200 movies and 80 television shows. He won an Emmy Award in 1964 for The Making of The President: 1960 and an Oscar only once for the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie. A memorial service is pending.
Top Story: The Little Fish That Did
As if it comes as a surprise, the blockbuster Finding Nemo has broken more records, as the DVD and video sales for the animated film have totaled 8 million its first day on the shelves, Reuters reports, beating the previous single-day record of 5 million DVD and video sales for the Disney/Pixar classic Monsters, Inc.. The demand is so high for Nemo, Disney may be looking at the possibility of shortages. Bob Chapek, head of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, told Reuters the company shipped 25 million units to retailers, but underestimated demand. "Some of our customers have told us they sold three times what they projected on day one," he said. "We're aggressively making as many (copies) as possible, but it is likely that some of our major accounts may go out of stock," he said. Finding Nemo was released in May and has been 2003's biggest box office hit with just under $340 million in movie ticket sales in the United States and Canada, Reuters reports.
Chicago Critics Join Ban Protest
The Chicago Film Critics Association has joined the protest against banning screeners by announcing they are suspending their 2003 awards, The Associated Press reports. This follows last month's decision by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association to cancel their awards. The Motion Picture Association of America originally made a deal with studios in September to stop sending out screeners in an effort to curb piracy, but changed the terms last month to allow videotapes to be sent to the approximately 5,600 Academy Awards voters. No other groups, however, are allowed screeners. The CFCA president Dann Gire said Wednesday that his group approved the suspension pending further action by the MPAA.
Brit Indie Awards Get Dirty
Stephen Frears' gritty drama Dirty Pretty Things swept Tuesday's British Independent Film Awards, Reuters reports. The film, about an illegal Nigerian immigrant (Chiwetel Ejiofor) working as a night porter in a London hotel, took home four awards, including best film, director and actor (Ejiofor). Olivia Williams won the best actress award for her turn in The Heart of Me.
Producer Winkler Honored
The American Society of Cinematographers will honor producer-director Irwin Winkler with the prestigious Board of Governors Award, AP reports. The Oscar-winning Winkler, 72, best known for producing the 1976 Rocky, 1980's Raging Bull and 1990's GoodFellas, will receive his award in February at a ceremony in Los Angeles. Past award recipients include Gregory Peck, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Warren Beatty, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola and Jodie Foster. It is the only award the group reserves for non-cinematographers.
Talk Show Host Williams Caught With Drug Paraphernalia
Brash talk show host Montel Williams was fined $100 after authorities at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport found marijuana paraphernalia in his possession, AP reports. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the 47-year-old Williams said in a statement that he has been prescribed medicinal marijuana to treat his chronic pain.
Righteous Brothers Member Dies
Bobby Hatfield, one half of The Righteous Brothers singing duo, was found dead a western Michigan hotel Wednesday, Reuters reports. Hatfield, 63, was found about 6:45 p.m. by hotel workers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after he did not respond to a wake-up call before a show. Reuters reports Kalamazoo police said there were no signs of foul play and that, while an autopsy would be conducted, Hatfield apparently died of natural causes. The duo is best known for its 1964 song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."
The Late Cash Wins CMA Awards
The Country Music Association awarded the late Johnny Cash the top three awards Wednesday at their 37th Annual Country Music Awards, including album of the year, single of the year and video of the year, AP reports. "It's amazing my father had such a life that he could expose himself and still never lose his dignity and his charm," said Cash's son John Carter Cash, who accepted the awards with Cash's daughter, Kathy Cash. Cash died Sept. 12 of complications from diabetes. Other winners of the evening included Alan Jackson and Martina McBride.
Academy To Unveil 76th Oscar Poster
Pop artist Burton Morris and Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences executive director Bruce Davis will unveil Morris' design for the 76th Academy Awards commemorative poster on Nov. 13. "Oscar is a uniquely recognizable symbol, not only in American culture but throughout the world, and I'm both honored and excited to create a design around such an icon," said Morris in an AMPAS press release. The commemorative poster will be available for purchase after the unveiling on the Academy's Web site, www.oscars.org/publications. The Academy Awards airs live from the Kodak Theater Feb. 29 on ABC.
Role Call: Tyrese Wins Verdict
Tyrese Gibson, star of the summer hit 2 Fast 2 Furious, will star in MGM's DA Verdict, a dramatic thriller based on a treatment scripted with the actor. Variety reports the film is about a man (Tyrese) rising in the ranks at an urban district attorney's office who is torn between his job and those he must prosecute from his neighborhood. Tyrese will also act as executive producer.
HOLLYWOOD, July 3, 2000 - Get ready for some movie déjà vu when titles like "The Exorcist" reappear on neighborhood marquees in the coming months. And we're not talking about revival house screenings, either. You see, on top of all the hits (and none-hits), there'll be some pretty familiar titles that'll be competing for your eight (or more) bucks - and Linda Blair's barf-o-rific horror classic is just the tip of the re-release iceberg.
For the uninitiated, "The Exorcist" was the blockbuster of 1973, nabbing a total of 10 Oscar noms; winning two (for best original screenplay and best sound) and making Linda Blair forever a target of easy satire. The re-release -- bowing nationwide this September - will feature a 12-minute deleted scene from the original film wherein Blair's character does the so-called "Spider Walk" down some stairs. It's just one of the goodies in store for cinephiles.
"... Relatively speaking, this year does have a lot of high-profile ones re-releases," says Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm, Exhibitor Relations.
"2001: A Space Odyssey" "The first one was this year was 'Rear Window' re-released back in January, this September there'll be 'The Exorcist," and there'll definitely be more to come, like '2001: The Space Odyssey' early next year."
And as opposed to what you might think, Dergarabedian swears financial incentives are not usually the reason behind a studio's decision to re-release a film.
"[Re-releases] are mixed bags in terms of their box-office potential. Some do amazing business, like the 'Star Wars' series a few years back, but many others - like a lot of smaller cult films - will not."
Adds Dergarabedian: "Generally, they're not expected to make a lot of money, the studios just want to give people a chance to see it on the big screen."
With that noble intention in mind, here's a lowdown on other classics that'll soon be returning to the big screen:
"Blood Simple" (July, 2000) - Twenty-five years ago, the Coen brothers made their first full-length feature with a script so complex you'd think it could only come from more experienced hands. Not to give anything away, it's a noir that revolves around a rich man, his cheating wife, her lover and a hired gun.
"Gimme Shelter" (August, 2000) - Uncut and restored, the 1970 doc on the Rolling Stones captures its infamous, violence-marred Altamont Speedway concert. "This Is Spinal Tap"
"This Is Spinal Tap" (September, 2000) - Never mind the Monkees, this is the faux rock 'n roll documentary that ends all rock 'n roll documentaries. Even though Rob Reiner and company created the bigger-than-life metalheads 16 years ago, the clichés and stereotypes still stick.
"El Norte" (September, 2000) - First feature from director Gregory ("Selena") Nava, the film chronicles a Guatemalan brother and sister's attempt to cross the U.S. border. Shot in 1983, the movie still remains one of the most provoking tales on undocumented immigrants.
"A Hard Day's Night" (October, 2000) - The first Beatles full-length movie, the Fab Four played themselves as they go from gig to gig with hilarious shticks crammed in between. The 1964 flick has been restored for audiences auditory and visual pleasures.
"Female Trouble" (2000) - Step back Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Before the gross-out tactics of "Kingpin" and "Dumb and Dumber," there was the lowbrow camp of John Waters. This 1975 film traces the slow demise of one Dawn Davenport (Divine) as she goes from juvenile delinquent to serial killer - all because her parents refuse to buy her cha-cha heels for Christmas.
"2001: A Space Odyssey" (2001) As if it's not obvious enough - yes, Stanley Kubrick's 1968 space opus is reissued to mark the new millennium. The renowned director's vision of the moon is one vast open and minimal space with very little dialogues. Enjoy.