Before The Biography: When Ron Howard First Met Pavarotti

It’s not often that an opera singer manages to transcend the genre and become a cultural phenomenon. But that’s exactly what happened back in the ’80s with Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. After chronicling The Beatles’ rise to fame in a documentary a few years ago, director Ron Howard is doing the same with Pavarotti’s career. Of course Howard knew about Pavarotti and his music, but he told us he’d also gotten a brief bit of insight into the man himself when they met back in the early ’80s. (Click on the media bar below to hear Ron Howard)

 

Pavarotti opens in theaters on June 7.

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Posted by: AC

Jimmy Kimmel & Normal Lear Bring The ’70s Back To Life … And Live!

Back in the 1970s, All In The Family and The Jeffersons were part of TV’s most successful night of comedy. Both shows came from the mind and pen of legendary producer Norman Lear, who reveled in his ability to push the boundaries of which topics television could cover at the time. On Wednesday night, the two shows will return as part of a special live evening of TV. Lear’s sharing producing and hosting duties with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who thinks the two shows are just as relevant in today’s society as they were 45 years ago. (Click on the media bar below to hear Jimmy Kimmel)

As for Lear himself, he’s been pleasantly surprised that both the shows’ themes and dialogue sound just as cutting-edge today as they did when the original sitcoms first aired. (Click on the media bar below to hear Norman Lear)

All In The Family and The Jeffersons, performed live before a studio audience, will air Wednesday night at 8/7c on ABC.

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Posted by: AC

Will Smith Vs. Robin Williams: The ‘Aladdin’ Competition Is Real

When Aladdin was released in 1992, critics and audiences alike were blown away by the amazing performance given by Robin Williams as the genie in the animated feature. Thanks to home video and streaming, two generations of fans have grown up with the iconic Williams version of the genie, so Will Smith had his work cut out for him when he signed on for the new live-action Aladdin. Was he aware of it? You bet! And he told us it was a really daunting experience. (Click on the media bar below to hear Will Smith)

 

Aladdin opens in theaters on Friday.

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Posted by: AC

Matthias Schoenaerts Reunites With Thomas Vinterberg In Submarine Thriller ‘The Command’

The Command, a feature based on a true story, centers on a Russian nuclear powered submarine that sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea back in August 2000. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, The Commune), the narrative centers on 23 sailors who attempt to survive the tragedy.

Matthias Schoenaerts, who delivered a memorable performance earlier this year in The Mustang, headlines the tale (he previously worked with Vinterberg in Far From The Madding Crowd). Rounding out the cast are Léa Seydoux (Spectre), Max Von Sydow (3 Days of the Condor), and Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’s Baby).

The Command premiered last year at the Toronto Film Festival, and it hits DirecTV starting May 23 with a limited theatrical release set for June 21.

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

DVD Spotlight: ‘Ruben Brandt, Collector’ Delves Into Art’s Everlasting Power

The ambitious and immersive animated film Ruben Brandt, Collector centers on the titular character (Iván Kamarás), a psychotherapist who has mental issues of his own. To rid himself of his nightmares, Ruben enlists several of his patients to steal 13 paintings from several of the world’s most renowned museums.

Directed by Hungarian animator Milorad Krstic, Ruben Brandt, Collector is a seamless blend of pop art and film noir, and the feature is littered with references in both the art world and cinema.

“The moment I got to the audition and saw the first concept,” said Kamarás. “I saw the first few frames of the whole movie – the animation was colored and sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes it was a sketch – animatics it’s called. I immediately could see what potential this movie had and how much power it had on me.”

Click on the media bar to hear Kamarás discuss how the power of art is front and center with Ruben Brandt, Collector:

Ruben Brandt, Collector is now out on DVD and Digital via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Octavia Spencer Thinks ‘Ma’ Will Live With You For A While

Octavia Spencer and Tate Taylor have been close ever since acting together in a 2000 short film, and that partnership has proven to be a fruitful one for both. Since becoming a director, Taylor has cast Spencer in five of his movies, including The Help, which won Spencer an Academy Award in 2012. It would be a stretch to predict another Oscar for Spencer in their new collaboration, Ma, since horror movies don’t usually draw too much awards interest, but Spencer’s star power should draw interest at the box office. She told us the film will have fans on the edge of their seats. (Click on the media bar below Octavia Spencer)

 

Ma opens in theaters on May 31.

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Posted by: AC

 

Halle Berry’s ‘Wick’ Experience Brought Out Her Animal Instincts

We don’t want to give away any spoilers, but we can say a major plot point for Halle Berry’s character in the movie John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum involves her dogs. Berry spent quite a bit of time with her character’s canine companions on the set, and she told us she bonded with them in a much deeper way than she normally bonds with her fellow actors. (Click on the media bar below to hear Halle Berry)

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is playing now in theaters.

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Posted by: AC

 

‘American Ninja Warrior’ Contestants Face A Power Struggle In New Season

Going into its second decade, American Ninja Warrior is going through some growing pains. Well, actually, American Ninja Warrior is just growing; the pain is reserved for its contestants, who will face a daunting new challenge if they want to complete TV’s most difficult obstacle course. Co-hosts Akbar Gbajabiamila and Matt Iseman talked to us about the new twists and turns the show will offer up in its new season. (Click on the media bar below to hear Akbar Gbajabiamila & Matt Iseman)

The new season of American Ninja Warrior premieres May 29 at  8/7c on NBC.

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Posted by: AC

 

‘Photograph’ Review: Ritesh Batra’s Mumbai Set Romance Is Poetry In Motion

Filmmaker Ritesh Batra, as evidenced with The Lunchbox and Our Souls at Night, has longing on his mind. Photograph, Batra’s latest exploration into how strangers connect, centers on Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a Mumbai street photographer who takes a photo of a Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) while on the job. This chance meeting leads into something deeper, as Rafi concocts a plan to have Miloni pose as his fiancée to make his loving grandmother Dadi (Farrukh Jaffar, an absolute scene stealer) a happy woman.

Rafi, whose sole focus is to work his tail off and buy back his grandmother’s house, has spent years away from his village, but his thoughts remain back home. Miloni, who received her share of awards acting in school, is now studying accounting, pursuing a career to please her parents. Both come from different socio-economic backgrounds (Miloni’s family is middle class) and their age difference makes their pairing feel like a May-December romance.

The mutual affection between the two is refreshingly restrained, and Batra keeps these emotions close to the vest throughout much of the tale, preferring to let moviegoers fill in those spaces themselves. When Rafi takes Miloni to a Bollywood film, he wearily addresses that such stories of mismatched lovers is old hat, and though they are ironically the stars of their own tale, their coupling is rooted in reality rather than cinema.

Subtle in tone yet immersive in atmosphere, Photograph is a richly woven tale of strangers who are unwittingly stuck in their respective world, only a different path in the offing. Photograph’s ambiguous ending may leave some viewers frustrated, but credit Batra for giving us the power to create our final chapter. The chemistry between the two leads is surprisingly powerful beyond measure, providing Photograph with a beating heart that many romantic themed films fail to capture. They say the world is for lovers, and Photograph reinforces that notion poetic and surprisingly resounding fashion.

Photograph is now playing in select theaters.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Beanie Feldstein Discusses The “Inclusivity” Of Acclaimed Comedy ‘Booksmart’

Booksmart centers on two students (Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever) who have put their social lives on the backburner in favor of excelling in academics. Now that high school is finished, the pair plan to make their share of memories, even if it means getting outside their secluded box. The picture, which marks the feature directing debut of Olivia Wilde, is receiving rave reviews.

Thanks to her work in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and Lady Bird, Feldstein’s acting career has been gaining steady momentum, and the critical success of Booksmart should even up the ante.

Feldstein initially met Wilde for tea to talk about the project (the pair were both working on Broadway at the time). “She was just so clear about her vision for this movie so once I knew she was directing it, I was so excited and honored that she thought of me,” said Feldstein, who’s the sister of actor/director Jonah Hill.

Click on the media bar to hear Feldstein talk about the “inclusivity” aspect of Booksmart:

Booksmart is now playing nationwide.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi