Channing Tatum Suggests Art Doesn’t Necessarily Imitate Life In ‘Magic Mike’

magic_mike_ver2Under the expert direction of STEVEN SODERBERGH, the new drama MAGIC MIKE examines the world of male strip clubs as it tells a tale of hopes and dreams, some realized and some gone awry. A much more substantial film than the trailer suggests, the film will undoubtedly get a lot of attention because of the ‘beefcake’ cast that includes CHANNING TATUM, ALEX PETTYFER, MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY, MATT BOMER, ALEX RODRIGUEZ and JOE MANANIELLO.
Scripted by REID CARLTON (producing partner of CHANNING TATUM), the story is loosely based on the real-life exploits of TATUM before he hit the big-time as an actor. During the press conference to promote the movie, the actor talked about his days as a stripper and why he called it quits. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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MAGIC MIKE opens in theaters today

‘Family Guy’ Creator Seth MacFarlane Took His Time Getting ‘Ted’ To The Big Screen

ted_ver2Hitting theaters today, TED is the feature film directorial debut of FAMILY GUY creator (and equal-opportunity offender)SETH MacFARLANE. Telling the off-beat story of a seemingly normal man whose childhood wish that his beloved teddy bear come to life produces a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, skirt-chasing plushie, the film easily slips into humor that could offend. Written by MacFARLANE (who also provides the voice of the titular bear), the cast features MARK WAHLBERG, MILA KUNIS, GIOVANNI RIBISI, JESSICA STROUP and ALEX BORSTEIN.
During the New York press conference to promote the film, MacFARLANE talked about why he took such a long time to bring TED to the big screen. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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TED opens in theaters today

Director Jonathan Demme Gives Cinematic Credence To The Live Concert Form

neil_young_journeys1Opening in limited release today, JOURNEYS NEIL YOUNG documents the iconic musician’s triumphant recent return to his Canadian home town of Toronto’s legendary venue Massey Hall, where he performed his solo tour to a packed house for two nights. Directed by JONATHAN DEMME, the documentary combines concert footage with film following YOUNG as he drives a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria to locations that occupied a key part of his formative years. During our recent interview, DEMME spoke to us about what he hoped to accomplish with this film and how much he wanted to give weight to YOUNG’S moving musical tour. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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JOURNEYS NEIL YOUNG opens in limited release today

Inside The Frame: Director Alex Kurtzman Gets Personal With ‘People Like Us’


Having co-written (with collaborator Roberto Orci) “MI: 3,” “Transformers,” and “Cowboys & Aliens,” Alex Kurtzman stands as Hollywood’s most in-demand writers and producers.  Although saving the world from aliens or power hungry terrorists are great for opening weekend, viewers and artists with a broader cinematic palette also need a more intimate form of expression. Mr. Kurtzman scales things down with his directorial debut “People Like Us,” an evocative drama inspired by his own family journey.

The story centers on Sam (Chris Pine) an egotistical salesman whose music producer father passes away, leaving his son a ton of unanswered questions.  While handling his father’s estate, he discovers that he has a half sister (Elizabeth Banks), a struggling single mother living in Los Angeles.  Pine previously worked with Kurtzman on “Star Trek,” as Kurtzman and Orci served as the film’s writers and executive producers.  Although “People Like Us” doesn’t hold the same technical challenges as “Star Trek,” Kurtzman had to ensure this intimate drama was believable, and that’s something that doesn’t happen overnight.

“We had two and a half week of rehearsals, which I felt strongly about,” says Kurtzman, who also produces ‘Fringe’ and ‘Hawaii Five-O’ with Orci.  “First of all, we had very little time to shoot the movie, so it wasn’t going to be about getting (on set) and going, ‘Hmm, what’s this scene about?’  It was going to be about knowing why the scenes were there, knowing what we needed to accomplish and then opening it up with the time we had to do it.  We (Orci and Jody Lambert are also co-writers) spent eight years writing this thing, and part of what came out of this experience was this real commitment to never being settled on it being done.  It was just constantly rewriting and seeing what was there.  Another part of that rewriting process was that two and a half weeks that we had.  For the actors, it was about allowing them to slip into their skins with total comfort.”

“People Like Us” is blessed with a strong cast (including Olivia Wilde, as Sam’s long suffering girlfriend, and Michelle Pfeiffer, as Sam’s mother) and a first rate composer (Oscar winner A.R. Rahman).  I was also impressed with the film’s visuals, as cinematographer Salvatore Totino, whose credits include Jim Jarmusch’s “Night On Earth” and the topnotch thriller “Changing Lanes,” as he captures Los Angeles from the eyes of a person who understands the city’s innate beauty and heartache.

Listen to Mr. Kurtzman elaborate on his work with “People Like Us” cinematographer Salvatore Totino: 

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“People Like Us” is now playing in select theaters.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi (Twitter:  @gsrisavasdi )

Louis CK Proves Season Three Is The Charm For ‘Louie’

louie-fx-season-3-2012-posterAiring tonight on FX, the first of 13 new episodes of the critically acclaimed original comedy series LOUIE should prove a welcome return to the Thursday night comedy line-up. A mixture of scripted story and stand-up comedy, the show is the brainchild of Emmy Award-winning comedian LOUIS C.K. who writes, directs, stars and even edits the show himself.
Arguably one of television’s few “auteurs”, LOUIS C.K. has pretty much reinvented the sitcom with his idiosyncratic mix of observational comedy and family drama. Addressing reporters at a Television Critics Association press conference, the comic talked about his skill-set and why not just anyone could put together a show like this. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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LOUIE returns to FX tonight