THOR Ragnarok: Hulk Gets Some Feelings Trailer 7/22

by Screenmancer Staff

Before we get hammered by THOR: RAGNAROK on Nov. 3, when Cate Blanchett does her star turn as Death incarnate, and reads Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo the riot act, we thought you might like to see the newest Marvel teaser trailer on this project.

Plus she’s got a hell of a headdress. Leave it to Cate to crush the scenery. Tom Hiddleston also stars as a reformed Loki loosed from his chair chains, nice. THOR: RAGNAROK has a plot, but it’s complicated.

Suffice it to say, the Hulk suddenly gets feelings and Mark Ruffalo is finally able to act on them. By the way, Ragnarök, the Old Norse word, means “doom of the Gods,” basically the universe implodes and reinvents itself. ComicThor17Consider it a party at the end of the Cosmos for future cosplay for all the kids (of every age) at Comic-Con hanging with Loki right now in San Diego.

Marvel Studios will let the hammer down Nov. 3, wait for it.

The new trailer for Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK debuted in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con along with a new poster.

Comic-Con 2017
Saturday, July 22
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA

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Before Kevin Spacey Locks the Gore Vidal Script for Netflix, A True Story

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Everyone from Iran to Serbia seems to be bent on letting me know there’s a Gore Vidal biopic in the works starring Kevin Spacey. And while Gore would definitely think Kevin Spacey is hot, one wonders what he would make of another *damnable biopic,* especially about himself now dead since July 31, 2012. He died on my birthday, in keeping with his sour and sweet tone since we met at an event in Beverly Hills. GoreVidal2011

We had collaborated on a script with his close friend Dr. Hessam Nowzari… who was also his periodontist. You can’t make this stuff up: a story meeting in a periodontist’s office.

That was vintage Gore Vidal, who even in his eighties, had flair. Even offered to play the lead character himself in drag, though was obsessed with Halle Berry playing the role. In fact, one imagines Gore expected Halle Berry at the meeting, but the only other people in attendance were agent/producer Graham Kaye formerly of UTA, and his producer, along with Dr. Nowzari and myself.

Dr. Hessam Nowzari, a gifted periodontist and Vidal close friend.

Dr. Hessam Nowzari, a gifted periodontist and Vidal close friend.

When Graham Kaye described a current project he was working on, which had some relevance to the structure of a cradle-to-grave look at a historic figure, Gore said — and this is a direct quote: “I’d rather watch paint dry.”
Needless to say, that meeting ended with people walking out and Gore gloating, with Dr. Nowzari and I making all the profuse apologies.
Whether he was (my words here) The Forrest Gump of History or a True Literary Lion, Kevin Spacey will decide. But one thing sticks with me the most from having been in Gore’s orbit: Gore Vidal also wept. We’re not talking rolling tears, this was straight-up open-mouthed silent bawling. That happened on the occasion of a live operatic performance of Samuel Barber at his house. The late Ed Lauter (THE ARTIST) was there, along with a tight-knit group of people Gore collected. I had a front row seat.

Ed Lauter, from THE ARTIST .

Ed Lauter, from THE ARTIST.

He leaned over and said “I knew Samuel Barber… All my friends are dead.” It struck me hard because gone was the vitriol for one shining moment wet with tears. Barber had won a Pulitzer for music, Vidal coveted the elusive Nobel till the day he died.
Incidentally, here’s a fact that should also be included in any biopic: Barack Obama was the first US President since Eisenhower who never answered Gore Vidal’s letter. The slight never made the news, but all over the world, his letter did make an impact.

This Presidential snub upset him a lot, even though he pulled the callous sophisticate in recounting the oversight. A year after his death in 2012, Dr. Nowzari gave me a script note change for the opener to our movie… and it was spectacular. NowVidal17Given to Dr. Nowzari from Gore: A woman’s bare back, a pharaoh not by marriage but by her own lights, that should have been Halle Berry… HATSHEPSUT14e.
Here’s an excerpt from my book, “Redlight, Greenlight, Limelight” on the man whom I came to really love, and his letter to Obama.


EXCERPT: Gore Vidal in some ways was as famous as he was infamous. He’d been literally kicked out of the Kennedy White House for emotional cruelty. When I met him, he almost bit off my head in a Beverly Hills nightclub during a private screening. I’d just talked to Sharon Stone, and introduced myself and asked if he knew her. “You mean if she knows me?” He spat at me.
A week later, I get a call from one of his people telling me, yes, he does want to do an interview.
Really? At that first meeting, after he ripped Sharon, I’d make the near fatal error of saying “You sound like Truman Capote.” Truman turns out, was his arch rival.
So we met again in Beverly Hills for the interview, and to his ever loving credit, he did not have his guns loaded, nor did he seem fully prepared. Gore was so close to death. So fragile. But he’d been won over somehow, probably because he’d dropped out of Virginia Military Institute, and I’d told him my father, VMI graduate, had been President of the Honor Court, a draft pick for the Chicago Bears too.
Whatever it was, he said “lady reporter, I’m ready.”

Gore Vidal, Friend of the Country, Champions “THE ENEMY OF THE SMILE”

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

In a recent missive to US President Barack Obama, Gore Vidal urged rapprochement with Iran. While the letter went unanswered, political dominos began to fall in the Middle East as Vidal foreshadowed.
While the text of Gore Vidal’s letter is included at the end of this interview, the subtext is far more complex.
For Vidal, one of the world’s greatest essayists as well as a novelist, screenwriter, and memoirist, raising awareness for the plight of millions of people is second nature and dovetails with his long history of political involvement. Gore Vidal, who still actively writes and is working with a biographer on a personal documentary, even seems to be safekeeping new information about breaching the long stand-off between diametrically opposed regimes (read: US, Middle East).

Here is Gore Vidal on politics, Presidents, and periodontics:

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: I’ve seen the letter you wrote recently to President Obama, do you think he will “get” it?
GORE VIDAL: He’s smart, don’t worry about that. The entire right wing in this country in America wants a war with Iran. They want the Israelis to bomb and kill everybody. Obama isn’t like that, but he certainly can’t go against them. He’s a politician after all.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You’ve said that most US Presidents have to live with about 30 corporations that are in power. Has that number increased? Is this where the pressure is coming from, the back rooms?
GORE VIDAL: No, I think it is misunderstanding the verb, live: you don’t have to “live” with them. You can dominate them. I watched Jack Kennedy do that, and he wasn’t even a powerful President; he was a powerful personality. He was not going to take any nonsense from anybody. I remember he told me, after I asked ‘what is it like to be President?’ He said ‘Well, I’ve heard of all of these famous people all my life, and I’ve met all of them by now. And there is not one with enough intelligence to come in out of the rain.’ He thought they were awful people.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Jack did? And he was a “C” student at Harvard, right?
GORE VIDAL: Anybody who rates anything by their grades in school, that is maniacal. I flunked English all the way through Exeter. Because I was the only one who would write, and they didn’t like that.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You’ve mentioned that President Lincoln was in control of his generals and that he had the “Lincoln chill.” And I think there was a point where you suggested that Obama should take a hard line — and he just got back from Afghanistan —
GORE VIDAL: I don’t know what line he should take because I don’t know what cards he’s been dealt. I have no way of gauging it. I tell you what Lincoln did, he knew he had some of the goddamn-est bad generals anyone ever had. And if he didn’t get busy he was going to be impeached. If I were Congress, I would tell the President, if they really don’t like what he is doing, to report on Saturday. There is a special committee being called.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You know today he had a press conference. What are your views on our being in Afghanistan?
GORE VIDAL: It’s ridiculous. General Washington observed as he was leaving office, relieved to be as he was of this ghastly country: “Nations should never have friends or enemies, they have only interests.”
I would think a child of four could understand that, but not (all) Americans.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Speaking of raising awareness, Dr. Hessam Nowzari says that you are working to raise awareness about the issues involved in THE ENEMY OF THE SMILE, which addresses a problem that is a little more manageable than world politics. Regarding the bacteria, AA, I guess? He said you were fascinated that Hatshepsut (1503-1482 BC) died from it.
GORE VIDAL: Hatshepsut, the great Egyptian Queen, had it, this (oral bacteria). I can’t imagine Hatshepsut kissed all of her lovers. Because she only had one who was crazy about her, who was an architect. He painted his own picture on the back of the door to the funerary tomb in the Valley of the Kings where she got herself put.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Was she the only Egyptian female Pharaoh, I’m forgetting, I mean there was Nefertiti.
GORE VIDAL: She was a wife. But Hatshepsut was the Queen of Upper and Lower Egypt.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: How old was she when she died?
HESSAM NOWZARI: She was only 49, very young. She had an abscess. We have a CAT scan of her skull. Clearly, you can see that she was affected by the AA bacteria, there is no way to reject it —
HESSAM NOWZARI: Absolutely. You can see her CAT scan in the film. I know it is very interesting.
They found a tooth very close to her body, and they thought it was from a thief, because thieves have raided these tombs all through the centuries. But that tooth fits exactly, in the socket, in her mouth. It was a molar.
GORE VIDAL: That’s what happened to mine!
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Dr. Nowzari is doing restoration on you too. But tying back to Obama’s letter you invoke Darius and other Persian great kings.
GOREA VIDAL: They were great kings.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: In other words there is a sense of unity going back before 600 AD, was that your intent?
GORE VIDAL: I’ve got so many points to make. Isn’t it clear we have our first black president? Which is madness for most Americans — in addition to (terrorism). Saying ‘How do we deal with a country we have nailed, that wants to blow us up? How can they do anything so unpleasant?’ Well we are a nasty country, and nobody likes us, but nobody would ever dare tell us.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: But we are so multi-cultural as a country.
GORE VIDAL: That’s an exaggeration. If we had one culture, you could add another one or two. But we don’t have one, so…
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: I’m just talking about the demographics in the US, from where we stood (in the 60’s and 70’s).
GORE VIDAL: I don’t believe a word of it. How much clout do you think (minority) Americans have? Here’s one behind me.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: In your past letters to the Presidents, what kind of responses have you had?
GORE VIDAL: I have written to them, yes, in the past.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Has Obama come back with response yet?
GORE VIDAL: No. He’ll be teased till he dies by me. He is in a weak position, I am not.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: When he first came into office, you must have been shocked not only by the turn of the election, but the Nobel Peace Prize he received?
GORE VIDAL: I’m always surprised by (Nobel’s selections) because I am up for it all the time. And then something mysterious happens. They always put me up — not for literature, god forbid they should read a book — but for the Peace Prize. Before Bush began his attacks on the Middle East, blowing up countries and so forth, I went to Stockholm, at my own expense. The town hall of the city. There’s the most beautiful throne there that you have ever seen.
If you are there before eight o’clock — which is nice when you are living in a democracy, which is something we never experienced — and the (King of Sweden) has not arrived, you can sit in his chair.
So I went in, sat in the chair of the king — and the king never came.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: That’s a good story. Getting back to the film you are championing about the bacteria, Hessam said there might also be a fictionalized version, a feature film project?
GORE VIDAL: It’s a possibility.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Is there also a remake being done of MYRA BRECKINRIDGE?
GORE VIDAL: I hope not. I never saw the original, and I don’t want to see any more. Now that you are looking back down memory lane, I should tell you that “The Best Man” is going to be revived on Broadway for the fourth time — for the (next) election.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: I think you were, at the time of the first production around 1960, on the cover of one of the New York newspapers, I think a version of the NY Daily News with Jack Kennedy backstage shaking hands.
GORE VIDAL: You are an expert on trivia. I can’t remember; Jack certainly doesn’t remember — he can’t. Why should I remember?
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Because it is a great photo.
GORE VIDAL: Well, you certainly are a master of trivia.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: When you look back now, Jack Kennedy is gone, Bobby, Jackie, even Teddy — how do you feel about the myths that have sprung up?
GORE VIDAL: I’m not interested in PR. That’s all public relations.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: But there is that flame at the Kennedy library, that has been made into an eternal flame —
GORE VIDAL: All right. It’ll burn down the house one day. They could cook something with it — make a barbeque out of it.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You’ve said Jack was charming, but not a good president, that is a bold statement on the one hand — but he was only eight years older than you were, and you were the same age as Bobby, isn’t that right?
GORE VIDAL: Yes. And I was smarter than either. Which isn’t saying much.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You stayed alive.
GORE VIDAL: Which isn’t much.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: As far as your sojourn in Hollywood, I believe you wrote BEN-HUR, part of that script.
GORE VIDAL: I did write it. This is a crooked town, Hollywood. They hated me because I was a famous writer — a famous writer from New York, the East Coast.
So, when it came time for the credits, one of the local writers who had been an officer at the (then) Writer’s Guild said ‘I wrote it. I wrote it all myself. I mailed myself a carbon copy. The script they used was all mine.’
It’s insanity.
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Was the credit ever restored?
GORE VIDAL: I didn’t want it. But I didn’t ever want to have it stolen. That’s the difference. I said ‘this is the worst form of commercialism.’ Trust somebody at the guild not to know what commercialism is. I said ‘commercialism is to do well that which should not be done at all.’
QUENDRITH JOHNSON: It’s called a blockbuster.
GORE VIDAL: It’s easy to write a blockbuster, as I have proved.

Gore Vidal’s Unanswered Letter to President Obama

30 November 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I was recently reminded of the letter that I wrote to you when you were first nominated by our party to run for president. At that time, as the echoes of your Republican counterpart’s battle cry haunted me like tinnitus, I recalled my book, Creation, about the Great King Darius. I thought then and continue to believe it would be good politics in the truest sense for you to meet with the Parsi leaders of what used to be called the Persian Empire; strike a note of solidarity with them, one empire with another. Meet them at the Great King’s tomb at Pasargadae, establish a union between the Persian population and the American. I brought up this subject not weeks ago in an interview on Pars satellite television, beamed to millions across present-day Iran, to the seeming delight of the local hosts: we need not always be alone on the lonely planet. I can only see good coming from your leading in this fashion: bring together the heirs of the Great King that are still considered great in that part of the world.
Best wishes to you, Sir. And as a Washingtonian may I say, not surprisingly, that I do delight in your presidency.

Sincerely yours,
Gore Vidal

* * *
Well, to survive Gore Vidal is an accomplishment according to my friends in journalism that had the misfortune to be made a meal of during their chat. I saw him as a very sad man who had lost the love of his life, and who was like a ghost among the living for the final years. Gore told me he had even gone to Sweden to personally make an appearance in support of getting the Nobel Peace Prize. “I sat my ass on the King’s Throne, it’s a big chair, they let anyone sit in it.” To no avail.
When even Obama got it, a junior statesman compared to Gore (in his mind), it stung the old Literary Lion like a thorn in the paw. For me, it would have been the height of irony to give a “Peace” prize to someone on the daily warpath against man and beast.
His anger didn’t really diminish in dying. Gore didn’t want a funeral, no wake, no remembrance since all the people he really loved had preceded him in death. I remember the onion soup, how much he wept that night, and how the actor who played the Chauffeur in The Artist, the French-made silent that won a couple Oscars, was the only other person in the room in rapt attention at the incredible experience of hearing opera singers do their thing live.
I left my special piece of Gore Vidal stationery at his house that night, out of respect. There had been such a significant typo in the printed program for the evening, that I couldn’t let it leave with me lest I be tempted to write about it.

Quendrith Johnson at Gore Vidal's house. Photo by Hessam Nowzari

Quendrith Johnson at Gore Vidal’s house. Photo by Hessam Nowzari

Someone called Gore “The Forrest Gump of History,” being in all the right decades at the right time in the twentieth century. As if anyone with his access and privilege would have become a figure of note. But just the effort to write the many thousands of pages, speaks volumes for Mr. Gore Vidal.

GORE VIDAL celebrates a fifth anniversary of his death, or would if he were still here with us, on July 31, 2017. Kevin Spacey is now on location shooting his biopic for Netflix. Let’s hope for the best, because Gore would make a lousy ghost, haunting the whole project for grins.

And no, Gore Vidal went to the grave having never won the Nobel. Here’s to posthumous afterthoughts, Nobel Committee…

Added Bonus: [ Original Exclusive full interview and copy of Letter to Barack Obama that went unanswered.]

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DARKEST HOUR Has Gary Oldman as Churchill Looking Like an Awards Contender

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Nothing like a rousing World War II “never surrender” movie to lift the spirits from current political events; thus comes DARKEST HOUR, set for release from Focus Features on Nov. 22, the day US President John F. Kennedy was shot, not a coincidence one guesses.

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright's DARKEST HOUR, a Focus Features release.

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s DARKEST HOUR, a Focus Features release.

“You can’t reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” bellows Gary Oldman as a very convincing and Oscar buzzy Winston Churchill. And he is backed up by formidable talent Kristin Scott Thomas as his wife, making DARKEST HOUR a film that looks to be an awards-slayer.
Watching Oscar nominee Goldman in the form of English bulldog Churchill is oddly thrilling, as he seems to be calling on every past iteration of all the layered characters he has ever played. GaryWH1shtThere’s Dracula angst from Oldman’s other star turn in heavy pancake make-up, a bit of the gangster toughie he played in LAWLESS, and a dose of stoicism from his turn in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY.
You’ll also recognize faces in the supporting cast from “Game of Thrones” and the ever-watchable Lily James, with Ben Mendelsohn doing his best. Written by THEORY OF EVERYTHING screenwriter Anthony McCarten, it’s a smart script and perfect timing for a world weary of petty fights on the political stage today. This was a fight for the soul of Western civilization.
ATONEMENT director Joe Wright is on point in every scene here. And the official description details the high-water marks this film reaches.
“A thrilling and inspiring true story begins on the eve of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.”


Focus will roll out DARKEST HOUR in select cities on Nov. 22, 2017.

Director: Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Hanna,” “Pride & Prejudice,” “Anna Karenina”)
Writer: Anthony McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”)
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.


Official Site I Facebook I Twitter I Instagram

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Men Running in Movies & Who Tops A-List of Screen Sprinters?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

You could say it’s a sweaty little secret, but in ninety-nine percent of all enduring Hollywood blockbuster smash hits, inevitably some man will break into a sprint to save his life. Consider Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow as a running man, from himself and various Admirals, Captains, Dead Men, and “natives.” Recall the beach scene in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise where he breaks full tilt chased by cannibals, who used to think he was their King.JDRunM17

We’re not going as far back as Master Runner of the Silent Era, Charlie Chaplin, or the speedy hi jinx of The Marx Bros. And no, we’re not talking “The Loneliness of the Long-Distant Runner” (1962) type movies either, that focus solely on the footwork. Which also knocks out “Chariot’s of Fire” (1982) and “Marathon Man” (1976) as running-themed genres.

Neither are we exactly talking men running after women, as in Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman” or Hugh Grant, also after Julia Roberts, in “Notting Hill.” Because those are expected hit-the-pavement moments. We’re talking adrenaline bursts, which is a hallmark of the Man’s Movie. Think of Rocky Balboa, and the all-out man-blast against Apollo Creed in Rocky II. RockyAplo17It’s friendly, but someone will have to die, or at least be critically injured later. Sly Stallone runs in nearly every movie, for personal reasons in the first Rocky to professional reasons and then to save his life.

Not to be outdone by Stallone, Harrison Ford kicked ass on foot, not only as a space racer in “Star Wars” — running on the tarmac and into hyperspace. But Ford’s real running glory is as Indian Jones, franchise fronter, who escapes the iconic rolling huge stone ball, among other fleet-of-foot feats of derring-do. FordRun17Contemporary Michael Douglas did a bit of fancy footwork in “Romancing the Stone,” disqualified on romantic grounds unfortunately, but there’s footage of him in most of his films breaking out in full speed courtesy of his training from the old “Streets of San Francisco” days. (Note: cop movies are instantly disqualified as running after the bad guy is a job requirement.)

Even Daniel Day-Lewis, of the recent alleged retirement from acting, spanked the woods with his super sexy foot work as unshorn cause fighter in “Last of the Mohicans” (1982). DLLRunM17Which brings us to Kevin Costner, if he wasn’t running enough in “Field of Dreams,” which is disqualified as a romantic movie on Love of Baseball grounds, he sure as hell ran for his life in “Dances with Wolves,” though a lot of it was on horseback, granted. But Costner comes roaring back as a running coach in “McFarland USA,” where he teaches a bunch of kids to run on the screen as a way to find their way in life — so it’s not really a running movie, so much as a Why Men Run movie.CostnerRun17

Old Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks himself, is a showcase of Man Running Moments, a literal narrative thread throughout the chocolate-box themed movie.

The new generation of actors, like the out-of-shape “Superbad” era dudes even did their marginally skilled part in the man’s movement. Think of Jonah Hill running with Russell Brand in “Get Him to The Greek.”

But in 2012, Bradley Cooper reinvented the Men Run for Personal Reasons in Movies trope in “Silver Linings Playbook.” He made running from Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany character all about the testosterone.BCoopRun17 Since this is not technically a pure love story, because the man is mostly in love with himself, Silver Linings gets a pass even with that heart-crunching romantic big bang BO ending.

So, who do we have so far? Yes, Brad Pitt also runs in his movies, but he’s such a mellow guy, he is almost disqualified on stoner grounds, and relegated to a shelf. But, along comes Pitt’s “War Machine,” and damn skippy if he doesn’t run like a weirdo.BPittRun17

We’re leaving out Brad Pitt doppleganger Robert Redford from the much-hightailing on foot “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” with Paul Newman, also Steve McQueen, Dustin “Marathon Man” Hoffman, and other 70’s icons, as we are really starting with the 80’s.

Why the 80’s?

Because despite all those A-Listers above, it’s an 80’s movie star who holds the top spot for Men Running in Movies.

And the winner is…Tom Cruise.

If you watch nearly every Tom Cruise vehicle: TC always breaks into a sprint. (Caveat: “Born on the Fourth of July,” for obvious reasons.)Cruise3run17

Freakish “Minority Report,” is where the stocky A-Lister runs for his life. Not like “Days of Thunder” where he ran into Nicole Kidman, lol, which is disqualified for romantic reasons in the running.

“Vanilla Sky” works and you can view his ankle-jamming sequence on YouTube.

In“Tropic Thunder,” not so much as Cruise has body padding and a bald pate with artificially fat hands even. But “The Last Samurai” is perfect because even his hair is running long in this exhausting horseback and on-foot sword epic.

The First Billion Dollar movie star, true stat, doesn’t even have to break a sweat on foot in “Interview with a Vampire” because he is mostly undead and airborne.

“Far and Away” is sadly DQ’d for romantic reasons, again with Kidman, but there’s some awesome underclass drudge running in that one.

“Rain Man” has him fleet-of-foot again, but not like the awesome white-collar deviant sprinting in “Eyes Wide Shut,” which is not disqualified for romantic reasons because it’s really Stanley Kubrick’s clinical essay on human sexuality in secret societies.

“Jerry Maguire” is almost disqualified for romantic reasons with Renee Zellwegger, but let’s face it, Cameron Crowe was really writing about lead Jerry, so Tom cracking a 100-meter dash now and again in that one is all about Cruise control, a self-love story.TCWowRun17

Which leads us to the bell-ringer that pushes Top Gun’s Maverick over the top of the egg here for Most Running Man in the Movies — the Mission Impossible franchise. No, we’re not saying Daniel Craig doesn’t have the Most Kick-Ass Man Running Movie, as James Bond in the “Casino Royale” opener, but TC bests him on quantity.

Every single big-tent-pole Tom Cruise movie, all the MI movies, “Jack Reacher,” “Collateral,” even “Magnolia” show him picking up speed. Especially “War of the Worlds” where he is both apocalyptic and stylish, and running.

Having broken into a full gallop onscreen in nearly every Cruise picture 35 years since “Risky Business” saw him slide across the floor and onto American multiplexes, Tom Cruise is our number one pick for The Men Running in Movies Top Dog. And we’re sure he can handle the truth about what all this running is about. It’s a man thing.TCVsky17

Hey, this is how female critics cover the Industry, ps, that’s why no one ever did a list like this before, in case you’re wondering. Fight or flight, watch your next movie with an eye to which man breaks into a sprint, it’s a fun stat to keep track of, as running will never go out of style in male-driven big-budget Hollywood releases.


Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale” which could be considered a cop movie, but he is so debonaire as 007, his opening run in that movie deserves a nod.


See you in the audience soon, and Happy Summer Blockbuster Season.

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Best Spider-Man Ever, Wow, Tom Holland Looks Like It, Seriously

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We could run down the Marvel list of past Spider-Men: impish Tobey Maguire, troubled Andrew Garfield, and they were great. But why bother, Spidey fans, because Tom Holland owns the new web-slinger entry SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which opens July 7.


Hey, is that Jon Favreau in the background? Yes.

Owns it along with his co-stars, that is. Those being Robert Downey, Jr.,  back as his Iron Man/Tony Stark mentor; Michael Keaton as not super-normal, real-world villain Vulture; and Marisa Tomei as a surprisingly bitchin’ Aunt May.  There’s what Robert Downey Jr. calls “the kids,” all the subplot superheros. Plus this has old and new Hollywood folks, such as Tyne Daly, Danny Glover, even Zendaya. For insiders, Amy Pascal, who got burned in the SONY email hack, comes roaring back as her Pascal Pictures pushed this one through to the finish line. Even Pascal gets her superhero cape back.

Producer Kevin Feige sets the scene here on how they thought about the new Spider-Man.

“We introduced Spider-Man in Civil War and you got to see the banter and the fun and contrast between he and the other heroes there,” says Feige. “And now, after the greatest vacation of all time, in which he got to spend this time with these rock stars, he’s got to go back to high school. So, it exacerbates his problem – a problem that I certainly had and I think most people who go to high school have – ‘Is there something more for me out there?’ But Peter knows there is because he just did it. He thinks he’s ready, and of course when you’re fifteen years old you often think you’re ready for something before you really are. That’s the fun of this movie, that’s the relatability of Peter Parker, and that’s why we wanted to do this and reintroduce Spider-Man to audiences through the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Yeah, okay, but Tom Holland says it in a much more fun way.

Wired for maximum energy, Tom Holland is so kick-ass even in talking about  this movie, like how he heard that he was cast as The One. “Well I didn’t actually hear I was going to be Spider-Man, I read about it on Instragram,” the newly minted web-spinner admits. “I didn’t get ‘the call.’ But no, it was an amazing experience.”

“I’d worked my ass off getting this job. And when all that hard work paid off and I could finally say I was Spider-Man, it was a pretty crazy experience.” SpideySPH17Plus he loves it when people bitch on the internet about the new onscreen reboot of Marvel’s “crown jewel” and “most successful comic book in the world,” according to Marvel Studio’s internal production notes, the hallowed “Spider-Man” created Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Holland scoffs a little at the doubters, in a good way.

“I love reading on the internet people complaining that there is so much in the trailers because you haven’t seen anything yet, there is so much more to come, the big twists and turns. My whole family watched it the other day, and my family are not ‘superhero fans,’ and they loved it. They loved it. They are my toughest critics and it was amazing to see them enjoy it, which is fun.”

Not to mention working with Robert Downey, Jr, again after almost flying off a building when they met up in the last big bang box office movie, Civil War. Let’s just say, Tom really digs working with the Suave Marvel Franchise Statesman.


Incredible illustrations as Concept Art.

“When Robert showed up on set, he was so excited to be there,” Downey’s film protege shares. “He saw the concept art, some of the footage and he thought it looked great. To me it was the perfect indicator that we’ve got something special here.”

A veteran of Hollywood and real life, being a franchise frontier is kind of second nature to Downey now. He talks about Peter Parker in such a cool way. “He is not part of the Military Industrial Complex” like Tony Stark is, Downey points out, adding Tom Holland plays it really new, for a re-sprung franchise. “Lest we forget,” Tony Stark’s counterpart says, “[Iron Man] pulled Peter Parker into life and death situations shortly after meeting him just a year or so ago.” But “he develops this belief in Mr. Parker.”

About the other teen superheroes, Downey is equally impressed. “You know what, speaking of homecoming, these kids are pretty damn good,” and then he switches gears to the reconfigured Aunt May character, played by Marisa Tomei.

“I’ve known Marisa for a long time, she’s just perfect,” he adds. “What a fresh start this franchise is getting.”

When thinking about New Spider-Man, Marisa starts laughing, “I feel like a newcomer next to him, because [Tom Holland] was born a pro. He is so capable. [Tom] is adept at everything he does.”SpiderTube17

Then she really takes a moment to say “it’s a gift to act in a ‘franchise’ film, to know you have a job coming. And to be part of something that is so beloved. That the fans really cherish and are really excited about. There’s a fever to it, to be part of something that is so anticipated.”

But is it too big, or too anticipated, you may wonder?

“It’s big, big movie —  with independent spirit at heart. The movie is as much about ‘finding your place in the world,’ as much as it is a giant superhero movie.”

As far as Aunt May Upgraded, “I wanted to try to keep some of the — not just the function, to look after [Peter], to be curious and deduced things and make a strong home for him — I wanted to make her [mine].”

This Aunt May “works, she has a publishing company. She has a past… [But], she’s trying to make these pies. I wanted her to make these apple pies like the original Aunt May, and the original granny glasses, and the apron and the bun in her hair. It helps transition into this new iteration.”

Plus if it’s Marisa (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), you get that this will be the first sexy Aunt May, just saying.

“I felt like I was in summer camp when I was working with them [Tom and the younger superhero cast members]. It was like ‘okay, not only are you not your age, but i’m not my age, we’re all 13 right now’ — I loved being with them.”

So you’re getting the idea how off-the-hook special this movie is, even with a kind of human villain, Michael Keaton. He’s a Hollywood insider who’s been around forever, but Keaton as “Vulture” plays a new flavor of heavy here.

Birdman’s Oscar nominee tries to break it down to the essence of his Spider-Man bad guy with “there is, you know, an underlying intelligence to it. It isn’t that simple. He has resentment.”

Vulture “may have been vulnerable.” He started out ethically okay, maybe but “my character [failed] doing things on the up-and-up, maybe — but he is put in a position to say, ‘I’m going to look after my family.’ I also like that he had a crew. I like these guys. These are all working class people. They all have legitimate gripes.”

When asked about the scope of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Keaton nails it for most of us. “These movies are always just so huge, how they put it together it beyond me. You can tell, the director, he really saw it.” Then he stops short, summing up the little details that apparently make this movie The One for diehard Marvel franchise fans.

Michael Keaton wants to talk The Suit.

“The suit was so intricate and artfully made — I don’t think those people (Costumers) get enough credit. You know, special wrenches to put the boots in a certain (position), I was knocked out by that.” Which leads into a whole discussion about Cosplay, but never mind.SpideyNow1

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING  is right around the corner as this summer’s huge blockbuster entry and swings into the box office July 7, so get ready for it. See the official site here, with all the relevant hashtags and hoo-hah for such a massive fan movie.


Columbia Pictures presents a Marvel Studios / Pascal Pictures production, Spider-Man™: Homecoming.  Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Watts.  Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley.  Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.  Executive Producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach. Mitch Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, and Rachel O’Connor serve as Co-Producers. Director of Photography is Salvatore Totino ASC, AIC. Production Designer is Oliver Scholl. Editors are Dan Lebental ACE and Debbie Berman.  Visual Effects Supervisor is Janek Sirrs.  Costume Designer is Louise Frogley. Music by Michael Giacchino. Music Supervision by Dave Jordan.

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Finding DOLORES: Dolores Huerta Finally Gets The Big Screen, An American Activist

Curated by Screenmancer Staff


LOS ANGELES, CA – PBS Distribution announced today that theatrical dates have been set for DOLORES, which they acquired with Independent Lens out of the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film will open theatrically on the Friday of Labor Day weekend (September 1, 2017) in New York City exclusively at IFC Center.

It will open in Los Angeles on Friday, September 8th at the Nuart Theatre, and then expand to other markets nationwide.

The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this year and continues to be a favorite on the festival circuit, garnering Audience Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Houston Latino Film Festival and the Denver Women + Film Festival, as well as receiving the Golden Space Needle Best Documentary Award from the Seattle International Film Festival.  It has also been an official selection at AFI Docs, Hot Docs, and over twenty other film festivals.


Photo by NHBachs


Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized.

Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.

With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother and ardent champion of human rights, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change.

The film is directed by Peter Bratt (LA MISSION) and Executive Produced by humanitarian and Grammy Award-winning musician Carlos Santana.DoloresH17

About PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and production partners. PBS Distribution offers its customers a diverse range of programming, including Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programs. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution offers consumers high-quality content in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and digital streaming. PBS Distribution reaches expanded audiences through PBS International, a leading source for factual content for broadcast, cable and satellite services outside of North America, and a theatrical initiative, which specializes in theatrical, festival and non-theatrical distribution.


You can find out more about her at this link, and the documentary at this PBS-affiliated website. Dolores Huerta makes us all remember that ‘civic engagement’ is an empowering phrase and our civic duty.

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DARK TOWER Casts Wild Shadow with Baddie McConaughey & Pistol-Packing Idris Elba

by Screenmancer Staff

It doesn’t entirely ruin the mystique around Stephen King’s eight-novel series “The Dark Tower” to know that the name of the main character, played by Idris Elba in the upcoming Columbia Pictures release of the same name, is from a Robert Browning poem. MattDTwide17In fact it kind of arts it up. Browning’s poem is dark and weird, very King-friendly. But putting aside “Chlide Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” the Browning poem, the movie adapt THE DARK TOWER, which opens August 4, looks to be a bone-broth of genres boiled down to something even its fiendish-leaning author will enjoy.

Written between 1978 and 1982 as a handful of short stories to start, “The Dark Tower” books took on a life of their own around the stark black-and-white plot of good vs evil. However, since this is from the mind of Maine’s maniac who brought us “The Shining,” “Christine,” even “Cujo,” not everything is as black and white as it appears.

King talked about it a little in a video interview on Colllider, basically saying “It starts sort of in medias res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some fans a little bit. But they will have to get behind it, because it is the story.”

SONY’s official description for the movie goes something like this:

“There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.”

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

Always devilishly optimistic about the future of mankind, King’s own writing from the Dark Tower series speaks for itself. “So will the world end, I think, a victim of love rather than hate. For love’s ever been the more destructive weapon, sure.” Furthermore, quoting the book series, “Battles that last five minutes spawn legends that live a thousand years.”

And, mic drop, “Because talent won’t be quiet, doesn’t know how to be quiet,” the character says. “Whether it’s a talent for safe-cracking, thought-reading, or dividing ten-digit numbers in your head, it screams to be used. It never shuts up. It’ll wake you in the middle of your tiredest night, screaming, ‘Use me, use me, use me! I’m tired of just sitting here! Use me, fuckhead, use me!”

Let’s face it, only char-hearted Stephen King can use a word like “fuckhead” and make it somehow meaningful. THE DARK TOWER from SONY’s Columbia Pictures is set to fly August 4, and promises to make a mark this summer.DTposter17

More to the point, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better screenwriter in Hollywood than Akiva Goldsman (A BEAUTIFUL MIND), who wrote the screenplay here with Jeff Pinker (an ampersand attribution) and Anders Thomas Jensen & Nikolaj Arcel. DARK TOWER is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, based on the novels by Stephen King, and produced by Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Erica Huggins.

Visit the books here and the movie at, then remember King is really picky about how his books are adapted, and he’s happy with this one remarkably, probably because Ron Howard at Imagine is such a nice guy.

Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, and Jackie Earle Haley.

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Get Ready To Be Entranced: Sofia Coppola’s THE BEGUILED Grips

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There was a time when Sofia Coppola could be at an awards show and overlooked as a famous daughter; not anymore, not for years now since LOST IN TRANSLATION. But in her new film, THE BEGUILED, which is a retool of a 1971 Clint Eastwood starrer, she really comes of age as a visionary writer/director. Even in what is considered a remake of a movie based on a novel by Thomas Cullinan, it has a distinctive feel that’s all hers. The film opens Friday, June 23 in New York and Los Angeles, with wider release on June 30.KidanBGniceWith an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, you get a sense of why this movie won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival.

Picture a Southern all-girls boarding school during the battle-weary Civil War era, and a wounded enemy soldier appears. John McBurney (Colin Farrell) adds testosterone to a very delicate and well-mannered yet highly complex microcosm of women led by a formidable Headmistress named Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman).


“This is my dream cast,” Sofia Coppola admits. “When I was writing it, I was picturing Nicole as Miss Martha. She always surprises me. Watching her, I’ve never seen anyone like that, she does so many different things at once.” She adds that the whole cast is on a par with Kidman.

You want to use a word like confection for the ethereal feel, but that description doesn’t do justice to the depth of rich multi-layered images that float on the screen like Spanish moss.

“This is very much a Sofia film,” Colin Farrell explains. “It’s very much aesthetically beautiful. She wrote every word of this. Her way feels maybe more right than some [as far as directing], there’s an immense lack of tension on the set, very playful. She’s incredibly easygoing and generous to her core it seems.”ColinDunstBG

Farrell is underscoring the fact that a remake can often feel like a re-do of someone else’s vision.

But if you look at the 1971 version, two minutes into the film, Eastwood is literally hitting on a twelve year old, with “not too young for kisses.” And even though the fabulous Geraldine Page stars as his Miss Martha, there’s a creepy feel to their interplay, down the line. So that’s essentially the breaking point for the 2017 Beguiled. It takes a left turn at the way the heightened sexual tension is framed.

“I didn’t know the movie and I watched it, and it really stayed in my mind. I watched it. It was so weird, and I thought ‘how would I do my version?’” I thought it would be interesting to do the same story but from the female characters’ point of view.”

Elle Fanning, who plays Alicia, describes her character as kind of an empowered seductress, but still innocent in a real way. “Anything Sofia does I think is incredible, it was also like, ‘yeah.’ Because it was all these girls and women — and Colin of course— they hold the power.”ColinElleBG

“The original film had been made from a guy’s point of view, so I went back to the book. Because I just liked the premise,” Coppola adds. “It’s such a crazy, extreme premise about power between men and women in such an extreme situation. The idea of looking at wartime from the point of view of the women left behind.”

“You try to make it personal. Try to relate to the characters because it’s such a different time. And yet I loved that it had elements that were familiar to me, this feminine beautiful world. A beautiful feminine world with violence and very gothic.”

“My tendency is to be on the subtle side. Colin was teasing me: ‘Oh, this is an action movie to you, there’s guns… there’s blood.’ It’s been fun to have this mix of beautiful dresses and a little gore. We had smoke machines everyday, and candlelight… a really ethereal look that is specific to this story.”

“Colin is a good sport about being our sex object in the movie, but he has to be dangerous and threatening, and romantic in the movie.” Farrell plays a mercenary soldier paid $300 off the boat from Ireland to fight as a Yankee, so he’s neither North nor South, but emblematic of the unspoken ever-present struggle for control between the sexes.

When the crushing attractions flare up between Farrell’s character and the many flavors of female in this strange closed world hunkered down  under siege of musket fire in a distance, Beguiled really poses some interesting questions about how women express their sexuality. Yet there’s a brutality to their mannered world that Farrell’s soldier-on-the-mend only begins to realize when it’s too late.

Not that every movie needs a memorable line, but when his John McBurney yells out “You Vengeful Bitches,” in a thick Irish accent, it’s an instant classic. Probably because Nicole Kidman’s Miss Martha is so poised and possibly inherently evil at the same time, in a nice way.NicBGbad17

Kirsten Dunst, who plays wronged love interest Edwina, sums up Sofia Coppola’s deft directing hand best, as “she doesn’t second guess herself. I’ve known her for so long, I’m working with my friend, you can’t really beat that.”

Since he is outnumbered in this eerie thriller, Colin Farrell gets the last word. “I’m surrounded by extraordinary talent. Watching these extraordinary women do extraordinary work. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie. It’s been a joy.”

Don’t miss what the women have in store for their wounded houseguest, it’s a very rewarding fight to the finish.

Focus Features awards-buzzworthy film THE BEGUILED rolls out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, June 23, with wider release on June 30.

Directed by Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” “Somewhere”)
Written by Sofia Coppola, based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and the screenplay by Albert Maltz and Grimes Grice
Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard.

Watch This Making-of With Director & Cast



93 Minutes I Rated R

Official Site I Facebook I Twitter I Instagram

#TheBeguiled #VengefulBitches

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Why #Covfefe & Trump’s Media Trounce Irks: The Pulitzer at 100

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When most of us caught the Presidential Tweet in late May that included a fake word, #covfefe, that has become the American Typo Heard Around the World, it really mattered that this misspelled rant was aimed at the media.TrumpTwt17 The 45th President of the United States was, as they say in street fights, ripping all newsrooms a new one. And Mr. Trump has literally gone to town on what he, @realdonaldtrump, and his Trump Administration call their enemy a/k/a the Media. He doesn’t see it as an Us and Them, he sees it as a USA and Them, as if being a journalist is de facto unpatriotic. Well, look no further than a great documentary to realign the universe of writers, writing, journalism, and The Pulitzer Prize. Even Martin Scorsese weighs in on stories we tell as journalists, scribes, and poets in Oscar-winning director Kirk Simon’s “The Pulitzer at 100,” which opens July 21 at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.

Ironically, one could say that the Leader of The Free World paying attention to the printed word and its creators is high praise — if you approach it from the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ angle. But unfortunately, this is not the case. President Trump has really blown a hole in the Fourth Estate, as if he’d been given a gold-plated wrecking ball with a Presidential Seal on it. It’s not just that he misunderstands journalism as a form of public relations; it’s not just that he singles out individual reporters like criminals in a briefing; it’s that we let him get away with it.Pulitzer1sht17

Why We Can’t Let The Press Get Beaten Up Anymore…

“The Pulitzer at 100” features hot button stories like an insider look into the lid-lifting Secret Service prostitution exposé, and the woman who was the little girl in that iconic Vietnam era napalm photo, but it also includes John Lithgow reciting Robert Frost. If Tracy K. Smith, the 2012 Pulitzer prize recipient for Poetry, doesn’t cut you to your knees just in one verse, check your pulse. “A poem invites conflation” between the writer and the reader, she tell us; and there’s Helen Mirren, Liev Schreiber reading some literary winners of the prize, breathtaking.

But back to journalism. Do we and our President even know why it is called The Fourth Estate and what it means? Quoting Stanford University’s “Journalism in the Digital Age” here:

“Journalism has long been regarded as an important force in government, so vital to the functioning of a democracy that it has been portrayed as an integral component of democracy itself. In 1841, Thomas Carlyle wrote, “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all” (On Heroes and Hero Worship). Four years earlier, Carlyle had used the phrase in his French Revolution: “A Fourth Estate, of Able Editors, springs up, increases and multiplies; irrepressible, incalculable.” Carlyle saw the press as instrumental to the birth and growth of democracy, spreading facts and opinions and sparking revolution against tyranny.”Pul17

You don’t need to know this to watch “The Pulitzer at 100,” but it helps. From the press notes, “There are more than a thousand recipients of this prestigious award including journalists, novelists, poets, musicians and photographers and this film has been made from the most valuable of resources, the artists themselves, many of whom are featured in The Pulitzer at 100.”

A short list includes:

Carl Bernstein, The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, 1973
Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize International Reporting & Affairs,1983,1988 & 2002
Martin Baron, Editor of The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, National Reporting and Explanatory Journalism, 2014, 2015 & 2016
Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize for Biography, 1975 & 2003
David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1994
Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Winner for Investigative Reporting, 2010 & 2015
Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize, International Reporting and Commentary, 1990 & 2006
Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and National Reporting, 2014 & 2015
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2012
Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1999
Paula Vogel, writer of How I Learned To Drive, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1998
Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2008
Wynton Marsalis, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 1997
John Adams, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 2003
Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, 1973

Who Was This Immigrant Named Pulitzer?

“At the end of the Civil War,” this documentary tells us, Joseph Pulitzer a penniless Hungarian vagrant, sleeps on benches in New York, then moves to St. Louis, and the rest is history in broken English, shall we say. Typos matter, words matter, our Democracy matters. We matter as reader-citizens, writer-citizens, audience and actors in this American Experiment.NewsPul17

So the next time you watch a Presidential Press Briefing where journalists take a beating for protecting your right to ask questions as a citizen, remember who Joseph Pulitzer was, and why he matters.

Quoting “Journalism in the Digital Age” from Stanford again, which is not part of the documentary, for reference, just read along to see why this film and your opinion about the “media” matters:

“The fact of the matter is that democracy requires informed citizens. No governing body can be expected to operate well without knowledge of the issues on which it is to rule, and rule by the people entails that the people should be informed. In a representative democracy, the role of the press is twofold: it both informs citizens and sets up a feedback loop between the government and voters. The press makes the actions of the government known to the public, and voters who disapprove of current trends in policy can take corrective action in the next election. Without the press, the feedback loop is broken and the government is no longer accountable to the people. The press is therefore of the utmost importance in a representative democracy.”PulStmp17

Plus there’s Natalie Portman reading the work of Jorie Graham, 1996 Pulitzer winner, such “nimble armor” language.

THE PULITZER AT 100 – First Run Features Notes

Kirk Simon is an Oscar and Emmy-winning producer and director of documentary films for more than 30 years. In addition to winning an Academy Award for the HBO short documentary Strangers No More, he has also been nominated three other times, and won the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton.  His films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO and MTV.

Highlights in his oeuvre include the Emmy-winning Masterclass, an HBO series in which great artists mentor high school students; also for HBO, he was responsible for numerous programs including the 14-part series Kindergarten, which continues to be broadcast each morning on HBO Family. Mr. Simon’s first film for HBO was Chimps: So Like Us with Dr. Jane Goodall, which required Mr. Simon to sleep in a tent on the shore of Lake Tanganyika for three weeks to make this Oscar nominated and Emmy-winning program. He was also responsible for the award-winning series Coming Out Stories on MTV’s LOGO that portrayed the emotional process of coming out in the LGBT community. Entertainment Weekly wrote, “this touching series marks a high point for the network.”

For PBS, Simon has produced and/or directed programs for American Masters, American Playhouse, American Experience, Masterpiece Theater and The National Geographic.  For American Masters, Mr. Simon produced the Emmy-nominated Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud in 1996 and the Oscar-nominated biography of Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1986. For National Geographic, shows produced and directed by Mr. Simon include both Cairo Unveiled and Incredible Human Body. Simon is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Writer’s Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Producer’s Guild of America.


Produced and Directed by Kirk Simon
Co-Produced by Ron Simon
Executive Producers: Nikkos J. Frangos and George T. Lemos
Edited by Emily Williams
Director of Photography: Buddy Squires, ASC
Music by Wendy Blackstone
Run Time –  91 min
Language – English
Format – Digital
Year – 2017
Genre – Documentary


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Charlize Theron Should Definitely Add ATOMIC BLONDE To Her Dating Profile

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

We already know from THE ITALIAN JOB and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD that South African bombshell Charlize Theron can drive the hell out of any vehicle, even with deranged bikers in tow. Now Imperator Furiosa can add a few more skills to her dating profile with Universal’s July 28 release ATOMIC BLONDE. This movie is based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series “The Coldest City,” written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Sam Hart. Theron is also a producer on Atomic. Plus it has wily Toby Jones being creepy and John Goodman playing it tough.CharlizeActAB17That line “You don’t need a man, you need a champion*” applies to the female lead here. Note that Charlize can do things with a high heel that few dare dream to do, and still be a golden-hued spokesmodel for iconic French perfume Dior.CharlDior17
You’ll recall her Oscar-winning performance as a serial killer in MONSTER (2003) the minute you watch this trailer for what looks to be a new wild entry in this Transvaal native’s career. The official description follows below from Universal, but just take in the clip without context first, to see how talented and physically powerful this Queen from The Huntsman can be. TheronMcAvoyAB17After all, in Mad Max, she even made super toughie Tom Hardy look a little frightened. Here she makes James McAvoy consider his options. What a date night movie this will be.

From Universal Pictures, Bows July 28

Oscar® winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.  

The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission.  Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.  

A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2).  Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart.  Kurt Johnstad (300) wrote the screenplay.CharlizeAB17Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones
Directed by: David Leitch
Screenplay by: Kurt Johnstad
Produced by: Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, A.J. Dix, Kelly McCormick, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin
Executive Producers: Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Joe Nozemack,
Steven V. Scavelli, Ethan Smith, David Guillod, Kurt Johnstad

Official website here. Opens July 28. See it then.

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