'The Immigrant' a somber masterpiece

Written by Jake Coyle,
AP writer
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 11:23

Floating in past a misty Statue of Liberty, James Gray's "The Immigrant" somberly gathers its majesty as a metaphor-rich story of passage and survival. It's an old tale told with rare precision, channeling grand themes into an intimate melodrama.

Ellis Island, a portal of hope and new beginning for films from Elia Kazan's "America, America" to Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part II," is here a more complicated rebirth.

‘Chicago’ burns with talent

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:24

When Kander & Ebb’s Tony Award-winning musical Chicago finally hit the big screen in 2002 after a few failed attempts (including proposed versions rumored to star Liza Minnelli and Goldie Hawn), it was a massive success. The winner of six Oscars, including best picture, Chicago seemed to signal the return of the big-screen movie musical. 

Out on video
'Carrie' remake explodes without bombing

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 April 2014 14:03

Why do filmmakers insist on remaking good movies when there are so many more bad movies worthy of their attention?

'Fargo' the TV series premieres and you betcha it mesmerizes

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 16 April 2014 10:00

After failed attempts and broken dreams, by golly, someone went and put "Fargo" on series TV.

The 10-episode season premiered Tuesday on FX. And it mesmerizes. As a furtherance of the 1996 crime classic by Joel and Ethan Coen that starred Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, the TV adaptation is a wonder.

‘Four’ lacks authenticity

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:35

Four, the full-length feature film debut by writer/director Joshua Sanchez, is an adaptation of award-winning gay playwright Christopher Shinn’s first play. An intimate portrait of four characters’ lives intersecting on the fourth of July, the film features solid performances, but the film as a whole comes off as self-conscious.

TV remake of 'Rosemary's Baby' shifts to Paris

Written by The AP Tuesday, 29 April 2014 05:31

Wiry Zoe Saldana got a kick out of wearing a huge fake belly as she played a young, pregnant wife on the Paris set of the remake of the classic horror tale "Rosemary's Baby."

"Every time I wear the really big ones, it breaks everybody's heart whenever we're doing all those stressful scenes, so I am milking that, I am really milking that," the actress quipped as she sat in a hospital room used as a filming location.

New on video
'Chastity Bites' is all bark

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:57

Chastity Bites is low-budget camp horror/slasher flick for the Mean Girls generation.

'Transcendence' is a mind-bender with an A-list lead

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:58

For more than a decade, cinematographer Wally Pfister brought director Christopher Nolan's cinematic visions to life. Now, he's the one calling the shots.

His directorial debut, the new sci-fi mystery "Transcendence," has many elements of a Nolan blockbuster — eye-popping visual effects, a mind-bending story and an A-list lead in Johnny Depp. All of those things translate into high expectations for Pfister, who jokingly likens his newly christened director's seat to an "electric chair."

Straight and gay, uncensored

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:31

Butch Cordora, host of the gay Philadelphia TV talk show In Bed With Butch, is the main subject of the 2010 documentary Straight and Butch. The program airs on Here TV beginning May 30 and continuing through June, which is Gay Pride Month.

Man sues 'X-Men' director for sexually abusing him as a teen

Written by The Associated Press Saturday, 19 April 2014 18:22


A man who claims he was sexually abused by X-Men franchise director Bryan Singer said that he reported the molestation to authorities at the time, and he does not know why charges were never pursued.

Now on video
Film explores Joni Mitchell’s heart and music

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 April 2014 13:46

Joni Mitchell

Girls Like Us, the biopic about Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King is in development, with Taylor Swift cast as Joni (could you die?). At the same time  Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  is currently running on Broadway. So what could be a better time for the SD Blu-ray release of Joni Mitchell’s Woman of Heart and Mind + Painting With Words and Music. Combining the 2003 PBS American Masters doc  Woman of Heart and Mind  with the 1998 CBC-produced concert film Painting With Words and Music on one Blu-ray would be inspired any time.

Review: 'Draft Day' sticks with the program

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 14 April 2014 12:25

The pre-pre-season opening kickoff of the 2014 National Football League schedule is returned for a score in "Draft Day," an entirely conventional serio-comic sports world melodrama that pushes its buttons with undeniable professional finesse.

In his most effective full star turn in perhaps a decade, Kevin Costner dominates as the greenhorn general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns who could emerge from the heavy shadow of his late revered father with the successful handling of the annual draft of college players.