Category Archives: Film & TV

Former Celebrities Who Left Hollywood for ‘Regular’ Jobs

Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Freddie Prinze, Jr. I remember your daddy!

*You’ve heard the saying, “Everything that sparkles ain’t gold” right? Well, suffice it to say that doesn’t only apply to jewelry. In this case, it represents all of the people who have made it to the celebrity list…without the celebrity money. So what do they do?

Like the chorus of the old Silhouettes song sings: “Get A Job.”

Listen, the reality of the entertainment industry, in the event you didn’t know, is, everyone has a periodic lull. Nobody is working and getting paid in their craft all the time. Now let’s be real, if you’re making several million dollars an episode on a network TV gem or a blockbuster film, your pain is going to be different than the pain of someone making a fraction of that.

So it should be no big surprise that there are people whose name we may recognize that we may very well see standing behind the counter at the post office saying, “How can I help you.”

I’m not even going to front, I would have the hardest time keeping a straight face if I happened upon this. Continue reading

See Kong and Brie Larson’s Tank Top On As Big A Screen As You Can Find

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*Back in the old days, you had to wait for summer for a cinematic summer blockbuster. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, thanks to Kong: Skull Island, summer has arrived — at the movies, at least — a few months early.

It only took 84 years for Hollywood to make a worthy successor to the original King Kong. which terrified audiences when it debuted in 1933 as one of Tinsel Town’s first “talkies.” No, I was NOT there…but I’m told theaters had to hire medical professionals to be on hand during screenings, as audiences members routinely fainted when Kong showed up on screen.

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Successors to the king’s throne have always fallen a little short. 1933’s Son Of Kong was cute but not thrilling, the 1976 version was downright cheesy (with a guy in an ape suit in the title role), and Peter Jackson’s 2005 version improved upon the special effects of the original but never found Kong’s heart. And let’s not even mention 1962’s awful King Kong vs. Godzilla.

This time around, they finally got it right. Kong: Skull Island debuts just a week before Hollywood will trot out another “beauty and the beast” tale that’s as old as time, but THIS beast isn’t singing Alan Menken tunes. Continue reading

How Moonlight Muted Me, and Gave Us A New Paradigm For Gay Black Men

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*I saw the Academy Award-winning Moonlight for the first time at the beginning of its initial run in theaters, last fall. I walked into a screening of the movie with every intention of reviewing it. I walked out having been profoundly moved, forever changed, and temporarily muted. I simply couldn’t find the words to describe the movie.

I’d not felt that way after seeing a film since Precious, another film with honest, gritty performances, flawed, human characters that commanded my attention, and a character arc that left me literally exhausted and speechless. I felt the same way after seeing Monster’s Ball and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Dreamgirls.

In all of those prior cases, the films went on to win Academy Awards, and I’d accurately predicted them. In the case of Monster’s Ball, I knew that if Halle Berry hadn’t gone on to win the Oscar for Best Actress, it would have been due to racism in the industry. Berry’s performance, particularly a critical scene during which her character is processing an unfathomable loss, earned that trophy.

Similarly, after watching Moonlight, I called Mahershala’s Oscar, the screenplay award, and the Oscar for Best Picture. I knew if Moonlight didn’t win on Oscar night, homophobia — not racism — would have been the primary culprit.

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Mahershala Ali as “Juan” in Moonlight

Continue reading

‘Big Bang Theory’ Cast Members Make Generous ‘Pay Cut’ Gesture for Fellow Cast Members to Get Raises

Mayim Bialik (back left) and Melissa Raunch (right left)
Mayim Bialik (back left) and Melissa Rauch (right left)

*Sometimes you just can’t pass up an opportunity to show what human kindness really looks like. I was touched when I learned that the original actors from the popular comedy The Big Bang Theory offered to take a pay cut so that two other cast members who came onto the show later, and don’t make as much, can get raises when new contract time comes around.

Wow! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is! Continue reading

Hey Peanuts Fans! Check Out The Charles M Schulz Museum and Research Center

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*I’d been in Santa Rosa the night before for Johnny Mathis’ show, and couldn’t resist checking out the Charles M Schulz Museum & Research Center before heading home. Fans of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, or any of the Peanuts gang will love the center, while learning something they didn’t know about the revered comic strip.

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“It Was A Dark And Stormy Night” is the name of the Center’s newest exhibit, outlining the history behind Snoopy’s hysterical writing career.  Other attractions included Snoopy’s presentation of famous United States presidential pets — did you know that long before we met the Obama’s dogs, a pet alligator lived in the White House?? — and an exhibit that details the Peanuts gang’s devotion to health and fitness (Peppermint Patty was ahead of her time in trying to eat a healthy lunch). Continue reading

The Lego Batman Movie Cracked Me Up, Delivers Laughs For Kids Of All Ages

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*I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can take another Trump announcement, pronouncement, or tweet!  Yesterday, I needed a break from the dismal news cycle, so I snuck into a showing of the hysterical new The Lego Batman Movie. Even a die-hard Superman fan like me loved it.

Maybe that’s because the Man of Steel himself has a role in the movie, and provides a fairly significant plot point to the action-packed romp, during which Batman struggles with…

…wait a minute. Am I ACTUALLY writing a review about a film that’s based on Lego building blocks??

Yes, I am. I was drawn into the story from the first few frames.  I howled with laughter during the flick, which has lots of action and humor that will appeal to the little ones, along with many jokes that will go right over their heads while leaving you in stitches.

Will Arnett, who provides the voice of the most vain Caped Crusader we’ve ever seen on screen (“…I get up at 4:30am and pump iron until my pecs are just sick!”), may well be my favorite cinematic Batman. Continue reading

El Capitan in Hollywood Presents ‘Festival of Fairytales’ Series

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*HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (February 14, 2017) – In anticipation of the upcoming release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” the latest live-action adaption of a classic animated film, the legendary El Capitan Theatre presents a series of films, FESTIVAL OF FAIRY TALES: Disney’s Live Action Adventures, from March 3 – 12, 2017.

The Festival of Fairytales will kick off with Disney’s “Maleficent” (2014) directed by Robert Stromberg, March 3-4, followed by Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (2016) directed by Jon Favreau, March 5-6;  “Pete’s Dragon” (2016) directed by David Lowery, March 7-8,  “Cinderella” (2015) directed by Kenneth Branagh, March 9-10, and concluding with “Alice in Wonderland”(2010) directed by Tim Burton, March 11-12.

A re-imagining of Disney's cherished film, PETE'S DRAGON is the story of a boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon. Photo Credit: © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
A re-imagining of Disney’s cherished film, PETE’S DRAGON is the story of a boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon. Photo Credit: © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“Recently Disney has taken some of its most beloved stories and made them into new films for new audiences – of which “Beauty and the Beast” opening March 17 here at The El Capitan Theatre is the latest,” said Ed Collins, General Manager of The El Capitan Theatre.  “Many of these new films which have been very popular with audiences and critics alike have become classics in their own right.  They have given a whole new generation a way to have a unique experience with these characters. We know that our El Capitan Guests will welcome a chance to see these films again on the big screen as they were meant to be seen and we are thrilled to present them now.”

The El Capitan Theatre is offering a special FESTIVAL OF FAIRYTALES Package; for $50 per person, guests receive a Reserved Ticket, small box of popcorn & 12 oz. fountain drink to each of the five films, tickets for this package must be reserved in advance by calling 818-845-3110.  Guests will choose show date & seats for all five films at the time of purchase.  A $20 VIP preferred ticket is also available for each film individually, which includes a VIP Preferred Seat, popcorn in a souvenir tub and 20 oz. drink. Continue reading

‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer’ — The Must-See Doc for Anyone Truly Willing to Affect Change (Watch)

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*Don’t get it twisted. “L.O.V.E.” aside, this documentary will be hard to take… at least within the first five minutes. It doesn’t necessarily get any easier throughout, but it does shift consciousness along the way, and asks that you do the same.

You may think twice about going to see, ‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer.’ At least those of you who may find it hard to wrap your brain around anything that immediately brings to mind (and dare I say unites) the words cops and love in the same sentence.

But let me put your mind at ease.

In this sense, LOVE is an acronym for LEARN (about your community and the people in it), Open (your heart to the humanity within), Volunteer (your service and skillset where you live), and Empower (others to do the same).

Created by producer/director AJ Ali and Academy-award-winning cinematographer Errol Webber as director of photography, ‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer’ features interviews with police officers, faith leaders, educators, activists and more. There is nothing ordinary about this film. It’s a documentary that doesn’t ask that you go to your nearest movie theater and check it out, then file it under the “Oh yeah, I saw that film” category as you move on with your life. It’s a film with a goal in mind. A film with expectations. A film that begs you to stay present (as in aware), as you move forward.

It may cause you to think of something Barack Obama said in his Final Speech as president.

“If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing.  If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.”

You want to see things change as it relates to walking while Black?

This film will test just how bad you want that to happen. Continue reading