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Entries in West Side Story (21)

Wednesday
May022018

Jake Gyllenhaal and Steven Spielberg playing with the legacy of Leonard Bernstein

by Nathaniel R

Have you heard the news that there's a Leonard Bernstein biopic coming? There's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that there's a Leonard Bernstein biopic coming at all! I mean... he's only a bonafide genius of the 20th century. Even better Jake Gyllenhaal is attached to star. Even better Cary Joji Fukunaga (Jane Eyre, Beasts of No Nation, True Detective) will be directing! Gyllenhaal gives quote:

Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story when I was a kid. But as I got older and started to learn about the scope of his work, I began to understand the extent of his unparalleled contribution and the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him. As a man, Bernstein was a fascinating figure—full of genius and contradiction—and it will be an incredible honor to tell his story with a talent and friend like Cary.”

More after the jump...

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Monday
Aug282017

Stage Door: "Prince of Broadway"

by Nathaniel R

Though I don't cherish the form I've seen quite a few jukebox musicals in my day. Sometimes they take the biographical route like Jersey Boys. Often they'll sift through the lyrics of some artist's catalogue hoping to yank out phrases and threads from which they can stitch together a frankenstein story. Mammia Mia is either the apotheosis or the nadir of that latter form, depending on your perspective. But what if the jukebox isn't beholden to one composer? Prince of Broadway, which just opened at the Samuel Friedman in NYC, is devoted to the producer Harold Prince who did not write music. So what you have is a greatest hits of, uh, dozens of different composers from a wide range of musicals. If this were a CD it might be called "Now That's What I Call Broadway, Vol. Whatever"

Prince backed a TON of über famous shows in his illustrious career including Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret... you name it! None of the musicals sound alike so there's little hope of cohesion in the show. Wisely Prince of Broadway  doesn't try to create a "story" from these disparate musicals in a career that stretches all the way back to 1950 (Prince is 89 years old and directed this production).What they've come up with instead is much less intrusive even if it doesn't totally work...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May052017

Today's 6: Jolie's Wedding, West Side Story's Dominance, and More

We promised you a few anniversaries a day, but with the new twist of mood-boosting inspiration. Here we go

6 Anniversary Mood Busters for May 5th

2000 Angelina Jolie married Billy Bob Thornton. She famously carried a vial of his blood around her neck.

In this honor: Remember how immature YOU were 17 years ago. Evolving is good but so too (in moderation) is uninhibitedness of youth. Do something you used to do 17 years ago for fun. Find out if it's still a thrill!

Five more after the jump

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Monday
Apr242017

OTD: Babs, Shirley, and "Cool" from West Side Story

On this very gay day (4/24) in history as it relates to showbiz...

1873 Silent film director Robert Wiene, best known for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) born in Breslau (Note: other online sources disagree with the IMDb on this birthdate but it's always fun to think about Caligari)

1927 Oscar winning cinematographer Pasqualino de Santis born in Italy. Classics include Romeo and Juliet, The Damned, Death in Venice, and L'Argent

1930 Richard Donner, superstar director/producer of the 1980s, behind films like The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, and the first two Supermans. Apparently retired after 16 Blocks (2006) with Bruce Willis

1931 The Public Enemy starring James Cagney and Jean Harlow was enjoying its opening weekend at movie theaters. It was a big hit, ending in the top ten of its year. Variety claimed it was "low brow material" attempting to be high brow by its craftsmanship. If only critics knew in the moment -- they almost never do even now -- that "low brow" genres regularly produce classics.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan242017

8 Big Takeaways from the Oscar Nominations

Each Oscar nomination morning brings waves of hot takes. Here are seven things that stood out to me on first pass. What stood out for you?

Barry Jenkins directing his young cast in MOONLIGHT which received 8 nominations

Oscars No Longer So White (For Now)
As far as we are aware this is only the second year (other than 2004) where all four acting categories feature at least one actor of color. There are seven actors of color nominated this year, or 35% of the nominees. While I personally felt the anger last year was both justified and misdirected (there simply weren't that many options to feasibly nominate - and the Oscar nominees have been more diverse than Hollywood itself in years past which is where the problem truly lies), it's a great relief to see so much diversity this year. Not  every year has so many acclaimed hits starring people of color like Hidden Figures, Fences, Moonlight, Loving and Lion so let's hope the Academy has plenty of options next year, too. It's a good development. We also have the first black female nominated in editing (Joi McMillion for Moonlight) and the second black man ever nominated in cinematography (Bradford Young for Arrival -- the first was British Remi Adefarasin for Elizabeth) and, most famously, Viola Davis becomes the most Oscar nominated black woman of all time with her third nomination

Releasing After Christmas Just Doesn't Work
A24 had been there before with A Most Violent Year but the magical miraculous 20th Century Women met nearly the same fate of a shut-out...

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Monday
Sep262016

Gangster Chic & Patriarchy Toppling? Tell Me About It, Stud.

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1877 Edmund Gwenn is born. Wins the Oscar seventy years or so later as Kris Kringle, helping adults to believe in Santa Claus again in Miracle on 34th Street (and yes, that's one of the all time best wins in Supporting Actor. Do you agree?)
1888 T.S. Eliot, one of the 20th century's great poets, is born. Though few movies are made from his work he did lead to Cats on Broadway. He was played by Willem Dafoe in the movie Tom & Viv (1994)
1898 A true musical genius George Gershwin is born in Brooklyn. Movies and TV shows still use his music today.

gangsters and musicals after the jump

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