Sopranos Star, James Gandolfini Reported Dead at 51

Los Angeles, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini, star of HBO’s “The Sopranos” and most recently the feature film, “Not Fade Away” has died of a possible heart attack in Rome.  He was 51.

Gandolfini was in ItalyJames Gandolfini. photo: Barry Wetcher to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily — and he was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

Gandolfini shot to fame playing a hitman in the 1993 hit “True Romance” … and quickly became a Hollywood legend when he was cast as Tony Soprano in 1999.  He won 3 Emmy awards for the role during the show’s 6 season run.

Hollywood Revealed: The Top Ten Movies of 2012

December 31, 2012

While it is hard to pick ten “best” films, here is a list of ten that we feel deserve to be commended–as well as five “honorable mentions.”  They are listed in alphabetical order.

ARGO

Ben Affleck’s third film as director, Argo is an entertaining, accessible thrill ride that balances classic tension and humor in equal doses resulting in a satisfying motion picture that has firmly establishing Mr. Affleck as a director with a strong future.  “Argo” moves like a bullet as it’s unfolds.  It well deserves the accolades it is currently receiving.

DJANGO UNCHAINED

A rowdy, bawdy, violent movie with a 1970s feel, “Django Unchained” is Quinten Tarantino at his best.  The film is filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and boasts great performances from Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz and Samuel Jackson.

FLIGHT

After opening with one of the most terrifying flying scenes in cinema, in which an airplane is saved by being flown upside-down, Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” segues into a brave and tortured performance by Denzel Washington as a pilot who has been hiding his drug and alcohol addiction for years.  The film is a well-rounded, compelling look at a tortured soul who refuses to face his demons.

LIFE OF PI

Ang Lee’s masterful “Life of Pi” is soulful, spiritual and entertaining.  It’s special effects and CGI is a breakthrough in that arena and the film’s life affirming message is something that may stay with you for a years to come.  See it in 3D.

NOT FADE AWAY

David Chase’s first effort as writer/director is a moving, insightful coming of-age film about dreams that may never be fulfilled and a young musician’s love affair that could potentially influence all his future relationships.  Set in the early 1960s, the film is well acted by it’s cast of young, mostly unknown actors.  John Magaro is particularly strong as the protagonist, holding his own against James Gandolfini who plays his stern, uptight father.  Well worth a look before it disappears from the big screen.

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

A brilliant detective story, this documentary about a real life musician who has no idea he is a gigantic star in South Africa fills you with emotion.  Directed by Malik Bandjellou the film is a feel-good documentary with a tremendous soundtrack.  It proves that real talent does not go unrewarded.  We can only hope the Academy takes notice.

THE IMPOSSIBLE

A film that packs an amazing emotional punch, “The Impossible,” starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts boasts sensational performances from three young child actors, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Prendergast.    Based on the true story of a Spanish family caught up in the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand, “The Impossible” it is a stunningly well made, life affirming film that leaves you fighting tears as you take the journey with these shattered souls.   Watts has never been better as the mother fighting for her life.

THIS IS 40

A raunchy but realistic look at a couple’s mid-life meltdown as they approach their 40th birthday is both funny and heartfelt.  While seeing an upwardly mobile couple’s angst may not be everyone’s cup of tea, director, Judd Apatow has created a film that is real slice of life.  Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are excellent as the couple with tasty appearances by John Lithgow, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd.

THE MASTER

Original, daring and captivating, from the glorious 65mm cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. to the disturbing soundtrack by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix give performances that are alive with subtext and detail.  Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” may leave you pondering it’s underlying meaning but it’s depth and attention to detail take you on a journey that is hard to forget.

ZERO DARK THIRTY

Katherine Bigelow reteams with writer Mark Boal to bring the capture of Osama Bin Laden to the big screen.  The film is a taunt, exciting thrill ride.  The reenactments of how it all went down feels real and credible.   Zero Dark Thirty might be the one to beat come Academy Award time.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Arbitrage: A tense thriller and a penetrating character study starring Richard Gere as a shifty hedge-fund manager who’s foxed his way to the top of New York’s moneyed classes.

Beast of the Southern Wild: A 6 year of girl living in a desolate, poverty stricken community struggles to survive.

The Imposter: The story of a 21 year old Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

The Sessions: A 38 year old man living in an iron lung sets out to lose his virginity.

21 Jump Street: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as two young cops turned undercover high school students in this hilarious big screen reboot of the old TV show.



 

‘Not Fade Away’ is Not to Be Missed

December 21, 2012

One of the best but unfortunately under-promoted films of 2012 is David Chase’s coming-of-age, 1960s music drama, “Not Fade Away.”  An honest, heart-felt look at a young man’s journey through those turbulent times, the film should be on many end of year short lists, but with a cast of mostly unknown actors, it seems that distributor, Paramount Pictures, has written off this little gem.

David Chase is best known as the creator of “The Sopranos” and he poured his heart into this partially autobiographical tale.   With a brilliant soundtrack by bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and a star turns by young actor, John Magaro as David Chase’s alter ego, “Not Fade Away” is a film not to be missed.

Read the glowing Los Angeles Times review HERE.

See the film at the Hollywood Arclight, Sunset and Vine.

HOLLYWOOD INSTITUTION COACH AND HORSES ON SUNSET BLVD. MAY BE CLOSING

After 74 years as a Hollywood nightlife institution, Ye Coach and Horses has lost its lease and is being evicted by Samuel French Bookstore who owns the property.

It is reported that img_0912the owner and management of the bar are locked in a legal fight with Samuel French over an eviction notice that was served on July 1st, 2010.

Many celebrities of film, television and music have called Ye Coach and Horses home over the past seven decades, among them Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Spacey, James Gandolfini, Quentin Tarantino, Drew Barrymore, Michael Keaton and Alicia Silverstone.

Supporters of the Coach alfredhitchcock19591and Horses say it would be a shame and a travesty to let this establishment slip away without a fight.

The bar has announced a “Support the Coach” party later in the month with details to be released shortly.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to write a letter of protest to Samuel French, can do so at:
http://www.samuelfrench.com/store/contact_us.php

Friends of Ye Coach and Horses have also established a Facebook page for future updates:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Los-Angeles-CA/Ye-Coach-and-Horses/201624215435

Tony Loves “Billy Elliot” “Rock of Ages” — and “Hair”

The Tony Nominations were announced today and the musical, “Billy Elliot” swept the musical nods, (15), and also tied the Tonys record, which was set by “The Producers” in 2001.

Other musicals getting Tony recognition hair70_71were “Next to Normal,” “Shrek” and “Rock of Ages”.

The rock musical, “Hair” was also recognized with a nod as “Best Revival.”

Missing from the lineup are “9 to 5,” which led with the most drama desk nominations (15), and [title of show], which was a huge critical hit when it transferred from off-Broadway to the Lyceum Theatre last July before closing in October. The inclusion of “Rock of Ages” was a big surprise to most Tonys pundits, who had predicted that either “9 to 5″ or “[title of show]” would take the fourth slot.

The bid for “Rock of Ages” is great news for the L.A. theater scene since the jukebox musical about 1980s rocks bands on the Sunset Street originated at the King King Club in Hollywood before moving to Broadway.

Also snubbed by the Tonys were Daniel Radcliffe for his nude turn in “Equus”, Kristin Scott Thomas (“The Seagull”) and “Waiting for Godot” stars Bill Irwin and Nathan Lane.

Here is a complete list of nominees:

BEST PLAY
“Dividing the Estate”
“God of Carnage”
“Reasons to Be Pretty”
“33 Variations”

BEST MUSICAL
“Billy Elliot, The Musical”
“Next to Normal”
“Rock of Ages”
“Shrek the Musical”

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
“Billy Elliot, the Musical,” Lee Hall
“Next to Normal,” Brian Yorkey
“Shrek the Musical,” David Lindsay-Abaire
“[title of show],” Hunter Bell

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS)
“Billy Elliot, the Musical” — music: Elton John, lyrics: Lee Hall
“Next to Normal” — music: Tom Kitt, lyrics: Brian Yorkey
“9 to 5: The Musical” — music & lyrics: Dolly Parton
“Shrek The Musical” — music: Jeanine Tesori, lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”
“Mary Stuart”
“The Norman Conquests”
“Waiting for Godot”

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
“Guys and Dolls”
“Hair”
“Pal Joey”
“West Side Story”

BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT
“Liza’s at the Palace”
“Slava’s Snowshow”
“Soul of Shaolin”
“You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Jeff Daniels, “God of Carnage”
Raúl Esparza, “Speed-the-Plow”
James Gandolfini, “God of Carnage”
Geoffrey Rush, “Exit the King”
Thomas Sadoski, “Reasons to Be Pretty”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Hope Davis, “God of Carnage”
Jane Fonda, “33 Variations”
Marcia Gay Harden, “God of Carnage”
Janet McTeer, “Mary Stuart”
Harriet Walter, “Mary Stuart”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish‚ “Billy Elliot”
Gavin Creel, “Hair”
Brian d’Arcy James, “Shrek”
Constantine Maroulis, “Rock of Ages”
J. Robert Spencer, “Next to Normal”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Stockard Channing, “Pal Joey”
Sutton Foster, “Shrek”
Allison Janney, “9 to 5: The Musical”
Alice Ripley, “Next to Normal”
Josefina Scaglione, “West Side Story”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
John Glover, “Waiting for Godot”
Zach Grenier, “33 Variations”
Stephen Mangan, “The Norman Conquests”
Paul Ritter, “The Norman Conquests”
Roger Robinson, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Hallie Foote, “Dividing the Estate”
Jessica Hynes, “The Norman Conquests”
Marin Ireland, “Reasons to Be Pretty”
Angela Lansbury, “Blithe Spirit”
Amanda Root, “The Norman Conquests”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
David Bologna, “Billy Elliot”
Gregory Jbara, “Billy Elliot”
Marc Kudisch, “9 to 5″
Christopher Sieber, “Shrek”
Will Swenson, “Hair”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Jennifer Damiano, “Next to Normal”
Haydn Gwynne, “Billy Elliot”
Karen Olivo, “West Side Story”
Martha Plimpton, “Pal Joey”
Carole Shelley, “Billy Elliot”

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
Dale Ferguson, “Exit the King”
Rob Howell, “The Norman Conquests”
Derek McLane, “33 Variations”
Michael Yeargan, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Robert Brill, “Guys and Dolls”
Ian MacNeil, “Billy Elliot”
Scott Pask, “Pal Joey”
Mark Wendland, “Next to Normal”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Dale Ferguson, “Exit the King”
Jane Greenwood, “Waiting for Godot”
Martin Pakledinaz, “Blithe Spirit”
Anthony Ward, “Mary Stuart”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Gregory Gale, “Rock of Ages”
Nicky Gillibrand, “Billy Elliot”
Tim Hatley, “Shrek”
Michael McDonald, “Hair”

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
David Hersey, “Equus”
David Lander, “33 Variations”
Brian MacDevitt, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”
Hugh Vanstone, “Mary Stuart”

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Kevin Adams, “Hair”
Kevin Adams, “Next to Normal”
Howell Binkley, “West Side Story”
Rick Fisher, “Billy Elliot”

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY
Paul Arditti, “Mary Stuart”
Gregory Clarke, “Equus”
Russell Goldsmith, “Exit the King”
Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Acme Sound Partners, “Hair”
Paul Arditti, “Billy Elliot”
Peter Hylenski, “Rock of Ages”
Brian Ronan, “Next to Normal”

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Phyllida Lloyd, “Mary Stuart”
Bartlett Sher, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”
Matthew Warchus, “God of Carnage”
Matthew Warchus, “The Norman Conquests”

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Stephen Daldry, “Billy Elliot”
Michael Greif, “Next to Normal”
Kristin Hanggi, “Rock of Ages”
Diane Paulus, “Hair”

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Karole Armitage, “Hair”
Andy Blankenbuehler, “9 to 5: The Musical”
Peter Darling, “Billy Elliot”
Randy Skinner, “White Christmas”

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS
Larry Blank, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
Martin Koch, “Billy Elliot”
Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, “Next to Normal”
Danny Troob and John Clancy, “Shrek”

* * *

Special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in the theater
Jerry Herman

Regional Theater Tony Award
Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va.

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Phyllis Newman

Tony honor for excellence in the theater
Shirley Herz