Friday, August 31, 2007

Goonies 'R' Good Enough

I guess I was too old when I first saw The Goonies to get wrapped up in its fledgling cult status. However, I appear to be in the minority when it comes to this movie, which, even twenty years later, continues to fascinate its fans.

In addition to the ever-present rumors of a sequel, the kiddie adventure has inspired its own line of action figures. The first series includes the four main "Goonies", plus the Quasimodo-ish Sloth.

Each of the figures is modeled after the movie characters, and they did get the "Chunk" squat down, but "Mouth" doesn't look much like Corey Feldman (which may be a good thing). Accessories include an inhaler for Sean Astin's "Mikey", a "sticky dart" (?) for "Data" and not only a milkshake and a piece of pizza for "Chunk", but also ... a "statue of David"???

No word on a second batch of figures, but I would love a little Martha Plimpton doll, especially if it is a talking one that says her immortal Mosquito Coast line, "I think about you when I go to the bathroom."

Click here to purchase from Entertainment Earth: Goonies Action Figures Wave 1
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Out in Film: Anthony Rapp

He is best known for his stage and screen performances as the passionate and loyal film director Mark Cohen in Jonathan Larson's seminal rock musical Rent, so it is no surprise that Anthony Rapp has found success in all three of his passions: theater, movies and music.

Rapp found his love of musicals at an early age, appearing in touring productions of Evita and The King and I. As a teenager, he made his film debut in Adventures in Babysitting, followed by supporting roles in School Ties, Dazed and Confused, Twister and (recreating his Broadway role) Six Degrees of Separation.

In 1994, Rapp began his involvement with the project that would change his life: Rent. Following its acclaimed Off-Broadway debut, the show took Broadway by storm, winning every award in sight and catapulting its cast to stardom. In addition to the 2005 movie version, Rapp also played Mark in the London production and recently returned to the Great White Way for a sold-out run.

Rapp starred as the title character in David Searching, a gay coming of age drama, and also co-starred in the films Road Trip and A Beautiful Mind. In addition to his acting, Rapp wrote a bestselling book entitled Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent, and recorded his own solo CD, Look Around.

For a recent interview with Rapp, visit

Click here to purchase Rapp's book, Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rentfrom
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Latest in Theaters: Ryan x 3

This week's new releases run the gamut from the metaphysical to the moronic to Michael Myers.

- The abtastic Ryan Reynolds plays three different characters whose lives are inexplicably intertwined in The Nines. One of the trio of roles Reynolds plays is gay, reportedly based on the film's director John August. Hope Davis and little Elle Fanning co-star.
- For what it's worth, Balls of Fury has already been dubbed "not quite the best Will Ferrell movie he never made" by one critic. Tony Award-winning Spelling Bee-er Dan Fogler makes the jump to the big leagues with this comedic attempt to mix ping-pong and kung fu. And what the hell is Christopher Walken (as an Asian mystic, no less) doing here?
- If you are unsure whether of not you want to see Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, the San Francisco Bay Guardian gives you several reasons why you should go for the gore. Or, if your tastes hew toward old school scares, Moviefone takes a look back at the original cast and asks, "where are they now?"
- Itching for a Death Wish-style vigilante flick but can't wait for Jodie Foster's The Brave One? Then Death Sentence is the one for you (or maybe not). Kevin Bacon is a dad who seeks revenge on the thugs who have murdered his son. John Goodman and Kelly Preston also star.

Visit Fandango - Search movie showtimes and buy tickets!
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Off the Shelf: Leonard Maltin

The first "name" movie critic that I became aware of was Leonard Maltin. His book, The Disney Films, was my bible in my Walt-obsessed youth; in fact, I still have that dog-eared copy after all these years.

His appearances on Entertainment Tonight in its early (not-so tabloid-y) years provided a face for the words, and my respect for him as both a contemporary critical voice and a champion of classic films has never wavered.

Every year, Maltin publishes the latest edition of his indispensable Movie Guide, filled with reviews on every major release from the silent era to today. In 2005, Maltin also released his first Classic Movie Guide to provide a separate volume for films released prior to 1960.

With a style thankfully devoid of the condescension apparent in most authors of film, Maltin's books are welcome additions to any movie lover's personal library.

Click here to purchase any of Leonard Maltin's booksfrom
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The Real "Soldier's Girl"

Those who have seen the award-winning TV movie Soldier's Girl know that it is a harrowing depiction of homophobia in the military. But it is also a rarity among transgender-themed films in that it shows a fully formed, realistic romance between a man and a transgender woman.

Based on the true story of Army Private Barry Winchell (Troy Garity) and Nashville entertainer Calpernia Addams (Lee Pace), the film dramatizes the events that led up to Winchell's brutal murder at the hands of a fellow soldier. The reason for this senseless act was simply because he was dating Addams, a male-to-female transgender. It is a powerful, gut-wrenching film, yet the earlier scenes where the couple tentatively approach their romance are both tender and true.

Orange County & Long Beach Blade contributor Chris Carpenter recently had the opportunity to interview the "real" Soldier's Girl, Calpernia Addams. Addams currently lives in Hollywood; her latest projects include the short film Casting Pearls (which screened at this year's OutFest) and a TV pilot.

Click here to purchase Soldier's Girlon DVD from

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Extra! Extra! Movie Dearest in the Headlines!

Movie Dearest has received a nice write-up from my pal and fellow film critic Neil Cohen over at Echo Magazine (Phoenix's main source for gay news and reviews). Here is a snippet:

"Do you ever beat yourself up for not knowing every single thing about the movies? Well, never fear, Movie Dearest is here. ... If you're in danger of losing your gay card for not knowing the difference between Joan Crawford and Joan Blondell, or if you just want to see hot pictures of Zac Efron and Channing Tatum, Movie Dearest is for you."

Thanks for the kind words, Neil!

And for the record, Crawford is on the left, Blondell on the right (above). And yes, there will be a test later ...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just Like Jesse James

After nearly a year delay, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford will finally hit theaters next month. Starring Brad Pitt (pictured) and Casey Affleck, respectively, as the title characters, the western drama appears to be taking a similar path as another film on the subject, Samuel Fuller's 1949 I Shot Jesse James.

While watching the trailer for the new film, notice Affleck's Ford displays a disturbing fascination with the notorious outlaw. Pitt's James even asks Ford if he wants to "be like me, or you wanna be me?", which gets further homoerotically charged by the fact that he is sitting in a bathtub when he says it (shades of The Talented Mr. Ripley).

In Fuller's film, the director hints that Ford's eventual murder of James stemmed from the "twisted love/hate relationship" between the two. I Shot Jesse James also includes a scene with James (Reed Hadley) in a bathtub with Ford (John Ireland) looking on.

We will just have to wait and see how blatant this gay subtext will be in the latest retelling of the legend of Jesse James, which will hit theaters September 21.

Click here to purchase I Shot Jesse Jameson DVD from
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Women We Love: Angela Bassett

Although she made notable appearances in such films as Boyz N the Hood, City of Hope and Passion Fish, it was when she started portraying real life figures that we really started to notice Angela Bassett.

In 1992, she played both the mother of Michael Jackson (in the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Dream) and the wife of Malcolm X. The following year she strutted her stuff (in every sense of that phrase) as the ultimate rock survivor, Tina Turner (another Woman We Love) in the musical biopic What's Love Got To Do With It. As Turner, Bassett ran the gamut of emotions from naive country girl to humiliated victim to triumphant diva, and we were with her every high-heeled step of the way.

She followed up that Oscar nominated, Golden Globe winning role with her fierce performance as the ultimate woman scorned in Waiting to Exhale and then showed us all How Stella Got Her Groove Back (opposite the delectable Taye Diggs). A string of strong supporting turns was next (Music of the Heart, The Score, Sunshine State), and she played another historical icon in the award-winning TV movie, The Rosa Parks Story.

Roles for so-called "mature" actresses are rare in Hollywood (at least in the movies), and those for women of color even more so, but Bassett consistently delivers in whatever part she plays, no matter the size.

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Woody is the New Gay American Gigolo

If the Academy Awards are the Super Bowl, then the Toronto International Film Festival is the first game of the season, kicking of the awards race for the year with a host of Oscar-bating movies eager for that much desired "early buzz".

TIFF recently announced this year's line-up, filled with world premieres from the top directors of today and starring, well, a galaxy of stars. Here is a preliminary look at some notable entrants.

- Paul Schrader, writer/director of American Gigolo, returns to the subject matter with The Walker, starring Woody Harrelson as a high society escort who, like Richard Gere before him, gets mixed up in a murder. What may set this apart from the first film is the fact that Woody's character is gay. Also stars Lauren Bacall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily Tomlin.
- Sidney Lumet brings together an impressive cast (Philip Seymor Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei) in the shocking drama, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
- In Neil Jordan's The Brave One, Jodie Foster is in peril ... again!
- In Captain Mike Across America, Michael Moore aims his camera at himself ... again!
- Guy Pearce is Harry Houdini and Catherine Zeta-Jones is the psychic he falls for (in more ways then one) in Gillian Armstrong's Death Defying Acts.
- Viggo Mortensen re-teams with his A History of Violence director David Cronenberg for the gritty crime drama Eastern Promises, co-starring Naomi Watts.
- Paul Haggis can boast three Oscar-winners in the cast of his home front-themed drama In the Valley of Elah: Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron.
- Rendition has three more Academy vets with Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Alan Arkin, plus nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, all wrapped-up in a terrorism scandal.
- Maria Bello, Hugh Dancy, Marc Blucas, Emily Blunt and Kathy Baker are among the members of The Jane Austen Book Club.
- Juno is a sassy pregnant teenager who comes up with a unique solution to her situation in Jason Reitman's latest comedy.
- George Clooney is Michael Clayton, a high-priced lawyer in the case of his career. Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton co-star.
- And finally: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is described as an "erotic espionage thriller", which may explain why it has been tagged with a NC-17 rating.

TIFF opens September 6 and runs through September 15.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poster Post: "Three More Days 'Til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween"

OK, it's more like two months, but like Christmas, All Hallow's Eve seems to come earlier and earlier each year.

This year, trick or treat season starts this Friday with the release of Rob Zombie's reboot of Halloween. Based on John Carpenter's classic slasher film (the one that started it all thirty years ago), the new film delves deeper into the origins of Michael Myers, played as an adult by X-Men's Tyler Mane. Malcolm McDowell co-stars as Dr. Loomis, the role created by Donald Pleasence in the original.

For more on the new fright flick, visit Cinematical for their slightly spoilerish interview with Zombie himself.

Click here to buy Halloweenposters from
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The Latest on DVD: Super 'Heroes' & Not So Gay 'Blades'

What's new on DVD for the week:

Featured Titles:
  • Heroes - Season One- Chuck-full of all the extra goodies fans crave, including an actual lock of Milo Ventimiglia's hair (no, not really).
  • Blades of Glory- A fantasy about two heterosexual figure skaters (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder) who don't fall in love (in other words, not "our version" of The Cutting Edge).
  • The Masseur- Described as an "erotic minimalist drama" about the "introspective odyssey" of the gay title character. In other words: art house soft-core.
  • 3:10 to Yuma: Special Edition- Just in time for the remake, a gussied-up version of the classic oater starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin.

More of Gay Interest:

TV Time:

New on Blu-ray and HD-DVD:

Click on the individual links to purchase the DVDs at

Monday, August 27, 2007

AFI's 100 Movies: Facts & Figures

The AFI Top 10, circa 1998

"Can we ever get enough lists? Lists are the mix tapes of film buffs. Compilations of our favorites, presented to others in the hopes they'll love the selections as much as we do. Building a bond by finding mutual favorites. Showing what we love, and sharing it."

I love that quote (from "Rollerboy" over at It is such a fitting analogy for why movie lovers make so many lists of the best, worst, most, et cetera. It is also a great way to introduce this, the first of my "Facts & Figures" look at the best of the list makers, the American Film Institute.

The AFI began their annual countdown back in 1998 with this one, the ultimate "best of": AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies. It proved controversial then and, when they redid the poll earlier this year, it was controversial again.

However, whatever the critical pundits said pales in comparison to the exposure this list, and all the AFI lists for that matter, have given to classic films. In my opinion, there is no better starting point for someone interested in American film to use as a reference tool.

Sure, there are many great movies not included (not to mention foreign films and documentaries), but surely this is not the be-all/end-all of anyone's movie watching, nor was it ever intended to be; for example, if someone watches Gone With the Wind, and then moves on to other Clark Gable movies or other historical epics or other romantic dramas and so on, then the AFI -- and these lists -- did the job right.

Facts & Figures:
AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies was presented in 1998. 100 films were selected from a nomination list of 400, and films released in 1996 and prior were eligible.

By the Year:
  • The oldest movie on the list: The Birth of a Nation (1915).
  • The newest movie on the list: Fargo (1996).
  • Most represented decade: The 1950's, with 20 movies total.
  • Most represented year: 1939, with 5 movies total.

Sight & Sound:

  • Total number of color films: 59 (including The Wizard of Oz, which has some black and white sequences).
  • Total number of black and white films: 41 (including The Birth of a Nation, which has some color-tinted sequences).
  • Total number of silent films: 5 (including The Jazz Singer, which has some sound sequences, and City Lights and Modern Times, which had soundtracks but no dialogue).

By Genre:

  • Most represented genre is drama, with 46 films.
  • Comedies come in next with 20 films.

And the Winner Is:

  • 98 films on the list were eligible for the Academy Awards (The Birth of a Nation and The Gold Rush were released prior to the Oscars' first year, 1927).
  • Total number of Best Picture winners: 33.
  • Total number of Best Picture nominees: 41.

The Stars:

  • Robert Duvall appears in the most movies, 6.
  • James Stewart is the star of the most movies, with 5.
  • Other actors who appear in 5 movies are Ward Bond, Robert De Niro and Thomas Mitchell.
  • Katharine Hepburn is the most represented actress, with 4 movies.
  • Actors who appear in 4 movies include Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, William Holden and Dennis Hopper.
  • Note: these totals do not include uncredited bit roles.

The Directors:

  • The most represented director is Steven Spielberg, with 5 movies.
  • Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder come in second with 4 movies each.

Studio Call:

  • United Artist has the most films on the list, with a total of 17.
  • Warner Brothers follows with 15.


  • There are 2 animated films on the list (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Fantasia).
  • Only 1 sequel made the cut: The Godfather Part II.
  • The longest title, with 68 letters, symbols and spaces, is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
  • Shortest title: Jaws.

For the full list of 100 movies, see the comments section below (and for the record, I've seen them all!).

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Great Performances: Tuc Watkins as Sterling Scott

I recently watched the 1997 gay romantic comedy I Think I Do because of Tuc Watkins. He was recently cast on one of "my shows", Desperate Housewives, as one half of the gay couple who moves onto Wisteria Lane this season.

I have seen Watkins many times on one of Big Edie's "shows", One Life to Live, where he plays the lovable cad David Vickers. He is unique among soap actors in that he not only doesn't mind being silly, he appears to relish it, a fact that makes him immensely watchable. That, and he is a total hunk (don't you just love it when they can actually act too?).

Anyway, my previous exposure to him on the daytime sudser added to my appreciation of him in I Think I Do because he plays a soap opera actor in it. And a gloriously vain and self-involved (yet still likeable) one at that. His comedic performance as Sterling Scott (love the name), Alexis Arquette's studly boyfriend, is the highlight of this otherwise well intentioned but typical gay rom com (it is the type of indie where you just know the actors are wearing their own clothes -- not that there's anything wrong with that). Watkins really is a hoot in it, such as when he calls Arquette his "potato bug" or recalls how he wooed him by giving him his headshot.

If you're a fan of Watkins too and want to see him "play gay" before his "househusband" stint this fall, then this movie is worth a look.

Click here to buy I Think I Doon DVD from
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Cinematic Crush: James Dean

What is it about James Dean that makes his mystique, his allure, live on so many years after his brief but brilliant career?

Perhaps it is that he did die so young, forever sealing his youthful, angst-ridden image on celluloid. He never had to endure growing old in the public eye like his contemporaries Brando and Clift. His is the image of the eternal teenager, preserved for each new generation to discover and idolize.

Yet it is much more then that; plenty of Hollywood stars and starlets have gone before their time, but you don't see their faces emblazoned on t-shirts and posters aimed at the buyers of today (Monroe notwithstanding). It was that raw, yearning talent, captured on film, that made him the legend he is, the legend of James Dean.

Dean's portrayals of Cal Trask (East of Eden), Jett Rink (Giant) and, especially, Jim Stark (Rebel Without a Cause) may all be facets of the same personality that may or may not be the real James Dean. His was the talent that took bits and pieces of himself, twisted them into a character, and presented it to you, like a puzzle to untangle. His screen presence is the enigma forever aching to be solved. That is why the myth lives on, even if the man himself did not.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Latest on TV: Watch It, Buster!

Notable movies and other programs on TV for Monday August 27 to Sunday September 2:

Turner Classic Movies brings this year's "Summer Under the Stars" to a close this week, highlighted by the films of the incomparable Buster Keaton on Thursday. The day's classics include The Cameraman, The General and (my personal favorite, one of the funniest movies ever made) Sherlock Jr. (pictured).

Closing out the month long film festival, here are my picks for each day:

  • Monday - Loretta Young: She won the Oscar for 1947's The Farmer's Daughter (not yet on DVD), but The Bishop's Wife from the same year holds up better.
  • Tuesday - Roy Rogers: The Cowboy and the Senorita was Rogers' first film with long-time leading lady and, later, wife Dale Evans. Also showing: The all-star Hollywood Canteen, wherein he crooned his other signature song, "Don't Fence Me In".
  • Wednesday - Mary Astor: The Maltese Falcon. Also showing: The early Oscar-winner, Two Arabian Nights, plus Astor's own Oscar-winning performance in The Great Lie.
  • Thursday - In addition to the films listed above, the documentary Buster Keaton: So Funny It Hurt! will air.
  • Friday - Sean Connery: No Bond or The Man Who Would Be King leaves us with the underappreciated The Hill.

Tuesday brings AMC's Backstory on The Boston Strangler, followed by the movie itself, while Movies That Shook the World takes a look at The China Syndrome on Friday.

Also on Friday, Bravo takes a peek at the Sexiest Moments on Film (narrated by Kathleen Turner), followed by a four-hour look at the 100 Funniest Movies.

And finally: LOGO celebrates with Out Magazine their Out 100, honoring the top 100 gay and lesbian success stories of 2006, this Wednesday.

Click on the network links to find the show times in your area. All programming is subject to change.

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Monthly Wallpaper - September 2007: Great Movie Musicals

This month's movie collage/calendar wallpaper is devoted to the "Great Movie Musicals". All the biggies are here, from Singin' in the Rain to West Side Story to The Wizard of Oz to Grease to Beauty and the Beast. Personal favorites include Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, Barbra Streisand as Hello, Dolly! and Madonna as Evita. Recent hits like Chicago, Moulin Rouge! and Hairspray are there, along with greats of yesterday like The Band Wagon, Cabaret and The King and I.

Just click on the picture above to enlarge it to its 1024 x 768 size, then right click your mouse and select "Set as Background", and you're done! If you want, you can also save it to your computer and set it up from there, or modify the size in your own photo-editing program if needed.


To Remake or Not to Remake

Would you remake these movies?

I am often befuddled by the knee-jerk reactions of most people when they hear about a movie being remade (or given a sequel, or turned into a stage play or TV show). They are often up in arms about the mere thought of such "blasphemy" ("I can't believe they are remaking such-and such!"), as if they themselves have a stake in the property. Granted, they have an emotional interest in the original movie, but another version of it is not (or, at least, should not) "ruin" the first film. It will still exist no matter how the remake (or sequel or stage play or TV show) turns out.

Nevertheless, some recent announcements have cinephiles scratching their heads (if not forcibly tearing their hair from them). Take the news that India is remaking Casablanca. Sounds a bit odd, sure, but what was left unsaid from all the headlines was how often this actually happens, as this list attests (yes, there were Indian remakes of such movies as Kramer vs. Kramer and The Silence of the Lambs). And that's not even mentioning the most (in)famous example, the so-called Turkish Star Wars. And why should we be surprised? American studios do it all the time.

The Wizard of Oz is another all-time classic that will soon be remade -- or should I say, re-imagined -- as both a feature film and a TV mini-series. Again, nothing new here: from The Wiz to Wicked to the Muppets, filmmakers can't stay away from that yellow-brick road. And yet, none have (or will) tarnish the original (itself technically a remake as well).

Then there is the curious case of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Like Dorothy and friends, Snow and company have had their tale told and retold several times, yet two future films are taking a crack at it again. Disney itself is retooling its own classic as a martial arts epic, titled Snow and the Seven. Meanwhile, teen queen Amanda Bynes has seven nerds instead of dwarfs in Sydney White, which seems to owe as much to Ball of Fire (itself a "reimagining" of the fairy tale) as the original story.

Oz and Snow White aren't the only oft-told tales having another go. In addition to Robert Zemeckis' animated version, Dickens' A Christmas Carol will get a romantic comedy twist with Matthew McConaughey of all people. And Kipling's The Jungle Book will get another live action attempt.

Science fiction and horror movies are particularly ripe pickings for remakers of late, especially those from the 70's and 80's. This is likely due to two reasons: the advancements of special effects technologies, and most of today's younger directors were weaned on such films (suckled at the teat of Spielberg and Lucas, as it were).

In addition to Rob Zombie's Halloween redux (opening this Friday), such other haunts from the past that will be revisited in the future include Friday the 13th, The Changeling and even another Wicker Man (lord help us all). Reaching even further back into the vaults, RKO will update its own Isle of the Dead, and there will even be a modern take on The Tingler (really, who could do it better then William Castle?).

As for sci fi, the remakes in the works range from such certified classics as Fantastic Voyage and Logan's Run to cult favorites like Death Race 2000, Escape from New York and even Barbarella. And that's not even mentioning the sword and sorcery fantasies Clash of the Titans and Conan the Barbarian.

Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see who they get for Conan; whoever is cast will have big ... furry briefs? ... to fill. Which brings up another challenge remakers have: finding actors talented enough and willing enough to take on iconic screen characters. For example, who could make us forget Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon?

On the other hand, some films have subject matter that provide compelling avenues for a remake regardless of the film's original star power. For example, Sean Connery and Dustin Hoffman starred in, respectively, The Anderson Tapes and Straw Dogs, both in the process of being remade. The former had technological aspects while the latter deals with themes of societal brutality that not only still resonate in today's world, but are probably even more prevalent.

Of course, there are also remakes that are merely being made to cash-in on a current trend (Howard Stern, who wants to remake Porky's of all things, must be really happy with the box office of Superbad).

Then there are the special cases. Footloose, like this summer's Hairspray, is being remade via the Broadway stage. Documentaries are another option, such as the recently announced fictionalized remake of Murderball. Then there is the always fertile ground of television, with Dallas being a current example.

And finally, there are the "remakes that aren't really remakes" like Seventeen, a remake by any other name of Big, only in reverse.

Naturally, there is no way one can foresee how well any of these remakes will turn out. They could be good, or they could join the ranks of the worst of all-time. However, fear not, for it looks like at least one studio is taking steps to prove wrong the old adage that there is "no original ideas in Hollywood". So there is some hope for the future. Oh, and one more thing ...

I can't believe they are remaking Valley of the Dolls!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dirty Duds

First of all, who knew there was so much Dirty Dancing merchandise?

So much in fact, that Lionsgate is currently suing several companies for trademark infringement. The reason? Mass production of apparel, mostly infant wear, that have the movie's signature phrase "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" (#98 on AFI's top 100 list of best movie quotes of all-time) printed on them.

Now, what kind of parent would dress their poor, helpless infant in such an outfit (pictured)? I'll tell you: the kind that needs to have directions printed directly on the baby. What's next? "This end up"?

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From Under the Sea

Three major openings this week - but only one on the Great White Way:

- Disney's The Little Mermaid and Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein officially opened on the same day in different cities (Denver and Seattle). The local critics have spoken, all citing that both shows need work before they reach Broadway. Uh, isn't that what they're there for?

- After televised auditions, a rehearsal period and previews, the much-publicized revival of Grease has finally opened on Broadway ... and the reviews were pretty much what we expected. However, considering the advance sales due to the TV show, the producers should be crying all the way to the bank. has opening night photos and video, while Broadway World introduces you to the Thunderbirds.

- Good news for Billy Elliot fans (the movie is one of my all-time favorites): signs (literally) are pointing to a Broadway bow next year.

- Could Hairspray movie star Nikki Blonsky be eyeing the Broadway version for her next Tracy Turnblad tour de force? Meanwhile, Lance Bass is Corny -- Collins, that is; and meet the latest Edna, MADtv's Paul Vogt, who dishes on the real reason why the Las Vegas production of Hairspray closed.

- More casting buzz for Rob Marshall's Nine movie, including Oscar winners Sophia Loren and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oscar nominees Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz and future Oscar nominee Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose).

- As Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner and Daniel Sunjata prepare for a Cyrano de Bergerac revival, George Hamilton returns to Chicago. And could Patrick Wilson, Anne Hathaway, John C. Reilly and Debra Messing be the latest Guys and Dolls?

- See who will take on the iconic movie roles played by Madonna and Hayley Mills in the West End Desperately Seeking Susan and the US tour Whistle Down the Wind.

- Feel the rhythm of South Africa with Disney's The Lion King.

- Enter the Broadway World time machine for a look back at the Xanadu movie. Elsewhere, has a lively chat with that scene-stealing evil muse, Jackie Hoffman.

- Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Jane Austen's Emma hit regional stages.

- Frost/Nixon closes on Broadway. What's next for Tony winner Frank Langella and Tony nominee Michael Sheen? Filming the movie version with director Ron Howard.

- The West End musical epic stage version of The Lord of the Rings extends through the end of September.

- The Ritz star Seth Rudetsky discusses briefs, towels and robes.

- Holy stage faves, Batman! Take a look at the Batman musical that never was.

- And finally: Avenue Q star Rod (just Rod, like Cher) sits down for a "Cue & A" with

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Out in Film: John Barrowman

A huge star in the United Kingdom, John Barrowman is fast becoming one to watch on this side of the pond as well.

A consummate triple threat, Barrowman began his stage career opposite none other then Elaine Paige in Cole Porter's Anything Goes. Leading roles followed in such West End hits as Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard (with Betty Buckley and, later, Paige again). He would later reprise his Joe Gillis on Broadway, where he also starred in the Stephen Sondheim review Putting It Together with Carol Burnett.

A fixture on the "telly" in Britain, Barrowman appeared on American screens in the short-lived prime time soaps Central Park West and Titans. On film, he has had memorable musical roles in De-Lovely and The Producers.

But it is his role as the sexy, outspoken Captain Jack Harkness on the BBC's Doctor Who reboot that has truly made him a star. The bisexual space adventurer proved so popular that a successful spin-off series, Torchwood, was soon launched (don't worry; the series will make its way to US DVD early next year).

Considering all the movie musicals in the works of late, somebody needs to snatch up Barrowman for a major role to show America what England has known all along: this guy has got it.

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Queer as Classic

In my web wanderings, I recently discovered these parody videos that aired on TV Land a few years back. Three gay faves (Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Sex and the City) are hilariously sent up by recasting them with such classic TV stars as Beatrice Arthur, Joyce DeWitt and Loretta Swit.

Of course, my twisted, pop culture-addled mind started cooking up fantasy spoofs of recent gay shows, replacing the gay characters of today with the gay characters of yesterday. OK, mostly gay-seeming characters of yesterday.

On Will and Grace, straight-laced Will Truman would now be played by Jack Coleman, a.k.a. straight-laced Steven Carrington of Dynasty, while the flamboyant Jack McFarland would by portrayed by the even more flamboyant Wayland Flowers, sans Madame. OK, Madame can be Karen.

Nancy McKeon's Jo Polniaczek of The Facts of Life would feel right at home on The L Word, as would the entire cast of Xena: Warrior Princess and the lesbian witches from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. OK, and Alice from The Brady Bunch too.

And let us not forget Queer as Folk. The dynamic duo of Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor would be the actual dynamic duo, Adam "Batman" West and Burt "Boy Wonder" Ward. Wimpy Michael Novotny would now be wimpy Jodie Dallas from Soap (Billy Crystal), while his Uncle Vic would be none other then Uncle Arthur from Bewitched (Paul Lynde). His hunky boyfriend Ben Bruckner would be embodied by Patrick Duffy of Dallas. OK, I know, Bobby Ewing wasn't gay, but he looked good without a shirt, so ...

Forever lovelorn Ted Schmidt would be played by the forever lovelorn Waylon Smithers of The Simpsons, with Lost in Space's Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) as unlucky in love Emmett Honeycutt. Lindsay and Melanie? Kate and Allie, naturally.

Some could say that proud mama Debbie Novotny was already played by a gay character (Sharon "Chris Cagney" Gless), but let's change it up with ... Jamie "Corporal Klinger" Farr.

OK, maybe I went too (wait for it) Farr with that one ...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

There's No Business Like Show Business

Rounding up the latest scoop on exciting DVDs coming your way soon:

Show Business: The Road to Broadway- This documentary takes a rare look at the creation of a Broadway show. Focusing on the 2003-2004 season, the film covers such gay-friendly shows as Avenue Q, Taboo and Wicked. Available October 16.

Warner Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick- What Kubrick fans have been waiting for: two-disc special editions of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut and Full Metal Jacket. No official word though if never-before-seen deleted scenes will be included. Available October 23.

Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Five- Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the whole Warner Brothers gang are back with even more classic cartoons. Visit TV Shows on DVD for a full contents list. Available October 30.

John Waters: This Filthy World- A candid look at the sultan of trash cinema, John Waters. Includes dishy bits on Kathleen Turner, Tab Hunter and Divine. Available October 30.

Cruising- This controversial film's long-delayed DVD release will be preceded by a special screening at the Castro Theatre this Friday. Meanwhile, fans of the movie can find a like-minded soul over at Film4, or you can head over to Slate to find out how Cruising star Al Pacino got typecast as ... Al Pacino. Available September 18.

All the DVDs covered here are currently available for pre-order on Click on the individual titles to purchase them now.

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