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Debbie Reynolds Dies One Day After Carrie Fisher “Brights Lights” both

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Hollywood’s heart is surely broken forever with the devastating news of Legend Debbie Reynolds death the day after her beloved daughter Carrie Fisher’s death. I’m sad. I’m reeling. I just saw them featured quite marvelously in “Bright Lights” a doc on their tangled lives at the NYFF. And the thing that struck me so much about “Bright Lights” by Fisher Stevens, was how much they loved each other. How much fun they had and what a joy and a treat this documentary was.

It’s supposed to air on HBO, now probably sooner rather than later, but don’t miss it. It now has an air of tragedy hanging about it, that both Fisher and Reynolds dispel completely by their constantly being “On.” And entertaining us mightily and forever. It’s a fitting tribute to them, as they always say.

And they don’t hold back. It’s like they just couldn’t. But they loved each other and clearly couldn’t live without each other as events have sadly born out.

When I heard Carrie had died, I just KNEW in my heart that her death would kill Debbie, too, and it did. Their houses adjoined each other more or less “up a steep hill” as Carrie put it in Hollywood. They collected endless memorabilia from the Golden Days, and now Debbie herself, one of the biggest symbols of Hollywood’s hey day that there ever was is gone.

I can scarcely stand it. Debbie Reynolds played such a large role in my life, always the smiling, dancing teenager from “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Tammy” that song that never leaves your mind. And she was even nominated for an Oscar once for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

Carrie had “Star Wars” a bigger hit financially than any of her mother’s films ever were. And her now iconic Princess Leia never really bowled me over. But her millions of fans disagree.

I loved her acerbic wit, which the film “Bright Lights” capitalizes on by starting with Carrie calling Debbie “tsu-Mommy,” but not to her face. When she enters the room with Debbie in it, it’s always “Mommy.” And the sweetness is not faked for the cameras.

With all her addictions and bipolar disorders, I always thought of Carrie as crashingly normal despite her upbringing and her surroundings. And so did she.

Debbie once said of Carrie “She’s genuine.” And she was. They both were.

We, the fans, are with them forever and are happy that they are together again in Hollywood Heaven. And we do have this great upcoming doc “Bright Lights” to watch over and over again as soon as it starts airing.

No Mommie Dearest relationship here. They truly loved each other. Don’t miss “Bright Lights.” Their bright lights will never go out.

#Debbie Reynolds Death

# Bright Lights doc

# Carrie Fisher Death

“Hell or High Water” One of the Most Unlikely Best Films of the Year! Ben Foster Galvanizes as the Villain You Root For!

hell-or-high-water-1I have to admit to resisting “Hell or High Water” since it’s arrival this summer.  This surprisingly  much praised Indie hit has gone on to make over $30 million and now it’s being talked of all the time as an Oscar contender and all of that is true. Now that I’ve figured out how to use the VOD function on my cable TV, there is no excuse. And now I have to bow down and start raving like the fan it made me. It IS one of the Best Films of the Year and will definitely be on my Top Ten list.

hell-or-high-water-3hell-or-high-water-2And the Oscar talk is totally justified! Ben Foster whose star is rising and rising here comes into his own as the bad boy brother, Tanner, of the two Texas brothers that this film is about. He just got a totally deserving nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Indie Spirit awards, and I hope that nomination goes on to further his chances of repeating this at the Oscars.

Chris Pine, who usually plays mighty leading men of the “Star Trek” kind, here astonishes, too as the film’s lead, as the good brother Toby of these two young Robin Hood bank robbers that you can’t help but root for as they rob one Texas Midlands Bank after another. Their motives are totally noble. They want to pay off the reverse mortgage on their late mother’s land in West Texas. And yes, Texas Midlands bank is who is going to fore close and take the suddenly oil rich piece of property for its’ greedy self.

hell-or-high-water-4 hell-or-high-water-5Most of the Oscar talk has centered around Jeff Bridges, who is channeling Tommy Lee Jones’ retiring, tired lawman in “No Country for Old Men.” But note, it is mad man Foster who got the Indie nomination! Of course, Bridges is very, very good, too, especially in the climatic scenes. Pine, Foster and he should ALL be nominated!

And David MacKenzie is the director, a talent I’ve been following for years, since his involvement with Tilda Swinton’s Scottish project “Young Adam” in 2003 with Ewan  McGregor. It’s steamy love story set on a Scottish barge, another unlikely setting. It’s no surprise to me how well this is directed and how strongly audiences and critics all over the world are responding to this suspenseful tale that had me on the edge of my seat, I’m telling you.young-adam-1

Why did I resist this film for so long? I don’t like Westerns. And anything that calls itself a “neo-Western” gets my critics’ suspicions up to a very high level of genre busting, But “Hell or High Water” does just that. It sets out to do something that has never been done before and it fulfills all its’ promises. It’s something new, and something timely too in this era of the 99% who feel abandoned, impoverished and alone against a corrupt system. In this case, the Banks.hell-or-high-water-6
The screenplay is terrific, too, in its’ freshness and nuance. Written by Taylor Sheridan who wrote the much favored “Sicario” of last year.hell-or-high-water-7But I feel Foster has the most difficult job of holding the whole film together with his indelible outlaw portrait of Texas insanity. And yes this film resembles “No Country for Old Men” A LOT. But just remember who won the Oscar from that excellent cast. It was Javier Bardem as Anton Cigurh, as the truly terrifying villain, which is the part Foster is assuming here. Although Foster’s hot head is out of control violence-wise, but also funny and in a strange way endearing.

And here he is from an interview I did with him on my show a few years back for the also excellent “The Messenger” in a completely different kind of role.

# Hell or High Water

#Oscars

# Jeff Bridges

# Ben Foster

#Chris Pine

# Tilda Swinton

Impact of Election on Oscar Race

fences-6I was just about to write a rave review of the wonderful, important revival of “March of the Falsettos” and then The Election happened and turned the world, and my brain and everyone else’s upside down.

I tried to write about it but I couldn’t. I was in such deep shock. Like when you have a serious fall, as I did recently, and it wasn’t until hours later, or was it a day later, that the real pain kicked in, and I was reminded I had fallen backwards onto a fire-hydrant. It took four or five really strong women(In town for the marathon, I’m guessing) to pull me back up and set me on my feet.

Yes, my reaction to The Election was just as severe as that, as disappointed for anyone who voted for Hillary. I can’t believe it happened. I’m still processing it. And so is the country. It’s something that I can’t snap out of but just being depressed and angry isn’t constructive. Hillary Clinton had nothing but a positive message. Maybe there is something good inside Donald Trump. Well, first of all, he’s a native New Yorker. As I am. And that counts for something.

After coming out of a Whole Foods on Union Square, I ran into hundreds of protesting young people. I got on a bus. It took quite awhile for the big New York City Bus to get through the noisy crowd of protesters. They made me smile though. I knew what they were feeling. I had done this, too, in my youth. Protesting the Viet Nam War. Civil Rights. Free Nelson Mandella. Gay Rights. Aids. There’s been a lot to protest, always peacefully. Make your voice heard.I was happy to see them there.LGBY handsThis made me think of what a terrible day it was when Ronald Reagan got elected. I thought it was it the end of the world. It wasn’t. The same way when Bush after Bush after Bush entered the White House. Until Bill Clinton. Until Barack Obama.

I’ve been thinking of the night when “Brokeback Mountain” lost the Oscar to “Crash.” Sasha Stone and I were both disconsolate that night and so was everyone else on Oscarwatch. We thought we’d never get through it. I was never going to watch the Oscars again. But I did. We got through it because we were together.

Sasha did everything she could think of to help Hillary. I’m still shocked, and sickened, but she’s probably more shocked and more sick. She and Assistant Editor Ryan both added Rodham as their middle names.

But, as with “Brokeback”, she went back to work and felt back. I did, too. Over the years I’m happy to report that I developed a friendly relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and Michelle s and Williams and now Ang Lee, who did win his first Oscar for “Brokeback” by the way. I loved his new “Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk.”

But all those disappointments and depressions and shocks were way worse than this. Maybe as much as I loved Hillary, and I still do, I just knew, I just KNEW that America was never going to elect a woman to the Oval Office.

And now this happened. Donald Trump may not have meant a lot of what he said. Was it Melania or Ivanka who said he was “saying all those things just to get elected”?

Melania Trump and Michele sitting down to have  tea, to chat and tour the White House. File it under a list of Things I Never Would Have Thought Ever To Have Happened.

And now the Oscar Race, how is this going to land with the very left wing Academy? I think this says goodbye to anything light and fluffy like “La La Land” and hello to something that can’t be denied like “Fences” or the very political “Jackie.”

viola-davis-fences-1jackie-1fences-3Gay Pride 2016 2

Mhz’s French “Little Murders of Agatha Christie” Tres Charmant,but not Hercule Poirot at all

little-murders-1I continue my Hercule Poirot/Agatha Christie obsession with Mhz’ new series of five French TV shows, “Les Petites Muertres d’Agatha Christie” or “The Little Murders of Agatha Christie.” They may be “inspired” by Agatha Christie, but they are not Christie at all. Well, maybe glancingly. But they become their own delightful devertisement nonetheless.

Focusing yet again on the renowned fictional creation of Christie’s Hercule Poirot, one of the most famous Belgians ever, “Little Murders” starts by making Poirot as French as French can be. He’s totally transmorgrofied here. Christie’s solitary, probably celibate Poirot,in the French version here is the typically randy rogue, with a roving eye, and he turns out to have a daughter,too! Mille tonneres! It’s a shock to see him portrayed this way. And his Hastings stand-in is Gay! So, of course, I was delighted!

And also the very strong and funny performances by Antoine Dulery as LaRosiere, the Poirot character, and Marius Colucci as the piquant, red-headed Lampion, do enthrall and involve you in their own right.

They pull you into a world that is not Christie, but Christie-esque.. The period is the same the 1920s-30s . I kept thinking of Sophie Hannah and her two marvelous Poirot continuation novels, “The Monogram Murders” and “Closed Casket” the new one that has just come out and  is climbing the best-seller charts as we speak.CLOSED cASKET 1

Hannah’s Poirot is meticulously the Poirot we know and love. And is, yes, always being mistaken for being French, and he’s always snapping out “I’m Belgian!”david-shuchet-1

And he certainly doesn’t have any children, or former wives. He’s a solitary figure, and fussy as hell. He’s really OCD, I think And we love him for being such a nit-picking perfectionist. I can’t recommend “Closet Casket” highly enough and you’ll see how British Christie/Hannah’s Poirot really is. And PS, he hates the British! I always wondered why he has stayed in England throughout all his adventures.

Closed casket 2In “Little Murders”, Poirot still loves to eat. But La Rosiere will eat ANYthing! He’s a glutton. He’s not picky, like Christie/Hannah’s Poirot certainly is.

The five 90 minute segments that Mhz has so marvelously packaged for our delectation state-side really are VERY watchable and as convoluted as Christie’s brain-teasers should be. But you’ll only catch Christie, if you really are a devotee (as I am) because the plots are quite buried if not thrown away altogether by the French creators. I wonder what Christie or for that matter Sophie Hannah would think of this saucy, mistake-prone Poirot. And Lampion is always yelling at his boss! Poirot would never allow ANYone to raise their voices to him! Especially not his side-kick!

He’s also always mistaken for being gay, because Lampion is gay. There’s one episode where they end up in the same bed! I loved it!

little-murders-2My favorite  episode  was “Knife in the Neck” which is based on “Lord Edgware Dies.” I don’t want to spoil it, but in the French version there are TWO murder plots a foot, where Christie only had one, and this is one where Poirot’s comely teenaged daughter Juliette (Alice Isaaz) turns up.

Poirot has been an absentee father and Juliette reproaches him for leaving her alone to grow up with her (unseen) mother . I can’t even imagine what Madame Poirot might look or be like. In any case, Poirot doesn’t want anything to do with her, or their lovely daughter. But Juliette won’t leave her father alone.

She and the droll gay character Assistant Detective Lampion both fall for the same handsome actor, Julien Sobel. Played marvelously by Julien Allugette. There’s even a fantasy sequence where Lampion imagines Sobel doing a strip tease for him!

This is not your mother’s Agatha Christie, as you can see by the clip below.And I have to mention the fatalist  of femme fatales, Sarah Morlant, a great diva actress, who is based on the Lady Edgware character, but again only slightly. Maruschka Demets does a fantastic, sultry job, huskily purring every line she says, with blood red fingernails, like talons. There’s also several brief scenes of Racine’s “Phedra” thrown in. I loved that.  Antoine Dulery and M. Demets were more than up to this classical challenge.

“Little Murders of Agatha Christie” is not what I expected, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

And Here’s Pt.2 of “Some Enchanted Evenings” About Mary Martin’s Closeted Gay Life

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I conclude my two part interview with biographer to the stars David Kaufman. We discuss his new book “Some Enchanted Evenings” about the late Broadway star Mary Martin who was, according to Kaufman, a very likely, but closeted lesbian. She had extended long time relationships with film stars Janet Gaynor and Jean Arthur. Filmed at the still yet-to-open, Hell’s Kitchen eaterie Diane Elizabeth.

Videography ~ Slava Rusakov

You Tube formatting ~ Kevin Teller

slavas@yahoo.com

#Mary Martin #David Kaufman# Stephen Holt Show #gay # Lesbianism #Peter Pan

 

New Mary Martin Bio “Some Enchanted Evenings” by David Kaufman

 

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Stephen Holt interviews author David Kaufman about his new controversial biography of the late stage star Mary Martin “Some Enchanted Evenings.”

Martin was one of the great stage stars of her day starring on Broadway in the legendary “South Pacific” and also Rogers and Hammerstein’s later work “The Sound of Music.”

This is part one of a two part interview, soon to air on  Friday, Sept. 9 at midnight on Ch.56 and Ch.1996 on Time Warner Cable in Manhattan and Ch.83 on RCN Cable and Ch.34 on Fios, also on Friday at midnight. In Manhattan Only, although it can be seen online at that time on http://www.mnn.org, click on Ch. 2, the Lifestyle channel.

Filmed in the yet-to-open new Theater District restaurant Diane Elizabeth.

Camera & Editing ~ Slava Rusakov

You Tube Editing ~ Kevin Teller

 

 

 

 

Just Launched a New Kickstarter Project! To Help Get Me to the Montreal & Toronto Film Fests!

SH Kickstarter 2016http://kck.st/29RQYUL

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