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Directorial Debut

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ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 1993 | By Steven Rea, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Actress Marcia Gay Harden (Miller's Crossing, Used People) wears a torrid- red biker jacket and matching lipstick as she defoliates New Zealand's rich green landscape - and its emotionally green residents - in this remarkable first feature from director Alison Maclean. As Lane, the diabolical American traveler who insinuates herself into the lives of a New Zealand author and his teenage daughter, Harden is seductive and sinister. She is never a cartoon, however; there's something deep and troubling running through the soul of her character.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 24, 2008 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
'Filth and wisdom are two sides of the same coin," muses A.K. (Eugene Hutz), a Ukrainian rock singer, cross-dresser, and S & M practioner who spends a good deal of Madonna's directorial debut - coincidentally titled Filth and Wisdom - lounging in a bathtub, where he reads, smokes, twirls his mustache. And talks directly to the camera, in scary close-up. A.K.'s philosophy - with its tinctures of Madonna's fave religious belief, Kabbalah - comes down to this: One must do sleazy, dirty things to find spiritual redemption.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2005 | By JAMI BERNARD New York Daily News
"The Assassination of Richard Nixon," a slight movie and a major downer, is an acting showcase for Sean Penn. That's good, but not enough. Based on a true story, Penn plays a consummate loser who tries to seal his non-place in history by killing a public figure. The only jolt is the title. The movie is set during the Watergate scandal, but Nixon went on to die of a stroke at age 81. So this Samuel Bicke fellow, already having failed at marriage (Naomi Watts plays the ex-wife)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2009 | By GARY THOMPSON, thompsg@phillynews.com 215-854-5992
Instead of debating the year's best picture, why don't we just think about the best individual scene? There've been some doozies - Jeremy Renner pulling up a daisy-chain of bombs in "The Hurt Locker," the live-radio sequence in "Me and Orson Welles," Stephen Lang's unexpected epilogue with Marion Cotillard in "Public Enemies. " You can see another in "A Single Man," featuring Colin Firth as a college professor who learns he's lost his lover (Matthew Goode) to a car crash when one of the dead man's relatives calls with the news.
NEWS
August 20, 1993 | by Kathleen Shea, Daily News Television Critic
In the prehistoric television jungle, the sharp suits who run Home Box Office are the sabertoothed tigers. The network decision makers would be their lunch. Creativity and courage would be the reason. HBO, which keeps turning out some of the finest film product in all of Hollywood, Saturday premieres "Strapped," a beautifully made movie by Forest Whitaker ("The Crying Game"). More shocking to network broadcast standards and practices than the film's sex, violence, bad words and rap music would be its naked appeal for gun control.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 1, 2002 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Whip-smart and wicked, Dylan Kidd's Roger Dodger puts a new spin on the Sex and the City world of boite-hopping New Yorkers obsessed by corporate and corporeal advancement. Starring Campbell Scott as a smooth-talking advertising exec forever on the prowl, the film - a pitch-perfect writing and directorial debut - begins at a restaurant table, where Roger regales his companions with a soliloquy that mixes misogyny and irony in equal portions. Roger serves up prickly observations about the devolution of the male and evolution of the female with rat-tat-tat aplomb - he's got the snap of an ace bartender, working a cocktail shaker to perfection.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 23, 2000 | By Thomas J. Brady, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The High School for Creative and Performing Arts welcomes home one of its graduates, Chi Muoi Lo, at 7 p.m. Monday at the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St., to celebrate the release of his directorial debut as a feature filmmaker. Catfish in Black Bean Sauce was written, directed and produced by Lo, a 1980 graduate, who also acts in the film. It stars Academy Award nominee Paul Winfield (Sounder) and Mary Alice (Down in the Delta). All proceeds from the premiere go to the school.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 1993 | By Steven Rea, INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
My Life is another one of Bruce Joel Rubin's pop Zen meditations on life and death and how far you can go with that kind of stuff in conventional Hollywood movie-making. Like the writer's huge hit Ghost and his hallucinatory Jacob's Ladder, this new film - which also marks Rubin's assured directorial debut - examines big spiritual themes. Actually, it examines the big spiritual themes: how a sense of the finality of this life affects the roles and relationships we have; how grief and pain can grow inside us like a cancer; how the self mingles with the rapturous white light of who-knows-what when it comes time to up and die. All this, and Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman, too!
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 1986 | By Gail Shister, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sharp viewers watching Dallas tonight will notice an unusual name under the credits for director - Linda Gray. It's the directorial debut for Gray, better known for eight seasons as the endlessly suffering Sue Ellen Ewing. The network didn't exactly hand her the camera for this one - she made it part of her new two-year contract. "Acting is like being a child; directing is like being a parent," says the elegant Gray, 43. "You call all the shots, make all the decisions. It's definitely a turn-on, but it's a different kind of rush than acting.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 1, 2010 | By Howard Gensler
"JACK GOES BOATING" star Amy Ryan recently stopped in Center City on her way to L.A., where she'll be shooting seven more episodes of "The Office. " She was mum on story details for the new season, Steve Carell 's last, so she spoke with film critic Gary Thompson about her movie career, which took off after she played a callous, drug-addicted mother in "Gone Baby Gone. " "I remember thinking, 'I just can't believe I'm getting this part - it's just too good,' " she said.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2014 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
WHEN "The Daily Show" sent a fake newsman to do a facetious story about Iranian politics in 2009, the mullahs didn't get it. In fact, they arrested Maziar Bahari, the Iranian journalist who participated in the "interview," then imprisoned him and abused him for several months. His experience became a book that's now become a movie - written and directed by "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, making his debut behind the camera. Some see Stewart's choice to tell Bahari's story as a sort of a mea culpa, a way of apologizing for being a Western journo-comedy dilettante blundering into a very real, literal-minded world where "jokes" have life-and-death consequences.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 1, 2010 | By Howard Gensler
"JACK GOES BOATING" star Amy Ryan recently stopped in Center City on her way to L.A., where she'll be shooting seven more episodes of "The Office. " She was mum on story details for the new season, Steve Carell 's last, so she spoke with film critic Gary Thompson about her movie career, which took off after she played a callous, drug-addicted mother in "Gone Baby Gone. " "I remember thinking, 'I just can't believe I'm getting this part - it's just too good,' " she said.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2009 | By GARY THOMPSON, thompsg@phillynews.com 215-854-5992
Instead of debating the year's best picture, why don't we just think about the best individual scene? There've been some doozies - Jeremy Renner pulling up a daisy-chain of bombs in "The Hurt Locker," the live-radio sequence in "Me and Orson Welles," Stephen Lang's unexpected epilogue with Marion Cotillard in "Public Enemies. " You can see another in "A Single Man," featuring Colin Firth as a college professor who learns he's lost his lover (Matthew Goode) to a car crash when one of the dead man's relatives calls with the news.
NEWS
April 30, 2009 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
Since 2001, local theatergoers have been agog at the things Sarah Sanford can do. With Philadelphia's risk-taking Pig Iron Theatre Company, the actress and movement artisan has clowned and cajoled her way through such company classics as the funereal 365 Days/365 Plays (2007) and the tennis-whites' wonk of Obie-winning Hell Meets Henry Halfway (2004). Sanford crushed as a still-life wife for Brat Productions' 2007 A 24-Hour The Bald Soprano. She displayed a darkly romantic mania in the 2008 Live Arts Festival's The European Lesson, directed by Jo Str?mgren, followed by Lantern Theatre Company's The Inspector General and, earlier this year, Mauckingbird Theatre Company's production of Hedda Gabler.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 24, 2008 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
'Filth and wisdom are two sides of the same coin," muses A.K. (Eugene Hutz), a Ukrainian rock singer, cross-dresser, and S & M practioner who spends a good deal of Madonna's directorial debut - coincidentally titled Filth and Wisdom - lounging in a bathtub, where he reads, smokes, twirls his mustache. And talks directly to the camera, in scary close-up. A.K.'s philosophy - with its tinctures of Madonna's fave religious belief, Kabbalah - comes down to this: One must do sleazy, dirty things to find spiritual redemption.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 10, 2006 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Tommy Lee Jones does ornery like nobody's business, and in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada he rides the range with a grizzled, cantankerous, dead-on determined charm. A modern-day western that also marks the veteran actor's accomplished directing debut - one that has lineage back to Sam Peckinpah and even John Huston - Three Burials is wily, sad, funny, and full of life. And, as its title suggests, full of death, too. The story, like Mexican screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga's arthouse hits Amores Perros and 21 Grams, is a time-fractured tale layered with flashbacks and flash-forwards, but it isn't difficult to track.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2005 | By JAMI BERNARD New York Daily News
"The Assassination of Richard Nixon," a slight movie and a major downer, is an acting showcase for Sean Penn. That's good, but not enough. Based on a true story, Penn plays a consummate loser who tries to seal his non-place in history by killing a public figure. The only jolt is the title. The movie is set during the Watergate scandal, but Nixon went on to die of a stroke at age 81. So this Samuel Bicke fellow, already having failed at marriage (Naomi Watts plays the ex-wife)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 1, 2002 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Whip-smart and wicked, Dylan Kidd's Roger Dodger puts a new spin on the Sex and the City world of boite-hopping New Yorkers obsessed by corporate and corporeal advancement. Starring Campbell Scott as a smooth-talking advertising exec forever on the prowl, the film - a pitch-perfect writing and directorial debut - begins at a restaurant table, where Roger regales his companions with a soliloquy that mixes misogyny and irony in equal portions. Roger serves up prickly observations about the devolution of the male and evolution of the female with rat-tat-tat aplomb - he's got the snap of an ace bartender, working a cocktail shaker to perfection.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 23, 2000 | By Thomas J. Brady, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The High School for Creative and Performing Arts welcomes home one of its graduates, Chi Muoi Lo, at 7 p.m. Monday at the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St., to celebrate the release of his directorial debut as a feature filmmaker. Catfish in Black Bean Sauce was written, directed and produced by Lo, a 1980 graduate, who also acts in the film. It stars Academy Award nominee Paul Winfield (Sounder) and Mary Alice (Down in the Delta). All proceeds from the premiere go to the school.
NEWS
April 4, 1996 | by Tonya Pendleton, Daily News Staff Writer
In "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate," Martin Lawrence takes on the "Fatal Attraction" theme with a comedic twist. And this time, all parties get what they deserve. Lawrence makes his feature directing debut with this even-handed romantic comedy that takes an unexpectedly serious turn. He stars as Darnell Wright, a player who sees most women as romantic bait. The only women he has any respect for are his mother (Della Reese), his sister (Malinda Williams), and his high school chum Mia (Regina King)
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