July 4, 2013
By Timothy Hallinan Soho Crime. 336 pp. $25 Reviewed by Bruce Desilva Junior Bender is a professional burglar, and he's very good at it. He's been breaking into houses and making off with valuables for a long time and has never been arrested. Along the way, though, he's also picked up a sideline, moonlighting as a private eye of sorts, whose clients are all fellow criminals; and in this line of work he's a magnet for trouble. In The Fame Thief , Timothy Hallinan's third novel in this series, Bender is scooped up by a couple of thugs and driven to the estate of Irwin Dressler, a 93-year-old mobster who's had a piece of just about everything that's happened in Hollywood for as long as anyone can remember.
May 1, 2003 |
Someone once said that everything that came out of Richard Nixon's mouth was a lie, including the "ands" and "buts. " Leave it to Hollywood to do Tricky Dick one better. Because it now appears that literally everything Hollywood says about politics, and particularly free speech, is not merely a lie, but sheer and utter nonsense. Now, of course, by Hollywood I don't mean everybody who lives or works there. Nor do I mean only movie stars. Rather, I'm referring to the loose constellation of would-be public philosophers who - despite the fact that they have little to no formal education and do not think, read or write critically as a profession - are nevertheless convinced that being in front of a camera or warbling behind a microphone qualifies them to pronounce authoritatively on war and constitutional law. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
August 27, 1999 |
In Apocalypse Now, it was "the horror, the horror. " In The Muse, it's the humiliation, the humiliation. Steven Phillips, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter who recently collected the Humanitarian Award for a body of work addressing the highs and lows, wonders and woes of the human condition, is sitting with a young film company slicko (the dead-on Mark Feuerstein) and being told that his new script is bad and beyond salvation. Worse still, Steven's lost his "edge" - whatever that is - and lost his deal with the studio.
September 27, 1991 |
Terry Gilliam, director of "The Fisher King," was nearly blackballed by Hollywood for spending large amounts of money on movies that had almost no chance of making that money back. His pictures - "Time Bandits," "Brazil" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" - were original, imaginative and sometimes unpleasant. Those are not qualities that bring audiences out in droves. Some big studios lost some big money, and the director found himself out of favor in the industry. This put Gilliam in a tough spot, since he prefers to stage movies on a lavish scale, and he isn't the kind of director who could easily succeed as an independent working with smaller budgets.
August 15, 2002 |
Fans of revelation can appreciate screenwriter Joe Eszterhas' sudden understanding that smoking, which probably led to his throat cancer, is a bad idea. One can also appreciate his desire to stay alive, to watch his four children grow up, and to repent for what he sees as his role in promoting smoking through his films. But Eszterhas' claim that he has blood on his hands and has been "an accomplice to the murders of untold numbers of human beings" by creating characters that smoke is a tad over the top. The former militant smoker wrote about his revelation last week in a New York Times op-ed piece as part of a promise he says he made with God. "I am admitting this," he wrote, "only because I have made a deal with God. Spare me, I said, and I will try to stop others from committing the same crimes I did. " Eszterhas, famous for his soft-porn movies - including Basic Instinct (wherein Sharon Stone is shown smoking during her most famous scene)
March 8, 2006 |
Call it Oscar overflow. In about the time it takes to say, "You know it's hard out here . . .," the title of this year's Academy Award-winning song has toppled into mainstream America's cultural consciousness with a "You go, girl!" fervor. It's shown up as a workingman's lament: "It's cold out here, my back hurts, my car's in the shop. . . . You know, it's hard out here for a pimp. " Or even as an all-purpose teenage defense: "Johnny, why didn't you do your chores?"
July 1, 2011 |
MOSCOW - On a hot summer night last week in a historic Moscow square, a delegation of Hollywood celebrities headed by director Michael Bay and actor Shia LaBeouf marched past the 33-foot tall Alexander Pushkin monument and up the green carpeted stairs to the movie theater, a drab Soviet-era cube of concrete and glass. In a poorly air-conditioned auditorium filled well beyond its 2,000-seat capacity, the Hollywood contingent went on stage to introduce the opening film of the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival: Paramount Pictures' "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the latest in the series of critically pummeled but wildly popular extravaganzas featuring giant battling robots, fiery explosions and scantily clad young actresses.
August 28, 1989 |
Never have so many worked so long to prevent the making and release of a movie that so few people are likely to see. The movie is "Wired" - described by its creators as a "fantasy-comedy- drama" based on the life and death by drug overdose in 1982 of actor/ comedian John Belushi. The embattled picture finally found its way into movie theaters Friday after an ordeal that began as far back as 1984, when a company called F/M Entertainment started negotiating to buy the rights to the book "Wired," written by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward.
March 6, 1990 |
It's an old joke. "Have you read the dictionary?" one fellow asks another. "No," his friend responds, "I'm waiting for the movie. " Be patient. At the rate they're going, Hollywood will get to it. After all, they've gotten to nearly every other book available. As proof, take three recent best sellers that have jumped to the big screen. Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" opened Friday, while Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" is set for later this month and "Good Fellas," taken from Nicholas Pileggi's "Wiseguy," is slated to open in the fall.
March 28, 1992 |
The Mambo Kings, the new movie about Cuban musicians trying to make it in the New York of the early 1950s, reveals some good things and some bad things about how Hispanics in general are making it in the Hollywood of the early 1990s. First, the bad: Hollywood still seems unable to make a truly authentic film about Hispanics. The main problem here was the accents. The characters were supposed to be Cuban, but, with the exception of salsa star Celia Cruz, none sounded it. The two stars, Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas, gave it a valiant try. Insofar as "acting" they did a fine job, yet their accents betrayed them.