Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Obit watch: November 25, 2015.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The NYT is reporting the death of actor Rex Reason.

He appeared with Hayworth in “Salome” in 1953 and with Gable and Sidney Poitier in “Band of Angels” in 1957. In 1956 he played Dr. Thomas Morgan in “The Creature Walks Among Us,” the last installment in the last of the so-called Gill Man trilogy.

Mr. Reason was perhaps most famous for playing Cal Meacham in “This Island Earth”, which I almost think I’d like to watch again for real (as opposed to the MST3K movie version).


Thursday, November 12th, 2015

I wasn’t blogging the trial, nor was I following it very closely, but this is just too good to pass up:

Vincent Asaro, who was charged with helping plan the 1978 Lufthansa robbery at Kennedy International Airport along with other acts of racketeering and extortion that spanned much of his 80 years, was acquitted on all counts on Thursday.

That’s right. Aquitted.

But the jury rejected the prosecution’s case, dealing a stunning blow to the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

(You may remember the Lufthansa robbery from such movies as “Goodfellas”.)

Edited to add 11/13:

Flanked by his lawyers, Elizabeth Macedonio and Diane Ferrone, he fielded a flurry of questions from reporters, who asked what he was going to do (“play some paddleball”), where he was heading (“to have a good meal and see my family”) and what he was going to eat (“anything but a bologna sandwich”). Indeed, he appeared delighted by the commotion his acquittal had created. “John Gotti didn’t get this much attention,” he said of the Gambino boss, who was notoriously hard to convict.

I’m just going to leave this here…

Note from the police blotter…

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

I’m sorry I didn’t make note of this yesterday, but I was running from sunrise to midnight: first, hanging out with family at WurstFest, then diiner with friends and hanging out watching creepy stuff.

(Seriouly. I like to think I have a high tolerance for creepy, but Island of Lost Souls got under my skin. I may have more to say about this later, but I do commend the Criterion blu-ray to your attention.)

Anyway, this is kind of a local story, but it may have broader implications: somebody tried to kill a local judge late Friday night.

The judge in question, Julie Kocurek, is a district judge and is heavily involved with criminal prosecutions:

… it was Kocurek who, in July, unsealed the 75-page search warrant affidavit that for the first time linked former Austin police officer VonTrey Clark to the conspiracy to kill Samantha Dean, an Austin-area crime victims counselor shot to death in February.

I’m not saying it was Clark or his buddies that were behind this, but the speculation is that this was some form of retaliation, and not just a robbery gone bad. She was with other people, and:

When she returned home, a bag of trash or a garbage can had been placed in front of the security gate into her driveway, requiring the driver of her car to stop the vehicle to remove it.

Judge Kocurek is currently in stable condition, according to reports. We hope she makes a full recovery, and we’ll be watching this story with great interest.

Obit watch: November 2, 2015.

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

My two favorite Fred Thompson moments:

Obit watch: October 16, 2015.

Friday, October 16th, 2015

There’s a really nice obituary in today’s NYT (written by Bruce Weber, one of the paper’s best obit writers) for Sybil Stockdale.

Mrs. Stockdale was the wife of James B. Stockdale. You may remember him as Ross Perot’s vice presidential candidate in 1992. But before that:

A captain when he was shot down over North Vietnam on Sept. 9, 1965, Admiral Stockdale was listed for several months as missing in action before the Pentagon learned he was being held in Hanoi at Hoa Lo prison (the so-called Hanoi Hilton). He survived seven and a half years there, subject to torture and held in leg irons and solitary confinement for long periods, before he was released, returning home in February 1973.

During his captivity, Mrs. Stockdale became a leading advocate for the POW/MIA cause. She also worked with the CIA to gather information. This story brings a smile to my face:

In one [letter -DB], she sent a cheery note about his mother along with a picture of a woman bathing in the Pacific Ocean. Admiral Stockdale’s mother loathed swimming, however, and the picture was not of her; the note said she had come to visit because she wanted to have a good “soak,” a code word that instructed him to soak the photograph in urine. When he did so, he discovered, hidden behind the backing of the photograph, a small swath of special carbon paper that could be used to press messages in invisible ink into his own letters home.

Speaking of the CIA and other bits of history, Ken Taylor has also passed away. Mr. Taylor was the Canadian ambassador to Iran during the hostage crisis:

When the U.S. embassy in Tehran was stormed by Islamist students and militants, six American diplomats escaped and found sanctuary in the homes of Taylor and his first secretary John Sheardown. In addition to shielding the Americans from Iranian capture, Taylor also played a crucial role in plotting their escape.
Working with CIA officials and Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, Taylor obtained for the Americans six Canadian passports containing forged Iranian visas that ultimately allowed them to board a flight to Switzerland. He undertook all these covert actions at a high personal risk, as he and his team would have been taken hostage themselves in the case of discovery by the Islamist militants.

Last, but by no means least: “fresh-faced ingénue” of the 1940s, Joan Leslie.

At 9, touring with her sisters, she played Toronto. Their act included her impression of Durante.
One night after the show, her dressing room door opened to reveal a man armed with nothing but criticism. Her Durante was all wrong, he told her. Unbidden, he showed her the right way to do it.

Read the obit for the punchline, if you haven’t already guessed it.

TMQ Watch: October 6, 2015.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Yes, we know, we’re late again. We have a worse excuse this time: we put off TMQ Watch so we could go to the Alamo Drafthouse and watch “Sicario”.

It has actually been a big movie week for us: in addition to “Sicario”, we watched “Black Mass” with Lawrence on Saturday. We may have some more thoughts on both later on. (And “The Martian” is on our list. We don’t expect that to vanish from theaters any time soon. Yes, this is relevant to TMQ; see below.)

After the jump, this week’s TMQ


Obit watch: September 14, 2015.

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Moses Malone, legendary NBA player with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs (among other teams). NYT. HouChron.

Frank D. Gilroy. Interesting story. He knocked around television for a while in the 1950s and 1960s, then had a huge Broadway hit with “The Subject Was Roses”…and then was unable to replicate that success, and spent the rest of his life knocking around movies and theater.

Obit watch: September 3, 2015.

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I was thinking this morning: the first movie I have any recollection of seeing was the original The Love Bug at a drive-in somewhere in Virginia. NYT. Nice article in the WP.

Also among the dead: Ruth Newman, who passed away at the age of 113. Ms. Newman was a survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

“She would tell us she remembered my grandmother being upset because they had just milked the cow earlier, and she had separated the cream and all and put it in containers that got thrown to the floor,” Ms. Dobbs said.

There is one known survivor still alive.

Ms. Newman attended a few of the annual earthquake commemorations in San Francisco. However, her daughter said that on some occasions, Ms. Newman preferred to sleep in rather than rise before dawn to attend.

Smart woman.

Obit watch: August 31, 2015.

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Noted film director Wes Craven. LAT. A/V Club. NYT.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, author (“Your Erroneous Zones”) and perennial fixture on PBS. Quoted without comment:

Dyer was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2009 but claimed to have treated it with positive thinking, daily exercise and “psychic surgery” performed remotely by the Brazilian medium João Teixeira de Faria, better known as “John of God.” He detailed the controversial treatment in an interview with Oprah Winfrey — for whom he was a friend and frequent guest for more than 30 years — in 2012.

Often promoted as “public television’s favorite teacher of transformational wisdom,” Dyer was a fixture on PBS for almost 40 years and became embroiled in a controversy over complaints beginning in 2006 that he was promoting a specific religious worldview in violation of PBS’ editorial policies.
Michael Getler, PBS’s ombudsman at the time, wrote in 2012 that it was “my sense” that Dyer’s advocacy strayed outside PBS’ editorial standards but that the PBS board disagreed with him.

An Oliver Sacks obit is coming, but his death was kind of personal for me, so I want to take a little more time.

Obit watch: August 6, 2015.

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

I’ve seen some mentions of this elsewhere, but I wanted to go ahead and link to the NYT obit for John Leslie Munro, last of the Dambusters.

I also kind of want to see “The Dam Busters” now. I’m pretty sure it was on TV when I was a kid, but somehow I never caught it. And it doesn’t look like Amazon has it on instant video…

For hysterical raisins: reprinted LAT obit for Marilyn Monroe.

Paul Fussell’s “Thank God For the Atom Bomb”.

Obit watch: July 20, 2015.

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Interesting fact about the late Alex Rocco: he was also the voice of Roger Meyers Jr. (A/V Club.)

The A/V Club is also reporting the death of George Coe.

He went on to to appear in films like Kramer Vs. Kramer, and in 1968 was nominated for a Best Live-Action Short Film Oscar for “The Dove,” a satire of Ingmar Bergman films, which he both starred in and co-directed.

I have a copy of “The Dove” somewhere on my MacBook…

Mr. Coe was perhaps best known to contemporary audiences as the voice of Woodhouse in Archer.

Finally, Aubrey Morris has also passed away.

In a career of more than five decades, Mr. Morris brought a memorable touch of eccentricity to films including the cult thriller “The Wicker Man” (1973), Woody Allen’s “Love and Death” (1975) and Ken Russell’s “Lisztomania” (1975).

He was perhaps most famous for playing Mr. Deltoid in A Clockwork Orange.

Obit watch: June 23, 2015.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

This has been semi-well reported elsewhere (except, oddly, in the paper of record); James Horner. (Edited to add 2: NYT obit. In fairness, it appears that they were waiting for official confirmation from Horner’s people that he was actually flying the plane; other sources seemed to be basing their reports on “well, it was his plane, and he hasn’t called anybody since it went down to say ‘I’m alive!’, so…”)

Dick Van Patten: LAT. A/V Club. (Edited to add: NYT.)

(He was in “Soylent Green”? I need to watch that movie “again”, as I’ve only ever seen parts of it in the “edited for television” version.)