Tag Archives: Frank Langella

Today’s Specials: Catching up with The Killing and Game Of Thrones, plus ravishing Rita revisited

IT'S A CRIME: Season 2 of The Killing is almost upon us

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Remember Goodbye Charlie, the George Axelrod comedy about a cigar-chomping womanizer who is reincarnated as a female? Lauren Bacall created the role on Broadway, and

BATES: Hello Charlie

Debbie Reynolds had fun with it in Vincente Minnelli’s screen version. I was reminded of it when I learned that the spirit of Charlie Sheen’s recently-deceased character on Two And A Half Men is set to appear to Jon Cryer on the April 30 episode, and Charlie’s ghost will be played by Kathy Bates. Sheen stopped promoting his new Anger Mamagement series just long enough to say he is honoured that an actress of Bates’ stature will play his other-worldy Self David Chilton, author and publisher of the hugely

GRENIER: keeping in touch

popular Wealthy Barber series of personal finance books, is the newest Dragon in Dragons’ Den. He’ll replace departing Dragon Robert Herjavec when the hit CBC series returns this fall … Adrian Grenier has set up a new iPad app called Reckless Adrian Grenier (the “reckless” coming from his production company name), a new way for Grenier to keep in touch with his fans and keep them up to date on his forthcoming projects… and Jian Ghomeshi will once again host the Juno Gala Dinner & Awards this Saturday, this time in Ottawa, the night before the awards show telecast.

MUCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING: Internet headlines notwithstanding, Downton Abbey stars Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens, aka the Dowager

SMITH: Downton Dowager

Countess Violet and Abbey heir apparent Matthew Crowley, will be back in Season 3 next January. Earlier this month breaking news that neither Smith nor Stevens had signed for the new season put Abbey fans knickers in a wringer, but in fact it’s seasons 4 and 5 they haven’t yet signed for. Downton fans, rest easy! No one’s going to kill off either one of them, especially Maggie, a perennial favourite with American audiences since her first Oscar win for The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie more than four decades ago. So you can expect both of them to sign on

STEVENS: heir apparent

the dotted line, just as soon as their respective agents sign off on their new-and-improved wages …  do I hear a fat lady singing? Little Mosque On The Prairie kicks off its two-part series finale tonight on CBC … and have you noticed how the cable nets are premiering their big shows now that spring is here? Last night AMC launched the fifth season of Mad Men.  Next weekend, competing with the 2012 Juno Awards telecast Sunday night on CTV, two big second-season Gotta-See series return: The Killing on AMC and Game Of Thrones on HBO. To get up to speed before Season 2 of The Killing, click here; for a crash course on Game Of Thrones, which is even more complex than The Killing, click here. After which you’ll almost know everything you’ll ever need to know. Promise.

AND YES, I”VE ABSOLUTELY SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST:

HAYWORTH: one last dance

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Hollywood cinema legend Rita Hayworth is remembered mainly for her sultry femme fatale roles – especially with Glenn Ford in Gilda — and for the headlines that would prove to be the milestones of

RITA & FRED: together again

her life, from her marriages to Orson Welles and Aly Khan to her heartbreaking demise from Alzheimer’s. Her romantic liaisons are the stuff of legend – her on-location tryst with a young Frank Langella is lovingly noted in his new autobiography, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them but what most of us have forgotten are Rita’s early days as a dancer, when she was good enough to hold her own in musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I was happily reminded of this by old friend and colleague Joe Baltake, the film critic who is also the avid cinephile behind one of the best U.S. film blogs, the passionate moviegoer. Joe found a truly wonderful video mash-up combining Rita’s dancing with the biggest hit from Saturday Night Fever, and it’s so brilliantly executed that he wanted to share it. It’s a dazzling manipulation of two decades of Hayworth moments, from You Were Never Lovelier to Pal Joey and then some, cleverly synched to that hypnotic BeeGees beat.  Thanks, YouTube. And thanks, Joe, I loved it. And I’m pretty sure you will too. So just click here, and enjoy!

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Ryan’s buried brilliance, Rick’s return to the stage and CBC corners Don & Ron for a new mini-series

CHERRY, KEESO, WATTON, MACLEAN: They shoot! They score!

THE WRATH OF GRAPES:  The sequel to the hit mini-series Keep Your Head Up, Kid premieres this Sunday on CBC with Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini-winning performance as Don Cherry. The mini-series charts Don’s journey from the NHL to Coach’s Corner, with Jonathan Watton as Ron MacLean. And if this sequel is only half as good as the original, it can’t help but

ROBERTS: on stage at Tarragon

be a hit … the three-day Toronto International Film & Video Awards festival kicks off today at 5 pm at Victoria College … attention foodies: Insight Productions chief John Brunton is bringing Food Network Canada’s top-rated Top Chef Canada series back for a second season on March 12 … the Shakespeare in Action production of The Diary of Anne Frank opens March 15 at the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC. Sascha Cole returns in the central role of Anne as do Chris Karczmar and Alexis Koetting as Mr. and Mrs. Frank … and Rick Roberts, so good as Stephen Leacock’s errant father in Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town, is back on the boards again, this time in the English-language premiere of The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs. The Carole Fréchette play, translated by John Murrell, is helmed by Kim’s Convenience director Weyni Mengesha. Now in previews, it opens March 7 at the Tarragon.

MEANWHILE: Veteran rocker George Olliver postponed his gig at the Courtyard Restaurant in Pickering last week due to fearsome media weather forecasts predicting the storm of the century.  Which, as I recall, translated to some rain. He’s now set to play the Courtyard tonight instead … pop/jazz vocalist Joel Hartt makes his debut performance at the Green Door Cabaret tomorrow night with piano man Mark Kieswetter … DanceWorks presents Sylvain Émard Danse in the Toronto premiere of Fragments – Volume I,  for one night only, tomorrow at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront …Liona Boyd is Alberta-bound for nine concerts with Michael Savona. You can find her tour dates on her new renovated website at www.LionaBoyd.com… and  Discovery Networks have snagged versatile screenwriter and producer Edwina Follows (Traders, Relic Hunter, Beast Master, Emily of New Moon) as its new  Director of Commissioning and Production. Follows is now responsible for the commissioning  independent programming for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World HD, Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science.  Smart move, Discovery.

MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE HIGH SEAS:  Yesterday our Floating Film Festival on the Seabourn Sojourn made its first stop, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I like San Juan, but whenever I come here all I always think of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics to America from West Side Story:

Puerto Rico / My heart’s devotion / let it sink into the ocean /

After our stop in San Juan we screened two more movies. First up was an intriguing documentary called Jealous Of The Birds. Did you know that more than 15,000 Holocaust survivors chose to remain in Germany after World War II? Me neither. How could they stay? Jealous Of The Birds is a first-time documentary by young filmmaker Jordan Bahat that attempts to answer that question. Bahat’s quest is clearly personal; he longs to understand the choices made by his own grandparents – he even persuades his grandmother to revisit Auschwitz – and how they managed to rebuild their lives  Bahat’s film is a study of survivors, their children and other Germans who choose to live among perpetrators. and includes interviews children whose legacy includes the crimes of their parents. Fascinating stuff, and a fine start for a first-time filmmaker.

GOSLING & DUNST: brilliant performances, buried treasure

Last night’s bedtime story, screened after dinner, was All Good Things, a 2010 psychological thriller with an outstanding case. Both love story and murder mystery, it was inspired by one of the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, in which Robert Durst, scion of the wealthy Durst family, was suspected of, but never tried for,  killing his wife, who disappeared in 1982 and was never seen again. Ryan Gosling plays Robert Marks, Kirsten Dunst plays his doomed young wife Katie, and Frank Langella plays the powerful family patriarch. The film is already regarded as a buried treasure, mysteriously abandoned by its distributors when it could easily have been an Oscar contender. Dunst and especially Gosling offer brilliant, breathtakingly believable performances as the young couple destined for tragedy. We watch horrified as Dunst’s slow corruption plays directly into Gosling’s sophisticated spiraling psychotic, with just enough information gleaned en route to show us how he got that way.  Easily the most talked-about film so far at this year’s Floating Film Festival, this is bone-chilling drama at its best. Catch up with it if you can.

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Matthew dons tap shoes, Jim sees a rabbit, Jesus goes to Harlem, and Julie & Jodie salute Arlene

STARS IN OUR EYES: Two of her favourite stars, Julie Andrews and Jodie Foster, are the proud presenters set to celebrate Disney publicity ace Arlene Ludwig at the ICG Publicists Guild’s annual pre-Oscar luncheon tomorrow at

LUDWIG: luncheon honours

the Beverly Hilton.  The Guild is dedicating its 2012 Publicists Directory and resource book to Ludwig, who has been deftly juggling print and electronic press for Disney for almost 50 years … 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson and Smash headliner Debra Messing will join Judy Kuhn, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Celia Weston, Hope Davis, Tony Roberts, John Guare and many more to honour Tony winner Linda Lavin at the Vineyard Theatre’s 2012 Benefit Gala on March 12 in Manhattan … superSongwriter Paul Williams will return to T.O. next month for the March 21-24 Canadian Music Week Film Fest. This year’s CMW filmfest promises an eclectic mix of movie premieres and special events, including a retrospective screening of The Muppet Movie with a post-film Q&A at which Oscar-winning composer Williams will talk about working on the film with Jim 

SHATNER: it's his world

Henson. Also on the Hot List:  the Canadian premiere of Joe Berlinger’s new doc Under African Skies, which documents Paul Simon’s return to South Africa and his reunion with many of the musicians that he worked with on his classic album Graceland  and after five decades of toiling in Hollywood, Bill Shatner is finally back on the Great White Way .  His one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,  revisits his personal and professional highest highs and lowest lows. “My plan has always been to return to Broadway every 50 years,” says Shatner, who starred on Broadway in the ’60s in The World Of Suzie Wong and A Shot In The Dark.  “Since then, of course, I’ve been refurbished; I hope the theatre has been too.” He’s at the Music Box ’til March 4.

FOOTLIGHTS:  Big Bang Theory go-to-guy Jim Parsons will follow in Jimmy Stewart’s footsteps when he co-stars with an invisible rabbit in the

PARSONS: bunny trail?

upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Harvey. Aided and abetted by  Broadway vets Carol Kane, Jessica Hecht, Charles Kimbrough  and two-time Tony nominee Larry Bryggman, Parsons begins previews May 18 and opens officially on June 14 at Studio 54 … the illustrious cast of Stratford’s Jesus Christ Superstar  including  Paul Nolan, Chillina Kennedy and Josh Young —  won hearts and minds and much appreciative applause when they gave a short

NOLAN: Jesus goes to Harlem

performance of show highlights last Friday night at the Church Of The Intercession in Harlem. The show opens in previews March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre  … new University Of Guelph chancellor David Mirvish was so impressed by the Theatre Sheridan production of RENT — an SRO hit two months ago at Sheridan College’s Oakville campus — that he’s bring all 32 performers to his Panasonic Theatre for a 10-night run opening May 16 … and if you loved those “re-imagined” George & Ira Gershwin musicals My One And Only and Crazy For You, better start dusting off your tap shoes. Matthew Broderick, Estelle Parsons, Judy Kaye and South Pacific sweetheart Kelli O’Hara start all-singing all-dancing previews next month at the Imperial Theatre on the latest ‘new’ Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Anything Goes hit-maker Kathleen Marshall. 

ALI: still a knock-out

MUHAMMAD ALI: still a knock-out

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ: Never one to shy away from controversy, director Stephen Frears is at the helm of the new HBO feature Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, an examination of the legal battle that erupted between Ali and the U.S. government when he became a conscientious objector and declined to serve in the Vietnam War. Christopher Plummer will play Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II and Frank Langella will play Chief Justice Warren Burger. Frears reportedly plans to use actual footage of Ali himself, and not cast an actor to play him …   my spies tell me that Montreux Jazz Festival chief Claude Nobs is

SUZUKI: back to Japan

wooing Leonard Cohen to do two concerts at this year’s 46th annual Swiss music extravaganza  … my spies tell me tomorrow night’s instalment of Marketplace on CBC is eye-popping in more ways than one. It’s all about the outrageously high cost of prescription eyeglasses and what we can do about it …  one year after the northeastern seaboard of Japan was devastated by a major earthquake and a giant tsunami, David Suzuki goes back to Japan for Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 tonight on The Nature Of Things on CBC … and if you missed last week’s provocative Future Cities installment of The Suzuki Diaries with Suzuki and his daughter Sarka, don’t fret – an encore screening is set for 10 pm tonight on CBC News Network.

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