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Quendrith Johnson


Everything happening in film covered from LA...


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No, Johnny Depp Didn’t Get Overlooked, He Got Leonard Maltin’s Modern Master Award

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   Tonight Johnny Depp’s alleged "Oscar slight" was put into perspective by esteemed film critic Leonard Maltin at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. “There are only five slots,” Maltin said of Depp’s absence from the Best Actor category for BLACK MASS. “It was a career high for him.” This was on the red carpet right before a sit-down interview with Johnny Depp before the Maltin Mode...

Why SPOTLIGHT Is Front Runner, #OscarsSoWhite, The Big Five & A Contentious Award Season

by Quendrith Johnson, (Awards Intelligencer, 1/19/2016) If Oscar-winner Sean Penn can go interview El Chapo, then the state of journalism really is in trouble — oh, nevermind, this is just indicative of how movie people perceive and interpret the craft. A cocky Penn goes on CBS with Charlie Rose to call out those who ‘don’t think I’m a real journalist,’ while having committed a de facto ethical violation of the profession by grandsta...

Golden Globes 2016 Noms: So What Did You Think Would Happen?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Raise your hand if you saw Al Pacino in "Danny Collins." Raise your hand if you saw Al Pacino in "Danny Collins" and actually liked it. Okay, kidding aside, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced their nominations today at 5:15 am PST, which left a few of us critics cranky. But not without the usual clear-eyed objections to the Golden Globes' mash-up of categories. Is "Joy" a comedy? Is "T...

“The Great Dames,” Elizabeth Banks & Diane Lane Fete Jane Fonda Big Time

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent What a gift when three of your favorite on-screen presences turn out to be three of your favorite off-screen presences; that’s what happened last night in Santa Barbara as the stunning Jane Fonda received the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film from The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). To set the scene, and this rarely happens, Jane Fonda and one of her star presenters Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2,”...

When Penny Marshall Got The Cinema Icon Award From Hollywood Film Fest

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   What most people will remember from last night, when Penny Marshall was handed the Cinema Icon as Honorary Chairperson of the Hollywood Film Festival, is Marshall’s shoe comment regarding women: “You can’t direct in high heels.” And this opening night was kind of like that, a swag bag of unforgettable lines. Not just from Penny Marshall, who’s bona fides as the first $100 M female director for Tom Hanks brea...

IFFF Screenwriters' Panel: Are family films relevant for the digital age?

NEWS/EVENT ALERT: IFFF Screenwriters' Panel: Are family films relevant for the digital age? The International Family Film Festival Sunday, November 8, 2015 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM (PST) Los Angeles, CA   IFFF PANEL - Fairbanks Theater   Screenwriters' Panel:  Are family films relevant for the digital age? A must attend event, join some of Hollywood's most prominent film scribes as they discuss how and why big-tent family films resonate more with wired aud...

King Willem Was Here & 10 Year Reconstruction of The Rijksmuseum

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When King Willem-Alexander came to pay an official visit in June, including meeting US President Barack Obama to commemorate the 70th anniversary of The Netherlands liberation from the Nazis, he laid out some interesting facts in a quick speech during the June 1-3 tour. Coronated in 2013 upon the abdication of Queen Beatrix, then 71, the Sovereign said the main point of his visit “was to thank the United States… especially the 82nd ...

Love & Mercy’s Paul Dano, An Appreciation & He Couldn’t Get a Job at McDonald’s, Thankfully

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   He may not look like your typical American leading man, but actor Paul Dano, 31, is likely a next Oscar contender for Best Actor come the Academy Awards presentation next year. Dano, who celebrated a birthday this month, is indelible as a younger Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, though this latest is just a topper among many gripping performances. If you turn back the clock 10 years to The Ballad of Jack and Rose from writer-director Rebe...

Jason Segel Sticks as David Foster Wallace in “End of Tour” & Consider the Duct Tape

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   Absolutely no one in literary circles anywhere on Planet Earth would have approved the casting of Jason Segel, (the guy who does the Musical Puppet Rock Opera of Count Chocula in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), as David Foster Wallace for the biopic “The End of The Tour” to be released on July 31. But that’s why Segel’s unexpected interesting plasticity and flirt with authenticity as the late great lite...

Bruce Greenwood Hits Back At Critics & Talks "Good Kill" With Ethan Hawke

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent On May 15, IFC Films will release GOOD KILL starring Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, January Jones, Zoë Kravitz, and Jake Abel. It’s an unusual war-related drama in that it uncovers the world of armchair drone pilots and how they go about the business of warfare from 7000 miles away. Set in 2010, the year President Obama made headlines for biggest number of drone strikes in US Military History, Ethan Hawke plays an F-16 fighter who is r...

Susan Sarandon & son Jack Henry Robbins on Their Doc “Storied Streets” & No Vote for Hillary, ps

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Sometime last month it was reported that Susan Sarandon, 68, exited the five-year personal relationship with New York-based ping-pong venture partner Jonathan Bricklin, 37, and while this isn’t an essential footnote in her long Oscar-winning career, ironically it does have a connection to her son’s new documentary “Storied Streets” since the impetus for the film was a player at the Sarandon-Bricklin club SPiN. Last night,...

Diversity? How About Breakout Disney Hit 'McFarland, USA’ & Kevin Costner, Carlos Pratts Gleam

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent ‘Diversity’ is a buzzword that says a lot by saying very little, so it is with McFarland, USA, from Disney, starring Kevin Costner leading a remarkable cast. When this movie opens wide on Feb. 20, nobody will need to know anything about the buzzwords, other than it is a “huge hit” from Niki Caro (Whale Rider) that will put America’s small San Joaquin Valley farming town on the map of our hearts. Costner, who showe...

Foxcatcher Magic of Steve Carell Is No Trick & Performer of the Year Award for 2015

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Steve Carell tells a story about working with Vanessa Redgrave in Foxcatcher, the movie for which he is Oscar nominated, and in this one scene he reveals a lot about actors. It also reveals why the Academy tapped Carell, and he has been named Performer of the Year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. To set the mood, Steve Carell’s bad son, heir John E. Du Pont, tries to hand his matriarch, Mrs. Du Pont (Redgrave) a wrestling...

Kansas Band’s Point of “Surpassing Dreams” in New Doc “Miracles Out of Nowhere” & Afterparty

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Even if you don’t know what “prog rock” is, new documentary Miracles Out of Nowhere, that chronicles the rise of America’s iconic superband Kansas, is a must-see. Monday night three of the band members, Robby Steinhardt (violin, vocals), Rich Williams (guitar) and Phil Ehart (drums), along with longtime producer Budd Carr and director Charley Randazzo, showed up for Miracles world premiere at the Lobero Theater in Santa ...

How Michael Keaton Went From Merchant of Menace to “Soaring Above Them” in Birdman

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   Some actors find themselves between jobs, Michael Keaton found himself between careers.  Now Oscar-nominated for Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the veteran actor had some “This Is Your Life” moments last night when he received the Modern Master Award from the 30th International Film Festival in Santa Barbara (SBIFF).  “Let’s call it a Renaissance,” intoned Leonard Maltin, who play...

Why Jennifer Aniston’s Disappearing Act Was Essential For “Cake” & Leaving Rachel Finally

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent With Jennifer Aniston in the house, the red carpet threw off sparks last night when she blew in town to receive the Montecito Award at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). To put this award in perspective, fellow honorees include Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Bill Condon, Naomi Watts and Oprah Winfrey. And to put her star power in perspective, the CEO of SBIFF noted that he ...

SBIFF’s Vanguard Award & How the Academy’s Math Is Right on Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It’s fitting that Eddie Redmayne’s father is a numbers guy in Finance, who not only explained the statistical odds of making a living as an actor, but added that a mere finger-count of those who make a living, actually make a mark. Fitting because the mark his son has made is based on his portrayal of Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, a man who made his mark by numbers - the higher math of space-time...

American Sniping: Backlash Against Celebrity Takes A Left Turn, From Bergman to Sony to Eastwood

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent There have been backlashes against celebrity before, from Ingrid Bergman and Rita Hayworth being pilloried in Congress in 1949-1950, for Roberto Rossellini and Aly Khan, respectively, to Liz Taylor getting a media shellacking for her multiples in marriage. But these fits of pique have usually come from outside Hollywood. That all changed this past November, when the backlash against celebrity was revealed to come from inside the dream factory, s...

OSCARS 2015: Here Come The Nominees with Chris Pine & Cheryl Boone Isaacs

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent What better way to usher in the Oscars Nominees than with the real-time footage that had some of us up on the West Coast at 5:30 am. Of course, since they split the announcement in two this year, we had to wait until 5:38 (5:39 actually) to hear the majors above-the-line. But it was a historic first to have below-the-line categories given such a huge nod with J. J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón. Here’s the Academy Award Nominees for 20...

Golden Globes 2015 Stage a Good, Old-Fashioned, Hollywood Comeback

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It wasn’t too long ago that the words “Golden Globes” would raise the specter of litigation, corruption, and a whiff of foul play - but no more. For 2015, it looks like current President Theo Kingma has cleaned house over at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Because everything that won for 2015 looks to be incredibly legitimate to the prevailing sentiment among film critics. Even the usual detractors, as well as w...

PSIFF: Inside CITIZENFOUR with Filmmaker Laura Poitras & Reframing Ed Snowden

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Just as the biggest breaking story drops in her lap, filmmaker Laura Poitras is thinking ‘why did he choose me?’ The ‘he’ in question is then 29-year-old Edward Joseph Snowden, an outsourced infrastructure analyst working for a subcontractor to the NSA. And the rest is history. Encrypted emails came out of the blue to Poitras almost exactly two years ago, January, 2013.  The implications for average netizens were ast...

Film Independent’s LACMA Event: The Curious Case of Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent (*Richard Linklater also just received the Sonnny Bono Visionary Award at the 26th Annual Palm Springs Film Festival.) Two things will happen as Writer/Director Richard Linklater* (Slacker) hits the stage with Elvis Mitchell for Film Independent’s “An Evening With … Richard Linklater” in the Bing Theater at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) presented by Film Independent, the BAFTA Awards are poised to tip the dir...

PSIFF: Brad Pitt or “Dukhtar,” Don’t Make Me Choose, Films Win Out!

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   After Brad Pitt stole the show Saturday night at Palm Springs International Film Festival with his “oh-yellow-oh” David Oyelowo name-rhyme edutainment for SELMA, directed by Ava DuVernay - on which Pitt is a producer - the sparkly desert town still had the rush of afterglow on Monday. But, this is an important international film festival, so everyone regained their composure fairly quickly, despite his star showing, also Reese ...

Digital Deeds Done Dirty: SONY Hack & Streisand Effect & JenLaw/ScarJo Nudie Theft

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent UPDATED: SONY Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton was slated to give his “All Hands” speech* this week about the Sony Hack, whereby on or about 11/24, “hackers” opened 38,000 documents with private employee and performance data to the world via web releases on Fusion and BitTorrent, among other sites. The details of the data breach are astounding, and point to major security flaws in SONY security. But this latest infractio...

Yes, You’ve Heard It! What We Know About “The Wilhelm Scream” So Far

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Lord of the Rings has it, Star Wars has it, Indiana Jones, Spider Man, Star Trek, even The Wild Bunch (1969) has it too. But you can find it in Disney movies, nearly from every studio, at least a few big projects. So what is it?  Known by insiders as “The Wilhelm Scream,” a term coined by George Lucas’ sound designer wizard Ben Burtt, this is that familiar toe-curling roar let out by dying Storm Troopers, bit players eate...
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