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Quendrith Johnson's blog


Everything happening in film covered from LA


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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...

Jessica Lange is Not Who You Think She is, She’s Better, Bolder, An American Success Story

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent As Demi Moore is whisked outside the back of Bacara Resort & Spa with an entourage after the fete for Jessica Lange, who just received the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the words of her “three daughters” still float on the crisp night air.  During the ceremony, after 38 years of clips unspool starring the wildly talented Lange, Moore will break the dramatic tensi...

AFI Fest Calls the Winners & the Highlights

By Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Here they are, the winners and full list of the sparkling moments that made AFI Fest presented by AUDI a hit this year: AFI FEST 2014 presented by Audi ANNOUNCES JURY AND AUDIENCE AWARD-WINNING FILMS Encore Screenings of Selected Award-Winning Films at the Chinese 6 Theatres Today LOS ANGELES, CA, November 13, 2014 – AFI FEST 2014 presented by Audi today announced this year's Jury and Audience Awards for features and s...

AFI & Hollywood Bow for Sophia Loren on 50th Anniversary of “Marriage Italian Style”

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Between Charlton Heston on Jan. 8 at #119 and Kirk Douglas on Nov. 1 at #121 in 1962, Sophia Loren would be the #120th handprint and footprint ceremony at famed The Chinese in Hollywood on July 26, 1962. She was 28 years old, and Natalie Wood had received her star the year prior. The next year a joint ceremony would be held for the dynamic and wildly popular married duo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. But Sophia Loren’s hands had barel...

AFI Reality Movies: American Sniper, SELMA, Tales of The Grim Sleeper

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Only Clint Eastwood could take the story of slain US Military Sniper Chris Kyle, who was mysteriously shot and killed at age 38 last year at a Texas gun range by a fellow vet, and make it a hit as well as a memorial to the man in question. The surprise screening of this highly anticipated feature film last night at AFI Fest presented by AUDI was a crowd-thriller, especially in its subtlety, its restrained sound design, the whoosh of wind, the cr...

AFI World Premiere: Mark Wahlberg Puts His Chips on Oscar in The Gambler, All In

Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Mark Wahlberg sits in a director’s chair on stage to a packed house at The Dolby Theater after the world premiere of his new film The Gambler at AFI Fest presented by AUDI, and says “there are four pictures on the wall in my basement. Steve McQueen, Jimmy Cagney, John Garfield… and James Caan. I wanted him (Caan) to see The Gambler. He comes over to my house, sees the pictures on the wall, and says ‘Did you put this up just...

POW! AFI Fest: Tons of Talent, Michael Keaton & Edward Norton, Plus Kristen Stewart, More A-Listers

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When Michael Keaton “was frozen” in a scene for the newly released Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, according to Edward Norton, who appeared with him at an AFI conversation on 11/8, “you could see he was having trouble.” “I mean, I don’t know if this story is apocryphal,” Norton offered, “but there’s this story I heard (from a director), that when Greta ...

Oscar Isaac: Probably Time for Oscar & AFI Fest 2014 Opens Wide

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   What is it about Oscar Isaac? When he and Jessica Chastain kicked off AFI Fest 2014 Opening Night with A Most Violent Year, the energy between the two of them was evident. Not because they both attended Juilliard, or because they are both born in March, or even the visible screen chemistry as a couple on film. But because if you trace both of their film choices, between the pair, you begin to see them build their credits and their onscr...

Living Legend Sophia Loren’s Top10 Fun Facts & AFI Star-Packed 2014 Fest Warms Up

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent When Sophia Loren was tapped as the banner honoree of the 2014 AFI FEST presented by AUDI, it was no surprise that they also dubbed her “one of the last living legends” of Hollywood. But that only begins to explain the career of Loren, having come from the proverbial nowhere to grace screens worldwide with a kind of charisma unseen in the bevy of ‘dark-haired beauties’ before her. As AFI opens its annual gala tomorrow, h...

Award Speculation Begins: Rosamund Pike vs Julianne vs Shailene, Who Gets Nods from Oscar?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It is a little early for Julianne Moore to run away with Best Actress heat for Still Alice, but Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars) already have made traction in the Oscar race so far.  The festival noise from Still Alice is deafening, and will catch up with the buzz early next month, but even the anticipation at seeing an early November pre-screening is adrenaline rush enough. Keep in mind, Julianne Mo...

What is ‘The Zero Theorem’? Eye-Popping Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Star & Helmer Terry Gilliam Roars

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Yesterday Christoph Waltz, a two-time Oscar winner, turned 58; and it’s a high probability that no one at his party told him he has made the most important movie of his career in The Zero Theorem, but he did. Anything Tilda Swinton is in, is usually great, this being no exception. Call it a Terry Gilliam magnum opus, once in a lifetime movie that proves all the math on the greatness of Brazil’s promise, but with extra gears both in i...

When Google Met Paramount, Or, Do We Have to Worry About ‘Multi-Platform’ Digital ‘Pacts’ Now?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent That loud booming noise, which is actually silent and internal, is Hollywood waking up to the Digital Era with the help of its own Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan, who has just hopped on the Google Platform that is about to shake the foundations of Tinseltown. Nolan's latest movie, Interstellar - a widely hyped dystopian space flick, out Nov. 7, will indeed change the world, at least the "it's a small, small, world" of insiders i...

Picture Up, Roll Sound: Salute to John Williams’ 49 Noms, Movie Music’s 49 Best List & More

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent Last night LA Philharmonic opened the season with a Tribute to John Williams, featuring virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman and his greatest movie music moments from Indiana Jones to Star Wars, so this is a perfect time to examine the world of cinema’s renowned music composers.  While none can match the record-stealing 49 Oscar nominations of Williams, some credit should go to the amazing cast of characters (say 49, why not?) who have ...

What is ISIS? Legacy on Fire: Attorney Vincent Bugliosi Wants You to See His Documentary

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   We’ve seen the beheadings, most recently of the French hostage by ISIS, and now with planes in the air, the why’s, what’s and how’s seem moot in comparison to the spectacle of torture videos, brazen threats against the West, and general fear-mongering. But Vincent Bugliosi, whose documentary The Prosecution of an American President will be out on Oct. 7,  is not afraid to ask the tough questions. This is a ...

The ReBranding of Bill Murray, “St. Vincent” of Haha, His Own Day & A Birthday 9/21

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent It’s a lucky thing for us Bill Murray, whose new movie St. Vincent even came with its own “Bill Murray Day” yesterday (Sept. 5) at the Toronto International Film Festival, dropped out of Jesuit college in his misspent youth to focus on being a comedian. In Murray fashion, the unlucky thing for him was that he got busted for Marijuana not long afterwards. The Illinois-born funny man, who celebrates a birthday on Sept. 21, is al...

The Anatomy of Award Shows, Why They Matter… Or Don’t

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent With Award Season around the corner, here’s everything you need to know about how these shows work. Maybe not everything, but from November to February in the US, this is the time of year when everyone in Hollywood switches into high gear.  The Academy Awards is the sine qua non of any future classic movie, driven by approximately 6000 industry voting members who vote in 25 categories. Last year, host Ellen Degeneres “broke...

What Has Keanu Reeves Been Up To? Quite a Lot, Actually & Makes It 'Rain' Soon

  by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   Everybody has their version of who Keanu Reeves is, that airhead guy from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure or the hero from Speed with Sandra Bullock or the enigmatic character in 47 Ronin released last year. And next he will star in and executive produce a TV series called "Rain." But wait, where has he been for the last few years? Noticeably on-and-off the Hollywood radar. Keanu, who turns 50 on Sept. 2, was ...

If You Loved Him in "Lucy", Korea's 'Robert De Niro' Choi Min-Sik Is "The Admiral" Next!

  by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent   Though the nickname may be over the top, actor Choi Min-Sik is often called the 'Robert De Niro' of Korea, and with the villain he plays opposite Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson's box office smash LUCY, you can see why some people would say this of him. Okay, okay, he is much younger (52) and some say better looking than Robert De Niro, but audiences sometimes need a peg to appreciate an international actor. With hi...
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