George Kennedy. 1925-2016

Prolific character actor, George Kennedy, who has over 150 film and TV credits, has passed on. Doing yeoman’s work in TV westerns, sitcoms, cop shows, at the beginning of the medium before catching a big break as one of the (several) villains in Stanley Donen’s Charade, Kennedy followed that with guest spots on bigger TV westerns such as Gunsmoke, The Virginian and Bonanza. Significant parts in high profile films like The Dirty Dozen and Cool Hand Luke (where he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar) cemented his prolific career playing toughs, bosses, side-kicks and walk-ons. Kennedy also starred in the Airport disaster movies, which Zucker, Abrams, Zucker parodied with Airplane! and despite not being in either of those spoofs, ZAZ did cast him as Frank Drebin’s boss in the Naked Gun! series, where he was was a perfect fit, with such a familiar face from so much TV work.

The Wrap has more.

Bookmarks for June 23rd

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What we’ve been reading – June 23rd:

Scorsese Loves Ol’ Blue Eyes

There’s no reason to be surprised at the fact that Martin Scorsese will be directing a biopic on Frank Sinatra. Scorsese seems, to me at least, a man interested in the past; the colourful characters; the music, the clothes; a time when entertaining was serious business. Not that it’s no longer serious but it seems that entertainers today hit their peak at 20 and go downhill from there whereas in the 40s and 50s, there was a different calibre of entertainer. One that was experienced, suave and a smooth talker.

Sinatra had a colourful career full of successes and failures but when he was on, he was on. Ol’ Blue Eyes could melt women at the knees with a song or a look while men wanted to be as cool and he was and though I’ve never considered him much of an actor, he sure looked great on screen.

No news on who’s going to star in the movie but like Cinematical, I can’t help but wonder out loud if Scorsese will approach his go-to guy Leonardo DiCaprio. He certainly has the acting chops and looking at the picture below, he can certainly look the part, but can he sing? Better yet, will he have to sing? And if not DiCaprio, who? We’ll have to wait and see but for the time being, just know that it’s coming.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I must get reacquainted with the Chairman of the Board.

Leonardo Di Caprio and Frank Sinatra

Zenith of Hotness

Helen MirrenEver have that conversation? You know the one where you’re talking about an actor or actress and trying to decide when they became inhumanly hot; when they reached the pinnacle of looking so great that they cause viewers to break out in sweat while sitting in a theatre with 400 of their closest friends?

Kurt will appreciate how this site got started. A couple of guys talking movies and playing a game where you name another movie that starred an actor/actress in the previous one. It went something like this:

JAMES: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

DARREN: George Clooney.

JAMES: Out of Sight.

DARREN: Jennifer Lopez.

JAMES: Nice. You know, that was her at her hottest.

DARREN: Agreed. The zenith of her hotness.

And that’s how Zenith of Hotness came about. It’s pretty simple: an actor or actress, a listing of movies that they’ve been in, some picutres, a poll and tada! The resulting greatness is the Zenith of Hotness. It’s still a little bare at the moment but worry not, you can suggest your favourite actor and actress via Twitter.

What are you waiting for?

A Plea to Kevin Costner

Kevin CostnerOh Kevin. What happened to you Kevin? You made some great films, then some not so great ones and then you seemed to fall right off the radar. And then there was Mr. Brooks. Not exactly spectacular stuff but it seemed like you were on your way back but alas, it materialized into nothing and sadly your track record doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Tell me, why. Why you would agree to star in a movie which is such a sadly obvious attempt to say something poignant about the current state of the economy? In The Company Men you’re going to play a drywall installer who gives his recently laid off from Wall Street brother-in-law a job. I’m assuming that somewhere in there you’re also going to teach him a lesson about how money isn’t everything and that it’s the little things that matter. I know working alongside Ben Affleck is exciting but I have a feeling you signed on to work with Tommy Lee Jones whose role is to play the moral catalyst in the entire thing, likely stepping up to his greedy partners. Or maybe you’re just doing for it for the money. I can respect that; I know that producing a follow up to Dances with Wolves is expensive but maybe you should have waited for Mr. Brooks 2: A Daughter’s Revenge to start production.

Will I watch? Maybe not. I thought I’d give you another chance with Swing Vote but I couldn’t even get up the energy to rent the bloody thing never mind take myself to the theatre to see it. At this rate, your HSX stock must be in the $.50 range. I don’t want to lose faith in you but when you keep making films that sound this bad, it can’t be helped. But who knows. Maybe I’ll be surprised. If anyone can surprise me Kevin it’s you.

At least I still have my extended version of Waterworld to keep me going for a little longer but give this girl a break. You’re killing me and at some point, you’re going to have to give me a lifeline.

Bloom Goes Indie

Orlando BloomOrlando Bloom seemed to come out of nowhere in 2001 when Peter Jackson cast him in the role of Legolas in the first Lord of the Rings film. Bloom had little chance to really act but that didn’t stop girls from fawning over the handsome Brit. It’s fair to say that when Bloom popped up again in 2004, people were disappointed. For the most part, Troy was considered a disappointment and outside of a few good performances, one of which was not Bloom, the film is forgettable trash.

Among the other disappointments (Haven, Elizabethtown and his flat performance in the Pirates films) there have been a few minor successes. Granted, he may not be a great actor, but Bloom does have a little talent that goes further than just a few sultry looks. The low budget Australian film Ned Kelly, which also starred Heath Ledger, was much better than I had anticipated in large part due to the performances from both actors. And then there’s Ridley Scott’s much disliked Kingdom of Heaven. The final cut of the film was a disaster but it did showcase strong performances, including one from Bloom, and the director’s cut of the film really is worth a look.

Regardless of the good, Bloom is generally considered a poor actor and though that could mean career suicide for some, Bloom isn’t ready to sit back and let Hollywood cast him as the pretty boy. It was recently announced that Bloom would be stepping away from Hollywood and focusing on smaller productions, namely a new film by the talented Andrucha Waddington who impressed me with 2005’s House of Sand. The film is based on Bill Carter’s “Fools Rush In” which tells of Carter’s experiences living in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo during the 1992-95 siege.

It will be interesting to see how this project turns out. Waddington is a visionary director and I have no doubt the film will look fantastic but I’m on the fence as to whether Bloom’s acting abilities will meet the director’s talent. It’ll be a while before we see if he’s more than just a pretty face and until then, I’m happy to visit Legolas.