Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Film series begins tonight at Centenary

The Centenary Film Society of Centenary College will showcase an array of films from around the globe for its spring series.

The series begins tonight with a 7 p.m. screening of “Paris, je t’aime,” a collection of short films by 18 directors. Each short deals differently with the theme of love.

For 24 years, the society has been presenting films freely to students and the public.

All screenings begin at 7 p.m. in room 304 of Jackson Hall on Centenary’s campus.

For more information, call Centenary’s English department at (318) 869-5254 or email Leo Kacenjar at lkacenja@centenary.edu.

Jan. 29 and Jan. 31: "Paris, je t’aime" (France, 2006, in French with subtitles, 116 minutes).

Feb. 12 and Feb. 14: “10 Questions for the Dali Lama” (U.S., 2006, 85 minutes).

Feb. 19 and Feb. 21: “Talk to Me” (U.S., 2007, 118 minutes).

Feb. 26 and Feb. 28: “Vitus” (Switzerland, 2006, in German with subtitles, 123 minutes).

March 4 and March 6: “Rocket Science” (U.S., 2007, 101 minutes).

March 11 and March 13: “Terror’s Advocate” (France, 2007, in French with subtitles, 135 minutes).

March 25 and March 27: “The Perfect Crime” (Spain, 2004, in Spanish with subtitles, 105 minutes).

April 1 and April 3: “Fur” (U.S., 2006, 122 minutes).

April 8 and April 10: “Lust, Caution” (China, 2007, in Mandarin with subtitles, 148 minutes).

April 15 and April 17: “The Golden Door” (Italy, 2006, in Italian with subtitles, 118 minutes).

PHOTO: Don Cheadle star as Petey in Focus Features' Talk to Me. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/ Focus Features.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Shreve is hot, even when it's cold outside

Just as I file a story about nine local projects for The Shreve, the state goes and releases its monthly list of what's being made where. I thought I was days ahead, dagnabit! For the record, I beat 'em by about 15 minutes.

(For those of you who don't break news for a living, you have permission to slap me. But don't ever call me Shirley.)

Below is the state's release with all the phone numbers. My story includes a bit more info, including star and director tidbits.

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development. Here’s what’s happening for the last week of January 2008:

The New Line Cinema feature film "Final Destination 4" is in pre-production in New Orleans and will shoot March 3 through May 29. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 734-3403.

The Millennium feature film "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" starring Michael Douglas and Amber Tamblyn is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled for March 3rd through April 14. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at bardoubt@gmail.com. For casting information, please visit http://www.gloriosocasting.com/.

The Films in Motion feature film "The Abduction of Jesse Bookman" is in production in Baton Rouge through February 1. For more information, please e-mail Jason@filmsinmotion.com.

The Weinstein Company feature film "The Midnight Man" is in pre-production in Shreveport and will shoot 20 days beginning February 11. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 603-4562.

The independent feature film "The Open Road" is in pre-production in Baton Rouge. Details are coming soon.

The Universal Pictures feature film "Cirque du Freak" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from February 19 through June 1. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 571-2023.

The Weinstein Company feature film "Soul Men" starring Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson is in production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled through the end of March. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 429-7598.

The Screen Gems feature film "Mardi Gras" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled for March and April. Resumes are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Comedy Central television pilot "Speed Freaks" is in production in Shreveport and will shoot for one week beginning Jan. 28. Inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 676-0718.

The feature film "Tekken" is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled to begin Feb. 6 (corrected) for six weeks. Resumes and inquiries are currently be accepted by fax at (318) 603-4564. Tekken is looking for extras of Japanese ancestry. For more information, please visit http://www.gloriosocasting.com/.

The WWE feature film "Twelve Rounds" is in pre-production in New Orleans and will shoot Feb. 25 through May 12. Resumes are being accepted by e-mail at torossi@earthlink.net.

The Weinstein Company feature film "The Untitled Ice Cube Movie" (previously "Comeback") starring Ice Cube is in production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled through Feb. 14. Inquiries can be faxed to (318) 698-1301. For casting information, please visit http://www.bamcastingla.com/.

The Sony Studios Pictures feature film "Year One" starring Jack Black and Michael Cera is in production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled through the end of March. Inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 673-9705. For casting more information, please call (267) 295-7838.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at http://www.lafilm.org/.

Glen Grefe wants you

All sorts of things show up on Craig's List, don't they? Low-budget indie filmmaker Glen Grefe is in town, and he's planning on shooting his next horror flick here. If you need a better idea of what Glen does, click here for info on "The Nutcracker." (I take it this wasn't a ballet.) Here's also started a new blog for his new project, "The Hurting Kind," here.

Below is the verbatim post on CL:

Some of you in Los Angeles know Shreve' is the hot spot to shoot right now. I'm living here in Shreve' now, so the shoot is here. If you're from Louisiana, now's a good a time as any to come back home - if you're not (I'm originally from MN), and have been thinking about doing a production here to check out all the fuss, come on out and enjoy the Southern hospitality.

I'm Co-Producing and Directing; script is going through breakdown/scheduling phase and a series of trailers will need to be shot asap to correspond with publicity/fundraising/promotional/buzz strategy. I have helmed a feature before (Northern California) which is now on IMDB, Amazon and Blockbuster, shot several shorts, film graduate, etc., over many years, so I have somewhat of a track record; you can check IMDB listing/resume.

Candidates who have feature Production experience a plus; and any who are Northwestern Louisiana natives an even bigger plus.

Key production team needed:
Production Manager
Production Coordinator
Location Manager

I want the production to be organized, confident and professional, but also a fun and wonderful experience you will be thankful to have worked on. The screenplay is fantastic, by a newly published novelist based out of Memphis, TN.

Email me, I'll answer your questions, we'll go from there.

-Glen Grefe

'Tekken' needs Japanese extras

Glorioso Casting is in search of Japanese extras for this videogame-inspired martial arts flick. The futuristic "Tekken" starts shooting February in The Shreve.

Paid opportunities that were emailed out are below. Call Jay DeFelice of Glorioso for more info: (318) 603-4560.

Iron Fist Officials (male and female - in at least decent shape no one older looking than 50's)
12 days
Thurs 2/7, Thurs 2/21, Mon 3/3, Tues 3/4, wed 3/5, Thurs 3/6, Mon3/10, Tues 3/11, Mon 3/17, Tues 3/18, Tues 3/25, Wed 3/26

Misihima Asst. (young good looking female)
5 days
Thurs Feb 7, Monday March 3, Wed March 5, Mon March 17, Fri March 21

2 Mishima's Attendants (young good looking females)
1 day
Thurs Feb 7

Kazyua Asst (young good looking female)
2 days
Thursday Feb 7, Friday Feb 29

Kazuya Security (big, strong male)
6 Days
Wed Feb 6, Thurs Feb 7, Fri Feb 29, Fri March 21, Tues March 25, Wed March 26

Misihima Security (big, strong male)
5 days
Wed Feb 6, Mon March 17, Thurs March 20, Fri March 21, Wed March 26

3 Japanese Yuppie Males (have attitude, 20's & 30's looking)
Tues Feb 5

3 Young, beautiful Japanese females (with Yuppies)
Tues Feb 5

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Actors' Showcase stages passion, humor

I dropped by the Actors Cafe tonight to check out the new Actors' Showcase. The Thursday night event offers local talent a chance to get on stage and unleash a monologue, some spoken word, or a song. Perhaps a line from John Chambers' monologue sums up the crowd's spirit best: "I'm good, and I'm quite sexy."

Below are some of my pics. The Actors Cafe is a bar and restaurant at 1401 Fairfield Ave. Scroll down a couple posts for more info.

John Chambers.

Josh Davis, Jevon Miller and Sergio March.

Willie Hanks.

Actors' Showcase snapshots part 2

Cassie Watson.

Jacqueline Hunter and Jacqueline Hunter.

James Palmer.

Jevon Miller and Lee Nguyen.

Monologue Death Match?

There's a new game in town, and it sounds amusing. The Actors Cafe is hosting an "Actors' Showcase" on Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Host and talent agent Jeffrey Nightbyrd (Acclaim Talent) is billing it as half "Gong Show," half monologue contest. The idea is that actors get on stage, perform their favorite excerpt for five minutes and see if the crowd digs.

No dig? Gong.

There will be eight contests, and the best from each will advance towards the finals.

I'll be a fly on the wall tonight. All flyswatters will be confiscated at the door.

WHAT: Actors' Showcase.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursdays.
WHERE: 1401 Fairfield Ave. (formerly Bear's Cafe), Shreveport. Questions? (318) 367-0008.

PHOTO: Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Learn the Mary Thoma method!

Mary Thoma will present two workshops for kids and teens on Feb. 2. Who's Mary? She's very active in the local theater community. She teaches at Southfield Middle. And she gets parts in local TV and film projects. Need more? Email her at mmatters3@bellsouth.net.

Don't think she's a method actress, but you never know. I'd personally love to see an 8-year-old pull off the line, "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley."

WHEN: Feb. 2.
AGES 8 to 10: 9 a.m. to noon. $50.
AGES 11 to 17: 1 to 5 p.m. $60.
WHERE: Shreveport Little Theatre, 812 Margaret Place.
TO REGISTER: SLT box office at (318) 424-4439 between noon and 4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Or, email Mary at mmatters3@bellsouth.net.
DEADLINE: noon Feb. 1. Payment due in full.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger: 1979-2008

The news of Heath Ledger's death surprised us today. He seems to have been an actor who stood for craft first and foremost. Early on, he famously ditched a career path leading toward teen flick stardom and sought tougher roles. It wasn’t just a publicity stunt, either. He was getting the work and doing well.

What’s curious to me, on one level, is how sudden deaths of film actors affect us. I’m a bit sad right now, and I think I know why. As a movie lover who fashions a leisure life by following certain actors and directors, I acknowledge that Ledger treated to me to scenes of genuine feeling, moments that felt authentic. For that, I feel indebted to him.

No one who saw "Brokeback Mountain" can forget how heartbreaking his performance was as a conflicted, lonely gay cowboy. Read what NYT's Stephen Holden expressed: "Both Mr. Ledger and Mr. Gyllenhaal make this anguished love story physically palpable. Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn."

I also admired Ledger's work in "Casanova" and "Monster's Ball."

Though the circumstances of their deaths were different, Ledger's career strikes me as comparable to James Dean's. Ledger's turn in "Brokeback Mountain" earned him as many accolades as spoofs, just as Dean earned for "Rebel Without a Cause." To paraphrase, "Once you've been parodied, you've made it." If Ledger wasn't an icon yet, he was well on his way, whether he sought it or not.

PHOTO: Focus Features.

Second thoughts on Oscar nominations?

The Oscars divide our taste, and no voices are more conflicting than the critics at The New York Times. Check out their wish lists.

In your opinion, what got snubbed? Please add your comments.

I've got my feelings about what's been overlooked. After this post (and some comments), I'll be done whining. At least publicly.

Josh Brolin should have scored an acting nod for either "American Gangster" or, even better, "No Country for Old Men." He's been stellar this year. Remember "Grindhouse?" He was even better in a purposefully bad movie.

Emile Hirsch got robbed by not earning a best actor nod for "Into the Wild."

Angelina Jolie deserved a nod for "A Mighty Heart."

Nothing for "Zodiac?" Come on now. Nothing?

No David Cronenberg for best director? "Eastern Promises" was worthy, and he films the most interesting scenes of screen violence, hands down. I'm thrilled for Viggo's best actor nod, though.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" cleaned up in technical award nominations, but isn't Matt Damon pretty damn interesting as an amnesiac?
Enough me. Now you.

If Ivan Reitman fathered Jason Reitman, then did ... ?

Maybe "Junior" wasn't such a bad idea after all.

And all the nominees are …

80th Academy Award nominations

Best motion picture of the year

  • "Atonement" (Focus Features), A Working Title Production; Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
  • "Juno" (Fox Searchlight), A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production; Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
  • "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), A Clayton Productions, LLC Production; Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production; Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production; JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Achievement in directing

  • "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Julian Schnabel
  • "Juno" (Fox Searchlight) Jason Reitman
  • "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) Tony Gilroy
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
  • Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
  • Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
  • Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
  • Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
  • Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
  • Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
  • Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
  • Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
  • Ellen Page in "Juno" (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
  • Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
  • Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
  • Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
  • Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Adapted screenplay

  • "Atonement" (Focus Features) Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
  • "Away from Her" (Lionsgate) Written by Sarah Polley
  • "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay

  • "Juno" (Fox Searchlight) Written by Diablo Cody
  • "Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM) Written by Nancy Oliver
  • "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) Written by Tony Gilroy
  • "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Screenplay by Brad Bird, Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
  • "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight) Written by Tamara Jenkins

Best animated feature film of the year

  • "Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
  • "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Brad Bird
  • "Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Achievement in art direction

  • "American Gangster" (Universal), Art Direction: Arthur Max, Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
  • "Atonement" (Focus Features), Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • "The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners), Art Direction: Dennis Gassner, Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount), Art Direction: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Art Direction: Jack Fisk, Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in cinematography

  • "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.) Roger Deakins
  • "Atonement" (Focus Features) Seamus McGarvey
  • "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Janusz Kaminski
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design

  • "Across the Universe" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
  • "Atonement" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
  • "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
  • "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
  • "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Best documentary feature

  • "No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures), A Representational Pictures Production, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
  • "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group), A Documentary Group Production, Richard E. Robbins
  • "Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company), A Dog Eat Dog Films Production, Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
  • "Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm), An X-Ray Production, Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
  • "War/Dance" (THINKFilm), A Shine Global and Fine Films Production, Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best documentary short subject

  • "Freeheld," A Lieutenant Films Production, Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
  • "La Corona (The Crown)," A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production, Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
  • "Salim Baba," A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production, Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
  • "Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild), A Daylight Factory Production, James Longley

Achievement in film editing

  • "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Christopher Rouse
  • "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
  • "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

Best foreign language film of the year

  • "Beaufort" A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production, Israel
  • "The Counterfeiters" An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production, Austria
  • "Katyń" An Akson Studio Production, Poland
  • "Mongol" A Eurasia Film Production, Kazakhstan
  • "12" A Three T Production, Russia

Achievement in makeup

  • "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
  • "Norbit" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
  • "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • "Atonement" (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
  • "The Kite Runner" (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias
  • "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
  • "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
  • "3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • "Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
  • "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney). Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
  • "Raise It Up" from "August Rush" (Warner Bros.) Nominees to be determined
  • "So Close" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney), Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
  • That's How You Know" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney), Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best animated short film

  • "I Met the Walrus," A Kids & Explosions Production, Josh Raskin
  • "Madame Tutli-Putli" (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
  • "Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)" (Premium Films), A BUF Compagnie Production, Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
  • "My Love (Moya Lyubov)" (Channel One Russia), A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production, Alexander Petrov
  • "Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films), A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production, Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film

  • "At Night," A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production, Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
  • "Il Supplente (The Substitute)" (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production, Andrea Jublin
  • "Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Premium Films) A Karé Production, Philippe Pollet-Villard
  • "Tanghi Argentini" (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production, Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
  • "The Tonto Woman" A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production, Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing

  • "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal), Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Skip Lievsay
  • "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
  • "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Matthew Wood
  • "Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro), Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing

  • "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
  • "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
  • "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
  • "3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate) Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
  • "Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects

  • "The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners) Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
  • "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney) John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
  • "Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

And the best picture nominations are ...

"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

See the rest of the nominations here. There was nothing for "The Great Debaters." "Juno" seems to have been the big winner here. Nominations in many major categories, including best pic, best actress, best screenplay, best director (and maybe more ... I'm writing fast). "No Country" and "Blood" did best in total numbers: 8 award nods each.

"Atonement" was left out of the directing category, but scored some other big nods.

And "Michael Clayton" is a seriously strong contender, nods include best pic, best director, best screenplay, best supporting actress, best score.

How'd I do in my best pic picks? Four out of five. And last year's champ chris-brad? Four out of five. IT'S ON NOW!

My guess for "Zodiac," however, was a lost cause. It didn't get any nominations. (A bit shocking, that. Methinks the votes are too end-of-the-year centric.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Can you pic the best pics?

The Oscar nominations will be announced during the wee hours Tuesday. In the spirit of fun (and public embarrassment), I'm venturing a guess on what will be nominated for best pic. If I get two right, I'll be happy.

Here are my predictions:

"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

What about you? Pick your poisons.

I think the following have a shot at unseating the above:

"Eastern Promises"
"The Great Debaters" (Go home team!)
"Into the Wild"
"Michael Clayton"
"Sweeney Todd"

And of the pictures I've seen, I'd go for these:

"Eastern Promises" ("Shower scene" rivals "Psycho's.")
"Into the Wild" (Emile Hirsch. Period.)
"No Country for Old Men" (I'm still wetting my pants. Coens' best pic since "Fargo.")
"Ratatouille" (I don't care if it is animation. It deserves best pic consideration, and I'm still hungry.)
"Zodiac" (Craft is just as tight as "No Country for Old Men," though both pictures left me a bit cold.)

And I still need to see "There Will Be Blood!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

'Mad Money' to take no. 7

The locally made heist comedy looks like it will earn $7.7 million this weekend, a total that will earn it 7th place in domestic box office. Not so hot. Tops will be "Cloverfield" with $41 million.

Click here to read the chart at BoxOfficeMojo.com.

"The Great Debaters" has earned about $27.8 million to date.

On a separate note, Academy Awards nominations are coming Tuesday morning. Get ready to pick your favorites.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grand Theater coming together at the Robinson Film Center

Chris Jay from the Robinson Film Center sent this pic of the progress at its downtown building. It shows the Grand Theater, which is the larger of the two movie theaters at the soon-to-open indie moviehouse and education center.

Workers are installing the stadium seating. You can "buy a seat" as a donation for 500 bucks. (318) 424-9090 for info.

RFC will have a soft opening in March and a grand opening in May.

Where's the bank in 'Mad Money?' It's no secret

When you watch "Mad Money" this weekend you'll see Shreveport doubling for Kansas City, where a trio of working class women conspire to rip off the Federal Reserve Bank.

The staff at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum will have plenty to howl about today when they go see the movie. Their building's rotunda was transformed into a bank lobby, where bank employees get screened by security.

Nancy McInnis is an executive administrative assistant at the museum. She said that she and the staff got to hang around and watch during two days worth of filming.

"The filming was actually made right where my desk is. They cleared out everything in the entrance of the rotunda. They floored over the topographical map," McInnis said. Trust me, covering that map had to be a huge ordeal, since it was just restored to its original form.

"The artisans that worked here, they were so nice. They came days in advance to match the marble and the oak wood."

Sounds like the camera crew was pretty accommodating. "We say them cut. We saw them start. We even looked at them through their lens."

Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise and Suri were on set or in a room near the set, which must have been pretty neat. McInnis almost gave Suri a souvenir: "I was in there where she was and she almost took my earring off!"

When you see the movie, please come back and post your thoughts about other locations. I especially hope to read some sarcastic chatter about Keaton and "Ms. Daisy." (You'll get it when you see it!)

PHOTO: Mike Silva/The Times.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Directors, studios reach deal

You can read my "Mad Money" review here. Want a second opinion? Keep track of what the other critics are saying at Metacritic.com. More important in today's news, however, is this AP story: Directors, studios reach deal. This has huge implications for the ongoing writers' strike.

P.S. The DGA outlined the highlights of the deal on its Web site. Click here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

'Little Chenier,' a Louisiana indie, debuts Friday

Holy whirlwind working schedule, Batman! I've been busier than a bug in Charlie Wilson's office. Sorry for my absence.

I saw "Mad Money" last night in Dallas, and my review will publish Friday (Thursday evening on the Web.) I'm sure you're canceling your plans.

I also had an absolutely fantastic conversation with Bethany Ashton Wolf this week. Who's she? She directed "Little Chenier," a Louisiana-shot feature starring Johnathon Schaech (that's right, "Road House 2") and Clifton Collins ("Thief," "Capote"), among others.

The little indie gets a regional release Friday and will play in Bossier City and the Regal Louisiana Boardwalk Stadium 14.

It's a drama set in the swamps of Cajun country. It wrapped produced just 31 days before Hurricane Rita wiped out most of its locations in and around the community of Little Chenier. The filmmakers used something like 38 locations spread out over 100 miles, and they had to use john boats to travel to and fro. You can read all about the plot, stories and backstory at http://www.acajunstory.com/.

My story and short review about "Little Chenier" publish Friday, too. (Yet more reasons to clear your schedule.)

The story surrounds a mentally retarded character named Pemon, whose brother protects him from a really, really bad sheriff. The story never makes Pemon's disability crystal clear, because Wolf thought it was unnecessary to the story.

Actor Fred Koehler's portrayal is pretty remarkable. "I wanted it to be about his heart and how pure his heart was and very much how a child is," Wolf said. "You’re seeing a person in his whole being and whole soul and from a very childlike perspective. It’s raw and beautiful and honest."

The project is definitely worth a look.

If you don't go for drama, at least go for the alligator. Yes, it's a Louisiana movie and it features a devilish one. Clifton Collins' character gets a little wrestlin' in (via stuntman).

The gator is real. "Her name is Rapper. She was brought in on an 18 wheeler flatbed truck. It took 18 people to lift her and put her in the water," Wolf said. "We did it near the end of the shoot because a lot of people were arguing saying that we should use a fake alligator."

A fake, animatronic one from the movie "Adaptation" was offered up as an alternative, but Wolf wouldn't have it. She's from Lake Charles, dagnabbit. "I’m from Louisiana where people wrestle alligators."

Apparently, a lot of locals were working on the shoot and Wolf had some street cred to defend. She thought, "We’re not going to embarrass ourselves by having this cheap, fake little alligator."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

'Queen Sized' debuts tonight

The Shreveport-shot Lifetime movie premieres tonight. Stars Nikki Blonsky ("Hairspray") and Annie Potts. TV Guide and MyLifetime.com provided a bit of coverage here and here (video interviews). Feel free to post your comments if you catch it.

It airs tonight, Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m.

PHOTO: "Queen Sized" stars Nikki Blonsky as Maggie Baker and Lilly Hollemon as Chelsea. (Lifetime Entertainment)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Olivia Newton-John records tracks for 'Sordid Lives' at Fairfield Studios

Last weekend, Olivia Newton-John wandered into Fairfield Studios in Shreveport to record five songs for "Sordid Lives," and TV series currently being shot in Shreveport.

Fairfield Studio's Dana McCommon (pictured) was a fan of hers and remains a fan. Along with producer/writer Amy Sky, they spent 20-plus hours recording the tracks. "She’s as impressive as you’d think someone with a 40-year music career would be," McCommon said.

What's being shot in January

Here's the latest update from the state:

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development. Here's what's happening for the second week of January 2008:

The Comedy Central television pilot “Speed Freaks” is in preproduction in Shreveport and will shoot for one week beginning Jan. 28. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 676-0718.

The Universal Pictures feature film “Cirque du Freak” is in preproduction in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from February 19 through June 1. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 571-2023.

The Weinstein Company feature film “Soul Men” starring Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled for January 22nd through the end of March. Resumes are being accepted by fax at (318) 429-7598.

The Screen Gems feature film “Mardi Gras” is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled for March and April. Resumes are currently being accepted by e-mail at mardigrasprod@yahoo.com.

The feature film based on the videogame “Tekken” is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled to begin Feb. 5 for six weeks. Resumes for all crew positions are currently be accepted by fax at (318) 603-4564.

The WWE feature film “Twelve Rounds” is in pre-production in New Orleans and will shoot Feb. 25 through May 12. Resumes are being accepted by e-mail at torossi@earthlink.net .

The Weinstein Company feature film “The Comeback” starring Ice Cube is in production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled through Feb. 14. Inquiries can be faxed to (318) 698-1301. For casting information, please visit www.bamcastingla.com.

The Sony Studios Pictures feature film “The Year One” starring Jack Black and Michael Cera is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled from January through March of 2008. Resumes for crew are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 673-9705. For casting more information, please call (267) 295-7838.

The Nu Image/Millennium feature film “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” is in pre-production in Shreveport. Details are coming soon.

The cable television series “Sordid Lives” is shooting in Shreveport through Jan. 25. Please fax inquiries to (318) 603-4571. For casting information, please visit www.gloriosocasting.com.

The Disney children's television show “The Imagination Movers” is in production in New Orleans will shoot through March of 2008. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 818-3840.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at http://www.lafilm.org.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How good is Denzel? Ask Harry

A few days ago, I received this letter from Harry Brown Sr. He worked as an extra on "The Great Debaters." He was inspired by the experience, so I'll share the letter with you:

On or about May 16, 2007, I had the opportunity to work as an "Extra" in "The Great Debaters" in Mansfield, Louisiana. This was an opportunity that never in my life would I dream of doing. I'm a retired Deputy Sheriff now working as an Investigator for the Ouachita Parish District Attorney's Office in Monroe, Louisiana.

I share my story because I may encourage someone to do the unthinkable. Denzel Washington is not only a movie star but above all a great person. Day after day I observed his character, his morals and his mannerism. Mr. Washington has truly been blessed with talent beyond measures. An all-around sense of knowing how to get things done. Great accomplishments and wonderful actor/teacher/instructor a hard-working person. The entire staff was just GREAT. They made everyone feel like a movie star. I never realized the many hours of labor that goes into producing a great movie. I have a better appreciation of the movie industry.

Mr. Washington helped me to realize that I had potentials. His words of inspiration I will always remember. At the age of 58 I'm planning on taking the task of engaging in the classes and any teaching tools that will help me to pursue other opportunities in the filming business. Mr. Washington may never know but he enriched my life so much. It was not about the money that I was paid. I met wonderful people and made new friends. These are memories that will last a life time.

After watching the movie on Christmas with family and friends I was delighted to see myself appearing three to four times in the movie. I wish Mr. Washington much success and I know whatever his next movie is, it will be blessed.

PHOTO: On Dec. 13, 2007, Denzel Washington answers questions during a press conference before the premiere of "The Great Debaters" in Marshall, Texas. (Shane Bevel/The Times)

PHOTO 2: Harry Brown Sr.

‘The Year One,’ ‘Tekken’ to hold casting calls

Two movies scheduled to be shot in northwest Louisiana are hosting casting calls. Anyone interested in working on the film as extras can register at two separate events.

“The Year One,” a biblical themed comedy starring Jack Black, will hold a casting call on Sunday (Jan. 13) between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. It will be held in Minden at Mt. Calm Baptist Church, 331 Bailey St.

The Sony project, which begins shooting Monday, is looking for people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. For more information, call the casting hotline at (267) 295-7838.

Those who cannot attend the casting call can register to work as an extra by creating an account at http://www.myhollywoodconnect.com/ or mail a headshot and contact info to Garden Films Inc., 400 Clyde Fant Memorial Parkway, Shreveport, La., 71101.


The futuristic martial arts movie “Tekken” will hold an open casting call Jan. 19 between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Multicultural Center of the South.

The movie is based on the popular videogame and stars Jon Foo (“House of Fury,” “The Protector”). “Tekken” will begin shooting in early February.

Glorioso Casting is looking for extras and featured extras of all ages and ethnicities. Applicants should bring a nonreturnable photo of themselves, if possible. If a photo can’t be provided, casting directors will take one.

Cost of application is free. For more information, call the casting company at (318) 603-4560. Persons who cannot attend the casting call can register at http://www.gloriosocasting.com/.

The Multicultural Center of the South is located at 401 Texas St. in downtown Shreveport.

HGTV series looking to profile home histories

The HGTV series “If Walls Could Talk” plans to visit Shreveport and the Ark-La-Tex to shoot stories about house mysteries. For the half-hour episodes, homeowners typically make intriguing discoveries about their home’s history. Over 200 episodes have aired during the eight-season run of the series.

“The homeowners have to find artifacts to support the story,” said show representative Jenna Friederich, “and it must related back to the history of the house.”The series plans to film in Shreveport and the surrounding two-hour radius in late February or early March. Friedrich said it was important for homeowners to contact her sooner than later to make certain each story gets proper consideration.

“If Walls Could Talk” is produced for HGTV by High Noon Entertainment of Denver, Colo.

Homeowners interested in getting on the show should contact Friederich at (303) 712-3146 or jfriederich@highnoonentertainment.com.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Golden Globes coverage plans? No 'small pocket' surprises

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced its new coverage plan for the Golden Globes. Basically, it translates as: No writers? No champagne dinner. No fun.

Winners will be announced during a press conference 8 p.m. Sunday on NBC, meaning that the traditionally buzzed actors won't have an opportunity to give fully lubricated acceptance speeches. Remember Sacha Baron Cohen's "breathe in the air that had been trapped in a small pocket between his buttocks for 30 years" speech? You ain't hearin' one like it this year.

Here's what HFPA said: "We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007’s outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television," said Jorge Camara, President of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. "We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year’s Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled."

Here's what I say: "Pppbbttt."

Fortunately for you, the best movie blogger on the planet -- if you don't know The Carpetbagger, I present to you joy -- has something more to say about the endangered 2008 award shows. Click here for his NYT article.

Local filmmaker directs music vid

Stephen Patrick Walker directed this music vid for Forever Like Red, a band fronted by Shreveport native Cameron Meshell. The band just signed with a London label.

Walker is an indie film director and a local movie industry entrepreneur.

Jeffrey Goodman to speak Jan. 8

Independent film director Jeffrey Goodman ("The Last Lullaby") will speak tomorrow at the January Louisiana Produces meeting. The monthy meetup offers you a chance to get up to speed on in-state production trends. Details below.

If you go
WHAT: Louisiana Produces monthly meetup.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 8).
WHERE: Bossier Parish Community College, Building D.

Goodman's also teaching classes on film at LSUS and BPCC beginning next week. For LSUS info, call the admissions office at (318) 797-5061 or the liberal arts college at (318) 797-5371.

For BPCC info, call the telecommunications division at (318) 678-6038.

PHOTO: Jeffrey Goodman on the set of "The Last Lullaby." (Greg Pearson/The Times)

Were you in 'Mad Money?'

Who worked on "Mad Money," which was shot here in 2007? You probably remember it starred Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton.

The movie gets released nationally Jan. 18.

I'm looking for folks -- be you crew or extras --- to share some of experiences. Please drop me a line at (318) 459-3256 or email me at akent@gannett.com.
PHOTO: Jim Hudelson/The Times.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

HD vendor has high-end doodads

Because I know you like high-end HD – I mean, what self-respecting blog reader doesn't? – I offer these.

Pictured are the Sony F23 CineAlta digital cinema camera system (top) and the Vision Research Phantom HD (bottom). Pretty neat pieces of gear, really. The latter can shoot at 1,000 frames per second. Talk about super slow-mo!

Your semi-intrepid reporter visited with Michael Ciancio of 4:4:4 Camera this morning. He opened the rental shop in downtown Shreveport and hopes to add HD equipment and expertise to the local market. Read my Times story here. Good info for those DPs out there.

I asked Michael some reasonably interesting questions about choosing HD over 35 mm film. He said lower budget features, which are this market's bread and butter, are more inclined to consider using high-end HD than big budget features. Why? Here are a few concise reasons:

Generally speaking, "The more you shoot, the cheaper HD is."

While shooting, "There is more clarity in what the image is going to look like."

"In editorial, the access to the image is immediate."

In some respects, these snippets suggest that you can accelerate the production process – or at the very least, streamline it – by shooting on HD. For penny-pinching producers and studios, this can translate into saving some coin.

P.S. I shot these photos. Aren't they special? There's nothing more awkward than shooting a picture of a director of photography, which Michael is. Oh, well. At least he didn't have the power to fire me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

'The Great Debaters' doing mild business

"The Great Debaters" landed in 11th place this weekend at the box office. It made $6 million, according to http://www.boxofficemojo.com/, from Dec. 28 through Dec. 30.

As I've mentioned before, it's only on 1,171 screens, which is less than a third of the screens being used for each of this week's top three.

Through Jan. 1, "Debaters" made a bit more than $16.4 million. Not too shabby for an 8-day total. But certainly not overwhelming, either.

While it's weekend per screen average was a healthy $5,128, it was lagging well behind "National Treasure," "Chipmunks" and "I Am Legend" in that department.

The performance can be considered a bit disappointing for a flick starring two of Hollywood's A-list talents: Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. Granted, it's a drama inspired by a little known subject, but the star power should be attracting more attention than it has so far. On average, a Denzel pic brings in about $44 million in domestic box office.

Perhaps the Golden Globes can give it a little boost. It was nominated in the best dramatic pic category.

And how's 'The Mist?'

Shreveport's previous big release, "The Mist," has also performed modestly at the box office: $25.3M to date, according to http://www.boxofficemojo.com/.

For "The Mist," what's interesting to note is that the pairing of Frank Darabont (director) and Stephen King produced mixed results in the past. "The Shawshank Redemption" only made $28.3 million in the domestic box office, but it's been on cable seemingly every minute since its 1994 release.

"The Green Mile" (1999) on the other hand, was box office gold: $136.8 million.

Will "The Mist" find its audience on cable or DVD? Perhaps. Time will tell.

Needless to say, Shreveport hasn't produced a blockbuster yet ($100 million threshhold). What will eclipse the mark first? "Mad Money?" "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins?" Or do we have to wait until "Year One?"

'Harold & Kumar' head to the naughty corner

The new trailers for "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" are filthy, which means I don't need to write more because you've already clicked the link.

If you're at work, careful now. (It's my job, so I'm OK.) The stoner franchise (?) sequel was shot here early in 2007.

The official Web site (linked above) features an age-restricted trailer that includes a bum shot. You decide if that's the English or American usage of the term.

What do you think of the trailer? I'm seeing John Waters references. And a unicorn replacing the cheetah. Hmm. Very interesting. Very interesting, indeed. Neil Patrick Harris is obviously stretching the boundaries of his craft.

The Web site has a curiously funny alternate address: http://www.whatwouldnphdo.com/.

IMDb.com has an April 25, 2008, release date.

PHOTO: John Cho ("Harold", left), Bruce Terris (first assistant director, center) and Kal Penn ("Kumar", right) ride the escalator at the Shreveport Regional Airport between takes of "Harold & Kumar 2." The movie wrapped production in Shreveport on March 14, 2007. (Jaimie Trueblood/New Line Cinema)