Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Marge, wake the neighbors. I'm coming home!"

Movie Blog Boy is tuckered out from Oscar coverage and needs a nap and makeover.

He and his team of image-minded masterminds are taking five days think about a wholesale wardrobe change, regimented ab workouts, vitamin drinks, a chin implant, sleep schedules, and split infinitives.

(In actuality, he's tripping it to the Great Frozen North, but his fibs are more fun than reality.)

Expect my return to the office on Tuesday, March 4, when blogging will be resumed at full blast.

I have two requests for you, my friends:

1) Are you from The Shreve and headed to South by Southwest in Austin? I'll be there between March 6-9 to cover the film festival and need co-conspirators. Send me an email if you're as lonely as me.

2) If you have news about casting calls, new productions or runaway celebrities, please let my boss know or simply post your notice to the comments field.

In the meantime, what kind of Midwest schwag can I score for you? Walleye nuggets? A sundae from heaven? A bargain-bin deal on a suffering NBA franchise?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'Year One' needs extras through March

The feature film starring Jack Black and Michael Cera needs extras through the end of March.

Contact Bam Casting for info: (318) 676-7998, (318) 676-3548 or

They also need more for "Comeback" starring Keke Palmer and Ice Cube.

Monday, February 25, 2008

SUBMITTED VIDEO: Robinson Film Center construction nearing end

Construction of the two-screen Robinson Film Center is nearing completion. It will open May 3. For more information, log on to

Sunday, February 24, 2008

'No Country' is big winner but Oscars felt lackluster

“No Country for Old Men” (four awards, including best pic and directors) and local Oscar prognosticator chris-brad were tonight’s big winners.

My celebrity guests were pretty excited about the outcome. The only minor surprise was Marion Cotillard winning best actress for “La Vie En Rose,” and that moment got the biggest cheer at Kent Oscar HQ. (Besides the mere appearance of George Clooney. We had a superfan in the house and she went crazy!)

The ceremony wasn’t very exciting for me, however. I obviously didn’t care for Jon Stewart – some will certainly disagree. He wasn’t helped by the show’s production value, which was lackluster. It felt as if the show’s producers didn’t know what to do with this crop of films. In recent past years, they’ve presented each film in clip segments throughout the night. Tonight, if memory serves me right, they simply skipped the segments and gave more weight to the other categories.

While I appreciate the idea behind it – the ceremony is about everyone winning, not just one category – it didn’t make for a very entertaining or suspenseful show. I point to the final moment when Joel and Ethan Coen walked from backstage back to the podium for best pic after they received their best director(s) award. Their stroll seemed inevitable. Lifeless. Subdued. The house/crowd didn't appear or sound to be really invested or excited about their triumph, and that's a shame.

"No Country" is a really great film, but I don't think this night will excite people to see it.

I enjoyed watching the show, because it gives me a great opportunity to invite friends (uh, I mean celebs) and share food and conversation. But if you ask me in two weeks about the ceremony itself, I don’t think I’ll remember much of what was said. No great speeches and a just a couple of very classy moments: Daniel Day-Lewis’ speech for best Oscar was gracious and Jon Stewart ushering best song co-winner Markéta Irglová back on stage after the break so she could give props to struggle artists everywhere.

Congrats again to chris-brad who picked 15/24 right to my 14/24. Noma also posted 9 picks and predicted 4 correctly. (Did I get the count right?)

Other than that, it’s time for bed. At the very least, we all got to share a moment in time to celebrate some great films, and we had milkshakes.

What do you remember most about the ceremony? What award made you the happiest? The maddest?

Jon Stewart is bombing like Letterman, and worse

Jon Stewart's introduction of Harrison Ford -- "he's either a international movie star or a car dealership" or something like that -- officially confirmed my feelings about this ceremony. It's the worst I remember, it's because of the host.

That includes Letterman's "Uma/Oprah" nightmare. Seventy-five percent of Stewart's jokes are bombing for me. He's better behind a desk impersonating a news anchor. On the Oscar stage, he comes off as too jaded, too disrespectful.

Congrats to Diablo Cody for winning best screening with "Juno." She's from my old stomping grounds -- Minneapolis. It's good to know that Hollywood can come from where we come from.

'Once' gets another major boost with best song

"The is a guy who doesn't have health insurance and is traveling around to pubs," said another Kent Oscar party celebrity guest about "Once" winning for best song. Robinson Film Center should be happy for that too. "Once" was screened in late 2007 by the nonprofit film center.

Stewart just had another funny comment (his only other funny comment): "That guy was so arrogant," he said sarcastically as the "Once" star and songwriter Glen Hansard (and his unspeaking costar/cowriter) left the stage.

It's way too late for the Oscars to be getting goofy, though. That should have started two hours ago.

NOTE: Jon Stewart invited the unspeaking costar Markéta Irglová back on stage after the break so she could give her acceptance. That was classy. Nice work, Jon.

chris-brad bests Movie Blog Boy, I think

chris-brad picked "The Bourne Ultimatum" right, and he's officially won for two years in a row. Our picks are the same from here on out.

Kudos to you! Curse my faith in Roderick Jaynes, editor of "No Country for Old Men," who actually doesn't exist, and who the show actually showed a picture of (as noted by one of my celebrity guests. It's a pseudonym for the Coen bros.)

chris-brad's "keener than a times reporter" crowning will take place some time this week.

NOTE: And as a famous celeb guest just said to me, staring me dead in the eye, "I think I'm going to watch the Oscars next year with chris-brad." Better get your milkshake recipes ready, punk.

The dame schtick was funny

Seth Rogen and Jonah will hilarious as presenters in the sound categories. Filling in for Judi Dench and Halle Berry, they argued about who best resembles Berry.

We've gotten a couple big categories already and our first upset: Marion Cotillard won best actress for "La Vie En Rose!" That should make The Shreve and supporters of the Robinson Film Center. The local nonprofit film center screened the French flick in Oct. or Nov.

Hooray for a movie The Shreve cinephiles actually had a chance seen!

chris-brad are tied at 5/12 so far.

Whatever happens, there will be milkshakes

We've dipped into the party's obvious theme already: milkshakes. Two chocs, and two stawberry-blueberries. Yes, we're officially awesome at Kent Oscar HQ.

chris-brad and I are tied: 4/9.

Still a bit bored by the festivities. Tilda Swinton's speech was refreshing -- I think she said, "You rock, man!" -- but everything feels too canned so far. We need a surprise.

Phew ... Javier wins

... and my house is still in one piece. One of my celebrity guests was preparing for a riot if Javier hadn't won best supporting actor for "No Country."

Stewart finally told a funny joke about Cate Blanchett playing every role, including the killer dog in "No Country."

The Oscars just doesn't have the sparkle so far, and I think it falls on the host. As chris-brad said, the crowd is disinterested.

Starting strong in the picks!

I'm 2/3, having just picked "La Vie En Rose" over "Pirates" for best eyeliner ... makeup. My rival chris-brad is keeping pace.

So far, host Jon Stewart is a bit of a snoozer. His political humor -- especially his joke about committing to a surge in Iraq documentaries to build audience support -- is decidedly unfunny and out of place. Hopefully he'll sharpen up and get to the trivial stuff.

What have you noticed so far?

My celebrity guests have arrived

... and we're angry because we didn't get the seat-filler gigs. Oh, well. We laughed when we saw Javier Bardem lean away from Jack in the front row.

Red carpet ceremony was a nonevent, but we're looking forward to a night of "make-up sex," as Jon Stewart called. Hey-o!

Barbara on 'Juno': 'I don't get it'

Stop the ceremony! Barbara Walters is confused.

During her Oscars special, Ms. Interview interviewed best actress nominee Ellen Page. Said Barbara, I'm going to ask you about the music. "Ellen, I don't get it."

Wow! How very dated and "honest" of you. I'm sure her ratings with the 18 to 35 just shot through the roof.

Everything was made good when Ms. Interview asked Page to serenade her with that Moldy Peaches ditty.


Hold it, Friend-o! You got Oscar company

The Academy Awards are my Super Bowl, and I'm not alone. The Times invited five local cinephiles to defend the five best pictures. Consider these opinions before you settle down for the spectacle:
I also wrote a separate essay on "There Will Be Blood." Click here. I'm so excited about tonight's ceremony, and I'm barely embarrassed about it!

PHOTO: Miramax Films.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Post your Oscar predictions, please!

No more milkshake jokes. It’s time for calculated risks, blind guess work and pathetically hurt feelings. And my 80th Academy Awards predictions are:

Best motion picture of the year
“No Country for Old Men”

Achievement in directing
“No Country for Old Men,” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Julie Christie in “Away from Her”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton”

Adapted screenplay
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

Original screenplay

Best animated feature film of the year

Achievement in art direction

Achievement in cinematography
“There Will Be Blood”

Achievement in costume design

Best documentary feature
“No End in Sight”

Best documentary short subject

Achievement in film editing
“No Country for Old Men”

Best foreign language film
“The Counterfeiters”

Achievement in makeup
“La Vie en Rose”

Original score

Original song
“Falling Slowly” from “Once”

Best animated short film
“I Met the Walrus”

Best live action short film
“The Tonto Woman”

Achievement in sound editing

Achievement in sound mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”

Achievement in visual effects

On this blog, I'll keep a log of my failures Sunday night during the broadcast. You can find the nominees here on my blog. has a nifty listing and PDF ballot, too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

'There Will Be Blood' should best 'em

I've been thinking and writing about this film for days, and my milkshake's empty.

You can read my thoughts about its social significance in Sunday's paper in an essay tentatively titled, "An oil man, an evangelist and the American way."

What do you think about this pic? Puzzling? Masterful? Controversial? Snoozer?

As passionately as my friends feel about "No Country for Old Men," I feel about "There Will Be Blood." You can listen to me and Chris Jay of the Robinson Film Center talk about the Oscars and these flicks today on Red River Radio at 4:44 p.m.

Buzz doesn't appear to favor my choice for top prize, but I personally believe "There Will Be Blood" has no equal for 2007.

What got me excited about this film was Manohla Dargis' review in The New York Times.

Here's a great excerpt: "With a story of and for our times, 'There Will Be Blood' can certainly be viewed through the smeary window that looks onto the larger world. It’s timeless and topical, general and specific, abstract and as plain as the name of its fiery oilman. It’s an origin story of sorts. The opening images of desert hills and a droning electronic chord allude to the beginning of '2001: A Space Odyssey,' whose murderous apes are part of a Darwinian continuum with Daniel Plainview. But the film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic. It reveals, excites, disturbs, provokes, but the window it opens is to human consciousness itself."

PHOTO: François Duhamel/Paramount Vantage.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

MTV's Josh Horowitz spoofs the spoofs

Super Extra highlights current extra opps

Susie "Super Extra" Labry has dug up a bunch of extras opportunities coming up. Susie's been in a ton of La.-made movies. Here's her listserv message:

From Susie Labry To All Meetup Members

So far the latest I got, more to come later:

SHREVEPORT***"Comeback" Extras Casting - Bam Casting
Pay $58/8

SHREVEPORT***"Year One" Extras Casting - Bam CastingNeed Tons and 600 Extras Starting Next Week, well into March email to
Email your: Name, Contact Telephone Numbers, Age, Sex, Race/Ethnicity, Height, Weight, Size, Whether You Have Tatoos Showing, and Availability-days you are available. If you will make this a Word Document and Insert your Photo. Do Not Call unless necessary as telephones are swamped and extremely difficult to get through, so to make it easier email them to assure they get your application/email. They will call you when they need you. Also, their website and email is down, so they have this new email
Pay $58/8

NEW ORLEANS***"12 ROUNDS" Extras Casting - Coulon Casting
Shoot Dates: February 25, 2008
Shoot Location: New Orleans, LA
Director: Renny Harlin
Coulon Casting, LLC: Casting Local Actors & Background Actors
TYPE: Cop Action Film. Starring John Cena.
To register: Download the Talent Registration Form provided in site. Complete the form, attach a recent, non-returnable photo and mail or email to: Coulon Casting, P.O. Box 750489 New Orleans, LA 70175-0489

FORT JACKSON***"Privateer" Extras Casting - Pepper Morgan
She needs few Featured Extras for this Saturday, Feb 23 in Fort Jackson , LA (in Plaquemines Parish)
This is for a movie entitled Privateer which depicts the life of Jean Lafitte and is set in the 1700's.Pay is $75/daySpecifics on what they need: Madame Lafitte (Jean Lafitte's mother; mid twenties) petiteBust size: 36-37"Waist: 23-26"3 additional women: 2 @ Bust 38-40", Waist 28"; 1 @ Bust 40-42", Waist 30"7 men 38 to 40 medium size, not too tall, long hair a bonus but not required.
If interested please email Pepper with headshot and resume at
ASAP as filming is in 2 days. Thanks!

SHREVEPORT***From Margaret Wren LCGAE Coordinator "Soul Men" Extras Casting - Christopher Gray
If you wish to work on "Soul Men" they need the following:
Caucasian's needed for House Of Blues scenes
African American's are needed for Apollo scenes
You may contact them at 318-828-1926

NEW ORLEANS***"Cirque du Freak" Extras Casting - Robin Batherson1231 Pryatania Street, 3rd FloorNew Orleans, LA

NEW ORLEANS***"Final Destination 4" Extras Casting - Robin Batherson
Need tons of Extras
1231 Prytania Street 3rd FloorNew Orleans, LA 70130

***Keep photos with your name all lower case yourname.jpg and keep it less than 500 kilobytes.
***Susie Labry

'No Country' gets no argument from me

“No Country for Old Men” delivers a chilling movie-going experience. The Coen brothers abandon humor, for the most part, and chase down a robber and killer with cold, exacting craft. Editing? Seamless. Performances? Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are model noir actors who use words sparingly and actions to maximum effect. Score? There is virtually none. All of the tension is generated by cuts, camera angles and fluid sequencing.

My initial personal quibble – that the movie left me cold – really doesn’t hold water anymore. After all, that’s what this western noir piece is designed to do: scare the hope out of us.

Is this best Coen brothers movie? Does it top “Fargo,” “Barton Fink” or “Miller’s Crossing?”

Are you “No Country’s” friend-o?

PHOTO: Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in a scene from "No Country for Old Men." (Richard Foreman/Miramax Films)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tasha Smith hung up on Tyler Perry for me ... sort of

I gather you’ve heard that actress Tasha Smith is teaching a two-part acting class this weekend. If not, click here.

The actress is in northwest Louisiana (mostly Minden) shooting “Comeback” with Keke Palmer, Ice Cube and director Fred Durst.

Last Friday, Smith and I talked about her craft and career during a 15-minute interview. Right before we started, she was chatting on the phone with Tyler Perry, who has cast her in “Daddy’s Little Girls” and “Why Did I Get Married.” In the latter, Smith played a character named Angela.

When fans recognized Smith, conversation inevitably turns to that role.

“They say, ‘She just like me!’” she said. “’She just like my momma, she just like my auntie, or she just like my wife! Angela just like every black woman in the world!’”

Smith has been teaching acting workshops in L.A. and Atlanta for six years. She simply wants to offer others the kind of support she received when she was starting out. “If I didn’t have anyone encouraging that dream, I probably wouldn’t be on the set working with Ice Cube.”

Two-day acting class with Tasha Smith.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 23 and 24).
WHERE: Actors Café, 1401 Fairfield Ave. (formerly Bear's Café), Shreveport.
COST: $200, must prepay.
TO REGISTER: call (318) 573-0039 or e-mail Tara Duncil at or Jamie Baremore at

PHOTO: Tasha Smith on the set of "Comeback." (Tracy Bennett/The Weinstein Co.)

Who is George, anyway?

To love Clooney, or to not love Clooney, that is the question.

Surrounding the imaginary water cooler of my inner world – I don’t hear dead people yet – the chatter about “Michael Clayton” is all about George Clooney.

Some seem to dismiss his star persona because it’s “always the same.” Like Warren Beatty or Harrison Ford, some think they know exactly what they are going to get when they see a Clooney movie: same likeable guy, different lines, and same reliable performance.

The dismissive argument against him is the age-old: “No matter who he’s playing, he’s always George Clooney.”

That, to me, is what’s brilliant about the casting of him in the lead of “Michael Clayton.” For three-quarters of this legal thriller, we have no idea who this “fixer” is. Good? Bad? Greedy? Broken? Struggling dad? Good driver? An agent of corporate evil? A man doing dangerous penance? Ultimately, he reveals himself to be a little of everything, and that’s a huge feat.

In “Michael Clayton,” Clooney divorces himself of the calm-and-collected façade and shows us a man on the brink of moral collapse.

It reminded me of some of the best performances of Harrison Ford in movies like “Blade Runner” and “Frantic,” and some equally great work by Beatty in “Parallax View” and “Bulworth.”

What say you? Is “Michael Clayton” all smoke and mirrors, or does it deliver the goods?

PHOTO: George Clooney appears in a scene from the motion picture "Michael Clayton." (Gannett News Service, Myles Aronowitz/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

'Juno': It's quirky, and that's OK

My fascination with “Juno” was hard-fought. I’ve courted more “quirky comedies” on dark, lonely nights in empty theaters than I care to confess, and I, like this flick’s eponymous heroine, have become a bit tired of it all. A bit jaded in trusted company.

I’m done with the quirk, I say to myself time and time again.

Why should a flick about a sassy pregnant teenager matter to me? Why should this girl, who successfully pairs the words pork and swords in a sentence, have any bearing on my real life?

Juno matters because of screenwriter Diablo Cody.

What really works about Juno is her labored but exhaustively amusing use of language.

It’s her curious knowledge of cult horror films. Her indie music savvy. Her crude but poetic turns of phrase. Juno calls herself “the cautionary whale,” and it’s all posturing, you say? It’s too screenwriter? It’s so scripted? Yes, yes, yes, and it’s so very teenage in a way that so kens the teenage mind.

Teenage years are one endless, confusing search for meaning through words. Can you think of a better contemporary practitioner of balderdash bingo than Juno?

Enough from me.

Is “Juno” your favorite of the Oscar nominees? Is it your least?

What’s the movie’s best line?

How does “Juno” measure up to recent teenage quirk like “Rushmore,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Superbad?”

How great is this City Pages interview?

And what do you think about this argument about “low-hanging fruit?”

Monday, February 18, 2008

An ode to 'Atonement'

On Sunday, Feb. 24, The Times will publish five essays about the Oscar best pic nominees. Each is written by a local cinephile. We're also publishing a "Pick the Oscars" chart that features 10 local cinephiles. I'm one of them.

Each day this week on my blog, we'll cover one of the films in some form or another.

If the film at hand is your choice for best pic, tell me why by posting your thoughts to the comments.

For Sunday's essays, Judy Kieffer wrote about "Atonement." Just for fun, she wrote a poem about the WWII-era drama. She never intended for this to be published, but I begged her. Here goes:

By Judy Kieffer

Teen writes,
Life’s light.
Guest invited
Lola’s smitted
Notes sent
Briony’s bent
Robbie nails
Cecilia pales
Briony tattles
Cages rattled
Robbie’s jailed
Unfairly nailed
Love’s cut short
Lives contort
War looms
Robbie’s doomed
Cecilia nurses
Briony muses
War’s scene
Forever mean
Robbie wains
Briony trains
Cecilia perishes
Briony anguishes
Briony type writes
Her final plight

TOP PHOTO CREDIT: Keira Knightley, left, and James McAvoy in a scene from "Atonement." (AP Photo/Focus Features, Alex Bailey)

Thus spoke Walker Percy

I was rereading "The Moviegoer" this weekend and stumbled across this thought. It seems as true today for Shreveport as it was in 1962 for New Orleans, where the book is set.

Author Walker Percy was explaining his idea of "certification," whereby a Hollywood movie "certifies," or makes special, the places it films.

Percy wrote: "Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere" (63).

Have you felt similarly in seeing signs of Shreveport, Minden or your town on the big screen?

Friday, February 15, 2008

'The Great Debaters' takes top prize

The 39th annual NAACP Image Awards named "The Great Debaters" the best film of 2007. A head-shaven Denzel Washington took home the best actor trophy, and Jurnee Smollett and young Denzel Whitaker took home prizes too.


Said Washington, "I'm just so happy to see these young people get recognized."

What do you think of the awards? And did "Debaters" deserve Oscar noms this year?

PHOTO: Denzel Washington (Mel Tolson), Denzel Whitaker (James Farmer Jr) and Jurnee Smollett (Samantha) star in "The Great Debaters," which was shot in northwest Louisiana. (David Lee/Weinstein Co.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Help beef up my links


I'm looking to bolster my links to local resources and contacts. If you're working in the Louisiana film industry and have a Web site, shoot me an email at and tell me a little about yourself.

Director? DP? Key grip? Butt double? Three of the four qualify for a free, shameless, self-promotional listing. For the other, I can recommend a good spa or therapist.

If you're a vendor with La. roots, I'd like to hear from you.

If you're crewing up, give me those fax nos. and emails! Appreciate it.

'Comeback' needs to fill the stands

I just got this notice from "Comeback" ("Untitled Ice Cube Movie"). On March 6 and March 7, the flick will need a whole lot of extras to fill the stands for a climatic football scene in the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

For neccessary info, log on to

Here's the press release verbiage: "The feature film 'Comeback,' shooting in Minden and Shreveport since Dec. 17 and starring Ice Cube and Keke Palmer, among other major stars, and directed by Fred Durst, needs extras for the production’s climactic final scenes shooting in early March. The scenes depict a thrilling football matchup in the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

"In addition to getting a firsthand look at moviemaking, participants will be eligible for prizes, including autographed merchandise and High-Definition televisions.

"'Comeback' is based on the true story of a poor Illinois town that comes together behind the local Pop Warner football team and their unlikely quarterback, Jasmine Plummer (Keke Palmer), the first female in Pop Warner's history. Under the tutelage of her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube), a former high school football star, Jasmine leads her team, the Minden Browns, to the Pop Warner Super Bowl and inspires the town of Minden, Illinois to reclaim some of its former glory. “Comeback” is slated for a July 2008 release."

'All right, Mr. Pearson, I'm ready for my close-up'

A couple days ago, we decided rework the blogger banner. Gotta keep it fresh, yes? You like?

Call this edition, "Blogger Banner 5: Return of the Overcooked Ham."

Times photographer Greg Pearson shot and designed it. We've included some self-indulgent studio outtakes for your enjoyment.

Here’s what Greg had to say about working with such a giving subject: "What can I say about working with Alex on the photo shoot? .............hold on....I'm still, ya........"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Keke is cool; Alex is bald

Keke Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee") visited Bethune Middle Academy today. She in Minden and northwest Louisiana shooting a Dimension Films pic with Ice Cube. After she spoke to students, she answered a few questions. Times photographer Douglas Collier took these shots and more. What did we learn?

Keke's a cool customer, camera phones are ubiquitous, and Alex is going bald. Holy widow's peak, Batman!

About visiting Bethune, Keke said, "I just hope to inspire these kids and help them to know what they want to do in life and be what they want to be." (PHOTO: Doug "Don't Steal My Pictures" Collier/The Times.)

Students listen to Keke Palmer's encouragement. About Shreveport and northwest Louisiana, she said, "It really reminds me of home. My grandmother’s from Mississippi … so I know that South kind of thing. It’s just good to be down here." (PHOTO: Doug Collier/The Times)

More students listen to Keke Palmer. She's been in northwest Louisiana before. She shot "Cleaner" with Samuel L. Jackson. Right now, she's shooting a Dimension Films pic with Ice Cube about a girl quarterback on a young boys' football team. (PHOTO: Doug Collier/The Times)

Keke Palmer sings a verse from her recent album, "So Uncool." "I really always loved Brandy and Aaliyah because every before acting, I never thought I was going to be an actor. I always thought I was going to be a singer,” she said. “Ever since I watched ‘Moesha,’ Brandy’s show, I always wanted to be a singer. She just really inspired me to do everything that I could because she was such a great person." (PHOTO: Doug Collier/The Times)

Seventh and eighth graders gathered in the Bethune Middle Academy auditorium to listen to the young actress speak. (PHOTO: Doug Collier/The Times)

Keke's visit to Bethune was arranged by the Women's Philanthropy Network.

17 productions on the ground in La.

Here's an update from the state office:

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

The Weinstein Company feature film "The Patriots" starring Forest Whitaker is in preproduction in Metairie with shooting scheduled from April 1 though June 1. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Disney television pilot "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" is in pre-production in Harahan with shooting scheduled from March 12 through March 19. Resumes are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The independent feature film "The Open Road" starring Jeff Bridges and Justin Timberlake is in pre-production in Hammond and Baton Rouge with shooting scheduled from February 19 through March 26. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (985) 542-5225 or by e-mail at For casting information, please e-mail

The TNT movie of the week "Librarian 3: Curse of the Judas Chalice" starring Noah Wiley is in pre-production in Harahan with shooting scheduled from March 3 through March 31. Resumes and inquiries can be e-mailed to

The FOX Television Studios movie of the week "Fab 5: Texas Cheerleader Scandal" is in pre-production in Harahan with shooting scheduled from February 19 through March 14. Resumes and inquiries can be faxed to (504) 734-3120. For casting information, please email

The independent feature "Chess" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from April 7 through May 16. Resumes are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 821-7867.

The Crystal Sky feature film "Robosapien" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from March 24 through April 25. Resumes are currently being accepted by e-mail at

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 For casting information, please visit

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

The Weinstein Company feature film "The Midnight Man" is shooting in Shreveport through March 8. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 603-4562.

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 shooting in Shreveport through March 15. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 429-7598.

The feature film "Tekken" is shooting in Shreveport through March 28. Inquiries are currently be accepted by fax at (318) 603-4564. For casting information, please visit

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

The Weinstein Company feature film "Comeback" starring Ice Cube is in production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled through March 15. Inquiries can be faxed to (318) 698-1301. For casting information, please visit

The Screen Gems feature film "Mardi Gras" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from April 28 to June 18. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Sony Studios Pictures feature film "The 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 information, please call (318) 676-7998.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

19 things Rose knows about the movie industry

I love good, commonsense advice, and makeup artist Rose Davis offered boatloads of it tonight at the Louisiana Produces meetup.

In Louisiana, Davis has worked on “Major Movie Star” and “Queen Sized.” She’s also working on the upcoming “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” (Michael Douglas, Amber Tamblyn), which starts shooting in early March.

Her husband runs a local grip company called Team Shark Productions.

Davis was asked to speak at tonight's meetup about her career and what it takes to find work in the industry. What she said was frank and refreshing.

Here are some of her tips:

  1. A movie industry job is not 9 to 5. “Do not make plans, dinner dates, nighttime engagements, because you can’t do it.”
  2. Be persistent in trying to get your resume to the right department, be it makeup, grip, wardrobe, whatever. “The more you resume gets into the production office, the better it is.” Be careful not to send it too often, though. (In other words, be persistent but don't be a pest.)
  3. Keep your eyes on the rumor mill. The Web site has lots of tips and breaks contact down by department.
  4. To find your niche, Explore jobs in different departments. “There are so many jobs to be had. Don’t think for any reason there isn’t an opportunity for you.”
  5. Keep your commitments and treat your job like a career. Never pick up and leave a job for another opportunity. “You do not leave a movie. It is wrong.”
  6. Don’t miss work. “No headaches. No cramps. Your ovaries better be in your hand if you are going to call me and tell me you can’t come to work.” (Remark earned laughter.)
  7. If you do get sick, “have a vomit bag in the car.” (Remark earned more laughter.) You leave work only for legitimate emergencies.
  8. Get trained. Take classes and cram sessions from industry pros. “Get yourself an education in what you want to work in.”
  9. If you’re an extra, bring stuff to make you comfortable in the holding area. A pillow. Books. Computer. “Bring whatever it is that makes you happy.”
  10. Keep rain gear and warm clothes in your car. (Preferably far away from the vomit bag.)
  11. Don’t even think about bringing a camera to set.
  12. Be on time. Know your call time. “Being late is not tolerated.”
  13. If you’re a hairdresser, bring your gear to set. Know what's expected of you. “Make sure you are responsible for your own equipment.”
  14. If you have kids, have at least two sitters. “Have a childcare person and a backup childcare person.” Twelve to 14 hour workdays are common.
  15. Never show up on set without getting prior clearance. “They can’t just let everybody on set.” It’s about insurance liability.
  16. Always have your call sheet and know when you’re expected to work. “Do not leave the set without a call sheet if you are working the next day.”
  17. When you find a movie career, you are an independent contractor. Respect yourself and your worth. “You are in a position to decide what you are going to work for (pay) and what you are going to work on.”
  18. When you are learning your job, never pretend you know more than you know. Ask questions. People are depending on you to deliver during crunch time.
  19. If you can’t get a job, don’t give up. It took Davis eight weeks of “pouncing the pavement” and “knocking down doors” in L.A. to find her niche. Get yourself a local industry guide like LaFIG and start working. (Call Pam Edwards at 318.965.6688 to get a guide. They're about 40 bucks.)

Location change for tonights La. Produces meetup

The monthly meeting for gathering film industry info is happening tonight. There's been a location change. Head to the gym at BPCC, which is near building D. (Echoes of getting lost on the first day of school are ringing loudly in my head.)

WHAT: Louisiana Produces meetup.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 12.
WHERE: Bossier Parish Community College, building D.
SPECIAL GUEST: Rose Davis, make-up artist from "Must Love Dogs," "50 First Dates," and "The Hot Chick."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Robinson Film Center to screen 'The Savages'

Before RFC opens its new digs in May, the nonprofit film center will screen one more flick at the Boardwalk. It'll be "The Savages," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. The flick earned two Oscar nods.

WHAT: Robinson Film Center presents "The Savages."
WHEN: 7 p.m. March 6.
WHERE: Regal Cinemas Louisiana Boardwalk 14, Bossier City.
COST: $7.50. Call (318) 424-9090 to make reservations in advance.

No blockbusters for The Shreve yet

"Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" brought in $17.1 million over the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo, and earned second place behind "Fool's Gold."

When you track opening weekend numbers for movies shot in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana, here is where the pic falls on a Shreve-centric domestic box office chart.

On average, Martin Lawrence pics gross a bit more than $54.2 million.

No Shreve-made flick has crossed the $20 million threshold for an weekend opening. The $100 million gross in overall domestic tickets sales remains distant.

I'm guessing that "Year One," currently in production in The Shreve, has the biggest blockbuster potential. I'm not in the business of predicting, though.

1. "The Guardian." $18M. Opened Sept. 29, 2006. (Domestic box office gross: $55M.)
2. "Premonition." $17.5M. Opened March 16, 2007. ($47.8M.)
3. "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins." $17.1. Opened Feb. 8, 2008. (TBD.)
4. "Mr. Brooks." $10M. Opend June 1, 2007. ($28.5M.)
5. "The Mist." $8.9M. Opened Nov. 21, 2007. ($25.4M.)
6. "Mad Money." $7.7M. Opened Jan. 18, 2008. ($19.8M to date.)
7. "The Great Debaters." $6M. Opened Dec. 25, 2007. ($29.7M.)

"Factory Girl," which never earned a wide released, earned a bit more than $1.6 million.

DISCLAIMER: This chart is unofficial. I round down. I left out long holiday weekends. If I've left out anything more, lemme know and we'll amend.

PHOTO: David Lee/Universal Pictures.

More classes; ‘Year One’ needs extras

Here are a few opps to start the week:

"Year One" needs extras through Wednesday. Call the casting office at (318) 676-7998 or (318)676-3548 for info.

Mary Thoma has added two kids'/teens' acting workshops:
CLASS 1: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 23. Ages 8 to 10. $50.
CLASS 2: 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 24. Ages 11 to 17. $50.
WHERE: Shreveport Little Theatre, 812 Margaret Place.
TO REGISTER: Call SLT at (318) 424-4439 between noon and 4 p.m. weekdays. Payment due by Feb. 22.

LSUS Continuing Ed is offering a voice acting lesson from Paul Greenberg.
WHEN: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 28.
COST: $95 before Feb. 14. $99 after.
TO REGISTER: (318) 798-4177.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Local perspective on the strike

I added the following graphs to an AP story (it's called "localizing") about the possible end of the writers' strike. The overview should give you a small idea of how this news will affect The Shreve:

Pace of production hasn’t slowed in northwest Louisiana since the beginning of the strike Nov. 5. During the first quarter of 2008, at least nine projects will be produced, ranging from large feature films to small reality series.

Since the industry arrived in Shreveport in late 2005, the area has developed primarily as a location for shooting feature films and TV movies. At present, four feature films – “Tekken,” “Year One,” “The Untitled Ice Cube Movie” and “Soul Men” – are being shot in the area. One TV series, “Sordid Lives,” wrapped in late January.

Episodic television, which is produced primarily in Los Angeles, has been the hardest hit sector of the entertainment industry by the three-month long strike.

It is generally agreed, however, that the longer the WGA strike lingers, the more likely it is to affect the Shreveport market.

Resolution of the strike could bring temporary sense of ease to the local industry. The possibility of another major strike, however, remains.

The Screen Actors Guild, whose contract with the major Hollywood studios expires in June, could go on strike if no agreement is reached. SAG represents 120,000 actors. The WGA represents 12,000 movie and TV writers.

Looks like there is a deal

Tentative deal reached in writers' strike (The New York Times)

From the article: "The strike, which began Nov. 5, remains in effect until the governing boards of the two writers’ guilds formally review the agreement and decide whether to end the walkout. The boards are expected to meet as early as Sunday, and the strike could be over by Monday morning."

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Mole spots Malcolm at the movies

One of my best sources, The Mole, was at Tinseltown in The Shreve tonight for a screening of "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins." The Mole spotted none other than the director of the film, Malcolm D. Lee, who happens to be in town shooting "Soul Men."

Mr. Lee checking out his own film. How cool is that? You have to love a director who takes time out of his production schedule -- or at the very least, his little free time -- to see his movie with a local audience.

The Mole said that during the opening credits, the projection was screwed up. Ouch! Friday night, the director is in the house and he gets treated to that? Don't screw up the man's work!

I hope he got some free popcorn.

The Mole said the crowd got some good laughs out of the movie, and one baby got in a good cry.

We're not trying to scare you, Mr. Lee. But Movie Blog Boy has sources. (Most are sane, methinks.)

Has anybody else spotted stars/directors in local theaters? Jude Law at "Brokeback Mountain" remains one of our readers' most memorable sightings. Can you top it?

PHOTO CREDIT: David Lee/Universal Pictures.

Next Louisiana Produces meetup: Feb. 12

The monthly meeting for gathering film industry info is happening Tuesday. Below are the details:

WHAT: Louisiana Produces meetup.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 12.
WHERE: Bossier Parish Community College, building D.
SPECIAL GUEST: Rose Davis, make-up artist from "Must Love Dogs," "50 First Dates," and "The Hot Chick."

'Roscoe Jenkins' is all right; Watch the strike news this weekend

Just finished my review for "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins." The Louisiana-made flick is pretty decent. Funny but not too believable. Read more here.

More importantly, please share your thoughts about it by posting your comments. Good? Bad? Funny? Desperate? Box office gold? February clunker?

And ...

News has been buzzing all week about the possible end of the writers' strike. A deal is going to be reviewed by writers in New York and L.A. on Saturday, reported The New York Times and other news orgs. Keep you eyes on the wires this weekend. Deal? Oscars saved. No deal? This thing might last a lot longer.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

'Roscoe Jenkins' opens Friday

"Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" (aka "The Better Man") opens in theaters Friday (Feb. 8). I did a phoner with director/writer Malcolm D. Lee last Saturday and filed this story. He's currently in town shooting "Soul Men." We had a good conversation. He seems to enjoy The Shreve, partly because it's easy to get the work done.

Since I was unable to review "WHRJ" in advance, I'll be heading to the Regal Cinemas at the Louisiana Boardwalk on Friday for the 11:10 a.m. screening. If you see me, throw a tub of popcorn. (No butter, please.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

'The Last Lullaby' to get Dallas world premiere; Director wants your email

Jeffrey Goodman has made another big step in taking "The Last Lullaby" to market. The locally made movie will premiere at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival and compete in the narrative feature category. Getting into an AFI backed festival is a big, big deal.

I just had lunch with him, and he's a pretty happy camper. You can read my Times article here, or you can read below for the outtakes.

"It's an excellent first step but we still have a long way to go," Goodman said. Dallas is likely the first of many festivals, but this one should help him draw some solid press attention to the project.

Goodman didn't know if I should print the following, but it's a blog so what the hell. Getting into a festival with some clout is extremely important for any film, much less a small independent feature.

"Your world premiere is kind of like your virginity," Goodman said while staring wide-eyed at my notepad, probably in disbelief of his apt simile. "You have to be very careful in using it."

Hey-oh! That's why you read blogs. Moving on.

I also spoke to the folks at AFI Dallas and they glowed about the pic. The senior programmer James Faust compared "The Last Lullaby" to "Chinatown" and used the word "bravura."

"The Last Lullaby" is essentially one of the 10 best features of the 1800 films that were considered for the festival. Again, huge. Faust added that when he first screened it, "I was riveted in a way that I was late to work." He thought, "I’m going to be late and I’m going to be glad I’m going to be late for work."

Festival spokesman John Wildman glowed equally. "The Last Lullaby" is about a hit man who comes out of retirement to do one last job.

Said Wildman, "I personally I think you could have a subset genre of hit man movies. What I think is really great about this film is that it (subverts) several of the conventions of the genre."

Goodman is currently in The Shreve doing everything he needs to do to market "The Last Lullaby." One of his cooler ideas is that he's sending personal emails out to every person/investor about the status of his efforts. It's not spam, I assure you. He's rather giving followers an insiders' look at what it takes to push a finished movie to a larger audience. If you want to keep up with Jeffrey, send him an email at
with "Register Me" in the subject line.

Theresa Bell acting workshop Feb. 23-24

Scenes will be assigned Feb. 23 and actors will perform cold readings. Feb. 24 is for polishing.

WHEN: noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 23. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 24.
WHERE: TBD, Shreveport
HOW MUCH: $150 ($75 due by Feb. 15).
TO REGISTER: contact Tara Duncil at or (318) 573-0039.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

No headspins for ‘Little Al’

Last week, during a moment of self-aggrandized weakness, I unearthed a dangerous kernel from my past for my coworkers: I'm a recovering breakdancer.

Had you known me soon after "Breakin'" was released in theaters in 1984, I would have treated you to a moonwalk, a kneespin or, if necessary, the worm. I took, at the very least, four breakdancing classes. I carried sheets of cardboard. I wore yellow legwarmers and a headband. Nickname? The second grade ladies of my overactive imagination called out, "Go, Turbo! Go, Turbo! Go … go … go, Turbo!"

Unfortunately for you, my b-boy days expired when my mother banned me from performing the headspin during my fourth grade year. I quit in protest, never to breakdance again.

Don't let 23 years of my defiance stop you, however. Your chance is here.

Choreographer Darrin Henson, co-star of "Stomp the Yard" and BET's "Soul Food," will teach two master classes on hip-hop dancing on March 1. He is also behind the dance-instruction DVD, "Darrin's Dance Grooves." Sounds like a pretty cool opportunity to learn from someone who's super at what he does. Here are the details:

WHAT: Hip-hop master classes with Darrin Henson.
WHERE: Christian Dance Center, 2727 W. 70th St., Shreveport.
WHEN: March 1.
CLASS 1: 3 to 4:30 p.m. ages 6-12.
CLASS 2: 5 to 6:30 p.m., teens and adults.
COST: $35 in advance, $45 at the door.
NOTE: no dance experience is required.
TO REGISTER: contact Terry Jackson at (318) 470-2465 or

PHOTO: Columbus Short (far right) as DJ and Chris Brown (right center) as Duron in "Stomp the Yard." (AP Photo/Screen Gems/Alfeo Dixon)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Enter The Times' Oscar contest

To me, the next few weeks are akin to following the Final Four. Until the Academy Awards broadcast on Feb. 24, I'll be fighting with friends, yelling at family and making strangers think I'm dense.

You can get in on the prognosticatin' action (hey-oh!) by entering the Times Oscar contest. Click here and enter your predictions for 10 categories. The contest is free to enter. Winners and runners-up get movie tickets. Entries are due 5 p.m. Feb. 20.

One catch: To win, you have to live in northwest Louisiana or east Texas. Read all the rules here.

I'll be making my predictions public on Oscar day with a team of forecasters. If you're interested in watching me get pummeled, log on to my blog during the broadcast. I'll be keeping a running tally of who's keener than a Times reporter. (I might need to start that list now, come to think of it.)