Category Archives: Movies

“I, along with the critics, have never taken myself very seriously.” — Elizabeth Taylor

It’s her birthday today. I wrote a big piece on my Substack about National Velvet/A Place in the Sun/Suddenly Last Summer/Cat on a Hot Tin Roof/Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and General Hospital. Naturally there is more to discuss – … Continue reading

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“He is a good listener. When you have a good listener you have a good actor.” — Norman Taurog on Elvis

American director Norman Taurog was born in 1899, literally during the first gasps of cinema. What an improbable journey. He was born into a world before cinema had even cohered into an artform … and he ended his career helming … Continue reading

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“I should like to make even the most ordinary spectator feel that he is not living in the best of all possible worlds.” – Luis Buñuel

Today is Luis Buñuel’s birthday! From Luis Buñuel’s autobiography My Last Sigh: Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of … Continue reading

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“I’m really confident. I had a perfect childhood. I had perfect parents and grandparents. They just love me, simply. So I have no fears.” — Mélanie Laurent

Today is the birthday of French actress and director Mélanie Laurent. Probably most American audiences (and international audiences, outside of France) were first introduced to the extraordinary Mélanie Laurent in her perfoƒrmance as the revolutionary Shoshanna in Inglourious Basterds. Laurent … Continue reading

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“I find it very difficult myself to make movies where I know right from the beginning what the end is going to be.” — Bob Rafelson

It’s his birthday today. In 1965, television producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider placed an ad in the Hollywood Reporter: MADNESS!! AUDITIONS Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running parts for 4 insane boys, age … Continue reading

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“If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work.” — Alan Rickman

It’s his birthday today. When Alan Rickman died, I paid tribute to him for Rogerebert.com, including my memory of seeing him in the unforgettable Broadway production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, opposite Lindsay Duncan. I still have the poster. I … Continue reading

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“If someone puts up $100 million on a movie, they’re gonna be concerned about whether they’ll get it back. So they’re not gonna make a movie about three girls, you know?” – Lili Taylor

It’s her birthday today. Like most of my generation, Lili Taylor first made an impression on me in Mystic Pizza. She’s basically the third lead, and she’s great throughout, but her monologue at the end – if you’ve seen the … Continue reading

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It’s Ron Eldard’s Birthday: the first famous person I interviewed

Here’s the story of the first famous person I interviewed – an actor I had admired for a long time: Mr. Ron Eldard. I saw the excellent Roadie at the Tribeca Film Festival. Eldard plays a roadie fired from his … Continue reading

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“Since I couldn’t actuate the things that I wanted to do, the only weapon I had was to say no.” — Sidney Poitier

It’s Sidney Poitier’s birthday. Poitier was the first African-American to win a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Homer Smith, the drifter/handy-man in 1963’s Lilies of the Field (which also won Best Picture). Poitier is a superstar in it, … Continue reading

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“The greatest films are the ones that leave you not able to explain, but you know that you have experienced something special.” — Robert Altman

It’s his birthday today. One of my favorite film-makers, but I haven’t written all that much about him. I love my friend Dan Callahan’s piece on Prairie Home Companion. I did write the booklet essay for the Arrow Films release … Continue reading

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