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Mack Chico

By

2008/08/09 at 12:00am

Bernie Mac dies at 50

08.9.2008 | By |

Bernie Mac dies at 50

Bernie Mac, a stand-up comic who played evil-tongued but lovable rogues in films like “Bad Santa” and “Mr. 3000” and combined menace and sentiment as a reluctant foster father on “The Bernie Mac Show” on Fox, died on Saturday in Evanston, Ill. He was 50 and lived near Chicago.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, said his publicist, Danica Smith.

Mr. Mac, an imposing stage presence with a line of scabrous insults, parlayed his success as a stand-up comedian onto the big screen in a string of comedies that cast him in cameo roles, usually as wily con men like Pastor Clever in “Friday” and Gin, the store detective in “Bad Santa.” He also excelled as short-tempered misanthropes, notably in his starring role as Stan Ross, the nation’s most hated baseball player, in “Mr. 3000.”

In 2001, the Fox network took a gamble with “The Bernie Mac Show,” an unconventional family comedy with Mr. Mac portraying a childless married comedian who reluctantly takes in his sister’s three youngsters when she goes into a drug-treatment program.

The irascible Mr. Mac made a different kind of TV dad, “more Ike Turner than Dr. Spock,” Chris Norris wrote in a 2002 profile for The New York Times Magazine. Mr. Mac’s special style of tough love — “I’m gonna bust your head ’til the white meat shows,” he warns his surly teenage neice — set the show apart from other family sitcoms and raised a few critical eyebrows, but audiences saw enough of the character’s soft center to find the show touching.

“The success of my comedy has been not being afraid to touch on subject matters or issues that everyone else is politically scared of,” Mr. Mac told The Times in 2001. “It’s a joke, believe me. I’m not trying to hurt anybody.”

Mr. Mac incorporated aspects of his standup act and during each episode would break the fictional world of the show and address the audience directly. On one show, he swiveled in his chair and said, “Now America, tell me again, why can’t I whip that girl?”

“The Bernie Mac Show” show ran for five seasons, and Mr. Mac won Emmy awards as outstanding actor in a comedy series in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough was born in Chicago to a single mother who inspired him, indirectly, to become a comedian. When he was 5, he told a television interviewer in 2001, he saw her sitting in front of the television set crying. “The Ed Sullivan Show” was playing, and when Bill Cosby began telling a story about snakes in the bathroom, she started laughing despite herself. “When I saw her laughing, I told her that I was going to be a comedian so she’d never cry again,” Mr. Mac said.

His mother died of cancer when he was 16, and he was raised by his grandmother on the South Side of Chicago. His two brothers also died, one in infancy, the other of a heart attack in his 20s.

At Chicago Vocational Career Academy, he was voted Class Clown by his graduating class. Already serious about his intended profession, turned down the honor “I said, ‘I’m funny. I’m a comedian, I’m not a clown,’” he later recalled. “My humor had changed from foolishness to making sense.”

After high school, Mr. Mac worked as a janitor, a mover and a school bus driver before finding a job at a General Motors plant. In 1976 he married his high school sweetheart, Rhonda who survives him, as does their daughter, Je’Neice, and a granddaughter.

Desperate to get started as a comedian, he told jokes for tips on the Chicago subway and worked comedy clubs, many of them off the beaten track. “When I started in the clubs, I had to work places where didn’t nobody else want to work,” he told The Washington Post. “I had to do clubs where street gangs were, had to do motorcycle gangs, gay balls and things of that nature.”

In 1983 he was laid off at GM and for a time his family had to move in with relatives. Plugging away at his comedy career, he caught the attention of Redd Foxx and Slappy White, who invited him to do off-the-cuff material in Las Vegas in 1989, and a year later he won the Miller Lite Comedy Search, a national contest, with his profanity-laced monologues on events in his own life and on black life in Chicago

In 1990, he was invited to do two shows with Def Comedy Jam, a tour featuring young black comedians that was filmed for HBO. Small film roles followed, in “Mo’ Money” (1992), “Who’s The Man?” (1993) and “House Party 3” (1994), as well as an HBO variety series, “Midnight Mac,” and a spot with the Original Kings of Comedy, a tour that showcased some of the most popular contemporary black comedians. The tour, which grossed an astounding $59 million, generated several HBO specials and a film by Spike Lee, “The Original Kings of Comedy.”

Mr. Mac made the move to television reluctantly. “The people come to see you, the person they fell in love with, but when they see you on TV you bvecome a whole other character, another person, and they become disappointed, and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen to me,” he said.

Nevertheless, he appeared in a recurring role as Uncle Bernie on the UPN sitcom “Moesha” for several years beginning in 1996, and in 2001 he took the plunge with “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Praised by the critics for its fresh irreverent take on the family sitcom, it became one of Fox’s biggest hits.

The show coincided with a spate of films that made Mr. Mac, if not a box office star, a welcome comedic presence in films like “What’s the Worst that Could Happen?” “Ocean’s 11” and its two sequels and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”

In July, Mr. Mac, a fervent Barack Obama supporter, dismayed his candidate at a fund-raising dinner in Chicago. Delivering a stand-up routine, he told salacious jokes and drew a reprimand from Mr. Obama, who warned him, “Bernie, you’ve got to clean up your act next time.”

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/08 at 12:00am

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

08.8.2008 | By |

Rated: PG-13 for mature material and sensuality.
Release Date: 2008-08-08
Starring: Elizabeth Chandler (guión), Ann Brashares (novela)
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: NULL
Official Website: http://sisterhoodofthetravelingpants2.warnerbros.com/

Go to our film page

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Men who are film critics, such as myself, stereotypically aren’t fond of the movie genre known as ‘the chick flick’. We usually have to remove our male biased opinions towards them and see it for the cinematic work that they are. In this particular case, I must admit, ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2’ was an enjoyable and delightful film that engrossed me for its 2 hour duration.

I really wasn’t expecting to like it, so the fact that I did, makes it even more memorable. Sisterhood, based on a book by Ann Brashares, is a reunion for the actresses that have now made it ‘big time’ on their respective TV shows; Hondurean American America Ferrera stars in ‘Ugly Betty’, Blake Lively in the hot sexy Gossip Girls, Amber Tamblyn is widely known for Joan of Arcadia and Argetinian-Mexican American Alexis Bledel (who knew she was a hardcore Latin?) currently stars in Gilmore Girls. This year more than ever, television stars are making Hollywood look real good.

One of the great things about the film outside of the physical and cultural diversity of the cast, is the chemistry they share onset. They seem to really get what their characters are all about. It’s three years later and each of the girls are exploring their professional goals. Their only apprehensiveness is the potential estrangement from themselves that distance could impose on them. The four story lines are alluring enough to not lose you to lassitude.

Ferrera is the best actress of the group, evident when she spews out Shakespeare lines as if they were vernacular English. Tamblyn, with her caustic and mordant personality, provided the much needed comic relief from the emotional pounding the film takes with Lively’s character. Bledel, unfortunately was the weakest link and didn’t really provide enough believable gravitas to take the film to the next level.

As my colleague Alex Florez termed it, ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2’ is a ‘slice of life’ movie, and I believe it will resonate not only with tween audiences, but also with mom and dad adults. That combination will surely squeeze out a third part out of those magical jeans.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/08 at 12:00am

Natalie Portman to remake Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’

08.8.2008 | By |

Natalie Portman to remake Dario Argento's 'Suspiria'

One of the hipper projects in Hollywood is shaping up to be the remake of Dario Argento’s psychedelic horror flick, Susipira, from director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, George Washington). Bloody Disgusting just confirmed minutes ago that Natalie Portman will headline the film, which means she’ll hop into ballet slippers and battle a coven of beautiful, gossipy (foreign?) witches.

The actress’s shingle, Handsome Charlie Films, is producing. If you’ve seen the original, you’re probably wondering what the plans are for the soundtrack, but those details haven’t been announced. Here’s what Green told MTV about the project a few months ago…

“Supiria is a classic to me. I want to be scared. I want to be afraid,” he said to MTV. …”It’s an opportunity to take all artistic excellence and be inspired by what was a low budget Italian 70’s gore movie. Where the art world meets the violent and supernatural. I would love to get every geek that loves torture porn and every old lady in line to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to come and have this insane experience.”

With its enchanting candy colors and surreal lighting, Dario Argento’s 1977 flick, widely cited as his best work, rivals Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou for its stained-glass color palette. The story dips into nightmare-logic as we follow an American student at an elite European dance academy who discovers it’s a front for evaaal. Argento’s inventive, deranged use of gore is outmatched by a harrowing, instrumental soundtrack by the band Goblin. While it’s not exactly a perfect film, with time Suspiria has arguably transcended the cult genre.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/08 at 12:00am

‘The Goonies’ to have sequel?

08.8.2008 | By |

'The Goonies' to have sequel?

A very, very, very good source – if I revealed his name, you’d know straight away this was a solid bit of news – informed me a few days ago that “the sequel Corey Feldman has been telling media will never happen”, one “Goonies 2”, is indeed… happening. 

Now I don’t know when it’s going to happen, because it has been on the drawing boards for a good decade now (“Star Trek” and “Transformers” scribe Robert Orci told me today that he was involved in a draft in about 1998), but it does seem to be inching forward.

So what have I been told? well, Warner Bros are finally going to give it the respect it deserves – this will be a large-scale theatrical release. It will not be a direct-to-video release.

(A source at Warner Bros has since confirmed this – saying they are developing it as a major movie, but won’t share anything other than that. Nothing we didn’t already know though)

We’ve been told that there are writers on the project – and they’re being paid rather nicely for their services too.

I’ve no idea what the script is about, nor do I know how far into the script the writers are, but we’re told that it’ll apparently involve some of the original cast – I doubt Josh Brolin will return though; and even if he was keen, would Warner want to pay him the hefty fee he now gets? Doubtful – and some new cast members. I can’t imagine ‘all’ of the original “Goonies” coming back, can you? I’d think Corey Feldman, Sean Astin and, er, Short-Round would be the most likeliest recruits for a reprise… if only because they haven’t disappeared off-the-map (Martha Plimpton where art thou? Keri Green… does she still act?). You never know, ‘Chunk’ might even get a call too.

But there you have it, after years and years of rumours – and even some attempts to get the film up by original director Richard Donner – “The Goonies 2” will soon be a reality.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/07 at 12:00am

Elegy

08.7.2008 | By |

Rated: R for sexuality, nudity and language.
Release Date: 2008-08-08
Starring: Nicholas Meyer
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: NULL
Official Website: http://www.onpictures.com/peliculas/elegy/index.htm

Go to our film page

Elegy

Catalan film director Isabel Coixet won various Goya awards in Spain (equivalent to the Oscars in the US) in 2006 for a small English spoken film called ‘The Secret Life of Words’ (La Vida Secreta de las Palabras) starring Tim Robbins and Canadian actress Sarah Polley. An ironic event since her native tongue isn’t even Spanish. Now, two years later, Coixet is at it again, in the Anglo-Saxon language, as she teams up with screenwriter Nicholas Meyer to bring to the big screen ‘Elegy’, starring Ben Kinglsley and Penélope Cruz.

The premise, based on Philip Roth’s short novel ‘The Dying Animal’, tells the story of the relationship between literature professor David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley), who is renowned for his cultural pedigree and Consuela Castillo (Penélope Cruz), his young and sensual Cuban student who falls in love with him.

But there is more here than just sexual play, the narrative essentially centers on how Kepesh deals with the fear that Consuela may leave him because of his age (thought to be around 55 or 60). Kingsley gives a charming and engaging performance that could be his best work in years. Cruz complements him beautifully as she plays the part of the erotic muse to perfection. Great dialogue, fabulous acting by a strong supporting cast (Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson), along with unexpected sub-plots keep you absorbed for the entirety of the film.

A note, if you’ve been watching summer blockbuster Hollywood films one after another, the normal pacing of this film will either be a drastic change for you or a sight for sore eyes. I’ve noticed that after sitting in a dark theater consuming films the likes of ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Mummy’, you become rather impatient with mid-tempo cinema. ‘Fight through it’, I say ardently! Elegy will be worth your troubles.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/07 at 12:00am

Johnny Depp confirmed for Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’

08.7.2008 | By |

Johnny Depp confirmed for Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland'

After it was announced that Tim Burton would direct “Alice in Wonderland 3-D,” a take on the classic Lewis Carroll fairy tale, fans assumed that Johnny Depp would somehow have to be involved. Burton and Depp have previously collaborated on six previous films, including “Sweeney Todd,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Now, Entertainment Weekly is reporting that fans’ suspicions are absolutely true. But whether he will play the rumored Mad Hatter is still unknown.

A source revealed that the film will be live-action until Alice (Mia Wasikowska) jumps down the rabbit hole and meets the loopy tea party host. Even if Depp does take on the Mad Hatter, there is still the question of whether he will have to do any acting or simply lend his voice for the computer-generated part of the film.

At this point, the new movie is set to begin filming early next year for a 2010 release. Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) penned the script.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/07 at 12:00am

Lethal Weapon 5?

08.7.2008 | By |

Lethal Weapon 5?

Hollywood tracking board TrackingB.com reports that Shane Black, who wrote the first Lethal Weapon movie, has written a spec script for Lethal Weapon 5 without telling anyone. The site adds that he contacted franchise producer Joel Silver and said that he wanted to continue the story.

This time, homicidal Riggs (Mel Gibson) is about to retire, but pulls Murtaugh (Danny Glover) out of retirement to solve one final case, before they both officially head off into the sunset.

TrackingB.com says that Gibson and Glover are down to return, but no deals have been signed.

The first film was released in 1987, the second in 1989, the third in 1992 and the fourth in 1998.

Alejandro Arbona

By

2008/08/06 at 12:00am

Pineapple Express

08.6.2008 | By |

Rated: R for pervasive language, drug use, sexual references and violence.
Release Date: 2008-08-08
Starring: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Judd Apatow (historia)
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/pineappleexpress/

Go to our film page

Pineapple Express

The title “Pineapple Express” refers to one plot element that turns out to be perhaps the movie’s most influential character: an especially potent kind of marijuana. It’s Pineapple Express that Saul Silver (James Franco) sells to Dale Denton (Seth Rogen), a sample that only Silver has. And it’s Pineapple Express that Dale is smoking when he witnesses a murder. And it’s due to drug cartels warring over Pineapple Express that that murder takes place. Now the killers, played by Gary Cole and the Puerto Rican actress Rosie Perez, spot the Pineapple Express that Dale dropped when he fled in terror, and they set out to kill Saul and his customer.

“Pineapple Express,” the movie, is an unexpected and interesting combination of three different genres, only one of which comes across in the synopsis I just gave you. It’s a hilarious comedy; it’s a buddy picture, about two friends adventuring and bonding; and, as you can gather from the above paragraph, it’s a crime story that eventually becomes excessively violent. That may just be this movie’s biggest surprise: that a Judd Apatow-produced comedy with the usual cast and improvisational style – usually associated with comedies about boy-men growing up like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” – suddenly climaxes in shootouts, explosions, dead bodies and tons of blood. But, jeez, they sure do make that violence funny.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/06 at 12:00am

Tarantino to cast Britney Spears

08.6.2008 | By |

Tarantino to cast Britney Spears

Britney Spears has accepted a role as a psychotic lesbian stripper in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming remake of the 1965 cult classic Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill!

The Pulp Fiction director has cast 26-year-old Britney as “Varla,” an adult entertainer who leads a trio of exotic dancers is murdering a young couple trapped alone in the desert.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Brit’s character murders the boyfriend with her bare hands before taking the girlfriend hostage, with whom she will engage in a number of sex scenes.

“Quentin is convinced Britney will be brilliant.”

“Britney is delighted, she thinks it could turn her career and her life around. A successful film could help her get out of her current nightmare,” an excited insider confirms to The Daily Telegraph.

“It is perfect Tarantino material. He wanted to get Britney first. She’s playing the most important character.”

Quentin is still on the hunt for a pair of Hollywood starlets to take on the roles of the remaining two strippers.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/06 at 12:00am

Jason Statham to play Daredevil?

08.6.2008 | By |

Jason Statham to play Daredevil?

Death Race and Crank star Jason Statham wants to be in a big screen reboot of the popular Marvel character Daredevil. But Statham doesn’t want to play the baddie Bullseye, he wants to take over as the blind man behind the red mask – Daredevil, who was played by Ben Affleck in Mark Steven Johnson’s 2003 film.

Frank Miller, who is credited for adding new depths to the comic book series in the 1970’s, has also given his approval: “I think he should be Daredevil too,” Miller told the LA Times.

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