Four hundred and forty nine years ago today, William Shakespeare was born. So today, we celebrate his birthday with National Shakespeare Day in the UK and the rather less elegant Talk Like Shakespeare Day in the US. With this in mind, we’ve put together a set of videos of famous actors reading or performing Shakespeare — both elegantly celebrating the man and, well, talking like him. NB: we’ve ignored clips of famous actors performing Shakespeare on film or in proper plays, leaning toward recital of sonnets and informal monologues. Fill your ears with Shakespeare read by wonderful actors after the jump, and let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments. … Read More
James Earl Jones
Critics and audiences weren’t entirely enamored of The Lorax (out today on DVD and Blu-ray), but it was tough to complain about the casting of the title character: Danny DeVito is spot-on, investing the character with the curmudgeonly lovability that’s always been part of his screen persona, and is a perfect fit for the orange creature who speaks for the trees.
Voice-over acting, whether in live action or animated films, is in many ways a tougher task than conventional on-screen work; the performer must do all of their acting with only the voice, unable to rely on other tools (movement, eyes, facial expression, etc.) to convey meaning and emotion. After the jump, we’ve selected — with considerable difficulty — our ten favorite voice-only performances in feature films (let’s face it: if we were just talking shorts, it’d be a list of ten Mel Blanc roles). Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
When you have to keep an obsessive eye on film, music, books, visual art, television, the Internet, and all other manner of popular culture, something eventually has to give, and for us — well, for this author, anyway — it’s sports. An almost-complete disinterest in professional and collegiate sporting events can make one feel a bit of an outcast (and it certainly makes for a confusing Facebook feed; apparently some guy who’s really into Jesus won something important on Sunday?), but after faking it through high school and college, I can’t pretend to care anymore. Maybe it makes me a pencil-necked geek, but the idea of spending three hours watching a football going to and fro — particularly when there are still Hitchcock movies I haven’t seen — is simply unacceptable.
However, many of the same film fans who are patently disinterested in a Sunday afternoon of TV sports will gladly spend that same time planted in front of a sports-themed movie — basically the same thing, albeit with better camera angles and a scripted ending. (And the angles are the only difference in a wrestling movie, HA HA!) And that’s fine with this viewer; as I told a friend after its release, “I’d watch football every week if it looked like Any Given Sunday.” But cinephiles more sport-phobic than I (and they’re out there!) might prefer films that keep the game play squarely off-screen. In honor of today’s DVD release of Moneyball, one of the best of the bunch, we offer ten genuinely good movies about sports that are notable for their minimal sports action. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
1. The National Film Preservation Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive have discovered the first 30 minutes of what is believed to be Alfred Hitchcock’s directorial debut, a 1923 British film called The White Shadow. If you live in LA, mark your calendars for September 22, when it will “re-premiere” at the Academy of… Read More
1. After weeks (months? 25 years?!) of speculation, Larry King announced on his show last night that he’ll be stepping down from his talk show in the fall, but continuing to work with CNN on specials. We want to be the first to suggest Lady Gaga for his replacement host. [via Media Decoder]
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