Actresses and singers come and go, but Polly Bergen had a multifaceted entertainment career that stretched from 1949 to 2012 because she was a star at just about everything she tried.
Richard Attenborough had a pretty good career as a character actor. From the 1940s to the mid-2000s, he appeared in nearly 80 films, including the 1963 World War II epic The Great Escape, in which he played the mastermind of a daring flight from a Nazi prison camp, to 1992's Jurassic Park, in which he played bioengineering genius John Hammond, the owner of an ill-fated theme park stocked with cloned dinosaurs.
When I glanced at my e-mail alerts on Sunday and saw that Philip Seymour Hoffman, arguably the greatest film actor of his generation, had died of a probable drug overdose, I felt the same mix of sadness and anger that came over me when Whitney Houston died.
Action flicks of the 1970s featured an army of two-fisted tough guys with hard stares and gritted teeth, who angrily defied the establishment and did things their own way, especially if that entailed acts of violence at frequent intervals. But none was angrier, more defiant or more willing to kick butt and take names than Billy Jack, the protagonist of a trio of films by actor-director-producer Tom Laughlin.
The music, film and interactive gathering called South by Southwest (SXSW or just South by to its friends) has just wrapped up in Texas. The artist once again known as Prince was there, along with 2,200 young bands; so was the "inventor" of the Internet, Al Gore. Bill Gates and Stevie Nicks were in the house. If something was new or cool, like 3D printing or Google Glass, it was there, too. Everyone was talking about "storytelling" - and the challenge of breaking through the noise to connect with audiences.
The season finale Sunday of Homeland marks the climax of a trifecta of sorts. The Showtime spy thriller is joined by a nearly surefire Oscar nominee for Best Picture ( Silver Linings Playbook) and one of the best-reviewed Broadway musicals of recent years ( Next to Normal) - completing a trio of powerful genre-busting works of art in which bipolar disorder drives the plot and is at the heart of the main character's identity.
"The Artist" is a nearly silent film that resonates deeply with 50+ viewers who appreciate its classic French cinema feel. Adult viewers will find a visual feast in the film's pastiche of 1920s Hollywood. Jean Dujardin plays the protagonist, a silent movie star whose fortunes fade with the advent of 'talkies', and as demand for silent movies wanes. With a focus on high drama, emotional nuance and human pathos, 'The Artist' is a reminder that the past continues to inform the present, and the persistence of memory serves one of the most powerful human needs; to aestheticise, archive and remember our collective past.
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