In December, the world bid a fond farewell to number of stars of the stage, television and cinema. In brief, shown below, is my passing tribute to those stars who leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. May you all Rest In Peace, and thanks for the memories.
* Chrsitine Keeler - Born 22nd February 1942, died 4th December 2017, aged 75. Former model and showgirl, Keeler shot to infamy and notoriety in 1963 when at the height of the Cold War, she became sexually involved with married British Government Minister John Profumo, and a Soviet Diplomat. In what would become known as 'The Profumo Affair', Keeler was sentenced to nine months in prison for perjury and was released within five. Her story was documented in the 1989 film 'Scandal' with Joanne Whalley playing Keeler with John Hurt, Ian McKellen playing the disgraced politician Profumo, with Bridget Fonda, Leslie Phillips, Britt Ekland and Directed by Michael Caton-Jones.
* Keith Chegwin - Born 17th January 1957, died 11th December 2017, aged 60. English television presenter; Actor on stage, television and cinema; Disc Jockey and singer, Chegwin rose to fame on UK children's television programmes 'Multi-Coloured SwapShop' from 1976 to 1982; on 'Cheggers Plays Pop' from 1978 to 1986 and 'Saturday SuperStore' during the 1980's. His film credits, albeit fairly minor, included Roman Polanski's 'Macbeth' in 1971, 'The Optimists of Nine Elms' in 1973 alongside Peter Sellers, 'Robin Hood Junior' in 1975, and most recently in 1999's 'Whatever Happened to Harold Smith' with Tom Courtenay, Stephen Fry, Charlie Hunnam, James Cordon, David Thewlis and Lulu and in 2011 he appeared as himself in the comedy horror film 'Kill Keith'. In between time he appeared on episodes of 'Open All Hours', 'The Liver Birds', The Tomorrow People', 'Z-Cars', 'Extras', a celebrity episode of 'The Chase', 'Life's Too Short', 'Pointless Celebrities', 'Celebrity Big Brother' and 'Celebrity Master Chef'. In 2015 he hosted the BAFTA Television and Film industry awards.
* Heather Menzies-Urich - Born 3rd December 1949, died 24th December 2017, aged 68. American model and film and television Actress, she is perhaps best known for her roles as Louisa von Trapp in 1965's 'The Sound of Music' and in all fourteen episodes as Jessica in 'Logan's Run' from 1977 to 1978. She also had appearances on numerous television shows over the years including 'Dragnet', The High Chaparral', 'Bonanza', 'Alias Smith and Jones', 'S.W.A.T.', 'Barnaby Jones', 'The Six Million Dollar Man', ''The Love Boat', 'Vega$', 'T.J.Hooker' and 'Spenser : For Hire'. In between time there were also other less memorable film appearances on the likes of the 1966 'Hawaii' with Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow, Richard Harris and Gene Hackman, 1968's 'How Sweet It Is' with James Garner and Debbie Reynolds, 1969's 'Hail, Hero!' with Michael Douglas, 'Outside In', horror Sci-Fi offering 'Sssssss' with Dirk Benedict in 1973, Joe Dante's 'Piranha' in 1978, and 'Endangered Species' in 1978. She was married to Actor Robert Urich from 1975 up until the time of his death in 2002 from the rare cancer synovial sarcoma - a soft tissue cancer affecting the extremities of the arms and legs.
This week, there are just two new films being released in the week ahead joining the seven released earlier in the week on Boxing Day. We kick off with a highly acclaimed documentary from a debut feature length film maker that was ten years in the making and charts the life, the ups and the downs of a struggling Philadelphia African American family. And we close out with a Chinese near future action thriller starring one of Asia's great action heroes doing what he does best.
Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the two latest release films as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release and as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are here cordially invited to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your big screen Odeon experience during the week ahead.
'QUEST' (Rated M) - this debut documentary from feature film debut Director Jonathan Olshefski had its World Premier screening at The Sundance Film Festival back in January this year, and has spent the last year on the film festival circuit picking up eleven award wins and a further ten nominations on its journey. The film now arrives in limited release in select Australian cinemas having received much Critical praise up to now. Condensed down into ninety minutes of running time from over 300 hours of filmed footage, here the Director delivers a documentary that is charged with love, emotion, hope, challenges, set backs amidst the backdrop of a changing US political landscape.
'BLEEDING STEEL' (Rated MA15+) - Directed and Written by Leo Zhang, this Chinese Sci-Fi thriller is set partially in Sydney, Australia in 2020 and features Jackie Chan in the lead role as hardened Special Forces agent Lin Dong. When Dong is thrust into a fight to protect a young woman from a sinister gang of criminal underworld types, while at the same time feeling a connection to the woman as though they have met before in a former life, he unleashes a cat and mouse game all surrounding an immortality serum invented by a bioengineering expert being hunted down by a mutant warrior and his henchwoman. Being a Jackie Chan film you can count on epic stunts, close quarter hand to hand combat, car chases, explosions, gunplay, leaping off tall buildings, and all captured in glorious slo-mo, with the usual tongue in cheek humour that is sure to please your average fifteen year old lad. With an Australian cast that includes Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich, Damien Garvey and Kim Gyngell this film is shown is selected cinemas only and was released in China just before Christmas.
With two new release films this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, joining the seven released on Boxing Day, remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephiles afterwards here at Odeon Online, and meanwhile, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-