In June, the world bid a fond farewell to number of stars of the silver screen and the small screen. In brief, shown below, is my passing tribute to those stars who leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, and in particular the world of film and television. May you all Rest In Peace, and thanks for the memories Anthony Bourdain, Leslie Grantham and Stanley Anderson.
* Anthony Michael Bourdain - born 25th June 1956, died 8th June 2018, aged 61. An American celebrity Chef, writer, travel documentarian, television personality and regarded as one of the most influential Chef's in the world. Graduating in 1978 from the Culinary Institute of America he went on to become the Executive Chef for many years at the famed Manhattan French eatery Brasserie Les Halles, upon which he based many of his culinary exploits in his first book 'Kitchen Confidential : Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly' in 2000. From there he went on to host his first food and world-travel television show, 'A Cook's Tour' which coincided with the release of his second book of the same name, and ran for 35 episodes on the Food Network in 2002 and 2003. In 2005, he began hosting the Travel Channel's culinary and cultural adventure programs 'Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations' running from 2005 through to 2012 and then 'The Layover' from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, he began a three-season run as a judge on the cooking themed reality TV competition 'The Taste', and that same year hosted the award winning food and travel show 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' for CNN. In the meantime, he also published other non-fiction books including 'The Nasty Bits' in 2006, 'No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach' in 2007, and 'Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook' in 2010. His articles and essays appeared in many national and international magazines, newspapers and periodicals over the years and in 2015 he appeared as himself in the highly acclaimed film 'The Big Shout' in which he used seafood stew as an analogy for a collateralised debt obligation. Also the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his writing and television work over the years, Bourdain was the Keith Richards of the food service industry, outspoken, adventurous, a lovable rogue, and coming from the industry myself, a personal favourite who has read all his books, and watched many a TV show of his with avid interest.
* Leslie Michael Grantham - born 30th April 1947, died 15th June 2018, aged 71. An English Actor of stage and screen Grantham will be forever etched in the subconscious minds of a loyal fan base of that long running British television soap 'EastEnders' as 'Dirty' Dennis Watts, the former landlord of the Queen Victoria Public House. Over the years he appeared in 562 episodes from the series launch in 1985 through to 1989 and then in a comeback running from 2003 to 2005. Aside from his regular turn on 'EastEnders' Grantham had regular work over his career including recurring appearances on television series such as 'Doctor Who', 'Winners and Losers', 'The Paradise Club', 'Cluedo' (based on popular whodunit board game in which he starred as Colonel Mustard), '99-1', 'Woof' and 'The Uninvited', as well as feature films taking in 'Waiting for Godot', 'Shadow Run', 'Crow's Nest', 'Lava', 'Charlie', 'Deadtime', 'The Factory', 'Mob Handed' and the recently completed awaiting release 'The Krays : Dead Man Walking'. All up Grantham had 48 Acting credits.
* Stanley Anderson - born 23rd October 1939, died 24th June 2018, aged 78. An American Actor of both stage and screen and perhaps best known for his role as Drew Carey's Dad in the 'Drew Carey Show'. Anderson's career started in 1967, two years after his return from military service in Korea. For the next 23 years he appeared in over two hundred stage productions at Arena Stage, the American Conservatory Theatre and The Actors Company amongst several others. In 1991 he got his television break through in mini-series 'Son of the Morning Star' as Ulysses S. Grant. From there and over the years he appeared in many notable Hollywood features including 'Deceived', 'RoboCop 3', 'The Pelican Brief', 'Primal Fear', 'The Rock', 'Armageddon', 'Proof of Life', 'Spider-Man', 'S1mOne', 'Red Dragon', and 'Runaway Jury'. In between time, there were also numerous television series appearances on the likes of 'L.A. Law', 'Seinfeld', 'Just Shoot Me!', 'The X Files', 'Ally McBeal', 'Law & Order', 'The Practice', and 'NYPD Blue'. He also lent his voice talents to numerous documentaries, education and lifestyle channels including 'National Geographic', 'The Discovery Channel', 'The History Channel' and 'The Learning Channel'. All up, Anderson had 52 Acting credits.
This week coming to an Odeon near you, we have four new release films. Launching with another MCU Superhero offering that is a sequel to the first instalment from 2015, this time the lead character who can shrink to a tiny insect size or upscale to larger than life, forms a crime fighting dynamic duo with another winged insect with a sting in her tail, all with the aid of Mum & Dad in whose footsteps they follow. Next is a historical biographical drama charting the life, love and one particularly world renowned work of literary art, by the troubled author of the novel 'Frankenstein'. We then turn to a comedy of a talking dog having to buddy up with an FBI Agent to thwart an animal smuggling ring at a world famous dog show event; before wrapping up with three largely estranged siblings returning to their vineyard home in France to ponder over what should become of their late father's winery.
Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the four latest release new movies 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 most welcome 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 outing during the week ahead.
'ANT-MAN AND THE WASP' (Rated PG) - and so the Marvel machine keeps grinding away churning out superhero fare for us to spend our $20 or so on at the local multiplex. And it is too with this sequel to 2015's 'Ant-Man', which off the back of a US$110M Budget grossed US$520M at the global Box Office, was generally well received by Critics and audiences alike, and picked up three award wins and another 33 nominations from around the circuit. This 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Directed by Peyton Reed once again, who came on board one month after the release of the first instalment. This film is released in the US this week too, but not in the UK until early August. Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man/Scott Lang also takes a Co-Writer credit this time around.
'MARY SHELLEY' (Rated PG) - this internationally Produced romantic historical period drama is Directed by Saudi Arabian Haifaa al-Mansour, had its World Premier screening at TIFF back in September last year, went on release in the US in late May and gets its Australian and UK release this week. The film has received mixed or average Reviews at best, and has so far grossed just US$193K. The story surrounds Mary Wollstonecraft (Elle Fanning) whose family staunchly disapproves when she and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth) announce their love for each other. The family is mortified upon discovering that the couple has eloped, together with Mary's half-sister, Claire (Bel Powley). While staying in the home of Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) at Lake Geneva, the guests are challenged to write a ghost story, which leads Mary to conceive her novel 'Frankenstein'. Also starring Stephen Dillaine, Maisie Williams, Ben Hardy and Joanne Froggatt.
'SHOW DOGS' (Rated PG) - here we have an American buddy-cop family comedy that was mired in controversy after its opening weekend. So research advises, a week after its initial release in the US in mid-May, several movie Critics and parental groups accused the Producers of the film of including a scene that normalised child grooming. Resulting from this outcry, the Studio re-edited the film and re-released it for its second weekend. Directed by Raja Gosnell the film cost a mere US$5.5M to make and has so far grossed US$29M although the film has received largely unfavourable Reviews. The story here takes place in a world where humans co-exist with talking dogs (of course!) and following a thwarted attempt to recover a stolen baby panda, Police dog Max (voiced by Ludacris) reluctantly buddies up with human FBI agent Frank (Will Arnett). A hot lead takes Max and Frank to the Canini Invitational Dog Show in Las Vegas for the world's most exclusive event of its kind. To locate the panda, Max goes under cover as a furry contestant to get the lowdown from his fellow four legged friends, and Max must pose as his trainer. With help from their new pooch buddies, this dynamic crime-fighting duo must now foil another kidnapping plot and rescue other various other furry and valuable animals from a gang of greedy smugglers. Also starring Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, RuPaul and Shaquille O'Neal. You'ld be forgiven for drawing similarities with 'Turner & Hooch' or 'K-9' already!
'BACK TO BURGUNDY' (Rated M) - this French foreign language drama film is Directed and Co-Written by Cedric Klapisch, was released just over a year ago in its native France, and only now does it get a limited showing in Australia. The film costs just over US$9M to make, and it has so far made just a tad over US$9M, garnering mixed or average Reviews along the way. The story here tells of three siblings who are reunited for the first time in a very long time at their family home in the picture perfect environs of Burgundy, France to save the family vineyard. Jean (Pio Marmai), is the black sheep of the family who unexpectedly returns home from a decade abroad in Australia to reconnect with his hospitalised father. He is welcomed by his sister, the tough and uncompromising Juliette (Ana Girardot), who took over the task of managing the vineyard after their father became ill. And then there is Jeremie (Francois Civil), the youngest of the three who has recently married into one of the region’s more prestigious wine families, and is expected, in time, to take the reins there. Their father dies shortly after Jean’s return, leaving them with the estate and a huge inheritance tax bill that they can ill afford. As a year goes by, Jean, Juliette, and Jeremie must learn to reinvent their relationship and build trust and gain confidence in each other as they toil to safeguard the 'terroir' that inextricably binds them together. Eric Caravaca plays the father who we see throughout the film in flashback.
With four new release films out this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephile friends afterwards here at Odeon Online. In the meantime, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-