Tag Archives: Dustin Hoffman

Where Have All The Good Times Gone Trailer: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)!

Moah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is the emotional and comic intergenerational tale of adult siblings contending with the long shadow their strong-willed father has cast over their lives.

An Official Selection of Cannes Film Festival 2017, the film will make its North American premiere at this year’s New York Film Festival before premiering in select theaters and on Netflix on October 13th.

Continue reading Where Have All The Good Times Gone Trailer: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)!

TCM Classic Film Festival Adds Hoffman, Baldwin & Lee!

Dustin Hoffman

The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival has added some more big names to its lineup.

Following the screening of Lenny (1974) Dustin Hoffman will sit down with Alec Baldwin, former co-host of TCM’s The Essentials, for an extended discussion of the film for which Hoffman received an Oscar® nomination for his portrayal of legendary, groundbreaking comedian Lenny Bruce.

Spike Lee will present the screening of Malcolm X (1992), starring Denzel Washington in one of his most acclaimed roles.

The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival – which runs from March 26-29, will also feature tributes to two artists whose contributions behind the camera have been enormous: Film Editor Anne V. Coates, CSE (Lawrence of Arabia, Out of Sight), and  Stuntman and Stunt Coordinator Terry Leonard (Raiders o the Lost Ark, The Wind and the Lion). For further details, follow the jump.

Continue reading TCM Classic Film Festival Adds Hoffman, Baldwin & Lee!

DVD REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda/Secrets of the Furious Five

The story of how Po [Jack Black] becomes the Dragon Warrior – despite the skepticism of the Furious Five Masters, Crane [David Cross], Mantis [Seth Rogen], Monkey [Jackie Chan], Tigress [Angelina Jolie] and Viper [Lucy Liu] – is one of the year’s surprise hits, critically as well as at the box office.

KungFuPanda

The film’s DVD release is full of bonus features and, in a special two DVD package, includes The Secrets of the Furious Five. This twenty-five minute tale finds Po facing his greatest challenge – teaching a class of easily distracted young bunnies the art of king fu [Master Shifu, still voiced by Dustin Hoffman, seems particularly tickled by the situation]. To get the class’ attention, Po relates stories of how each of the Five – Crane [David Cross], Monkey [Jaycee Chan], Mantis [Max Koch], Tigress [Tara Strong], and Viper [Jessica Di Ciccio] – had to overcome such flaws as impatience [Mantis], Compassion [Monkey], control [Tigress], and so forth. Even Master Oogway [Randall Duk Kim] puts in an appearance.

Most of Secrets is filmed in the beautiful 2D style seen in the prologue to Kung Fu Panda, with CG used for scenes that feature Po and his class – and the clever cover art from the two DVDs is designed to be one larger picture when placed side by side.

There is a wealth of features on each DVD.

Kung Fu Panda: Audio Commentary by Co-Directors John Stevenson and Mark Osborne; Meet the Cast; Pushing the Boundaries [improvements in CGI]; Sound Design; Kung fu Fighting Music Video by Cee-Lo; Mr. Ping’s Noodle House [watch a master make noodles from a simple ball of dough]; How to Use Chopsticks [this time for sure!]; Conservation International: Help Save Wild Panda; Dragon Warrior Training Academy; Printables and Weblinks [DVD-ROM], and Dreamworks Animation Jukebox.

Secrets of the Furious Five: Po’s Power Play: Learn to Draw [Character animators show how to draw their respective characters]; Dumpling Shuffle [which bowl is the dumpling under]; Pandamonium Activity Kit [DVD-ROM]; The Land of Panda: Learn the Panda Dance; Do You Kung Fu [demonstrations of basic kung fu forms]; Inside the Chinese Zodiac; Animals of Kung Fu Panda [and how they relate to their namesake forms of kung fu], and What Fighting Style Are You?

Grade: Kung Fu Panda – A

Grade: Secrets of the Furious Five – B+

Grade: Features: Kung Fu Panda – A+

Grade: Features: Secrets of the Furious Five – B+

Final Grade: A

DVD REVIEW: Liberty’s Kids –Animated History!

Liberty's Kids

History is one of those subjects that can be made boring by a less than enthusiastic teacher – or by the misapprehension that it is, inherently, boring. In 2002 the DIC Entertainment Corporation produced a twenty-eight episode history of the United States of America as witnessed by four young people: Henri [voiced by Kathleen Barr], a young French boy whose parents died en route to The colonies and was forced into slavery to pay their passage; James [Chris Lundquist], a teenager whose passion for reporting and for the revolution are occasionally misdirected; Sarah [Reo Jones], recently arrived from England and incapable [at first] of believing that England’s Parliament could possibly enact legislation like unfair taxation, or quartering, and Moses [Kevin Williams], a young black man who works as an apprentice for Benjamin Franklin – and has first-hand experience with slavery.

Now, Shout!Factory has released the series on DVD and, as usual, have done a very nice job of it.

The twenty-eight episodes begin with The Boston Tea Party and carry through to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The writing is crisp and efficient; the viewpoint characters have sufficiently different backgrounds that each grows in different directions – while influencing each other; the animation is solid television work, and the various major historical figures are paired up with well known actors and newsmen.

Among the celebrity cast are Walter Cronkite [Benjamin Franklin], Annette Bening [Abigail Adams], Billy Crystal [John Adams], Michael Douglas [Patrick Henry], Dustin Hoffman [Benedict Arnold] and Sylvester Stallone [Paul Revere] – to name a few.

Features: All discs: Midnight Ride Original Pencil Test; Ben Franklin’s Newsbytes; Continental Cartoons; Now and Then, and Mystery Guest Game; Disc 1: Midnight Ride Original Pencil Test; Disc 4: A Look Back at Liberty’s Kids With The Creators. Also included is a forty-page booklet that give episode titles and summaries, plus guest cast credits and the bonus features on each disc – and a two-sided fold-out poster [one side is a poster of the kids with Benjamin Franklin, the other a map of The Colonies alongside a list of the episode titles, the sites for which are marked on the map.

Grade: Liberty’s Kids – A

Grade: Features – B+

Final Grade: A-

MOVIE REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda: Panda Power? By Sheldon Wiebe

Pandas are perceived as being laid back, relaxed and just enjoying munching on bamboo shoots. Kinda like your fat, old uncle Kenny – only bigger and with fur. Casting a panda as a kung fu master is one of those contradictory images that just automatically provoke smiles and chuckles – if not hysterical laughter. Which is why Kung Fu Panda had to be more than just another animated movie. In order for it to work, the film would have to find a way to make us believe – in with excellent CGI – that Po [voiced by Jack Black], a poor panda working for his father in a noodle house, could make that leap to… wait for it… Dragon Warrior!

Po & Master Shifu

In anticipation of the evil snow leopard Tai Lung [Ian McShane] breaking out of the most secure prison in the country, Master Shifu [Dustin Hoffman] has trained the Furious Five – Masters Crane [David Cross], Mantis [Seth Rogen], Monkey [Jackie Chan], Tigress [Angelina Jolie] and Viper [Lucy Liu] – in hopes that one of them would be chosen to fulfill the prophecy of the Dragon Warrior and obtain the Dragon Scroll that would take them to an almost exalted level of martial arts mastery. Through a fluke involving fireworks and a chair, Po finds himself chosen to become the Dragon Warrior by Master Oogway [Randall Duk Kim] – and fierce lessons must be learned by all of them so that, when Master Oogway’s time comes, the Dragon warrior will be ready to face Tai Lung.

Kung Fu Panda is a small miracle in both character and animation development. The script, by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger [from a story by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris] packs as much character into the film as action [and there’s a lot of action!]. Watching Po and his father, Mr. Ping [James Hong] deal with the changes in Po’s life are fraught with genuine emotion; the disbelief of Shifu and the Furious Five combine to make things even harder for the poor Po. The animation of the martial arts sequences add to the depth of the film with their intricacy and clarity.

Directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson have done a masterful job of matching voices to characters [Jolie and Liu especially, bring it – and Rogen, counter cast as the tiny Mantis gives his character a surprisingly supple quality] and staging both moments of frenzy and unexpected beauty [the passing of a key character]. Kung Fu Panda is a movie that might have been wholly summarized by its title, but instead is so much more. Thanks to the factors mentioned plus the unexpected range of Black as Po, this is a classic in waiting.

Final Grade: A