Friday, March 28, 2008
Gregg Mitchell, spokesman for the Writers Guild of America, said Mann passed away on Tuesday but did not give details of the cause of death.
Mann also won several Emmys, including one for a TV film called The Marcus-Nelson Murders which introduced a maverick detective called Theo Kojak.
The film gave birth to the long-running TV series Kojak.
Mann's career spanned more than 50 years as a writer, director and producer.
His projects also included TV biopics of the US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and the Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
"Abby was brought along by great producers like Herbert Brodkin, but his passion was his own," said Del Reisman, former president of the Writers Guild of America, West.
"From his earliest days as a writer, he was guided by a moral compass that never wavered."
Mann was born Abraham Goodman in Philadelphia in 1927, the son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant. He said he felt like an outsider growing up in a tough working class neighbourhood.
After serving in the US Army he began writing TV drama scripts.
He became interested in the war crimes tribunal which tried Nazi leaders in Nuremberg in 1946 and, after scripting a TV programme on the subject, became determined to write his first film screenplay about the trials.
"A lot of people didn't want it done," he commented in a 1994 interview. "People wanted to sweep the issue under the rug."
After receving the Oscar in 1962 he said: "I believe that a writer worth his salt at all has an obligation not only to entertain but to comment on the world in which he lives, not only to comment, but maybe have a shot at reshaping the world."
His other film credits included A Child Is Waiting, Ship of Fools and Report to the Commissioner.
Mann is survived by his wife and a son.
Monday, March 24, 2008
At the time, Rowling had separated from her first husband and was living in a cramped apartment with her baby daughter.
She was able to afford the rent only after a friend paid the £600 ($1,189) that she needed, the newspaper quoted her as telling a student reporter at Edinburgh University.
"We're talking suicidal thoughts here, we're not talking 'I'm a little bit miserable,'" Rowling said.
"Mid-twenties life circumstances were poor and I really plummeted. The thing that made me go for help . . . was probably my daughter.
"She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn't right, this can't be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state."
Rowling said she then sought professional help.
While the 42-year-old has spoken before of her battle with depression, it was the first time she had admitted that she contemplated suicide, the newspaper said.
It was then that Rowling began writing the first Harry Potter book, which was eventually published in 1996.
Since then, more than 325 million books -- translated into 64 languages -- have been sold around the world and Rowling is now one of the world's richest women.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90.
The Somerset-born author came to fame in 1968 when short story The Sentinel was made into the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by director Stanley Kubrick.
His visions of space travel and computing sparked the imagination of readers and scientists alike.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse paid tribute, hailing the writer as a "great visionary".
Since 1995, the author had been largely confined to a wheelchair by post-polio syndrome.
He died at 0130 local time (2000 GMT) of respiratory complications and heart failure, according to his aide, Rohan De Silva.
"Sir Arthur has left written instructions that his funeral be strictly secular," his secretary, Nalaka Gunawardene, was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
She said the author had requested "absolutely no religious rites of any kind".
A farmer's son, Sir Arthur was educated at Huish's Grammar School in Taunton before joining the civil service.
He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and foresaw the concept of communication satellites.
Sir Arthur's detailed descriptions of space shuttles, super-computers and rapid communications systems inspired millions of readers.
When asked why he never patented his idea for communication satellites, he said: "I did not get a patent because I never thought it will happen in my lifetime."
In the 1940s, he maintained man would reach the moon by the year 2000, an idea dismissed at the time.
He was the author of more than 100 fiction and non-fiction books, and his writings are credited by many observers with giving science fiction a human and practical face. He collaborated on the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey with Kubrick.
British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore had known Sir Arthur since they met as teenagers at the British Interplanetary Society.
Sir Patrick paid tribute to his friend, remembering him as "a very sincere person" with "a strong sense of humour".
Tributes have also come from George Whitesides, the executive director of the National Space Society, where Sir Arthur served on the board of governors, and fellow science fiction writer Terry Pratchett.
The author married in 1953, and was divorced in 1964. He had no children.
He moved to the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka in 1956 after embarking on a study of the Great Barrier Reef.
There, he pursued his interest in scuba diving, even setting up a diving school at Hikkaduwa, near the capital, Colombo.
"Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered," he recalled recently.
"I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these, I would like to be remembered as a writer."
A statement from Sir Arthur's office said he had recently reviewed the final manuscript of his latest novel.
The Last Theorem, co-written with Frederik Pohl, will be published later this year, it said.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The Bank Job is a good match for this wham-bam caper flick.directed by high effective Roger Donaldson,script by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.it fancifully revisits the mysterious whos and speculative hows of a 1971 London vault cleanout on Baker Street labeled the walkie-talkie robbery.The robbery was a big headline news.
True or not, the on-screen follies mostly amuse and generally divert. Smarting up from a tip, a gang of charming lowlifes of varying capabilities and intelligence make like moles, tunneling under a women’s handbag store until they hit the vault: safe-deposit boxes crammed with sparkling treasures, fistfuls of bank notes and delectable smut involving some Very Important Personages. The thieves — led by the bullet-headed looker Jason Statham as Terry — scoop up their ill-gotten goods and scram. Assorted coppers and villains give chase, as do some stiff-lip types in bespoke suits from the British security services.
The filmmakers have claimed that the British government put a kibosh on media reports about the robbery by issuing a D Notice (now called a DA Notice, for defense advisory), a form of media self-censorship jointly agreed upon by representatives of the press and the government. Though The Guardian Published an article that explained that no D Notice had been issed after the heist, but the truth is usually beside the point when it comes to this sort of breezy entertainment, so it’s hard to care. Far more important is the way Mr. Statham, a B-movie action pinup (“The Transporter”), pumps like a piston across the screen and fills out his natty leather coat, both of which he does with palpable brute force.
Blink and you may well miss the whodunit and what for, much less what does it all mean (if anything). Stuffed with personalities, the fast, fast, fast story unfolds somewhat like a three-dimensional chess game, with the pieces moving among the different levels: on the bottom are Terry and his lads, the shaggy-haired Kevin (Stephen Campbell Moore) and the snaggle-toothed Dave (Daniel Mays); in the middle are the designated villains, including a charismatic if dubious black-power gadfly, Michael X (Peter De Jersey), and the so-called Soho porn king, Lew Vogel (David Suchet); and, on the very top, pulling strings or so they believe, are the security services, represented by the well-heeled silky and sneery Tim (Richard Lintern).
Mixed in with this dodgy crowd is a question mark named Martine, a pulpy femme fatale who’s been sensitively shaded in by Saffron Burrows. A former model, this angular, melancholic beauty has, after making the usual independent rounds — Mike Figgis directed her in his screen adaptation of the Strindberg play “Miss Julie” — slowly and somewhat unexpectedly emerged as an actress to watch. Sadness clings to Ms. Burrows: it hoods her eyes, tugs at her mouth and wraps around her like a gossamer shawl. It gives her mystery and, like the hints of age edging her face, blunts the impact of her beauty, making her character more human and emotionally accessible than she might register otherwise.
Ms. Burrows is particularly welcome, given that the caper itself is pretty much a yawn. Central to the pleasure of a great heist film is the spectacle of men (rarely women) at work, men who through their hard labor, their sweat and stratagems — and, if they’re in a Jean-Pierre Melville film, their honor — defy the law and society. (There’s a reason so many of these movies seem like metaphors for moviemaking.) The walkie-talkie gang, by contrast, comes across here as more lucky than cunning. They blunder into the heist, at times comically, which amps the laughs, but helps drain what little suspense remains after Mr. Donaldson has whisked his characters through their paces, and the ruthlessly efficient editing has nipped at their heels.
Amid all the period wheeling and stealthy dealing, the story carves out a little time for a short detour involving Michael X — also known as Michael de Freitas, also known as Michael Abdul Malik — a native of Trinidad who became a radical-chic figure in London during the late 1960s and early 1970s and, years later, cannon fodder for the writer V. S. Naipaul, who saw him as a fraud. The film’s cartoonish depiction of Michael X doesn’t begin to do justice to the strangeness of his story — he partied with John Lennon and was championed by William S. Burroughs, Dick Gregory and Heinrich Böll — though it adds a nicely outré detail to this embroidered fiction. Maybe Mr. Statham can play Mr. Burroughs in the sequel.
“The Bank Job” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Some nasty, nasty blowtorch violence.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Fifteen top practitioners...
...of Jeet Kune Do, Karate, Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Kendo, Tai Chi Chuan and Classical Oriental Weaponry pay tribute to the martial arts master of all time, Bruce Lee. Their expertise is brought to life before the probing eye of the motion picture camera, that delves into the Americanization of these arts. In addition to exhibiting their deadly skills, the masters talk honestly about themselves and about their mystical, spiritual and philosophic thoughts on the ancient art of self defense. This film is a welcome step away from the sensationalism that all too often surrounds the subject and it is considered by many to be a classic!
Be Entertained with the best!
"The Warrior Within" received the highest honor a Martial Arts film could be awarded! The "Las Americas Film Festival" presented Executive Producer Manuel Ortiz Braschi with the "Gold Medal Special Jury Award" for its content, beautiful slow motion sequences, superb technical credits and good commentary.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
27 Dresses is a story of Jane (Heigl), a perennial bridesmaid who's had the word no exorcised from her vocabulary. Jane should be getting paid as a wedding planner but instead her full-time job is working as the right-hand woman to the CEO of an environmentally-friendly clothing and outdoor equipment company. Said CEO, George (Edward Burns), is a hunk and a half who loves dogs, does lots of charity work, and is clueless to the fact Jane has a massive crush on him.
27 dresses is a story of Jane (Heigl),a bridesmaid who's had the word exorcised from her vocabulary.Jane who should be earning a living as a wedding planner but instead decided to work as a full time right hand woman to the CEO of an environmentally-friendly clothing and outdoor equipment company.Said CEO, George (Edward Burns), is a hunk and a half who loves dogs, gives lots to charity, and had no idea to the fact that Jane has a massive crush on him.
George however isn't blind to all beautiful women.George falls pretty much head over heels for the perky blonde and no time the two are engaged and Jane's left to plan their nuptials.
Kevin (James Marsden) enters the scene as a newspaper reporter who covers the wedding beat.Kevin's cynical demeanor masks the fact he writes lovely articles that have brides-to-be vying for his attention.Kevin spots Jane going from wedding to wedding and decides she’s worthy of a special column, one which he hopes will do well enough to free him forever from covering the wedding beat – a job he claims to loathe doing. Despite their opposing outlooks on life, Jane and Kevin develop an uneasy sort of friendship. And because 27 Dresses springs from the romantic comedy cookie cutter mold, that uneasy friendship is, of course, the heart of the story.
27 dresses presents Grey's Anatomy fans a chance to watch Heigl charm her way through the role of a reliable bridesmaid forced into wearing some of the most outrageous dresses ever concocted and yet somehow able to smile through the taffeta,lace,and even leather ordeals.The extire film rests on her tender shoulders and Jane's more than able to carry out the task being the lead actor.As predictable as things get, Heigl never lets up and never lets the audience down.
It's hard to imagine a set of complications more routine, but the way that this tiered cake of a farce has been staged, you can practically lick the white frosting off of the plot. Even the satire of the wedding industry plays like a backhanded endorsement of it. There is, of course, a trying-on-clothes montage, though this one has a rare dash of wit: It's Jane modeling all her bridesmaid's dresses (which, according to the film, are meant to look bad, so that they don't show up the bride), as the movie flashes back to the weddings in which she wore them. There's also an intentionally cringe-worthy (though maybe not this much) duet between Jane and Kevin, who take refuge at a bar following an auto mishap. Drunk on whiskey, the two sing along with ''Bennie and the Jets,'' getting down with their bad selves in their most impassioned, white-person fervor, which inspires the entire bar to join in. Love means never having to say you're sorry for acting like an idiot. Or for tying yourself in knots in order to tie the knot. C+