Barry Levinson, 70, has had his share of commercial and critical successes in Hollywood with films like The Natural with Robert Redford, Diner with Kevin Bacon and Mickey Rourke, and of course Rain Man with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, which scored him an Oscar, but now the famed director is taking on a different kind of project in the mockumentary sci-fi thriller, The Bay, which was inspired by the toxic pollution that has reportedly turned 40% of the Chesapeake Bay into a marine dead zone.
In Gods Like Us, film critic Ty Burr, the man behind many of the Boston Globe’s smooth and pointed movie reviews, delivers an entertaining survey of movie stardom. Seeking to understand the history and phenomenon of stardom, Burr takes readers all the way from the late 1800s to present day; from the unnamed “stars” known only by their credits, such as “the Biograph Girl,” who went on to become Florence Lawrence, through the silent film era and Charlie Chaplin’s reign, and onto the Clark Gables, Humphrey Bogarts, Audrey Hepburns and Jimmy Stewarts of the times.
Just as they did with Boardwalk Empire, HBO has again pulled off a neat trick in roping a critically acclaimed A-List Hollywood director to roll out the pilot of its latest Sunday night trip to the land of compelling, adult-oriented television drama.
The new HBO series, Luck, was a month into shooting its second season when it was abruptly cancelled after three horses died on set since the filming of the first season began. The horse-racing show, starring Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Joan Allen and Nick Nolte, had been criticized by PETA since the 2010-11 filming, when two thoroughbreds were euthanized after being hurt during racing scenes.
With its, by the standard of other early 2000s domcoms (domestic comedies, if you like), high-concept premise--mild mannered milksop must warm up to the mother of all fathers-in-law-to-be: an ex-CIA operative!--Randy Newman-scored soundtrack, and unlikely comedy pairing of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro--the former having recently succeeded Jim Carrey as the Box Office King of Low Brow Comedy; the latter, fresh on the heels of his successful turn-against-type in the hit comedy Analyze This--Meet the Parents, a remake of the 1992 independent film vehicle for oddball stand-up comedian Emo Philips--became one of the highest grossing films of 2000.
Rain Man probably doesn’t need much introduction. At the 1988 Academy Awards the film cleaned up, taking Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), and Best Original Screenplay. The film made quite an impact when it first came out, and the strong qualities of the film definitely still hold up today.