Angela Lansbury — RIP

In the face of this most transparent of actors I could already see — and laugh — at the studious concentration she wore as Jessica Fletcher, mystery writer and Cabot Cove fussbudget and busybody and overseer of a per capita crime rate higher than the South Bronx: the studious concentration of an actor bored inContinue reading “Angela Lansbury — RIP”

Jean-Luc Godard — RIP

Michael Gebert’s line “He made sense when you or the whole world was twenty-one” is one way of looking at this dervish, who until he expired directed movies that replaced narrative with the precision and playfulness of an essay (Montaigne created its modern version, drawn from the verb essaier, i.e. to test or attempt) He’sContinue reading “Jean-Luc Godard — RIP”

Anne Heche — RIP

Just over twenty years ago entertainment reporters speculated whether audiences would find the late Anne Heche “believable” opposite Harrison Ford in Six Days, Seven Nights. The actress’ coming out as Ellen DeGeneres’ girlfriend in 1997 precipitated the chatter. In a place of venal, distanced cruelty, no one thought to question what the hell Harrison Ford,Continue reading “Anne Heche — RIP”

Olivia Newton-John — RIP

Listening to St. Etienne’s cover of “Who Do You Think You Are” long ago, I thought, Olivia Newton-John could’ve sung this. A compliment. Feathery without lapsing into the ethereal, Sarah Cracknell inhabited the song while hovering over its melody. Newton-John had this talent. She presented herself as a nice person. By many accounts she wasContinue reading “Olivia Newton-John — RIP”

James Caan — RIP

Sonny loves Connie; she’s his sister. But she’s not a woman, much less a person. A victim, a distillation of the Corleone’s self-regard — yes, sure. On realizing that her moronic schlub of a husband Carlo has beaten her, badly, Sonnny instinctive response is to stick his fist in his mouth, the swiftest means toContinue reading “James Caan — RIP”

Ray Liotta — RIP

A obit referred to him as ruggedly handsome as if they had never seen photos of feral rats. That bland parapluie participle “striking” is a better fit. Blessed with piercing blue eyes, a jaw flaunted like a knife in a street brawl, and the sort of nicotine-stained voice that earned him Chantix sponsorships a fewContinue reading “Ray Liotta — RIP”

Jean-Jacques Beineix — RIP

Crowdsourcing works for bloggers too. Readers, can you point me to articles or books about French youth in the late ’70s and early ’80s? How prevalent were UK punk notions with youth culture, and, more importantly, did punk as UK bands understood it happen in big cities? These questions matter when assessing Diva (1981), theContinue reading “Jean-Jacques Beineix — RIP”

Ronnie Spector — RIP

Blessed with a voice whose appetite — for love, religion, more love — never saw its vigor dimmed, the greatest of the early ’60s singers acquired the wisdom of an adult while keeping the ebullience of an adolescent. The Ronettes’ catalog remains astonishing: with the help of producer/scourge Phil Spector, Ronnie and her mates gaveContinue reading “Ronnie Spector — RIP”

Sidney Poitier — RIP

To those of us who matured during the years when he released Little Nikita and Sneakers, “Sidney Poitier” was a name, a property. He registered as a benign presence, faintly worried, as if he had lived long enough to understand the fragility of the enterprise. As a result, the Sidney Poitier who made Joseph L.Continue reading “Sidney Poitier — RIP”