Hans Gruber to take the Pelham Picture House hostage

Karl, schieß auf das fenster.

[puzzled look]


Ahh, I love that movie. I know Alan Rickman has starred in everything from “Harry Potter” to “Galaxy Quest” to “Robin Hood” since, but none of his roles ever made quite such an indellible impression as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.” (My wife, for the record, strongly objects, and thinks his performance in “Love Actually” is one for the ages.)

Anyway, getting back to the point of this post: Rickman has agreed to come preview his new film, “Bottle Shock,” at the Pelham Picture House on August 5th. Afterward, he’ll do the usual Peter Travers Q&A, along with the the film’s director, Randall Miller, and its producer, J. Todd Harris.

The film centers around the early days of California wine making,  back before Napa was a brand-name for vino. Rickman plays Steve Spurrier, the Brit who more or less helped put the wineries of California on the map when he organized the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976, aka “The Judgment of Paris,” in which the U.S. wines outshone those from France.


Tickets went on sale on Saturday through the Picture House’s website, and are still available. Rickman might not have the megawatt star power as some recent Picture House visitors by the names of Clooney and Cruise, but at $35, the tickets are a relative bargain. And — going out on a limb here — the movie looks a little more entertaining than “Leatherheads.”

Course, it would be all the more so if somehow the screenplay managed to work the following line into the Spurrier character’s dialogue: “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”


EDIT: Ok, I just checked Rickman’s IMDB page and made a heinous omission: “Something the Lord Made,” the HBO film about the doctors who pioneered the first form of heart surgery on blue babies. If you haven’t seen it yet, Netflix that one. Co-stars Mos Def in an equally excellent performance. Still not quite on the level of “Die Hard,” but absolutely deserving of the Emmy it won in 2004.

(Photos: IPW) 

Peter Travers hearts ‘The Dark Knight’

Mamaroneck resident and Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers got first crack at reviewing the new Batman flick, “The Dark Knight,” and, in a nutshell, he likey. A lot.

055304h1.jpgHis just-published review compares Christian Bale’s bman to Al Pacino in “Godfather 2,” and Heath Ledger’s role as the Joker to “the anarchy of the Sex Pistols and A Clockwork Orange.” As if I wasn’t excited enough to see this movie!

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, here, take a gander.

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The movie comes out July 18. And now that Rolling stone’s glowing review is out, the only question mark that still remains is whether Bale will follow in Cruise, Clooney, and Penn’s footsteps and make the celebrity pilgrimage to the Pelham Picture House to promote it. Come on, Christian, time to repay a little of that Travers kharmic goodwill.

“The Dark Knight : Review” [Rolling Stone]

George Clooney comes clean on why he won’t campaign for Barack Obama

It’s already a well-known fact: George digs Barack. His support for Obama has been widely reported,obama-clooney.jpg everywhere from ABC to the Washington Post to TMZ. Even BarackObama.com seems to take pride in Clooney’s reference to Obama being “like a rock star.”

So why, then, hasn’t Clooney campaigned for the Illinois senator? If Oprah and Bruce Springsteen are happy to hit the campaign trail, why not Dr. Doug Ross?

That was one of the topics Clooney addressed Wednesday night in Pelham, during his talk with Peter Travers at the Picture House. In a nutshell, he thinks it helps Obama more by not publically endorsing him, by not making stump speeches. What’s more, this isn’t he first time Clooney has boycotted a campaign because he felt his image would do more harm than good.

Shockingly, he took the exact same tack with his own father’s campaign for Congress back in 2004. Nick Clooney ultimately lost anyway, but George said that public appearances by him would have only made matter worse. Clooney explains the dilemma in his own words — and discusses whether he’d ever run for office himself — after the break.

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Pelham Picture House sells out $125-a-ticket screening of ‘Leatherheads’

Yeah, that might have a little something to do with the fact that the director is showing up on Wednesday night to do a Q&A with Peter Travers afterwards. Some dude named Clooney.


First Sean Penn and Michael Douglass came to support the little theater that could. Then Tom Cruise. Now this? Travers ain’t messing around!

From what I gather from the Picture House’s website, the fundraiser screening, taking place this Wednesday, must have sold out in a matter of minutes (as did the Cruise one I went to a few months back). Never mind the $125 ticket price.

I don’t know what the chance is of us getting a media pass (first dibs usually go to The Journal News film reporter, Kevin Canfield, who broke the Clooney story). Me, I’m just happy that we finally get to christen our first series of George Clooney posts. And here I thought Gawker was the only celebrity site in the Tri-State region that had the good fortune to stalk — and then get stalked by — King George.

Never mind that, according to Joel Stein’s rankings of the Time 100 Most Influential People, Clooney only comes in as the No. 29 (sandwiched between Britney Spears and Muqtada al-Sadr), I still consider him to be at least ahead of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (No. 10 on Stein’s list). Besides, wasn’t it Stein himself who proclaimed Clooney “The Last Movie Star” — and got a courtesy dinner date out of the man? You’d figure that, at the very least, would have given the man a bump in the ratings.

Anyway, back to the Pelham event. Canfield reports that, considering that the film has taken in a less-than-impressive $30 million at the box office, Travers isn’t going to lob out softball questions for Clooney. “I would ask him, I think, right away why the public didn’t embrace the movie we just watched, what he thinks about it and does he feel defensive about it?” Travers said, adding:

“But the conversation we’re having is much more than ‘Leatherheads.’ It’ll be about ‘Burn After Reading,’ the movie he made with the Coen brothers that will open in September; about his style of directing; and how he feels as a celebrity having political ideas and opinions, how it hurts or it doesn’t hurt him.

“The idea is to just talk to filmmakers who have a stake, not just in the particular movie they made but in how movies will get made in the future.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t mind if, in the future, more movies banked on the $125-a-ticket model. Especially limited-appeal stuff like documentaries about Darfur. Just so long as a I’m guaranteed a Clooney at every screening — or, for $45 less, a Clooney impersonator or Muqtada al-Sadr — I’m happy.

“Captain Clooney comes to Pelham” [LoHud]

(Photo: Nathan Strange/The Associated Press)

Tom Cruise, paparazzi come to Pelham


The only thing weirder than Tom Cruise coming to Pelham? Exiting the Pelham Picture House, after the event — a screening of his movie “Lions for Lambs,” directed by Robert Redford and also starring Meryl Streep — to find a swarm of fans and paparazzi shreiking uncontrollably. For about a half hour.

The movie itself was a thought-provoking, if slightly depressing, take on the current war on terror. In it, Cruise plays a Machiavellian senator trying to persuade a journalist (Streep) that his new military strategy will yield better results; Redford is a college professor attempting to motivate a lazy student to take a more pro-active stance on what he believe in; and two soldiers (Michael Pena and Derek Luke), who turn out to be former students of Redford’s professor, fight on the front lines of Afghanistan.

After the credits, the flood lights came on and Travers took the stage. “We have two people here to talk to us tonight,” he said. “First is a young actor looking to get his big break: Tom Cruise.â€?

jayackermanphoto-tcruise_0015.JPGThe thunderous applause almost drowned out the second introduction, for the film’s screenwriter, Matthew Carnahan (who also penned the recent No. 1 hit, “The Kingdomâ€?). Carnahan and Cruise walked up the aisle together, but it all eyes were on Jerry Maguire. The actor wore a blue blazer, blue jeans, and boyish Prince Valiant haircut (presumably from his new WWII Nazi film, “Valkyrieâ€?). Surveying the scene, Cruise remarked — without a hint of irony — “What a beautiful theater.â€?

To which Travis replied: “You don’t want to say it’s too beautiful, Tom, because we’re really trying to change it.�

The rest of the evening had its share of witty banter, and a few heartfelt responses to the movie’s two central themes — guilt over not doing anything to challenge the war, and apathy towards the state of political discourse in our country these days. If you’re interested in listening, here’s a full recording of the evening:


More photos of the event, courtesy of Jay Ackerman and the Picture House, are after the break.

UPDATE: Check out my extended article on the Cruise visit in this Sunday’s Journal News.

Still want more of Tom in Pelham? Extra has video of Cruise outside the Picture House.


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Tom Cruise to arrive in Pelham tonight

tomcruise.jpegSay wha?! Tom Cruise in Westchester? Believe it, man.

As Kevin Canfield reported on LoHud last week, Cruise is coming to screen his new wartime suspense tale “Lions for Lambs” at the Pelham Picture House at 7 p.m. How on earth did that come to pass? Well, as with the recent visits from Sean Penn (screening “Into the Wild”) and Richard Gere (“The Hunting Party”), we have Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers to thank. As a member of the Picture House’s film advisory board, the Mamaroneck resident has been corralling movie star after movie star to make the trek up the Hutch for special advance screenings and Q&A sessions.

Still no word on whether Katie will be there — and we’ve already been told that interviews with Cruise are a no-go — but I’m planning to attend the event tonight and will share all the details tomorrow.

Got any questions you’d love to hear Cruise answer? Post ’em here and I’ll do my best to wave my arms uncontrollably during the Q&A and be your mouthpiece.

(AP Photo) 

George Clooney, Edward Norton coming to Westchester

As my colleague Ted Mann reported, Peter Travers announced this weekend at a gala for the Pelham Picture House that he would be setting up a film series bringing well-known actors, writers, and directors to the county for screenings followed by Q&As. Later in the evening, the famed Rolling Stone film critic, who M.C.-ed the charity event, told the excited attendees that he had already spoken to Edward Norton and George Clooney, and both expressed interest. The crowd cheered and Travers retorted: “I should have started by saying George Clooney.”

The series isn’t likely to kick off until the fall, Travers said.

Partying with Pelham’s Picture House posse

With tickets ranging $250 to $1,000 — and tables up to $25,000! — Saturday’s Picture House “Cinema Soiree” was a little too rich for my blood. But that didn’t stop me from mooching some hors d’oeuvres and drinks at the pre-dinner media hour … and then sheepishly accosting as many celebrities as I could talk to.

A slew of photos, my two-second takes on the evening’s honorees (including, from left to right above, Dan Futterman, Glenn Close, Leslie Holleran, and Bennett Miller), and the scoop on the Picture House’s new fall film series, headed by Peter Travers, are all after the break.

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