Weekend Briefs: Ben Affleck and Jon Hamm get close; Olivia Newton-John back in a musical; Roger Ebert is “At the Movies” again!
SHE’S BACK: Olivia Newton-John starred in one of the most successful musicals of all time when she shared the screen with John Travolta in Grease. Her follow-up musical , Xanadu, was a big bomb at the box office but went on to become a cult fave and spawned a hit Broadway musical.
Now Olivia is back on the big screen in Score: A Hockey Musical which debuted this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film, directed by Michael McGowan, tells the story of 17-year-old Farley Gordon (Noah Reid) a precocious cherub of a teenager who happens to have an uncanny knack for stick handling and shooting wristers. He is coddled by his parents including his mom played by Olivia whose other film credits include Sordid Lives, It’s My Party and Two of a Kind in which she re-teamed with Travolta.
AT THE MOVIES AGAIN: So glad to read that the great film critic Roger Ebert is involved in the relaunching of the At the Movies franchise on PBS.
He and the late Gene Siskel (pictured above) were such a formidable and opinionated pair and it was so sad when Siskel passed away in 1999.
I never was crazy about Siskel’s replacement, Richard Roeper, opposite the Pulitzer Prize winning Ebert because he was not his equal the way Siskel was and often came off as disrespectful of his co-host. Ebert left the show in 2006 because of his battle with cancer and the show never really recovered.
The new edition pairs Christy Lemire of the Associated Press with Elvis Mitchell of NPR. Ebert, who lost his ability to speak because of his cancer, will employ a computer voice generator to appear in each episode with segments called “Roger’s Office.” He will focus on classic, overlooked and new films.
“Most movie coverage on TV is celeb-driven gossip and chatter,” Ebert told the LA Times. “It’s obsessed with box office numbers. It’s always upbeat. The critics are often not qualified. Despite all the programming out there, there’s really nothing like it on TV.”