R.I.P. Omar Sharif

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Yesterday, the great actor Omar Sharif passed away in a hospital in Cairo, after suffering a heart attack. He was 83.

Sharif is remembered for his performance as the titular character in “Doctor Zhivago”, for which he received a Golden Globe award. He has also garnered two Golden Globe awards and an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Sherif Ali in “Lawrence of Arabia” three years prior; and a César Award for his portrayal of the titular character in the French film “Monsieur Ibrahim” (2003).

Sharif appeared in as many as 70 films throughout his career of more than 60 years. He has performed in films from a variety of countries, including Egypt, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For his final film role, an upcoming, animated, British, educational short called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham”, he delivered a voice role as the film’s narrator. His final full-length film was a French-Morroccan drama called “Rock the Casbah”, released in 2013.

Outside of film business, Sharif led a career as a contract bridge player, and was at one point among the top 50 players in the world. He has written about bridge in numerous books, as well as a column for the Chicago Tribune. He remained a regular at French casinos until his death.

Sharif is survived by his son Tarek El-Sharif and his grandsons Omar Sharif, Jr. and Karim Sharif. He continued to work in the film industry until May of 2015, when it was reported that he was suffering Alzheimer’s disease.

R.I.P. Christopher Lee

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Earlier this morning, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital issued a statement that Christopher Lee had died on June 7, 2015.  Lee had been admitted recently for respiratory problems and heart failure, and celebrated his 93rd birthday in the hospital just over two weeks ago.  Still, his death comes as a major surprise.  Lee, a heavy metal singer on top of his vast work in film, had just released an EP titled Metal Knight this past December.  His final film, Angels in Notting Hill, is due to be released sometime in 2015.

Shortly after serving the Finnish and British militaries from 1939 to 1946, Lee began acting in B-movies.  His career spanned nearly seven decades, over which he turned in more than 250 performances in television and film.  Lee is best remembered for his height (6’5″) and his demeanor, both which have distinguished him as one of the most legendary movie villains in movie history.  He became recognizable in the late 1950’s for his portrayal of Dracula in the film of the same name, and played the character ten more times between 1966 and 1976.  His roles in recent films include Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and other roles in Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryHugoThe Golden Compass, and Dark Shadows.  Though his transition from B-movies to Hollywood is somewhat recent, Lee has nonetheless established himself as an integral part of mainstream cinema.  He is most certainly missed.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

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Robin Williams, your name is more than that of an actor. You are more than the Oscar winner, who starred in comedies and dramas, for adults and for kids. Your performances touched me at the age of six as much as they do today; you were a family member to me, even if I never met you face-to-face. Rest in peace, Robin. We miss you.

R.I.P. Maya Angelou

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Earlier today, Maya Angelou passed away at age 86 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This woman is to be remembered for her pivotal role in the literary civil rights movement, particularly her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She is pictured above reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton in January of 1993. Angelou remained active as a poet and essayist from 1969 (the publication of her memoir) until her recent death. For her powerful way with words, she will be long remembered.

R.I.P. Gordon Willis

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Yesterday, the great Gordon Willis died at the age of 82. As the news rolled in earlier today, no doubt that the world of film–and the world in general–began to face the tragedy that it had lost such a revolutionary and outstanding cinematographer. The Academy noted rather accurately, upon presenting his Honorary Award in 2009, that the man bears a strong “willingness to fly in the face of convention.” Known as “The Prince of Darkness” by many, Willis’s remarkable techniques were a major and often under appreciated part of what rectified movies like The Godfather and Annie Hall as masterpieces. I don’t know what else to say, other than I’m shocked, and he is certainly missed. May he rest in peace.

R.I.P. Mickey Rooney

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R.I.P. Mickey Rooney
1920 — 2014

Earlier this morning, it was discovered that 93-year-old Mickey Rooney had died yesterday. No cause is known (particularly with the man’s extraordinary health), and a location has yet to be reported, but if one thing is indeed known, it’s that Rooney was a great for many years of Hollywood.

“At 93 years young,” an IMDb biography states, “he show[ed] no signs of slowing down or retiring.”

Mickey Rooney began acting at 17 months old in his parents’ vaudeville act. It was in 1926, at the age of only six years, that he entered the film business. In his almost nine decades with Hollywood, Rooney directed three feature films (My True Story, The Bold and the Brave, The Private Lives of Adam and Eve). Some of the 340 titles he acted in included over 180 feature films and his own The Mickey Rooney Show. The series, unfortunately, lasted only one season, with a pilot on August 28, 1954, and the 33rd and final episode “The Robot” airing on May 7, 1955. Another show, Mickey, featured him from September 16, 1964, to January 13, 1965, lasting only 17 episodes.

Mickey Rooney was not done with the movies. Two films, Fragments from Olympus: The Vision of Nikola Tesla and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, were in production at the time of his death. Both are set for October releases, and we hope to see his face in both. Additionally, Rooney was rumored to star in Old Soldiers, another film currently in production; no release date has been announced. We await whatever swan song should come of this great actor, and we celebrate his past.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

This is quite a loss. Indeed Philip Seymour Hoffman has just died, and no, I can’t believe it either.

I’m pretty much speechless here. I’ll just roll off a few titles now. Watch them in this great man’s honor:

Twister
Charlie Wilson’s War
The Master
Moneyball
The Big Lebowski
Boogie Nights
Magnolia
Punch-Drunk Love
Capote

There’s more…those are just the first to come to mind. I wouldn’t recommend some of those, nor have I seen them, but you know, it’s not about me. It’s about Mr. Hoffman at the moment.

9/11 Memorial Post

Hello readers,

I am writing this post on August 26th.  Last night, I watched United 93, and I have just finished writing my review.  As you can tell, I’m pretty OCD about scheduling on my blog, so while I’d love to have the review go up today, I can’t.  In fact, it’s scheduled for October 2nd.  Yes, there’s a double-bill twice a week, as opposed to once, just to compensate for the fact that I was watching movies in July and scheduling the reviews for September.  It helps, but I digress.

I’ll be quick with this one.  There’s a reason I hope to watch the movie tonight again.  I was four years old when the 9/11 attacks occurred (actually, I had yet to turn four), but now I feel I have some memory of the attacks, or at least some true idea of it as if it was happening right before me.  Paul Greengrass wrote, produced, and directed United 93 phenomenally; it’s truly a through-the-eyes look at the events, and while difficult to watch, I highly encourage watching it tonight to commemorate the lives lost and the relationships broken on that day twelve years ago.

Let us share a moment of silence for them.