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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com | February 20, 2009
If Heath Ledger wins an Oscar on Sunday, history suggests his untimely death will have had little to do with it. For when it comes to the Academy Awards, death is almost never a good career move. That may come as a shock to some Oscar critics, convinced the awards are far more about sympathy and public opinion than merit. Academy voters, they argue, love to vote for older stars who have yet to win (Henry Fonda, winning for On Golden Pond in 1982, at age 76), or actors who have endured serious tragedy or heartbreak (Elizabeth Taylor, who won for BUtterfield 8 in 1961, after nearly dying from pneumonia)
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NEWS
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com | February 20, 2009
If Heath Ledger wins an Oscar on Sunday, history suggests his untimely death will have had little to do with it. For when it comes to the Academy Awards, death is almost never a good career move. That may come as a shock to some Oscar critics, convinced the awards are far more about sympathy and public opinion than merit. Academy voters, they argue, love to vote for older stars who have yet to win (Henry Fonda, winning for On Golden Pond in 1982, at age 76), or actors who have endured serious tragedy or heartbreak (Elizabeth Taylor, who won for BUtterfield 8 in 1961, after nearly dying from pneumonia)
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FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | July 14, 1997
Litmus test for whether or not you'll enjoy "Roar":Its hero, a fourth-century Celtic warrior, wears an earring.But if you can get past such affectations, "Roar," debuting at 9 tonight on Fox (WBFF, Channel 45), is a lot of fun, a sort of "Star Wars"-meets-"Beowulf" mutation with a debut episode that borrows heavily from "Romeo and Juliet."The series, up for a 13-episode tryout (it's not part of Fox's fall line-up), is set at "the edge of the known world," a place we know today as Ireland (which explains all the Irish music heard throughout the show)
NEWS
By McClatchy-Tribune | December 9, 2008
Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart Directed by Christopher Nolan. Blu-ray. Warner $35.99 *** 1/2 ( 3 1/2 STARS) dvds The Dark Knight, the best Batman movie ever made and easily one of the top films of the year, leads the list of this week's Blu-ray releases. The high-definition DVD format with its flawless picture and dynamic sound makes for a memorable viewing experience on any home theater system. What makes it even more special is that the film shifts back and forth between regular letterbox to full widescreen IMAX images.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | November 21, 2007
If any man should be more than the sum of his parts, it's an artist. But Todd Haynes' I'm Not There makes Bob Dylan less than the sum of his parts. It's like a tony art-school parlor game. Haynes, who directed and co-wrote (with Oren Moverman) this multipart biographical essay on Dylan, must have spent too much time wondering, "If I were a multifaceted, forward-moving, self-created singer-songwriter poet like Dylan, who would I get to play me?" What he arrives at is not one but a half-dozen performers who represent different phases of Dylan's life.
NEWS
By McClatchy-Tribune | December 9, 2008
Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart Directed by Christopher Nolan. Blu-ray. Warner $35.99 *** 1/2 ( 3 1/2 STARS) dvds The Dark Knight, the best Batman movie ever made and easily one of the top films of the year, leads the list of this week's Blu-ray releases. The high-definition DVD format with its flawless picture and dynamic sound makes for a memorable viewing experience on any home theater system. What makes it even more special is that the film shifts back and forth between regular letterbox to full widescreen IMAX images.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Swift | December 7, 2008
THEATER 'One-Man Star Wars Trilogy': Being able to recite Star Wars dialogue verbatim is a common affliction of the nerd population. But Canadian actor Charles Ross takes the practice into hyperdrive. In Baltimore for a two-week run, Ross' off-Broadway hit re-creates all the characters, sound effects and even John Williams' score with nothing but some lights and elbow pads. Opens 8 p.m. Tuesday at Center Stage. For more: centerstage.org DVD Heath Ledger: in 'The Dark Knight': Despite what the fanboys say, this Batman flick is not the best movie ever made.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic | July 21, 2008
Harry Potter, give your Hogwarts robes a rest. Spider-Man, hang up your spidey-suit. There's a new box-office savior in town from the world of fantasy fiction, and he wears a cape and cowl. Beating the reigning champ Spider-Man 3, The Dark Knight set box-office records this weekend, bringing in a more than $155 million from the widest opening ever - 4,366 theaters. Hollywood was abuzz after opening day, when the movie set a record by raking in $67.85 million. "We knew it would be big, but we never expected to dominate the marketplace like we did," said Warner Bros.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | June 28, 2000
It's finally happened: Mel Gibson has made a movie that's its own "Simpsons" parody. Anyone who's seen the "Simpsons" episode in which Homer and Mel (voiced by Gibson in the cartoon) turn "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" into a bloody, super-macho gun-fest will see more than a passing resemblance in "The Patriot," a movie that goes over the top not just in hyperbolic violence but in overblown sanctimony and sentimentalism as corny as the Fourth of July. Here Gibson plays an iconic figure almost as potent as Jimmy Stewart's lanky freshman congressman: Benjamin Martin is a widowed father of seven, a legendary French and Indian War hero who has disavowed violence and peacefully cultivates tobacco and builds rocking chairs on his South Carolina farm.
NEWS
September 12, 2008
Bangkok Dangerous * ( 1 STAR) $7.8 million $7.8 million 1 week Rated: R Running time: 99 minutes What it's about: Nicolas Cage (above) plays a stoic assassin who could use some Zoloft but instead sullenly drifts from murder to murder. Our take: It's a watered-down remake. What's left is a standard tired-warrior-finds-meaning-of-life, wants-out-of-the-killing-biz yarn. Tropic Thunder *** ( 3 STARS) $7.2 million $96.5 million 4 weeks Rated: R Running time: 107 minutes What it's about: A failing action star (Ben Stiller, above)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Swift | December 7, 2008
THEATER 'One-Man Star Wars Trilogy': Being able to recite Star Wars dialogue verbatim is a common affliction of the nerd population. But Canadian actor Charles Ross takes the practice into hyperdrive. In Baltimore for a two-week run, Ross' off-Broadway hit re-creates all the characters, sound effects and even John Williams' score with nothing but some lights and elbow pads. Opens 8 p.m. Tuesday at Center Stage. For more: centerstage.org DVD Heath Ledger: in 'The Dark Knight': Despite what the fanboys say, this Batman flick is not the best movie ever made.
NEWS
September 12, 2008
Bangkok Dangerous * ( 1 STAR) $7.8 million $7.8 million 1 week Rated: R Running time: 99 minutes What it's about: Nicolas Cage (above) plays a stoic assassin who could use some Zoloft but instead sullenly drifts from murder to murder. Our take: It's a watered-down remake. What's left is a standard tired-warrior-finds-meaning-of-life, wants-out-of-the-killing-biz yarn. Tropic Thunder *** ( 3 STARS) $7.2 million $96.5 million 4 weeks Rated: R Running time: 107 minutes What it's about: A failing action star (Ben Stiller, above)
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic | July 21, 2008
Harry Potter, give your Hogwarts robes a rest. Spider-Man, hang up your spidey-suit. There's a new box-office savior in town from the world of fantasy fiction, and he wears a cape and cowl. Beating the reigning champ Spider-Man 3, The Dark Knight set box-office records this weekend, bringing in a more than $155 million from the widest opening ever - 4,366 theaters. Hollywood was abuzz after opening day, when the movie set a record by raking in $67.85 million. "We knew it would be big, but we never expected to dominate the marketplace like we did," said Warner Bros.
FEATURES
By Frank D. Roylance and Meredith Cohn and Frank D. Roylance and Meredith Cohn,Sun Reporters | February 7, 2008
The news yesterday that actor Heath Ledger died from a lethal combination of six different medications has raised new concerns about the hazards of overdoses among Americans with increasingly well-stocked medicine cabinets. The New York City medical examiner ruled yesterday that Ledger's death last month was accidental, the result of "acute intoxication" from two prescription painkillers (oxycodone and hydrocodone); two prescribed anti-anxiety drugs (diazepam and alprazolam); and two sleep aids - one of them available over the counter.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Reporter | January 23, 2008
Heath Ledger, the Australian actor who earned an Academy Award nomination for his turn as a stubbornly taciturn gay ranch hand in Brokeback Mountain, was found dead yesterday in a Manhattan apartment, New York police said. He was 28. A housekeeper sent to fetch Mr. Ledger for a massage appointment found him naked and unresponsive about 3:30 p.m., NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. Police sources told The New York Times yesterday that sleeping pills were found near Mr. Ledger's body, leading them to suspect suicide or an accidental overdose as the cause of death.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | November 21, 2007
If any man should be more than the sum of his parts, it's an artist. But Todd Haynes' I'm Not There makes Bob Dylan less than the sum of his parts. It's like a tony art-school parlor game. Haynes, who directed and co-wrote (with Oren Moverman) this multipart biographical essay on Dylan, must have spent too much time wondering, "If I were a multifaceted, forward-moving, self-created singer-songwriter poet like Dylan, who would I get to play me?" What he arrives at is not one but a half-dozen performers who represent different phases of Dylan's life.
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