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Hollywood

“Just The Funny Parts:” One Woman’s Mark on TV Comedy

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A woman walks into a room. She’s the only female comedy writer there. She leans in, writes a funny book, and has the last laugh. Lots of laughs. Just the Funny Parts (Dey Street Books) is Nell Scovell’s story of how she went from wise-cracking kid to writing for David Letterman to Hollywood, where she put funny words in the mouths of Homer Simpson, Bob Newhart, Kermit the Frog, Coach, Murphy Brown, Lily Tomlin Stephen Colbert, and even Barak Obama for a White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Millions have laughed at her jokes, including, probably, you. Who can forget the hilarious, heartbreaking moment when Miss Piggy, on the Red Carpet, has a wardrobe malfunction and her tail pops out. “I’m a lady, and…

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‘Red Sparrow’: Jennifer Lawrence’s New Film is in Theaters and the Final Book in the Trilogy is in Stores

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Red Sparrow (Scribner Books), the first book in Jason Matthews’ trilogy is a seductive tale of espionage and intrigue just ripe for Hollywood. Sparrow is a dark thriller about a Russian ballerina-turned-spy who infiltrates “Sparrow School,” a facility where students are taught to use sex as both a weapon and information-gathering technique. The book is a thrilling ride of suspense and emotion, it’s no wonder Hollywood actually did come knocking on Matthews’ door in 2013 with offers of turning his words into a cinematic masterpiece that book lovers and movie-goers, alike, will find engaging. Red Sparrow, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton, makes its theatrical debut today on the heels of some very mixed, but mostly favorable reviews across Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and Washington…

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Rose McGowan to Release ‘Brave’ New Book on Harvey Weinstein and Sexual Harassment in Hollywood

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Rose McGowan has been very vocal in addressing sexual harassment in Hollywood, and specifically, against Harvey Weinstein, whom she says assaulted her in a hotel room in 1997. The two reached a settlement of $100,000, but that hasn’t stopped McGowan for speaking out in support of Weinstein’s other accusers. Since the news about Weinstein’s conduct, McGowan has been naming names: calling out people who knew and said nothing as well as those known to harass, including Ben Affleck. In one case where social media is used for good, McGowan has repeatedly tweeted about Weinstein’s history as a sexual predator. Her Twitter account was suspended for 12 hours after she posted information that violated the site’s community standards. Backlash was swift with…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘Entanglement’: A Story of Friendship, Loyalty, and Struggles

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Entanglement by Katie Rose Guest Pryal is an evocative story of enduring friendship and the ties that bind. Charismatic Daphne, and her more reserved best friend Greta, both have troubled pasts so they are anxious to start an exciting new chapter in Los Angeles near the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. No matter what happens, they know they have each other. The girls quickly find work and a cute, quirky apartment. When they can’t immediately afford furniture they make the best of things and sleep on the floor where they muse together about their ambitions and dreams. With care and tenderness, Daphne guides Greta through the painstaking death of her mother, who had been suffering with a terminal illness. Steadfast…

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Hollywood Hypocrites: Industry Vet Herb Freed on Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s Casting Couch Era

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I came to Los Angeles from New York to direct movies in 1972. I had entered the film business seven years earlier, after resigning my post as rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Lake Mahopac, N.Y. I began to study film at New York University privately and my first assignments were to produce and direct television commercials. I labored in that vineyard for more than five years. Among my clients were U.S. Steel, Pepsi-Cola and others, but I was button-holed as the director who excelled in beauty commercials. I made TV spots for Cover Girl, Breck, Clairol and Revlon. Why? I have no idea.   In 1970 I moved up to movies. My first feature film, A.W.O.L., was shot in Sweden out…

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From Bruce Springsteen to Megyn Kelly: A Big Week for Celebrity Book Deals

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In the ever-escalating celebrity book deal game, it’s hard to keep track of what great books we have to look forward to these days. Today, high-profile book deals seem to be the next step in further developing a celebrities brand. So in the spirit of helping all of you celeb memoir gobblers stay organized, here’s a quick roundup of book deals that were nailed down in the past week! On February 11, New Jersey rock god Bruce Springsteen nabbed a $10 million deal with Simon & Schuster to pen his autobiography. The book, perfectly titled Born to Run, will feature Springsteen’s recollections on growing up and the rise of the E Street Band. “Writing about yourself is a funny business,” wrote Springsteen…

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3 Books That Would Make Great Movies for Hanukkah

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One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is watching the multitude of Christmas movies we’ve spent our lives with. I love A Charlie Brown Christmas, I cry like a baby at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, and each year sparks a new debate over which is the best version of A Christmas Carol. For me, holiday movies are as much a part of the season as eggnog and lights on the tree. The problem, however, is that I have a son who’s Jewish. And while he celebrates both holidays, I always feel bad that there are so few quality movies that help him celebrate Hanukkah. Sure, there’s Eight Crazy Nights, Full-Court Miracle and even The Hebrew…

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Hey, Hollywood! Your Next Hot Movie Franchise Should be Katherine Neville’s Books

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One day somebody at Disney woke up and realized that there are eight Mary Poppins books and decided to cash in on that revelation with a new live-action movie. Not that I have anything against our favorite umbrella-wielding British nanny, but seriously Hollywood, is this all you’ve got? Apparently they’ve never read anything by Katherine Neville. Hailed by The Washington Post as “a feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Neville’s 1988 cult classic The Eight (Ballantine Books, 1997) is an international bestseller in more than 40 languages. Now available in eBook for the first time ever, it’s time that a new generation of readers discovered the Neville-verse of romance, history, mysticism, espionage and secret societies. Call me crazy,…

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Seasoned to Perfection: Veteran Stars Thrill with New Projects

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The old Hollywood cliché is that audiences love their stars young. But during a time in which 50 is the new 30, 70 has become the new 50 as evidenced by the growing number of veteran (make that extremely veteran) actors and actresses who are not only working, but thriving in exciting new projects. After all, what would Downton Abbey be without Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess? What would the X-Men be without the leadership of Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X leading the team against Sir Ian McKellan’s Magneto? So if, like us, you believe that the legends of our greatest performers loom larger with age, you’ll be thrilled to see all the great works coming from these beloved stars:…

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Oscar loves to read! Movies based on books score big

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I went to bed in my tux Wednesday night just so I’d be ready for Thursday morning’s announcements of the Academy Award nominations. And while I woke up a little rumpled, I was happy to see that a host of movies adapted from books will be looking to go home with Hollywood’s favorite golden boy when the Oscars are handed out on February 22. Clearly, Oscar’s big favorite this year is Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which garnered nine nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Best Actor (Golden Globe award winner Michael Keaton), and Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton). While not based on a book per se, Birdman owes much of its plot to the wave of comic…

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Four star-studded books, connected by the glitzy thread we know as Hollywood

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As screenwriter Raymond Chandler once said, “Anyone who doesn’t like Hollywood is either crazy or sober.” The history of Tinseltown as it is known, with all its worship of youth and beauty, is linked to the nation’s history. In some ways, not much has changed since the first silent motion picture was put up on the silver screen at the dawn of the 20th century. Now come four star-studded books, all connected by the glitzy thread we know as Hollywood. Different in theme and tone, each will add some glamour and pizzazz to your reading. In Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood (Harper, October 2014), William J. Mann brings one of the most infamous Hollywood homicide…

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Video: Missed It? Interview with Susan & Lloyd Ecker and I Am Sophie Tucker (+ CD)

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ABOUT I AM SOPHIE TUCKER Features more than 90 beautiful color and 120 black and white period illustrations. Part fairy tale, part crime novel, part rags to riches Hollywood myth, I Am Sophie Tucker tells the outrageous story of one of showbiz’s biggest personalities. From 1906 through the beginning of television, Sophie Tucker and her bawdy, brash, and risqué songs paved the way for performers such as West, Monroe, Midler, Cher, Madonna, and Gaga. “Sophie was like the Forrest Gump of the first half of the 1900s,” says co-author Susan Ecker. “She was close friends with seven presidents, King George VI, young Queen Elizabeth, Chaplin, J. Edgar, Capone, Garland, Jerry Lewis, Sinatra and every other notable of her era.” Tucker tried to…

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Whatever happened to the romantic comedy?

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When I was a teenager in the late ‘90s, my friends and I devoured romantic comedies the same way we devoured platform sandals and YM magazines. We sped through When Harry Met Sally, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The Wedding Singer. We cried our way through Sleepless and Seattle and Notting Hill. We couldn’t get enough of the adorable meetings, the quirky love stories, and that last anticipated kiss. But today’s teenagers might not have the same luck. While romantic comedies were alive and well through the early 2000s, lately they seem to be on a steep decline. It used to be almost impossible to turn on your television without seeing an ad for an adorable boy-meets-girl comedy. Let’s…

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Do you remember who you are? Amnesia on the page

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“I don’t remember any of what I’m about to tell you.” That jolting line begins Su Meck’s 2014 memoir, I Forgot to Remember. Meck suffered a rare case of complete retrograde amnesia, known as “Hollywood amnesia” because it occurs more in movies than in real life. She has absolutely no memories between her birth in 1965 and May 22, 1988. On that day she was playing with her son in their kitchen when a ceiling fan fell on her head. Much of the book’s early section is reconstructed from hospital medical records. Having entered with partial paralysis, horrible headaches, and extremely limited vocabulary, Meck improved enough that doctors released her within three weeks, recording that her long-term memory “seems fairly…

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