(Posted Saturday) The reviews for “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” are out, and the critical one-liners – which add up to a cumulative 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes – are flying fast and loose, besides being vicious. A few samples:
(Posted Tuesday) West Coast Entertainment’s Best of Broadway 2015-26 will kick off with the 20th anniversary of “Riverdance,” feature a return engagement of “The Book of Mormon,” and include the classic “42nd Street.” “Riverdance” will return to the INB Performing Arts Center from Oct. 22-25. And before you can say, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” the musical version of “A Christmas Story” will hit town Dec. 3-6.
If you know how to write, the future is yours. That’s particularly true for those wannabes who choose to take part in the writers workshop that will be held Saturday as part of SpoCon 2009, Spokane’s annual sci-fi/fantasy convention.
Africa has always been a literary treasure. Mostly, though, our view of the continent – one that boasts vastly different cultures, from the desert tribes of the northeast to the jungle-dwelling residents of the equatorial region – has been shaped by outsiders.
Public libraries are, as we can all agree, community treasures. Long past the day where libraries offered only an array of books (and maybe the occasional bookmobile), today’s institutions are repositories not just of books but also audiobooks, magazines, DVDs and CDs, computers, events such as literary readings and children’s story times – just to mention the most obvious.
Auntie’s Bookstore has scored a coup. The store that pioneered Spokane-area literary readings will present none other than David Sedaris on June 13. The humor essayist/radio monologist, known for such books as “Barrel Fever” and “Corduroy and Denim,” will do a 2 p.m. reading of his newest book, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.”
“Slumdog Millionaire” was the big winner in this year’s Oscars, but it was almost as big for Coeur d’Alene movie fan Cherilyn Cieryca. Cieryca won this year’s Spokesman-Review Oscar Contest by correctly predicting winners in 21 of the 24 Academy Award categories.
All too often years are marked by their top movies. Think of 1997. James Cameron made it all about “Titanic.” In 1986, Oliver Stone took us back to Vietnam for “Platoon,” a country – not to mention concept – that Michael Cimino had explored in 1978’s “The Deer Hunter.” Francis Ford Coppola took us twice into the world of the Corleone family, first for 1972’s “The Godfather” and then for 1974’s “Godfather II.” And producer David O. Selznick made sure that 1939 would forever after be associated with the epic Civil War romance “Gone With the Wind.” Last year, though, was different. When movie fans look back at 2008, they’re not likely to recall any specific film. They will, however, remember certain images: Heath Ledger wearing the makeup of a psycho named The Joker (in “The Dark Knight”). A character named Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) growing younger even as he ages. Frank Langella (as Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon”) and Sean Penn (as Harvey Milk in “Milk”) impersonating real-life figures. Kate Winslet playing both a concentration-camp guard (in “The Reader”) and a disgruntled suburban housewife (in “Revolutionary Road”).
Even though she hasn’t even finished it, Idaho-based writer Kim Barnes has sold her next novel – her third – to the New York publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Barnes is still working on “American Mecca,” which is set in the 1960s in the gated compound of an oil company named Aramco and follows the story of an American couple.
Leonard Oakland says that nobody at Whitworth University calls him Mr. Chips. But it’s not because they have trouble choosing between the two movie versions of James Hilton’s novel – “Goodbye Mr. Chips” – about an elderly, adored schoolteacher on the eve of his retirement.
Writers take note: There will be ample opportunities for you to pick up some tricks of the trade over the next week. And for those who just want to jump in, the Coeur d’Alene Public Library is again offering authors the chance to pick up a bit of cash by holding its annual writers competition.
Spokane’s infatuation with all things international continues on the big screen this weekend as the 2009 Spokane International Film Festival concludes its 11-day run. Beginning with a showing of the South Korean film “Keurosing” (“Crossing”) tonight at 6, ending with the U.S. documentary “The Wrecking Crew” at 6 p.m. Sunday, the final three days of the festival boasts nine feature films and a like number of shorts, representing a dozen different countries.
Pete Porter is high on this year’s version of the Spokane International Film Festival, which kicked off Thursday night at AMC’s River Park Square Theatres. “I think this lineup is, from top to bottom, the probably the strongest that I’ve been associated with,” he says. “I think it’s just incredible.”
When it comes to film festivals, there’s one thing you can usually count on: You’re not likely to see something mindlessly stupid. That’s particularly true of the Spokane International Film Festival, which inaugurates its 11th-annual event on Thursday with the award-winning Mexican feature “Desierto Adentro,” a trek into the world of guilt and attempted redemption bound with a twisted view of religion. The Mexican-made movie, a multiple honoree at the 2008 Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival, will screen at 6 p.m. at the AMC River Park Square 20. The Canadian short film “Next Floor” will precede the feature. Tickets are $10.
Things weren’t looking good for Megan Albertus. It was episode two of “Momma’s Boys,” the Ryan Seacrest-produced reality show for NBC, and the Spokane-born aspiring actress was one of three contestants who had been summoned to the swimming pool.
History makes a great first draft for Hollywood. Case in point: Ron Howard’s newly Oscar-nominated “Frost/Nixon,” which Peter Morgan adapted from his stage play about the series of taped interviews that British presenter David Frost did in 1977 with former President Richard Nixon.