Menu

THE PREDATOR

This continuation of the Predator series from writer-director Shane Black starts out well and then peters out. Too bad: I was in its grip for a long time. The storyline is difficult to synopsize—and that’s putting it mildly. Suffice it to say that a towering, ugly alien has landed on Earth. A secret branch of the U.S. government is examining him when he awakens and all hell breaks loose. A maverick Army sniper (Boyd Holbrook) accidentally gets involved, along with a gun-toting biologist (Olivia Munn). Holbrook winds up being committed to a psychiatric hospital and is placed in a bus with a bunch of “loonies.” They eventually band together to save themselves and, in the process, do the right thing…especially when Holbrook’s young son (Jacob Tremblay) is…

Read More…

MOVIES ABOUT MOVIES: FROM PETER SELLERS AND BUSTER KEATON TO ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ

With each passing year we see more documentaries about films and filmmakers. Some get only a passing nod while others are embraced by critics and buffs alike. At this year’s Telluride Film Festival a number of such docs stood out. I had the pleasure of interviewing director Peter Medak about his remarkable film The Ghost of Peter Sellers, in which the Hungarian-born filmmaker travels back 45 years to explore what went wrong with a seemingly sure-fire project proposed by Sellers. He and longtime Goon Show pal Spike Milligan wrote Ghost in the Noonday Sun but the filming was an absolute disaster.     Why would a man who has worked successfully in film and television all these years (with some great ones like The Ruling Class to his credit) choose to revisit the…

Read More…

CELEBRATING OSCAR LEVANT

Oscar Levant was one of a kind: a piano prodigy, Gershwin acolyte, songwriter, noted wit, radio and television personality, best-selling author, and even on occasion a screen actor. His fans are legion, and I am one of them…but even I couldn’t have envisioned that in the year 2018 Sony Classical would issue an 8-CD boxed set that’s designed to look like an old 78rpm album. A Rhapsody in Blue includes every classical recording Levant made from 1942 to 1958, when he was the highest-paid classical artist in the country. What’s more, it faithfully reproduces the eye-catching Alex Steinweiss covers that accompanied the music. Best of all, executive producer Robert Russ called on Levant devotee and musicologist Michael Feinstein to share his collection of memorabilia and…

Read More…

REMEMBERING BURT REYNOLDS—TRUTHFULLY

“I’d love to slug ya but there are ladies present.” That’s how Burt Reynolds greeted me the first time I met him, while covering the Western-themed Golden Boot Awards for Entertainment Tonight in the early 1980s. Determined to keep my cool, I told him, “I have never said an unkind word about you… about some of your films, yes, but never about you.” “Oh,” he said mockingly, “So then it wasn’t personal.” (No, it wasn’t.) At that point my cameraman was ready to go and Reynolds gave me a wonderful interview about the legacy of the Western, as his then-wife Loni Anderson looked on approvingly. Somehow, the actor had been led to believe that I was gunning for him and had gone on at least two national television shows…

Read More…

THE BOOKSHOP: SLOW GOING

If you enjoy watching Emily Mortimer at work, as I do, you’ll get something out of The Bookshop, but the film itself is an odd duck. Adapted from a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald by writer-director Isabel Coixet, it lays out its premise and likely outcome in its opening moments, through the words of an unidentified narrator. In other words, it introduces its setting (a small coastal village in East Angelia), time period (the late 1950s), and dramatic conflict, even its resolution. All that’s left is for the outline to be fleshed out as the story follows its preordained path to an unhappy ending. Mortimer plays a young widow who decides that her destiny is to open a bookstore and be surrounded by books. They take…

Read More…

LAUREL & HARDY BEHIND THE MIKE, TAKE TWO

I thought the book was closed (pun intended) on Laurel & Hardy’s radio career after super-collector John Tefteller produced an oversized book on the subject with a CD that compiled all surviving audio featuring the beloved comedy team. I wrote about it four years ago and now I have occasion to write again. LAUREL & HARDY: ON THE RADIO & ON THE PHONE Edited by John Tefteller; essays by Leonard Maltin, Michael Feinstein, Richard W. Bann, Randy Skretvedt, Kristina Polacek-Lang, George Mazzey (Tefteller Publishing.)   When John Tefteller discovered an original transcription disc of the duo’s pilot show for a half-hour NBC series built around their old-standby “Driver’s License” skit, L&H aficionados figured “that’s that.” Then performer and musicologist Michael Feinstein bought a collection of 16-inch…

Read More…

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS: WHODUNIT…AND WHO CARES?

As a lifelong Muppet fan, I root for anything the Jim Henson company turns its attention to, with or without the Muppets. Jim’s son Brian Henson directed this parody of hard-boiled film noir murder mysteries. Puppet characters interact with live actors like Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks. Someone is brutally murdering the stars of a 1980s TV kid show whose lives have gone sour, and no one knows why. The production is attributed to HA!, which stands for Henson Alternative. You can’t say they didn’t warn us. The Happytime Murders is awash in sex (of all kinds), violence, and a truckload of four-letter words. At first the shock value delivers some laughs but it doesn’t take long for the whole concept to go…

Read More…

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

PODCAST

Maltin On Movies

PAST MALTIN ON MOVIES PODCASTS

APPEARANCES/BOOKING

Leonard Maltin Appearances & Bookings

CALENDAR

September 2018
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30