Harry Connick Jr.’s career is as diverse as they come, and if you’re a fan of jazz, crooners, Broadway musicals (The Pajama Game), movies (check out Bug and Copycat), and pop culture (American Idol), you’re probably familiar with his body of work. His latest venture Harry is a daytime variety show that premieres September 12, and during a recent interview I asked him if his lifelong love and dedication to jazz has influenced him as an artist.
In Secret of their Eyes, Julia Roberts is Jess, an FBI investigator who is understandably obsessed with exacting revenge on her daughter’s killer (Joe Cole). The Los Angeles based story, which is a remake of the Oscar winning feature El Secreto De Sus Ojos, is directed by Billy Ray and co-stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman.
“The Monuments Men,” George Clooney’s WWII set directing feature, comes out on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on May 20. The feature, based on the non-fiction book penned by Robert M. Edsel with Brett Witter, centers on the people who risked their lives to save thousands of art and treasures that were stolen by the Nazis. The all-star cast includes Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Bob Balaban.
Two featurettes are exclusive to the Blu-ray release. “George Clooney’s Mission” features interviews with the main actors involved for the project, and “Marshaling the Cast” has the cast talking about the real men and women who inspired the story.
“In Their Own Words” contains an interview with Harry Ettlinger, one of the surviving members of the group, and “A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men” has Cate Blanchett talking about the character she played in the project. Both featurettes are available on the Blu-ray and DVD versions.
Here’s the official boilerplate for the film:
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, THE MONUMENTS MEN focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, whose job it was to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves so they could be returned to their rightful owners. In a seemingly impossible mission, the Monuments Men, as they were called, find themselves risking their lives in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1,000 years of culture.
Opening February 7, The Monuments Men is the true story of how a group of art historians and museum curators risked their lives to rescue masterpieces that were in the hands of the Nazis. The project stars and was directed by George Clooney, who assembles an all-star cast (Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett) for his latest venture.
During a recent press conference to promote the film, Mr. Clooney talked about how he has evolved as a filmmaker since his 2002 debut effort Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
“Directing and writing, they seem to be infinitely more creative,” says Clooney, whose last directing endeavor was the 2011 release The Ides of March. “As far as how I’ve changed, all you’re trying to do is learn from people that you’ve worked with. I’ve worked with the Coen Bros., Steven Soderbergh, Alexander Payne…I’ve worked with really great directors over the years, see what they’re doing, and just steal it.”
The “steal it” comment was obviously in jest, but one of the reasons why I’m pretty psyched for The Monuments Men lies in Clooney’s description of the film as a “mix between Kelly’sHeroesand The Train.” Clooney also cited the films of director John Sturges (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven) as an influence, and hopefully this new film reaches those stratospheric heights.
To hear George Clooney talk about how his directing has evolved over the years, click on the SoundCloud bar media:
The second season of Hollywood Game Night begins tonight (NBC, 8 pm et/pt), as Jane Lynch (Glee) hosts another series of party games featuring an array of celebrities. On the show, two contestants hang out with various stars and compete for a shot to win up to $25,000. Considering the state of our economy, a bit of festivity, along with the promise of cash, isn’t such a bad thing.
“I think it’s how much fun everybody has,” says Lynch when asked about the show’s appeal. “We all love watching people have fun, and it’s also participatory. People are playing at home and screaming the answers out and thinking they could do better. I would love to see everybody (laughs) be on this game with the eyes of America watching you. It’s always a different thing. It’s (also) fun to watch people you admire on television and watch how they might be at a party.”
As the interview ended, the always accommodating entertainer gave her thoughts on why comedic actors have an innate ability to excel at drama.
“I think that when you’re in touch with the humor and the irony, (and) you’re in touch with the dark and the light,” says Lynch. “You’re in touch with the essence of being human.
To hear Lynch give her insights of the beauty of being in touch with one’s comedic spirit, click on the Soundcloud bar below: