Gary Oldman

RED HOOD - We caught a preview of Red Riding Hood last week, sitting next to the esteemed Ellis Nassour no less, and found it to be a taut and tasty bit of pop candy. The movie’s major draw was that it is the first movie to be directed by Catherine Harwicke after her tour-de-force work on the mega-pic Twlight; the first in the ongoing series. The story goes that she was unceremoniously discharged after her work on that first one, and that she was immediately offered this one; a modern take on the classic children’s book. The movie looks great; vast sweeping shots of the village and with the stark red riding hood playing a major role itself, you can't for a moment take your eyes away from the screen. The locations are nothing short of breathtaking. The other major points of interest was the always wonderful Gary Oldman chewing up the scenery and Jeremy Iron’s son Max in the major role of Henry; and, he’s simply terrific. Amanda Seyfried and Shiloh Fernandez as the other major characters are pretty terrific too; though the contrast between when you first heard this story, and now, having such young performers tackling them is somewhat disconcerting. So young; so talented. Daily Variety may have summed up the movie the best, in saying: “Intermittently enjoyable hokum at best!” Interestingly enough, at the preview, the age range was pretty broad. One week later my thoughts are they did a pretty fair job of seamlessly melding a great novel, to a great contemporary portrayal. I liked it!


Brian Wilson

SMILE SMILE – 45 years after it was originally recorded, the Beach Boys’ Smile album will finally be released. Capitol Records has confirmed that the album, now to be entitled The Smile Sessions, will be released later this year in three formats. The first disc of the CDs and the first three sides of the albums will be the original album, reconstructed based on notes and interviews, with the rest being filled with out takes and other archival material. The album was originally slated for a 1966 release but was shelved due to the mental health of Brian Wilson. Engineer Mark Linett told Rolling Stone that they are using Wilson’s recreation of the album from 2004 as the basis for the set but may change things, like the track order based on additional input. Linett also said that the work to assemble the album will be tough: “When you say album, it presupposes everything was recorded and finished, and that’s not the case,” he says. “We have gaps where we are missing some vocal parts. But, all the music was recorded, which is heartening.” All of the vocals were recorded by the Beach Boys Beach, usually at the same time around the same microphone, including the lead vocal, Linett says. The music was mostly played by the Wrecking Crew, the legendary group of Los Angeles session musicians that played on numerous Beach Boys hits, although some Smile tracks feature Carl Wilson on guitar and Dennis Wilson Dennis drums, Linett says. Brian Wilson released a statement through Capitol Records:”I'm thrilled that the Beach Boys’ original studio sessions for Smile will be released for the first time, after all these years. I'm looking forward to this collection of the original recordings and having fans hear the beautiful angelic voices of the boys in a proper studio release.”


THANKS FOR NOTICING – Best overlooked movie-review line of last year: Peter Travers in Rolling Stone’s review of the movie Secretariat: “The racing footage, with Dean Semler’s cameras everywhere but up the horse’s ass, is spectacular.” Peter … please take a time-out!


Julie Taymor

JULIE TAYMOR -- It was officially announced that Spiderman Turn Off The Dark-director Julie Taymor is stepping aside while the entire play is being re-worked by director Philip William McKinley and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The play ranks among Broadway’s highest-grossing productions, but insiders say it is still commercially vulnerable. “With changes and extra rehearsals, costs go up,” says veteran Broadway producer Liz McCann, who’s Nick & Nora held the record for most previews of a musical (71) prior to Spider Man. She understands the desire for a fresh creative perspective. “You reach a point where it’s hard to have objectivity about what needs to be fixed.” editor Robert Diamond notes that the cast was supportive of Taymor’s vision, “But, some acknowledged that there was confusion in the plot. The question now is how much of an overhaul they can do in the time allotted.” New York Drama Critics’ Circle president Adam Feldman agrees that the play will need “big changes. This is a chance to turn the narrative around. If they can work out their problems, they’ll have a great comeback story – and, everyone loves that.” Not to say I told you so; but, when I first wrote about this event, I said it was most odd that Spiderman creator Stan Lee had remained uncharacteristically silent on the whole subject. Lee, who for all intensive purposes, created Marvel comics, as well as almost every-single-major-character there, including Iron Man The Hulk, The Avengers, Captain America, and X-Men, is something of a chatter-box and his silence spoke volumes. Writer Aguirre-Sacasa actually wrote some of the best Spiderman comic books ever … ever, and he is an inspired choice; and, a much needed one. I think the play will be successfully resuscitated and Lee will finally speak; again, with all this free press, who indeed could it ever really go away? Also, on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, there was a segment that featured a parody of Taylor. You know what they say? When you're on SNL … you know you've made it! I'm a huge fan of Taymor’s; her exemplary vision has just got to be admired. Go Julie!


THE BRA BOOK EVENT- Delightful time at last Wednesday’s digital launch for Jene Luciani’s THE BRA BOOK-The Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra at Restaurant I in The Charles Hotel. Seen among the crowd, were; personal trainer Jolene Matthews; DJ Marc Weiss; pop singer Kat DeLuna; Project Runway’s Rob March; PR guru David Salidor; and, designers Brimstone and Constance McCardle. The entire event was filmed for Bravo.


BBQ ALERT – Williamsburg, New York, Saturday night at Fette Sau; some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had. Burnt End Baked Beans; Hand Pulled Berkshire Shoulder; Cora’s Broccoli Salad; and, Berkshire Country Loin Chops! Exquisitely good – check them out: … you will NOT be disappointed.

Photos By: Walter McBride/RD/Orchon/Sara de Boer/Retna