CRUISE MISSION — With all the hype surrounding this movie, as there was with last year’s Maverick, I was really interested to see if it would indeed live up to expectations. For me, it did … and didn’t.
With no less a name than Steven Spielberg declaring last year to Cruise on camera, that he saved Hollywood’s ass, there began a renewed respect for Cruise. Certainly when he jumped up an on Oprah’s couch in 2005 (declaring his love for Katie Homes), he lost a certain degree of respect. When he had that infamous interaction with NBC’s Matt Lauer (which is another whole story altogether) also in 2005, his light began to grow even dimmer.
But last summer’s Maverick changed everything completely. PR-guru David Salidor says that timing is everything and Maverick certainly came at precisely the right time. Just for the record, I still have’t seen Maverick and still want to.
For me, this seventh installment was good – the stunts that come at a breathtaking speed are great; however, the only missing is a real cohesive story. It seems there’s this AI intelligence called the Entity that everyone is hot for. Some reviews have said that the word Entity is spoken about a thousand times and it sure did seem like that and I still can’t determine what is is.
Cruise is great, although this time around, he’s a bit more vulnerable and looking a tad older. The real surprise is Brit-Hayley Atwell, who plays Grace. She’s absolutely stunning to look and can go toe-to-toe with Cruise.
The usual IMF-partners, Ving Rhames and Sinon Pegg are here, but at a greatly reduced volume. I’ve always loved Pegg and it’s a shame here’s not more present here in Part One.
Also is Esai Morales, as Gabriel, whose intentions are not immediately known. Cruise seems to know him, but Morales has always been terrific onscreen presence. One pundit said that the James Bond movies used to have the spectacular stunts, but now Cruise and Mission Impossible do. And they do in spades – whether it’s hanging off the Orient Express or a severe car chase in Venice … it’s terrific to view
The A1 stunt has Cruise diving off a mountain from a motorcycle, then parachuting through a train window, It’s spectacular for sure and makes you immediately wonder how they could ever top it. But, they will.
My favorite MI movie is still the debut in 1996 with Brian DePalma at the helm. That had the great sequence of Cruise on wires diving into some secret lair. The tension that the scene prov died was simply astonishing. The character has mellowed and apparently, so has Cruise. Not to take anything away from writer/director Christopher McQuarrie – the guy does know his stuff. No question. And, hey, AI is again timed just right!
Interestingly, the movie was not the immediate major-hit that some promised. It’ll be the top movie of the summer … but not the blockbusters everyone was hoping for. I say, go see it! It’s terrific fun.
PENSKE EXPRESS — (Via Intersect) Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and entertainment trade publishing magnate Jay Penske are discussing a deal to transfer ownership of the West’s largest newspaper, according to two people directly briefed on the talks.
The people, who are inside both publishers’ direct circles and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said the owners have held talks about a deal where The Times is folded into Penske’s PMC Media empire that includes Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Variety. It would allow Soon-Shiong, who last week unloaded ownership of The San Diego Union-Tribune to vulture-capital firm Alden Capital, a way out of a legacy news organization bleeding cash.
Any deal, which is not guaranteed as these are described as early talks, would transform Penske into an L.A. publishing mogul not seen since the Chandler family had a stranglehold on Southern California media via The Times. He would be a local owner who controls every major publication in Los Angeles, except for Alden’s smaller news outlets like the L.A. Daily News and Orange County Register.
“This would roll up L.A. media,” said one high-level person linked to Penske, with direct knowledge of the now weeks-old discussion. “This is how we make our mark.”
The person added: “Remember when we said we’d need a bigger boat?”
A text to several Times management went ghosted, including Soon-Shiong, who days ago told The Intersect he “loves The Times.” Penske did not return an email, and his spokesperson declined to elaborate on Sunday.
Hillary Manning, The Times spokeswoman, acknowledged that both Soon-Shiong and Penske held a meeting five years ago about a possible deal. She said the two publishers “have not met since,” and declined an interview with Soon-Shiong.
The talks are said to be fluid, and might even have both Soon-Shiong and Penske holding equal stakes in The Times, sources said. Penske already has struck a similar deal with private-equity investor Todd Boehly, whose Eldridge Industries sold Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter to Penske last year in exchange for an interest in the broader PMC Media.
It would also mark another ownership chapter for The Times, the 141-year-old newspaper that dominated SoCal with regional editions stretching from Ventura to San Diego. The robust — into the millions — subscribers the LA Times papers had since the 1980’s dwindled to about 550,000 paid-digital readers today. Far below rivals like The New York Times and The Washington Post.
There’s still a financial timeline documenting any news of a possible sale of one of America’s most revered news outlets. And this isn’t Soon-Shiong’s first time denying he was eyeing a sale of his California publications.
Quick refresher: The Times was once mulled by Los Angeles billionaires as a civic-minded trophy acquisition. Philanthropist Eli Broad circled the paper for years, and was even being lobbied by some of L.A.’s entertainment and financial power players to make the move, said one person familiar with the discussions. And music mogul David Geffen famously declared, according to reports, he’d pay $2 billion for the paper. Don’t forget about Rupert Murdoch wanting to swashbuckle in.
Today, The Times is a much different newsroom. There was a time where in Los Angeles media circles the legend from the 1980’s was told: The Times on Sunday was so fat that a paper thrown on the home of actress Barbara Bain landed on —and killed — her dog. (As the Herald Examiner gleefully reported at the time.)
That was then. Now the paper is featherweight, publishing a majority of Associated Press copy. The Sunday, July 16 Times print edition was just 74 pages of news — weighing a fraction of the former dog-killing weapon.
Back in the day, the LA Times was a huge, huge deal (think Robert Hilburn and Randy Lewis). Their Sunday edition was even bigger than the Sunday New York Times and had a standalone entertainment section called the Calender. It was a very prestigious endeavor.
When I first started going to LA on a regular basis, one of the joys was knowing that the paper would be delivered to my hotel door each morning.
Jeff Penske is the young-upstart from the Penske Medias Corporation. They made their money via a transportation company. Amazing, right? But this is America, so anything goes.
I don’t know Penske, but I guess his overriding theme is buy everything … then you’re king!
SHORT TAKES — Sad to see how so minimal coverage the closing of All Access (after 28 years) received since their dire announcement late last week. Joel Denver’s pristine publication was a must-read for industry-folk for sure. It deserved much, much better coverage.
Sad for sure … (via Forgotten Hits) Jim Peterik collapsed on stage during The Ides Of March’s performance of “Vehicle” at The Cornerstones Of Rock show at The Des Plaines Theater on Sunday evening. He recovered quickly and reportedly smiled and waved at fans as the paramedics wheeled him out. (At first it was believed that it was likely just heat stroke … but I was concerned because Jim had some major neck surgery earlier this year) And, from Jim himself – I’m back home. Last song of out 3 pm Cornerstones of Rock set. I introduced ‘Vehicle.’ Got through the first verse. Got light headed and passed out. People all around me, including Ron O, as I started to come to. Rushed the the hospital. All kinds of CT scans. Fluid intravenous. Etc., etc. Karen came … whole band came after they let me out of room. Lotta support. Nothing broken. PS – It was all about low blood sugar. I only had a muffin and a banana before our 3 pm show … For those who don’t recall, Jim wrote the incredible song “Vehicle” from The Ides Of March and “Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor. Tremendous talent. talent. Get well Jim … And, interesting article in Den Of Geek about the mega-hero franchisees perhaps dwindling into the light. Apparently, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made this prediction 10 years ago. Take a very interesting read: https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/steven-spielberg-hollywood-implosion-prediction-closer-than-ever/?utm_source=Den+Of+Geek+US&utm_campaign=cb60ff9e49-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2023_07_18_08_04&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-cb60ff9e49-%5BLIST_EMAIL_ID%5D
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Joe Lynch; Mark Bego; Monica Lynch; Claude Brodesser; Marty Ostrow; Regis Philbin; Victoria Lang; Robert Gordon; Larry Friedman; Alexis Petridis; David Furnish; Jane Ayer; Tony King; Melissa Kucirek; Howard Jones; Art Collins; Steve Leeds; Earl McGrath; William Schill; Harrison Ford; Ernesto Baldaro; Vinny Rich; and CHIP!
The Glorious Corner
A CHER STEAL — This year’s 97th edition of the Macy’s Day Parade was a rather underwhelming one, save for Chicago – inexplicably singing “Your My Inspiration” – and the always, indefatigable Cher, singing a track “DJ Play a Christmas Song” off her new holiday-themed album. The first few bars will terribly auto-tuned, but that seemed to disappear and Cher’s vocals rang full and bold.
She was, typically, a pro. Mixing effortlessly and emotionally with the dancers in a terrific set. Some pundits reported the clip was shot days earlier, but she was live and, just sensational. I wish more of today’s performers possessed her vigor and skills. That’s why most of the current acts, here today, will be gone tomorrow.
As we went to press, we learned that this parade was Macy’s most-watched edition ever! Congrats.
HALL VS. OATES — Some terrible news appeared in Wednesday’s media that Daryl Hall had taken out a TRO against partner-John Oates. I’ve loved what these two have done for decades and I loved Hall’s solo albums; especially the one he did with Robert Fripp in 1977 Sacred Songs. His record company at the time (RCA) hated it so much, they held up its release for three years.
I also well remember them in the 80’s when it seemed you could’t turn on a radio without hearing their music. 29 of their 33 singles were major chart hits on Billboard. But I do go back to them even in the 70’s, with their terrific “She’s Gone” which basically launched them. And, my favorite album of their War Babies, produced by Todd Rundgren. Quick note: That album sounds as good and relevant as it did when it came out in 1974.
The problem seems to arise from Oates wanting to sell his portion of certain songs to Primary Wave Artists – which ironically owns several of their songs already. It’s a small point, but that seems to be the issue. In all actuality, it’s another case of a classic-rocker selling his music.
In Oates’ book several years ago (Change of Seasons: A Memoir), he hardly mentioned Hall and regrettably that animus has apparently reared its angry head. They’re Philly boys, I’m from Philly and it’s just an awful coda to what was one of music’s major success stories. Sad all around.
SHORT TAKES — Terrific article in this week’s Closer on Micky Dolenz. Check it out here: https://www.closerweekly.com/posts/micky-dolenz-on-telling-stories-on-stage-and-in-his-book/
btw: Dolenz tapes KTLA’s Countdown To 2024 this week in LA …
I first met Phil Quartararo in the lobby of the old Mondrian Hotel in LA with John Sykes and we struck up a friendship that lasted until he passed last week. He was at Virgin for a time and worked with the artists there including The Spice Girls and Paul Abdul. In these fast-changing-times in the music business, he remained somewhat behind the scenes of late, but admitted he missed working with the artists. Phil was a guy you never ever heard a bad word about. Huge loss. Here’s Billboard’s take on Phil:
… As you’ve not doubt read, there is trouble in the Marvel-comic kingdom. The latest Captain Marvel movie (The Marvels) didn’t perform nearly as well as everyone hoped for and their newest star, Jonathan Majors as Kang, is tied up in several court matters.
So, we hear that Kang is out and Doctor Doom is in. Stay tuned …
And Forbes’ James M. Clash has released Amplified; culled from his terrific interviews with the icons of rock ‘n roll; including Grace Slick; Art Garfunkel; Ginger Baker; Micky Dolenz; and Roger Daltry. Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNJZYW2J?ref_=cm_sw_r_apan_dp_WKCSH7AC0ZTK18RZF4ED&language=en-US NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Leeds; Kate Hyman; Bono; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Bobby Bank; Dina Pitenis; Frank DiLella; Donnie Kehr; Steve Leber; Don Wardell; Anne Adams; Billy Smith; John Boulos; Kimberly Cornell; Sam Rubin; Nexstar; and ZIGGY!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Michael Urie and Ethan Slater
With the holidays, my caricature of Spamalot is taking time, so I decided to highlight the two performers who for me stood out.
I have drawn Michael Urie several times, but I love this picture with him and my drawing of him in Buyer and Seller. Urie as Sir Robin, shows a new side of him that is truly funny.
Ethan Slater should have won a Tony for Sponge Bob Square Pants. My guess is he will be nominated again for his multiple roles in Spamalot.
Up next my caricature of Spamalot
The Glorious Corner
NINA CHASE LIVES! — (Via Deadline) Shantal VanSanten is moving from FBI to FBI: Most Wanted for the latter show’s fifth season. She will reprise the role of Special Agent Nina Chase.
Nina is a well-seasoned FBI agent who is strong-willed, sharp and used to working undercover. The character was first introduced on the mothership series toward the end of Season 4 and she continued her recurring role in various episodes of Season 5 which concluded in May. Nina remains in a relationship with FBI’s Stuart Scola (John Boyd) as they raise their infant son Douglas together.
VanSanten is joining the cast following Alexa Davalos’ exit from FBI: Most Wanted, which Deadline reported exclusively in August. Their new season will debut on Tuesday, February 13.
The show is part of the massive Dick Wolff-empire and is actually a rather brilliant move; as the character has established itself on the other show and should fit nicely with Dylan McDermott and cast. The Wolff-machine just lost Jeffrey Donovan from Law & Order and recently installed their fifth showrunner on the much-troubled Law & Order: Organized Crime with Christopher Meloni; which is due to start their fourth season next year.
VanSanten also portrayed Karen Baldwin in the Apple TV+ show For All Mankind and was just terrific. Never heard of her before that show, but just a stunningly good performance, Nina Chase.
SHORT TAKES — Always read the posts. Loved this one: I was so confused! In Australia the show is called Morning Wars. And, yes, they were talking about Apple TV+’s Morning Show. That would be a more apt title … Looks like the NYC-launch for Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker-tome will be Tuesday, January 9 at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room. And Bego does an 11-city radio tour next week for Premiere Radio … Micky Dolenz’s R.E.M. cover of “Shiny Happy People hit #5 of the Heritage Chart in the U.K. … Every six months or so I read something about how The Starship’s “We Built This City” is the worst record of all time. Being home-bound for a time, I began hearing it regularly on my iHeart Hits of the 80’s and began to like it. Here’s a terrific summary of the song by Rob Tannenbaum. It’s actually hilarious: https://www.gq.com/story/oral-history-we-built-this-city-worst-song-of-all-time …
Deadline reported that NBC’s La Brea will end with a six-episode season next year. This is the show about a massive sinkhole in Hollywood that tuns into a time-travel escapade. Crazy writing, but somehow addictive. I found it a guilty-pleasure. Here’s the story: https://deadline.com/2023/11/la-brea-canceled-season-3-1235630123/ …
Sad that CBS’ Blue Bloods is ending after a spectacular 14-season run. I watched it when it started, then was out for a few seasons, but came back after Steve Schirripa joined the cast. Costs indeed did the show in, but you have to admit those family dinners which closed out each episode were sensational. Selleck, an icon. There’s not another show like this on TV right now; smart writing and brilliant acting. Treat Williams had a re-occurring role as an old mate of Selleck’s. Hope they do a proper tribute to him as he was stellar. Will be missed for sure … A 16-date Rolling Stones tour was announced Tuesday. Sponsored by AARP no less. Stones Tour 24 …
NY-Nightlife-Mayor Eric Adams seems to walking a tightrope – what with the ongoing FBI probe and city budget-cuts … Wintercon’s Frank Patz is interviewed for Medium today. It’s December 2 and 3 … Happy Thanksgiving!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Richard Johnson; Ian Mohr; Harvey Levin; Kimberly Cornell; Plastic EP; Jane Blunkell; Tony King; Dave Mason; Michael McDonald; Kenny Loggins; Fortune Benatar; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Race Taylor; Jim Kerr; Ken Dashow; Plastic EP; Brad Balfour; Frank Patz; and ZIGGY!
The Mayor of Times Square Interviews actress Sean Young on The Motivation Show Podcast
Sean Young was one of Hollywood’s leading actresses in the 1980’s. She starred in iconic movies like Blade Runner, No Way Out, Wall Street, Fatal Instinct and showed her comedic chops in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
She is now starring in the four act Play Ode to the Wasp Woman playing at the Actor’s Temple Theatre at 339 West 47 Street. Here are some excerpts from The Mayor of Times Square’s interview with Sean on The Motivation Show podcast:
Eli Marcus: When did you decide you actually wanted to be an actress and why?
Sean Young: I grew up primarily in Ohio, in Cleveland Heights, and we had this Black and White TV and after school they used to screen all the MGM musicals and I fell in love with Singin’ in the Rain and I had a massive crush on Gene Kelly like a lot of people. I became a bit of a retro movie buff. I even actually wrote to Gene Kelly and I have a signed autograph. I wanted to be the female version of Gene Kelly. That’s what started it. The number in Singin’ in the Rain called Moses Supposes, oh man, that used to blow my mind. Every time I saw it, I was just like…oh my god! And then I went to Interlochen Academy for my last two years in high school and then right after high school I came to New York City.
Eli Marcus: Why did you think you could make it in a profession where most people don’t? Is it self-confidence or something else that drove you?
Sean Young: I really don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that I have a lot of energy, at certain times quite bit of courage. You do need those two things. I’d probably be great in the army if I was wanting to be in the army, which I’m not.
Eli Marcus: What motivates you and drives you TODAY to continue to do what you do?
Sean Young: I’m not as motivated today because I love being at home and petting my cat and all of of that kind of thing. When my agent brought that to me it is pretty true that most actors like to work and I read it and I thought I would be a good fit for the Susan Cabot character. It’s a challenge, it’s a big challenge, but I am having a lot of fun with it. I always liked being in a group with other actors which is the case here. We cover four different tragic ends. One is Alfalfa, Carl Switzer, another is George Reeves, the Superman on TV. Then Susan Cabot. I guess you would call her a B movie actress and didn’t have a pleasant end in life. Then Barbara Payton who was also an actress and had a rough road. These are the four characters that are covered in the four acts.
Eli Marcus: What really intrigued you about this Play, what made you really sold on this, what really sung to you?
Sean Young: I felt I could do a really good job with it, let’s call it I felt like I could be of service to the director.
Eli Marcus: That’s another kind of twist. Most people are self-centered and you are like you could be of service to the Director, wow!
Sean Young: Self-centeredness is one of those qualities that show up quite a lot in show business. I have reached some enlightenment in life. I have a pretty much blissful life every single day I wake up. I appreciate things. I learned a lot. I’ve become very wise. I am capable of humility. I really like people in general unless they prove to me I shouldn’t. So it’s a good group, and I am having a lot of fun and I am enjoying working.
Eli Marcus is the host of The Motivation Show podcast. Listen to his full interview with Sean Young on any podcast platform like Apple Podcasts, Amazon Radio, Google Podcast, IHeart or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0NeDa0PqwteXf0UnfinyEU?si=3d286784e1154b2c. Contact Eli at email@example.com. Follow Eli on Facebook at TheMotivationShow, Instagram at EliMarcusPodcast and Twitter at TheEliMarcus.
The Glorious Corner
HACKETT’S 48 — (Via PROG) Steve Hackett returns to the world of concept albums for the first time in 48 years with the release of his latest studio album, The Circus And The Nightwhale, which will be released through InsideOutMusic on February 16.
“The Circus And The Nightwhale is an album with a difference,” states Hackett. “This time it is a story, based both literally and metaphorically on my life… It’s both faction and fiction, beginning in a gritty world of harsh reality, spinning off into a colourful and dark, weird metaphorical universe of wonder turned to terror, with an ultimately beautiful resolve.
“It spans the musical range from the heaviest to the heavenly, with musical influences, instruments and artists from several countries around the world. I’m hugely proud of this new album which I see as intensely personal, yet totally universal at the same time… If ever there was a film for the ear, this is it!”
The Circus And The Nightwhale was recorded at the UK’s Siren Studios in between tours in 2022 and 2023. The album features Hackett’s touring band as well as a raft of guests including Amanda Lehmann and Big Big Train’s Nick D’Virgilio, Hugo Degenhardt return as guests on the drumstool, Benedict Fenner features on keyboards and Malik Mansurov on tar, with Hackett’s brother John once more on flute.
The Circus And The Nightwhale will be available on several different formats, including a limited edition CD and Blu-ray mediabook (including 5.1 Surround Sound and 24-bit high resolution stereo mixes), standard CD jewelcase, gatefold 180g vinyl LP and as digital album. All feature a cover painting by Denise Marsh.
Pre-orders for the album will open soon.
SHORT TAKES —Alert! Keane at Radio City Music Hall on September 24. Book now! … The Peter Jackson “Now & Then” melee continues. From Slate: https://slate.com/culture/2023/11/beatles-now-and-then-new-song-video-peter-jackson.html?via=rss_socialflow_facebook&fbclid=IwAR03vS0PqYuWjhWSjphms7JAi4wFb0hfvAcq5WqwN59jcqq1-lwTUtfW7hQ
… Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker-bio jumped on the Amazon charts last week at #28. Congrats …
NY1’s Roger Clark (aka sweet knees) was on the anchor desk this weekend. Great job Sir …
Not to date myself, but I watched and just loved the Albert Brooks-doc (Defending My Life) directed by Rob Reiner on HBO MAX. I’ve loved Brooks for as long as I can remember and his dialogue with Reiner is just sensational. I think the one thing that shocked me was the revelation that all of Brook’s routines were never, ever tried out beforehand in a club. As Chris Rock says in the doc, these days everyone tries out their routines in a club -at least once- before going public. The doc is not for everyone, but sensational …
Don’t miss David Letterman guesting on tonight’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Amazingly, his first visit there ever …
Roger Friedman posted last night that the Rolling Stones may be the next guests-in-residence at The Sphere in Las Vegas and that they are quietly planning their final tour … And we haven’t heard anything about the Madonna-bio pic since January when Universal scrapped plans. Is the deal gone? …RIP Rosalynn Carter; Joss Ackland and Dex Carvey.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kathie Lee Gifford; Tunc Erim; Steve Leeds; Jann Wenner; Bobby Bank; Mark Bego; P Diddy; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent & Laura Denmark; Lee Zimmerman; Vinny Rich; Bert Bogash; Thomas Silverman; Howie Weinberg; Vinny Rich; Second Self; Herbie Powers; Lisa Gallant; Carol Ruth Weber; Angela Tarantino; Kyla Nicole; Jay Mark; and CHIP!
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