Sophia Loren teams with her director son for a return to movie making

Does Sophia Loren really need an introduction? The Italian actor, whose career spans 71 years (she began acting at 15 and is now 86), won a 1962 Academy Award for “Two Women,” becoming the first actor to receive the prize for a foreign-language film; married lifelong love, producer Carlo Ponti, who died in 2007; became an international sex symbol; stepped away from moviemaking to raise her children; and now stars in son Edoardo Ponti’s latest directorial spin, “The Life Ahead,” as a Holocaust survivor who cares for the children of prostitutes.

Loren and Ponti spanned the globe (she in Geneva, he in California) to speak with The Envelope about parents and children, vanity and the joys and sorrows of isolation.

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At 80, Peter Gerety gets a first film starring role with ‘Working Man’

As one of those actors you’ve seen everywhere but probably know little about, Peter Gerety is a welcome addition to any project he joins. A veteran theater actor who only began acting for the camera at 40, he landed serious support roles in “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “The Wire” and “Ray Donovan.” Now, at 80, he’s recently starred in “Working Man” as a blue-collar worker mourning the loss of his son and sidelined by a factory closing who refuses to give in. The Envelope spoke with Gerety via Zoom and got a real history lesson.

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LGBTQ stories in period settings offer an acceptance not always seen in society

When future director and writer Alan Ball attended high school in Marietta, Ga., in 1969, being gay meant living a secret, dual life. “Nobody in my school was openly gay,” says Ball. “You either lived a lie or you lived in Los Angeles or New York or Chicago.”

And movies provided no fantasy happy endings. “I don’t remember any characters in popular entertainment that were gay and not villains or psychopaths,” he adds. “American society wasn’t ‘aware’ of people who were gay.”

Society — and the movies that reflect it — has come a long way since, and this year’s awards season lineup reflects that. A slew of films up for awards consideration are examining the role of same-sex relationships during the distant and not-so-distant past with nuance, compassion … and no psychopaths in sight: “The Boys in the Band,” “The World to Come,” “Ammonite,” “Uncle Frank” (Ball’s contribution) and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” just to name a few. But in telling these stories, their filmmakers are faced with a conundrum: How to make them historically accurate, while also dodging tired tropes that reduce gay relationships to tragedies?

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Storytelling that twists, bends, even confuses. Welcome to this trippy awards season

An apartment that keeps changing its furnishings — and inhabitants. A time loop buried in a cave. An endless date amid a snowstorm. A couple viewing shared experiences from very different angles. A dead husband … who becomes a cat.

This year, several awards season films are taking a crooked path to the virtual red carpet. Naturally, the three-act structure persists, there are climaxes and dramatic character turns — but quite a few of the films in the awards race conversation are making a splash by not following the rules: “The Father,” “Palm Springs,” “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” “Wander Darkly” and “French Exit” have taken the approximately two hours they have on screen to twist, bend and subvert expectations about story — and kept audiences intrigued, guessing and sometimes downright confused.

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‘Dear Santa’ takes viewers behind the scenes of Postal Service’s Operation Santa

Santa Claus is totally amazing, delivering millions of presents to children all over the world each year.

But even Santa can use some extra elf help during the holiday season. And in the new documentary “Dear Santa,” directed by Dana Nachman, audiences get to meet elves from around the U.S., plus the children who’ve asked for special presents for Christmas and discover just how important the United States Postal Service is to the whole enterprise through its Operation Santa program.

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How to make Pumpion Pie, a 350-year-old recipe perfect for Thanksgiving

We’ve all got some legendary family recipes that have been handed down over the generations.

But those “old” recipes seem rather new when compared to the ones Max Miller turns up on his YouTube show “Tasting History.” Miller, who creates weekly segments from his kitchen featuring recipes that are hundreds of years — if not centuries — old.

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The top 5 Hallmark movies that will get you in the holiday spirit

You may think you’re the Hallmark holiday movie slate’s No. 1 fan. But have you met Brandon Gray, Daniel “Panda” Pandolph and Daniel Thompson?

Maybe not — unless you’ve been listening to “Deck the Hallmark,” a podcast hosted by the three former teachers, in which they tackle every one of the dozens of holiday releases the channel premieres each season.

“Hallmark has gotten so good in capturing all the feelings, all the nostalgia around the holidays and putting them on screen,” said Gray, who started the podcast in 2018 with Pandolph and Thompson. Over 250 episodes later, “Deck the Hallmark” has become a full-time job for all three of them, now armed with a book deal (out in 2021).

“People like myself long for the holidays all year, and there’s nothing quite like being with family for the holidays, and Hallmark just captures it,” said Gray, who added that he’s “excited” that the channel is becoming more diverse with its casting and stories.

But which of Hallmark’s films truly deserve a place on the mantelpiece? TODAY tracked Gray down ahead of the full holiday season to get the scoop on the best, brightest and most twinkly of all the Hallmark holiday films he’s cozied up to!

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Who will replace Alex Trebek on ‘Jeopardy!’? Here are 7 contenders

As the host of “Jeopardy!” for 36 years, Alex Trebek was one of a kind — a comforting presence who proved being smart was seriously cool.

But now that the man with all the answers has passed away — Trebek died from pancreatic cancer on November 8 — there’s one big question still outstanding: Who will take his place?

Speculation on social media has been running high, so we reached out to a few game show experts to see who they consider to be the top seven candidates.

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Jake Broido

Entertainers auction off royalties to pave future career path

Jake Broido’s case had a particularly good royalty to auction: his steady stream of about $10,000 each year from his background vocals on Wiz Khalifa’s 2015 hit “See You Again” (featuring Charlie Puth). Ten grand is a nice chunk of cash to count on each year, but at that pace it would take him 10 years to amass the money he’d need to kick off his career as indie pop artist the Truth Experiment.

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So, in 2017, he paired with Royalty Exchange, which auctioned his domestic royalties to the song for $102,000 for Broido to pocket, minus a percentage the company collects.

“It gave me a three-year runway to focus on my music and put out my own record,” says Broido, who has since worked with Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Kendrick Lamar, among others. “All these things have come from me taking the independent investment to run my own career.”

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‘West Wing’ reunion special is nostalgic and more poignant than ever

“The West Wing” came back!

All right, for one show only, and with a very specific purpose, but “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” has finally aired on HBO Max, and yes — it gave us all the feels and then some.

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