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Celebrities at the 'The Late Show with David Letterman'

Ken Burns - Various Celebrities including tennis star Serena Williams at the Ed Sullivan Theater for 'The Late Show With David Letterman' - New York City, New York, United States - Wednesday 20th August 2014

Ken Burns

Video - Bryan Cranston Is Joined By 'Breaking Bad' Co-Stars At 2014 Peabody Awards - Part 1


Bryan Cranston was joined by his 'Breaking Bad' co-stars Betsy Brandt and RJ Mitte at the 73rd Annual George Foster Peabody Awards held at The Waldorf Astoria in New York. The awards ceremony recognises service in television and radio for filmmakers and actors.

Continue: Video - Bryan Cranston Is Joined By 'Breaking Bad' Co-Stars At 2014 Peabody Awards - Part 1

Hot Tickets! This Weekend’s US Movie Releases


Anthony Hopkins Alfred Hitchcock Helen Mirren Alma Reville Janet Leigh Scarlett Johansson Marion Cotillard Sarah Burns Ken Burns

It’s slim pickings this week, in terms of big budget movies, as the industry winds down a little over the festive period (though prepare yourselves for the usual onslaught of Christmassy slush hitting the big screen in the coming weeks).

However, the new release that everybody’s chatting about right now is Hitchcock. Starring Antony Hopkins (as the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock) and Helen Mirren (as his wife, Alma Reville), there has already been discussion of the possibility of Oscar nominations coming the way of this biopic, which focuses on the era when Hitchcock was filming Psycho – widely considered to be the pinnacle of his career. The star of Psycho, Janet Leigh, is played by the ever-popular Scarlett Johansson.

Reviews for the movie have been mixed; it seems as though most reviewers are praising the performances, but not the film as a whole, which lacks clarity. The movie is only getting a limited release this week, so don’t expect it to be riding too high with box office takings but do expect some of its cast to be riding high when it comes to awards season.

Continue reading: Hot Tickets! This Weekend’s US Movie Releases

Ken Burns To Unveil New Dust Bowl Documentary This Weekend


Ken Burns

Ken Burns' last documentary, 2009's National Parks, the film was awash with colour and vibrancy. However this time round, with The Dust Bowl, he has ventured to the other side of the colour spectrum, investigating a world of black and white and yes, dust too.

One of the greatest manmade atrocities in memory, the dust bowl swept across America in the thirties, crippling an America already suffering from the effects of the Great Depression all the more. Burns describes the tragedy as "a 10-year apocalypse that we can't ignore — the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. It was killing not just crops, but cattle and children."

Speaking to the LA Times, Burns goes on to state that he was drawn to the project because of how little he knew about it, and how much of the mythology surrounding the dust bowl has altered the real view and impact of it. He said, "We don't make films about things we know, we make films about things we don't know about and want to know more."

Continue reading: Ken Burns To Unveil New Dust Bowl Documentary This Weekend

Picture - Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David... , Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater - Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon Wednesday 3rd October 2012 AFI Fest - The Central Park Five - Special screening, held at the Egyptian Theater

Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater
Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater

Picture - Raymond Santana, Ken Burns, Yusek... , Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Raymond Santana, Ken Burns, Yusek Salam, Korey Wise, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater - Raymond Santana, Ken Burns, Yusek Salam, Korey Wise, Sarah Burns, David McMahon Wednesday 3rd October 2012 AFI Fest - The Central Park Five - Special screening, held at the Egyptian Theater

Raymond Santana, Ken Burns, Yusek Salam, Korey Wise, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater
Raymond Santana, Ken Burns, Yusek Salam, Korey Wise, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater
Raymond Santana, Ken Burns, Yusek Salam, Korey Wise, Sarah Burns, David McMahon and Egyptian Theater

Picture - Ken Burns , Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Ken Burns and Egyptian Theater Wednesday 3rd October 2012 AFI Fest - The Central Park Five - Special screening, held at the Egyptian Theater

Ken Burns and Egyptian Theater
Ken Burns and Egyptian Theater
Ken Burns and Egyptian Theater

The War Review


Essential
It's easy to say "war is hell." That gets the point across, but being such a shopworn phrase -- particularly when invoked by warmongers who follow it up with all the reasons it's still something to be engaged in whenever possible -- it doesn't nearly capture the magnitude of human suffering it causes. Words will always fail.

But somehow, the men and women whom Ken Burns and co-director Lynn Novick interviewed for his quietly shattering 15-hour World War II documentary series The War convey that sentiment, in all its ugly terror, in a mostly quiet and humble manner that is ultimately more unsettling than all the superlatives and adjectives one could hurl at such a world-engulfing event. The first episode, "A Necessary War," concludes with a Marine talking about a firefight during which a soldier was hit and spent hours screaming in agony. The Marine wished the man would just die; only to discover later, after the man died, that it was his best friend. "It's the pits" is all he can manage to say about that moment of devastation, and in his voice you can hear all the pain of those desolate decades of scratching, clawing guilt.

Continue reading: The War Review

Wordplay Review


Excellent
I am not particularly a puzzler, but Wordplay, Patrick Creadon's ode to crossword makers and lovers is so reverent and infectious, it's hard not to get caught up in the desire to put letters in all the empty boxes - in pen. I have never so badly wanted to finish a crossword.Wordplay is a fairly unabashed tongue bath of the practice of crosswords, but it's an enthusiastic and cheeky one that does more to rally everyone to get into the nerdy entertainment of puzzles rather than alienate those who can never figure out anything past 2 Down. There are times when this documentary feels like product placement for the New York Times, with all the praise heaped on the paper in general and its puzzle in particular, but Will Shortz, the longtime editor of the Times crossword, is the mega-celebrity of the puzzle world, so perhaps it's fair.Shortz is a lifelong puzzle lover (he even managed to get a self-designed degree from Indiana University in "enigmatology," the study of puzzles) who is both the hero and devil to millions who attempt his daily games. He reads from some of his (amusingly bilious) hate mail, but the film spends far more time with a legion of celebrity fans - including former President Clinton, Jon Stewart, Yankee's pitcher Mike Mussina, and documentarian Ken Burns, among others - who wax poetic about the genius of the daily crossword and the place it holds in American culture. It sounds slightly overblown, but when you watch the ritual these people put into it - folding the paper just so, taking care to select the appropriate writing instrument - it is clearly not an idle pastime.Probably the most instructional is the time spent with Shortz's colleague Merl Reagle, one of the many who actually create the puzzles for the Times, who skims through the rules and artistry involved in making one of these puzzles - that will undoubtedly bring frustration and personal triumph to many - with impressive deftness. And just when the star-studded interviews were beginning to feel like fawning song-and-dance shows, they culminate with the various folks tackling the puzzle we previously saw Reagle create, making for a particularly endearing sequence.Inevitably, this movie will face numerous comparisons to that last documentary in praise of geeky American wordsmiths, Spellbound, and it's not a bad one, especially as the latter half of the film begins to focus on the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament that takes place every spring in Stamford, Connecticut. We meet a few of the notable competitors in the first half of the film, seeing them in their day-to-day lives: A cocky student from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a mild-mannered pianist in New York, an upbeat gay guy living in Florida. It's here, though, that they really settle into their element, minor celebrities among the small group of puzzle enthusiasts devoted to their yearly three-day pilgrimage to a Marriott in suburban Connecticut.Wordplay veers a little far into the sappy when it tries to get across the deep and heartfelt importance that this conference - and puzzles in general - means to these people with slo-mo musical montages and choked-up interviewees, but the competition itself is surprisingly energizing. Especially since it is a bunch of people sitting around filling in crosswords - it's not NASCAR, after all - but you get surprisingly invested in who will come out on top. The real fun of the film, though, is that it maintains that baffled, quirky sense of humor throughout, so the competition itself is interesting, but the best part about it is the table of commentators running a play-by-play of the action. Of filling out a crossword. Who knew such a thing existed?We do now, thanks to Creadon and a documentary that is as sweet and charming as it is fluffy and slight. But that's all right - sometimes all a documentary needs for a resounding moment is one subject giving an earnest interview about how preferable the lively Q is to the uninteresting and dull letter N.
Ken Burns

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