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5 Things You Need To Know About Liza Minnelli


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Liza Minnelli has recently been admitted into rehab so she can get help with substance abuse problems. The 69-year-old reportedly checked herself in early this week and is already showing signs of "excellent progress". Just in case you're struggling with the Minnelli trivia, here are five things you need to know about the Cabaret actress:

Liza MinnelliLiza Minnelli has checked herself in to rehab.

Read More: Liza Minnelli Making "Excellent Progress" After Entering Rehab For Substance Abuse.

Continue reading: 5 Things You Need To Know About Liza Minnelli

Sean Sasser, AIDS Activist And 'Real World: San Francisco' Cast Member, Dies Aged 44


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Sean Sasser, who featured in the reality show The Real World: San Francisco, has died aged 44. Sasser was featured on the show owing to his relationship with primary cast member Pedro Zamora. 

David Rainey
David "Puck" Rainey who starred on The Real World: San Francisco with Sasser's partner Pedro Zamora. Photographed with his son at the 2010 'Reality Bash' in L.A.

Sasser was HIV positive and died of a rare lung cancer, mesothelioma. This cancer, according to Queerty, has been linked to the weakened immune systems of those suffering from HIV.

Continue reading: Sean Sasser, AIDS Activist And 'Real World: San Francisco' Cast Member, Dies Aged 44

Magnificent Obsession Review


OK
Restrained passion, brooding desire, and undying love are painted on the screen in glorious Technicolor. Obsessed with the suffering of the American over-privileged upper class of the 1950s, director Douglas Sirk created several Hollywood blockbusters that subversively tackled topics ranging from race to age in relationships. And while All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Imitation of Life (1959) are beloved by cinephilies as "masterpieces," Magnificent Obsession is not among that canon.

That's not to say that Sirk's 1954 remake of a 1935 film, and adaptation of the 1929 novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, is not a melodramatic gem. The story focuses on reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his first leading role), whose boat-crashing antics inadvertently kill Helen Phillips' (Jane Wyman) husband. When Merrick falls for the widow, he learns a lesson in selflessness and giving to others -- but not before Helen is blinded in an accident that was once again a result of Merrick's actions. Whereas the melodrama in Sirk's major works are supported by substantive themes that still resonate today -- the racism that forces Sarah Jane to abandon her mother in Imitation of Life, for example -- Magnificent Obsession drowns in its sentimentality.

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Pillow Talk Review


Excellent
A very funny piece of Hollywood history, as a womanizing Rock and prim Doris share a party line, only to eventually fall in love when Rock invents a Texan persona to put the moves on his lovely neighbor. A wisecracking Tony Randall just about steals the show, but latter-day revelations about Hudson make some of his lines -- like when he accuses his alter-ego of being the kind of guy interested in recipes and his mother... Classic.

Seconds Review


Extraordinary
Arthur Hamilton has a problem: he's wealthy and successful... but he's getting old.

An old friend phones him out of the blue: Come to this address and prepare for an unimaginable new future. Indeed, no sooner has Hamilton entered the building (couriered there from a meat-packing plant, naturally) than he has become a customer, willing or not, of "the organization," which provides a radical plastic surgery regemin to cut about 30 years off the looks of its clients. Oh, and it also fakes the death of the client and provides a new identity -- and the client's new life is paid for with backdated insurance policies (after the organization takes its cut, of course).

Continue reading: Seconds Review

All That Heaven Allows Review


OK
Whether we know it at the time or realize it later, life seems to provide exactly what we need. Problem is, blessings that find us unprepared can easily slip through our fingers. Sound like an old story? Well, actually, it is. Originally released by Universal in 1955, All That Heaven Allows explores one woman's struggle to accept a love that threatens to turn her life upside down.

Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) is an attractive, wealthy New England widow who falls for her much younger gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson). Though she is sure of her love for him, Ms. Scott turns back on plans to remarry after her friends and children Kay and Ned (Gloria Talbott and William Reynolds) express reservations. Kirby may be handy with his hands, but Scott is devastated by the small town gossip and her children's bitter rebuff of her newfound love.

Continue reading: All That Heaven Allows Review

Darling Lili Review


Terrible
Chances are you've never heard of Darling Lili, despite Blake Edwards as director and Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews as stars. Hell, audiences in 1970 barely heard of it, because it was a disaster on release. It's so bad it never even merited an appearance on VHS. Well, DVDs are cheap, and Blake Edwards is still alive and enjoying new noteriety thanks to a recent Oscar appearance... and Andrews is in the news, too. So why not put out a director's cut of what might be the worst film either of them ever made?

Problem #1 can be seen in a premise: It's a film that no self-respecting studio head should have ever greenlit, but inexplicably somebody did. Who in their right mind could have thought that anyone would want to see a musical about Mata Hari? Not even the real Mata Hari, but a Mata Hari-like character plying her trade during World War I.

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Written on the Wind Review


Grim
It's all-star soaps in Douglas Sirk's brilliantly saccharine Written on the Wind, with show-stealer Dorothy Malone (way too old for the part) playing a sex-crazed gal trying to wreak havoc among her blueblood family and friends. This all shakes down (after considerable effort at setting up the loony players) as to an accusation of infidelity when Malone suggest her brother's (Robert Stack) goody-goody best friend (RockHudson) knocked up Stack's wife (Lauren Bacall) -- because Stack is sterile! Yoiks. In the end it's all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Come September Review


OK
Is there irony in Rock Hudson zipping about on a scooter in an attempt to protect the virtue of a gaggle of American girls being pursued by four horny guys? (Of note: Sandra Dee is one of the girls, and Bobby Darin is one of the guys, and this is where they met.) The convoluted romantic comedy has Hudson as a wealthy American who spends his Septembers at his plush Italian villa. He arrives early this year, only to find his business partner has turned the place into a hotel from October to August. A romance (with the lovely Gina Lollobrigida) ensues, and the younger kids prove they can find a little love in the sun amongst all the good times. Silly and unfulfilling, it's nonetheless a reasonably good time.

Giant Review


Good
A more apt title you won't find for a movie, as Giant's sprawling epic covers some 30 years in the life of a Texas cattle baron (Hudson), his wife (Taylor), and the upstart kid who becomes rich by discovering oil on his small plot of land (Dean). Compelling in a Gone With the Wind style, yet far too long at almost 4 hours, Giant could have stood for some quite obvious cutting. How many Christmas carols, square dances, and Texas cowboy shanties can one man take?

Regardless, James Dean (in one of only three roles on film) makes quite an impression, and Taylor reminds us why we ever liked her to begin with. The cinematography is equally Giant as well -- showing off the dusty nothing of central Texas, long low plains with brush and low hills in the distant background. George Stevens (Shane) has always had a knack for landscapes, and he's at the top of his game here. On the new DVD (two restored discs, one of which is double-sided), Stevens' son asks us to reconsider the film and enjoy it one again, 45 years after the making. In a commentary track with critic Stephen Farmber and writer Ivan Moffat, he reflects on his departed father and the trio reflect on Giant's legacy. That second disc has all the usual retrospectives and testimonials we've come to expect.

Continue reading: Giant Review

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