For his lively film directing debut, Mike Myers (aka Austin Powers) traces the remarkable life of his friend, the almost too-likeable music manager Shep Gordon. A mensch is a really nice guy, and this film documents how Gordon has created a makeshift family of loyal friends around him, even though he's never had a proper family of his own. It's an engaging movie that reminds audiences that the most important thing in life is certainly not fame.
Shep Gordon came to Los Angeles as a young man and happened to stay in the same hotel where Joplin, Hendrix and Morrison were hanging out. Quickly getting involved in their blurry world of drugs and money, Shep won over everyone he met simply because of his integrity and generosity. As a manager, he lived the high-life with high-powered girlfriends like Sharon Stone (who introduced him to Buddhism) and a Playboy Playmate wife. He helped Groucho Marx sort out his finances, and worked with lifelong pal Alice Cooper to create Cooper's iconic on-stage persona. And he's still considered one of the best fix-it men in the business. His home in Maui is a bolt-hole for any of his celebrity buddies who are trying to escape the limelight.
The film is assembled with a snappy rhythm that catches a sense of Shep's fast-paced lifestyle. It's packed with great film clips, hilarious home movies and even a few re-enactments. But the best stories are told by the starry interviewees who clearly adore Shep and recount riotous backstage anecdotes about their experiences with him, as well as his larger-than-life personality and unstoppable libido. The most jaw-dropping story is about how he ramped up clean-cut Canadian singer Anne Murray's reputation and career by having her photographed with super-cool lothario Teddy Pendergrass. But with a life this high-flying, Shep has never found a life partner or had his own children. Although he has become a father figure to his ex-wife's kids, essentially raising them himself.
Continue reading: SuperMensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon Review
Shep Gordon may not be as famous as some of the biggest celebrities in the world, but you can bet they count him among their closest friends. A popular Jewish music manager who took on the career after meeting Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Shep's first subject was shock rocker Alice Cooper in 1965. Since then, his Hollywood career has exploded having also worked alongside the likes of Pink Floyd, Luther Vandross, Blondie, Ann Murray and others. Not only that, but Shep instigated the breakthrough of celebrity chefs and also become close personal friends with the 14th Dalai Lama during his venture into Buddhism. Now, though, after a life of luxury and living other people's lives, this 'mensch' as his star friends call him (a Yiddish word essentially meaning 'a good person') is looking for a life of his own.
Arnold celebrates his first child
54-year-old comedian/actor Tom Arnold has become a father. He and his wife, Ashley Groussman, welcomed a little sprog called Jax Copeland Arnold, on Saturday (April, 6). He weighs 8lbs 12oz and measures 21 inches long.
“We are still in a bit of shock,” the couple in a statement to People magazine. “It has been a long journey and the healthy birth of our son is a miracle.” Arnold hasn’t simply ignored the fact he’s older than your average first-time dad, in fact, he tweeted a little joke about it. “Game Changer: Jax Copeland Arnold. 8lbs 12oz. Looking forward to being a 70 year old Little League Coach,” he posted. Having recently appeared in the film Hit & Run, Arnold is best known for his role in True Lies alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the press, he has been very open about his fertility problems which he discovered while in college. “I’ve tried with other people, but since there is a God we were unable to conceive. Now God said, ‘This is it!’” Arnold told People in January. "We're really happy. I didn't think it was in the cards for me, to be honest, and so I was completely shocked," he said during an appearance on The View. "It's a miracle."
Groussman – a relative unknown in Hollywood before marring Arnold – was a producer on ‘Tom Arnold: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to it’, a comedy special from the new dad.
Continue reading: Tom Arnold Is a (54-Year-Old) Dad!
There's a terrific sense of righteous anger in this scruffy comedy about disenfranchised people shaking American politics to its core. But the film plays it far too safely, dealing lightly with important themes while refusing to take a real stand on anything. It also never makes the most of its likeable, fully invested cast.
Based on a true story, the film is set in 2001 Seattle, where long-time buddies Phil and Grant (Biggs and Moore) are both unemployed journalists. When Grant decides to run for city council, Phil helps with the campaign. Grant's main passion is public transportation, which he sees as a social justice issue since it's what allows lower-income people to work and improve their lives. And his counter-culture approach makes him stand out opposite the unruffled incumbent (Cedric). On the other hand, Phil's girlfriend Emily (Ambrose) starts to worry when Grant's campaign becomes a centre for frat-boy antics, including rather a lot of pot-smoking. But this populist approach is like a breath of fresh air to voters.
Watching these no-hopers take on a well-oiled political machine is pretty inspirational, especially when the characters have so much raw charm. Biggs is superb in the central role, grounding even the most chaotic scenes in earthy honesty. By contrast, Moore feels a little overwrought as the hyperactive Grant, which makes us wonder why anyone would take him seriously. Although he nicely brings out Grant's inner resolve. And both Ambrose and Cedric add complex layers to their rather thinly written characters.
Continue reading: Grassroots Review
Audiences out for a bit of mindless fun will probably enjoy this raucous road movie, but only if they can look past comedy that relies on jokes about racism, sexism and homophobia. And if the characters are all paper-thin, at least the film is loose and enjoyably silly.
It centres on Charlie (Shepard), who lives in rural California with his girlfriend Annie (Bell). But when she's offered a job in Los Angeles, Charlie has to face up to his criminal past. He's currently in witness protection, and returning to L.A. is very dangerous. Still, he decides to take Annie to her job interview, while his protective agent (Arnold) follows close behind. But trouble is brewing because Annie's still-smitten ex (Rosenbaum) is also in hot pursuit, and when he figures out Charlie's secret, he gets in touch with the gang boss, Alex (Cooper), who wants him dead.
While the film looks whizzy and is packed with banter that sounds offensive, everything is pretty half-hearted. The dialog continually touches on sexuality and ethnicity in ways that are more lazy than inappropriate, and the discussions of serious issues like gender roles have no depth at all. This is a movie essentially made up of nothing but stereotypes. Bell and Cooper just about manage to give their characters personalities, but everyone else has essentially one note. Most of the men are mere chucklehead idiots, while the women are male fantasies.
Continue reading: Hit & Run Review
When Charlie Bronson, a bank robbery getaway driver on a witness protection programme, jeopardizes his life to take his beloved fiancée to Los Angeles, his past comes knocking at his door in the form of his old best friends who want their money after being released from an 8 month prison sentence. Charlie's abrupt escape leads to a frenzied sequence of car chases involving his former friends, gangsters and the police, not to mention Charlie's fiancée's shock and rage at finding out that he hasn't been honest with her.
Continue: Hit and Run Trailer
Imagine my shock; Nine Months is pretty good.
Continue reading: Nine Months Review
Date of birth
6th March, 1959