FresnoBeehive.com

Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Win tickets to the Fresno Film Festival

Homepage-Fest13-275x380The 9th Annual Fresno Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night at the Tower Theatre. The festival, presented by Fresno Filmworks, runs the full weekend, with five feature-film presentations, more than a dozen short-film screenings and a number of post-screening discussions and other fun stuff for all you cinephiles.

Our movie critic Rick Bentley screened two of the features (“Paris-Manhattan” and “Blancanieves”) and word around the office is they were stellar. You can read his reviews in tomorrow’s 7 Section.

In the mean time, we have tickets to festival to give out to couple Beehivers (that’s you). Because the festival starts tomorrow, this is a quickie. Leave a comment on this post. Tell us why your love Fresno Filmworks (or haven’t yet been introduced). We’ll pick two winners at random. Contest will close at 4 p.m. today and winners will be notified by email. NOTE: These are actual physical tickets, so winners will need to come down to The Bee’s front lobby by 5 p.m. tomorrow to pick them up.

No repeat entries, please. Check your email tonight to see if you’re the winner. Complete rules are on the jump.

Read more

‘Camp’ tickets now being sold

CAMP PosterTickets are now on sale for the Fresno premiere screening of “Camp” scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the Edwards Fresno Stadium 22. The movie, which used the Hume Lake Christian Camps located 60 miles east of Fresno as a filming location, features local 100 extras, many supplied by casting director Carollyn De Vore.

Tickets are available at campmovie.wufoo.com/forms/m7p3p1/

“The people who came up from Fresno were so great to work with. It’s not a short drive and everyone always had a great attitude and a smile on their face,” says “Camp” producer Emily Shubin. “We are tremendously thankful to the community of Fresno for their support and look forward to bringing ‘Camp’ to the big screen in Fresno.”

Fresno is one of eight markets where the film opens this weekend. A portion of each ticket sold will go to support Royal Family Kids camps.

Read more

Alden Ehrenreich found script to be ‘Beautiful’

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES - resizedAlden Ehrenreich has two movies coming out in the next few weeks — “Beautiful Creatures” on Valentine’s Day” and “Stoker” March 1 — but he’s done little else that would make you think he’s one of the major players in Hollywood. That’s why it was a surprise to hear that despite his limited acting credentials, Ehrenreich initially turned down the leading role in “Beautiful Creatures.” And, he turned it down without reading the script.

To be fair, the 23-year-old actor wasn’t shown the script by his agents because they didn’t think it was the kind of movie he wanted to make. The kind of movies he’s trying to avoid are the ones where a mortal teen feels the angst of falling for some type of vampire, zombie, mummy or Frankenstein type monster.

When producers pitched him the idea again, he read the script and signed on to play the lovestruck Ethan Wate. The object of his attention is Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a young woman who on her 16th birthday will either become a very good or very bad witch.

I know. It sounds like all of the other teen angst movies. But, Ehrenreich saw a real humor and intelligence in the script that made him confident this wouldn’t be just another mortal-meets-supernatural-creature story.

If he had read the script earlier, Ehrenreich would have had a chance to do some research so that he wouldn’t have been caught off guard by the high heat and humidity of working in New Orleans during the summer.

“It was very, very hot. We had a lot of people spritzing us,” Ehrenreich says.

An earlier read also would have given him a chance to read the books in the “Beautiful Creatures” series before filming started. During his down time — when he wasn’t battling the heat — Ehrenreich read the books. They ended up being an instruction manual as to how to play the character.

The one thing about his character he didn’t need to research was how the teen longed to leave the sleepy little town where he’s lived his entire life.

“I know exactly what it’s like to want to leave somewhere,” Ehrenreich says. “I hated summer camp but my mother sent me to 10 different ones when I was growing up. I would write long letters to family members to tell them how much I hated being at camp.”

Entertainment suggestions for the weekend

There are several good entertainment choices for the weekend.

TELEVISION
“Ask Obama Live: An MTV Interview with the President,” 5 p.m. MTV: As part of MTV’s “Power of 12” election campaign, President Barack Obama will address the concerns of young voters in this cable special. It should be interesting. Former President Bill Clinton was asked about his underwear during a similar event on the cable channel. Little did we know then the importance of that question. Please note that the “live” part of this program is only on the East Coast.

MOVIES
“Cloud Atlas”:Not since “2001: A Space Odyssey” has a film come along that’s such a marvel of moviemaking and a frustrating test of comprehension as “Cloud Atlas.” The latest work by Andy and Lana Wachowski, the minds behind “The Matrix,” re-imagines the art of moviemaking by creating a product that finds cohesion in confusion, distinction in disorder and symmetry in asymmetry.

DVD
“Alcatraz: The Complete Series”: The short-lived FOX series from J.J. Abrams looks at what happens when all of the guards and prisoners at the prison vanish, then begin reappearing years later. It’s “Lost” meets “Prison Break.” The series was canceled despite strong writing and acting after only 13 episodes. Sarah Jones portrays a strong hero, while Jorge Garcia offers just the right amount of humor to keep this show from being too dark. It also features the always reliable Sam Neill.

Halle Berry running from the press

Halle Berry gets to play six very different and interesting parts in “Cloud Atlas” but the most intriguing is her portrayal of a ‘70s reporter living in San Francisco. Considering the problem Berry has with paparazzi in the United States, this is a little like a sheep dressing in wolves clothing.

Berry has been trying to convince the judge in her custody case with Gabriel Aubry that it would be in the best interest of their 4-year-old daughter for Berry to move and take her to France so the youngster wouldn’t be so hounded by the press.

There’s a chance the judge could make a ruling at anytime but when we sat down for an early morning chat, the decision was still in the air.

Berry gets very emotional when she talks about how the media treats her child.

“Who cares what a 4-year-old is wearing?,” Berry says. “We are in a time now where I’m actually having to fight to leave the country I love because I’m unable to provide a private, secure, safe place for my daughter to grow. I think journalism has a place in our society — especially good journalism — but I think we’ve also become a society that focuses on little children and what kids are wearing.

“That’s a hard pill for me to swallow because there are so many more important things to write about.”

James D’Arcy’s career start was cut short

It’s always fun and educational to talk with the stars of TV shows and movies about their early days of acting. Most spent years working in small stage productions, commercials or low-budget movie before finally getting that one big break.

James D’Arcy, who stars in the upcoming “Cloud Atlas,” has been a working actor since the mid-‘90s and has a lengthy list of professional acting credits. You probably would have seen the British actor in the film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” “Exorcist: The Beginning” or on TV shows like “The Closer,” “Virtuality” and “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” In “Hitchcock,” a feature film to be released later this year, D’Arcy plays Anthony Perkins.

Long before he was starring in movies with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, D’Arcy was a struggling actor looking for any work he could find. One of those jobs was as an extra in a movie. Those are the people you see in the background eating, talking, watching a sporting event or doing some other everyday activity to make a scene look like its taking place in a real location.

“I got this job to be in the stands for a boxing match that was suppose to be taking place in the ‘40s,” D’Arcy tells me during an interview for his work in “Cloud Atlas.”

The actor was only 19 years old and sported long hair down to his shoulders. He was told if he wanted to be an extra, the hair had to be cut short. D’Arcy agreed and showed up for the filming with very short hair.

“I looked over and the guy next to me had this long ponytail. I asked him why they didn’t cut his hair,” D’Arcy says. “He told me that we were extras and no one was going to see us anyway.”

Lesson learned and shared.

Tonight: local premiere of ‘Power for the Parkinsons’

Fresno State emeritus history professor Ephraim Smith’s documentary “Power for the Parkinsons” will receive its local premiere in a free screening at 6 p.m. today at the Forum Hall at the Willow International campus of the State Center Community College District. A description of the film:

It is the story of the making in 1939-1940 of the Rural Electrictification Administration film “Power and the Land,” featuring members of the Bill and Hazel Parkinson family of Warnock, Ohio.  Produced initially by Pare Lorentz (and then taken over by the REA), directed by Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens, photographed by Arthur Ornitz and Floyd Crosby, edited by Helen van Dongen and Lora Hays (under Ivens’ supervision) with a script written by Stephen Vincent Benet, and with a score composed by Douglas Moore, this largely forgotten 1940 film is a classic American documentary. Shown to millions of American farmers, it is also the film that helped electrify the American farm. This heartwarming and dramatic story of the making of Power and the Land is now revealed in “Power for the Parkinsons.”

The film was financed by a $300,000 grant and was narrated by Walter Cronkite. It was broadcast by 11 PBS stations in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Smith’s production company has lined up 79 PBS stations (including local station KVPT) representing 75 per cent of the television market with another 13 “maybes” representing an additional 17% of the market for future broadcasts, he says.

Entertainment this weekend

There are several good entertainment choices for the weekend.

TELEVISION
“The Walking Dead,” 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC: The third season opens with back-to-back episodes. The story picks up after the handful of survivors have spent the winter on the run from the walkers (you know them better as zombies). It appears they may be headed for some relief as the group finds a prison. All they have to do is clean out all the walkers and they will finally have a place to call home. But, this is “The Walking Dead” and that means nothing is what it seems. Don’t be scared away thinking this is a zombie show. “The Walking Dead” is a superb examination of the human condition and what a person would do to maintain even a small part of their humanity.

MOVIES
“Argo”: If this story had been written as fiction, it would have been too unbelievable to work. The fact it’s based on real events around the 1979 hostage crisis makes the outlandish very real. Ben Affleck turns in a sterling performance as the CIA agent who comes up with a plan to pretend a movie is going to be shot in Iran as a way to save six Americans. Affleck also continues to show he’s a superb director.

DVD
“Prometheus”: The film is a feast for the eyes. Director Ridley Scott elevates the visuals to a new sci-fi high in this tale of explorers following a map to the far reaches of outer space. From the holographic images on the ship to the massive beehive-like structures, the film is glorious in design. The casting is nearly as perfect, with Noomi Rapace’s passionate performance balanced by the cold and methodical thinking of Charlize Theron’s character. There are a few minor flaws: Idris Elb, who plays the ship’s captain, is underused; and Guy Pearce works under mounds of makeup as the mission’s rich benefactor. There’s no reason a younger actor had to be cast and put through such extensive makeup. Scott’s titanic effort in “Prometheus” yields such a visual triumph that small flaws can be overlooked.

Who would be a real ‘Wonder’ woman?

Observations from a grumpy old man.

  • Dolly Parton will no longer be associated with the previously planned water park to be built in Nashville. She couldn’t get the builders to agree that it only would be open from 9 to 5. And you thought I was going to make a very different joke.
  •  There’s another attempt being made to launch a TV show based on female super hero Wonder Woman. My suggestions for casting are the Octomom, Kim Kardashian or Snooki. I often wonder how these women are famous.
  •  Seth MacFarlane will host the Oscars ceremonies. That’s the only way we would have ever heard the line “And now coming to the Academy Awards stage, Seth MacFarlane.”
  • NBC has ordered a full season of “The New Normal” despite only drawing an average of six million viewers. Oh wait. That’s the new normal when it comes to ratings for network programs.
  •  There are rumors Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are getting back together. I wonder how log those crazy kids can stay together this time. Put your money on Nov. 17, the day after “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” opens.

Atticus Shaffer needed sound advice

Thumbnail image for atticus.bmpIt struck me as being a little odd when director Tim Burton told me that part of his coaching of Atticus Shaffer to find the right voice for his character of Edgar “E” Gore in the animated film “Frankenweenie” was to sound like Peter Lorre.

Peter Lorre? A lot of people remember the talented actor from his TV and film roles from the ’30s to the ’60s. But, Lorre died in 1964, that’s 34 years before Atticus, who you probably know from his role as Brick on “The Middle,” was born. There was a time when every impersonator did Lorre’s voice but that was decades ago.

It seems that as soon as Burton mentioned Lorre, Atticus jumped at the chance to do an impersonation but needed some help.

“During the audition process — that took about a year — they said he’s sort of like the Igor character and so I knew his mannerisms. In the second or third audition, they said if possible, do a Peter Lorre impression. My mom, being the good home school mom that she is, she went off and rented ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ We already had ‘Casablanca’,” Atticus says. “I just sat down and studied his voice and his emotions.”

Thumbnail image for photo (12).JPG

The 14-year-old Atticus was delighted to get to do the impersonation because although he’s been acting for five years, no role has called for him to use anything but his own voice. This is also the first time Atticus has been a voice in an animated film. He loved the process because the first recording sessions were only a few feet away from the studio where he shots “The Middle” and the rest were done on breaks from shooting the ABC comedy.

For those of you too young to remember Peter Lorre or just want to hear the voice work Atticus did for “Frankenweenie,” the film opens Oct. 5.

Maybe there should be Lohan-Bynes driving school

People Lindsay Lohan.JPGObservations from a grumpy old man.

Clint Eastwood has balls: The new Eastwood movie, “Trouble With the Curve,” has him playing an aging baseball scout who is losing his vision. If the film doesn’t attract a big audience, he will be talking to a lot of empty chairs.

No, you drive: Lindsay Lohan got arrested for another traffic accident. Fellow accident-waiting-to-happen celebrity Amanda Bynes says it was karma that caused the wreck because Lohan was tweeting bad things about her. I doubt it. If karma didn’t get Lohan after “Herbie Fully Loaded,” she’s safe.

What does the L stand for?: For a moment, it looked like “The Walking Dead” had moved from AMC to 11:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC. Then I realized I was just watching “Saturday Night Live.”

Fight the power: NBC’s new drama “Revolution” launched on Monday. It’s about a world without electricity. Does anyone else see the irony that one of NBC’s owners is General Electric?

A killer show: Is it a good thing when the executives behind the new FOX series “The Mob Doctor” want a hit?

Entertainment this weekend

NUP_148567_0407_JPG.JPGHere are a few entertainment suggestions for the weekend.

MOVIES
“My Uncle Rafael”: A TV producer in search of a reality show hit. She convinces Uncle Rafael (Vahik Pirhamzei) to use his wisdom to help a dysfunctional family torn apart by marriage. He moves in to try to save the family members, each dealing with a different problem, while cameras capture every emotional and funny moment. The film has some rough edges, but it still finds a way to be touching and to get laughs. It’s two biggest pluses are the Armenian themes and the talents of Pirhamzei.

DVD
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”: Seven British seniors travel to India to move into a retirement facility. Maggie Smith and Judi Dench star. Director John Madden blends the multiple plot threads so perfectly that he creates a cinematic tapestry that celebrates life and the wide assortment of those who have lived it. In addition, Madden shows that Hollywood’s obsession with youth is a smoke screen: It doesn’t matter what the age of the cast is as long as the material is first-rate and you have some of the best actors in the business to breathe life into it. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” will attract older film fans because of the age of the cast. Don’t let age discrimination keep you from seeing this magnificent film that deals with the issues — love, life and learning — that all ages connect with.

TELEVISION
“Grimm,” 9 p.m. KSEE (Channel 24.1): The creepy and fun series about a hunter of the weird characters that inspired fairy tales has settled into its normal time slot. One of the big problems in the first season was Nick Burkhardt’s (David Giuntoli) partner didn’t know what was happening. That’s been fixed and now the series can move full speed ahead.

Some interviews more timely than others

F_101-SC41_0065.JPGIt’s always a little odd when I have done an interview with a celebrity and a few weeks or months later they die. I’m not talking about veteran actors but those who would seem to have decades in front of them.

The first time I really noticed it was when John Candy passed away in March 1994. The interview with the comedian was done during the winter meetings of the Television Critics Association in January of that year. Because of another story, I almost missed the chance to talk with Candy. When I heard a few weeks later that he had died at the age of 43, I was glad to have had the opportunity to talk with him.

A few years later, I was convinced Chris Farley would not live to see the 21st Century. The interview with him was for the 1995 movie “Tommy Boy” and during the entire talk he kept drinking cups of coffee like he was responsible for the gross national product of Brazil. It was hard not to notice his constant coffee consumption as his hands never stopped shaking. I believe that’s known as cause and effect.

Farley died in 1997 at the age of 32.

What made me start thinking about this was the recent death of Michael Clarke Duncan who was 54. We talked back in January when he showed up to promote the now defunct FOX series “The Finder.” What struck me about him was that Duncan was one of those man mountains who looked like he could crush you with his thumb. But, he was actually quite funny and spent a lot of time making fun of his fellow actors.

When I learned that he was involved with “The Apprentice” queen of mean, Omarosa Manigault, it became clear that she was a lot scarier than Duncan.

Entertainment this weekend

PirPSSeq50-2.JPG This is a three-day weekend for many. Here are a few ways to enjoy your free time.

MOVIES
“Ruby Sparks”: The film looks at the unorthodox relationship between a writing protegee and his greatest creation. In a movie world so top heavy with big-budget action flicks and gross-out comedies, a film such as “Ruby Sparks” is a magical gift. It’s a brilliantly written love story about the thin line between love and creativity that’s such a flawless blend of comedy and drama — and this will shock the sunglasses off movie studio executives — it’ll entertain anyone, young or old, who’s ever fallen in love.

DVD
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”: A pirate looks to Charles Darwin for help to win a top pirate contest in this animated tale. The gang at Aardman Animations, producers of the whimsical and wonderful “Wallace & Gromit” films, have made this story of a pirate and his motley crew the company’s most entertaining venture — without a Brit and his best buddy dog — yet.

TELEVISION
“Breaking Bad,” 10 p.m., AMC: This is the mid-season finale of the phenomenal show with the remaining episodes in the final season scheduled to air in 2013. The episode deals with Walt (Bryan Cranston) tying up some loose ends. With this show, that’s never a good sign but always an entertaining one.

Ellen Barkin turns ‘Big Easy’ into big mess

barkin.JPG When I saw that Ellen Barkin was starring in the new NBC comedy “The New Normal,” a chill ran up my spine. The reaction had nothing to do with the bigoted character Barkin plays on the new offering from Ryan Murphy. Let’s just say we have a history.

Imagine it’s 1986. You’ll have to make those wavy lines with your own hands to create the illusion of going back in time.

I was working as an entertainment reporter for a small newspaper in Central Louisiana. Often, I would travel to New Orleans to do stories on movies being filmed there. Such an invite to report on the filming of “The Big Easy” took me to a New Orleans neighborhood where a house on a street corner was being used to film the movie starring Dennis Quaid and Barkin.

You have to remember that this was years before “TMZ” and most of the entertainment shows. The majority of journalists who showed up on film sets then was there to do a news story. Also, it was impossible to get near such a set without the permission of the film commission. So I had a legitimate reason to be there.

The filming attracted a large crowd that lined the street across from the set location. I took a place with them and watched as crew members went in and out of the house. Finally, I spotted Barkin walking toward the house.

Read more

Entertainment this weekend

sparks.JPG Here are a few entertainment options for this weekend.

MOVIES
“Ruby Sparks”: The film looks at the unorthodox relationship between a writing protegee and his greatest creation. In a movie world so top heavy with big-budget action flicks and gross-out comedies, a film such as “Ruby Sparks” is a magical gift. It’s a brilliantly written love story about the thin line between love and creativity that’s such a flawless blend of comedy and drama — and this will shock the sunglasses off movie studio executives — it’ll entertain anyone, young or old, who’s ever fallen in love.

DVD
“The Hunger Games”: The film features high-tension action that eclipses the “Twilight” films and has more magical character development than the “Harry Potter” series, making it a prime contender for the next great film series. This is that rare case of a movie that will please lovers of the book as well as those who have never heard of the series. There is no young actor who has the ability to handle both the physical and emotional challenges of the role as well as Jennifer Lawrence. Her acting is so honest that every emotion resonates with a truthfulness that compels us to watch. Whether she is faking a romance to earn favor among the viewers or mourning the death of a competitor, her work is less a performance and more of a spiritual, emotional and physical metamorphosis.

TV
“Episodes,” 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Showtime: The second season ender is loaded with more cliffhangers than a Road Runner cartoon and more laughs than a full season of most network comedies. The look behind the scenes of a TV sitcom is smartly written and shows that Matt LeBlanc is one of the better actors from the “Friends” cast. Yes, I said it.

Jessica Biel likes that she can be tough

Film Review Total Recall.JPG There’s a great scene in the new “Total Recall” where the characters played by Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale end up in a fight that rivals many of the film bouts staged by male actors in similar movies. Biel loves that she can take roles where she can be tough and not have to wait for the guy to save her.

“You don’t always want to be objectified and sexualized,” Biel says. “Sometimes it’s OK, but when you are doing something like this you want to feel like an equal. The gender neutrality in this particular fight was what was so exciting for us. It wasn’t about anything but two incredibly capable warrior women beating the \[expletive deleted\] out of each other.”

It’s funny. Biel was ready for her character in “Total Recall” to beat the living daylights out of Beckinsale’s character. But, she gets very coy when asked who’s the toughest of the two actors. Biel laughs and says that Beckinsale’s “wiry” and she would be afraid to run into her in a dark alley.

This isn’t Biel’s first warrior role. In the film “Blade: Trinity,” she played the very capable vampire hunter Abigail Whistler. As for who would win in a fight between Whistler and Beckinsale’s vampire Selene from the “Underworld” films, Biel says, “ME! I would win. I think. Abigail’s got a cool bow and arrow.”

Biel pauses and then adds, “Selene looks cooler. Maybe she would win again.”

Sparks struggles with cinema smooch

American Idol.JPG There are so many tabloid TV shows, magazines and on-line sites reporting every indiscretion of real and fake celebrities, it’s easy to start believing that everyone who works in Hollywood is a degenerate. Then someone like Jordin Sparks comes along who gets embarrassed talking about an on-screen kiss she shares with Derek Luke in the movie “Sparkle.”

The kissing scene was the one used to audition the actors who could play Sparkle’s love interest. Sparks was a little shocked when she found out she would have to kiss three different actors vying for the part.

“I can tell you on one hand how many times I’ve kissed somebody. These guys are going to walk in here and I don’t even know them! And, I’m going to have more people on my list,” Sparks says. “I was like that’s not fair, they’re stealing kisses from me!”

Read more

‘ParaNorman’ is a model production

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for photo (4).JPGAs part of the interviews for the new animated feature “ParaNorman,” several of the sets used in the filming were put on display for the press.Thumbnail image for photo (1).JPG

The film was shot in the laborious stop-motion style. That means everything in a scene — characters, vehicles, leaves, etc. — is photographed, moved a tiny bit and photographed again. This process goes on until 24 frames are shot to complete one second of the movie.

The detail is so amazing that even these photographs don’t do them justice. But, here are a few pictures to show you some of the detail and the scale of the models.

Read more

Entertainment this weekend

NUP_145984_0408_jpg.JPGBecause it’s going to be hot this weekend, here are some cool entertainment options.

MOVIES
“Total Recall”: Director Len Wiseman, the master of the “Underworld” movies and Kate Beckinsale’s husband, has shifted the film focus away from the psychological elements for a more physical approach. Once the film starts, it is a white-knuckle thrill ride that doesn’t offer too many chances to breathe. Whether it be a brutal battle in an elevator with four combatants or a high-speed car chase in the sky, “Total Recall” is exciting. And, the action is staged against a eye-popping backdrop of a future that’s both brilliant and blighted.

DVD
“Grimm: Season One”: The approach to this NBC series is to have fairy tales based on real world creatures that now prowl the Pacific Northwest. It’s up to Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), the last in the long line of creature fighters, to close the book on the evil creatures. One reason this series is so good is Silas Weir Mitchell, who plays Burkhardt’s wise-cracking sidekick and is far smarter about the ways of the weird than his police buddy. He brings a touch of humor even when the pair battle creatures that inspired the stories of “The Three Little Pigs” and “Hansel and Gretel.” “Grimm” is dark and happily embraces things that go bump in the night.

TELEVISION
“The 2012 Summer Olympics,” 7 p.m. Sunday, KSEE (Channel 24.1): After two weeks of swimming, running, diving and all of the other contested battles, the London Games will officially come to an end. As part of the closing moments, the torch will be handed off to Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Games.

Entertainment this weekend

spidey_r.JPG It’s going to be hot this weekend. Here are a few indoor entertainment ideas to help you beat the heat.

MOVIES
“The Amazing Spider-Man”: With the power of making the reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise comes great responsibility. And the makers of “The Amazing Spider-Man” deliver. Director Marc Webb and screen writers James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves found a way to spin the story of the comic book hero with enough originality to appease fans while not straying too far from the well-known Spidey mythology created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko a half-century ago.

DVD
“Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Three”: The 13 episodes include Rocko, Spunky, Heffer and Filburt getting involved with a murder investigation involving the Bigheads. This is a wonderful animated series that’s fun for children and funny to adults. Finding that balance is tough and when a product comes along that balances the halves so well, it should not be missed.

TELEVISION
“Hoarding: Buried Alive,” 9 p.m. Sunday, TLC: This may be the ultimate reality program. Not only is this the opener for the fourth season of the series about those who can’t throw anything away, the episode deals with 51-year-old Cary, who is both a compulsive hoarder and Elvis impersonator. Over two decades, Cary’s obsession with Elvis has taken over every inch of his 600 square foot apartment. With a home virtually uninhabitable and a bank account almost empty, Cary faces the possibility of parting ways with his memorabilia. Thank you very much.

No one’s talking about ‘Star Trek’ sequel

STAR TREK.JPG Trying to get information on upcoming movies can be difficult. Sometimes an actor only wants to talk about the project they are currently promoting. That’s understandable. Often, it can be more than a year after the filming that an actor has to do interviews for the project. It’s probably hard enough just to recount what he/she was doing that long ago.

Then there are projects that exist in a tight cocoon of secrecy. That’s the case with the sequel to the relaunch of the “Star Trek” franchise from 2009. No one is talking.

In an interview with Alice Eve for “The Raven,” the actress only would admit that she was in the sequel. She was headed directly to the set after our talk. Eve would not tell me anything about what she’s doing in the movie or even the name of her character.

I thought I would try again with Chris Pine who did such an impressive job in “Star Trek” playing James T. Kirk. At the end of my interview with Pine for his latest movie, “People Like Us,” I asked him if he could talk about the upcoming “Star Trek” movie.

He immediately said he couldn’t but eventually offered a few generic descriptions such as it will be “extremely fun” and “visual insanity.” There also was some vague comment about how the story would be even bigger.

In other words, there’s still no news on the “Star Trek” sequel that’s scheduled to be released in 2013. I’ll keep trying.

More footage of Fresno shot for Bill Crystal movie

billycrystal.JPGIt might not be just the Fresno Grizzlies getting attention in the upcoming Billy Crystal movie, “Parental Guidance.”

Up in the Air Pictures, the company behind the feature film, shot additional footage for the movie at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Stock footage shots were collected of commercial airliners landing and departing plus a passenger’s view of the new terminal building.

Crystal was in Fresno in August to shoot scenes at Chukchansi Park. His character, Artie Decker, is suppose to be the voice of the Fresno Grizzlies. The majority of the movie was shot in Atlanta.

“While there is no promise of the footage being used in film, the post production office for the film was highly satisfied with the shoot,” says Chuck Carson, Up in the Air Pictures, in a press release.

The move is scheduled to open Christmas Day.

Entertainment this weekend

Thumbnail image for Film Review Brave.JPG The weather will be nice this weekend but in case you are looking for entertainment options indoors, here are a few suggestions.

MOVIES
“Brave”: While this isn’t one of Disney Pixar’s better efforts, it’s still a beautiful film especially if you don’t see it in 3D. And, there’s always a need for family films. This story of a Scottish princess who goes against family tradition is full of action, adventure and funny moments.

DVD
“Big Miracle”: A group tries to save three whales trapped by ice. The film is a whale of a tale that rings of sentimental nostalgia and is schmaltzy enough to bring a tear to anyone who’s ever owned a pet. This family-friendly film is based on the true story that unfolded on national television in 1988. Three whales – dubbed Fred, Wilma and Bamm-Bamm — get trapped five miles from the ocean as ice in northern Alaska freezes faster than usual. Without assistance, the three whales will die when the last hole in the ice closes. Despite a simplistic structure and melodramatic acting, “Big Miracle” works because it goes directly for your heart.

TELEVISION
“The Newsroom,” 10 p.m. Sunday, HBO: Television series creator Aaron Sorkin’s never hesitated to climb upon a soapbox to wave his fists and shout his concerns about anything from politics (“The West Wing”) to entertainment (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”). The object of Sorkin’s latest discontent is television news – primarily cable news programming. Sorkin’s new show, set in a cable news studio, is at its best when it takes on lofty issues. It helps that since the action takes place a few years ago, every decision about news coverage the team makes is the best and brightest. All news would be fair, accurate, balanced and rhetoric free if it could be done with such hindsight.

Entertainment this weekend

SHERLOCK HOLMES A GAME OF SHADOWS.JPGHere are a few good entertainment options for the Father’s Day weekend.

TELEVISION
“The Killing,” 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC: In the season finale of “The Killing,” an episode called “What I Know,” the case is finally closed as to the identity of Rosie Larsen’s killer. The next mystery is how to keep the series going now that the central crime has been solved.

MOVIES
“Prometheus”: Ridley Scott’s latest space epic is a visual wonder that may or may not be a prequel to his “Alien.” You’ll have to see it to know. Either way, it is beautifully filmed and one of the few movies in recent years deserving of the extra cost for the 3D. The film’s weakness is its story about a group of space travelers who step into a pile of alien trouble. It has a few soft spots.

DVD
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”: Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) battle Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). What makes the sequel better than the original is the inclusion of Holmes’ chief nemesis, Moriarty, and the replacement of wimpish Rachel McAdams with the robust Noomi Rapace. Both characters are intriguing enough to help gloss over Guy Ritchie’s directing quirks. Harris brings a smug brilliance to the role of Moriarty that generates a genuine spark in the scenes in which he mentally spars with Holmes.