MAD ABOUT MADDOW — I remember the first time I watched MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. I didn’t quite get it or her. She seemed to take a very long time to get to the actual story and seemed to keep repeating the same question over and over. With her crack-research team (who should really be applauded a lot!) she’s become the #1 cable-news story herself. I watched her Monday night with a panel of other MSNBC commentators (Brian Williams, Nicole Wallace; Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews) re the infamous summit, and she more than held her own. It was interesting to watch, as with her own show, she’s the boss and she quite literally reminds you of that with every other word. Monday, she had some competition, but she held her own. Her show has become something of an unintended nightly addiction. I loved her chart of all the people who have departed the Trump government, as it kept getting bigger … and, bigger. She’s no fan of Trump and while I think at times, she overdoes it somewhat, you’ve got to give the kid credit.
A few weeks back, she had some of the Watergate tapes playing and to hear them all these years later was chilling. She was making the comparison of then … and, now, and she was terrific. I lived through those Watergate hearings and to hear them again was stirring – the comparisons to now were amazing.
As with all commentators like Rachel; her star will ultimately burn out and she will have to re-adjust herself and her show. But, for now, she’s my #1 go-to-choice. btw: Lawrence O’Donnell, who I’ve watched only fleetingly, was excellent. He’s on after Rachel on MSNBCand brings a terrific insight. He could well be my next addiction.
DUMBO RISES — Disney has unveiled the first teaser trailer for Dumbo, Tim Burton’s live-action remake of the Disney classic. The trailer, which features Norwegian popstar Aurora singing “Baby Mine,” features clips of Dreamland as well as Dumbo taking flight for the first time.
Danny DeVito, who stars in the film alongside Colin Farrell, Michal Keaton, Eva Green and Alan Arkin, revealed at CinemaCon earlier this year that while the original film sees Dumbo take his first flight at the end of the movie, the live-action remake starts with the elephant jetting off.
Dumbo is set to open in theaters on March 29, 2019. Here’s the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QPdRfqTnt4
SHORT TAKES — Have you seen the trailer yet for the re-imagined A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga? Long in the gestating period, the movie’s done and will be officially released October 5. I liked Bradley Cooper (as Jackson Maine in Star) and was riveted by the clip. He’s good, Gaga too, but the direction by Cooper was stunning. The scenes seemed to me to have a real quality to them. Cooper said to Deadline that Warner Bros had given him his “first real chance as an actor” with The Hangover, followed by making American Sniper which he produced and starred in. Now the studio is behind his first feature helming effort. He also co-wrote A Star Is Born and said he had always wanted to make a love story in “the way those stories happen in real life” with “turmoil, tragedy and hope.” He noted that all of the singing in the film was done live and mentioned performances at Glastonbury and the Forum. Here’s the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSbzyEJ8X9E … Also, First Man, from Damien Chazelle (La La Land) starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. I think the 33-year old Chazelle is one of the most innovative directors we’ve seen since Christopher Nolan and I love Gosling (here as Neil Armstrong), but the trailer to me, had a sense of I’ve seen this before – ala The Right Stuff. Here’s the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXYemtndmK4 …
We also watched the final two episodes of ABC’s The Crossing, which was a mix of almost every sci-fi summer show we’ve seen in the last decade: including Extant; The Event; Salvation; Flash Forward; and, The Whispers. We thought it was good and may well deserve a second season. It was nice to see Steve Zahn is a somewhat more serious role and for a change, other than Zahn, most of the cast were new faces. We loved Salvation from last summer that was to be only a summer-series, but it was renewed and returns in a week. I still don’t follow the thinking that these sci-fi epics should just air during the summer. The Crossing’s 11 episodes were terrific … Speaking of sci-summer, NBC still hasn’t made a decision about Timeless. Many, including me, think it’ll be back … Great interview in Keith Girard’s The Improper on Robert Miller and his Project Grand Slam ensemble. Their new album Trippin’ is out on the 29th. Here it is: https://www.theimproper.com/music/16098/robert-miller-project-grand-slam-fuse-rock-jazz-best-yet-album-trippin/
… We just checked out Duane Betts’ debut EP Sketches of American Music and loved it. The track “Ride It Out” is sensational. Managed by David Spero, check this one out. One of the best CDs we’ve heard this year.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jeff Zucker; Andy Lack; Savannah Guthrie; Kathie Lee Gifford; Regis Phuilbin; Paul Shaffer; Magee Hickey; John Travolta; Frank Ucciardo; Jessica Yu; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mark Simone; Kreskin; Randy Alexander; and CFS.