The Astor Theatre set to close on April 5, 2015.


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UPDATE:  It has been announced that The Astor theatre will close on April 5, 2015.
That is 79 years and 1 day after it screened its first ever film.

Link to the list of films The Astor screened in its first year:


ORIGINAL STORY (22 August 2014 11pm)

Early this evening, The Astor Theatre published their calendar online, which include an announcement in the top right hand corner. 

It reads:  The Astor Theatre regretfully announces that this is our second last calendar.  Come and celebrate the best of the Astor Theatre 1982-2015.  Please see over for explanation.

I managed to speak to the gentleman in charge of The Astor Theatre app.

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The Astor Theatre themselves finally made a FaceBook announcement at 11.50pm on Friday 22August 2014.

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- Rhett Bartlett

Claudine Bouché – editor of ‘Jules et Jim’, ‘Shoot the Piano Player’, and ‘Emmanuelle’ has died.

Claudine Bouché , film editor of iconic French movies ‘Jules et Jim’ and ‘Shoot the Piano Player’ has died aged 88, as confirmed to me by the online editor of Le Film francais.  She passed away in April 2014 after a career that spanned 6 decades. julesand

She was most notably connected to Francois Truffaut, editing six of his film : Shoot the Piano Player, The Army Game , Jules et Jim, Antoine and Colette, The Soft Skin and The Bride Wore Black. 

In 1974 she edited the famous soft-core pornographic film Emmanuelle.
”After a few days, we received the first rushes” she told journalist Marc Godin in the 1990s.  Given the subject of the film, I did not want my daughter to come into the editing room, but when I finally watched the first coils, I laughed because there was nothing erotic.”  Her editing style allowed her to breathe eroticism into the images.

In the 1980s Claudine Bouche edited four Francois Leterrier films: Les babas cool , Le voleur d’enfants , Le garde du corps , and Tranches de vie (‘Slices of Life’).
And contributed, uncredited, to Peter Sellers final film  The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu.

She ended her career as Francois Ozon’s editor on Criminal Lovers (1999) and Water Drops on Burning Rocks (2000)
”To tease me, François always introduces me as the editor of Emmanuelle! It is now a joke between us.”


- Rhett Bartlett

Interview with John Jarratt from Wolf Creek 2 (15mins)

Click below to listen to our entire interview

It’s be a long promotional journey for Wolf Creek 2.
What started with the premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September of 2013, continues almost 1 year later with the BluRay and DVD release.
So I can empathise with the croaky, coughing voice of John Jarratt during our 15 minute phone interview.
“I’ll give the odd interview in the ensuring years and stuff,  like whenever I get an interview with anything else I do,  I’ll talk about Wolf Creek.  But as far as campaigns are concerned, you guys today and a bit more next week and the pressure will be off from that point.” 

A theme prevalent in the many interviews Mr Jarratt has conducted centers on Wolf Creek 2’s popularity in the download industry.  A point he firmly presses to end our interview.
“Don’t pirate independent films. If you are going to do that, do it with the big Hollywood blockbusters.  Pay for it or you will kill the goose that laid the golden egg and you won’t see Wolf Creek 3″.
The only thing missing was the above statement being spoken in the voice of Mick Taylor.

Jarratt’s film career began at a remarkable time in the industry.  You can correspond his debut and subsequent roles with the renaissance period of Australian filmmaking –  the mid 1970s -1980s.
“It was a glorious period right up to The Man From Snowy River and Crocodile Dundee.  And then around 1985, Film Finance Corporation came into being and a whole lot of bureaucrats had far too much to say about the creative industry.
And then in the late 1990s, Baz Luhrmann and P J Hogan came screaming back up the ladder with the lunatics slowly getting to the asylum. I think it has been slowly growing ever since.
I think Wolf Creek also put an end to the smack films in the back streets of Melbourne or the coming of age films, they seem to all die off  and good solid genre pictures have started to come back through like Animal Kingdom. I think it is in a good place.  

In the 1980s it was just Mel Gibson as the only one who came out of the Australian film industry, now there’s 30-odd major movie stars and tv stars in the world today that are Australian. And we’ve always had fantastic crew.  In the next 20 years, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with”.

One of the strengths of Wolf Creek 2 is a concerted effort to inject some absurdity and deeper humour into the character of Mick Taylor, which results in occasions where you will catch yourself laughing, and feel guilty about it.
“That’s what I was aiming for. It’s good to laugh, even if it is inappropriate.”  Jarratt reassures me.

Wolf Creek 2 set pieces are really well thought out and executed, with a particular wonderful nod to Spielberg’s Duel.
“Don’t be afraid to steal good stuff from previous movies.  Tarantino’s very good at that and that’s what makes him interesting. You shouldn’t be ashamed of taking something that’s worked and reworking it. That’s how genres grow.”











Carla Laemmle – who spoke the first words in a horror film, has died at 104

Carla Laemmle, the film actress who spoke the first ever words in a horror film,  died on June 12 2014 .  She was one of the few remaining living actresses from the silent era.

The historical moment occurred in Dracula (1931),  where as a coach passenger, she spoke the opening lines, reading directly from the Transylvania tourist brochure her character was holding.
”Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age ”

CarlaLaemmle Like many silent film stars of her time, she disappeared from the screen (in her case for 60 years) , before returning to voice in a vampire-related video game in the 90s.  From 2000, she appeared in numerous documentaries on Dracula, the history of cinema, and of Universal Pictures – which her uncle Carl Laemmle founded.

From the age of 11, Carla (with her father), moved into a bungalow on the Universal film lot.
Having studied dancing from the age of 6, she was chosen for a minor role in the Lon Chaney silent film The Phantom of the Opera (1925), where she appeared, uncredited, as the prima ballerina.
”I think the thing about the Phantom of the Opera is the romantic quality it has. It’s so intriguing and mysterious.  It fascinated people” she told interviewer David Skal in 2003.

As for Dracula, there were two versions filmed in 1931.  The aforementioned English version, and a Spanish-language version, filmed on the same set, with the same props, during the night.   A star of the Spanish-language version, Lupita Tovar, is still alive at the time of this obituary. She is 103.

Although unsure how she came to be cast in Dracula, Carla recalls having to visit the casting office, to pick out her costume for her character. She chose ”a crazy little hat and glasses”,  she told historian Leonard Maltin 80 years later.

Right up until her passing, Carla still participated in interviews for film festivals and documentaries.  She was amazed that her brief appearance in Dracula, garnered so much fan mail over the subsequent decades from around the world.
She died at the age of 104.  She was the last surviving cast member of Dracula.

Steve Rowland reflects on the life of ‘Searching for Sugarman’ director Malik Bendjelloul

Malik Bendjelloul, Oscar winning director of ‘Searching for Sugarman’  the story of the remarkable musican Rodriguez, has died aged 36.

I made contact with Steve Rowland overnight to ask for his reflections on Malik.
Steve was the record producer of ‘Coming from Reality’ , the second and final album of Rodriguez , and appears in the documentary as well.

Thanks for the e-mail, Rhett. It’s much appreciated.

Malik Bendjelloul and I became very good friends during the making of Sugar Man. In fact we stayed in touch after the film had been completed. We spoke many times about working together again on other projects. I was in the process of developing a TV series based on my book, “Hollywood Heat-Untold Stories.” We’d been discussing the possibility of getting together and tossing ideas about. However, he was about to get involved in a new project and told me we’d have to wait until that was finished.

The last time that I saw Malik was in New York in October last year. We joined up for Rodriguez’s Radio City Music Hall concert, which by the way was sold out.

We spoke and e-mailed each other many times after that.

It’s such a huge tragedy, his death. He had his whole life ahead of him. To die at 36 seems so unfair.

Malik Bendjelloul and Sixto Rodriguez are two of the most talented individuals that I’ve ever known. Malik brought the world’s attention to the wonder of Rodriguez, but the world has been cheated from ever knowing the creative genius of Malik Bendjelloul.


(above: Malik Bendjelloul, Rodriguez, Steve Rowland at the LA Film Festival premiere of ‘Searching for Sugarman’)

Tatyana Samoilova , star of ‘The Cranes Are Flying’, has died.

Tatyana Samoilova , the star of the 1957 Soviet film ‘The Cranes Are Flying’, has died aged 80.
Reports citing the Russian News Agency indicate she was hospitalised on her birthday.

The film received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1958, with Samoilova’s performance receiving a ‘Special Mention’ recognition.  It is still the last Russian film to receive Cannes highest award.

Tatyana also appeared in ‘Anna Karenina’ (1967) and ‘The Unsent Letter’ (1959).  She received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 29th Moscow International Film Festival.



Dwier Brown interview – Field of Dreams 25th Anniversary.


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Dwier Brown’s film legacy will always be for his role in FIELD OF DREAMS as Kevin Costner’s father (and in a sense, the father for many people).  On the 25th Anniversary of the film’s release, Dwier has written a book called ‘If You Build It’, a collection of observations and stories on how the film affected audiences over the last quarter of a century.  The book is available from, in bookstores, on Kindle,  or through his official site 

Click below to listen to my 17min phone interview with Dwier Brown about FIELD OF DREAMS.
”I have the perfect amount of fame”