Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the new movie "Shadowlands" starring Anthony Hopkins and Deborah Winger. It's based on the lives of British writer C.S. Lewis and the American poet who became his wife, Joy Gresham. Whitehead, who is Fresh Air's regular jazz critic, is filling in for film critic Stephen Schiff this week.
Writer A.E. Hotchner. His memoir, about growing up in a flophouse during the depression, "King of the Hill," is being made into a movie, directed by Stephen Soderbergh (who directed "Sex, Lives, and Videotape). Hotchner is best known for his controversial 1966 biography of his personal friend Ernest Hemingway, "Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir." Presented in the unusual form of dialogue, Hotchner faced criticism from the literary community and an attempt by Hemingway's widow to ban the sale of the book. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Bassett recently had the intimidating job of playing the legendary singer in the new film, "What's Love Got to Do with it." Her performance has been widely praised. Bassett's other roles include the mother of a troubled teenager in "Boyz N the Hood," and the wife of the black Muslim leader in Spike Lee's "Malcolm X."
Film director Peter Medak. Medak's new movie, "Let Him Have it," is the true-life story of two London teenagers who shot a policeman in 1952. What makes the case controversial is that the boy who actually pulled the trigger was a minor, and therefore couldn't get the death penalty. The other boy was put to death, even though there's evidence that he was trying to surrender.
Altman is establishing himself as a Hollywood director; he also gained acclaimed for his television series Tanner 88, cowritten by Gary Trudeau. His new movie is "Vincent and Theo," about painter Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo.
Fresh Air producer Amy Salit interviews producer Noel Pearson and director Jim Sheridan of the film "My Left Foot." The film tells the story of Christy Brown, who became a painter and writer in spite of having cerebral palsy. Pearson, who produced the film, knew Christy and his family and Sheridan co-wrote as well as directed it. "My Left Foot," a first film for both, has been nominated for Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews, "Mountains of the Moon," the movie about the expedition in the late 1800's to the source of the Nile. It's directed by Bob Rafelson. Rafelson's other movies include "Five Easy Pieces," and "Black Widow."
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews the new movie "Born on the Fourth of July," directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Cruise. It's based on the autobiography of the same name by Vietnam vet and anti-war activist Ron Kovic.
Guest Film Critic Peter Rainer, in attendance at this week's Montreal Film Festival, talks with host Terry Gross about some of the films previewed there. Rainer is the film critic for The Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
Critic Ken Tucker reviews the home video release of The Great Ziegfeld, a biopic about the famed impresario. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, an honor Tucker says was undeserved. Yet the film is fun, despite some slow moments, and paints a clear picture of a bygone era of of Hollywood.
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews the new film based on the life of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker. Schiff says it makes up for its lack of narrative drive with insight and an excellent soundtrack.
The PBS series' latest episode is a documentary of the legendary soul singer. TV critic David Bianculli say the film gives viewers a chance to see rare interviews and concert footage, but glosses over much of Franklin's personal life.
Rock historian Ed Ward profiles Alan Freed, one of the most famous, and most notorious, disc jockeys of the 50s and 60s. Freed was one of the first disc jockeys on a mainstream station (WJW in Cleveland) to play the black rhythm and blues that was the foundation of early rock and roll.