Pat Morita - News Poster


Cobra Kai: Karate Kid Sequel Series Ordered by YouTube Red

Banzai! YouTube Red has ordered the Cobra Kai TV show to series. Starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, Cobra Kai is a sequel to the 1984 feature film, The Karate Kid and its sequels. The 10-episode first season follows Daniel Larusso (Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (Zabka). Premiering in 2018, Cobra Kai is set 30 years after The Karate Kid. The YouTube Red series centers on Johnny as he reopens the Cobra Kai dojo and his rivalry with Daniel. THR says he "has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita)." Josh Heald is writing with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who will also direct. Read More…
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Karate Kid Sequel Cobra Kai Ordered to Series at YouTube Red; Ralph Macchio, William Zabka to Reprise Roles

The Karate Men?

YouTube Red has ordered to series Cobra Kai, a continuation of the classic 1984 film The Karate Kid, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka on board to reprise their roles as Daniel Larusso and Johnny Lawrence. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the 10-episode series landed at the streaming service after a bidding war with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and AMC.

RelatedMiami Vice Reboot From Vin Diesel Eyed at NBC for 2018-19 Season

Set to premiere in 2018, Cobra Kai is described as a half-hour comedy that takes place 30 years after the All Valley Karate Tournament. A down-on-his-luck
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Film Feature: Remembers the Films of Director John G. Avildsen

Chicago – His films were more popular than his name, but director John G. Avildsen did put his mark on the last 30 years of 20th Century movies. Avildsen died last week at the age of 81. He is known best for the Oscar Best Picture-winning “Rocky” (1976), but also did the controversial “Joe” (1970), “Save the Tiger” (1973, Best Actor Oscar for Jack Lemmon), John Belushi’s last film “Neighbors” (1981), “The Karate Kid” (1984), “Lean on Me” (1989) and “8 Seconds” (1994). Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Espino of offer three essays on their Avildsen favorites.

Director John G. Avildsen on the Set of ‘Rocky’ with Sylvester Stallone

Photo credit: United Artists

John G. Avildsen was born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from New York University. He started as an assistant director for Arthur Penn and Otto Preminger, before breaking out on his own in the low budget “Joe,” featuring Peter Boyle, in 1970. He scored his biggest success with “Rocky” in 1976 – winning the Oscar for Best Director – and revisited the franchise later with “Rocky V” (1990). He also directed both sequels to “Karate Kid” with “Part II” (1986) and “Part III” (1989). At his peak, he was the original director for “Serpico” (1973) and “Saturday Night Fever” (1977), but was let go from both films. His final film as director was “Inferno” (1999), featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Avildsen passed away in Los Angeles on June 16th, 2017, of complications due to pancreatic cancer. He was 81 years old.

Patrick McDonald, Spike Walters and Jon Lennon Espino of pay tribute to the director who was nicknamed “King of the Underdogs,” with the following film essays.

Rocky (1976) by Patrick McDonald


Photo credit: MGM Home Entertainment

Rocky” is a miracle of a film, considering both its eventual prize (Oscar Best Picture) and the way it made it to the screen the first place. A broke actor named Sylvester Stallones writes a desired boxing movie script that has one caveat… he must portray the title character. As a gambit, he proposes a budget of only one million dollars, and the film gets the green light. For all of the notion of Stallone as Rocky’s prime creator, it is actually director John Avildsen who delivered the on-screen goods – the famous running scene, the freeze frame on the top of Philadelphia’s “Rocky Steps,” boxing sequences that had never been seen before and the third use of the (just invented) Steadicam by a major motion picture.

Avildsen loved to tell the stories of having Stallone write additional dialogue because the budget was so tight they couldn’t afford to match Rocky’s boxing shorts with the on-set posters or send back his too-big ring entrance robe. And remember the classic song “Gonna Fly Now”? It was Avildsen who brought in composer Bill Conti from his previous directorial effort of the Burt Reynolds film, “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings.” The underdog of underdog films was delivered to a Bicentennial audience, and the little-movie-that-could took home Oscars for Best Picture, Director and Editing, in addition to being the highest grossing film of 1976. No wonder Avildsen became the “Ka-Ching of the Underdogs.”

Gonna Fly Now: The portrayal of the character of Rocky by Stallone was never better in this film, with Six sequels now in the culture. Director Ryan Coogler of the latest Rocky adventure, the excellent “Creed,” seemed to use the John Avildsen template in approaching the sequencing of that story.

The Karate Kid (1984) by Spike Walters

The Karate Kid

Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

John G Avildson was a bit of a journeyman… his Oscar notwithstanding. He wasn’t one of those visionaries who develop a signature style, but his subtle gift was making a formula work. And they don’t come much more formulaic than 1984’s underdog/odd couple buddy movie “The Karate Kid.” Yet Avildson knew how to inject heart into this story of the undersized “Kid” and his quiet but powerful teacher. As the listless remake and some of its later sequels show, this is not nearly as easy as Avildson makes it look here – this is the 1980’s classic that scored Pat Morita an Oscar nomination and holds up relatively well today. It’s not exactly groundbreaking but director Avildson knew how to make the most of it.

Gonna Fly Now: You’d expect the man who directed the original “Rocky” to find the right beats in the inevitable training montage, but Kid Daniel’s “crane kick” training – which predictably but winningly leads to a triumph at the end – still delivers the goods.

Lean On Me (1989) by Jon Lennon Espino

Lean on Me

Photo credit: Warner Home Video

High school sometimes get a bad rap as a physical hell on Earth. John G. Avildsen’s “Lean On Me” does nothing to make anyone think otherwise. Avildsen, like many of his films, has fun with this one. He shows us an exaggerated look at a public school system after minorities have taken over the neighborhood. The director has long had a fascination with creating hero stories, and in this one, he gives us a breakout performance by Morgan Freeman… his performance and approach to the character is everything! This movie lives on the over-the-top action of Freeman, breathing a fun air into the entire film as he does things that may be extremely illegal in real life, but are completely entertaining within the scope of the film. Avildsen knows exactly how to set a scene, which you know right away after the opening montage that is essentially a music video. His films often have an after school special feel, but “Lean On Me” shows just how well it works even when school is still in session.

Gonna Fly Now: The opening credits where we are taken on a tour of the school while Guns-n-Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” is playing. He hilariously frames and choreographs the fighting to simulate feral animals in the jungle.

John G. Avildsen, 1935-2017

By Patrick McDONALDWriter, Editorial

© 2017 Patrick McDonald,
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Pat Morita Had to Test 5 Times for Mr. Miyagi in 'The Karate Kid'

Pat Morita Had to Test 5 Times for Mr. Miyagi in 'The Karate Kid'
It seems unimaginable now, but The Karate Kid producer Jerry Weintraub was dead-set against Pat Morita even auditioning for the role of Kensuke Miyagi, believing he was all wrong for it.

The late Weintraub was so against the idea of a comedian playing the serious role, he had to be ambushed by director John Avildsen with a tape of Morita reading lines to be convinced it was possible.

In an interview unearthed by Heat Vision, Morita, who died in 2005, explained (his speaking voice is nothing like Mr. Miyagi) how he had to test over and over again for Weintraub...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Sylvester Stallone Pays Tribute to ‘Rocky’ Director John G. Avildsen: ‘You Will Soon Be Directing Hits in Heaven’

Sylvester Stallone Pays Tribute to ‘Rocky’ Director John G. Avildsen: ‘You Will Soon Be Directing Hits in Heaven’
Following John G. Avildsen’s death yesterday, one of the director’s best-known collaborators has paid tribute to the departed filmmaker. Sylvester Stallone honored the “Rocky” director the way everyone does these days, with an Instagram post: “The great director John G. Avildsen Who won the Oscar for directing Rocky!” he wrote alongside a photo of the two. “R. I. P. I’m sure you will soon be directing Hits in Heaven- Thank you , Sly”

Rocky” also won Best Picture and Best Editing at the Academy Awards, with Stallone earning nods for both his screenplay and his performance in the title role. Avildsen, who went on to direct “The Karate Kid” and its first two sequels as well as “Rocky V” and “Save the Tiger,” died of pancreatic cancer yesterday
See full article at Indiewire »

John G. Avildsen, Rocky and Karate Kid Director, Passes Away at 81

John G. Avildsen, Rocky and Karate Kid Director, Passes Away at 81
John G. Avildsen, who won an Oscar for directing the iconic Rocky and also helmed all three Karate Kid movies, has passed away at 81. While no cause of death was revealed, the director's representative confirmed his death in Los Angeles today. The filmmaker leaves behind a lasting legacy of telling some of the best underdog stories ever put on film.

Variety confirmed the director's death with his rep earlier today, although no further details were given. It hasn't been revealed yet if there will be any sort of public memorial service for the filmmaker. The man was born December 21 1935, in Oak Park, Illinois, USA, graduating from the prestigious Hotchkiss School and Nyu. He got his start in the movie business by serving as assistant director on movies helmed by Arthur Penn and Otto Preminger.

The late filmmaker made his feature directorial debut in 1969 with Turn To Love, which he also served as the cinematographer on.
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John G. Avildsen, 'Rocky,' 'The Karate Kid' Director, Dead at 81

John G. Avildsen, 'Rocky,' 'The Karate Kid' Director, Dead at 81
John G. Avildsen, the Oscar-winning director of Rocky and The Karate Kid, died Friday in Los Angeles following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Avildsen’s son Anthony confirmed the filmmaker's death to the Los Angeles Times, adding that Avildsen died at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Avildsen won the Academy Award for Best Picture for his work on 1976's Rocky. Like the titular boxer played by Sylvester Stallone, the film was an underdog itself: Despite a minuscule million-dollar budget, Rocky became the highest-grossing film of 1976, winning three Oscars
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You Gotta Respect that Jay Leno Never Spent a Dime of His Tonight Show Earnings

To be perfectly honest I’ve never really been a fan of Jay Leno. Actually let me take that back. I happened to like that 80s movie Collision Course he did with Pat Morita but that’s probably about it. He’s definitely a bright guy, comes up with legitimate humor but I just never liked him on The Tonight Show. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have enormous respect for the guy. The biggest thing I respect about him? His financial know-how. For those of you who didn’t know this, Leno never spent one penny of his Tonight Show earnings, which peaked

You Gotta Respect that Jay Leno Never Spent a Dime of His Tonight Show Earnings
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Groundlings Founder Gary Austin Dies at 75

Gary Austin, the founder of the influential improvisational theater troupe The Groundlings, died on Saturday at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles following a long illness. He was 75.

Austin had been battling cancer for several years, but remained active teaching and performing. His daughter, Audrey Moore, told Variety the Austin was surrounded by family members and friends who were serenading him.

Austin was a widely admired improvisational teacher of thousands of students, along with being a writer, director, and musical performer. His improvisational teaching technique involved creating scenes based on arbitrary suggestions with performers then committing to agreement on the premise of the story — no matter how far-fetched — and then performing to reflect the truth of the scene and characters.

His students included “Saturday Night Live” cast members Laraine Newman, Phil Hartman and Chris Kattan, Mindy Sterling, Helen Hunt, Paul Reubens, Jennifer Gray, Paul Feig and Helen Slater. Hunt, acknowledged Austin during her acceptance speech after winning the best
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Girls, Guns and G-Strings: Andy Sidaris – A Legend Of Cult Cinema

Article by Mark Longden

If you’re going to watch the movies of Andy Sidaris, you’ll require a mental divide of some sort, especially if you’re the sort of person who believes we should all be treated and viewed equally. While we all, as humans, like looking at pretty pictures of people of whatever gender floats our boat, at some point – usually about half an hour in – of one of his movies, even the most dedicated admirer of boobs will be thinking “any time you want to get back to the plot is fine by me”.

Below is the scene that first interested me in the work of Mr Sidaris. If you like it, read on, if you groan, then We Are Movie Geeks has many articles about decent movies to enjoy. Here it is:

Andy Sidaris got his start directing sport on TV. He was the original
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Asian American Media Group Blasts Tilda Swinton Casting in ‘Doctor Strange’

Asian American Media Group Blasts Tilda Swinton Casting in ‘Doctor Strange’
The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (Manaa) has blasted the casting choice of Tilda Swinton in “Doctor Strange” on the eve of the Marvel Studio movie’s opening weekend.

In a lengthy statement released Thursday, the organization said the film was “tarnished” by the “whitewashing” of “The Ancient One” — the title character’s mentor.

In the film, the British actress plays “The Ancient One,” who in the original comic book is portrayed as a Tibetan male.

“Given the dearth of Asian roles, there was no reason a monk in Nepal could not be Asian,” says Manaa President Rob Chan. “Had [writer/director Scott] Derrickson cast an Asian as the revered leader who guides the main character to become a better human being and to develop his sorcery powers, it would’ve given a big boost to that actor’s career. While actresses deserve the kinds of bold roles usually reserved for men,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Director Ang Lee Passes on Disney's Live-Action Mulan Movie

Director Ang Lee Passes on Disney's Live-Action Mulan Movie
Disney recently announced a release date for their upcoming live-action Mulan movie, but now they are in need of a director to tackle the project. The studio is reportedly hoping to find an Asian director to take on the adaptation, and their first choice was Academy Award winner Ang Lee. Unfortunately for the House of Mouse, he has passed on Mulan, so the search will have to continue.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Ang Lee passed up the opportunity, but no reason was given. Sony recently also announced that they had their own plans to do a live-action take on Mulan and they are distributing Ang Lee's latest movie Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. This is purely speculative, but it is very possible that Sony could also be courting the director for their Mulan movie, which is maybe why he passed up Disney's offer. Or he just may
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Disney's Live-Action Mulan Script Reveals a White Male Lead

Disney's Live-Action Mulan Script Reveals a White Male Lead
Hollywood's whitewashing woes may be continuing, or at least they were going to at one point or another. Recently, Disney got on seemingly everyone's good side when the confirmed that they would be releasing their live-action remake of Mulan in 2018. The celebration may be a bit short lived though, as some details from the initial script for the movie have leaked, which revealed that particular version of the movie would feature a white male lead.

A recent blog post that showed up on Angry Asian Man claims that Disney's original script for the live-action Mulan, which was titled The Legend of Mulan, centered on a "white merchant" man. Those who remember the Disney animated movie Mulan will note that the movie didn't have a white man in the lead role. Given the recent uproar that has come from whitewashing in high-profile movies, this would be understandably upsetting. Here are some
See full article at MovieWeb »

Exclusive interview with actor Richard Tyson

david j. moore chats with actor Richard Tyson

A busy actor since making his auspicious cinematic debut as perhaps the greatest movie bully of all time in Three O’clock High (1988), Richard Tyson always makes an impression when you see him on screen. He’s done everything from sexy and suave (Two Moon Junction, 1988) to being the bad guy (Kindergarten Cop, 1990), and he’s also done comedy in three different Farrelly Brothers pictures (Kingpin, 1996, There’s Something About Mary, 1998, and Me, Myself, and Irene, 2000). He’s been extremely active as a character actor in notable films like Battlefield Earth (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), and different horror films such as Big Bad Wolf (2006) and 2015’s Bound to Vengeance, which casts him against type. Tyson, who’s done extensive work in theater, has run the gamut of acting, and he’s never stopped working since his humble beginnings as a kid from Mobile,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Disney's Mulan Live-Action Movie Gets Late 2018 Release Date

Disney's Mulan Live-Action Movie Gets Late 2018 Release Date
Last March, Disney started developing a live-action remake of their 1998 animated hit Mulan, following in the footsteps of recent live-action remakes such as Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book, which have all been big hits at the box office. Today we have word that the project will be a 3D live-action remake, with the studio setting a November 2, 2018 release date. As of now, no other movies are set for release on that date, but it will come a week before Universal's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas on November 9, 2018 and two weeks before Warner Bros.' Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 on November 16, 2018.

The Hollywood Reporter reveals that there is no director attached to the project yet, but Jason Reed will produce along with Chris Bender and Jake Weiner. The studio has also brought on screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
See full article at MovieWeb »

Lowe Blows: 25 Sickest 'Rob Lowe Roast' Burns

Lowe Blows: 25 Sickest 'Rob Lowe Roast' Burns
He's made friends, enemies, some memorable Eighties movies, loads of Tiger Beat covers, a didn't-see-that-coming comedic comeback and a few notorious sex tapes — and now, Rob Lowe can say that he's truly arrived, because Comedy Central has roasted him. Joining the ranks of Hugh Hefner, Justin Bieber, Flavor Flav and this guy, the former Brat Pack heartthrob willingly stepped up on the dais with a bullseye on his back, as everyone from roastmaster Jeffrey Ross (dressed as Purple Rain-era Prince) to Jewel (?!?) laid into him with the most offensive zingers imaginable.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Spider-man: Homecoming: Leaked Call Sheet Reveals Inclusion Of A Shocking Villain

  • LRM Online
By now you've heard that Vulture is going to be the main baddie in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And, if you thought the film would follow the similar comic book movie trope of having a single villain for the first film, then multiple villains in'd be wrong. According to a document that purports to be a leaked call sheet from the production of Spider-Man: Homecoming, there's going to be another baddie in Tom Holland's first solo outing as Peter Parker.

The document appeared on Reddit, and was quickly deleted, but not before being saved by many a watchful eye. So I'll share it below, but first, here's the big shocker: Bokeem Woodbine is playing...The Shocker!

Bokeem Woodbine, aka The Shocker

Here's the call sheet, which has a few other revelations on it that we'll discuss below:

One of the other big reveals here is that Angourie Rice is
See full article at LRM Online »

'The Lego Ninjago Movie' puts together a pretty kick-a** cast

  • Hitfix
'The Lego Ninjago Movie' puts together a pretty kick-a** cast
Eventually, every film will be made in partnership with Lego. Okay, maybe not, but it certainly feels like the toy building blocks have become major Hollywood players since the surprise success of The Lego Movie. Right now, Rob Schrab is hard at work on the sequel to that film, and the trailers for The Lego Batman Movie have been killing since they debuted two of them back to back. We knew they were also planning to release a Ninjago film of some sort, but news on that has been a lot quieter… until now. Using a pamphlet they obtained at the Licensing Expo 2016, Lego fansite Brickset revealed the primary voice cast for The Lego Ninjago Movie. Evidently, these characters all exist in the Lego Ninjago TV show, but they’ve all been recast, and it’s clear that there’s a common talent pool that they’re using for all of these films,
See full article at Hitfix »

'Happy Days' Star Al Molinaro Passes Away at Age 96

'Happy Days' Star Al Molinaro Passes Away at Age 96
Sad news for classic TV fans today. Albert Francis 'Al' Molinaro has passed away at the age of 96. Best known as Al Molinaro, the actor played Al Delvecchio on the 70s sitcom Happy Days, where he was the proud proprietor of Arnold's Diner. Molinaro succumbed to complications from gall stones. The news was reported by his son, Michael Molinaro.

Al Molinaro joined the cast of Happy Days in Season 4, taking over for Pat Morita, who played Arnold, the original owner of the local Malt shop. Al was a series regular through Season 9 and was even featured in the opening credits. He stayed for Season 10 and Season 11, but he only occasionally appeared as a guest star in those final two years. On the sitcom, the comedic actor also played Al's twin brother priest Father Anthony Delvecchio, and it was said that he also had a brother who worked at the sanitation department.
See full article at MovieWeb »
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