by Nickie Wang
American character actor and film director Steve Buscemi has lived his entire career in Hollywood playing supporting roles. Nevertheless, that’s how he became popular, he gives life to the characters most of us took for granted when we saw films Miller’s Crossing, Reservoir Dogs, Desperado, Fargo, Con Air, The Big Lebowski, to name a few.
In 2011, Buscemi will be seen in a leading role on HBO’s biggest title, Boardwalk Empire. The epic drama delves on the Prohibition era when the sale of alcohol became illegal throughout the United States.
Shot entirely in Brooklyn New York, Boardwalk Empire is 12-episode epic drama set in 1920 Atlantic City. With 8,000 elaborate costumes (no wonder it’s pilot is the most expensive first episode to be produced in television history), the series depicts America when The Great War is over, Wall Street was about to boom and everything was for sale, even the World Series. It was a time of change when women got the vote, broadcast radio began and young people ruled the world.
The story revolves around on the beach in Southern New Jersey where Atlantic City is located. The city is the home of a spectacular resort known as “The World’s Playground,” a place where the rules didn’t apply. Massive hotels lined its famous Boardwalk, which featured nightclubs, amusement piers and entertainment that rivaled Broadway. For a few dollars, a working man could get away and live like a king —legally or illegally.
Buscemi plays the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City named Nucky Thompson. As the town’s treasurer he is also a political fixer and backroom dealer. He is quite to good guy and the bad guy rolled in one. He helps the poor, orders to kill the oppressors, and dates sexy women. He is not your typical Robinhood.
As the series begins, Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), Nucky’s former protégé and driver, returns home from the Great War, eager to get ahead and reclaim his rightful place in Nucky’s organization. But when Jimmy feels things aren’t moving quickly enough, he takes matters into his own hands, forming a deadly alliance with associates of Nucky’s that sets the Feds, led by Agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), on his mentor’s tail. Complicating matters further is Nucky’s burgeoning relationship with Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald), a woman in an abusive marriage whom he tries to help.
The show also stars Michael Kenneth Williams, Dabney Coleman, Paz de la Huerta, Aleksa Palladino, Paul Sparks, Anthony Laciura and Gretchen Mol. Boardwalk Empire premieres Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. on HBO with two episodes playing back-to-back.
The series premiered in the US just this September and yet it already received three Golden Globe nominations (Best Television Series—Drama, Best Actor for Buscemi, and Best Actress In A Supporting Role for Macdonald).
Most-watched movies on cable
In Asia, the leading cable channels when it comes to movies are Starworld, Hallmark (now Diva Universal), and HBO. They are the market leaders so to speak because of the millions of viewers that stay tuned to them day in and day out.
Seventy-five percent of blockbuster films in the United States are shown on HBO through exclusive licensing deals with major Hollywood studios like Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. And this year, Transformers, GI Joe, and 2010, are the most-watched movies on cable based on the data released by the Singapore-based cable movie channel.
In January and February, HBO presents another host of blockbuster films that include Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, Ninja Assassin, Julie and Julia, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
An apparition of Michael Jackson
The King of Pop is back in Manila. You read it right, but not the real McCoy though since everybody knows he died last year.
Michael Kiss, a tribute artist of Michael Jackson, is set to dazzle Filipinos the way the pop artist did. Kiss is one of the featured acts in The Great American Circus that stages a show in SMX Convention Center, ongoing until Jan. 4.
“After the passing of MJ, we heard there was a lot of interest in him,” the group ringmaster, Cornell “Tuffy” Nicholas, says. “I’ve seen a lot of tribute artists through the years and this guy…he’s unbelievable.”
Michael Kiss appears in two performances, one of them during the aerial ballet segment. His performance is described by Nicholas as a great tribute to the music icon, “it’s full of great music and humor.”
According to the American ringmaster, Kiss uses his own voice when he sings MJ songs. He also adds that apart from his striking resemblance to MJ, Kiss moves just exactly like the late pop artist.
In 2009, Kiss quitted his two day jobs to focus more in performing and during the premiere of This Is It, the tribute film to Michael Jackson, the impersonator was invited to perform and instantly charmed the crowed. MJ fans even asked for his autograph. From then on, Kiss is dubbed as one of the best MJ tribute artists.
The Michael Jackson tribute performance is one of the 30 performers set to delight local audience in the The Great American Circus. Some of the acts being prepared for the show’s Manila leg are: Lyra in the Sky (named after the aerial ring from which the performer is suspended), Flying Skills, Towering Chair Balance, The Crossbow Masters and some aerial ballet done on silk fabrics.
The Great American Circus captures the best of the modern-day circus blending acrobatic skill, and human athleticism.
The 90-minute entertainment features the “Wheel of Death” that originated in the 1930s. The act requires the performer to move the giant wheel by running both inside and atop the 30-foot high wheel, often while skipping rope—blindfolded.
The Classic Flying Trapeze displays courage and impeccable timing of artists pulling off dramatic hand-to-hand catches after intricate spins and twists 30 feet in the air. A clown duo juggles and provides comedic relief while other acts include masters of hand-to-hand balance dancing, magic, towering 25-foot high chair balances and a pole performance, made famous in China, where acrobats effortlessly summersault and hold poses between two upright steel poles.
The Great American Circus is produced by Nicholas Harris Entertainment, a privately-held company based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The company produces permanent and traveling contemporary themed-circuses. With more than 60 years of entertainment industry experience, each show aims to provide laughter and visual amazement.
The group is set to perform in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Hawaii after the Manila show.