Tag: hollywood

Brad Pitt to Make Movie About Hopkins Brain Surgeon

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At the moment, Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa is only the second most-famous Hopkins-affiliated brain surgeon. (The first being, of course, Ben Carson.) That might be about to change.

Johns Hopkins Was in Sleepless in Seattle?! And Other Hollywood Surprises…

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A scene from "House of Cards" that was filmed on the JHU campus.
A scene from “House of Cards” that was filmed on the JHU campus.

I knew that Johns Hopkins was one of many Baltimore locations that had a cameo role in House of Cards. But I didn’t know until today that the university also has a starring role in a Nicole Kidman bio-thriller, a Chris Rock comedy, and everyone’s favorite Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com.

Hopkins Profs Consult with Hollywood on Bioethics Issues

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Photo of Hollywood bioethics panel via NPR
Photo of Hollywood bioethics panel via NPR

Do you ever watch a movie about a terrible epidemic, or a television drama set in a hospital and wonder: would they really peel back Gwyneth Paltrow’s face like that? Could Dr. House actually get away with being that big of a jerk? Believe it or not, Hollywood actually does consult with doctors, scientists, and bioethicists to make sure they get things right. And many of those consultants make their home at Johns Hopkins.

Variety Looks at Baltimore as Stand-In for DC

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Photo via Variety
Photo via Variety

The media interpretation of Baltimore hasn’t always been flattering (or accurate). This Variety article, irritatingly titled House of Cards:  Spicy Locales at Lo-Cal Costs helps illustrate some of the ways in which Hollywood gets our fair city wrong.

Hollywood Hills: Glamorous Old Estate In Greenspring Valley

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HOT HOUSE: 10824 Stevenson Road, Stevenson, MD 21153

Hollywood style faux-French hunting lodge, “Villa Vista,” on 4.29 acres, with a separate buildable lot of 1.5 acres. Swimming pool, lit tennis court, stable, jacuzzi, 3+ car garage, bomb shelter and guest house. Six bedrooms, six full baths on two stories: $1,495,000  (Additional lot: $295,000)

 

What: Lovely old stucco mansion, with a delightful aspect and interesting history, in dire need of cosmetic intervention. Villa Vista was built by a Baltimore stockbroker in 1929 — not an optimal year, but nevertheless, no expense was spared in its construction, and for many years it was the setting for Gatsbyesque parties and minor scandals. At the top of a long sweeping drive, dramatically poised on its hilltop setting, the house overlooks acres of trees and lawn and wraps around a swimming pool that looks like a setting for a 1930’s movie, with fountains and gardens, terraces and views. Four fireplaces. Interiors are spacious and sunny, grand but not formal, all with great flow – and designed for entertaining. Now inarguably in decline, the house needs an infusion of energy and cash, half a million at a guess, to bring it back to speed. No A/C. Heat is good and roof is fine, but everything, everything, else needs work.

Does Hollywood Pick on Baltimore Too Much?

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“Again and again, Hollywood has used the city of Baltimore as a punching bag,” Joe Queenan wrote in this weekend’s  Wall Street Journal. His evidence? The new John Cusack/Edgar Allan Poe movie, in which the streets of Baltimore play host to elaborately macabre murders. And, of course, The Wire. And in Twelve Monkeys, the virus that almost destroys the world comes from Baltimore. And did you know that Hannibal Lecter started out as a psychiatrist in — you guessed it — Baltimore?

“Does everything about Baltimore have to be negative?,” Queenan begs. “Does every single TV show have to spit on this struggling but vibrant metropolis? Do movies set there always have to be about crooked house-siding guys and serial killers and deadly viruses and murderous drug dealers and demented Edgar Allan Poe fans?”

But if you’re looking for negativity, it’s no surprise you see it everywhere. Sure, The Wire showed Baltimore’s seedy side, but it hardly portrays the city as “an open sewer,” as Queenan claims. If anything, the show belies a deep affection for Baltimore’s quirks and characters. Movies like Madonna’s W.E., a Wallis Simpson biopic, hardly harm the city’s reputation, even if Simpson was (as Queenan describes her) a “perceived Nazi sympathizer.” And I very much doubt anyone walks away from Silence of the Lambs thinking, “Man, I’d better cross Baltimore off my to-visit list!”

Those of us who love Baltimore treasure it for its complexities, its potent mix of refined history and twenty-first century collapse. This is not a simple city, and the stories that get made about it — the best ones, at least — revel in those layers. Queenan suggests that the city deserves more upbeat Baltimore films like — wait for it — Step Up 2. Step Up 2! Maybe it had an uplifting ending — I can’t remember; I think I fell asleep — but I guarantee that The Wire has brought more nuanced, thoughtful attention to our city than that movie ever did. Sometimes a little negativity — or should we call it honesty? — is the best gift of all.

Waste a Few Minutes with Peter Stults’ Parody Movie Posters

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If Inception were released in the 1950s, who would have starred in it? Can you imagine what the promotional poster would like?

Luckily, you don’t have to. Designer Peter Stults has created a series of posters for modern blockbusters that reimagine them as vintage films with a vintage cast.

Clearly, it’s for a laugh, but there’s something beautiful about these mock posters that transcends their comic value. And though they are obviously less flashy, they come off more magical than today’s sharp, computer-assisted designs.

To view the posters, click here. Be sure to check out Avatar and Superman, and wait until you see who he has starring in Die Hard.

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