Sports commentator Ian Eagle provided some extra entertainment on Sunday by subtly referencing football player Travis Kelce and singer Taylor Swift’s rumored romance during a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs.
In the third quarter of the game, Kansas City tight end Kelce scored a touchdown after receiving a pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“Touchdown, Travis Kelce!” Eagle exclaimed as Kelce and his teammates celebrated in the end zone. “Kelce finds a blank space for the score.”
It seemed as if Eagle had the clever reference to Swift’s “Blank Space” locked and loaded for the perfect moment, and fans were eating it up on social media.
The Kansas City-Jacksonville game aired less than a week after Travis Kelce’s brother and fellow football player Jason Kelce was asked during a postgame interview about the gossip surrounding his brother and the “1989” artist.
“I’ve seen the rumors,” Jason Kelce said with a smile, “I cannot comment.”
“Ever since [Travis Kelce’s 2016 reality dating show] ‘Catching Kelce,’ everybody has been infatuated with Travis’ love life,” he added. “I don’t really know what’s going on there. I know Trav is having fun.”
The romance rumors began circulating after Travis Kelce lamented on a July episode of his podcast that he wasn’t able to meet Swift while attending one of her Eras tour shows.
“I was disappointed that she doesn’t talk before or after her shows because she has to save her voice for the 44 songs that she sings,” Travis Kelce said.
“I was a little bit hurt I didn’t get to hand her one of the bracelets I made for her.”
Cobweb didn’t quite make waves when it was released in July, but its aptly timed Blu-ray release comes right in time for the spooky season, which fits it much better than summer. Samuel Bodin’s directorial debut has a talented cast that features Lizzy Caplan, Antony Starr, and Cleopatra Coleman, alongside child actor Woody Norman, who continues to be one to really watch. With some fun ideas, a unique framing, and some cool practical effects, Cobweb winds up making an impact despite its limited resources.
“Eight-year-old Peter is plagued by a mysterious, constant tap, tap from inside his bedroom wall – a tapping that his parents insist is all in his imagination,” says the synopsis. “As Peter’s fear intensifies, he believes that his parents (Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr) could be hiding a terrible, dangerous secret and questions their trust. And for a child, what could be more frightening than that?”
What makes Cobweb really stand out is the performances. Caplan and Starr are great as the parents, delivering creepy performances that leave the audience truly guessing if they are anxious parents, abusive psychopaths, or somewhere in between. While not particularly scary at any point, the film is always engaging, and Norman does a great job of portraying a child’s natural fear in such a situation.
The film will leave viewers with a lot to digest, especially if you engage with what you just saw and try to make sense of it. How much is to be taken literally? Could it be a child’s imagination that leads to a tragedy, and the more supernatural elements are simply used to cope? There are a lot of ways to read the events that take place, which makes this a prime candidate for rewatches. It’s one of those movies that are just as fun to discuss with friends as it is to watch.
The special features don’t really engage a ton with its interpretation — which is fine and almost ideal as we don’t need literal answers to every piece of art –, but I still would’ve loved to have heard a director’s commentary discussing what went into the movie. There are three short featurettes, though, totaling around 8.5 minutes. They provide a decent look into the practical effects that went into its final act, using a child’s perspective to tell the story, and taking advantage of primal fears, such as being afraid of the dark and spiders. While I wish there was a bit more to sink your teeth into, they do complement the film well and are worth checking out after you finish watching.
Cobweb Blu-ray Review: The Final Verdict
Cobweb winds up punching above its weight, and there’s no better time than fall to revisit it. Just as intriguing a film to engage with as it is to watch, it’s a quick and rewatchable movie that is worth discussing. While there aren’t a ton of special features, what is here is an interesting glimpse at production. While it’s not one of the year’s best horror movies, it’s still a fun watch worth your time.
Disclosure: The publisher sent us a copy for our Cobweb Blu-ray review.
Groundbreaking choreographer Rudy Perez, a pioneer of 1960s postmodern dance, died Friday, according to Sarah Swenson, a fellow choreographer, friend and member of Perez’s company.
Perez died of complications from asthma. He was 93.
Perez’s minimalist but wildly experimental work, marked by spare, precise movements, helped ignite a budding Los Angeles dance scene after he moved west from New York in the late 1970s. L.A.’s open spaces and natural landscapes inspired his innovative, site-specific works; and his interpretive abstract expressionism was so revelatory at the time, it opened up the dance landscape to new approaches.
“He came to L.A. as a major artist, a choreographic genius known for making his own rules,” choreographer Lula Washington told The Times in 2015, adding that Perez was an influence on her. “There was nobody here doing that type of experimentation then. He allowed other people to see the possibilities.”
Perez told The Times that his work sprang from the unconscious.
“Nothing is planned,” he said in 2015. “When I put things together, unconsciously, it comes from my lifetime experience up to that moment. Then ultimately, it turns out to be about something for someone, certainly for me. But I don’t expect for it to be the same for the audience.”
Perez was born Nov. 24, 1929, the son of a Peruvian immigrant and a Puerto Rican, and grew up in East Harlem and the Bronx with three younger brothers. He began improvising on the dance floor at an early age, with cha-cha and the samba, at family gatherings. His father was a merchant marine who traveled frequently; his mother died of tuberculosis when he was 7, at which point he contracted the disease and spent the next three years in the hospital, mostly bedridden.
“I think a lot of the pain you see in some of my work that’s very sort of contained comes from that experience, from being in the hospital and hardly having any visitors,” he once said. “It’s all very suppressed, but it’s there in my work.”
Perez studied with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham in the 1950s, as well as Mary Anthony, but found his voice in New York’s ‘60s-era, avant-garde dance scene. He was part of the experimental collective Judson Dance Theater with Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown.
His first choreographed work, “Take Your Alligator With You” (1963), parodied magazine modeling poses. Three years later, he put together his first solo piece, “Countdown,” which featured Perez in a chair smoking a cigarette. He recalled that initially audiences weren’t sure what to make of his unique form of dance. But eventually, he broke through the largely white dance establishment of the time and won over audiences.
Perez moved to L.A. in 1978 for a yearlong substitute teaching job at UCLA and formed a dance company shortly thereafter.
“In L.A., I felt freer; I was able to go beyond,” he told The Times. “I wanted to get away from the emphasis on dance, and work more with theater and natural movement.”
In recent years, Perez’s vision had been severely impaired due to glaucoma and macular degeneration. He continued working every Sunday with his Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble at the Westside School of Ballet. During the early days of the COVID pandemic, several dancers in Perez’s ensemble kept the workshop going over Zoom. They have since moved it to MNR Dance Factory in Brentwood.
“Rudy was so pleased that we continued the workshop,” said Anne Grimaldo, who danced in Perez’s ensemble for 35 years. “Even when his eyesight was going, [Perez] could still ‘see’ like a fine-toothed comb. He’d say, ‘point your toes.’ … He could see everything with extreme detail.”
Shortly after she graduated with her master’s degree in dance from UCLA in 1988, Grimaldo met one of Perez’s dancers at an audition. He told her to come to his class. Grimaldo hesitated; she had heard Perez had a reputation for being tough. She eventually ended up going. “Right away he said he wanted me in the company,” Grimaldo said. “And I never left.”
“Rudy changed all of our lives,” Grimaldo added. The workshop “wasn’t just dance: It was theater, it was choreography, it was improvisation. It was up to a performance level and professional. You didn’t sit down during a break and lean against the bar. When we first started out we’d always wear black. And the company was very tight. It was like a collaboration with all of us and Rudy and his direction.”
“Rudy was a titan of minimalist movement,” Swenson said, “achieved by just being himself, unique in his approach and product. Fierce and demanding in the studio, he secretly had a tender heart, and I’ll miss that more than anything.”
Perez insisted his dancers take Pilates, Grimaldo added. “Now I’m a Pilates instructor,,” she said. “I met my husband, Jeff, in the company and we have a daughter. … I mean, everything I do and what I have is because of Rudy and my connection with him.”
Throughout his career, Perez created dozens of pieces, including work for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. He was also a teacher whose influence — at the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, among other places — lives on in generations of choreographers and dancers.
Dance critic Lewis Segal told The Times that Perez’s vision sparked “a real firestorm in L.A.” in the late ‘70s. “Teaching it and choreographing [in his style], he made a difference,” Segal said. He added: “It encouraged people to really go with their instincts, to go for broke.”
In November 2015, UC Irvine presented Perez with a lifetime achievement award during “The Art of Performance in Irvine: A Tribute to Rudy Perez.” Perez’s dance ensemble debuted work there that he’d choreographed for the event: the three-piece performance “Slate in Three Parts.” A month later, Colburn School restaged Perez’s 1983 piece “Cheap Imitation.”
Among his many honors, Perez was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and L.A.’s the Music Center/Bilingual Foundation’s ¡Viva Los Artistas! Performing Arts Award. He held honorary doctorates from the Otis College of Art and Design in L.A. and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, and his archives are part of the USC Libraries’ Special Collections.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Perez said in 2015 of his long-running career. “I’ve always been told, ‘Grow old gracefully’ — and I’m good at that. At this stage of my life, sure, it’s hard, but I’m striving for excellence. I wanna go out with a flash.”
He is survived by his brother Richard Perez, his niece Linda Perez, and nephews Stephen and Anthony Perez, as well as numerous former Rudy Perez Ensemble Members, collaborators, and friends. A memorial for Perez is being planned.
Times arts editor Paula Mejía contributed to this report.
1 of 5 | Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren star in “Caligula.” Photo courtesy of Vitagraph Films
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30 (UPI) —Caligula: The Ultimate Cut, which screened at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, is unlikely to win over critics of the original film. But, fans of the notorious Penthouse production will be treated even more debauchery in a more focused narrative.
The film charts the rise and fall of Roman Emperor Caligula (Malcolm McDowell). The empire’s excesses involve the carnal delights that Penthouse magazine specialized in.
However, producer Bob Guccione took the film away from director Tinto Brass and added hardcore sex to the film’s orgy scenes. The Ultimate Cut is comprised entirely of alternate takes of scenes or footage that has never appeared, and none of Guccione’s additions.
It remains the story of Caligula, though. Caligula’s predecessor, Cesar Tiberius (Peter O’Toole) already had a harem of sex slaves performing for him or fulfilling his needs.
So any take chosen is still full of background actors naked, writhing and simulating sex. Some sex acts are even suggested in shadow.
Once Caligula becomes Cesar, he enjoys the abuse of power. He makes light of the actual duties of the position.
Some absurdity remains in the nature of the material and is not necessarily out of place in an epic of decadence.
Caligula dances and prances around. In the rain his palace becomes a Slip N Slide. With his short kilt, McDowell inadvertently moons the camera every time he turns around.
The most memorable scenes from the film are still in this cut. Those would be the execution by decapitation machine, and the assault on newlyweds Proculus (Donato Placido) and Livia (Mirella D’Angelo).
Much of the film’s last hour is restored for the first time, which gives Caligula an actual arc. It explores Caligula’s insatiable madness to its inevitable conclusion.
McDowell plays the megalomania of speaking in dramatic declarations like, “If only all Rome had just one neck” and declaring himself a god.
The third hour also restores much of Helen Mirren’s role as Caligula’s wife, Caesonia. Considering the softcore sex scenes she shares with McDowell in this section, it’s surprising Guccione would have ever omitted erotic material with his lead actors.
Caligula is never boring. It can be exhausting, so at three hours plus an intermission, one might have taken the opportunity to hone the cut down to a more manageable running time. Perhaps Caligula is destined to be excessive by its very nature.
The only excess that feels out of place is the decision to open the film with more than five title cards explaining the circumstances of the original production. That is too much information to read at the beginning of a film.
This version of the film should just be presented either for people to discover afresh, or for fans to explore further before or after the film.
At that, even without Guccione’s interference, there are plenty of orgies and taboos in this edition of Caligula. Even without the hardcore sex scenes Guccione added, Caligula will never be tame.
Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012 and the Critics Choice Association since 2023. Read more of his work in Entertainment.