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Box Office Friday: ‘Lucy’ In The Sky At $40M+ ‘Hercules’ At Expected $28M to $30M

By | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 9:40pm PDT

Box Office Friday: ‘Lucy’ In The Sky At $40M+ ‘Hercules’ At Expected $28M to $30M8th UPDATE, 9:40 PM: Lucy is having a ball (okay, I know that’s lame), but Universal Pictures certainly is. How high can she rise? Right now, all bets are on that the Scarlett Johansson sci-fi actioner could kick in over $40M for the three-day weekend for director Luc Besson — maybe even $42M+. The picture has enjoyed a very good Friday with about $15.4M (and that includes the almost $2.8M it grossed Thursday night). In the No. 2 spot is, as expected, is Paramount/MGM’s Hercules whose estimates didn’t strengthen much throughout the day and is still expected for an $11M Friday for a weekend around $28M to $30M. Chalk it up to the star power of Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson.

Fox’s The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will take the No. 3 spot in its third week of release for a $17.3M three-day and the horror flick The Purge: Anarchy is in the No. 4 spot with $10.4M for Universal. After the distrib. added 50 theaters, it is nonetheless falling about 65% in its second weekend and going the way of most horror flicks that burn hot and then go out. Still this low-budget Blumhouse dystopian flick will have grossed about $52M after the weekend. No small wonder why the studio did a deal with the profit-maker Jason Blum this past week. Rounding out the Top Five is the flyover holdover Planes: Fire & Rescue from Disney with a $2.9M Friday; … Read More »

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Cartoon Network Renews 5 Series Including Emmy-Winning ‘Adventure Time’, ‘Regular Show’ & ‘Uncle Grandpa’

By | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 12:14pm PDT

Cartoon Network Renews 5 Series Including Emmy-Winning ‘Adventure Time’, ‘Regular Show’ & ‘Uncle Grandpa’Cartoon Network has given series renewals to Adventure Time, Regular Show, Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe and Clarence. Emmy-winning Adventure Time and Regular Show have been re-upped for a seventh season, Uncle Grandpa and Steven Universe have been picked up for a second season, and freshman Clarence is getting an additional 13 half-hour episodes.

“We have created global momentum with this group of home-grown series,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “Our commitment to keeping all of these comedies going strong is a reflection of our continued belief in the impressive creative talent powering them.”

Related: ‘Clarence’ Creator-Star Out At Cartoon Network Following Sexual Assault Allegations
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BSkyB To Acquire Fox’s Sky Italia & Deutschland Stakes, Create European Giant

BSkyB To Acquire Fox’s Sky Italia & Deutschland Stakes, Create European GiantAs expected, BSkyB said this morning that it will create “a world-class multinational pay TV business” with the acquisition of 100% of Sky Italia and 57.4% of Sky Deutschland. The UK’s leading pay-TV player has acquired the stakes from Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox in a deal worth about £4.9B ($8.3B) in cash, plus assets. (Fox owns and will retain a 39% stake in BSkyB.) The combined group will have 20M subscribers in Europe across three of the four biggest markets. BSkyB will pay £2.07B for Sky Italia and £2.9B for Deutschland. It will also transfer its 21% ownership of National Geographic Channel to Fox at a value of £382M ($649M). That will raise Fox’s stake in the channel to 73%. BSkyB says it will also launch a voluntary cash offer to the remaining shareholders of Sky Deutschland at 6.75 euros ($9) per share. Subject to the number of shareholders who accept the offer, the overall cash value of the deals announced today could reach £7B ($11.9B). The moves come as BSkyB reported adjusted revenue for the year was up 7% to £7.6B ($2.9B).

The moves to create Sky Europe also come as Fox pursues a mega-acquisition of Time Warner. While speculation has been that the deal to combine the Skys was designed to raise funds for another eventual run at TW, it’s also considered that this deal has a distinct raison d’être and exists on its own … Read More »

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Comic-Con: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” Villain

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:47pm PDT

Comic-Con: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” VillainSan Diego is about to get a Gothic horror visit from Victorian England today and John Logan is about to let Penny Dreadful get truly uninhibited. “A lot of Season 1, for me, was actually putting the playing pieces on the board,” says the Oscar nominated scribe of the Showtime series of 19th century iconic supernatural misfits he created. “Now I feel we’ve had 8 hours to do that, to establish the landscape and so now I really get to play,” the first time showrunner adds with a laugh. “I can create more and more complex patterns of the relationships of the characters and of the supernatural element as well,” the Gladiator and Skyfall writer says. “In terms of the second season, I’ve written all but two of the episodes. So, the last two are yet to be written. So I’m well ahead of the game there, and the actors will all be getting it the end of this month.

Penny Dreadful Comic-ConIn just over a month since Dreadful’s rather spectacularly blood soaked Season 1 finale, Logan will be taking the stage in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center this evening with cast members Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Josh Hartnett. If he returns next year, he may be bringing a few more people with him and not just absent leads Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. “I’m teasing out from the characters I really love … Read More »

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BSkyB Deal To Create Sky Europe Said Nearing

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 11:16am PDT

BSkyB Deal To Create Sky Europe Said NearingWhen BSkyB reports its full-year results tomorrow, it is expected to announce a deal to acquire 57% of Sky Deutschland and 100% of Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox. Speculation has swirled that this deal is near since it emerged that Rupert Murdoch’s behemoth had bid $80B bid for Time Warner. In May, UK pay-TV giant BSkyB confirmed it had initiated preliminary discussions with Fox to evaluate a potential acquisition of the latter’s pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy. Fox also owns 39.1% of BSkyB. A combination of the businesses would have about 20M subscribers, and could also provide a payday to Fox of an estimated $13B. I’ve been cautioned that these funds are not necessary for Fox to be able to up its bid for TW, but it would put extra money in the coffers while creating a huge pan-European group. “It could just be that 21st Century Fox sees it as a useful way of generating funds and eases management time to concentrate on other things. But the reason for doing it would exist on its own merits,” Enders Analysis’ Toby Syfret tells me. It’s worth remembering that English Premier League soccer rights are coming to auction again in 2015 and extra cash could certainly come in handy. Read More »

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Venice Film Festival Lineup Announced: ‘Manglehorn’, ‘Good Kill’ In Competition; Bogdanovich, Franco, Levinson, Von Trier Also In Official Selection

Venice Film Festival Lineup Announced: ‘Manglehorn’, ‘Good Kill’ In Competition; Bogdanovich, Franco, Levinson, Von Trier Also In Official SelectionI’m here at Rome’s St Regis Hotel where Biennale president Paolo Baratta and Venice chief Alberto Barbera are announcing the lineup for the 71st edition of the world’s oldest international film festival. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman world premieres in competition as the opener on August 27 and we’ll see 55 movies across the Official Selection through September 6. Yesterday, I wrote a primer for today’s reveal with such films as David Gordon Green‘s Manglehorn and Peter Bogdanovich‘s Squirrels To The Nuts expected to be announced today; and they have been.

Manglehorn (1)Twenty films will compete in the main competition, 19 of which are world premieres with one international premiere. There are an abundance of titles from Italy, France, the U.S. and the UK. Among the U.S. titles in competition are Manglehorn with Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine and Chris Messina, and Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill with Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, January Jones and Zoe Kravitz. Both of those will move on to Toronto next. Gonzalez Inarritu’s opener Birdman is in competition with a starry cast that includes Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts. The closing-night movie, as previously announced, is Ann Hui’s The Golden Era. Among the other expected players that are turning up in competition are Fatih Akin with The Cut starring Tahar Rahim (Carlos); Xavier Beauvois’ La Rançon De La Gloire; Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini with Willem Dafoe; Benoït Jacquot’s 3 Hearts and David Olehoffen’s Loin Des Hommes with Viggo Mortensen. Also particularly of note is The Act Of Killing director Joshua Oppenheimer with documentary The Look Of Silence. Ramin Bahrani, Roy Andersson and Andrei Konchalovsky are also in the mix (see full list below). Read More »

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‘Mice’ Roar More: James Franco, Chris O’Dowd & Co. Will Get ‘NT Live’ Broadcasts

‘Mice’ Roar More: James Franco, Chris O’Dowd & Co. Will Get ‘NT Live’ BroadcastsProducer David Binder, juggling the smash success of two star-driven Broadway revivals — Hedwig And The Angry Inch and Of Mice And Men — added another arrow to his quiver of successful producing tips this morning by announcing a deal has been struck making the Steinbeck drama, starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton, the first Broadway show to be filmed for telecast under the wing of the UK’s National Theatre Live.

The deal was made in a flurry of activity over the last several days, Wayne Wolfe, a spokesman for the show, told Deadline, including securing the OKs of Broadway’s particularly protective unions. Read More »

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Rooney Mara Signs On For Jim Sheridan’s ‘Secret Scripture’

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 9:03am PDT

Rooney Mara Signs On For Jim Sheridan’s ‘Secret Scripture’EXCLUSIVE: After wrapping Joe Wright’s Pan picture in London, Rooney Mara will head for the Jim Sheridan-helmed The Secret Scripture. The drama, about a 100-year-old woman named Roseanne who recounts her life in mental institutions in a secret memoir, is gearing up for a September shoot in Ireland. Jessica Chastain was previously attached to star alongside Vanessa Redgrave, but now Mara will play the younger Roseanne, who survives a traumatic childhood only to see her life utterly changed by a vindictive Catholic priest. Pic reunites Sheridan with his My Left Foot producer Noel Pearson and is adapted by Johnny Ferguson from Sebastian Barry’s 2008 novel of the same name. Rooney is also currently developing A House In The Sky with Annapurna Pictures, which she’ll star in and produce. She’s repped by WME and Management 360.

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Merger-Mania Could Depress Big Media Stocks: Analyst

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 8:23am PDT

Merger-Mania Could Depress Big Media Stocks: AnalystCowen and Co’s Doug Creutz advises investors today to “call a ‘time out’” on Big Media stocks in a break with the prevailing view on Wall Street that an upcoming round of mergers could help companies, or at least not hurt them. He fears that Fox’s bid for Time Warner will lead to “a land grab for content assets.” And companies that need cash for acquisitions probably won’t continue to repurchase shares and pay big dividends — strategies that have helped to keep investors interested in traditional media. The analyst says he now takes a ”more negative view” of Big Media, and downgraded Fox (to underperform from outperform), Viacom, and Time Warner (both to market perform from outperform). “Historically, this group has been uninvestable when M&A activity has been significant.”

Creutz observes that when Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch has had dealmaking on his mind “the shares of his company have underperformed the market.” And the analyst says he’s “not a believer that a combination with Time Warner would create significant value.”

It’s too risky to bet on traditional media, Creutz says, especially at a time when their stock prices are “near multi-year highs.” The advertising slow down in Q2 “feels like it was a little worse” than previous soft patches. It could become “a more significant negative” if the economy weakens. The pay TV cash cow could be threatened as “new over the top [Internet] distribution appears to be opening the door for insurgent content providers to potentially take market share.” And Creutz notes that the “dismal” … Read More »

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‘Manimal’ To Roar With Will Ferrell, Adam McKay & Jimmy Miller

‘Manimal’ To Roar With Will Ferrell, Adam McKay & Jimmy MillerEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Animation has set Jimmy Miller’s Mosaic and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions on Manimal, the feature based on the cult 1980s TV show about a man who fights crime using his ability to morph into animals. Miller, Ferrell, and McKay will produce along with original series co-creator Glen A. Larson, and Key & Peele EPs Jay Martel and Ian Roberts already have been tapped to write.

The original 1983 series starred Simon MacCorkindale as Dr. Jonathan Chase, a dashing and wealthy man raised in Africa who was also “master of the secrets that divide man from animal.” It was cancelled after eight episodes, only to live on in the hearts of a devoted cult fandom (flash back with a clip from Manimal below). Sony Pictures Animation’s live-action/animation hybrid will reinvent that concept as an action-comedy with heavy visual effects and animated elements. SPA President of Production Michelle Raimo Kouyate and SVP Michael Lachance are overseeing for the studio. Read More »

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Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 Years

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:06am PDT

Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 YearsEXCLUSIVE: Jeff Blake, who has served as vice chairman of Sony Pictures and chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures since 2005, is leaving the studio that he has been a part of for the past 22 years. Part of the innermost circle of Sony’s senior management team with CEO Michael Lynton and chair of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group Amy Pascal, the departure is a real shake-up for the studio at the highest level. Blake is the stalwart pro and has been one of the longest survivors at any studio. He worked under several Sony regimes including that of Peter Guber and Mark Canton, Jonathan Dolgen, Alan Levine, Robert Wynne, Mel Harris, the beloved John Calley, Howard Stringer, and finally Lynton and Pascal. He exits August 1.

Sony announced it at 8 AM this morning, saying, “It’s with a heavy heart and great appreciation that we want to share with you news that Jeff Blake has decided to leave SPE to pursue other opportunities … he’s been an important part of the fabric of SPE. We have all loved his legendary role as raffle master at our annual holiday party, enjoyed his gregarious laugh and sense of humor and appreciate his reputation as one of the nicest and most easy-going guys in the business.”

Image (1) sony-pictures-logo__140323172613.jpeg for post 703140With Blake’s departure, the studio loses an executive with institutional and strategic knowledge of not only marketing and distribution both domestically and internationally, but on the business itself. He has worked at three studios, having joined the business in 1974 working for Paramount Pictures in Chicago. He has also worked with the best known names in the business at Paramount and at Sony (and even a short stint at Disney) – from Charlie Bludhorn and Barry Diller to Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stanley Jaffe, Frank Mancuso, the wonderful Brandon Tartikoff, the aforementioned executives and so many others. Katzenberg and Mancuso became Blake’s lifetime friends and mentors.

decode-pascal-articleInlineHis departure comes after Pascal and Lynton and the rest of SPE’s senior management have been under tremendous pressure after a rough round last summer and a hit-and-miss year so far in 2014. Pascal and Lynton have spent this past year making changes at the studio and shoring up their ranks with execs like Michael De Luca coming in as president of production at Columbia, and the announcement last week that Doug Belgrad is expanding duties with a new president of the motion picture group title. Those expanded responsibilities included working with the marketing and distribution team which also saw changes last year. Sony has undergone extreme cost-cutting at the studio as well with layoff after layoff. They have also worked to bring in co-financing deals and closed a big one with Lone Star Capital and Citibank, a smaller agreement with Village Roadshow and have also been waiting for former Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov to secure financing to start producing movies to distribute.

“Certainly there has been an air of change at Sony for the past couple of years,” said Blake. “I put it out there prior to our summer if at some point, I needed to step aside that I certainly would but, in the meantime, I wanted to make sure that there were no distractions in releasing our summer slate. I’m really comfortable with my decision, Read More »

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Aaron Tveit Toplines ‘Stereotypically You’; Jeffrey Donovan Joins ‘Sicario’; Courtney James Clark Cast In ‘Jurassic World’

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 7:49pm PDT

Aaron Tveit Toplines ‘Stereotypically You’; Jeffrey Donovan Joins ‘Sicario’; Courtney James Clark Cast In ‘Jurassic World’Aaron TveitAaron Tveit has the lead role in Stereotypically You, a romantic comedy from writer-director Benjamin Cox. Tveit plays Charlie, who goes on a hallucination-fueled post-breakup quest in New York City to find new love — and himself. Kal Penn, Shane McRae, Lauren Miller, Abby Elliot, Chris Elliot, Annaleigh Ashford, Lewis Black, Kelen Coleman co-star. Tveit also has landed a role in They Might Be Kennedys, which Neal McDonough is exec producing. The actor’s credits include the upcoming Big Sky and Undrafted along with Les Miserables, Premium Rush and TV’s Graceland. He is repped by CAA and Elin Flack Management.

Jeffrey DonovanJeffrey Donovan has joined the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, which is filming in New Mexico. In the Lionsgate actioner starring Benecio Del Toro and Emily Blunt, he will play Steve Forsing, a no-nonsense DEA Agent who engages in an all-out firefight at the Juarez border while transferring a prisoner. Donovan starred on USA Network’s Burn Notice, which wrapped its seven-season run in September. His credits also include the upcoming feature Welcome To Harmony as well as J. Edgar, Changeling and Hindsight. He is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman.

Courtney James ClarkCourtney James Clark has landed a role in Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, from producer Steven Spielberg. She joins a cast that includes … Read More »

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TCA: FX Orders Second Installment Of ‘Fargo’, Fifth Season Of ‘Louie’

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 9:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA: FX Orders Second Installment Of ‘Fargo’, Fifth Season Of ‘Louie’It was a risky proposition, but Noah Hawley’s take on the Coen brothers classic Fargo was deemed a critical success, landing 18 Emmy nominations, and it drew a sizable total audience when time-shifted viewing and encores are factored in. Not surprisingly, FX is ordering a second 10-episode installment, with Hawley back as writer/executive producer for MGM TV and FX Prods. The new chapter of the Fargo story will feature an all-new cast of characters, a brand new cast, a new time period and a new “true crime” story, and it may be filmed in the same location in Calgary. “Noah’s audacious, bordering on hubristic riff on my favorite Coen brothers film earned 18 Emmy nominations – the most for a single program in our history,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. While Ryan Murphy has been using a core group of actors in multiple installments of American Horror Story, “Fargo demands a different level of realism, and we felt we couldn’t introduce these actors as new characters.”

louieMeanwhile, it was a long wait for Season 4 of Louis C.K.’s comedy series Louie but Season 5 is expected to arrive in time, albeit in an abbreviated form. FX has renewed Louie for a fifth season, which will consist of seven episodes — half the size of Season 4 — to premiere in spring 2015. “Louie’s fourth season was once again groundbreaking. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking — always thought provoking,” said … Read More »

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‘The Imitation Game’ To Open London Film Festival In European Premiere

‘The Imitation Game’ To Open London Film Festival In European PremiereThe 58th BFI London Film Festival will kick off October 8 with the European premiere of Morten Tyldum’s Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game. The selection will guarantee a starry opening night with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in attendance at the Odeon Liecester Square. The screening will also be simulcast to cinemas across the UK. Cumberbatch plays Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win World War II. The film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret Bletchley Park code-breaking center. Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard also star. The Weinstein Co famously paid $7M for the film in a record-breaking deal at last February’s EFM in Berlin. It will release on November 21 in the U.S., and Studiocanal is releasing in the UK on November 14.

This is billed as a European premiere, so the film is expected to turn up at one of the fall festivals — two of which, Toronto and Venice, are announcing lineups this week. Last year, the London fest scored the Euro premiere of Captain Phillips as opener and the world premiere of Saving Mr Banks for the closing night. It’s a key venue for potential awards-season contenders to get out in front of all of those BAFTA voters, … Read More »

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Sky Falls For ‘Great British Bake Off’ Maker Love Productions

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 1:03am PDT

Sky Falls For ‘Great British Bake Off’ Maker Love ProductionsRamping up its strategy to build a broad international content business, Britain’s Sky has acquired a 70% stake in Love Productions. The UK-based maker of Great British Bake Off was founded in 2004 by Richard McKerrow and Anna Beattie. Love has production bases in London, Bristol, NY and LA. Its other credits include Great British Sewing Bee and factual programming Baby Borrowers, Famous Rich And Homeless and the controversial welfare documentary Benefits Street which caused a stir on Channel 4 earlier this year. The indie will continue to operate as a distinct company under its new ownership structure and will produce for all major UK broadcasters. McKerrow and Beattie will continue to run the company with the current senior management team. Sky’s international distribution business, Sky Vision, will become Love’s distribution partner, representing all new finished programs and formats. Sky already has development deals with U.S. and UK production companies including Ugly Brother Studios, back2back productions and Roughcut TV. The acquisition is a further step in the consolidation of the indie TV sector with such companies as ITV, Warner Bros, Red Arrow and Sony acquiring stakes in successful producers on both sides of the Atlantic. The move also highlights Sky’s push to increase its footprint across broadcasting, production and distribution. In May, Sky acknowledged speculation over its potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s interests in European pay-TV groups Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. At the time, it said it had “initiated preliminary discussions with 21st Century … Read More »

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‘Boyhood’ Sets Off On Awards Trek With Strong, Packed Weekend Screenings For Oscar And SAG Voters

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 12:09am PDT
Pete Hammond

‘Boyhood’ Sets Off On Awards Trek With Strong, Packed Weekend Screenings For Oscar And SAG VotersWe are still a little more than a month away from the official start of awards season, but for IFC‘s smash-out-of-the-box indie hit, Boyhood, it already began in earnest on Sunday with back-to-back screenings and Q&As for members of the newly chosen 2000-strong Screen Actors Guild Nominating Committee, and later its official Academy screening at the newly re-opened Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Acad’s Beverly Hills headquarters. The SAG nom comm is just beginning its long schedule of these kinds of screenings, and Sunday afternoon’s was the first big one in LA, although I am told there were a couple of smaller films for the nom comm early in June just as the randomly-chosen group of actors was formed for this year’s race. They packed the Pacific Design Center’s screening room and after the Q&A with stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and young Ellar Coltrane along with writer/director Richard Linklater, the SAG crowd gave them all a heartfelt standing ovation. I moderated boyhood-poster and there was also much applause when I brought each of them on stage for the 40-minute conversation. The making of the film on 36 shooting days over the course of 12 years has been a well-publicized story this summer, and each of them offered detailed answers on various aspects of a film that is unique in motion picture history, particularly from the point of view … Read More »

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Sky News Apologizes After Reporter Rummages Through Malaysian Airlines Victim’s Luggage On Air

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 7:20pm PDT

Sky News Apologizes After Reporter Rummages Through Malaysian Airlines Victim’s Luggage On AirSky News issued an apology after one of its reporters sifted on air through luggage from one of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the jetliner shot down earlier this week over the Ukraine by what U.S. officials said were pro-separatist rebels using sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed, their bodies, luggage and other wreckage scattered across several square miles of countryside. One of the reporters covering the resulting investigation, Colin Brazier, was recorded live picking through some of the belongings in a victim’s small yellow suitcase, showing what appears to be a child’s belongings and talking about the enormity of the tragedy. After a few seconds, Brazier can be heard in the clip saying, “We shouldn’t really even be doing this, I suppose.”

The incident sparked a huge negative response on Twitter and beyond, with protesters calling for Brazier’s removal. Sky News quickly issued an apology through a spokeswoman: “Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash, Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims’ bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused.”

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James Garner: An Appreciation Of A Great Acting Legend Who Never Looked Like He Was Acting

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 12:47pm PDT
Pete Hammond

James Garner: An Appreciation Of A Great Acting Legend Who Never Looked Like He Was ActingJames Garner just made it all look too easy.

That’s the only explanation I can give for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences failing to vote him an Honorary Oscar over these last few years of Governors Awards.  More than once I wrote a column of “suggestions” including  those egregiously overlooked artists deserving of the industry’s top award, and always near the top was my annual reminder of Garner. But I guess it is just too late now.  Garner, who died Saturday night at age 86, probably just would brush off the honor anyway, thinking those more “obvious” choices were more likely to ever get an Oscar. But it is precisely because he made  it all seem so effortless that he was annually passed over.

Brett_Maverick_-_James_GarnerIt couldn’t  have been because he was also a major television star could it?  Nah. Maverick , The Rockford Files, those fine TV movies, and those magical Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley  were all great. And  no one can deny the power of those TV movies he did including Promise, Barbarians At The Gate , Breathing Lessons, Decoration Day, The Long Summer Of  George Adams and My Name Is Bill W to name a few. These showed off an actor of real range. If it were just a career in television, it would be incredibly impressive but all the obits this morning calling him a TV legend, which he certainly was, missed the point of just what Garner’s remarkable acting achievement … Read More »

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R.I.P. Skye McCole Bartusiak

By | Saturday July 19, 2014 @ 11:21pm PDT

R.I.P. Skye McCole BartusiakSkye McCole Bartusiak, who was best known for her role portraying Mel Gibson‘s youngest daughter in The Patriot, died today at the age of 21. No cause of death was given.

Bartusiak was a stage, screen and TV actress. She had a recurring role as Megan Matheson in the show 24 and did guest star appearances in CSI, Lost, Touched by An Angel and George Lopez television shows. She started acting in 1999 with the ABC mini-series Storm of the Century. When she was 8 years old, she was in the movie Riding in Cars with Boys. She died in her Houston home at 9 AM Saturday.

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