R.I.P. Bert Stern

By | Saturday June 29, 2013 @ 6:49pm PDT

Bert Stern Marilyn MonroePhotographer and filmmaker Bert Stern, best known for shooting a collection of 2,500 images of Marilyn Monroe six weeks before her death, died Wednesday in NYC according to reports. He … Read More »

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TELLURIDE: Film Distributors Go Shopping

Pete Hammond

Sundance, Cannes and Berlin are just some of the world’s top festivals where major movie sales are completed. But Telluride is mostly a launchpad for Fall awards contenders. Yet, unexpectedly, this 39th edition is drawing a large number of distributors interested in picking up some great deals. Among the titles for sale here are Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha starring a delightful Greta Gergwig; Canada’s and Sri Lanka’s Midnight’s Children; thriller The Iceman  starring Michael Shannon; director Sally Potter’s Ginger And Rosa; the documentary Love, Marilyn based on newly discovered diaries of Marilyn Monroe; and Saudi Arabia’s  Wadjda. Of course, 2009′s The Last Station  devised an unusual strategy by exclusively premiering in Telluride and also nabbing a Sony Pictures Classics deal plus two major acting Oscar nominations. And in 2010, Fox Searchlight execs saw a secret showing of The Tree Of Life here and quickly nailed rights for the film, which would eventually be nominated for Best Picture of 2011. Read More »

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Cannes Unveils Official Poster For 65th Anniversary Celebrating Marilyn Monroe

By | Tuesday February 28, 2012 @ 11:32am PST

The Cannes Film Festival has announced it will pay tribute to Marilyn Monroe, who has been selected as the “icon” of the festival for its 65th anniversary. The event’s offical poster shows the star blowing out a birthday cake — … Read More »

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OSCARS: Epic Battle In Banner Year For Lead Actresses

Pete Hammond

OSCARS: Best Actor Race Pits Veterans Vs. “Sexiest Men Alive”

The Best Actress race is hot this year.

That isn’t always the case as the paucity of realistic contenders in this category often reflects the lack of good roles for women … Read More »

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VIDEO: Chinese Superstar Pianist Lang Lang Plays At ‘My Week With Marilyn’ Premiere

By | Tuesday November 8, 2011 @ 3:44pm PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company pulled off a coup at their Sunday night AFI premiere of My Week With Marilyn with a pre-screening recital from Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang playing composer Alexander Desplat’s  “Marilyn’s Theme” before he was literally whisked away by police escort to his anticipated solo concert the same night at … Read More »

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‘Grace Of Monaco’ Finds Funding; Who Will Play Actress-Turned-Princess Grace Kelly?

Mike Fleming

20th Century figures seem to be the rage, from Colin Firth’s King George VI in The King’s Speech to Michelle Williams’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn to Meryl Streep’s upcoming turn as Margaret Thatcher in Read More »

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‘My Week With Marilyn’ Moving To Thanksgiving Weekend

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Emboldened by the critical reaction that the Simon Curtis-directed My Week With Marilyn received in its New York Film Festival debut, The Weinstein Company has moved the film from November 4 to November 23, placing it smack into the … Read More »

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More Festival Intrigue: ‘My Week With Marilyn’ Added To Hamptons Film Festival

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After a rousing response to the New York Film Festival premiere of My Week with Marilyn last Sunday, The Weinstein Company has added the film to this weekend’s Hamptons International Film Festival. My Week With Marilyn will screen … Read More »

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HAMMOND: Will Marilyn Monroe Finally Win An Oscar If Michelle Williams Does?

Pete Hammond

Is Marilyn Monroe finally headed toward that Oscar nomination which eluded her during the actress’ all-too-short film career? In an odd twist of fate, yes. With the world premiere Sunday night of The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn at the New York Film Festival, another presumed awards contender is out of the gate. And if I were Meryl, Glenn, Charlize, Viola, or any other lead actress Oscar hopeful, I would be nervous: Michelle Williams as Marilyn is that good. Sexy, vulnerable, fragile, alluring, seductive, delectable, complex, and all things in between, she nails it and certainly has claimed a spot among the top five if not frontrunner status for the Oscar itself. She also flawlessly sings a couple of Monroe standards as bookends for the film. Marilyn herself never managed to get any kind of Oscar recognition. Now, oddly, Monroe and her unique appeal could figure strongly in the 2011 Best Actress race as channeled through Michelle Williams.

I saw the film Sunday night at a small last-minute screening in Beverly Hills timed to coincide with its New York premiere. (Sony Classics did the same thing for Carnage when it opened NYFF over a week ago, just as Fox Searchlight did when The Tree Of Life premiered in Cannes.) It makes us die-hard West Coasters feel included in the hoopla, I guess. At the very least it’s smart Oscar strategy: an Academy acting branch member I talked to afterwards was totally under Williams’ spell.

The movie due for release November 4th is directed by British tv producer/director Simon Curtis. It is, along with Midnight In ParisThe Artist and The Descendants, one of the most purely entertaining films I’ve seen so far this year. I would imagine it will have great appeal for the same voters who supported Weinstein’s Best Picture winner The King’s Speech last year. But realistically its best shot is in performance and some below-the-line categories like Costume Design and Art Direction. I have to confess that, after seeing some selected footage that was shown at the Weinstein party in Cannes last May, I had my doubts about Williams as Monroe. But those concerns were completely erased in the context of the entire film where she gets to show three distinctly different sides of the star without ever drifting into impersonation. Williams had doubts, too, when she was making the film last year in England. When I did a phone interview with her between takes  and talked about her nominated turn in Blue Valentine, I asked about playing Marilyn. But she fumbled through an answer and could not articulate what it meant then, much like the real Monroe when she was making the real film-within-the-film. Read More »

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R.I.P. Jane Russell

By | Monday February 28, 2011 @ 6:25pm PST

The statuesque actress/singer has died of respiratory failure. She was 89. Discovered by Howard Hughes for his 1940s film Outlaw, Russell graduated from WWII pinup to become an accomplished comedienne in films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the Howard Hawks film … Read More »

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R.I.P. Tony Curtis

By | Thursday September 30, 2010 @ 3:21am PDT

UPDATE: The actor who grew up poor in the Bronx, arrived in Hollywood in 1948 as unknown Bernie Schwartz, and became a legendary film and television star, passed away from cardiac arrest Wednesday evening in his Las Vegas … Read More »

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