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The Best Lines About 2014′s Worst-Reviewed Films (So Far). Thanks, ‘Tammy!’

By and | Sunday July 6, 2014 @ 2:08pm PDT

The Best Lines About 2014′s Worst-Reviewed Films (So Far). Thanks, ‘Tammy!’Lost in a long and sleepy holiday weekend’s ennui, we couldn’t help ourselves: We’ve pulled together lines culled from the funniest/worst movie reviews so far this year, pulling out some jewels. Here’s what we came up with:

Tammy (Opened July 2, 27% Rotten Tomatoes Score)
Melissa McCarthy‘s film sees her once again working the schtick as an in-your-face femme, this time on the road with her just-as-crass granny (Susan Sarandon). Given that the film seems to be headed into a ditch after a weak open, one can’t help wondering whether the Bridesmaids thesp’s routine is aging fast.

“The good news is that Tammy is not a crappy remake of the 1957 Tammy movie with Debbie Reynolds that spawned three sequels and a TV comedy series. The bad news is that this one is much worse… It’s about as funny as a liver transplant.” — New York Observer’s Rex Reed, who already had a bone to pick with McCarthy last year. Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Last Airbender’ Opens To $16M Thursday, Including $3M Midnights

thelastairbender-movie-aang-poster-550x814UPDATESources tell me that Paramount’s The Last Airbender opened to $16+M Thursday, including the $3 million from its midnight shows. The pic based on the Nickelodeon animated TV series should be on its way to $60M for the 5-day July Fourth Holiday and a shot at 2nd place.

Hard to believe but there’s another movie opening this weekend besides the Twilight Saga’s Eclipse. It’s Paramount’s The Last Airbender 3D from M Night Shyamalan, and I’ve just learned it quietly opened to a solid $3 million in Thursday midnight screenings because of the studio’s counterprogramming strategy. Paramount says that’s the highest midnight gross this summer for a non-sequel. Unfortunately, the studio is stuck with a high price tag of $145M, including the 3D conversion costs of this actioner based on the animated TV series from Nickelodeon called “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, and what rival studios are telling me is at least a $50+M marketing campaign. But the movie has been tracking well with males of all ages and kids and now looks to break M Night’s recent drought at the box office. That’s despite horrid reviews — only 6% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, worse than this summer’s biggest bomb Jonah Hex. It should come in 2nd this weekend neck and neck with Disney’s Toy Story 3 but far behind Summit’s Eclipse with between $50M and $60M for the 5-day July 4th holiday thanks to help from higher 3D ticket … Read More »

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CANNES: ‘Fair Game’ Gets Mixed Reaction

By | Friday May 21, 2010 @ 3:10am PDT

Naomi Watts Fair Game CannesAfter some initial good press, there were boos as well as applause for the only American movie In Competition at its first screening at Cannes. Critics here feel it’s too conventional to be a Palme d’Or winner. One reviewer expressed surprise it was even included. That said, there is no clear frontrunner so far for the top award. The two favourites are Mike Leigh’s Another Year and Xavier Beauvois’ Of Men and Gods.

The London Daily Telegraph says that Sean Penn and Naomi Watts turn in characteristically agonized performances as Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, the CIA spy who was outed by the Bush administration. The Evening Standard says that director Doug Liman never seems to have a firm grip on the drama – or on Penn, who gives what the paper calls a “desk-bangingly” enthusiastic performance. The Irish Times says that the story fizzles out somewhat in the last reel: “Still, we can hardly chastise the writers of a film about the WMD deceit for refusing to sex-up their own dossier.”

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CANNES: UK Critics Review ‘Wall Street 2′

By | Saturday May 15, 2010 @ 4:10am PDT

Wall Street Money Never SleepsUK reviews on Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps have come in after its Cannes debut. “Utterly gripping. It’s been 23 years but it was worth the wait,” says London tabloid the Daily Mirror. ”A return to form for all involved.” Baz Bamigoye in the rival Daily Mail says the movie is packed full of great lines. But it’s this punchy insider dialogue that’s a problem for the Daily Telegraph: “Without a close daily study of the financial pages, it’s hard to keep up.” The Independent calls the movie riveting, bombastic and downright maudlin by turns, while the Guardian says, “Money looks as if it’s dozing a little here: my advice is ‘sell’.”

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CANNES: Not All Aquiver For ‘Robin Hood’?

By | Thursday May 13, 2010 @ 4:19am PDT

UPDATE: ‘Robin Hood’ Opens To $6M In 3 Countries

crowe cannesThe 63rd Cannes Film Festival opened with Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Stars Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett (but not director Ridley Scott, sidelined after painful knee surgery) faced 3,000 journalists from 80 countries. Launching a big movie like this at Cannes can leave a studio vulnerable to incoming arrows. It’s also incredibly expensive, costing Universal up to $5 million to fly in everybody from the talent to the executives and stage the glitzy premiere and after-party. Then again, the budget for the film was already high at $225 million (yet another reason Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger was fired). Speaking from the red carpeted steps of the Palais des Festivals in his dinner jacket, Universal’s international president David Kosse was upbeat about the movie’s prospects. The studio is estimating — and audience tracking surveys suggest — that Robin Hood could sell twice as many tickets overseas as it does domestically, hence the Cannes hoopla. Then again, London’s Daily Mirror is giving away free pairs of Robin Hood tickets to its readers starting this weekend.

So what kind of reception has Universal received for its money? The execs thought the movie “played great” to the media, gushing to Deadline that “reviews and early numbers internationally are terrific”. But I found press reaction to the first screening was muted, with some critics questioning the political correctness … Read More »

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UPDATE: First ‘Avatar’ Reviews Crashing Websites; Great Buzz On Blockbuster

By | Thursday December 10, 2009 @ 3:47pm PST

avatar blue

BREAKING NEWS! So much for the accuracy of tracking. There’s obviously huge online curioisty about James Cameron’s 3-D latest. The Hollywood Reporter‘s glowing early review of Avatar released just now has crashed the trade paper’s website because of a Drudge Report pickup. The Times of London, KTLA’s Sam Rubin, and other stellar reviews are pouring in and revving up Internet traffic…

Avatar premiered in the UK today. Even though London critics had to sign away their firstborns promising not to review the film until Monday, their drooling reactions are starting to dribble onto the Internet especially via Twitter. I can’t find anyone who seriously says Avatar stinks up the joint. Instead, many are quite effusive in their praise and think it’s kickass spectacular. Generally, the critical reaction is far above average, which bodes well for the film’s word of mouth. Then again, the British may not be familiar with Smurfs.

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First Reviews Of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Shown At Cannes: “Gott-Awful”, “Grisly-Comic”, “Camp-Operatic”, “Subverts Expectation”

By | Wednesday May 20, 2009 @ 9:03am PDT

There was an audience screening at noon Cannes Time. Great reaction from the general audience with a huge ovation. But the reviews range from good, to mixed, to really rotten. The real question is how Inglourious Basterds will do at the box office when it opens in August and how it will affect Quentin Tarantino’s future and The Weinstein Co’s fortunes.

Peter Bradshow, The Guardian

Quentin Tarantino’s wartime spaghetti western about a bunch of Nazi-hunting Americans is just Gott-awful… Quentin Tarantino’s cod-WW2 shlocker about a Jewish-American revenge squad intent on killing Nazis in German-occupied France is awful. It is achtung-achtung-ach-mein-Gott atrocious. It isn’t funny; it isn’t exciting; it isn’t a realistic war movie, yet neither is it an entertaining genre spoof or a clever counterfactual wartime yarn. It isn’t emotionally involving or deliciously ironic or a brilliant tissue of trash-pop references. Nothing like that. Brad Pitt gives the worst performance of his life, with a permanent smirk as if he’s had the left side of his jaw injected with cement, and which he must uncomfortably maintain for long scenes on camera without dialogue. And those all-important movie allusions are entirely without zing, being to stately stuff such as the wartime German UFA studio, GW Pabst etc, for which Tarantino has no feeling, displaying just a solemn Euro-cinephilia that his heart isn’t in. The expression on my face in the auditorium as the lights finally went up was like that of the first-night’s audience at Springtime for Hitler. Except that there is no one from Dusseldorf

Read More »

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Longtime Dubya Reporter Reviews ‘W.’ As “Remarkably Accurate Portrait”

By | Saturday October 18, 2008 @ 11:50am PDT

Few journalists have covered George W Bush for as long or as in depth as The Dallas Morning News‘ senior political writer Wayne Slater who was at the epicenter of Dubya’s two campaigns for Texas governor, his tenure in Austin, and both his runs for the U.S. presidency. He also is the co-author of two books on Bush’s political guru Karl Rove. So I was curious to see his review of Oliver Stone’s W. here. “By taking real moments and reconfiguring them in artificial ways, Mr. Stone has created something Texans who saw Mr. Bush close-up will recognize as a remarkably accurate portrait,” Slater writes. “Too often, biopics take real people and turn them into caricatures. In W., Mr. Stone has taken the caricature and, quite unexpectedly, produced the real person.”

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Roger Ebert Leaves The Lede For Last

By | Friday October 17, 2008 @ 2:30pm PDT

The long respected film critic really stepped in it this week when he wrote a long negative review of a movie without revealing until the very end that he only saw the beginning of a 99-minute film before he stopped watching. (Ebert wrote at the finish of his critique: “The rating only applies to the first eight minutes. After that, you’re on your own.”) Here is Ebert’s own blog defense: “My editor argued that in my Tru Loved review, I should reveal in the first paragraph that I drew the line at eight minutes. I protested. That would pervert the flow of the review. Everything after would be anti-climax. What I was trying to do was recreate my thoughts as I watched the movie, and show them leading inexorably to my eventual decision. But was I placing my regard for my prose over the rights of the movie? I hope not. I hope the review truthfully records the process I went through.” Sorry, but his argument is lame to the extreme. How can you base a review on 8 minutes of a 99-minute film? Most of us could name hundreds of terrific films that started out horribly. Conversely, if people had only seen the first few minutes of Godfather Part III, it would have looked like a worthy final installment to Coppola’s mob masterpiece. I think no reviewer should dare critique a film without seeing the entire film.

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Israel’s Oscar Bid: ‘Waltz With Bashir’

By | Tuesday September 23, 2008 @ 3:02pm PDT


You may recall that last year the Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures chose The Band’s Visit as the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar only to see it disqualified by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for having too much English dialogue. The runner-up, Beaufort, then became the first Israeli film to grab an Oscar nomination in 24 years. Israeli film blogger Yair Raveh tells me that this year Israel’s pick is Waltz With Bashir which debuted in Cannes to much buzz, played at the Toronto and Telluride film fests, and tonight swept the Israel’s Academy Awards so it automatically becomes that country’s AMPAS Oscar pick. Picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, it’s an animated film based on writer-producer-director Ari Folman’s real-life memories – or lack thereof – of the first Lebanon war in 1982. (This is Folman’s 2nd movie to win Israel’s Academy Award; 1st was 1997’s Saint Clara.)

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2008 Emmy Winners (…analysis coming)

By | Sunday September 21, 2008 @ 8:29pm PDT

Emmy By The Biz
HBO  10
NBC  4
AMC  3 
ABC  3
FX  2
CBS  2
Comedy Central  2
PBS  1
FOX  1

Emmy By The Win
30 Rock (NBC)
Mad Men (AMC)

John Adams (HBO)
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock (NBC) 

Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad (AMC)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (NBC) 

Glenn Close – Damages (FX)
Jeff Probst – Survivor

Recount – (HBO)

The Amazing Race – (CBS)
Paul Giamatti – John Adams (HBO)
Laura Linney – John Adams (HBO)
Jeremy Piven – Entourage (HBO)
Zeljko Ivanek – Damages (FX)
Tom Wilkinson – John Adams (HBO)
Jean Smart – Samantha Who? (ABC)
Dianne Wiest – In Treatment (HBO)
Eileen Atkins – Cranford (Masterpiece Theatre)
Don Rickles – Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (HBO)
Barry Sonnenfeld, Pushing Daisies (“Pie-Lette”)

Greg Yaitanes, House (“House’s Head”)

Louis J. Horvitz – 80th Annual Academy Awards (ABC)

Jay Roach – Recount (HBO)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart – (Comedy Central) 

Tina Fey – 30 Rock (“Cooter”) (NBC)
Matthew Weiner – Mad Men (“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” – Pilot) (AMC)

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central) – … Read More »

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2008 Emmy Events, Parties & Lounges

By | Tuesday September 16, 2008 @ 12:55pm PDT

Sunday, September 14th
1-7 PM Connected Gift Rooms Emmy Awards Celebrity Gift Lounge
Sofitel Hotel, Beverly Grand Ballroom, 8555 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles

6-9 PM ATAS hosts Emmy Producers Nominee Party
Citrus at Social Hollywood, 6525 W Sunset Blvd, Hollywood

Monday, September 15th
1-7 PM Connected Gift Rooms Emmy Awards Celebrity Gift Lounge
Sofitel Hotel, Beverly Grand Ballroom, 8555 Beverly Bld, Los Angeles

Thursday, September 18th
10 AM-6 PM Dubois Pelin & Associates Gifting Lounge
Luxe Hotel, Beverly Penthouse Suites, 360 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills

12 PM Celebrity Green Gifting Chateau (LA Confidential/Platform Media Group)
Harry Warner Private Estate, 501 S Rossmore Ave, Los Angeles

7:30 PM ATAS hosts Emmy Outstanding Writer Nominee Party
Taper Courtyard, Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Brentwood

7:30 PM TV Guide Cocktail Party/Private Dinner
Foxtail, 9077 Santa Monica Blvd, W Hollywood

Friday, September 19th
11:30 AM YouthAIDS Pre-Emmy Luncheon (Little Black Dress Wines/Tacori)
Private Estate, Doheny Hills

12 PM Celebrity Green Gifting Chateau (LA Confidential/Platform Media Group)
Harry Warner Private Estate, 501 S Rossmore Ave, Los Angeles

7-10 PM’s Creative Coalition Celebrity Poker Challenge
Harry Warner Private Estate, 501 S Rossmore Ave, Los Angeles

Saturday, September 20th
10 AM-6 PM Dubois Pelin & Associates Gifting Lounge
Luxe Hotel, Beverly Penthouse Suites, 360 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills

12 PM Celebrity Green Gifting Chateau (LA Confidential/Platform Media Group)
Harry Warner Private Estate, 501 S Rossmore Ave, Los Angeles

3-6 PM British Academy of Film & Television Arts (LA) Tea Party
InterContinental Hotel, 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Century City

6-8 PM 30 Rock‘s Vanity Fair Emmy party
Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood

7-10 PM LA Confidential magazine pre-Emmy party
Six Fifty North, 650 N La Cienega,

Read More »

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Wkd Prediction: Robot $70M, Angie $40M

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I’m told that not only is Pixar/Disney internally hoping for a $70+ million dollar opening for Wall-E, but also a Best Picture Oscar nomination for the L’il Robot. It’s possible with 100% great reviews from top critics and even rival studios bigwigs gushing about the pic: “I saw it on Wednesday and it’s just adorable and smart and interesting. It has more character development and emotion than any movie I’ve seen this year.” My box office gurus are projecting a $65M to $70M opening, and maybe more from 3,992 theaters. Clearly it’ll be another giant box office since Universal’s Angelina Jolie / James McAvoy starrer Wanted now looks like an all-round date movie instead of just a guyfest. 

Universal is hoping for at least $35M and maybe even $40M from 3,175 venues for Wanted‘s Fri/Sat/Sun total. My box office gurus are projecting $40M to $42M. “In terms of comps, that would be an extraordinary result for an R-rated summer action movie,” a source tells me. ”So anything above $35M is absolutely a franchise.” The appeal for well-reviewed Wanted is a surprise: women want to see it as almost as much as men, young and old are coming in nearly even, and relative newcomer McAvoy is almost as much of a draw for the film as veteran Jolie.

Wall-E and Wanted will compete for older females. But it won’t matter. “All the Wall-E reviews have been extraordinary. And Pixar is a brand that has earned the complete and total trust of the public,” … Read More »

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‘Wall-E’ Orbiting Best Picture Oscar Nod?


I’m told that Disney and Pixar are going to push hard for a Best Picture Oscar nomination for Wall-E on the basis of its anti-toon moody darkness and rave reviews by critics who matter. Certainly many toons have tried for that high honor over the years, and then settled for ”just” a recently added Best Animated Feature nod. Only one animated movie has made it into the most competitive Academy Award category — Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991 — but, alas, didn’t win. But that may not be the obstacle in Wall-E‘s way. No, I’m hearing the problem may be Andrew Stanton’s arrogance in that interview in last Sunday’s New York Times:

“Stanton, who wrote and directed the film, doesn’t care if the kiddies want to hug Wall-E or not when the movie comes out on Friday. ‘I never think about the audience,” he said. “If someone gives me a marketing report, I throw it away.’” Because them thar’s fightin’ words in the movie industry. “Half of Hollywood went, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ ” a bigwig Hollywood marketer said, echoing sentiment heard within the Industry. “Nobody can say, ‘I don’t care what the audience thinks’, especially when making a mainstream movie for families. Nobody can live outside the envelope like that. His disdain for the audience was really obvious.”

Ah, I love the smell of nastiness at the start of Oscar season. Smells like… controversy

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Los Angeles Press Club Awards…

By | Monday June 23, 2008 @ 9:23am PDT


Last year the Los Angeles Times‘ Patrick Goldstein graciously handed off the Los Angeles Press Club’s Entertainment Journalist Of The Year title for print, broadcast or online to me, and now I fittingly hand it off to the L.A. Times‘ John Horn after Saturday’s 2008 awards night. My sincerest congratulations. (I received Honorable Mention this year in that category and, to my surprise, an Honorable Mention in Print Entertainment Hard News behind the Los Angeles Times‘ coverage of the writers strike. I did wind up winning First Place for the Online Entertainment News/Feature/Commentary category.) At the 50th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards, here were the first-place wins for entertainment coverage:

ENTERTAINMENT – Print, Broadcast or Online
1st Place: John Horn, Los Angeles Times

PRINT: DAILY/WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS (Over 100,000 Circulation)
1st Place: Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
Judges’ comments: Rutten’s reviews offered style, wit and insights into both substance and form, drawing readers to books they otherwise might not have considered.
1st Place: Staff, Los Angeles Times, “Hollywood Writers’ Strike”
Judges’ comments: This comprehensive package revealed behind-the-scenes mechanics of the strike, plus its effects on everyone from television-show workers to dog walkers. Well-sourced and tightly written.
1st Place: Judith Lewis, LA Weekly, “The Way He Lives Now”
Judges’ comments: Well written and interesting to the end, this story presented a perfectly hewn subject matter and angle.

PRINT: DAILY/WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS (Under 100,000 Circulation)
1st Place: Luke Y. Thompson, OC Weekly, “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em”
Judges’ comments: An easy, fun read. Thompson brings a knowledge of the genre … Read More »

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R.I.P. George Carlin

By | Sunday June 22, 2008 @ 10:06pm PDT


I’ve just been told by a source that George Carlin died this evening. This is indeed shocking. Last week, it was announced that on November 10th the veteran comic whose infamous “Filthy Words” routine reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court would be the 11th person inducted into the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ pantheon of humor and receive this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. (Past winners include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin.) Reuters now also has Carlin’s death, reporting that he died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica of heart failure at age 71. Hollywood has long loved Carlin as a gentle and considerate man. But what the funnyman courageously did to fight censorship over the airwaves on radio and television is the legacy he leaves behind for the entertainment and media biz. 

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Thank You, Vanity Fair…

By | Friday June 13, 2008 @ 12:07pm PDT


Vanity Fair magazine has created a Blogopticon which charts the tone and content of what it considers ”the most influential or amusing blogs” vying for the attention of the world’s billion-plus Web surfers. The sites are categorized along four attributes: “news” vs “opinion”, “earnest” vs “scurrilous”, and everything inbetween. I am very proud to say that VF included my Deadline Hollywood Daily and gave it high marks indeed: at the very top of “news” and in the “earnest” category.

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Two 1st Places: 2008 AltWeekly Awards

By | Sunday June 8, 2008 @ 3:58pm PDT

The winners of the 2008 AltWeekly Awards were announced yesterday in Philadelphia at a luncheon held as part of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ annual convention for alternative newsweeklies across the United States and Canada. The contest administered by Northwestern University’s Medill School Of Journalism seeks to “promote excellence by recognizing work that is well written, incisively reported and effectively challenges established orthodoxies.”

I’m pleased to announce:

Circulation Over 55,000
First Place: Nikki Finke, Deadline Hollywood Daily, LA Weekly
For these three postings: NBC Shake-up: My Final Wrap & Analysis, WGA Talks Collapse: East Strike On! and Worst Talent Deal Ever?


Media Reporting/Criticism
Circulation Over 55,000
First Place: Nikki Finke, “Deadline Hollywood” columns, LA Weekly
For these three columns: Goodbye Baquet, Hello O’Shea: The Chicagoan comes out fighting; Dangerous Liaisons: More hanky-panky than a whorehouse in LAT opinion section; and Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid: The Sopranos-like takeover of Tribune Co. could mean cement shoes for employees.

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Jorge Camara Re-Elected HFPA President

It’s been the most challenging year on record for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — well, if you don’t count 1982′s uproar over naming Pia Zadora best “New Star Of The Year” — that saw the cancellation of its Golden Globe Awards dinner because of the Writers Guild strike. So Jorge Camara should take some small comfort in knowing that he was re-elected today HFPA president for the year 2008-2009 at the organization’s annual election meeting. A member of the association for 43 years, Camara is serving his sixth term and covers entertainment (print and television) for Mexico and Latin America. Mike Goodridge was re-elected vice president. Serge Rakhlin and Meher Tatna were re-elected executive secretary and treasurer, respectively. The new Board of Directors is comprised of Mahfouz Doss (re-elected chairman), Erkki Kanto, Lilly Lui, Paz Mata, Frances Schoenberger, and Armando Gallo (alternate). The annual HFPA Installation Luncheon to honor the officers and directors will be held later this summer, when the association makes its annual donations to non-profit organizations and film schools. Now, if only the HFPA would focus on cleaning up its membership policies to allow real Hollywood foreign press into its pathetically faux organization. 

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