New York Film Festival kicks off

Sep 30, 2006 14:32 UTC

Another film festival kicks off this weekend, and some of the most anticipated films have already made their marks at earlier gatherings such as the San Sebastian, Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals. The New
York Festival opens on Friday with a showing of the drama “The Queen”, which won three awards at the Venice Film Festival including Best Screenplay and Best Actress for Helen Mirren in the title role. The heart-warming “Volver”, which won Best Actress for its entire female ensemble as well as best screenplay in Cannes, will screen in New York also. The film, which won
 the Best Picture prize at the San Sebastian festival will be Spain’s official entry in the Best Foreign Film Oscar race. The suburban drama “Little Children“, which won raves in Toronto, is showing on Saturday in New York.  The bizarre “Pan’s Labyrinth“ is being shown in New York after wowing critics in both Cannes and Toronto. The hip costume drama “Marie Antoinette” was not very well received when it was shown earlier this year in Cannes– let’s see if it fares better at the New York Film Festival.

Wall Street oil play: Sell low and buy high

Sep 29, 2006 16:11 UTC

Everybody and anybody on Wall Street has an opinion about oil prices. Who’s right?

Commitment of Traders data on open crude oil futures positions collected by the CFTC suggests that over the past year, investors in Light Sweet crude oil futures have been quite adept at selling low and buying high. Comparable data for commercial buyers - those who have an extra stake because they actually take delivery of oil – have managed to buy low and sell high. Date Spot
Net long/short positions Investors Commercial
9/19/06 61.77 22,504 -1,917 8/15/06 72.95 83,794 -74,841 5/2/06 74.62 94,094 -88,086 1/3/06 63.11 -14,403 28,718

Further analysis of trends in the futures market suggests that if oil slides down to the mid-$50s, as some suggested just a few days ago, that level may prove just as fleeting as the recent mid-$70s peak.

Wall Street is suprisingly calm on Sony

Sep 29, 2006 14:45 UTC

There may be an option play with Sony Corp. (SNE.N).

Given the company’s recent woes production delays that are stalling the release of PlayStation 3 (PS3), Toshiba’s recall of 340,000 Sony batteries amid a failure to properly charge, and those combustible laptop batteries – you’d think Wall Street would be feeling increasingly jittery. It doesn’t appear to be. The stock’s volatility is mired at the low end of its 12-month range.


As we move into next year, both defenders and critics of Sony will surely seek to seize the initiative. While we can’t forecast which side will ultimately wind up on top, the journey from here to there might prove interesting for those who position themselves to profit from increased volatility.

Take Harpo public? Oprah says “No” – Interview

Sep 25, 2006 21:12 UTC

Media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday launched her latest effort — Oprah Winfrey“Oprah & Friends” — a 24-hour lifestyle channel on XM Satellite Radio. Winfrey, a self-made success whose brand has extended from her daily TV talk show to publishing, film and theater, will host a weekly show on the XM channel, which will fill out its programming with shows by personalities and experts well-known to her legion of fans.

She spoke to Reuters after a press conference in New York about her radio channel, her plans, and her lack of desire in taking her businesses public. 

Your TV show is one of the most successful and popular ever. Who are you expecting to reach with your radio channel?
We are going to bring in the women who are not at home with their kids. We are going to reach the people who are unable to watch the show. It’s a whole other audience.  
You have succeded in book publishing, magazines, Broadway theater, movies TV and more, and now radio. What’s next? 

Usher fills the seats

Sep 23, 2006 13:45 UTC

usher.jpgPop superstar Usher has extended his stay in the Broadway smash “Chicago”. While Usher garnered respectable reviews for his portrayal of Billy Flynn, his real influence has been at the box office, where his appearance in the long-running musical has ignited ticket sales. Young fans of the pop idol storm the Ambassador Theater nightly to check out his portrayal of sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn.

Chavez: Bookseller

Sep 23, 2006 13:41 UTC

chavez.jpgNoam Chomsky’s book “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance” was languishing in obscurity until Venezuela President Hugo Chavez displayed a copy of the book during a speech at the UN on Wednesday and urged Americans to read it.

Since then the book has soared up the bestseller list. Chavez might want to start his own version of Oprah’s Winfreys Book Club, a feature on her blockbuster talk show where the television superstar touts books that invariably become best-sellers.

Damon Wayans talks about “The Underground”

Sep 15, 2006 20:28 UTC

Comedian Damon Wayans returns to weekly TV this week with The Underground, an ensemble sketch comedy show that harkens back to the 1990s hit show In Living Color. That ribald show, created by brother Keenen Ivory Wayans, launched careers for Wayans, several of his siblings, Jim Carrey, and David Alan Grier.

Critics so far have found the show, which runs 10 epidoses, mostly off-color, and at times unfunny. Check out the reviews from the Boston Globe (show is low on laughs), Hollywood Reporter (uneven), and the New York Times (not exactly groundbreaking).

Wayans spoke to Reuters in June about The Underground, ahead of the BET Awards, which he hosted on the cable TV network.

Toronto sets the stage

Sep 15, 2006 19:34 UTC

cruz.jpgGreat performances are being lauded at the Toronto Film Festival this week. Penelope Cruz (pictured left) is seeing some of the best reviews of her career for her portrayal of a housewife and mother in Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver.” Cruz’s performance is being compared to some given decades earlier by Oscar winners Anna Magnani and Sophia Loren. Forest Whitaker (pictured right), a reliabforest.jpgle character actor, could finally become a star once viewers get a look at his portrayal of Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” Critics went crazy for veteran Peter O’Toole’s portrayal of an actor in “Venus,” a role that could finally bring an Academy Award to the biggest loser in Oscar history. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and some lesser-known co-stars have been lauded for their work in the hard-hitting drama about communication, “Babel.” Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley and Jennifer Connelly garnered strong reviews for their work in “Little Children,” a stark look at child abuse and adultery. Toby Jones, Daniel Craig, Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow won plaudits from critics for their work in “Infamous,” a look at the life of Truman Capote. Look for many of these names to show up on ballots come awards season.

The Rock who?

Sep 14, 2006 14:13 UTC

Playing the good guy has obviously warped the mind of the beloved 6-foot-five, 250-pounds “Flex Kavana”, “Pidloaoan Rock” and “Rocky Maivia.”

Sorry wrestling fans, but the third generation wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has no plans to return to the ring, he tells Reuters’ Belinda Goldsmith, as he focuses on nurturing his film and video game career and distances himself from being The Rock.

“I wanted to hopefully — and I am happy this is what has taken place naturally — progress into Dwayne Rock Johnson or just Dwayne Johnson,”   he said this week.

Rosie’s debut, dismal showing for MTV awards…

Sep 11, 2006 18:32 UTC

rosie.jpgRosie O’Donnell drew some flack on her debut on the female yakfest “The View”. Some critics were surprised at how she dominated the show, leaving co-hosts Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elizabeth Hasselbeck trying to get a word in edgewise. Rosie, who hosted a popular Emmy-winning talk show just a few years ago, admitted it was going to be difficult to blend into “The View”‘s format, where each woman is supposed to get equal time for her views….  David Letterman has reportedly agreed to continue his late-night chat show omtv_black.jpgn CBS for four more years, through the 2009-10 season. The contract extension will have Letterman lasting longer in the late-night hours than rival Jay Leno…

On a final note for the week that was, MTV’s Video Music Awards show tanked this year with both critics and viewers. Ratings were down 31 percent among the show’s target demographics. And the reviews of the show were fairly brutal (See and reviews). Reuters pictures.