Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Laden in Red – Chris de Burgh sells fine wines

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Chris de Burgh“The Lady in Red” singer Chris de Burgh has decided to cash in on surging prices for fine wines, offering 320 bottles and 84 magnums of mainly red varieties at Christie’s in March which are expected to fetch in the region of 200,000 pounds ($320,000).

“Looking at the economics of the wine trade and how the business of selling wine fluctuates, I decided now was the right time,” he said in a statement. Not surprising — Asian buyers, particularly from China, have piled into the wine market in the last two years sending prices soaring. Christie’s sold wine worth $71.2 million in 2010, a whopping 70 percent increase over 2009, and fellow musician Andrew Lloyd Webber made a cool 3.5 million pounds from a much larger wine sale in Hong Kong last month.

De Burgh, his wife and daughter now prefer drinking white, so parting with some of the world’s finest clarets may be easier to bear.

Among the highlights from de Burgh’s temperature-controlled wine room at his home in Ireland is a 12 bottle case of Château Lafite-Rothschild, vintage 1945, estimated to fetch 12-16,000 pounds. (How much that works out per sip I’m not sure, but per glass it’s around 220 pounds). The bottles are still in the original straw which protected them since the end of World War Two. “Considering the dramatic events that were unfolding across Europe and particularly in France at that time, it’s extraordinary that one of the finest wines of the century was made then,” de Burgh said.

New Dads Elton John, David Furnish plan more movies

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JohnFurnishNow that they have baby Zachary to look after, Elton John and David Furnish may follow up their animated movie “Gnomeo and Juliet” with more kids’ films. Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born on Christmas Day at a Los Angeles hospital to a surrogate mother.

The celebrity couple produced the feel-good, gnome-infested take on William Shakespeare’s bleak tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”, and the film hits theatres in Britain and the United States on Feb. 11. At the London premiere this weekend, the couple walked the red carpet along with some of the stars who provided voices, including Emily Blunt, Stephen Merchant and Matt Lucas.

Sundance surprise: Plenty of worthy pictures, but will any of them be hits?

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Another Sundance Film Festival has come and gone, and by most accounts it was a banner year with better movie and more sales than in recent editions. At Saturday night’s awards ceremony, where love story “Like Crazy” picked up the jury prize for best film drama and Iranian lesbian tale “Circumstance” was the audience pick for best drama, veteran critic Todd McCarthy echoed what many festivalgoers were saying almost from the start of the event. The Hollywood Reporter’s chief film critic said, “this is one of the best Sundances I’ve ever been to.”

But what’s next? Critics, audiences and box office will be the judges. “We have to see what happens,” Sundance founder Robert Redford told Reuters on Saturday ahead of the awards. “We can get very excited, but no one’s going to know until the year plays out.”

Lauryn Hill battles unruly VIPs at Sundance

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Lauryn Hill

Often called America’s best ever female rapper, Lauryn Hill got no respect from a group of self-important VIP’s at a concert on the sidelines of the Sundance Film Festival Wednesday night. So Hill, who is known for not mincing her words, asked her security to remove the people and their roped-off, Very Important Person section that was set-up just meters from the stage.

As she performed the latest concert on a current small tour — a comeback of sorts after a hiatus from the music scene — she had to contend with the VIPs, whoever they were, as they mostly ignored her set, often with their backs to the stage while swilling champagne and at times blocking the view of and distracting ticket-paying concertgoers.

Sundance’s unheralded short film and grant winners

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SundanceThe Sundance Film Festival reaches its climax on Saturday when winners of best feature films and their directors, writers, cinematographers and sometimes actors are announced. And make no mistake, those winners will go on to claim movie glory both outside and inside Hollywood.

Don’t believe us? Take one quick look at last year. What was the Sundance 2010 jury prize winner for best dramatic film? “Winter’s Bone.” What is a 2010 best film Oscar nominee? “Winter’s Bone.” What was the Sundance 2010 jury prize winner for best documentary? “Restrepo.” What is a 2010 best documentary Oscar nominee? “Restrepo.”

Who said actors can’t direct ?

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Vera farmigaMany an actor has fallen by the wayside taking a shot at directing and with reviews still coming in, Vera Farmiga’s fate with her directing debut at the Sundance Film Festival is still unclear, yet promising.

The 37-year-old gained fans all around the world in movies such as “Up In The Air” and “The Departed” thinks acting can only be a plus when it comes to getting behind the camera for first feature “Higher Ground.”

50 Cent at Sundance: A work in progess

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50 Cent1(Note: strong language in quote, paragraph 2)

He’s not the first music star to try a crossover in entertainment to movies. Not even close. But at least Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is smart enough to know he can’t just jump into making films and be instantly an Oscar winner. So, on Saturday at a news conference at the Sundance Film Festival, the rapper whose albums include “Get rich or Die Tryin’” was quick to admit that as an actor and filmmaker, “I”m a work in progress.”

As a rapper, he’s known as 50 Cent, and his early work and life were as remarkable for their violence as they were his music. But as an actor, 50 prefers to use his name, Curtis Jackson. He has been acting for around six years, starting with an action movie titled after his album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” but more recently he has tried to stretch his talents. Three years ago, he came to Sundance and after seeing some of the films here, he told his producing partner, Randall Emmett, “we have to do the same shit they’re doing.” (something makes us think the Sundance organizers don’t consider their films that way, but we knew what Jackson meant).

Sundance kid: “Not thought about retiring”

Redford2011He’s past the age where most people retire, but actor, activist and Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford sees no reason to call it a work day, even at age 74.

“I have not thought about retiring,” Redford told reporters on Thursday, the opening day of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Steven Tyler — “American Idol’s” new Paula Abdul?

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Okay. So he’s no Simon Cowell. But based on his first outing on the “American Idol” judging panel,  Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler had the wackiness and unpredictability of  the much-loved, and steventylermuch-missed Paula Abdul.

With Jennifer Lopez breaking her heart over saying no to some of the wannabe pop stars, it was left to Tyler, 62,  to inject much of the fun into the new line-up.

Did Gervais go too far at Globes?

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The day afteRickyr the Golden Globes, and, in Britain at least, there is as much media chatter about show host Ricky Gervais and his no-holds-barred approach as there is about Colin Firth’s acting award for his portrayal of the stammering King George VI in “The King’s Speech”.

Normally the reaction on this side of the pond to major U.S. movie award shows is to champion the victorious Brits, or otherwise bemoan their failure. This year would have been no exception — joy for Firth, otherwise disappointment for the film about the British monarchy — were it not for Gervais and his less-than-gentle jokes that took aim at, among others, Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp of “The Tourist”, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Cher, the actresses in Sex and the City, prominent Scientologists and Hugh Hefner.

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