Entertainment behind the scenes
After weeks of planning, the Venice film festival finally launched today with a lengthy, sentimental Italian entry as the opening film, “Baaria.” It is the first home-made movie to start the annual festival in around 20 years, and, if the budget is anything to go by, it should do well. The movie, which is more than two-and-a-half hours long, cost a whopping 25 million euros to make.
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (of Oscar-winning “Cinema Paradiso” fame), “Baaria” is set in Sicily and spans the 1930s to the 1980s. It tells the story of Sicily, and more broadly of Europe as a whole, through three generations of the same family.
Critics are divided. One I spoke to hated it, another I have just read liked it. Venice could do with an Italian hit, after so many have failed to impress in recent years.
I’ve just come out of a screening of “The Road”, starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, in an interpretation of Cormac McCarthy’s grim novel about a man and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The father-son relationship at its heart is tough to watch for a dad of two young boys like me, and it’s not what I would call an easy watch. But then the acclaimed book was not an easy read either. I’ll be interested to see what the critics say about the movie, and how Mortensen found the shooting when he speaks to us in an interview.
Lead singer Liam Gallagher has issued a typically blunt rebuttal to rumours and speculation that Oasis, arguably Britain’s biggest band of the ’90s, had played their final gig.
The rumours began after Liam and his older brother Noel, the band’s guitarist and songwriter, announced they had fallen out and were communicating via the band’s website or on Twitter. Then, when Oasis cancelled a gig at the last minute over the weekend, the doomsayers went into overdrive.
As the film industry looks ahead to box office business after “Harry Potter,” with the lucrative franchise due to wind up in the summer of 2011, one person in as good a position as most to offer an opinion on what may be the next big film series suggests that the “Twilight” vampire romances could fill the void.
“Harry Potter” 1-5 have amassed $4.5 billion at global box offices so far, and with HP 6, otherwise known as “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, due to hit cinemas this week, the cash tills look set to go on ringing. HP 7, the final book in J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard series, has been split into two movies, meaning that at the current rate, the 8-movie series could take a cool $7.2 billion.
Celebrity heiress and businesswoman Paris Hilton is back in Cannes to drum up some interest in the documentary “Paris, Not France”, which follows her as she goes about her daily life being rich and famous.
The 28-year-old tried to prevent the film, directed by Tom Petty’s daughter Adria, from reaching the big screen, but now sees it as a kind of set-the-record-straight exercise for someone whose portrayal in the media is not always flattering.
Plus ca change…******The Cannes film festival IS different from recent editions, but not radically. For me, the most noticeable difference between 2009 and 2005/6/7/8 is the absence of stars, be they genuine cinema greats or headline-grabbing celebrities who people care about, however fleetingly.******Sure, there are famous people here — Quentin Tarantino, Penelope Cruz, Mariah Carey, Brad Pitt, (a little later on) and Bill Clinton (in town soon for a charity dinner). But there are significantly fewer than we in the press are used to. In one sense that’s a good thing in that reporters can concentrate more on the film festival itself rather than the red carpets and celebrity-driven stunts. On the other hand, any major festival, and particularly the world’s biggest in Cannes, needs the glamour that star power brings to generate interest around the world.******So that’s what is different. But what is the same is the sunshine, the extortionate prices, the yachts in the harbour occupied by scantily-clad women and not-so-scantily-clad men, the parties (albeit fewer) and that “Cannes attitude”, in other words, “put-on-your-Sunday-best-even-if-it’s-Monday-because-you-never-know, someone-important-might-notice-you.”
After recently speaking to Kate Winslet about “The Reader,” (click here) we remembered this small item about the British star who is favorite for a best actress Oscar at the weekend for her portrayal of a former concentration guard in “The Reader”.In an episode of the spoof TV series ”Extras” in 2005, the 33-year-old played an actress playing a nun in a Holocaust drama. Asked why she had accepted the role, her character – and it should be said Winslet was playing it firmly tongue-in-cheek in keeping with the spirit of the show — replies: “I’m doing it because I’ve noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust, (you’re) guaranteed an Oscar. I’ve been nominated four times. Never won. The whole world is going, ‘why hasn’t Winslet won one?’”"The Reader,” which recalls the Holocaust, now brings Winslet up to six nominations. As yet, there is no Oscar statuette. Was the scene on Gervais’ “Extras” just a coincidence? Or, was it part of a cunning Oscar campaign plot hatched all those years ago?(Okay, it was a comedy, but you never know).The real question is, will ”The Reader” land her the big prize in the face of tough competition from Meryl Streep in “Doubt”?
Swedish director Lukas Moodysson might not be the happiest of filmmakers at the moment. It’s hardly surprising, given that his latest movie “Mammoth“, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, was roundly booed by reporters and critics after a press screening at the Berlin film festival.
Critics have panned the examination of globalisation and economic migrants. The film’s average mark in Screen International’s informal poll of reviews is 0.9 out of four, or below a poor rating. Five out of eight critics deemed it plain “bad”.
U.S. pop star Madonna has won a bid to move her children to the United States from Britain, ending a battle in her brutal divorce with British director Guy Ritchie, London’s Evening Standard newspaper reported on Friday.
The paper reported that Ritchie had wanted the couple’s biological son Rocco, 8, to be educated in Britain, but that Madonna’s lawyers argued he should not be split up from his siblings, Lourdes, 12, Madonna’s daughter from a previous relationship, and David, 3, who was adopted from an orphanage in Malawi.
The rapper was briefly arrested in northern England on Thursday night after an apparent altercation with a photographer outside a night club in the city of Newcastle.
But not country star Carrie Underwood.
Unlike Barbra Streisand, who’s been doing a round of last minute radio station Q&As in support of Democrat Barack Obama, Underwood is staying mum.