Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

In Venice, director utters “f-word” … But it’s not what one might think

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solondzTodd Solondz has uttered the “f-word” in Venice. No, not that one … ”Fascist”. Asked at a press conference for his new movie “Life During Wartime” whether he could give an opinion about the current political situation in Italy, he replied:

“I’m smart enough to know that I know so little and I would be very foolish, given whatever I know, to have an opinion in front of you guys. I just hope things work out nicely here. It’s lovely in this wonderful fascist building to take pleasure in this conversation.”

The building he was referring to was the Casino, a Fascist-era structure dating back to near the beginning of the world’s oldest film festival in 1932. Let’s not forget that two years later the Mussolini Cup was introduced at the festival for best foreign and best Italian films. Of course, all that has changed now. Although, at least for Solondz, the past is not forgotten.

Big Brother – will you miss it?

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So farewell, Big Brother. You have been on British screens every year for the last decade, but 2010 will be your last, unless someone else can be persuaded to pay production company Endemol for a show that has seen ijadets ratings slump.

Channel 4 announced it is ditching the reality TV series, which in its prime enjoyed audiences as big as 10 million Britons but now is viewed by less than two million. Some pundits say it is tired and dull. Others say it never recovered from the 2007 race row when Jade Goody was accused of bullying Indian housemate Shilpa Shetty, prompting tens of thousands of complaints. Justice was seen to be done when Goody was evicted and Shetty went on to win.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin battles giant squirrel

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Yes, you read it right.martin

Coldplay have made a short film to accompany their single “Strawberry Swing” that will be shown in UK cinemas from July 22 as a “supporting act” to Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary “Bruno,” as well as to romance “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock. In it, frontman Chris Martin, dressed as an old-style superhero, battles a giant squirrel, whch is drawn entirely in chalk.

You can catch a brief trailer now.squuirrel

The song will be released as a digital download on Sept. 14 and the short film will be “commercially available” on Aug. 3, according to the band’s record label. It has its premiere on July 20 on www.babelgum.com.

Should Madonna be allowed to adopt again?

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Madonna has won her appeal for the right to adopt a second child from Malawi, after a court overturned an earlier ruling blocking the bid, and the 50-year-old queen of pop is likely to face further criticism fmadonna4or her actions.

Local rights groups in Malawi have complained that Madonna has been given special treatment by the judicial system because of her status and wealth, and many people question whether taking a child from its native environment is necessarily a good thing.

Susan Boyle – Let the blame game commence

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boyleSusan Boyle has been admitted to a private clinic in London after suffering from exhaustion, and, according to the Sun tabloid, an “emotional breakdown”. After capturing people’s imagination the world over in April with her singing performance on “Britain’s Got Talent”, the 48-year-old Scot’s travails are headline news once again, at least in her home country. Predictably, the blame game has already begun, and following is a list of the main culprits in the whole saga, if press reports, commentators and pundits are to be believed:

1. The press: Some sections of the media, which had a big part in Boyle’s meteoric rise to fame, have apparently relished the chance to knock her off her perch. Those blaming the press point to reports late last week of Boyle throwing tantrums, of her threats to quit the show ahead of Saturday’s final and more generally of her inability to cope with the pressure.

She lost! So what now for Susan Boyle?

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boyleSo Susan Boyle DIDN’T win “Britain’s Got Talent”. After the show turned her into a household name in more countries than I could list, the 48-year-old came second in Saturday’s final, surprisingly losing out to street dancers Diversity. Now don’t get me wrong. Diversity were impressive, and the choreography was as good as the execution on the night. It’s just that the momentum behind Boyle, one of the biggest Internet stars in history, was so great that it had been widely assumed she would walk off with the cheque for 100,000 pounds and the headlines on Sunday.

It was not to be, but this is unlikely to be the end of the road for Boyle. A lucrative recording contract is surely only days away as labels, notably Simon Cowell’s very own Syco, seek to trade in on her global fame, fine voice and anti-celebrity appeal. Some might feel that losing out to Diversity could be a blessing in disguise for a woman who has struggled to cope with the demands her instant celebrity has brought. She threatened to walk out of the show, had an altercation with journalists and reports said she had to be taken to a “safe house” in the days leading to the final to escape the limelight. Perhaps coming second will give her a little space and time to recover from what judge Cowell rightly called “a weird seven weeks”.

Kylie sizzles in Cannes

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cannes5Kylie Minogue’s music may not be to everyone’s taste, but she put on an impressive show late last night at a charity bash in Cannes. Sponsored by Chopard, the party suffered the same fate as other soirees at the film festival this year – the A-list was unusually short. That said, it was fun for the hundreds of mere mortals who did turn up.

In the blissfully uncrowded VIP area the Dom Perignon flowed freely all night, or at least until about 2 a.m. but by then it didn’t matter too much. Colleagues of mine who will remain nameless were quaffing from large tumblers — a crime against champagne if you ask me, but then, they didn’t seem to care what I thought.

Antichrist – diabolical or just different?

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If Danish director Lars von Trier was out to create a stir with his movie “Antichrist”, he got what he came for in Cannes. After a charged press screening where the movie, in competition at the film festival, was jeered, laughed at and loudly booed, the reviews are in, and unsurprisingly, most of them are, well, diabolical.

Faced with a hostile question during a press conference, the director who won the Palme d’Or in Cannes with “Dancer in the Dark” in 2000, took exception, and said he did not make his film for the press sitting before him or, for that matter, for an audience at all. That only served to wind some members of the press up further, begging the question why he made the film at all.

Pixar comedy offers light relief in Cannes

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cannes1The first film has been shown at Cannes and it is already a hit, which will come as welcome relief in the general climate of economic crisis that has surrounded the start of the festival.

Disney/Pixar’s “Up”, the story of retired balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, thrown together with a keen but clumsy boy scout called Russell, has been hailed as “arguably the funniest Pixar effort ever” by The Hollywood Reporter and as a “tremendous film” by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.

The Usual Suspects hit Cannes

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quentinThe Cannes film festival lineup just announced has a familiar ring to it, with several past winners vying for that nice gold-coloured leaf grandly called the Palme d’Or in 2009. Quentin Tarantino (who won in 1994) unveils the oddly spelled “Inglourious Basterds”, his World War Two caper starring Brad Pitt. Ken Loach (2006) and Jane Campion (1993) are also in the running in the main competition lineup as is Lars von Trier (2000).

Grabbing just as much limelight on the French Riviera, though, will be Terry Gilliam and his “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, the late Heath Ledger’s last movie with stars Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell stepping in to complete his role.

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