Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Show goes on in Cannes, recession or not


cannes21Plus 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.”

Pixar comedy offers light relief in Cannes


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.

Merv Griffin’s belongings going under the hammer


Remember the “Seinfeld” episode where Kramer retrieved the set of “The Merv Griffin Show” from the trash and miraculously installed it in his apartment? 
Fans of the late television impresario will also be able to salvage merv2some of Griffin’s belongings when a California auction house puts them up for sale on Sunday. Griffin’s son Tony is unloading antiquities, fine furnishings and contemporary art from his father’s three homes in California.

From humble origins as a nightclub singer and bandleader, Merv Griffin built an entertainment empire around his game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” He also hosted his own TV talk show and invested heavily in real estate. He died of prostate cancer in 2007, aged 82.

from Environment Forum:

Hollywood’s greenest stars honor U.S. environmental group


Dozens of the world's top movie, television and music stars showed off their green cred on Saturday night at a Hollywood-style fundraiser honoring the Natural Resource Defense Council's 20 years in Southern California.

The event at Beverly Hills' Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel was a who's who of Hollywood environmentalists, including actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford, and Laurie David, a global warming activist and producer of the Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth." All three are trustees of the NRDC's Southern California office. In 2003, the group even dedicated its new building to Redford.

The Usual Suspects hit Cannes


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.

Moody director? I would be!


moodyssonSwedish 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”.

From London: “The Golden Gloats”


kateIt’s that time of year again. Right about now the British media is either wringing its hands in despair over the state of UK cinema or blowing its trumpet loudly in praise of its prodigious acting and directing talent as the movie awards season gets underway.

Kicking things off was the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, and, judging by reaction on this side of the pond, we could re-name it the “Golden Gloats”. True, Brits and their films did fare pretty well this year, but I wonder if it’s not better to hold off until the big one — the Oscars.

No escaping the crunch for arts, entertainment in 2009


bonoThe world of entertainment, especially film, tends to benefit when times are tough, as people seek to escape worries about their job, mortgage, children’s education or heating bills. But 2009 is likely to be a tough one for movies, music, theatre, art, books and most other forms of diversion you can think of.

Hollywood has already seen studios downsized and movie projects ditched thanks to budgetary concerns, a trend which some experts expect to continue into the new year. Raising finances to fund new pictures has become more complicated, and despite major releases like Harry Potter, Watchmen, Wolverine, Transformers, Angels & Demons and Star Trek to name but a few, there is no guarantee that box office attendances will reverse this year’s decline.

Obama’s top aide comes with Hollywood connection


Barack Obama’s first appointment as U.S. president-elect comes with an inside-Hollywood connection.  His newly chosen White House chief-of-staff-to-be, Illinois congressman Rahm Emanuel, is the older brother of Ari Emanuel, a founding partner of the A-list, Beverly Hills-based talent-management firm Endeavor.

So colorful and well-known a showbiz figure has he become that he inspired the character of the sly Hollywood agent Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven, on the HBO series “Entourage.” The role has earned Piven two Emmy Awards.

Gwyneth tells us: “Make your life good”


gwyneth.jpgGwyneth Paltrow might be wishing she had never ventured into the world of online lifestyle advice.

Her new site,, has irritated commentators on both sides of the Atlantic who say that the pearls of wisdom she shares with us are, at best, rather general, and at worst downright smug.