April 16, 2014

Tag Archives: Entertainment

Coming Soon: More Producer Credit Glut!

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
When you ask indie producer Luillo Ruiz how his recent low-budget action-comedy film Welcome to the Jungle featuring veteran martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme could come with 31 producer credits, his answer is simple and straightforward.
The film’s financiers were given executive producer credits, he said, while others who provided their production skills for less than what they would normally charge accepted other producer credits.
“They are not charging what they are supposed to charge but they are very passionate about bringing their skill to this film and the skills they bring to this film have a cost. That cost you should repay,” Ruiz explained by telephone from Puerto Rico, where his production company, Piemienta, is located and where the film was shot.
In the film, which came out in limited release Feb. 7 and has also been released on DVD, Van Damme plays an unhinged Marine who leads a group of unsuspecting office workers on a survival trek across a jungle-infested island when they find themselves stranded at a corporate retreat.
Ruiz said the shoot took 19 days in Puerto Rico.
According to IMDB, Welcome to the Jungle comes with two producers—Ruiz and L.A.-based Justin Kanew (“The Amazing Race”)—along with 14 executive producers, eight associate producers, four co-executive producers and three co-producers.
Welcome to the jungle, indeed.
But the Van Damme film is not an isolated case of producer credit glut.
Last year, Lee Daniels’ The Butler drew media attention apart from the drama’s strong reviews when it listed 41 producer credits.
The Producers Guild of America co-president Mark Gordon told the entertainment website The Wrap that the 41 producer credits was “a little embarrassing for everyone within our community.”
The PGA has been fighting producer credit bloat for years and now has a certification process in place to protect the integrity of the producer credit.
According to the PGA, once a producer’s work on a film is certified by the guild, the “Produced by” credit and producers name will be followed by the distinctive mark: “p.g.a.” All the major studios have signed on to the process as well as many independent producers.
In the days and weeks to come, Hollywood studios and independent distributors will be releasing all sorts of films that are crammed with producer credits. For example:
*Fifteen producer credits on IFC Films’ The Face of Love starring Robin Williams, Ed Harris and Annette Bening.
*Fourteen producer credits on A Birder’s Guide to [...]

Oscars: Why ‘American Hustle’ went home empty handed

One of the more interesting and unlikely developments from this past weekend’s Academy Awards telecast was David O. Russell’s film American Hustle managing to lose in each of the ten categories it was nominated in. Historically, 0-fors almost never happen. Recent examples include Gangs of New York and True Grit, but by and large, if your movie is among the most nominated of the year, it winds up going home with at least a token win. So, how did American Hustle wind up being shut out, and why exactly did it happen?
In short, it was mainly due to the competition. The flick wasn’t nominated in any one particular category where it had an easy road to a win. Maybe if you took away The Great Gatsby from contention, maybe Best Costume Design would have been the place? American Hustle was the runner up in a lot of places, likely including Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, but there wasn’t an obvious place to reward it, so a concerted effort was never made to just honor it in one particular place. The closest things to that was the Supporting Actress race, where Jennifer Lawrence nearly upset Lupita Nyong’o, but that was always going to be a toss up category.
American Hustle probably also suffered to some degree because of the Olympics. That stretched out the season and gave members of the Academy extra time to get around to 12 Years a Slave and to revisit films like Gravity, The Great Gatsby, and Her. With a shorter decision time, Oscar voters who were flirting with Russell’s movie might have just up and committed to it, instead of holding back and ultimately going in a different direction. You never can be sure about something like this, but I have a feeling that over the last week or two, the flick really had its momentum come to a screeching halt.
Personally, I liked the film more than a lot of my colleagues did, so I take no enjoyment in seeing it go home empty handed. That’s just the nature of the business though. There are only so many awards to be given out, and in a super competitive year like this one, something had to give. In a very literal way, the nominations turned out to be the reward for American Hustle.
You have to give the film a great deal of credit though for going [...]

‘Non-Stop’ dethrones ‘The Lego Movie’ at the Box Office

Happy Oscar Sunday everyone! While wait for the show to start later on this evening, it’s time for the weekly box office report. Leading the way this weekend was a new film for a change, as Liam Neeson’s thriller Non-Stop debuted at number one with an estimated $30 million. At number two we had the debut of the religious flick Son of God, which took in an estimated $26.5 million, and down at number 14 we had the re-release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues in a special R rated edition. That movie grabbed an extra $1.3 million from fans. Among the limited release openings, we had a wide range of indie titles that failed to make much of a mark, including The Bag Man, Ernest & Celestine, The Lunchbox, and Stalingrad. They didn’t embarrass themselves, but none look to be a crossover hit or anything of that sort.
Liam Neeson continues to be a reliable action hero, as Non-Stop had a very solid first weekend haul. As for Son of God, folks didn’t seem to mind that it’s just an expanded version of the TV series The Bible that they already could have seen for free. As for Anchorman 2, that re-release was only designed for hardcore fans of the film, so don’t read too much into that small cume.
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, The LEGO Movie continued to be a blockbuster with another $21 million in its bank account. The other good holds were that of The Monuments Men, which made $5 million and keeps right on chugging along, as well as the $3.6 million more that Frozen took in this weekend.
Here now is what the top ten looked like at the box office for this particular weekend:
1. Non-Stop – $30,019,000
2. Son of God – $26,500,000
3. The LEGO Movie – $21,015,000
4. The Monuments Men – $5,000,000
5. 3 Days to Kill – $4,900,000
6. RoboCop – $4,500,000
7. Pompeii – $4,300,000
8. Frozen – $3,611,000
9. About Last Night – $3,400,000
10. Ride Along – $3,065,000

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Philomena”

Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
Main cast members: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Peter Hermann, and Sean Mahon
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 4
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Actress (Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay (Coogan and Pope), and Best Original Score
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards and Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival last year
Chances at winning Best Picture: Rather slim, though there’s supposedly a late surge going on to at least give it a long shot chance at a huge upset
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s potentially going to be shut out, though Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score are certainly in play
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, HER, and Nebraska
Philomena is the eighth (and second to last) film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that realistically has to look at the nomination itself as the only surefire reward it can count on here. Yes, co-writer/co-star Steve Coogan and his partner Jeff Pope could swoop in and steal Best Adapted Screenplay (while Best Original Score is an open field), but Judi Dench is way behind in Best Actress, so there’s nothing for this movie to hang its hat on. Still, it’s a crowd pleaser for the most part, and that’s always a dangerous contender in Best Picture, so be aware of that.
Working in Philomena’s favor is the Harvey Weinstein factor. Weinstein and his brother Bob have had some tremendous success running The Weinstein Company, especially when it comes to getting their films recognized. They pulled a bit of a rabbit out of their hats getting a Best Picture nominee for this flick and since then have been working overtime to make the case that this movie deserves to win. While Best Picture is a hard sell, they can certainly make the argument that the film should be recognized somewhere, which is why Best Adapted Screenplay is in play. If enough of the older and female voters (which is where the campaign is focused) are taken with this flick, I suppose anything is possible, considering how it’s made so many moves late in the game.
If you’re looking for something that’s not in this film’s favor, it’s the fact that it has the fewest nominations [...]

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Her”

“Her”
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Written by: Spike Jonze
Main cast members: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara, and Portia Doubleday
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 5
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Original Screenplay (Jonze), Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild of America Awards, Won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globe Awards, and Won Best Film/Best Director from the National Board of Review
Chances at winning Best Picture: It’d be an absolute shock if it managed to win Best Picture, so it’s slim to none here
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s the frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay, while it’s not impossible for any of its tech nominations to turn into upset wins.
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
Her is the six film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that has to consider the nomination itself to be the real reward, at least in this category. That being said, the nod (along with all of its noms overall) is really something to admire. Such a singular and unique movie being nominated for more than a token Oscar or two is a nice change of pace for the Academy. Especially considering that it scored not just a Best Picture citation but a Best Original Screenplay as well, there are voters here who are very fond of this film, and that pleases me to no end. Regardless of anything else, it’s nothing like any other nominee this year, or really in history I’d argue, so kudos to Spike Jonze and company for such fine work. He may not be a serious Best Picture contender, but Jonze is likely to win the Original Screenplay Oscar, so the flick isn’t too likely to go home empty handed regardless.
Working in Her’s favor is just how different and romantic it is. The film has connected with so many people, arguably in a way that no other nominee has been able to do. Members of the Academy were taken by this movie in more than one way, honoring not just the film itself and it’s writing, but the production design and musical components as well. Multiple tech nominations are a sure sign of widespread support. Without it, you have no chance at [...]

R.I.P. Shirley Temple (1928-2014)

The film world lost a certified legend lat last night as Shirley Temple (or Shirley Temple Black as she was known after she got married to Charles Black and retired from acting in her 20′s) passed away at the age of 85. She died of natural causes and obviously led a long life, much of it spent in front of the camera. Perhaps the most famous child star of all time, Temple Black was a giant in the industry for sure, and made her impact as a young girl, which makes that even more astounding.
One of the biggest box office draws of her time and easily the youngest A-lister ever, Temple Black was able to command a record salary of $50,000 a picture. That might not sound like a huge amount now, but this was the 1930′s, so that was a massive sum of money to earn. That alone puts her in the history books.
Temple Black won a special Oscar in 1935, but once she retired as an actress at the age of 22, she continued to do some noteworthy work, perhaps even affecting the world in a bigger way. She became a diplomat and served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974. She also was the U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. She spent two decades in front of the camera and then nearly three decades serving her country.
In terms of her film work, Temple Black was best known for her performances in movies like Bright Eyes, Curly Top, Fort Apache, Heidi, Little Miss Marker, and The Littlest Rebel, among others. She was the child actor of her time, and probably the most well known child actor ever. Her name will undoubtedly live on in history until the end of time.
She will most certainly be missed by just about everyone. Rest in peace Shirley…
Photo by Shirley Temple Films

“The Lego Movie” leads this weekend’s Box Office

Every Sunday, I’ll be bringing you a box office report. Nothing too in depth for now, but at the very least a look at how the new releases and notable holdovers did financially. Sometimes, this can clue us in about the awards viability of certain films, while other times, it signals the beginning or end of a certain trend in Hollywood. Regardless, it’s just another bit of the movie world that’s interesting to take a look at, so that’s what we’ll be doing.
Leading the way this weekend was The LEGO Movie, which opened hugely, taking in an estimated $69.1 million, easily besting George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, which opened to $22.7 million, for second place. The other new release of note was Vampire Academy, which was no Twilight, as it barely reached $4.1 million for the weekend and debuted at number seven. A few independent films opened in limited release as well (notably A Field in England and Kids for Cash), but none of them really caught on. We’ll see if the weeks to come are kinder.

The LEGO Movie now is surely the start of a franchise, while The Monuments Men overcame less than stellar reviews to open better than expected, especially considering the bad buzz that surrounded the move from Oscar season last year. As for Vampire Academy, plain and simple…no one went to see it.
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, Ride Along finished third at $9.3 million (breaking the $100 million mark in the process) and Frozen made $6.9 million, good for fourth place and enough to make it 2013′s highest grossing animated flick. Congrats to both of them.
Here’s what the top ten looked like at the box office for this particular weekend:
1. The LEGO Movie – $69,110,000
2. The Monuments Men – $22,700,000
3. Ride Along – $9,394,000
4. Frozen – $6,914,000
5. That Awkward Moment – $5,540,000
6. Lone Survivor – $5,293,000
7. Vampire Academy – $4,101,000
8. The Nut Job – $3,809,000
9. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – $3,600,000
10. Labor Day – $3,230,000
Photos Courtesy Warner Bros

‘Gravity,’ ‘Her’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ Win at ADG Awards

The Art Directors Guild (ADG) tonight announced winners of its 18th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, Presented by Kohler Co., in ten categories of film, television, commercials and music videos during the black-tie ceremony in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The awards took place before an audience of more than 800, including guild members, industry executives and press. ADG Council Chair John Shaffner presided over the awards ceremony with comedian Owen Benjamin serving as host.
Martin Scorsese received the Guild’s prestigious Cinematic Imagery Award presented to him by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, his stars of The Wolf of Wall Street, which is currently nominated for five Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director. Production Designer Rick Carter was recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Kohler, which created a special award for the occasion. ADG President Mimi Gramatky and Production Designer Robert Stromberg participated in the presentation. Hall of Fame inductees were Robert Clatworthy, Harper Goff and J. Michael Riva. The 18th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards were co-produced by Dave Blass and Raf Lydon.
Presenters for this year’s awards included Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), June Squibb (Nebraska), Mimi Gramatky (ADG President), Julia Stiles (Blue), Robert Stromberg (Life of Pi), Elisabeth Rohm (American Hustle), Tricia Helfer (Killer Women), Katee Sackhoff (Longmire), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Dennis Haysbert (24), Frances Fisher (Resurrection), Jon Avnet (Blue), Bruce Davison (X-Men) and Bill Bohnert (Maximum Drive).
ADG awards recognition always goes to the Production Designer, Art Director, Assistant Art Director and their team for each nominated and winning project.
WINNERS FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A FEATURE FILM IN 2013:
Period Film
THE GREAT GATSBY
Production Designer: Catherine Martin
Fantasy Film
GRAVITY
Production Designer: Andy Nicholson
Contemporary Film
HER
Production Designer: K.K. Barrett
NOMINEES FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN IN TELEVISION FOR 2013:
One-Hour Single Camera Television Series
GAME OF THRONES, Episode: Valar Dohaeris
Production Designer: Gemma Jackson
Television Movie or Mini-Series
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
Production Designer: Howard Cummings
Half-Hour Single Camera Television Series
VEEP, Episode: Helsinki
Production Designer: Jim Gloster
Short Format, Live Action Series
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME, Episode: Pilot
Production Designer: Brian Kane
Multi-Camera, Variety, or Unscripted Series
PORTLANDIA, Episode: Missionaries
Production Designer: Tyler B. Robinson
Awards, Music, or Game Shows
THE 67th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS
Production Designer: Steve Bass
Commercial, PSA, Promo, and Music Video
CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS, Episode: Epic Night Out
Production Designer: Todd Cherniawsky
ADG Awards Sponsors: Presenting and Lifetime Achievement: KOHLER; Title Sponsor:
Paramount Pictures; Platinum: LBI Entertainment, [...]

Attack on Woody Allen by a Blogger

Someone at the New York Times has come to her senses. Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s Public Editor, has responded to a complaint from a reader who writes about ethics. Sullivan says she’s “troubled” by questions raised by Chris Rasmussen, an associate professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She actually refers him and others to Robert Weide’s excellent piece in The Daily Beast on Woody and the entire twenty year scandal.

Rasmussen wrote: “I write to ask about the propriety of publishing largely one-sided columns assailing a lone individual..I wonder whether [columnists] should use that platform to advocate on behalf of personal friends, as Mr. Kristof did yesterday. If Dylan Farrow wishes to publish an open letter about her allegations, there are ample forums in this internet age. Should The Times and Mr. Kristof lend their credibility to her argument against Woody Allen?”
To read more go to WWW.SHOWBIZ411.COM

“Enough Said” with Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette – VOD

Enough Said. Rating: 5 (out of 5). A divorced single parent, Eva, is dreading her daughter’s departure for college. She then meets Albert, a funny, sweet, like-minded man who is also facing an empty nest. As their romance blossoms, Eva meets a new friend in her new massage client, Marianne, who constantly rags on her ex-husband. Eva finds herself doubtful of her new relationship when she learns that Albert is Marianne’s former husband. “Enough Said,” starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, premieres on VOD on Tuesday, January 28. The New York Times calls it “one of the best-written American film comedies in recent memory.”
Starring: Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
For more reviews go to www.hereistv.com

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