April 16, 2014

Tag Archives: Robert DeNiro

Robert DeNiro can do anything

Oscar voting has closed, so I can say this: Robert DeNiro can do anything. And so now, the nominee for “Silver Linings Playbook” is taking on his bravest project yet. He’s going to direct the Broadway musical of “A Bronx Tale,” the movie he directed in 1993.
Chazz Palminteri, who wrote the original movie and acted in and the Broadway play (which he also wrote), is writing the book for the musical now. David Bryan of Bon Jovi, who won the Tony for “Memphis,” is writing the songs. (Expect a lot of doo wop– they should call Richard Perry.) Sergio Trujillo — of Jersey Boys and Addams Family fame– is working on the choreography.
I know all this because the one and only Tommy Mottola is producing the musical, and he told me all about it yesterday. (Mottola is in partnership with Broadway’s The Dodgers.) Tommy and I were talking about his own musical memoir, the autobiography called “Hitmaker” in book stores now.
Mottola called me from Miami where he’s working on two more books–including one about the Latin culture and “the whole demographic.” Mottola is also working on a musical version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly,” directed by Bill T. Jones– aimed for Broadway next winter. Curtis Mayfield is hot hot hot–first “Sparkle,” now “Superfly.”
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Oscar nominations have many of us scratching our heads this morning…

What a crazy morning. As Oscar tends to do, they delivered their annual “WTF?” but instead of them inserting their nominees, they took out the nominees. Insane. Simply insane.
My reactions to the nominees are below:
Best Picture
• Amour
• Argo
• Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Zero Dark Thirty
I’m so happy I was wrong about Amour getting trumped by all the loud December openings. It’s well deserved. The only surprise (and to some it isn’t a surprise) is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained making the cut here over Moonrise Kingdom, who many thought would make the cut. As we trickle down through every category, and if you already saw the Best Director lineup, this looks like a race between Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook at this point.
Prediction – 7 for 9 (missed Amour and Django for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise, and The Master at #10)
Predicted Winner – Lincoln
Snub – Moonrise Kingdom, The Master, The Impossible
Best Achievement in Directing
• Michael Haneke – Amour
• Ang Lee – Life of Pi
• David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
• Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
• Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
I spoke about the possibility of Benh Zeitlin sneaking in for Best Director when DGA was announced and his film is a director’s type of film. What’s more insane is it came at the expense of three big Oscar favorites, Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, and David O. Russell. When it comes to Affleck, I discussed back in November that Oscar may not have fully forgiven him or take him seriously yet as a director to be taken seriously here. It’s sad because he’s delivered three solid films under his directorial belt that are worthy of citation. I’m glad Argo managed the Picture nom though but George Clooney as a Producer probably had something to do with that more than Affleck.
I can’t explain why Bigelow missed. Is it the woman card? The controversy surrounding the film at the moment? Not sure at all. Tom Hooper directing a musical and missing makes sense. They Academy at large doesn’t go all the way for musicals unless the Weinstein Company is pushing it or its 40 years ago. Congratulations Ang Lee, you are officially in the running to win your second Directing Oscar. Russell is in the heat of the race too. Can’t believe what we [...]

Oscars: Billy Crystal Was Far From His Best

By Michael Russnow
HollywoodNews.com: The Academy Awards was a lot better than last year’s offering and generally moved along pretty well. However, Billy Crystal’s performance was mixed. Sometimes he was spot on and in other instances resorted to forced humor that missed its mark.
After Morgan Freeman’s opening we saw Billy in an uninspiring repeat of what he’d done so well many times before, inserting himself into reproductions of well-known clips from the top films. Maybe it’s because he’s done it so many times. It’s true that he hasn’t been host since 2004, and we often enjoy an entertainer repeating his or her best work, but like an aging singer whose voice doesn’t hold up when the muscles sag, what was downright hysterical in past years, like when he came out as Hannibal Lecter in 1992, this go-around didn’t work too well for me in 2012.
The one exception was from The Descendants, when George Clooney recreated his visit to his comatose wife, played by Crystal lying in bed. Clooney’s kiss was so heartfelt it provided a big laugh. The Justin Bieber bit from Midnight in Paris wasn’t bad. Not so much the scene with Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible, nor was Crystal’s business spoofing The Help or Tintin particularly funny.
Oddly when he segued into his Oscar medley it worked better, with the lyrics sharp and engaging. After that, it was hit and miss. Sometimes very clever and other times flat. And when the latter happened he often responded defensively, at one point indicating the band in the pit liked the joke. He also was a bit insensitive regarding the age of some of the nominees as he mentioned octogenarians Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow, followed by senility jokes at their expense. Considering that Crystal himself is pushing 64 and that ageism besetting Hollywood is rampant with many talented professionals unemployed, it’s just not funny anymore.
As the three hour ten minute show progressed, they whizzed through awards at a relatively rapid pace. Instead of starting with a celebrity award, such as supporting actor and actress, they began with Tom Hanks presenting Oscars for cinematography and art direction, both of which went on the scorecard for Hugo.
There was a montage of film clips that moved along all right, but, unless I missed one, it appeared that it was as if movie history began with 1969′s Midnight Cowboy, because none of the featured films [...]

Another Oscar For Robert De Niro?

HollywoodNews.com: EXCLUSIVE Robert DeNiro has been such a great presence in Cannes this week as head of the jury. And he’s also been much on everyone’s minds concerning movies. He’s got a wedding movie in the works with Diane Keaton, an Italian film being shown in the market to distributors, and something really cool in the offing.
I’m told that producer Art Linson has written a script that DeNiro loves called “The Comedian.” It’s about an insult comic, described sort of like Don Rickles meets Joan Rivers. Hot shot younger generation Friars Club comedian Jeffrey Ross helped Linson by writing DeNiro’s stand up routines, and they say that DeNiro loves the material.
The movie is all set up and financed–Linson, after all, is a pro of pro’s. And the next step is to convince Martin Scorsese to direct. Of course, Scorsese directed DeNiro years ago as a comedian in the classic 1982 film, “The King of Comedy.” But I’m told this comedian is quite different than Rupert Pupkin, and would be a serious role with Oscar potential for DeNiro.
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Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith Celebrate in Cannes

HollywoodNews.com: Saturday in Cannes: Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas celebrated their 15th anniversary by going to the really famous Bacon restaurant in Antibes. Antonio bought Melanie stunning jewelry–earrings, a ring, and a necklace that Melanie told us aboard Russian billionaire (and Weinstein Company investor) Len Blavatnik‘s yacht, the Odessa, would have been “too much” for an informal lunch. Antonio’s gift was a cross made of black diamonds that he showed off to guests like Naomi Campbell, Jessica Chastain, Jane Fonda, Ron Burkle, and “Dark Knight” producer Charles Roven.
Antonio, who’s got Pedro Almodovar‘s “The Skin I Live In” premiering here on Thursday, joked: “They said when we got married we wouldn’t last three months. But we knew they were wrong.” Indeed, the Hollywood couple are stronger than ever and having a ball. Antonio has turned into a producer and director. I can tell you exclusively that he’s getting ready to produce a series pilot for Melanie called “Neurasthenia.”
The Banderases took in the “Pirates” premiere before heading to Bacon, and later met up with Robert DeNiro and Grace Hightower, Jane Fonda and Richard Perry, at the Hotel DuCap’s famous lobby bar well after midnight–where they all bumped into the “Pirates” gang–Johnny Depp, director Rob Marshall, and actor Ian McShane who were toasting their much cheered opening night.
DeNiro, by the way, is having a great time as head of the jury. When I asked him how it was going, he gave me a huge grin and put his index finger to his closed mouth. “Shhhh, we can’t say a word!” he joked.
As for Melanie and Antonio: I don’t know what the tabloids do to doctor pictures of Melanie. But I can tell you that she is absolutely gorgeous, and looks more like a movie star than ever. Antonio is a lucky guy!
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Robert de Niro Honored at the Cannes Film Festival Opening Night

HollywoodNews.com: It was a New York opening night for the 2011 Festival de Cannes. Robert DeNiro spoke a little halting French and was honored as head of the jury during a long but glamorous celebration at the Palais des Festivals. Fellow New Yorker Woody Allen got huge ovations at the beginning and end of the premiere of his “Midnight in Paris.”

Star Owen Wilson sat through the screening–he told me it was the first time he’d sat through one of his premieres in 11 years. He was so overwhelmed by the praise he kept getting all night–especially at the swanky opening night dinner–thaty he was reeling. And Owen Wilson is never at a shortage of words!
Meantime, it such a New York night that star musician Jamie Cullum was enlisted at the last minute–three days ago–to put together a live jazz performance medley of “New York New York” and “Empire State of Mind.” It was so good that the opening ceremony host Melanie Laurent got juror Uma Thurman to dance on stage with her, and the whole audience –including wheelchair bound director Bernardo Bertolucci and move star Faye Dunaway–clapped along.

Meantime, Woody Allen looked dazed and jet lagged. He only arrived in Cannes on Wednesday morning–because he and wife Soon Yi didn’t want to take their kids of out of school for more than three days. PS Believe it or not, Woody and Soon Yi have now logged 19 years together.
Best dressed of the night: Woody’s leading lady, Rachel McAdams; Salma Hayek in Gucci; Uma, styled by Anna Bingemann (aka Mrs. Griffin Dunne), and the amazing Grace Hightower, aka Mrs. DeNiro. Jude Law and Adrien Brody looked good, too.
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Robert DeNiro takes aim at Donald Trump for Obama comments

HollywoodNews.com: Donald Trump has been saying quite a bit about President Obama these days as he considers running for the job himself, but it isn’t sitting well with Robert DeNiro.
DeNiro recently spoke with Brian Williams about the claims that Obama might not be a U.S. citizen, states RadarOnline.com. “I won’t name names, but certain people in the news in the last couple of weeks, just, what are they doing? It’s crazy,” DeNiro said, later confirming that he was referring to Trump.
Trump is reportedly claiming that there hasn’t been enough proof of Obama’s citizenship, but DeNiro has one thing to tell him in response: “Go get the facts.”
Do you agree with Robert DeNiro or Donald Trump?
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“Miral” by Julian Schnabel: “Who would not want to see my film?”

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: HollywoodNews.com: Julian Schnabel‘s “Miral” got its premiere last night in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, a place I hadn’t seen the inside of since I was 12. It’s still there! A giant state of the art screen was erected by a Boston company, and Schnabel assembled as his delegates Robert DeNiro, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Chaz Palminteri, and Candice Bergen and daughter Chloe Malle. Cast members Vanessa Redgrave, Willem Dafoe, and Stella Schnabel were in the room, too, along with Famke Janssen, James Toback, and the film’s author and inspiration, Rula Jebreal. DeNiro didn’t stay for the screening, and Penn left during the Q&A moderated by Dan Rather. But Steve Buscemi and wife Jo were among those who toughed it out. Star Freida Pinto must have been in India or shooting a film. “Miral” is much changed, by the way, from its festival cut last summer. Producer Jon Kilik — who told me he had lunch with Bono recently to discuss “Spider Man”– said they took 15 minutes out of it. Palestinian actress Haim Abbass is still wonderful in it…PS Schnabel didn’t conform just because we were at the UN. He wore trademark pajamas, albeit under a sportcoat…
…The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yielded few celebs beyond those who were involved in the ceremony. Maybe that’s because they make past inductees pay for tickets if they want to come! Ha! Anyway, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones were Jann Wenner‘s clueless guests (it would be interesting to know if they paid for tickets or were hosted). Judy Collins went as a guest of Jac Holzman because she’d been on Elektra Records back in the day; otherwise she’s not in the Rock Hall even though she should be. There are loads of pictures of Tommy Mottola, incongruously, from the event. I’m told Neil Diamond‘s acceptance speech was more than a tad unfriendly, not surprising considering how long he was made to wait for admission to this by now ridiculous club. Good for him!…
…Meanwhile, up at Elaine’s, Chris Noth stopped in after seeing Chris Rock in “The Motherf—er with the Hat.” Noth’s show, “That Championship Season,” is off on Mondays. Much talk of Elaine, and Chris accepted kudos from diners for his role in the play. And that’s a cold Monday night in Manhattan, kids. PS Julian Schnabel’s [...]

OSCARS Honor Robert Duvall, Francis Ford Coppola at the Governor’s Awards‎

hollywoodnews.com: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the 2010 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood®, CA, Saturday, November 13. Pictured here at the event (left to right): Oscar®-winning producer Albert S. Ruddy, Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall, Honorary Award recipient Eli Wallach, Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award recipient Francis Ford Coppola, Previous Oscar-nominee Talia Shire, Previous Oscar-nominee James Caan, Oscar-winning director Sofia Coppola and Two time Oscar®-winning actor Robert DeNiro.
ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards – in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners – the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.
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This Week In Movies By Pete Hammond: “SAW VII,” “Stone,” “The Girl That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest”

By Pete Hammond
hollywoodnews.com: In a tacit admission that Halloween and the World Series may be just too big a distraction for moviegoers there was only one wide national release this week, and that was the abominable, not-screened-in-advance-for-critics seventh and mercifully final edition (they promise) of the torture-porn “Saw” horror series. Lionsgate has sprayed the Halloween territory with these movies for an astonishing seven years in a row , finally flatlining in 2009 with “Saw VI” which bombed. So why a seventh? The 3D phenomenon of course , and by making “Saw 3D” and clearly labeling it as the last in the series Lionsgate was able to grab the number one spot at the boxoffice with an estimated $24 million , $10 million more than what “Saw VI” did on its initial weekend last year. Considering the hiked prices for 3D tickets and that over 90% of them accounted for the “Saw 3D” total this figure really was not a big whoop and the film ought to deservedly plummet next weekend when Hollywood’s holiday season offerings get officially underway.
The next biggest release this week, but on only 153 screens, was yet another “series” film finale but one that was wildly different than “Saw 3D” to be sure. Music Box’s third in the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy , The “Girl That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” came in just under a million bucks with about $915,000 which while under the initial totals for the previous two films, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (now with about $10 million overall) and “The Girl Who Played With Fir”e (now with about $7.5 million overall), it is still pretty phenomenal considering these are Swedish subtitled arthouse movies at heart from a tiny upstart American distributor. Of course they are all based on the international best selling series of Larsson novels so that certainly helps. And compared to what the English remakes, now underway for Sony Pictures with David Fincher directing and Daniel Craig starring will ultimately do , it’s impressive collective gross is a mere pittance. Foreign language film lovers have to be heartened though since this proves if people really want to see something they will put up with subtitles. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” proved that in spades and it’s nice to see another global success story like this one take hold.
Star Noomi Rapace [...]

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