Not many surprises in official Biennale di Venezia lineup
La Biennale di Venezia 2011 (aka the 2011 Venice Film Festival) announced its 68th round of selections today and a long absent American filmmaker is making his long awaited return.
Whit Stillman, who is known for the indie classic "Metropolitan," "Barcelona" and "the Last Days of Disco," will debut his first film in 13 years, "Damsels in Distress." The comedy stars Gerta Gerwig and Adam Brody and will play out of competition as the festival's closing night film on Sept. 10.
A fun conversation with the 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' and 'Drive' star
2011 may just be the year of Ryan Gosling. Sure, the Oscar nominee has had his share of the spotlight before with acclaimed roles in "Half Nelson," "Lars and the Real Girl," "The Notebook," "Stay" and last year's moving turn in "Blue Valentine," but its his three films arriving over the next four months which may solidify his fame. Of course, Gosling has hardly been setting himself up for a career as Hollywood's next leading man.
'Young Adult,' 'Tinker, Tailor' and 'Iron Lady' won't cross the border
The announcement of this year's Toronto Film Festival line up included a number of pictures expected to premiere or screen north of the border. Award season contenders such as Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," Bennett Miller's "Moneyball," Sarah Polley's "Take this Waltz" and Jonathan Levine's "50/50" seemed destined for Toronto months ago. There were three films, however, that didn't make the initial cut which raised some eyebrows.
Films featuring Channing Tatum, Megan Fox and U2 also make the cut
Italian fest may steal some of Toronto and Telluride's thunder
Of all the major film festivals, the Venice Film Festival has been the most inconsistent in the quality of the films that make its program. Last year, for instance, was considered a very weak year with Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere" surprisingly surpassing Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" for the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion. The official selections for 2011 won't be announced until Thursday, but according to a report in Variety, this year will be a marked improvement.
Could comedy be in the former 'SNL' host's future?
SAN DIEGO - Taylor Lautner is in a giddy mood and you can't blame him. The 19-year-old teen heartthrob has finished yet another packed panel in Comic-Con's Hall H for the "Twilight" franchise. This time, he was promoting the second to last installment in the series, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1." Having to be "on" in front of 6,000 fans - not to mention the hundreds of thousands following the event on twitter, facebook or live blogs - wouldn't be easy for anyone. Especially when your every comment will be dissected by fans and non-fans alike for weeks. So, when I met Lautner at nearby PetCo Park to discuss his other movie this year, "Abduction," he was almost bouncing out of the stadium with relief that it had all gone so well.
Sundance favorite debuts on Friday
Sometimes the Sundance Film Festival plucks an actor or filmmaker from obscurity and completely changes their life. For the 2011 edition of the festival, there was no talent more lauded out of nowhere than Brit Marling.
Best Picture nod will be tougher
With "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" landing impressive reviews and making a killing at the box office, Hollywood is quickly moving on to discussing the film's Oscar prospects. Yes, it's never too soon.
Critically, "Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" earned almost universally positive (some might use the term "rave") reviews with an 87 grade on Metacritic and a 97% approval on Rotten Tomatoes (the highest scores among wide releases this year). The only "Harry Potter" film to come anywhere near that level of acclaim was Alfonso Cuaron's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in 2004. Taking into account the film's consistently laudy box office grosses across eight films, many would suggest that "Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" could find itself the recipient of a best picture nomination as recognition for the entire series. Of course that was before the Academy decided to implement the 5% rule this spring.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway are not recognized
Ah, aren't friends grand? After receiving some of the most critical and harsh reviews for an Oscar telecast since the infamous 1989 "Rob Lowe and Snow White" Academy Awards (61st for those playing at home), it's now time to see how the big show fared in Emmy nominations. As the grand daddy of awards shows, the Oscars usually always finds itself with a slew of nods - some deserved, some not.
Outstanding Special Class Programs (best award show basically)
Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries Or Movie
Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Special (Don Mischer)
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety, Music, Or Comedy Special
Outstanding Music Direction
Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming
Outstanding Short-Form Picture Editing
Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media (Oscar Digital Experience on ABC.com)
Now, to be frank, 10 nods sort of an outrageous number for this telecast. There were 12 nominations for the 2010 show, 10 for the critically acclaimed 2009 show, nine nods for the 2008 edition and nine nods in 2007. No one would argue the 2007, 2008 and 2009 shows weren't better, but somehow last year's misfire equaled or surpassed them.
While it's somewhat shocking it landed a special class nod considering the only other nominees were the Tonys, Grammys and Golden Globes (um, really?) it appears that category is now a given. The diss for Oscar from its TV counterpart is a lack of writing and hosting nominations. Even when people don't think the show is that funny (such as the year before with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin), the show is usually assured at least a writing nod. Not this year. And while it's not a given, many hosts have found themselves getting Emmy recognition including Steve Martin (2001), Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres and of course, Billy Crystal. Anne Hathaway and James Franco join fine company, however, as Hugh Jackman, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin and David Letterman didn't land nods either.
The directing nod for Don Mischer isn't a shock either, even if the show seemed messy at times. Highly respected among his peers, Mischer has won 13 Emmy Awards and produced the 2009 and 2010 Emmy telecasts. Of course, he also co-produced the 83rd Academy Awards, but it appears reputation won out over the results this time around. Personally, we're rooting for the Grammy Awards to take home this year's major trophies. How about you?
The 63rd Emmy Awards will be handed out on Sept. 18.
Interviews from a visit at the 100 Acre Woods
HUNDRED ACRE WOOD, ASHDOWN FOREST, SUSSEX, ENGLAND - When A.A. Milne first conceived of "Winnie the Pooh" as a story for his young son Christopher Robin, he couldn't have foreseen that the honey loving bear would be delighting children almost a century later? Happily for Disney and Milne's estate, not only are kids still interested in Pooh and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore and Kanga, among others. And while toys and books featuring Winnie can still be found in kids rooms across the world, it's been quite awhile since Milne's creations got the respect they deserve on the big screen.