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11 items from 2008

Average Joes

15 December 2008 12:59 AM, PST | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

D.B. Sweeney's road comedy Two Tickets to Paradise tracks a trio of beleaguered buddies (Sweeney, John C. McGinley, and Paul Hipp) who motor from small-town Pennsylvania to Florida to attend a college football bowl game. Considering the movie's blue-collar sensibilities, the term auteur might seem inappropriately highfalutin to describe Sweeney. But he clearly assumed such a role here — directing, co-writing, and producing. The actor (Eight Men Out, The Cutting Edge) had not originally planned to direct or produce. But he was interested in scripting a project for himself, and he enlisted friend Brian Currie, a bouncer-turned-scenarist, to help develop a story. Having spoken with firefighters and police officers in the wake of 9/11, Sweeney knew that many middle-aged working-class men were dissatisfied with the way they're portrayed onscreen. Citing the new film Zack and Miri Make a Porno, he says, "Seth Rogen is with this beautiful girl. The geeky guy »

- Mark Dundas Wood

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Opening This Week: This year's '60s music biopic, Ron Howard's Oscar bid and one last superhero movie

2 December 2008 11:23 AM, PST | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

By Neil Pedley

Providing the requisite stopgap between showy Thanksgiving distractions and award season stragglers, female directors and assorted indie debutantes are making a strong showing this week.

"The Black Balloon"

'What's Eating Elissa Down?' is the question to ask as the award-winning director of Aussie shorts makes the jump to features with this semi-autobiographical tale of a frustrated adolescent on the verge of manhood weighed down by his responsibilities to his autistic younger brother. Daytime soap star Rhys Wakefield takes the role of the Gilbert Grape-esque Thomas, a burdened army brat charged with his brother's care while his parents drag the two up and down the country until he meets Jackie, a free spirit who teaches him how to shed his bitterness. The always impressive Toni Collette anchors this teenage ensemble as the boy's mother, Maggie. Luke Ford and Gemma Ward co-star.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles. »

- Neil Pedley

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Opening This Week: A Wong Kar-wai redux, more mumblecore and shaky-cam horror

6 October 2008 7:06 AM, PDT | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

By Neil Pedley

With the fall season's heavy hitters already starting to make an appearance, this week's feast of indie offers some calm before the big studio storm. Enjoy it while it lasts.

"Ashes of Time Redux"

Celebrated Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai gathered together lost and damaged footage to painstakingly rework his only martial arts epic, first released in 1994, into a fresh, definitive edition (complete with an all new score from Yo-Yo Ma). With a blindingly colorful palette, Wong paints a looping, stylized portrait of an embittered agent Ouyang Feng (the late Leslie Cheung) who channels the unbearable pain of a broken heart into commissioning bounty hunters to commit acts of vengeance. Tony Leung Ka Fai, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau and Jacky Cheung round out the still-impressive cast.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

"Body of Lies"

In terms of the global espionage thriller, orange is the new »

- Neil Pedley

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The Emmy Award Winner's List!

21 September 2008 8:42 PM, PDT | TheInsider.com | See recent The Insider news »

Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions Tom Purcell, Head Writer The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. Steve Bodow, Head Writer Late Night With Conan O'Brien • NBC • Conaco, Broadway Video, in association with Universal Media Studio Mike Sweeney, Head Writer Late Show With David Letterman • CBS • Worldwide Pants Inc. Eric Stangel, Head Writer Justin Stangel, Head Writer Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with NBC Studios and Broadway Video Seth Meyers, Head Writer Andrew Steele, Head Writer Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series Flight Of The Conchords • Yoko • HBO • Dakota Pictures and Comedy Arts in association with HBO Entertainment James Bobin, Written By Jemaine Clement, Written By Bret McKenzie, Written By The Office • Dinner Party • NBC • Deedle Dee Productions, Reveille LLC, Universal Media Studios Lee Eisenberg, Written By Gene Stupnitsky, »

- TheInsider

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60th Primetime Emmys: a night of firsts

20 September 2008 9:00 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

It was a record-breaking night at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, with HBO's "John Adams" establishing a new standard for most wins for a program in a single year and CBS' "The Amazing Race" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" posting unprecedented sixth consecutive best series wins.

Overall, there were few surprises as the three most nominated programs, "John Adams" (23 noms), NBC's "30 Rock" (17) and AMC's "Mad Men" (16) dominated the longform, comedy and drama fields.

With its best drama series trophy, "Mad Men" became the first basic cable program to win a major series category. In addition to the "30 Rock" repeat as best comedy series, its creator/star Tina Fey also won Emmys for lead comedy actress and comedy series writing, while "Mad" walked away with a drama writing Emmy for creator Matthew Weiner.

The haul for "John Adams" included wins for best miniseries, for stars Paul Giamatti, »

- By Kimberly Nordyke

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Dark Night Of The Scarecrow Coming To DVD!

23 August 2008 9:21 PM, PDT | iconsoffright.com | See recent Icons of Fright news »

Yes! Yet another one of our Vault Of The Forgotten And Obscure picks is finding its way to DVD! The fiends over at Deadpit.com recently chatted with director J.D. Feigelson who confirmed that a DVD (and a Blu-Ray) release of his cult-classic made-for-tv 1981 flick Dark Night Of The Scarecrow is in the works! Dark Night Of The Scarecrow is a classic revenge tale which features Larry Drake (Darkman, Dr. Giggles) playing the slow, yet innocent Bubba Ritter who gets wrongly accused of a local girls murder and gets killed by the townsfolk. They get away with it, but not for long! The movie also stars Lane Smith and Charles Durning. Details are scare as of now, but we'll keep you posted on more when we hear it. Click Here to read more about it from our May 2006 Vault edition!


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Finally! Dark Night of the Scarecrow DVD!

22 August 2008 1:34 PM, PDT | DreadCentral.com | See recent Dread Central news »

Now here's some truly great news. Deadpit.com's "Creepy Kentuckian" is reporting that the classic (and largely unseen by today's audiences) 1981 made-for-tv fright flick Dark Night of the Scarecrow is at long last getting the DVD and Blu-Ray treatment. About damn time!

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a genuinely creepy horror movie about a mentally handicapped young man (Larry Drake, Dr. Giggles) wrongfully accused of assaulting a young girl in a rural farm community who is then hunted down by a lynch mob led by legendary character actor Charles Durning. The frightened simpleton tries to disguise himself as the scarecrow in his mother's field only to get gunned down in cold blood by the mob. The murderous rednecks then try to cover their tracks by putting a pitchfork in his hands and claiming self defense. They get away with it too until that night someone dressed at that scarecrow »

- Foywonder

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Cable is aces for Primetime Emmys

18 July 2008 7:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Cable networks shattered Emmy's glass ceiling Thursday.

After no other cable network besides HBO had ever been able to break into the best series categories, three cablers -- AMC, FX and Showtime -- made their debut among the nominees in the top fields at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards.

In doing so, they also broke their previous Emmy nom records, as did Bravo and Sci Fi Channel.

Cable's breakthrough performance also comes just as the broadcast networks are reeling from a tough season, scarred by the effects of the writers strike.

AMC's period drama "Mad Men" landed 16 nominations, including best drama series and best lead actor for star Jon Hamm.

In the drama series category, it was joined by FX's "Damages" and Showtime's "Dexter."

"Not only is this an incredible affirmation of everything we've done on the show, it's part of a shattering of the network TV monopoly," "Mad Men" creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner said.

"The TV academy and its members finally recognized cable television in an unprecedented way," "Damages" co-creator/exec producer Todd Kessler said. "What I hope it ultimately means is that more shows and more people will embrace opportunities away from network TV -- and hopefully network TV will reflect, in terms of content and storytelling, what's going on in other areas of television."

Also nominated for best drama series are ABC's "Lost," which returns to the category after a two-year absence coming off one of its strongest seasons, along with ABC's "Boston Legal" and Fox's "House."

Missing the cut were ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," whose snub is even more surprising because the category was expanded to six series this year, and NBC's critical darling "Friday Night Lights."

The Peacock's "30 Rock" led the series field with 17 noms, including best comedy series and lead acting honors for Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.

The show's tally is the largest ever for a comedy series in a single year, surpassing the 16 for HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" in 1997.

In the comedy series category, defending champ "30 Rock" will face 2006 winner "The Office" and HBO's "Entourage" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." CBS' "Two and a Half Men" is the lone representative of the multicamera sitcom genre in the category dominated by single-camera half-hours.

Toon "Family Guy's" quest to make history with a best comedy series nomination came up short after making the list of 10 finalists. (It still landed a nom in an animated program category.) Also absent from the comedy series category: ABC's much-lauded freshman "Pushing Daisies."

Overall, HBO miniseries "John Adams" was the most-nominated program with 23 mentions, including best miniseries and lead acting noms for Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.

Not surprisingly, HBO bagged the most nominations among all the networks, 85, followed by ABC with 76 and CBS with 51.

As strong a presence as cable had in the best series categories, its dominance in the lead drama acting categories was even more impressive.

Four actors on cable series -- Hamm, Michael C. Hall of "Dexter," Bryan Cranston of AMC's "Breaking Bad" and Gabriel Byrne of HBO's "In Treatment" -- made the list, joined by returning contenders James Spader of "Boston Legal" and Hugh Laurie of "House."

On the distaff side, Glenn Close of "Damages," Holly Hunter of TNT's "Saving Grace" and Kyra Sedgwick of TNT's "The Closer" are facing the past two winners in the category: Sally Field of ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" and Mariska Hargitay of NBC's "Law & Order: Svu."

In the lead comedy actress category, Fey -- who won the Golden Globe in January for her starring role on "30 Rock" -- will compete against past winners Julia Louis-Dreyfus of CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and America Ferrera of ABC's "Ugly Betty," along with Mary-Louise Parker for Showtime's "Weeds" and Christina Applegate for ABC's freshman comedy "Samantha Who?"

Notably missing are the ladies of Wisteria Lane as ABC's "Desperate Housewives" was shut out of the top categories.

In the lead actor in a comedy series field, Steve Carell will have his third shot at an Emmy for his role on "The Office." He is going up against three-time winner Tony Shalhoub of USA's "Monk," Baldwin, Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men" and Lee Pace of "Pushing Daisies."

While new cable series were red-hot, freshmen broadcast series barely registered this go-round, with just a handful of acting nominations. Last year, three rookies -- "30 Rock," "Ugly Betty" and NBC's "Heroes" -- earned best series noms; "30 Rock" won.

But this past season, freshmen series were heavily impacted by the writers strike, and many of them, including "Pushing Daisies," didn't produce more episodes beyond their short fall runs.

The work stoppage affected all broadcast series, which produced fewer episodes, and the long winter drought of originals might have steered viewers, including TV academy members, to cable.

Louis-Dreyfus said it was a "huge relief" to get nominated because the show shot only 10 episodes because of the strike.

"I thought any chance of getting any nomination was slim for that reason," she said.

Coincidence or not, all of the broadcast series that landed in the top categories aired original episodes in the spring.

"House" almost didn't, as Fox originally opted not to order more originals after the strike. It eventually did, and one of these extra episodes yielded a nom for director Greg Yaitanes.

While there might have been some impact from the strike, the recognition for cable mostly is a reflection of its creative strides in the past few years, said "House" creator/exec producer David Shore.

"With the gains they've made, it's long overdue," he said. "The way for us to keep up is by trying to do as good television as we can."

Additionally, the tally of some cable networks, including Showtime, may have been boosted by their decisions to stream episodes or full seasons on the Web for TV academy members.

Nominees in the top categories were announced at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences by Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris and academy chairman John Shaffner.

The Emmy ceremony will be held Sept. 21 from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and broadcast on ABC.

Ray Richmond contributed to this report.

A list of nominees is on the next page.

A list of nominees follows:

Outstanding drama series

Boston Legal (ABC)

Damages (FX)

Dexter (Showtime)

House (Fox)

Lost (ABC)

Mad Men (AMC)

Outstanding comedy series

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Entourage (HBO)

The Office (NBC)

30 Rock (NBC)

Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Outstanding miniseries

The Andromeda Strain (A&E)

Cranford (PBS)

John Adams (HBO)

Tin Man (Sci Fi Channel)

Outstanding made-for-television movie

Bernard and Doris (HBO)

Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (HBO)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter (Lifetime)

A Raisin in the Sun (ABC)

Recount (HBO)

Outstanding variety, music or comedy series

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)

Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)

Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Lead actor in a comedy series

Tony Shalhoub, Monk (USA)

Steve Carell, The Office (NBC)

Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies (ABC)

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)

Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Lead actor in a drama series

James Spader, Boston Legal (ABC)

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)

Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)

Hugh Laurie, House (Fox)

Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment (HBO)

Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)

Lead actor in a miniseries or movie

Ralph Fiennes, Bernard and Doris (HBO)

Ricky Gervais, Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (HBO)

Paul Giamatti, John Adams (HBO)

Kevin Spacey, Recount (HBO)

Tom Wilkinson, Recount (HBO)

Lead actress in a comedy series

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)

Christina Applegate, Samantha Who? (ABC)

Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)

America Ferrera, Ugly Betty (ABC)

Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds (Showtime)

Lead actress in a drama series

Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT)

Glenn Close, Damages (FX)

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Svu (NBC)

Holly Hunter, Saving Grace (TNT)

Lead actress in a miniseries or movie

Catherine Keener, An American Crime (Showtime)

Susan Sarandon, Bernard and Doris (HBO)

Judi Dench, Cranford (PBS)

Laura Linney, John Adams (HBO)

Phylicia Rashad, A Raisin in the Sun (ABC)

Supporting actor in a comedy series

Jeremy Piven, Entourage (HBO)

Kevin Dillon, Entourage (HBO)

Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

Rainn Wilson, The Office (NBC)

Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Supporting actor in a drama series

William Shatner, Boston Legal (ABC)

Ted Danson, Damages (FX)

Zeljko Ivanek, Damages (FX)

Michael Emerson, Lost (ABC)

John Slattery, Mad Men (AMC)

Supporting actor in a miniseries or movie

David Morse, John Adams (HBO)

Stephen Dillane, John Adams (HBO)

Tom Wilkinson, John Adams (HBO)

Denis Leary, Recount (HBO)

Bob Balaban, Recount (HBO)

Supporting actress in a comedy series

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies (ABC)

Jean Smart, Samantha Who? (ABC)

Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty (ABC)

Supporting actress in a drama series

Candice Bergen, Boston Legal (ABC)

Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

Dianne Wiest, In Treatment (HBO)

Supporting actress in a miniseries or movie

Eileen Atkins, Cranford (PBS)

Ashley Jensen, Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (HBO)

Alfre Woodard, Pictures of Hollis Woods (CBS)

Audra McDonald, A Raisin in the Sun (ABC)

Laura Dern, Recount (HBO)

Guest actor in a comedy series

Shelley Berman, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Rip Torn, 30 Rock (NBC)

Will Arnett, 30 Rock (NBC)

Steve Buscemi, 30 Rock (NBC)

Tim Conway, 30 Rock (NBC)

Guest actor in a drama series

Stanley Tucci, ER (NBC)

Glynn Turman, In Treatment (HBO)

Robin Williams, Law & Order: Svu (NBC)

Robert Morse, Mad Men (AMC)

Oliver Platt, Nip/Tuck (FX)

Charles Durning, Rescue Me (FX)

Guest actress in a comedy series

Polly Bergen, Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Sarah Silverman, Monk (USA)

Carrie Fisher, 30 Rock (NBC)

Edie Falco, 30 Rock (NBC)

Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock (NBC)

Guest actress in a drama series

Ellen Burstyn, Big Love (HBO)

Diahann Carroll, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

Cynthia Nixon, Law & Order: Svu (NBC)

Anjelica Huston, Medium (NBC)

Sharon Gless, Nip/Tuck (FX)

Individual performance in a variety or music program

Jon Stewart, 80th Annual Academy Awards (ABC)

Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)

David Letterman, Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)

Don Rickles, Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (HBO)

Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Host for a reality or reality-competition program

Ryan Seacrest, American Idol (Fox)

Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars (ABC)

Howie Mandel, Deal or No Deal (NBC)

Heidi Klum, Project Runway (Bravo)

Jeff Probst, Survivor (CBS)

Directing for a comedy series

Entourage -- No Cannes Do; Dan Attias, director

Flight of the Conchords -- Sally Returns; James Bobin, director

The Office -- Money (Parts 1 & 2); Paul Lieberstein, director

The Office -- Goodbye, Toby; Paul Feig, director

Pushing Daisies -- Pie-Lette; Barry Sonnenfeld, director

30 Rock -- Rosemary's Baby; Michael Engler, director

Directing for a drama series

Boston Legal -- The Mighty Rogues; Arlene Sanford, director

Breaking Bad -- Pilot; Vince Gilligan, director

Damages -- Pilot; Allen Coulter, director

House -- House's Head; Greg Yaitanes, director

Mad Men -- Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Pilot); Alan Taylor, director

Outstanding animated program (less than one hour)

Creature Comforts America (CBS)

King of the Hill (Fox)

Robot Chicken (Cartoon Network)

SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)

The Simpsons (Fox)

Outstanding animated program (one hour or more)

Blue Harvest (Fox)

Imaginationland (Comedy Central)

Justice League: The New Frontier (Warner Bros. on Demand)

Click here for a complete list of nominees. »

- By Nellie Andreeva

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Mostly Complete List Of Emmy Nominations

17 July 2008 8:02 AM, PDT | NYPost.com | See recent New York Post news »

A list of nominees follows:

Outstanding Drama Series

"Boston Legal"





"Mad Men"

Outstanding Comedy Series

"Curb Your Enthusiasm"


"The Office"

"30 Rock"

"Two and a Half Men"

Outstanding Miniseries

"The Andromeda Strain" -- A&E

"Cranford" (Masterpiece Theatre) -- PBS

"John Adams" -- HBO

"Tin Man" -- Sci Fi Channel

Outstanding Made for Television Movie

"Bernard and Doris" -- HBO

"Extras: The Extra »

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Hollywood Walk of Fame Adds Robert Downey Jr Among Others

19 June 2008 11:30 AM, PDT | ShockYa | See recent ShockYa news »

Variety reports today that The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s committee has chosen 25 new recipients to be added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. According to the report, Hugh Jackman, Ben Kingsley, Cameron Diaz, Robert Downey Jr., Director Tim Burton and Kfi radio personality Bill Handel will be added. Others include William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Leslie Caron, Charles Durning, William Petersen, Ralph Fiennes, Kyra Sedgwick, John Stamos, Mark Burnett, Chuck Lorre and more. For a complete list and other [...] »

- Brian Corder

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Cumming, Wiest wing to 'Seagull'

4 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest and Tony winner Alan Cumming will star in The Seagull this winter at Classic Stage Company in New York.

The production, helmed by Russian director and Chekhovian scholar Viacheslav Dolgachev, will begin previews Feb. 20 in advance of a March 13 opening. The limited engagement will run until March 30.

Wiest, who won Oscars for her work in the Woody Allen films Hannah and Her Sisters and Bullets Over Broadway, most recently appeared onstage in New York in 2005, when she starred with Charles Durning in Third at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center.

Cumming, who won a Tony for the Sam Mendes revival of Cabaret, recently starred in the Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera during the 2005-06 season.

Dolgachev is the artistic director of the Moscow New Drama Theatre and a former associate at Moscow Art Theatre. He has taught and directed Chekhov in Moscow, Switzerland and the U.S., including New York and Columbia universities and New York's Actors' Center. »

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11 items from 2008

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