9 items from 2015
American Idol executive producer Trish Kinane was on hand for the taping of Season 14’s Top 24 performances in Detroit (airing tonight and Thursday, 8/7c on Fox) — and she’s sounding sunnier than an uptempo Jackson 5 jam.
“This year, the contestants were at a more advanced level of performance and ability before they took the [Detroit] stage than the [Season 13’s Top 12] were for their live performance shows,” she says — and the massive year-to-year difference is hardly accidental.
VideosReality Check: Are We Witnessing American Idol’s Deepest Bench Ever?
“We’re putting a lot more progress and process into the show this year,” explains Kinane, »
While the Oscars are primarily about great movies and contemporary glamor, they're also a tremendous source of awkwardness. The mortifying moments of the Academy Awards are just as memorable as the "Titanic"-size triumphs, and today we're remembering the ten times we clutched our throats hardest in Oscar-induced agony. 1. Melissa Leo swears, rambles, and forces Kirk Douglas to do prop comedy. Melissa Leo's infamous "Consider" campaign, in which the respected "Homicide: Life on the Street" actress vied for an Oscar with a bizarrely egomaniacal poster promo, sullied the excitement around her great performance in "The Fighter." But somehow she made things worse by winning the Oscar, throwing down a senseless, weird speech (complete with an f-bomb), and enacting a hokey cane dance with presenter Kirk Douglas. Easily the most cringe-inducing dais moment of the past decade. 2. David Niven notices a nudist's shortcomings. He didn't lose his cool, but three-time »
- Louis Virtel
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired distribution rights to Louise Osmond's documentary "Dark Horse." The non-fiction feature was a major crowdpleaser at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and went on to earn the Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. "Dark Horse" tells the true story of a group of friends in Wales who decide to take on the elite "sport of kings" and breed themselves a racehorse. Against all odds, they raise their young foul on a nearby wasteland and train him to become a champion. The deal was negotiated with Sony Pictures Classics by Protagonist head of sales Vanessa Saal. Osmond's previous works include "Deep Water" and the BAFTA-nominated "Richard III: The King in the Car Park." Read More: All Sundance 2015 Acquisitions As They Come In »
- Zack Sharf
Sony Pictures Classics had a busy Sundance acquiring The Diary Of A Teenage Girl and Grandma during the festival. It has now snapped up yet another title that debuted in Park City, taking North American rights on Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse which won the Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition last month. Protagonist Pictures is selling the inspirational story of a group of friends from a working men’s club in Wales who decide to breed a racehorse. Against all odds, their young foal, raised on nearby wasteland, goes on to become a champion. Protagonist is screening it in the market here at Efm.
- Nancy Tartaglione
Funny and sad isn’t the easiest combination to pull off, and while both descriptors fit “The D Train” well enough, this dark comedy might just as well be described as edgy and soft, audacious and coy, a largely enjoyable letdown. Starring Jack Black as a chronic loser who decides to save his high-school reunion by securing the attendance of the class celebrity (a terrific James Marsden), Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel’s directing debut puts an impressively daring spin on the modern bromance, finding a unique and undeniably funny point of entry into familiar squirm-inducing realms of male bonding, competitiveness and insecurity. Yet while the startling central twist stands to generate considerable pre-release curiosity for this decently commercial entry, it also allows this slick but shaky effort to peak too soon.
Paul and Mogel, who also share credit for the screenplay, lay the groundwork with expert slyness. Their sad-sack »
- Justin Chang
Against all odds, Guardians Of The Galaxy charmed the pants off everyone. Audiences, critics, and even those lucky actors who starred in the Marvel movie mega-hit. Just last week, Lee Pace – who played the blue hammer-wielding villain, Ronan The Accuser – came forth to reveal his passion for the franchise. In an interview with IGN, the actor confessed that he’d be over the moon if he were given the chance to reprise the role. While Ronan suffered a grisly fate at the end of the first flick, this is the movies, and as we all know, no death in a comic book feature is ever permanent.
However, Pace’s enthusiasm isn’t the issue. It’s whether or nor director James Gunn has room for him in the sequel, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. And it seems that alas, we won’t be seeing the blue-skinned baddy. Yet.
The tidbit »
- Gem Seddon
By Anjelica Oswald
From the 79 original songs on the Oscar shortlist, five were nominated a week ago on Jan. 15: “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, “Glory” from Selma, “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me and “Lost Stars” from Begin Again.
Following a recent trend, none of the nominees have made it to the top of the BIllboard Hot 100 chart, which tracks the success of singles by looking at radio play, online streaming and sales.
Following the announcement of the nominations, “Glory” made its debut at No. 25 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart dated Jan. 31 and is currently No. 92 on the Billboard Hot 100.
When “Everything Was Awesome” debuted in January 2014, the song debuted at No. 7 on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart and peaked at No. 57 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
“Lost Stars »
- Anjelica Oswald
The Oxford India Society will be playing a key role in raising awareness and highlighting the dangers and increase in human trafficking from countries like India, with the charity screening of the award-winning film Lakshmi at Merton College on Sunday 2nd February 2015, hosted by Dr Faisal Devji, Director of the Asian Studies Centre, St. Antony’s College, University Of Oxford.
Organised in support of Oxfam and The Asian Circle, the charity screening will be followed by an open discussion and Q&A session chaired by Oxford alumnus Bidisha Sk Mamata, a broadcaster and journalist specialising in international affairs, social justice issues, arts and culture and international human rights.
Lakshmi, which was screened at the Tongues on Fire London Asian Film Festival 2014, is the story of a beautiful 14 year old girl whose life takes a tragic turn. She is snatched from her family in the village and sold to a brothel in the city. »
- Press Releases
Paris-based Other Angle Pictures, headed by Olivier Albou and Laurence Schonberg, has acquired international sales rights to four new films – Safy Nebbou’s “In the Forests of Siberia,” Lucien Jean Baptiste’s “DieuMerci,” Benjamin Weill’s “West Coast” and “Machin, Machine,”helmed by and starring Clovis Cornillac.
Shooting from Feb. 12, and the latest title in Nebbou’s building body of distinguished stage or literary makeovers (“Mark of a Angel,” “Dumas,” “Bad Seeds”), “In the Forests of Siberia” is inspired by Sylvain Tesson’s novel, translated into English as “The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga,” which won the 2014 Dolman Best Travel Book Award.
Written by Nebbou and David Oelhoffen, now a director of repute after his directorial debut, “Far From Men,” with Viggo Mortensen, “Forests of Siberia” stars Raphael Personnaz (“The French Minister,” “Anna Karenina”). It relates the friendship between a man looking for peace, »
- John Hopewell
9 items from 2015
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