Monday, April 08, 2013

Former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello dies at 70

Annette Funicello, the former child star whose squeaky-clean screen image made her a fan favorite on both the original Mickey Mouse Club and in a slew of “Beach Party” movies opposite Frankie Avalon, died Monday from complications of multiple sclerosis. According toExtra, Funicello — who went public with her MS diagnosis over two decades ago — had been in an MS coma for years. She was taken off life support earlier today. “Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.” “She’s on her toes dancing in heaven,” Funicello’s daughter Gina Gilardi said in a statement of her own. “No more MS. My brothers and I were there, holding her sweet hands when she left us.”

Friday, April 05, 2013

Film critic Roger Ebert dies at 70

Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic whose famous thumbs-up or thumbs-down verdict helped make him the most famous reviewer in America, died Thursday of complications from cancer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, where he wrote for 46 years. He was 70. Ebert had been battling thyroid cancer since 2002, but never gave up his aisle-seat post or his love of cinema, publishing more than 300 reviews last year alone despite his inability to speak without the help of a voice machine due to an operation that removed his lower jaw. On Wednesday, he announced that his cancer had returned and that he would be taking “a leave of presence”. Readers hoped that it was merely another temporary set-back and that Ebert would return to share his trusted opinions. Sadly, it was not to be. Ebert achieved an unlikely national fame when, in 1975, he and Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel launched the PBS show Sneak Previews. That same year, he was also recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for his work at the Sun-Times. Still, it was his on-air exChaz, said Thursday in a statement, shortly after news broke of his death. "No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition."
posure that vaulted him to becoming the most famous movie critic in America. "We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away," Roger's wife of 20 years,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Academy announces key Oscar dates

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network today announced the dates for the 86th and 87th Oscar presentations. The 86th and 87th Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, and February 22, 2015, respectively.
Key dates for the Awards season are: 
Saturday, November 16, 2013:The Governors Awards
Monday, December 2, 2013:Official Screen Credits due
Friday, December 27, 2013:Nominations voting begins
Wednesday, January 8, 2014:Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Thursday, January 16, 2014:Oscar nominations announced
Monday, February 10, 2014:Nominees Luncheon
Friday, February 14, 2014:Final voting begins
Saturday, February 15, 2014:Scientific and Technical Awards
Tuesday, February 25, 2014:Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014:86th Academy Awards

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Justin Bieber taken to U.K. hospital

Justin Bieber collapsed backstage with only four songs to go at London’s O2 Arena Thursday night. The pop star’s manager Scooter Braun took the stage to assure the fans that Bieber would be back soon, as captured in the video below. Bieber did indeed finish out his set and was then rushed to a hospital in London. Bieber’s publicist said that they were heading to the doctor now. According to his publicist: “He fainted and took a twenty minute reprieve and was given oxygen.”

Joy Behar leaving "The View" 

Joy Behar will leave ABC’s daytime talker The View after her contract expires in August. “Joy Behar has been instrumental in the success of The View from the very beginning,” according to an ABC statement. “We wish her all the best in this next chapter, and are thrilled that we have her for the remainder of the season.” Behar has co-hosted the show for nearly 17 years. She told reporters that “it seemed like the right time. You reach a point when you say to yourself, ‘Do I want to keep doing this?’ There are other things on my plate I want to do — I’ve been writing a play, I’ve been neglecting my standup.”

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"90210" to end its CW run in May

Bad news fans of West Bev: 90210 will end its five-year run on the CW in May. While the show launched with some fanfare, the reboot of the ’90s drama on Fox has cowered in the shadow of The Vampire Diaries and Arrow, the CW’s current hits. 90210 has only averaged a .6 rating/2 share in adults 18-49 this season and 1.23 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The drama will air its series finale on May 13. The show has seven original episodes left to air. The network will likely program a retrospective. “The CW has had five great seasons with America’s favorite zip code, 90210,” said CW President Mark Pedowitz. “I’d like to thank the talented cast, producers, and crew for all their hard work and dedication to the series. We are very proud of the West Beverly High alumni.”
"The Hobbit: There and Back Again" release date pushed back

The third and final film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy will not be getting a summer release as previously planned. Warner Bros. has changed The Hobbit: There and Back Again‘s release date from July 18, 2014 to Dec. 17, 2014. This means an epic showdown between two geektastic movies has been effectively canceled. The release date change gets The Hobbit: There and Back Again out of the way of X-Men: Days of Future Past and also brings it back to the time when all of Jackson’s other J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations have been released: mid-December, just in time for Christmas. There and Back Again will follow The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is set for Dec. 13, 2013.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

FINAL Oscar Predictions

Here are my Final Predictions for the BIG SHOW tonight!! I hope Seth MacFarlane keeps it running smooth, althoguh I heard the running time is a bit long. Enjoy and share your thoughts!

Best Picture: "Argo"
This category is usually pretty easy to get down to three films for the win, and the same holds true this year. However, past that, all previous notions of whittling it down are tossed out the window. Let’s get rid of what we already know. Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables all had strong box office runs and made many critics charts as best films of the year, but they have won so very little when it came to the big prize over the awards season. Same goes for Beasts of the Southern Wild, but there seems to be a huge supporting contingent, since it propelled its director into the Directing race. Amour also has a strong following, but that film will most certainly take the Best Foreign Language film category. That leaves four films up for the big prize: Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was a visual and storytelling wonder, but it hasn’t gotten much in terms of big prizes to be able to make a dent here tonight. That being said, I think the main prize could go to either Lincoln, Argo or Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln is the obvious choice: It its director (Spielberg) nominated in the Best Director category and it rules the night with more nominations than any other film. However, it has come up short in almost every race to this point, all thanks to Argo. After winning at SAG, DGA, PGA, BAFTA and so many critics circles, and still smarting after its Ben Affleck snub, I think Argo will ride off into the Oscar sunset as the best film of the year. In doing so, Affleck (and Clooney too!) will win his much deserved Oscar for such a powerfully profound film. If you’re looking for the Dark Horse, however, look no further than Silver Linings Playbook. The Actor branch loved it (see the four (!) acting nominations) so there could be a lot of support from within for the film. But I’m pretty confident in predicting Argo for the big win.

Best Director: Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Imagine with me — just for a moment — an alternate reality in which Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow hadn't been snubbed by the Academy for their compelling work on Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Oscar prognosticators would certainly have an easier time predicting this year's Best Director category ... because it would be one of the two. As it stands, the field is an open and eclectic one, composed of up-and-comer Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), previous nominees Michael Haneke (Amour) and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and previous winners Ang Lee (Life of Pi) and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln). Will the new kid on the block school the veterans? Or will it be business as usual for Lee or Spielberg? That's what we're here to discuss! Oscar predictions often rely on momentum — if a director's claimed a Golden Globe, or even more telling, a Directors Guild Award, he or she is usually a shoo-in for a Best Director win. But — surprise! — Ben Affleck won pretty much all of those, making this a tough one to call. But, with his film claiming a whopping 12 nominations, it seems most likely that Lincoln helmer Steven Spielberg will add to his impressive Oscar count. It could be close, especially with Ang Lee and David O. Russell, but expect to see Spielberg at the podium.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
It seems that every Oscar season has a specific race that seems a sure thing before the competition has even begun. This is it. If nothing else exciting happens on Oscar night (and let's be honest, that isn't likely) at least we can be assured that history will be made in this category. No single actor has ever achieved the triple crown in this category, winning three Best Actor Oscars...until now. Let's not suspend it any longer: Daniel Day-Lewis will win his third Oscar tonight for his tremendous work in the Spielberg biopic Lincoln. He has won every single major prize on his way to the Dolby Theater so to think a single actor can stop him now would be foolish. If anyone can beat him (and, no, they won't) it could be Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables, or Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, both celebrating their first time nominations. Previous Best Actor winner Denzel Washington has two Oscars on his mantle (for Glory and Training Day) but to make room for a third statue would be jumping the gun in a big way, That leaves surprise nominee Joaquin Phoenix, would reached new depths for his role in The Master. But, as I said before, let's not prolong it: Daniel Day-Lewis will win this award by leaps and bounds.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
This year, Oscar night is littered with a bevy of difficult categories to predict. It seems that ones who were once frontrunners have faded into the background. In this category, for instance, Jessica Chastain once had strong buzz behind her for her role in Zero Dark Thirty, but that buzz has drifted further and further away, especially since she hardly was able to pull many wins. (She did take the Golden Globe in the Drama category.) Much can be said for Quvenzhan√© Wallis sneaking into the race, but a win for the young star of Beasts of the Southern Wild looks like a long shot at this point. (Her nomination, making her the youngest actress ever in this race, is her reward.) Everyone who sees The Impossible loves Naomi Watts as a mother overcoming tremendous odds to reunite with her family, but for all the praise she receives, no one is quick to bestow statues in her direction. That leaves Emmanuelle Riva in Amour, who gave a devastating portrayal as an elderly woman whose life plunges into darkness as her body slowly begins to lose its battle. It's a heart wrenching performance, and all buzz was absent, but then the impossible happened: She snagged a BAFTA win a few weeks ago, and all of a sudden, everyone seemed to be on her side. Where does all this leave Silver Lining Playbook's Jennifer Lawrence? Hard to say. With a Golden Globe, SAG and Spirit award on her side, she certainly could be viewed as an odds on favorite. However, BAFTA overlaps well with Academy members, which could mean foreshadowing in the form of a Riva win. Whatever the outcome, this is a tough race and the outcome is shaky at best, but I'm going with Jennifer Lawrence for the win in a squeaker. 

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Unlike the Best Supporting Actress category, it's still too close to call this year's Oscar race for Best Supporting Actor. But just like its female counterpart, the category is filled with uniformly excellent performances from some of today's best working actors, who are all, coincidentally, all past Oscar winners. A good, strong case could be made for each of these actors winning. Alan Arkin won a few years back in this same category, and the biggest positive he has going for him is if Argo pulls a Best Picture win, may he himself win along with it? It's possible, but not likely. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's win in this category also seems a recent memory, so although he was spellbinding in The Master, I don't think he can win here after failing to make a mark along the awards trail. In addition, Christoph Waltz could win for Django Unchained, especially since he won the BAFTA last week. But, his recent win was just two years ago, and the Academy may not be too eager to revisit that at this time. Everybody loves a comeback story, and strangely enough, this year it's the comeback of one of the greatest living actors that will lead to Oscar gold. Though Tommy Lee Jones turned in a memorable and awards-worthy role, the Oscar will go to Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. The man hasn't been nominated in 21 years, and you can bet that many, many people in the Academy would love to play a part in De Niro's return to his former glory. De Niro gave an emotional and engaging performance, and he deserves the recognition, but with Jones nipping at heels, I have to go with my gut here.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
When it comes to Oscar predicting, it sometimes is wisest to go against the pack. Going out on a limb could result in bragging rights, especially when no one else within ear shot seems to be predicting the same thing. I know what you're thinking: Am I going to predict Sally Field to win her third Academy Award? What are you crazy!? Sure, there is a late surge of talk that maybe the Academy is dying to hear another memorable speech from Field, but that's just the inner workings of some group trying to buy Field favor. In my estimation, there is no way Anne Hathaway could lose this category. Herself a former Oscar co-host, Hathaway has draped her soul on the line in the stirring number "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. After securing wins from SAG, Golden Globes, BAFTA and beyond, to lose at this point would be a slap in the face. And speaking of slaps in the face: How disheartening must it be for Amy Adams to attend tihs ball for the fourth time and leave award-less again? As they say, "her day will come." (Talk to Julianne Moore.) Former Oscar winner Helen Hunt earned a nod for her work in The Sessions, but her nomination is the award and same goes for Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook. But, as frontrunner from Day 1, Hathaway wlll win her first Oscar Sunday night.