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« September 2009 | Main | November 2009 »

EPIX Unveils Powerhouse Launch Weekend Lineup

Madonna “Sticky & Sweet: Live from Buenos Aires” Two-Hour Concert Premieres on October 30th


“Iron Man” and “Eddie Izzard: Live from Wembley” Underscore EPIX Viewer Promise: Movies, Music and Comedy

EPIX Launch Weekend Movies Eclipse $2.5 Billion in Worldwide Box Office

Epix-screening New York, NY, October 12, 2009 – EPIX™ unveiled today its October 30th launch weekend programming lineup featuring a powerhouse slate of movies with a worldwide box office value of more than $2.5 billion. EPIX’s opening weekend will debut with the worldwide television and online premieres of an exclusive two-hour special concert event, Madonna “Sticky & Sweet: Live from Buenos Aires,” Marvel’s blockbuster film “Iron Man,” and the exclusive comedy special “Eddie Izzard: Live From Wembley.”

The “Sticky & Sweet” concert is the single most successful solo-artist tour of all time; Madonna entertained more than 3.5 million concert-goers in 32 countries generating nearly $500 million in total gate. EPIX captured her dazzling two-hour performance, live in Argentina at Buenos Aires’ River Plate Stadium with special surprise guests Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and Britney Spears seamlessly performing with Madonna via large screen. This will mark the first opportunity for audiences to see the sold out event following the live concert. The Sticky & Sweet Tour supported Madonna’s Grammy-nominated "Hard Candy," which debuted at number one on the charts in over 37 countries.

“Performances from artists like Madonna represent the kind of marquee talent who will perform on EPIX as part of our slate of monthly music and comedy events,” said EPIX President Mark Greenberg.

Kicking off opening night with Marvel’s blockbuster movie “Iron Man,” EPIX will debut a powerhouse line-up of movies over the course of the weekend:  more than fifteen world television premieres representing a combined worldwide box office value of more than $2.5 billion include Oscar-winner “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,”  Tyler Perry’s hit “Madea Goes to Jail,” family favorite “Pink Panther 2,” Lucasfilm’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Cloverfield” and “The Duchess” among many others.

In addition to movies and music, cutting edge comedy will headline opening weekend with “Eddie Izzard: Live From Wembley.”   Izzard performs at his inimitable best during this sell-out European tour, transcending labels with his stream of consciousness stories that captivate audiences as his characters evolve and situations become more absurd. Appearing in Oceans 12 and producing and starring in FX’s “The Riches,” Izzard is known for his intelligent improvisational style, capable of weaving together such disparate topics as the Greek gods and Medusa’s hairstylist, transvestites and superheroes, along with musings on the plight of rabbit-chasing greyhounds.

“There is no one like Eddie Izzard.  He breaks the mold.  He is smart, engaging and hilarious,” said Greenberg.

As for his involvement with the multiplatform channel, Izzard said, “I have always sought out new and innovative means for sharing my work with my audience; I am thrilled to be a part of the very early days of EPIX and their exciting new network.”

About EPIX

EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), is a next-generation multiplatform premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand and online service launching on October 30, 2009. EPIX will be distributed by Verizon FiOS on Channel 395 in SD and Channel 895 in HD and other partners. With access to more than 15,000 motion pictures spanning the vast libraries of the partner studios, EPIX will deliver films from Paramount, Paramount Vantage, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies released theatrically on or after January 1, 2008 and MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate titles released theatrically on or after January 1, 2009, which will be available exclusively to its subscribers.

Providing a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service, EPIX will air new Hollywood titles plus classic feature films, original series, and music and comedy specials. It is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up on video-on-demand, online and on the linear channel. Further, EPIX has made the commitment to deliver the industry’s most expansive online collection of movies, making more than 3,000 titles available online to subscribers via its enhanced service EPIX Megaplex.

The joint venture controls all rights to EPIX’s programming and Viacom provides operational support, including marketing and affiliate services through its MTV Networks division.

Follow the EPIX twitter feed at: http://www.twitter.com/EpixHD

Cole Smithey on October 29, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rome Film Festival 2009 Awards

Rome Film Festival awards
October 28, 2009

Rome film festival An international jury composed of personalities from the world of cinema and of art, has judged the films in competition from the Official Selection. Milos Forman, was the president, serving side by side with Gabriele Muccino, Gae Aulenti, Jean-Loup Dabadie, Pavel Lungin and Senta Berger.

The international jury has awarded:
- The Golden Marc'Aurelio Jury Award for Best Film: Brotherskab / Brotherhood by Nicolo Donato

- The Silver Marc'Aurelio Jury Award for Best Actress:Helen Mirren for The Last Station

- The Silver Marc'Aurelio Jury Award for Best Actor:Sergio Castellitto for Alza la Testa

- The Silver Marc'Aurelio Grand Jury Award: L'uomo che verrà by Giorgio Diritti


THE AUDIENCE AWARD

The International Rome Film Festival invited all festivalgoers to participate in the selection of The Golden Marc'Aurelio Audience Award for Best Film - BNL. Every ticket holder, upon entering the theatre, received a card "scratch and vote" for the film being screened, with which they were able to express their views. Films in the running for the Audience Award were the films in competition in the Official Selection.

- The Golden Marc'Aurelio Audience Award for Best Film - BNL:L'uomo che verrà by Giorgio Diritti



PRIZES AWARDED BY THE CHILDREN AND TEEN'S JURIES


Two juries, one composed of twenty-nine children between the ages of 8 and 13, and the other composed of thirty-five teens between the ages of 14 and 17 selected from municipalities nationally, have awarded prizes in the Alice nella città section.

- The Silver Marc'Aurelio Award Alice nella città under 12 :Last Ride by Glendyn Ivin
- The Silver Marc'Aurelio Award Alice nella città over 12:Oorlogswinter / Winter in Wartime by Martin Koolhoven

- Special Mention for Vegas by Gunnar Vikene


THE PRIZE FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY

Folco Quilici is the president of the jury for documentaries in the Extra section. The other members are directorsFrancesco Conversano, Salvo Cuccia, Giovanna Gagliardo, Gianfranco Pannone, Franco Piavoli and Sherin Salvetti. The documentaries of the Extra section were eligible for the Silver Marc'Aurelio.

- The Silver Marc'Aurelio for the best documentary film: Sons of Cuba by Andrew Lang

- Special Mention: Fratelli d'Italia by Claudio Giovannesi

- Special Mention: Severe Clear by Kristian Fraga


THE ACTING AWARD

After Sean Connery, Sophia Loren and Al Pacino, the Festival rendered homage to the actress who has received the most nominations in the history of the Academy, Meryl Streep. She received The Golden Marc'Aurelio Acting Award


Cole Smithey on October 29, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Cole Smithey on October 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shootability - Call for Entries

To download the application and for more information, please go to www.film.org/SIP

Cole Smithey on October 28, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Damned "Smash It Up"!

Cole Smithey on October 26, 2009 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Antichrist

Savoring von Trier
The Best Horror Film of the Last 30 Years
By Cole Smithey

Antichrist_ver3 Lars von Trier is a true poet of cinema. He has a painterly eye for composition --formal, surrealistic, and radical. In a natural setting of a remote cabin named Eden hidden deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, von Trier scorches his mark with one of the most shocking horror films of the past 30 years. The Danish filmmaker creates a tense and provocative collage of death, brutality, psychotherapy, sexual desire, and the fury of Mother Nature. A symphony of simultaneous madness afflicting the females of various species of animals parallels the mental deterioration of a wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) after the death of her son--who fell out a window while the couple was making love. Dafoe, as her therapist husband, tries to head off his wife's teetering nervous breakdown with therapy exercises and goal-oriented games that amplify her fear of staying at Eden. His insistence that they go on the retreat to face her fears and heal her leads to all sorts of symbolically evil events that surround Gainsbourg as a sexually aggressive and violent wife.

Von Trier toys with implying an archetypal status to the husband, referred to only as "He," and Gainsbourg's character, credited as "She." "He" is a logical person, who substitutes the remorse he feels for the loss of his child with curing his deeply disturbed wife even if such an effort contradicts ethical concerns for his professional duty as a psychoanalyst that would prevent him from treating a member of his own family. "She," on the other hand, places importance on sex as a way of distancing herself from the result of the activity that was responsible for bringing her son into the world and for inadvertently casting him out.

Antichrist_010 After its press screening at the New York Film Festival, I asked von Trier about the implications of the film's biblical references, such as naming the couple's isolated retreat "Eden" and an oblique reference to "Satan." The candid filmmaker replied that if anything it was to reject the existence of God. Von Trier has publicly discussed his battle with depression that led to writing "Antichrist" as a kind of self-therapy before filming the movie with a lazy approach that took full advantage of employing free association to add or augment scenes. The auteur sites Strindberg as an influence, and you can recognize it in von Trier's formal distillation of social and personal ideas. "Antichrist" is broken into three stages, "Grief," "Pain," and "Despair." But the terms play so loosely with the action of each act that the superseding action on display challenges the audience to equate the horrors on-screen with traumatic events in their own lives. 
   
Like Luis Bunuel, von Trier works from a rich subconscious narrative landscape where adult fears and fantasies are played out beyond their illogical parameters. Where a film like "The Exorcist" works on a corollary algorithm pitting good against evil, von Trier embraces the cruelty of nature, with its psychological frailty and physical vulnerability pressed hard to the fore. That he does so within an intimate romantic context that calls into play furious aspects of sadomasochistic sexuality that fire the film into an area of implacable volatility. 

"Antichrist" is a demanding film that pushes its dark ideas and exaggerated situations through a dialectic of carefully guided precepts. As with Alfred Hitchcock, Lars von Trier deploys a direct cinematic language that allows the audience to trust in his mastery of filmic art, as well as his ability to gross them out without breaking their confidence. Von Trier is a master filmmaker. His exploration into the genre of horror has given us a film far more frightening than anything Hollywood would ever allow. As with all of von Trier's films, there's some Dogme for the audience to chew on. If "Antichrist" is the "most important film of von Trier's career," as he has stated, then there is all the more reason to savor it.


(IFC Films) Rated R. 109 mins. (A) (Five Stars)

Cole Smithey on October 26, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Congratulations to the New York Yankees on their ALCS Win!

Yankees_Baseball The 2009 World Series awaits, and we couldn't be happier or more proud. What a great team!  Congratulations to Joe Girardi and his talented group of impressive players. Let's go Yankees!

Cole Smithey on October 26, 2009 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Atlanta Jewish Fest Brings Film Scores to Life

October 16, 2009 - In a first-ever collaboration, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will partner with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to bring some of the most beloved Jewish film scores to life for a one-time-only concert on Monday, Jan. 4, 2010, at 8 p.m., at Atlanta Symphony Hall. The AJFF Gala Concert kicks off the 10th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which runs Jan. 13-24, 2010.

The Jan. 4 concert, sponsored by Turner Classic Movies and Comcast, will be the first time a concert of Jewish-themed film scores has been presented anywhere in the world by a major orchestra. The concert also marks the first collaboration between the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Film scores for the Jan. 4 concert gala will include: Schindler’s List, Driving Miss Daisy, Yentl, Life is Beautiful, The Ten Commandments, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Producers, Gentleman’s Agreement, I Have Never Forgotten You, Exodus and Masada. Music selections will be accompanied by a montage of memorable still images from select films projected onto large overhead screens.

Concert tickets, priced from $18 to $75, are on sale now at www.ajff.org and at www.atlantasymphony.org. A special Red Carpet VIP ticket is also available for $250 at www.ajff.org, and includes premier seating, a private cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception prior to the concert, and a ticket to the Opening Night film of the 10th Annual AJFF on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Conductor Richard Kaufman will be the guest conductor for this special evening. Kaufman, a longtime music coordinator at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, has a history of conducting and supervising music for film and television productions and performing film and classical music in concert halls and on recordings. This Grammy Award winner has conducted various symphony orchestras throughout the United States including Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, The Brevard Music Center and the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, Calif. He has conducted the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and the Vancouver Symphony in Canada. In addition, he has conducted for various performers including John Denver, Andy Williams, Mary Martin, Robert Merrill, Nanette Fabray, David Copperfield, Juliet Prowse and Neil Sedaka. As part of his career in film, Kaufman has coached various actors in instrumental, vocal and conducting roles, including Jack Nicholson, Dudley Moore, Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon. He also played violin on numerous film and television scores including Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. As Principal Pops Conductor, Kaufman is in his 14th season with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and his 19th season with Orange County’s Pacific Symphony.

“I am thrilled to be part of the film music concert which will be presented as a prelude to this year’s Atlanta Jewish Film Festival,” Kaufman said. “This will be a unique and exciting evening of music from many of Hollywood’s most memorable films with themes centered on Jewish life. I can’t think of a better way to experience this music than hearing it played by one of the world’s great symphony orchestras, the Atlanta Symphony. But this will be much more than just a concert of great music. It’s going to be a night to remember!”

Ben Mankiewicz, daytime weekend host for Turner Classic Movies, will introduce the evening’s performance and serve as host. A scion of one of Hollywood's legendary families, Mankiewicz is the grandson of writer Herman Mankiewicz and great-nephew of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who between them wrote and directed such films as Citizen Kane, All About Eve, Guys and Dolls and Cleopatra. Prior to joining TCM, Mankiewicz hosted the news magazine show “The Times” for WAMI-TV in Miami and he continues to host his satellite radio show, "The Young Turks," on Sirius Satellite Radio.

“This is a momentous event in the history of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival,” said Kenny Blank, executive director of the festival. “We can think of no better way to kick off our 10th annual festival than in partnership with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to bring these memorable film scores to Atlanta audiences. We are truly grateful to the ASO and Woodruff Arts Center for their support.”

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will announce its 2010 film lineup on Tuesday, Dec.8, 2009.

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in its 65th season, is one of America’s leading orchestras, known for the excellence of its live performances, presentations, renowned choruses, and its impressive list of Grammy® Award-winning recordings. The leading cultural organization in the Southeast, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra serves as the cornerstone for artistic development and music education in the region. Under the Creative Partnership of Music Director Robert Spano, Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles, and President and CEO Allison Vulgamore since September 2001, the Orchestra and audiences together explore a creative programming mix, recordings, and visual enhancements, such as the ASO Theater of a Concert, the Orchestra’s continuing exploration of different formats, settings, and enhancements for the musical performance experience. Another example is the Atlanta School of Composers, which reflects Mr. Spano and the Orchestra’s commitment to nurturing and championing music through multi-year partnerships defining a new generation of American composers.

Cole Smithey on October 22, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AFI lineup of films includes Terry Gilliam's "Parnassus"

AFI lineup of films includes Terry Gilliam's "Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus"

October 20, 2009 - AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi today announced the complete lineup of films for the 23rd edition of the Festival, including the Closing Night Gala, Centerpiece Screening, Tributes and Special Presentations.

The Weinstein Company’s A SINGLE MAN has been selected as the AFI FEST Closing Night Gala presentation. A SINGLE MAN will make its US Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Thursday, November 5, 2009.

Sony Pictures Classics’ THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS has been selected as AFI FEST’s Centerpiece Screening Gala presentation. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS will make its US Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Monday, November 2, 2009.

The Closing Night Gala presentation of A SINGLE MAN features the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford from his script adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s acclaimed novel. The film follows a day in the life of a gay British college professor in Los Angeles as he attempts to cope with the death of his partner. Ford’s work helming the project and Colin Firth’s lead performance in the film have received critical acclaim following screenings at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Ginnifer Goodwin also star in the film. The Weinstein Company release is due in theaters on December 11.

AFI FEST continues its unique and successful association with the American Film Market with 23 of the features in official selection at AFI FEST represented by distributors at AFM, unfolding concurrently with AFI FEST from November 4–November 11. The following films are among those that will participate in the market and screen at the festival: AFTER.LIFE; THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL, NEW ORLEANS; BELLAMY; CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH; EVERYONE ELSE; FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA; FISH TANK; THE HOLE; THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS; KANIKOSEN; THE LAST STATION; THE LOVED ONES; THE MESSENGER; THE MILK OF SORROW; MOTHER; NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW; PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE; THE ROAD; THE SILENT ARMY; A SINGLE MAN; THE TWO HORSES OF GENGHIS KHAN; WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO; YOUTH IN REVOLT.

Enhancing the AFI FEST/American Film Market alliance, the final two days of AF FEST (November 6-7) will screen at the Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, in close proximity to AFM headquartered activity.

AFI FEST 2009’s overall lineup will showcase 67 features (54 narrative, 13 documentary) and 26 shorts for a total of 93 films from 32 countries.

Cole Smithey on October 21, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack