Tag Archives: Disney

Bye bye Bistro, Kathleen keeps her clothes on, and Titanic goes on and on (and on, and on, and …)

ANCHORS AWEIGH: Apparently it’s not only Céline’s heart that will go on and on. A boatload of new productions mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic next month. First up is the premiere of the new Julian Fellowes four-part mini-series Titanic on Global this Wednesday. This new version by

TITANIC: sinking ship syndrome?

Fellowes, who penned Downton Abbey— which, coincidentally, started with news of the Titanic sinking – follows the aristocrats staying in first-class cabins and the lower class families residing in steerage. “Each episode focuses on individual families but will feature every character as their stories become

REID: in four-part mini-series

intertwined with each other. Viewers will also see the ship begin to sink in every episode as the series builds up to the finale when it will be revealed who survives and who doesn’t.” Advance reviews are a bit iffy so far (c’mon, we already know how it ends) but insiders say the real fun is betting on which of the familiar faces on board (eg., David Eisner, Toby Jones, Linda Kash, Noah Reid, Linus Roache) will sink or swim. Next up: Titanic: The Canadian Story, a new two-hour special on the historical event we can’t seem to get enough of, set to air Thursday April 5 on CBC’s Doc Zone. Did you know that included among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on the Titanic were 130 men women and children bound for Canada? Me neither. But

CAMPBELL: in 12-part series

wait – there’s more. On Monday April 9 National Geographic kicks off a week-long Titanic salute with Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron. (Do we believe that ‘final word’ bit? Not for a minute.) But wait – there’s more. Also in the works is Titanic: Blood & Steel, at 12-episode dramatic series that focuses on the construction of the ship, its owner and the workers, and is set in the Belfast shipyards in 1907. All-star cast members already signed include Sir Derek Jacobi, Neve Campbell and Chris Noth.  Can Titanic: The Musical and Titanic: The Mobile App be far behind? Stay tuned.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve learned that great style has little to do with what you wear. It’s how you wear it and who you are. Confidence is the best fashion

BEKER: 60 reasons to celebrate

accessory. I’ve learned never to wish to be in someone else’s shoes — you never really know where they’ve come from or where they’re going. I’ve learned that aging should make us better, not bitter. I’ve learned that Botox can help.” The learner? Jeanne Beker, suddenly 60, in one of her best columns ever, in today’s Toronto Star. My personal favourite? “I’ve learned that inner beauty is the only kind that really counts. But good lighting helps.” To read the unsinkable Ms. Beker’s unique summing up of what she’s learned so far, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Toronto audiences will get a chance to see Kathleen Turner’s much-lauded stage performance as a salty nun trying to rehabilitate a 19-year-old drug user when High opens in May at the Royal Alex. And before you ask, this

TURNER: on a High

time it’s her young male co-star who appears on stage in the nude. Sister Turner, I’m advised, keeps her clothes on … among the sparklies on the New York stage this week is Eric McCormack, currently treading the boards with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, John Larroquette and Candice Bergen in previews for a star-studded revival of Gore Vidal’s truth-searing political drama The Best Man … Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford is set to direct and choreograph the stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a new big-budget Disney musical set to premiere in London next year. The musical will

McCORMACK: back on Broadway

incorporate Burton’s unique aesthetic into the show’s design, follow the plot of the 2010 film — the ninth highest-grossing film of all time (!!!) — and will feature a book by the film’s screenwriter Linda Woolverton … and Kate Winslet is toying with the notion of making her stage debut in a revival of David Hare’s drama Skylight. The production would be helmed by Hare himself, with Bill Nighy reprising his role as Tom Sergeant, most likely for a West End opening followed by a limited Broadway run.

Stay tuned.

THE NIGHT THEY CALLED IT A DAY: Once the Sardi’s  of Toronto, Bistro 990 served its last suppers Saturday night and officially closed Sunday morning, with a closing party on the premises last night. Among the dozens of

BISTRO 990: Going, going ... gone

merry mourners greeted by owner Tom Kristenbrun and maitre d’ Victor Magalhaes were Bistro regulars Austin Clarke, Larry Dane, ‘Party Barbara’ Herschenhorn, Bill Marshall, Gordon Pinsent, Sari Ruda, Rob Salem, Sara Waxman and Rita Zekas, whose Stargazing columns put the French bistro on the media map and kept it there for decades. Meanwhile, across town at Eglinton and Bathurst, despite headlines announcing its imminent demise due to city expropriations, the House of Chan is still thriving.  One media scribe reported

HOUSE OF CHAN: Business as usual

that the restaurant entrance was locked after he personally checked it out; apparently he didn’t realize that the legendary Toronto steak oasis that Donny Lyons lyonized  is open only for dinner, from 5 pm on. If proposed subway construction forces the restaurant to close in the future — and that’s still a big If —  it won’t happen until at least 2014. Until then, you can expect Chan to continue to serve up all its famous specialties seven nights a week. And amen to that!

*     *     *

Advertisements

Matthew dons tap shoes, Jim sees a rabbit, Jesus goes to Harlem, and Julie & Jodie salute Arlene

STARS IN OUR EYES: Two of her favourite stars, Julie Andrews and Jodie Foster, are the proud presenters set to celebrate Disney publicity ace Arlene Ludwig at the ICG Publicists Guild’s annual pre-Oscar luncheon tomorrow at

LUDWIG: luncheon honours

the Beverly Hilton.  The Guild is dedicating its 2012 Publicists Directory and resource book to Ludwig, who has been deftly juggling print and electronic press for Disney for almost 50 years … 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson and Smash headliner Debra Messing will join Judy Kuhn, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Celia Weston, Hope Davis, Tony Roberts, John Guare and many more to honour Tony winner Linda Lavin at the Vineyard Theatre’s 2012 Benefit Gala on March 12 in Manhattan … superSongwriter Paul Williams will return to T.O. next month for the March 21-24 Canadian Music Week Film Fest. This year’s CMW filmfest promises an eclectic mix of movie premieres and special events, including a retrospective screening of The Muppet Movie with a post-film Q&A at which Oscar-winning composer Williams will talk about working on the film with Jim 

SHATNER: it's his world

Henson. Also on the Hot List:  the Canadian premiere of Joe Berlinger’s new doc Under African Skies, which documents Paul Simon’s return to South Africa and his reunion with many of the musicians that he worked with on his classic album Graceland  and after five decades of toiling in Hollywood, Bill Shatner is finally back on the Great White Way .  His one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,  revisits his personal and professional highest highs and lowest lows. “My plan has always been to return to Broadway every 50 years,” says Shatner, who starred on Broadway in the ’60s in The World Of Suzie Wong and A Shot In The Dark.  “Since then, of course, I’ve been refurbished; I hope the theatre has been too.” He’s at the Music Box ’til March 4.

FOOTLIGHTS:  Big Bang Theory go-to-guy Jim Parsons will follow in Jimmy Stewart’s footsteps when he co-stars with an invisible rabbit in the

PARSONS: bunny trail?

upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Harvey. Aided and abetted by  Broadway vets Carol Kane, Jessica Hecht, Charles Kimbrough  and two-time Tony nominee Larry Bryggman, Parsons begins previews May 18 and opens officially on June 14 at Studio 54 … the illustrious cast of Stratford’s Jesus Christ Superstar  including  Paul Nolan, Chillina Kennedy and Josh Young —  won hearts and minds and much appreciative applause when they gave a short

NOLAN: Jesus goes to Harlem

performance of show highlights last Friday night at the Church Of The Intercession in Harlem. The show opens in previews March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre  … new University Of Guelph chancellor David Mirvish was so impressed by the Theatre Sheridan production of RENT — an SRO hit two months ago at Sheridan College’s Oakville campus — that he’s bring all 32 performers to his Panasonic Theatre for a 10-night run opening May 16 … and if you loved those “re-imagined” George & Ira Gershwin musicals My One And Only and Crazy For You, better start dusting off your tap shoes. Matthew Broderick, Estelle Parsons, Judy Kaye and South Pacific sweetheart Kelli O’Hara start all-singing all-dancing previews next month at the Imperial Theatre on the latest ‘new’ Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Anything Goes hit-maker Kathleen Marshall. 

ALI: still a knock-out

MUHAMMAD ALI: still a knock-out

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ: Never one to shy away from controversy, director Stephen Frears is at the helm of the new HBO feature Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, an examination of the legal battle that erupted between Ali and the U.S. government when he became a conscientious objector and declined to serve in the Vietnam War. Christopher Plummer will play Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II and Frank Langella will play Chief Justice Warren Burger. Frears reportedly plans to use actual footage of Ali himself, and not cast an actor to play him …   my spies tell me that Montreux Jazz Festival chief Claude Nobs is

SUZUKI: back to Japan

wooing Leonard Cohen to do two concerts at this year’s 46th annual Swiss music extravaganza  … my spies tell me tomorrow night’s instalment of Marketplace on CBC is eye-popping in more ways than one. It’s all about the outrageously high cost of prescription eyeglasses and what we can do about it …  one year after the northeastern seaboard of Japan was devastated by a major earthquake and a giant tsunami, David Suzuki goes back to Japan for Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 tonight on The Nature Of Things on CBC … and if you missed last week’s provocative Future Cities installment of The Suzuki Diaries with Suzuki and his daughter Sarka, don’t fret – an encore screening is set for 10 pm tonight on CBC News Network.

*     *     *

Majumder raises the roof, Atwood tells tales of Twitter, Alice fever sizzles & Rivers takes another bite of Reality

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Howcum funnyman Shaun Majumder keeps shining in dramas? First it was 24, then his recent stint on Republic Of Doyle, and now the ABC series 187 Detroit. (187 is police code for homicide.) Can Shaun do a spot-on impression

MAJUMDER: raising the roof

of series star Michael Imperioli (a.k.a. Christopher on The Sopranos)? Ask him yourself when he jets in from L.A. to headline his favourite comedy fund-raiser Raising the Roof, April 16 & 17 at The Rivoli … it’s not her fault, okay? Margaret Atwood sez her Twitter pals egged her on. Which is why she’s finally telling all – okay, almost all – about her adventures in TwitterLand in the New York Review of Books, right here …  …. Jake Doyle’s prodigal brother Christian returns to the Rock, much to his younger brother’s dismay, on Allan Hawco’s hit series Republic Of Doyle tonight at 9 pm on CBC-TV … and Joan Rivers and her producer daughter Melissa are reportedly set to do a new reality show about Joan moving in with Melissa, grandson Cooper and Melissa’s current squeeze Jason in L.A.. Says blogger Paula Froelich: “This will rock harder than Poison at Spring Break.” Froelich joined Rivers & Co. for their Passover seder at Melissa’s house in Pacific Palisades. To read her Daily Beast report, click here.

ALICE: Disney classic

BALLET HIGH: Highlight of the National Ballet’s summer season next year should be British Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s new full-length, two-act interpretation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a co-production between the National Ballet and The Royal Ballet (UK). with a commissioned score by British composer Joby Talbot. Neither Tim Burton nor Johnny Depp have anything to do with this one as far as we know — but isn’t it odd how Lewis Carroll’s peculiar heroine has returned to the collective consciousness? Now Disney, whose magicians created the original Un-Birthday song, is celebrating the Un-Anniversary of its 1951 animated classic by

KAIN: a once-and-future Alice

reissuing it on DVD before Burton’s wacky new 3-D Alice hits the stores.  The new ballet version, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will debut first in London in February 2011 and then here in Toronto, June 4 – 12, 2011 …  meanwhile, NBOC chief Karen Kain sent the company’s notable outreach mini-show Dance About to Ontario’s Near North District School Board yesterday for two performances, at Maple Ridge Public School in Powassan and Sundridge Centennial Public School in Sundridge … and happy anniversary to the American Ballet Theatre, set to celebrate its 70th (!!) season May 17-July 10 at the Met. And speaking of Twitter, and aren’t we always, at both the ABT and the New Yotk City Ballet there are no policies on dancers’ increasing participation on Twitter. Says New York Times writer Gia Kourlas: “At the moment the relationship between tech-savvy dancers and company administrators seems to be akin to a child showing a parent how to use e-mail.”  To read her amusing account of young ballet stars who “now tweeter as well as flutter,” click here.

PETERSON: in memory

THE LEGACY LIVES ON: One aspiring musician entering a music program at York University this fall will be the lucky recipient of the first $40,000 Oscar Peterson scholarship, allowing them to pursue their dreams. The new Peterson program will also offer up to four $10,000 annual scholarships for current undergraduate music students. Meanwhile, Peterson acolytes Peter Herrndorf, Brian Robertson, Bob Rae, Bill Davis and Tommy Banks are among the boosters soliciting donations for a life-size bronze sculpture of the jazz great to sit outside the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The statue of Peterson at a grand piano — created by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy, the artist responsible for the stunning bronze of Glenn Gould outside the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto — will be unveiled on June 30 as part of Canada Day celebrations.

TOMORROW:

Is Justin Bieber just too hot?

And, celebrating ‘Tony’s’ first lady.

-/-


Mamma Mia! There they go again! My, my, how can we resist them?

FLICKERS: Ridiculously rich Mamma Mia film producer Judy Craymer is hoping to persuade Benny Andersson and his musical sidekick Bjorn

SEYFRIED & STREEP: bella Donnas?

Ulvaeus to lend their irresistible ABBA tunes to a prequel, with a brand new young cast. Will Amanda Seyfried get to play the young Meryl Streep, who played her mother Donna in MM? Stay tuned … Deidre Kelly’s new book, Paris Times Eight, already sounds like a movie. Kelly first arrived in Paris, the city of her dreams, “as a starry-eyed ingénue.” In some of her subsequent visits she returns as a budding writer who interviews Rudolf Nureyev and crashes an

KELLY: Paris, je t'aime (photo: Bryan L. Davies)

exclusive fashion show, and as an emotional daughter who takes her mother to Paris to meet her “other mother;” until finally she returns to Paris as a mother herself. Sounds like a least three great roles for women, n’est-ce pas? … and yes, it’s true, shooting is already underway in Shanghai for the Chinese version of Disney‘s megahit High School Musical. How did Disney get the green light from China? Well, for one thing, the Chinese version is set at a university, “since Chinese high school students are so focused on academics that they would not have time to devote to singing and dancing.” Okay, got it.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve no interest in playing oldies anymore. No, no, no. Far more fitting for the next stage in my career to play a slut.”

DENCH: Nothing like a Dame.

The speaker? Dame Judi Dench, now 74 but never at a loss for words. Currently starring in the about-to-be blockbuster movie musical Nine, Dame Judi’s next gig will bring her back to the boards, as Titania, the queen of the fairies in a new Midsummer Night’s Dream in Kingston, England. She first performed the role of Titania as a schoolgirl some 56 years ago, and is thrilled to be able to take another crack at it. “Of course,” she adds, “one is lucky to be acting at all. I’m happy when I have a job – any job. One is always afraid of having no work.”

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein said it best. There really is nothing like a Dame.

21 AGAIN: It came and went 10 days ago, November 21 2009 was not just another Saturday night for Veronica Tennant. The prima ballerina who reinvented herself as a prima television producer was in three different cities that

TENNANT: November is the Coolest month

night. She was in Toronto attending the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty — the ballet she premiered more than 35 (!!!) years ago with Rudolf Nureyev as her prince — in tribute to Canada’s National Ballet School’s 50th Anniversary Assemble Internationale. But she was also in Edmonton, on film, as Honourary Chair of the Shumka Ballet, welcoming guests to Shumka’s Red Boots, Ballet and Bubbly Gala. And she was also in Cuba, where her much-lauded dance film, Vida y Danza, Cuba, was being screened at the 18th Anniversary celebration of Lizt Alfonso’s Dance Cuba.

JACKSON: new role

“November 21 has always been a significant day for me,” admits Tennant with a shy smile. I’ll say! Her Gala farewell performance with the National Ballet of Canada, A Passion for Dance: Celebrating the Tennant Magic, took place on November 21, 1989. And ten years later, to the day, she won her first International Emmy award as a television producer, for Karen Kain; Dancing in the Moment, on November 21, 1999.

Safety in numbers, you say? Sounds more like magic to me.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Slaight Communications chief Gary Slaight will be lauded for his longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives

GABEREAU: hosting for Mercer

as the recipient of the Humanitarian Spirit Award. at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on March 11 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, during Canadian Music Week … rising marquee bait Joshua Jackson has won the lead in a feature adaptation of British TV series UFO … Robin Mirsky, executive director of Rogers Group of Funds, has succeeded CFTPA prez Norm Bolen as co-chair of Hot Docs board of directors with Michael McMahon. New board members include marketing maven Robert Pattillo, Cobalt Pharmaceuticals chairman Neil Tabatznik and filmmakers Lalita Krishna, Julia Ivanova and Danijel Margetic … and Vicki Gabereau will host when Rick Mercer entertains the multitudes in Vancouver at a gala fund-raising evening June 10 for the Kay Meek Centre.

Special P.S. to Rick Mercer Report aficionados: Mercer’s final 2009 outing airs tonight at 8 pm on CBC-TV.

TOMORROW:

Roger gets ready for Toronto, and

Liz gives some advice to some dazzling Glamour girls.

Are the stars out tonight? Yes, for the Dora Awards. But not all today’s showbiz news is happy …

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: And welcome to another week of razzle-dazzle in Our Town.  Sparklies set to join host Jian Ghomeshi on stage tonight at the 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards at the Winter Garden include Anne

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

Anglin, Cynthia Dale, playwright John Gray, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Tom McCamus, Colin Mochrie, National Ballet of Canada soloist Rebekah Rimsay, Ontario Culture minister Aileen Carroll and Mayor David Miller. Director Vinetta Strombergs and writer Briane Nasimok will be talent-wrangling from the wings … what’s NOT happening today? TheNational Post, which is attempting some creative cost-cutting by NOT publishing a Monday newspaper – a new policy that will continue through the Labor Day weekend …  and, of course, Monday garbage pick-up is NOT happening either — unless you’re listening to the right radio station. CFRB wise guys Bill Carroll and Jim Richards are taking trash talk to a new level by sending 1-888-I AM JUNK to pick up trash every week during the strike for six listeners who send the best emails telling why the station should pick up their garbage. The contest ends this Friday, and the winners can invite neighbours to drop off their trash for weekly pick-up as well!

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Singer Paul Potts, who was the Susan Boyle YouTube sensation of his day when he first triumphed on Britain’s Got Talent, serenades tomorrow night at Kitchener’s elegant Centre In The Square. Torontonians will have to wait a couple of weeks more, when he performs here at the Elgin on July 18 … superthrush Sarah McLachlan and Quebec charmer Marie-Jo Thério will headline the party at Parliament Hill on Wednesday night in Ottawa. CBC Television, Radio-Canada and bold will telecast highlights at 9 pm … Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire

DORE: Rivoli-bound

DORE: Rivoli-bound

are set to headline the first annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Prince Edward Island on July 10, 11 and 12 … Jon Dore is hosting two nights of comedy mayhem at the Rivoli July 15 & 16 with a very catchy title: The Jon Dore Television Show’s Writers and Jon Dore of the Jon Dore Television Show Stand-Up Comedy Show, Show! Expect an evening of stand-up comedy featuring Dore and his writers Mark Forward, Laurie Elliott and Steve Patterson. “It is important to understand,” adds Dore manager Lorne Perlmutar, “that none of the proceeds of this show will be going to a charitable organization. Jesus is cool.” Whew! That’s a relief … and did you know that Seinfeld alumnus Jason Alexander is an accomplished song-and-dance man? He’ll show off that next-to-secret skill set when he appears at Casino Rama July 25.

MANN:  more honours

MANN: more honours

FLICKERS: Chalk up another win for enduring filmmaker Ron Mann. Last week he received the 2009 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Mann, whose hit doc Know Your Mushrooms is now available on DVD, won the award for Individual Artist, and then selected Toronto actor and film-maker Charles Officer (Nurse. Fighter. Boy) as the Premier’s Emerging Artist prize winner … Canuck heartthrob Taylor Kitsch will team up with one of his Wolverine co-stars, Lynn Collins, in the Disney adventure John Carter of Mars. And talk about yer parent traps — Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston will play Miley Cyrus’

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

parents (!!!) in The Last Song, also for Disney … our National Film Board and the Shorefast Foundation will establish Newfoundland’s first e-cinema installation, the NFB’s first English-language e-cinema partnership in Canada.

The new system will use new digital technology to give residents and visitors to Fogo Island access to great works of Canadian cinema from the NFB as well as independent filmmakers. Fogo Island, by the way, is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the new project will be launched this November … and management of the merged British film studio Pinewood Shepperton, where The Dark Knight, The Bourne Ultimatum and most 007 epics are shot,  has signed a five-year deal

CRONKITE: failing health

CRONKITE: failing health

to take over the seven state-of-the-art sound stages of Toronto’s struggling Filmport, which will now become Pinewood Toronto Studios.

APRIL SHOWERS IN JUNE: Quite naturally, lots of other news was overshadowed last Thursday by Farrah Fawcett’s passing and the shock waves caused by Michael Jackson’s unexpected demise. The saddest of the lot, for me, was the confirmation that legendary CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite is seriously ill with cerebrovascular disease and is “not expected to recuperate.” And to add to that unhappy news — not that you were looking for more — neither Mike Wallace nor 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt are doing very well at the moment.

T.S. Eliot claimed that April was the cruelest month.

Maybe. But this year, June is no picnic either.

TOMORROW:

Remembering Michael & Farrah

-/-

Summer movie sneak previews, The Perez strikes back, and going ga-ga over Lady You-Know-Who

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Okay, now I get it. Last week I still couldn’t figure out why America has gone ga-ga for Lady GaGa. Then I saw her on the Much Music Video Awards.  Not only does she have all of Madonna’s moves and more, she

GaGa: She's a Lady

GaGa: She's a Lady

also has a big, bold, beautiful voice, slyly obscured by her sexy special FX. Even surrounded by thousands of Sunday night street screamers, this Lady’s megaTalent still came shining through …  my spies tell me that Pam Hyatt, who sparked many a musical revue here, regularly slips into Statler’s on Thursdays to sing a few standards with popular piano man Ken Lindsay. Count me in … good news for Babs Believers: She’s back, with all new tunes. Love Is The Answer, Barbara Streisand’s much-anticipated collaboration with producer Diana Krall (yes, you read that right) is her first new studio album in four years and should be in stores here by the end of September.

THE LAST TIME I SAW PEREZ: Now wouldn’cha know that Perez Hilton would get clocked in Toronto? Maybe the real mystery is howcum nobody took

FERGIE: slagged

FERGIE: slagged

a shot at him before now. He certainly sparkled on the MMVAs in his bit with the Jonas Brothers. Meanwhile, in his 10-minute invective-laced apologia on his own website, he vehemently denies that it just a publicity stunt (“I have 10 million-plus people who visit my website every day! I don’t need press! I don’t need publicity!”) takes time to repeatedly slag Fergie and Will.I.Am, and tearfully decries violence (especially violence enacted upon him) as a solution to anything. “I like writing about other people’s drama,” he admits, but adds, “I don’t want drama in my own life.”

Yup. This from a guy who proudly promotes his feet-of-clay cyber-column as Hollywood’s Most-Hated Web Site.

Still curious? To see/hear his full rant – which truthfully gets pretty ugly at times – click here.

AND YOU THINK YOU HAD A BUSY WEEK? Since Celebrity Apprentice ended last month Joan Rivers says she’s been “busier than Angelina Jolie’s adoption agency.” In the last few weeks Z Rock started its second season on IFC

RIVERS: on the run

RIVERS: on the run

featuring Joan in her recurring role as Aunt Joan (“a name I’m not used to hearing unless ‘can you loan me…’ follows”), she’s been to San Francisco and Reno doing standup, she’s been traveling the country taping her new series How’d You Get So Rich for TV Land (it premieres in the U.S. on August 6th), she’s performed five sold out shows in London at the Southbank Center’s Underbelly Festival— “inside an upside-down inflated purple cow”  —  she finished her big June shows on QVC, she flew off to London for a week (including dinner with HRH Prince Charles & Camilla at Buckingham Palace,) then flew to Toronto (“Air Canada from London was soooo good!” she purrs) to spend last weekend on The Shopping Channel.

She’s also keeping a few other airlines in business. This Thursday she starts a four-night run of stand-up gigs in New York, Mississippi, Colorado and Arizona. And today she’s on The View.

And yes, she’s 75.

So what’s your excuse?

COMING SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU: Summer movies are coming fast and furious, but some of the best bets aren’t always the most obvious ones. Dream cast of the summer has gotta be Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina

FEY: Disney darling

FEY: Disney darling

Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White — among others — on deck for Oscar-winner Hayao Miyazaki’s new Disney animation, Ponyo. And speaking of star power,  Leonardo Di Caprio’s fourth outing with director Martin Scorsese appears to be like any of their earlier efforts. Shutter Island is a thriller that evokes the spectre of The Snake Pit, with Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow as the possible (we can’t be sure) bad guys. Entourage Emmy-sweeper Jeremy Piven, a mercurial hit on Broadway last season, is taking another crack at big-screen fame with The Goods, a go-for-it over-the-top comedy with Ving Rhames and James Brolin. And remember the quirky Spike Jonze offering Being John Malkovich, in which John Cusack found a portal into the actor’s head? Sideways star Paul Giamatti goes him one better. In Cold Souls he plays an actor named Paul Giamatti (uh-huh) who has trouble getting his soul back after he agrees to deep freeze it for storage. And no, I’m not making this up.

To sneak preview Ponyo, click here. To sneak preview Shutter Island, click here. To sneak preview The Goods, click here. And to check out soul man Giamatti, click here. And enjoy!

-/-

Bruce goes back to the future, Rachel struts her stuff, and Liz tells us why Bad is so good

KNIGHTLEY: Boulevardier

KNIGHTLEY: Boulevardier

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Big-screen charmers Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell are set to co-star in London Boulevard, for which writer William Monahan (The Departed) will make his debut as a director. Farrell will play the ex-con, just released from prison, who tries to become a handyman; Knightley will play the reclusive actress who hires him … The Marcus Trio — a.k.a. drummer Richard Brown, bass impresario Ian De Souza and guitar maestro Marc Ganetakos — reunite tonight at The Smiling Buddha on College street, for one 11 pm 45-min. set only … also opening tonight, just in time for Gay Pride Week: Fagart, a new exhibiton at the Pentimento Fine Art Gallery on Queen Street East, showcasing artists David Hawe, Patrick Lightheart, Izik Levy, Oscar Wolfman, Bill Pustai, John Rankine, Paul Specht & Geoff Simpson … and it looks like comeback kid Bruce Willis may have another summer hit on his hands with his Matrix-y new thriller Surrogates, now set to open in August. To sneak preview the futuristic thriller, just click here.

ASNER: MTM alumnus

ASNER: MTM alumnus

THEY’RE SO ANIMATED: Three Mary Tyler Moore Show alumni are lending their voices to their other alma mater these days. Disney veterans Cloris Leachman and Betty White both voice roles in the English language version of the new Miyazaki animated feature, Ponyo, due Aug.14. And of course Ed Asner is the lead voice (a.k.a. grumpy old homeowner) in the Disney/Pixar monster hit UP. (Isn’t Asner also set for an on-camera stint with perennial showstopper Cynthia Dale in her upcoming CBC Christmas special? Just askin’ …) Meanwhile Betty is riding high on the rave reviews for her work with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal, which opens tomorrow, and will be prominently featured in a USA Today profile next week.

McADAMS: hot, hotter, hottest

McADAMS: hot, hotter, hottest

RACHEL, RACHEL:  Is anyone hotter than gorgeously gifted Rachel McAdams? She rocked us in Slings & Arrows, made us go through boxes of Kleenex with The Notebook, followed up with Wedding Crashers, Family Stone and last fall’s TIFF gala The Lucky Ones, and now has two, count ’em , two new blockbusters coming our way. In Sherlock Holmes, the lively new opus from Madonna ex Guy Ritchie, she gets to play games with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. And in the new screen version of the international best-seller The Time Traveler’s Wife, she gets to play wife to Eric Bana‘s enigmatic, ethereal, other-worldly husband. To sample Sherlock Holmes, click here; to preview Rachel’s work as the Time Traveler‘s missus, click here — and enjoy!

GIMME A BREAKING BAD: Legendary New York gossip girl Liz Smith is Annoyed As Hell and isn’t going to take it anymore.

SMITH: 'Bad' girl

SMITH: 'Bad' girl

What’s bugging her? The fact that every time she talks about her favourite show on television, nobody she mentions it to seems to know what she’s talking about.

Liz’s favourite show – which may be the best show we’re not watching – is Breaking Bad, which she rates even higher than her other two favourites, Mad Men and Big Love. “Because I have seldom seen such an engaging, shocking, surprising, violent and adult drama on television,” she says, “I keep touting Breaking Bad as if I am an evangelical TV watcher!”

She says the end of the second season featured happenings “so dramatic, unbelievable and yet unhappily believable that they defy TV expectations.”

Not that the show has gone completely unnoticed.

CRANSTON: 'Bad' guy

CRANSTON: 'Bad' guy

Breaking Bad,” she reports, “won an Emmy for Bryan Cranston as best actor in a drama back in 2007/2008. It won a Peabody during season one. It won an AFI award as one of the top ten shows in 2008. It won a Writer’s Guild Award for Vince Gilligan in 2008. It was a best-edited one-hour series for Lynne Willingham for 2008. And Bryan Cranston won best actor again from the Satellite Awards. And yet none of my high-brow – or even my low-brow – friends seemed to know about this great show!”

She also predicts that the show’s catalyst, young actor Aaron Paul, “will be whatever kind of big-deal acting star that real life and this series intends him to be. He is fabulous.” Paul is apparently stellar in Big Love as well. And were he in

PAUL: 'Breaking' talent

PAUL: 'Breaking' talent

a feature film, she says, “he’d already have been nominated for an Academy Award.”

Wow.

What should we do, Liz?

“I am hoping you’ll now go to your local store and buy the DVDs of the first season episodes. Or go to the trouble to download seasons one and two from iTunes. Maybe you don’t have to find seasons one and two and can just join the fray with season three, but, ye gods, you’ll be missing two seasons of the best TV I’ve ever seen. If it were a movie,” she adds, “I’d compare it to Chinatown. Only it is even better than that!”

Are you getting the feeling that Liz is very keen on this series?

Me too.  Can’t wait to sample it.

P.S. FYI: Episodes of Breaking Bad are now available on Rogers On Demand.

-/-