Tag Archives: Elizabeth Taylor

Ken Branagh reunites Tony and Colm for a comic book epic, & Dame Elizabeth reviews This Is It

TOGETHER AGAIN: Savvy screen-stealers Colm Feore and Anthony Hopkins, who last worked together on screen in Julie Taymor’s flawed but

HUARD & FEORE: Bon Cop, Bad Cop

fascinating take on Titus Andronicus, have teamed up again for director Kenneth Branagh’s production of Thor, which will bring the Marvel comic book hero to life and, no doubt, box office glory. Before winging to the movie set, Feore received a rollicking reception last week at the Ursula Franklin Academy when hundreds of high school students gathered to watch him cavort with Patrick Huard in Bon Cop,

HOPKINS: reunion for Thor

Bad Cop. And he wasn’t the only one winning cheers. Director Bruce MacDonald and leading lady Lisa Houle were in another gathering, taking questions after the screening of MacDonald’s latest opus Pontypool. And filmmaker Michael McGowan (St. Ralph) was in another assembly room, taking questions after the screening of his Joshua Jackson odyssey One Week. Making all three events happen, and simultaneously at that, was Reel Canada, a remarkable organization now in its fifth year of introducing young people to Canadian film achievements by bringing the films and the filmmakers to the classroom. Now that’s show business.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I loved genius in my lifetime. God was so good to me. I will love Michael forever and so will you, if you don’t already. God kissed

JACKSON: genius?

him. There will never, ever be the likes of him again.” The speaker? Dame Elizabeth Taylor, tweeting about the Michael Jackson concert film This Is It. Sez Liz: “You owe it to yourselves and your loved ones to see this again and again. Memorize it and say to yourselves, ‘I saw genius in my lifetime.’ I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable.” Yup, she likes it. She really likes it.

HOPE LIVE: Newfoundland news junkies Rick Mercer and Seamus O’Regan are headlining tonight’s Hope Live black-tie charity gala in Ottawa in

O'REGAN: in Ottawa tonight

support of Fertile Future, which helps young women and men who have had   cancer can find ways to have their own children. Among the perennial Mercer targets and political playmates expected to attend: Peter MacKay, Jason Kenney, Helena Guergis, Maxime Bernier and Scott Brison. Incidentally, Mercer was one of four sparklies honoured by the University of Ottawa last week at an AGO dinner in Toronto, picking up a Distinguished Canadian Leadership Award with high-note master Michael Burgess and high-flying astronaut Julie Payette. (CTV National Affairs

MERCER: with his Montreal posse

correspondent Lisa LaFlamme picked up U of O’s special Alumni Achievement award at the same bash.) Now on his Christmas break, Mercer resumes SRO tapings of his top-rated Rick Mercer Report in January, but wait ‘til you see him crash (you should pardon the expression) a women’s roller derby competition (ouch!) in Montreal (!!) tomorrow night at 8 pm on CBC Television.

FOOTLIGHTS: How much does New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley love Fela!, the new musical that opened last Monday night on Broadway? “There should be dancing in the streets,” sez Brantley — and that was merely the first

THE MADONNA PAINTER: rave reviews

line of his ecstatic rave review. According to Brantley — no easy sell — there’s never been anything like it on Broadway. Which should bode well for producers Will & Jade Pinkett Smith and their comrade in showbiz arms Jay-ZRisking The Void, the touring art exhibit showcasing the work of Canadian stage designer Cameron Porteous, is set for a 10-week run Jan 20-April 4 in Guelph, Ontario at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre … and Factory Theatre has done it again. Good news is, Linda Gaboriau’s new translation of Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Madonna Painter opened to rave reviews from the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail and Now magazine – how’s that for a range of opinions? Bad news is, the show must close in two weeks.  To secure your tickets now, click here!

TOMORROW:

Mamma Mia! Here we go again!

My, my, how can we resist you?

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A drama for Amanda, a film feast for Chris, a new musical for Catherine and a Toronto visit for Meryl!

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW: Sadly, most of the publicity surrounding the making of Chloe, the new Atom Egoyan drama set to premiere

SEYFRIED: at TIFF as Chloe

SEYFRIED: at TIFF as Chloe

Sunday night at TIFF, focused on leading man Liam Neeson when his actress wife Natasha Richardson died tragically during the shooting of the film. What no one seems to have noticed is that the title character in Egoyan’s film is played by Amanda Seyfried, so outstanding as Meryl Streep’s daughter in Mamma Mia.  In Chloe she plays a sultry young seductress hired by Julianne Moore to test her husband’s faithfulness. (Expect to hear a lot of tongue-wagging after this one!) … and tonight’s TIFF Galas should offer some genuine surprises. Already winning rave reviews, The Men Who Stare At Goats showcases a stellar 1ddcd8b24bd2e054_colin_firthcast led by George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges in a stranger-than-fiction true story. (Want a sample? Just click here.) And the new version of Dorian Gray, with Colin Firth and terminally handsome Ben Barnes directed by Oscar Wilde aficionado Oliver Parker, reportedly takes that famous portrait mythology to new heights (and depths.) This one sure doesn’t look like any of the Dorian Grays we’ve seen before. For a sneak preview, click here.

OUR TOWN: Hollywood columnist George Christy, Norman Jewison and Gina & Paul Godfrey were among the boldface who turned up for the Best Buddies tribute to Ann-Margaret this week at the Four Seasons. Glamourous

STREEP: Toronto-bound

STREEP: Toronto-bound

in a glittering cocktail dress, the award-winning actress beamed when someone asked her if she minds being called Ann-Margrock, her character name on The Flintstones. “No, I love it!” she exclaimed. “That’s why I voiced the part in the first place!”… delighted by its successful run at Niagara-On-The-Lake, Theatre Museum Canada has finally brought its much-lauded retrospective of stage designer Cameron Porteous to T.O. After a week of previews, Risking The Void: The Scenography of Cameron Porteous, opens tonight at the Design Exchange and runs through October 20 … and talk about a hot ticket: current box office queen Meryl Streep is set for a public sit-down session with Johanna Schneller at the ROM on Oct. 7. Bon appetit, ladies!

McKELLAR: Tiff Talent booster

McKELLAR: Tiff Talent booster

TIFF TALK: The aspiring filmmakers who made the final cut to attend TIFF’s annual Talent Lab are in good and remarkably famous hands this year. Governors overseeing the program are Danny Boyle, John Collee, Miranda July and Cooking With Stella star Don McKellar. Film folk who have agreed to be drop-in mentors include Tilda Swinton, Atom Egoyan, Gaspar Noe, Jane Campion, Bruce Beresford and Suzana Amaral … is anyone having a better year on film that Christopher Plummer? He’s a major voice in Up, one of the summer biggest box office hits, and one of the top-billed stars of the new animated film 9, which opened here this week; he’s nominated for a Gemini Award for his performance in the screen version of his Stratford hit

PLUMMER: as Dr. Parnassus

PLUMMER: as Dr. Parnassus

Caesar & Cleopatra; he plays the title role in Terry Gilliam’s much-anticipated Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus, premiering here at TIFF next week; and he and Helen Mirren play Leo Tolstoy and his missus in the new German-Russian-U.K. co-production The Last Station. Can’t wait to see that one … and the best and most significant comment I’ve seen on the current tiff over TIFF’s choice of Tel Aviv for its City To City program comes from Toronto film critic Peter Howell. Says Howell: “Film festivals are supposed to be about opening minds, not closing them.” To which we say, bravo. To read his thoughtful column in yesterday’s Toronto Star, click here.

DOUGLAS: playing Solitary

DOUGLAS: playing Solitary

STARS IN OUR EYES: New Manhattan-dwellers Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones won’t have a lot of time to unpack their California bags. He’s already started shooting Oliver Stone’s sequel to Wall Street, reprising his role as imprisoned corporate crook Gordon Gekko opposite TIFF scene-stealer Carey Mulligan (An Education.) Meanwhile Solitary Man, Douglas’ meaty new drama with Susan Sarandon, Mary-Louise Parker and his longtime pal Danny DeVito premieres at TIFF next week. Meanwhile the ravishing Zeta-Jones, who won her

ZETA-JONES: back on the boards

ZETA-JONES: back on the boards

Oscar for her song-and-dance tour de force in Chicago, is starting rehearsals for her return to the musical stage in A Little Night Music, tackling the role played by Glynis Johns on Broadway, Judi Dench in London, Jean Simmons in Toronto and Elizabeth Taylor on screen. And speaking of Dame Elizabeth, who not so coincidentally happens to be the Founding International Chairman of AMFAR – will she jet here to attend our first-ever Cinema Against AIDS Toronto Gala on Tuesday at the Carlu? And will Global Fundraising champion Sharon Stone come with her? Kevin Sullivan & Trudy Grant are presenting sponsors of the lavish evening, which features a special dinner designed by Jamie Kennedy with Sarah McLachlan and Deborah Cox served up for dessert. For ticket information, click here.

Have a great TIFF weekend.

See you at the movies!

-/-

Ms Taylor comes out to play, Ms Mirren comes to town (almost!) and Mr Mochrie goes to the dogs

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Wheelchair-bound but mobile again, Elizabeth Taylor made her first public appearance in months at Andrea Bocelli’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl. “My mind, my soul were transported

LAW: pajama Dane

LAW: pajama Dane

by his beauty, his voice, his inner being,” she reports. “God has kissed this man and I thank God for it.” Yeah, she likes him … funnyman John Wing says he was the sixth most famous person on the plane to Los Angeles Monday. Howcum? “The Tragically Hip were on the same flight!” … add director Guy Maddin to the growing list of fans hopelessly smitten by Roger Ebert’s Journals. (And yes, Ebert really does elicit the warmest, brightest, smartest, most literate responses from his devoted readers, including Winnipeg wunderkind Guy … Jude Law is breathing easier these days now that his Hamlet was well received by U.K. critics. Law himself acknowledged that playing the melancholy Dane is “a bit like a great song that’s been covered by a load of different singers.” But at least he’s comfortable on stage. In the London production he’s clad in pajama-like costumes for most of the play … and shhhh, it’s a secret, but Patricia Clarkson wants to play now-92 year-old Phyllis Diller in the still-being-scripted biopic of the legendary comedienne.

DILLER: before ...

DILLER: before ...

CLARKSON: ... and after

CLARKSON: ... and after??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A TAIL OF TWO CITIES: In Montreal they close Ste Catherine street for the jazz festival and shut down Rue St Denis for the comedy festival. In Toronto we

MOCHRIE: going to the dogs

MOCHRIE: going to the dogs

close Front Street from Jarvis to Yonge for Woofstock, the annual doggie love-in set for the St. Lawrence Market Neighborhood this weekend. New features this year include a Saturday night Yappy Hour at which Wooftinis will be served. Seriously. (Oh c’mon, even I couldn’t make that up!) Headliners participating in Main Stage contests include Mark Breslin, Geri Hall, Colin Mochrie and Nikki Payne, and don’t be surprised to find a lot of four-legged friends on the TTC on Saturday and Sunday. Last year more than 150,000 dog lovers and their canine companions showed up from all over North America.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I don’t just sit around and wait for the phone to ring because, you know, I had to write my own script in the first place because I don’t look like Nicole Kidman. And the fact is I still don’t. So I don’t get offered fun, interesting roles. So I’m not going to whine about it; I just sit in my office and I write them.”

The speaker?  Comedy confection Nia Vardalos, currently winning new fans in her romantic comedy romp My Life In Ruins.

 OUR TOWN:  Yearning to be in London’s West End to see Jude Law‘s Hamlet and Helen Mirren‘s Phaedre? Lucky moviegoers will see Mirren ‘live’ on stage at The National Theatre, when Cineplex telecasts the play at key theatres across

MIRREN: On screen from stage

MIRREN: On screen from stage

 the country on June 25 … Driftwood Theatre launches its 15th season in Toronto at Todmorden Mills on July 11 & 12. The theatre company is taking two of Shakespeare’s plays on the road — King Lear and The Comedy of Errors — and will roll through 27 locations in Ontario with its Bard’s Bus Tour through to August 23. Stops include outdoor locations in Bloomfield, Cobourg, Dundas, Durham, Kingston, Marmora, Mississauga, Peterborough and more, and all shows are pay-what-you-can … add Sonia Rodriguez to the star power already

RODRIGUEZ: White heat

RODRIGUEZ: White heat

assembled for Karen Kain’s sizzling White Hot Gala, the National Ballet of Canada’s fourth annual fundraising event next week at the Four Seasons Centre. Sultry high-stepper Rodriguez will partner with Piotr Stanczyk in a Garbo-esque pas de deux from the company premiere of Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias … … and Art On The Move will launch June 22 in the Distillery District. Mayor David Miller will personally welcome the first three art-wrapped vehicles of the project onto city streets. Art On The Move is a three-year community arts initiative that will ultimately turn 15 selected vehicles into moving canvasses of art.

NET WORTH: Two major Canadian newsmakers, Rick Mercer and former MP Belinda Stronach, received honorary degrees from Brock University

MERCER: he's Dr. Rick now

DR. MERCER: class of 2009

yesterday.  Mercer and Stronach were honoured as the co-founders of the Spread the Net fundraising campaign. “I must — from the bottom of my heart — thank the students here at Brock for contributing over 5,500 bed nets for Spread the Net,” Stronach told the crowd. “It’s a great legacy for you to leave behind.” Mercer described a life-changing visit to Africa he and Stronach took to learn about the malaria problem. “I told Belinda, ‘I’m not going to come back from Africa as one of those guys on TV who won’t shut up about Africa.’ Now every time I turn around, I’m on TV telling people to Spread the Net.”

Mercer told reporters that he’s also the proud owner of an honorary high school diploma from a Nova Scotia school for students with learning disabilities — and now he has a doctorate of laws from Brock. “I don’t know if it comes with a prescription pad or not, but I’m going to frame it, hang it on the wall and offer legal advice to my friends.” 

And just before he and his Net partner Stronach left the stage, they imparted a few words of wisdom to the assembled graduating class.

Mercer said that in the meantime, he’s acquired an honorary high school diploma from a Nova Scotia school for students with learning disabilities.
“And from there, I’ve gone to a doctorate of laws,” he said.
“I don’t know if it comes with a prescription pad or not,” he added. “But I’m going to frame it, hang it on the wall and offer legal advice to my friends.” 

Said Mercer: “As you go through life, leave the world a better place for having been here.”

Dead-panned Stronach: “Never order food in a strip club.”

These two should definitely go on the road together.

-/-

All about Jian & Joan & Liz & Elizabeth & Mel & The Missus

 NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE:  Man-about-media Jian Ghomeshi is set to host the 30th (!!!) anniversary of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards on Monday, June 29, 2009 at 8pm at the Winter Garden Theatre. Ghomeshi, as if you didn’t know, hosts CBC Radio’s flagship show, Q … and speaking of Q, Liz Smith profiles Joan Collins in the layest issue of Q (aka Quest magazine) and tells an interesting story on herself.

 “In 2000,” she recalls,  “Joan appeared in the TV movie These Old Broads with Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and (in what was little more than a cameo) Elizabeth Taylor. I’d heard, from what I considered a good source, that Joan had made unkind remarks about Elizabeth, who was in declining health, and that Elizabeth had countered back with her own wisecracks. Imagine my surprise on the day the item appeared — Joan herself called my office, weeping, sobbing, ‘Liz, I would never say such things about Elizabeth! etc.” More stunning was a call from Elizabeth! She said, darkly, ‘Liz, Joan and I are old friends.  I know she’d never say those things, and I know for sure I’d never respond, even if she did.’ Needless to say, I retracted. (This was a gentle chiding from La Liz, but still enough to freeze my blood!) ”

 

THEY COME TO PRAISE CAESAR, NOT TO BURY HIM:  Tomorrow’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival Live webcast at 6:30 pm salutes the fest’s upcoming production of Julius Caesar –  “the ultimate political thriller,” says Stratford chief Antoni Cimolino. On tomorow’s 6:30 pm webcast Director of Literary Services David Prosser interviews actors Ben Carlson (Brutus) and Jonathan Goad (Mark Antony). If you have questions you can ask them during the live webcast or send them in advance to askantoni@stratfordshakespearefestival.com.

 

HAIL TO THE QUIPSTERS: Ever since Ronald Reagan traded in his General Electric spokesman gig to run for president, movie stars are asked if they would consider running for president.

Well-heeled Republican stalwart Bob Hope admitted he’d given it some thought, but that his wife had nixed the idea.

“Dolores liked the idea of being First Lady,” he added, “but she doesn’t want to move to a smaller house.”

When Dolly Parton was asked if she would ever consider running for president, she just shook her head.

“Oh honey,” she said, “we’ve had already enough boobs in the White House!”

 

A COLONEL OF TRUTH:  He’s made more than his share of unfortunate headlines over the last few years, so I was sorry to hear that Mel Gibson‘s marriage is on the rocks. I was even sorrier to hear of  his remark that his long-suffering Anglican wife  Robyn, the mother of his daughter and six, count ’em, six sons, won’t be able to join him in paradise because she’s not a Catholic, although he admits that she is “a much better person than I am.”  Now BetOnline.com is posting odds, known as the “over/under,” on the amount of his divorce after 28 years of marriage, as Mel and Robyn divide their houses in Malibu, Fiji, Costa Rica and a South Pacific Island, plus his personal fortune, estimated at $350 million plus.

It’s always sad to see a winner play a losing streak, but regardless of what Mel may have lost, his sense of humour appears to be intact. A while ago he ‘guest-starred’ in a short film that had its late-night premiere on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. In it he played one of the most famous southern gentlemen in American history – and yes, I am indeed referring to Col. Saunders.
To watch Mel go plantation, click here.