Tag Archives: GEORGE CLOONEY

More news, more gossip, more stars, and more award show dates than you ever wanted to know

OUR TOWN: Music master Paul Hoffert and sidekick Bruce Cassidy host a jazz salon this Sunday afternoon at Musideum on Richmond Street west …

LIGHTSTONE: new showecase

30 Rock scene-stealer Tracy Morgan brings his special brand of funny to the Sony Centre tonight … Marilyn Lightstone premieres her latest art showcase, New Directions, on April 12 at Latitude 44 … more than 60 chefs will gather at the Royal Ontario Museum on June 3 to showcase their finest creations in support of Second Harvest. Tickets are $250 with a tax receipt issued for $125. You may think that sounds a bit pricey, but be warned: Tickets to last year’s Toronto Taste sold out in record time. To purchase yours, click here …  and Natalie Cole is set for this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a June 25 concert at the Sony Centre.

PENMANSHIP: Additional marquee bait set for the third annual Toronto Screenwriters Conference at the Ted Rogers School Of Management next weekend (March 31-April 1) include ex-Toronto types Graham Yost (Speed,

CLOONEY: Sunshine boy

Justified) and Robin Gurney (Arrested Development, Parenthood) and Skype participants Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) and Michael Hirst (The Tudors.) Closing speaker at this year’s creative clambake will be Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory.) Sounds like a pretty lively weekend … say what you will about the politics of the Toronto Sun, the headline writers at the Little Paper That Grew are still the best (and consistently most irreverent) in the country. The Sun’s front page pic of George Clooney in handcuffs last Saturday was captioned You Have The Right To Remain Handsome. Now that’s funny … by the way, Sun co-founder and columnist Peter Worthington, still typing up a storm, is now 85 (!!!) And Worthington’s latest boss, Quebecor emperor Pierre Karl Péladeau, recently announced new annual Sun Media awards for his newspapers outside of Quebec. Will there be a prize for CBC-slagging? Just askin’ … and here’s one for your calendars: The 9th annual gala fundraiser for Pierre Berton’s writers’ retreat in the Klondike will celebrate the Canuck victory of 1812 with a festive June 5 bash at old Fort York. Berton House clambakes are always a blast, and this one should be no exception … and speaking of good writing, the justifiably-lauded screen version of Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version premieres Sunday night on CBC, and the much-anticipated fifth season of Mad Men kicks off Sunday on AMC. That is, if you can tear yourself away from Canada’s Got Talent on Citytv. And the beat goes on.

CALENDAR JOTTINGS:  Next big award show on our horizon is the 2012 Tony Awards. Nominees will be announced May 1
live on TonyAwards.com and CBS will host the three-hour 66thAnnual Tony Awards telecast on Sunday

GERVAIS: will he be back?

June 10 …  the 27th Annual Gemini Awards’ Industry Galas are set for Tuesday August 28 and Wednesday August 29. CBC will host the Broadcast Gala on Wednesday September 5, the night before the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival begins its time-honoured 10-day movie marathon on Thursday September 6 … 2012 Emmy nominees will be announced July 29, with ABC hosting the 64th annual PrimeTime Emmy Awards on Sunday September 23 … and before you know it we do it all over again in 2013, starting with the 70th annual Golden Globes, with or without Ricky Gervais, on Sunday January 20 on NBC, the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday January 27, the Directors Guild Awards on Tuesday February 5, and the 85th annual Academy Awards, with or without Billy Crystal, on Sunday February 24 on ABC.

STREISAND: Queen of Columbia

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Soprano-turned-director Catherine Malfitano and world-renowned conductor Sir Andrew Davis are joining forces for the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy and the return of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, an extravagant double-bill opening April 26 for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre. Since both one-act operas are set in Florence, expect some eye-catching cityscapes from set designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Terese Wadden and lighting designer David Martin Jacques… first headliners announced for the 46th edition of the

FEORE: hosting

Montreux Jazz Festival are Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, who are now set for a July 4 gig at Auditorium Stravinski. Gallagher says he and his band will perform songs from their first CD as well as some favourites from his previous band, Oasis … when they were the fast-drivin’, rubber-burnin’ Dukes Of Hazzard, who knew they could sing? But three decades later John Schneider and Tom Wopat are still warbling and obviously not superstitious. They’re set to play Fallsview Casino showroom on Thursday April 12 and – wait for it — Friday April 13 … in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary season, The National Ballet of

GALLAGHER: High-Flying gig

Canada Orchestra will make their concert debut at Koerner Hall on Tuesday April 3. Colm Feore will host the event, and the Orchestra will perform select works that highlight each decade in the company’s 60-year history … and how many of us made deals that last for half a century? Barbra Streisand is celebrating her upcoming 50th year with Columbia Records – her one and only label – by signing a new contract with the Sony-owned label. Only Tony Bennett has been on the label longer. Columbia will celebrate her signing by releasing a 12-set DVD which promises unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life, including never before seen footage directly from her archives. Streisand’s most recent Grammy nominated album, What Matters Most, was her 31st to reach the Top Ten.

AND NOW, THE WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST:

Happy weekend.

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Midnight In Paris may not win another Oscar for Woody — but that poster is definitely a keeper

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: All will be revealed this weekend on Sunday night’s  Academy Awards telecast — but if they gave out Oscars for movie posters, the Van Gogh version of Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris would get my vote hands down. It really is a beauty, and so evocative of the spirit of the film.

I mean, how cool is this? Really. I’m sure Woody will survive without winning more gold statuettes; he already has plenty. And the fact that Midnight In Paris is his biggest hit in years has gotta be the best consolation prize of all. By the way, not all Woody fans get to enjoy the same poster we do. Different countries market films in, well, different ways. As you can see. Oddly enough I have no desire to frame this one. But hey — different brush strokes for different folks.

YET ANOTHER REASON WHY WE LOVE LIZ SMITH: Has Manhattan gossip queen Liz Smith had her final say about Whitney Houston’s demise? We hope not. “No matter what Whitney might have abused in the past,” she wrote last week, “reports indicate that there were no illegal drugs found in her hotel room. Or in her body — believe me, TMZ would have headlined that. Whitney apparently died of an accident that has probably claimed a thousand American lives since Saturday. Too much drinking the night before, anxiety and a hangover the next day. Pop a Xanax (or anything to relax and relieve stress.) You don’t mean to, but you’ve just killed yourself.

SMITH: how Whitney died

“The legalization of marijuana or cocaine or meth have nothing to do with the circumstances of Whitney Houston’s death,” says Liz. “She didn’t die with a needle in her arm, or a crack pipe nearby. When TMZ obtained photos of the bathroom where she died, what terrible thing was revealed? There was a gravy boat, filled with an oil Whitney was using to soften her skin as she bathed. (The terrible thing is that they received these heartbreaking photos and ran them.) Police also said that Whitney possessed less prescribed medication at the time of her death than most ‘regular’ people.” Point taken. Let he who possesses an empty medicine cabinet throw the first over-the-counter pill.

YESTERDAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG:  Try as I might, I can’t quite get my head around the fact that it was 40 years ago – four decades, folks – when Veronica Tennant danced that mind-boggling Rose Adagio choreographed by

NUREYEV & TENNANT

NUREYEV & KAIN

Rudolf Nureyev for the National Ballet’s headline-making premiere of The Sleeping Beauty. Then-aspiring prima ballerina Karen Kain danced it too, and next month Heather Ogden will follow in their bruised and tortured footsteps when she costars in Sleeping Beauty with her husband, high-flyer Guillaume Côte, who by the way will receive the Medal of the National Assembly of Québec tomorrow at the Parliament Building in Québec. Kain, now artistic director for the NBOC, acknowledges that the Rose Adagio her pal Nureyev created for the company “is one of the most athletically difficult versions in the world. This version is extremely challenging, for both Princess Aurora and the Prince.” But she’s very excited about seeing ballerina Ogden dance the role, she says, “because in addition to everything else, Heather has a powerful physicality. I think Rudolf would have loved her.” Ms. Ogden has her own thoughts on her new role, which she is still rehearsing as you read this. For a sneak peek at rehearsals, click here.

THEY GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THEIR FRIENDS: Even when I was a film critic — come to think of it, especially when I was a film critic — I was always confused about the Academy Awards. Especially whenever I disagreed with the choice of nominees and/or winners. That is, until Ingrid Bergman straightened me out. Said the iconic Ms. Bergman, a three-time Oscar winner herself:  “We don’t care what you think.”

DAVIS: Oscar nominee

Pardon? “We don’t care what you think,” said Ms. B, flashing her legendary enigmatic smile. “You play the critic every day of the year. This is our one night to play critic. This is our one chance, once a year, to vote for who we think did the best job. So we don’t care what you think. This is one night when your vote doesn’t count.”  A few years later I was on the phone talking to song-and-dance queen Ann Miller, “I have to go now,” she said – “I’ve got to finish filling out my Oscar ballot.”  “Really!” I said. “Do you know who you’re voting for?”   “What a question!” she laughed. “My friends, of course!”

Who’s gonna win this Sunday? If they vote for their friends, it will probably be George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Nick Nolte and Octavia Spencer. If they vote for performances, it will probably be Jean Dujardin, Viola Davis, Christopher Plummer and Jessica Chastain. But either way it will probably be quite a show. Enjoy!

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Coming soon to a Canadian casino or concert hall near you: Latenite TV talkers Larry, Craig, Conan & Jon!

JON STEWART

GOING GREEN THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY: Where do talk show hosts go on hiatus? Where the money is. Which is howcum you can now buy tickets to see Larry King this month. Larry is sharing the stage with certifiably gorgeous wife #7, country music warbler Shawn King, on March 26 & 27, at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls. Top ticket price, before scalpers, is $90 a pop. Not so crazy about Larry? You can see Craig Ferguson (top price, before scalpers: $69.50) at Massey Hall on April 23 and/or the much-anticipated return of Conan O’Brien on his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny 
On Television tour
 at Massey Hall on May 22 (top ticket, before scalpers: $89.50.) Meanwhile, ticket prices for Jon Stewart, who is set to return to Fallsview on June 17 & 18, start at $90. (Good luck with those!)

LARRY

CONAN

CRAIG

FLICKERS: Oscar bridesmaid George Clooney is set to star in The Descendants, a new film directed by Alexander Payne [Sideways] … Clooney’s young Up In The Air co-star Anna Kendrick, fresh from her Oscar nod, has signed on to star opposite James

EASTWOOD & DAMON: together again?

McAvoy (so good in The Last Station) in a comedy drama about a young man’s cancer diagnosis (!?!) Sounds like a lotta laffs so far … Twilight heartthrob Taylor Lautner, who charms as a Valentine’s Day lothario, will play Stretch Armstrong in the new movie based on the Hasbro toy …  Universal has snapped up the rights to the graphic novel Fire for Zac EfronRobert Pattinson, Sean Penn and Reese Witherspoon are reportedly the front runners for the leading roles in the screen version of Water For Elephants … and Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood got along so well when they shot Invictus that they’re teaming up again on a new thriller, Hereafter.

BARUCHEL as The Trotsky

TROTSKY DEFEATS LENNON: Montreal-born screen charmer Jay Baruchel couldn’t be hotter if you set him on fire. His new comedy She’s Out of My League opened to good reviews and solid box office last weekend.  Later this month moviegoers will hear him as the lead voice in the much-anticipated 3D film How To Train Your Dragon, and in July he’ll be back on view playing apprentice to Nicolas Cage in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Before that, however, we’ll get to see his celebrated work in the sleeper hit of last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, The Trotsky, an off-the-wall comedy from young \writer-director Jacob Tierney that is quietly becoming legend before it even opens. First it won the audience awards at both the Tokyo Film Festival and the Atlantic Film Festival. Then it made the annual TIFF list of Top 10 Canadian Films. Then it made the Canadian Press list of the Top 10 Films Of 2009,

HAMPSHIRE: leading lady for Baruchel

keeping company with Avatar and The Hurt Locker and displacing such supposedly sure bets as Inglourious Basterds and A Single Man. Then Tierney was nominated for Best Screenplay by the Writers Guild of Canada. But wait, it gets better, Last week Tierney won the Russian Guild of Film Critics’ prize at Spirit Of Fire, the 8th International Festival of Cinematic Debuts, and last weekend The Trotsky was named the winner of this year’s Audience Award at the Sofia International Film Festival which ended Saturday in the Bulgarian capital.  A jubilant Tierney attended all four Sofia screenings, including one by popular demand.  (His closest competitor? Nowhere Boy, the British-made saga about the young John Lennon.) Prior to opening here in May The Trotsky, which also features stellar performances by screen lioness Genevieve Bujold, Colm Feore, Emily Hampshire and Michael Murphy, will make its US debut in April at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

MERCER: going to Extremes

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Indefatigable producer Pat Ferns is set to host Hot Docs’ International Co-Production Day on May 3 with delegations from around the world expected to participate … perennial crowd-pleaser Don Rickles returns to Fallsview Casino on April 8 … Rick Mercer salutes hard-hustling student fundraisers at universities in Ottawa and B.C. tonight at 8 pm on his Rick Mercer Report — and wait ’til you see the nail-biter Extreme Biking sequence! … and expect more than a few chuckles at this year’s Banff World Television Festival. William Shatner is set to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ricky Gervais will be picking up this year’s Peter Ustinov comedy trophy.

TOMORROW:

From diamonds-in-the-rough to diamonds:

meet the Dragons in their grand-slam finale.

-/-

Who wouldn’t talk about Hef, who got shortchanged in my TIFF tally, and who took home the hardware

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: Welcome to another razzle-dazzle week of entertainment in Our Town.  Among the notable treats in store: The Boys In The Photograph, the new Andrew Lloyd Weber–Ben Elton musical about

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

young men and women involved with a neighbourhood soccer team in Belfast in 1969, opens tomorrow night at the Royal Alex … DanceWorks opens its new show, Namesake: three, on Wednesday at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre … also opening Wednesday: The new Allen Cole-Melody Johnson-Rick Roberts collaboration, Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) at the Tarragon  … Darren Anthony’s new concert show, Secrets Of A Black Boy, produced by his sister Trey (Da Kink In My Hair) Anthony, opens at the Music Hall on Friday, the same night conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay, Anton Kuerti, Richard Margison and more launch a reportedly spectacular new

RIVERS: Saturday night

RIVERS: Saturday night

Royal Conservatory music venue, Koerner Hall, in the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning on Bloor Street West … Chick Corea and Sophie Milman christen the hall with jazz the following night … Celebrity Apprentice champ and TSC favourite Joan Rivers plays Casino Rama that same Saturday night … and Kevin Hearn, Raine Maida, Steven Page and Sarah Slean are among the celebrated warblers who will lend their voices when Andrew Burashko’s Art Of Time Ensemble salutes the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road with a re-imagined, re-invented concert version running two nights only, this Saturday and Sunday, also at the Enwave.

And that’s just for starters, folks.

MY BAD: It’s easy to get cross-eyed when so many stars come to town at the same time. At least, that’s my lame excuse for telling you that Colin Farrell and

BETTANY: double-header

BETTANY: double-header

Julianne Moore ruled the TIFF roost this year with three, count them, three films each, while celebrated runners-up George Clooney, Colin Firth and Amands Seyfried each appeared in two TIFF entries. All of which is true, except for two guys I forgot to mention. Don’t know how I missed him, but Willem Dafoe also deserved to be in that top spot with Colin and Julianne, as he appeared in no less than three TIFF titles this year: Antichrist, Daybreakers and Farewell. Sorry about that, Willem. And yes, Paul Bettany, who played Charles Darwin in the opening night film Creation and Lord Melbourne in the closing night film Young Victoria, should have been listed with Clooney, Firth and the young Ms Seyfried in second place. And yes, I’m just hoping I didn’t miss anyone else.

PLAYBOY OF THE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL: After three capacity crowds jammed the TIFF cinemas where her much-discussed documentary on Hugh Hefner premiered last week, director Brigitte Berman admitted that

BENNETT: talking about Hef

BENNETT: talking about Hef

by the time she finished shooting she had an embarrassment of riches, and had to delete scenes she loved from the original version to bring the film to a more manageable size. Deletions included interviews with the magazine magnate’s two sons, and the stories they tell about how they were treated in high school as Hugh Hefner’s offspring are apparently so fascinating that Berman intends to include that footage as a separate feature when the film is released on DVD. At a Q&A after the film she informed us that Playboy is the second best-known brand in the world — “Coca-Cola is number one,” she added — and that the toughest interview subject to secure, surprisingly, was Tony Bennett. “His agent is very protective of him, as he should be. But as soon as Tony was told of the request, he was all for it, and just a pleasure to work with.”

Did any key players from Hef’s past actually turn her down? “Yes,” replied the ever-candid Oscar-winning director — “Gloria Steinem, Jules Pfeiffer and Bill Cosby.”

WHO WON WHAT: As T.O. filmfest chief Piers Handling noted on Saturday night, TIFF delivered not only 335 films but also 10 days of consecutive sunshine – “the summer we did not have.” But thanks to superb programming, meticulous planning and the more than 2,000 volunteers (!!) who help make it happen, it was truly a festival to remember.

CLARKSON: winning film

CLARKSON: winning film

Finally, just in case you missed it, here’s who took home the hardware from the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

– Best Canadian Short Film: Pedro Pires, Danse Macabre. Honourable mention: Jamie Travis,The Armoire.

– Best Canadian First Feature Film: Alexandre Franchi, The Wild Hunt.

– Best Canadian Feature Film: Ruba Nadda, Cairo Time, with Patricia Clarkson, Tom McCamus and Alexander Siddig. Special Jury Citation: Bernard Émond, La Donation (The Legacy).

– FIPRESCI Prize (Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics for Discovery:) Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, The Man Beyond the Bridge (India).

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

– FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations: Bruno Dumont, Hadewijch (France).

– People’s Choice Award: Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. First runner-up:  Bruce Beresford, Mao’s Last Dancer. Second runner-up: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Micmacs (Micmacs à tirelarigot).

– People’s Choice Award – Documentary: Leanne Pooley, The Topp Twins. Runner-up: Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story.

– People’s Choice Award – Midnight Madness: Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones. Runner-up: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig, Daybreakers.

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Twyla Tharp, Rick Mercer, and more.

Who has the most flicks at TIFF? And who wrote that Lightbox song we’re all humming? Stay tuned!

I WILL LIGHT YOU UP / I WILL LIGHT YOU UP: More and more people are leaving Toronto International Film Festival screenings humming the

PILOT SPEED: filmfest rockers

PILOT SPEED: filmfest rockers

theme music from the on-screen Bell Lightbox promo that precedes every TIFF showing. Can we name that tune? Yes we can. The song, Light You Up, is performed by Toronto rockers Pilot Speed and is from their album Wooden Bones. Do they have pages on Facebook and My Space? Of course. Where and when can you see them in person? Tomorrow night at 9 pm in a free TIFF concert at Yonge-Dundas Square.

And yes, they’ll probably perform Light You Up.

And no, I can’t stop humming it either.

FARRELL: TIFF's top star?

FARRELL: TIFF's top star?

FARRELL & MOORE TOP TIFF LIST: Still trying to figure out who has the most movies at TIFF this year? Me too. By my count By my count TIFF veteran Colin Farrell (Triage, Ondine, The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus) is tied with filmfest alumnus Julianne Moore (Chloe, A Single Man. The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee) and both of them have a one-flick lead over fellow filmfest faves George Clooney (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Up In The Air) and Colin Firth (Dorian Gray, A Single Man,) who are tied with hot TIFF newcomer Amanda Seyfried (Chloe, Jennifer’s Body.)

MOORE: TIFF hat trick

MOORE: TIFF hat trick

Ms. Moore, of course, makes a lot of intriguing film choices – she was here last year for Blindness — but still can’t have it all. Which is why she had to bow out of playing Hillary Clinton in the ‘90s-era HBO drama The Special Relationship. Which turned out to be a lucky break for Hope Davis, on summer hiatus from her hit Broadway show God Of Carnage, because she got to play Hillary. But don’t feel too badly for Julianne. She now gets to play with Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Beloved Broadway baby Chita Rivera will perform at Birdland next month to launch her new solo studio album And Now I Swing, which features

RIVERA: still Swingin' (photo: Joan Marcus)

RIVERA: still Swingin' (photo: Joan Marcus)

such crowd-pleasers as Nowadays from Chicago and Where Am I Going from Sweet Charity. Also on the CD are songs from the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical version of The Visit, in which Rivera co-starred with George Hearn. The show never made it to Broadway but now, happily, some of the songs will … Kathleen Turner joins David Duchovny in the new season of his hit Showtime series Californication, premiering Sept. 28 on TMN … and Janet Jackson is set to chair amFAR’s Fashion Week AIDS fund-raiser in Milan the same night.

The TWO RICKS: At CBC’s Fall Launch yesterday Rick Mercer confirmed that he had indeed flown to B.C. last week to tape a segment for Season 7 of the

MERCER: taking the plunge

MERCER: taking the plunge

Rick Mercer Report with legendary Man In Motion Rick Hansen at Whistler.

Sooo … summer skiing? Wheelchair racing?

Exactly what were the two Ricks actually doing at Whistler?

“Bungee jumping,” Mercer confessed. “It was terrifying, but we had a lot of fun.”

This we gotta see. And we will, when Mercer kicks off his new season on Tuesday Sept. 29.

TOMORROW:

the hot titles emerging from this year’s TIFF,

and some of the stars who slipped in to see them.

-/-