AND THE WINNERS ARE:
Participants on the 12th annual Floating Film Festival
voted the hugely-overlooked Ryan Gosling-Kirsten Dunst
thriller All Good Things
the Dusty Cohl
Best Feature Award at
a ceremony at sea last night on the sleek sophisticated Seabourn Sojourn
cruise ship. Coming in a strong second was Winnie,
a sweeping biopic of South African iron lady Winnie Mandela
, with stellar support from Elias Koteas
and Wendy Crewson
, a finely honed portrayal of Nelson Mandela
by Terrence Howard
, and a remarkably disciplined, outstanding performance of Jennifer Hudson
as Winnie. Winner of the Brian Linehan
Award for Best Documentary was An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill And The Jews
, an unexpected coup for producer and Floating filmfest commander Barry Avrich,
who had confided earlier in the week that he was sure another FFF contender, Jealous Of The Birds,
which ended up in second place, would take the prize. Other major
favourites with FFF 12 viewers included the Oscar-nominated father vs. son drama Footnote,
from Israel. which gave us a new and somewhat squirmy inside look at academia;
and Where Do We Go Now
, from France, which won the TIFF
Audience Award last September. Unexpected highlights of the week-long filmfest included Rex Reed’s
master claass tribute to actor-director Richard Benjamin
and his wife Paula Prentiss
, which included screenings of Benjamin’s 1969 screen debut with Ali MacGraw
in Goodbye, Columbus
, as well as a closing night showing of My Favourite Year, t
he 1982 Peter O’Toole
classic that Benjamin directed with such style and panache.
Most controversial entry at the festival was Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz
, which left the cinephile audience arguing about its merits for several hours after the lights came on again. But more on Ms Polley’s film and other Floating Film Festival events in future columns.
BENJAMIN & MACGRAW: in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Rocker Jeff Beck will not be attending this year’s Slacker Canadian Music Week after all. Originally scheduled to perform at The Phoenix on March 22, followed by a one-on-one interview on March 23 at the Fairmont Royal York, Beck had to cancel his appearances due to delays in his recording schedule … supersongstress Norah Jones is getting her Irish on. She’s set to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by serenading fans at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Jones’ new album Little Broken Hearts drops May 1, and Jones will tour extensively this year, with other North American dates to be revealed shortly. Hard to believe that it was 10 years ago this month (February 2002) when she released her first album, Come Away With Me, now the #10 best-selling album of the Soundscan era after selling 25 million copies worldwide … good news for Alice Cooper fans – your hero will open for Iron Maiden when the vet rockers bring their splashy new Maiden England World Tour to Montreal, Toronto, Sarnia and Quebec City in July … and you can add Tony Bennett to the growing legions of fans for Grammy sweeper Adele, who he compares with U.S. music legend Kate Smith. “Adele is magnificent,” he told Rolling Stone. “She’s the best British singer I ever heard.”
AKERMAN: piloting with Portia
CASTING ABOUT: Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan are the leads in Joss Whedon‘s upcoming supernatural indie romance, In Your Eyes … Michael Marc Friedman has been cast in the Fox comedy pilot Living Loaded from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia castmember and producer Rob McElhenney … Shawn Ashmore and Valorie Curry are joining Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy on Fox’s new Kevin Williamson drama about a serial killer who creates a cult of serial killers … Malin Akerman is set to star opposite Portia de Rossi in the ABC comedy pilot The Smart One … British actor Jamie Blackley has been cast as the lead in the upcoming 300 sequel … and Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are set as the stars of Michael Bay’s black comedy action thriller Pain and Gain.
BRYAN: Spring breker
GOLDSINGER: Country warbler Luke Bryan’s album Tailgates and Tanlines is now officially certified gold in Canada. Plus, his first single from the album, Country Girl (Shake it for Mes, is now platinum here, and his second single I Don’t Want This Night To End is already gold. All this after his I Don’t Want This Night To End spent four weeks at #1 on country music radio charts. So expect some hootin’ and hollerin’ when Luke’s fourth Spring Break EP — Spring Break 4: Suntan City — drops tomorrow.
* * *
Posted in Comedy, Gossip, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged Adele, Ali MacGraw, Alice Cooper, All Good Things, An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill And The Jews, Barry Avrich, Brian Linehan, Come Away With Me, documentary, Dusty Cohl, Elias Koteras, Floating Film Festival, Footnote, France, Goodbye Columbus, IRON MAIDEN, Israel, Jealous Of The Birds, Jeff Beck, Jennifer Hudson, Kirsten Dunst, Little Broken Hearts, My Favourite Year, Nelson Mandela, Norah Jones, Paula Prentiss, Peter O'Toole, Rex Reed, Richard Benjamin, Rolling Stone, Ryan Gosling, SARAH POLLEY, Seabourn Sojourn, Slacker Canasdian Music Week, Soundscan, St. Patrick's Day, Take This Waltz, Terrence Howard, TIFF, TONY BENNETT, Wendy Crewson, Where Do We Go Now, Winnie, Winnie Mandela
CRYSTAL: Welcome home, Billy!
JUST A SIMPLE BOY WITH A DREAM: Yes, I watched last night’s Oscarcast. Just me and another billion people. And yes, it went on too long. It always does. But it was a splendid reminder of why we’ve missed Billy Crystal. Let’s hope Academy chief Tom Sherak can coax him to return next year.
BENJAMIN: filmfest honouree
ANCHORS AWEIGH: The one-and-only (as far as we know) Floating Film Festival sails from Fort Lauderdale today on a week-long movie cruise of Caribbean islands. Launched by Toronto filmfest co-founder Dusty Cohl, and kept afloat after his death by filmmaker Barry Avrich, festival programmer Hannah Fisher and travel magician Rosemary Durham, this 12th (!!!) edition will visit San Juan, St. Barth’s, Antigua and the Virgin Islands while unspooling 15 new and classic films. Among this year’s gems is the hit 1969 drama Goodbye, Columbus, with stellar performances by Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw. Highlight of the voyage is expected to be an evening tribute to Benjamin, who will be accompanied on the cruise by his wife
REED: all at sea
Paula Prentiss. (More on the Benjamins as it happens.) Also on hand to kibbitz and chide FFF 12 filmgoers are the film critics for the Chicago Tribune and New York Observer — respectively, Michael Phillips and Rex Reed (yes, that Rex Reed.) Tonight’s opening film is Dori Bernstein’s stunning biography of Broadway legend Carol Channing. (More on that tomorrow.)
LINEHAN ON LINE: Legendary interviewer Brian Linehan was one of the original Floating Film Festival crew members, interviewing stars on stage and usually making the voyage more exciting for all concerned. Good news is that, at
LINEHAN: on line at last
long last, dozens of Linehan’s television interviews are now on line for the whole world to see. Go to www.brianlinehan.ca and you’ll find hours of memorable moments with Daniel Day-Lewis, Mark Harmon, Bette Midler, Leah Pinsent, Christopher Plummer, Isabella Rossellini, Elaine Stritch, Kiefer Sutherland, James Spader, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and many more. The three major organizations behind the website — the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, the National Screen Institute (NSI) and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – have done a remarkable job of putting it together. Says TIFF CEO Piers Handling: “Brian was the celebrity journalist everyone wanted to talk with, and we’re proud to be able to preserve and digitize some of those incredible interviews to be enjoyed by the public via the new website.” We couldn’t agree more.
* * *
Posted in Actors, Authors, BOOKS, Comedy, Gossip, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged Academy Awards, Ali MacGraw, Barbra Streisand, Barry Avrich, Bette Midler, Billy Crystal, Brian Linehan, Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, BROADWAY, Carol Channing, Chicago Tribune, CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, DANIEL DAY LEWIS, Dori Bernstein, Dusty Cohl, Elaine Stritch, Floating Film Festival, Goodbye Columbus, Hannah Fisher, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI, James Spader, KIEFER SUTHERLAND, LEAH PINSENT, Mark Harmon, Michael Phillips, New York Observer, Oscars, Paula Prentiss, Piers Handling, Rex Reed, Richard Benjamin, Rosemary Durham, STEVEN SPIELBERG, the National Screen Institute, Tom Sherak, Toronto International Film Festival
STARS IN OUR EYES: What a weekend for celebrity-spotting in Our Town. In addition to Penelope Cruz, Colin Farrell, Jeff Bridges, Jason Bateman, Hugh Hefner, Drew Barrymore, Ewan McGregor (who walked the red
McGREGOR: took flight
carpet, then dashed to Pearson International to catch a flight) and too many more to mention here, Anne Murray hosted the stars receiving Walk Of Fame honours on Saturday night at the Four Seasons Centre. New sidewalk star owner Kim Cattrall, back in New York this morning shooting Sex And The City 2, also sparkled at George Christy’s 25th annual filmfest family reunion at the Four Seasons, as did Michael Caine, Rachel Ward & Bryan Brown, Norman Jewison, Michael Sheen, Rex Reed, novelists Ron Base & Shinan Govani, Seamus O’Regan, Chaz & Roger Ebert, Ben Mulroney and An Education scene-stealer Carey Mulligan, who flew to Manhattan yesterday to start shooting Wall Street 2 with Michael
CATTRALL: Back to Manhattan
Douglas. A few blocks away at Il Fornello TIFF co-founder Bill Marshall & Sari Ruda hosted their annual All-Star Lunch for directors Fred Schepisi, Patricia Rozema and Don Shebib, satirist Rick Miller, filmfest veteran Tony Watt, columnist Martin Knelman, ex-Toronto mayors David Crombie & Art Eggleton and many more. Veteran filmfest programmer Hannah Fisher and producers Pierre Sarrazin & Suzette Couture were among the guests soaking up the sun and snacks at Tonya Lee Williams’ lively networking reception at The Pilot for her ReelWorld Indie Lounge. And producer Laszlo
CLOONEY: with Oprah
Barna and dozens of TIFF participants showed up to shmooze at the Canadian Film Centre soiree hosted by CFC chief Slawko Klymkiw at The Spoke Club.
Biggest crowd-pleasers of the weekend: George Clooney, who greeted cheering fans Friday night at the premiere of The Men Who Stare At Goats and then showed up with Oprah Winfrey on his arm for the Saturday screening of Jason Reitman’s crowd-pleasing Up In The Air. (My spies tell me Reitman’s Thank You For Smoking star Aaron Eckhart also was there. Who knew?) La Wnfrey herself drew thunderous applause last night at the premiere of Precious, as did Mariah Carey. But it was Michael Caine who earned the most affectionate TIFF standing ovations yesterday in his stellar Q&A session with Canada A.M. stalwart Seamus O’Regan.
TIFF TALK: TIFF visitor Tilda Swinton reportedly wants to star in a new screen version of Mame, more along the lines of stage & screen Mame Rosalind Russell than movie musical Mame Lucille Ball … popular music-makers Terri
SWINTON: new Mame?
Clark and Hawksley Workmen are among the entertainers appearing this week at the Hard Rock Café as part of the fifth annual TIFF-related Canadian Music Café … Canuck luminaries ranging from Christopher Plummer, Norman Jewison and David Cronenberg to Margaret Atwood, Oscar Peterson and Louise Pitre are currently showcased in a new 30-year retrospective by photographer Edward Gajdel at the o born contemporary gallery on Yonge street … Bobby Del Rio is living the Actor’s Dream. He’s in every single scene of Mio Adilman’s short TIFF film Unlocked … and organizers of the Dubai International Film Festival pulled the plug on tonight’s planned Park Hyatt cocktail soiree. All in all, not Dubai’s best year for public relations. Maybe all the headline-grabbing fuss about the TIFF salute to Tel Aviv scared them off?
Posted in Actors, Authors, BOOKS, Gossip, Jokes, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged Aaron Eckhart, ANNE MURRAY, Art Eggleton, Ben Mulroney, Bill Marshall, Bobby Del Rio, Bryan Brown, Canada's Walk Of Fame, Canadian Film Centre, Canadian Music Cafe, CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, COLIN FARRELL, David Crombie, DAVID CRONENBERG, Don Shebib, DREW BARRYMORE, Dubai International Film Festival, Edward Gajdel, Ewan McGregor, Four Seasons Centre For the Performing Arts, Fred Schepisi, GEORGE CHRISTY, GEORGE CLOONEY, Hannah Fisher, Hard Rock Cafe, Hawksley Workman, HUGH HEFNER, Jason Bateman, JASON REITMAN, Jeff Bridges, Kim Cattrall, Laszlo Barna, LOUISE PITRE, Lucille Ball, MARGARET ATWOOD, MARIAH CAREY, Martin Knelman, Michael Caine, MICHAEL DOUGLAS, Michael Sheen, Mio Adilman, Norman Jewison, o born contemporary gallery, OPRAH WINFREY, Oscar Peterson, Patricia Rozema, Penelope Cruz, Pierre Sarrazin, Precious, Rachel Ward, Rex Reed, Rick Miller, Roger Ebert, Ron Base, Rosalind Russell, Sari Ruda, SEAMUS O'REGAN, Seamus O’Regan, Shinan Govani, SLAWKO KLYMKIW, Suzette Couture, Terri Clark, The Men Who Stare At Goats, The Spoke Club, TILDA SWINTON, Tony Watt, TONYA LEE WILLIAMS, Unlocked, Up In The Air