Tag Archives: ROBERT DOWNEY JR.

De Niro goes to the Middle East, Mercer goes indoor skydiving (!?!) and Martha goes to war

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: It took filmmaker Brigitte Berman to get the ball rolling, but after the Toronto International Film Festival premiere

DOWNEY JR: Playboy material?

DOWNEY JR: Playboy material?

of her documentary on Hugh Hefner, a major Hollywood biopic is finally going ahead. Producer Brian Grazer (24) recently met with Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody about the project, and Brett Ratner (X-Men) is apparently lined up to direct, with Robert Downey Jr. favoured to play Hef … shhhh, it’s a secret, but my spies tell me irresistible funny girl Monica Parker is currently fine-tuning a new one-woman show cunningly called The Weight Is Over.  Can’t weight, uhhh, wait … and Rick Mercer and Rush rock legend Alex

LIFESON & MERCER: indoor skydiving

LIFESON & MERCER: indoor skydiving

Lifeson go skydiving tonight — the hard way — by attempting to float atop 225 km/h winds generated by a jet engine (!!!) at the Niagara Freefall Indoor Skydiving challenge. And believe me, ‘freefall’ is the word for it. Catch them tonight at 8 pm on the Rick Mercer Report on CBC.

UP IN ARMS: On Thursday night Toronto theatergoers will see the Canadian premiere of Strange News, a 30-minute multimedia work about the plight of

SWANK: as Amelia Earhart

SWANK: as Amelia Earhart

child soldiers. The work, composed by Norwegian Rolf Wallin with text by Belgian actor/director/writer Josse de Pauw, is narrated by the young Ugandan actor Arthur Kisenyi, and comes to us after breaking theatrical ground in Oslo, Birmingham, Porto, Chicago, and Copenhagen. Filling out the bill is a performance of Igor Stravinsky¹s classic A Soldier¹s Tale, narrated by the legendary Martha Henry and directed by Peter Moss. For tickets call the St. Lawrence Centre box office at 416-366-7723 or just click here.

FLICKERS: Why does news of a Tribeca Film Festival in the Persian Gulf remind me of a New Yorker cartoon? Nonetheless, the 31-film festival opens this

DeNIRO: in Doha

DE NIRO: in Doha

week in Doha, Qatar’s capital, with Robert De Niro, Tribeca’s co-founder, expected to be on hand for the opening film, the Hillary Swank-Richard Gere opus Amelia. Unlike red-carpet filmfests in Dubau and Abu Dhabi, Doha is looking to showcase independent films (Steven Soderbergh’s Informant, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story) — but hey, it’s still the middle east. Both Doha and Abu Dhabi programmed Bahman Ghobadi’s No One Knows About Persian Cats, a film shot covertly in Iran, but none of the Gulf festivals have programmed a film from Israel, and if your passport is Israeli, you can’t get there from here. Intrigued? Yeah, me too. To catch up with Larry Rohter’s report in last week’s New York Times, just click here.

GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT, HOT, HOT: Finally got a chance to see Brad (Love & Human Remains) Fraser’s new comedy about family secrets at

KEELEY & STEWART: hit show

KEELEY & STEWART: hit show

Factory Theatre at a packed Sunday matinee, and now I know what all the fuss is about. Everything about this witty, provocative production is absolutely top-notch, from Bretta Gerecke’s cleverly engaging set to playwright Fraser’s fast-paced cinematic staging and direction. Ashley Wright and Julie Stewart are spectacularly good as the parents, Andrew Craig and Susanna Fournier are outstanding as their confused offspring, and David W. Keeley’s subtle but sly portrayal of the returning restauranteur who unhinges all of them makes this laugh-out-loud dramedy work brilliantly. Don’t miss it. But you will if you don’t act now, because counting tonight there are only six (6) performances left. To snap up your last-chance tickets just click here. And enjoy!

TOMORROW:

Come to the Cabaret.

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Oprah packs for Precious, Bryan covers Twiggy, Kate goes Crawford, and Tommy sings a new Tune

THE BIG OH: Ya gotta love Conan O’Brien’s comment on Barrack Obama’s plan to have dinner with Oprah Winfrey during his visit to Martha’s Vineyard. “That’s right,” said Conan, “the most powerful person in the free world is going to have dinner with President Obama!”

WINFREY: packing for T.O.

WINFREY: packing for T.O.

TIFF-bound Oprah is set for a pretty sensational September so far. She’ll jet here to celebrate the Sunday Sept 13 world premiere of her new film, Precious, before launching another new season of Oprah! the next day with an hour-long exclusive heart-to-heart with tortured but gifted diva Whitney Houston.

Will Whitney ‘sing’ for Oprah?

Count on it.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: The only man ever to win nine Tony awards in four different categories, song & dance sensation Tommy Tune, has a brand-new road show titled Steps in Time, the same title as Fred Astaire’s autobiography.

TWIGGY: Bryan Adams cover girl

TWIGGY: Bryan Adams cover girl

“That’s true!” says Tune, now 69 years young. “I borrowed the title from two of my idols, Sir Noel Coward and Fred Astaire. Coward gave that title to Astaire’s biography, so I have purloined it!”… and speaking of Tommy Tune, Renée Zellwegger’s new movie, My One And Only, is not, repeat, not the screen version of the great Broadway musical Tommy created for himself and Twiggy.  In this one Zellwegger plays a social beauty who is out to land a husband to take care of her and her two boys. Renée’s character is apparently based on Palm Beach matriarch Ann Devereaux Hamilton, whose sons include the ultra-tanned movie star George … and speaking of Twiggy, did you catch Bryan Adams’ fabulous photos of her inside (and on the cover, natch) of the fall issue of Zoomer magazine? Does anyone take better celebrity portraits than Adams? Not that I can see.

BUT WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS … : Director Robert Rodrigues has signed Lindsay Lohan for a starring role in his new movie Machete, possibly opposite Robert DeNiro. Now that we’d like to see! … director Guy

WINSLET: mommie dearest

WINSLET: mommie dearest

Ritchie is in London, working on post-production of Sherlock Holmes, which is still slated for a Christmas Day release with Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdamsJulie & Julia filmmaker Nora Ephron’s next work, a collaboration with her talented sister Delia, is a play called Love, Loss and What I Wore, set to open October 1 at the West Side Theater in Manhattan … my Brit spies whisper that Madonna plans to direct a new movie musical about the Duke & Duchess Of Windsor and wants Cate Blanchett and David Tennant (TV’s Dr. Who) to play Wallis Simpson and the king who gave up his throne for her …  and director Todd Haynes has persuaded Oscar winner Kate Winslet to star as Mildred Pierce, the role that won Joan Crawford her Oscar, in a six-part mini-series remake of the James M. Cain novel. (The original was cleaned up considerably to get by Hollywood’s once-stringent production code.) Now all director Haynes has to do is find the right actress to tackle the role of Mildred’s vengeful daughter, so memorably played in the original by the usually saint-like Ann Blyth.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS: CBC Television launched its nightly 90-minute supper hour newscasts this week. Which meant it had to move

DUMONT: 'V'-spot

DUMONT: 'V'-spot

Coronation Street to 6:30 pm. Which meant more grumbling from Corrie fanatics (and yes, you know who you are) … Microsoft launched its new msn.ca website with fairly modest fanfare …  Montreal-based TQS (Television Quatre Saisons) showed off its new name, “V”, its new direction (more fun, less doom ‘n’ gloom) and announced a new political affairs show hosted by Mario DumontShowcase showed off its new look and its new logo, just like brand new sneakers on the first day of school … and Canada’s struggling ‘E’ network bit the dust as new owner Channel Zero relaunched its ‘E’ stations with a new format. (Whew! Glad that’s over.)

HAPPY LONG WEEKEND

See you next week!

-/-

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.

-/-

Hollywood’s new Iron maiden

Woody Allen favourite Scarlett Johansson has joined the cast of the Iron Mansequel to play a deadly Russian superspy called Black Widow.  And she won’t be lonely because, as previously noted,

JOHANSSON: Iron Widow

JOHANSSON: Iron Widow

 

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke are already on board …  after she leaves Broadway – her run in 33 Variationsends May 21 — Jane Fonda will collaborate on a new film project with Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler …  Margaret Atwoodguests with George Stroumboulopoulos tonight on The Hour … and Hot Docs will open April 30 at the Winter Garden with the world premiere of Act Of God, produced and directed by award-laden Manufactured Landscapescreator Jennifer Baichwal.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES:  “When we talk to God, we’re praying. When God talks to us, we’re schizophrenic.”
The speaker? Lily Tomlin’s brilliant partner-in-crime (and
comedy,) writer Jane Wagner.

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SPAMALOT:  Can’t wait to order my U.S. Government Grant Money CD so I can figure out how much of a bailout I need. Because I’m assured that this CD from the Grant Resource Center will help me take care of the rest.

Mind you, applications are limited and there is no guarantee that this introductory offer will last.

CARLIN: The One & Only

CARLIN: The One & Only

 

No, I’m not doing a George Carlin routine. My Junk Mail file (and yours too, I’ll bet) is chock full of special offers to help me survive the recession.

Luckily for me, my New Cash Advance Has Been Approved by the American Payday Corporation (“Bad Credit OK, receive payday within an hour!”) – or at least it was until I told them where to send the money.

“Sorry,” the American Payday Corporation replied, “we cannot service your country.”

Awwwwwww!

Never mind. Jennifer Baxter (she’s been keeping a low profle, working at home, raking in millions) has offered to put me on her Easy Road To Success (my very favourite road! The woman must be psychic!) – so I can Say Goodbye To Worry. Which I plan to do as soon as I send away for Shawn Casey’s free in-depth Internet markering course – I only pay shipping and handling costs – so I can learn the secrets the pros know, just as long as I grab it quick, before Shawn changes his mind.

Ah yes. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

* * *

WILLIAMS: the Reel thing

WILLIAMS: the Reel thing

 

BECOMING ATTRACTIONS: DanceWorks world-premieres William Yong’s Frames tonight at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre … the Suitcase Theatre production of the family musical The House That Jack Built continues its run at 3pm daily through March 21 at the Church of the Redeemer at Bloor and Avenue Road … indefatigable Tonya Lee Williams launches her 9th (!!!) Annual ReelWorld Film Festival next month. Names of the films set for unspooling April 15-19 will be announced shortly. …  What Has Architecture Done For You Lately?,  a new exhibit at the Design Exchange, premieres the same night … and the Canadian Opera Company’s 10th Annual Fine Wine Auction is set for the following night, Thursday April 16, at Crush.

* * *

SEE/HEAR:  She’s currently causing quite a stir on YouTube, and it’s not hard to see why.  Self-proclaimed culture bandit Vanessa Hidary, a shining light on the Def Poetry firmament, calls herself “The Hebrew Mamita.” She’s provocative, clever, thoughtful and, best of all, funny. See what all the fuss is about by clicking here.

A rose is a rose — especially when it’s golden

The show biz bible Variety notes that Switzerland’s four-day Rose d’Or festival  “is Europe’s top TV competition.”

So it’s fun to note that, after surviving an eyeball-challenging pre-selection gamut of 424 entries, Canada has ended up with no less than nine, count ‘em, nine nominations, in almost as many categories.

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

KARPLUK: with Strombo tonight

CBC’s new Wednesday night crowd-pleaser, Being Erica, is one of three Canadian drama nominees, along with the crime mini-series Guns and the drama Windfalls & Misfortunes from Montreal.

CBC also scored two big comedy nods, for The Rick Mercer Report and Little Mosque On the Prairie, and Bravo! won a nomination for its Bravo!Fact Art In Action special.

Other plaudits went to Maple Leaf entries from Xenophile Media, Productions Pixcom and producer Henry Less.
Would-be rivals include such diverse series as the U.S. reality series I Survived A Japanese Game Show and BBC’s Last Choir Standing, and winners will pick up their golden Roses at the May 5 awards ceremony in Lucerne.

And speaking of winners, Being Erica star Erin Karpluk, who also graced home screens in Godiva’s, guests tonight with Strombo on The Hour.

* * *

QUOTABLE QUOTES. “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals, it’s just that they need more supervision.”

The speaker? U.S. comedienne Lynn Lavner, frequently billed as America’s Most Politically Incorrect Entertainer.

* * *

HE TOOK THE FIFTH: It’s official. Toronto Star-gazer  Rita Zekas broke the news last week that Bistro 990 alumnus Fernando Temudo has returned to T.O., this time to the theatre district, as the new GM of The Fifth Grill supperclub on Richmond Street …  meanwhile,

MOORE: Coulter kudos

MOORE: Coulter kudos

back at 990, Victor & Susan are still happily holding court with all their fans … and yes, Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson are all set to reprise their characters in the Iron Man sequel, but Downey’s new nemesis will be none other than Hollywood comeback kid Mickey Rourke. Mickey will play a bad guy called Whiplash (insert your own punchline here) … Colm Feore and director Des McAnuff guest with Antoni Cimolino on tonight’s Stratfortd Festival webcast at 6:30 pm …  National Ballet corps members Elena Lobsanova and Noah Long will dance Dénouement, a new work commissioned by their boss Karen Kain  from Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, when they compete for the Erik Bruhn prize tonight at the Four Seasons Centre … and no, he’s not just a pretty voice. John Moore, CFRB’s popular drive home show host, is still winning kudos for his analysis of Ann Coulter last week in the National Post. And by the way, you don’t have to live in Toronto to hear him — just tune in to http://www.cfrb.com.

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SEE/HEAR:  The buzz on the Star Trek prequel has already begun, and if the movie is half as good as its trailers you should be in for one truly action-packed evening. To preview the Star Trek trailers, just click here.