Tag Archives: The Shopping Channel

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.

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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!

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