Tag Archives: VERONICA TENNANT

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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Look, boys and girls, it’s THE RICK MERCI REPORT! … and no, that’s not a typo

BUT FIRST, TAKE A LOOK AT THIS: Canada’s most-watched man, Newfoundland export Rick Mercer, is slated to receive the 2012 ACTRA Award Of Excellence this weekend — yet another trophy to add to his countless Geminis,

HMMMM ... who's the guy with Bonhomme?

honorary doctorates and other accolades.  His weekly Rick Mercer Report, appointment viewing for thousands of Canadian families, is now in its 9th season, and neither he nor the show are showing any signs of slowing down.  How famous is he? So famous, apparently, that he and his show will soon be parodied by Kids’CBC. Yes, the home of cooking yam Mamma Yamma and singing dinosaur Drumheller is about to introduce its own Rick Merci Report, with another Maritimer, Saumon de Champlainplaying Rick. (Aside from his French accent and his vintage

DE CHAMPLAIN: casting coup

wardrobe and the fact that m’sieu de Champlain is, how you say it, a fish — hey, they could be twins.) Never mind — this we gotta see. Let’s hope the Merci Report attracts as many viewers as the original. More than one million Canadians tune in to Mercer’s Tuesday night telecasts, and an additional half million watch the same-week encore broadcast on Friday night. Mercer’s on the move again tonight, ice canoeing (brrrrrr!) at the Quebec the Winter Carnival and checking out Warming Hut installations (including one by Frank Gehry!!) at the Forks (brrrrrr!) in Winnipeg. And yes, there’s a Zamboni involved. And yes, it’s very funny stuff.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I think Margaret Atwood once said, ‘Wanting to meet an author because you like his books is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.’ ”

ATWOOD: It's Payback time

The speaker? Filmmaker Ethan Coen, at a film seminar in China last year. And speaking of film and Ms. Atwood,  look for her new collaboration with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, Payback, to premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox next month. Baichwal and Atwood christened their new celluloid baby, based on Atwood’s 2008 bestseller,  to much ooohing and aaahing at Sundance last month. Insiders say Atwood on-screen is almost as fascinating as Atwood off-screen, and if that’s true Payback should really be something to see.

OUR TOWN: The National Film Board launches its salute to the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary season tonight with a week-long series of dance on film at the NFB Mediatheque on John Street. First up:  Celia Franca: Tour de

PINA: Oscar contender

Force  by Veronica Tennant, who will speak following the screening. An archival display highlighting the past 60 years of the National Ballet and an interactive station where visitors can watch a dance and film playlist will also be offered onsite … Amy Nostbakken opens her controversial one-woman show, The Big Smoke, at Factory Studio Theatre tonight. Already a hit in the U.K., the play is reportedly inspired by the lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath and is described as a “poetic waltz with death which walks a fine line between sanity and psychosis.”  Sounds like tons o’ fun  … getting the

THOMPSON: one night only

urge to go Oscar-ing before Sunday’s Academy Awatds telecast? You can catch two major nominees at TIFF Bell Lightbox this week – Philippe Falardeau’s rave-winning drama Monsieur Lazhar, up for Best Foreign Film, and Wim Wenders’ eye-popping salute to dance great Pina Bausch, Pina, currently a strong contender for Best Documentary … and Scott Thompson brings back coy barfly Buddy Cole for a one-show-only appearance this Friday at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament Street.

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Jennifer plays Winnie, Sheila plays Halifax, Rick plays Rideau Hall — and stars coax us into the cold

STARS IN OUR EYES: Grammy showstopper Jennifer Hudson continues to prove herself as an actress as well as a singer. She and Terence Howard shine as Winnie & Nelson Mandela in the fascinating biopic Winnie, one of

HUDSON & HOWARD: As Winnie and Nelson Mandela in new biopic "Winnie"

the celluloid treats selected for the 12th annual Floating Film Festival. The FFF, launched by TIFF co-founder Dusty Cohl two decades ago and now captained by filmmaker Barry Avrich, embarks on a 10-day Caribbean odyssey on Monday Feb. 27 – the day after the Oscars – on the Seabourn Sojourn. More on FFF 12 as it happens …  Rachel McAdams and her main squeeze Michael Sheen are having a lovely Valentine’s Day, thanks for asking. McAdams’ film with Channing Tatum, The Vow, is number one at the box office, and Sheen is now set to star in the Showtime pilot Masters of Sex …  triumphant trio Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabo and Erin Wall, the three great voices who spark the current,

McADAMS: Happy February

theatrically dazzling Canadian Opera Company production of Love From Afar, won’t be sitting around after the controversial extravaganza closes on Feb. 22. Ms. Szabo is already set to perform with conductor Alex Pauk at the Esprit Orchestra event Gripped By Passion at Koerner Hall on Feb. 26 .And  her co-stars Braun and Wall are set to team up again in Ottawa in a new production of Carmina Burana March 8-9 at the National Arts Centre … and dynamic duo Jay Leno & Madonna teamed up to promote his Tonight Show with a delightfully snappy SuperBowl commercial I finally caught up with yesterday. Did you miss it too? Here it is. Enjoy!

PRESENT LAUGHTER: Montreal’s phenomenal Just For Laughs comedy festival celebrates its 30th anniversary (!!!) this year July 12-29, after warming up with a six-night stand in Chicago June 12-17 … a new cartoon-for-the-mind

JOHNSTON & MERCER: Rideau Hall playdate

podcast from those wacky Illustrated Men is set in the mythical town of Monogami, Ontario.  In the first episode Sam and Ella Toad move to Monogami to make a new start; some kids out camping spot a UFO; and alien bounty hunters land. Will Sam’s car get towed by zombies? You’ll have to tune in to find out …  stand-up guy Harry Doupe hosts Everyone’s A Winner, the March 9 all-star comedy fundraiser at Second City in support of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League with smile-makers  Sean Cullen, Tim Steeves, Laurie Elliott, Pete Zedlacher and many more … Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are set to play two middle-aged guys starting over as interns at an internet company in the Shawn Levy comedy Interns … and Rick Mercer finally gets a taste of the high life he’s been missing when he hobnobs with new Governor-General David Johnston at Rideau Hall tonight on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report.

McCARTHY & NICHOLSON: on stage in Halifax

FOOTLIGHTS: Stage and screen lioness Sheila McCarthy is back on the boards at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, garnering glowing notices in Norm Foster’s new comedy Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out with J. D. Nicholson. McCarthy is also set to co-star in  Lost In Yonkers with Linda Kash, David Eisner and Happy Days legend Marion Ross when the Neil Simon classic opens here in May   … Graham Abbey of The Border TV fame

BALABAN: Back at Theatre Passe Muraille

is also collecting kudos for his stage turn with Barry Flatman in the Canadian premiere of Enron, directed by Antoni Cimolino at Theatre Calgary … Divisadero: a performance, adapted by Michael Ondaatje from his Governor General Award-winning novel and directed by Daniel Brooks, is back at Theatre Passe Muraille for a limited run through Sunday Feb. 26. The production reunites the original cast of Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge, who created music specifically for the piece …  and Allan Hawco and Philip Riccio’s ambitious Company Theatre has announced its next production. Speaking In Tongues, by Andrew Bovell, will be directed by Riccio and play the Berkeley Street Theatre Oct. 29-Nov. 24. Will Riccio load the dice with lotsa star power? Stay tuned.

TENNANT: On a MIssion

DEEP FREEZE: Some of our faviourite stars are urging us to come into the cold. And their message is definitely on point. “Come freeze your butt off on February 25, 2012 with Yonge Street Mission on the coldest night of the year! It is a 5k and 10k non-competitive walk in the frigid cold for the hurting, homeless and hungry. Sign up as an individual or a team today. If you can’t join us that night, consider donating!” Sparklies askng us to participate via a very engaging vimeo include Maria Del Mar, Peter Keleghan, Debra McGrath, Patrick McKenna, Mark McKinney, Colin Mochrie, Leah Pinsent, Veronica Tennant and, still wearing his Stephen Leacock moustache, Gordon Pinsent. To see it, just click here.

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Mamma Mia! There they go again! My, my, how can we resist them?

FLICKERS: Ridiculously rich Mamma Mia film producer Judy Craymer is hoping to persuade Benny Andersson and his musical sidekick Bjorn

SEYFRIED & STREEP: bella Donnas?

Ulvaeus to lend their irresistible ABBA tunes to a prequel, with a brand new young cast. Will Amanda Seyfried get to play the young Meryl Streep, who played her mother Donna in MM? Stay tuned … Deidre Kelly’s new book, Paris Times Eight, already sounds like a movie. Kelly first arrived in Paris, the city of her dreams, “as a starry-eyed ingénue.” In some of her subsequent visits she returns as a budding writer who interviews Rudolf Nureyev and crashes an

KELLY: Paris, je t'aime (photo: Bryan L. Davies)

exclusive fashion show, and as an emotional daughter who takes her mother to Paris to meet her “other mother;” until finally she returns to Paris as a mother herself. Sounds like a least three great roles for women, n’est-ce pas? … and yes, it’s true, shooting is already underway in Shanghai for the Chinese version of Disney‘s megahit High School Musical. How did Disney get the green light from China? Well, for one thing, the Chinese version is set at a university, “since Chinese high school students are so focused on academics that they would not have time to devote to singing and dancing.” Okay, got it.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve no interest in playing oldies anymore. No, no, no. Far more fitting for the next stage in my career to play a slut.”

DENCH: Nothing like a Dame.

The speaker? Dame Judi Dench, now 74 but never at a loss for words. Currently starring in the about-to-be blockbuster movie musical Nine, Dame Judi’s next gig will bring her back to the boards, as Titania, the queen of the fairies in a new Midsummer Night’s Dream in Kingston, England. She first performed the role of Titania as a schoolgirl some 56 years ago, and is thrilled to be able to take another crack at it. “Of course,” she adds, “one is lucky to be acting at all. I’m happy when I have a job – any job. One is always afraid of having no work.”

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein said it best. There really is nothing like a Dame.

21 AGAIN: It came and went 10 days ago, November 21 2009 was not just another Saturday night for Veronica Tennant. The prima ballerina who reinvented herself as a prima television producer was in three different cities that

TENNANT: November is the Coolest month

night. She was in Toronto attending the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty — the ballet she premiered more than 35 (!!!) years ago with Rudolf Nureyev as her prince — in tribute to Canada’s National Ballet School’s 50th Anniversary Assemble Internationale. But she was also in Edmonton, on film, as Honourary Chair of the Shumka Ballet, welcoming guests to Shumka’s Red Boots, Ballet and Bubbly Gala. And she was also in Cuba, where her much-lauded dance film, Vida y Danza, Cuba, was being screened at the 18th Anniversary celebration of Lizt Alfonso’s Dance Cuba.

JACKSON: new role

“November 21 has always been a significant day for me,” admits Tennant with a shy smile. I’ll say! Her Gala farewell performance with the National Ballet of Canada, A Passion for Dance: Celebrating the Tennant Magic, took place on November 21, 1989. And ten years later, to the day, she won her first International Emmy award as a television producer, for Karen Kain; Dancing in the Moment, on November 21, 1999.

Safety in numbers, you say? Sounds more like magic to me.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Slaight Communications chief Gary Slaight will be lauded for his longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives

GABEREAU: hosting for Mercer

as the recipient of the Humanitarian Spirit Award. at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on March 11 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, during Canadian Music Week … rising marquee bait Joshua Jackson has won the lead in a feature adaptation of British TV series UFO … Robin Mirsky, executive director of Rogers Group of Funds, has succeeded CFTPA prez Norm Bolen as co-chair of Hot Docs board of directors with Michael McMahon. New board members include marketing maven Robert Pattillo, Cobalt Pharmaceuticals chairman Neil Tabatznik and filmmakers Lalita Krishna, Julia Ivanova and Danijel Margetic … and Vicki Gabereau will host when Rick Mercer entertains the multitudes in Vancouver at a gala fund-raising evening June 10 for the Kay Meek Centre.

Special P.S. to Rick Mercer Report aficionados: Mercer’s final 2009 outing airs tonight at 8 pm on CBC-TV.

TOMORROW:

Roger gets ready for Toronto, and

Liz gives some advice to some dazzling Glamour girls.

Juno stars Page & Cera and director Jason Reitman return to TIFF with three new flicks. Meanwhile …

PAGE: on a roll

PAGE: on a roll

MEANWHILE: Don’t be surprised if TIFF-bound Jason Reitman, who scored his first big hit at the festival with Thank You For Smoking, bumps into his Juno star Ellen Page. The irresistible Ms Page is coming here to promote Drew Barrymore’s first film as a director, Whip It, which features the most roller derby pulchritude we’ve seen since Raquel Welch tore up the track in Kansas City Bomber.

Meanwhile, joining Page and Barrymore on screen are formidable femmes Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis and SNL scene-stealer Kristen Wiig, so what’s not to like?

CERA: "hysterically twisted"

CERA: "hysterically twisted"

Meanwhile, Page’s Juno co-star Michael Cera has his own entry in the upcoming TIFF sweepstakes: Youth In Revolt, which TIFF programmer Cameron Bailey describes as an “hysterically twisted coming of age tale,” with Zach Galifianakis, Jean Smart and Steve Buscemi, directed by Miguel Arteta.

Meanwhile, director Reitman, still in L.A. finishing his new TIFF entry Up In The Air, has been taking Sundays off to screen movies he’s never seen but always wanted to. Last Sunday’s screening? Francois Truffaut’s 1959 classic The 400 Blows.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Prima ballerina turned prima producer Veronica Tennant is on the Gemini honours list again. This time she’s up for two, with a Best Director nomination for her shot-in-Cuba dance essay, Vida Y Danza Cuba, which is also nominated for Best Performing Arts program. Ms

DORE: clowning at Comix

DORE: clowning at Comix

Tennant’s brilliant cinematographer, Don Spence, is also a nominee this year, for his fearless camerawork on the Rick Mercer Report, which is about to launch its seventh season on CBC Television … reigning country music queen Shania Twain and Tony-winning Wicked star Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) have both been tapped to sub for Paula Abdul as guest judges on the next season of American Idol … and Canadian crowd-pleaser Jon Dore headlines at Comix, the comedy club on West 14th Street, this weekend in Manhattan.

OH TO BE A FLY ON THAT WALL: It’s official — Barbara Streisand is giving an intimate concert of selections from her new album at the famed New

STREISAND: new Love

STREISAND: new Love

York jazz club the Village Vanguard on Sept. 26. Her new album, Love Is the Answer, will be released Sept. 29 and marks the first time that Streisand has worked with Diana Krall and her combo. Streisand was executive producer of the album; Krall was producer.

“Her mom used to play my records,” says Streisand, “so she kind of grew up with them. I usually produce a lot of my own things, so we did it as a collaboration.”

The regular CD features the orchestra versions of the songs; the two-disc deluxe CD set also features Streisand performing the selections with Krall’s jazz group.

KRALL: producer

KRALL: producer

Krall always records basic tracks with her band and then the orchestra is added later. “David Foster records that way, where you do the tracks first,” Streisand told L.A. Times reporter Susan King. “I don’t particularly like it. But it brought me back to the way I started, so there was something very … nostalgic … about it.”

The small Manhattan clubs where she got her big break, the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel, are gone now. When she was 19, she auditioned at the Vanguard, where Miles Davis was the star of the show. “I didn’t get the job.” No, but somehow she managed to survive. Last month her three-disc DVD set, Streisand: The Concerts, went platinum after a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, making it the biggest selling music DVD of 2009.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

TOMORROW:

Pre-TIFF Oscar buzz, Hugh Jackman,  Jodie Foster & Mel Gibson, and more.

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