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With Four More Months to Make the Switch, Over 400 TV Stations Are All Digital

CATEGORY: , , , | Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More than 400 television stations have stopped broadcasting in old-fashioned analog form, according to the Federal Communications Commission, months before the rescheduled transition to digital TV.

Turning off the analog signal allows stations that are short of cash to save money, but it also means a loss of service for viewers who have not yet upgraded their older television sets.

The long-awaited move to digital TV, which promises clearer pictures and more channel choices for over-the-air television viewers, had been scheduled to happen Tuesday, more than three years after the federal government set the day as the deadline for stations to cease analog broadcasting.

This month, however, the government delayed the move until June 12, citing a troubled transition process and a fear that millions of Americans would find that their televisions had been rendered incapable of receiving signals.

Despite the delay, 421 stations, most of them in smaller TV markets, chose to turn off their analog signals Tuesday. When they are combined with the 220 broadcasters that already broadcast solely in digital, the F.C.C. estimates that 36 percent of the nation’s stations will have switched by Wednesday morning.

President Obama signed legislation last week that pushed back the deadline until June and allowed some stations to turn off their analog signals earlier.

Nielsen Media Research estimates that about 5.8 million households, or about 5.1 percent, have not upgraded their sets. Households that rely on rabbit ears and older analog televisions to watch TV over the air need to install a converter box to view the digital programming.

The government’s coupon program to subsidize the cost of the converter boxes is experiencing a backlog; the stimulus bill Mr. Obama signed on Tuesday allots $650 million more for the initiative.
The F.C.C. said it had sought to ensure that at least one ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC affiliate in each market would stay on the air in analog form until June.
In about 20 markets where all the major affiliates intended to turn off the analog signal on Tuesday, the agency pushed stations to keep at least one signal on the air for news and emergency information.
“We are trying to make the best of a difficult situation,” Michael J. Copps, the acting chairman of the agency, said in a statement.
“While this staggered transition is confusing and disruptive for some consumers, the confusion and disruption would have been far worse had we gone ahead with a nationwide transition on Tuesday,” Mr. Copps said.
In major markets like New York, all the major affiliates will remain on the air in analog until June.
San Diego is the largest market where three of the biggest affiliates are turning off their analog signals. In that market, only 7 percent of people rely on over-the-air signals.
“We have been running crawls and stories and spots, everything required by the F.C.C., in great abundance, to try to end whatever confusion there is,” said Ed Trimble, the general manager of KFMB, the CBS affiliate in San Diego.
Most stations across the country are choosing to stay in both analog and digital form until June 12, meaning that viewers will see four more months of reminders to buy a converter box.
“There are still a few consumers who are not quite prepared yet, and that’s why we elected to go with the delay,” said Brent Hensley, the general manager of KOCO, the ABC affiliate in Oklahoma City.
Under the F.C.C.’s current rules, other stations may be allowed to turn off their analog signals in March and June.
Once stations stop analog broadcasting in local markets, the stations are bound to hear from confused consumers.
The F.C.C. said more than 4,000 people were available to answer the agency’s phone number, 1-888-CALLFCC (1-888-225-5322), to help consumers who are confused about the switch.

Published: February 17, 2009

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Hear hear! New kids on the music block

CATEGORY: , , , | Sunday, February 15, 2009

Raw, powerful, edgy and refreshingly different. The new bunch of young, talented and successful composers are changing the way Bollywood makes its music and we listen to it. Comfortable with genre hopping - they experiment with everything from bhangra to electronica to western classical - they are willing to experiment, and dish out music that seems to strike a chord with listeners across.

Given the fact that an unknown Amit Trivedi has composed one of the biggest cult tracks in recent times and a Gaurav Dasgupta has replaced Pritam in Aa Dekeh Zara, these guys are definitely here to stay. [Neil-Bips sizzle in Aa Dekhen Zara]

Amit Trivedi

Talking point: Emosanal Attyachar from Dev.D

Past, present and future: Emosanal Attyachar has become the official heartbreak anthem. It's no longer Saigal's Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya but Trivedi's Bol Bol Why Did You Ditch Me that broken hearts crooned this Valentine's Day. Nearly two years in the making, Trivedi's 18-track album could be called an exercise in excess - but according to the 29-year-old composer, Dev.D has scope for even more songs. Hailing from an advertising background Trivedi debuted with the haunting score of Aamir. Unlike his contemporaries he believes in keeping it simple, but not at the cost of sacrificing innovation. Post Dev D, Trivedi is hot property, as you can't ignore a guy who helps an Anurag Kashyap film fetch a strong initial.

By Anand Vaishnav . Buzz18 Feb 15, 2009

Brad Pitt feared death after 'Benjamin Button'

CATEGORY: , | Friday, February 6, 2009

London, Feb 6 (IANS) Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt, who stars in the reverse ageing drama 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', has confessed that the film's controversial theme forced him to confront his own mortality.

'I walked away realising that time is short. I didn't know if I had a day left or 10 days, 10 years or 40 years. Was I halfway or was I close to the end?' the 45-year-old actor was quoted as saying by mirror.co.uk.

'I didn't know so I had to make sure I don't waste those moments in any kind of pettiness, bitterness or laziness, and that I surround myself with the people who are most important to me,' Pitt said.

By indiaabroad
Saturday Feb 7 12:10 AM

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Paayum Puli: Song remixed


Recently, 'Vachikkava' from Nallavanukku Nallavan (Rajinikanth) was remixed for Simbu's Silambattam, creating a huge furore throughout the state! Now, songs from yesteryear Rajni movies are considered good luck charms by many filmmakers and music directors! Listen to and download Silambattam songs. Eager to capitalize on this new fad, Srikanth Deva has remixed the song 'Aadi masa kaathadikka' from yesteryear Rajinikanth movie Paayum Puli for Thottuppaar, an upcoming film directed by G.D. Nandu (director Perarasu' assistant). Srikanth is quite confident that this song will create the same furore that 'Vachikkava' created recently. Thottuppaar's lead was to be played by Krishna, Vishnuvardhan's brother who debuted in Alibaba. But now Koothu Pattarai Vidharth will play the lead, as Krishna has become busy with several other projects. Lakshana, a debutant from Kerala, is the heroine.

By galatta

Friday Feb 6 6:50 PM

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Konkona to team up with Mammootty in Kannada film?


Bangalore, Feb 7 (IANS) He is on cloud nine after signing on Mammootty for 'Shikari', the Malayalam superstar's first Kannada film. And director Abhay Simha now wants to rope in Bollywood actress Konkona Sen Sharma for the female lead.

'Konkona is busy with her Hindi projects, but she was impressed with the script. We hope that we would be able to get her dates once the project rolls,' said Simha, who received a lot of appreciation for his directorial debut 'Gubbachchigalu', about the journey of city kids to search for sparrows.

Explaining how Mammootty came on board, Simha told IANS: 'One of my batchmates from FTII (Film & Television Institute Of India, Pune) was working as a cinematographer for a Mammootty film. Through him I got the telephone number of Mammootty's secretary. I called the secretary and told him I have an interesting script for the star. Within a few hours I got a call from Mammootty, who asked me to e-mail the script. I immediately sent the content of the script on e-mail.

'A few days later, Mammootty's secretary called me again and asked me to call the actor personally. Two days later I met Mammootty and he agreed to work in the film and said he would finalise the dates in a few days. When he agreed to do my Kannada film, I was on cloud nine.'

Mammootty has acted in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films, but he hasn't worked in any Kannada film because none of the scripts impressed him. So 'Shikari', which is about the systematic exploitation of nature and environment, will be the superstar's first Kannada film.

'The screenplay has some novel features. When I was writing the script, I had always thought about Mammootty sir,' said Simha.

'Shikari' is being produced by Mangalore-based industrialist N.R. Shetty, who had earlier made 'Shubham' with Shivadhwaj in the lead.

Simha believes in good cinema and his passion for filmmaking grew after he made a 45-minute documentary on the psychology of twins, triplets and quadruplets. He has 19 documentaries, 10 short films and two music videos to his credit.

'I believe in good cinema, which is both entertaining and sensible. No, I don't believe in abstract films because a film has to reach out to the common man,' said Simha.

Well-known Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli is Simha's source of inspiration.

'I derive all my inspiration from him. He too is a student of FTII. I have seen all his films and I'm awe-struck by his brilliance. I was motivated by him and have now decided to concentrate on Kannada films rather than work in Bollywood,' said Simha.

By indiaabroad
Saturday Feb 7 8:50 AM

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Sophia Myles enjoyed tough stunts in 'Outlander'

CATEGORY: , , | Thursday, February 5, 2009

New York, Feb 5 (IANS) Playing a tough action role in Howard McCain's sci-mythic 'Outlander' was a dream come true for British actress Sophia Myles because she wanted to be pushed to her physical limits.

The 28-year-old actress, who earlier portrayed a royal blood in the romantic drama 'Tristan & Isolde', plays princess Freya in the action-adventure 'Outlander' and had a great time performing the stunts for the film.

'I'm surrounded by so much testosterone (male action) in this film. I had been wanting to do an action film for ages because I've never been pushed to my physical limits before,' Sophia told IANS over e-mail from Los Angeles.

'Freya is different. She gets her hands dirty. She gets to fight the Moorwen (alien monster in the film), which delighted me when I read that in the script. She's more masculine than any other character I've ever played,' added Sophia.

Released in the US Jan 23 to a mixed response, 'Outlander' is releasing Friday in India. The movie will simultaneously also release in Hindi with the title 'Kurukshetra'.

Other actors in the film include John Hurt and Jim Caviezel.

By indiaabroad
Thursday Feb 5 8:25 PM

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Why LUCK BY CHANCE didn't take a flying opening?


Sampurn, Bollywood Trade News Network

It doesn't happen with too many movies. However, it appears that it is certainly happening for LUCK BY CHANCE i.e. collections being disheartening for a film which is genuinely quite well made. Zoya Akhtar has made an excellent debut with this Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Rishi Kapoor starrer (yes, these three men are the pillars of this film that is based on Bollywood) but surprisingly the collections over the opening weekend haven't been as per expectations.

The film has seen a good release but the occupancy at theaters has only been in 50% odd range. Now that's surprising considering:

a) The film has fetched excellent reviews all over and class audience is certainly loving it

b) Farhan Akhtar has been accepted as an actor after ROCK ON

c) There isn't much opposition around with VICTORY not finding an audience at all (more about it later) while RAAZ - THE MYSTERY CONTINUES has done most of the business in its first week

So why has LUCK BY CHANCE not taken a flying start?

1. Maybe audience has already shelled out enough money on films like RAAZ - THE MYSTERY CONTINUES, CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, GHAJINI and RAB NE BANA DI JODI.

2. Maybe the title didn't give a clue around what the film was all about.

3. Maybe the music didn't pick up much.

4. Maybe the happenings in the film were too Bollywood centric and hence weren't comprehendible by aam junta.

May be ... may be ... may be!

In scenarios like these, there are quite a few 'may be' statements that come into picture.

One just hopes that the film picks up though. Are there good enough chances for that? Looks like quite a task considering there is DEV D (6th Feb), MERE KHWABON MEIN JO AAYE (6th Feb), BILLU BARBER (13th Feb) and DELHI 6 (20th Feb) in weeks to come. Here is keeping the fingers crossed!

By glamsham
Friday Feb 6 9:45 AM

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Film Series and Movie Listings


Film Series

BREADLINES AND CHAMPAGNE (Friday through Thursday) Film Forum kicks off a monthlong festival of films made during the Great Depression on Friday with Mae West’s outrageous 1933 “I’m No Angel,” offered at the equally outrageous admission price of 35 cents — the average price of a Manhattan movie ticket in 1933. On Saturday and Sunday a double bill demonstrates how deeply Hollywood was concerned with the social issues of the day: Frank Borzage’s glorious romance “Man’s Castle,” with Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young as unemployed residents of a Central Park shantytown, and Frank Capra’s didactic comedy “American Madness,” in which a heroic banker (Walter Huston) resists a run on his establishment. The pleasures continue through March 5, with many of the Warner Brothers titles shown in newly struck prints from the original camera negatives in the Library of Congress. Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, west of Avenue of the Americas, South Village, (212) 727-8110, filmforum.org; $11. (Dave Kehr)

FADED GLORY (Friday through Wednesday) With 35 titles offered, this has to be one of the largest retrospectives of the independent black cinema — a k a “race movies” — ever assembled in New York. The program begins on Friday at 7 p.m. with a screening of a new 35-millimeter print of Spencer Williams’s magnificent work “The Blood of Jesus,” a 1941 film that energetically tramples the rules of Hollywood storytelling as it tries to translate the style and substance of a religious revival meeting into cinematic terms. The film scholar Jacqueline Stewart will introduce the program. At 9:30 p.m., there’s “God’s Step Children” (1938), the first of several films in the program by the indomitable Oscar Micheaux, one of the earliest and certainly the most persistent creator of films for African-American audiences. Micheaux’s 1925 “Body and Soul,” which will be screened at 8 p.m. on Saturday, with musical accompaniment by the pianist Donald Sosin and the bass singer Kevin Maynor, is probably the director’s most fully realized work. It is a parable about twin brothers — one an alcoholic thief, the other a college-educated inventor — both played by Paul Robeson. Other highlights include Richard Maurice’s “Eleven P.M.” (Sunday), a rarely screened experimental feature from 1928; Richard Norman’s “Flying Ace” (Wednesday), a 1926 action film produced by the Florida-based Norman Film Manufacturing Company; Murray Roth’s “Yamekraw” (Tuesday and Wednesday), a one-reel vision of African-American history, based on James P. Johnson’s composition and filmed in 1930 at Warner Brothers’ Brooklyn studios; and Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1939 “Moon Over Harlem” (Sunday and Tuesday), a gangster film shot in a New Jersey warehouse on a budget of $8,000. The series runs through Feb. 19. Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, Lincoln Center, (212) 875-5600, filmlinc.org; $11. (Kehr)


Ratings and running times are in parentheses; foreign films have English subtitles. Full reviews of all current releases, movie trailers, showtimes and tickets: nytimes.com/movies.

‘BRIDE WARS’ (PG, 1:34) Die, Bridezilla, die! (Manohla Dargis)

★ ‘CADILLAC RECORDS’ (R, 1:48) This rollicking and insightful celebration of Chicago blues serves as a group portrait of a remarkable, volatile constellation of artists, including Muddy Waters (the impressive Jeffrey Wright), Chuck Berry (Mos Def) and Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles). This movie is crowded and sprawling, and if it rambles sometimes, that’s just fine. (A. O. Scott)

‘CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA’ (PG-13, 2:20, in Hindi, Cantonese and Mandarin) The immensely popular Akshay Kumar stars in this genial mash-up of Bollywood and kung fu. Too frantic at the beginning, “Chandni” settles down to become an enjoyable if slight Saturday matinee picture. It was financed and distributed by Warner Brothers, a first for Bollywood. (Rachel Saltz)

‘CHE’ (R, 4:17, in Spanish and Englishshown in two parts 2:09 and 2:08) Nearly four and a half hours long and spanning more than a decade, “Che” surely deserves the overworked, frequently misapplied label of epic. But it’s a narrow epic, and while Benicio Del Toro, in the title role, offers a performance that’s technically flawless, the movie is politically naïve and dramatically inert. (Scott)

‘THE CLASS’ (No rating, 2:08, in French, with English subtitles) An artful, intelligent, heartfelt fiction film from the director Laurent Cantet about modern French identity and the attempt to transform young students of all sizes, shapes and colors into citizens through talk, talk, talk. (Dargis)

‘THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON’ (PG-13, 2:47) A hothouse blossom of romance, intrigue and breathtaking digital effects from David Fincher (“Zodiac,” “Fight Club”). Brad Pitt stars as a man who ages backward, but it is Cate Blanchett who provides the film’s delicate, graceful emotional center of gravity. (A. O. Scott)

‘DOUBT’ (PG-13, 1:44) Adapted by John Patrick Shanley from his stage play, this drama about a Roman Catholic priest suspected of child molestation stars a tamped-down Philip Seymour Hoffman as the accused and an energetic, often wackily comic Meryl Streep as his accuser. (Dargis)

‘FROST/NIXON’ (R, 2:02) It’s twinkle (Michael Sheen) versus glower (Frank Langella) in Ron Howard’s amusing, facile edition of the Peter Morgan theatrical smackdown. (Dargis)

‘FROZEN RIVER’ (R, 1:37) Venturing deep into the trenches where hard-working Americans struggle to put food on the table, Courtney Hunt’s powerful, somber film evokes a perfect storm of present-day economic and social woes. Playing an impoverished mother of two who smuggles illegal aliens across the Canadian border, Melissa Leo gives an awards-worthy performance. (Stephen Holden)

★ ‘GRAN TORINO’ (R, 1:56) Once again Clint Eastwood shows everyone how it’s done, with a sleek muscle car of a movie set in that industrial graveyard called Detroit about a racist who befriends a besieged Hmong family next door. (Dargis)

★ ‘HAPPY-GO-LUCKY’ (R, 1:58) Happiness is a complicated, difficult matter, and for the bopping bloom at the center of Mike Leigh’s generous, expansive new film — a gurgling stream of giggles, laughs and words played by a glorious Sally Hawkins — it’s also a question of faith. (Dargis)

‘HOTEL FOR DOGS’ (PG, 1:40) Children and dogs: those two magic words distill the appeal of this cuter-than-cute, sweeter-than-sweet family film about animal-loving kids who embark on a crusade to rescue all the stray pooches in a fictional city. (Holden)

‘INKHEART’ (PG, 1:43) A movie about books coming to life that never manages to do so itself. (Scott)

★ ‘I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG’ (PG-13, 1:55, in French) The French novelist Philippe Claudel, making his debut as a director, shows sobriety and restraint in this story of a woman making her way back into normal life after serving a prison sentence for the murder of her son. Kristin Scott Thomas gives a remarkable lead performance, and Elsa Zylberstein as her sister is nearly as good. A climactic plot twist cheapens and diminishes the film somewhat, but it is still, for the most part, a powerful and subtle melodrama. (Scott)

‘JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY’ (No rating, 1:40, in Danish) As this twisty Danish thriller zigzags between austere realism and surreal gore, you have the not unpleasant sense of being taken for a ride. It may not go anywhere in particular, but it is as exciting as a trip through a well-equipped, scary fun house. (Holden)

‘LAST CHANCE HARVEY’ (PG, 1:38) Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson don’t make a lot of sense as a screen couple, but there’s something irresistible about watching two people fall in love, even in contrived, sniffle- and sometimes gag-inducing films like this one. (Dargis)

★ ‘LET THE RIGHT ONE IN’ (No rating, 1:54, in Swedish) A charming and chilling Swedish love story directed by Tomas Alfredson about a lonely boy and the girl next door who may just happen to be a vampire. (Dargis)

‘LUCK BY CHANCE’ (No rating, 2:26, in Hindi and English) This enjoyable Bollywood offering spends a lot of its time wittily satirizing Bollywood itself as it tells the story of two young actors finding and losing romance as they try to find movie fame. Farhan Akhtar is a find as the male lead; Zoya Akhtar, his sister, wrote and directed. (Neil Genzlinger)

★ ‘MAN ON WIRE’ (PG-13, 1:34) Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Center might have seemed, at the time, like a crazy stunt, but James Marsh’s beautiful documentary understands it as a work of art. (Scott)

‘MARLEY AND ME’ (PG, 2:05) The bland, obsequious screen adaptation of John Grogan’s best-selling 2005 memoir of his up-and-down relationship with an unruly Labrador retriever has a surefire tear-jerker ending. But the bond between human and pet and what they can learn from each other remains unexplored. (Holden)

★ ‘MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY’ (No rating, 1:27) The day after a one-night stand, two young, black San Franciscans (Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins) muse on matters of love, race and urban life in Barry Jenkins’s modest, witty and self-assured first feature. (Scott)

MEMORIAL DAY’ (No rating, 1:33) Spring-break delirium is equated with the excesses at Abu Ghraib in this dubious exercise in mock-documentary conceptualism. (Nathan Lee)

★ ‘MILK’ (R, 2:08) Gus Van Sant’s film about Harvey Milk (1930-78), the San Francisco City supervisor who was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country, is less a standard biopic than a sharp, lyrical history lesson, touching not only on a crucial decade in the gay-rights movement but also on the rough and tumble of big-city politics and the tricky ways of love. Sean Penn outdoes himself as Milk, balancing his intense conviction with an unusual and welcome playfulness. The large supporting cast is also excellent, and includes James Franco as Milk’s lover and campaign manager, Scott Smith, and Josh Brolin as Dan White, Milk’s colleague on the Board of Supervisors and also his murderer. (Scott)

★ ‘MOSCOW, BELGIUM’ (No rating, 1:42, in Flemish) You may have observed the characters’ banal situations in countless other movies, not to mention in your own life, but it is unusual to find them explored with such matter-of-fact truthfulness. (Holden)

‘MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D’ (R, 1:41) Adding an extra dimension to the fondly remembered 1981 Canadian slasher about a rogue slayer in a small mining town, “My Bloody Valentine 3D” blends cutting-edge technology and old-school prosthetics to produce gore you can believe in. And if the gas-masked villain is less than terrifying, his pursuit of a naked young woman (Betsy Rue) is inspired. If there were an award for acting full-frontally while wearing sky-high stilettos, Ms. Rue would surely teeter away with it. (Jeannette Catsoulis)

‘NEW IN TOWN’ (PG, 1:36) In this flat romantic comedy Renee Zellweger plays a corporate shark from Miami dispatched to an underperforming branch in New Ulm, Minn., where the folksy locals (including Harry Connick Jr.) thaw her frozen heart.

‘NOT EASILY BROKEN’ (PG-13, 1:39) Directed by Bill Duke and based on a novel by the megachurch minister T. D. Jakes, this story of a marriage under stress is hokey and sometimes clumsy, but anchored in an earnest engagement with the lives of its characters, who have the good fortune of being portrayed by a fine cast. (Scott)

‘NOTORIOUS’ (R, 2:02) The legend of Biggie Smalls, the Brooklyn-born rapper who was murdered in 1997, is given the full epic-melodrama-biopic treatment in this uneven, rarely dull film, among whose producers are Smalls’s mother, Violetta Wallace, and his friend and mentor Sean Combs. Those two important figures are played by Angela Bassett and Derek Luke, while Smalls is impersonated by Jamal Woolard, whose faithful mimicry compensates for some of his limitations as an actor. (Scott)

‘PAUL BLART: MALL COP’ (PG, 1:30) Fat people are funny. Fat people who run into things are funnier. Fat people who run into things and have humiliating working-class jobs? Stop, you’re killing me! (Lee)

★ ‘RACHEL GETTING MARRIED’ (R, 1:54) Anne Hathaway plays Kym, furloughed from rehab to attend her sister Rachel’s wedding. The director, Jonathan Demme, working from a script by Jenny Lumet, takes a fairly conventional family-therapy drama and packs it with exuberant vitality. There is ample sorrow and recrimination at this party, but nonetheless you’ll be sorry when it ends. (Scott)

‘THE READER’ (R, 2:03) You have to wonder who, exactly, wants or perhaps needs to see another movie about the Holocaust that embalms its horrors with artfully spilled tears and also asks us to pity a death camp guard. Kate Winslet plays the guard; Stephen Daldry directs. (Dargis)

‘REVOLUTIONARY ROAD’ (R, 1:59) Sam Mendes directs Kate Winslet and a fine Leonardo DiCaprio in a waxworks edition of the corrosive, furiously unsentimental novel by Richard Yates about an unhappy marriage in the mid-1950s. (Dargis)

‘SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE’ (R, 2:00) A modern fairy tale from Danny Boyle“Trainspotting”) about a pauper angling to become a prince, this sensory blowout largely takes place amid the squalor of Mumbai, India, where lost children and dogs sift through trash so fetid that you swear you can smell the discarded mango as well as its peel. (Dargis) (

★ ‘SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK’ (R, 2:04) To say that Charlie Kaufman’s feature debut is one of the best films of the year or even the one closest to my heart is such a pathetic response to its soaring ambition that I might as well pack it in right now. (In other words: Go!) (Dargis)

‘THE UNBORN’ (PG-13, 1:40) There’s a dybbuk loose, and Gary Oldman is the rabbi who must stop it. (Dargis)

‘UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS’ (R, 1:32) Michael Sheen howls up a storm in this prehistory to the first two “Underworld” flicks, which rewinds to when the werewolves rebelled against their vampire masters. (Dargis)

‘THE UNINVITED’ (PG-13, 1:27) Regrets only. (A. O. Scott)

★ ‘VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA’ (PG-13, 1:36) A rueful comedy from Woody AllenScarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) who, during a summertime European idyll, savor numerous Continental delicacies, some provided by the equally alluring Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz. (Dargis) about two young American women (

★ ‘WALTZ WITH BASHIR’ (R, 1:27) Ari Folman’s animated documentary about Israeli soldiers haunted by memories of the 1982 Lebanon war is part memoir, part dream, part combat picture and altogether amazing. (Scott)

★ ‘WENDY AND LUCY’ (R, 1:20) In Kelly Reichardt’s latest film Michelle Williams plays Wendy, a lonely young woman who encounters a run of bad luck while drifting through Oregon and Washington with her dog, Lucy. At first glance the film seems like little more than an extended anecdote, but underneath this plain narrative surface is a lucid and melancholy inquiry into the current state of American society. (Scott)

★ ‘THE WRESTLER’ (R, 1:45) Mickey Rourke, with sly, hulking grace, stars as a washed-up wrestler hoping for a comeback. But like its hero, the movie has a blunt, exuberant honesty, pulling off even its false moves with conviction and flair. (Scott)

Published: February 5, 2009

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'American Idol' invades Salt Lake City

CATEGORY: , , | Wednesday, January 28, 2009

American Idol heads to Salt Lake City for tonight's audition episode. That's David Archuleta's hometown, in case you had forgotten.

Ryan Seacrest tells us they were hoping to find the next generation of the Osmonds. Lo and behold, David Osmond is 29 and the son of Alan Osmond, "the oldest of the performing Osmonds." The we learn that his father had to stop performing because he has multiple sclerosis, which is followed by the revelation that David is also fighting MS. He says that MS has a course of ups and downs -- at the lowest points, he needs to use a wheelchair and can't play guitar. He sings "Something Within Me" by Take 6. He's good, but Paula says it wasn't the best song choice because it's a group song and didn't showcase him as a frontman. They all give him very constructive criticism, which we are supposed to take as him possibly getting no votes. But he comes out of the door with a golden ticket, which is no surprise.

Oh goodness, next is Tara Mathews (pictured), who was introduced at the beginning of the show as "Salt Lake City's only goth." She, however, tells Ryan that, despite her black attire and overdone makeup, she is not trying to look depressed or be goth or whatever. In a separate interview, she says, "You can't judge people by the cover of their book." Yeah! Someone might be carrying around a copy of Atlas Shrugged, but maybe they have Confessions of a Shopaholic tucked inside. You never know. Do not judge. She also claims to have ESP about when people are going to die "in real life or on TV." In the audition room, she sings "One Day I'll Fly Away" from Moulin Rouge. It is not good, but Randy gets kind of crazy rude, pretending to beat his head against a wall, looking at his watch. Simon tells her she sounded like a baby, so she says, "I'll just leave now since you obviously didn't like it." She stomps out flipping the bird at the camera, saying, "Blur it out, blur it out." Well, that was strange.

Montage of badness: Aleesha Turner bleats her way through a song, Katie Sullivan shouts, Rich Kagel drives Simon to say, "You're never in a million-billion years going to win a show like this." "Can I sing somethin' else?" Rich asks.

Chris Kirkham brought Greg the Rabbit (his friend in a pink bunny suit) and wears a shirt with a distressing rendition of Simon's face on it, and another copy of it on a stick. He sings "Roll to Me" with Greg behind him, and Simon freaks out and makes him stop. He starts over with his rabbit-friend farther away and sings "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." He gets through three words, and they say it just isn't working and they make them both leave. Greg the Rabbit lifts Simon in the air before they go.

The next segment features Ryan saying that they expected everyone to be nice in Salt Lake since Archie is so sweet, which is followed by clips of people saying thank you as they get negative comments from the judges.

Frankie Jordan says she is the next American Idol. She's a stay-at-home mom and is ready to become an entertainer. She says she feels very confident about her chances and in the audition room sings Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good" in a very faithful rendition. The judges are down with it, though, and they all vote yes very quickly.

Megan Corkrey is also a stay-at-home mom. She, however, is in the midst of a divorce, which happened to coincide with her discovery that Idol was coming to town, which she took as a sign. She sings "Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine" for the judges. Her tone is interesting, which is the same word the judges choose. They decide that interesting means good, and she is through to Hollywood. Simon calls her one of his favorites, saying, "You are one of the few I'm going to remember."

Montage of golden-ticket-giving.

Andrew Gibson thinks he has old-school soul. Um, no. Simon says he has "a soul," but not soul.

Austin Sisneros is president of his senior class at his high school, which has some pretty ugly sweaters. Dunno if they are supposed to be like letterman jackets or what. He sings Train's "When I Look to the Sky." Randy says it was OK, but not the best song choice. He asks if he can sing his other song choice, Raffi's "It Takes a Village." He does, and it's better, but Randy says he has a voice though he is making weird song choices -- he votes yes nevertheless. Kara agrees that there is something there. Paula parrots Kara, saying that there is something going on there. Simon says yes, too, so he is through. I think he was OK, but I don't expect to see him get beyond Hollywood.

Montage of teary-eyed auditioners, followed by a hilarious mashup of bad auditions.

Taylor Vaifanua is 16 and recently moved back to Utah from Samoa. She talks about being tall (5'11" or so without heels and well over 6 feet with) and is pretty charming. Randy says she reminds him a bit of Jordin Sparks. She sings "Joyful Joyful." Kara says she is impressed with her because she heard her practicing in the bathroom a few times, which is one of the stranger comments we've heard tonight. Randy says she has a natural talent. Everyone votes yes, and it's golden-ticket time.

In case you thought David Osmond was the designated heart-wrenching audition of the evening, you were wrong. (It's OK; I was, too.) The last auditioner of the evening is 17-year-old Rose Flack. She is a hippie chick and is living with her best friend's family. Her father died when she was 13, and her mother was killed two years later in a car accident. She says that "this is the determination of the rest of my life," and that she doesn't know what she will do if she doesn't get a golden ticket. In the audition room, Simon asks her to tell them something about her, and she says that she is charming. They agree. She sings "I Feel the Earth Move," and they cut back and forth between her and Simon's expression, which is inscrutable. Paula says she is interesting, but she needs to work on her vocals. Simon says it wasn't the best song choice ever, but there is something he really likes about her. They vote yes, and she is headed to Hollywood.

Ryan then says that's 13 who made it to the next level, but it seems like we saw footage of more people than that getting tickets.

Tomorrow night, it's New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Ryan narrates that it's the "most dramatic episode ever." Next week, it's Hollywood time.
Call me crazy, but I felt like this was the best episode so far this season. We got good glimpses at some of the talent, one rather intriguing bad audition, and a new take on the montage of badness. Still, I'm looking forward to getting past tomorrow night and on to the expanded Hollywood round next week.

What do you think?

POTO: Tara Mathews auditions in Salt Lake City. Michael Becker/FOX
Posted by Sarah Kickler Kelber on January 28, 2009 9:43 PM

BO Report: Akki's CC2C is a complete disaster

CATEGORY: , , , | Monday, January 19, 2009

Akshay Kumar's much-hyped Chandni Chowk To China has got a big thumbs down from the audience and critics alike. The film has had an average opening. Collections have fallen further during the weekend. With collections on Monday showing a massive slump, not even a miracle can save the film or recover its Rs 50 crore plus cost it seems.

BO Collections

A good buzz associated with a biggie was missing for CC2C and it resulted in a lackluster response to the prepaid shows on Thursday evening. It managed to collect around Rs 1.5 crore net from the paid preview shows which is not much considering the number of shows organised for the film or compared to other recent biggies' paid preview shows.

On Friday the opening all over India wasn't too great either. The all India average opening on Friday was 65-70%. Normally the weekend collections see a rise even if the reports are bad but CC2C proved to be an exception with collections falling drastically at many places for the weekend. Also, just like Nikhil Advani's last release, Salaam-E-Ishq, the paid preview shows proved to be a big mistake as the negative word spread too fast resulting in low turnout, opine industry insiders.

The total first weekend net collections for the film are said to be around Rs 21 crore, thanks to a better response in centers like Delhi/NCR and Punjab. But at least Rs 30 crore plus business was expected by the distributors for a film this big.

The opening weekend collections for CC2C has been as follows in major multiplexes around India, PVR 55-60%, BIG Cinemas 50-55%, Cinemax 50-55% and Fun Cinemas 45-50%. Most of these multiplexes are seriously considering to reduce the number of shows allocated to the film and add Ghajini shows instead.

Trade buzz

Not a single trade person has a good word to say about CC2C. Amar Solanki, veteran trade analyst says, "You can't defend your film claiming it to be a 'leave your brains at home' entertainer. You need to apply your own brains while making it, which doesn't seem so in this case. Over Rs 50 crores have been spent in making this blunder and many more in marketing it. But the audience has become so smart nowadays that they can smell a FLOP from a distance, no wonder they preferred to stay away from this."

Solanki further adds, "Brand Akshay Kumar has taken a severe beating now with two consecutive flops in Jumbo and CC2C. His repetitiveness in acting and plots of his films has started boring the audience. It's high time he pulls up his socks or else he will no longer be in the race to claim himself as the next superstar."

Manoj Desai of G-7 multiplex tells us, "On Thursday for the paid preview show, our 1000 capacity screen didn't even have 200 people. We had 70% collections on Friday and the weekend saw a further slump to just 30%. We haven't found a single person who has liked the film."

A senior trade analyst states, "It's a big lesson for the Hollywood Studios trying to make it big in Bollywood. First it was Sony's Saawariya and now Warner Bros' CC2C. Both have been lavishly made but have been very low in content. In India it is no longer big names and mega budgets that pull in the crowds, content has emerged as the king."

"The makers had arranged premieres of the film at various big cities of the world, but for none of these premieres did Akshay, Deepika Padukone or Nikhil Advani wait beyond a few minutes after the film started, perhaps they knew what they had in store!" he concludes.

By Abhijit Mhamunkar . Buzz18 Jan 19, 2009

Article News Source:

Cast promotes upcoming Bollywood flick 'Raaz- The Mystery Continues'

CATEGORY: , , , | Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mumbai, Jan 14 (ANI): The cast and crew of upcoming flick 'Raaz-The Mystery Continues', which is being touted as the costliest horror film made so far in Bollywood, promoted the movie at an event here.
The film is produced by Mukesh Bhatt, directed by Mohit Suri and stars actors
Emraan Hashmi, Adhyayan Suman and Kangna Ranaut.
The film is inspired by Indian myths and legends and is said to be biggest budget horror film ever been made in the country.
Dispelling any resemblance, the earlier Bollywood flick 'Raaz' which in many ways super headed the birth of experimental cinema within Bollywood making the world of supernatural fair game for Indian film-makers and combined horror with romance, Bollywood actor, Suman said that the narrative of this film was very different.
"This film is completely different, the star cast is different, the director is different and everything about the film is different. There is no similarity between the earlier 'Raaz' and this 'Raaz'," said Suman.
The film essays the story of an artist Prithvi, who experiences mysterious and distressing visions about Nandita, a woman he has never met, while he paints on canvas.
Intrigued by these visions, Prithvi tracks her down and warns her that these are not merely paintings of her, but accidents that are waiting to happen.
Initially, Nandita refuses to believe him but the striking resemblance between Prithvi's paintings and the near - death incidents in her life is hard to ignore.
Kangna who is also Suman's love interest in real life these days said that they have portrayed the emotions demanded by the script on screen keeping their personal chemistry at bay.
"The chemistry of the characters that we have portrayed in this film was according to the demand of the script. We have not portrayed the chemistry of the lovers like we are in the real life. I think the way Adhyayan treats me in real life is very personal," said Kangna.
Bollywood lyrics writer Sayeed Qadri and Kumaar have penned the lyrics of the film. Te music is composed by Toshi, Sharib Sabri, Raju Singh and Gourov Dasgupta.
Plethora of Bollywood singers like Toshi, K.K,
Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghosal and Neeraj Shridhar have lent their voice to the songs of the film.
The film is slated for January 23 release. (ANI)

By ani Wednesday Jan 14
Article News Source

'Taare Zameen Par' out of Oscars race

CATEGORY: , , , |

Los Angeles, Jan 14 (IANS) Aamir Khan's directorial debut 'Taare Zameen Par' failed to make it to the short-list in the Foreign Language Film category of the Oscar nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards 2009.
The Oscar selection committee announced Tuesday a list of nine movies out of which five will make into the final competition out of a total of 65 entries with each country choosing one film.
According to a press statement released on Oscars' official website: 'Waltz with Bashir' (Israel), '3 Monkeys' (Turkey), 'Revanche' (Austria), 'The Necessities of Life' (Canada), 'The Baader Meinhof Complex' (Germany), 'Departures' (Japan), 'Tear This Heart Out' (Mexico), 'Everlasting Moments' (Sweden) and 'The Class' (France) have made it to the second round.
The five nominees will be announced Jan 22.
Earlier, Aamir missed an Oscar opportunity when
Ashutosh Gowariker-directed 'Lagaan' made it to the nominations in the foreign language nominations, but failed to bag the award.

By indiaabroad Wednesday Jan 14
Article News Source

'Taare Zameen Par' out of Oscars race

CATEGORY: , , , |

Los Angeles, Jan 14 (IANS) Aamir Khan's directorial debut 'Taare Zameen Par' failed to make it to the short-list in the Foreign Language Film category of the Oscar nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards 2009.
The Oscar selection committee announced Tuesday a list of nine movies out of which five will make into the final competition out of a total of 65 entries with each country choosing one film.
According to a press statement released on Oscars' official website: 'Waltz with Bashir' (Israel), '3 Monkeys' (Turkey), 'Revanche' (Austria), 'The Necessities of Life' (Canada), 'The Baader Meinhof Complex' (Germany), 'Departures' (Japan), 'Tear This Heart Out' (Mexico), 'Everlasting Moments' (Sweden) and 'The Class' (France) have made it to the second round.
The five nominees will be announced Jan 22.
Earlier, Aamir missed an Oscar opportunity when
Ashutosh Gowariker-directed 'Lagaan' made it to the nominations in the foreign language nominations, but failed to bag the award.

By indiaabroad Wednesday Jan 14
Article News Source

'Ghajini' producer presents gold statuette to Aamir Khan


Mumbai, Jan 14 (IANS) Madhu Mantena, who co-produced the super hit film 'Ghajini' with Allu Arvind, has presented an Oscar-sized gold statuette worth Rs.8 million to Aamir Khan.
It was designed specially to resemble the star's look in the action thriller, 'eight-pack-abs included', said Mantena.
The statuette has reportedly cost the producer close to Rs.7-8 million. Mantena gave it to Aamir earlier this week, at a party held to celebrate the film's success.
'It has a certain amount of other metal to make it mouldable. Solid gold wouldn't allow the identical 'Ghajini' shape. But the idea was to create an Oscar-sized statue exclusively for 'Ghajini'. Aamir knew he was getting a trophy. But he didn't know it would be golden and with his 'Ghajini' look. He was overwhelmed,' Mantena told IANS.
Director A.R. Murugadoss was given a statue too.

By indiaabroad Wednesday Jan 14
Article News Source

Kate Hudson dating Australian golfer?


London, Jan 14 (IANS) After a string of failed relationships and vowing to stay single 'as long as possible', Hollywood star Kate Hudson has sparked rumours of dating Australian golf star Adam Scott.
The 'Bride Wars' actress was spotted with Scott on a beach in Hawaii Wednesday, reports dailymail.co.uk.
The pair first sparked romance rumours after they were spotted dining with a group of friends at the Kapalua Resort, Hawaii last week. Scott, however, played down the speculations after the final round at the Mercedes-Benz Championship over the weekend.
Hudson had earlier dated actors Owen Wilson and cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Before jetting off to Hawaii, Kate was also linked with New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez, who grew close to Madonna after her split from Guy Ritchie.

By indiaabroad Wednesday Jan 14
Article News Source

Britney Spears quits Los Angeles home for quiet life

CATEGORY: , , , |

London, Jan 14 (IANS) Pop star Britney Spears has quit her Los Angeles home and is all set to move into a sprawling new mansion to escape the paparazzi and her troubled past.

The singer has bought a $8.9 million house in a gated community in the Calabasas area of California and is currently transferring all her belongings to her new abode, reports contactmusic.com.

Spears decided to move out of her Studio City, California mansion to lead a placid life and be closer to her sons - Sean Preston, three, and Jayden James, two.

The star began preparations for the move last June, when she told the commissioner overseeing her conservatorship that she wanted to relocate to 'a lower density, more quiet and less trafficked neighbourhood'.

Her choice of residence has also proved to be a hit with her kids.

'I just took my babies to our new home, and they loved it! I can't wait to move in,' she posted on her website.

By indiaabroad
Wednesday Jan 14

Article News Source

Kate Winslet: N.Y. mom is her favorite role

CATEGORY: , , , , | Sunday, January 11, 2009

For Kate Winslet - New York resident, perennial Oscar nominee and the very model of a modern major movie star - the road to her own Oscar revolution may begin at Sunday's 66th annual Golden Globe Awards.

The show can be seen live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills beginning at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Winslet, who at 33 is the youngest actress to have racked up five Academy Award nominations, is a likely Globe winner for either Best Actress in a Drama for "Revolutionary Road" or Best Supporting Actress for "The Reader." A triumph for her in either category could be repeated when this year's Oscars are handed out Feb. 22.

Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 22.

Winslet goes into the evening with five unwon Globe nominations as well. Her competitors Sunday - who include Angelina Jolie ("Changeling"), Meryl Streep ("Doubt"), Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"), Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") and Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler") - should be prepared to slip their speeches back into their purses.

But the English actress, married to her "Revolutionary Road" director Sam Mendes and mother of two kids (her and Mendes' son, Joe, is 5; Mia, her daughter with British filmmaker Jim Threapleton, is 8), considers being a New York mom her most important role. She's frequently spotted dropping her kids at school and bopping around her Chelsea neighborhood when not on film sets.

The family also has a residence in the British countryside.

"We divide our time, and it's great," Winslet told the Daily News.

"I think it also helps the kids just be regular kids. The other thing that's important to us is that the kids know that Sam and I do what we do because we love it and it's hard work. It's not just a glamorous thing."

Mendes, an Oscar winner for "American Beauty," is currently directing "The Cherry Orchard" and "The Winter's Tale" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the Bridge Project, a collaboration with London's Old Vic theater. He and Winslet, together since 2001, bought their loft in the city in 2004.

"It's very possible in New York to be yourself, free of all judgment," Winslet told The News. "That's one of the great things about the city - you are who you are, and people are very accepting."

Winslet's previous Oscar and Globe nominations - Supporting Actress nods for "Sense and Sensibility" (1995) and "Iris" (2001) and Best Actress for "Titanic" (1997), "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) and "Little Children" (2006) - certainly haven't gone to her head, but she's honest enough to speak from her heart.

"I think having gone through award season so many times and not winning, I'm very good at losing and enjoying it," she joked at the "Revolutionary Road" premiere last month.

But of her Oscar chances this year, Winslet did tell a British magazine, "I want to win. ... I'm not denying that. I don't want to be sitting there with a fixed grin on my face while someone else wins."

Sunday, January 11th 2009

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