Sundance Film Festival officials have announced entries for dramatic, documentary and "American Spectrum" categories of the 2004 festival, which runs Jan. 15 through Jan. 25 in Park City, Utah.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the competitive categories at this year's festival include big-name actors appearing in films by relatively unknown directors, and a record-breaking number of projects from black filmmakers and projects influenced by Sept. 11:
Actor Kevin Bacon and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, star alongside hip-hop artist Mos Def in The Woodsman, directed by Nicole Kassel. It revolves around a convicted pedophile who returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison and tries to start a new life.
Courteney Cox Arquette stars in November, directed by Greg Harrison, about a Los Angeles photographer who struggles to put the tragic circumstances of her boyfriend's death behind her.
John Curran's Adultery, starring Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts, follows two couples who are friends and whose relationships are intertwined.
Writer/director Rodney Evans' Brother to Brother is about an 18-year-old, gay, black artist who discovers the hidden legacies of gay and lesbian subcultures within the Harlem Renaissance. The film is one of a dozen projects that center on the black experience or are by black filmmakers--the most ever on a Sundance roster, according to the Reporter.
"We have 12 features that are either about, produced by or directed by African-American filmmakers," Festival director Geoff Gilmore said. "What's good is that it indicates that there are a lot of African-American filmmakers working in the independent arena because these are works that would not have been made for studios. It's really of interest to me to see a whole range of people now trying to produce independent work."
Gilmore added that some of the entries in this year's festival are the first generation of post-Sept. 11 films. "These are films by filmmakers that were entirely conceived, developed and then produced following those events," Gilmore told the Reporter. "The insularity of America pre-Sept. 11 and the assuredness that existed in the world at that time followed by the anxiety that exists in the world we are in now. These are films about trying to find things out."
The lineup for the festival's remaining categories and the opening night film are expected to be announced later today. Short films appearing at the festival will be announced Dec. 8.
The Best Thief in the World, Jacob Kornbluth
Book of Love, Alan Brown
Brother to Brother, Rodney Evans
Chrystal, Ray McKinnon
Down to the Bone, Debra Granik
Easy, Jane Weinstock
Evergreen, Enid Zentelis
Garden State, Zach Braff
Harry and Max, Christopher Munch
Maria Full of Grace, Joshua Marston
Napoleon Dynamite, Jared Hess
November, Greg Harrison
One Point O, Jeff Renfroe, MarteinnThorsson
Primer, Shane Carruth
Adultery, John Curran
The Woodsman, Nicole Kassell
A Place of Our Own, Stanley Nelson
Born Into Brothels, Ross Kauffman, ZanaBriksi
Chisholm '72 -- Unbought & Unbossed, Shola Lynch
Dig, Ondi Timoner
Farmingville, Catherine Tambini, Carlos Sandoval
The Fight, Barak Goodman
Heir to an Execution, Ivy Meeropol
Home of the Brave, Paola di Florio
I Like Killing Flies, Matt Mahurin
Imelda, Ramona S. Diaz
In the Realms of the Unreal, Jessica Yu
Deadline, Katy Chevigny, Kirsten Johnson
Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army, Robert Stone
Persons of Interest, Alison Maclean, Tobias Perse
Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock
Word Wars, Julian Petrillo
CSA: Confederate States of America, Kevin Willmott
Dandelion, Mark Milgard
Dirty Work, David Sampliner
Everyday People, Jim McKay
Lbs., Matthew Bonifacio
Let the Church Say Amen, David Petersen
Mean Creek, Jacob Aaron Estes
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky
MVP, Harry Davis
Open Water, Chris Kentis
Second Best, Eric Weber
September Tapes, Christian Johnston
Speak, Jessica Sharzer
The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin said he did not realize the comments he made in The New Yorker magazine about the news coverage of the Bush administration would create such a flap. Referring to the special The Bush White House: Inside the Real West Wing, which aired on NBC Jan. 23, Sorkin said that the media were waving pompoms instead of providing objective news coverage and that anchorman Tom Brokaw let it happen. "There should be a difference between what NBC news does and what we do," he told the Associated Press. "And that night, there wasn't, except we have more interesting lighting." Sorkin later apologized to Brokaw at the request of NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker.
Anne Heche gave birth to a baby boy over the weekend. Homer Heche Laffoon weighed 7 pounds and is the first child for Heche and husband Coleman Laffoon. The two married in September last year and met while working on a documentary about Ellen DeGeneres' return to stand-up comedy, AP reports.
After shooting two back-to-back sequels for the 1999 sci-fi thriller The Matrix, Keanu Reeves will travel back in Hollywood time to work on a remake of the 1971 cult classic Billy Jack, Variety reports. Reeves will star as Billy Jack, a Vietnam veteran who's half Native American. Tom Laughlin, who wrote, directed and starred in the original film, controls the film rights and is in talks with Danny DeVito's Jersey Films to remake the retro hit.
Elizabeth Taylor will play the role of Elton John's wife in his new video "Original Sin," the BBC reports. His daughter will be played by teen singer/actress Mandy Moore. John, who normally hates appearing in videos, recently called on Justin Timberlake to take the lead in "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" so he wouldn't have to. John makes an exception for this next single, which is slated for release April 1.
Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham escaped injury in a six-car pile-up on Sunday near Stafford, England, the BBC reports. Beckham and her three-year-old son, Brooklyn, were in a minivan being driven by her father, Tony Adams, when he managed to swerve the vehicle away from the full force of the crash. None of them were injured. Beckham is expecting her second child with soccer star David Beckham in September.
Nightline host Ted Koppel said he hopes to stay with ABC but criticized the network for questioning the relevance of his show, AP reports. ABC has apparently had discussions with David Letterman about taking over Koppel's 11:35 p.m. time slot. Nightline ratings have been shrinking in the past few years while Letterman has been a longtime No. 2 behind NBC's Jay Leno.
The Fox network is set to revive four sci-fi TV series, airing reruns and creating new TV and film versions of Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants. The deal also covers any potential feature films, as well as merchandising and licensing.
Mary McCormack, who recently appeared in K-PAX with Kevin Spacey, will star in the CBS comedy pilot Julie Lydecker, which centers on a mother/daughter relationship. According to The Hollywood Reporter, McCormack will also be seen in the upcoming drama Full Frontal alongside Julia Roberts.
Yoko Ono, the widow of former Beatle John Lennon, has paid an estimated $213,300 to have the words "Imagine all the people living in peace" emblazoned on a billboard in Piccadilly Circus in London, Reuters reports. Ono, who already has the billboard up in Times Square and in Tokyo, thought people needed to be reminded of this message after the horrible events of Sept. 11.
After a three-year hiatus, former supermodel Cindy Crawford returned to the catwalk for designer Roberto Cavalli's autumn/winter fashion show. Although she enjoyed the return, the model-turned-mother of two told Reuters she would not do it for a whole season. "At home, I wear jeans and a T-shirt, so it doesn't matter if I get mucky...but then I put on a Cavalli top or trousers and feel like a sexy mum rather than a frumpy housewife."
Comic Kevin Meaney was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday for grabbing the butt of a gun held by a National Guardsman, Reuters reports. An airport police spokesman said Meaney got belligerent after his wife was subjected to a secondary security screening and had to lift up her blouse and show her bra to the screeners. Meaney, 45, was booked into the San Mateo County Jail on a felony charge of attempting to take a firearm from a police officer and two misdemeanor charges of battery and disturbing the peace.
Julia Child is recuperating from a bout with bronchitis that landed her in the hospital during the weekend. Child, 89, had to cancel an appearance at a rare-wine auction Saturday night at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Bay Area after she had trouble breathing. She checked into a San Francisco hospital Saturday afternoon and was released Sunday, AP reports.
Edward Norton, Brett Ratner, James Whitmore and Anthony Hopkins will be some of the stars attending the 7th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival in West Palm Beach, Fla. The festival will take place April 11 through 18 and will feature more than 40 films, including American independent and Spanish-language films and entries from France, Israel, Ukraine and Italy.
Songwriter Harlan Howard died Sunday at the age of 74. Responsible for more than 100 Top 10 hits, including Ray Charles' "Busted" and Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces," Howard was known as the dean of Nashville songwriters. His death came after years of ill health. A memorial service for him will be held in Nashville on March 19.
Rosie O'Donnell reveals in the August issue of her magazine Rosie that she has been depressed for years, according to Entertainment Tonight. She originally resisted taking medication, fearing it was a cowardly way to live, but has now been on antidepressants for two years. The talk show host said she was pushed over the edge by the Columbine shootings and a celebrity benefit she attended, where she found herself sobbing throughout the evening.
Singer Rick Springfield broke his arm during a performance at the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas, The Associated Press reports. He treated and released Tuesday at University Medical Center. The singer fell from a 20-foot high beam that is used to lower him on to the stage in the show's last scene. In EFX Alive, Springfield takes the audience on a journey to the worlds of wizard Merlin, showman P.T. Barnum, illusionist Harry Houdini and sci-fi writer H.G. Wells.
A park honoring Theodor Seuss Geisel, a k a Dr.Seuss, will open in Springfield, Mass., on June 1, AP reports. The Seuss Heritage Park and National Memorial will feature 30 bronze statues of Geisel's literary characters including Horton, Thidwick the Moose and Cat in the Hat. Geisel's stepdaughter, Lark Diamod-Kates, designed the sculptures. Geisel died in 1991 at age 87.
To commemorate the comedienne's 90th birthday, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil a stamp honoring Lucille Ball, Reuters reports. The stamp will be the seventh in the Postal Service's Legend of Hollywood Series. Others have included Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, James Cagney and Edward G Robinson. Ball, who was best known for her 1950's sitcom I Love Lucy, died in 1989 at the age of 78.
William Dail, the road manager for Insane Clown Posse, has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for choking an Eminem fan, AP reports. The fan apparently held up an Eminem T-shirt and chucked some M&M candies at two clowned-faced band members following an Insane Clown Posse concert in Omaha, Neb., in May. The 24-year-old man was taken outside where Dail then choked him until he blacked out. Dail agreed to plead guilty of one count of disorderly conduct and pay a $100 fine.
The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin said in two magazine articles that his arrest in April was not due to a chronic drug habit but sporadic use, Reuters reports. Sorkin was arrested at a Burbank airport in April after airport employees found marijuana, crack and hallucinogenic mushrooms in his bag. Sorkin told TV Guide that he has broken his sobriety since 1997 by occasional drug use. He said he would smoke pot from time to time to relax, and likened it to having a martini at the end of a long day. Sorkin also said he used crack less than five times in the last two years. In a September issue of Talk magazine, Sorkin said he would used drugs after work to celebrate the pressure being off. "There's no way I could be writing high and not have people know it,"he said.
Robert Downey Jr. was back at work on Tuesday. Variety reports that the actor filmed a music video for the song I Want Love, the first single from Elton John's new CD Songs From the West Coast. Ed Limato, Downey's agent, said that the actor had received several important offers in film and TV roles.
A new biography of Natalie Wood claims the actress was raped as a teenager by an unnamed actor, the BBC reports. According to author Suzanne Finstad, Woods was 16 when she was raped by a "powerful, married movie star." Finstad chose not to name the actor so that people would focus on Wood's horror and trauma. She also added that Wood's mother conspired to keep the rape a secret. The book also details the events leading up to the actress' drowning in 1981 during a boat trip with actors Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. Wagner has said there are many errors in the book and is upset that the inaccuracies have been published.
Director Steven Spielberg has decided to scale down his plans for a riding ring complex at his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, Reuters reports. Neighbors initially objected to the plan, saying the 27,000-square-foot domed monstrosity would clash with the rustic style of the nearby homes. Spielberg reworked the plans and came up with a smaller dome-less version that has met with local approval. The stable will house four or five horses and be surrounded by a 6-foot high gate.
Mick Jagger will release his fourth solo album in November, Virgin Records has announced. According to Reuters, Jagger, 58, has been recording the album with Pete Townshend, Missy Elliott, Lenny Kravitz and Rob Thomas.
Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary all-star concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York sold out in less than five hours, AP reports. Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years will be Jackson's first with his brothers since the 1994 Victory tour in 1984. Other artists scheduled to appear are Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin and N 'Sync. Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, William Shatner, Quincy Jones, Kobe Bryant, Willem Dafoe and Macaulay Culkin will also pay tribute to the pop star.
Actress Katharine Hepburn will probably be released by the weekend, Reuters reports. The Academy Award-winning actress was hospitalized last week for a urinary tract infection but is responding well to treatment. Hepburn, 94, was going to be released last week but lost strength while being hospitalized and underwent a brief course of physical therapy.
A judge has accepted evidence that actor Jason Priestley has completed a three-month alcohol treatment program, BBC News reports. The former Beverly Hills 90210 star was sentenced to five days in prison last year by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor for a drunk driving conviction. Priestley also was ordered to serve three years probation and enter a drug and alcohol treatment program. In December 1999, Priestley crashed his silver Porsche into a lamppost and a parked car in the Hollywood Hills. The actor claimed he swerved to avoid a deer in the road. Chad Cook, a friend and passenger in the car, suffered a broken arm. Priestley appeared in Aaron Spelling's teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 and recently acted in London's Apollo Theatre in the Broadway play Side Man.
An Indianapolis homebuilder will have to pay more than $98,000 restitution to rocker John Mellencamp for allegedly falsifying billing invoices, The Associated Press reported. Timothy O. Eldredge is scheduled to appear Sept. 14 in Marion Superior Court and is expected to plead guilty to theft. Prosecutors charge that Eldredge double-billed John and Elaine Mellencamp after the couple hired The Eldredge Group of Indianapolis to build a $2.5 million home near Lake Monroe. If convicted, Eldredge could face up to three years in prison.
Missouri's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Access Resources Services Inc., the Florida company that promotes TV's Miss Cleo's tarot psychic reading, The Associated Press reports. Attorney General Jay Nixon said Missourians were billed for free services and that the company misrepresented rates and waiver fees. Some Missouri residents complained that they were billed for time spent on hold waiting to speak to a psychic or being billed without ever having requested the service. Attorney Sean Moynihan says the state has no basis for the lawsuit and blamed billing errors on telephone companies.
Sen. Joseph Liebermann (D-Conn.) will convene on a hearing on entertainment ratings on Wednesday, Variety reports. Lieberman has been a longtime critic of Hollywood, claiming that the separate ratings used for films, music, TV programs and video games are too confusing and therefore not effective in shielding children from sex, violence and vulgarity. Nearly the entire entertainment industry opposes the idea of a universal rating system, arguing that movies, video games and music are fundamentally different. The House Telecom Subcommittee on Friday asked RIAA president Hilary Rosen to read aloud lyrics to Eminem's song "Kill You," but Rosen refused, arguing that words in such songs are not meant to be taken literally. It is the first time the House of Representatives has weighed in on the Federal Trade Commission study of Hollywood's marketing practices.
Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync wants to do a duet with gal pal and pop sensation Britney Spears, Rolling Stone magazine reports. Timberlake said he is helping Spears, 19, move away from bubblegum pop in favor of a harder sound. He said they would record together when the timing is right. "I want it to be somethin' new that they haven't heard us do, that they don't think we could de," he told the magazine, "It would be huge."
Bruce Willis is officially dating 23-year-old Versace model Emily Sandberg, Entertainment Tonight reports. The two have been dating since November, but her identity was kept under wraps until now. Apparently, Willis' ex-wife Demi Moore has given her stamp of approval on the lanky blonde. According to US Weekly magazine, Willis invited Sandberg to celebrate July Fourth in Hailey, Idaho, with Moore and their children.
Ray Romano wants to appear on a celebrity version of CBS' hugely popular show Survivor, according to Reuters. The network is contemplating an all-star installment of the reality show but CBS president Leslie Moonves was sketchy on details about when the show would air or how it would look. Several other celebrities have expressed interest but did not want to be named just yet. The shooting of the celebrity series would have to be compressed to about 10 days, Moonves said, without assistants, phones or faxes. Someone would be voted off every two days. Moonves joked that being voted off in front of 20 million viewers would be devastating for an actor. The concept for a celebrity Survivor is currently on the backburner while producer Mark Burnett focuses on the show's third and fourth editions. Survivor: Africa is currently in production in Kenya and will premiere Oct. 11. Survivor 4 will be shot at an unspecified location this fall and will air in March.
Nicole Kidman is committed to star in Lars von Trier's Dogville and is denying rumors that she was dumped from the movie, Reuters reports.
The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet said Tuesday that executives at von Trier's production company Zentropa grew frustrated with delays in getting the actress to sign a contract. Daily Variety also reported that talks with Kidman had broken down, prompting producers to search for a replacement. "We've had enough of the Hollywood system. It may be commonplace in major movies that stars play the diva and don't bother to sign contracts, but we can't handle that, either psychologically or financially," Zentropa chief executive Peter Aalbaek Jensen told Aftonbladet. Kidman's publicist insists the actress is still doing the film, but has not yet signed on the dotted line.
Lawyers for actors Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, John Spencer, and Richard Schiff are in advanced talks with producers for Warner Bros.' West Wing, the New York Post's Pagesix.com reports. The new contracts would earn the actors about $1.4 million each a season. A rep for the actors said that while they are still negotiating, talks are not too far apart. The four actors failed to show up for work when production began on its third season two weeks ago. Rumors swirled that the actors were unhappy with their $30,000 per episode salary.
Godzilla rises from the deep and fights the Japanese military. Then another more terrifying enemy appears so Japan decides to leave Godzilla alone so he can defeat the bad guys. It's a formula that has remained unchanged for 46 years and 22 movies. Why mess with success? The Japanese Godzilla looks like a man in a rubber suit walking through a model city but hey he's King of the Monsters because he delivers the goods -- unlike that unspeakable digitized American 'Zilla from 1998.
Be honest. When it comes to Godzilla movies you don't care how good (or bad) the Japanese actors are. What matters is the dubbing and in this case it's actually not all bad. TriStar Pictures hired mostly Asian actors for that "authentic" sound. The English dialogue ranges from somewhat witty (there are references to "Patton" and the old "Superman" TV show) to the naively stupid (like when a scientist exclaims: "Let's use the electron microscope!"). The lips don't match the words (as usual) so if you still think that's funny you'll laugh.
What matters here is the special-effects wizardry. The effects aren't up to "Phantom Menace" standards (remember this is a $10 million movie) but they're better than in the Godzilla flicks you remember from childhood. The Godzilla costume is better than ever: never before has the monster looked so truly huge and his incendiary death ray is more impressive and destructive. There are lots of good miniature cities too. Still the alien spaceship and the extraterrestrial monster it begets (a clumsy big-fisted thing that tries to eat Godzilla) are less than stunning.