A New York tycoon is hoping to evoke the 1930s jazz scene by relaunching the famed club frequented by music legends Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Earl Hines in the heart of Harlem. Minton's Playhouse became the centre of the Big Apple's jazz scene after opening its doors in 1938, and attracted a host of the biggest performers of the day.
After closing in 1974, it was briefly rebooted between 2006 and 2010 - but now former Time-Warner boss Richard Parsons wants to reignite locals' interest in jazz by creating a modern version of Minton's.
The rebooted venue will feature two restaurants, where diners will be able to catch nightly jazz sets.
Parsons says, "Harlem is experiencing a renaissance and our hope is that these two restaurants will help solidify and propel this rebirth."
The organizers of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival have released the full list of films they're planning to screen during the Sept. 5 - 15 fete. It's a decidedly more down to earth list of titles than appeared at Cannes in May but may boast even more Oscar contenders: films like August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and one very special new film from Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises. Here are five takeaways we had from this year's TIFF lineup, and below that, you'll find a list of select titles from the lineup for which we're especially excited.
1. Character is King — Deeply felt character studies dominate the lineup this year rather than movies driven more by visual flash. Some are more or less traditional biopics like Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. Ron Howard's Rush emphasizes the clash of personalities between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) as much as it does the races. And Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, perhaps the biggest visual spectacle on the TIFF lineup, is notable for being a portrait of a female astronaut (Bullock) and her struggle to survive after an accident while also dealing with her lingering emotional distress following the death of her daughter. Toronto this year is truly an actor's market. Even more so because...
2. A Bunch of Actors Are Trying Their Hand at Directing — Jason Bateman is making his feature-film directing debut with the spelling bee revenge comedy Bad Words, while James Franco is following up his (pretty much unwatched) Hart Crane and Sal Mineo biopics with his adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Child of God. And of course Joseph Gordon-Levitt will unspool his directorial debut, Don Jon, which is also the first time we've seen him with a gelled-up pompadour.
3. Cory Monteith Is Well Represented – The late Glee star has not one but two films at TIFF, Gia Milani's All the Wrong Reasons and Josh C. Waller's McCanick, both of which will make their world premiere at the fest.
4. This is the Place for Smaller, More Personal Films — While Cannes can still celebrate movies that might not otherwise find an audience (like Abdellatif Kechiche's Palme d'Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color, also at TIFF), Toronto goes all-in for small films. Just this past May Cannes got showy movies from big, flashy directors like Roman Polanski, the Coen Brothers, Baz Luhrmann, Nicolas Winding Refn, Stephen Soderbergh, and Takashi Miike. But this year Toronto will draw Steve McQueen, Kelly Reichardt, Stephen Frears, Jason Reitman, and Alex Gibney, often the makers of quieter, more introspective films — films that may not even have found a distributor yet. That's ultimately why...
5. Toronto Is More Important Than Cannes — Actor and Lars von Trier repertory member Jean-Marc Barr once told me, "Cannes is now like the G8 summit." It's pretty corporate and not as essential these days for films really looking for a distributor. Looked at another way, Palme d'Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color still doesn't have a North American distributor. However, Toronto is the perfect laboratory for testing out films with a North American audience — if Franco's Child of God doesn't get a distributor after TIFF, it might not get one at all. You can also see Toronto as the first stop on the Oscar circuit. If there's a groundswell of support for Sandra Bullock for Best Actress consideration for Gravity, it'll be because buzz was first generated among potential Oscar voters at Toronto, not Cannes.
Here are some of the most notable films appearing TIFF 2013. What are you looking forward to?
The Fifth Estate Bill Condon, USA (World Premiere) OPENING NIGHT
Life of Crime Daniel Schecter, USA (World Premiere) CLOSING NIGHT
August: Osage County John Wells, USA (World Premiere)
Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom Peter Chadwick (World Premiere)
Rush Ron Howard, United Kingdom/Germany (International Premiere)
All the Wrong Reasons Gia Milani, Canada (World Premiere)
The Armstrong Lie Alex Gibney, USA (North American Premiere)
Bad Words Jason Bateman, USA (World Premiere)
Blue Is The Warmest Color Abdellatif Kechiche, France (North American Premiere)
Child of God James Franco, USA (North American Premiere)
Dallas Buyers Club Jean-Marc Vallée, USA (World Premiere)
Don Jon Joseph Gordon-Levitt, USA (Canadian Premiere)
Gravity Alfonso Cuarón, USA/United Kingdom (North American Premiere)
Labor Day Jason Reitman, USA (World Premiere)
McCanick Josh C. Waller, USA (World Premiere)
Night Moves Kelly Reichardt, USA (North American Premiere)
Only Lovers Left Alive Jim Jarmusch, USA (North American Premiere)
Philomena Stephen Frears, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)
12 Years a Slave Steve McQueen, USA (World Premiere)
The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu) Hayao Miyazaki, Japan (North American Premiere)
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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Tragic Cory Monteith had been going through a "rough time" as he faced up to his own substance abuse issues by portraying a drug-addicted hustler in his final film role, according to the movie's director. The Glee star was found dead in his Vancouver, Canada hotel room on Saturday (13Jul13), less than three months after completing a stint in rehab to deal with his ongoing troubles, and filmmaker Josh Waller reveals the actor had been "feeling better" about his personal situation when they last met up at a recent screening for McCanick, which was shot last September (12).
Waller tells ET Canada, "He had expressed that he was kind of going through a rough time, but that he was feeling better about it, and then when I saw him at the screening he wrote me a really sweet email."
The director claims Monteith had been determined to tackle the gritty project, a stark departure from his all-singing, all-dancing role as Finn Hudson in Glee, because he identified with aspects of his character.
Waller says, "He was like, 'I can do this character, I know this character, I was this character, I have lived elements of this.' He said, 'I was a troubled youth.' He was so charismatic and passionate about the material it was just a combination of everything that made me think this guy was going to do it."
The filmmaker learned about Monteith's passing via a text message from the actor's McCanick co-star Tracy Toms, and he is still reeling from the news: "It's horrible, but I haven't really processed it yet."
An autopsy to determine the star's cause of death was scheduled for Monday (15Jul13), although coroners have warned that results are not expected to be announced for several days.
Monteith's fans have already created a memorial outside the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, where he died, by leaving flowers and heartfelt notes, while one devotee even left a bouquet outside the Los Angeles home of his girlfriend Lea Michele.
The Lord Of The Rings star has teamed up with producer Josh C. Waller and writer Daniel Noah to form The Woodshed, an independent production company focusing on frightening features.
Wood admits he decided to create the firm to help bring more horror movies to cinema-goers.
He tells Deadline.com, "I’ve been a fan of horror and genre cinema in general since I was a child and have become increasingly passionate about the idea of there being a space in which horror films that take their subject matter and characters seriously could be produced. What was born out of a conversation of our mutual love for the genre and what we felt was lacking in a broad sense, especially from the U.S. market, became The Woodshed.”
Wood's production company is currently working on a number of creepy titles including zombie movie Curse The Darkness and paranormal thriller Henley.
The reality TV star wed Humphries in a lavish televised ceremony last August (11), but their relationship crumbled and Kardashian moved to end her marriage on Halloween (31Oct11).
The New Jersey Nets sportsman subsequently filed for an annulment in November (11), challenging the former couple's pre-nuptial agreement and accusing Kardashian of fraud, insisting their much-hyped nuptials were all part of a publicity stunt to boost her earnings.
The TV beauty's attorney, Laura Wasser, appeared in court on Friday (04May12) and pleaded with Superior Court Judge Stephen Moloney to get the divorce ball rolling as negotiations between the two parties had stalled in recent months.
Wasser said, "I feel that (Humphries') personal feelings and maybe some media drive is keeping this case alive. Certainly, they've been separated longer than they've been married."
However, Humphries' lawyer, Marshall Waller, claimed his team needed more time to build their case and gather witness depositions, which the judge ruled could now get underway, according to TMZ.com.
Attorneys for both parties are due back in court on 15 August (12), just five days before what would have been the couple's one-year anniversary.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.