Monday, September 7, 2009

Ice Age movie and box office

It deserves some qualifiers. To begin with, the U.S. box office for Ice Age has been steady
but not spectacular, so because of that
this will never become the highest-grossing animated film worldwide.
For the foreseeable future, that will continue to be Shrek 2, with over $900 million it total ticket sales. But Ice Age has hit $732 million
which puts it within reach of The Lion King and maybe the third Shrek movie, close to the top 20 films ever made.
But the real story here is the international markets, which comprise an almost unprecedented 75% of all tickets sold for the new Ice Age.
We talked earlier this summer about Sony not investing that much into the U.S. release of Angels & Demons because it knew the real money was overseas; this film has a higher percentage of international box office than even that one.
In fact, it looks like only Mamma Mia! and The Last Sumarai have a greater piece of the pie going to overseas receipts - or overceipts, if you prefer - and even then, it's only by about a percentage point.
The rather unspectacular third Ice Age movie has made almost $185 million in the U.S. and nearly $550 million in all the other territories.
By the time all the figures are totaled, it could make upwards of $600 million around the world. That would put it among the top ten films ever on that list. Incidentally, it has already made nearly $75 million more than The Dark Knight overseas.
Different audiences, I know, but it does show you just how well this one has played around the world. To claim the record for an animated release in foreign markets, it had to pass Finding Nemo, which made $525 million internationally in 2003.


For a comedy, Extract is kinda depressing. Understand that wildly dysfunctional characters have become the norm in American comedies, but the characters in Extract give dysfunction a bad name. Not a single person in this ensemble comedy doesn't suffer from colossal stupidity.
Nor does anyone possess a moral compass. So from this contrived situation, writer-director Mike Judge, the creator of "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "King of the Hill," wrings all the yuks he can. Extract might be live action, but it still plays like a cartoon.
Miramax will in turn wring all the box office it can from Extract because there undoubtedly is an audience eager to laugh at dumb people behaving badly.
Even so, it's hard to see how Extract will do more than modest business
with perhaps a larger audience awaiting its debut in home entertainment.
Fiction certainly has its share of characters suffering from neurotic anxieties and mental meltdowns, but usually you understand the circumstances.
In Catch-22 or M*A*S*H, the daily likelihood of death in the theatre of war explains all the craziness. In a Cheech and Chong comedy, no one has to ask what those dudes have been smoking.
But in Extract, nothing explains the major stupidity in and about the workplace of a medium-sized business in an unnamed community that looks like bits of Los Angeles pieced together.
Perhaps something in the water system?
The actual source of the chain of daft events is the sexual allure of Mila Kunis' Cindy, who no one seems to realize is a scheming sociopath. Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman), the owner of a flavor-extract plant, certainly is smitten with his new temp employee.
His best friend, Dean (Ben Affleck), a substance-abusing bartender, convinces him that to not feel guilty about committing adultery, he should first hire a "gigolo" (Dustin Milligan) to sleep with his wife (Kristen Wiig).
Meanwhile, Cindy has sweet-talked fellow employee Step (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who has suffered a bizarre industrial accident, into filing a huge lawsuit against the company that will bankrupt the firm. (Why the company's insurance agents and their lawyers aren't called in is never explained.) Even when Cindy steals workers' purses, the women assume it can't possibly be that pretty young woman, so it must be the new Latino employee.
About the only thing Cindy can't be blamed for is the fact that the company hires only losers and misfits. You do wonder how the firm still is such a success that General Mills is eyeing it as a possible acquisition.
Not for a single moment does anyone in this film make a good decision. Consequently, you quickly catch on and easily anticipate the bad decisions before they happen.
Judge encourages his actors to overplay their hands.
The worst offender is Affleck, hiding behind a beard and hair that renders him almost unrecognizable. At least that's good thinking.
On the other hand, Bateman and Wiig stay enough in control—they seem almost normal—that you can't quite understand their self-destructive behavior.
Then KISS' Gene Simmons shows up as a bus-bench-advertising personal-injury lawyer who, like all the others, is grounded in no discernible realty.
Behind-the-scenes work is professional but unremarkable.

Film -The Final Destination

There is no final in The Final Destination, the fourth installment of New Line's body-dismantling gorefest.
The franchise threatens to never end. The new gimmick here is that all the flying body parts and absurd impalements come in 3D.
And that's about as inspired as anything gets in this edition.
Story and character get chucked to the sidelines, as the arena has room for only death scenes.
The film opened in both 2D and 3D versions, without press screenings
which makes sense since there isn't much for a critic to do here other
than critique the mechanics of the Rube Goldberg deaths.
So here goes: The level of invention by writer Eric Bress and director David R. Ellis—both making their second movie in the franchise—is pretty low.
An object tips over here, triggering another accident there and soon an entire car wash or movie theatre or auto-repair shop is filed with flying lethal objects.
There is a slight sense of macabre humor as characters scan ads for a movie called Till Death Do Us Part or drink lattes at a “Death by Caffeine” coffee shop.
And 3D does make sharp objects and bloody organs a little more in-your-face to go with those lattes.
A white racist sets himself on fire trying to drunkenly install a burning cross in a black man's front lawn while his car radio blares "Why Can't We Be Friends." Yes, that probably will do for light-heartedness.
The format requires an individual, in this case Nick (Bobby Campo), to experience a premonition of impending disaster, this time at a race track, that seemingly saves him
and some friends and strangers from horrific deaths. Only Death feels cheated and continues to stalk the characters, in the order of their avoided deaths, until they are eliminated.
Since Death is never a character—you were expecting maybe Ingmar Bergman?—the film lacks a villain. Since nothing apparently can reverse the determination of Death, the only suspense
is how characters will die, not how they will be saved.
We don't even mind too much the demise of the racist (Andrew Fiscella) or Nick's strange best bud (Nick Zano), a thoroughgoing male chauvinist, but you do feel sorry for the cute girls, Nick's girlfriend (Shantel VanSanten) and her pal (Haley Webb).
But seeing cute girls getting ground into hamburgers is exactly why young males like this sort of lame entertainment.
The set-pieces with the stunts, editing, visual effects, panting music and screaming actors do their jobs efficiently. You can almost sense the high-fives behind the camera.
But Death surely needs a holiday.
He's tired and running out of ideas.

Demi Moore Biography - part 5

Moore maintained a lower profile after this union, but returned to the spotlight for former flame Estevez's ambitious
political period-ensemble Bobby, about the events leading up
to Robert Kennedy's assasination. Among the star-studded cast, Moore was given a showy, standout role as an alcoholic lounge singer; there was room, too, for Kutcher, as an acid-dropping hippie.
The film garnered decidedly mixed reviews, even if Moore attracted
some attention for her part.
In 2007 the actress joined the cast of director Bruce A. Evans's psychological thriller Mr. Brooks, as a tough-as-nails detective on the trail of Kevin Costner's titular, obsessive suburban serial killer. The movie suffered an ignominious fate at the box office, and Moore
was singled out by critics for her implausibility. Rebecca Flint Marx, All Movie Guide

Demi Moore Biography - part 4

Although her career in front of the camera suffered, Moore managed to do well for herself as a producer.
In 1997, she produced the hugely successful Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and served in the same capacity for its mega-hit sequels, 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember.
In 2000, Moore returned to the screen to star in Alain Berliner's Passion of Mind, a psychological drama that cast the actress in a dual role as two women who lead different lives but are tied by a single identity.
The year 2003 brought Moore back to the spotlight in a big way -- not only did the 41-year-old actress play the shockingly buff-bodied bad guy in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, she gave the paparazzi something of a godsend by dating Punk'd and That '70s Show heartthrob Ashton Kutcher, sixteen years her junior.
The two wed in late September 2005, at a ceremony attended
by hundreds, including Bruce Willis and his three daughters with Moore.

Demi Moore Biography - part 3

Following the commercial success of Indecent Proposal, Moore's career hit something of a downward spiral. 1994's Disclosure proved a disappointment, and the following year's Now and Then (which she also produced) staged a similarly wan performance at the box office; however, it was Moore's other film that year, a "free,"or, as some would say, staggeringly misguided, adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's -The Scarlet Letter, that had critics howling and audiences cowering like small children
being forced to watch German expressionist films.
An unintentionally hilarious rendering of the classic tale, it featured Moore's Hester Prynne exposing plenty of skin, luxuriating in what must have been one of
Puritan New England's few hot tubs, having steamy sex on a shifting bed of grain, and walking off into the sunset with her beloved
Reverend Dimmesdale (a moody Gary Oldman).
Following this debacle, Moore took refuge on safer grounds, lending her voice to Disney's animated The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996; however, that same year, she encountered another career pitfall in the form of Striptease.
Based on Carl Hiaasen's satirical novel about a divorcée who turns to stripping
so that she can raise money to win back custody of her daughter, the tonally inconsistent film proved a failure, despite titillating advertisements promising that Moore would bare all for audiences.
The actress' career suffered a further blow with the disappointment of Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane in 1997, and she found herself getting more attention for her offscreen life as she was, by that point, embroiled in a very public divorce from Willis.
The two formally separated in 1998.

Demi Moore Biography - part 2

Moore made her film debut in 1981, appearing in both the coming-of-age drama Choices and the schlock-tastic Parasite.
Following a bit role in 1982's Young Doctors in Love, she had her first lead role in No Small Affair (1984) as an aspiring rock singer opposite Jon Cryer.
Her real breakthrough came the next year, when she starred as an unstable member of a group of college friends in St. Elmo's Fire.
Apparently, her onscreen instability mirrored her offscreen condition at the time; she was reportedly fired from the film at one point and then rehired after going into drug rehab.
The film was a hit, and Moore, along with such co-stars as Emilio Estevez (to whom she was engaged for three years), Rob Lowe, and Ally Sheedy, became a member of the infamous "Brat Pack."
Fortunately for Moore, she managed to avoid the straight-to-oblivion fate of other Brat Pack members, increasing her fame and resume with films like About Last Night (1986) and The Seventh Sign (1988).
Her fame further increased in 1987 when she wed Bruce Willis in a Las Vegas ceremony presided over by singer Little Richard. In 1990, Moore had her biggest hit to date with Ghost, a romantic drama that cast her as the grieving girlfriend of the deceased Patrick Swayze. A huge success, Ghost secured Moore a place on the A-list, something she managed to sustain despite the subsequent twin flops of The Butcher's Wife and Mortal Thoughts, both released in 1991. That same year, Moore gained exposure of a different sort when she appeared nude and hugely pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair; the resulting hoopla gained her more attention than either of her movies that year.
She was back on the magazine's cover the following year, nude again but fetus-free and sporting a layer of artfully applied body paint.
The controversy surrounding her cover-girl appearances may have helped Moore weather similar flak around her next feature, 1993's Indecent Proposal.
The story of a woman (Moore) who agrees to a one-night stand with a wealthy man (Robert Redford) for one million dollars after she and her husband (Woody Harrelson) find themselves in dire financial straits, Proposal was decried by a number of feminist groups
as well as various film critics
and went on to be another big, if controversial, hit for Moore.

Demi Moore Biography - part 1

Actress, tabloid fodder, provocative Vanity Fair cover piece: the husky-voiced brunette
Demi Moore is nothing if not an unforgettable roadside attraction on the pop culture highway. Rising to prominence with a string of successful films during the '80s and early '90s, Moore became known for both her onscreen and offscreen ability to draw attention for everything from her grin-and-bare-it roles in
films like Striptease to her well-publicized marriage to (and divorce from Bruce Willis.
Born Demetria Guynes in Roswell, NM, on November 11, 1962, Moore led a troubled childhood. To call it tumultuous would be something of an understatement: along with her mother, half-brother and stepfather
she moved no less than 30 times before her adolescence, thanks to her stepfather's job as a newspaper ad salesman. The problems that went along with such an itinerant lifestyle were compounded by the dysfunctional, sometimes abusive relationship
between Moore's mother and stepfather.
The latter committed suicide when Moore was 15, around the time that she discovered that he was not her biological father.
She dropped out of school a year later and did some modeling in Europe.
When she was 18, Moore married rocker Freddy Moore; the union lasted four years, during which time the actress landed her first role playing Jackie Templeton
on the TV daytime drama General Hospital.

Kate Gosselin and Holiday Weekend

Poor Kate Gosselin. We really are starting to feel sorry for her.
On Labor Day Monday, we found her checking out of the Homewood Suites in Reading, PA -- all by herself -- of course.
Now, we're sure the Homewood Suites by Hilton is a homey place but with room rates averaging about $190 a night, it's not a luxury resort, like, say, where Jon stayed in Las Vegas or Venice or St. Tropez.
Reading is just a short hop to the Gosselin home in Wernersville, where Jon spent the weekend entertaining his family, signing autographs for fans and taking delivery of his new Mercedes Benz.
Oh, but Kate did get to a tanning salon and had her nails done in Reading.
So why is it that Jon's the one complaining so much?
In part two of his explosive interview with GMA, to be broadcast
Tuesday, Jon accuses Kate of making his life a living hell.

Friday, June 26, 2009

mikel jackson death

Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead today
after paramedics found him in a coma at his Bel-Air mansion, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.
Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda told
The Times that paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home. When they arrived, Jackson was not breathing.
The paramedics performed CPR and took Jackson to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda said. Hundreds of reporters gathered at the hospital awaiting word on his condition.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said family members rushed to Jackson’s bedside, where he was in a deep coma.
The circumstances of Jackson’s death remain unclear.
Law enforcement sources said that Los Angeles Police Department robbery-homicide detectives have opened an investigation into the death, though they stressed that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The detectives plan to interview relatives, friends and Jackson’s doctors to try to figure out what happened. The L.A. County coroner’s office will determine a cause of death.
A Los Angeles Fire Department source told The Times that Jackson was in full cardiac arrest when rescue units arrived.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The decision to grant Madonna the right to adopt

he singer's victory at Malawi's Supreme Court of Appeal led the
news on local radio stations and prompted a positive response on phone-in shows.
But James Kambewa
who is claiming paternity of the four-year-old girl, remains opposed to the adoption.
"I won't give up the fight," he said, adding that the court disregarded him.
"I wrote to the court challenging the adoption because I am ready and willing to take care of my child," said Mr Kambewa.
"How can they continue referring to her as an orphan when I told them I am there for her?"
However, Mr Kambewa was a lone voice of opposition, with most Malawians welcoming the court's decision to allow Madonna to adopt Chifundo "Mercy" James.
"She is taking Mercy out of a life of destitution; she could have lived in the orphanage until she was old enough to start prostitution," said Michael Jonas, a curio seller in Blantyre, Malawi's second-largest city.
"I am happy for her and the world should ignore the so-called father.
We have lots of fathers but very few parents."
"I am happy for Mercy," said Martha Banda, a university student in Blantyre.
"Those who are against the adoption are just plain selfish. How can one say she is better off in an orphanage?"
The pop star also has two biological children - Lourdes, 12, and Rocco, aged eight.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pixar’s Up and box office

Moviegoers got down with "Up," the animated family comedy that soared into first place at the box office.
With debut ticket sales totalling $68.2 million
the Pixar film was the third best opening for the hitmaking
animation company, just behind the $70 million openings for "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles," according to Disney, Pixar's owner.
Like its Pixar predecessors, the action adventure - featuring a boy, balloons and a cranky old man (with the voice of Ed Asner) - earned glowing reviews from critics.
"The Disney-Pixar collaboration is probably the closet thing to box-office perfection out there," said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
The summer is to be shaping up well for family-oriented movies.
Last week's box office winner, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," slipped to second place with $25.5 million.
The weekend's other new wide release, the horror flick "Drag Me to Hell," opened at No. 3 with $16.6 million.
"Terminator Salvation" and "Star Trek" continued to steer a strong course, coming in at Nos. 4 and 5 with $12.8 million and $11.2 million, respectively.
Rounding out the box office winners were "Angels & Demons," which was No. 6 with $11.2 million and "Dance Flick," No. 7 with $4.9 million.

Sarah Darling - New Face - 7

One of the most unusual co-writers Sarah has worked
with is veteran TV news personality Harry Smith of CBS’ "The Early Show." Smith came to Nashville to cover the second Obama/McCain political debate and wanted to show viewers how a song gets written and recorded.
Sarah helped with the lyrics and melody, and they performed the tune on the air.
"It was great fun. Harry went to college in Iowa, so we had something in common, and by the end of the session, I think Harry really did understand how the whole thing comes
together in the studio." (CBS featured the song, "Red State Blue State Blues," prominently on its network website during the 2008 election.)
For a small-town girl who moved to Nashville knowing no one ("and with no Plan B as a back-up in case things didn’t work out"), Sarah is thrilled with the way everything is falling into place.
"I’m so glad this is all happening for me now rather than when I first came to Nashville," Sarah says, "because I feel like I’ve gone through so many experiences and ups and downs here.
I appreciate everything so much more now.
I moved from Iowa to chase my dream in Nashville. For some people, the dream never comes true. But when I look at where I am and the opportunities I’ve been given, I feel ecstatic and so blessed. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!"

Sarah Darling - New Face - 6

Sarah’s debut CD, titled Every Monday Morning, features her collaborations with some of Nashville’s best songwriters: David Malloy, Marc Beeson, Kim Tribble, Marty Dodson and Jeff Dayton.
It also includes a song she co-wrote with former Ambrosia lead singer David Pack.
It’s a stunning project, showcasing her breathtaking artistry as both a writer and vocalist.
The title of the album comes from Sarah’s regular rain-or-shine Monday morning writing sessions with Jeff Dayton, and each of the songs reflects a very personal side of her life.
"I do have very different sides to me
and my co-writers have to adjust," she laughs. "I can show up for a writing session and come up with a fun, light-hearted song that’s very girly, then turn around and write a deep, serious ‘old-soul song’ full of my own personal emotion.
I think we’ve all been through experiences in life where we get our hearts broken or are afraid to trust, and I’ve learned it’s okay to write about these in a song."

Sarah Darling - New Face - 5

From the moment Black River first saw Sarah in a showcase
the label knew it had discovered someone special. Jimmy Nichols’ experience as an A-list studio keyboardist (and Faith Hill’s band leader) gave him a unique perspective on talent.
But more importantly, signing with the label was like coming home for Sarah.
"Black River seemed like family to me right away, and I’d never felt that before in Nashville," she explains. "Then when Jimmy
and I went into the studio to start recording my album, it was almost magical.
He has such an amazing ear, and I learned so much working with him.
Jimmy pushed me to the next level as an artist, and showed me it’s not how pretty you can sing, it’s what you feel inside when you sing. And how you make other people feel when they listen to you.
He truly brought out the best in each of the songs. The whole process was unbelievable for me."

Sarah Darling - New Face - 4

In addition to supporting herself as a waitress in a Nashville steakhouse
Sarah also did modeling
and appeared in a number of country music videos, including "Red High Heels" with Kellie Pickler, "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" with Joe Nichols, "Too Much Blood
In My Alcohol Level" with David Ball, and "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" with Big & Rich.
A failed romantic relationship became a gold mine of songwriting material for Sarah
and inadvertently led to her record deal with Black River. "I wrote a song called ‘Stop the Bleeding’ that I put on my MySpace page," says Sarah. "At the same time
Jimmy Nichols had just started Black River Records, and
he was looking for a new artist to sign. Jimmy asked the label’s interns to start checking MySpace and let him know if they heard anyone exciting. That’s how he found me."

Sarah Darling - New Face - 3

n 2003, Sarah auditioned for an E Network reality show called "The Entertainer," hosted by veteran Vegas showman Wayne Newton. Much to her shock
she was chosen as one of the 10 finalists.
She spent the next eight weeks living in the Las Vegas Hilton with the other contestants, singing classic crooner songs on the program
and vying for a million-dollar performing contract.
"I didn’t win, but I finished in the top three," Sarah says now, "and
it was one of the best experiences of my life. It helped my performing so much.
They would throw unexpected things at us each week. One night they planted hecklers in the audience to see how we’d handle them.
Another time they gave us 30 minutes to put together a complete concert. Wayne Newton took me aside one day and told me I was his favorite singer on the show -- but he said I didn’t belong in Las Vegas.
He told me I should go back to Nashville and work on my own songs. Being on that show made me realize what I really wanted to do with my life -- write music and be an artist. I came back to Nashville and spent the next three years just writing songs, playing out in clubs, and doing shows."

Sarah Darling - New Face - 2

Growing up, Sarah wrote poetry, not music.
She never dreamed one day she’d make a living writing songs – but her biggest fan in the family knew differently. "My mom always told me that someday I’d become a songwriter," she recalls." I still don’t know how she knew." On her 14th birthday, Sarah received a small sound system and began singing everywhere
she could find a willing audience: weddings, birthdays, talent shows, pageants, even the Iowa State Fair. When she wasn’t singing, Sarah fished and played first base
for her local high school baseball team. (In the final game that won the team the Iowa State championship, a fastball caught Sarah’s nose and broke it, quickly ending her sports career.)
In 2002, a year after graduating from high school, Sarah saved $5,000, packed up
everything she owned in a horse trailer, and headed for Nashville on the advice of Joe Carter, Tracy Byrd’s manager.
"We met at a festival, and he asked me to send him some of my songs," Sarah explains. "I’d always dreamed of making a record and getting discovered in Nashville.
After he heard my demos, Joe encouraged me to come to Nashville and signed me to a year’s management contract." Although nothing came of it, Sarah says she learned a lot. "I paid my bills waitressing, watching other singers and songwriters, and trying to figure out where I belonged."

Sarah Darling - New Face - 1

Don’t be surprised when you meet Sarah Darling if she shows up in a Betsey Johnson dress and a pair of mud waders. Or Jimmy Choo high heels and a baseball cap.
It’s just Sarah’s kaleidoscopic personality shining through.
She’s a farm girl in florals, a riverbank girl with a poet’s soul, a deeply introspective writer with a childlike curiosity.
And a sophistication and maturity in her songs far beyond her 25 years.
Sarah was born in Des Moines and was raised in small-town Iowa, an only child who still remains very close to her family, especially her grandparents.
When a romantic relationship hit the rocks, it was Sarah’s grandmother who often got the late-night distress calls.
And it was Sarah’s grandfather who first turned her on to country music. "My grandfather used to take me to church with him every Sunday morning, and we would listen to country radio," she says. "Somehow country music always felt like home to me.
Even now, miles away, it still reminds me of what I love and miss most."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

who is Steve Martin?

-Born: 14 August 1945
-Birthplace: Waco, Texas
-Best Known As: Comic star of The Jerk and Saturday Night Live
Steve Martin got started as a zany and absurdist stand-up comedian in the 1970s
when his comedy albums like Let's Get Small (1977) were big hits; his punch line "Excuuuuse me" became a pop culture catch-phrase.
He was also a favorite recurring guest host on Saturday Night Live for many years.
In the 1980s he began starring in mainstream movie comedies like Parenthood (1989) and Father of the Bride (1991, co-starring Diane Keaton, with a sequel in 1995).
He proved himself an able writer/director, with successes like Roxanne (1987, with Daryl Hannah), LA Story, (1991, with Sarah Jessica Parker) and Bowfinger (1999, with Eddie Murphy).
Martin is known for his brainy versatility and continues to work in films, write plays (Picasso at the Lapin Agile), publish humorous essays in the New Yorker magazine, and write books like Shopgirl (2000, made into a 2005 movie starring Martin and Claire Danes).
His other films have included the family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen (2003, and a sequel in 2005) and the slapstick remake The Pink Panther (2006, with Martin in the Inspector Clouseau role made famous by Peter Sellers).
He published a memoir, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, in 2007.
Martin has appeared in four films directed by Carl Reiner, including The Jerk (1979) and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)
Martin hosted the annual Academy Award ceremonies in 2001 and 2003.

Steve Martin and new type

Comedian Steve Martin next month will make his debut on a new type of stage for the well-known television and movie star, plucking his banjo at country music's Grand Ole Opry.
Martin, a veteran of TV shows like "Saturday Night Live and films such as the recent "Pink Panther 2," has long been a banjo player.
He even incorporated the instrument into his stand-up comedy act as he rose to stardom in the 1970s.
But only last month Martin released his first music CD, a bluegrass album called "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo," which he will perform at country music's premiere venue on May 30, in Nashville.
Martin began playing banjo at age 17, and recently joked with reporters in New York that early in his career he opened a Manhattan night club picking away at the instrument but nobody turned out.
On the second night he agreed to play for free, and when the club was empty again, the owner fired him.
"I thought if I don't do it now, my fingers might slow down or I might forget the songs," the 63-year-old Martin said about making "The Crow" with 15 original songs.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monsters Vs. Aliens

It was "Monsters vs. Aliens" versus a sluggish March box office — and the "Monsters" came out victorious. DreamWorks' 3-D crowd-pleaser won over moviegoers and took the #1 spot with an impressive $58.2 million.
That's more than "Watchmen" took on its debut a mere four weeks ago, earning "Monsters" a spot as one of the highest-grossing March debuts.
It's also the biggest 3-D opener yet, with the film bringing in 56 percent of its take just through 3-D screenings.
#1 "Monsters Vs. Aliens" ($58.2 million)
#2 "The Haunting in Connecticut" ($23 million)
#3 "Knowing" ($14.7 million)
#4 "I Love You, Man" ($12.6 million)
#5 "Duplicity" ($7.56 million)

Madonna in Malawi

Pop singer Madonna has travelled to Malawi in a bid to adopt a second child from the country.
Four-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James is in the same orphanage
that was once home to David Banda, adopted by the singer in 2006.
Madonna's decision take a second child has already been criticised by international charities
but now a human rights organisation in Malawi is threatening
to try and stop the adoption from taking place.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

George Clooney quietly returned to "ER"

George Clooney quietly returned to "ER" in a long-awaited appearance that gave the TV hospital drama its best viewership ratings in two years as the show nears its final emergency.
Clooney, 47,
donned his Dr. Doug Ross scrubs one more time along with his TV wife Julianna Marguiles (nurse Carol Hathaway) in an episode broadcast on Thursday that also featured old-timers Noah Wyle (Dr. John Carter) and Eriq La Salle (Dr. Peter Benton).
Although barely promoted by NBC,
the episode saw a 23 percent increase in audiences over last week's show, whose 15th and final season ends next month.
NBC, which is currently lagging in bottom place among the four major U.S. networks.
said the 10.7 million Americans who tuned in gave "ER" its best ratings since Feb 2007.
"ER" turned Clooney into an international heart-throb and he left in 1999 to pursue a movie career full time.
He returned for a brief, surprise cameo in May 2000 but had repeatedly said he was not interested in going back again.
Anthony Edwards, whose character Dr. Mark Greene, died of brain cancer in 2002, has already returned for the final season in flashback scenes along with Laura Innes (Dr. Weaver) and Paul McCrane (Dr. Romano).
The ground-breaking series, set in the emergency room of a fictional Chicago hospital, was the top-rated drama on U.S. in the mid-1990s but audiences have slipped sharply in recent years.

Michael Jackson - King of Pop

U.S. pop star Michael Jackson's run of 50 comeback concerts in London starting on July 8 sold out about five hours after tickets went on sale, the promoters said Friday.
The 50-year-old announced last week that he would return to the stage 12 years after his last series of concerts.
although the original commitment was to 10 gigs at London's O2 Arena.
That has now expanded to 50, ending on February 24, 2010.
Hundreds of thousands of tickets went on sale to registered fans earlier in the week, and ahead of Friday's general release hundreds of people queued at the O2 Arena to ensure they made it to the eagerly-awaited shows.
Many had camped overnight for the privilege.
Jackson has been a virtual recluse since his acquittal on child abuse charges in a 2005 trial and he has not recorded an album of new music since "Invincible" in 2001.
But he is still the "King of Pop" to legions of followers despite his sometimes bizarre behavior and appearance.
He has sold around 750 million records, won 13 Grammys and is regarded as one of the biggest pop acts of all time.

Dwayne Johnson - biography

Dwayne Johnson born May 2, 1972 also known by his former ring name The Rock and occasionally credited as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is an American actor and former professional wrestler.
Johnson was a collegiate football player, and in 1991, he was part of the University of Miami's national championship team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, but was cut two months into the season.
This led to his decision to become a professional wrestler, like his grandfather, Peter Maivia and his father Rocky Johnson.
He gained mainstream fame as a wrestler in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), from 1996 to 2004, and was the first third-generation superstar in wrestling history.
Johnson was quickly given a push in WWE, first as "Rocky Maivia", and then as "The Rock", a member of the Nation of Domination.
Two years after he joined the WWE, Johnson won the WWF Championship, and became one of the most popular wrestlers within the company for his engaging interviews and promos. Since 2001, he has focused on an acting career, though he still makes occasional WWE appearances for promotional purposes.
Johnson was a nine-time World Heavyweight Champion in his career, being a seven-time WWE Champion and two-time WCW Champion; his last reign was as WWE Undisputed Champion in 2002.
He also won the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and is a former five-time WWE Tag Team Champion. He also was the winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble.
Johnson is also an actor, with his first leading role in 2001, in The Scorpion King.
For this film, he received the highest salary for an actor in his first starring role, earning $5.5 million.
He has since appeared in movies such as The Rundown, Be Cool, The Game Plan, Gridiron Gang, Doom, Race to Witch Mountain and Get Smart.

Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

The Rock and company may be game, but the race turns out to be less a game than a drudgery.
A victim of its own desire to have Dwayne Johnson's crowd-pleasing macho element sub for the youthful innocence of its young protagonists (and even for the amiable charisma of Johnson himself), "Race to Witch Mountain" loses much of the sweetness in this re-imagining of a 1970s adventure tale that starts amusingly enough but ultimately never comes across as more than a turgidly forgettable family fare.
Ex-con Jack Bruno (Johnson) is trying to attain a clean slate by living a reformed life as a Las Vegas cab driver when he inadvertently becomes the chauffeur of two young passengers (AnnaSophia Robb and Ludwig) who show him a big wad of cash to drive them out of the city.
It turns out that the juvenile customers are superpowered aliens out to save the Earth from an imminent invasion by their kind, and the only way to prevent the planet from being taken over by an intellectually superior extraterrestrial race is if Jack, along with an ardent astrophysicist (Carla Gugino), successfully guides these kids to the mysterious Witch Mountain past a joyless baddie (Ciarán Hinds) and his military men.
To get there, however, means having to endure a tedious chase punctuated by flat action setpieces so perfunctorily packaged as a merchandise to fit every member of the audience, where everyone gets a dumbed-down sample but no one gets the real dose.
Director Andy Finkman was responsible for the highly forgettable "The Game Plan" which, if nothing else, got Johnson into a tree costume; no surprise, then, that here, in what seems to be an attempt to buff up the former wrestling star again, diminishes Johnson's everyman appeal and Robb's likable presence into mere players in a race that never gains enough momentum.

Lindsay Lohan and arrest warrant

Lindsay Lohan's attorney says an arrest warrant issued for the actress Friday and stemming from a 2007 DUI conviction was "born out of a misunderstanding."
"Since her case was resolved, Ms.
Lohan has been in compliance with all the terms and conditions of her probation and all orders of the court," her lawyer Shawn Chapman Holley said in a statement Saturday, referring to Lohan's 2007 conviction for driving under the influence.
"The warrant issued on Friday was, in our view, born out of a misunderstanding which I am confident I can clear up next week."
A hearing for Lohan is set for Monday morning in a Beverly Hills court.
"The judge apparently has indicated that Ms. Lohan should be in attendance," said L.A. DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. Lohan, 22, is currently serving a three-year probation term for the DUI incident, the actress's second.
"We are not actively looking for Ms. Lohan at this time," Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said at a Saturday press conference.
"We are not anticipating her surrender this weekend. But if she comes in contact with police, she's subject to arrest.
As for why we're not actively looking for her, that's not our procedure for this type of warrant. Her attorney is hoping to resolve this issue in the coming week.
If it's not resolved, I'm sure we'll negotiate her voluntary surrender."