Friday, September 21, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 41 - 50 of 3188
  • Monday, Aug. 27, 2018
Review: Book explores weird, wonderful filmmaker David Lynch
This cover image released by Random House shows "Room to Dream," by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna. (Random House via AP)

"Room to Dream" by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna (Random House)

The simplest avenue for beginning to understand filmmaker David Lynch might be found in a childhood friend's observation: "David's always had a cheerful disposition and sunny personality, but he's always been attracted to dark things. That's one of the mysteries of David."

Dark things abound in Lynch's signature films — the grotesque infant in "Eraserhead" (1977), the disfigured adult in "The Elephant Man" (1980), the violent and perverse Frank Booth in "Blue Velvet" (1986) — and in his first TV series, the offbeat murder mystery "Twin Peaks" (1990-91). When his cheerful and sunny side shows itself, and that's not often, the result is "The Straight Story" (1999).

Like a David Lynch film, the biography-memoir "Room to Dream" is set in a world we recognize but one with a dreamy, compelling perspective at its core. Co-author and Lynch friend Kristine McKenna writes from interviews and other research in one chapter while the filmmaker's own recollections of events follow in the next. It's a unique structure that's perfectly suited for a cheery fellow with dark fantasies.

Lynch has always been drawn to art of some sort — paint, film, video, music, sound design, photography, acting, even carpentry. Friends and colleagues say he is smart, nice, generous and outgoing — and insist that he isn't weird. Well, how would you describe someone who dissects a mackerel, lays out the parts, labels them for reassembly, then photographs the display and calls it a Fish Kit? Oh, and a Chicken Kit and a Duck Kit follow.

Curiously, Lynch's life lacks the elements of evil and tragedy and the bizarre found in his art. McKenna describes an all-American 1950s boyhood in the Northwest. Taking his turn, Lynch recalls an idyllic youth, too, but one with the occasional disturbing image — like the night a nude and beaten woman stumbled down his street. (If you've seen "Blue Velvet" you'll recognize that childhood memory.)

At one point Lynch writes: "Almost everybody has a bunch of stuff swimming in them, and I don't think most people are aware of the dark parts of themselves. People trick themselves and we all think we're pretty much OK and that others are at fault."

McKenna doesn't omit unflattering details — Lynch's extramarital flings, for example, and the crumbling of the first three of his four marriages. Actress Isabella Rossellini describes how Lynch used a phone call to end their years-long relationship, a subject on which Lynch contributes only silence.

Importantly for cinephiles "Room to Dream" explores such things as how "Mulholland Drive" (2001) rose from the ashes of a failed TV project to the cult film that the website BBC Culture declared to be the best movie of the 21st century. That backstory and so many others provide a window into the mysteries of creativity.

Lynch once told director Steven Spielberg, "You're so lucky because the things you love millions of people love, and the things I love thousands of people love." Yet Lynch thrives as an artist and as a human being because he fuels his passions with curiosity, discovery and a sense of fun.

Douglass K. Daniel is the author of "Anne Bancroft: A Life" (University Press of Kentucky)

  • Monday, Aug. 27, 2018
Reel FX Animation Studios taps Chris Miller to direct Wish Project

Reel FX Animation Studios announced that Oscar®-nominated director Chris Miller will helm its upcoming original feature, the currently Untitled Wish Project. Miller, a longtime DreamWorks Animation filmmaker, wrote and directed the hit film Puss in Boots, which garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, and Shrek The Third, the third hit installment in the acclaimed franchise. Both titles achieved huge commercial success at the box office and generated a combined gross of nearly $1.4 billion.

The Untitled Wish Project storyline is being kept under-wraps, but the film will take place in both the real world and a world of mythical creatures where human wishes are heard and dealt with.

Jared Mass, who heads up Reel FX’s Originals Unit, said of Miller, “He brings a vision to the film that is sure to resonate with audiences all over the world.”

Reel FX Animation Studios is a top producer of animation for every major studio as well as a producer of original content including the film Book Of Life, which was produced alongside Guillermo Del Toro for Twentieth Century Fox. Reel FX is currently in production on its next original feature with Paramount Animation and Walden Media based on the kids’ graphic novel “Monster on the Hill,” which is set to be released in 2020.

  • Monday, Aug. 27, 2018
Myanmar military chief among those banned by Facebook
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- 

Myanmar's powerful military chief is among 20 individuals and organizations that Facebook says it is banning from its site in order to "prevent the spread of hate and misinformation."

The action Monday comes after the social media giant was criticized for being used to inflame ethnic and religious conflict in the country, particularly against Rohingya Muslims.

Some 700,000 Rohingya fled their homes in western Myanmar over the past year in response to a brutal counterinsurgency campaign by the military, which has been accused of massive human rights violations.

Facebook said it had also targeted pages and accounts that pretended to provide independent news and opinion, while covertly promoting the messages of Myanmar's military.

  • Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
Directors Etienne Proulx, Charles Nordeen Join CANTEEN
Charles Nordeen

CANTEEN, a Brooklyn-based tabletop production company under the aegis of EP Elyse Sara, has added directors Etienne Proulx and Charles Nordeen to its roster. 

Proulx, a beer and liquids specialist, rose up the ranks of the tabletop industry honing his craft as a master rigger and special effects stylist. His three-year collaboration with Baskin-Robbins brought him to invent and R&D specific devices utilized in multiple campaigns. He also designed the tabletop elements for the Coors Light global campaign in 2016. His directing clients include McDonald’s, Budweiser, Tim Hortons, Nespresso and Subway. 

Nordeen was a founding partner of a VFX and live action studio in his early days, directing TV series, music videos and indie films and was recognized with a slot in the 2014 SHOOT New Directors Showcase. He has more recently honed this skill with his passion for food to create a niche in the industry, shooting for brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Coffee-Mate, P&G and Marriott. Nordeen helmed PSA work for Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, giving him the opportunity to present his work personally to the former First Lady.

  • Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
George Clooney tops Forbes' highest-paid actors list
In this June 7, 2018 file photo, actor/director George Clooney accepts the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award during a gala ceremony in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

George Clooney can raise a glass, even if he's not starring in any hit movies.

The 57-year-old tops the 2018 Forbes' list of highest-paid actors with $239 million in pretax earnings. Forbes credits up to $1 billion that a British conglomerate said it would pay for Casamigos Tequila, which Clooney co-founded in 2013 with two entrepreneurs. The actor's wealth also includes additional earnings from endorsements and older movies.

The rankings include on-screen and outside earnings.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson ranked second with $124 million pretax. Forbes says a huge social media following helped Johnson nearly double his 2017 earnings because he's able to negotiate an extra seven figures over his standard contract for promotion.

Robert Downey Jr. was third with $81 million, followed by Chris Hemsworth with $64.5 million and Jackie Chan's $45.5 million.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
L.A. prosecutors investigate another Kevin Spacey assault case
In this Oct. 27, 2017 photo, Kevin Spacey presents the award for excellence in television at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Los Angeles County prosecutors are investigating allegations of a 2016 sexual assault by Kevin Spacey for possible criminal charges.

Spokesman Greg Risling said Wednesday that a district attorney's task force on sexual misconduct had received the case.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said detectives in the department's Malibu-area station started the investigation in May. Nishida says the allegations stem from an October 2016 incident.

It's the second Spacey case the task force is considering. The first dates to 1992 and could prove impossible to prosecute because of statutes of limitations.

Spacey spokeswoman Laura Johnson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Academy Award-winning actor has lost several roles since he was first publicly accused of sexual misconduct in October.

He's also under investigation in six cases in London.


  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
Actor says he feared speaking out about Argento assault
In this May 17, 2009 file photo, Italian actress Asia Argento arrives on the red carpet for the screening of "Vengeance" during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

A young actor who alleged in legal documents that Italian actress and filmmaker Asia Argento sexually assaulted him when he was 17 said Wednesday that his trauma resurfaced when Argento came out as a victim of sexual assault herself last year.

"I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me," Jimmy Bennett, now 22, said in a statement released through Attorney Gordon K. Sattro.

The comments were his first made publicly since a Sunday New York Times story saying Argento reached a $380,000 legal settlement with him last year over an alleged sexual assault in a California hotel room in 2013.

"I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative. I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time."

Bennett said he believed there was a stigma to being sexually assaulted as a male, and that he "didn't think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy."

His comments come a day after the 42-year-old Argento denied having a sexual relationship with him. She said in a statement Tuesday that she was linked "in friendship only" to Bennett, who played her son in a film in 2004.

She said the $380,000 payment, made in response to a notice of intent to sue for $3.5 million in damages that Bennett had filed, was undertaken by her boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef who killed himself in France in June.

"Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life," Argento's statement said.

Earlier Wednesday, TMZ published a photo that showed Argento and Bennett lying together, their heads touching as they lay on a pillow, their shirts apparently off. The celebrity website did not say how it obtained the photo. A previous picture on TMZ showed the pair embracing but sitting up and fully clothed.

The Los Angeles County sheriff's department said it is looking into the allegations and seeking to talk to Bennett. No police report was filed at the time, the department said. The age of consent in California is 18.

Argento became one of the leading figures of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine last year that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21. Weinstein has been indicted on sex crime accusations involving three women, but not including Argento. He has denied having engaged in any nonconsensual sexual acts.

Bennett said in his statement that Argento's emergence as a Weinstein accuser brought back his own trauma, and the movement as a whole has prompted him to address the experience.

"Many brave women and men have spoken out about their own experiences during the #MeToo movement, and I appreciate the bravery that it took for each and every one of them to take a stand," Bennett's statement said.

Actress Ashley Judd, another Weinstein accuser, spoke out Wednesday against anyone who would use the Argento allegations to undermine the #MeToo movement.

"We hold any and every abuser accountable, regardless of their gender, race, socio-economic status, public visibility or popularity," Judd said on Twitter. "Sexual violence is wrong, full stop."

Also Wednesday, Argento backed out of curating a Dutch music festival.

Organizers of the "Le Guess Who?" festival said in a statement that "due to the volatile nature of the accusations surrounding Ms. Argento, she has chosen to withdraw from her curatorship of this year's edition, while these issues remain open."

  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" to end in 2019 after 12 seasons
This image released by CBS shows Kunal Nayyar, from left, Simon Helberg, Melissa Rauch, Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco appear in a scene from the long-running comedy series "The Big Bang Theory." The popular series will end in 2019. (Erik Voake/CBS via AP)

CBS says the upcoming 12th season of "The Big Bang Theory" will be the last.

It's the most popular comedy on television.

The series began about geeky physicist roommates portrayed by Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki and expanded to include their friends, girlfriends and then wives.  Other stars include Mayim Bialik and Kaley Cuoco.

Parsons' work on the show has earned him four Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. CBS also airs a prequel about his character called "Young Sheldon."

There's also a UCLA scholarship created by and named for the series to support undergrad study in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Season 12 of "Big Bang" premieres Sept. 24.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018
Argento denies sexual assault, says Bourdain made payment
In this May 17, 2009 file photo, Italian actress Asia Argento arrives on the red carpet for the screening of "Vengeance" during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, France. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

Two days after a report detailed an accusation of sexual assault against #MeToo activist Asia Argento, the Italian actress and filmmaker said she never had a sexual relationship with the young actor whom she agreed to pay $380,000 in a settlement.

Argento, who has alleged that film producer Harvey Weinstein raped her, said in a statement Tuesday that she was linked "in friendship only" to Jimmy Bennett, a now 22-year-old Los Angeles actor who filed a legal notice of intent to sue Argento. As detailed in a New York Times story published Sunday, Bennett claimed Argento, then 37, sexually assaulted him when he was 17 in a California hotel room in 2013. As a child actor, Bennett played Argento's son in the 2004 film "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things"

Argento said Tuesday that the $380,000 payment was undertaken by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, the television star chef.

"Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect," said Argento. "Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life."

Bourdain killed himself in France in June. He has been a staunch supporter of Argento following her allegations against Weinstein.

A lawyer for Bennett didn't immediately comment Tuesday. But in a statement Monday, Gordon K. Sattro said: "At this time, our client, Jimmy Bennett, does not wish to comment on the documents or the events discussed in the New York Times article yesterday evening.

While we realize that the news cycle demands an immediate response, many times, people need more than a few minutes or hours to respond. We are asking that you give our client some time and space. Jimmy is going to take the next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response."

Bennett's notice of intent sought $3.5 million in damages, according to the Times report.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris on Monday said investigators were looking into the alleged incident. No police report was filed at the time, Harris said.

Argento became one of the leading figures of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21. Argento told the magazine that she continued to have a relationship with Weinstein because she was afraid of angering him.

Weinstein has been indicted on sex crime accusations involving three women, but not including Argento. The filmmaker, who is divorced and has two children, lives in Rome.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018
Director Danny Boyle departs James Bond over "creative differences"
In this March 15, 2018 file photo, director Danny Boyle attends FX Networks' annual all-star party in New York. Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, along with star Daniel Craig, announced Tuesday that Danny Boyle has exited the project over “creative differences.” (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The next James Bond movie has lost its director.

Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, along with star Daniel Craig, announced Tuesday that Danny Boyle has exited the project over "creative differences." Boyle, the director of "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting," earlier this year confirmed that he would direct the 25th 007 film. Boyle and his regular collaborator John Hodge were working on the script.

Production on the film, often referred to as "Bond 25," was to begin in December. The movie is to be Craig's fifth outing as James Bond, though endless speculation on his successor has been ongoing. Most recently, Idris Elba alluded to rumors of his casting by tweeting "Elba. Idris Elba."

The 25th Bond film is scheduled for U.S. release on Nov. 8 next year.

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