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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Stiller’

Youthful Reporter Tunes In Channel 101

Talk about a meeting of new paradigms. Today’s NPR.com interview piece about the evolution of LA video shorts collective Channel 101 was put together not by a public radio veteran but rather one Noah Nelson, a reporter with Oakland based online news service TurnStyle.

Channel 101 is a nearly ten-year-old, voter-driven screening series that was sparked by the gift of a Sony Handycam from Ben Stiller to founders Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, who have respectively gone on to success with the TV shows Community and Parks & Recreation. TurnStyle is a youthful news organization launched in January and guided with help from some savvy industry veterans. Reporter Nelson eventually gets to the critical component of Channel 101, the idea that the collective’s many layers of rejection are a perfect prelude to dealing with the vagaries of Hollywood:

That’s the secret sauce of Channel 101; anything goes and it’s OK to fall flat on your face because the rest of the comedy nerds and film freaks in the not-quite-secret club will be waiting for you afterward, ready to see what you cook up next.

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Tom Brokaw, Trudie Styler, Joan Rivers & Happy Birthday, Jon Meacham!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

If you were wondering why the streets of midtown seemed a bit quiet today it was because everyone — well, almost everyone — was at Michael’s today. I could barely keep up as the A-listers filed in one after another (Tom Brokaw! Jon Meacham!) and random celebs (Trudie Styler, Joan Rivers) drifted by.

And to think I was worried I missed all the action when Gabriel Byrne and Chelsea Clinton made appearances last Thursday. If it’s Wednesday, you can pretty much always count on a head-spinning lunchtime scene at 55th and Fifth.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Joan Rivers, presiding over a table full of folks including John Miller and some execs from WEtv. We’re guessing the group was feting Joan over the ratings success of the first season of her reality show, Mother Knows Best. (Glasses of white wine were being raised.) The compulsively watchable series starring Joan and Melissa Rivers chronicled the roller coaster ride of their mother-daughter relationship. When it wasn’t making me laugh out loud, it had me in tears. I should have expected as much since Joan put it all out there in A Piece of Work, the documentary which chronicled her fascinating life on and off stage.

Before she made her way to her table, I grabbed her for a chat and asked if she’d attended the royal wedding, since she’s been a guest of Prince Charles at many a dinner party at Highgrove. “I didn’t go,” she told me. “I’m a friend of Camilla‘s and none of her friends were invited.” Even so, she gave the wedding party high marks in the fashion department. (Much to their relief, I’m sure.) “Everybody looked fabulous!”

2. Stephen Swid with two gents that looked like they stepped right out of the pages of a Judith Krantz novel

3. Trudie Styler and two scholarly looking gents. (One was toting a folder from a school whose name we just couldn’t make out from afar) I’m thinking the fellows were from the Child Mind Institute at Hunter College where Trudie gave a well-received talk yesterday on her own childhood struggles with ADHD and dyslexia. Thanks to my pal blogger Beth Arky for giving me the heads up on this one.

4. Sony Television head Steve Mosko and Jerry Stiller (Yes, Ben‘s dad.)

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WTF Host Marc Maron Gets the Attention of the New York Times

Comedian Marc Maron–a former Air America host who these days is best known for his podcast WTF, which he tapes out of his garage in Highland Park–just got himself a nice long profile in the New York Times.

A taste:

Mr. Maron, a stand-up comic by trade, has cast himself as an unlikely celebrity interviewer — one who is angry, probing, neurotic and a vulnerable recovering addict. And somehow he’s able to elicit from his guests, mostly other comedians like Sarah Silverman and Ben Stiller, the same level of vulnerability.

The interviews, usually taped in his garage in Los Angeles, often end up feeling more like therapy sessions. Take, for example, Robin Williams talking to Mr. Maron about the dark side of dealing with audiences: “I guess it’s that fear that they’ll recognize — as you know — how insecure are we really? How desperately insecure that made us do this for a living?” Read more

Awards Grass is Greenberg for Focus Features

The March 2010 Noah Baumbach drama Greenberg is a very difficult film to like. Ben Stiller stars as one of the biggest a-holes – real or imagined – to ever make the pilgrimage from New York to LA.  As anyone who has come across their fare share of pilgrims here knows, that’s saying a lot.

Nevertheless, the drama is arguably the biggest beneficiary of this morning’s 2010 Independent Spirit Awards nominations, with nods for Best Feature, Best Male Lead (Stiller), Best Female Lead (Greta Gerwig) and Best Cinematography (Harris Savides). Savides, formerly a music video specialist, is the only person to ever win three MTV VMAs in that same cinematography category.

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Patrick Goldstein Pans Oscars, Fans React Sensibly…Just Kidding

OTR2.jpgLAT’s Patrick Goldstein is a critic/blogger. He’s supposed to give his expert opinion about stuff. That’s what he’s paid to do. And so he did. He didn’t like last night’s Oscars:

From Jackman’s strangely self-conscious low-rent opening musical number to Ben Stiller‘s very inside-the-Beltway spoof of Joaquin Phoenix‘s recent appearance on David Letterman‘s late-night show, the awards had a tone problem–they tried to be something for everyone, coming off like a movie script that had its edginess and guts airbrushed out by too many studio notes. It was hard to find any focused narrative for the awards, which were busy veering wildly from making fun of serious movies (mocking “The Reader,” for example) to being entirely too reverential about the past, treating a banal montage of supporting actress “thank you” speeches as if they were lost outtakes from “Citizen Kane.”

Which has lead to a bunch of comments panning his panning.

Did he get it wrong? Does it matter? Is there such a thing as ‘wrong’ criticism of pop culture events? Do comments at major newspapers make being a critic suck? Shouldn’t being an object of internet flames pay better?

Go on discuss…

‘Marley and Me’ Wins X-mas; Beating Up On Pitt, Cruise And Sandler

marleyandme.jpg“Marley and Me,” starring a very-much-alive Owen Wilson, proved that the movie business, to renew an awful pun, is truly going to the dogs, box office analyst Steve Mason confirmed to FBLA.

The film, which took in $14.5 million on Christmas day, beat out Paramount’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Sony’s Tom Cruise affair “Valkyrie” and Disney’s Adam Sandler film, “Bedtime Stories,” to capture the Christmas crown.

The performance was a bit of an X-mas present for Fox, which grabbed the second-highest Christmas day performance, more than $5 million behind the Ben Stiller hit “Meet the Fockers.”

My guess is that “Marley and Me” needed to cast Barbra Streisand, or at least use a song of hers.

Stiller May Direct ‘Chicago 7′

Ben Stiller, who has no relationship to Chicago whatsoever other than having shot a movie or two there, may take the directing reins of Aaron Sorkin’s script “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” according to the Hollywood Reporterstiller.jpg.

Stiller has had prelim meetings with DreamWorks about the project, though DreamWorks sources confirm that they’re very early.The project covers the 1968 riots at the Democratic Convention and their aftermath.

Stiller is the latest among a cadre of Hollywood somebodies who have shown interest, including Steven Spielberg (you know who he is) and Paul Greengrass.

Sorkin’s film was being eyed by DreamWorks executies for a Spring ’08 shoot, which obviously will be translated to a spring ’09 shoot.

DreamWorks is hot to put it in production as it would be the first of its independent post-Paramount-split projects.

Stiller, Tomei, Pattison and ‘Bees’ Cast To Pick Up More Awards

As if awards season were ever over, the 12th Annual Hollywood Film Festival announced a new flock of winners with Ben Stiller stilller.jpgfor its Best Comedy of the Year award, Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei marisa.jpgfor the Best Supporting Actress of the Year award, Robert Pattison for its New Hollywood Award and the cast of “The Secret Life of Bees” for its Best Ensemble of the Year Award.

All three (and then some) winners should be showing up at the gala ceremony on Oct. 27 at the Beverly Hilton Hotelrobpattison.jpg.

The Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards are co-chaired by Paul Haggis, who with his Oscar in tow, is no stranger to awards in Hollywood.

The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Festival.

Said De Abreu: “It is an honor to recognize the great work and talent of Ben Stiller, Marisa Tomei, the principal cast of ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ and Robert Pattinson at this year’s festival.”

See more below:

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Phish Re-Emerges, Eight Years After Giacchetto Sting

Phishphish.jpg, the alternative Vermont-bred rock band that was at the center of the Dana Giacchettodana.jpg money manager scandal in 2000, is getting back together for a reunion concert in Vermont.

The band was smack in the middle of a round-robin scam, according to the New York Observer and scads of other Hollywood-watching magazines, conducted by Giacchetto whereby the money manager would borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, from unwitting clients to pay back the Hollywood elite like Mike Ovitz, Ben Stiller, Lauren Holley, Rick Yorn, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire that Giacchetto enlisted as targets of the scam as well.

In March 1999, Giacchetto allegedly took $556,521 from Rick Yorn, Michael Ovitz‘s young partner at Artists Management Group, to pay What’s Love Got To Do With It director Brian Gibson $476,000. Then, on March 19, 1999, Mr. Giacchetto allegedly took $500,000 from Alanis Morisette’s manager Scott Welch to pay Phish manager John Paluska $258,978.00; in August, he took $450,000 from Mr. Ovitz to pay his company’s payroll, then cut a check to hotelier Andre Balazs for $11,000.

Then, in September 1999, Mr. Giacchetto went on a bit of a tear. He allegedly siphoned $250,000 from Ben Stillerbenstiller.jpg, $250,000 from then- Talk editor David Kuhn, $150,000 from actor Tobey Maguire, and $100,000 from Lauren Holley to send Mr. Yorn $737,000, Mr. Ovitz $150,000, Razorfish Web site design firm co-founder Craig Kanarick $21,000, and artist George Condo $75,000.

There was even a little left over the following month to mail E Street Band guitarist and Sopranos star Stevie Van Zandt $100,000. Then in November, he allegedly took $100,000 from art dealer Marianne Boesky and sent it right off to bony actor Tim Roth. One hundred thousand dollars from artist David Salle’s account allegedly went toward paying Alanis Morissette $3,600; a half million dollars of Phish’s retirement fund repaid Ben Stiller the quarter million he was missing. In January 2000, the $250,000 of a gentleman named Gordon P. Baird, Jr. allegedly helped pay producer Stacy Sher $251,033.

Phish disbanded in 2004.

Not sure whether Phish ever saw any money again. Maybe that’s why they’re re-uniting.

Spielberg wants Bollywood

Spielberg.jpgSteven Spielberg, ever the iconoclast, is just saying NO to the studios these days. As has been reported over and over, he’s doing a deal with India’s Reliance ADA Group.
The India contingent is putting up a billion bucks to give Spielberg carte blanche (or however that translates to Indian) to make and distribute whatever he wants.
He’s already got some producers ready to attach to the Spielbergian realm, including Walter and Laurie Parkes (longtime Spielberg pals) and Ben Stiller.

Oh yeah, the distribution might not be so easy. He still doesn’t have any distribution set for these films and unfortunately the only ones who can legitimately distribute films in this country are the major studios. Nobody can explain why the majors have such a stranglehold on film distribution, though the Internet is starting to whittle that influence away.

Regardless, Speilberg’s looking and the majors are all considering (but not relying on, ho ho) his Reliance cash, but invariably it’s likely that Spielberg will be back in bed with Universal, where all of his filmic links have been in the past, whether DreamWorks SKG or Amblin.

The India Reliance deal is supposed to be completed this week.
We’ll see if Spielberg starts wearing a Sari or has a red dot implanted on his forehead.

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