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Guy Moot Named CEO of Warner/Chappell Music Publishing

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:34 AM PST

It’s official: As widely expected Warner/Chappell Music Publishing announced today that Guy Moot will be its new Co-Chair & CEO and run the company in tandem with Co-Chair/COO Carianne Marshall, according to an internal memo obtained by Variety. Moot, who will be leaving his post as president of worldwide creative at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, replaces Jon Platt, who announced in September that he will be stepping down to take the top job at Sony/ATV when Martin Bandier’s contract is up at the end of March.

Moot sharing power with Carianne Marshall, who Platt named as Warner/Chappell’s COO shortly before he announced his departure; both would report to Warner Music chief Steve Cooper. While Marshall — formerly a partner at SONGS Music Publishing, which was sold to Kobalt last year for $150 million — is new to the company and the majors, she is capable and well-liked, and sources predict a big role for her in the company’s new administration.

The move makes sense on a number of levels: Few publishing executives have the experience, the connections or the clout to fill Platt’s shoes. Platt’s deputy, Katie Vinten, is transitioning to a consulting role at the company while she launches a Warner label with hitmaker Justin Tranter. And sources tell Variety the London-based Moot had long been tapped by Bandier to take over for him when he retired — and was not overjoyed when the nod went to Platt.

The arrangement would be similar in structure to the CEO/COO model at Atlantic Records, where CEO Craig Kallman essentially handles the music-making side while COO Julie Greenwald markets the recordings and runs the company (there is significant crossover between their roles, but generally speaking that’s the idea). That model was adopted by RCA with Peter Edge and former COO Tom Corson, and now at Warner Bros. Records with Corson and new CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck.

 

Golden Globe Winners Aren’t a Bellwether of the Oscars, but May Help TV

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:30 AM PST

With the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards in the books, there’s an urge to sift through the tea leaves and decipher what it all means, not just for the Oscars, mere weeks away, but also for the Emmys, as the TV awards apparatus begins churning to life this month on its march to midsummer nominations.

The biggest takeaway from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s film winners was how immune they ultimately were to impassioned criticism of their nominated offerings. Both Bryan Singer’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” have come under heavy fire this season. “Rhapsody,” centered on Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has been knocked for what some critics consider a craven, high-gloss approach to Mercury’s legend. “Green Book,” meanwhile, has been called on the carpet by family members of its own subject, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), for being an inaccurate account of the pianist’s relationship with bodyguard and driver Tony Vallelonga.

But none of that made a difference to HFPA voters, who went with their hearts on two films they adored. Notably, though, while Farrelly was a gregarious presence onstage Sunday night, Singer was not in attendance, nor was the director’s name uttered in any acceptance speech. When the producers of “Bohemian Rhapsody” headed backstage to address press queries, they refused to answer whether the embattled filmmaker, who was fired from the production and replaced by Dexter Fletcher with weeks left on the schedule, would share in the spoils. That drama is unlikely to go away anytime soon, as the celebrated film continues down the awards path.

What to make of the fate of other contenders? When nominations were announced in December, you could catch a whiff of which movies voters actually liked and which ones left them lukewarm but were nominated lest they seem out of step with the season. “A Star Is Born” qualified, with curious misses in the supporting actor (Sam Elliott) and screenplay races. “Black Panther” did as well, with no recognition outside of best picture save for the music categories. On Sunday, “Star” was surprisingly snubbed except for best song, for “Shallow,” while “Black Panther” came away empty-handed.

Instinctively, awards-watchers will declare that these and other films, like “BlacKkKlansman” (also denied any Globes), now are on the ropes concerning their Oscar hopes. Such pundits would be forgetting, of course, that a group of roughly 90 international journalists is vastly different from an organization comprising some 8,000 industry professionals, as the Academy continues to alter its ranks drastically. It’s a mystery, frankly, how this year’s class of nearly 1,000 new voters might impact the status quo.

Contenders that weren’t even nominated by the HFPA, like “First Reformed” star Ethan Hawke or Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” are still very much alive, with passion to be harnessed.

So it’s folly to use the HFPA’s list of winners as a crib sheet for the Oscars. What the Golden Globes do accomplish is giving a PR boost for the victors. It’s a chance for Regina King to take the stage and make an impression despite being ignored by SAG-AFTRA for her performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” It’s a chance for Rami Malek to charm with a speech that could put him neck and neck with best actor contenders Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper. And it’s a chance for animated hopeful “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” to fully assert itself against a giant like Disney-Pixar.

Oscar voters sit with ballots in hand until Jan. 14. So for those the HFPA awarded this year, it was invaluable TV time at a key moment.

Speaking of TV, the small screen ironically may benefit most from this year’s Globe film winners. There’s plenty of talk these days about the blending of the two mediums, and the emergence of limited-run series with 10 or fewer episodes has allowed performers and producers to effortlessly glide between both. That seems even truer in 2019, as top film award talent could also be next season’s top TV award contenders.

At one of the Globes after-parties, a network executive marveled at HBO’s big win, and he wasn’t talking about “Sharp Objects” star Patricia Clarkson. Rather, it was Ali’s supporting actor nod for “Green Book,” which came just a week before the premiere of “True Detective,” Season 3 — featuring the actor front and center — on HBO. The cable network also has King lined up to star in “Watchmen” later this year.

Over at Netflix, already celebrating a strong night with three TV wins and two on the film side, execs had to also be cheering for Olivia Colman. She won the Globe for her portrayal of Queen Anne in “The Favourite” and will next be seen as Queen Elizabeth II in Season 3 of “The Crown.” And Malek is still best known as Elliot in USA’s “Mr. Robot,” which is expected to return for its fourth and final season this year.

It’s a long way from the days when TV stars aspired to become movie stars but never vice versa. Now it’s a two-way street. During their opening monologue, Globes hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh poked fun at the old Hollywood notion, still common albeit no longer as prevalent, that TV is the inferior medium.

“I am seeing that Jim Carrey is sitting up front tonight in the movie section, even though he’s nominated for a TV show,” Oh said. Quipped Samberg, pointing to the rear of the Beverly Hilton ballroom: “That’s not going to work. I’m so sorry, Jim, but we’re going to have to ask you to vacate the movie section to go sit with the TV folk.”

Carrey, of course, started in TV before moving on to a blockbuster film career. Like many who took that path, he didn’t look back — until Showtime’s “Kidding.” Ditto Michael Douglas, who starred in the series “The Streets of San Francisco” in the 1970s, then turned to film. He later guest starred on TV series and even made the TV film “Behind the Candelabra.” But it wasn’t until Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method,” which earned him a comedy lead actor Globe, that he was ready to return to episodic TV. “I owe all of this to one man out there, Mr. Chuck Lorre,” Douglas said while collecting his prize. Few could have predicted Douglas would one day win a major award by starring in a show from the guy mostly known for raunchy multicamera sitcoms.

It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the HFPA likes to blur the line between film and TV, as most of its membership writes about both. But trying to find a deeper meaning to the group’s winning TV choices may be a tougher chore. For example, “The Americans” was worthy of its accolades as best drama series. But it’s not like the Globes to award a show in its final season. The HFPA is not overwhelmingly sentimental toward retiring series and fancies itself forward-thinking and the first to crown new ones.

The group also rarely goes for repeat wins but fell hard for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star Rachel Brosnahan. Still, the rule held steady in the comedy series category, where “Maisel,” last year’s winner, was bested by “The Kominsky Method.”

That unpredictability defines the Golden Globes, for better and for worse.

Sundance: IFC Reunites With ‘The Babadook’ Director Jennifer Kent on ‘The Nightingale’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:26 AM PST

IFC Films is re-teaming with “The Babadook” filmmaker Jennifer Kent on “The Nightingale,” a period thriller that will have its North American debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The deal is for U.S. rights and comes after “The Nightingale” won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival.

The film follows a 21-year-old Irish convict named Claire who struggles to be free from an abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins, after she finishes her 7-year sentence in 1820s Tasmania. After Hawkins commits a horrible crime against Claire’s family she is forced to pursue through the punishing wilderness with the help of Billy, a young Aboriginal tracker.

“The film is a study on violence and what a violent mind and therefore a violent society can do to damage the human spirit,” Kent told Variety. “It’s about how we can evolve through and beyond that violence. For me ‘The Nightingale’ is about love — not in a schmaltzy way — but its power to allow us to evolve as human beings.”

Kent said she opted to reunite with IFC because she had a positive experience working with the indie label on “The Babadook,” a twisty 2014 horror film that grossed more than $10 million globally and scored critical raves.

“For independent filmmakers these days it’s so important to find someone who will protect the work you do,” she said. “I was so happy with the way that IFC protected ‘The Babadook’ and guided it to the right audience.”

In addition to the special jury honor, “The Nightingale” earned the Marcello Mastroianni award for Best New Young Performer for Baykali Ganambarr, who portrays Billy. It also earned strong reviews, with Variety’s Guy Lodge praising Kent for delivering “a both-barrels-blazing statement of intent from a filmmaker determined not to be limited or labeled by the popular meme-ification of her debut, with the muscular formal grasp to match her ambitious reach.”

IFC will give the film a theatrical release at some point in the summer.

“We’re looking for the best date to position the movie,” said Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films. “It’s a movie that’s going to start a lot of conversations.”

In a statement to Variety, Lisa Schwartz, co-president of IFC Films said, “‘The Babadook’ was one of our most successful acquisitions at IFC and we could not be happier to continue our partnership with Jennifer on her next feature. She is undoubtedly one of the most talented writer/directors working today and we can’t wait to share ‘The Nightingale’ with audiences across the country.”

Kent said she was determined to find a distributor who would commit to giving “The Nightingale” a robust rollout.

“They’re not doing it as a token gesture,” said Kent. “It’s something they’re committed to doing and in this day and age when there’s so much online content, it can be hard to get someone who will make sure audiences have the opportunity to see your film on the big screen.”

“The Nightingale” stars Aisling Franciosi (“Game of Thrones”), Sam Claflin (“The Hunger Games”), and Ganambarr. Kent wrote and produced the film in addition to directing it. It is produced by Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, and Steve Hutensky, and executive produced by Brenda Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Aaron L. Gilbert, Ben Browning, and Alison Cohen.

“The Nightingale” will screen in the “Spotlight Section” at Sundance, the section for films that have debuted in other festivals. Bocco said IFC believes that the Utah gathering is an important venue to screen the film.

“It had a great premier in Venice, but that was primarily for international critics,” she said. “We want to re-introduce this film to audiences and position it as a must-see release in this country.”

“The Nightingale” is a Causeway Films and Made Up Stories production with principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Bron Creative, and financed with support from Screen Tasmania, South Australian Film Corporation, Kojo Productions and the Adelaide Film Festival. IFC bought the film from Bron Studios and negotiated the deal with Endeavor Content. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales.

Official ‘Woodstock 50’ Music & Arts Festival Reveals Dates, Location

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:25 AM PST

Two weeks after an unofficial Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration was announced, Michael Lang — the original 1969 festival’s co-founder and co-producer — declared Wednesday morning that the official “Woodstock 50″ event will take place Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen in Upstate New York. The announcement says the event “will give generations of fans the opportunity to join together in the festival’s foundational intent of harmony and compassion.” It stresses that this event is the only authorized commemoration of the 1969 festival and will feature an “amazing lineup” to be announced in the coming weeks.

While the unofficial celebration will take place at the original festival’s location, which is now the Bethel Woods amphitheater, the official one will be held 150 northwest of that location at the 1,000-acre Watkins Glen International race track, which has hosted two Phish festivals as well as the 1973 “Summer Jam,” which featured the Band, the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band.

“It’s time to put the speculation to rest and officially announce that Woodstock 50 is happening,” said Lang. “The original festival in ’69 was a reaction by the youth of the time to the causes we felt compelled to fight for – civil rights, women’s rights, and the antiwar movement, and it gave way to our mission to share peace, love and music. Today, we’re experiencing similar disconnects in our country, and one thing we’ve learned is that music has the power to bring people together. So, it’s time to bring the Woodstock spirit back, get involved and make our voices heard.”

The festival will have three main stages that will stage more than 60 of “the biggest names and emerging talent in rock, hip hop, pop and country,” the announcement says. “It will be primarily contemporary talent, but the legacy acts will be represented and honored,” said Lang.

“The original site in Bethel is wonderful, but much too small for what we’re envisioning,” said Lang. “Watkins Glen International gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock. It’s a beautiful location and an ideal site,” he concluded, noting that he felt “an immediate emotional connection to the land.” The 1,000-acre site will feature lodging availability for tents, RVs and camping.

The Woodstock 50th anniversary is being produced under license from Woodstock Ventures, which was founded by Lang with original festival co-founders Joel Rosenman and the late John Roberts; Artie Kornfeld, who co-produced the 1969 event, will be rejoining the team for Woodstock 50.

Ex-Fox News Staffer Sues Showtime Over Roger Ailes Miniseries

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:12 AM PST

A former Fox News staffer, Laurie Luhn, whose allegations of being victimized by one-time Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes were instrumental in his ouster from the network, has filed suit over her portrayal in an upcoming Showtime miniseries about the influential media executive. She is seeking more than $750 million in damages.

In a suit filed in the Superior Court of the State of Los Angeles, Luhn, a former booker and producer at the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet, alleges Showtime, series producer Blumhouse and author Gabriel Sherman, upon whose Ailes biography the series is based, are using her likeness to market and promote the series without her permission.

Showtime could not be reached for immediate comment. Ailes, who died in May, 2017, at the age of 77, denied a series of allegations of sexual harassment that were leveled at him starting in 2016.

Showtime’s series based on “The Loudest Voice in the Room” is expected to be eght episodes, and stars Russell Crowe as Ailes and Naomi Watts as Gretchen Carlson. Annabelle Wallis is slated to portray Luhn.

In the suit, Luhn alleges she was never made aware her interviews with journalist Sherman might be used in other works. “Sherman cashed in on Plaintiff’s tragic Fox News experience and the psycho-sexual torture she had endured by Ailes without so much as a courtesy notification regarding the Showtime and Blumhouse series.”

Whether Luhn has legal standing remains to be seen. In the suit, she acknowledges “11 hours of audio” interviews taking place with Sherman at her home in Encino, California.

Luhn provided sordid allegations about Ailes’ behavior to New York magazine in 2016, claiming he held sway over her for years while she worked at Fox News Channel‘s Washington. D.C.. offices, pressuring her for sexual favors in exchange for help with her career and money.

Luhn is seeking more than $250 million in general damages and punitive damages in excess of $500 million, as well as the ability to see the production and halt use of her likeness without being compensated for its use.

 

 

Swedish House Mafia Return: New Management, Stadiums, Vegas Unlikely

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:05 AM PST

Swedish House Mafia has enlisted veteran music manager Ron Lafitte to shepherd what is shaping up to be a major comeback in 2019. Lafitte, whose Patriot Management roster includes Pharrell Williams, Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic, Soundgarden and Backstreet Boys, recently began representing the trio in an official capacity.

The group — comprised of Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso — had been on hiatus since March 2013, after wrapped what was then billed as a farewell tour. The three would not perform together again until March of 2018 when they reunited at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, the site of the last stop on “The Last Tour” tour five years earlier.

When Swedish House Mafia decided in 2012 to take a break, the group had well-established its place among dance music’s most successful acts. Their EDM hit “Don’t You Worry Child,” released that year, would be SHM’s biggest hit in the U.S., reaching the Top 10. As a live act, SHM bookings ran the gamut from festival appearances to multi-night arena runs on their final tour, but their return looks to be drawing significantly larger crowds. At least where their hometown of Stockholm, Sweden is concerned, three sold out stadium shows await at the Tele2 Arena (capacity: 45,000) May 2, 3 and 4.

Meanwhile, rumors about a possible long-term engagement in Las Vegas have also persisted in the wake of Ingrosso’s announcement on Jan. 8 that he would be claiming a residency of his own at The Wynn, home to XS Las Vegas nightclub, but an insider says it’s not likely. “Don’t expect a Las Vegas residency for Swedish House Mafia.” Another source suggests that paydays in Vegas, where the likes of Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki and Tiesto have multi-year deals, are “not what they used to be.”

Following solo releases from each SHM member, new music as a group is also expected, though SHM is currently unsigned (previous releases were issued through Astralwerks and Universal Music Group). The trio reportedly told Rave Culture Radio that they have “lots of new music coming.” And, according to Hits, label bosses and music executives of various stripes have been flocking to Stockholm to woo the act.

Lafitte started his music business career in the metal genre, working with Metallica and Megadeth, and later would join management concerns Red Light, Front Line and Maverick. In 2016, he formed Patriot Management which boasts more than a dozen acts as well as the estate of Chris Cornell.

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ Gets New Zombies Mode Next Week

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:00 AM PST

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4″ is scheduled to receive a new Gauntlets mode to Zombies’ Voyage of Despair map next week, Treyarch announced on Tuesday.

Console players can also expect Update 1.11 to hit next week, which will feature an improved interface for looting in Blackout, and the addition of three new Elixirs on PlayStation 4.

A minor update has also released today, the studio revealed in a post on Reddit. This adds some stability improvements to “Black Ops 4” multiplayer and Zombies, and features a collection of Moshpits to this week’s Featured Playlist showcase. This includes Endurance Chaos Moshpit, Mercenary Capture Moshpit, Mercenary Hardcore Moshpit, Deathmatch Moshpit, and Map Pack Moshpit.

In the meantime, Treyarch is working on new features slated to arrive over the next month. Mastery Camos progression systems will be coming to both Zombies and Blackout in late January. The company will also be kicking off League Play at the end of the month.

“League Play will operate a little differently this time around. The system is designed to emulate a schedule more like the pros play, where League Play events will be intense and frequent but shorter duration, generally spanning weekends or 3-day periods,” the post reads.

“In between those events, Scrims will be run as an unranked playlist using CWL rules so that players and teams can sharpen their skills before a competition. Both League Play events and Scrims will use skill-based matchmaking, where focus has been applied to making sure skill matches are as accurate as possible without resulting in empty lobbies or long wait times. League ladders will be built around 50-player groupings to ensure the most intense competition for these shorter-duration events. We’ll provide more around how the ranking system works along with other details as we approach the launch date.”

The post can be read in full here.

Josh Brolin celebrates five years of sobriety

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:00 AM PST

Josh Brolin is celebrating five years of sobriety.

The 50-year-old actor marked his titanic teetotal achievement by logging on to his Instagram account to share the negative emotions that were triggered by his alcohol abuse with his 1.8 million followers and let his fans know he is still strong in his recovery.

His lengthy post read: “Drunk: when you think you’re having a rip roaring time and the next morning you wake up and your brain has broken into a frenzied beehive and your body is shattered shards of sharp glass desperately searching for what fits where and your spirit is being eaten by worms with great white bloodied teeth and your heart has shriveled into a black prune churning your intestines to the point where dysentery feels attractive and you can’t remember anything you did so you roll out of bed over last night’s urine and you dial your best friend’s phone number because you recall him lifting you over his head, your whole self, before you hit and broke through the drywall and, you think, a large aquarium and the phone on the other end rings and he picks it up, that clambering for a phone, the clumsiness of a hardline, and you say: “What did I do last night?!” and he answers, after a great pause: “…Dude…”. #5years (sic)”

Brolin gave up drinking in 2013 following an arrest for public intoxication in Santa Monica, California.

In the wake of the incident the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ star checked into rehab and once he got clean made the vow to never touch another drop of booze again.

He said at the time: “It won’t be happening again, I can guarantee it. That’s it, I’m completely done.”

Brolin has admitted the best thing about being sober is being in “control” of his behaviour and having none of the chaos that comes with excessive binge drinking.

In an interview with the New York Times newspaper, he said: “I’ve gotten to a place where all that matters is that I have control over my behavior, and at that time, it was a little more chaotic.”

Kendall Jenner recalls acne devastation

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:00 AM PST

Kendall Jenner felt like it was “the end of the world” when she had her first acne breakout.

The 23-year-old model admitted it was “mortifying” when she woke up on her first day of high school and discovered her skin had erupted.

She said: “You feel like it’s the end of the world when that happens.”

The ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ star “really wanted” a boyfriend when she was a teenager but lost all her confidence because of her acne.

She told People magazine: “I literally wouldn’t even look people in the eye when I would speak to them.”

After a few years, Kendall’s skin cleared up but the spots returned when she was 21, which she believes was partly due to stress.

She said: “For me personally, the second time around when it came back, I think it was pretty hormonal.

“You could see it in where I had my breakouts. I also think it had to do with stress. I was having a couple really challenging years of my life.”

The brunette beauty – who has previously spoken of her struggles with anxiety – is finally happy with her skin and is now in a much “better mental place”.

She said: “I’m definitely in a better mental place. It has a lot to do with being clear, but it also has to do with a lot of other things in the way that I’ve changed how my life runs and things that I pick and choose to do. A lot goes into all of that.”

But if she does have a breakout, Kendall tries not to worry too much about it any more.

She said: “It always is frustrating. Always. One zit can really freak you out because you’re like ‘Oh no, are we going backwards again?’ But I try not to think too deeply about it because I know it’s going to be all good. I want everyone to know I’m OK, and you can be OK too.”

Melissa McCarthy wants Amy Adams for president

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 07:00 AM PST

Melissa McCarthy wants Amy Adams to run for president.

The ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ actress thinks the ‘Nocturnal Animals’ star would make the world a better place and she is impressed with the instincts shown by both Amy and Nicole Kidman.

She said: “I think Nicole Kidman is a smart, non-bulls**t puppy. She isn’t going to mince words, isn’t going to try to play a game. She’s got a hell of a picker. She picks things that are really interesting, and she’s not concerned about how they may be seen.

“Amy Adams is the same. I love that she is starting to produce. I would like Amy Adams to run for president. I think the world would be better in general.”

Amy isn’t the only actress Melissa would turn to for guidance as she’d love to have daily meetings with Viola Davis.

She told America’s InStyle magazine: “I’d like Viola Davis to wake me up every morning and be like, ‘Here’s your thought for the day’, and I’d literally write it down.

The 48-year-old actress – who has daughters Vivian, 11, and Georgette, eight, with husband Ben Falcone – had praise for several other famous Hollywood faces too.

She said: “I love that Jennifer Aniston, that little nugget. That’s a person to the soles of her feet. Just solid, good…

“I’ve known Octavia Spencer for 20 years, and she is the same person she has always been. Same with Allison Janney. They didn’t change. They’re not adapting for their jobs or their careers. They are exactly, unapologetically as they were.”

Melissa admitted she misses the anonymity she had before she was famous.

She said: “I do miss when I could just wander around and de-stress. It’s a little different when someone’s watching you do it where you’re like, “‘No, I’m just here to be unseen.’ “

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and His Wife, MacKenzie, Are Getting Divorced

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:49 AM PST

Jeff Bezos, founder and chairman of Amazon, announced that after 25 years, he and his wife, MacKenzie, have decided to get divorced.

Jeff Bezos tweeted the news Wednesday, saying in part, “We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.”

Jeff Bezos, 54, and MacKenzie Bezos, 48, were married in 1993, after they met at hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. in New York City where Jeff Bezos was an SVP and MacKenzie Tuttle was a research associate. They are the parents of four children: three sons, and a daughter adopted from China.

“If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again,” Bezos’ statement read.

Here’s Jeff Bezos’ tweet:

Kevin Hart Emphatically Says He Won’t Host the Oscars

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:34 AM PST

Kevin Hart seems to have fully closed the door on any possibility that he will host the Oscars.

During a Wednesday appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” star gave an emphatic “no” when asked if he would take on the emcee role. Hart’s hire was engulfed in controversy after homophobic tweets and jokes he had made earlier in his career resurfaced. He stepped down as host and has since apologized for his comments, but some critics have found his contrition to be insufficient.

“I want everybody to know I’m done with it,” Hart told “GMA” host Michael Strahan. “It’s a choice that I’ve personally made to say I’m not addressing it anymore.”

More to come…

Chris Pine on His Role in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’: ‘The Tables Are Turned’

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:30 AM PST

On the set of “Wonder Woman 1984,” during its final days of production in London, director Patty Jenkins is completing a series of elaborate shots in quick succession. “These days, there are difficult things to shoot,” she says. “This is not that difficult; it’s just the directions and the multitasking. And it is so interesting how normal it is once you have a complicated plan.”

Jenkins’ planning is aided by the fact that, unlike her work in television or even on the first “Wonder Woman,” she has entered with a creative team and a known vision. Asked about having to fight to define projects on her own terms, she says, “I think that every time you do something, it’s for the first time. “Wonder Woman 1984” is different “because we all know each other, and that world is understood a lot more.”

The familiarity surely was a help on a complex production that made stops in Spain and Washington, D.C., where Pine says he spent his downtime exploring history. “I cried in front of the Supreme Court,” he says. “I was like, man, for all that we f– up, we’re still at it. We’re still trying. So I was super energized and pro-America.”

Will the patriotic tone bleed into the movie? Aside from the setting (1984, naturally) and the casting (Gal Gadot returns as the titular heroine, with Kristen Wiig taking the mantle of the villainous Cheetah), little is known. But Pine drops some hints about the role his character — who died in “Wonder Woman” — plays. “This one is a little different for me tonally,” he says. “The tables are turned, and I’m more of the deer in the headlights.” A reversal of the typical leading-man script? Sounds like a Jenkins-Pine production.

Read Variety’s cover story with Pine and Jenkins here.

‘Kirby’ and ‘Yoshi’ Get Release Dates in March

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:30 AM PST

“Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn” and “Yoshi’s Crafted World” are both releasing in March, Nintendo announced Tuesday via press release.

Both of the games, which each feature a handcrafted look, were announced with no firm release date– Kirby last year, and Yoshi’s game in 2017. “Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn” is coming first on March 5, and “Yoshi’s Crafted World” rounds out the end of the month with a release of March 29.

The classic pink hero Kirby is returning in a Nintendo 3DS version of “Kirby’s Epic Yarn,” which originally released for the Nintendo Wii. The “extra” is not just yarn fluff, though. The 3DS version has new mini-games with characters King Dedede and Meta Knight making appearances, and even has new power-up Ravel Abilities for Kirby. A new game mode called Devilish (which adds “extra layer of challenge to each stage”) a little cosmetic extras, new in-game furniture, are also going to be in this new version.

The beloved Nintendo character Yoshi is also getting some attention for his all-new adventure, “Yoshi’s Crafted World,” which is releasing exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. The game has a handcrafted look, as well, as the world is crafted from everyday items, like paper cups and boxes, according to the press release.

The game can be played alone or co-op as players navigate through the stages, solving puzzles and finding treasures. Plus, for extra re-play value, the stages can be played through backwards as well.

“Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn” will cost $39.99, and “Yoshi’s Crafted World” $59.99, according to the Amazon listings of both products.

Cardi B, Drake Dominate 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards Nominations

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:28 AM PST

iHeartMedia and FOX have announced the nominees for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards, and Cardi B and Drake lead the way with 13 and eight nominations, respectively.

Now in its sixth year and partnered with FOX, the iHeartRadio Music Awards celebrate the most popular songs and artists from 2018 played on the iHeartRadio stations and app.

Cardi B received the most nominations thanks to her breakout year, debut album “Invasion of Privacy” and multiple collaborations. 2018’s most streamed song, “God’s Plan” by Drake, picked up five nominations and competes in the Hip-Hop Song of the Year race with Drake’s other singles “In My Feelings” and “Nice For What.”

Other artists who received multiple nominations include Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes and Maroon 5.

Check out the full list of nominees below:

Song of the Year:

“Better Now” – Post Malone

“Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B

“God’s Plan” – Drake

“Perfect” – Ed Sheeran

“The Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Female Artist of the Year:

Ariana Grande

Camila Cabello

Cardi B

Dua Lipa

Halsey

Male Artist of the Year:

Drake

Ed Sheeran

Kendrick Lamar

Post Malone

Shawn Mendes

Best Duo/Group of the Year:

5 Seconds Of Summer

Imagine Dragons

Maroon 5

Panic! At The Disco

twenty one pilots

Best Collaboration:

“Finesse (Remix)” Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B

“Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B

“I Like It” – Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin

“Meant To Be” – Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line

“The Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Best New Pop Artist:

Bazzi

Lauv

Marshmello

MAX

NF

Alternative Rock Song of the Year:

“Africa” – Weezer

“Broken” – lovelytheband

“Happier” – Marshmello featuring Bastille

“High Hopes” – Panic! At the Disco

“Natural” – Imagine Dragons

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year:

Imagine Dragons

lovelytheband

Panic! At The Disco

Portugal. The Man

Thirty Seconds To Mars

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist:

AJR

Badflower

Billie Eilish

lovelytheband

Two Feet

Rock Song of the Year:

“Are You Ready” – Disturbed

“Bulletproof” – Godsmack

“Devil” – Shinedown

“Safari Song” – Greta Van Fleet

“Zombie” – Bad Wolves

Rock Artist of the Year:

Five Finger Death Punch

Godsmack

Greta Van Fleet

Shinedown

Three Days Grace

Country Song of the Year:

“Heaven” – Kane Brown

“Meant To Be” – Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line

“Most People Are Good” – Luke Bryan

“Rich” – Maren Morris

“Tequila” – Dan + Shay

Country Artist of the Year:

Carrie Underwood

Jason Aldean

Luke Bryan

Luke Combs

Thomas Rhett

Best New Country Artist:

Carly Pearce

Dylan Scott

Jordan Davis

LANCO

Russell Dickerson

Dance Song of the Year:

“Friends” – Marshmello and Anne-Marie

“Happier” – Marshmello featuring Bastille

“One Kiss” – Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa

“Remind Me To Forget” – Kygo featuring Miguel

“The Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Dance Artist of the Year:

Calvin Harris

Kygo

Marshmello

The Chainsmokers

Zedd

Hip-Hop Song of the Year:

“God’s Plan” – Drake

“I Like It” Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin

“In My Feelings” – Drake

“Nice For What” – Drake

“Psycho” – Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year:

Cardi B

Drake

Kendrick Lamar

Post Malone

Travis Scott

Best New Hip-Hop Artist:

BlocBoy JB

Juice WRLD

Lil Baby

Lil Pump

XXXTENTACION

R&B Song of the Year:

“Boo’d Up” – Ella Mai

“Finesse (Remix)” – Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B

“Medicine” – Queen Naija

“Sky Walker” – Miguel featuring Travis Scott

“When We” – Tank

R&B Artist of the Year:

Daniel Caesar

Ella Mai

H.E.R.

Miguel

SZA

Best New R&B Artist:

Brent Faiyaz

Ella Mai

H.E.R.

Queen Naija

TK Kravitz

Latin Song of the Year:

“Clandestino” – Shakira featuring Maluma

“Dura” – Daddy Yankee

“Échame La Culpa” – Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato

“Me Niego” – Reik featuring Ozuna and Wisin

“X” – Nicky Jam and J Balvin

Latin Artist of the Year:

Bad Bunny

Daddy Yankee

J Balvin

Maluma

Ozuna

Best New Latin Artist:

Lele Pons

Manuel Turizo

Mau y Ricky

Nio Garcia

Raymix

Regional Mexican Song of the Year:

“Entre Beso y Beso” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón

“Me Dejé Llevar” – Christian Nodal

“Mejor Me Alejo” – Banda MS

“Mi Sorpresa Fuiste Tú” – Calibre 50

“Mitad Y Mitad” – Calibre 50

Regional Mexican Artist of the Year:

Banda Carnaval

Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizárraga

Calibre 50

Christian Nodal

Gerardo Ortiz

Producer of the Year:

David Garcia

Frank Dukes

Louis Bell

Marshmello

Noah “40” Shebib

Best Lyrics: *Socially Voted Category

“Consequences” – Camila Cabello

“Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B

“God’s Plan” – Drake

“In My Blood” – Shawn Mendes

“thank u, next” – Ariana Grande

“Without Me” – Halsey

Best Cover Song: *Socially Voted Category

“A Million Dreams” – P!nk and Willow Sage Hart

“Africa” – Weezer

“Crying in the Club” – Niall Horan

“Fast Car” – Khalid

“In My Blood” – Charlie Puth

“Lucid Dreams” – Halsey

“Me, Myself & I” – Zayn

“Natural Woman” – Ariana Grande

“Rewrite the Stars” – Anne-Marie and James Arthur

“You’re Still The One” – Harry Styles and Kacey Musgraves

“Under Pressure” – Shawn Mendes and Teddy Geiger

“Your Song” – Lady Gaga

Best Music Video: *Socially Voted Category

“Delicate” – Taylor Swift

“Dura” – Daddy Yankee

“Finesse (Remix)” – Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B

“Freaky Friday” – Lil Dicky and Chris Brown

“Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B

“God’s Plan” – Drake

“I Like It” – Cardi B featuring J Balvin and Bad Bunny

“One Kiss” – Calvin Harris featuring Dua Lipa

“Psycho” – Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign

“Taki Taki” – DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B

“thank u, next” – Ariana Grande

“This Is America” – Childish Gambino

Social Star Award: *Socially Voted Category

Agnez Mo

Bhad Bhabie

Dylan Minnette

Joji

Lele Pons

Loren Gray

Mason Ramsey

Queen Naija

Tana Mongeau

Trixie Mattel

Cutest Musician’s Pet: *Socially Voted Category

Asia – Lady Gaga

Edgar – Brett Eldredge

Goodwin – Sabrina Carpenter

Gracie – Lauren Jauregui

Hatchi – Perrie Edwards

Mooshu – Alex Pall from The Chainsmokers

Piggy Smallz – Ariana Grande

Best Solo Breakout: *Socially Voted Category

Ally Brooke

Dinah Jane

Lauren Jauregui

Normani

Tiffany Young

Song That Left Us Shook: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

“Here Comes The Change” – Kesha

“I’ll Never Love Again” – Lady Gaga

“One Day” – Logic featuring Ryan Tedder

“thank u, next” – Ariana Grande

“This Is America” – Childish Gambino

“Youth” – Shawn Mendes and Khalid

Favorite Tour Photographer: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

Andy DeLuca (5SOS)

Christian Tierney (Niall Horan)

Helene Pambrun (Harry Styles)

Josiah Van Dien (Shawn Mendes)

Pixie Levinson (Dua Lipa)

Rahul B (Camila Cabello)

Ravie B (Beyoncé)

Zack Caspary (Why Don’t We)

Rod Rosenstein Expected to Depart After New Attorney General’s Confirmation

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:23 AM PST

WASHINGTON — Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who has been overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is expected to leave once William Barr is confirmed as the next attorney general, CNN and other outlets reported on Wednesday.

Rosenstein has been a familiar face to viewers as he has occasionally had press conferences to announce the latest developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But he also has been a target of President Donald Trump, who last year tweeted out a picture of Rosenstein behind bars. In a tweet last month, Trump questioned whether Rosenstein was “totally conflicted” because he signed a FISA warrant for the surveillance of Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

In fact, Rosenstein signed the third extension of the FISA application in June of 2017. The warrant also had to be approved by a judge. Nevertheless, House Republicans in the Freedom Caucus targeted Rosenstein, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate.

The Senate’s confirmation hearings for Barr are scheduled to begin on Jan. 15. Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has been critical of aspects of Mueller’s investigation and expressed doubts that Trump obstructed justice in his interactions with FBI Director James Comey, who the president fired.

If Trump Wants to Get Out of Syria, He Should Do a Deal With Russia

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:01 AM PST

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria is a mistake. But if he insists on going ahead with it, the best option for the United States is to do what it can to ensure that Moscow-not Ankara or Tehran-ultimately replaces it and negotiates a political settlement that prevents a new conflict in eastern Syria. The two of us have long argued for greater U.S. engagement in Syria, so we find this approach unpleasant. But given Trump’s decision, it is the best way to avert further conflict, prevent the Islamic State (ISIS) from reemerging, and limit Iran’s influence in eastern Syria.

THE RISKS OF RETREAT

The withdrawal of U.S. forces from eastern Syria has the potential to create a security vacuum in which ISIS could regenerate, especially if fighting flares up again. The United States will be abandoning its best local partner in the campaign against ISIS: the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which U.S. commanders expected would stabilize eastern Syria after ISIS’ defeat. Iran will likely take the opportunity to shore up its supply lines across the Levant and reinforce the missile stockpiles it is building in western Syria. By walking away from a region that makes up nearly one-third of the country, including some of its most important electricity-producing resources and its most significant water, oil, and wheat reserves, the United States will be giving up its biggest piece of leverage in any negotiation over the final disposition of the country.

Even if Trump changes his mind, or slows down the withdrawal, the damage to the U.S. position in Syria will have been done. The various regional actors, including the United States’ closest Arab partners, are already behaving as though the Americans have left. Given this reality, the only remaining question is how to best protect U.S. interests. 

U.S. policymakers should focus on ensuring a peaceful transition in eastern Syria. If the withdrawal leads to renewed conflict between Turkey and the SDF’s Kurdish members in the northeast, or between the SDF’s Sunni Arab components and the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the southeast, the results would be devastating. ISIS’ remaining soldiers in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in southeast Syria and in the neighboring areas of western Iraq would thrive. The conflict would cause further misery for civilians and push even more people into Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and government-controlled Syria. 

The best of the United States’ meager options is to encourage a political deal between Assad, the SDF, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. But U.S. policymakers should be realistic about the limits of their influence once the drawdown is in full swing.

Because Turkey is a member of NATO, it might seem the best partner to maintain stability in northern and eastern Syria, but that is an unrealistic prospect. Despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s promise to Trump that he will fight ISIS, any effort by Turkey to retake parts of eastern Syria will be wholly motivated by its desire to limit Kurdish influence and will likely result in an ugly renewed conflict. What’s more, ISIS’ remaining forces are based primarily in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and western Iraq, far from the Turkish border. The Turks have neither the will nor the capacity to fight that far south.

Iran offers an even worse option as a partner. Its position in western Syria has given the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah the ability to threaten Tel Aviv with missile strikes. Israel has responded with air strikes targeting Iranian facilities in Syria. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal, Iran will seek to take over as much Syrian territory as possible and then use it to control the Syrian-Iraqi border region and transport weapons and fighters between Baghdad and Damascus. That will allow it to project power more effectively in the Levant. Iran will be particularly interested in seizing control of the al-Tanf region, which lies on the Syrian-Jordanian border, along the best road from Baghdad to Damascus, where U.S. forces have been deployed for the past few years.

As Iran expands its influence in the aftermath of a U.S. withdrawal, it will likely ratchet up tensions with Israel. So far, neither side has escalated beyond tit-for-tat strikes, but an accident or miscalculation could spark a larger conflict. The risk will increase if Israel sees Iran as the big winner of the United States’ retreat and seeks to compensate by escalating its air campaign and covert efforts against Iranian proxies and military infrastructure in Syria.

MAKING THE BEST OF IT

Turkey and Iran cannot and will not hold together a political settlement in eastern Syria. That leaves Russia as the best of a bad series of options. Russia does not want to see a new conflict that gives ISIS an opportunity to recover and delays international aid for Syrian reconstruction. It also wants to avoid a major war between Israel and Iran, which would undermine its efforts to consolidate its victory in Syria. Israel, Jordan, and the Gulf states are all relying on Russia to provide some measure of stability. Moscow does not want to throw away that status.

Russia, Turkey, Assad, and the SDF will need to come to some kind of agreement in northern and eastern Syria. The Kurdish components of the SDF are already negotiating with the Assad government and will likely be more willing to return under its umbrella than to fight Turkish-backed forces. Turkey will worry that any deal would create a new safe haven for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in eastern Syria. Russia is best positioned to prevent this, as the Turks put little trust in Assad. The United States should also use its relationship with Turkey to urge restraint.

In the Middle Euphrates River Valley, where Russia has deployed special forces and private military contractors, Russian and U.S. forces maintain a direct communications channel to prevent military accidents from escalating. The two countries should use this channel to coordinate the peaceful handover of territory. As part of this effort, the United States should share information with Russia on the remaining ISIS-held territory in this region and ask Moscow to prioritize retaking that territory and preventing ISIS’ reemergence.

The United States will be giving up much of the leverage it might use to contain Iranian influence if it withdraws, but there are still things it can do. U.S. diplomats should support Israel’s efforts to counter Iran through limited strikes in Syria. That should motivate Russia to find a solution acceptable to Israel, in order to avoid a major new conflagration, which could undermine Russia’s position in Syria. The United States should leave the withdrawal from the Middle Euphrates River Valley and al-Tanf-the most important part of eastern Syria to Iran-until last. It should press Russia to commit to keeping Hezbollah fighters away from Jordan’s border and encourage the Israelis and Jordanians to echo this point with the Russians. Jordan should be particularly receptive, as al-Tanf is so close to Jordan’s vulnerable eastern border.

By announcing a precipitous U.S. withdrawal and then sending confusing and contradictory signals, which suggest the president and his national security adviser are not on the same page, Trump has significantly reduced the United States’ leverage, so the approach we recommend will have a limited impact at best. Russia does not have the same motivation or ability to fight ISIS as the United States does. Turkey’s desire to eliminate the Kurdish stronghold on its border may be so strong, and Russia may so lack commitment to the SDF, that Moscow will simply cut a deal with Ankara, allowing Turkey to conquer large areas of northern and eastern Syria. Russia does not want to own all of Syria and has only limited leverage over Iran, which has deployed thousands of Hezbollah fighters to Syria from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan and is actively building local Syrian security forces that are loyal to Assad and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran will inevitably seize territory as the United States withdraws, and the Russians may not be able or willing to stop it.

The bottom line is that the U.S. withdrawal from Syria is a bad idea. Keeping a small U.S. presence to hold eastern Syria has protected U.S. interests-ensuring the defeat of ISIS and limiting Iran’s influence in Syria-at a reasonable cost. But if Trump is intent on leaving, the best his advisers can do is to limit the damage by using the meager tools at their disposal to encourage Russia to keep ISIS down and contain Iran. 

This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.

‘I Am the Night’: Chris Pine and Patty Jenkins on Trust and Collaboration

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 06:00 AM PST

A Tuesday night in December at London’s massive Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden complex, Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine are nearing the end of their third collaboration as director and actor. It’s one of Pine’s final days of shooting on “Wonder Woman 1984,” the breathlessly anticipated superhero sequel due out next year, and Jenkins, perched on a couch in her trailer, is trying to convince her star to stay a few more days for the wrap party. “We should talk about Saturday,” she insists.

“You see people drunk,” Pine says, “who you don’t want to see drunk.”

Jenkins laughs. “You’ll be too busy carrying me!”

In their work together — two “Wonder Woman” films, the first released in 2017, and the new TNT limited series “I Am the Night” (premiering Jan. 28) — Jenkins has seemed to be perpetually inviting Pine to the party, helping one of his generation’s leading matinee idols bring out a more rumpled, fractious, freaky side that’s impossible to express in most big-budget cinema. But, more in “I Am the Night” than in their first work together, the two are lifting each other.

Since “Wonder Woman” hit screens, Jenkins has emerged from plain sight as one of Hollywood’s top populist mythmakers, a helmer with a deep understanding of how to use our collective reference points to illuminate brand-new tales that feel as though they’d always been with us. What’s more, she’s refreshingly unpretentious in her approach to her career, attracting collaborators like Pine who are willing to take chances with their personae in service of a good story.

On “I Am the Night,” the actor plays Jay Singletary, a disgraced journalist who sees a dubious path to career redemption in the case of young Fauna (India Eisley, in a role based on the real-life memoirist Fauna Hodel, Jenkins’ longtime friend). Jay intervenes in Fauna’s quest to figure out her true identity, and her ties to a man suspected of being the Black Dahlia killer, in order to shore up his fragmented career. The series represents another opportunity for Jenkins, who directed the first two episodes, to flex her muscles with a story that feels both archetypal and bleeding-edge, and for Pine to play a character who looks like something other than a typical underwritten leading-man part, to find a sleazy edge that can be lacking in paragon-of-judgment Capt. James T. Kirk of “Star Trek.” As the actor explains, “I found Patty at a time in my life when I was searching for deeper resonance with the material. It’s about witnessing and being witnessed. As a friend, Patty does that, and as a creator she helps me see aspects of myself that I usually don’t notice.” TNT is hoping that millions will tune in to see those aspects too.

Set in the bustling American West of 1965, “I Am the Night” begins as a story split in two unequal halves before merging into one complete, if warped, picture. At the center of the tale, at first, is Fauna, a schoolgirl haunted both by the sense that her personal history is something other than what she’d been raised with and by the growing hostility of her mother. The chance to discover more about her origins represents a meaningful step toward independence. Emerging from the margins is Jay, a onetime rising star on the newspaper scene who’s been reduced to “gotcha” snapshots of powerful men behaving badly to fuel his chemical appetites. “Fauna’s the young, naive character hoping to be somebody in the world,” Jenkins says. “He’s somebody who knows he’ll never be anybody in the world and trying to come to terms with that. Where do you go from there? How do you crawl yourself out? What wakes you back up to find the fighter?”

As the pair’s quests for the truth — one built on self-discovery, one on self-interest — intertwine, Jay emerges as the sort of complicated, tormented hero who plays better perhaps over six episodes than a single feature. It’s a role Pine, who combines popcorn appeal with a brooding inner hurt, was built to handle. “He’s this incredibly deep and interesting person,” Jenkins says, “but one who also has the skill set to give you something stupid and superficial that we want. If you say, ‘I want you to sing backwards and then show me the inside of a person who’s facing their life,’ then Chris is like, ‘OK!'”

There’s a chicken-or-egg conundrum around the creation of “I Am the Night” as director-star collaboration. To hear Jenkins and her husband, the writer and “Night” creator and showrunner Sam Sheridan, tell it, the addition of Pine, as a character composited from several real-life figures, made the long-gestating project — one that Jenkins had pitched to networks, with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios as a would-be producing partner — come together.

Pine’s involvement was, in part, premised on the fact that Jenkins was attached to direct. “I can entrust Patty with what should be one of the genetic pieces of directing, which is understanding another human’s psychology,” Pine says. “She is keyed in to me in a certain way where she can use the trip wires and pull that switch and throw some spice here, some pepper there, and I can go off and do what I do.” What’s a somewhat surprising move for both — a basic-cable limited series for a red-hot director who’s just found her footing in features and a movie star who doesn’t yet need to pivot to TV — is an expression of mutual trust.

That trust stems in part from her ability to see aspects of him that hadn’t been exploited to their fullest before “Wonder Woman,” the side Sheridan calls “the secret man under a man. Chris is sort of like a noir character himself.” That side can express itself in breezy jadedness — as in “Wonder Woman,” in which Pine’s Steve Trevor spouts wisecracks that end up revealing his broken faith in humanity. Similarly, Jay holds viewers’ attention with his hunger for just one break to go his way after years of humiliation. This is someone, we sense, who would do practically anything to get ahead; by the show’s penultimate episode, he has.

Bringing out all Pine can do, the actor freely admits, requires a director who’s willing to assert herself in the face of star power.

“I’m certainly not the greatest actor in the world, but I consider myself someone who has a nice big tool bag,” Pine says. “And I really like to be directed. [On ‘I Am the Night’] I had very little time to prep, and I said, ‘Look, Patty, give me the steel pillars of this guy, and I’ll start throwing paint on.”

The pair’s relationship was forged in meetings on the set of “Wonder Woman,” in which Pine would end up being indulged — at least a little — given that, despite his high profile, he did not have top billing. He was, if not a supporting actor, there to be supportive to Gal Gadot’s superhero. To some degree, the same is true of his “I Am the Night” character, who’s assisting Fauna and whose journey exists in the context of her finding herself.

“He’s this incredibly deep and interesting person,” Jenkins says of Pine. “If you say, ‘I want you to sing backwards and then show me the inside of a person who’s facing their life,’ then Chris is like, ‘OK!'”
Barry J Holmes

“As a leading man, it’s the male actor’s job in the pieces that I do to inhabit the role or do the job that Gal did so wonderfully in ‘Wonder Woman,'” Pine says. “Being in the film and supporting a woman doing that job is kind of a dance between ego and soul. I’m not too proud to admit it and say that at times, I’d have 30-minute conversations with Patty; I’d look at her, and she was wonderfully patient. I’d realize it had abso-f–ing-lutely nothing to do with me.”

Jenkins laughs: “It never had nothing to do with you. Never.”

“But as a man and an actor and an ego-ful person,” Pine continues, “you really make peace with that and have a sense of humor about it and say, well, screw it then — let’s just go to this party and do this thing that should be done and fulfill the job as presented to you by your general.”

The ability to compromise — to let go of what Pine calls “the 8-year-old in there saying, ‘When’s my turn?!'” and accept work that’s richer than a traditional movie-star part precisely because it’s not the starring role in a big-budget production — yielded a performance rich in nuance as well as a collaboration that’s brought him yet more exciting work.

“There’s something that happens to certain good-looking leading people,” Jenkins says, “and that’s not to say they’re all this way; they can get asked to do some very simple things as a result of that. I think Chris is incredibly good-looking, but he’s also a million other things. Particularly the more we’ve gotten to know each other, the more it’s like: You’re those things. But also incredibly funny and incredibly deep and incredibly complex and incredibly willing to go all of these different places.”

Pine says he now feels “more at ease playing someone like Jay than I would otherwise. I’ve never been Thor, never will be. I think any actor would say this — that the complexity and the shadow is as vital and important to –“

Jenkins cuts him off. “They don’t all feel like that. They super don’t. That’s why Chris is so great; they super don’t.”

Few directors would use the time after their smash hit ($821.8 million at the global box office) to do much more than a victory lap, let alone pitch and execute a limited series. But immediately following “Wonder Woman,” Jenkins made use of a slender window — one that she calls “a little tighter than we wanted it to be” — to return to television, where she worked in the years following her acclaimed first feature, “Monster.” In the interval since she first pitched “I Am the Night” with Harpo, the limited series form had flourished, with success stories including HBO’s “True Detective,” FX’s “American Horror Story,” and TNT’s “The Alienist.” That last show — which garnered strong ratings as well as nominations for best limited series at the Emmys and the Golden Globes — was a central part of a long-term effort to evolve the Turner cabler from its recent history of older-skewing procedurals like “Rizzoli & Isles.”

“We want to cultivate an audience of people that love closed-ended mysteries, because that’s a specific kind of show,” Sarah Aubrey, executive vice president for programming at TNT, says. “Mysteries beg to end.”

But Jenkins’ involvement made “I Am the Night” an easier greenlight than the equivalent from a director who hadn’t just redefined a comic-book movie subgenre. Recalling her first meeting with Jenkins and Sheridan just after the release of “Wonder Woman,” Aubrey says, “If they had said she wanted to direct the phone book, I probably would have said yes. I just believe in Patty so much.”

“Patty is keyed in to me in a way where she can use the trip wires and pull that switch, and I can go off and do what I do.”
Chris Pine

Aubrey cites not just Jenkins’ name and reputation but her grit; speaking of Jenkins and Sheridan, she says, “their passion about [the project] and the amount of time they’d lived with it and their determination to get it through made it a no-brainer to say yes, absolutely, and how fast can we do this before we have to do the next ‘Wonder Woman.'” The quick-change nature of the two enterprises — shifting from mega-budget, heavily leveraged superhero filmmaking to the more financially constrained but perhaps more freewheeling world of cable TV — suits a creative whose restlessness keeps her pushing forward.

For instance, when “Monster,” won Charlize Theron an actress Oscar, Jenkins says the reception left her slightly unnerved.

“There was something obviously 90% amazing,” she says, “but the 10% that was not amazing was, whatever I do next is my follow-up to ‘Monster.’ Yeah, OK! But what if I just want to work? I can’t do anything now?”

Jenkins began directing television — a path that included episodes of “Arrested Development” and “Entourage” and pilots including her Emmy-nominated work on “The Killing” — as a way to experiment. “I might want to try doing long lenses. I might want to mess with a new thing. I started doing TV a little bit before everyone else because I was like, I want to do both,” she says. “I want to have a place where I can mess around and learn skills, and I want to have a place where I make my films. And I use them for two different reasons.” The birth of her son delayed her return to moviemaking: “Wonder Woman,” 14 years after “Monster,” was her second feature.

“I feel like a feature filmmaker insofar as I like to have a beginning, middle and end,” Jenkins says. “I find having a small piece in something that goes on forever to be less satisfying for me, if I’m only directing an episode.”

But with “I Am the Night,” Jenkins, as director of the first two episodes and executive producer, set the show’s vision and creative agenda. (Victoria Mahoney and Carl Franklin helm the other four installments.) And she uses the show to accomplish the same thing she did with both her Charlize Theron serial-killer movie and her Gal Gadot idealist vision.

“There’s something so flashy that it’s ticking all the boxes of big story,” she says. With that accomplished, it’s possible to drill down to subtler themes of identity. “We’re actually making a very subtle, universal character story about identity. Even if you find out the worst thing about yourself, what are you going to do? We don’t all get to be the hero. Even when we have our heroic moments of getting to make the film we want to make or whatever, it’s not gonna last. So what do we do with that?”

Jenkins speaks fluidly about her vision for the series — the trajectory and collision of Pine’s and Eisley’s characters, the incremental discovery of resilience within Pine’s hard-living hack journalist. (“There are probably five or 10 people in the whole industry who truly understand story and perspective. And she’s one of them,” Sheridan says of his wife. “She understands emotional storytelling in a way that almost nobody can even get a hold of.”) It’s a calling — but, given her understanding of how success can be short-lived, the project is obviously personal too.

Jenkins and Pine go over the script on the set of “I Am the Night” with actor Leland Orser.
Clay Enos

The show puts Pine and Jenkins out on the line in a manner beyond artistic risk. Pine cites the typical chatter about peak TV — “Television, as we all know, blah blah blah; it’s a great time” — before noting, “I want it to be seen. We’re living in such a democratic time of media; there is just a lot of stuff out here. To get your foot in the door and rip the door off and shine a light on your particular opening is more difficult.”

For its part, TNT is planning a heavy marketing and PR blitz, despite the net’s long-term scripted strategy having been thrown into doubt by AT&T’s recent acquisition of parent company Time Warner. (AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said he wants to shift TNT’s resources, along with those of TBS, to HBO.) Indeed, “I Am the Night” — a collaboration with top talent that boasts a cinematic look and a dark thematic bite — may provide proof of concept for what TNT can do.

“I think the material has been speaking for itself in terms of its ambition and its commercial potential. We’re all getting to know each other,” Aubrey says. “We’re getting an opportunity to show them what we can do. We’re just going to keep going forward until somebody comes and tells me to sit down, and even then I will not listen.”

Aubrey’s attitude is a lot like that of the show’s director and star, who are pushing into risky territory and subject matter simply for the pleasure of risking together. Both are having fun with ideas of what behooves a superhero-movie lead and its director, pursuing the fun of collaboration over safety. It’s a story whose end, happily, isn’t yet known; the two have vowed to pool their talents again, and soon.

“I love seeing those people’s work evolve when you do get to work together like that,” Jenkins says. “It’s not happening out of convenience, nor is it a usual thing that you find people who work together this well. There are 700 movies with male leads that would be great, and Chris could play most of them.” She laughs, enjoying the prospect of future collaborations together. “So why wouldn’t we?”

‘Joni 75,’ Joni Mitchell Tribute Concert Film, Set for Theaters

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 05:59 AM PST

Joni Mitchell‘s birthday party is making its way to the big screen. Fans who lamented they weren’t able to attend a sold-out pair of all-star Mitchell tribute concerts in L.A. two months ago will get their chance when Trafalgar Releasing puts a filmed version of the shows into theaters nationwide for a one-night screening February 7.

“The Music Center Presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration” will be shown in cinemas in the U.S. and Mitchell’s native Canada, with tickets going on sale today. A soundtrack album is also going up for advance sale from Verve, with a March 1 release date.

The artists who participated in the Music Center shows Nov. 6-7 included contemporaries of Mitchell’s who also came along in the late 1960s, like James Taylor, Graham Nash and Kris Kristofferson, along with longtime friend Chaka Khan, who recorded with Mitchell in the ’70s. The rest of the diverse slate of stars on hand to happily own up to her influence included Diana Krall, Seal, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright and Glen Hansard.

The second of the two shows indeed took place on Mitchell’s 75th birthday, with the honoree — who had mostly stayed out of view after being beset with health issues a few years ago — taking the stage to blow out birthday candles during a full-cast finale.

Variety‘s account of the Music Center gala pointed out that “Carlile and Krall were the two singers who sounded most uncannily like Mitchell in certain moments,” but also singled out for high praise Seal‘s performance of “A Strange Boy,” “the strangeness of which he knocked out of the park,” and noted that “Wainwright, Jones and Hansard turned in knockout numbers that would have made them singular MVPs on just about any other night of the year.”

At the time, it was understood that the Music Center shows were being shot for PBS’s “Great Performances,” but Trafalgar’s theatrical release gives the filming a much higher profile… and provides an all-star event during Grammy week that the TV awards show itself will have to strive to live up to.

Other concert films Trafalgar Releasing has put on the big screen for singular nationwide showings recently include “Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams,” the BTS vehicle “Burn the Stage: The Movie” and “Muse: Drone World Tour,” on top of traditional theatrical arthouse releases like “The Lobster,” “Elle,” “Swiss Army Man” and “The Imposter.”

Activision Blizzard Exec Shuffle Appoints New Heads of Activision, King, Emerging Business

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 05:42 AM PST

Continuing a month-long string of internal shuffling, Activision Blizzard Wednesday announced new presidents for Activision and King. The company also announced a new head for the company’s emerging businesses.

The move comes following two high profile departures from the company earlier this month.

Call of Duty Executive vice president and general manager Rob Kostich was named president of Activision; Humam Sakhnini was named president of King Digital Entertainment, having most recently served as both chief financial officer and chief strategy officer of the operating unit. Dennis Durkin was named president of Activision Blizzard‘s emerging businesses, in addition to his role as chief financial officer. As previously announced, veteran Blizzard executive and World of Warcraft Executive Producer J. Allen Brack continues to serve as the president of Blizzard Entertainment.

“Rob, Humam, Dennis and J. exemplify our deep bench of operational and commercial leadership. These capable and seasoned executives have shown unwavering commitment to our company, our employees, and our beloved community of fans around the world,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “With these proven, principled leaders at the helm, we will continue to invest in the strategic growth drivers of our business; our talented people, and creating the world’s best video games, live services, mobile experiences, and new and growing franchise engagement models.”

Kostich led the Call of Duty franchise for the past decade. As president of Activision, Kostich will oversee strategy and operations, including game development, for the operating unit. During his tenure, Call of Duty was the top top-selling console video game franchise in the U.S. for the last decade. Kostich also serves as president of the Call of Duty Endowment and oversaw the growth of Call of Duty esports including the establishment of the Call of Duty World League, a leading esports organization.

As president of King, Sakhnini will oversee all operational management in partnership with King CEO Riccardo Zacconi. Most recently, Sakhnini served as the chief financial officer and chief strategy officer of King, a role he’s held since April 2016.

Durkin, who was recently re-appointed chief financial officer of Activision Blizzard, will also serve as president of the company’s Emerging Businesses, working closely with each division’s leadership team. In this expanded role, Durkin will oversee operational management of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues, Activision Blizzard Studios, and Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group.

The three appointments come just a week after news broke that Blizzard Entertainment Chief Financial Officer Amrita Ahuja was leaving the gaming company to join Jack Dorsey‘s online financial service Square, Inc.

Ahuja’s departure from Blizzard is the second high profile exit from Activision Blizzard this month. On Jan. 2, Netflix announced that Spencer Neumann — previously CFO of games company Activision Blizzard and a former Disney finance exec — was joining the company as chief financial officer.

10 Takeaways From the 2019 BAFTA Nominations

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 05:18 AM PST

“The Favourite” lived up to its name with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which graced the homegrown period drama with a commanding 12 film award nominations Wednesday. But Bradley Cooper made history, Glenn Close gained some momentum and Spike Lee got some love.

Here are 10 takeaways from this year’s nominations:

1. GIVE ME A FIVER: Bradley Cooper scored what appears to be a first in BAFTA history, racking up five nominations in a single year in five different categories. (“A Star Is Born” received seven noms overall.) Cooper was named as a nominee for best director, leading actor, adapted screenplay, original music and film. The sudden bonanza gives him seven BAFTA nods throughout his career, tying BAFTA icon Daniel Day-Lewis, who went on to win four trophies for acting, plus a special award for excellence.

2. CLOSE-ING IN: Glenn Close‘s momentum continues. Her surprise win at the Globes, her status as a sentimental favorite and now her BAFTA nomination boost her chances of finally walking away with an Oscar. But “The Favourite’s” Olivia Colman, who also won a Globe for her portrayal of gouty Queen Anne, is right beside her in the race. Colman already has two BAFTAs to her name – but those are on the TV side. This is her first nod for a film award. Close’s only other BAFTA nomination came 29 years ago, for “Dangerous Liaisons.”

3. NO IMPROVEMENT: Last year, critics lamented the fact that no women were nominated for best director for the fifth year in a row. Make that six now. BAFTA officials say the problem is an industry-wide one and note that only about 11% of the films submitted for consideration for this year’s awards were helmed by women. Also last year, only two out of the 20 actors nominated for their performances were people of color. This year, it went up by a whopping 50% – to three (Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Rami Malek).

4. DONE THE RIGHT THING: Spike Lee finally earned some nomination love on this side of the Atlantic by landing his first BAFTA nods ever – three of them, in fact, for “BlacKkKlansman,” including best director. But he already has a golden mask on his shelf, having been given a special BAFTA award in 2002 for outstanding contribution to cinema. In a surprising snub, another decorated black director, British helmer Steve McQueen (“Widows”), failed to garner a nom here in his home country for the first time that a film of his has been in the running.

5. DOUBLE-DIPPING: In a likely preview of the Oscars, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” was nominated for both best film and best foreign-language film by the British academy. But unlike at the Oscars, a non-English-language work has actually gone on to win the BAFTA for best film: “Jean de Florette,” in 1988. Claude Berri’s picture took home the trophy in both categories.

6. ROYAL TREATMENT: Playing a British queen often pays off for actresses at awards time; just ask Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love”) and Helen Mirren (“The Queen”). This year is no different, with nominees Olivia Colman as Anne in “The Favourite” and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I in “Mary Queen of Scots.” Then there’s Rami Malek, who received an acting nomination as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

7. FOLLOWING THE GLOBES: This year’s BAFTA acting nominations have pretty much hewn to the same list of performers who earned Golden Globe noms. All five supporting actors recognized by the British academy were also chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., while four of the supporting actresses are the same, with the notable exception of Globe winner Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), who didn’t make the BAFTA cut. The five BAFTA leading actress nominees were also Globe contenders, but only four of the actors were; the fifth on BAFTA’s roster is native son Steve Coogan, who plays Stan Laurel in “Stan & Ollie.” (John C. Reilly, who stars opposite Coogan as Oliver Hardy, was Globe-nominated.)

8. WAS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT “MARY”?: “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Mary Queen of Scots” both have a respectable three nominations to their credit. But some observers expected more, particularly in the acting department. Emily Blunt apparently didn’t work her magic on BAFTA members, and Saoirse Ronan as ill-fated Mary Stuart lost her head, her crown and her chance at a golden mask to co-star Margot Robbie. The two “Mary” movies are up against each other in the costume design category.

9. YES (OUI) CANNES: Some critics have begun suggesting that the Cannes Film Festival is increasingly irrelevant come awards season, eclipsed by the likes of the Venice fest. But you wouldn’t know it from the lineup of those vying for the foreign-language BAFTA. Four out of the five contenders in that category had their world premiere on the Croisette: “Capernaum,” “Cold War,” “Dogman” and “Shoplifters.” Venice scored with the presumptive front-runner, though – “Roma.”

10. IN BLACK AND WHITE: Two of the candidates for best foreign-language film were shot in black and white: “Roma” and “Cold War.” Both films also garnered BAFTA nominations for their directors, Alfonso Cuaron and Pawel Pawlikowski, respectively. Incidentally, a third best-director nominee is also from a non-English speaking country: Yorgos Lanthimos of “The Favourite.” The director list is rounded out by two Americans, Bradley Cooper and Spike Lee.

Howie Mandel blasts award shows for honouring undeserving actors

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 05:00 AM PST

Howie Mandel has blasted award shows for honouring people for “pretending and wearing make-up”.

The ‘America’s Got Talent’ judge has insisted he would “never” want to host the Academy Awards, and went on to suggest while filmmakers are worthy of recognition, actors are not on the same level.

Asked about the job while speaking to Busy Philipps on ‘Busy Tonight’, he said: “Never, never. No desire to. I would never want to do it… That is the most thankless job, I think, in our industry…

“Nobody comes out of there a real winner… I don’t understand any awards for what we do. Really you’re just pretending.

“Your husband [Marc Silverstein] deserves an award. He writes things, he directs things…”

However, Howie – who has enjoyed a career as a stand-up and actor himself – insisted the grandeur surrounding such glitzy ceremonies was too much, and said performers should do more to earn their awards.

He argued: “For somebody to show up in the morning, and somebody drives you usually there, and then they sit down and then they, you don’t even comb your own hair.

“They comb your hair, they put make-up on you, they put a piece of tape and they say stand there and say this… And then we have a night where we say to them, ‘Brilliant!’

“I don’t know that we need to be that celebratory. That’s the biggest celebration on earth and it’s just about people who are pretending and wearing make-up.”

Howie, 63, had shrugged off the possibility of hosting the Oscars after Kevin Hart, 39, stepped down from the role after initially refusing to apologise for controversial past tweets.

Although the ‘Night School’ star has now said sorry for his remarks, he recently admitted it wasn’t likely that he’d be brought back into the fold.

He added: “If you’re a gambling man, that means that you’re a gambler, so you’ve gotta let your money roll. I’m not gonna say anything, and I’m definitely not gonna say it here, but the chances are very slim.”

This Nepali Mother Sold Her Kidney to Raise Children

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 04:50 AM PST

Phulmaya Tamang, a 45-year-old mother of five, lives in the Hokse village of Kavre District, about a three-hour drive from Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu. Like the majority of the residents of this village, Phulmaya sold her kidney, in exchange for an amount that would help raise her children. The village is known as “Kidney Valley” or “Kidney Bank.”

While Phulmaya sold her kidney about a decade ago, recent media reports suggest that kidney smugglers are back — years after a crackdown by authorities supposedly ended organ trafficking in this extremely poor district.

Sara Cox won’t do Breakfast show as she can’t ‘mop kids tears with fifties’

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 04:45 AM PST

Sara Cox didn’t want to present the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show because she can’t “mop up [her] kid’s tears with a wad of fifties.”

The 44-year-old broadcaster – who has Lola, 14, with ex-husband Jon Carter and Isaac, 10, and Renee, eight, with spouse Ben Cyzer – used to enjoy covering the morning slot for Chris Evans, but she’s not planning to be on stand-by for new presenter Zoe Ball because the early starts took their toll on her moods and left her being “horrible” to her brood in the afternoons because she was so tired.

Speaking on ‘This Morning’, she said: “I loved standing in for Chris when he was on, I’m not gonna stand in for Zoe [Ball] because I want time with my kids this half term and that’s not happened for a few years now.

“I’m not gonna be standing in, what it is when I used to swan in and cover for Chris Evans it was really easy cos I was on there for like two weeks.

“You were saying before you’ve done standing in for breakfast radio and it is quite tiring and by three or four I was kind of horrible to my kids by that time.

“So you know breakfast is a great gig, it’s an amazing show to do, it’s great money but I can’t mop my kid’s tears with a wad of fifties.”

Sara was heavily tipped to be named as Chris’ successor when he announced he was leaving – with even Zoe expecting her to get the job, but the former model insisted she never expected to be offered the prestigious show.

She said: “It was a really weird time, so I filled in for breakfast and I got on the show in the morning that Chris Evans said he was leaving, I got out and my phone melted on my bed.

“Loads of texts like ‘What’s going on’ and I’m like ‘No, no clue’ and one of the first texts was from Zoe saying ‘You’ve got this’.

“I replied to her and all my family and friends and I said ‘Look the ancient Chinese proverb says, the stand-in never gets the gig’ cos it just doesn’t happen in radio so I never thought I was gonna get breakfast. “

Financial Reasons Not to Divorce

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 04:38 AM PST

Statistically, approximately 50% of all first marriages end in divorce. The odds of second marriages succeeding are lower, and the odds of third marriages making it are lower still. In other words, there is an inverse relationship between the number of marriages a person has and their odds of success.

SEE ALSO: Divorce Is About to Get More Expensive

As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I work with divorcing clients from all walks of life. Many times I encourage them to try counseling before they throw in the towel. It’s not that I don’t want the business, but rather I know that after dividing all of the assets, it can be difficult to maintain one’s prior lifestyle. Unless there is a great deal of money, things can easily become uncomfortably tight.

Here are some areas that each divorcing spouse should think very carefully about:

Keeping the house.

Maintaining 100% of the house on perhaps 50% of the income is challenging under the best of circumstances. The food bill and electric bill may go down, but most likely they will not be cut in half. There may not be enough money to pay all the bills. That may mean getting in over one’s head with a loan with the possibility of losing the house to bankruptcy.

Selling the house.

A couple getting a divorce may want a quick sale in order to put an often-nasty chapter of their lives behind them. That can mean the process ends in a fire sale, which can weaken one’s ability to negotiate the best price. If the buyer knows this, they can submit a low-ball offer, taking advantage of the situation.

Sometimes the timing of selling in a bad market can be awful for the sellers. Whether an unfavorable housing market is seasonal or a product of longer-term fluctuations, selling at the wrong time can cost a lot of money on what might be the couple’s largest asset.

Of course, moving costs can add to the already bad situation.

See Also: Don’t Let a ‘Gray Divorce’ Keep You From Your Retirement Dreams

Additional living costs.

With two households, there are duplicate expenses. For example, there will be two electric bills, two cable bills and so on. Travel might be an added expense, depending on work commutes, parent responsibilities and more.

Professional fees.

Attorney fees are not inexpensive, especially if the divorcing couple battles about every little thing. Additionally, they probably need financial planners , real estate agents, CPAs and other ancillary professionals, all of whom come with a fee. A therapist might be needed to help with emotional anguish associated with divorce.

Self-representation.

There are some that try to save money and represent themselves. They can make serious long-term errors because they don’t know the law, compounded with making emotional decisions.

I am not advocating that someone stays in an abusive marriage to save money. If someone finds themselves in a physically or emotionally abusive situation, leave and let the financial chips fall where they may. Fortunately, in my almost 20 years of practice I have encountered very few clients who have needed to leave due to abuse.

Divorce shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction. It should be well thought out and viewed as a long-term solution to a broken-beyond-repair relationship.

See Also: Do Not Let Money Ruin Your Marriage

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BAFTA Nominations: ‘The Favourite’ Reigns, but Some Brits Get Left Out

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 04:25 AM PST

Although BAFTA’s 6,500 members vote on English-language pics from around the world – including Hollywood – for the annual film awards, the British academy often recognizes local talent in its choices. That was certainly evident in the strong showing of “The Favourite,” which led the pack with 12 nominations when they were unveiled early Wednesday in London.

But there were some notable omissions on the list. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” about British rock star Freddie Mercury, garnered seven nominations, but not one for best film. Emily Blunt didn’t make the cut for her performance in “Mary Poppins Returns,” which landed noms in the original music, production design and costume design categories. “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Stan & Ollie” also managed to receive only three nods apiece. And Steve McQueen’s heist movie, “Widows,” garnered only one, for Viola Davis as best actress.

Of the 20 acting nominations, six went to Brits, down from last year’s tally of eight.

Other surprises included the lack of any BAFTA love for Aardman’s “Early Man” in the animated film category, which was an all-American affair. Remarkably, it marks the first time that Nick Park has not been nominated for one of his animated films. Mike Leigh’s Amazon film “Peterloo,” about a politically significant massacre of protesters in 19th century England, was another notable homegrown absentee.

Meanwhile, Netflix fared well with the British academy this year: Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” racked up seven nods and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” one. Both films received a limited theatrical distribution in the U.K. last year, which was on track to record the highest number of theater admissions in 40 years.

“While there have been so many predictions that cinema going is going to be threatened, there are many arguments that would say the growth of the streamers has enhanced cinema-going,” said Marc Samuelson, the chair of BAFTA’s film committee, noting the healthy U.K. cinema figures for 2018.

He also hailed the “wisdom” of BAFTA voters in singling out British comedian Steve Coogan for best actor in “Stan & Ollie,” and noted a strong documentary category for 2019, which includes Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old,” about World War I; “Free Solo,” which has just crossed the £1 million mark at the U.K. box office; and “Three Identical Strangers,” which was a British co-production.

“Just a few years ago there were way fewer entries and there was a real mix of quality, and now these are amazing films,” Samuelson said. “That’s something that has really come up this year.”

Hollywood tentpoles received just passing recognition. “Black Panther” was largely overlooked with just one visual effects nomination. “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ready Player One” also all had a single nomination.

Last year’s female-free best-director category provoked an angry response from within the industry and beyond, and again there were no women on the 2019 list. BAFTA execs said there is an industry-wide problem and that it is making progress, but also admitted there is a way to go.

“We see in the nominations some positive impact,” BAFTA Awards director Emma Baehr said. “Two previous Breakthrough Brits, Letitia Wright and Jessie Buckley, are now Rising Star nominees. If you look at the debut and shorts categories, we see new female talent in directors, writers, and producers coming through there.”

RATEGRAM’S BEST CREDIT CARD DEALS, For immediate release

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 03:32 AM PST

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Mika Ronkainen, Merja Aakko Talk ‘All Our Sins,’ Finland’s Bible Belt, Landscape

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 03:05 AM PST

In “Finnish Blood, Swedish Heart,” Finland’s Mika Ronkainen, best known for his documentaries – 2003’s “Screaming Men,” 2009’s “Freetime Machos” – portrays the dislocation of 1970s Finnish emigrants in Sweden via a father-and-son musical road movie.

For “All the Sins,” a Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize entry written with Merja Aakko, Ronkainen takes very much the same elements – a genre, here the murder mystery; a near documentary depiction, here of small town bigotry; and cornerstone family relationships – and recasts them in a drama series, awash in a sense of (unmerited) shame and guilt, with a contemporary feminist turn. The result is a crime thriller which works on several levels.

“All the Sins” begins in classic Nordic Noir with a body winched upside down in a barn as a shadowy assassin draws a knife seemingly to dispatch the victim. But, diverging from the Nordic Noir playbook, we never see the corpse. After a ten-year absence, Detective Lauri Räiha (Johannes Holopainen, “Unknown Soldier”) is dispatched to investigate the murders of two men, both pillars of the ultra-conservative Laestadian religious community, in Varjakka, a small northern Finnish town where he grew up. He is accompanied by a senior officer, Sanna Tervo (Maria Sid, “Donna Paukku” ).

But why does Räiha have such huge anger-management issues, seething, white knuckles clenched, in a therapy class, after hitting his boyfriend? And why does Tervo feel compelled to sleep with the first man she meets, and the second? It is these character mysteries which, as much as the murders, which transforms “All the Sins” into compulsive viewing.

A six-part series “All the Sins” is lead produced for Finnish VOD service Elisa Viihde by Ilkka Matila at Finland’s MRP Matila Rohr Productions, a company which is behind one of Finland’s most ambitious movies, “The Eternal Road.”

Variety talked to screenwriters Aakko and Ronkainen before “All the Sins” bows at Sweden’s Göteborg Festival, as part of its Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize competition, for outstanding screenwriting on a Nordic drama series.

You’ve dedicated much of your early career to documentaries on your native northern Finland or on Finns. Do you see “All the Sins” as another way into describing your region – but via the strong investigative narrative drive of Nordic Noir?

Ronkainen: Oh yes, that was indeed the starting point for “All the Sins.” The initial idea that I suggested to Merja back in 2014 was: Let’s do a high concept crime drama with a strong local story about something that is very special for our region, but can be universally understood nevertheless. As we both come from the Bible Belt of Finland, and we both have a background in real stories (Merja has worked as a journalist), it was very natural for us to write a story that takes place in a small conservative town with a strong religious sect. We both come from a town like that.

The real mystery seems why both detectives have buried themselves so much in work. What went wrong? This seems connected to a sense of guilt which is deeply consuming because both feel its’ unmerited. Could you comment?

Aakko: If you see it that way, maybe Lauri and Sanna are old school Finns when it comes working. We Finns take it very seriously, even if you don’t always get rewarded for it.

Our main characters are not very good at dealing with their feelings. Like most of us, Lauri and Sanna project their feelings onto other people without realizing it. It is the state of emergency in work that makes it possible for them to avoid the most difficult questions of themselves: the failure as a partner or a mother. But I do not see them escaping only into work. Sanna also projects her emotions onto sex.

The viewer may expect snowy wastes from northern Finland. Instead they get Summer sun, most all of the time, lush green fields, church spires dominating hamlets: Varjakka seems more like real mid-west America, a land of profound religious belief. Where was the series shot? Was it near your own native town, Mika?

Ronkainen: The series was shot within a 100 kilometre radius from my home town, Oulu, and it is really flat here. It is so flat that people call a fifty-meter-hill a mountain. This region is an important part of the Finnish Bible Belt, so I think that’s a fair comparison you made to mid-west America. That is actually something we talked a lot about with my DOP Jani Kumpulainen. We wanted to use both the flatness of the physical landscape and the strictness of the mental landscape as visual elements because we feel they very much go together up here.

As in many of your films, Mika, the music, the title song, for example, is memorable: A lover asking the beloved to take them off to war, or at least to the first frontier. Is this a real song? If so, what is it? And why use it?

Ronkainen: It’s a real song by Aino Venna, a Finnish singer-songwriter. We had it already in the script and we planned the title sequence to work with it. It is a lovely song indeed. It sets the tone exactly right.

How did you divide the work on “All the Sins”? As both first-time series writers, what did you learn from the experience?

Aakko: We’ve been friends since we were eleven or so. The way we work is pretty much based on our childhood friendship: We play just like we played when we were kids. First we create the characters and plot through talking a lot. We joke, debate, and challenge each other, we take roles. At best, it is like going to therapy. As a result, we have developed our own way of writing where we write as “one writer.” We are using an online application where we can see what the other one is doing in real time, which may sound scary but it actually works.

Nordic Noir has been proclaimed dead, or so influential that you now get Caribbean Noir (“Four Seasons in Havana”), or even Andorran Noir (“Felix”). It does indeed seem to have evolved. But what has that evolution been?

Aakko: I am not expert on any Noir and I don’t actually think we’re doing Nordic Noir. I feel Nordic Noir is short of love and warmth. I have not seen the series you mentioned but generally speaking, there are some clichés in Noir series: Dark colors, eroticized dead bodies of young women, and detectives who are huffing to each other without any particular reason. We avoid them. Let’s say “All the Sins” is Finnish Weird. We mix genres and share the peculiar stories from the Northern Bible Belt.

What are you working on now?

Aakko, Ronkainen: We just finished a research trip to Guatemala for another series that we’re developing, and “All the Sins” Season 2 is in our plans, too. And we’ve got a couple of other ideas waiting for the right time.

Bam Margera is joining the ‘sober parade’

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 03:00 AM PST

Bam Margera wants “to join the sober parade” after grieving through drinking.

The 39-year-old star – who recently checked into rehab for the third time – has opened up about how he used alcohol as a way of coping with the death of his friend Ryan Dunne following his death in a drink driving accident in 2011.

Taking to Instagram, he said: “I have spent enough time grieving over Ryan Dunn through alcohol. I’m 39 years old, the party is over.

“I dont plan on drinking anymore. I have wasted too much time at the bad and all my friends who needed decades of help are now all sober. I would like to join the sober parade. (sic)”

The former ‘Jackass’ star added that while he’s turned to writing to occupy his time while he gets treatment, it is difficult not being able to communicate with his loved ones.

He continued: “I don’t do well with not being allowed to facetime my wife and kid…I don’t do well with not being able to answer important calls with important people.”

His current stint in rehab comes a year after his last treatment which followed an arrest for driving under the influence.

It was reported earlier last year that pro skateboarder Bam had been sentenced to three years probation – including paying fines and fees – in the DUI case.

The incident came just weeks after he and his second wife Nicole Boyd – whom he married in October 2013 – welcomed their first child, son Phoenix Wolf, on December 23.

His former co-star Steve-O, 43, has also been open about his own battle with addiction, and shortly after Bam’s arrest he offered his friend some advice.

He said: “That’s all anyone wants – to see him happy or healthy. You just get to a certain point, you surrender to the process.c

Jamie Lee Curtis blasts Fiji Water Girl

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 03:00 AM PST

Jamie Lee Curtis has blasted corporate sponsors for photobombing celebrities at the Golden Globes.

The 60-year-old actress was at the ceremony over the weekend, and revealed she tried to move away from one of Fiji water’s models – who has since become an internet meme known as the ‘Fiji Water Girl’.

Insisting she doesn’t see the funny side, the star wrote on Instagram: “So, my husband, who doesn’t look at a lot of show business news sites, just mentioned that I was on the CNN website.

“I specifically moved away from the blatant promotions by Fiji and Moet where young women with their trays filled with their wares stood near a designated camera.

“I knew why there was a photographer poised there and I moved away as I said out loud that I didn’t want to be doing advertising for either.”

The star shared a professional shot from the event, which shows the model stood to the side holding a tray of water bottles.

She added: “Clearly this angle shows that I moved from her being behind me and yet from the side it still happens.

“The sponsors of events need to get permission from people when they get them to take their picture next to products.”

While actors like Richard Madden, Jim Carrey and Amy Adams were all snapped with the model, Curtis is the only star to publicly speak out so far.

Meanwhile, last months she revealed she would be interested in continuing her on-screen role as Laurie Strode in the ‘Halloween’ franchise.

She said: “I have no idea at this point, today, I have no idea. I would make an assumption that, if [director] David Gordon Green has a story to tell, that the people involved with the movie would encourage him to tell it. [Laughs]

“I haven’t been told whether or not he has a story to tell and whether or not he would include Laurie Strode in the telling. Really, time will tell. I know David is a busy guy.”

Keanu Reeves: Winona Ryder still calls me ‘husband’

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 03:00 AM PST

Keanu Reeves admits Winona Ryder calls him “husband” 27 years after their ‘Dracula’ marriage.

The two stars got married in the 1992 movie, and the actress revealed last year it could be the real deal after director Francis Ford Coppola hired a real Romanian priest for the scene.

Asked if that means she is actually his wife, Keanu joked to The Talk: “That’s what Winona says…

“Yeah once in a while I’ll get a text, ‘Hello husband’. I didn’t really believe her but Francis Ford Coppola the director of ‘Dracula’ contacted Winona and said publicly that yeah that actually happened the priest did a full ceremony and Winona and I got married.”

Keanu starred as Jonathan Harker in Coppola’s movie ‘Dracula’, with Winona appearing as his character’s partner Mina.

The pair portrayed a couple once again when they reunited for ‘A Scanner Darkly’ 14 years later in 2006, and have also teamed up on 2009’s ‘The Private Lives of Pippa Lee’ and last year’s movie ‘Destination Wedding’.

Speaking last summer, Winona said: “We actually got married in Dracula. No, I swear to god I think we’re married in real life.

“In that scene, Francis [Ford Coppola] used a real Romanian priest. We shot the master and he did the whole thing. So I think we’re married.”

And around the same time, the 47-year-old actress admitted she has always had a playful soft spot for her co-star, although she has been dating Scott Mackinlay Hahn since 2011.

During a joint interview, she said: “I had a pretty big healthy crush on him.”

Keanu, 54, replied: “I had a big healthy crush on you too.”

MyFrenchFilmFestival Highlights ‘Sauvage’ ‘Black Tide,’ ‘Guy,’ ‘The Bureau’

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 01:51 AM PST

PARIS — Two Cannes Critics’ Week hits – ‘Guy,” “Sauvage” – and Erick Zonca’s comeback, “Black Tide” are three potential highlights in a still expanding MyFrenchFilmFestival, French promotion org UniFrance’s annual online selection of French and French-language films.

Unveiling MFFF’s 2019 edition in Paris on Wednesday, UniFrance also revealed that this year’s ninth edition will bow a TV strand, showcase espionage thriller “The Bureau,” a recent, and game-changing, Canal Plus Création Originale. Here are 10 points about this year’s edition:

1.MORE MFFF VOD DISTRIBUTION DEALS, NO CHINA

Creating a new TV section, MyFrenchFilmFestival has increased its VOD platform distribution spread to over 50 OTT services≤. New partners include Film Movement +, the U.S. independent distributor’s recently-launched VOD service.

“A particular effort has been made in Asia this year, with new and promising partnerships with platforms,” MFFF co-director Quentin Deleau told Varety, citing, of new partners, Catchplay in Taiwan and Singapore, iFlix in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, among other South-East Asian countries, and RakutenTV, Beauties and U-Next in Japan.

The new VOD drive may compensate in part for the loss of online distribution in China, Deleau added. Launched in 2011, and netting 40,000 views, MFFF’s global viewership claimed steadily to 6.7 million in 2017, then leapt to 12 million-plus last year, thanks to the addition of Chinese platform Jia Screen, launched by Jia Zhangke, which specialized in short films and contributed nearly six million views. Jia Screen no longer operates. however.

2.VOD PLATFORMS’ BUILDING INTEREST IN FILM

But other factors explain MFFF’s hike in VOD partners, Deleau argued. For Deleau, “it’s UniFrance’s job to be in touch with the largest number of platforms [possible] through this Festival, in order to take the pulse of these platforms, of the sector, and better understand where the audience and money is.”

But VOD platforms are also showing “more and more” interest in the festival as feature films are beginning to be seen as far more potent branding and marketing tool for platforms than in the past, Deleau added.

3.POTENTIAL STANDOUTS: ‘SAUVAGE,’ ‘BLACK TIDE’

Sold by Pyramide Intl., “Sauvage” proved one of the best-reviewed of Critics’ Week entries. “Camille Vidal-Naquet’s straightforward but impressively, well, savage debut is a powerful portrait of a gay male prostitute in freefall,” with an “extraordinary performance” from lead Félix Maritaud,” Guy Lodge wrote in Variety.

Sold by Playtime to 21 territories and starring Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”) as a shambolic, violent whisky-guzzling police inspector and Romain Duris as a sinister chief suspect, “Black Tide,” an ever more entangled and numbing missing teen mystery-thriller, marks the first feature in nearly 10 years for Zonca, director of “The Dreamlike of Angels.”

4.FILMMAKING AS AN OCCASIONAL OPTION ALEX LUTZ, JEAN LIBON AND YVES HINANT

MyFrench Film Festival focuses on new talent: 7 out of its 11 first-run features are first or second features. But new talent must be understood in current career contexts.

“Guy” is a mockumentary on an over-the hill but still on-the-road French crooner which was warmly-welcomed as Cannes Critics’ Week closing film.

Viewers in Latin America and Asia might not get all the references to popular French music, Claude François style, but “it’s very interesting what he’s saying about the family, about the lifestyle of the famous,” said Simon Helloco, co-director of MyFrenchFilmFestival with Deleau.

“Guy,” is Alex Lutz’s just second feature, but his career as a comedian stretches back to 1994.

A doc-feature,Jean Libon and Yves Hinant’s “So Help Me God” lifts the lid on the extraordinary but real-life Brussels examining magistrate Anne Gruwez, as she unearths a cold case while processing motley detainees. “So Help Me God” is again a second feature. But Libon first directed way back in 1985, creating cult Belgian TV series “Strip-Tease.”

5.’THE BUREAU’: A GAMECHANGER

“TV is one of our new fortes this year. We want to put forward the best of French creation,” said Helloco.

In TV it almost certainly has: A Canal Plus Création Originale broadcast from April 2015 on the French pay TV giant, sold and co-produced by Federation Ent., and delving into the labyrinth workings of France’s DGSC intelligence service, “The Bureau,” helped import into France a new production format, based around a show runner, Eric Rochant, and a writers’ room.

Also notable for its production rhythm – Canal Plus has already released Season 4 – “The Bureau” is acclaimed as one of the best French drama series ever, boasting for its fans nuanced performances and sage reactions to geo-political flash-points, but peopled by characters with absolutely dowdy domestic lives.

Just how many other writer-directors can match Rochant’s productivity is another matter.

“The Bureau” has been sold to territories around the world but remains unseen in some territories such as Latin America, Helloco noted.

6.OTHER MFFF HIGHLIGHTS

Counting as other potential MFFF highlights, playing out of competition, “Fake Tattoos,” a first feature from Quebec’s Pascal Plante, weighs in as an above-par punk-rock love story greeted by Variety’s Jessica Chiang as “a touchingly real romance that’s as vibrant, sweet and brief as first love itself.” “The film is very cute, plays like a Canadian Eric Rohmer movie,” Helloco added.

Of MFFF classic films, an intoxicating 1986 heist movie, starring Denis Lavant, Michel Piccoli, Juliette Binoche and a young Julie Delpy, “Bad Blood” forged Leos Carax’s still resilient cult reputation.

A photomontage time-travel romance released in 1962, “The Pier” remains one of the most influential shorts in modern cinema, made by the legendary Chris Marker, a co-reviewer with André Bazin, collaborator of Alain Resnais and co-writer of Patricio Guzman’s “The Battle of Chile.”

7.MYFRENCHFILMFESTIVAL SHORTS

MFFF’s 10 competition short films take in “The Seventh Continent,” the directorial debut of “Deephan,” “Racer and the Jailbird” and “Le Brio” co-screenwriter Noé Debré, in which he manages to talk about ecological issues via a lovingly parodied film noir thriller, and two relatively new but buzzed-up titles, Baptiste Petit-Gats’ reportedly Dardennesque “Flowers” and Emmanuel Blanchard’s “The Collection,” transferring Stefan Zweig’s classic novella to 1942 Nazi-occupied Paris. Also making the cut: Julien Trauman’s “At Dawn,” a genre-tinted open-sea survival thriller, and “Blue Dog,” Fanny Leotard and Jérémy Trouilh’s touching tale on cultural inclusion.

8.ECLECTICISM & GENRE COCKTAILS

If 2019’s MFFF is more eclectic, that’s also because it reflects the the increasingly diverse entertainment options open to French directors. “The Bureau” is auteur TV. Hayoun Kwon’s four-minute “Le Voyage Intérieur de Gauguin” is a Virtual Reality short, which immerses the viewer in the painter’s creative process as he discovers Tahiti.”Words Hurt” marks MFFF’s first interactive short, in which spectators decide the future life choices of a man who cheats at his finals.

Ever more wide-ranging in its programming, MyFrenchFilmFestival also underscores the diversity in film type of even individual titles.

Debuting with 2005 Directors’ Fortnight player “Cold Showers,” Antony Cordier lets loose in his third film, “Gaspard at the Wedding,” where Gaspard returns to the family fold, a bankrupt rural zoo, for his father’s second marriage, and finally confronts his inner demons. That may seem classic coming-of-age narrative. But the film is a genre cocktail, with romantic drama – Gaspard pays a girl to pretend to be his girlfriend, she falls in love – sluiced by moments of humor, dysfunctional family satire, and musical interludes.

Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow and Thereafter” similarly mixes family drama in the story of a precocious eight-year-old and her not quite there mother and fantasy. The daughter is advised on how to cope with maman, whom she adores, by her pet talking owl.

The one-off, irrepressible, Quentin Dupieux (“Rubber,” “Wrong Cops”) also makes the MFFF feature competition with police interrogation comedy “Keep An Eye Out,” boasting his hallmark mix of the surreal and retro vibes, such as a groovy ’70s score.

9.FEMINIST FELLOW-TRAVELLERS

Only two of the ten features in competition are directed by women directors: “Tomorrow and Thereafter” and

“Angel Face,” another mother-daughter drama, from Vanessa Filho, which was selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard and stars Marion Cotillard as a white-trash alcoholic mother.

But far more titles, made by feminist fellow-traveller men, are at least femme-centric or broadly feminist.

Establishing director Fabien Gorgeart as a talent to track, Clotilde Hesme (“Regular Lovers”) plays a directionless women in “Diane Has the Right Shape,” where surrogate motherhood proves a maturing experience.

“Let the Girls Play,” Julien Hallard’s feature debut, a retro, true-event-based tale of female empowerment, turns on the creation in 1969 of one of France’s first women’s soccer teams.

10.A DAMNING PORTRAIT OF MEN

Above all, the 10 features in MFFF competition also paint an often despairing portrait of a world peopled by men who are monstrously egomaniacal (“Black Tide”), egocentric (“Guy”), crazed (“Keep An Eye Out”) or violent (“Sauvage”). In such a universe, women, however eccentric (“So Help Me God”), and especially when young, (“Tomorrow and Thereafter,” “Angel Face” ) represent the voice of reason and modernity (“Let the Girls Play”). Some films – “Fake Tattoos,” for instance – do not buy into this vision. Its general tenor is unlikely to be exclusive to French cinema.

Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article.

MYFRENCHFILMFESTIVAL 2019

FEATURE FILM COMPETITION

“Angel Face” (“Gueule d’ange”), Vanessa Filho

“Black Tide” (“Fleuve Noir”), Erick Zonca

“Diane Has The Right Shape” (“Diane a les épaules”), Fabien Gorgeart

“Gaspard At The Wedding,” (“Gaspard Va au mariage”), Antony Cordier

“Guy,” Alex Lutz

“Keep An Eye Out” (“Au Poste!”), Quentin Dupieux

“Let The Girls Play” (“Comme des garçons”), Julien Hallard

“Sauvage,” Camille Vidal-Naquet

“So Help Me God” (“Ni juge, ni soumise”), Yves Hinant, Jean Libon

“Tomorrow And Thereafter” (“Demain et tous les autres jours”), Noémie Lvovsky

OUT OF COMPETITION:

“Les Faux tatouages” (“Fake Tattoos”), Pascal Plante

“Mauvais Sang” (“Bad Blood”), Leos Carax

SHORT FILM COMPETITION

“Chien Bleu” (“Blue Dog”), Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh

“Un Homme mon fils” (“A Man My Son”), Florent Gouëlou

“Judith Hotel,” Charlotte Le Bon

“Le Septième continent” (“The Seventh Continent”), Noé Debré

“Wild Love,” Paul Autric, Quentin Camus, Maryka Laudet, Léa Georges, Zoé Sottiaux, Corentin Yvergniaux

“La Collection” (“The Collection”), Emmanuel Blanchard

“Des Fleurs” (“Flowers”), Baptiste Petit-Gats

“À l’Aube” (“At Dawn”), Julien Trauman

“Les Petites mains” (“Little Hands”), Rémi Allier

“Personne ne s’aimera jamais comme on s’aime” (“There’s No Love Stronger Than Ours”), Laure Bourdon Zarader

OUT OF COMPETITION:

“Fauve,” Jérémy Comte

“Hybrids,” Florian Brauch, Kim Tailhades, Matthieu Pujol, Yohan Thireau, Romain Thirion

“La Jetée” (“The Pier”), Chris Marker

NEW HORIZONS (out of competition)

SHORTS

“Le Voyage intérieur de Gauguin,” Hayoun Kwon

“Words Hurt,” Romain Chassaing

“Le Bureau des légendes” (“The Bureau”), Éric Rochant (Season 1, Ep. 1 & 2)

ENDS

Robbie Williams dreams of Tom Cruise

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 01:00 AM PST

Robbie Williams keeps dreaming about Tom Cruise.

The ‘Angels’ hitmaker has admitted he was been hanging out with some Hollywood a-listers in his sleep, including the ‘Mission: Impossible’ blockbuster star.

He told The Sun newspaper’s Bizarre column: “I have nightmares every night, intermixed with hanging out with celebrities in my dreams, weirdly.

“It’s either nightmares, me going out with celebrities, or a mixture of both.

“Two people I’ve hung out with recently in my dreams that are an absolute hoot are Tom Cruise and Ben Affleck.”

Robbie, 44, revealed the dream meetings didn’t cross over at all, and admitted it has had an impact on how he perceives the stars in real life.

He added: “Not at the same time, but we had so much fun, we got on so well.

“Especially Ben, we were like two peas in a pod. I woke up and thought, ‘that Ben Affleck, he’s f***ing great value’ and I still think so.”

His dream revelations come after the star admitted he has turned to coloring books in a bid to relieve his cravings after giving up smoking.

Speaking in an Instagram Live video, he said: “I’m just doing some coloring in, which is good because I’ve got something to concentrate on. Art is good for my mind.”

Robbie – who has children Teddy, six, Charlton, four, and Coco, four months, with wife Ayda Field – is finding quitting the deadly habit very difficult and has been experiencing panic attacks as a result.

He added: “Anyone who is giving up smoking with me, keep on. The struggle is real. I’ve been all right all week, it’s been sort of six out of ten difficult and then in the last hour and a half I’ve just collapsed, panic attacks, over- whelmed . . . I’ve had to get out of the house just to calm down a little.”

Rose McGowan makes plea deal in drugs case

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 01:00 AM PST

Rose McGowan has reached a plea agreement following her arrest for drug possession in 2017.

The ‘Charmed’ actress – who was arrested for possession of cocaine two years ago – has agreed to plead no contest to a reduced drug charge in order to avoid putting her loved ones through the “emotional strain” of a trial and will pay a fine instead of facing a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Rose will officially enter her plea when she appears in court in Loudoun County, Virginia, later this month.

Her attorney, James W. Hundley said in a statement: “The Commonwealth has agreed to reduce the current felony charge to a misdemeanor of possession of a controlled substance.

“Ms. McGowan will enter a plea of no contest to the reduced charge when she appears in court on January 15, and the Commonwealth will recommend a sentence that requires Ms. McGowan to pay a fine.

“Ms. McGowan has accepted this agreement in order to spare her family, her friends and her supporters the emotional strain of a criminal trial.

“The agreement brings this ordeal to an end and allows her to focus all of her energy on what matters most to her – creating a better world.”

The 45-year-old actress was initially charged with felony drug possession after cocaine was allegedly discovered in a wallet she left behind on a flight to Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. on her way to the Women’s March in January 2017.

A warrant was issued by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police in February 2017, but it did not come to light until almost nine months later. Rose then turned herself into authorities and was placed under arrest.

She has previously claimed that disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein could have been involved in planting the drugs because of the “underhanded targeting” of her “by the fallen mogul”, stemming from her decision to speak about about her allegations that she was raped by the filmmaker.

In court papers filed last February, her lawyer Jessica Carmichael wrote: “There is simply no point in time at which the evidence places Ms. McGowan and the cocaine together in the same place.

“It is now public knowledge that Weinstein employed underhanded tactics to ‘silence’ his victims.”

She also cited reports that Weinstein hired private investigators to follow women who had made accusations against him.

Duchess of Sussex’s brother wants to end rift with wedding

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 01:00 AM PST

The Duchess of Sussex’s half-brother hopes his wedding can reunite their family.

Thomas Markle Jr. is set to marry Darlene Blount in March after getting engaged on New Year’s Eve (31.12.18) and though he wasn’t among the guests when the former actress married Prince Harry last May, he’s vowed to invite the royal couple – who are expecting their first child together – to his nuptials and hopes it can end the rift between Meghan and her father, Thomas Markle Sr. and other members of their clan.

Thomas told DailyMail TV: “Absolutely I think our wedding will bring the family closer together. It’s hopeful that if Meghan and Harry came and my father… Meghan and Harry could spend some time together with him and that would be good.”

The 52-year-old window fitter began dating Darlene, 38, not long after the former ‘Suits’ star began romancing Harry and he admitted his bride-to-be thought he was “crazy” when he revealed his famous connections.

Darlene said: “I thought he was completely crazy.”

Thomas added: “I remember that very well — Meghan and Harry had just started dating and I mentioned it to her and she looked at me like, ‘Yeah, who is this guy? Whatever! He’s crazy.’ But it turned out really nice and we’ve had a really good time ever since. [We’ve had] ups and downs but we’ve managed to make it so far.”

The 37-year-old duchess hasn’t spoken to her father – who confessed to staging paparazzi photographs ahead of her nuptials – since the night before her wedding.

And the retired lighting director, who pulled out of attending Meghan and Harry’s wedding due to ill health, recently claimed to have been “ghosted” by his daughter.

He said: “I’m not sure why it’s happening. I love my daughter very much. I wish she would reach out, send me a text, anything. There has to be a place for me. I’m her father.”

‘CSI’ Veteran George Eads to Star in Korean War Movie ‘Jangsari 9.15’

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 12:07 AM PST

Hollywood actor George Eads, a veteran of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “MacGuyver” has confirmed to star in Korean-produced war movie “Jangsari 9.15″. The movie is directed by renowned Korean filmmaker Kwak Kyung-taek (“Friend”).

Production is by Taewon Entertainment, a leading production firm headed by Chung Taewon. The company previously made 2016 hit “Operation Chromite,” another Korean War movie, and one which starred Liam Neeson as U.S. General, Douglas MacArthur.

“Jangsa-ri” depicts the 1950 Jangsa marine landing operation during the Korean War. The landing by American forces attempting to push back Communist-backed forces from the North, was a key part of the Battle of Incheon, commanded by MacArthur.

Eads plays Colonel Steven, a leader of the Jangsa landing operation, in the film. Alongside Eads, Hollywood actress Megan Fox is also on board as Marguerite Higgins, a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune who covered the Korean War.

The American pair join veteran Korean actor Kim Myung-min who plays a guerilla task force commander. K-pop idol singer-turned-actor Choi Min-ho is also on board as a low-ranking soldier

Both Eads and Fox are known to have arrived in Korea. Shooting began on Monday. The film is set for a 2019 release. Korean distributors and international sales partners have not been announced.

Major Scottish Film and TV Studio Near Edinburgh in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted: 09 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

The campaign to create new studio space in the U.K. continues apace, with a new plan to build a major studio in Scotland in the works. PSL Land, the team behind the thwarted Pentland Studios project, has now shifted its attention to a different site near Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, as the home of an international film and TV base.

The company has lodged a planning application to build a studio and a film academy at Salters Gate, about a 20-minute-drive from the Edinburgh airport. The move means that, after years of industry pressure, plans are currently underway to establish two major production facilities in Scotland. The other project, an industrial site at Bath Road where parts of “Avengers: Infinity War” were shot, is also close to Edinburgh.

PSL Land’s earlier Pentland Studios proposal at Straiton, on the edge of Edinburgh, stalled after a Scottish court ruled in favor of a local farmer who objected to the development. But the owners of the Salters Gate site, Buccleuch Estates, then contacted PSL Land to offer up the new site, which had only recently become available. There is now a sale agreement in principle between the two parties.

The new studio would be slightly larger than, for example, the historic Shepperton Studios outside London (which is itself undergoing expansion). The plan envisions a complex spanning 48 acres, with nine sound stages across 208,000 square feet. There will also be workshops across 122,000-square-foot, a commissary building, and media hub. A data center would be built at the original Straiton site, according to the new planning application submitted by PSL Land on Wednesday.

PSL is also talking to Edinburgh Napier University about establishing a Scottish Film Academy on the site with teaching facilities, screening rooms and student accommodation.

While other parts of the U.K. – England, Wales and Northern Ireland – have all established studios, Scotland has lagged behind.

“You look at what’s happening in the Bristol and South Wales corridor or Belfast, and the one area of the U.K. that is missing out by a country mile and has been for years is Scotland,” Nick Smith, a former commercial director at Pinewood, told Variety. Smith was instrumental in the Pentland Studios plan as well as the new proposal for the Salters Gate studio, which does not yet have a moniker.

If everything goes according to plan, work could commence on it in March. Given that the project has been extensively modeled already, there could be people using the studios by late 2019 or early 2020, Smith said.

Nick Waugh, commercial property director at the commercial arm of Buccleuch Estates, said: “We recognize the importance of this ambitious project, and are delighted to play a role in helping deliver a world-class film studio to Scotland that will inevitably transform the Scottish creative industry and our reputation as a filming location across the globe.”

Demand for studio space in Britain has boomed in recent years, fueled by a generous filming tax break, a skilled local workforce and good infrastructure. In England alone, new studio projects are underway in Leeds, Liverpool, London, and Oxfordshire, while existing sites at Pinewood and Shepperton are being expanded.

*Dick Tracy – Comic Strip – 20190109csdty-a.tif

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*Bliss – Comic Panel – 20190109cpbss-a.tif

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