Tuesday Jul 22, 2014

Another author boosted by 'Colbert Bump'

NEW YORK (AP) — The "Colbert Bump" is becoming contagious. Edan Lepucki, whose novel "California" became a best-seller thanks to a plug from Stephen Colbert, has in turn helped another book catch on. During an interview on Comedy Central's "The Colbert...
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TV

Another author boosted by 'Colbert Bump'
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Another author boosted by 'Colbert Bump'

NEW YORK (AP) — The "Colbert Bump" is becoming contagious. Edan Lepucki, whose novel "California" became a best-seller thanks to a plug from Stephen Colbert, has in turn helped another book catch on. During an interview on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" that aired Monday night, Lepucki recommended Stephan Eirik Clark's "Sweetness #9." By Tuesday morning, the novel was in the top 300 on Barnes & Noble.com and in the top five for Powell's Books, an independent store based in Portland, Oregon, that has been a leading seller of Lepucki's book. Both "California" and "Sweetness #9" are part of Colbert's campaign to help works published by Hachette Book Group USA, which is in tense contract negotiations with Amazon.com. The online retailer is not accepting pre-orders for "Sweetness," an August release, and other Hachette books. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Ken Burns turns his lens on Roosevelt dynasty
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Ken Burns turns his lens on Roosevelt dynasty

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — For 30 years, Ken Burns has found the Roosevelt family "irresistible." Various members of the political dynasty have popped up in the filmmaker's projects on America's national parks, Prohibition and the Civil War. Now, Burns shines a spotlight on the family itself in "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," a 14-hour film debuting Sept. 14 on PBS. It will run for seven consecutive nights. The series covers Theodore's birth in 1858 to Eleanor's death in 1962. In between, Theodore was elected president and his niece Eleanor married her fifth cousin, Franklin, who became president. "I don't know a film that has been more satisfying to me," Burns said Tuesday at the summer TV critics' press tour. "This is a fairly complex narrative. We're asking questions: What is the role of government, what is the nature of leadership?" For the film, Burns interviewed his longtime collaborator Geoffrey Ward, an authority on Franklin Roosevelt. Ward was emotionally invested in the topic, having had polio when he was 9, like FDR. "That particular subject got me," Ward said. "I went to the interview absolutely determined my old friend Ken wasn't going to get me emotional, and he got me in three questions." Ward has spent 30 years writing about the Roosevelts, and he wanted to tell a family story in the series. "They all talked about each other all the time and resented each other and loved each other," he said. "There is love and betrayal and distrust, and what it means to belong to a great family." Each episode will be repeated the night of its original airing, and there will be a daytime marathon on the weekend of Sept. 20-21. All episodes will be available for streaming the day after the first episode airs. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Downton Abbey' back on Jan. 4 for season 5
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
'Downton Abbey' back on Jan. 4 for season 5

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — "Downton Abbey" will be back for its fifth season on Jan. 4, but the return date for another hit PBS series, "Sherlock," is up in the air, PBS chief executive Paula Kerger said Tuesday. "We will have to wait to know when it's finished and available," Kerger said of the mystery starring Benedict Cumberbatch. "Whenever it comes, we'll put it in a wonderful place." PBS is making its shows available for flexible viewing, using both digital platforms and creative scheduling on public TV stations, she said. All episodes of Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts," for instance, will be available for streaming the day after the first episode airs on Sept. 14. Don't expect the same treatment for stately manor soap opera "Downton Abbey." "'Downton Abbey' will have some surprises in it. I think you know what's going to happen to the Roosevelts," Kerger said. Other PBS announcements from Kerger: — "Walt Disney," a four-hour, two-night film about the life and legacy of the entertainment groundbreaker, will air in fall 2015 as part of the "American Experience" series. — Kristin Chenoweth will serve as host of PBS' fall arts festival featuring theater and music on Friday nights starting Sept. 29. Productions include "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," ''The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga performing on "Great Performances," and the special "Kristen Chenoweth: Coming Home." — Drama series "Call the Midwife" will return for a fourth season on March 29. — "The Brain with Dr. David Eagleman," described as a "visually spectacular journey" into the human brain, will air as part of the "Think Wednesday" lineup of science and nature programming in 2015. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CGames: Ten to watch in Glasgow
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
CGames: Ten to watch in Glasgow

Ten to watch at the 2014 Commonwealth Games which get under way in Glasgow on Wednesday:Usain Bolt JAM - Athletics The towering Jamaican is the arguably the biggest name in world sport and his presence in Glasgow, albeit solely in the 4x100m relay, is a huge boost for the Commonwealth Games. The 27-year-old six-time Olympic gold medallist and double sprint world record holder ensures that the world media's attention will be focused on Scotland. Fans will only be hoping that he might still be able to compete in individual events and really light up the Games. David Rudisha KEN - Athletics The 800m world record holder has made an impressive long-awaited return from injury, clocking the world's fastest two laps this season at no lesser place than Glasgow. That appearance was Rudisha's first since he stormed to his world-record setting Olympic gold medal showing in London in 2012, covering 800m in just over 101 seconds. But he will face stiff competition in Glasgow, notably from his own teammates and Ugandan rivals. Mohammed Farah GBR - Athletics Somali-born Farah stormed to British acclaim when he won both the 5,000 and 10,000m at the London Olympics, becoming one of the "local" faces that helped set the Games out as one of the most successful ever. He went on to win the double at the 2013 Moscow worlds but was unsure whether he would actually compete in Glasgow after dabbling with the marathon. After an eighth place in London, he stepped back in distance and Glasgow breathed a sigh of relief. Sally Pearson AUS - Athletics The Australian is rumoured to be going for a double in Glasgow, in her usual 100m hurdles and also the 100m flat. Coming back from injury, the 27-year-old Queenslander has at times struggled this season, but will be wanting, perhaps, to better her outing over 100m in New Delhi four years ago, where she was stripped of the title for a dubious false-start on appeal. DJ Forbes NZL - Rugby Sevens The 31-year-old has been with the all-conquering New Zealand rugby sevens team since 2006, the shaven-headed flanker a stalwart of Gordon Tietjen's squad that has so far won all four Commonwealth Games titles and dominated the IRB world circuit throughout. Forbes' abrasive defence ties in perfectly with a great linking and supportive game that makes the All Blacks tick, more often to victory. Nicola Adams GBR - Boxing Adams won the first ever Olympic women's boxing gold medal at the London Games in 2012 when she defeated China's world champion Ren Cancan. Adams started boxing at the age of twelve and had her first bout a year later. In 2007, she was the first ever English female to earn a medal in a major tournament when she won silver in the European Championships. Alicia Coutts AUS - Swimming The 26-year-old Coutts has won 21 medals for Australia in major championships over the past four years. That haul included five medals at the 2012 Olympics including one gold. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Coutts was the most decorated swimmer winning gold in the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200 individual medley, 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay. Nicol David MAS - Squash The 30-year-old seven-time world champion and global number one David completed her collection of major international titles with Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi. In Glasgow, Nicol will also be out to win Malaysia's first medal in the women's doubles with teammate Low Wee Wern. David is an eight-time Asian champion and once also enjoyed a 13-month, 51-match winning streak, from March 2006 until April 2007. Anna Meares AUS - Cycling Meares will be defending her 500m time trial and individual sprint titles in Glasgow and equal fellow cyclist Kathy Watt's Australian record of competing at four Commonwealth Games. Meares is also a four-time world champion in the time trial. The 30-year-old from Queensland is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist having won the 500m time trial in 2004 and sprint at London eight years later. Bradley Wiggins GBR - Cycling The 34-year-old Wiggins made history in 2012 when he became the first British rider to win the Tour de France before going on to take the gold medal in the Olympics time trial. He had already won three track gold in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Knighted for his services to the sport, his record didn't guarantee him a place at the 2014 Tour de France when he was dropped by his Sky team. lp-dj Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Kris Jenner to publish Kardashian family cookbook
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Kris Jenner to publish Kardashian family cookbook

'Momager' Kris Jenner, matriarch of the reality TV Kardashian clan, is set to publish a family cookbook with the upcoming release of “In the Kitchen with Kris, a Kollection of Kardashian-Jenner Family Favorites.”Though details are sparse, the cookbook is set for an October release and will feature family recipes and entertaining tips by the woman who has made an empire of the Kardashian name. According to the International Business Times, Jenner, who often entertains friends at home, decided to write a cookery book because of the many recipe requests she gets from friends. Aside from a “mean grilled cheese sandwich,” photos of a cream pie and vegetable-topped pasta, there are few other details on the types of recipes readers can expect to find in the book thus far. The cookbook is the latest among media projects for Jenner that included a short-lived stint hosting a daytime TV talk show which was canceled due to poor ratings and a best-selling memoir "Kris Jenner… And All Things Kardashian." Jenner joins "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice who also parlayed her reality TV fame into a cookbook. Jenner’s book, published by Gallery Books, is due to be released October 21. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Movies

Review: Allen casts a limp spell in 'Magic'
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Review: Allen casts a limp spell in 'Magic'

Woody Allen's late period has been defined by a quality you wouldn't have expected from the man who produced the inspired chaos of "Bananas" or the Fellini-esque carnival of "Stardust Memories": tidiness. For years now, Allen's films have been light farces ("Midnight in Paris," ''Vicky Cristina Barcelona") or neatly structured parables ("Match Point," ''Blue Jasmine"). They breeze in innocuously in the summer, promising pleasant entertainment and not much more. "Like drinking lemonade" is how Allen has described his escapist aims for his movies. His "Magic in the Moonlight," a romantic comedy bathed in the sunset glow of the French Riviera and starring two of the more effervescent faces in movies — Colin Firth and Emma Stone — is, no doubt, sweetly sugary — if ultimately flat — stuff. The film begins in 1928 Berlin with the chaotic backstage life of a haughty, grouchy Chinese illusionist, Wei Ling Soo, played by the magician Stanley Crawford (Firth). It's a promising start: Here is Firth, in regal, oriental garb and long mustache, disparaging autographs as "for mental defectives." More of this, and "Magic in the Moonlight" could have been a very funny movie. But Wei Ling Soo doesn't again perform, and instead the rest of the film feels oddly missing the jokes it seems built to convey. Crawford — a self-described "rational man" who believes in his art, not in actual magic — sets off to the South of France to unmask a medium, Sophie Baker (Stone), gaining renown for her prescient "mental impressions." They meet at the sumptuous Cote d'Azur home of the Catledge family, whose rich bachelor Brice (Hamish Linklater) swoons unapologetically for Sophie. A dance of distrust begins between the cocksure Crawford and the lithe, charming Sophie across a vivid, widescreen backdrop of cars, clothes and coastline. Crawford, whose fiancee hasn't joined him on the trip, is both supremely confident in his realistic worldview (Nietzsche, he says, resolved "the God problem rather convincingly") and abundantly unhappy. Audiences will surely see where the film is going as it sets up a quite rigidly explored dichotomy between blithe believing and scientific certainty. It's an argument for illusion in our lives, no matter how fraudulent; for love, no matter how illogical. "Magic in the Moonlight" is a disbeliever's earnest plea to believe. These are, of course, ideas Allen has long explored, and "Magic in the Moonlight" often feels like the kind of tidy New Yorker humor story the filmmaker might pen. Even with bright performances and lively chemistry between Stone and Firth, the movie is stale with the fixed rhythm of the written word, not alive to its images, despite the rich setting. (A quick aside: Is it possible to not have good on-screen chemistry with Stone? From Ryan Gosling to Spider-Man, she bewitches everyone.) Allen is in complete control of the film, both its comic pacing and its philosophical quandary. But perhaps that's the problem: Like Crawford, "Magic in the Moonlight" needs to be less in control of itself. The film doesn't believe in magic enough. "Magic in the Moonlight," a Sony Pictures Classics release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout." Running time: 100 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four. ___ MPAA definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup

NEW YORK (AP) — The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled a star-heavy lineup amid increased festival jockeying for the most plum premieres of Hollywood's fall season. Toronto's slate for Sept. 4-14, announced in a press conference Tuesday, features anticipated performances from Denzel Washington, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as films from directors including Chris Rock, Noah Baumbach and Jon Stewart, making his debut behind the camera. But much of the drama to this fall festival season is about the competition for that most sought-after label: "world premiere." Toronto, now in its 39th year, has long been a sprawling annual event that helps set much of the agenda for Hollywood's award season. It's where recent best-picture winners like "12 Years a Slave" and "Argo" were effectively introduced, although both of those films sneak-peaked first at the smaller Telluride Film Festival days earlier. As a result, Toronto earlier announced a new mandate that only true world premieres will play during the festival's first four days, during its most desirable first weekend. "There needed to be clarity," said festival director Piers Handling on Tuesday. This year's Toronto still boasts an incredible breadth of selection. Handling expects as many as 300 features at the festival, for which more films will later be added to the 59 galas and special presentations announced Tuesday. Among the highlights are: "The Equalizer," a crime film that reteams Washington with "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua; Mike Binder's "Black and White," a custody battle drama with Kevin Costner; "The Judge," starring Downey as a big city lawyer; Jason Reitman's Los Angeles crime journalism drama "Nightcrawler," with Jake Gyllenhaal; and "The Imitation Game," with Cumberbatch as World War II code-breaker Alan Turing. While festival programmers have yet to name an opening night film, Alan Rickman's "A Little Chaos," starring Kate Winslet as a Palace of Versailles landscaper, will close the festival. The festival will also feature the directorial debut of "Daily Show" host Stewart, "Rosewater," a drama about the imprisonment of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari. Other notables include two films for Witherspoon (the addiction recovery drama "Wild" and the Sudanese Lost Boys drama "The Good Lie"), two for Al Pacino ("Manglehorn" and "The Humbling"), as well as films starring Jennifer Aniston ("Cake") and Jessica Chastain ("Miss Julie"). Rock will premiere his "Top Five," about a comic-turned-movie star. Baubach will present his "While We're Young," with Ben Stiller. Handling said Toronto's new premiere policy will only impact scheduling, not selection. Several of the biggest movies this fall have already gone to other festivals. Opening at the New York Film Festival will be Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" and David Fincher's "Gone Girl." The Venice Film Festival will kick off with the premiere of Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance," starring Michael Keaton. Two of the top films at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" and Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner" will also make a stop in Toronto. ___ Online: Toronto International Film Festival http://tiff.net/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Freida Pinto speaks at girls' rights summit in UK
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Freida Pinto speaks at girls' rights summit in UK

LONDON (AP) — Actress Freida Pinto of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame has joined forces with girls' rights campaigners in calling for an end to the practice of female genital mutilation. The Indian actress, an ambassador for an international children's development organization, called Tuesday for more progress to abolish the practice as she addressed Britain's inaugural "Girl Summit." UNICEF, the United Nations' children agency, said some progress has been made on ending female genital mutilation, most commonly practiced in Africa and the Middle East. It is still highly prevalent in Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Somalia. The agency and Britain's government hope that the summit will help galvanize action to end the practice within a generation. Britain's government announced new measures to tackle the problems in the U.K., including prosecution for parents if they fail to prevent their daughters from being subjected to the practice. The one-day event also focused on child marriages, which UNICEF says affects 700 million women alive today, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Also to address the summit was Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was shot by the Taliban and recovered to become a global campaigner for education and women's rights. "Traditions are not sent from heaven, they are not sent from God," she said. "It is we who make cultures and we have the right to change it and we should change it." Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Working late in life, directors refuse to say cut
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Working late in life, directors refuse to say cut

Visiting a retired Frank Capra at his Sierra Nevada hideaway, Clint Eastwood was baffled. "I always thought: 'He could be making a film right now. He's as lucid as could be. Here's the great Frank Capra not doing it,'" Eastwood recalled of the famed director, who died in 1991 at 94, three decades after his last film. "I always thought, 'I wonder why that is?'" Eastwood, who at 84 just released the musical "Jersey Boys" and wrapped shooting on the Navy SEAL drama "American Sniper," isn't the only filmmaker blowing past conventional retirement age. This Friday, Woody Allen, 78, will, like clockwork, release his latest, the French Riviera romantic comedy "Magic in the Moonlight." He's also already on to the next one, shooting in Rhode Island this summer. In June came "Venus in Fur," from 80-year-old Roman Polanski. And in May, 83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard, the perpetual enfant terrible, premiered his 3-D "Goodbye to Language" at the Cannes Film Festival. Both European iconoclasts remain as mischievous in old age as Allen and Eastwood have been steadfast. Polanski's film is a gloriously comic, self-referential gender play. Godard's film — in which his dog played a starring role — was more experimental than most 25-year-old's would dare. It was greeted in Cannes by an audience member's cry: "Godard forever!" At a time when literary giants like Philip Roth, 81, and Alice Munro, 83, have quit their craft, many of cinema's auteurs have stubbornly persisted, while at the same time churning out frequently acclaimed, often vibrant films in a youth-driven industry. "In Hollywood there is that kind of hackneyed, commercial thinking where they think, 'Oh, this guy is over the hill, this guy can't direct that kind of picture,'" says Allen. "But the truth of the matter is that in my lifetime, there have been many directors like John Ford, John Huston, Billy Wilder who were wonderful as they got older and they made sometimes better pictures than they made when they were younger." Certainly, film history is littered with directors who worked well past retirement age. Akira Kurosawa, Sidney Lumet and Robert Altman all worked into their 80s, producing some fine films: Altman's "Gosford Park," Kurosawa's "Dreams," Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Huston, at 81, died months after the release of "The Dead," his Oscar-nominated adaptation of the James Joyce story. The French film director Alain Resnais was active right up to his passing, at 91, in March. Such longevity would only be possible for widely admired filmmakers who still have the drive to tell a story and the industry weight to attract financing. Because of tight-fisted studios, it's arguably harder today to get a movie made than ever before, adding to what's already a hugely taxing profession. Martin Scorsese, 71, sounded slightly dejected by this part of contemporary moviemaking when releasing "The Wolf of Wall Street," an explicit romp of a movie few would associate with a director in his 70s. But it also took years to get a green light. "The problem is, it's too much," Scorsese said last year. "It's almost becoming that I want to do so much, and when you get to this vantage point, there's not much time left." Around the same time, Scorsese guessed he had about two movies left in him. Ridley Scott, 76, has mirrored Scorsese in prolificacy. Along with the Moses tale "Exodus: Gods and Kings" due out later this year, he has a dozen projects in development as a producer and plans for a "Blade Runner" sequel. But few have kept their edge like Scorsese. Late-period films are generally more placid things. Often, even a good film for a master filmmaker late in life is merely a footnote to their younger, more urgent work. Such a fear has previously prompted Quentin Tarantino, 51, to declare that he'll never become "an old-man filmmaker." He has instead suggested he will quit moviemaking around 60 so as to not dilute his filmography with weaker rehashes. But such catalog care is of little concern for others, who continually filter their lives through a camera lens. Between the two of them, Eastwood and Allen have combined to make a staggering 20 films since turning 70. What compels them to make a film year after year? The answer, Allen said in an earlier interview, is pure distraction from sitting at home pondering, "Gee, life is meaningless. We're all going to die." "I get to get up in the morning and go into work and there's Penelope Cruz, these beautiful women and scintillating guys — Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg," said Allen. "So I'm distracted for the day with trivial problems." If for Allen filmmaking is a way to order his day-to-day life, for Eastwood, it's a means for staying young. Age, he says, is "a mental outlook." Maintaining interest — in moviemaking or anything else — is his secret to life. One striking commonality between the likes of Allen, Eastwood and even Godard is that none are abundantly precious about their films. None, for example, are likely to go past take two or spend five years laboring over a project. Whatever keeps them going, one director has them all handily beat. The Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira is 105. Earlier this year, he shot his latest, a short about Portuguese history. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Here's sellin' to you, kid. Casablanca piano up for sale
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Here's sellin' to you, kid. Casablanca piano up for sale

The iconic piano from Hollywood romance "Casablanca" goes on sale at auction in New York in November, the highlight of more than two dozen collectors' items from the fabled war-time classic."Play it, Sam," says a stunning Ingrid Berman, cajoling Dooley Wilson into singing "As Time Goes By" before a moody Humphrey Bogart storms over to find his ex-lover sitting in his nightclub. Wilson's character Sam first played the song on the piano for Bogart's character Rick and Bergman's Ilsa when they fell in love in Paris as Nazi troops advanced on the French capital. The salmon-colored instrument is the star of more than 30 items from the 1942 black and white movie offered for sale on November 24 by Bonhams auction house and Turner Classic Movies. Also on sale are the doors of "Rick's Cafe Americain," Bogart's nightclub where Bergman asks Bogart to help her fugitive Czech resistance leader husband escape to America. Other lots include passports and transit papers created for the film, a final draft screenplay, signed photographs of the cast and production memos. All of the lots come from a private collector. "Bonhams is thrilled to represent this remarkable 'Casablanca' collection, certainly one of the most significant film memorabilia collections still in private hands," said Catherine Williamson, director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams. The auction house expects the piano to sell for seven figures. It last sold for $602,500 at auction in 2012, below Sotheby's then estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. The sale also features a host of other collector pieces from other films, including a test dress and pinafore designed for Judy Garland for the 1939 production of "The Wizard of Oz." The items will go on display in preview exhibitions held in Los Angeles from November 6-9 and in New York from November 20-24. "Casablanca" is ranked one of the greatest American films of all time by the American Film Institute. The Warner Bros movie won three Oscars in 1943 for Best Picture, Best Writing (Screenplay) and Best Director. It is perhaps best known for Bogart's catchphrase to Bergman "Here's lookin' at you, kid." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Events

Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup

NEW YORK (AP) — The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled a star-heavy lineup amid increased festival jockeying for the most plum premieres of Hollywood's fall season. Toronto's slate for Sept. 4-14, announced in a press conference Tuesday, features anticipated performances from Denzel Washington, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as films from directors including Chris Rock, Noah Baumbach and Jon Stewart, making his debut behind the camera. But much of the drama to this fall festival season is about the competition for that most sought-after label: "world premiere." Toronto, now in its 39th year, has long been a sprawling annual event that helps set much of the agenda for Hollywood's award season. It's where recent best-picture winners like "12 Years a Slave" and "Argo" were effectively introduced, although both of those films sneak-peaked first at the smaller Telluride Film Festival days earlier. As a result, Toronto earlier announced a new mandate that only true world premieres will play during the festival's first four days, during its most desirable first weekend. "There needed to be clarity," said festival director Piers Handling on Tuesday. This year's Toronto still boasts an incredible breadth of selection. Handling expects as many as 300 features at the festival, for which more films will later be added to the 59 galas and special presentations announced Tuesday. Among the highlights are: "The Equalizer," a crime film that reteams Washington with "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua; Mike Binder's "Black and White," a custody battle drama with Kevin Costner; "The Judge," starring Downey as a big city lawyer; Jason Reitman's Los Angeles crime journalism drama "Nightcrawler," with Jake Gyllenhaal; and "The Imitation Game," with Cumberbatch as World War II code-breaker Alan Turing. While festival programmers have yet to name an opening night film, Alan Rickman's "A Little Chaos," starring Kate Winslet as a Palace of Versailles landscaper, will close the festival. The festival will also feature the directorial debut of "Daily Show" host Stewart, "Rosewater," a drama about the imprisonment of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari. Other notables include two films for Witherspoon (the addiction recovery drama "Wild" and the Sudanese Lost Boys drama "The Good Lie"), two for Al Pacino ("Manglehorn" and "The Humbling"), as well as films starring Jennifer Aniston ("Cake") and Jessica Chastain ("Miss Julie"). Rock will premiere his "Top Five," about a comic-turned-movie star. Baubach will present his "While We're Young," with Ben Stiller. Handling said Toronto's new premiere policy will only impact scheduling, not selection. Several of the biggest movies this fall have already gone to other festivals. Opening at the New York Film Festival will be Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" and David Fincher's "Gone Girl." The Venice Film Festival will kick off with the premiere of Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance," starring Michael Keaton. Two of the top films at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" and Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner" will also make a stop in Toronto. ___ Online: Toronto International Film Festival http://tiff.net/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Milan launches fashion film festival
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Milan launches fashion film festival

Recognized in recent years as a genre and an art form all its own, the fashion film will soon be in the spotlight in Milan. This September, at the start of fashion week, the city will host the very first Fashion Film Festival Milano.Already known the world over for its fashion week, Milan hopes to build on its reputation to launch a new forum for celebrating fashion films. Founded and directed by Constanza Cavalli Etro, with support from the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the festival is the first of its kind in Italy and will offer exposure and recognition for emerging talent. Scheduled to take place over two days at the start of fashion week (September 14-15), the festival will include two sections: an exhibition and a competition. The exhibition will take a look back at the best fashion films made by established names and leading brands, while the competition will showcase a selection of emerging directors and their short films relating to fashion. Prizes will then be awarded in the categories of best fashion film, best Italian fashion film, best emerging brand/designer, best director, best styling, best art direction, best editing and best music. For up-and-coming directors interested in an opportunity to present their work, the competition is open to the public and submissions may be made via the festival's website:www.fffmilano.com/submission. Paris also hosts a fashion film festival, A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF), which has also gone on tour to cities like New York and Tokyo. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Carrie returns with a dangerous mission in 'Homeland'
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Carrie returns with a dangerous mission in 'Homeland'

Showtime has just released new footage from the fourth season of its political drama, which returns in October.After the teaser unveiled last week, the new trailer reveals additional details on the fourth season of "Homeland," showing Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in a series of dangerous situations. The lead actress is surrounded by several new cast members, including Raza Jaffrey ("Smash"), Michael O'Keefe ("Roseanne"), Suraj Sharma ("Life of Pi") and Corey Stoll ("House of Cards"). And Mandy Patinkin, F. Murray Abraham and Rupert Friend have returned to their roles as Saul Berenson, Dar Adal and Peter Quinn respectively. After tying up multiple ends in an intense third season centered on Brody (Damian Lewis), the series is headed for something of a reboot with its fourth run. The action takes place in Istanbul, where Carrie is now in charge of one of the most dangerous CIA stations in the Middle East. Airing since 2011, "Homeland" won over the public and critics alike and claimed several awards in 2012 and 2013, including the Golden Globes for Best Drama and Best Actress as well as the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama Series both years. Critics found the third season less convincing, and the series was not even shortlisted for the 71st Golden Globes in January nor for the 66th Emmy Awards, which will take place on August 25. Audiences were more enthusiastic, however, and the season three finale was the most-watched episode in the show's history, with 2.4 million viewers. Season four premieres October 5 on Showtime. Watch the trailer: http://youtu.be/-A6vKiOM0Ws Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Simpsons' marathon, digital Simpsons World coming
Monday Jul 21, 2014
'Simpsons' marathon, digital Simpsons World coming

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be followed this fall by a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy. A website and app dubbed "Simpsons World" will allow on-demand access to all of the 500-plus episodes of Fox's animated comedy and enable users to search through the life histories of Mr. Burns, Bart and other lemon-hued Springfield residents. "I'm not going to overpromise, but I think this website will provide you with affordable health care," longtime "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told a TV critics' meeting Monday. He said the accompanying app "completely blew me away." SimpsonsWorld.com and content available through FXNOW apps for devices including iPhone, Xbox and smart TVs are set to debut in October. FXX's marathon showing of all "Simpsons" episodes and "The Simpsons Movie," in chronological order, will begin Aug. 21 and air 24 hours a day through Sept. 1. Beginning on Sept. 2, FXX will regularly air "The Simpsons" throughout its weekday and weekend schedule, with a Sunday "mini-marathon" of eight episodes. "Simpsons World," the encyclopedic book by series creator Matt Groening, was the "bible" for the digital content, FX Networks executives said. Fans of Sideshow Bob, for instance, will see "curated" material that includes a list of his attempted murder victims Krusty the Clown and Homer Simpson, among others. Clips and the treasure trove of "Simpsons" factoids can be shared through social media. FXX announced last November that it had secured exclusive cable and video-on-demand rights to TV's longest-running scripted show and winner of 28 Emmy Awards. For the first time in 20 years, however, the show missed out on a top-series nomination for this year's awards, airing Aug. 25. FXX will get future seasons of "The Simpsons" that air new on Fox. ___ Follow Lynn Elber on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber . Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Burke fashions epic story in 'Wayfaring Stranger'
Monday Jul 21, 2014
Burke fashions epic story in 'Wayfaring Stranger'

"Wayfaring Stranger" (Simon & Schuster), by James Lee Burke Author James Lee Burke is a descendant of tough Texas lawmen. In fact, his maternal great-grandfather once tangled with some of the West's most notorious gunslingers. Although Burke is most famous for hard-boiled crime novels featuring Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux, he has written seven fine novels inspired by the Hollan side of his family, changing the surname to Holland when he introduced Hackberry Holland, a hard-drinking lawyer, in "Lay Down My Sword and Shield" in 1971. In "Wayfaring Stranger," he introduces another member of the family, Weldon Avery Holland. When we first meet him, it's 1934, and Weldon, a teenager, is living on a hardscrabble Texas farm with his mentally ill mother and his grumpy grandfather, the man who had fought the likes of John Wesley Hardin, Bill Dalton and Pancho Villa. But now, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker wander into their lives, hiding out on the edge of the Holland property between bank robberies. Unsure if they are evil thugs or the avenging angels Depression-era popular culture made them out to be, Weldon is haunted by the encounter. But later, as a second lieutenant, Weldon and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, discover what true evil is when a Waffen SS Tiger tank nearly takes their lives. Separated from their unit, they accidentally wander into an abandoned Nazi death camp where Weldon saves a young woman named Rosita Lowenstein, who eventually agrees to be his wife. After the war, Weldon and Hershel return to Texas where they go into business together, building pipelines for the booming oil business. But rich and politically well-connected Texans are eager to destroy their business and acquire the unique welding process they have patented. The two friends want to believe they left evil behind in Europe, but they soon discover that anti-Semitism is not foreign to American soil, and that rampant greed is just another form of evil. The forces arrayed against Weldon and Hershel bear down on them with all the force of a freight train, tearing at their marriages, threatening them with prison and even attempting to take their lives. The epic story Burke has fashioned is thick with tension to the very end. His characters, both heroes and villains, are superbly well drawn, and as in every Burke novel, the poetic descriptions of both urban and country settings bring Texas to life on the page. Burke's last three novels, "Light of the World," ''Creole Belle" and "Feast Day of Fools," were arguably his best. "Wayfaring Stranger" joins them as one of his most powerful and ambitious novels to date. ___ Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award, is the author of three crime novels including "Providence Rag." ___ Online: http://www.jamesleeburke.com/ http://brucedesilva.com/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.