Wednesday Jul 23, 2014

Samsung's latest UHDTV comes with an ultra-high price

The television, which officially goes on sale in the US this week comes with a 105-inch curved screen and a $120,000 price tag.Samsung describes the new set -- currently the world's largest curved-screen UHDTV -- as offering the ultimate immersive experience and, with a 105-inch curved screen...
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TV

Samsung's latest UHDTV comes with an ultra-high price
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Samsung's latest UHDTV comes with an ultra-high price

The television, which officially goes on sale in the US this week comes with a 105-inch curved screen and a $120,000 price tag.Samsung describes the new set -- currently the world's largest curved-screen UHDTV -- as offering the ultimate immersive experience and, with a 105-inch curved screen (that's 2.67metres from corner to corner), it's not an exaggeration. And because it's an ultra-high-definition TV, offering four times the definition of a HD TV plus the ability to ‘upscale' the resolution of existing high definition content, it could make one or two independent movie theaters nervous about their business plans. Yet while a trip to the local cinema may cost just a few dollars (as long as you can resist the temptation to stop off at the concessions stand), the Smart UN105S9 UHD TV costs $120,000 -- that's more than a Porsche 911. But as well as over $100,000 in spare funds, prospective owners will also need a lot of free space in order to accommodate the set. It measures 2.5m x 1.46m (including its stand) and thanks to its admittedly stunning curved screen, will need to be set back at least 63cm from a wall. Still, getting to grips with its numerous settings and features won't be a problem. Each customer can expect a visit from a Samsung expert who will personally demonstrate the TV's myriad capabilities and make sure that you're comfortable with them. The price may seem outrageous but last year Samsung launched an even larger albeit flat-screen UHDTV, the 110-inch UN110S9 which came complete with a $150,000 price tag. Yet within 24 hours the company confirmed that it had already sold 10 of them to customers in the Middle East. As well as offering two of the most expensive UHDTVs that money can buy, back in June, Samsung also launched the much more living room-friendly 40-inch HU6950 which, at $999.99 makes it one of, if not the cheapest premium brand UHDTVs currently on sale. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

The most mentioned brand in 'Sex & the City' is... Vogue
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
The most mentioned brand in 'Sex & the City' is... Vogue

During their six years on the small screen, Carrie Bradshaw and her friends entertained us while educating us in the ways of urban fashion and consumerism. Altogether, no less than 324 brands were referenced during the episodes. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the fashion magazine Vogue claimed the most mentions.Visual artist Pierre Buttin recently presented an original take on the iconic TV series "Sex & the City." Titled "Brands and the City," the artist's video is an alphabetical compilation of every mention of a brand during the show's six seasons. The run time is just under ten minutes. If you thought Manolo Blahnik was the name most frequently cited by Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, think again. According to the artist, who tallied the mentions for each brand, the most frequently referenced trademark was Vogue. The ultimate reference for fashionistas, the magazine topped the ranking with 36 mentions in total, mainly thanks to Carrie Bradshaw's brief employment at the magazine. Vogue was followed closely by Martini, which was mentioned 34 times, reminding us that Cosmos weren't the only cocktail Carrie and her entourage enjoyed. The rest of the top five is dominated by New York references: the Yankees (26 times), the Knicks (25 times) and the New York Times (24 times). Next come the fashion and design brands the series is known for. The designer Manolo Blahnik is in sixth place with 16 mentions, followed by Dolce & Gabbana (15), Prada (14), Chanel (13) and Gucci (10). Also worth noting: Carrie's most difficult break-up also made an entry into the top 10, as the brand Post-it is mentioned 14 times, tying with Prada. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/CK9lRE9l9zY Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Consumers ready to spend big on high-tech products: report
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Consumers ready to spend big on high-tech products: report

According to the latest Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) data, confidence in the economy is at its highest in the US since 2012. And this optimism is expected to translate into a similar confidence in the latest big ticket and emerging tech gadgets."Consumer confidence is improving steadily following a weak first quarter," said Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research. "The improved sentiment is helping establish a solid foundation for stronger tech spending -- especially with the growth of emerging technologies like wearables and Ultra HDTV -- to materialize in the back half of 2014." The data in question is drawn from the CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), which measures consumer expectations about technology spending. Over the past month it has increased by 4.1 points to 95.3 -- the highest level since the 2012 holiday season. And as this jump in confidence is arriving as ultra-high definition TV sets finally start to drop in price to the sub-$1000 mark and as the first Google and possibly Apple powered smartwatches hit the shelves, it looks like they are going to be the main beneficiaries of this improved optimism and willingness to spend. The CEA also expects total revenues for the US consumer electronics industry to grow 2 percent over the course of 2014 and to hit a record high of $211.3 billion. And although UHD TVs and smartwatches and other wearables, plus 3D printers and connected devices like thermostats will make up an estimated 5 percent of this total, the market will be driven by continuing demand for smartphones and tablets, which will account for 35.1 percent of all revenues over the coming year. Other devices and categories that the CEA sees driving the market in 2014 include high-end headphones and Bluetooth speakers -- headphone sales are expected to pass 75.9 million units by the end of the year -- and a renewed interest in gaming consoles thanks to the PS4 and Xbox One. "There has never been a more exciting time for the technology consumer," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. "Across the consumer electronics industry, companies are packing more innovative features than ever into products that have quickly become indispensable -- even as the industry continues to introduce breakthrough innovations that are capturing the hearts, minds and imaginations of consumers across the nation. Emerging tech categories including wearable devices, Ultra HD TV and 3D printers are generating tremendous consumer excitement and cementing their place as the next generation of ‘must have' products." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Lucy Lawless joins 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Lucy Lawless joins 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

According to TV Guide, the former "Xena: Warrior Princess" star will appear in the second season of ABC and Marvel's superhero series. No details on her role have been announced for the time being, however.More info on Lucy Lawless's involvement in the series could be revealed at Comic-Con, which opens July 24 in San Diego. Known for her role as Xena the Warrior Princess on the eponymous TV series, which aired from 1995 to 2001, the Kiwi actress more recently played the journalist Anna Biers on "Battlestar Galactica" from 2005 to 2009 and Lucretia on "Spartacus" from 2010 to 2012.  Created by "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon and launched last September, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was met with encouraging ratings in its first season. Set in the Marvel universe, the superhero drama follows the investigations of an elite governmental agency frequently mentioned in the comics. The second season premieres September 23 on ABC. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Dumb Starbucks explained on Comedy Central show
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Dumb Starbucks explained on Comedy Central show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dumb Starbucks is coming back, but only on TV. The comic who came up with the fake-store concept will discuss its origins and aftermath on next Tuesday's episode of Comedy Central's "Nathan for You." Star Nathan Fielder opened the Dumb Starbucks coffee shop in a Los Angeles strip mall in February. It quickly drew lines of curious residents, national media attention and legal scrutiny by the real Starbucks. The city's health department closed Dumb Starbucks after three days for not having the proper permits. So far, Fielder, Comedy Central and parent company Viacom Inc. have escaped legal action. But Dumb Starbucks is done. Fielder said the shop was a parody about the power of corporate branding that exceeded his expectations and ended up provoking discussion about how people consume art. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Movies

Samsung's latest UHDTV comes with an ultra-high price
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Samsung's latest UHDTV comes with an ultra-high price

The television, which officially goes on sale in the US this week comes with a 105-inch curved screen and a $120,000 price tag.Samsung describes the new set -- currently the world's largest curved-screen UHDTV -- as offering the ultimate immersive experience and, with a 105-inch curved screen (that's 2.67metres from corner to corner), it's not an exaggeration. And because it's an ultra-high-definition TV, offering four times the definition of a HD TV plus the ability to ‘upscale' the resolution of existing high definition content, it could make one or two independent movie theaters nervous about their business plans. Yet while a trip to the local cinema may cost just a few dollars (as long as you can resist the temptation to stop off at the concessions stand), the Smart UN105S9 UHD TV costs $120,000 -- that's more than a Porsche 911. But as well as over $100,000 in spare funds, prospective owners will also need a lot of free space in order to accommodate the set. It measures 2.5m x 1.46m (including its stand) and thanks to its admittedly stunning curved screen, will need to be set back at least 63cm from a wall. Still, getting to grips with its numerous settings and features won't be a problem. Each customer can expect a visit from a Samsung expert who will personally demonstrate the TV's myriad capabilities and make sure that you're comfortable with them. The price may seem outrageous but last year Samsung launched an even larger albeit flat-screen UHDTV, the 110-inch UN110S9 which came complete with a $150,000 price tag. Yet within 24 hours the company confirmed that it had already sold 10 of them to customers in the Middle East. As well as offering two of the most expensive UHDTVs that money can buy, back in June, Samsung also launched the much more living room-friendly 40-inch HU6950 which, at $999.99 makes it one of, if not the cheapest premium brand UHDTVs currently on sale. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Full trailer for scathing comedy 'Dear White People'
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Full trailer for scathing comedy 'Dear White People'

Tackling a hot topic with razor-sharp wit is October college satire "Dear White People," which sets out its stall in a 2m30s trailer.The fates of four students at prestigious Winchester University interweave as the film follows college radio host Samantha White, rival Coco Conners, ex-boyfriend Troy, and indie music fan Lionel. In this first full trailer for the October 17 US release, we see how Sam's talk show succeeds in raising hackles campus-wide, while the college's dean (played by Dennis Haysbert of "24") attempts to stop things from boiling over. Coco has her own message to spread, Troy ends up competing against Sam in a student election, and Lionel has a secret that could crater his status as the college paper's rising star. Writer-director Justin Simien, who based "Dear White People" on his own college experiences, met part of the financing via a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo before being named Breakthrough Talent at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Dear White People Official Trailer: youtu.be/XwJhmqLU0soWebsite: dearwhitepeoplemovie.com Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Witherspoon, Gandolfini top Toronto film fest line-up
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Witherspoon, Gandolfini top Toronto film fest line-up

The upcoming Toronto film festival will showcase a "big year" for Reese Witherspoon, James Gandolfini's final movie and Oscar-bait performances from several major Hollywood stars, organizers said Tuesday.More than 300 feature films will be screened at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 4 to 14. The event has traditionally been key for Oscar-conscious studios and distributors, attracting hundreds of filmmakers and actors to the red carpet in Canada's largest city. Last year, Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" won the audience prize for best picture, before going on to win three Oscars including the coveted statuette for best picture. In presenting this year's line-up, festival boss Cameron Bailey told a press conference in Toronto that fans of Witherspoon should be ready for a "big year" from the Oscar winner. The 38-year-old Witherspoon has been one of Hollywood's highest-paid and most bankable box office draws since her breakout starring turn in the 2001 comedy "Legally Blonde." But she failed to gain credibility as a serious actress until her 2006 Oscar win for her turn as singer June Carter Cash -- the wife of superstar Johnny Cash -- in James Mangold's biopic "Walk the Line." In September, Toronto audiences will have an opportunity to see her again in two new films: "The Good Lie" about an American woman who takes in a Sudanese refugee, and "Wild," the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir. "Wild" is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, whose previous feature, "Dallas Buyers Club" began its journey to Oscar success in Toronto last year. James Gandolfini makes a posthumous return to movie screens in the gangland tale "The Drop," shot just before his death in June 2013. His penultimate film "Enough Said," a romantic comedy co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was warmly received in Toronto last year. - Hollywood stars, tough themes - This year, festival films will explore grief and depression, strangers colliding, America's racial divide, and marital strife. Many filmmakers found inspiration in true events, splashing the lives of Beach Boys singer-songwriter Brian Wilson (played by Paul Dano), chess champion Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire), theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and World War II code-breaking hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) on the silver screen. The opening film has yet to be confirmed, but organizers said Alan Rickman's historical drama "A Little Chaos" -- starring Kate Winslet as a landscaper invited to design one of the fountains at Versailles -- will close the festival. For the first time, North America's largest film festival will showcase only world premieres over the first four days, including from directors Noah Baumbach, Susanne Bier, François Ozon, Lone Scherfig and Chris Rock. The new policy was put in place as competition between film festivals around the world to land more premieres heats up, explained festival co-director Piers Handling. The Venice film festival and the Telluride film festival in the US state of Colorado both start at the end of August and overlap with the Toronto event. "There's a lot more focus on film festivals and a lot more prominence," Handling said, adding: "It doesn't affect the selection of the films at all -- it only affects the scheduling." Also this year, Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. will appear as father and son in the court drama "The Judge." Shawn Levies's "This is Where I Leave You" -- starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda -- follows four siblings who reunite after their father's death. Denzel Washington returns in the movie adaptation of the 1980s television series "The Equalizer." And Rock directs and stars in "Top Five" about a comedian proving his acting chops. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

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.

Events

Americans aplenty as UK's Booker Prize goes global
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Americans aplenty as UK's Booker Prize goes global

LONDON (AP) — The Americans have arrived in force for Britain's Booker literary prize. Five U.S.-based writers are on the 13-book long-list for the prestigious fiction award, announced Wednesday. This is the first year writers of all nationalities have been eligible for the Booker, previously open only to authors from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies. The roster includes Americans Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers, as well as Irish-born, U.S-based writer Joseph O'Neill. Also on the list are Britain's Howard Jacobson, Neel Mukherjee, Paul Kingsnorth, David Mitchell, David Nicholls and Ali Smith, Ireland's Niall Williams and Australia's Richard Flanagan. Some British writers have expressed fears that the change in eligibility may lead to U.S. dominance of the 45-year-old award, officially named the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC. This year Britons are still in the majority, and there is only one writer — Flanagan — from a Commonwealth country other than Britain. Only three of the nominated authors are women. "After all the fears about a U.S.-dominated list, the number of British writers comes as a surprise," said Jonathan Ruppin, a spokesman for bookstore chain Foyles. "Although the absence of any authors from Africa or Asia is perhaps the more striking aspect of the spread of nationalities." Philosopher A.C. Grayling, who chairs the judging panel, said that in a "vintage year" for fiction, the judges were looking only for quality. "It didn't matter to us if they were written by men or women, by Americans or Australians or Brits," Grayling said. "Fiction in English, no matter who written by, no matter where published, is now part of kind of a global scene. Fiction is fiction, and good fiction will always stand comparison with good fiction." Bookmaker William Hill made O'Neill the early favorite to win with "The Dog," the story of a disillusioned lawyer, followed by Mitchell for decades-spanning saga "The Bone Clocks," which will be published in the fall. A six-book shortlist for the 50,000-pound ($85,000) prize will be announced Sept. 9, and the winner unveiled at a ceremony in London on Oct. 14. ___ Online: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'The Last of Us 2' a definite possibility
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
'The Last of Us 2' a definite possibility

A sequel to 2013's PlayStation hit "The Last of Us" is certainly in the cards, says a rep for award-winning studio Naughty Dog.The game was originally released for PlayStation 3 in June 2013, just a few months before its successor was released, and a PlayStation 4 edition is now due the week of July 29. With a week to go until the PS4 version emerges, Naughty Dog was never going to rule out the possibility of a sequel at this point, as community strategist Arne Meyer outlined the studio's process. "All of our games are self-contained stories so they don't have to continue if we don't want them to or if there's no reason for them to continue," Meyer told VideoGamer.com. "It really comes down to is there something interesting in this universe we've created that we want to continue to explore? Is it something that we can get the entire team passionate about? Is it something we can get the creative directors excited about and then we could continue it?" "We're just starting to explore ideas of what more could there be in this universe and starting that decision process," though "that doesn't mean the end result is guaranteed," he cautioned. At the same time, the game is making its way to theater as a free (but limited-space) live read at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. "The Last of Us: One Night Live" is to take place on July 28, with the principal cast reunited to recreate select scenes from the game's script. That's to be livestreamed on YouTube, Twitch.TV and the PlayStation Network. And speaking of creative directors, it would appear that a "Last of Us 2" may be a while off, as lead pairing Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley have been attached to confirmed PlayStation 4 title "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End," continuing the adventures of smart-talking treasure-hunting swashbuckler Nathan Drake in 2015. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Nathan Lane: Straight actors can play gay roles
Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Nathan Lane: Straight actors can play gay roles

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Gay actors shouldn't have a monopoly on gay roles, award-winning stage and screen actor Nathan Lane said. Lane, who is gay and has played both straight and gay characters, was asked the question at a TV critics' meeting Tuesday. He was there to discuss PBS' presentation of the Broadway play "The Nance," in which he stars. "We just had 'The Normal Heart' (with) Mark Ruffalo, fantastic job. I think who's right for the part and most talented" should be hired, Lane said. Ruffalo, who is straight, starred as a gay man in the AIDS drama for HBO. "That way only madness lies. ... I wouldn't have played Nathan Detroit or Max Bialystock" if casting followed such rigid rules, Lane said. He won a Tony Award for his Broadway portrayal of larcenous producer Bialystock in "The Producers" and was a nominee as gambler Detroit in "Guys and Dolls." Lane is an Emmy nominee this year for his guest role as wedding planner Pepper Saltzman in ABC's sitcom "Modern Family." Hollywood has been criticized for casting white actors as ethnic characters and, as gay characters have become an increasing part of movies and TV, giving such roles to straight actors. "Will & Grace" came under fire for casting straight actor Eric McCormack as a gay man. "The Nance," which earned Lane another Tony bid this year, is about a gay burlesque performer in 1930s New York. It airs Oct. 10 on PBS' "Live From Lincoln Center" as part of the series 40th anniversary season. 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.

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.