Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spears gets order against ex-boy friend, manager

Britney Spears has obtained a restraining order against former pal Osama "Sam" Lutfi and one-time boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, court records show.

Attorneys for Spears and her father, who is her legal conservator, received the order Friday. The documents state that Lutfi, Ghalib and attorney Jon Eardley have been trying to gain control of Spears' affairs.

"On the first anniversary of the establishment of the conservatorship, the co-conservators are informed and believe that these three figures are working in concert to disrupt the conservatorship, with an utter disregard for Ms. Spears' health and well being," the documents state.

Lutfi was a manager and friend of Spears, whose mother once accused him of grinding pills into her food to control her. Ghalib, a paparazzo, had dated the singer.

The documents, released late Friday, claim that Lutfi tried to contact Spears in late December by sending text messages to her hairdresser. The documents state Lutfi later started sending text messages to Spears and one of her attorneys, Blair Berk, trying to arrange a meeting.

The order, first reported Friday by the celebrity Web site TMZ, alleges that Lutfi has also sent "anonymous, harassing and threatening" messages to Spears' father.

This week, the documents state, an attorney sent a proposal to remove Spears' court appointed attorney. He later told Spears' attorneys that he had been contacted by Eardley and Lutfi, according to the filings.

Eardley once claimed to be Spears' attorney and tried to get her conservatorship case moved to federal court. A phone message left at Eardley's office was not returned Friday.

Spears and her father agreed not to renew a temporary restraining order that was issued against Lutfi last year when it expired in July.

At the time, Spears' court-appointed attorney Samuel D. Ingham III issued a statement renouncing their friendship. "Britney has made clear to everyone that she does not want to be further harassed or contacted in any way by Osama 'Sam' Lutfi, now or at anytime in the future," Ingham said in a statement.

Lutfi at the time declined to comment, saying only that he and Jamie Spears had reached an agreement.

Spears was placed under the conservatorship a year ago on Sunday. The arrangement has been expensive _ her estate has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees _ but since her father took control of her life, the pop singer has not had the bouts of erratic behavior, including two hospitalizations, that led to his intervention. - AP

Tom Jones will get intimate on new US tour

Tom Jones is taking his show on the road again.

The 68-year-old Welsh singer will launch a U.S. tour in February to promote his new album, "24 Hours."

Jones plans to play intimate clubs rather than sprawling arenas during the 15-date tour. And that's not the only change this time around.

"I've just stopped dyeing my hair," he said.

The white-haired Jones also said Thursday that he's learned a thing or two after touring and performing for more than 40 years. For one, he no longer does two shows a night: "You're working with tired (vocal) cords on that second show."

And though women still tend to toss their underwear onstage while Jones performs, he's learned to pay it little mind.

"I don't capitalize on it as much as I used to," he said. "I used to pick it up and do shtick with it and all that, which I stopped doing because it was encouraging it."

Jones will open his tour on Feb. 24 in New York. A European tour will follow in the fall.

Since he released the hit "It's Not Unusual" in 1965, Jones has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. - AP

Friday, January 30, 2009

Heath Ledger insurance suit settles

An agreement has been reached in a lawsuit involving Heath Ledger's $10 million life insurance policy.

The confidential settlement was revealed in court documents filed Wednesday in Los Angeles. Ledger's attorneys are seeking a closed hearing next month to establish a court guardian to represent the actor's 3-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose, who is the policy's beneficiary.

An attorney for Ledger sued ReliaStar Life Insurance Co. last year, claiming the company was refusing to pay the actor's death benefits. The attorney claimed the insurer was refusing to pay because it wanted to investigate whether Ledger's death was a suicide.

A coroner ruled Ledger's death last January was from an accidental prescription drug overdose.

William Shernoff, who represented Ledger's attorney, said Thursday that both sides were pleased with the settlement. He declined to discuss specifics of the deal. - AP

Disney/ABC TV Group cuts 400 positions

The Walt Disney Co.'s television division is cutting 400 jobs, or about 6 percent of the unit's work force, due to the slumping economy.

The cuts include 200 layoffs, while another 200 vacant positions will not be filled in a division that employs 6,500 to 7,000 people, said a Disney executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the number of job cuts had not been made public.

The job reductions, to be implemented in the coming months, were the latest announced at the family entertainment company, which is grappling with weak consumer sentiment and a declining advertising market.

Anne Sweeney, the president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, informed staff of the layoffs in a memo sent out Thursday.

"After months of making hard decisions across our businesses to help us adjust to a weakening economy, we're now faced with the harsh reality of having to eliminate jobs in some areas," Sweeney wrote. "I realize this is an extremely difficult day for everyone in our group."

Her memo did not put a number on the job cuts.

The eliminated positions were at all levels and made across the group, which includes the ABC network, ABC Studios, and cable channels including Disney Channel, SOAPnet and ABC Family.

The announcement came a day after the top executive at ESPN, another Disney property, told employees that 200 jobs will be cut within a year, mostly from open unfilled positions, and that the unit will implement a freeze on hiring and executive pay raises.

ESPN chief George Bodenheimer told employees Wednesday that the economy was worsening, "and ESPN and our business partners — especially some of our major advertisers — are feeling the impact more acutely than at any point in our lifetime."

Thursday's move came after Burbank, California-based Disney said last week it would merge its ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios divisions. Sweeney said that reorganization was intended to "streamline the creative process."

ABC Studios had already sought cost cuts of about 2 percent from two dozen shows including "Desperate Housewives" in November after Disney reported losses at its broadcasting group had more than quadrupled from a year earlier.

Last week, Disney's parks division also offered voluntary buyout packages to about 600 executives and gave them until Feb. 6 to opt in.

Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said in November the company was seeking to pare costs across the company to keep pace with worsening economic conditions.

The company is set to report its earnings for the first quarter, which ended in December, on Tuesday. - AP

"American Idol": Judges misconstrued 'Be careful' remark

Be careful not to read too much into what someone from Louisville says while heading out the door – like the "American Idol" judges did.

The producers of "Idol" apologized Thursday on behalf of its judges, who apparently misinterpreted what a contestant in Louisville, Kentucky, said after a failed audition. On his way out, Mark Mudd said: "Take care and be careful."

Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell took that as a threat. Abdul scolded Mudd, telling him, "You don't say that to people, 'Be careful.' That's just not a normal thing to say."

It turns out that "Be careful" is a regional parting expression.

The show's producers say they had not heard that from any other contestants, so it took everyone by surprise.

A statement from "Idol" producers said: "We now know better and look forward to visiting Louisville again someday." - AP

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marvel sued for $750M in movie profits

Shareholders of an ill-fated Stan Lee venture are seeking more than $750 million in profits from films based on Marvel comic characters such as "Spider-Man," "X-Men" and "Iron Man."

The lawsuit was filed Monday in a Manhattan federal court on behalf of four shareholders of Stan Lee Media, Inc. Defendants include Lee, his wife, New York-based Marvel Entertainment, Inc., and former Marvel CEO Avi Arad.

The lawsuit claims profits from Lee's comic creations belong to the company, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2006. The suit claims Lee and others ignored the company and shareholder's interests.

Lee could not immediately be reached for comment. Marvel said through a spokesman that the lawsuit is filled with "ridiculous claims." - AP

Michael Jackson's Thriller planned for the stage

Producer James L. Nederlander says he has acquired the rights for a stage version of Michael Jackson's iconic music-video spoof of horror films. The show will include songs from two of the pop king's best-selling albums, "Thriller" and "Off the Wall."

"The Nederlanders and Michael Jackson represent live theater and musical excellence, so let the music begin," Tohme Tohme, a spokesman for Jackson, said Monday in a statement.

"I love the idea of making 'Thriller' a musical. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, boy has big secret, now what?" said Nederlander, head of the company that owns nine Broadway theaters.

No word yet on who will write the book for the show or what songs will be included in the production, or who will direct and choreograph. - AP

Janet Jackson postpones Japan tour

Janet Jackson has postponed her "Rock Witchu" Japan tour next month because of the global financial crisis.

Japan concert organizer Kyodo Yokohama said Monday she would postpone five concerts in Japan scheduled between Feb. 14 and Feb. 22 "due to the impact of economic crisis."

The Grammy-winning singer had planned to perform in Saitama, near Tokyo, as well as in other major cities, including Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka. The events are part of the world tour that started in 2008 — her first in nearly seven years.

The tour will be rescheduled for later this year. New dates are expected to be announced in late March, Yokohama said.

The 42-year-old singer canceled seven performances in the U.S. in the fall because of a bout of vertigo. - AP

Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Twilight': If Dakota Fanning is Jane, who should be Alec?

With news that Dakota Fanning will meet with New Moon director Chris Weitz next week to formally discuss her being offered the role of vampire Jane in the Twilight sequel, it's time for us to help Weitz find his Alec, Jane's bloodsucker brother. According to the books, Alec is a pale boy (surprise) who could be Jane's twin. "His hair was darker, and his lips were not as full, but he was just as lovely," Stephenie Meyer writes in New Moon. Elijah Wood is a popular suggestion, since Jane and Alec are small in stature, but I doubt that the man who starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy would want to be backburner in a Twilight sequel. Then again, if Weitz (or the director of any future Twilight sequels) wanted to go off-book and flesh out the fascinating Volturi and their guard with Meyer's approval, I don't think anyone would mind. (Right?) Also, what is Elijah Wood doing these days?

Assuming Wood is out, I submit High School Musical's Lucas Grabeel (pictured) for consideration. He might be a bit too tall to pair with Fanning, but they could always have him stand/walk in a shallow hole/trench. (Really, he's not going to be onscreen that long for it to become a huge inconvenience.) To me, Grabeel's face is angelic, but also blank -- perfect for a character who is able to cut off all your senses and make you feel absolutely nothing. Together, he and Fanning (character gift: to bring the pain) would be appropriately off-putting. Plus, they'd look so cute together.

Who's your pick for Alec? And are you hoping Fanning's meeting with Weitz goes well?

'Twilight' sequel: 'New Moon' director will be Chris Weitz

There will be a new director atop the Twilight franchise: and he'll be a man. Sources tell that Summit Entertainment is about to hire Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) as the shepherd for New Moon, the second installment of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling Twilight series. Weitz is best-known for his work with his brother Paul. The two directed and produced American Pie and then were nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay for About a Boy, which they also co-directed. Chris' first solo directing gig, The Golden Compass, didn't do well stateside but was a hit internationally.

Twilight, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, has grossed more than $141 million so far, but Hardwicke had clashed with the studio during production. It was announced early this week that she would not be making New Moon. Weitz has a solid relationship with Summit's top brass; he's considered easy to work with and has experience with special effects. "He's the quality-of-life-choice," says one source. While Summit insists "we have not yet signed Chris Weitz to do New Moon," and Weitz's agency says no deal has been signed, other sources say the deal is imminent, and that Summit has stopped negotiations with other potential Moon directors. Last weekend, Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily broke the news that Weitz was in consideration for the gig, and she reported on Dec. 9 that Summit had made an offer to Weitz.

ABS-CBN and GMA in 2009 New York Festivals

The Kapuso Network and its sister station QTV-11 have just won 2 gold medals, 1 silver medal, 2 bronze medals and 7 finalist certificates in the 2009 New York Festivals for the world’s best work in television programming.

Here is the complete list of awards won and recognition received by GMA and QTV from the New York Festivals this year:


Gold World Medal - Coverage of an Ongoing Story:
Jiggy Manicad’s 24 Oras coverage of Corporal Abeto

Gold World Medal - Biography/Profiles Category:
Inno Sotto: A Fashion Special Documentary (QTV)

Silver World Medal - Newscast:
24 Oras - “Lanao Attacks”

Bronze World Medal - Magazine Format:
Chef to Go - “Pesco Vegetarian Meal” Episode (QTV)

Bronze World Medal - Public Affairs:
Reporters Notebook - Pinays for Export: The Asia Sex Trafficking Trail


Joaquin Bordado

Social Issues/Current Events Category:
Emergency’s “Jumper Kids/Battered Children”

Community Portraits Category:
I-Witness’ “Crystal Mountain” Episode

Best Magazine Format:
The Sweet Life (QTV)

Best Magazine Format:
Ang Pinaka’s “Ang Pinaka Sikat na Pinoy sa Internet” (QTV)

Best Coverage of Breaking News:
News on Q’s “Batasan Blast” (QTV)

Social Issues/Current Events Category:
Draw the Line’s “Ormoc Cult, Early Marriage and Trafficking” episode (QTV)

ABS-CBN has just won 1 gold medal, 3 silver medals and 4 finalist certificates in the 2009 New York Festivals for the world’s best work in television programming.

Here is the complete list of awards won and recognition received by ABS-CBN from the New York Festivals this year:


Gold World Medal - Variety Special:
Bantay Bata 163 10th Anniversary Special

Silver World Medal - Talk/Interview:
Boy and Kris

Silver World Medal - Action/Adventure:
Mars Ravelo’s Lastikman

Silver World Medal - Investigative Report:
Bandila - “Glutathaione Expose”


Best News Reporter:
Korina Sanchez

Best Children’s Program:
Kung Fu Kids

Best Family Program:

Best Magazine Format:
Rated K

Chris Tiu: HAPEE! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rival studios reach deal on 'Watchmen' release

Fanboys rejoice! Rival studios say they have resolved their battle over the release of "Watchmen."

The March 6 release of the superhero flick had been in doubt for months as 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. sparred in federal court over who had proper rights to the film.

Spokesmen for both companies released a statement Thursday night that the studios have resolved the dispute in a confidential agreement.

Settlement discussions ramped up after a judge decided last month that Warner Bros. had violated Fox's distribution interests by shooting the film.

Attorneys for both studios are scheduled to meet with US District Judge Gary Allen Feess on Friday and discuss the agreement.

The statement said both studios "look forward with great anticipation" to the film's release. - AP

Steven Spielberg forced to dip into bank account

The turmoil in the financial markets has again swept up Hollywood hit-maker Steven Spielberg.

With a charity he supported already stung in the alleged Ponzi scheme run by money manager Bernard Madoff, the director of the "Indiana Jones" movies is being forced to dig into his bank account to fund moviemaking because of delayed financing.

On Thursday, Spielberg had to pay Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures $13.3 million, or half a $26.5 million price tag, to buy the rights to 17 movie projects that were in development while his DreamWorks SKG studio was at Paramount, according to a DreamWorks person familiar with the company's finances.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Funding delays have meant Spielberg has also had to cover half the costs of DreamWorks' approximately 60 employees since the production company broke off from Paramount in October, the person said.

DreamWorks is teaming up with Reliance Big Entertainment of India to finance its future film slate. Reliance is covering the other half of the unit's ongoing costs.

In a statement, DreamWorks and Reliance said the projects they purchased, with titles including "Dinner for Schmucks" and "Atlantic Rising," ''will lay the foundation for the new company to continue to produce the quality films that DreamWorks is known for."

Reliance has agreed to match up to $550 million in loans raised by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to make movies over a seven-year term, with the bank planning to raise $700 million total, the person said. The bank is now planning to raise $325 million in a first tranche of syndicated loans by March.

"The timetable and level of debt financing has been adjusted to meet the current unprecedented global economic climate but the partners remain enthusiastically committed," the companies said. - AP

NBC announces '30 Rock,' 'The Office' renewals

NBC is renewing Tina Fey's "30 Rock" for the 2009-10 season, along with "The Office" and "The Biggest Loser."

Besides the return of the comedies and the weight-loss reality show, NBC announced Thursday that it has set a premiere date for Amy Poehler's new comedy, a mockumentary about local government. The show, yet to get a title, will debut 8:30 p.m. EST April 9.

"Southland," a new police drama from "ER" executive producer John Wells, also will debut April 9, at 10 p.m. EST (0300 GMT April 10).

NBC said that fans of "ER" will get three more episodes than previously announced before the show ends for good, a total of 23. That will push its two-hour finale to April 2.

Angela Bromstad, new president of prime-time entertainment for NBC, weighed in on the fate of other series at a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

Despite a drop in ratings, "Heroes" is secure, Bromstad said. The sci-fi drama, in its third season, "may have taken on too much in terms of characters and multiple story lines," she added.

Bromstad said the network feels "very strongly" about "Life," ''Friday Night Lights" and "Lipstick Jungle." She denied reports that "Lipstick Jungle," which stars Brooke Shields, has been canceled.

The network executive's enthusiasm doesn't extend to the new sitcom "Kath & Kim" and "Knight Rider." The two shows were "fair tries" but aren't holding up in the ratings, she said. She called them "indicative of shows that may or may not be coming back."

Bromstad, who was named to her position in December, also oversees production at NBC and Universal Media Studios.

The network finished last season in fourth place and continues to struggle with its scripted programs. None of NBC's four new fall series clicked with viewers, including the already canceled drama "My Own Worst Enemy." - AP

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jackie Chan eyed for 'Karate Kid' remake

Mr. Chan may be the new Mr. Miyagi.

Jackie Chan is in talks with Columbia Pictures to star in a remake of "The Karate Kid," a spokesman for the Hollywood studio said Thursday.

Steve Elzer, senior vice president for media relations at Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, confirmed the talks in an e-mail to The Associated Press but didn't give further details.

The plot of the remake will mirror the original, with Chan being eyed to play a mentor who helps a youngster stand up to bullies — a role similar to Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi in the 1984 film, Hollywood trade publication Variety reported Wednesday.

The youth will be played by Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith, who starred alongside his father in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and appeared in the Keanu Reeves sci-fi movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still," Variety reported.

The setting has been changed to Asia from California, with shooting due to start in Beijing this summer, according to Variety.

The movie will be a co-production with state-run China Film Group, according to Variety, which would allow Columbia to bypass China's annual quota of 20 film imports on a revenue-sharing basis.

Chan, who juggles careers in Hollywood and Chinese-language film, has been shooting the American film "The Spy Next Door," an action comedy about a Chinese spy working in the US who loses his cover. - AP

'Slumdog' leads field for British Academy awards

Underdog favorite "Slumdog Millionaire" picked up 11 nominations for the British Academy film awards, Britain's version of the Oscars.

The British-Indian film about a Mumbai street boy's rise to game-show glory was nominated in six major categories including best picture, best actor for Dev Patel and best director for Danny Boyle. It also took several design nominations. Double Golden Globe winner Kate Winslet is nominated twice in the best-actress category, for "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road."

The winners will be announced Feb. 8. The British awards, known as BAFTAS, are considered an important indicator of success at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles two weeks later. - AP

American Idol Season 8 Debut 10% Lower

American Idol premiered it’s Season 8 run with 10 percent fewer viewers than last year’s season opener, despite an addition of new judge.

However, its 30.1 million viewers were still enough to make it the no. 1 show in America having the biggest audience for any U.S. television broadcast so far this season.

The previous leader was held by the detective series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” which garnered 23.5 million viewers on its season premiere last October 9, 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The wednesday season premiere of American Idol marks the lowest audience total for a season-debut episode since 2004, when 28.2 million tuned in.

The show’s biggest season premiere was in 2007, watched by 37.3 million viewers.

An additional judge was introduced this season making a panel of four judges. Kara DioGuardi, a songwriter and producer, joins veteran panelists Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

American Idol Season 8 is aired in the Philippines via a 7-hour delayed broadcast on QTV-11 Every Wednesday and Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and a replay in the primetime block.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Paula Abdul denies criticizing 'American Idol'

Paula Abdul, declaring her loyalty to "American Idol," denied criticizing the TV series over airtime given to an alleged stalker.

"I am a big fan of the show. I am blessed to be on the show. It's the greatest show on television all around the world and ... a gazillion people would love to be in my shoes," Abdul said at a meeting Tuesday of the Television Critics Association.

In December, Abdul told interviewer Barbara Walters that the Fox network and "Idol" producers knew that Paula Goodspeed had stalked her but allowed the woman to audition anyway.

Abdul told Walters that Goodspeed was brought on the hit program "for entertainment value."

Goodspeed, who appeared on "Idol" several seasons ago, was found dead of an apparent suicide in a car near Abdul's Los Angeles home in November.

Pressed about it Tuesday, Abdul denied saying "anything disparaging about 'American Idol' at all" or complaining to producers about Goodspeed.

When a reporter pointed out that Abdul was quoted as saying she had warned producers about the woman, Abdul replied: "Well, that is true. But that's that. I can't talk about it anymore. It's an ongoing police investigation."

Series executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz said what happened is "really, really sad" but should be put to rest.

"The truth is, we did know she (Goodspeed) was an extreme fan of Paula's. But from being a big fan to what happened, there's a big difference. And nobody could have known that it would actually happen."

"American Idol" returned for its eighth season this week with Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and newcomer Kara DioGuardi on the judging panel.

Earlier Tuesday, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly was asked about Abdul's future with the show after her contract ends this year.

"Paula's an integral part of the show. As far as we're concerned, we want to have her as long as the show goes. When we get into those discussions, we'll see where Paula's head is at," Reilly said. - AP

WALL-E, Man on Wire top Golden Tomato Awards

Critics loved a love-struck robot and a tightrope-walking Frenchman in 2008. The sci-fi romance "WALL-E" and the documentary "Man on Wire" took top honors from the 10th annual Golden Tomato Awards.

The awards honor the best-reviewed films of the year as determined by the Web site, which compiles reviews from critics to measure the percentage of favorable critiques.

"WALL-E" won the Golden Tomato for wide-release with a "Tomatometer" score of 96 percent. "Man on Wire," a film that recalls Philippe Petit's tightrope feat between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, scored 100 percent and won the Golden Tomato for limited-release films.

"Man on Wire" is only the second film in the first decade of the Golden Tomatoes to earn a perfect score. Pixar's "Toy Story 2" is the other.

"WALL-E" is the fifth Pixar film to rank above all others. "Ratatouille" was the best-reviewed film of 2007, along with the lauded Irish romance "Once." ''Toy Story 2," ''Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles" are Pixar's other Golden Tomato winners.

"Pixar has won more Golden Tomatoes than anyone else," said Rotten Tomatoes Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity. "They're not quite batting a thousand, but they're pretty close. Ever since 'Toy Story 2' came out — which is still one of the highest-rated films of all time on Rotten Tomatoes — they've just had this series of really critically loved films."

The Moldy Tomato — given to the worst-reviewed film of the year — was awarded to the horror film "One Missed Call." That movie had the unfortunate distinction of not finding a single positive review, earning a goose egg on the Tomatometer. - AP

'Prison Break' exclusive: Exec producer talks about the final season

Prison Break is going to that great, big slammer in the sky: Fox has announced that its once-signature drama will end its four-season run later this year. Exec producer Matt Olmstead tells EW exclusively that there was ''nowhere to go beyond this season,'' adding that he ''didn't want the show to become a parody of itself.'' Ratings-wise, the decision was easy since viewership is down 22 percent from last year. Luckily, fans will get some closure. Break returns April 17 to air its remaining six episodes. Michael and Lincoln (Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell) will finally catch a break -- at a huge cost -- in May's finale. Says Olmstead, ''There will be deaths.'' But since Fox extended Break's 22-episode order by two hours earlier this year, that ''finale'' may not even be the show's last gasp. Olmstead has filmed a couple of extra segments that he says ''address a couple of other storylines [and] can play as a standalone [movie].'' What's more, there are rumblings that Break might get a stay of execution under somewhat different circumstances. Explains exec producer Dawn Parouse, ''I would love to do a show about a women's prison. It would have to be a fresh start -- if not by us, then somebody.'' Given that L Word creator Ilene Chaiken is planning, oh, the exact same thing for the proposed spinoff to her Showtime drama, perhaps Parouse should think about a different approach.

Vanessa Hudgens Auditions for ‘Twilight’ Sequel ‘New Moon’

Another Filipino-American auditioned for the highly anticipated sequel of the monster hit movie Twilight, this time it’s High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens!

After Fil-am Michael Copon lost the role of the werewolf Jacob Black because Taylor Lautner decided to come back, Twilighters are now in the look-out on who will play the werewolf Leah Clearwater. The said female werewolf is Jacob Black’s feisty and heartbroken frienemy in the novels.

Ashley Greene, who plays Alice Cullen in Twilight, revealed that High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens auditioned for the role of Leah Clearwater. Ashley said that it would be great if Vanessa will be part of New Moon.

Vanessa Hudgens is already a star in her own right, two top-rating movie made for television (HSM 1 and 2) and a box-office hit (HSM 3) under her belt. Her inclusion in New Moon will boost the popularity of the Vampire franchise even more! Besides, Vanessa already has a huge fanbase which is very much the same demographic as the Twilighters, she will surely add more box-office potential in New Moon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

'Slumdog' wins best drama, three other Globes

It was a night for underdogs at the Golden Globes -- and a particularly rich one for the biggest underdog of them all, "Slumdog Millionaire."

The modestly budgeted movie -- about a poverty-raised orphan in Mumbai who goes on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -- won awards for best drama, best director (Danny Boyle), best screenplay (Simon Beaufoy) and best original score (A.R. Rahman).

The victories were all the more astonishing given the film's unlikely production history, which included cobbling together a $15 million budget, shooting on the streets of Mumbai and then struggling for distribution.

The film's principals, including Boyle and Beaufoy, were thankful for the support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Globes.

"Your mad, pulsating affection for our film is much appreciated," said Boyle.

"We really weren't expecting to be here in America at all at one time, so it's just amazing to be here," said Beaufoy.

With the film's victories at the Critics' Choice Awards last week, it must be considered the front-runner in the Academy Awards' best picture race. The Academy Award nominations will be announced Thursday, January 22.


Slumdog Millionaire

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Colin Farrell, In Bruges

Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Kate Winslet, The Reader

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire


''The Wrestler,'' The Wrestler (Bruce Springsteen)

Slumdog Millionaire

Waltz With Bashir (Israel)


Mad Men

30 Rock

Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment

Anna Paquin, True Blood

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Tina Fey, 30 Rock

John Adams

Paul Giamatti, John Adams

Laura Linney, John Adams

Tom Wilkinson, John Adams

Laura Dern, Recount

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Patrick Swayze Checks Into Hospital with Pneumonia

Patrick Swayze has pneumonia and has checked himself into a hospital for observation, it was revealed Friday at a press event for the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles.

"As we arrived here this morning we have some news," said A&E president Abbe Raven. "Patrick Swayze has checked himself into the hospital. However, he asked us specifically to go forward with today's panel. We wish him the very best with his recovery."

Bob DeBitetto, the president and general manager of A&E, delivered the news that Swayze had decided to check himself into the hospital after he came down with pneumonia.

Swayze, who is battling pancreatic cancer, had been expected to discuss his new show, The Beast, scheduled to begin airing Jan. 15.

Travolta plans private memorial for son in Florida

John Travolta and his family were expected to host a private memorial service Thursday for their son, 16-year-old Jett Travolta, at their home in a central Florida gated community.

The actor and his wife, Kelly Preston, live in a sprawling $8 million home in a luxury subdivision with its own airstrip near this small town. Jett died at the family vacation home in Grand Bahama last week.

More than a dozen reporters and photographers gathered outside the Jumbolair Aviation Estates subdivision hours before the afternoon event.

A steady stream of catering trucks and florists entered the complex Thursday. A handful of locals also stopped by out of curiosity or carried bouquets of flowers and handed them to guards at the subdivision's main gate.

"I wanted to help John celebrate his son's life and not necessarily his death," said 52-year-old Sherie Maud of Ocala, who brought a dozen red roses.

A sign outside the Saddle Rock cafe in town, where Travolta often stops for a western omelet, read: "Condolences to John and Kelly."

The service for Jett is expected to adhere to the tenets of the actor's faith, Scientology, and will celebrate the teen's life.

It was unclear whether any celebrities would fly in for the funeral. Travolta, an avid pilot, bought the house because of the community airstrip and visitors can fly in and out without being seen by paparazzi, who have staked out the area for days.

The Travoltas have spoken publicly only once since their son's passing. "We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives," Travolta and Preston said in a statement Sunday.

Jett Travolta had a history of seizures and was found unconscious Friday in a bathroom.

Doctors in the Bahamas performed an autopsy Monday but did not release results. A Bahamas undertaker said the teen's death certificate listed "seizure" as the cause of death. The body was cremated Monday and flown to the US the same night.

Tommy Davis, a spokesman for the Church of Scientology International in Los Angeles, said on CBS' "Early Show" on Thursday that he's spoken to the family and "they're doing great."

"This is a time for them and their family and their friends, and like anyone we would wish them well and hope they can be brave," Davis said. - AP

Angelina Jolie says she'll work 'a lot less'

Angelina Jolie is getting ready to join the ranks of the unemployed.

The "Changeling" star and mother of six says that while she'll be in front of the camera early this year, she plans to lie low — at least until twins Vivienne and Knox are toddlers. The twins were born last July.

Says Jolie: "I've had a year off, and I may work for a few months. But if I do, I'm probably going to take another year and a half or two. I'm going to work a lot less."

The 33-year-old actress didn't say what projects she may be working on.

Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt attended the 14th annual Critics' Choice Awards at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Thursday night. - AP

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Brad Pitt says he was faithful to Jennifer Aniston

Brad Pitt is extracting himself from the tabloid love triangle: The actor says his relationship with current flame Angelina Jolie began sometime after splitting from Jennifer Aniston.

In October, Jolie revealed that she and Pitt fell in love while making the 2005 film "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." In November, Aniston called Jolie's comments "really uncool," because she was married to Pitt while the movie was in production.

Pitt sets the record straight in a story posted on W magazine's Web site Wednesday, defending both women and insisting that his relationship with Jolie didn't begin until after he and ex-wife Aniston split in 2005.

"Jen is a sweetheart," Pitt tells the magazine for its Jan. 20 issue. "I think she got dragged into that one, and then there's a second round to all that Angie versus Jen. It's so created.

"What people don't understand is that we filmed ("Mr. & Mrs. Smith") for a year. We were still filming after Jen and I split up," he continues. "Even then it doesn't mean that there was some kind of dastardly affair. There wasn't. I'm very proud of the way that it was handled. It was respectful."

Pitt says he and Aniston "still check in with each other."

"She was a big part of my life, and me hers," he says. "I don't see how there cannot be (that). That's life, man."

The 45-year-old Pitt, who has six children with Jolie, was nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for his starring role in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Jolie was nominated for those same awards for her starring turn in "Changeling." Aniston can currently be seen in the family film "Marley & Me." - AP

'Dark Knight' sweeps People's Choice Awards

Holy, People's Choice Awards, Batman! "The Dark Knight" soared away with every trophy it was nominated for Wednesday at the 35th annual fan-favorite CBS ceremony. The caped crusader flick won five awards, including favorite cast, superhero, action movie and on-screen matchup for Christian Bale's Batman and the late Heath Ledger's Joker.

"On behalf of all of the cast from the movie, thank you very much to the fans," said Bale. "Here's to Heath."

The CBS ceremony was hosted by Queen Latifah and returned to the Shrine Auditorium for its typical star-studded live show format, following last year's writer's strike-friendly, pre-taped program. Stars such as Adam Sandler, Kate Hudson, Robin Williams, Hugh Laurie and Reese Witherspoon showed up to accept thier awards at the slightly subdued ceremony.

"It's such a great way to start the new year," Witherspoon, the "Four Christmases" star who won an Oscar in 2005 for portaying June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line," said as she accepted her award for favorite female movie star. "A couple years ago, I won a great award for singing in a movie. This year, I won an award for having a baby throw up on me."

Other recipients selected by Internet voters in categories spanning movies, television and music included "Dancing With the Stars" as favorite reality show, Carrie Underwood as favorite female singer, "House" as favorite TV drama, Brad Pitt as favorite leading man, Angelina Jolie as favorite female action star and Ellen DeGeneres as favorite talk show host.

"I wish I could share this with you," DeGeneres told the audience while clutching her trophy on stage. "I could throw it on the ground and smash it into a million pieces, and give each one of you a little piece of it, but that's violent, and that's probably why you voted for me, because I'm not violent." - AP

Taylor Lautner back as Jacob Black in Twilight sequel

Taylor Lautner will be back to morph into the monstrous Jacob Black in the "Twilight" sequel "New Moon."
There had been talk that a bigger, buffer, more menacing actor might play the role when the second of Stephenie Meyer's hugely successful vampire novels hits movie screens come Nov. 20. Lautner, by comparison, appears lean and sweet-faced in part one. But distributor Summit Entertainment and director Chris Weitz confirmed Wednesday that Lautner would be returning.

Stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will also be returning as the saga's doomed young lovers, high schooler Bella Swan and brooding vampire Edward Cullen.

Catherine Hardwicke's "Twilight" opened at No. 1 with a whopping $69.6 million at the box office in November, the biggest opening ever for a female director. It has since grossed about $177 million domestically. - AP

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Top 10 Box Office Movies of 2008

In 2008, superheroes, spies, and animated animals dominated the box office, with moviegoers flocking to theaters to see a little bit of everything, from new heroes to old favorites. Here are the top ten highest grossing films at the domestic box office this year.

Total Gross: $154,529,439

Featuring the voice talents of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, and based on Dr. Seuss' storybook classic, the computer-animated Horton hit it big in March with one of the top spring opening weekends ever.

Total Gross: $166,800,000

Picking up where 2006's "Casino Royale" left off, Daniel Craig returned to action as 007 and raked in a cool sum in ticket sales, making James Bond the second most successful movie franchise behind "Star Wars."

Total Gross: $176,815,000

Fueled by an enthusiastic fanbase, Stephanie Meyer's hit literary phenomenon jumped from the page to the big screen to take a bite out of the annual box office, grabbing the number 9 spot during the last weeks of the year.

Total Gross: $176,934,000

In the sequel to 2005's animated animal hit, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra and the rest of the zoo crew crash landed in uncharted territory, and "moved it, moved it" at the box office, kicking off the holiday movie season.

Total Gross: $215,434,591

Armed with all the right moves and an all-star voice cast, DreamWorks' unlikely kung fu hero battled his way to box office greatness, nabbing the animation studio one of its biggest, fattest, fuzziest hits yet.

Total Gross: $223,749,872

The animation wizards at Pixar rocketed to critical and box office success again with the biggest family movie of the year, an out-of-this-world tale of a lonely little robot with a really big heart.

Total Gross: $227,946,274

Once again, Will Smith proved to be king of Independence Day, starring as a high-flying superhero with some really bad public relation problems, and smashing his way to his biggest summer opening weekend ever.

Total Gross: $317,023,851

Nearly twenty years after his last Crusade, Harrison Ford returned as everyone's favorite whip-cracking archaeologist to don the famed fedora once more, raiding a large trove of box office treasure but falling short of record-breaking expectations.

Total Gross: $318,313,199

Director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. brought Marvel Comics' popular armored superhero to the big screen, kicking off the summer blockbuster season, defying expectations and blasting off all the way to the number two spot.

Total Gross: $530,917,814

Christian Bale faced off against Heath Ledger for the highly-anticipated, action-packed follow-up to 2005's "Batman Begins," conquering the box office with not only the biggest movie of the year, but also the second highest-grossing movie of all time -- behind "Titanic" -- sending the Joker laughing all the way to the bank.


Monday, January 05, 2009

LG unveils 3G-enabled Mobile Wrist Watch

LG Electronics just unveiled in South Korea the world’s first 3G-enabled wrist watch. Yup, that’s a phone embedded in a watch with 3G for video-calling (sort of a James Bond thing).

The wrist watch has a touchscreen display with has a videocam and speakers for video-calling over 3G.

The watch also features voice recognition, text to speech and an MP3 player. Details on this will be released during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 8 to 11, 2009 {via AFP}.

Rihanna: Diva of the year

A diva, as defined by Beyonce, "is a female version of a hustler." And though there's no denying B's claim in her new single, "Diva," that she's "been the No. 1 diva in this game for a minute," you certainly can't knock Rihanna's hustle in 2008. After scoring four hit singles with 2007's Good Girl Gone Bad, her third CD in less than two years, she re-issued the disc last summer with three sizzling bonus tracks ("Disturbia," "Take a Bow," "If I Never See Your Face Again") that quickly soared up the charts as well. Now, after honing her live act on the road with Kanye West's Glow in the Dark extravaganza, and more than a year after Good Girl's original release date, Rihanna remains on the charts with her eighth single, "Rehab," featuring Justin Timberlake, plus a cameo on T.I.'s "Live Your Life." For a pop star who was once dismissed as being incapable of yielding more than one hit song per album, Rihanna's newfound staying power is nothing short of remarkable--and proof that there's room for more than one diva in this game.
by Margeaux Watson

Britney Spears: Comeback of the year?

Is Britney back on top? Or has her career gone the way of Lindsay Lohan's? It's hard to say. First, let's consider the pros: Though her new CD, Circus, isn't a revelation on par with, say, Mariah Carey's 2005 lifesaver, The Emancipation of Mimi, it was good enough to open at No. 1 with 505,000 copies sold; her music videos for "Womanizer" and the title track are satisfactory, much like the songs that inspired them; and she's finally got her svelte pre-baby body back. Still, there are cons to consider as well: As an entertainer, Brit's no longer the electrifying dancer she used to be--her lackluster moves are stiff and sluggish; during interviews, she exudes apathy and indifference while remaining curiously vague about the details of her notorious meltdown; and her messy personal life continues to overshadow her work. So, what's the verdict? Well, she's certainly no longer capital F fierce, but I wouldn't call her a has-been just yet. In fact, I'm keeping hope alive that the old Brit will magically reappear when she goes on tour next year.
by Margeaux Watson

Saturday, January 03, 2009

‘Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat’ Hits P102.5 Million

Star Cinema’s “Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat” rakes in a whopping P102.5 million on its 8th day run in the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival to be the year’s 4th biggest movie after “A Very Special Love”, “Caregiver” and “For the First Time.”

Iskul Bukol: 20 Years After, on the other hand, entered the Top 10 with a haul of P72.6 million on the same period.

(as of January 2, 2009)

1. Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat - P102.5M
2. Iskul Bukol… 20 Years After - P72.6M
3. Shake Rattle and Roll X - P45.7M
4. Desperadas 2 - P27.3M
5. Baler - P24.5M
6. One Night Only - P5.7M
7. Dayo - P4.1M
8. Magkaibigan - P1.6M

Video Link: MMFF 8th Day Gross

Will Smith Voted Top Money-Making Star of 2008

According to the 76th Quigley poll, an annual survey among movie theater owners and film buyers, Will Smith (Hancock, Seven Pounds) is the top money-making star of the year dethroning Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean).

Smith is voted the Box-Office King, if you must, by generating the most box-office revenue for theaters for his two films Hancock and Seven Pounds.

On the other hand, it was Christian Bale’s “The Dark Knight” which ranked-in the most box-office money as it was hailed as the no. 1 movie in America for 2008 but Bale was only ranked third by Quigley this year. The Dark Knight earned a whopping 1 billion US dollars worldwide as of this writing.

Princess Diaries star Anne Hattaway was named a star of tomorrow, along with Chris Pine, who appeared in “Bottle Shock” and will play Captain Kirk in 2009’s “Star Trek” movie.


1. Will Smith (Hancock)
2. Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man)
3. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
4. Shia LaBeouf (Indiana Jones 4, Eagle Eye)
5. Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones 4)
6. Adam Sandler (Bedtime Stories)
7. Reese Witherspoon (Four Christmases)
8. George Clooney (Burn After Reading)
9. Angelina Jolie (Wanted)
10. Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace)