MOVIE NEWS … ALICE IN WONDERLANDTim Burton teams up with Johnny Depp again for an interpretation of Alice In Wonderland. Due for release in March 2010. Here is the latest trailer released in time for the holiday period.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
TRIVIA BITS ... CHRISTMAS CAN CAN STRAIGHT NO CHASER
Following the success of their posting to Youtube with the 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas Can Can agains shows the talent of Straight No Chaser.
REMINISCING … CHRISTMAS SCENES IN MOVIES AMERICAN PSYCHOA wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies. Such is the plot for American Psycho released in 2000 and starring Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas and Reese Witherspoon. Tucked away on the movie is a delightful scene where Patrick is called a Grinch at the Christmas Party.
TODAY IS ... 19 DECEMBER
BIRTHDAYS: 1980 - Jake Gyllenhall - an American actor who began acting at age ten. He has appeared in diverse roles since his first lead role in 1999's October Sky, followed by the 2001 indie cult hit Donnie Darko, in which he played a psychologically troubled teen and onscreen brother to his real-life sister, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. In the 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow he portrayed a student caught in a cataclysmic global cooling event, alongside Dennis Quaid as his father. He then played against type as a frustrated Marine in Jarhead (2005). The same year, he won critical acclaim as Jack Twist in the film Brokeback Mountain opposite Heath Ledger. 1980 - Marla Sokoloff - actress: Dude, Where’s My Car?, Home Improvement, Party of Five, 3rd Rock from the Sun, 7th Heaven, Baby-Sitters Club, True Crime, Whatever It Takes 1979 - Kristanna Loken - a Norwegian-American actress known for her work in both film and television, and as a fashion model. She is probably best known for her performance as the cyborg T-X (Terminatrix) in the 2003 movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. 1974 - Ricky Ponting - the current captain of the Australian cricket team. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very occasional bowler. He represents the Tasmanian Tigers in Australian domestic cricket and plays in the Indian Premier League with the Kolkata Knight Riders. 1972 - Alyssa Milano - an American actress and former singer whose acting career began after she appeared in the Broadway show Annie. Her childhood role as Samantha Micelli in the sitcom Who's the Boss? made her famous. Her eight-year stint as Phoebe Halliwell on the supernatural series Charmed brought her a new round of fame. 1965 - Jessica Steen - a movie and television actress, noted for her roles in Homefront, Earth 2, Armageddon, NCIS, and Flashpoint. 1963 - Jennifer Beals - an American film actress and former teen model. She is known for her roles as Alexandra "Alex" Owens in the 1983 film Flashdance, and as Bette Porter on the lesbian-themed drama series The L Word. She earned an NAACP Image Award and a Golden Globe Award nomination for the former. She has appeared in more than 50 movies. 1958 – Limahl - an English pop rock / dance vocalist. and was the lead singer of the 1980s synth-pop/new wave band Kajagoogoo, before embarking on a briefly successful solo career, which reached its peak with the 1984 hit "NeverEnding Story", taken from the film of the same name. 1933 - Cicely Tyson - Emmy Award-winning American actress. A successful stage actress, Tyson is also known for appearances in the film Sounder and the television specials The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Roots. 1941 - Maurice White - a Grammy Award winning African-American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger. He is the older brother of Verdine White and the leader and founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire Maurice has won seven Grammys and he has been Grammy nominated 21 times. 1915 - Édith Piaf - French cabaret singer who began to sing at 15 in cafés and in the streets of Paris and engaged to sing in a cabaret. Fame quickly followed her appearances in nightclubs all over Europe and America. Piaf appeared in several movies, starring in Le Bel Indifférent (1940), originally a play written for her by Jean Cocteau OTHER EVENTS: 2007 – Love and Other Disasters starts screening in Australia starring Brittany Murphy and Matthew Rhys. Jacks, who spent her childhood in America, now lives and works in London, at British Vogue, and shares an apartment with her gay friend Peter Simon, a screenwriter. 2005 - Afghanistan's first democratically elected parliament in more than three decades convened. 2002 – Peter Jackson continues the Lord of the Rings sags with The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers which starts screening in Australia today. Frodo and Sam continue on to Mordor in their mission to destroy the One Ring. Whilst their former companions make new allies and launch an assault on Isengard. 1998 - Irish girl group B*Witched scored their third consecutive UK No.1 single with 'To You I Belong' and the third to enter the chart at No 1. 1994 - Turks and Caicos Islands issues nine postage stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. 1989 - U.S. invades Panama in an effort to capture Manuel Noriega and bring him to trial on drug trafficking charges. The Pet Shop Boys had their third UK No.1 single with their version of 'Always On My Mind. 1985 – Sylvester Stallone reprises the role of Rocky Balboa on Rocky IV which starts screening in Australia. Rocky Balboa, heavyweight champion of the world, is the trainer for Apollo Creed in an exhibition match against Ivan Drago, a "superman" boxer from the Soviet Union. 1984 - Britain signs an historic agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997. 1981 - Abba scored their seventh UK No.1 album with 'The Visitors'. 1972 - The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth. 1970 - Elton John's first US hit, ‘Your Song’ entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it went on to reach number eight. 1970 – President Nixon commends MGM’s Mike Curb for dropping MGM acts, including Connie Francis, from his roster because they purportedly advocated drug use. Curb later became lieutenant governor of California. Hello Dolly starring Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau and Michael Crawford starts screening in Australia. A matchmaker named Dolly Levi takes a trip to Yonkers, New York to see the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire," Horace Vandergelder. While there, she convinces him, his two stock clerks and his niece and her beau to go to New York City. 1968 - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries and Robert Helpmann starts screening in Australia. An eccentric professor invents wacky machinery, but can't seem to make ends meet. When he invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested in it, and resorts to skullduggery to get their hands on it. 1964 - The Supremes scored their third US No.1 single of the year when 'Come See About Me', went to the top of the charts. It made No.27 on the UK chart. 1964 - "Downtown," the first U.S. hit by British pop singer Petula Clark, enters the Hot 100 where it will remain for 15 weeks. It hits Number One next month and stays their for two weeks. 1964 - The Beatles fourth album 'Beatles For Sale' started a seven-week run at No.1 on the UK album charts. 1963 - Buddy Holly's 'What to Do' hits UK chart 1962 - The Disney cartoon short A Symposium on Popular Songs, featuring Ludwig Von Drake, is released. It will be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cartoon Short Subject. 1961 - Judgment At Nuremberg opened in New York City with a star-studded cast including Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, and Maximillian Schell (he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance). The film received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay plus nine other nominations. 1960 - Neil Sedaka’s Calendar Girl was released on RCA Victor Records. The song became Sedaka’s fourth record to make the charts. Other hits from the guy who made money off of a love song for Carole King (Oh, Carol) include The Diary, Stairway to Heaven, Bad Girl, Next Door to an Angel, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Laughter in the Rain and Breaking Up is Hard to Do. 1958 - Bobby Darin records "Mack The Knife" 1958 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: ``The Chipmunk Song,'' The Chipmunks with David Seville. The song is the second No. 1 for Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, alias David Seville. Before he created the Chipmunks, Seville hit in April 1958 with ``Witch Doctor.'' 1958 - Conway Twitty was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'It's Only Make Believe'. The first song to reach the UK Top 10 in four different years: Billy Fury (1964), Glen Campbell (1970) and Child (1978). 1958 - Phil Spector scores his first UK hit as Teddy Bears' 'To Know Him Is to Love Him' enters chart 1957 - Elvis Presley had his draft notice served on him for the US Army. He went on to join the 32nd Tank Battalion third Armor Corps based in Germany. 1957 - Meredith Willson’s The Music Man opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. The Broadway show starred Robert Preston and had a run of 1,375 shows. It also had 76 trombones and 101 cornets in the band ... and a librarian named Marian 1951 - Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov starred in Quo Vadis which commences screening in Australia. Returning to Rome after 3 years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her. She is a Christian and doesn't want to have anything to do with a warrior. 1936 - Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon More Kittens, directed by David Hand, is released. A sequel to Disney's 1935 Oscar winning Three Orphan Kittens, it features the animated work of Frank Thomas and Fred Moore. 1925 - Walt Disney's 28th Alice Comedy film Alice's Orphan is completed. 1918 - Robert Ripley began his Believe It or Not column in The New York Globe.
Friday, December 18, 2009
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS …
JENNIFER JONES PASSESA publicist says Jennifer Jones, who was nominated for Academy Awards five times and won for her portrayal of a saintly nun in "The Song of Bernadette," has died at age 90. Leslie Denk, spokeswoman for the Norton Simon Museum, says Jones died Thursday at her home in Malibu. Her only son, Robert Walker, was at her side. Jones, the widow of museum founder Norton Simon, was deeply involved in overseeing the Simon during her later years. She was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1940s and '50s, appearing in such films as "Duel in the Sun," "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" and "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit."
MOVIE NEWS … NEW TRAILERSTitle: Greenberg Year : 2010 Director: Noah Baumbach Stars: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Mark Duplass, Brie Larson, Juno Temple, Jennifer Jason Leigh Synopsis: At a crossroads in his life, Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) ends up housesitting at his brother's home in Los Angeles. There, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his brother's assistant Florence (Greta Gerwig), an aspiring singer. Florence and Greenberg's encounters lead to an uncertain and wonderfully vulnerable courtship. Title: Brooklyn's Finest Year : 2010 Director: Antoine Fuqua Stars: Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Jesse Williams, Ellen Barkin, Wesley Snipes Synopsis: Burned out veteran Eddie Dugan (Gere) is just one week away from his pension and a fishing cabin in Connecticut. Narcotics officer Sal Procida (Hawke) has discovered there's no line he won't cross to provide a better life for his long-suffering wife and seven children. And Clarence "Tango" Butler (Cheadle) has been undercover so long his loyalties have started to shift from his fellow police officers to his prison buddy Caz (Snipes), one of Brooklyn's most infamous drug dealers. With personal and work pressures bearing down on them, each man faces daily tests of judgment and honor in one of the world's most difficult jobs. When NYPD's Operation Clean Up targets the notoriously drug-ridden BK housing project, all three officers find themselves swept away by the violence and corruption of Brooklyn's gritty 65th Precinct and its most treacherous criminals. During seven fateful days, Eddie, Sal and Tango find themselves hurtling inextricably toward the same fatal crime scene and a shattering collision with destiny. Title: Universal Soldier : Regeneration Year : 2010 Director: John Hyams Stars: Andrei Arlovski, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme Synopsis: With stolen top-secret technology, terrorists have created a next-generation Universal Soldier - an elite fighter genetically altered into a programmable killing machine. With this "UniSol" (Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski) leading the way, they seize the crippled Chernobyl nuclear reactor, threatening to unleash a lethal radioactive cloud. The only one who can stop them is Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a UniSol who's been decommissioned for years. Reactivated and retrained, Deveraux must make a full-out assault on the heavily armed fortress. But inside, he'll discover not one but two of these virtually indestructible warriors. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), Deveraux's vicious UniSol enemy from the original Universal Soldier, has been secretly reanimated and upgraded. Now, these elite fighters are locked, loaded and programmed to kill; and the fate of millions hinges on this high-action showdown. Title: Brothers Year : 2009 Director: Jim Sheridan Stars: Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Bailee Madison, Taylor Geare, Patrick Flueger, Sam Shepard, Mare Winningham, Clifton Collins Jr., Josh Berry Synopsis: When a decorated Marine goes missing overseas, his black-sheep younger brother cares for his wife and children at home--with consequences that will shake the foundation of the entire family. ''Brothers'' tells the powerful story of two siblings, thirtysomething Captain Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) and younger brother Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal), who are polar opposites. A Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam is a steadfast family man married to his high school sweetheart, the aptly named Grace (Natalie Portman), with whom he has two young daughters (Bailee Madison, Taylor Grace Geare). Tommy, his charismatic younger brother, is a drifter just out of jail who's always gotten by on wit and charm. He slides easily into his role as family provocateur on his first night out of prison, at Sam's farewell dinner with their parents, Elsie (Mare Winningham) and Hank Cahill (Sam Shepard), a retired Marine.
TRIVIA BITS …
TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONSWhen the early Christians adopted the date of the pagan festival of the sun to celebrate the birth of their God, they also preserved many of the customs and rituals which went with it. The flaming brandy on the Christmas pudding for instance symbolizes the re-birth of the sun’s fire; the yuletide log is a reminder of the ancient Norse Yule Sun-worship and mistletoe was the symbol of Druidical magic. The Christmas tree too, although originating in its present form in Central Europe was believed to be sacred because it was the only tree which retained its leaves through the hard Northern Winter in order to shelter the good spirits of the forests. Today we accept these long-forgotten religions as part of the Christian celebrations with little or no thought for their real significance.
REMINISCING … CHRISTMAS SCENES IN MOVIES MIRACLE IN THE WILDERNESSFrom the book by Paul Gallico, came the 1992 movie Miracle in the Wilderness starring Kris Kristofferson, Kim Cattrall and Rino Thunder. Jericho and Dora Adams, along with their infant son, are captured by American Indians seeking revenge for Jericho killing the chief's son. In this scene the Christmas story is re-told in unusual terms.
TOP 10 … CHRISTMAS ROCK’N’ROLL HITS1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen 2. It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2 3. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) - Trans Siberian Orchestra 4. Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses 5. Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You - Billy Squire 6. Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys 7. Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen 8. Happy XMas - Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon) 9. Run Rudolf Run - Chuck Berry 10. Rock and Roll Christmas - George Thorogood
TODAY IS ... 18 DECEMBER
BIRTHDAYS: 1980 - Christina Aguilera - an American pop musician who first appeared on national television in 1990 as a contestant on the Star Search program, and went on to star in Disney Channel's television series The New Mickey Mouse Club from 1993–1994. Aguilera signed to RCA Records after recording "Reflection" for the film Mulan. She came to prominence following her debut album Christina Aguilera (1999), which was a commercial success spawning three number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. 1978 - Katie Holmes - an American actress who first achieved fame for her role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003. Her movie roles have ranged from art house films such as The Ice Storm to thrillers such as Abandon to blockbusters such as Batman Begins. 1968 - Rachel Griffiths - an Australian film and television actress who came to prominence in the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding. Among her other notable roles, she is particularly well known for her portrayal of Brenda Chenowith in the TV series Six Feet Under (2001–05) and Sarah Walker on the ABC primetime drama Brothers & Sisters (2006–present). 1968 - Casper Van Dien - an American actor, best known for his role as Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers. Other movies include Tarzan and the Lost City, Beverly Hills, 90210, Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus, Sleepy Hollow, Titans 1963 - Brad Pitt - an American actor and film producer. He has been cited as one of the world's most attractive men, a label that entices the media to report on his off-screen life. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one. 1954 - Ray Liotta - an American actor, best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in the crime-drama Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese. He has won an Emmy Award and been nominated for a Golden Globe Award. 1951 – Andy Thomas - an Australian-born American aerospace engineer and a NASA astronaut. He became a U.S. citizen in December 1986, hoping to gain entry to NASA's astronaut program. He is married to NASA astronaut Shannon Walker. 1950 - Gillian Armstrong - an award-winning Australian director of feature films and documentaries. Her feature length film My Brilliant Career (1979), an adaptation of Miles Franklin's novel of the same name, was the first Australian feature length film to be directed by a woman for 46 years. Armstrong received six awards at the 1979 Australian Film Awards, including Best Director. Other movies include the 1994 adaptation of Little Women, starring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon, and followed with the films Oscar and Lucinda (1997) and Charlotte Gray (2001). 1946 - Steven Spielberg - an American film director, screenwriter, and film producer. In a career spanning over four decades, Spielberg's films have touched on many themes and genres. Spielberg's early sci-fi and adventure films sometimes centering on children, were seen as an archetype of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In later years his films began addressing such issues as The Holocaust, slavery, war and terrorism 1916 - Betty Grable - an American dancer, singer, and actress. Her iconic bathing suit photo made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era. It was later included in the Life magazine project "100 Photos that Changed the World". Grable was particularly noted for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood and studio publicity widely dispersed photos featuring them. Grable's legs were famously insured by her studio for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London. OTHER EVENTS: 2008 – Slumdog Millionaire starring Dev Patel, Saurabh Shukla and Anil Kapoor starts screening in Australia. A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers. 2000 – British music magazine Melody Maker, which began publishing weekly in 1926, publishes its last issue. 1999 - The Spice Girls unveiled their waxwork look-alikes at Madame Tussaud's, London. Each model had cost £35,000 to make 1999 - Malaysia issues a postage stamp for the Universal Postal Union's 125th anniversary depicting a personal computer. 1997 – James Cameron’s Titanic starts screening in Australia. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet , Billy Zane and Kathy Bates, Titanic becomes one of the most awarded movies in recent years. Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the 'unsinkable' ship. 1993 - Take That had their third UK No.1 single with the Gary Barlow penned song 'Babe'. 1986 - William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy head the cast for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home which starts screening in Australia. To save Earth from an alien probe, Kirk and his crew go back in time to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it, humpback whales. 1985 - Beverly Hills Cop became the top movie grosser of the year with $229.9 million in tickets sold. Back to the Future, with Michael J. Fox, was second, followed by Rambo: First Blood, Part 2, starring Sylvester Stallone, gunning its way into third place. 1984 - Madonna's Like a Virgin was the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit. The song was Madonna's first No. 1 hit. 1982 - UK-based Italian tenor and English girl Renee And Renato were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Save Your Love', the duo's only UK Top 40 hit and this years Christmas No.1. 1981 - About 35 million people watched a Rod Stewart concert via satellite. The broadcast was televised in 23 countries. 1979 - The sound barrier was broken on land for the first time by Stanley Barrett, driving at 739.6 mph, in California. 1975 – The Rocky Horror Show starts screening in Australia. Starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Richard O'Brien and Meatloaf, Rocky goes on to become a cult movie in the annuals of Movie history, A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. 1973 – Soviet Soyuz Programme: Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, is launched from Baikonur in the Soviet Union. 1972 - Helen Reddy received a gold record for the song that became an anthem for women’s liberation, I Am Woman. The song had reached number one on December 9, 1972. 1971 - Harry Nilsson hits US chart with 'Without You', his only No. 1 1971 - Sly and the Family Stone went to No.1 on the US album chart with 'There's A Riot Going On'. 1969 – The Love Bug starring Dean Jones, David Tomlinson and Michele Lee starts screening in Australia. A race car driver becomes a champion with a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. 1965 - Stevie Wonder's "Uptight" enters the Hot 100 where it stays put for 14 weeks, peaking at number three. It's Wonder's first trip to the top ten since his first smash, "Fingertips Part Two." 1965 - The Beatles enter the Hot 100, again, with both sides of their latest record, "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper." The former is on the charts for 12 weeks making it to Number One while the latter only makes it up to number five. 1965 - Gemini VII splashed down in the western Atlantic Ocean with command pilot Frank Borman and pilot Jim Lovell Jr. on board. They had blasted off Dec 4 on a mission of physiological testing and spacecraft performance evaluation. 1964 - "The Pink Panther" cartoon series premieres 1963 - Australia's Ron Clarke set a world record. He ran 10,000 meters in 28 minutes, 15.6 seconds. 1961 - Sam Cooke records "Twistin' The Night Away" 1961 - Chubby Checker's "The Twist" has now been on the Hot 100 chart for 23 straight weeks, longer than any other disc on the chart. 1947 - Starting to screen in Australia was Miracle on 34th Street starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood. When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing 1942 - Disney's Donald Duck short Bellboy Donald, directed by Jack King is released. Donald struggles with his self-control as he deals with rude hotel guests! 1935 – Donald Bradman scores 117 in his 1st Shield cricket match for South Australia 1935 - A $1 silver certificate was issued. It was the first currency to depict the front and back sides of the Great Seal of the United States. 1930 – Donald Bradman scores 258 NSW vs. South Australia, 289 minutes, 37 fours 1917 - Prohibition: The 18th amendment prohibiting intoxicating liquors in the U.S. is sent to the states for ratification. It was in effect from 1920 to 1933. 1903 - The Panama Canal Zone was acquired 'in perpetuity' by the U.S. for an annual rent. 1900 - The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic. 1894 - Women in South Australia gain the unofficial right to vote. 1865 - Slavery was abolished in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution being ratified. 1862 - The first orthopedic hospital was organized -- in New York City. It was called the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled.