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Dramas face tough time at Toronto festival


Dramas face tough time at Toronto festival

If there is anything Oscar voters love, it is a good drama. But as a key festival stop on the road to Hollywood awards got down to business on Friday, dramas were less on movie screens and more behind the scenes where the film genre is troubled.

The Toronto International Film Festival, which has long been considered a starting point for movie awards — Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire” got a big boost here last year — opened on Thursday night with Charles Darwin drama “Creation,” which came into the event seeking a U.S. distributor.

The festival boasts more than 330 films screening over 10 days, and ahead of opening week about a third of them lacked key distribution, including titles such as Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe” and Oliver Parker’s “Dorian Gray.”

Facing the recession at home, audiences have flocked to escapist fantasies and comedies, causing distributors of the dramas that vie for Oscars to snap up rights for those genres, leaving serious-minded fare in the dust.

Industry players say lovers of good dramas are not gone, nor is the genre dead. They see the issue as cyclical and more a marketing and cost problem than one of creative content.

Still, if you are making movies like 2007’s “No Country for Old Men,” which earned a best film Oscar, times are tough.

Director Jon Amiel, whose “Creation” tells of Charles Darwin struggling with his theories of evolution in the 1850s, called “drama” the new “five-letter word” in Hollywood.

“If you’re making a movie about a dead, bald Englishman, you’re not making a movie that even the indie distributors are flocking to buy these days,” Amiel said. “There are just many, many movies that American audiences are not going to see.”

The waning interest can be seen at box offices. Two big hits of the art house market this past summer were war drama “The Hurt Locker,” which earned $12 million — a solid number for a low-budget film but far less than twice the roughly $29 million earned by romantic comedy “(500) Days of Summer.”

“There’s a real conservative attitude (and) dramas are viewed as risky in today’s marketplace,” said Steven Beer, an entertainment attorney with law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Still, industry players say dramas can lure fans and make money. The key is devising the right production and marketing model that makes sense given today’s movie going climate.

In many cases, those marketing strategies call for grass roots campaigns that target key groups, lovers of science and period pieces for a movie such as “Creation,” for instance.

Production costs must fall to account for lower box office and declining DVD sales, which have dropped by double-digits on a percentage basis due in large part to competition from other forms of home entertainment.

“These have always been tough movies and they’ll always be tough movies. In a tough economic climate perhaps even tougher, which is why those models have to change,” said Tom Ortenberg, president of theatrical films at The Weinstein Co.

Industry watcher David Poland of MovieCityNews.com, said the drop in DVD sales had been a key factor in distributors’ unwillingness to back expensive dramas but, like the other experts, he noted there remained an appetite for the genre.

Still, distributors remain selective when looking at dramas, and that leaves little room for another breakthrough at Toronto 2009 such as “Slumdog” proved to be last year when it was acquired by Fox Searchlight ahead of awards season.

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Paula Abdul Stunned At Being Replaced On American Idol

Paula Abdul-  1

Paula Abdul Stunned At Being Replaced On American Idol

Paula Julie Abdul ( born June 19, 1962) is an American pop singer, record producer, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality.

In the 1980s, Abdul rose from cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers to highly sought-after choreographer at the height of the music video era before scoring a string of Pop-R&B hits in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Her six number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 tie her for fifth among the female solo performers who have reached #1 there. She won a Grammy for “Best Music Video – Short Form” for “Opposites Attract” and twice won the “Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography.”


Corey Clark

In May 2005, ABC’s news magazine Primetime Live reported claims by Season 2 American Idol contestant Corey Clark that he and Abdul had an affair during that season, and that she had coached him on how to succeed in the competition. The fact that Clark came forward at a time when he was marketing a CD and trying to get a book deal was seen as suspicious by some, but Clark maintains that his career was being prejudiced because of his relationship with Abdul and that is why he came forward with the information to clear his name. For the most part, Abdul refused to comment on Clark’s allegations. At the height of the debacle, Abdul appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit, making light of the situation. While Fox launched an investigation, Abdul received numerous calls of support from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey; Barbara Walters even addressed the camera during an episode of ABC’s The View to say she was ashamed to be part of an operation that would report Clark’s flimsy tabloid claims under the guise of a news story. In August 2005 the Fox network confirmed that she would be returning to the show, as the investigation had found “insufficient evidence that the communications between Mr. Clark and Ms. Abdul in any way aided his performance”

Paula Abdul was stunned at being permanently replaced on American Idol by Ellen DeGeneres, RadarOnline.com has learned.  “Privately, Paula is very upset. She’s never going to admit it publicly but this stung,” said a source close to the Fox situation.

Even though publicly Paula has not even hinted that she might return to the show, privately she still believed a last-minute deal could be worked out, RadarOnline.com learned. But Fox execs had already moved on.

“Paula likes Ellen and she doesn’t want to say a negative word about her and she won’t,” the source told RadarOnline.com. But the news surprised Paula and upset her – and she had no advance warning and heard about it “just like everyone else,” said the source.

Ok, now everyone wait for her Twitter!

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Sex with Kate Moss joke from James Nesbitt doesn’t fly with model at GQ award show


Sex with Kate Moss joke from James Nesbitt doesn’t fly with model at GQ award show

Here’s the skinny on Kate Moss: The supermodel doesn’t find her sex life to be a laughing matter.

The scandal-prone Brit threw a hissy fit at GQ’s Men of the Year Awards in London on Tuesday night when the show’s host, James Nesbitt, implied that he and Moss had knocked boots before the ceremony.

“Kate Moss has still got it. Well, she should do. … I gave it to her just before she came onstage!” giggled Nesbitt to an audience that included Guy Ritchie, Eva Mendes, Freida Pinto and Man of the Year winner Mickey Rourke.

The Irish actor, best known for his performance in Woody Allen’s 2005 flick “Matchpoint,” ended his quip with the seemingly innocent punch line, “What? I was talking about my telephone number!”

But Moss was unamused. Despite years of being the butt of jokes for an alleged drug problem and her past penchant for trashing hotel rooms, the model/designer apparently draws the line at her love life.

“He’s so f-ing rude. I’ll never come to one of these f-ing awards ceremonies again!” she sniffed to Lily Allen backstage after presenting her pal with the Woman of the Year prize. She then fled London’s Royal Opera House and ran into the waiting arms of rocker-boyfriend Jamie Hince.

Moss definitely wasn’t showing her best face to the world at the GQ event. Arriving at the chic ceremony with a zitty, spotted face, she pole-danced at the venue and nearly flashed photographers when her Alexander McQueen minidress rode up around her waist.

The UK’s Press Association reports that the supermodel also managed to rile Dizzee Rascal at the fete by interrupting the rapper’s TV interview. She re-emerged moments later to ask, “Has anyone seen my lipstick?”

“I was thinking, ‘Who’s that?’ How rude,” Dizzee told interviewers. “Kate Moss has lost her lipstick: F-ing disaster.”

– Katherine Heigl is taking time off to have a baby. No, the actress doesn’t have a bun in the oven: RadarOnline reported yesterday that the “Grey’s Anatomy” star is set to adopt a 10-month-old Korean girl with hubby Josh Kelley this week. Heigl (with Kelley, below) said two years ago that she has “always planned” on adopting. Her rep did not respond to calls for comment.

– Tila Tequila isn’t the only one freaked out by Shawne Merriman – he even terrifies himself. “I’m so dangerous right now I scare myself,” the San Diego Chargers linebacker says in Playboy’s October issue. His statement couldn’t be more ironic given that he was arrested on suspicion of choking reality star Tequila (real name: Tila Nguyen) on Sunday. He adds: “I’m the strongest I’ve ever been.” Doubtful this particular interview is going to help in proving his innocence!

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