Showbiz Sandbox 280: French Films Win Big In Cannes This Year

The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival wrapped up over the weekend with the French drama “Dheepan” winning the Palme d’Or. In a festival filled with artistic works commenting on modern social issues, director Jacques Audiard’s film tells the story of three Sri Lankan refugees who form a family-of-convenience while fleeing to France in hopes of a better life.

Anne Thompson, Editor-at-Large for Indiewire, joins us to discuss the highs and lows of this year’s Festival de Cannes, which include many of the films that took home awards, not to mention a 3D porno. But as Thompson explains, many of the big buzzworthy films were Hollywood titles screened out-of-competition; “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Inside Out” come to mind.

Time Warner Cable meanwhile, fresh from having broken up with their previous suitor, Comcast, may now be acquired in a $56.7 billion deal. Though this move was widely expected, it is an indicator of how the market is attempting to stay ahead of the fast changing ways by which audiences consume television content.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the David Letterman’s signs off the “Late Show” one final time, Jennifer Lopez is taking up residency in Las Vegas for a string of shows next year, and multi-hyphenate Barbra Streisand is penning her memoirs.

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Showbiz Sandbox 122: The Real Story Behind Steve Jobs And Pixar

Millions mourned the loss of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs this past week when the innovator behind the Macintosh computer,  the iPod and others died at the age of 56. Though the endless eulogies of Jobs always mention Jobs Pixar tenure, they rarely provided any real detail. Truth is Jobs lost money with Pixar for ten years trying to turn the company into a successful computer hardware business. We’ll dive into the story of how Jobs came to own Pixar and how the company stumbled upon success in computer animation.

Of course, there has never been a Pixar film that didn’t make money. However, we often blithely dismiss one movie as being a box office loser and another as a hit even though they might seem similar in budgets and box office. When we consider a film a hit or a flop, we’re making numerous assumptions on various factors. It’s always a judgment call, but to try and explain what sort of judgments we’re making, we’ve decided to look at several different movies and explain why we consider them a hit or miss.

It’s not as hard to tell when a new television series is a flop, especially after the network cancels it. A number of new shows (“Playboy Club”) got axed this past week, while others (“New Girl”) were picked up for an entire season. One series which nearly didn’t make the cut was “The Simpsons”. After its 23rd season the animated show was nearly canceled over a contract dispute with the cast providing voices for its lovable characters.

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Showbiz Sandbox 19: The Beatles Get Mono (and Stereo!)

The focus is on music this week, with guests Bob Bolien of NPR’s All Songs blog and Sal Nunziato, former independent record store owner, and now freelance writer and blogger. Bob and Sal talk about the new Beatles box sets, how they find new music, and how the music industry is changing. . . or not changing enough. Boilen can also be found on twitter at twitter.com/allsongs. You can find Nunziato’s writing on the Huffington Post on a regular basis.

In movie news, the Telluride Film Festival is under way. This festival is the charming little sister to the major film festivals and is where such films as “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Brokeback Mountain,” and “Capote,” first launched their extended Academy Award campaigns. Back in California, writer/director Nick Cassavetes is suing New Line Cinema (the studio that produced “The Notebook,” which Cassavetes helmed) claiming that the studio owes him money for writing a draft of a script that he was attached to direct. New Line had no comment… Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 19: The Beatles Get Mono (and Stereo!)

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Showbiz Sandbox 14: Zooey Deschanel Proves It’s Twee To Be You And Me

First off, we took care of a little internal business by welcoming entertainment journalist Michael Giltz as an official co-host.

Alonso Duralde joins us this week. Alonso is the film critic at MSNBC.com and the author of “101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men“. His reviews are featured regularly on The Rotten Tomatoes Show. A member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Alonso spent six years as Arts & Entertainment editor at The Advocate where he is still a contributing writer. His work has also appeared in such publications as the Village Voice, Movieline, Detour among many others. This month Alonso will be curating a the series “So Bad They’re Brilliant” at the American Cinematheque. You can follow him on Twitter at @MSNBCalonso.

We asked Alonso to join us because of a story he wrote for msnbc.com called “Do You See What I Twee?”, as it related to the latest movies. He described the essence of twee as “avoiding the fashionable, the obvious, the predictable, the mundane in an attempt to be, for lack of a better phrase, showily unshowy…It’s about replacing one calculated technique of visual and cultural cues with another.” It’s an apt description of one of the more popular movies out this summer, “(500) Days of Summer,” and its lead, Zooey Deschanel. We also just love saying the word “twee.” Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 14: Zooey Deschanel Proves It’s Twee To Be You And Me

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