Archive for the ‘Hollywood’ Category

Summer’s Coming: Hollywood’s Offerings for 2014

May 25, 2014

The big screen will light up this summer with several long-anticipated films that cover everything from romance to futuristic science-fiction.  The summer of 2014 is shaping up to be one of Hollywood’s most diverse in a decade, as studios hope that a “shotgun” approach may bring out moviegoers in greater numbers than in the past few years.

Here are previews of some of the hottest summer films of 2014, replete with big-name stars and action-packed plots!

  1.  X-Men:  Days of Future Past.  Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender star in this alternate future extravaganza.  Surviving mutants have been penned up in concentration-style encampments while Sentinels patrol America in a glimpse of the future while the X-Men are forced to stop a modern event to prevent that future from happening.  This movie promises to combine the best of Back To the Future plotting with the special effects that make the X-Men series great.
  2. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.  This is an odd little movie that promises to leave viewers thinking more deeply than the cast might suggest at first glance.  Robin Williams plays the title role and Mila Kunis the doctor who gives him a false diagnosis that leads him on a journey of reparation to all the people he has wronged.
  3. Words and Pictures.  Of all the romances this summer, this one may be the most thought-provoking.  A prep school teacher, played by Clive Owen, is depressed by his student’s disenchantment with language, although he himself has not published in years.  He is drawn to an abstract painter who is suffering from arthritis and has lost her ability to express herself through art.  His crippling drinking and her physical handicaps bring them together in a way that is unexpectedly tender and enjoyable.
  4. Maleficent.  This hommage to the idea of Wicked takes a look at the queen from Sleeping Beauty, played incredibly by Angelina Jolie.  A completely different look at the fairy tale will give a couple of hours of enjoyment and, surprisingly, some thought provocation as well!
  5. The Fault in Our Stars.  In an interesting take on the Romeo and Juliet trope, two teenagers meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.  Their wit, unconventionality and love take them on an incredible journey.  Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Sam Trammell round out the cast.

Enjoy your summer at the movies!

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Great Movies Produced in Hollywood

May 1, 2014

Blair StoverThere is no doubt that Hollywood studios produce great movies, but the consistency of these films leaves something to be desired.  Lately, Hollywood seems to have fallen into the trap of focusing too much on the gross receipts a movie can generate and too little on artistic value.  This is clearly evident in the rash of “genre” movies that plague the theaters each summer.  It is not unusual to see five or six superhero movies in a span of two years as well as numerous 30-something comedies, light romances and other movies that can instantly be typecast into a specific box.

Fortunately for those who want a better choice of movies, there are plenty of quality films being made outside of Hollywood.  These films are known as “indies” and include some of the most forward-thinking plots and character developments of today’s filmed art.

This summer, you may want to check out a couple of these great films rather than the fare at your local movie theater, particularly if you find one that speaks to an interest of yours.  If you are a little afraid of the indie film, just remember that you are broadening your horizons!

Here are five incredibly diverse films that promise to be some of the best of the summer offerings:

  • Ida.  This story of a young woman about to become a nun who discovers she is actually a Holocaust survivor is directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, the same director who uncovered the talent of Emily Blunt in My Summer of Love.  This film has received glowing reviews since it was released in 2013.
  • The Double.  In a hilarious version of Poe’s “William Wilson,” Jesse Eisenberg declares war on his Doppelganger who moves in next door and takes a job in his office.  Of course, they both love the same girl, Mia Wasikowska.
  • The Immigrant.  Filmmaker James Gray collaborates again with Joaquin Phoenix, this time with Marion Cotillard, to bring a 1920’s drama about a woman just “off the boat.”  The film resonates not only with great acting but also with wonderful cinematography by Darius Khondji.
  • Palo Alto.  Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, directs this story based on the work of James Franco.  Franco stars as a teacher having an affair with a student in a somewhat-comic rendition reminiscent of Fast Times At Ridgemont High.
  • Korengal.  This documentary is a parallel look at the war in Afghanistan, giving alternative viewpoints to a situation that may cause some deep introspection.

Try something new this year and take in an indie film.  You may be pleasantly surprised at how exciting an artistically-conceived film can be!

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The History of The Oscars

March 1, 2014

Blair StoverThe 86th annual Academy Awards, popularly known as the “Oscars,” was held recently, with 12 Years a Slave winning “Best Picture,” Matthew McConaughey named “Best Actor” and Cate Blanchett named “Best Actress.” While most of us at least nod in the direction of the Oscars each year and a few of us are glued to our sets, few people really know the history of the Academy Awards or how they came to be. Since they have been going strong now for 86 years, perhaps it is time to educate ourselves about this fascinating American film staple.

The Beginnings

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded in 1927 as a way to promote harmony between film studios and unions. Today, the Academy has grown to promote excellence in the film industry. The academy is composed of 6,000 filmmakers from the United States and around the world, and routinely gives money in the form of scholarships and other financial incentives to upcoming filmmakers.

The first Oscar awards were given on May 16, 1929, to 15 people who achieved special things in the motion picture industry. The ceremony lasted approximately 15 minutes, and the winners had been announced in advance to the media. Clearly, the very first awards from the Academy were quite different from those of today!

How The Oscars Are Decided

Most people have voiced, at some point or another, disappointment with the Oscar choices in one category or another. There are currently 24 awards given, covering many of the aspects of the film industry. There are also five special categories for awards in chosen areas. A film must be a feature film of at least 40 minutes and must have opened no earlier than January 1 of the previous year in order to qualify for consideration.

Some people claim that the Oscars are simply a money-maker for the film industry. Others complain that the voting representatives either pay too little attention to critically-acclaimed films or focus on “artsy” films that the public does not like. Further, some actors have refused to accept their Oscar awards because of various personal or political beliefs.However, the Oscars continues to fascinate most of us and will probably do so for the future, as well. Ultimately, the Oscars represent a snapshot of the film culture at any given time in American history.

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Jonas Brothers Cancel Tour, Delete Twitter

October 21, 2013
English: The Jonas Brothers perform at the &qu...

English: The Jonas Brothers perform at the “Kids Inaugural: We Are the Future” concert at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rumor has it that the three brothers could be about to end their musical careers as a group due to disagreements between them. This could have been the reason they deleted their Twitter account and cancelled their tour in the past few weeks. After years and years of successful tours, combined with multiple platinum records, the rumors are flying around about why the band is calling it quits. Blair Stover has more details below.

These rumors about the disintegration of the band formed by brothers Kevin Jonas, Joe and Nick have done nothing to counter any type of response, especially after their official Twitter account was deleted. Their Twitter page shows the “Sorry, the page does not exist” error when any user tries to access the virtual profile of the trio.

Though the group’s U.S. tour was scheduled to start on Friday in Philadelphia, the three artists finally decided to cancel the performance on problems stemming from arguing about the musical choices regarding the style of music the band plays.

“There is a deep division in the group. They disagree on the direction on the musical style,” said Jesse Derris, a spokesman for the Jonas Brothers, to the website HollywoodLife.com.

In spite of the disagreements between the three brothers, none of them want to take this issue to a personal level, so they are trying to reach an agreement to continue their career together.

“It is not a personal problem, but rather a musical one. After all, they are brothers and want the same thing and therefore, are trying to settle their differences,” said Derris.

Will you be sad to see the Jonas Brothers go, should the disagreements become irreconcilable?

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The Power of the Celebrity Brand

October 9, 2013

Blair Stover poses the question, could brand-building tactics that celebrities use work also for your company? Let’s take a look.

Heidi Klum

Cover of Heidi Klum

Well known celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Justin Timberlake, the Olsen twins, and Kim Kardashian have been able to generate income from various side ventures. They do this by fastening the power of their celebrity brand to something else.

As these celebrities have created names that are known and responded to by their audience, they are able to then use their name to generate consistent and significant revenue. This is even true when there is not necessarily a new album, movie, etc. driving their success. Most have effectively created a celebrity brand.

Are the rules really so different in the business world? You may not be a supermodel, chart-topping musician, or reality star, but you could establish a name for yourself which could create some very profitable results.

These celebrities have a very visible presence in the public eye. With concentrated exposure, any professional, entrepreneur or business owner can also develop a powerful personal brand. Such a brand pays off in many ways. These could include paid media appearance as a reputable expert, building of your client and customer base, increase of fees, recognition and establishment in your field which could lead to invitations into exclusive circles.

Unfortunately, there are some differences between the celebrity brand and the brand a business person would want to build. Negative attention is not always a bad thing in the celebrity world, yet it remains bad in the business world. So, keep your attention focused on building credibility, trust and expertise with your brand.

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Who’s Really Tweeting?

September 25, 2013

George Takei, the famous Star Trek actor from the 60’s (who is in his mid-70’s), has found fame on social media, boasting millions of followers. Yet his followers may be a little disappointed once they here that all of Takei’s tweets and messages on other social sites are not always coming from Mr. Sulu, himself. For instance, a ghostwriter was being paid $10 per post on Facebook alone to throw some messages out there.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

So how common is this trend among celebrities? How many post their own content to their social media pages, and how many hire out?

The sad thing, fans, is that Takei isn’t the only one doing this. In fact, Sarah Palin hires out as well. Kanye West, Barack Obama and Britney Spears all admit to paying professionals in order to maintain their social media accounts, and the list certainly doesn’t end there.

Oriana Leckert, Gotham Ghostwriters director of operations in NYC, said “At this point of having worked in this industry for a few years, I just assume that everyone has a ghostwriter. Whenever someone sounds drastically more coherent in a tweet then they do in person, they probably had some help.”

Ghostposting often involves multiple social media platforms. This means that if a person, like Mr. Takei, hires a person to do ghostwriting chances are it will be for all social media platforms involved, not just one site.

While the news is disappointing, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the updates celebrities put out. Just because tweets and posts are often paid doesn’t mean that your celebrity doesn’t post as well. So keep following and see if you can’t tell when Takei is posting and when his ghostwriter is! If you figure it out, be sure to share the tip here at Blair Stover Hollywood.

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RDJ vs. Marvel

June 12, 2013
Shaun Toub as Yinsen helps Tony Stark (Robert ...

Shaun Toub as Yinsen helps Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) with the makeshift Mark I Armor in the 2008 Iron Man film. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sources close to “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. say he deserves about 25 times as much as Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans, and about ten times as much as Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson for his role in the Avengers 2. We can’t resist some good gossip here on Blair Stover Hollywood, so read on to find out what we’ve sussed out from the news.

You might have heard of the multi-million dollar deal that Robert Downey Jr. was able to negotiate for his involvement in The Avengers. The actor received $50 million dollars due to negotiations that gave him a percentage of profit sharing. This amount, however, is nothing compared to the amount that is currently wafting through the rumor mill for the sequel.

Robert Downey Jr. wants to play his major role in the Avengers 2 movie and the fourth part of Iron Man, yet wants to earn a bigger piece of the pie as well. With the franchise promising to deliver on projected, big numbers, RDJ is asking for higher pay to the tune of $100 million. In comparison, the current highest paid actor is a well-deserved Tom Cruise, thanks to the sensational success of Mission: Impossible and Ghost Protocol, making a good $75 million.

A good basis for Robert Downey Jr.’s $100 million offer is the box office results of Iron Man 3. The sales are currently over the $1 billion dollar mark. In such sums, giving $100 million to Robert Downey Jr. shouldn’t be a problem. Marvel, however, is notorious for slow negotiations and it is no surprise that deliberations are slow in happening.

One thing is certain, The Avengers 2 is set for April, 30 2015. Whether Robert Downey Jr. will play Tony Stark or if he will be replaced is still up in the air.

Who would you like to see play Iron Man should Marvel decline to sign on RDJ again?

 

 

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Hathaway to Star in Adaption of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

January 30, 2013

Anne Hathaway recently won a Golden Globe for her stunning role in Tom Hooper’s musical hit ‘Les Miserables.’ Hathaway is also regarded as a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscar’s next month.

Despite her recent busy schedule, it doesn’t seem that she will be taking much time off. Reports have come out that she is set to star in a modern interpretation of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’

‘The Taming of the Shrew’ is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and has been adapted to the silver screen many times. The most recent film was ’10 Things I Hate About You’ in 1999.

Hathaway was supposed to star in Spielberg’s scifi- ‘Robopocalypse’ with Chris Hemsworth but that project has been postponed indefinitely. With that project on hold, Blair Stover believes that the production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ may happen sooner than planned.


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Lance Armstrong Admits to Using PED’s

January 24, 2013

For years, Lance Armstrong has denied and ridiculed those who have accused him of using performance enhancing drugs during his career in cycling.

Armstrong has now ended a decade of denial by confessing to using PED’s in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Confessing to using PED’s is a complete reversal for Armstrong after years of publicly denying the use through statements and interviews to protect his reputation.

Prior to his interview with Oprah, Armstrong made an emotional apology to the Livestrong charity that he founded after his battle with testicular cancer. Armstrong and many members of the organization were in tears after his speech when he urged them to continue their efforts in helping cancer patients.

In the past few years Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, lost his endorsements and was forced to leave his foundation. All of this came after many of his fellow teammates testified that Armstrong has used PED ‘s in a lengthy USDA report. Armstrong has been barred from competing in the elite triathlon, any running evcents and has a lifetime ban in cycling.

Many considered Armstrong a hero for winning seven consecutive Tour de France titles after his long battle with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. Blair Stover believes that Lance Armstrong’s reputation will never fully recover after this dramatic confession.

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Patrick Dempsey Saves Tully’s Coffee

January 19, 2013

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Doctor McDreamy has stepped in and saved Seattle-based coffee business Tully’s.

Patrick Dempsey has recently put in a bid against coffee super giant Starbucks to help save Tully’s which has gone bankrupt. The bid was approved by a federal judge this past week.

Patrick said in a statement, “I’ve been deeply humbled by the outpouring of support from the city of Seattle and am very proud to be a new business owner in this amazing city. We have a lot to accomplish over the next few months and years, and I am excited to now call Seattle my second home.”

While Dempsey has already made a major influence in Seattle with his role in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, Blair Stover thinks it’s wonderful that he is using his celebrity influence to benefit a Seattle-based company.

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