Blog By: Ellice Soliven
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival is in full swing! Held in Park City, Utah from January 19-29, the festival celebrates all things independent film. For 10 days, Park City is flooded with actors, directors, and movielovers scouring the festival for upcoming buzzworthy movies. Complete with live music, discussion panels and celebrity parties, Sundance is the place to be this month.
Check out the festival’s most buzzworthy films so far: Sundance 2012 Buzz Films
30 Rock actor Tracy Morgan has been hospitalized after he collapsed following an awards ceremony Sunday night at Sundance. Although there were reports that Morgan was intoxicated at the awards, his publicist, Lewis Kay, stated that “exhaustion and altitude” were to blame. “Superman ran into a little kryptonite,” Morgan later tweeted. “The high altitude in Utah shook up this kid from Brooklyn.”
In other movie news…
The Producers Guild Awards took place Saturday, with the silent film The Artist taking top honors. Other PGA winners included HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, ABC’s Modern Family, the animated film The Adventures of Tintin, a movie documentary called Beats, Rhymes & Life, and The Colbert Report for talk and live entertainment shows.
Along with the Golden Globes, the PGA seems to serve as a sorting hat for Oscar contenders – what with nominations being announced tomorrow, January 24.
And in honor of Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Pictures Sciences has unveiled “Celebrate the Movies”, a “digital exhibition” of billboards spanning across Los Angeles and New York City. Over the next couple weeks, the billboards will highlight iconic images from past blockbusters, including Avatar, Apollo 13, Ray, The Exorcist, Saturday Night Fever, Shrek and many more.
Underworld Awakening was released this weekend, finding itself at the top of the box office charts, raking in $25.4 million. Kate Beckinsale returns to the screen in this fourth installment of the Underworld series, and her comeback seems to be the reason why the film is reigning in theatres:
“She is such a force,” says Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution. “Her character – you just can’t take your eyes off of her. I know the character is very dear to her, as well, and she just kills it. The 3-D aspect of the film also brings something, makes it a fun, visceral ride.”
Vote here for other action movies that would be great in 3D!
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was also released this weekend, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. The movie follows a boy named Oskar, whose father (Tom Hanks) died in the World Trade center attacks of 9/11. Oskar finds a key in his late father’s closet, and is determined to discover the secret of the key and in doing so, learn more about his father.
Although the movie is not solely about the attacks of 9/11, it will make you meditate on life and loss, so be sure to bring a box of Kleenex to the theatre.
Coincidentally, actor and producer Mark Wahlberg had something to say about the World Trade Center attacks last week too. In his recent Men’s Health interview, Wahlberg states:
“If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did,” he said. “There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.’”
Wahlberg was originally scheduled to be on board one of the planes that crashed into the towers, and seems to be saying that if he had been on that flight, he could have prevented the tragedy. His bold statements seem to have caused some controversy, and are being described as “silly” and “disrespectful”. Wahlberg has since apologized in a statement:
“To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with, and to suggest I would have done anything differently than the passengers on that plane was irresponsible,” he said. “I deeply apologize to the families of the victims that my answer came off as insensitive, it was certainly not my intention.”
In the land of celebrity couples…
By now we all know about Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries. But in Sunday night’s part one of the season finale of Kourtney and Kim Take New York, Kim hires a celebrity medium who channels the spirit of her dead father. As a result, she tearfully comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t want to be married to Kris anymore. This episode documents the beginning of the end of the doomed marriage. Stay tuned next week for more Kardashian drama.
In more recent celebrity breakup news, Project Runway host Heidi Klum and singer Seal have confirmed they are separating after seven years of marriage. In a statement from the couple:
“We have had the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart. This is an amicable process and protecting the well-being of our children remains our top priority, especially during this time of transition.”
It’s really kind of refreshing to read about a drama-free split between a celebrity couple.
Unfortunately, there were a few deaths in the news this week: legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, indie film executive Bingham Ray, and iconic blues singer Etta James.
Following two strokes during Sundance, indie filmmaking icon Bingham Ray died on Monday near Park City.
“It is with great sadness that the Sundance Institute acknowledges the passing of Bingham Ray, cherished independent film executive and most recently Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society,” Deadline Hollywood reports. “On behalf of the independent film community in Park City for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and elsewhere, we offer our support and condolences to his family. Bingham’s many contributions to this community and business are indelible, and his legacy will not be soon forgotten.”
Friday marked the death of legendary blues singer Etta James, most famous for her love song, “At Last”. After a long struggle with leukemia, James died at the age of 73. Over the years, the Los Angeles-born singer won four Grammys and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In the 2008 movie Cadillac Records, James was portrayed by singer Beyonce.
“I’m not a braggart, but when I was a little girl people used to come from all over Hollywood to hear me sing,” James once said. Now you’re singing with the angels, girl. R.I.P.