Archive for November, 2011

Ken Russell dies, aged 84

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Ken Russell

Ken Russell, the British film director, has died at the age of 84.

The director, whose work includes Women in Love, The Devils and Tommy, died peacefully in his sleep in hospital yesterday afternoon (November 27), his son Alex confirmed.

Novelist and broadcaster Norman Lebrecht revealed the news on the Arts Journal blog.

Born in Southampton in 1927, Russell served in both the Royal Air Force and Merchant Navy before moving into directing television documentaries.

He started feature film directing with his 1963 movie French Dressing before making Harry Palmer film Billion Dollar Brain with Michael Caine.

Russell’s 1969 adaptation of DH Lawrence’s Women in Love earned him an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Director’ and won its star Glenda Jackson a ‘Best Actress’ Academy Award.

His 1971 historical drama The Devils, starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave, sparked huge controversy for its violent, sexual and religious content and found itself banned in several countries.

The BFI is due to release The Devils on DVD on March 19, 2012 in its original UK ‘X’ certificate form.

Among Russell’s other directing credits include Lisztomania, Altered States and Whore. His last directing job was in 2006 when he oversaw the ‘Girl with Golden Breasts’ segment of horror Trapped Ashes.

Russell is survived by his wife Lisi Tribble and five children from his first marriage to Shirley Russell.

‘Breaking Dawn’ leads Thanksgiving weekend – US box office top ten

Sunday, November 27th, 2011
Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 poster

Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 convincingly held onto its box office lead in Thanksgiving weekend.

The penultimate vampire movie, starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, last week debuted with a huge $139.5 million, the fifth-highest opening in box office history.

The Muppets premiered strongly in second place, while Happy Feet Two fell to third place.

Both Arthur Christmas and Hugo exceeded expectations by finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

3D action thriller Immortal‘s sharp fall continued, from third to seventh, overtaken by Jack and Jill.

US box office top ten for the five-day Thanksgiving weekend (studio estimates):
1. (-) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – $62.2 million
2. (-) The Muppets – $42 million
3. (2) Happy Feet Two – $18.5 million
4. (-) Arthur Christmas – $17 million
5. (-) Hugo – $15.3 million
6. (4) Jack and Jill – $14.1 million
7. (3) Immortals – $12.5 million
8. (5) Puss in Boots – $10.3 million
9. (6) Tower Heist – $10.1 million
10. (-) The Descendents – $9.4 million

‘Breaking Dawn’ posts fifth highest opening – US box office top ten

Sunday, November 20th, 2011
Edward and Bella share a moment

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 has crushed its competition at the US box office.

The penultimate instalment in The Twilight Saga, which was met with negative early reviews, posted the fifth highest opening weekend ever, taking in approximately $139.5 million from 4,061 locations.

Only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon have earned more on the opening weekend.

The final instalment of The Twilight Saga will open on November 16, 2012.

Happy Feet Two opened to $22 million, falling short of expectations. The original film opened to $41.5 million in 2006.

3D action thriller Immortals saw a sharp drop in its second week. The Henry Cavill film fell to third place, taking in $12.3 million, which brought its total earnings to $52.9 million.

Meanwhile, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill dropped to fourth place, pulling in $12.0 million to bring its total earnings to $41 million.

The animated film Puss in Boots rounded out the top five films, taking in an additional $10.7 million.

This week’s US box office top ten (studio estimates):
1. (-) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – $139.5 million
2. (-) Happy Feet Two – $22 million
3. (1) Immortals – $12.3 million
4. (2) Jack and Jill – $12 million
5. (3) Puss in Boots – $10.7 million
6. (4) Tower Heist – $7 million
7. (5) J. Edgar – 5.9 million
8. (6) A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas – $2.9 million
9. (7) In Time – $1.7 million
10. (-) The Descendents – $1.2 million

That ’70s Show Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Review Link

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Please click on either cover to read a combined review at

Steven Soderbergh departs ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

Saturday, November 19th, 2011
Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh has reportedly quit as director for the upcoming Man from U.N.C.L.E. adaptation.

The Contagion director had been developing the project with writer Scott Z. Burns since early 2010, but has now dropped out due to disagreements with Warner Bros, according to The Playlist.

Soderbergh is said to have clashed with Warner Bros over the film’s budget and lack of a male lead, after a deal with Bradley Cooper fell through recently.

Channing Tatum was said to be considered for the lead role, but has now reportedly also exited. George Clooney also decided against signing up for the main part of US agent Napoleon Solo.

The director was also displeased with the studio’s lack of concrete plans for the film’s production, with shooting expected to have started in March 2012.

Warner Bros are now reportedly looking to reschedule the project’s filming dates with a new director.

Steven Soderbergh recently downplayed reports that he was planning to retire in the near future.

‘Immortals’ outperforms ‘Jack and Jill’ – US box office top ten

Sunday, November 13th, 2011
Immortals (2011): Tarsem's ultra-violent 3D epic casts Henry Cavill as Theseus, a peasant who wages war against Mickey Rourke's evil King Hyperion.

3D action thriller Immortals has reigned victorious atop the US box office.

Tarsem Singh’s fantasy, starring Henry Cavill, debuted in pole position after taking $32 million over the weekend.

Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill had to settle for second place, opening with $26 million.

Puss In Boots was knocked down to third place with $25.5 million, having topped the box office for the last fortnight.

Rounding off the top five films, Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, managed $11.5 million but was beaten to fourth place by Tower Heist.

This week’s US box office top ten (studio estimates):
1. (-) Immortals – $32 million
2. (-) Jack and Jill – $26 million
3. (1) Puss In Boots – $25.5 million
4. (2) Tower Heist – $13.2 million
5. (-) J. Edgar – $11.5 million
6. (3) A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas – $5.9 million
7. (5) In Time – $4.15 million
8. (4) Paranormal Activity 3 – $3.63 million
9. (6) Footloose – $2.74 million
10. (7) Real Steel – $2 million

‘Walking Dead’ exec: ‘Season three is being planned’

Thursday, November 10th, 2011
The Walking Dead S02E01

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has revealed that planning for a third season has begun.

The zombie drama, which stars Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Wayne Callies, was officially picked up for a third run in late October.

“Despite just having gotten the final word on season three, you don’t do a show like this without being mindful of what you’re building towards,” Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly.

“At least once a week in the writers’ room, we spend an hour or two just talking about all the different things that we’re planning on doing in a proposed third season.”


‘Spartacus’ renewed for third season by Starz

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

Starz has renewed the Spartacus series for a third season, before the second season has even aired.

The untitled third run is expected to start production in New Zealand early next year, while the second season, called Spartacus: Vengeance, will debut on January 27, 2012 at 10pm (EST).

“There is no denying the impact Spartacus has had in the marketplace with fans across the globe thirsting for the continuation of the epic tale,” Starz Media Managing Director Carmi Zlotnik said. “Vengeance brings unparalleled action and drama to Starz viewers in January.

“We are thrilled to come to an early agreement that allows the writers and talent to get right back to work in preparing for season three.”


‘Puss in Boots’ tops US box office for second weekend

Sunday, November 6th, 2011
Puss In Boots poster

DreamWorks animated sequel Puss in Boots has topped the US box office for the second week in a row.

The Shrek spinoff took $33m this weekend, pulling ahead of ensemble comedy Tower Heist, which opened to $25.1m.

Comedy sequel A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas opened to $13.1m while horror flick Paranormal Activity 3 falls to fourth with $8.5m.

Rounding out the top five films of the weekend is sci-fi drama In Time, which took $7.7m for its second weekend of release.

This week’s US box office top ten (studio estimates):
1. (-) Puss in Boots – $33 million
2. (-) Tower Heist – $25.1 million
3. (-) A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas – $13.1 million
4. (2) Paranormal Activity 3 – $8.5 million
5. (3) In Time – $7.7 million
6. (4) Footloose – $4.55 million
7. (6) Real Steel – $3.4 million
8. (5) The Rum Diary – $2.98 million
9. (8) The Ides of March – $2 million
10. (9) Moneyball – $1.9 million

Drew Barrymore ‘is Hollywood’s most overpaid actor’

Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Drew Barrymore a the COVERGIRL 50th Anniversary Celebration in West Hollywood

Drew Barrymore has been named as Hollywood’s most overpaid actor.

The 50 First Dates star received the dubious honour from Forbes Magazine for returning just 40 cents (25p) in box office gross for every $1 (60p) she is paid.

Barrymore’s most recent film, the 2010 romantic comedy Going The Distance, grossed just $11m (£6.8m) in ticket sales from an estimated budget of $32m (£19.9m).

Eddie Murphy finished second by making $2.70 (£1.70) for every $1, while last year’s champion Will Ferrell came third with $3.50 (£2.20). Reese Witherspoon and Denzel Washington rounded out the top five with $3.55 (£2.21) and $4.25 (£2.65) respectively.

Nicolas Cage, Adam Sandler, Vince Vaughn, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman also appeared on the rankings.

The list was based on the compensation awarded to Hollywood’s 40 top-earning actors for their last three films compared against the operating income on those pictures.