Movies and Government
Saving Mr. Banks, the new film chronicling Walt Disney’s bid to secure movie rights to Mary Poppins, was released on Friday. Although an incredibly talented and innovative animator, director and producer, Disney’s reputation will be forever tarnished by his well-known anti-Semitism and support for racist causes. Disney participated in several racist initiatives, including the pro-Nazi German American Bund and was a close friend of the Nazi propagandist and Hitler confidante Leni Riefenstahl. He was also allied with the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, another anti-Semitic organization.
On a stormy June evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood inside a tent on the edge of Gracie Mansion. Despite the thunder and lightning, the mayor was all smiles as he shared the stage with such luminaries as Barbara Walters, Spike Lee and the Weinstein brothers. It was the eighth annual Made in NY Awards, presented by the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, or MOME (rhymes with “home”), and the event was ostensibly a time to celebrate those in the entertainment industry.
Apparently, that included Mayor Bloomberg.
“About four years ago, we had a little bump in the road, and I called our mayor,” Harvey Weinstein said, stepping up to the mic. “I said, ‘Things are a little topsy-turvy right now. People need jobs in California, but we don’t want to leave New York City.’ And the mayor, extremely busy as he was … got it done for us.”
As if a government official pulling strings for a high-powered movie executive somehow constituted a win for the little guy, Mr. Weinstein continued his anecdote, thundering: “The mayor’s there in a big way, and the mayor’s there in a visual way!”
E.T. phone home? Did Hollywood power couple Kathleen Kennedy (she earned her first production credit on Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming alien flick) and Frank Marshall become too homesick in New York? The L.A.-based producing pair has sold their pied-a-terre at 120 Central Park South and try as we might we can’t find any new purchase under their names.
Certainly the sale is not for lack of funds. In June, Ms. Kennedy left the couple’s husband-and-wife production company to become co-chair of Lucasfilm Ltd. alongside George Lucas. Indeed, if you need to bring together the big bucks and the big names for a crowd-pleasing production, Ms. Kennedy is the one to do it, having worked on not only E.T., but also Raider’s of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Munich.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the possibility accused Canadian killer Luka Magnotta was involved in a gruesome decapitation and killing where the victim’s head and hands were placed in a wooded area by the Hollywood Sign. The Observer was first to report links between Mr. Magnotta and the Hollywood Sign killing on Monday. We previously alerted police in Montreal amd Los Angeles to the potential connection on Saturday.
“Our detectives are contacting their counterparts in Canada and to see if suspect was in Hollywood at the time,” LAPD spokesman Lyle Knight told ABC News. “It’s an open investigation. Our detectives are trying too see if there is a connection.”
Last Chance for Animals, an organization “dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation” has taken responsibility for posting a series of YouTube pages “glorifying” accused Canadian killer Luka Magnotta and referencing the case of a severed head found by the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles earlier this year. According to an LCA press release, these videos were made by their “special investigations unit” in an attempt to “lure in the killer, or his companions, using covert tactics often reserved for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”
“SIU investigators immediately got to work and posted a video glorifying Magnotta, dubbing him ‘The James Dean Killer,’” the press release said. ”A second video titled ’1 Man 1 Icon’ was produced to continue the façade using family photos of Magnotta that had not yet been featured in the press.”
Fashion Week Observed
Could Canadian killer and infamous internet villain Luka Magnotta be behind a Hollywood murder mystery? After an international manhunt, German police say they have arrested Luka Magnotta in Berlin over ten days after he allegedly killed and dismembered a man named Lin Jun, posted a gruesome video of the crime online and mailed the body parts to the headquarters of Canadian political parties. However, The Observer has uncovered information that could potentially link Mr. Magnotta to an infamous case from earlier this year where the severed head and hands of a man were found on a wooded trail near the Hollywood Sign.
Update (6/8/12 8:37 A.M.): The LAPD has confirmed they are investigating the possibility Mr. Magnotta was involved in the Hollywood Sign killing.
British designer Jenny Packham dresses the Duchess of Cambridge on a regular basis, but perhaps she wants to start attracting an edgier clientele.
Politically, economically, culturally, globally—except for the elimination of a few unlamented dictators and calling an end to the war in Iraq—2011 had little to offer, and delivered even less. Definitely time to say adios and begin again, with renewed optimism. But before we draw the curtain on the old man with the scythe and welcome the new kid in diapers with his brand-new year to grow, let’s lift a glass in a proper, permanent farewell toast to the folks who filed out through the exit doors in the year just ended. From no-nonsense First Lady Betty Ford, 93, to self-destructive goth singer Amy Winehouse, 27, death played no favorites in age or character. From Elizabeth Taylor, once the world’s most beautiful woman, to Cheetah, always the world’s most beloved chimp, 2011 ran the gamut in important departures.
When fall begins, so does the new movie season, and it all happens at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival, a.k.a. TIFF. This is the biggest, friendliest, most organized film fete in the world and a launching pad for both Hollywood Oscar contenders and small low-budget independents, which in the downturn of today’s economic meltdown amounts to the same thing. The crowds seem larger than ever this year as 300,000 people beg, fight and grovel for tickets to see in seven days 336 movies made by everyone from Madonna to Francis Ford Coppola. Politely, of course. This is Canada, not Cannes. For one whole week, you say goodbye to sleep and nutrition and learn to live on pizza and Dove bars. The Scotiabank Theatre, where most of the press screenings grind out from 8 a.m. to midnight, has even installed a Burger King. Nobody says you come to TIFF to get healthy.
A fine actor who has played everyone from Oscar Wilde to Alfred Kinsey with great acclaim, Liam Neeson seems to have embarked on a new career of making one cheesy bomb after another. Maybe he’s bored. Maybe he just wants to soak up the money and throw in the bath mat. Maybe he needs to Read More