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Daily Headlines for Friday, 20th February 2009

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Daily Headlines for Wednesday, February 18th 2009


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Daily Headlines for Monday, February 16th 2009


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Daily Headlines – Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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Daily Headlines – Monday, February 9, 2009


Joaquin Phoenix quits acting?

According to the entertainment show Extra, Joaquin Phoenix has decided to quit acting.

The video above was shot last night at a Paul Newman benefit, and the star of Gladiator, Walk the Line and the forthcoming Two Lovers, said :

‘I want to take this opportunity… also to give you the exclusive and just talk a little bit about the fact that this will be my last performance as an actor… I’m not doing films anymore.’

When asked if he was being serious, Phoenix (who was being followed by his own camera crews), said:

‘Yeah. I’m working on my music. I’m done. I’ve been through that.’

Either this is some kind of elaborate joke or Phoenix might have some serious issues going on.

Joaquin Phoenix at the IMDb
> BBC News report the story


Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross call Andrew Sachs

In case you have been on holiday over the last few days (like BBC chief Mark Thomspon) you might have missed the incredible media storm over a phone call Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross made to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.

It actually went out on Brand’s Radio 2 show on Saturday 18th October (after being pre-recorded on Thursday 16th), but after the Mail on Sunday put the story on their front page all hell has broken loose with both of them getting suspended with even the Prime Minister condemning them (!).

The BBC aren’t rebroadcasting it, so if you missed it then here it is in 2 parts:

Here is their ‘viddycast’ after the show in which the commented on the call:

Although the whole thing has got out of hand, the main reason it spiralled out of control is the combination of the BBC not responding soon enough, shock amongst an older generation of licence fee payers that this kind of comedy goes on (even though it originally went out at after 10pm on a Saturday night) and a media feeding frenzy because this story has so many juicy elements that editors and hacks love (celebrity, outrage, the licence fee and even a classic TV show to boot).

Whatever you think about the original calls and reaction to them, one has to wonder why the BBC were so slow to react to a story like this.

Last night on Newsnight (the flagship current affairs show on BBC2) host Gavin Esler was in the surreal position of having a debate without a senior BBC figure. (David Elstein and comedian Nick Doody were left to discuss it – the segment appears at 26 mins into the programme, which you can watch on iPlayer)

After the trauma of the Hutton Report, the Blue Peter cat fiasco, Crowngate, not to mention the amount of time and money spent on retraining BBC journalists and producers about guidelines, you do have to ask how this pre-recorded show went out and why BBC management collectively passed the buck for 2 days whilst the story exploded in their face.

UPDATE 29/10/08: Russell Brand has now resigned and issued a statement.

> Download an MP3 of the call
> Find out more about Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross at Wikipedia
> BBC News report on the story and also have a timeline of events
> Maggie Brown of The Guardian on the affair

News Podcast

Note about The Review Podcast

Just thought I’d update everyone on The Review Podcast which has been dormant for a month now. 

I’m going to take a break from it for the foreseeable future as it has become difficult to give it the proper time and effort.

I also want to start posting more about current films here on the website rather than do an audio rundown.

Every Friday I’ll still put up a post highlighting the UK cinema releases and as well as the DVD Picks every Monday.

I’m still going to keep the feeds active for The FILMdetail Review but in future these podcasts might take a different form – maybe reviews of classic films from the past or some other aspect of the film world.  

However, The Interview Podcast will still continue in its present format.

If you have any questions then just email me via the contact page.


Tartan Films goes into administration

UK indie distributor Tartan Films has gone into administration.

Screen Daily report:

UK distributor Tartan Films has gone into administration, ending months of speculation.

The business, founded in 1982 by Hamish McAlpine, is believed to have made more than 20 staff redundant.

The news has come as no surprise after months of discussion about the company’s finance.

Last year, the business restructured with veteran managing director Laura De Casto leaving the business.

Head of acquisitions Jane Giles also left the business to become head of content at the British Film Institute. Other veterans who left the company in recent months included publicity veteran Sarah Bemand.

The company announced a $6m investment package in November 2007 but sources said that ultimately fell through. The company has announced no new acquisitions since that time.

This is really sad news – as one of the key remaining independents in UK cinema they brought a lot of interesting films to a wider audience including: Super Size Me, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Capturing the Friedmans, The Cooler, Ivan’s XTC, My Architect, Être et avoir, Irreversible, Secretary, Funny Games, Tesis, La Haine, Safe, Cronos, Hard Boiled, Man Bites Dog, The Double Life of Veronique, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Cyrano de Bergerac and A Short Film About Killing.

They also released a raft of important Asian titles under their Tartan Asia Extreme label, including: Ring, Audition, The Eye, Battle Royale and Oldboy.

Their library also includes over 30 Ingmar Bergman titles.

Screen Daily quote Mark Batey, CEO of the Film Distributors Association as saying:

“It’s a sad day. The company had an extrordinary track record of distributing films from all over the world and it has become a brand in the way that not many publishers of intellectual property in any sector have managed.”

Hamish McAlpine founded the company in 1984 and it merged with Metro Pictures in 1992 (becoming Metro Tartan) beofre going back to being Tartan Films.

Variety have more details:

Last October Tartan announced it had received a cash injection of £3 million ($6.2 million) in the form of a convertible loan from a private investor and also had restructured its Brit operation, with managing director Laura De Casto ankling.

The company’s theatrical and home entertainment departments, previously run out of separate London offices, were also merged into one entity based at Tartan’s head office.

Tartan USA, the company’s U.S. arm, announced at this year’s Cannes that it was being foreclosed. Film print and advertising financing company Palisades Media Corp. has since bought the U.S. rights to its library.

There has been no official statement from execs about the immediate future of the company, but it looks likely that liquidators and accountants will come in to assess the company’s assets before selling them off.

> Screen Daily, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter on the news
> Official site for Tartan Films (still up at the time of writing)
> A list of films released by Tartan over at Wikipedia