Israeli War Drama Tops Venice Film Festival! See Complete List of Winners! 

"Lebanon" a gripping account of war from inside a military tank by Israeli director Samuel Maoz took the top prize at the 66th Venice Film Festival. "Lebanon" won the festival's Golden Lion.

The Silver Lion for best director went to New York-based Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat for her first feature "Women Without Men."

Meanwhile, Fatih Akin's super funny "Soul Kitchen" took the Special Jury prize. The Turkish-German director's film is set in his native Hamburg.

Colin Firth won best actor for his role as a gay college professor in Tom Ford's directorial debut "A Single Man." This film is based on a book by Christopher Isherwood.

Todd Solondz's dark comedy "Life During Wartime" won for best screenplay. This is Solondz's quasi-sequel to "Happiness."

Russian actress Xenia Rappoport won the best actress prize for her role as a mysterious chambermaid in Giuseppe Capotondi’s "The Double Hour." This is a contemporary film noir about romance, robbery and murder set in Turin's speed-dating scene!

My home country, the Philippines, scored well with Pepe Diokno's "Engkwentro." The film won Luigi De Laurentiis Lion of the Future and Venice Horizons. Literally translated as "The Encounter," the film tells the dark story of gangs in Manila and how two brothers encountered each other from warring sides. Gritty, thought-provoking film! Congratulations Diokno and company!

Here's the complete list of winners at the 66th Venice Film Festival!


GOLDEN LION "Lebanon" (Samuel Maoz, Israel-France-Germany)

SILVER LION "Women Without Men" (Shirin Neshat, Germany-Austria-France)

GRAND JURY PRIZE "Soul Kitchen" (Fatih Akin, Germany)

ACTOR Colin Firth ("A Single Man," US)

ACTRESS Ksenia Rappoport ("The Double Hour," Italy)



("Life During Wartime," US)

TECHNICAL CONTRIBUTION for Set Design Sylvie Olive ("Mr Nobody," Jaco Van Dormael, France)


LUIGI DE LAURENTIIS LION OF THE FUTURE "Engkwentro," (Pepe Diokno, Philippines)

VENICE HORIZONS "Engkwentro" (Pepe Diokno, Philippines)


VENICE HORIZONS SPECIAL MENTION "The Man’s Woman And Other Stories," (Amit Dutta, India)

CONTROCAMPO ITALIANO "Cosmonauta," Susanna Nichiarelli (Italy)

Special Mention "Negli Occhi," Daniele Anzillotti and Francesco Del Grosso (Italy)

Label Europa Cinemas – Venice Days 2009 Prize "The Last Days of Emma Blank," (Alex van Warmerdam, The Netherlands)


FIPRESCI HORIZONS AND CRITICS’ WEEK PRIZE "Adrift." (Bui Thac Chuyen, Vietnam–France)


Corto Cortissimo Lion for Best Short Film "First Born," (Etienne Kallos, South Africa-US)

Best European Short "Sinner," (Meni Philip Israel)

Corto Cortissimo Special Mention "Felicitŕ," (Salome Aleksi, Georgia)

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Inside D23, the Disney Expo! "Pirates 4," Princess, Johnny Depp, and Miley! See Pictures from Event! 

Walt Disney Studios Chairman, Dick Cook, presented the studio's upcoming film slate, with a little help from Johnny Depp, Miley Cyrus, John Travolta, Tim Burton, Nicolas Cage, and yes, the Muppets!

The event was held last Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center during D23 Expo -- Disney's answer to Comic-Con. The stars all lined up!

Depp even sailed onstage in a pirate ship dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow, and talked about the fourth installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise and playing Tonto! Read More...

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"9" and "The September Issue" Movie Reviews 

It's all about stitching at the box-office this weekend. One, is an animated adventure called "9" about the "stitchpunk" creations by director Shane Acker featuring the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, and Jennifer Connelly.

(For my written review of "9" click here)

The other's such a stitch of a fashion documentary. It's called "The September Issue" and it's from filmmaker R.J. Cutler. He does for fashion what he did for politics in the brilliant "The War Room."

"The September Issue" focuses on Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour during the production of the magazine's 2007 September Issue -- the holy grail of fashion. Egos clashing, tempers flaring, strike a pose there's nothing to it :happy

Here are my movie reviews of both "9" and "The September Issue."

"9" -- A Focus Features presentation in association with Relativity Media of a Jim Lemley/Tim Burton/Timur Bekmambetov production. 9. Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Fred Tatasciore. Casting by Mindy Marin, C.S.A. Themes by Danny Elfman. Score by Deborah Lurie. Edited by Nick Kenway. Associate Producers, Graham Moloy, Lilian Eche, Pierre Urbain. Animation Produced at Starz Animation, Toronto. Co-Producer, Jinko Gotoh. Co-Producer, Marci Levine. Produced by Jim Lemley, Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, Dana Ginsburg. Story by Shane Acker. Screenplay by Pamela Pettler. Directed by Shane Acker. A Focus Features Release.

"The September Issue" -- Directed by: R.J. Cutler
Produced By: R.J. Cutler, Eliza Hindmarch, Sadia Shepard
Executive Produced By: Molly Thompson, Robert DeBitetto, Robert Sharenow, R.J. Cutler
Running Time: 88 Minutes

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Original "Hancock" Cast Set to Return for Sequel 

Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman are set to reunite with director Peter Berg for the sequel to Columbia Pictures' "Hancock."

Berg revealed the news at the Toronto Film Festival where he said, "Everybody's going to come back for a sequel." Yes, but the studio replied that there are no official deals made with the talent yet.

But you know, Smith, Theron, and Bateman will return.

As we told you last month, "The Shield" writers, Adam Ferro and Glen Mazzara, are working on the script. (see original story right here)

No official plot has been announced but according to Variety, "Berg has said Smith and Theron will once again play immortal gods, who lose their powers when in each other's presence. The two must pair up to deal with a third entity. The actioner is expected to explore the 3,000-year-old world they're from, which was only hinted at in the first film."

They're going to expand the mythology introduced in the first movie. Honestly? "Hancock" could have been a great film, but the second half failed to match the wit and candor of the first half.

But maybe, Berg and company will be able to truly give us an intriguing and involving superhero movie next time around.

Bateman will return as the PR exec who helped clean up the image of Smith's drunk, depressed superhero.

There's no official release date yet so stay tuned.

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Jeff Bridges to Star in "True Grit" Remake? 

It could be a great "Big Lebowski" reunion! The dude is in talks with Paramount to star for his "Lebowski" directors, Joel and Ethan Coen, in their "True Grit" remake. He will play the John Wayne role that won the actor an Oscar in 1970.

As we told you back in March, the Coen brothers are lining up their "True Grit" remake before working on "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" for Columbia Pictures. (see original story right here)

The Coens will return with their "No Country for Old Men" producing partner, Scott Rudin. They are looking more towards the Charles Portis novel for inspiration rather than the original 1969 film.

The original movie was told from the point of view of Wayne's character, Marshall Reuben J. 'Rooster' Cogburn, but in the Coen brothers adaptation, it will be told from a 14-year old girl's point-of-view.

The novel is about a girl who's helped by an aging U.S. marshal and another lawman to track her father's killer.

I adore both the Coens and Bridges, so I'm looking forward to seeing their take on the classic western.

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