Michael Douglas to Receive Icon Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival 

Michael Douglas is set to receive the Icon Award on Thursday, January 13, at the 22nd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). The actor will get his award following a screening of "Solitary Man." The Icon Award is given to an individual who has created a great body of work which symbolizes the highest level of achievement.

Festival Director Darryl Macdonald called Douglas an "American treasure" and is "deserving of celebration."

Here's the rest of the press release:

The Festival will devote an evening to the Oscar® winning actor and producer, as part of its Talking Pictures: The Contenders Series, which focuses on the films and the actors that are emerging among the front-runners leading up to the Academy Award nominations. The tribute will include the presentation of its Icon Award, a selection of clips from his films, an on-stage conversation with Douglas and Variety’s Peter Bart and a screening of Solitary Man. In the film Douglas stars as a car magnate who watches his personal and professional life spin out of control because he cannot control his own appetites in this wry seriocomedy from directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Jenna Fisher, Mary-Louise Parker, Jesse Eisenberg and Danny Devito.

Michael Douglas is an actor with over 35 years of experience in the theatre, film and television. Douglas has starred in such high profile works as The Streets of San Francisco, Romancing the Stone, Fatal Attraction, The War of the Roses, Basic Instinct and The American President. His performance as the ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko in Wall Street earned him the 1987 Academy Award for Best Actor. His other film credits include Wonder Boys, Disclosure, Falling Down, The Game, A Perfect Murder, The Sentinel, The King of California and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Throughout his career, Douglas has also served as producer on many influential films including Traffic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The China Syndrome, Flatliners, Made in America, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker, Face/Off and One Night at McCool’s. This year Douglas also starred in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps for which he is nominated for a Golden Globe. Douglas is a United Nations Messenger of Peace focusing on nuclear proliferation and small arms control.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the most prestigious and well-attended film festivals in North America, welcoming more than 130,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the year’s cinematic achievements. The celebrated list of honorees this year include: Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Danny Boyle, Robert Duvall, Colin Firth, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, David O. Russell, Diane Warren and the cast of The Social Network.

The Festival’s 22nd annual Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight. Renewing sponsors of this year’s Festival are Title Sponsor The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, Spencer’s Restaurant and KPSP Local 2. Major Sponsors include Bank of America, Penfolds the Official Wine of the Festival, Regal Entertainment, Ketel One, Desert Regional Medical Center, Integrated Wealth Management, Wessman Development, Guthy-Renker, Wells Fargo, Windermere Real Estate, Eisenhower Medical Center, Chihuly Art Glass, Panavision, Larry Abel Designs and Ocean Properties Development. The Festival runs from January 6-17, 2011. For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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"Little Fockers" Debuts At No. 1, But "True Grit" Impresses! 

First, the bad news. According to Hollywood.com, overall revenues this Christmas weekend were down 45% over the same weekend a year ago. But that didn't stop Universal's "Little Fockers" for taking the No. 1 spot.

The third installment of the "Meet the Parents" franchise opened with $34 million for the weekend and $48.3 million since opening Wednesday, December 22nd. So how did it stack up against the other films in the "Parents" franchise?

The first "Meet the Parents" debuted in 2000 with $28.6 million, eventually earning $166.2 million. The sequel, "Meet the Fockers," earned $46.1 million during its opening weekend on December 22 of 2004 becoming the 4th highest grossing film of that year with $279.2 million.

The new entry, "Little Fockers," will probably end up between the first and the second in total domestic gross, but honestly? The threequel was an unnecessary flick, the magic was gone, and everyone, from Ben Stiller to Robert DeNiro all the way to Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, gave phoned-in performances.

The bright spot this weekend was "True Grit," the Coen brothers' remake of the John Wayne 1969 film. Starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, and Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit" made an impressive debut of $25.6 million for the weekend, and $36.8 million since opening last Wednesday. ("True Grit" movie review, interview with Barry Pepper)

Previous weekend's box-office champ, "Tron: Legacy," fell to No. 3 with $20.1 million. Also starring Bridges, "Tron" is on its way to closing in on the $90 million mark, but still very far from making a profit with a rumored budget of $300 million. Yikes! ("Tron: Legacy" movie review)

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" duked it out with "Yogi Bear" for the No. 4 position, but Aslan eventually triumphed. ("The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" movie review, interviews with Georgie Henley and Will Poulter)

The Third installment of the "Narnia" franchise earned $10.8 million for the fourth spot, while Warner Bros. "Yogi Bear" followed closely with $8.8 million for the No. 5 position. ("Yogi Bear" movie review, interviews with Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, director Eric Brevig, and Yogi Bear and Boo Boo themselves)

The sad story of the weekend belonged to Twentieth Century Fox's "Gulliver's Travels" starring Jack Black. The retelling of the Jonathan Swift classic only earned $7.2 million, debuting at No. 7. Ouch!

But Oscar baits continue to attract audiences, with "True Grit" leading the pack. Weinstein Co.'s "The King's Speech," one of my favorite films this year, earned $4.5 million after expanding into 700 theaters. Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere" from Focus Features earned over $20,000 per cinema debuting in just 7 theaters. ("Somewhere" interviews with Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, and Coppola)

Here's the estimated list of Top 10 Movies for weekend of December 24, the last weekend for Hollywood to impress, both financially and creatively:

1 Little Fockers (PG-13) $34.0 M $48.3 M
2 True Grit (PG-13) $25.6 M $36.8 M
3 Tron: Legacy (PG) $20.1 M $88.3 M
4 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG) $10.8 M $63.9 M
5 Yogi Bear (PG) $8.8 M $36.8 M
6 The Fighter (R) $8.5 M $27.6 M
7 Gulliver's Travels (PG) $7.2 M $7.2 M
8 Black Swan (R) $6.6 M $29.0 M
9 Tangled (PG) $6.5 M $143.8 M
10 The Tourist (PG-13) $5.7 M $41.2 M

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Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season Everyone! Thanks for Everything! 

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Shoot 'Em Up! Watch My "True Grit" Movie Review Pardner! 

For my written "True Grit" review, click here. My one-on-one interview with Barry "Lucky Ned" Pepper, click here.

Here's more info on "True Grit" from Yahoo:

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross's father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney, and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, she sets out with him -- over his objections -- to hunt down Chaney. Her father's blood demands that she pursue the criminal into Indian territory and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man.

Logline: Punishment comes one way or another.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Western, Adaptation and Remake
Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.
Release Date: December 22nd, 2010 (limited)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images.
Distributors: Paramount Pictures
Production Co.: Scott Rudin Productions, Skydance Productions
Studios: Paramount Pictures
Filming Locations:
Austin, Texas, USA
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Produced in: United States

Cast and Credits
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Nicholas Sadler, Barry Pepper
Directed by: Joel Coen, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Robert Graf, David Ellison

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My One-on-One "Somewhere" Interviews with Sofia Coppola, Stephen Dorff, and Elle Fanning! 

Sofia Coppola takes us back inside hotel rooms in her new film “Somewhere.” This time, the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood plays a character in this study of boredom, purpose, and self-discovery.

Stephen Dorff stars as Johnny Marco, a famous movie star in search of his soul. His daughter, Cleo, played wonderfully by Elle Fanning, is the key to his redemption.

Much like “Lost in Translation,” the characters in “Somewhere” spend most of their time inside a hotel room thereby making us claustrophobically focus on the situations and the dynamics.


In this interview with Sofia Coppola, we talked about:

*** “Somewhere” is packed with shades of Italian neorealism. Was she subconsciously paying homage to the neorealism greats such as Antonioni?
*** What inspired her to make “Somewhere?”
*** Why did she put us back into hotel rooms again?
*** What made her decide to cast Dorff and Fanning for the father and daughter roles?
*** Did she write the part of Johnny Marco with Dorff in mind?
*** Expound on the Johnny Marco character
*** What about the dancing twins in the film? What’s with this obsession on twins?
*** How did she hire Chris Pontius from the “Jackass” franchise?
*** How does motherhood affect her creatively?
*** What’s next for Sofia Coppola? More films set in hotel rooms perhaps?


In this interview with Stephen Dorff, we talked about:

*** Why “Somewhere” is poetic, elegiac, sweet?
*** His character, Johnny Marco, is unreliable – an unlikeable person that you love to like
*** Does he identify with Johnny Marco?

And the rest of the interview has Dorff expounding on celebrity culture, and why he, sometimes, could fall into the trap. What an amazing person!


In this interview with Elle Fanning, we talked about:

*** How did she get involved into making the film?
*** How she screen-tested for the part of Cleo?
*** Does she ice-skate in real life?
*** How did she and Stephen Dorff bond?
*** The value of crispy food!
*** How she prepared for the part?
*** The bond between a father and a daughter
*** Hope in the end

Elle was a delight in real life as much as she was on-screen in “Somewhere!” I predict bigger and better things for this 11-year-old actress!

Here's more info on "Somewhere"

You have probably seen him in the tabloids; actor Johnny Marco is living at the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. He has a Ferrari to drive around in, and a constant stream of girls and pills to stay in with. Comfortably numbed, Johnny drifts along. Then, his 11-year-old daughter Cleo from his failed marriage arrives unexpectedly at the Chateau. Their encounters encourage Johnny to face up to where he is in life and confront the question that we all must: which path in life will you take?

Logline: When a bad-boy actor, stumbling through a life of excess at Hollywood' Chateau Marmont, is visited by his 11-year old daughter, he must reexamine his life.
Genres: Comedy and Drama
Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.
Release Date: December 22nd, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, nudity and language.
Distributors: Focus Features
Production Co.:
American Zoetrope, Medusa Film
Pathe International
Tohokushinsha Film Corporation
Studios: Focus Features
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA
Produced in: United States

Cast and Credits

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, Michelle Monaghan
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Produced by: Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Roos, Paul Rassam

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