Will Online Streaming Hurt Theaters Showing "The Interview?" 

It's like Sony's early Christmas present to those interested in watching "The Interview!" First, the comedy-adventure would be in limited theatrical release and now, it will be available online via YouTube Movies and other streaming sites. Will this hurt or help theaters? Find out from Matt Christensen, General Manager of Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, one of the valley theaters showing "The Interview" this Christmas Day. Here's my report from KMIR/NBC in the desert:

KMIR News | Palm Springs, California

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Sony Saga: "The Interview" Will Be Seen After All! 

Victory for moviegoers everywhere! The James Franco, Seth Rogen comedy will be seen this Christmas day!

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Steve Carell, Rob Marshall, Chris Rock to Receive Top Honors Plus 10 Directors to Watch! 

Steve Carell, Rob Marshall, and Chris Rock all gave memorable projects in 2014 and it's fitting that the Palm Springs International Film Festival is giving them various honors. Carell, who gave a stunning performance in "Foxcatcher" will receive the Creative Impact in Acting Award from Variety while Rob Marshall, fresh from directing "Into the Woods," will be honored with the Creative Impact in Directing Award.

Chris Rock, who wrote, directed, and starred in "Top Five," the best comedy of the year, will receive the Creative Impact in Comedy Award.

Of course, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is happening in my neck of the woods, and I'll be there live at the Gala on Saturday, January 3rd!

Here's the complete press release:

LOS ANGELES, CA – (December 18th, 2014) Variety will present actor Steve Carell with the Creative Impact in Acting Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz,which celebrates his scope of work, ranging from his comedic performances to his most recent dramatic work with his critically acclaimed and groundbreaking performance in this year’s “Foxcatcher,” for which he has received both Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations. In addition, Variety will present two-time Directors Guild of American Award-winner and Oscar, Golden Globe, and Tony Award nominated director Rob Marshall with the Creative Impact in Directing Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz, which celebrates his career as a theater and film director, specifically for his work in translating the acclaimed Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” onto the screen. New to the program this year, Variety will present Emmy Award winning comedian, director and actor Chris Rock with the Creative Impact in Comedy Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz, for his critically acclaimed film “Top Five,” for which he was honored with the Spotlight Award by the National Board of Review for writing, directing and starring in the film. “Top Five” was also recognized by the Broadcast Film Critics Association with nominations for Best Comedy, Best Actor in a Comedy for Rock and Best Actress in a Comedy for Rosario Dawson.

“Since his emergence as one of America’s most gifted comedic actors two decades ago, Steve Carell’s career has moved through breakout hit television and film roles from “The 40 Year Old Virgin” to “Little Miss Sunshine” to “The Office.” Now, with his gripping portrayal of a man whose dreams and whims are overwhelmed by internal destructive forces beyond his control, Carell is firmly placed in the front ranks of America’s finest dramatic performers,” said Steve Gaydos, Vice President and Executive Editor at Variety. “Likewise director Rob Marshall not only re-launched the modern movie musical with 'Chicago,' he managed to translate one of the most complicated and beloved musicals of our time to the big screen with the recent “Into The Woods” and showcases and continuing creative vitality and artistic risk-taking in all of his work. We are especially excited to add a comedy award into the program this year. Long regarded as one of America’s funniest and most groundbreaking comedians, Chris Rock has just taken his career and art to a new level with “Top Five.” Straight from its first festival screening, which resulted in a massive bidding war and created anticipation for Rock’s legions of fans, “Top Five” established the comic as one of America’s most provocative and dynamic filmmakers.”

Previous recipients have included Jonah Hill, David O. Russell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg.

“10 Directors to Watch”

“10 Directors to Watch” debuted in 1996 and the annual event moved to the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011. “10 Directors to Watch” was the first of Variety’s “10 to Watch” series spotlighting the most exciting new talents in the fields of directing, writing, producing, acting, cinematography and comedy. This year’s “10 Directors to Watch” include: Sean Baker (“Tangerine”), Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead (“Spring”), Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Shlomi Elkabetz & Ronit Elkabetz (“Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem”), Jeremy Garelick (“The Wedding Ringer”), Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”), Marielle Heller (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”), Ruben Ostlund (“Force Majeure”), Damian Szifron (“Wild Tales”), Leigh Whannell (“Insidious: Chapter 3”).

Past “10 Directors to Watch” honorees have included Ben Affleck (“Gone Baby Gone”), Wes Anderson (“Bottle Rocket”), Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”), Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”), Christopher Nolan (“Memento”), Sam Taylor Wood (“Nowhere Boy”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), among others.

Palm Springs International Film Festival Director Darryl Macdonald stated, “We're delighted to once again be co-hosting Variety's '10 Directors to Watch' event at the Festival, celebrating a group of exceptionally gifted emerging talents who have each exhibited extraordinary storytelling skills. That quality is our guiding light in programming this Festival, and we congratulate all of the honorees for being selected for these awards, while joining Variety in saluting each of them.”

“Now one of the hottest tickets at the festival, Variety’s 10 Directors To Watch Brunch at the Parker has become the place to rub shoulders with the hottest emerging international filmmakers, a bevy of industry and media power players,” said Helen du Toit, Artistic Director of the Palm Springs Film Festival. “We look forward to toasting all of the directors and are doubly thrilled to be presenting the five films of their honored directors at the festival, three of which are foreign language Oscar submissions, (Israel’s powerful courtroom drama Gett: The Tiral of Viviane Ansallem by siblings Ronit & Shmlomi Elbabetz, Argentinian director Damián Szifron’s Cannes hit Wild Tales, and Swedish director Ruben Ostend’s Force Majeure), the indie genre-bending Spring from Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, and Ava DuVernay’s Selma, which will be our Opening Night film."

The event will be presented by Mercedes-Benz with venue partner the Parker Palm Springs.

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The Real Reason to See "Into the Woods!" 

Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, all the big-name stars want to get you into the theaters for “Into the Woods.” But is the film worthy of the beloved Stephen Sondheim musical, and is it worth your time and money? And what should be your main reason to see the musical?

Take a look at my review of “Into the Woods.”

Official summary of "Into the Woods"

"Into the Woods" is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them. (C) Disney

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Las Vegas Film Critics Society Flies with "Birdman" 

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society has revealed the winners of their annual awards and Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" took home the Best Picture trophy. The film also won Best Actor for Michael Keaton, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Ensemble, and Score. It was also the No. 1 film for their Best of list.

Here's the complete list of winners:

Best Picture
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Actor
Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress
Tilda Swinton, “Snowpiercer”

Best Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Screenplay
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Cinematography
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Film Editing
James Herbert and Laura Jennings, “Edge of Tomorrow”

Best Costume Design
Alexandra Byrne, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Art Direction
“The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Best Visual Effects

Best Foreign Film
“Ida” (Poland)

Best Documentary

Best Animated Film
“The Lego Movie”

Best Family Film
“The Lego Movie”

Best Horror/Sci-Fi Film

Best Comedy Film
“Top 5”

Best Action Film
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Ensemble
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Score
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Song
“I Love You All,” Stephen Rennicks – “Frank”

Youth in Film
Jaeden Lieberher, “St. Vincent”

Breakout Filmmaker of the Year
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

William Holden Lifetime Achievement Award
Bill Murray

Cinema Heritage Award
Prof. Francisco Menendez, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Film Dept. Chair

LVFCS Top 10 Films of 2013
1. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
2. Boyhood
3. Whiplash
4. Nightcrawler
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. Wild
7. Selma
8. The Imitation Game
9. Snowpiercer
10. Under the Skin

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