Elizabeth Olsen's big fear? Water - thanks to 'Jaws'
February 29th, 2012
02:55 PM ET

Elizabeth Olsen's big fear? Water - thanks to 'Jaws'

Elizabeth Olsen's upcoming thriller "Silent House," about a young woman (Olsen) who becomes trapped in her family's summer home, sounds plenty scary, and Olsen admits that filming it freaked her out a bit.

"It took a long time to wind down from this movie," Olsen said. "It was a lot," noting the fact that the movie is presented in real time, made to look like one continuous shot, which heightens the tension.

"It’s just a whole new way of watching an event," Olsen said. "It’s exciting to figure out how all of this fear and terror can happen in real time without any [obvious] camera tricks."

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January 20th, 2012
03:56 PM ET

Redford slams Congress, Romney, and debates

Robert Redford likes to say the Sundance Film Festival is all about the artists, but politics are always part of the equation.

Redford set the tone at his opening day news conference (after first saying “I’m not going to get into politics”) by criticizing Republicans in Congress as narrow-minded. He also blasted the Republican Presidential debates, saying, the candidates have a “mushroom cloud of ego hovering” over them.

He even took a swipe at Mitt Romney’s taste in movies.

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Once a 'Bitch,' now a 'Belle' on ABC
May 17th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

Once a 'Bitch,' now a 'Belle' on ABC

ABC is swapping out one "B" word for another.

The network just announced its fall TV line-up and lo and behold, the title of the upcoming series "Good Christian Bitches" has been changed. New title: "Good Christian Belles."

The Parents Television Council had declared the original title "offensive" and urged its members to bombard ABC with complaints.

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June 5th, 2009
05:31 PM ET

Whale Watching at Arianna Huffington's House

The Animal Planet series "Whale Wars" kicks off its second season tonight, featuring more dramatic footage of Captain Paul Watson and his crew battling Japanese whale hunters.  The show has no bigger fan than blogging queen Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post.  She held a cocktail reception at her house in Los Angeles earlier in the week to help promote the new season.

I must admit I was intrigued by the idea of getting to see where she lives.  She was formerly married to a multi-millionaire (Michael Huffington) and has built a media empire of her own.  So I expected her to be ensconced in a mansion on the order of Green Acres (the 44-room palazzo built by silent film star Harold Lloyd).  Her place is smaller than Green Acres, but still a lovely home in a fashionable neighborhood above the Brentwood section of L.A.

There were a couple of hundred guests minimum (including Morgan Fairchild) and I was surprised we were practically given the run of the place– from the tastefully-decorated living room to back hallways stacked with huge numbers of books.  I was amused to see her home decorated with a number of images of our hostess - elegant photos that looked like Sears portraits for the wealthy.

Guests received a parting gift, a Chinese take-out style box containing a can labeled "whale meat".  Inside was a small bag of red licorice.

It's cool that Arianna (since I've been to her house I feel entitled to call her by her first name) is lending support to the show, which shines a light on an important topic.  And Animal Planet has returned the favor, buying ad space on The Huffington Post.

June 4th, 2009
01:21 PM ET

Carradine's Impact

More than anybody (with the exception of Bruce Lee) David Carradine was responsible for introducing Americans to martial arts with the show "Kung Fu".  Even more importantly, he gave a lot of people their first introduction to eastern philosophy through the series.  Not bad considering it was a pretty cheesy show.

"Kung Fu" hit the air in 1972, a time when a TV program could make a huge cultural impact because there were so few viewing options (only three networks, no cable, satellite, internet, etc.).  The show's whiff of the "ancient wisdom of the east" hit at the perfect time, as young Americans were re-evaluating the values they had inherited from their parents.

Unfortunately for Carradine, he became so identified with his role as a Shoalin Monk that he didn't have much of a career afterwards.  It was left to Quentin Tarantino to remind everyone that Carradine was an actor of depth, by casting him in "Kill Bill".  The mixture of Old West and Far East in that film was a sly nod to Carradine's earlier work in "Kung Fu".

His body was found in a Bangkok, Thailand hotel room.  Oddly fitting.  In the end he couldn't escape the mysterious east.
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Tonight on Larry King Live, an exclusive with Quentin Tarantino, Rob Schneider, Vivaca Fox and close friends on David Carradine's death. CNN, 9 p.m. ET.

January 18th, 2009
03:34 PM ET

Obama trumps Sundance

The atmosphere at Sundance this year seems more subdued than normal. Not somber, just a little less feverish than usual. I think all the excitement over the inauguration of a new president has taken some of the wind out of the sails of festival-goers. The Hollywood types who come here are used to being the center of the universe—or feeling like they are. But they’re playing second fiddle to Barack Obama this time. It feels like a comeuppance of sorts.

The economy may be the other reason the festival seems less festive this year. Sundance veterans are all talking about how much quieter the town seems. The restaurants, usually packed to overflowing, have empty tables. You can get a cell signal here—usually there are so many industry-ites clogging the airwaves you can’t get a call out—your cell squawks “call failed” or “circuits busy” at every turn. But not this year.

Interestingly enough, festival founder Robert Redford is pleased with the decrease in traffic. At his opening day press conference he admitted he felt it was a good thing that fewer people are in town. He has long railed against celebrities who come to Park City to party and revel and could hardly be lured into a theater if their lives depended on it. Marketers set up “gifting suites” and “luxury lounges” to swag the stars (and attract the media). But there seems to be less of that going on this year. Or maybe the stars are just being more discreet—afraid to parade around with shopping bags stuffed with freebies in this period of hardship for ordinary folks.

Welcome to Sundance ’09 — maybe a place where, after all, film comes first.

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