With today’s announcement that David Dobkin’s film The Judge will open the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, I figured that it was a good time to talk about the TIFF lineup. That Robert Downey Jr. vehicle will seek to become an awards player, and it’s not alone. Each year, scores of titles descend on Toronto in order to distinguish themselves to Academy members and various precursor voters everywhere. The festival has a solid history of producing Oscar nominees, though the big time competition this year from the New York Film Festival will certainly shine a light on just how essential a stop this fest still is. For now though, it’s a big one, and well worth a bit of discussion.
As mentioned above, the opening film is The Judge, which could be a Best Actor player for Downey Jr. or perhaps even a Best Picture contender if it’s better than expected. It’s definitely one of the most anticipated flicks starting up their run at the festival, along with the closing selection, which is Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos. Along with those two, the highest profile titles include Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild, Jason Reitman’s Men, Women, & Children, Liv Ullmann’s Miss Julie, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, and James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything. Each of these is considered a major awards hopeful to one degree or another, so it’ll be their first test of viability. Strong reactions set it off on a path to potential Oscar glory, while mixed to poor reactions could sent it straight down the drain into oblivion.
Other big debuts at the fest will be Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Mike Binder’s Black and White, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Equalizer, Ed Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice, Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club, Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, Chris Evans’ directorial debut Before We Go, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy, Barry Levinson’s The Humbling, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, as well as other works like The Drop and The Imitation Game, all of whom have some level of awards hope to them. Most won’t take on that kind of narrative, but at least one or two will, so it becomes almost a game trying to figure out which ones it will be ahead of time.
The other titles of note are Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher of course, along with David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. All of those wowed at the Cannes Film Festival (with Whiplash also blowing folks away at the Sundance Film Festival at the start of 2014), so they’ll seek to continue the high praise in advance of their fall/winter openings. I have a hunch that the praise will continue for each one of them, leading to heavy awards discussion.
Basically, we’ve got almost all of our festival season laying out in front of us now. Once the full NYFF lineup is revealed, we’ll more or less know which Oscar contenders are going the festival route and which ones aren’t. That doesn’t mean that one choice is better than the other, since both are calculated risks for sure, but it does sort of give you a hint about what studios could be thinking. We’re still very much in the educated guessing phase of the awards season, but once these festivals really ramp up and folks like myself at NYFF see David Fincher’s Gone or Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, more will be known, just like the TIFF crowd will know more once they see any of this multitude of titles. Exciting times are ahead…
Stay tuned for more on the fall festival seasons when that NYFF announcement hits!
The Facebook Inc. chairman added $1.6 billion to his fortune today after the world’s largest social network closed at a record. The surge elevated the 30-year-old’s net worth to $33.3 billion, moving him past Brin, 40, and Page, 41, as well asAmazon.com Inc. (AMZN) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, 50, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Zuckerberg is No. 16 on the ranking. The Google founders are 17th and 18th. Bezos occupies the 20th spot.
“He’s just getting started,” David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect,” said in a telephone interview. “He’s going to become the richest person on the planet.”
The Menlo Park, California-based company posted second-quarter sales that soared 61 percent to $2.91 billion yesterday, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of $2.81 billion. The company’s revenue gain follows Google’s results last week, when the Web-search company posted sales that topped analysts’ estimates, largely based on the strength of online ads.
Facebook (FB) has jumped 183 percent in the past 12 months, the biggest rally in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company trades at 82-times reported earnings, compared to a multiple of 18.2 for the S&P 500. Google is up 7.5 percent for the year.
Mobile promotions accounted for 62 percent of ad sales, up from 59 percent in the prior period. Net income more than doubled to $791 million, with profit excluding some items at 42 cents a share, above the projection of 32 cents. In total, Facebook accounted for 5.8 percent of worldwide digital ad revenue in 2013, up from 4.1 percent in 2012, according to EMarketer Inc.
The company’s performance also propelled the fortunes of other Facebook shareholders, including Dustin Moskovitz, the 30-year-old who started the social network with Zuckerberg at Harvard University a decade ago, and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s 44-year-old chief operating officer who became one of the world’s youngest female billionaires in January. Sandberg owns about 9.9 million shares valued at $740 million and has collected more than $550 million in share sales.
“The company’s success is growing by the minute,” Kirkpatrick said. “There’s no sign it’s going to slow anytime soon.”
Amazon reported its biggest quarterly loss since 2012 today as Bezos builds more distribution warehouses, adds grocery deliveries and develops new smartphones and tablets. The world’s largest online retailer had a second-quarter loss of $126 million, wider than the $7 million loss a year earlier, even as revenue climbed 23 percent to $19.3 billion. The Seattle-based company is down 10 percent for the year, and was down another 8 percent in extended trading.
Bill Gates remains the world’s richest person with an $84.7 billion fortune. The Microsoft (MSFT) Inc. chairman’s net worth has grown 7.9 percent this year, with five of his biggest holdings, including Microsoft, Canadian National Railway Co. and Republic Services Inc., accounting for almost $4 billion of the gain.
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Facebook, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Google spokesman Tim Drinan declined to comment. Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon, didn’t immediately return an e-mail for comment.
The 58-year-old, who controls the majority of his fortune through holding company Cascade Investment LLC, also has collected about $400 million in dividends this year.
Gates is followed by Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, who has a $78.8 billion fortune.
Six Flags Great Adventure here opened its newest attraction July 4, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, which plunges riders 415 feet straight down at 90 mph — the world's tallest and fastest drop. But pursuit of the most extreme may be hitting up against the limits of human tolerance, said editor Robert Niles of Celebration, Fla.-based ThemeParkInsider.com, an online consumer's guide to theme parks.
"You're getting to the point where instead of making an attraction more popular by having it achieve some type of record, you're actually limiting the audience for that," he said.
Bret Ulozas, the New Jersey regional representative for American Coaster Enthusiasts in Grand Prairie, Texas, said once you begin to exceed 4 G's of gravitational force, you start to see a safety concern. At this point you can "gray out," almost like falling asleep.
Record-breaking rides face some financial drawbacks, too.
"Over the years, everybody tried to outdo each other because for marketing purposes it's the best thing to say you have the biggest, tallest or fastest. However, they painted themselves into a corner because as you get higher, it gets more expensive," Ulozas said. Six Flags does not release how much it spends on building rides.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando is one of the most prominent of immersive-experience theme parks. Visitors there encounter the world of the widely successful Harry Potter novels and movies as they walk through Hogwarts Castle and other venues.
"When you see the success Universal is having with its Harry Potter attractions, I think there's a pretty strong demand for story-driven theme park entertainment as opposed to just physical thrills," Niles said.
Ulozas said parks are trying to come up with more unique experiences.
"I've been seeing a lot of parks coming out with new style wood coasters that actually go upside down now, like Goliath at Six Flags Great America," he said. "This one takes it a step further and it has a different kind of metal hardware on the tracks so they're able to take this wooden roller coasters where they've never been before."
Six Flags disappointed investors with a second-quarter profit of 60 cents a share, falling short of expectations by 6%. Six Flags' revenue of $376.6 million also missed views, by nearly 5 percent.
This is the third quarter in the past five that Six Flags' profit has been short of expectations.
While high-profile injuries have occurred on amusement rides, the numbers of those hurt are quite small. 2012 had 1,424 injuries out of 324.1 million attendees — and 1.51 billion in ridership — for a rate of 4.6 injuries per 1 million in attendance, according to figures from the National Safety Council.
Jenny Mattaliano, 36, and her 10-year-old son, Donald, of Hamilton, N.J., weren't thinking about safety when they rode Zumanjaro on July 11, just the thrill of the extreme.
"When you think you're done screaming, you're still falling," Jenny Mattaliano said, still out of breath from the ride. "I love rides, and it's probably the best ride here."
New technology has opened the door for new and safer ride experiences, according to engineer Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides in Baltimore.
"You have the ability for rides to be unpredictable and have projection technologies that can put you in a very immersive environment," Seay said. "When you combine all of these technologies, I think you're going to get rides that can be highly personal and make you feel as if you're part of the attraction."
‘Zumanjaro: Drop Of Doom’ is the newest record breaking attraction at Six Flags Great Adventure and Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) tells you all about the 415 foot drop that will make thrillseekers very happy. Video provided by Buzz60 Newslook
By Angie Wieck Steve Goldade recently celebrated an impressive career milestone. The
groundbreaking of TMI Hospitality’s Homewood Suites in Portage, Mich.,
marks the 1,000th hotel Goldade designed.
He is unaware of another
architect who has achieved the same. His first hotel was a Super 8 built in Waterloo, Iowa, by local hotel developer Gary Tharaldson in 1988. Goldade
was working for a church builder at the time. He was licensed in
several different states and Tharaldson needed an architect who could
work in Iowa. A longstanding business relationship developed.
Goldade consulted on a number of additional hotels before moving to
Fargo to accept a full-time position with Tharaldson Development in
1997. In 2001, he joined LJA, where he continued to design for Tharaldson as well as a number of other hotel developers. Goldade
has designed hotels in 42 states, spanning from Alaska to Texas and
California to New York. He has worked with franchises including Marriott
International, Choice Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Wyndham
Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, LaQuinta and Best Western
International. One of his favorite projects was a four-hotel complex constructed on one site just a few blocks off the Las Vegas Strip. He said what still gets him excited about the job is the challenge. “It’s fun to get a project done at a location where it’s extremely difficult to get in there,” he said.Challenges
include how much space there is to work with, getting the highest room
count possible into a tight site and local jurisdictional covenants that
restrict how and what can be built. All of these must be considered
while still following the franchise’s guidelines for appearance. While
much of his focus today is on hotel design, Goldade has been involved
in a number of other commercial projects over the years. His most recent
was serving as the lead architect of the North Dakota Heritage Center’s
multimillion-dollar expansion in Bismarck. Honors: Under
Goldade’s leadership, LJA has earned a number of honors including Top
Architects & Designers, Top Hotel Design & Architecture Firms,
Leading Commercial Architecture Firms and Top Commercial Architects.
With starring roles in ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Rockford Files’ among the many standout turns on his resume, Garner shined as a non-traditional good guy.
Here's why we loved James Garner's TV characters: because they reassured us that even guys with no visible heroic traits could somehow beat the bad guys in the end.
Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, who were basically the same character in different footwear, were the antithesis of almost every traditional good guy on television.
When Bret rode into town in 1957 with the drama "Maverick," justice in Western towns was almost always administered by men like Marshall Matt Dillon, played by James Arness on "Gunsmoke."
Matt Dillon was tall, handsome, rugged, fair-minded, moral and a straight shooter. Like his Silver Screen predecessors — John Wayne comes to mind — he was a righteous firewall whose very presence left no doubt justice would prevail.
Bret Maverick had no such ambitions. He was a gambler who aspired to become nothing higher than a hustler. He'd be happy, he insisted, to finesse a few bucks and leave town untroubled by any gunfire he heard behind him on his way out.
Unfortunately, that plan kept not working out. He kept getting drawn into disputes that kept forcing him to dispense justice.
He didn't use a gun much. He started with his wits and when necessary moved on to his fists.
If there were a hall of fame for TV Western fistfights, Bret's battle with Clint Eastwood's Red Hardigan in the 1959 episode "Duel at Sundown" would be a charter inductee.
At the same time, that episode even better illustrated the real agenda of "Maverick," which was to find laughs where most shows found only the other stuff.
After the fight, Bret finds himself in a rare six-shooter showdown with the outlaw John Wesley Hardin. Except "Hardin" turns out to be his brother Bart, played by Jack Kelly. Yup, the Maverick brothers stage a fake shootout to fool Red.
As the brothers ride away unharmed, they pass the real John Wesley Hardin, who's blasting his way into town with steam coming out of his ears to find the varmint who "killed" him.
Bret Maverick wasn't the only non-traditional Western hero on TV in the 1950s. Richard Boone's Paladin on "Have Gun Will Travel" was dark and haunted. Steve McQueen's bounty hunter Josh Randall on "Wanted: Dead or Alive" was hardly a classic white hat.
But no one had the same qualities as Maverick. He wasn't the fastest or the toughest. He may not have been the smartest.
He just had the best sense of humor.
We also sensed he was on our side even as he denied he was serving any cause beyond his own. No matter how dire things looked, there was a wink in there somewhere saying things would work out okay.
Bret Maverick rode into the sunset too early, when Garner got into a real-life contract dispute with Warner Bros. during season 3.
He headed off to the movies, where he did mighty well, and in the long term that early exit probably enhanced Bret's legacy. We hadn't had enough.
Neither had Roy Huggins, who created "Maverick," and 14 years later had the idea of reviving Bret as a modern-day outlier.
So we were in a receptive mood in 1974 when Huggins created Jim Rockford, a low-budget private investigator who, like Bret, had neither the personality nor lifestyle of most of his TV colleagues.
He lived in a mobile home. He liked to eat Mexican food. He really liked to go fishing. He couldn't keep a relationship with a woman for more than one episode. He hung out with a bizarre posse whose help often got him beaten up. He constantly was taking cases so low-end you wondered how they ever got on television.
His one seeming indulgence was that every season except the last, 1979, he got a new Pontiac Firebird. That may have been a contract demand. In real life, Garner loved great cars, and what beat the muscle cars of that era?
However much fun he made the ride for himself, he made it just as much fun for us.
"The Rockford Files" developed characters like a good drama and put them in situations that sometimes seemed closer to a good sitcom.
As with Bret Maverick, it's probable that some other actor somewhere could have played Jim Rockford. It's just hard to think who, since Garner had a rare ability to look like he was telling the joke at the same time he was putting it on pause for just long enough to solve the problem.
He was one of those characters, all of whom we love, who would look down at their feet, go "aw shucks" and then when it mattered dash out and save the damsel from going over the falls.
As a matter of fact, that's how we see the founding fathers of the whole country, as a bunch of farmers and tradesmen who, when things just got too oppressive under King George, held a meeting and said, ‘Enough, it's time to run this thing by ourselves.’
Granted, we don't always immediately think of the founding fathers when we think of Bret Maverick or Jim Rockford.
But if you went to a ball game, who would you rather sit next to? Bret Maverick or James Monroe?
Sometimes you don't need to found a country. You just want to have some fun.