Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Aimee Blanchette, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.

Sony Pictures cancels theatrical opening for 'The Interview'

Posted by: Colin Covert under Behind the scenes, Culture wars, Movies, Openings + closings Updated: December 17, 2014 - 5:42 PM
James Franco and Seth Rogen in 'The Interview.' Sony Pictures Wednesday announced the film wil not be released. Ed Araquel/AP

James Franco and Seth Rogen in 'The Interview.' Sony Pictures Wednesday announced the film wil not be released. Ed Araquel/AP

Following ongoing online hacks and threats to attack screenings of "The Interview," the Sony Pictures conflict reached a new level of havoc Wednesday afternoon.

After afternoon cancellations of earlier agreements to screen it by four of the nation’s largest movie theater chains, Sony  cancelled the film’s scheduled Christmas Day opening. Earlier in the day the studio withdrew scheduled press screenings. It appears that there are no plans for any type of theatrical exhibition.

The $42 million film, a satiric political comedy, stars James Franco and Seth Rogan as TV journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. It was called “an evil act of provocation against our highly dignified republic” in late November on Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean government-controlled website. While Kim announced "merciless counter-measures" if the film was released, North Korea has denied involvement in the anonymous corporate hacks.

The U.S. movie theater chain leaders AMC, Carmike, Cinemark and Regal announced earlier Wednesday that they had abandoned their bookings. 

"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film ‘The Interview,’ we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release," Sony announced in a written statement Wednesday.

“We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."

The film debuted at the Ace Hotel theater in Los Angeles for press and film executives last week to uneven reaction. Online critic Jeff Wells wrote after the screening, “I never once laughed. Yes, the opening 20 or 25 minutes is mildly entertaining and yes, at heart 'The Interview’ is anti-Kim, pro-anti-Kim revolution and pre-people power and all that, but it never rises above the level of a good-enough programmer.”

Local music group shines in HBO documentary

Posted by: Neal Justin under Music, Television Updated: December 17, 2014 - 2:35 PM

 

 

Da Rich Kidzz/photo by Marlin Levinson

What do Ziggy Marley, Willie Nelson, Tina Fey and Da Rich Kidzz have in common?

They all participated in the new documentary "Saving My Tomorrow," which focuses on the environment. It debuted Tuesday night on HBO.

The north Minneapolis hip-hop group contributed a video called "Weird Weather," rapping about Minnesota's unpredictable climate.

The movie was made in conjunction with the American Museum of National History and looks at how climate change and other environmental issues facing our children.

The group of youngsters first got national attention in 2012 for their song, "Hot Cheetos and Takis." The video has had over eight million views.They have also worked with K-Mart.

If you missed the documentary, it will be rebroadcast at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on HBO2.

MPR wins national journalism award

Posted by: Neal Justin under Awards, Local TV and radio Updated: December 17, 2014 - 2:16 PM

Minnesota Public Radio has won a a prestigious national award for its series of investigative stories into how the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis attempted to cover up abuse of children by priests. It is the first time MPR has received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, which is considered to be on par with a Pulitzer Prize.

"We are honored and grateful to receive the duPont Award," said Chris Worthington, MPR News' managing editor. "While the stories can be difficult to hear, it's important they be told. They were well-documented and carefully reported. We are proud of our journalism and community service."

Judges called the pieces "a heartbreaking, exhaustive investigation," one that "overcame the challenges rife in reporting this type of story."

Madeleine Baran served as the lead reporter.

Other winners announced Wednesday include Netflix, the Seattle Times, PBS and CNN.

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