New York, Aug 11 (AP/UNB) — Authorities are investigating the suspected overdose death at Trump Tower of a man romantically linked to reality TV personality Bethenny Frankel.
A spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office has identified the man as Dennis Shields.
The 51-year-old Shields had been known for being the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Frankel, who gained fame as a star of "The Real Housewives of New York City."
Police responding to a 911 call say they discovered the body shortly after 9 a.m. on Friday at President Donald Trump's high-rise on Fifth Avenue.
An emergency medical service team pronounced Shields dead at the scene.
Frankel went to high school with Shield's estranged wife.
New York, Aug 10 (AP/UNB) — Not since Faye Dunaway shouted "La La Land!" has an Oscar announcement caused quite as much chaos as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decision to create a new Academy Awards category for "outstanding achievement in popular film."
The film academy's surprise announcement Wednesday proved remarkably unpopular, at least among film critics and some academy members. Actor Rob Lowe, a longtime academy member, pronounced the Oscars dead, "survived by sequels, tent-poles and vertical integration."
The other new changes were met with a mix of praise and grumbling. Many applauded the dramatic move up the calendar to February 9 in 2020. (Awards season has become a nearly four-month slog with many repeat winners.) Perhaps inevitable was the move to shrink the broadcast to three hours and remove some categories from the live telecast.
But the introduction of a "popular film" category, beginning with the upcoming Feb. 24 ceremony to be televised by ABC, raised a lot of questions. Here's an attempt to answer a few of them.
WHY IS THE ACADEMY DOING THIS?
Low ratings. This year's nearly four-hour-long Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was watched by 26.5 million people, an almost 20 percent drop from the year before and well below the days of 40 million-plus viewership. Some 43.7 million watched in 2014 when "12 Years a Slave" won best picture, but each year since has seen declines. That's troubling news for the academy, which depends on broadcast revenue for most of its budget, and ABC, which owns broadcast rights for the Oscars through 2028. But whether that broadcast is cause for desperation is debatable. The Academy Awards still rank as easily the biggest non-football broadcast of the year, and ratings for everything, including the Super Bowl, is declining in the increasingly fractured media landscape. The Grammys, for comparison, dropped 24 percent, with 19.8 million.
WHOSE DECISION WAS THIS?
The measures were approved by the academy's 54-member board of governors. Its roughly 7,000 members were not consulted, and many of them said they considered a "popular film" category a pandering move for a 91-year-old institution. Adam McKay, who won best screenplay in 2016 for "The Big Short" and whose upcoming Dick Cheney film is expected to be in the mix this year, joked on Twitter that the Oscars will also have new categories for "best knife throw" and "hottest female alien." But the academy's decision was also influenced by the demands of its broadcasting partner, ABC, which has pressured Oscar producers to make the telecast more broadly appealing. (Kimmel's show deliberately steered clear of politics, largely.) Representatives for the network and for the academy declined to comment for this article.
HAVE HIT FILMS NOT BEEN NOMINATED?
This year's Oscars actually included a number of major box-office success including best-picture nominees "Get Out" and "Dunkirk," animated feature winner "Coco," cinematography winner "Blade Runner 2049," and other nominees like "Beauty and the Beast," ''Baby Driver" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." If anything, the academy has shown increasing willingness to nominate genre movies, from horror ("Get Out") to sci-fi ("Arrival," ''Gravity"). "Logan" this year became the first superhero movie nominated for a major award, scoring an adapted screenplay nod. Some, though, had hoped "Wonder Woman" would have landed something.
BUT HAVEN'T BEST PICTURE WINNERS BEEN SMALL?
Yes, this is true. No best-picture winner since 2012's "Argo" has cleared $100 million in domestic box office. Independent films have won ten of the last 11 best-picture Oscars, including wins for "Moonlight," ''Spotlight," ''Birdman" and "The Artist." This year's winner, "The Shape of Water," was no slouch, though, with $63.9 million in domestic ticket sales and almost $200 million worldwide — an undeniably large haul for a movie featuring sex with a fish man. Still, this has been a concern for the Academy Awards since Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" was snubbed in the category, triggering the 2009 expansion from five nominees to 10 (later changed to up to 10 nominees by preferential ballot). The expansion helped make room, in the years to come, for blockbusters like "Up," ''Inception" and "The Martian." But it did little to stem the stronghold smaller films have on best picture. For that, Hollywood can only blame itself. The major studios years ago gave up on making much beyond global tentpoles. Perhaps not coincidentally, the market-leader in tentpoles, Disney (with three $1 billion releases just this year) owns ABC and could potentially dominate a "popular film" category.
WHAT'S A POPULAR FILM, ANYWAY?
Most perplexing of all may be the academy's definition of a "popular" film. It said the details were still being worked out, but that the academy "supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films." So how does one measure popularity? In ticket sales? "Solo: A Star Wars Story" made $213 million in North America, but few cared much for it. Do overseas sales count? Would a traditional Oscar nominee like "La La Land" ($446 million worldwide) have been a "popular" film? And how would a box-office threshold work for late December releases just opening at the time of nominations? Should the winner also be chosen purely on a basis of highest box-office gross?
WILL ANYONE WANT ONE OF THESE?
Never underestimate how much people want an Oscar, any Oscar. But it seems certain that a "popular film" Oscar will not be looked upon like a "real" Oscar, but rather a kind of MTV Awards-ish half-Oscar. For many, it reeks of patronizing, of ghettoizing "popular" from "art" in a popular art form. Even in today's blockbuster-driven Hollywood, many believe both can still coexist. And the year has already offered up an especially good example of just that: Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther." The acclaimed Disney film was already seen a best picture contender; now, some fear it will be relegated to the "popular film" corner. The movie business tried this once before: The very first Academy Awards gave an award for artistic achievement (to F.W. Murnau's "Sunrise") and for "outstanding production" (William Wellman's "Wings"). Both, it's worth noting, remain masterpieces. But the dichotomy was done away with the next year.
Dhaka, July 26 (UNB) – Noted West Bengal actor, director Anindya Pulak Banarjee’s second feature film ‘Watchmaker’ was screened in Dhaka University on Thursday.
Anindya Pulak Banarjee himself was present at the screening along with Director of Photography Modhura Palit and Designer Debjani Banarjee.
Dhaka University’s Mass Communication and Journalism Department hosted the event under the supervision of Dr. Naadir Junaid at Sheikh Rasel Computer Lab of Kala Bhaban on the campus.
Watchmaker is a surreal drama about a dystopian time where a ‘watchmaker’ starred by Anindya himself is concerned about time. The story is told in an off-beat fashion with many metaphorical plot elements intertwined. The entire film is shot in black and white.
The movie also casts Ritabhori Chatarjee, Ritabrata Bhattacharya, Joey Debroy, Rajdeep Sarkar and others.
After the screening a Q&A session was held.
Anindya Pulak Banarjee (center) along with Debjani Banarjee (right) and Modhura Palit. Photo: UNB
The director and the designer expressed that this movie is a tribute to German expressionist film school and also touted the film as an ‘Anti-logic’ drama.
“We have left the ending open for the audience,” Anindya added about the ambiguous finishing of the movie.
Anindya Pulak Banarjee is a familiar figure in West Bengal cinema industry starring in many prominent commercial and art films including Baishe Srabon, Satyanweshi, and Nirbak. Watchmaker is his second direction attempt after critically acclaimed art film ‘Smug’.
Dhaka, July 26 (UNB) - A three-day performance art, an important part of New Media art practice, titled ‘Shilper Shohor’ began in the city on Thursday.
Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) Liaquat Ali Lucky inaugurated the art event in the morning.
A total of 16 artistes from Bangladesh are performing in different places of the city.
‘Shilper Shohor’ is shedding light on the city of Dhaka and its 400-year glorious history together with the prominent culture of Bangladesh.
The initiative planned by Liaquat Ali is taking place to revisit the glorious heritage of Dhaka, and to stir up the artistic conscience among the megacity dwellers.
Different activities, including renditions by Baul singers and cultural performances by child artistes, are being held at various places in the capital.
The event is going to be the main theme of the upcoming 18th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh (AABB) scheduled to be held in September in Dhaka for the very first time.
Los Angeles, July 21 (AP/UNB) — James Gunn was fired Friday as director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape.
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn announced the removal.
"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Horn said in a statement.
Gunn has been writer and director of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise from the start, taking an obscure Marvel Comics title about a group of multicolored misfits and turning it into a space opera decked with comedy and retro music that made Chris Pratt a major movie star. Through two installments the franchise has brought in more than $1.5 billion in global box office.
Gunn apologized for the old tweets Friday after his firing, echoing similar sentiments he expressed on Twitter a day earlier.
"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time," Gunn said in a statement. "Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then."
Gunn's current Twitter account is heavy on left-leaning politics, and some on the right with whom he'd sparred found and promoted the tweets from 2008 to 2011 that led to his firing.
Disney did not announce a replacement director for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Gunn had been writing the script and it's not clear how far along he was or whether new writers will be brought in. Marvel Studios has not announced a release date, though Gunn had said 2020 was the target.
Marvel has staked a lot on the third "Guardians" movie. Gunn has said the film would end the current iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy and launch another decade, or more, of Marvel films.
In addition to Pratt, the "Guardians" franchise stars Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, and features the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
The characters also were an essential part of this year's Disney and Marvel megahit "Avengers: Infinity War."
Fans at Comic-Con in San Diego said they disapproved of Gunn's tweets, but were mixed on how they felt about his firing.
"It's unfortunate to hear and makes me question whether I would see a movie like that even without his creative involvement," Mario Panighetti of Mountain View, California said.
Joanne Renda of Toronto said, "It's never really funny to joke about that stuff, but copping to it is the first step. Everyone deserves a second chance. It's kind of crazy our culture today, firing people right away."