Entertainment briefs – July 29

A comedy from the Coen brothers, the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, and a new treatise from documentarian Michael Moore are among the movies added to the Toronto International Film Festival.

Coen brothers, Moore join Toronto film fest slate

TORONTO — A comedy from the Coen brothers, the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, and a new treatise from documentarian Michael Moore are among the movies added to the Toronto International Film Festival.

Organizers say they’ve booked Joel and Ethan Coen’s black comedy, A Serious Man.” The ’60s-era tale comes a year after the brothers unspooled their comedy Burn After Reading at the festival last year, and the Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men in 2007.

Programmers will also screen Barrymore’s rowdy comedy Whip It, starring Halifax’s Ellen Page as a rebellious Texas teen that dives into the world of roller-derby.

Moore’s corporate critique, Capitalism: A Love Story, will play on the 20th anniversary of his breakout film, Roger & Me.

That’s in addition to two more galas set for September, both inspired by novels: Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, directed by Oliver Parker and starring Colin Firth, and Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, directed by Miller and starring Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin and Keanu Reeves.

Other films include Werner Herzog’s drama Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage as a drug-addicted homicide detective, and the Irish gangster comedy Perrier’s Bounty, starring Cillian Murphy as a man on the run from a Dublin kingpin.

The film festival runs Sept. 10 to 19.


Faux-memoir by chimp on Booker Prize longlist

LONDON — The purported autobiography of a movie-star chimpanzee is among the contenders for Britain’s most prestigious literary award.

Me Cheeta is one of 13 novels on the Booker Prize longlist.

Originally published anonymously, James Lever’s book tells the life story of the chimp who gained 1930s Hollywood stardom in Tarzan movies.

Other contenders announced Tuesday are former Booker winners A.S. Byatt and J.M Coetzee, as well as Adam Foulds, Sarah Hall, Samantha Harvey, Hilary Mantel, Simon Mawer, Ed O’Loughlin, James Scudamore, Sarah Waters, William Trevor and Colm Toibin.

The shortlist will be announced Sept. 8 and the winner of the prize on Oct. 6.

The Booker is open to writers from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth.


The Simpsons brushing up on curling before Olympics

CALGARY — The Fox Broadcasting Company hopes an upcoming episode of The Simpsons will sweep in some good ratings prior to the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver.

The episode to be broadcast in February features Homer and Marge joining a mixed curling team to play one of Canada’s favourite sports.

Co-executive producer Rob LaZebnik, who spearheaded the curling research and wrote the script, says he originally was going to have Homer joint a four-person bobsled team.

But he says curling provides a chance for more laughs because it will show Homer and Marge on the ice.

LaZebnik says the episode is surprisingly respectful of curling and the three Canadian writers on the show are excited about the subject matter.

Randy Ferbey, former Canadian and world champion, says he expects the publicity will be good for the sport.


Jazz composer influenced Davis, Coltrane

BOSTON — Jazz composer George Russell, a MacArthur fellow whose theories influenced the modal music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, has died. He was 86.

His publicist says Russell, who taught at the New England Conservatory, died Monday in Boston of complications from Alzheimer’s.

Russell was born in Cincinnati in 1923 and went to Wilberforce University. He played drums in Benny Carter’s band and later wrote Cubano Be/Cubano Bop for Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra.

It premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1947 and was the first fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz.

Russell developed the Lydian concept in 1953. It’s credited as the first theoretical contribution from jazz.


Lawyers for Jackson’s mom pressure administrators

LOS ANGELES — The legal team for Michael Jackson’s mother is aiming to press the special administrators of her son’s estate for more information.

Lawyers for Katherine Jackson on Tuesday requested a judge give them the authority to move ahead and subpoena attorney John Branca and former music executive John McClain.

They want to interview the men, named in Jackson’s will as executors, and dig through their records.

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