Music Of The Day: Suddenly

Ashley Tisdale is in my opinion one of the best things to come out of High School Musical, a franchise I will write an in-depth article sometime soon when I have the time. Though she hasn’t done that much yet, the 23 year old is a joy to watch as Sharpay Evans in the Disney series of films and I’m convinced she’s capable of some great stuff in the future.

Suddenly is a single from her debut album Headstrong, and easily the best song I’ve heard from her, or any of the HSM crew’s solo efforts for that matter. A slow ballad about attaining her dreams aka making it as a performer, it’s not the greatest ever made, but I find it quite a pleasant listen. Similarly the music video isn’t amazing, but in tone with the song, and thus quite good. What do you think?

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Disney to make Arab movies

Walt Disney Pictures, which already produces movies in France, China and India (at least) in addition to their regular roster of American pics, is now eyeing the Arabian peninsula and is in talks to finance The Last Of The Storytellers from Lebanese director Chadi Zeneddine (Falling From Earth), which would mark their first film in Arabic and will likely start filming by the end of next year.

Disney has big plans for the Middle East. The Arab world has a population of some 300 million people, and with two-thirds under age 30, the market is a natural for family-friendly Disney fare. Disney expects to announce two more Arabic-language features in time for the fifth edition of the Dubai Film Festival, which unspools in December.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for us in the Middle East,” said a Disney exec, who insisted on anonymity. “There’s a lot of room for growth for us. It’s the international territory that we’re most excited about expanding into.”

Disney’s arabian move is expected to be followed by other American studios, such as 20th Century-Fox. I can already repeat what I said following Disney’s recent announcement of big Indian plans: I’m really glad American studios are finally seeing the importance of international markets, but I wish they’d use their power to distribute the films they produce in other countries worldwide.

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Chihuahas bite the weekend in the US

When it was revealed that Disney was making a movie called Beverly Hills Chihuahua from the director of Big Momma’s House and Scooby-Doo, the movie world took a collective stand of disgust, but Disney sure knows what the people wants, and what they want is apparently to see chihuahuas talk on the big screen, making that movie the most successful of the weekend by far. The only other new release to make the top five was Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, at number three. The other five big new releases more or less flopped, but none less than the comedy How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, which came in nineteenth place. Last week’s winner Eagle Eye slipped into second, while the fourth and fifth spots were filled with the romance Nights In Rodanthe and the western Appaloosa respectively. Another big winner which deserves a mention is the Anne Hathaway starrer Rachel Getting Married, which averaged nearly 32600 dollars per screen while showing in only nine cinemas.

Full top 20 with earnings after the jump. Continue reading

Exclusive New Trailer and Poster: Roadside Romeo (also Disney’s plans for India)

I apologize for the sometimes hard-to-read subtitles, but it’s from the official website! Roadside Romeo marks Walt Disney Pictures’ first venture into Indian cinema, in co-production with Yash Raj Films, one of the biggest local studios.

Disney must have confidence in the Indian market as, in addition to two more animated features with Yash Raj Films, they’ve begun planning four live-action films on their own, the first two of which are just about ready to begin production.

‘The 19th Step’ starring top South Indian actor Kamal Hassan, directed by Bharat Bala […] will feature Japanese star Asano Tadanabo and Indian actress Asin. Director Bala is one of India’s best-known music video directors. “Step” is said to revolve around the ancient Indian martial arts form Kalarippayattu and will be a multilingual Indian release.

‘Zokkomon,’ starring top child actor Darsheel Safari and directed by Satyajit Bhatkal, is a children’s tale.

As for Roadside Romeo, which opens October 24th, it is written and directed by newcomer Jugal Hansraj, stars the voice talents of Indian stars Saif Ali Khan (Dil Chahta Hai/Do Your Thing), Kareena Kapoor (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…/Happiness & Tears) and Javed Jaffrey (Fire). The film follows a pampered dog who is abandoned by his owner and learns to survive in the streets of Mumbai.

I’m all for American studios producing movies out of the US. Disney is already doing it in China and France, Columbia in India and China, and Warner Bros in France, India and Italy (and those are only the ones I know about). But why stop there? Why not release the movies you make in those movies internationally? Seems like it could only be a win situation wouldn’t it?

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New Trailer: Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories is a new Disney movie directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray), starring Adam Sandler (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan), Keri Russell (August Rush), Guy Pearce (Traitor), Courteney Cox Arquette (FX’s Dirt), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Aisha Tyler (Balls Of Fury), Lucy Lawless (Sci Fi’s Battlestar Galactica), Jonathan Pryce (Leatherheads) and Richard Griffiths (the Harry Potter films) among others.

The film, written by Matt Lopez (The Wild) and Tim Herlihy (Mr. Deeds), focuses on a guy who discovers that the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew mysteriously come true. Bedtime Stories premieres in most countries around Christmas/New Year’s. I think Sandler is a great, underrated actor, but this seems to be among his lesser films. In any case there’ll always be Keri and Courteney to look at, so that’s a plus. What do you guys think?

Paul Newman (1925-2008)

This post will remain the top story throughout the weekend

Very sad news today as we learn that legendary actor/food company owner Paul Newman died yesterday, September 26th 2008 of complications arising from lung cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut, surrounded by family and close friends. He was 83 years old.

An actor first and foremost, Paul Newman has won one Academy Award, two Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Cannes Film Festival Award, one Emmy Award and many others (not forgetting countless nominations). His most famous films include The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, The Hustler and its sequel The Color Of Money, The Hudsucker Proxy , Slap Shot, The Towering Inferno, Message In A Bottle and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He was last seen on the big screen in Road To Perdition and his voice was featured in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.

In addition to acting, Paul Newman is well-known for the food company Newman’s Own, which he co-founded. A true humanitarian, Newman donated all profits and royalties of the company to charity. The amount donated exceeds 220 million dollars. His daughter Nell, 49 years old, will now head the company.

Paul Newman was also an occasional film director, of such movies as The Glass Menagerie, and an auto racing enthusiast who won several championships. He is survived by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward (Philadelphia), his five daughters and eight grandchildren.

You can read more about the great man and his many acts of philantropy on his Wikipedia page, and view his full screen credits on his IMDB page. According to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, his best film is the crime drama Cool Hand Luke, that film’s trailer is thus after the jump. Please share your thoughts, condoleances and comments.

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Yet another Disney flick for The Rock?

After The Game Plan and the forthcoming Race To Witch Mountain, former wrestler Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock may star in a third Disney film, Tomorrowland, based on the eponymous “world” found in Disney theme parks (known in Disneyland Paris as Discoveryland), and particularly on the famous Space Mountain ride. Screenwriting duo Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (Rebound) will pen the script.

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