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Surely coming as a surprise to precious few, "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuarón has just won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) prize for theatrical motion pictures. He beat out fellow Oscar nominees Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave"), Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street") and David O. Russell ("American Hustle"), as well as "Captain Phillips" helmer Paul Greengrass to land his first such honor from the guild.
The competition juries and audiences have spoken from Park City. "Whiplash" earned two key awards Saturday night, the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize and the U.S. dramatic audience award. These were impressive wins for director Damien Chazelle and distributor Sony Pictures Classics, who acquired the drama during the festival. Featuring impressive performances by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, the film focuses on a young music student (Teller) who is willing to go above and beyond to make it into a competitive jazz band at one of New York City's most prestigious music schools. It's the rare opening night film to take home the festival's top prize.
PARK CITY - It certainly won't go down as one of the greatest editions of the Sundance Film Festival, but reports of it being a bad or weak festival are completely off base. There were few highs, few terrible lows (although some). Instead, there were many good, very good, but not great films. The festival experimented with mixing up the genres in the dramatic competition and for some longtime media it might have been off putting. Well, if they attended the public screenings they would have found audiences more engaged than usual. It was an experiment for the programmers and gave high profile debuts for movies such as "Life as Beth," "Dear White People" and "Cold in July." Those are flicks that could have been relegated to the Midnight or NEXT sections in the past. That's a win in our book.
PARK CITY - Some small movies are bigger than others, and few contemporary filmmakers' careers are better suited to that sliding scale than Joe Swanberg, the self-sufficient indie all-rounder who has quietly reeled off 16 feature films since 2005. Until recently, they've been uniformly scrappy in scope and construction, with some more considered than others: the personal, plainly self-reflexive relationship studies (2008's Greta Gerwig-starring "Nights and Weekends" was a standout) rather than the quick-sketch genre exercises.
From Lady Gaga to Yoko Ono, the stars turned out to help honor Carole King at Friday (24) night’s MusiCares Person of the Year gala.
The annual event, put on by The Recording Academy two nights before the Grammy Awards, benefits MusiCare’s Emergency Financial Assistance and Addiction Recovery programs.
Among the artists and celebrities spotted on the red carpet were Sara Bareilles, Ozzy and Sharon Osborne, James Taylor, Ben Folds, Miguel, Aeromith’s Steven Tyler, LeAnn Rimes, Kacey Musgraves, Jackson Browne, Jason Mraz, and, of course, evening’s honoree, Carole King. The event also drew from the political world, with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in attendance, as well as Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
PARK CITY - Even before planning for the Sundance Film Festival began at HitFix headquarters in LA, I had challenged director Gareth Evans and the cast of his new film "The Raid 2: Berendal" to a snowball fight in Park City.
After all, for the cast, this is their first time traveling together to a place with snow. Co fight master and co-star Yayan Ruhian had never seen snow in his life when he arrived, and according to Evans, Ruhian's first reaction was to grab two big handfuls of snow and just smash them to his face. His second reaction was to immediately regret his first reaction.
The damnedest thing happened, though. There was no real snow at Sundance this year. The weather's been cold and clear and dry, and so when we finally got to the day where I was scheduled to talk to the cast and the crew of "The Raid 2," we decided to shoot the chats inside the Yarrow Hotel, one of the two hotels that serve as part of the nerve center of Sundance.
As the east coast thaws out from its latest Polar Vortex, the soundtrack to “Frozen” is, appropriately enough, poised to return to the top of the Billboard 200 next week, halting Bruce Springsteen’s run at No. 1 with “High Hopes” after one week. The Boss’s 11th No. 1 album will likely drop to No. 8.
It’s a bleak week for sales as no title comes close to the 100,000 mark. “Frozen” looks good for up to 90,000, according to Hits Daily Double, but then sales plummet as the No. 2 title, Beyonce’s “Beyonce,” is slated to sell no more than 50,000, the same number expected for A Great Big World’s “Is There Anybody Out There,” which will likely debut at No. 3.
Two other titles bow in the top 10: the 2014 Grammy Nominees set, at No. 4 (45,000) and Young The Giant’s latest effort, “Mind Over Matter,” at No. 6 (35,000).
Also in the top 10 next week: the latest installment of “Kidz Bop Kids” will be at No. 5 (35,000), Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” at No. 7 (35,000), Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” at No. 9 (24,000) and Katy Perry’s “Prism” at No. 10 (24,000).
The Grammys, held Sunday night, will have little effect on next week's chart as the survey period ends Sunday at midnight. Look for most artists' Grammy bounce to be reflected in the chart released a week from Wednesday.
Fast National ratings for Friday, January 24, 2014.
ABC won Friday night thanks to the highest-rated regular "Shark Tank" episode ever, while FOX's timeslot swap of "Enlisted" and "Raising Hope" paid dividends for the first-year military comedy without really hurting the veteran show.
For the night, ABC averaged a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49, and 7.2 million viewers overall. FOX was second (1.4, 5.1 million), followed by NBC (1.3, 5.4 million), CBS (1.1, 8 million) and the CW (0.3, 772,000).
8 p.m. -- "Bones" won the hour for FOX with a 1.8 rating and 7.4 million viewers, up from last week. "Dateline NBC" was second (1.4, 7.3 million), followed by an "Undercover Boss" repeat on CBS (1.2, 6.4 million), "Last Man Standing" and "The Neighbors" on ABC (1.1, 5.1 million) and "The Carrie Diaries" on the CW (0.3, 916,000).
9 p.m. -- "Shark Tank" (2.2, 8.1 million) won the hour for ABC with its highest-rated regular episode ever. NBC's "Grimm" (1.5, 5.9 million) was second, followed by a "Hawaii Five-0" repeat on CBS (1.0, 8.1 million). Placed immediately after "Bones," "Enlisted" (1.0, 3.2 million) added more than a million viewers from last week and was up significantly in the demo, while "Raising Hope" (0.8, 2.4 million) actually did slightly better in the demo this week than it did a week ago at 9. A CW "Supernatural" repeat (0.2, 628,000) was in last place.
10 p.m. -- "20/20" (1.9, 8.3 million) won the hour for ABC, followed by a "Blue Bloods" repeat on CBS (1.0, 9.7 million). The "Dracula" season finale (1.0, 3.1 million) was up slightly over last week.