A few bits of entertainment news:
I've been tracking the Spider-Man musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, for a while now, first as I thought it sounded like a ridiculous idea, then as I thought it might turn out to be good, then as I saw it plagued by multiple problems (running out of money, losing cast members) and delays (remember when previews were supposed to start last February? those were the days...). The most recent news is not good. After all this time, the show finally opened for preview showings on November 28 (the premiere is scheduled for January 11), but the performance is being called a disaster (e.g. Studio Briefing, NYPost). There were multiple significant malfunctions, such as cast members (including Spidey himself) being left hanging over the audience for several minutes. These glitches forced the performance to stop four times in the first act, and once in the second. During one of the stops, an audience member was heard to say, "I feel like a guinea pig tonight. I feel like it’s a dress rehearsal." Well, it kind of was... Reeve Carney (Peter Parker) said that it was the first time they'd gone all the way through the show (broadway.com). Wow, no wonder there were so many things going wrong. The whole performance took three and a half hours, and to make things worse, some audience members reported a boring score and confusing script. The most expensive Broadway show ever, at $65 million, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark can't afford to be a flop. Things aren't looking good so far.
Irvin Kershner, director of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, passed away this past Saturday at age 87 (Variety). The first sequel to the original Star Wars, the darker Empire Strikes Back initially received mixed reviews. However, it has gone on to become the most highly praised of all the Star Wars films. Much of the credit is given to Kershner. RIP.
OK, now, let's end on a lighter note...
It has been announced that Anne Hathaway and James Franco will be hosting this year's Oscars ceremony (e.g. Studio Briefing). Last year's ceremony had a pair of hosts as well, with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin hosting the event, but the choice breaks from recent tradition by having hosts who are neither comedians nor song-and-dance performers. Not that Franco and Hathaway can't be funny or sing (we've seen some evidence to the contrary), but these are not talents for which they are primarily known. About the choice, producers said, "James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify the next generation of Hollywood icons— fresh, exciting and multi-talented." Their selection may be an attempt to increase the ratings for the telecast, bringing in young eyes who may not have been drawn by last year's "old fogies." Franco is very likely to be nominated for a lead acting Oscar this year, for his role in 127 Hours. Anne Hathaway received a best actress nomination two years ago for her lead role in Rachel Getting Married, and has a chance at a nomination this year for her role in Love and Other Drugs. I like both of these actors, so I hope they find ways to use them well in the ceremony. I'm hopeful it will be an entertaining show.