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More horrible news. May he rest in peace.

Arnold Palmer, Golf’s First Superstar in the Age of Television, Dies at 87

Swashbuckling on the course and modest off it, he won seven majors, played The Masters for 50 straight years, co-founded the Golf Channel and was IMG’s first client.

Arnold Palmer, the gentleman golfer from Latrobe, Pa., whose thrilling, go-for-broke style made him the first television superstar of his sport and earned him generations of devoted fans, died Sunday. He was 87.

The beloved Palmer, who was the first client of Mark McCormack’s legendary sports management firm IMG and later co-founded the Golf Channel — the first cable network devoted to one sport — died at UPMC hospital in Pittsburgh. Golf Digest first reported the news.

Palmer appeared noticeably frail in March when he served as host of his annual PGA tournament held at his Bay Hill Club & Lodge outside Orlando. A few days earlier, he had said that he would no longer hit one of the ceremonial first tee shots at The Masters, which he had done every year since 2007.

The charismatic Palmer captured seven major tournaments during his illustrious career, taking The Masters four times (in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964), the British Open twice (in 1961 and 1962) and the U.S. Open once (in 1960, when he rallied from seven strokes down in the final round to storm past an aging Ben Hogan and a young Jack Nicklaus).

He never won golf’s final major, the PGA Championship, finishing second three times, and had spectacular flame-outs, like when he blew a seven-shot lead in the final nine holes at the 1966 U.S. Open before falling in a playoff the following day. It was one of his four runner-up finishes at the Open.

Palmer, though, did win 62 times on the PGA Tour — including 29 times in his heyday of 1960-63, an era when color was coming to televisions across America. Audiences loved watching the swashbuckling Palmer, whose style was to swing as hard as he could on every full shot.

“He was the perfect figure for television, because of his athleticism, his good looks, the way he played the game,” his biographer, Jim Dodson (A Golfer’s Life), said. “He created the excitement that TV symbolized. It was immediate, it was fresh. It could take people right to the scene in ways media had never done.”

His fervent fans became known as Arnie’s Army, and he made it a point to sign each and every autograph for them with perfect penmanship. “What’s the point of signing something if the person can’t read it or later can’t even remember who it was?” he often said.

In a game that is often elitist, he was never so.

In 1960, Palmer shook hands with McCormack to become the first client of International Management Group. The two had known each other from college, when Palmer competed for Wake Forest and McCormack played for William & Mary.

In Palmer’s first few years with McCormack, his annual endorsement earnings grew from $6,000 to $500,000, and the golfer became a global “brand,” one of the first in the annals of sports. He endorsed motor oil (Pennzoil), rental cars (Hertz), automobiles (Cadillac), airlines (Quantas, United), sunglasses (Ray-Ban), tractors, cardigans, after-dinner jackets, aftershave lotions — and much, much more.

Plus, he had his own drink, the Arnold Palmer, a half-and-half combination of iced tea and lemonade that he mixed in his kitchen for years. His company has been selling its own brand since 2001, and a commercial showing him dispensing one in an ESPN cafeteria was a very popular SportsCenter spot.

The Arnold Palmer “goes well with everything from a cheeseburger to a liverwurst sandwich to a cup of soup,” he once said.

William Morris Endeavor closed on its purchase of IMG in May 2014. Said Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, co-CEOs of WME-IMG, in a statement: “Arnold Palmer set the standard for athletes in life and in business with his passion, charisma and dedication. We will forever remember him as IMG’s first client and a man who profoundly shaped the modern-day sports industry.”

In yet another savvy business move, Palmer and Alabama entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs secured $80 million in financing to launch the 24-hour-a-day Golf Channel. It went on the air on Jan. 17, 1995, and five years later, Comcast acquired control of the network after Palmer cashed out.

He also had a thriving golf course-designing business and piloted his own plane.

Arnold Daniel Palmer was born Sept. 10, 1929, in Latrobe, a modest suburb in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh. His father was a steelworker who became a greenskeeper and then the club professional at the Latrobe Country Club, and Palmer began playing golf at age 4 and driving the club’s tractor at 7.

He attended Latrobe High School and Wake Forest — his college career was interrupted by a three-year stint in the U.S. Coast Guard — and then won the U.S. Amateur tournament in 1954 at age 19.

The chain-smoking, up-and-down Palmer was fun to watch even then, as Sports Illustrated described in its coverage of the event at the Detroit Country Club: “Throughout the tournament, Palmer would play four or five holes in a row with great authority. Then he would erase the impression that he is almost as finished a shot-maker as Gene Littler was a year ago by smothering a drive or bumbling unsurely with an explosion shot. He is a sound putter and above all a player of tremendous determination.”

A few months later, Palmer made his Masters debut, his first of a record 50 consecutive appearances at the event. When he won in Augusta, Ga., for the first time in 1958, the golfer with forearms like a prize fighter was a big hit with the soldiers from nearby Camp Gordon who had come in for free to help run the scoreboards. It was there that Arnie’s Army was born.

“I’m flattered by the fact that people want to talk to me or shake hands with me or get an autograph,” he told Esquire in 2014. “I feel flattered that they want that. And I try to do all I can to accommodate.”

President Dwight Eisenhower considered him a son, and when Palmer was dominating in the 1960s, the number of players in the U.S. doubled to 10 million and a new course in America was built just about every day for 10 straight years. He was Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods.

“The King” also was instrumental in the success of the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) for players 50 years and older. He became eligible in its first year (that timing was not a coincidence) and won 10 times on the circuit before retiring from tournament golf in October 2006.

One of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, Palmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

His wife of 45 years, Winnie, died in November 1999 at age 65 of ovarian cancer. He married Kathleen “Kit” Gawthrop in 2005; survivors also include his daughters Amy and Peggy; six grandchildren, including Sam Saunders, who plays on the PGA Tour; his brother Jerry; and sisters Sandra and Lois.

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Last week I saw “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” and “Snowden”. I loved the first film and was quite bored by the latter one.

Box office report: Denzel Washington Has A Magnificent Debut At Number One

Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua are enjoying one of the biggest opening weekends of their respective careers as The Magnificent Seven, based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, opens to a solid estimated $35 million in North America.

Opening on 3,674 screens, The Magnificent Seven earned an A- grade from audiences on CinemaScore, a decent rating for the fall blockbuster, which looks to steadily decrease atop strong legs on its way to recouping a lofty $90 million budget by the end of its run. The film notches Washington’s third largest opening since the beginning of his film career in 1981, unadjusted for inflation, while it tallies the biggest weekend debut for any title in Fuqua’s filmography.

The pair previously conjured box office magic together on 2014’s The Equalizer ($101.5 million) and 2001’s Training Day ($76.6 million), the latter of which won Washington his second Academy Award.

Debuting at No. 2 with a soft $21.8 million is Warner Bros. Animation’s Storks, a family comedy featuring the voices of Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, and Ty Burrell. Though exit polling indicated general audience satisfaction (it currently has an A- grade on CinemaScore), the film stumbled in its efforts to replicate the success of the studio’s The LEGO Movie, which made over $257 million domestically in 2014. Still, animated movies tend to sprout longer legs than their live-action counterparts, and Storks was produced on a manageable budget in the $70 million range. With an extra $18.3 million coming from around 33 international territories this weekend, Storks should clear its production costs by the middle of October.

Falling to No. 3 after leading the pack for two weeks is Clint Eastwood’s Sully, which stars Tom Hanks as Chesley Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who successfully performed an emergency landing of an Airbus on the Hudson River in 2009. The Warner Bros. film continues to flex its muscles with older audiences, shedding a mere 36 percent from week two to week three for an estimated finish of $13.8 million. Its domestic total now stands at $92.4 million ($126 million internationally), and it should clear the $100 million mark in the U.S. and Canada in a week’s time.

Rounding out the top five are Bridget Jones’s Baby, the Renee Zellweger-starring threequel released 12 years after the Bridget Jones series’ previous installment, which falls 47 percent to an estimated $4.5 million, and Oliver Stone’s Snowden biopic, which loses 48 percent of its debut audience for a sophomore weekend gross of $4.1 million.

In limited release, Disney’s chess drama Queen of Katwe, which was one of the runner-ups for the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award, premieres to a muted $305,000 on 52 screens with a per-theater average of $5,865. The Mira Nair-directed film stars Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo in a fact-based tale of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy who became a Woman Candidate Master following stellar showings at the World Chess Olympiad competition.

Year-to-date box office is up around 5.1 percent from the same frame last year. Check out the full Sept. 23-25 weekend box office chart below.

1. The Magnificent Seven – $35 million
2. Storks – $21.8 million
3. Sully – $13.8 million
4. Bridget Jones’s Baby – $4.5 million
5. Snowden – $4.1 million
6. Blair Witch – $4 million
7. Don’t Breathe – $3.8 million
8. Suicide Squad – $3.1 million
9. When the Bough Breaks – $2.5 million
10. Kubo and the Two Strings – $1.1 million

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Happy Retirement, Cliff!!

AC/DC’s Cliff Williams announces retirement

AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams has confirmed his retirement plans following the band’s gig in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.

The rocker will take the stage with his bandmates and guest vocalist Axl Rose in Philadelphia and then quit as the group wraps up its troubled Rock or Bust tour.

AC/DC have released a new video of Williams confirming the news.

He says, “It’s time for me to step out, and that’s all.”

The bass player insists his decision has nothing to do with the events of the past year, during which dementia forced Malcolm Young out of the band and singer Brian Johnson’s hearing issues prompted him to sit out the remainder of the tour, but in a previous statement in July Williams announced his retirement plans revolved around the band’s personnel changes.

“Losing Malcolm… and now with Brian, it’s a changed animal,” he said. “I feel in my gut it’s the right thing (to do).”

The 66-year-old says, “I’m just ready to get off the road, really, and do what I do.

“In between tours, we take a few years off, so I know how to do that, I know what I’m gonna do. Again, it’s just my time. I’m happy.”

Williams joined AC/DC in 1977 and first appeared on the band’s Powerage album, which was released in 1978.

Following Tuesday night’s gig in Philadelphia, guitarist Angus Young will be AC/DC’s only founding member.

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They truly are the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of our time.

Brangelina no more: Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt

Hollywood power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is no more.

Oscar-winning actress and director Jolie, who is also a special envoy for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has filed for divorce from actor and producer Pitt, according to Robert Offer, lawyer for Jolie.

Offer said the decision was made “for the health of the family.”

Jolie would “not be commenting at this time” and asked that her family be “given their privacy,” he added.

In a statement issued to People magazine, Pitt also asked for privacy.

“I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids,” Pitt said in the statement.

“I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”

Jolie and Pitt, referred to in entertainment media as Brangelina, have six children: Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Pax, Vivienne and Knox.

The two met on the set of the 2004 film Mr. and Mrs. Smith — an action comedy in which they starred as married assassins working for rival agencies — and officially became a couple in 2005.

After about a decade together, the pair married in August 2014.

Most recently, the two starred as a troubled married couple in 2015’s By the Sea, which Jolie directed.

Jolie was previously married to actor Billy Bob Thornton and, earlier, actor Johnny Lee Miller. Pitt was previously married to actress Jennifer Aniston.

Jolie and Pitt’s relationship was one of contemporary Hollywood’s most high-profile, tabloid-covered pairings.

Myriad articles debated whether they first hooked up while he was still married to Aniston, media around the world reported on the births of the globe-trotting couple’s children (Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne) and their adoptions (Maddox, Zahara and Pax), while their alleged marital spats were regular fodder in U.S. tabloids.

In recent years, Jolie has balanced her filmmaking with various causes, including working with the UN to highlight the plight of refugees and for increased awareness of breast and ovarian cancer, after her revelation that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy (and, later, further preventive surgery).

They famously turned ravenous interest for the first images of their newborn daughter Shiloh into a philanthropic opportunity: after selling the exclusive photo and story rights to People and Hello! magazines, they donated all the proceeds to charity. They later repeated the practice, including upon the birth of twins Vivienne and Knox.

“It was extremely revolutionary that they donated the funds from the photos of their [biological children’s births] and their wedding to charities. I think that it led the way for other celebrity couples to actually do the same… That they contributed those funds to causes that really made a difference in the world was exemplary,” Natasha Koifman, president of public relations firm NKPR and board member of the charity Artists for Peace and Justice, told CBC News.

“They were the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of our time, for sure,” she said.

Jolie and Pitt often travelled the world with their children for their various film and other projects. They shared a home in southern California, as well as an estate and vineyard in the south of France.

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He was a great filmmaker. May he rest in peace.

Curtis Hanson, Director and Oscar-Winning Writer on ‘L.A. Confidential,’ Dies at 71

Curtis Hanson, whose sterling adaptation of the noir classic L.A. Confidential earned him an Oscar and vaulted him to A-list status as a screenwriter and director, has died. He was 71.

Hanson, who also helmed such box-office hits as the Rebecca De Mornay horror thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) and the Eminem hip-hop drama 8 Mile (2002), died Tuesday afternoon in a home in the Hollywood Hills, according to the LAPD. Paramedics had been called to the scene and found him dead.

He most recently directed the 2012 surfing movie Chasing Mavericks but left the production because of an undisclosed illness. Michael Apted completed the picture, and Hanson never directed a film again.

A skilled technician and former magazine journalist who worked with Roger Corman and Sam Fuller early in his career, the versatile Hanson was proficient in a wide array of genres and styles.

He also helmed Losin’ It (1983), the teen comedy starring Tom Cruise; The River Wild (1994), the rafting action adventure starring Meryl Streep; the off-center Wonder Boys (2000), starring Michael Douglas as a Pittsburgh professor struggling to complete his second novel; and the frothy In Her Shoes (2005), a comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette as opposite-minded sisters.

Earlier in his career, Hanson directed the Hitchcockian homages The Bedroom Window (1987), which he also scripted, and Bad Influence (1990).

Hanson worked closely with Brian Helgeland over many months to adapt James Ellroy’s complex novel for the screen for their Oscar, and he also received noms for producing and directing L.A. Confidential (1997), considered by many to be the best Hollywood noir-style film since 1974’s Chinatown.

The crime drama, which starred Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger (who won an Oscar for her role) and Danny De Vito, also played in competition at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Palme d’Or.

“I had always wanted to tell a story that was set in Los Angeles in the ’50s, because that’s where I grew up, and it was the city of my childhood memories,” he said in a 2001 interview. “I wanted to deal with that and also pursue this theme that interested me, which is the difference between illusion and reality, the way people and things appear to be versus how they really are. And Hollywood, of course, is the city of illusion. So that was near and dear to me, and extremely personal.”

Curtis Lee Hanson was born on March 24, 1945, in Reno, Nev., but grew up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. His father taught English at Portola Junior High School in Tarzana, and Hanson was one of his sixth-grade students.

A movie buff who was a fan of True Detective magazine, Hanson and high-school classmate Willard Huyck (a future screenplay Oscar nominee for American Graffiti) collaborated on an 8mm movie and charged 50 cents admission to friends who came to the Hanson home to see it.

Hanson dropped out of high school and worked as a gofer for Cinema magazine, which was in dire financial straights. The publication was revived by Hanson’s uncle, who owned a chain of clothing stores, and he installed Hanson as editor. That enabled him to interview major directors, including John Ford and Vincente Minnelli, and he learned more about the art of filmmaking.

“In a sense, it was my film school,” he said. “After doing it for a few years, I decided that the time had come to get it together and do some work of my own.”

Not surprisingly given his journalistic background, Hanson began as a writer. He co-wrote The Dunwich Horror (1970), an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft short story, for executive producer Corman and American International Pictures.

He then wrote and directed the Corman-distributed thriller Sweet Kill (1972), starring Tab Hunter.

Hanson penned the screenplay for The Silent Partner (1978), which he adapted from an Anders Bodelsen novel. The Canadian film, on which he also served as an associate producer, starred Elliott Gould as a nebbish teller who engages in a battle of wits with a bank thief (Christopher Plummer).

With a writers strike looming, Hanson holed up with Fuller in the writer-director’s garage, and they pulled together the adapted screenplay for White Dog (1982) in less than three weeks. The story of a dog handler (Paul Winfield) out to re-train a German shepherd taught by white supremacists to attack blacks, it was not released in the U.S. for years after the NAACP threatened to boycott Paramount.

Hanson’s other credits include The Little Dragons (1979), which he directed and executive produced; the Alaskan wilderness family adventure Never Cry Wolf (1983), which he co-wrote; the coming-of-age saga Lucky You (2007), which he wrote and directed; and, years before The Big Short, the 2011 HBO film Too Big to Fail, which he directed and exec produced on the way to two Emmy noms.

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It was a pretty good show. I enjoyed it.

Emmys 2016: Canadian Tatiana Maslany takes home best actress in a drama

Canadian Tatiana Maslany took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her multiple roles on the cult-hit clone series Orphan Black on Sunday night.

Maslany appeared shocked as she accepted the award at the ceremony in Los Angeles and thanked the show’s creators for “this incredible dream job.”

She also said she felt “so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the centre.”

Maslany, often regarded as one of the hardest-working women in TV, plays multiple clones with varying personalities and accents in Orphan Black.

It was her second Emmy nomination for her work on the show, which airs on Space and BBC America and is shot in Toronto. The sci-fi thriller recently aired its fourth season, with the next season to be its final one.

Rami Malek captured his first Emmy for his lead role as the socially awkward computer hacker Elliott in USA Network’s Mr. Robot.

“I think there’s a little Elliott in all of us,” Malek said as he accepted his award for outstanding lead actor.

HBO’s mega-hit fantasy series Game of Thrones won the coveted best drama Emmy for the second year in a row.

The show went nto Sunday’s show with a leading 23 nominations and won a total of 12 Emmys, including for directing and writing.

Thrones will miss next year’s Emmy deadline because of the decision to air its seventh season in the summer of 2017, so racking up as many as possible this year is an even bigger deal.

The show beat out The Americans, Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Homeland, House of Cards and Mr. Robot.

The FX true crime drama The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story swept the 68th edition of the awards show with awards for best limited series, lead actor, lead actress and supporting actor.

Courtney B. Vance was honoured with the best actor award, limited series, for his role as charismatic defence lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who helped acquit NFL legend O.J. Simpson of double murder under the glaring spotlight of the so-called “Trial of the Century.”

Sarah Paulson won the Emmy Award for best actress in a limited for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark, who endured widespread criticism for failing to win a conviction.

Paulson brought Clark as her guest to the ceremony at Microsoft Theater, and apologized to her for having a two-dimensional view of the prosecutor before signing on to play her onscreen.

“The more I learned about the real Marcia Clark … the more I had to recognize that I along with the rest of the world had been superficial and careless in my judgment,” she said.

Paulson’s co-star Sterling K. Brown, who played prosecutor Christopher Darden in the series, won the best supporting actor award.

The drama had 22 nominations on the wave of a true crime trend in television coupled with a contemporary backdrop of racial tension.

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her fifth straight Emmy on Sunday for her role in the satirical White House comedy on a night when politics played large in the midst of an extraordinary 2016 U.S. election campaign.

For the second straight year, Veep was named outstanding comedy. The competition included previous winner Modern Family, returning nominees Transparent, Silicon Valley and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and first-time nominees Black-ish and Master of None.

Veteran Jeffrey Tambor won best comedy actor for a second time for his role as a father who transitions to a woman in Amazon’s groundbreaking Transparent.

Louis-Dreyfus, who plays the vainglorious U.S. president Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep, apologized for what she called “the current political climate.”

“I think that Veep has torn down the wall between comedy and politics. Our show started out as a political satire but it now feels like a sobering documentary,” she said while accepting her award.

As Americans prepare to vote in November for a new president, Veep is also expected to win the coveted comedy series category, which is announced at the end of Sunday’s three-hour ceremony.

Turning serious a moment later, she fought back tears as she dedicated the award to her father, who died Friday.

Louis-Dreyfus has been an Emmy favourite for years, winning comedy acting awards for Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine before dominating the category with her work on Veep.

Tambor used his speech to call for more roles for transgender people.

“I would not be unhappy if I were the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television,” he said.

This is the second year in a row Tambor has won the best comedy actor Emmy.

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Congrats to them all!!

TIFF People’s Choice Award cements La La Land in Oscar race

La La Land is dancing its way through awards season on a high note: The Damien Chazelle-directed musical has won the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival’s coveted People’s Choice Award, widely seen as a precursor to a best picture nomination at the Oscars.

The film, which revolves around the budding relationship between a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) and struggling actress (Emma Stone) in Los Angeles, is Chazelle’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2014 drama Whiplash, which earned stellar reviews ahead of winning three Oscars — including one for supporting actor J.K. Simmons, who also appears in La La Land.

This year’s runners-up were Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe and Garth Davis’ Lion. La La Land, which premiered to glowing reviews at the Venice Film Festival in August, faced stiff competition in Toronto from the likes of Natalie Portman’s Jacqueline Kennedy biopic Jackie, which won the TIFF Platform Award, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, and Amy Adams’ sci-fi drama Arrival, which all received solid reviews from critics at the annual event’s 41st edition.

Seven of the eight TIFF People’s Choice Award winners crowned between 2008 and 2015 — including Silver Linings Playbook, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and The Imitation Game — went on to either win or receive a nomination for best picture at the Oscars. Last year’s winner, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, earned Brie Larson her first Academy Award in the best actress category on top of scoring three additional nominations for best picture, best director, and best adapted screenplay.

The last film to win both best picture and the TIFF People’s Choice Award was Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave in 2013. Excluding La La Land, Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? is the only TIFF People’s Choice winner to not receive a single Academy Award nomination since 2008. The film was, however, officially submitted to represent Lebanon in the best foreign language film category, though it ultimately missed out on a nomination.

Since 1978, the TIFF People’s Choice Award has been determined by a public vote. This year, TIFF introduced a mobile app which allowed attendees to cast votes for their favorite festival title without the use of a physical ballot.

Lionsgate will release La La Land on Dec. 2. Watch the film’s trailer and check out the full list of TIFF winners below.

Dropbox Discovery Programme Filmmakers Award: Jeffrey, Yanillys Perez
Best Canadian Short Film: Mutants, Alexandre Dostie
Best Short Film: Imago, Raymund Ribay Gutierrez
City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature: Old Stone (Lao shi), Johnny Ma
Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves, Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie
Fipresci Prizes of the International Federation of Film Critics:

Discovery: Kati Kati, Mbithi Masya
Special Presentations: I Am Not Madame Bovary, Feng Xiaogang
Network for Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema Award: In Between, Maysaloun Hamoud
Toronto Platform Prize: Jackie, Pablo Larraín
Grolsch People’s Choice Awards:

Midnight Madness: Free Fire, Ben Wheatley
Documentary: I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck
People’s Choice: La La Land, Damien Chazelle

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It is a great little park.

Rush’s Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson Receive Key to the City at Lee-Lifeson Art Park Opening in Toronto

Hundreds of fans stood in the pouring rain Saturday afternoon in north Toronto to see Rush singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson at the official opening of an art park named after them, where they received the Key to the City.

The Lee-Lifeson Art Park — which has a giant likeness of Lee and Lifeson in mosaic tile — includes a small outdoor stage and amphitheatre for acoustic performances and permanent interactive sculpture installations. It is in Willowdale, the neighbourhood of North York where Lee and Lifeson both grew up and formed Rush in 1971.

“We’re obviously thrilled and amazed that someone would want to do something like this and put our names on it, and we’re really happy for the community that there’s some investment arts and leisure for this neighbourhood,” said Lee.

“This park will still be here weeks after we’re gone,” quipped Lifeson.

The mothers of both musicians were in attendance, shielded from the elements under the tented stage.

The ceremony for The Lee-Lifeson Art Park began with a performance by Jacob Moon of “Subdivisions,” the rooftop cover he did in 2008 that is now approaching a half-million views on YouTube. George Stroumboulopoulos then interviewed Lee and Lifeson, asking about the park dedication, as well as the album 2112 (they sat on 2112 stools), and what they have been doing since their final tour, R40, ended in 2015.

“We may do house calls — maybe,” joked Lifeson.

“It’s been an adjustment this past year,” he added, seriously. “We’ve been following up on some interests that we both have. We’re learning to get used to the idea and it’s taken a while, but I feel confident about a lot of things and music is definitely still one of them. And I’m sure that we’ll do something in the future. You can’t just stop playing and writing music.”

Said Lee, “I play almost every day that I’m around the house. I’ve been traveling a lot with my wife. We’re very big into seeing the world and taking advantage of this break in my career, whatever it may be, but I love playing and I play a lot and sooner or later the right thing will happen.”

The two members of Rush — solidified as a trio with drummer Neil Peart — have always lived in Toronto, where they raised families. Lifeson started the band in Willowdale in 1971, with Lee joining that May. Peart joined in 1974, finalizing a lineup that has remained intact all these years.

“Our friendship started very close to here and our musical life together began very close to here,” said Lee, 63, recalling “the first night he [Lifeson] got me high in the park.” (“Quiet, our moms are here,” said Lifeson, also 63).

One of their first gigs, which cost 50 cents to get in, was also around the corner at St. Gabe’s (Saint Gabriel’s Parish), put on with their long-time manager Ray Danniels, who was at the park dedication.

Asked by Stroumboulopoulos what it means to them that the park is an “art” park, Lee said, “Art is the thing that elevates you out of whatever situation you’re in. Art is constant for that. Art is the thing that you pour your heart into, that whatever you’re doing, whatever aspect of life, whatever situation you find yourself in, art elevates it. It heals. It’s given us everything in our lives, so to be associated with that kind of thought and that kind of concept is amazing, fantastic.”

The idea for the 7000 sq. metre art park originated with Councillor John Fillon in 2012, who also came onstage to say a few words.

“We wanted to name the park after them, not because they’re rock stars, not just because they’ve sold many, many millions of albums and sell out concerts around the world and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but also because they are such extraordinary musicians, and this park is about creativity and encouraging the creative spirit, encouraging people to just work on their craft and become great and do something great,” Fillon said. “So it is wonderful to have the park named after such inspiring musicians.”

Mayor John Tory then gave the pair the Key to the City.

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SULLY was very good and now I need to see SNOWDEN and BRIDGET JONES’S BABY. I might also see BLAIR WITCH…we’ll see.

Box office report: Sully repeats on top, Blair Witch opens soft

Clint Eastwood’s Sully continues to fly high at the domestic box office, landing at the No. 1 spot for the second weekend in a row as overall year-to-date numbers hold strong at 5.4 percent over the same frame in 2015.

Benefitting from little competition in terms of tone and genre, Sully holds strong atop a pack of weak newcomers, dropping a mere 37 percent for an estimated $22 million haul. The film is well on its way toward becoming star Tom Hanks’ top-grossing live action film since 2009’s Angels & Demons, as its domestic total now stands at over $70 million (and counting) after just 10 days in wide release, outpacing 2013’s Captain Phillips, which finished its North American run with $107 million after grossing $52 million over its 10-day opening stretch.

The $60 million Warner Bros. picture had its world premiere earlier in September at the 2016 Telluride Film Festival, where it received positive reviews from critics ahead of opening to $35 million at the domestic box office last week.

Though it grossed almost two times what it cost to make, Adam Wingard’s $5 million Blair Witch sequel still doesn’t stack up when compared to its 2016 genre brethren like Don’t Breathe ($26.4 million in August) and The Conjuring 2 ($40.4 million in June). The inexpensive horror flick settles way behind Sully at No. 2 with an estimated $9.7 million from 3,121 theaters, significantly lower than its 1999 forerunner’s $29.2 million opening. Judging by the film’s rare — and abysmal — D+ CinemaScore grade and a poor showing with critics, audiences aren’t likely to stick around in the coming weeks.

Notching a No. 3 debut with her first major theatrical release in six years is Renee Zellweger, whose rom-com threequel Bridget Jones’s Baby scores a muted $8.2 million at the box office this weekend. The film marks the series’ first installment in 12 years, following Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which grossed a similar $8.7 million across its first three-day window in 2004. While The Edge of Reason went on to make over $40 million domestically, don’t expect Baby to do the same; the latter hit theaters in November during the traditionally lucrative holiday season, which undoubtedly bolstered its performance throughout the season.

Still, Baby has performed well with critics (it currently stands at 78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.3/10) and its target demo, with audiences giving it a decent B+ grade on CinemaScore. Internationally, Baby debuts at No. 1 in 24 markets, grossing just over $29 million from global territories — including a record-breaking run in the U.K. and Ireland, where it made $11.3 million while maintaining a 57 percent market share.

Coming in at No. 4 with an estimated $8 million is Oliver Stone’s Snowden, fresh from its screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival. The biopic stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the titular role of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who publicly leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency in 2013. The film received lukewarm reviews from critics upon its festival debut, currently holding a 58 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though audiences responded better; the film has an A grade from CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five is Fede Alvarez’s surprise horror hit Don’t Breathe, which crosses the $75 million domestic mark after raking in an extra $5.6 million across its fourth weekend in wide release. The $9.9 million movie has made an additional $31.7 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to $107 million to date.

Check out the top 10 films at the box office for the Sept. 16-18 weekend below.

1. Sully – $22 million
2. Blair Witch – $9.7 million
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby – $8.2 million
4. Snowden – $8 million
5. Don’t Breathe – $5.6 million
6. When the Bough Breaks – $5.5 million
7. Suicide Squad – $4.7 million
8. The Wild Life – $2.7 million
9. Kubo and the Two Strings – $2.5 million
10. Pete’s Dragon – $2 million

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I almost went to see DON’T BREATHE as I was craving popcorn.

Box office report: Don’t Breathe repeats at No. 1 over quiet holiday weekend

As the summer movie season fades away, domestic box office totals have softened compared to the record-breaking grosses seen earlier in the year, as Don’t Breathe yet again tops a relatively quiet weekend of underperforming newcomers. Still, overall domestic box office totals are up around 5.7 percent from the same frame last year, with 10 of the past 11 weekends having out-paced their 2015 counterparts.

Leading the weekend ahead of a weak crop of new wide releases is Don’t Breathe, which repeats at the top of the pack for a second week in a row after pulling in an estimated three-day total of $15.7 million. The horror flick dips a soft 40 percent from its $26.4 million debut, continuing 2016’s stretch of successful, micro-budgeted (around $10 million) genre titles that have grossed exponentially more than they cost to make.

Don’t Breathe coasts to its second week atop the box office on solid reviews (it stands at 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 7.1/10) and decent word-of-mouth, with audiences giving the film an average B+ grade on CinemaScore.

Finishing the weekend at No. 2 is Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adaptation Suicide Squad, which nears the $300 million domestic mark as it adds approximately $10 million over the three-day weekend. The $175 million production has grossed more than $672 million globally after one month in theaters. Unadjusted for inflation, it is now actor Will Smith’s second-highest grossing film of his nearly 30-year career in the entertainment industry, trailing just under $10 million behind 1996 blockbuster Independence Day’s $306.2 million total. The film marks career-high totals for Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, and director David Ayer as well.

Pete’s Dragon vaults from No. 6 to No. 3 with a three-day weekend finish of $6.471 million, narrowly edging out Kubo and the Two Strings’ $6.467 million gross. The films are neck-and-neck heading into Monday’s Labor Day stretch, which could see Kubo rising ahead of Pete, as the LAIKA animated title is still a newer release. The R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party rounds out the top five, gaining $5.3 million after its fourth weekend in wide release.

Outside the top five, The Light Between Oceans performed in-line with modest expectations as the highest-grossing new release of the week, nabbing just under $5 million over the three-day frame. The week’s other wide opener, Morgan, bombs with audiences (C+ on CinemaScore) and critics alike, making a paltry $1.96 million from 2,020 locations for a per-theater average of $970 on an $8 million budget.

STX Entertainment’s Bad Moms becomes the latest female-driven comedy to cross the $100 million mark this weekend, pulling in $4.7 million at No. 7 on a reported $20 million budget, becoming the distributor’s first $100 million+ grosser in its one-year history. The film’s impressive run is further bolstered by strong performance overseas, which sees the Mila Kunis-fronted picture earning an extra $5 million from 3,900 locations in 50 markets, bringing its worldwide total to $141.2 million and counting.

In limited release, Elizabeth Wood’s White Girl, the titillating Sundance indie, performs well, averaging about $12,000 per-screen from three theaters.

Sept. 2-4 three-day weekend estimates are below. Check back here on Monday, Sept. 5 for four-day totals.

1. Don’t Breathe – $15.7 million
2. Suicide Squad – $10 million
3. Pete’s Dragon – $6.471 million
4. Kubo and the Two Strings – $6.467 million
5. Sausage Party – $5.3 million
6. The Light Between Oceans – $5 million
7. Bad Moms – $4.74 million million
8. War Dogs – $4.71 million
9. Hell or High Water – $4.5 million
10. Mechanic: Resurrection – $4.3 million