Madonna To Perform In Miami With ‘Raising Malawi’ Benefit


Madonna will perform December 2nd during Art Basel to benefit her Raising Malawi organization. Talk show host James Corden will serve as master of ceremonies at the event which features special guests Sean Penn, Chris Rock, and singer Ariana Grande.

“Founding Raising Malawi is one of the most meaningful things I have done in my life,” said Madonna. “Raising Malawi’s evening of art, music and mischief at Art Basel will support our latest project to establish Malawi’s first pediatric surgery and intensive care unit. I’m excited to give others the opportunity to be part of this undertaking that will ultimately save lives and help the children of Malawi.”

A cocktail reception, dinner, and a live auction conducted by Paddle 8 co-founder Alexander Giles will also be part part of the event. Art from Madonna’s personal collection, as well as works from Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel, and Cindy Sherman will also be available for auction. Founded in 2006, Raising Malawi is a non-profit organization which provides “health, education, and community support” to orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi.

The new facility, which will be named the Mercy James Institute of Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, is set for a 2017 opening. For tickets and info on this event, please contact

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Gets “Big Screen” Treatment With Fathom Events

breakfast1Screen icon Audrey Hepburn is a paragon of style and grace. Whether it’s Sabrina or Roman Holiday, that unmistakable light always shines through, and now movie fans can see that magic on the big screen this month with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies have collaborated on TCM Big Screen Classics: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the screenings will also include commentary from Turner Classic Movies’ Tiffany Vazquez.  The screenings take place Sunday, November 27th and Wednesday, November 30th.

Over 650 movie theaters nationwide will be showing this Audrey Hepburn classic as movie buffs can once again (or maybe for the first time?) hear the wondrous strains of “Moon River” and enjoy the Holly Golighty’s (Hepburn) misadventures. Released in 1961, the movie won Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, with Hepburn and screenwriter George Axelrod (The Manchurian Candidate) also receiving Oscar nods.

Tickets are available at

Is Breakfast at Tiffany’s your favorite Hepburn film? What other classic movies do you want to catch on the big screen? Feel free to comment below!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Boxing Epic ‘Hands of Stone’ Scores Knockout Punch On Blu-Ray

Hands of Stone

One of this year’s most overlooked films, the boxing epic Hands of Stone, was released this week on Blu-ray. Featuring Edgar Ramírez as legendary boxer Roberto Durán, the narrative centers on Durán’s ascension to the boxing ranks and his contentious rivalry with Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond IV).

Although blessed with an all-star cast, making a movie about one of boxing’s greatest fighters wasn’t an easy sell.

“If Roberto Durán was the head of a cartel, and the movie was about a Latin drug dealer, it would have been a lot easier to finance in Hollywood,” said director Jonathan Jakubowicz. “The problem is we have a Latino who is not a drug trafficker or a dictator. He is not racist. He’s actually a good guy and he happens to beat American fighters so it’s against the stereotype. If you’re making the typical movie which would have been had Sugar Ray Leonard as the lead character and Durán as the villain, it would have been a lot easier (to make).”

Armed with just a $24 million budget, Jakubowicz was able to get as much bang for his buck by shooting much of his movie in Panama.

“Shooting on location gives you a production value that is essential to making it look bigger,” added the filmmaker. “It’s really also where you shoot and how you achieve the essential good energy for people to want to be part of it. Because we were shooting the story of the national hero of Panama in Panama – we got the stadiums for free.”

Though Ramírez and Robert De Niro (he plays Durán’s trainer Ray Arcel) always deliver solid work, it’s Usher Raymond IV’s scene stealing performance as Leonard which is the movie’s biggest surprise. Jakubowicz also doesn’t shy from portraying Durán’s quick trigger temper and often unlikable demeanor, and it’s this even handed approach which puts this film a step above the average boxing flick.

Special features on the Blu-ray include deleted scenes, the featurette “Roberto Durán: A Boxing Legend, A Nation’s Pride,” two versions of the “Champions” lyric video (one with Usher, the other with Rubén Blades), and a digital copy of the film.

Hands of Stone is also discussed on this week’s episode of CinemAddicts. Click on the media bar below to hear more about the film as well as our review of Miss Sloane, Rules Don’t Apply, and Mifune: The Last Samurai.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Review: ‘Mifune: The Last Samurai’ Spotlights Journey Of Legendary Actor


Narrated by Keanu Reeves, Mifune: The Last Samurai is a comprehensive 80-minute look at Toshiro Mifune, the legendary actor who is best known for his awe inspiring work with director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, Red Beard). Director Steven Okazaki puts a refreshingly human face on the iconic artist, as a person’s overall legacy can often mask the most intimate details that shaped an individual.

Mifune’s cinematic persona, known for a gruff exterior that occasionally hid a deep level of sensitivity, is conveyed early on, as director Okazaki recounts the actor’s WWII service. Before they went off to battle, Mifune would tell the pilots that they would not have to say “banzai” to the emperor, but rather they should concentrate on saying goodbye to their loved ones.

This sense of honor and love is worked into Okazaki’s brisk coverage of the chanbara (aka samurai) genre and its heavy influence on Japanese culture. Though Kurosawa and Mifune covered various genres during their 16 film collaboration, it was the groundbreaking narrative structure of Rashomon (1950) as well as the oft-copied works Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and Throne of Blood which continues to turn the world on its heads.

Credit goes to Okazaki, whose favorite Mifune work is actually The Samurai Trilogy, for not making Mifune: The Last Samurai an obligatory “greatest hits” look at the actor’s body of work. A refreshing amount of time is devoted to the humanistic Red Beard, the last collaboration between Mifune and Kurosawa. Instead of swords, we are reminded that the artists ended their partnership covering a story about an old and young doctor. Both men were hard driving perfectionists, and though there remains speculation on why Kurosawa and Mifune never worked together in the later years, it was a relationship, as the documentary suggests, that was borne out of mutual appreciation and friendship.

Along with Mifune’s workaholic nature, the documentary briefly sheds light on his alcoholism and failed marriage, but the point of the piece was not to make a scandal ridden expose on the actor. Rather, Mifune: The Last Samurai serves as an encouraging introduction into Mifune, encouraging viewers to make their own eye opening journey into his prodigious body of work. Past collaborators (including legendary actress Kyôko Kagawa), as well as filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg (he worked with Mifune on 1941), also offer up their thoughts on the late artist.

One can possibly devote a much longer, if not exhaustive, documentary on Toshiro Mifune, but until then Mifune: The Last Samurai offers up an insightful look on his lifelong dedication to cinema. As a diehard cinephile, I’m ready to dedicate a healthy share of my future moviegoing experience to exploring Mifune’s work, and thankfully this documentary is the start of something new.

***Mifune: The Last Samurai is also discussed on this week’s episode of CinemAddicts. Click on the media bar below to hear our discussion of the documentary:

Mifune: The Last Samurai opens Friday, November 25 at New York’s IFC Center and heads to wider release on December 2nd.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z

513ztmj3jflIf you are a fan of Kathy Griffin and her candid humor, her new book Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index delivers the goods. The book features many different and amazing stories that have never been heard. With her previous work on My Life on the D-List and Fashion Police, Griffin has had her share of colorful stories. Alec Baldwin, Jon Hamm, Drew Barrymore and icons such as Jack Nicholson, Cher, Woody Allen,  Barbara Streisand are among the stars covered in her book..

Over the years we have spoken to Kathy Griffin who is as fun and honest as she when you see her on TV. Not so long ago, we caught up with her and asked if she ever gets annoyed when a celebrity she encounters doesn’t have a sense of humor. She shares a great story about her interactions with such stars as Demi Lovato, Gwyneth Paltrow and Maria Shriver.

Griffin, who was recently on The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, told Howard about a great time she had with Sharon Stone on the night of Presidential election.

Check out Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index now available on Amazon and anywhere books are sold. Also you may want to check the audio book which is available on, Kathy reads the book herself and is hysterical!

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Posted by: Susan Brown