A group of con artists allegedly ran a boiler room telemarketing scam, convincing 70 investors to fork over $1.7 million to fund a film supposedly set in Paris during WWII and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
As audiences revel in the excesses of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, which tells the real-life tale of Jordan Belfort, a lascivious broker—played by Leonardo DiCaprio—who scammed investors out of millions, a group of California men were arrested and indicted on federal fraud charges Thursday morning for running a scam so incredible not even Hollywood could cook it up.
The Daily Beast
According to a grand jury indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, as well as a separate civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the four men—Samuel Braslau, 53; Rand Jay Chortkoff, 64; Stuart Rawitt, 47; and Robert Matias, 50—allegedly ran a boiler room operation out of Van Nuys, Calif., that scammed 70 investors out of $1.7 million to fund a film project supposedly set in Paris during World War II and starring a cast of luminaries ranging from Gerard Butler to Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Who should join Michael Jordan on the mountain of NBA greatness? Since King James proclaimed his choice, it seems like everyone’s jockeying for a spot.
Would Mount Rushmore have ever happened if the presidents themselves had been asked to choose the four worthiest heads? LeBron James was asked what four players he thought should be carved on the NBA’s version of Mount Rushmore, and the players, fans, and media haven’t shut up since.
During an upbeat All-Star break interview with NBA TV’s Steve Smith, the King casually reeled of his picks. “Easy three,” James replied, “that we talk about in our league is Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and you got Magic Johnson.”
Who would be the fourth head? LeBron threw in Oscar Robertson, but also said “I’m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game for sure.”
What’s better than ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’? A kid acting out ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ Bliss out to this video of adorable children renacting this year’s Best Picture nominees.
The only thing more guaranteed to make moviegoers smile than Tom Hanks on screen? An impossibly cute little kid pretending to be Tom Hanks.
One such child re-enacts one of Hanks’s scenes from Captain Phillips in an adorable new video from Cineflix and mom.me that reimagines this year’s Best Picture Academy Award nominees with little kids acting out the scenes.
Julian Fellowes can save his show by offing the target of his sadism. Why this must be done at the Series 4 finale this Sunday.
As the Season 4 finale approaches, there’s only one way Downton Abbey can save itself—by killing its most irritating character.
Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE
When it comes to TV, I’m one of the least bloodthirsty spectators around. Seriously. I rarely despise a particular character, and even when I do, it’s not like I spend every Sunday night rooting for him to come down with a serious case of disembowelment. I tend to believe that even the crappiest parts serve a purpose. They advance the plot. They make the rest of the cast look better by comparison. They ensure, at the very least, that each episode is an hour long. In other words, I’m a lover, not a killer. Live and let live—that’s what I always say.
It's no easy feat to live up to the hype of Hugh Grant. But David Walton, a staple of network TV for the better part of a decade, manages it in NBC's adaptation of 'About a Boy.'
Few actors come off as effortlessly charming as Hugh Grant, which is why when the human personification of suaveness finally showed some emotional range and acting complexity in the 2002 film About a Boy, his fans were taken off guard—in the best way possible.
The same thing is about to happen with David Walton.
There are 6,000 Academy Awards voters, but there’s only one who really counts—the one willing to talk to us about Woody Allen, ‘American Hustle,’ and all the Oscar smear campaigns.
There are approximately 6,000 Academy Awards voters, but there’s only one who really counts—the one who was willing to talk to me about the various scandals and smear campaigns in the air and how they might effect the awards outcome on March 2. This person did so without wanting to be named, of course, because divulging the results of your own ballot simply isn’t allowed (though scandals and smear campaigns apparently are). To maintain the person’s complete anonymity, I’ll call them “Pat” and simply say that Pat knows exactly what’s going down—and who’s going down with it.
The Daily Beast
Hello, Pat. Will all this Woody Allen stuff damage Cate Blanchett’s Oscar chances?
An 1895 book of horror stories that’s the key to understanding the riveting HBO series ‘True Detective’ has become a bestseller on Amazon. Read the first four stories here.
The key to understanding HBO’s enthralling series True Detective might be the
references to the Yellow King and Carcosa, which the killer Reggie Ledoux talks about and the show hints at to be figures and symbols of a satanic cult of some sort. But the Yellow King is an allusion to The King in Yellow, an 1895 book of horror and supernatural short stories by the writer Robert W. Chambers. There are a total of 10 stories, the first four (“The Repairer of Reputations,” “The Mask,” “In the Court of the Dragon,” and “The Yellow Sign”) of which feature a fictional lost play called “The King in Yellow,” which Chambers mentions and includes lines from throughout the tales. The first act of the play is rather ordinary, but the second act plunges readers into despair and insanity, even if they only catch the first few words, because it reveals horrible cosmic truths about the universe.
The King in Yellow has influenced writers like H.P. Lovecraft (who used it in his own stories), Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin—and now Nic Pizzolatto, the creator of True Detective and the writer of its dark, labyrinthine screenplay. The book has shot to the top 10 best sellers list on Amazon thanks to the popularity of the series, and because it is available for free as an ebook.
Bradley Cooper says he’s kind of like Joe Pesci in ‘Goodfellas.’
"As a lifelong lover of Marvel comics, space epics, and raccoons, this is the movie I've been waiting to make since I was 9 years old," said director James Gunn.
He was talking about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
In an in-depth interview, the auteur discusses his Oscar nominated film ‘Gravity,’ its Darwinian ending, and his journey from persona non grata in his native Mexico to one of the most respected filmmakers in Hollywood.
The prohibitive favorite to win this year's Best Director Oscar is none other than Alfonso Cuarón—and with good reason.
Murdo Macleod/Warner Bros.
It had been seven years since the Mexican filmmaker thrilled audiences with his post-apocalyptic saga Children of Men, which earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing (Cuarón is, like the Coen Bros. and Soderbergh, one of a handful of filmmakers that also edit their films).
Created by the husband-and-wife pair behind the hit miniseries ‘The Bible,’ ‘Son of God’ is counting on churches and religious leaders to drive massive numbers to the box office.
Ten years after Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ confounded Hollywood and became a grassroots blockbuster, Jesus is coming back for a second try in Son of God, opening Feb. 28.
Jesus (Diego Morgado) greets his followers. (Casey Crafford)
The Passion of the Christ grossed over $600 million in theaters alone. It set records for the highest grossing R-rated film in the United States and the highest grossing non-English language film of all time. It had English subtitles because the film was voiced in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.. The subtitles, in particular, had Hollywood suits laughing at the film’s prospects, and made it difficult for Gibson to find a distributor until the last minute.
Gorging on ‘House of Cards’ all at once is solitary and over all too soon. What’s the rush to enjoy everything at once?
When my brother, Reginald, turned 16, he was filled with excitement and anticipation.
He was now legal to get a driver’s permit that would allow him to drive our family car.
With NBC’s adaptation of ‘About a Boy,’ Jason Katims, the mind behind ‘Parenthood’ and ‘Friday Night Lights,’ once again scores an emotional touchdown. Meet the man who makes us weep.
Jason Katims is watching a scene from the NBC family drama Parenthood and he is crying.
"About A Boy" Benjamin Stockham as Marcus, David Walton as Will. (Jordin Althaus/NBC)
He is at an auditorium in New Orleans, where he is attending the Dove Men+Care Dad 2.0 Summit, in front of 200 people, and he is crying. Not that we blame him. It’s the scene where Adam calls his daughter at college to tell her about her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. We all cried when that scene aired. Any human with a soul would cry watching it again.
She’s the adorably blond, red lipstick-wearing teen who may be America’s best chance at ending a drought in ladies figure skating.
American figure skater Gracie Gold, ever the perfectionist as the discipline demands, at least looks the part along her desired path to prominence.
Sitting at attention on stage in Park City, Utah, late last year, cross-legged in front of a group of reporters, the 18-year-old had a faultless smile and not a hair out of place among her blonde locks. Gold appeared as if she awoke wearing her perfectly applied red stiletto lipstick—sponsor CoverGirl, of course—which she also modeled via Twitter and Instagram after setting down at the Olympic Village. She maintained that focusing on the task at hand, medaling for at the winter games, won’t be a problem.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘Blue Jasmine’ have come under fire this awards season by the media, who’ve pumped out various hit pieces during the run-up to the Oscars. But the practice of the Oscar smear campaign is nothing new. Here are the worst in recent memory.
It’s a tale told by ace spinmeisters, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
The Daily Beast
Each awards season, a deliciously inventive panoply of hit-pieces weasel their way into the cultural zeitgeist, debasing the year’s hottest contenders in film. The ridiculous practice began, naturally, with the godfather of yellow journalism himself, William Randolph Hearst, who in 1941 unleashed the mother of all Oscar smear campaigns against Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, a film à clef based on the life of the aforementioned newspaper magnate. Hearst banned every newspaper and radio station in his vast media conglomerate from going so far as mentioning the film; reportedly got MGM head Louis B. Mayer to offer distributor RKO Pictures $805,000 to destroy the film; and Welles later claimed that a policeman approached him one night and told him, “Do not go to your hotel room tonight; Hearst has set up an undressed, underage girl to leap into your arms when you enter and a photographer to take pictures of you” (this allegation was never proven).
‘The Square’ is the definitive documentary on Egypt’s revolutionary uprising, and it’s already generating deserved Oscar buzz. But director Jehane Noujaim had to endure arrests and beatings to get it made. She tells Andrew Romano about the scariest moments and her controversial decision to return to Cairo to film a new ending—after she had already won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival.
The best documentary of the year may also have been the most dangerous to make.
When 50,000 young Egyptians occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011 to protest the fascist regime of Hosni Mubarak, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (she made 2004’s documentary Control Room, about the broadcast network Al Jazeera) was more than 2,000 miles away, in Davos, Switzerland, awaiting the arrival of Egypt’s leadership at that year’s high-flying meeting of the World Economic Forum. “’If the country erupts and I’m with them there, filming, then that will be an interesting story, because there will be a lot of people in the square with their cameras,’” Noujaim thought. “But of course none of the leadership showed up.”
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