Michael Burns

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Latest Bbc News Cutbacks Decried By Journalists' Union


Mark Thompson David Cameron Michael Burns

The British National Union of Journalists has denounced the latest cutbacks at the BBC, which will see 140 jobs eliminated in the news division over the next year. NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet lashed out at BBC director general Mark Thompson, accusing him of engaging in "shabby, behind-closed-doors" dealings with the David Cameron government. "The top quality journalism we expect from the BBC is under severe threat. There will be fewer original news packages and more repeats." Published reports have suggested that the BBC intends to eliminate 500 positions as part of its "Delivering Quality First" strategy. Stanistreet indicate that the union plans to recommend to Thompson's successor that he reverse the cuts. "When times are tough, the money should be used to protect creative content and quality news journalism," she said.

ICAHN ON HIS LIONSGATE DEBACLE "YOU CAN'T WIN 'EM ALL"

Carl Icahn, who dumped nearly all his shares of Lionsgate last August for about $7 per share, only to see it rise to more than double that amount in recent days following the success of Lionsgate's The Hunger Games , has waxed philosophical about his unlucky move, which cost him $345 million. Icahn, who at one point was the studio's largest shareholder, with a 33-percent stake, said during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, "You can't win 'em all, and I sent those guys an email congratulating them." For nearly two years Icahn had waged a relentless takeover battle, accusing the studio's CO, Jon Feltheimer, and its vice chairman, Michael Burns, of overspending and taking on risky investments in movies instead of safer ones in television. "You know, it's very hard to pick stocks," he said, "but it's impossible I think to pick the right movie, and we just looked at the numbers, and when it was $7, unless Lionsgate had that big hit, there would be problems, I thought, so we took that opportunity. And obviously -- and I congratulated them -- we were wrong." Icahn insisted, however, that his miscue on Lionsgate did not significantly hurt his investment company, pointing out that his portfolio appreciated 35 percent last year and that it would have risen only 2 percent more if he had held on to his Lionsgate shares.

28/03/2012

Hunger Will Be Feeding Lionsgate For Years


James Marsh Michael Burns

Analysts are predicting that The Hunger Games will provide a bountiful feast for years to come for Lions Gate Entertainment, which has had a hit-or-miss (mostly miss) record with movies in the past. The Los Angeles Times quoted JP Morgan analyst Monica Dicenso as predicting that the movie will produce at least a $310 million profit and generate a total box office of $1.5 billion. James Marsh of Piper Jaffray is predicting $400 million in profit for the first movie and 2 billion plus for the series. "The panacea in the movie business is to find franchises," Lionsgate Films' vice chairman Michael Burns told the Los Angeles Times . Previously the studio's biggest movie franchise was Tyler Perry's "Madea" films."The idea that we can create some predictability around the most unpredictable part of our business is fantastic," Burns added.

Continue reading: Hunger Will Be Feeding Lionsgate For Years

Repor Lionsgate To Acquire Summit


Michael Burns

Having failed in its effort to acquire MGM last year, Lionsgate is expected to announce as early as this week that it will be be buying Summit Entertainment for $400 plus the assumption of $300 million in debt, published reports said over the weekend. Lionsgate had spent much of the past year fending off takeover attempts by activist investor Carl Icahn. Icahn repeatedly charged that Lionsgate bosses Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns were wasting money on movies, which were mostly failures, and that they ought to be focusing on television, where the studio has done well, with series such as Mad Men, Weeds and Nurse Jackie. By contrast, Summit has had a huge hit in the Twilight movies, which have brought in billions of dollars. News of the imminent deal was first reported by Deadline.com on Saturday.

Continue reading: Repor Lionsgate To Acquire Summit

Icahn Shuts Lions Gate Behind Him


Michael Burns

The bitter battle between Carl Icahn and the top executives of Lions Gate Entertainment has ended, with Icahn agreeing to sell nearly all of his 33-percent stake in the studio at 7 percent below Tuesday's closing price and both sides agreeing to drop their lawsuits against one another. Icahn's surprise move on Tuesday came just weeks after he had added to his stake in Lions Gate amid speculation that he was about to launch yet another takeover attempt. In an interview with today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times , Icahn said only that "We didn't lose [money]" on the effort to buy the company "but for all the effort we have made, going into another fight wasn't worth it." Icahn had waged a running battle against the "mini" studio's CEO, Jon Feltheimer, and its vice chairman Michael Burns, accusing them of overspending and taking on risky investments in movies instead of safer ones in television. (Their Lionsgate studio is likely to take a big hit in the current quarter as a result of the disappointing performance of its latest release, Conan the Barbarian .) Lions Gate has reportedly spent millions fighting Icahn's numerous lawsuits.

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Bug (2007) Review


Unbearable
On my way out of William Friedkin's latest Bug, I overheard a gentleman in the lobby say to his companion that he hopes everyone involved in the picture fires their agents. The movie could mean at least a long stint in the doghouse for its two leads, Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. It's regrettable, because the actors are clearly giving all they've got and then some to a project that, ultimately, amounts to a staggering miscalculation. As for Friedkin, I'm guessing he'll stay put for a few years before returning with another questionable clunker.

Working from Tracy Letts' adaptation of his own play, Friedkin gives us a five-character chamber piece, set in a downtrodden motel room out in the sticks. Bi-curious basket case Agnes (Judd) works as a waitress in a redneck bar by night, and shacks up in a motel room, in a pot-, coke-, and booze-induced stupor by day. It's her meager defense against the onslaught of just-paroled ex-husband Jerry (a beefed-up and amusing Harry Connick Jr.), who drops by to inflict verbal and physical abuse, not to mention dredging up memories of her long-lost son. The woman's only respite is her girlfriend, R.C. (Lynn Collins), a fellow waitress who's a tad too freewheeling for the reserved Agnes. Twitched-out and fragile, she meets her perfect match in the taciturn Peter (Shannon), a war veteran who harbors traumas of his own. Soon after they hook up, Peter becomes increasingly convinced that his body's been colonized by bugs -- bugs laying eggs and traveling up and down his bloodstream. Peter claims to be an escapee from a government medical lab where he was the subject of nefarious tests. He suspects the bugs were bio-engineered by the government to be tools for mind control. Before you know it, Bug has become a full-blown freak show, fueled by military-industrial conspiracies, and styled after Macbeth as the paranoid Peter and the needy Agnes become obsessive partners in mutual destruction.

Continue reading: Bug (2007) Review

Employee Of The Month (2006) Review


Weak
Employee of the Month's main character, thirtysomething box boy Zack (Dane Cook), relishes having a job with the least amount of responsibility. When the Costco-like store where he works hires a new, comely cashier (Jessica Simpson) who has a history for hooking up with the employee of the month, Zack decides to try harder so he can win her affection.

Too bad the movie never follows Zack's example. For 103 minutes, Employee of the Month refuses to go beyond shallow observations and silly slapstick, making for an ordinary outing when that should not be the case. Anyone who has ever worked in retail (or seen Clerks) knows there's a wealth of material for a good comedy. When I managed a used bookstore, a customer argued her case for a lower price by repeatedly stating that she was "a lawyer." At Borders, I had another customer so convinced we carried International Male (we didn't) that he was threatened with police action. Also at Borders, I have never worked with so many people who had visible tattoos, including one who had a small image of a pen and book on her lower back.

Continue reading: Employee Of The Month (2006) Review

Employee Of The Month Review


Weak
Employee of the Month's main character, thirtysomething box boy Zack (Dane Cook), relishes having a job with the least amount of responsibility. When the Costco-like store where he works hires a new, comely cashier (Jessica Simpson) who has a history for hooking up with the employee of the month, Zack decides to try harder so he can win her affection.

Too bad the movie never follows Zack's example. For 103 minutes, Employee of the Month refuses to go beyond shallow observations and silly slapstick, making for an ordinary outing when that should not be the case. Anyone who has ever worked in retail (or seen Clerks) knows there's a wealth of material for a good comedy. When I managed a used bookstore, a customer argued her case for a lower price by repeatedly stating that she was "a lawyer." At Borders, I had another customer so convinced we carried International Male (we didn't) that he was threatened with police action. Also at Borders, I have never worked with so many people who had visible tattoos, including one who had a small image of a pen and book on her lower back.

Continue reading: Employee Of The Month Review

Six-String Samurai Review


Excellent
Mad Max meets The Highlander meets... Elvis?

Surprisingly fun and funny indie flick about a post-Apocalypse Buddy Holly (type) heading to "Lost Vegas" to make his claim for the crown, previously held by one known as The King. Along the way, he must overcome every type of obstacle imaginable, including shepherding a little boy and going toe to toe with "Death," aka Guns' N Roses' Slash.

Continue reading: Six-String Samurai Review

Confidence Review


Extraordinary
If Heist held your attention and The Score kept you guessing, you need to see Confidence, James Foley's stunningly original sting movie that puts the majority of sting movies to shame. Who knew that Foley, the man responsible for brainless thrillers like The Corruptor and Fear, would helm a genre film that outwits even those from acclaimed filmmakers David Mamet and Frank Oz?

Confidence has triple the pizzazz of any caper movie released in the past several years. To say that it keeps you guessing would be misleading; the film has so many twists, turns, and reveals them in such an order that you don't even know where to start guessing. You'll need a scorecard to keep everything in order. Yet, remarkably, in the end, everything adds up without any apparent plot holes. It's astonishing.

Continue reading: Confidence Review

Get Over It Review


Weak
Get Over It at least has one thing that a lot of other high school movies don't: earnest, affable leads. It also has all of the key flaws that make going to teen movies so risky: an almost unbearable goofy streak, a plot with the strength of a newborn fawn, and bland supporting characters.

The movie makes the same mistakes over and over and eventually drains one's patience, but yet I stuck around because the leads played kids I would have liked to know.

Continue reading: Get Over It Review

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