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Finneas Joined B.J. Novak’s ‘Vengeance’ After Bonding Over ‘Social Network’ Score

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B.J. Novak of “The Office” fame is taking viewers to Texas in a true-crime comedy with his directorial debut film “Vengeance.” Novak, who wrote, directed and starred in the upcoming film, still remembers the nerves on the first day on set.

“Day one, I was so scared,” Novak told Variety at the Los Angeles premiere for “Vengeance” at the Ace Hotel. “You know how you see a photo of yourself and you’re like, ‘Burn that photo?’ I was like, ‘What if I feel that way about a whole scene?’ So honestly, it was my fear that I would get in my own way like that. But fortunately, it didn’t happen.”

“Vengeance” follows an aspiring podcaster who travels from New York to Texas to investigate the death of a woman he had been hooking up with, and unexpectedly finds himself drawn into a full-scale mystery. The film stars Novak as well as Ashton Kutcher, Boyd Holbrook, Issa Rae and Isabella Amara. Novak said his character mirrors his own self in a variety of ways.

“You know, like all comedy, it has to come from a real place,” Novak said. “So I think, you know, it’s about being one of those guys who can be a little lost, think he’s cooler than he is and smarter than he is and think he has real connections when he might not. I think that’s something many of us struggle with.”

Holbrook co-stars in the film as Ty Shaw, native Texan and brother of the deceased. The star has high hopes for the new film, saying that he believes “it’s going to be the comedy of the summer.”

“I feel like I got a good front row ticket at watching somebody pull off something that’s on paper impossible,” Holbrook said of Novak’s directing. “You know, writing something from scratch and producing and starring in and directing it. It was incredible.”

Behind-the-scenes, Novak’s film was composed by Finneas O’Connell (better known simply as Finneas). The Grammy-winning artist and producer for sister Billie Eilish first met Novak at a party, where they raved over Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for “The Social Network.” The two loved how the score didn’t feel like classical sheet music — which Finneas does not have experience with. But for Finneas, composing for film isn’t all that different than his work in music.

“I think when I’m producing for Billie, writing for Billie, with Billie, writing with other artists, you’re trying to tell their story,” O’Connell explained. “And when you have a scene playing in front of you with two characters, and whatever the emotional context is — if they’re having a fight, if it’s a love scene — you’re just scoring that emotional context. So it’s pretty similar in some ways.”

Alongside Finneas, another music legend is involved with Novak’s debut: John Mayer. Mayer, a close friend of Novak, appears in an early scene of “Vengeance.” To him, the decision to appear in the film was quite simple.

“He had the idea. And I’m just entranced by all of B.J.’s ideas,” Mayer explained. “He doesn’t have bad ideas. I mean, I’m in a very lucky position where I get to sit and listen to B.J. come up with thoughts. All of them are interesting and exquisite in their own way. So when he said, ‘I’ve got a scene for you,’ I went, ‘Okay. I’ll do it.’”

Mayer, who just recently finished a tour with group Dead and Company, also told Variety about his next moves, hinting that more Dead and Co. tours are likely.

“Every year we do [a tour] I go, ‘I’ll just wait for the next call,’” he said. “So, yeah. It’s never over.”

“Vengeance” premieres Friday, July 29 in theaters.



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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Promotes Amy Homma to Chief Audience Officer – Film News in Brief

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Long-time Academy Museum of Motion Pictures executive Amy Homma was promoted to Chief Audience Officer Nov. 28, Director and President of the Academy Museum Jacqueline Stewart announced.

“Amy has proven herself to be a skillful, forward-thinking, and inspiring leader since she began at the museum in 2019, and I look forward to seeing her and her teams thrive in this new capacity,” Stewart said. “As a seasoned programmer, educator, and administrator who brings a deep knowledge of audience engagement and museology, Amy is the ideal person to steer our museum’s next chapter of external relations.”

Prior to her new appointment, Homma worked as vice president of Education and Public Engagement at the Academy Museum. Under her leadership, the museum developed K-12 programming and public programs rooted in accessibility and activism.

Homma’s introduction to the Academy Museum was as the inaugural director — a position she acquired following the conclusion of her tenure at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

In her new role, Homma will continue to facilitate community engagement while having a heavier hand in the museum’s upholding of inclusive values.

“I am eager to work across teams to further develop the museum’s impact and commitment to local, national, and global audiences through a visitor-centered approach,” Homma said.

Cinema Audio Society To Honor Alejandro González Iñárritu with Filmmaker Award

 Alejandro González Iñárritu will receive the Cinema Audio Society’s Filmmaker of the Year honor at the 59th CAS Awards on Saturday, March 4, at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel.

“It is an honor to name director Alejandro González Iñárritu as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 CAS Filmmaker Award. His sobering portrayals of the human experience bring empathy and consciousness to perspectives often left untold and unconsidered,” said CAS President Karol Urban. “No doubt drawing on his history in music, his films experiment and utilize sound — uniquely embracing its capacity to emotionally engulf the viewer.”

Upon hearing the news that he was to receive the CAS honor, Mr. Iñárritu said, “Being singled out as a filmmaker by my colleagues in the Cinema Audio Society is a great honor. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with some of the most gifted sound designers in the industry and truly cannot emphasize the importance of the work they do in creating a fully sensorial experience for audiences when watching a film.”

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival Announces 2022 Winners

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival has announced this year’s winners. In its 37th year, the festival took place from Nov. 4-13 and screened 200 films.

Below is the complete winners list of the Jury and President Awards at the 37th annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival:

Best American Indie

“Corner Office,” directed by Joachim Black

Honorable Mention:

“American Dreamer,” directed by Paul Dektor

“The Drop,” directed by Sarah Adina Smith

Best Foreign Film

“Ride Above” (Tempete), directed by Christian Duguay

Best Documentary

“The Ghost of Richard Harris,” directed by Adrian Sibley

Honorable Mention:

“The Long Rider,” directed by Sean Cisterna

“Territorio Africano,” directed by Joaquin & Julian Azulay

“Tiger #24,” directed by Warren Pereira

Spirits of Independents Awards

“Abuella’s Family: The Sansgiving Episodes,” directed by Kevin Bosch

“American Dreamer,” directed by Paul Dektor

“Bobcat Moretti,” directed by Rob Margolies

“Camino Al Exito,” directed by Sebastian Rodriguez

“Combat Club,” directed by Mark Moorman

“D.O.A.,” directed by Kurt St. Thomas

“A Matter of Trust,” directed by Annette K. Olesen

“The Mistress,” directed by Greg Pritikin

“Trade,” directed by Corey Stanton

“The Artist and the Astronaut,” directed by Bill Muench

“Freedom on Our Mind,” directed by Chad Light

Special Jury Prize for Production

“D.O.A.,” directed by Kurt St. Thomas

Best Florida Feature

“Bridge to the Other Side,” directed by KT Curran

Best Florida Short

“Connections,” directed by Jennie Jarvis

“Lioness,” directed by Molly E. Smith

Best American Indie Short

“Lift” by Charles Burmeister

Best Foreign Short

“Viva,” directed by Esteben Steven Petersen (Dominican Republic)

Best High School Video

“The Interns,” directed by Sabrina Dubner (USA)

“Backspace,” directed by Ethan Ross (UK)

“White,” directed by Vivian Burmeister (USA)

Best College Short

“Dad We Shall Sing Something,” directed by Aidana Baurjanqizy  (Kazakhstan)

Best College Long Narrative

“Nahrani,” directed by Angelina Auer (Germany)

Best College Animation (TIE)

“There Is Exactly Enough Time,” directed by Oskar Salomonowitz (Austria)

“The Many Benefits of Heartbreak,” directed by Luke Schroeder (USA)

Best College Doc

“Resurgence,” directed by Krushan Naik (USA)

Best Filmed in Broward Short

“Un Pequeno Corte,” directed by Mariana Serrano

Best Filmed in Broward Doc

“The Halls of Power,” co-directed by Janay Joseph, Graciel Quezada & Bianca Vucetice

Lifetime Achievement

Sally Kirkland

Career Achievement

John Gray

Career Achievement

Taryn Manning

Star on the Horizon

Hopper Jack Penn

Star on the Horizon

Zoe Bleu



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Takeoff’s Brother, YRN Lingo, Pays Tribute in Emotional Post: ‘I’ll Carry Your Name Until the Day I Die’

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Late Migos member Takeoff‘s brother, rapper YRN Lingo, paid loving tribute to his fallen sibling on Monday (Nov. 28) in a lengthy Instagram post in which he looked back on the huge impact Take (born Kirsnick Khari Ball), 28, had on his life.

“Dear Take, I don’t know where to begin, I honestly still can’t believe it,” Lingo wrote in the multi-page post that featured family photos of the brothers with their mom through the years and a final slide of them as adults. “My big brother, my right hand, my other half, my literal twin. The one I could call upon anytime no matter what time, weather, situation you were in. You always made sure the family was straight, even when I didn’t need anything you always gave me something.”

Lingo recalled a time when they were children when Takeoff came into his room and promised that when he made it as a rapper, “‘you can ask me for anything. I mean anything.’” But, in the wake of Takeoff’s killing in an as-yet-unsolved Dec. 1 shooting at a bowling alley in Houston, Lingo said now he has to adjust to life without his older sibling.

“I hate that I have to move on with my life without you physically here, I wish I could just stop time and wait, but I know what can’t happen,” he wrote. “It’a a lot of things I’m going to miss about you, I could name them but it would be a full list and that would take forever. I looked up to you more than anyone on this earth and I will never stop looking up to you.”

Lingo promised to “carry” Takeoff’s name for the rest of his life, calling himself the pupil to Take’s teacher. “You thought [sic] me things and brought me places that [a] majority of the people can say they never seen or heard, level-headed, nothing ever got to you unless it had to do with family or money,” he wrote. “You always stayed in your lane and never bothered anyone. Quiet, but very well-spoken and a real HUMBLE GIANT.”

Calling his brother one of God’s “purest angels,” Lingo said he’s still trying to wrap his head around the killing, asking his big brother to help guide him through this “hell on earth, ’cause it’s going to be hard, super hard without you bro,” he said, listing the little things he’ll miss, including rolling one up and watching a movie and Takeoff’s sage counsel to pay attention to the details.

“I have to live by your book now, think before I speak, love the family before anyone and put my faith in God,” he wrote. “I will see you again one day in heaven brother along with my great grandma. I’ll take care of Mama and Heaven down here. Take you fulfilled your purpose and more. You will forever remain in my heart, our hearts.”

Check out Lingo’s post below.



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Jennifer Lopez Says Upcoming Album Is Inspired by Rekindled Romance With Ben Affleck

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Just days after Jennifer Lopez announced her new LP “This Is Me… Now,” the star sat down with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the upcoming album — her first in nearly a decade.

The collection is an updated play of Lopez’s 13-song 2002 album “This Is Me… Then,” which was heavily inspired by her and Ben Affleck’s highly publicized romance. Lopez told Lowe that the new record captures “me at this moment in time when I was reunited with the love of my life and we decided we were going to be together forever. The whole message of the album then is this love exists.”

Lopez said she wants to share that “vulnerable” message with the world, despite it scaring her. “I think parts of it scare Ben, too,” she added. “He’s like, ‘Oh, do you really want to say all this stuff?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know how else to do it, baby.’”

The pair re-entered the relationship in 2021, nearly 17 years after they had called off their engagement in 2004. Reflecting on that time in her life, the Bronx native admitted she refused to perform the Affleck-inspired songs from her 2002 record, which included songs like “Dear Ben” (a sequel to the track appears on the new tracklist as “Dear Ben Pt. II”), due to the pain of the breakup.

“Once we called off that wedding 20 years ago, it was the biggest heartbreak of my life, and I honestly felt like I was going to die,” she said. “It sent me on a spiral for the next 18 years where I just couldn’t get it right. Couldn’t get it right. But now, 20 years later, it does have a happy ending. It has the most would-never-happen-in-Hollywood ending. ‘That would never happen. We’re not going to write that because nobody would believe it.’”

Several song titles on the record reference the couple’s reunion including “Greatest Love Story Never Told” and “Midnight Trip to Vegas,” which seemingly hints at the story of their summer wedding in Las Vegas.

No official release date has been assigned to “This Is Me… Now,” but it is expected to arrive next year.

See the full interview below.



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