- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rushdie on films

Novelist Salman Rushdie told an Atlanta audience Sunday that “Slumdog Millionaire,” winner of eight Academy Awards, “piles impossibility on impossibility.”

Mr. Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for the author’s death in 1989, was speaking to an audience at Atlanta’s Emory University. He also criticized other Oscar winners adapted from books, including “The Reader” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Associated Press reports, citing an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story.

Mr. Rushdie complained about several “Slumdog” scenes, including one in which characters wind up at the Taj Mahal, 1,000 miles from the previous scene.

Praising Penelope

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who cast Penelope Cruz in several of his films, on Monday hailed her Oscar win as a “triumph of talent.”

“I cried with happiness when I heard her name after the classic ‘and the Oscar goes to,’” AFP quoted him as saying.

Mr. Almodovar, winner of two Academy Awards, said it was a deserved reward for “the courage of an actress who dives in head first and without a parachute, taking on very risky roles.”

Cinemas ‘inevitable’

Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talal, who owns regional film production and distribution companies, says public movie screenings are “inevitable” in his country despite stiff opposition from religious clerics. He is a nephew of King Abdullah.

Riyadh newspapers reported on Monday that the prince expects his country’s 30-year-old ban on cinemas to end, although he doesn’t specify when, AFP says.

“Films and movie theaters will come inevitably,” said the prince, who is famous in Saudi Arabia for pushing up against rules in the kingdom that separate the sexes and restrict modern entertainment.

Joel, John to play D.C.

The new Nationals Park is moving into another big league in a major way.

District officials and promoters Live Nation on Monday announced plans for a July 11 concert at the ballpark headlined by superstars Billy Joel and Elton John.

Tickets will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. at www.tickets.com.

“This is part of our original vision for the stadium,” District Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said. “We should take civic pride in our ability to attract big performances and great artists.”

Mr. John and Mr. Joel have not performed together since 2003, when they brought in an estimated $51 million, Chicagotribune.com reports.

During the July 11 concert, Live Nation officials said, the stars will individually cover songs from each other’s illustrious careers and also perform together. Stadium officials expect the duo to fill about 39,000 seats of the nearly 42,000-seat venue for the event.

Brits welcome Boss

Speaking of concerts, superstar rocker Bruce Springsteen will headline Britain’s famous Glastonbury Festival this year, topping the bill in the prime Saturday evening slot on the main Pyramid Stage, organizers said Monday.

The three-day event on a farm near Glastonbury, England, runs from June 26 through 28. All 138,000 tickets have been sold, Agence France-Presse reports

“I’m so pleased that Bruce Springsteen has agreed to come to Worthy Farm for the first time,” said Michael Eavis, who runs the festival on his land. Mr. Evans, 73, has handed over more responsibility for organizing the event to his 29-year-old daughter, Emily. “I’m knocked out that we’ve managed to get Bruce to play,” she said. “It’s the icing on the cake.”

Compiled by Richard Slusser and Stephanie Green from staff and wire reports

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