CRUISE ABOUT TO SET NEW COURSE

A spokesman for Tom Cruise said Thursday that the actor is on the verge of disclosing what his next film project will be. In an interview with today's (Wednesday) USA Today, Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson said, "He will probably be making a decision on his next film in the coming days/weeks. As he is considering several projects, I am unable to say what genre that project will be." Cruise has had successful movies in a variety of genres, including comedies, thrillers, and romance films.

JACKIE CHAN PROTESTS PAPARAZZI PICTURES

Jackie Chan, one of Hong Kong's most celebrated film personalities, participated in an actors' protest Tuesday, during which a petition was presented to the Hong Kong government demanding tighter regulation of gossip publications. The protest was triggered by a photograph of pop singer Gillian Chung taken as she changed costumes during an appearance in Malaysia. The photo appeared in the magazine Easy Finder. In an interview with the Associated Press Chan indicated that he was not urging a total ban on paparazzi photos. "As public figures, we should allow our pictures to be taken," the Rush Hour star said. "If we crash our cars when we're drunk, it serves us right. People should scold us. ... But for a girl to be photographed when she's in a changing room, such a private place, is despicable behavior."

BLACK DAHLIA OPENS VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

The 63rd Venice Film Festival was scheduled to open today (Wednesday) with the world premiere of The Black Dahlia, starring Scarlett Johansson, who was expected to be on hand for the opening festivities. The film is among 21 competing for this year's Golden Lion award, won last year by Brokeback Mountain. It concerns one of Hollywood's most sensational murders -- the killing of Elizabeth Short, known as The Black Dahlia, in 1947. On Sunday, an insert in the Los Angeles Times, made up to look like an actual "Extra" edition of the newspaper from the '40s, carried clippings of dozens of articles that had appeared in the Times about the case.

ROCK MOCKUMENTARY WINS AT EDINBURGH

Brothers of the Head, a mockumentary about conjoined twins who become rock stars in the 1970s, has won the top award at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The film was writing by science fiction writer Brian Aldiss and directed by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, who previously had made straight making-of documentaries about movies and included as "extras" in DVD packages. The audience award went to Kevin Smith's Clerks II.

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS ANNOUNCE BLU-RAY PLANS -- FOR JAPAN

Hollywood's leading studios announced plans to begin offering movies in Japan using Sony's high-definition Blu-ray video discs later this year. The companies indicated that some 75 Blu-ray movies will be available in time for the holiday season, including The Da Vinci Code and Chicken Little.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.