Tag Archives: Stars

 ‘La La Land’ is something to sing about

In time for Christmas, there’s the eye-popping, heart-lifting “La La Land,” which honors and modernizes the screen musical to such joyful effect that you might find yourself pirouetting home from the multiplex.

OK, perhaps we exaggerate.

“La La Land,” created by the copiously talented writer/director Damien Chazelle and featuring the dream pairing of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, is not for everyone.

Perhaps you don’t like music, or singing, or dancing. Or romance, or love, or beautiful people falling in love. Or sunsets, or primary colors, or pastels. Or stories. Or, heck, the movies themselves.

If you don’t like any of those things, maybe stay home.

Otherwise, be prepared: By the end, something will surely have activated those tear ducts. The one complaint I overheard upon leaving the film was: “I didn’t have enough Kleenex.”

The first obvious gift of “La La Land” is its sheer originality. Let’s start with the music. Unlike in so many other films, nobody else’s hits are used here. The affecting score is by Justin Hurwitz, with lyrics by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul (also getting kudos for Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen.”)

Our setting is Los Angeles, and so it begins — as it must — on a jammed freeway.

But unlike Michael Douglas in “Falling Down,” the drivers here simply brush off their frustrations, exit their cars, and break into song and dance.

This virtuoso number, “Another Day of Sun,” which was filmed on a freeway interchange with some 100 dancers toiling in sizzling temperatures, establishes Chazelle’s high-flying ambitions. It also tells us we’d darned well better be ready for people to break out into song — because that happens in musicals. And it introduces our main characters.

Sebastian (Gosling) is a struggling jazz pianist, with stubborn dreams of opening his own club. Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress, working as a barista while auditioning for TV parts. They clash on the freeway. She gives him the finger.

They have a second bad meeting at a piano bar. Finally they meet a third time, at a party. Suddenly, they find themselves on a bench overlooking the Hollywood Hills at dusk. And then … they dance.

Is it Astaire and Rogers (or Charisse)? Yes and no. Stone and Gosling are charming musical performers, but way less polished and ethereal than their cinematic forbears. This human quality in their first duet makes us root for them.

And we keep on rooting. It’s hard to imagine more perfect casting here. Gosling’s Sebastian is suave and sexy but also ornery and unsure of himself; Stone’s Mia is warm and ebullient but also fretful and self-doubting. They need each other to chase their respective dreams.

But what will success mean, and can they possibly achieve it together? It’s this pillar of the story that lends it a very modern, melancholy bite.

Chazelle, 31, shows his love for cinema with references both sly and overt to classics like “Singin’ In the Rain” and Jacques Demy’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”

And then there’s the nod to “Rebel Without a Cause,” with a scene at LA’s Griffith Observatory.

There, at a place built to watch the stars, the two dancing lovers actually lift up into them.

It’s corny, sure, and gorgeous and romantic. As Sebastian says to his sister earlier in the film, “You say ‘romantic’ like it’s a bad word!” In a musical, romantic is NEVER a bad word.

Some people resist musicals because in real life, people never break out into song; they just speak their feelings. To which musical lovers say: “Exactly! And this is why we need musicals.”

Long live the musical. Bring enough Kleenex.

‘Deadpool’ in, ‘Silence’ out and more Globes film surprises

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association never fails to disappoint with their assortment of nominees, which always seem to include some expected picks, some inspired ones and some headscratchers too.

The nominations for the 74th annual Golden Globes certainly had some bombshells, too. Here are a few notable snubs and surprises.

OLD GUARD OUT

Past Globes glory didn’t seem to matter this year for Hollywood legends Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese and Warren Beatty, none of whom received directing nominations despite all having won in that category at least once. In fact, Eastwood’s “Sully” (that means no Tom Hanks nomination either) and Scorsese’s “Silence” were shut out completely, while Beatty’s big return to directing and acting, “Rules Don’t Apply,” scored only one nomination — for actress Lily Collins.

NO LOVE FOR ‘LOVE & FRIENDSHIP’

Whit Stillman’s Jane Austen adaptation “Love & Friendship” charmed audiences and critics, but was left without a single nomination — especially surprising in the case of Kate Beckinsale, whose performance as the conniving and ambitious Lady Susan Vernon has been widely regarded as one of her best. Instead, in the musical or comedy category, the HFPA singled out the little-seen John Carney musical “Sing Street.”

THE NAUGHTIEST SUPERHERO

Besides being a superhero movie, the irreverent and very R-rated “Deadpool” is about as far away as one can get from a stereotypically tasteful awards choice, but somehow still scored two nominations — one for best motion picture in the musical or comedy category and another for star Ryan Reynolds. Perhaps they draw the line at animated food orgy, though — “Sausage Party,” despite a big awards push, was left out of the fun.

LEFT FIELD ACTING CHOICES

The comedy and drama distinction always allows for a few out-of-nowhere contenders, but the best performance by an actor in a musical or comedy was stacked with unexpected picks, including Colin Farrell for his performance as a single guy looking for love in the dark as night comedy “The Lobster,” Ryan Reynolds for “Deadpool,” and Jonah Hill as a bro arms dealer in the generally panned “War Dogs.” In the supporting category, Aaron Taylor-Johnson sneaked in with a nod for his portrayal of a sadistic Texan in “Nocturnal Animals” and Simon Helberg for his crowd-pleasing piano player in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” which elicited a gasp from those in the room at the Beverly Hilton while the nominations were being announced.

MISS SLOANE TAKES CHARGE

“Miss Sloane,” the Jessica Chastain-led lobbying thriller, might have bombed at the box office this weekend and received generally tepid reviews from critics, but it didn’t stop the HFPA taking notice of Chastain’s performance as the always three steps ahead of the competition Elizabeth Sloane. Since 2012, Chastain has been nominated for four Golden Globes and won once, in 2013, for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA

With the statistics of female representation behind the camera as dismal as they are, it might not be that much of a surprise to find zero films directed by women up for best picture or best director this year. Yet it is notable, especially with critically acclaimed fare like Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey” and Mira Nair’s “Queen of Katwe,” both of which were shut out completely. The one saving grace is in the foreign category, where Maren Ade’s comedy “Toni Erdmann” is the nominee from Germany and Uda Benyamina’s “Divines” is nominated from France.

LA Film Critics: ‘Spotlight’ is best film

The high-octane “Mad Max: Fury Road” might have driven off with the most awards, but the Los Angeles Film Critics Association had another in mind for its top film of the year: “Spotlight,” the comparatively subdued drama about the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sex abuses in the Catholic Church.

LAFCA is one of the highest-profile regional critics groups, but often strays from the mainstream in its annual awards choices. Only once in the past 20 years has the LAFCA Best Film winner gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

There was no clear favorite this year, and LAFCA honored a vast variety of some of the year’s best films further reinforcing the narrative that the Oscar race is still fairly undefined.

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” picked up three honors — the most for any film — including best director for George Miller, best cinematography, and best production design. But the dystopian rager, which the National Board of Review chose as their best film earlier this week, got second place to Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” which also won for its screenplay.

Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s dark animated film “Anomalisa” also got multiple awards, including best animated film and best music/score for composer Carter Burwell, who was also recognized for “Carol.”

Acting awards were given similarly out of the box choices. Michael Fassbender won best actor for portraying the tech titan in “Steve Jobs,” while Charlotte Rampling picked up the award for best actress for her role in the marital drama “45 Years.”

Michael Shannon won best supporting actor for playing the predatory real estate broker in the housing bubble film “99 Homes,” and Alicia Vikander won best supporting actress for her performance as the beguiling Artificial Intelligence creation in “Ex Machina.”

“Amy,” about the life of late pop star Amy Winehouse, won best documentary, and “Son of Saul” picked up best foreign film.

Director Ryan Coogler also won the LAFCA new generation award for “Creed,” a continuation of the Rocky Balboa saga.

“Carol,” Todd Haynes’ 1950s-set romance, which dominated the New York Film Critics Circle Awards this past week was practically shut out, aside from Burwell’s co-win for score and a host of runner-up awards, including director and production design.

The awards-friendly “Joy,” “The Revenant,” “The Danish Girl” and “Room” were nowhere to be found in LAFCA’s choices. Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” was recognized only for Ennio Morricone’s score as the runner-up to Burwell’s compositions.

Ultimately, the awards race continues to be wide open in nearly every category. The competition will heat up this week though, when nominees are announced for both the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Golden Globes.

On the Web…

http://www.lafca.net/

Cannes finale: Audiard’s ‘Dheepan’ wins Palme d’Or in upset

The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close with Jacques Audiard’s Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festival’s coveted top honor, the Palme d’Or.

The choice of “Dheepan,” as selected by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen, left some critics scratching their heads. While the dapper French filmmaker has drawn widespread acclaim for films such as “A Prophet” and “Rust and Bone,” some critics were disappointed by the thriller climax of Audiard’s film. “Dheepan” is about a trio of Sri Lankans who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country and are settled in a violent housing project outside Paris.

“This isn’t a jury of film critics,” Joel Coen told reporters after the awards ceremony, alongside fellow jurors like Guillermo del Toro and Jake Gyllenhaal. “This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.”

The win for “Dheepan” comes at a time when Europe is particularly attuned to the experience of immigrants, following the recent deaths of hundreds crossing the Mediterranean, seeking Italian shores. Jury members, though, said “Dheepan” was chosen for its overall strength as a film, rather than any topicality.

“We all thought it was a very beautiful movie,” said Ethan Coen, calling the decision “swift.” “Everyone had some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it.”

Audiard, springing to the podium at the Palais des Festivals, accepted the award with warm gratitude, bowing to the jury. He was joined by the makeshift parents of his film: Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Antonythasan Jesuthasan, who himself was Tamil Tiger child soldier before finding political asylum in France.

“To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is exceptional,” said Audiard, who added that only receiving one from the Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the Belgian filmmaking siblings, could equal it.

The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to “Son of Saul,” a grim Holocaust drama by first-time Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes. Some expected Nemes’ horrifying plunge into the life of an Auschwitz worker to take the top award, but it’s been 26 years since a debut film (Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”) was given the Palme.

English actress Sienna Miller and Canadian actor Xavier Dolan, both jury members, sounded especially moved by “Son of Saul.” Miller called it “breathtaking” and an extraordinary accomplishment for a first-time filmmaker. 

“Europe is still haunted by the destruction of the European Jews,” said Nemes. “That’s something that lives with us.”

Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the masterful 68-year-old Taiwanese filmmaker, won best director for his first feature in eight years: “The Assassin,” a lushly painterly martial arts drama. 

The best actress prize was split but not the way some expected. It was given to both Rooney Mara, half of the romantic pair of Todd Haynes’ ‘50s lesbian drama “Carol,” and Emmanuelle Bercot, the French star of the roller coaster marriage drama “My King.” (Bercot also directed the festival opener, “Standing Tall,” about a delinquent teenager.) Any split was presumed to go to Mara and her “Carol” co-star, Cate Blanchett.

Best actor was awarded to Vincent Lindon, the veteran French actor of “The Measure of a Man.” He plays a man struggling to make a living after a long period of unemployment. The visibly moved Lindon won over some big-name competition, including Michael Caine, the star of Paolo Sorrentino’s unrewarded “Youth,” a wry, melancholy portrait of old age.

Lindon’s award added to a banner year at Cannes for France, which had five films out of the 19 in competition and went home with three awards.

Yorgos Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker working in English for the first time, took the jury prize for his “The Lobster,” a deadpan dystopian comedy, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, about a near-future where unmarried singles are turned into the animal of their choice.

“Chronic,” an understated drama about a home-care nurse (Tim Roth) for the terminally ill, took best screenplay for Mexican writer-director Michel Franco. Franco and Roth met three years ago when Roth, serving on a Cannes jury, helped award Franco the Un Certain Regard prize. “It’s a Cannes story,” said Franco. 

The Camera d’Or, Cannes award for best first feature film, went to “La Tierra Y la Sombra.” CΘsar Augusto Acevedo’s debut, which played in the Critics Week section, is about an old farmer returning home to tend to his gravely ill son.

The Coens themselves took the Palme in 1991 for “Barton Fink.” The last two Cannes winners have been three-hour art-house epics: the glacial Turkish drama “Winter Sleep,” chosen last year by Jane Campion’s jury, and “Blue is the Warmest Color,” as picked by Steven Spielberg’s jury.

This year’s competition slate left some critics calling it a so-so year for Cannes. Some of the films that drew the biggest raves (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Pixar’s “Inside Out”) played out of competition, while some in it (like Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees”) drew loud boos.

The festival was dominated by discussion about gender equality with many — from Blanchett to Jane Fonda — speaking about female opportunity in the movie business. “You hope it’s not just the year,” said Blanchett of the attention to women in film. “It’s not some sort of fashionable moment.” An honorary Palme d’Or was also given to French filmmaker Agnes Varda, the first woman to receive one and only the fourth director after Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood and Bernardo Bertolucci.

But the festival was overrun by an unlikely scandal when several women were turned away from the formal premiere of Todd Haynes’ “Carol” for wearing flat shoes, rather than high heels. The festival insisted it was the mistake of overzealous security guards and not part of Cannes’ notoriously strict dress code.

The festival, as it often is, was dominated by the unexpected, even on its last night. Nothing was more unforeseen — not even the Palme for “Dheepan” — than John C. Reilly, a co-star of “The Lobster” and another competition entry, “Tale of Tales,” took the stage to sing “Just a Gigolo” in a bright white suit. 

For 100 years, celebrities have helped urge animal kindness

These days, people pay piles of cash to pamper their pets, but problems remain on the farm and in the slaughterhouse, on movie sets and at animal shelters — even in the wild.

That’s why the American Humane Association is touting its past to move animal welfare forward. It’s celebrating 100 years of “Be Kind to Animals Week,” which draws celebrities, politicians and everyday enthusiasts each May to raise awareness about the plight of animals.

Day spas and designer duds for dogs are the norm now, but inhumane treatment springs up in places from puppy mills to jungles, where animals are killed for their tusks or pelts. In ways, there’s more work to do than when kindness week started in 1915.

Celebrities have asked people to combat different problems throughout the years, and history shows notables from Eleanor Roosevelt to Shirley Temple and John Wayne have a soft spot for helping animals.

No star is taking the lead this year, but the week will be expanded, lasting through 2015. Association leaders will make television appearances, hold open houses and provide materials to teach children compassion.

An interactive retrospective about the week’s history will appear online, and the group will tour schools with its traveling museum and a fleet of famed Red Star Rescue trucks used to save animals during disasters.

“It warms my heart because here we are, just as relevant today as we were 100 years ago,” said association President and CEO Robin Ganzert.

The group urges Americans to take a pledge on Kindness100.org to help animals by purchasing humanely raised eggs, meat and dairy; getting a pet from a shelter to cut down on euthanasia; watching movies featuring the “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit; and visiting zoos and aquariums to learn about wildlife conservation.

A century ago, the kindness celebration started amid World War I and the toll it took on horses. Before the war ended in 1918, 10 million horses would die on European battlefields.

Over the years, celebrities showcased different ways to help animals:

• In 1936, Shirley Temple asked people to watch out for animals crossing the road.

• In 1966, “Bonanza” star Lorne Green urged Americans to look out for “dognappers” and cattle rustlers.

• In 1972, comedienne Carol Burnett aimed to teach families, especially children, how to take care of newly adopted pets.

• In 1982, actor Clint Eastwood, an Oscar-winning producer and director, emphasized the importance of safety for entertainment animals. “I won’t allow a scene where animals are mistreated. I won’t tolerate it and never have. There’s no movie that’s worth it,” he said.

The campaign has faced opposition when many thought the focus should be on people, not pets, including during World War II.

“I believe there is great value in continuing to train children in the proper attitude toward their pets,” first lady Eleanor Roosevelt countered in her syndicated newspaper column on April 13, 1943.

Learning compassion at a young age took root for veterinarian Marty Becker, who has taught millions of children about animals on “Good Morning America” and “The Dr. Oz Show.”

Growing up on a small Idaho farm, he had to collect eggs from the chickens before school. It took too long and he got pecked too much, so Becker tried scaring the chickens away to make it easier.

“It worked really good. They flew off the nesting boxes,” he said.

But his father found out and laid in wait, giving Becker the same scare he’d given the chickens — teaching him that animals deserve the same compassion as people.

Host Neil Patrick Harris welcomes a Kanye moment at the Oscars

Neil Patrick Harris might use his job as Oscar host as a way to meet his favorite stars.

“I have, essentially, an all-access pass to the theater,” Harris said during a recent interview. “So I love being able to stand there and say hello to people I’ve never met before. I’m very easily star struck, so it’ll be very exciting to shake hands with celebrities.”

Harris has hosted the Emmys twice and the Tony Awards four times — and has won both awards. On Sunday, he takes on his first Oscar show. The multitalented entertainer took a few minutes between rehearsals to talk with The Associated Press about his plans for the big night.

AP: How is preparing to host the Oscars different from the Tonys or Emmys?

Harris: I want to make sure my content is inclusive of everyone watching, and more people watch the Oscars than any other awards show probably combined. I have more filters probably, in terms of content…  The Oscars — it’s ritual for many people. They see it every single year, and all around the world. So I want to be a little classier and try to be a bit more mainstream while trying to maintain a wink and a nod to those in the know.

AP: You watched all the past Oscar hosts as part of your research. Who stood out for you, and who would you most like to emulate?

Harris: My initial answer would probably be Billy Crystal. I was just the right age to be so taken by movies as an idea, and he had such joy and exuberance about the world of film… But as I’ve done more research, I’m more even impressed now by the older-school generation of Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and their ability to stand in one place and make (people) feel comfortable just in their demeanor. Because it’s a very classy night — everyone’s in their tuxedoes and fancy dresses — so I’m hoping to make it feel like an A-list dinner party that you get to come and attend.

AP: How nervous are you?

Harris: Well, my job as host is to not be nervous when the show is happening. But I think, in life, being nervous about something that’s forthcoming is very helpful, whether it’s an awards show or a family gathering or a job interview. If you’re too calm and confident, then I think you aren’t executing to the best of your ability. So I try not to let nerves get the best of me, but I welcome them because it tends to fuel me to try harder.

AP: What are you most excited about for the evening?

Harris: I’m hoping that we come in just under five hours. If we can beat that mark, then I feel like it’s a success.

AP: Have you prepared for the possibility of Kanye West coming onstage?

Harris: I think the security at “Saturday Night Live” is still holding him in his seat there from last (week’s) show. So, fingers crossed, he’s detained in New York City. No, nothing would make me happier than something as random as that, as Kanye West deciding to participate in the show in some way. That’s why you want to watch the Oscars. We hope for things to happen that you’ll only experience by watching it… The crazier the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Eva Longoria projects part of NBC’s slate

Stevie Wonder is on board for an NBC miniseries set against the 19th-century Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves find freedom.

Wonder, who will serve as executive producer for the project, also may be involved in a musical adaptation of the miniseries that is aimed at Broadway, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said.

“The hope is that Stevie will write the score” for the musical that’s in development and which would be staged after the miniseries airs, Greenblatt said.

NBC is in business with another famed musician, Dolly Parton. The network has closed a deal for a series of TV movies based on her songs, stories and “inspired life,” he said.

“To know Dolly is to love her, and the movies will be infused with genuine hopefulness, not to mention her music,” Greenblatt said.

The network, which scored big ratings with a live 2013 production of “The Sound of Music” but less so with the more recent “Peter Pan,” remains committed to musicals, Greenblatt said.

Next up will be either “The Wiz,” the 1970s stage reinvention of “The Wizard of Oz,” or “The Music Man,” which the network had previously said it had optioned. The network has time to decide since the musical that’s chosen is 11 months away from broadcast, Greenblatt said.

On the series side, NBC has ordered 13 episodes of the half-hour comedy “Telenovela,” with Eva Longoria as the star and executive producer. The series is a behind-the-scenes look at the “craziness” of making such a serialized drama, with Longoria playing the “beautiful and overly dramatic” lead actress of a hit Latin America TV show.

NBC, which plans a police drama titled “Shades of Blue” with another Latina star, Jennifer Lopez, recognizes the growing importance of the Latino audience, Greenblatt said.

“We get the diversity angle,” he said.

Air dates for the various projects were not announced.

Storming the cinemas: Climate Change stars in ‘Cli-Fi’ films

The giant, inflatable whale in this Gulf Coast city signals not only the arrival of one of the world’s biggest documentary festivals, but also the emergence of film as a way to tell the story of climate change.

Once perhaps relegated to National Geographic and PBS features, environmentally conscious narratives have gone Hollywood. Director James Cameron and deep-sea explorer Fabien Cousteau have made their own real-life sagas, the types of documentaries that are the focus of the Blue Ocean Film Festival here. But the issues they bring to life are also finding their place on the big screen.

“Cli-fi” movies have emerged as a niche genre, taking the pomp of doomsday science-fiction flicks and mixing it with the underlying message of environmental awareness. The latest example being released Friday, “Interstellar,” is a $165 million space-time saga about a last-ditch effort to find humans a new home in another galaxy. The film takes place in the near future after Earth has been ravaged by a blight that’s left many food sources extinct.

The Blue Ocean event is one of several eco-festivals that have sprung up in recent years, including the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Wyoming and the Environmental Film Festival in Washington.

“This is a call to action,” said Debbie Kinder, the organizer of Blue Ocean. “It’s not just about whales and fish in the sea and beautiful beaches. It’s about humanity, it’s about generations. It’s about our future.”

Opening night led with James Cameron’s “Deepsea Challenge 3D,” about the filmmaker’s quest to dive seven miles beneath the ocean’s surface into the Mariana Trench.

Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and a filmmaker himself, said that so-called cli-fi movies allow people to view a changing part of the world through the prism of an anecdote.

“It’s relating the scientific part of the story in a way that people are entranced by it,” he said.

Earlier in the summer, Cousteau and a team of filmmakers and scientists dove 63 feet below the ocean’s surface in the Florida Keys to study what effects climate change and pollution are having on a coral reef. He documented the 31-day underwater living experiment in a film, which was shown at the festival.

“The film invites people to be part of the experiment,” he said. “It’s an adventure.”

Documentaries are powerful, but feature movies with film stars and vivid storytelling are also pieces of the equation, said Dan Bloom, the activist credited with coining the “cli-fi” term.

Bloom cites “Soylent Green,” the 1973 science-fiction film depicting a dystopian Earth coping with the ravages of overpopulation, as an early example of “cli-fi.” Now, he hosts an online festival called the Cliffies that recognizes movies focused on climate change. Among the winners this year: Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” and the South Korean film “Snowpiercer,” which centers around a perpetual-motion train smashing through ice and snow in a futuristic, Ice Age-landscape.

“We need to go beyond abstract, scientific predictions and government statistics and try to show the cinematic or literary reality of a painful, possible future of the world climate changed,” Bloom said.

Hear (and watch) women roar on new fall TV shows

“The Good Wife,” “Homeland,” “Scandal,” “Nurse Jackie” and, well, “Girls” are just a few current shows that put women front and center.

And this fall, even more women are stepping up.

As if TV programmers were in a classroom cribbing off one another’s exams, a few common themes emerge. One prevalent theme: the fantasy world of comic books and sci-fi, courtesy of newcomers “The Flash” (CW), “Gotham” (Fox), “Constantine” (NBC) and “Forever” (ABC). Spies and anti-terrorism also remain big in our heebie-jeebie era, with “Scorpion” (CBS) as well as a couple of the shows below.

But strong females are the dominant trend – and dominate in prime time this fall.

– “MADAM SECRETARY” (CBS, Sept. 21). Elizabeth McCord is a loving wife and mother and a brilliant former CIA analyst who is abruptly drawn back into public life as U.S. secretary of state after the incumbent’s suspicious death. Tea Leoni plays a woman who has it all – including growing concerns that she, too, may be on the endangered list.

– “THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA” (NBC; Sept. 24). Detective Laura Diamond doesn’t flinch, whether it’s flouting regulations to nab a bad guy or cooking up a scheme to get her twin boys into a private school. She’s always in a frenzy, forever creating waves, and mostly getting what she wants through sheer force of will. She is played by Debra Messing.

– “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” (ABC; Sept. 25). She is a thunderous presence in the classroom as she teaches law students how to spring their clients, whatever it takes. And in her law practice, she is a Machiavellian figure leading a team of top-flight students to help her tackle tough cases. As Annalise Keating, series star Viola Davis is powerful and often disturbing, never to be overlooked nor underestimated.

– “BAD JUDGE” (NBC; Oct. 2). Kate Walsh plays a woman who, in the courtroom, makes Judge Judy look like a pushover, then, after-hours, makes Snooki look like a wallflower. This is a woman who doesn’t hesitate to announce from the bench her relief that her pregnancy test has come up negative. The only way she could create more of a stir is if she were appointed to the Supreme Court (maybe Season 2?).

– “CRISTELA” (ABC, Oct. 10). This sitcom’s young heroine is working multiple jobs to fund her dream of becoming a lawyer. And when she gets slammed by her family for taking so long in law school, or for drinking the last beer in the fridge, she can return their salvos with equivalent gusto.

– “JANE THE VIRGIN” (CW, Oct. 13). Jane Villanueva is a radiant and ambitious young woman whose future is abruptly complicated when she learns that, despite her decision to wait, her virgin status has been compromised through an accidental sperm insemination. Now she faces yet another, very unexpected challenge – pregnancy – necessitating hard choices that will affect not only her life but also many others’ around her.

– “STATE OF AFFAIRS” (NBC, Nov. 17). CIA analyst Charleston Tucker is joining such past and present CIA heroines as Elizabeth McCord (“Madam Secretary”) and “Homeland” stalwart Carrie Mathison, but with her own specialty: compiling and delivering to the Oval Office the president’s Daily Briefing every morning. But Charleston’s bond with the chief executive is even tighter than this, since she used to be engaged to the president’s son – that is, until he was killed by a terrorist attack. And wouldn’t you know it: the president is a woman, too!

In tune online: Live Nation, Yahoo stream a concert a day

Live Nation’s partnership with Yahoo to stream one live concert every day is a rare win for music fans. The series, which began with the Dave Matthews Band in mid-July, offers free, high-quality concert footage in a way that helps the companies providing it, since selling ads is more profitable than concert promotion.

The deal opens up a new revenue stream for Live Nation, which reported second quarter earnings Thursday that fell short on profit but beat Wall Street’s revenue expectations. And for Yahoo, premium video ad prices could be a cure for its plunging display ad rates.

Concerts globally are having a down year as a larger number of big acts sacrifice their own tour dates to play at popular festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza, according to an analysis by the trade magazine Pollstar. And while Live Nation’s events are doing better than the industry overall, the company takes a tiny slice of concert proceeds even as it invests in improvements to apps and websites to attract more people.

On the Yahoo Screen app featuring the new Live Nation channel, advertisers like Kraft, Kellogg’s, Citigroup and Sprint are running pre-roll advertising and in-stream overlays. Given robust demand for the commercial time, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told investors in May the streams would be “a positive revenue channel almost (from) day one.” He went further Thursday, saying he expects to expand programming with Yahoo and other distribution partners to help accelerate advertising revenue growth.

Another beneficial element of the deal: Live Nation isn’t paying for the rights to the content. Artists, whose incomes are hurting from a decline in digital downloads, are happy to allow their concerts to be streamed, mainly to promote future ticket sales and song downloads. Plus, the performers get to keep a copy of the show for re-use and DVD sales.

“We’re getting paid in promotion and the fact we don’t have to hire our own crew” to shoot the concert, said Brian Klein, manager of Los Angeles-based indie pop band Fitz & The Tantrums.

On August 20, John Legend will reprise Marvin Gaye’s album, “What’s Going On?” in concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Legend’s manager Ty Stiklorious believes it might cost $500,000 to shoot such a one-time-only event. But in exchange for Legend receiving a copy of the recording in about a year, Yahoo will cover venue fees, songwriting royalties, crew wages and pay for the 50-piece orchestra that will accompany the R&B singer.

“They said they would do it regardless of all the issues and complexities around filming it,” Stiklorious said. “We’re so excited and happy.”

Artist managers don’t fear a loss of ticket sales, either. Attending in person is far different from watching from a couch or on a mobile device, they say. And usually, the event is already sold out or in a far-off location -like Justin Timberlake’s upcoming Aug. 24 concert in Iceland.

Increasingly, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. is becoming an advertising business that uses concerts as its “content.” While the company loses money putting on the concerts themselves, advertising and third-party sponsorships at venues have become its most profitable segment.

“Concerts, on paper, are very low-margin and as a result they have to push margin into other areas of the business,” says Rick Tullo, an analyst with Albert Fried & Co. “Advertising is the big one.”

Last year, Live Nation lost nearly a penny for every dollar it made in concert promotion revenue, which rose 17 percent to $4.52 billion. But it kept two-thirds of every dollar made from advertising, which climbed 15 percent to $284.7 million. Profit from advertising was nearly twice as big as profit derived from ticket-selling, which makes it even more important to the company as it seeks its first year of positive net income since 2004.

On the concert deal, Live Nation will split ad revenue 50-50 with Yahoo after Yahoo recoups the costs of shooting and producing the concerts.

For Yahoo, the deal helps bolster multiple areas of weakness: by paying for exclusive content, Yahoo hopes it can boost the price of ads. Prices for display ads, once Yahoo’s mainstay, fell 24 percent last quarter, offset only by greater volume. Still, the result was an overall 4 percent drop in the company’s revenue to $1.14 billion.

“We’ve continued our focus on video with investments in unique premium content,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer told analysts on a conference call this month. “Fundamentally, premium content draws premium advertisers.”

Now Yahoo just has to get concert lovers to tune in.

Online: Yahoo Screen’s Live Nation channel: http://yhoo.it/Ur8OQB