Harry Belafonte, Sarah Jessica Parker and Steve Buscemi have been appointed to New York Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio's inaugural committee. The stars will join Susan Sarandon, Rosie Perez and Russell Simmons in helping to plan the celebrations surrounding his inauguration, according to the New York Post. De Blasio takes office on 1 January (14).
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Django Unchained is one of those films that I can't help resenting for the fact that I enjoyed it just fine. Since falling in love with the director's work in the late 1990s, every Quentin Tarantino feature excepting Death Proof has blown me away in one way or another, with Inglourious Basterds shocking me in its ability to challenge Pulp Fiction as my favorite of the filmmaker's resume. As such, it was disarming to leave Django with no strong feelings either way — I laughed, I gasped, I checked my mental watch. It was fine. And that's the last thing I could ever want from a director who prides himself on being explosive. So maybe it is this ambivalence that makes me hesitant to accept another Western from the director, as he announced on Tuesday night's episode of The Tonight Show.
But I'm not so sure that I can blame my feelings on Django entirely for wanting Tarantino to shy away from the Western genre, at least for now. I'd be just as ill at ease to hear that Tarantino was taking on another World War II epic, or another war film in general. Just as I want his pictures to be shocking and stirring, I want them to be new. I want to go into every Tarantino movie wondering, "What on Earth is he going to do with this one?" And then finding out, in a whimsical blaze of glory.
Part of what makes the experience of his films so great is the innate worry that comes along with them. A movie about Uma Thurman slicing hundreds of people to bits after some crime kingpin destroyed her unborn child? And more jarring yet, one about World War II and the seizure and murder of innocent Jews in Europe? Apprehensions about Tarantino's ability to handle WWII with tact were set to rest in such a spectacular way within the first few scenes of Basterds. I don't want to enter a Tarantino flick knowing that he can do it, I want to enter one hoping that he can.
That's why a Western to follow Django can be seen as a little bit of a letdown. Although I wasn't thrilled with Django, I admired the world that Tarantino built. He created a story and its universe adequately. And maybe it's this "adequacy" that he can prove to conquer with another Western; maybe his challenge this time around isn't the threat of a horrible (or offensive) product, but one that is in no real way provocative. But this, inherently, is a less exciting quest, and as a lifelong Tarantino devotee, all I want is that excitement — and dread — when approaching his new projects. I'm not worried that he won't be able to make another perfectly watchable Western. But I want to be.
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Actress Cynthia Nixon has been appointed to New York Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio's transition committee. The Sex and the City star, who was an early supporter of the politician, will join 60 other community leaders to help de Blasio fill key positions in his administration and advise on policy ideas.
He says, "It is a group of people who share a progressive vision for the future of the city, who are known in their fields of endeavour as being effective and strong leaders, and who share a clear commitment to diversity in leadership for the future of the city."
The newly-appointed mayor takes office on 1 January (14).
Plans to launch a series of Harry Potter-themed stamps in the U.S. have angered die-hard collectors who insist the honour should be reserved for American icons. The U.S. Postal Service is set to release 100 million stamps featuring British stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as their characters from the popular film series as part of an initiative to encourage younger citizens to take an interest in philately.
However, the plans have outraged collectors, who complain the characters, dreamed up by Scottish author J.K. Rowling, do not deserve a place on U.S. stamps because they are not an American creation.
Members of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, the board which helps the U.S. Postal Service decide on the honours, are also opposed to placing movie stills on the stamps instead of illustrations.
Former president of the American Philatelic Society John Hotchner tells the Washington Post, "Harry Potter is not American. It's foreign, and it's so blatantly commercial it's off the charts. The Postal Service knows what will sell, but that's not what stamps ought to be about."
Embattled publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch has settled his divorce from third wife Wendi Deng. The billionaire filed legal papers to end his 14-year marriage in June (13), claiming the couple's relationship had "broken down irretrievably", but they managed to work together to reach an agreement so their split could be signed off by a judge at New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday (20Nov13).
A statement released by the former couple reads: "We are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce. We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further."
The 82 year old has reportedly allowed Deng to keep their $44 million (£29.3 million) Manhattan apartment, where she lives with their two daughters, Chloe, 10, and Grace, 11, although details about their other properties in the Big Apple and the 44 year old's native China have not been made public.
Their divorce hearing lasted a matter of minutes and afterwards, Deng proved she was still on good terms with her ex by shaking the hand of his lawyer, Ira Garr, before bidding final farewell to Murdoch with a hug.
She famously hit headlines in 2011 after aggressively defending her husband from a pie-throwing protester during a British parliamentary committee hearing regarding the News Corp. phone hacking scandal.
Murdoch has been been married twice before - he divorced Anna Torv one month before he wed Deng, and he separated from wife Patricia Booker in 1967.
Pop stars One Direction are joining a star-studded charity telethon to raise money for the victims of the Philippines super typhoon. The boyband will join a number of stars, including Harry Potter's Alan Rickman and the cast of hit TV show Downton Abbey, for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Telethon at the BT Tower in London on Monday (18Nov13) to encourage the British public to donate generously to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
The pop stars will begin by tweeting their encouragement to the public before manning the phone lines between 4pm and 7pm (local time).
Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt and Allen Leech, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and comedian Stephen Merchant are also among the big names taking calls.
One Direction star Liam Payne says, "The pictures I have seen of little children in between the ruins made my heart break. All of us in the band are shocked by how many people need help, so we're asking the public to continue to be as generous as they possibly can."
On Friday (15Nov13), the pop sensations lent a hand to Britain's Children In Need fundraiser with a performance on the TV special and donation appeals to help raise funds for kids' charities.
Who would have guessed that a gross and darkly funny series created by and starring a group of unknowns would become one of the most reliable long-running comedies on TV? It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been chugging along for nine seasons, as it seems that there is no shortage of disastrous situations for the despicably lovable Gang to get into. While it's critically-acclaimed and beloved by the internet, Sunny isn't exactly Emmy-bait. The Sunny crew skewered the self-congratulatory and unimaginative process of awarding the same glossy and formulaic shows over and over again this season with "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award," an episode in which the Paddy's Gang tries to clean up to win a Best Bar in Philadelphia trophy.
But, as unfair as it is, there's just no chance that the Academy is going to give an episode like "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender" or "Who Pooped the Bed?" a nod for Comedy Writing. And unfortunately, the snubs extend to the cast as well.
Would that there were justice in this world, as Charlie Day would have a closet full of awards for playing Charlie Kelly. Here are just a few of the reasons why.
Charlie may be cleaning toilets and controlling the Paddy's rat population on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean he's without an inner entrepreneurial spirit.
Rock Flag and Eagle
Every Sunny episode needs a moment where Charlie gets overly excited or angry so that Day can make his voice do the thing. And then it doesn't even matter what he's saying or singing.
Charlie bases most of his knowledge of the world on what he's seen on TV. So why can't he be a lawyer? So what if he can't read?
In "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award," Day sang a Cheers-style theme song to win over the judging committee. Every take was partially improvised and so good that FX put the unused footage online.
And he can do drama.
Officials in Russia have dismissed calls from jailed Pussy Riot star Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to prosecute a prison warden she accuses of threatening her. The punk activist, who is serving a two-year sentence in Mordovia for hooliganism, has been on an on/off hunger strike behind bars over her treatment.
Earlier this month (Oct13) she alleged a deputy warden at the prison colony had threatened her life for speaking out against the conditions, and she demanded officials launch a probe into the incident.
However, on Thursday (24Oct13) the Senior Executive Assistant of the regional Investigation Department of the Investigation Committee dismissed the request.
Tolokonnikova and two Pussy Riot bandmates - Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - were jailed for two years each last year (12) over a protest against President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow.
Samutsevich was free in October last year (12) when her sentence was commuted. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina are due for release in March (14).
Sharon Stone is to be presented with an honour by Nobel Prize winners for her work with HIV and AIDS sufferers. The actress is in Warsaw, Poland this week (begs21Oct13) for the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace laureates and on Thursday (24Oct13) she will be handed the Peace Summit Award.
Stone has been involved with The Foundation For AIDS Research since 1995, previously as their campaign chairman and now as global fundraising chairman.
A committee of Nobel Peace laureates decides on the winner of the Peace Summit Award each year, picking a figure from the world of culture and entertainment who have raised awareness of global issues. Previous celebrities to receive the honour include Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel and Bono.
Bolshoi Ballet star Pavel Dmitrichenko has alleged he was attacked by three prison guards following a court hearing last week (ends20Oct13). The dancer is due to go on trial in Moscow on Tuesday (22Oct13) on charges of masterminding an assault on Bolshoi boss Sergei Filin, who was left partially blind when acid was thrown in his face in January (13).
Dmitrichenko was in court on Thursday (17Oct13) for a pre-trial hearing, and his lawyer Sergei Kadyrov has alleged three prison officials assaulted him following the case.
Kadyrov claims a jail doctor noted the injuries his client suffered, and he is calling on authorities to launch an investigation into the incident.
He says, "I will appeal to the pre-trial detention's administration, as well as the Investigative Committee. A criminal case against the guards has to be initiated. No one should be allowed to beat a man down while he is handcuffed."
Dmitrichenko is due on trial at Moscow's Meshchansky District Court on Tuesday. It is alleged he colluded with two accomplices to attack Filin following artistic differences within the company.