Singer John Legend has dismissed rumours his friend Jay Z is heading towards a split from wife Beyonce.
The showbiz supercouple has been under the spotlight in recent weeks amid reports their marriage is in trouble, but Legend, who has worked with the rapper on a number of tracks, is adamant his pal is not worried about the false gossip. Legend tells Jo Parkerson of British radio station Magic FM:
"I think all of us (friends) are aware of what people are saying and we probably care a little bit but we also know they don't know everything that's happening. And so when you hear all this speculation about Jay and Beyonce getting divorced... If you're Jay, you know the truth. "You can only let the rumours affect you so much... He knows the truth and he's pretty mellow as well. He's cool and collected and he knows how to take it all in his stride."
John Legend braved severe storms to conclude his North American tour in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday night (26Aug14).
Bad weather moved into the area around the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the hours before Legend was due to perform his final All of Me Tour concert at the outdoor venue.
The storms prompted fears the show would be cancelled as lightning strikes and heavy rain closed in, but Legend took to his Twitter.com page shortly before the concert to assure fans he still planned to perform, writing, "Denver, the show is happening tonight, rain or shine! On stage soon. Only thing that can shut us down is too much lightning. #AllOfMeTour (sic)."
The show went ahead as planned with Legend braving the rain and thunderstorms, and he later thanked fans for enduring the bad weather, writing, "Thank you Denver!!! We made it through the rain!! So much fun tonight! #AllOfMeTour... Tonight was the last North American stop on the #AllOfMeTour. Thanks to everybody who supported us! It was such a special tour!... It's time for a break now. I need it! We start up again in Asia late September."
The children of late actor Christopher Reeve have added their tribute to their dad's close friend and college roommate Robin Williams, thanking the tragic funnyman for his "simple, steadfast friendship" over the years.
The pair struck up a friendship back in the 1970s, while attending New York's prestigious Julliard School, where the aspiring actors became roommates. They remained close after college and made a vow to one another, promising that the first person to make it big in Hollywood would take care of the other, and Williams was there for his old pal in 1995, when he was left paralysed following a horse riding accident.
The Mrs. Doubtfire comedian reportedly helped to pay for Reeve's medical treatment and lifted the quadriplegic's spirits as he prepared to undergo life-saving surgery by bursting into the operating room, pretending to be an eccentric Russian surgeon ready to perform a rectal exam on him.
Williams, 63, died from a suspected suicide on Monday (11Aug14), 10 years after Reeve suffered a fatal heart attack in 2004, and now the Superman star's family has honoured the funnyman's memory.
In a statement issued to People.com, they write: "For Robin, our dad was 'Brother Reeve'. Robin was a light in our family for as long as we can remember. He and Dad made each other laugh, and they stood by each other to the end. Our hearts ache for his family."
Williams, who dedicated his Cecil B. Demille Award at the 2005 Golden Globes to his late friend, was also a key supporter of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a charity set up by the Reeve family following the death of Christopher's wife, Dana, in 2006. The organisation aims to raise funds to find treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.
Charity officials added their words of condolence late on Monday, in a message that reads: "While the world knew Robin Williams as an Oscar-winning actor, we knew a different side to the man whose smile was as big as his heart. "While our hearts ache with the loss of our friend, it is unlikely Robin would want us to mourn his passing with silence, but to celebrate his life through laughter. "Together, let's remember Robin for the man who made the world laugh."
Camellia Entertainment/Evil Media Empire
Robin Williams' film career is set to continue despite his death at the age of 63 on Monday (11Aug14).
The Oscar-winning actor passed away in an apparent suicide at his home in Tiburon, California, and he left behind a very active film career, including four projects that are slated to hit the big screen soon.
Williams has two holiday films due for release later this year (14), including indie family comedy Merry Friggin' Christmas, co-starring Lauren Graham, Joel McHale, and Oliver Platt, and he also reprised his role as Teddy Roosevelt for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which is set to hit cinemas in December (14).
20th Century Fox
In addition, he starred opposite Breaking Bad regular Bob Odenkirk in the drama Boulevard, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year (14), and Williams also loaned his voice as the animated character of Dennis the Dog in Absolutely Anything, a live-action British comedy starring Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale, which is slated for release in 2015.
The comedian was also in talks to reprise his role as the beloved Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel to the hit 1993 film. Williams, along with director Christopher Columbus, had reportedly met with Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum to polish off a second draft of the script, and they were likely to join the project if talks went well.
Columbus, a longtime friend of Williams, shared his own condolences on Monday, in a statement which reads, "We have lost one of our most inspired and gifted comic minds, as well as one of this generation's greatest actors. To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. "His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of 'genius.' "We were friends for 21 years. Our children grew up together, he inspired us to spend our lives in San Francisco and I loved him like a brother. The world was a better place with Robin in it. And his beautiful legacy will live on forever."
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Christopher Walken has joined the cast of Jon Favreau's star-studded The Jungle Book remake - as ape leader King Louie.
He joins Sir Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson among the stars who will be providing the voices for the live-action/animation adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's book.
Walken's character was played by singer Louis Prima in the 1967 Disney film adaptation.
Meanwhile, Breaking Bad star Giancarlo Esposito has also been added to the new Jungle Book cast - he'll play wolf leader Akela.
Kingsley will play panther Bagheera, Idris Elba the villainous tiger Shere Khan and Johansson python Kaa. Newcomer Neel Sethi has been cast as Mowgli, the orphan at the centre of Kipling's tale.
Soul singer John Legend has thrown his weight behind a female empowerment campaign by featuring a long line of ladies in his new music video.
The Grammy winner's promo for his latest single You and I (Nobody In the World) features a number of women staring into the camera through a one-way mirror.
Among those looking at their own reflection are celebrities including Legend's model wife Chrissy Teigen, transgender Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox, and comedienne/cancer survivor Tig Notaro. Also taking part in the emotional video is a topless pregnant woman cradling her baby bump, a young girl with Down's Syndrome, and an older woman who breaks down in tears as she shows the disfiguration left by a mastectomy.
The music video was made in conjunction with a campaign called #OperationGirl, which is being led by organisations focusing on empowering, educating and protecting the rights of women and girls.
A companion documentary called When I Look In The Mirror will also be released and features the women from Legend's video telling their own personal stories of heartbreak and triumph.
Legend supports the campaign's efforts in a statement which reads, "We live in a world where egregious injustices occur regularly against girls and women. We have a responsibility to take action and disrupt the conditions that allow for such tragedies to occur. "Through #OperationGirl we hope to amplify the voices and impact of the many organizations doing great work on behalf of girls and women."
Comedienne-turned-TV-host Ellen Degeneres is set to launch her own lifestyle brand.
The 56 year old will debut the E.D. collection of home, fashion, and pet items this autumn (14), before releasing the full line, which will also incorporate women's and men's clothes and accessories, next year (15).
She has teamed up with entrepreneur J. Christopher Burch, from fashion house Tory Burch, to develop the new brand. DeGeneres tells WWD.com, "I'm not trying to launch a little boutique situation... It's going to be interesting over the next three or four years, to really establish the business in addition to doing my (TV) show. It's a whole new chapter. My life has gone to places... it's pretty amazing."
DeGeneres joins the likes of actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively, who have also expanded into the lifestyle industry.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.