Oscar winner Natalie Portman has reenacted Anita Ekberg's iconic scene in La Dolce Vita for a new perfume ad. The actress dons a black dress to frolick in the fountain at Paris' Jardins du Palais Royal for the new Miss Dior fragrance campaign.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
The hard-hitting ad, put together by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), was printed in the Los Angeles Times and features the tagline Shot On Location under an image of a lifeless horse.
It states, "Animals don't choose to appear in film, TV, or advertising, yet thousands are forced to perform every year. Of all animal 'actors,' horses are the most frequently killed or injured on set... Not everybody wants to be famous."
PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo says, "PETA's ad is a reminder to Hollywood that current guidelines simply don't safeguard animals in entertainment. It's up to producers and directors to protect horses - ideally, by leaving them off of the set in the first place."
The notice comes less than two weeks after PETA filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the California Veterinary Medical Board alleging that horses used on racing drama Luck were underfed to save money and some were tranquillised to keep them docile for filming.
The HBO series was cancelled in March (12) after a horse was humanely put down following an accident at the studio's stables.
It was the third equine death since filming began at California's Santa Anita racetrack.
William Balfour, 31, was convicted of fatally shooting Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, 57, her brother Jason Hudson, 29, and her seven-year-old nephew Julian King in 2008 by an Illinois jury on Friday (11May12) after two days of deliberation.
As the verdict was read out in court, Oscar winner Hudson broke down in tears and had to be comforted by her fiance, David Otunga. Her sister Julia was also present for the verdict.
Now the pair has released a statement through attorney Anita Alvarez, who reveals the devastated sisters are glad Balfour has been brought to justice.
Alvarez told reporters after the verdict, "I spoke with Jennifer and Julia Hudson after the verdict... they are both very pleased and very appreciative of the co-operation that we have provided for them. They are relieved and we hope that this verdict gives them some sense of justice."
In 2010, director Robert Schwentke released the Golden Globe-nominated action-comedy Red, which focused on a group of retired secret agents to "get back in the game" and take on a new threat. As such, the cast was made up of relatively older actors: Bruce Willis was the young gun of the bunch, surrounded by Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and a senile John Malkovich. The forthcoming sequel Red 2 is opting for a slightly different angle with its newest cast member: Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Zeta-Jones is slated to join Willis, Mirren and Malkovich for the followup to Schwentke's film, which will be directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest.) Additionally, Byung-hun Lee (best known as Storm Shadow in the G.I. Joe film series) is also on board for the sequel.
Of course, neither of these two younger performers (Zeta-Jones is 42, Lee is 40) will be joining the team of retired agents. In the first movie, Mary-Louise Parker (who is also returning for the sequel) played a civilian who got wrapped up in their so-called black-ops. Considering Zeta-Jones' flair for super-humanity, and Lee's experience with the action genre will probably pit each of them as some kind of younger stealth agent and perhaps at odds with the returning team. The AARP crowd loves that kinda stuff!
[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]
A Young Angelina Jolie in Maleficent?
Meet Bruce Willis' Baby Daughter Mabel - PIC
G.I. Joe Retaliation Trailer: The Rock, Channing Tatum Fight the President
David Milch and Michael Mann ceased production on the HBO show in March (12) after a horse was humanely put down following an accident at the studio's stables. It was the third equine death since filming began at California's Santa Anita racetrack.
PETA bosses celebrated the series cancellation after weeks of campaigning, but their joy at the show's end has been tinged with sadness after uncovering further claims of animal cruelty related to the programme.
Animal rights chiefs filed legal papers with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and the California Veterinary Medical Board on Thursday (03May12), alleging, among other charges, that horses were underfed to save money and some were tranquillised to keep them docile for filming.
Senior Vice President of PETA, Lisa Lange, tells The Hollywood Reporter, "These documents appear to reveal what Luck executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann have repeatedly denied: that horses were mistreated and endangered on a daily basis. HBO says... it lost $35 million (£22 million) with the cancellation of Luck, but the horses paid a much bigger price. The authorities can take action now to send a message that cruelty to animals for the sake of 'entertainment' - or for any reason - will not be tolerated."
Network executives have previously denied several animal cruelty allegations, insisting they worked closely with racing industry experts and members of the American Humane Association to implement safety protocols that went "above and beyond" typical filming standards.
The Heat and Dust star appeared alongside Anita Dobson in the play Bette and Joan, about the personal and professional relationship between Davis and Joan Crawford - and she was only too happy to accept a role so different to her usual performances.
Speaking on U.K. chat show Loose Women, she says, "It's the best role I've ever had - the range... Actors always want to play different types, we don't want to be typecast, but typecasting is the nature of success so for years I had to look pretty and elegant and very often be well-behaved or cold-hearted and mean but actually in life I'm half Italian and I'm quite hot-blooded and expressive.
"And I felt very often my acting had to be more restricted, more restricted in my behaviour than I am in life and Bette gives me a chance to let it all out."
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Show star John Ortiz organised the get together two days after the series creators, David Milch and Michael Mann, and HBO TV executives decided to cease production following the death of a horse on Tuesday morning (13Mar12)
The tragedy marked the third time a horse has been put down at the racetrack, where the series is filmed, during shooting.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that more than 60 cast members came together to say farewell over breakfast on Friday morning.
The show's big names - Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina - did not attend the final cast meeting.
Hoffman, who is also a producer of the show, Milch and Mann reportedly organised a 'wake' for the show on Friday evening in Hollywood.
The tragedy marked the third time in a year that a horse had to be euthanized during filming at the Santa Anita racetrack in California.
And although the latest incident happened off-set in the stables area of the location, executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann have decided not to proceed with the remainder of the second season of the show.
A statement from HBO, the film company behind the project, reads, "It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann, together with HBO, have decided to cease all future production on the series Luck.
"Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures.
"While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.
"We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation."
A joint statement from Mann and Milch reads, "The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future."
Luck launched earlier this year (12) to rave reviews and was quickly picked up for a second season.
HBO bosses will continue to run all episodes filmed so far.