"I do think that was because he spent so much time in the closet that he's sort of over-compensating, being the uber-gay man now in every positive and negative aspect of it. It's like he invented gay now." Former Frankie Goes to Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson is suspicious of fellow British pop star George Michael's behaviour.
YouTube/The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Just three weeks in production, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raked in more than $15 million — this puts it ahead of the latest YA release The Giver as the eighth highest grossing property this month. But trouncing that Jeff Bridges/Brenton Thwaites travesty by nearly $3 million is only the second most noble of the Ice Bucket Challenge’s efforts. The movement is allotting nigh unparalleled funds toward the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an illness known best as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The condition observes the weakening of the muscles in accordance with a degeneration of a specific portion of the spinal cord. As a result of ALS, those afflicted find difficulty speaking, swallowing, breathing, and moving altogether.
Though discovered in the 19th century and brought to infamy in the late 1930s in accordance with the suffering of beloved New York Yankee Lou Gehrig, ALS remains the most common motor neuron disease actively plaguing men and women today. While perhaps only a small measure in the fight against the illness, the Ice Bucket Challenge is allowing for tremendous progress in the collection of funds devoted to the defeat of such a longstanding travesty.
As is inevitable with any cause célèbre or public movement, we have witnesses no small share of backlash against the Challenge; critics decry the endeavor as a bandwagon trend and a waste of time that offers no real benefit to the cause in question. As far as the latter goes, the $15 million and counting — a sum made possible thanks in large part to the spirited, sportsmanly brand with which the Ice Bucket Challenge was designed — would beg to differ. Nevertheless, we find those with a sour taste for the charitable phenomenon. Not to mention those who simply don’t want to pour a bunch of cold water over their heads. But if you find yourself a culprit of this mindset, maybe take a look at the pedigree of the company you’d be joining were you to hop aboard for this particularly frigid mitzvah.
So what pop culture accomplishments can be attributed to the community of water-logged philanthropists?
5 ACADEMY AWARDS Between Steven Spielberg (3), Russell Crowe (1), and Oprah (a Humanitarian Oscar).
60 EMMYSBetween Oprah (13 Daytime Emmys and 2 Primetime Emmys), Steven Spielberg (11), Meredith Vieira (4 News/Documentary Emmys and 3 Daytime Emmys), Jimmy Fallon (4), Justin Timberlake (4), J.J. Abrams (3), Conan O'Brien (3), Jim Parsons (3), Ricky Gervais (2), William Shatner (2), Harry Connick Jr. (2), Rachel Maddow (1), Ryan Seacrest (1), Nathan Fillion (1 Daytime Emmy), and Topher Grace (1 Daytime Emmy).
62 GRAMMYSJustin Timberlake (9), Taylor Swift (7), Carrie Underwood (6), Lady Gaga (5), Mackelmore (4), Lil Wayne (4), Keith Urban (4), Weird Al Yankovic (3), Gwen Stefani (3), Ludacris (3), Brad Paisley (3), Adam Levine (3), Harry Connick Jr (3), Jason Mraz (2), Drake (1), Jimmy Fallon (1), and Calvin Harris (1).
10 GOLDEN GLOBESSteven Spielberg (7), Russell Crowe (1), William Shatner (1), and Don Johnson (1).
Rapper J.cole has paid tribute to a black teenager killed by a police officer in Missouri by releasing a new song dedicated to him. Darren Wilson shot unarmed Michael Brown, who was suspected of stealing a box of cigars from a suburban St. Louis store, on 9 August (14), and the incident has sparked a series of tense protests between African-Americans and civil rights leaders and officials in the state.
As Governor Jay Nixon, President Barack Obama and Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson join forces in a bid to end days of violence, hip-hop star Cole has released Be Free to voice his frustrations with the deaths of African-American men in the U.S.
In a post on his website, Dreamvillain.com, he writes, "That coulda (sic) been me, easily. It could have been my best friend. I'm tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don't give a f**k if it's by police or peers. This s**t is not normal. I made a song. This is how we feel."
Cole is not the only celebrity to speak out about the incident in Missouri - John Legend, Kerry Washington and Mark Ruffalo have voiced concerns over the treatment of protesters by police following the shooting.
Legend took to Twitter.com to voice his opinion, writing, "I believe these cops are intentionally trying to inflame the situation. They want an excuse. Recall the local cop telling those 'animals' to 'bring it' on (news channel) CNN... He wants a fight.
"Calling us 'animals' has been the language to justify slavery... Dehumanization and racism go together."
Meanwhile, R&B star Frank Ocean took to Tumblr.com to comment on an image of Governor Nixon standing in front of a black woman as he addressed the slaying of Brown and wrote, "You see that black woman standing up there? I wonder if she was called to stand behind the governor because she’s black. I wonder if i’m supposed to think Missouri’s gov’t is pro-black because of her being stood up there with those other black men being all black and everything. I wonder if she was off the clock while she stood up there... then i wonder if she was getting paid for her time off like the guy who shot Michael 8 times."
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has signed on to star in two more Journey to the Center of the Earth sequels.
The Hercules star replaced Brendan Fraser as the star of the franchise for 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and the film was such a hit he has been invited back for two move family movies.
Brothers Chad and Carey Hayes, who created horror movie The Conjuring, have been hired to write the screenplay for the two films. They have become friends with Johnson after working with him on new disaster film San Andreas.
Late actor Paul Walker came close to quitting his successful acting career to study marine biology after spending time out on the ocean observing great white sharks. The Fast & Furious star majored in the subject in college, and in 2010 he starred in a TV special for America's National Geographic Channel called Shark Men.
Walker spent a week catching and tagging great white sharks off the coast of Mexico with Dr. Michael Domeier, and the marine life expert has now revealed his protege became a close friend and even sought his advice about quitting Hollywood to pursue his dream.
Domeier tells Entertainment Weekly, "He would call me in the middle of the night and say, 'Hey, I want to quit acting. I want to go back to school. Can you help me?' And I'd talk him off the ledge and go, 'Paul, that's a really bad idea. You can have much more of an influence on these topics as a celebrity. Let's work together. I can help you, give you talking points'...
"So we kept in touch over the years, even after we both stopped working on Shark Men. He kept calling me: 'Hey, let's do something again. When can I come with you again?'"
The pals reunited for another TV special called Spawn of Jaws last year (13), and they also began filming a sequel, Spawn of Jaws: The Birth, just three weeks before Walker died in a car crash.
Domeier adds, "Honestly, I really didn't want to keep working on the film. But after a few months went by, I decided, 'Okay, Paul would want us to finish it, let's finish it.'"
Spawn of Jaws: The Birth aired in America on Wednesday night (13Aug14), and the programme was introduced by Walker's Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne Johnson, who encouraged viewers to make a donation to the late actor's charity, Reach Out Worldwide.
A homeless man who broke into a U.S. TV studio wielding a knife has been sent for mental evaluation after an outburst in court. Andre Johnson was arrested for assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing earlier this month (Jul14) after he gained access to the Good Morning America studio in New York City and allegedly threatened presenter Michael Strahan.
Johnson was indicted for felony attempted assault at Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday (28Jul14) but the proceedings were halted when Johnson launched into a tirade against his legal team.
He yelled, "I want a new lawyer! This lady's against me! She's part of the Illuminati!... There's a war against me, ma'am. Obama was elected to defend us. This is some bulls**t, man!"
According to the New York Daily News, the judge ordered a mental evaluation and Johnson is scheduled to return to court on 15 September (14).
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection/Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
This weekend, you have two choices in the way of fantastical, action-packed blockbusters. On the one hand, you have something from the old stockyards: Brett Ratner's Hercules, a light-hearted take on the Ancient Greek myth about the epitome of alpha-male machismo (with, appropriately, Dwayne Johnson playing the lead). On the other, we have something rather new: the limit-pushing Lucy, which draws ideas from the most progressive of quantum theories and packs them into a Scarlett Johansson shoot-'em-up. Surely there is room enough in our summer movie schedule for these heroes of past and future glory, respectively. But when faced off against one another, which comes out the champion?
POWERS AND ABILITIES
Hercules' super strength, while mighty impressive in its own right, pales in comparison to everything Lucy's got going on in her rapidly evolving brain. Things kick off with simple tricks like mind-reading and telekinesis... but pretty soon (without spoiling anything), Lucy's abilities get far more expansive.
We never really get to know much about Lucy. She likes her club music and loves her mom, but what else do we have to sink our teeth into? But there's no anonymity with Hercules, with whom we're all familiar enough thanks to our sixth grade English teachers.
The Rock has charisma, sure, and sold a few laughs in Michael Bay's supreme Pain & Gain. But Johansson is a bona fide actor, capable of charm and chills alike. Although she's not giving a performance at the caliber of Lost in Translation or Her in Lucy, she's still adept in every sequence.
Hercules is all about believing in yourself, standing up for what's right, sticking by your friends, making your own destiny... all that . Lucy is essentially about the meaninglessness of human existence. Less fun.
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS
Even with the benefit of its familiar source material and likable central star, Hercules is predicted to suffer at the hands of ScarJo's Lucy.
MOST IMPORTANLY, HOW ARE THE MOVIES?
Both good, neither great. We'd give Lucy the edge for originality and Luc Besson's superior visual flair, although Hercules' spirit is indelibly more inviting. Check out our reviews for Hercules and Lucy, and sound off below with your own votes.
YouTube/Fifty Shades of Grey, Focus Features
Anastasia Steele may be a timeless literary hero. She may be a beacon of female agency in the realm of modern sexuality. She may be a vessel for the release of personal frustrations for readers the world over. She may be any and all of these things. But a good interviewer she is not. At least that's what we've gleaned from the first trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey:
We're not claiming to have all the answers behind a seamless interview, but we do know a few basic rules. Rules that Dakota Johnson, as the spiritually lukewarm Miss Steele, so callously breaks in this first look at the film. Steele pays a visit to the nauseatingly sleek office building of one Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) in order to conduct "an interview for the newspaper," as she so facelessly introduces. What's to follow is an onslaught of cardinal sins and groan-worthy slip-ups on the part of the would-be reporter.
Always look your subject in the eye.Nerves are understandable, but keep your nose out of your notebook. Steele's face barely reaches sea level.
Keep the discussion going.Any conversation is bound to hit a few lulls, but Steele allows for a pause so diabolically long and piercing that it's sure to kill any momentum in what otherwise might be an engaging back-and-forth.
YouTube/Fifty Shades of Grey, Focus Features
Don't make yourself the focus.While it's not a crime to inject a personal reflection here or there in the interest of forging an empathy and connection with your subject, Steele allows the chat to switch gears entirely and begins lamenting her own meaningless life. If you do insist on talking about yourself, keep it upbeat!
You probably shouldn't go and have sex with the person you interviewed.Although this one has its detractors.
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Michael Douglas, Cate Blanchett and Sir Michael Caine are among the celebrities who have signed a petition urging the Italian Prime Minister to ban cruise ships from passing near Venice. The actors are among 63 film stars, royals and artists joining the ongoing debate over whether large cruise liners should be allowed to travel in a shallow lagoon near the historical water-filled city.
The petition, also signed by Jane Fonda, Don Johnson and British actress Julie Christie, has been sent to Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and heritage minister Dario Franceschini urging them to do more to protect Venice.
It reads, "For more than 13 centuries Venice has survived flooding, disease and war... But now, in a period of peace, the Queen of the Adriatic (nickname for Venice)... risks being overwhelmed by these enormous cruise ships, which enter the lagoon on a daily basis, indifferent to the dangers that they bring."
The debate has raged for many years and in 2013, a proposed ban of giant vessels was overturned at a regional tribunal because the threats posed by the ships had not been sufficiently proved.
Veteran rocker Ginger Baker caused an upset during an appearance on a U.K. political talk show by branding Members of Parliament (MPs) "crooks" and refusing to speak to his fellow panellists. The former Cream star was a guest on BBC current affairs series This Week to discuss his career with host Andrew Neil.
Baker was talking about his decision not to quit music when Neil made a reference to the other two panellists, MP Alan Johnson and former politician Michael Portillo, and the rocker refused to acknowledge the pair.
The drummer told Neil, "He's an MP... I don't speak to them, they're all b**ody crooks," prompting the host to quickly change the subject.