"If I had to say who I thought the best singers were, I'd say first that I don't know there's a definitive answer, as, in my opinion it's subjective, and second that my focus is primarily rock singers. That said, I enjoy Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Dan McCafferty, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Don Henley, Jeff Lynne, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Scott, Etta James, Fiona Apple, Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and a ton of others... and would rather hear any of them anytime rather than me!" Axl Rose responds to a new online poll which placed his at the top of the world's greatest singers list.
Natalie Portman's problem-plagued western Jane Got A Gun will no longer hit cinemas this year (14) following a series of delays and casting changes. Filming on the project was scheduled to start last year (13), but director Lynne Ramsay dropped out of the movie, prompting producers to seek out a new filmmaker.
Gavin O'Connor stepped in to replace her and took on a cast that included Portman, Noah Emmerich, Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor.
The project has also undergone numerous cast changes - Michael Fassbender, Jude Law and Bradley Cooper have all bailed on the film. Edgerton took over the role vacated by Fassbender, while McGregor replaced both Law and Cooper.
Executives at Relativity Media and the Weinstein Co. were hoping to release the new film in August (14), but on Thursday (24Apr14), they moved the date the film will hit cinemas in America back to February, 2015.
Director Lynne Ramsay has reached a legal settlement with producers behind Natalie Portman's new western Jane Got A Gun after quitting the project on the eve of filming. Production was thrown into chaos last March (13) after the Scot abruptly walked away from the movie, forcing executives to delay the shoot.
Film bosses, led by Scott Steinfdorff, filed suit against Ramsay in November (13), accusing her of breach of contract and fraud, after taking a $750,000 (£468,750) payment for a job she didn't complete, but the two parties have since reached a deal to avoid going to court.
A joint statement obtained by ScreenDaily.com reads: "Jane Got a Gun Production LLC and Lynne Ramsay announce the pending civil action and all other disputes between the parties associated with Jane Got a Gun Motion Picture have been resolved privately and to their mutual satisfaction."
Details of the agreement have not been revealed.
The We Need to Talk About Kevin director was subsequently replaced by Gavin O'Connor.
Ramsay's exit wasn't the only drama surrounding the movie - Michael Fassbender was replaced by Jude Law, who was in turn replaced by Bradley Cooper, who exited the film last May (13).
Original stars Portman and Joel Edgerton were eventually joined by Ewan McGregor when filming got underway last summer (13).
Beloved British actresses Angela Lansbury and Penelope Keith have landed Dame titles in Queen Elizabeth II's annual New Year Honours List. The Good Life star Keith and Murder, She Wrote's Lansbury join fellow thespians Michael Crawford and Lynda Bellingham, singer Katherine Jenkins, veteran TV presenter Nicholas Parsons and sculptor Antony Gormley among the other celebrities on the newly-released list.
Of her damehood Keith, 73, says, "It's a recognition for not only my 54 years being an actress but also for all the charities with which I'm associated and I think they'll be thrilled."
And Lansbury tells the BBC, "I'm joining a marvellous group of women I greatly admire like Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. It's a lovely thing to be given that nod of approval by your own country and I really cherish it."
Cats and The Phantom of the Opera choreographer Gillian Lynne will also add Dame to her name in 2014, while Turner Prize winner Gormley and theatre producer Michael Codron have both picked up knighthoods.
Michael Crawford and Nicholas Parsons have both picked up Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) medals for their charitable work, and composer and conductor Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has been named a companion of honour.
Bellingham has ended a tough year, during which she battled cancer, with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) - an honour also bestowed on opera star Jenkins, who was left "incredibly humbled" after learning her name was on the list.
She says, "To accept such an award after only a decade of service to music and charity, comes as a wonderful surprise. I share this award with the charitable bodies I am so privileged to work with."
Meanwhile, conductor Sir Simon Rattle becomes one of only 24 living people to land an Order of Merit medal.
Others named among the New Year Honours include actress and writer Ruth Jones and DJ Pete Tong (both Member of the Order of the British Empire).
Natalie Portman's embattled western Jane Got A Gun has finally locked down a summer, 2014 release date after a series of delays and casting changes. The film has been plagued by problems - director Lynne Ramsay quit a day before shooting was due to begin in March (13) and Michael Fassbender had to be replaced by Jude Law, who subsequently dropped out as Bradley Cooper stepped in. The Hangover star exited the project in May (13), and production finally got underway this summer (13) with Ewan McGregor onboard as the villain.
Now the movie, helmed by Gavin O'Connor, has officially secured a release date and will hit U.S. theatres at the end of August (14).
However, Jane Got a Gun's troubles are far from over - producers filed suit against Ramsay earlier this month (Nov13), accusing her of breach of contract and fraud for receiving a payment of $750,000 ($500,000) for a job she did not complete. They are seeking the return of her salary, in addition to punitive damages.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
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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A former girlfriend of Andy Kaufman has waded into the mystery surrounding the comic's death after his brother allegedly fell victim to a headline-grabbing hoax this week (beg11Nov13). Michael Kaufman hit the news after giving a speech at the annual Andy Kaufman Awards in New York in which he revealed he had reason to believe his brother could have faked his own death. He then introduced a young woman to the stage claiming she was his brother's daughter.
However, Michael later admitted he fears he has fallen victim to an elaborate hoax and cancelled all media interviews. Subsequent reports have suggested his 'niece' is actually an actress named Alexandra Tatarsky.
The bizarre story has now taken another twist as Kaufman's former lover Lynne Margulies has spoken out to insist she was at the funnyman's bedside when he died from lung cancer aged in 35 back in 1984.
She tells TMZ.com, "I was in the hospital room. I was there. They would have had to switch bodies."
Margulies also insists Kaufman only had one daughter, Maria Bellu-Colonna, who was born in 1969.
The producers of Natalie Portman's new film Jane Got A Gun are suing the movie's former director, who quit the project a day before shooting began in March (13). The executives, led by Scott Steindorff, claim Lynne Ramsay was paid $750,000 (GBP500,000) for a job she didn't complete, and they have filed documents in court in New Mexico alleging her departure delayed the production.
In paperwork obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the producers also claim Ramsay was "abusive to members of the cast and crew and was generally disruptive," adding, she "failed to adhere to proper safety protocol for handling weapons on set, when she pointed a prop gun directly at a camera and, in turn, at the camera crew before first taking proper precautions."
Producers are demanding that Ramsay pays back her salary, and they are also seeking punitive damages over claims of fraud and breach of contract.
The We Need to Talk About Kevin director was replaced by Gavin O'Connor.
The project has also struggled with casting troubles - Michael Fassbender was replaced by Jude Law, who was in turn replaced by Bradley Cooper, who exited the film in May (13).
Portman and Joel Edgerton stayed with the movie and were joined by Ewan McGregor when filming eventually got underway this summer (13).
There is something to be said for ambition. The sort of unabashed, no holds barred, balls to the wall energy that makes anything seem like a good idea. Though you'll cock your head at the results of this kind of caution-to-the-wind bravado, the all-inclusive "sure, why not?" attitude, you can't help but crack a smile for the purveyors of this spirit: the first grader who stuffs his class diorama with every figurine and pipe cleaner machination he can muster, the bird who lines its nest with candy wrappers and Fedex receipts, or the people who made the Mortal Instruments movie. They, quite possibly, are the mightiest knights of them all.
You don't have to wait too long for the crazy to kick up in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. We open on the most spacious apartment in the history of Brooklyn, where young Lily Collins is beginning to see mysterious symbols popping up everywhere, only the first sign of the fantastical journey set to take form. Mother Lena Headey, aided by her platonic friend Aidan Turner, plays the Dursley card and takes effort to deter any exploration of the ominous elements to befall her daughter. But as with every spunky mystic around her age, Collins cannot be restrained. She follows her heart and embarks on a quest, aided by her platonic friend Robert Sheehan, through every single conceivable element of modern fantasy.
The Harry Potter similarities continue when Collins is ushered into a demonic otherworld via New York City's equivalent of a murky train platform (an ecstasy-laden dance club), guided by New York City's equivalent of a haggard woodland giant (a perpetually shirtless goth ghost, played by Jamie Campbell Bower). Working her way up from glowing-eyed club druggers and pieces of living jewelry to demons, werewolves, witches, vampires, and interdimensional portals — tossed in one by one as we gradually abandon all devotion to any margins of logic — Collins engages in an adventure that seems entirely open to all possibilities. Or at least all possibilities that have proven vigilant at the box office in the past four years.
And as she engages, so do we. Not exactly in the way you engage with Harry Potter... more in the way you engage with the Harry Potter ride at Islands of Adventure. You'll embrace the likable and talented Collins just enough to forge the sort of relationship you want with a fantasy heroine. You'll find yourself rooting one way or the other in the love triangle between her, the Shirtless Shadowhunter (Campbell Bower), and her lovestruck pal Simon (Sheehan). You won't have to work too hard to understand most of the mystical facets tossed your way: you know the rules of vampires (no sunlight), of werewolves (they're dudes sometimes), of demons (they're bad). And when it does get confusing, like when teleportation bubbles and portal beams from the afterlife and curses and tarot cards and dreadlocks are tossed into the equation, you have the luxury of abandoning the puzzle. You're not asked to understand anything, just to accept it all.
Accept that all this madness can, does, and should occur within the malleable reality occupied by Collins and her ghastly friends. When it is revealed that classical musicians had a hand in these supernatural forays, accept it. When you're taken from wizards' palaces to Willy Wonkian wonderlands to the destitute streets of a haunted Manhattan post 3 AM, accept it. When genealogical revelations tie everything together in a bow so strange as to put the peculiarity of bat invasions, corpse armies, glowing hieroglyph tattoos, and memory erasing club promoters, accept it. If you can do all that, you'll find a comical thrill ride in this two hours of steadily accelerating madness, this Mulligan Stew of YA fiction. But if you're too hung up on logic, rules, world building, or any semblance of pacing, stick with Potter — Mortal Instruments is for the most adamant "sure, why not?"-ers only.
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Just three years after shocking the world of ballet in the psychological thriller The Black Swan, Natalie Portman might be back to take on a similar universe: cheerleading.
According to Deadline, the Oscar-winning actress is talking with Fox 2000 Pictures about a possible role in Dare Me, a fast-paced psychological thriller based on the popular 2012 novel by Megan Abbott. The novel surrounds the teenage angst and betrayal within a high school cheerleading squad that skyrockets to a new level when a suicide launches a police investigation onto the team and their new coach.
The mystery novel has been acclaimed by Entertainment Weekly and Amazon.com as one of the Best Books of 2012, while the New York Times Book Review described it by saying, "It's Heathers meets Fight Club good." Scripted by Abbott, The film is set to be directed by Michael Sucsy, whose previous work includes the Emmy-winning TV movie Grey Gardens and The Vow.
Portman is currently filming Jane Got a Gun, a Western directed by Lynne Ramsay also starring Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton, and Rodrigo Santoro. There's no news on whether Portman will play one of the cheerleaders, but at 32, it seems unlikely. However, it would hardly be the first Hollywood high school to be filled with far-too-old actors and actresses...
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