Former Lostprophets rocker Lee Gaze has thanked fans for their support throughout frontman Ian Watkins' child sex drama, revealing he's relieved the case is almost over. Last Train Home singer Watkins had previously denied all charges, including two accusations of attempting to rape a baby under the age of 12 months, but he changed his plea to guilty as his trial kicked off at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales on Tuesday (26Nov13), and the singer will now be sentenced on 18 December (13).
Two female co-defendants, aged 21 and 24, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also altered their pleas and admitted to a number of offences.
Further details of Watkins' crimes emerged in court on Tuesday, with prosecutors revealing that the singer had filmed his sordid encounters, with one 17-minute video showing him performing a sex act on an 11-month-old baby - the child of one of his fellow defendants. Investigators also discovered that he had set the password for his laptop to 'if**kkids'.
Shortly after the hearing, guitarist Gaze took to his Twitter.com blog to express his relief that the ordeal was nearing an end, writing, "That was over quick. Thank f**k (sic)".
He then addressed the group's fans, adding: "Thanks for the kind words. At least there is closure now."
Gaze and the remaining members of Lostprophets, Mike Lewis, Stuart Richardson, Jamie Oliver and Luke Johnson, announced last month (Oct13) that they were splitting after 15 years together in light of Watkins' personal scandal.
Actor Max Martini has landed the role of lead character Christian Grey's bodyguard, Jason Taylor, in the Fifty Shades Of Grey film, which will star Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. The movie is set to hit theatres in 2015.
Britney Spears' sister is hoping to follow in the Toxic singer's footsteps by conquering the music charts with her first-ever single. Jamie Lynn Spears, 22, released How Could I Want More on Monday (25Nov13) and the track is already a hit on iTunes.
She took to Instagram.com to share her excitement with fans, writing, "Surprise!!!!!! On itunes now!!!! Go get it- RIGHT NOW!!!!! This song means a lot to me... Hope it does to ya'll (sic) as well!! Love y'all!!"
The young mum has also teamed up with her famous sister to record a track for Britney's new album, Britney Jean, which is set for release on 3 December (13).
Jamie first started recording songs for her debut country album in 2009, and, in 2011, she showcased a few tracks during a performance in Nashville, Tennessee.
The main cast for the much-anticipated movie adaptation of E.L. James' bestseller Fifty Shades Of Grey has been set following the hiring of Eloise Mumford as Kate Kavanagh. Mumford has signed on to play sexy student Anastasia Steele's best friend in the film, which will star Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson has also cast Luke Grimes as Christian Grey's brother, Elliot; Victor Rasuk as Anastasia's close friend, Jose; and Jennifer Ehle as her mother, Carla.
Pharrell Williams has created the very first 24-hour long music video, which features fans and celebrities lip-syncing to his new track, Happy. The innovative hip-hop superproducer has released a day long video for his four-minute song, which is featured on the soundtrack to the animated hit film, Despicable Me 2.
Viewers can log on to 24hoursofhappy.com and create their own version of the Happy video by switching between channels which showcase different people dancing and singing along to the song.
Not only does Williams appear in the video, but there are cameos by Despicable Me 2 star Steve Carrell, rapper Tyler the Creator, NBA legend Magic Johnson and actor Jamie Foxx.
Non-interactive four-hour segments of the video are also available on YouTube.com.
Mark Wahlberg has revealed he fought to secure the film rights for erotic bestseller Fifty Shades Of Grey and almost fired his agent when the deal fell through. The Fighter star had hoped to produce the movie adaptation of E.L. James' popular novel but lost out to Michael De Luca.
Both men took part in a recent producers' roundtable chat for The Hollywood Reporter, which prompted Wahlberg to recount his high hopes for the film.
He said, "I almost fired my agent, Ari, over (it) - not because I wanted to play the part. We were aware of the book very early on, and we were close to securing the rights, and then we get into this bidding war. We were so close to having (it)..."
De Luca, who recently locked in the cast after hiring Jamie Dornan to replace Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey, joked Wahlberg would have made a good leading man in the film, stating, "He (Grey) looks a lot like Mark Wahlberg. I mean, the woman wrote a fantasy: a square-jawed, tall, broad-shouldered, genius, billionaire Adonis..."
The comparison prompted Wahlberg to respond, "Sounds like Brad Pitt to me."
Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the film, which is scheduled to hit cinemas in 2015.
British model/actress Kelly Brook launched her own bar in London on Tuesday night (19Nov13). The Great Gatsby-inspired venue, Steam And Rye, has been furnished to look like New York City's Grand Central Station and features a first-class cocktail carriage. Guests at the launch party included Jamelia, Myleene Klass and Jamie Campbell Bower.
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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Michael Palin and musician Pj Harvey will guest edit Britain's revered Today radio show over the Christmas period (13). Bosses of the BBC Radio 4 programme hand over the reins to a raft of well know figures over the festive holidays, and this year (13) Palin and Harvey are among the chosen few.
The Monty Python star will be joined by his longtime pal John Cleese to discuss the backlash their 1979 film The Life of Brian received from Christian leaders, while Harvey will talk about her political and musical influences.
Today editor Jamie Angus says, "For the past 10 years, Radio 4 Today's Christmas guest editors have brought a surprising and refreshing editorial perspective to some of our biggest running stories, as well as unearthing original treasures that we'd never have found by ourselves."
Previous guest editors include Bono, Yoko Ono and Damon Albarn.
It looks set to be a busy winter for Palin - the star is expected to announce a Monty Python reunion with his former cohorts at a press conference in London on Thursday (21Nov13).
"I don't really know his work, but I know Sam (Taylor-Johnson), the director, is amazing, and she has fantastic taste, so I'm sure he'll do a great job." Actor Charlie Hunnam is confident his Fifty Shades Of Grey replacement Jamie Dornan was the right choice for the coveted role.