Singer Elkie Brooks has given new life to long-running rumours suggesting late rocker Robert Palmer enjoyed a secret love affair with British royal Diana, Princess Of Wales. Gossip suggesting the pair was romantically involved began circulating in 2010 after the rumours were voiced by celebrity biographer Ian Halperin, but Palmer's former manager Mick Cater dubbed the claims "total and utter rubbish".
However, Palmer's former Vinegar Joe bandmate has now given new life to the gossip by insisting the affair could have happened, telling Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "Knowing Robert, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. I wouldn't put it past him. Not at all."
Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris, France in 1997. Palmer also died in the French capital in 2003 after suffering a heart attack.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Hollywood just scored its biggest moneymaking summer ever. But it doesn't show any signs of slowing down as we enter the fall. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will show viewers the further adventures of Jennifer Lawrence's plucky Katniss Everdeen — and rake in a cornucopia's worth of box office dollars. Alfonso Cuaron's lost in space drama Gravity is drawing major Oscar attention, as is Robert Redford for his turn as a marooned yachtsman in the lost at sea drama All Is Lost. And there are a whole bunch of biopics comings out, from the adrenalized portrait of 1970s racecar drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Rush, to Naomi Watts as the late Princess of Wales in Diana, and Leonardo DiCaprio as a highliving stockbroker in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Hollywood.com's Christian Blauvelt sat down with CBS 2's Dana Tyler on Eye on New York to discuss these movies and help you decide what to see. Check out his Fall Movie Preview above or at Eye on New York's website here.
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Benedict Cumberbatch recently told the paparazzi to turn their attention to Egypt rather than himself. His message seems a bit self-serving; he's using his desire for privacy to show the world how modest and globally aware he is. It also seems paternalistic for an actor to tell people in his industry what to pay attention to, as if they had sat down before they began their work day, wondered whether Cumberbatch or Egypt was more important, and idiotically decided on Cumberbatch. Anyway, Cumberbatch joins a group of celebrities who are constantly stressing their unimportance. Here are five of the humble few.
1. Jennifer Lawrence has often said that acting is an unimportant career, and she's called herself "vastly uneducated" “Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.’”
2. Rob Pattinson thinks that his heartthrob status is more due to luck than any inherant attractiveness "I have been lucky, of course. Like, last year, if I went out, I'd have to fight to chat someone up. This year, I look exactly the same, which is really scruffy, and yet lots of people seem to have just changed their minds and decided I'm really sexy."
3. Keanu Reeves is so modest that he's a bit of a downer "I'm sorry my existence is not very noble, sublime, or even beneficial."
4. Kristen Stewart never seems to love the spotlight, and agrees with JLaw that there are more important jobs out there "A lot of actors think that what we do is so important, like we're saving people's lives or something."
5. Robert Downey, Jr. does not consider himself an artist "I know very little about acting. I'm just an incredibly gifted faker."
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Rapper Flo Rida has avoided paying around $417,345 (£278,230) in damages to an Australian concert promoter after a judge upheld his appeal against a breach of contract case. The Birthday hitmaker, real name Tramar Dillard, was sued for failing to perform at the Fat As Butter music festival in 2011 after receiving a fee of around $55,000 (£36,660).
Promoters of the show, Mothership Music, sued Dillard and his management team, but were forced to file a court summons via Facebook.com when he allegedly failed to respond to them.
An initial ruling went in favour of the promoters after the hip-hop star failed to show up for a scheduled court date, but he challenged the decision in June (13) and a New South Wales judge upheld his appeal on Tuesday (20Aug13).
The judge declared Facebook was not an appropriate channel to file the court summons through because there was no evidence the rapper was connected to the page.
Justice Robert McFarlan said, "The evidence did not establish, other than by mere assertion, that the Facebook page was in fact that of Flo Rida and did not prove that a posting on it was likely to come to his attention in a timely fashion."
Charlotte Church's father was left with a fractured eye socket after he was beaten up for asking for cocaine at a New Year's Eve (01Jan13) party, a court has heard. James Church was left battered and bruised after the bathroom bust-up during a bash at Potters Bar Pool Hall in Leckwith in Cardiff, Wales.
Robert Moore had been charged with causing grievous bodily harm but he was let off the hook on Friday (02Aug13) after a jury agreed he acted in self-defence.
Moore alleged he had seen James snorting cocaine earlier in the evening before bumping into him in the men's room, where the fight kicked off and the singer's dad was hit over the head with a bottle.
The star's mum Maria took the stand to testify, telling the court, "I had never seen such a smashed-up face. He was an absolute, complete and utter mess and badly injured. When I saw his face I absolutely screamed - I went hysterical. I've never experienced anything like that before."
Moore insisted James' head injury could have been caused by a toilet door, protesting, "He came in confrontationally asking for cocaine and I said we didn't do cocaine. He came towards me to 'do' (hurt) me and I got in first. We both fell over and I fell on top of him and we were both chucking punches."
Charlotte, who was adopted by her stepfather James in 1999, did not attend the trial.
So guess what? All the doom-and-gloom talk about World War Z's troubled $200 million production — its production shutdowns, whole weeks of shooting in Prague left on the cutting room floor, rumors of clashes between Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster — was just that: talk. Far from being the apocalyptic implosion entertainment journalists have been anticipating for over a year, World War Z is a coherent, suspenseful zombie thriller that's also something more.
It's a genuine epic, the maximalist yang to The Walking Dead's claustrophobic yin. Where AMC's megahit drama focuses mostly on the relationship dynamics of a core group of post-zombie-apocalypse survivors in backwoods Georgia, Forster takes us globe-trotting, showing us people who aren't just fleeing for their lives but genuinely fighting to retake the planet. That involves some macro-view political commentary, though not nearly as much as in Max Brooks' 2006 novel of the same name.
Unlike fellow summer blockbusters Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z dispenses with exposition and almost immediately plunges you into the chaos. Gerry (Pitt), a family man who used to be a UN crisis negotiator, flees Philadelphia with his family as a worldwide virus spreads, killing people then reanimating them as the ravenous undead. These scenes very much evoke Steven Spielberg's family-on-the-run dynamic, a la War of the Worlds. As in that film, often considered the first blockbuster allegory of 9/11, the breakdown of society isn't conveyed so much by CGI panoramas of burning buildings — the images of wrecked cityscapes in Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel that are rightly being referred to as "destruction porn" — but by an on-the-ground view of the human consequences. We know all is lost when Pitt's Gerry shoots an attacker during a looting spree at a convenience store, then lays down his gun to surrender to a policeman, only to have the cop storm right past him to take part in the looting himself.
Eventually the family drama takes a back seat to a global view of how humankind as a whole would react in the face of imminent extinction. Like Independence Day, World War Z suggests that a crisis of this magnitude would actually unite the world in a holistic effort to fight back, making it, for better or worse, one of the more optimistic blockbuster films in recent memory. Once Pitt's Gerry safely stashes his family aboard an aircraft carrier, he flies to South Korea, Israel, and Wales to piece together how to cure the zombie virus.
The sequences in Israel are particularly complex. On the one hand, the movie's suggestion that the Israeli government knew about the zombie apocalypse before anyone else, and shut their borders accordingly, echoes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that Jews somehow knew about 9/11 in advance. Except that World War Z's portrayal of the Mossad, of a tenacious Israeli soldier (Daniella Kertesz) who won’t even let a severed hand stop her, and of Jerusalem as a welcoming ecumenopolis, is very positive.
Since the human characters are so very much at the forefront of World War Z, the zombies do inevitably get short-shrift. Forster seems content to just give us quick glimpses of them, often clustered together in CGI hordes like insects working in tandem. Expect none of the fine makeup you've become used to on The Walking Dead. In fact, close-up shots of the zombies show them chomping non-stop, even when they're just biting air, as if they're Hungry Hungry Hippos in human form. But focusing attention more on the human characters actually ratchets up the suspense. A scene in which infected souls turn into zombies then start biting fellow passengers on a commercial airliner is absolutely terrifying. As is the final set-piece, which I will not spoil for you here. Those moments of tightly-wound dread show that World War Z, unlike the zombies it depicts, or most other summer blockbusters for that matter, is far from brain-dead.
What Do You Think? Tell Christian Blauvelt Directly On Twitter @Ctblauvelt And Read More Of His Reviews On Rotten Tomatoes!
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The actor, who played Matthew Crawley in the hit period drama, saw off competition from Thor star Tom Hiddleston and rapper Tinie Tempah to take the top spot in the annual poll.
Hiddleston and Tempah came in second and third respectively, while Robert Pattinson and Charles, Prince of Wales also featured in the top 10.
James Bond star Daniel Craig topped American GQ's annual list, but he landed in a lowly 25th place in the British countdown, just ahead of the country's Prime Minister, David Cameron, at 28.
British singer Ed Sheeran topped the magazine's worst dressed category and bemoaned the dishonour in a series of posts on Twitter.com, writing, "Named no.1 worst dressed male in GQ, glad they noticed. I did wear a Burberry suit once."
As such an immortally beloved figure, Princess Diana will be a difficult figure to embody for any performer, no matter how capable. As such, it's difficult to assume that Naomi Watts will wow in the upcoming biopic Diana (formerly Caught in Flight), wherein she portrays the Princess of Wales during her highly spotlit life.
Above, see the real Princess Di during her memorable Red Cross tour of Angola in 1997, during which she met with, among other local residents, a young child who was robbed of her left leg by a land mine. On the right, Watts recreates the event with just about everything in tact: the hair, the clothes, the Red Cross badge. Watts is spot on.
Of course, just because she has the look down, that doesn't mean that everybody is necessarily going to buy her as Princess Diana. Although the actress has more than proven herself adroit at the delivery of drama, comedy, horror, the works, this is England's Rose we're talking about: one of the most venerated individuals in recent Western history. Through her philanthropic work, her tumultuous personal life, and her tragic passing, Princess Diana has earned a superhumanity that Watts will have to work some serious magic to translate to the screen.
But we're not doubting Watts' potential for a great performance, Watts' forthcoming turn as Princess Di will be given its share of excitement and anticipation. How do you think she'll fare?
[Photo Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images; Greg Sirc/Splash News]
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The former Hey Dad..! star was detained by police over allegations he indecently assaulted a number of young girls in Australia between 1985 and 1990.
The 63 year old, who maintains his innocence, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday (09Aug12) and was granted $96,000 (£60,000) bail under the provision that he wears an electronic anklet and stays away from children under the age of 16.
Australian officials are expected to apply for an extradition order to bring Hughes back Down Under to answer the charges.
A hearing related to the extradition process will take place in London on 19 September (12).
New South Wales Sex Crimes Squad Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec told reporters in Sydney that the arrest came after a long and intensive investigation by Australian police working in co-operation with detectives in the U.K.
He says, "More than 200 people have been interviewed. It's been an exhaustive investigation... My objective is to ensure that, at some point in time, Mr Hughes appears in court in New South Wales... to allow the witnesses and victims to have their time in court."
Hughes, who played Martin Kelly in the popular Aussie sitcom from 1987 until 1993, has been accused of 11 sexual and indecent assault offences. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.