Funnyman Will Ferrell is to be feted at the Deauville American Film Festival in France for his contribution to comedy. The Anchorman star joins Jessica Chastain and director James Cameron as honourees at the annual event.
Organisers of the festival, which celebrates American cinema, will show a retrospective of Ferrell's work throughout its run in September (14).
Festival director Bruno Barde calls Ferrell "a king of comedy" and adds, "The Deauville American Film Festival is, as its name suggests, the festival of all kinds of cinema, of every genre, and therefore considers nothing off-limits... Zany, caustic, satirical, off-the-wall and over-the-top, he is all that and more - a pure delight for the audience."
Previous Deauville honourees include Susan Sarandon and Julianne Moore.
Stars including Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Weinstein and Nathan Lane turned out for an extravagant dinner thrown by lifestyle guru Martha Stewart in New York on Saturday night (19Jul14). The evening was the cookery expert's first big party at her East Hampton estate for more than 20 years, according to the New York Post's gossip column Page Six.
The elegant dinner marked the launch of a rare Dom Perignon Champagne, and the celebrity guests sipped the expensive drink while watching an art installation film before sitting down to a lavish dinner inside a marquee.
Johansson was joined by her French fiance Romain Dauriac, and Hollywood producer Weinstein brought along his fashion designer wife Georgina Chapman and their three-year-old daughter India.
Also attending the bash were radio shock jock Howard Stern, Broadway veteran Nathan Lane, Devious Maids star Susan Lucci and actor Christopher Meloni.
Actress Jessica Chastain will be feted at the upcoming Deauville American Film Festival in France in recognition of her impressive career . The Zero Dark Thirty star has been named an honouree at the annual festival dedicated to American cinema, which will take place from 5 to 14 September (14).
Festival director Bruno Barde has praised Chastain's work in a statement, which reads: "The tribute is a token of our affection, admiration, recognition and esteem for the talent of the recipient... We have been paying tribute to those actresses who embody the cinema of today and who will form the legacy of tomorrow.
"When we first discovered Jessica Chastain, we had the definite feeling that here was someone special on-screen. Through her successive roles, she has confirmed her emotional capacity to grab the limelight. We salute her grace and talent and the beauty of the truth she brings to her performance."
Previous Deauville honourees include Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Susan Sarandon, Robin Wright and Naomi Watts.
This isn't Chastain's first recognition from Deauville organisers - in 2011, she received the New Hollywood award for her work in Take Shelter, which also won the festival's Grand Prize.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Scottish singer Susan Boyle has given up her favourite snack for the Christian festival of Lent to raise funds for people living in poverty. The I Dreamed a Dream sensation is throwing her support behind the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF)'s Wee Box, Big Change appeal, which asks participants to hand over the money they save from giving up treats for the 40-day period.
Boyle has decided to forgo fries and has urged fans to do the same.
She says, "It makes me really sad to know that so many people in the world today are still living in terrible poverty and struggling to feed themselves.
"I know the money I save from giving up chips (fries) and donating it to SCIAF will help people in need to work their way out of a life of poverty. We can all do something to help people less fortunate than ourselves this Lent. What will you do?"
Other stars taking part in the drive include Scottish band Deacon Blue and sibling duo The Proclaimers.
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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British actor David Walliams has donated $1,550 (£1,000) to the charity campaign of a British woman who died while attempting to swim across the English Channel to France. Susan Taylor, 34, was inspired to take on the challenge by the Little Britain star's 2006 swim from England to France for Britain's Comic Relief charity but died on Sunday (14Jul13) after experiencing respiratory trouble.
She was pulled form the water one mile from the French coast after getting into difficulty but was later pronounced dead at hospital.
Walliams was among hundreds of well-wishers who visited Taylor's fundraising page in the wake of the tragedy to donate to her chosen charities.
The funnyman took to his Twitter.com page to share a link to the site alongside the message, "Susan Taylor's channel swim attempt very sadly ended in tragedy... Despite the shock & sadness, it's good to see heroic Susan Taylor's charity total rising. Please give what you can."
Fundraising efforts had reached $55,161 (£35,588) at the time WENN went to press.
It's impossible to write about The Big Wedding without damning it with faint praise. It has the sort of cast that once would have once been a selling point but is now cause for skepticism, and its sprawling plot is haphazard at best. It's worth a chuckle or two, but nothing happens that you couldn't guess from sitting through the first half hour. It's probably better than writer/director Justin Zackham's script for The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, but you'd have to find someone who actually saw that saccharine mess to know.
Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro star as Ellie and Don Griffin, a divorced couple whose adopted son is getting married. Don is shacked up with Ellie's former best friend Bebe, played by Susan Sarandon, who's become a close mother figure to the grown Griffin brood. Unfortunately for Bebe, the groom-to-be Alejandro (Ben Barnes, wearing a lot of bronzer) never told his Catholic mother back in Colombia that his parents are divorced, and since she's on her way to the nuptials, he asks Ellie and Don to pretend to still be married. Why anyone goes along with this is beyond logic — but logic isn't important here. What is important is that there are plenty of awkward sexual situations (De Niro listing euphuisms for cunnilingus!), bodily functions (De Niro getting vomited on!), and slapstick (De Niro being punched in the face!).
The rest of the plot is rather exhausting to get into and plays on all sorts of icky cultural stereotypes. Alejandro's biological sister Nuria (Ana Ayora) is a gorgeous, hypersexual Latina who doesn't realize she should make men work for it until Ellie tells her about American woman's mores and some sort of possibly feminist jibber-jabber. (If Zackham read any of the hand-wringing essays or books on hook-up culture, he'd realize this is complete BS.) Alejandro's mom doesn't speak English and mostly clutches her rosary while looking on disapprovingly. Topher Grace appears as Alejandro's brother, a doctor who decided at 15 that he'd stay a virgin until he fell in love, an idea that he tosses out as soon as Nuria sheds her clothes to go for a dip in their pond. Katherine Heigl is yet another sibling with problems; she left her husband because they couldn't get pregnant, but now she's upset because he hasn't tried to get in touch with her even though she left him. Amanda Seyfried is Alejandro's fiancée; her parents are WASP-y racists who are apparently horrified that their daughter is marrying someone wearing a lot of bronzer. There's some kerfuffle about Catholicism, so they've hauled in Robin Williams to appear as a priest; he actually plays it pretty straight, which is probably for the best. The themes are: double standards, fear of revealing our true selves to the ones we love, and uproarious revelations. Except not that uproarious.
Based on the French film Mon frère se marie, The Big Wedding is ultimately as forgettable as its generic title. Zackham relies on 360 degree pans and treacly music to try and rouse the audience to care, but that's no replacement for a decent script. The only thing that sticks is De Niro's saucy satyr, which is a refreshing change from his more recent films. Keaton and Sarandon are a pleasing pair, and they deserve not only much better than this, but their own movie about cool female friends in their fifties. In fact, if everything about the wedding was scrapped and this was rewritten as a dramedy about the complicated relationship between these three, you might have an interesting movie.
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Zoe Bleu will join Sylvester Stallone's eldest daughter Sophia and 22 other young women from around the world as they are officially presented at the Le Bal des Debutantes in Paris' Hotel de Crillon next week (begs19Nov12).
The 18 year old has already visited the French capital to try on gowns by haute couture designer Jean Paul Gaultier, and her mum admits she can't wait to watch her daughter take part in the prestigious pageant.
Arquette tells Britain's Hello! magazine, "It's a fun, beautiful night for my kid and it's all about her. She's excited to be a part of it. And I'm excited that she's going to have a good time... She's a deep, soulful being and I'm lucky to be her mum."
The Desperately Seeking Susan star put Hollywood on the backburner to raise Zoe, and admits she's looking forward to reviving her acting career now that her little girl is all grown up.
She adds, "It's been the most important time in my life. When she was a newborn, I didn't work a lot because I wanted to spend time with her. When she became a teenager, it became really important that I was around. So I've chosen to stay at home.
"I took a couple of jobs this summer. I did the TV show Girls, little things. I can go off for two weeks but I couldn't take a television series where you have to move state for nine months. I can do that next year!"
Zoe is Arquette's daughter with her ex-husband, music industry agent John Sidel, who she split from in 1999.
The Devil Wears Prada star takes the role of tragic Fantine alongside Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried in the film, based on the famous French novel.
And a trailer for the movie features Hathaway singing an emotional version of the stage musical's most famous track.
Boyle shot to global fame in 2009 when she stunned judges and the audience of Britain's Got Talent by performing a note-perfect rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. She later released an album with the same name.