Rapper Busta Rhymes has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting an employee after turning himself in to police last night.
The 34-year-old hip-hop star is due to appear in a New York City court later today on a charge of misdemeanor assault.
Rhymes--real name Trevor Smith--stands accused of beating up and cutting the face of Eddie Hatchett, 39, on Dec. 26 outside his office in New York. Hatchett has alleged the attack took place after he tried to collect money he was owed.
Rhymes' latest brush with the law comes after a year dominated by legal problems. In the last 12 months, Rhymes has been charged with assault, attempted assault and harassment for allegedly beating up a fan who spat on one of his cars in August.
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Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have donated $100,000 to the Daniel Pearl Foundation, in memory of the Wall Street Journal reporter who was killed by Islamic extremists in 2002.
Pitt is producing the big-screen adaptation of Pearl's widow Mariane's best-selling book A Mighty Heart, which stars Jolie as Mariane.
The couple made the donation through their Jolie-Pitt Foundation earlier today, which would have been Pearl's 43rd birthday.
The couple's representative, Trevor Neilson, tells People magazine, "On this day our thoughts go out to Danny's family.
"The Daniel Pearl Foundation is celebrating this day, his birthday, with music festivals around the world. The festivals are a great reminder of not just Danny's work as a journalist but of his life and his love of music."
The Mr. and Mrs. Smith stars and their three children arrived in India last week to film the movie, after security concerns prevented them from making it in Pakistan.
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When we left our favorite misanthropic antiheroes Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) in 1994 we had a feeling they’d be disgruntled clerks well into the new millennium. Sure enough our 12-year reunion finds them still slacking off in the same Jersey town--only they’re now “working” at fast-food joint Mooby’s after a fire burnt down the Quick Stop; sidewalk stalkers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (writer/director Kevin Smith) have also been forced to take their acts to Mooby’s. Now in their thirties and miserable as ever Dante and Randal still profanely voice their discontent in front of their easygoing boss lady (Rosario Dawson) virgin coworker (Trevor Fehrman) and unsuspecting patrons but at least one of them is planning to finally grow up: Dante is set to move with his fiancé Becky (played by Smith’s real wife Jennifer Schwalbach) to Florida in hopes of starting a new life much to Randal’s objection.
Clerks II truly has the feel of a reunion: We haven’t seen our good buddies O'Halloran and Anderson in a dozen years and we’re curious what they’ll look like etc. because save for a few minor roles they’ve been M.I.A. ever since! They look older but they still trade vulgarities with the best of ‘em--with Anderson’s Randal typically doling out the insults and O'Halloran’s Dante whining about them--and possess acting chops making it a wonder we haven’t seen the two much since ’94. Mewes’ Jay in the sequel is based at least loosely on the actor’s own off-screen “arc ” which has seen drug addiction and current sobriety. Mewes’ scenes are again the film’s best and while some will complain of not enough screen time that’s actually the best restraint exhibited by Smith. Newcomer Dawson makes for an odd addition to the odd couple but she more than holds her own with their obscene sex ponderings and more importantly plays down her looks enough to pull it off. The first Clerks was considered a seminal offbeat masterpiece and writer/director Smith along with Richard Linklater and others was branded a forefather of ‘90s indie. However since then Smith has failed to produce a single box-office hit and here we find him reverting to his ol’ reliable seemingly a stab at career revival. The film is both hit-and-miss and as a whole hit-or-miss but therein lies the essence of Kevin Smith for which we’ve longed since his heyday. While he clearly makes some concessions for the bigger-budgeted sequel—-Smith occasionally tries to please the crowd the film is in color etc.--his observations on everything from Lord of the Rings geekdom to taboo sex moves are again liberated and anyone with an open if filthy mind will eat it up. And refreshingly Smith seems at peace with the fact that even if this sequel had been flawless it couldn’t have possibly satisfied his original cult fans many of whom are now also in their thirties and will enjoy the odd sweetness of Smith’s take on growing up.
The film follows the same tired action genre step by step. Ex-con and single dad O2 (Tyrese Gibson) is trying to go straight for the sake of his young son Junior. But when the kid is kidnapped in what seems to be a typical carjacking O2 has to pull out all the stops to get him back. Turns out O2 had some nefarious dealings with a gang overlord named Big Meat (The Game) who likes to hack off people’s body parts with a machete. And now Meat wants some payback taking for ransom the only thing O2 cares about in the entire world [sniffle]. So what’s a guy to do? Pit rival gang leaders against each other hook up with a beautiful street hustler (Meagan Good) rob safety deposit boxes and get caught in an extended car chase that’s what. "It's either all or nothing " realizes O2. Very prophetic. Waist Deep has got some great character names--Meat O2 Coco Lucky Junior. Too bad most of the performances can’t live up to them. Tyrese (Four Brothers) does try his best though as the hunky O2 making a convincing albeit a tad stiff attempt at playing a father who’s whole life is his son. Good (Roll Bounce) gets to wear tight sexy clothes and strut around as Coco O2’s accomplice and eventual love interest as they rob banks Bonnie and Clyde style. Larenz Tate (Crash) plays Lucky O2’s unreliable cousin who actually isn’t lucky at all caught between a rock and hard place. And then there’s Meat played by big-time rapper The Game in his feature debut. With a battered face and covered in tattoos The Game certainly looks like one mean badass wielding a mad machete. Thankfully he doesn’t have to do much more than that. Here’s a few words of advice to would-be actors who want to play effective bad guys: Less is more. It’s movies like these that really give South Central L.A. a bad rep—shoot-outs in the middle of the street in broad daylight the carjacks the depravity the sad stories of little kids getting shot. It’s not exactly a warm and fuzzy place. Of course actor-turned-director/co-writer Vondie Curtis-Hall (best known for his numerous TV guest spots) doesn’t want it to be showing the grit in all its glory and collecting a cast from the area who could lend some credibility to the surroundings. But Hall needs a few more lessons in how to craft a well-thought action movie. The script is hackneyed beyond the usual taking bits not only from Bonnie and Clyde but also Thelma and Louise Boyz N the Hood--and even a little Shawshank Redemption. Hall’s camerawork is also too frenetic at times almost dizzyingly so with unnecessary close ups and choppy sequences. That isn’t to say some of the gun play and car chases aren’t exciting enough. There just seems to be a lack of experience overall.
Top Story: Valenti To Step Down as MPAA Head
Jack Valenti, who has held the Motion Picture Association of America's top post for 38 years and oversaw the creation of Hollywood's movie ratings system in the 1960s, announced at the annual ShoWest convention Tuesday that he plans to retire, possibly within three months, The Associated Press reports. "I look at this with mixed emotions, because when you've done something so long, it's difficult to tear yourself away from it," Valenti told reporters before making the announcement to theater owners in a convention opening address. "But also, in any job, you want to leave before people ask you to leave." MPAA has hired media recruiter Spencer Stuart to hunt for a new leader for the trade group, which represents Hollywood's top seven studios--Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and MGM. Valenti said he would maintain an "umbilical relationship" with the MPAA and Hollywood, though he was not certain what that role would be. "I've been blessed with some genetic energy, so I'm not going to fade away," Valenti said.
It's Jackson's Turn To Sue
Usually the target of lawsuits, Michael Jackson filed his own Monday against New Jersey businessman Henry Vaccaro, claiming he is illegally selling private property belonging to the pop star and his famous family on the Internet, Reuters reports. The lawsuit claims Vaccaro obtained letters, pictures, song lyrics and other items belonging to Jackson through a bankruptcy sale involving the Jackson's parents, Joseph and Katherine, and held by Vaccaro and that he has no right to sell them. Jackson's attorney Brian Wolf told Reuters that because Michael Jackson was not part of the bankruptcy, his property should not have been sold and Vaccaro had no claim to it.
Rhymes Sentenced to Six Months' Probation
Rapper Busta Rhymes received six months' probation after pleading no contest Tuesday to an assault charge, AP reports. According to the police report, Rhymes was performing a late-night gig in Fall River, Mass., in December 2002 when a woman, Celine Giguere, allegedly reached out and touched his chin. In a statement read in court, Rhymes said that when he saw Giguere reach for his face a second time, he grabbed her hand and said, "Please make sure you do not touch me again." The police report, however, said the rapper grabbed Giguere, shoved her head into a table and said, "If you try touching me again, I'll kill you." Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor A. Smith Jr., was also ordered to pay $300 in court costs. He'll have a clean record if he successfully completes the probation term, AP reports.
Producers Want To Keep Alamo Set Intact
Producers of the latest Ron Howard film The Alamo, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid and Jason Patric, would like to preserve the elaborate set constructed in the Hill Country near Austin, Tex., but it's not going to be easy. AP reports the movie's production designer, Michael Corenblith, told the San Antonio Express-News in Tuesday's online edition, "I would like to see groups of schoolchildren around there. I would love to see the state contribute a little money and for this to become Texas' version of Colonial Williamsburg. It could become a living history exhibit." The problem, says Alamo historian and college professor Stephen L. Hardin, is that the set materials aren't durable and it won't last. The film premieres in San Antonio, the site of the real Alamo battle, Mar. 27. It opens wide April 9.
Hollywood's Budgets Top $100 Million
The average cost to make and market a movie in Hollywood is now around $102.9 million, a 15 percent rise from 2003, according to the MPAA, which released figures at ShoWest Tuesday. Reuters reports the final tally for 2003 box office revenues came in at roughly $9.5 billion, down around 0.33 percent from the previous year, while the number of people entering movie theaters came in around 1.574 billion, down 4 percent from 2002. "Let's face it. Deficits are not only rising in Hollywood, but it is on center stage in Washington, as well. We've got to get them under sensible control," MPAA head Jack Valenti said.
Lifetime Picks Up Frasier
Lifetime, the cabler for women, picked up the exclusive cable rights to longtime TV series Frasier, which just ended its 11-year run on NBC. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lifetime beat out bids from Turner Broadcasting, MTV Networks and Oxygen and landed Frasier for about $600,000 per episode. The network will begin airing the sitcom in March 2006, when the local stations currently airing it lose their exclusivity.
Prince Signs With Sony
Prince, who was recently inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has given up his independent status and signed a deal with Sony Corp.'s Columbia Records, Reuters reports. The worldwide deal initially covers only the Purple One's upcoming album, Musicology, which Columbia will release in the United States on April 20. The album coincides with Prince's first tour in six years, which begins on Mar. 27 in Reno, Nevada.
Role Call: Darabont To Pen Mission 3; Harrelson, Harris Under Fire
The Green Mile writer/director Frank Darabont is replacing writer Robert Towne on Mission: Impossible 3, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Towne penned the first two of the series' installments but is free now to focus on his pet project Ask the Dust, adapted from the Depression-era novel by Jan Fante'S…Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris will join forces on 3000 Degrees, a fact-based drama about a fire that turned a century-old storage building in Worcester, Mass., into a cinderbox and claimed the lives of six firefighters in December 1999.