R&B star Chris Brown called on his celebrity friends to take part in a friendly kickball match to support his charity on Saturday (19Jul14). The Kiss Kiss hitmaker gathered his pals at the Glendale Sports Complex in California to raise funds for his Symphonic Love Foundation, which supports arts programs for youngsters.
Brown served as the captain of an all-star team which included Jamie Foxx, Paris Hilton, Christina Milian, Omarion, Kendall and Kylie Jenner and DJ Khaled, and they went up against a team led by Sean 'Diddy' Combs' stepson Quincy, who saw over a crew including The Game, Ne-Yo, Keke Palmer and Amber Rose.
Brown, who was released from jail last month (Jun14) following a three-month stint behind bars, led his team to victory and even treated the fans in attendance to a performance of his new single, Loyal.
House music DJs Deep Dish have reunited after an eight-year hiatus. The pioneering duo, made up of producers Ali 'Dubfire' Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi, will debut its new single, Quincy, on Friday (14Feb14) and follow it up with a comeback show at the Ice Palace in Miami, Florida on 29 March (14).
Deep Dish rose to fame in the 1990s with dance versions of hits by Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul and Tina Turner, and went on to win a Best Remixed Recording Grammy Award in 2002 for Dido's Thank You. They split in 2006 to embark on solo careers.
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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Celtic punk rockers the Dropkick Murphys almost cancelled their appearance at California's Coachella festival on Saturday (20Apr13) in light of the Boston bombings in their native Massachusetts. The Rose Tattoo hitmakers, who hail from the city of Quincy, were in California when they learned that two bombs had exploded close to the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday (15Apr13).
They faced a worrying wait as they tried to check on their friends and family in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and although all of their loved ones were unscathed, group founder Ken Casey reveals they seriously considered pulling out of the second weekend of Coachella to return home.
They chose to press on with the weekend gig and instead honour the three killed and the more than 175 others injured in the blasts, but Casey admits it wasn't an easy call to make.
He tells the Los Angeles Times, "It's that fine line. You can't change your lives too much. That serves the purpose of the people trying to perpetrate these crimes.
"The only, only, only good thing about these incidents is it makes everyone stop in their tracks and shows you people - people helping each other. This puts things in perspective. Spend a little less time on your cellphone checking email (sic) and talk to people you care about. This shows you what matters."
The Dropkick Murphys had asked the audience at a show in Los Angeles on Wednesday (17Apr13) to observe a moment of silence for those hurt in the disaster, but the rockers decided against doing the same at Coachella.
He says, "We know people are here to party and we don't want to rain on anyone's parade. It's nice, though, if even in a situation like this people can acknowledge the more serious elements of society and how fleeting life can be - how crazy life can be."
Instead, the group opened its afternoon gig with the rowdy fight song For Boston, and dedicated Your Spirit's Alive to all affected by the bombings. They also thanked the crowd at the end of their set for "showing so much support for the people of Boston".
The bandmembers are already doing their part to help rally support for the people of Boston - they unveiled plans to sell custom-made T-shirts online on Wednesday and pre-sales have already raised more than $100,000 (£62,500) for charity ahead of its 30 April (13) retail date.
Massachusetts-based rockers Dropkick Murphys have raised almost $100,000 (£65,400) for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by selling custom-made T-shirts online. Three people were killed and more than 170 others injured on Monday (15Apr13) when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the annual race, sending the Massachusetts city into chaos.
The Rose Tattoo hitmakers, who hail from Quincy, Massachusetts, decided to launch a charity T-shirt to help those affected by the atrocity in their home state.
The band reached their $65,000 (£42,500) fundraising target in pre-sales just 15 hours after the garments appeared on their official website and 12 days before the T-shirts officially go on sale (30Apr13).
The T-shirts feature the words For Boston on the front, and a caption on the back reads, "Thank you, to all who purchase this shirt. All proceeds go to the victims and families of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Love, Dropkick Murphys."