One Direction's Niall Horan raised more than $480,000 (£300,000) for good causes with his star-studded charity soccer match. The Irish pop singer recruited bandmates Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, as well as celebrity pals including British actor/comedian James Corden and singer Ronan Keating, to battle it out against a team helmed by newsman Piers Morgan on Monday (26May14).
Morgan's squad emerged triumphant after a tense penalty shoot-out, and the event raised upwards of $480,000 for charities Irish Autism Action and U.K. Hearts And Minds Challenge.
Horan, who was unable to play in the match due to a knee injury, expressed his delight in a series of posts on Twitter.com, writing, "What a great day yesterday!... Thank you to all the players who played in the game, giving up their time to play! Much appreciated!... £300,000! Wow! Thank you everyone for buying tickets and coming down, to the sponsors of the game, the players! Everyone! Amazing."
More than 15,000 tickets were sold for the event at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England.
One Direction star Harry Styles embarrassed British newsman Piers Morgan by pulling down his shorts during a charity soccer game. The What Makes You Beautiful hitmaker was joined by his bandmates Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan, who acted as team manager, at the celebrity soccer tournament in Leicester, England on Monday (26May14).
Morgan, Boyzone singer Ronan Keating and British comedian James Corden also took part in the match alongside former professional players. A short video has since emerged showing Styles running up behind Morgan and pulling his shorts down in front of the stadium crowd. Morgan swiftly hauls them back up and the singer runs off cheering.
The former talk show host took the prank in good spirits, writing on Twitter.com, "So (Harry Styles) pulled my shorts down mid-game. I believe this got the biggest scream of the day." He later posted the clip, adding, "(I) can't work out if this is a career high or low?"
Despite the mishap, rival team manager Morgan ended the game on a high as his soccer side emerged victorious following a penalty shootout against Horan's players. The match, which was organised by Horan, raised money for autism charities Irish Autism Action and U.K. Hearts And Minds Challenge.
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Seventeen years ago, Harrison Ford grumbled four simple words that defined a genre, a demographic, and a country: "Get off my plane." In a pre-9/11 world, there was no shortage of jingoistic glee in a movie like Air Force One, in which a man's man American president doled out justice to a militia of Russian loyalist terrorists who made the silly mistake of attempting to hijack his flight home from Moscow. In 2014, we don't have the luxury of facing a plotline like this with reckless merriment. There's a damp gravity to the premise behind movies like Non-Stop, which in another time would have been nothing more than Taken on a Plane. But rigidly conscious of the connotations that attach to a story about a hijacking of a civilian international flight into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, Non-Stop doesn't play too fast and loose. It still plays, and has some good fun doing so, but carefully.
From the getgo, we're anchored into the grim narrative of Liam Neeson's U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks, who settles his demons with a healthy spoonful of whiskey. A dutiful officer even when liquored up, Marks eyeballs every nameless face in London's Heathrow Airport, silently introducing the bevvy of characters who'll come into play later on. After takeoff, Marks finds himself on the unwitting prowl for the anonymous party who's attempting to take down the red-eye through a series of manipulative text messages, well-timed threats, and clandestine killings. Chatty passenger Julianne Moore and flight attendant Michelle Dockery join Marks in his efforts to identify the mysterious criminal before the entire aircraft falls to his or her whims. So less Taken, more Murder, She Wrote.
Our roundup of suspects challenges our (and their) preconceived notions, and quite laughably — most vocal among Neeson's fellow passengers are a white beta-male school teacher (Scoot McNairy), a black computer engineer with an attitude of entitlement (Nate Parker), a softspoken Middle Eastern surgeon whose headwear gets more than a few focal shots (Omar Metwally), a middle-aged white businessman whose latest account landed him more than your house is worth (Frank Deal), an irate black youngster draped in irreverence (Corey Hawkins), and a white, bald, machismo-howling New York cop who secretly accepts his gay brother (Corey Stoll). Just a few talking heads short of Do the Right Thing, Non-Stop manages to goof on each man's (notice that they're all men — Moore, Dockery, and a barely-in-the-movie Lupita Nyong’o are kept shy of the action for most of the film) distaste for and distrust of one another as they each try to sidle up to, or undermine the harried Marks.
Non-Stop plays an interesting game with its characters and its audience, simultaneously painting the ignorance of its characters with a thick coat of comedy while pointing its finger straight out at us with accusations that we, too, thought it was whoever we just learned it wasn't, and for all the wrong reasons. "Shame on you!" Non-Stop chides, adding, "But let's keep going, this is fun!"
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It is fun — that's the miraculous thing. Without any "Get off my plane"s or "Yippee ki yay"s, Non-Stop keeps its action genre silliness in check (okay, there is a moment involving an airborne gun that'll institute some serious laugh-cheers), investing all of its good time in the game of claustrophobic Clue that we can't help but enjoy. It sacrifices some of its charm in a heavy-handed third act, tipping to one side of what was a pretty impressive balancing act up until that point. But its falter is not one that drags down the movie entirely. Fun and excitement are restored, sincerity is maintained, and even a few moments of sensitivity creep their way through. We might not live in a world of President Harrison Fords any longer, but Air Marshall Liam Neesons could actually be a step up.
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There is a certain level of enjoyment you are guaranteed when signing on for a movie that boasts a cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray. And that's the precise level of enjoyment you'll get from The Monuments Men — that bare minimum smirk factor inherent the idea that your favorite stars are getting to play together. In FDR-era army helmets, no less. But what we also get from the film is an aura of smug self-confidence from project captain Clooney, who seems all too ready to take for granted that we're perfectly satisfied peering into his backyard clubhouse.
So assured is the director/co-writer that we're happy to be in on the game that there doesn't seem to be any effort taken to refine the product for the benefit of a viewing audience. An introductory speech from art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) sets up the premise straight away: the Nazis are stealing and destroying all of Europe's paintings and sculptures, and by gum we need to stop them! The concept doesn't complicate from there, save for a batting back and forth of the throughline question about whether the preservation of these pieces is "really worth it." Stokes rallies his own Ocean's Seven on a fine arts rescue mission, instigating an old fashioned go-get-'em-boys montage where we learn everything we need to know about the band mates in question: Damon has a wife, Goodman has gumption, Murray doesn't smile, Bob Balaban is uppity, and Jean Dujardin is French.
The closest thing to a character in The Monuments Men comes in the form of Hugh Bonneville, a recovering alcoholic whose motivation to take on the dangerous mission is planted in a festering desire to absolve himself of a lifetime of f**king up. When we're away from Bonneville, the weight disspears, as does most of the joy. Without identifiable characters, even master funnymen like Goodman, Murray, and Balaban don't have much to offer... especially since the movie's jokes feel like first draft placeholders born on a tired night.
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But wait a minute, is this even supposed to be a comedy? After all, it's about World War II. And no matter what Alexandre Desplat's impossibly merry score would have you believe (coupled with The Lego Movie, this opening weekend might be responsible for more musical jubilance than any other since the days of "Make 'Em Laugh!"), warfare, genocide, and desecration of international culture all make for some pretty heavy material. But The Monuments Men's drama is just as fatigued as its humor, clumsily piecing together a collection of mini missions wherein the stakes, somehow, never seem to jump. We're dragged through military bases, battered towns, and salt mines by Clooney and the gang — occasionally jumping over to France to watch Damon work his least effective magic in years on an uptight Cate Blanchett, who holds the key to the scruffy American's mission but doesn't quite trust him... until, for no apparent reason, she suddenly does. We never feel like any of these people matter, not even to each other, so we never really feel like their adventures do.
The Monuments Men doesn't have much of a challenge ahead of it. Its heroes are movie stars, its bad guys are Nazis, and its message is one that nobody's going to refute: art is important — a maxim it pounds home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, through countless scenes of men staring in awe at the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. And in this easy endeavor, Clooney decides to coast. How could it possibly go wrong? Just grab hold of the fellas, toss 'em in the trenches, and let the laughs and danger write themselves. "This is what they came to see," Monuments Men insists. "Just us guys havin' a ball." But we never feel in on the game, and it isn't one that looks like that much fun anyhow.
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British singer James Arthur has scrapped a series of shows and appearances due to "acute exhaustion". The X Factor winner has announced a week off after doctors told the star he needed to "rest for several days".
The break comes just days after the pop star found himself at the centre of a controversy following comments he made on his Twitter.com account and in a new tune about his chart rivals.
He called One Direction's Louis Tomlinson a "little b**ch" and claimed former The X Factor winner Matt Cardle made music for "bedwetters".
Last week (ends15Nov13), Arthur called up-and-coming musician Micky Worthless a "peasant" and advised him to "shoot yourself" in a diss track. He also called Worthless "an f**king queer" - a remark that was widely criticised by peers like his former X Factor colleague Lucy Spraggan, who tweeted, "People kill themselves every day because there's insults like that around".
Arthur has since apologised for the lyrics, revealing he was "disappointed in myself for being so naive". He has also ceded control of his Twitter account to his managers.
A statement released on Friday (22Nov13) reads: "James would like to apologise to his fans for any disappointment caused to them by these cancellations. He hopes to get back to full health as soon as possible."
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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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One Direction star Harry Styles has stunned fans by locking lips with actor James Corden on U.K. TV. The pop singer and his bandmates taped a guest appearance on Corden's British quiz show A League of Their Own, and Styles became centre of attention when he climbed onto Corden's lap, put his hand on his face and leaned in for a kiss.
The pair locked lips to re-enact a 'kiss-cam' moment, which are seen at many U.S. sporting events.
Styles was recently forced to straighten out rumours about his sexuality by telling Britain's GQ magazine he is definitely not romancing his DJ friend Nick Grimshaw, saying, "We're not dating, no. We're just friends. Bisexual? Me? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure I'm not."
The episode of A League Of Their Own featuring Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan airs in the U.K. on 30 August (13).
When you're part of an internationally known boy band, fans are bound to shower you some pretty unusual gifts. The boys from UK power group One Direction — Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik — have certainly received their share of strange ones.
When asked to name the weirdest presents they have ever received, the boys mentioned a box of mushrooms dressed like them, pets, Swiss army knives, and the icing on the cake: a live hermit crab, said Louis.
So, girls, take note: Long gone are the days when fans simply brought flowers or threw their bras up on stage. Fans are getting creative.
[Photo credit: Wenn]
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