Jay Z and Beyonce have reportedly turned down an invitation to attend Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's wedding. West is set to tie the knot with the reality TV star in Paris, France next month (May14) and reports suggest they will marry in secret in Los Angeles ahead of their extravagant ceremony in the French capital.
However, West's regular collaborator Jay Z and his wife Beyonce will not be attending the nuptials, so the Big Pimpin' hitmaker will throw a pre-wedding party for his friend at his New York club 40/40, according to Britain's The Sun newspaper.
The publication reports Jay Z is also planning to spend $160,000 (£100,000) on chartering a yacht for the couple's honeymoon. A source says, "Jay Z would be there if it wasn't going to be such a public event. Instead he's making it up to his mate by throwing him the most extravagant stag do (party) known to man. "It will cost a small fortune - and to top it all off he's chucked (thrown) a £100,000 yacht rental in there as a wedding gift as well."
A music producer who used to work with Jay Z is under investigation by police in New York and Los Angeles over an alleged extortion plot regarding a number of the rapper's master recordings. The hip-hop mogul recorded the tracks for his Roc-A-Fella Records between 1998 and 2002, but the masters went missing in 2002 and were subsequently presumed lost.
However, Chauncey Mahan recently contacted Jay Z's business partners at Live Nation, who work with the star on his Roc Nation label, and allegedly offered to sell them a number of masters he had stored away in Northridge, California for $100,000 (£62,500).
The two parties agreed to a fee of $75,000 (£46,875), and arranged to seal the deal at the storage facility on Friday (18Apr14), according to TMZ.com.
However, instead of meeting Jay Z's representatives, Mahan was confronted by police. He was not arrested, but agreed to accompany cops to the station for questioning. The masters were also taken away for safe keeping until ownership can be determined.
The extortion allegations are currently under investigation by authorities in Beverly Hills, where Live Nation is based, while Jay Z's team has filed a separate complaint for grand larceny with New York officials over claims the masters were illegally removed from their Big Apple offices.
British pop star Michelle Heaton's son was released from hospital on Wednesday (09Apr14) after he was treated for meningitis. The former Liberty X singer and her husband Hugh Hanley were hit by a health scare over the weekend (05-06Apr14) when their son Aaron, who was born in February (14), fell ill.
The boy was admitted to a hospital and treated with antibiotics to fight viral meningitis, and Heaton is relieved to have her baby back home after four days.
She writes on Twitter.com, "Our beautiful baby boy Aaron Jay Hanley is home now and we couldn't be happier. It has been hell, I'm not going lie and only time will tell... if Aaron has been physically or mentally effected with having had viral meningitis... But the chances are slight so we just pray he will... be one of the lucky ones!
"We certainly are (lucky) to get our little man home. (Our daughter) Faith has been the best big sister ever, nursing him every day... now time for Lots of cuddles and family time... I love my family... More then (sic) words can say."
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Now that Seth Meyers has exited from Saturday Night Live, the search has begun in earnest to see who is "next." After all, the show has proven to be the launching pad for some of the biggest names in Hollywood both in movies and television.
Over the last few years, longtime cast members like Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, and Bill Hader preceded Meyers out the door, leaving a void that the show is still trying to fill. One thing we've learned over the year, however, is not to underestimate producer Lorne Michaels' eye for talent. So, who is SNL's next big star?
Mr. Colbie Smulders has been on the show since 2010 but was behind a crowded group of male performers that could do many of the same things until the last two seasons. Tall and good looking, Killam's impressions are normally of various pretentious male celebrities, from Brad Pitt to Robin Thicke to, most recently, Matthew McConaughey. A veteran of The Groundlings, Killam seems also to have hit upon a strong recurring character with 1860s critic Jebediah Atkinson, who originally appeared on Weekend Update to explain why he panned the Gettysburg Address and has since popped up to offer his scathing opinions of holiday specials and the Oscar nominees for Best Picture. It's taken a little while, but Killam is finally starting to stick out in the audience's minds.
McKinnon took the torch from Wiig as the female cast member that doesn’t mind going gonzo. Her impressions of Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres bristle with a manic energy that hints at her barely contained glee at what she's doing. She's also has become the go-to for Weekend Update guests, whether as a Russian peasant trying to make money off of the Sochi Olympics or as a Connecticut soccer mom that doesn’t think Grand Theft Auto is violent enough. She's been heralded for being the show's first lesbian cast member (she was on The Big Gay Sketch Show prior to SNL), but her sexual orientation is completely secondary to her talent. In a short amount of time, she's made a strong impression on viewers and critics alike with her fearlessness.
Strong has a little bit of Amy Poehler in her, which is never a bad thing. She may look nothing like the former SNL standout, but she matches her in diversity. A Chicago native and Second City veteran, she is equally adept at delivering timely quips behind the Weekend Update desk as she is playing self-absorbed teen Kyra, host of Girlfriends Talk Show. Like McKinnon, she started with the show in 2012 and has quickly made a name for herself. It's not too far-fetched to think that after her run on the show that Strong will end up doing a sitcom, just like... well, you know.
Pharoah is criminally overlooked when it comes to the current SNL cast. Like Killam, he's been with the show since 2010, but he's still only 26 years old. Besides doing President Barack Obama, Pharoah basically ends up playing any black male celebrity that longtime cast member Kenan Thompson can't. He also normally gets called upon to rap or sing (his take on Ylvis' "What Does the Fox Say?" with Kerry Washington was one of this season's highlights) any time that the writers can fit it in. Pharoah was outspoken on the need for the show to add an female African-American cast member, so he's not just happy to be on the show. He might end up being one of those performers whose career really takes off after he leaves SNL and everyone forgets that he cut his teeth there.
Aidy Bryant is more polarizing, and Bobby Moynihan and Thompson have been around longer, but what Bayer has is consistency. She's taken over where Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer as the female cast member called upon to fill the suburban housewives and soccer moms. She's not a one-trick pony, though. Her Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy is one of the show's only standing recurring characters and her Miley Cyrus impression was funny enough to earn her a shot at doing it alongside the real thing when she hosted. Bayer is a dark horse candidate to become the show's next big star, but she's talented enough that all it would take is one buzz-worthy role outside of the show to change people's perception of her.
Iconic stoner duo Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are set to reunite on the big screen for a new film. The actors are teaming up with The Dukes of Hazard director Jay Chandrasekhar for their first official movie together since 1983's Still Smokin'.
Chong tells Celebstoner.com, "(Chandrasekhar) is working a script right now for us. We've had some preliminary meetings. It looks really good. It looks really funny. It's about us going to a festival called the Burning Joint. All sorts of shenanigans happen. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Last year (13), Cheech and Chong's Animated Movie was released and although the duo approved the film, they were not involved with it.
Chong continues, "It was not done with our involvement. They animated the old records. I thought for what they had it was great. We didn't have to write anything. All Cheech and I had to do was look at it and go yeah or no. I liked it."
Cheech and Chong are hoping to start filming Burning Joint this summer (14).
I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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If all you know of The Inbetweeners is the failed U.S. remake, it's time to get schooled. The Inbetweeners 2, the sequel to the British comedy series' first feature-length incarnation, hits U.K. theaters on Aug. 6. (No U.S. release date yet.) Three beloved seasons, a massively successful film, and another one the way? Yes, you've definitely been missing something.
The Inbetweeners follows the coming-of-age escapades of four friends, as well as all the crippling embarrassment that comes with all that. Neil, Simon, Will, and Jay aren't at the top of the social ladder, but they aren't complete outcasts either. They land where most of us did in high school: somewhere in the middle, blindly grasping for some sense of dignity in a mental and emotional hellscape. Parents who mortify, girls who unknowingly emasculate, exams that test the very limits of one's sanity — we've seen it all before, but hardly ever without a glossy CW sheen.
Everything about The Inbetweeners is painfully real, from its blank and ugly school buildings, to the love interests who look like the prettiest girls in 11th grade rather than page 57 of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, to the sometimes combative and sometimes supportive relationships among the four lads. They live by the high school boy's creed: take the piss before the piss gets taken out of you. Yet they can still count on each other for help dealing with casually cruel dads and sadistic teachers.
The boys fittingly made the jump to the big screen as their high school days came to a close. The first Inbetweeners film gave us the gross-out comedy and secret gooey center we'd come to expect. Behind every hangover, pubes joke, and pantsing is an "end of an era" wistfulness.
Thanks to the movie's blockbuster debut however, we don't have to say goodbye to these morons just yet. Precious little has been revealed about the sequel's plot, though we wager it will involve a new level of cringe-comedy that surpasses everything that's come before. In the meantime, you can catch up with the series and the first film on Netflix.
British singer Lily Allen fears the music industry will be biased against female stars unless more women are installed in top jobs. The Smile hitmaker has taken aim at record labels for failing to have enough females working at an executive level, telling Britain's The Sun newspaper, "I am astonished by the lack of female executives. I cannot understand or fathom it."
Allen goes on to suggest female artists are measured by the success of their male associates, adding, "You will also notice of the big successful female artists, there is always a 'man behind the woman' piece. If it's Beyonce, it's Jay Z. If it's Adele, it's (songwriter) Paul Epworth. Me? It was Mark Ronson and the same with Amy Winehouse.
"You never get that with men. You can't think of the man behind the man. Because it is a conversation that never happens. If you are Ed Sheeran or someone, no one ever talks about who has produced or who is the man behind Ed Sheeran."
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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Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee directed the opening credits for comedian Jimmy Fallon's new The Tonight Show series. The funnyman officially took over the long-running U.S. TV programme from previous host Jay Leno on Monday (17Feb14) and relaunched the show in New York with scenes of famous Big Apple eateries like Katz's Deli and Red Rooster in Harlem.