Reese Witherspoon, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez were awarded prizes for their humanitarian work at Variety magazine's Power of Women luncheon on Friday (10Oct14). The Legally Blonde actress was honoured at the gala in Beverly Hills for her work with the Malala Fund, the educational organisation established by 17-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai, who became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Lopez was recognised for her charity the Lopez Family Foundation, which she founded with her sister Lynda to provide access to high-quality health care for families in need.
Fonda was honoured for her work with the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, an organisation she created to help prevent teen pregnancy, while Viola Davis was feted for her involvement with anti-poverty charity Hunger Is.
Guests including Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher, Maria Bello, Lizzy Caplan and Nikki Reed also attended the annual ceremony, which was held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel.
Hollywood superstar Jennifer Lopez returned to her former New York City neighbourhood this week (beg12May14) to kickstart her new health initiative.
The actress/singer has teamed up with officials at New York's Montefiore Medical Center through her Lopez Family Foundation to help promote fitness and wellbeing among children and women in the Bronx, the tough area where she grew up. Lopez visited the centre with her sister Lynda on Tuesday (13May14) to meet staff and take part in a healthy cooking exercise.
The star has previously said of the scheme, "My roots are in the Bronx. It was natural to join forces with Montefiore. We're looking forward to expanding the efforts underway in the borough where I grew up." After her visit, she posted a snap of herself chatting to fellow mothers and their kids, and tweeted: "Excited to start working on Center for A Healthy Childhood with Montefiore NYC."
"I just love and respect her so much. She's a single mom but not like I'm a single mum. I have a lot of help - she doesn't. I always ask, 'Do you need anything?' And she's like, 'I'm good'. But I know she's exhausted." Jennifer Lopez is full of admiration for her younger sister Lynda, who gave birth to a daughter in 2008.
The Amazing Spider-Man would prefer if you didn't call it the fourth Spider-Man movie. See this ain't the Spider-Man your older brother knew from ten years ago — it's a reboot. The latest adventure to feature the comic book webslinger throws three movies worth of established mythology straight out the window swapping the original cast with an ensemble of fresh faces and resetting the franchise with a spiffy new origin story. "New" in the loosest sense of the word — the highlights of ASM mainly a sleek new design and spunky reinterpretation of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and gal pal Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) are weighed down by overpowering sense of familiarity. Nearly a beat for beat replica of the 2002 original with some irksome twists of mystery thrown in Amazing Spider-Man fails to evolve its hero or his quarrels. The film has a great sense of cinematic power but little responsibility in making it interesting.
We're first introduced to Peter Parker as a young boy watching as his parents rush out of the house in response to a hidden danger. Mr. and Mrs. Parker leave their son in the care of his Aunt May (Sally Fields) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) who raise him into Andrew Garfield's geeky cool spin on the character. Parker's a science whiz but faces the challenges of every day life — passing classes talking to girls the occasional jock with aggression issues — but all of life's woes are put on hold when the teen discovers a new clue in the mystery behind his parents' disappearance. The discovery of his dad's old briefcase and notes leads Peter to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) a scientist working for mega-conglomerate Oscorp and his Dad's old partner. When they cross paths Connors instantly takes a liking to the wunderkind and loops him into the work he started with his father: replicating the regeneration abilities of lizards in amputee humans (Connors is driven to reform his own missing arm). But when Parker wanders into Oscorp's room full of spiders (a sloppily explained this-needs-to-be-here-for-this-to-happen device) he receives his legendary spider bite that transforms him into the hero we know.
Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) desperately wants Amazing Spider-Man to work as a high school relationship movie but with the burden of massive amounts of plot and mythology to introduce the movie sags under the sheer volume of stuff. Stone turns Parker's object of affection Gwen Stacey into a three-dimensional character. Whenever they happen upon each other an awkward exchange in the hallway a flirtatious back-and-forth in the Oscorp lab (where Stacey is head…intern) or when the two finally begin a romantic relationship the two stars shine. They're vivid characters chopped to bits in the editing room diluted by boring franchise-building plot threads and routine action sequences. Seriously Amazing Spider-Man another mad scientist villain who uses himself as a test subject only to become a monster? And another bridge rescue scene? Amazing Spider-Man desperately wants to disconnect from the original trilogy but it's trapped in an inescapable shadow and does nothing radical to shake things up. Instead it settles for the same old same old while preparing for inevitable sequels instead of investing in its dynamic duo.
There's a sweet spot where the film really hits his stride. After discovering his spider-abilities Peter hits the streets for the first time. He's superhuman but still a headstrong teen full of obnoxious quips and close calls with shiv-wielding thugs. The action is slick small and playful Webb showing us something new by melding his indie sensibilities with big scale action. If only it lasted — the introduction of Ifans reptilian half The Lizard implodes Amazing Spider-Man into incomprehensible blockbuster chaos. A gargantuan beast wreaking havoc around New York City promises King Kong-like escapades for the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man but the lizard man has other plans: to rule the world! Or something. Whatever it takes to get Lizard and Spider-Man fighting on the top of a skyscraper over a doomsday machine — logic be damned.
Amazing Spider-Man peppers its banal foundation with great talent from Denis Leary as Gwen's wickedly funny dad and the police captain hunting down Spider-Man to Fields and Sheen as two loving adults in Peter's life to Garfield and Stone whose chemistry demands a follow-up for the sake of seeing them reunited. But it's all at the cost of putting on the most expensive recreation of all time with new demands imposed by the success Marvel's other properties (except that franchise teasing worked). Amazing Spider-Man introduces too many ideas that go nowhere undermining the actual threat at hand. No one wants to be unfulfilled but that's the overriding difference between the original movie and the update. You need to pay for the sequel to know what the heck is going on in this one.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
Top Story: De Niro Has Prostate Cancer
Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro, 60, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the outlook for a full recovery is good, his publicist told Reuters. "Doctors say the condition was detected at an early stage because of regular checkups," publicist Stan Rosenfield said in a statement. "Because of the early detection and his excellent physical condition, doctors project a full recovery." Reuters reports Rosenfield declined to give further details about the actor's condition or course of treatment, but said De Niro planned to fulfill his commitment to start shooting his next film, Hide and Seek, for 20th Century Fox early next year.
Alan Alda Falls Ill in Chile
Actor Alan Alda, best known for starring in the long-running TV show M*A*S*H, fell ill in Chile while filming a television documentary and required emergency surgery, Reuters reports. Alda, 67, host of the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers for the past seven years, had surgery early on Sunday for an intestinal obstruction and was recuperating at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in La Serena, 290 miles north of Santiago, Reuters reports.
J. Lo Hires Sister
Jennifer Lopez will co-produce a new talk show for Universal Domestic Television that will also co-star her sister, Lynda Lopez, a TV and radio personality in the New York area. According to The Associated Press, the show is loosely designed as a young woman's version of The View, with a panel of four hosts. J. Lo is also scheduled to make occasional appearances. The syndicated show is set to premiere next September.
Helen Mirren Speaks Out on Date Rape
British actress Helen Mirren, star of Gosford Park and The Madness of King George, told The Daily Mirror she was date raped several times in her late teens and early 20s and urges women who have been victimized to speak up, AP reports. "What woman hasn't been in this situation?" she said in the interview. "I was very wobbly about it at the time. Afterwards, you blame yourself and feel like crap. And we all say, 'I shouldn't have gone there, had that drink.' It's a non-talked about subject. ... I mean it's really not talked about enough. Maybe more women should."
Weiland Warned To Stay Off Drugs
Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland, who was back in court Monday for mandatory drug testing, remained free after going through drug rehabilitation requirements stemming from his conviction in May on two felony drug possession charges. Still, he was warned by the judge to stay off drugs or things could change, Reuters reports. "Sometimes God offers you circumstances that sort of fall in your lap that you thought wouldn't happen," Weiland said outside the Pasadena, Calif., courthouse, where his hearing was set. "Getting busted spurred my desire to seriously get back into recovery."
Ex-KISS Guitarist Ready To Go Back to Work
After being shot in the leg and grazed in the head during a random shooting spree outside The Rainbow Bar & Grill nightclub in Los Angeles last week, former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick says he is feeling better and ready to starting playing again, LAUNCHMusic.com reports. Kulick is scheduled to appear at the Kissapalooza KISS expo in Winnipeg, Canada, on Nov. 1 and at a Nov. 8 show in Jupiter, Florida, with his current band, classic rockers Grand Funk Railroad.
Garner Says Media Was Kind During Her Divorce
Jennifer Garner says the press were kind to her after she and husband Scott Foley announced they were splitting up, AP reports. "I think people understood that we were just two normal people who really loved each other," the star of ABC's Alias tells W magazine for its November issue. "You know, we got quietly married in our backyard after being together for a couple of years; we never gave our wedding pictures out to be published. I think they got that we're both pretty brokenhearted about it." This follows Foley's statement last week that infidelity was definitely not the cause of the split.
Role Call: Back-to-Back Pirates Sequels a Possibility
As producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and the three main leads--Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley--prepare to hit the high seas once again in the sequel to this summer's hit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, sources close to the film told Variety the powers that be are pondering the possibility of shooting back-to-back sequels, a la The Matrix, Back to the Future and Lord of the Rings. Bruckheimer told Variety, however, it was too soon to discuss plans.