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Singer Ray J has pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanour trespassing in relation to his arrest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles in May (14).
The star, who famously dated Kim Kardashian and appeared in her sex tape, was also charged with sexual battery, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest but those counts have been dismissed under the terms of a plea deal.
The R&B singer previously pleaded not guilty to the groping and resisting arrest charges. Reports suggest Ray J kicked out the window of a police car and spat on a police officer.
The singer told TMZ.com he smashed the window because he felt claustrophobic.
A Los Angeles District Attorney subsequently filed sexual battery, resisting arrest, assault and vandalism charges against the singer.
The 33 year old, real name Willie Ray Norwood Jr., has been sentenced to three years' probation and 50 hours of community service. He was also ordered to attend alcohol therapy and anger management classes.
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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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In the trailer for this new animated Disney film Planes, we watch as Dusty, a crop duster who wants to compete in a famous race, soar to new hights with the help of his other plane friends. Yes, it is Cars in the air. While this movie is bound to touch a lot of hearts when it is released in theaters Aug. 9, it has already shown its appeal to actor Anthony Edwards, who does the voiceover for the character Bravo in the film.
Edwards was excited to work on Planes because flying holds a special place in his heart. "I actually became a pilot two years ago, so I started flying on my own," he told Hollywood.com recently. And let's not forget Edwards other famous aeronautical role: as the ill-fated Goose (spoiler alert!) in Top Gun alongside Tom Cruise. "The truth is, Top Gun was such a big deal in a lot of people’s minds that, that character just keeps coming back," he said.
Over all, Edwards enjoys doing voiceover work. "They make it pretty easy," he said. "It’s just another fun way of telling a story, and you do it in a really controlled way. It's amazing to me the amount of work that goes on after you give the voice, what they have to do. So, you're a small part of a very big wheel." Sorry, Anthony, you're going to have to leave the talk of wheels to Cars.
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Ray J, a.k.a. the dude in Kim Kardashian's sex tape, is hoping to ride his ex's fame to relevancy yet again with his brand new single, "I Hit it First." Yes, it's exactly what you think: a diss track about Kim K. directed toward Kim's baby daddy, Kanye West.
The singer released the artwork for his new single on Twitter, and it features a picture of Kim emerging from the ocean, pixelated a la one of the album covers for Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
RELATED: Kim Kardashian's Ex Ray J Slams Her For Sex Tape
According to GlobalGrind, the track also includes the lyrics, "Hit it from North, brought her head down South, now that I'm finished, she's on to Mr. West." Very subtle.
If you're interested in this cry for attention, you can find it on iTunes April 9.
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The title of ABC's new primetime soap, Mistresses, is quite provocative — but the content isn't as suggestive as you'd think. Explains executive Rina Mimoun during the show's panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, "It's not a bunch of ladies whoring around. It's not the way the show is set up."
Sure, there's adultery in the show — it is called Mistresses, after all — but that's not what the series is about. Says executive producer K.J. Steinberg, "I think the title encapsulates what we are trying to say, which is, at first blush, it sounds salacious. If you scratch the surface of what it is, there's so much more. There's so much more than the affair and the word. ... If we could choose our tag line right now, it wouldn't be 'The joys of adultery.' It would be 'You can't help who you love.'"
Adds executive producer Bob Sertner, "It really isn't the joys of. It's the impact of."
Although Mistresses is based on a British show of the same name, the actors were told to stay away from watching it. Although Yunjin Kim watched the first episode before her audition and the rest of Season One shortly thereafter, Jes Macallan and Jason George didn't. "I was pointedly told the first day, 'Don't watch it.'" Adds Macallan, "I purposefully didn't watch it for that exact reason. I didn't want to have preconceived notions of anything that was happening to anyone."
The American Mistresses is not like its BBC predecessor, says star Alyssa Milano. "Tonally the show is different. I think that even though there's a lot of great things from the BBC version, there's a lightness and a fun to what we've tried to set out to do that is different."
Steinberg expands: "There's also an optimism to the show that was really important to us. The friendships binding these women are really -- they're uplifting. They're relatable. They're enjoyable. They're fun to be around, and I think that not terrible things are happening to these women. Human beings are making interesting choices in their lives that they never thought that they would make. Yes, there is the struggle and the horror of dealing with the consequences of those things, but there's also a joy and an excitement in discovering what you're capable of helping one another through, and the depths that you're willing to go to satisfy your need for love and passion. We wanted all of those colors."
Mistresses will debut on ABC in the summer.
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A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.