Actors Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne were guests of honour at a special dinner to celebrate their 20 years on hit Australian soap opera Neighbours this week (beg25Aug14). The pair, who play beloved husband and wife Karl and Susan Kennedy in the show, were feted during the event at popular venue The Smith in Melbourne on Tuesday night (26Aug14).
Ian Hogg, boss of Fremantle Media Australia, which produces the long-running soap, hosted the dinner, and other guests included the TV company's director of drama Jo Porter and Melbourne Channel 10 boss Russel Howcroft.
Fletcher and Woodburne have racked up more than 4,200 appearances on the show between them since joining in 1994. Their appearances put them in the top four most popular actors in the 29-year history of Neighbours.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
"We only use 10% of our brain power." While that little piece of junk science is mostly false, it's the central conceit of Luc Besson's upcoming film Lucy. In the film, Lucy (Scarlett Johannson) is able to unlock weird and wondrous abilities after a mysterious drug unlocks her brain's latent potential. Lucy's powers grow exponentially per every gained iota of brain functionality, and by the end, the character is able to control people with her mind, whip baddies through the air with telekinesis, and even warp reality to her whims. Just judging from the trailer, Lucy may be the most powerful film character ever created, but she does have some stiff competition. We bet these near-omnipotent beings can give the character a run for her money.
Professor X (X-Men)Abilities: Telepathy, mind controlThe on-again, off-again leader of the X-Men is one of the most powerful mutants in the world. Despite being paralyzed from the waist down, the professor towers over his peers thanks to a variety of mental powers. He can create illusions, change your memories, read minds, and manipulate the actions of those under his control. The professor is wheelchair-bound and doesn't have telekinesis, which does limit him in a purely physical sense, but he does have the power to rewire nearly anyone's brain, so he's not to be taken lightlyPower Rating: 7/10. The professor's score could have been higher, but when all your arch-nemesis needs to stop your powers is a metal helmet, you get knocked down a few grades.
The Doctor (Doctor Who)Abilities: Extreme IntellectIf anyone on this list were a walking deus ex machina, it would be the Doctor. For over 50 years and thousands of adventures across film, television, comic books, and even radio dramas, the Time Lord has been able to think his way out of any situation. He's basically the British Batman. The fact that he can regenerate his body 13 times over is also a huge boon. The Doctor's only flaw is that he can't seem to keep his traveling companions safe. While a few of them have outright died, others have been trapped in parallel dimensions, locked in the past, had all their memories of their adventures with the Doctor wiped clean, and more. (And that's just in the latest incarnation of the series). The Doctor is also usually portrayed as a feeble old man, showing big things sometimes come in small packages.Power Rating: 6/10. The Doctor can certainly outsmart nearly everyone on this list, but he's not winning any fist fights.
Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen)Abilities: Control over matter, telekinesis, teleportation, clairvoyanceDr. Manhattan, from Alan Moore's Watchmen, is a superhero with unparalleled power. He dwarfs his crime-fighting peers and humanity in general thanks to his abilities to reconfigure matter, perceive the future, and teleport anywhere in the galaxy. The downside to his extreme powers is his inability to connect with humanity. His mind has stretched so far past the capabilities and concerns of normal people that their earthly concerns seem to him like a bunch of cockroaches fighting over a spec of dust. This, of course, causes friction with his very human girlfriend throughout the book and film. He could also use a lesson or two about modesty, but when you're basically a demi-god, you don't have any qualms about letting it all hang outPower Rating: 9/10. When you hint at the end of your comic book that you're about to create life on other planets, you get a 9.
Galactus (Fantastic Four)Abilities: Reality alteration, control over matterGalactus is a creature of immense power that devours entire worlds for sustenance. Born in a place that predates the big bang, the god-like creature has roamed the universe eating planets. Unfortunately for Galactus, his plans to eat the planet Earth are continually foiled by Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four. Thanks to the Ultimate Nullifier, which can destroy any target the wielder chooses, Galactus is often sent running from earth with his tail tucked between his legs.Power Rating: 8/10. Galactus would have scored higher, but when you're continually rebuffed by a stretchy man, someone who is hard to see, a rock, and a guy on fire, you're not as all-powerful as you think.
Morgan Freeman (Bruce Almighty)Abilities: Life creation, reality warping, narrating penguin movies, appearing in two too many Dolphin Tale moviesIn a list full of demi-gods, Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty is real deal Judeo-Christian deity, and what better way for God himself to spend his time than to help out Jim Carrey with his relationship problems. Freeman is seen warping reality in ways we would expect, given that he is the creator of all things, and he is even able to give Carrey's character a slice of his powers for a short while.Power Rating: 8/10. Freeman or "God" would have scored higher, but he somehow didn't forsee the biblical plague on cinema that was Evan Almighty, so he gets docked a couple points.
Scarlet Witch (X-Men, The Avengers: Age of Ultron)Abilities: Reality warping, probability manipulation, magicThrough her long history in comic books, the Scarlet Witch's powers have gone through many iterations and transformations. Currently, she is one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel universe, able to wield magic and manipulate probability. The only downside is that Wanda doesn't have absolute control over her powers, and they often manifest in unintended ways, given her mood. In a recent Marvel event called House of M, the comic book character was able to rewrite the entire Marvel universe so she's certainly one of the more powerful characters on the list.Power Rating: 9/10. It's hard to give a definitive power rating to the Scarlet Witch, but she is definitely a force to be reckoned with
Tetsuo (Akira)Abilities: TelekinesisAkira was one of the first animes to truly break into the American public consciousness, and one of its most powerful characters is Tetsuo, an insanely powerful psychic that threatens to destroy the city of Neo-Tokyo, a city previously destroyed by another rampaging psychic 30 years earlier. (Note to self: don't move to Tokyo in the imaginary future). Tetsuo loses control of his powers, which mutate him into an uncontrollable and grotesque mass of organs, but is brought back under control by Akira.Power Rating: 10/10 While Dr. Manhattan hinted about creating life at the end of Watchmen, Tetsuo creates his own big bang at the end of Akira. Game. Set. Match.
Legendary session musician Weldon Myrick has died at the age of 76. The steel guitar player, a beloved figure in country music, passed away on Monday (02Jun14) after suffering a stroke.
He was best known for his work on recordings by singer Connie Smith, and he also played steel guitar on songs by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton.
Born in Jayton, Texas, Myrick began playing steel guitar as a young boy, and he moved to Nashville, Tennessee and began working as a session musician for country singer Bill Anderson.
He later joined Smith's backing band, but he eventually left to join the Grand Ole Opry staff band where he was a regular fixture for 32 years.
Other classic tracks Myrick performed on include Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles, Long Long Time by Linda Ronstadt, and Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
While 2002's Spider-Man gets the lion's share of the credit, Bryan Singer's X-Men, released two years earlier, was the film that really revived the comic book film genre after its near-death at the hands of George Clooney and his Bat-nipples. Through the franchise's 14 years of sequels, spin-offs, soft reboots, and now, timeline colliding mashups, loads of mutants have sprung to life on film. And while some have endured through the franchises ups and downs like Hugh Jackman's ever-present Wolverine, others have slipped through the cracks after only appearing in one film. In tribute to our lost mutant brothers, we've decided to comb through the list of our favorite one and done mutants and determine which ones deserve a second chance in the film series.
DeathstrikeReal Name: Yuriko OyamaTeam Affiliation: One of Stryker's henchmanLast Seen: X2: X-Men UnitedBest Moment: Her fight with WolverineShould She Return?: Yes. Her face off with Wolverine during the tail end of X2 was thrilling. Having a dark foil of Wolverine with similar abilities would be grea asset for the series going forward.
JuggernautReal Name: Cain MarkoTeam Affiliation: The Brotherhood of Evil MutantsLast Seen: X-Men: The Last StandBest Moment: "I'm the Juggernaut, b**ch!"Should He Return? Yes. The Juggernaut is a fan-favorite mutant, and the character's inclusion in X-Men 3 was one of that film's few highlights. The character crashing through walls with reckless abandon, and especially his fight with Kitty Pride was a ton of fun.
NightcrawlerReal Name: Kurt WagnerTeam Affiliation: X-MenLast Seen: X2: X-Men UnitedBest Moment: Nightcrawler vs. the White HouseShould He Return?: Hell yes, Nightcrawler's dizzying fight scene at the start of X-2 is still the franchise's best moment, even ten years later. Alan Cumming brought a real, earnest humanity to Kurt Wagner, and it's a pity that the franchise hasn't found room for the mutant in subsequent films. Sure, we got some teleporting action via Azazel in First Class, but that brooding bad guy doesn't have an ounce of the charm as Nightcrawler.
BansheeReal Name: Sean CassidyTeam Affiliation: X-MenLast Seen: X-Men: First Class Best Moment: Banshee taking flight for the first timeShould He Return?: No. Banshee was perfectly likeable in X-Men: First Class, but the series rightfully jettisoned the character since things were getting too crowded on the mutant front, especially with Days of Future Past's multiple timelines.
AngelReal Name: Warren Worthington IIITeam Affiliation: N/ALast Seen: X-Men: The Last StandBest Moment: A young Warren trying to file down his wings as a childShould He Return?: Yes. There's something really majestic about Angel. Sure, a ton of other mutants can fly, but who else does so with giant, feathery wings.
BlobReal Name: Frederick J. DukesTeam Affiliation: Team XLast Seen: X-Men Origins: WolverineBest Moment: His boxing match with WolverineShould He Return?: It's a shame that this blubbery villain's only adventure was in the worst film of the franchise, but there are much cooler mutants that deserve more screen time.
Deadpool/WeaponXIReal Name: Wade WilsonTeam Affiliation: Team XLast Seen: X-Men Origins: WolverineBest Moment: Pre-Weapon XI Wade Wilson cutting down bad guys with swords and verbal jabsShould He Return?: No. Perhaps the biggest sin made by the entire franchise was the handling of Deadpool. It still baffles us how the powers that be at 20th Century Fox thought the best way to handle "the merc with a mouth" was to sew said mouth shut and use him like a cheap, final act pinata for Wolverine and Sabertooth to claw down to size. Fool me once...
Kestrel Real Name: John Wraith Team Affiliation: Team X Last Seen: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Best Moment: Sabertooth grabbing the teleporting mutant's spine was nightmarishly cool. Should He Return?: No. Will.i.am is better off as far away from the X-Men franchise as possible, and if the series were to introduce any teleporting mutant back into the fray, it damn well better be Nightcrawler.
Sam Smith is set to make TV history in his native Britain this week (beg26May14) when he becomes the first artist to sing live during a commercial break. The hitmaker will perform his chart-topping single Stay With Me from London's Roundhouse during a break in hit show Alan Carr: Chatty Man on Friday (30May14).
Smith, who picked up the Critics' Choice Award at the Brits earlier this year (14), says, "It's incredible to be part of a world first. Stay With Me being broadcast live to the nation will be a very special moment for me."
Downton Abbey star Dame Maggie Smith will swap her finery for rags to play a homeless woman in the movie adaptation of Alan Bennett's play The Lady In The Van. Smith will reprise the role of eccentric Miss Shepherd, which she originated onstage in 1999, for the movie.
Bennett, who turned 80 on Friday (09May14), wrote the play from his memoirs, which chronicled his odd relationship with a homeless lady who lived in a battered car in the driveway outside his London home for 15 years until she died in 1989.
Sir Nicholas Hytner, who directed Smith in The Lady in the Van onstage in London, will also take charge of the film adaptation. This will be his third collaboration with playwright Bennett - he transformed both The History Boys and The Madness of King George III from the theatre stage to the cinema screen.
British actor Matt Smith has landed a major new role in the Terminator reboot. The former Doctor Who star will play a man with a strong connection to Jason Clarke's lead character John Connor and his story arc is expected to grow over the trilogy, according to Deadline.com.
Smith will join Game Of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will reprise his Cyborg role, in Terminator: Genesis, which will be directed by Thor: The Dark World filmmaker Alan Taylor.
The movie is due to hit theatres in July, 2015.
"Luckily, I dated all of the losers ages ago. My love life has been stable for a while. It's a f**ked up thing - without conflict it's a lot harder to write interesting songs." Singer/songwriter Solange Knowles on the positives and negatives of finding love with her longterm boyfriend, video director Alan Ferguson. Beyonce's younger sister was previously married to her high school sweetheart Daniel Julez Smith, the father of her nine-year-old son, Daniel Julez J. Smith, Jr.
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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Arctic Monkeys and One Direction were double winners at the 2014 BRIT Awards on Wednesday night (19Feb14). After opening the ceremony with a fiery performance of their hit RU Mine?, the British rockers took home the trophy for Best British Group, joking that they had lost money by betting on category rivals One Direction to win.
The band also took the stage to accept the coveted Best British Album award for AM, which beat off releases by Rudimental, David Bowie and Disclosure, and frontman Alex Turner delivered a poetic acceptance speech about the resurgence of rock music.
He told the audience at London's O2 Arena, "That rock and roll just won't go away. It might hibernate from time to time... but it's always waiting there, just around the corner, ready to make its way back through the sludge and smash back through the glass ceiling, looking better than ever. That rock and rock, it seems like it's faded away sometimes but it will never die. And there's nothing you can do about it."
The band has now won the British Group award three times.
One Direction also took a pair of honours, claiming the Global Success Award for the second year in a row, and picking up the Best Video trophy after winning a live Twitter.com fan vote by a landslide.
An emotional Ellie Goulding kicked off the prize list at the top of the show, when she was handed the award for Best British Female by pop superstar Prince. The win ended years of disappointment since her last BRIT - a Critics' Choice award in 2009.
David Bowie was handed the prize for Best British Male, a prize he last won in 1984, but he did not attend in person, and asked model pal Kate Moss to collect his award, dressed in one of his old stage costumes.
Bruno Mars was named Best International Male for the second time, having previously scooped the gong in 2012, while 17-year-old New Zealander Lorde continued her amazing 2014 by winning International Female, Daft Punk were handed the International Group award, and Bastille were shocked to take home the British Breakthrough Act prize, beating brotherly duo Disclosure, who went home empty handed despite being nominated for four awards.
Live performances came from Katy Perry, who strutted the stage as a day-glo Egyptian queen, Bruno Mars, who bounced around the stage while he performed Treasure, Ellie Goulding and Beyonce, who performed her track XO live on TV for the first time.
It was also a night for onstage collaborations as Lorde and AlunaGeorge singer Aluna Francis teamed up with Disclosure to play a mash-up of their respective hits Royals and White Noise, and Rudimental were joined on stage by Bastille.
Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers closed the show with a medley of Daft Punk's hit Get Lucky and Williams' No. 1 Happy.
The full list of winners is as follows:
British Female Solo Artist: Ellie Goulding
British Group: Arctic Monkeys
British Breakthrough Act: Bastille
British Male Solo Artist: David Bowie
International Female Solo Artist: Lorde
Best British Video: One Direction - Best Song Ever
British Single: Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre - Waiting All Night
International Group: Daft Punk
International Male Solo Artist: Bruno Mars
British Album: Arctic Monkeys - AM
Special Recognition Award: War Child UK
Critics' Choice Award: Sam Smith
Global Success Award: One Direction
British Producer Of The Year: Flood & Alan Moulder