Scottish actor David Tennant and Bond legend Sir Roger Moore are among the stars who have designed special cards to raise money for a multiple sclerosis charity. The gifts have been put up for sale on eBay.com along with certificates of authenticity to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which supports patients diagnosed with the disease.
Tennant's card features a sketch of a birthday balloon, while Moore's is adorned with an amusing doodle featuring two fish.
Other celebrities who have designed cards for the charity sale include Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville and actor Richard E. Grant.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
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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British actor Richard E. Grant is adding perfume entrepreneur to his resume by reportedly launching a bizarre fragrance infused with the scent of marijuana. The Jack & Sarah star is reportedly adding notes of the illegal drug to the product, which he says is inspired by British heritage and is set to feature in a vintage inspired red pillar-box.
The actor will incorporate marijuana with notes of lime, clove oil, mandarin, white mush, tobacco and pepper oil into the unisex perfume which is set to hit the shelves in April 2014.
The star has reportedly been studying for years in order to create the perfect scent, telling Shortlist magazine, "I always have 100 things on the go. I've been working on (the perfume) for two years."
"I feel sorry for Jude because even after gaining 30 pounds he still looks like a walking love god. And wherever we were on location, women's knees were literally wobbling, so he seems immune no matter what he looks like." Richard E. Grant insists his Dom Hemingway co-star Jude Law still looked sexy despite gaining weight for the film.
Hugh Grant was lucky to land his big break in hit British film Four Weddings And A Funeral - a staggering 71 actors had tried out for the role before him. Grant shot to stardom playing bashful Charles in the 1994 romantic comedy but he could easily have missed out on the part as he was so far down the list.
Richard Curtis, who wrote the script for the film, tells the Radio Times, "Hugh Grant was, I think, the 72nd person we auditioned for the lead in Four Weddings, and was the first one to make it funny at all... When we'd shot it, and watched the edit of the film, it didn't work at all.
"So for four months, we played a bizarre game of edit-chess until at last we ended up with something that worked better."
Grant, who went on to score huge box office hits with Notting Hill and Love Actually, has previously said if he did not succeed in the audition for Four Weddings he would have quit his fledgling acting career.
Britain's leading comedy stars including Rowan Atkinson, Simon Pegg and Stephen Fry have paid tribute to British funnyman Mel Smith following his death on Friday (19Jul13). The 60-year-old comedian passed away at his home in north-west London after suffering a heart attack, according to his agent Michael Foster.
The news has sent a shockwave through the U.K. comedy scene and a number of Smith's friends and co-stars have expressed their grief in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Smith's longtime collaborator Griff Rhys Jones, who worked with him on Alas Smith and Jones and Not the Nine O'Clock News, says in a statement, "I still can't believe this has happened. To everybody who ever met him, Mel was a force for life. He had a relish for it that seemed utterly inexhaustible. He inspired love and utter loyalty and he gave it in return. I will look back on the days working with him as some of the funniest times that I have ever spent."
Mr. Bean star Atkinson also worked with the late funnyman on Not the Nine O'Clock News, and Smith directed his 1997 movie Bean.
He says in a statement, "Mel Smith - a lovely man of whom I saw too little in his later years. I loved the sketches that we did together on Not the Nine O'Clock News. He was the cast member with whom I felt the most natural performing empathy. He had a wonderfully generous and sympathetic presence both on and off screen... I never thought he was given enough credit for this success. I feel truly sad at his parting."
Stephen Fry adds, "Terrible news about my old friend Mel Smith, dead from a heart attack. Mel lived a full life but was kind, funny and wonderful to know."
Simon Pegg hails Smith as his inspiration, adding in a post on Twitter.com, "Sad to hear about Mel Smith. His influence on contemporary British comedy both as a performer and producer is impossible to calculate."
Pegg's longtime collaborator Nick Frost also mourned Smith's loss in a post on Twitter.com, while tributes have come in from Hollywood actor Jamie Bell, who called his death a great loss to British comedy, along with Richard E. Grant, James Corden, Matt Lucas, director Duncan Jones, and Peter Serafinowicz.
Smith was one of the leading lights of British comedy throughout the 1980s and he also teamed with Griff Rhys Jones to found TalkBack Productions, a TV company which produced popular comedies including Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show and I'm Alan Partridge.
He also worked as a writer and director, helming movies including Bean and 2001's High Heels and Low Lifes.
His movie appearances as an actor included roles in The Princess Bride and National Lampoon's European Vacation.
British actor Toby Stephens has won praise from theatre critics for his role in a West End revival of a play which once starred his famous parents Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Robert Stephens. Stephens' mother and father won rave reviews for their portrayal of sparring ex-lovers in a 1972 London production of Noel Coward's Private Lives, and now their son has followed in their footsteps by scoring his own glowing write-ups.
The Die Another Day star plays the role his father tackled more than 40 years ago in the new production with Anna Chancellor, which opened at London's Gielgud Theatre on Wednesday night (03Jul13), and Henry Hitchings of the London Evening Standard branded the show a "deliciously fresh revival".
Hitchings calls Stephens a "superb comic actor" and compares him to Chancellor's Four Weddings and a Funeral co-star Hugh Grant, adding, "I can't recall having seen him give a better performance than he does here."
Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph gave the play five stars out of five, writing, "This is a gloriously entertaining evening, opulently designed... and offering two hours of comic bliss", while The Independent's Paul Taylor concludes by calling the new production of Private Lives "the best in a decade".
Other high-profile stars to have tackled the lead roles in Private Lives include Dame Elizabeth Taylor and her on/off husband Richard Burton.
Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West, who are playing the famous couple in a new British TV series, were in the audience for the new show's opening night, and The Wire actor also gave the production a good review, saying, "It was funny... It's the perfect play and they were the perfect people doing it. I've never seen it before so it was great to see it."
A former manager for Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five has filed a lawsuit alleging he is owed royalty money from albums including the King of Pop's mega-hit Thriller. Richard Arons, who helped manage the Jackson Five in the 1970s with family patriarch Joe Jackson, filed a lawsuit at Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday (24Jun13) alleging his payments from Thriller and other albums have stopped.
He is demanding $10 million (£6.5 million) from Sony Music Entertainment in lost royalties, costs and damages, and he is also asking the court to grant a continuation of future payments.
Arons, 75, claims he is owed 7.5 per cent from sales of albums including Thriller, Off The Wall, Victory and The Jacksons Live stemming from a series of agreements he made with Joe Jackson in the 1980s, and Michael Jackson in the 1990s, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The lawsuit was filed a day before the fourth anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. The superstar passed away on 25 June, 2009.
Actor Richard Kind is keen to see the second act of hit Broadway play Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike again because he was too busy berating an inconsiderate theatregoer to enjoy it. The Argo star lost his cool during a recent night out when a female audience member refused to silence her cell phone during the play and he was reminded of his outburst during a recent Drama Desk Panel discussion with one of the play's stars Shalita Grant.
He told host Robin Milling, "I was at a performance of your play and in the last 20 minutes a woman's phone went off four times. I went to that woman and I called her out. I am not a forgiving soul and I seem like a nice guy but when it comes to that, that is a disregard for other people. One time, it's disregard but four times it's a slap.
"It is what I hate about the world right now. I hate selfishness and it truly was emblematic of all that. I went up to her and I yelled; I was so filled with bile. I give her the whole spiel and she goes, 'Hey, it's not my fault, I didn't call them. They were calling me!'
"She was of another generation, as was the quality of her phone. I would really like to see the second act again just to get the last 20 minutes because I was in the opposite mood of what (playwright Christopher) Durang wrote and it upset me."
"Never got so lost in my life.Lost in Tokyo.Lost in translation.Lost like a Martian.That's what it feels like.In every sense". British actor Richard E. Grant loses his way during a trip to the Japanese capital.