Emma Thompson has thrown her support behind Russell Brand's campaign to start a political revolution in Britain.
Brand has been extremely vocal about his ideas for overturning the U.K.'s democracy, and his stance has drawn criticism from stars including music mogul Simon Cowell, who urged the actor to prove his point by giving back his Hollywood pay cheques.
Thompson has now backed the outspoken funnyman, admitting she "can't stand" the current political landscape and fears a revolution is needed to rectify the short-falls of those in power. The Harry Potter star tells Britain's The Times newspaper, "We're going to have to have a revolution... I am encouraged by people like Russell Brand saying 'Don't vote'. I've got to the point where I listen to reports about what's happening on the FTSE or the Dow Jones and I think I'm in an Orwell (a George Orwell novel). Why is it always about earning money to buy things? How have you made it about this and sidelined the arts and everything that makes you happy? Side-lining actual conversation for a media that spouts endless drivel."
The actress, who is has been campaigning against oil drilling in the Arctic, also believes environmental issues will turn the public against the government, adding, "I can't stand it any more, what is being done in this world. I can't stand it, I can't bear the fact that they are going to drill for oil. They're not drilling for f**king oil in the Arctic! The Arctic belongs to us, all of us, they can't be allowed to do that, so whatever it takes... non-violent direct action, civil disobedience, you have to do it!"
Thompson is an active environmental and social campaigner and visited the Arctic with charity Greenpeace earlier this year (14).
Stars including Sir Roger Moore, Simon Pegg and Steve Coogan headed to London's Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday (01Oct14) to honour Sir Michael Caine's career. British comedians Coogan and Rob Brydon opened the show with a sketch in which they shared their best impressions of the acting veteran.
The Dark Knight star then talked about his 58-year career with U.K. chat show host Jonathan Ross, while clips from his best-loved movies played onscreen.
British singers Joss Stone and Lance Ellington performed songs from Caine's films Alfie, The Italian Job and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, while other musical scores were played by the London Symphony Orchestra.
The 81 year old told the audience about his repeated attempts to walk away from Hollywood, saying, "I've retired about 30 times and then I always get a script I can't refuse... Now I've retired sort of. I'm doing a second one of Now You See Me, a picture I did about magicians... I do that in December and then I stop. But then someone will give me a script."
Model Jerry Hall, record producer Quincy Jones and comedian David Walliams also attended the event, which raised $120,000 (£75,000) for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Paul Simon joined U.S. chat show host Conan O'Brien's George Harrison tribute week on Tuesday (24Sep14) when he performed the late Beatle's Here Comes The Sun and then joined O'Brien to chat about his old pal. Harrison superfan O'Brien opened his Harrison Week with a performance from Beck and he'll close the tributes with appearances by Norah Jones and the dead star's son Dhani.
Veteran rocker Sting took to the stage to sing with the cast on the opening night of his new musical The Last Ship in Chicago, Illinois. The Police star's show opened at the city's Bank of America Theatre on Wednesday (25Jun14) ahead of its planned Broadway debut in October (14), and the rocker was in the audience with his wife Trudie Styler.
At the end of the performance, Sting took to the stage for the curtain call and led the cast in a song, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.
Other stars who turned out for the musical's opening included Paul Simon, James Taylor, Styx singer Dennis DeYoung and AC/DC's Brian Johnson.
The show received mixed reviews from critics, who questioned whether the production, set in a doomed shipyard in Sting's hometown in the north of England, could draw in audiences on Broadway.
Steven Oxman of variety writes, "Do you want to live for two-and-a-half hours in a beautifully sad song?... The show currently works as a collection of songs in search of a complete story, or perhaps as a concept album - filled with mood and emotion and character and sensibility, but swaying as it takes on specifics. What seems to be missing is a driving conflict."
The Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones adds, "(Many) scenes... still have the air of a semi-staged concept album... The Last Ship already is a worthy and earnest musical, but we know how Broadway loves to take those down. Just look at last season."
Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Business Journal concludes, "Most of the theatre crowds in the early going at least will probably have come to hear Sting's music for the show. Fans of his work may find that much of it sounds familiar and pleasant to hear performed in a theatrical setting. But hardcore theatre buffs will soon realise Sting's style of music - for the most part - simply doesn't sit comfortably in a big Broadway musical context."
Fleetwood Mac star Christine Mcvie and The Specials founder Jerry Dammers have been honoured with distinctions at the 2014 Ivor Novello songwriting awards in London. McVie was handed a lifetime achievement award at the 59th annual event, while Free Nelson Mandela hitmaker Dammers, dubbed "the Tsar of ska" by presenter Mick Jones, picked up the Inspiration Award.
Musician and producer Nile Rodgers enjoyed his second honour in as many days - he claimed the Ivors' International Award a day after old pal Simon Le Bon surprised the Chic star with the Legends Award at the International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza on Wednesday (21May14).
Jimmy Page handed the Outstanding Contribution prize to fellow British guitar great Jeff Beck, while Mumford & Sons walked away with the award for International Achievement, and Tom Odell was named Songwriter of the Year.
The ceremony was held at London's Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.
The full list of winners at the Ivor Novello Awards is:
Most Performed Work - Let Her Go by Passenger
The Ivors Classical Music Award - John McCabe
Best Television Soundtrack - Ripper Street by Dominik Scherrer
Best Contemporary Song - Retrograde by James Blake
International Achievement - Mumford & Sons
Best Original Film Score - The Epic Of Everest
The Ivors Inspiration Award - Jerry Dammers
Album Award - Push The Sky Away by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Outstanding Contribution To British Music - Jeff Beck
Best Song Musically And Lyrically - Strong by London Grammar
Songwriter Of The Year - Tom Odell
Outstanding Song Collection - The Chemical Brothers
Lifetime Achievement - Christine McVie
Special International Award - Nile Rodgers.
British singer Jade Jones is heading to the U.K.'s House of Commons with his campaign to bring his brother's killer to justice. The former Damage star's brother John Kennedy was stabbed to death in a busy London pub in 1997, but police have never secured a conviction in the case.
Following a vigil in London last month (Apr14), Jones is leading a new drive urging revellers at the bar that night to come forward with any information.
A $32,000 (£20,000) reward is being offered for information leading to a prosecution and the star and his mother Rita Kennedy-Jones are meeting with British Member of Parliament (MP) David Lammy to try to increase awareness of the unsolved case.
Jones tells U.K. TV show Lorraine, "Seventeen years is too long for a family to be grieving... We are making efforts as a family to encourage witnesses to come forward. We have had meetings with Simon Hughes, Justice Minister, who has promised anonymity for witnesses who want to come forward... The people at that pub have been scared to say anything... At the minute, our brother's killer is out on the loose.
"We are going to the House of Commons to meet the Deputy Police Commissioner (of London) and David Lammy (MP). We just want to put the right people in place to help our cause."
The original cast of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy have returned to the theatre where they created the show more than 30 years ago for a one-off performance. The show began on radio in 1978 before becoming a hit TV programme, series of books and a Hollywood movie.
Simon Jones, who played hapless hero Arthur Dent in the 1980s TV series as well as in the long-running BBC radio show, reprised his role for the special live radio broadcast.
Also returning were Mark Wing-Davey, who played the two-headed Zaphod, Geoff McGivern as undercover alien Ford Prefect and Stephen Moore as Marvin the Paranoid Android.
The special radio show was performed live at London's Broadcasting House Radio Theatre on Saturday (29Mar14) and simultaneously aired on BBC Radio 4.
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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Who is Harry Connick Jr.? Well, he's a Grammy award-winning jazz pianist who became famous for providing the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally. He's also an accomplished actor with projects as varied as Independence Day and Will & Grace on his resume. Plus, he does a killer Jeff Goldblum impression on request. Oh yeah, he also might be the coolest judge that American Idol has ever had.
Simon Cowell became a cultural icon for his abrasive belittling of contestants; Randy Jackson made "dawg" a part of the national lexicon. AI would never have become the phenomenon that it did without them. Still, calling them cool is a bit of a stretch.
Connick, with his loose-limbed charm, doesn't have to work at being cool. What the singer has provided for AI is the same thing that Blake Shelton and Adam Levine give to The Voice: a level of genuine self-confidence that isn't threatened by the cameras, the audience, or the contestants. Connick doesn't have to worry about his image or his credibility. He gives the impression that if his fame faded away and he had to spend the rest of his life playing clubs in his native New Orleans, he'd be perfectly content with that. When a series of young auditioning singers had no idea who he was, Connick turned it into a series of self-deprecating jokes… including introducing himself to one contestant as Chris Isaak.
While some contestants took to calling him "Harsh Harry," in reality, his criticisms come across as being honest assessments. He might be the funniest judge the show has ever had, but he has no problem telling contestants what he really thinks of their performances. During Hollywood week he told the assembled group that he hates it when singers complain about not feeling well and warning them not to expect any sympathy from him if they try it. Hearing a performer acknowledge that a paying crowd really doesn't care if a performer is sick — that they paid to see a show and they expect to see one — was both refreshing and a healthy dose of practical advice for the would-be stars. As sincere as he is, Connick is not afraid to get goofy. Case in point: when he started dancing during contestant C.J. Jones audition (that is, if you can call doing the robot dancing).
Off the show, Connick has also been a boon for the Fox marketing department as he continuously entertains reporters and talk show hosts alike. He's equally adept at breaking into song or offering up fake answers to banal queries, such as telling Entertainment Weekly that Keith Urban is really from Brooklyn and "mistakenly" referring to Jennifer Lopez as Jennifer Lawrence.
So, who is Harry Connick Jr.? In the end, he's the guy that's making American Idol relevant again.
Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro have urged producers of the Bond movie franchise to let them record the next film's theme tune. Frontman Simon Neil has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of stars including Sir Tom Jones, Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney by recording a song for a 007 film.
The Mountains singer hopes his band will be tapped to work on the follow-up to 2012's Skyfall, which featured an Oscar-winning song by Adele.
He tells Britain's Daily Star newspaper, "Biffy for Bond, yes - I will follow you to the ends of the earth, sir. I'd love that. I think we've got a couple of songs in our back catalogue that could have suited but that is most songwriters' dream, isn't it, to write for Bond? You get given the key it has to be in, I believe, and certain motifs. It's such a dramatic theme that I think it would really suit us."