Latin superstar Gloria Estefan has donated $500,000 (£294,118) to restore and re-open the Miami Marine Stadium in Florida. The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You hitmaker reveals she has fond memories of her manager husband Emilio Estefan performing at the once-popular venue with his band Miami Sound Machine in the mid-1980s, when their song Dr. Beat became a big hit, so she would love to see the graffiti-covered building cleaned up and revamped for a new generation of fans.
Estefan, who is a boardmember for non-profit organisation the National Trust for Historic Preservation, also notes the stadium was designed in 1962 by fellow Cuban-American Hilario Candela.
She tells the Miami Herald, "It's almost a symbol of our community and how much we're a part of Miami."
The singer hopes her generous gift will inspire others to donate to the fundraising group Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, which aims to hit its target of $30 million (£17.65 million) by January, 2015.
The venue used to be a hub for cultural and political events - Sammy Davis, Jr. famously hugged U.S. President Richard Nixon there in 1972 and Jimmy Buffett performed an iconic concert there in 1985.
It fell into disrepair and was closed down after suffering severe damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Australian music stars including singer Missy Higgins and ska band The Cat Empire are lending their voices to a campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The Fight For The Reef drive opposes governmental plans for industrial developments that could damage the famous coral system, including proposals to open the world's biggest coal port in Abbot Point, on the Queensland coast.
The joint campaign between WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society has now received a boost from a number of high-profile artists, who are writing and recording tracks for the Sound of the Reef album.
The 20-track record, which also features musician Mark De Clive-Lowe, Grammy-nominated band Hiatus Kaiyote and New Zealand collective Fat Freddy's Drop, aims to spread awareness of the issues and raise money to support the campaign.
WWF-Australia campaign director Richard Leck says, "The sales of this album will support legal action that will argue Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt failed in his obligation to protect the environment, by approving the dredging and expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal. We are at a crossroads for this natural icon. The decisions being made today will decide if we have a healthy Reef in the future, or face its ruin."
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson's space tourism project was inspired by a TV show fan more than 20 years ago. Branson's Virgin Galactic aims to offer tourists the chance to holiday in space by taking them into Earth's orbit, and celebrities including Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga have already booked tickets for some of the earliest flights.
The businessman is hoping to launch the first shuttle later this year (14) but he first began considering a space mission during a chat with a viewer who called in to British TV show Going Live! in 1988.
Branson tells U.K. chat show host Jonathan Ross, "You never know what sparks things off in your mind but as a result of that show (Going Live!) we registered the name Virgin Galactic Airways. Over the next decade I started travelling around the world meeting technicians and engineers to see if we could find a genius who could build a spaceship that could take you and me into space.
"I think it's going to be the beginning of a whole new era of space travel. Initially we're going to be giving people a taste of space. It's going to be absolutely magnificent. People will become astronauts, they'll be able to experience zero gravity. They'll be able to check the world is really round and they'll have the ride of a lifetime."
Stars including Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson and Gerard Butler gathered on Monday (08Jul13) to help tennis ace Novak Djokovic raise $1.7 million (£1.1 million) for his charity. Hawn and her daughter Hudson served as event chairs at the glittering gala alongside former British royal Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, supermodel Naomi Campbell and former tennis champion Boris Becker.
Actor Jeremy Piven joined British TV presenter Jonathan Ross and Hudson on stage at the Roundhouse venue in London for a mini tennis match, while Becker provided the commentary.
Guests bid on auction prizes including a yacht getaway with Hawn and Hudson, a signed guitar by The Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood and a seven-day holiday at Sir Richard Branson's private island.
Djokovic says of the event, "I am delighted to be joined... by friends and family to support a cause which is so close to my heart. The Foundation works alongside young children in Serbia to provide support, encouragement and resources so they can fulfil and nurture their dreams. With the help of such generous people, our vision is to expand our work to the U.K. and America and transform the lives of more children around the world."
All funds raised during the evening will benefit the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which aims to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children, especially in the tennis star's native Serbia.
The event took place just a day after Djokovic lost the Wimbledon Championships men's singles title to Andy Murray on Sunday (07Jul13).
Scale things down from the Capitol Building explosions, the venomous terrorist ploys, and the overarching subtext of international warfare, and you've got the real fun of White House Down: its character. Yet another melding of astronomical disaster and human charm from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich, the D.C.-set thriller actually veers the lot of its attention away from collapsing buildings (thankfully) and towards the nuanced moments between its affable stars: Secret Service hopeful Channing Tatum and freshly passionate commander in chief Jamie Foxx.
As an unlikely camaraderie forms between the two stars — who are forced to band together when Washington faces the wrath of American activists — we warm up to not a security guard and a president, but the men who occupy these positions: a lifelong underacheiver trying to get his act together to impress his intellectual middle school-aged daughter (who becomes one of the many hostages taken by the West Wing assailants) and a working class do-gooder who, while still enamored with his new place in the world, shows signs of cynicism about the political system and no shortage of conflict over the choices he's had to make... not to mention a nasty smoking habit he's trying to kick (gee, I wonder who he's supposed to be?).
Setting their differences aside in the interest of their country — Tatum's John Cale is a veteran and suggested conservative, while Foxx's President Sawyer ensnares the rage of his old white constituents for his peace-lovin' ways and lack of military background (seriously, who could he be?) — and of Cale's daughter Emily, the two develop a "buddy cop" formula that provides as many warm laughs as it does action thrills.
Thanks to the allure and comic chops of Foxx and, yes, Tatum, this motif seldom misses the mark. It's when the film aims in a different direction, shooting for sincere intensity over action-heavy candy, that some of the luster is lost. Never boring but sometimes hard to watch, thanks to the heavy artillery that is a terrorist ploy so vividly embedded in current events, the film loses its sense of "fun" in a plot that is at times too close to home. With the baddies led by Washington insiders — many of whom are not devoid of humanity but simply corroded by a flawed system and imperfect policies — White House Down sometimes seems to be a movie about our political situation, rather than a movie using our political situation to deliver a fun summer actioner. Unfortunately, the teetering of this line doesn't inject the film with depth as much as it does to confuse the viewer on what to feel.
Are we meant to ponder the gravity of White House Down's international climate? At times, it seems as though Emmerich is inviting us to do so... but then, a federal agent makes a crack about the president using a rocket launcher, or a plucky tour guide goes ape s**t on a terrorist for breaking a West Wing antique. We're back in the realm of the ridiculous, where we, and the movie, belong.
And when it keeps to this territory, White House Down is as much fun as you might want it to be. Oddly, when we think back on Independence Day, we don't cite the explosions and sweeping battles, but the laughable quips and exclamations — the "Welcome to Urf!"s and "Nobody's perfect"s. And that same human charm ebbs and flows throughout White House Down. When it veers from this path, honing in on an imperiled D.C. or a vindictive gang of vigilantes, we just wait for the fun again. But no more than a scene later, it's back, rocket launched right at us.
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British actor/comedian Lenny Henry has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Henry was feted for co-founding Britain's Comic Relief charity, which he launched in 1985 with comedy writer Richard Curtis, at the Observer Ethical Awards in London on Thursday (13Jun13).
Accepting his prize, Henry told the audience, "This is not just about me, it's about everybody involved in Comic Relief, the British public and especially Richard Curtis, whose idea it was in the first place. Comic Relief is about trying to help people realise their potential, and is committed to helping deliver lasting change."
The King's Speech star Colin Firth and British supermodel/actress Lily Cole were among the judges who helped pick the winners of the annual prizegiving, which celebrates campaigners fighting for the environment and social justice.
Other honourees included Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, who was named campaigner of the year for her work with the Gurkha Justice Campaign, which aims to help Nepalese soldiers who fought in the British Army.
Lord Richard Attenborough was honoured by the likes of Sir Michael Caine and Steven Spielberg at a special charity gala in London on Tuesday (11Jun13). The actor/director was celebrated at the Entirely Up To You, Darling gala, named after one of his famous catchphrases, which marked the launch of a fund for young filmmakers named in his honour at Britain's National Film and Television School (NFTS).
Spielberg delivered a pre-recorded video message about his dealings with the star, who he directed in dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park, saying, "He's made some of the best movies of all time and has made such a contribution to society, to cinema and to everyone whose hearts he has touched with his words, works, his leadership and that divine inspiration that radiates from that wonderful smile."
Gandhi star Sir Ben Kingsley and former U.K. Prime Minister John Major also appeared in video messages at the event, held at the Old Billingsgate Market venue in London and hosted by Stephen Fry.
Attenborough, 89, did not attend the dinner, but his son Michael addressed the crowd on his father's behalf, reading from a letter written by the movie legend: "I started in movies at the age of 19, and now in my 90th year I am truly proud to be still able to contribute to this magnificent art form of ours."
The gala also included an auction to raise money for the new Lord Attenborough NFTS Charitable Fund, and lots included a pair of glasses worn by Kingsley in Gandhi and costumes seen on Daniel Craig in Skyfall.
The fund aims to raise $1.6 million (£1 million) over two years to help kickstart the careers of talented young filmmakers.
Lord Attenborough has suffered ill health over the last few years and now lives in a London care home with his wife Sheila Sim.
We keep getting older, but Richard Linklater's plans for a Dazed and Confused sequel stay the same age: prenatal. For a few years now, Austin's favorite son has been flirting with the idea of a spiritual follow-up to what might very well be the greatest high school movie ever made. And Linklater's vision for the new film, which he announced on Reddit and hopes to begin shooting in the fall, is what might be the greatest college movie ever made.
We're jumping the gun with that superlative, knowing only that Linklater hopes to make "a college comedy," and that he "feel[s] like mixing it up with a big ensemble," but this is the man behind Slacker, SubUrbia, Waking Life, and the Before Sunrise series. Benefits of the doubt are well deserved.
However, any canonical connection to Dazed is yet unspecified — the branding of the project as a "spiritual sequel" and the two decades that have passed since the first film suggest that we won't be seeing the same characters come into play for Linklater's next. But if the project aims to capture the magic, the sorrow, the wonder of the college years, then it'll likely earn right to the kinship of the 1993 gem.
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Fact: Harrison Ford is a Hollywood legend.
Whatever you think of his bumpy stretch in the 2000s — we're thinking Hollywood Homicide, Firewall, and Extraordinary Measures — nothing can change his breadth of work from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, as well as his upswing in the second decade of the new millennium (including 2010's Morning Glory, April's Jackie Robinson biopic 42, Winter 2013's Ender's Game, and his latest assignment, Anchorman 2). Ford has done a little bit of everything Hollywood has to offer over the course of his career and, for the most part, his work ranks as some of the best in film history.
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Amazingly, Ford has never been honored with an Academy Award for his body of work — he was nominated in 1986 for Peter Weir's Witness, but lost. The man who brought us Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Dr. Richard Kimble, Jack Ryan, Rick Deckard, and President James "GET OFF MY PLANE!" Marshall has gone most of his career without an accolade. CinemaCon — the biggest convention in the movie industry — aims to fix that.
The convention has named Ford as its honoree for the 2013, with a ceremony scheduled to honor the actor on April 18, in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Vegas. Ford previously earned lifetime achievement recognition at the 2002 Golden Globes, but CinemaCon hopes to stand out by paying tribute to all of his work — from prestigious parts to blockbuster hero roles. "Yeah, you love Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but don't forget What Lies Beneath, Six Days Seven Nights, and K-19 the Widowmaker!" CinemaCon's official press releases subtextual screams.
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CinemaCon's announcement may not be the most important milestone in Ford's career, but it is a great excuse to look back at his nearly 40 years of work on the big screen. So now it's time to cast your vote:
What is your favorite Harrison Ford movie role?
Take our poll below. Explain your choice or defend a movie that isn't on the list in the comments below!
&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6954515/"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;What Is Harrison Ford's Best Movie Role?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com]
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