Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam has died, aged 98. The former leader, who served from 1972 to 1975, passed away early on Tuesday morning (21Oct14).
During his years in power, Whitlam abolished national service, pulled troops out of Vietnam and improved Aboriginal rights.
He was also credited with reforming the nation's Labor Party.
But his leadership will be largely be remembered for the 1975 constitutional crisis that became known as The Dismissal, when he was removed from office after his administration lost the ability to pay for its policies due to Liberal-National Opposition, which held control of the Senate.
Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser was appointed caretaker Prime Minister.
Current Prime Minister Tony Abbott paid tribute to his predecessor upon hearing the news of his death, stating, "He was a giant of his time.”
All national flags will fly at half-mast throughout Tuesday as a mark of respect.
A love letter written by Dame Elizabeth Taylor to her on/off husband Richard Burton is up for sale. The screen legend penned the touching note to mark their 10th wedding anniversary in 1974, just weeks before they split, and three months before their first divorce.
In the letter, Taylor pledges her love to her unfaithful husband, writing, "My darling (my still) My husband... I wish I could tell you of my love for you, of my fear, my delight, my pure animal pleasure of you - (with you) - my jealousy, my pride, my anger at you, at times. Most of all my love for you, and whatever love you can dole out to me - I wish I could write about it but I can't... Anyway I lust thee, Your (still) Wife."
The note is expected to be sold for at least $59,500 (£35,000) in an online auction on the Paul Fraser Collectibles website.
The couple remarried in 1975 and divorced for a second time in 1976. Burton died in 1984 and Taylor passed away in 2011.
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has signed on to star in two more Journey to the Center of the Earth sequels.
The Hercules star replaced Brendan Fraser as the star of the franchise for 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and the film was such a hit he has been invited back for two move family movies.
Brothers Chad and Carey Hayes, who created horror movie The Conjuring, have been hired to write the screenplay for the two films. They have become friends with Johnson after working with him on new disaster film San Andreas.
British Olympic diver Tom Daley has topped gay magazine Attitude's Hot 100 Sexiest Men list for the second consecutive year, seven months after 'coming out' as a homosexual. The 20-year-old sportsman, who is dating Hollywood screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, was unveiled as the publication's new cover star at its annual summer party in London on Wednesday (16Jul14).
Daley beats former The X Factor U.K. winner Shayne Ward to claim the title, while acting hunk Zac Efron places third, just ahead of soccer stud David Beckham and British reality star Dan Osborne in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Andrew Fraser, Attitude's Deputy Editor, says, "It's been a big year for Tom Daley. When he made his very moving and personal video last year, where he revealed his relationship with Dustin Lance Black, he not only changed his own life, but will have helped change the lives of countless other young gay people who are starved of role models in the world of film, TV and sport."
In the accompanying interview, Daley admits he would like to pursue a career as a TV presenter once he retires from diving, and opens up about settling down in the near future, saying, "Family is something that has always been really important to me and yes, at some point I would love to marry and have kids."
Getty Images/Jason Kempin
The man, the legend, the most adorable, foul-mouthed stand-up comedian ever—Aziz Ansari has brought us so much joy over the years. He may be best known for his role as Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation, but those of us who watch his stand-up material know that there's a whole other, magnificent side to him.Here are a few of his best, NSFW moments ever.
1. His Kanye West stories will never cease to amaze us:
2. Is child molestation ever funny? Only in Ansari's world:
3. Justin Bieber is a lot more gangsta than we previously thought. Thanks Aziz, for bringing this dark side of him to our attention:
4. Who knew a harmless grapefruit could inspire so much naughty language?
5. The only thing better than his Yeezy stories, are his R. Kelly stories. And nothing's more NSFW than an R. Kelly concert story:
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Singer/actor Kris Kristofferson has been cast as former U.S. President Andrew Jackson in a new TV miniseries. The 77 year old will star as the American leader in Texas Rising, an eight-hour series about the Texas revolution in the 1830s, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Executive producer Leslie Greif says, "This iconic story and role really needed an American who is able to command the screen and captivate audiences.
"For me, Kris was an obvious choice, there aren't too many actors that are able to embody this character and the stature, strength and liberty to play the part."
He will join a cast which includes Brendan Fraser, Olivier Martinez and Bill Paxton. The show will debut in the U.S. next year (15).
ABC Television Network
Something is off about ABC’s new drama Black Box. By day, Dr. Katherine Black (Kelly Reilly) is an accomplished neuroscientist. But by night she rides the high of her manic-depressive episodes and goes on hypersexual binges or dances to music only she can hear. This honestly sounds like a pitch meeting in an episode of Family Guy or an after-hours movie on Cinemax. Mental illness is a serious issue, and the way the show is handling it so far does not bode too well. Filling the void left by Scandal, this series could portray a strong woman and her heartfelt and gut-wrenching journey in and out of psychosis. Instead, it feels like a lost television show inspired by the artistic masterpiece that is Showgirls.
The story is wrought with plot holes. We see Katherine in the middle of a session with her therapist, played by Vanessa Redgrave. They handle all the exposition and we learn she’s top of her field, has a fiancé, and is also prone to hypersexuality, mania, delusions of grandeur, and hallucinations when not on her meds. In one episode, she delivers a sloppy speech to colleagues, goes home with a cab driver, gets robbed, and nearly falls to her death. Not only is she a medical professional with an illness that could cause her to hurt others, but her therapist, is legally obligated to report her if she is at risk of hurting herself or others. All this happens in the first 15 minutes. The rest of the series degrades into part medical drama — she corrects an erroneous schizophrenia diagnosis and schedules surgery… in the middle of the night… at a private practice — and part soap opera, as she reveals a daughter/niece and a sexual tension with a douchey neurosurgeon.
One challenge the show has is Reilly. Although she gave a great performance in Flight, resting a series that explores the good, the bad, the sexy, and the icky about mental illness on this actress might be a tall order. The series calls to mind Eli Stone and Ally McBeal by showing the protagonist's auditory and visual hallucinations. Reilly’s accent is a challenge. She’s chosen a sexy baby voice rather than one of an authoritative doctor. Being able to sound cogent and together while in the throes of a mental health meltdown seem to be a prerequisite. She doesn’t deliver the range of wide personality shifts associated with true manic-depressive episodes. Costar Laura Fraser, for example, does a much better job at portraying an American and having sides to her personality… and she’s only in a few minutes of the show.
But it’s not all Reilly’s fault. Her character isn’t the strong woman you’d expect to be a neuroscience wunderkind that would inspire a therapist to risk her job. She calls herself a “b**ch,” spends more time focused on her relationship than her health, and stops taking her meds for the hell of it. It doesn’t have the same take on self destructive behavior as a show like Nurse Jackie that captures both sides of the coin.
The show deserves some props for making the attempt to explore mental illness, though. People are familiar with the manic-depression but rarely see the reality of it. This series tries to cinematically manufacture mania with frenetic sexy moments, show her hallucinations through special effects, and even provides the jazzy soundtrack for the music in her head. It’s a tough sell. Mental, a failed Fox drama, tried to replicate House but with psychological issues. Shameless has two main characters, Ian and Monica, who are manic-depressive. Both of those series succeeded in provided the proper brevity and reverence for mental illnesses. A manic episode may send someone into an erotic episode but the gratuitous sex seems to trivialize the disease in the way that cursing and tic jokes do to Tourette’s syndrome.
Puns aside, Black Box deserves at least a second glance but it does have an uphill battle. Riding the line between series medical drama and campy sex opera is a tough sell. Luckily, if it goes the way of mid-season replacements Scandal will be back in a few months.
Apollo 13 star Bill Paxton and Brendan Fraser have joined the all-star cast of new mini-series Texas Rising. The two actors will team up with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Ray Liotta, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez and Chad Michael Murray, among others, in the Roland Joffe epic TV drama, which will air on America's History Channel next year (15).
The eight-hour series reteams Paxton with the producers of his hit drama Hatfields & McCoys, which earned the actor an Emmy Award nomination.
The project will chronicle the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the Texas Rangers law enforcers.
Paxton will play Sam Houston, the man known as "the father of Texas", while Fraser will portray Texas Ranger Billy Anderson.
History Channel bosses have released a statement detailing the new TV project. It reads: "In 1836, if west of the Mississippi was considered the Wild West then Texas was hell on earth.
"Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes, no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna (Martinez).
"From General Sam Houston, to rag tag Rangers to the legendary Yellow Rose of Texas, this is a story of the human spirit rising in the face of insurmountable odds and claiming a piece of history for all eternity."
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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Lovelane Pictures/Premier Entertainment Group
If you put any stock into what social media tells you, you know that the 1990s were a better time. A more colorful, more charming time. A time at which pop culture hit its peak. Back then, folks like Brendan Fraser and Parker Posey were just breaking into show business — the former as a veritable jack of all trades, headlining dramas about anti-Semitism and goofy comedies about cryogenically preserved cavemen, and the latter a sharp leading lady hanging just far enough beneath the cuff to assure Hollywood that she was way cooler than anything else it had at its disposal (and she still is). It's a travesty that it took until 2014 to unite these gods of a like era in one film, but we're pleased to finally see the union take form: in this new exclusive clip for HairBrained, we see 41-year-old college student and world class schlub Leo (Fraser) take an immediate liking to Sheila (Posey), the frazzled mother of one of his classmates.
The comedic film also stars Alex Wolff as Eli Petifogg, a 14-year-old prodigy who struggles socially after enrolling in a sub-Ivy League college, forming an unexpected bond with Fraser's over-the-hill slacker.
HairBrained, directed by Billy Kent and co-written by Kent and Sarah Bird (the pair behind The Oh in Ohio, a 2006 sex comedy that starred Posey and Paul Rudd), hits theaters and iTunes on February 28.
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