Singer Gina Glocksen has given birth to a baby girl. The former American Idol star welcomed her first child with husband Joe Ruzicka in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday (10Jul14), reports People.com.
The couple appears to have drawn inspiration from popular fantasy book series Game of Thrones for the newborn's first name - they have called her Daenerys 'Dany' Josephine.
Author George R.R. Martin's novels feature a character called Daenerys Targaryen, who is played in the hit TV adaptation by British actress Emilia Clarke.
Glocksen has since debuted the little girl online in a pair of photos on Instagram.com.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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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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In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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Top Story: Passion To Go Primetime?
Apparently Mel Gibson's Icon Prods. has quietly started the process of shopping for TV licensing deals for The Passion of the Christ, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It would be the first hugely successful film to come down the pike as a true free agent for pay TV and broadcast/basic cable licensing in more than five years, since Fox scooped up the rights to George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode I--The Phantom Menace. But sources told the Reporter Icon has made it clear to prospective buyers that the film must run in its entirety and that even some of the more graphic scenes of beatings cannot be edited down, which would make it tough for the four broadcast networks to line up advertisers for the controversial film, even if cuts were made. Others on the list include HBO, Showtime and other major cable outlets.
McGregor Turns Easy Rider
Ewan McGregor, who recently starred in Big Fish, takes to the road on his motorcycle for his next project. Reuters reports the 33-year-old Scottish actor will embark on a three-month journey around the world starting in Eastern Europe, through the hostile terrain of Mongolia, Siberia and Alaska and ending in New York. He'll be joined by friend filmmaker Charley Boorman, son of director John Boorman, who will film their adventures as a documentary. Since January, Reuters reports the pair have trained with ex-soldiers and learned how to perform emergency medical procedures to ensure they can survive any encounters with unfriendly weather, wildlife or serious accidents.
Walters Could Net Hefty Book Deal
Star interviewer Barbara Walters is close to signing a contract with Miramax Books to write her memoirs, Reuters reports, while a report in New York's Daily News speculated the deal could be worth as much as $6 million. "They were very closed mouth over at Hyperion," Publisher Weekly's editor John Baker told Reuters about Miramax's parent publisher. "But an editor there told me they expected to be able to confirm something in about 24 hours." But Baker said he was surprised at the $6 million figure. "I expected it to be a lot lower than this. It sounds phenomenally high. You'd have to sell a couple of millions of copies to get the money back. I'd be surprised if it comes down at that level."
More on Writing Books…
Billy Crystal has joined the league of celebrities who write children's books. As a "love poem" to his first grandchild, the 57-year-old actor penned I Already Know I Love You, published by HarperCollins, which details things Crystal hopes to do with his grandchild, including eating spaghetti and going to a baseball game, Reuters reports. "It's profoundly moving when your baby has a baby," Crystal said about his daughter having a child, after reading his new book to 5-year-olds at the Children's Museum in Manhattan Tuesday.
Simpson, Jackson Rate Well Over Weekend
The ABC Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey variety special, which took in 11.5 million viewers Sunday, as well as Janet Jackson's appearance on Saturday Night Live helped bolster the ratings over the Easter weekend, The Associated Press reports. CBS won the week overall with 11 million viewers, while NBC came in second with 10.2 million viewers. Fox had 8.6 million viewers followed by ABC with 7.7 million and the WB and UPN with 2.7 million each. For the week of April 5-11, the top 10 shows were: American Idol (Tuesday), Fox; The Apprentice, NBC; Survivor: All-Stars, CBS; American Idol (Wednesday), Fox; ER, NBC; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS; NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Georgia Tech vs. Connecticut, CBS; The Swan, Fox; Friends, NBC; Without a Trace, CBS.
Parton Receives "Living Legend" Award
Dolly Parton will receive "The Living Legend" award from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the AP reports. The 58-year-old singer and songwriter, whose hits include "Jolene" and "9 to 5," will perform at the ceremony for a taped special set to air in May on the cable channel Great American Country. Past recipients include musicians Johnny Cash and Ray Charles; filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese; comedian Bob Hope; and baseball player Cal Ripkin Jr.
Role Call: Affleck Joins Glory; Plummer in Our Fathers; and Beauty Shop
Ben Affleck is set to star in Jerry Bruckheimer's Glory Road, which aims to start production this summer. In the project, Affleck will play college basketball coach Don Haskins who led the first all-black lineup of players from Texas Western to the NCAA championship in 1966 … Christopher Plummer will star in Showtime's adaptation of David France's Our Fathers, about the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church. Plummer will portray Boston's controversial Cardinal Bernard Law, whose repeated failure to remove abusive priests from ministry lead to his resignation in December 2002 … Andie MacDowell, Alfre Woodard and Bryce Wilson have joined the ever-growing cast of MGM's Queen Latifah comedy Beauty Shop. MacDowell will play a conservative Southern socialite, while Woodard is set to play Miss Josephine, the shop's Afrocentric stylist. Wilson will play a con/truck driver turned hairstylist.