Welsh actor Rhys Ifans has become the latest star to settle a damages claim in the aftermath of Britain's phone-hacking scandal. The Amazing Spider-Man star received a substantial, undisclosed payout after wrapping up a legal battle with the company behind now-defunct British tabloid the News of the World.
He also received an apology from News Group Newspapers as the case drew to a close at London's High Court on Tuesday (22Jul14). During the proceedings, the court heard how police seized evidence which suggested Ifans' voicemails had been intercepted.
Embattled British entertainer Michael Barrymore was also awarded a settlement on Tuesday and he said of the case, "It is nice to get to this point. It has taken 13 years... I do not believe journalists should be restricted. When they get it right they get it right, but when they get it wrong they should apologise a little bit quicker."
Previous stars to accept settlements relating to the phone-hacking scandal include actor Jude Law, funnyman Steve Coogan and musician Pete Doherty.
Summer at the movie theater generally means one thing: big-budget popcorn films packed with explosions, robots, superheroes, aliens, or a combination of all four. But even though we're currently in the middle of blockbuster season, that doesn't mean that action movies or outrageous comedies are your only option for summer entertainment. This also happens to be the best season for indie movies, and low-key, high-brow alternatives to the obnoxious, annoying and/or unintelligent blockbusters are flooding into theaters everywhere. So, when you're tired of being dragged along to yet another movie where superheroes punch each other or people (unrealistically) run away from explosions in slow motion, or you're forced to endure another onslaught of unfunny, overly-crude humor, why not take spend the afternoon with one of these indies (opening on or around the same dates) instead?
Instead of Tammy, Try Life Itself (Opens July 4) Melissa McCarthy makes her screenwriting debut in Tammy, a film about a woman searching for a new lease on life on a road trip with her alcoholic, diabetic, inappropriate grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon). But if you’re looking for a quieter – if no less cinematic – celebration of life, try Life Itself, the documentary about the life and career of the legendary film critic Roger Ebert. It’s an uplifting, fascinating look at a man who made film criticism accessible to the public and became the definitive voice of entertainment and cinema, even when he could no longer speak. Although it probably won’t have as many pratfalls as Tammy is likely to have…
Instead of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Try Boyhood (Opens July 11) In many ways, Caesar, the simian overlord from Planet of the Apes and Mason, the titular boy at the heart of Boyhood, are on a similar journey. Both are discovering their full potential, both are dealing with a growing sense of responsibility and pressure from the people around them and both are experiencing the joys and pains of growing up. It just so happens that Caesar’s growing pains have to do with the new monkey-led nation he’s establishing and Mason’s are the result of the ups and downs of the normal teenager experience.
Instead of Sex Tape, Try Mood Indigo (Opens July 18) At the box office, summer love is generally interpreted as a raunchy comedy, and this year’s offering is Sex Tape. However, there is a sweeter, more romantic alternative hitting theaters the same day: Mood Indigo. Directed by Michel Gondry, it’s a surreal love story about two newlyweds (Audrey Tatou and Romain Duris), whose relationship is tested when it’s discovered that a flower is growing in her lungs. A little offbeat, very dreamy, and wonderfully heartwarming, it’s a sweet summer treat. Plus, it has just enough special effects to satisfy any lingering desire for big-budget spectacle.
Instead of Lucy, Try Happy Christmas (Opens July 25) Summer movie season isn’t known for having a notable amount of female-fronted films, but 2014 has several lined up. The big-budget option is Lucy, which stars Scarlett Johansson as the only person in the world who is able to unlock and control the full potential of her brain’s capacity, but if you’re not in the mood for shooting, explosions and special effects, you can instead check out Happy Christmas, which opens the same day. Anna Kendrick stars as an irresponsible young woman who moves in with her brother (Joe Swanberg), his wife (Melanie Lynskey) and their infant son without any warning, and her slow, rocky journey towards adulthood.
Instead of Guardians of the Galaxy, Try The Trip to Italy (Opens August 15) Equal parts comedy and action, Guardians of the Galaxy is about a band of misfits who come together to save the universe. The Trip to Italy has a bit less action and a lot more impressions, but it too centers on a pair of misfits (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon), who are on mission to travel around Italy, review restaurants and annoy the crap out of each other. Watching these two trade jokes and attempt to one-up each other is quite possibly the most pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon.
Instead of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Try Love Is Strange (Opens August 22) Six years after the first Sin City hit theaters comes A Dame to Kill For, which sees Josh Brolin’s Dwight hunted down by the woman he loves (Eva Green), and brings back several of Frank Miller’s classic characters – well, the ones that weren’t brutally killed anyway. But if you’re in the mood for a more low-key love story, try Love Is Strange, a film about a middle-aged gay couple forced to live with friends after one of them loses his job at a Catholic school. Part love story, part family dramedy, part fish-out-of-water tale, it’s a funny, original take on the marriage plot, anchored by excellent performances from John Lithgow and Alfred Molina.
Instead of The Expendables 3, Try The Congress (Opens August 29) If you’re a fan of actors in a career renaissance and action films, but you’re looking for something a bit more inventive than Stallone and Co. blowing things up, The Congress might be the film for you. The sci-fi film centers on a fictionalized, down-on-her-luck version of Robin Wright agrees to allow a studio to digitize her likeness for a future Hollywood. However, the studio will have complete control over her image for the rest of time, and Wright has no say in what or who they turn her into. Just as exciting, but much more stimulating and creative, The Congress is a perfect alternative to your standard action fare.
Publishing tycoon Rupert Murdoch is wanted for questioning by British police as part of an inquiry into alleged criminal activity at his newspapers. The news comes after Murdoch's former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to intercept communications at the Old Bailey in London on Tuesday (24Jun14).
Rebekah Brooks, the ex-News International chief executive and former editor of Murdoch's British newspapers The Sun and the News of the World, was cleared of all charges relating to the sensational phone-hacking trial.
According to reports, Murdoch was contacted by officers at Scotland Yard last year (13) but they agreed to his lawyer's request to wait until the trial was over to quiz the media mogul.
He is expected to be questioned "under caution" as part of their probe into alleged criminal activities at his British newspapers, and his son James, who was executive chairman of News International in the U.K., may also be interviewed.
In 2011, Murdoch and his son attended a British Parliament inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal, during which the tycoon was attacked by an interloper wielding a cream pie.
Stars including Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Steve Coogan were among the high-profile victims of the News of the World's hacking scandal. The publication was closed by Murdoch in 2011.
A jury is still deliberating further charges against Coulson, who denies allegations of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.
Former newspaper boss Rebekah Brooks has been sensationally cleared of all charges relating to the high-profile phone-hacking trial in London. The ex-News International chief executive, and former editor of Britain's The Sun and News of the World newspapers, was found not guilty of four charges, including conspiracy to intercept communications, perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Meanwhile, Andy Coulson, another former editor of now-defunct tabloid News of the World, was found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to intercept communications.
Brooks' husband Charlie Brooks was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice, while her personal assistant Cheryl Carter was also cleared of the same charge.
News International's former head of security Mark Hanna was cleared of concealing computers, while the News of the World's former managing editor Stuart Kuttner was found not guilty of conspiracy to intercept communications.
The jury is still deliberating two further charges against Coulson and another against the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman.
Stars including Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Steve Coogan were among the high-profile victims of the News of the World's hacking scandal. The publication was closed by Rupert Murdoch in 2011.
Two high-profile British journalists have resigned from a freedom of speech campaign group after actor/comedian Steve Coogan was appointed as a patron. Last week (ends15Jun14), the Philomena star became a member of the Index on Censorship, an international organisation which promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression.
The move has sparked criticism because Coogan is a prominent supporter of Hacked Off, a group which campaigns for tougher press regulation, and other patrons fear the actor's appointment represents a conflict of interest.
Famed writer/broadcaster Ian Hislop and Francis Wheen, the editor and deputy editor of satirical U.K. current affairs magazine Private Eye, have resigned from the board of the Index on Censorship in protest at Coogan's appointment.
Wheen admits he was "baffled" by Coogan's inclusion, adding, "There are plenty of celebrities to choose from, it seems odd to choose someone who is so heavily associated with Hacked Off."
Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index defends Coogan, saying, "Our patrons are a diverse group of people, whose opinions sometimes diverge with our own. Free speech depends on open debate with people who may have points of view you disagree with..."
Monty Python actor Michael Palin and playwright Sir Tom Stoppard are also patrons of the group.
Russell Brand, Simon Pegg and Steve Coogan are the latest British celebrities to back a social media campaign to raise money for a cancer charity. The stars have thrown their support behind the #ThumbsUpForStephen social media fundraiser in honour of Stephen Sutton, a British teenager suffering from incurable cancer, who drew up a bucket list which included a wish to raise $1.6 million (£1 million) for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
His story hit headlines this week (beg21Apr14) after the 19 year old wrote a heartfelt message on Facebook.com, and a number of celebrities have now backed his fundraising efforts, posting images of themselves holding a piece of paper which encourages fans to donate to the campaign via text message.
Sutton's goal was reached on Tuesday (22Apr14). The campaign total had hit $2.7 million (£1.7 million) when WENN went to press.
Oscar-nominated actress and singer Ronee Sue Blakley has filed a defamation lawsuit against her screenwriter ex Carroll Cartwright amid allegations of defamation relating to his 2012 film What Maisie Knew. Cartwright co-wrote the script for the drama, which was said to be an adaptation of Henry James' 1897 novel of the same name.
The story followed a young girl who was used as a pawn in a bitter custody battle between her abusive mother Susanna, played onscreen by Julianne Moore, and her father Beale, portrayed by Steve Coogan.
However, Blakley is convinced Cartwright used aspects of their own lengthy custody fight over their daughter Sarah in the film and now she is suing, citing "libel in fiction".
In her complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, her lawyer writes, "If Susanna had been an entirely fictional character, this lawsuit would never have been filed. But that is not the case. Cartwright, who co-wrote the screenplay of the Film, has admitted that it is closely based on his own first hand (sic) personal experience of a lengthy and acrimonious battle for the custody of his daughter, Sarah."
The papers continue: "Cartwright wrote the screenplay to further his own feelings of hatred for Blakley by maliciously and falsely portraying her as a selfish and uncaring mother, when in fact she was a devoted and loving parent. This false depiction of Blakley has damaged her reputation and caused her to suffer severe emotional distress."
Blakley, known for her roles in 1975 movie Nashville and A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, is suing for $3 million (£1.9 million) in damages.
Steve Coogan's comic creation Alan Partridge is returning to the big screen for a follow-up to his film debut. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, which features the actor as a socially awkward local radio/TV personality, topped the U.K. box office upon its release last August (13).
Coogan went on to win great acclaim for another movie project, Philomena, which garnered him a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination earlier this year (14), but now he is returning to his comedy roots for a Partridge follow up.
Henry Normal, co-founder of Coogan's production company Baby Cow, tells Britain's Guardian newspaper, "We are planning a sequel (to Alpha Papa), yes, that will be great."
The beloved character debuted on British radio in 1991, before moving to TV in 1994.
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Ugh... Mondays, am I right? Every week kicks off with that trademark despair so expertly articulated in Mike Judge's Office Space: you've got a case of the Mondays. Luckily, Netflix has you covered, with plenty of pick-me-up comedies to make the worst day of the week a bit more jolly. To start off our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendations, we suggest Our Idiot Brother.
Is it possible to be too nice? That's the question posed by Our Idiot Brother. Paul Rudd, the nation's greatest resource of pure charisma, puts his all into Ned, an impossibly idealistic man in a world that isn't ready to take in so much goodness. Ned loves everything unconditionally. He's a soft, easygoing spirit, but lacks the tenacity to make it in the modern day, and spends the twilight of his thirties surfing between his sisters' couches. Everyone learns soon enough that even affability has its breaking point, and Ned, who is cluelessly honest in all situations, throws his family into turmoil when he lets loose damaging secrets.
The film is an adorable indie comedy, and features the likes of Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones, and Steve Coogan, all putting in good work, but the true highlight of the film is the completely likable Rudd. The character and his worldview are affecting, and ultimately a bit inspiring. Even when Ned's lack of duplicity causes the film to take one or two unfortunate detours, his charm is pure magnetism.
You can stream Our Idiot Brother on Netflix, and make sure to check back tomorrow for our recommendations for the perfect Bluesday Tuesday movie.
Actor Richard Coogan has died, aged 99. The star, best known for playing the title role in sci-fi TV show Captain Video and His Video Rangers, passed away in Los Angeles on Wednesday (12Mar14).
Coogan began his career on Broadway, appearing in shows such as Diamond Lil with Hollywood icon Mae West, and moved into TV when he was cast in the lead role in groundbreaking series Captain Video and His Video Rangers which debuted in 1949.
After appearing in two series of the show, Coogan moved on to a role in soap opera Love Of Life. He later appeared in films such as Three Hours to Kill and Girl on the Run, and TV shows including Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Maverick and Perry Mason.
He retired from acting in the 1960s and went on to become a professional golfer.