Getty/Joseph OkpakoFollowing The Who's Pete Townshend's speech on piracy in 2011 and Billy Bragg's rally against the decline of state educated musicians in 2012, Charlotte Church became the latest star to speak out against a particular aspect of the music industry this month when she took to the stage for the annual John Peel lecture. This time it was the representation of women in pop that was the major issue, which having gone from precocious young soprano to teen-pop star to indie singer-songwriter, the 27-year-old certainly knows quite a bit about. Here's a look at some of her most headline-grabbing key points."Women are being coerced into sexual roles to cling on to their careers... They are encouraged to present themselves as hyper-sexualised, unrealistic, cartoonish, as objects, reducing female sexuality to a prize you can win."Miley Cyrus' ears should once again have been burning after Church appeared to summarise Sinead O'Connor's recent string of open letters in a far more succinct manner."When I was 19 or 20, I found myself in this position, being pressured into wearing more and more revealing outfits. I felt deeply uncomfortable about the whole thing, but I was often reminded by record label executives just whose money was being spent."However, Church empathised with the current crop of former tween stars after acknowledging that she too was coerced into acting more provocatively during her mainstream pop phase."Now, I find it difficult to promote my music where I feel it would be best suited, because of my history. The culture of demeaning women in pop music is so ingrained as to become routine, from the way we are dealt with by management and labels, to the way we are presented the public."But issuing a warning to those who may want to let the music do the talking in the future, Church admitted that she'd since found it hard to get her music taken seriously because of her past."It is a multi-billion dollar business that relies upon short-burst messaging to sell product. And there's no easier way to sell something than to get some chick to get her tits out, right? This idea, repeated over generations, can't but have a negative effect on women, whether they are in the industry or not."After referencing Rihanna's recent controversial video for "Pour It Up," Church argued that such overt displays of sexual behaviour sends out the wrong message to society as a whole."It is interesting to note, that anyone of any age has been able to watch Christina Aguilera's simulated masturbation in her 'Dirty' video on YouTube since the website began. And yet you must sign in to the site to prove your age if you wanted to watch Bjork's stunning video for 'Pagan Poetry'."While admitting that neither of the videos mentioned above are suitable viewing for young children, Church blasted YouTube for their hypocrisy when it came to naked flesh."From what I can see, there are three main roles that women are allowed to fill in modern pop music. Each of them restrictive for both artists and audience. They are mainly portrayed through the medium of the music video, you'll find them very familiar. I call them One of the Girls' Girls, the Victim/Torch Singer, and the Unattainable Sexbot."Even national treasure Adele wasn't immune from criticism after Church placed her in the second category of female artists whose careers are built on being the wronged woman."The indefensible Robin Thicke, stated in an interview with GQ, that his intention was to do everything that is completely derogatory towards women because he respects them so much."After describing pop's biggest sleazeball as mediocre, Church then stuck the knife in deeper after recalling his completely preposterous justification for "Blurred Lines "and its equally questionable video."The terrifying thing is that the target demographic for this type of music is getting younger and younger. Jennifer Lopez seemingly trying to engulf the camera with her vagina on Britain's Got Talent earlier this year is a mild example of how frequently carnal images creep into the realm of what is deemed okay for kids."Not one to mince her words, J-Lo also got it in the neck following a raunchy performance of "Live It Up" on the pre-watershed talent show.
Darren Aronofsky is known for creating cinematic masterpieces such as his 2010 Oscar winning film, Black Swan. However, it looks like Aronofsky's latest venture, the biblical epic Noah, is doomed to fail. According to The Hollywood Reporter, screenings of the film have been met with generally unfavorable reactions, and now Paramount and New Regency (who are splitting the costs) are pressuring him to make changes. Aronofsky, who doesn't typically work with big studios, is refusing to make those changes, and is standing by the film he originally shot. In fact, THR spoke with a talent rep close to the project who said, "Darren is not made for studio films. He is very dismissive. He doesn't care about Paramount's opinion."
Unfortunately for Aronofsky, the director will most likely have to make a few changes since the studios have already invested at least $125 million in the project. Many are claiming the movie is facing these critical reactions due to an overuse of CGI effects. While the film obviously had to use these effects for the flood, Aronofsky also decided to use them for the animals as well, cutting out the use of real animals all together. He even altered some of them to create more fantastical creatures, making the film look unrealistic.
Other worries are plaguing the studios as Aronofsky is also receiving backlash from Christians who were offended by Aronofsky calling Noah "the first environmentalist." Among his critics is the Christian screenwriter Brian Godawa, who called the script "an uninteresting and unbiblical waste of $150 million that will ruin for decades the possibility of making a really great and entertaining movie …. This movie will be rejected by millions of devoted Bible readers worldwide because once again it subverts their own sacred narrative with a political agenda of pagan Earth religion that is offensive to their faith.”
While these rumors swirl, Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore says the film is going through the "normal preview process" which "…Darren is overseeing." Moore also explained that the studio "allowed for a very long post-production period, which allowed for a lot of test screenings.”
A spokesman for Aronofsky also commented; "This is a long and collaborative process, and Darren and the studio are working together to make the best version of his movie that they can. To comment on anonymous quotes only gives time and space to false rumors and gossip.”
Whether the film turns out to be an entertaining epic or a big-budget disaster, we'll have to wait and see. Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly is set to be released March 28, 2014.
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Actress Leah Remini found a little comfort in pal Jennifer Lopez's kids on Saturday (03Aug13) amid the fall-out from her decision to quit the Church of Scientology last month (Jul13). The former star of hit U.S. comedy show King of Queens hit the headlines when she announced she had left the church, which boasts John Travolta and Tom Cruise as high-profile members.
And she turned to a little trampolining fun in Los Angeles to take her mind off the drama.
Remini was spotted at Sky High Sports Trampoline Park with her husband Angelo Pagan, their daughter Sofia and best pal Lopez's twins Max and Emme, who she was babysitting while mum was out of town.
Last week (ends02Aug13), the actress revealed she is planning a tell-all book about her experience as a Scientologist.
So, you want to see a horror movie. But with the influx of new films slated for this fall, where do you begin? Drowning in trailers? Sick of reading reviews? Stop all that nonsense and look no further than our handy dandy guide to choosing the film that best suits your needs. We've broken down each of this fall's new horror movies into its primal elements so you can quickly and effectively find your perfect match.
House at the End of the Street
Release Date: Sept. 21
You should see it if… You think blonde Jennifer Lawrence is far superior to brunette Jennifer Lawrence (but let's face it, you're basically obsessed with her always, especially when she's wearing a white tank top). You prefer the "I'm stuck in an abandoned cabin in the woods with a ghost" sub-genre of horror, and you're okay with never living in rural America again. You are a Twitter fiend and love titles that are basically excuses to use a hashtag with a reflexive acronym (#HATES).
Release Date: Oct. 5
You should see it if… You regularly put your own ambition ahead of the safety of your family and you always forget that curiosity killed the cat. You have a borderline unhealthy fascination with pagan symbols and supernatural serial killers. (Who's Bagul? How could you ask such a question!) You think Ethan Hawke deserved an Oscar for Gattaca.
Release Date: Oct. 5
You should see it if… You think VHS tapes are way scarier than DVDs. Found footage horror films are totally your jam; you and your friends rewatch The Blair Project every Halloween. You suffer from ADD and therefore support stories that are told in brief fragments.
Paranormal Activity 4
Release Date: Oct. 19
Rating: Not Yet Rated
You should see it if… You think every movie deserves a sequel… and threequel… fourquel. You think children are terrifying. You think being safe in your home is overrated and you're positive there is something wrong with your new neighbors. Are your lights flickering even though you're sure you paid the electric bill? First, leave your house immediately. Second, watch Paranormal Activity 4 and learn things.
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[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures; Summit Entertainment
With no new releases from Lars Von Trier, Werner Herzog, David Lynch, David Cronenberg or Richard Kelly, 2010 projected to be a down, if not disastrous year for the WTF Awards – our annual celebration of the most bizarre, baffling, head-scratching and cringe-worthy moments in cinema. Thankfully, the filmmaking community, as it has always done in times of crisis, rallied to fill the void left by the absence of these WTF titans, providing us with an abundance of examples worthy of honor with the Frank Trophy. The Frankie (so named for the beloved character from Donnie Darko) may not be the most prestigious award in Hollywood, but it is undoubtedly the tallest.
This year's winners:
Most Surprising Hit: Alice in Wonderland
That Tim Burton’s CGI confection was a hit is not a surprise; that it grossed over a billion dollars worldwide – enough to rank sixth all-time -- is. Goth and emo kids, it seems, have access to significantly more disposable income than anyone previously thought. And they appear to be multiplying. Time to start building that shelter – and buying Hot Topic stock.
Most Inexplicable Flop: The Tourist
Plenty of films disappointed at the box office last year – 2010’s total tally was the lowest in 12 years – but none boasted the star power (Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp!) and sexy, exotic locales (Paris! Venice!) of The Tourist. Then again, the same combination also failed Eat Pray Love. Perhaps directing and screenwriting still matter after all.
Best Inadvertent Horror Flick: Tie –
The Nutcracker 3D – A children’s movie that triggers instantaneous terror among most children who see it? Sounds pretty darn hilarious to me. Which is why I don’t have kids.
Sex and the City 2 – Four solipsistic ghouls marauding across the Middle East, leaving dignity, good taste and America’s reputation throughout the Islamic world in their gruesome menopausal wake. Eli Roth can only dream of this kind of revulsion.
Movie Whose Mere Existence May Prompt You to Consider Ending Yours: The Bounty Hunter
On the plus side, whenever someone at a party questions the difficulty of a job that entails watching movies for a living, I can now effectively silence them with just three words.
Most Superbly Crafted Film I Never Want to See Again: Black Swan
So prodigious are director-sadist Darren Aronofsky’s abilities to unnerve that even the presence of a Natalie Portman/Mila Kunis girl-on-girl sex scene fails to inspire repeat viewings of his critically-acclaimed camp freakout. Aronofsky achieved the same feat with his nails-on-blackboard brilliant Requiem for a Dream, in which even a fully nude Jennifer Connelly couldn’t ease the existential dread.
Movie That Could Only Have Come Out of Scandinavia: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Leave it to those freaky Fins to re-imagine Santa Claus as a child-abducting, reindeer-slaughtering monster served by a corps of naked, shriveled elves. Jalmari Helander’s coffee-black comedy is perfect entertainment for tots not sufficiently traumatized by The Nutcracker 3D.
Most Egregious Bait-and-Switch: The American
As much as I enjoyed Anton Corbijn’s avowedly minimalist take on the quintessential “one last job” tale, I couldn’t help but feel for moviegoers who, lured by the film’s somewhat misleading marketing, went to see it expecting a polished popcorn thriller more worthy of an A-lister like George Clooney. Instead they got a spare, melancholy art flick, albeit one with a surfeit of nudity.
Most Disturbing “Love” Scene: Splice
Adrian Brody’s mad genetic scientist enjoys a drunken dalliance with Dren, the androgynous (and uncomfortably hot) offspring of his unholy experiments, in a scene glazed with just enough sensuality by director Vincenzo Natali to make our discomfort visceral. That the creature’s jambalaya genome includes bits of his own DNA as well as that of several other animals, qualifying the act as both incest and bestiality, is the icing on the cringe-cake.
Most Dubious Marketing Tagline: “From the Mind of M. Night Shyamalan” – Devil
Best WTF Cameo: Ed Corbin (The Bear Man), True Grit
In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn enjoy an awkward exchange with a hulking figure, clad in a bear suit and towing a corpse, who inquires in a creepy drawl as to whether either of them require medical attention. The scene wasn’t in Charles Portis’ source novel; it’s purely a creation of the Coen Brothers, whose yen for quirky peripheral characters is unmatched.
The George Lucas Award for Achievement in Legacy Dismantling: Kevin Smith
At first heralded as the voice of a generation and an inspiration to aspiring indie auteurs, the Clerks director has since degenerated into a just another Hollywood hack, reaching his creative nadir in 2010 with his buddy-cop flop, Cop Out. As a fan of his early work, I’m sad to see that he’s essentially become the Insane Clown Posse of filmmakers: amateurish, puerile, gimmicky, and a joke to everyone outside his army of inexplicably devoted followers.
Most Disconcerting Movie Trend: The Live-Action Comedy Famine
While animated comedies continued their profitable reign in 2010, their live-action counterparts were rejected en mass by moviegoers. Part of this can be explained by the dearth of quality titles; the rundown of rom-coms in particular -- Leap Year, The Bounty Hunter, Killers, When in Rome, The Switch, How Do You Know, et al -- reads like a to-do list at Guantanamo, and Little Fockers is now routinely invoked in pagan rituals to summon the fertility demon Naberus. But what’s more distressing is that the better comedies, like Easy A, Get Him to the Greek, MacGruber, and Hot Tub Time Machine, struggled to find audiences as well.
WTF Performer of the Year: James Franco
Let’s be honest: Any year in which Nicolas Cage makes a film is a year in which he wins this award. The man owns this category like Wilt Chamberlain owned the paint. As such, like Chamberlain, his dominance has inspired a rule change: In the interest of variety, the award will henceforth be known as the “Nicolas Cage Award for Achievement in WTF Performance.”
In 2010, no other actor dazzled, confused and, indeed, nauseated us as much as James Franco. His artistic output – from creative writing to cross-dressing photo shoots to Funny or Die shorts to big-budget cameos to his continued run on General Hospital -- was nothing short of baffling. And the strangest thing is, it all paid off. Among other accolades, he’s received his first Oscar nomination for his performance as arm-severing bicyclist Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours.
Whichever agents negotiated Franco’s pact with Satan have earned their 5%.
WTF Movie of the Year: Splice
Human Centipede’s grotesqueries, while numerous and undoubtedly WTF-worthy, were of a strictly intestinal variety. Splice’s approach was much more holistic: It not only churned your stomach; it skull-f*cked your id. This is the kind of boldly batsh*t filmmaking for which the WTF Awards were invented. Congratulations to director Vincenzo Natali; we hope this helps ease the disappointment of losing out at the Teen Choice Awards.