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Girls creator/star Lena Dunham is giving fans the chance to serve as the opening act for her upcoming U.S. book tour.
The Golden Globe award winner will release her first book, Not That Kind of Girl, this autumn (14), and to help promote the memoir she is hitting the road for a 10-city tour.
The events will include a book signing and discussion with Dunham, and she is calling on talented fans to help entertain the masses at each stop, before she hits the stage.
Interested parties can submit videos of themselves demonstrating their talents, whether it be singing, dancing, or stand-up comedy, and the winners will land a three-to-five minute slot.
The actress will also be joined on tour by a few of her celebrity friends, including comedienne Amy Schumer and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein.
Her last stop in Brooklyn, New York, will be moderated by author Zadie Smith, and feature appearances by her Girls co-star Jemima Kirke and her boyfriend Jack Antonoff's band, Bleachers.
The Not That Kind Of Girl tour begins on 30 September (14).
Puerto Rican rappers Calle 13 are set to be honoured by New York City officials. Rene Perez Joglar and Eduardo Jose Cabra Martinez will be feted by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their social justice efforts ahead of Sunday's (08Jun14) Puerto Rican Day Parade, which Joglar will lead.
Mark-Viverito tells Buzzfeed.com,"I approached (de Blasio) and told him I would like to jointly host (the reception at the mayor's official residence of Gracie Mansion) since I'm the first Puerto Rican in (my) position."
She adds of Calle 13, "I believe when you have a level of notoriety or a prominent position it's important when you're not afraid to express an opinion, especially the way they challenge through their lyrics. They speak out against injustice and issues that others may shy away from. I may not agree with them on everything, but the fact that they even dare to challenge people is good."
Joglar admits he is honoured to be recognised and is looking forward to hosting the parade.
He says, "I am proud to have been chosen to preside over the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York. This is a celebration that permits us to come together to honour our culture and celebrate our nationality and identity."
Gloria Estefan is to be inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Ricardo Arjona and Juan Luis Guerra. The trio will join Panamanian composer Omar Alfanno, Spanish songwriter Rafael Perez Botija and Mexican star Lolita de la Colina among the inductees at this year's La Musa Awards gala in October (14).
The Miami Beach, Florida event is only in its second year - the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame debuted in 2013 when Jose Feliciano and Julio Iglesias were among those inducted.
Estefan's latest accolade comes just days after she and her husband Emilio were honoured at the star-studded Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala tribute concert in Las Vegas on Saturday night (26Apr14).
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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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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Getty ImagesWhile the pick-and-choose nature of the digital market has almost rendered the Greatest Hits album obsolete, there are some career retrospectives which would have struggled to sell even if their respective record labels paid audiences to buy them. Here's a look at five compilations which would have been more suitably titled Greatest Hit.
Lou Bega – Beautiful World (A Little Collection Of Lou Bega’s Best)Borsalino hat-wearing Lou Bega joined the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias in the Latin pop explosion of 1999 with his irresistibly catchy cover of Perez Prado's "Mambo No. 5," reaching number one in nearly every country in continental Europe. But unlike his fellow hip-shakers, he miserably failed to sustain its success. Follow-up "Tricky, Tricky" peaked at a lowly No. 73 in the US while his last three albums even sank without trace in his native Germany, making 19 out of the 20 tracks on this 2013 compilation entirely surplus to requirements.
Crazy Frog – Best Of Crazy HitsIncredibly, the computer-animated amphibian who terrorized pop in the mid-'00s with his impossibly irritating moped engine impersonation scored five UK Top 20 hits and two US Top 40 albums before he was thankfully retired. But released four years after making the leap from ringtone adverts to the charts, surely no-one would have been in the mood to hear 40, that's 40, examples of his ring-ding-ding brand of pop.
Tag Team – The Best OfAtlanta hip-hop duo Tag Team didn't really make much effort to distance themselves from their one-hit wonder tag, re-recording 1993 US No. 2 hit "Whoomp! (There It Is)" twice a year later for Addams Family Values and the Houston Rockets, and then again in 1995 for an all-star Disney version. It also appears on this 2000 compilation three times, although how many people would sit through the other seventeen tracks to get to the House and Spanish mixes remains to be seen.
Hilary Duff – Most WantedPredating Miley, Selena and Demi's transition from the Disney Channel to the US Hot 100, tween favourite Hilary Duff has probably now earned the right to release a retrospective. Less so in 2005 when she was only two albums and two US Top 40 hits into her career. Amazingly, despite the fact that most of her fans would have only bought the majority of its material during the previous two years, Most Wanted reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Chesney Hawkes - The Very Best Of Chesney HawkesRecently and unexpectedly heard in both of Duncan Jones' critically-acclaimed big-screen efforts, Moon and Source Code, Chesney Hawkes' "The One & Only" is one of the more cherished one-hit wonders of the early '90s. But having failed to bother the charts ever since, it still doesn't justify this 2005 20-track collection.
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Against our better judgment and emotional well-being, we became very attached to the characters on Game of Thrones. While no one is safe in the cast and characters get killed off without a second thought, it's reassuring to know these actors get to "live on" in other roles. With a cast made up of largely European and lesser-known actors, it's exciting to see the show take off and propel the careers of these talented and easy-on-the eyes thespians. So until season four returns next March or April, here's where you can find the past and present citizens of Westeros in the meantime.
When he's not strutting the Emmys red carpet, or entrancing children and adults alike on Sesame Street, Peter Dinklage a.k.a Tyrion Lannister will don armor once again in the Knights of Badassdom. The horror comedy film about LARPing (live action role play) was put on the backburner since 2010 but is slated for theatrical release this year. Dinklage will be joined by fellow LARP-enthusiasts Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) and the consistenly funny Steve Zahn. Dinklage will also make an appearance in the next X-Men installment, Days of Future Past, the dramedy The Angriest Man in Brooklyn starring Robin Williams and Mila Kunis and will reunite with his GOT onscreen sister, Lena Headey in the upcoming biopic, Low Down, about the famous jazz pianist Joe Albany.
It's been a rough year for Jon Snow, with half his family dead and his ginger girlfriend going postal on his ass and shooting him in the back with arrows. But for Kit Harrington, things are shaping up quite nicely with two new movies in the bag — one involves dragons and Julianne Moore (The Seventh Son) while the other features some rock hard abs and a loose interpretation of history (Pompeii) — a winning formula Hollywood can't resist.
While our favorite Skins star doesn't nab too much screen time on GOT, her character Gilly will have more a story arc next season now that she left the clutches of the incestuous commune of Craster's Keep. In the meantime, Murray can continue to play manic pixie dream girls in the upcoming musical film, God Help the Girl, written and directed by Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch about a group of kids making music in Glasgow. Here's a trailer of her other film, Lily & Kat, featuring Murray being the free-spirited wisp she's so good at.
As the dashing-boy prince Robb Stark, Richard Madden made his GOT exit in one of the most gruesome death scenes in television history. Poor Robb, we hardly knew ya. But lucky for us, Madden hasn't completely abandoned the world of period pieces and fantasy fiction. He skipped the Emmys red carpet to play Prince Charming in the upcoming Cinderella film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Before he charms the glass slipper off of Lily James, he’ll seduce a wealthy married woman in pre-World War I England, played by the impecable Rebecca Hall in the film A Promise.
After burning her enemies to death and taking names, the mother of dragons, played by Emilia Clarke can abandon the blond extensions and form fitting medieval wear for a more natural look. She'll appear in the much buzzed about comedic gangster film, Don Hemingway, starring Jude Law. While we would have pegged her as a love interest, she'll actually be playing the daughter who he tries to repair his relationship with. Let's hope Clarke acting isn't CGI-dependent.
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Considering the Season 2 finale of Girls ended on an unbelievably sappy note of Adam quite literally carrying Hannah to safety in his arms, it's hard to call this photo a spoiler. I mean, these two were bound to get together considering they turned Adam into a saint finally looking for true love (who also occasionally kind of rapes his girlfriend Natalia, but tomato, tomah-toh) and Hannah into a completely helpless basket case in need of saving.
But, here it is, a shot of Lena Dunham and Adam Driver having a passionate lip lock while filming a scene from Season 3 of the HBO series in New York City. It appears that Dunham's Hannah is a holding a note (a love letter for him, perhaps?) and Driver's Adam has an overflowing backpack with what looks like a gift bag inside of it (a present for her?) Take a look:
Alright, it's a pretty hot-looking kiss, but not a terribly surprising one. I mean, with Jessa and Thomas John split up, not to mention Shoshanna and Ray, with the same fate more than likely for Marnie and Charlie (thanks to Christopher Abbott's abrupt exit from the award-winning series), it's all pretty much riding on Hannah and Adam for any sort of romance on the dark comedy. Still, these two should have tried staying single a little longer in order to get their s**t together. Let's just hope that, even if she got Adam back, she finished that damn e-book first.
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Production on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in full swing, with Andrew Garfield back as the friendly neighborhood crime fighter and Emma Stone as his blonde braniac girlfriend Gwen Stacey. As was the case with the original movie, director Marc Webb is taking his two leads out into the streets of New York City to film his webslinging hero in real locations. A superhero movie needs all the authenticity it can get, and it doesn't get more "real" than Garfield dangling from the rooftops of skyscrapers.
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And like the The Amazing Spider-Man's outdoor circus, the paparazzi are already out in full force to give us our first, raw glimpse at the new movie. To beat the savvy photographers to the punch, Sony has give us this look at the new and improved Spider-Man costume, in the form of a shiny one-sheet that has our Spidey Sense tingling.
Unlike the first movie's dark, moody interpretation of the iconic suit, ASM2 is brightening things up and bringing Peter Parker's costumed look closer to the popping colors of the comic books (not too far off from what Sam Raimi did with his original trilogy). But the poster only paints half a picture. Luckily, the paparazzi picked up on Spidey's New York City whereabouts as soon as cameras started rolling and snapped this on-set pic:
Yes, that's Spider-Man, alright — and this go around, he even has his belt back. Purists, take a deep breath.
If that weren't enough, Webb continues to seize control of the Twittersphere by rattling off set pictures straight from his iPhone. See all the director's teasing Twitpics in our Amazing Spider-Man Set Pics gallery.
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Along with Garfiend and Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sports an all-star cast of Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti, Shailene Woodley, Dane DeHaan, and Felicity Jones. The movie arrives in theaters May 2, 2014.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Marvel/Columbia Pictures; Jose Perez/Splash News]
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.