"Oh goodness, I passed the 7 million folllowers (sic) mark. As usual I shall say that I love you all. Except you. No, not you, YOU. Well, OK I do." British actor Stephen Fry celebrates a new Twitter.com milestone.
Stars including Stephen Fry, Colin Baker and Robert Lindsay have paid tribute to British comedy actor Sam Kelly, who has died aged 70. The veteran star passed away on Saturday (14Jun14) after a lengthy illness.
Confirming his death, his agent Lynda Ronan said, "Sam Kelly died peacefully... after a long illness bravely fought.
"He does not leave any family but a host of friends who were his chosen family. His death is a great loss to them and the profession."
After news of his death broke, stars from screen and stage took to Twitter.com to pay their respects to the beloved actor.
Fry wrote, "Very saddened to hear about Sam Kelly's death. He played a splendid Hitler in a comedy drama called Stalagluft I made with Nick Lyndhurst..."
Former Doctor Who star Baker, who went to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art alongside Kelly, added, "Cannot believe that lovely Sam Kelly has died. We were at drama school together - lovely, funny, talented chap. So sad."
Sherlock actor Mark Gattis also tweeted, "Desperately sad news that the wonderful Sam Kelly has left us. Such a funny, talented man and one of the good guys," while Lindsay, who was preparing to perform in West End show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, wrote, "Feel so depressed about the amazing Sam Kelly's passing how do we manage a second comic musical tonight? we dedicate it to him RIP."
Kelly was best known for his roles in classic U.K. sitcoms 'Allo 'Allo! and Porridge. He also appeared in longrunning comedies Barbara, On the Up, Black Books, and his film work included 2010 family film Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang and Mike Leigh's 2002 movie All or Nothing.
British thespian Mark Rylance has beaten Twelfth Night castmates Stephen Fry and Paul Chahidi to pick up the first Tony Award at Sunday night's (08Jun14) ceremony in New York. The actor has scored his third Tony by picking up the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play prize and took the stage at Radio City Music Hall, where he honoured actor Sam Wanamaker who was blacklisted during Hollywood's Joseph McCarthy communist witch hunt era in the 1950s.
Wanamaker fled to the U.K., where he "gave the last 25 years of his life" rebuilding William Shakespeare's The Globe theatre.
Rylance, who is also nominated for a Lead Actor in a Play Tony, said, "We are children of Sam Wanamaker's vision."
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays.
Actor and author Stephen Fry has blasted British government officials for failing to take action over the mass surveillance programme detailed by U.S. 'whistleblower' Edward Snowden. The former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee hit headlines after leaking confidential information on top secret operations undertaken by U.S. and U.K. government chiefs on their own citizens, and he has since been charged with committing espionage against America.
Snowden is currently seeking asylum in Russia, but his revelations were at the centre of debate on Saturday (07Jun14) at a London privacy summit, organised by activists at the Don't Spy on Us Campaign and held to mark the one-year anniversary of the expose.
In a pre-recorded video message, Fry urged attendees to demand action from politicians in an effort to pressurise the U.K.'s coalition government to launch an inquiry into the controversial surveillance operations.
He said, "The idea of having your letters read by somebody, your telegrams, your faxes, your postcards intercepted, was always considered one of the meanest, most beastly things a human being could do, and for a government to do, without good cause. Using the fear of terrorism that we all have, the fear of the unknown that we all share, the fear of enemies that hate us, is a duplicitous and deeply wrong means of excusing something as base as spying on the citizens of your own country."
He continued, "It's enough that corporations know so much about us and our spending habits, our eating habits, our sexual preferences, everything else.
"But that a government, something that we elect, something that should be looking out for our best interests, should presume, without asking, to take information that we swap, we hope privately, between ourselves is frankly disgraceful."
British rocker Morrissey has warned fans not to be fooled by a new Twitter.com account set up in his name, insisting the blog is "bogus". The former The Smiths frontman surprised fans on Wednesday (14May14) by appearing to send out his first tweet since originally joining the social media site in 2009.
The message, from the account @itsmorrissey, read: "Hello. Testing, 1, 2, 3. Planet Earth, are you there? One can only hope..."
The page seemed to be legitimate as it featured the verified account check mark from Twitter bosses, and more than 248,000 devotees, including comedians Stephen Fry and Russell Brand, clicked to follow Morrissey's musings.
However, the Suedehead hitmaker has now spoken out to distance himself from the blog, exposing the mystery writer as a fake.
In a statement posted on his fansite True-to-You.net, he writes, "I would like to stress that I do not have either a Twitter or a Facebook account.
"I gather that a Twitter account has been opened in my name - as 'It's Morrissey' - but it is NOT Morrissey. I do not know who has opened this recent Twitter account, but please be aware that it is bogus. That's, of course, if you should remotely care."
Morrissey signed off the note with the words, "Untwitterably yours."
Bryan Cranston, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris O'dowd and Stephen Fry are among the big-name TV stars nominated for top prizes at the 2014 Tony Awards. Breaking Bad star Cranston is up for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play trophy for his turn in All The Way, which is also nominated in the Best Play category at the awards, held to honour the year's best Broadway performances.
He will compete with Irish actor O'Dowd (Of Mice and Men), Brit Mark Rylance (Richard III), Tony Shalhoub (Act One), and Samuel Barnett (Twelfth Night), who are all nominated in the same category.
Samuel L. Jackson's wife LaTanya Richardson is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category for her part in A Raisin in the Sun, but she will have to fend off competition from Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons), Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), and Estelle Parsons (The Velocity of Autumn).
How I Met Your Mother star Harris leads the nominations in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his flamboyant turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, while singer Idina Menzel is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her part in If/Then.
Beloved British actor Stephen Fry scooped a nod in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play category for Twelfth Night, but his fellow Brits Daniel Radcliffe, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart were all overlooked despite giving acclaimed performances on the Great White Way.
Fry took to his Twitter.com page on Tuesday (29Apr14) to share his excitement at being nominated, writing, "Oh my goodness, apparently I've been nominated for a Tony award. I can't believe it. How rippingly thrilling."
The winners will be revealed at the 68th annual Tony Awards on 8 June (14) at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
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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You don't arrive at the Grand Budapest Hotel without your share of Wes Anderson baggage. Odds are, if you've booked a visit to this film, you've enjoyed your past trips to the Wes Indies (I promise I'll stop this extended metaphor soon), delighting especially in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and his most recent charmer Moonrise Kingdom. On the other hand, you could be the adventurous sort — a curious diplomat who never really got Anderson's uric-toned deadpan drudgings but can't resist browsing through the brochures of his latest European getaway. First off, neither community should worry about a bias in this review — I'm a Life Aquatic devotee, equally alienating to both sides. Second, neither community should be deterred by Andersonian expectations, be they sky high or subterranean, in planned Budapest excursions. No matter who you are, this movie will charm your dandy pants off and then some.
While GBH hangs tight to the filmmaker's recognizable style, the movie is a departure for Anderson in a number of ways. The first being plot: there is one. A doozy, too. We're accustomed to spending our Wes flicks peering into the stagnant souls of pensive man-children — or children-men (Moonrise) or fox-kits (guess) — whose journeys are confined primarily to the internal. But not long into Grand Budapest, we're on a bona fide adventure with one of the director's most attractive heroes to date: the didactic Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes mastering sympathetic comedy better than anyone could have imagined he might), who invests his heart and soul into the titular hotel, an oasis of nobility in a decaying 1930s Europe. Gustave is plucked from his sadomasochistic nirvana overseeing every cog and sprocket in the mountaintop institution and thrust into a madcap caper — reminiscent of, and not accidentally, the Hollywood comedies of the era — involving murder, framing, art theft, jailbreak, love, sex, envy, secret societies, high speed chases... believe me, I haven't given half of it away. Along the way, we rope in a courageous baker (Saoirse Ronan), a dutiful attorney (Jeff Goldblum), a hotheaded socialite (Adrien Brody) and his psychopathic henchman (Willem Dafoe), and no shortage of Anderson regulars. The director proves just as adept at the large scale as he is at the small, delivering would-be cartoon high jinks with the same tangible life that you'd find in a Billy Wilder romp or one of the better Hope/Crosby Road to movies.
Anchoring the monkey business down to a recognizable planet Earth (without sacrificing an ounce of comedy) is the throughline of Gustave's budding friendship with his lobby boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori, whose performance is an unprecedented and thrilling mixture of Wes Anderson stoicism and tempered humility), the only living being who appreciates the significance of the Grand Budapest as much as Gustave does. In joining these two oddballs on their quest beyond the parameters of FDA-approved doses of zany, we appreciate it, too: the significance of holding fast to something you believe in, understand, trust, and love in a world that makes less and less sense everyday. Anderson's World War II might not be as ostensibly hard-hitting as that to which modern cinema is accustomed, but there's a chilling, somber horror story lurking beneath the surface of Grand Budapest. Behind every side-splitting laugh, cookie cutter backdrop, and otherworldly antic, there is a pulsating dread that makes it all mean something. As vivid as the worlds of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise might well have been, none have had this much weight and soul.
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So it's astonishing that we're able to zip to and fro' every crevice of this haunting, misty Central Europe at top speeds, grins never waning as our hero Gustave delivers supernaturally articulate diatribes capped with physically startling profanity. So much of it is that delightfully odd, agonizingly devoted character, his unlikely camaraderie with the unflappably earnest young Zero, and his adherence to the magic that inhabits the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are few places like it on Earth, as we learn. There aren't many movies like it here either.
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Gun to my head, I might be able to say something positive about 300: Rise of an Empire. In a vacuum, I suppose I'd call its aesthetic appealing, its production value impressive, or its giant rhinos kind of cool. But these elements cannot be taken alone, embroidered on a gigantic patch of joyless pain that infests your conscious mind from its inceptive moments on.
It's not so much that the 300 sequel fails at its desired conceit — it gives you exactly what it promises: gore, swordplay, angry sex, halfwit maxims about honor and manliness and the love of the fight. It's simply that its desired conceit is dehumanizing agony. Holding too hard and too long to its mission statement to top its Zack Snyder-helmed predecessor in scope, scale, and spilled pints of blood, Noam Murro's Rise of an Empire doesn't put any energy into filtering its spectacular mayhem through whatever semblance of a humanistic touch made the first one feel like a comprehensive movie.
Now, it's been a good eight years since I've seen 300, and I can't say that I was particularly fond of it. But beneath its own eye-widening layer of violence, there was a tangible idea of who King Leonidas was, what this war meant, and why Sparta mattered. No matter how much clumsy exposition is hurled our way, all we really know here is that there are two sides and they hate each other.
When Rise of an Empire asks us to engage on a more intimate level, which it does — the personal warfare between Sullivan Stapleton (whose name, I guess, is Themistokles) and Bad Guy Captain Eva Green (a.k.a. Artemisia) is founded on the idea that she likes him, and he kind of digs her (re: angry sex), and they want to rule together, but a rose by any other name and all that — we're effectively lost. With characters who don't matter in the slightest, material like this is just filler between the practically striking battle sequences.
But when the "in-between material" is as meaningless as it is in Rise of an Empire, the battles can't function as much more than filler themselves. Filler between the opening titles and closing credits. A game of Candy Crush you play on the subway. Contemptfully insubstantial and not particularly fun, but taking place nonetheless.
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Without even a remote layer of camp — too palpably absent as Rise of an Empire splashes its screen with so much human fluid that "The End" by The Doors will start to play in your head — there's no victory in a movie like this. No characters to latch onto, no story to follow, no joy to be derived. Yes, it might be aesthetically stunning (and really, that's where the one star comes in... well, half a star for that and half for the giant rhinos), but the marvel of its look shrinks under the shadow of the painful vacancy of anything tolerable.
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Hollywood stars Jon Favreau, Seth Macfarlane, Elijah Wood and Eli Roth are among the celebrities leading the tributes to Harold Ramis following his death on Monday (24Feb14). The actor, writer and director, best known for his work on Ghostbusters, Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, passed away at the age of 69.
Ramis' death stunned celebrity fans and friends, who have flooded Twitter.com with touching tributes.
Actor/director Favreau writes, "No no not Harold Ramis. Worked for him years ago. He was the real deal. Growing up, his work changed my life. He will be missed", while Roth tweets, "Oh no, Harold Ramis died. One of my filmmaking heroes. Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day... So sad."
Family Guy creator MacFarlane posts, "Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer hoping to achieve excellence the field. He will be sorely missed", and actor Wood writes, "awful news about Harold Ramis. very sad, indeed."
Meanwhile, British comedian Stephen Fry hailed Ramis as "a comedy hero", while Scrubs star Zach Braff credited the late funnyman with inspiring him to pursue a career in showbusiness, writing: "If you're my age and got into comedy, Harold Ramis was one of the reasons. Life is fast and over too soon."
Patton Oswalt, Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio, Eliza Dushku, Rashida Jones and Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 have also tweeted their shock and sadness following the tragic news.