R&B singer Russell Neal has been taken into police custody after his wife was found dead at their Houston, Texas home. The Hi-Five star reportedly called cops in a panic on Wednesday (02Jul14) and claimed he needed a lawyer after revealing his spouse was dead following a big argument.
According to TMZ.com, Neal then refused to discuss the incident and he is now being detained as cops investigate the matter further. No charges had been filed as WENN went to press.
Neal's attorney, Chris Brown, tells TMZ, "We are aware of the situation and are presently evaluating it."
Hi-Five rose to fame in the 1990s and scored hits with I Like the Way (The Kissing Game) and She's Playing Hard to Get.
They disbanded in 1994 but reunited in 2005, two years before frontman Tony Thompson died from inhaling toxic air conditioning substance freon in 2007.
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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Soul singer Claudia Lennear has been given a big career boost following her appearance in Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom - David Bowie has offered to write her next project. Lennear joined the likes of Darlene Love and Judith Hill in Morgan Neville's 2013 film, which followed the lives of backing singers to the stars, after previously working with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and Leon Russell.
She was also said to have inspired the Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar hit in 1971 and Bowie's Lady Grinning Soul in 1973.
Lennear now reveals she recently reconnected with the legendary Space Oddity star days before Sunday's (02Mar14) Oscars ceremony and received a welcome proposal.
She tells the New York Post's Page Six column, "I got a call from David Bowie out of the blue... He told me he wanted to write my next project. I couldn't believe it when I first heard his voice. We haven't seen each other in 20 years."
She adds, "I am not sure what my next project will be... but I will definitely hold David to his promise."
20 Feet From Stardom was named Best Documentary, Feature at the Academy Awards.
"I had to pinch myself during my scenes with Colin and Russell Crowe. I said, 'This can't be really happening!' Acting is like a game of tennis: If you're working with someone brilliant, you have to up the stakes, and I love that challenge." Former Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay was starstruck working with Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe in new movie Winter's Tale.
Warner Bros Pictures via Everett Collection
Even without having read Mark Helprin's novel Winter's Tale, I have the unshakable feeling that Akiva Goldsman's film adaptation does not do the story justice. Speckled throughout the moreover colorless movie are hints of an intriguing idea — a fantasy epic about an angel-demon bureaucracy coexisting with the human race throughout the span of 20th century New York City, operating within the parameters of a didactic miracle-granting system — an idea that doesn't come close to its full potential. In 118 minutes, we barely scratch the surface of the world in which an apparently immortal Colin Farrell finds himself. We see him cavort with Russell Crowe, a malicious gang-leader with netherworld origins, seek guidance from a mystical Pegasus, and carry out his destiny as the savior to a mysterious red-haired girl. But we never truly understand why any of this is happening. Not that it gets particularly confusing; on a plot level, it's all quite simple. But that's the problem — it shouldn't be.
The central conceit of the film is that everyone is put on this Earth with a divine "mission" to uphold. Farrell's gives us the narrative of Winter's Tale, introducing the various rules and officers of the supernatural regime along the way. Abandoned as a baby and brought up under the criminal regime of a Manhattanite from Hell (Crowe), Farrell ascends from orphan to petty thief to horse whispering renegade to whimsical lover of a dying Jessica Brown Findlay to ageless messiah... all without much clarity on the nature of the story (or stories) he's occupying, save for two ham-fisted scenes of exposition — one with Graham Greene (not the dead author) and one with Jennifer Connelly, who shows up halfway through the movie for some reason.
Warner Bros Pictures via Everett Collection
The world that Farrell is woven into has so many bright spots: we're on board for miracle quests, a magic-laden New York City, flying horses, and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood giving a cameo as the epitome of evil. Everything we see is fun, but it all flutters away as quickly as it arrives. We don't want quick bites of the way angels and demons do business with one another on the streets of Manhattan, we want the whole meal. A more thorough exploration of Helprin's world wouldn't just be doubly as interesting as the thin alternative we're offered in Goldsman's adaptation, it'd also fill in all the comprehensive gaps in Farrell's emotional throughline
We don't really understand so much of what happens to Farrell. Even when we're offered tangible explanations, we have no reason to understand why the Winter's Tale world works in such a way that Farrell might survive a 300-foot fall, develop amnesia, or sustain youth for a full century. What's more, we don't understand why Farrell's tale as a cog in this mystical machine is any more important than anyone else's. Or, if it's not, and we're simply asked to watch him carry out his quest as a glimpse into the vast, enigmatic system that Winter's Tale is ostensibly founded upon, we ... we don't understand enough of that world itself.
Warner Bros Pictures via Everett Collection
We're never invited close enough to any of the movie's attractive features for them to matter. So even when the movie does offer entertaining bits — in its fantastical elements, its detail of New Yorks old and new, or Farrell's admittedly charming romance with Findlay — we're not engaged enough to really connect with any of them.
Still, the flying horse is pretty cool.
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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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Lady Sybil is back, ya'll — well, the actress who played her is, at least. In the trailer for the romantic fantasy Winter's Tale, Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay is romanced by Colin Farrell (although we wish she were still madly in love with her Irish rebel back at the Downton estate), and... time-travel is involved?
The Warner Bros. film, which is based on Mark Helprin's 1983 novel of the same name, follows a thief named Peter (Farrell) who falls in love with a dying woman named Beverly (Findlay). (Side note: Why is Findlay always dying?). Decades later, we find an un-aged Peter in New York City with no recollection of his former life. Yes, it appears that we've got another time-traveling romance on our hands (we're looking at you, About Time), or as IMDB says, a story of reincarnation.
The trailer makes the film's plot seem a little bit scattered, but what we can discern from the two-and-a-half minute peek is that Jennifer Connelly eventually steps in to help forgetful, time-jumping Peter remember who he is and what happened to him and Beverly. Oh, and Russell Crowe plays a mobster with a gigantic scar on his face who's out to kill Peter, and Peter's mystical horse might be able to travel through time as well. Yup, that's all we can put together. Take a look at the trailer and try and figure out if you can solve the Winter Tale mystery.
Winter's Tale, which is directed by Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), is set to hit theaters on Feb. 14, 2014. If the film is being released on Valentine's Day, it has to have a happy ending, right?
Theatre-goers including Glenn Close and Russell Brand were left horrified when what was first thought to be an elaborate stunt at illusionist Derren Brown's live show turned out to be a near-fatal accident after a fan fell from a balcony. The man toppled from the top-tier seating area at London's Palace Theatre on Saturday (03Aug13) after his wife pushed him as a joke, and he fell 15 feet (4.6 metres) before hitting a lighting rig and clinging on.
Quick-thinking audience members rushed to help the man by dragging him back over the railings, but other onlookers were mistakenly convinced the incident was all part of Brown's hit West End show Infamous.
Brown subsequently took to his Twitter.com account to tell fans what happened, writing, "Tonight a woman pushed her hubby (sic) as a joke from the front of the balcony. He fell and caught the upper circle on the way down, and was hanging from it. He's fine, but what a finale. Sending best thoughts to him & wife, terrifying."
He later told Britain's The Sun, "It's terrifying but I understand he got away with a scrape. There are big dents in our lighting rig."
Stevie Wonder has vowed never to perform in Florida again until a controversial self-defence law is abolished following the acquittal of the man who gunned down teenager Trayvon Martin. Neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter charges by a Florida jury on Saturday (13Jul13) after claiming he shot the unarmed 17 year old in self-defence in February, 2012.
Although the state's 'Stand Your Ground' law was not used to sway the jury, it has come under renewed scrutiny as it allows a person to defend themselves with force wherever "they have a legal right to be".
Now Wonder has announced he will boycott Florida and the other 22 other U.S. states which carry similar laws until they are overturned.
Speaking to fans at a show in Quebec City, Canada on Sunday (14Jul13), the singer said, "I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again. As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.
"The truth is that... for those of you who've lost (loved ones) in the battle for justice... we can't bring them back. What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That's what I know we can do."
Zimmerman's acquittal has sparked mass protests across America, with a number of stars including Beyonce, her sister Solange Knowles, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Miley Cyrus speaking out against the verdict.
Veteran soul singer Lester Chambers was hospitalised on Saturday (13Jul13) after he was attacked by a woman at the Hayward Russell City Blues festival in California for dedicating a song to Martin.
The California church where Ronald Reagan exchanged vows with his wife Nancy in 1952 and Britney Spears found solace from the paparazzi in 2008 is opening its doors to same-sex weddings. The Little Brown Church in Studio City has hosted almost 23,000 ceremonies since it opened in 1939, and now Pastor Russell Willoughby and Associate Minister Reverend Michael Kosik are planning to help gays and lesbians celebrate new California marriage laws by giving them a spiritual home where they can say their 'I dos'.
And they're keen to encourage conservative Christians, who still refuse to accept that gay people should be allowed to marry, to change their views.
Pastor Russell says, "At the Little Brown Church, we believe that loving relationships are gifts from God, regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved.
"I have a hard time understanding why the thought of two people loving each other and devoting their lives to one another is so upsetting to many Christians. So what if the people in love are not heterosexual? I can't believe that God would limit something so wonderful as romantic love to only one group - those who are straight. Do you really think God would discriminate like this?
"Back when same-sex marriage was legal for a few months before (the legislation) Prop 8 was passed, many gay and lesbian couples were married at The Little Brown Church. The vast majority of these couples had been together for many years, loving and caring for one another in committed relationships. It was an honour for me to officiate at their weddings."
The Little Brown Church is part of the Church of the Valley in Van Nuys, California - a participating congregation in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Pastor Russell adds, "Our denomination is very ecumenical. This inherent openness is one of our greatest strengths. Church of the Valley is an official open and affirming congregation, which means that we have voted, as a congregation, to be radically inclusive of all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, social status, racial identity, ethnic background or nation of origin."
Officials at gay rights group GLAAD are thrilled to hear the church is welcoming to same-sex couples looking to wed.
Ross Murray, the head of the organisation's Religion, Faith & Values Program, tells WENN, "The Little Brown Church joins the ever-growing majority of Christian congregations that welcome and accept gay and lesbian couples, just as they are, and support their relationships and their families.
"Providing weddings for same-sex couples is a significant step to welcoming the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community into the larger Christian church."
The tiny little church, which never closes its doors, last hit the headlines in January, 2008, when Britney Spears and her then-boyfriend, photographer Adnan Ghalib, stopped by the place of worship and lit a candle after abruptly leaving a scheduled custody hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court. Spears also left a message in the church prayer box.