Liza Minnelli's publicist poked fun at Shia Labeouf's Broadway arrest over the weekend (28-29Jun14) by sending the actor a DVD copy of movie musical Cabaret. LaBeouf was unceremoniously ejected from the New York theatre hosting the revived stage production on Thursday night (26Jun14) after he was allegedly caught smoking.
The Transformers star reportedly yelled at theatre staff as they asked him to leave the premises, briefly disrupting the show and its leads Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams.
And Minnelli's publicist, Scott Gorenstein, didn't miss an opportunity to have a little fun at LaBeouf's expense, sending him a DVD copy of the singer/actress' film adaptation of Cabaret.
He says, "I figured he may want to find out how it ends."
Minnelli won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal as Sally Bowles in the 1972 release.
Actor Paul Rudd is set to tackle the role of legendary physicist Albert Einstein in a one-off play reading at the World Science Festival. The star, best known for his comedy roles in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and the Anchorman franchise, will appear as Einstein in Alan Alda play Dear Albert, which is based on the genius' letters and personal notes.
The production will also feature Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon and actress Francesca Faridany as the women in the scientist's life.
It will launch the five-day World Science Festival in New York on 28 May (14).
Rapper Jay Z and his sister-in-law Solange Knowles appear to have put their infamous feud firmly behind them by posing for photos together during a family lunch date in New Orleans, Louisiana. Beyonce's husband and younger sibling hit headlines last week (12May14) when surveillance footage obtained by TMZ.com captured Knowles lashing out at Jay Z in an elevator at The Standard Hotel in New York, where the trio had attended an afterparty following the Met Gala on 5 May (14).
Beyonce released a rare statement addressing the "unfortunate incident" on Thursday (15May14), insisting both Jay Z and Knowles had "apologized to each other", adding that they had all "moved forward as a united family". The trio came together over the weekend (17-18May14) as Beyonce, Jay Z and their daughter Blue Ivy paid a visit to Knowles in her new home base of New Orleans, where the relatives enjoyed a relaxing lunch.
Beyonce has since shared a few pictures from the get-together with fans online. In one image, she is photographed beaming alongside her smiling husband, her mother Tina Knowles, and sister Solange, while another snap shows Beyonce and Blue Ivy seated at an outside table, chatting to Solange's director boyfriend Alan Ferguson, as the Losing You singer talks to her son Julez in the background. A third shot captures Jay Z and Ferguson laughing as they bond with nine-year-old Julez.
Australian model/actress Megan Gale is a first-time mother after giving birth to a son. The brunette beauty gave birth to River Alan Thomas Hampson, her first child with her sports star boyfriend Shaun Hampson, on Tuesday (13May14) and she shared the news in a post on her Instagram.com page.
She writes, "Our precious little 3.87kg (8.5 pound) man came into the world... (on) the 13th of May 2014 at 4.47pm. Needless to say Shaun and I are completely smitten with him and we're beyond blessed to have such a healthy baby... We love you little man and are SO thrilled to be your parents."
Gale later posted a picture of her baby son revealing his name, explaining, "Rivers is my Mum's maiden name, Alan after my Dad, Thomas for Shaun's Dad and the last name just like his Daddy's."
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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Former Star Trek icon George Takei is to be honoured with the Vito Russo Award at the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York next month (May14). The accolade is bestowed on an "openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality".
Previous Vito Russo honourees include Ricky Martin, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon, Sir Elton John, k.d. lang and Tom Ford.
Kylie Minogue will perform at the gala, which will take place at the Waldorf Astoria New York on 3 May (14).
Relativity Media via Everett Collection
It seems only fair to mention that growing up, I was terrified of mirrors. Couldn't look at them, couldn't sleep with them in the room, could barely even think about them for fear of conjuring up the darkest conceivable images of what might be living on the other side of their nefarious glass faces. So, yes, I might have been an easy mark when it came to Oculus. But even without lingering childhood phobias, you won't walk away from the film free of tremors. Even more impressively, those looking for something meatier than a few jump scares won't be disappointed either.
Oculus paints itself with a long, coarse, hyperactive mythology, granting us a "history" of the demonic mirror in question that dates back to centuries and abounds many questions. But really, the conceit is simple: it's a mirror that f**ks with people. It makes you see things, makes you think things, and makes you do things you wouldn't ordinarily. It ruined the lives of two children when it corrupted and killed their parents (Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane), and threatens to finish the deed when the estranged siblings reunite in adulthood to enact revenge. Tim (Brenton Thwaites) has spent the past decade in a mental hospital, chalking up the supernatural nightmares of his childhood to psychiatric delusions. His sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan), the "together one" with a job and a fiancé, has spent her time tracking down the haunted antique to do away with it once and for all. Back in their old house with the mirror in her possession, Kaylie sets her meticulously constructed plan into action, with a reluctant Tim in tow.
And yes, obviously, everything goes awry.
Relativity Media via Everett Collection
The mirror's grasp on the minds of its victims exhibits an impressive imagination in writer/director Mike Flanagan. Oculus doesn't hit us with a long supply of ghoulish figures, opting instead for haunting mind games that really land in the construction of an unsettling aura: because of the nature of the mirror's powers, we never know if and when what we're seeing is real. It's not a particularly new conceit for horror or thriller, but it's one that works well. Especially when you're engaged with the people suffering through this tormenting reality.
And we are. The horror of the movie isn't relegated to the mirror's demonic trickery. The far more interesting material exists between the emotionally distant siblings. While Kaylie clings to the only companion she has in the trauma that tore her family apart, Tim wants to leave his nightmares behind him, and perhaps his sister as well. Jumping between flashbacks and the current timeline, Oculus plays with relationships in a terrific way: those between parent and child, husband and wife, brother and sister, and — most importantly — past and present selves.
Oculus is far from a "fun" movie, but it does seem to be playing a few games with its ideas — the ideas inherent in the malleability of perception, or the delicateness of relationships. Although it doesn't quite deliver in its conclusion, Oculus works through its premise with aplomb. While it might well have gotten away with the concept of a "spooky mirror" just fine, it opts instead to tackle many of the concepts that horror was invented to explore. And the result isn't just interesting, it's genuinely scary.
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British actor Peter Mayhew is bouncing back from double knee replacement surgery to reprise his iconic role as Chewbacca in J.J. Abrams' much-anticipated Star Wars sequel. The towering star, who suffers from excessive growth condition gigantism, underwent the operation in September (13), but his advancing age and deteriorating health have not stopped him from returning to the sci-fi franchise, in which he made his name, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mayhew, 69, recently sparked rumours of his Star Wars return after cancelling an upcoming appearance at Texas fan convention Comicpalooza "due to filming". The event takes place between 23 to 26 May (14).
Meanwhile, Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn has confirmed that shooting on Star Wars: Episode VII has already begun, although the full cast, including its leading stars, has yet to be unveiled.
Mayhew played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, while he was invited back for 2005's prequel Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. His character did not feature in 1999's Episode I - The Phantom Menace or 2002's Episode II - Attack of the Clones.
Mayhew won't be the only original Star Wars actor featured in Abrams' new blockbuster - Carrie Fisher has been confirmed as Princess Leia, although it is still unclear if Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill will reprise their roles as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.
Girls star Adam Driver has been cast as the lead villain in Episode VII, while Jesse Plemons, John Boyega, Ed Speleers and Matthew James Thomas have been linked to lead roles in the project, and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Saoirse Ronan and Michael B. Jordan have all met with Abrams to discuss parts.
The latest Star Wars epic is scheduled for release in December, 2015.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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Robbie Williams has been handed a deadline to decide whether or not he will rejoin pop group Take That. Williams quit the British band in 1995 but reunited with them in 2010 after working with fellow singer Gary Barlow on the album Progress. He even joined them on tour between 2010 and 2011.
However, the Angels hitmaker has since gone on to work on more solo material, as well as welcoming his first daughter in 2012, and it is unclear how he will feature in the group's future plans.
Barlow has now given Williams until May (14) to decide if he will officially rejoin the group, telling U.K. chat show host Alan Carr, "We'd need to know what we're doing by the end of May... The thing with Robbie is he's family with us now. If he's not in the band he'll write on the record and you know we'll work with him on his next record. We do this now, we work together a lot. Whether he'll be in the final line-up I'm not sure."