Pop star Aaron Carter has opened up about his past trouble with drug addiction and bankruptcy, revealing his problems started when he participated in U.S. reality competition series Dancing with the Stars. The 26 year old joined the ballroom dancing show in 2009, and even finished in an impressive fifth place, but behind the scenes, his excessive stage fright led to an unhealthy addiction to anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Carter explained, "When I was on Dancing with the Stars, I developed an addiction to Xanax because of stage fright, which I developed during the show."
Carter revealed he was taking up to 14 milligrams of the prescription drug a day, which is three times more than the average dose.
In 2011, his mum and older brother, Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, forced the singer to face his problems and seek treatment before his addiction became worse.
He said, "I never had a point where I realised I should stop. My mother stepped in. She and my brother teamed up and got me to the (rehab facility) Betty Ford Center"
Unfortunately, Carter's sister, Leslie Carter was also addicted to the same drug, but didn't receive the help in time to save her life. She died in 2012 at the age of 25, long after her brother completed his own rehab stint.
He divulged, "Leslie was heavy into it as well. But an opportunity happened where I could save my life. Leslie was never presented with that opportunity. I had a second chance to live and she died of an overdose in my father's bed."
And while Carter was still on Dancing with the Stars, he was also hit with financial and legal problems, finding out he owed millions of dollars, which included unpaid taxes.
He explained, "It stems from the years when I was 13, 14, 15 and then when I turned 18, I got hit with $2.2 million (£1.4 million) of stuff that I owed. People served me lawsuits while I was doing interviews on the dance floor. Right in front of my partner, in front of the interviewers, it was so embarrassing."
Since filing for bankruptcy last year (13), Carter has completed a series of debt classes, putting him one step closer to becoming debt free.
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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Actress Autumn Reeser is a mum again after giving birth to her second child on Monday (25Nov13). The former The O.C. star announced the happy news by posting a photo on Twitter.com of the newborn stretching in his crib, while she gently soothes her son from above.
She added the caption, "After a swift home birth, Dashiell Ford Warren joined our family at 2:45am this morning. We are SO thrilled!!!"
Reeser and her husband of four years, writer/director Jesse Warren, are also parents to two-year-old son Finneus James.
Bono and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin helped raise $26 million (£17.3 million) for charity by singing at a star-studded auction in New York on Saturday (23Nov13). The U2 frontman teamed with top designers Sir Jonathon Ive and Marc Newson to put together a collection of specially designed luxury items, from companies such as Hermes and Apple, for Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction at Sotheby's in Manhattan.
The event included a performance by Bono and Martin, who joined forces to sing a medley of U2's Beautiful Day and Lou Reed's Perfect Day, with the Coldplay star playing a custom-built red grand piano which was sold for $1.9 million (£1.3 million).
Other items featured in the sale included a storm trooper helmet from the Star Wars franchise signed by George Lucas which sold for $245,000 (£163,333).
The auction was attended by more than 1,000 guests including Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Courtney Love and Hayden Panettiere, and it raised around $13 million (£8.7 million) for Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The final total came in at around $26 million (£17.3 million) after executives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to double the sales figure.
Actor James Marsden can take some of the credit for Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart's romance, because he was his Ally McBeal co-star's "wingman" the night the couple fell in love. The X-Men star admits he jumped at the chance to join Flockhart and his acting hero Ford when she asked him to accompany her on a dinner date with the Star Wars icon - and now, looking back, he realises he was a big part of the couple's courtship.
Marsden tells Playboy magazine, "She said, 'Come to dinner with me and Harrison'. I'm like, 'Me, you and him?'
"It turned out to be a small group of us, thankfully, but I ended up as her wingman. We had dinner someplace in Brentwood (Los Angeles) and then went back to his house. He put music on and made everybody drinks.
"He was giggly and goofy around her but pretty aloof with the rest of us. I kept thinking, 'We should leave the two of them alone,' but Calista was like, 'Don't leave, don't leave...'
"I'm making him sound like a rapist, but he was very hospitable. She was just really nervous.
"Anyway, we had more drinks, he played more music and then at some point he gave me a look that said, 'OK, you've got to get the f**k out of here'."
Celebrity illusionist David Blaine had rapper Kanye West, Woody Harrelson and Will Smith and his family recoiling in horror during a U.S. TV special after putting an ice pick through his hand without drawing blood. The magician took his show to celebrities' homes and performed mind-bending tricks right in front of them, and one particular stunt had West, Harrelson, the Smiths and Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul speechless.
At the start of the David Blaine: Real or Magic show, which aired on Tuesday night (19Nov13), the illusionist had West and Harrelson's stomachs churning as he slowly stuck a sharp pick through his hand, with the end of the blade poking out through the other side - much to his celebrity fans' shock. He then asked West to pull out the ice pick and examine his uninjured hand for himself, as Harrelson looked on.
Blaine repeated the same stunt with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as their children, Willow and Jaden, watched intently, while he did it again with Cranston and Paul - and they were all left stunned.
Later in the programme, Blaine showed the trick to a doctor, who expressed his amazement at the illusion and joked that there was a "simple explanation" to the cause: "He has no blood running through his veins!"
However, Blaine admitted that not every ice pick trick has gone to plan after working on the stunt for 10 years.
He confessed, "I brushed a nerve the other day and my hand was like, frozen for three days."
During the TV special, Blaine also had germaphobe director Woody Allen averting his eyes as he downed a glass of water and swallowed two goldfish - only to bring them back up hours later, alive and well.
He also surprised Katy Perry by producing a small alligator out of her empty purse, and played card tricks on Harrison Ford, pop star Psy, actress Olivia Wilde and her fiance Jason Sudekis, among others.
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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Comic Bobby Moynihan missed the New York City premiere of his new film Delivery Man on Sunday (17Nov13) after injuring himself during a skit on Saturday Night Live. The funnyman thrilled the audience of the hit U.S. sketch show over the weekend (16Nov13) with his impression of troubled Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who is facing calls to quit office in the Canadian city after admitting to smoking crack cocaine.
However, Moynihan's energetic performance left him nursing an injured ankle, forcing him to bow out of walking the red carpet at the special screening of his new comedy movie.
A source tells the New York Post, "He twisted his ankle and ended up missing his own movie premiere Sunday night."
Live from New York, it's Bobby Moynihan killing it as Mayor Rob Ford! SNL opened successfully, going after the Toronto politician's reputation for smoking crack and generally looking like a maniac. Lady Gaga took the stage for her monologue, singing a parody of her current single "Applause" through a majority of it. This set a vintage variety show tone, but it would have been more interesting to see Gaga not play so obviously to her strengths. It made it seem like she couldn't be funny and engaging on her own, so they went with this instead.
Gaga's monologue made heavy-handed references to "pandering," which was her approach to the first half of the show. Making obvious references to having a penis and ripping off Madonna, Gaga almost exclusively made jokes about herself. Aside from that and a few laughs based on how she looked, the cast shouldered most of the comedic responsibilities. It's then revealed why Gaga seemed so nervous leading up to her musical performance: R. Kelly is here and they have a lot of air humping to do. This attention-grabbing performance was a reminder of what Lady Gaga does best. After delivering musically, she seemed comfortable enough to do a Marisa Tomei impression for no reason in a sketch about a co-op board interview.
SNL's cast really came together this week. The strongest sketches kicked off the first half of the show, with a commercial parody for "Paxil: Presidential Strength." This smart piece featured Jay Pharaoh as Obama, pouring pills into his face over Obamacare problems. Pharaoh continued to execute strong impressions, playing Kanye West in one of the best pieces of the night. With Nasim Pedrad as Kim Kardashian, "Waking up with Kimye" spoofs a morning talk show where Kim is annoying and Kanye is insane. Pedrad and Pharaoh are so funny it made it easier to stomach the second Gaga-has-balls-joke in less than 30 minutes.
The Update desk was so perfect, it's hard to imagine Seth Meyers leaving. But the real performance of the night came from Taran Killam, who appeared as Jebediah Atkinson, the author of a newspaper review panning the Gettysburg Address. Killam portrays an almost Simon Cowell-type of historical speech critic. Great writing like "John F. Kennedy, I'll tell you what you can do for my country. Wrap it up! Next!" plus a hilarious performance from Killam allowed him get away with botching a line. After all, describing the Pearl Harbor speech as "boring ass" is still really funny.
The show concluded appropriately with Gaga's weird stamp of approval, a purple spandex performance from a tambourine player who's possibly on ecstasy. While Gaga did not offer the same performance as an actor, she more than delivered when it came to her assets, while letting the cast members take the lead and enjoying the ride.
Danica Patrick has certainly made her mark on NASCAR history. But long before she became a figure to idolize for ferociously speeding down the track, Louise Smith revved her engine and paved the way for future female racers. In an attempt to highlight Smith's successes, Lionsgate has teamed up with Odd Lot Entertainment and acquired Spitfire, the fact-based story of Smith and her tenure as one of the top female racers in the 1950s, according to Deadline.
The film, which is being penned by Grant Thompson (2014's McFarland), will follow "the first lady of racing" — a figure who is known for racing at the Daytona Beach road course, being the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and securing the initial funding for the institution that would become NASCAR. (Basically, every person who loves NASCAR should be bowing down to the groundbreaking Smith.)
Given that the last big-name film that NASCAR lent its name to was Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, this female-driven film (no pun intended*) seems to be quite a different speed than the Will Ferrell flick. As of yet, it's hard to tell what kind of audience the film is going to bring in, but if it's anything like A League of Their Own, then it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser that sends feminism-induced chills rolling up all of our spines. Because as everyone knows, there's nothing better than an underdog rising to the top and knocking a few smirks off of doubtful faces.
Nicky Weinstock of Invention Films is producing, and NASCAR is executive producing.
*That pun was totally intended.