Actress Leah Remini found a little comfort in pal Jennifer Lopez's kids on Saturday (03Aug13) amid the fall-out from her decision to quit the Church of Scientology last month (Jul13). The former star of hit U.S. comedy show King of Queens hit the headlines when she announced she had left the church, which boasts John Travolta and Tom Cruise as high-profile members.
And she turned to a little trampolining fun in Los Angeles to take her mind off the drama.
Remini was spotted at Sky High Sports Trampoline Park with her husband Angelo Pagan, their daughter Sofia and best pal Lopez's twins Max and Emme, who she was babysitting while mum was out of town.
Last week (ends02Aug13), the actress revealed she is planning a tell-all book about her experience as a Scientologist.
Jailed Pussy Riot star Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has vowed to continue fighting for freedom "until the very end" after her latest bid for parole was denied. The feminist rocker, 23, was sentenced to two years in prison last year (12), along with bandmates Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, after they were convicted for staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow.
Samutsevich was released in October (12) when her sentence was commuted, but both Tolokonnikova and Alekhina have been forced to remain behind bars for hooliganism.
Their requests for parole were both thrown out of court during two separate hearings last week (ends26Jul13), but Tolokonnikova is refusing to give up.
After her freedom request was dismissed by officials at Mordovia's Supreme Court on Friday (26Jul13), the defiant star told reporters, "I will be contesting my sentence in courts of every level until the very end and will not admit guilt."
The court rulings took place just days after several of the world's most famous musicians joined forces to sign an open letter calling for the women's release.
Madonna, Sir Elton John, Sting, Adele, Radiohead, One Direction, U2, Coldplay, Sir Paul McCartney, Lily Allen, Bob Geldof and Bruce Springsteen were among a huge number of artists who all signed the Amnesty International message calling for Russian authorities to free the rockers.
Jailed Pussy Riot star Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will serve out her two-year sentence in full after an appeal court threw out her bid for freedom on Friday (26Jul13). Tolokonnikova, who was locked up last year (12) along with bandmates Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, took her fight for parole to Mordovia's Supreme Court after it was turned down by a lower court earlier this year (13).
The case came before judges on Friday, but Tolokonnikova's appeal against the ruling was thrown out because she has refused to apologise for her crime.
The three Pussy Riot members were sentenced to two years in prison for staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow last year.
Samutsevich was freed in October (12) when her sentence was commuted, but Alekhina's bid for parole was rejected earlier this week (beg22Jul13). She and Tolokonnikova will now serve their sentences in full and are not due for release until August, 2014.
This week's (beg22Jul13) appeal rulings come just days after a group of the most famous musicians in the world signed an open letter calling for the women's release.
Adele, Radiohead, One Direction, U2, Sting, Madonna, Sir Elton John, Sting, Coldplay, Sir Paul McCartney, Lily Allen, Bob Geldof and Bruce Springsteen were among a huge number of artists who all signed the Amnesty International message calling for Russian authorities to free the rockers.
This weekend's new horror release, The Conjuring, has sold itself on the ever popular "based on a true story" ordeal. A spike in dose for the chill factor, this branding looks to differentiate the James Wan film from others of kind by saying, "Here's a movie you should really be scared of." But true story or not, there's very little that will set the film aside. Fortunately, The Conjuring does have a secret charm in its pocket, a unique turn of events that make for a highly inventive new element to the spooky genre. Less fortunately, it doesn't seem to be interested in this as much as it is in run-of-the-mill jump scares.
The central story: a family moves into a new house in the country, faces the wrath of a restless spirit. The side story: exorcists Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are hired to rid the house of this evil. But branching off from Wilson and Farmiga's contribution to The Conjuring is something that, while not given nearly enough time to shine or develop, could be its own horror movie altogether.
Wilson and Farmiga set up camp in the house along with their young, technologically savvy "intern" of sorts (Shannon Kook) and a local lawman (John Brotherton). While the Warrens (Wilson and Farmiga) represent long-suffering veterans in the haunting game, Kook's Drew is a newbie with a fresh passion for the lifestyle. Only along for litigious reasons, Brotherton's badge-flashing Brad is a good-natured skeptic whose job has him stationed amid a supernatural circumstance in which he hardly places any faith. Already, the politics of the "industry" are in play: Brad represents the almost comically mundane red tape that applies even to this strange underworld.
This element is expanded in the Catholic Church's role in the story. The Warrens must seek approval from the Church in order to perform exorcisms, so Wilson is forced to meet with and pledge cases to priests in order to get the Vatican's blessing. More politics, more bureaucracy, more dark comedy.
While Wilson is off having pitch meetings with men of the cloth and Kook and Brotherton bicker sardonically while stationed in a strange family's home, we see the best moments of The Conjuring. If only a film might be made with the "exorcism industry" at the center, rather than taking a backseat to the far more uninteresting and done-to-death family in peril motif... but hey, if it ain't broke...
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
More:'The Conjuring' Kills at Box Office'The Conjuring' Review'The Conjuring' Already Has a Sequel
From Our PartnersBattle of the Bikini Bodies (Celebuzz)Complete Guide to Strippers in Movies and TV (Vh1)
Sir Elton John is among a number of stars who have spoken out in support of Pope Francis after the Catholic leader was named Man of the Year by editors of an Italian magazine. The new pontiff was awarded the title by Italy's Vanity Fair, just four months after he ascended to the papacy, and the Rocket Man hitmaker was asked for his thoughts on the selection.
Sir Elton, who has previously claimed religion promotes "hatred and spite against gays", was full of praise for Pope Francis, insisting he has the potential to help modernise the Catholic Church.
He tells the publication, "Francis is a miracle of humility in the era of vanity... This Pope seems to want to bring the Church back to the ancient values of Christ and at the same time, (bring it into) the 21st century. If you will reach out and touch the children, the women, the men who live with HIV and AIDS - often alone, and hidden by the silence - his beacon of hope will bring more light than any advancement of science, because no drug has the power of love "
Opera star Andrea Bocelli was also among stars who contributed to the piece on Pope Francis, telling the magazine the religious leader is "truly a gift from God".
Actress Leah Remini has cut all ties with the Church of Scientology after falling out with religious leader David Miscavige. The former King of Queens star reportedly became embroiled in an argument with Miscavige over some of the group's strict policies and now she has decided to leave the organisation after 30 years as a devoted member.
A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology refused to confirm or deny the story, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "The Church respects the privacy of parishioners and has no comment about any individual Church member."
The news was first reported by the New York Post on Thursday (11Jul13), when a source told the publication, "It all began when Leah questioned the validity of excommunication of people. She is stepping back from a regime she thinks is corrupt. She thinks no religion should tear apart a family or abuse someone under the umbrella of 'religion.'"
Remini has previously been very vocal about her support of the organisation, which routinely receives bad press and counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its devotees - in 2001 she defended the Church in an interview with CNN.com, saying, "If somebody is going to get turned off about something because of what they read or heard, then that person's not smart enough to even enter a church. If you're really against something, then know what you're against."
Rap superstar Jay-Z has been applauded for drawing attention to the historic Magna Carta document with the release of his new album. The Empire State of Mind hitmaker officially releases Magna Carta Holy Grail this week (begs08Jul13) and to mark the occasion, his album artwork - depicting two statues with his name struck out in black - has been placed on display beside one of four real copies of the Medieval legal charter at Britain's Salisbury Cathedral until the end of July (13).
Photos of the special installment have been shared on the hip-hop mogul's Life+Times website and the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, admits she is "delighted" Jay-Z chose to work with her church.
She has also heaped praise on the hip-hop mogul for drawing attention to the piece of history with his music: "Jay-Z is creating a huge awareness of this historic document and its modern significance to a huge audience... We hope to welcome many of his fans here this summer to see the artwork."
The Magna Carta was signed by England's King John in 1215 and is a charter of liberty and political rights which was used to prevent the monarch from abusing his powers, instead ordering him to govern the country in accordance with the law. The document was also used by America's forefathers as the basis for their U.S. Constitution.
You're getting desperate. It's already July and you have yet to snag a summer internship. All of your friends are scooping up spots at magazines, marketing firms, back-alley waste management organizations. But not you — and at this point, you'll take anything. You'll change career paths, work the night shift, even sell out your basic tenets of human decency or put your life at risk... it's the only way to get ahead, really.
Luckily, there are a few "esteemed" companies that value this sort of dedication. You just haven't seen them advertising open positions due to the fact that they're, in a word, top secret. Take the Anti-Villain League from Despicable Me 2, for instance. When the impressive organization recruited reformed baddie Gru in the newly released sequel, we got a chance to see everything it had to offer new employees. But it's not the only opportunity for aspiring heroes. (And to all you aspiring villains, fear not! You have options, too.) Peruse the job listings below, you might find something that suits your fancy... or at least funds that three-act play you just know is going to take off.
The Anti-Villain League (from Despicable Me 2)Salary: Enough to support a family of minions.Your boss: May be a little uppity, but it's only because of all the grief he gets from his name (you've got to admit, Ramsbottom isn't exactly an easy brand to carry).Commute: It's a bit hard to reach, being underwater and all, but one of the agents will happily knock you unconscious, shove you in her trunk, and drive you there hereself.Fringe benefits: All the lipstick tasers you can carry.
S.H.I.E.L.D. (from the Marvel Universe)Salary: Those suits ain't cheap.Your boss: Might yell a lot (a lot), but he's always got the maintenance of justice in mind.Commute: Easily accessible in midtown Manhattan. Just look for the inconspicuous barbershop!Fringe Benefits: You get to hang out with superheroes.
IMF (from the Mission: Impossible franchise)Salary: Those Church of Scientology membership fees ain't cheap...Your boss: Could be John Voight, Laurence Fishburne, or whoever they grab for the next one.Commute: ... Where is this place located, anyway?Fringe benefits: World travel! Sight-seeing! Near death experiences galore!
U.N.C.L.E. (from The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)Salary: They're still operating on Cold War-era money, so you might need a night job waiting tables just to make rent...Your boss: If people keep dropping out of the new movie, you might be able to take over in a month or two.Commute: Another resident of Manhattan; maybe you can take the subway with your pals who earned the S.H.I.E.L.D. gig (sorry, but they do have more experience with Excel...).Fringe benefits: Badass names like Napoleon Solo come with the position.
SPECTRESalary: All the cat food your white Persian can scarf down.Your boss: An evil lunatic bent on world domination. But he's kind of charming.Commute: Yeah, it's a pain getting into the volcano lair, but at least there's no traffic.Fringe benefits: In all honesty, you'll probably be karate chopped to death by James Bond in your first week. You might want to avoid this one.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
More:Hollywood's Sidekicks Get Minion Makeovers!'Despicable Me 2' Review7 'Despicable Me 2' Clips
From Our PartnersStars Pose Naked for 'Allure' (Celebuzz)20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)
Members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church are planning to protest Taylor Swift's upcoming concert in Kansas after branding her a "dirty, pirate hooker" because of her busy dating life. The Love Story hitmaker's personal life has come under much media scrutiny after a string of failed romances with the likes of John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joe Jonas and Harry Styles, and now religious conservatives are taking a stand against the 23 year old's "sin-coddling songs" by vowing to disrupt her Kansas City show on 3 August (13).
In a series of posts on Twitter.com, a group representative writes, "Westboro to picket the whorish face of america: Taylor Swift...
"(Swift) works her 'girl next door' country-singer shtick, while hopping from one young man to the next and strutting across the world stage like a proud whore... Taylor Swift in three words: lascivious, foolish, proud, dirty, pirate hooker!"
Swift has yet to respond to the outrageous tweets, but the extremists are well-known for their controversial protests - in 2011 followers picketed a Foo Fighters concert in Missouri in response to the band's lyrics, which contained homosexual references, and they staged a demonstration outside a Radiohead gig in Kansas City last year (12).
The Sopranos creator David Chase paid a heartwarming tribute to late star James Gandolfini by writing his eulogy in the form of a letter to the tragic actor at his funeral in New York on Thursday (27Jun13). The executive producer remembered his friend as a man who never lost touch with his inner child as he addressed mourners at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, but admitted it was the sadness behind his eyes which helped him to bring his most famous character, mob boss Tony Soprano, to life on the small screen.
He said, "You were a good boy... A sad boy, amazed and confused. You could see it in your eyes. That's why I think you were such a great actor, because of that boy inside.
"I think your talent is that you can take the immensity of humankind and the universe and shine it right back at us."
Gandolfini's widow, Deborah Lin, the mother of his nine-month-old daughter Lily, also spoke at the service, telling the congregation, "My husband was an honest, kind and loving man. He cared more about others than himself... Thank you for the memories of the beautiful life we spent together. I love you Jim, and I always will. Rest in peace."
A host of stars from the actor's TV family turned out for the memorial, such as his onscreen wife Edie Falco and daughter Jamie-Lynn Sigler, as well as Steve Buscemi, Steve Schirripa, Lorraine Bracco, Vincent Curatola, Joe Pantoliano, Tony Sirico, Dominic Chianese, Aida Turturro, Michael Imperioli and Vincent Pastore, while other guests included Alec Baldwin and his heavily pregnant wife Hilaria, and Chris Christie, governor of Gandolfini's native New Jersey.
Gandolfini's sisters, Leta and Johanna, his son Michael, 13, and his ex-wife Marcy Wudarski were also in attendance for the 90-minute ceremony, which was led by Reverend James A. Kowalski.
Speaking before the funeral, Sirico expressed his sympathies for Gandolfini's baby girl having to grow up without her father, saying, "He's a great actor and he was a great guy... He's got a new baby. She'll grow up and have to be told who he was by her mum. It's sad."
And actor David Rasche, who appeared alongside Gandolfini in 2009 film In the Loop, added: "He was such a terrific guy and a terrific actor... He was a huge presence, huge... He was kind and loving and generous, but he was a really big presence; he really filled a role."
Gandolfini died of a heart attack in Rome, Italy last Wednesday (19Jun13) at the age of 51.