Actor Jason Patric struggled to keep his composure while testifying before California's Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday (13Aug13) in a bid to gain custody of his son. The Speed 2 star has been locked in a battle with his ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber over access to their three-year-old son Gus, after donating sperm to have a baby with her in 2009.
In 2012, Patric filed for joint custody after the couple's break-up, even though U.S. law only recognises him as a sperm donor who has no paternity rights.
Earlier this year (13), after losing the court battle, Patric filed an appeal and now the dispute has turned into a high-profile case as lawmakers in California consider a new bill to give donor dads more rights.
He told the hearing, "I have to be Gus' voice - my son - a voice that I have not heard in 25 weeks, a voice that is not allowed to mention my name in his mother's home, a voice that has sent me here to speak to you all."
Patric also expressed that he was speaking out on behalf of other men in his situation.
He continued, "We raised these children, we loved these children, but when these relationships fell apart we were shockingly hit with briefs that deemed us 'sperm donors': a word that was never, ever mentioned in my house, a word I can guarantee you Gus doesn't know how to pronounce.
"We all tried to become parents. We went to great lengths to become parents. I had a surgery to become a parent... (but) I was unfairly deemed a donor with no recourse.
"(The bill) doesn't give me my son back ... (but) it gives standing for men to constitutionally get their rights and go into court and say, 'I'm the dad,' and let a judge decide if he's not."
Schreiber maintains the couple had an agreement when she got pregnant that she would raise Gus and that Patric wanted his involvement in the pregnancy kept secret. She claims he only asked for custody after they broke up.
Actress Jennifer Garner fought back tears on Tuesday (13Aug13) as she called on California lawmakers to pass a bill banning paparazzi harassment, after describing how a dangerous stalker had once hidden among a crowd of snappers to follow her every move. The Juno star joined forces with fellow Hollywood mum, Halle Berry, to testify before the Assembly Judiciary Committee at the California State Capitol in support of a new law which would impose tougher penalties on photographers who constantly tail celebrities and their kids.
Garner, who has three young children with husband Ben Affleck, grew particularly emotional as she discussed her stalking nightmare.
She told the committee members, "Being stalked has been hard for me, but it is beyond what a child should have to endure. I am an actress but I am a mum first. My children aren't actors or celebrities. They're just kids like your kids or anyone else's and, just like you want to protect your children, I want to protect mine... They're beautiful and sweet and innocent, and I don't want a gang of shouting, arguing, lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are all day every day to continue traumatising my kids."
Pregnant Berry, who has been a staunch supporter of the SB606 proposal, also testified on Tuesday and revealed that one snapper had even had the nerve to suggest her daughter Nahla, with her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry, may never be reunited with her dad as they fought over custody of the five year old in court.
The actress recalled, "(The photographer) said, 'How do you feel, Nahla? You may not see your father again. How do you feel about that?'
"They say curse words and call me names, all trying to provoke some sort of response to sell a photograph."
Berry insisted the paparazzi regularly behave badly around her and her little girl and she constantly has to explain their unwanted presence to young Nahla: "(She asked), 'Why did they say that to me, mummy? What does that mean? Who are these men and why are they following us?'
"We aren't just whiny celebrities... We're mums who are just trying to protect our children."
The bill, which would ban the photographing of a child without the permission of a legal guardian, was passed after a lengthy discussion and it will now go to the Appropriations Committee for review.
Despite boasting a couple of headliners who, at one point, might have sported enough gravitas as to pull the masses in to see any feature film, 2 Guns doesn't have a whole lot of draw. The well-worn buddy cop trope gets an interesting makeover with both parties playing undercover agents for independent organizations (Denzel Washington works for the DEA, while Mark Wahlberg is a Naval officer) unaware of the other's affiliation. Throughout, both parties manage performances that invite laughter, with Wahlberg's hybrid of badass and nebbish earning particular favor. But for some reason, the film just can't seem to muster up a full dish of appeal.
Maybe it's because 2 Guns seems to be, and proves to be, a film that sets the bulk of its attention on forwarding the criminal plotline. In this area, 2 Guns offers little in the new. Yes, the dramatic irony that both Washington and Wahlberg are officers of the law, and each under the impression that the other is a bona fide crook, is a twist with some flavor. But too heavily stocked with your standard cop movie tropes — inhabited by drug cartel baddie Edward James Olmos and sociopathic CIA man Bill Paxton — the film crumbles under its decision to take its story too seriously.
When it has fun, though, it has a good deal of it.
The high points of the film are not when Washington and Wahlberg are facing off with their laundry list of enemies — criminals, fellow lawmen, former allies, you name it... nobody likes these guys — but when the mismatched pair tustle verbally with one another.
Washington's Bobby Trench is a smooth, serious, acerbic would-be loner; Wahlberg's blathering Michael Stigman operates at peak energy and volume, wearing his lust for attention and friendship on his sleeve as he works tirelessly to win over his target/partner. Their chemistry, while nothing unprecedented in the buddy cop genre, is endearing, helping to pass the hour-and-a-half occupied by 2 Guns with just enough chuckles.
So if you're already there, having wandered accidentally into the wrong theater or affixed against your will to a diehard Denzel fan's idea of a perfect night out, buck up — the comedic scenes will get you through it. But if you're on the fence, they're not quite worth heading out to the theater for.
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Actor Jason Patric's ex-girlfriend is refusing to honour the actor's request for joint custody of their three-year-old son because he legally gave up his parental rights before the child was born. The Speed 2 star donated sperm so his former girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber, could have a baby in 2009, and last year (12) he launched legal action to gain joint custody of little Gus after the couple split, even though U.S. law only recognises him as a sperm donor, who has no paternity rights.
Patric lost the court battle in early 2013, but he recently filed an appeal and now the dispute has turned into a high-profile case as lawmakers in California consider a new bill, which would give donor dads more rights.
However Schreiber, who alleges Patric initially asked her to keep his identity a secret after he turned down the chance to claim parenthood prior to conception, is standing her ground - during an appearance on U.S. breakfast show Today on Monday (15Jul13), she said, "It's not about him having a relationship or contact with Gus. This is just about rights. Me preserving my right to be a sole legal parent, not having to share that with someone who has never intended to and never raised Gus, even when we were dating - Jason never did anything to raise Gus. He never changed a single diaper."
Patric also appeared on TV on Monday - he hit newswoman Katie Couric's chat show and said, "This is a case where I've had my son stolen from me and I have to do anything I can to try and get him back."
The Lost Boys star, who hasn't seen his three-and-a-half-year-old son for 20 weeks, told Couric he thought he had done enough when he signed forms before he donated sperm to his former partner.
He explained, "I went into the fertility clinic with her and I signed 20 pages of forms that say 'intended parent Jason Patric'."
But he agreed to leave his name off baby Gus' birth certificate - because he didn't want his kid to be targetted by his critics.
The actor added, "I wanted to protect him from the public eye that I have felt hasn't been kind to me. Any private documents - the consent forms, school forms, paediatrician's all have me as the father, but I didn't want the paparazzi taking pictures of my child coming out of Cedars-Sinai (Medical Center)."
Patric revealed he was dealt a blow by his ex two days after they celebrated his 46th birthday with their baby last year (12), when she told him of her plans to become a single parent: "She became very removed and within one week... she told me she would not speak to me unless it was through a lawyer... and she's not spoken to me since, in over a year.
"When I talked to your producers about coming on this show, the first thing I said is, 'Please invite Danielle Schreiber on the show. Please have her sit right here and explain... why you've done this.'"
Schreiber turned down the opportunity to appear alongside her ex on the Katie show.
Actress Tilda Swinton has shown her support for Russia's gay rights community by waving a rainbow flag in Moscow. The Oscar winner headed to the Moscow Kremlin, home of President Vladimir Putin, and defiantly held up the colourful flag, widely used as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride.
A photograph of her bold move, posted online on America's Independence Day (04Jul13), depicts Swinton posing proudly in front of both the Kremlin and a police car.
Her agent Christian Hodell, who shared the image via Twitter.com, also released a message from the star stating, "In solidarity. From Russia with love."
Government officials in the traditional country passed a bill last month (Jun13) banning "gay propaganda", and dozens of gay rights activists were arrested for violating the law at a rally in St. Petersburg on 29 June (13).
By now, we know what we're getting ourselves into when we sign on for a new buddy cop movie: One's a hardnosed, by-the-book professional with a no nonsense attitude and a suffering personal life. The other's a fun-loving renegade who uses alternative methods to get the job done, but incurs the wrath of all those trying to uphold protocol. Oh, and they're both dudes. We don't know why that is part of the regimen, but it is an element that has been rigidly maintained through the Lethal Weapons, the Rush Hours, the 48 Hrs, and good ol' Starsky and Hutch. But Paul Feig's The Heat lays waste to this arbitrary pattern, casting Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as a pair of officers who do wonders with the age old trope.
Vexingly, a great deal of cinematic traditions are dominated by male actors and characters. When you think of mob movies, of crime thrillers, of screwball comedies, of science-fiction and fantasy, or of animated adventures, you're bound to think immediately of the vast number of men who have brought these stories to life on screen. But scattered throughout an industry that seems to opt for old hat over new and inventive are the outlying gems that prove that women can deliver these sorts of films with the same majesty and entertainment as their male counterparts.
The Silence Of The LambsGenre: ThrillerHeroine: Clarice Starling, played by Jodie FosterThe theme of gender provide quite a hurdle for Clarice Starling. But in and beyond her universe, she trounces these barriers, becomingperhaps the most memorable FBI agent in cinema history.
The Quick and the DeadGenre: WesternHeroine: Ellen, played by Sharon StoneThe Western is likely more male-dominated than any other genre, which is why Sharon Stone's turn at the head of the 1995 film proves all the more riveting,
AlienGenre: Sci-fiHeroine: Ripley, played by Sigourney WeaverSurrounded by male officers, secret cyborgs, and homicidal aliens, Sigourney Weaver is still the most gripping aspect of Ridley Scott's classic Alien, her strength and nobility never waning as she treads into the most dangerous and horrifying territories imaginable.
Thelma and LouiseGenre: Outlaw movieHeroines: The titular characters, played by Susan Sarandon and Geena DavisEarning audience yehaws no lower in volume than those conjured by Butch and Sundance, heroes Thelma and Louise make for one of the most cherished outlaw films in recent history, not to mention the most moving.
FargoGenre: Crime dramaHeroine: Marge Gunderson, played by Frances McDormandWe love William H. Macy, ya, and that Steve Buscemi is a hoot, dontchaknow. But Fargo is far and away Frances McDormand's movie.
Kill BillGenre: Assassin/martial arts movieHeroine: Beatrix "The Bride" Kiddo, played by Uma ThurmanQuentin Tarantino's female characters have always been impressive, with his sword-wielding Beatrix topping the lot in her martial arts adventure. The character exhibits an all-powerful love for her daughter, which drives her through countless bloody missions in the modern classic two-parter.
UnderworldGenre: Vampire movieHeroine: Selene, played by Kate BeckinsaleTrue, there were female heroines in the vampire genre before Beckinsale (yes, we want to give Buffy her rightful nod). But the first true and traditionally dark vamp flick with a badass lady at the center was indeed the Underworld series.
HaywireGenre: ActionHeroine: Mallory Kane, played by Gina CaranoFilled with nonstop action, thrills, gasps, bone snaps, and run-for-your-life moments, Steven Soderbergh's Haywire allows Gina Carano a platform to kick the crap out of every man with whom she crosses paths... which she could very well have done, just as easily, in real life.
BridesmaidsGenre: Screwball comedyHeroines: The lead ensemble, played by Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, and Rose ByrneFinally, another from Feig, and a fan favorite at that. Launching McCarthy's career and giving Wiig her first turn as a movie star, Bridesmaids re-opened the discussion of whether women could handle all sorts of comedy as well as men can. Anyone still on the fence has got to watch this movie again, and fast.
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Openly-gay Star Trek icon George Takei has celebrated the progress made for gay rights in the U.S. Supreme Court by sharing his thoughts on Wednesday's (26Jun13) historic ruling in a newspaper editorial. The 76-year-old actor has penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post after lawmakers struck down the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had previously prevented married same-sex couples from obtaining the same access to benefits under federal law as all other husband and wife unions.
In the article, Takei writes, "Whenever one group discriminates against another - keeping its members out of a club, a public facility or an intuition - it often boils down to a visceral, negative response to something unfamiliar. I call this the 'ick'...
"For more than 70 years, I've watched the 'ick' infect American life in a variety of ways and concluded that it's little more than a function of unfamiliarity... Even I was taken aback the first time I saw two men being affectionate in public. The 'ick' runs deep, instilling unease even in those for whom an act is natural."
However, Takei, who wed his partner Brad Altman in 2008, claims that as race discrimination is thought of as outrageous by today's children, future generations will think the same of the limitations placed on gays and lesbians by the DOMA bill.
He adds, "Future generations will shake their heads at how narrow, fearful and ignorant we sounded today debating DOMA. Happily the majority of our justices understood this and did not permit the 'ick' to stick."
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Ricky Martin and Nick Jonas were among the stars celebrating on Wednesday (26Jun13) after two landmark rulings in support of gay marriage were made by officials in the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. struck down a key part of the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevented married same-sex couples from obtaining the same access to benefits under federal law as all other husband and wife unions, insisting the legislation violated gays and lesbians' rights to liberty and equal protection.
Supreme Court judges also declared California's Proposition 8 bill, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state in 2008, unconstitutional - and celebrities have been quick to celebrate the big news via Twitter.com.
In a post online, DiCaprio writes, "Historic day. Well done SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States)", while openly-gay singer Martin tweets, "PROP8 IS GONE! DOMA IS GONE! LoveIsLove (sic)".
The Avengers star Mark Ruffalo posts, "Congratulations everyone! Love wins over bigotry! ...Defense of marriage falls! We chose love over hate!", while Jonas writes, "We are all equal and have the right to love. So proud to be an American" and Affleck adds: "Big news from the Supreme Court. Goodbye DOMA Prop8. Hello equality."
Gay comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, who used a legal window to wed her partner Portia de Rossi in 2008, Lea Michele, Demi Lovato, Kelly Osbourne, Sophia Bush, Neil Patrick Harris, Mia Farrow, Mandy Moore, Gilles Marini, Kevin Bacon and Pink also expressed their joy at the huge headlines, while Kristen Bell, who famously insisted she would not wed her fiance Dax Shepard until her gay pals could legally wed, tweeted her partner with the message: "will you marry me? marriageequality loveislove (sic)".
Bell and Shepard, who recently became first-time parents to daughter Lincoln, have been engaged since 2010.
Shepard replied, "DOMA is dead. Prop 8 is dead. Now let's bring my big, gay marriage to @IMKristenBell to Life!!!!"
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also famously declared they would not wed until gay marriage was legal.
Pregnant actress Halle Berry appeared before a legislative committee in California on Tuesday (25Jun13) to testify in support of a new anti-paparazzi bill preventing snappers from taking pictures of celebrity children. The Monster's Ball star has frequently clashed with photographers, and she has taken particular issue with members of the media camped outside her daughter's school waiting to get photos of the Oscar winner.
Speaking before the Assembly Committee on Public Safety at the Capitol in Sacramento, she revealed that her five-year-old daughter Nahla no longer wanted to go to class because of the presence of the paparazzi.
She told the lawmakers, "My daughter doesn't want to go to school because she knows 'the men' are watching for her. They jump out of the bushes and from behind cars and who knows where else, besieging these children just to get a photo."
Berry said she was speaking out as a "mother of a daughter and the baby boy in my belly" and added, "If it (the law) passes, the quality of my life and my children's lives will be dramatically changed."
Her testimony helped to win the bill the approval of the Committee members and it will now be passed to officials on the Assembly Judiciary Committee to clarify the language of the law which will limit the ability of the paparazzi to snap images of the children of celebrities and public figures without the permission of a legal guardian.
Actors Alec Baldwin and Jason Alexander have teamed up to shoot a series of video ads urging New York politicians to stomp out corruption and pass new campaign finance reform laws. The stars have called on Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the Senate to pass a new bill that would limit the influence of big money donors and force officials to rely on public financing to fund their election campaigns.
Encouraging legislators in the capital of Albany to take action, Baldwin says, "It's time to stop talking about cleaning up Albany, and start doing it. Pass Fair Elections for New York, and don't come home without it."
And, in his clip, former Seinfeld star Alexander adds, "I remember that old ad campaign, 'I Love NY'. Well, I did, and I do. And that's why I'm hoping Albany will get its act together and pass comprehensive campaign finance reform including small donor public financing. It will set the trend for the whole country, which is exactly what New York should be doing. Then we can all say, 'We will always love New York'."
Actresses Kathleen Turner and former Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Kathryn Erbe have also thrown their support behind the Fair Elections for New York Campaign.