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.
NBC may be down four shows (I mean, they weren't very good ones, so no major love lost there) but they're gaining even more. After yesterday's annoucement that new series from the likes of J.J. Abrams and the small screen adaptation of About a Boy would be heading to the peacock network, there's been the annoucement that they have ordered even more shows for the 2013-2014 lineup. Check it out:
-Blair Underwood, whose TV credits include L.A. Law, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Sex and the City, will join the NBC family as his star vehicle, the reboot of the 1960s series Ironside, has been picked up. The drama stars Underwood as a police detective who is bound to a wheelchair after a shooting, but continues to work.
-Bill Lawrence, who brought the likes of Scrubs and Cougar Town to ABC, will now bring his new comedy Undateable to NBC. The show has a familiar, if not usually successful sitcom M.O.: a group of twentysomething friends trying to navigate their love lives.
- Loved Chicago Fire? You're in luck, because NBC has ordered a series spin-off called Chicago PD.
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Jon Bon Jovi has applauded New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for signing into law a new bill to protect drug users from prosecution, months after the rock star's daughter suffered an overdose at college. Stephanie Rose Bongiovi was hospitalised in November (12) after she was found unresponsive in her dorm room at Hamilton College in New York.
She was later arrested after a search of her room turned up a small quantity of heroin and marijuana, but the drug possession charges were subsequently dropped against the 19 year old and her pal, who called the paramedics, thanks to the Good Samaritan 911 law, which was implemented in the Big Apple to encourage victims to seek medical help without the threat of legal repercussions.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has called for mandatory treatment for all non-violent drug offenders, has since adopted the same law for the rocker's home state and Bon Jovi was on hand to show his support on Thursday (02May13) as the new legislation was formally approved.
Neither Bon Jovi nor Christie referenced Stephanie's incident during the legislation signing, but the singer told the Associated Press, "I hope that Governor Christie's actions here will cause other states to stand up and to pay attention and also to follow in his footsteps."
The Livin' On A Prayer hitmaker later joined Christie on a visit to a local drug rehabilitation centre, where the politician and the star met with young patients and told them that they should be proud of their recovery efforts.
Usually it's finding the good guy to save the day that proves difficult, but for the Gavin O'Connor-directed western, Jane Got a Gun, finding a bad guy to go up against has been the most challenging part. And with the exit of its latest candidate, Bradley Cooper (who had agreed to replace Jude Law), it seems the trickiest adversary of all has been keeping someone in the role. And he'd only booked the job less than a month ago!
Deadline reports that the troubled film, which lost its original director, Lynne Ramsay, the night before production was slated to begin, has already begun courting big names like Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tom Hiddleston to play the film's bad guy alongside stars Natalie Portman and The Great Gatsby's Joel Edgerton, who had previously replaced Michael Fassbender. (We weren't kidding when we said this film had problems.)
The film centers around Jane and Bill Hammond (played by Portman and Noah Emmerich, respectively), and the journey taken by Jane and her ex-lower (Edgerton) in order to keep her husband — who is definitely not one of the good guys — safe from the other outlaws intent on killing him. Cooper was set to play the main no-good baddie, but it is said that the delayed shooting of Cooper's current project (David O'Russell’s American Hustle) after the Boston bombing coupled with his obligations surrounding The Hangover Part 3 aided in this decision.
There is, of course, a silver lining (stop groaning, it works!) to all of this: Cooper's former role isn't slated to begin shooting scenes until June — surely enough time to find a solid actor.
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The governor of Georgia has thanked Usher's ex-wife Tameka Raymond for her support of tougher boating laws following her son's death on a lake in Atlanta last summer (12). Usher's former stepson Kile Glover, 11, was on an inflatable raft on Lake Lanier on 6 July when a jet ski collided with the craft. He was left brain dead after the accident and never regained consciousness before passing away on 21 July.
His death, and a slew of other tragedies on the state's lakes, inspired the Georgia Senate Bill 136, also known as the Kile Glover Boat Education Law, which will reduce the legal blood alcohol limit for boating or hunting and increase the penalties for those engaging in water activities while under the influence.
On Tuesday (23Apr13), Governor Nathan Deal signed the legislation into law, and praised Raymond, who championed the change.
Governor Deal said, "To Tameka Raymond, Kile Glover's mother... I want to thank you for your support of these important laws. I sign this bill for all the Kiles... in our state. And, ultimately, I sign this bill for a safer Georgia."
Raymond, who attended the signing, added, "I'm very optimistic. I'm hopeful someone else can learn from this tragedy. I would just want everyone to be mindful - just be a little more mindful."
The legislation will also require young people to pass a boating education course before taking charge of a personal watercraft.
Singer Carrie Underwood has gone to war with politicians in her adopted Tennessee over plans to ban animal rights activists from capturing undercover video footage at farms. The vegetarian has gone public with her opposition to a new "ag gag" bill, which was introduced in the state last week (ends19Apr13). The ordinance prohibits undercover filming of farms, so staffers lacking compassion can hide cruelty, food and labour safety violations.
Underwood took to Twitter.com to let followers know where she stood, posting: "Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me?"
And when Republican state representative Andy Holt responded to her criticism, telling the local NBC TV affiliate, "I would say that if Carrie Underwood will stick to singing, I'll stick to lawmaking," the furious singer took aim at him, too.
She tweeted: "I should stick to singing? Wow... sorry, I'm just a tax paying citizen (sic) concerned for the safety of my family."