Lady Gaga celebrated the arrival of her new album Artpop by staging a star-studded gig in London on Friday (06Dec13). The Poker Face singer took over London nightclub Annabel's for a very special live show, and she entertained a crowd full of celebrities from the world of film and music with tracks from the album, which was released last month (Nov13).
The exclusive audience included award-winning singer Adele, pop star Jessie J, Sting, James Blunt, Les Miserables' Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Ferry, Emile Sande, and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.
Gaga addressed the wealthy crowd by jokingly asking for donations, saying, "Hello, rich people. You should be happy. I'll be passing around a hat as I'm extremely poor. If you could contribute to my art, that would be great. I need some more feathers for my hat."
British supermodel Naomi Campbell, who was due to attend the event, skipped the party saying she was "in mourning for Mandela" following the South African leader's death on Thursday (05Dec13).
"A lot of people say I would love it but I just love filming and I love my job and it would mean taking time out of that. There may come a time when I don't like my job as much but I can't see that happening." Daniel Radcliffe is adamant he will not be following his Harry Potter co-star Emma Watson's lead by taking time out to attend university.
Russell Crowe is coming out with a new movie in 2014 called Noah. It's about the biblical story of the flooding of the Earth and the man who shepherded every type of animal onto a giant ark that was able to weather the waters. (Sorry, spoiler alert to anyone who hasn't seen or read a Bible in their lives.) Is it going to be a great movie or will this be one of those overwrought big budget films that ultimately wind up in the cheap DVD bins in a year or so?
People who point to the Charlton Heston portrayal as Moses seem to miss the point: he at least carried some biblical gravitas. When I look at Crowe, I tend to think of an action-movie type. (Yes, I know he was fantastic in The Insider and A Beautiful Mind.) But when I see him in an ancient time setting with his flowing beard, I think of him as Maximus from Gladiator. For some reason, I could imagine a scene in Noah where he stands at the bow of the ark, with all these animals (CGI, of course) surrounding him and he bellows, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!"
The thing that may present a REALLY big problem is that they embellished on this story and that may anger a LOT of Christians, who tend to view that as ... I'm trying to think of the word. It's right on the tip of my tongue. Oh yes. Blasphemous. That's it. There's a human nemesis for Noah to contend with as well ... as if the original huge waves, tons of animals in a cramped space and wicked angels wasn't enough of a challenge for one man, they had to add this extra thing that wasn't in the original source material. Hollywood sure loves to change stuff around, even with classics. Hey, you can ask Nathaniel Hawthorne. There might not be a hugely receptive audience and depending how this is presented, there might even be protests.
One thing that gives some hope is that the movie is directed by Darren Aronofsky, he of Black Swan fame. He's an excellent director. Add Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson and the movie is suddenly in good shape acting-wise. It depends which Crowe shows up. When he puts his mind to it, he's one of the best actors on the planet.
My prediction: It may start off well in the box office due to the curiosity factor, but then word-of-mouth will be the determining factor. It may continue raking in big dollars or it might tail off horribly like Godzilla did in the late '90s. Then we'll be monitoring the DVD racks.
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
As we eagerly await (wait, wait, wait) the distant release date of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, why not rewatch some of the Harry Potter films? Which one was your favorite? Here are ours, ranked worst to best.
Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets
Both so bad they don't even deserve their own ranking.
Order of the Phoenix
Many name Order of the Phoenix as their least favorite book – Harry's angrily depressed for a good portion of the story, and that's not exactly fun for the readers. A lot of that dementor-y angstiness carries over to the film, which doesn't make for the best cinematic experience. Quibbles aside, we can all agree that Imelda Staunton was the perfect Umbridge.
Goblet of Fire
This one gets a lot of hate (they did cut out a lot of the best moments), but I don't know; the awkwardness of the whole Yule Ball debacle kind of saves it for me. Oh, and the adorable Beauxbatons hats.
Deathly Hallows Part I
People say that Deathly Hallows is basically Harry Potter and the Never-ending Camping Trip. Which, okay, it kind of is. But I think the marriage between the book and the movie worked well here – even though Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson's chemistry had everyone clamoring for a rewrite of the Hermione/Ron storyline.
Half-Blood Prince was awesome, right? Right? ::crickets:: At least JKR's got my back (it was reportedly her favorite of the first six). I loved the balance of humor and darkness in this one. The Felix Felicis scene? Daniel Radcliffe at this best. And the extra material that Rowling added about Professor Slughorn's remembrances of Lily Evans? Absolutely beautiful.
Deathly Hallows Part II
A just conclusion for a franchise that went on for roughly a decade – it certainly went out on a bang (well, a bang followed up by that infamously bad epilogue, anyway).
Prisoner of Azkaban
Prisoner of Azkaban was such a breath of fresh air after the first two butcheries, was it not? Many hail it as the film that saved the franchise – it finally captured the humor of the books, and the Harry/stag patronus scene continues to get me time after time. And honestly, the entire time turner sequence made for some popcorn poppin' cinema.
Lionsgate / Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Miley Cyrus. Kim Kardashian. Nicki Minaj -- little girls and young women everywhere look up to these ladies. And while this may or may not be a good thing, it’s always nice to have the occasional fictional character whose awesomeness we can all aspire to. So if the pop stars of today aren’t doing it for you, here are a few of our favorite young heroines of film. They're brilliant, badass, and fully-clothed, and for that we thank them.
Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games Series
We predict that in a few years college courses will be taught on the legacy of The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen. Feminists love her, young and old alike adore her, as she embodies all of the qualities of a true hero. Self-sacrifice, strength in the face of death, and there’s even a certain (albeit complicated) rags to riches aspect of her story. Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Suzanne Collins’ beloved character brought a unique femme figure to cinema – a young woman whose beauty and romantic interests played second (even third) fiddle to her other priorities. In a cinematic world filled with many a Bella Swan (no offense, Twihards) Katniss was a welcome and necessary addition to the young leading ladies in film.
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter Series
Emma Watson’s Hermione days are behind her now but Harry Potter fans watched her grow up on screen as the brilliant young witch whose fearlessness and dedication to her studies made her a huge asset to Harry and Ron. Functioning as the irreplaceable glue that kept everything and everyone together, Hermione was no sidekick. Without her amazingness, and her ability to do pretty much anything, there would have been no Harry Potter.
Mattie Ross, True Grit
Little Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld in the 2010 Coen Brothers film) was the definition of true grit. Out to avenge her father’s death, she teamed up with the meanest Marshal around and takes on the perils of the west with more courage than some of the grown men around her. Frighteningly precocious, Mattie is another character who was heralded by feminists and beloved by movie-goers and critics alike. Steinfeld received an Oscar nomination for her brilliant portrayal of the unforgettable character.
Hushpuppy, Beasts of the Southern Wild
A small film with a teeny little girl premiered in 2012 and practically took over the world. Quvenzhané Wallis was critically acclaimed (and also nominated for an Oscar — the youngest person ever) for her role as Hushpuppy, an independent, fierce ball of fire weathering life in the back woods, bayou community known as the Bathtub. Taking on the wrath of a storm, her father, and mythical beats, Hushpuppy was the unique heroine we’d all been waiting for, whether we knew it or not.
Mindy McCready/Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass Series
From the moment she uttered the line, “Okay you c-nts, let's see what you can do now,” Chloë Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl became a crowd favorite. Her controversial role as the young superhero/assassin makes her different from some of the other characters on this list (she’s no role model, in the traditional sense), but her genuine badassery and love for both Clint Eastwood and Hello Kitty makes her one of our absolute favorite young heroines in film.
Plans to launch a series of Harry Potter-themed stamps in the U.S. have angered die-hard collectors who insist the honour should be reserved for American icons. The U.S. Postal Service is set to release 100 million stamps featuring British stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as their characters from the popular film series as part of an initiative to encourage younger citizens to take an interest in philately.
However, the plans have outraged collectors, who complain the characters, dreamed up by Scottish author J.K. Rowling, do not deserve a place on U.S. stamps because they are not an American creation.
Members of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, the board which helps the U.S. Postal Service decide on the honours, are also opposed to placing movie stills on the stamps instead of illustrations.
Former president of the American Philatelic Society John Hotchner tells the Washington Post, "Harry Potter is not American. It's foreign, and it's so blatantly commercial it's off the charts. The Postal Service knows what will sell, but that's not what stamps ought to be about."
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With Thor: The Dark World fresh in our minds, it's difficult to estrange from the similarities in the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Noah. We close in on a long-haired, finely chiseled Australian film icon, mid-scene as a mythical figure lamenting the impending global annihilation at the hands of the all-powerful being closest to him. "He's going to destroy the world," says Russell Crowemsworth. But even if the Marvel sequel hadn't just released, we might find this introductory look at the director's Black Swan follow-up to feel just a little too... grand.
What the Biblical tale of Noah's Ark has, intrinsically, is an epic nature: The end of days. The wrath of God. A global flood. A literal boatload of wild animals. And more than any of this in launching Noah to grandeur is the fact that so many of us grew up reveling in its majesty. Through religious schooling or PBS specials, we learned as children that Noah's story was one of the most amazing ever told. And without much cinematic competition for the subject matter, it's not like Aronofsky is working against the tide. With proper visual effects, a Noah movie would feel just as "grand" as we might want it to. That's why we hope that this new trailer is downplaying the element most necessary to make this feature work: the intimacy.
With a story so inherently "big," it would pay for Aronofsky to hone in on the small. The personal conquests of Noah and his family, the torments that lie deeper than the crashing waves. Aronofsky is a filmmaker whose worlds feel gigantic, but whose characters are always sharp and vivid. But Crowe feels buried beneath everything else in this trailer, with his wife and children huddled beside him.
Naturally, the first trailer for a movie like Noah is going to have to opt for the "big." We can't spend our inceptive minutes watching Crowe play All Is Lost (with a much bigger boat) — we need confidence in Aronofsky's ability to get what is arguably the Bible's most famous tale down pat. But we know he'll do the "big" stuff right. Hopefully the next look at this movie will show that he's handling the small stuff just as well.
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"What I've found is that, and I can't speak for Rupert (Grint) or Emma (Watson), but the fervour around me has actually increased since the end of Potter. Now I'm out doing press and this and that - in Venice, just gone, it was insane. At one point I was chased to the toilet by 500 people!" Daniel Radcliffe claims his level of fame has increased since the end of the hugely successful Harry Potter series, revealing he was mobbed at the Venice Film Festival in September (13).
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling was reunited with the female star of her magical movies, Emma Watson, at a huge fundraiser for her children's charity over the weekend (09-10Nov13). The British author has founded Lumos, an organisation which aims to help kids living in institutions across the world.
After donating almost $37.5 million (£25 million) of her personal fortune to the cause, Rowling threw a huge gala event at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Tour attraction in Hertfordshire, England on Saturday (09Nov13).
Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the films, joined Rowling at the bash, alongside fellow castmember Evanna Lynch and fashion designer Stella McCartney.
After the event, the author took to Twitter.com to thank her generous guests for helping to raise $1.5 million (£1 million) for the charity, writing, "Fantastic that we raised over £1M at (the) Lumos fundraiser - going directly towards ending the institutionalisation of children."
All proceeds from her recent Harry Potter spin-off book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, will also go to Lumos.
"I had no idea who he was... I'd heard that apparently he was a good actor... and I have to say, the first day I thought I was shooting with Emma Watson." Teenage actress Sophie Nelisse on playing opposite Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and nominee Emily Watson in new Holocaust drama The Book Thief.