Hugh Jackman's actress wife Deborra-Lee Furness' campaign to overhaul adoption laws in her native Australia will expose some children to a greater risk of abuse and trafficking, according to experts. The Jindabyne star has been a vocal supporter of the Adopt Change organisation, and this week (beg25Aug14) she praised the country's Prime Minister Tony Abbott for holding talks with campaign staff.
However, a group of child protection experts has now warned politicians that a change in the adoption laws could leave the door wide open to abusers.
The panel told an Australian parliamentary committee the proposals will make the adoption process "vulnerable to reduced standards for the protection of children, and greater risks of malpractice".
Former Van Halen star Sammy Hagar is set for a court showdown with a one-time Playboy bunny for accusing her of extortion in his autobiography. Officials at a federal appeals court have revived the unidentified woman's defamation lawsuit against the rocker ruling a judge had mistakenly dismissed her claims that he libelled her in his 2011 book Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock for naming him as the father of her son.
The woman claimed her son was the result of a five-year romance with Hagar, adding he was conceived in 1988 in Detroit, Michigan after a Van Halen concert.
This week (beg25Aug14), Circuit Judge Myron Bright ruled the Iowa-based plaintiff could pursue claims of libel, invasion of privacy and breach of a confidentiality agreement.
She said, "Under Iowa law, an accusation that a person is a liar is defamatory as a matter of law. Indeed, Mr. Hagar's statements regarding Doe's (unidentified woman) criminality, dishonesty, and sexual exploits have a natural tendency to provoke Doe to wrath or expose her to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule within the community of individuals that recognise her as the subject."
Hagar's lawyer Wesley Kinnear says, "We are disappointed that the Court of Appeals didn't affirm the lower court decision in its entirety. We look forward to the next step."
In his memoir, Hagar denied he was the father of the former model's son but revealed he agreed to pay her money during her pregnancy in exchange for her silence about his alleged paternity. No tests were conducted.
The woman reportedly received $7,000 (GBP4,100) from Hagar. Her son was born in February, 1989, and died five after just days.
The libel case will now return to an Iowa court.
Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry ruled the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Sunday (24Aug14), by picking up the biggest honours. The Roar hitmaker took home the first Moonman trophy of the night for Best Female Video for Dark Horse and was joined onstage by rapper Juicy J who appeared on the track.
Cyrus, who returned to the prizegiving a year after causing a stir with her raunchy routine with Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, was all about the message this year, choosing to use her Video of the Year acceptance speech for Wrecking Ball to pay tribute to homeless youths.
The pop star sent a man named Jesse to accept the prize on her behalf for the "1.6 million runaways and homeless youths in the United States, who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now."
He continued, "I know this because I am one of these people... If you want to make a powerful change in the world right now, please join us and go to Miley's Facebook.com page. A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream you dream together is reality."
Beyonce was feted with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and wowed the crowd with a show-stopping performance featuring a medley of hits from her self-titled album, including Partition, Flawless and Drunk in Love.
After her stunning set, which brought the audience to its feet, she was presented with the accolade by daughter Blue Ivy and husband Jay Z, who called his wife "the greatest living entertainer."
Beyonce tearfully accepted her award, saying, "I'm so full. Thank you, I have nothing to say, but I'm filled with so much gratitude. I just thank God for this moment and I love y'all so much. Blue I love you, my beloved I love you, my fans I love you, MTV I love you, goodnight."
The moment appeared to be her bid to once and for all end divorce rumours.
Ed Sheeran and Fifth Harmony were also big winners, taking home the Best Male Video and Artist to Watch awards, respectively.
Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J kicked off the ceremony with Grande singing her hit Break Free, followed by Nicki Minaj giving a jungle-themed performance of her new track Anaconda.
Jessie J then started off the trio's new hit song Bang Bang, but Minaj suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction when she did not complete her quick-change in time and was forced to hold the front of her dress together so as to not expose her bare breasts as she returned to the stage.
Other performance highlights included Sam Smith with his hit song Stay With Me and Maroon 5, who made their VMAs debut with a performance of Maps outside of the venue.
Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora also hit the The Forum stage for their first-ever live performance of Black Widow.
There was also a couple of serious moments in among the festivities - Robin Williams, who passed away earlier this month (Aug14), was remembered and rapper Common asked for a moment of silence for Missouri teenager, Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August (14), sparking the ongoing unrest in the state.
The 2014 MTV VMAs winners at press time were:
Video of the Year - Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
Best Hip-Hop Video - Hold On (We're Going Home) by Drake featuring Majid Jordan
Best Male Video - Sing by Ed Sheeran
Best Female Video - Dark Horse by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J
Best Pop Video - Problem by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
Artist to Watch - Fifth Harmony
Best Rock Video - Royals by Lorde
Best Lyric Video - Don't Stop by 5 Seconds of Summer
MTV Clubland Award - Stay the Night by Zedd featuring Hayley Williams
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award - Beyonce
Katy Perry opened the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in winning style on Sunday (24Aug14) by taking home the first prize of the night. The Roar hitmaker was feted with the Best Female Video accolade at The Forum in Inglewood, California for Dark Horse featuring Juicy J, beating out Beyonce, Lorde, Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande.
She took to the stage with the rapper to accept the honour, saying, "Wow, it's a nice way to start out the night with a Moonman (trophy)... We just want to say thank you so much, we put a lot of time and effort and hard work into this song. We are going to party tonight."
The annual prizegiving kicked off with Grande singing her hit Break Free, followed by Nicki Minaj giving a jungle-themed performance of her new track Anaconda.
Jessie J then took the stage to start off the trio's hit song Bang Bang, but when Minaj returned, she seemed to have suffered a wardrobe malfunction due to a quick change from her green-sequined two-piece into a black mini-dress. The rapper came out to join Grande and Jessie J, holding her dress closed as to not expose her breasts, while making small movements for the rest of their performance.
Dimension Films via Everett Collection
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For really values its volume. The movie tosses out three or four stories, twenty-odd characters, a handful of car chases, several dozen throat-slittings and skull-bludgeonings… in their return to the cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, Miller and director Robert Rodriguez seemed bent on packing in as much as they conceivably could. The unfortunate result: not quite the intricate, inviting narrative web that the men set out to create, but a straight through-line of nonstop stuff.
In the most egregious sense, too. While we remember Sin City as a relatively patient illustration of Miller’s virtue-deficient neo-noir kingdom, what we find in this year’s follow-up is a feverish race to expose the audience to every idea the directing duo has up its sleeve.
Dimension Films via Everett Collection
So, what we get instead of a fluid story is a whirlpool of events. Each chapter of the clumsily manufactured movie will set you up with a character — an out-of-place Joseph Gordon-Levitt as cocky gambler Johnny, Josh Brolin as a thickheaded do-gooder, and the ragtag team of a destitute Jessica Alba and her devoted muscle Mickey Rourke — only to watch the hero in question stumble upon plot contrivance after plot contrivance, never getting to do much all the while.
And while the style outdoes the substance in the scope A Dame to Kill For’s strong suits, Miller and Rodriguez are not exactly displaying the utmost aesthetic panache in this latest outing. Sure, certain chase scenes are kinetic — and the film might offer the most invigorating visual design of an onscreen hot tub in the history of cinema — but sloppy choreography and a world constructed without depth or sense of place leaves us feeling completely out of touch with the film’s most important character: Sin City.
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Getty Images/Vera Anderson
I was humming a tune from Robert Altman's Popeye, a terribly underrated feat of Robin Williams' comedy (and his first cinematic role), when I read the news of the actor's passing. Hastily, I diverted attention to the public sphere, rushing through the social media posts of friends, colleagues, and strangers, hoping for a taste of which Williams roles most touched the lives of each and every individual vocalizing grief. I knew there would be no shortage of reference to Williams' dramatic work — his Good Will Huntings and Dead Poets Societys — but of course my expectation was to find the principal focus on his comedy. More than an actor was Williams a comedian, whether he be playing on stage, on television, or on the big screen.
So it was an especially jarring turn to discover, when I launched back from the tributes to ingest more information, just how Williams died: authorities had begun calling the incident a suicide. Only for a moment, though, was I so rattled in surprise. Williams' endeavors with rehab for drugs and alcohol, both this summer and earlier on in the 2000s, were no secret. But more significant than this is the fact that nobody is or isn't "the type" to take his own life; nobody should be a more surprising victim of suicide than anybody else. Stigmas to the contrary are a large part of why depression is such a treacherous epidemic in our world and country.
Upon learning of Williams' death, some are bound to consider the dichotomy between the man we knew — the one who'd dress in drag and howl in a Scottish accent, who'd roar through the radio waves of the Pacific Rim — and the man in earnest. Some might doubt that the Williams we met as Mork, loved as Patch Adams, played with as Alan Parrish, and wished upon as the Genie, was anything whatsoever real. Anything more than "for the cameras."
It certaintly was. It was a Williams for us. From him.
Upon perusing Facebook and Twitter and speaking with friends, I found something you don't often see when a beloved actor dies: variety. Every other voice had a different Williams role to celebrate, ranging from the wacky Aladdin, the sweet and schmaltzy Hook, the stern and sincere The Birdcage, the dark and severe Insomnia, and the esoteric The Fisher King. The constants were affection and familiarity. More than a few folks who grew up in the '80s and '90s likened Williams to a distant family member, or even a surrogate father. Clearly, the man had fostered an incredibly, unprecedentedly intimate presence with a generation of film and television watchers.
And each of those "types" of Williams is just as valid as the next. As such, the "type" of Williams we — the public — all collectively know is as valid, as palpable, as real as anything that he might be beyond the limelight.
A friend of mine expressed consternation over the proper decorum in situations like these: is it tacky to expose your grief for a passing friend whom you've never met, who never knew you? It doesn't seem to be — although it would be tacky to presume that I know anything of what Williams might or could or should want, we can rest assured that he brought his talents, his hobbies, his self into the world in the way he did in the hopes of making us laugh. Few comedians, and even fewer actors, of our generation could be deemed so potently invested in the happiness and enjoyment of their audiences. In every one of his movies, Williams was giving us a very big, powerful, important part of him. That, and all the laughter that came with it, was for us. So it doesn't seem all that off base to think that we couldn't share every feeling of love and sorrow we might have about him.
Finally, we return to the question of authenticity — what about the man behind the laughter? The man so stricken with pain? The "real" Williams?
That's where the danger comes in: the thought that only the morose can be depressed, that anyone so capable of earning a laugh must be riding a permanent cloud nine. That Williams' humor was the result of a chemical reaction with celluloid, and would dissipate immediately upon production wrap. Williams, like many depressed men and women, was a man who liked to, maybe even lived to, joke. A man who could command any room, nail any impression, or knock out any punchline. Granted, Williams can probably do this a lot better than the vast majority of folks out there, depressed or otherwise. But he's not a unique breed. There is no discernible breed. Depression and the turmoils that come with it can inflict anyone: the funny, the mopey, the angry, the brawny, the silly, the sensitive. From your Sean Maguires to your Daniel Hillards.
It often takes a stride to learn that the depression living within any of these people can be real. And for those who suffer with the disease, it is just as difficult, if not more so, to understand that the rest of you — the funny, the sweet, the strong, the "Seize the day!", the "Beee yourself!", the "Hellooo!" — is, too, very much real. No matter which side of the equation you might be on, you have one more lesson here to learn from John Keating:
We did know the real Williams. We just didn't know every part of the real Williams. We might not have known the real pains, the tragedies that too many people face alone and don't have to. But we knew something just as real: his ability and his drive — no, his insistence — to make the world laugh. And yes, he made the world cry plenty. When he battled for a soul in Bicentennial Man or delivered special peace to a hospital of sick children in Patch Adams or dragged Matt Damon out of his own carnivorous guilt in Good Will Hunting, he made us cry. But the Williams that made us laugh... the one who splashed his face with pie frosting, babbled around Sweethaven in a feverish stupor, and doled out life lessons to a wannabe prince via obscenely anachronistic pop culture references... well, that's my real Williams. And he's just as real as anybody else's.
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Shining Excalibur Pictures via Everett Collection
Arguably one of the most important films of the '90s and definitely one of the most important films about young people and sex, Kids was released almost two decades ago and people still can't stop talking about it. For this reason, it's exciting to learn that one of the young actors from the iconic movie is now preparing to release his own documentary about his experience—and the experiences of the other cast members—on and off the set. Hamilton Harris taught us all how to roll a blunt back in 1995, but now he's got another story to tell.
Hamilton recently gave an interview to VICE and talked about much of the behind-the-scenes drama (and trauma) that went along with filming Kids. He plans to expose and address these things with a focus on the lives of the young skaters whose stories were not fully explored in the film, or the many projects that surrounded it later. The death of one of his co-stars, Harold Hunter, also played a role in the inspiration behind the forthcoming documentary. Original cast members including Chloe Sevigny, and Kids director Larry Clark are also involved.
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Colin Firth was left baffled by Woody Allen's lack of direction on the set of new period drama Magic In The Moonlight, because the revered filmmaker often insisted the British actor should do "whatever" he wanted. The King's Speech star portrays a cynical 1920s illusionist who is hired to expose Emma Stone's fortune teller character as a fake during a week-long holiday in the South of France.
His part required him to perform a number of soliloquies, but Firth admits he really had no idea what he was doing during certain scenes as Allen's method of filmmaking at times involved very little instruction.
Recalling one scene, in which his character Stanley recites a prayer to God, he explains, "In this case (of the soliloquy), there really is nobody else (in the scene) but the all-seeing eye of the director, who, if he is happy, you just hear the sound of the crew packing up and going off to shoot something else...!
"If he wanted to be very specific about something, you'd hear a lot from him. And sometimes he'd just say, 'Do whatever, you know, whatever you want. If you wanna change it...'.
"Well, I didn't know what I wanted most of the time, I just wanted to know what he wanted! I would do something and then he would just (say), 'That's not it', or he might come up and say, 'That was funny, if only to me...'"
Actor Thomas Jane is returning to the small screen to play a futuristic detective in a new sci-fi series based on the popular The Expanse book series. The Hung star will portray Detective Miller in the new Syfy channel 'space opera', which is set to premiere in America in 2015.
The Expanse is a thriller set 200 years in the future. The series follows the case of a missing young woman who brings Jane's detective character and a rogue ship's captain together in "a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history".
Thirteen hours of betrayals, shankings, geriatric prison escapes, and nun protests later, Orange Is the New Black wrapped up its sophomore season in spectacular fashion, creating a more self-assured and deeper season of television than the first. While the show corrected some of the first season's biggest stumbles, there are still some adjustments to be made in creating an even better third season. Here are our thoughts on the best and the worst aspects Orange Is the New Black's second round in the clink.
Good: VeeLitchfield was hardly ever a place of racial harmony and tranquil repentance, but whatever semblance of peace that did exist in those grey walls, Vee smacked it in the head with a giant lock in a sock. Vee was the spark that lit all of the tensions floating around Litchfield ablaze, and her war with Red reverberated through every cell and bunk in the prison. It's going to be tough to find a villain as twisted and alluring as Vee for Season 3.
Bad: SosoVee wasn't the only new face at Litchfield. There's a really tricky balance at play when creating a character who is purposefully annoying. OITNB struggled to find that balance with its other new inmate, Brook Soso, whose long asides about Bonnaroo, gluten, cancerous deodorant quickly dovetailed from enjoyable to insufferable.
Good: Season 1's villains are given more depthOrange Is the New Black managed to find strands of humanity in the deep black pit of bigotry and gloom that is Mr. Healy, and even the bible-thumping psychosis of Pennsatucky. Even a character like Caputo is revealed to have a good amount of integrity. There's a war of good vs. evil brewing in every soul, and OITNB excels at creating dynamic, flawed characters that are believable.
Bad: ...But Larry is still terribleFirst, it should be known that I was a staunch defender of Larry during Season 1. His screw-ups were just as mean and twisted as Piper's, so really they were both semi-horrible people that were made for each other. Unfortunately, Larry has somehow found a way to become even more insufferable in Season 2. Larry's storyline took up a lot of real estate that would have been better used at the Litch.
Good: More PousseyIn Season 2, Poussey graduated from wisecracks and witty asides (as fun as those were) and became much more of a fully realized character. Her strengths, flaws, and passions were all on full display as her friendship with Taystee was stretched to its breaking point.
Bad: Less SophiaWhile Possey received a boost in screen time, we got a lot less Sophia. Sure, we got to see the sassy stylist give a full crash course on female anatomy, but the character was sadly left IN the background for most of the season. We did get a tender moment between her and her son, but not much else. Here's hoping we see more of her once Season 3 rolls around.
Another Bad: Where's the Big Boo backstory?We thought this season was sure to deliver a Big Boo flashback, but the season came and went without a glimpse into the character's past. We got a Black Cindy flashback for heaven's sake, but still no info on Big Boo's life before the Litch. A character as raw and entertaining as Boo certainly needs some fleshing out.
Good: The show is even more of an ensembleWhile the rundown to the Season 1 finale was very much about the battle between Pennsatucky and Piper, Season 2’s emphasis is much more focused on the other inmates at Litchfield. There's a mosaic of characters, rivalries, friendships, and relationships in place and Piper is but one little piece in a much larger and vibrant picture. Inmates that were mostly background fodder in Season 1 had their characters and stories fleshed out in Season 2, and the world of Litchfield feels deeper and richer because of it.
Bad: Piper's storyline was pretty gratingWhile the series did well stretch its focus to the other inmates this season, it feels like Piper's storyline got the short end of the stick. Next to the tense face-off between Vee and Red and Caputo's mission to expose Fig's corruption, Piper's little squabbles with Larry and her attempts to get furlough seemed petty and dull in comparison. There were simply way more interesting things going on this season.
Good: It's funnier and weirder than everThe world of Litchfield has managed to get even weirder in Season 2. Carrier cockroaches, hunger strikes, the gaggle of nuns at the front gate, and catholic candles straight killing people with the power of Jesus all helped make season 2 even weirder than the first.