Ben Affleck has opened up about his card counting scandal, insisting he has nothing to be ashamed of. Bosses at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas asked the Argo star to leave their resort in April (14) after they spotted him counting cards at a blackjack table.
Security officials were quick to dismiss reports suggesting the movie star had been banned from the venue, insisting Affleck was "a valued guest" who is "welcome back any time".
The Oscar winner has now spoken out about the story in the new issue of Details magazine, confirming reports he was asked to step away from the table during a successful night of gambling.
He says, "That is a true story. I mean, that took place. I took some time to learn the game and became a decent blackjack player. And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack. I mean, the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at the casinos should tell you something about casinos.
"There's a lot of hospitality, backslapping, when they think you're gonna come in and dump money, and if they think you might leave with some money, it's like, 'You know what? Why don't you try craps or roulette?'"
The stars of The Hunger Games movie franchise are dictating hairstyle trends among teens, according to actress Natalie Dormer. The Game of Thrones star, who will play Cressida in the final two Hunger Games films, had to shave half her head for the role to perfect a punky look and she admits she has spotted young fans with the same 'do'.
She explains, "I was actually quite surprised at Comic-Con, there's a lot of lopsidedness going on. Girls are doing the lopsided thing, very tight... down one side so it almost looks like they're shaved. That seems to be en vogue and I seem to be ahead of the curve.
"I don't know if the Katniss Everdeen (character) thing is catching on as well, but a lot of girls are wearing plaits to one side."
The Pretenders star Chrissie Hynde has blasted young singers for selling sex ahead of music, calling them "porn stars trying to make records". The outspoken Brass in Pocket hitmaker fears there are too many scantily-clad pop stars and rockers filming videos with next to nothing on.
She says, "There's a definite division of what I'd call porn stars trying to make records, and then musicians. If you go and see Kate Bush, you'll see a real musician. She takes care of business the way she wants. If a girl walks on stage and starts playing like Jimi Hendrix, believe me, no one will be asking her to take her clothes off.
"If anyone says, 'I have to do this because my record company told me', that's a lie. The artist is in control of what they're doing. You can always tell anyone to f**k off. If they're under pressure to get their kit off (get naked), maybe they should just be making porn films. Maybe they're in the wrong game."
Hynde isn't singling out anyone for criticism, but her remarks come just days after actress Mayim Bialik took aim at Adriana Grande for wearing "lingerie" to promote her new album. Sinead O'Connor also attacked Miley Cyrus after watching the pop star's Wrecking Ball video, in which the former Disney regular swings about on a huge metal ball, wearing only boots.
Top American football star Adrian Peterson has been suspended by the owners of the Minnesota Vikings as he awaits arraignment on child abuse allegations. The celebrated running back missed Sunday's (14Sep14) game against the New England Patriots after he was accused of beating his four year old with a switch. He has since been linked to another act of physical abuse on his kids.
Peterson was reinstated on Monday (15Sep14), but a public outcry and the loss of a major sponsor has prompted team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf to reconsider their decision.
They placed the sportsman on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list on Wednesday morning (17Sep14) and barred him from all team activities until his legal issues are resolved.
A statement from the Wilfs reads: "After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian. We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization."
The 29 year old is scheduled for arraignment on 8 October (14), and if he is found guilty, Peterson faces two years behind bars.
British actress Felicity Jones has started to date again less than a year after splitting from her long-term boyfriend. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 star has been out of the romance game since breaking up with sculptor artist Ed Fornieles last year (13) after a decade together.
She has now started courting again but admits she is so out of practise that her nerves are leading to embarrassing encounters.
Jones tells British newspaper the Daily Mirror, "I went on a couple of dates recently and they were very awkward. I don't want to go into the gory details of my love life but I was with this person and it was so awkward because, you know what it's like, when you are so nervous you don't know what to say to each other but you really like that person?
"And it's always when you like someone that you never know what to say. Why is that? It's so annoying. But when you don't like someone you feel so cool and you say all these wonderful things...
"I have had love and I have lost love and I was just in a very long relationship that was very important to me but unfortunately it broke down. But I learned so much from that relationship and I am glad that person was very, very important to me and I had him in my life."
R&B singer Toni Braxton is hoping for a love connection after playing a celebrity dating game on TV. The Unbreak My Heart hitmaker has been single for nearly five years and she turned to friend Queen Latifah for assistance with her romantic life.
The rapper-turned-TV host brought the singer on her U.S. talk show on Tuesday (16Sep14) and played a version of popular game show The Dating Game.
Braxton asked three eligible bachelors questions about their idea of the perfect first date and their favourite cuisine, but wasn't allowed to see them until the end of the game.
The singer decided to go with a stand-up comedian named John, and they were treated to a romantic dinner at Hollywood hotspot Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills.
Braxton has been separated from estranged husband Keri Lewis, a former member of R&B band Mint Condition, since 2009.
Benedict Cumberbatch's The Imitation Game has won the top prize at Canada's Toronto International Film Festival. The film, in which Cumberbatch portrays British mathematician Alan Turing who helped break Germany's Enigma Code in World War II, landed the Grolsch People's Choice honour on Sunday (14Sep14).
Patricia Clarkson and Sir Ben Kingsley's Learning to Drive and St. Vincent, which features Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, were named runners-up.
Other winners included Beats of the Antonov, which claimed the People's Choice Award as the festival's best documentary and What We Do in the Shadows, which was feted with the People's Choice Midnight Madness Award.
Sunday's awards ceremony brought the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival to a close.
Never before The Guest has a film so accurately reproduced that feeling you got upon entering a popular upperclassman’s Halloween-themed red cup party. That combination of bated excitement, casual danger, and vaguely sexual panache is eminent from minute one in the fun, “retro” thriller, once Dan Stevens (himself a package of excitement, danger, and sexual panache altogether) pays a visit to the average suburban Petersons, revealing himself to be an army buddy of their deceased eldest son.
The fact that there’s more to Stevens’ David than meets the eye should be evident from the second the film opens. Making no bones about keeping its secrets close to the chest, The Guest allows itself to have as much fun with the “mysterious stranger” gambit as possible. That we are brought to realize over and over how little we know about David, and how far we may be from figuring out The Guest’s puzzle, is what makes it such a delight to watch. In short, we never quite know what David is going to do next, and it’s always fun to watch him do it.
Picturehouse via Everett Collection
Of course, the fun is ours alone, as the Peterson’s 20-or-so-year-old daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) is charged to unearth the true intentions of her family’s houseguest. Steady tension (the affable kind) builds to ribald chaos (still relatively affable) and ultimately unbridled dementia (despite its subject matter, this movie never wants to assault or alienate, and really never does) as Anna, David, the Petersons, the neighborhood do-nothings, and a few other unexpected parties find themselves ensnared in a maniacal and yet somewhat whimsical game of “What the hell is going on and how do we stop it?”
If The Guest really suffers from anything it is from its simplicity. The movie is fun, articulate, and charismatic, but ultimately gets done everything it has to between titles and credits. Like David, The Guest is a supreme soldier: concerned with doing its job as meticulously as possible and deigning not to cross the appropriate margins thereof. As such, the flick might not stay too long with any of us after it's over and done with, but it proves all the while to be a fun, evocative good time. So, pretty much exactly like all those high school Halloween parties... or high school in general.
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Sony Pictures Classics via Everett Collection
A basic command of rhythm will make your film watchable; kinetic proficiency will make it dramatically effective. But the aural language instituted by Damien Chazelle in his second directorial feature, Whiplash, lands you with a goddamn symphony.
Chazelle constructs what might wind up being one of the great music movies of all time, conducting each tier of his film with an active ear. Whiplash opens with a literal drum solo — courtesy of driven Schaffer Academy student Andrew (Miles Teller) — setting precedent for a collection of tremendous jazz numbers to follow throughout. Immediately afterward, we watch Chazelle weave scenes together via the harmonies of brass, building an atmosphere that he molds and contorts as the picture progresses.
But the most impressive symphonic feat is that which follows Andrew’s chaotic run toward a stature as jazz prodigy, and the tutelage, camaraderie, and enmity he earns from his no-nonsense-is-putting-it-lightly teacher Mr. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, playing the gruffest, fieriest, most intimidating role yet in a career that has tossed him no shortage of opportunities of the like).
Sony Pictures Classics
Andrew’s story unravels, ribbons out, leaps, explodes, and recollects at such an absolutely delightful pace. Character beats are inset with such expert timing, that we occasionally get the rush of watching a live performance. Ultimately, Andrew’s story breathes and moves like a song — a jazz number, naturally — which renders every turn, reveal, and twist of perspective a tremendous showstopper.
And what it has to say about music? Everything that jazz might entail: how beautiful it is to love the art so wholly, and how toxic and destructive it is to devote yourself entirely to its whims. Whiplash doesn’t shove us to either side of favor regarding either of its central heroes/villains (they are equal parts each, and merrily so), nor to either side of the dividing line on whether succumbing altogether to the corrosive call of the drumsticks is, to put it reductively, a “good idea.” With such gratitude we can affirm that the movie doesn’t want to teach us a lesson. It just wants to play us a song.
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Getty Images/Noel Vasquez
Actor Robert Downey, Jr.'s son pleaded guilty to cocaine possession at a California court hearing on Friday (12Sep14).
Indio Downey, 21, was arrested after police spotted him smoking from a pipe while sitting in a car in West Hollywood in June (14), and he was later charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanour possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Friday, Indio, who attended the hearing with his father, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to complete a drug education program. He has been seeking treatment for the past 70 days at a facility and will remain there for another three months. If he stays sober and out of legal trouble, the case will be dismissed.
During the hearing, Indio told the judge, "I appreciate this opportunity, and I hope to make the most of it." The judge responded, "You've learned a lot of good coping skills from the program, I hope. This is a 24/7 disease... it can pop up at any time. You have to be vigilant and on top of it at all times. "I know in life people always look up to superheroes. You have contact with one superhero, and that's Iron Man."
Downey, Jr. has previously offered to support his son through his legal and drug woes, insisting addiction problems are a family issue.
Shortly after Indio's arrest, the actor released a statement, which read: "Unfortunately there's a genetic component to addiction and Indio has likely inherited it. Also, there is a lot of family support and understanding, and we're all determined to rally behind him and help him become the man he's capable of being. "We're grateful to the Sheriff's department for their intervention, and believe Indio can be another recovery success story instead of a cautionary tale."
The movie star spent years battling drug problems after finding fame in Hollywood in the 1980s.