Tuesday Sep 30, 2014

Morgan: 'Can't believe' Wal-Mart blaming him

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Tracy Morgan said Tuesday that he "can't believe" Wal-Mart's assertion that he and others were partly to blame for their injuries in the highway crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one of his friends. In a statement released by Morgan's...
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TV

Wal-Mart: Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in crash
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Wal-Mart: Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in crash

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and other people in a limousine struck from behind by a Wal-Mart truck on a highway in June are at least partly to blame for their injuries because they weren't wearing seatbelts, the company said in a court filing Monday. The filing was made in federal court in response to a lawsuit Morgan filed in July over the accident, which killed his friend James McNair, who was accompanying the former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" star back from a show in Delaware. Morgan spent several weeks in rehab with rib and leg injuries. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said in the filing that the passengers' injuries were caused "in whole or in part" by their "failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device," which it said constitutes unreasonable conduct. An attorney representing Morgan and the other plaintiffs called Wal-Mart's contentions "surprising and appalling." "It's disingenuous," attorney Benedict Morelli said. "It's not what they said they were going to do initially, which was take full responsibility. I'm very upset, not for myself but for the families I represent." The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and punitive and compensatory damages. It says the retail giant should have known that its truck driver had been awake for more than 24 hours before the crash and that his commute of 700 miles from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was "unreasonable." It also alleges the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said in an email that the company "continues to stand willing to work with Mr. Morgan and the other plaintiffs to resolve this matter." Passengers Ardley Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea and Millea's wife, Krista Millea, also are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Krista Millea was not in the limousine when the crash occurred but is a plaintiff because she has a related loss-of-services lawsuit stemming from the crash. Truck driver Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges in state court. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, a violation of New Jersey law. A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65 mph in the minute before he slammed into the limo van. The speed limit on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction. Roper had been on the job about 13 1/2 hours at the time of the crash, the report concluded. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Morgan: 'Can't believe' Wal-Mart blaming him
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Morgan: 'Can't believe' Wal-Mart blaming him

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Tracy Morgan said Tuesday that he "can't believe" Wal-Mart's assertion that he and others were partly to blame for their injuries in the highway crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one of his friends. In a statement released by Morgan's publicist, the actor-comedian said, "I can't believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused. My friends and I were doing nothing wrong." The former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" star was returning from a performance in Delaware in June when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limo van he and others were riding in. James McNair was killed and several others were injured. Morgan suffered leg and rib injuries and spent about a month in rehab in New Jersey. "I'm fighting hard every day to get back," Morgan also said in the statement and thanked his fans "for sticking with him during this difficult time." Morgan sued over the crash, and Wal-Mart said in a court filing Monday that Morgan and his traveling companions caused their injuries "in whole or in part" because they weren't wearing seatbelts. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, issued a statement Tuesday saying the company filed the response as legally required "that included facts and defenses that may impact the case moving forward." The company said it has encouraged discussion toward a settlement and added: "Our thoughts continue to go out to the families and friends of everyone involved." The truck driver, Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges in a New Jersey court. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, a violation of New Jersey law. A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65 mph in the minute before he slammed into the van. The speed limit on that stretch of the turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Ed Sullivan statue stolen from TV academy plaza
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Ed Sullivan statue stolen from TV academy plaza

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police are investigating the theft of a solid bronze statue of Ed Sullivan from an outdoor exhibit at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The statue was taken Sunday from atop a pedestal in the academy's Hall of Fame Plaza in North Hollywood. A police statement describes the statue as standing 18 inches tall and weighing about 20 pounds. The Police Department's North Hollywood area burglary detectives have asked the public for any information that would lead to an arrest. Officer Drake Madison said Tuesday there had been no break in the case. The plaza where the statue stood honors significant TV personalities and pioneers. Sullivan's classic variety show, "The Ed Sullivan Show," lasted for more than two decades. He died in 1974. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Lena Dunham sticks to candid style with new book
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Lena Dunham sticks to candid style with new book

NEW YORK (AP) — In the pilot episode of "Girls," Lena Dunham's character, Hannah, tells her parents that she believes she's meant to share her writing talent with others. "I think I may be the voice of my generation," her character said with a pause, "or at least the voice of a generation." Dunham is now providing a voice for other millennials on the HBO comedy series that follows a group of girls in their mid-20s, on her Twitter account and in her new book, "Not That Kind of Girl" (Random House). She's embarking on an 11-city book tour, with warm-up acts that were selected from video auditions. They were tapped to perform without pay, but then the Gawker website calculated how much Dunham would make on her advance and from ticket sales to those appearances. Dunham responded on Twitter, saying she would "compensate" the performers for "their time, their labor and their talents." Dunham, 28, talked about her book in a recent interview with The Associated Press. AP: Why did you write mostly essays? Dunham: It feels great. I mean, I would be lying to say that releasing anything that you are close to isn't accompanied by anxiety, but it's far outweighed by how cool it is to have conversations with people about it and that I finally get to share it with the people that I love. AP: The book's subtitle is "A Young Woman Tells You What She's 'Learned.'" Is it important for you to share life lessons with your generation? Dunham: It is important to me to provide life lessons to others. ... I don't think there is one person who is qualified to share their eternal wisdom and fix everybody up, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who would disagree with all the choices I have made, but for me, it just makes me feel like all my mistakes might have some kind of use when I feel that I might be imparting some comfort or knowledge onto other young people. Or giving some other people insight into their lives or their children's lives or their friends' lives, or their own past life. AP: The book has some serious parts. Do you think that was expected? Dunham: I definitely think some people were like, 'We were expecting a funny book.' Everything is not always funny all of the time. AP: You write about a sexually aggressive experience in college, but you don't call it rape. Why? Dunham: I think I wanted to mimic, in the form of an essay, everything that a woman goes through, a person goes through when they're trying to reconcile an experience like that. The challenge of naming it, the fear of naming it yourself, the fear that in saying — calling something rape — you then become the eternal rape victim. Those anxieties that come with being sexually assaulted. ... This essay is superpersonal. There are plenty of people having really, really good political discourses on the topic of rape. What I wanted to do was sort of mimic the experience of coming to grips with that encounter. I think that for me I had a lot of fear of talking about it in the first place, and I tried to reflect that and all of the guilt, pain, anxiety, fear that I know so many women I know have experienced after being sexually assaulted. AP: Were you worried about including that in the book? Dunham: I was worried it would sort of become a headline that got away from me and that the serious and personal nature of that story would sort of be abused because that's sort of the nature of putting things out into the world, and also because I happen to be putting out a book as someone who is on a TV show. There's another level of scrutiny that comes with releasing something like that, but intimately I felt like campus assault is so much in the current cultural dialogue and I know so many young women who are dealing with and thinking about these things and with their bravery they made me feel ready to talk about it. AP: What are the challenges of writing a book compared with writing a TV show? Dunham: You're just alone with your thoughts. There's so much collaboration that happens on a television set. There's a prop meeting every day and a costume meeting and a conversation with your writers and a conversation with your actors and I love and cherish that, but there was also something really nice about rediscovering my solitary writer's voice. ... But also moments where I was like, 'I have been alone for hours with my stupid thoughts!' (Laughter.) AP: Do you plan to write more? Dunham: I would love to. I loved the process so much. I have so many other things I'd love to talk about in this medium. ___ Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ___ Online: http://www.lenadunham.com/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Famed violinist plays do-over at DC train station
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Famed violinist plays do-over at DC train station

WASHINGTON (AP) — Acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell brought Bach back to a train station Tuesday, as he did in 2007, but this time Washington noticed. Hundreds of music fans packed Union Station near the Capitol shoulder to shoulder to hear the 46-year-old Bell perform works by Bach and Mendelssohn, along with nine young musicians he has mentored. Seven years ago, Bell famously performed incognito for tips in a Washington subway station, but almost no one stopped to listen. The subway performance was a stunt with The Washington Post to see if anyone would notice a world-class musician playing some of the world's great music during their rush to work. It made for a good story that won the Pulitzer Prize and inspired a children's book and even messages in church sermons. This time Bell's fans had some advance notice, and it made all the difference. Music is a two-way exchange and needs an audience, Bell said after his performance that drew big cheers, whistles and shouts of "bravo" from people young and old in the rapt crowd. When Bell asked the audience if anyone else played the violin, 16-year-old Katie Banks of Sterling, Virginia, shot her hand in the air. The young musician who plays with the American Youth Symphonic Orchestra skipped school to see Bell. She's been playing violin since she was 3 and knows one of Bach's violin concertos almost by heart. "I can play it in my head along with him," she said. "That's kind of fun." Banks' 8-year-old sister Sara chimed in, saying she wants to be a violin player when she grows up. Vindicated might be too strong a word, but Bell said the warm welcome back to Washington "certainly capped off the whole experience." Nearly every day for the past seven years, someone has reminded Bell of his subway performance. "I wouldn't want to be defined by just that experience," Bell told The Associated Press. "Hopefully the rest of my body of work will carry more weight than that." The Grammy-winning violinist now wants to call attention to the need for music education in every school. He was lucky, he said, to have parents who encouraged him to play from an early age. Now students make it through school without any music or art instruction. Bell performed with young musicians he mentored for an upcoming HBO special "Joshua Bell: A YoungArts MasterClass," which debuts Oct. 14. Also on Tuesday, Bell released his first album of Bach violin concertos and arrangements for violin and orchestra. He began his career playing Bach's music but resisted recording it until now. "Bach is in some ways the holy grail in classical music," Bell said. "It's so important to me but important that I get it right. ... I kind of finally felt ready." As always, Bell played his multi-million-dollar Stradivarius violin. It was made in 1713 — around the same time Bach was writing his music. In the train station, Bell and his protégés weren't able to play for tips this time. Union Station doesn't allow it. But Bell said he does look at street musicians differently now. "It's not really fun to be playing for people walking by," said Bell, who lives in New York City. "When I walk by I always give something now because after my experience, I don't want to be the one who walks by and doesn't pay attention. I'm sometimes occasionally recognized by the street performers' and they say 'hey, thanks for that experiment because after that people are a little bit more aware of what we're doing here.'" ___ Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Movies

Linklater gets deal for 'Dazed & Confused' follow-up
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Linklater gets deal for 'Dazed & Confused' follow-up

"Boyhood" director Richard Linklater has a new project in the works, with "That's What I'm Talking About" focusing on college baseball.Where high school memoir "Dazed & Confused" was inspired by Linklater's time in high school during the 70s, "That's What I'm Talking About" moves forward a decade into his college period. Half a dozen actors and actressess have already been booked and named in time for the announcement by Annapurna Pictures, with the film itself very close to production according to Deadline. Blake Jenner ("Glee") is the freshman baseball player who has just joined his nationally-ranked college team as a pitcher. Surrounding him are the likes of Will Brittain ("A Teacher"), Zoey Deutch ("Vampire Academy"), Ryan Guzman ("Jem and the Holograms"), Tyler Hoechlin ("Teen Wolf"), Glen Powell ("The Expendables 3") and Wyatt Russell ("22 Jump Street"). Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Review: 'Gone Girl' delicious suburban noir
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Review: 'Gone Girl' delicious suburban noir

The predominant image throughout David Fincher's films, from the uncovered horrors of "Se7en" to the Machiavellian maneuverings of "House of Cards," has been a flashlight beam cutting through the dark. In his latest, the Gillian Flynn adaptation "Gone Girl," he shines it into the deepest depths of not a serial killer's mind or a schizophrenic's madness, but on a far more terrifying psychological minefield: Marriage. In "Gone Girl," Fincher has crafted a portrait of a couple rivaled in toxicity only by "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and one with just as much — if more subtle — roleplaying. The results are a mixed bag of matrimony mayhem, but an engrossing, wonderfully wicked one. Despite its perspective-shifting, "Gone Girl" may be too male in its viewpoint. And the schematic setup of Flynn's screenplay does sap some of its force. But in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, "Gone Girl" is delicious suburban noir. It begins with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) caressing the head of his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), and wondering to himself, "What are you thinking?" It's the film's unsolvable mystery: the unknowingness of another, even one who shares your bed. On a regular morning in North Carthage, Missouri, albeit one begun with an early drink of whiskey at Nick's bar with his bartender twin sister, Margo (an excellent Carrie Coon as the movie's voice of reason), Nick returns home to find Amy missing and scenes of a struggle. Even as she cheerfully pledges help, Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) sticks post-it notes around the house, marking areas of suspicion. As the investigation turns toward Nick, and the high-wattage glare of the TV media finds his concern unconvincing, we get an autopsy on the Dunnes' marriage. In flashbacks narrated by Amy's journal, she recalls their fairy tale beginnings and — despite earnest intentions to avoid becoming "that couple" — their gradual dissolution. Nick is laid off from his magazine writing job. They move from New York to Missouri to be near his family. Amy, the cool New York daughter of a publicity-savvy literary couple who based their bestselling children's book series "Amazing Amy" on her, recoils at her Midwest McMansion nightmare, finding herself wed to a videogame-playing frat boy who, after a loveless afternoon tryst, suggests the Outback for dinner. She seethes: "I drank canned beer and watched Adam Sandler movies," and an ocean of empathy washes from Nick to her. This is the mischievous game of the movie, which hopes to sway your sympathies with each twist in the story. Their bland suburban house becomes a prison to Nick, its windows lit up with the strobe-light flashes of the swarming media. The manipulation of image, both in public opinion and in private relationships, shapes the story, with Tyler Perry (in a spectacular performance that ought to, by its own strength, incinerate his Madea costume) swooping in as the narrative-controlling defense attorney Tanner Bolt. When Nick pledges the truth will be his defense, Bolt grins with cynical perfection. Pike, in the fullest performance of her career, struggles to make Amy more than an opaque femme fatale. But — and it's a big one — she does lead the film to its staggering climax, a blood-curdling sex scene: the movie's piece de resistance, the consummation of its noir nuptials. Fincher's sinister slickness and dimly-lit precision has sometimes been considered a double-edged sword, a complaint that strikes me as missing the point. Mastery isn't a negative. "Gone Girl" doesn't give the director the material that the propulsive "The Social Network" did. But you can feel him — aided by the shadowy cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth and the creepy score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — moving closer to the disturbed intimacies of Roman Polanski. So, despite its imperfections, let us clink our glasses and throw rice on "Gone Girl." "Gone Girl," a 20th Century Fox release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language." Running time: 145 minutes. Three stars out of four. ___ MPAA definition of R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Inherent Vice' first trailer: Phoenix, Brolin, Witherspoon
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
'Inherent Vice' first trailer: Phoenix, Brolin, Witherspoon

Joaquin Phoenix stars as private investigator Doc in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice," stumbling through Los Angeles on the trail of missing persons as conspiracy whirls around him.The trailer comes ahead of a world premiere at the New York International Film Festival on October 4, and then a limited release from December 12, pending general availability from January 9 in the USA. It marks the first time that a Thomas Pynchon novel has been adapted for film, though there have been suggestions that Anderson has altered the book's ending for his version, and with the author's apparent permission. Alongside Phoenix is Josh Brolin ("No Country For Old Men"), Katherine Waterston ("Boardwalk Empire"), Reese Witherspoon (whom he co-starred with in "Walk The Line"), Owen Wilson ("The Royal Tenenbaums") and another navigator of offbeat, substance-fueled plotlines, Benicio del Toro ("Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas"). "Inherent Vice" - Official Trailer: youtu.be/wZfs22E7JmI Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Luvvies sacked as Rome film festival puts viewers in charge of awards
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Luvvies sacked as Rome film festival puts viewers in charge of awards

The prizes at this year's Rome international film festival will be decided by a vote by the viewing public as organisers move to cut costs by doing away with expensive star juries.Under the novel system unveiled Monday, festival goers at the October 16-25 cinema fest will receive tickets with a code enabling them to vote online for the five main prizes, previously handed out by a committee of industry insiders who had to be fed, watered and lodged over the course of the festival, at considerable expense. With all forms of public spending under review in cash-strapped Italy, the organisers had no option but to find savings. "The essential is that the festival goes on and is self-financing for half its budget," said Lamberto Mancini, the director general of organising body, Cinema per Roma. The annual festival, now in its ninth year, will this year host 51 feature length films from 21 countries, 24 of them making their international premiere. Among the stars expected to attend are Clive Owen, the British actor who will present Steven Soderbergh's 10-part TV mini-series about a New York hospital, "The Knick", and Kevin Costner, who stars in Mike Binder's "Black and White". The only 'professional' jury at the festival will be tasked with selecting the winner of the award for best first work and will be chaired by US filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, best known for the documentary "Mondovino". Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Nicole Kidman reveals heartbreak at father's death
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Nicole Kidman reveals heartbreak at father's death

SYDNEY (AP) — Nicole Kidman revealed she was heartbroken over the death of her father this month and thanked well-wishers for their comforting thoughts and prayers. "We would just like to thank everyone for their love and prayers over these past couple of weeks," the actress and her singer husband Keith Urban said in a joint statement posted Tuesday on Facebook. "We are all heartbroken, but knowing we are in the hearts and thoughts of others is so comforting," they added. They signed off: "Sending love, Nic and Keith xx." The Australian star of this year's "Grace of Monaco" returned to her home of Sydney after her psychologist father Tony Kidman died during a vacation in Singapore on Sept. 12. The 75-year-old was in Singapore to visit his other daughter, Antonia, and her family. Authorities did not reveal the cause of his death. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Netflix takes aim at the theatrical window
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Netflix takes aim at the theatrical window

NEW YORK (AP) — Hollywood's carefully controlled system of movie rollouts is officially under siege. Windowing — the practice of opening a movie first in theaters and then in other stages of home video, streaming and television release — has been under increasing pressure as smaller screens fight against the prominence of the theatrical big screen. Now, Netflix has fired the most notable missive across the bow of windowing, announcing plans to release a sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" on the day it hits Imax theaters next August. The film, produced by the Weinstein Co., isn't a studio production, so it's in many ways only marginally more significant than the plethora of independent films regularly released on video-on-demand. But the announcement constitutes the biggest move yet by a major digital outlet to blow up Hollywood's traditional release pattern. "This is a very unique opportunity for somebody from the outside coming in to shake up what appears to be an increasingly antiquated release strategy," says Rich Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG Research. "They had to get into the movie business to reduce windowing, and I think this is an important Step 1 for Netflix." Exhibitors, in tandem with the major studios, have long sought to guard the theatrical window. On Tuesday, two of the country's largest theater chains, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, which both included some Imax theaters, promptly refused to carry the film. "We will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3 inches wide on a smartphone," said Regal spokesman Russ Nunley. "We believe the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear." The same chains also declined to screen Warner Bros.' day-and-date release "Veronica Mars" earlier this year. Warner Bros. instead bought up the 270 AMC theaters it played in while it was also released on VOD. The sequel "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend" is no sure bet despite the sensation of its 2000 precursor. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won four Oscars, including best foreign-language film, and earned $214 million worldwide. The film's international appeal surely also motivated the ever-expanding Netflix, which has recently made inroads into Europe. But sequels released so long after the original often struggle to keep audience interest. And, perhaps most importantly, "The Green Legend" will not be helmed by the acclaimed director of "Crouching Tiger," Ang Lee. Instead, it's directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, the martial arts choreographer of "The Matrix" and both parts of "Kill Bill." It's currently being shot in New Zealand. Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement, "The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement." Netflix has dabbled in releasing movies before, including distributing the 2013 documentary about the Egyptian revolution "The Square," which was nominated for a best-documentary Academy Award. And its most celebrated entry into original television, "House of Cards," too, has had a widespread effect in the movie business, alerting the industry to a new avenue for big-name talents such as Kevin Spacey and David Fincher. Netflix's entry into the movie business comes at a potentially fragile time for the movie industry, following a summer in which the box office was down 15 percent from last year. But one of the summer's buzziest successes was a smaller science-fiction thriller, "Snowpiercer," released by the Weinstein Co.' boutique label, Radius. It made nearly $11 million on VOD, more than double its theatrical revenue. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

First lady praises National Design Award winners
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
First lady praises National Design Award winners

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama says she speaks for all women in saying she's glad that Narciso Rodriguez became a fashion designer. Rodriguez is among winners of the 2014 National Design Awards and attended an annual White House luncheon the first lady held Tuesday for the group. She also wore one of Rodriguez's designs: a sleeveless, eggplant-colored sheath dress. Mrs. Obama saluted the winners for having some of the "most daring and creative minds in the world." But as important as it is to celebrate the best designers in America today, the first lady says it's also necessary to cultivate the best designers of tomorrow. The National Design Awards were begun in 2000 by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, to honor lasting achievement in American design. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Luvvies sacked as Rome film festival puts viewers in charge of awards
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Luvvies sacked as Rome film festival puts viewers in charge of awards

The prizes at this year's Rome international film festival will be decided by a vote by the viewing public as organisers move to cut costs by doing away with expensive star juries.Under the novel system unveiled Monday, festival goers at the October 16-25 cinema fest will receive tickets with a code enabling them to vote online for the five main prizes, previously handed out by a committee of industry insiders who had to be fed, watered and lodged over the course of the festival, at considerable expense. With all forms of public spending under review in cash-strapped Italy, the organisers had no option but to find savings. "The essential is that the festival goes on and is self-financing for half its budget," said Lamberto Mancini, the director general of organising body, Cinema per Roma. The annual festival, now in its ninth year, will this year host 51 feature length films from 21 countries, 24 of them making their international premiere. Among the stars expected to attend are Clive Owen, the British actor who will present Steven Soderbergh's 10-part TV mini-series about a New York hospital, "The Knick", and Kevin Costner, who stars in Mike Binder's "Black and White". The only 'professional' jury at the festival will be tasked with selecting the winner of the award for best first work and will be chaired by US filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, best known for the documentary "Mondovino". Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Tate Britain opens three-month Turner Prize 2014 exhibition
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Tate Britain opens three-month Turner Prize 2014 exhibition

Work from the four shortlisted Turner Prize 2014 artists goes on display for three months from September 30, with the prize itself announced December 1.The London exhibition, on the occasion of the Turner Prize's 30th edition, represents an opportunity to become acquainted with the work of the four finalists, who have on display a selection of artworks. Tris Vonna-Michell focuses on the personal and biographical with "Postscript II (Berlin) 2014" and "Finding Chopin: Dans l'Essex 2014," while Ciara Phillips displays screenprint work "Things Shared 2014" across gallery walls. Duncan Campbell has "It for Others 2013," responding to Chris Marker and Alan Resnais's 1953 film essay "Statues Also Die," as well as "Sigmar 2008," which references German artist Sigmar Polke, while James Richards has three works: "Rosebud 2013," "The Screens 2013" and the Keith Haring-related "Untitled Merchandise (Lovers and Dealers) 2007." Academy Award and BAFTA nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor of "12 Years a Slave" will be on hand to announce the winner of this year's £25,000 ($40k) prize on December 1, with £5,000 ($8k) allocated to the remaining shortlistees. http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/turner-prize-2014 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Gunn shifts from 'Breaking Bad' to 'Gracepoint'
Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Gunn shifts from 'Breaking Bad' to 'Gracepoint'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The average TV binge viewer is indulging in catch-up. When Anna Gunn dove headlong into the British crime drama "Broadchurch," it was homework. Gunn stars as police Detective Ellie Miller in Fox's "Gracepoint," an adaptation of the moodily gripping U.K. series that's been uprooted from a seaside English town to a Northern California one that's more scenic but no less fraught with pain. The actress, who won two Emmy Awards for "Breaking Bad," is part of the makeover, one that stopped short of swapping out leading man David Tennant as a tough but troubled police detective. Gunn, 46, said she fell "head over heels" for the emotionally layered drama about a boy's murder and the distrust and anger it unleashes in a placid community. She did fret about how Tennant would respond to her replacing "Broadchurch" star Olivia Coleman as his mismatched police partner. (Tennant and Coleman are paired again in season two of "Broadchurch," airing next year on BBC America.) "At the very beginning I said, 'Do you feel you're cheating? Does it feel odd to you?'" Gunn recalled. "He said, 'It really doesn't. It feels like a whole new thing.'" That's how its executive producers, including Anya Epstein, looked at Fox's remake of "Broadchurch." It received a prestigious Peabody Award (for its "pitch-perfect take on the classic crime drama") but the nearly 1 million average weekly viewers that watched it on BBC America, while solid for the channel, means most U.S. viewers are unfamiliar with the "amazing" series, Epstein said. That includes her parents, she said, who stopped watching because they couldn't decipher Tennant's Scottish brogue. That's not a problem in "Gracepoint," debuting at 9 p.m. EDT Thursday, in which the former "Doctor Who" star employs an American accent. His character, renamed Emmett Carver, is no less prickly than the original, and Gunn's Miller has to cope with him and her first murder case. Her inexperience and roots in the community are reason enough for her to cede authority to town newcomer Carver. But as embodied by the imposingly tall and charismatic Gunn, Miller appears ready to stand her ground. "He's someone who approaches the world with a wary eye," Gunn said of Carver. "She's someone who approaches it with quite a bit of openness and the belief that you protect and serve, and also give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove you wrong." As the 10-episode series progresses — taking different plot turns than the eight-episode BBC original and giving some characters more weight — so does Gunn's portrayal, Epstein said. "As things unfold, the fragility becomes more and more apparent," the producer said. That's in contrast to Gunn's previous character who, granted, was in far different circumstances: Skylar White of "Breaking Bad" steeled herself to pull her family away from her meth-making husband as he descended further into evil and danger. It was a rewarding role for Gunn but one that became a harsh introduction to the Internet's potential for unrestrained viciousness. Skylar was condemned in some online posts for being a failed, unsupportive wife, and Gunn became a target simply for playing her. The actress responded in an eloquent New York Times op-ed piece last year. "Male characters don't seem to inspire this kind of public venting and vitriol," she wrote, adding that the comments shed light on attitudes toward gender and the "dark and murky corners" ignored in everyday life. She hasn't allowed that difficult experience to affect her choices as an actor, Gunn said. "My job is to tell the story that the writer has given me, and tell the truth of the character they've written as well," she said. "If it's polarizing and if it makes people uncomfortable, upset, that's something you learn to let go of. Once you've done your work, it's out of your hands." ___ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber . ___ Online: http://www.fox.com Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.