Thursday Sep 18, 2014

Amazon's new tablets offer something for everyone

The online retailer's latest Fire devices could have been billed as the slate of the nation as each new model is the result of customer feedback and of consumer buying and preference trends observed across the company's website.So, as well as a new range-topping Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet that...
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TV

Amazon's new tablets offer something for everyone
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Amazon's new tablets offer something for everyone

The online retailer's latest Fire devices could have been billed as the slate of the nation as each new model is the result of customer feedback and of consumer buying and preference trends observed across the company's website.So, as well as a new range-topping Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet that wants to be a serious alternative to the iPad Air -- it's lighter than Apple's current full-size tablet, its screen has more pixels and it even boasts Dolby sound -- there is also a new line of seriously affordable ($99) tablets and even a new Kindle Fire aimed directly at children. The jury may still be out on the pros and cons of giving kids tablets but one thing that is clear is that most devices currently on the market aren't sufficiently robust to cope with the sort of accidental beating that children tend to mete out to high-tech products. The Fire Kids Edition is built to take a beating. It has a ruggedized external design. And if that's still not enough protection, Amazon will replace the tablet free of charge if it somehow gets broken within the first two years of ownership. The other potentially nasty surprise that can with kids' tablet use is hefty bills for in-app purchases. Amazon has managed to eliminate this by bundling in a year's free subscription to something called FreeTime Unlimited, which will give users complete access to age-appropriate apps, books and other content. It will even support multiple users so parents can set up different accounts for different children and the content they can access will be based on their age and interests. Away from the child-friendly features, the new Kindle is a proper tablet, with proper tablet specifications and a full HD 6-inch or 7-inch display. The 6-inch version will cost $149 when it goes on sale in October in the US and the 7-inch version will cost $40 more. Amazon's new premium 8.9-inch Fire HDX will cost $379; $120 less than an iPad Air despite very similar specifications, while its new affordable Fire HD range will cost just $99 for the 6-inch model and $139 for the 7-inch version. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Trailer: Robert Downey Jr defends 'The Judge'
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Trailer: Robert Downey Jr defends 'The Judge'

A few weeks ahead of its release, Warner Bros has shared a new trailer for "The Judge," a drama headlined by the "Iron Man" star as a big city lawyer coming to term with his small town past.Over a decade after "Ally McBeal," Robert Downey Jr. plays another successful attorney in "The Judge." The character returns to his hometown to bury his mother, and when his father, a judge, is accused of murder, he stays in town to put together a defense. Along the way, he reconnects with his roots and his estranged family. Downey Jr. co-stars with another Hollywood heavyweight, Robert Duvall, who plays the titular judge. Vincent D'Onofrio, in the role of the lawyer's brother, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Leighton Meester and Sarah Lancaster round out the cast. "The Judge" will bow in US theaters on October 10. Watch the new trailer: http://youtu.be/7TA5Y86yAo4 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

TV show helps spur arrest in 1997 Arizona killing
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
TV show helps spur arrest in 1997 Arizona killing

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A television show that featured the nearly two-decade-old killing of an Arizona teenager and her unborn baby helped lead to the arrest of her ex-boyfriend, police said Wednesday. Cecilio Cruz is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Police in the city of Cottonwood, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, said Cruz fatally shot 17-year-old Marisol Gonzalez in the face on March 25, 1997. Cruz, 34, long had been suspected in Gonzalez's death, Cottonwood police Sgt. Tod Moore said. The two dated in high school, and she found out that she was pregnant with his child after they broke up. Her body was found in an alley near her Cottonwood home the same day she was scheduled to be induced to deliver the baby boy she named Andrew, Moore said. Moore took a keen interest in the case — the only cold case within the department. A promotion freed him up in 2008 to scour boxes of material from the case, looking for anything that police could have missed. He later responded to a request from TNT's "Cold Justice" for ideas on cases to feature on the show. The episode, titled "First Love," aired in February. An investigative team from the show came to Cottonwood last October and helped review dozens of leads and conduct interviews so that the case could be presented to a grand jury, Moore said. Cruz was indicted last week. "Most of the evidence we've always had. But we couldn't put it together," Moore said. Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor who helps solve cases on "Cold Justice," said the persistence of Moore and Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning, who was assigned to the case in 1997, paid off. She said prosecutors and police have "our complete respect and support and prayers as they continue to seek justice." Cruz and his family moved to Tucson about a week after Gonzalez was killed. Cottonwood police investigated her death for about two years before the leads dried up, Moore said. Authorities said they believe Cruz and Gonzalez were arguing about the pregnancy and his involvement with other girls on the night she was killed. Moore said one of Cruz's cousins told police and others that he saw Cruz and Gonzalez walking together around the alley but later recanted the statement. Others who once feared for their safety have come forward with information to police only recently, Moore said. Police have no DNA directly tying Cruz to the crime, nor did they find what they believe was a small-caliber gun, Moore said. Despite that, he said he believes the circumstantial case is solid. Cruz bonded out of the Pima County jail on Wednesday, a day after his arrest at a funeral home and cemetery in Tucson where he worked, the sheriff's office said. Gonzalez's family said they were relieved to hear of his arrest but upset to know he's out of jail. Cruz invoked his right to remain silent, Moore said. Authorities did not know whether he had an attorney, and possible phone numbers for Cruz went unanswered Wednesday. Johanora Gonzalez said her younger sister was looking forward to having a baby and had plans to become a preschool teacher. The family sometimes gathers at the cemetery on her birthday and leaves flowers in remembrance. She said Cruz lived near the family in Cottonwood and he and Marisol Gonzalez often would meet up in the alley. When word came of her killing, she said the family immediately thought of Cruz. "That night, my sister was waiting for his phone call," she said. "So who else can it be?" Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Fashion films of the week: Francesca Capper, Topshop Unique, Burberry
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Fashion films of the week: Francesca Capper, Topshop Unique, Burberry

Here's this week's picks of the best fashion films including hot new cuts from London Fashion Week featuring Facebook fashion, folds and pleats galore and insect inspiration.Francesca Capper The young London-based designer has released a short film showing off her Spring/Summer 2015 collection with a fun mix of architectural pleats and sexy cutaway details. Directed by Joe Beverley, the film also features some amazing footwear from Austrian-born shoe designer Carolin Holzhuber. http://vimeo.com/106266686 Topshop Unique Model Hailey Baldwin stars in Topshop's social catwalk video, a film showing off the three Topshop Unique looks that debuted exclusively on Facebook after the brand's runway show in London at the weekend. We love the pleated skirt which matches the crimped finished walls of the film set. http://youtu.be/nRLIoO0HxJE Burberry Burberry's Creative Director and CEO Christopher Bailey explains the influences behind the new Burberry Prorsum collection which got its runway debut at London Fashion Week. Alongside his commentary, there's also a snippet of 'Clocks Go Forward' performed by James Bay, who soundtracked the show. http://youtu.be/6mav8jSh5VY Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Epic food battle pits man against tiny hamster in hot dog eating contest
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
Epic food battle pits man against tiny hamster in hot dog eating contest

Japanese competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi faces off against a formidable nemesis in a cheeky new YouTube viral video that pits man versus hamster in a dramatic hot dog eating showdown.They’re formidable foes, perhaps all the more so because their small size belie their mega appetites: one boasts a bottomless stomach, the other ever-expandable cheeks. While Kobayashi has to resort to his dunk, dip and stuff method (dunking hot dogs in water before eating), “Tiny Hamster” tucks his date, grape and carrot hot dogs back with nimble ease. Watch “Tiny Hamster vs Kobayashi” in a dramatic hot dog eating contest http://bit.ly/1o0Z8Fc. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Movies

Trailer: Robert Downey Jr defends 'The Judge'
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Trailer: Robert Downey Jr defends 'The Judge'

A few weeks ahead of its release, Warner Bros has shared a new trailer for "The Judge," a drama headlined by the "Iron Man" star as a big city lawyer coming to term with his small town past.Over a decade after "Ally McBeal," Robert Downey Jr. plays another successful attorney in "The Judge." The character returns to his hometown to bury his mother, and when his father, a judge, is accused of murder, he stays in town to put together a defense. Along the way, he reconnects with his roots and his estranged family. Downey Jr. co-stars with another Hollywood heavyweight, Robert Duvall, who plays the titular judge. Vincent D'Onofrio, in the role of the lawyer's brother, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Leighton Meester and Sarah Lancaster round out the cast. "The Judge" will bow in US theaters on October 10. Watch the new trailer: http://youtu.be/7TA5Y86yAo4 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Mackenzie Davis in line for key role in 'The Martian'
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Mackenzie Davis in line for key role in 'The Martian'

Rising star Mackenzie Davis of Canadian romcom "The F Word" is on the verge of signing for Ridley Scott film "The Martian" opposite lead character Matt Damon.Davis's role is "a small but crucial role," according to TheWrap, which reports that final negotiations with the "Halt and Catch Fire" actress are underway. Adapted from the self-published Andy Weir novel which was pîcked up and republished by Random House subsidiary Crown in March 2014, "The Martian" has Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded alone on the red planet. Having been nominated for her supporting role in Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan movie "The F Word" (aka "What If" outside of Canada), Davis took the role of computer whizz Cameron Howe in 1980s IT industry drama "Halt and Catch Fire" which premiered on US TV in June of 2014. Jessica Chastain of "The Help" and "Zero Dark Thirty" has already been cast as female lead, while Kristen Wiig ("Bridesmaids") has also been attached to the production in an unconfirmed capacity; "The Martian" is due late November 2015. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Cara Delevingne lands lead in 'Paper Towns'
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
Cara Delevingne lands lead in 'Paper Towns'

The adaptation will see British model Cara Delevingne play female lead Margo in the 2015 adaptation of John Green novel "Paper Towns."Despite her status as a relative unknown in acting terms, Delevingne "blew everyone away" at audition, and demonstrated a perfect understanding of lead character Margo, said "The Fault in Our Stars" author Green, via Twitter. The Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY and Stella McCartney model started her segue into film with a minor part in Joe Wright's 2012 interpretation of "Anna Karenina," a main role in Michael Winterbottom's recent literary adaptation "The Face of an Angel," and again with Wright on 2015 fairy tale "Pan." For "Paper Towns," directed by Jake Schreier of the award-winning crime comedy "Robot & Frank," Cara will become a mysterious, mischevious classmate of Quentin (Nat Wolff, "The Fault in Our Stars"), who incites him to indulge his most vengeful urges before she makes a sudden disappearance. A July 2015 debut has been fixed by Fox and Temple Hill, and Cara joins a long line of models-turned-actresses; company that includes Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Vanessa L. Williams, Uma Thurman and Charlize Theron. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Final Fantasy' rumors grow before Tokyo Game Show
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
'Final Fantasy' rumors grow before Tokyo Game Show

A swiftly removed announcement that part of "Final Fantasy XV" will be made available in 2015 builds hopes for a surprise announcement at the Tokyo Game Show.In development for over eight years, role-playing adventure "Final Fantasy XIV" was initially conceived of as "Final Fantasy Versus XIII" in 2006; since then, a convoluted development process has seen its release overtaken by that of nearly two dozen other games in the "Final Fantasy" universe. But according to a post on Game Informer, since removed, Square Enix's "Final Fantasy XV" is due a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One downloadable demo in 2015. It's to contain portions of the game under the name of "Episode Duscae," a name which corresponds to a US trademark filing made in July; the inadvertent leak also brought news of a March 17 date for PS4 and XBO remake "Final Fantasy Type-0 HD," which is to contain a voucher for the demo episode. Going against the rumor is the fact that neither "Final Fantasy XV" nor the unconfirmed March 2015 release of "Type-0 HD" form part of Square Enix's published plans for the Tokyo Game Show; instead, its roster included several titles from the "Dragon Quest" franchise, localized versions of "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" and "Divekick," and a handful of other "Final Fantasy" related products. The Tokyo Game Show runs September 18-21 within the halls of the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, opening to the public on September 20. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Zachery Quinto rules out role in 'Heroes Reborn'
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
Zachery Quinto rules out role in 'Heroes Reborn'

NEW YORK (AP) — Zachary Quinto got his big acting break on NBC's "Heroes," but he's ruling out any role in the "Heroes Reborn" miniseries due to air on the network next year. The 37-year-old actor, who's best known for his role as Spock on the 2009 J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot, says timing is part of the problem, but that he also felt that it wasn't right for him creatively, because he's "really interested in cultivating other experiences" for himself. "I'm not going to do it," he says. Instead, he's turning his attention to mentoring two first-time filmmakers on the unscripted series "The Chair," which airs Saturdays on the Starz network (11 p.m. EDT). In the series, from "Project Greenlight" creator Chris Moore, the filmmakers adapt their own movie from the same original screenplay. Viewers vote on which film they prefer, with $250,000 going to the winner. There's also his production company, which executive produced "The Chair," the Oscar-nominated Robert Redford film "All Is Lost" and the upcoming NBC miniseries "The Slap," in which Quinto also is one of the three co-stars. Quinto is signed on to appear in one more "Star Trek" film, expected out in 2016. Though there's nothing firm, filming for the next "Star Trek" movie could "potentially" begin early next year, he says. "It's starting to rumble," he says. "I feel it on the horizon." ____ Follow Lauri Neff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lneffist ___ Online: http://www.starz.com/originals/thechair Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Jason Isbell sweeps Americana awards
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Jason Isbell sweeps Americana awards

Alternative country star Jason Isbell swept the Americana music awards on Wednesday with his deeply personal album "Southeastern."The Alabama-bred singer and guitarist was named artist of the year and "Southeastern" won the award for album of the year. He beat out a field that included Roseanne Cash -- Johnny Cash's daughter, who took home the prize for best album in 2010. Isbell, a former member of the Drive-By Truckers, also won best song for the album's opening track "Cover Me Up" at the Americana Music Association's annual ceremony at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. "Cover Me Up" deals with Isbell's struggles to give up drinking, with his impassioned voice over a strummed acoustic guitar giving way to the plain-stated verse, "I sobered up / And I swore off that stuff / Forever this time." Isbell, who completed "Southeastern" days before getting married last year, also deals frankly on the album with themes of cancer and incest. Another song about alcohol problems, "New South Wales," was inspired by a trip to Australia. The awards have been held each year since 2002 amid growing commercial interest in "Americana" -- a loosely defined genre that focuses on American roots music and generally includes folk, alternative country and the blues. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Jason Isbell cleans up at Americana Awards
Thursday Sep 18, 2014
Jason Isbell cleans up at Americana Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell swept the major awards Wednesday night at the Americana Honors & Awards, creating another special moment with his wife, Amanda Shires. Isbell won artist, album and song of the year during the 13th annual awards show Wednesday night at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Though surprisingly ignored by Grammy Awards voters, Isbell's album of the year winner "Southeastern" reverberated through the Americana community and made many of 2013's best-of lists. He performed song of the year "Cover Me Up" with Shires, a significant figure on the album as muse and collaborator. "I wrote this song for my wife," Isbell said. "I've had a lot of people ask me to dedicate it to their wives, girlfriends or cousin's wife or something strange like that. This was probably the hardest song I ever had to write because I wrote it for her and then I played it for her. It was very difficult. Do the things that scare you. That's the good stuff." Isbell was one of this year's top nominees along with Rosanne Cash and Robert Ellis. Each had three nominations and all were up for artist, album and song of the year. Many of the top nominees and honors recipients performed, including all five emerging artist nominees. Former couple Patty Griffin and Robert Plant made a surprise appearance and sang their collaboration "Ohio." Sturgill Simpson, something of a modern cosmic cowboy, earned emerging artist of the year and the Milk Carton Kids took group/duo of the year. And Buddy Miller, now executive music producer for the television show "Nashville" and the Americana's winningest performer, won his fifth instrumentalist of the year award. The Americana Music Association also honored several pioneering musicians. Loretta Lynn received the lifetime achievement award for songwriting from Kacey Musgraves and Angaleena Presley. "The truth is we both might cry giving out this award," Musgraves said. Lynn, writer of some of country music's most important female empowerment songs, accepted the award in a sparkly lavender dress and her usual humble manner. "When they told me I was going to get this award," she told the crowd, "I said, 'Naw, you got the wrong one.'" Jackson Browne received the Spirit of Americana-Free Speech in Music award, Flaco Jimenez received the lifetime achievement award for instrumentalist and Taj Mahal earned the lifetime achievement award for performance. "I was affected deeply by American music, near and far — my mother's interest in Southern music and my dad's interest in jazz and bebop and classical, all that kind of stuff," Mahal said in an interview. "But this music here, if you get this music, you can go anywhere in the world with it. For me, I play for the goddess of music. People ask me what I do and I go, deep Americana." Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Cara Delevingne lands lead in 'Paper Towns'
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
Cara Delevingne lands lead in 'Paper Towns'

The adaptation will see British model Cara Delevingne play female lead Margo in the 2015 adaptation of John Green novel "Paper Towns."Despite her status as a relative unknown in acting terms, Delevingne "blew everyone away" at audition, and demonstrated a perfect understanding of lead character Margo, said "The Fault in Our Stars" author Green, via Twitter. The Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY and Stella McCartney model started her segue into film with a minor part in Joe Wright's 2012 interpretation of "Anna Karenina," a main role in Michael Winterbottom's recent literary adaptation "The Face of an Angel," and again with Wright on 2015 fairy tale "Pan." For "Paper Towns," directed by Jake Schreier of the award-winning crime comedy "Robot & Frank," Cara will become a mysterious, mischevious classmate of Quentin (Nat Wolff, "The Fault in Our Stars"), who incites him to indulge his most vengeful urges before she makes a sudden disappearance. A July 2015 debut has been fixed by Fox and Temple Hill, and Cara joins a long line of models-turned-actresses; company that includes Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Vanessa L. Williams, Uma Thurman and Charlize Theron. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Friends' fans flock to New York pop-up cafe
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
'Friends' fans flock to New York pop-up cafe

Obsessed "Friends" fans on Wednesday mobbed a pop-up replica of the coffeehouse from the hit comedy series, some even camping out overnight for some free java and a healthy dose of nostalgia. Central Perk was the celluloid coffee shop where Joey, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica and Chandler captivated millions with tales of their revolving-door love lives, work traumas, make-ups and break-ups. To mark the 20th anniversary of the sitcom, sponsors opened a mock-up of the coffee bar, where New Yorkers and tourists alike took photographs on the orange sofa from the show, shopped for souvenirs and got free coffee. Andres Pratts, 27, who works at an animal hospital in Manhattan, said the queue was already down the bloc when he arrived at 8:00 am, on his morning off. Pratts is so obsessed with the hit series that he's naming his pet bulldog Bing -- after the character Chandler Bing -- and was queuing up to buy some ground coffee. "It's beautiful. I love how you can take a picture on the couch. I love the memorabilia," he said. Costumes worn by the show's six main characters are on display, along with the coffee machine from the real Central Perk cafe, pictures and other props. Lauren Greasley, 30, who was on holiday with boyfriend Richard from South Wales, said it was the highlight of their two-week US adventure so far. "It's great. It's really good. It's cool," she told AFP as she took pictures of the sofa. Fans dismissed any suggestion that the show -- pre-Internet, pre-mobile phone and in some cases older than those queuing to get in -- was in any way outdated. Laura Cameron, who works in IT in Melbourne, said it was the highlight of her stay in the Big Apple, although father Don was less keen. "The coffee is pretty terrible," he said. Brazilian au pairs Valva Fernandes, 23, and Marilia Willrich, 22, took the morning off work and told AFP it was "so exciting" to be able to sit on the sofa from the show. A representative from sponsor Eight O'Clock Coffee said that more than 250 people had been let in during the first two hours, and that a few ardent fans even camped out overnight on the sidewalk to be first in line. "This has exceeded all our expectations," she said as staff let in around 50 people at a time, to prevent the cafe from getting overcrowded. The cafe will stay open until October 18 on Lafayette and Broome streets in SoHo, one of New York's trendiest neighborhoods. Actor James Michael Tyler, who played the quirky bond barista Gunther, will make appearances throughout the pop-up run. The hit show, seen on US television from 1994 to 2004, won dozens of awards and garnered global celebrity for actors Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Liza Minnelli recovering after surgery, sends love
Wednesday Sep 17, 2014
Liza Minnelli recovering after surgery, sends love

NEW YORK (AP) — Liza Minnelli is said to be resting comfortably in a California hospital after undergoing back surgery earlier this week and she's thanking fans for their well wishes. "I am overwhelmed with the amount of love and caring that has been sent my way from all over the world," the award-winning actress and singer said in a statement Wednesday. Minnelli's back injury prevented her from performing most of the year or attending the funeral of Joan Rivers in New York this month. She is expected to make a full recovery. The 68-year-old entertainer is one of the few artists to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy. Perhaps her greatest role was as cabaret singer Sally Bowles in the film version of "Cabaret." Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.