Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Popular food blog Eater.com has undergone a major makeover which includes a new layout to highlight its emphasis on long-form features, investigative reporting and professional restaurant reviews.This week the US food blog that’s been keeping tabs on the industry since 2005 and has garnered a loyal following of chefs and foodies alike, unveiled its redesign which at first glance is less text-heavy than its previous incarnation. Readers are told to anticipate more "food porn," original long-form journalism pieces, features, reviews and video content including a new show called “Savvy,” a how-to series hosted by a roster of different chefs, and “Consumed,” in which host Kat Odell tries the “weirdest and wackiest” foods from New York. The new site also encourages readers to weigh in on some of the most controversial and interesting subjects in the food world with an online discussion forum. The new Eater.com is poised to fill a vacuum left by the demise of gourmet online food magazine Gilt Taste, which launched to much fanfare three years ago, and strengthen its position as a go-to reference for industry gossip and authoritative food journalism. While "Saveur," "Food & Wine" and "Bon Appetit" magazines are national publications, Eater’s advantage is its hyperlocal focus as the site has breakout sections for 24 cities across North America. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kris Jenner is ending her 22-year year marriage to Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner. The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" matriarch filed for divorce on Monday in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. The pair's relationship and its troubles have been featured prominently on the reality show that focuses heavily on Kris Jenner's daughters from a previous marriage, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian. The women and their brother Rob were born during Kris Jenner's previous marriage to Los Angeles attorney Robert Kardashian, who she divorced in 1991. Kris and Bruce Jenner have two children together, daughters Kendall and Kylie. The divorce petition seeks joint custody of 17-year-old Kylie Jenner. Bruce Jenner won the gold medal for men's decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. Court filings say he and Kris Jenner separated on June 1. The filings do not provide any additional details or how the former couple will split their assets. The divorce was first reported by celebrity website RadarOnline.com. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stephen King's time-travel novel about the Kennedy assassination is being adapted as a small-screen miniseries. Streaming service Hulu said Monday that the nine-hour series, titled "11/22/63" after King's book, includes the author and J.J. Abrams as executive producers. King said in a statement that if any of his works cried out for "long-form, event TV programming," then "11/22/63" is it. In King's 2011 novel, a high school teacher goes back in time to try to prevent the Nov. 22, 1963, killing of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald. The release date for "11/22/63" and casting weren't announced by Hulu or producer Warner Bros. Television. The series will be seen in the United States on Hulu and distributed internationally by Warner. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Jennifer Hudson, "JHUD" (RCA) Jennifer Hudson's new album, "JHUD," would fly off the shelves if every copy included a tiny stage, complete with miniature Jennifer Hudson singing live. Her voice — that powerful instrument capable of toppling pillars, and sending wigs into a tailspin — is what enraptured "American Idol" audiences back in 2004, and the rest of the world in 2006 with "Dreamgirls," which won Hudson an Oscar. But three albums into Hudson's music career, the Grammy-winning star still sounds like she's singing other people's music. That is to say, while "JHUD" is solid collection of tracks, Hudson seems to be conforming to fit a sound and persona not her own. "Daddy do, do or die, tatt my name so I know you're mine," she sings on opening track "Dangerous" — a far cry from the "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" of yore. That soulfulness takes a backseat to the tough-chick-in-love persona that drives "JHUD," rippling through the sassy "Walk It Out," featuring Timbaland, and "He Ain't Goin' Nowhere," with Iggy Azalea. The songs are fun, admittedly, but they beg the question, "Jennifer, is that really you?" Other tracks are more believable, and more enjoyable, too. There's the disco-tinged "It's Your World," featuring R. Kelly, and Hudson's interpretation of "I Still Love You" from British house DJ Switch. Her vocals float effortlessly from honeyed to heavy on "Bring Back the Music," and she sets off goose bumps in a stirring tribute to her late mother on "Moan," which closes the 10-track set. Still, there's no getting around the disappointment of an OK, but not amazing album from Hudson. Here's hoping that her next set is as unique and powerful as she is. ___ Follow Melanie J. Sims at twitter.com/MelanieJoySims Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
US comedian Ellen DeGeneres is on Starcount's global social media chart for the second week in a row, thanks to a Photoshopped picture that became the most-liked Instagram post of New York Fashion Week.On September 5 DeGeneres posted a doctored photo of what looked like her walking in a Betsey Johnson runway show accompanied by the caption "I love New York Fashion Week. #NYFW." The image was liked by 217,000 people and got a second round of buzz this past week when web analytics firm Curalate named it the most popular Instagram image of NYFW.The talk show host was talked about 2.2 million times on Facebook over the course of the week, thanks to the photo plus a slew of buzz-making segments on her daytime program, including a clip of a sing-along of "Let it Go" from "Frozen" with Kristen Wiig, a dance-off featuring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad, and an interview with Kaley Cuoco of "The Big Bang Theory."Starcount's global social media chart for September 15-21:1. PewDiePie2. Ariana Grande3. Katy Perry4. Justin Bieber5. Ellen DeGeneres6. Taylor Swift7. Nicki Minaj8. HolySoyGerman9. Enrique Iglesias10. ShakiraStarcount.com, the social media leaderboard, tracks data across 12 global social networks to provide an aggregated measure of social media popularity for stars and brands. Its Fan Chart application is available on Android and iOS. For more on Starcount's data go to www.starcount.com/pages/score. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
NEW YORK (AP) — Demonstrators marked the start of the Metropolitan Opera's season on Monday evening by protesting the planned production of "The Death of Klinghoffer" from outside of New York City's Lincoln Center. Most gathered behind metal barricades across the street, while some stood on the sidewalk in front of the arts complex, shouting "Shame on you!" at opera goers as they walked past. They carried signs accusing the Met of glorifying terrorism by including the opera, which they say is anti-Semitic, in its season. The Met is scheduled to perform the opera between October 20 and November 15. It deals with the death of Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish passenger on the cruise ship Achille Lauro, in 1985. The ship was hijacked by Palestinians, who shot the disabled Klinghoffer in his wheelchair and threw him over board. The opera's critics say it justifies the killers' actions and is prejudiced against Jews. Supporters defend it on grounds of artistic freedom and say it presents a thoughtful take on all sides. "It's more than insensitive, it's immoral," said Carole Daman, who had come from Scarsdale in Westchester County for the protest. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
A biopic exploring the darker side of the late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is to represent France as a possible contender in the Best Foreign Language Film category at next year's Oscars."Saint Laurent", directed by Bertrand Bonello, will be France's nomination for the category, the country's National Cinema Centre said Monday. Bonello's film shows the designer, who pioneered tuxedos for women and ready-to-wear, cruising for sex and taking cocaine and pills. Concentrating on a few episodes between 1967 and 1976, it vividly conjures up the hedonistic pre-AIDS days of the early 1970s, with gay sex parties and drinking and drug-taking in nightclubs -- where Saint Laurent's muses Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise are on hand. A team from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will watch all the selected films from each continent before announcing a shortlist of nine films in December. That will be whittled down to just five in January 2015. The Oscars ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on February 22, 2015, with nominations announced on January 15. France last won in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 1993 for the film "Indochine" starring Catherine Deneuve. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
"Rose Gold" (Doubleday), by Walter Mosley Walter Mosley evokes the curious turns of the Patty Hearst kidnapping saga and the fractured culture of that era in "Rose Gold," his latest Easy Rawlins crime thriller. Rawlins, a black private investigator based in Los Angeles, follows leads from poor, simmering L.A. streets to secluded beachside mansions and laid-back hippie encampments. His search recalls a time when a California heiress like Hearst could be abducted by a band of oddball militants calling themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. The heiress whom Rawlins is hired to find is the "Rose Gold" of the title — Rosemary Goldsmith is her name — the daughter of a wealthy, secretive armaments magnate. The SLA-type cell that holds her is Scorched Earth, whom authorities view as a crime-prone revolutionary band created by a black former boxer. There are many page-turning twists in Rawlins' hunt for the poor little rich girl, and more than one mystery to be solved by the much-in-demand private detective. "Rose Gold," the 13th entry in the Easy Rawlins series, is the second book finding him back in action after his apparent death in 2007's "Blonde Faith," which ended with him driving a car off a Pacific cliff. Fans of Mosley's private investigator were grateful Rawlins survived, and for good reason: Mosley's writing gifts go well beyond the gumshoe genre. With Rawlins, he weaves in a tense racial element throughout, and raises the level of his achievement. This reader was late looking into the Easy Rawlins novels — the first, "Devil in a Blue Dress," came out to rave reviews in 1990 — but it's clear why they stirred such excitement. As AP reviewer Bruce DeSilva put it last year: "Taken together, they are nothing less than a history of race relations in post-World War II Los Angeles." In "Rose Gold," Rawlins may bump into police corruption, and, like other private eyes, his life is not without fine broads and bad apples. But Mosley's characters invariably fill out a spectrum of skin shades and display a wide variety of human scruples. Sorting them out is not always easy. In "Rose Gold," Rawlins is stopped by verbally abusive white policemen, ordered out of his car, patted down and nearly arrested. His "crime" is that he had a young white woman named Coco beside him. The police finally leave, and she asks: "How can you live with people treating you like that?" Rawlins replies: "You know, Coco, some questions just don't have answers." ___ Online: http://www.waltermosley.com/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
NEW YORK (AP) — After a summer of uncertainty, the sounds of discord gave way to joyful music-making as the Metropolitan Opera opened its season Monday night with a sparkling new production of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro." Just two months ago, it looked as though the season might not open at all, since the financially struggling company had threatened to lock out its unions unless they agreed to substantial pay cuts in a new labor contract. But a compromise averted a shutdown by the nation's largest performing arts organization, and the show went on, both inside the house and on giant screens set up for free viewing in the Lincoln Center plaza and in Times Square. Not everything about opening night was harmonious, however. Across Broadway from the opera house, cordoned off behind police barricades, several hundred people representing Jewish groups waved signs and chanted to protest the Met's plans to stage John Adams's 1991 opera, "The Death of Klinghoffer." It deals with the death of Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish passenger on the cruise ship Achille Lauro, in 1985. The ship was hijacked by Palestinians, who shot the disabled Klinghoffer in his wheelchair and threw him over board. The demonstrators — many of whom acknowledged they had not seen the opera — claimed it glorifies terrorists and feeds anti-Semitic sentiment. The Met agreed several months ago to cancel an HD broadcast of the opera but is going ahead with its production later this fall. Inside the house, dressy first-nighters, who paid as much as $1,750 for a ticket, filled the 3,800 seats to near-capacity. And for their money they got a memorable performance of Mozart's immortal comedy, led by music director James Levine, who was conducting his first opening night since being felled by a series of health problems. Now relying on a motorized wheelchair, he waved enthusiastically to the audience from his podium and led the orchestra in a lithe, elegant reading of the score. The fast-paced production, directed by Richard Eyre, updates the action to Spain of the early 1930s and uses a gold filigree revolving set by Rob Howell with what look like Moorish towers defining the castle where Figaro works as a manservant for Count Almaviva. The youthful cast, headed by bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov as Figaro and soprano Marlis Petersen as his fiancee, Susanna, dug into their roles with gusto and sang with style. Making a high-pressure debut as a late substitute for an indisposed colleague, American soprano Amanda Majeski started a bit shaky but grew stronger as the night progressed, displaying a soft-grained, slightly tremulous voice that nicely conveyed the Countess's vulnerability. This season is the first in four years not to feature Russian diva Anna Netrebko on opening night, but she'll make up for that with a vengeance when she stars as Lady Macbeth in Verdi's adaptation of Shakespeare on Wednesday night. The opening week also offers Puccini's "La Boheme" and Bizet's "Carmen." "Figaro" plays nine more times with the same cast, including an HD broadcast to movie theaters worldwide on Oct. 18. Then it returns with a different cast for five more performances in December. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Sony has released a new red-band trailer for "The Interview," the latest movie from writer and director duo Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen."The Interview" stars James Franco as Dave Skylark, a TV talk show host, and Seth Rogen as his producer Aaron Rapoport. Tired of the tabloid-style celebrity news that makes their show so popular, they decide to accept the North Korean government's invitation to interview Kim Jong-Un, who is a fan of the show. The CIA decides to take advantage of this unique opportunity and asks the two entertainers to assassinate the dictator. Like Goldberg and Rogen's last feature, "This Is the End," also headlined by Rogen and Franco, and like the recent Goldberg-produced comedy "Neighbors," "The Interview" will be full of raunchy humor, as indicated by the trailers released so far. Sony recently decided to modify several elements in the film following objections from Pyongyang. Certain North Korean officials even described the feature as an act of terrorism, filing an official complaint with the UN in an attempt to ban its release. The studio digitally removed certain offending details and cut out an entire scene in which Kim Jong-Un's face was seen melting in slow motion. "The Interview" opens in US theaters on Christmas Day (December 25). Watch the red-band trailer (intended for mature audiences): youtu.be/kP8O-MOqmcw Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Chris Brown celebrated his 25th birthday in jail last May by making his own "spread cake": chocolate, peanut butter, bread and milk. "Mix it up in a little cereal bowl and let it sit for a little while. It comes out and you've got a nice little cake," Brown said, laughing. "A couple of the homies taught me how to do it." Accustomed to the high life since he became an R&B star at 16, Brown was brought low by his three months in lockup. He emerged last June determined not to slide back into his old ways. Jail had changed things. "I've always reneged on a lot of my situations. But I think that's a part of growing up and learning. For me, now I have a better sense of what's important — being that I was incarcerated, being that I've had the bad stuff happen to me," he said in an interview. "You can't continuously mess up. You're not going to get that many chances. I'm not saying by my peers, but I'm just saying by God in general. For me and my spirit, I just want to be able to have some peace, be able to chill and do what I love — because I was blessed with this opportunity and this talent, so I don't want to waste it." Brown — a brilliant dancer and talented singer who is among the most electrifying young performers — presents himself as a maturing artist who recognizes past mistakes. He's in court-ordered twice-a-week therapy. He trimmed his entourage from 30 people to single digits. He ended simmering feuds, including one with rapper-singer Drake. His sixth album, "X," released last week, includes plenty of sex- and party-focused songs, yes, but also reflective and heartfelt lyrics that acknowledge and take responsibility for his struggles. Sitting in his publicist's office a day after his album was released, Brown smiled easily and seemed eager to show that he had turned a corner — but acknowledged he still has room to grow. "Sometimes you've got to touch the stove to see that it's hot. And I'm one of those guys that does that all of the time," he said. "Sometimes I might be my own worst enemy. I'm not always going to make the right decision." He was quick to criticize the series of angry outbursts that culminated in an incident in Washington, D.C., last October when he punched a man who tried to get into a picture Brown was taking with two women. That led eventually to a jail sentence for violation of his probation, instituted after he was convicted of the infamous 2009 pre-Grammy Awards attack on then-girlfriend Rihanna. "At first I went mentally into being aggressive, and being totally like unapproachable with situations because I didn't feel comfortable with myself living my life, as far as whatever mistakes I made, because I was constantly being judged," he said. Now, Brown said he recognizes, "I'm an entertainer. And I influence a lot of people, young and older. ... Before, I was out of hand. So I think now it's time to grow up." Gail Mitchell, senior correspondent covering hip-hop and R&B at Billboard magazine, said the Grammy winner has a reputation as a "studio rat," recording and collaborating constantly with his peers. She interviewed Brown for a cover story after he got out of jail. "I think he needed a wake-up call and maybe that's what it was, maybe that's what it took," she said. "I don't think there's any shame in that." Brown said he feels a kinship with Justin Bieber, 20, another pop star whose once-immaculate image has been sullied by repeated public bad behavior. "Growing up in the public eye, being younger with all of the success — girls, money, everything — it can get to your head real fast. ... I was arrogant, cocky, thought I was invincible at one point," Brown said. "We don't get the benefit of growing up behind the camera. We don't get the benefit of making our mistakes and nobody hears about it." The question now is whether Brown can avoid further mistakes. Someone shot and injured Death Row Records founder Suge Knight at a Brown-hosted party last month. Does trouble simply follow Brown, no matter what? "It's 50-50. You could say that trouble follows me. And you could also say I create my own trouble," he said. He mostly sticks to throwing house parties lately but, "I'm not in control of going to a club and it getting shot up." Brown has been able to climb pop charts despite legal trouble: "Loyal" peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 while Brown was jailed. The rude, flippant song was the fourth single from "X'' to be released. Brown said he was surprised at its success. "It's my version of TLC's 'No Scrubs,'" he said. "It just goes to show that sometimes when you put out a super big record with substance, that's not the key all the time. Sometimes you want to just put a record out there that might be disrespectful, just have fun." Brown's album was released at a time of increased public discussion about domestic violence following TMZ's release of video showing NFL star Ray Rice punching out his then-fiancee in an elevator. The singer said he accepts that he'll be linked with the issue for the foreseeable future. "There could be a million other celebrities who were in the same situation, but because of the high-profile case and whatever it is, they're going to always automatically associate myself with it," he said. "When the media associates me, it's to do a bigger message. It's to show the world and raise awareness for it and definitely show that it's not OK." ___ Online: http://www.chrisbrownworld.com ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson at www.twitter.com/ryanwrd Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
With months to go before the premiere of the new "Breaking Bad" spin-off in February, AMC has released another scene from the adventures of Walter White's lawyer.In this short video (10 seconds), the lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk is clearly pleading a case in court, and he seems to think he's pretty convincing. "I bet if we were in church right now, I'd get a big Amen," he says, to a quiet courtroom, before adding, "You with me, ladies and gentlemen?" This is the third teaser for "Better Call Saul" released by AMC, which has already ordered two seasons of the new series. The network is counting on the popularity of "Breaking Bad," which was once again honored at the Emmy Awards this year, to give the new spin-off a strong start. "Better Call Saul" focuses on Jimmy McGill, the crooked lawyer who will later change his name to Saul Goodman and defend Walter White. Described as a prequel to the hit AMC drama, the new spin-off will not take place exclusively during the 1980s as was previously thought. In an interview with the New York Daily News in July, producer Peter Gould revealed that the series will actually have "a flexible timeline" and will take place "before 'Breaking Bad,' during 'Breaking Bad,' and after 'Breaking Bad.'" Developed by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the first season of "Better Call Saul" will include 10 episodes. Watch the teaser: youtu.be/ztcWJmmRt_4 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
At 50, Lenny Kravitz is an American in Paris.Now, after turns designing shoes and acting in "The Hunger Games", he's returned to music with a new album he says just poured out of him during shooting of the box office smash. Best known for the 1991 single "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over", Kravitz says inspiration struck on set as he played Cinna, the stylist to Jennifer Lawrence's heroine. "I wasn't even planning on making an album. I was just working on the film. In the night, just all this music...," he told AFP in an interview in Paris. Kravitz, who played Cinna in two of the trilogy's films, describes the album, entitled "Strut", as "grit and glamour, all together" plus "a lot of sensuality". He appears on the cover in a black and white photograph, displaying a large tattoo on his bare chest and dressed in a dinner jacket and dark glasses. He says the music itself is about love and relationships. "All the different dynamics that you would have from lust to sex to heartbreak to desperation to devotion to misunderstood love," he said. Kravitz has been living in Paris on and off for nine years and his last video was set in the city. "I think it's a pretty sexy city, aesthetically it's gorgeous... the architecture, the design... it's very inspiring..." he said. After nearly a decade, Kravitz is very much at home in France; in 2011 was awarded France's highest cultural honour -- the Order of Arts and Letters. "I don't feel foreign anymore. Now when I come, I just feel like I'm going home, because I am!" But he says he still cherishes the "feeling I get being not from here". - 'Never felt better' - Writing his tenth album, which is due to be released on Tuesday, the songs came very naturally. "Every time I make an album, it's always different. This album just happened like this!" he said. "I won't call it easy but the flow was very good. Everything just came into my head. I didn't even have to think about it.... I just let it come out." The last song on the album is a cover, something Kravitz says he rarely does. But an unexpected blast of the 1965 hit single by The Miracles, "Ooo Baby Baby", left him marvelling. "One morning early I was having my make up done for 'Hunger Games' and the make-up artist was listening to a Motown station and it came on. "I hadn't heard it for a long time (and) it sounded so beautiful," he said. Although Kravitz has sold over 40 million albums he says he's still hungry to make music. "I don't know if I have anything to prove, I just want to express myself. I wanna grow as a musician, to be a better performer. "It's not about the charts or the money, it's about the experience," he said. And on reaching his half-century, he is philosophical. "The number doesn't really mean anything. I feel great. I've never felt better than I do now... physically, mentally and spiritually," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.
ATLANTA (AP) — With a picture of his mother on a large screen behind him, Doug E Fresh struggled to complete his sentence. The rapper dubbed "The Human Beat Box" choked up and shed tears as he received the "I Am Hip-Hop Award" at the ninth BET Hip-Hop Awards on Saturday. Fresh eventually told the crowd that his mother, who had Alzheimer's disease, died five months ago. "I have to acknowledge her," Fresh said at the taped award show at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. "I want to thank this woman and hip-hop. If it wasn't for hip-hop, I don't know where I would be." He also thanked those who helped him throughout his career, from Slick Rick to his group the Get Fresh Crew. The show airs Oct. 14. Fresh became known for imitating drums and creating special effects using his mouth and a microphone. After his speech, Fresh performed one of his hits, "La Di Da Di" with the show's host, Snoop Dogg. "He's the definition of moving the crowd," Ludcaris said during a video that paid homage to Fresh. DJ Mustard won Producer of the Year, and Future's song "Move That Dope" took home Best Club Banger award. The most applause came after a recorded freestyle featuring Kanye West, Common, Big Sean and Pusha T. Many of the other awards will be announced at a later date. Rapper Drake received the most nominations with eight. Jay Z, Pharrell and Future each scored six nominations. The parents of Mike Brown, an unarmed young black man who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, stood on stage with Common after he finished his songs with Jay Electronica. There was moment of silence and the crowd raised both their hands in remembrance of Brown. Snoop Dogg showed charisma throughout the night and performed skits featuring Nia Long. He also brought back his YouTube network called GGN (Double G News), interviewing rapper French Montana and Mimi Faust of Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta. Singer Brandy performed "I Wanna Be Down" with guest appearances from Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo. Rapper T.I. took the stage with Young Thug, performing "About the Money." ___ Online: http://www.bet.com/shows/hip-hop-awards.html ___ Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. at http://www.twitter.com/mrlandrum31 Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Japanese director Takashi Miike, whose violent and often controversial films boast a huge cult following, will be awarded the 2014 Maverick Director Award at the Rome film festival, organisers said Saturday.His nearly 100 films include "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai", which premiered in competition at Cannes in 2011, and "Straw Shield", which was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the celebrated French film festival in 2013. The Rome film festival said Miike had "reconsidered the boundaries that divide 'populist' practices, genre and auteur visions in some of the most beloved and controversial films in recent years," adding that the Japanese was "considered by Quentin Tarantino to be 'one of the greatest living directors'." Miike's 2001 Manga-inspired film "Ichi the Killer" in particular sparked controversy for its depiction of bloodlust and violence against women, with organisers at the Toronto film festival famously providing sick bags for the audience when the movie was screened. Miike has also made films for children, from "Zebraman" to "The Great Yokai War", as well as teen dramas and period pieces. Artistic director Marco Muller, former head of the Venice film festival, said the 54-year-old had been chosen for the award "for the recurring power of his creative imagination and the courage of his ideas." "Every one of his films is a breakneck race through a uncannily poetic and surprisingly political imagination. Miike has tried his hand at every genre: when he has chosen to shatter them it has always been to recompose them better in unpredictable mixes," he said. "Always catching us unprepared... Miike is arguably the least compliant of all the contemporary maverick directors," he added. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.