Thursday Feb 11, 2016

'Queen: A Night in Bohemia' to get special cinema screening

On March 8, a never-before-seen documentary about British rock group Queen, plus footage of their legendary 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Oden in London, will be coming to over 200 cinemas around America."We are excited to bring a very special, one-of-a-kind concert experience to music fans...
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TV

'Queen: A Night in Bohemia' to get special cinema screening
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
'Queen: A Night in Bohemia' to get special cinema screening

On March 8, a never-before-seen documentary about British rock group Queen, plus footage of their legendary 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Oden in London, will be coming to over 200 cinemas around America."We are excited to bring a very special, one-of-a-kind concert experience to music fans across the nation. Cinema audiences will now have a front row seat to rock out at one of the most legendary concerts of all time, as we celebrate Queen and one of their most beloved songs," said John Rubey, CEO of Fathom Events, one of the organisation behind the screening. The concert in question has gone down in history as one of Queen's defining moments. Among the set list is the very first live performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody". However, alongside restored and remixed footage of the gig, fans will be treated to a new documentary on the group, which contains never-before-seen footage. Tickets for the event go on sale on Friday February 12. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

South African bookshop a treasure trove of eclectic history
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
South African bookshop a treasure trove of eclectic history

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The only clue to a literary treasure trove tucked away in downtown Johannesburg is a fading sign, but behind this door is a fantastic maze containing an estimated 2 million books and prints. The Collectors Treasury, a three-story bookshop owned by brothers Jonathan and Geoff Klass, is dedicated to preserving history and contains everything from VHS tapes of classic TV to porcelain trinkets, but above all books are prized. "It is the symbol of the history of the human race," says Geoff Klass. The collection is vast and eclectic with yellowing news clippings, posters and first editions of John Updike, Alice Walker and H.G. Wells along with Enid Blyton's beloved children's series "Noddy." It's also getting more traffic as downtown Johannesburg is rejuvenated. The bookstore is now on the hipster trail of the trendy Maboneng district with its art galleries and rooftop markets. Visitors thread single file between overflowing shelves and stacks of books. Biographies of Leon Trotsky and Humphrey Bogart sit alongside the story of Wham, the 80s British pop group that launched George Michael's career. Another room holds fraying antique books, some dating from the 16th century. There are heaps of non-fiction books, ranging from angling journals to contemporary Russian art. "It's a landscape of books rather than shelves of books," said Los Angeles set designer David Chow, who learned about the shop online and set aside a whole day of his trip to explore it. The Klass brothers have embraced the Internet as a portal to new customers, but remain devotees of the printed page. Their collection also features a copy of the manuscript of George Orwell's "1984," scribbled, corrected and typed over as the author crafted the classic. "What would have happened if he had been writing it on a word processor?" asks Geoff Klass. ___ Follow Lynsey Chutel on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lynseychutel. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by LYNSEY CHUTEL from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Final line-up for 'Top Gear' confirmed
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
Final line-up for 'Top Gear' confirmed

Chris Evans has confirmed on Twitter the full and final line-up of "Top Gear" presenters.In addition to former "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc, who was confirmed as a co-presenter earlier this month, Evans will be joined on the motoring show by German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, ex-Formula 1 team boss Eddie Jordan, motoring journalist Chris Harris, and Rory Reid, who won a place on the show after auditions were opened to the public to find the next "Top Gear" presenter. Anonymous character The Stig will complete the line-up. BBC Two's "Top Gear" is due to return to screens in May 2016, after the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Woman admits stealing from comedian Joe Piscopo
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
Woman admits stealing from comedian Joe Piscopo

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has admitted stealing money from former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Joe Piscopo. Under terms of a plea agreement, 40-year-old Jennifer LaRocca of Hackettstown pleaded guilty to theft. LaRocca admitted her husband was hired to pay Piscopo's bills and she unlawfully wrote checks for her own expenses using the funds between 2010 and 2014. LaRocca has agreed to pay nearly $171,000 in restitution. Morris County prosecutors will recommend she be sentenced in April to probation on the condition she makes the payments. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

7 innocents spend time in jail for new TV show
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
7 innocents spend time in jail for new TV show

NEW YORK (AP) — Seven innocent civilians agreed to spend two months in an Indiana jail and have their experiences filmed for an A&E Network series, "60 Days In," that will air starting next month. Backgrounds of the fake inmates, whose jail time ended in December, were kept from both corrections officers and real inmates at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Even though one of the participants dropped out after being punched by an inmate, the show's producer and Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said Wednesday that the stunt was worth the risk. "We wanted to create a show that really shows what it is like to do time, from a perspective that hadn't been seen before," said Gregory Henry, executive producer for the Lucky 8 TV production company. The 12-episode series begins 9 p.m. EST Thursday, March 10, with two back-to-back episodes, then moves to 10 p.m. EST starting March 17. The civilians all had their reasons for participating. One woman was a social worker hoping to put an end to gang violence, one was an ex-Marine who thought the experience would help him become a DEA agent, one was a teacher who wanted to tell students where bad choices can lead them, and one young man wanted to get a sense of what his jailed brother was going through. Hundreds of cameras followed them. Inmates and guards were told producers were filming a series about the experiences of first-time prisoners, leaving out the detail that they weren't real prisoners. "The whole program was kind of hidden in plain sight," Henry said. Participants received counseling and training in advance and were watched constantly. They had a safe phrase — "I really miss the coffee" — and a visual cue of putting a towel on their heads that signaled to producers that they wanted to be removed from a potentially dangerous situation. "I've never been able to see the moment when the slammer door shuts and someone is standing alone in a pod realizing what they had gotten themselves into," Henry said. "It was very real for everybody." Noel, who took office last year, said he was trying to clean up a 500-inmate jail where drugs seemed more available than they were on the streets. He considered bringing undercover police officers into the facility to provide intelligence of what was really going on but couldn't get anyone to commit to a stay beyond two or three days. The fake inmates helped provide a mother lode of information that Noel and his colleagues said they're still sifting through, like how contraband weapons were made. Shortly after they got in, new inmates were told by longtime inmates that they wouldn't be permitted to use the bathroom safely unless they paid some sort of bribe. "We learned stuff that the most experienced corrections officer we had never knew was going on," Noel said. To him, that made the program worth the risk of the bad publicity that could have resulted if something went terribly wrong for one of the inmate impersonators. "Normal people that have never gotten in trouble before are going to be blown away by what goes on in a jail," he said. "I hope it is a real deterrent for them." Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by David Bauder from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

First Arab contender in 20 years opens Berlin film fest race
Friday Feb 12, 2016
First Arab contender in 20 years opens Berlin film fest race

A love story set against the aftermath of Tunisia's watershed revolution will kick off the competition at the Berlin film festival Friday as the first Arab contender in two decades.Hailing from the North African country that triggered the Arab Spring, "Hedi" is the debut feature-length film of Tunisian filmmaker Mohamed Ben Attia. It is the first film in Arabic and set in the Arab world since 1996 to vie for prizes at Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year. "It's not that I'm not ambitious, but I never imagined going to Berlin! All of us are surprised," Ben Attia told AFP. It is a rare achievement for any first-time filmmaker to be invited to the Berlinale competition. The only other debut feature in the race this year -- British theatre director Michael Grandage's "Genius" -- has an all-star cast including Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. "Hedi" will have its world premiere as one of 18 films from around the world vying for the festival's Golden Bear top prize, with three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep heading up the jury. Its tale of "emotional upheaval" echoes Tunisia's recent history, said Ben Attia, who turns 40 this year. But rather than impart a political "message", his movie describes a kind of personal revolution. - Wake-up call - The film's main character Hedi -- whose name means "serene" in Arabic -- "isn't unemployed, his family doesn't have any money problems... but he feels out of place in society", Ben Attia said. When he meets a tour guide called Rim and love strikes, Hedi (played by Majd Mastoura) begins to ask serious questions about the man he wants to be and his role in society. Ben Attia said he himself used to be a "conformist", selling cars for a living before launching into filmmaking. The wake-up call came on January 14, 2011 standing in the crowd outside the interior ministry demanding the removal of longtime dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. It was the end of an era "under censorship that we thought was only political, but in fact was (also) sedating everybody", he said. Protests swept Tunisia in late 2010 after the death of a street vendor who set himself on fire in protest at unemployment and police harassment, leading Ben Ali to flee the country. In his own "emotional upheaval" alongside the tumult wrought by the revolution, Hedi "discovers himself through a love story" and "detaches himself from conventions". He realises "he has another choice -- but then, after the euphoria, he discovers it's not all that easy", Ben Attia said. - 'Bit of a hangover' - Tunisia is hailed as a rare success story of the Arab Spring, although authorities have failed to improve the economy or do much to ease social exclusion. Authorities last month imposed a nationwide curfew to curb some of the worst social unrest since the revolution. "It's true we have a bit of a hangover," Ben Attia said. "We thought he (Ben Ali) just needed to leave for it all to get better. "We truly believed in this radical change, just as Hedi wants to believe in his love story." Political instability and jihadist attacks have taken their toll on Tunisia's vital tourism sector. In the film, after Rim (played by Rim Ben Messaoud) loses her job, the lovers start thinking about quitting the country. But the director said he has never contemplated leaving, especially as Tunisian films make waves abroad. "Tunisian cinema has been on the move. We've seen films that stand out, that are well received abroad and at home," he said. Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid's film "As I Open My Eyes" won the top award for fiction feature at the Dubai Film Festival in December. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Make them an offer they can't refuse: Puzo archive for sale
Friday Feb 12, 2016
Make them an offer they can't refuse: Puzo archive for sale

BOSTON (AP) — Make them an offer they can't refuse and a massive collection of "The Godfather" author Mario Puzo's papers can be yours. The 45-box archive, which includes multiple drafts with handwritten revisions to both the novel and the screenplay, is being sold by Boston-based RR Auction on Feb. 18. The collection covering Puzo's entire career includes manuscripts of his early books and late-career screenplays, and even his old typewriter. But there's no doubt that its thousands of pages of "Godfather" documents are the highlight. They shed light on the creative process, including the back and forth between Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola as they collaborated on the screenplay. "This is one of the neatest things I have ever seen in my job," said Tricia Eaton, RR's director of specialty catalogs. The scripts include some of Puzo's own scribbles and thoughts on what the American Film Institute called the second most famous movie quote of all-time, Marlon Brando, as Don Vito Corleone, saying: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." (The most famous movie quote is, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," from "Gone with the Wind.") In one manuscript, Puzo makes a change to the line: "He's a businessman. I'll make him an offer he can't refuse," scratching out the phrase "He's a businessman" and scrawling in: "I'll reason with him." In another, Puzo intensifies the famous line's ominous finality by crossing out a line of dialogue immediately following it. "It seems that Puzo and Coppola together simplified a lot of the dialogue from the book for the screen," Eaton said. "The way it came out in the movie makes it a little more like everyday gangster slang." Another fascinating piece of the collection is a letter from Puzo to Brando dated March 1970. Puzo envisioned Brando playing Corleone in the 1972 movie, but it almost never happened. Apparently thinking that Brando was out of the project, Puzo wrote the letter expressing his disappointment. "I'm sorry I wasted your time," Puzo wrote. "I still think it was a good idea. And thanks for taking the trouble to call and talk to me." RR executive vice president Robert Livingstone said the collection is expected to sell for at least $400,000 at auction. The archive is being offered by Puzo's five children. Anthony Puzo, who was in his late teens when his father was writing "The Godfather," says the collection is full of memories, but he and his siblings are selling so it can be properly cared for. "Dad loved to live the high life, even when he couldn't afford it, and he was often in debt. He always used to say he'd be all right once he wrote his best-seller," Anthony Puzo said. ___ Online: Mario Puzo collection, http://rrauction.k2imgs.com/lists/PuzoPDFs/PuzoFullInventory.pdf Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by MARK PRATT from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

In-flight headsets created to help flyers forget they're stuck in a flying tube
Friday Feb 12, 2016
In-flight headsets created to help flyers forget they're stuck in a flying tube

A French start-up company has come up with a solution they believe will help flyers temporarily forget that they're stuck in metal tube, 35,000 feet in the air, thanks to a headset that offers an immersive 3D cinematic experience.It's an idea that has generated quick interest within the industry. Last week, XL Airways France became the first carrier to trial SkyTheater headsets. This week, another four carriers based in Europe and the Middle East have also agreed to pilot the devices, reports industry site Future Travel Experience (FTE). The identities of the airlines are being withheld because of non-disclosure agreements. Despite appearances, the headset created by French start-up Skylights, is not a virtual reality device. Instead, the device works on a fixed screen and is designed to reproduce the cinematic experience in both 2D and 3D options. Users are immersed wholly in the movie-watching experience thanks to wraparound headsets that block out their surroundings -- if only temporarily. “Our mission is to bring the movie theatre or cinema experience on board using immersive glasses,” said Skylights CEO David Dicko in an interview with FTE. “It will give the passenger the sense that they're no longer where they are, which is on board an aircraft.” Not only are the headsets designed to help flyers forget they're 35,000 feet in the air, they could also come in handy on no-frills airlines -- fleets which are often composed of older aircraft and conspicuously missing seatback screens. In the first phase of testing, XL Airways France asked flyers to test out the headsets on flights to the West Indies and Reunion Island. The next phase will involve a greater number of testers and could eventually lead to a roll-out this year. Last year, Qantas teamed up with Samsung in a pilot project that handed flyers virtual reality headsets to use in their airport lounges and First Class cabins on select flights. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Queen: A Night in Bohemia' to get special cinema screening
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
'Queen: A Night in Bohemia' to get special cinema screening

On March 8, a never-before-seen documentary about British rock group Queen, plus footage of their legendary 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Oden in London, will be coming to over 200 cinemas around America."We are excited to bring a very special, one-of-a-kind concert experience to music fans across the nation. Cinema audiences will now have a front row seat to rock out at one of the most legendary concerts of all time, as we celebrate Queen and one of their most beloved songs," said John Rubey, CEO of Fathom Events, one of the organisation behind the screening. The concert in question has gone down in history as one of Queen's defining moments. Among the set list is the very first live performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody". However, alongside restored and remixed footage of the gig, fans will be treated to a new documentary on the group, which contains never-before-seen footage. Tickets for the event go on sale on Friday February 12. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

New 3D IMAX film shows off US national parks like you've not seen before
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
New 3D IMAX film shows off US national parks like you've not seen before

Robert Redford narrates a new IMAX film that shows off the beauty of America's sweeping canyons, lakes, and wildlife to commemorate the US National Park Service's centennial anniversary this year.For the film “National Parks Adventure,” filmmakers visited 30 national parks across the US, capturing footage of sublime sunrises and sunsets over otherworldly landscapes and followed a trio of adventurers as they climbed vertical rock faces, mountain-biked sandstone seabeds and ice-climbed a frozen waterfall. Directed by Greg MacGillivray, the 3D IMAX film is hosted by world-renowned climber Conrad Anker, photographer Max Lowe and Rachel Pohl, also a climber and artist. In addition to serving up a visual feast for nature lovers, the film traces the history of the US National Park Service by recreating the historic camping trip that would birth the movement. In 1903, naturalist John Muir took US President Theodore Roosevelt on a camping trip through Yosemite Valley to try to persuade him of the importance of preserving the country's natural resources from industrial pillaging and plundering. Up until then, the country's vast wilderness had been considered wild, savage places that needed to be tamed and tapped for their economic benefits. The trip succeeded in convincing the president, already a conservationist, and eventually birthed the US National Park Service, which has been protecting America's wild spaces for a hundred years. “The story of the national parks is a big one, but for me the most important idea is that these parks belong to everyone, to all the people,” MacGillivray said in a statement. “The parks give us a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, and in return I think we understand what a tremendous gift they will be for future generations of Americans.” The film also recreates the first night in Mariposa Grove, where Muir and Roosevelt made camp back in 1903. “National Parks Adventure” hits select IMAX and giant-screen theaters beginning February 12. International screenings include cities such as Sydney, Australia, Vancouver, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai and London. For screenings visit http://nationalparksadventure.com/theatres/. Watch the trailer at https://youtu.be/0iqF2Tk_1WA. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

First Arab contender in 20 years opens Berlin film fest race
Friday Feb 12, 2016
First Arab contender in 20 years opens Berlin film fest race

A love story set against the aftermath of Tunisia's watershed revolution will kick off the competition at the Berlin film festival Friday as the first Arab contender in two decades.Hailing from the North African country that triggered the Arab Spring, "Hedi" is the debut feature-length film of Tunisian filmmaker Mohamed Ben Attia. It is the first film in Arabic and set in the Arab world since 1996 to vie for prizes at Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year. "It's not that I'm not ambitious, but I never imagined going to Berlin! All of us are surprised," Ben Attia told AFP. It is a rare achievement for any first-time filmmaker to be invited to the Berlinale competition. The only other debut feature in the race this year -- British theatre director Michael Grandage's "Genius" -- has an all-star cast including Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. "Hedi" will have its world premiere as one of 18 films from around the world vying for the festival's Golden Bear top prize, with three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep heading up the jury. Its tale of "emotional upheaval" echoes Tunisia's recent history, said Ben Attia, who turns 40 this year. But rather than impart a political "message", his movie describes a kind of personal revolution. - Wake-up call - The film's main character Hedi -- whose name means "serene" in Arabic -- "isn't unemployed, his family doesn't have any money problems... but he feels out of place in society", Ben Attia said. When he meets a tour guide called Rim and love strikes, Hedi (played by Majd Mastoura) begins to ask serious questions about the man he wants to be and his role in society. Ben Attia said he himself used to be a "conformist", selling cars for a living before launching into filmmaking. The wake-up call came on January 14, 2011 standing in the crowd outside the interior ministry demanding the removal of longtime dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. It was the end of an era "under censorship that we thought was only political, but in fact was (also) sedating everybody", he said. Protests swept Tunisia in late 2010 after the death of a street vendor who set himself on fire in protest at unemployment and police harassment, leading Ben Ali to flee the country. In his own "emotional upheaval" alongside the tumult wrought by the revolution, Hedi "discovers himself through a love story" and "detaches himself from conventions". He realises "he has another choice -- but then, after the euphoria, he discovers it's not all that easy", Ben Attia said. - 'Bit of a hangover' - Tunisia is hailed as a rare success story of the Arab Spring, although authorities have failed to improve the economy or do much to ease social exclusion. Authorities last month imposed a nationwide curfew to curb some of the worst social unrest since the revolution. "It's true we have a bit of a hangover," Ben Attia said. "We thought he (Ben Ali) just needed to leave for it all to get better. "We truly believed in this radical change, just as Hedi wants to believe in his love story." Political instability and jihadist attacks have taken their toll on Tunisia's vital tourism sector. In the film, after Rim (played by Rim Ben Messaoud) loses her job, the lovers start thinking about quitting the country. But the director said he has never contemplated leaving, especially as Tunisian films make waves abroad. "Tunisian cinema has been on the move. We've seen films that stand out, that are well received abroad and at home," he said. Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid's film "As I Open My Eyes" won the top award for fiction feature at the Dubai Film Festival in December. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Producer Rick Rubin quietly receives Recording Academy honor
Friday Feb 12, 2016
Producer Rick Rubin quietly receives Recording Academy honor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Music producer Rick Rubin didn't give an acceptance speech when he received the President's Merit Award from the Recording Academy. The 52-year-old Grammy winner didn't even take the stage. Instead, he spoke through music, inviting two new artists to perform in his place at the Producers & Engineers Wing's ninth annual Grammy Week celebration, where Rubin was honored Thursday night. "The way hip-hop is now owes everything to Def Jam and to this gentleman here tonight," producer-songwriter Jimmy Jam said of the record label Rubin founded with Russell Simmons in 1984, which introduced audiences to LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys. Rubin has since produced hits for such artists as Johnny Cash, Jay Z, Adele, Kanye West, Neil Diamond, Metallica, Dixie Chicks and Lady Gaga. Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said Rubin was being recognized for "his talent and innovation, uncompromising standards and commitment to sonic excellence, and especially for the music he's helped to bring to life." Instead of Rubin coming up to accept the award, Portnow stepped off stage to bring it to him. Wearing shorts and sandals and his trademark long beard, Rubin posed for photos with the academy president but made no public comments. "Rick says he's shy," Jam said. So he brought out Rubin's proxies: 19-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Colter Wall and 30-year-old South London poet-rapper Kate Tempest. The cowboy-hat-wearing Wall, whose voice recalls Johnny Cash, performed two songs with his acoustic guitar, stomping his boot for percussion. Tempest spit her rhyme acapella, passionately reciting a nearly eight-minute poem without notes or stumbles. Held at The Village recording studios in Los Angeles, the Producers & Engineers Wing party celebrates the music industry's behind-the-scenes technicians ahead of Monday's Grammy Awards. Other guests included Josh Groban, Lana del Rey and Macy Gray. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy . Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Sandy Cohen from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Clooney opens Berlin film fest with spotlight on refugees
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
Clooney opens Berlin film fest with spotlight on refugees

George Clooney opened the Berlin film festival Thursday with Europe's refugee influx in the spotlight, saying he would meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel about lending star power to help with the crisis.The 11-day Berlinale, one of the top three cinema showcases in Europe along with Cannes and Venice, kicked off with a screening of "Hail, Caesar!", Joel and Ethan Coen's send-up of Tinseltown's 1950s golden age. Clooney came to the German capital with his wife Amal, a Lebanese-born human rights lawyer, and co-stars Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton and Josh Brolin. He told reporters he would meet Merkel and, separately, a group of asylum seekers Friday "to talk about and ask what messages and what things we can do... to help". Although the Berlinale is spotlighting around a dozen films focused on refugees, Clooney admitted it would take time before Hollywood would turn its attention to such stories. "The unfortunate thing about the film community is we react to situations much more than we lead the way. News stories have to continue to happen and then scripts are written and it takes a couple years before people are actually making films about it," he told reporters. "It's also very difficult to just make a subject film. You have to have a reason -- a character and a reason to make it." - Why make movies - When asked a critical question about Hollywood escapism after a press screening of "Hail, Caesar!", a light-hearted romp, Joel Coen said filmmakers were under no obligation to deal with the most pressing issues of their time. "To point the finger and say, you should be telling this particular story -- it's a misunderstanding about how movies get written and made. Are those stories important? Yes. Does it make sense to sort of say, 'you're a public figure, you tell stories, why aren't you telling that story?' is a funny question, frankly." However he noted that he and Ethan Coen as presidents of the Cannes film festival jury last year awarded the top prize to the French movie "Dheepan", which offered an unflinching look at the plight of three Sri Lankan refugees in a violent Paris suburb. "I think it had a lot to contribute to that discussion," he said. Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep is serving as president of the Berlin prize jury, leading a panel including British actor Clive Owen. They will award the Golden Bear top prize to one of 18 contenders from around the world on February 20. Owen said they would aim to "champion somebody who we think will benefit hugely from (the award) and could make a huge difference and further their career and give them the opportunity to make more good important films," he said. Last year top honours went to Iranian dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi for "Taxi", which he had to make in secret. - Tickets for asylum seekers - As Europe endures the largest refugee influx since World War II, with 1.1 million asylum seekers arriving in Germany last year, the theme of migration will dominate the festival. Italian documentary director Gianfranco Rosi, who won at Venice three years ago, will enter the competition with "Fire at Sea" about Lampedusa, a Mediterranean island on the front line of the crisis. And off screen, hundreds of tickets have been set aside for asylum seekers at the festival accompanied by volunteers and cinema-goers are being encouraged to donate money to refugee causes. Among the world premieres generating buzz ahead of the start is a new adaptation of the international bestseller "Alone in Berlin", Hans Fallada's 1947 novel based on a true story. The Nazi-era thriller sees Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson play a German couple who risk their lives to mount a resistance campaign against Hitler after losing their only son in the war. Big crowds are also expected for "Genius", the feature debut by British theatre director Michael Grandage starring Colin Firth as literary editor Max Perkins, who published some of the 20th century's greatest American writers. Jude Law plays Thomas Wolfe, Nicole Kidman his lover and muse Aline Bernstein, with Dominic West portraying Ernest Hemingway and Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Country music returns to Grammys after years away
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
Country music returns to Grammys after years away

NEW YORK (AP) — Country music has not had an album or song nominated in the top three categories at the Grammys since 2011 when Lady Antebellum won big, but the genre is back strong, thanks to Chris Stapleton's overall success and Little Big Town's megahit, "Girl Crush." Stapleton, a hit songwriter and former leader of The SteelDrivers, is nominated for album of the year for his debut, "Traveller," while "Girl Crush" earned songwriters Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna nominations for song of the year. The last time a country album was nominated for album of the year was Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" at the 2011 Grammys (we don't count Taylor Swift's pop-flavored "Red" as country). That year also was the last time a country track earned nominations for song or record of the year, which Lady A took home for their crossover hit, "Need You Now" (Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" was nominated for song of the year that year too). Charles Kelley of Lady A says the 2011 Grammys "was probably the greatest night of my musical career. It felt like a big win for the genre that night." Kelley, who is nominated for his first Grammy apart from his Lady A bandmates this year, said country music is returning to the top categories because Little Big Town and Stapleton made unique and unpredictable songs. "They made the boldest records; they're not down-the-middle records at all, and I think the Grammys always tend to recognize when someone has painted outside the lines a little bit," he said. Sam Hunt also is representing country music with a nomination for best new artist, a category that typically includes at least one country act. Part of the reason country music has not earned top Grammy nominations may be because country songs don't chart high enough on the pop- and rap-dominated Billboard Hot 100 chart. Grammy voters who are not paying attention solely to country music may not be as familiar with the genre's songs and albums because it's not in the mainstream as much as rap and rock. Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven" was the last country song to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 2005; before that it was Lonestar in 2000 with "Amazed." Though "Need You Now" and Swift's "You Belong With Me" both peaked at No. 2, country songs often chart in the bottom half of the Top 40 pop charts and Top 10 hits are a rarity. "Girl Crush," as big as it was, peaked at No. 18 on the Hot 100. "It did not perform in the pop radio world anywhere near what we thought it would," said Mike Dungan, the chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville, the home to Little Big Town, Stapleton and Hunt. But country acts have a comfortable home with country radio, and can reach double platinum status without crossing over to pop, which is not the case for rap, rock and R&B acts. "Back when country was really present on pop radio — let's take this as far back as the '80s — these records were really worked to all the formats at the same time ," Dungan said. But today, "country radio ... (doesn't) like it when artists crossover. They look at those artists as if they are opportunists who are looking at country as a maybe a stepping stone to a bigger, broader world," he said. "And so those of us who have been on this side of the business, the labels, the artists, their managers, have been very cautious about when you pull that trigger to cross over." Because music fans today listen to a wide range of genres, once "Girl Crush" was sent to pop radio, it had already been heard by some of that audience: "It was already kind of burned out," Dungan said. At Monday's Grammys, Little Big Town's "Pain Killer" is nominated for best country album, while "Girl Crush" is also up for best country song and country duo/group performance. "For some reason this song spoke to people ... I don't know if it was controversial, I don't know what it was," said Rose, who co-wrote "Girl Crush" and also co-wrote Swift's "You Belong With Me," which was nominated for song and record of the year at the 2010 Grammys. "'You Belong With Me' crossed over ... so that makes sense to me. This does not make sense. ...It turned into a song, and not just country, and it's just a universal song that people, even if they don't know country (music), they know the song." Stapleton's nominations include best country song, solo performance and album for "Traveller." His album became a No. 1 smash after his show-stopping performance with Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards, along with three-for-three wins. His competition for album of the year includes No. 1 efforts from Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd. Though Lady A, Stapleton and Little Big Town have had crossover success, that doesn't always equate to Grammy love. Florida Georgia Line, who had a Top 5 pop hit with its "Cruise" remix with rapper Nelly in 2013, didn't earn a single nomination; Luke Bryan, despite selling millions of albums and tickets at stadiums, has never earned a Grammy nomination. Both acts fit in the category of the sometimes frowned-upon "bro-country" genre. "I can make a presumption that the Grammys kind of viewed that music as a bit pedestrian and banal and not art worthy," said John Marks, Spotify's global head of country music, where the genre is the third most active behind pop and hip-hop. Marks added that the Grammys tend to lean to songs that are "more lyric and art-driven, and largely commercially-driven." "And that hasn't happened in a little while, and the opportunity has presented itself with Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town." ____ Online: http://www.grammy.com/ Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mesfin Fekadu from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Hidden Figures:' Taraji P. Henson follows Golden Globe with NASA biopic
Thursday Feb 11, 2016
'Hidden Figures:' Taraji P. Henson follows Golden Globe with NASA biopic

Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson is being linked with a lead role in an upcoming film adaptation of "Hidden Figures," the story of a team of NASA mathematicians who proved essential to the Space Race.Few may have known her name until recently, but NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson was an integral part of the US's space agency's 20th century endeavors, from its first manned space flight, to the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the Apollo 13 rescue mission. The ex-schoolteacher's story is to be told in September 2016 biography "Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race," and pre-production on a movie adaptation is already well underway; "Empire" lead Taraji P. Henson is now confirmed in the lead role. Henson's acting career has seen her feature in musical drama "Hustle & Flow," Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Steve Carell and Tina Fey romcom "Date Night," the Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith reboot of "The Karate Kid," and Chris Rock's "Top Five." Most recently, she re-united with "Hustle & Flow" co-star Terence Howard, playing opposite him in TV series "Empire," clinching an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe award for her performances as record label co-founder Cookie Lyon. After she was linked with "Hidden Figures" in July 2015, Henson has now been confirmed for the film's leading role as Katherine Johnson. Three more main roles still await announcements. Margot Lee Shetterly's forthcoming book profiles the impact of not only Johnson but also a half dozen fellow African-American NASA colleagues including leading lights Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder and Eunice Smith. To that end, three other actresses had been named in relation to the project back in 2015, and may yet find themselves among its cast: Viola Davis (Emmy Award, "How to Get Away with Murder"), Octavia Spencer (Academy Award, "The Help") and Oprah Winfrey (SAG nominee, "The Butler") were said to have been in the mix at the time. Ted Melfi, who found favor with 2014's Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts comedy "St. Vincent," is to direct; "Hidden Figures" is currently set for release January 13, 2017. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.