Category Archives: Entertainment

Embraces his dark side in hard

PITTSBURGH garbage man Troy Maxson has got to be one of the ugliest characters in the canon of contemporary American literature.

Actor-director Denzel Washington might well owe the surprise SAG award he received this week from his peers for the unwavering commitment of his performance in Fences.

At no point during the film’s 139-minute running time does he let either the man or his audience off the hook.

Self-opinionated, self-righteous and self-pitying, pretty much in equal measure, Maxson casts such a large and imposing shadow over his household that the family has become bent of shape in their attempt to catch even a sliver of light.

He dispenses his home-grow philosophy as freely as he knocks back the ever-present flask of gin in his hip pocket.

Maxson’s chauvinism might be explained by his brutal upbringing and the era in which the film is set (the 1950s), but that doesn’t excuse it.

The man is so busy railing against the injustices he has suffered that he is blind to those he commits towards those around him.

And he is so eaten up by bitterness at the opportunities he was denied — by the time Afro-American baseball players were admitted to the national league, the gifted sportsman was too old to qualify — that he blocks his youngest son’s chance of a college scholarship.

Maxson’s wife, Rose (Viola Davis) is stoic to the point of saint hood. She stands by her man even when he asks her to be mother to the daughter his late lover gave birth to.

It takes an actress of Davis’s stature to portray Rose as anything more than a victim. For a large part of the film, I struggled with her “wifely” accommodation of such a bore of a man.

But Rose has a couple of killer monologues towards the end of the film — and she explains the choices she has made with eloquent force and a generous, theatrical spray of bodily fluids.

The two actors first performed August Wilson’s play on Broadway in 2010 to rave reviews and Tony awards. Their deep knowledge of their characters shows.

Also reprising their roles from the stage production are Russell Hornsby, as Maxson’s oldest son, a jazz musician, Stephen Henderson as the knowing best friend and Mykelti Williamson, as the brain-damaged brother.

Jovan Adepo, who plays Maxson’s youngest son, Cory, is the only member of the cast that didn’t appear in the play — not that anyone would notice.

Washington’s direction is a little stagey at times, and some of the time shifts are jarring, but Fences is a film of uncommon power and integrity.

And its ultimate message of forgiveness and acceptance packs a hefty punch.

Brother busted with marijuana

THE youngest Jonas brother, Frankie, was reportedly caught with marijuana in Nashville this week.

According to TMZ, the 16-year-old “Bonus Jonas” was cited outside of a convenience store on Tuesday for possession of marijuana.

A source told the gossip site that the teen is “extremely remorseful about the bust.”

Nashville recently passed a law reducing penalties for a half-ounce of marijuana or less.

Frankie was not a member of the band fronted by his brothers Nick, Joe and Kevin.

Joe made headlines earlier this year after opening up about losing his virginity during a Reddit Q & A.

When one fan asked him about the experience, he replied, “I lost my virginity to this girl named Ashley. You can probably just Google it. It’s pretty easy to figure out. I dated a girl named Ashley, so just Google it to figure out which Ashley that is.”

Of course, the not-so-mysterious Ashley he is referring to is Twilight star Ashley Greene, who he was dating at the age of 20 — which he previously revealed was when he lost his virginity.

Joe then went on to get even more personal, sharing the actual story of that fateful day.

“It’s quite a great story because I didn’t have any condoms, so I went to our drummer, Jack’s room, who was my roommate at the time and I demolished his room looking for them,” he said. “Found them underneath his underwear drawer. When he came home, he thought somebody broke into his room because his whole room was demolished because I was in dire need. Needed to happen then and now. Safety first, kids.”

This story originally appeared in the NY Post and is republished here with permission.

 

Cyborgs and aliens to assassins

This year is no different, with the ad breaks revealing new looks at the (possibly last ever) Transformers movie, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds finding big trouble in space in Life, the Fast and the Furious crew going rogue, Jack Sparrow and some of his old pirate mates reanimating in Dead Men Tell No Tales, Scarlett Johansson turning Japanese in Ghost in the Shell and Keanu Reeves kicking butt in the John Wick sequel that may not get released in Australia.

Michael Bay sent this trailer out into the world with a message: This MIGHT be the last one.

“I can safely say that there’s never been a Transformers film with the huge visual scope and expansive mythology as this movie, The Last Knight,” Bay said.

“It’s bittersweet for me. With every Transformers film, I’ve said it would be my last. I see the 120 million fans around the world who see these movies, the huge theme park lines to the ride and the amazing Make-A-Wish kids who visit my sets, and it somehow keeps drawing me back. I love doing these movies. This film was especially fun to shoot.

“But, this time might really be it. So I’m blowing this one out. It’s a final chapter and a new beginning.”

Speaking to James Wigney for Hit last week, Mark Wahlberg said he couldn’t reveal too much about the new film — “because Michael Bay will make me disappear.”

“Michael doesn’t want me disclosing too much information, other than that it’s very different. We meet up with Cade again and he’s a man on the run. He has run away and left his daughter in school so he can protect her and is thrust into this world in England with Anthony Hopkins’ character and is paired up with this woman who is a professor and they are basically tasked with going out and saving the world.

“There a lot of new characters and as you see there are major questions with Optimus and what’s happening with him. But I can’t tell you much more than that.”

 

Theatre and arts news

THE story of how Redcliffe nearly became the capital of Queensland is the subject of The Great Shove Off, a zany new mockumentary by local filmmaker Richard Lancaster.

Inspired by the Horrible Histories franchise Lancaster (who directed the film) and his pals have created a kind of Carry On version of Queensland history with Redcliffe as the focus.

Lancaster, who lives at Clontarf on the Redcliffe Peninsula, thinks the area might have made a fine capital and for a while there it looked like it would be.

Matthew Flinders had discovered the Redcliffe Peninsula in 1799 and in 1824 it was chosen as the site of a new penal colony.

“But the mosquitoes were bad, the water was no good and there was no good port there so they moved to what is now Brisbane,” Lancaster says.

He reckons a lot of people don’t know about this history which is why he has made this low-budget ($10,000) film, which has its world premiere with two session at Redcliffe on Wednesday.

The film has a stellar cast – well not that stellar actually – but you will recognise some names with cameos by the likes of Channel Nine’s Shane Doherty who plays Duncan Donut, the world’s foremost celebrity agent in the 1820s.

Poet Rupert McCall is also in it and he plays Judge Ben Dover and that really does sound like a character from a Carry On film.

There are raunchy wenches, cranky convicts, warlike indigenous warriors and Lancaster himself turns up as the colonial secretary.

“I’m doing an Alfred Hitchcock,” he says.

He means he appears in cameo, not that the film is a masterpiece.

Still it sounds like fun so if you have some time on your hands today head for Redcliffe, have a good laugh and ponder what might have been had it become the capital.

The Great Shove Off is on at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Wednesday February 15, at the Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Downs Street, Redcliffe.

Matt Damon in epic Chinese action

 

The Great Wall

Two and a half stars

Director Zhang Yimou

Starring Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Pedro Pascal

Rating M

Running time 103 minutes

Verdict An epic fantasy that crumbles under its own weight

A HOLLYWOOD superstar who can make even a pedestrian screenplay seem intelligent and a master Chinese filmmaker with a flair for ravishing visual imagery.

Matt Damon and Zhang Yimou must have seemed like the dream team for a $US135 million Hollywood blockbuster aiming to blend the best of east and west.

So what went wrong?

Perhaps the filmmakers were hampered by the clear commercial imperative for this thunderous creature feature — The Great Wall opened first in China, a new and increasingly lucrative income stream for American studios.

Or maybe something got lost in translation.

Zhang’s Bejing Film Academy classmate Chen Kaige had a smaller but similarly-puzzling misfire with his English language debut, Killing Me Softly, starring Joseph Fiennes, Heather Graham and Natascha McElhone.

The largest film ever to be shot entirely in China — by New Zealand cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano) — Zhang’s epic fantasy has more to recommend it than that.

Matt Damon for a start.

The actor is ranked among Forbes magazine’s most bankable Hollywood stars for good reason: he’s never less than watchable, even when he is barely recognisable.

In The Great Wall’s opening sequence, Damon’s grizzled, battle-hardened mercenary has been on the run for so long, he’s barely distinguishable from an animal — or his fellow travellers, for that matter.

It’s only when William and his rakish offsider, played by Chilean-born American actor Pedro Pascal, shave off their dreadlocks, that it’s possible to comprehensively tell them apart without a close-up.

Women play a powerful role in the majority of Zhang’s films (Judou, Raise the Red Lantern, House Of Flying Daggers) and The Great Wall is no exception.

How the Marvel franchise surprisingly grow well

CHRIS Pratt has caused an incident in the “war room”, a windowless bunker deep inside the heart of Atlanta’s Pinewood Studios where he’s filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

No, the superstar actor hasn’t suddenly joined the US military; rather, he’s sent a steaming hot cup of coffee flying across a very large boardroom table in the room that serves as a meeting point for cast and crew.

“Right on cue, sorry,” he laughs apologetically.

“That’s a classic Star-Lord move. I’ve been practising that all day.”

Pratt’s assistant moves in to wipe up the offending beverage. “I’m just here to clean up his mess,” he says, good-naturedly.

Pratt reckons he identifies just a bit too closely with his goofy Guardians character, the occasionally clueless bounty hunter Peter Quill, who refers to himself as Star-Lord, because nobody else will. (Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is without doubt his spiritual animal.)

“There’s a sense of familiarity here. You know what works and what doesn’t work,” says Pratt. “It’s not a pain in the ass to come back, which can be the one downfall to coming back to something. Sometimes it’s like, oh God, I’ve got to work with a-hole number one again. It’s like a family here.”

The first Guardians followed a rag tag group of superheroes who were actually not so “super”. Alongside Pratt, the film starred Zoe Saldana as Gamora, the green-skinned assassin; WWE wrestling champ Dave Bautista as buff, tattooed Drax the Destroyer; and computer-generated scene-stealers Bradley Cooper as Rocket, the gun-slinging, sarcastic raccoon, and Vin Diesel as Groot, the talking tree. (Baby Groot will debut in Vol. 2 and is the sweetest thing you’ll have seen on screen since E.T.)

Initially, Guardians was considered to be the Marvel adaptation that would stay in the shadows while Iron Man and The Avengers hogged the limelight.

“Iron Man, etc, were considered tier one movies,” explains Pratt.

Celebrity social media mistakes

SOCIAL media can be a celebrity’s best friend … or worst enemy. In 2016, plenty of stars had online gaffes, but here are seven that made headlines:

1. Debra Messing

Debra Messing messed up when she posted a selfie during the UCLA shooting. The actress tweeted the pic along with a caption that read, “HORRENDOUS Watching news about shooting at UCLA with casualties while taking selfie to bring awareness to gun violence.” After being criticised by many, the Will and Grace star issued an apology.

2. Madonna

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Madonna tried to show her support but her effort left some fans feeling offended. The pop superstar posted a meme of herself kissing Britney Spears which read, “Gay or Straight- no hate.”

Some felt the message was inappropriate in the wake of the tragedy.

3. Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton posted a heartfelt message calling for no more violence however her choice of pic caused chaos.

The former The OC actress decried the death of Alton Sterling in a lengthy Instagram message then published a pic of her in a bikini on yacht with her eye closed.

The social media universe unleashed their wrath, slamming the actress for posting the bikini pic alongside the message. Barton did what any star would do in that situation: She pressed delete.

4. Cher

Cher upset her followers when she posted a tweet with a bomb emoji during the airport attack in Turkey in June.

“We all pray for innocent ppl in turkey airport” she wrote with a bomb emoji and an explosion icon. The use of the emojis caused a stir and she apologised for the insensitive tweet.

Connect with anybody during depression

ROBBIE Williams has opened up about how medication helped him through a “troublesome and sad” time.

The Love My Life singer, who has battled addictions to drugs and alcohol in the past, said his demons have “been all right” since he was prescribed a new antidepressant, according to The Sun.

Robbie, 42, told Radio Times: “I had a really weird summer. Just couldn’t connect with anybody, apart from my wife”.

“I didn’t know how to talk to anybody, even people who are with me every day. I was isolated, in my head.”

He continued: “It was troublesome and sad. Then I tried this antidepressant and things have changed. The demons are quiet.”

The star, who married actor Ayda Field in 2010 and shares two kids with her, said he’ll never touch drugs or alcohol again.

He said: “I definitely can’t drink. I definitely can’t do coke. I can’t do ecstasy. And I don’t fancy heroin. Or M-Cat (mephedrone) or ketamine or any of those things.

“But maybe there’s a once-a-year special voucher that I get for good behaviour.

“But not for any of those things. I’ll leave it to your imagination.”

Privacy invasion in body shaming case

A PLAYBOY model who secretly snapped and posted a picture of a 70-year-old naked woman in a Los Angeles gym locker room has pleaded not guilty to an invasion of privacy charge.

Dani Mathers, 29, was arrested for taking the picture at LA Fitness in July, when she spotted an elderly woman whose physique didn’t impress the 2015 Playmate of the Year, TMZ reported.

“If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either,” Mathers posted on Snapchat along with the image.

Ms Mathers, who was not required to attend the misdemeanour court, was represented by defence lawyer Tom Mesereau.

Mr Mesereau entered the “not guilty” plea on her behalf and said his client “very much regrets” what happened.

“She apologised for her behaviour and we’re looking forward to resolving this case in a very fair manner,” he said outside the courtroom.

The 29-year-old faced widespread criticism after posting the picture. She apologised and deleted her social media accounts after the gym reported the posting to police and revoked Ms Mathers’ membership.

If convicted, Ms Mathers could face up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine. A pre-trial hearing was set for December 21.

Detectives began investigating after the LAPD received a report of “illegal distribution” of the image, police Capt. Andrew Neiman said after the photo became public.

“Her behaviour is appalling and puts every member at risk of losing their privacy,” Jill Greuling, an LA Fitness executive vice president, said at the time.

The person in the photo was identified only by her age and it was not clear if she knew she was being photographed.

Political and internet has a field day

ROB Schneider finally found something more offensive to audiences than “Deuce Bigalow.”

The comedian is under fire for tweeting to Rep. John Lewis over his protest against Donald Trump’s presidency. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and legendary civil rights activist, said he refuses to attend Trump’s inauguration and told

Meet the Press

that the former reality star isn’t a “legitimate president.”

“Rep. Lewis,” Schneider, 53, tweeted on Monday — which was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “You are a great person. But Dr. King didn’t give in to his anger or his hurt. That is how he accomplished & won Civil Rights.”

Supporters of Lewis, 76, quickly sniped back at Schneider on Twitter.

“Shouts to you for making

The Hot Chick

Noll was arrested and charged over the assault of a bouncer in the early hours of Sunday morning outside the Crazy Horse Revue on Hindley Street in Adelaide’s CBD.

As more details of the incident emerged on Monday, witness Alastair Longmuir — who was outside the club when he saw the commotion happen — said the former Australian Idol star was “really aggressive”.

“He was yelling and screaming and being really aggressive,” the 19-year-old told AAP.

“He was saying, ‘I’m Shannon Noll. Let me back into the Crazy Horse’.” At some stage Noll allegedly punched a security guard and Mr Longmuir said it was at that point Noll was swiftly taken to the ground by guards before “four policemen pinned him down and took him away in a police car”.