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Uzo Aduba, Jimmy Fallon Among Winners at Creative Arts Emmys

Uzo Aduba, Jimmy Fallon Among Winners at Creative Arts Emmys

Lloyd Bishop/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — The Creative Arts Emmys were presented in Los Angeles Saturday night, a little over a week before the Primetime Emmys.Netflix’s Orange is the New Black was a big winner, with actress Uzo Aduba nabbing her first Emmy for her guest role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren and casting director Jennifer Euston snagging a trophy for assembling the comedy series’ diverse cast.Joe Morton scored his first Emmy for his guest role on ABC’s Scandal and Allison Janney became a five-time Emmy winner after picking up the award for her guest role on Showtime’s Masters of Sex.The night also saw wins for Jimmy Fallon for his guest appearance on Saturday Night Live, and Jane Lynch for best reality host for Hollywood Game Night.Zach Galifianakis’ interview with President Barack Obama on the Funny or Die show Between Two Ferns won the Emmy for best short-format, live-action entertainment program.A complete list of winners is available on Emmys.com. The Primetime Emmys, hosted by Seth Meyers, will air live on NBC next Monday.
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“Downton Abbey” Cast Responds to Water Bottle Goof

“Downton Abbey” Cast Responds to Water Bottle Goof

ITV(LONDON) — The cast of Downton Abbey turned a goof into something good. It all started after a promotional photo for the show’s fifth season was released last week with a not-so-historically-accurate water bottle visible in the background. While the Internet had a field day with the gaffe, the Downton cast took action.In an Instagram photo posted Friday, 17 cast members posed with water bottles in reference to the mistake and took the opportunity to raise awareness for WaterAid. The photo’s caption shared a link encouraging people to donate to the international charity, which helps get clean water and safe toilets to the world’s poorest communities.The fifth season of the Emmy-nominated drama will premiere on PBS on Jan. 4, 2015.
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“Rising Star” Recap: The Top Six Compete, Four Contestants Advance

“Rising Star” Recap: The Top Six Compete, Four Contestants Advance

ABC(NEW YORK) — ABC’s interactive singing competition, Rising Star, continued Sunday night with three contestants advancing to next week’s finale after the East Coast vote and one additional act being sent through after the West Coast broadcast.  Two other acts were sent home.Jesse Kinch, Dana Williams and Austin French advanced after the East Coast broadcast.Audrey Kate Geiger was saved by the West Coast and also advanced to next week’s finals.Maneepat Molloy and Joshua Peavy were sent home.The top 6 acts went up against one another to compete for the highest score. The first three sang with the wall up. The act with the lowest score from that point on was placed in the “hot seat.” The next contestant then sang with the wall down, trying to beat that person’s score. Viewers who downloaded the Rising Star app were asked to vote “yes” or “no,” just as they did in the audition round.Host Josh Groban and the Rising Star experts — Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley — presided over the performances. Votes from the experts only counted for one percent.Here are the highlights from Sunday night:Austin French kicked things off with OneRepublic’s “Love Runs Out.” French took the advice the experts gave him earlier to move around the stage a little more and it paid off, earning him 81 percent of the vote. Kesha voted “yes,” calling the 20-year-old Tifton, Georgia, native “infectiously cute.” Paisley also voted “yes,” calling French a natural. Ludacris added his “yes” vote, noting that during the performance, Austin moved farther off stage than any other contestant so far. French advanced to the finals.Sixteen-year-old Bangkok, Thailand, native Maneepat Molloy was the next contestant to take the stage. Earlier, she was urged by the experts to let loose and be herself. Molloy chose Sia’s “Chandelier” for her performance and was only able to collect 27 percent of the vote. Ludacris voted “no,” explaining the young singer “didn’t look as comfortable” as he would’ve liked, but complimented her on her courage in taking on such a difficult song. Brad voted “yes” because he felt she took the experts’ advice and worked on her stage presence. Kesha also acknowledged Maneepat looked nervous, but believed she “sang beautifully” and voted “yes.” Molloy was sent home.The previous Sunday night, Jesse Kinch was challenged by Paisley to show a softer side of his voice and prove he wasn’t a “one-trick pony.” That was Brad’s advice this week as well. Kinch answered the challenge, turning Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” into a power ballad that garnered 83 percent of the vote. Brad voted “yes,” commenting that Jesse “reminded everybody how great that song is.” Kesha called the performance a “God-like experience” and voted “yes.” Ludacris took Paisley’s comment a step further by saying Kinch made everyone “forget it was a Michael Jackson song.” He also voted “yes.” Kinch moved on to the finals.Dana Williams, who sang with the wall down, channeled Billie Holiday for her version of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.” Before the performance, Kesha told Williams she believed in the Los Angeles native and fought to keep her in the competition. However, she wanted the 24-year-old to prove she wanted it just as bad. Dana raised the wall with 75 percent of the vote. Kesha voted “yes,” calling Williams a “diamond in the rough” and adding that this performance was “the best she’s had on this show.” Ludacris felt she proved to him that she wanted it more than anyone else on the show and voted “yes.” Paisley called the performance “emotional,” adding Dana connected with the audience better than she’d ever done in the past. Williams advanced to the finals.Next, it was Audrey Kate Geiger’s turn to “raise the wall or go home.” Earlier, Paisley called her “one of a kind,” but Ludacris and Kesha felt her stage presence needed work. She chose Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and failed to raise the wall with only 69 percent of the vote. The judges disagreed with America. Ludacris, who voted “yes,” noted the song choice might’ve turned voters off. Otherwise, he thought the performance was top-notch. Kesha was also disappointed with the song choice, but praised Audrey’s execution. Paisley voted “yes” and urged America to save her. Geiger was sent home after the East Coast performance, but was saved by the West Coast and moves on to the finals.The last performer of the night was Joshua Peavy. Josh originally wanted to sing John Newman’s “Love Me Again.” Brad, however, wanted to hear the Georgia native sing a country song and suggested Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most.” Peavy collected 72 percent of the vote, not enough to raise the wall. Paisley was pleased with the performance and voted “yes.” Brad, who has a recording studio on his farm, even told Peavy, “If you get saved, we’ll see you next week. If you don’t get saved, come over to the farm, we’ll record something.” Ludacris voted “no,” confessing that it came down to a choice of eliminating Dana Williams or Peavy and reiterated his earlier comment that Williams wanted it more. Kesha said she was “on the fence” at first, but Joshua won her over at the end and voted “yes.” Peavy was eliminated.The Rising Star season finale airs next Sunday on ABC.
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Report: Christina Aguilera Gives Birth to Baby Girl

Report: Christina Aguilera Gives Birth to Baby Girl

ABC/Richard Harbaugh(LOS ANGELES) — Christina Aguilera gave birth to a baby girl via C-section on Saturday, according to US Weekly magazine.According to the publication, the singer and her fiance, Matt Rutler, welcomed the baby at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
This is the couple’s first child together, but Christina’s second — she has a six-year-old son, Max, with her ex-husband, Jordan Bratman.Christina and Rutler got engaged this past February and news broke soon after that they were expecting. The singer’s baby shower was July 12.On August 11, Christina posted a photo of herself heavily pregnant in the studio, with a pair of headphones on her baby bump, and captioned it, “Baby girl getting first listen to what mama’s been creating in the studio.”
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“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Keeps Top Spot at the Box Office

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Keeps Top Spot at the Box Office

Paramount(LOS ANGELES) — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took the top spot at the box office for the second weekend in a row.
The Paramount flick starring Will Arnett and Megan Fox earned $28.4 million this weekend, falling short of its opening weekend earnings of $65.57 million.
Guardians of the Galaxy stayed in second place this weekend, bringing in $24.7 million.
Three new films– Let’s Be Cops, The Expendables 3, and The Giver– came in third, fourth, and fifth respectively.
Here are the weekend’s top ten films according to boxofficemojo.com:
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: $28.4 million    2. Guardians of the Galaxy: $24.7 million   3. Let’s Be Cops: $17.7 million 4. The Expendables 3: $16.2 million5. The Giver: $12.76 million6. Into The Storm: $7.7 million    7. The Hundred-Foot Journey: $7.1 million8. Lucy: $5.3 million9. Step Up All In: $2.7 million   10. Boyhood: $2.15 million
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Why Joseph Gordon Levitt ‘Absolutely’ Calls Himself a Feminist

Why Joseph Gordon Levitt ‘Absolutely’ Calls Himself a Feminist

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s parents taught him about the history of feminism at a young age.Now 33, the actor was shocked to learn that there are people who proudly declare themselves anti-feminist.”What [feminism] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are — you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever. However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique,” the Sin City: A Dam to Kill For actor told the Daily Beast. “So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist.”
Gordon-Levitt added that to him, the idea of equality for women is especially important given the history of “women suffering abuse, injustice and not having the same opportunities as men.””I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole,” he said. “I’m a believer that if everyone has a fair chance to be what they want to be and do what they want to do, it’s better for everyone. It benefits society as a whole.”
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“Mrs. Doubtfire” Star Mara Wilson Remembers Her ‘Favorite Teacher’ Robin Williams

“Mrs. Doubtfire” Star Mara Wilson Remembers Her ‘Favorite Teacher’ Robin Williams

Richard Cartwright/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) –  When Robin Williams died, many of his former co-stars expressed their grief in prepared statements or via social media.However, his Mrs. Doubtfire co-star, Mara Wilson, wasn’t ready to do that — until now.”While Robin and I had not talked in a few years, there is no question he had a great impact on my life,” she wrote on her blog. “He was as warm and talented as everyone says, and a joy to be around. It’s as if my favorite teacher died.”
Wilson, now 27, played Williams’ youngest child in the 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire. When he was found dead on Monday from an apparent suicide, she said that news outlets asked her to do interviews, which she didn’t — and doesn’t — feel ready to do just yet.”Everybody grieves in their own way. When I heard about Robin’s death, I was shocked, confused, angry, regretful, and above all, sad,” she wrote. “All I wanted was to talk to my family and friends and cry.”
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“19 Kids and Counting” Star Jessa Duggar Is Engaged to Ben Seewald

“19 Kids and Counting” Star Jessa Duggar Is Engaged to Ben Seewald

D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra(NEW YORK) –  Get ready for another Duggar wedding!Jessa Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting is engaged to Ben Seewald, ABC News has confirmed.”We are so blessed to be engaged!” the couple said in a statement. “God has written an amazing story through our courtship, and another chapter has just begun! We are thrilled to see what the future holds — especially the wedding bells!” Duggar, 21, began a courtship with Seewald last September. Not long after, she took his name for her Twitter handle.”Courtship is a new season of life. It’s exciting,” she told Good Morning America last year. “We call it dating with a purpose and not just frivolous, really considering the person as a potential life partner.”Duggar will be the third of her parents’ 19 kids to tie the knot. Her brother Josh, now a father of three, tied the knot in 2008, while her sister Jill wed Derick Dillard this past June.
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Casey Kasem’s Wife Wants to Bury Radio Host in Norway

Casey Kasem’s Wife Wants to Bury Radio Host in Norway

Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images(OSLO, Norway) — The wife of radio and television host Casey Kasem plans to attempt to bury his body in Oslo, according to a statement released by her nephew.Tommy Thompson, a son of one of Jean Kasem’s siblings, says that Jean Kasem sent an open letter to the Norwegian government declaring her Norwegian ancestry, among other things. Thompson, however, says that as far as the family is aware “we are English, German and Native American. We have never ever heard anyone speak of Norway or Norwegian for that matter in our house. We don’t have an ounce of Norwegian blood to our knowledge.”The Hollywood Reporter said earlier Friday that Kasem’s wife hoped to bury his body in Norway. The decision on where to bury Kasem is just the latest in a string of disputes between Jean Kasem and other family members. Casey Kasem’s daughter Kerri is planning on writing a letter to the Norwegian government in the coming days, speaking to what she says is Kasem’s requested burial location — Forest Lawn in Glendale, Calif.
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Why Khloe Kardashian Hasn’t Removed Her Lamar Odom Tattoo

Why Khloe Kardashian Hasn’t Removed Her Lamar Odom Tattoo

Peter Kramer/NBC(LOS ANGELES) –  Khloé Kardashian’s marriage to Lamar Odom is over.However, she still has a lasting reminder — a tattoo of his initials — on her hand.”What am I supposed to do with it?” she said in a clip from her reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. “I don’t want to remove it. I like tattoos on my hands, but I could change the words.”Kardashian famously split from her husband of four years late last year. Recently, she began dating rapper French Montana, and, as her sister Kim pointed out, she was wearing a necklace with his name, Karim, around her neck.”Why are you lying to me about this supposed boyfriend?” Kim asked. “I feel like you have two lives.””It’s kind of annoying that I have to find out all of this information on the Internet instead of straight from Khloé,” she said. “I think if anything my sisters are the first people I tell all my business to so it’s kind of weird that Khloé can be so secretive.”
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Justin Timberlake Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Boy with Autism

Justin Timberlake Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Boy with Autism

ABC/Randy Holmes(SAN JOSE, Calif.) –  Justin Timberlake made one boy’s birthday unforgettable.The singer, along with a crowd of thousands, serenaded eight-year-old Julian Delan during his concert in San Jose, Calif. earlier this week.”Thank you JT for an incredible night!! This is a moment Julian will never forget!” the boy’s father, Peter Delan, wrote on Facebook. “Thanks for Gifts you sent down to him. #bestnightever #happybirthdayJulian #the2020experience #JustinTimberlake #yourbiggestfanisan8yearold”In a YouTube post, the boy’s mother explained that she was nervous to take their son, who had been diagnosed with high-functioning autism, to the show, for fear that other concert-goers would react badly to his “obsessions, his volume, his repetitiveness, his clumsiness.” Instead, a group of women were able to draw attention to the birthday boy, who had been “knocking into the chairs and dancing and singing and yelling, ‘It’s my birthday! This is my present! This is my present! I love you JT!’”What happened next was a moment she and her family will never forget.”Justin Timberlake was singing Happy Birthday. They all were,” she wrote. “The awesome grandmother of 3 sitting in front of us. The model-esque girls sitting to our right. The people sitting to our left that offered us the video that they captured of the whole thing. They were all singing.”And Julian Delan was grinning ear to ear.

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Kendra Wilkinson Says She Flushed Her Wedding Ring Down the Toilet

Kendra Wilkinson Says She Flushed Her Wedding Ring Down the Toilet

Peter Kramer/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — Kendra Wilkinson has stayed quiet about the tabloid reports that she and her husband, Hank Baskett, are splitting after he reportedly cheated on her.Now, in a preview for her WeTV reality show, Kendra on Top, it’s clear that she’s taking the rumors very seriously.”Our marriage is down the drain,” she said in a clip obtained by People. “I flushed my wedding rings down the toilet.”
According to the unconfirmed accounts, Baskett, 31, had an affair while Wilkinson, 29, was eight months pregnant with their second child. The baby girl, Alijah, was born this past May.”Every word that came from the tabloids, just, boom,” she said. “I felt like, it was not even a punch. It was getting shot.”The couple also has a 4-year-old son, also named Hank. Their marital drama will undoubtedly play out on their reality series, which premieres this fall.
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“The Expendables 3″ and “The Giver” Open Friday

“The Expendables 3″ and “The Giver” Open Friday

Lionsgate(NEW YORK) — The comedy Let’s Be Cops opened on Wednesday, earning an estimated 5.2 million dollars after its first full day of release, according to Deadline.com.On Friday, two more films make their debut at your local theater. Here’s a closer look:The Expendables 3 — Virtually every big action star from the past 30 years is featured in this sequel, which pits The Expendables team against one of its co-founders — the evil Conrad Stonebanks, played by Mel Gibson. Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey also star. Rated PG-13.  The Giver — Based on the Lois Lowry novel of the same name, Brenton Thwaites plays a young man in a post-apocalyptic world who discovers his society’s dark past from The Giver — the keeper of memories, played by Jeff Bridges. The cast also includes Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Swift. Rated PG-13.And expanding to wide release:Magic in the Moonlight — In Woody Allen’s latest film, Colin Firth plays a magician who tries to expose a psychic — Emma Stone’s character — as a fake in 1920s France. Eileen Atkins, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney and Jacki Weaver also star in the romantic comedy. Rated PG-13.
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Lindsay Lohan on Her Stage Debut: ‘I’ll Probably Mess Up’

Lindsay Lohan on Her Stage Debut: ‘I’ll Probably Mess Up’

ABC News(LONDON) — Lindsay Lohan apparently has the jitters ahead of her first big acting gig since leaving rehab.The 28-year-old is preparing for her stage debut in a London production of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, and admits being worried she’ll “mess up” her first night on stage.“I think it’s just the idea of when it starts, on opening night, that’s what makes me the most nervous,” Lohan told U.K.’s Daily Mail. ”I’ll probably mess up on the first night just out of fear.”The show opens Sept. 24 at London’s Playhouse Theatre, and Lohan begins rehearsals later this month.“I’m excited about the rehearsals, I’m going to be nervous at first obviously, even in the rehearsals. But I think the more I get comfortable on the stage in rehearsals, the better it will be. I’m nervous for the show. I’m scared,” the Mean Girls star told the newspaper.And it’s not just because Lohan has never been on stage before. Though she’s been acting since age 3, Lohan revealed she’s never had any formal lessons.“I’ve never done a play before. I’ve never even taken acting lessons,” she said in the interview. “I’ve never done anything like that and it’s something new to me and it’s live.”But for Lohan, who has spent more time in rehab and courtrooms than in front of the camera in recent years, the challenge is welcome.“Now I’m in a position where I want the diligent schedule, I want to do something different and have people see me as an actress on stage and that’s all they see because I got into this to be an actress,” she said. “I hope that with doing this play and working with people that I really admire and respect that the perception can maybe shift onto not Lindsay the tabloid person but to me as an actress which is what I started this for. It’s therapeutic for me, acting.”The change of scenery — Lohan left New York for London to escape the notoriety of her OWN reality show — has also been good for Lohan.“I moved to New York to find peace and I wanted to do something very real and show people who I am, and because it’s a reality show it had to be done a certain way, and things had to look a certain way for ratings,” she told the Daily Mail. “That wasn’t my intention of moving to New York. I again got overwhelmed with that and wanted to get away for a minute and I came to London.”
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Ben Affleck on Batman Role: ‘I Wouldn’t Have Done It If I Didn’t Think I Could Do It’

Ben Affleck on Batman Role: ‘I Wouldn’t Have Done It If I Didn’t Think I Could Do It’

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Batman fans were not happy when it was announced that Ben Affleck would portray the Caped Crusader in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie, but the actor says in a new interview that he wouldn’t have taken the part if he didn’t think he could handle it.Affleck tells Entertainment Weekly, “Before I took the role, Warner Bros. gave me a bunch of past reactions to casting and said, ‘Are you sure you want to get into this? This is part and parcel of these movies now. There’s a lot of active fans with a lot of opinions.’”Affleck continued, “To me, having been through a certain amount of that, it doesn’t really…Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I wouldn’t have taken the part if I didn’t trust my instincts in terms of the filmmaking…I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I could do it.”The actor/director recognizes that Batman has a devoted fan base.  “You know…it’s great that people do care that much,” he said. “They want to see the movie that much and it is incumbent on you to honor the story.  There are Greek myths and these are American myths. The American myths are these superheroes.”Affleck tells EW he feels a responsibility to “do a good job and make it as excellent at you possibly can.”Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is currently filming in Detroit.  It’s scheduled to open worldwide on March 25, 2016.
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Chuck Todd Replacing David Gregory as Host of “Meet the Press”

Chuck Todd Replacing David Gregory as Host of “Meet the Press”

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet The Press(WASHINGTON) — Meet the Press will have a new host beginning next month.NBC News President Deborah Turness announced Thursday that Chuck Todd, the organization’s political director, will replace David Gregory as moderator of NBC’s Sunday-morning public affairs program. Todd, 42, will assume his new role on Sept. 7.Todd will become the 11th permanent moderator of Meet the Press, which premiered in 1947. He will give up his current roles as NBC News’ chief White House correspondent and the anchor of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.Gregory is leaving NBC News after nearly 20 years. He became moderator of Meet the Press in 2008, succeeding the late Tim Russert.Gregory’s status on the show had been the subject of speculation for months. Meet the Press had led its chief rivals, CBS’ Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week, in the ratings when he assumed the role of moderator, but it now ranks third.Gregory tweeted on Thursday, “I leave NBC as I came – humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP was the highest honor there is. I have great respect for my colleagues at NBC News and wish them all well. To the viewers, I say thank you.”NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell will serve as moderator of Meet the Press this Sunday.
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Disney Airing “Aladdin” in Honor of Robin Williams This Weekend

Disney Airing “Aladdin” in Honor of Robin Williams This Weekend

Art Streiber/CBS© 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc.(NEW YORK) — One of Robin Williams’ most memorable performances — certainly to Disney fans who grew up in the 1990s — came in his role as the Genie in the animated film Aladdin. In honor of the late actor and comedian, Disney will air the movie on its cable networks this weekend.You’ll be able to watch Aladdin on the Disney Channel this Saturday at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, and on Disney XD on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. It will also air on Disney Junior Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern time and Monday at 11 a.m. Eastern time.In an interview that aired on ABC’s Nightline Thursday night, Aladdin director John Musker said he doesn’t believe Williams’ spirit and connection with Aladdin fans will “dim over the years.”
Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide at the age of 63. His wife revealed Thursday that the Oscar winner was battling the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
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Movie Review: “The Expendables 3″ (PG-13)

Movie Review: “The Expendables 3″ (PG-13)

Credit: Phil Bray/Lionsgate(NEW YORK) — With enough gratuitous violence to make director Michael Bay blush, The Expendables are back in The Expendables 3.  This time around, Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross and his band of merry mercenaries have to take out a major arms dealer. Unbeknownst to them, that arms dealer turns out to be Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), Barney’s ruthless former “Brother” and co-founder of The Expendables, whom Barney also believed was dead. The mission goes wrong, leaving Caesar (Terry Crews) near death and Barney at a crossroads. His new CIA contact, Drummer, played with typical casual cool by Harrison Ford, would like Barney to finish the job…with a younger team. So Barney fires his old friends — Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and new addition Doc (Wesley Snipes), an original Expendable they break out of an armored prison train at the beginning of the movie, but whose only real purpose here apparently is to deliver the movie’s funniest line, one that’s also a fantastic reference to Snipes’ recent personal life. Barney now has to assemble a new team, so he turns to mercenary recruiter extraordinaire Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer), and together they go on a ROAD TRIP! Bonaparte comes up with Kellan Lutz (the Twilight franchise, The Legend of Hercules), mixed martial arts champ Ronda Rousey, boxing champ Victor Ortiz, and relative big-screen newcomer Glen Powell. These young whippersnappers offer a completely different skill set than the “old guys” — namely, they’re all tech savvy and impossibly good-looking.  At the very least, The Expendables 3 is easily the most entertaining film of the franchise. The humor from the first movie was mostly derived from calling back scenes or lines from many of the action stars’ most famous films. Like the franchise itself, it was gimmicky but amusing. In the second movie, however, the gimmick got old fast. Here, we get the gift of Antonio Banderas, an unemployed, frustrated mercenary named Galgo who can’t get a gig because he talks too much. Banderas’ presence does the near-impossible: every scene he’s in briefly turns The Expendables 3 into an intelligent, funny and somewhat original film. That is, every scene Banderas is in that’s not jammed with over-the-top action (Dear MPAA: Seriously, what were you smoking when you decided to slap a PG-13 rating on this sucker?) Kelsey Grammer also has some moments, as does the maligned Mel Gibson, who’s very good in this role and, after Snipes, is responsible for the movie’s second-funniest line. The Expendables 3, like the first two, is an action farce. It’s just a far more effective action farce than its predecessors, one we mostly laugh with instead of at.  Three out of five stars.
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Movie Review: “The Giver” (PG-13)

Movie Review: “The Giver” (PG-13)

Photo Courtesy: The Weinstein Company(NEW YORK) — Almost 20 years in the making, producer and star Jeff Bridges helps bring Lois Lowry’s popular young adult sci-fi novel The Giver to the big screen by hiring director Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Quiet American, Rabbit-Proof Fence) to navigate the novel’s post-apocalyptic, vanilla, idyllic and yet stringent vision. Please note, this review isn’t coming from someone who’s read the book, but I know enough about it to highlight a couple of differences, chief among them that the main character, Jonas, is 12 years old in the novel. In the movie, he’s 17 and played by 25-year-old actor Brenton Thwaites. The movie also ends differently than the book does. I’m not going to tell you how, but I don’t think it’s a good thing. Most of The Giver is shown in black and white, depicting a world with little nuance and no memories. Like some of our other favorite post-apocalyptic young adult stories (The Hunger Games, Insurgent) when teenagers reach a certain age, they’re assigned the task they will perform for the rest of their days as contributing members of society. That is, until they’re sent to “Elsewhere.”  Turns out, Jonas is special. The Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) recognizes he has certain attributes nobody else possesses, which would make him an ideal Keeper of Memories. That’s the one person who’s endowed with memories of the past, so the elders can call upon him or her for advice based on past experience. (Kind of like your crazy great uncle, only people actually listen to him). In order to assume the mantle, Jonas must train with the current Keeper of Memories, played by Jeff Bridges. That’s when Bridges goes from the Keeper of Memories, to the Giver of Memories, passing them on to Jonas through a physical, psychic bonding session. At first, the lessons are exhilarating, but they soon become terrifying and heartbreaking as Jonas learns about murder, love, hate and war. For him, the world is no longer black and white. It’s full of texture, color and nuance (and so, at this point, is the movie). While one of the most important rules of this society is not to lie, Jonas — who discovers an awful truth about his “father” and what “Elsewhere” really is — realizes this society, filled with people who do not lie, is itself predicated on a lie.More than anything else, though, The Giver is about love: the love Jonas feels for an infant considered not good enough to contribute to the world, and the love he feels for his best friend, Fiona (Odeya Rush). It’s that love that propels Jonas into action — and that’s when the movie falls apart. Up until the last 20 minutes, director Noyce does a beautiful job weaving this story together, chronicling Jonas’ discovery of emotions and the world around him, and exploring his relationship with the Giver. But the ending? I can’t blame Noyce for that.  The writing and plot becomes so trite and predictable that by the time it ends, The Giver is wrapped in a neatly-tied, feel-good bow. The only thing that could’ve made it more treacly is if it had ended with a Christmas carol.  Oh, wait…Three out of five stars.
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Michael J. Fox ‘Stunned’ by Robin Williams’ Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Michael J. Fox ‘Stunned’ by Robin Williams’ Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Jeff Neira/CBS(LOS ANGELES) –  Actor Michael J. Fox was “stunned” to learn Robin Williams battled Parkinson’s disease.Fox tweeted his response Thursday after Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, released a statement saying her husband was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Williams, 63, was found dead in his California home on Monday.”Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly,” read the statement from Schneider. “It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, according to his foundation. He disclosed his condition seven years later.According to the National Institutes of Health, Parkinson’s is a movement disorder, which attacks the nerve cells in the brain, and results in trembling of the hands, arms, legs and face, eventually leading to slowness of movement, coordination problems and trouble walking or doing simple tasks. It is a progressive disease and only gets worse over time.
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