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Oh No They Didn't! - LiveJournal.com

older | 1 | .... | 399 | 400 | (Page 401) | 402 | 403 | .... | 4847 | newer

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    The last year brought dazzling highs and disappointing lows for the Robertson family, who found fame with Duck Dynasty and more than a little heartache after patriarch Phil Robertson shared his controversial opinions about gays and African-Americans in a new interview.

    Robertson was suspended by A&E Networks after his comments to GQ magazine ignited a firestorm, but his suspension was quickly lifted, and the network announced plans to start shooting the next season of the show in the spring.

    "The family is happy that they can put this behind them," a source tells PEOPLE.

    "It got a little out of hand," the source admits. "Phil has never been disrespectful to anyone and treats everyone with kindness. He made some comments off the cuff that he shouldn't have made, and he knows that."

    The source says that the headlines didn't cause any drama among the family, who all support their dad.

    "The family knows his heart and knows that he wasn't trying to be hurtful," says the source. "They just want to finish celebrating the holidays and are looking forward to getting back to work."

    But criticism continued to pour in after the network's decision was announced.

    "Phil Robertson should look African-American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists," the group GLAAD said in a statement. "If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A&E has chosen profits over African-American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers."


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    As temperatures drop in NYC, Beyonce and Jay Z are hotter than ever! Only RadarOnline.com has the exclusive details of the couple’s merry XXX-mas, which included a steamy date night on the dance floor and a $6,000 sex toy shopping spree!
    While other parents were busy wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, Blue Ivy‘s mom and dad made an appearance at hot Manhattan nightspot Greenhouse. Appropriately enough, the DJ blared Beyonce’s new song “Drunk In Love” as she and her husband walked through the crowded dance floor.

    Beyonce later shed her hoodie and rocked out in a sexy white tank top that bared plenty of skin.

    The couple spent Christmas Day at home, but on December 26 it was time for the grown-ups to get gifts at an NYC sex shop!

    Beyonce and Jay Z stopped in at the notorious Babeland on Thursday afternoon, where they splurged roughly $6,000 on X-rated gifts, according to a source.

    “They didn’t buy anything tacky or too extreme,” the insider tells Radar exclusively. “It was all top-of-the-line stuff. Some of it was even gold-plated!”

    (It’s not B’s first time having fun at such a spot: In 2011, she was photographed helping her Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland celebrate her 30th birthday at a sex shop in L.A.)

    Beyonce and Jay have a lot to celebrate this season, as Beyonce’s surprise album continues to dominate the charts and she just wrapped up her successful Mrs. Carter Show world tour. Jay is back on the road already, however, with his own tour stopping in Atlanta on Friday night and Birmingham, AL on Saturday.


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    Welp, here we are. The end of Nikita, a series that's always been better than the treatment it's received from its network, and one that's generally known exactly what it is since the very beginning. I don't know if I would ever label Nikita one of the best shows of any of the four years in which it aired, but it's always been one of the most consistent and consistently entertaining, and on that front, "Canceled" followed through all the way to the very end. Although the finale had a couple of tricks up its sleeve, it delivered pretty much exactly what I expected, and that's a good thing.

    Despite its generally linear narrative in the final pod of episodes (Nikita vs. Amanda, for the world), Nikita has done a fine job of throwing in a few swerves to make an already solid story a little more intriguing. The first came at the end of "Pay-Off" with the temporary conclusion and the reveal of the death of Amanda's double. The second dominated this episode, as "Canceled" went to great lengths to make us (and Amanda) think that Nikita had gone off the deep end, letting her rage and thirst for bloody revenge in the get best of her—no matter what the other members of the team thought.

    It's a testament to the show making Ryan's death matter to Nikita that I didn't totally see the twist coming. I mean, I knew that the series wasn't going to end with Amanda trapping Nikita in the corner of a secret facility, but I was legitimately surprised when Nikita revealed that the entire episode's worth of plotting, killing, and infighting was all an act to lull Amanda into a false sense of security. And it's not as if Nikita didn't have a reason to finally snap and go after everyone in The Group order to get to Amanda. In one way or another, these people were responsible for a lot of death, heartache, exit wounds, and whatever else, and with Ryan's death recent in her mind, it made sense that Nikita would methodically take everyone down.

    However, what really worked about the episode's structure is that it permitted the show to have its cake and eat it too. The initial set-up—with Nikita and Alex working together to take out the white dudes in The Group and Michael, Birkhoff, and company verbalizing how deadly they could be to Senator Chappell—gave the show one last opportunity to dig into some fertile thematic ground. The series has pretty regularly raised questions about Nikita's true nature. Can she really suppress the killer inside her and do good? And what happens when she's around Amanda, the one person who brings out that nastier side out of her? That's basically the show's entire narrative in two questions, and "Canceled" successfully worked them into its story, even though the exploration was all part of the play against Amanda. There were a few useful conversations between Nikita and the important people in her life who know both sides of her—Alex, Mich
    ael, and Sam. They understand what Nikita's been through and what Amanda brings out in her, which is why they were all "worried" about what would happen once she started "dealing with" members of The Group. And at one point, it seemed like they were proven right: Nikita's bloodlust got the best of her, leading to her capture by Amanda.

    But since that was all just part of the plan, and it didn't really matter, the episode sort of illustrated that Nikita had, in fact, learned how to do this job without relying solely on brute force. And on top of that, her use of deception showed that she'd not only learned from Amanda, but figured out how to beat her at her own game. It was kind of a cheat, making us think we were seeing these last big moments of tension between characters who'd seemingly grown unbelievably close over the course of the series, only to reveal that it was all part of a plan, but it worked because the plan itself was proof of crucial character development—and because it made Amanda look stupid at the best possible moment.

    I'll be curious to hear what people think about the show's ultimate fate for Amanda. Keeping her alive means there's always a chance for her to escape, eventually wrecking Nikita and company's lives when they least expect it, and maybe that's not quite as satisfying as it watching her pay for all the horrible things she's done to our heroes. Yet, I can't help but think that trapping her in another basement facility, powerless and alone, was an even more fitting conclusion. She's back where she started, totally alone with her thoughts, and that reinforces the fact that Nikita didn't have to kill to get revenge, even if Amanda was the one person she's probably wanted to take out for a decade. And obviously, Amanda being stuck in that uncomfortable position made for a nice final visual.

    The brief coda was just about what the show needed. I liked that the episode didn't totally commit to an Alex-Sam pairing but instead acknowledged that they both needed to work on themselves as individuals before diving headfirst into romance, despite the noticeable sexual tension. Nikita and Michael's quickie off-screen wedding was appropriate, as it would have been a little weird for the series to end with some overly mushy ceremony. Those final moments, with Ryan helping Nikita recognize a young kid in need and Nikita realizing that there's no way to turn off all her years of training, were basically perfect—even though I immediately pictured a continuation series with Ryan serving as Nikita's ghost helper. The only lame part, really, was how Sonya was marginalized, which I guess was in keeping with the rest of the season. I guess she was ultimately more of a supporting character and not a core member of the team, but that still irked me a bit. But he
    y, good for Birkhoff for going public.

    Six episodes weren't nearly enough, but it's nice that Nikita got to go out with a planned ending as opposed to some last-minute rush job. This final run delivered a number of really good moments, and the final two episodes were especially strong. I think Nikita will be one of those shows that people keep discovering on Netflix in the next couple of years, and those people will be really satisfied with this brief fourth season and the series as a whole. The show will be missed.


    – The sequence where Nikita revealed her long-con plan to Amanda was great, and definitely helped stick the landing.

    – I said this last week, but I'll say it again: It was really smart of the show to keep Senator Chappell above board as a (relatively) good guy. I kept waiting for the bottom to fall out there, but ultimately, he was very appreciative of the team's work, including Ryan. That was a nice moment.

    – Big ups to the show for sneaking in one final micro-fight between Nikita and Alex. They didn't have as many interactions in the final six episodes as they probably should have—it was almost like they became co-leads in their own separate stories there for a while—but it was really fun to see them together one final time. The same can be said for the final Michael-Sam mini-mission, though there wasn't nearly enough uber-masculine banter there.

    – It's the nature of the show and the network that the cast would never win any major awards, but everyone's performances ranked as good to very good throughout all four years. Maggie Q is a force of nature, Shane West eventually found his way after some early bumps, and Lyndsy Fonseca did a nice job playing a character who wasn't always particularly well-written.

    – Thanks for your comments over the last six weeks. I enjoyed covering the show, and I hope you enjoyed reading the reviews.

    What'd you guys think of the series finale? Is there anything (or anyone) you wish the episode would have included?


    I have not watched it yet but I'm about to start!

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    World class DJ Paul Oakenfold not only scoffs at Paris Hilton's claim she's one of the top 5 DJs in the world ... he can't believe she had the audacity to say it!

    Oakenfold -- who many consider the godfather of electronic music -- was in disbelief that anyone -- including Paris -- would put herself at the top of the heap.

    But top 5 is subjective -- Fact is Paris IS in demand. She performs all over the world including Ibiza -- and we're told she makes up to $350,000 an hour.

    lol had to post this bc ive been spending my hungover morning watching pretty wild.


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  • 12/28/13--09:42: Zoe Saldana for Lucky

  • You know the moment. The one when suddenly everything in your closet seems so dreary that crawling back under your covers is the only reasonable thing to do. Well, apparently stardom—and having a closet stocked with Lanvin, Alexander McQueen and Chanel pieces—does not inoculate you from this experience. Zoe Saldana has been there too. “Remember that scene in This Is 40 where the eldest daughter is yelling, ‘Nothing fits!’ ” the star says with a laugh. “My poor dog will be hiding under the bed and I’m just looking at myself in the mirror going, ‘What am I going to wear?’ ”

    But if Saldana fell into a fashion funk this morning, there is no evidence of it when I meet her at Little Dom’s, a cozy Italian restaurant in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Dressed in Diesel boyfriend jeans (“I like that they’re so baggy,” she says), a fluttery white blouse and sunny yellow Chloé flats—her shiny hair tossed up into a makeshift bun—she’s part girly-girl, part tomboy … and easily the coolest woman in the room. Her ensembles, though polished, are never precious. “I like looking strong,” says Saldana. “I don’t need someone to open the door for me. I can open a jar! For some reason, dressing very delicately brings out a fragility that compels people to help you and”—here she gets fiery—“I don’t like it.”

    But don’t expect Saldana to trade her Louboutins for Dr. Martens. “I like to be sexy, too,” she says, and as she’s gotten more comfortable in her skin (she’s 35), it’s important for her to not lose that side of herself. “I idolize Sophia Loren,” she says. “I want to be a Neapolitan woman, like, she’s got it, you know?

    “You always want what you don’t have,” Saldana continues, noting her lack of Loren-esque curves. “My whole life I’ve been obsessed with breasts. I love them. I don’t like fake things, but I wouldn’t mind buying myself a pair one day before I die.” She goes on. “When I hear men saying, ‘I don’t want droopy breasts, I think, I’m sorry, you’re not really a man. A man likes a woman as she is. You know when you meet a real man from the way he talks about a woman. You just go, ‘Wow, you’re a man.’​ ”

    If recent reports are to be trusted, it seems Saldana has found her man. The actress, who not long ago said she was looking for a “badass renegade,” reportedly wed Italian artist Marco Perego this summer in London, and he appears to be the living, breathing manifestation of her wish. The tattooed, man-bun-rocking Perego is known for his provocative work—like a sculpture of twisted, writhing naked bodies and a headline-grabbing piece called The Only Good Rock Star Is a Dead Rock Star, featuring a synthetic Amy Winehouse. When he dropped Saldana off at our shoot—a kiss goodbye and he was gone—the couple beamed like newlyweds. So it’s fascinating to watch the outspoken actress clam up when asked if she can confirm that they’re married. “Nope, no, nope,” she says, waving her hands across her face, not angrily, but adamantly. Can she say anything about him at all? “Never, no, never.” That the world will have to live without seeing pictures of Saldana’s wedding dress splashed across the tabloids is something of a fashion tragedy, but one we will have to live with.

    Before audiences came to know Saldana as Ney­tiri, Avatar’s blue alien princess, or Cataleya, Colombiana’s gun-toting assassin, or Uhura, Star Trek’s strong-willed communications officer, she was just a Dominican–Puerto Rican–Irish-Lebanese-and-lots-more girl from Queens, New York, who loved to act and dance. Her mother worked whatever jobs she could—a courthouse translator, a cleaning lady—traveling back and forth from her native Dominican Republic to New York to make ends meet for her family. (Saldana’s father died in a car accident when she was nine.)

    “Class is not defined by money,” Saldana says. “I come from a very classy line of women. Ladies from head to toe, chin up always.” She credits her great-grandmother and grandmother, who worked as seamstresses and favored pearls, for her love of fashion. Saldana’s mom had more edge. “She was always a rebel,” says Saldana. “My sisters and I have a deep appreciation of Ray-Bans from her. There’s something about that aviator look—my mom rocked it so well.”

    The elder Saldana women instilled in the future star a sense of value. Even now—with paychecks rolling in from Out of the Furnace, the current gritty drama she stars in alongside Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, and the upcoming Marvel Comics juggernaut, Guardians of the Galaxy, for which she spent five hours a day in the makeup chair being painted green—she makes sure that if she’s going to splurge, it’s a sound investment. “If you buy a beautiful Chanel bag you know you can wear it, and then put it away, and pick it up again. And eventually you can pass it down to somebody who’s really special to you. I believe in that,” says Saldana. And while the star is no stranger to wearing designers on the red carpet (Louis Vuitton! Valentino!), she happily sings the praises of a white cotton shirt from the Gap or a pair of J.Crew khakis (“So American,” she says with a happy sigh). She loves Michelle Obama’s high-low approach to dressing. “The First Lady, thank God for her!” says Saldana. “She wears Alaïa and she wears J.Crew. She’s colorful, she’s young, she’s raw, she’s natural. When you see her wearing something, you want to run out and get it.”

    Many women feel the same way about Saldana’s outfits. And while it wasn’t part of her master plan to be anyone’s fashion role model, the star does take style seriously. “Fashion is art— it’s absolute art,” she says. “It’s telling a story. So if I wear something, it will be because it reminds me of Grace Jones or a flower petal or water. I create all these worlds in my head. I live in this constant imaginative state.”

    Saldana is one of a handful of Hollywood stars whose off-duty looks and red-carpet choices receive equal praise. Fashion blogs regularly applaud her street style, and Pinterest is a treasure trove of her best looks. Designers relish the opportunity to dress her for events, and a steady stream of breathtaking looks from Calvin Klein, Givenchy and Prabal Gurung (among others) have solidified her slot in the style stratosphere. “I love to dress Zoe because she’s not afraid to take chances,” says Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection Women’s creative director. “No matter what the occasion, she always looks elegant but with a modern twist.”

    When it comes to those red-carpet appearances, Saldana works closely with her stylist, Petra Flannery (whose client list also includes Emma Stone and Mila Kunis), to put together a story worthy of the moment. They’ll often go back and forth via e-mail sharing their favorite runway looks from style.com, eventually coming to a consensus. “When I see a dress, I don’t think, ‘Oh my God, everybody is wearing it and this is the style that’s in.’ That, to me, is superficial,” she says. “Every choice needs to have depth. I like to know the history of things. If I ask Roland Mouret why he cuts in squares and discover he comes from a family of butchers in France, that’s exhilarating information.”

    Gurung, another designer fan (and friend) of Saldana’s, has seen her process firsthand. “I remember her first coming in for a fitting; she wanted to know everything about the clothes, the fabric details, the cut,” he says. “Her interest in fashion lies beyond just looking pretty. She’s someone who is completely 100 percent committed to life, and it’s reflected in all the choices she makes. She pushes the boundaries and is one of the boldest dressers of our time—without ever looking ridiculous.”

    I ask if there’s a look she regrets, a time when the story didn’t have a happily-ever-after ending, but it’s not in Saldana’s DNA to second-guess herself. “I can give two shits about what somebody thought I looked like,” she says. “At the moment I conceived wearing an outfit, I had a thousand reasons. And now that it’s done, and I’m getting feedback that’s not positive, I’m going to regret it? I take responsibility for my actions, whether the outcome is positive or negative.”

    And while she may not stress over other people’s opinions, she does have her own firm limits. Is there anything she’d never, ever wear? “I don’t believe in hopping on a flight in your sweatpants,” she says, shaking her head. “I don’t care what your line of work is. I don’t care where you came from. I don’t care if you pulled an all-nighter and went straight from work to the airport—do not wear a sweatsuit on an airplane. That could be your last flight. I do not want to go down in sweatpants, hugging my pillow. If I’m going down, literally, let me go down in style.”


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    Jack Gleeson on RTE's The Saturday Night Show + outside the studio


    - The interview is pretty much split into three parts: GoT talk, his theatre company (Collapsing Horse Theatre Company)/his thoughts on whether or not he's going to continue acting professionally, and his humanitarian work with GOAL.

    So cute and awkward.

    Me at this perf individual talking about his intellectual pursuits:

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    Hobbit gives NZ director Peter Jackson a Boxing Day full house
    The Sydney Morning Herald

    Peter Jackson has confirmed his position as Lord of the Ringing Tills with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug recording the second-highest Boxing Day opening in Australian history.

    The only film to have topped the $5.465 million the second film in his Hobbit trilogy racked up at the Australian box office on Thursday is the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened with $5.9 million last year.

    Jackson holds the top five places on the Boxing Day chart, with his three Lord of the Rings films filling out the next three positions.

    Australian fans were, however, made to wait for their chance to see the New Zealander's latest J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation. But they're used to that: his films are typically released here close to a fortnight after they hit cinemas in most other territories of the world, in order to capitalise on the biggest day on the Australian film calendar.

    Jackson has come a long way since his first feature, the ultra-low-budget sci-fi horror comedy Bad Taste. Shot on weekends over four years, with Jackson playing a couple of characters and his close mates the rest, the film cost an estimated $NZ25,000 to shoot (a further $NZ235,000 was stumped up by the New Zealand Film Commission to get it cinema-ready).

    By contrast, The Hobbit trilogy is estimated to have so far cost about $560 million to make (post-production on the final instalment, The Hobbit: There and Back, is ongoing).

    In one respect, though, nothing has changed. Bad Taste was released in New Zealand on December 11, 1987, while The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released there on December 12.

    In Australia, all but one of Jackson's films since the first Lord of the Rings have opened on Boxing Day (King Kong opened on December 14, 2005). Few countries have to wait longer. But the ends clearly justify the means.

    The record haul for the first part of The Hobbit trilogy last year helped create a single-day box office record in Australia of $10.8 million (Les Miserables, Wreck It Ralph, Parental Guidance and Skyfall all did their bit to get it there). That figure also included films that were screening before Boxing Day, but the appetite for something new was borne out by the fact that the seven films released on that day accounted for $9.7 million of that total.

    The result this year fell just short of that, with a total haul of $10 million. Opening on Boxing Day isn't a guarantee of success for any one film, but having fresh content on the day is crucial to the cinema business overall. Movies that open on Boxing Day have, since 2000, accounted for an average 7.7 per cent of the annual box office in Australia - a huge haul when you consider that they account for between 1 and 2 per cent of all films released in a year.

    New Hobbit a show stopper

    Charting a course through Middle-earth can be nearly as taxing as surviving an international media tour for an end-of-year blockbuster. Peter Jackson knows this better than anyone. His film journeys through the vast realms of JRR Tolkien's writings are familiar terrain.

    His salt-and-pepper curls fell at slightly unruly angles and his white dress shirt looked more comfortably lived in than freshly pressed as he posed on a giant chair flown in from New Zealand from the set of his latest film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

    Still, the director was in good humour, no doubt elevated by the terrific reviews that Smaug has been receiving, many of which compare its jovial spirit to the high-water mark of Jackson's career, his epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    "Quite a few people are saying that," said Jackson, 52, sipping tea between photo shoots at a Beverly Hills hotel. "We are consciously trying to deepen the characterisations and conflicts without straying too far from Tolkien."

    Yet last year, when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened, many fans struggled to embrace the film, even as it raked in $US1 billion worldwide at the box office.

    Detractors seemed saddened that the soaring sense of adventure and heart that had defined the Rings films had gone missing, replaced by flatulent trolls, moments of slapstick humour and sluggish pacing. [there's nothing wrong with that!]

    Only the sequence featuring the creature Gollum was praised as matching Jackson's earlier, Oscar-winning achievements. [No you forgot to mention the brilliant addition of hot dwarves]

    By contrast, Smaug is brimming with action, including a show- stopping fight sequence filmed along New Zealand's Pelorus River. In its grand scope and serious tone, it feels far more akin to Jackson's original trilogy than its immediate predecessor.

    The story centres on the middle portion of Tolkien's landmark 1937 youth novel, but Jackson and his writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have expanded the narrative to include new characters and moments referenced in the appendixes of The Lord of the Rings.

    "That was one of the decisions we made at the very beginning," Jackson said. "Do we take a children's book, a very simplistic children's book, and faithfully adapt it? Or do we make a film that will live alongside the other three movies that we made? We are the same storytellers, Philippa, Fran and I, we're the same people working on it. We're trying to be faithful to the style and the tone."

    That Jackson returned to another Tolkien film at all was somewhat unexpected. After the Rings trilogy, he directed a remake of King Kong and The Lovely Bones, an adaptation of Alice Sebold's bestseller, though neither caught fire in the same way his Middle-earth movies had.

    He'd been set to produce The Hobbit as a two-parter helmed by Guillermo del Toro, but once Del Toro stepped down in 2010, it wasn't long before Jackson assumed the reins, expanding the project to three movies. (The third, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is set for release December, 2014.)

    In this second portion of the saga, Martin Freeman's good- natured Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, continues on his quest to help the [Majestic] dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and company reclaim the treasure of their lost homeland Erebor, which has been usurped by the evil dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Ian McKellen's wizard Gandalf has more of a solo role to play, ferreting out a great, ancient evil that is settling over the land.

    Bilbo and Thorin's travels take them to the forest of Mirkwood, where they encounter not only giant, woodland spiders but also a race of Sylvan elves that includes Orlando Bloom's regal Legolas (a featured member of the Rings ensemble) and Evangeline Lilly's warrior Tauriel. She is the first character wholly invented for a Tolkien film by Jackson, Walsh and Boyens (Del Toro also is credited as a screenwriter on Smaug).

    "For some reason that I don't quite understand, a lot of women love these stories more than other types of fantasy," Jackson said. "We just felt it was a bit male-heavy and we could do something about it."

    [I'm sorry, what is it you don't understand Peter?]

    There are other new players, including Luke Evans' human Bard the Bowman, who resides in the enclave of Lake-town, which sits in the shadow of the Lonely Mountain near the deserted area known as the Desolation of Smaug.

    Narratively, Jackson said he felt greater freedom with this instalment than with Unexpected Journey or the upcoming There and Back Again. He neither had to establish the story and introduce the characters nor deliver "an exciting climax" for the trilogy.

    But there was dragon anxiety. He acknowledged that he felt some apprehension over finally bringing Tolkien's great red-golden beast to the screen. "You keep hearing all this expectation," Jackson said. "'I want to see Smaug, I want to see Smaug.' I hadn't seen Smaug up until a few months ago, really, not in his current form.

    "Those things," he added with a laugh, "are a bit of a pressure."

    Jackson said that for the scenes with the serpent - and the rest of the film as well - he, Walsh and Boyens constantly revised the script, trying to refine the story even as shooting was under way. Jackson went so far as to bring some of the actors back to Wellington for 12 weeks last summer to film extra sequences for the final two movies, including the flashback scene between McKellen and Armitage that opens The Desolation of Smaug.

    "We literally don't stop writing," Jackson said. "Just because you've cast the film, just because you've started shooting, just because you've got actors asking 'What exactly are we shooting tomorrow?' - none of that is a reason not to write, not to try to improve."

    Evans (Immortals, Fast & Furious 6) said he flew to New Zealand for his Bard the Bowman part without having read a script.

    "I had to trust the word of Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson that I hadn't just signed away 18 months of my life for a little flash-in-the-pan role," the Welsh actor said. "As soon as I got off the plane, the script was there. I got to read it and wiped my brow at the end. I was very pleased and relieved."

    Movie critics have embraced The Desolation of Smaug and say it is Jackson's most acclaimed offering since 2003's Return of the King, which claimed 11 Oscars.

    No matter how the movie ultimately fares, Jackson said he was pleased that his films had helped bring Tolkien's magic to new generations of readers.

    Smaug tops US Christmas takings

    The second movie in The Hobbit trilogy was the biggest box-office hit in US cinemas over Christmas, although takings are down on the first film.

    Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was the top-grossing film in the US on Christmas Day, heading off five new releases including Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street.

    After 13 days in US cinemas, Smaug earned $US9.32 million ($A10.51 million) on the day - 17 per cent less than its Hobbit predecessor An Unexpected Journey on Christmas Day last year, according to Box Office Mojo website.

    It estimates that Smaug grossed more than $US149 million in the US up to and including Christmas Day and more than $US276 million in the rest of the world as of last Saturday.

    But the worldwide takings for most countries are recorded only up to December 15, after Smaug had opened as No.1 at the weekend box office in many countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, South Korea and the UK, as well as its Middle-earth home in New Zealand.

    The film opened in Australia on Boxing Day, making $A5.46 million in ticket sales in 629 cinemas, distributor Roadshow films says. That was also less than An Unexpected Journey, which took $A5.92 million when it opened in Australia on Boxing Day 2012.

    According to worldwideboxoffice.com, An Unexpected Journey is the 17th highest-grossing film, with $US1.02 billion sales.

    Jackson's biggest commercial success is his 2003 film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which made $US1.13 billion and is the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.

    Avatar, whose sequels will be made in New Zealand, is the biggest cinematic money-spinner, with $US2.8 billion earnings in 2009, followed by Titanic's $US2.2 billion in 1997. Both films were directed by James Cameron, who now owns several farms in Wairarapa.

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    NEW York model and actress Maria Di Angelis, who has appeared on TV shows such as The Good Wife and Law and Order: SVU - and was cast as Julia Roberts' body double in the 2009 film Duplicity - appears in a memorable scene in the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese movie The Wolf of Wall Street, to be released on January 23, 2014.

    It chronicles the hedonistic exploits of crooked Queens trader Jordan Belfort, who famously scammed investors in a $200 million "pump and dump" fraud in the late '80s and '90s. In The New York Post , Di Angelis lifts the lid on simulated sex, wayward extras trying to hit on star Leonardo DiCaprio and the tensions that inevitably arise from shooting an orgy:

    Shaking hands with actor P.J. Byrne ahead of our mass orgy scene aboard a charter plane in The Wolf of Wall Street, I'm excited that I've been paired with one of the movie's principals.

    The trouble is that it significantly increases the chances of my face making the final cut. What is my mother going to say?

    I'm playing a high-end hooker, one of about 20 hired by rogue financier Jordan Belfort [played by Leonardo DiCaprio] to accompany him and his broker friends on a debauched flight from New York to his bachelor party in Las Vegas.

    "Oh my gosh," jokes P.J. "You're gorgeous! What am I gonna tell my wife? I'm so happily married, I can't even look at you!"

    It feels surreal to be on a set in Brooklyn, made up as the interior of a luxury jet, and about to shoot an R-rated sequence showing simulated sex, binge drinking and a huge amount of drug-taking.

    But this is what I've signed up for. Dressed in red silk lingerie, red leather jacket, red fishnet stockings and red Manolo Blahniks, I slip off my robe and take a deep breath.

    It's not every day you get a call from a casting director inviting you to audition for a Martin Scorsese film. But that's what happened to me this spring. "It will involve some nudity," the casting agent warned. "Martin has asked for you, personally, at least eight or nine times."

    My first reaction was: "I can't do it! I'm not taking my clothes off! I've never even cursed on camera!" But then I thought about it: "This is Martin Scorsese. How can you say no?"

    The first step was emailing pictures of my body to prove I was still in the right kind of shape. They wanted to see how my butt and legs looked. So I just grabbed my iPad and, partially dressed, struck an arrogant pose and clicked "Send."

    I'm all natural, and I'd heard Scorsese didn't want anybody who's had work like liposuction. If a movie is shot in high definition and you've had something done, it really shows.

    After that, I got the go-ahead for the audition a few days later. When I entered the room, it was like that scene from Flashdance where the girl has to impress a panel of guys.

    I looked up, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner and Matthew McConaughey were all sitting there in a line, with Martin Scorsese right in the middle.

    They asked a few questions - how I felt about being nude on camera. "I don't know," I replied. "I've never done it before!"

    I got the gig, and the next day we were choreographing the scene at JC Studios in Brooklyn to the sound of the 1978 hit Le Freak. Then I was in a sitting for wardrobe, hair and makeup. They picked out a red lingerie set that I had brought along just in case. It was retro - kind of loose-fitting.

    I looked around at the other glamorous women who were playing prostitutes. Scorsese certainly knows how to pick them, as they were all so young and beautiful. It was like being in a Miss World pageant with various different countries represented. "I'm so pale, should I get a spray tan?" I asked the wardrobe stylist, nervously. She shook her head. "Don't change anything because you really stand out."

    The call was at 7am on the day of the shoot. On the subway, I was starting to get nervous. And then I thought: "You know what? Just act! Don't worry about holding in your stomach. Just try and relax."

    What calmed me down the most was having my hair and makeup done. Everyone was very professional. The hairdresser said: "How do you feel the sexiest? With your hair curly or straight?" I looked around and every other girl had their hair straight. "I want mine curly," I replied.

    Meanwhile, some of the younger women who were completely naked had fake hair glued to their nether regions. It's a period piece - the early 1990s - and all of their real hair had been lasered off so they needed wigs down there to look authentic.

    On set, it felt a bit awkward because, unlike in the choreography, there was no music playing in the background because it interferes with the sound recording. There was no Le Freak this time. So we had to improvise a lot and simulate an orgy almost in silence!

    During the choreography, they had shown us how to replicate drug-taking and, of course, looking like you are having sex without actually touching the other person. My character didn't have to snort cocaine - I was too busy wielding a giant bottle of Champagne - but a lot of the others did. The powder was apparently vitamin B6, which is harmless. The cigarettes people were smoking were herbal. The Champagne was ginger ale and soda water, and the whiskey was Diet Coke.

    One thing that stands out in my memory is a girl who was faking sex with Leonardo DiCaprio. Earlier he'd broken the ice by saying to everyone: "Do you realise we are gonna be here, effing for 15 hours?" I don't think he meant literally!

    This girl was completely naked, sitting astride him, while he was wearing a suit. She was very - how can I say? - enthusiastic. It wasn't acting. They had to keep telling her: "You can't just, like, hump him." She was all over him. So they said: "You're here because you're foreground. We're just going to move you back a little!"

    There was also a fair amount of jealousy from the other girls who weren't matched with the principals. "Why am I not there?" I heard one of them say about me. "I'm prettier than her." Most of the guys were being very respectful, but I can't say the same about some of the background artists.

    Some of them were so arrogant. There was this one woman whom one of the non-principal actors had to simulate going down on. There was a lot of waiting around, and she just kept saying: "Please stop staring at my vagina because my fiancé is going to get upset."

    Earlier I'd heard her say she wasn't going to do nudity. But there she was, completely naked. He wasn't looking at her vagina at all. It was her imagination.

    As for me, I stayed pretty much fully clothed in my red leather jacket and lingerie, which is more than I can say for P.J., who plays Nicky Koskoff in the film. He was the most naked of all the people in the scene, wearing a thong made out of candy Smarties with a sock over everything underneath. Needless to say, I think he felt very uncomfortable.

    But he was very sweet. During the sex scene, we were adlibbing and P.J. looked at me and said, "Come over here. I want you to lick my sweet package," or something like that. I replied: "Make me!"

    I told him, "Take me by the throat," because men like his character are pigs. They'll do whatever they want to you. I've known a few of them and dated a few. I said: "You need to take me strong. You're not going to hurt me. Just take me." So he grabbed me by the throat. "You're not going to hurt her," assured the choreographer. "She's a classically trained dancer."

    Meanwhile, the girl who was on top of Jonah Hill - she really got spanked. She can't have been Method acting, because she was complaining so much. "I've got broken blood vessels all over my ass," she said. But she wanted to be with the principal, so she got what she wanted.

    Apart from the sex, the trickiest thing about the scene was the plane hitting turbulence and everyone falling out of their seats and crushing one another. It could have been dangerous, especially because I was carrying a bottle of Champagne in my hand! I didn't want the glass to break everywhere.

    When the plane violently veered one way, I remember this one woman falling onto the side of the cabin and literally bouncing off the walls. "I've got to thank my doctor," she laughed, cupping her boobs, which obviously had implants in them. "These saved me!"

    You have to have a sense of humour about filming these scenes. But the men, especially, have to keep themselves in check. We were in a van on the way home to Manhattan, being bussed from this crazy shoot, and I was quietly sitting behind two men who were also in the orgy.

    "When the brunette said to that actor, 'C'mon, make me!,' I couldn't help but get an erection," one of them said. "It was so hot. It was the way she looked at him."

    They didn't realise it was me. But when they saw me getting off the bus, they recognised me. "Oh, sorry," they said. "Was that you?"

    I shrugged and disappeared into the night.


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    “Based on true events” is a fairly loose term in Hollywood standards. What is true and what is created to sell more tickets is a boundary the industry often fudges when telling “true tales”. Take Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese’s latest starring Leonardo DiCaprio as shady New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort with a penchant for strippers, booze, and using dwarves as human darts. The film is based on Belfort’s 2007 memoir, but according to the co-founder of the company the film is about, Danny Porush: ”the book is a distant relative of the truth, and the film is a distant relative of the book.” Basically, Dabby Porush claims The Wolf of Wall Street is a load of crap.

    The film hit theatres on Christmas day, and critics were quick to speculate on the movie’s outlandish plot details. But Danny Porush, a close friend and partner of Belfort’s between 1988 and 1996 wants to set the record straight. In an interview with Mother Jones, he confesses some of the things he and Belfort did and didn’t do.

    FACT: He did eat a goldfish

    Porush said: “I said to one of the brokers, ‘If you don’t do more business, I’m gonna eat your goldfish!’” Porush recalls. “So I did.”

    FICTION: No one called Belfort a “Wolf”

    According to Porush, the title of the memoir and film is misleading, because no one considered Belfort a “wolf”, metaphorically or (we can assume) literally.

    FICTION: There was not a memo sent banning sex in the office

    According to the memoir and film, the sexcapades in the office became so extreme, Belfort had to send an in office memo dictating a “fuck-free zone from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on workdays.” This was just a straight fallacy, said Porush.

    FICTION: They didn’t throw little people as human darts, but they did invite them to party

    Belfort said: “We never abused [or threw] the midgets in the office; we were friendly to them. There was no physical abuse.”

    FICTION: There were never chimpanzees at the office parties

    “There was never a chimpanzee in the office,” Porush said. “There were no animals in the office…I would also never abuse an animal in any way.” (Oh, you mean other than that time you ate someone’s pet goldfish?)

    FACT: They paid someone 10 grand to shave their head

    “Stratton was like a fraternity,” Porush said. “A lot of goofing around, hazing—but the worst we ever did was shave somebody’s head and then pay ‘em ten grand for it.” (yeah right)

    FICTION: He did not tape money to a woman’s breasts

    “[I] never taped money to boobs,” he said. Well, that’s good.

    FICTION: He never had a threesome with a man involved

    But he did have lots of threesomes with two women: “I’m not homophobic, but I never had sex with a girl with another guy. I’ve been with a zillion women, several women at the same time—but only just with women…Also, never any minors.”

    According to Porush, he understands why certain elements would be embellished (or dreamt up entirely) for film. But: “bribing federal agents, organized crime, violence, moles in the US Attorney’s office are not laughing matters,” he concluded.

    Amen, brother.


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    Check out Leighton Meester's first commercial for luxury skincare brand Biotherm.

    Anyone remember this one? Anyone still use Clearasil?

    So, what's keeping your skin from falling off your face this winter break? I've just been applying straight up coconut oil. Thinking of splurging on Josie Maran's argan oil -- anyone know if there's any difference from it and generic pure argan oil?

    sources: 1/2

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    Haim producer Ariel Rechtshaid has said that his 'goal' when working with the band was to make sure they weren't seen as "another throwback rock'n'roll band".

    Speaking to The Guardian, Rechtshaid, who produced the band's debut album 'Days Are Gone' alongside James Ford (Arctic Monkeys), said he wanted to make sure the band weren't marginalised. "They're great musicians so they pull off a captivating rock performance live, but what they're influenced by is so much more diverse than rock'n'roll," he commented.

    He also explained that the reason it took so long for the album to come together was because the band were almost constantly touring. "A large part of the reason that record took so long was because they never stopped touring," he said. "We didn't spend that much time in the studio. The pressure slows you down as well – people loved the singles but the record wasn't done. Songs such as 'My Song 5' and 'Running If You Call My Name' were written in the studio as we were making it."

    Earlier this month Haim wrapped up a UK and Ireland tour, but will be returning to the UK in March of next year, taking in larger venues, including London's O2 Academy Brixton on March 6, 2014.


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    On April 10 Nirvana will be at last inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that's not the only honor the northwestern alternative giants will receive. That date has officially been declared Nirvana Day by the small city of Hoquiam, Washington, located in the same county as Kurt Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, just four miles to the east. The band's legendary late leader also lived in the 8,500-population burg for a short while.

    According to local radio station KXRO, Hoqiuam mayor Jack Durney shared some words to mark the occasion: "They bring great honor, I think as I say, to our entire community. And I think that it's good Kurt Cobain lived in Hoquiam for a little while, but he and Krist Novoselic are part of our community, and I think it's good to honor our sons and their great accomplishments."

    The Paul McCartney-led version of Nirvana is up for a Grammy (and possibly an Oscar) as well.


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    The Sherlock actor Martin Freeman has revealed how he almost missed out on the role of Dr John Watson because he was so grumpy at his audition after the theft of his wallet.

    The Hobbit actor stars with Benedict Cumberbatch in the modern-day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, which returns to BBC1 on New Year's Day.

    Mark Gatiss, the detective drama's co-creator, told the Radio Times that Freeman's wallet had been stolen on the way to his audition.

    Freeman, who had never read any Arthur Conan Doyle before going up for the role, said that because he "wasn't in the best frame of mind" he gave the impression that he did not want to be in the show, which has become a huge hit.

    He told the magazine: "I'll admit maybe I was a bit stressed. But a week later my agent rang and said, 'Listen, this Sherlock thing, they're sort of under the impression you weren't that into it.'

    "And I said 'Oh … I am really interested. Please call them and let them know that I am interested.'

    "I wasn't being blase about it at all. I just wasn't on my best day. So I came in again, read with Benedict and it instantly worked, it seemed to me … I thought he was a fantastic actor and there was something about our rhythms, similarities and differences that meant that it just happened."

    Freeman, whose real-life partner, the actor Amanda Abbington, stars as his new love-interest in the next installment, said the drama was "writing for grown-ups, where you're not having to cheat the audience".

    The BBC released an online seven-minute teaser episode on Christmas Eve, though no further clues were offered to explain Sherlock's return from the dead after his seemingly fatal fall at the end of the last series. The short video, entitled Many Happy Returns, sets the stage for Sherlock (played by Cumberbatch) to return to London. His friends still think he's dead; his sidekick Watson even wound up in therapy. As Many Happy Returns begins, we find that a series of crimes across the globe, from New Delhi to Germany, have been solved by almost impossible means.


    Who else would you like to have seen in the role, ONTD?

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    Only the best for his little girl! Baby North West got her very own mini Ferrari sports car over the holidays -- just like her dad Kanye West! Kim Kardashian shared the adorable picture of the 6-month-old's new wheels via Instagram on Friday, Dec. 27.
    "Like father like daughter," the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star wrote. Alongside the caption, she shared a picture of her fiance's black Ferrari, with North's miniature one placed to the right.
    Baby North has had quite the Christmas. Kardashian, 33, shared the designer presents the little tot was gifted with earlier this week. Some of the items that were included? A sweater and two dresses from Stella McCartney, black shoes marked with kittens on top by British designer Charlotte Olympia, shoes by the legendary Giuseppe Zanotti and a matching pink blanket and slippers from Michael Coste (of Hermes Paris).
    The family of three spent Christmas at grandma Kris Jenner's home. Two days later, the first-time mom showed off a gift of her own. On Dec. 27, Kardashian revealed that West, 36, surprised her with a Hermes Birkin bag that was hand-painted by artist George Condo. The bag features four nude figures.


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    Miley Cyrus and Kellan Lutz meet up while attending the grand opening of the new Beacher’s Madhouse at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on Friday (December 27) in Las Vegas.

    The 21-year-old singer and the 28-year-old actor were seen sharing a kiss on the cheek inside the venue, but they didn’t spend much time together throughout the night it seems.

    Miley was spotted grinding up on Kellan‘s manager Ryan Daly at the party and was in a VIP section with Katy Perry and her BFF Markus Molinari. They all were in attendance at the Britney Spears: Piece of Me opening night show earlier in the evening.

    The spotting of Miley and Kellan together fuels the rumors that the pair are dating following the private flight they shared earlier this month.

    FYI: Miley is wearing a vintage Calvin Klein top, a vintage Issey Miyake skirt, and Versace shoes.

    Source: http://www.justjared.com/2013/12/28/miley-cyrus-kellan-lutz-party-together-in-vegas-photos/

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    Only 43 days left til The Walking Dead returns!

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    If you've already watched more "Judge Judy" than you can stomach, and ripped through all the TV seasons you got from Grandma for Christmas, here's another way you can kill some holiday season time.

    The Los Angeles Times have joined other the trades in compiling a seasonal batch of awards talks with various contenders as part of their Envelope Screening Series. And their chat with the actors and actresses in the running for prizes—Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks"), Forest Whitaker ("Lee Daniels' The Butler"), Oscar Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), Harrison Ford ("42") and "12 Years A Slave" stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o—has landed online. John Horn moderates the talk that covers the usual bases, but still, if you want to go keep with this group, it's worth a spin.


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    They been drinking, they been drinking ... so Jay Z and Beyonce bought drinks for their entire V.I.P. section last night in Atlanta ... and their bill totaled your annual salary.

    Yonce and HOVA hit up Club Reign in Atlanta on Friday -- and our club sources say the duo dropped ALMOST 100K on bottles of Dusse and Ace of Spades for their section.

    Jermaine Dupri and Bow Wow partied with the power couple as well ... and they were joined by Dream and Trey Songz.

    Best part -- Bey and Jay dancing to their own song.

    Source: http://www.tmz.com/2013/12/28/beyonce-and-jay-z-drinking-club/, http://theybf.com/2013/12/28/jay-z-beyonce-dance-it-out-in-the-club-to-drunk-in-love-yonce-bow-wow-trey-songz-jd-hit

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    If one wanted to discover the origins of George Lucas' self proclaimed "control freak" tendencies vis a vis the "Star Wars" universe, one could arguably trace them back to November 1978. This was the year of the now universally reviled "Star Wars: Holiday Special," a "Star Wars"-themed TV event that aired only once on CBS. By now, if you're a "Star Wars" freak, you've likely seen it. Or at least tried to watch it. In a storyline that saw Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, the Wookie's home world, to celebrate Life Day, the notorious holiday special is known to fans as the first time the "Star Wars" brand went horribly wrong (decades before Jar Jar Binks).

    "We let them use the characters and stuff and that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but you learn from those experiences," Lucas said in 2005. The "Star Wars" creator had little to do with its production and once allegedly said, "If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it." In 2010, Carrie Fisher joked in a New York Times talk that she showed the special at holiday parties, "mainly at the end of the night when I want people to leave." Suffice to say it is abysmal and one of the longest 97 minutes in the history of television. While there's a "story" involved (with Chewbacca's son Lumpy. No, seriously), one can see it just as an excuse to throw musical segments together with celebrity appearances (which include Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur).

    Christmas might be over, but the holidays are technically in full swing. So try this out for a test. If you've seen it before, try and see how long you can stand to watch it before closing the window. And or, try and see how long a loved one who has never caught it can stand it for. Or, if you've never seen it before, we dare you to try and sit through it all in one sitting.


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