Tuesday Jul 29, 2014

Delta to offer free movie streaming to portable devices

Delta Air Lines is the latest carrier to expand its in-flight entertainment program to include free streaming to laptops and mobile devices.The US carrier follows in the heels of United and Lufthansa in launching a new in-flight entertainment program that will be introduced across its fleet...
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TV

Delta to offer free movie streaming to portable devices
Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
Delta to offer free movie streaming to portable devices

Delta Air Lines is the latest carrier to expand its in-flight entertainment program to include free streaming to laptops and mobile devices.The US carrier follows in the heels of United and Lufthansa in launching a new in-flight entertainment program that will be introduced across its fleet August 1. In addition to more movie, music, games and TV programming on flights longer than an hour and a half, Delta Studio will allow passengers to stream free movies and TV shows directly to their mobile devices via in-flight service provider Gogo and the Fly Delta app. This spring, United Airlines launched a similar program allowing flyers to wirelessly stream movies and shows onto their mobile devices. Likewise, Lufthansa’s new in-flight service allows flyers to watch films and order drinks via their smartphones and tablets once they’ve downloaded a free app. Delta Studio will offer 250 free movies, hundreds of TV shows, 2,300 songs and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Sam Raimi developing 'Evil Dead' TV series with Bruce Campbell
Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
Sam Raimi developing 'Evil Dead' TV series with Bruce Campbell

This weekend at Comic-Con, the director behind the 1981 cult horror movie "The Evil Dead" announced plans for a TV adaptation. And to the delight of fans, the star of the original movie confirmed he is on board for the project.At a panel on the film adaptation of the game "Last of Us," which he produced, Sam Raimi explained that he is writing a TV series based on "The Evil Dead" along with his brother Ivan Raimi and with Bruce Campbell. While the director behind the latest "Spider-Man" trilogy did not reveal additional details, Bruce Campbell himself revealed that he is in line to star in the adaptation. A fan tweeted: "Only if @GroovyBruce is the STAR of this new tv series will I accept," prompting Campbell to respond "That's the plan." Released in 1981, "The Evil Dead" follows a group of friends who decide to spend their vacation in a remote cabin in the woods. They find an audio recording and a book, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient spell book bound in human skin and written in blood that has the power to awaken the dead. The horror movie rapidly achieved cult status and led to two sequels, in 1987 and 1992, as well as a reboot in 2013. Last fall, Sam Raimi announced that a fourth movie in the series will be made in 2015. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers
Monday Jul 28, 2014
Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. In allowing the deal to go forward, Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas sided Monday with Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, who negotiated the record sale after the NBA banned the 80-year-old billionaire for making offensive remarks about blacks. Shelly Sterling sought the probate judge's approval to ink the deal after taking over the family trust that owns the team because doctors found Donald Sterling had signs of Alzheimer's disease and couldn't manage his affairs. The judge said Shelly Sterling had negotiated a good deal and the removal of her husband as a co-trustee was in good faith and not part of a secret plan to seize the team. Shelly Sterling hugged her lawyer and wept after the judge explained his ruling from the bench. "I can't believe it's over," she said. "This is the best thing." An unusual provision of the ruling bars Donald Sterling from seeking a court-ordered delay of the sale as he appeals. His lawyers plan to seek permission from an appellate court to file an appeal. Sterling was not in court for the ruling. Bobby Samini, one of his lawyers, said Sterling reacted calmly to the news and told his lawyers they had to keep battling on other fronts. Sterling testified during the case that he would fight the NBA until his death. With lawsuits pending in state and federal courts, the ruling in Los Angeles County Superior Court is unlikely to put an end to the bizarre saga that began in April when a recording surfaced of Sterling scolding his young girlfriend for bringing black men to Clippers games. The NBA moved quickly to ban Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million. Sterling was apologetic after the audio recording went viral, but his mea culpa backfired when he criticized Lakers great Magic Johnson, who had been photographed with Sterling's girlfriend, as a bad role model for kids because he had HIV. Sterling was roundly condemned from locker rooms to the Oval Office, where President Barack Obama called Sterling's remarks "incredibly offensive racist statements." With the NBA threatening to seize the team and auction it, Sterling initially gave his wife of 58 years permission to negotiate a sale but then refused to sign the $2 billion Ballmer deal, which would be a record price for an NBA team. He said he would sue the league instead and then revoked the trust, which his lawyers said effectively killed the deal. The nonjury trial held over several weeks focused mainly on whether Shelly Sterling properly removed her husband as a trustee and whether her actions carried any weight after he revoked the trust. Donald Sterling claimed his wife had deceived him about the medical exams. His lawyers argued Monday that Shelly Sterling's lawyers were in cahoots with the doctors who examined him and that his wife conspired with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to remove him from the trust. "There's no evidence, I'll repeat that as loudly as you allow," attorney Maxwell Blecher said during closing argument, his voice rising. "There's no evidence that Mr. Sterling was incapable of carrying out his duties as a co-trustee." Levanas said there was no credible evidence that Sterling was defrauded. Blecher said he was deeply disappointed in the judge's legal analysis. The ruling Monday was tentative until the judge files it in writing. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement that the league was pleased and looked forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible. At the conclusion of his lengthy ruling, Levanas envisioned what might happen if Donald Sterling remained the owner. Citing testimony of Clippers interim CEO Richard Parsons, he said the team would go into a "death spiral." Sponsors would withdraw, players would quit and coach Doc Rivers would leave. "The Clippers would suffer a massive loss of value if the team survived at all," Levanas said. The judge was adamant that a team owned by Donald Sterling would not draw a price anywhere near the "stunning" $2 billion pledged by Ballmer. Sterling, a lawyer who made a fortune as a landlord, bought the team in 1981 for $12 million. "Ballmer paid an amazing price that can't be explained by the market," he said. On the witness stand, Shelly Sterling was more credible than her husband, who was more evasive, gave inconsistent answers and presented wild fluctuations of damage estimates, Levanas said. He noted that the couple presented genuine professions of love for each other despite Donald Sterling's outburst calling his wife a "pig" after she testified. Outside of court, his wife said she thought her husband would be happy with the ruling. She said she thinks he will ultimately drop his antitrust suit in federal court against the NBA and the lawsuit he filed in state court against her, Silver and the league. Her lawyer wasn't so sure. Asked what might stop the deal, Pierce O'Donnell said: "Donald." "He never met a lawsuit he didn't like," he quipped. Bruce Givner, a Los Angeles tax attorney who handles celebrity cases, said he thinks Sterling's lawsuits will fail and an appeals court won't care about the probate case. "I think the sale is going to go through," Givner said. "I suspect the NBA is ready to move very quickly. They want to get rid of Sterling like a canker sore. Nobody wants him around except the people that are charging legal fees to continue this charade." ___ AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Pawn Stars' TV star plans stores near famous shop
Monday Jul 28, 2014
'Pawn Stars' TV star plans stores near famous shop

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The long parade of tourists who regularly stop by the downtown Las Vegas shop featured on the History Channel reality show "Pawn Stars" could soon have something better to do while waiting in line. Gold & Silver Pawn Shop co-owner Rick Harrison has drawn up plans for a Pawn Star Plaza shopping center that could boast six restaurants and about 16 small shops. The company's general contractor has submitted the proposal to the city planning department, and a review is expected in September, according to pawn shop general manager Theo Spyer. "We have always tried to improve our customer experience while waiting in line," Spyer said, pointing to misters, benches and a hot dog stand at the premises. "Now we intend to take it to the next level. We are currently working on a line system that will enable the fans to patronize Pawn Star Plaza without losing their position in line." The plaza, which Harrison estimates would cost $2 million to build, would consist of several colorful, modular units fit together like a Rubik's Cube. Harrison said he was inspired by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's nearby Container Park, which is built out of shipping containers commonly found on trains and barges. "It was more of the look, flexibility, ease of construction and simplicity of design that created Rick's vision for the space," Spyer said. The pawn shop, which is open 24 hours a day, is located in a gritty area near bail-bond offices and a now-closed tattoo parlor. Harrison told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he wants to help rejuvenate the area without using city redevelopment funds. "I really want to see this part of town do great," he said. But the prospect of profiting off the steady stream of visitors is also driving the project. "Making money is my third or fourth most favorite thing in the world," Harrison told the newspaper. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trailer: 'Walking Dead' in for harrowing fifth season
Monday Jul 28, 2014
Trailer: 'Walking Dead' in for harrowing fifth season

At Comic-Con, AMC unveiled the first official trailer for the fifth season of its zombie series, in addition to announcing its premiere date.On October 12, Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors will pick up where they left off in the fight against zombie hordes and the struggle for power and resources. Their new adventures promise to be more complicated and violent than ever before, judging by the footage unveiled by AMC in San Diego. Fans will find the protagonist played by Andrew Lincoln exactly where they left him at the end of season four, trapped at Terminus, the place that once seemed to be a safe haven but quickly became its own kind of hell on earth. Introduced in 2010, "The Walking Dead" achieved new record ratings last season. Titled "A," the season four finale drew an audience of 15.7 million, making it the third most watched episode in the history of the now cult series. The show's all-time record is still held by the fourth season premiere, which was watched by 16.1 million fans. On the whole, season four was watched by an average 13.3 million viewers per episode, marking a 24 percent increase from the previous year. The fifth season, consisting of 16 episodes, will premiere October 12 on AMC. Watch the trailer: http://foxinternationalchannels.com/shows/the-walking-dead Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Movies

Delta to offer free movie streaming to portable devices
Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
Delta to offer free movie streaming to portable devices

Delta Air Lines is the latest carrier to expand its in-flight entertainment program to include free streaming to laptops and mobile devices.The US carrier follows in the heels of United and Lufthansa in launching a new in-flight entertainment program that will be introduced across its fleet August 1. In addition to more movie, music, games and TV programming on flights longer than an hour and a half, Delta Studio will allow passengers to stream free movies and TV shows directly to their mobile devices via in-flight service provider Gogo and the Fly Delta app. This spring, United Airlines launched a similar program allowing flyers to wirelessly stream movies and shows onto their mobile devices. Likewise, Lufthansa’s new in-flight service allows flyers to watch films and order drinks via their smartphones and tablets once they’ve downloaded a free app. Delta Studio will offer 250 free movies, hundreds of TV shows, 2,300 songs and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Sam Raimi developing 'Evil Dead' TV series with Bruce Campbell
Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
Sam Raimi developing 'Evil Dead' TV series with Bruce Campbell

This weekend at Comic-Con, the director behind the 1981 cult horror movie "The Evil Dead" announced plans for a TV adaptation. And to the delight of fans, the star of the original movie confirmed he is on board for the project.At a panel on the film adaptation of the game "Last of Us," which he produced, Sam Raimi explained that he is writing a TV series based on "The Evil Dead" along with his brother Ivan Raimi and with Bruce Campbell. While the director behind the latest "Spider-Man" trilogy did not reveal additional details, Bruce Campbell himself revealed that he is in line to star in the adaptation. A fan tweeted: "Only if @GroovyBruce is the STAR of this new tv series will I accept," prompting Campbell to respond "That's the plan." Released in 1981, "The Evil Dead" follows a group of friends who decide to spend their vacation in a remote cabin in the woods. They find an audio recording and a book, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient spell book bound in human skin and written in blood that has the power to awaken the dead. The horror movie rapidly achieved cult status and led to two sequels, in 1987 and 1992, as well as a reboot in 2013. Last fall, Sam Raimi announced that a fourth movie in the series will be made in 2015. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Of Mice and Men' leaves Broadway on a record high
Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
'Of Mice and Men' leaves Broadway on a record high

NEW YORK (AP) — James Franco's play "Of Mice and Men" has left Broadway with a roar — a box office record. The show, co-starring Chris O'Dowd and Leighton Meester, said Monday it earned $1,038,106 for the week ending Sunday, setting a new eight-performance weekly record gross at the Longacre Theatre and marking the first time the theater ever housed a show that crossed the $1 million mark. The play, an adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel, follows two tragic migrant workers trying to make their way through the Depression. The play recouped its $3.8 million capitalization in just 12 weeks and ended its 19-week run Sunday. It is the first American production chosen to be filmed by National Theatre Live. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Gaga on Bennett duet CD: Jazz comes easier vs. pop
Monday Jul 28, 2014
Gaga on Bennett duet CD: Jazz comes easier vs. pop

NEW YORK (AP) — Lady Gaga is a bonafide pop star, but the singer says recording jazz music was easier than pop. Gaga has spent two years recording an album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett called "Cheek to Cheek," to be released this fall. "You know, it's funny, but jazz comes a little more comfortable for me than pop music, than R&B music," Gaga said in an interview Monday. "I've sang jazz since I was 13 years old, which is kind of like my little secret that Tony found out. So this is almost easier for me than anything else." Gaga made the comments with Bennett by her side ahead of the duo's taped performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, where her parents attended. The 28-year-old and 87-year-old Bennett first collaborated on his Grammy-winning, platinum-selling 2011 album, "Duets II." Bennett said fans will be impressed with Gaga's vocal performance on the upcoming album. "They're going to say we had no idea she sings that well," he said. "And they're gonna say they had no idea that Tony dressed so crazy," Gaga added, as Bennett smiled. "When you come out in your meat dress Tony, nobody is going to know what's going on." "Cheek to Cheek" is Gaga's first release since last year's "Artpop." Bennett released a collaborative album with Latin singers in 2012 called "Viva Duets." The duo performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival earlier this month and surprised high school students at Bennett's Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Queens last month. Gaga, who is currently on her "Artrave: The Artpop Ball" tour, says she is "actually happier than I've ever been." "There's sixty years between us, and when we sing, there's no distance," she added about working with Bennett. ____ Online: http://www.ladygaga.com/ https://tonybennett.com/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trailer: 'Walking Dead' in for harrowing fifth season
Monday Jul 28, 2014
Trailer: 'Walking Dead' in for harrowing fifth season

At Comic-Con, AMC unveiled the first official trailer for the fifth season of its zombie series, in addition to announcing its premiere date.On October 12, Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors will pick up where they left off in the fight against zombie hordes and the struggle for power and resources. Their new adventures promise to be more complicated and violent than ever before, judging by the footage unveiled by AMC in San Diego. Fans will find the protagonist played by Andrew Lincoln exactly where they left him at the end of season four, trapped at Terminus, the place that once seemed to be a safe haven but quickly became its own kind of hell on earth. Introduced in 2010, "The Walking Dead" achieved new record ratings last season. Titled "A," the season four finale drew an audience of 15.7 million, making it the third most watched episode in the history of the now cult series. The show's all-time record is still held by the fourth season premiere, which was watched by 16.1 million fans. On the whole, season four was watched by an average 13.3 million viewers per episode, marking a 24 percent increase from the previous year. The fifth season, consisting of 16 episodes, will premiere October 12 on AMC. Watch the trailer: http://foxinternationalchannels.com/shows/the-walking-dead Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Events

'Crazy Eyes' actress Uzo Aduba is crazy about fans
Saturday Jul 26, 2014
'Crazy Eyes' actress Uzo Aduba is crazy about fans

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Orange Is the New Black" actress Uzo Aduba is flooded with marriage proposals these days. "People on the street, people on Twitter ask, 'Can I be your prison wife?' I'm like you know, 'Name the day and the time,'" Aduba joked. Aduba plays Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on the Netflix Inc. original series about a women's prison. She's nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series along with her "Orange" co-stars Laverne Cox and Natasha Lyonne. Fan reaction also includes questions about her character's unique hairstyle and her most memorable quotes. "'Chocolate and vanilla swirl,' always. Throwing pie, dandelions, that they're not crazy, they're unique," she said. "For it to be received the way it has been, it's humbling." For Aduba, the role is much more than Suzanne's quirky hairdo and scene-stealing one-liners. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the Nigerian-American actress said she's thrilled to be involved in a show that is pushing boundaries and shattering stereotypes. AP: Is the discussion about the lack of diversity in Hollywood overblown? Aduba: I don't think it's overblown if I'm speaking candidly. I think the attraction is the freshness of it, the uniqueness of it. I think that's what the thirst is for, something else and different and new with regards to diversity, with regards to gender, with regards to orientation representation, with regards to the number of each of those things on a singular show. I think all of those things brought together is what is exciting and thrilling for people to see on the show. AP: The series has a number of celebrity fans, including your friend Lupita Nyong'o. How did you meet? Aduba: We met some years ago in this play 'Eclipsed' (written by) another friend of ours Danai Gurira, who's on 'The Walking Dead.' ... We did (the play) together and she's just so phenomenally talented and just so beautiful from her heart to her work as well. Just like phenomenal. AP: Nyong'o has had an extraordinary year, including her Oscar win. Aduba: It makes me proud. It just makes me happy. It makes me want to beam because I root (for her), and if I could have pom-poms, like you know what I mean, I would carry them. ... You feel like this is a person whose head and spirit is of the right place. ... And you stepping into this (success), it's like yes, that's exactly how it should be. AP: There's a stereotype about women in Hollywood not getting along. Has that been your experience? Aduba: There is a myth out in the world that women can't work together. And I don't know if it's a chicken or an egg thing or what, but ... it's not true. ... I think it's an idea that is put out there maybe to divide and conquer. ... It's something that I just have to write off as being a lie. If you bring good people together, regardless of their gender ... they're going to collaborate and support each other and that's going to happen. And that's what I feel like I'm a part of on 'Orange.' AP: What was it like to receive an Emmy nomination? Aduba: The word is bananas or crazy (pause) eyes. ... I just love to act. I like to make good work. And I like to tell good stories, and I'm just thankful, humbled and grateful that people are enjoying it as much as we enjoyed making it, you know? AP: Do you have an Emmy dress picked out? Aduba: I have no idea yet. I dream in color and I have visions of feelings and energies that I would love to feel. AP: How would you like to feel on Emmy night? Aduba: Beautiful and full. Those two things: beautiful and full. _____ Follow Nicole Evatt at http://twitter.com/NicoleEvatt Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Up the Down Staircase' writer Kaufman dies at 103
Friday Jul 25, 2014
'Up the Down Staircase' writer Kaufman dies at 103

NEW YORK (AP) — Bel Kaufman, the witty and spirited fiction writer, educator and storyteller whose million-selling "Up the Down Staircase" captured the insanity and the humor, the pathos and the poetry of the American high school, died Friday at age 103. Kaufman, the granddaughter of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem and a vital link to Yiddish culture, died at her Manhattan home after a brief illness, said her daughter, Thea Goldstine. Kaufman was a middle-age teacher and single mother in the mid-1960s when her autobiographical novel was welcomed as a kind of civilian companion to Joseph Heller's "Catch-22," a send-up of the most maddening bureaucracy. Like "Catch-22," even the title of Kaufman's book became a tell-all label, shorthand for all the senseless rules students and educators could never quite follow. "Up the Down Staircase," a scrapbook of letters, notes and memos, follows a few months in the life of the idealistic young Sylvia Barrett, the new teacher at Calvin Coolidge High School. She is a kind soul staggering under a blizzard of administrative nonsense and student impudence. When she's not being reprimanded for her kids' failure to memorize the school's alma mater song, she faces a crowded but endearing class of misfits and other characters, from rebel Joe Ferone to the brown-nosing Harry A. Kagan. When the book was released in 1965, The New York Times' Beverly Grunwald praised Kaufman's "refreshing way of stating the facts, of breaking down statistics into recognizable teenagers, of making you smile, be contrite and infuriated all at once." Kaufman became a heroine for teachers and students worldwide. "Up the Down Staircase" has sold more than 6 million copies and has been translated into 16 languages. It was made into a film of the same name, starring Sandy Dennis, and it helped start a trend of candid education books. Kaufman was delighted to learn that teachers in one of her former schools were warned not to let her see any memos, for fear they would end up in a book. Decades later, another New York teacher-turned-celebrity, Frank McCourt, would praise "Up the Down Staircase" as one of the few honest looks at the public school system. "She got all the craziness of the paperwork and the administrators and supervisors," McCourt, author of the memoirs "Angela's Ashes" and "Teacher Man," said in 2005. She was born Bella Kaufman in Berlin and raised in Odessa, her first language Russian. Her family fled in 1923 to escape the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, and she arrived in the U.S., at age 11, speaking no English. She was forced to begin her American schooling in the first grade, her classmates years younger. The kindness of her teacher inspired her to become an educator, too. Language was a temporary handicap. She caught up quickly, graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College in 1934 and received a master's degree in English from Columbia University two years later. Around the same time, she married Sidney Goldstine, with whom she had two children. Literature was in her blood, not just from her grandfather, but from her mother, Lyalya Kaufman, a popular and prolific writer. After leaving Columbia, Bella Kaufman wrote short fiction, including "La Tigresse," published in Esquire with a small but lasting revision: Kaufman shortened her first name to Bel because the magazine only accepted work by men. During the 1950s and into the '60s, she taught in high schools and community colleges, never suspecting the good fortune of the second half of her life. The turn began in 1962 when her brief essay "From a Teacher's Wastebasket" was published in the Saturday Review of Literature. She received $200 and was soon contacted by an editor at Prentice Hall, Gladys Justin Carr, who told her that her article might make a nice start for a novel. Kaufman resisted. Carr offered an advance. Kaufman spent it. "So I had to write the book," she recalled. The novel took nine months and was finished during the "lowest point" of her life. She had left her husband, her kids were grown and her mother was ailing. She was alone and lonely in a two-room apartment and some pages had to be retyped, she said, because of the teardrops on the manuscript. After "Staircase," she wrote a second novel, "Love, Etc.," and was a popular lecturer and speaker, talking about schools, the arts and her famous grandfather, including in the 2011 documentary "Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness." She received numerous honorary awards, enjoyed tango dancing well into her 90s, and, in 2010, was invited by Hunter College to teach a course in Jewish humor. Her own life was a good punchline. "In schools where I used to patrol the toilets," she once said, "I am today required reading." Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bazinga! 'Big Bang Theory' writers hit Comic-Con
Friday Jul 25, 2014
Bazinga! 'Big Bang Theory' writers hit Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Past "Big Bang" Comic-Con panels have paid off for fans that score tickets. One viewer was awarded a trip to space. And there was a surprise appearance by Johnny Galecki, who hid in the audience in costume until he asked a question. For the second year in a row, the writers and executive producers represented the long-running CBS comedy. Stars Jim Parsons, Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar are without contracts for season 8. (Last week, CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that she was confident it would be worked out.) Friday's session kicked off with a performance by folk duo Garfunkel and Oates, who sang a fresh take on a song from the series that Helberg's character performed on the show. They changed the lyrics to include, "We couldn't have imagined we'd get to sing this song for 'The Big Bang Theory' fans at Comic-Con." A mock trailer was shown for "Serial Ape-ist 2, Monkey See, Monkey Kill," a low-budget horror film mentioned on the show that was to star Wil Wheaton and Cuoco's Penny. (Wheaton plays himself in a recurring role on the comedy.) After the trailer, Wheaton surprised the audience by walking onstage and joining the panel. The writers dodged any real spoiler-like questions (such as whether characters Sheldon and Amy will ever be intimate), but here are some highlights: —Penny and Leonard's (Cuoco and Galecki) wedding won't happen anytime soon. "They are engaged but the wedding is sometime off in the future. They're not in a rush," said show runner Steve Molaro, who also said there are "no plans for any babies at any point." — Penny will continue to not have a last name. "At this point we've come so far it's a bit of a superstition for us. Wait until we have to wrestle if and when (she and Leonard) get married, how they get around that point," said Molaro. —The comic-book store that burned down in the seventh season will return. "There will be a comic-book store in the future," Molaro said. "The show will not go on without a comic-book store." —That darn elevator in the apartment building won't get fixed. It remains a functional element for the writers. "What the stairwell gave us was a place to have walk-and-talk conversations that was organic," said co-creator Bill Prady. ___ Online: http://www.cbs.com/BigBang Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

2014 Venice Film Festival: Iñárritu, Ferrara and Beauvois in competition
Thursday Jul 24, 2014
2014 Venice Film Festival: Iñárritu, Ferrara and Beauvois in competition

Set to take place from August 26 to September 7 with French composer Alexandre Desplat as president of the jury, the next edition of the Biennale di Venezia will include screenings of 55 international films.Alejandro González Iñárritu will have the opening honors with the world premiere of his film "Birdman." The comedy, which stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero movie actor attempting a comeback, will also be in competition. The Mexican director, whose film "21 Grams" was featured in the official selection in 2003, will compete to follow in the footsteps of the Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi, who won the Golden Lion last year for his documentary "Sacro GRA." US directors are well represented in the festival's selection. Among other US titles premiering in the main competition are David Gordon Green's "Manglehorn," headlined by Al Pacino and Holly Hunter, and Andrew Niccol's "Good Kill" with Ethan Hawke and January Jones. Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes," a drama about the US housing bubble, is also among the highlights of the competition, along with Abel Ferrara's "Pasolini," a biopic with Willem Dafoe in the title role. French directors Benôit Jacquot ("Farewell, My Queen") and Xavier Beauvois ("Of Gods and Men") will also compete with their latest films, "Trois Cœurs" and "La Rançon de la Gloire," respectively. The out of competition program will include screenings of James Franco's "The Sound and the Fury," the director's cut of Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac Volume II," and Peter Bogdanovich's "She's Funny That Way," a comedy with Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots and Jennifer Aniston. Alexandre Desplat will preside over the jury for this 71st edition of the festival. Known for scoring such iconic films as "The Queen," "The King's Speech" and more recently "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the French composer has earned six Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe, three César awards, two European Film Awards and a BAFTA. He will be the first film composer to serve as president of the competition panel at the Venice Film Festival. The complete program of the 71st Venice International Film Festival: In competition: Birdman - Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (opening film)The Cut - Fatih AkinA Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence - Roy Andersson99 Homes - Ramin BahraniTales - Rakhshān Bani E'TemadLa Rançon De La Gloire - Xavier BeauvoisHungry Hearts - Saverio CostanzoLe Dernier Coup De Marteau - Alix DelaportePasolini - Abel FerraraManglehorn - David Gordon Green3 Hearts - Benôit JacquotThe Postman's White Nights - Andrei KonchalovskyIl Giovane Favoloso - Mario MartoneSivas - Kaan MujdeciAnime Nere - Francesco MunziGood Kill - Andrew NiccolLoin Des Hommes - David OelhoffenThe Look Of Silence - Joshua OppenheimerFires On The Plain - Shinya TsukamotoRed Amnesia - Xiaoshuai Wang Out of competitionWords With Gods - Guillermo Arriaga, Emir Kusturica, Amos Gitai, Mira Nair, Warwick Thornton, Hector Babenco, Bahman Ghobai, Hideo Nakata, Alex de la IglesiaShe's Funny That Way - Peter BogdanovichDearest - Peter Ho-sun ChanOlive Kitteridge - Lisa CholodenkpBurying The Ex - Joe DantePerez - Edoardo De AngelisLa Zuppa Del Demonio - Davide FerrarioThe Sound And The Fury - James FrancoTsili - Amos GitaiLa Trattativa - Sabina GuzzantiThe Golden Era - Ann Hui (closing film)Make-Up - Im KwontaekThe Humbling - Barry LevinsonThe Old Man Of Belem - Manoel de OliveiraItaly In A Day - Gabriele SalvatoresIn The Basement - Ulrich SeidlThe Boxtrolls - Anthony Stacchi, Annable GrahamNymphomaniac Volume II (long version) Director's Cut - Lars Von Trier HorizonsTheeb - Naji Abu NowarLine Of Credit - Salome AlexiSenza Nessuna Pieta - Michele AlhaiqueCymbeline - Michael AlmereydaNear Death Experience - Benoît Delépine, Gustave KervernLa Vita Oscena - Renato De MariaRéalité - Quentin DupieuxI Spy/ I Spy - Veronika Franz, Severin FialaHill Of Freedom - Hong SangsooBypass - Duane HopkinsThe President - Mohsen Makhmalbaf (opening film)Your Right Mind - Ami Canaan MannBelluscone, Una Storia Siciliana - Franco MarescoNabat - Elchin MusaogluHeaven Knows What - Josh Safdie, Ben SafdieThese Are The Rules - Ognjen SvilivivCourt - Chaitanya Tamhane Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Frozen' casts its spell over VOD and DVD market
Thursday Jul 24, 2014
'Frozen' casts its spell over VOD and DVD market

After dominating the global box office for weeks, Disney's seasonal animated film now tops the list of the best-selling DVD and VOD titles for the first half of 2014, according to Rentrak.Released in November 2013 and awarded the Oscar for best animated feature last March, "Frozen" recently became the fifth highest-grossing film of all time thanks to its revenues with over 1.2 billion at the worldwide box office. And this success isn't limited to theaters: the feature has also become the top-selling film DVD and VOD title for the period from January to June 2014. "Frozen" was just ahead of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the second movie in the popular franchise, and "The Wolf of Wall Street," which earned Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar nomination for best actor. Martin Scorsese's latest movie wasn't the only one to benefit from Oscar buzz. Rentrak's ranking of the top selling DVD and VOD titles also includes "12 Years a Slave," which claimed the award for best picture, as well as "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips" and "Gravity," all of which were nominated in some of the most elite Oscar categories. The sequels to the blockbusters "Thor" and "The Hobbit" round out the ranking, along with Johnny Knoxville's comedy "Bad Grandpa." Top 10 best-selling DVD and VOD titles from January to June 2014: 1. "Frozen" (Disney) 2. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (Lionsgate) 3. "The Wolf of Wall Street" (Paramount) 4. "Captain Phillips" (Sony) 5. "Gravity" (2013) (Warner) 6. "12 Years a Slave" (Fox) 7. "American Hustle" (Sony) 8. "Thor: The Dark World" (Disney) 9. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (Warner) 10. "Bad Grandpa" (Paramount) Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.