Thursday Dec 18, 2014

'Walking Dead' companion series to be set in LA

The Atlanta area, where "The Walking Dead" is set, isn't the only place infested with walkers. Survivors on the west coast are also battling the zombie epidemic, as viewers will learn in the new spin-off/companion series set in Los Angeles. The project is currently in development under the...
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TV

'Walking Dead' companion series to be set in LA
Thursday Dec 18, 2014
'Walking Dead' companion series to be set in LA

The Atlanta area, where "The Walking Dead" is set, isn't the only place infested with walkers. Survivors on the west coast are also battling the zombie epidemic, as viewers will learn in the new spin-off/companion series set in Los Angeles. The project is currently in development under the working title "Cobalt.""Almost from the beginning of ‘The Walking Dead' on AMC, fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world," said AMC president Charlie Collier last September, when the companion series was announced. In addition to satisfying that curiosity by depicting the zombie apocalypse in a different region, the new companion show is expected to shed some light on the origins of the epidemic -- a subject left undiscussed in "The Walking Dead." Robert Kirkman, who created the comic that inspired the original series, is involved in the project along with "The Walking Dead" producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert. David Erickson, who is penning the script, will serve as showrunner. The pilot will be shot in early 2015 with Cliff Curtis in the title role. The Kiwi actor seen in "Gang Related" will play Sean Cabrera, a teacher and a good man trying to do right by everyone in his life. The character is recently divorced from Andrea, with whom he has a son, Cody. Also among the main characters is Cabrera's colleague Nancy Tomkins, a single mother of two. Her son Nick is a troubled kid who falls into drugs, while her daughter Ashley, more level-headed and ambitious, is eager to leave home and make something of her life. The two teens will be played by Frank Dillane ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") and Alycia Debnam Carey ("Into the Storm"). Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Fashion films of the week: Valentino, Dior, Versace
Thursday Dec 18, 2014
Fashion films of the week: Valentino, Dior, Versace

This week's fashion films are all based around the theme of runway shows, following Dior and Valentino's recent adventures in Tokyo and New York City. Valentino This 12-minute film will transport you to the Big Apple, where Valentino showed a 47-piece one-off all-white couture collection in the city to celebrate its new flagship in the city. We think you'll agree that it lives up to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's usual sparkling levels of attention to detail and their stunning silhouettes. http://youtu.be/CH5P2DIuW_E Christian DiorThe Valentino designers weren't the only ones on the road recently. Raf Simons transported his Christian Dior crew to the Japanese capital for a Pre-Fall show held in a sumo arena. This super quick video from the brand shows off Creative and Image Director of Dior Makeup Peter Philips's look for the show on model Yumi Lambert. http://youtu.be/r0bH5qP318Y Atelier VersaceThe Italian brand's mesmerizing couture show under the Atelier Versace label is the star of this video. The slick film shifts between a model wearing the pieces and the team (including Donatella) working on the show back in the summer. http://youtu.be/Nl2avEetUMw Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Stolen emails reveal lapses in Sony security practices
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Stolen emails reveal lapses in Sony security practices

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the weeks before hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio suffered significant technology outages it blamed on software flaws and incompetent technical staffers who weren't paying attention, even as hackers targeted executives to trick them into revealing their online credentials. Its chief executive was regularly reminded in unsecure emails of his own secret passwords for his and his family's mail, banking, travel and shopping accounts, according to a review of more than 32,000 stolen corporate emails circulating on the Internet. Scrutiny of Sony's stolen computer data hasn't yet revealed exactly how hackers managed to slip inside to steal such an enormous cache, when it happened, who was behind the theft or their motives. But late Wednesday, a U.S. official told The Associated Press that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hack to North Korea. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing criminal case openly, and spoke on condition of anonymity. Confirmation of the North Korean link came just after Sony cancelled plans for the Dec. 25 release of "The Interview," which had been one of the hackers' public demands due to its depiction of the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The stolen files expose lax Internet security practices inside Sony such as pasting passwords into emails, using easy-to-guess passwords and failing to encrypt especially sensitive materials such as confidential salary and revenue figures, strategic plans and medical information about some employees. Experts say such haphazard practices are common across corporate America. "Most people who say they're not doing that are lying," said Jon Callas, co-founder and chief technology officer for Silent Circle Inc., a global encrypted-communications service. The emails show CEO Michael Lynton routinely received copies of his passwords in unsecure emails for his and his family's mail, banking, travel and shopping accounts, from his executive assistant, David Diamond. Other emails included photocopies of U.S. passports and driver's licenses and attachments with banking statements. The stolen files made clear that Diamond was deeply trusted to remember passwords for Lynton and his family and provide them whenever needed. "I still need the password to your Amazon account," Diamond wrote to Lynton in August. Sony spokeswoman Jean Guerin did not respond to a phone message left with an assistant in her office and email from The Associated Press on Wednesday. In an October email, the company's chief financial officer, David C. Hendler, complained to Lynton that Sony Pictures had experienced months of "significant and repeated outages due to a lack of hardware capacity, running out of disk space, software patches that impacted the stability of the environment, poor system monitoring and an unskilled support team." Hendler also blamed a company rule that required employees to keep too many old emails. "Sloppy, really sloppy," said Kevin Mitnick, a former hacker who served five years in federal prison and now runs Mitnick Security Consulting LLC. But Mitnick was quick to acknowledge that other top chief executives are "probably doing it, too." Companies can use password-management software, which can store dozens or hundreds of encrypted passwords to various accounts behind one protected password. "It's pretty ordinary for CEOs and executive assistants to share confidential information by email," he said. "They feel that their email is secure and they have nothing to worry about." The fact that Lynton regularly received emails with his passwords was particularly a problem for Sony because hackers who steal corporate data often will immediately search for the word "password" or a variation of the word across thousands of messages. "If I'm trying to get credentials, that's the first search I'm going to run," said Mitnick, who is hired by companies to test their internal security. The October email inside Sony, among tens of thousands of messages stolen in the crime, described specific software and hardware upgrades and plans to hire an outside consulting firm to improve the company's network, plus new rules to limit the amount of old emails that would be stored on servers. Lynton received it roughly three weeks before employees reported signs that hackers were rummaging inside Sony's computer network. ___ Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this story. . Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Viola Davis to join the supervillains of 'Suicide Squad'
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Viola Davis to join the supervillains of 'Suicide Squad'

The actress seen in "The Help" and "How to Get Away with Murder" will play Amanda Waller in the upcoming DC Comics adaptation, Latino Review reports.In the original comics, Amanda Waller is the government agent who gives orders to the Suicide Squad, a group of supervillains that includes The Joker, among others.  To be helmed by David Ayer ("Fury"), the feature will center on a group of characters accustomed to hatching evil schemes and battling Batman or Superman. Convicted and imprisoned, the supervillains agree to undertake life-threatening missions for the US government in exchange for reduced sentences.  "It's a 'Dirty Dozen' with supervillains," Ayer told the British magazine Empire.   Viola Davis is on track to play Amanda Waller, but only if shooting can be worked around her TV schedule, which includes starring in "How to Get Away with Murder." If an arrangement is reached, she will share the screen with Jared Leto, who is cast as The Joker, and Margot Robbie, who will play his henchwoman and girlfriend Harley Quinn. DC Comics and Warner Bros have also enlisted Will Smith as the expert marksman Deadshot, Tom Hardy as the secret agent Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang and supermodel Cara Delevingne as the sorceress known as Enchantress. "Suicide Squad" is due in theaters in August 2016, three months after the release of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Eric Idle brings 'Not the Messiah' to Carnegie Hall
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Eric Idle brings 'Not the Messiah' to Carnegie Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — And now for something completely different. During a time of year when Handel's "Messiah" is frequently presented around the world, Eric Idle of Monty Python fame brought "Not The Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)" to Carnegie Hall, a comedic oratorio based on the movie "The Life of Brian." From the opening overture of John Philip Sousa's "The Liberty Bell" — familiar as the theme of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on BBC from 1969-74 — the audience laughed loudly and repeatedly Tuesday night through the second of two shows at the New York City premiere performances. "Not the Messiah" tells the story of Brian, born next door to Jesus and mistaken by others as God's son. There are a mix of musical styles, including rock 'n' roll, gospel and a parody of the "Messiah" in a "Hail to the Shoe!" chorus. The closing number is "Always Look On the Bright Side" — sung by Brian in the movie as he was hanging from a crucifix. There were the seemingly obligatory references to dead parrots and cross-dressing lumberjacks, chorus singers in yellow construction helmets and an appearance by that character from the movie with the lisp. There were jabs at former President George W. Bush and Martha Stewart, with Idle taking delight that for her "cell" once meant more than a mobile telephone. Music featured four bagpipers marching down the aisles, mariachi and Idle spoofing a mumbling Bob Dylan. Singing stuffed sheep ambled onstage during the "We Love Sheep!" chorus. Co-written by Idle and John Du Prez, who helped compose "Monty Python's Spamalot," the oratorio premiered in 2007 in Toronto and was divided in five parts over 80 minutes, not including intermission. Idle, listed in the program as "Baritone-ish" in his role as the singing narrator, was joined by tenor William Ferguson as the bewildered and beleaguered Brian. Mezzo-soprano Victoria Clark sang Brian's kvetching mother Mandy; soprano Lauren Worsham was Brian's sweet-voiced and wide-eyed girlfriend Judith; and bass Marc Kudisch as Brian's buddy Reg, who famously asks: "What have the Romans ever done for us?" Ted Sperling, who like Clark won a Tony Award for "The Light in the Piazza," conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke's and The Collegiate Chorale. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Movies

Viola Davis to join the supervillains of 'Suicide Squad'
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Viola Davis to join the supervillains of 'Suicide Squad'

The actress seen in "The Help" and "How to Get Away with Murder" will play Amanda Waller in the upcoming DC Comics adaptation, Latino Review reports.In the original comics, Amanda Waller is the government agent who gives orders to the Suicide Squad, a group of supervillains that includes The Joker, among others.  To be helmed by David Ayer ("Fury"), the feature will center on a group of characters accustomed to hatching evil schemes and battling Batman or Superman. Convicted and imprisoned, the supervillains agree to undertake life-threatening missions for the US government in exchange for reduced sentences.  "It's a 'Dirty Dozen' with supervillains," Ayer told the British magazine Empire.   Viola Davis is on track to play Amanda Waller, but only if shooting can be worked around her TV schedule, which includes starring in "How to Get Away with Murder." If an arrangement is reached, she will share the screen with Jared Leto, who is cast as The Joker, and Margot Robbie, who will play his henchwoman and girlfriend Harley Quinn. DC Comics and Warner Bros have also enlisted Will Smith as the expert marksman Deadshot, Tom Hardy as the secret agent Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang and supermodel Cara Delevingne as the sorceress known as Enchantress. "Suicide Squad" is due in theaters in August 2016, three months after the release of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Stars and others react to 'Interview' cancellation
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Stars and others react to 'Interview' cancellation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stars, politicians and pundits are weighing in on Sony Pictures Entertainment's decision Wednesday to cancel the Dec. 25 release of "The Interview," the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy at the center of the North Korean cyberattack that has seen thousands of Sony's private documents and other proprietary materials released online: — "Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers. Also, Sony Hackers - I really liked Tyler Perry in "Gone Girl" so hold off on doing anything yet with Madea." — Michael Moore on Twitter. — "Sony has absolutely no courage or guts. They should have never pulled it." — Donald Trump via video on Facebook. — "No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent." — Newt Gingrich on Twitter. — "Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul" — Steve Carell on Twitter. — "We should not let a pathological regime in N. Korea intimidate us. I'd be 1st on line to see #TheInterviewMovie. Dear @SonyPictures - please make #TheInterviewMovie available in DVD so I can decide whether to see it, not N. Korea." — Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York, on Twitter. — "Today the U.S. succumbed to an unprecedented attack on our most cherished, bedrock principle of free speech by a group of North Korean terrorists who threatened to kill moviegoers in order to stop the release of a movie. The wishes of the terrorists were fulfilled in part by easily distracted members of the American press who chose gossip and schadenfreude-fueled reporting over a story with immeasurable consequences for the public--a story that was developing right in front of their eyes. My deepest sympathies go out to Sony Pictures, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and everyone who worked on 'The Interview.'" — Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin in a statement. — "An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent." — Jimmy Kimmel to Judd Apatow on Twitter. — "This only guarantees that this movie will be seen by more people on Earth than it would have before. Legally or illegally all will see it." — Judd Apatow on Twitter. — "Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow. Saw @Sethrogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today." — Rob Lowe on Twitter. — "Is that all it takes - an anonymous threat and the numbers 911 - to throw free expression under the bus?" — Bill Maher on Twitter. — "THE INTERVIEW is now poised to shatter the world record for "spite viewings."" — Comedian Patton Oswalt on Twitter. — "My recommendation would be that people go to the movies." — President Obama to ABC News. ___ AP Entertainment Writers Lindsey Bahr and Sandy Cohen contributed to this report. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Star of 'Dear White People' joins 'Rocky' spin-off
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Star of 'Dear White People' joins 'Rocky' spin-off

Tessa Thompson, the incendiary female lead from provocative college comedy "Dear White People," is to feature in the "Rocky" spin-off "Creed."The picture sees Sylvester Stallone return to the role of champion boxer Rocky Balboa, with Michael B. Jordan as the grandson of Apollo Creed. Creed Sr., played by Carl Weathers in the six previous "Rocky" films, started out as Balboa's ring rival before becoming a close friend and Rocky's manager, and even though the character died during the opening fight of "Rocky IV," he was still referenced during the film franchise's subsequent two films. By contrast, "Creed" will see Michael B. Jordan's gifted young fighter come under the tutelage of Rocky himself, as the up and coming pugilist from a privileged background seeks to establish himself against his family's wishes. Thompson will star opposite Jordan and Stallone, reports Deadline, though her role remains under wraps for now. The year, she won widespread recognition for her portrayal of college radio host Sam White in Justin Simien's 2014 film "Dear White People," and she plays student leader Diane Nash in the Martin Luther King civil rights historical "Selma," which is in the running for several Golden Globes and due December 25. Ryan Coogler is helming "Creed," having directed the 2013 multi-award winning "Fruitvale Station," which also had Michael B. Jordan in a starring role. Production is to start in January. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Pixels': Pac-Man and Space Invaders attack
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
'Pixels': Pac-Man and Space Invaders attack

Sony Pictures has revealed four posters for "Pixels." Directed by Chris Columbus, the comedy feature brings classic 2D video game characters like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Centipede into the 3D world.Last August, "Pixels" amused the internet with a series of photos from the set, which showed Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones") sporting an impressive mullet and joined by other cast members including Ashley Benson and Josh Gad. Directed by Chris Columbus, "Pixels" centers on a team of video games experts hired by the government. Their mission: to combat an alien invasion that takes the form of characters from famous 1980s titles such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Centipede. As seen in the new posters, giant 3D versions of the 2D graphics launch attacks on cities around the world, including San Francisco, London, Tokyo and Paris. Michelle Monaghan and Adam Sandler are also among the stars of this offbeat comedy, which is due in theaters on August 5, 2015. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Saving Private Ryan' among films being preserved
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
'Saving Private Ryan' among films being preserved

WASHINGTON (AP) — "Saving Private Ryan" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" are among 25 movies being inducted this year into the National Film Registry for long-term preservation, the Library of Congress announced Wednesday. The library selected films for their cultural, historic or aesthetic qualities. This year's selections span the years 1913 to 2004. They include such familiar and popular titles as "The Big Lebowski" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," while others were milestones in film history. Stephen Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" from 1998 was chosen in part for its ultra-realism with scenes depicting "war as hell." On a lighter note, the comedy "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" from 1986 was chosen as the first film on the registry from the late director John Hughes. Curators noted Ferris Bueller emerged as one of the great teen heroes of film. The oldest selection dates to 1913 and is believed to be the earliest surviving feature film starring black actors. Vaudevillian Bert Williams gathered with black performers in New York City to make the film "Bert Williams Lime Kiln Club Field Day." The film was discovered 100 years later in the film vault at the Museum of Modern Art. The Library of Congress runs a major film preservation effort at its audio-visual conservation center built inside a Cold War-era bunker in Culpeper, Virginia. With this year's additions, the National Film Registry now includes 650 films — a small part of the library's motion picture collection, which contains 1.3 million items. "By preserving these films, we protect a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history," Librarian of Congress James Billington said in announcing the new selections. Some of the most endangered films are silent films. A report from the library last year found 70 percent of the nation's silent feature films have been lost and only 14 percent still exist in their original 35 mm format. The silent films selected for preservation this year include "The Dragon Painter" from 1919, starring Hollywood's first Asian star, Sessue Hayakawa, and the 1916 silent film "Shoes," which examined poverty and prostitution, curators said. Other films were chosen for their cultural significance. A 1976 independent film entitled "Please Don't Bury Me Alive!" that was chosen for the registry is considered by historians to be the first Chicano feature film. Set in a San Antonio barrio, filmmaker Efrain Gutierrez explored his story as a young Chicano man, questioning his people's place in society at the end of the Vietnam War as thousands of his Latino brethren returned home in coffins. Others faced segregation, poor schools and a justice system that was filling prisons with Chicanos. The filmmakers were angry with how Hollywood portrayed Mexican Americans. "We were invisible in our own national culture," Gutierrez said in a written statement. "We were being buried alive." ___ National Film Preservation Board: http://www.loc.gov/film ___ Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat . Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Film students to play role in Academy Awards show
Thursday Dec 18, 2014
Film students to play role in Academy Awards show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As many as six aspiring filmmakers will appear in next year's Academy Awards ceremony, and Channing Tatum will help them get there. Oscar producers said Wednesday they're bringing back the Team Oscar program that invites young filmmakers to play a role in the awards show. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron say Tatum will once again serve as spokesman for Team Oscar and help choose its members. The actor posted a video on YouTube inviting students to submit a 60-second video through the film academy's Facebook page to audition. American citizens ages 18 to 30 are eligible, and submissions are due Jan. 12. The winning artists will be flown to Los Angeles to participate in Oscar week activities and appear on the Oscar ceremony as trophy carriers. ___ Online: http://youtu.be/LoWK3WqxmwI Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sequel to Mandela's autobiography to be published in 2015
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Sequel to Mandela's autobiography to be published in 2015

A sequel to the late Nelson's Mandela's autobiography "The Long Walk to Freedom" is to be published in South Africa next year, the former president's foundation said Wednesday. The book titled "The Presidential Years", which Mandela began writing in 1998, will be based on his five years in office. He had already drafted 10 chapters "when he finally ran out of steam" in 2002, said the foundation which has released a handwritten manuscript of the opening sentences of the book. "The book will be based on the 10 chapters written by Mandela himself," Danielle Melville, the spokeswoman for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, told AFP. She did not say who has been brought in to finish the book. The foundation, which oversees the legacy of South Africa's first black president said it had "embarked on a project to see the completion of 'The Presidential Years' as an authorised account of Mr. Mandela's presidency." The hand-written draft opens with a poignant passage: "Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go. Some leave nothing behind, not even their names. It would seem that they never existed at all." Mandela died a year ago at the age of 95 after a long illness. His first internationally acclaimed autobiography published in 1995 has been translated into numerous languages and adapted into an award-winning film. Mandela left instructions for the draft to be handed to five of his comrades for comments, including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, who was also jailed with Mandela on Robben Island. The internationally revered anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before coming out to lead South Africa after the fall of apartheid in 1994. He only served a single five-year term as president, stepping down from office in 1999 having laid the foundation for a united South Africa. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Eric Idle brings 'Not the Messiah' to Carnegie Hall
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Eric Idle brings 'Not the Messiah' to Carnegie Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — And now for something completely different. During a time of year when Handel's "Messiah" is frequently presented around the world, Eric Idle of Monty Python fame brought "Not The Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)" to Carnegie Hall, a comedic oratorio based on the movie "The Life of Brian." From the opening overture of John Philip Sousa's "The Liberty Bell" — familiar as the theme of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on BBC from 1969-74 — the audience laughed loudly and repeatedly Tuesday night through the second of two shows at the New York City premiere performances. "Not the Messiah" tells the story of Brian, born next door to Jesus and mistaken by others as God's son. There are a mix of musical styles, including rock 'n' roll, gospel and a parody of the "Messiah" in a "Hail to the Shoe!" chorus. The closing number is "Always Look On the Bright Side" — sung by Brian in the movie as he was hanging from a crucifix. There were the seemingly obligatory references to dead parrots and cross-dressing lumberjacks, chorus singers in yellow construction helmets and an appearance by that character from the movie with the lisp. There were jabs at former President George W. Bush and Martha Stewart, with Idle taking delight that for her "cell" once meant more than a mobile telephone. Music featured four bagpipers marching down the aisles, mariachi and Idle spoofing a mumbling Bob Dylan. Singing stuffed sheep ambled onstage during the "We Love Sheep!" chorus. Co-written by Idle and John Du Prez, who helped compose "Monty Python's Spamalot," the oratorio premiered in 2007 in Toronto and was divided in five parts over 80 minutes, not including intermission. Idle, listed in the program as "Baritone-ish" in his role as the singing narrator, was joined by tenor William Ferguson as the bewildered and beleaguered Brian. Mezzo-soprano Victoria Clark sang Brian's kvetching mother Mandy; soprano Lauren Worsham was Brian's sweet-voiced and wide-eyed girlfriend Judith; and bass Marc Kudisch as Brian's buddy Reg, who famously asks: "What have the Romans ever done for us?" Ted Sperling, who like Clark won a Tony Award for "The Light in the Piazza," conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke's and The Collegiate Chorale. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Star of 'Dear White People' joins 'Rocky' spin-off
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Star of 'Dear White People' joins 'Rocky' spin-off

Tessa Thompson, the incendiary female lead from provocative college comedy "Dear White People," is to feature in the "Rocky" spin-off "Creed."The picture sees Sylvester Stallone return to the role of champion boxer Rocky Balboa, with Michael B. Jordan as the grandson of Apollo Creed. Creed Sr., played by Carl Weathers in the six previous "Rocky" films, started out as Balboa's ring rival before becoming a close friend and Rocky's manager, and even though the character died during the opening fight of "Rocky IV," he was still referenced during the film franchise's subsequent two films. By contrast, "Creed" will see Michael B. Jordan's gifted young fighter come under the tutelage of Rocky himself, as the up and coming pugilist from a privileged background seeks to establish himself against his family's wishes. Thompson will star opposite Jordan and Stallone, reports Deadline, though her role remains under wraps for now. The year, she won widespread recognition for her portrayal of college radio host Sam White in Justin Simien's 2014 film "Dear White People," and she plays student leader Diane Nash in the Martin Luther King civil rights historical "Selma," which is in the running for several Golden Globes and due December 25. Ryan Coogler is helming "Creed," having directed the 2013 multi-award winning "Fruitvale Station," which also had Michael B. Jordan in a starring role. Production is to start in January. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Clinton denounces torture, says black lives matter
Wednesday Dec 17, 2014
Clinton denounces torture, says black lives matter

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she's proud to have been part of an administration that "banned illegal renditions and brutal interrogations" and said the U.S. should never be involved in torture anywhere in the world. Clinton spoke about the importance of the nation acting in accordance with its values after receiving an award from The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights at a gala in New York. "Today we can say again in a loud and clear voice that the United States should never condone or practice torture anywhere in the world," Clinton told the audience. "That should be absolutely clear as a matter of both policy and law, including our international treaty obligations." The remarks marked Clinton's first on the subject since the release of a Senate report last week investigating the CIA's interrogation techniques after 9/11. The report has sparked questions about the appropriate use of force in the war against terrorism. Clinton said that recent world events, including the mass murder of children in Pakistan and the siege in Sydney, Australia, "should steel our resolve and underscore that our values are what set us apart from our adversaries." Clinton said Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968, would agree that it's "possible to keep us safe from terrorism and reduce crime and violence without relying on torture abroad or unnecessary force or excessive incarceration at home." Clinton, a former first lady, New York senator and U.S. Secretary of State, is considering another run for president and is viewed as the likely Democratic nominee if she runs. She was honored at the Kennedy organization's star-studded Ripple of Hope Award ceremony. Clinton also addressed the recent protests that have raged across the country, and drew links between violence at home and abroad. She declared, "yes, black lives matter," a mantra of demonstrators around the country who have been protesting recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers involved in the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York. She wondered what Kennedy would say about "the thousands of Americans marching in our streets demanding justice for all," and "the mothers who've lost their sons." "What would he say to all those who have lost trust in our government and our other institutions, who shudder at images of excessive force, who read reports about torture done in the name of our country, who see too many representatives in Washington quick to protect a big bank from regulation but slow to take action to help working families facing ever greater pressure," Clinton said. Entertainers Robert De Niro and Tony Bennett and Physicians Interactive Chairman Donato Tramuto also were honored. The nonprofit says the award is meant to laud business leaders, entertainers and activists who demonstrate commitment to social change and "reflect Robert Kennedy's passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that we all must strive to 'make gentle the life of this world.'" Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.