Thursday May 28, 2015

Two new seasons of ‘Serial' in development

The makers of the hit true-crime podcast have confirmed that a third season of the show is also coming next spring.The first season of "Serial" investigated an unsolved murder in Baltimore committed in 1999 and in doing so became an internet sensation by the time it came to an end in October. ...
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TV

Two new seasons of ‘Serial' in development
Thursday May 28, 2015
Two new seasons of ‘Serial' in development

The makers of the hit true-crime podcast have confirmed that a third season of the show is also coming next spring.The first season of "Serial" investigated an unsolved murder in Baltimore committed in 1999 and in doing so became an internet sensation by the time it came to an end in October.  Thanks to that success and a host of donations from a growing group of fans, the podcast's creators, Sarah Koeing and Julie Snyder have revealed that not one, but two new seasons of the show are in the works. However, what the new shows, the first of which will air this autumn, will be about is a closely guarded secret. Speaking to The AV Club, all that Serial's creators would say of the follow-up seasons was that: "They're very different from season one, but no less interesting to us." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Outlander' finale: responsible violence in drama
Thursday May 28, 2015
'Outlander' finale: responsible violence in drama

NEW YORK (AP) — Rape is dramatic. No wonder it's a tried-and-true device for TV drama. It's certainly a staple of "Game of Thrones," the wildly popular HBO series whose disapproving viewers "fear that rape has become so pervasive in the drama that it is almost background noise: a routine and unshocking occurrence," as The New York Times said in a front-page story a year ago. That uproar was renewed recently by a rape scene in the episode that aired May 17. But oddly for a series whose untamed storytelling savors graphic violence of all kinds, this particular rape (of a young virgin bride by her brutish husband on their wedding night) was contained in a brief scene staged completely off-camera. If this depiction, downright demure for "Game of Thrones," was meant as an olive branch to outspoken detractors, the gesture didn't work. Reaction was swift and harsh, including that from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), who tweeted that the scene was "gratuitous" and "disgusting," adding that she was "done" with the show. Viewers who agree may likewise want to skip the season finale of Starz network's period drama "Outlander." Meanwhile, viewers with an open mind are invited to share an unflinching dramatization of violence — sexual and otherwise — that nonetheless reflects care and artistry. And they may want to heed this spoiler alert and stop reading here until they see it. (The episode airs Saturday at 9 p.m. EDT.) "Outlander," based on Diana Gabaldon's best-selling novels, focuses on Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a lovely British Army nurse who was mysteriously swept from her 1940s world back to the 18th century, where she fell in love with a dashing Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). But their romance, not to mention their lives, are placed in constant jeopardy by Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall (Tobias Menzies), a maniacal British Redcoat officer who means to break the man he regards as his archrival. "I just want this to be a pleasant experience for us both," he tells Jamie with chilling courtliness as the punishment that dominated last week's episode intensifies in the dungeon cell where he is holding Jamie captive. "It's not the usual place you take your male lead characters," admits executive producer Ronald D. Moore, the sci-fi maestro celebrated for "Battlestar Galactica," ''Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He explains that in reading the "Outlander" canon when he began work on the series, he realized this scene, looming for him at season's end, would pose a special challenge. "There was a lot of conversation in the writers room about how we were going to make the adaptation to film," he says. "And once we had our scripts, I carved out extra time for the actors so they would be prepared for where we were gonna go. "I don't like depictions of torture on camera," he says. "To shoot this, I had to tell myself, 'I'm going to be as frank, direct and truthful as I can, but there's a point where I wouldn't want to watch it. And that's the point where I'm going to cut.' I don't want to lose my audience, and I don't want to lose ME — I couldn't lose my own investment in the story by going to a place I felt was exploitative, which I detest." Television has dealt viewers many memorable instances of rape: Joan Holloway by her fiance on "Mad Men." Anna Bates by the valet of a visiting lord on "Downton Abbey." Dr. Jennifer Melfi, attacked and raped in a parking-garage stairwell in "The Sopranos." Nor has male rape been absent from the TV screen. On HBO's prison drama "Oz," which aired from 1997-2003, such attacks were commonplace. And 30 years ago on the NBC hospital drama "St. Elsewhere," Dr. Jack Morrison was raped by a male inmate while performing community service in the penitentiary's clinic. When depicted responsibly, rape is treated not only as a violent act but also as a storm of reactions by its victim (Jamie, filled with shame and guilt, tells Claire he did "too much and not enough" in response to his assailant) that collectively drive home why rape has no place in a civilized world. Even so, despite his care, Moore is braced for some viewers to object to what they see on Saturday's "Outlander." "I'm sure we'll take some flak," he says. "It was going to be controversial whenever it aired, and at this moment, 'Game' is getting play on that issue. So I'm sure we'll get swept up in the same conversation. But I hope people judge our show on its own merits." _____ EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore ___ Online: http://www.starz.com Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Frazier Moore from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Beyblade' to become a live action feature
Thursday May 28, 2015
'Beyblade' to become a live action feature

Paramount Pictures, the company that turned Hasbro toys 'Transformers' and 'GI Joe' into feaure franchises is back at it with 'Beyblade.'A live action feature starring the customizable toys that represent traditional Japanese fighting tops is to be produced by Mary Parent through her Disruption Entertainment banner along with Paramount, who has aquired the rights, reports Deadline Hollywood. 'Beyblade' toys are manufactured by Takara-Tomy, the same creator that conceived 'Transformers,' and they have already inspired several TV series, cartoons and video games on an international scale. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Kanye West says he was 'over-censored' at Billboard Awards
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Kanye West says he was 'over-censored' at Billboard Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kanye West is apologizing to TV viewers who saw his performance on the Billboard Music Awards. The rapper released a statement Tuesday saying he was "grossly over-censored" during his performance on the show. He says some of his lyrics were muted for 30 seconds, which misrepresented his voice and performance. The audience at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena booed as West performed his songs "All Day" and "Black Skinhead" at Sunday's ceremony, which was broadcast on ABC. West's statement apologizes to the television audience, who he says was "unable to enjoy the performance the way he envisioned." ABC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

David Duchovny takes a dangerous '60s trip in 'Aquarius'
Wednesday May 27, 2015
David Duchovny takes a dangerous '60s trip in 'Aquarius'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Between wrapping "Californication" and the return of "The X-Files," David Duchovny is making a detour to the mind-bending 1960s. In NBC's drama "Aquarius," he plays a Los Angeles police detective whose search for a missing teen leads to a would-be rock star destined to become the era's bogeyman: Charles Manson. "Aquarius," which airs weekly after its 9-11 p.m. EDT Thursday debut, also will be available for online binging. In a network experiment that echoes a Netflix-style release, NBC is putting the full 13-episode season on NBC.com, the NBC app and other video-on-demand platforms following the premiere. The series gives Duchovny the chance to play a character far different from his hallmark TV roles of a sex-obsessed writer on Showtime's dark romp and a rule-breaking FBI agent from Fox's eerie 1993-2002 drama. LAPD Detective Sam Hodiak of "Aquarius" is a decorated World War II veteran dismayed to see the stalwart 1940s and staid '50s give way to drugs, rock 'n' roll and political tumult. "He is walking around looking at these kids with long hair and thinking, 'This is what I killed for? This is what I would have been killed for?'" Duchovny said. "In many ways he's the perfect guy to look through Manson. Manson's a fake ... a 35-year-old guy manipulating young girls." But in the polarized '60s, Manson was co-opted as a symbol of the dangers of social upheaval, the actor said. The series opens two years before the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, among the killings that led to the convictions of Manson (played by Gethin Anthony, "Game of Thrones") and his followers. Duchovny said he wasn't deliberately trying to distance himself from his past work by portraying a tough cop with a crew cut. "I want to do the best thing I can. But when the best thing that came across my desk was this ('Aquarius'), I wasn't unhappy that it was a straight-laced character. I wasn't unhappy that he was establishment," the actor said. Hodiak, who's going through a divorce and harbors creative passions, is a complex man, not a stereotype like the stoic police hero in TV's old "Dragnet" series, Duchovny added. "He's not Sgt. Joe Friday. But you'd probably think Joe Friday was Joe Friday night" if you met him, said Duchovny, smiling. It's a pun worthy of his wry "X-Files" hero Mulder, whom he'll play again in a six-episode sequel set for January. Duchovny, 54, hasn't been kicking back while awaiting production on the Fox series. His debut album, "Hell or Highwater," was released earlier this month — "I found out I was a musician really late in life" — and a second novel, after the well-received "Holy Cow," is upcoming. At this moment, he was hawking his tunes. "You can order the album today and you can get the single, $9.99," he said, teasingly. "Come on." ___ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber . ___ Online: http://www.nbc.com/ Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Bond is back, and so is Pussy Galore
Thursday May 28, 2015
Bond is back, and so is Pussy Galore

The next authorized James Bond novel will be called "Trigger Mortis" and as well as resurrecting one of Ian Fleming's most iconic Bond girls, the new book will also feature elements from a treatment that Fleming himself wrote before his death in 1964.Written by Anthony Horowitz -- the novelist behind the highly successful "Alex Rider" spy novels for young adults -- "Trigger Mortis" will pick up quite literally where 1957's "Goldfinger" left off and will make its official debut on September 8 when it is published by Orion. The information about the latest authorized Bond book was revealed on Thursday, the day that would have marked Ian Fleming's 107th birthday. And along with the cover design, title and major characters, Horowitz also revealed that some of the book is based on a discarded treatment for a Bond TV script that Fleming had written -- "Murder on Wheels" which sees the British spy caught up in a Formula One Grand Prix at Germany's Nurburgring. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Beyblade' to become a live action feature
Thursday May 28, 2015
'Beyblade' to become a live action feature

Paramount Pictures, the company that turned Hasbro toys 'Transformers' and 'GI Joe' into feaure franchises is back at it with 'Beyblade.'A live action feature starring the customizable toys that represent traditional Japanese fighting tops is to be produced by Mary Parent through her Disruption Entertainment banner along with Paramount, who has aquired the rights, reports Deadline Hollywood. 'Beyblade' toys are manufactured by Takara-Tomy, the same creator that conceived 'Transformers,' and they have already inspired several TV series, cartoons and video games on an international scale. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: Bujalski bulks up with a starrier cast in 'Results'
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Review: Bujalski bulks up with a starrier cast in 'Results'

In Andrew Bujalski's directorial debut "Funny Ha Ha" — the film often cited as the first "mumblecore" movie — its aimless protagonist Marnie, recently graduated from college, writes a to-do list charming in its modest ambition: "Make friends with Jackie." ''Learn to play chess?" ''Fitness initiative!" Bujalski's last film crossed one of those off the list (the '80s-set black-and-white mockumentary "Computer Chess"), and now he has taken his characters to the gym. The fitness world, where Bujalski's latest, "Results," is set, might seem like the most unlikely place for the Austin-based indie director to turn; his scruffy, nerdy characters would probably only blink stoically if presented with a treadmill. But, as with Marnie's list, Bujalski has always been both stirred and amused by the impulse for personal growth. "Results," itself, is a bulking up for Bujalski. Though still a low budget independent film, it cost more than his other four films combined and stars big name actors, including Guy Pearce and Colbie Smulders. This is a radical shift for Bujalski, who's synonymous with Cassevetes-like lo-fi productions made with non-professional actors. The (seeming) lack of polish in his films isn't merely a stylistic preference but an aesthetic principle: He favors natural, awkward behavior — familiar and mundane — over more mannered, movie-like performance. "Results" embodies both approaches in two totally opposite characters. Guy Pearce is Trevor, the fit, uber-positive owner of the Power 4 Life gym, where in stumbles Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a slovenly, divorced New Yorker who has inherited a huge sum of money and is now lazily living in an unfurnished Texas McMansion. "I want to be able to take a punch," he mumbles to Trevor. Trevor assigns him his top trainer, Kat (Smulders), an obsessive believer in fitness who shames anyone who drops out of a routine and (literally) chases down a suburban mom behind on her payments, cursing her as a "deadbeat." Despite their differences, she and Danny hit it off, and a kind of romantic triangle develops, along with Trevor, who has a vague history with Kat. It's a rom-com setup but one that disintegrates. The movie, which Bujalksi also wrote, instead follows more unpredictable story lines as Trevor, Danny and Kat each struggle in their own way to find fulfillment. Danny, unkempt and slovenly but honest and easygoing, upends the prescribed wellness programs of Power 4 Life. "We may disagree on the definition of health," he tells Kat, lighting a joint. They make an appealing triad. When younger, Pearce was a bodybuilder in his native Australia, and the character — composed, genial — suits him. Corrigan has long been one of the best character actors around: a laconic, deadpan presence who brings a sweet melancholy to even the smallest of parts. Nothing proves Bujalski's smarts as much as casting him in a leading role. But it's Smulders who takes hold of the film. Her angry intensity animates the story, prodding it along. Smulders has excelled as a member of ensembles ("How I Met Your Mother," ''The Avengers"), but "Results" suggests she can lead, too. Bujalski balances each character, shifting between perspectives in a way that doesn't always feel natural (some background is revealed artificially late in the movie). But the pleasure of "Results" is that it does something few movies do by sensitively burrowing into the foolhardy but admirable hopes and aspirations of regular people trying to improve themselves, whether it means a "fitness initiative" or something else. Change may be impossible, but progress isn't. "Results," a Magnolia Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "for language, some sexual content and drug use." Running time: 105 minutes. Three stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jake Coyle from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Natalie Portman urges new Harvard graduates to take chances
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Natalie Portman urges new Harvard graduates to take chances

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Natalie Portman advised graduating Harvard seniors Wednesday to use their inexperience to their advantage, saying she has learned that taking calculated risks can lead to life-changing rewards. The Academy Award-winning actress, speaking at Harvard College's Class Day, cited her work in "Black Swan" as an example of a time she didn't know her own limitations — and it paid off. Portman, who won an Oscar for best actress in the 2010 film, said she might not have taken the role if she had known how "woefully unprepared" she was to pull off the movie's ballet moves. "The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk," she said. "And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements." The 33-year-old actress also met her husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of the movie. Portman, who graduated from Harvard in 2003 and starred in the most recent "Star Wars" movies, also cited another personal example: her first experience writing, directing and acting in a movie. The film, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. "Make use of the fact that you don't doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic," she told the graduating seniors. "Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset." Portman's address was a highlight of Wednesday's events, which also included award presentations and student speeches. Harvard seniors receive their diplomas Thursday. Harvard's tradition of inviting a guest speaker to address graduates the day before commencement began in 1968. The first invited guest was civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. His wife, Coretta Scott King, delivered the speech after his assassination. Last year, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg delivered the address. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Prosecutor has no concerns about Lohan community service
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Prosecutor has no concerns about Lohan community service

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A prosecutor said Wednesday it appears Lindsay Lohan has completed more than 100 hours of community service, the final term of her sentence in a 2012 reckless driving case. Santa Monica Chief Deputy City Attorney Terry White said he does not have any concerns about Lohan's work in recent weeks with groups in New York. "It looks like she's completed her hours," White said. His comments came one day before Lohan's lawyer is scheduled to update a judge on the actress' progress. The "Mean Girls" star is under a deadline to complete more than 100 hours of community service by Thursday's court hearing. A judge could end her probation in the case, filed after Lohan crashed on Pacific Coast Highway while on the way to a film shoot in 2012. At a May 7 court hearing, Lohan still had 115 hours of work left. That prompted Superior Court Judge Mark Young to warn that there would be consequences if the actress missed another deadline. Lohan, 28, was ordered to redo 125 hours of service after White objected to her work in London, citing credit she received for meeting with fans of a stage production of "Speed-the-Plow." Lohan received credit for some of her work on the show, despite being assigned to a charity for underprivileged children and disabled adults. If the judge ends Lohan's case, it will be the first time in nearly eight years she has not been on probation in Los Angeles. Lohan was first placed on probation in August 2007 after she was charged with driving under the influence and drug charges after two arrests earlier that year. She failed to complete the terms of that case, prompting judges to sentence her to rehab, jail and morgue duty. In early 2011, Lohan's probation was extended after she was sentenced in a necklace theft case. Both the DUI and theft cases have been dismissed. ___ Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Anthony Mccartney from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Kanye West says he was 'over-censored' at Billboard Awards
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Kanye West says he was 'over-censored' at Billboard Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kanye West is apologizing to TV viewers who saw his performance on the Billboard Music Awards. The rapper released a statement Tuesday saying he was "grossly over-censored" during his performance on the show. He says some of his lyrics were muted for 30 seconds, which misrepresented his voice and performance. The audience at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena booed as West performed his songs "All Day" and "Black Skinhead" at Sunday's ceremony, which was broadcast on ABC. West's statement apologizes to the television audience, who he says was "unable to enjoy the performance the way he envisioned." ABC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Win or not, Tony-nominee Brian d'Arcy James feels victorious
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Win or not, Tony-nominee Brian d'Arcy James feels victorious

NEW YORK (AP) — Brian d'Arcy James throws some serious shade at William Shakespeare in the Tony-nominated musical "Something Rotten." And it has paid off, nicely. Playing the great Bard's fictional adversary in the comedy set in the 16th century has earned James his third Tony Award nomination. But unlike his character, Nick Bottom, win or lose, James already feels victorious. "It's just as thrilling and exciting to be nominated because these things don't happen every day," James said. Nominated twice before — most recently in 2009 for "Shrek the Musical" — James feels happy to be part of a show that earned ten nominations, including nods to co-stars Christian Borle and Brad Oscar. Recently James sat down with The Associated Press to discuss his musical, laughing at Shakespeare, and his friend Jeanine Tesori, the composer of a rival musical, "Fun Home." AP: This is your third Tony nomination. Is being nominated enough? James: It is, actually. I mean, the truth is it is enough. Again, this comes from having gone down the road a couple of times and knowing that you know having been nominated for a Tony twice and not having won doesn't mean the door shuts and it's over. It just means that is an amazing accomplishment, a feather to stick in your hat. AP: 'Something Rotten!' is something really funny. How do you not laugh while onstage? James: It's hard not to, in fact, and I can't say that I haven't been snickering on the side or in full view sometimes... These actors that are inhabiting these roles are all extraordinary, from Gerry Vichi to Peter Bartlett, Heidi Blickenstaff, Brooks Ashmanskas, John Cariani. It's like an all-star team of comedic actors who understand the function of their role, but more importantly, they've all been given this historical text and these characters have been so well drawn and individually created. AP: Is it fun to poke fun at Shakespeare? James: I love this aspect of the show... my character sings a song called, 'God, I Hate Shakespeare.' So for anybody who's gone to see a play by Shakespeare and has been intimidated by the fact that they might not be able to grasp it or latch on to it as quickly as some other people, it's nice to throw some pebbles at him... It takes away the mythic status and shows a guy really good at his job. AP: What's it like to be in a musical that hilariously pokes fun at the idea of a musical? James: I like the idea of trying to imagine a world without musicals, especially in the show. My character is trying to create something that is better than Shakespeare... it's a love letter to all musicals. Though we poke fun at it and say, in 1595, this is what's coming down the road. We're doing it because we absolutely love it. We wouldn't be here if the musicals that preceded it didn't exist. AP: Musicals this season have been like an endangered species. James: That's the bad and the sad news, but the great news is that the difference of options that people have in terms of going to a musical this season are pretty extraordinary. You have very unique interesting shows. Our show is a great, big, classic, original musical comedy. You have 'Fun Home,' which is very interesting beautiful piece of contemporary issues. You have 'An American in Paris,' which is a beautiful ballet by Christopher Wheeldon. AP: What are your thoughts on Jeanine Tesori, along with Lisa Kron, potentially being the first female duo to win a Tony for best original score? James: I love Jeanine Tesori. I've worked with her many times. I was in her workshop production of 'Violet.' She was the musical director for 'Titanic' in the workshop stages. I worked with her very extensively on 'Shrek.' I love her music. I love the way she composes. I love the way she thinks about theater. There's no stone unturned in terms of the sculpting that she does with the song and then those incredible melodic tunes.... I'm very chemically in tune with what she's writing. I love it... She's a real leader and she does it not only by how she works, but who she is. ___ Online: http://www.RottenBroadway.com ___ Follow John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by John Carucci from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Natalie Portman urges new Harvard graduates to take chances
Wednesday May 27, 2015
Natalie Portman urges new Harvard graduates to take chances

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Natalie Portman advised graduating Harvard seniors Wednesday to use their inexperience to their advantage, saying she has learned that taking calculated risks can lead to life-changing rewards. The Academy Award-winning actress, speaking at Harvard College's Class Day, cited her work in "Black Swan" as an example of a time she didn't know her own limitations — and it paid off. Portman, who won an Oscar for best actress in the 2010 film, said she might not have taken the role if she had known how "woefully unprepared" she was to pull off the movie's ballet moves. "The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk," she said. "And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements." The 33-year-old actress also met her husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of the movie. Portman, who graduated from Harvard in 2003 and starred in the most recent "Star Wars" movies, also cited another personal example: her first experience writing, directing and acting in a movie. The film, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. "Make use of the fact that you don't doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic," she told the graduating seniors. "Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset." Portman's address was a highlight of Wednesday's events, which also included award presentations and student speeches. Harvard seniors receive their diplomas Thursday. Harvard's tradition of inviting a guest speaker to address graduates the day before commencement began in 1968. The first invited guest was civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. His wife, Coretta Scott King, delivered the speech after his assassination. Last year, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg delivered the address. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

BAFTA to honor Johnnie To
Wednesday May 27, 2015
BAFTA to honor Johnnie To

The British academy of film is hosting a special event examining and celebrating the acclaimed Hong Kong filmmaker's career.Johnnie To, A Life In Pictures, will be hosted at BAFTA's London headquaters on June 22 in association with the Asian Film Awards Academy, and will see the director look back on his work and discuss his approach to filmmaking. Public tickets for the event go on sale on May 29 and the show will be recorded for future broadcast on BAFTA Guru, one of the organization's online channels. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

US, Swiss target top soccer officials in corruption probe
Wednesday May 27, 2015
US, Swiss target top soccer officials in corruption probe

ZURICH (AP) — The U.S. government launched an attack on what it called deep-seated and brazen corruption in soccer's global governing body Wednesday, pulling FIFA executives out of a luxury Swiss hotel to face racketeering charges and raiding regional offices in Miami. Swiss officials also invaded FIFA headquarters, seizing records and computers to investigate whether the decisions to award World Cups to Russia and Qatar were rigged. Scandals and rumors of corruption have dogged FIFA throughout the 17-year reign of its president, Sepp Blatter, but he was not named in either investigation. He is scheduled to stand Friday for re-election to a fifth, four-year term, and the organization said the vote will go ahead as planned, despite the turmoil. FIFA also ruled out a revote of the World Cup bids won by Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. "We welcome the actions and the investigations by the U.S. and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football," Blatter said in a statement. The organization said it was cooperating fully with the investigation, and one American prosecutor said the charges were only the beginning. Some of the biggest names in soccer said they had complained for years about corruption in FIFA, which oversees the world's most popular sport and generates billions in revenue each year. "I was treated like a crazy person," former soccer great Diego Maradona told radio station Radio La Red in Buenos Aires. "Now the FBI has told the truth." Former Brazilian star Romario, an outspoken FIFA critic, said "someone had to eventually arrest them one day." Authorities conducted early-morning raids in Zurich at FIFA headquarters and the five-star Baur au Lac Hotel. In Miami, FBI and IRS agents carried computers and boxes out of the headquarters of CONCACAF, the governing body of North and Central America and the Caribbean, whose past and current presidents were among 14 defendants named in a 47-count indictment filled with corruption charges that include wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering conspiracy. Swiss police arrested seven soccer officials at the request of American prosecutors and threatened them with extradition to the U.S. Four other soccer and marketing officials and two corporate entities agreed to plead guilty, and prosecutors said they agreed to forfeit more than $150 million in illegal profits. "Beginning in 1991, two generations of soccer officials ... used their positions of trust within their respective organizations to solicit bribes from sports marketers in exchange for the commercial rights to their soccer tournaments," U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in New York. "They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament." Richard Weber, head of the IRS Criminal Division, called the case "the World Cup of fraud." Kelly T. Currie, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the 161-page indictment detailed decades of "brazen corruption" and said prosecutors will probe the role of banks involved. "The ultimate victim is soccer at large: it's the fans, it's the organization," Currie said. "The reason that these people were able to make so much money corruptly is just the love people have for the sport." Two current FIFA vice presidents were among those arrested and indicted, Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands and Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay. The others are Eduardo Li of Costa Rica, Julio Rocha of Nicaragua, Costas Takkas of Britain, Rafael Esquivel of Venezuela and Jose Maria Marin of Brazil. All seven are connected with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, South America's governing body, and face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. FIFA suspended 11 people, including Webb and Figueredo, from all soccer-related activities. Webb called himself a reformer when he was elected as CONCACAF president in 2012. Prosecutors alleged part of the bribe money directed to Webb was transferred to the account of a contractor building a swimming pool at Webb's home in Loganville, Georgia. The Swiss justice ministry said six of the seven officials arrested oppose extradition to the United States. American authorities have 40 days to submit the formal extradition request. Four of the men indicted are sports marketing executives and another works in broadcasting. Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice president from Trinidad and Tobago, was among those indicted, and he turned himself in to police in Port-of-Spain after they issued an arrest warrant at the request of U.S. authorities. The Justice Department cited bribes and kickbacks involving media rights deals involving World Cup qualifying matches in the Caribbean and Central America; the Copa America, South America's continental national team championship; the Copa Libertadores, the continent's club championship; plus the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League. Prosecutors said that when CONMEBOL reached agreements on Copa America deals worth $352.5 million with a new company named Datisa, that company agreed to pay $110 million in bribes to South American soccer officials. A dozen schemes were detailed in the indictment, including $10 million in payments from a FIFA account that ultimately benefited Warner following his 2004 vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup. With the backing of Nelson Mandela, South Africa beat rival bids from Morocco and Egypt to host that tournament. The Swiss prosecutors' office said the U.S. probe was separate from its investigation but that authorities were working together. The votes to award the World Cups to Russia and Qatar have been surrounded in controversy and accusations of corruption. The Swiss prosecutors' office said it seized "electronic data and documents" at FIFA's headquarters as part of the probe. Swiss police said they will question 10 FIFA executive committee members who took part in the World Cup votes in December 2010. Qatar, a tiny Gulf nation with little soccer tradition, was criticized as a host because of its extreme summer heat. FIFA has since been forced to move the tournament to November-December instead of the usual June-July slot. FIFA hired former U.S. attorney Michael Garcia to investigate the 2018 and 2022 bid process. His findings were never fully released and both Russia and Qatar were confirmed as hosts. Garcia's full report was not released but was turned over to Swiss authorities in November. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, also a FIFA executive committee member, told The Associated Press: "We've got nothing to hide. We're prepared to show everything. We've always acted within the law." Qatari soccer officials declined comment. Hundreds of soccer officials are in Switzerland for the FIFA congress, where Blatter is widely expected to win re-election. Nike, which is not a FIFA sponsor but pays to have the Brazilian and other countries' national teams wear its gear, said it is cooperating with the U.S. investigation. European soccer's governing body said the election should be postponed and that it would consider boycotting the FIFA congress following the arrests. UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said the corruption investigations "tarnish the image of football as a whole." In a sign of the loyalty that Blatter enjoys, however, the Asian Football Confederation opposed a delay and repeated its support for the 79-year-old president. Blatter's only opponent in Friday's election, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, seized on the situation to push his candidacy. "We cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA, a crisis that has been ongoing and is not just relevant to the events of today," he said in a statement. "FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations. ... Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world." ___ AP Sports Writer Rob Harris and Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Zurich, and AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York and Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Graham Dunbar from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.