Saturday Aug 1, 2015
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Incoming "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah said politics and the media will remain targets of the program but the perspective will be distinctively his. "The show still has its voice. It's just I'm at the helm taking things in a slightly different direction, but still trying to get to the same end place," Noah said Wednesday during a Q&A session with TV critics. Outgoing host Jon Stewart is a middle-aged Jewish man from New Jersey, Noah said, while he's a 31-year-old half-black, half-white South African man who's spent about five years in America as he's pursued his comedy career. "Look at issues in America right now, say just about racial inequality, Jon and I come from totally different points of view," he said. "Jon would have to empathize; I myself come from a totally different place." The show is retaining its senior producing staff, Comedy Central has said and which channel executive Kent Alterman reaffirmed at the Television Critics Association session. The emphasis on stability makes sense: "Daily Show" with Stewart has been a cornerstone of the channel's success. Noah said he'll be looking for affirmation from Stewart that he's doing right by the program. Stewart leaves Aug. 6 and Noah takes over Sept. 28. "The biggest pressure ... is living up to the expectations that Jon has of me. Jon believes in me," he said. There will be comparisons made between them, he acknowledged, but it's not his intent to immediately match what Stewart has built over a period of years. "I have a foundation set up by a wonderfully smart, funny man," he said. While the show's emphasis on domestic issues will remain, including how the media addresses them, Noah said he will broaden the long-time emphasis on Fox News Channel because the sources of news in the online era are far more extensive. He also intends to address international issues that are resonating in America, said Noah, who said he speaks seven languages. The comedian was well-received by fans and critics when he performed his stand-up act Tuesday night at a theater in Santa Monica, California. He put the emphasis on topics including black deaths at the hands of law enforcement rather than politics. During Wednesday's Q&A, he was self-assured and relaxed as he fielded questions that included the backlash to jokes that the comedian had tweeted several years ago, including ones that mocked Jews and women. Noah politely dismissed the tweets as a few among many, suggesting they were judged harshly in part because Americans were unfamiliar with him and his comedic perspective. Before coming to the United States, he'd developed an international fan base. "Luckily, Comedy Central hasn't limited me to 140 characters on the show, so I should be able to (speak) in a better, well-formed way," he said. When Noah was asked why he appeared to be so unflappable, he traced it back to a difficult early life that included a household beset by domestic violence and a native country fighting to break free from apartheid. Both his family and country are better off now, he said. "Maybe I've been tainted by hope and optimism. Maybe that's why I'm unflappable. I'm mixed now only in my blood but my life," he said. There are issues that get him "riled up," he added, but he likes to think before he acts. ___ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber. 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.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Dolly Parton wants the upcoming TV movie about her life growing up poor in Appalachia to show viewers the kind of family she thinks is missing on television today. Parton, 69, is working with NBC on the TV movie, which she expects will be coming out later this year for the winter holidays, based on her hit song "Coat Of Many Colors." Eight-year-old actress Alyvia Lind has been cast to play the young Parton in the movie set in the 1950s in East Tennessee. Parton may appear as well. "It really just shows family," Parton said. "I think we're missing that. I don't know if people beside me miss shows like 'The Little House On The Prairie' or 'The Waltons.' But it's kinda like that. It just the simple life back then, back when. It just shows the people who made me who and what I am. It all takes place before I became a star." The 1971 autobiographical track is about how her mother stitched together a winter coat out of scraps of fabric, but how other kids mocked her for the makeshift coat. The movie will contain music, but it's not a musical. Parton is headlining two sold-out shows in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday and Saturday, the first time the country legend has played Music City in a dozen years. Fan interest in Parton and her career shows no sign of waning. She's inspired the "9 to 5" musical, based on her hit song and the movie, and she said there may be more television specials based on stories about her family or even a feature film. "Lord, I've lived so long, I've got a lot of stories to tell," she said inside the historic Ryman Auditorium. "I can't just tell them all in one place; I have to scatter them out." Standing just outside the famous stage, Parton told reporters about her first ever appearance at the Ryman was when she was just 13 years old during a Grand Ole Opry show. "I got the chance to come out and sing and Johnny Cash was hosting that night," she said. "It was a thrill beyond compare. I got an encore and I know now it wasn't cause I was good, it was cause I was little." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Kristin M. Hall from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Hong Kong movie star Daniel Wu is bringing martial arts back to TV in the U.S. with his upcoming series "Into the Badlands," premiering Nov. 19 on AMC. Wu, who stars on the show and is also an executive producer, shared his backstory with a panel of TV critics Friday. Born in California, Wu fell into acting while on a post-college trip to Hong Kong. He was discovered in a bar for a TV commercial, which quickly led to his film career. He's gone on to make more than 60 movies. The six-episode first season of "Badlands" is based on the Chinese novel "Journey to the West." Wu plays a skilled warrior named Sunny who teams up with a young boy named M.K. (Aramis Knight) on a search for enlightenment in a dangerous land. Sunny teaches M.K. martial arts and he becomes an unrivaled fighter. Each episode is to have at least five minutes of fight scenes, but Wu says both the story and martial arts are equally important. "I knew the action had to be kick-ass but also knew we really needed a compelling story," he said. The actor is excited to expand his career to America but says he is grateful to Hong Kong for making him a star. "Everything I have now is because of what the Hong Kong (film) industry gave me," he said. ___ Online: http://www.amc.com/shows/into-the-badlands 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.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The shaggy-haired rocker who set up his amplifier in the posh hotel lobby looked a lot like Fred Armisen. And wasn't that Seth Meyers snapping his picture? It was indeed a bewigged Armisen getting in a few guitar licks and Meyers recording the moment, part of the promotion for IFC's new "Documentary Now!" The series parodying famed documentaries and genres reunites former "Saturday Night Live" colleagues Armisen, Meyers and Bill Hader, with the trio serving as writers and producers (with Rhys Thomas) and Armisen and Hader also starring. "I love that we figured out a way to keep working together," said Meyers, who fitted the project in with his duties as an NBC late-night host. His partners in comedy also are busy: Armisen is the creator and star (with Carrrie Brownstein) of IFC's "Portlandia" and the bandleader for Meyers' show, while Hader stars in the Amy Schumer film "Trainwreck." The series, which boasts Helen Mirren as the host, debuts 10 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 20. As younger viewers, Meyers and Hader said they were impressed by "The Thin Blue Line," the 1988 documentary about a wrongly convicted man. Armisen, on the other hand, fondly recalled being influenced by the 1970s pop parody film, "The Rutles." "That to me was the turning point for a new kind of entertainment," Armisen told a Television Critics Association meeting Friday. His impromptu lobby set was done in character as a fictional rocker, Gene of the Blue Jean Committee, featured in a "Documentary Now!" episode parodying a music chronicle. Others films that come in for ribbing include "Grey Gardens," here reinvented as "Sandy Passages," and the 1922 documentary "Nanook of the North." Alex Buono is the series' director. Meyers said the series doesn't require familiarity with the films being satirized but he thinks there's more awareness of documentaries than ever. "This is a time that documentaries are having a moment" because they are widely available, including on streaming sites, he said, and the hope is that viewers will be drawn to "Documentary Now!" for that reason. 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.
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the kilt wearing trash-talker who headlined the first WrestleMania and later found movie stardom, died Friday. He was 61. The WWE confirmed the death. The wrestling organization provided no additional details. Piper, born Roderick Toombs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the second WWE Hall of Famer to die this summer, following the June death of Dusty Rhodes. Piper's death also comes days after Hulk Hogan, his biggest rival for decades, was fired by the WWE. Hogan had used racial slurs in a conversation captured on a sex tape. Piper and Hogan battled for years and headlined some of the biggest matches during the 1980s. Hogan and Mr. T beat Piper and Paul Orndorff on March 31, 1985, at the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden. Piper was a villain for the early portion of his career, once cracking a coconut over the skull of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. He hosted a popular WWF talk show segment called "Piper's Pit" in the 1980s and later starred in the movie "They Live." WWE chairman Vince McMahon called Piper "one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world." Piper's son, Colt Toombs, posted to Twitter: "My father @R_Roddy_Piper was a great man and my best friend I will miss him forever and will always try to be the man he raised me to be." Piper also went by the nickname "Hot Rod" during his career. Although he was Canadian, he often appeared in a kilt and came to the ring blowing bagpipes in a nod to his Scottish heritage. Piper was best known for his lengthy career with the World Wrestling Federation, now the WWE. He had more than 30 titles to his name and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 2005. "Saddened about the passing of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper," tweeted Paul "Triple H" Levesque, a wrestler and top WWE executive. "He was truly a legend and icon, and will never be forgotten... #ThankYouRoddy #RIP." Piper became a household name because of his rivalry with Hogan, and the involvement of pop star Cyndi Lauper and her friend Captain Lou Albano, also a wrestler. The feud led to an MTV special "The War to Settle the Score" in 1985. Piper was cast as the villain, and his disqualification led to Hogan claiming the WWF championship. A brawl at the end of that fight would lead to the first WrestleMania. Piper also had well-known rivalries with Rick Rude and Adrian Adonis, among others. In addition to his celebrity in the ring, Piper appeared in John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic "They Live." In that film, he delivered the memorable line: "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass — and I'm all out of bubblegum." "He was a great wrestler. He was an underrated actor and just a marvelous entertainer and I feel like I've just lost one of my close friends," Carpenter told The Associated Press. Carpenter said when he last saw Piper, his friend had just had shoulder surgery but was doing well. "His outlook was very good," he said. "Roddy will always be loved because of his wrestling career," Carpenter said. "He really became a legend in pro wrestling. He will not be forgotten." Former "Survivor" star Jonny Fairplay started work in 2001 as Piper's personal assistant. "I would wake him up in the morning and yell at him from the door of his bedroom," he said. "I'd say, 'Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, the guy who never beat Hulk Hogan.'" Fairplay named his daughter Piper in honor of the wrestler. "Rowdy Piper should be remembered as the greatest bad guy of all time," he said. More recently, Piper appeared in the show "Celebrity Wife Swap," trading wives with fellow former wrestler Ric Flair. Piper battled Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006, but later said he had beaten the cancer. In recent months, Piper was active in the charity Stand For The Silent, an organization aimed at honoring the victims of bullying and bringing awareness to the issue. Piper is survived by wife Kitty and their four children. ___ Associated Press writers Anne Peterson and Anthony McCartney 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 Dan Gelston from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
"Batman v. Superman" is linked with "The Hunger Games" actress Jena Malone, director Zack Snyder provides more detail on an Aquaman cameo, and a "Spider-Man" cast list rumor circulates.- Barbara Gordon in Batman v. Superman? - Jena Malone played Johanna Mason in the "Hunger Games" films and worked with Zack Snyder, director of "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," on 2011 action movie "Sucker Punch." Associated with "Batman v. Superman" since October 2014, she was at first thought to be playing Batman's sidekick, Robin. Having dyed her hair red, speculation matched her up with the coloring of "The Dark Knight Returns" female Robin, Carrie Kelley. But another character from the Batman universe is also a fellow coppertop -- Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara -- and it's she who Malone is playing now. That's according to the Latino Review, citing three separate sources on the matter. The revelation opens the door to two possible Barbara Gordon alter egos: another sidekick in Batgirl, or Batman's intelligence adviser Oracle. Barbara was introduced as Oracle in the "Suicide Squad" comics, and Snyder is executive producing on that series' film adaptation which is booked for August 2016. - Aquaman surfacing in March -Speaking of Snyder, the director told Empire Magazine that there's to be a cameo appearance from another DC superhero, Aquaman, in March 2016's "Batman v. Superman." Jason Momoa would pop up in a cameo role, Snyder confirmed in conversation with Empire Magazine, introducing Aquaman several years in advance of a first "Justice League" ensemble in 2017 and his own solo feature in 2018. - Spider-Man cast list - Meanwhile, in Marvel's world, a rumored cast list has been doing the rounds (Latino Review), mixing names already known with a bunch of exciting though unconfirmable suggestions. Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Spider-Man and Marisa Tomei as his Aunt May were already known. A Robert Downey Jr. appearance makes sense, given that Holland screen-tested with him, and his Iron Man character is a linchpin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Others, if correct, suggest an interesting direction for the webspinning reboot. Among them, there was Billy Zane as The Vulture, Jason Biggs as Scorpion, Timothée Chalamet ("Homeland") as a young Harry Osborn and future Green Goblin, Jacob Latimore of "The Maze Runner" as Flash Thompson and newcomer Rachel G. Fox as Mary Jane Watson were all intriguing selections. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Jesse Eisenberg leads the cast in the action comedy in which an undercover government agent who smokes marijuana becomes a target of a government operation.Eisenberg's character Mike discovers he has subconscious skills that could prove to be too much for the rival agents. Eisenberg's credits include "The Social Network," and "Batman v Superman." Kristen Stewart of "The Twilight Saga" and "Still Alive" co-stars. Eisenberg and Stewart worked together on "Adventureland." To watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSgzIJbKNz8&feature=youtu.be Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Batman. Spider-Man. Iron Man. Ant-Man. The list of male superheroes starring in their own big-screen escapades is bigger than Tony Stark's ego, and the billions of dollars these films have generated rival the fortunes of the well-off tinkerer. However, in spite of Hollywood's continued fascination with supermen, a new surge of female power could finally electrify the genre and more closely resemble the audiences of comic book adaptations. That's the apparent takeaway from Marvel Studios' latest release, "Ant-Man." The film concludes with — spoiler alert — Evangeline Lilly's character, Hope Van Dyne, being bestowed with her late mother's prototype superhero suit and alter-ego. When she spots the ensemble, she satisfyingly informs her inventor father, "It's about damn time." It likely is, considering 42 percent of "Ant-Man" ticket buyers on opening weekend were women. "It was always intentional to end the movie that way with Hope saying she's going to be suited up in future adventures," said Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. "Over the year since we shot that, it's taken on a greater meaning out there in the fan community. It's more relevant now than it's ever been." Over the past seven years of interconnected Marvel superhero movies, female characters who are not codenamed Black Widow have mostly been relegated to the sidelines as love interests, sidekicks, damsels in distress or all of the above, making Hope's parting words resonate beyond the screen for viewers who've long been dissatisfied with the lack of female superheroes in movies, despite their decades-long histories in comics. Scarlett Johansson's shadowy agent Black Widow is no longer the sole Marvel movie heroine following the introduction of Zoe Saldana's alien assassin Gamora in last year's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Elizabeth Olsen's mind-bending Scarlet Witch earlier this year in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and Lilly's winged Wasp at the end of "Ant-Man." "Their intentions are in the right place," Lilly said. "They just have to get there. They're breaking new ground. I'm really honored and excited to be part of that, to be one of the pioneering women within the superhero realm, to represent strong women and put more of a female presence into these movies." Andrea Letamendi, a psychologist and comic book expert who recently participated in a talk at San Diego Comic-Con titled, "Building the Modern (Super)Heroine," was disappointed that the filmmakers stopped short of having Lilly's character actually don the Wasp's get-up and help save the day alongside Ant-Man. "When women don't see ourselves represented in an important role, for instance as a superhero, we begin to question our value in society," said Letamendi. "It's surprising that we're still considering that, but it's very true. The clinical term for it is symbolic annihilation, and it has a damaging effect, especially on younger audiences." Letamendi commended Marvel for including smart, savvy female characters, such as Thor's astrophysicist girlfriend Jane Foster and Tony Stark's CEO significant other Pepper Potts, in past films, although she said it would be more socially beneficial for viewers to see women serve as actual superheroes or — better yet — lead the charge against all those killer robots and aliens. Financially, solely focusing on female superheroes has never boosted the bottom line for movie studios. "Supergirl," ''Elektra" and "Catwoman" each failed to dazzle audiences or critics, but that was more than a decade ago before the current superhero boom. Since then, the young-adult, female-led adaptations of "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" series rocketed to the top of the box office, and — as with "Ant-Man" — women accounted for more than 40 percent of the opening weekend crowds for "Age of Ultron" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Regardless of the recent boost of womankind in Marvel's superhero movie line-up and among theatergoers, the Disney-owned studio isn't planning to release a film centered on a singular female superhero until 2018's "Captain Marvel." In the comics, the character is portrayed as a female fighter pilot who lands superpowers after a freak extraterrestrial accident. Warner Bros. will actually beat Marvel to punch a year earlier with a "Wonder Woman" film in 2017 starring Gal Gadot. She'll first pop up as the DC Comics character in next year's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The demigod will later join several male superheroes for a two-part "Justice League" film series. Other than the warrior princess and some female anti-heroes in next year's baddie mash-up "Suicide Squad," the forthcoming cinematic take on DC Comics' super-powered population is expected to be just as dominated by characters with XY chromosomes as the Marvelverse, unless the likes of Batgirl, Black Canary or Hawkgirl swoop in. The scenario is similar for Fox's "Fantastic Four," out Aug. 7. The reboot features a lone lady: Kate Mara's Invisible Woman. Conversely, the movie studio's mutant-filled "X-Men" franchise has always featured a mix of male and female characters over the past 15 years, and next year's "X-Men: Apocalypse" edition will star the series' most diverse cast yet. The question of just how female superheroes can fare on their own with modern audiences will be tested later this year, not in theaters but on small screens. CBS' "Supergirl" and Netflix's "Jessica Jones" are set to debut in the fall. If those serialized DC and Marvel adaptations soar on television, perhaps their superhero sisters will on the big screen, as well. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Derrik J. Lang from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Robert Rodriguez had been waiting for a chance to work with Demi Lovato since she auditioned for his 2003 movie "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over." The El Rey Network creator and executive producer of its TV series "From Dusk Till Dawn" told reporters Thursday the show was a nice fit, so a character was written specifically for the 22-year-old. Aside from her personal connection to the series, which is her relationship with cast member Wilmer Valderrama, Rodriguez said, "I've always been a big fan of hers and she's on tour a lot, so when she'd come to set to visit I threw out that we'd love to put her in somewhere." And he wanted to make sure it was an episode he directed because "she has a great personality" and "great acting chops." Lovato posted photos of herself on set to her Instagram account earlier this month. Rodriguez was cagey about the part, which will be included in the show's second season, premiering Aug. 25 at 9 p.m. ET. "She was fantastic. She's really got a great screen presence. If there's time for her to come back in the series she can," Rodriguez said at a TV critics gathering. "From Dusk Till Dawn" is based on the 1996 film of the same name that went on to be a cult favorite. It stars D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz as brothers in roles made famous by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. ___ Online: http://www.elreynetwork.com/ Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — Lupita Nyong'o, the Oscar-winner for her role in Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" will make her New York stage debut in September. The Public Theater said Thursday that Nyong'o (loo-PEE'-tuh nee-YAHNG'-goh) will star in "Eclipsed," a story of survival and resilience set in post-colonial Africa. It was written by Danai Gurira — who also is stars in "The Walking Dead" — and will be directed by Liesl Tommy. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Nyongo's stage credits include playing Perdita in "The Winter's Tale" and Sonya in "Uncle Vanya" both at Yale Repertory Theater. The Mexican-born Kenyan will next appear in the anticipated "Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens" and will voice a character in Jon Favreau's take on Disney's "The Jungle Book." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
ATLANTA (AP) — Bobbi Kristina Brown, the only child of Whitney Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown, was born and raised in the shadow of her famous parents' hugely public life. She appeared alongside the couple in 2005 on the Bravo reality show "Being Bobby Brown," which showed her parents fighting, swearing and making court appearances. She attended award shows with her mother and father, walked red carpets with them and sang in Central Park with Houston as adoring fans watched. But the 22-year-old woman whose parents freely shared her childhood with the public will be remembered in a private service, whose details have been closely guarded by the Brown and Houston families, their attorneys and their friends, including filmmaker Tyler Perry. Media reports indicate the funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, just north of Atlanta. Bobbi Kristina, who dreamed of growing up to achieve fame like her mother, died in hospice care July 26, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta townhome. For Houston fans, the scene was grimly similar to the way her megastar mother had died three years earlier. She was found in the townhome she shared with Nick Gordon, an orphan three years older, whom Houston had raised as her own. Bobbi Kristina referred to him as her husband. A police report earlier this year described the incident as a drowning, and authorities are investigating her death. In a statement after her death, Brown said the family must find a way to honor his daughter's memory. "Krissy was and is an angel," he said. "I am completely numb at this time. My family must find a way to live with her in spirit and honor her memory. Our loss is unimaginable." Bobbi Kristina was the sole heir of her mother's estate. She identified herself on Twitter as "Daughter of Queen WH," ''Entertainer/Actress" with William Morris & Co., and "LAST of a dying breed." She told Oprah Winfrey shortly after her mother's death in 2012 that she wanted to carry on Houston's legacy by singing, acting and dancing. But her career never took off. In her short life, Bobbi Christina became a social media sensation, sending more than 11,000 tweets and attracting 164,000 followers. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jonathan Landrum Jr. from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — The filmmakers behind a documentary on the toy powerhouse Lego say critics who see the film as a 92-minute commercial for the tiny building blocks are missing the point. "A Lego Brickumentary" opened Friday in limited theatrical release to mixed reviews, with some reviewers complaining the film took an uncritical eye to the toy that captivates children and adults alike. "If there is anyone out there that's looking for a hardcore controversial film they are looking at this film through the wrong lens," Kief Davidson, the film's co-director, said in an interview Friday. His co-director, Daniel Junge, said the film was guided by a genuine affection for the bricks, not any input from the Dutch toymaker. "Lego had no editorial control over the film," Junge said. "The love that you see in the film is coming from us as filmmakers." Their zeal for Lego bricks led some critics to liken the film to a corporate ad or promotional video. "As a movie, it can be as annoying as stepping on a stray LEGO brick with your socks off," New York Daily News reviewer Jordan Hoffman wrote in one of the more unflattering reviews. It clicked better with moviegoers; audiences gave it a 71 score on review site Rotten Tomatoes on Friday night. "A Lego Brickumentary" explores the culture surrounding Legos, which are no longer confined to tables and toy boxes, but include books, video games and a successful feature film. The documentary shows how builders create jets, replica movie sets and functional cars from a product initially created for children. "I don't think anyone would have seen the omnipresence of Legos we see now," said Junge, who won an Academy Award in 2011 for the short documentary, "Saving Face." The film includes recording artist Ed Sheeran, basketball player Dwight Howard and South Park creator Trey Parker describing their love for the toy. Jason Bateman narrates the feature length documentary as an animated Lego mini-figure. The majority of the film, however, explores the bricks' huge adult fan base, known as "Adult Fans of Lego," or AFOLs. Junge was approached to create the film about Brickworld, an annual convention of Lego enthusiasts who show off elaborate creations and learn new building techniques. "We were continuously just lured by the level of quality in the builds and the massive artistic endeavors at the conventions," Davidson said. That prompted the filmmakers to explore the use of Legos for real-life uses such as therapy and architecture, and its role as a gender-neutral toy. "Brickumentary" provided Junge and Davidson the chance to create a movie they can share with their children. Junge's upcoming film "Being Evel" focuses on daredevil Evel Knievel and Davidson is working on a documentary about the ivory crisis. Junge said this is the first time his 7-year-old daughters will see his work and the film gave Davidson an opportunity to bond with his son. "It drew us closer together as father-son and that's something 10 years from now I'll definitely remember," Davidson said. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Luqman Adeniyi from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lynn Anderson, whose strong, husky voice carried her to the top of the charts with "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," has died. She was 67. A statement from the family said she passed away at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. Her publicist said the cause of death was cardiac arrest. Anderson first soaked up the national spotlight as a young singer on "The Lawrence Welk Show" between 1967 and 1969. Although she was signed to an independent label, the exposure helped her nab a deal with Columbia Records in Nashville. "He was absolutely wholesome," she said of Welk in a 1987 interview with The Associated Press. "He felt country music was coming into its own and deserved to be on national TV. At that time, I was the only one singing country music on national TV every week. He's one of my heroes and always will be." And it was "Rose Garden" that sealed her country music legacy, earning her a Grammy and Country Music Association's female vocalist of the year award in 1971. "It was popular because it touched on emotions," she told the AP. "It was perfectly timed. It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years and a lot of people were trying to recover. "This song stated that you can make something out of nothing. You take it and go ahead. It fit me well and I'll be proud to be connected to it until I die." She made television appearances with such stars as Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and Tom Jones and she performed for presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. She was also in episodes of the TV show "Starsky and Hutch" and in the 1982 TV movie "Country Gold." Anderson's other hits included, "Rocky Top," ''You're My Man," ''How Can I Unlove You," ''What a Man, My Man Is" and "Top of the World" (also recorded by the Carpenters). She returned briefly to the country Top 10 with a Gary Morris duet in 1983, "You're Welcome to Tonight." Country star Reba McEntire lauded her accomplishments Thursday. "She did so much for the females in country music," McEntire said in a statement. "Always continuing to pave the road for those to follow." Dolly Parton also said she'd be missed. "Lynn is blooming on God's Rose Garden now. We will miss her and remember her fondly," Parton said in a statement. She was born Sept. 26, 1947, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but raised in Sacramento, California. The daughter of country songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson, she started performing at the age of 6. Anderson was an award-winning equestrian as a teenager, voted California Horse Show Queen in 1966. In her later years she lived in Taos, New Mexico, where she faced a number of legal problems. A Taos judge issued a restraining order in 1995 against Anderson after her boyfriend said she had threatened him following the end of their 12-year relationship. In 2005, Anderson was accused of shoplifting a "Harry Potter" DVD from a Taos supermarket and then punching a police officer as she was being put into a patrol car. She later pleaded no contest to obstructing an officer and was given a conditional discharge, court records show. The year before, Anderson was arrested on drunken-driving charge in Texas, the same week she was nominated for a Grammy for a bluegrass album. She is survived by her father, her partner Mentor Williams and her children, Lisa Sutton, Melissa Hempel and Gray Stream. ____ Associated Press reporter Russell Contreras reporting from Albuquerque, New Mexico contributed to this story. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Kristin M. Hall from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — The federal judge handling Tom Brady's attempt to overturn his four-game suspension ordered the New England quarterback and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to appear in court twice in mid-August. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman told the sides Friday he had scheduled conferences Aug. 12 and 19 "with your principles (including, without limitation, Mr. Goodell and Mr. Brady)." He also requested the parties "engage in comprehensive, good-faith settlement discussions prior to the conference on August 12." Earlier in the day, the NFL and the players' union asked the Manhattan judge in a joint letter to resolve their dispute over Brady's suspension by Sept. 4 — six days before the Patriots' opener against Pittsburgh. The judge did not address that request when he scheduled hearings. Brady is allowed to participate in all preseason and training camp activities. Brady was suspended by NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game in January. Goodell upheld the suspension Tuesday after Brady appealed. The union did not ask the judge to let Brady play while he decides the case. Both sides agreed not to request a preliminary ruling before oral arguments are heard. Neither side is requesting additional evidence, which means Goodell and Brady would be unlikely to testify. Jeffrey Kessler, the lead lawyer on Brady's side, said in his filing with Berman that the parties "agreed ... to a final resolution of this matter prior to the commencement of the 2015 regular season would be in everyone's best interest." The NFL confirmed it took part in filing the letter in an email to The Associated Press. The NFL Players Association argues the punishment "defies the 'law of the shop' and thus the essence of the parties' collective bargaining agreement." The NFL has countered with Goodell having jurisdiction over such matters in the CBA, something the players agreed to when the lockout ended in 2011. Berman already has told both sides to "tone down the rhetoric." In a court filing late Friday, the union called Goodell's new claim this week that Brady "destroyed" his cell phone to thwart the probe a "brand new, hyperbolic and baseless accusation." The union lawyers called it a "complete red herring" because the NFL had all of the relevant text communications by Brady from other Patriots employees. "The shrill emphasis placed by Goodell on Brady discarding an old phone is an attempt to obfuscate and divert attention from the glaring flaws in the award, the arbitration process, and the discipline imposed," they said. Brady and the NFLPA filed suit Wednesday in Minnesota. But the NFL already had filed papers Tuesday in New York, moments after announcing Goodell upheld the suspension. U.S. District Judge Richard H. Kyle, based in Minnesota, ordered the transfer to Manhattan. He noted that Brady plays in Massachusetts, the union is headquartered in Washington and the NFL in New York, Kyle added that "the arbitration proceedings took place in New York and the award was issued in New York." Kessler had said the lawsuit should be heard in Minnesota because it was related to a case involving Adrian Peterson's suspension last season. Kyle countered that the union made "only a fleeting attempt" to link the Brady case to Peterson's. The union is arguing that only a fine would be appropriate for a first offense of this kind, but Brady has maintained his innocence throughout the "Deflategate" saga. ___ AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum and Associated Press Writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Barry Wilner from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Greg Louganis said he was unaware of fellow Olympian Bruce Jenner's gender identity struggle when their paths crossed at the Summer 1976 Games and in later years. The diving great, among the first prominent athletes to come out as gay, said Thursday he has yet to speak with the now-Caitlyn Jenner but can appreciate what she's going through. "We all have our journeys. Whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, we all have our own journeys," Louganis, 55, told reporters during a Q&A session on the HBO documentary "Greg Louganis: Back on Board," debuting Tuesday. The response to Jenner's candor, including her own reality series and an ESPY award for courage, contrasts sharply with Louganis' experience before and after disclosing his orientation in 1992 and, in 1995, that he was HIV-positive. He became the only man in diving history to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both springboard and platform diving, in 1984 and '88, but found that opportunities available to other Olympic stars eluded him. He's said previously he came to believe it was because his sexuality had not remained a secret within his sport when he had yet to come out. Louganis said Thursday he hasn't been asked by longtime Olympic network NBC to serve as a commentator for his sport at the Games. Louganis was asked if thought being gay was a reason NBC didn't hire him. "I think in '92 it was more fear of my health status... in '92, people were still dying," he said, suggesting that NBC somehow gained knowledge of his condition before it was made public. He declined to offer further details. NBC Sports had no comment on Louganis' remarks, a spokesman said. Magic Johnson, who retired from basketball in 1991 after announcing he was HIV positive, was hired by NBC to call games for its 1992 and 1993 NBA Finals coverage. Over the years, Louganis has been a motivational speaker, acted, and written a best-selling memoir titled "Breaking the Surface." He's back in his sport as a mentor to USA Diving's coaches and top competitors and said he will be a TV commentator at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for another network. He won a silver medal as a teenager in the '76 Games, where Jenner was the decathlon champion. Louganis said he's working on a musical about his friendship with Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who had contracted the HIV virus through a blood transfusion and encouraged tolerance of those with AIDS. White died at age 18 in 1990. The HBO documentary, directed by Cheryl Furjanic, promises to examine Louganis' public triumphs and private struggles of a trailblazer. 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.