Thursday Mar 5, 2015

Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame

As he prepares to make an acting comeback opposite Rob Lowe in TV comedy "The Grinder," we cast a look at some of the directorial adventures of '90s child actor Fred Savage, star of "The Wonder Years."Boy Meets World (1999-2000) Only six years after leaving "The Wonder Years," Fred was making...
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TV

Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame

As he prepares to make an acting comeback opposite Rob Lowe in TV comedy "The Grinder," we cast a look at some of the directorial adventures of '90s child actor Fred Savage, star of "The Wonder Years."Boy Meets World (1999-2000) Only six years after leaving "The Wonder Years," Fred was making his directorial debut in 1999 with one of the final (and unaired) episodes of office comedy "Working." But it was behind the camera of another coming-of-age comedy, "Boy Meets World," that Savage got his network debut at the turn of the century, directing his younger brother Ben in two final season episodes. Unfabulous (2004-2005) Before long, Fred was earning director's credits on 10 of the 28 episodes in this teen sitcom's first two seasons, which had Julia Roberts' niece Emma as its lead. Phil of the Future (2005-2006) Fred's move into a producer's role came with Disney's time-traveling family sitcom, and he even scooped a prestigious Director's Guild of America award nomination for one of the nine episodes he directed, "Not-So-Great Great Great Grandpa." He'd be up before the DGA again before too long... Daddy Day Camp (2007) Savage's feature film debut may be his worst effort so far, though in financial terms it was no bomb, making back triple its modest budget in box office returns ($18m). With the cast and crew from Eddie Murphy vehicle "Daddy Day Care" replaced, this follow-up was nominated in five categories at the 28th Golden Raspberry Awards; Savage escaped a Worst Director win but the film took Worst Prequel or Sequel. One year earlier, he starred in TV comedy "Crumbs," which managed five of 13 episodes before being pulled from ABC. Wizards of Waverley Place (2007-2008) This magical high school serial was responsible for not only reinforcing Savage's reputation in the TV business, but also establishing Selena Gomez as a giant Disney TV star. Charged with directing the very first episode, Savage was once more nominated for a DGA, and then again for his "Zeke and Luther" pilot two years later. Modern Family (2011-2015) Further directorial success on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Party Down" brought Fred to "Modern Family." He steered the multi-threaded ongoing comedy to its fourth DGA nomination on only his second time in charge, Season 2's "After the Fire." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Duang!' Chinese poke fun at Jackie Chan with nonsense word
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
'Duang!' Chinese poke fun at Jackie Chan with nonsense word

BEIJING (AP) — Jackie Chan might still be popular in China, but nowadays the pro-Beijing actor is as well-known as fodder for jokes as he is for his gritty martial arts and slapstick humor on screen. His latest contribution to the country's mass culture and entertainment: "duang." It's not a word, but a sound he made in an old TV commercial meaning something like "ta-da!" A new mash-up video of the old ad has made "duang" a trending topic on China's social media. The sound began circulating days before the rubberstamp legislature was called into session this week, and some observers see it as a way for the public to question the credibility of delegates and express dissatisfaction with the political system. Chan, now a quasi-politician appointed to a legislative advisory panel, has been singled out not only because of his celebrity status but for his reputation among many Chinese as someone who has been mercenary in aligning himself politically with China's Communist Party to tap the mainland's movie market. Though the tone of the phrase is more derisive than fun, Chan has been a good sport. "It's quite funny," he told reporters on the steps of Beijing's Great Hall of the People this week. Chan used the sound in a 2004 infomercial to sell shampoo. In the ad, he maintains there was no "duang" — or special effects — to make his hair look blacker, shinier and softer, but that the shampoo itself was responsible. Authorities later ruled that the commercial made false claims, and Chan's reputation suffered. The word "duang" — in its Romanized form — has become one of the hottest expressions in Chinese cyberspace, and parodies of Chan's shampoo endorsement are spreading online. Someone has even proposed a Chinese character for the sound by overlaying the two characters of Jackie Chan's name, though modern Chinese does not officially incorporate new characters. Chan is one of just a few well-known faces connected to the legislature, a body the public has little influence over. "When the legitimacy of these delegates gets questioned, celebrities such as Jackie Chan are the first to be targeted, because the public does not know other delegates," said Beijing-based independent commentator Shi Shusi. "Those jokes relay a sense of anxiety." Chan has been a polarizing figure on his own as well. In 2009, he spoke against freedoms in Hong Kong and Taiwan, saying, "The Chinese need to be supervised, or they will do whatever they please." Last year, he spoke against Hong Kong's democracy protests. In 2013, Beijing appointed Chan to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, or CPPCC, the highest advisory body to the national legislature. "What Jackie Chan has said shows he does not have the sense of right or wrong, but the sense of interest," said Beijing economics professor Hu Xingdou, who called for a boycott of Chan in 2009. Jokes suggesting slyness and snobbery on Chan's part have surfaced one after another in China's cyberspace over the past several years. When his son, Jaycee Chan, was arrested on drug charges last year, the public gloated, pointing out the irony that the father has served as China's anti-drug ambassador. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Didi Tang from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Aretha Franklin welcomes 'Idol' to her hometown of Detroit
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
Aretha Franklin welcomes 'Idol' to her hometown of Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Aretha Franklin not only is the "Queen of Soul." She's also the queen of "American Idol." The music legend welcomed the long-running TV singing competition to her hometown of Detroit Wednesday. The three musically accomplished judges — Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. — and host Ryan Seacrest were on hand at The Fillmore Detroit, as were the contestants. But the star of the show was Franklin. She served as a mentor to the contestants and performed on The Fillmore's stage. Her performance earned a standing ovation and a hug from Seacrest, who said "Idol" planned to honor the music "born on these very streets." Beforehand, Lopez said she, much like the contestants, hoped to pick up some tips from Franklin. "Just seeing a performer like that who's done it for so long and has had such an illustrious career, you can only learn," Lopez said. "If you pay attention, you will learn something today. I know I will be paying attention." Franklin said it was "absolutely super" to have a show she has enjoyed watching for years visit the city that produced "Motown, Berry (Gordy), myself, the (Four) Tops, the Temps (Temptations). "Where else" would you want to be, she asked. This week's "Idol" episodes air on Wednesday and Thursday nights. They feature the remaining 12 male and 12 female contestants. "American Idol" is known for discovering stars, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson. Urban said this season, the show's 14th, is no exception. "There's a good handful of artists that I think are going to be around a long time," he said. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mike Householder from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Walking Dead' town up for sale in killer deal on eBay
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
'Walking Dead' town up for sale in killer deal on eBay

A ghost town in Georgia which was used as a filming location for the popular zombie series "The Walking Dead" has been put up for sale on eBay.For just $680,000 USD, the successful bidder would snatch up nine buildings including retail and residential spaces, loft apartments, a pizza restaurant, pub, pharmacy and office space, some of which were featured in season three of the popular AMC drama "The Walking Dead." Former Grantville mayor and current owner Jim Sells is hoping that the town’s claim to fame will help him accelerate the sale of nine buildings he had purchased out of foreclosure. The sleepy town has also been cast to appear in three more movies, alongside “two very well known actors” and the sequel to the horror flick “The Ring,” says Sells. Recently, the offer was upgraded to include the possibility of purchasing two additional historic buildings in the downtown area, to represent 90 percent of the town. For 11 properties, the price is $940,000. In an interview with local Atlanta TV station WXIA TV, which first spotted the deal, Sells said that while Grantville was formerly a textiles town, the area’s main form of revenue now comes from "Walking Dead" tourists. Popular TV shows and movies have emerged as one of the travel industry’s biggest supporters, spawning fan-driven markets around the world. “Breaking Bad,” another popular AMC series which recently ended, helped put Albuquerque, New Mexico on the map drawing hordes of fans to the desert town and birthing guided tours and souvenirs based on the show. Similarly, the British period drama “Downton Abbey” helped propel Highclere Castle and the surrounding, English countryside into the travel spotlight, while Crystal Cruises added an excursion to filming locations in Northern Ireland for “Game of Thrones” fans. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Jessie Usher to follow in Will Smith's footsteps in 'Independence Day 2'
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
Jessie Usher to follow in Will Smith's footsteps in 'Independence Day 2'

The young American actor will play the son of Will Smith's character in the sequel to the science-fiction blockbuster, which Roland Emmerich will return to direct. But who is Jessie Usher?Just after turning 23, the actor has picked up a major role in "Independence Day 2," which will also star Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum. In the follow-up to the 1996 film, Jessie Usher will play Dylan Hiller, the son of the alien-fighting pilot Captain Steve Hiller, played by Will Smith two decades ago. Is Usher headed for a career as glorious as that of his predecessor? In 1996, the blockbuster marked a turning point for Smith, transforming him from a beloved TV celebrity to an extremely bankable Hollywood star. "Independence Day" earned $800 million at the global box office, becoming the second most lucrative film in history at the time, behind "Jurassic Park." Like Smith, Usher got his start on the small screen. But while the former became a household name in the first half of the 1990s as the star of NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," the latter is still a relatively unknown cable TV actor. Usher currently plays the lead on Starz comedy "Survivor's Remorse," which premiered last October and has been picked up for a second season. Produced in part by NBA star LeBron James, the series centers on Cam Calloway, a basketball player who moves to Atlanta with his family after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a pro team. The role in "Independence Day 2" represents both a challenge and a huge opportunity for Usher, who has seldom appeared on the silver screen in the past, and only in smaller roles in less widely distributed films ("Beautiful Boy" and "When the Game Stands Tall"). For this new undertaking, the actor will be directed by Roland Emmerich and will share the screen with Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum. Hemsworth, who is known for his role as Gale in the "Hunger Games" franchise, will play the son-in-law of the former US president played by Bill Pullman in the first film. Jeff Goldblum will reprise his role as an IT analyst. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame

As he prepares to make an acting comeback opposite Rob Lowe in TV comedy "The Grinder," we cast a look at some of the directorial adventures of '90s child actor Fred Savage, star of "The Wonder Years."Boy Meets World (1999-2000) Only six years after leaving "The Wonder Years," Fred was making his directorial debut in 1999 with one of the final (and unaired) episodes of office comedy "Working." But it was behind the camera of another coming-of-age comedy, "Boy Meets World," that Savage got his network debut at the turn of the century, directing his younger brother Ben in two final season episodes. Unfabulous (2004-2005) Before long, Fred was earning director's credits on 10 of the 28 episodes in this teen sitcom's first two seasons, which had Julia Roberts' niece Emma as its lead. Phil of the Future (2005-2006) Fred's move into a producer's role came with Disney's time-traveling family sitcom, and he even scooped a prestigious Director's Guild of America award nomination for one of the nine episodes he directed, "Not-So-Great Great Great Grandpa." He'd be up before the DGA again before too long... Daddy Day Camp (2007) Savage's feature film debut may be his worst effort so far, though in financial terms it was no bomb, making back triple its modest budget in box office returns ($18m). With the cast and crew from Eddie Murphy vehicle "Daddy Day Care" replaced, this follow-up was nominated in five categories at the 28th Golden Raspberry Awards; Savage escaped a Worst Director win but the film took Worst Prequel or Sequel. One year earlier, he starred in TV comedy "Crumbs," which managed five of 13 episodes before being pulled from ABC. Wizards of Waverley Place (2007-2008) This magical high school serial was responsible for not only reinforcing Savage's reputation in the TV business, but also establishing Selena Gomez as a giant Disney TV star. Charged with directing the very first episode, Savage was once more nominated for a DGA, and then again for his "Zeke and Luther" pilot two years later. Modern Family (2011-2015) Further directorial success on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Party Down" brought Fred to "Modern Family." He steered the multi-threaded ongoing comedy to its fourth DGA nomination on only his second time in charge, Season 2's "After the Fire." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Bruce Willis to star on Broadway in play of King's 'Misery'
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
Bruce Willis to star on Broadway in play of King's 'Misery'

NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Willis will make his Broadway debut this fall in a tale of torture and suspense — a stage adaptation of Stephen King's novel "Misery." Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures said Wednesday the "Die Hard" star will star opposite Elizabeth Marvel in the story of a murderous fan united with her beloved romance novelist. William Goldman has once again adapted the book. His previous film adaptation, based on Stephen King's celebrated novel, was directed by Rob Reiner and released in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates, who won an Academy Award. Dates and a theater will be announced later. The action takes place in a lonely, snow-encased town. While driving on an icy road, novelist Paul Sheldon skids, crashes and is pinned in his car, with his new manuscript tucked away in his nearby briefcase. Annie Wilkes, his so-called No. 1 fan in the world, finds him, frees him from the car and takes him to her home to nurse him back to health. All is fine until she reads the new book in which the author has killed off a heroine named Misery who has appeared in a string of romances. Sheldon is faced with his biggest challenge ever — to revive Misery and write another novel. In the process, he must figure out how to outsmart his captor and escape. The play will be directed by Will Frears. Marvel's other Broadway credits include "Picnic" and "Other Desert Cities." King hasn't had much success on Broadway, with his "Carrie" in 1988 considered a legendary flop. 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.

David Geffen donates $100 million to Lincoln Center
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
David Geffen donates $100 million to Lincoln Center

NEW YORK (AP) — Entertainment industry executive David Geffen has donated $100 million to New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The performing arts building — long known as Avery Fisher Hall — will be renamed David Geffen Hall in September, Lincoln Center Chair Katherine Farley announced Wednesday. "As a native New Yorker, I recognize that Lincoln Center is a beacon to artists and musicians around the world," Geffen, a music and movie mogul, and longtime philanthropist, said in the statement. "To be involved with such a beloved and iconic institution is deeply satisfying." Lincoln Center announced in November that it would take Fisher's name off its concert hall and resell the naming rights to help finance a $500 million renovation. The renovation scheduled to start in 2019 was announced after the Fisher family agreed to accept $15 million to drop the name from the hall where the New York Philharmonic plays. One precedent close at hand is the former New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008 after the oil-and-gas billionaire pledged $100 million. Avery Fisher Hall was named for Fisher, a violinist and high-fidelity pioneer who founded the Fisher Radio Company, after he financed an earlier renovation in 1973. He died in 1994. Under the agreement reached with his three children, the renovated concert hall will feature prominent tributes to Fisher. The family will stay involved. 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.

Jessie Usher to follow in Will Smith's footsteps in 'Independence Day 2'
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
Jessie Usher to follow in Will Smith's footsteps in 'Independence Day 2'

The young American actor will play the son of Will Smith's character in the sequel to the science-fiction blockbuster, which Roland Emmerich will return to direct. But who is Jessie Usher?Just after turning 23, the actor has picked up a major role in "Independence Day 2," which will also star Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum. In the follow-up to the 1996 film, Jessie Usher will play Dylan Hiller, the son of the alien-fighting pilot Captain Steve Hiller, played by Will Smith two decades ago. Is Usher headed for a career as glorious as that of his predecessor? In 1996, the blockbuster marked a turning point for Smith, transforming him from a beloved TV celebrity to an extremely bankable Hollywood star. "Independence Day" earned $800 million at the global box office, becoming the second most lucrative film in history at the time, behind "Jurassic Park." Like Smith, Usher got his start on the small screen. But while the former became a household name in the first half of the 1990s as the star of NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," the latter is still a relatively unknown cable TV actor. Usher currently plays the lead on Starz comedy "Survivor's Remorse," which premiered last October and has been picked up for a second season. Produced in part by NBA star LeBron James, the series centers on Cam Calloway, a basketball player who moves to Atlanta with his family after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a pro team. The role in "Independence Day 2" represents both a challenge and a huge opportunity for Usher, who has seldom appeared on the silver screen in the past, and only in smaller roles in less widely distributed films ("Beautiful Boy" and "When the Game Stands Tall"). For this new undertaking, the actor will be directed by Roland Emmerich and will share the screen with Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum. Hemsworth, who is known for his role as Gale in the "Hunger Games" franchise, will play the son-in-law of the former US president played by Bill Pullman in the first film. Jeff Goldblum will reprise his role as an IT analyst. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Emily Watson signed up for 'The Dresser'
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
Emily Watson signed up for 'The Dresser'

British actress Emily Watson has been lined up to star in the new BBC2/Starz TV movie "The Dresser" alongside Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins.Production of the film, which is a screen adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play by the same name, has already begun in London, Deadline reports. The script tells the story of theater life via an aging actor's personal assistant. Watson, a two-time Academy Award nominee, is known for her roles both on screen and on stage, including roles in "Gosford Park," "Breaking the Waves" and "Angela's Ashes." The film's exact airdate has yet to be announced. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
Family guy: Fred Savage's route to directorial fame

As he prepares to make an acting comeback opposite Rob Lowe in TV comedy "The Grinder," we cast a look at some of the directorial adventures of '90s child actor Fred Savage, star of "The Wonder Years."Boy Meets World (1999-2000) Only six years after leaving "The Wonder Years," Fred was making his directorial debut in 1999 with one of the final (and unaired) episodes of office comedy "Working." But it was behind the camera of another coming-of-age comedy, "Boy Meets World," that Savage got his network debut at the turn of the century, directing his younger brother Ben in two final season episodes. Unfabulous (2004-2005) Before long, Fred was earning director's credits on 10 of the 28 episodes in this teen sitcom's first two seasons, which had Julia Roberts' niece Emma as its lead. Phil of the Future (2005-2006) Fred's move into a producer's role came with Disney's time-traveling family sitcom, and he even scooped a prestigious Director's Guild of America award nomination for one of the nine episodes he directed, "Not-So-Great Great Great Grandpa." He'd be up before the DGA again before too long... Daddy Day Camp (2007) Savage's feature film debut may be his worst effort so far, though in financial terms it was no bomb, making back triple its modest budget in box office returns ($18m). With the cast and crew from Eddie Murphy vehicle "Daddy Day Care" replaced, this follow-up was nominated in five categories at the 28th Golden Raspberry Awards; Savage escaped a Worst Director win but the film took Worst Prequel or Sequel. One year earlier, he starred in TV comedy "Crumbs," which managed five of 13 episodes before being pulled from ABC. Wizards of Waverley Place (2007-2008) This magical high school serial was responsible for not only reinforcing Savage's reputation in the TV business, but also establishing Selena Gomez as a giant Disney TV star. Charged with directing the very first episode, Savage was once more nominated for a DGA, and then again for his "Zeke and Luther" pilot two years later. Modern Family (2011-2015) Further directorial success on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Party Down" brought Fred to "Modern Family." He steered the multi-threaded ongoing comedy to its fourth DGA nomination on only his second time in charge, Season 2's "After the Fire." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Pharrell tells jury he didn't copy Gaye music for hit song
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
Pharrell tells jury he didn't copy Gaye music for hit song

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pharrell Williams told a jury Wednesday that he was trying to evoke the feel of Marvin Gaye's music but did not copy the late singer's work when he crafted the 2013 hit "Blurred Lines." Williams said he grew up listening to Gaye's music and was familiar with his song "Got to Give It Up," but did not use it as a basis for "Blurred Lines," which was a hit for him and collaborators Robin Thicke and T.I. "He's one of the ones we look up to," Williams said. "This is the last place I want to be." Williams, Thicke and T.I. are being sued by Gaye's children who claim "Blurred Lines" infringes their father's copyrights for 1977's "Got to Give It Up," but Williams' testimony is crucial because he wrote the song's music and most of its lyrics. Although Thicke received a songwriting credit on the song, he acknowledged earlier in the trial that he didn't do much work on the song. T.I.'s rap track was added later, and Williams said he wasn't involved in its inclusion in "Blurred Lines," which was nominated for a Grammy Award. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, is expected to be among the case's final witnesses on Thursday. Williams spent more than an hour describing his musical process and he how he crafted "Blurred Lines" in mid-2012 in between working on tracks with Miley Cyrus and rapper Earl Sweatshirt. Thicke arrived after the music and lyrics had been written, Williams recalled. He quickly brought the singer up to speed and they began recording what would become 2013's biggest hit song. "We were bopping and dancing," Williams recalled. "It was a cool night." His answers were sometimes too lengthy for U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who cut off Williams several times mid-sentence and didn't allow him to elaborate on some of his answers. "Blurred Lines" has earned more than $16 million in profits and more than $5 million apiece for Thicke and Williams, according to testimony offered earlier in the trial. Williams said after the song was released, he saw similarities between "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's work but said that wasn't a conscious part of his creative process. Richard S. Busch, who represents the Gaye family, asked Williams whether he felt "Blurred Lines" captured the feel of the era in which Gaye recorded. "Feel," Williams responded. "Not infringed." The case opened last week and featured testimony from Thicke, who told jurors that he took a songwriting credit on "Blurred Lines" despite Pharrell doing most of the work. Thicke brought a bit of showmanship to a trial that has focused on minute details of chords and sheet music. He performed elements of "Blurred Lines" and hits by U2 and The Beatles to show how different songs can include similar-sounding musical elements. Williams did not perform any music during his more than hour of testimony, and complained that audio comparisons of "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" had been created in a way that made them sound similar. Despite the lack of vocals on the tracks, Thicke bobbed his head while his hit was played. The trial has included detailed analysis of snippets of chords and notes from both songs, all created in the same key. Jurors have heard "Blurred Lines" and lawyers for Gaye's family wanted the panel to hear "Got to Give It Up," but Kronstadt has limited how the song can be presented in court. Rulings state Gaye's song can only be played as it appears in a sheet music submitted to get the song copyright protection. Williams' career as an artist-producer has been booming in recent years, with the singer performing his hit "Happy" at the 2014 Oscars just weeks after winning three Grammy Awards for his work with Daft Punk. He also serves as a judge on the NBC competition show "The Voice." ___ 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.

Trial over hit song 'Blurred Lines' drawing to a close
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
Trial over hit song 'Blurred Lines' drawing to a close

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marvin Gaye was part of the soundtrack of Pharrell Williams' life growing up, and the Grammy-winning singer-producer told a jury that he did not borrow from his idol's work to craft the 2013 hit "Blurred Lines." Williams' testimony about how he wrote the song could be crucial to a federal jury that will soon decide whether "Blurred Lines" improperly copied from Gaye's 1977 hit, "Got to Give It Up." Testimony in the case will conclude on Thursday after jurors hear from rapper T.I., who was added to the song after Williams and singer Robin Thicke recorded it in one night in mid-2012. Williams wrote the music and almost all the lyrics, even though Thicke and T.I. share songwriting credits, testified that he can see how people draw similarities between "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's music, but that wasn't his intention during the creative process. "He's one of the ones we look up to," Williams, 41, said Wednesday. "This is the last place I want to be." Williams said the last thing he would ever do is "take something of someone else's when you love him." The inspiration for elements of "Blurred Lines," which was the biggest hit of 2013, came from phrases Williams said he heard growing up and the upbeat sound of the disco era in the 1970s. Williams spent more than an hour describing to a packed courtroom his musical process and he how he crafted "Blurred Lines" in between working on tracks with Miley Cyrus and rapper Earl Sweatshirt. Thicke arrived after the music and lyrics had been written, Williams recalled. He quickly brought the singer up to speed and they began recording. "We were bopping and dancing," Williams recalled. "It was a cool night." His answers were sometimes too lengthy for U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who cut off Williams several times mid-sentence and didn't allow him to elaborate on some of his answers. "Blurred Lines" has earned more than $16 million in profits and more than $5 million apiece for Thicke and Williams, according to testimony offered earlier in the trial. Williams said after the song was released, he saw similarities between "Blurred Lines" and Gaye's work but said that wasn't a conscious part of his creative process. Richard S. Busch, who represents the Gaye family, asked Williams whether he felt "Blurred Lines" captured the feel of the era in which Gaye recorded. "Feel," Williams responded. "Not infringed." The case opened last week and featured testimony from Thicke, who told jurors that he took a songwriting credit on "Blurred Lines" despite Pharrell doing most of the work. Thicke brought a bit of showmanship to a trial that has focused on minute details of chords and sheet music. He performed elements of "Blurred Lines" and hits by U2 and The Beatles to show how different songs can include similar-sounding musical elements. Williams did not perform any music during his more than hour of testimony, and complained that audio comparisons of "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" had been created in a way that made them sound similar. Despite the lack of vocals on the tracks, Thicke bobbed his head while his hit was played. The trial has included detailed analysis of snippets of chords and notes from both songs, all created in the same key. Jurors have heard "Blurred Lines" and lawyers for Gaye's family wanted the panel to hear "Got to Give It Up," but Kronstadt has limited how the song can be presented in court. Rulings state Gaye's song can only be played as it appears in a sheet music submitted to get the song copyright protection. Williams' career as an artist-producer has been booming in recent years, with the singer performing his hit "Happy" at the 2014 Oscars just weeks after winning three Grammy Awards for his work with Daft Punk. He also serves as a judge on the NBC competition show "The Voice." ___ 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.

'Shadow of Mordor,' 'Monument Valley' win big at game awards
Thursday Mar 5, 2015
'Shadow of Mordor,' 'Monument Valley' win big at game awards

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor" is king of the Game Developers Choice Awards. Monolith Productions' gritty action-adventure game set between J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" was honored as the game of the year at Wednesday's 15th annual ceremony, which is held during the Game Developers Conference. "I want to thank everyone at Monolith Productions," said studio head Kevin Stephens as he was backed on stage by dozens of employees. "There are about 40 people up here. I holed them away for two years to make this game, and now I'm letting them loose on GDC." The artsy mobile puzzler "Monument Valley" from ustwo captured the most trophies, picking up the best visual art, mobile and innovation awards. "The last 12 months has been completely insane, and it's far bigger than we ever expected, said executive producer Daniel Gray. "We're genuinely humbled by the rest of the people in this room." Bungie's shared-world sci-fi shooter "Destiny" was honored for best technology, while Creative Assembly's intergalactic horror "Alien: Isolation" was awarded for best audio. "When I first started watching people play our game, it was a big shock to me how much the audio affected how people played and how long they would spend hiding inside lockers and listening to the sounds of the station," said studio director Tim Heaton. "If I'd realized how much effect it had, we probably could have made a shorter game." Other winners included Cardboard Computer's adventure game "Kentucky Route Zero" for best narrative, Blizzard's trade-carding title "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" for best design and Stoic Studio's Viking-themed role-playing game "The Banner Saga" for best debut. Frontier Developments' updated space-trading simulator "Elite: Dangerous" landed the audience award, which was selected by online votes. David Braben, developer of the original "Elite" in the 1980s, received the Pioneer Award for his influential work, which featured revolutionary 3D graphics and moral quandaries for players. Brenda Romero, a veteran game designer, was presented with the Ambassador Award, which recognizes individuals who have helped advance the gaming industry. Hironobu Sakaguchi, the Japanese creator of the long-running "Final Fantasy" series, was honored with the show's Lifetime Achievement Award. "I'm still chugging along," Sakaguchi said through a translator. "I have not retired. I will not retire in the near future. With everyone here, I think we should just continue to make great content and great games." ___ Online: http://www.gamechoiceawards.com ___ 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.

Bruce Willis to star on Broadway in play of King's 'Misery'
Wednesday Mar 4, 2015
Bruce Willis to star on Broadway in play of King's 'Misery'

NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Willis will make his Broadway debut this fall in a tale of torture and suspense — a stage adaptation of Stephen King's novel "Misery." Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures said Wednesday the "Die Hard" star will star opposite Elizabeth Marvel in the story of a murderous fan united with her beloved romance novelist. William Goldman has once again adapted the book. His previous film adaptation, based on Stephen King's celebrated novel, was directed by Rob Reiner and released in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates, who won an Academy Award. Dates and a theater will be announced later. The action takes place in a lonely, snow-encased town. While driving on an icy road, novelist Paul Sheldon skids, crashes and is pinned in his car, with his new manuscript tucked away in his nearby briefcase. Annie Wilkes, his so-called No. 1 fan in the world, finds him, frees him from the car and takes him to her home to nurse him back to health. All is fine until she reads the new book in which the author has killed off a heroine named Misery who has appeared in a string of romances. Sheldon is faced with his biggest challenge ever — to revive Misery and write another novel. In the process, he must figure out how to outsmart his captor and escape. The play will be directed by Will Frears. Marvel's other Broadway credits include "Picnic" and "Other Desert Cities." King hasn't had much success on Broadway, with his "Carrie" in 1988 considered a legendary flop. 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.