Review Category : Entertainment

“Focus” Finds Way to Top of Box Office

Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Entertainment(NEW YORK) — Will Smith and Margot Robbie stole the title of box office winner this weekend, as their new movie Focus claimed the top spot.

Focus grabbed nearly $20 million, while the other major film that opened this weekend, The Lazarus Effect, came in fifth. Fifty Shades of Grey fell all the way to fourth place.

Here are the top ten films of the weekend according to

1. Focus: $19.1 million
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service: $11.75 million
3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water: $11.2 million
4. Fifty Shades of Grey: $10.927 million
5. The Lazarus Effect: $10.6 million
6. McFarland, USA: $7.797 million
7. American Sniper: $7.7 million
8. The DUFF: $7.15 million
9. Still Alice: $2.695 million
10. Hot Tub Time Machine 2: $2.4 million

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Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn Take Part in Chicago’s Polar Plunge

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Lady Gaga participated in Chicago’s polar plunge on Sunday, jumping into the frigid water at North Avenue Beach.

During the #ChicagoPolarPlunge

A photo posted by @ladygaga on Mar 1, 2015 at 8:38am PST

About 5,000 people were expected to take the plunge, raising money for Special Olympics Chicago, breaking the organization’s previous record. Last year, the event raised over $1 million. Lady Gaga took part with her fiance, Taylor Kinney.

Chicago native Vince Vaughn also took part in the event, according to ABC’s Chicago affiliate WLS-TV.

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“How to Get Away With Murder” Shocking Plot Twist

ABC/Mitchell Haaseth(NEW YORK) — ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder dropped a shocking bombshell in Thursday’s two-hour season finale: One of the show’s main characters was killed off.

During the episode, Rebecca Sutter was found murdered, and viewers learned that Frank, played by Charlie Weber, killed Lila by choking her to death before dumping her body.

In addition, Connor Walsh, another main character in the smash-hit series, learns that his on-again, off-again boyfriend, Oliver Hampton, is HIV positive.

Before the finale aired, ABC’s Nightline sat down with Jack Falahee, who plays Connor, and Aja Naomi King, who stars as Michaela Pratt, both members of the “Keating 5.”

Falahee spoke about what it meant to have a major character like Connor portrayed as someone grappling with such a serious issue.

“This happens to people every day and I think that we’re just trying to explore interesting storylines that are rooted in reality and told honestly,” Falahee told Nightline. “I think that any opportunity to discuss it and open a dialogue about it is good. Information is power so for people to know how to get tested safely and effectively.”

The “Keating 5” are five, ridiculously attractive law students who, along with the powerful and ruthless defense attorney, Annalise Keating, played by Viola Davis, get caught up in the murder of her husband.

“Viola Davis is so amazing,” King, 30, said. “Not only is she just the kindest person, she is so open to sharing what she has been through and what her life has been like, which for me, like that is so valuable.

When I look at this dark-skinned woman who is playing this sexy powerful character on TV, for me, I’m just like, ‘Yes,’” King, who is African-American like Davis, added.

King said the explosive scripts are “super top secret,” and she is always shocked by the jaw-dropping twists that come from the mind of show creator Peter Nowalk.

In talking about one particular episode, “Don’t Be,” King said she was reading “the part where Michaela pushes Sam over the stairs. I screamed and I literally flung my body against the wall. I was just like, ‘No, It couldn’t have been me. I couldn’t be the one! And then I was like, ‘No, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, no. There is no trophy. I can’t be the killer, I’m not the killer.’ And so that really threw me off. I didn’t want to be the killer.”

With a show called How to Get Away With Murder, violence is expected, but there is also plenty of sexual impropriety. Connor became known for using sex to get what he wanted.

“The writers did a wonderful job over the course of the season showing how Connor continues to utilize sex as a tool, but then he feels a little slimy about it,” Falahee, 26, said. “He has a lot of regret and I think that he sort of falls for Oliver unexpectedly.”

A year ago, Falahee was a driver for a car service. Now he plays one of the main characters.

“[Connor] is multifaceted. He has some really positive attributes but then he also has a lot of flaws,” Falahee said. “I think that being a co-conspirator on a murder has forced him to make some very morally ambiguous decisions.”

Now with the show’s first season wrapped, King said she is anxious to find out what will come next if the show is renewed for a second season.

“I am so curious about so many things,” she said. “But I know for sure if the show continues next year I think the murder and intrigue won’t stop there.”

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Catwoman Comes Out as Bisexual in New Comic

DC Comics(NEW YORK) — Catwoman, the Batman villain/love interest, has come out as bisexual.

In the Catwoman No. 39 comic book, which was released this week, the character also known as Selina Kyle kisses another woman.

The writer of the issue, Genevieve Valentine, addressed the development in a post on her website.

Valentine wrote, “She’s flirted around it — often quite literally — for years now; for me, this wasn’t a revelation so much as a confirmation.”

“[P]lease be assured that Selina’s longstanding connection to Batman has not been forgotten; that is not how bisexuality (or humanity) works,” she continued. “Selina doesn’t care easily, but when she does care it strikes deep, and there will be plenty of that coming up.”

Catwoman was introduced in Batman No. 1 in 1940, the year after the Caped Crusader made his comic debut.

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Actor Leonard Nimoy, Best-Known as “Star Trek’s” Mr. Spock, Dies at Age 83

CBS via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Leonard Nimoy, the actor who made the Star Trek character of Mr. Spock an international pop culture phenomenon, has died. He was 83.

Nimoy’s granddaughter confirmed his passing to ABC News.

Nimoy was hospitalized last week after complaining of chest pain, though no information on his condition was released after that. He announced in late January, 2014 that he’d been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive condition that decreases lung efficiency, making it difficult to breathe. “I’m doing OK. Just can’t walk distances. Love my life, family, friends and followers,” Nimoy later tweeted, followed by “LLAP,” shorthand for Mr. Spock’s customary benediction, “Live long and prosper.”

Born in Boston, MA, to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Nimoy began acting in local theater as a child and was appearing in films and television by age 20. After a two-year stint in the Army, he turned to acting full-time, with roles in classic TV series including Dragnet, Bonanza and Perry Mason, and the sci-fi series The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone.

In 1966, Nimoy took on the role with which he would be forever identified — the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock, who served aboard the starship Enterprise on the TV series Star Trek. Though the original series was canceled after three seasons due to poor ratings, it found its audience in syndication, with Spock the show’s most recognizable and popular character. In his 1975 autobiography, titled I Am Not Spock, Nimoy explored his mixed feelings about being so closely identified with the character — initially resentful, but ultimately grateful.

In addition to the original Star Trek series, Nimoy appeared as Spock in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and played the character in eight Star Trek films, two of which he directed. His most recent appearance as Spock was in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness. He also occasionally parodied the character, and himself, in voiceovers on shows including The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

After Star Trek ended its initial run, Nimoy co-starred on TV’s Mission: Impossible for two years and also hosted the reality show In Search of…, which explored paranormal and mysterious phenomena. His most recent television role was as the ruthless Dr. William Bell on the sci-fi series Fringe. In 2011, he appeared as a disheveled parody of himself, wandering through a supermarket in his bathrobe and ignoring fans, in the video for the Bruno Mars hit “The Lazy Song.”

In addition to acting, Nimoy was a published poet and an avid lifelong photographer, whose work was exhibited in numerous galleries. He’s survived by his wife, actress Susan Bay, two children and several grandchildren.

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Benedict Cumberbatch Writes Touching Letter for Teen Fan Following Her Death

ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) — Benedict Cumberbatch wrote a touching letter for a 14-year-old fan who died suddenly earlier this month and whose funeral was held Monday in Warrington, U.K.

The letter was read aloud during the funeral for Eve Shepherd, a fan of Cumberbatch’s TV series Sherlock, according to the Warrington Guardian. The Oscar-nominated actor wrote:

“I send my deepest sympathies to Eve’s family. To lose someone so young who fought for her health all her life must be beyond endurance. I hope they can take solace from the fact that she was clearly much loved and her support of our show is hugely appreciated and shall be remembered. I wish I could be there but sadly am filming the show she loved. God rest her soul. With all my love and sympathies, Benedict xxx.”

Eve’s father, Mark, tells the Warrington Guardian, “Eve would find this funny as she was a big TV and film fan. She would be giggling her head off at the thought she was in the newspaper. But she would be so happy about the letter from Benedict — she was a huge fan. “

Eve led a difficult life after being born at 28 weeks in 2000. She underwent more than 200 operations after needing a tracheostomy at just three months old, according to the newspaper.

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Movie Review: “Focus” (Rated R)

Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Entertainment(NEW YORK) — From the directors and writers of Crazy, Stupid, Love. comes the con-job romantic dramedy, Focus.

Nicky (Will Smith) is drinking, alone, in a posh New York City hotel restaurant when a gorgeous blonde, Jess, (The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Margot Robbie) begins having some trouble with a gentleman at the bar. She approaches Nicky and asks if he’d mind pretending to be her boyfriend, which is kind of like asking anyone with a pulse — man or woman, gay or straight — if they’d mind pretending to be Margot Robbie’s boyfriend.

Robbie is gorgeous, and her chemistry with Smith is palpable. Small talk leads to flirtation, which leads to Jess’ hotel room, which leads to her “husband” bursting through the door and threatening Nicky’s life at gunpoint — at which point Nicky insists that the jealous husband shoot him. The husband, perplexed, doesn’t know how to handle the situation. Turns out, Nicky has known all along he was being conned — because he’s a con man, too.

Nicky points out the flaws in Jess’ con, gives a few tips, and leaves. It’s a telling scene, because it telegraphs what the rest of the movie will be: enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing, but just a little too cute and convenient.

Nicky isn’t just a con man — he runs a multi-million-dollar network of cons. He employs freelancers to work major events, like the Super Bowl, and Jess wants a piece of the action. She also wants a piece of Nicky. And off we go.

These two like each other, but their lack of morality is this story’s major flaw. As great as Focus is to look at and as charming as Smith and Robbie are, it was difficult to fully invest in either of them because, at their core, Nicky and Jess are despicably selfish people.

There’s also a wild card here, and that’s Adrian Martinez. The journeyman actor, probably best-known to most as the Cheesehead fan from the State Farm insurance commercials starring Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, steals scenes in Focus as Farhad, Nicky’s right-hand man and good friend. Martinez is flat out, R-rated funny.

Focus is, overall, entertaining and surprisingly unpredictable. Though when I say unpredictable, what I mean is some of the twists are imaginative — and when I say imaginative, I mean impossible. Even so, Focus provides some fun moments, though that lack of empathy for the main players ultimately makes it a less than satisfying experience.

Three out of five stars.

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Ivanka Trump Opens Up About Converting to Orthodox Judaism

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism after getting together with her husband, Jared Kushner, though she rarely discusses it.

For the businesswoman, the subject is “such a personal thing.”

“We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others. I just feel like it’s such an intimate thing for us,” she told Vogue. “It’s been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I’m also a very traditional person, and I think that’s an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.”

Trump, 33, and Kushner, 34, who have been married since 2009 and are now parents to two small children, keep kosher and observe the Sabbath. From Friday night until sundown on Saturday, they disconnect from the rest of the world and enjoy time with their family.

“We don’t do anything but hang out with one another. We don’t make phone calls,” she said. “It’s an amazing thing when you’re so connected to really sign off. And for [my three-year-old] Arabella to know that she has me, undivided, one day a week? We don’t do anything except play with each other, hang out with one another, go on walks together. Pure family.”

It’s nice for Kushner too. His wife, he said, has really embraced the ritual, and even learned to cook as a result of it.

“Ivanka’s such a type A,” he said. “She just gets it done. But she said, ‘If we’re going to do Shabbos, I’m going to cook.’ She never cooked before in her life, and became a great cook. So for Friday, she’ll make dinner for just the two of us, and we turn our phones off for 25 hours. Putting aside the religious aspect of it; we live in such a fast-paced world.”

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Mirjana Puhar: Tyra Banks ‘Deeply Saddened’ by Death of “ANTM” Contestant

Amanda Edwards/WireImage(NEW YORK) — Tyra Banks, the executive producer of America’s Next Top Model, expressed her deep sorrow over the death of one of the show’s former contestants, Mirjana Puhar.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic news about Mirjana Puhar,” Banks and fellow executive producer Ken Mok wrote in a statement to ABC News. “She was a vivacious and promising young woman. Our hearts and prayers go out to her loved ones.”

Puhar, 19, was found dead, along with Jonathan Cosme Alvarado and Jusmar Isiah Gonzaga-Garcia, Tuesday in a home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Police have not said how or when the three were killed, but have arrested and charged 19-year-old Emmanuel Rangel in the killings, according to The Charlotte Observer. Rangel remains in custody and has not yet appeared in court to enter a plea.

Puhar appeared on the 21st cycle of America’s Next Top Model, which premiered in August. At the time of filming, she was 18 and introduced as the youngest of the show’s 14 contestants.

She was eliminated in the 10th episode of the season.

As word spread of Puhar’s death, people connected with ANTM responded on social media.

Judge Miss J Alexander took to Twitter to mourn:

Saddened to learn about #ANTM Cycle 21 contestant Mirjana Puhar’s murder. Remembering her fondly. RIP

— Miss J Alexander (@MissJAlexander) February 25, 2015

Fellow contestant Will Jardell posted several remembrances on his Instagram, including a photo with Puhar. “You are one of the kindest most passionate people I know and I am at a loss knowing that you are gone,” Jardell wrote. “Reality TV may have painted you one way but make no mistake you are an incredible and loving person that the world will truly miss.”

Jardell also posted a video of Puhar.

A video posted by Will Jardell (@williamjardell) on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:36pm PST

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“House of Cards” Season 3 on Netflix: A Season 2 Refresher

David Giesbrecht for Netflix(NEW YORK) — So, House of Cards season 3 is just hours away (3 a.m. to be exact), but before you get cozy in bed, or set up your favorite snack by the couch and clear your schedule for the next 10 hours, here’s a quick-and-dirty rundown of season 2:

To kick off the season, the sexiest reporter in D.C. — Zoe Barnes — was killed by Frank Underwood, who pushed her in front of a train.

After spending most of season 1 vying for the vice presidency, Underwood stepped things up and set up the president for a big fall, just so he could take the top spot.

Meanwhile, Underwood and his wife Claire had an affair with a Secret Service agent — at the same time. Frank also had a season-long battle with billionaire Raymond Tusk, who had been very close to the president. We found out about Claire’s past as a victim of sexual abuse and also her affair with a famous photographer.

A prostitute keeping a secret that could ruin Frank is sent away and watched over by Underwood’s friend Doug, but then she kills him. The season ends with Frank taking over the presidency.

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