Review Category : Entertainment

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Tops Box Office in Opening Weekend

Warner Bros.(LOS ANGELES) — The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies topped the box office in its first weekend.

The latest Lord of the Rings installment brought in $56.22 million between Friday and Sunday. The fantasy film stars Martin Freeman, Orland Bloom, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, and Evangeline Lilly.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which also opened this weekend, came in second earning $17.3 million, while Annie debuted in third with $16.3 million.

Here are the weekend’s top films according to boxofficemojo.com:

1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: $56.22 million
2. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb: $17.3 million
3. Annie: $16.3 million
4. Exodus: Gods and Kings: $8.065 million
5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: $7.75 million
6. Wild: $4.15 million
7. Top Five: $3.57 million
8. Big Hero 6: $3.563 million
9. Penguins of Madagascar: $3.525 million
10. P.K.:$3.50 million

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Lance Bass Marries Michael Turchin

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Lance Bass is a married man!

The former ‘N Sync star, host and producer, 35, married Michael Turchin in Los Angeles Saturday, People magazine reported.

According to People, the couple married at the Park Plaza Hotel.

Earlier this week, Bass couldn’t contain his excitement, tweeting, “Heading to Santa Barbara to do a our walk through of the wedding at the venue!! Ahhhhhh! #LanceLovesMichael.”

He added that the rings arrived on Thursday.

The rings just arrived!! #LanceLovesMichael 2 more sleeps!!!!! http://t.co/ozNXIp3qBw

— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) December 18, 2014

Bass and the artists got engaged last September and shortly after, he spoke to ABC News about what to expect from his grand wedding.

“I love a party. It’s going to be nice and big and over the top,” he said. “We’re wanting all of our guests to come completely over the top, high fashion like you’re heading to the MET Ball or the Royal Wedding.”

Bass also said the wedding was filmed by E! for a special to air early next year.

“The network is doing the first celebrity, gay wedding, which is such an honor to be a part of,” he said. “It’s almost 2015, and we are just now having the first gay wedding special on television. As a little kid from Mississippi, I would have loved to have seen something like that go down on TV, so that I knew nothing was wrong with me.”

Bass revealed last year the couple hadn’t fought once in their years together.

“I think it’s just the universe telling me he’s the one,” he said.

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Madonna Releases Six Songs from New Album

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Following the unauthorized leak earlier this week of some of her new, but incomplete tracks, Madonna has decided to officially release six songs from her upcoming album Rebel Heart.

The songs are available for pre-order at iTunes and other outlets with the purchase of the album, and individually.

More music is coming February 9, and the entire album will officially arrive during the first week of March.

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“The Godfather: Part II”: Celebrating the Movie’s 40th Anniversary With 8 Little-Known Facts

Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — It has been 40 years since Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II was released on Dec. 20, 1974 and the movie has had a lasting impact.

Part II was released two years after the The Godfather: Part I and it is widely considered the best sequel of all time. To some, the sequel even surpasses the original. The Godfather: Part III would come in 1990, but the third time was not quite the charm.

The sequel focused on Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, as he attempted to expand his family business into a then-brand new playground called Las Vegas. The film included flashbacks to the early 1900s, showing the rise to power of a young Vito Corleone, played by a little-known actor named Robert De Niro. In Part I, the Vito Corleone character was played by the iconic Marlon Brando.

Here are some fun facts that you may not have known about Part II on its 40th anniversary:

1. De Niro, the Method Actor

To prepare for his role as Vito Corleone, De Niro, lived in Sicily and learned the Italian dialect. Nearly all of De Niro’s dialogue in the film was in Sicilian.

2. De Niro Was Almost Cast in the Original

De Niro auditioned for the role of Sonny Corleone in the original Godfather. De Niro’s audition tape is like watching poetry in motion. Various versions of the audition are on YouTube and worth a watch. The role of Sonny eventually went to James Caan, who made a cameo in a flashback in the final scene of the sequel even though he was killed in the original.

The famous flashback scene at the end of Part II was also supposed to include a small cameo from Brando. Brando didn’t show up on the day of filming because of legal issues and problems between the actor and Paramount.

3. The Brando-De Niro Connection

Brando and De Niro are the only two actors to ever win separate Oscars for playing the same character. Brando won Best Actor for The Godfather while De Niro won Best Supporting Actor in Part II.

4. Sequels Get No Love From Oscar

Speaking of Oscars, Part II is the first sequel to win the Oscar for Best Picture. This feat would not be repeated until 2004 when the award was given to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

5. Martin Scorsese Was This Close to Becoming Director

Coppola originally didn’t want to direct a sequel because of a tenuous relationship with Paramount during the filming of the original, according to the Oscar-winning director. In the commentary for The Godfather DVD Collection, Coppola revealed he recommended Martin Scorsese to direct the film.

6. Offer Pacino Couldn’t Refuse

Pacino was paid $600,000 for his role in the sequel. Not bad for the time, but when you consider his salary for Part I -– a measly $35,000 -– it shows you how much Pacino’s stock rose in such a short time.

7. Best Adapted Screenplay?

Part II won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay even though only half the script was actually adapted. The story of Michael Corleone was written specifically for the film while the story of Vito Corleone came from The Godfather novel written by Mario Puzo, which was published in 1969.

8. ‘Part II’ Got Off to a Rough Start

Coppola later revealed in another documentary that “Part II” didn’t test well in previews leading up to its release. The issue was the cutting back and forth to Michael Corleone’s storyline and the flashback scenes with the young Vito Corleone. Coppola and his editors worked in the cutting room to make the narrative flow better up until the film was released nationwide.

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Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Welcome Baby Girl

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Lincoln has a new baby sister.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard welcomed their second child on Friday.

The couple, who married last October, are already parents to daughter Lincoln, born March 2013.

Delta Bell Shepard is here. She doesn’t look like either @IMKristenBell or me, but we’re gonna keep her anyway. #christmascameearly

— dax shepard (@daxshepard1) December 20, 2014

In typical sarcastic fashion, the “Veronica Mars” star commented on her pregnancy this summer.

“Having a cold while being pregnant is like getting a parking ticket while you’re at the dentist,” she tweeted.

When the couple announced they were expecting again this past June, their rep said, “The whole family is beyond excited.”

Bell, 34, and Shepard, 39, were married in Beverly Hills in a modest way at the clerk’s office on Oct. 17, 2013. The two began dating in 2007.

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Stephen Colbert’s Portrait to Hang Between Bathrooms at the Smithsonian Once Again

Photo Credit: Scott Gries/PictureGroup/Comedy Central(WASHINGTON) — Following the end of his nine-year run on Comedy Central, and in advance of his move to CBS to take over The Late Show, Stephen Colbert will have a portrait hung in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for the second time.

The comedian’s eponymous hit show, The Colbert Report, ran from October 2005 through Thursday, capping off a run over more than 1,400 episodes.

The National Portrait Gallery confirmed the second portrait on its blog on Friday. The new portrait, the gallery says, “shows the shameless self-promoter reflected in a mirror.” Outdoing Colbert’s 2008 portrait — which featured a three-deep image of the performer — the new portrait features six images of Colbert, wearing different ties and holding different props from his show, including a pair of Emmy awards and his best-selling book.

The new portrait will grace the same space as Colbert’s first — between the second-floor restrooms.

It will be on display until April 19, 2015.

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Why Natalie Portman Says “Star Wars” Actually Hurt Her Career

Merrick Morton/Lucasflim Ltd.(NEW YORK) — When Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, it became one of the highest grossing movies of all-time, but fans of the Star Wars franchise were torn about the series of new prequels.

Oscar winner Natalie Portman, who starred in all three of the prequels, said playing the female protagonist Padmé in the franchise actually hurt her career.

In an interview with New York magazine, where A-list stars paid tribute to the iconic director Mike Nichols, Portman shared a tale of how the late legend helped get her career back off the ground after Star Wars.

Portman, 33, starred in Nichols’ Seagull as part of the NY Shakespeare Festival summer season in 2001. Nichols helped get her into other movies like Cold Mountain in 2003.

Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress,” she said. “I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her.'”

She continued, “And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis. I worked with Milos Forman a few years later. He said, ‘Mike saved me. He wrote a letter so that I could get asylum in the U.S.’ He did that for 50 people, and it doesn’t make any one of us feel less special.”

Portman would end up winning the Oscar for her work in Black Swan in 2011.

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Angelina Jolie Opens Up About Directing Brad Pitt in Love Scene

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will be back on screen together in By the Sea, which is set to be released next year and features the famous duo as a couple — much like their debut movie together in 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

While promoting her current film Unbroken, Jolie, 39, spoke to MTV news about directing a sex scene with her now husband in the future movie.

“I was the other person in the love scene, so it wasn’t that hard,” she quipped. “He knows what I need from him. He’s always known.”

As for people making assumptions of the duo in real life based off what happens in the movie, Jolie said “I haven’t thought that way for years. Because then you can’t make a creative move if you’re conscious of all the different interpretations. We wanted to be free and we wanted to play.”

She continued about the film, “It’s a very creative film. We wanted to try things, so we intentionally made bold decisions…we just wanted to be artists and play.”

By the Sea, set in 1970s France, centers on a couple who travel and write together. Their relationship is falling apart until they happen upon a small town on the water.

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George Clooney Speaks Out About Lack of Sony Support

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — In an interview with Deadline published Thursday, George Clooney explained why he feels no one else in the industry stood up for Sony in the wake of the hack attack.

Clooney said Hollywood big shots were all scared that they’d be next on the hackers’ list. They were so fearful, in fact, that they refused to sign a petition that Clooney and his agent, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, passed around in support of Sony. The letter was a call for the major studios to stand together with Sony and back their decision to not give in to the hackers’ demands.

“It was sent to basically the heads of every place,” Clooney said. “They told Bryan Lourd, ‘I can’t sign this.’ What? How can you not sign this? I’m not going to name anyone, that’s not what I’m here to do, but nobody signed the letter.”

Sony ultimately decided to cancel the release of The Interview, the comedy at the center of the controversy for its depiction of North Korea and Kim Jong Un. The hackers had threatened to blow up theaters if the film was released.

“Sony didn’t pull the movie because they were scared; they pulled the movie because all the theaters said they were not going to run it,” Clooney said. “And they said they were not going to run it because they talked to their lawyers and those lawyers said if somebody dies in one of these, then you’re going to be responsible.”

As for where the movie industry goes from here, Clooney says the future remains uncertain. “I’ve seen statements they’ve put out and what the president said and what the response is,” he said. “The truth is, it’s all new territory and nobody knows how to handle it. I don’t think anyone was prepared for it. So now we’ll be prepared for it, hopefully. Everybody was doing their jobs, but somehow, we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane.”

Clooney argues that a “good portion” of the media “abdicated its real duty” in the wake of the hack attack: “There was a real story going on. With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea.”

A White House spokesperson on Thursday declined to blame North Korea while addressing reporters Thursday, citing ongoing investigations.

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Craig Ferguson to Host Final “Late Late Show” Friday Night

Monty Brinton/CBS(LOS ANGELES) — Craig Ferguson is saying his final farewell to CBS’ The Late Late Show Friday night, after 10 years at the helm.

The 52-year-old Scotsman took over hosting duties from Craig Kilborn in January 2005 and immediately shook up the traditional late-show format. For one thing, his producers never predetermined the topics he would talk about with guests, making for looser, more off-the-cuff interviews.

“All I was trying to do with any guest, particularly guests who are very inside the Hollywood machine, was to humanize them…make them loosen up a little bit, to relax, and to have a good time,” Ferguson said in an interview with People. “It’s about no-harm TV.”

He was also known for being the only late-night host with a robot skeleton — named Geoff Peterson — as a sidekick, and a pantomime horse named Secretariat.

Ferguson’s proudest moments on the show include when he refused to gossip about Britney Spears’ breakdown, when he had Desmond Tutu on the program, and when he won a Peabody Award in 2010. “Also, reintroducing pantomime horses to American television was a big moment for me,” he added.

So why leave now? It was just the right time, he said. “It began to feel repetitive,” he told People. “I will have done more than 2,000 shows by the time I’m done. That’s a lot of shows. It’s time for a change. I don’t know what’s next, really, and that feels better. That kind of uncertainty feels quite refreshing after 10 years.”

Ferguson’s last episode will air at 12:35 a.m. ET, with Jay Leno as the final guest, a man who knows a thing or two about retiring from late-night TV. Just don’t expect Ferguson to get teary-eyed.

“James Joyce said that sentimentality is unearned emotion, and the media is awash with it,” Ferguson said. “I’m a man who tells jokes. I will continue to do so. I’m very grateful to the people that watch the show, don’t get me wrong, and they’ll continue to watch it. But you know, it’s okay. We’re not breaking up. This is not me dumping you. We’re just changing our paths.”

British comedian James Corden will succeed him as host beginning March 23, 2015.

Ferguson will continue to host the syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game.

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