Review Category : Entertainment

John Grisham Apologizes for Child Porn Remarks

J. Countess/WireImage(NEW YORK) — John Grisham has issued an apology after commenting to the British newspaper The Telegraph that punishment for child pornography offenses can be too harsh.

The best-selling author of such books as The Firm and A Time to Kill said America’s judges had “gone crazy” over the past 30 years by imprisoning far too many people. He said, “We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child.”

He added, “But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”

Grisham told the story of a law school friend who was imprisoned after he was caught in a Canadian child porn sting operation when his “drinking was out of control.” He said his friend “went to a website. It was labelled ‘sixteen year old wannabee hookers or something like that’. And it said ’16-year-old girls’. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff — it was 16 year old girls who looked 30. He shouldn’t ‘a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys. He didn’t touch anything.”

Grisham declared that while he has no sympathy for “real pedophiles,” “so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that’s what they’re getting.”

The interview resulted in backlash against the author, who on Thursday posted an apology on his website. It reads, “Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography — online or otherwise — should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable.”

The statement continues, “I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.”

Grisham’s latest book, Gray Mountain, will be released next week.

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“Fury,” “The Book of Life,” “The Best of Me” Open Friday

“The Book of Life” – Fox(NEW YORK) — Here’s a look at the new movies opening nationwide Friday:

Fury – Brad Pitt is an army sergeant who leads his tank crew against Nazi Germany in 1945. Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood also star. Rated R.

The Book of Life – The animated film follows Manolo, who makes his way through three fantastical worlds to save his true love and his village. Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Ron Perlman, Ice Cube and Danny Trejo are part of the cast for the film, which was produced by Guillermo del Toro. Rated PG.

The Best of Me — Two former high school sweethearts reunite in their hometown after 20 years for a friend’s funeral. James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato star in the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel. Rated PG-13.

And expanding nationwide:

Men, Women & Children — The drama examines how the Internet affects the lives and relationships of a group of high school teens and their parents. Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris and Adam Sandler star in the film, which was helmed by Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman. Rated R.

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Review: “The Best of Me” (Rated PG-13)

Relativity(NEW YORK) — The Best of Me, the latest film to be based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, is so embarrassingly bad, it hurts to write about it. If you can forgive bad casting, ham-handed dialogue, obvious digital manipulation of the film, sloppy sound mixing and far-fetched plot points, then you just might be able to enjoy what I believe to be one of the worst movies of the year.

Twenty-one years after going their separate ways, former high school sweethearts Dawson (James Marsden) and Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) are reunited after older mutual friend Tuck (Gerald McRaney) passes away. Dawson is a loner who works on an oil rig, but enjoys reading books about philosophy when he has a break. Amanda is living a Stepford existence, playing the part of the dutiful, beautiful, stay-at-home mother to a teenage son in a loveless marriage.

We learn about their history through a series of flashbacks in which Luke Bracey plays the young Dawson and Liana Liberato plays young Amanda. And here’s where the movie implodes.

There’s nothing wrong with Bracey as an actor, but this has to be one of the worst pieces of casting I’ve ever seen. He’s supposed to be the high school version of Dawson, but have you ever met a high school student with crow’s feet? In real life, Bracey couldn’t pass for an undercover cop in high school, never mind the fact there’s virtually no resemblance between him and Marsden. Bracey’s casting is such a distraction, it’s a cinematic disaster. Liberato is much more convincing as a young Monaghan.

As for the plot: Dawson’s crazy, drug-running father and brothers, his relationship with Tuck, and his star-crossed relationship with Amanda past and present — it hardly matters. Other than the actors’ efforts to try to overcome this flaw-laden film, The Best of Me’s only other redeeming quality is that it finally ends.

One out of five stars.

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Review: “The Best of Me” (Rated PG-13)

Relativity(NEW YORK) — The Best of Me, the latest film to be based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, is so embarrassingly bad, it hurts to write about it. If you can forgive bad casting, ham-handed dialogue, obvious digital manipulation of the film, sloppy sound mixing and far-fetched plot points, then you just might be able to enjoy what I believe to be one of the worst movies of the year.

Twenty-one years after going their separate ways, former high school sweethearts Dawson (James Marsden) and Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) are reunited after older mutual friend Tuck (Gerald McRaney) passes away. Dawson is a loner who works on an oil rig, but enjoys reading books about philosophy when he has a break. Amanda is living a Stepford existence, playing the part of the dutiful, beautiful, stay-at-home mother to a teenage son in a loveless marriage.

We learn about their history through a series of flashbacks in which Luke Bracey plays the young Dawson and Liana Liberato plays young Amanda. And here’s where the movie implodes.

There’s nothing wrong with Bracey as an actor, but this has to be one of the worst pieces of casting I’ve ever seen. He’s supposed to be the high school version of Dawson, but have you ever met a high school student with crow’s feet? In real life, Bracey couldn’t pass for an undercover cop in high school, never mind the fact there’s virtually no resemblance between him and Marsden. Bracey’s casting is such a distraction, it’s a cinematic disaster. Liberato is much more convincing as a young Monaghan.

As for the plot: Dawson’s crazy, drug-running father and brothers, his relationship with Tuck, and his star-crossed relationship with Amanda past and present — it hardly matters. Other than the actors’ efforts to try to overcome this flaw-laden film, The Best of Me’s only other redeeming quality is that it finally ends.

One out of five stars.

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“Pacific Rim” Becoming a Trilogy

Warner Bros.(LOS ANGELES) — Director Guillermo del Toro had already announced his hit robots vs. giant monsters movie Pacific Rim will spawn a sequel and an animated show, but in a new interview with Collider, the Oscar nominated filmmaker now says PacRim will spawn a cinematic trilogy.

Pacific Rim 2 will begin shooting November or December of next year.

When asked about the sequel, del Toro explains, “Some of your favorite characters come back, some others don’t because we have decided that we’re going to shoot ambitiously and say ‘Let’s hope we have three movies,’ so some characters come in at the end of the second, hoping that it will ramp up on the third one.”

One “favorite character” who will return is Ron Perlman, who played black marketeer Hannibal Chau in the original. Chau, who makes a living selling body parts from the giant monsters, appears to get eaten by one of them in the movie, though an after-credits scene shows him escaping.

Perlman, a frequent collaborator with del Toro since he and the “visionary” director met in 1991, revealed to ABC News Radio that Chau would be back. “We’re gonna get the offer any day for Pacific Rim 2,” said the star who also starred in Hellboy and its sequel for del Toro.

The former Sons of Anarchy star said of the filmmaker, “He’s Mount Rushmore man…He presides over the movie set you’ve always dreamed of. You know it’s almost like a combination of an eight-year-old’s birthday party…complete with piñatas and…donkeys that give you that five-minute ride and stuff. Uh, the fart jokes, the, the whoopee cushions…he’s like a complete adolescent who happens to be the most well-read, most brilliant, most visionary, imaginative guy who has ever come down the pike, cinema-wise.”

Perlman provides the voice for Xibalba, the God of Death, in the new animated movie The Book of Life. The mystical, magical movie, which also features the voices of Zoe Saldana, Cheech Marin, Christina Applegate and Channing Tatum, opens Friday.

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Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger Not Rushing to Get Married

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger have been together since 2006, but don’t expect them to walk down the aisle anytime soon.

The former Fringe actor tells the November issue of Glamour magazine, “I can tell you why we’re not married: We’re not religious.”

Jackson continues, “I don’t feel any more or less committed to Diane for not having stood in front of a priest and had a giant party.”

The 36-year-old actor tells the magazine, “We’re both children of divorce, so it’s hard for me to take marriage at face value as the thing that shows you’ve grown up and are committed to another person,” adding, “But it may change at some point. We may get married.”

The actress, who was married to French actor Guillame Canet from 2001 to 2006, credits her divorce for teaching her that being married isn’t mandatory. “I believe in a commitment that you make in your heart, she told Glamour in 2011, adding, “There’s no paper that will make you stay.”

Kruger currently stars in the FX series The Bridge. Jackson stars in the new Showtime series The Affair.

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Body Found in Washington State Presumed to Be Missing Actress Misty Upham

Brian To/WireImage(SEATTLE) — Police in the Seattle suburb of Auburn, Washington, say a body has been found that is presumed to be that of missing actress Misty Upham.

The Auburn Police Department says it received a call Thursday afternoon that a body had been found in a wooded area. The body was found at the bottom of an embankment near the White River by a member of Upham’s family.

A purse containing identification of Upham was found at the scene. Police say a positive identification of the body has not yet been made. However, TMZ reports that Upham’s uncle says it has been confirmed it was Upham who was found. The Hollywood Reporter further notes that the actress’ father, Charles Upham, confirmed her identity to authorities.

The body has been turned over to the King County Medical Examiner for positive identification and a determination of cause of death. The medical examiner’s findings are expected to be released in the next few days.

The 32-year-old Native American actress was reported missing by her family on Oct. 6. The previous day, Upham’s family called police to report she was suicidal.

Upham’s acting credits include the films August: Osage County, Frozen River and Django Unchained. She appears in the upcoming Jennifer Aniston drama Cake.

Meryl Streep, who starred in August: Osage County, told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement, “So so sad to hear this news — all our thoughts are with her family and with her beautiful spirit.”

Frozen River star Melissa Leo told the publication, “Such a loss… so sad, so so sad.”

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Movie Review: “Fury” (Rated R)

Columbia Pictures(NEW YORK) — Fury takes place at the end of World War 2. The conflict is clearly over for Hitler and everybody knows it, except Hitler. War is already brutal and dangerous, but it’s even more so when your enemy is desperate, and the remaining Nazis are very desperate and unimaginably brutal. To deal with them, the most hardened, skilled soldiers are called in to lead the final push into Germany.

We first meet Brad Pitt’s Don “Wardaddy” Collier in the aftermath of a battle, on a field barely visible through the literal fog of war. Using what appears to be an unmanned, damaged tank for cover, he knocks a mounted German soldier from his horse and kills him with his bare hands. Collier then gently takes the horse by the reins, lovingly strokes its mane, looks it in its eyes and sets it free. It’s the first of many scenes in Fury that highlight the incongruous nature of war.

Turns out the tank, dubbed “Fury,” wasn’t unmanned after all. Collier climbs in and we meet the rest of the crew: Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Garcia (Michael Peña) and Travis (John Bernthal). They’re a dysfunctional band of brothers, living from second to second in a mobile iron box, surrounded and accompanied by death — and we’re along for the ride.

When they get back to base, fresh-faced kid Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) introduces himself as the new member of the team. Ellison was a clerk and has no battle experience whatsoever, but this is the end of the war and it’s all hands on deck. The kid doesn’t want to be there and the guys, given Norman’s lack of experience or enthusiasm, don’t really want him there either. It won’t be long before we discover Norman’s ambivalence will become a complete liability.

How Collier and company handle Norman is a showcase of deft writing, acting and directing, of which this movie has many. Particularly stunning is a scene in which Collier and Norman enter the apartment of two German women in a town they just liberated. While the rest of the soldiers are in the streets celebrating, the war-hardened soldier and the boy who’s learning to be a soldier experience a taste of normalcy, but a reality check comes knocking on the door when the rest of the unit, drunk, enters the apartment and antagonizes their brothers in arms, and the women. It will leave a lump in your throat a few tears in your eyes.

Fury is not a great World War 2 film, but it is one of the better ones. Absolutely no punches are pulled here in displaying the anxious, intense, horrific and violent nature of battle, while at the same time exploring the camaraderie and hearts of the men who lived and died in the midst of it. Writer/director and producer David Ayer is carving a niche for himself with films that explore male bonding in extraordinary, life-threatening situations. There were flashes of that theme early in his career but his brilliance became apparent in 2012’s cop drama End of Watch, which also starred Pena, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.

There is brilliance in Fury, but Ayer sells out a bit when this very human story at times becomes too Rambo-esque. And I get it: it’s probably what he needed to do to get Hollywood to pony up for a film that is otherwise a seemingly true-to-life war tale – perhaps too true-to-life. Even so, it’s one worth seeing.

Four out of five stars.

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Movie Review: “Fury” (Rated R)

Columbia Pictures(NEW YORK) — Fury takes place at the end of World War 2. The conflict is clearly over for Hitler and everybody knows it, except Hitler. War is already brutal and dangerous, but it’s even more so when your enemy is desperate, and the remaining Nazis are very desperate and unimaginably brutal. To deal with them, the most hardened, skilled soldiers are called in to lead the final push into Germany.

We first meet Brad Pitt’s Don “Wardaddy” Collier in the aftermath of a battle, on a field barely visible through the literal fog of war. Using what appears to be an unmanned, damaged tank for cover, he knocks a mounted German soldier from his horse and kills him with his bare hands. Collier then gently takes the horse by the reins, lovingly strokes its mane, looks it in its eyes and sets it free. It’s the first of many scenes in Fury that highlight the incongruous nature of war.

Turns out the tank, dubbed “Fury,” wasn’t unmanned after all. Collier climbs in and we meet the rest of the crew: Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Garcia (Michael Peña) and Travis (John Bernthal). They’re a dysfunctional band of brothers, living from second to second in a mobile iron box, surrounded and accompanied by death — and we’re along for the ride.

When they get back to base, fresh-faced kid Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) introduces himself as the new member of the team. Ellison was a clerk and has no battle experience whatsoever, but this is the end of the war and it’s all hands on deck. The kid doesn’t want to be there and the guys, given Norman’s lack of experience or enthusiasm, don’t really want him there either. It won’t be long before we discover Norman’s ambivalence will become a complete liability.

How Collier and company handle Norman is a showcase of deft writing, acting and directing, of which this movie has many. Particularly stunning is a scene in which Collier and Norman enter the apartment of two German women in a town they just liberated. While the rest of the soldiers are in the streets celebrating, the war-hardened soldier and the boy who’s learning to be a soldier experience a taste of normalcy, but a reality check comes knocking on the door when the rest of the unit, drunk, enters the apartment and antagonizes their brothers in arms, and the women. It will leave a lump in your throat a few tears in your eyes.

Fury is not a great World War 2 film, but it is one of the better ones. Absolutely no punches are pulled here in displaying the anxious, intense, horrific and violent nature of battle, while at the same time exploring the camaraderie and hearts of the men who lived and died in the midst of it. Writer/director and producer David Ayer is carving a niche for himself with films that explore male bonding in extraordinary, life-threatening situations. There were flashes of that theme early in his career but his brilliance became apparent in 2012’s cop drama End of Watch, which also starred Pena, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.

There is brilliance in Fury, but Ayer sells out a bit when this very human story at times becomes too Rambo-esque. And I get it: it’s probably what he needed to do to get Hollywood to pony up for a film that is otherwise a seemingly true-to-life war tale – perhaps too true-to-life. Even so, it’s one worth seeing.

Four out of five stars.

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Joan Rivers’ Cause of Death Revealed

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Joan Rivers died because her brain was damaged due to lack of oxygen. That’s the official finding of the New York City Medical Examiner, who released the news Thursday.

Rivers was undergoing a procedure at Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan August 28 to evaluate acid reflux and changes in her voice, and was sedated with the anesthetic propofol when she suffered hypoxia, or not enough oxygen in her blood. The official manner of death is “therapeutic complication,” meaning her death resulted from a “predictable complication from medical therapy.”

Propofol was also the drug that Dr. Conrad Murray administered to Michael Jackson before the entertainer’s death in 2009.

Rivers subsequently suffered cardiac arrest and was taken to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where she died Sept. 4 at age 81, having never regained consciousness.

The New York State Health Department told ABC News not long after Rivers’ death that it had opened a “full investigation” of the clinic where Rivers was being treated. A source said there was no suspicion of wrongdoing and the investigation was routine.

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