Review Category : Entertainment

Meryl Streep Honored with Medal of Freedom at White House Ceremony

ABC/Randy Holmes(WASHINGTON) — President Obama on Monday honored Meryl Streep and 18 other individuals with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom.

At the White House ceremony, Obama spoke very highly of the three-time Oscar winner.

“I love Meryl Streep,” the president proudly declared. “I love her. Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There’s nothing either of them can do about it.”

Referring to Streep’s role in the film Mamma Mia!, Obama joked, “She’s done it all for her craft. She’s sung ABBA, which, you know, that’s something.”

Obama continued reviewing Streep’s prolific career: “She learned violin. She wore a nun’s habit, faced down a charging lion, mastered every accent under the sun. She inhabits her characters so fully and compassionately.”

The honorees also included actress Marlo Thomas, singer Stevie Wonder, newsman Tom Brokaw and composer Stephen Sondheim.

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Zach Braff, Shia LaBeouf and Woody Allen Make “GQ” List of ‘Least Influential People of 2014′

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) — What do Zach Braff, Shia LaBeouf and Woody Allen have in common? They’ve all made GQ‘s “Least Influential People of 2014″ list.

According to GQ, Braff made the list because he used Kickstarter to fund his latest film, Wish I Was Here. “Who are these people who gave Zach Braff $3 million to make a Garden State do-over? Who has that kind of money to burn?” GQ wrote. “He should’ve just filmed himself rubbing that money on his armpits,” GQ added.

LaBeouf got his honor for a string of odd behavior incidents this past year. The magazine wrote, “enough with celebrities excusing their asinine behavior — like, say, wearing paper bags over their heads — by claiming they were conducting some kind of sociological experiment about HUMANITY.”

Meanwhile, Allen made the list for his box office dud, Magic in the Moonlight. “Does that movie feature yet another man wooing a woman who is half his age? Of course it does. Just to throw us off, Woody needs to make a movie where Justin Bieber nails Cloris Leachman,” the mag quipped.

Also on the list are Bono and U2, Johnny Depp and Robin Thicke. How I Met Your Mother co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas also made the GQ list for the show’s much-maligned twist ending.

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“Star Wars” Tease Coming to Select Theaters This Weekend

LucasFilm(NEW YORK) — A post-Thanksgiving treat will await Star Wars fans at select movie theaters this weekend.

An 88-second tease of the new film in the popular series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will be shown in 30 theaters across North America, beginning Friday morning.

Director J.J. Abrams confirmed the news on the Twitter account of his production company, Bad Robot, with a photo of a sign that promises a “tiny peek at what we’re working on.”

THANKSGIVING pic.twitter.com/46811BgWiF

— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) November 24, 2014

The theaters are located in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.

StarWars.com has posted a list of theaters that will offer the sneak peek this weekend.

The tease will roll out in theaters worldwide in December.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the franchise, will be released December 18, 2015. It’s being produced by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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“Dancing with the Stars” Recap: Bethany Mota Eliminated

ABC/Adam Taylor(LOS ANGELES) — YouTube star Bethany Mota and her pro partner Derek Hough were voted off ABC’s Dancing with the Stars Monday on the first night of a two-night season 19 finale.

After learning her fate, Mota, 19, told the audience, “I’ve discovered things about myself that…I never thought I could do. I was just hoping to make it past week two so to be in the finals was the best thing ever.”

Hough, the brother of judge Julianne Hough, said he was proud of his partner and the show. “This has been an incredible season,” he said.

Monday’s installment featured the finalists dancing two routines. For their first performance, the stars had to revisit the routine they did in their first week, under the tutelage of a member of the judges’ panel. The second routine, the freestyle, generally holds tremendous significance in determining the overall winner of the competition.

The final three couples are actress Janel Parrish and Valentin Chmerkovskiy; actor Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson; and Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas. The winner of the mirrorball trophy will be announced Tuesday night during a two-hour finale.

Here’s a rundown of Monday night’s routines:

Bethany Mota: The YouTube star reprised her jive, but a problem with a late-moving prop and a fumble cost her. “I’m sad because I saw tremendous improvement from week one…but we have the mistakes…,” Carrie Ann Inaba said. Bruno Tonioli, who gave Mota pointers during her rehearsal for this routine, told her she was “the ideal student” and said she did incredibly well. Head judge Len Goodman and judge Julianne Hough both agreed that Mota had improved tremendously since her debut on the show. Mota earned four 9s for a total of 36 out of a possible 40 points.

Sadie Robertson: The Duck Dynasty star re-did her Week One samba with some pointers beforehand from Goodman and with cameos from her famous family. The routine made her father tear up, and the judges were full of praise. Hough said she loved it more than she did the first time, and Tonioli pointed out slight flaws in the timing even though he, too, said Robertson had soared to “unexpected heights” on the show. Inaba acknowledged that she didn’t expect to see Robertson in the finals, but added that the performance proved why she made it so far. Goodman said he liked that the routine had lots of basic samba steps paired with interesting choreography. He did point out that Robertson and her partner Mark Ballas lost sync for a brief time. Robertson earned two 10s and two 9s for a total of 38 points.

Janel Parrish: Although she was dancing with an injury that caused her to miss several days of rehearsal, Parrish’s samba — with rehearsal tips from Julianne Hough -– earned her a standing ovation from the ballroom audience. The judges noted that her injury appeared to have some impact on her performance. Tonioli told Parrish she “lost balance a little bit” and added, “it’s probably because of your injury and it’s such a shame because it was a wonderful, wonderful dance.” Inaba told Parrish she was a “warrior dancer.” Goodman said he didn’t notice any mistakes on the turns. “What I did see what great, rhythmic dancing with a clarity and sharpness to it,” he said. Hough said Parrish should work with her partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy through the adversity. “You got this, girl!” Hough said. Parrish, who teared up after her performance, earned a 10 and three 9s for a total of 37 points.

Antonio Ribeiro: The actor danced the jive, and despite a back injury, earned a sustained standing ovation from the ballroom audience and a perfect score from the judges. “It was amazing!” Inaba said. “I don’t know how it was so much better than the first time.” Goodman told Ribeiro: “You dance like Frank Sinatra sings. He’s easy on the ear. You are easy on the eyes.” Hough told Ribeiro that there “was not one thing” that he missed in the routine, and an enthusiastic Tonioli cheered “Hooray for you!” Ribeiro and partner Witney Carson earned four 10s, for 40 points.

Freestyle Routine:

Bethany Mota: Her powerful, dramatic freestyle earned her a standing ovation and high praise from the judges. Inaba said the performance was spectacular, and Hough said Mota “couldn’t have done a better job.” Tonioli told Mota that she had the makings of a leader, and Goodman added: “I got just what I expected. Great lifts. Drama. This is a five-star freestyle!” Mota earned four 10s, for 40 points.

Sadie Robertson: In her freestyle, Robertson’s and her partner played iconic video game characters in a unique routine that had the judges raving. “Game over!” Hough declared, adding: “That was the cutest thing I have ever seen.” Tonioli called the routine “refreshing,” telling Robertson’s pro partner, Mark Ballas, that the routine was “totally inspired,” and adding: “Watching this, I felt like a child again. I was hit by wave upon wave of absolute joy. Thank you.” Inaba said the routine was “the most memorable freestyle we’ve seen in ages,” while Goodman said he would never forget the routine. Robertson earned four 10s for a total of 40 points.

Janel Parrish: The actress’ contemporary routine earned her glowing reviews from the judges. Tonioli called it “the visualization of a love poem, so moving and deeply felt…hypnotically beautiful.” Inaba said the routine “changed us for a minute,” adding, “to me, that is what being an artist is about.” Goodman said the routine combined athleticism with artistry, calling it “fantastic.” Hough said the routine was “absolutely breathtaking.” Parrish earned four 10s, for a total of 40 points.

Alfonso Ribeiro: The actor’s freestyle combined snippets from all his prior performances, and incorporated a tap dance solo. The routine brought the house down, and judges were equally appreciative. “And that’s how you tap your way to the top. I’m telling you, this really was [an] in-your-face, undeniable show stopper in the great American way,” Tonioli said. Goodman called the performance “an all-you-can-eat buffet of great dancing fun,” and Inaba said it was “the ultimate in freestyle.” Ribeiro earned four 10s for 40 points.

Monday’s scores (first routine, freestyle, grand total):

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: 40; 40. Total: 80
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: 38; 40. Total: 78
Janel Parrish and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 37; 40. Total: 77
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: 36; 40. Total: 76 (Mota was voted off.)

The winner will be announced Tuesday night during a two-hour results show that begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.

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Sting to Join the Cast of His Musical ‘The Last Ship’ Starting Dec. 9

Mike Pont/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — The idea was floated earlier this month, but now it’s a reality: Sting will join the cast of his Broadway musical The Last Ship, in an effort to help boost ticket sales.

The news was confirmed on Sting’s website: he’ll take on the role of Jackie White, the foreman of a British shipyard, in the musical. His run starts December 9, and he’ll do eight shows a week through January 10.

The New York Times reports that in his role as White, he’ll be in “about 40%” of the show. Despite decent reviews, The New York Times reports that the show has been losing $75,000 per week since it opened September 29.

Sting told the newspaper because he’s been working on the show for so long, he “knows all the lines and lyrics after all these years,” so it’s not as though he’s unprepared. He also told the Times he’d bare his butt “in Macy’s, if it will help our show.”

Jeffrey Seller, lead producer of The Last Ship, tells The New York Times the show needs “a boost…some ammo.” He says he asked Sting to join the cast, with an eye towards keeping momentum going long enough so that the show can win a Tony award in June.

Sting can’t remain in the show indefinitely, however: he’s scheduled to resume his tour with Paul Simon January 30 in New Zealand.

A week ago at a red carpet event, when asked if he’d be appearing in The Last Ship, Sting said, “Don’t think I need to be at the moment.” Obviously, that has changed. He also told reporters, regarding the show’s good reviews versus its lagging ticket sales, “We fight a battle every night and we win that battle hands down in the theater, and that word of mouth is great. But it’s a challenge, y’know. It’s not an easy world, Broadway, it’s tough. But I’m having the time of my life, I’ll tell ya!”

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Sting to Join the Cast of His Musical ‘The Last Ship’ Starting Dec. 9

Mike Pont/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — The idea was floated earlier this month, but now it’s a reality: Sting will join the cast of his Broadway musical The Last Ship, in an effort to help boost ticket sales.

The news was confirmed on Sting’s website: he’ll take on the role of Jackie White, the foreman of a British shipyard, in the musical. His run starts December 9, and he’ll do eight shows a week through January 10.

The New York Times reports that in his role as White, he’ll be in “about 40%” of the show. Despite decent reviews, The New York Times reports that the show has been losing $75,000 per week since it opened September 29.

Sting told the newspaper because he’s been working on the show for so long, he “knows all the lines and lyrics after all these years,” so it’s not as though he’s unprepared. He also told the Times he’d bare his butt “in Macy’s, if it will help our show.”

Jeffrey Seller, lead producer of The Last Ship, tells The New York Times the show needs “a boost…some ammo.” He says he asked Sting to join the cast, with an eye towards keeping momentum going long enough so that the show can win a Tony award in June.

Sting can’t remain in the show indefinitely, however: he’s scheduled to resume his tour with Paul Simon January 30 in New Zealand.

A week ago at a red carpet event, when asked if he’d be appearing in The Last Ship, Sting said, “Don’t think I need to be at the moment.” Obviously, that has changed. He also told reporters, regarding the show’s good reviews versus its lagging ticket sales, “We fight a battle every night and we win that battle hands down in the theater, and that word of mouth is great. But it’s a challenge, y’know. It’s not an easy world, Broadway, it’s tough. But I’m having the time of my life, I’ll tell ya!”

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Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch Join “True Detective”

George Pimentel/WireImage(NEW YORK) — The cast of True Detective season two is coming together.

HBO announced on Monday that Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly have signed on to work alongside Colin Farrell, who is set to play a compromised police officer, and Vince Vaughn.

The network announced that Kitsch will play Paul Woodrugh, a veteran and California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer. Woodrugh is “running from a difficult past and the sudden glare of a scandal that never happened,” the network added in a press release.

McAdams’ character, Ani Bezzerides, is an officer for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department “whose uncompromising ethics put her at odds with others and the system she serves.”

Reilly will play a D-list actress and the wife of Vince Vaughn’s character, Frank Semyon.

Semyon is “a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner.”

Kitsch, who previously had been rumored to be a part of the series, told AdWeek last month that he was “really excited” to get started.

“I’ve just been prepping. It’s been almost a full year since I’ve been on camera, so I’m itching, man,” he said. “I’m overdue.”

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Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch Join “True Detective”

George Pimentel/WireImage(NEW YORK) — The cast of True Detective season two is coming together.

HBO announced on Monday that Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly have signed on to work alongside Colin Farrell, who is set to play a compromised police officer, and Vince Vaughn.

The network announced that Kitsch will play Paul Woodrugh, a veteran and California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer. Woodrugh is “running from a difficult past and the sudden glare of a scandal that never happened,” the network added in a press release.

McAdams’ character, Ani Bezzerides, is an officer for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department “whose uncompromising ethics put her at odds with others and the system she serves.”

Reilly will play a D-list actress and the wife of Vince Vaughn’s character, Frank Semyon.

Semyon is “a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner.”

Kitsch, who previously had been rumored to be a part of the series, told AdWeek last month that he was “really excited” to get started.

“I’ve just been prepping. It’s been almost a full year since I’ve been on camera, so I’m itching, man,” he said. “I’m overdue.”

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Ryan Reynolds on Expecting First Child: ‘I’m Good with Diapers and Diarrhea’

Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) — Ryan Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively are expecting their first child, and Reynolds says he’s more than prepared for this new chapter in his life.

“I don’t have a weak stomach,” Reynolds told People magazine. “I’m good with diapers and diarrhea and all that kind of stuff because I have lots of nieces and nephews, so I’ve done it all before.”

Reynolds revealed what he’s most looking forward to about the new addition. “I’m just excited about having a buddy,” he said, adding, “We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet, but whatever it is, you have this tether to reality that never goes away.”

The actor also said he’s not concerned about messing up as a first-time father.

“For a lot of new dads, you tend to dwell on the mistakes you don’t want to make,” he said. “I’m at that stage still where I’m focused primarily on being open and understanding and leaving a lot of room for error.”

There’s no word on when Lively and Reynolds, who wed in 2012, are expecting their bundle of joy.

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Ryan Reynolds on Expecting First Child: ‘I’m Good with Diapers and Diarrhea’

Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) — Ryan Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively are expecting their first child, and Reynolds says he’s more than prepared for this new chapter in his life.

“I don’t have a weak stomach,” Reynolds told People magazine. “I’m good with diapers and diarrhea and all that kind of stuff because I have lots of nieces and nephews, so I’ve done it all before.”

Reynolds revealed what he’s most looking forward to about the new addition. “I’m just excited about having a buddy,” he said, adding, “We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet, but whatever it is, you have this tether to reality that never goes away.”

The actor also said he’s not concerned about messing up as a first-time father.

“For a lot of new dads, you tend to dwell on the mistakes you don’t want to make,” he said. “I’m at that stage still where I’m focused primarily on being open and understanding and leaving a lot of room for error.”

There’s no word on when Lively and Reynolds, who wed in 2012, are expecting their bundle of joy.

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