Review Category : Entertainment

“Exodus,” “Top Five” Open Friday

Fox(NEW YORK) — Here’s a look at the new movies opening nationwide Friday:

  • Exodus: Gods and Kings — Ridley Scott directed the big-screen take on the biblical story of Moses. Christian Bale plays Moses. Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley also star. Rated PG-13.
  • Top Five Chris Rock wrote and directed the film, in which he plays a comic/movie star who’s profiled by a journalist. Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart and Sherri Shepherd also star. Rated R.

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“Exodus,” “Top Five” Open Friday

Fox(NEW YORK) — Here’s a look at the new movies opening nationwide Friday:

  • Exodus: Gods and Kings — Ridley Scott directed the big-screen take on the biblical story of Moses. Christian Bale plays Moses. Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley also star. Rated PG-13.
  • Top Five Chris Rock wrote and directed the film, in which he plays a comic/movie star who’s profiled by a journalist. Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart and Sherri Shepherd also star. Rated R.

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How Barbara Walters Chose Her ‘Most Fascinating’ Subjects

Lou Rocco/ABC(NEW YORK) — Barbara Walters previously said that last year’s “Most Fascinating People” special would be her last.

However, this year’s crop, including Scarlett Johansson, Neil Patrick Harris, and Oprah Winfrey, convinced her to do another.

“It really has turned out to be a sensational list,” Walters told ABC News. “I’m very happy. It’s a wonderful special, and the fact that we have these kinds of guests make it easy to do two hours.”

Walters, who will reveal this year’s Most Fascinating Person during the Dec. 14 special, made sure to curate a varied list of people, and each man or woman she interviewed surprised her in some way. Here’s why each person made her list:

1. Scarlett Johansson:
“What was surprising to me was that she forgot to tell me that she was married!” joked Walters, who spoke to the actress before her marriage to Romain Dauriac was made public. “But she does very few interviews, and she was extremely open.” In the interview, Walters said that Johansson discusses her relationship, being a new mother, and being a sex symbol. “Her private life is very private, so we love that we could do it,” she said.

2. Neil Patrick Harris: Like many people, Walters is in awe of Harris’s talent and incredible work ethic. “It’s such a sign of our times, the fact that Neil Patrick Harris is someone who appeals to both men and women, and is married, and has babies,” she marveled. “[He and David Burtka] are today’s couple…and there’s nothing he can’t do.”

3. Chelsea Handler: Walters was impressed by the late night host’s decision to leave her successful E! show, Chelsea Lately, in favor of a new Netflix original. “She’s very funny and the fact that she’s taking a new route…[is] adventurous,” she noted. In this wide-ranging interview, Walters was able to show Handler’s softer side during a discussion about the comedian’s late mother. “That’s what you can do with these interviews if you can take the time,” she explained. “You peel away the top layer, the thing that they say all the time, and you try to really find out who they are and what makes them tick.”

4. David Koch:
Koch, the sixth richest man in the world, never does interviews — but he did for this. Walters was fascinated by his controversial background. “People love him or hate him,” she noted. “He’s huge! Koch Industries owns everything from Dixie cups to oil wells, and I was happy to talk to him.”

5. Michael Strahan: Fans of Good Morning America and Live with Kelly and Michael already suspect that Strahan is a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, but Walters was able to confirm that he’s “an absolutely delightful man.” “There’s whole trend of big, hunky football men becoming stars and he’s the leader of the group,” she said. “He was very upbeat, very easy to talk to.” In spite of his past personal problems, Walters said that he radiates optimism. “He wakes up every day smiling,” she said. “I don’t wake up every day smiling!”

6. Taylor Swift: This year, Swift transitioned from country singer to pop star and invited her fans into her home to sample her new music — a gesture that touched Walters. “Most stars don’t want to have anything to do with their fans after they’ve done the performance,” said Walters. “She does.” During their interview, Walters was also impressed by Swift’s poise. “She’s very natural,” she said.

7. Oprah Winfrey: This, by Walters’ count, is the fifth time she’s interviewed Winfrey, with each sitdown revealing something new. “We’ve both grown over the years,” Walters said. And still, there’s one thing they always bond over: Loving their careers. “Oprah and I talk very much about taking time for ourselves,” she noted, “but as she said, she can’t remember the last 25 years and I feel [the same]!”

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Movie Review: “Top Five” (Rated R)

“Top Five” – Paramount (NEW YORK) — When we first started hearing about Top Five, the film was basically being portrayed as the second coming of comedy. It sparked a bidding war at the Toronto Film Festival, and Paramount reportedly bought it for $12 million, an enormous sum when it comes to festivals. The hype surrounding the Chris Rock-written and directed comedy was so great, my expectations going into it were way over-inflated, so let me give you a warning: lower yours. Top Five is a solid comedy with sparks of genius and gut-busting cameos. But it will not change your life.

That said, it’s very easy to see Top Five as autobiographical for Rock. He plays Andre Allen, a wildly-successful actor and comedian who’s sick of making stupid Hollywood films. He wants to do something that matters. The film follows Allen the day his new movie about a Haitian slave rebellion comes out. This film is the magnum opus that’s going to turn it all around for him. And in a very meta way, Top Five is the film that’s making people take Rock more seriously after some silly Hollywood comedies, including Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 (interestingly, he wrote Top Five while bored on the set of the latter).

During this day in Andre Allen’s life, he’s being followed by a New York Times reporter, played by Rosario Dawson. She’s doing a profile on him, which allows them to get into sometimes funny, sometimes philosophical, and sometimes heated conversations about topics including celebrity, addiction, and Cinderella. These exchanges are the heart of the film, and while they’re well-written and smartly-directed, they suffer from Rock’s delivery. He’s among the best stand-up comedians to ever take the stage, but acting is not where he shines, and Dawson’s talent and natural ease on screen only serve to highlight Rock’s flaws. He by no means kills the film, but I feel it would have been better served with someone else in front of the camera, and Rock focusing his talents behind it.

While promoting the film, Rock has said he’s seen every one of Woody Allen’s movies, and as the characters in Top Five move through Manhattan to a sometimes jazzy soundtrack, you really get a sense of that. The comedian is becoming a very talented filmmaker before our eyes, with a strong, smart voice. The dialogue crackles with comedy, and Rock somehow has an ability to write the raunchiest scenes in a way so they don’t feel gross. This isn’t the first film he’s written and directed — his last directorial effort was 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife — but it feels like the first that’s truly his. Hopefully, it’s the first of many.

Rock also has a lot of fun with his friends. Top Five includes some truly great cameos, from the likes of Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, Sherri Shepherd, and Jerry Seinfeld. And J.B. Smoove deserves special recognition for his hilarious turn as Rock’s body man.

Years from now, we’ll hopefully look back at Top Five as the beginning of an era that ushered in a string of smart, funny, edgy films written and directed by Chris Rock. And I have a feeling each one will be better than the last. No one’s asking that he be as prolific as Woody Allen, churning out a film a year. But if that happened, I don’t think anyone would complain.

Three-and-a-half out of five stars.

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Model Beverly Johnson Claims Bill Cosby Drugged Her

Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Vogue magazine’s first African-American covergirl, Beverly Johnson, is the latest to level accusations against Bill Cosby, saying that the comedian drugged her in 1986.

In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, Johnson said that Cosby put something in her coffee and told her to act drunk for a scene that they would act out. Johnson claimed that, “the drug was very powerful,” adding that she was, “woozy, my speech was slurred, I knew that I was in danger.”

Johnson said that soon after she began to feel as though she’d been drugged, Cosby put his hands on her waist. At that point, Johnson said, she began to yell and call him names, and he responded by dragging her down the stairs and out of his brownstone building.

Johnson’s story was detailed in Vanity Fair on Thursday.

Cosby has been accused by several women in recent weeks of sexual abuse. Earlier this month, a woman named Judy Huth sued Cosby, alleging he molested her in the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old. Another lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, is from a women who claims Cosby sexually assaulted and later defamed her.

Cosby has vehemently denied allegations made against him through his attorney.

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Mila Kunis Opens Up for First Time About Motherhood

Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Hollywood Awards(LOS ANGELES) — In her first interview since giving birth to her daughter Wyatt two months ago, Mila Kunis on Wednesday opened up about who will have to worry when her little girl becomes a teenager.

The Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson joked that girls are easier until they become teens.

“That’s not my problem! That’s daddy’s problem!” Kunis, 31, joked right back, referring to her fiance Ashton Kutcher.

Ferguson had joked that at just 9 weeks old, a baby girl was still nice and wasn’t running around yet.

“She’s not lethargic…She moves!” Kunis added.

Kunis and Kutcher welcomed Wyatt back in early October and the couple announced it on Kutcher’s site Aplus.com.

“Mila and I would like to welcome Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher to the world. May your life be filled with wonder, love, laughter, health, happiness, curiosity, and privacy,” he wrote.

The pair, engaged early in 2014, initially kept quiet about the pregnancy. Kunis, 31, addressed the rumors in May and confirmed she was expecting.

According to E! News, Kunis added Wednesday night on The Late Late Show that she looks great only weeks after delivering because “Breastfeeding’s a great workout!”

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Under Fire, Lena Dunham Now Says ‘Barry’ Was Pseudonym in Her Sexual Assault Essay

ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) — In her book, Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham accused a Republican named Barry of sexually assaulting her in college.

After the media connected the incident with an actual person who fits that description, Dunham, 28, revealed in an essay that she used a pseudonym for her offender.

“As indicated in the beginning of the book, I made the choice to keep certain identities private, changing names and some descriptive details. To be very clear, ‘Barry’ is a pseudonym, not the name of the man who assaulted me,” she wrote in an essay for BuzzFeed. “Any resemblance to a person with this name is an unfortunate and surreal coincidence. I am sorry about all he has experienced.”

Aaron Minc, an attorney for the real-life Barry, released a statement on his client’s behalf, thanking Dunham for her clarification. However, Barry also called the experience of being suspected “frightening” and “baffling,” and slammed Dunham for not speaking out on his behalf sooner, adding that he first approached her and her publisher two months ago.

“Why didn’t you clear my name? Why did you wait?” he asked. “Surely, had my concerns not been ignored when I quietly and privately brought them to your representatives in October, your story would have remained focused on its true intentions, which I believe are very noble. Unfortunately, because of the delay, my reputation has sustained irreparable harm.”

A spokeswoman for Random House told People magazine that the publisher will change the digital version and future printings of the book to indicate that “Barry” is a pseudonym. Random House will also pay Barry’s legal fees. Previously, Minc created a GoFundMe page for his client, explaining that Barry “already spent a substantial portion of his savings on legal fees.” The GoFundMe page raised more than $25,000.

“Our offer will allow Mr. Minc and his client to donate all of the crowd-funding raised to not-for-profit organizations assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault,” the Random House spokeswoman said.

Through his lawyer, Barry added that he hopes that this incident will remind writers and publishers to be steadfast fact-checkers. He also urged them to be absolutely clear when discussing people accused of committing criminal acts.

“I want to be very clear: I have absolutely no reason to doubt Ms. Dunham’s claim that she was sexually assaulted in college. I hope, too, that her story brings courage and strength to other survivors of sexual assaults,” he said. “I also hope that my story will serve as an example to those who are falsely accused or incorrectly placed under suspicion of serious sexual misconduct allegations that the truth will eventually come out.”

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Columbus Short Reveals Drugs Forced “Scandal” Exit

ABC/Craig Sjodin(NEW YORK) — Columbus Short portrayed Harrison Wright on the hit TV drama Scandal for three seasons before personal problems forced him to exit the show this past April.

During a recent appearance on Access Hollywood Short revealed that drugs were a major factor in his sudden departure.

“I had a lot on my plate,” the 32-year-old actor admitted. “I was using unhealthy ways to kind [to] self-medicate and deal with a lot of heavy duty stuff in my life…I was doing cocaine and drinking a lot, and trying to balance a 16-hour work schedule a day, and a family, and I just lost myself back then.”

This past Valentine’s Day, Short was charged with misdemeanor spousal battery. His wife, Tanee McCall-Short, later filed for divorce.

A month later, the actor was arrested on another battery charge for allegedly brawling with a fellow patron in a restaurant.

Short tells Access Hollywood Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes and his castmates were aware of his drug problems and even tried to help him, noting, “they protected me and they held me down.”

“They just wanted me to get my stuff together. Sometimes the bottom has to be dropped out for you to really get it,” he adds.

Short blames his drug use on a series of personal struggles. “I was going through a lot, going through a lot in my marriage,” he tells the show. “I had a lot of loss, tragic loss, so it’s tough.”

He continues, “Last year, one of my best friends died, he killed himself, [Friday Night Lights actor] Lee Thompson Young, and that kind of started a spiral. I found out when I was on set, and it really just, it took my legs out from under me.”

Short says he’s been living in Atlanta for the past five months and “it’s just been great. It’s been life-changing.” He says he’s doing much better and hopes to make a return to acting.

“I’m really ready to get back to work,” he declares. “As far as Shonda’s shows, I would love nothing more to go back to Scandal. It’s my family.”

Scandal returns to ABC with new episodes Jan. 29.

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Bill Cosby Facing Defamation Lawsuit

Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) — Bill Cosby is facing a new lawsuit, this time from a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her and later defamed her.

Tamara Green filed her lawsuit Wednesday in a Massachusetts court, alleging Cosby drugged and assaulted her in the early 1970s. She further claims that after she alleged in interviews in 2005 that Cosby had attacked her, the comedian’s lawyer and publicist made statements that branded her a liar.

Green’s attorney, Joseph Cammarata, held a press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., during which Green appeared via video. She said, “This should give us a chance to go to a forum where we will speak our stories and tell our truth. And the most important thing is that Bill Cosby will be required to appear in court and to speak and he will finally be heard. And that’s what I hope to accomplish.”

Cosby has been accused by several women in recent weeks of sexual abuse. Earlier this month, a woman named Judy Huth sued Cosby, alleging he molested her in the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15 years old.

Last month, Cosby denied the allegations made against him through his attorney.

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Angelina Jolie Among “People” Magazine’s ‘Most Intriguing People of 2014’

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Benedict Cumberbatch are just three of the celebrities who intrigued People magazine this year.

An upcoming double issue of the magazine celebrates its “Most Intriguing People of 2014.” Jolie headlines the list as “Woman of the Year.” The Unbroken director, who married Brad Pitt and starred in the Disney hit Maleficent in 2014, tells the magazine, “It’s been a beautiful year.”

She also addresses the future of her acting career, commenting, “There are a few more acting roles I’d like to do, and then I’m going to be very happy to put that part of my life behind me. I’ve loved being an actor, but I’m happier shining a light on other actors.”

The mother of six was asked whether she and Pitt plan to expand their family. She replied, “Not at the moment, no,” but added, “Something could change tomorrow, so I don’t know.”

Lawrence is named “The Leading Lady” by People, while Cumberbatch is labeled “The New A-Lister” and Chris Hemsworth — who was recently awarded the title of “Sexiest Man Alive” by People — is an “Aussie Adonis.” The magazine’s “intriguing list” also includes Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and George and Amal Clooney.

People’s double issue, which also looks back at the notable weddings, babies, splits and feuds of 2014, hits newsstands Friday.

Here are People magazine’s “Most Intriguing People Of 2014”:

  • Angelina Jolie: Woman of the Year
  • Reese Witherspoon: The Industry Force
  • Chris Pratt: The Break Through
  • Tracy Morgan: The Fighter
  • George & Amal Clooney: The Dashing Duo
  • Matthew McConaughey: The Champ
  • Lupita Nyong’o: The New It Girl
  • Jennifer Lawrence: The Leading Lady
  • Shonda Rhimes: The TV Titan
  • Laverne Cox: The Trailblazer
  • Jimmy Fallon: The New King of Late Night
  • Neil Patrick Harris: The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz
  • Into the Woods: The Dream Cast
  • Ebola in America: Grateful Survivors
  • Bruce Jenner: The Makeover Man
  • Lena Dunham: The Storyteller
  • Benedict Cumberbatch: The New A-Lister
  • Kate, William & George: The Royals
  • Duggar Brides: The Next Generation
  • Kim & Kanye: The Power Couple
  • 5 Seconds of Summer: The Tween Dream
  • Brittany Maynard: The Crusader
  • Chris Hemsworth: The Aussie Adonis
  • Barack Obama: The Embattled Leader
  • Taylor Swift: The Hit Maker

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