Tom Cruise says Top Gun 2 in the works

SYDNEY – Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise revealed Wednesday he plans a sequel to the cult action film Top Gun, with filming set to begin next year.

Rumours have swirled for years that he would revisit the 1986 movie that made him a household name, and Cruise finally spoke out while in Australia to promote his latest flick “The Mummy”.

Asked by a Channel Seven breakfast TV host about whether a second instalment of the action drama was on the cards, he replied: “Yes, it’s true.”

“I’m going to start filming it probably in the next year.

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“It’s happening, it’s definitely happening.”

The original Top Gun, which also starred Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis and Tim Robbins, received mixed reviews but was a huge commercial hit.

Directed by Tony Scott, Cruise played hotshot US Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who has a dangerous and reckless flying style.

He struggles to balance life, responsibility and a love affair while competing at the Navy’s fighter-weapons school.

Source – TheNation

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the biggest star of all

Actors come and go, radio presenters live or die by their ratings and musicians top the charts only to be dropped, hostages to the vagaries of fickle public opinion.

But some stars are destined to be remembered forever, their successes immortalized in terrazzo and brass on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — a draw for visitors from across the world that has more staying power than any individual celebrity. 

Launched in 1958, the walk has built up more than 2,600 stars, each a tribute to the contribution of a public figure in the fields of motion picture, television, recording, radio or, latterly, live theater. 

“The criteria for getting a star are longevity in the field of entertainment — of five years or more — awards nominations, and very important to us is that they do philanthropic work,” said Ana Martinez, who arranges the ceremonies.

The ceremonies often coincide with the release of a movie as it is the celebrity who chooses the date, and a $40,000 fee is paid by the honoree’s entourage — $15,000 to cover the event and the rest for maintenance.

Read also: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell get Hollywood stars

– Millions of tourists –

Nearly 50 years after its launch, the 2.5-mile (four-kilometer) stretch smack in the middle of Hollywood now attracts an estimated 10 million tourists a year, who come to soak up the glamour. 

“It’s very special to be here, to be here in person to see the stars of the singers I love and I listen to often, and of the actors that I grew up with,” Brazilian tourist Daniela Oliveira told AFP.

Not all the honorees are actors and musicians, of course — the late film critic Roger Ebert has one, as do hockey announcer Bob Miller, LA Lakers owner Jerry Buss and Winnie the Pooh. 

Other stars often go to groups — fictional or otherwise — such as the munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Muppets” and “The Simpsons,” while Kermit the Frog, Mickey Mouse and Godzilla have their own. 

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– Selection controversy –

E.M. Stuart, erstwhile president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is credited with coming up with the idea in 1953 for an attraction that would “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour.”

The walk’s initial costs came to $1.25 million and the first stars honored the likes of Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Burt Lancaster and Joanne Woodward. 

The selection process for honorees sparked controversy, however, when it emerged that Charlie Chaplin had been turned down for a star and his son sued unsuccessfully for damages amounting to $400,000. 

Chaplin finally got his star in 1972, five years before his death.

The walk was designed to accommodate 2,518 stars, and by the 1990s most of the space had gone, prompting the dedication of a second row.

Now there are hundreds of blank stars — leaving hope for newcomers to the entertainment industry pining after the Hollywood dream. 

Read also: Real places that inspired scenes in Oscar-nominated films

Source – TheJakartaPost

#Ukraine – Kiev puts finishing touches to Eurovision as song contest gets political.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in a few days, host city Kiev puts final touches on preparations.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in just a few days, host city Kiev is rushing to complete the final touches on preparations for the international competition.

Kiev has started welcoming Eurovision fans and set up food stalls, performance stages and big screens in the centre of the town which will broadcast the semi-finals and final next week. But as Ukraine prepares to host the final stages of the Eurovision competition next week, a dispute remains over its decision to bar Russia’s entrant to the contest – because she had performed in Crimea after it was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Russia has vowed to boycott the competition, saying Ukraine’s move had tarnished the event. Ukraine hit back by saying that Moscow had deliberately tried to provoke Ukraine.

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Relations between Ukraine and Russia soured following the annexation and the outbreak of a war between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people. Hostilities spilled over into the glitzy Eurovision show after Ukrainian contestant Jamala unexpectedly won the contest last year with an entry that Russia called politicized.

Russia’s proposed entry, Yulia Samoylova, is due to perform in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Tuesday, May 9, coinciding with the first semi-final of Eurovision.

Ukraine expects about 12,000-14,000 spectators to attend the competition next week with millions more watching on television. It will be the second time that Kiev hosts the event.

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#Indonesian Student Association holds cultural festival in #Manchester

The Indonesian Student Association (PPI) in Greater Manchester held an annual art and culture festival called the Indonesian Cultural Festival (ICF) on Friday at Manchester University, England.

The festival featured a food bazaar, an exhibition of Indonesian tourist destinations and traditional Indonesian games. Some 250 visitors from England, Italy, China, Korea and Indonesia enjoyed the festivities.

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“There were eight food stalls selling over 50 Indonesian dishes such as nasi rendang, sate padang, martabak and even es cendol,” said Alif Kurnia Rahman, the event’s coordinator.

The main events of the 2017 ICF consisted of a traditional fashion show, a choir performance, an angklung recital and the performance of traditional dances, namely the Saman, Rentak Bulian and Piring dances from Sumatra, the Empat Etnis dance from Sulawesi, the Bambu Gila dance from Maluku, the Kecak dance from Bali and the Sajojo dance from Papua.

Source – TheJakartaPost

 

Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90

NEW YORK – Chuck Berry, one of the creators of rock ‘n’ roll who helped shape modern youth culture with his dance-ready rhythms but who struggled to overcome institutional racism, died Saturday. He was 90.

Police in the St. Louis area, where Berry was born and lived most of his life, said that first responders found the guitar legend unresponsive when they answered an emergency call at his home.

“The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry,” it said on Facebook.

Berry became a sensation in the years after World War II as the baby boom generation came of age in an increasingly prosperous America. The middle-class son of a carpenter and a high school principal, Berry grew up under segregation but instinctively sensed how to bridge the racial divide.

 Berry had played blues guitar but found that his white audience was more interested in country. He merged the styles with an electric energy and consummate stage showmanship, although he hesitated to say that he created rock ‘n’ roll.

“It used to be called boogie-woogie, it used to be called blues, used to be called rhythm and blues,” he later said. “It’s called rock now.”

Whatever the music was named, Bruce Springsteen, one of many artists heavily influenced by Berry, said the man was indispensable.

“Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” Springsteen wrote on Twitter.

His 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode” was so influential and recognizable that the US space program chose it to represent rock music for potential extraterrestrial listeners on the Voyager spacecraft.

Struggles with racism 

“Roll Over Beethoven” from 1956 was almost a manifesto of rock ‘n’ roll as the charismatic Berry urged the DJ to switch off the classical records and turn to the new genre of the youth.

Other hits included “Maybellene,” one of the pioneering rock songs that gave a guitar edge to a popular fiddle tune, and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” in which Berry hailed rock ‘n’ roll’s sweep across the United States.

Berry was one of the first African Americans to find a widespread white audience, with his gentle demeanor and the usually innocuous subject matter of his songs initially insulating him in a country where many black people lived under Jim Crow institutionalized racism.

But that changed as his fame grew. After a packed performance in 1959 in Meridian Mississippi, a white crowd set upon Berry and forced him to leave through a side entrance after accusing him of kissing a white girl among his fans.

“One of the girls threw her arms around me and hung a soul-searching kiss that I let hang a second too long,” Berry later explained. He was arrested for disturbing the peace and left the city after paying a fine.

His career soon was interrupted when he was arrested in 1959 under an obscure law for taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for “immoral purposes.”

Berry defended himself against allegations that he had slept with the young waitress. But he was convicted by an all-white jury and served a year and a half in prison. In a bitter irony, he was incarcerated just as the United States was swept by white rockers influenced by him, including the British invasion led by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Mick Jagger hailed Berry on Saturday as an inspiration, saying: “He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers.”

Final album due 

After his prison time, friends described the laid-back and fun-loving Berry as a changed man, and the conviction has long been viewed in the African American community as a warning sign for artists on the rise.

Berry mostly avoided the media limelight as he resurrected his career. In a rare 1987 interview with NBC television, Berry declined to describe himself as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, listing others including his contemporary Elvis Presley as well as Fats Domino and Little Richard.

“We’re all I think just a cog in the wheel. We all got the ball rolling,” he said.

Berry initially found success after record executive Leonard Chess sensed his crossover potential and signed him after an introduction from Muddy Waters. Berry late in his life stayed low-profile in St. Louis where he played two decades worth of shows at the Blueberry Club, with his son Charles Berry Jr. in his backup band.

In a surprise, Berry last year celebrated his 90th birthday by announcing that he had recorded his first album in 38 years.

Entitled simply “Chuck,” the album is slated to be released sometime this year.

In a statement as he announced the album, Berry dedicated it to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry.

“My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

‘Logan,’ an R-Rated Super-Hero Film With Box Office Powers

The R-rated “X-Men” spinoff “Logan” slashed into the weekend box office, opening with a massive $85.3 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, while best-picture winner “Moonlight” got a significant, if far from superhero-sized, Oscar bump.

The debut of 20th Century Fox’s “Logan,” starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, ranks among the biggest March openings ever and top R-rated debuts. Like last year’s R-rated “Deadpool” (also a Fox release), the better-than-expected opening for “Logan” — a darkly violent, grittily dramatic movie applauded by critics — further proves moviegoers’ hunger for less conventional comic book films.

Read also: Why final Wolverine movie ‘Logan’ has best possible finale

“‘Deadpool,’ was to comedy what ‘Logan’ is to drama. The only common theme is that they’re quote-unquote ‘comic-book movies’ and they’re rated R,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson, who credited director and co-writer James Mangold and Jackman for executing their personal vision for the film.

Jackman has said it will be his final performance as Wolverine, whose claws he has worn for 17 years. “Logan,” made for about $100 million, also sold $152.5 million in tickets overseas.

“On a global scale, we’ve exceeded all pre-release expectations,” Aronson said.

Last week’s No. 1 film, Jordan Peele’s horror sensation “Get Out” slid just 22 percent — a small drop for any movie but particularly in the horror genre. The acclaimed Universal Pictures release, made for $5 million by Blumhouse Productions, dropped to second place but still grossed $26.1 million. Its 10-day total is $75 million.

The Oscar best-picture winner “Moonlight” had its widest release yet, appearing on 1,564 screens. It turned in its biggest weekend, too, with an estimated $2.5 million. That accounts for roughly 10 percent of the movie’s total domestic haul of $25.3 million.

“Moonlight,” made for just $1.5 million, is also out on DVD and on-demand. Indie distributor A24 said it will be its highest-grossing release in its five-year existence. “Moonlight” also ranks fourth on iTunes.

“That’s a true Oscar halo effect in full view,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “Usually the biggest bounce comes from the nominations. But this film hadn’t made a ton of money. A24 smartly expanded into more theaters, and it really worked for them.”

Barry Jenkins’ drama is nevertheless one of the least widely seen best-picture winners. Only Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” ($17 million) earned less at the domestic box office.

Though it memorably did not win best picture, Lionsgate’s “La La Land” — winner of six Academy Awards — is closing in on $400 million globally after adding another $11 million internationally and $3 million domestically.

Lionsgate’s “The Shack” also opened in North American theaters over the weekend and came in third with $16.1 million. The Christian tale, starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, was slammed by critics, but it attracted one of the largest faith-based audiences in recent years.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

Adele confirms marriage during Australian concert after years of speculation

New York – Adele, who has become a global pop sensation with her songs of heartbreak, has confirmed years of speculation that she is married.

The English singer has been in a long-term relationship with Simon Konecki, a former financier who founded drop4drop, a charity that presses for global access to clean drinking water.

The couple have a four-year-old son, Angelo, but Adele has been coy about whether they are married as she tries to maintain her privacy.

But she confirmed their status at a concert in Brisbane, Australia on Sunday (March 5, 2017) as she introduced Someone Like You, her breakthrough 2011 hit written about the lingering pain of a breakup with a previous boyfriend.

“That feeling when you first fall for someone is the best feeling on earth,” she said, according to a fan’s video posted online.

“And I am addicted to that feeling. Obviously, I can’t go through with those feelings because I’m married now,” she added, to a smattering of cheers.

Attentive fans at last month’s Grammy Awards also heard Adele thanking “my husband and my son – you’re the only reason I do it.” Her representative declined at the time to say whether she had been confirming her marriage to Konecki.

Adele, 28, has been one of the most successful artists of the 21st century with her ballads of nostalgia and heartache.

With the latest Grammys, she became the first artist to win all three most-coveted awards – for album, record and song – in two different years.//AFP

Source: TheNation

Cambodia International Film Festival

Now in its seventh year, the festival is attracting filmmakers, stars, students and fans from around the city and the globe. This week’s events offer a wide range of themes for movie, art and music lovers, and a unique platform for the Kingdom to celebrate its creativity

When the Cambodia International Film Festival began in 2009, it was responding to a very specific need: films made in the country simply did not have a platform for screening. With no major cinemas, the crewmembers often would not even have a chance to view their own work on the screen.

“We started to say ‘we should bring some of these films back,’” says Cedric Eloy, the chief executive officer of the Cambodian Film Commission and one of the festival organizers. After beginning with an approximate audience of a thousand people, the festival has grown yearly, and organizers expect this incarnation, which begins tonight and runs through Thursday, to exceed 20,000 attendees.

Despite expanding alongside the industry, Eloy says the festival has maintained its mission – to give filmmakers a platform, to present trends in local cinema to outsiders working in the industry, and to develop a local knowledge base about movies from all over the world.

For the first time, this year’s edition will be held in the spring, where Eloy expects it to remain in coming years. The lineup is an intoxicating mix of local and regional films, with Western offerings sprinkled throughout, as well as a celebration of local music, arts and dance. Because of the range of films, the organisers have tried to arrange the agenda as much as possible by theme – for example, there will be a showcase of Lao cinema, a series on the Rwandan genocide, and a collection of films for children.

“There’s really a desire to make it accessible to a large audience without it feeling too overwhelming, so that’s why there’s an intention to have all these different themes,” Vanaka Chhem-Kieth, a press officer for the festival, says. On top of providing nearly a week of entertainment for residents, the festival is also an opportunity to foster a local film ecosystem.

“We do film production and film training most of the year, so we connect everything we do [with the festival] … and people can make professional connections between Cambodia and other industries [elsewhere],” Eloy says. “A lot of people, when they come to present their film here, discover that there is an industry. They make connections and might have an idea for other projects. So it leads to other films in the future and other collaborations.”

Director Rithy Panh, whose documentary Exile will be making its Cambodian premiere, sees the festival as an opportunity for locals to see and hear perspectives potentially unfamiliar to them.

“You have nearly 30 different countries [where films being shown are made] and these are 30 different points of view and ways of doing cinema differently, and I find that it’s important for our youth to discover these different viewpoints,” he says. “It’s not sufficient [for success] to have a good diploma in management. You also need culture.”

In order to make the festival as accessible as possible for the public, the organisers have implemented a ticketing system that allows the first half of the audience to get in free, while all subsequent tickets cost just $1.

For admission to all the events, and the perk of getting to skip lines, the public can purchase a pass for the entire festival for 50,000 riel ($12.50). In line with targeting a young, local audience, Koh Pich will host a series of open air events, including a screening of Davy Chou’s celebrated film Diamond Island.

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5 top Hollywood actresses with new TV shows

These days, more A-list Hollywood actresses are starting to embrace the world of TV.

Emma Stone

Hollywood’s IT girl Emma Stone will reunite with Superbad co-star Jonah Hill for the Netflix comedy series Maniac which is set for release later this year. The TV show, directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, is based on a Norwegian series of the same name and it follows the fantasies of a patient in a mental institution.

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts’ upcoming Netflix TV series Gypsy will see the actress portraying Jean Holloway, a therapist who gets intimate with the people in her patients’ lives. Due for release later this year. Hmm … wonder how Fifty Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson will work her magic on this show?

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro have starred in three films together, and are now doing TV work. The actors reunite in the upcoming HBO TV movie Wizard Of Lies, where Pfeiffer plays Ruth Madoff, the wife of convicted American financial fraudster Bernie Madoff (De Niro). The series is set to premiere in May.

Meryl Streep

Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep will be starring in Warner Bros TV’s The Nix, a miniseries about a man on a mission to prove that his mother is not guilty of an alleged crime. Directed by J.J. Abrams, The Nix is an adaptation of a critically-acclaimed novel by Nathan Hill. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Streep is earning US$825,000 (RM3.6mil) per episode.

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts will produce and star as Eleanor Ford in Today Will Be Different, a TV series based on a novel of the same name. In the series, Roberts’ character tackles the issues that she has been putting on hold such as confronting her son who has been faking an illness and a wayward husband.

This article appeared on The Star newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

Indonesia – 10,000 dancers to perform Saman Dance in Aceh

Up to 10,000 dancers are set to participate in a traditional Saman Dance performance in March at Blang Kejeren city stadium in Gayo Lues regency, Aceh.

The mass Saman Dance performance has been held twice and previously involved 5,000 dancers.

“Five thousand dancers was considered to be the biggest, but they will present [more than] 10,000 dancers,” Aceh Cultural and Tourism Agency head Reza Pahlevi told kompas.com.

(Read also: Indonesian troupe to perform Majapahit-inspired dance in India)

Reza said that the performance was part of the dance’s preservation and promotion program and the dancers themselves would be representative of all districts in Gayo Lues regency.

“Almost all Gayou Lues residents can perform the traditional dance,” said Reza. “This is why [the Saman Dance] has received recognition from UNESCO, as it is very authentic and rooted in the people’s lives.”

At the time of writing, Reza had yet to reveal the performance date. He mentioned that the committee was still waiting for the Aceh regional election. “In the meantime, the event is slated for mid-March.” (jes/kes)

Source: TheJakartaPost