Exhibit marks Bruce Lee’s death

Bruce Lee fans are marking the 35th anniversary of his death with an exhibit featuring movie posters, magazine covers and books about the action star.

Also among the 800 items on display are letters written by Lee that detail his life in the U.S., where he attended college and taught kung fu before returning to Hong Kong.

Danny Chan, who plays Lee in an upcoming Chinese TV series, attended the opening ceremony of the exhibit Friday, organized by the Hong Kong-based Bruce Lee Club.

Chan said he hopes the exhibit will improve public understanding of Lee.

“A lot of people like Bruce Lee but know very little about him,” he said.

Lee died July 20, 1973, at 32 from swelling of the brain.

He was known for movies in which he portrayed characters who defended the Chinese and the working class from oppressors. His credits include “The Chinese Connection” “Return of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon.”

Talks are also ongoing about turning Lee’s former home in Hong Kong into a museum. The philanthropist who owns the two-story house has offered to donate the property and has lobbied the government to help convert it into a museum.

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July 18, 2008 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Dennis Farina pleads no contest to gun charge

Dennis Farina may be able to carry a gun on-screen, but he won’t be able to own one in California for several months.

The actor’s attorney pleaded no contest on Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of bringing a weapon into a secure area at Los Angeles International Airport. A court commissioner sentenced him to up to two years of probation and ordered him to pay $1,991 in fines, said Los Angeles City Attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan.

While on probation, Farina cannot own or carry a gun, Mateljan said.

A former policeman, Farina was arrested May 11 for having a .22 caliber semiautomatic handgun in his briefcase. He promptly apologized after his release, saying he forgot he had the gun in his baggage.

Farina, 64, did not appear in court Thursday.

Farina has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including a three-year stint on “Law & Order” as detective Joe Fontana.

Other charges of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm were dismissed.

July 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm Leave a comment

Billy Crystal joins 9/11 memorial foundation board

Billy Crystal is going to help build the Sept. 11 memorial.

The 60-year-old actor was named Thursday to the board of directors of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the foundation raising money to build the memorial to the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Crystal becomes the 45th member of the board, joining “Analyze This” co-star Robert De Niro.

He participated in a benefit concert for the city a month after the terror attacks. He also has co-hosted eight Comic Relief telethons on HBO to raise money for the homeless.

The foundation has raised more than $350 million privately to build the memorial.

July 18, 2008 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Weekly wrap-up of entertainment quotes from AP

“My heart is with them and all my love goes to them.” Jon Voight, after his daughter, Angelina Jolie, gave birth to twins in the south of France.

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“I felt the emotion of both the mother and the father. … They were happy.” Dr. Michel Sussmann, who delivered Angelina Jolie’s twins.

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“The CD was a confidence trick. It wasn’t just music that people used to buy, it was a total art form. … I think that’s what people like. They like it personal. They like vinyl because if you scratch vinyl, it’ll be scratched, but it’ll be your scratch. It will only be on your record.” Roger Daltrey, saying the scrapping of long-play records signaled the death of the music industry.

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“My dress has beautiful beads on the bottom of it, and I stepped on my gown and they made me slip. It was like I was on Rollerblades. There was no conspiracy or anything. Nobody left marbles on the floor. It was just me.” Miss USA Crystle Stewart, who fell as she walked on stage for the evening gown competition in the Miss Universe pageant.

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“It’s terribly scary to be followed by men in cars with cameras. … It’s terrifying, you know? They’re breaking traffic laws and putting you and other people in danger. I try to follow the speed limit and be Zen about it. It’s not like I’m doing anything exciting going to the dry cleaners or to Whole Foods to shop for groceries.” Jessica Biel, in an interview in Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

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“Working without knowing what you are doing from start to finish is very difficult. It was really improvisation. It was exciting. It keeps you on your toes.” Lucy Liu, on her role in the hit summer animated film “Kung Fu Panda.”

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“When you write a song called `R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,’ that is for the general public to consume. When you write a song called `Ain’t Gonna Need This Body (Don’t Need This Body),’ that is for people who are halfway through their lives.” John Mellencamp.

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“I am committed to my belief in myself and in my abiding faith to meet this challenge with a heartfelt optimism and determination.” Natalie Cole, who has been diagnosed with hepatitis C.

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“The first time I heard people were asking for the Rihanna, it was really flattering and maybe a little strange. It caught me by surprise, but now I feel it’s a very cool thing. I don’t feel the pressure to change it up again at all. I like it, as they like it.” Rihanna, on the popularity of her short hairstyle, in an interview in In Style magazine.

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“I still never finish a book without being terrified I can’t write another one. I never start one without being terrified that I can’t finish it.” Danielle Steel.

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“I still very much love her.” Al Reynolds on his soon-to-be ex-wife Star Jones.

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“There was a time when working people could find a job. A young guy could get a job and he was going to stay there until he retired, get the gold watch and all. Today, he don’t know if he’s going to retire once he gets in.” Bluegrass singer Del McCoury.


July 18, 2008 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Top 5 lists in entertainment

TELEVISION

1. “America’s Got Talent,” NBC.

2. “Wipeout,” ABC.

3. “The Bachelorette” (Monday, 10 p.m.), ABC.

4. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS.

5. “The Bachelorette” (Monday, 8 p.m.), ABC.

(From Nielsen Media Research)

FILM

1. “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” Universal.

2. “Hancock,” Sony.

3. “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” Warner Bros.

4. “WALL-E,” Disney.

5. “Wanted,” Universal.

(From Media By Numbers LLC)

HOT FIVE

1. “I Kissed a Girl,” Katy Perry. Capitol.

2. “Take a Bow,” Rihanna. SRP/Def Jam/IDJMG.

3. “Lollipop,” Lil Wayne feat. Static Major. Cash Money/Universal Motown.

4. “Forever,” Chris Brown. Jive/Zomba.

5. “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis. SYCO/J/RMG. (Platinum)

(From Billboard magazine)

ALBUMS

1. “Tha Carter III,” Lil Wayne. Cash Money/Universal Motown/UMRG. (Platinum)

2. “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends,” Coldplay. Capitol.

3. “Camp Rock.” Soundtrack. Walt Disney.

4. “Modern Guilt,” Beck. DGC/IGA/

5. “Rock n Roll Jesus,” Kid Rock. Top Dog/Atlantic/AG. (Platinum)

(From Billboard magazine)

CONCERT TOURS

1. Kenny Chesney.

2. Bon Jovi.

3. Jay-Z/Mary J. Blige.

4. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

5. The Police.

(From Pollstar)

VIDEO SALES

1. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Special Edition),” Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

2. “Yoga Conditioning for Athletes,” Gaiam Video.

3. “Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird,” Warner Home Video. (Gold)

4. “Shark Tale,” Paramount Home Entertainment.

5. “King of the Ring: Long Live the King,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

(From Billboard magazine)

VIDEO RENTALS

1. “Vantage Point,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

2. “Drillbit Taylor,” Paramount Home Entertainment.

3. “10,000 BC,” Warner Home Video.

4. “Fool’s Gold,” Warner Home Video.

5. “The Bucket List” Warner Home Video.

(From Billboard magazine)

DVD SALES

1. “Vantage Point,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

2. “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

3. “10,000 BC,” Warner Home Video.

4. “The Spiderwick Chronicles” Paramount Home Entertainment.

5. “Drillbit Taylor,” Paramount Home Entertainment.

(From Billboard magazine)

July 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

`Clone Wars’ revives old-style `Star Wars’ fun

A tinge of Anakin Skywalker’s coming dark side clearly is visible in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Yet the animated adventure mostly harks back to the fun, swashbuckling times of the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Lucasfilm Animation, which screened the movie Tuesday for The Associated Press in advance of its Aug. 15 theatrical release, has crafted a movie nicely tucked in to Anakin’s early heroic days, before his transformation into the evil Darth Vader.

Along for the ride are noble-hearted clone soldiers with the camaraderie of Marine grunts, inept android warriors as idiotic as the Three Stooges and a young protege who rivals Anakin for cockiness and affectionately calls him “Sky Guy.”

Dave Filoni, director of the movie and supervising director for “The Clone Wars” animated TV show debuting this fall on TNT and the Cartoon Network, said the idea was to return to the wisecracking tone of the original “Star Wars” in 1977, before the gloom of Anakin’s fall.

“I wanted this to have the banter. I wanted this to be funny,” Filoni said in an interview at Skywalker Ranch, home to Lucasfilm Animation, a division of “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’ filmmaking empire. “Telling that dark story of Anakin Skywalker was important for George, but this was a chance to show Anakin before that. Anakin as a hero, Anakin as the good guy, Anakin more like his son,” Luke Skywalker, of the original trilogy.

The Anakin in “Clone Wars” is a hybrid of Luke and his rascally ally, Han Solo, Filoni said.

“He’s cocky like Han, he can do a lot of things like Han, he’s clever with machines like Han. But he’s naive like Luke. The whole galaxy is a bit overwhelming,” Filoni said.

The movie presents all of the key characters from Anakin’s world: Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and Yoda; Anakin’s future wife Padme Amidala; androids R2-D2 and C-3PO; gangster Jabba the Hutt; villain Count Dooku; and Palpatine, the galaxy’s evil emperor in waiting.

Characters not seen in the live-action movies include conniving assassin Asajj Ventress; Jabba’s sinister uncle, a giant slug that speaks with a Truman Capote-like Southern drawl; and Captain Rex, a loyal member of Anakin’s clone crew.

The main newcomer is Ahsoka Tano, a teenage girl from an exotic alien species who’s assigned as Anakin’s Jedi apprentice. With mischievous wit, Ahsoka breaks down Anakin’s stiff facade and reluctance to take on a student, the two establishing a flippant rapport as they slice up droids with their light-sabers, scale a daunting summit on a rescue mission and play nursemaid to Jabba’s kidnapped baby son.

“She definitely brings a fun side out of Anakin. I think they have such a great relationship,” said Ashley Eckstein, who provides Ahsoka’s voice. “Ahsoka is very eager to prove herself, and I don’t think she would allow Anakin not to accept her.”

The movie offers a glimpse of the inner turmoil that contributes to Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Crash-landing on his home planet of Tatooine, Anakin momentarily bears a haunted look as he’s asked about the desert world, where he exacted a savage revenge over the death of his mother in “Attack of the Clones.”

“I was hoping I’d never have to lay eyes on this dustball again,” Anakin says.

Opening with a variation on John Williams’ familiar “Star Wars” theme, the movie is heavy on humor. Anakin devises an amusing low-tech way for him and Ahsoka to sneak inside a droid energy shield. Obi-Wan engages in a witty surrender negotiation with a general who speaks in a Sean Connery brogue. When a droid falls off a cliff and smashes on the ground, his superior leans over and barks, “Get back here, sergeant.”

A few veteran “Star Wars” performers provide voices for the movie, including Samuel L. Jackson as Mace, Christopher Lee as Dooku and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. Taking over from Hayden Christensen as the voice of Anakin is Matt Lanter, while James Arnold Taylor does Obi-Wan, who was played by Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy.

Anakin remains a bit rash, but he has graduated from apprenticeship to Obi-Wan to take the lead on his own missions as an equal to his former master.

“With this movie and also the ongoing series, we’re going to see the banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin. We’re going to see them as comrades, as buddies,” Lanter said. “It is reminiscent of some of the original `Star Wars.’ It’s got that comic relief in it and has kind of that old-school feeling.”

Mentioned briefly in the first “Star Wars,” the Clone Wars are depicted fleetingly in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” the second and third episodes in the prequel trilogy.

The new movie and the TV show take place in the three years between those films, as the Jedi lead the galactic republic’s clone army against the robot forces of a separatist movement headed by Dooku.

It was a murky epoch in the “Star Wars” universe, ripe with stories about Anakin and other central figures but also minor characters and new ones never seen before.

“That was the impetus of that, this whole period of time we could run around in,”

Lucas said in an interview earlier this year.

Lucas initially planned just a TV show. But as he viewed the first footage, “he said, `This looks great. The fans should really see this on the big screen,'” said Filoni, who came to “Clone Wars” after working on the animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

Filoni and his collaborators reshaped a story arc developed for the series into a stand-alone tale they could tell as a theatrical movie.

The computer animation borrows from the striking panoramas of Japanese anime, while the characters have a chiseled look and movements vaguely reminiscent of the 1960s puppet adventure series “Thunderbirds.”

Though animated, the world is recognizably “Star Wars,” from Yoda’s twitching frowns to the hum of the light-sabers.

“A lot of people have said to me that have seen it well, the few people that have seen it at this point that they feel like they’re watching `Star Wars,'” Filoni said. “They feel like they’re seeing those characters again. Even though we’ve done this style that’s painterly, if you want to call it that, it’s still `Star Wars.'”
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July 18, 2008 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Publicist confirms: Thurman is engaged to Busson

It’s official: Uma Thurman will marry financier Arpad “Arki” Busson.

“I can confirm she is engaged,” Thurman’s representative, Stephen Huvane, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. Huvane didn’t immediately respond Monday when asked for further details.

Thurman filed for divorce from Ethan Hawke in 2004. They have two children. The 38-year-old actress was previously married to Gary Oldman.

Busson has two sons with Elle Macpherson.

Thurman received an Oscar nomination for 1994’s “Pulp Fiction.” Her screen credits also include the “Kill Bill” thrillers and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend.”

July 1, 2008 at 7:43 am Leave a comment

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