Brit horror highest new film entry

Posted by MereNews On April - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Harris is a professor who conducts experiments on a young woman, uncovering dark forces in the process

British horror film The Quiet Ones is the highest new entry at the UK box office in a week dominated by older releases.

The film, starring Jared Harris and Bates Motel actress Olivia Cooke, took £681,000 and charted at number five.

Black comedy Calvary and Indonesian martial arts movie The Raid 2 finished the weekend at numbers seven and eight.

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1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – £2.76m

2. Noah – £1.59m

3. Rio 2 – £1.55m

4. Divergent – £1.003m

5. The Quiet Ones – £681,000

Source: Rentrak

The chart was topped by Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a total haul of £14.6m in its third week.

CGI-heavy Biblical epic Noah, starring Russell Crowe, finished in second place with takings of £1.59m, narrowly edging past last week’s number one, Rio 2, which was in third with a box office of £1.55m.

Dystopian teen thriller Divergent completed the top four.

Calvary, which stars Brendan Gleeson as a good-natured priest who is threatened during a confession, earned £571,489, while The Raid 2, directed by Welshman Gareth Evans, attracted £454,150 worth of business.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27036405#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

BBC Trust to examine star salaries

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The BBC Trust last reviewed on-air talent salaries in 2008-09

The BBC Trust is to conduct a review of BBC presenter and performer pay – the first in five years.

The corporation has reduced its talent pay bill by 13% since the last review on star pay in 2008-09.

The Trust will examine whether measures taken since have resulted in value for money and if more money can be saved.

According to last year’s BBC annual report, 250 performers and presenters earned more than £100,000, including 14 with salaries between £500,000 – £5m.

The BBC’s governing body said it would also look at how the corporation recruits and develops its presenters and performers and examine how BBC pay compares with its competitors in the wider market.

The trust added it would outline more detail of its examination shortly with the review beginning later this spring.

BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid was recently lured away by ITV

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “We know that our audiences expect the best talent to appear on the BBC.

“This review will be an opportunity to re-examine the market to make sure that we continue to attract and retain quality on-air talent whilst ensuring value for money for licence fee payers.”

The BBC has previously received criticism over the amount it pays its on-air talent and had argued salaries had to remain competitive to avoid stars being poached by commercial rivals.

Former BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid is the latest presenter to defect to ITV to front its revamped breakfast offering in a deal reportedly worth £1m.

Other BBC talent lured away by rivals in recent years include Christine Bleakley, Adrian Chiles and Alesha Dixon.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27034889#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Hobbit star Armitage set for Old Vic

Posted by MereNews On April - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Richard Armitage’s stage work includes The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth for the RSC

Richard Armitage is to star in a new production of The Crucible at the Old Vic in London.

The actor, who plays Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit films, will play the role of John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s classic play.

The production will be presented in-the-round from 24 June.

Armitage’s previous stage work includes The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth for the RSC, and Hamlet at Birmingham Rep.

His TV roles include Spooks, North and South, Robin Hood and the BBC’s Macbeth opposite James McAvoy and Keeley Hawes.

Other cast members in The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber, include Anna Madeley and Samantha Colley.

Set during the Salem witch trials, Miller’s play draws parallels with his experience of McCarthy’s anticommunist investigations in the US in the 1950s.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27039545#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

BBC Three controller leaves for Sky

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Zai Bennett began his career in the post room of Carlton Television in 1995

BBC Three controller Zai Bennett has announced he is leaving the BBC, a month after it was revealed his channel would be scrapped and moved online.

Bennett, who joined the corporation in 2011, has commissioned some of BBC Three’s biggest hits, including The Call Centre and comedy Bad Education.

He had previously been at ITV, where he was responsible for Celebrity Juice and The Only Way Is Essex.

After leaving the BBC in June, he will become director of Sky Atlantic.

“Zai has been a fantastic Controller of BBC Three and has led the Channel to great success,” said the BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen.

“He’s a true gentleman and I will miss working with him.”


BBC Three is to close as an on-air channel in autumn 2015. The BBC says it will save millions by cutting the channel’s programme budget from £85m to £25m.

The channel will continue to have a home on the iPlayer, with some of its programmes aired later on BBC One and BBC Two.

Director general Tony Hall called the plan “financially necessary” and said £30m of the savings would be reinvested in BBC One drama.

Mr Bennett, whose BBC salary was £219,900, admitted he had been “shocked” by the decision to close BBC Three.

‘Creative risk’

“It’s more popular than Channel 4 for 16-24 year olds and from 22:00 each evening, it is the biggest channel for 16-34s bar none,” he wrote on the BBC website.

“BBC Three is also the only channel in the UK that makes documentaries and current affairs specifically for the young adult audience.”

In his new role, the 39-year-old will oversee Sky’s portfolio of HBO programmes, including Game of Thrones, True Detective and Mad Men.

Sky Atlantic has also committed to commission at least six UK programmes per year, with recent hits including the Alan Partridge series Mid Morning Matters.

Mr Bennett said joining Sky Atlantic was an opportunity he “couldn’t turn down”, calling it “one of the best jobs in the industry”.

He added: “I will miss working with the outstanding channel and commissioning teams.

“The BBC is lucky to be home to some of the most creative and inspiring people in television and it’s been a privilege to learn from them in my time here.”

Sky’s Stuart Murphy said: “Zai has huge experience in commercial TV and his innate desire to welcome and support creative risk is a perfect fit for Sky.

“With his new role at Sky Atlantic, we will give him the backing and platform to do this at an epic scale.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27037383#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

War Horse musicians lose legal bid

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There are a number of productions of War Horse running – all now using pre-recorded music

Five musicians have failed to win a High Court order against the National Theatre after being made redundant from the West End production of War Horse.

The musicians took legal action last week following the theatre’s decision to replace them with a pre-recorded soundtrack.

They had sought an injunction to be allowed back on the show until a breach of contract case could be heard.

However, a judge said he was not persuaded to make an interim order.

Mr Justice Cranston added the musicians’ prospects at a trial for breach of contract were “strong”.

Neyire Ashworth, Andrew Callard, Jonathan Eddie, David Holt and Colin Rae – who had been with the hit show since 2009 – had their roles cut back in March 2013 to just a few minutes per performance.

Their contracts were terminated last month when live, orchestrated music was cut from the production – although it still incorporates live folk songs and choral numbers.

The group said they had continued to show up for nightly performances only to be turned away.

‘Better than nothing’

The musicians’ counsel James Laddie QC said: “The claimants have not accepted this breach of their contracts, and have elected to affirm their contracts.

“They have at all times made it clear that they remain willing and able to attend work and to perform their obligations under their contracts.”

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Start Quote

There is no live band in any other production [of War Horse] around the world”

End Quote
David Reade QC

“Even a small walk-on role is better than nothing. It is perhaps an indication of how tough the musical world is that they are happy with that – happy being part of an ensemble, being associated with War Horse and picking up regular wages week in, week out.”

The National Theatre said the decision to cut live music from the show was made for artistic and financial reasons.

David Reade QC said the theatre was entitled to terminate their contracts as there was no longer an orchestra in the production, saying War Horse was a play that featured music – rather than a musical production.

“The orchestra was not an integral part of the play, and indeed there is no live band in any other production [of War Horse] around the world,” he said.

The Theatre said it welcomed the High Court’s decision.

“It is important to emphasise that War Horse has always been, and will continue to be, a play in which music plays an integral part, with a recorded orchestral under-score and central roles for folk musicians who perform live,” it said in a statement.

If the order had been granted, it would have impacted the new cast and creative direction of the show, which has been staged and lit without the presence of musicians since 17 March.

War Horse is one of the National Theatre’s most successful productions during the tenure of outgoing artistic director Sir Nicholas Hytner, having been seen by more than 2.5 million people worldwide.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27034895#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Ultimate Warrior cause of death confirmed

Posted by MereNews On April - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

15 April 2014 Last updated at 08:09

The Ultimate Warrior was escorted by his daughters to the stage during his WWE Hall of Fame Induction

Authorities in Phoenix have confirmed former pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior died of cardiovascular disease.

The wrestler died at his Arizona hotel on 8 April, days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

A Maricopa County spokeswoman delivered the findings after an autopsy was conducted by the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

The 54-year-old, whose birth name was James Hellwig, appeared at Monday Night Raw on 7 April and WrestleMania 30.

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

Cardiovascular disease includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including coronary heart disease (angina and heart attack), heart failure, congenital heart disease and stroke.

It is also known as heart and circulatory disease.

James Hellwig, better known as The Ultimate Warrior, appeared at WWE Monday Night Raw on 7 April

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) published a statement following his death which read: “WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior.”

It added: “Warrior is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters.”

Other high profile names posted messages of condolence on social media when they heard the news.

“Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters,” wrote Triple H on Twitter.

Hulk Hogan, who lost to The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI, posted: “RIP WARRIOR. only love.”

“Heartbroken. My sincerest condolences go out to The Warrior’s family,” said Daniel Bryan.

He added: “Seeing how much he loved his daughters and his wife this weekend makes it all the more heartbreaking.

“The Ultimate Warrior was my favourite as a kid, and getting to speak to him this weekend was one of my favourite moments. He was so nice to me.”

Jackson mother must pay AEG’s costs

Posted by MereNews On April - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine, had hoped for a retrial against AEG Live, but lost her bid in January

Michael Jackson’s mother has been ordered by a US court to pay AEG Live $800,000 (£480,000) for costs defending the failed negligence case she brought against the concert promoter.

The company was cleared of liability over the 2009 death of the pop star in a five-month trail last October.

AEG Live had sought $1.2m (£720,000) to cover costs, but Katherine Jackson’s lawyers claimed it was not justified.

Both parties agreed not to challenge the court’s decision, but may appeal.

The exact amount to be paid is expected to be finalised after AEG Live submits an amended list of its costs for items such as court filing fees and travel.

AEG Live were the promoters of Michael Jackson’s This Is It comeback shows, and hired Conrad Murray to be his personal doctor for the duration

AEG Live’s lawyer Marvin Putnam said the court did the right thing “by ordering Katherine Jackson to pay nearly $1m (£600,000) spent in having to defend a matter that she should have never brought in the first place”.

Mrs Jackson’s lawyer Kevin Boyle said the costs would be borne by her and the singer’s three children, all of whom are supported by his estate.

Mr Boyle added a decision on whether to appeal the order would be made after AEG Live’s costs are finalised.

The Jackson family sued the company in 2010 claiming it negligently hired and supervised cardiologist Conrad Murray, who gave the singer a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol as a sleep aid during his planned comeback tour.

However a jury concluded the doctor was not unfit or incompetent to do his job and so AEG Live had not been negligent in hiring him.

Murray – who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the drug – was released from jail last October.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27023787#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

NSA stories take Pulitzer Prize

Posted by MereNews On April - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman wrote some of the NSA surveillance stories that won the prize

The Guardian and Washington Post have shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for a series of stories on US electronic spying.

Their reporting was based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Among other winners of the top prize in US journalism was the Boston Globe, for breaking news reporting.

Two staff writers of the Reuters news agency were awarded the prize for international reporting.

The Pulitzer Prizes are awarded by the Columbia University journalism school.

‘Authoritative and insightful’

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How intelligence is gathered

  • Accessing internet company data
  • Tapping fibre optic cables
  • Eavesdropping on phones
  • Targeted spying

In giving the top prize to The Guardian US and the Washington Post, the Pulitzer committee said the Guardian helped “through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy”.

It said the Post’s stories were “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of naional security”.

Mr Snowden, in a statement published by The Guardian, called the award “a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government.

“We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation,” added Mr Snowden, who has been charged with espionage in the US and is currently a fugitive in Russia.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe provided “exhaustive and empathetic coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt that enveloped the city”, the committee wrote of the paper’s coverage of the 15 April 2013 attack.

Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded a Pulitzer for his reporting on how lawyers and doctors conspired to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease.

Times wins two

NSA leaker Edward Snowden provided a cache of documents to The Guardian and Washington Post on the agency’s electronic spying programme

The top prize for US reporting was awarded to The Gazette in Colorado for its examination of mistreatment of wounded combat veterans, while the prize for international reporting went to Reuters for reports of persecution of a Muslim minority group in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

The editorial staff of the Oregonian in Portland won the prize for commentary for pieces explaining pension costs.

Tyler Hicks of the New York Times won for breaking news photography for images captured during a terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Kenya. Also for the Times, Josh Haner won in the feature photography category for a “moving” essay on a Boston Marathon bomb blast victim who lost most of both legs.

Among other categories, Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch, was awarded the Pulitzer for fiction writing, while Don Fagin received the award for general nonfiction for his work, Tom’s River: A Story of Science and Salvation.

Members of this year’s selection committee included Katherine Boo, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and Eugene Robinson, a columnist for The Washington Post.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-27029670#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Nazi memorabilia auction cancelled

Posted by MereNews On April - 15 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Hermann Goering’s passport was to be included in the controversial sale

Objects that belonged to the Nazi leaders Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering have been withdrawn from an auction in Paris, after Jewish groups objected to the sale.

The memorabilia included Goering’s passport and a wooden chest marked with swastikas, which was owned by Hitler.

The French Culture Minister had joined Jewish groups in denouncing the sale.

The auction house, Vermot de Pas, said it had not intended to stir controversy.

“We were pitching this as part of the responsibility to remember – but in no way to shock or create a polemic,” AP news agency quoted co-manager Laudine de Pas, as saying.

‘Moral indecency’

The sale on 26 April was due to feature some 40 items seized from Hitler’s Bavarian home in the last days of Nazi Germany in May 1945, according to the auction house.

Among them was a napkin bearing Hitler’s initials and a 17th Century manuscript presented to Hitler’s former deputy, Goering, in 1935.

France’s best-known association of Jewish groups, CRIF, had denounced the sale as “harming the memory of victims of Nazi barbarity”.

A napkin bearing Hitler’s initials was also among the items being offered

In a statement, the organisation said selling the objects would give them “unhealthy symbolic value that resembles cynicism and a form of moral indecency”.

Another group, the National Office of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, had joined calls for the sale to be blocked, calling it “obscene”.

French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti welcomed the cancellation on Monday, saying it was “necessary in the light of history and morality”, according to AFP news agency.

She had reportedly sent a letter to France’s auctions authority, The Council of Voluntary Sales (CVV), questioning the validity of the sale.

She referred to France’s official ban on the public display of objects linked to Nazi ideology, according to AP.

Catherine Chadelat, president of the CVV, told AFP the items were by their very nature likely to shock and that Vermot de Pas had decided to withdraw them from the sale.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27028990#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Donna Tartt wins fiction Pulitzer

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Donna Tartt’s best-selling novel The Goldfinch is 784 pages long

Author Donna Tartt has been awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her critically acclaimed third novel The Goldfinch.

The Secret History author said she was “incredibly happy and incredibly honoured” by the award.

Annie Baker’s play The Flick won the Pulitzer for drama while Vijay Seshadri won the poetry prize for 3 Sections.

US historian Alan Taylor earned his second Pulitzer for The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War In Virginia.

Tartt’s 784-page bestseller The Goldfinch, which was named Amazon’s 2013 book of the year, is set in modern Manhattan and tells the story of a young orphan coming to terms with the death of his mother.

Columbia University, which awards the prize, said judges described it as “a beautifully written coming-of-age novel … that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.

The book, which is in the running for this year’s Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK, beat two other nominees, The Son by Philip Meyer and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis.

Fans of Tartt had waited a decade since her second novel The Little Friend, which many had found disappointing after her strong 1992 debut The Secret History.

“The only thing I am sorry about is that Willie Morris and Barry Hannah aren’t here,” said Tartt, referring to two authors who were her early mentors.

“They would have loved this,” she added.

Last month it was reported by The Wrap that a film version or TV series of The Goldfinch is in the works, by the producers behind The Hunger Games.

An education

Other arts winners included Dan Fagin’s book Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation in the non-fiction category, while composer John Luther Adams was awarded the music prize for Become Ocean.

Judges called his piece “a haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels”.

The biography prize was awarded to Megan Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, about the 19th-Century intellectual and transcendentalist.

Colonial historian Taylor said writing The Internal Enemy had been an education for him.

He found documents showing how escaped slaves had assisted the British during the War of 1812 and were an important factor in the British capture of Washington, DC.

“This is a story I had known nothing about and I was supposed to be a specialist,” said Taylor.

Among this year’s journalism Pulitzer Prizes, the award for public service journalism was shared by The Guardian and Washington Post for a series of stories based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27032533#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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China Growth Slows to 7.4%

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BofA in Settlement Talks Over Mortgage Securities

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Economy Thawing, Survey Finds

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