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Movie Review: “Black or White” (Rated PG-13)


"Black or White" - Relativity(NEW YORK) — Inspired by actual events, Black or White stars Kevin Costner as wealthy lawyer Elliot Anderson. When we first meet him, he’s waiting in a hospital, alone, having just found out his wife was killed in a car accident. He is simply a broken man.  Now he has to go home and live with the news for the night before he tells his young granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell).
 
We soon learn that Elliot and his wife had been raising Eloise, whose father was African-American, because her mother, their daughter, died during childbirth. Following the funeral, we meet Eloise’s other grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer), who subtly suggests that maybe it will be best if Eloise moves to South Central Los Angeles to live with her and her expansive family. Rowena is a self-made woman who owns six businesses, while Elliot’s a struggling alcoholic who has now experienced more than enough tragedy for one lifetime.
 
If circumstances had been different, Elliot might be willing to let Rowena have at least joint custody of Eloise.  But there’s a problem, at least as far as Elliot is concerned.  Reggie (Andre Holland), Eloise’s biological father, is a drug addict, and Elliot blames him for the death of his daughter.  When Rowena tries to contact Elliot about a custody arrangement, he refuses to return her calls.  That’s when Rowena gets her brother, Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie) involved.  Jeremiah is a successful litigator who decides to use a strategy Rowena isn’t comfortable with: he wants to paint Elliot as a racist.
 
This is one of Costner’s more powerful performances. Spencer, Mackie and comedian Bill Burr are also terrific, but they’re overshadowed by a sloppy, meandering script that attempts to force unnecessary humor into the story.  Director Mike Binder also gets a little too cute with some of the courtroom scenes, robbing the moments of gravitas – treating Black or White more like My Cousin Vinny than as a movie that should’ve been a powerful reflection of who we are as a society, and our ability, as human beings, to forgive.
 
Two-and-a-half out of five stars.

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Movie Review: "Project Almanac" (Rated PG-13)


Photo credit: Guy D'Alema/ (c) Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. (NEW YORK) -- Project Almanac.  Great -- another “found footage” movie.  Did we really need another one of these?

Mind you, I love any premise that involves time travel, and Project Almanac likely exceeds whatever expectations you may have of it, based on the marketing campaign. But this story would’ve been so much better if these kids had traveled back to 1999 and sabotaged The Blair Witch Project. While I love that movie, it begat a found-footage epidemic in Hollywood for which there seems to be no cure.

But whatever. In Project Almanac, we have high school senior David Raskin (Jonny Weston), a budding genius who’s attempting to score a full scholarship to MIT. Along for the ride are his best friends Adam (Allen Evangelista), Quinn (Sam Lerner), and David’s little sister, Christina (Ginny Gardner), who films everything (hence the found footage).

David gets that MIT scholarship, but it’s only a partial one. He retreats to the attic to rifle through his father’s old notes, looking for inspiration for another project he can send to the MIT admissions board.  Turns out dad was also a genius, but was killed in a car accident on David’s 7th birthday.  David comes across an old video camera, and turns it on to find footage from his 7th birthday party -- but there’s a twist. The footage reveals a brief glimpse of 17-year-old David passing by a mirror. What?

David and his sister visit his dad’s old basement lab, where they discover a metal box with some interesting-looking gadgets and notes. Turns out dad was smarter than they thought, because he invented a time machine! 

David recruits his besties for help and they start jumping back in time. Since the technology only allows them to jump back a maximum of three weeks, their goals are pretty small: change the outcome of school assignments, get even with a bully, and win the lottery. Also included in their adventures is Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia), David’s crush. You’ll have to see the movie to find out how she gets involved but David’s fondness for her plays a major role in how the plot unfolds. 

We’re dealing with time travel, which means we’re dealing with a little thing called a causal loop: the idea that if you change one tiny thing in the past, it will have a major ripple effect on future events. I love how it’s handled in this movie. Are there issues? Sure, but the speculation and effort invested in presenting the causal loops will keep the most skeptical and harshest time-travel-movie critics interested. 

Project Almanac has its flaws. Writers Andrew Stark and Jason Pagan, and director Dean Israelite, really start testing your suspension of disbelief when they asks us to accept that in the ten years since their dad died, neither David nor his sister have been in his basement lab. And again, this found-footage thing is perplexing. It’s amazing how somebody with a camera can stand 30 feet from their subjects, and yet we hear the characters as if they were wearing microphones. 

Silly, yes, but we’ll forgive, because Project Almanac is good fun, a solid teen time-travel flick that’s almost perfect for this generation.

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

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Marion 'Suge' Knight Involved in Crash That Killed Friend, Says His Attorney


Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight was behind the wheel in a fatal crash in Compton, California, on Thursday, according to his attorney.

Knight claimed he was attacked by two people and while driving away, he hit his friend with his car, killing him, his attorney, James Blatt, told ABC's Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV. Another man was injured in the incident.

Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies haven't named either of the men.

Knight planned to surrender to police, said Blatt.

ABC News called Blatt's offices but he wasn't immediately available for comment.

In August, Knight was injured in a shooting at a pre-MTV Video Music Awards party in Los Angeles.

Knight, who founded Death Row Records, was also shot at a pre-VMAs party hosted by Kanye West in 2005.

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Super Bowl: Katy Perry Talks Halftime Show, Jokes About 'Deflate-Gate'


Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday will feature wild animals, plenty of costume changes and a surprise female guest, she told reporters at a press conference on Thursday in Phoenix. She also hopes to leave 'em smiling when she's done.

"I think I'm gonna play on my strengths, which I think are humor, incredible joy...I think my songs are anthemic," Katy told reporters. "And I just hope at the end of the day that over 100 million people are all smiling in unison. And if you can imagine that happening, I think there's going to be an incredible energy that goes across the world."

"I think I'm probably the only person in Super Bowl halftime history that will ever bring both a lion and sharks to the show," she added.  Katy teased that her opening costume will be "flaming hot," but denied that it'll be a retread of her Halloween costume, which featured her dressed like a Flamin' Hot Cheeto. "I did that already," she joked.

Katy's entrance and exit will be something "never done before," she said, and she also revealed that two of the songs she'll be singing are "Roar" and "Firework."

As for her guest, Lenny Kravitz, Katy said, "We've worked up something incredibly soulful. Of course he brings the soul and I think he's just going to make the night even sexier." Then, she quickly added, "An appropriate sexiness, everyone!"  But the singer also revealed that a second surprise guest would be joining her.

"I thought long and hard about it, and wanted to kind of bring someone back, like a throwback of sorts, that definitely needed some more shine," she told reporters. "All I can say is that it will be a real female fun night. When this person enters the stage and when you hear the first ring of the chord I think jaws will drop and faces will melt." Place your bets on who it's going to be starting now.

And speaking of betting, Katy says she doesn't believe in gambling, but is thrilled that there are prop bets out there regarding what she's going to wear, and what her hair will look like. "I've never been betted on as far as what my hair color is going to be," she laughed. "I feel like, 'Wow, nobody's ever really invested in me this much. This is exciting!'"

Katy also admitted she's rooting for the Seahawks, but when asked if she had her eye on any particular player romantically, she repeated Seahawk Marshawn Lynch's now famous line: "I'm just here so I don't get fined."

Idina Menzel, who's singing the national anthem on Sunday, is also rooting for the Seahawks, because as a New Yorker, she says she just can't bring herself to root for the Patriots.  She named Whitney Houston as her favorite past Super Bowl anthem singer, and said it's important for her to get across the meaning of the anthem when she sings it. "It's actually a very poignant song and I'm proud to be singing about my country," said the Tony-winning "Let It Go" vocalist.


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Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt Welcome a Son


Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- It's a boy for Stanley Tucci!

The Hunger Games star and his wife, literary agent Felicity Blunt, welcomed a son on Jan. 25, his rep told ABC News.

Matteo Oliver Tucci, the couple's first child together, was born in London. He joins half-siblings Camilla, 12, and twins Nicolo and Isabel, 14, Tucci's children from his first marriage.

“I believe he is mine," Tucci joked to People. "We are all thrilled to welcome him to this cold, cruel world."

"We are all thrilled that he is here and healthy," he added more seriously.

The couple announced last October that they were expecting a baby. And, baby Matteo already has a surefire playmate: Felicity Blunt's sister, Emily Blunt, gave birth to her daughter with John Krasinski last February.

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Gwyneth Paltrow's Mother Praises Her and Chris Martin for 'Making It Work'


Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have earned her mother's approval for how they are handling their split.

"They are so smart...both incredibly brilliant. They're making it work, they're great friends and the kids are in wonderful shape," Paltrow's mother, actress Blythe Danner, told the New York Post at the Sundance premiere of her new film, I'll See You in My Dreams. "So I have to take my hat off to both of them."

But Danner, 71, couldn't seem to recall the phrase her daughter used to announce her separation from Martin. "People make fun of this, um, what do they call it? What is that thing that they’ve been doing? Separating, but being?" she said, clearly confused.

When reminded of the phrase, "Conscious uncoupling," Danner still wasn't sure.

"Yes, but it’s called 'conscious'...not 'conscious uncoupling.' Conscious," she said before giving up.

Danner was married to Paltrow's father, Bruce, for 33 years until his death in 2002.

In her new film, co-starring June Squibb, Danner plays a widow who starts dating. But she has no plans for romance in her own life.

"June says in the movie, 'When you’ve had the best, forget the rest,' and I kind of feel that way," Danner told the Post. "I had an incredible husband. It would be great if somebody fell in from the sky ... because you do get lonely as you get older. But I’m very grateful that I have grandchildren on both coasts and they fill my heart."

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Dan Aykroyd 'Delighted' to Pass "Ghostbusters" Torch to Female Cast


Mathis Wienand/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The cast of the all-female Ghostbusters movie has received the seal of approval from Dan Aykroyd, who co-wrote and starred in the first two movies in the series.

It was announced Tuesday that Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Saturday Night Live stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones will take part in the new installment in the franchise.

"The Aykroyd family is delighted by this inheritance of the Ghostbusters torch by these most magnificent women in comedy," Aykroyd said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "My great grandfather, Dr. Sam Aykroyd, the original Ghostbuster, was a man who empowered women in his day, and this is a beautiful development in the legacy of our family business."

Aykroyd, 62, co-wrote Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II with the late Harold Ramis, with whom he co-starred in the films along with Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson. After Ramis' death last year, Ivan Reitman, who had directed the first two installments and had been tapped to helm the third, bowed out of the project. Paul Feig will now direct.

After word of the new Ghostbusters cast got out, Hudson tweeted, "Two words: 'No comment.'"

The all-female Ghostbusters movie will open on July 22, 2016.

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Kevin Costner Admits He Used "That Word" When Talking About Black People


The Steve Harvey Show(CHICAGO) -- In Kevin Costner's new film, Black or White, he portrays a wealthy white man who suddenly has to raise his mixed-race granddaughter by himself after his wife dies. Elliot subsequently becomes involved in a somewhat-racially-charged custody battle with the child’s other grandmother, played by fellow Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer.

It's a racially-charged film, which Costner said he had to finance himself to get made. He said he had to bring this story to the big screen because of how he grew up.

"I was raised around a level of racism, not of people who hated, but people who would use the word callously and not really think that they were -- jokes that would start with that," he admits on Friday's The Steve Harvey Show, referring to the so-called N-word. "I used that word. I said that word."

"And there was a point in time when I knew that word wasn't right, when I finally traveled," Costner continues. "But the truth is, we hope we get better than our parents. ...My children don't know about it at all."

Anthony Mackie also stars in Black or White, which hits theaters Friday.

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Report: Bruce Jenner Filming a Docuseries Detailing His ‘Life Changes’


Bauer-Griffin/GC Images(LOS ANGELES) — Bruce Jenner has been filming a docuseries about his "life changes" that will air on TV, TMZ reports.

The gossip website says the footage was shot over the last few months and chronicles what Jenner's stepdaughter, Kim Kardashian, described to Entertainment Tonight as "Bruce's Journey."

According to TMZ, the footage "is a very personal look from Bruce's vantage point of the process of changing" and includes "interaction with Bruce's kids and ex-wife Kris [Jenner] and how they are receiving the news."

A source close to the production tells the website the 65-year-old former Olympian talked openly with family and Kris Jenner, at one point, "lost it."

An insider tells TMZ that Bruce's kids have been "extremely supportive." TMZ's sources say the docuseries will air on E!, the home of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

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Lindsay Lohan's Community Service Credits Questioned at Hearing


ABC News(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) — Are meet-and-greets with fans a form of community service? Lindsay Lohan probably hopes so.

A hearing regarding the actress' sentence in her reckless driving case was held in Santa Monica, California, Wednesday. Prosecutor Terry White questioned whether Lohan has completed the terms of her community service, based on documents submitted by a London volunteer organization.

According to the papers from Community Service Volunteers, Lohan received several hours' worth of community service credit for meet-and-greets with fans that followed performances of her London production of Speed-the-Plow, TMZ reports.

Lohan was also given credit for hours in which young people shadowed her in what was termed "work shadowing experience."

White was given two weeks by the judge to investigate Lohan's community service hours.

Lohan, who currently lives in the U.K., was ordered to perform community service as part of her sentence for the 2012 case involving her crash with a truck on the Pacific Coast Highway.

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"Parenthood" Ends Six-Season Run Thursday Night


Colleen Hayes/NBC(NEW YORK) — After six seasons, the NBC drama Parenthood signs off on Thursday night.

Parenthood, which was inspired by the movie of the same name, has followed the Braverman family, including single mom Sarah Braverman, played by Lauren Graham.

Craig T. Nelson, who co-stars as Sarah's father Zeek, laments the fact that his show is coming to an end.
"I wish there'd been probably another season," he told ABC News Radio.

The 70-year-old veteran actor gushed about the cast and crew he's worked with on Parenthood, which also includes Dax Shepard, Peter Krause and Monica Potter. He said, "It's a wonderful group of people. It's the best I've ever been with. From the very beginning you could just tell. They're so invested in doing this."  

Nelson's role has been a challenging one this season, given that Zeek has been battling heart problems. Nelson said the story line has not been "fun" for him, explaining, "I gotta spend like seven hours in a place I don't like. Really don't like. It brings up issues of mortality, all kinds of stuff. You're confronted with them and I don't like that."

In the series finale, airing at 10 p.m. Eastern time on NBC, Sarah is poised to marry Ray Romano's Hank.

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"Scandal" and "How To Get Away with Murder" Return Thursday, Stars Dish on What Viewers Can Expect


ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) — Gladiators, get ready because Scandal is back Thursday. The last time we saw Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, she was just kidnapped from her Washington, D.C. apartment.

Guillermo Diaz, who portrays Huck on the hit ABC series, tells ABC News Radio that viewers will quickly learn why. "You're gonna find out what happened to Olivia in that first episode pretty much right away and who was involved," says Diaz.

Scott Foley, who plays Olivia's love interest, Jake Ballard, echoed Diaz's hint, adding, "We're gonna find out who took her, why they took her, if we get her back, how they get her back...[and] what the ramifications of her being gone are."

Olivia was snatched when she was dancing and laughing in her living room with Jake, the former head of the secret spy agency B613. Many thought the rendezvous meant the love triangle between Olivia, Jake and President Fitzgerald Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn, had finally ended.

Still, Foley says an unlikely alliance may be coming. "Are Jake and Fitz going to team up [to rescue Olivia], which would be a big deal if they did," he teased.

Katie Lowes, who portrays Quinn on Scandal, adds to the hype of the series' return.  Hinting at what viewers can expect in week two, she says, "There is a massive moment coming; like a massive-OMG-Twitter breakdown-every curse word you could imagine-moment that none of the fans are ready for."

But when it comes to her own character, Lowes has her own ideas of how Quinn should evolve. "The transition she's taken from season one, I think she's so grounded and strong and kind of running [Olivia Pope & Associates]. And I'm really happy about that. I'd like to see her take the reins even more," says Lowes.

Diaz would like to see his character's family life improve. "I would love to see Huck have a really strong relationship with his son. I'd like to see him interacting with his son a lot more and possibly having joint custody with his wife, with his son," he said.

The last time we saw Huck with his son, he was running away terrified after watching Huck kill a man.

Scandal returns Thursday on ABC at 9 p.m. Eastern time. It will be followed by the return of How to Get Away with Murder, starring Viola Davis as hard core lawyer Annalise Keating.

Davis promises "more excitement and more mystery involved in the murder" and says viewers "will see the why of these characters -- the why they are the way they are."

Davis' co-star Liza Weil, who plays Keating's tough-as-nails associate Bonnie Winterbottom, adds that "layers are getting peeled away, loyalties are questioned and more betrayals are going to come -- it's getting horny."

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"Cabaret" Star Joel Grey Comes Out as Gay


Jennifer Graylock/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Oscar- and Tony Award-winning actor Joel Grey has come out as gay.

Grey, best known for his award-winning role as the MC in both stage and film versions of Cabaret, opened up to People magazine, saying, "I don't like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I'm a gay man."

While he's never publicly discussed his sexuality before, he says people close to him have known for years "who I am."

"[Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was," he adds.

Grey was married to actress Jo Wilder for 24 years. They have two children together: actress Jennifer Grey and son James, a chef.

On his Facebook page, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Clark Gregg, who is married to Jennifer Grey, enthused, "Congratulations to my brilliant dad-in-law @JoelGrey Could not love you more."

Joel Grey's more recent credits include the TV series CSI, Nurse Jackie, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.

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Despite Confusion, Gene Hackman Is 'Alive and Well,' Says Rep


Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- After a Grantland article ran Tuesday with the headline "The Greatest Living American Actor at 85: Gene Hackman Is Gone But Still in Charge," there was concern that the 84-year-old had died.

If you are confused about the age in the title and his real age, Hackman turns 85 on Friday.

The title has since changed from "Gone" to "Retired," but not before several tweets went out with "RIP" and "condolences" for the acting legend's family.

If that wasn't enough, a Facebook page with "RIP Gene Hackman" also went up that claimed he died on Monday.

It read, "He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page," according to ET Canada.

People were confused, but have since been relieved to find out the actor's fine. On Wednesday, Hackman's rep told ABC News that the Hoosiers star is "alive and well."

Other actors like Dylan McDermott were not all that happy that people took the headline and ran with it. He had originally tweeted "Rest in Peace" about the icon, then took it down when he found out it was all just a hoax.

 

I guess Gene Hackman's death was a celebrity hoax. People have too much damn time on their hands...

— Dylan McDermott (@DylanMcDermott) January 28, 2015

 

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"Scandal" Star Tony Goldwyn Says New Episodes Are 'Outrageous'


ABC/Kelsey McNeal(NEW YORK) -- Fictional President Fitzgerald Grant, portrayed by actor Tony Goldwyn, will return to the Oval Office when Scandal returns Thursday.

During last year's winter finale, viewers saw Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, get kidnapped from her Washington, D.C. apartment. Goldwyn hinted at what fans can expect next.

"As you know, I can't reveal anything except you will find out more," he teased on Wednesday's Good Morning America. "I can't tell you if you'll find out where she is or what happened but I can tell you that the show takes an entirely new direction tomorrow night and it's crazy. It's really great."

Goldwyn credits creator Shonda Rhimes' -- who also created Grey's Anatomy and executive produces How to Get Away with Murder -- for the show's forthcoming shocking plot lines.

"Shonda, as she has done over and over, just kind of reinvents the show and we go, you know, takes on a different tone. It's pretty outrageous," says Goldwyn.

"I mean, all of her work and Shonda herself...she just never ceases to amaze me. She's always challenging herself. She's always challenging us and, you know, I'm so happy," Goldwyn continued. "She owns Thursday nights on [ABC] and I'm just so happy to see her being celebrated in the way she is particularly this year."

Goldwyn directed the last episode of Scandal. He said the role switch was easy, particularly because he's so close with his co-stars.

"When you have another person who is an actor you just speak the same language and particularly in Scandal because we're all such close friends, aside from Kerry's merciless teasing of me," he quipped. "We're just really close and intimate so it's a really unique experience for me as a director, you know, to get the chance to kind of have a look at the show from a different lens and connect with, you know, these people I love so much, in a different way."

Goldwyn is the grandson of film mogul Samuel Goldwyn -- the "G" in MGM Studios -- and son of film producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., who passed away earlier this month at the age of 88. He explained what it's like to carry on his family's legacy in the entertainment business.

"They were both independent guys who kind of carved their own path and, you know, we were sort of taught never to rest on the laurels of what they'd accomplished and you got to kind of figure it out for yourself and that's the best way to carry on the legacy," Goldwyn said.

Scandal returns Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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