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Sheneman, Drew – Editorial Cartoon – 20180420edshe-b.tif

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:41 AM PDT

SHENEMAN; BOOKER; MCCONNELL; LEGISLATION; PROTECT MUELLER; CONGRESS

Bette Midler to Return to Broadway’s ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:33 AM PDT

Bette Midler will return to her box office-busting role in “Hello, Dolly!” this summer, stepping back into the part that won her a Tony Award, in a new six-week run that will cap off the successful revival’s time on the boards.

Midler’s original co-stars in the show, David Hyde Pierce and Gavin Creel (another Tony winner for his performance in “Dolly!”), will also be back, rejoining the production before the revival shutters in late August. With that timing, “Hello, Dolly!” should be able to capitalize on summer tourist traffic — and the hype of the star’s return — before closing.

Midler’s earlier run in “Hello, Dolly!” became one of the Broadway events of last season, with a production that made critics swoon and pulled in huge box office numbers — regularly grossing $2 million per week or more, with just seven performances a week. The show won a total of four Tony Awards, including one for best musical revival.

Bernadette Peters, who followed Midler into the role of Dolly, will finish up her engagement in the production on July 15 alongside Victor Garber, who took on the part played by Pierce. Since Midler’s departure, “Hello, Dolly!” has regularly reeled in about $1 million or more each week, but the numbers aren’t as stratospheric as they were when the show bowed with Midler in the lead.

Midler and Pierce rejoin “Dolly!” on July 17, with Creel stepping in on May 8. “Hello, Dolly!” closes at the Shubert Theatre on Aug. 25.

Savannah Guthrie Gets Solo Spotlight in ‘Dateline’ Special on Olympic Gymnastics Scandal

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:15 AM PDT

Savannah Guthrie says she hates to miss a broadcast of NBC’s “Today,” but recently decided to make an exception. The results of that choice will be seen this Sunday.

In what is being billed as Guthrie’s first stand-alone primetime special at NBC News, she and a team of producers managed to push further into a story that has shocked and saddened Americans: the revelation that dozens of U.S. Olympic gymnasts were sexually abused by team doctor Larry Nassar. In a Sunday “Dateline” broadcast that airs April 22 at 7 p.m. on NBC, Guthrie interviews former USA Gymnastics National Team Coordinators Bela and Martha Karolyi, who speak for the first time on what is seen as the largest – and most shocking – sex abuse scandal in the history of Olympic sports.

Guthrie did a lot of work on the story after her “Today” broadcasts had concluded, but found she had to travel to Texas for interviews. “The ‘Today Show‘ comes first,” she notes in an interview, but she enjoys the opportunity to “put on my reporter hat and delve into something of substance.”

As part of the special, Guthrie also interviews Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney, who describes for the first time the sexual assault she endured and how she sounded the alarm of Nassar’s abuse years before his arrest. Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman adds detail about how she pushed for Nassar to be investigated and was met with pressure to keep quiet. And Gina Nichols, mother of gymnast Maggie Nichols and the first parent to learn of the sexual abuse, tells how she also pressed USA Gymnastics for an investigation into Nassar more than a year before his arrest.

The “Today” co-anchor says the ability to tell an in-depth story played a big role in getting people to talk for the special. “It’s different than doing something on ‘Today,’ where it’s live and we have the clock ticking and we have to make it fit,” she says. “Our producers and team spent months talking to the gymnasts and the Karolyis and creating a relationship that enabled them to say, ‘OK, we’re going to do it. We are going to answer the questions.”

Securing the Karolyis brings new detail to a story that has proved gripping and repulsive in equal measure. Their facility has been the site where many of the most famous Olympic gymnasts have trained, including Mary Lou Retton. “Why didn’t they know? They answer every question, and they know that people want to hear what they thought about Larry Nassar, whether they had any inkling about what he was up to,” says Guthrie. “I think it’s really important to hear what they have to say.”

NBC News benefitted from the perspective of producer Sarah Fitzpatrick, who recently joined NBC News from CBS’ “60 Minutes,” and produced this hour of “Dateline.” She produced a February, 2017 piece on USA Gymnastics for the CBS newsmagazine, which is a finalist for a Peabody Award.

While the Nassar story has generated many headlines, Guthrie believes viewers will find more information worth knowing. “You may think you have heard everything there is to hear. We all saw that painful testimony in court day after day, but there are allegations here that still need to be heard, and there are people and organizations that people want to be held to account.”

Film Review: ‘Traffik’

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:11 AM PDT

Noble intentions are derailed by deeply confused execution in writer-director Deon Taylor’s “Traffik,” which attempts to marry cheap genre thrills with an unflinching depiction of the horrors of international sex trafficking, only to cheapen the latter and cast a grimy pall over the former. The always ace camerawork of Dante Spinotti and reliably solid performances from Paula Patton and Omar Epps help give the film a professional sheen, but “Traffik’s” fumbling jumble of tones and motivations proves clumsy at best, and distasteful at worst.

After an ominous intro in which a nameless young woman is abducted from a nightclub and chained up in a flatbed truck, the film zeroes in on Sacramento newspaper reporter Brea (Paula Patton) on the eve of what seems a less than promising birthday weekend. A story she’s been slowly working on for months has just been scooped by a coworker, and a subsequent clash with her editor (William Fichtner) leaves her unsure if she’ll still have a job come Monday. (Her editor’s insistence that Brea file in a timely manner, write pieces that are to the point, and focus on breaking important news are presented as hissable nitpicks, which more or less sums up the film’s view of journalism.)

Later that night, she has an awkward dinner with her boyfriend John (Epps) as well as his childhood friend Darren (Laz Alonso) and Darren’s girlfriend Malia (Roselyn Sanchez). As we learn through unrelenting barrages of expositional dialogue here and in the scenes that quickly follow, John is an auto mechanic who is busy building up courage to ask Brea to marry him, though he’s insecure about his relatively unglamorous job, and Brea is unsure if she’s ready to commit. Darren is an obnoxious, motor-mouthed sports agent with a drug problem, and his workaholic tendencies have left Malia feeling neglected – not to mention the fact that she has a secret romantic history with John. Roughly a quarter of this information will have any bearing at all on what comes next.

What is important, however, is that John has built an eye-catching hot rod for Brea’s birthday, and whisks her off for a weekend getaway at a spectacular mansion retreat in the woods, courtesy of Darren’s agency connections. On the way, they stop at one of those rural gas stations so beloved by horror filmmakers, and each have unsettling encounters. As Brea heads inside, John is accosted by a trio of gnarly white bikers, who move from casual conversation to racial microaggressions to all-out aggression. Meanwhile, Brea meets a troubled-looking woman (Dawn Olivieri) in the bathroom, who discretely slips a satellite phone into Brea’s bag before being hustled away by another brutish biker.

This is the film’s best-executed sequence, infusing a familiar setup with some very Trump-era racial menace, although Taylor squanders some of the mounting unease by following the scene with a rote car chase, and Brea and John make an offputtingly fast transition from this traumatic run-in into some poolside romance back at the house. Then Darren and Malia drop by unexpectedly, Brea finds the phone, and the foursome make a shocking discovery once they figure out the password: A catalog of photos of beaten-up, scantily-clad women, along with a cache of foreign phone numbers. The film whipsaws wildly between tones in this stretch, toggling between alluring closeups of Patton cavorting in a luminous infinity pool, unnecessary drama and comic relief provided by the increasingly intolerable Darren, and disturbing imagery of abused women.

After dragging out this setup for far longer than expected, the film finally kicks into gear as the biker gang and their malevolent British kingpin (Luke Goss) arrive to retrieve the phone, eventually chasing Brea and John through the house and the surrounding woods, aided by some excruciatingly dumb decisions from our heroes. The film’s off-and-on social advocacy becomes abruptly dominant in the final act, as Taylor offers scene after scene depicting the terror of human trafficking, and a film that had previously been impossible to take seriously suddenly starts taking itself very seriously indeed. There’s no reason to doubt the director’s intentions here, however inelegantly he sometimes announces them – his use of Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit” is certainly a bold stroke – but the film’s late descent into such deep, abrasive unpleasantness feels entirely unearned after the b-movie schlock that had dominated the earlygoing. Closing title cards reveal some alarming statistics about human trafficking in the U.S., and “Traffik’s” heart certainly seems to be in the right place; it’s a shame so little else is.

Handelsman, Walt – Editorial Cartoon – 20180420edhan-a.tif

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:01 AM PDT

HANDELSMAN; STARBUCKS; RACIAL BIAS

Lily James: Working with Gary Oldman was depressing

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT

Lily James found working with Gary Oldman “depressing” because he’s so talented.

The 29-year-old actress stars alongside the Oscar-winning star in the Joe Wright-directed war drama ‘Darkest Hour’, and Lily admitted that after seeing such an accomplished performer in action, she reconsidered how she approached her work.

Asked about the experience of working with Gary and subsequently, Meryl Streep on ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, Lily shared: “Well, you sort of learn that what they do is not learnable – and that is depressing.

“It’s a skill to be so fully invested in the moment as it’s happening. I saw what they do in between to garner and muster up that energy and I tried to figure it out.”

Lily’s latest role sees her star as author and protagonist Juliet Ashton in the historical drama ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’.

But the British beauty – who previously appeared in hits such as ‘Baby Driver’ and ‘Cinderella’ – initially rejected the role.

She told The i newspaper: “I was just about to start a Second World War film, ‘The Exception’, and I felt like I wanted to move out of doing period dramas, or at least try to explore different avenues.”

But Lily ultimately performed a U-turn because she realised that Juliet – who helps to investigate the fall-out from the Occupation of Guernsey by the Nazis – was actually a “modern woman”.

She shared: “It also felt like a step forward in that she is a more mature woman. She’s a writer, she’s ambitious and she has everything going for her. She feels like such a modern woman.”

Meanwhile, Lily revealed earlier this month that she cried the first time she met Meryl.

The actress – who portrays the Hollywood legend’s character Donna’s younger self in ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ – said: “[Meryl] was singing this song in a chapel and it was so emotional.

“I was sat outside knowing I was about to meet her. And crying. And it was like: ‘Hold it together, Lily!’ It was too much!”

George Michael’s dog dies

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT

George Michael’s dog Abby has died.

The late ‘Careless Whisper’ hitmaker’s last surviving pet, a golden Labrador who he bought with then-partner Kenny Goss, had been living with the late 80s pop icon’s cousin Alex Georgiou but has sadly passed away.

Alex posted a touching tribute, in which he said the mutt will now be reunited with George and her canine sister Meggy, who lived with the singer until her death in 2015.

Alex announced on Facebook: “Goodbye my sweet Abby thank you for every minute.

“It’s time for you to go back to George and Meggy, they can’t wait anymore and I can’t blame them as you’re so special, and all your friends around the world who came to visit you and sent you presents all the time are going to miss you.

“You are loved so much you are a blessing to us all, especially me.

“You will always be my sunshine and I promise one day I will come and find you but for now my sweetheart run and play with Meggy and George over Rainbow Bridge in to the meadows out in the sun they are waiting for you.

“Have fun my sweetheart. I’ll see you again xxx. (sic)”

Fans of George – who tragically passed away in December 2016 aged 53 – used to travel from all over the world just to see Abby.

Alex later told Heart: “People came from all over the world to see her and they would wait patiently until 4pm for her walk as to not disturb her.

“She loved people and she was so gentle.”

In September, it was reported that Abby was pining for the ‘Last Christmas’ singer.

The four-legged animal used to lay at her late owner’s shrine, which is situated in a small green area opposite his Highgate home, where it is filled with candles, heartfelt letters and portraits of the star left by his fans.

The 11-year-old dog is said to have become “soulless” ever since its owner died.

Meggy’s ashes are with the singer’s at his grave in London’s Highgate cemetery, and it’s believed Abby will also be laid to rest with both of her family members.

Jimmy Fallon pays tribute to Tina Fey

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT

Jimmy Fallon paid a tearful tribute to Tina Fey on ‘The Tonight Show’ on Thursday (19.04.18).

The 43-year-old talk show how – who has daughters Winnie, four, and Frances, two, with wife Nancy – was accompanied by his former ‘Saturday Night Live’ castmate for one of his regular segments, where he introduces guests to their idols, with the pair heading off to surprise excited fans at a performance of ‘Mean Girls: The Musical’.

But when they returned to the studio, Jimmy got emotional as he praised his 47–year-old friend for changing him “for the better”.

As he teared up, he quipped: “I’ll just take a breath. I’m on hormone pills.”

He then said: “If you’re lucky throughout your life, you get to meet and spend time with a few people who really change you for the better. For me, you’re one of those people.”

“I met you when I was 23, I believe you were 45. And I was lucky enough to work with you and grow with you and learn from you. A lot of people in this world have dreams or goals or ideas, but not everybody goes out and fights to make them happen but you’re someone who did. You didn’t get served this, you didn’t get given this as a gift.

“I know firsthand, you worked so hard and found a voice and found your way, and you made your own dreams come true, and most importantly you made other people feel like they can do the same thing.”

The presenter then admitted he hopes his daughters grow up to be just like his friend.

He said: “Today, I have two daughters and my hope for them is that they grow up to be leaders like you, and that they’ll be as fearless and confident in their strengths as you are.

“I love you.”

Millie Bobby Brown is youngest person ever on TIME 100 list

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT

Millie Bobby Brown has become the youngest person to ever be named in the TIME 100 list.

The 14-year-old actress – who shot to fame as the role of Eleven in Netflix sci-fi horror series ‘Stranger Things’ – has been included on the publication’s 2018 list of the top 100 most influential people in the world.

In an essay explaining exactly why she deserves the honour, ‘Breaking Bad’ actor Aaron Paul said she had “a perspective and groundedness” far beyond her years.

He said: “She may have been 12 in years, but her spirit and mind were timeless. A wise woman was speaking from her cherubic face.

“It was like speaking to a future mentor with a perspective and groundedness that I could only have dreamed of at that age. Or at any age, if I’m being honest.

“She somehow understands the human experience as if she has lived it for a thousand years. I’m proud to know her. To call her a friend. To call her my adopted daughter.”

The famous pair met when Aaron interviewed Millie for Elle magazine, and he previously admitted he was “terrified” ahead of their conversation.

He said: “I was terrified. She’s the best…But I was so terrified. She was on a family vacation Spain and I was like, ‘I’ve got to make this good’…

“She gets on the phone with her cute little accent…She’s far more articulate than I and I was terrified.”

Taking to social media after the interview, he revealed it surpassed all his expectations.

He wrote on Instagram: “She of course exceeded all of my expectations. If you have seen ‘Stranger Things’ then you know how amazing this young lady is.

“If you haven’t seen the show you need to get on that as soon as possible. Millie, you’re the best…”

Selina Lo, Michelle Yeoh Join Cast of ‘Boss Level’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 06:45 AM PDT

British-Chinese actress, Selina Lo and veteran Michelle Yeoh have joined the cast of “Boss Level.” The action thriller is currently shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, with Joe Carnahan directing.

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios recently acquired the film from Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. It is set for a wide theatrical release in 2019.

Lo, who has both acting and action chops, joins in a major role opposite Frank Grillo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Wolf Warrior II”). Grillo plays a special forces operative trapped in a time loop in which he dies every day. His quest is to find out who is responsible.

The cast already features several high-profile names Naomi Watts, Ken Jeong, and Mel Gibson in a variety of roles. Yeoh joins in a key supporting position.

The above the title role is a breakthrough for Lo, an actress and model who previously appeared in The Weinstein Company’s doomed production of “Shanghai,” Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s “Scorpion King 3, as well as the BBC’s 3-part mini-series “One Child.” With a background in competitive martial arts, Lo also has recent credits that include Jesse V. Johnson’s “The Debt Collector” for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and Asian-set action picture “Triple Threat,” which is currently in post-production.

Yeoh, whose catalog of past roles includes “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” next appears in Color Force’s “Crazy Rich Asians” for Warner Bros., and big-budget Chinese fantasy “Nezha.”

Boss Level” is financed by Emmett/Furla/Oasis and is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian, with Randall Emmett and George Furla. It is a co-production between Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Carnahan and Grillo’s War Party, and Scott Free, whose Jules Daly is executive producer.