Thursday, January 19, 2017


   He is an acclaimed Shakespearean actor who was knighted by the Queen for his services to the theatre. But there is nothing stuffy or elitist about Sir Patrick Stewart.
    The actor known for his stage and screen work is to provide the voice of Poop, a pile of excrement, in the animated The Emoji Movie.    
   “People have an impression of who Patrick Stewart is based on the characters that I play, most particularly Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier, and I know him to be very different," the 76-year-old actor told me. 
  The plot follows an emoji born with multiple expressions who goes on an adventure in a teenager’s phone although the omens for it are not good: a teaser trailer was recently released to largely negative feedback online
    A lifelong supporter of Huddersfield Town football club, Sir Patrick will also return as Charles Xavier in the X-Men spin-off Logan, which is due out soon.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Golden showers? The Moscow Ritz-Carlton bed
   They may or may not be true but there is no doubt the allegations of Donald Trump's shenanigans in Moscow have caused an uproar and raised serious questions of whether or not they should have been made public without more verification. 
    BuzzFeed first sent the internet into a frenzy when it published the collection of memos accusing Trump of improper contact with Russian officials — and alleging the former reality TV star arranged “golden showers” with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
   CNN cited documents that included allegations that Russian operatives have compromising personal information on the president-elect, but declined to publish the raw files. But BuzzFeed had no such compunction,.
  According to BuzzFeed the documents, prepared by a British former espionage agent, claim that Trump stayed at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow where he “defiled the bed" where the Obamas had slept during their visit by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers' show in front of him.”

   Critics and journalistic bodies have mainly spoken out against the publication of the memos although some believe it is in the public interest that the allegations should be made known.   

 BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith used Twitter to post an internal email that explained his logic for posting the documents, which had been known to several journalists and politicians for some time. Smith wrote that BuzzFeed’s “presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers,” saying the site has “always erred on the side of publishing.”
 Smith said the file “was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media.” 
  Trump, of course, has denied all the allegations and condemned them as "fake news."
  One thing is certain---golden showers are now a hot topic of conversation. And we haven't heard the last of the matter. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


   For once the Golden Globes was not just a booze-fuelled evening of fun and festivities in which Hollywood celebrated itself. 
  Instead, what has become known as Hollywood's biggest party of the year was interspersed with some seriously pointed political barbs and some outspoken fears for the future aimed at President Elect Donald Trump.
  Meryl Streep in particular aimed a political broadside at Trump which drew a standing ovation from the audience. 
 And now the backlash has begun. 
  Streep's impassioned speech has become a lightning rod for conservatives who claim it is yet another example of how far Hollywood is out of touch with the average American experience.  Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted: "What a bunch of hypocrites. Sex, violence and drivel rule Hollywood."
  But the Globes,which are often seen as a bellwether for the Oscars, could be a precursor to an even more political Academy Awards on February 26, given that many of the audience at the the Globes, and some of the nominees and winners, are likely to be at the Oscars, too.  
  Although Meryl Streep's passionate speech made instant headlines around the world and elicited a tweeted response from the President-Elect, the tone was set earlier in the evening by the host Jimmy Fallon, who described the Globes as one of the few places left where America still honors the popular vote. He also managed to combine some nominated films with politics, saying Manchester-By-The Sea was the only thing more depressing than 2016 and Florence Foster Jenkins was about the world's worst opera singer but even she turned down an invitation to sing at the inauguration.   The fact the Globes are put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association did not escape the notice of several  presenters, nominees and winners. Hugh Laurie, accepting an award for his supporting role in the Night Manager, joked it could be the last ever Golden Globes. "I don't mean to be gloomy," he said, "it's just that it has the words Hollywood and Foreign and Press in the title and to some Republicans even the word association is slightly sketchy."
 As Meryl Streep put it, ​Hollywood is "crawling with outsiders and if you kick us all out you'll have nothing to watch except football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts."
​  For once there was no need for any pleas for diversity as many of the presenters and nominees were black or Hispanic, due partly to the fact the Globe recognises excellence in television as well as movies.
  But Claire Foy, the British actress who won for portraying Queen Elizabeth 11 in The Crown, spoke up for the need for more women in powerful positions, saying Queen Elizabeth has been at the center of the world for the past 63 years "and I think the world could do with a few more women at the center of it if you ask me."
 Inevitably, much of the talk at the six after-parties scattered across the Beverly Hilton was of the evening's political slant and particularly Meryl Streep's speech, and one of the questions heard frequently was: "What will happen at the Oscars when Trump is president?"   


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...