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Celebrity news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

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    In "About Ray," Elle Fanning plays a transgender teenage boy who desperately wants to undergo transition with hormone treatment and gender confirmation surgery. But before Ray can transition, his parents must give written consent, which his single mother Maggie, played by Naomi Watts, is hesitant to do for reasons relating to Ray's estranged father. On top of dealing with his mom's reluctance and the anxiety of moving to a new school in his currently female-presenting body, Ray also lives with his grandmother Dodo (Susan Sarandon) and her girlfriend Frances (Linda Emond), the former of whom doesn't understand why Ray "can't just be a lesbian" like her.


    That's what "About Ray," directed and co-written by Gaby Dellal, explores through the lens of family and tolerance: the difference between gender identity and sexuality, and the fact that being transgender has no relation to being gay, straight, bisexual or any sexual identity. Many trans narratives in film and television fail to properly educate on or even broach this important distinction. But instead of hammering the facts and educating with straight drama, "About Ray" takes a different approach with relatable humor. The movie functions mostly as a family comedy, as the three generations of the family learn how to accept Ray for who he is.


    The Huffington Post sat down with Sarandon following the world premiere of "About Ray" at the Toronto International Film Festival. Although the actress still had a cough from her recent Burning Man excursion, Sarandon expansively told us about the importance of telling stories about trans people in film, her personal experience with intolerance, a recent chat with Jazz Jennings and how she hopes for a future where trans actors and actresses are more present in the industry.



    I really enjoyed Dodo in this. She’s the comic relief, but she also fills the important role of someone who doesn’t fully understand transitioning.


    Someone who doesn’t understand the very basic definition, and that is that [there's a] difference between gender identity and sexual preference. I think that trips up a lot of people. So in a funny way we were trying to get to the heart of that to try to make [Dodo] understand. Of course, she’s frightened for her -- frightened for him -- and says [in the movie], “But I realize now that who you are and who I love is not changing. The rest is just the details.” I think that’s also really important to understanding that a person is more than the trappings that they’re in, their color, their age, their whatever. That consciousness has no gender, and we have to focus on that.


    I sat down to dinner with four of my oldest friends, two gay women, two gay guys. One of the guys actually said, “It’s so self-indulgent this trend that’s going on. Can’t they just be lesbians?” I said, “No because he’s a guy. It’s not about that.” I said, “I can’t believe you said this. This is like my character coming right out of this movie! This is crazy!" [...] So I think that was my job, and to just give some comic relief.


    But that’s a very important stepping-off point, to understand that gender identity happens early, early, early, early and sexual preference is much later. But other thing, people say, “Now she’s a he. But he’s with a girl ... so is that now a les -- What?" You know, this need to have labels to keep your world straight, to keep your world in order, is just getting blown up for so many people. I think that’s why it’s really scary, and that’s why it’s so exciting. The fluidity of everything for all of us means such liberation in terms of what a man is, what a woman is, what you can embrace, all across the line. We suddenly have crayon boxes that have 12 primary colors instead of five. How could you not go for that? How could you think that’s a bad thing? It just opens up the whole world. But at the same time, sometimes change is harder for some people.


    Is that what led you to taking on this role?


    I just felt the time was now, and I love Naomi and I love Elle. I had met her when I worked with Dakota [Fanning]. And though the script needed some finessing, I felt it was really important to humanize and to have an accessible story out there that was funny and not a documentary. It doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. But something that just made it easier for people to see and embrace what families are going through, because the acceleration is extraordinary, how many schools now -- the teachers are up to speed. I just was talking to somebody and her little girl went off to camp and came back and said, “I’m Steve.” And she went to her doctor and she said, “She’s insisting she’s Steve. She wants her hair cut, she’s Steve.” He said, “Well, go with it.” Five years ago that wouldn’t have happened, you wouldn’t have had a doctor that was that understanding.



    It’s happened very quickly, and I think it’s important to keep trans people safe and to help them be less marginalized. To take the scariness out of it and also to give options to those families who find themselves with a butterfly, with someone who is now going through this beautiful transformation. I was talking to Jazz [Jennings]. I met her when she was 11. And her mom was saying, “God, when we went through this there was nothing.” Now she’s 14. [...] So now the atmosphere, I think, has changed, and Caitlyn Jenner has helped somewhat. But Caitlyn Jenner is no more indicative of every trans person than the Kardashians are of every woman. [Laughs] That’s a very specific case and I think that was huge to have 17 million people tune in and hear sympathetically what was going on. But I felt this conversation needed to be had and it needed to be had quickly. We would do the best we could under these circumstances, but that it was now and needed to happen now.


    Do you think the film's focus on the family and that it's mostly a comedy will make it more accessible to audiences?


    I think it will be. And I think it will be criticized for being light-hearted. I think some people will want “Philadelphia,” but it’s not meant to be that. I think that it’s the kind of movie -- my mom is 92 and still can’t get over gay marriage. I think she could watch it and -- there’s some moments that kill you when she's tortured and when she's ecstatic that just break your heart. And I think Elle invests it with so much authority. You see how important it is to [Ray] and how clear he is about what’s going on. I think that can really affect people, and you don’t see it coming. Whereas if you were having really sad music, I don’t think it should be presented as something where you’re waiting for someone to die. You’re really waiting for someone to be born. It’s about authenticity and you want that for your kid. This is just a more extreme example of that. 


    That’s a beautiful way to put it. And speaking of criticism, there’s so much controversy surrounding a cisgender actor portraying a trans character. What is your perspective on that?


    I look forward to the day when there’s a pool of bankable transgender people that could act. I don’t know if I was transgender that I would only be wanting to play transgender people. I would think that I would want to be playing a woman or a man and not a trans man or a trans woman. I can’t think of very many actresses at that age who are bankable or good enough to pull that off that are not trans, so I think we were so lucky to get Elle. But I think it would be fabulous [...] I don’t like to get into that argument because what does that mean, that I should be upset at all the gay women that took my parts? You can go on and on, but I think it would be great down the line. Certainly in the modeling world, you have a lot of trans people that are working. 


    So I would hope that the emphasis would not be on that conversation, but would be on whether or not we did a good job and Elle did a good job bringing you in, and making you empathize with this person and treated that person with respect and dignity. That that would be where the conversation would go. But let’s hope the day comes when there’s a pool of trans actors that could be going up for all kinds of things. I would hope to continue to get parts that are written for women my age that don’t go to someone 30 years younger, and I would hope there are more minorities that are in all kinds of parts that aren’t just prostitutes, and, you know what I mean? There’s a lot that could be changed in casting to represent the world. So we’ll see. I think right now the issue is very early on. What's your take?


    I agree. I would hope to see more trans actors in the future. But it’s also whoever suits the role and the character best. OK, last question --  you’ve played so many different types of women throughout your career. What was it like to play a grandmother in this film?


    I love women. You can’t run out of interesting women. When I played a mother in “Pretty Baby” everyone was up in arms. “That’s the end of your sexuality!” But mothers can be everything and grandmothers can be everything, and coincidentally, now I am a grandmother. I’m digging it and I think it’s funny that she’s the last to get on board in a way. [...]  And when we had talked about this movie, I had said, “I think it’s easier for Elle and I to be closer than sometimes the mom.” Because the mom has to be disciplining, especially without a father around, and she and I had some kind of connection through music. That’s why, when I wrote the line, “the rest is just details," it was really important to have that scene. I insisted, I said, "You cannot make me that dumb and never come around." 


    You suggested that?


    Yeah. I wrote that. I was probably influenced by "Cloud Atlas." 


    I love "Cloud Atlas."


    Oh, I knew you would love "Cloud Atlas!" That's a test. Because people who sit through "Cloud Atlas" and the first 10 minutes are like "What's going on?" and they get very weirded out. Other people are like, "OK, let's just go with it."


    This interview has been edited and condensed.


    For continuous updates from the Toronto Film Festival, follow Matthew Jacobs and Erin Whitney on Twitter.


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    This is an open letter to the ladies on the daytime TV show, The View. Yesterday I caught a small snippet of their show and I have to say I was quite unimpressed with how they took something that I, and so many people are passionate about, and made it into a joke. So I do what I do best, and I wrote them a letter to tell them just exactly what I thought.

    Normally I wouldn't let this bother me, but I can't not say anything. I am writing to you from the comfort of my bed, after working a full 12-hour night shift on no sleep, and I have only slept for about 3 hours today. And, I'll need to get up soon and go back to work. I am a Registered Nurse.

    This morning the four of you decided it would be a good idea to talk about the Miss America Pageant, you know the one where women from across the country come and share their talents and get crowned for being beautiful and smart and talented, something along those lines? That's not my normal television because I truly don't have time to care about it. But I did catch an extremely inspiring monologue by Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado -- you know the one who came out in her -- and I quote Joy Behar -- "doctor's stethoscope"?

    Now I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt because, maybe by the grace of God, none of the four of you or your families have ever had to have been hospitalized, but let me share something with you. A nurse wears a stethoscope too. Did you know, we are often the first ones to assess your family and our patients before the doctor does, using our very own stethoscopes? And did you also know, that many nurses have a four-year, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (it varies in some of the States, but up here in Canada, we have just one route to be a registered nurse & and one to be a licensed practical nurse - huge shout out to my LPN colleagues in both places). Don't get me wrong - a medical doctor (MD) is an MD, and they are a crucial team member, but what you've got wrong is that a nurse, is not 'just a nurse'. And had you listened to Kelley's monologue instead of calling it 'reading her emails', you might have caught her very important message.

    I would like to direct this at Michelle Collins: Could you please tell me why you thought it was okay to belittle Kelley's monologue? The way you introduced the topic, "but then there was the girl who wrote her own monologue..." as if you couldn't believe she considered nursing a talent? Furthermore, I would like you to explain how being a nurse isn't a talent? You even said "she helps patients with Alzheimer's which I know is not funny" - whilst smiling and seemingly suppressing a laugh. You're right. It isn't funny. It's terrifying for both the patient and the family who has to go through it.  And you know what else? It's a talent for a nurse to be able to calm someone who can't even remember their own birthday or their own family members' faces. It's a talent for a nurse to work on little sleep, long hours and hard labor to provide excellent and unwavering care for people who need them -- people who aren't their own family members, but you would often be none the wiser because nurses treat patients and families like one of their own. I could continue to share with you how many times I've single-handedly witnessed a nurse - yes, just a nurse, save a patient's life, without having time to notify the doctor (who isn't always present) until after the fact. Or how a team of nurses is the most indestructible machine on this earth, purely because we are strong, educated and wise women and men. I could even go into detail about how nurses can get a Master's Degree and become a Nurse Practitioner and go head-to-head with doctors. But I don't think I want to share specific details about the people who I've encountered: patients, families and other nurses, who've inspired me. I wouldn't want to share my emails with you, after all. If any of this is news to you, I would gladly encourage you to join me for a day of work. I'll even let you borrow my stethoscope.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your job criticizing others' is quite difficult. To take intimate and heartfelt messages from someone who is clearly so passionate and make them into a joke couldn't be easy. But I am asking you this, Michelle, please think before you speak. Not only have you offended me, a proud Canadian Registered Nurse, but you have offended many other of my nursing colleagues across North America; who work endless hours, have many sleepless days and nights to provide excellent care to some of the sickest people, and have seen things that you probably could not even imagine.

    I would like to think that you did not intentionally offend a group of the one of the most trusted professions in both the United States and Canada, but you did. And for that, you owe us an apology.  That's all it will take - a simple "I'm sorry" and we will forgive you. Because that's what we do. We don't judge. We are compassionate, hard-working and forgiving people.

    Do me a favor and check out the #NursesMatter and #NursingIsMyTalent hashtags on Twitter, educate yourself a little on what we do & then make your opinion.

    Sincerely,

    Breanna Boros

    BScN, R.N.

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    Ringo Starr has resurfaced a set of lost Beatles photos, which he likely found buried under the mass of Beatles-related-items he is auctioning off later this year.


    The drummer has apparently rediscovered over 800 pieces of memorabilia, including his drum kit and one of John Lennon's old guitars. (Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: very profitable if you were once in the most iconic musical group of all time!)


    Starr will be displaying the set of recently developed negatives at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The show opens Sept. 21, along with the release of his upcoming book titled Photograph which features 250 images of the band.


    "These are shots that no one else could have taken," he said in a statement (before probably whispering to himself, "No one except a Starr").


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    Kanye West presented his Yeezy Spring 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week on Wednesday, but while everyone else was focused on the clothes, we were busy giving all our attention to little North West.


    The daughter of Ye and Kim Kardashian, dressed in her mini beige hoodie and leggings, was, hands down, the best part of the entire presentation. Judging by the photos of the toddler, she couldn't care less that she was rubbing shoulders with Anna Wintour and Riccardo Tisci (she is only 2, after all). Or maybe she just knows she's already more famous than most of the other plebeians who were in attendance. Or maybe, and most likely, she was enjoying her lollipop too much to care about anything else. 


    (Side note: While North was obviously the star of the show, Jaden Smith's photo-bomb in this first pic gives him runner-up status. When you see it ... )






    On their way to the presentation, North and Kim shared an adorable mother-daughter moment, which was captured on video by Complex style editor Karizza Sanchez. (Stars, they're just like us!)


    During the show, the tot was pretty restless, moving around from her mom's lap to the floor, eventually moving to her aunt Kourtney's lap. She watched on as her other aunt, Kylie Jenner, walked out onto the runway. Though she may have seemed a little unimpressed, North definitely had way more chill this year than she did last time around. She even got in on some photo ops with the rest of her squad aunts backstage. 



    Say what you will about Kimye, but they made a damn cute child. 


    Also on HuffPost:



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    Perhaps it was inevitable. The Onion has recently started delving into the deep, deep, oh-so-deep depths of pop culture. First they brought us Clickhole, then EdgeTV -- but what is closer to the bottom than the world of paparazzis and celebrity?


    The answer is StarWipe, their new site built on the hounding of and obsessing over celebrities. Check out the promo below.




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    "Modern Family" is No. 14 on The Hollywood Reporter's list of Hollywood's 100 favorite TV shows, and to celebrate, the cast re-created shots from some other favorite shows. The photos reimagine scenes from "Breaking Bad," "Cheers," and "Married with Children," among others (which means there was a reason Sofia Vergara was dressed up as Peggy Bundy). 


    Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler managed to channel  Walter White and Jesse Pinkman from "Breaking Bad."



    Sofia Vergara embraced her inner Peggy Bundy, while Ed O'Neill revisited his former role as Al Bundy from "Married with Children."


    "I love dressing up like Ed’s first TV wife. I’m starting to think Ed just signs up for roles where his wife has really big boobs. I’m glad I made the cut!” Vergara told the magazine. 



    Meanwhile, Nolan Gould, Ariel Winter, Julie Bowen, Rico Rodriguez, Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are strangely on point as the cast of "Cheers."



    Julie Bowen channels Mary Richards from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."



    And Nolan Gould and Sarah Hyland got dressed up as Major Nelson and Jeannie from "I Dream of Jeannie."



    And finally, here's Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet and Brigitte as Daphne Moon, Niles and Frasier Crane and Eddie from "Fraiser."



    "Modern Family" returns for its seventh season on Sept. 23 on ABC. 


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    We all thought the big question from "Guardians of the Galaxy" was who Star-Lord's dad was. But now there's an even bigger mystery: What the hell is James Gunn talking about?


    "Guardians" director James Gunn started a World Wide Web frenzy by revealing on Facebook that there's one big Easter egg in "Guardians of the Galaxy" that "no one has found," adding, "Maybe once someone came close."


    Then the guesses started coming in.


    Someone thought the astronaut in the Collector's Museum was George Clooney's character in "Gravity," while someone else guessed whether it was a Spider-Man appearance, but so far, no one's gotten it. 





    For those wondering what has already been found, here is a pretty extensive list of Easter eggs from the movie put together by YouTuber Mr. Sunday Movies:




    So what could be the one big Easter egg we're all missing? Does it have something to do with Star-Lord's dad? Perhaps there's some obvious Marvel connection we've all missed? Or maybe, as Redditor remmick puts it, "He might be pulling our leg."


    Gunn admitted the Howard the Duck post-credit scene was just a joke, so it's entirely possible he's just making this up to have fun, too.


    But then again ... it is kind of weird that one dude only says, "I am Groot," right? Yeah, maybe it's just his name. Or maybe -- just maybe -- there's something more going on ...


    Well, what do you have to say for yourself?




    Hmm ... just like we suspected ...


    H/T Comicbook.com


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    Multigenerational material girls converged in New York City on Wednesday. Toward the end of her two-hour set at Madison Square Garden, Madonna announced it was time to crown the "unapologetic bitch of the evening." Within seconds, Amy Schumer appeared onstage and bent over so Madonna could give her a faux-spanking.


    Schumer is the Rebel Heart Tour's fourth unapologetic bitch, a reference to the rousing song from Madonna's latest album. During two gigs in Montreal, where the roadshow kicked off last week, Diplo was paraded out during the number, while a fan got the treatment at last weekend's Washington, D.C., stop. MSG roared at the sight of Schumer taking the stage for the second time, following the comedy set that opened the show. Her prize was a sock puppet and a banana, which Schumer pretended to insert into her butt, because why wouldn't she after several anal-sex jokes just a few hours earlier?


    Perez Hilton was in the audience (as were Andy Cohen, Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande), and he captured the moment from up close. 



    @Madonna having a little fun with @amyschumer on stage at @MadisonSquareGarden! https://goo.gl/17DQq0

    A video posted by perezhilton (@perezhilton) on



    Schumer, who began her set with the exclamation, "I'm opening for motherf**king Madonna," clearly has a lot to be proud about today.



    Ma fucking Donna

    A photo posted by @amyschumer on



    Madonna performs at MSG again on Thursday, as well as Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Saturday. Let's see if Schumer retains her title at both shows, where she is also opening, and whether she finds additional uses for that banana. 


     


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    Katy Perry put on a red wig and managed to channel not one, but two, iconic gingers at the Harper's Bazaar Evening of Fantasy Celebrating Icons event at the Plaza Hotel in New York on Wednesday night. 


    The 30-year-old singer first broke out her Jessica Rabbit impression in a sparkling green gown with a thigh-high slit that would make Disney's (arguably) sexiest character proud. 





    Later, Perry switched gears and outfits as she performed a 30-minute set at the party, looking a lot like "Batman" villain Poison Ivy in a green strapless gown covered in leaves and butterflies. 


    During her set, the singer gave a shoutout to Mariah Carey for "[paving] the way for so many of us," before dedicating the song "Firework" to all the fashion assistants in the room. 


    "I always feel like an outcast or a black sheep because I'm no longer sample size," she told the crowd. 'This next song is a song I want you to remember when you're going about your day and you rip your pants, you have two Band-Aids fall off of the back of your heel, you're sweating, there's coffee all over your blouse. I'm talking about all the assistants here. And you feel, maybe, like a little plastic bag."




    Perry later donned a pink wig and a little black dress before hitting up Le Bain and The Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotel. 



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    All men must die, and all Emilia Clarkes must clarify.


    The actress who plays Daenerys on "Game of Thrones" seemed to be throwing shade at the show's sex scenes recently, saying, "Sex scenes should be more subtle," and, "I’m British, so I cringe at that sort of thing anyway — I can’t stand it."


    Headlines read, "Emilia Clarke Hates Explicit Sex Scenes," and the news started trending on Facebook, so now Clarke is clarifying things. 


    In an Instagram post, Clarke explains how she was followed into a party by a journalist from an outlet she didn't agree to speak with. Clarke was asked a question on female empowerment and says things got taken out of context. To explain her real position on things, she added:



    In drama, if a nude scene forwards a story or is shot in a way that adds insight into characters, I’m perfectly fine with it. Sometimes explicit scenes are required and make sense for the characters/story, as they do in Westeros. If it’s gratuitous for gratuitous sake, then I will discuss with a director on how to make it more subtle. In either case, like a good Mother of Dragons, I’m always in control.



    You can see her full statement here, which includes #dracarys#bodiesmaybetemplesbutmindsarewhatmatter and #MODforreal:



    So will this finally put things to rest? Eh? This is about "Game of Thrones" after all. Our guess is it'll dragon ...




     


     


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    When the Kardashians fly, they fly in style. 


    Khloe Kardashian wore an Adidas jumpsuit and heels for her flight out of New York City. The 31-year-old was photographed in the glamorous ensemble when she touched down at LAX. She was joined by sister Kourtney, whom she helped with her baby carriage as they made their way through the airport. 


    The reality stars have been in New York City for the past week for NYFW






     


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    Perfection is a myth perpetrated by the pre-Instagram gods! 


    Pop icon/hopefully your personal hero Lorde reminded everyone of that fact when she used the platform to chat about heading to Yeezy's New York Fashion week show Tuesday, despite having what appears to be conjunctivitis.



    one question: what happened to your eye?

    A photo posted by Lorde (@lordemusic) on




    Real women get eye infections. 


    Lorde sat front row with Anna Wintour and Kardashian royalty, prompting us all to dream about a future Lorde/North West collaboration in music, fashion and intergenerational friendship. 





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    On Wednesday night's episode of "Watch What Happens Live," Jessica Alba confirmed that she was, indeed, pushed by not one, but two, of Kylie Jenner's bodyguards at New York Fashion Week. 


    When asked about the incident, the actress told host Andy Cohen, "I got, like, bodychecked. Yeah, and it was like, by two of them. I was like, 'Whoa, whoa! What’s happening?'" 


    Note to self for possible future Kylie encounters: Do not get in her way.


    Alba added, "I thought there was, like, a fire. I was like, 'What's going on?' But I guess someone was just leaving the building. It was just really shocking."


    Watch her describe the entire experience in the video. 


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    Kendall Jenner was one of the busiest models at New York Fashion week, and she's not slowing down. On Wednesday, the 19-year-old slayed in a white halter dress at the Harper's Bazaar Icons bash at the Plaza Hotel. 


    While Jenner looked stunning, her dress proved a little too sheer when combined with the bright flash from all the cameras.



    Jenner apparently followed in her younger sister Kylie's footsteps in July, when she debuted her piercing at the ESPY Awards. Later on, she made headlines when the piercing was very visible on the catwalk in particularly sheer outfits





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    It's reboot season in TV-land, with "Full House," "Boy Meets World," and your favorite Nickelodeon classics all getting some kind of return to the screen. 


    According to Twitter, it appears Frankie Muniz wants the same thing to happen with his beloved show of yore, "Malcolm in the Middle." 


    After MTV wrote an article arguing why "Malcom" should be the next series to receive a modern update, Muniz tweeted the article, asking his followers if they'd be into it.





    Preceeding MTV's post, he had posed a similar theoretical. At the time he told The Huffington Post's Todd Van Luling (via Twitter) that he was just "gauging interest." But the repeated mentions suggest a burning reboot desire could be motivating those tweeting fingers.


    Our opinion on the subject is: Bryan Cranston! Bryan Cranston! Bryan Cranston! 


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    This October will mark 26 years since Pamela Anderson first graced the cover of Playboy magazine. The former "Baywatch" star would go on to cover the magazine 12 more times, most recently posing for the magazine in 2011.  


    So while you've likely seen Anderson nude before, the blonde bombshell stripped down again -- this time for Flaunt magazine.



    The 48-year-old posed totally nude for photographer David LaChapelle and opened up to the magazine about her sons Dylan, 17, and Brandon, 19, who she says "probably saved my life because I’ve been in crowds and circles and I’ve gone a little wild, but I always make it home for my kids.” 


     


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    The Toronto International Film Festival is winding down, which means fatigued journalists are departing Canada to return to a strange world where back-to-back movie screenings aren't the norm. Entertainment editors Erin Whitney and Matthew Jacobs did exactly that, but first, they are revisiting a few more movies they saw while stationed in America's hat. At least one of them is a probable Best Picture nominee, but they all cap off a festival filled with plenty of wonderful films. Here are reviews of "Spotlight," "Truth," "Youth" and "Trumbo." Their single-world titles are pure coincidence.


    "Spotlight


    Written by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
    Directed by Tom McCarthy
    Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup 



    We may have found our Best Picture front-runner. Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” chronicles the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal in 2002. But the film doesn’t resort to tediously recounting the events that led to the widespread exposure of the church -- it details the investigation with a sharp, unwavering precision. With a taut script co-written by McCarthy and Josh Singer (“The West Wing”), “Spotlight” homes in on the staunch team of journalists and doesn’t let up until the final title card.


    Michael Keaton plays Walter “Robby” Robinson, the leader of the Globe’s Spotlight team, a quartet of reporters dedicating to thorough investigations of single topics. When the paper’s new editor-in-chief, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), arrives, he suggests Spotlight look into a little-discussed story about a Boston priest accused of child molestation. Michael Rezendez (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carol (Brian d’Arcy James) dig into the case, which was brought to light by lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci). When the team starts reaching out to victims from a local survivors’ group, it becomes clear just how deep the scandal goes. What started out as a single-digits list of pedophiles multiplies until Michael and Sacha can't fathom how many priests have been abusing children for decades.


    What’s most effective about McCarthy’s film is how focused it remains on the investigation and the startling impact the exposure will, and eventually did, have on the Boston community, along with the country. McCarthy doesn’t waste much time on the characters' personal lives, besides the fact that their work dominates most of it, but just enough to hint at how immensely the Church has woven itself into the city. In once scene, the leader of the survivors’ group asks the Spotlight writers how many of them grew up Catholic. They all raise their heads and explain how they’ve drifted from the religion in their adulthood. But as the man begins to recount his abuse, along with the other victims’ stories, the realization that such horror could’ve happened to any child in a Boston hits hard. Later, during a meeting with his high school alumni, Robby tells one man that the two of them were simply lucky for not playing on the hockey team, which was coached by the school’s accused priest.


    The film works well by capturing the reporters’ shock at the magnitude of the situation and the extent to which no one wanted to believe and initially report on the scandal. Billy Crudup’s high-class lawyer, Eric MacLeish, appears to be the bad guy, until he reveals that the Globe ignored the scoop he gave them on the Church years prior. No one realized at the time the decades of abuse by the priesthood, but it took one small team of writers to blow it up for the entire world. Beyond being an excellent piece of filmmaking, “Spotlight” is a testament to the sheer power and importance of journalism, and proof of how desperately we need it. -- EW


     


    "Truth"


    Written and directed by James Vanderbilt
    Starring Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss and Bruce Greenwood



    Seeing news stories play out on the big screen a few years later is inherently uncanny and hokey, making such recent-history biopics a gamble for any filmmaker. It pays off in “Truth.” Dan Rather’s decade-old fall from grace is told with such precision that, by the movie’s halfway point, it feels like it was birthed for cinema. James Vanderbilt, in his directorial debut after having written “Zodiac” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” constructs a tightly paced political drama that is a dissection of both the state of journalism and the personal effects of a public scandal.


    Critics at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival found themselves weighing “Truth” against “Spotlight,” a rather different journalism paean that depicts the Boston Globe’s 2002 investigation into local Catholic priests’ child sex abuse. “Spotlight” seemed to find more favor, but “Truth” is also rousing and economical in its storytelling. Robert Redford is the obvious choice to play Rather, who was the prime-time anchor when CBS News producers received a tip that questioned the legitimacy of President George W. Bush’s service in the Vietnam War. Months away from the 2004 election, Rather’s crack team -- spearheaded by venerable producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) -- gunned hard for the story, doing their best to trace the validity of 1970s documents that seemingly proved Bush used preferential treatment to avoid fighting. The “60 Minutes” report found instant critics, however legitimate the story may have been, and “Truth” lends a sympathetic ear to the aftermath that Mapes and her cohorts endured from their CBS bosses and the public.


    The first half of “Truth” is an illuminating look at how the Bush piece was patched together, told in the tradition of "All the President’s Men” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.” As the clock winds down on the team’s deadline, the movie becomes increasingly tense. By the time the scandal erupts, “Truth” is both a hard-boiled political drama and a character-driven look at the toll the fallout takes on these individuals' lives. Rather may be the face of the scandal, but the movie belongs to Mapes, who wrote a 2005 memoir chronicling the experience. It is Blanchett, then, who stands out, doing top-notch work as the dogged producer. She is particularly moving in showcasing the heartbreak of the career-damaging scandal, which culminates in a fierce standoff with the committee interrogating her about CBS’s reporting. With a supporting cast that includes Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss, and despite a manipulative score that swells at unearned opportunities, “Truth” remains an involving, if one-sided, exposé. There’s pride at the tenacity of these journalists, rage at the network's ultimate subservience toward the White House and, ultimately, compassion for all angles of the narrative, because what resounds is a series of retaliations that have a grave impact on the livelihood of these very real people. -- MJ


     


    "Youth"


    Written by Paolo Sorrentino
    Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
    Starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda



    There’s a dazzling, existential beauty to Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film that stays with you long after. The Italian director is known best for 2013’s “The Great Beauty,” 2011’s “This Must Be the Place” starring Sean Penn and 2008’s “Il Divo.” In “Youth,” which was in competition for the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, Michael Caine plays Fred Ballinger, a legendary retired composer living at an extravagant hotel in the Swiss Alps. Fred’s longtime best friend Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) is an iconic film director also staying there. As Mick works on finishing the script for what he believes to be his ultimate masterpiece, Fred spends his days at the hotel spa, watching singers and dancers perform in the courtyard each evening, and failing to give his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) proper acknowledgment. It’s the other characters checked into the hotel that add a richness and vibrancy to “Youth.” There’s Paul Dano’s Jimmy Tree, a talented actor who’s only recognized for his one major blockbuster, as well as a European football star, Miss Universe, wealthy socialites and eager young screenwriters.


    Yet while each character adds a sense of eccentricity, humor and delight to the film, it’s what their stay at the hotel expresses that's important. A faraway utopia where the rich, the famous and the aged get to escape their lives, the hotel is a place where you can step away from the reality of the world to realize your place within it, and its place without you. Regardless of age or wisdom, everyone in “Youth” is experiencing some crisis of life and the weight of the unknown. The young actor is searching for who to become next as much as the lived composer is contemplating who he was. The elderly detached couple never exchange a word at dinner while the young hotel masseuse with braces feels the pain and longing within the muscles of her client through nothing but her touch. Jane Fonda, who appears in only three scenes, but fantastic ones, is a renowned actress pompous from her celebrated career, while Mick is still haunted by and unsatisfied with his.


    It’s these little moments with each character and their interactions that add to the grand portrait of life the film paints. With moments of surrealism and Sorrentino’s patient, observant eye, “Youth” ultimately reveals how youth is not an age or a physicality, but a frame of mind, an embracement of the spirit. You can walk away from the film feeling the density of that, or you can simply enjoy it for its many colored performances. Either way, walk into it with an open mind and let the rest wash over you. -- EW 


     


    "Trumbo"


    Written by John McNamara
    Directed by Jay Roach

    Starring Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Louis C.K. and Michael Stuhlbarg 



    Hollywood’s biggest romance is the one it has with itself, which is also probably why so many middling films are made about the industry. “Trumbo” isn’t bad enough one of them, but it also isn’t good enough to defy the campy quasi-genre. The story of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted alongside other Hollywood communists in the 1950s, is an effective, if lukewarm, encapsulation of a man who became the face of the political paranoia that was pervasive after World War II.


    Bryan Cranston portrays the mustachioed scribe with believable Old Hollywood camp, presenting him as loquacious and intellectual. Trumbo did some of his best work (“Roman Holiday,” “The Brave One,” “Spartacus”) during the days of the House Un-American Activities Committee’s infamous blacklist, and seeing him navigate the back roads of the industry in order to find work is where the film finds its best nuances. Within his personal life, where Diane Lane can’t find any grooves as his wife and Elle Fanning is compelling as his progressive daughter, Trumbo begins to unravel. Unfortunately, that's where John McNamara’s script feels the most lifeless. 


    When it doesn’t drift into made-for-TV territory, “Trumbo” has enough bite to work. Helen Mirren plays sleazy gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and John Goodman is especially fun as a bawdy B-movie producer who hires Trumbo to rewrite scripts under a pseudonym. It’s too bad Louis C.K., portraying another ostracized screenwriter, doesn’t know he’s in a movie about Old Hollywood. His schlubby nonchalance sticks out like an anachronistic thumb when lined up with Cranston’s haughty Mid-Atlantic vernacular. But there’s enough to appreciate about “Trumbo,” which escapes the forced sentimentalism that dragged down 2013's “Saving Mr. Banks” by bopping through the years that troubled its title character’s life. It isn’t a complete biopic -- it’s a microscope that’s trained on Hollywood’s uncomfortable intersection with politics in the days of the studio system. In that sense, it could stand to be a lot grittier. Even though it isn’t, “Trumbo” manages to find a heartbeat anyway. -- MJ


     


     


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    T.I. says he and Iggy Azalea have taken a "bit of a rest stop" with their professional relationship. 


    The rapper sat down for an interview on the "Ebro in the Morning" show and revealed he has "personally" not spoken to the Australia native, despite the fact that he was involved in jump-starting her career and even defended her after multiple public missteps. One of those missteps was her Twitter feud with Q-Tip over cultural appropriation and the history of hip-hop


    "Man, I ain't gonna make no excuses," he said. "But, look, though, the thing is, in her defense, she had a lot thrown at her at one time. Any human being anywhere gonna have a hard time adjusting ... It’s very difficult to be the new kid and to be the butt of the jokes and to be the direction of all the negativity, you know what I mean? … [Iggy] came at a time when culturally, this nation -- which she’s not from here -- we were actually looking for a source for somewhere to place some pent-up aggression. And they just got it for no reason. In some cases, some stuff they brought it upon themselves, and in some cases, it was just the easiest place to put some pent-up aggression.” 


    He said the Q-Tip incident was a breaking point. While he tried to defend Azalea in that moment, she fanned the flames publicly on Twitter. 


    Throughout the interview, T.I. used the pronoun "they" instead of "she," explaining that he meant Azalea's team: "She is the nucleus, but there are a lot of other pieces around -- including myself -- that, you know, keep that machine working. And I feel like they have all the tools necessary to overcome and evolve beyond those situations.”


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    The siblings of indie-pop band Echosmith are no strangers to misheard lyrics. Sometimes the chorus of their hit song "Cool Kids" is heard as, "I wish that I could be like the cookies," instead of "cool kids."


    Though more delicious sounding, the line is unfortunately wrong. But when asked for their personal fave misheard lyrics, they point to their friend Taylor Swift's song "Blank Space." Officially, the line in the song is "long list of ex-lovers," but Echosmith isn't so sure.


    "One of the biggest ones as of late is probably the 'Starbucks lovers' situation with Taylor Swift. I still can’t hear whatever the other line is, actually," lead singer Sydney Sierota told The Huffington Post.


    "I think Starbucks maybe, like, worked out a deal with her," joked bassist Noah Sierota. 




    Image: Pinterest


    Before the band headed out on their Blurry Face Tour with Twenty One Pilots, they teamed up with Hard Rock to kick off its Pinktober campaign. To get things started, the band donated memorabilia, including a dress, a guitar and handwritten lyrics. They also played a free concert at Hard Rock Cafe New York, at one point covering Swift in honor of a fan's 22nd birthday.




    HuffPost caught up with Echosmith's Noah, Sydney and drummer Graham Sierota at the concert to talk about the campaign and to finally find out if they really wish they could be like cool kids or cookies.




    Image: BuzzFeed


    Do you really wish you could be like the cool kids?


    Noah: I think in a sense we kind of always go through that a million times ... The main message we want to get out with our music and that song is to accept yourself for who you are, and it’s something we kind of have to remind ourselves.


    More important, do you wish you could be like the cookies?


    Noah, Sydney, Graham: Yes!


    Sydney: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Like a warm one, though. Nobody wants cold cookies.


    Noah: I'd be a Snickerdoodle. I’m a Snickerdoodle guy. And, yes, I would like to be like the cookies. They’re soft and chewy and wonderful. Everybody loves them.


    Graham: Sugar cookies or M&M's.  


    You were on the 1989 Tour with Taylor Swift. How'd that come together? 


    Sydney: Yeah, it was definitely planned. I think her life, and even our life, is just too crazy not to plan. So she had her manager reach out ... and they were just like, "Hey, what dates would you like to do if you’d like to come guest and do a secret performance with her?" and we were like, "Yes, of course," and we figured out that Philadelphia worked out pretty great, and it was 65,000 people, so it was crazy. 





    Sydney, you were also in a crazy pic with Taylor Swift and Emma Watson. What? How'd that happen?


    Sydney: Actually, I was texting Taylor about like hair and makeup and asking who she used in NY because I was going to NY. It was this whole thing. We were talking, and then I realized that we were both gonna be in London at the same time. She’s playing and I had an off day randomly, and I was like, "OMG, we’re gonna be in the same place," and she was like, "Yeah, I'd love for you to come to the show. A bunch of my friends are coming," and I was like I don’t know what that means ...


    It means Hogwarts.


    Sydney: Yeah! Exactly. So Emma Watson was definitely like one of the coolest people I got to meet. We got to talk for a while, which was awesome.


    Did you talk about “Harry Potter”?


    Sydney: No, we didn’t talk about "Harry Potter" whatsoever ... I feel like everybody talks about "Harry Potter," so I figured it be better to talk about life.


    Ooh, you guys are the cool kids then, because I definitely would've.


    Noah: I would’ve gone the "Harry Potter" route for sure.




    If you wished you could be like the Hogwarts students, what house would you be in?


    Noah: I think Ravenclaw doesn’t get enough love.


    Sydney: I mean, I don’t know if I’d take one specific one, but one I wouldn’t want to be in is Slytherin.


    Noah (to Sydney): I feel like you would be Hufflepuff. Graham’s a Gryffindor.


    Kanye says he's running for president. What do you think? 


    Sydney: I mean, I don’t know. Like is this real, or is it a joke? You know what I mean? Because I feel like you never know with Kanye for something like that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried.


    Noah: Why not? We had an actor for president once [Ronald Reagan]. We did have an actor governor [Arnold Schwarzenegger]. That was even cooler.


    Sydney: I mean, that’s who I think of when I think of an actor in politics. I don’t even think of Ronald Reagan.


    If you hung out with my dad, you’d know all about him. 


     



    If you wished you could be like Kanye and run for president, who's your running mate?


    Noah: I would choose, I think, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


    Sydney: You know what, I would probably pick Taylor Swift. Because wouldn’t everybody want her to be president?


    Graham: I’d pick Harrison Ford.


    The music video for "Let's Love" has puppies in it. Did you think of the song first or just want to make a video with puppies and the song came second?


    Sydney: First comes "Love," then comes puppies.


    If you wished you could be like the puppies, what puppy would you be? 


    Noah: Have you seen "Cujo"? I’d be Cujo.


    Sydney: Maltipoo.


    Graham: I’d be an R2-D2 dog.


    Noah: Like a robot bionic dog?


    That's great, because then you'd be a puppy forever. So what interested you in working with Hard Rock on Pinktober?


    Sydney: We’ve been to Hard Rock a thousand times and also to promote finding a solution to breast cancer is amazing. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this was the perfect opportunity to step into that, and we were happy to give a dress and a guitar, and it felt pretty cool, I gotta say. 


    "It felt cool" because you're obviously cool kids. Or is it cookies?




    Image: Echosmith Tumblr


     This interview has been edited and condensed.


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    Guys, look at this car. Janis Joplin drove this car. It's a 1965 Porsche 356C 1600 Cabriolet. That's cool. But not as cool as the paint job. 



    The odd little thing is expected to fetch around $400,000 when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby's in New York on Dec. 10.


    In 1968, the iconic rock-and-roll singer enlisted her friend Dave Richards to customize her new ride with psychedelic flair. As Sotheby's points out, such an act is generally considered sacrilege in "serious car-collecting circles." But Janis Joplin drove this car. She drove it all around San Francisco, her sister recalled, and down to Los Angeles, where she recorded.


    "Wherever Janis went in the car, her fans recognized it. When she parked it and returned, there was always at least one note under the wipers," Laura Joplin told the auction house. Richards described his brilliant artwork as a visual history of the universe.



    After Joplin's untimely death in 1970, her manager Albert Grossman took the wheel for a couple decades before it underwent restoration in the early 1990s. Since then, the car has resided at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. 


    And soon, it could live in your garage.


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