3D Resin Vintage Art Fridge Magnet Sculpture Souvenir Travel Refrigerator Gift

Jennifer Love Hewitt talks ghosts, high-heels and her new co-star boyfriend Jamie Kennedy

Sunday, January 31, 2010
By Jane Gordon

Jennifer Love Hewitt on dating her co-star: 'The idea of two actors in a relationship can be explosive and scary'

Not many people are happy to take their work home. But Jennifer Love Hewitt, who plays a clairvoyant in TV's Ghost Whisperer, loves unwinding in the evenings with her co-star and real-life boyfriend Jamie Kennedy - a man who understands her passion for heels.

There are quite a few - oddly connected - reasons why Jennifer Love Hewitt is walking tall these days. For a start there are her shoes.

Today she is wearing a pair of slightly scary Louboutins that push her tiny 5ft 21/2 in frame to a disproportionately lofty height.

They were a gift, she says with a sheepish smile, from her boyfriend Jamie Kennedy who is one of the other reasons why she is feeling so, well, elevated right now.
The 30-year-old actress and the 39-year-old comedian and actor met on the hit US TV series Ghost Whisperer, which has given as big a boost to Jennifer's career as those shoes do to her stature.

'Jamie is a good man with shoes; he will buy you any shoe you want because he loves them. He knows a way to a girl's heart,' she says as she sits down to talk about shoes, the show and (the topic she finds most irresistible) her relationship with her co-star.

In more ways than one, then, Ghost Whisperer - now in its fifth season in the US - has turned Jennifer's life around. At the time that the drama premiered - in 2005 - Jennifer's promising early career was on the wane.

Born in Texas to Patricia, a speech therapist, and Herbert, a medical technician, the young Jennifer (Love is her middle name) was a natural performer.

After she won the Texas Our Little Miss Talent competition the family - Jennifer, her by now divorced mother and her elder brother Todd - moved to Los Angeles, where Jennifer got her first break, aged ten, presenting on the Disney channel.

Teen roles in several TV series and a spin-off music career eventually led to a starring role - at just 18 - in the hugely successful film I Know What You Did Last Summer

'Now the papers are saying I'm too thin. They are never happy'

Parts in the sequel and in Heartbreakers alongside Sigourney Weaver followed, but by 2005 the one-time holder of Maxim's 'Sexiest Woman in the World' title had slipped to number 29 in the rankings and her most successful roles were as voice-overs in cartoons such as Garfield and The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.

Taking on the role of Melinda Gordon - the central character in Ghost Whisperer, who is able to see and communicate with the dead - has turned out to be the best career move Jennifer has made.

As producer and occasional director of the show, she has gained confidence and earned a degree of respect in a difficult industry. 'I was brought in as an actor first and towards the end of the pilot I was made a producer.

'It's exciting as a 30-year-old female in the entertainment industry to have people offering you a producing role. One of the advantages is that it gives me the chance to be a sort of angel over my character's integrity.

'It's a gift to be able to have control over what your character does and doesn't do,' she says.

Jennifer with boyfriend Jamie Kennedy, in Ghost Whisperer

The arrival of Jamie's character Eli James (a psychiatrist who shares Melinda's gift of seeing ghosts) in series four has given Jennifer another reason to be grateful to Ghost Whisperer, although she insists that she had no influence over his casting.

'I was excited when I heard that he was going to be on the show and I thought he was really talented. We had met, actually, when I was 18 and I thought he was cute, but we didn't see each other again until the show.

'The idea of two actors in a relationship can be explosive and scary, but the good thing is that he is also a writer, a comedian and an entrepreneur.

'One of the great things about working together is that in the evening we don't have to have an hour-long conversation about how our day went; we know,' she says, unconsciously fiddling with the Cartier love bracelet on her wrist (another present from Jamie).

It's difficult to work out the exact chronology of their relationship because until January 2009 the actress was engaged to Scots actor Ross McCall.

Two months later, after rumours of on-set chemistry, Jamie admitted in a radio interview that he was seeing his co-star, claiming that she was his perfect woman. 'You are hot. You can sing, you can dance, you're, like, so smart and, wow, you can cook pasta fagioli, too,' he said.

Jennifer and Jamie at a premiere in Los Angeles last November

Three months after that, when Jennifer was asked about rumours of an engagement, she seemed to be issuing an ultimatum when she said, 'If by this time next year we're not planning something, then there's a situation.'

Then in July, during one of his live comedy performances, Jamie spontaneously proposed, and she accepted - although their publicists deny a formal engagement.

Has she, I ask, put pressure on him for a ring? 'The engagement thing was blown out of all proportion. When I made that comment about there being a "situation" I wasn't really giving him a time clock. If it's going to happen it will happen, but right now we are not rushing anything. We are both just really happy,' she says.

There is no doubt that the relationship has given Jennifer a new physical confidence. Four years ago unflattering pictures taken on a beach propelled her into the celebrity size debate. The mere mention of this issue infuriates her.

Not, she insists, because of any worries she has about her weight but because of the effect such stories have on the young girls who read the celebrity magazines that labelled her 'fat' (she has never been more than an American size two, UK size six).

'One of the magazines admitted that it had added extra weight to the pictures, and it concerns me that young girls reading those stories don't know that. All they know is that they are sitting at home, maybe four or five sizes bigger than me, and their role model is called a "big house" - what does that do to them?

Young girls don't know what has been airbrushed and what hasn't and I think it's very irresponsible,' she says with evident emotion, and continues, 'I think we are feeding eating disorders; we are promoting sickness to girls using celebrity role models.

'Not just me - they have done it to Jessica Simpson and other young female celebrities. Every time you turn around a different girl is "fat" in the eyes of the media. And it's not fair and it's not true and it's not smart because we are not fat.'

Jennifer insists that the 'weight police' have not pushed her into excessive dieting or a punishing work-out regime. One of the most frustrating things about the media obsession with weight, she says, is that it is impossible for a celebrity to win.

'Now the papers are saying I am too thin. They are never happy. I eat normally and I do have a work-out programme but I do it because it makes me happy and because people in my family have had heart disease and I don't want to die early. I am doing it for me not the media,' she says.

Filming Ghost Whisperer involves long hours and gives her little time for taking on other roles (in the break between seasons this year she made an as-yet-unreleased movie with Jamie called Cafe

But at the end of season four Jennifer's character Melinda was about to give birth - might life imitate art for the actress?

'I would love to have kids, but I have no idea when. I used to try and work it all out and then I realised that life is so much better when you don't plan it. I know that I will have children one day.

'But first things first,' she says with a grin as she grabs her Chanel bowling bag (another Jamie present) and rushes off to meet her boyfriend. As she reaches the door she pauses for a second and adds: 'I am just really happy in the here and now.'

source: dailymail

Charlize Theron 'rings off' after secret split with Stuart Townsend

By Caroline Graham, Mail on Sunday LA Correspondent

Separate lives: Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend have split after their relationship 'ran its course'

For a lad from the outskirts of Dublin, Stuart Townsend seemed to have it all - a long-term relationship with one of the most stunning women in Hollywood, whose box-office clout brought in the millions.

But now his nine-year romance with Oscar winner Charlize Theron, previously considered one of the most stable unions in showbusiness, has come to an end.

The stunning 5ft 11in South African has told close friends that she decided to split from the Irish actor following a Christmas trip to Mexico and has since stopped wearing the antique ‘commitment ring’ that Townsend gave her as a symbol of their relationship.

A friend of the actress said last night: ‘Stuart is gutted but Charlize said that she realised during the Mexican holiday that the relationship was over.

‘They had become more like brother and sister than lovers. It was she who ended it.’
While Ms Theron can command more than £8million a movie, 27-year-old Townsend’s career has been less successful.

Even amid his relationship break-up he left the cast of Kenneth Branagh’s blockbuster Thor because of so-called ‘creative differences’.

It was his second big-budget movie setback, after being dumped from the career-defining role of Aragorn in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in favour of Viggo Mortensen

Bare hand: Theron's right hand was noticeably ring free as she manned the phones at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon last week

'I never take it off': Theron wearing the ring as a press conference in New York in November

‘Charlize has remained in their main home in the Hollywood Hills, which is in her name, and he’s moved all his stuff into their Malibu beach home that they own together,’ the source said.

‘They are sorting out their finances at the moment, as they have been together for so long that many of their financial affairs are intertwined.

‘Charlize has never made a big deal of it, but the truth of the matter is that she has been the major breadwinner. She truly loved Stuart but the relationship ran its course. He is heartbroken but she is insisting it is all over.’

To underline the point, the 34-year-old has ditched the Victorian ring depicting forget-me-nots that Townsend had given her.

She previously described it as ‘very, very precious’, adding: ‘Stuart gave it to me as a sign of our commitment to each other. I never take it off.’

But she was not wearing it during last weekend’s Hope For Haiti telethon, nor when she arrived at the Spago restaurant in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to celebrate her mother Gerda’s 57th birthday.

As she arrived at the celebrity restaurant, she refused to answer questions about the relationship.

And when a Mail on Sunday reporter approached her at her £2.5million four-bedroom home and asked about the split, she snapped: ‘That’s crazy.’

Togetherness: Theron wearing the ring with Townsend at the 2008 fashion show

But the source added: ‘Charlize said she was surprised the story hadn’t come out yet. But she didn’t confirm it because she wanted to break the news in her own time.’

Charlize and Townsend met in 2001 when they co-starred in the thriller Trapped. Her career subsequently took off, thanks to films such as Hancock and Monster, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar, as well as a £10million deal to be the ‘face’ of the Christian Dior perfume J’Adore.

Success: Theron, pictured at the 2004 Oscars with Renee Zellweger, can command up to £8million a movie

But her boyfriend has enjoyed less success, with credits including a supporting role in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and a starring role in the American television series Night Stalker, which was cancelled after just six episodes.

Charlize - whose latest film The Road opened in the UK this month - once said: ‘Living with another actor, you always feel guilty if things are going your way and it’s not going that way for the other person.’

In a recent interview Townsend said he considered Charlize to be his wife, even though the two never had a wedding.

He said: ‘I’m married. I didn’t do a church wedding or anything but we consider ourselves husband and wife. We love each other and we want to spend our lives together. I don’t need a certificate or the state or the church to say otherwise.’

He added: ‘I found this old Victorian ring with little forget-me-nots. I gave it to her as a sign of our commitment to each other. She’s never taken it off.’

Ms Theron credited Townsend as being ‘a ray of light’ in a life marred by tragedy.

When she was 15 her German-born mother shot dead her father Charles, a violent alcoholic, in front of her, after he threatened to kill them both. Gerda grabbed the gun and shot her husband in self-defence.

Charlize said of the tragedy: ‘Our lives have gone on. It’s something that will be in my blood for ever. It’s something that I can’t change.’

Last night a spokeswoman for Ms Theron said: ‘I never comment on her personal life,’ while Townsend’s spokesman did not respond to calls for comment.

On-screen lovers: Theron and Townsend co-starred together in 2004 film Head In The Clouds, alongside Penelope Cruz

source: dailymail

Why running barefoot is better for your body

Friday, January 29, 2010
South African Zola Budd was famous for training and racing barefoot

Searching for the perfect pair of jogging shoes is a waste of time --running barefoot is better for you, a study has revealed.

Researchers found that people who run barefoot tend to land on the ball or the middle of the foot and avoid jarring their bones.

But those who run in shoes tend to land on the heels, sending painful shockwaves through the body.

The study analysed the running styles of athletes, both shoewearing and barefoot.

It found three-quarters of shoe-wearers 'heel-strike', which means that for every mile they run, their heel slams into the ground 1,000 times, creating a 'very large and sudden collision force'.

But those who go barefoot tend to land with a springy step toward the front of the foot. They point their toes more on landing and have a lighter step.

The finding helps explain why so many of the world's greatest endurance runners run so well barefoot.

'People who don't wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike,' said Dr Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University who led the study.

'Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world's hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain.

'All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes.'

Barefoot running is common in parts of Africa. Nearly 50 years ago Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist Abebe Bikila won his first marathon, barefoot while in the 1980s, South African Zola Budd took to the track barefooted.

However a growing number of British runners are following suit by chucking out their shoes and going barefoot or wearing foot 'gloves'.

Barefoot runners say the risk of dog mess, broken glass or jagged paving slabs is outweighed by the freedom - and lower injury rate.

The new study - which involved scientists at Glasgow University - analysed the running styles of athletes, comparing those who had always run barefoot, those who had always worn shoes and those who converted from shoes to barefoot.

They found that three quarters of shoe-wearers 'heel-strike'. For every mile they run, their heel slams into the ground 1,000 times, creating a 'very large and sudden collision force' 1,000 times.

But those who go barefoot tend to land with a springy step toward the middle or front of the foot. They point their toes more on landing and have a springier step.

The scientists say modern running shoes get in the way of millions of years of evolution. People have evolved strong, large arches that are used as spring when running.

'Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s,' they report in the journal Nature.

'For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning.'

However, Dr Liebermann warned people tempted to throw away their runnings shoes to ease themselves into barefoot jogging.

'Running barefoot or in minimal shoes is fun but uses different muscles,' he said. 'If you've been a heel-striker all your life you have to transition slowly to build strength in your calf and foot muscles.'

Earlier this year a study of 68 runners on a treadmill found that suffered 38 per cent more twisting in their knees and ankles when wearing shoes than they did barefoot.

source: dailymail

Final Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows films 'will be in 3D'

By Daily Mail Reporter

Getting the 3D treatment: Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) will be seen in 3D in the final films

The final two Harry Potter films are to get the Avatar treatment and will be released in 3D.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, which stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, will be released as two films, with the first due out later this year.

The last installment of the series, Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince, had 25 minutes of 3D footage viewable at Imax cinema at the beginning.

But conversion costs are decreasing and making it increasingly affordable to release the entire film in that format.

The news comes in the same week that James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic Avatar became the highest grossing film ever, beating the previous record-holder Titanic.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warners are due to make an announcement that both Clash Of The Titans and the Harry Potter films will be in 3D shortly

All in 3D: Scenes filmed last year with Harry Potter and Helena Bonham Cater as Bellatrix Lestrange, will be converted to three-dimensional film

Making a dash for it: Stunt doubles as Hagrid and Harry will appear in 3D

Each film now costs $5million to change into 3D and Warners will also absorb an additional $5million per movie to pay for 3D glasses.

Deathly Hallows: Part I is set for release on November 19, with Part II due out on July 15, 2011.

It was unclear whether author J.K. Rowling had to OK the move into the third dimension.

With the Potter movies in 3D, it could prompt other high-profile films, with even James Bond, made by MGM, moving into the format. Sony is said to be considering sending Spiderman into the third dimension.

Tried and tested: The initial 25 minutes of the Half-Blood Prince were in 3D at Imax cinemas last year

source: dialymail

Pub chain to use 'much larger' wine glasses, flowers and complimentary toiletries to entice women over 35 to its bars

Greene King pubs are to promote large wine glasses in a bid to draw women aged 35 and over into its bars

A pub chain is to promote large wine glasses, equivalent to a third of a bottle, in a bid to draw women aged 35 and over into its bars.

The controversial decision by Greene King is part of a feminine revamp that will see some bars adorned with flowers, glossy magazines and complimentary toiletries.

The company, whose estate includes more than 1,600 pubs, is also looking to recruit more female landladies to run and feminise its outlets.

One of the key changes will be to promote 'much larger' wine glasses for these 35+ women who have been labelled SWAGs - Sassy, Wise and Grown Up.

These are the 250ml glasses which equate to a third of a bottle of wine and have provoked alarm in some quarters that women can get dangerously drunk without realising it.

Just one glass equates to three units of alcohol and would put a woman at risk of being over the drink drive limit.

A spokesman for the firm defended the move, saying: 'Just like men enjoy their beer in a pint jug glass, women enjoy their wine in an extra large fine wine glass.'

Director of recruitment and training for the firm, Caroline Hollings said: 'We’re trying to get pubs to really get behind offering the right things for these women.

'Pubs often fail to accommodate women eating and drinking alone or out with other female friends. Typically pubs generally target mainly men, under 25s and families and we need to redress the balance.'

Pub Partners asked 50 of their female licensees at a recent Public Housewives away day, to assess what they offer at their pubs for the SWAG market and how they could attract these women away from the usual places they visit.

Miss Hollings said: 'Our ladies really went to town, after all they should know what women want.

'They’ll be introducing much larger wine glasses, glossy magazines, more flowers and toiletries alongside different menu options and drink and quality coffee offers.'

She said: 'It’s not rocket science but pubs really need to look at themselves with fresh eyes and see where they can tap into this very lucrative market.'

The company stressed it will also offer wine in smaller glasses of 125mls and 175mls for those who prefer smaller measures.

If the feminisation of the pubs proves a success, one day, macho names like the Red Lion could be replaced in favour of The Lippy & Eyeliner, while The Greyhound might become The Cougar.

Cougar, it is claimed, is the name chosen for a group of predatory women who enjoy dating younger men.

One of the firm's pub landladies has the decorators booked in to repaint her female toilets in a hot pink.

While two sisters running another pub are putting in new ladies loos with added toiletry extras and refurbishing a back bar as a retreat for women who love good wine.

On the plan to hire more women to run its pubs, Miss Hollings said: 'The impression people get when thinking about running a pub is that there has to be a man behind the bar and nothing could be further from the truth.

'We have some really successful women running our pubs and we need to change the perception and get more women who are business minded and great managers looking to this industry as a self employed business option.'

Earlier this week the group, which is also the brewer behind Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen, reported 'very strong' Christmas trading.However, sales suffered a setback in January's snow storms.

Like-for-like sales across its managed pubs - which include Old English Inns and the Hungry Horse chain - were up five per cent in the 35 weeks to January 3, but this slowed to 4.3 per cent three weeks later thanks to the poor weather.

source: dialymail

It's an old fashioned cartoon in a 3D world, but what's REALLY getting people animated is... Disney's first BLACK PRINCESS

Princess Tiana in The Princess and the Frog is Disney's first black princess

As one of the most scrutinised films in Disney's history, The Princess And The Frog has been carrying the heavy burden of expectation on its slender shoulders ever since its inception four years ago.

Not only was the film going to herald a return to 2D, hand-drawn animation after a near glut of 3D fare, but it was to feature the first black princess in Disney's 86-year history.

Before a pencil had even been put to paper, concerns were rife: attempting to resurrect an artform that many considered dead was one thing, but dodging the expected race bullets was another.

From the start, the film was plagued with accusations that it had committed a series of racial faux-pas - based on rumours surrounding leaked versions of the script - but if the animators were feeling the pressure, they didn't let it show.

Today sees the release of The Princess And The Frog in the UK, and having already wowed critics in the U.S., the film-makers can afford to breathe a well-earned sigh of relief.

To say it had a lot riding on it is an understatement. Although Disney had 'princesses of colour' as protagonists before (in the 1995 film Pocahontas and in 1998's Mulan), it has found it hard to shake off its reputation of racial insensitivity.

A quick look at Disney characters stretching back in time will uncover certain questionable caricatures (the jive-talking monkeys in 1967 film The Jungle Book being one famous case).

So the film-makers have gone out of their way to ensure that this film would not make similar mistakes. And indeed the film, which has Oprah Winfrey voicing the princess's mother, has been widely hailed as a success - critically, politically and, most importantly, with audiences who simply want a great story well told.

Some critics have complained that Prince Naveen is olive-skinned rather than black

Set in New Orleans in the Twenties and loosely based on the E.D. Baker novel The Frog Princess, the film centres on Tiana (voiced by Dreamgirls' Anika Noni Rose), a girl whose parents instill in her the importance of hard work.

Fast forward a few years and Tiana is holding down two jobs as a waitress, when playboy Prince Naveen alights from the far-off kingdom of Maldonia.

He finds himself unwittingly turned into a frog by evil magician Dr Facilier and, mistaking Tiana for a princess, asks her to kiss him in order to break the spell.

Unfortunately for both, the kiss transforms Tiana into a frog, too, and the couple have to travel to the depths of the Bayou to reach voodoo priestess Mama Odie - the only one capable of lifting the spell.

Setting aside the race issue, this film was already a risky endeavour.

CG-animated films have become a staple at the box office, with recent films such as Up and WALL-E (both created by Pixar, which was acquired by Disney four years ago) proving just how far the medium had come.

And so when John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Disney animation and Oscar-winning director of Toy Story, announced that he wanted to bring back hand-drawn animation, there was naturally some scepticism.

As all princesses do, Tiana wishes upon a star in the film

'Hand-drawn animation is a wonderful artform,' he says. 'And I never understood why the studios wanted to stop making it. They felt that audiences only wanted to watch CGI, but the medium of the film isn't what makes a film interesting - it's the story and the characters.

'The concerns people had were the same concerns they had when Toy Story was released and people weren't used to CGI. But it ended up doing OK [it made more than $350million].

'That's not to say that I don't love 3D, too - I've always loved 3D; I took my wedding pictures in 3D! But all an audience ever wants is to be entertained. That's the most important thing.'

Even though they encountered some teething problems going back to the 2D animated form (one animator remarked: 'There are lots of challenges, a lot of training and just trying to figure out where to buy paper from again.'), there seems to be genuine excitement from the animators at Disney about its return.

Princess Tiana is following in the footsteps of Cinderella (left) and Pocahontas as one of Disney's beautiful heroines

'If you look at a film like Lady And The Tramp, there's a beautiful roundness and solidity to the characters,' says Lasseter. 'Personally, I think you can look at The Princess And The Frog and any one frame is worthy of hanging on your wall. It's that beautiful.'

And he's right. It is as sumptuous-looking a movie as you're likely to see. But it isn't just the sights which make it - it's the sounds.

The Princess And The Frog is a full-blown musical, making it the first time the studio has embarked on an animated musical project in a decade.

Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman, himself a New Orleans native, transports the audience from the colourful environs of the French Quarter to the swamps of the Bayou through a sultry mix of jazz, gospel and blues, putting any fears of a lacklustre musical revival to rest.

The directors, Ron Clements and John Musker (who previously codirected The Little Mermaid and Aladdin), deserve credit for keeping their heads when their every decision was met with hand-wringing scrutiny.

'We really just started with the story,' says Musker. 'But the more we got into it, the more we realised that it was a huge deal. It became more delicate than we'd anticipated.

'You don't want to compromise your movie or your story, but equally, you have to show sensitivity, so maybe it did get a little scary at times. Obviously, we're not African-American, so we did pitch the story to a lot of groups because we wanted to get it right.

Musker adds: 'And equally, although the story is a fairy tale, we couldn't have the characters exist in a vacuum and so we couldn't ignore history either.

'The story is set in the South during the Twenties, when there was segregation and we have a scene where the African-American passengers have to sit at the back of the bus. We didn't make a big deal of it, but it was there nonetheless.'

But in spite of side-stepping early controversies (Tiana was rumoured to have been named Maddy, until critics complained that it sounded too much like Mammy - a derogatory term for a black female slave), The Princess And The Frog hasn't escaped complete censure.

Some felt an opportunity had been missed in making the prince olive-skinned rather than black.

The Princess and the Frog looks set to become a Disney classic

One commentator said: 'We can have a black president in office, but not a black Disney prince?' But, interestingly, the film was conceived long before Barack Obama was a frontrunner for the presidency.

Moreover, although the story is set in New Orleans, no allusion is made to Katrina - the hurricane which decimated the city five years ago - and many questioned why it needed to take place in a city which was, according to one critic, 'the setting of one of the most devastating tragedies to beset a black community'.

'We didn't make any references to the tragedy,' says Lasseter. 'But all our hearts went out to the people of New Orleans. It's a magical city, my favourite in the world and we were really proud to set the story there.'

The film is also populated by some of the most interesting characters in Disney's recent history. Aside from a trumpet-playing alligator called Louis (a homage to Louis Armstrong) and a sweetly sappy firefly called Ray, it boasts one of the scariest Disney villains to date, in the shape of Dr Facilier.

According to animator Bruce Smith: 'Dr Facilier is the lovechild of Cruella de Vil and Captain Hook - a kind of visual, physical mix of John Waters, a young Michael Jackson, Usher and Cab Calloway.

'The directors took one look at the early sketches I did and said: "It's too scary - we don't want kids running out of the cinema", and I said: "But kids running out of the cinema is exactly what I want."

'Kids love being scared. I remember how I felt when I saw the evil stepmother in Cinderella - and Dr Facilier was my shot at creating a villain who was pure evil.'

The film's fairy godmother, 197-year-old voodoo priestess Mama Odie, was fashioned largely on Margaret Rutherford, the actress best-known for her role as Miss Marple.

'I've just always loved Margaret Rutherford,' says animator Andreas Deja. 'I remember one scene in Miss Marple where she just threw her cape over her shoulders in a magnificent fashion.

'I thought: "If there's any way I can work that into a scene, I will," and if you watch the film closely, I get Mama Odie to do exactly the same thing.'

The Princess And The Frog has already taken more than $160million at the U.S. box office and Disney stores have reported that sales of Princess Tiana dresses are out-stripping those for other Disney princesses.

Excellent news for the accountants, but even more heartening to see a strong woman who works hard, reveres her parents and depends on herself, rather than a man, to succeed should have become a role model for young girls.

And that's regardless of what colour they happen to be.
• The Princess And The Frog is released today and goes into cinemas nationwide on February 5.

source: dailymail

Michael Douglas's eldest son faces life in prison after he pleads guilty to dealing drugs

By Georgina Littlejohn

Guilty: Cameron Douglas's police mugshot from his arrest

The eldest son of actor Michael Douglas has pleaded guilty to dealing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine.

Cameron Douglas, 31, admitted to distributing the drugs out of a New York hotel room, a charge that carries a minimum ten-year prison term and a maximum life sentence.

He also admitted to possession of heroin, a charge that resulted from his girlfriend allegedly smuggling the narcotic to him in a toothbrush while he was under house arrest on the other drug charge.

Cameron was arrested at the Gansevoort Hotel in Manhattan last July and charged with intent to distribute after drug officers found him in possession of 0.5 pounds (0.23 kg) of methamphetamine.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to U.S. District Judge Ronald Ellis and told him that he started dealing in 2006, when a contact in New York asked him if he could get some drugs.

Cameron told him he began 'supplying on a regular basis' and admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

After the hearing he was taken back to the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York City and will be sentenced on April 27.

Cameron, who starred in the 2003 film It Runs In The Family alongside his father and grandfather Kirk, was arrested in California in 2007 and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance after police officers found a syringe with liquid cocaine in a car he was in.

Better times: Cameron and his Oscar-winning father Michael Douglas at a premiere in 2005, before Cameron started dealing drugs

Michael Douglas, who gave an interview a few months ago, said he thought that being jailed would be a wake-up call for his son.

He said: 'Cameron has a lot of his life ahead. He now recognises his own demons and struggles … He's a tough kid. Still, he's in a federal prison, and you've got some big, bad boys down there.

'Alcohol was an issue in my life at one point. A brother died from an overdose a few years ago. Just about any family has someone for whom substance abuse is an issue.'
But he admitted he felt he had failed as a father.

Happier times: Cameron with his parents Diandra and Michael Douglas in 1991

He blamed his obsession with his career from keeping him away for long periods of time during Cameron's childhood, and said he planned to be a better father to his younger children.

Cameron's mother is Diandra Douglas, who was married to Michael from 1977 until their divorce in 2000.

Michael Douglas then remarried Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones later that year, and they have two children, Dylan and Carys.

Cameron Douglas's most recent project, the crime drama Beautiful Outsiders with Corey Feldman, sees him both in front of and behind the camera as associate producer. The film is still in production.

source: dailymail

Michael Douglas' Son Pleading Guilty of Trafficking Cocaine

Thursday, January 28, 2010
Following his arrest in August 2009 of methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking charges, the troubled son of Michael Douglas, Cameron Douglas, will encounter a minimum 10-year prison sentence.

Michael Douglas' actor son Cameron has pleaded guilty to trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine. Cameron Douglas was arrested in August 2009 after a drugs raid on his room at New York's Hotel Gansevoort.

He was taken into custody on suspicion of possessing methamphetamines with intent to distribute and originally put under house arrest. But the 31 year old was thrown in jail after his girlfriend allegedly tried to smuggle heroin to him in an electric toothbrush.

The "It Runs in the Family" star entered the plea on Wednesday, January 28, in Manhattan Federal Court. If convicted, he faces a minimum 10-year prison sentence.

Michael Douglas admits that he was "no angel" to his first son from his marriage with former wife Diandra Luker. Douglas blames himself for not being at the troubled son's side when the child was growing.

source: aceshowbiz

First picture of the iPad: Apple boss Steve Jobs unveils 'revolutionary' tablet computer

Revolution: Apple chief executive Officer Steve Jobs unveils the company's latest product - the iPad

- 'Magical and revolutionary product' bridges gap between laptop and mobiles

- Prices start at $499 (£308) in the US for a 16GB version with WiFi

- Powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 chip, and has 16GB to 64GB of flash storage

- New device is half an inch thick, with 9.7in display and weighs 1.5lb

- Ten hours of battery life if watched continuously and one month of standby charge

- WiFi version available worldwide in 60 days with 3G following a month later

- Apple could run into trademark problems with Fujitsu, who previously filed a claim to the name 'iPad'

Apple tonight unveiled the new generation device dubbed by some gadget aficionados as the 'Jesus Tablet' and named it the...iPad.

Details were revealed by company chief Steve Jobs amid astonishing frenzy at an event in San Francisco.

The name raised some eyebrows amid complaints it was not as impressive as the iSlate or iTablet, which many people had speculated would be chosen.

Groundbreaking: The device will have its own applications (music store, left) and will also have special apps from other companies including the New York Times (right). Jobs: 'We're very excited about this'

Apple may also run into some problems with Fujitsu Ltd., who filed a trademark application for the name 'iPad' in 2003, according to the Web site of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Apple now has until February 28 to submit evidence to the Patent and Trademark Office that is it the rightful owner of the iPad name in the U.S. The company has already filed successful applications to hold the trademark in Canada, Europe and Hong Kong.

At first glance, the iPad with its touchscreen looks like a bigger and more square version of the iTouch and iPhone, which has sold millions around the globe.

Apple has presented the iPad - which will start retailing at $499 (£308) in the US - as filling a gap in the market between smartphones and netbooks, which are effectively small laptops.

The iPad will have a wi-fi connection to the internet, while some higher spec versions will also link to the web via the 3G mobile phone network.

This will allow users to download video, music, books and newspapers while on the go rather than being tied down to wi-fi internet hot spots in the home or town centres.

Mr Jobs demonstrated the device with images of newspapers and books.

The company believes that, in future, people will read their magazines and newspapers on an iPad screen rather than traditional newsprint.

The device will go head to head with electronic book devices such as Amazon's Kindle and similar products from Sony and British firm Interead.

Each device would be able to download and carry around a virtual library of thousands of books.

It was also announced that the New York Times had created a customised application for the iPad.

The size of the device means the publication appears very similar to the actual paper.

Price range: The basic iPad will be $499 with a top-of-the-range model with WiFi, 3G and 64GB retailing at $829

iBooks: The new app will allow users to browse an online bookshelf (left) and use the iPad as an eReader

Apple is also launching an iBooks service that is intended to do for the electronic downloading of books that iTunes did for music.

The convenience of music downloads is enjoyed by millions, however it also led to the virtual death of high street music stores.

Bricks and mortar book stores may have reason to fear the development.
It also has boasts office applications such as spreadsheets and a word processor for businessmen on the move.

The iPad connects to the internet via a wi-fi link to a home PC or the wi-fi hot spots found in town centres. A second higher spec version has the added benefit of connecting to the web via the mobile phone network.
There are three memory levels - 16gigabyte, 32gb or 64gb - under each of these two formats.

Users who want to connect to the web via the 3G mobile phone network will pay a monthly fee on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Reviews of the iPad have been vastly mixed. Some technology experts praised the innovation behind the product, with Rob Hearn from Pocketgamer.co.uk insisting: 'The iPad is a characteristically sexy bit of consumer electronics, and at $499 it's cheap enough to sell.'

However, others have highlighted the similarity between the iPad and its predecessor the iPhone.

Simon Osborne-Walker from Stuff Magazine labelled the product 'a bit disappointing' while Joshua Topolsky of Engadget.com said: 'It's a real disappointment. All this power and very little you can do with it at once'

The San Francisco audience were treated with a quote from the August Wall Street Journal saying: 'Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.'

Mr Jobs said: 'We want to kick of 2010 by introducing a magical and revolutionary product.

'All of us use laptops and smartphones... the question has arisen; is there room for something in the middle.

'We've wondered for years as well. In order to create that category, they have to be far better at doing some key tasks... better than the laptop, better than the smartphone.

'We think we've got something that is better. And we call it the iPad.'

Hands on: Journalists get to try out some of the iPads (left) while Steve Jobs demonstrates the slimness of the half inch thick gadget (right)

Publishing phenomenon: Jobs on stage in front of an image of the iPad

Mr Jobs, who appeared in his trademark jeans and black turtleneck, demonstrated the device live on stage, browsing YouTube, Google maps, its built-in iTunes store and even played Disney's Pixar's animated film Up.

'It's so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone,' he said.

The device is half an inch thick, making it thinner than any netbook, and weighs 1.5pounds(680g) while the screen is 9.7inches across the diagonal.

Mr Jobs said: 'We've been able to achieve 10 hours of battery life. I can take a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo and watch video the whole time. And it has over a month of standby time.'

The operation of the iPad is virtually identical to the iPhone and iTouch

Easy access: The type-pad is almost the same size as a traditional Qwerty keyboard

Mr Jobs said: 'We think we've got the goods. We think we've done it. Another thing we're excited about is that there's already 75m people who know how to use this because of how many iPhones and iPod touches we've shipped.

'It's very thin - you can change the homescreen to whatever you want. What this device does is extraordinary. You can browse the web with it. It's the best web experience you've ever had.'

In terms of software, the iPad has a built-in internet browser and iTunes store allowing the downloading of music, TV shows and blockbuster movies such as Star Trek or Up.

People will also be able to download any of the hundreds of applications developed for the iPhone and iTouch.

A number of 'shoot em up' computer games have been developed for the iPad which can be controlled through a multi-touch technology.

Thanks to the larger interface of the iPad, video games which were previously available on the iPhone will now come with extra features specifically designed for the iPad.

The EA game Need for Speed Shift, a game which sees the user undertake car races with fellow drivers, will come complete with on-screen pedals, a gear stick and a facility to allow the user to look behind him by touching the rear view mirror in its iPad version.

Users will be able to play a wide variety of video games on the iPad, including motoring games

There are also apps available for keen baseball players, who will be able to live out their love for the game on the screen

Jim Sloane, lead technology partner at business advisory firm Deloitte, said the iPad - and other upcoming tablet devices - could have a detrimental impact on the traditional eReader's market.

He said: 'The rise of the net tablet could impact other segments, such as growth of the nascent eReader market. For every million net tablets sold there could be a corresponding impact on eReaders.'

However, British eReader manufacturer Interead, who produces the Cool-er device, disagreed.

Neil Jones, chief executive of Interead, said: 'I have no doubt that the launch of Apple's new device will have a great impact on the technology industry.

'However, we don't believe it will bring about the demise of the 'traditional' eReader. Having a brand as strong as Apple's behind eReading can only be a good thing; it will raise the awareness and popularity of eReaders among consumers.'

iPad users will also be able to watch films on the device, which they can purchase from the iTunes store

The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the global association of the mobile media industry, described the new Apple device as a milestone.

Chairman Andrew Bud said: 'The launch of the iPad tangibly demonstrates how mobile entertainment is rapidly evolving beyond the smartphone.

'This new format is a key milestone in positioning the mobile connected device at the centre of consumers' content experience.

Some 220million Apple iPods have been sold around the world to date, a staggering 73.8 per cent of all MP3 players. Twenty million of these are its iTouch media player.

The company has also sold an amazing 30million iPhones in just two years. There are more than 100,000 software applications for the phones, while consumers have made two billion downloads.

The company's iTunes music and video download store is the number one seller of music in the world. Some 8.5billion songs have been purchased via a staggering 100 million accounts.

source: dailymail

The secret to Simon Cowell's inflated chest is out: X Factor judge uses 'Perfect Pushup' plates to boost his upper torso

By Marcus Barnes

Feeling chesty? Simon Cowell leaves Britain's Got Talent auditions in Cardiff carrying a set of exercise plates especially made to boost the chest muscles

He's renowned for his tight T-shirts and, of course, high-waisted trousers.

And now the secret of how he fills out his upper half, in order to keep his T-shirts clinging to his physique, is out in the open.

The X Factor judge, 50, was pictured leaving Britain's Got Talent auditions in Cardiff today carrying a gym bag with what appeared to be a set of workout instruments made especially for push-ups.

Revving up: The Bodyrev Perfect Pushups are rotating plates that users can place on the floor to improve the results of their chest exercises

Makers Bodyrev say their Perfect Pushup product offers users the chance to turn their homes into a gym and do the perfect push up.

The rotating pads are placed on the floor with the aim of reducing joint strain and engaging more muscle, accoring to their online advertisement "You will get measurable results in 10 work outs".

Cowell is famed for his love of T-shirts that appear to be moulded to his upper torso, and recently flashed his new, improved pecs while on holiday in Barbados.

In action: The Perfect Pushup product from makers Bodyrev promising higher definition from doing push-ups

The music mogul has stated in that past that his training regime consists of doing exercises at home and in his office.

He once said: 'I’d do 100 press-ups before I get in the bath in the morning, then at work after a meeting, I’ll shut the door and do more.'

In 2007 he vowed to shape up after seeing unflattering photos taken of him on holiday in December 2006.

Training: Cowell appeared toned while on holiday in Barbados after he'd started an exercise regime in 2007 to get rid of his moobs

The pictures showed Cowell with an out of shape chest, sporting what are commonly referred to as moobs.

In December 2007 he told the Daily Mail about the efforts he took to preserve his looks.

He said: 'I am vain but I cannot think of one person on TV who is not. It is the nature of the beast.

'I have had Botox but not in an obsessive way. I just like to take care of myself. I am eating a lot better and have cut out the chocolate biscuits and crisps.

'I work out, take lots of vitamins and think I look good for my age.'

source: dailymail

Found! The stunning mountain that inspired Avatar's 'floating peaks'

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Now where have I seen this before: The mountain previously known as the 'Southern Sky Column' in China, which has now been named the 'Avatar Hallelujah Mountain'

Its soaring steeple of rock topped by a small oasis of trees looks straight out of the 3D blockbuster Avatar.

But this is no special effects illusion, it's a real-life tower of quartz-sandstone deep in the rugged mountain terrain of southern Hunan in China.

The 3,544ft Southern Sky Column is one of 3,000 in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and became the inspiration for the magical 'floating peaks' in James Cameron's film after a Hollywood photographer spent time shooting there in 2008.

And from the film: The Hollywood rendering of the mountains in James Cameron's blockbuster film 'Avatar'

A national park spokesman said: 'Many pictures become prototypes for various elements in the 'Avatar' movie, including the 'Hallelujah Mountains'.'

Now as film fans flock to see the column, the column has had its named officially changed to 'Avatar Hallelujah Mountain'.

Chinese cinemas last week began taking the 2D version of 'Avatar' off their screens in a controversial move to make way for domestic movies over the upcoming Chinese new year holiday, though the wildly popular 3D version is still available.

'Avatar' has so far made around $80 million in China, and has become the country's most popular film ever. Zhangjiajie hopes to capitalise on that fame.

Tourists can now join a 'Magical tour to Avatar-Pandora' or a 'Miracle tour to Avatar's floating mountain,' the Zhangjiajie branch of China International Travel Service Corp said on its website. (www.citszjj.com)

Otherworldly: More of the strange peaks in the Zhangjiajie national park

'Avatar' has overtaken 'Titanic' as the biggest-grossing movie of all time

'Pandora is far but Zhangjiajie is near,' the municipal government added on its website.

'Welcome to Zhangjiajie to see 'Avatar's Hallelujah Mountains' and discover the real world of Pandora.'

Yesterday 'Avatar' surpassed 'Titanic' to become the highest-grossing movie worldwide, distributor 20th Century Fox said.

The worldwide total for the James Cameron movie stands at £1.15billion after Monday's sales, beating the £1.14 billion haul racked up by 'Titanic' in 1997-1998, said Greg Brilliant, spokesman for the News Corp-owned studio.

'Avatar' broke the seemingly insurmountable record set by 'Titanic' in little over six weeks, handing Cameron the remarkable feat of directing the world's two biggest movies of all time.

It has reigned at the top of North American box office for six weeks. It has also led the field in France, China, Germany and Russia.

The action-adventure movie, starring Sigourney Weaver, is set in 2154 and tells the tale of a disabled ex-Marine sent to Earth to infiltrate a race of 10-foot (3-metre) blue aliens and persuade them to let his employer mine their homeland for natural resources.

The film took more than five years to make and was reportedly one of the most expensive films, with a budget of at least $300 million.

It has wowed both critics and fans, winning a Golden Globe last week. It is expected to garner an Oscar nomination next month.

source: dailymail

From non-league to the big league: As Chris Smalling signs for Manchester United, here are some other stars that began their careers in amateur footba

By Tom Bellwood

Hitting the big time: Chris Smalling has signed for Manchester United

From non-league football to the biggest club in the world - it has been a dramatic two years for Manchester United's new signing Chris Smalling.

The centre-back, 20, will spend the rest of the season at Craven Cottage before moving to Old Trafford to hook up with Wayne Rooney and co when just a couple of seasons ago he was turning our for Maidstone United in the Isthmian Premier Division against the likes of Canvey Island and Dartford.

It is a remarkable leap in short space of time for Smalling who earned an England Under 21 debut in November last year and a first league start six weeks later, but he's not the first player to make a giant leap up the football pyramid.

Sportsmail takes a look at the other non-league players who made the jump to the big time ...

Les FerdinandFerdinand played for a number of non-league clubs before being snapped up by QPR from Hayes in 1987 for £30,000.

His professional career didn’t enjoy what you waould term an electric start, he was loaned out to Brentford and Besiktas, but he later became ‘Sir Les’ as the goals came by the bucketload up at Newcastle and later Tottenham.

Sir Les: Ferdinand enjoyed a superb career in the top flight and is seen here in action for Newcastle against Wimbledon in 1995

Stuart PearceFootball, it seemed, wasn’t for Psycho who was establishing a career as an electrician and plumber while playing for Wealdstone long before he’d become the free-kick specialist, World Cup penalty-missing left-back we all came to love.

Coventry City paid £30,000 for Pearce in 1983 before Nottingham Forest bought him two years later and his career blossomed.

Psycho: Stuart Pearce will be fondly remembered as one of Nottingham Forest's greatest players

Stan CollymoreColly initially slipped through the net after failing to make the grade at Wolves and Walsall before moving to Stafford Rangers in the Conference.

But his breakthrough came in 1992 when he was signed by Palace but was soon shipped out to Southend and later Nottingham Forest where his goals earned him a big-money move to Liverpool.

Stan the man: Collymore in action for Liverpool against Wimbledon

Ian WrightHe left it really late did Wrighty – he moved from Greenwich Borough to Crystal Palace aged 22, in a deal in which his transfer was secured in exchange for a set of weights.

He enjoyed a successful spell Selhurst Park and later went on to become Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer – until Thierry Henry turned up, that is.

Arsenal legend: Ian Wright firing home for the Gunners against Blackburn in 1996

John BarnesGraham Taylor made one of his more sensible decisions by giving the young Barnes a chance in the Watford reserve team after he was scouted playing for Sudbury Town in 1981.

Taylor offered Barnes a professional contract and the faith was repaid with 65 goals in six seasons at Vicarage Road before his £900,000 move to Liverpool in 1987.

Barnes: Was a firm favourite at Anfield

source: dailymail