Entertainment wRap: From Anna Karenina to Star Wars

From Russians slamming the new 'Anna Karenina' film, to an angry Royal, to the director of the 7th 'Star Wars' movie, this week's entertainment stories are as crazy as usual

MANILA, Philippines – Here are Entertainment stories you might have missed from the week of January 21 to 26.

English-directed “Anna Karenina” slammed by Russian critics and viewers

“It’s not bad if you watch it as a comedy,” sneered a commentator on a Russian website Kommersant about the latest film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.”

The film, directed by British director Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley in the title role, first screened in Russia last January 10, to a tough audience of Tolstoy buffs.

Critics and viewers lost no time in slamming the film as clichéd, shallow and insulting to Tolstoy’s monumental work.

“This is like a lavishly illustrated, glossy children’s primer,” wrote the Izvestia daily.

“Anna Karenina has been crushed by the scenery,” wrote Kommersant business daily, saying that Wright’s stagey concept of setting the film in a theatre made it “hard to take it too much to heart.”

Aside from the “excessive production,” Russian critics thought Knightley “too bony” for the role of Anna Karenina who, according to a commentator on the Moscow Echo website, is plump because, “Karenina loved life and pleasures and was also a mother.”

Yet other critics, such Novaya Gazeta, praised Wright’s stylistic approach saying it freed viewers “from pompousness and the extreme seriousness of academia.”

Maria Kuvshinova of Afisha magazine wrote, “This is a modern screen version, a very English blockbuster, where the immediate wow-effect does not mean the material has not been developed in the deepest way.”

Prince Harry lashes out at press at the end of his war zone deployment

"NO SUCH THING AS PRIVACY," laments Prince Harry. Photo from the Prince Harry Facebook page

To say that Prince Harry is not happy with British media is an understatement.

Last Monday, January 21, comments of the prince were released describing his anger at the media for printing “rubbish” about him and his family, and for depriving him of a private life.

The statements came in advance of the airing of his interview with ITV News from Afghanistan where he had just completed his 20-week post flying missions on an attack chopper.

The 28-year-old royal slammed newspapers for “forcing” brother Prince William and sister-in-law Catherine into revealing they were expecting a baby.

He also rubbished reports that he had written to Catherine from his Camp Bastion base.

“How any of the papers think that they know the relationship between myself and my sister-in-law is quite remarkable,” he complained. “They’re wrong, as always.”

He blamed the public for “buying the newspapers” but added he hoped “nobody actually believes what they read, I certainly don’t.”

He cited the publication of nude photographs of him in a Las Vegas hotel room taken before his military deployment as an example of press intrusion.

Though he admits he may have let his family and other people down with the incident, he asserted, “But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy that one should expect.”

When Hollywood and the US military collaborate and collide

Kathryn Bigelow’s critically-acclaimed film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” is receiving retaliation from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon in the form of staged interviews with officials and a Navy SEAL for an inside account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

The Oscar-nominated movie is being attacked for supposedly justifying US agents’ use of torture on detainees forcing Bigelow to release a statement denying the film is an attempt to sanitize the “enhanced interrogation techniques” employed during the so-called “war on terror.”

According to Nate Jones of the National Security Archives research institute, the film is “the closest thing to the official story behind the pursuit of bin Laden.”

This accuracy is largely due to the access to information granted by the government to Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. This assistance has sparked allegations that the movie is a propaganda tool by the White House to control public perception of the top secret mission.

But cooperation between Hollywood and the Pentagon or CIA is nothing new.

“Wings” (1929), the first Oscar Best Picture featured dogfight scenes and bi-planes from the army. Other war-themed films that received assistance from the government are Jerry Bruckheimer films like “Top Gun,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Pearl Harbor.”

For critics of the Pentagon, the arrangement gives the government leverage to censor screenplays that aren’t consistent with their desired image of the military.

“Most films about the military are recruiting posters,” said director Oliver Stone whose movie about the Vietnam War, “Platoon,” received no assistance from the government.

Philip Strub, who leads the Pentagon’s liaison unit with the entertainment industry, said his team receives dozens of film proposals every year with fewer than half getting approval.

They spend much of their time reading through scripts in search of scenes or characters that are unrealistic or inaccurate.

He dismissed accusations of censorship, saying, “”The whole idea that we can force these creative people to do our bidding is quite hilarious. There are people who won’t come to us just because they don’t want the perceived taint of having even talked to us.”

Apple co-founder says new Steve Jobs movie is factually ‘wrong’

After watching a clip from a new biopic about Steve Jobs that premiered in the Sundance Film Festival last Friday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak declared the movie to be factually “wrong.”

According to Wozniak, who quit Apple in 1987 after 12 years, a scene in the movie “jOBS” had no basis in reality.

“Not close… we never had such interaction and roles… I’m not even sure what it’s getting at… personalities are very wrong although mine is closer,” he told the tech blog Gizmodo.

He added that the film, which stars Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, depicts Jobs as having birthed the idea of computers affecting society when, in fact, the idea had already been in wide circulation within a hobby group to which they both belonged.

And far from talking about “great social impact” during a club meeting after a trip to Oregon, Wozniak said, “His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I’d given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed — he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs.”

Wozniak added that the film was guilty of wrongly depicting the “look” of the 2 Apple founder. He complained, “The lofty talk came much further down the line… I never looked like a professional. We were both kids.”

But he emphasized by saying the inaccuracies of the clip condemned the entire film as bad.

“The movie should be very popular and I hope it’s entertaining. It may be very correct, as well. This is only one clip.”

‘Lost’ creator J.J. Abrams to direct 7th Star Wars movie

A NEW VISION FOR "STAR WARS." People wonder what new "Star Wars" director J.J. Abrams will have in store for the  saga and fans. Photo from the J.J. Abrams (France) Facebook page

From a galaxy far, far away, the immensely popular “Star Wars” saga will return, this time under the helm of sci-fi and action filmmaker J.J. Abrams.

The 49-year-old co-creator of the TV series “Lost” is all set to direct the 7th “Star Wars” movie scheduled to premiere in 2015.

All this fits into the plan of Disney, which bought “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’ Lucasfilm for $4-B in October and then announced it was planning to release a new trilogy in the saga which has earned an estimated $ 4.4-B since its first movie in 1977.

Abrams already has sci-fi sagas under his belt including the “Star Trek” movies, the first of which was released in 2009. He is currently wrapping up work on “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

He also directed “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), “Star Trek” (2009) and “Super 8” (2011).

Lucas, who directed 4 of the 6 existing “Star Wars” movies, will stay on as creative consultant for the next 3 films which are expected to come out every 2 to 3 years starting in 2015. – Rappler.com

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