Efron and Rodriguez split after two months

Michelle Rodriguez and Zac Efron are supposedly no longer an item.

Rumours the Hollywood hotties started dating emerged after they were spotted kissing passionately during a vacation in Sardinia last month.

But apparently


Review: Star Wars: A New Hope Radio Drama Topps Collectable Editions


Star Wars: A New Hope Radio Drama Topps Collectable Editions

(HighBridge Audio)

“A phrase has come to mind in working on this project,” Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama director John Madden said. “You may think you’ve seen the movie; wait ’till you hear it.”

HighBridge Audio has released two collectable editions. They both include all 13 episodes of the series as MP3 files on one CD wrapped in collectable packaging. There’s the Light Side edition with the good guys and the Dark Side edition with the bad guys.


Blu-ray review: Cuban Fury


Blu-ray review: Cuban Fury

(Sony Pictures, M)

All’s fair in love and salsa.

1987: Poised to sweep the floor at the UK Junior Salsa Championships, 13-year-old Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost) has fire in his heels and the world at his feet . . . until one fateful night, a freakish bullying incident robs him of his confidence and diverts his life down a very different path.

22 year later, having locked away his boyhood dreams, Bruce finds himself out of shape, unloved and well and truly wedged in his comfort zone. It takes the arrival of Julia (Rashida Jones), his smart, funny, gorgeous new American boss, to force him to re-examine his dull, passionless, existence. But she’s way out of his league, and with alpha-male office nemesis Drew (Chris O’Dowd) in rampant pursuit of her, it’s enough to make Bruce want to give up on himself all over again.

Can his loyal sister (Olivia Colman), childhood dance mentor (Ian McShane), and crazy new amateur salsa pal help Bruce unshackle his dancing beast, regain his long lost fury and claim the love of his life

If you’re looking for a film with heart this is it.

I feared it would be something like Dirty Dancing, but thankfully Nick Frosts’s movie goes nowhere near that chick flick.

Cuban Fury is a comedy, loud and proud, which just happens to be about a large man regaining his appetite for salsa in order to impress a woman.

It’s the sort of move you can share with your mates on a Friday night, or snuggle up to your husband or wife with on a Saturday night.

And while there are plenty of laughs, there’s plenty of pause for thought too as Bruce re-examines his life and evaluates the things that he does and the reason that he does them.

When it comes down to it Cuban Fury is about someone wrestling back his passion after realising it matters not a jot what others think of his joy.

No one makes movies as hearty as the British, as films like Brassed Off and The Full Monty have proved, and Cuban Fury is top of the pops when it comes down to heartiness.

Frost, who usually collaborates with Simon Pegg (spot his cameo), has excelled himself here.

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– Stuff


Kate Bush plea: Put that phone down


Is it really so strange that Kate Bush has asked those attending her 22 concerts in London over the next two months to “refrain from taking photos or filming during the shows” Is this some kind of civil liberty assault or just common sense and common courtesy

Yes, the last time Bush performed on stage – in 1979 – a mobile phone was one with a long cord you could walk into your bedroom when you didn’t want your parents listening in. And the only people who took cameras to shows were hollow-eyed rock photographers weighed down by a bag of equipment as they ran about in front of the audience for two hours.

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But you don’t need to be a fossil who remembers all the words to


Crystal to honour Williams at Emmys

Billy Crystal will honour Robin Williams at the 2014 Emmy Awards.

Wiliams was found dead at his Californian home on August 11 and the entertainment community has been in deep grief over his passing.

The men were close friends and they even co-starred in 1997 film Father’s Day together, so Emmy producers thought it fitting Crystal pay tribute to Robin in a special segment during next week’s ceremony.

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“We felt we needed to do something powerful and memorable. Billy seemed like the perfect choice,” executive producer Don Mischer said in a statement to E! Online.



‘Oddballs’ in the kitchen

Tracey Allan had never seen an episode of My Kitchen Rules before close friend Neil Gussey asked her to audition with him for the new Kiwi version of the show.

Now she and Neil have starring roles in the series which airs for the first time on Sunday and cooked up a storm in their Orewa “Fire and Ice” themed restaurant.

The duo chose the theme because it best reflects their personalities, they say.

“Because we are sort of theatrical,” Tracey says.

Tracey, 47, is a makeup artist and former model.

Kiwi audiences may remember her as the model from 1990s game show Sale of the Century, or her makeup slot on 5.30 With Jude.

Now she works as a freelance makeup artist for fashion shoots, television, weddings and events.

She says Sir Edmund Hillary’s is the most famous face she has worked with while preparing him for his final interview before he died in 2008.

Neil, 44, is used to being on the other side of the camera. He’s a fashion photographer.

The Australian version of MKR has been his favourite programme for the past four years.

“So when I saw the applications I was determined to get on it,” he says.

The duo breezed through the application process.

They filmed a quick one and a half minute audition, sent it in, and got a call the next day.

The next week they were cooking in front of MKR cameras in Orewa for their second audition.

“We just did a quick Thai chicken and we were in,” Tracey says.

Since then they’ve filmed all around Orewa, on the beach, shopping for ingredients and at their restaurant.

Labelled Beauty and the Beast by the reality TV show, the duo at first had a small concern about how they will be portrayed in the programme.

“I was thinking I was going to come across as a little bit dizzy or a little bit not knowing the way the world turns,” Tracey says.

Neil says he thinks they will come across as quirky and eccentric.

“We are kind of the oddballs,” he says.

“You tend not to worry about what you say when you are a bit more mature,” Tracey says. “But we have a lot of laughs and they say we bring a lot of humour to the show.”

Pressure on the show is “intense” with the odd meltdown and a bit of bickering during their slot cooking for other contestants.

But being close friends makes it easier to have a bit of banter, they say.

No arch enemy has surfaced on the show for the easy going pair and, unlike most of the teams, they haven’t cut themselves yet, Neil says.

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But they have had a few electronic things go wrong, Tracey says.

The pair has been coined by the show as an Orewa duo, but Neil lives in a central city Queen St apartment and Tracey in a converted Belmont church.

Neither place was suitable for setting up their restaurant so they are using Neil’s parents’ home in Orewa.

The two are keen foodies and stuck with what they do best for their menus.

The duo also organise weddings together and hope people will want to use them once they see how much fun they are to work with.

– Rodney Times


King of the Castle

When we last saw Castle’s Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) she was having to choose between Richard Castle’s (Nathan Fillion) marriage proposal and a new job far away. With her answer and season six looming,


The Chocolate Factory controversy revisited

The legions of readers buying physical books may be growing smaller. But when you mess with their classics, they’re as loud as they’ve ever been.

That’s what Penguin discovered last week, when the publishing house’s British arm announced the cover art for a 50th-anniversary edition of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s an image of a doll-like little girl decked out in heavy makeup and a pink feather boa a la JonBenet Ramsey – no Willy Wonka, no Charlie, and certainly no chocolate.

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Although the new edition will be printed only in Britain, it was controversial enough that bookworms worldwide tore their eyes from their reading to register their outrage.

“You mean, the worst cover ever” Hannah Depp, a floor manager at Politics and Prose, said when asked about the updated art.

“Well, not the worst ever,” she backpedaled. “It just looks like, ‘I think I’m cleverer than I am.’ ”

The cover is certainly a departure from other incarnations of the Roald Dahl classic, most of which have featured the famed whimsical illustrations by Quentin Blake. But the Modern Classics imprint under which the new edition will be released is not a children’s book line.

Instead, the sleek yet strange new edition of Charlie is probably intended for older readers, said Nan Graham, publisher of New York-based imprint Scribner. She’s well versed in the repackaging of classics, having overseen new printings of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

Adults who would not want to be seen reading the story of a cheery jaunt through a candy factory might be more interested in the Modern Classics version, whose cover emphasizes Dahl’s dark commentary on parents who act like children and children who must parent themselves. It’s a common strategy for publishers, who are always trying to carve out new markets for their books, Graham said.

Is that what the editors behind the new Charlie cover were going for The publishing company declined to comment by phone, although a blog post accompanying the announcement about the jacket art suggested that its eeriness was not unintentional.

“This new image . . . looks at the children at the centre of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life,” it read.

But much of the literary world was not sold on the rebranding. Why did the cover of a novel about five kids and a wonderful – if admittedly bizarre – candy-maker look like a scene from Toddlers & Tiaras Commenters on Penguin’s Facebook page called it “creepy,” “sexualised” and “inappropriate garbage.”

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“The impulse to focus on the darker aspects of the book makes a lot of sense to me, but I’m just so shocked by the result,” Depp said.

Therein lies the problem with modern reprintings: A revamped cover can help sell an old story to a new audience, but it runs the risk of alienating the book’s established fans.

“People respond the way they do because they care, and they care about the book the way they remember it,” said Chip Kidd, a New York-based graphic designer who churns out about 75 book covers a year.

Penguin UK is not the first publishing house to incur the wrath of literature lovers by changing a classic cover. Last summer, when Scribner put Leonardo DiCaprio on the jacket of The Great Gatsby to capitalise on the popularity of the Baz Luhrmann movie, the book world revolted.

“We never even took the non-movie tie-in edition out of print,” Graham said. “And still we got into trouble.”

Depp can confirm this: At Politics and Prose, the traditional version – featuring the iconic eyes floating on a blue background – sold better than the DiCaprio cover.

Graham is not entirely surprised by the response. Looking at her own shelf, she begins listing books whose covers she wouldn’t want to see changed. It’s a testament to an author’s ability, she says. Good writing can make readers feel so possessive toward a book that they want nothing about it altered.

And beyond that, familiar book covers serve as a kind of tether in a world of frenetic Twitter feeds and glowing smartphone screens.

“The classic, the thing that one recognizes, gains value up against the deluge of newness,” Graham said.

To Tony Ross, a former publishing house art director who teaches a class on jacket design for the D.C. Public Library, it’s a particularly book-ish perspective. The modernisation of a beloved children’s story, even if it goes no deeper than the cover art, gets to the heart of some reader anxiety – worries that the world is changing, and the book industry along with it.

The classics “are sort of these touchstones for people,” Ross said.

For the record, Ross likes the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover, which he says is provocative to exactly the right degree.

As for what Dahl – who wrote, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it” – would think

Ross says that he would like it, too.

-The Washington Post


Miley Cyrus announces NZ show

Celebrity wild child Miley Cyrus is to perform in New Zealand.

Promoters Dainty Group announced tonight that the one time Disney child-star, who gave the world the new ritual of twerking, is to perform in a single show.

Cyrus’ first ever visit to New Zealand will see – at the stage anyway – a solitary show on October 8 at Auckland’s Vector Arena.

The Bangerz Tour show will deliver the “most explosive show of the year,” promoters say.

Pre-sales will open next Monday at 9am, with sale to the general public opening on August 28.

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The 21-year-old, daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, first rose to fame in 2006 after being cast in the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana, in which she portrayed the starring character Miley Stewart.

She signed with Hollywood Records the following year and her debut studio album Meet Miley Cyrus sold over four million copies.

In 2008, Cyrus released her second album Breakout, which featured the successful track 7 Things, and launched her film career as the voice actress in the animated film Bolt.

Cyrus switched to a sexually explicit public image while promoting her fourth studio album Bangerz.

It debuted at number one on both the Billboard Top 200 Album chart and the Digital Album Charts.


First… and last honour for artist

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki is preparing to die and knows the honour he received today is unique.

“My first and my last,” he said after Governor General Jerry Mateparae installed him as Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The 70-year-old arts professor, nearing the end with terminal cancer, said he was quite calm about death now.

He’s recently been north to the Hokianga, where he grew up, to see where his iwi will bury him.

“I am relaxed about it, what else can I be”

Professor of fine arts at Elam, he was honoured for his services to the arts, particularly for his contribution to ensuring Maori and Pacific arts had its place in the national consciousness.

He says he feels it was an honour for “sheer dogged determination….

“A life of ruthless dedication to the arts,” he said.

In accepting the order, he said he thought of his parents who grew up in a simple tin hut in the Far North.

“It means a lot to my family; they say my parents would have been proud.”

Also picking up an honour today was fashion designer Francis Hooper who became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, coming in behind his wife Denise L’Estrange-Corbet who got the gong several years earlier.

Hooper was colourfully dressed in his own World fashion label outfit, in contrast to the formal military and suit-and-tie formality of the others.

“It’s a lovely award to get,” he said, “something for what we do.”

Others to receive honours today included Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell of the Royal New Zealand Air Force who became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

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– Stuff