Month: February 2021

Chadwick Boseman wins Golden Globe for his emotional final movie role

Chadwick Boseman was named best movie actor at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, six months after his death at age 43 shocked fans around the world.

Boseman, best known for the superhero movie “Black Panther,” was awarded the Golden Globe for lead actor in a movie drama for his role as an ambitious trumpet player in 1920s jazz drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

His widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, delivered a heartbreaking speech while accepting the award through tears on Boseman’s behalf.

“He would say something beautiful,” she said. “Something inspiring. Something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going … and I don’t have his words.”

“Ma Rainey” was Boseman’s last film performance, and Sunday’s Golden Globe marked the biggest Hollywood award for Boseman in his career in film and television. He has also won posthumous awards for the “Ma Rainey” role from several movie critics groups but was never Oscar- or Golden Globe-nominated while he was alive.

Boseman died in August 2020, having kept secret a four-year battle with colon cancer.

In “Ma Rainey,” the screen adaptation of August Wilson’s stage play of the same name, Boseman plays trumpet player Levee, hungry for change, who clashes with blues singer Ma, played by Viola Davis, on a hot 1920s day in a Chicago recording studio.

In one of the play’s key moments, Levee rails against God for turning his back on Black people in a speech that fellow cast members said gave them the chills when filming, even though they were unaware he was struggling with cancer.

“Something very spiritual happened in that moment. It was something you could not look away from. … It was an extraordinary moment. It was a terrifying moment as well,” actor Michael Potts said in an interview last year.

Boseman is also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award next month, and is widely expected to be a strong Oscar contender when nominations are announced in mid-March.

“And honey, you keep ’em coming,” Ledward Boseman said at the end of her Globes speech.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #ChadwickBoseman #GoldenGlobes @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Lady Gaga’s two abducted bulldogs returned unharmed to police

 Lady Gaga’s two stolen bulldogs, snatched in a violent abduction that left the pets’ caretaker shot in the chest this week in Hollywood, were turned over to police on Friday and have been reunited with the pop singer’s representatives, police said.

The safe return of Koji and Gustav came hours after Gaga, who was filming a movie in Rome when her pets were taken on Wednesday night, issued a plea on social media for “an act of kindness” to bring them home.

A woman who authorities have not publicly identified brought the dogs to an LAPD station unharmed, and they were turned over to the musician’s representatives, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, Officer Mike Lopez.

Two men suspected of stealing the pets at gunpoint from their dogwalker, 30-year-old Ryan Fischer, remained at large, however, Lopez said.

In a message posted hours earlier on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, Gaga said her “heart is sick” over the violent robbery and vowed to pay $500,000 for the dogs’ safe return, including from anyone who had bought or found them.

“My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were taken in Hollywood two nights ago,” she wrote in the post, alongside photos of the dogs. “I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness.”

It was not immediately clear whether the woman who brought the dogs to the police on Friday will collect the reward.

Fischer was walking three of Gaga’s bulldogs in a residential area in Hollywood late on Wednesday when a car pulled up alongside them and two men demanded he turn over the animals, police said in a statement.

The dog walker was shot once by the assailants, who drove off with two of the dogs. A third escaped and was later found by police.

The singer heaped praise on Fischer for risking his “life to fight for our family,” adding: “You’re forever a hero.”

Fischer is expected to make a full recovery, his family told celebrity website TMZ on Friday.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #LadyGaga #Pets @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Record-breaking Japan’s anime film ‘Demon Slayer’ lands in U.S. cinemas

The record-breaking Japanese anime film “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” carried over its box-office buzz to the United States on Friday, captivating Florida fans in its first screening.

The Demon Slayer film, based on a popular manga and TV anime series, has grossed over $350 million at theaters in Japan, despite COVID-19 restrictions, surpassing Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winner “Spirited Away” in just over two months to become the most successful Japanese anime of all time.

“It exceeded my expectations. I cried so much,” said 20-year-old Miami resident Alex Acosta. “The animation was so good. It was a great storyline, for sure. I loved it,” she said.

The film follows Tanjiro Kamado, a boy out to avenge his family after they were murdered by human-eating demons, as he sets off on the Mugen (“Infinity”) Train with his comrades.

Carlos Brenes, 19, another Miami resident who saw the movie at the Landmark Theatres in Coral Gables, was also overwhelmed.

“It’s such a captivating story and everything about it just clicked with me emotionally, and I was super-invested all the way through,” he said.

Brothers Daniel, Javier and Luis Marmolejo thought the film should be up for Best Picture at the upcoming Oscars.

“They should win because the movie is amazing,” Luis said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #DemonSlayer #Movie @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Popcorn-on-demand: Belgian cinema chain gets creative amid pandemic

Unconventional ideas such as popcorn deliveries could help cinemas get through the coronavirus pandemic, the head of Belgian cinema group Kinepolis said on Thursday.

The pandemic has battered the industry, with many cinemas forced to close, restrict screenings or ban sales of snacks, while major studios move releases straight to home streaming platforms, dealing another blow to the box office.

As Hollywood waits for cinemas – a core part of the movie value chain – to reopen, many studios have delayed hotly-anticipated blockbusters, such as James Bond’s “No Time to Die”.

For Kinepolis, which operates over 100 cinemas across Europe and North America, that brought its first annual loss in at least 13 years, with sales down 68%.

But as he commented on 2020 results, the group’s chief executive Eddy Duquenne said it was working on a number of new iniatives to limit the damage – including drive-ins, private screenings and popcorn delivery via Uber Eats.

He said Kinepolis started testing popcorn deliveries in Belgium, its home market, after a customer in Canada’s Yukon territory walked in and asked the manager if she could buy popcorn without a cinema ticket.

“Essentially in Canada, it looks rather promising,” he told analysts, noting a $3 million boost at sites where they ran deliveries, possibly inflated by hungry customers held in home lockdowns.

Duquenne said that rather seeing themselves in direct competitions with streaming platforms such as Netflix, cinemas should focus on improving the quality of their selection amid massive offerings: “We need to become the sommelier of the movie.”

Duquenne anticipated a resilient business ahead, with a strong line-up on the back of postponed blockbusters, as people emerge from lockdowns eager to enjoy each other’s company.

“It’s “No Time to Die”, neither for Kinepolis nor the industy,” he said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Popcorn #Movie @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

TV series ‘Frasier’ latest ’90s hit to get a revival

The hit 1990s TV comedy series “Frasier,” starring Kelsey Grammer as a snobbish radio advice-show host, is coming back to television.

Grammer said on Wednesday he would reprise his role in the revival that will focus on “the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane.”

No further details were given.

“Frasier,” a spin-off from the TV series “Cheers,” was one of the most successful shows of the 1990s, winning five Emmy Awards for best comedy series.

It told the stories of Frasier Crane, who returns to his Seattle hometown to care for his elderly father, and his pretentious psychiatrist brother, Niles Crane.

No mention was made in Wednesday’s announcement of whether co-stars David Hyde Pierce (Niles Crane) or Jane Leeves, who played caregiver Daphne Moon, would be joining the revival. Actor John Mahoney, who played the down-to-earth father, died in 2018.

“There has long been a call from fans for its return, and that call is now answered,” David Stapf, president of CBS Studios, said in a statement.

The series, to be produced by CBS Studios, will be aired on the new streaming service Paramount+, but no date was given.

“Frasier” made its debut in 1993 and concluded in 2004.

The return of “Frasier” is the latest in a series of revivals and reboots of hit TV shows from two or three decades ago, including “Sex and the City,” “Dexter,” “Roseanne,” “Gossip Girl,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Will & Grace.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Frasier #TV @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Gotta catch ’em all: Pandemic sends prices soaring for Pokemon cards

 Pokemon is all grown up, and so are its prices.

Two decades after the Japanese trading card game became the biggest thing in schoolyards around the world, Pokemon cards are fetching six figures at auction in a boom that appears to have been fueled by coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

“When COVID-19 hit, a lot of Gen X and Millennials were looking for things to do and we found a lot of these guys and girls started playing Pokemon again because they grew up with it,” said Joe Maddalena, executive vice president at Texas-based Heritage Auctions.

Maddalena said boxes of the 1999 U.S. first edition base set had sold for around $400,000 at auction in recent months. A single card in mint condition for the popular fire-flying character Charizard sold for $300,000 in January, whereas in late 2019 asking prices for a Charizard card were around $16,000, he said.

Once stuffed into pockets or thrown into toy boxes, Pokemon cards have become so sought-after that long lines form outside stores when new batches are released.

“It’s crazy, because I know just a few years ago you could go anywhere and there were walls of Pokemon cards and it’s just all come back,” said Megan Meadows, 29, who lined up outside the Next-Gen Games store in Los Angeles last week.

“For me, personally, it’s nostalgia 100 percent. I was a big Pokemon kid in the late 90s, early 2000s, and it’s also finding that joy again in a time where joy is a little hard to come by and it’s kind of pure and fun,” she added.

As Pokemon gears up for its global 25th anniversary celebrations on Feb. 27, Heritage is holding its first auction dedicated to Pokemon cards. The Feb 25 – March 25th online auction will have 200 Pokemon lots, including what Maddalena called “the Holy Grail” – a sealed, 1999 Wizards of the Coast base set.

“The last one, we sold for $406,000 – who knows what it could go for?,” he said.

But you don’t need to be rich in order to play the game or collect the cards. Maddalena said the upcoming auction will have lots of cards at lower prices than those in mint condition that go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maddalena hesitates to use the word investments.

“I’m hoping they buy them because they love them,” he said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Pokemon #Games @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen team up for new Spotify podcast

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and rock music legend Bruce Springsteen debuted a new podcast on Monday where the pair discuss topics ranging from fatherhood and marriage to race and the state of America.

The eight-episode series, called “Renegades: Born in the U.S.A.,” is available exclusively through Spotify Technology SA’s music streaming service. The first two episodes were released on Monday.

In the introduction to episode one, Obama said he and his family and friends had been discussing divisions in the United States and how “we find our way back to a more unifying American story.” One of his friends, Obama said, “just happened to be Mr. Bruce Springsteen.”

“On the surface, Bruce and I don’t have a lot in common,” Obama added. “But over the years, what we’ve found is that we’ve got a shared sensibility. About work, about family and about America. In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much.”

The podcast was unveiled as Spotify announced it would launch in 85 new markets in the next few days, making the service available to more than 1 billion people around the world.

Spotify offers more than 2.2 million podcasts alongside its music library, including one hosted by Michelle Obama.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #BarackObama #BruceSpringsteen @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

No return: Harry and Meghan make final split with British royal family

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have made a final split with the British royal family, telling Queen Elizabeth that they will not be returning as working members of monarchy, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.

Harry and Meghan sent shockwaves through the monarchy in January 2020 by suddenly announcing they were splitting from the family and embarking on a new future across the Atlantic – one of the most extraordinary royal exits in decades.

That split has now been formalised after discussions with the 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth: Harry and Meghan will lose their treasured royal patronages which revert to the queen and will be distributed among other family members.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family,” the Palace said.

“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”

The split amounts to an abdication from the royal family whose senior members such as the queen have long prioritised duty and service above personal wishes.

The pair, who said they would remained committed to their service to Britain, will break their silence on the royal split — cast by British newspapers as “Megxit” — in an interview with Oprah Winfrey next month.

When they announced their intention to carve out a “progressive new role” away from stifling media intrusion in 2020, they said they wanted to become financially independent but also honour their duties to the queen and their official patronages of charities and organisations close to their hearts.


Those patronages have now gone. Queen Elizabeth, whose 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, is currently in hospital in London, took a firm line.

“The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the royal family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service,” the Palace said.

The pair will lose their associations with The Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving as well as with The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, and The Royal National Theatre.

Through a spokesman, Harry and Meghan said that they remained committed to service.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal, the spokesman said.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.”

Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, moved with their son Archie to Southern California to live a more independent life and escape the British media. They announced on Sunday that they were expecting their second child.

Harry is the second son of Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and his first wife Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #HarryMeghan #BritishFamily @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Wanted: New K-Pop band, American style

The company behind South Korean boy band BTS on Wednesday announced a project to find the next K-Pop sensation, through a global audition program that is expected air in the United States in 2022.

Big Hit Entertainment said it was teaming with Universal Music Group to find, develop and train the new K-Pop boy band.

Lenzo Yoon, Big Hit’s global chief executive, said the new project would “apply Big Hit’s success formula established over the past 16 years to the U.S., the center of the global music market.”

The new K-Pop group will record on a new Los Angeles-based record label within the Universal Music Group.

BTS, the seven-member band which made its debut in South Korea in 2013, went on to conquer the highly competitive U.S. music market with top-selling singles and videos featuring a sunny, positive vibe. Last year BTS, which has a vast and fervent fan base, was named entertainer of the year by Time magazine.

Universal Music Group Chief Executive Sir Lucian Grainge said in a statement that the joint venture “will further accelerate K-Pop as a global cultural phenomenon.”

The K-Pop industry, which involves rigorous training in dance, singing and language skills, also has produced bands like girl group Blackpink that have expanded beyond Asia to gain international success.

The two companies did not say which U.S. media outlet would broadcast the audition program.

The collaboration has echoes of “American Idol,” the popular TV reality show that holds nationwide auditions for a new pop star and whose winner gets a recording contract. The show, now in its 18th season, has produced bona fide stars like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Music #KPop @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Spanish chess board sales soar after ‘Queen’s Gambit’ cameo

A Spanish chess board maker discovered by chance that its products played a cameo role in hit Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit”, and its sales have since soared.

“One day I came into work and a colleague, Miguel, told me that Netflix had released a new series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and some Rechapados Ferrer boards appeared in the trailer,” said David Ferrer, 30, who runs Rechapados Ferrer.

The series, based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, debuted in October 2020 and fast became a hit.

It follows orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon as she takes on the male-dominated world of chess.

A triumphant finale takes her to Moscow to play one of the Soviet Union’s star players. It is in this pivotal scene that the distinctive Rachapados Ferrer chess board takes centre stage.

Viewers have been keen to buy a piece of the action, boosting sales already on the rise due to demand linked to strict COVID-19 lockdowns.

The company based in La Garriga, near Barcelona, has already doubled its annual orders from around 22,000 in 2020 to 45,000 for 2021 and has now moved any new orders to 2022.

“Orders of chess boards have skyrocketed,” said Ferrer, whose grandfather founded the company in the 1950s. “This year is full in terms of production.”

Ferrer told Reuters the board that appears in the finale has become one of the most requested, but is so far only available through one German distributor. It was through them that the series – much of which was filmed in Berlin – got the boards.

But with demand booming and chess more popular than ever, Ferrer says the company might try to sell the board through other channels too.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #QueensGambit #Chess @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com