Archive for June, 2017


Tom Holland in Spider-Man: HomecomingImage copyright
Sony Pictures

Image caption

Holland’s previous films include 2012 tsunami drama The Impossible

Reviews are in for the new Spider-Man film, and they’re mostly positive.

The Mail calls Spider-Man: Homecoming “the blockbuster of the summer”, while The Guardian calls it a “light, snappy and frequently hilarious crowdpleaser”.

According to Screen Daily reviewer Tim Grierson, British actor Tom Holland – a former star of the Billy Elliot musical who turned 21 this month – “makes for a believably underage Peter Parker”.

The Hollywood Reporter, though, says “a charming new lead only goes so far”.

Jon Watts’ film, writes critic John DeFore, is “often frustrating” and “represents a creative mis-step” for the Marvel Studios.

Largely set in New York, Spider-Man: Homecoming follows on from Holland’s introduction to the “MCU” – Marvel Cinematic Universe – in Captain America: Civil War.

That 2016 film saw Spider-Man – a teenage crime-fighter who can spin webs and swing between tall buildings – participate in a battle between Captain America, Iron Man and other superheroes.

The new film sees Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker juggling his high school responsibilities with his secret life as a masked vigilante.

It is not long before he encounters Adrian Toomes, a villainous arms dealer who has his own alter-ego in the form of wing-sporting marauder Vulture.

Image copyright
Sony Pictures

Image caption

Keaton famously played Batman for director Tim Burton

Previous versions of the Spider-Man franchise featured Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the title role.

According to Digital Spy, “Spider-Man: Homecoming’s biggest achievement is that it makes you forget it’s the third different Spider-Man – and second reboot – in less than 20 years.”

“There’s a spontaneous charge to the film, a euphoric innocence, that makes it a much-needed antidote to stale franchise formula,” raves Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers.

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, meanwhile, praises the “sinister, gnashing personality” Keaton brings to his role while wishing he had been “given more to do”.

“Homecoming is easily the best Spider-Man film since Sam Raimi’s operatic Spider-Man 2,” concludes Empire’s Nick De Semlyen, one of several critics to give the movie four stars out of five.

Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in the UK and Ireland on 5 July.


Analysis, by entertainment reporter Neil Smith

Superhero movies are like garishly costumed buses at the moment. If you happen to miss one, there’s always another one just around the corner.

That’s partly down to the way character rights have been divvied up between the studios, who all want a piece of the comic book pie.

Spider-Man is a case in point. He was created in 1962 by Marvel, now a subsidiary of Disney. But he’s effectively owned by Sony, who have made five Spider-Man films since 2002.

The success of the Avengers films, though, has inspired Sony to loan him back to Marvel, allowing him to share the screen with the likes of Captain America and Iron Man.

It’s a strategy that reaps dividends in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which features Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man in a supporting role and humorous cameos from Chris Evans’ Captain America.

Image copyright
Sony Pictures

Image caption

Downey Jr (centre) appears in the film as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man

Yet the film also works satisfyingly as a stand-alone superhero teen movie, mostly thanks to the immensely likeable Tom Holland.

The young British actor – not to be confused with Rev’s Tom Hollander – has a pleasing boyishness and excellent comic timing in a film that is laugh-out-loud funny when it’s not noisily thrilling.

Michael Keaton is also good value in a villainous role that ingeniously plays on his work in both 1989′s Batman and the Oscar-winning Birdman.

There is an unexpected moment midway through Spider-Man: Homecoming that had last night’s press audience at the Odeon Leicester Square in London bursting into spontaneous applause.

The film is not without faults and is at least 20 minutes too long. Given how familiar the genre has become, though, it speaks volumes that the film still has the element of surprise.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40454235

Brooklyn BeckhamImage copyright
Getty Images

Brooklyn Beckham’s debut photography book has been mocked on social media – but many critics have been kinder.

What I See is his first book, and features photographs taken by the 18-year-old son of ex-footballer David and fashion designer Victoria Beckham.

Some of them offer glimpses in to the home lifestyle of the Beckham clan – like this one of his sister Harper drawing.

Image copyright
Brooklyn Beckham

Others are taken from his own travels around the world.

This one of a set designer was taken during the shooting of Guy Ritchie’s movie King Arthur – which his father David appeared in.

Image copyright
Brooklyn Beckham

But while his photographs have helped him build up more than 10 million Instagram followers – not everybody has been positive.

One picture of an elephant received particular ire on social media. Brooklyn had added to his dimly-lit shot with a caption explaining elephants were “so hard to photograph”.

Some Twitter users who did a quick search on Google Images disagreed with that.

Image copyright
Twitter

One critic – the arts editor of the i paper, Alice Jones – also poked fun at a couple of the photos and their somewhat minimalistic captions, in a comment which received more than 11,000 retweets.

Image copyright
Twitter

But writing in GQ, Eleanor Davies said many critics were just “being snide”.

“At just 18 Brooklyn Beckham is very young for a published photographer and he should be proud of this book,” she wrote.

“Critics should give Brooklyn Beckham a break and encourage this budding photographer. After all, David Bailey didn’t even get his first photography job as an assistant until he was 21.”

Image copyright
Brooklyn Beckham

Elle‘s Katie O’Malley described him as a “star on the rise”, while Heat World‘s Aimee Jakes said the book as “bloody brilliant”, adding: “It’s definitely something you’ll want on your coffee table bbz.”

Writing in Dazed, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff said some of the images were “poorly planned” but added: “Not all of the pictures in the book are arguably as worthy of criticism.”

In an open letter, the BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz told Brooklyn: “The snide remarks being made about your work are cheap and self-serving. Ignore them.”

Image copyright
Brooklyn Beckham

Writing in The Guardian, Marina Hyde took a more analytical approach, debating the pros and cons of celebrity children being given more opportunities than other people their own age.

“Fittingly, the fuss over Brooklyn Beckham’s debut book of photography is a little out of focus,” she wrote.

Image copyright
Brooklyn Beckham

Image copyright
Brooklyn Beckham

Publisher Penguin Random House defended the book, with managing director Francesca Dow commenting: “What I See is a book for teenagers, by a teenager, which gives Brooklyn’s fans broader insight into his world seen through his unique and creative perspective.”

Image copyright
Penguin Random House

Image caption

What I See is published this month


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40440516

Emma Watson/Reese Witherspoon/InstagramImage copyright
Emma Watson/Reese Witherspoon/Instagram

Image caption

Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon love to show their bookworm credentials on Instagram

Celebrity book clubs are becoming increasingly popular, but is this a great thing for reading or just another vanity exercise?

Old hands at the book club game are husband and wife team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan and Oprah. Their clubs began on TV but the new breed has, from the off, been virtual – online and on apps.

And the main players are almost exclusively female, including Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon, Florence Welch, Zoella and Sarah Jessica Parker, as are the clubs’ members.

It would be easy to be cynical about this new trend but it has its merits, says Claire Armitstead, associate editor for culture at the Guardian.

Image copyright
Richard and Judy/WH Smith

Image caption

The Richard and Judy Book Club puts out three seasonal selections

“These celebrities want to show they are intelligent people and not just celebrities, that’s perhaps their motive for it.

“But what they bring is their brand. There are so many books in the world that any kind of ‘sorting hat’, to use a Harry Potter term, is a good thing for reading.”

The winning combination

Debut writer Caz Frear knows the benefit of star endorsement. This week she sees her first novel, crime thriller Sweet Little Lies, hit the shelves after winning Richard and Judy’s second Search for a Bestseller competition. She says it was the couple’s name that encouraged her to enter.

Image copyright
Bonnier Zaffre

Image caption

Caz Frear’s first novel has just gone on sale and she’s working on her next story

“It was the possibility of their validation, they are huge names in the literary world. You think, if they like it then I must have something. There were other competitions that weren’t small fry but I wanted to put myself in the strongest position.”

The Richard and Judy club has grown into a polished brand in collaboration with high-street chain WH Smith since starting on the couple’s Channel 4 chat show in the early 2000s.

Now only online (and in stores), it is more successful, says Madeley. “I knew it would be fine, we are a brand and, in fact, we’re selling more books than before… the internet is king.

Books are submitted for consideration by publishers, which inevitably leads to recurring well-known names. But the final selections – issued three times a year – are made on quality alone, says Madelely.

“We choose a lot of established names, yes, but it’s entirely on merit. We love finding new talent like Caz… you need fresh blood all the time… books are the stuff of life.”

If he and Finnigan keep an eye on the new celebrity clubs, it’s from an interested, not competitive, stance. “We’re all out there to get people reading,” says Madeley.

Watson’s ambassador mission

Image copyright
Emma Watson/Instagram

Image caption

Emma Watson left books for people to find on the New York and London tube networks

A recent survey by The Reading Agency showed two thirds of people would like to read more but are too busy.

Yet, the agency’s chief executive supports Armitstead’s “sorting hat” theory: “Most people also said they struggled to find a book they liked. Recommendations are the most likely thing to convince people to read more literature… however they are signposted to books, it can only be a good thing,” says Sue Wilkinson.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson points her followers towards powerful feminist literature through her club Our Shared Shelf (OSS) on the Good Reads website. She is also active on Instagram.

Watson launched OSS in 2016 following her appointment as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and her HeForShe speech.

Every two months she selects a book for her 193,000-plus members to absorb and discuss.

Renewed interest

Image copyright
Good Reads

Image caption

Emma Watson’s mission statement on Good Reads

Selections have included Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – now enjoying renewed interest possibly due to a heady combination of a Channel 4 dramatisation, Watson’s endorsement and the topicality of its issues.

Watson’s enterprise is clearly serious and she’s left books for others to find on the London and New York undergrounds.

“Emma Watson with her feminist classics is placing herself as a young thinking woman but doing it through her position as a UN ambassador is quite structured,” says Armitstead. “Similarly, if someone wants to project themselves as a fun person they are going to choose fun books.

“Emma Watson will have people advising her, probably in order to push the kind of books the organisation thinks people should be reading.

“It is a good thing for a woman to read Gloria Steinem but has Emma Watson?”

Connecting with fans

Image copyright
PA/Between Two Books

Image caption

Florence Welch’s book club was set up by fans in honour of her love of literature

Relaxed and seemingly without agenda is Florence Welch’s Between Two Books on Twitter. Her fan website also promotes the club.

It was established by Welch enthusiasts in dedication of her love of reading, demonstrated in her regular online posts about books. She got involved at their invitation.

Welch suggests a wide range of literature, from Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemian to the poetry of Ted Hughes. She also involves her music mates, so that Nick Cave and Bat for Lashes have flagged up choices.

Welch dips in and out of the 11,000-plus members’ discussions and even offers the chance to meet her, authors and each other at book events such as the Borris Festival.

Unlike some other clubs which are more inclined towards just showcasing the star’s reading, Watson and Welch’s are clubs in the traditional sense. They allow like-minded people “to get together” (literally in Welch’s case) and talk.

‘We are connected’

And the fans love it.

“The club (Between Two Books) is for fans and managed by fans, ordinary, lovely and like-minded people,” says one ardent fan, Kawanna Pena Cepeda, from the Dominican Republic.

“It makes it more approachable and grounded. It doesn’t have any ‘agenda’… other than share amazing literature that our queen, Florence, loves.

“It’s an amazing way to connect with other Flo fans other than by her music. It’s exciting to think the book you are currently reading, Florence is reading as well… it feels like we are connected.”

Similarly, Maritza Jimenez in Chicago, Illinois says she joined OSS “because I really admire Emma Watson”.

“To have that instant connection (however small) feels really good. Then, I put some serious thought into what she’s trying to do… open up a discussion on women’s issues… it’s a complex topic to tackle because it is a very human issue.”

Celebrity endorsement

Image copyright
Pan Macmillan/Getty Images

Image caption

Jessica Knoll’s novel was chosen by Reese Witherspoon

Authors and the book industry are also reaping benefits from this endorsement.

“Steinem’s My Life on the Road, Emma Watson’s first title, had a 200% boost week on week in the UK for the second week of January 2016, from 138 copies to 415,” says Lisa Campbell of the Bookseller.

And a true powerhouse in driving author interest, and sales is Reese Witherspoon. The actress has become “a champion of female fiction writers”, says Isabelle Broom, book reviews editor at Heat magazine.

‘Uptick in my Amazon ranking’

Her book club is on Instagram, with 71,000-plus followers. She also talks books on Twitter. And, she has an eye for a story which is prime for movie adaptation and is quick to buy the rights through her production company, such as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Broom describes the actress as a “positive force of good” and authors are effusive too, among them Jessica Knoll, writer of Luckiest Girl Alive.

“[Witherspoon's] support has immensely boosted Luckiest Girl Alive’s visibility and sales,” says Knoll. “It was featured in a lot of traditional media and that definitely had a cumulative impact, but when Reese featured my book… I noticed an immediate and enormous uptick in my Amazon ranking.

Teens and chat

Image copyright
Zoella/WH Smith

Image caption

Zoella has just launched her new batch of recommended reads

The Zoella Book Club, also supported by WH Smith and just relaunched for 2017, has also had industry impact – and on teenage girls.

With a recent National Literacy Trust study suggesting reading for pleasure falls after primary school years, the club helmed by 27-year-old Zoe Sugg – the fashion and beauty YouTube vlogger known as Zoella – is arguably a good thing.

Author Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte was chosen for Zoella’s 2016 crop of reads and she says “it meant the book was able to reach a much wider audience than it would otherwise”.

“Zoella’s book club is particularly worthwhile because it helps get teenagers excited about books and reading for pleasure, which is a wonderful thing,” she adds.

‘Girls LOVE to chat’

Zoella and the other female star book-clubbers demonstrate the trend for reading groups in the real world to be mostly (90%) made up of women, according to Sue Wilkinson at the Reading Agency.

Heat’s Isabelle Broom suggests this is because “women like to feel part of something, and lots of us like to feel validated, too… Plus, us girls LOVE to chat”.

But, while the reason needs further investigation, says Wilkinson, what is clear is that “real” book clubs – in libraries, homes and pubs – are still a big deal, and the agency has more than 4,000 in its reading groups network.

And what of the future of the virtual celebrity club?

“They have a shelf-life and people like Emma Watson will get bored and start looking for the next new thing,” says Claire Armitstead.

“But someone else will come along. There’s no end of people who want to hitch their wagon to the star of reading.”


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40157799

Jamala wins the Eurovision in Sweden, 2016Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was held in Kiev after Ukrainian singer Jamala won in 2016

Eurovision Song Contest bosses are fining Ukraine over its organisation of this year’s competition in Kiev.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said Ukraine’s state broadcaster UA:PBC should pay a “substantial” fine because of “severe delays which created unnecessary difficulties”.

The EBU added that the country’s decision to ban Russia’s entrant also “endangered” the show’s reputation.

UA:PBC will appeal against the 200,000 euro (£176,000) fine, Reuters said.

In the run up to the contest in May, the show was hit with multiple problems.

More than 20 top level staff from the Ukrainian team resigned in February, claiming they were blocked from making decisions about the show.

There were also problems finalising deals with subcontractors to build the stage, which added to the delays.

A month later, there was more controversy when Ukraine banned Russia’s Julia Samoilova from competing because of an “illegal” visit she made to Crimea – entering directly from Russia, not via Ukraine.

Media caption Russia’s Julia Samoilova was banned by Ukraine

The EBU was forced to intervene and at the time said Ukraine was undermining the non-political nature of the contest.

After a very public row, it culminated in Russia refusing to televise the event and the country not taking part.

The broadcasting union said: “The EBU was pleased with the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, and commend UA:PBC, their staff, and all those who worked hard on the three live TV shows broadcast from Kiev in May.

“The organisation of the competition, however, was subject to severe delays which created unnecessary difficulties for the production.

“Additionally, the host broadcaster failed to adequately fulfil its obligations with regards to co-operating with the EBU over the participation of the Russian artist.

“As a result of this, attention was drawn away from the competition and the brand reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest was endangered.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

The contest will be held in Portugal in 2018 after the country’s Salvador Sobral won this year

“Therefore the Contest’s steering committee, the ESC Reference Group, has recommended that UA:PBC should receive a substantial fine, in line with the rules of the competition.”

The EBU added it would not pursue any further action against Russia’s Channel One, although it had been reprimanded for not attending official Eurovision meetings in Kiev and for not broadcasting the live shows.

Eurovision chairman Frank Dieter Freiling said it hoped next year’s contest in Portugal would unite audiences and let everyone who wants to to participate do so.

He added that he hoped Russia and Ukraine “will come together on the same stage in a cordial and non-political competition”.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40447810

Emma Watson/Reese Witherspoon/InstagramImage copyright
Emma Watson/Reese Witherspoon

Image caption

Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon love to show their bookworm credentials on Instagram

Celebrity book clubs are becoming increasingly popular, but is this a great thing for reading or just another vanity exercise?

Old hands at the book club game are husband and wife team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan and Oprah. Their clubs began on TV but the new breed has, from the off, been virtual – online and on apps.

And the main players are almost exclusively female, including Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon, Florence Welch, Zoella and Sarah Jessica Parker, as are the clubs’ members.

It would be easy to be cynical about this new trend but it has its merits, says Claire Armitstead, associate editor for culture at the Guardian.

Image copyright
Richard and Judy/WH Smith

Image caption

The Richard and Judy Book Club puts out three seasonal selections

“These celebrities want to show they are intelligent people and not just celebrities, that’s perhaps their motive for it.

“But what they bring is their brand. There are so many books in the world that any kind of ‘sorting hat’, to use a Harry Potter term, is a good thing for reading.”

The winning combination

Debut writer Caz Frear knows the benefit of star endorsement. This week she sees her first novel, crime thriller Sweet Little Lies, hit the shelves after winning Richard and Judy’s second Search for a Bestseller competition. She says it was the couple’s name that encouraged her to enter.

Image copyright
Bonnier Jaffre

Image caption

Caz Frear’s first novel has just gone on sale and she’s working on her next story

“It was the possibility of their validation, they are huge names in the literary world. You think, if they like it then I must have something. There were other competitions that weren’t small fry but I wanted to put myself in the strongest position.”

The Richard and Judy club has grown into a polished brand in collaboration with high-street chain WH Smith since starting on the couple’s Channel 4 chat show in the early 2000s.

Now only online (and in stores), it is more successful, says Madeley. “I knew it would be fine, we are a brand and, in fact, we’re selling more books than before… the internet is king.

Books are submitted for consideration by publishers, which inevitably leads to recurring well-known names. But the final selections – issued three times a year – are made on quality alone, says Madelely.

“We choose a lot of established names, yes, but it’s entirely on merit. We love finding new talent like Caz… you need fresh blood all the time… books are the stuff of life.”

If he and Finnigan keep an eye on the new celebrity clubs, it’s from an interested, not competitive, stance. “We’re all out there to get people reading,” says Madeley.

Watson’s ambassador mission

Image copyright
Emma Watson/Instagram

Image caption

Emma Watson left books for people to find on the New York and London tube networks

A recent survey by The Reading Agency showed two thirds of people would like to read more but are too busy.

Yet, the agency’s chief executive supports Armitstead’s “sorting hat” theory: “Most people also said they struggled to find a book they liked. Recommendations are the most likely thing to convince people to read more literature… however they are signposted to books, it can only be a good thing,” says Sue Wilkinson.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson points her followers towards powerful feminist literature through her club Our Shared Shelf (OSS) on the Good Reads website. She is also active on Instagram.

Watson launched OSS in 2016 following her appointment as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and her HeForShe speech.

Every two months she selects a book for her 193,000-plus members to absorb and discuss.

Renewed interest

Image copyright
Rebecca Thomas-ONLINE

Image caption

Emma Watson’s mission statement on Good Reads

Selections have included Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – now enjoying renewed interest possibly due to a heady combination of a Channel 4 dramatisation, Watson’s endorsement and the topicality of its issues.

Watson’s enterprise is clearly serious and she’s left books for others to find on the London and New York undergrounds.

“Emma Watson with her feminist classics is placing herself as a young thinking woman but doing it through her position as a UN ambassador is quite structured,” says Armitstead. “Similarly, if someone wants to project themselves as a fun person they are going to choose fun books.

“Emma Watson will have people advising her, probably in order to push the kind of books the organisation thinks people should be reading.

“It is a good thing for a woman to read Emily Steinem but has Emma Watson?”

Connecting with fans

Image copyright
PA/Between Two Books

Image caption

Florence Welch’s book club was set up by fans in honour of her love of literature

Relaxed and seemingly without agenda is Florence Welch’s Between Two Books on Twitter. Her fan website also promotes the club.

It was established by Welch enthusiasts in dedication of her love of reading, demonstrated in her regular online posts about books. She got involved at their invitation.

Welch suggests a wide range of literature, from Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemian to the poetry of Ted Hughes. She also involves her music mates, so that Nick Cave and Bat for Lashes have flagged up choices.

Welch dips in and out of the 11,000-plus members’ discussions and even offers the chance to meet her, authors and each other at book events such as the Borris Festival.

Unlike some other clubs which are more inclined towards just showcasing the star’s reading, Watson and Welch’s are clubs in the traditional sense. They allow like-minded people “to get together” (literally in Welch’s case) and talk.

‘We are connected’

And the fans love it.

“The club (Between Two Books) is for fans and managed by fans, ordinary, lovely and like-minded people,” says one ardent fan, Kawanna Pena Cepeda, from the Dominican Republic.

“It makes it more approachable and grounded. It doesn’t have any ‘agenda’… other than share amazing literature that our queen, Florence, loves.

“It’s an amazing way to connect with other Flo fans other than by her music. It’s exciting to think the book you are currently reading, Florence is reading as well… it feels like we are connected.”

Similarly, Maritza Jimenez in Chicago, Illinois says she joined OSS “because I really admire Emma Watson”.

“To have that instant connection (however small) feels really good. Then, I put some serious thought into what she’s trying to do… open up a discussion on women’s issues… it’s a complex topic to tackle because it is a very human issue.”

Celebrity endorsement

Image copyright
Pan Macmillen/Getty Images

Image caption

Jessica Knoll’s novel was chosen by Reese Witherspoon

Authors and the book industry are also reaping benefits from this endorsement.

“Steinem’s My Life on the Road, Emma Watson’s first title, had a 200% boost week on week in the UK for the second week of January 2016, from 138 copies to 415,” says Lisa Campbell of the Bookseller.

And a true powerhouse in driving author interest, and sales is Reese Witherspoon. The actress has become “a champion of female fiction writers”, says Isabelle Broom, book reviews editor at Heat magazine.

‘Uptick in my Amazon ranking’

Her book club is on Instagram, with 71,000-plus followers. She also talks books on Twitter. And, she has an eye for a story which is prime for movie adaptation and is quick to buy the rights through her production company, such as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Broom describes the actress as a “positive force of good” and authors are effusive too, among them Jessica Knoll, writer of Luckiest Girl Alive.

“[Witherspoon's] support has immensely boosted Luckiest Girl Alive’s visibility and sales,” says Knoll. “It was featured in a lot of traditional media and that definitely had a cumulative impact, but when Reese featured my book… I noticed an immediate and enormous uptick in my Amazon ranking.

Teens and chat

Image copyright
Zoella/WH Smith

Image caption

Zoella has just launched her new batch of recommended reads

The Zoella Book Club, also supported by WH Smith and just relaunched for 2017, has also had industry impact – and on teenage girls.

With a recent National Literacy Trust study suggesting reading for pleasure falls after primary school years, the club helmed by 27-year-old Zoe Sugg – the fashion and beauty YouTube vlogger known as Zoella – is arguably a good thing.

Author Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte was chosen for Zoella’s 2016 crop of reads and she says “it meant the book was able to reach a much wider audience than it would otherwise”.

“Zoella’s book club is particularly worthwhile because it helps get teenagers excited about books and reading for pleasure, which is a wonderful thing,” she adds.

‘Girls LOVE to chat’

Zoella and the other female star book-clubbers demonstrate the trend for reading groups in the real world to be mostly (90%) made up of women, according to Sue Wilkinson at the Reading Agency.

Heat’s Isabelle Broom suggests this is because “women like to feel part of something, and lots of us like to feel validated, too… Plus, us girls LOVE to chat”.

But, while the reason needs further investigation, says Wilkinson, what is clear is that “real” book clubs – in libraries, homes and pubs – are still a big deal, and the agency has more than 4,000 in its reading groups network.

And what of the future of the virtual celebrity club?

“They have a shelf-life and people like Emma Watson will get bored and start looking for the next new thing,” says Claire Armitstead.

“But someone else will come along. There’s no end of people who want to hitch their wagon to the star of reading.”


Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40157799

What Is The City But The People, ManchesterImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Around 150 people from all backgrounds and walks of life strutted their stuff

Four-day-old James is carried along the catwalk to meet the world for the first time.

Ninety-nine-year-old Mickie, who drove army trucks during World War Two, walks slowly up the runway with a stick.

Stefan, the bearded The Big Issue seller from Manchester Victoria station, slowly twirls and waves as he goes.

Helen, who’s had cancer and a drink problem, pauses at the end, tilting her head to look to the sky.

This is no ordinary catwalk, and these aren’t ordinary models.

They’re real people who are walking a catwalk in the middle of Manchester to create a live “self-portrait of the city” – an idea dreamed up by artist Jeremy Deller.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image copyright
Getty Images

It’s a simple idea. A platform that normally celebrates superficial appearance is instead used to celebrate the everyday brilliance and resilience of the people of the city.

And it’s more beautiful than any fashion show. Beautiful, heartwarming and life-affirming.

Around 150 people walk the 100m yellow runway while the gathered crowds – maybe a couple of thousand – read snippets about their life stories on the screens.

There’s Chris, who’s been in Strangeways prison. He’s beaming with a fist in the air like a rock star.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image copyright
Getty Images

There’s Kate, who was christened Andrew; trainee doctor Sermed; Wajid, who’s had a kidney transplant; Vincenzo, who cleans the town hall; Jehona, who saw 19 members of family killed in Kosovo and was herself left for dead.

There are two taxi drivers who turned their meters off to give stranded Ariana Grande fans free lifts home on the night of the Manchester Arena attack.

There’s Bruce, who waits at the end of the catwalk for his blind date. A few minutes later, Frankie emerges, and they smile broadly and embrace in the middle before departing for their date.

It could be the start of something special.

As each new person is applauded – literally – for being themselves, whatever form that takes, this joyful parade becomes surprisingly moving.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image copyright
Getty Images

While this alternative catwalk show was planned long before last month’s Manchester Arena attack, that incident – and the emotions it stirred – make this more potent.

Titled What Is The City But The People?, it’s the opening event of the Manchester International Festival, the city’s biennial arts festival.

Lots of people here probably wouldn’t think of 150 men, woman and children (and some dogs) walking up and down a walkway as art.

But it took an artist and an arts festival to make it happen. And it’s often only artists who have the licence to make us stop, see things we hadn’t spotted before, and hit us where we feel it most.

The simplicity and beauty of this event puts Jeremy Deller up there as the king of great ideas that reach into our lives and touch us.

He’s the man behind the acid house brass band, the re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave, the bouncy Stonehenge and the Manchester Procession, a previous parade that featured tribes like smokers, ramblers, buskers and Big Issue Sellers.

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AFP

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The idea for the catwalk event came from Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller

Perhaps his greatest stroke was the poignant 2016 Battle of the Somme centenary project that saw the ghosts of World War One soldiers materialise in towns and cities across the UK.

With respect to David Hockney, Grayson Perry and Banksy, Deller might be Britain’s best living artist.

His Procession was part of the 2009 Manchester International Festival. Since then, there’s been criticism that the festival has been too much about the international artists who land every two years and not enough about Manchester.

What Is The City But The People? was a clear attempt by the new artistic director John McGrath to reconnect the festival with the city.

While the crowd was a small fraction of Manchester’s population, it succeeded.

It will make people pause to think more about those they encounter on the city’s streets. About the stories beneath the surface. That they are all real people.

More cities should have a catwalk like it.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40452973

AdeleImage copyright
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Adele said “it’s our job as human beings to be compassionate”.

Adele paid tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower at her Wembley Stadium concert on Wednesday evening.

Police say 80 people are currently presumed dead after the fire at the west London tower block on 14 June.

Adele encouraged fans at the show to donate money to help the victims of the blaze.

She said Wembley’s prices were “extortionate” and asked the crowd to donate rather than waste the money on “overpriced wine”.

“It’s been two weeks since the fire, and still the people who were affected by it are homeless,” Adele said in a video message before the show.

“I promise that the money we raise together will go directly to the people who are living in that block.”

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London Fire Brigade

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Adele previously visited the firefighters who helped tackle the blaze

Later in the show, on she said on stage: “Usually I ask everyone to get their phone out and put their lights on. But before I do that I want you to donate.

“Did anyone see the video before I came on? I’ve been down to Grenfell tower.

“I can’t tell you how out of control and how chaotic it still is down there, it’s been two weeks since this happened… it’s atrocious that we can’t get answers.

She added: “It’s our job as human beings to be compassionate… You’ll be hearing a lot more from me about [Grenfell] in the days and weeks and probably years to come.”

She dedicated her song Hometown Glory to the victims of the fire and encouraged them to give money to Unite for Grenfell.

The concert was attended by 98,000 fans – a stadium record for a UK music event. She has three further dates at Wembley this week – the final one on Sunday.

“I wanted my final shows to be in London because I don’t know if I’ll ever tour again,” she said in a message printed in the programmes.

“I’ve done 119 shows and these last four will take me up to 123, it has been hard out an absolute thrill and pleasure to have done.”


Analysis: Alex Stanger, entertainment reporter

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Getty Images

Adele: great voice, that’s a given, but the best bits of last night’s gig were actually in between the songs.

After starting the show with, not surprisingly, Hello, Adele told the audience she was extremely nervous about playing Wembley for the first time.

But she shouldn’t have been. Her banter alone had the audience in the palm of her hand.

From complaining that her dress was too tight to admitting that she will be marking the end of her epic world tour on Sunday with fags and whisky, Adele showed she may be the world’s biggest singing star but she’s still one of us.

And she struck the right note when talking about Grenfell Tower. The building’s burnt out remains featured in the video which accompanied Hometown Glory, a song which already induces goosebumps.

She asked the crowd, the biggest ever at a gig at Wembley, to donate to the victims of Grenfell and promised she would be back on the ground, helping those families displaced by the fire, as soon as the Wembley run finishes.

To be able to talk about something so horrific, but then pick her audience back up again to enjoy the rest of the show, proved Adele’s deft hand at performing.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40440509

Halle Berry at the 2017 OscarsImage copyright
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Berry said she was keen to create “more opportunities for people of colour”

Halle Berry was the first black woman to win the best actress Oscar when she won for Monster’s Ball in 2002.

Fifteen years on, she still is the only black woman to have won the award – and she’s not happy about it.

Speaking in Cannes last week, the actress said she had been “profoundly hurt” when no black stars were nominated for major acting awards at the 2015 Oscars.

Her comments have been followed by the Academy announcing it is inviting 774 new members from 57 countries in an effort to boost diversity.

Actors Naomie Harris, Riz Ahmed and Warwick Davis are among those invited to join, with the Oscars organisers saying 39% of the new class are women, boosting the overall female membership to 28%, up three points from 2015.

It added that the new membership is also nearly a third non-white, with the number of non-white voters now at 13%, up from 8% two years ago.

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Getty Images

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The X-Men and Catwoman star was named best actress at the 2002 Oscars

But Berry said of her Oscar win: “It was probably one of my lowest professional moments.”

The 50-year-old told Teen Vogue’s Elaine Welteroth said she had thought back to the night she won her Academy Award and thought: “Wow, that moment really meant nothing.”

“I was profoundly hurt by that and saddened by that and it inspired me to try to get involved in other ways,” she continued.

“Which is why I want to start directing, I want to start producing more [and] I want to start being a part of making more opportunities for people of colour.”

On the night in question, Berry dedicated her win to “every nameless, faceless woman of colour who now has a chance because this door has been opened”.

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Dorothy Dandridge was the first black actress to be nominated for the best actress award

Since her victory, though, only four black actresses have been nominated for the best actress Oscar.

They include Viola Davis – winner of this year’s best supporting actress Oscar – and Ruth Negga, who was nominated this year for Loving.

Precious star Gabourey Sidibe and Quvenzhane Wallis, the young lead in Beasts of the Southern Wild, were also shortlisted for the best actress award in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

Four nominations in 15 years is hardly something to write home about. Yet it’s worth remembering that in the 72 years of Oscar ceremonies before Berry’s win, only six black actresses had ever been up for her award.

Two of those nominations came in 1973, when Diana Ross and Cicely Tyson – nominated respectively for Lady Sings the Blues and Sounder – lost out to Cabaret’s Liza Minnelli.

#OscarsSoWhite

Before that the only black actress to come within touching distance of the statuette was Dorothy Dandridge, who was nominated in 1955 in Carmen Jones.

Four black men have won the best actor Oscar since the first ceremony was held in 1929, while nine more have been nominated.

The issue of black representation at the Academy Awards became a matter of public concern in 2015 and 2016, years in which no person of colour was nominated for any of the acting prizes.

This led to the “OscarsSoWhite” campaign and moves by the Academy to make both its membership and nominations more diverse.

So is Berry right to feel aggrieved? We put that question to Sarita Malik, a professor of media, culture and communications at London’s Brunel University who specialises in diversity and screen media.

“What Halle Berry says reveals the burden of representation that has historically been placed on black actors, films and representations more widely – the idea these have to deal with the persistent problem of under-representation,” she told the BBC.

“Her disappointment has come to characterise our expectations, where we are led to believe that more and better kinds of diverse representation will follow these rare successes.

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This year’s acting Oscars were evenly divided between black and white performers

“The Oscars is a big deal because of its international profile, its legacy and as a barometer of the cultural mood,” she continued.

“If the Oscars is virtually all-white, as historically it has tended to be, this says something about the kinds of culture we celebrate and support. But it also reveals the kinds of films that are commissioned, funded and made visible through marketing and distribution.

“The past couple of years have usefully brought to the fore important public debates about diversity in the film industry and it is a positive step that the Academy’s membership is being broadened.

“It’s important that there is more diversity in leadership but also that, rather than churning out more and more diversity initiatives, the question of why such inequality exists is tackled head-on.”

Gaylene Gould, writer and head of cinemas and events at BFI Southbank, believes Berry is right to speak out.

“She’s the only black actress to ever receive a best actress award in the whole history of Oscars so of course she’s justified,” she told the BBC. “I can totally see why she’s depressed.”

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Hattie McDaniel, pictured with Clark Gable, was the first black actress to win an Oscar

Gould also believes it’s significant that while Berry remains the sole best actress winner, seven black actresses have been named best supporting actress.

“If a black woman is going to get something it will be best supporting actress,” she said. “It rarely goes higher than that.”

Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress to be named best supporting actress, winning for Gone with the Wind in 1940.

The next was Whoopi Goldberg, who won the award for Ghost more than half a century later.

“There is a question there about where we position women, where we position black women and how seriously they’re taken in cinema,” Gould continued.

“A lot of what we do at the British Film Institute is all about how you create opportunities and systemically change the fundamental trends within the sector.”

Last year the BFI launched its Black Star season, a three-month, UK-wide celebration of black screen talent.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40428717

Greg James, Annie Mac and Clara Amfo

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Left to right: Greg James, Annie Mac and Clara Amfo

BBC Radio 1 has a problem.

But it’s not the playlist, its listening figures or social media following that controller Ben Cooper is concerned about – it’s where the next generation of presenters is coming from.

“It’s everyone’s favourite game at Radio 1 to try and second guess me and come up with their fantasy schedule,” he laughs as he speaks to the BBC on Wednesday morning.

Cooper is chatting to journalists as he unveils Radio 1 Vintage – a pop-up station which will broadcast old shows from across the decades as part of the station’s 50th birthday celebrations in September.

He describes the new venture as a great way of celebrating Radio 1′s history – but what about its future?

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Nick Grimshaw has presented the Radio 1 breakfast show for nearly five years

“I’m not planning any schedule changes at the moment,” he says, “but I’m always looking for fresh new talent, for the next set of presenters, but I think it’s really weird how it’s getting harder.

“It’s getting harder because you don’t have the likes of MTV presenters like Cat Deeley, Edith Bowman, Trevor Nelson or Zane Lowe.

“You don’t have T4 with Vernon Kay and Dermot O’Leary. You don’t have CD:UK or Top of the Pops. So it’s really hard to find that next group of presenters that are coming up.”

With fewer platforms and avenues for presenters to make a name for themselves, where could the next generation of radio presenters come from?


TV stars

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Jameela Jamil presented T4 before joining Radio 1 in 2012

In recent years, Radio 1′s line-up has sometimes resembled a Sunday morning TV schedule.

Fearne Cotton, Nick Grimshaw, Jameela Jamil and many more were hired to present on the station after first cutting their teeth on TV.

But Cooper says the issue now with hiring from TV is the fundamental change in the type of personalities which fill our screens.

“With modern youth culture on television, you can’t pick someone famous off the TV, because what you’ve got now is a lot of reality television, and people who are famous for a short burst of time,” he explains.

“So it’s really hard to find those next stars in the radio industry.”

Saying that, Radio 1 has flirted with reality TV stars in the past – like when Kelly Osbourne was hired to present The Surgery.

But she lasted less than 18 months and the station has rarely done it since (although early breakfast host Adele Roberts was once a Big Brother contestant).


YouTubers

When Dan Phil joined the station in 2012, listeners’ reactions ranged from massive excitement to “Sorry, who?”

While the station’s older listeners might not have heard of vlogging, hiring YouTubers who have built up their own following online seemed like a logical next step for a station which is constantly chasing a young audience.

The show was popular, but the pair – otherwise known as Dan Howell and Phil Lester – left the station after four years.

Cooper says: “We’ve looked at YouTubers, people like Dan Phil, but they get tempted by huge amounts of money and go off on world tours around America and Australia.”

We may well see more vloggers hired to present on the station in the future, but it’s likely the publicly-funded Radio 1 will struggle to compete with the money that YouTubers can make from lucrative merchandising and endorsement deals.


Commercial radio

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Scott Mills and Clara Amfo both previously worked in commercial radio

Twenty years ago, commercial radio was the natural place for BBC bosses to look for new talent, and vice versa.

Scott Mills, Chris Moyles and Tim Westwood were all poached from commercial stations in the 1990s, and similarly, many BBC figures have jumped ship into the world of commercial.

But in recent years, movement has slowed.

Radio 1 has been looking elsewhere for on-air talent, but simulcasting (where the same show is broadcast on multiple regional stations) has meant there are fewer presenting jobs in commercial radio.

However many presenters still swap sides – one of Radio 1′s brightest new talents, Clara Amfo, previously presented on Kiss.


Student and community radio

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Global / BBC

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Both Jack Saunders and Greg James have student radio backgrounds

So with more and more avenues into radio closing, where exactly is the next generation of radio presenters coming from?

Cooper says the answer lies in student and community radio stations.

“We got Greg James from student radio – he’s the sort of poster boy for it. He gets mobbed every time he goes to a conference,” Cooper says.

“Student radio and community radio is the one place where you still see people passionate about getting into a room with a microphone and broadcasting to listeners. That’s where I look for the next talent.”

It’s not just the BBC who has been looking at student stations for the next generation of big names.

To take just one commercial example, Radio X’s presenters include Jack Saunders, Issy Panayis, Ross Buchanan and Michael Lavin – all of whom started on student stations.

For those considering a career in radio – signing up to your college or university station now may be the best way to go about it.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40431793

Media captionMichael Nyqvist played journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the hit adaptation

Actor Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has died aged 56, his family has announced.

Nyqvist played journalist Mikael Blomkvist in that film and its sequels, which formed the Millennium trilogy.

The Swedish actor died on Tuesday after suffering from lung cancer for a year, according to a family statement.

Nyqvist’s love of the arts was “felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him”, the family added.

“Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him,” his family said. “His charm and charisma were undeniable.”

They said Nyqvist had left a “huge void behind him”, local media report.

His death was announced “with deep sadness” by a family representative who said that “one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors” had “passed away quietly surrounded by family”.

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Rex Features

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Noomi Rapace played Lisbeth Salander alongside Nyqvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Gerard Butler, who worked with Nyqvist on yet to be released action thriller Hunter Killer, said he was “right up there” among the people he had acted alongside.

In an emotional tribute on Instagram, the Scottish actor remembered his co-star’s “incredible talent… child-like qualities… humility and warmth”.

“It breaks my heart we’ll never get to sit together to watch this movie,” he said, saluting the “dignity and integrity and fun” Nyqvist had brought to the set.

Lord of the Rings actor Dominic Monaghan, who appeared with Nyqvist in TV series 100 Code, also paid tribute.

“He was a sweet man with an infectious smile, a great dad and a fine actor,” he wrote on Instagram.

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Getty Images

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Nyqvist was born in Stockholm and adopted as a child

Born in Stockholm in 1960, Nyqvist began his training at the Malmo Theatre Academy in Sweden.

He was best known for his role in Dragon Tattoo (2009), starring as the investigative reporter who teams up with feisty computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, played by Noomi Rapace.

In a subsequent US version of the film, his role was performed by James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Nyqvist later appeared in a number of Hollywood blockbusters. He played the villain alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and starred as Viggo Tarasov in John Wick with Keanu Reeves.

He went on to star in the 2015 film Colonia, opposite Daniel Bruhl and Emma Watson.

Nyqvist also wrote an acclaimed memoir, Just After Dreaming, published in 2010, about his earliest childhood memories following adoption and how he later traced his biological parents.

He is survived by his wife, Catharina Ehrnrooth, and their children, Ellen and Arthur.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40426177