Entertainment wRap: Clint Eastwood and controversial films
MANILA, Philippines - Here are some Entertainment stories you might have missed from the week of February 25 to March 1.
Clint Eastwood supports gay marriage
Actor-director and long-time Republican Clint Eastwood was among those who urged the US Supreme Court to scrap California’s gay marriage ban last February 28, 2013.
Eastwood recently made news after conversing with an empty chair representing Barack Obama during the Republican national convention.
Signatories of the brief to scrap the ban include prominent Republicans like Mitt Romney and John McCain, ex-deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz and ex-homeland security secretary Tom Ridge.
On March 26, 2013, the Supreme Court will hear arguments against Proposition 8, an edict banning same-sex marriage in California. The day after, there will be a hearing on the constitutionality of a federal law that defines marriage as a union strictly only between a man and a woman.
The brief noted that "many of the signatories to this brief previously did not support civil marriage for same-sex couples; others did not hold a considered position on the issue."
But now that several states have approved gay marriage, the signatories, "like many Americans, have reexamined the evidence and their own positions and have concluded that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason for denying same-sex couples the same recognition in law that is available to opposite-sex couples."
Bollywood film brings back ghosts of deadly Mumbai attack
Mixed reactions greeted a new Bollywood movie about the deadliest militant attack in India since independence.
“The Attacks of 26/11” directed by Bollywood veteran Ram Gopal Varma reconstructs the 2008 Mumbai attacks when 10 heavily-armed Islamist gunmen helda 60-hour siege that left 166 people dead.
The attacks targeted luxury hotels, a hospital and a cafe, a busy train station and a Jewish center on November 26, 2008.
Though the film promises an unflinching depiction of the tragedy, it has become controversial even before its opening because traumatized survivors fear it will be too painful to watch.
Varma told reporters, "the film is very dark and violent. There's no entertainment."
He said the film is "absolutely based on the true incidents” and on information gathered from the police and eye-witnesses, among them Natwarlal Rotwan, a dry-fruit seller who saw his young daughter shot in the leg during the attacks.
He was invited to the studio to give his views on parts of the movie, but found them hard to watch.
"There is only pain for those who got injured or lost loved ones in such attacks," Rotwan said.
Despite the sensitivity of the film’s story, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, after watching a rough cut of the project, wrote on Twitter that it left him “choked with tears” and was “infinitely precise” in its research.
The film also departs from usual Bollywood escapist fare by starring little-known actors and prioritizing the achievement of a “heightened sense of realism.”
Devika, Rotwan’s 14-year-old daughter who was shot in the leg during the attacks, said, “It is good if a movie is made on the Mumbai attacks as people should know what happened. But it is bad for people like me who are trying to forget things and lead a normal life."
Pussy Riot punks can be freed early, says band member
Freed Pussy Riot band member Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was apprehended by Russian authorities after performing a song in protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said there is a chance for her 2 fellow bandmates to gain their freedom early.
"I think if we manage to carry out a legal defence at a high level, there is a chance that they'll come out earlier, earlier than 2 years," Samutsevich said.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are serving 2-year sentences for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in harsh prison camps in Perm and Mordovia.
Samutsevich said she will devote all her time to freeing her bandmates.
"Putin is still being asked the same uncomfortable questions about the jailed participants of Pussy Riot and I think he will continue to be asked them, especially as the Sochi Olympics are ahead, so I don't know how the state authorities will behave, what they'll do," she said.
Despite being “set free,” Samutsevich is prohibited from leaving Russia and must ask permission to leave Moscow.
After their protest against Putin in a Moscow cathedral, Samutsevich said she had been tailed openly by a mysterious man with a camera.
"Once I came out of the metro and stopped and I saw that a man had also stopped... I saw him openly filming me on his cell phone. I walked on and he followed me, I could see that he was assigned to follow me.”
She believes this is an “element of intimidation” to make her think twice about declaring her anti-Putin views again.
But at the moment, she is most worried about the condition of her bandmates. The women currently struggle with compulsory labor where they are detained. They have been threatened by other inmates.
Worst is their separation from their young children.
A court refused to let Alyokhina postpone her sentence until her son is a teenager. She appealed the decision. Tolokonnikova filed a similar request.
Film about abducted Austrian girl premieres
A new film about Austrian Natascha Kampusch's 8-year imprisonment by a man who kidnapped her when she was just 10 years old premiered last February 25.
But Kampusch said the film, entitled “3096 Days,” could not completely capture the agony of the mental, physical and sexual abuse she experienced.
"I recognized myself (in the film)," Kampusch, now 25, told Germany's Bild daily this month.
"But the reality was much worse. You can't show this in a film however, it's not supposed to be a horror movie."
For example, she said the film’s depiction of her screaming from desperation and hunger never happened.
"I never screamed down there. My body was unable to scream. It was a silent scream," Kampusch said.
Her ordeal began on March 2, 1998 when 10-year-old Kampusch was shoved in a van as she was going to school in Vienna.
Her abductor was unemployed telecoms engineer Wolfgang Priklopil, then 35, who shut her in an underground room for the next 3,096 days. During her captivity, Kampusch was barely fed and regularly raped.
But on August 23, 2006, she managed to escape. That same evening, Priklopil killed himself.
The older Kampusch is played by Antonia Campbell-Hughes while Danish Thure Lindhardt is brilliant as Priklopil.
Kampusch, who has given interviews about her experience and has written a book on which the movie is based, said the film is “very authentic” and “comes very close to what I experienced.”
"Lots of things changed after the book but I think that the movie brings a whole new dimension into play," she said.
She hopes the film will shed light on the ordeal she went through.
"Maybe lots of people who haven't believed me until now, or who have trivialised the whole thing, will see things differently after seeing the film."
DreamWorks marks $87 M write-down on ‘Rise of the Guardians’
Last February 26, DreamWorks Animation announced an $87 million write-down on the holiday season animated blockbuster "Rise of the Guardians."
A write-down is a reduction in the book value of an asset, in this case, a film.
The write-down was part of a $165 million charge reported in year-end 2012 financial results, which included a 4th quarter loss of $82.7 million and a 12-month net loss of $36.4 million, on revenue of $749.8 million.
These heavy losses incurred by the animated film have taught DreamWorks a lesson.
"While 'Rise of the Guardians' did not achieve the level of box office success that we have come to expect from a DreamWorks Animation film, we have made several changes to our future slate that we believe will position us well for the next 2 years," said DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg.
"We are now looking ahead to our next release—and our first under our new distribution agreement with Twentieth Century Fox -- 'The Croods' on March 22, 2013," he added.
“Rise of the Guardians,” which opened in November, is about a swashbuckling Santa Claus teaming up with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to save the world from the Boogeyman.
It features the voices of actors Alec Baldwin, Jude Law and Hugh Jackman. - With reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com