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Sony Pictures CEO says had no choice but to pull 'The Interview'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Describing the lonely work of leading a company through a devastating cyberattack, Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton on Friday said the Hollywood studio did not make a mistake in pulling satirical film "The Interview."

Sony's Michael Lynton Defends Studio: "We Have Not Caved"

"We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered"

Sony Fires Back at Obama: "We Had No Choice" But to Cancel 'The Interview' Release

The president earlier made remarks critical of the studio's decision-making

Obama mocks absurd plot twist of cyber attack on Sony

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Faced with the most destructive cyber attack of a company on U.S. soil, President Barack Obama resorted to humor to explain an absurd plot that even Hollywood did not see coming.

Protesters from both sides of policing controversy face off in NYC

By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scores of protesters denouncing police violence against non-whites rallied alongside dozens of supporters of New York City police officers on Friday in a tense standoff outside City Hall that comes amid weeks of mostly peaceful protests. It was one of the first counter-rallies by police supporters since the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black man killed when officers were attempting to arrest him in July. The killing set off a wave of protests against the treatment of minority groups by police. ...

Obama vows U.S. response to North Korea

Obama vows response to North Korea over Sony cyber attack President Barack Obama vowed that the United States will respond to the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on the North Korean government. Obama said the cyber attack "caused a lot of damage" to Sony but that he believed the company made a mistake in canceling the release of "The Interview," a comedy portraying the assassination of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. "We will respond," Obama told an end-of-year news conference. ...


Lawmaker wants investigation of St. Louis prosecutor

Prosecutor: Some Ferguson witnesses clearly lied ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis County prosecutor who convened the grand jury that investigated the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown says some witnesses before the panel obviously lied under oath.


Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children

8 children killed, mother stabbed, in Australia SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home.


Friend of accused Boston bomber pleads guilty to gun, drug charges

Hayden, defense attorney for Matanov who is accused of lying to federal investigators about his ties to accused Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, talks to reporters following Matanov's arraignment in federal court By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - A high school friend of the accused Boston Marathon bombers pleaded guilty on Friday to charges including having possessed a gun that prosecutors contend the suspects used to shoot dead a university police officer as they tried to flee the city. Stephen Silva, 21, changed his plea from not guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston after reaching a deal with federal prosecutors that was filed under seal. ...


Barbara Scrivner’s long journey to clemency

Barbara Scrivner Twenty years into her three-decade sentence for selling small amounts of meth, President Barack Obama had decided to let Scrivner out of prison, her lawyer told her in a brief and emotional phone call. She started to cry.


Obama says U.S. blacks better off overall than when he began presidency

U.S. President Barack Obama reponds to a question during his end of the year press conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday that U.S. blacks are better off now than they were when he began his presidency in 2009, but that the gap between blacks and whites remains. "Like the rest of America, Black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office," he told reporters in an end-of-year news conference. "The gap between income and wealth of white and black America persists, and we've got more work to do on that front. ...


'A human being gripped by a severe mental illness'

James Holmes sits in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial James Holmes's parents are pleading for him to be spared the death penalty.


Hackers' latest message to Sony

Hackers tell Sony wise to cancel film, don't make more trouble: CNN WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The hackers who launched a cyberattack on Sony Pictures praised the company's decision to cancel the release of "The Interview" and said its data will be secure if they continue to comply, CNN reported on Friday, quoting the message.


Painting sells for staggering sum

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich. (AP) — The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House kept secret its 2013 sale of an oil painting by French post-impressionist Paul Cezanne to a private buyer for $100 million to help protect Detroit-owned artworks under threat due to the city's bankruptcy.


Meet the Bros. Dardenne, Belgium's National Treasures Behind 'Two Days, One Night'

The latest project from the two-time winners of Cannes' Palme d'Or is their first to center around an international star, the French Oscar winner Marion Cotillard

Palm Springs Film Fest: Oscar Hopeful 'Selma' to Open Academy-Favorite Gathering

Ava DuVernay's Golden Globe-nominated drama about Martin Luther King Jr. will kick things off Jan. 2, and 20 of 2014's top European films, including 11 Oscar submissions, will screen throughout the 10-day fest

Seth Meyers to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

Previous keynote speakers have included Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert.

Could Sony Have Released 'The Interview' If It Wanted?

Sony's Michael Lynton says he hasn't found a digital distributor willing to take on the movie

Michael Wolff: 8 Hollywood Predictions for 2015

Comcast will offload NBCUniversal, Facebook will air TV shows (even sports) and Rupert Murdoch will "retire" as TV becomes a three-pronged business and digital brands decide channels are their way forward

Foreign Oscar Shortlist: Great Choices — and Horrible Headscratchers, as Usual (Analysis)

Following screenings from Jan. 9-11, the list of nine will be whittled down to just five by 10 members in New York, 20 in LA and, in a first, 10 in London, as well

Assange slams WikiLeaks film in letter to actor Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch attends a news conference for "The Fifth Estate" at the Toronto International Film Festival LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange penned an open letter to British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays Assange in an upcoming film, praising the actor's talents but slamming his involvement with the film and turning down the actor's invitation to meet in person. Assange, who is currently holed up at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, wrote a letter to Cumberbatch dated January 15, 2013, that was published on Wednesday on the anti-secrecy website ahead of the October 18 theatrical release of Walt Disney Co's DreamWorks film "The Fifth Estate. ...


'Captain Phillips' star Abdi finds a risk worth taking in debut

Somali actor Barkhad Abdi poses for a portrait during a media publicity event for the film "Captain Phillips" in Los Angeles in this file photo By Eric Kelsey BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - Barkhad Abdi, a tall wisp of a man with a narrow face and a wide grin, sat on the sofa in his hotel suite with one eye on the television and another on a view of the Hollywood Hills. The 28-year-old Somali-American, who had worked the past year at his brother's mobile phone store in Minneapolis, could hardly have called himself an actor when he began production in British director Paul Greengrass' thriller "Captain Phillips. ...


Reality TV stars Kris and Bruce Jenner say they have separated

Jenner presents outstanding talk show host award during 40th Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kardashian reality television family matriarch Kris Jenner and Olympic gold medal athlete Bruce Jenner have separated, the couple said in a joint statement to celebrity outlet E! News on Tuesday. The couple were married in 1991 and have two teenage daughters, Kendall and Kylie, who appear on the Kardashian reality TV programs. "We are living separately and we are much happier this way," the Jenners told E! in a statement. Kris Jenner's office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. ...


Reality TV stars Kris and Bruce Jenner say they have separated

Jenner presents outstanding talk show host award during 40th Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kardashian reality television family matriarch Kris Jenner and Olympic gold medal athlete Bruce Jenner have separated, the couple said in a joint statement to celebrity outlet E! News on Tuesday. The couple were married in 1991 and have two teenage daughters, Kendall and Kylie, who appear on the Kardashian reality TV programs. "We are living separately and we are much happier this way," the Jenners told E! in a statement. Kris Jenner's office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. ...


France bows to stage director Patrice Chereau, dead at 68

French director Patrice Chereau attends a photocall in Venice. By Tom Heneghan PARIS (Reuters) - The French theatre, opera and film director Patrice Chereau, who mounted one of the most famous productions of Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle in Bayreuth in the 1970s, has died at the age of 68. Chereau, who was preparing a production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" when he succumbed to lung cancer, was a restless innovator who began directing at high school in Paris and never looked back. ...


Lebanon bans two films in setback for tolerant image

By Stephen Kalin BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon has banned the screening of a film about homosexuality and another on short-term "pleasure marriages" practiced in some Muslim communities, in a blow to its reputation as a bastion of tolerance in a deeply conservative region. The films, which had been due to be shown at the Beirut International Film Festival that opened last week, were blocked by a government censorship committee, festival organizers said. ...

Scarlett Johansson again named 'sexiest woman alive' by Esquire

Johansson poses at the premiere of the movie "Iron Man 2" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood (Reuters) - American actress Scarlett Johansson has been named the sexiest woman alive for the second time by Esquire, the men's lifestyle magazine said on Monday. "The Avengers" star was named sexiest woman in 2006 and is the only woman to have been given the title twice by the publication. The annual recipient of the title is chosen by Esquire editors. Husky-voiced Johansson, who rose to prominence as a teenager in the 2001 cult film "Ghost World," stars in three films this fall. ...


Lebanon bans two films in setback for tolerant image

By Stephen Kalin BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon has banned the screening of a film about homosexuality and another on short-term "pleasure marriages" practiced in some Muslim communities, in a blow to its reputation as a bastion of tolerance in a deeply conservative region. The films, which had been due to be shown at the Beirut International Film Festival that opened last week, were blocked by a government censorship committee, festival organizers said. ...

Britain's 'kitchen sink' cinema finds dark new twist

By Patrick Graham LONDON (Reuters) - British director Paul Wright's new film "For Those in Peril" pans across a dour Scottish coastal town where madness, tragedy and a feared sea monster lurk close beneath the surface. It's a dark tale, typical of a new generation of filmmakers like this year's Oscar hopeful Steve McQueen, who are taking Britain's tradition of gritty "kitchen sink" cinema in a stark and sometimes strange direction. ...

'Breaking Bad' teacher-turned-druglord gets obit in Albuquerque newspaper

Actor Bryan Cranston from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with his award for Outstanding Drama Series By Laila Kearney (Reuters) - Fans mourning the loss of the gritty drug drama "Breaking Bad" and its main character, chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin Walter White, memorialized the fictitious druglord on Friday with a real obituary in an Albuquerque newspaper. Members of the Facebook page "Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour" and local high school science teacher David Layman, who appeared as an extra in the show's pilot, purchased advertising space for the 87-word tribute in the Albuquerque Journal, the newspaper reported. ...


CBS gives 'Late Show' host David Letterman two-year extension

TV talk show host David Letterman is pictured on the balcony at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington (Reuters) - U.S. television network CBS has extended its contract with late night talk show host David Letterman through 2015. Letterman's "Late Show with David Letterman has earned nine Emmy Awards during the 20 years it has aired on the broadcast network, a unit of CBS Corp. "There is only one Dave, and we are extremely proud that he continues to call CBS 'home,'" Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp president and chief executive, said in a statement on Friday. ...


U.S. TV networks tout video on-demand for catch-up viewing

File photo of televisions on display at a Sears store in Schaumburg, Illinois, near Chicago By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The morning after a new episode of the drama "Sleepy Hollow" airs on the Fox broadcast network, a message on the show's Facebook page encourages viewers to catch up with the show by clicking on their cable operator's video on demand service. Fox and other networks are firing up marketing efforts to steer audiences who miss live episodes to free on-demand viewing. As the new television season gets underway, they are putting promotional spots for video on demand, or VOD, in prime time, on their web pages, and on social media. ...


NBC reality TV show to send winner to space with Virgin Galactic

Producer Mark Burnett accepts the award for Outstanding Reality - Competition Program for "The Voice" at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles By Irene Klotz HOUSTON (Reuters) - After a decade of casting around for a space-themed show, reality TV producer Mark Burnett has finally found a way to launch his dream. On Thursday, Burnett, creator of "Survivor" and "The Voice" unveiled a partnership with Virgin Galactic, a U.S. offshoot of Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Group, for a TV series that will send someone to space. ...


ESPN to drop International X Games competitions, cut jobs

By Liana B. Baker (Reuters) - ESPN said on Thursday it will end the international versions of its X Games extreme sports competitions because it could not make money on the events, which feature skateboarding and other sports. The sports cable network owned by Walt Disney Co will be cutting an unspecified number of jobs related to the International X Games, which took place in cities including Barcelona, Munich, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and Tignes, France. The International X Games had been broadcast on ESPN's flagship U.S. channel and its sister network, ESPN 2. ...

Home of British film launches online player

By Paul Casciato LONDON (Reuters) - The British Film Institute plans to launch a digital service this month offering access to one of the world's richest movie collections stretching from rare Edwardian footage to contemporary cinema. Founded 80 years ago, the BFI will introduce its BFI Player on October 9 to a rapidly growing video-on-demand (VOD) market worth some 243 million pounds ($393.75 million) in Britain in 2012. "I think this is our most important moment since I've been here," BFI Chairman Greg Dyke told Reuters on Wednesday. ...

In thriller 'Runner Runner,' Timberlake, Affleck explore gambling's underside

Actor Timberlake watches Nadal of Spain face Djokovic of Serbia in the men's final match at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York By Sue Zeidler LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The dark and murky world of online gambling comes alive in new film "Runner Runner," a thriller exploring the depths of greed starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck. Writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman, who penned the 1998 gambling drama "Rounders," return to the poker world with "Runner Runner," out in U.S. theaters on Friday. While gambling is a core theme, the writers said they were inspired by the behaviors and motivations of shady operators from many other industries as well. "We never set out to intentionally hit a topic. ...


'Raging Bull' copyright fight headed for U.S. Supreme Court

Robert DeNiro arrives to the 25th anniversary screening of the film 'Raging Bull,' in New York, January 27, 2005. DeNiro played boxer Jake LaMotta in the film. REUTERS/Chip East CME By Lawrence Hurley and Erin Geiger Smith WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emotionally raw boxing movie "Raging Bull" may have come out 33 years ago, but a copyright fight over an early screenplay has found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court on Tuesday agreed to take up the case brought by Paula Petrella, daughter of the deceased screenwriter Frank Petrella. She says MGM Holdings Inc and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment have infringed the copyright of a 1963 screenplay upon which she alleges 1980 movie was based. ...


'Mad Men' star Hamm ditches suave for macabre in 'Young Doctor'

Actor Jon Hamm of the TV drama "Mad Men" arrives at the 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jon Hamm's new TV role takes him far from the stylish 1960s Madison Avenue setting of "Mad Men" to a dreary, isolated and bloody hospital in a small Russian village during the 1917 revolution. The backdrop for "A Young Doctor's Notebook," a four-episode series that makes its U.S. debut on Wednesday on the Ovation cable network, is not a typical one for television, and the show does not fit neatly into a particular genre. Hamm said he liked the project for both of those reasons. "It's dark, and yet it's quite comic," Hamm told Reuters. ...


Born to Bollywood royalty, Ranbir Kapoor makes new film a family affair

Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor poses for a portrait while doing interviews regarding his new film Besharam in New York By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor is one of Indian cinema's most bankable young stars, and his latest film, "Besharam," which also stars his parents, is set to become one of the most widely released Bollywood films worldwide. Kapoor, a member of India's "first family of film" and the grandson of veteran Bollywood director Raj Kapoor, plays a charming but vulgar car thief in the Hindi-language action comedy that opens on Wednesday in 4,700 cinemas internationally, including 210 in the United States. ...


'Gravity' highlights personal adversity in deep space journey

Actress Sandra Bullock attends a news conference for the film "Gravity" at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Watching an astronaut tumbling into the void of deep space might make a mere mortal's own adversities seem rather small. But "Gravity," a drama starring Sandra Bullock and showing in U.S. theaters on Friday, was born out of the setbacks suffered by one man in the midst of the last recession: its director and co-writer, Alfonso Cuaron. The Mexican filmmaker had already achieved international success with films like "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in 2004 and "Children of Men" in 2006. ...


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