Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
THE BBC has long eyed up ITV’s pop-cultural weight with envy. ITV has The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. The BBC have got the rather stuffy Later… with Jools Holland and the even stuffier Strictly Come Dancing.
One big hitter in the TV calendar is ITV’s coverage of the Brit Awards and now, trying to muscle in, the Beeb are launching a rival to it, which will no doubt be like the musical equivalent of the incredibly dry Sports Personality of the Year.
RIP Casey Kasem. You were the great radio DJ who counted down the Top 40.
FACE if the week was US actress Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, hugging Neema Namadamu of the Democratic Republic of Congo at the ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ summit in London.
All noble. And all a bit weird. The UN and Jolie are a roving awards dinner.
This is Jolie, who when she’s not shooting people in Mr And Mrs Smith is the holder of, among other titles, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) Freedom Award, a gong previously awards to the likes of Willy Brandt, Winston Churchill and Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2003, the UN created the U.N. Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award and gave it to Jolie. In 2005, the UN refugee agency Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie was given the Global Humanitarian Action Award. It was the first of its kind.
PRESENTING BBC man Alan Yentob being amazed by Ray Davies’ listed pear tree.
Spotter: Andy Dawson @profanityswan
LEST we forget:
A temporary English Heritage style blue plaque in Hammersmith, west London, dedicated to the comic actor Rik Mayall who died yesterday, the QR code on the plaque links to a Youtube clip showing the opening scene of the comedy series ‘Bottom’ that was filmed in Hammersmith.
It’s what he would have wanted…
\IF you work in the music industry, or know someone who works in the biz, you’ll inevitably have hundreds of anecdotes about Morrissey’s behaviour, all them which will result in some kind of libel from the longest face in music.
However, it seems that Moz doesn’t mind making accusations about other people at all, which he did while cancelling all his dates on his American tour.
Morrissey postponed dates in Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington, but how now sacked off the rest of his schedule because he’s a bit poorly.
THE Daily Mail is read by women who enjoy disliking other women.
In today’s newspaper, readers are treated to a banner declaring “How women’s bodies have ballooned since the 1950s”.
Ballooned is not a word associated with praise, is it? A balloon is…
an inflatable bag (as of rubber or plastic) usually used as a toy or for decoration
That’s women for you.
And below that appraisal of the female form, the Mail has a photo of JK Rowling, the Harry Potter writer. Eyes wander to her bosoms, or “air bags”, as the Mail would have them.
RICHARD Dunn responded to being locked inside a Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport by filming his version of Celine Dion’s 1996 hit All By Myself - a song best played and sung well away from any other sane human being.
THE political hot-tatty that is Scottish Independence has seen most people thinking ‘it doesn’t really matter whether Scotland would be better off independent, they’ll probably vote ‘Yes’ just to get away from the Tories and UKIP’.
Comedian Limmy is a huge vocal support of independence. So is Kevin Bridges, Alan Cumming, Sean Connery and actor Brian Cox. David Bowie and Alex Ferguson aren’t keen on the idea.
Billy Connolly says he’s staying out of it.
IT is remarkable that Rik Mayall, who sadly passed away yesterday, was so loved, considering the small matter of his solely playing really horrible people. Somehow, he retained a certain warmth while being slimy, obnoxious and pervy.
Such is the love, that fans have kicked off some campaigns to honour him.
THE World Cup is days away and fully grown adults are trying not to vomit with excitement about it all. Women and men everywhere are only half listening to conversations and forgetting to chew their food before swallowing, thanks to the impending cavalcade of football in Brazil.
Of course, the World Cup is big business. Non-football fans will be bitching and whining on social media, talking about how desperately unfair it all is even though they could go to a pub which isn’t showing the football, or go for a walk which isn’t football related or, indeed, look at everything that isn’t football related on the internet, listen to music, watch the numerous TV channels that are showing Not Football and do something else in this gigantic universe that we have, along with all those other people who don’t like football.
However, you can have it both ways – just ask Jennifer Lopez.
THERE was a time when Guns N’ Roses were the perfect, pompous ragtag gaggle of panto rock villains, waddling around giganto-stages and blasting out ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ while smoking fags and drinking booze from the bottle.
Then, like all good enormous rock bands, they cocked it all up with drugs and in-fighting.
ONE of the most brilliant comedians of his generation, Rik Mayall has died.
Mayall, of course, was in his element when playing utterly obnoxious characters. The most famous of his irritating personas was the poetry-writing, Cliff Richard-loving anarchist Rick in The Young Ones, along with Ade Edmondson, who both went on to becoming the arseholes in Bottom.
Gwyneth Paltrow Shouts At Rice And Urinates On Hilary Clinton’s Happy Teddy: The Greatest Celebrity News Story Of All Time
THIS might be the greatest celebrity news story of all time:
It is not a work of parody, unless Paltrow is, for she wrote on her blog:
“I am fascinated by the growing science behind the energy of consciousness and its effects on matter. I have long had Dr Emoto’s coffee table book on how negativity changes the structure of water, how the molecules behave differently depending on the words or music being expressed around it.”
RIDLEY Scott’s Alien (1979) dramatically altered the template for horror films set in outer space. For example, the blockbuster film was among the first (after Dark Star  to suggest that travel in the final frontier would be the purview of “work-a-day” space truckers rather than noble explorers or adventurous astronauts.
And instead of intrepid space travelers fighting men-in-rubber suits inside idealized white-on-white space station environs (as was the case in The Green Slime ) Alien suggested a technological space age marked by endless industrial corridors and aliens of constantly shifting dimension.
The Scott film’s central alien — a bio-mechanoid horror created by H.R. Giger — could also gestate inside a living human host, and this fact ushered in a new era of cinematic “body horror.”
As with any genre blockbuster, Alien almost immediately spawned a host of knock-offs, some terrible and some quite good. These films found much material to imitate and emulate, from the diverse make-up of Alien’s victim pool, to bloody variations on Alien’s famous chest-burster birth scene. Many Alien knock-off films also involved long forgotten derelicts or other structures on alien planetary surfaces, for instance. Inevitably, human crews would discover these Lovecraftian edifices and wake up age-old horrors.
Among the Alien knock-offs of the 1980s were Scared to Death (1981), Forbidden World (1982), The Beast Within (1982), Parasite (1982), The Being (1983), and Biohazard (1985), to name just a handful.
The list below represents five of the best — or at least the most memorable– of the Alien knock-off breed. As is often the case regarding knock-offs, the best such films are invariably those that re-purpose not merely the clichés from one source – in this case — Alien — but also from other literary or cinematic works as well.
Saturn 3 (1980)
The story of a psychotic mad scientist, Captain Benson (Harvey Keitel) who travels to the Experimental Food Research Station on a moon of Saturn during a twenty-two day eclipse and communications black-out called “Shadow Lock,” the much-reviled Saturn 3 might actually be considered, first-and-foremost, a child of the Frankenstein story.
On remote Saturn 3, Benson assists two scientists working to alleviate a famine on overpopulated planet Earth. Major Adam (Kirk Douglas) and his romantic partner, the beautiful and innocent Alex (Farrah Fawcett) are wary, however, of Benson’s form of help: a colossal humanoid robot named Hector, the first of the “Demi God” series. Hector boasts human intelligence, not to mention human tissue. And echoing his creator’s madness, he soon begins lusting mightily after Alex.
Outside the space-age Frankenstein monster tropes, Saturn 3, like Alien, is set in a location where aid and assistance from the authorities is not available. Similarly, Earth in both films is depicted as a used-up dystopia. In Alien, “the company” controls everything on Earth, and in Saturn 3, humans have polluted the planet and resorted to rampant drug use because of the planet’s inhospitable nature.
Hector stands in for the titular alien, as well, and hunts down the film’s Adam and Eve-styled protagonists in the facility’s twisting factory-like corridors.
Finally, in Scott’s film, the Alien is almost entirely a creature of instinct, driven by impulses to reproduce and survive. In Saturn 3, by contrast, the monster is a machine that experiences something “human” beyond programming: psychosis and lust. Hector is ultimately beaten, however, because as a machine he can’t understand the human concept of self-sacrifice.
Galaxy of Terror (1981)
Aliens (1986) director James Cameron served as a production designer on this knock-off from Roger Corman’s New World Studios, and in the process created a universe that is very reminiscent of the Scott film, at least from a visual stand-point. Like Alien, Galaxy of Terror is set in a “lived in” universe (unlike, say the white-on-white minimalism of 2001: A Space Odyssey  or Space: 1999 [1975 - 1977].)
In Galaxy of Terror, a rescue ship, The Quest, heads to the mysterious planet called Morganthus to discover the fate of the Remus, another ship which crashed there. Once on the surface of dark Morganthus, however, the Quest crew discovers a strange alien pyramid. Soon, the crew — including characters played by Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Grace Zabriskie, and Erin Moran — begins to experience their worst fears made manifest.
In this case — if the plot summary hasn’t given it away already — Galaxy of Terror draws inspiration not only from Alien, but from Forbidden Planet (1956), a film in which another rescue mission (to Altair-4) runs afoul of a “Monster from the Id,” actually the human subconscious. That’s pretty much the case here, only with slimy monsters, doppelgangers, and a scene involving a rape by a giant alien worm.
The alien pyramid in Galaxy of Terror looks like it could have been constructed on Alien’s LV-426, and the slate gray sky above it even looks eerily similar. More trenchantly, perhaps, Galaxy of Terror’s rape scene also reflects the violent sexuality seen in Alien, the harsh re-purposing of the human body for unwholesome breeding purposes.
Also known as Horror Planet, Inseminoid is probably the schlockiest film on this list. The film stars Judy Geeson, Stephanie Beacham and Victoria Tennant as astronaut scientists, and involves the discovery of an ancient alien tomb on a far distant planet.
Before long, one astronaut, Sandy (Geeson), is impregnated by the last living alien in the tomb, and becomes the protective expectant mother of two ghastly alien twins. Her maternal instinct is re-purposed to serve an interloper’s biological imperative.
And just as Kane in Alien gives birth to the chest-burster, here Geeson gives birth to two monstrous tykes who — naturally — nurse on human blood.
Inseminoid’s central conceit is that everything on this distant alien world is “doubled.” The planet orbits twin stars, and the alien mythology is obsessed with twins, and so forth.
Although lacking tact (especially in the flashbacks to Sandy’s impregnation), Inseminoid occasionally features a beautifully composed shot, such as one on the purple surface of the distant planet during a funeral. There was also a funeral (for Kane) in Alien, but this shot of an alien vista grants the hororr film a nice sense of scope and also a visceral sense of place.
Like Alien, Inseminoid also concerns an alien species that co-opts the human race for its own reproductive requirements. Here, the aliens suckle on the (open) wounds of dead humans, and Sandy herself becomes a bit blood-thirsty as her biology is altered to play host to most unwelcome invaders.
A corporate spaceship, the Shenandoah, sets down on Titan to investigate an ancient alien archaeological site. The Shenandoah’s mission is imperiled, however, by the arrival of a ship from a competing corporation, Richter Dynamics, and the presence of its freakazoid captain, played by a scenery-chewing Klaus Kinski.
Before long, the rival crews learn that the archaeological site was actually something akin to an alien zoo or laboratory: a collection of diverse aliens from all over the universe. Unfortunately, one managed to break free from its captivity and is now attacking and brainwashing human beings…
Creature — while ripping off Alien lock, stock and barrel — also offers a number of notable fan touches. The film’s Ripley equivalent is Beth Sladen (Wendy Schaal), and her name seems like a nod to Elisabeth Sladen, who accompanied Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who on several dangerous adventures in space in TV serials such as “Ark in Space” and “Planet of Evil.” The film also quotes dialogue directly from — again – Forbidden Planet.
Additionally, the key to destroying the unleashed zoo specimen in Creature is Sladen’s knowledge of Howard Hawks’ The Thing (1951). She remembers that — in the movie’s last act — the imperiled humans electrocuted an invading alien.
These and other tributes assure that Creature can be contextualized as more than mere Alien knock-off.
Finally, Creature also revives the “corporate” culture social critique underlying the Scott film. In this case, the rival spaceships are involved in what the film’s dialogue calls “a fierce race for commercial supremacy.”
Even in space — with drooling, brainwashing aliens out and about — the ultimate enemy is…big business.
John McTiernan’s 1987 adventure/horror movie is actually part-Rambo (1985) and part-Aliens (1986), and is the best film on this list, by far. Still, much of its energy seems derived from the Alien aesthetic.
Here, we get the remote location (a jungle in Central America instead of outer space), an alien — with a similarly distinctive jaw-line — that cuts down one human at a time, and is a kind of alpha or apex predator.
The alien in Scott’s film was the ultimate survivor, able to breed and survive in any setting. The alien, by contrast, in Predator is the universe’s greatest hunter, a characterization that sets up a conflict with planet Earth’s greatest warrior, Dutch, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But the real commonality between Alien and Predator arises in a mid-story surprise and revelation of conspiracy. In Alien, the Nostromo’s science officer, Ash (Ian Holm), protects the alien all along, and considers the rest of the human crew “expendable,” on secret orders from the Company.
In Predator, Dillon (Carl Weathers), an ambitious military officer, uses the cover of a rescue mission to get Dutch’s men into a position where they can acquire important documents about “the enemy.” As in Alien, the soldiers serving under Dutch are thus considered “expendable.”
Neither Ripley nor Dutch respond well when they expose the secret conspiracy, and the conspirator. In Predator, however, Dillon gets a shot at redemption, and Ash gets…decapitated.
IN this week’s OK! magazine, we gain invaluable insight into the life of Cheryl Cole:
“The X Factor judge has admitted she had a vitamin injection in her bum — to help her cope with the revelation that ex-husband Ashley Cole had cheated.”
Just a little prick on your rosy bum….
IS there nothing celebrity cannot improve? The Sunderland Echo says Joey Essex is heading to the city to help with education and jobs:
It’s run by Gateshead Council LearningSkills. The Echo notes:
Organisers of the event say that, despite not having any higher education qualifications, Joey has shown that with hard work and dedication you don’t need great academic qualifications to succeed.
THE billboard advertising a new perfume from Rihanna has been banned for being too sexy. The ban makes you want to see it. And her it is. Rihanna is leaning back with her feet rested against a massive bottle of light pinky-brown stuff called ROGUE
THE phrase “Where’s my jetpack?” has become something of a collective outcry in recent years. Since the 1950s, we’ve been indoctrinated with visions of the future full of spaceships, time travel, instant food, laser guns, and best of all, dazzling sci-fi duds.
Instead, here we are in 2014 and things haven’t shaped up to that Utopian model at all. Sure, communication technologies have exceeded our expectations, but the “Jetsons” lifestyle still hasn’t arrived. Thanks to pop culture’s broken promises of delivering robot maids and whooshing Star Trek doors in a timely manner, we are all a little disappointed.
Here’s a list of sci-fi TV shows and movies and the dates they were supposed to take place. Some are reasonable… some way, way off the mark.
1. LAND OF THE GIANTS
Land of the Giants is set in 1983. This is one of the more blatant errors in calculation. Fancy tourist spaceships are still nowhere in sight, and we’re 31 years past the show’s setting.
The TV series UFO. was actually set in 1980. As you will recall, the SHADO facility was one of the grooviest places on earth. Everything was painted mod colors with babes in mini-skirts or unitards strolling the hallways… and there was Moonbase. Well, it’s 34 years past due, and still no purple haired Moonmaidens.
Anyone who watched Space:1999 knows the show should’ve been called Space:1976. Evidently, earth-toned velour track suits were in vogue on Moonbase Alpha.
4. LOGAN’S RUN
Logan’s Run is set in 2274. Even though it features teleportation devices, I guess it’s far enough away in time that I can go along with it.
5. BLADE RUNNER
Blade Runner is set in 2019. We officially have five years to go before we have to start worrying about those pesky replicants.
6. TOTAL RECALL
The year is 2084 in Total Recall. I was kind of hoping that virtual reality thing would come around a bit sooner. Although, the three-breasted mutant women and cars driven by Howdy Doody robots can wait.
7. FORBIDDEN PLANET
Forbidden Planet is set in the early 2200s. Can we reasonably expect interplanetary travel and Robbie the Robot in a couple hundred years? The “plastic educator”, a device capable of measuring and enhancing intellectual capacity, seems doable.
8. THE JETSONS
The original Jetsons was supposed to take place in 2062. If I could pick any science fiction universe to live in, it would be The Jetsons, without hesitation. Sure, you still had to work and deal with overbearing bosses (Mr. Spacely was a dick!), but it was more than compensated by the Utopian awesomeness of it all.
9. PLANET OF THE APES
The crew in Planet of the Apes left earth in 2006 in their spaceship traveling at near light speed. Spoiler alert: They crash landed on Earth in the year 3978.
10. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
The tag line for Escape from New York:
The year is 1997. The Big Apple is the world’s largest penitentiary. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking IN is INSANE.
The 1927 film Metropolis is set in 2026.
12. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
2001: A Space Odyssey was right on the money for a lot of things, but it overshot its wad on artificial intelligence and suspended animation.
Alien is set in 2122. Again, filmmakers have a tendency to underestimate the time it will take to develop this suspended animation thing. It’s the only feasible way to have interstellar space travel, so I understand their motives.
14. BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY
The Buck Rogers TV series is set in 2491. This show was overflowing with sci-fi tropes: lasers, spaceships, groovy fashions, and wisecracking robots. Since it’s still 477 years away, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
15. BACK TO THE FUTURE II
Back to the Future II is set in 2015. Only one more year until the hoverboard!
16. STAR TREK
The best method to avoid having your film or TV show woefully outdated may be to set it far beyond the present date like Dune, which is set thousands of years ahead. Or, opt for the Star Wars plan and have it set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But the best plan of all may have been Star Trek which used “Star Dates”, which kept the timeline purposefully ambiguous.
Sadly, that was all ruined by Star Trek: The Next Generation which was set in 2364, which allows us to extrapolate that the original series was about 100 years prior. This really blows the mystique and pisses me off…. what say you, Dr. Bones?