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Posts Tagged ‘controversial’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

This Monday, Tim Burton, along with French actress Marion Cotillard, was awarded with a very high honor among the French entertainment industry. He was added to France’s cultural honor roll, which the director is very proud of.

During a ceremony in Paris, Burton was given a medallion and made an official officer in France’s National Order of Arts and Letters. This couldn’t come at a better time for the quirky movie afficionado. With his latest release of Alice in Wonderland, he’s got millions of fans eating out of his hands.

The Associated Press reported the following statements made by Burton about the high honor: 

“From the beginning of my career, I always felt a very special place in my heart (for) France,” he told the crowd of journalists and fans. “Because whether or not you liked the movies, I always felt that the French were looking for the poetry, looking for the meaning, looking for the things I was trying to do.

“France has such a special place in my heart and I feel much more at home here than I do in my own country, and I always have,” he said, adding: “I thank you very much.”

That last comment has brought some controversy to people from the United States, but we’ll let that slide here. Come on, let the guy enjoy his honor!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

One of the latest Oscar winners is causing quite a stir in Japan. The film that won for best documentary, The Cove, is among the controversy.

To give you a little update if you haven’t seen the film, it is about a hard nosed group of fishermen in Taiji, Japan who hunt dolphins both for their meat and for their entertainment value. The documentary shows images that many viewers may have a hard time watching, as the hunting style of the villagers is very gruesome.

According to the Associated Press, the small town has been hunting dolphins and whales since the early 1600s. The people of the town look at it as a part of their culture, while the rest of the world scorns them for doing so. As a result, they feel they are being discriminated against.

Few people knew about the dolphin hunting industry before it was brought to light in this Hollywood documentary. Now that the film has won an Oscar, even more people are in an uproar to have the dolphin hunting stopped. Even so, the fishermen from the town say they refuse to stop.

Because of the film’s popularity, a television series version will premiere on Animal Planet later this year. Also, the politics continue…the makers of the film, have very recently busted a Los Angeles sushi restaurant for serving whale meat to its patrons, which is illegal. And, as always, PETA is in an uproar.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

The Harry Potter series has been one of the most talked about and read series of our recent times. It not only appeals to a younger audience, but has also been known to attract an older age bracket as well. Author J.K. Rowling went from rags to riches when the first book was released, and the success of her novels has brought her much fame. But now, she is being accused of plagiarizing the familiar children’s novels.

J.K. Rowling poses with one of her Harry Potter books.

To get you up to speed, there is similar book entitled The Adventure of Willy the Wizard, which was written by Adrian Jacobs back in 1987. The author of this book is claiming that Rowling took many ideas and large chunks of the book and then included it as a part of her Harry Potter series.

The sections of the book that Jacobs is claiming were plagiarized are wizard contests and wizards traveling on trains. It is true that these things are also present in Harry Potter, but could Rowling really have taken them from Jacob’s book? It seems a little fishy.

According to Reuters, Rowling made the following statements about the accusations: 

“I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry,” Rowling, 44, said in a statement.

“The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author’s estate in 2004; I have certainly never read the book.”

“The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd and I am disappointed that I, and my UK publisher Bloomsbury, are put in a position to have to defend ourselves.”

“We will be applying to the court immediately for a ruling that the claim is without merit and should therefore be dismissed without delay.”

Whatever the outcome of this case, there is no denying that the Harry Potter series has brought much joy to its readers. Fans of the books have been standing up for the author since the claims were made.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

On Friday, NBC permiered a recreation of the infamous ‘We Are the World’ video during the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics. The new version of the 1985 performance showcased some 85 artists, all singing for charity because of the recent earthquake in Haiti.

The video is interspersed with actual footage from Haiti and footage of the artists recording the song. I think the footage from Haiti is perhaps the most touching aspect of this whole project. It shows children and their parents coming together, shots from the wreckage, and a positive vibe coming from the people of the affected area.

Some of the arists participating in this musical statement are Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean, Usher, Kanye West, Pink, and even Jeff Bridges. Michael Jackson, who participated in the original ‘We Are the World’ performance, was also thrown into the mix, with clips of him singing and sister Janet Jackson singing along to his part.

Check out the video:

Despite all the positive messages it is sending, there has been much controversy surrounding this performance. Many fans argue that a recreation should not have been necessary and that there is no way to top the original video. Either way, it is a very stunning, touching tribute that has meant a lot to the victims of the Haiti earthquake and their families.

The only negative thing I can say is…why the rap in the middle? It kind of ruins the vibe a little. Don’t get me wrong, Snoop Dogg has every right to participate in this, but it sort of cheapens the performance.

Your thoughts?

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Yesterday, I finished reading a book that can only be described as disappointing for me. The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy is one of those books that I can certainly see the merit for, but can’t fully grasp.

After reading Conroy’s latest novel, South of Broad, I was intrigued to go furthur with the author. His expertise in writing exceeded many authors I had read before and he really knew how to drag me into the story. As for The Water is Wide, I was only dragged slightly and tried to escape several times.

The book is a memoir. It’s a look back on a year’s worth of teaching Conroy did on a small island called Yamacraw. All the children he meets when he gets to the island are so cut off from the outside world that he must teach them simple things just to give them a broad understanding of life. Some of the children don’t even know how to read; many cannot write.

Throughout the book, there are a lot of political issues that arise between the schoolboard officials, Conroy, and the other parents and teachers on the island. In fact, I’d say most of the book deals with those issues. Of course, one of the main areas of focus is the racial difference between whites and blacks. At first, most of the parents and teachers on the island are leary of a white schoolteacher, but then they eventually grow comfortable with Conroy.

I wished he would have spent more time on his dealings with the students instead of the political situation on the island. The occasions that he did talk about the children were too few, but very entertaining. Over the course of his year there, he was able to take the children off the island at least three times and expose them to the world. It was interesting to hear about their reactions.

Overall, this book is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to be a teacher. I can understand why so many college professors often use this book in their classes. It gives you a different view of teaching, lent to the fact that Conroy taught in such an extreme environment with children who had no previous exposure to much of the real world.

But as for me, it was too longwinded. Maybe the next Conroy novel I read will be better?

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Okay, so I know I am way behind everyone else on this one, but I thought I’d give you my review anyway. I recently finished reading Tucker Max’s book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

Throughout the book, I felt the urge to vomit, cry, and laugh all at the same time. I’m sure that’s probably what Max aims to get from his readers, but I’m not so sure I felt those emotions in such a positive way. Here are my thoughts…

This guy isn't even remotely attractive.

Tucker Max is an asshole. It is a statement that he makes throughout the book and is even the first thing you see when you visit his website. The things he says to girls to make them feel bad are atrocious and it’s no wonder why so many fellow college asshole young americans have clung to this book like their own personal bible. Max gives them new material for when they go out drinking.

The book is filled with Max’s nonsensical stories about times he had sex with girls and did horrible things to them, like vomiting beneath someone’s bed and then blaming it on the dog. Stories about Max making fun of overweight girls run rampant though the book. There are plenty of fart and poop stories, too, just in case you didn’t get enough of those in grammar school.

Perhaps the most offensive parts of this book were the terms he used to refer to women. Let me relay some of those to you: for the slightly overweight ladies — wildebeest, chunker, rhino, fatty. For every day random girls — bitch, whore, etc. And the most disgusting one of all — a receptacle for his ejaculate.

But here’s one of my problems. If you read a lot of books, it’s supposed to make you at least slightly smarter and worldy. After finishing each chapter of this book, I felt dumber. Seriously, I had to force myself to keep reading because I don’t like to give up on books that easily. Mainly, I was just grossed out.

 Also, I’m having a hard time understanding why women seem to be throwing themselves at this guy. Maybe they just like to be treated like shit or maybe it’s just creative writing.

The kicker? In September 2010, Max will be releasing a sequel to his trashy first novel called Assholes Finish First. Great.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Even though the movie Bruno came out a few months ago, I have just had the displeasure of seeing it recently. I say displeasure because, well, it was awful…and I completely understand why it was banned in several countries.

Sacha Baron Cohen is hilarious. I love the sick and twisted humor he brought in his two earlier movies, Ali G Indahouse and Borat. But I think that perhaps he went a little overboard in Bruno. I don’t know too many people who can handle watching two men have sex, let alone watching one of them being catapulted into the other one’s bum.

I’ve watched Bruno’s character on the Ali G show many times and was highly amused, but I’m rethinking that now. He’s good in small doses, but when you have to sit through an hour and a half of his nonsense, things can get a little old. Throughout the movie, I kept getting progressively more annoyed at his character. I even tried to watch some of the extra features at the end, but then sourly gave up.

As far as the actual plot of the movie goes, it’s pretty much the same as Borat. A foreign celebrity travels to America to become famous. He meets all different kinds of people and makes a huge ass out of himself in the process. He deeply offends costars and audience members. Yep, sounds like the same plot line to me.

It’s also amusing that Bruno is following in the footsteps of Borat in that Cohen has been sued. According to the Wall Street Journal, ‘Ayman Abu Aita filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia federal court last week against Cohen, talk show host David Letterman and others for slander and libel. Abu Aita is seeking $110 million dollars in damages after Cohen appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and spoke about finding and meeting a terrorist in a secret location. Cohen’s film “Bruno” identified Aita as a ”terrorist group leader al-aqsa martyrs brigade,” which Aita says isn’t true.’

So, to conclude…if you are in any way offended by homosexuality, don’t see this movie. Perhaps if you’re one of those sick individuals with a twisted sense of humor, you might enjoy. As for me, I’m saying “No thanks, Bruno.”

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