Everyone loves a weekend visit to Florence, but what everyone really wants is to live in Rome. Rome is a chaotic convergence of beauty, history, culture, and conflict. For nearly 3,000 years, the city has fostered an amazing roll of artists and architects, actors and scientists, poets and politicians, with just the necessary amount of humor to make the good, bad, and ugly practically perfect.
And within the last decade, Rome has worked to reinvent itself into a mecca for 21st-century culture and culinary delights, unveiling new contemporary museums, opening new restaurants, and renovating historic spaces. Its undeniable and best personality trait is independence, reflected in all its niche neighborhoods, like Testaccio, Monti, Trastevere, and even the historic center and Borgo. And for that, Rome embraces you like a small town. In other words, it’s a 21st-century capital city with a hometown vibe.
Population: 2.8 million.
Famous Faces: What more could you want than the pope and Francesco Totti? After that, everyone else is just an extra. Other fabulous Rome residents include fashion’s Fendi sisters, Gucci’s Frida Giannini, and Valentino. The silver screen’s Willem Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes, Raoul Bova, Gabriele Muccino, Sophia Loren, and Paolo Sorrentino also live here.
World-Class Art: While masterpieces and monuments may be on almost every corner, church, and piazza, Rome is definitely not stuck in the past. The city has an endless amount of museums, collections, and cultural sites covering a range of eras and genres from ancient to avant-garde. Off the bat, Rome has bragging rights to underground first-century houses, a chapel decorated by Michelangelo, a tiny villa by Raphael, a collection of Caravaggio paintings, and a 21st-century climbable monument by the Starn Brothers. Must-sees include the Vatican Museums, Capitoline Museums, and Palazzo Massimo. Contemporary art and architecture aficionados will want to walk through Richard Meier’s Museum of the Ara Pacis, Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI (21st-century art), and the neoclassical National Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery. And that’s just the beginning.
Popular Way to Get Around Town: Foot, taxi, and even public transportation are the most efficient, while the brave will opt for bikes and scooters.
Sleep Tight: With last year’s opening of the J.K. Place and Gran Meliá, Rome’s hotels have upped their game. The Hassler unleashed an amazing penthouse suite that rightfully boasts the best view of the city, while the always-desirable Hotel de Russie remains tops for its bonus concierge services and flawless style. I love the more intimate luxe of the Art Deco Palazzo Manfredi, plus its rooftop view of the Colosseum can’t be beat. My wallet adores the charming Locanda San Pancrazio.
Fashion Statement: Roman style is all about the three S’s — sunglasses, sparkles, and shoes, for men and women alike. Whatever the walk of life, Romans never leave home without good hair, pressed clothing, bright colors, and an outgoing personality.
Fabulous Food: Roman food is best known as cucina povera, a basic “poor” cuisine made from cooking staples and leftovers, giving us unforgettable caciopepe, amatriciana, and carbonara pastas that can be found in every trattoria and osteria. Over the years, the city has undergone a food revolution — slow food and street food make table appearances, while the city makes room for a galaxy of Michelin stars, including the three-star La Pergola, two two-stars, and 12 one-stars. My favorites are street-food pick-me-up Trapizzino, fritti from Cesare al Casaletto, and Pipero al Rex for a fabulous carbonara with a Michelin star.
Great Escapes: If you really think you need to leave Rome, hill towns like Tivoli and Frascati; lakes like Martignano and Bracciano; and beaches like Fregene, Maccarese, and Ostia are just a 30-to-45-minute escape. Most are reachable by local train or bus, but some require a car.
The Aperitivo Trail: In Rome, it’s an integral part of Roman daily life. Hotel de Russie’s garden bar is the prettiest location for afternoon aperitivi. If the weather is warm, you’ll want to head to a rooftop, and the best views and great drinks are from the hotel terraces of Dom and the American Bar at the Hotel Forum. For serious drinks, step into the tiny speakeasy Jerry Thomas Project, dressed-up dive bar Barnum (with Rome’s best bartender), and D.O.M.’s ground-floor bar, a sexy and intimate backdrop with amazing and expensive cocktails.
The Celluloid City: Florence has done okay but it does not match Rome’s status as one of the great film settings. Fellini showed off its never-a-dull moment nature in “La Dolce Vita” (1960), and Audrey Hepburn embodied its beauty in “Roman Holiday” (William Wyler, 1953). From comedic slice of life to picturesque period pieces, and ancient history to sci-fi and mystery, every generation and genre has filmed in the city: “Ben-Hur” (William Wyler, 1959), “Spartacus” (Stanley Kubrick, 1960), “The Conformist” (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970), “Mahogany” (Berry Gordy, 1975), “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (Anthony Minghella, 1999), “Gladiator” (Ridley Scott, 2000), “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” (Walt Disney Pictures, 2003), “Ocean’s Twelve” (Steven Soderbergh, 2004), “Romanzo Criminale” (Michele Placido, 2005), “Mission: Impossible III” (J.J. Abrams, 2006), “Angels & Demons” (Ron Howard, 2009), “Eat Pray Love” (Ryan Murphy, 2010), “To Rome With Love” (Woody Allen, 2012).
This Labor Day weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy leads the box office and makes a record amount of money.
Topping the charts this Labor Day weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy not only outperformed at the box office, but it became the highest-grossing film this year with US total sales estimated at $247.6 million.
Only in theaters for a month now, the Marvel film pulled in $16 million on what was expected to be slow holiday box office. As the top performing movie of the year, the budget was $170 million in comparison to the over $270 million that it ranked in. It seems like people can’t get enough of this superhero film with Chris Pratt.
Bringing competition to the Marvel film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remain in second place with an estimated weekend domestic total of almost $12 million. So far the Ninja Turtles have brought in a total of about $162.5 million, making it come in over the budget of $125 million.
In third place, If I Stay brought in an estimated $9.2 million this weekend. After its first weekend at $16 million, Chloe Grace Moretz is drawing in the audience with her role as a young girl who has an out-of-body experience after a car accident leaves her in a coma.
A new movie, As Above/So Below, debuted at fourth place with around $8.2 million this weekend. The thriller is about a team of explorers that venture into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris. Haunted by visions and creatures, they must fight to survive.
Let’s Be Cops is still making the top five this weekend. Dropping to fifth place from fourth last week, the comedy with Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. as a fake police duo earned around $8.2 million this weekend. In its 3 weeks, the film has grossed $57 million domestically.
Here are the remaining films that made this weekend’s top 10.
6. The November Man, a new release, at $7.6 million
7. When The Game Stands Tall at $5.6 million
8. The Giver at $5.2 million
9. The Hundred Foot Journey at $4.6 milliochris
10. The Expendables 3 at $3.5 million
Fourteen hundred years BCE, a tormented soul walked the earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules was the powerful son of the god king Zeus, for this he received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labours and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods finding his only solace in bloody battle. Over the years he warmed to the company of six similar souls, their only bond being their love of fighting and presence of death.
These men and women never question where they go to fight or why or whom, just how much they will be paid. Now the King of Thrace has hired these mercenaries to train his men to become the greatest army of all time. It is time for this bunch of lost souls to finally have their eyes opened to how far they have fallen when they must train an army to become as ruthless and blood thirsty as their reputation has become.
Director: Brett Ratner
Writers: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rebecca Ferguson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language and partial nudity.
Release Date: July 25, 2014
It was supposed to be a simple job. All Lucy had to do was deliver a mysterious briefcase to Mr. Jang. But immediately Lucy is caught up in a nightmarish deal where she is captured and turned into a drug mule for a new and powerful synthetic drug. When the bag she is carrying inside of her stomach leaks, Lucy’s body undergoes unimaginable changes that unlocks her mind’s full potential 100%. With her new-found powers, Lucy turns into a merciless warrior intent on getting back at her captors. She receives invaluable help from Professor Norman, the leading authority on the human mind, and French police captain Pierre Del Rio.
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Analeigh Tipton
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality.
Release Date: July 25, 2014
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and 3-D animated musical “Frozen” dished up box office records over the Thanksgiving holiday. Lionsgate’s sequel earned a prodigious $75 million in its second weekend, while Disney’s frosty fete opened with $67 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Both films bested the previous Thanksgiving record holder, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which earned $57.5 million in 2001 over a three-day period.
Snowballing its way to the top, “Frozen” became the biggest Thanksgiving opening ever and the largest opening for Walt Disney Animation Studios.
“For a company whose foundation was built on animation, to have this as the biggest opening ever is a pretty extraordinary thing,” said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Walt Disney Studios, adding that the box office draw of “Frozen” exceeded studio expectations.
“We came into the weekend feeling like anything that would exceed the result from ‘Tangled’ from a couple years back would be great,” Hollis added. “Tangled” opened with $68.7 million in 2010. “We thought something in the $70-$80 million range is what might be possible with ‘Frozen.’ We are hoping it lends itself to a big, long payoff after this great start.”
The films topped records for the highest domestic box office grosses for the three-day and five-day holiday weekend. “Catching Fire” blazed the trail to No. 1 and “Frozen” slid in at No. 2.
“Catching Fire” earned the biggest-ever gross for a film from Wednesday to Sunday over the Thanksgiving holiday. It brought in $110.2 million, raising its domestic total to $297 million. “Frozen” scored $93 million over the five days, topping Disney’s previous five-day champ, “Toy Story 2,” which earned $80.1 million in 1999.
“All of these records being broken, it’s like a true snowball effect,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “Overall, this is the biggest Thanksgiving weekend for the industry ever. Last year was the Thanksgiving record holder, but this one-two punch with ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘Frozen’ was just amazing.”
Internationally, “Catching Fire” continued to bring the heat, earning a total of $276 million through Sunday. Opening No. 1 in France, Italy and Belgium, the sequel exceeded the opening weekend of “The Hunger Games” in all three markets. Overall, the sequel has grossed $573 million worldwide.
After dominating the box office during its first two weeks in theaters, Disney’s “Thor: The Dark World” dropped to No. 2 last weekend and was knocked down one more spot to No. 3 this weekend, earning $11.1 million. Globally, it continues to keep Disney on the map with a total of $591.1 million.
Maintaining a healthy position at the box office, Universal’s romantic comedy “The Best Man Holiday” held the fourth slot with $8.5 million, while thriller “Homefront,” starring Jason Statham and James Franco, opened in the No. 5 slot with $7 million.
Also debuting over the holiday, Fox Searchlight’s “Black Nativity” landed in the top 10 with $3.9 million, while the Weinstein Co.’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” starring Idris Elba, saw a solid launch, earning $100,306 despite playing in just four theaters.
Opening with $850,000, Spike Lee’s “Oldboy” failed to make an impressive impact at the box office.
Famke Janssen starred in the original X-Men movies. Some of the original cast are returning for X-Men: Days of Future Past. She says that she is not sure if she will be appearing in the film.
So far, it has already been confirmed that a number of actors from the original X-Men trilogy will be appearing in the Bryan Singer movie X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, one person who is not so sure whether they will appear in the film is Famke Janssen.
Famke says that she would definitely be open to returning to the role but is not sure whether it would even be possible. Famke played the character Jean Grey, who went on to die, before coming back as the Phoenix, who also went on to die.
Janssen told, “I’m sitting by the phone waiting, call me up Bryan! I think their challenge is that I died as Jean Grey and I died as the Phoenix, so what else can they do? If they bring a younger version back, they’ll have to get a younger actress, so what is there left to do.”
X-Men: Days of Future Past will be home for the return of Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman and it is claimed that there will be more original stars in the film. X-Men: Days of Future Past begins shooting this month and is set to be released on July 18, 2014 in both the US and the UK.
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Alice Eve has shown her talent in all three mediums of film, television and theater. Last year, she starred in romantic comedy She’s Out of My League, which tells the story of an ordinary guy (played by Jay Baruchel) who gets to date his dream girl (Eve) but allows his fears and insecurities to threaten their relationship. Also in 2010, Eve appeared in Sex and the City 2.
Previously, Eve was seen in Crossing Over, which followed immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. A member of a gifted cast including Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta, Eve played a young Australian girl who recently moved to the city.
Eve is the daughter of actors Trevor Eve and Sharon Maughn. She went to school in London before going on to study English at Oxford University. There, Eve took part in many theater productions and soon developed a love of acting. Her first film role came while she was still at university as she played mischievous Miss Frain in the art-house hit Stage Beauty, opposite Rupert Everett, Clare Danes and Ben Chaplin.
In 2006, Eve starred in Starter for Ten, opposite James McAvoy and Rebecca Hall. Based on the bestseller by David Nicholls, the film was produced by Tom Hanks and follows a group of students negotiating their way through university life in 1980s Bristol. That same year, Eve was seen in the hard-edged comedy Big Nothing, opposite David Schwimmer and Simon Pegg.
In 2008, Eve turned heads on Broadway and in London’s West End for her work in the critically acclaimed play “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Trevor Nunn, she starred alongside Rufus Sewell, Brian Cox and Sinead Cusack.
On the small screen, Eve’s television credits include the hit U.K. series “The Rotter’s Club,” a starring role in the ITV1 movie “Losing Gemma” and the BBC drama “Hawking.” The actress currently resides in London.
After Kristen Stewart’s summer admission that she’d been romantically involved with her married “Snow White and the Huntsman” director, Rupert Sanders, there was doubt as to whether the 22-year-old actress would return for a possible sequel.
Now, according to Kristen, not only is she set to reprise her role as the fairest of them all for a second installment of the fairytale story, it’s going to be quite the crowd-pleaser.
“Oh, it’s gonna be f**kin’ amazing,” Kristen told Indiewire, when asked where her “SWATH” character would journey in the sequel. “No, I’m so excited about it, it’s crazy.”
The actress said she’d been instructed to remain tight-lipped about further details. “I’m not allowed [to reveal details]. The other day I said that there was a strong possibility that we’re going to make a sequel, and that’s very true, but everyone was like, ‘Whoa, stop talking about it,’” she said. “So no, I’m totally not allowed to talk about it.”
Kristen did share that plot ideas discussed for the future of her Snow White character would justify her return to make a second film.
“Oh my God. F**k, yeah. Absolutely,” she told the blog, when asked if she was happy with the plan for Snow White.
An official statement confirming a “SWATH” sequel has yet to be made, and it is not yet known if Rupert will be replaced as director.