Saudi King Launches Building Of Entertainment Mega-Park

FILE PHOTO Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends the 29th Summit of the Arab League at the Ithra center in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018. PHOTO: STR / AFP

 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has launched construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects aimed at helping the oil-dependent kingdom diversify its economy.

The project is part of a sweeping reform and investment programme dubbed “Vision 2030”, the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also attended the launch ceremony at the site on Saturday evening.

Authorities have touted the 334-square kilometer (130 square miles) project in Qiddiya, southwest of the capital, as the kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.

Its first phase, which includes high-end theme parks, motorsport facilities, and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.

They hope the park will draw in foreign investment and attract 17 million visitors by 2030.

The kingdom this month hosted its first public film screening in over 35 years, having lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas last year.

In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said it would stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double last year’s figure, and pump $64 billion (53 billion euros) into the sector in the coming decade.

Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighbouring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.

The kingdom has also sought to court investors with three hi-tech “giga projects”, funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund.

Aside from Qiddiya, the kingdom has unveiled blueprints for NEOM — billed as a regional Silicon Valley to be built from scratch — and a reef-fringed resort destination on the Red Sea.

Skeptics have questioned the viability of the projects, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, in an era of cheap oil.

AFP

‘A Quiet Place’ Sneaks Back To Top Of Box Office

FILE PHOTO

 

Sci-fi horror film “A Quiet Place” snuck its way back to the top of the North American box offices over the weekend, beating out noisier action flick “Rampage,” industry estimates showed Sunday.

“A Quiet Place,” an almost wordless Paramount production, stars actor/director John Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt as a couple silently struggling to protect their family from invading aliens that are blind but can track their prey by sound.

The film took in a $22 million for a total of $132.4 million since opening atop the box office early this month.

Fallen from the top spot to number two was “Rampage,” starring hard-working Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson as a primatologist who befriends an albino gorilla — which grows to enormous size after a rogue experiment and then teams with Johnson to stop invading monsters. Naomie Harris co-stars.

The video-game-inspired “Rampage” took in $21 million for the weekend for a total of $66.6 million in two weeks, against a budget of $120 million.

In third place was “I Feel Pretty,” an Amy Schumer film about a self-conscious woman who suffers a head injury and subsequently sees herself as beautiful, which made $16.2 million on its debut weekend.

In fourth was “Super Troopers 2” — the long-awaited sequel to the 2001 film about a ne’er-do-well group of cops — in which the protagonists are tasked with replacing a Mountie unit in a Canadian town that is found to be part of the US.

The partially crowd-funded film made $14.7 million on its first weekend.

In fifth was “Truth or Dare,” a supernatural thriller starring Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey as spring breakers caught up in an innocent game that turns deadly. The film made $7.9 million on its second weekend.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“Ready Player One” ($7.5 million)

“Blockers” ($7 million)

“Black Panther” ($4.6 million)

“Traffik” ($3.9 million)

“Isle of Dogs” ($3.4 million)

AFP

Ex-Child Star Corey Feldman Unhurt After Road Rage Attack

In this file photo taken on July 15, 2008 actor Corey Feldman arrives for the premiere of “Step Brothers” in Westwood, California. AFP

 

Police said Wednesday they are investigating an alleged road rage attack on Corey Feldman after the former child star reported being confronted and stabbed — although he was uninjured.

The 46-year-old actor and musician — who appeared in cult 1980s movies including “Gremlins,” “The Goonies” and “The Lost Boys” — was given a check-up at hospital but no wound was found.

“I’m in the hospital! I was attacked 2nite! A man opened my car door & stabbed me w something! Please say prayers 4 us! ????????” Feldman tweeted.

“Thank God it was only myself & my security in the car, when 3 men approached! While security was distracted w a guy a car pulled & attacked! I’m OK!”

Feldman said the attack occurred around 10:45 pm (1745 GMT) on Tuesday as he was waiting at a red light, bodyguard in the passenger seat, in the Los Angeles suburb of Tarzana, the LAPD confirmed.

“My client’s paranoid because he’s got a lot of threats online, there’s a lot of haters out there,” his attorney Perry Wander was quoted as telling celebrity news website The Blast.

He said Feldman “filed a formal police report that three young Hispanic males jumped out of their vehicle and attempted to instigate a fight with Mr. Feldman’s security guard and… one of the males approached Corey Feldman’s side of the vehicle opened his door and attacked him with a sharp object.”

Feldman drove himself to a hospital, according to LAPD spokesman Drake Madison, who said there was “no laceration to Feldman’s abdomen.”

No stranger to controversy, Feldman announced in October he was planning a $10 million documentary to expose an alleged network of pedophiles working in Hollywood.

The entertainer has long claimed his career was destroyed for campaigning against what he describes as a Hollywood pedophile ring that abused him as a child.

The LAPD announced in November his allegations were beyond the statute of limitations and could not be investigated further.

David Byrne Scores First Top 10 Album In United States

 

FILE PHOTO David Byrne performs onstage during the WITNESS 25th Anniversary Gala at The Edison Ballroom in New York City. David Byrne, an underground icon since the 1970s, has earned his first Top 10 album in the United States with his latest work, “American Utopia.”  
Dia Dipasupil / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

David Byrne, an underground icon since the 1970s, has earned his first Top 10 album in the United States with his latest work, “American Utopia.”

The album debuted at number three on the Billboard chart, selling 63,000 copies in the week through Thursday, tracking service Nielsen Music said.

Nielsen attributed the success in part to a bundling arrangement that sees fans buy the album as part of a package with tickets to Byrne’s tour.

Byrne, 65, rose to fame as the frontman of new wave pioneers Talking Heads, delivering surrealist lyricism in his bellowing voice.

Despite critical acclaim, Talking Heads never entered the Top 10 in the United States. The band’s highest charting album was 1983’s “Speaking in Tongues,” featuring the song “Burning Down the House.”

Byrne, a longtime New Yorker who was born in Scotland, has achieved more mainstream success in parts of Europe.

“Naked,” the final studio album by Talking Heads released in 1988, went to number three in Britain, where “American Utopia” opened at number 16.

The rapper Logic, best known for his anti-suicide anthem “1-800-273-8255,” topped the latest Billboard chart with his mixtape “Bobby Tarantino II.”

“American Utopia,” one of Byrne’s more accessible solo albums, came as the singer searched for reasons to be optimistic about the world amid his distress over President Donald Trump’s election.

Speaking to AFP, Byrne said the songs came “from the point of view of asking who we are and what kind of people are we. What am I — how do I relate to other people?”

Byrne is also known for his love of world music, with his Luaka Bop label especially active in releasing artists from West Africa and Brazil.

AFP

India Bids Tearful Farewell To Bollywood Star Sridevi

Indian fans watch as the funeral cortege of the late Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor passes through Mumbai on February 28, 2018. Thousands of heartbroken fans lined the streets of Mumbai February 28 as India said farewell to Bollywood legend Sridevi Kapoor following her shock death from accidental drowning in a Dubai hotel bathtub aged just 54.
PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP

 

Thousands of heartbroken fans and Bollywood actors paid their last respects to Indian superstar Sridevi Kapoor Wednesday following her shock death from accidental drowning in a Dubai hotel bathtub aged just 54.

Huge crowds of mourners — some carrying roses, others holding photos of the late actress — lined Mumbai’s streets to see their beloved idol embark on her last journey.

At one point police had to use batons to force back those unable to get into the hall where her body was laid out, wrapped in the Indian flag.

“It’s a shock to believe that she is no more. We want to pay her one last visit today and thank her for all her wonderful performances,” 32-year-old teacher Nandini Rao told AFP as she queued at the condolence event.

After a public service, Sridevi’s flower-bedecked funeral cortege made its way slowly to a crematorium where her family said their final goodbyes.

She was cremated with full state honours at a private Hindu ceremony late in the afternoon after her husband, film producer Boney Kapoor, performed the last rites.

Bollywood stars, including actresses Aishwarya Rai and Kajol, were among the mourners at the Celebration Sports Club in the Andheri West area of Mumbai — the home of the Hindi film industry.

Several tearful fans chanted prayers as Sridevi’s body was brought the short distance from her home to the club at 9:00 am (0330 GMT).

“I’m an avid Sridevi fan. I loved her smiling personality. She had such a commanding presence in the Indian film industry. Her death was so sudden and I feel terrible,” 45-year-old Kuldeep Singh told AFP.

Heavy security was in force along the streets to control the crowds, which included people who had travelled hundreds of kilometres to be there.

Sridevi was considered one of the most influential Bollywood actresses of all time and her sudden death at the weekend sparked an outpouring of grief in India.

Tributes poured in from fans and fellow actors as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Life in the spotlight 

The star of hit films such as “Chandni” and “Mr India” drowned in her bathtub after losing consciousness late Saturday in a hotel in Dubai, where she was attending a wedding.

Police in the emirate said a post-mortem examination found that she had drowned after losing consciousness. On Tuesday they ruled out any foul play and released the body to Sridevi’s family.

It arrived in Mumbai on a private jet on Tuesday evening, accompanied by her husband and her stepson, actor Arjun Kapoor.

Sridevi, born Shree Amma Yanger Ayappan in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, appeared in around 300 films and was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for services to the movie industry.

She made her acting debut at the age of four and her career spanned more than four decades.

Sridevi worked in India’s regional Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam-language films before making her Bollywood debut in 1979.

She became a national sensation with a string of blockbuster films including “Mawali” (“Scoundrel”) and “Tohfa” (“Gift”).

Sridevi took a 15-year break from the silver screen after marrying Kapoor but returned in the 2012 hit comedy-drama “English Vinglish”. Her most recent film was last year’s “Mom”.

Sridevi was set to see Jhanvi, the elder of her two daughters, make her Bollywood debut in a movie scheduled for release later this year.

AFP

Oscar Nominees In Main Categories

Here are the nominees in key categories for the 90th Academy Awards, to be handed out on March 4 in Hollywood.

“The Shape of Water” leads the nominations with 13, followed by “Dunkirk” with eight:

Best picture:

“Call Me By Your Name”

“Darkest Hour”

“Dunkirk”

“Get Out”

“Lady Bird”

“Phantom Thread”

“The Post”

“The Shape of Water”

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best director:

Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”

Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”

Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

Best actor:

Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”

Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Best actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Best supporting actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”

Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”

Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best supporting actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”

Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”

Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”

Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Best foreign language film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)

“The Insult” (Lebanon)

“Loveless” (Russia)

“On Body and Soul” (Hungary)

“The Square” (Sweden)

Best animated feature:

“The Boss Baby”

“The Breadwinner”

“Coco”

“Ferdinand”

“Loving Vincent”

Best documentary feature:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”

“Faces Places”

“Icarus”

“Last Men in Aleppo”

“Strong Island”

Best original screenplay:

“The Big Sick” – Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani

“Get Out” – Jordan Peele

“Lady Bird” – Greta Gerwig

“The Shape of Water” – Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – Martin McDonagh

Best adapted screenplay:

“Call Me By Your Name” – James Ivory

“The Disaster Artist” – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

“Logan” – Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green

“Molly’s Game” – Aaron Sorkin

“Mudbound” – Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Best original score:

“Dunkirk” – Hans Zimmer

“Phantom Thread” – Jonny Greenwood

“The Shape of Water” – Alexandre Desplat

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – John Williams

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – Carter Burwell

Best original song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound”

“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me By Your Name”

“Remember Me” from “Coco”

“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall”

“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”

Number of nominations for films with four or more nods:

“The Shape of Water” – 13

“Dunkirk” – 8

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – 7

“Darkest Hour” – 6

“Phantom Thread” – 6

“Lady Bird” – 5

“Blade Runner 2049” – 5

“Call Me By Your Name” – 4

“Get Out” – 4

“Mudbound” – 4

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – 4

AFP

Funke Akindele To Star In ‘Avengers: Infinity Wars’

Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, has been listed as a member of the cast of 2018 superhero movie Avengers: Infinity Wars, alongside international movie stars Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth.

According to popular movie review website, IMDB, where the actress’ name was published, she will be a member of Dora Milaje, a team of women who serve as personal bodyguards of the Black Panther, the spiritual leader of Wakanda.

While Akindele has yet to confirm the news herself, her name and picture can be found in the official cast for the movie and her appearance in it would mark the first time a Nollywood actress will be featured in a superhero movie.

 

Akindele also popularly known as Jenifa, rose to the fame following her role in popular United Nations Population Fund sponsored sitcom; I Need to Know, which ran from 1998 to 2002.

She has since been a wonder to watch especially with her ability to switch characters from the serious to the comic most fans recognise her to be, thanks to memorable turn as “Jenifa”, and her recent TV series, “Jenifa’s Diaries”.

Olamide Drops New Single ‘Science Student’

YBNL boss, Olamide, on Thursday released his first single for the year 2018, ‘Science Student’.

The track which already has fans gushing with excitement, was co-produced by Young John and BBanks.

It comes less than two months after he dropped his 7th studio album titled ‘Lagos Nawa’.

The 17-track album featured tracks such as ‘Wo’ which has remained a major hit, and artistes such as Tiwa Savage, Reminisce and Timaya.

Since he entered the music industry, the hip-hop rapper grew famous especially among youths on the streets for his style of music, mostly delivered in the Yoruba language.

Banky W, Adesua Tie Knot In Destination Wedding

Celebrity Couple, Bankole Wellington a.k.a Banky W and Adesuwa Etomi have taken the final leg of their wedding to Cape Town, South Africa after they shut down Lagos last weekend with the festivities of their traditional marriage.

The couple jetted out with their close friends and family earlier in the week and have kept fans seriously anticipating the final event with their posts on social media.

Read Also: Must See Looks At Adesuwa And Banky W’s Lagos Wedding

They got legally married on Monday, a day after the traditional wedding at an undisclosed location in Lagos.

Here's to forever in Jesus name… 🙏🏽😍😙 #BAAD2017 #TheFinale

A post shared by Banky W. (@bankywellington) on


Tagged #BAAD2017, the wedding has created much buzz on social media and has been labeled ‘wedding of the year’.

It had in attendance friends and colleagues including Tunde Demuren, Toolz, Linda Ejiofor, Ebuka, among others.

While many have continued to beam with excitement for the couple, some have also taken time to advise them to keep their affairs more private, after their big day today.

Hit Or Miss? Nigerians React To Davido’s New Single ‘Fai’

While fans are still yet to get over Davido’s latest hits, ‘If’ and ‘Fall’, the singer has released yet another single called ‘Fia’.

The song comes off his much-anticipated sophomore album which he is set to release any moment.

The DMW boss is currently on his #30billionworldtour and has touched down various cities across the US, Europe, and Africa.

Produced by Fresh, the new single has begun receiving rave reviews from fans, some of whom already predict that ‘Fia’ is going to be another club banger.

 

One thing that has gotten the attention of some, also, is his consistency through the year and how the lyrics on this one, carry a clear message when compared to ‘Banana Fall on you’ on Fall.

Asides music, the artist made his first move in the fashion industry when he collaborated with fashion brand – Orange Couture, at the recently concluded Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

In all, despite losing three of his friends to the unfortunate hands of death, one can say it’s been a good year for Davido.

Listen and share your opinion on this track.

I Don’t Intend To Keep Making A Caricature Of My Private Life – Tonto Dikeh

Nollywood Actress, Tonto Dikeh, has said she will no longer divulge information about her private life as she has realized it neither helps her career nor changes people’s perception about her.

She said this while speaking on Channels Television’s Rubbin’ Minds, in reaction to the backlash that followed her breakup and domestic violence dispute with her estranged husband, Churchill Olakunle.

The actress, however, noted that she has no regrets over the fact that she had shared her story earlier as it created awareness and helped other people in similar situations.

According to her, rather than speak about the past, she has now resolved to focus only on the positive side of life with a stronger will to succeed.

“Yes, I’ve decided to just keep quiet. Apart from being exhausted I think they have a plan to just keep taking me backwards but I realize it now that my responses don’t even help me or my brand, it doesn’t even change the perspective people have of me, so why even bother,” she asserted.

“I do not regret my interviews because I got to know that after the interviews a lot of domestic violence victims came out and a lot of people started getting saved and despite all the shame and criticism the interviews brought me, I won’t still regret it because I know that I truly helped someone out there.

“It was killing me, but I got to the point where I understood that, nobody cares about me or the situation that happened in my home asides from me.

“I’m not about to validate my past pain to anybody, I’m just all about moving forward and dumping every weight that has held me backward for a very long time and just being as successful as I can; so whether you believe me or not, it does not matter.”

Speaking further about the situation of things between she and her estranged husband, the actress said she has already begun the process of pressing charges against him, for reasons she equally chose to keep private.

“I do not intend to keep making a caricature of my private life, so everything that happens in court stays in court – I’m done with the public,” she said.

Speaking about her career, asides working on a new project which she says fans would definitely love, Tonto also noted that she is now more cautious about the kind of roles she would be playing.

“I am on a very exciting project, it’s not a movie but I can’t tell you what it is yet.

“I have started doing movies again, but I am very very guarded on what kind of scripts I choose. I’m not saying I’m big on the movies now, but I’m just waiting for that exceptional script.”

Speaking of other developments regarding her NGO – the Tonto Dikeh Foundation, the actress said she is currently building a school for the less privileged and with the help of the media, there would be more publicity for upcoming projects and activities.

“It is a free school, and my foundation is about giving back educationally, girl child empowerment, women empowerment and youth empowerment.

“The foundation is actually older than the story, my foundation is 10 years old, I’ve been doing this for 10 years, the only thing is I’v just not been having enough publicity around it. I did not know the power of media then, but now I do understand the power of media that you have to put your work out there.

“So, no, we are not here for a short time. We’ve done 10 years and we are about to go more, we’re just getting stronger by the day that’s why you are seeing more works from us,” she added.

NEW VIDEO: Tiwa Savage Drops ‘Malo’ Featuring Wizkid

Marvin’s first lady, Tiwa Savage, has dropped the video for her latest single ‘Malo’ featuring Wizkid and Spellz.

The song, a JM Films production, directed by Meji Alaba, is one of the tracks off her ‘Sugarcane’ album.

Having spent nearly seven years in the industry, Tiwa has continued to thrill fans with her music and performances for which many have likened to that of American singer, Beyonce.

She has collaborated with several artistes such as Don Jazzy, Patorankin, Mi Casa, Lola Rae, Sarkodie, Diamond Platnumz, Davido among others.

In November 2013, Tiwa got married to Tunji “Tee Billz” Balogun with whom she has a son.

In 2016, however, their marriage hit the rocks although there are reports that the couple is back together again.

Also in the same year, Tiwa signed a management and distribution deal with Roc Nation, making her the first Nigerian artiste to be signed to the label.

She has won several awards one of which is the Best Female award in the MTV Africa Music Awards 2014.

Wizkid, on the other hand, has seen his career reach new heights in the last couple of years gaining international acclaim.

The ‘Ojuelegba‘ crooner has collaborated with the likes of  Patorankin, Olamide and international acts, most notably Drake.

He became Nigeria’s first artist to emerge on Billboard’s Twitter Last 24 hours chart following his guest feature on Drake’s afrobeat-infused “One Dance” single.

Watch Video Below.