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Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 04/03/2014 - 09:12

Non-Stop takes off, beating the Son Of God

By Rich Matthews

Liam Neeson continues to fight the action-movie fight for pensioners everywhere, with Universal's plane-bound thriller Non-Stop grossing £30m this weekend at the US box office – Neeson's biggest non-sequel action opening. That did relegate Jesus down to number two, but Fox's Son Of God still managed to muster $26.5m of worship.

That means that Warner Bros' The LEGO Movie was finally knocked off the top spot down to third with a gross of $21m – but not before crossing the $200m mark with $209.3m and $301.8m worldwide. Meanwhile, Clooney and Costner jostled for fourth and fifth place, with Sony's The Monuments Men taking $5m ($65.7m US and $104.6m worldwide) and Relativity's 3 Days To Kill grossing $4.9m ($20.7m).

At six, Sony's RoboCop remake continued to underwhelm at home ($4.5m for a total of $51.2m) and over-perform internationally ($136m for a global gross of $187.2m). It was followed up at seven by an even bigger underperformer, with Constantin Films/Tri-Star Pompeii only managing $4.3m for $17.7m in total. But it also did better internationally, taking $47.7m for a worldwide total of $65.4m. Disney's Frozen, on the other hand, joined the magic $1bn club, with $3.6m taking its domestic total to $388.7m.

The final two spots in the top 10 were handily occupied by Kevin Hart in 80s remake About Last Night ($3.4m, $43.8m) and buddying up with Ice Cube in Ride Along ($3.1m, $127.2m and $134.2m). Down at number 14, the R-Rated Extended Cut of Anchorman 2 could only laugh up an extra $1.3m for Ron Burgundy's coffers.

Next weekend sees Spartan sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire storm into theatres and Dreamworks' Mr Peabody & Sherman takes the family market for a walk.

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Win a copy of Short Term 12 on Blu-ray or DVD

Posted by Competitions | Mon, 03/03/2014 - 17:35

Funny, emotional and brimming with heart, soul and character, American writer and filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton's Short Term 12 was the breakout hit of the 2013 SXSW Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.

To mark the DVD and Blu-ray release of Cretton's award-winning directorial debut on March 10, thanks to Verve Pictures we have TWO copies of Short Term 12 on Blu-ray and ONE copy on DVD to give away.

Passionate and tough, Grace (Brie Larson) is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers, and is also in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker Mason (John Gallagher Jr). However, Grace's own difficult past and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself throw her into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arrival of a new intake at the facility: a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection.

Beautifully acted, heartfelt and sincere, Short Term 12 offers tears and laughter in equal measure and finds both truth and humour in the most unexpected of places.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question:

Short Term 12 star Brie Larson played which character in Scott Pilgrim vs The World?

a) Molly Tracey
b) Little Angel
c) Envy Adams

d) Ramona Flowers

As this competition is so good, we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page (but don't forget to also email us with the answer to the question above – and please don't post the answer on the Facebook page).

Send your answer (plus your name, address, phone number and preferred format) to sj.competitions@yahoo.co.uk, with Short Term 12 in the subject line. And please make sure you read our terms & conditions before entering. The competition will close at NOON on Friday March 28, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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That's Showbiz! With Jenny

Posted by Jenny Priestley | Sun, 02/03/2014 - 13:54

By Jenny Priestley

★ It looks as though two of the big franchise movies for 2015 have found their bad guys. Vincent D'Onofrio and Irrfan Khan will join the raptors in Jurassic World. Khan was last seen playing the older Pi in Life of Pi and D'Onofrio was in the first Men in Black. Plus Adam Driver looks like being the baddie in Star Wars Episode VII.

★ Meanwhile, Ted 2 – also due out next year – has cast Amanda Seyfried as its female lead. She's replacing Mila Kunis in the film which will see Mark Wahlberg and his talking bear return to the screen.

★ Eddie Izzard is also heading back to the big screen, starring with Dustin Hoffman in musical Boychoir (who knew either of them could sing?). Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas and Glee's Kevin McHale are also among the cast. The story follows a choir at a boys' boarding school, with Hoffman as the demanding choirmaster.

★ I admit I'm excited about this: David Fincher is in talks to direct Sony's Steve Jobs biopic. And to get me even more excited, it's being written by Aaron Sorkin. Apparently Sorkin wants the story to play out in just three single-take scenes, which could make it a real challenge for director and stars (and make it very different from The Social Network).

★ Josh Gad, who I think completely stole Frozen, is set for a voice role in another animated movie. He's expected to join Adam Sandler and Kevin James in Pixels, about four gaming champs who are called on to save the world when aliens attack by staging versions of 1980s Space Invader games.

★ Fancy some celeb spotting? The UK premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be at Westfield Vue on March 20 – expect most of the cast to be there. The day after there's a special screening of The Machine with stars Toby Stephens and Denis Lawson due at the Vue in Piccadilly. And if you're in Singapore on March 29 (you might be),The Amazing Spider-Man's Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx will be helping to promote Earth Hour. They'll be switching off the lights across Singapore's Marina Bay skyline.

★ Actor/director Richard Ayoade is turning author. He's signed a three-book deal with Faber to write about film (lucky thing!). The first book is called Ayoade On Ayoade and is described as a celebration and a recognition of the myth of film. It should be out in November.

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Screenjabber Podcast: Non-stop nonsense with the natter-boys

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 01/03/2014 - 18:06

This week join Doug Cooper, Peter Johnson, Amon Warmann, David Watson and host Stuart O'Connor for some Oscar chat and reviews of the new UK releases: Non-Stop, The Book Thief, We Are What We Are, Unforgiven and Ride Along. Plus a quick look at the upcoming Blu-ray releases of Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa and Gravity 3D.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Taking Out the (Trailer) Trash

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 01/03/2014 - 11:27

By Norman Quarrinton

Trailers can sometimes spoil a film, but most of the time they fill you with a sense of anticipation, excitement and awe. So here is the latest roundup of what is coming soon to a cinema near you ...

Guardians of the Galaxy

It's another Marvel superhero movie, so it doesn't need too much explaining. If you're a fan of the hit US comedy Parks and Recreation you're probably also a fan of Chris Pratt, and you've been waiting to see him on the big screen ever since last week when you started watching the show on Netflix. Well, he's already been a bunch of films (Zero Dark Thirty, The Five-Year Engagement and smash-hit The LEGO Movie to name a few) but this looks like the one that will send his stock soaring. And he deserves it, because he's a funny guy. Guardians is directed by James Gunn and also stars John C Reilly, Peter Serafenowicz, Benicio Del Toro, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, WWE superstar Dave "Batista" and a CGI racoon. A CGI racoon packing heat? I'm in.
UK & US Release Date: August 1

Transformers: Age of Extinction

US Release Date: June 27
UK Release Date: July 10

The Purge: Anarchy

Wow that was quick. 2013's The Purge received mixed reviews, but it was a pretty harmless movie, and actually quite enjoyable if you went to it with low expectations. They must have had a sequel planned before the first movie even came out though. Either that, or they churned this one out really quickly, which probably means it's rubbish. It looks a bit rubbish anyway, to be honest.
US Release: June 20
UK Release: July 2

A Million Ways to Die in the West

"It's just Family Guy with cowboys" isn't really a valid criticism of something that is written and directed by the creator of Family Guy. What were you expecting, The Magnificent Seven or something? Get over yourselves. There's nothing wrong with fart gags and dick jokes, especially if they're done well, as they sometimes are when Seth MacFarlane's involved.
UK & US Release: May 30


Melissa McCarthy's back, and she's doing her thing, but this time she's doing it to Gangsta's Paradise which makes it a tiny bit funnier I suppose. This trailer could probably have been an SNL skit, but I think they've filled up their "skits that are actually funny" quota for this season. I'm guessing the main character is called Tammy, and by the looks of things, she's a pretty useless criminal. I mean, who robs a chicken shop? She's crazy! Crazy and unpredictably predictable.
US Release: July 2
UK Release: July 4

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Terrestrial TV Highlights 1-7 March

Posted by Louise Bolotin | Fri, 28/02/2014 - 15:39

By Louise Bolotin

There’s a touch of class for Saturday night with Darcey Bussell’s Ballerina Heroines (Saturday, BBC2, 8.15pm). Inevitably, there’s a lengthy look at the work of her role model, Margot Fonteyn, but there’s also a peep behind the scenes of the Royal Ballet as Bussell explores the centuries-long history of the dance form and how it has changed. Bussell is a knowledgeable presenter, as you’d expect, and this is a highbrow follow-up to her delightfully whimsical …Dances Hollywood from 2011. The Cube (ITV, 8.20pm) returns for an eighth series. For my money, it’s the best of the weekend game shows – it’s original, it’s clever and its tension is properly breathtaking. Award-winning standup Stewart Lee’s eponymous series, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (BBC2, 10pm) is also back. An acquired taste, given he rarely tells any actual jokes, preferring instead to provoke and offend. A dramatised version of The Mayor of Casterbridge (Drama, 7pm), starring Ciaran Hinds and Juliet Aubrey, gets a fresh airing after 11 years. Made in 2001 and first shown in 2003, it’s in two parts, each of two episodes.

Three years after High Fearnley-Whittingstall exposed the worst practices of the fishing industry and took his anger over stock depletion to the EU, he looks at what has changed since then in Fish Fight: Hugh’s Last Stand (Sunday, C4, 7pm). His campaign has seen success with the EU ban on discards but he also reveals new worries. In Britain’s Bronze Age Mummies (C4, 8pm), the Time Team go on a dig at a burial mound in Northumberland. They must race against the clock as the recent severe storms threaten to destroy the site.

In Austerity Britain, it’s not just the unemployment figures and cost-of-living crisis. There’s stark evidence that the nation’s wealth has almost universally shifted to the capital. The two-part Mind the Gap: London vs the Rest (Monday, BBC2, 9pm) looks at how and why London is thriving economically while the rest of the UK struggles with council cutbacks and a broken jobs market. Meanwhile, Panorama’s Hungry Britain? (BBC1,8.30pm) examines the rise in the use of food banks by the severely impoverished. Not everyone’s starving though – Mary Berry Cooks (Monday, BBC2, 8.30pm) in a new six-part series that, unsurprisingly, starts with cake but goes on to explore all kinds of dishes. Berry has a refreshing down-to-earth style and oodles of useful kitchen tips. Mandela Remembered from Westminster Abbey (BBC2, 11.30am) is his UK memorial service. Led by SA president Jacob Zuma with an address by Desmond Tutu and tributes from anti-apartheid campaigners including Peter Hain. David Dimbleby anchors with suitable gravitas.

Another dance documentary looks at How World War Two Made British Ballet (Wednesday, BBC4, 9pm). David Bintley, director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, examines how the war meant British dancers had to up their game when it was no longer possible for foreign ballet stars to perform here. Dame Ninette de Valois, who despite her name was British, took her Sadler’s Wells troupe on tour, opening up this elitist art form to the masses, and created new classic productions. Rare archive footage helps reveal the story.

Political thriller 37 Days (Thurs-Sat, BBC2, 9pm) depicts the chain of events unfolding in the month before Britain declared war in the First World War, from the perspective of our government and other European cabinets. The opening episode launches with news reaching the Foreign Office of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. What happens next is endlessly well known but 37 Days plays it out as a taut and tense cat and mouse game of international diplomacy as Europe’s leaders alternately monger for conflict or try to broker peace. Mark Hayhurst’s writing is clean with fantastic dialogue, delivered with aplomb by a heavyweight cast that includes Ian McDiarmid, Tim Piggott-Smith, Sinead Cusack and Kenneth Cranham. Coronation Street: A Moving Story (ITV, 9pm) is a lighthearted documentary about shifting the famous cobbles from their Manchester city centre set three miles across town to their new home in MediaCityUK in Salford, opposite the BBC. It’s a phenomenal operation as filming must continue amid chaos and there are teary eyes aplenty as cast and crew say their farewells to Granada’s iconic site.

With the Winter Olympics over, it’s time for the Paralympics Opening Ceremony (Friday, C4, 3.30pm) in Sochi. You might want to set your PVR given the early start that accounts for the four-hour time difference. The appropriately named Jon Snow anchors the live coverage of the spectacle, with 700 athletes due to compete in 45 events at what promises to be the biggest ever paralympic games. (There’s also a timely repeat of excellent drama The Best of Men on BBC2 at 11.05pm, which tells the story of the origins of the Paralympics and stars Eddie Marsan.) Darcey Bussel pops up again to introduce this week’s third ballet special. Fonteyn ’59: Sleeping Beauty (BBC4, 8pm) is a cut-down production of the 1959 broadcast starring Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes. As rock documentaries go, Muscle Shoals: the Greatest Recording Studio in the World (BBC4, 9pm) is lengthy and occasionally patchy but earns its sofa time for the many good bits. The legendary studios in Alabama were (and are) the heart of a racially mixed music scene in the town that gave its name to them. A hotbed of creativity, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin (above), Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and many others recorded their hits at Muscle Shoals, run by Rick Hall, a man who overcame appalling circumstances to triumph here. There’s a host of famous contributors and archive footage galore to tell the story of why the studios were so important and why they remain influential today.

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Win Dolphins: Spy In The Pod on Blu-ray

Posted by Competitions | Fri, 28/02/2014 - 12:38

From the creators of Earthflight and Penguins: Spy In The Huddle comes an awe-inspiring new two-part series, Dolphins: Spy In The Pod. And thanks to Acorn Media, we have TWO copies of Dolphins: Spy In The Pod on Blu-ray to give away.

Narrated by David Tennant, this fascinating series shows some of the most captivating and clever animals on the planet as never before. It recently aired on BBC One is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray.

From Spy Dolphin to Spy Tuna and Turtle, for the first time 13 camouflaged spy creatures infiltrate the secret underwater world of dolphins. Swimming right alongside them, these new spies reveal unique moments in the dolphins’ lives – catching the waves with surfing bottlenose dolphins, discovering a megapod of superfast spinner dolphins and narrowly escaping the amorous advances of a turtle.

The Pacific is a dolphin playground. Here, spinner dolphins throw themselves into the air, corkscrewing up to seven times, and travelling up to 250 miles a day. On the other side of the world, off Mozambique, bottlenose dolphins eye up a giant clam, out of which rise the strangest spy creatures of all. The ever-curious dolphins locate them with their sonar, allowing the spies to then make their first discovery – a tiny five-day-old dolphin, still wrinkled from birth.

From the team at John Downer Productions, Dolphins: Spy In The Pod shows one of the world’s favourite animals in a whole new light.

For a chance to win, just follow @Screenjabber on Twitter and tweet the following text:

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win Dolphins: Spy In The Pod on Blu-ray.

As this competition is so good, we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page. And please make sure you read our terms & conditions before entering. The competition will close at NOON on Friday March 14, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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Win an astronomical Gravity goody bag

Posted by Competitions | Thu, 27/02/2014 - 12:38

To mark the release of Gravity – available to experience at home on digital download from March 2 and on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD from March 3 – we’re giving you the chance to win a Gravity goody bag.

Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) – in command of his last flight before retiring.

But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness.

The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth ... and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

The lucky winner will receive the ultimate Gravity goody bag – including a T-shirt, journal, key ring, pen, mouse mat, carabiner and astronaut stress reliever. Two runners up will also win a T-shirt each.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question:

In Gravity, which well-known Hollywood actor accompanies Sandra Bullock into space?

a) Brad Pitt
b) George Clooney
c) Johnny Depp

d) Trevor Slattery

As this competition is so good, we're going to give an extra entry for those who LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page (but don't forget to also email us with the answer to the question above – and please don't post the answer on the Facebook page).

Send your answer (plus your name, address, phone number) to sj.competitions@yahoo.co.uk, with Gravity in the subject line. And please make sure you read our terms & conditions before entering. The competition will close at NOON on Friday March 14, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

• For more on Gravity join us at www.facebook.com/GravityMovieUK or follow us at Twitter on @GravityMovieUK 

© 2014 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.

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COMMENT: Portrait of a heroin addict

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 27/02/2014 - 09:27

By Hannah Smith

If there's to be any positive in the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, then let it be what he tells us about addiction. Who would have expected talented, intelligent, family man Hoffman to be a heroin addict before he himself talked about it? Who would have expected the headline "Philip Seymour Hoffman dead of suspected overdose" until the news outlets began reporting it? Maybe Jack Nicholson, maybe Lindsay Lohan, maybe some junkie on benefits, maybe some waste of space scumbag who dabbles in petty crime to feed his dirty habit. But Philip Seymour Hoffman?

For one, he had a sizeable midriff – not a look usually associated with your average junkie. He had three young children. He worked seemingly non stop, as his relatively short career and extensive CV testifies. His performances belied a deep intelligence. His ability to switch through emotions, lifestyles, class and psychotic behaviours showed a deep understanding of the human condition. Clearly, empathy was as easy to Hoffman as breathing is for the rest of us. So how does a man like Hoffman end up dead of an overdose?

Well, that's the question and the point. We like to assume that addiction is so far removed from our comfortable lives that it's almost impossible to accept a successful, talented, hard working man could fall into such a dumb trap. Because it's dumb, isn't it? Everyone knows not to do drugs, don't they? Everyone knows heroin is amongst the worst of drugs. Everyone knows that taking it in the first place is just plain stupid. Especially intelligent people such as Hoffman.

He wasn't on benefits. He didn't grow up on a council estate. He had a loving and supportive family and later went on to create his own with his partner and three children. He could talk about all sorts of world issues, make us laugh, make us cry and put any actor on screen next to him in danger of being acted off screen. So why would he do heroin?

Well let's start at the beginning. When Hoffman began taking drugs he was young, fresh out of drama school and high on life. He admitted himself that he had absolutely no interest in drinking in moderation, a fact he believed to be true even during his sober years. If he were to drink it would be explosive. So that's not just the folly of youth. That's a destructive trait. Why? Who knows. Maybe he was born with it, maybe he developed it, maybe that was how he coped with life. How can anyone know what makes one person destructive and another able to go to the pub and stop at three or four drinks?

But Hoffman decided he was going to kill himself if he didn't stop and checked himself into rehab. Let's not underestimate how difficult a decision that is and how, in fact, unlikely it is to work. To successfully kick heroin and alcohol and all their friends for 23 years is a huge achievement. One that most people who have never known an addict, and even those who do, find extremely hard to acknowledge or understand.

But what makes someone who's been off heroin for 23 years take that next dangerous hit? Have you ever smoked? Known a smoker? Known a smoker who gave up while pregnant and started again? Or gave up for years and started again? Any idea why they started smoking again? Why you did?

I once spoke to a heroin addict who had been clean for a few months before spiralling back into addiction; the reason they gave for taking that fatal next hit? Boredom. They found themselves alone and bored. Doesn't sound like a very good reason does it? Although, let's not forget that boredom often belies an emptyness, a void that we're a little too scared of in case the silence might send us spiralling down into it.

Have you ever gone out to the pub and got a little more drunk than you should have because you were bored? I know I have. Boredom has sent me on some of the funniest and craziest nights out I've ever had. Lucky for me I've never had a devil on my shoulder telling me to drink to oblivion or to take drugs. Hoffman did. And he battled against that voice for 23 years.

Who knows what triggered his relapse? Maybe it was boredom, maybe it was a difficult patch in life, maybe it was simply that he couldn't fight that urge to self destruct for one more day. The frightening lesson to us is that being an addict never ever goes away. And for those battling their own addictions, few have society's support or help. Few are respected amongst their peers. Few get to throw their energy into a creative outlet.

Now picture Hoffman and then picture the image you normally see when you think of a heroin addict. Think of how much you enjoyed Hoffman in whatever film you last saw him in or first saw him in. Think about what you think about the stereotypical heroin addict. What reaction they garner in you and what reaction Hoffman does. Is there a difference? If so, why? Is it snobbery? Is it something else?

Because underneath they are no different. There is a man in a suit going to an office every day and taking heroin in secret. There is a petty criminal, stealing to feed his habit, there is an addict in and out of prison, there is an actor, artist, singer, writer, physicist, politician, solicitor, judge, waiter, father, mother, grandmother taking heroin today. Tomorrow. Yesterday. There is no recipe for why someone chooses heroin as their drug, or alcohol, or cigarettes. Except maybe cigarettes and alcohol are much more readibly available and we assume heroin comes from somewhere dark. In fact, some drug dealers look highly respectable. There are dealers for all walks of life. There are drugs for all walks of life.

For Hoffman's family, until last year they would have assumed that chapter in their lives must be over. That he had kicked it. To watch him spiral so quickly to his death must be a shock and extremely painful for a family who undoubtedly had the pleasure of feeling proud of everything he had achieved. Not least kicking his habit. I'm sure none of them can comprehend how, after all that, they find themselves where they are today.

It's the fear of every family member of an addict. The relapse. And the relapse is the thing that tells you everything about the addiction in the first place. An addict in recovery doesn't have the naivety of the first time heroin user, that maybe it won't catch me. They've been caught. They've lost everything and come close to losing their lives. So why on Earth would they use again? Its the exact same question. Is it nature? Are some people born with a tendency to addiction, a little destructive valve that tells them to do it and then do more?

I don't know. You don't know. They don't know. I know I've never been tempted to try drugs; I don't like losing control. Hang on, let's look at that. As a person, I don't like losing control. What if I didn't have that fear? What if I loved to be out of control? At the moment, I don't like heights, would never jump out of a plane or swim with sharks. These are things I can control. I avoid getting close to people because I've been hurt and out of control. If I didn't have that personality trait I would be a different person, willing to try different things. Maybe I would be a skydiver. Maybe I would have embraced the acrobatics classes I had to do at drama school instead of screaming and then opting to sit out?

I can't answer. I can tell you this much. I'm not Philip Seymour Hoffman and I have no idea what drove him, what drives you, what drives anyone. I don't even truly know what drives me. But I do know that no one's life and life choices are uncomplicated. And no addict, in recovery or never having found the strength to get recovery does not deserve to be mourned.

And that is what I hope Philip Seymour Hoffman's death has taught us – that drug addiction has many faces and even a man you admire can be stupid enough to take heroin. Not just the guy on the street corner you find easy to judge. We'd do well to remember that.

So far I haven't seen any of the "bought it on himself" comments that we had with Amy Winehouse because, I assume, people liked him, respected him even. Maybe we should afford that courtesy to everyone struggling with the disease of addiction, with the button inside them that begs for them to push it, the little bomb they've decided to detonate inside themselves for what ever reason. A reason we will never know, maybe even they will never know.

All I know is that my life has been touched by addiction and I can say that an addict struggling to get clean is stronger and braver than you and I can ever know. And the addict without enough faith in themselves to try and battle the little demon that wants them to destroy themselves is worthy of our pity. Imagine hating yourself so much that you don't believe you are worth fighting for. Then imagine feeling like that when everyone else also doesn't believe you are worth fighting for.

Does Hoffman's death take away from his incredible life and the career we all enjoyed? If not, why do we dismiss so many others that have walked some of his path?

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Showbiz Simon Says ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 26/02/2014 - 09:27

By Simon Thompson

★ Ghostbusters III WILL still go ahead despite the death this week of Egon Spengler himself, Harold Ramis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the late actor-director would have only had a cameo in the threequel, but that will now be reworked. There were plans for Ghostbusters III, which will focus on a new generation of Ghostbusters with cameos from the original stars, to shoot in Cleveland this year, but that was already looking shaky. This latest sad turn of events might mean further delays.

★ Marc Webb is “doing a Raimi” and hanging around for a third Spider-Man movie – although whether he’ll go “full Raimi” and leave that tally there has yet to be decided. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 has a release date of June 2016. Also returning are Andrew Garfield and *POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT* Paul Giamatti, who appears as Aleksei Sytsevich, aka The Rhino, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Giamatti has said that he’d be up for another one. We already know there will be a fourth in the franchise – it’ll hit cinemas in 2018 – but exactly who will be back for that one has yet to be seen. With spin-off movies such as Venom and The Sinister Six, Sony is promising a new Spider-Man movie every year for the foreseeable future.

★ Syfy has called time on its remake of the BBC Three show Being Human – meaning that the upcoming six-episode second part of season four will be the end. A spokesman for the network has been quoted as saying: "Showrunner Anna Fricke and the talented producers, writers, cast and crew have done an amazing job bringing this show to life over the past four seasons and we sincerely thank them and the series' production company Muse Entertainment for their hard work. They've saved the best for last with the final six episodes that revisit the story's beginning, leading to a not-to-be-missed send-off for Aidan, Sally, Josh and Nora."

★ The Conjuring spin-off, the first one at least, will hit cinemas in October this year. Right now it still has the working title of Annabelle, the name of the doll that scared the crap out of most people at the beginning of the original movie last summer, but that could change. As far as a straight sequel to of James Wan’s movie, Warner Bros has confirmed that an October 2015 release for The Conjuring 2. Either way, you have enough time to buy extra underwear...

★ HBO has its eye on Peter Dinklage for a new “grounded” sci-fi series. The Beasts of Valhalla would be based on the novels by author George C Chesbro and see the actor play a detective named Mongo. Filming is due to start in 2016 – that’s when Dinklage’s commitment to Game Of Thrones allows him to do it. Justin Monjo, the writer hired to adapt the novels for the US network, has said: "HBO and [production company] Red Hour think [Dinklage is] the perfect guy for the part and are very excited about the project."

★ There won’t be any human stars in The Smurfs 3. Whereas the first two films have been a mix of live action and animation, according to Variety, Sony Pictures is fast-tracking the follow-up and it will be entirely animated. It’ll hit cinemas in August 2015. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it...

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