George Clooney proved himself to be a badass humanitarian yesterday when he was arrested for civil disobedience while protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC.
A renowned celebrity activist, Clooney used his star wattage to illuminate the imminent humanitarian crisis in Sudan, where U.S. officials say as many as 250,000 people could face severe food shortages.
The Hollywood actor, who recently paid a secret visit to the Nuba Mountain region which divides Sudan and South Sudan (where he witnessed a rocket attack), protested alongside his father, journalist Nick Clooney, Democrat politicians and other humanitarians including Martin Luther King III.
During the protest, Clooney ignored three verbal warnings from the police to leave the embassy and as a result was handcuffed and led to a waiting van by members of the Secret Service. The day before his arrest Clooney met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the Sudan situation.
Moments before his arrest, Clooney told reporters: “We are here really to ask two very simple questions. The first question is something immediate — and immediately, we need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”
“The second thing is for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That’s all we ask.”
Both Clooney and his father Nick were detained at the Metropolitan police department for three hours, but were released after paying bail of $100 (£63). Clooney described his arrest as “humilitating”, saying it was his first and would hopefully be his last, but also defended his actions.
“What we’ve been trying to achieve today is we’re trying to bring attention to an ongoing emergency,” he told reporters after being released. “Our job right now is to try to bring attention to it, and one of those ways was, apparently, get arrested.”
“We hope people understand there really is a ticking clock on this and we need to get moving… There’s been amazing progress at times. There’ve been some great strides, but on the other hand, there’s an awful lot that’s still going on.”
I’m often sceptical about celebrity activists because, similar to some politicans, their actions can seem somewhat self-serving. To me, boastful donations and rash, fashionable adoptions signal a messiah complex rather than an actual desire to help.
Having said that, at least these movie stars are getting off their butts and doing something to help, which is more than can be said for most of us. Indeed, who cares if celebrities are doing charitable things to feel good about themselves? At least they’re helping others in the process.
Whether Clooney’s political activism is partially ego-driven is therefore irrelevant because, on the whole, he is doing something inherently and undeniably good.
More importantly he’s captured the world’s attention and has reached a new (and arguably younger) audience – a group of people who, prior to Clooney’s arrest, might not have cared about the situation in Sudan, or possibly even known where exactly Sudan was.
If Clooney wanted to get the world talking, then he’s certainly done just that – and good on him. Now it’s up to the rest of us to do our bit. To find out what you can do to help Sudan, visit UNICEF.com.
Images: CNN, BBC, Twitter.
So it came as a surprise to me when I went to see The Descendants at the cinema and almost fell asleep. The film, which centres around a Hawaiian lawyer named Matt King (George Clooney), has a slow-moving, almost non-existent plot that drags on for nearly two hours.
In short, the film is dull. Beautifully shot and well acted, yes, but definitely still dull.
Here’s a quick lowdown of The Descendants for those who haven’t seen it yet (spoilers alert): Matt King is the sole trustee of 25,000 acres of untouched Hawaiian land which he and his cousins are about to sell. In other words, he’s a rich Hawaiian lawyer who’s about to get even richer.
Despite Matt’s apparent fortune, we soon find out that his wife has suffered a boating accident and as a result has been in a coma for almost a month. The film opens with a voiceover from Matt, during which he briefly (and vaguely) explains his life story, before boldly exclaiming: “Fuck paradise”.
Matt then embarks on a life-changing journey, where he makes amends for his past behaviour and faces up to his responsibilities. Namely, he must inform his family and friends that his wife is about to die, become a better father to his two bratty daughters in the process, confront the source of his marital problems, and make an honourable decision regarding his inheritance.
It all sounds very dramatic, but the film actually bored me to tears. And before you think I’m completely heartless, I should point out that I cried like a baby while watching Ghost (I put the pathetic in empathetic). Alas, I felt no empathy toward Matt King. And that’s not a slight on Clooney’s performance either. In fact, I think Clooney is one of the few actors actually capable of bringing Matt’s two-dimensional character to life.
Clooney’s puppy-eyed charisma is what gives Matt King’s character any sort of substance or feeling. With baffled expressions and a goofy running style, Clooney nails the “clueless-but-loveably-awkward”, “middle-aged-single-father” persona (think Mel Gibson in What Women Want). In fact, if it wasn’t for Clooney’s charisma, I think I would have left the cinema.
But despite Clooney’s undeniable likeability, Matt’s character still isn’t great. This is particularly true during the scene where he insensitively breaks the news of his wife’s imminent death to his eldest daughter, an obnoxious teenager named Alexandra (played by the beautiful Shailene Woodley).
While swimming in her father’s pool, Alexandra is told that her mother will soon be taken off life-support. Cue an overly dramatic scene where she plunges her head underwater and delivers a silent scream that should represent emotional turmoil, but instead looks completely staged.
And that’s the thing about this film, it all just seems mechanical; as if each character is simply going through the motions. Despite the heart-felt performances, the film lacks soul. Indeed, The Descendants is filled with potentially powerful scenes, but somehow leaves you feeling empty.
Maybe that’s the beauty of the film; maybe these juxtapositions are meant to remind us of how lonely it can be in so-called paradise. Still, something seems to be missing from The Descendants. Matt’s character in particular is pretty vacuous; in that he’s pretty to look at, but devoid of any real depth.
This is partially due to the fact that we don’t really get any detailed background on Matt during the film, just a few vague and self-depricating lines such as: “I was the back-up parent”. Having said that, Clooney does deliver a cracking emotional scene when he bids farewell to his wife at hospital.
Even so, each time Matt appeared on screen, all I could really think about was how well George Clooney looked (SILVER FOX ALERT). The fact that I was so easily distracted by Clooney’s remarkably well-preserved appearance speaks volumes about the film’s plot. After all, if you’re more interested by the lead’s hair than his character’s journey, then something’s definitely not right.
The bland storyline, soothing soundtrack and vanilla script all contribute towards making The Descendants a one-way ticket to snoresville, which is a shame, because the film could be touching if it weren’t so darn boring.
The Descendants features an array of potentially heart-warming, tear-jerking, and nail-biting situations: a father bonding with his daughters, a mother on her deathbed, a confrontation between a man and his wife’s secret lover… Yet none of these scenarios are poignant or interesting to watch.
Having said that, the film is sprinkled (albeit sparingly) with sharp bursts of humour, mainly thanks to Matt’s 10-year-old daughter Scottie (Amara Miller), gormless “Bill & Ted” inspired teen Sid (Nick Krause) and Matt’s father-in-law Scott Thorson (Robert Forster).
Overall there’s nothing notably wrong with The Descendants. It’s a gentle “comedy-drama” that lightly touches upon a variety of heavy topics, and while I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly gripping about it, you should go and see it if you a) like George Clooney, b) enjoy slow-paced films, or c) need a temporary solution to insomnia.
Forget Nana Pat’s Sausage Plait, this week it’s all about Lauren Goodger’s Banging Balls…
Lauren proved to be quite the chef last night at The Waterhouse Restaurant in London, where she and three other TOWIE girls battled it out over the stove in a charity cook-off.
The event saw Lauren Goodger, Lauren Pope, Frankie Essex and Peri Sinclair take on the challenge of cooking a 33p meal in aid of Live Below The Line; a national poverty campaign which challenges people to live off £5 on food and drink for a week.
The event kicked off with a welcome talk by Elisha London, UK Country Director at The Global Poverty Project. As Elisha explained the cause to a crowd of paps and journos, we could see the TOWIE girls getting ready to cook up a storm in the restaurant’s open-plan kitchen.
The girls were divided into two teams: The Reem Rangers (Lauren G. and Peri) and The Salty Potatoes (Lauren P. and Frankie). As soon as the challenge began the paparazzi invaded the kitchen area, ravenous for shots of the women at work.
As the photographers snapped away furiously, my celebrity journalist pal and I remained happily seated at our table, guzzling free wine and discussing the relevance of Lady Gaga’s song Paparazzi. How cultured of us.
I did eventually get up to join the photo-taking frenzy, but soon retreated to the table after being whacked around the head with a massive SLR camera. That’ll teach me for trying to muscle into a crowd of hungry paps.
Dolled up as always, the TOWIE gals wore fake hair, fake tan, and fake eyelashes (looks like the hair-net rule doesn’t apply if you’re a reality TV star). Fortunately everybody’s makeup stayed in tact despite the kitchen heat, and nobody’s extensions caught fire on a gas ring.
Indeed, the ladies were cool-headed throughout and seemed immersed in the challenge. Lord knows how much actual cooking they did (they were assisted by a number of professional chefs) but I’ll say this much: the meals tasted really good!
The Reem Rangers served up some delicious, hand-made meatballs which they aptly named “The Banging Balls”. The Salty Potatoes, on the other hand, made stir fry, which they named… stir fry.
After a quick vote, Elisha London announced The Reem Rangers as the winners of the cooking competition. Cue squeals of joy from Lauren G. and Peri, and one last photo opportunity before the girls disappeared out of the room. Probz for a night out in Sugar Hut.
All in all the TOWIE ladies did a great job of promoting a good cause and brought attention to the serious issue of extreme food poverty. If you’d like to take part in the £5 a week challenge or find out more about the charity, visit www.livebelowtheline.co.uk. In the meantime here are a couple of sneaky stalker snaps of the night from my phone…
She’s always been a show-stopper, but Angelina Jolie has really gone out on a limb this time. Dressed in a black velvet Versace gown with a thigh-high slit, Jolie flaunted her right leg at the 2012 Oscars; first down the red carpet and then on stage while presenting an award.
The bizarre and exhibitionistic pose Jolie struck during her presentation speech reminded me of the last awkward appearance she made at the Academy Awards. You know, back in 2000, where she said she was in love with her brother during her acceptance speech and then kissed him on the lips afterwards? Yep, hard to forget that.
Except it’s not that hard to forget, is it? In fact, up until now, I’d almost forgotten about Jolie’s old brother-loving, blood-vial-wearing, S&M persona. Hardly surprising though, given the amount of times she’s changed her image since.
It seems as if Angelina Jolie’s played more roles in real life than she has in movies; wild child, goth-chick, Oscar-winner, wife, mother, femme fatale, humanitarian, director, the world’s most beautiful woman… You name it, she’s got the t-shirt.
In short, she’s become her own most interesting character, and we’re all on tenterhooks to see just what she does next. Of course, a major part of Angelina Jolie’s allure stems from the fact that she’s insanely good looking. But, perfect facial proportions aside, it would seem it’s Jolie’s sheer unpredictability that really keeps her global audience intrigued.
Indeed, such is the world’s fascination with Jolie’s ever-evolving persona that nowadays all she needs to do is pop out a leg at an awards ceremony and the media goes absolutely mad. More specfically, the internet goes bonkers.
Point in case: not only has the appearance of her right leg spawned a dedicatory Twitter account (@AngiesRightLeg has over 44 thousand followers and counting) but her leg has also been superimposed onto every iconic image imaginable – an online trend now known as leg-bombing.
I know I probably shouldn’t contribute to what could be considered a ridiculous obsession with one woman’s leg, but some of these photos are just so DARN FUNNY. Here are my top five, oh yes…
TOP FIVE LEGBOMBINGS (warning: contains awful puns)
1. ATAT-GELINA. Ange legging it across the snowy terrain.
2. SQUAT! Just doing a little… stretch, on the red carpet.
3. VENUS LEGS. Imagine how well this would work for Gillette’s Venus razor ads.
4. ANGE STRIKES BACK.Well she was wearing black, just like old Darth here.
5. THE FIFTH BEATLE.The most inconspicious of the lot, which is why I like it.
Check out my beauty blog Yesterface for tips on how to achieve showstopping legs like Jolie’s!