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Over fifty years since her tragic death at the age of 36, Marilyn Monroe is still mourned by millions of people who were captivated by her incredible beauty and charm.

Many actresses have tried to capture the Monroe aura in several films about her life which include Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino and more recently, Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn (2011).

But it looks as though another Hollywood beauty will be tackling the coveted role next year with lovely red-headed actress Jessica Chastain being lined up to play the blonde icon in a new film.

The Oscar-nominated star of The Tree of Life (2011), The Help (2011) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012) is set to portray Monroe in the biopic ‘Blonde‘ which is being helmed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Killing Them Softly).

Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’ 2001 novel, the story will focus on Monroe’s  life via a mixture of historical and biographical sources.

Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Impossible) was originally set to portray her when the project was first announced but had to back down. Ironically, Chastain was supposed to play Princess Diana in the ill-fated 2013 biopic Diana but dropped out with Watts taking on the controversial role.

Away from our screens for far too long, Jessica has a large array of films coming up in the next twelve months which include The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby – Him & Her, Miss Julie, A Most Violent Year and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

JERSEY-BOYS

Musicals tend to do well when adapted to the big-screen particularly in the cases of Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera and more recently, Les Miserables.

The latest sing-a-long phenomenon to get the cinematic treatment is the Jersey Boys, which centres on the rising success of Italian American singer Frankie Valli and his group, the Four Seasons. The group were based known for singing renowned hits like “Walk like a Man”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and of course, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.

Helmed by veteran Oscar-winning legend Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby), the 1960s-based biopic unveiled its official trailer earlier today.

John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Valli in the Broadway hit, reprises the role for the film. The supporting cast includes Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos), Kathrine Narducci (The Sopranos) and Oscar-winner Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction).

John Logan (Hugo, Skyfall) has written the script which is adapted from Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s acclaimed production.

The film will be released in the UK on June 20th.

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DIRECTOR: Anthony & Joe Russo
STARRING: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson

SYNOPSIS: Steve Rogers/Captain America struggles to adjust to life in the modern world but when Nick Fury is overpowered by a mysterious assassin, he and Natasha Romanoff team up to stop an anti-terrorist organistation from trying to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s incredible run of form with films just keeps on rolling with the focus returning to classic superhero Captain America.

The shield-welding protagonist faces severe danger in a new world a long way from his old one in this bigger and brasser follow-up to 2011′s The First Avenger.

With Iron Man and Thor having to overcome new enemies in their own sequels, Cap is caught up in a darker scenario involving his own organisation which brings about various problems for him and his friends at S.H.I.E.L.D.

That and the vast amount of brutal action is what makes The Winter Soldier excel as a sequel as we find ourselves drawn into the murky world of greed and corruption in moments that echo the classic 1970s thrillers like The Parallax View and The Conversation.

That is why the casting of Robert Redford works well as the veteran actor produces a dark turn as the scheming S.H.I.E.L.D president Alexander Pierce. Given his lack of mainstream roles in recent years, it’s remarkable to see Redford continue to convey charm despite the dastardliness of his character.

As was the case with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the physical action is choreographed exquisitely  as Steve and Natasha rely on hand-to-hand combat rather than their own superhuman powers to overcome various foes.

The crash-bang-wallop effects also remain in tact for some of the more CGI-laden moments which include a sensational car chase scene involving Fury being pursued by villainous police officers. This is only dwarfed by the climatic showdown which involves our heroes having to take down three heli-carriers to save the human race (again!).

But the film also does well to lend a tongue-in-cheek aspect to its serious tone as it incorporates some humourous references to modern day culture and other Marvel outings.

Chris Evans shines again as the heroic Captain and continues to generate an assured approach to his character whilst bouncing off his co-stars.

Fellow returnee Scarlett Johansson is utilised a lot more in this Marvel outing as she enjoys winding Steve up but also brings more physical presence to the table with her kick-ass scenes.

Anthony Mackie is also a welcoming addition as newcomer Sam Wilson, a war veteran who shares a superhero alter-ego of his own while it’s also refreshing to see Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders reprise their S.H.I.E.L.D roles.

The one stumbling block does come from the return of Hayley Atwell who dons old age makeup to portray the elder Peggy Carter. Though her brief scene with Evans is sweet enough, it lacks the emotional impact that made their romance so valuable in the original.

VERDICT: The post-Avengers films continue to thrive in Marvel’s latest spinoff sequel as America’s first superhero makes a daring and spectacular return to the big-screen.

1920 – 2014

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“The audience and I are friends. They allowed me to grow up with them. I’ve let them down several times. They’ve let me down several times. But we’re all family.”

Mickey Rooney, the veteran Hollywood star who spent 80 years of his life starring in more than 200 films, has died at the age of 93.

His death was confirmed last night after he succumbed to natural causes following a long battle with illness.

He began his lengthy career in 1937 when he took on the role of Andy Hardy in A Family Affair. He would go on to portray the character in thirteen more films with the final one being Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958).

Just two years after his breakthrough role, the Academy Awards recognised Rooney twice for his rising talent with both a Best Actor nomination for the rom-com Babes in Arms (1939) and a Special Juvenile Oscar (which he would share with fellow young star Deanna Durbin).

That same year, he also starred in the title role of young hero Huckleberry Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

He would go on to receive three more nominations in his renowned career with the first one being his role as teenager Homer Macaulay in coming-of-age drama The Human Comedy (1943).

The other two were both Supporting Actors nods for war drama The Bold and the Brave (1956) and the other being veteran horse trainer Henry Dailey in The Black Stallion (1979). He would go on to reprise his role as Dailey in the television spinoff series The New Adventures of the Black Stallion (1990-1993).

Almost fifty years after winning his juvenile Oscar, Rooney was eventually awarded the Honorary accolade in 1983.

He also became well known for appearances in National Velvet (1948), Baby Face Nelson (1957), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and his controversial portrayal of Asian landlord Mr. Yunioshi in the cinematic classic Breakfast at Tiffanys (1961).

Rooney was also popular amongst young audiences with appearances in Pete’s Dragon (1977), Night at the Museum (2006) and a brief musical cameo in The Muppets (2011). He also lent his voice to several animated films with the most memorable being his role as canine dog Copper in the Disney flick The Fox and the Hound (1981).

Remarkably, he married eight times throughout his prestige life although he did file for bankruptcy in 1962, after using up his $12 million wealth.

 He is survived by his eighth wife Jan and nine children.

After making his big-screen debut in last year’s box-office hit Alpha Papa, Alan Partridge is looking set for another cinematic outing in the not-too distant future (A-HA!).

Played masterfully by Steve Coogan (The Look of Love, Philomena), the hapless radio DJ will also be returning for a couple of new television specials which will once again be shown on Sky Atlantic.

Film producer Henry Normal, who co-founded Coogan’s production company Baby Cow, confirmed the news to The Guardian yesterday.

“We are planning a sequel to Alpha Papa, yes, that will be great. We are also looking at doing more Mid Morning Matters and another Sky special, a little bit like Coast with Alan Partridge, except I don’t think he goes out of Norfolk. I think it’s things of interest in Norfolk, that’s the general theme.”

He then went on to add further details about the TV specials:

“We start writing now. I think we make it at the end of summer.”

The iconic character made his screen debut in the early 90s with Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge before featuring in two popular BBC series of I’m Alan Partridge (1996-2002).

The show later moved to Sky Atlantic with Partridge appearing in mini-episodes of Mid Morning Matters and Welcome to the Places of My Life before eventually making the transition to the big-screen in 2013.

It’s time to say it again fellow AP fans….back of the net!

The Empire Magazine readers have spoken.

Last night saw the 2014 Jameson Empire Awards reveal their winners as voted for by the public.

Having been so dominant throughout awards season, the sci-fi spectacle Gravity picked up two key awards for Best Film and yet another Best Director accolade for Alfonso Cuaron.

Also clinching two wins was the second Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug which secured Best Sci-fi/Fantasy film and a surprise Best Male Newcomer win for Aiden Turner (ahead of the likes of Barkhad Abdi and Will Poulter).

Turner’s win wasn’t the only shock of the evening as James McAvoy picked up Best Actor ahead of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Leonardo Di-Caprio for his gritty turn in Filth. Another unexpected triumph was for Sally Hawkins as she won Best Supporting Actress for Blue Jasmine ahead of Oscar rivals Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.

Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks) and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave were the other acting winners which made scant consolation for their disappointments during the recent season.

Others films to land awards were The World’s End (Best British Film), Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (Best Comedy), The Conjuring (Best Horror) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Best Thriller) while Margot Robbie nabbed the Best Female Newcomer gong for her scrumptious turn in The Wolf of Wall Street.

There were also honours for Simon Pegg, Hugh Jackman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise and Paul Greengrass as they were recognised for their successful achievements in the film industry.

The full list of winners are below:

BEST MALE NEWCOMER (presented by Tresor Paris)
Aidan Turner – The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

BEST FEMALE NEWCOMER
Margot Robbie – The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST HORROR
The Conjuring

BEST COMEDY (presented by Magic 105.4)
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

BEST THRILLER
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

BEST SCI-FI/FANTASY (presented by MediCinema)
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

BEST BRITISH FILM
The World’s End

BEST ACTRESS
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr Banks

BEST ACTOR
James McAvoy – Filth

BEST DIRECTOR (presented by Air New Zealand)
Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity

BEST FILM (presented by Sky Movies)
Gravity

It’s starting to become a trend seeing British sitcoms be immortalised onto the big-screen these days. Sometimes it works (The Thick of It, The Inbetweeners) and sometimes it doesn’t (Dad’s Army, Steptoe and Son).

But one popular comedy that will hope to succeed is Brendan O’Carroll’s witty and coarse series Mrs Brown’s Boys which is now getting the fecking cinematic treatment.

Fans of the hit BBC show will be pleased to be informed that its trailer has now premiered online.

The film’s plot will see old lady Agnes Brown (O’Carroll) battle to keep her Moore Street market stall open when a dangerous developer vows to have it closed down.

The show’s director Ben Killer is helming the film while various series regulars are also making an appearance.

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie will be released in cinemas on June 27th.