‘Goodfellas’ actor Ray Liotta dead

Actor Ray Liotta attends the ‘No Sudden Move’ premiere during the 20th Tribeca Festival in New York on June 18, 2021. (AP Photo)
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Updated 26 May 2022

‘Goodfellas’ actor Ray Liotta dead

  • Ray Liotta’s publicist in Los Angeles confirmed his death, saying the actor died in his sleep and that there were no suspicious circumstances
  • Liotta, whose turn as mobster Henry Hill in Scorsese’s crime masterpiece, ‘Goodfellas,’ won universal admiration, was shooting a film in the Dominican Republic when he died

LOS ANGELES: Actor Ray Liotta, who starred in Martin Scorsese’s gangster classic “Goodfellas,” has died in the Dominican Republic, the country’s cinema authority said Thursday. He was 67.
Liotta, whose blistering turn as real-life mobster Henry Hill in Scorsese’s crime masterpiece won universal admiration, was shooting a new film in the country when he died, a spokeswoman for the Dominican Republic’s General Direction of Cinema said.
“We understand that he was accompanied by his (fiancee) and that the (fiancee) asks that you please respect her grief,” the spokeswoman told AFP.
Liotta’s publicist in Los Angeles confirmed his death, saying the actor died in his sleep and that there were no suspicious circumstances.
He was working on a movie called “Dangerous Waters” at the time of his death.
Liotta’s breakout came in 1990 when he was cast alongside Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in what is widely considered one of the greatest films of the 20th century.
“Goodfellas” won one Oscar, and was nominated for five others, and scenes from the movie continue to resonate as cultural touchstones more than three decades later.
A year before “Goodfellas,” Liotta had played baseball star “Shoeless Joe” Jackson in beloved sports movie “Field of Dreams,” opposite Kevin Costner.
The film was nominated for three Oscars, including best picture.
Tributes began to be paid soon after news of Liotta’s death broke, with “Goodfellas” co-star Lorraine Bracco, who played his on-screen wife, Karen, saying she was “utterly shattered to hear this terrible news.”
“I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas,” she tweeted.
“Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same... Ray Liotta.”
Despite branching out to show his breadth as an actor, Liotta had recently returned to the world of mob films, with roles in Steven Soderbergh’s “No Sudden Move” and “The Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark.”
Liotta was born in Newark, on the US East Coast, in December 1954.
Variety reported he was left at an orphanage at birth and adopted when he was six months old.
At the University of Miami he performed in musicals, and after graduating landed a role in a soap opera that would provide him with three years’ work to 1981.
His first movie came in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1986’s “Something Wild” opposite Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels that he came to wider attention.
The comedy-action-romance was screened at Cannes and scored Liotta a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actor.

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Cosplayers steal the show on final day of Comic Con Arabia

Updated 25 October 2022

Cosplayers steal the show on final day of Comic Con Arabia

  • Judge Sakuraflor says fans the ‘most positive, kind and respectful’ she has ever met

JEDDAH: The three-day Comic Con Arabia 2022 ended on a high on Saturday, as visitors showed off their costume-making skills and stylish poses in a cosplay contest.

The competition was divided into three categories: Comic Con Arabia, best performance and best costume crafting and attracted 75 contestants, all vying for SR10,000 ($2,660) in total prize money.

Ibrahim Al-Sadaan, who traveled all the way from Eastern Province to attend the event, won the Comic Con Arabia category and with it a cash prize of SR5,000.

“I love cosplay,” the 25-year-old told Arab News. “I have been very passionate about it since a very young age.” 

(AN Photo/Hazem Alahdal)

Al-Sadaan won the judges over with his portrayal of Scorpion, a villainous character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise. He said his costume took six weeks to create and he spent a further week mastering his poses, but the victory came as no surprise.

“I have already represented the Kingdom in the Japanese international cosplay championship in Riyadh, and today was my sixth win,” he said.

The best performance and costume crafting prizes went to visitors dressed as Japanese manga characters Spy x Family and Jujutsu Kaisen respectively, each of whom won SR2,500. 

(AN Photo/Hazem Alahdal)

The contestants were judged by three professional cosplayers: Taryn from Italy, Harry Field from the UK and Sakuraflor from the Netherlands.

Taryn has a large fan base in Jeddah and signed countless autographs in the meet and greet area.

“I will keep this precious memory in my heart and I am sure I will see you again in Saudi Arabia,” he said. 

(AN Photo/Hazem Alahdal)

Field said Saudi comic fans had taken cosplay to another level with their creativity.

“I have had the opportunity to travel to so many places now, and I am really good at spotting upcoming communities and where things are going to be rising,” he told Arab News.

“Saudis have been doing amazing things within the esports and gaming events … and (their) cosplay level is absolutely amazing. People here have so much creativity that they bring in every character they make and bring to life.” 

(AN Photo/Hazem Alahdal)

Sakuraflor said she was impressed by the passion shown by the fans.

“It is the most positive, kind and respectful fans I have ever met. They are super sweet and the energy is super high. I have seen the performances, I am impressed. They are going crazy and I love it.”

Among the other supervillains and superheroes on show were Spider-Man, Deadpool, the Joker and Wonder Woman, while several horror film characters, including Chucky, Harley Quinn and Leatherface, also made an appearance.

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Barack Obama wins Emmy for narrating national parks series

Updated 04 September 2022

Barack Obama wins Emmy for narrating national parks series

  • Barack Obama is the second president to have an Emmy. Dwight D. Eisenhower was given a special Emmy Award in 1956

LOS ANGELES: Barack Obama is halfway to an EGOT.
The former president won an Emmy Award on Saturday to go with his two Grammys.
Obama won the best narrator Emmy for his work on the Netflix documentary series, “Our Great National Parks.”
The five-part show, which features national parks from around the globe, is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, “Higher Ground.”
He was the biggest name in a category full of famous nominees for the award handed out at Saturday night’s Creative Arts Emmys, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Attenborough and Lupita Nyong’o.
Barack Obama is the second president to have an Emmy. Dwight D. Eisenhower was given a special Emmy Award in 1956.
Barack Obama previously won Grammy Awards for his audiobook reading of two of his memoirs, “The Audacity of Hope” and “A Promised Land.” Michelle Obama won her own Grammy for reading her audiobook in 2020.
EGOT refers to a special category of entertainers who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. To date, 17 people have done it.
The late Chadwick Boseman also won an Emmy for his voice work on Saturday. The “Black Panther” actor won for outstanding character voiceover for the Disney+ and Marvel Studios animated show “What If...?“
On the show, Boseman voiced his “Black Panther” character T’Challa in an alternate universe where he becomes Star-Lord from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
It was one of the last projects for Boseman, who died in 2020 of colon cancer at age 43. 


Baldwin expects no charges over fatal movie set accident

Updated 20 August 2022

Baldwin expects no charges over fatal movie set accident

  • A criminal investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, and prosecutors have not yet ruled out charges against those involved
  • "I sincerely believe... (investigators are) going to say that this was an accident. It's tragic," said Baldwin in a rare interview

LOS ANGELES: US actor Alec Baldwin said he does not believe anyone will be criminally charged over the fatal shooting on the set of Western film “Rust,” telling CNN he has hired a private investigator to assess culpability for the tragedy.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after being hit by a live round that came from a gun Baldwin was holding as he rehearsed on the New Mexico set of the low-budget movie last October.
A criminal investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, and prosecutors have not yet ruled out charges against those involved.
“I sincerely believe... (investigators are) going to say that this was an accident. It’s tragic,” said Baldwin in a rare interview about the episode, a portion of which was aired Friday.
Baldwin told CNN he had replayed the events leading up to the shooting over and over for the past 10 months.
While insisting he does not want to “condemn” Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film set’s armorer and props assistant, Baldwin pointed the finger of blame at her and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun moments before the shooting.
“Someone put a live bullet in the gun who should have known better,” Baldwin said.
“That was (Gutierrez-Reed’s) job. Her job was to look at the ammunition and put in the dummy round or the blank round, and there wasn’t supposed to be any live rounds on the set.
“There are two people who didn’t do what they were supposed to do,” he added.
“I’m not sitting there saying I want them to, you know, go to prison, or I want their lives to be hell.
“I don’t want that, but I want everybody to know that those are the two people that are responsible for what happened.”
Baldwin, who was both the star and a producer of “Rust,” has been the subject of a number of civil lawsuits over the shooting, including from Hutchins’s family.
He has previously said he was told the gun contained no live ammunition, had been instructed by Hutchins to point the gun in her direction, and did not pull the trigger.
But a recent FBI forensic report concluded that the gun could not have been fired “without a pull of the trigger.”
Meanwhile, Gutierrez-Reed has sued the film’s ammunition supplier, accusing him of leaving real bullets among the dummy cartridges.
On Thursday, her lawyer criticized the FBI for failing to carry out DNA or fingerprint testing to establish who had handled the live rounds found on set.
“It is inconceivable that the sheriff would not seek answers to this fundamental question and it raises a serious problem with the entire investigation,” said a statement from Jason Bowles.
Following Baldwin’s latest interview, lawyers for both Gutierrez-Reed and Halls told CNN that the actor was trying to deflect blame away from himself.
Baldwin also used the CNN interview to address former US President Donald Trump’s public intimation that he could have killed Hutchins on purpose.
Trump last year told a podcast that Baldwin — who frequently impersonated and ridiculed the president on “Saturday Night Live” — was a “troubled guy,” suggesting that “maybe he loaded” the gun.
Baldwin told CNN he was consequently worried that some of Trump’s supporters would “come and kill me.”
“Here was Trump, who instructed people to commit acts of violence, and he was pointing the finger at me and saying I was responsible for the death,” said Baldwin.
“There is just this torrent of people attacking me who don’t know the facts.”


What We Are Playing Today: Award-winning co-op game 'It Takes Two'

Updated 19 August 2022

What We Are Playing Today: Award-winning co-op game 'It Takes Two'

  • The award-winning production was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in March 2021

Married life can be hard; sometimes couples must cooperate to solve their problems. They need to know when to be firm or relent, so it takes two to make the relationship work.

This is exactly the aim of the action-adventure platform “It Takes Two”, which was created by Hazelight Studios and released by Electronic arts.

The story centers on a couple Cody and May who are seemingly incompatible and plan to divorce. They break the news to their daughter Rose late in the afternoon.

Rose then goes upstairs to her room and using two handmade dolls that resemble her parents, acts out a scene where they reconcile.

Rose’s tears, however, magically transfer the souls of her parents into these two dolls, who are now trapped and desperate to return to their bodies. In order to do that, they are forced to work together. 

The production was awarded The Game Award for Game of the Year 2021. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in March 2021.

“It Takes Two” has top-notch graphics, with many details for surfaces and a rotating view. You can move the camera angles around and explore the environment.

It is a multiplayer video game and does not have a single-player option.


Olivia Newton-John, ‘Grease’ star and singer, dies aged 73

Updated 08 August 2022

Olivia Newton-John, ‘Grease’ star and singer, dies aged 73

  • Olivia Newton-John gained worldwide fame as high-school sweetheart Sandy in the hit musical movie ‘Grease’

LOS ANGELES: Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, who gained worldwide fame as high-school sweetheart Sandy in the hit musical movie “Grease,” died Monday, her family said. She was 73.
The entertainer, whose career spanned more than five decades, devoted much of her time and celebrity to charities after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992.
Newton-John “passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” said a statement from her husband John Easterling posted on her official social media accounts.