Kevin Hart steps down as Oscars host - Silver Screen Beat
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Amid overwhelming controversy, Kevin Hart steps down as host of the Academy Awards

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Kevin Hart
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Just two days after it was revealed that actor-comedian Kevin Hart would be hosting the 91st Academy Awards in February, Hart took to social media Thursday night to announce that he will no longer be doing so after old tweets where he used homophobic terminology and slurs began to resurface, creating a swarm of controversy and backlash.

“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” Hart wrote in a series of tweets. “This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazingly talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”

Hart’s apologetic remarks come just mere hours after he posted a video on Instagram where he described how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called him to issue an ultimatum, forcing him to either issue a statement of apology or step down as the host of the Oscars.

“I chose to pass on the apology,” Hart said at the time. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then.”

With Hart’s abrupt exit, pressure is mounting on first-time Oscar producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss to secure a new host. However, considering how the Oscar hosting gig has become one of the least desired jobs in Hollywood, they could have trouble finding a swift replacement.

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Phoenix: Warner Bros. invites you to a screening of Edward Norton’s ‘Motherless Brooklyn’

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Motherless Brooklyn
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Warner Bros. will release Motherless Brooklyn, the new crime drama from writer, director, and star Edward Norton, on October 19 and its giving Silver Screen Beat readers in Phoenix a chance to attend an advance screening of the film before it officially opens in theaters.

Our readers in Phoenix can click on this link right now to claim their free passes — good for you and one guest — to attend an advance screening of Motherless Brooklyn happening at Harkins Scottsdale 101 on Monday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Keep in mind that these free passes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to claim yours as soon as possible before they run out. Below is the official trailer for Motherless Brooklyn as well as some additional details about the film.

Directed by: Edward Norton

Cast: Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, and Willem Dafoe

Opens: Friday, November 1

Rating: R for language throughout, including some sexual references, brief drug use, and violence

Synopsis: Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, Motherless Brooklyn follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance. In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.

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Final trailer for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ teases a bittersweet ending to a beloved saga

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Rise of Skywalker
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Disney has released the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the latest chapter in the intergalactic franchise from writer-director J.J. Abrams that will — supposedly — mark the conclusion of the long-running Skywalker saga that began in 1977.

The Rise of Skywalker will see the return of much of the principal cast, including Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Anthony Daniels, as well as the late Carrie Fisher, who will appear in the film by way of unused footage from the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“You can’t recast that part and you can’t suddenly have her disappear,” Abrams said at the Star Wars Celebration event in April. “The weird miracle of having a number of scenes from The Force Awakens that had got unused, looking at those scenes and starting to understand that there was actually a way to use those scenes and continue her story so that it would be her. The idea of having a CG character was off the table.”

The film will also see Ian McDiarmid reprise his role as the villainous Emperor Palpatine and Billy Dee Williams as the iconic scoundrel Lando Calrissian.

“In addition to being the end of three trilogies, it also has to work as its own movie,” Abrams also said. “It’s about this new generation and what they’ve inherited the light and the dark, and asking the question as they face the greatest evil, are they prepared? Are they ready?”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20.

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Sam Raimi reteaming with Columbia Pictures to direct, produce new untitled horror project

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Sam Raimi
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Columbia Pictures confirmed Friday that it has acquired the rights to an untitled horror project that is set to be directed and produced by Sam Raimi, making it the genre maestro’s first directorial effort on a horror film 2009’s Drag Me to Hell.

“I am thrilled to be reunited with Columbia Pictures and re-teaming with Sanford [Panitch] and Ange [Giannetti],” Raimi said in a statement. “I have been a fan of Shannon and Swift and we have found the perfect adventure to share with the world.”

While details about the project are being kept tightly under wraps, the film — which was written by Mark Swift and Damian Shannon, based on an original idea they conceived — is comparable to Misery and Cast Away in terms of its tone, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Raimi and Zainab Azizi are producing the film via their Raimi Productions label, while Giannetti is overseeing the production for Columbia Pictures, which moved quickly to acquire the rights to the project before other studios even had a chance to make a bid on it.

Production on the film is expected to get underway in 2020.

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