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Aug 31,2007
LOS ANGELES - The pingpong plot may be screwy, but the bitty ball-slamming had to look legit. So the "Balls of Fury" actors, including star Dan Fogler and scene-stealer Christopher Walken - were trained by a U.S. table tennis Olympian who also coached Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump." "I must've whacked over 100,000 balls," says Fogler, who plays a tubby disgraced pingpong phenom in the comedy opening on Wednesday. Fogler prepped for the part by ... [full story]
7692 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
Game: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" Publisher: EA System: Nintendo Wii Cost: $50 ESRB rating: T Review rating: 3 stars   WIZARDRY - In this virtual version of Hogwarts, the player is free to explore nearly every location from the series, including the Dungeon Corridor, Viaduct, Hagrid's Hut and the Gryffindor Common Room. CNS Photo courtesy of EA.    FULL PRESS - The most powerful move in 'Mario Strikers Charge' is called the 'MegaStrike,' which ... [full story]
1544 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
Game: "Parappa the Rapper" Publisher: Sony System: Sony PSP Cost: $30 ESRB rating: E Review rating: 2 1/2 stars   FRIENDS BECOME ENEMIES - While play can become repetitive, in-depth customization options and gorgeous visuals help to make 'Project Sylpheed' an enjoyable 3-D space shooter. CNS Photo courtesy of Microsoft/Square-Enix.    NEW REMIXES - Sony has released an enhanced version of 'Parappa the Rapper' for the PlayStation Portable; it features eight new downloadable remixes in addition to the ... [full story]
1294 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
Almost 30 years ago, a beautiful girl named Gail was resting a knee she had sprained in a skiing accident on a coffee table during a fraternity mixer at Southwestern University in Dallas when Bill Engvall - a strapping 6-footer - roller-skated into the room with a beer in his hand.   BILL ENGVALL - Bill Engvall is the force behind 'The Bill Engvall Show,' a gentle half-hour comedy he helped create, develop and executive produce. ... [full story]
1796 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
"A Memoir of Life on the Run" by Mike O'Connor; Random House; 304 pages; $25.   IDENTITY 'CRISIS' - A journalist's toughest story to unravel was his own family's tale. CNS Photo. On the last page of "A River Runs Through It," Norman Maclean's 1976 gem about fishing and family, the father says, "It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us." Mike O'Connor's story could be Exhibit A. He grew up ... [full story]
903 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
"Gypsy-punk" and "trans-global rebel rock" sound like contrived marketing slogans, but they perfectly describe the uproarious musical collision that is Gogol Bordello.   GOGOL BORDELLO - Gogol Bordello leader Eugene Hutz adds a new twist to crowd-surfing at his band's concerts. CNS Photo courtesy of Michael Lavine. The members of this two-woman, six-man band hail from Ukraine, Russia, Ethiopia, Israel, Thailand, Scotland and California. The music they make mixes violins, guitars, accordions and heavily accented vocals with ... [full story]
1874 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
In "The Invasion," Nicole Kidman finds herself looking around nervously, wondering if people she took for friends and family are really a plague of imitations.   THEY'RE COMING - 'Knockoff' movies, such as 'Transmorphers,' are sometimes touted as tie-ins, but there's often no business connection to the original film, in this care 'Transformers.' CNS Photo. Maybe movie fans can relate. Three weeks before the recent release of the sci-fi thriller - the latest take on the "Invasion ... [full story]
1460 times read - No comment posted

Aug 31,2007
Jump in your time machine and set the dial for the 1960s - it's time for a flashback ... if you were around back then. MGM has released a boxed set of DVDs starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Though these movies were popular then, they don't stand the test of time today.   BEACH BLANKET RETRO - Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Deborah Walley and John Ashley wore sunny smiles in 1965's 'Beach Blanket Bingo.' CNS ... [full story]
1713 times read - No comment posted

Aug 24,2007
LOS ANGELES - Death hag Scott Michaels pulls his sightseer-packed Helter Skelter Tour van - with the license plate holder declaring "I Love Sharon Tate" - over to the curb so those aboard can gawk across traffic lanes at the El Coyote Mexican restaurant. "Mediocre food," he rags, but "good margaritas."   DRIVE-BY DETAILS - Tour guide Scott Michaels starts his Helter Shelter Tour with a video of star Sharon Tate, one of the seven people ... [full story]
3561 times read - No comment posted

Aug 24,2007
"Californication" - as the title strongly suggests - provides a whole new definition of the term "boob tube." It's particularly evident to viewers tuning in the half-hour comedy on Showtime (dealing with blocked writer Hank Moody drowning his anxieties in sex, sex, sex and alcohol) for the first time. Just in the pilot segment of "Californication," Moody is spotted in bed with at least three topless or nude women, all married or minors. The hapless ... [full story]
3753 times read - No comment posted

Aug 24,2007
Dweezil Zappa had two major goals in mind when he launched Zappa Plays Zappa last year, each equally ambitious.   ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA - 'I felt it was important for new generations to be exposed to his music,' says Dweezil Zappa of his band, Zappa Plays Zappa, which plays music from throughout the career of his legendary dad, Frank Zappa. CNS Photo courtesy of Michael Mesker for Zappa Family Trust.  The first was to honor the heady ... [full story]
2429 times read - No comment posted

Aug 24,2007
After Leonardo DiCaprio's career triumphs of 2006, including a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role in "Blood Diamond" and a co-starring turn in the Best Picture-winning "The Departed," the 32-year-old superstar is taking on perhaps his most challenging role yet: activist.   LEONARDO DICAPRIO - Leonardo DiCaprio may just be taking on his most challenging role yet: activist. DiCaprio is the narrator, screenwriter and producer of 'The 11th Hour.' CNS Photo courtesy of Warner Independent ... [full story]
2253 times read - No comment posted

Aug 24,2007
Back in 1956, Chuck Berry's hit song "Roll Over Beethoven" told the composer to get out of the way. But Beethoven still isn't budging.   ODE TO LUDWIG - Although he died 180 years ago, Beethoven lives on. Themes from his best-known works are heard everywhere from TV commercials to cell phone ring tones. His life is the subject of books and movies. And live concerts continue to showcase his achievements. CNS Illustration by Manny Franco. Themes ... [full story]
993 times read - No comment posted

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