Monthly archives: August 2019

James Franco, Seth Rogen’s The Room revisit gets thumbs up from ‘Mark’

James Franco and Seth Rogan take on The Room.”What happens when your dream comes true, but in the opposite way?” That’s the question posed by actor Greg Sestero about his experience on the worst movie of all time, which threw him into the spotlight but for all the wrong reasons. The Room, which has been described as ”the CItizen Kane of bad movies”, was released in 2003, reaping just $1800 at the box office (from a $6 million budget) before catching a second wind with an audience who embraced it for its endearingly relentless display of flaws.  But for Sestero, the film didn’t end a career which hadn’t yet really begun – it launched one. His role as handsome, baby-faced Mark made him part of the global cult phenomenon that emerged from this cinematic catastrophe.  And now his book, 2013’s The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, is being turned into a film by James Franco and Seth Rogen. It will star Dave Franco as Sestero, in yet another surprising twist to Sestero’s journey with The Room.  ”It was kind of a full circle moment,” Sestero, 35, says on the phone from Los Angeles. ”Of being dealt this film that people see as the worst movie ever made and [to be] able to turn it around into something that could be its own movie, it’s made all the effort worth it.’’ Written, directed and produced by eccentric Tommy Wiseau, the film is loosely hung around a love triangle. It is completely capitvating in its appallingness, from wooden acting to incomprehensible plotlines to bizarre dialogue.  While Sestero’s book touches on the hilarity of the film – he only stepped in as a favour to Wiseau, who he knew from acting classes, and never expected anyone to see the film – it’s also an interesting, thoughtful take on the quest for fame, the drive for art and the flawed American dream.  It was announced in February that James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions had snapped up the rights to the book and will direct and co-produce and star, working with Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures. Earlier this month Dave Franco announced during an LA screening of the movie that he would play Sestero, with James Franco signed up to play Wiseau.  ”I think James is passionate about the project, and that’s where it starts,’’ Sestero says. ‘‘Making a great film, you’ve got to have a vision and you’ve got to be passionate about it. And Seth Rogen is obviously one of the best producers out there, so I think the book’s in really good hands.’’
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  He says Rogen and Franco understand the humour and have a firm grasp on its meaning. ‘‘The story isn’t just kind of mocking a bad movie, it’s really getting behind what it’s like to try and make art and the struggles that come with that.  ‘‘There’s so many different dimensions to the story and they’ve done comedy, they’ve done drama – it’s a perfect mix for the film.’’ Sestero says it’s early days yet in terms of production – ‘‘it’s going to be really, really exciting’’ – but the prospect of yet another layer to The Room’s spotlight for him is something he’s taking in his stride.  ‘‘It’s just kind of like a roller-coaster,’’ he says. ‘‘I’m just happy to have the chance to be able to do something creative and that’s the kind of road that I hope to take. ‘‘I’m sure it’ll be definitely a new chapter and a very, very entertaining ride.’’

  Greg Sestero will be at a Q&A and screening at the Hayden Orpheum, Sydney, on July 10. See orpheum南京夜网.au.   

DAVY FRANCO and TOMMY WEISEAU!!!!! “The Disaster Artist” COMING SOON!!!! http://t.co/VxyrZn5kw3 — James Franco (@JamesFrancoTV) June 8, 2014

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The new blockbuster nutrient?

Turmeric: is the humble yellow spice, on the left, the ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient? Photo: Leentje photography by Helaine WThe ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient is actually really old.
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There are some fairly audacious statements being made about the benefits of turmeric.

The unassuming spice is also being dubbed as the ‘new Omega 3’ for its anti-inflammatory and fat metabolism properties.

Turmeric is said to help with everything from heart disease to Alzheimers, asthma to arthritis. A potent antioxident, it is even said to slow the ageing process.

No surprises then that hipsters have taken to juicing it and having it in straight shots or mixed with juice.

In India, turmeric has been used traditionally as a disinfectant and treatment for sore throats.

The 5000-year-old herb is so revered, it is also used as an offering of good will and, mixed with lime, to make the paint for Bindis.

One of the most researched supplements out there, turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, is one that seems to live up to much of the hype.

Omega 3s and turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, are “blockbuster nutrients”, according to professor Marc Cohen, head of Complementary Medicines at RMIT.

“Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which stops lipid oxidation and is anti-inflammatory,” says Cohen, who devoted an entire chapter to turmeric in his book, Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide.

“It is a possible aid in preventing chronic degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.”

In fact, the high intake of turmeric in the Indian diet has been attributed to their rates of Alzheimer’s disease, which are amongst the lowest in the world.

Cohen, who suffers from osteoarthritis, is such a fan of the spice that he takes it daily.

“I’d recommend half to one teaspoon daily, but there’s not a prescribed dose … and no toxicity levels.”

As well as using it in curries (where it is responsible for the yellow colour) and smoothies, he often has it with milk as the fat, he explains, helps absorption.

Absorption has been one of the issues with turmeric’s abundant benefits.

“A key challenge we have faced in the past is how to ensure curcumin is absorbed into the body to provide therapeutic benefit.”

A recently released supplement called Theracurmin, formulated from curcumin, claims to have overcome this problem, at least in part.

“Theracurmin has 27 times the bioavailability of curcumin,” Cohen says.

“I’ve been recommended to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” he says for his osteoarthritis.

“Rather than take Voltaren, I’d prefer to take theracumin … Instead of adverse side effects likely to have positive side effects.”

Not everyone is convinced however that a curcumin supplement beats turmeric, if you’re going down that route. Dr Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, picks the whole spice over isolated compounds.

“I frequently recommend turmeric supplements,” he says, “and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendonitis, and autoimmune conditions.”

Taking a natural-first approach, in this instance, is not a bad idea, says Melanie McGrice, spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

“I think it’s always great to try natural food sources before turning to medications,” she says. “Turmeric certainly has a lot of health benefits, especially because it is so rich in antioxidants.”

While Cohen says he takes the therapeutic dose specifically to help treat his condition, it isn’t necessary for all of us: “Fresh turmeric is recommended for everyday use.”

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Essendon players the pawns in a game of double jeopardy

Essendon’s decision to pursue a court injunction against the supplements investigation last week was popularly viewed as an attempt to wriggle out of a tight spot on a technicality. But should that still be the case?
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Given the events of the past few days, isn’t this now about an organisation showing understandable reticence to deal with a process flawed from the beginning in terms of evidence, procedure and, it now emerges, ethics as well?

Because what has transpired since last Thursday makes it increasingly apparent the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority – the body set to deliver judgement on 34 Essendon players – is in no position to be running a school cake stall, let alone determining the careers and livelihoods of professional athletes.

The prevailing view was that Essendon’s players should, regardless of their belief in their innocence, take the ”candy” of the six-month suspensions offered to them by new ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt.

Surely that can’t be on the basis they’ll be treated fairly, of which there’s been precious little evidence.

If McDevitt’s round of media appearances last week were supposed to give the impression of an ASADA sheriff firmly in control, they did the exact opposite.

First, McDevitt blithely announced that AOD-9604 –  the very substance upon which most of the public crucifixion of the Essendon players had rested for a year-and-a-half – was no longer part of the rap sheet.

Then, incredibly, he conceded he wasn’t even sure what the burden of proof was for ASADA to reach a point of invoking suspensions.

He went on to offer that if Essendon players accepted their guilt, they would receive a 75 per cent reduction in what for so long were being touted as mandatory maximum sentences.

That didn’t seem to betray a lot of confidence in the strength of evidence gathered.

But at least McDevitt wasn’t in the chair when ASADA colluded with the AFL to pre-determine that Essendon players would not be sanctioned individually (confirmed in leaked emails), and the basis on which they agreed to co-operate. A deal on which ASADA subsequently welched just two weeks later.

Is it any surprise given that catalogue of contradictions, ignorance and lies that the players now are reluctant to listen to anything ASADA has to say?

McDevitt’s attempt to plea bargain clearly implied guilt, something Essendon’s players still vigorously deny.

Then they were accused of holding the game to ransom, despite being the pawns in the continual blundering and politicking by a range of bodies, including their own club, supposedly looking after their interests.

Don’t they at least deserve the right to be able to view the alleged evidence against them without a presumption of guilt from the very body that would determine their fate? Not that the players haven’t already been tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion.

Ask Jobe Watson about that one. For the past year he has had to shrug not only at the same cat-calling levelled at his teammates, but demands that he be stripped of his 2012 Brownlow Medal for allegedly using a substance that this investigation is no longer interested in.

Watson was hung out to dry. Particularly by ASADA, which presumably knew for a year that it could not prosecute him for something not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency until two months after the investigation began.

That protracted confusion between ASADA and its world parent body over AOD-9604’s status serves as yet another example of the Australian chapter’s incompetence. Not that there’s not some serious doubts about WADA’s credibility either.

As sports lawyer and general secretary of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance, Brendan Schwab, said on Monday, WADA’s modus operandi is political coercion, governments and sporting bodies alike fearful of being excluded from the Olympics if they don’t comply.

WADA’s ”one-size-fits-all” code is ill-suited to team sports, particularly in this case, where Essendon’s players were following the instructions of their employer, which assured them what they were taking was both legal and safe.

No one, not even Essendon, disputes how shoddy its supplements program was run. But that lack of appropriate governance has already been dealt with via the heftiest team and club penalties in AFL history.

Why should the club’s players, kicked from pillar to post these past couple of years, be pawns yet again in a game of double jeopardy?

Essendon’s players have been the patsy in this soap opera from the word go, and ASADA has been complicit in the undermining of not only their reputations, but their mental health as well.

Take six months? Surely no one in the position of the Essendon players would be answering that question with anything other than: ”Take a hike.”

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ASADA’s delay in taking AOD-9604 off the table disappoints players

The AFL Players Association is disappointed it took so long for the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to publicly clarify its position on AOD-9604 given the scrutiny Essendon players were under last year, and is confident the players will not face any further questioning over the drug.
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While the World Anti-Doping Agency has the capacity to challenge closed matters and ask for the disclosure of any relevant information or evidence, ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt has said his organisation does not plan to pursue any alleged use of AOD-9604 prior to April, 2013.

That was when WADA clarified its position on the drug, saying that as the substance was still under clinical development and not approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority, it was prohibited under the S.O. category.

McDevitt said last weekend that pursuing athletes for their possible use of AOD-9604 prior to WADA’s statement would be ”unsuccessful and unfair” because athletes and support personnel could not have known it was a prohibited substance.

The AFLPA believes this position could have been stated much earlier in the investigation to spare the Essendon players unnecessary turmoil and scrutiny. Captain Jobe Watson was subjected to public criticism after saying he believed he had been injected with the substance as part of the supplements program run at the club in 2012, having been told it was permitted for use.

Thirty-four current and former Essendon players have instead been issued show-cause notices alleging they were administered the banned Thymosin beta 4.

”We do not believe that ASADA will take any further step through the Essendon investigation in relation to AOD-9604 given the comments of the ASADA [chief executive] over the weekend,” said acting AFLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast.

McDevitt did not clarify at the weekend whether Essendon had been given wrong information on the status of AOD-9604 and stressed the long-term effects of the drug were unclear, saying its use at the club had been ”grossly irresponsible”.

”The advice I’ve had is that we cannot take the position that prior to April, 2013, that athletes and support personnel could have known AOD-9604 was, in fact, a prohibited substance,” he said on ABC radio.

”What it comes down to is if WADA publicly stated for the first time on the 22nd of April, 2013,that it was a prohibited substance in sport, it would seem that if you pursued an anti-doping rule violation that related to the substance being administered prior to that date, then not only would it – in my eyes – be unsuccessful, it would be unfair.

“The reality is that this … is actually something that’s got huge health effects potentially on humans. It’s just grossly irresponsible in terms of the player welfare.”

Essendon chairman Paul Little said on ABC radio on Sunday that Essendon players, particularly Watson, had been ”to hell and back” over AOD-9604.

“This is another area where I firmly believe the process has been completely stuffed up and the fact that it’s now off the charge sheet, are we meant to be grateful for that?” he said.

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Council blocks Delaney Hotel Socceroos screening plan

FOOTBALL fans willing to forgo sleep and watch the Socceroos have been left disappointed, with the announcement one of the city’s pubs will not be screening the 2am match.
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The Delany Hotel were preparing to show State of Origin II tonight and remain open until 5am to show the Socceroos match against The Netherlands in Porto Alegre.

The Darby Street pub had advertised internal and externally and were planning on imposing a lock-out at 1.30am, but continuing to trade.

The Australian Hotel Association had approved all NSW hotels to extend their license, but it’s believed Newcastle City Council advised the hotelier at 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon that they could not show the game.

Hotel management issued an apology to its patrons.

The Newcastle Herald understands the pub had been inundated with calls from football fans in the lead-up to the match and were disappointed they could not show the game.

Comment has been sought from Newcastle City Council.

The Premier Hotel had been planning to open at 1.30am for the match, but have since decided against trading, after hearing what had happened at The Delany Hotel.

It’s another blow to Hunter football fans after the absence of a World Cup live site in Newcastle this year.

Wheeler Place was transformed into Socceroos headquarters in 2006 and 2010 thanks to Juicy Bean owner Peter James.

Mr James told the Newcastle Herald last week he was waiting on council approval and had a big screen ready if given the go ahead. But Mr James told the Herald this week he would not be able to show the games.

Several pubs and clubs have confirmed they will show the game, including The Kent Hotel, The Blackbutt Hotel, The Cooks Hill Hotel and Wests Leagues Club.

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