Marie Ishikawa/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Earlier this week, the religious drama Heaven Is For Real made its debut (read a reviewhere). It will be joined at the box office by three more new films on Friday. Here's a closer look:
-- Transcendence: Johnny Depp is a controversial researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, who tries to create a sentient machine that contains human intelligence and emotions. He eventually transitions into a digitized, power-hungry version of himself. Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara and Cillian Murphy also star. Rated PG-13. [Click here to read a review] -- A Haunted House 2: In the sequel to the 2013 comedy, Marlon Wayans' Malcolm is haunted again after moving into a new home with his girlfriend and her kids. Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias and Cedric The Entertainer star. Rated R.
-- Bears: The latest film in the Disneynature series follows a bear family in Alaska over the course of a year. It is narrated by John C. Reilly. Rated G.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The man who has sued Bryan Singer, claiming he was sexually abused as a teen by the X-Men director, addressed his allegations Thursday at a Los Angeles press conference.
Michael Egan stated that he was abused over the course of a few years by Singer, beginning at the age of 15.
Egan, who's now 31, claimed the abuse began when he was lured to parties at an Encino, Calif., mansion. He said he was treated "like a piece of meat."
Egan, who was an aspiring actor at the time of the alleged incidents, further stated that he was threatened by men at the parties who told him, "If you don't keep the members of this group happy, we control Hollywood, we can eliminate you."
Egan said he and his mother later informed authorities about his allegations, but it "basically fell on deaf ears."
Egan's lawyer, Jeff Herman, claimed at the press conference that such abuse is a widespread problem and is a poorly-kept secret in Hollywood. He said he plans to file similar complaints against other Hollywood figures -- he didn't name names -- who allegedly abused teens.
Egan's lawsuit was filed in Hawaii, where he claims he was also abused by Singer and provided drugs and alcohol by the director. He seeks more than $75,000.
Following the press conference, Singer's attorney, Marty Singer, who is not related to the filmmaker, released a statement saying the claims are "completely fabricated." He added, "We look forward to our bringing a claim for malicious prosecution against Mr. Egan and his attorney after we prevail."
Marty Singer claimed that Egan was simply seeking "his 15 minutes of fame."
20th Century Fox, the studio behind Bryan Singer's next film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, says in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, "These are serious allegations, and they will be resolved in the appropriate forum. This is a personal matter, which Bryan Singer and his representatives are addressing separately."
ABC/Craig Sjodin(NEW YORK) -- On the season finale of ABC's Scandal, the bomb inside the church blew up but Vice President Sally Langston made it out alive. And although Sally was headed back to the White House, her campaign manager urged her to go back to the bomb site to help victims and make a speech.
Meanwhile, President Fitzgerald Grant tried to address the nation after the tragedy, but all of the news organizations instead picked up Sally's address -- Olivia Pope was upset, especially since this happened days away from the election. She told the president that he was going to lose.
Across town, Olivia went to visit her father, Eli, in the hospital after he was stabbed by her mother, Maya. There, Liv ran into her mother and Maya finally told her why she wanted to kill Fitz. "That man used you....I just wanted to give you a chance to be free," Maya said.
Meanwhile, Quinn's boyfriend discovered she was having sex with Huck. Thankfully for her, he didn't get upset and kill her. He just gave her an envelope that detailed where Huck's wife and child lived. Quinn eventually told Huck where his family lived, even at the risk of their budding relationship. And after thinking about it, Huck knocked on his wife's door. She was shocked to find out he wasn't dead.
Back at the White House, Fitz and Olivia were talking when Liv dropped a bomb on him: "Big Jerry raped" Mellie. Initially, Fitz didn't want to believe her, but after talking to Mellie, he did. That's when Mellie told the president she took a paternity test and that little Jerry is indeed his child.
Later, when Fitz was giving his final campaign speech, his son, Jerry III, all of a sudden started coughing up blood. He suffered a seizure and was rushed to the hospital where he died from bacterial meningitis. The Secret Service told the president that a vial of meningitis went missing. "My son was murdered?" Fitz asked.
That's when Eli, who was still recovering in the hospital, ran into the president. The president told Eli he knew who killed his son: "It was Maya Pope. She missed me at the church so she went after Jerry." The president asked Eli to help him kill Maya, and Eli agreed to "put her head on a platter."
Liv headed back to Olivia Pope & Associates to tell them that she wanted to quit, especially now that the president was going to win because his son died. Abby was upset. "Go, run to Daddy," she said tearfully.
Still, Olivia went home and that's where Jake met her. Apparently, Huck had called to tell him the news. Jake tried to convince her to stay, but she told him, "I'm the common denominator...I'm the eye of the storm."
"This is me fixing it," Olivia continued. "...I'm the thing that needs to be fixed. I'm the thing that needs to be handled. I'm the scandal." So Jake told her that he was coming with her.
Across town, Eli ran into Harrison to tell him that Maya killed his lover Adnan. Because Harrison knew where Maya and Adnan were supposed to be meeting up to exchange a briefcase of money, Eli was able to capture Maya. Back at B613, Eli told Harrison to leave. "We're fine...the president saw to it to reinstate me," Eli said.
"This all worked out great for you," Harrison said, insinuating that it was in fact Eli who killed the president's son and not his estranged wife.
Eli then admitted he killed little Jerry. "He took my child so I took his," he said.
At the end of the episode, Eli is seen walking confidently around B613. He even put Maya back in solitary confinement. Meanwhile, Olivia is boarding a plane with Jake. And although the White House called -- Fitz needed help preparing his re-election speech -- Liv ignored the call.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Criticize James Franco at your own peril. The actor did not take kindly to The New York Times' lukewarm review of his new Broadway play, Of Mice and Men, and he let the world know about it on Instagram.
The Times' Ben Brantley had called the production "respectable, respectful and generally inert," while also detailing his misgivings about Franco's performance.
Brantley wrote, "Though he sports a Yosemite Sam accent, Mr. Franco is often understated to the point of near invisibility. It’s a tight, internal performance begging for a camera’s close-up."
Franco countered with a harsh message on Instagram that has since been deleted. According to TheWrap.com, which has posted a screenshot of Franco's message, the actor wrote, “SADLY BEN BRANTLEY AND THE NYT HAVE EMBARASSED [sic] THEMSELVES. BRANTLEY IS SUCH A LITTLE B**** HE SHOULD BE WORKING FOR GAWKER.COM INSTEAD OF THE PAPER OF RECORD. THE THEATRE COMMUNITY HATES HIM, and for good reason, HE's an idiot.”
Of Mice and Men, also starring Bridesmaids actor Chris O'Dowd, opened Wednesday.
ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Kerry Washington has always welcomed the challenge of playing Washington, D.C., fixer Olivia Pope on Scandal.
However, now that the actress is pregnant, portraying such a physical character has become even more intense.
"I work very physically as an actor. The biggest thing for me has been the challenge of how to be this person [Olivia Pope] with the personal transformation that's going on for me physically and how to stay true to this character. That hasn't been easy," she told The Hollywood Reporter.
"It's been an awesome challenge for me as an actor because so much of how I access character is through my body. It's definitely been complicated to say the least. I've learned a lot about other ways to access Olivia and be her," she added.
Washington, 37, and her husband, former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, 32, are expecting their first child this year. However, her Scandal character is not pregnant, which means that Washington had to conceal her baby bump throughout this past season, which ended Thursday night.
"I'm just grateful for how hard everybody has worked to maintain the authenticity of this character in this world," she said. "I'm grateful to [costume designer] Lyn Paolo and all our producers....I feel very grateful that we have such an amazing team that was able to protect the character within the context of what the actress was going through."
However, the decision to separate Washington's real life from Pope's was not her own, Washington said. Series creator Shonda Rhimes made the final call.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A Mrs. Doubtfire sequel is in the works -- but not everyone is excited.
The original film's lead star, Robin Williams, and director, Chris Columbus, are attached to the project, according to reports.
Mrs. Doubtfire starred Williams as a divorced dad of three who, in order to get closer to his children, develops the persona of a Scottish nanny.
Well, one of the kids from the movie has no interest at all in coming back. Mara Wilson, who played Natalie Hillard, the adorable little girl in the film, tweeted Thursday that she's not involved with the follow-up.
"For the record, no, I do not have anything to do with the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel, nor will I," she wrote.
She added, "I've been in some mediocre movies, but I've never been in a sequel. And I have no interest in being in one now."
She explained, "Sequels generally suck unless they were planned as part of a trilogy or series. I think Doubtfire ended where it needed to end."
Wilson said she has yet to be contacted about appearing in the sequel.
TriStar(NEW YORK) -- Based on the best-selling non-fiction book of the same name, Heaven Is for Real stars Greg Kinnear as Pastor Todd Burpo. In addition to being his church’s pastor, he coaches the local high school wrestling team and is also a volunteer fireman. He’s passionate about his faith but most passionate about his family. And there will be no greater test of his faith than when his 4-year-old son, Colton, needs emergency surgery and almost dies.
Following the surgery, something is a little different about Colton. First, he asks his dad if they can return to a butterfly preserve where the young man passed up an opportunity to hold a tarantula: Colton wants to go back because he’s no longer afraid. When Todd asks if the hospital scared him, his son responds, “No, that’s where the angels sang to me.” Colton goes on to reveal that the angels sang to him during surgery, while his mother was in one room making calls on her mobile phone and Todd was in another room yelling at God.
Todd, reasonably, is a bit freaked out, since that’s exactly what took place during Colton’s surgery. It doesn’t end there: Colton also reveals that he visited Heaven, met his great-grandfather, his unborn sister, and Jesus.
Thanks to Kinnear’s earnest performance, you can’t help but feel for him, though it’s difficult to understand Todd’s lack of faith in Heaven before Colton’s surgery, given that he’s a pastor. Connor Corum as Colton is also an excellent find, as this young actor is asked to do a lot. He does it well, but the performances aren’t enough to elevate the vanilla narrative from a faith-based film that will only preach to the choir, to a quality piece of filmmaking that will appeal to moviegoers beyond that audience.
But nobody here is trying to win an Oscar. They’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the faith-based audience that will undoubtedly show up in great numbers to find out if Heaven Is for Real. I suspect they will succeed.
Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) -- Johnny Depp’s Dr. Will Caster and his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), want to change the world through artificial intelligence. But Caster is an intellectual hermit: instead of going out into the world and raising money for his research, he’d rather spend his life at home with his beautiful wife, taking care of their garden while creating complex algorithms. That type of lifestyle just isn’t possible for him because, as indicated by his face on the cover of popular tech magazine WIRED, Will is a tech community rock star.
The culmination of Will’s research is PINN (Physically Independent Neural Network), an artificially intelligent computer whose only major flaw is that it’s not self-aware -- a plot point seemingly created only to create conflict later in the movie.
Shortly after Will reluctantly delivers a speech about his research and the convergence of artificial intelligence and human intelligence -- which he calls “transcendence” -- an anti-technology zealot attempts to assassinate him. It’s all part of a coordinated attack on computer labs around the country that support Caster’s research, fearing it will lead to the downfall of society as we know it.
Will survives the attack, but not for long. The bullet he took was laced with a radioactive isotope, leaving him with only weeks to live.
Evelyn thinks she can save Will, or at least his mind, by employing PINN tech to essentially upload Will’s brain into cyberspace, where he can live forever. She’s going to need help, and that’s where their good friend and business partner, Max (Paul Bettany), comes in. Max helped Will develop the PINN software, and also apparently has some surgical skills -- a convenient plot point which, like so many other aspects of Transcendence, is never explained.
The gamble works, but Max soon realizes that the A.I. version of Will may not be Will at all. It grows more powerful and intelligent by the second, becoming -- ironically -- the very thing the terrorists who tried to kill Will feared, and alarming the government as well.
Transcendence feels less like a film title and more like a mission statement, with the filmmakers hoping the movie would transcend its faults and become a fully realized story with fleshed-out characters (Kate Mara from House of Cards is particularly underutilized as the terrorist leader) and intellectually stimulating conversations. In fairness, there are a few tense moments, but there are also plenty of other moments where you wish the projectionist would stop the movie and throw on Spike Jonze’s Her, a much more subtle and entertaining meditation on a somewhat similar theme. Transcendence aspires to be a philosophical rumination about the future of artificial intelligence, but it’s really just an exercise in superficial intelligence.
Lions Gate Entertainment(NEW YORK) -- In a few weeks, season two of Orange Is the New Black will hit the web.
Now, we have a glimpse of what to expect.
A trailer for the Netflix series was released Thursday -- and many of last season's characters are back in full force, along with a few new faces.
The minute-and-a-half long video begins with Piper, played by Taylor Schilling, making a pointed statement. "I am prepared to behave like a model inmate and I feel I no longer pose a threat," she said, possibly referring to the violent crime she committed at the end of last season.
Meanwhile, Red, played by Kate Mulgrew, may have a new nemesis, who takes a liking to Crazy Eyes, played by Uzo Aduba.
For more, check out the video below. Orange Is the New Black premieres on Netflix on June 6.
20th Century-Fox/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Mrs. Doubtfire is reportedly coming back for more gender-bending hilarity. A sequel to the 1993 hit Mrs. Doubtfire is in the works, according toThe Hollywood Reporter.
Elf writer David Berenbaum is writing the script, while Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus are also attached to the project, THR reports.
The original film starred Williams as a recently divorced father of three who, in order to get closer to his children, develops the persona of a Scottish nanny.
The movie grossed $441 million worldwide, and Williams and the movie earned Golden Globes.
According to THR, the sequel has been in the works since 2001.
(NEW YORK) -- When Gena Gabrielle sent Taylor Swift an invite to her bridal shower in Columbus, Ohio, she didn’t exactly expect the pop icon to show up.
But she did and now the "Red" singer, 24, has posted a video of the surprise.
"There's this girl named Gena, who has been coming to my shows for years," Swift says in the beginning of the video. "I was at the management office the other day and we were going through fan mail and invitations and stuff. I got this wedding invitation."
ABC/Ron Tom(NEW YORK) -- The season finale of ABC's Scandal airs Thursday night, and one of its stars says it will be "cataclysmic."
ABC hasn't revealed much about the episode: we do know it's set during Election Day, with President Fitzgerald Grant facing off against his vice president, who murdered her husband.
Jeff Perry, who plays the president's chief of staff, Cyrus Beene, offers this hint to ABC News Radio: "We're going to be tremendously surprised as to how the re-election effort turns. I can't say who's going to win, but the final twists and turns are cataclysmic."
Perry admits there is always a possibility that series creator Shonda Rhimes could kill off his character at some point during the show's run.
He says, "I keep some little tiny part of my heart ready for, 'Oh wow, I never thought that bullet was for me. OK. This has been amazing.' And then on another level, you know, 99 percent of me goes, 'No, Shonda loves Cyrus. I think she just really loves him. I think I'm safe. No, it's going to be OK.'"
The season finale of Scandal airs on ABC at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Later Thursday night, Jimmy Kimmel Live will feature an on-set interview with Rhimes, as well as appearances from cast members.
Sara De Boer/STARTRAKS PHOTO via ABC(NEW YORK) -- Miley Cyrus was forced to cancel a couple of concert dates in Missouri this week due to a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics. Her camp has since shed more light on what exactly is bothering her.
A rep for Cyrus says in a statement that the singer obtained a prescription for an antibiotic known as cephalexin to treat a sinus infection that was diagnosed last week. She subsequently suffered an allergic reaction to the drug.
The rep says such a reaction can last from five to 27 days. The statement adds, "She will remain hospitalized and is under a doctor's care until we see some improvement in her condition and is asking for your compassion and privacy at this time."
Cyrus was hospitalized in Kansas City on Tuesday. So far, she's cancelled dates in Kansas City and in St. Louis.
The allergic reaction occurred one week after she cancelled a concert in Charlotte, N.C., due to a bout with the flu.
ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- Scandal actor Columbus Short is facing more personal problems. His wife has reportedly obtained a restraining order and filed for divorce after he allegedly threatened to kill the both of them.
According to TMZ, Short's wife, Tuere Short, claims he confronted her at their Los Angeles home on April 7 while intoxicated, grabbing a knife and choking her. She says he then accused her of cheating on him, and allegedly put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her as part of a murder-suicide.
Tuere Short says the actor slashed her tire as she tried to escape the house.
Columbus Short has since moved out of the house as part of the restraining order.
Tuere Short filed for divorce on Tuesday and is seeking sole custody of the couple's 2-year-old daughter.
Last month, Columbus Short pleaded not guilty in a separate incident to spousal battery, after he allegedly attacked his wife in front of his daughter and his son. Around the same time he entered that plea, he was arrested for allegedly punching another man at a West Los Angeles restaurant.