By: Gina McIntyre
“Ant-Man” has a new release date.
The Marvel film, starring Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, now will open July 17, 2015. That’s two weeks earlier than its planned July 31 release date; it moves into the date that had been reserved as the opening of Zack Snyder’s untitled “Man of Steel” sequel featuring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.
Marvel announced the change on its website Thursday.
Last week, in a surprise move, Warners pushed back its “Superman/Batman” project, which also will feature an appearance from Wonder Woman as played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, shifting the blockbuster to May 6, 2016. A release issued by the studio said the move was designed to allow “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”
The “Man of Steel” sequel goes into production later this year, and is set to film in Michigan. Theproject was originally announced last year at San Diego’s Comic-Con International.
“Ant-Man” is poised to become a new franchise for Marvel, with Douglas set to play the original Avengers member, a scientist who, in the comics, invents a shrinking serum that allows him to sneak around in miniature form and surprise foes. Rudd’s character, meanwhile, is a reformed thief and the second superhero to take the name Ant-Man.
It’s unclear whether either incarnation of the diminutive hero will appear in writer-director Joss Whedon’s upcoming “Avengers” sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which also is set for release in 2015. In the comics, Pym is the creator of Ultron, an automaton that becomes a supervillain.
Wright embarks on “Ant-Man” after the success of last summer’s “The World’s End,” his third film collaboration with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The trio’s Cornetto Trilogy — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “World’s End” — established Wright as an especially beloved figure among the fan community, his films fusing humor and heart within genre trappings.
Wright’s been attached to the project for some time — he debuted “Ant-Man” test footage that showcased the helmeted hero growing and shrinking in size at Comic-Con in 2012.
What upcoming superhero film are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments section.
By: Jessica Moskowitz
'Knockout Game' Hurts Random Victims
It's a dangerous game, now reported in at least six states, and it could happen to anyone walking down the street.
One minute you're minding your own business, the next a complete stranger deliberately knocks you to the ground.
Across the country, police are struggling to tally the full impact of this deadly game. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
By: Fox News
A recent string of attacks tied to a dangerous game called “Knockout” -- where unsuspecting residents are targeted and sucker-punched – is being investigated as possible hate crimes.
New York police are looking into the growing trend, WPIX reports, after attacks in predominately Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The most recent attack was caught on video last week in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where a group of ten men spotted a man walking alone, punched him and kept moving, according to the station.
But New York is not the only place to see the “Knockout Game” being played out.
In Washington, D.C., Tamera Jackson, 27, told WJLA that a group of teens on bicycles came up behind her last week as she walked home and one of them punched her in the back of the head before the group sped away, laughing.
“For the fun of it.”- Teen, speaking of 'Knockout Game'
According to Fox 31 Denver, similar attacks have occurred in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, where a teacher was knocked out by a 15-year-old as he walked home from school last month. The attack was caught on a security camera video, and the teen was charged with assault.
And in New Jersey, CBS 2 reports, video footage shows Ralph Santiago, 46, randomly targeted for knockout by a group of teens. Santiago was later found dead with his neck broken and head lodged between iron fence posts, according to NJ.com.
Video shows Santiago walking during daytime in an alley, and just as he’s about to pass a pack of teenagers, one launches the fatal, knockout blow.
And what’s the point?
“For the fun of it,” one teen said in the video.
In September, a 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months of confinement for the beating death of a 51-year-old man in upstate New York.
The teen had pleaded guilty to assault and attempted assault, admitting that he started the fatal beating by attempting to knock the man out with a single punch.
The teen said he and his friends were playing a street game called "knockout." His punch apparently had little to no effect, but the follow-up from a 16-year-old boy caused bleeding in the victim's brain, and he died in late May.
The 16-year-old co-defendant was found guilty last month in Onondaga County Family Court of second-degree manslaughter and received the same sentence.
By: Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
If it's good enough for Miley Cyrus, 20, it's good enough for Betty White, 91.
The beloved legendary actress' new promo for Off Their Rockers, her candid camera show that's moving from NBC to Lifetime in 2014, shows White taking a cue from Cyrus.
Explains White, "I got some ideas from recent pop culture events that really got the kids talking."
Enter White riding a wrecking ball. Fully clothed.
Then she asks, "Can someone bring me a sledgehammer?" Rather than lick it, White gives it a gentle kiss.
And then she cracks, "How about a foam finger?"
The first two seasons of Off Their Rockers will air on Lifetime starting Wednesday.
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
By: Yamiche Alcindor and John Bacon, USA TODAY
Judge adds manslaughter possibility but rejects prosecution request for third-degree murder. Jury deliberations could begin Friday.
SANFORD, Fla. -- Trayvon Martin is dead because George Zimmerman "tracked" and then shot Trayvon Martin instead of waiting for police to arrive, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the jury at Zimmerman's murder trial.
De la Rionda, presenting the prosecution's closing argument, accused Zimmerman of taking the law into his own hands during their February 2012 confrontation.
The defense team, scheduled to close Friday, has maintained that Trayvon, 17, was the aggressor and that Zimmerman, 29, shot him in self-defense.
Using a projector, de la Rionda showed jurors a photo of Zimmerman taken at the police station the night of the shooting -- alongside a close up of Trayvon's dead body.
De la Rionda noted that Trayvon's hands had no blood on them, said his hoodie string may have been pulled down by Zimmerman in a struggle.
"His (Trayvon's) body speaks to you," de la Rionda said. "It proves to you that this defendant is lying about what happened."
De la Rionda focused on his theory that Trayvon was an innocent teen who was wrongly profiled and murdered by Zimmerman. De la Rionda told jury the key word in the prosecution case was "assumptions."
"He automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal and that is why we are here," de la Rionda said of Zimmerman. Later he said Trayvon was not trespassing in the gated community, but rather was being a normal teen making a trip to the store.
De la Rionda also painted Zimmerman as someone who already knew he could ultimately win any confrontation with Trayvon.
"He's got a gun, he's got the equalizer," de la Rionda said. He asked the six-woman jury to use "your God-given common sense" and find the former neighborhood watch volunteer guilty of second-degree murder.
Earlier, Judge Debra Nelson agreed to add manslaughter to the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman already faced, but rejected a prosecution request that a third-degree murder count also be added.
Zimmerman's attorneys had objected to adding any lesser charges.
The last-minute effort to add charges was seen by some legal experts as an indication that prosecutors were not confident about their chances for a second-degree murder conviction. Zimmerman has been portrayed by prosecutors as a wanna-be cop.
"They aren't going to go all or nothing," said Jose Baez, a Florida criminal defense attorney, of state prosecutors. "They aren't blind to the fact that they haven't proven second-degree murder." Baez successfully defended Casey Anthony, a Florida mother accused of killing her daughter in a high-profile capital murder case.
Second-degree murder in Florida carries a possible life sentence. If convicted of manslaughter, Zimmerman could get up to 30 years.
Elizabeth Parker, a Florida criminal defense attorney who has been monitoring the case, said the third-degree murder count could bring a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors also had considered but then decided against trying to add the charge of aggravated assault, which would carry no more than a five-year prison term.
The third-degree murder charge request drew a heated argument. Third-degree murder can involve death that results from committing a felony, even if the accused did not mean to kill the victim.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, arguing for the count, said Zimmerman committed "child abuse" -- a felony -- on Trayvon.
Don West argued against their claim, saying child abuse had never been mentioned during the trial. He called the attempt to add the third-degree murder charge a "trick by the state."
Zimmerman's attorneys get three hours for their closing Friday. The state will then get one hour to present rebuttal statements.
The jury could begin deliberations Friday.