China bans Winnie-the-Pooh movie after comparisons to President Xi

The movie Christopher Robin, the latest adaptation of A A Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, has been banned in China, the world's second largest film market.

While China provides no reason for the films it doesn't select for its theatres, government sensors have recently been blocking images of Winnie-the-Pooh after bloggers began using the bear to parody Chinese president Xi Jinping.

The Winnie the Pooh character has become a lighthearted way for people across China to mock their president, but it seems the government doesn’t see the funny side.

The Guardian reports it all started when Xi visited the US in 2013, and an image of Xi and then president Barack Obama walking together spurred comparisons to Winnie - a portly Xi - walking with Tigger, a lanky Obama.

Xi was again compared to the fictional bear in 2014 during a meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who took on the part of the pessimistic, gloomy donkey, Eeyore.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reported several other films have been banned in China over the years.

Marty McFly's pesty time-travelling antics in Back to the Future were seen as a "dangerous fictional element".  Apparently Marty's foolish behaviour in the film was seen as extremely inappropriate by Chinese authorities.

Ghostbusters, the 2016 reboot, was given the boot before it even made it to Chinese cinemas. Censorship prohibits any media that promotes cults or superstitions. The country is also not a fan of ghosts, goblins and other supernatural phenomenon.

A Marvel favourite, Deadpool, didn't quite make it to China. Instead of restricting the audience age, the country opted to ban the film altogether because of nudity, violence and graphic language.

And the Chinese Government feared that the people would take inspiration from Avatar and revolt like the uprising of the Na'vi population.

Memes involving the President and the famous bear haven’t gone down well, it seems. Source: Seven Sharp


Coroner rules Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer's death as suicide

The Los Angeles County coroner says actor Verne Troyer, who was best known for his "Austin Powers" role of Mini-Me, died last April of suicide.

The coroner's office released its findings overnight following an autopsy and investigation into Troyer's April 21 death.

His representatives said at the time he was struggling with depression.

The coroner's office certified that the manner of death was a suicide.

Troyer, 49, was best known as Mike Myers' sidekick "Mini-Me" in 1999's "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and 2002's "Austin Powers in Goldmember."

He also played banker-goblin Griphook in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and appeared in dozens of TV shows and videos.

Troyer, who stood 2-feet-8-inches tall, was born with achondroplasia, a genetic condition that limited his height.

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Actor Verne Troyer passed away on April 21 aged 49.
Actor Verne Troyer passed away on April 21 aged 49. Source: Supplied



Husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey star to be deported from US after release from prison

The husband of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice will be deported back to Italy once he's released from prison next year, according to a judge's ruling.

Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice appeared before an immigration court in York, Pennsylvania, via teleconference. He has 30 days to appeal the decision, said Kathryn Mattingly, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Immigration Review.

Giudice is an Italian citizen who came to the US as an infant and wasn't aware he wasn't an American citizen.

He's currently serving a more than 3-year sentence for fraud and failing to pay taxes. He's incarcerated at FCI Allenwood, about 266 kilometres northwest of Philadelphia.

Prison records indicate he is set to be released in March.

The couple pleaded guilty in 2014 to bankruptcy fraud and submitting false loan applications to get $US5 million in mortgages and construction loans. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to not paying about $US200,000 in income taxes.

Teresa Giudice served nearly a year in prison and was freed in December 2015.

Messages seeking comment from the couple's lawyers and Teresa Giudice's publicist weren't immediately returned.

In January, during the season eight reunion of "Real Housewives of New Jersey," Teresa Giudice implied she would be open to moving to Italy with him.

"Italy's a beautiful place to live," she told the host at the time. "Listen, whatever God has planned for me, that's what's going to happen. I will embrace it the best I can."

They have four daughters, ranging in age from 9 to 17.

Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice
Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice Source: Associated Press


Sir Peter Jackson 'amazed' by quality of restored WWI footage that's become his new documentary

Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson has been busy bringing rare original World War One footage to life.

Sir Peter is putting the final touches on his new documentary They Shall Not Grow Old which turns ordinary real-life soldiers into stars of a film marking the centenary of Armistice Day.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp sent 1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid to meet him ahead of the film's premiere in London and get a sneak peek at what's in store.

Featuring real soldiers, their real emotion and real shellfire, the film is WWI as you've never seen it before.

"The result is just, to me, I was amazed. It was so much better than what I thought. When I originally thought, 'I wonder how well we can restore film,' I didn't think we could restore it that well," Sir Peter said.

Sir Peter, who has long had a fascination with the Great War, together with his Wellington-based digital whizkids, have spent the past few years transforming grainy, jerky 100-year-old black and white vision into high-quality colour.

"Just imagine Charlie Chaplain sped up film. You've got to deal with scratches, you've got to deal with grain, you've got to deal with the fact that after 100 years the film has shrunk. Some of it's black and dark, some of it's really over exposed, it's all over the show. So you just  want to make it look like normal film," Sir Peter said. 

"People have colourised black and white film before but I don't think they've ever spent the time that we did and the detail that we put into it to get it as good as you can.

"The other part of it is the audio where we had access to over 600 hours of original recordings of veterans.

"We wanted them to be the only voices that are really heard. We wanted the veterans to tell their own story. It really just told us that it's got to be colour because these guys are seeing the war in colour, they're not seeing it black and white.

He introduced not just a world of colour to the footage but also sound. Forensic lip readers deciphered the soldiers' banter and actors revoiced it.

And the live firing sounds were specially recreated by the New Zealand Army.

"What did surprise me listening to all the veterans' tapes was was how little self pity they had for themselves," Sir Peter said.

The Kiwi director is making ordinary real-life soldiers the stars in They Shall Not Grow Old. Source: Seven Sharp

Watch: 'If you believe in equality for women' - Taylor Swift goes political again after big AMA win

Taylor Swift kicked off her week with a rare political post on social media, and at the American Music Awards she continued the conversation by encouraging fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.

Swift won artist of the year at the fan-voted show this afternoon in Los Angeles, beating out Drake, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons and Post Malone for the top prize.

"This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people," she said, "the midterm elections on November 6."

Swift announced on Monday that she was voting for Tennessee's Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, breaking her long-standing refusal to discuss anything politics.

Voting was a hot topic at the AMAs. Host and Golden Globe-winning "black-ish" actress Tracee Ellis Ross wore a shirt that said, "I am a voter," and comedian-actor Billy Eichner told the audience, "The biggest election of our lifetime is happening."

"Please grab your friends and tell them to vote. Now is the time. If you believe in equality for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community. If you believe that climate change is real and that we need to do something about it," he said onstage before presenting an award.

"And you can go to like Taylor Swift told you to," he added.

Swift kicked off the AMAs with a performance of "I Did Something Bad," while Cardi B picked up the night's first award, favorite hip-hop/rap artist, which she dedicated to her daughter.

"I really want to thank my daughter," said Cardi B, who gave birth to Kulture Kiari Cephus in July. "I gotta prove people wrong. They said I wasn't going to make it after I had a baby."

The rapper hit the stage to give a festive and colorful performance of her No. 1 hit, "I Like It," where she was joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny, who was wheeled onstage inside a shopping cart. Cardi B's husband, Offset of the rap trio Migos, danced along in the audience with group member Quavo as Cardi B worked the stage with vibrant dance moves, including the salsa.

Cardi B returned the favor, screaming happily when Migos was named favorite pop/rock duo or group, beating out Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons, later in the show.

"We did not know we was winning this at all," said Quavo, also giving a shout-out to group member Takeoff, who didn't attend the AMAs.

"I want to thank you sexy lady," Offset said, pointing to Cardi B.

Like Cardi B's performance, rising newcomer Ella Mai also won over the crowd when she sang the year's biggest R&B hit, "Boo'd Up," starting the performance as she walked down the aisle of the Microsoft Theater. Khalid, Quavo and Offset were some of the audience members dancing along, while others sang and some even filmed her with their phones.

Others who shined onstage included R&B singer Ciara, who showed off her skilled dance moves and was joined by a fierce Missy Elliott. Carrie Underwood was in perfect form vocally, and Camila Cabello — who won new artist of the year — gave a heartful, touching and vocally impressive performance of the ballad "Consequences," earning her a standing ovation.

The three-hour show closed with a rousing tribute to Aretha Franklin, who died in August. Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans were among the musicians who paid tribute to the Queen of Soul's gospel roots and her iconic album, "Amazing Grace."

Rapper-singer XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in June, was also honored: He won favorite soul/R&B album for his 2017 debut, "17." It was days after he was named best new artist at the BET Hip-Hop Awards.

His mother, Cleopatra Bernard, said she was honored to accept the award on behalf of her son. "I'm so nervous," Bernard said as the audience cheered her on.

Post Malone, who wore a baby blue suit and performed, won favorite pop/rock male artist, Underwood was named favorite country female artist, Khalid picked up favorite soul/R&B male artist, and Kane Brown won favorite country male artist.

Other performers included Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Shawn Mendes and twenty one pilots.