Former ‘Top Gear’ Star Involved In Serious Car Crash

TV presenter Richard Hammond has crashed an electric super car in Switzerland while filming for his TV show “The Grand Tour.”

The former “Top Gear” star was airlifted to a hospital, but he did not sustain any major injury and was conscious upon exiting the totaled vehicle, a Rimac Concept One, representatives confirmed Saturday.

The car burst into flames after the 47-year-old got himself out safely. Nobody else was involved in the crash.

“The Grand Tour” Twitter account released a statement:

The statement reads:

Richard Hammond was involved in a serious crash after completing the Hemburg Hill Climb in Switzerland in a Rimac Concept One, an electric super car built in Croatia, during filming for “The Grand Tour” Season 2 on Amazon Prime, but very fortunately suffered no serious injury. Richard was conscious and talking, and climbed out of the car himself before the vehicle burst into flames. He was flown by Air Ambulance to hospital in St. Gallen to be checked over revealing a fracture to his knee. Nobody else was in the car or involved in the accident, and we’d like to thank the paramedics on site for their swift response. The cause of the crash is unknown and is being investigated.

“The Grand Tour” costar and fellow former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson tweeted Saturday about witnessing the incident:

Hammond previously had a serious crash in 2006 while filming “Top Gear,” which caused brain injuries.

The Amazon Prime show “The Grand Tour” is essentially a continuation of “Top Gear.” In 2015, the BBC fired Clarkson after he committed “an unprovoked physical and verbal attack” on a crew member. After the ousting, the hosts decided to start a new show.

Marketing for this Amazon Prime iteration of the show involved crashed cars across the globe as seen below: 

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‘Top Gun 2’ Is Happening, Tom Cruise Confirms

Tom Cruise turned up the excitement around the production of “Top Gun 2” on Wednesday with a confirmation on Australian TV that the film will go ahead. Interviewed on the “Sunrise” show on Australia’s Seven Network, Cruise said that “filming will begin probably within the next next year.” Asked by the presenter if rumors of the… Read more »

Variety

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Glimpse Nicole Kidman’s Wild ‘Top Of The Lake’ Hair In Action

Thanks to “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies,” Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman are enjoying a killer year. Now they get to unite for the second season of “Top of the Lake,” the mystery series that Moss headlined in 2013. 

The first trailer for “Top of the Lake: China Girl” is here, and it features Moss’ Detective Robin Griffin investigating an alarming death in Sydney, Australia. Meanwhile, Robin has reconnected with the daughter she gave up (Alice Englert), who’s adoptive mother is played by a gray-haired Kidman. (This project reunites Kidman with “Portrait of a Lady” director Jane Campion, who co-created the show.) Oh, and “Game of Thrones” standout Gwendoline Christie is on hand as a fellow detective and friend to Robin. 

“Top of the Lake: China Girl” premieres on SundanceTV in September. This year’s Emmys and next year’s Emmys will be lit.

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‘Top Gear’ Hosts Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, Chris Harris on New Season

BBC car-show “Top Gear,” which airs in more than 200 territories and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is shifting gear yet again, with the latest season hosted by Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris, the latter two having been elevated from supporting roles following the departure of Chris Evans. “We’ve got big, ambitious… Read more »

Variety

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‘Top Five’: Woody and Robert and Chris, Oh My

Chris Rock enters into Woody Allen territory with his new movie Top Five. During the opening scene, as Rock’s hero Andre Allen strolls down a Manhattan avenue engaged in lively debate with reporter Chelsea Brown (co-star Rosario Dawson), Chelsea mentions that sometimes a “movie is just a movie.” That sounds like an homage to Allen’s 1980 film Stardust Memories, in which two characters are discussing the symbolic significance of the Rolls-Royce in the movie they have just watched, and one of them agonizingly concludes that “it represented… his car.”

Andre Allen, like Woody’s Sandy Bates in Stardust Memories, and like Joel McCrea’s John Sullivan, from Preston Sturges’ classic Sullivan’s Travels (1941), has built a career based on making people laugh. For reasons that will become clear during the course of the story, he is no longer interested in that. He wants to make serious movies. Andre is about to release a movie about a slave uprising in Haiti.

Chris Rock has a lot to say about race and humor and culture, and about where an artist fits into that discussion. Especially a black artist. It’s hard to think about anyone better suited to talk about that right now. Though there may be certain lines of descent linking Top Five to Sturges and Allen, Top Five‘s truest progenitor is Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend’s ahead-of-its-time comedy from 1978 about a stereotyped actor trying to break free. Townsend brought a great deal of personal experience to his movie, and one suspects Rock does as well. Ultimately, two significant failings prevent Top Five from being a great movie. But there is more than enough quality material — material to make you laugh and material to make you think — to ensure that is remains quite good.

Let’s talk about that good stuff first.

Rock fills Top Five with great characters. That is a hallmark of excellent writers. Sturges and Allen (who along with Billy Wilder are arguably the greatest American comic screenwriters) never fail to offer a wealth of memorable characters. Rock’s movie seems to have everyone in Hollywood showing up at one point or another, and many of them are outstanding. Early on, Cedric the Entertainer threatens to run away with the movie during his brief stint as Jazzy Dee (“the MAN in Houston”). Toward the end, rapper DMX does a magnificently wretched jail-cell performance of “Smile,” an old Charlie Chaplin tune. In between, Rock has Allen pay a visit to old friends, and those brief scenes feature first-rate work by the likes of Sherri Shepherd, Jay Pharoah, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Jones.

Rock also fills Top Five with big ideas, another hallmark of great writers. The plot of the movie is set up as a free-wheeling interview between performer and reporter, and some of the best sequences involve the rapid-fire back and forth debate over matters, both personal and political. Rock, as both writer and actor, has the ability to make such potentially ponderous material very fresh. Race is a central issue, but Rock is clearly interested in moving beyond that discussion. Substance abuse, fame, and the purpose of art all figure into the story. Though some issues are invariably colored by race, others are rooted in broader humanity. As a result, Rock manages to be both racially specific and universal. No small feat.

Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, Top Five is very funny. It is overflowing with comic talent. Iconic figures like Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Whoopi Goldberg make cameo appearances. Kevin Hart, maybe the most popular film comedian in the world today, does a signature fast-talking scene as Andre’s agent and I don’t think I even saw his name in the credits. In addition to being funny, there are very interesting conversations about the nature of comedy (though a two-second Bill Cosby reference seems a little off-putting.) Like John Sullivan — the director from Sullivan’s Travels who ultimately concludes that comedy just might have more societal value than all the heavy drama in the world — Andre Allen will have a similar epiphany. And when the time comes for him to deliver the laughs, he does not fail.

So what are the two failings? First, Rock is a great performer, but he is not a great actor. I say that with a fair amount of self-consciousness, since film critics who make such pronouncements come in for some pretty heavy abuse in Top Five. But it’s hard to ignore. When he calls on himself to do the fast stuff — obviously the fast comedy, but also the fast anger or fast frustration or fast… anything — Rock is very much in his element. It’s when he has to slow down and start exploring subtler emotions that I begin to see an actor reciting lines. Rock is okay in such moments. He just isn’t great. And since Andre Allen’s breakdown and rebirth are at the heart of the story, that matters.

But the second failing matters more, because it cuts into Rock’s greatest strength, which is as a writer. In a sense, Top Five is a romantic comedy, and if there is one truism about romantic comedies, it’s this: the audience has to root for the couple to end up together. That isn’t the case in Top Five. It has nothing to do with Rosario Dawson, a fine actress who does rather well as Chelsea. It’s the way Chelsea is written. She isn’t real, at least not as real as the others we get to see. Sure, she has struggles and problems, but those problems do not grow out of her own weaknesses and conflicts. This is a crucial point. Most of the major characters in Top Five suffer through some sort of crisis or humiliation. But Chelsea’s humiliations are not of her own doing. They are imposed on her by others. She isn’t the problem. The script tries to suggest that her bad judgment has put her in these situations, but that never really rings true. Essentially, she is always right. Even when she does suffer humiliation at the hands of her boyfriend (hilariously played by Workaholics‘ Anders Holm) she gets a magnificent, kick-ass revenge. The two other women in Andre’s life — reality star fiancée Erica (Gabrielle Union) and former girlfriend Vanessa (Sherri Shepherd) both get very brief moments of weakness which have far more emotional honesty than anything Chelsea gets. Chelsea is in the movie for one reason and one reason only: to rescue Andre. She is too wise and too caring and too perfect. And that is the kiss of death.

But of course, it’s just a movie, and in a movie, death is relative. Top Five is all about rebirth. It manages to transcend its failings and still be relevant and smart. And very funny.
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It’s Hammy Time For Chris Rock In The First ‘Top Five’ Trailer

Chris Rock’s “Top Five” has already been compared to “Annie Hall,” so no pressure. The forthcoming comedy, which Paramount picked up after it premiered to strong praise during the Toronto International Film Festival, focuses on Andre Allen (Rock), a popular comedian who hopes to win respect from audiences with a new drama following his starring role in the lucrative “Hammy the Bear” trilogy. (The garbage pail of lowest-common-denominator Hollywood bunk is about a police bear; his catchphrase: “It’s Hammy time.”)

“I don’t feel like doing funny movies anymore. I don’t feel funny,” Rock as Allen says in the first “Top Five” trailer. The irony there is that “Top Five,” which Rock also wrote and directed, is super funny. It’s also smart, timely and stuffed to the gills with stars: Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, J.B. Smoove, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Cedric the Entertainer, Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan, among others. Jay Z and Kanye West are co-producers. “Top Five” is out in limited release on Dec. 5 before a nationwide bow on Dec. 12.


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MasterChef Recap: “Nice and Fudgy” in ‘Top 12 Compete’

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 10 of FOXs “MasterChef,” titled “Top 12 Compete.”

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Hey, guys? Can someone tell my future mate to not propose to me on an episode of ‘MasterChef’ with scary Joe Bastianich lording over it all? Cool, thanks.

So tonight was all about romance and two teams — with Ahran and Elizabeth at the helms — had to cook for a bunch of couples. And Gordon Ramsey’s wife, who was wearing delectable yellow heels that made even Courtney gape in awe.

One team makes a lobster risotto. The other makes a sexy, yet undercooked, filet mignon. For dessert, they sort of look the same. Strangely, Leslie and Ahran make amends. Elizabeth keeps her cool plating goofy bowls of strawberries. Everything sort of goes smoothly. The Blue Team — with Elizabeth and Courtney and other front runners win. Christine, Cutter, Ahran, Leslie, Willie, and Christian have to make a bunch of truffles for a pressure test. Uh-oh.

Willie and Christian have no idea what they’re doing. Leslie’s rambling about throwing sexy truffles into his wife’s mouth. Yes, throwing. Cutter doesn’t even know what a truffle is. It’s not going to be easy.

Strangely, at the end of the test, they all look sort of OK. I would have no idea where to start (or I would just start licking the chocolate whipping bowl). Cutter actually comes through with dainty looking truffles. Gordon and the other chefs bust on him, but he’s officially rebounded. Christian has some tasty sounding truffles. Willie uses too many sprinkles. Ahran gets a grunt from Joe and that’s it. Leslie’s look like they would give his wife a concussion if he threw ’em at her. Christine goes classic on flavors. Sea salt and dark chocolate? Yes, please! But they’re also fugly.

The case of reality show producers calling the shots won in the end. Leslie is good drama. Christine just busts her butt and wants to win. I’m sort of bummed because I was hoping she was the underdog in this competition.

What were your favorite moments this week? Who’s next? Let me know @karenfratti or in the comments.

“MasterChef” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
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