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Web posted on:
Friday, November 06, 1998 2:41:57 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:

"The Siege"

Protesters claim 'Siege' stereotypes Muslims, Arab-Americans

DETROIT (CNN) -- "The Siege," a new movie starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, promotes negative stereotypes of Muslims and Arab-Americans, according to protesters of the film. Muslims and Arab-Americans were planning to distribute leaflets about Islam at theaters in the Detroit area, New York, Los Angeles and Washington this weekend, and invite moviegoers to open houses at mosques.

The plot of the 20th Century Fox film, released on Friday, focuses on overzealous American officials who indiscriminately round up large numbers of Arab-Americans after an attack pinned on Middle East terrorists.

Movie director Ed Zwick said he's not sure how anyone could watch "The Siege" and conclude it's anti-Arab. "What is ironic, of course, is that the film is about stereotyping, and the inherent dangers in categorizing a culture as diverse as that of the Arabs," he said. "We went to extraordinary lengths to be thoughtful."

But Nizam Arain, a member of the Muslim Community Association in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says Zwick's film steps over the line. "To have the American public aware of the existence of Muslim terrorists is the job of the news media. But the purpose of the film is entertainment."

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'Belly' brewing up a storm of controversy

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Controversy has erupted over a new film called "Belly." The movie's backers say the movie, a drama about two childhood friends from Queens who have different views of criminal life, paints an honest portrayal of urban life with a positive message. But the management of Magic Johnson Theaters says it's full of excessive violence and casts a negative image of African-Americans, and they have banned it from their theaters.

The film's director calls that censorship. "I feel that the concept, that theater chains in general (can ban movies), made such a statement issued to our communities," director Hype Williams says. "I think it's a form of censorship. I think really again, the movie is purely a positive film that was made based on delivering a positive message."

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Jamaica bans 'Blade' as 'bad right through'

KINGSTON, Jamaica (CNN) -- Islanders on Jamaica will have to go somewhere else if they want to catch the Wesley Snipes vampire flick "Blade." Jamaica's film board banned the movie, saying it is too graphic for island theaters.

"It is extremely violent, gory and bloody -- the whole film is bad right through," said Rev. Stanford Webley, chairman of the Jamaica Cinematographic Authority.

Melanie Graham, a spokesperson for theater owners Palace Amusement Co., said the ban was unfair. "Vampire movies have been shown here before, so it's nothing unusual," she said. In February, Jamaica's film board banned the opening scenes of "Amistad" because it claimed the movie's depiction of a revolt on a slave ship was too graphic.

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Nicholson to receive lifetime achievement award

BEVERLY HILLS, California (CNN) -- Three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson has been chosen to receive the 1999 Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in the entertainment field, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association said Thursday. Nicholson will be given the award at the 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills in January. The actor has won Academy Awards for his work in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), "Terms of Endearment" (1983), and last year's hit "As Good As It Gets." He has been nominated for an Oscar on eight other occasions.

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Harrison Ford, 56, People's sexiest man

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It's still possible to be sexy at 56. At least, it is if you're Harrison Ford. The actor was chosen by People magazine as this year's sexiest man alive. "Why this sudden outpouring for geezers?" joked the star of such hits as "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Star Wars" and "Air Force One," in People's latest issue, which goes on sale Friday. "I never feel sexy."

Ford is the 13th person to be named to People's "Sexiest Man" list, which in other years has gone to John F. Kennedy Jr., Sean Connery, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington. Ford has been married to screenwriter Melissa Mathison for 15 years. He says he thinks the reason for his lasting success is that he's "never been hip."

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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