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The Last of Us: Part II announced with powerful trailer

For those unfamiliar with the original, it’s a post-apocalyptic survival game with “sky-high quality scripting and voice-acting” and “thrilling gameplay”. The Last of Us: Part II was unveiled at the PlayStation Experience event on Sunday morning (NZ time) in Anaheim, California. A sequel to The Last of Us has been announced with a powerful, four-minute trailer.

Latvia uses Rube Goldberg machine on Christmas tree

The machine used an eclectic range of devices, including balls, wheels, levers, a fan and a coffee maker. “On December 2 [we] planned to beat the record [currently held by Hungary, with 383 steps] with a 400-step long machine, which will culminate in the Town Hall Square spruce lighting up,” Riga city council promised. A Rube Goldberg machine is an apparatus that is deliberately made to do a task in the most complicated way, often involving a long, convoluted series of actions. This machine used 400 various parts and links to set in motion – a chain reaction that culminated in switching on the lights on the Christmas tree. The Latvian city of Riga has attempted to break the Guinness World record for the world’s largest Rube Goldberg machine. It took 10 minutes for the machine to finish its work, and the crowds cheered when the lights were successfully lit. Hundreds of people turned up to watch.

Ukulele festival: Thousands of young Kiwis strum their hearts out

Saturday’s festival is celebrating its 10th year, and with the instrument now more popular than ever there is new life in the old favourite. The sound of the strings rang out at the Vector Arena – a venue usually reserved for top rock stars and celebrity acts. The Kiwileles Orchestra is made up from schools across New Zealand, all learning songs from the same official songbook and coming together on Saturday for the big performance. As well as traditional Kiwi classics, they have mastering more modern tunes – Six60 was the surprise guest picking up the ukulele for the first time. There was a massive strum-fest in Auckland on Saturday. Two-thousand children from more than 100 schools played their ukuleles together at the 10th annual festival, and a top New Zealand band made a surprise appearance of their own. But today it was all about the children and their ukuleles. Not just 10 guitars but 2000 ukuleles.

Trolls review

Three stars. Ably assisted by some succulent animation set to the tune of Timberlake’s inspired soundtrack, Trolls proves far more mood-altering than initially anticipated.      Trolls
:: Director: Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell
:: Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Gwen Stefani, Russell Brand, James Corden, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rhys Darby, John Cleese, Jeffrey Tambor, Quvenzhané Wallis
:: Rating: G
:: Running Time: 92 minutes
:: Release Date: In cinemas now Poppy the happy little Troll princess could not have a care in the world. The music for the film is courtesy of Justin Timberlake, who also voices one of the lead characters. The toe-tapping tunes are a real highlight. But while her sidekick Branch seems a liability at first, he may prove more useful than he looks. Years have passed since her Troll family was ravaged by the nasty Bergens, and as far as she’s concerned, life is one long, happy, colourful party. The festive season is officially upon us, and the Trolls are here to bring the happy. In a banner year of outstanding top-notch family flicks, Trolls won’t make my most memorable list, but it’s perfectly timed to deliver some peace and happiness to festively frazzled parents of small rugrats everywhere. But Poppy’s bubble is soon to be popped, and off on a mission she goes to try and save her fellow Trolls – an unexpected sidekick in tow.

Is Banksy in Tauranga?

“We are not cleaning this off, absolutely not. “I think he is more of an artist to come all the way to New Zealand to recreate something he has already done so I definitely don’t think they are real but I think it’s cool that even something that’s not his actual art is creating a stir like this.”
But it’s suspiciously timed – as the southern hemisphere’s biggest collection of Banksy works is set to go on display in the local gallery. 
The collection will be displayed as part of Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival, which kicks off in March next year. “It’s the nature of street art, it has to be found and nobody knows where it comes from but it’s pretty cool,” she says. This is going to become part of Tauranga City, Tauranga and a little bit of unique for us. The anonymous British artist is well-known for his works such as these but there is no way of knowing if the Tauranga paintings are his or not. But it’s not what they show, but who might have put them there that’s got everyone talking. There’s a line of paint running down the main street of Tauranga that leads to the artworks. Street art similar to the works of Banksy has appeared on a Tauranga street, sparking speculation the international man of mystery himself may be in the country. Something people can come and check out,” says Tauranga City Council communications manager Aimee Driscoll. Kiwi artist Owen Dippie knows his stuff when it comes to street art, but reckons these latest instalments might be a bit of a set-up. There’s two children with a message, “big future, we love New Zealand”, and a man and woman in a deep embrace while checking their phones. Regardless, the Tauranga City Council’s in no rush to remove them.

Guns N’ Roses declare civil war on Donald Trump

Guns N’ Roses have made their feelings about Donald Trump’s election victory known at a concert in Mexico. It would seem Guns N’ Roses have little patience for his views. Mr Rose also changed the words to ‘Civil War’, singing “look at the fear that Trump is feeding”. Mr Trump began his election campaign with a string of insults about Mexicans, calling immigrants “rapists” and “criminals”. “Let’s bring up some people and give them a f***ing stick,” singer Axl Rose said in a video uploaded by TMZ. The ‘Paradise City’ hitmakers revealed a massive piñata at a show in Mexico City earlier this week, and invited fans on stage to beat it to pieces. He has promised to build a wall between the two countries. “Express yourselves however you feel.”
Fans first smashed the President-elect’s right leg, before moving onto his torso. 

Inside were Guns N’ Roses t-shirts.

Word of the Year: It’s fascism vs puppy

They’re surprisingly good at grammar,” it wrote in a blog post, noting that “flummadiddle” was also gaining ground. “There’s still time to look something else up.”

Mirriam-Webster didn’t say why “fascism” was in vogue, but there’s a good chance the US election has something to do with it, or perhaps the rise of the alt-right movement in the US and Europe. Following the tweet, “puppy” started catching up. “‘Fascism’ is still our #1 lookup. If fascism does ultimately triumph, it would cap off a year full of upsets and bad news from the pop culture world. # of lookups = how we choose our Word of the Year,” the dictionary publisher posted on Twitter, with a plea to users. “There are many thousands of people that looked it up,” editor Peter Sokolowski told the New York Times. “We like puppies. Mirriam-Webster has warned if people don’t start looking up other words, it’ll be forced to declare this year’s Word of the Year as “fascism”. “To move the needle at this point, though, you really need a lot lookups of the same word.”

Mirriam-Webster approved of the new trend.

Ray Columbus farewelled at Auckland funeral

Mourners are arriving at St Patrick’s Cathedral in central Auckland for legendary New Zealand entertainer Ray Columbus’ funeral. The 74-year-old died at his home north of Auckland on Tuesday after battling ill health for several years.

Andrew Little meets Andrew Big

Attending an end-of-year function for TV3’s The Nation, Mr Little posed with the hand-made carpet print and met its creator. Labour leader Andrew Little’s come face-to-face with his knitted likeness. When the generous, full-frontal portrait was revealed in September, Mr Little said it wasn’t “entirely accurate” – and he’s sticking to that evaluation. The only thing that’s slightly wrong is the size of the arms,” he said, not mentioning the portrait’s other flattering features. “There are some really well-educated guesses here. “I’m curious about your inspiration,” he told Whanganui artist Mark Rayner. “The proportions are right everywhere I look, apart from the arms.”

Rock bands rise for Standing Rock

A who’s who of musicians have written to US President Barack Obama, protesting the treatment of Standing Rock Sioux tribe members trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin gatecrashes The Edge to deny bizarre concert bans

It struck a nerve with the frontman, who arranged a last-minute interview with The Edge so he could set the record straight. Chris Martin from Coldplay turned up to radio station The Edge on Friday to deny reports he had made bizarre restrictions on fans coming to the UK band’s Auckland concert. “Someone said: ‘You guys have banned everything at your show,’ I thought what are you talking about?” Martin said. An article in the New Zealand Herald alleged the rock music legends had called for bans on nearly everything at their Mt Smart show – from studded belts to backpacks, umbrellas and chilly bins. And it blamed it all on us, so I was like – I don’t think it came from us.”

The full video interview will be released on Monday. “And then they showed me this article that said if you’re coming to our concert you basically have to come with no clothes on and you can’t bring anything at all.

Cut Off Your Hands cut off no more

“We just got picked up on Triple-J in Australia through friends on Facebook, whereas in the old days you’d have to take them out for coffee and spend ages buying them cakes to get it on to the radio,” says lead singer Nick Johnston. “Life got in the way, we’ve been busy with other things,” Lee says. “We’re a legacy band now, which is strange to say!” says lead guitarist Jono Lee. Though time passes, some things never change. After taking it slowly, the rush has returned – Cut Off Your Hands is cut off no more. Now they’re returning from a long hiatus and embracing their status as music veterans. Gone are the days of endless touring, playing hundreds of shows a year. The band members’ lives have changed markedly too. But an old crowd favourite will be keeping things familiar – post punk rockers Cut Off Your Hands are playing again for the first time in years. “Like, it’s been 10 years, which is such a long time.”
Their new single ‘Hate Somebody’ is their first release in the last five years. Only 10 years ago, Cut Off Your Hands was a band just beginning to earn global praise. “It just means trying to sneak out of the office to come to interviews like this,” he says. And the entertainment world is already very different to the one they left just a few years ago. “It draws on stuff that’s violent and has energy and a lot of groove.”
And that groove is returning to the stage at Laneway Festival next year. There’s an all-new venue for the Laneway Festival when the indie music concert returns in January. “I kind of hear a harkening back to that old stuff,” Lee says. They’re still the same post-punk indie rockers – with a new sound familiar to their oldest fans. Johnston’s an architect now – juggling music with a professional career. “Playing shows is still quite novel and it’s been a little while off, so coming back to it is a bit of a rush,” Lee says.

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86

But he preferred being anonymous. “Manuel became dreadfully famous all over the world, but not Andrew Sachs, he was not beside all that and I like that,” Sachs said. He may have been Manuel, but Sachs spent most of his career in radio. Andrew Sachs, who played bumbling waiter Manuel in the comedy series Fawlty Towers, has died. Still that role has brought a touching tribute from Cleese, who said he could never have found a better actor for Manuel. Sachs lost his battle with dementia age 86, but he will forever fondly be remembered as Manuel from Barcelona. He recently hit the headlines when comedians Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross were fired for a phone prank about the actor’s granddaughter. “The idea that you could have constant misunderstandings was a terribly simple one but it worked well,” Cleese said. “I said, ‘Can I do it as a German waiter, my first language is German’, he said, ‘I don’t think so’,” Sachs said in an old interview. The German-born British actor was asked to do the role by John Cleese.

Story’s summery Christmas anthem tops iTunes singles chart

A Christmas song released by Story has already rocketed to the top of the iTunes singles charts less than eight hours after it was released. The team said on Wednesday that they were confident their message of good cheer would resonate with the true spirit of a Kiwi Christmas, and that hunch appears to have been proven correct.

Hollywood power couple welcome second baby

Mila gave birth to a baby boy on November 30, no name has been announced yet. According to E! “She points to Mila and she’s like, ‘Baby brother!’ when she points to the belly,” he said. Kutcher accidently revealed the sex of the baby back in October on the Today show recalling their first child pointing out at Mila’s baby bump. Hollywood heart throb Ashton Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis have welcomed their second baby to the world. Their first child, daughter Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher was born in 2014.