Rock legends Iron Maiden, Slayer, Pantera and Queen were feted at this year's (13) Kerrang! Awards in London on Thursday (13Jun13). Iron Maiden picked up the Inspiration Award for their pioneering role in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, while Slayer's Kerry King and Tom Araya made their first appearance in the U.K. since the loss of bandmate Jeff Hanneman last month (02May13) to pick up the Kerrang! Legend Award.
Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo took to the stage to accept the band's Hall of Fame Award, while Brian May and Roger Taylor accepted the Service to Rock Award on behalf of Queen.
May told the Troxy Club audience, "It's a great honour to be here next to guys like Pantera."
Other winners on the night included Biffy Clyro (Best Album Award), Black Veil Brides (Best Live Band Award), Bring Me The Horizon (Best British Band), and You Me At Six who walked away with the Best Event Award for their Wembley Arena show in London.
Sift through comments on franchise sequel announcements and you'll find many crying afoul to Hollywood's insistence of resurfacing every last brand in their bank of titles. The desire for original content is reasonable but occasionally a cinematic follow-up does have the potential to be rich and rewarding. Revisiting characters who've seen time pass in their own lives is worthy of exploration — Peter Bogdanovich's Texasville Richard Linklater's Before Sunset and even A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas prove that theory. American Reunion reaches for that same dramatic arc reentering the lives of its core cast eight years after American Wedding. But instead of mixing comedy with any weighty issues the movie only tickles the nostalgia bone (and without f**king one pie in the process) — a hurdle that keeps American Reunion from being nearly as riotous as the original.
Life hits a wall for Jim (Jason Biggs) in 2012. He's a happily married man a father and a moderately successful employee of a faceless company. But after catching his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) enjoying the company of a shower head it dawns on Jim that he's in need of a shake-up. Perfect timing: Jim packs up the family and heads to his hometown for his 13th high school reunion (sure why not) where he reunites with the old gang: Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) currently whipped into submission by his girlfriend Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) back from a trip around the world Oz (Chris Klein) now a superstar sportscaster fresh off a celebrity dance show stint and Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) a law firm temp who continues to turn women into his own personal squeeze toys. The high school buddies devolve quickly into their old habits alcoholic antics and potty-mouthed rants by the red solo cupful. Good fun for Jim no fun for Michelle.
Instead of digging deep into its well-founded characters (which I swear is allowed in a raunchy R-rated comedy) American Reunion sticks to the familiar goofball scenarios of its predecessors. Which is passable because the core group who stuck through all three movies — Biggs Nicholas Thomas and Scott — make poop-infused pranks and slapstick shtick like a scene in which Jim and co. must get a drunken naked eighteen-year-old back into her parents' house without looking like total creepsters highly entertaining. Scott once again proves him an underused comedic talent making Stifler one of the few characters who can rattle off colorful cuss words while showing a glimmer of humanity. Same goes for Eugene Levy as Jim's Dad who finds his role beefed up now that he's once again single. Grieving for years over his wife's death Jim helps his advice-dealing pop hit the dating scene and Levy spins gold out of the silliest of situations.
The problem with American Reunion is everyone else. Chris Klein never clicks with the rest of the group (that's what he gets for skipping out on Jim's wedding) while the rest of the ensemble feel ham-fisted for cameo purposes rather than complimenting the storyline. Tara Reid and Mena Suvari return to the franchise to stand around and react to the ineptitude of their male counterparts. Natasha Lyonne is in and out faster than Jim's first time. Other brief character appearances are like bigfoot sightings. The idea of bringing the entire cast of the original back for more seems perfect but without proper pacing from writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) there's never a moment to enjoy it.
American Reunion is a flaccid entry servicing fans while coming through with enough laugh out loud moments to make one scream (In one scene Jim takes a page out of Michael Fassbender's Shame that will elicit audible reactions). If these were fresh characters we'd brush it off — but at the film's core is a lovable familiar bunch of knuckleheads that can't be ignored. And if Stifler wants to party you party.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
At the age of 14 two Canadian buddies Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner (ironically no relation to the This Is Spinal Tap director) made a blood pact to rock together for the rest of their lives. And these guys really mean it. Finding early success in 1982 with their highly influential first album Metal On Metal they made an impact on such major names as Metallica Slayer and Anthrax who all went on to superstardom while these guys and their band Anvil sadly went nowhere fast. This documentary picks up their lives now two guys in their fifties who try for one last great shot at eternal fame as they take time off their menial day jobs to go on a disastrous and mis-managed European tour and try and regain the promise they once had in the heavy metal industry.
WHO’S IN IT?
Filmmaker Sacha Gervasi’s enormously entertaining account of the musical struggles of these two rock ‘n’roll dreamers is augmented with interviews with their wives mothers kids additional family members band mates and such “rivals” as Lars Ulrich Lemmy Scott Ian Slash and Tom Araya. Mainly it’s anchored by the energetic and ever-hopeful lead singer “Lips ” whose emotional outburst and undying enthusiasm drive the docu’s heart. The interviews with the women behind their men can be as humorous as they are heartbreaking and say a lot about just what makes these guys keep plugging away against all odds.
Gervasi sets out to show a couple of guys who just won’t give up even though time and the music business have clearly passed them by. What he gets on film is the spirit of some aging rockers who still hear the music and whose lives are still dictated by the desire to get on stage and let it rip. It’s funny sad and revealing — especially in a meeting they manage to wrangle with a major record label executive.
If you are not into metal you might not share the passion of Anvil — so be warned. But even if this kind of music isn’t in your iPod the universal story of a couple of old souls trying to recapture an elusive moment in the sun is irresistible.
A confrontation with the owners of a run-down European bar where Anvil was booked is raw painfully funny and a perfect demonstration of why this band never made it big.
BEST USE OF EXPLETIVES TO SUM UP A DREAM:
Lips: “Here we sit in our f--king fifties and man we’re gonna be f--king rock stars. It’s a f--king dream but I’m gonna make it come true!”