Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Maybe it’s the massive box office success of Transformers: Age of Extinction, but it seems like when studios look at Mark Wahlberg now, all they see is money. Universal even has a specific amount in mind: six million dollars. According to The Tracking Board, the studio is looking at Wahlberg to front a reboot of the 1970s television show The Six Million Dollar Man. Different versions of the project have been in the works for years now, with everyone from Jim Carrey and Todd Phillips to Leonardo DiCaprio and Bryan Singer attached at some point. However, now that Peter Berg is now on board to produce and possibly direct the film, it seems as if Universal is finally coming close to building their perfect reboot.
Though Wahlberg has starred in numerous summer blockbusters and action films, he’s yet to front a franchise of his own (coming in at the fourth installment of Transformers doesn't really count), and The Six Million Dollar Man would be the perfect vehicle for him. Despite being a reboot of a well-known property, it’s unlike most of the other franchises currently in theaters, which allows him to stand out from all of the other robot-punching and punching robot films in theaters. Thus far, Wahlberg has had a rather diverse career, moving easily between big-budget action films, smaller indies and serious Oscar contenders, so if he were going to attach himself to multiple films at once, he’d probably want something different than what he’s already done and what everyone else is currently doing.
Wahlberg’s most recent collaboration with Berg, Lone Survivor, offered him a similar chance to blend action and spectacle with a more serious, dramatic story, which bodes well for the potential of The Six Million Dollar Man. Granted, Berg’s record with blockbusters is somewhat spotty – in addition to the excellent Lone Survior, he’s also made the disastrous Battleship – but since his best projects tend to be the ones with significant weight to them, having an actor like Wahlberg, who has made his mark on both drama and action films on board should help point things in a more positive direction.
But Wahlberg isn’t just a great choice for Austin because of his ability to handle the heavier moments; he’s also carved out a niche in Hollywood as the tough guy next door, a normal, hardworking fella who just so happens to be able to beat people up. Before he was rebuilt into a bionic hero, Austin was a regular joe, a pilot and military man who just happened to have superhuman abilities. Wahlberg’s persona makes him an ideal fit for the role, especially since the character stays relatively down-to-earth even after he becomes a hero. And since his performance in Transformers has proven that he's able to give even the flattest roles some of his trademark charm, he should have no problem making Austin a likable, entertaining hero in addition to an admirable one.
Of course, all of this is dependent on Wahlberg being able to find time in his busy schedule in order to sign on to The Six Million Dollar Man in the first place. He's already got six films lined up for release in the next two years, including Ted 2 and The Gambler, and with Transformers dominating the box office, he's likely fielding offers for all kinds of franchises right now. Still, The Six Million Dollar Man does seem poised to offer him a bit more than the other blockbusters, reboots and robot movies set to take over theaters, and it seems like Wahlberg might be exactly what this particular franchise needs to get off the ground.
Ed Sheeran's new album X has broken Spotify's weekly streaming record in Britain.
The British singer/songwriter's sophomore release has overtaken Daft Punk's Random Access Memories to score the highest number of online listens in the U.K. in a seven-day period.
Sheeran's X broke the 6.3 million mark during the first week after its debut on 23 June (14), exceeding Daft Punk's previous record of around 6.2 million.
X also became Britain's fastest selling album of 2014 last week (end28Jun14) after shifting 182,000 copies.
Soul songwriter/guitarist Teenie Hodges has died, aged 68. Mabon 'Teenie' Hodges passed away on Sunday (22Jun14) at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas due to complications from emphysema. His death comes just three months after a pneumonia scare landed him in hospital following an appearance at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas in March (14).
Family friend Lawrence 'Boo' Mitchell tells The Commercial Appeal newspaper, "It's a huge blow to Memphis music. Teenie was an icon as a songwriter and guitarist. Guitarists all around the world loved and imitated his playing. But Teenie... man, he was one of a kind."
Hodges, who is credited with helping shape the music scene in Memphis, Tennessee, played guitar in bands from the age of 12.
In 1965, he joined his two brothers in Hi Rhythm Section, the house band which worked on hit soul recordings with Al Green, Ann Pebbles, Otis Clay and Syl Johnson. He is most famous for co-writing Green's hits Take Me to the River and Love and Happiness.
A short film about his career, titled Mabon Teenie Hodges: A Portrait of a Memphis Soul Original, was released in 2013. He also featured in a documentary called Take Me To The River, which was shown at SXSW this year (14).
Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson expressed his sadness at the news on Twitter.com on Tuesday (24Jun14), writing, "So sad to hear that Teenie Hodges has passed away. He's one of the greatest soul guitar players ever + he co wrote 'Love And Happiness'. RIP (rest in peace)... Teenie Hodges was also an incredibly kind dude who I had the good fortune to spend time around back in March. Alot (sic) of people will miss him."
ABC Television Network
Shark Tank is riding a wave of popularity that is really kicking up the quality of life for its millionaires and billionaires. The denizens of the tanks are regulars on the talk show circuit and have journalists filing story after story after story in all types of media. They need to be careful though — their parent network, ABC, could be pushing this show off the rails of the gravy train even faster than they would like.
Another ABC show can provide a cautionary tale that Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary should heed: Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Over a decade ago, it was the toast of the television world. Regis Philbin, with his assortment of ties, had all of America repeating his trademark phrase, "Is that your final answer?" It was must-watch TV and the first time that someone actually answered the million dollar question was national news.
Then ABC got greedy. It started airing new episodes multiple times a week. People got bored of the program and it eventually fell out of prime-time grace. The very same thing can happen with Shark Tank if the programming honchos aren't more careful. The show has served as a stalwart stand-in for series that have already ended their seasons or have already been canceled. While there is educational value in a repeat viewing of a Shark Tank episode, there's no small chance that people might start tuning these lessons out.
The show's format has served it well, especially with the bringing in of Cuban and Greiner to further humanize the show; still, there's always a need to shake up thing after a while, since even the most successful formula and get stale after a while. One suggestion might be for the five sharks to make some road trips and visit the entrepreneurs in their element. That way, they could spend an episode in one place and go really in-depth, much like Marcus Lemonis does on The Profit. Imagine Cuban snarking on the work area of an entrepreneur. Even if this shakes up what we loved about the show to begin with, fresh material like this could be what saves the series from going stale.
Just remember... a shark has to keep moving forward, otherwise it will die. The same could be said of this show if ABC keeps this up.
Actor Jeff Bridges and singer Sheryl Crow are teaming up to co-host a star-studded benefit to launch this year's Austin City Limits. The Texas-based TV concert series is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion, Bridges and Crow are will host and perform at a gig on 26 June (14).
The evening will also include sets from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr., Alabama Shakes, Kris Kristofferson and Bridges' Crazy Heart collaborator, musician/record producer T-Bone Burnett.
Portions of the concert will be aired as part of a primetime special in America on 3 October (14), and proceeds from the event will benefit Austin TV station KLRU-TV, the network behind the Austin City Limits TV shows, which began in 1974.
Pop star Justin Bieber treated fellow singer Austin Mahone to a special meal on Thursday (03Apr14) in celebration of his 18th birthday. The Baby singer dined with Mahone and a group of pals at posh restaurant Nobu in Miami, Florida.
After the meal, Mahone took to Twitter.com to mark his final few hours as a 17 year old, writing, "Last 38 minutes of being 17!"
The pair has formed a friendship in recent months after collaborating on a new track. They were also spotted hitting the recording studio together earlier this week (beg31Mar14).
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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Willie Nelson and late blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble will be the inaugural inductees into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in Texas. Organisers of the TV concert series have set up the Hall of Fame to mark the 40th anniversary of the Austin City Limits programme.
Show creator Bill Arhos will also be inducted alongside Nelson and Vaughan at a gala on 29 April (14).
Buddy Guy, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris and Nelson's son Lukas will perform at the event.
The first Hall of Fame honourees all have Texas roots.
The 40th season of Austin City Limits will begin with a Nine Inch Nails concert, which will air in America on 5 April (14).
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor says, "We've waited a long time to do anything like this. We never thought we'd see the day when Nine Inch Nails would set foot on the ACL stage."
One Direction and Jennifer Lawrence were the toast of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday (29Mar14), but skipped getting slimed by not showing up. The boyband stars, who also led the charge at last year's (13) prizegiving, were named winners of two top awards - Favorite Music Group and Favorite Song for Story Of My Life.
Meanwhile, in the movie categories, Lawrence picked up Favorite Movie Actress and Favorite Female Buttkicker for her turn as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The film was also named Favorite Movie.
Selena Gomez was on hand to claim her prize for Favorite Female Singer, and grew emotional as she collected the ceremony's blimp-themed trophy.
She said, "Thank you so much. This has been such an amazing year already for me and I just have to say that you guys have been the most loyal, dedicated people in my life, because you continuously, every year, bless me with the opportunity to do what I love, so thank you so much. You guys are awesome, and this is for you. So, thank you."
Justin Timberlake, another no-show, was named Favorite Male Singer, while Adam Sandler collected his prize for Favorite Movie Actor.
As usual, some celebrities weren't so lucky, and instead of walking away with awards, sloped off the stage covered in the event's famous green gunge. Host Mark Wahlberg, Kaley Cuoco and Cody Simpson were among the slimed stars.
The full list of winners at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards is:
Favorite Movie - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Favorite Movie Actor - Adam Sandler (Grown-Ups 2)
Favorite Movie Actress - Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Favorite Animated Movie - Frozen
Favorite Voice From An Animated Animated Movie - Miranda Cosgrove (Despicable Me 2)
Favorite Male Buttkicker - Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 3)
Favorite Female Buttkicker - Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Favorite TV Show - Austin & Ally
Favorite TV Actress - Ariana Grande (Sam & Kat)
Favorite Reality Show - Wipeout
Favorite Cartoon - Spongebob Squarepants
Favorite Animated Animal Sidekick - Patrick Star (Spongebob Squarepants)
Favorite Music Group - One Direction
Favorite Male Singer - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Singer - Selena Gomez
Favorite Song - Story Of My Life (One Direction)
Favorite Book - Diary Of A Wimpy Kid
Favorite Funny Star - Kevin Hart
Favorite Video Game - Just Dance 2014
Lifetime Achievement Award - Dan Schneider.
You don't arrive at the Grand Budapest Hotel without your share of Wes Anderson baggage. Odds are, if you've booked a visit to this film, you've enjoyed your past trips to the Wes Indies (I promise I'll stop this extended metaphor soon), delighting especially in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and his most recent charmer Moonrise Kingdom. On the other hand, you could be the adventurous sort — a curious diplomat who never really got Anderson's uric-toned deadpan drudgings but can't resist browsing through the brochures of his latest European getaway. First off, neither community should worry about a bias in this review — I'm a Life Aquatic devotee, equally alienating to both sides. Second, neither community should be deterred by Andersonian expectations, be they sky high or subterranean, in planned Budapest excursions. No matter who you are, this movie will charm your dandy pants off and then some.
While GBH hangs tight to the filmmaker's recognizable style, the movie is a departure for Anderson in a number of ways. The first being plot: there is one. A doozy, too. We're accustomed to spending our Wes flicks peering into the stagnant souls of pensive man-children — or children-men (Moonrise) or fox-kits (guess) — whose journeys are confined primarily to the internal. But not long into Grand Budapest, we're on a bona fide adventure with one of the director's most attractive heroes to date: the didactic Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes mastering sympathetic comedy better than anyone could have imagined he might), who invests his heart and soul into the titular hotel, an oasis of nobility in a decaying 1930s Europe. Gustave is plucked from his sadomasochistic nirvana overseeing every cog and sprocket in the mountaintop institution and thrust into a madcap caper — reminiscent of, and not accidentally, the Hollywood comedies of the era — involving murder, framing, art theft, jailbreak, love, sex, envy, secret societies, high speed chases... believe me, I haven't given half of it away. Along the way, we rope in a courageous baker (Saoirse Ronan), a dutiful attorney (Jeff Goldblum), a hotheaded socialite (Adrien Brody) and his psychopathic henchman (Willem Dafoe), and no shortage of Anderson regulars. The director proves just as adept at the large scale as he is at the small, delivering would-be cartoon high jinks with the same tangible life that you'd find in a Billy Wilder romp or one of the better Hope/Crosby Road to movies.
Anchoring the monkey business down to a recognizable planet Earth (without sacrificing an ounce of comedy) is the throughline of Gustave's budding friendship with his lobby boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori, whose performance is an unprecedented and thrilling mixture of Wes Anderson stoicism and tempered humility), the only living being who appreciates the significance of the Grand Budapest as much as Gustave does. In joining these two oddballs on their quest beyond the parameters of FDA-approved doses of zany, we appreciate it, too: the significance of holding fast to something you believe in, understand, trust, and love in a world that makes less and less sense everyday. Anderson's World War II might not be as ostensibly hard-hitting as that to which modern cinema is accustomed, but there's a chilling, somber horror story lurking beneath the surface of Grand Budapest. Behind every side-splitting laugh, cookie cutter backdrop, and otherworldly antic, there is a pulsating dread that makes it all mean something. As vivid as the worlds of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise might well have been, none have had this much weight and soul.
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So it's astonishing that we're able to zip to and fro' every crevice of this haunting, misty Central Europe at top speeds, grins never waning as our hero Gustave delivers supernaturally articulate diatribes capped with physically startling profanity. So much of it is that delightfully odd, agonizingly devoted character, his unlikely camaraderie with the unflappably earnest young Zero, and his adherence to the magic that inhabits the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are few places like it on Earth, as we learn. There aren't many movies like it here either.
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