Sick soul star D'angelo has pulled out of a planned performance at California's Outside Lands festival on Friday (09Aug13) as he continues to recover from a mystery "medical emergency". The Brown Sugar singer has scrapped a series of U.S. concerts after he was recently hospitalised with a "serious" illness, and now he has cancelled his last remaining summer gig at Outside Lands as a result of his health troubles.
Funk legend Nile Rodgers and his CHIC bandmates have been recruited as last-minute replacements and event organiser Allen Scott, of Another Planet Entertainment, is confident fans will still enjoy the festivities.
He says, "We hope that D'Angelo has a speedy recovery, and we are grateful to Nile Rodgers and CHIC for stepping in at this late hour. CHIC is still one of the greatest live bands around and I can guarantee that they are going to bring the party to Outside Lands on Friday."
Details about D'Angelo's illness have not been made public, but a spokesperson for Chicago, Illinois' House of Blues, where the singer was due to perform on Wednesday (07Aug13), reveals he "should be OK".
For decades, the film industry has lived by a secret maxim: if you want an emotional scene to land, stick in an Elton John song. The British singer/songwriter has long served as a benefactor to the Hollywood cause, contributing heartending ballads and invigorating anthems to the likes the Rocky and Lethal Weapon franchies, Almost Famous, Moulin Rouge!, and The Lion King. In the ultimate return of the favor, Rocket Pictures is a developing a biopic about John, which Deadline reports will, quite appropriately, take the form of a musical comprised of the icon's own songs.
The picture, titled Rocketman, has tacked on Michael Gracey to direct. Gracey should bring sufficient flare to the biopic — he's worked as a commercial director and visual effects artist on horror movies like Double Vision and Cubbyhouse, and the Heath Ledger-starring drama Ned Kelly. Rocketman will tell the story of Sir Elton John's life and career, starting from his embrace of music at age five, using his timeless hits to document some of the greater episodes throughout the journey.
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We can begin to imagine how this sort of project will manifest: with "Candle in the Wind," "Tiny Dancer," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" backing the illustrations emotionally resonant turning points in his life. But we're thinking outside the box, here. Which Elton John songs will be woven into some of the less "inspiring" scenes in the movie?
"Flintstone Boy" (the forgettable bonus track on the'98 reissue of John's A Single Man)Scene: Before acquiring his knack for the ivories, a young Elton spends most of his time watching Hanna Barbera cartoons as this song plays in the background.
"All Quiet on the Western Front" (the closing track of John's '82 album Jump Up!)Scene: Being a musical prodigy is hard, but what's harder? High school book reports. The song chronicles a teenage Elton's frustration with Erich Maria Remarque's dry narration in his World War I seminal classic.
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"Between Seventeen and Twenty" (from John's '76 album Blue Movies)Scene: As biography films are wont to do, Rocketman will include a time-skipping montage, bumping Elton from his teen years to his early twenties for the sake of speedy narration. This applicably titled number accompanies the jump.
"January" (from John's '97 album The Big Picture) / "August October" (John's cover of the 1970 song by Robin Gibb)Scene: The songs, played simulatenously through this climactic scene, help to showcase that one time when an overtired Elton got really hazy and totally blanked on what month it was.
"Nikita" (from John's '85 alcum Ice on Fire)Scene: Paired with a later scene in the film, this number will depict Elton's deep, abiding love for CW dramas.
"The Last Song" (from John's '92 album The One)Scene: End credits.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Ron Howard/Getty Images]
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Top Story: Thornton's Girlfriend in Family Way
Billy Bob Thornton and his girlfriend Connie Angland announced Thursday that they are expecting a child this fall, The Associated Press reports. "The due date is set for sometime in October," Thornton publicist Arnold Robinson said. Angland, 39, doesn't work in the entertainment industry. Thornton, who will be seen in the upcoming The Alamo, has three children from two previous marriages.
Rodriguez Resigns From DGA
Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez resigned from the Directors Guild of America, due to his desire to co-direct Sin City with novel series creator Frank Miller, Variety reports. DGA rules dictate that there be only one director assigned to direct a motion picture at any given time, although the guild occasionally grants a waiver, such as with the Coen brothers. "I didn't want Frank (Miller) to be treated as just a writer, because he is the only one who has actually been to Sin City, " Rodriguez told Variety. "I am making such a literal interpretation of his book that I'd have felt weird taking directing credit without him." Rodriguez also quit the DGA a decade ago so he could direct a segment in the Quentin Tarantino-orchestrated film Four Rooms. Rodriguez's resignation has also puts his other film project, Paramount Pictures' Princess of Mars, in jeopardy since Paramount is required to employ only guild directors.
Stern Dumped for Good by Clear Channel
Clear Channel Communications Inc. has severed all ties with shock jock Howard Stern, Reuters reports, after the FCC imposed a $495,000 fine for indecent comments on his show, John Hogan, president and chief executive of Clear Channel Radio, said the company was not willing to shoulder the "great liability" of broadcasting Stern's popular radio show. Stern issued a statement on his Web site calling the FCC's actions part of a "McCarthy-type 'witch hunt."' "It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S.," Stern said in the statement.
Are They or Aren't They?
James Brown and his wife, Tomi Rae Brown, who apparently are not legally married, will likely have a second legitimate wedding if she's able to annul her previous marriage to Javed Ahmed of Pakistan, his lawyer told AP. Tomi Rae Brown filed a formal petition for annulment in December, saying the marriage lasted three days and was "done under the pretense of a man trying to stay in the country." Meanwhile, the Godfather of Soul himself filed for an annulment from Tomi Rae after he was charged with criminal domestic violence in January, but the couple has since reconciled. "The hope is once she gets the annulment from Mr. Ahmed finalized, we will be able to do the annulment [with James Brown] in Aiken County very swiftly, then it's my impression the parties would be able to enter into a marriage without these entanglements," Jim Huff, Brown's lawyer, said Wednesday.
Media Want Jackson Ban To Be Lifted
Representation for news organizations, including AP, have asked an appeals court to immediately lift a gag order that bars those involved in the Michael Jackson child molestation case from speaking about it publicly, AP reports. In a filing before the state Court of Appeals, attorney Theodore Boutrous said the order imposed unconstitutional "prior restraint" on attorneys and potential witnesses and blocked the media's ability to address false rumors and news reports. Jackson attorney Mark Geragos remained opposed. "Our position remains the same," he said.
Christians Offended by Madonna's Sunday Concert in Ireland
Madonna, whose Re-Invention tour stops in Ireland in August, has come under fire from Christians for booking her first ever concert in the country on a Sunday. The show is scheduled for Aug. 29 at Slane Castle, 30 miles north of Dublin, leading many to believe Madonna, who has developed an interest in Jewish mysticism, refused to play on Saturday because it is the Jewish Sabbath. Joe Deegan, Slane's parish priest, told Reuters Friday the decision was insensitive in a country where 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The last time Slane Castle hosted a major concert on a Sunday was in 1984 when Bob Dylan played, a show that sparked riots.
Embattled Singer Scott Weiland Set To Tour
California authorities will allow former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland to tour with his bandmates in their new group, Velvet Revolver, Billboard.com reports. Weiland has spent the past several months in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation center after pleading no contest last year to heroin possession. The band, which consists of Slash's former Guns N' Roses colleagues, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, and guitarist David Kushner of Suicidal Tendencies, will play medium-sized venues leading up to the June 8 release of their RCA debut album Contraband.
Police Arrest Avril Lavigne's Stalker
Police in Lynnwood, Wash., arrested a man for allegedly stalking teen pop singer Avril Lavigne, the AP reports. Thirty-year-old James Speedy was booked into jail for investigation of stalking after police searched his home in suburban Seattle Wednesday--the same day Lavigne played a free concert at a mall south of Seattle. He later posted $5,000 bail and was released. Police have been investigating the case since last summer, when they were contacted by authorities in Ontario, Canada, about harassing letters and e-mails sent to the 19-year-old Canadian singer.
Eric Clapton Launches Tour
Guitarist Eric Clapton has confirmed a two-month North American tour of arenas and outdoor amphitheaters. According to Billboard.com, the tour kicks off June 9 in Oklahoma City and wraps Aug. 2 in Los Angeles. Clapton will be touring in support of his just-released Warner Bros. album Me and Mr. Johnson, which debuted at No. 6 Wednesday on the Billboard 200. The album features new interpretations of songs by Robert Johnson, the Mississippi Delta-bred, hard-living folk blues legend who died at age 27, just months after his only recording sessions in 1936-37.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action revisits an age-old Tunes question: Why does the affable Bugs reap all the fame and glory while the egocentric Daffy gets shafted again and again? Our duck friend quite frankly has had it up to his skinny neck playing second fiddle to the carrot muncher. All Daffy wants is a little recognition from the studio but the brothers Warner (actual twin brothers as we come to find out) decide instead to let Daffy out of his contract on the advice of their no-nonsense VP of comedy Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman). Bugs however knows they're making a mistake. Even though Daff bears the brunt of the abuse Looney Tunes would fail without him and Bugs convinces the powers that be they need the nutty mallard. If the plot had only followed this thread--perhaps showing Daffy on the skids--then maybe the film wouldn't have spiraled into Looneyville. Unfortunately Daffy ends up hooking up with the hunky D.J. Drake (Brendan Fraser) a studio security guard who finds out that his famous movie star father Damian Drake (Timothy Dalton) is really a secret agent hunting for a mysterious diamond known as the Blue Monkey a supernatural gem that can turn the planet's population into monkeys. The evil head of the Acme Corporation Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) wants the diamond for his own diabolical plans and he's kidnapped D.J.'s dad in an effort to get it. Now the gang has to get the diamond save D.J.'s dad and of course save the world.
It might be a little hard to act subtly around cartoon characters but these aren't your ordinary cutesy Mickey Mouse types. Bugs Daffy Porky Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn are pros at comic timing able to spar with the best of them throw out zingers without a second thought and slay you with a droll glance at the camera. It isn't really necessary for the human actors to match their madcap-ness; just reacting would have sufficed. Fraser comes off the best of the human bunch; since he's had practice (Monkeybone) he easily interacts with his animated co-stars and deftly handles the doubletakes and jabs at pop culture. Elfman on the other hand sputters and goes bug-eyed every time she encounters silliness. She looks uncomfortable doing the green screen thing especially when she's trying to look natural when peeling a distraught duck from around her waist. Martin's highly anticipated turn as Mr. Chairman turns out to be the biggest disappointment. The over-the-top character is reminiscent of Martin's hysterically funny Rupert the Monkeyboy in 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but Martin turns Mr. Chairman--an angry schoolboy with knee socks and matted-down hair who never grew up--into a caricature of ridiculous proportions and unlike Rupert who came in small hilarious doses Mr. Chairman gets very tiresome very quickly.
Back in Action's animation is well done more engaging and ambitious than its 1996 predecessor Space Jam in which the action mostly took place in Looney Tunes land; here animated characters go the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? route and Bugs Daffy and the rest coexist harmoniously with humans in the real world. But despite its aspirations Back in Action leaves out vital elements that made Space Jam appealing. While the earlier film stuck to a simple plot Back in Action guided by director Joe Dante (Small Soldiers The 'Burbs) tries too hard to keep things wild and wacky while incorporating elements of '60s heist pics and action-adventure scenes and in the process loses sight of the most important ingredient in any kids movie: the story. Tykes may have limited attention spans but if the story's good they will watch. Granted some individual bits are laugh-out-loud funny particularly the scene in the Warner Bros. commissary where a stuttering Porky Pig complains about being politically incorrect with Speedy Gonzales while an animated Shaggy and Scooby-Doo berate actor Matthew Lillard for playing Shaggy as such a bonehead in the live-action Scooby-Doo. These scenes prove that if any cartoon characters could pass themselves off as real celebrities in the entertainment industry the gang from Looney Tunes could but moments like these simply can't overcome a contrived plot and juvenile antics.