Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has signed on to play the engineer who masterminded the rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010 in a new movie about the drama. His character, Andre Sougarret, was hailed a hero after pulling the miners' leader Mario Sepulveda and his team to safety following a collapse at the San Jose Mine in Chile.
Antonio Banderas has already signed on as Sepulveda, while Rodrigo Santoro, Martin Sheen, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin and Lou Diamond Philips have also been cast.
The 33 is currently filming on location in Colombia and Chile's Atacama Desert.
Lou Reed succumbed to liver disease at his home in Long Island, New York, according to the late rocker's doctor. The former Velvet Underground frontman died on Sunday (27Oct13) after battling poor health for months.
Dr. Charles Miller, who performed a liver transplant on Reed at the Cleveland Clinic in April (13), tells the New York Times that the rocker returned to Ohio last week (bes21Oct13) for further treatment.
The medic told Reed his condition could no longer be treated, and the singer/songwriter opted to return to the home he shared with his wife Laurie Anderson.
The doctor says, "We all agreed that we did everything we could."
Tributes from the music world have been pouring in for Reed since news of his death was released. Blondie stars Debbie Harry and Chris Stein and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne added their thoughts about the rock star in statements on Monday (28Oct13).
Harry wrote, "I'm so sad that he's gone but his hypnotic voice telling a story of a Perfect Day, or the devil let loose in White Light/White Heat will live forever."
Her bandmate Stein added, "Lou was one of a handful of originals. I don't think that the conditions that created him will again even be approximated, let alone duplicated."
And Byrne stated, "His work and that of the Velvets was a big reason I moved to NY and I don't think I'm alone there. We wanted to be in a city that nurtured and fed that kind of talent."
Blondie stars Debbie Harry and Chris Stein have added their names to the long list of celebrities paying tribute to the late Lou Reed, who died on Sunday (27Oct13) at the age of 71. The punk icons have recalled magical moments with the former Velvet Underground frontman in statements released on Monday (28Oct13).
Harry remembers, "The first time I saw the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed it was in the 1960s at a place on the Lower East Side (of New York) called The Balloon Farm. That day I became a lifelong devotee of the iconoclastic sound and style of Lou and the Velvets.
"I'm so sad that he's gone but his hypnotic voice telling a story of a Perfect Day, or the devil let loose in White Light/White Heat will live forever."
Her bandmate Stein adds, "I had many encounters with Lou over the years and he was always charming and polite. I just never ran into his infamous dark side... Lou was one of a handful of originals. I don't think that the conditions that created him will again even be approximated, let alone duplicated."
And Stein recalls a really amazing night when his band was asked to open for the Velvet Underground: "When I was 17 years old in 1967, my friends and I were fascinated by the Velvets' first amazing album. A close friend of mine worked for (Andy) Warhol. One night he arrived at my house in Brooklyn and told my friends and I that the band who was supposed to open for the Velvets in NYC had cancelled and would we like to replace them.
"We got on the subway with our guitars and went to a venue on the Upper West Side, called the Gymnasium. Maureen Tucker let us use her drums; turn them right side up even and we used the Velvets' amps. We played our little blues rock set and at the end someone came over and said, 'Oh, Andy thought you were terrific'.
" There were maybe 30 people there. The Velvets came on and were just powerful. They used the echo-y acoustics of the place to their advantage. This was a moment that shaped my musical life and I tell the story frequently."
Other tributes have poured in since the news of Reed's death broke, including notes, statements and tweets from the likes of his friend and VU bandmate John Cale, The Who, the Pixies, Patrick Carney, Morrissey, Ryan Adams, Nikki Sixx, Steven Tyler and Cyndi Lauper, among others.
And Talking Heads frontman David Byrne offered up his thoughts on Monday in a statement that reads: "No surprise I was a big fan, and his music, with and without the Velvets, was a big influence on myself and Talking Heads. He came to see us at CBGB (in New York) numerous times, and I remember three of us going to visit him at his Upper East Side apartment after one of our very early gigs there.
"I kept in touch with Lou over the years. We'd run into one another at concerts or at various NY cultural events and benefits... More recently I'd see Lou and (wife) Laurie (Anderson) socially - we'd join mutual friends for dinner sometimes and at concerts. He and Laurie never stopped checking out emerging artists, bands and all sorts of performances.
"His work and that of the Velvets was a big reason I moved to NY and I don't think I'm alone there. We wanted to be in a city that nurtured and fed that kind of talent."
Feist and Joseph Arthur have completed the line-up for Peter Gabriel's long-awaited Scratch My Back follow-up after Radiohead and David Bowie backed out of the project. The And I'll Scratch Yours album was to feature covers of Gabriel's songs recorded by the artists he paid tribute to on Scratch My Back.
The finally-completed end result features tracks like I Don't Remember, Shock The Monkey and Games Without Frontiers covered by David Byrne, Arthur and Arcade Fire, respectively.
Also taking part in the project: Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Bon Iver, the Magnetic Fields, Regina Spektor, Stephin Merritt, Elbow and Randy Newman.
The highlight of the new album will be Paul Simon's stirring rendition of Gabriel's human rights anthem Biko.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.