Superstar couple Beyonce and Jay Z are set for a big night at the 2014 BET Awards with four nominations apiece. The Crazy in Love hitmakers will compete against each other in the Best Collaboration category, in which Beyonce's song Drunk in Love, which features her husband, will battle Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's Holy Grail. Drake and Majid Jordan's Hold On (We're Going Home), Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams' Blurred Lines, YG's My Hitta collaboration with Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan and I Luv This by August Alsina and Trinidad Jame$ are also up for the prize.
Meanwhile, rivals Jay Z and Drake will go toe to toe in the Best Male Hip Hop Artist category, alongside Future, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, while Beyonce will battle Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna and Tamar Braxton for the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist title. Jay Z and Beyonce will also vie for the coveted Video of the Year award with the videos for Drunk in Love and Partition, respectively. Pharrell Williams' Happy, Chris Brown's Fine China and Drake's Worst Behavior are also nominated.
In the movie categories, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah Winfrey will fight for the Best Actress prize, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan are up for the Best Actor trophy. The Best Movie nominees are: 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday, Fruitvale Station, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The 2014 BET Awards will be handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on 29 June (14).
The full list of nominees are:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna, Tamar Braxton
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: August Alsina, Chris Brown, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams
Best Group A$AP Mob Daft Punk Macklemore & Ryan Lewis TGT Young Money
Best Collaboration August Alsina featuring Trinidad Jame$ - I Luv This Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Drake featuring Majid Jordan - Hold On (We're Going Home) Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharell Williams - Blurred Lines YG featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan - My Hitta
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Drake Future J. Cole Jay Z Kendrick Lamar
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Angel Haze Charli Baltimore Eve Iggy Azalea Nicki Minaj Video of the Year Beyonce - Partition Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Chris Brown - Fine China Drake - Worst Behavior Pharrell Williams - Happy
Video Director of the Year Benny Boom Chris Brown Colin Tiley Director X Hype Williams
Best New Artist Ariana Grande August Alsina Mack Wilds Rich Homie Quan ScHoolboy Q
Best Gospel Artist Donnie McClurkin Erica Campbell Hezekiah Walker Tamela Mann Tye Tribbett
Best Actress Angela Bassett Gabrielle Union Kerry Washington Lupita Nyong'o Oprah Winfrey
Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Forest Whitaker Idris Elba Kevin Hart Michael B. Jordan
YoungStars Award Gabrielle Douglas Jacob Latimore Jaden Smith KeKe Palmer Zendaya
Best Movie 12 Years a Slave The Best Man Holiday Fruitvale Station Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Lee Daniels' The Butler
Subway Sportswoman of the Year Brittney Griner Lolo Jones Serena Williams Skylar Diggins Venus Williams
Subway Sportsman of the Year Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Floyd Mayweather Jr. Kevin Durant LeBron James
Centric Award Aloe Blacc - The Man Jennifer Hudson featuring T.I. - I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" Jhene Aiko - The Worst LiV Warfield - Why Do You Lie? Wale featuring Sam Dew - LoveHate Thing
Best International Act: Africa Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Mafikizolo (South Africa) Sarkodie (Ghana) Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) Toofan (Togo)
Best International Act: UK Dizzee Rascal Ghetts Krept & Konan Laura Mvula Rita Ora Tinie Tempah
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Purity Ring and Tegan & Sara will be among the acts competing for this year's Polaris Prize in Canada. They join the likes of Metric, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Colin Stetson and Young Galaxy on the shortlist to find the nation's best album.
The list was announced at The Drake Hotel in Toronto by Polaris founder Steve Jordan on Tuesday (16Jul13). The winner will be announced at a gala held in Toronto on 23 September (13).
Feist won last year's $30,000 (£20,000) prize for her album Metals.
Twenty-five years ago, the world was introduced to a charming supernatural villain with impeccable fashion sense; truly the ghost with the most. Don’t remember his name? We’ll give you a hint. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice…just for good measure, we’re going to stop right there.
So many aspects of Beetlejuice have become iconic, and not the least of those is the direction and visual signature of Tim Burton. One can hardly imagine Beetlejuice without Burton’s influence, but the fact of the matter is that Burton wasn’t the first choice to direct the film.
It happens quite a bit in Hollywood; deals are made and deals fall through. A studio’s first choice to helm a picture isn’t always the best choice, nor does it pan out. So who was Beetlejuice’s original director? What other horror properties experienced a change in the director’s chair prior to release?
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1,2, Beetlejuice Is Coming For You
Prior to Tim Burton signing on to direct Beetlejuice, the studio was looking at someone who’d helmed far more intense horror titles up to that point. That’s right, Mr. Nightmare on Elm Street himself, Wes Craven was originally attached to direct. It’s hard to contemplate what a Craven Beetlejuice would have looked like, but considering an original draft of the script was far more horror-centric, with the titular character portrayed as a winged reptilian demon, one can see how Craven might have been a suitable candidate. If nothing else, Beetlejuice would’ve said “b**ch” a fair amount more.
Never Let Me Howl
The 2010 reboot of The Wolfman couldn’t have suffered more setbacks if they were actually only able to shoot during full moons. It was slated for release in 2007, but a number of problems and a change in director mid-way through kept it out of theaters until 2010. Though Joe Johnston is credited on the poster, it was originally Mark Romanek who landed the gig. Romanek made a big splash with his independent sci-fi film Never Let Me Go, but after butting heads with Universal over the budget, he had no problem letting The Wolfman go. Among its many other production woes, The Wolfman replaced Beetlejuicecomposer Danny Elfman’s entire score at the last minute.
Life Almost Found A Way
Jurassic Park doesn’t really qualify as a horror film, and that was mostly because director Steven Spielberg wanted the movie to be an event the whole family could share. That’s not to say it didn’t give some of us younger viewers nightmares when it was first released, but given who came close to landing the job, Jurassic Park could qualify as a Disney film by comparison. It turns out James Cameron also had his eyes on the rights to Michael Crichton’s novel, but Spielberg got there first. Cameron mentioned that his version would have been much, much nastier. Given some of the things that happen in the book, that wouldn’t have been terribly difficult. The ironic thing here is that Cameron’s first feature film directing gig was Piranha II: The Spawning, on which he was a replacement for Miller Drake.
RELATED: 'Jurassic Park 4' Has Found a Director
In Space, No One Can Hear You Cut Corners
Piranha II producer Roger Corman, is a legend in the film industry; for better or worse. On the one hand, he launched the careers of several highly notable artists including Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, and Francis Ford Coppola. On the other hand, he had a tendency toward focusing more on the bottom line than on artistic integrity. He was very much looking forward to capitalizing on the Star Wars craze by producing a script by Dan O’Bannon called Alien, but he cut one too many corners for O’Bannon’s liking and the screenwriter ended up selling to, fittingly, 20th Century Fox. A year later, Corman would release instead Battle Beyond the Stars, a sci-fi retelling of The Seven Samurai, as his alternative Star Wars cash-in.
Possessed Of Many Options
Though The Exorcist is haled as one of the greatest and scariest horror movies of all time, the list of directors considered before William Friedkin is enough to make your head… well, you know. John Boorman (Deliverance) was initially approached, but thought the movie was too cruel towards children. He would however return to direct Exorcist II: The Heretic. Stanley Kubrick was interested, but balked when the studio wouldn’t allow him to also produce the movie. The Last Picture Show’s Peter Bogdonovich was also considered, but he too passed. Funny enough, when Morgan Creek tried to make an Exorcist prequel in 2004, they didn’t just change directors midway through, they shelved initial filmmaker Paul Schader’s version once it was completed and shot an entirely new film with Renny Harlin in charge. That’s the reason you can now track down and watch Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.
We’re Gonna Need A Better Director
We’ve heard about Cameron almost landing a gig that ultimately went to Steven Spielberg, i.e. Jurassic Park, but what about a Spielberg film that almost went to someone else? Originally, Tootsie producer Dick Richards was set to direct the big screen adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws. The reason for his dismissal from the project had to do with his affinity for marine mammals. He evidently wanted to change the antagonistic creature from a shark to a whale. While the parallels between Quint and Captain Ahab are striking, one could understand why the producers didn’t want to go full Melville with the film.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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