Jefferson Starship rocker Pete Sears is celebrating after the discovery of his custom-made guitar, which was stolen from a concert venue in Germany 40 years ago. The bassist's one-of-a kind instrument, crafted by Grateful Dead star Jerry Garcia's guitar maker Doug Irwin, went missing during a riot at the Lorelei Festival in 1978, and Sears had resigned himself to the fact he'd never see the axe he dubbed the Dragon again.
He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "It was always in the back of my mind... I thought it was sitting in someone's basement."
One of Irwin's colleagues posted a request for information about the missing guitar on the Grateful Dead's website forum in 2009, and last month (Apr13), a German musician came forward and revealed he was the new owner of Sears' stolen instrument.
He claimed he bought it between 1990 and 1991 from a studio musician in the Netherlands, who claimed it once belonged to the bassist of 1980s band Golden Earring.
The German agreed to part with the bass for $3,200 (£2,100) and shipped it to America for restoration.
Sears says, "It's an antique now, like I am. I just can't wait to get it back and hold it again."
S6E12: After last week’s mishap of an episode, I began to wonder if 30 Rock would ever fall back into the form of its glory days. While it might never really reach the same caliber of its first three years on air, 30 Rock does prove that it still has potential. This week’s episode “St. Patrick’s Day” is an example of the quality the show still has at its disposal.
All too often this season, 30 Rock has exhibited an abandonment of a cast of characters we once called “human.” This week, however, our old friends Liz and Jack do seem to fall back in step with their relatable, believable incarnations. For the first time in quite a while, Liz experiences some real emotional growth. And Jack takes a legitimately interesting professional step.
"If it wasn't for the Germans, we wouldn't have any of the Indiana Jones movies." - Liz
It’s St. Patrick’s Day in New York City, and Liz has big plans: stay home with Criss, completely avoiding the madness outside, and lambasting everything related to Irish culture. Liz’s plans are interrupted when her least favorite piece of Irish culture shows up on her doorstep: Dennis Duffy, one of the greatest sitcom characters in TV history. After suffering a minor head injury, Dennis takes up on Liz’s couch to recuperate. But Liz wants him out immediately, knowing that Dennis is a toxic force who will only serve to damage her relationship with Criss. Dennis’ presence does bring up a touchy issue that Liz and Criss are dealing with: her emotional unavailability. Whereas Criss is secure and sweet and capable of expressing his feelings for Liz, she is closed-off, anxious, and phobic over saying “I love you,” much to Criss’ dismay. Side note: the last two times or so when Dennis has been on 30 Rock, his material has not really lived up to that of earlier episodes featuring the character. Tonight’s Dennis dialogue is perfect—misguided, oblivious, generous with misinformation. After Liz learns that Dennis has managed to pick up his own life—finally getting married to a girl far better suited for him than Liz ever was—she also realizes that maybe it’s time for her to change and grow up. As such, she finds Criss and apologizes, vowing to open up more, just before telling him that she loves him. We haven’t seen Liz really grow in quite some time. Although I’d never have pegged Criss for her “perfect man”—Floyd, Carol, pre-“The Bubble” Dr. Drew Baird, even good ol’ Cousin The Hair—any vehicle for Liz to experience any sort of fleshing out or examination is a worthy one. "We all have faces that people just want to punch." - FrankEver since Kabletown took over, Jack has been a shell of his old self. The show has alluded to that lately, hinting that his new, soft persona is not just due to his daughter or kidnapped wife. It’s because his job is no longer a challenge—no longer something he can live for or define himself by. But maybe he can change that. Jack discovers a Dungeons and Dragons-style game being played by the TGS writers. Due to the nature of the game—there’s a lot of trading, business planning, conquering, the works—Jack takes immediate interest, drawing parallels between the isles in the game and his real life companies and such. Jack quickly becomes champion of the game, even managing to solve one of the hardest puzzles (thanks to some advice from a light-hearted priest), and realizes that he can do the same for Kabletown. He doesn’t want to sit idly by, working for a company like this. So, he won’t. The writers shower Jack with fake gold coins while he deliberates his next move for his real company. Kabletown will be Jack Donaghy’s. "I'll treat them like my own children. Which is a bad example, because I left my kids at a Sears in 2004." - HazelMeanwhile, Hazel is not doing so hot at keeping Tracy and Jenna from fighting with each other. When Jenna is billed first on NBC’s St. Patrick’s Day special, Tracy throws a fit, and cue an eruption of excessive pettiness and name-calling. Pete has a conniption, NBC suffers, and Hazel just can’t seem to figure out what to do. Only one person can solve a problem like this: Kenneth. And after countless denials (from himself) of his right to do so, Kenneth gives in and vows always to be there for Tracy, Jenna and Hazel. It may no longer be his job, but it’s his passion. So, Liz has made personal steps and Jack professional. Both of these characters are exhibiting growth, and are suggesting some interesting stuff in the near future. What do you think will happen with Liz? Will she and Criss stay together? Get married? Have kids? And as for Jack, how far will his reign take him? Let us know in the comments section, or on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
Though ostensibly successful 2009’s The Final Destination represented to many a horror franchise on its last hackneyed legs. Rote uninspired and humorless it scored a (modest) hit only by virtue of the novelty -- and added ticket price -- of its 3D transfer. Two years later Final Destination 5 arrives with a slightly tweaked formula a beefed-up storyline actors you might actually recognize and genuine honest-to-goodness 3D. It’s still schlock mind you -- but artful schlock and a marked improvement over the preceding entry.
The story begins in familiar fashion with a cursory introduction to the characters followed by a grisly premonition that sees them perish wholesale. An assortment of cubicle-dwellers at a paper factory are being bused to a corporate retreat when one of them Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto perpetually bug-eyed) dreams of a massive bridge collapse in which he and his co-workers are impaled beheaded bisected crushed by cars singed by tar -- however many ways a suspension bridge can kill a person the film’s opening set-piece explores it gruesome detail. Sam awakens duly horrified and demands the bus be evacuated. Seconds later the employees watch in horror from the sidelines as Sam’s vision comes to fruition.
You know what happens next. One-by-one death stalks the survivors who meet their fate in a series of elaborately-staged incidents. Some are relatively straightforward; others involve fiendish head-fakes and red herrings. The range of victims is older and more colorful than in previous Final Destination films in which death preyed exclusively on attractive nubile teenagers but the end result is invariably the same. (Not to give anything away but those considering acupuncture or laser eye surgery would be wise to avoid the film entirely.) As death’s scheme becomes achingly evident Sam his lachrymose girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) and his increasingly unhinged buddy Peter (Miles Fisher) become increasingly desperate. Enter the ever-ominous Tony Todd returning to the franchise after (wisely) taking the previous film off offering a potential way out. But is it genuine or just another of death’s cruel tricks?
Director Steven Quale a James Cameron protege hired principally for his 3D expertise takes full advantage of the added dimension delivering some of the most vivid and immersive 3D sequences in recent memory. Unlike The Final Destination which seemed little more than a amalgam of crude one-liners Final Destination 5 feels like a real movie one with a discernible plot an element of suspense and a handful characters who are more than just punchlines. Most of the actors are surprisingly competent save for Fisher a credible doppelganger for Tom Cruise (he parodied him 2008’s Superhero Movie) who imbues every line with couch-jumping intensity.
Final Destination 5 ends with a twist that while genuinely unexpected feels like a Hail Mary for a franchise that can’t forestall its inexorable descent into stale irrelevance despite the best of efforts from Quale. Its trademark formula has simply lost its potency -- a problem no amount of cosmetic upgrades however welcome can fix. That the film is bracketed by two pointless and time-consuming montages -- the first an animated sequence that hurtles various hazardous objects at the audience the second a greatest hits compilation of memorable kills from previous Final Destination films -- is a telltale sign that the saga’s creativity is on life support. Perhaps it’s time to pull the plug.
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.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.