British comic Ricky Gervais is hoping to bring his most famous character, David Brent, back to the screen for a spoof documentary. The star reprised his role as the cringeworthy office manager last year (13) for several sold-out stage shows with his fake band Foregone Conclusion.
Gervais now reveals he will be filming behind-the-scenes at his upcoming concerts in England and hopes to transform the footage into a TV film in the style of iconic rock parody This Is Spinal Tap.
He tells the Radio Times, "It's just an idea. I want to do a tour, a little tour - and people think they're seeing a tour. I film it, but actually it's Brent who thinks he's making a (Martin) Scorsese-type thing of (Jack Kerouac's novel) On The Road.
"Of course, behind the scenes, it is so much sadder and more poignant. It's Spinal Tap meets sad Scorsese meets (Canadian heavy metal band) Anvil. It's more of the breakdown of this man who thought he was going to be something else."
Gervais also suggests the documentary could be shown on TV or online, adding, "That will be on Netflix. Or HBO. Or the BBC."
The David Brent character first appeared onscreen in the U.K. in 2001 when the first season of The Office aired.
It's almost become a game — how many things can be blamed on Miley Cyrus? When she went out on her Bangerz tour, mothers — none of whom had apparently been paying attention to what the singer's been up to since Hannah Montana — took to the web to complain about her antics, comparing the stage show to porn and lamenting the fact that their children had been exposed to it. Joe Jonas wrote a tell-all essay for New York Magazine, where he revealed that it was peer-pressure from Cyrus and Demi Lovato that got him to smoke pot for the first time. When she subsequently lit up a joint on stage in Amsterdam, she was labeled out of control. Months after, she caught a ton of flak for her "twerking" at the MTV Video Music Awards, the Internet exploded with rumors that Cyrus was the real reason behind the break-up of Robin Thicke and his wife, Paula Patton.
Now, Katy Perry is taking shots at the singer after Cyrus tried to kiss her at a concert, telling an Australian television show that she backed away from the smooch because, "God knows where that tongue has been." Even something as simple as being photographed using a teleprompter during a concert in Denver — a practice that did not originate with Cyrus — becomes national tabloid fodder. All that's missing at this point is Vladimir Putin issuing a statement saying that Cyrus is the real cause behind the unrest in the Ukraine.
Do a search for Cyrus' name and you'll return a lot of self-righteous posturing about her habit of not wearing clothes and her professed love of marijuana. The problem with all of this is that when you boil it all down, there's absolutely nothing wrong with what Cyrus is doing. In fact, if anything, it's a savvy career move.
Cyrus' image make-over isn't the first of its kind. When Drew Barrymore wanted to be seen as something more than the girl from E.T., she posed for Playboy and flashed David Letterman on national television. Within the music industry, Cyrus still has a ways to go before she tops the dual masters of self-promotion, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Heck, Madonna was kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera years before Cyrus thought of it, and Gaga has been naked (or nearly) so often that it doesn't even register anymore.
So, why does what Cyrus is doing bother so many people? Is it because there's a segment of the audience that feels like they've watched her grow up on her Disney Channel show? Is it because she comes from a country music background with its more "traditional" values and with none other than Dolly Parton as her godmother? Or is it just that even now, people have difficulty with a young woman flaunting her sexuality?
The truth is that as a culture there are continuous mixed messages about female sexuality. Being sexy is valued, but being overtly sexual can go either way. When Jennifer Lawrence goes on Conan and tells a story about sex aides, it gets treated as something cute. If Kim Kardashian does the same thing, the nicest label that gets attached to her is "vapid." Madonna and Gaga are hailed as smart business women for parlaying an image based largely on sex into millions of dollars, but Spears is continuously portrayed disparagingly for doing the same thing. Cyrus was bashed for the tone of her concerts, but mothers routinely take their daughters to Perry's shows that feature skimpy costumes, stripper poles and a variety of accoutrements tied to her breasts. How does any young female performer that's coming up know what's over the line, when the line isn't the same for any two women?
To her credit, Cyrus does not take the criticism without hitting back. When Jonas made his comments, she responded to the New York Times that, "If you want to smoke weed, you're going to smoke weed. There's nothing that two little girls are going to get you to do that you don't want to do." When Perry called her out, she took to Twitter to shoot back about Perry's ex-boyfriend John Mayer, "Girl if ur worried abt where tongues have been good thing ur ex boo is ur EX BOO cause we all know where THAT (tongue) been."
She also has a sense of humor about it, appearing on Saturday Night Live two different times in the fall to make fun of the furor over her behavior. Parton, who was never shy about using her own sexuality to gain notice, has defended her goddaughter as well, telling a London newspaper, "It's not easy being young. You almost have to sacrifice your damn soul to get anything done."
Unlike Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan, Cyrus appears to know exactly what she's doing. If she's to blame for anything, it's for showcasing again the double-standards that get applied to strong, young women.
I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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It's the middle of the week, and your brain has all but lost its functional juices. You need an intellectual jump — a compelling lesson in history, science, or art, but without entailing that troublesome task of reading. What you need is a documentary. This week, our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Docu-Wednesdays is Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
Prepare to feel inadequate. Jiro is the world's foremost sushi chef, and at the age of 85, he is nothing short of a workhorse. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an intimate display of the virtue of effort. The film showcases decades of study and trial and error all go into an exacting knowledge of how to make the best sushi in the world. while it might look like a madman obsessing over minutiae, the beauty of the doc is witnessing just how completely Jiro puts every single grain of his being into mastering his chosen profession, and how refined simplicity can give way to deep complexity.
It's both inspiring and a bit depressing, knowing you could never possibly put forth that kind of unadulterated effort into any pursuit. It's utterly fascinating to peak inside of Jiro's worldview and take a tour through his daily life and dedicated philosophy. This one should not be missed... it might even convince you to do your own cooking a little more often.
You can watch the movie on Netflix, and check back tomorrow for our Throwback Thursday recommendation.
A stage show featuring music from British rock band Queen is set to close on London's West End this summer (14). We Will Rock You opened in 2002 and has become the longest-running production in the history of the Dominion Theatre.
The musical was created by Brian May, Roger Taylor and Ben Elton, and is based around the band's hit songs Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga and Another One Bites The Dust, among others.
A joint statement from May, Taylor and Elton, reads, "We want to thank every one of the many hundreds of incredible musical theatre artists, musicians and crew with whom we've had the privilege of working at the Dominion since 2002. And of course the incredible audiences who have rewarded them with over four and a half thousand standing ovations!"
Dominion Theatre general manager David Pearson adds, "It has been a privilege to have hosted We Will Rock You for the past 12 years. To have the show rocking the Dominion and seeing a standing ovation night after night has been quite amazing. We wish the show every success for the future."
The news comes days after Taylor and May announced they are teaming up with singer Adam Lambert for a 19-date North American tour this summer (14).
Pink Floyd star Roger Waters has written an open letter defending his pro-Palestinian campaign, insisting: "I am not anti-Semitic." Waters, who is a well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, was criticised after he beamed a Star of David symbol onto a flying inflatable pig during his The Wall Live Tour concert in Belgium in August (13). The backlash mounted in December (13) when he compared the modern state of Israel to Nazi Germany.
He has now penned an open letter to Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper defending his stance and insisting he has nothing against Jews.
An extract from the letter reads, "I am vociferous in my support for the Palestinian people's struggle for basic human rights, including their right to self-determination. I believe all the indigenous people of Palestine, or for that matter anywhere in the world, deserve equal rights under the law. It is true that I oppose the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the maintenance of the siege of Gaza. It is not, however, true, that I am an anti-Semite or that I am against the Israeli people.
"I am neither of those... Because I am a critic of this Israeli government's policies, and in the absence of this Israeli government producing cogent arguments to defend themselves from my criticism, I am instead routinely subjected to the accusation that I am an anti-Semite. This is a crude pattern, a part of the general tactic of 'Hasbara' - which means explaining or propaganda, to those of you with no Hebrew."
British rockers Pink Floyd are set to launch a multi-sensory exhibition in Milan, Italy later this year (14) featuring iconic memorabilia including their famous flying pig. The show, titled Their Mortal Remains, has been created with the help of former bandmembers David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters, and features an audio-visual tour as well as displays.
An inflatable pig, like the one seen on the cover of the band's 1977 Animals album, will feature in the exhibit at Milan's La Fabbrica Del Vapore, which opens on 19 September (14) and runs for a month.
Curator Aubrey Powell says, "If ever a band lent itself to a major retrospective exhibition it's Pink Floyd. For a curator, selecting what to include from such a treasure trove, is both a dream and a nightmare: however there were elements that just had to be included, for example a 20 metre-wide sculpture of The Wall, five metre high inflatables and of course a flying pig. We shall be aiming for state-of-the-art, visuals and sonic delivery, similar to the experience of attending a Pink Floyd concert, you never know what to expect next."
Pink Floyd's original pig hit headlines when it broke free during the 1976 photoshoot and floated into the flight path of a London airport.
Percy Sledge's manager has assured fans the R&B veteran is not dying, despite cancelling a U.K. tour after he was diagnosed with liver cancer. The When A Man Loves A Woman singer, 73, was forced to pull out of plans to take part in David Gest's Legends of Soul trek earlier this month (Feb14), leaving the producer to break the news of his friend's health troubles to the audience.
He reportedly told a crowd in Stockport, England, "Percy won't be with us tonight, I'm afraid. He's in hospital with liver cancer. I know we are all going to pray for him."
Sledge's spokesman Mark Lyman has since revealed the star actually underwent surgery to have a cancerous polyp removed from his liver in January (14) , and he was advised by doctors against taking the long-haul trip from the U.S. to the U.K. to give him extra time to recover at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
But Lyman reveals the singer's cancer battle is looking positive and Sledge will resume his live gigs on 1 March (14), when he is booked to perform at the R&B Reggae Festival in Kingston, Jamaica.
Lyman tells the National Enquirer, "He's not dying. In fact, he's going to Jamaica for a concert next week...
"It (the surgery) wasn't a big deal. He was in and out of the hospital in two hours and has been at home ever since."
Rock legend David Crosby has undergone heart surgery after his doctor discovered a blocked artery. The cardiac catheterisation procedure took place last week (14Feb14) and the Crosby, Stills & Nash star is expected to make a full recovery, but he has been forced to postpone a string of upcoming California shows to concentrate on his health.
The 72-year-old Woodstock hitmaker says, "I am very glad that I listened to my doctors and my family. It seems I am once again a very lucky man. I’m sorry to have to move the dates, but I promise the music will be good when we do play them.”
An upcoming tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash, which is scheduled to begin early next month (Mar14) is expected to continue as planned.
Guns N' Roses guitarist Dj Ashba has opened up about the controversial helicopter ride he took in Las Vegas last year (13) which cost a police officer his job, insisting the trip was "approved" and "followed protocol". Last September (13), the rocker published a photograph of himself and his now-wife Nathalia Henao on Instagram.com along with a caption thanking the Las Vegas police department for "the most amazing" private helicopter tour over the city prior to his proposal.
However, police Captain David O'Leary came under fire for arranging the flight on an official police helicopter, prompting a four-month investigation.
After learning he would subsequently be demoted to the rank of lieutenant, O'Leary retired after serving 25 years in the force.
Ashba has now spoken out about the incident, telling local Las Vegas news station Fox 5 that no rules were broken, saying, "They act as if we jumped a fence and stole a helicopter late at night, and that's not at all what happened. There's a lot of false information that was fed to the public. We followed protocol. It was an approved ride."
He adds, "I'd taken a helicopter ride a year before, posted a thank you on my Instagram - not a peep. They offered up a ride again, and I said, 'Sure, that would be great. It's a big day for me.'"
Ashba wed Henao on 23 September (13), just weeks after the controversy.