Metallica unplugged for a rare acoustic performance at the 10th anniversary MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert on Monday night (12May14) to honour Ozzy Osbourne. The heavy rockers performed four songs, including versions of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven and the Beatles' In My Life, at the Club Nokia gig in Los Angeles and told guests they were thrilled to be able to play.
Frontman James Hetfield said, "We're here to celebrate life, man. Are you alive? It feels good most of the time. Sometimes not as much, but when we get together like this it feels a lot better."
Bandmate Kirk Hammett revealed the night was extra special because it gave him and his bandmates the chance to honour their friend and mentor Osbourne, who was handed the Stevie Ray Vaughn Award by longtime pal Joe Walsh.
He told Rolling Stone, "MusicCares is a great organisation and they've helped out a lot of our friends. And Ozzy Osbourne has done so much for us. This is one small way we can say thank you to him."
Bassist Robert Trujillo added, "I don't know if we'd be doing what we do if there wasn't an Ozzy and a Black Sabbath. We grew up playing those songs and the first time I picked up the bass and started getting into it, I was playing Iron Man or Sweet Leaf. He's our brother and this organisation has really helped save his life and keep him with us and more powerful than ever."
Osbourne closed his own tribute gig by taking the stage with his band, Slash and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro for a set that featured hits like Crazy Train and Black Sabbath's Paranoid.
The MusiCares Foundation, Inc. was created to give musicians a place to turn in times of financial, personal, or medical crisis.
Universal via Everett Collection
Lone Survivor isn't a film for the faint of heart. It's a film that beats you down and only lets you up for a few precious moments before the credits roll, but that emotional throttling is what helps make the film such a powerful experience.
Peter Berg's Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Red Wings, primarily focusing on a group of four Navy SEALs who are sent to the mountains of Afganistan to capture or kill a member of the Taliban. The plan goes wrong, and the team has to fight for their lives to escape the enemy-infested area. The film does a marvelous job of ratcheting up the tension before collapsing into its main action sequence, one that is as thrilling as it is unsettling. The long sequence brings forth memories of the infamous D-Day opening of Saving Private Ryan, except this film's fire-fight stretches out the violence like a medieval torture device. The langourous scene is, at times, hard to sit through. Each moment slips by in coiled tension. It's undoubtedly uncomfortable, and the film makes a point to never make the violence fun or enticing. The action isn't consequence-free, and every bullet fired carries weight, making the scenes brutal and unrelenting because of it. The film takes on the aura of a horror movie that wants you to feel every second that ticks by, and director Berg makes sure that a pressing hopelessness starts to weigh on the viewer just as it does on the soldiers.
Mark Wahlberg is plenty capable as Marcus Lutrell, a member of the SEAL unit that is sent on the mission. The supporting cast plays its parts admirably by believably infusing a diverse set of personalities and values into the soldiers, while still keeping them in tune with the same military culture that governs much of their thoughts and actions. There's a great scene where a difficult decision has to be made, and the viewer gets to see the different directions to which some of the character's moral compasses are tuned. Sometimes the right thing can mean different things to different people when the risk of death is on the table. The real standout in the cast is Ben Foster, whose SO2 Matthew Alexson swirls with barely contained fury. He is darkly intense and has electric screen presence that really starts to manifest when the bullets star flying and things become dire.
Universal via Everett Collection
For all the good will that the film builds up in its first and second act, the final third of the film hits some snags as history demands that the story take itself to a different location, sacrificing some of the tension that it has built up. In the last 30 minutes of the film, there are some odd tonal choices that don't gel with the tension brimming in the first half. A comedic scene involving a language barrier stands out in particular.
The movie makes a point to steer clear of any political judgment, and it doesn't try to lay blame for the botched mission on any one head. And while the film never outwardly states and opinion on the conflicts that America found itself embroiled in during this time period, the searing brutality depicted in the movie highlight that no one should be subjected to the pain that these men were faced with. Made abundantly clear is the soldiers' willingness to drop everything and serve their country the best way they know how. Lone Survivor tries to honor the soldier, but not glorify war.
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Lone Survivor is at its best when it makes you feel the worst. It gives soldiers their due reverence by showcasing the true terror of the battlefield, and while the film does start to sag a bit in its third act, it's still more than worth the experience in order understand the consequences of war, and its toll on the people in the trenches.
Metallica rockers James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich have confessed they are huge fans of teen singer Justin Bieber, branding themselves "Beliebers". The Boyfriend hitmaker and self-professed Metallica superfan posted a cover of the group's song Fade to Black online earlier this year (13), and it has caught the attention of the members of his favourite band.
When asked if the admiration was mutual, frontman Hetfield told Q magazine, "Are we Beliebers? Yes."
Drummer Ulrich adds, "I think the kid's really talented and obviously to go through what he's going through at that early age must be a mindf**k. So the fact that he still goes out there and does it, I admire that and I think he's super talented, so I guess I am kind of a Belieber."
And Bassist Robert Trujillo also continues the Bieber lovefest, saying, "As long as he stays out of trouble, I'll be a Belieber."
Rock legends Metallica will mingle with comic book enthusiasts and fantasy fans at this year's (13) Comic-Con gathering in California. All four members of the heavy metal band - James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo - will appear at the San Diego event on 19 July (13), when they will introduce their new feature film, Metallica: Through the Never, alongside writer-director Nimrod Antal.
Devotees will then have the chance to win tickets to see Metallica perform at a mystery venue later on that evening.
Metallica: Through the Never, which hits U.S. theatres later this year (13), incorporates 3D concert footage with a plotline featuring actor Dane DeHaan as a young roadie for the group.
Comic-Con 2013 will be held from 17-21 July (13).
9-1-1 is not a joke, and neither is threatening your fiancée with a deadly weapon. Unfortunately, rapper and entertainer Flava Flav had to learn this the hard way. Flava Flav, whose real name is William Drayton, was arrested in Las Vegas early Wednesday morning after his fiancée, Liz Trujillo, made a call to the police.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued a statement to Hollywood.com that reads, "At approximately 3:30 this morning the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department received a call of a domestic disturbance occurring at a residence in the 7800 block of Via Ventura Court. The caller advised she had been involved in a physical altercation with her fiancé who was identified as William Drayton. It was also reported that after the physical altercation, Drayton had threatened his fiance’s teenage son with a knife."
The statement continues, "After an investigation, Drayton was arrested and charged with Battery Domestic Violence and Assault with a Deadly Weapon."
Flav, whom TMZ reports was bailed out of jail for $23,000 just before 11:30 AM PT Wednesday morning, has a court appearance scheduled for Thursday.
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[Photo Credit: AAR/FameFlynet Pictures]
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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.
Top Story: Latifah and Zeta-Jones To Perform at Oscars
Queen Latifah and a very pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones have agreed to perform a duet from their musical Chicago at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, The Associated Press reports. The melody, titled "I Move On," is nominated for best original song. Zeta-Jones performed the number in the film with co-star Renee Zellweger, who declined to reprise her performance for the Oscar telecast. Latifah and Zeta-Jones, whose second child with husband Michael Douglas is due in April, are both nominated in the supporting actress category for their roles in Chicago. The musical has 13 nominations, including a nod for Best Picture.
Odds Makers Pick "Chicago" for Best Picture
An informal survey of three Las Vegas Strip odds makers determined that Chicago is the favorite to win the Oscar for Best Picture at Sunday night's 75th annual Academy Awards. Although no money is being wagered on the ceremony, odds makers said their picks add to the entertainment tradition of the Oscars. "There is such a buzz of excitement and worldwide interest surrounding the Academy Awards that we wanted to create another outlet for spectators and movie buffs to enjoy the event," Doug Casteneda, race and sports book shift manager at Stardust, told the AP.
Angelina Jolie's Oscar Dress: Stolen!
The dress Angelina Jolie was to wear at Sunday's Oscar ceremony has been stolen from British designer Scott Henshall's car in London Wednesday evening, Reuters reports. "There is no way I can remake Angelina's or any other dresses in time," Henshall told the London Evening Standard Thursday. "There were 20 outfits in the collection and now the nine most glamorous have gone." Jolie's outfit was described as a body-hugging corset dress decorated with cherubs.
Monica Lewinsky To Host Fox Reality Show
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky will host the hidden-identity dating show Mr. Personality, set to debut on Fox April 21. According to Variety, the show will follow a group of average-looking guys whose faces have been masked as they try to win one woman's affections. Their looks will be concealed throughout the dating process, as the woman eliminates a contestant each week until she narrows her choice to one man.
Kelly Ripa Heads to Primetime
Morning talk show host Kelly Ripa is finalizing a deal to play a former soap star in the ABC sitcom pilot Hope & Faith, Variety reports. If the pilot gets picked up, Ripa will stay on as co-host of Live! With Regis & Kelly, splitting her time between the talk show and the sitcom. In the pilot, Ripa's newly unemployed character Faith will move in with her non-pro fraternal twin sister Hope, who is married with kids.
Lawmakers Want Chicks To Give Free Concert
South Carolina House members think the Dixie Chicks should apologize for lead singer Natalie Maines' criticism of President Bush by performing a free concert for troops. According to the AP, Republican state Rep. Catherine Ceips introduced a resolution Wednesday, which passed the House on a 50-35 vote. "I think it's an olive branch to the Dixie Chicks," Ceips said. The group's publicist, Cindi Berger, had no comment on the resolution.
Ozzy Osbourne Gets New Bassist
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted has joined Ozzy Osbourne's band and will hit the stage this summer on the Ozzfest tour, the AP reports. In a weird twist, Ozzy and Metallica have basically traded bass players: bassist Robert Trujillo left Ozzy's band to fill Newsted's spot in Metallica. Trujillo played his last show with Ozzy on Friday.
Role Call: Ratner Set for "Rush Hour 3," Freeman Joins Hip-Hop Musical
Director Brett Ratner will no longer direct Superman for Warner Bros. Pictures. Ratner will instead helm Rush Hour 3 starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, which he had previously agreed to make for New Line Cinema. The studio hopes to have a first draft from Bad Company scribe Jason Richman in eight weeks ... MGM is planning a contemporary hip-hop-themed musical titled Colors Straight Up, which is based on the Oscar-nominated documentary by Michele Ohayon. Morgan Freeman is expected to take one of the strong supporting roles in the film ... Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps are in talks to start in Paramount Pictures' The Honeymooners, based on the 1950s CBS television series.