Racing driver Scott Semmelmann has been killed in a crash at a track in Wisconsin. The sprint car star was involved in an accident during a practice session on Saturday (20Sep14) ahead of a competition at the Beaver Dam Raceway that night.
Semmelmann's car made contact with another vehicle, flipped three times and collided with a concrete barrier, according to the Associated Press. The race was cancelled.
The 47 year old's death comes just weeks after racer Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed during a race in New York when he was hit by a car driven by NASCAR veteran Tony Stewart.
Nascar race ace Tony Stewart will return to the track this weekend (30-31Aug14) for the first time after he struck and killed rival Kevin Ward, Jr. during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on 9 August (14). The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion will rev up at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia after missing three races following the track tragedy.
Ward was hit and killed after exiting his car following a crash.
As a result of the incident, NASCAR officials have implemented a rule stipulating what drivers who are involved in accidents should do if they can no longer compete in a race. Drivers now are required to remain strapped in their cars until safety crews arrive and can escort them from the scene. No driver is allowed to walk onto the racing surface.
NASCAR star Tony Stewart has been left at a loss for words after accidentally hitting and killing another driver during a race in New York on Saturday (09Aug14). Kevin Ward, Jr., 20, was fatally struck at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Ontario County after walking into the path of oncoming cars shortly after his own vehicle had spun off the track.
The tragic incident, which is being investigated by police, prompted Stewart to pull out of competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race on Sunday (10Aug14), and he subsequently released a statement expressing his shock at the unexpected turn of events.
The press release reads: "There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It's a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen.
"My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy."
The police investigation into the accident is not criminal and no charges have been filed against Stewart.
NASCAR star Tony Stewart accidentally hit and killed another driver during a race in New York on Saturday night (09Aug14). Kevin Ward, Jr. exited his vehicle during the event at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Ontario County, New York after spinning off the track and he was seen walking into the path of oncoming cars gesturing angrily.
Video footage shows Stewart's vehicle then accidentally collided with Ward, Jr.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and the 20 year old was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A statement from Stewart's NASCAR team reads, "A tragic accident took place last night during a sprint car race in which Tony Stewart was participating. Tony was unhurt, but a fellow competitor lost his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We're still attempting to sort through all the details and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time."
Stewart was questioned by police in the aftermath of the accident, but is not thought to be the target of an investigation.
Veteran rockers Black Sabbath are to receive a prestigious award to celebrate their 46-year career. The Paranoid hitmakers have been named as the recipients of the AEG Live Ambassadors of Rock honour at the O2 Silver Clef Awards in London next month (Jul14).
The musicians - Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler - will collect the award at a ceremony on 04 July (14) but it is not known if former drummer Bill Ward, who was omitted from the band's 2012 comeback, will join them.
Tom Miserendino, president of AEG Europe, says, "We are extremely proud to be sponsoring this award which highlights the massive impact Black Sabbath has had on the music world. Starting in Birmingham (England) in 1968 and going on to conquer the world, the band really are great ambassadors for the music industry."
The award will be handed over just hours before Black Sabbath play a huge headlining show in London's Hyde Park later that day (04Jul14).
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Black Sabbath star Tony Iommi was unable to contact his former bandmate Bill Ward following his recent surgery because he no longer has the drummer's phone number. Ward underwent an operation to repair a perforation in the wall of his intestine at a hospital in California in October (13), and Iommi wanted to reach out to him after hearing the news.
However, the guitarist was unable to get hold of Ward, and had to send an email to the rocker's secretary instead.
He tells Classic Rock, "I haven't spoken to Bill, but to be honest, I don't actually know how to reach Bill these days because he doesn't have the same phone number as I have for him. I see people saying: 'Why don't they talk?' But it's not that simple. The only way I can reach Bill is by emailing his secretary, and then she speaks to Bill. It's not as easy as picking the phone up.
"I emailed him the other week, because he'd been in hospital and wasn't that well, but that's as far as it's got at the moment. I'd like to talk to Bill - me and Bill have been friends for many years - but it's not happened recently."
Ward, 65, was one of the founding members of the heavy metal group, but he has been left out of the current incarnation of the band.
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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After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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Black Sabbath ruled out the option of hitting the recording studio with legendary drummer Ginger Baker because they didn't want to have to deal with "problems" the eccentric former Cream would bring with him. Producer Rick Rubin suggested Baker as a replacement for Bill Ward after contractual issues prompted the band's original drummer to walk away from reunion plans, but guitarist Tony Iommi admits he and his bandmates were not convinced the veteran rocker would be a good fit.
Iommi tells WWeek, "We put a stop on... We didn't want to go into the studio and have problems."
The group eventually decided to hit the studio and record their hit comeback album 13 with Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk, and Iommi adds, "We did try some big name drummers - some very big name drummers. They were great, but Rick particularly suggested Brad. He did work hard; he was thrown into the deep end and he was very nervous. He got used to us, our jokes, the way we prank around."
Last week, former Emerson Lake & Palmer star Carl Palmer told WENN he was considered as Ward's replacement but scheduling issues prompted him to turn the dream job down.