20th Century Fox
On paper, The Fault in Our Stars has all the makings of an awards season juggernaut. It's based on a beloved novel. It's bound to be the break-out film for its young director. Its leading lady already has one Oscar nomination under her belt. And it deals with one of the Academy's favorite subjects: terminal illness.
But despite the universal appeal of the book, The Fault in Our Stars has been stamped with the dreaded red "YA." It's shelved in the "Young Adult" section of the book store. And the movie will carry that brand also. Before its release, last year's film adaptation of The Book Thief was touted as a heavy Oscar contender. But when the dust of the season settled, The Book Thief walked away with little but a few nominations for its John Williams score. Then again, with a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was likely the movie's timid approach to its Nazi Germany setting that cut it off at the knees, not its YA cred.
The drama — which hits theaters in June — may be about teens who meet in a cancer patient support group and fall in love, but it's got plenty to say about humanity, fulfillment, and acceptance. Ranking Oscar chances this early in the season is a fun and somewhat futile exercise, but we'd guess that The Fault in Our Stars has the best shot for getting recognition for the impossibly mature Shailene Woodley and perhaps an Adapted Screenplay nod for Michael A. Weber's take on John Green's novel. That is, if pointless categorizing doesn't get in the way.
Do you think The Fault in Our Stars with be hindered by its Young Adult status come awards season? Let us know in the comments!
The Frozen soundtrack has landed a 10th week at number one on the U.S. album chart. Over 133,000 copies were sold in the past week, taking the album's tally past the two million mark.
The soundtrack, which features 2014's Best Song Oscar winner Let It Go by Idina Menzel, is now one of just 11 albums to have spent at least 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 since the new chart era began in 1991. Only four of those 11 albums have been soundtracks: Frozen, The Bodyguard, Titanic and The Lion King, which also spent 10 weeks at number one.
Pharrell Williams' G I R L rebounds seven spots to two and 5 Seconds of Summer's She Looks So Perfect EP slips to three on the new countdown.
MercyMe score the chart's highest debut at four with Welcome to the New, and rockers Black Label Society round out the new top five at five with Catacombs of the Black Vatican.
Meanwhile, on the Hot 100 singles chart, Williams scores an eighth week at number one with Happy, while John Legend's All of Me and Katy Perry's Dark Horse both claim a fourth week at numbers two and three, respectively.
Oscar-nominated hip-hop star Pharrell Williams named his son Rocket Ayer to honour his favourite musicians, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers. The Happy hitmaker reveals he and his wife, model/designer Helen Lasichanh, wanted to give the five year old a name that would symbolise the success they hope he will have in life, while also paying tribute to Williams' pop icons.
In a new interview with TV titan Oprah Winfrey, he says, "In the same way that the Indians name their children like behind a force or an animal or an element, we named him after a manmade machine that was meant to go up. Meant to ascend.
"And metaphorically, it was because of, you know, Stevie Wonder's Rocket Love, Elton John's Rocket Man and Herbie Hancock's Rocket. All of my favourite musicians. And his middle name is not Man. It's Ayer after Roy Ayers."
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
When a movie opts to play inside baseball with a particular industry, it runs two risks: alienating the people outside looking in ("What the hell is all this mumbo jumbo?"), or alienating the people tightly connected to the underworld on display ("They got it all wrong!"). On special occasions, you have a film like Draft Day, which strikes out in both areas, somehow feigning expertise with such vigor as to befuddle strangers to behind-the-scenes football and frustrate those with an inborn knowledge of the underworld. As a member of the former community, I was bored stiff by the nonstop industry jabber. I was surprised to find, after our viewing of the movie, that a sports-savvy friend was even more aggravated with the film for everything they got so very, very wrong.
But really, neither of these is the true crime of Draft Day. Even on the promise of delivering a bona fide curtain pull on the NFL, all the film really owes us is a good story. Instead, Draft Day banks on the appeal of its would-be authenticity — this is how football people talk, act, eat, do business, grimace, throw laptops on draft day! — as a stand-in for any material we might otherwise be able to care about. The film slaps Kevin Costner's Sonny Weaver Jr., beleaguered general manager of the Cleveland Browns, with just about every go-to leading man conflict in the book (problems at work, problems with his girlfriend, problems with his family) in hopes that something will land in the neighborhood of emotional legitimacy... or, more plausibly, in hopes that it'll play enough like an attempt at a screenplay to warrant all the stats talk he's really there to spout.
His supporting cast has even less to do — Jennifer Garner is his all smiles romantic partner whose vehement love for football is supposed to make her interesting to us (What?! But she's a girl!). Ellen Burstyn is Sonny's disapproving mother, who has a penchant for wistful staring. Denis Leary is a coach who yells a lot.
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
The one vein of character work that stands out as a near success comes attached to the line of potential drafts. Josh Pence plays draft frontrunner Bo Callahan who Sonny has a bad feeling about. Chadwick Boseman is the underdog linebacker who we know we're supposed to like because he takes his nephews to gymnastics. In a post-Moneyball world, Sonny is accessing the humanity in the boys he's considering for a career on his field. Hell, he's even willing to overlook the troubled past of Arian Foster because he trusts the boy's dad (I think Terry Crews is contractually obligated to appear in any movie about football). It's thin material that amounts to a disjointed explosion, but it rings as the movie's most interesting stuff. Unfortunately, it's couriered through Sonny, a character who we're barely allowed to meet.
The tragedy of this conclusion is that most of the cast members, Costner included, are giving moreover enjoyable performances — accolades in particular to 25-year-old Griffin Newman as fish-out-of-water intern Rick, suffering through the worst first day of work imaginable. The small comedy offered by Newman and a few others (bullpen fixtures like Wade Williams and Veep's Timothy Simons) is treated like an occasional garnish, but amounts to much-craved sustenance when it pervades the tasteless and stale football blather.
Blather that will detract anybody just hoping to catch a fun sports movie, and blather that will turn off the most high-minded of football fans craving some degree of industrial accuracy. In either case, the blather exists in absence of much otherwise. Without any real characters operating in this dense, hectic, ostensibly colorful world of the NFL, it feels as vacant as Sun Life Stadium on opening weekend. (Right?)
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The Civil Wars singer Joy Williams is embarking on a solo career following a feud with her bandmate John Paul White. The warring folk stars are reportedly still not on speaking terms following the cancellation of their 2012 tour due to "internal discord", and now it seems Williams is leaving the duo behind to focus on her own music.
Williams took to Facebook.com on Tuesday (08Apr14) to share the news with her fans and wrote, "Started recording a solo album yesterday. Butterflies. Bittersweet. Mostly sweet," and added an 18-second clip previewing her new music.
Williams has not released a solo album since 2005's Genesis, when she was primarily a Christian pop singer.
The Frozen soundtrack has edged out boyband 5 Seconds Of Summer to continue the big freeze atop the U.S. albums chart. The Disney release, which features tracks by the film's stars Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, has claimed its ninth week at number one, leaving it just one week shy of tying The Lion King's 10-week record as the most successful animated feature soundtrack on the Billboard 200.
The feat keeps One Direction's support act from debuting in pole position - instead, She Looks So Perfect is new at two, ahead of rockers Chevelle's La Gargola at three.
Christina Perri's Head or Heart and Shakira's self-titled release round out the new top five.
Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams is continuing to reign over the Billboard Hot 100 chart after scoring a seventh week at number one with Happy.
The hip-hop star leads a top three which remains unchanged - John Legend's All of Me sits in second place for a third week, ahead of Katy Perry's Dark Horse.
U.S. singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc has scored his first solo number one in the U.K. after topping the British singles chart with The Man on Sunday (06Apr14). The hitmaker, real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, hit the top of the countdown last year (13) with his Avicii collaboration Wake Me Up, and now he has his first solo number one thanks to his homage to Elton John's first U.K. top 10 single, Your Song.
Meanwhile, John Legend finds himself a runner-up on both sides of the Atlantic - his All Of Me climbs up the chart to two as the same track stays put in second place behind Pharrell Williams' Happy in America.
Duke Dumont's I Got U rounds out the new top three.
On the U.K album chart, the Kaiser Chiefs debut at one with their fifth album Education, Education, Education & War, while last week's chart-topper, Sam Bailey's The Power Of Love falls to two and George Michael's Symphonica rounds out the top three.
Punk icon John Lydon is set to hit the stage again as biblical villain King Herod in a North American arena tour of hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The former Sex Pistols star will join Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd and ex-Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams for the new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage spectacular, which will begin a 50-city trek in New Orleans, Louisiana on 9 June (14).
The show will also feature former 'NSYNC star JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate and Ben Forster, who won his role as Jesus in the London revival of the musical on British TV talent show Superstar.
Announcing the news of the tour on U.S. TV show Good Morning America on Friday (04Apr14), Boyd said, "It's an incredible show. I'm so excited to be part of it."
Confirming his part in the show, Lydon took to his website and wrote: "I'm here to sing with the King of the Jews, who could ask for anything more?"
Dancehall star Vybz Kartel has been sentenced to life in prison following his murder conviction last month (Mar14). The Pon De Floor hitmaker, real name Adidja Palmer, was found guilty of killing former associate Clive Williams in August, 2011 and, on Thursday (03Apr14), Jamaican judge Lennox Campbell handed down the sentence.
Palmer is ineligible for parole until he serves 35 years behind bars.
The reggae star's lawyer has vowed to appeal the ruling, accusing prosecutors of presenting fabricated evidence in the case.
The drama is far from over - Palmer still faces charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice relating to the case.
According to a police report, Kartel's protegee, singer Vanessa Saddler, and an associate, Andre Henry, filed a fabricated statement accusing Williams of robbing her at knifepoint five days after Palmer was charged with his murder. Officials claim they have evidence indicating that Palmer instructed Saddler to report the robbery.
His associates Shawn Campbell, Andre St. John and Kahira Jones have also been sentenced to life imprisonment for their part in the murder at the end of Jamaica's longest trial. The fourth co-accused, Shane Williams, who is charged in another murder case, was found not guilty.
The Frozen soundtrack has iced an eighth week at the top of the U.S. album chart. No release has spent more time at number one since Adele hit the top spot 24 times with 21 in 2011 and 2012.
The soundtrack, which features songs by the movie's stars Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, has now sold over 1.8 million copies in America.
Shakira debuted her self-titled album at two with 84,000 first-week sales, and late country legend Johnny Cash returned to the chart at three with Out Among the Stars, an album that was originally scheduled for release in 1984.
It's Cash's sixth top 10 album.
Rockers Memphis May Fire's Unconditional entered at four and Pharrell Williams' G I R L climbed back into the top five at five.
Williams also ruled the Billboard Hot 100 singles countdown for a sixth week with Happy. The feat helps the hitmaker jump ahead of Elvis Presley among male artists with the most weeks at number one in the chart's 55-year history - his four chart-toppers have kept him at number one for a combined 23 weeks; one more than Presley.
Williams now ties 50 Cent and Nelly for 10th place among men with the most weeks at number one. Usher leads all solo males with 47 weeks at the top, while Mariah Carey leads all artists with 79 - 20 more than The Beatles and 26 more than Rihanna.
Meanwhile, John Legend's All of Me stayed put at two on the new chart and Katy Perry's Dark Horse held steady at three.