Taylor Swift and Sir Paul McCartney formed an unlikely duo on Sunday (15Feb15) as they jammed together at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Show afterparty in New York City. The star-studded comedy show featured former SNL regulars Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell performing in sketches alongside the likes of Justin Timberlake, Tom Hanks, Ed Norton, Jim Carrey, Emma Stone, Chris Rock, Melissa McCarthy, Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Swift and Betty White, with music provided by McCartney, Paul Simon, Miley Cyrus and Kanye West.
The whole group continued the celebrations after the U.S. broadcast of the three-and-a-half hour show on Sunday by heading to the Plaza Hotel to party.
Fallon took charge of the bash and kicked off the afterparty with Aykroyd reprising his Blues Brothers character with the funnyman, while McCartney and Swift sang and played guitar. The musicians then took centre stage for a cover of Swift's pop hit Shake It Off, before performing a rendition of the Beatles' I Saw Her Standing There.
Fallon also recruited Michael Bolton, Cyrus and Ariana Grande for subsequent sets, with the Problem hitmaker teaming up with Blondie rocker Debbie Harry to sing back up for The Tonight Show host.
However, the biggest surprise came at the end of the night, when Prince made an unannounced appearance at the party, hitting the stage with comedienne and superfan Maya Rudolph, who had shown off her impression of Beyonce during the SNL 40 show.
Ironically, Beyonce herself was in attendance at the afterparty, alongside her husband Jay Z and actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Justin Timberlake teamed up with comedy pal Jimmy Fallon to launch the star-studded Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary special on U.S. TV on Sunday (15Feb15). Former SNL regular Dan Aykroyd urged viewers to "stay tuned" for the three-and-a-half hour show during the red carpet pre-show, insisting, "You're never gonna see TV like this again", and he wasn't wrong.
Timberlake kicked off the proceedings by interrupting his pal Fallon's opening song-and-dance number to join him for a rap number, referencing some of the show's most famous catchphrases and skits.
The two pals closed their i with a song-and-dance number, in which they named SNL's most famous comedians.
Sir Paul McCartney and Paul Simon then teamed up during a second monologue, during which Steve Martin fought to convince the starry audience that he was the best host - over Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, Chris Rock and Miley Cyrus.
In among the medley of historical skits, dotted throughout the special, there were also updates of classic sketches, including a celebrity Jeopardy gameshow, featuring Jim Carrey as Matthew McConaughey, an updated Wayne's World, and spoof soap The Californians with Bradley Cooper as a pool boy, Kerry Washington as a doctor and Taylor Swift as a hippie actress, which ended with Cooper smooching Betty White.
Other highlights included Keith Richards introducing McCartney's rendition of Maybe I'm Amazed, Edward Norton, Melissa McCarthy and Emma Stone impersonating their favourite SNL characters, and Miley Cyrus covering Simon's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.
The oddest moment came when rapper Kanye West performed his hit Jesus Walks while lying on the floor, beneath an illuminated white sheet. West eventually stood and sang his new song Only One.
Star guests also included Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Jerry Seinfeld, James Franco and Michael Douglas and former SNL regulars Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Chevy Chase, Will Ferrell and Bill Murray.
The marathon special ended with a performance from Paul Simon, but there was no 'N Sync reunion, as had been rumoured earlier in the day.
Heavy metal rock stars Slayer rescued a stray kitten and found it a new home while on tour last week (ends07Dec14). During a stop on their U.S. trek, guitarist Kerry King and assistant tour manager Jess Cortese discovered a homeless man desperate to sell his baby cat because it was in a bad condition.
The rockers took the moggie back to their tour bus before finding it a permanent home before their show in Indianapolis, Indiana last week (ends07Dec14).
A spokesperson from the group's management says, "Kerry and some of the crew went to dinner at Kerry's favourite steak house in Indy, St. Elmo's Steak House. Afterwards, the assistant tour manager Jess saw a homeless man on the street who offered up this little kitten for a dollar. The kitten apparently was freezing so Jess took it, slept with her in her bunk on the bus and went to the venue with her today, hanging out. One of the runners knew someone who wanted a kitten, so the little guy now has a new home where he or she currently is."
"It would be an honour to be on the show, but it's been hearsay. It really is the fans... who thought it would be very cool for me to do a character arc on the show. I would love to go over there and rock with them, but I'm happy doing House of Lies right now." Actor Larenz Tate insists rumours about an upcoming appearance on Kerry Washington's hit political drama Scandal are unfounded.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Actor Michael Cera unexpectedly released his first full-length album on Tuesday night (12Aug14).
The Juno star surprised fans with his unannounced debut, titled True That, by posting it on music streaming site BandCamp.com. The record is a mix of cover songs, original pieces and short instrumentals, with track titles such as 2048, Gershey's Kiss and Sexy Danger.
Cera's friend and Superbad co-star Jonah Hill took to his Twitter.com account to promote his pal's new project, and wrote, "My great friend Michael Cera not only is a brilliant actor, he also makes great music. Check it out."
true that by Michael Cera
This isn't Cera's first foray into music - he has provided instrumentals and background vocals for songs on the soundtracks to his films Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and even served as the touring bass player for indie rock band Mister Heavenly.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
For whatever reason, there's been a flood of sword and sandal epics charging toward the screen. But Brett Ratner's Hercules, already the second film starring the mythical demi-god to be released this year, is the best of the lot. Unsurprisingly, this feature lacks the polish and ambition of the year's weightier blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or the sublime Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But what it lacks in ambition, it makes up for in pure thrills.
It's been years since Hercules completed his mythical labors, and stories of his gallantry have spread far across Greece, which benefits Herc and his merry band of mercenaries just fine since a résumé that can double as a child's bedtime story is worth its weight in gold. But when King Cotys of Thrace (John Hurt) enlists Hercules to end a rebellion that threatens to send his city into chaos, a quest that has the untrained Thracian soldiers whispering nervously of monsters, beasts, and an evil sorcerer, the mighty son of Zeus might not have the gods on his side.
Who knew a film by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson would have more than two brain cells to mush together? Hercules boasts a narrative that's all about the power of mythmaking; it examines the way legends grow, spread, balloon, and deflate, and takes the classic Hercules story in unexpected directions in a nicely subversive, clever way.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
The Rock's brawny good looks do the Greco-Roman demi-god his due justice, and the hulking hero's physique looks like a supreme feat of nature (and the gym). But even through the muscles and leather armor, Johnson's natural charisma shines through. While The Rock is the centerpiece of the film, the true highlights are his supporting cast of heroes, who fire off expertly loaded quips when necessary. The standout here is Ian McShane's soothsaying Amphiaraus, whose quest to meet his fate often requires standing right in the way of flaming spears. The jokes sometimes feel anachronistically modern, but they mesh well enough into a story that's wholly uninterested in adhering to classic representations of ancient Greecian myths.
Hercules is by no measure a great film. Hell, I'd even be cautious to call it a good film. The suspect CGI and cheesy costumes break the spell all too often, but it's such a cheerfully ridiculous take on Hercules myth that it's nearly irresistible. The film is knowingly doofy and hits every rung of the standard action adventure, but does so with such a spirited commitment to the material and swashbuckling sense of fun, it's hard not to buy into its legend.
Not only was Pitch Perfect epically funny it also had an amazing soundtrack. It was the perfect blend of nostalgic pop hits, current Top 40s, and innovative musical mash-ups. But can the upcoming sequel, with Elizabeth Banks now serving as director, top the 2012 movie?
They have all the tools: Anna Kendrick proved she was a viable recording artist after “Cups” went from a cute song to a viral hit. Fans may not realize that Ester Dean, who plays Cynthia Rose, is behind some of the most memorable pop hits. She produced the infectious Selena Gomez hit “Come & Get It” and the David Guetta/Nicki Minaj collaboration “Turn Me On.” We may not know any of the songs that will be in the movie but here are a few songs we’re dying to hear get an aca-adjustment.
The Audition Song
In the first film, all the freshman had to perform Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.” Rebel Wilson kills it and Skylar Astin belts out a high note. For the sequel, we think Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” is the perfect song. The Bellas could very well choose the song since they sang “Party in the USA” in the last film. Plus, the song is catchy, and by now, who doesn’t know the lyrics?
The riff-off was one of the best moments of the movie. All the competing a capella groups meet up in an empty pool to sing fully arranged a capella songs with no prior rehearsal. However, through Hollywood magic they end up being fully in-synch. In the first film, songs like “Like a Virgin” by Madonna, “S&M” by Rihanna (written by Dean), and “No Diggity” by Blackstreet made the cut. This is a great opportunity for “Come & Get It” to make an appearance since the producers have an in with Dean. Also, “Somebody that I Used to Know” got some amazing a capella treatment by Pentatronix. There’s also a chance for Kendrick to rap and perhaps sing Iggy Azaelea’s “Fancy” or dare we say it, Kreayshawn’s viral video hit “Gucci, Gucci.”
The Barden Bellas
Now that Becca (Kendrick) has revealed her magical DJ powers and ability to write mash-ups, it stands to reason the ladies will be singing one or two of them, adhering to songs by female artists. “Let It Go” is inescapable. Here’s an awesome mashup by DJ Axcess that mixes it with Madonna’s “Frozen.” To add a little more pep to the somber hit why not add Britney Spears’ “Hot as Ice”? Another great mash-up (see below) features “Drop Dead Beautiful” by Spears and written by Dean. It also speeds up Kerry Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock.” However, they should replace the Chris Brown sample for obvous reasons with TLC’s “Unpretty.”
In the first film, Astin, Adam DeVine, and Ben Platt sang amazing pop songs as part of the all-male group on campus. The sequel should do a gender-swap of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” There were a ton of viral videos of men singing the song. An all chorally-arranged version of The Pixies classic “Where Is My Mind” would be an awesome moment in the movie. Plus, it’s been a great time for guys in music with “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons or anything by Sam Smith who killed it at Coachella. Or what about this Bastille slowjam cover of “No Scrubs” by TLC.
What songs do you want to see in the sequel?
There is a new trend of films, both maintream hits and cult favorites, being turned into successful Tony Award winning musicals. Some might say there are no new ideas and creativity is dead. Others may delight in seeing the movies they love set to song and dance. It seems like nothing is exempt from the treatment, from Disney cartoons like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, to heartwarming dramas like Newsies and Billy Elliot, and off-the-wall comedies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which begat Spamalot). There’s even an off-Broadway musical of the cult flick Heathers. It's getting some decent traction with its stylish production design and hilarious lyrics. Does this mean it could be the next toast of Broadway?
Some of the strangest films have gone on to become majorly successful musical. Here are some of the strangest and most fun:
Despite a memorable soundtrack and the magic of Olivia Newton John (ONJ) and The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), this film wasn’t commercially successful and was panned by critics. Heck, it even inspired John J.B. Wilson to create The Razzie Awards. However, it did make a wildly fun Broadway musical. The adaptation poked fun at some of the more bizarre parts of the film like ONJ’s love for roller-skates and leg warmers and some major plot holes. Greek muse Clio (Kerry Butler) goes undercover as a mortal named Kira with a thick Australian accent to inspire dim-witted artist Sonny Malone (Cheyenne Jackson).
The quirky British comedy drama finds a son inheriting his father’s shoe factory. When he befriends a drag queen Lola, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (yes, that Chiwetel Ejiofor) he gets an idea to save his factory. The film also features Shaun of the Dead star Nick Frost. The award-winning musical version has songs penned by Cyndi Lauper (who won her first Tony for the show — she's just an Oscar away from EGOTing now!) and story by Harvey Fierstein.
Reese Witherspoon throws the whole notion of "dumb blondes" out the window when sorority girl Elle Woods goes to Harvard Law School. This highly addictive musical features Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, along with major dance numbers, insanely catchy sing-a-long moments, and fresh additions to the original story. Smash star Christian Borle appears as Elle’s dorky love interest Emmett. The series did not win a Tony but it did find a lot success and even aired in its entirety on MTV.
John Waters' edgy comedy about the 1960s race relations and dance series already had musical numbers, so all it needed was that extra touch. The 1988 film starred Ricki Lake, Divine, and Debbie Harry. It spawned a musical that won eight Tony Awards. It starred Harvey Fierstein and Glee star Matthew Morrison. Xanadu star Butler and Legally Blonde’s Bundy also had roles in this obscenely popular musical. Not only did the musical clean up some of Waters more edgy themes but it somehow managed to inspire a movie musical based on a musical based on a movie. It can best be described as:
Okay, Scandal Gladiators. Just calm down for a second here. We too love ABC's Scandal. We too want to dress like Olivia Pope, and love Huck, and fluctuate between Team Jake and Team Fitz. But it doesn't mean we can't get a little critical sometimes!
Scandal is another brilliant creation from the mind of the great Shonda Rhimes, but we're starting to think things are getting to be a bit much on the show. Olivia's almost-about-to-cry face is turning into a meme and this recent Saturday Night Live parody was so on point, it was awkward for a Gladiator:
Wasn't this just a little too accurate? With all the dead moms coming back and secret dads being exposed and affairs on top of affairs, is it all getting too unbelievable to be taken seriously?
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Alice Cooper has been hit by the charity supergig bug after kicking off 2014 in Hawaii onstage with Steven Tyler and Sammy Hagar - he is reteaming with the former Van Halen frontman for another fundraiser. Cooper and Hagar will perform with former Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver bandmates Slash and Matt Sorum in Las Vegas this week (beg24Feb14) as part of the Kerry Simon Says Fight MSA benefit.
Money raised at the gig will benefit sufferers of the neurological disorder known as multiple system atrophy.
The all-star charity rock gig will also feature Vince Neil and System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan, while actor Bill Murray will serve as host alongside celebrity chef Kerry Simon, who was diagnosed with MSA last year (13).
Cooper and Hagar were joined by Tyler, former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, Weird Al Yankovic and actors Tom Arnold and Keith Carradine for New Year's Eve (31Dec13) Maui Food Bank benefit in Hawaii.