Scottish rocker Dale Barclay will debut two new The Amazing Snakeheads bandmates at a concert in London on Tuesday (17Jun14) after parting ways with his drummer and bassist. The singer broke the news to fans in an emotional post on Facebook.com on Sunday (15Jun14), suggesting the split with original bassist William Coombe and drummer Jordan Hutchinson was far from amicable.
The message read: "In the interest of transparency and fairness I will say this. William quit the band and Jordon (sic) knows why him and I are no longer friends. F**k anyone who thinks otherwise.
"I have no intentions of p**sing over something that meant so much to me so will never go into detail of the where, why and when of what has happened, especially on this barrel of bulls**t."
A follow-up statement released on Monday (16Jun14) reads: "The Amazing Snakeheads have had a line-up change - Dale Barclay is now accompanied by Andrew Pattie and Scott Duff. The band will be performing tomorrow night at Meltdown Festival in London, at Reading and Leeds (U.K. festival) this August and at all other shows as previously announced."
The new-look trio will perform in public together for the first time on Tuesday, when the band will take the stage at the Southbank Centre as part of James Lavelle's Meltdown Festival.
The line-up change comes just two months after the release of The Amazing Snakeheads' debut album, Amphetamine Ballads.
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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The words "riding through this world, all alone" have never been more true for Sons of Anarchy's Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam). At the end of last season, new President Jax found himself lying to the entire club (and his family) to maintain a deal he never signed up for with the CIA — whose cartel double agent (Danny Trejo) needed the Sons to help them nail their IRA connections. The problem is, the IRA will only work with the Sons through Clay (Ron Perlman) — Jax's baddie stepdad who had recently beat Jax's mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), and murdered founding member Piney (William Lucking) to cover his own ass. Oh yeah — and Jax finally learned that Clay had killed his own father decades before. To say the least, Jax would have preferred to see Clay dead. Instead, he now has to sit with him at the table, pretending as if none of it ever happened. And, of course, if the club finds out he's been working with the CIA, that could mean his own head. See? Everyone has work problems.
Hollywood.com was able to screen tonight's premiere episode, "Sovereign," with the cast and crew — who spilled more than a few details on the coming season. First, let's start with the bad news: EP Paris Barclay told us that season five will ultimately be a bloodbath, and that none of our "good guys" are safe. "Everyone who starts out in this episode is not going to make it to the end of the season," Barclay said. "In fact, there are going to be quite a few empty seats at the table by the time we're done. This is going to be biggest changeover in the history of Sons, in terms of the cast."
Ouch. For the love of God — please leave Tig and Juice alone. But there is some good news: First and foremost, that season five's premiere is spectacular, and includes one of the the most shocking moments in SoA's frequently shocking history. You'll know it when you see it, because it's that bad. Also, Lost's Harold Perrineau ("Wallllllt!") has the potential to be the best and most formidable bad guy the club has ever faced, while Jimmy Smits is hilarious and enigmatic as pimp "companion-ator" Nero. And former leader Clay — whom most fans wanted to punch in the face (or worse) at the end of last year — is finally (deservedly) down on his luck.
Most of us would see Clay's current predicament — alone, injured, hated by his wife and stepson, mistrusted by his club, unable to ride his beloved bike — as a negative, but Perlman thinks it's an opportunity for Clay to possibly redeem himself. "I think [he'll try to win back Gemma]," Perlman said. "This is an opportunity for him, with all the things he's lost, to figure out which ones are worth fighting for. When you lose everything, if you don't take it as an opportunity to take stock, then you're missing the boat." There is, however, one boat that Perlman thinks is permanently out to sea. "I'm not sure that [Clay and Jax] can be patched up, now that he knows I killed his old man," he said.
In addition to Jax and Gemma, Clay is also on the outs with Tig (Kim Coates), who accidentally ran over Perrineau's TV-daughter at the end of last season, and Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) who has always aligned himself with Jax. Barclay said that Tig will have his darkest season yet, and he definitely has his share of struggle in tonight's premiere. As for Bobby, Boone says that while he'll do his best to keep Clay and Jax at bay throughout the season, things might change once Bobby learns of Jax's CIA deal. "You'll get the answer to [the question of whether Bobby can forgive Jax for working with the CIA], and I'm not going to give you the answer to that question," he teased. "Bobby is very involved in the whole situation."
Well, there you have it — one episode in, and there's already a world of trouble for the Sons. And we haven't even mentioned the fact that Wendy (Drea de Matteo) will be back to try to steal time with Jax's son, Abel. But we (and Barclay) don't want to be the bearers of only bad news, so here's a bit of fun to cure your SoA blues: Ashley Tisdale will play a strung out, nasty prostitute. "I did a great scene with her in a motel with a john that was one of the most interesting and twisted things I've ever done," Barclay said with pride.
Watch Sons of Anarchy tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT, on FX.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: FX]
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Forget Black Swan – Natalie Portman’s real crowning performance is to be found in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached in which director Ivan Reitman asks her to convey sincere unqualified affection for Ashton Kutcher. Portman much to her credit gamely complies and though she may not have the emaciated figure bloody nails and bandaged ankles to tell of her labors the psychic scars must no doubt be just as severe.
Exhibiting strong chick-flick leanings and a rambunctious soft-R comic tone (i.e. lots of F-bombs some menstrual humor and a few shots of Kutcher’s naked ass) No Strings Attached is built around a basic relationship role-reversal: The dude Adam (Kutcher) longs for a deeper lasting commitment; the chick Emma (Portman) insists on keeping matters purely physical. Emma’s motive is a practical one: As a doctor-to-be her busy residency schedule with its 80-hour work weeks and intensive exam preparations precludes a serious relationship. But alas a woman has certain needs (foreplay apparently not being among them) and who better to fulfill them than Kutcher’s non-threatening boy-toy?
Thus a “friends with benefits” arrangement is cemented whereupon the ripcord is to be pulled on the occasion that either of them develops stronger feelings. This does not last long for soon Adam is cloyingly lobbying for escalation. Emma demurs – not out of disinterest we are told but because she’s intimacy-averse and afraid of a broken heart. Why else would she resist a more permanent attachment to someone like Adam?
Perhaps it’s because Adam as played by Kutcher is about as interesting as cabbage. And yet No Strings Attached would have us believe he’s some kind of floppy-haired Albert Schweitzer. This despite the fact that his greatest aspiration in life is to join the writing staff of a High School Musical-esque television series the shallow inanity of which is one of the film’s recurring jokes. In vain support of his cause the filmmakers decorate Adam’s apartment with various props – vintage posters books about 1920s movies a guitar that is occasionally picked up but never actually played – that hint at a depth that Kutcher himself never manifests.
Still Portman sells us on Adam and Emma’s inevitable union with every ounce of her not inconsiderable talent. (And her comic chops are legit – as those who’ve glimpsed her appearances on SNL and Funny or Die can attest.) But she asks too much. And Elizabeth Meriweather’s script while witty and stocked with some keen observations on the evolving nature of relationships in the modern age becomes weighed down by sentiment unbecoming an R-rated comedy not directed by Judd Apatow. In the end Kutcher seals the increasingly contrived deal with the climactic line “I’m warning you: Come one step closer and I’m never letting you go ” (I’m paraphrasing but not loosely) by which time the film's already lost its grip.