Ac/Dc frontman Brian Johnson was feted with an honorary degree at Britain's Northumbria University on Wednesday (09Jul14). The rocker was declared a doctor of music by officials at the school in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Johnson, who grew up in the local area, donned a traditional gown and swapped his trademark flat hat for a university cap during the ceremony.
Northumbria University's vice-chancellor and chief executive, Professor Andrew Wathey, says, "It is fitting that we honour one of the most distinctive voices in rock music, who is also a native of the North-East... "It is interesting to reflect on the importance of culture to collective life of the North-East and of the cultural industries as a major U.K. export. Brian Johnson symbolises both of these things and, moreover, has been an inspiration to generations of young musicians over several decades."
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
A stage adaptation of Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner's black comedy The War Of The Roses is heading to Broadway.
All The Way producers Jay and Cindy Gutterman are developing a theatre version of author Warren Adler's bestselling divorce novel, which the 1989 film was based on, and they are planning to debut the new production during the 2015-2016 season. Casting details have yet to be announced.
The War of the Roses is not the only book-to-movie project to get a Broadway makeover - a musical based on Olivia Goldsmith's The First Wives Club is also heading to the stage with a soundtrack penned by Motown legends Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier.
The new production, a heavily revised version of The First Wives Club play which debuted in San Diego, California in 2009, will launch in Chicago, Illinois next spring (15) before transferring to Broadway.
The 1996 movie starred Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton.
We recently learned that Oprah Winfrey will be taking on the role of God in an adaptation of the novel The Shack. While this is truly an exciting and important role for Winfrey (and for a culture that has no popular images of black women deities), her next role may be even bigger than her 'God' character.
Ava DuVernay's Selma will bring us the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s landmark 1965 voting rights campaign, and Winfrey (who is also a producer of the film, along with Brad Pitt and Lee Daniels) will play Annie Lee Cooper. What makes this role bigger than 'God'? Well, DuVernay and Winfrey are introducing to the big screen a new, previously untold story. Cooper became a civil rights legend when she fought back against a vicious police officer trying to block her from exercising her right to vote. While names like Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and—yes, even God— have been given plenty of screen time over the years, names like Annie Lee Cooper's have not. Winfrey taking on this role means that she is giving more visibility to lesser-known American heroes, and the importance of this cannot be measured.
Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight that the late Maya Angelou had given her blessing on this role before she passed: "She was so proud that I was doing this movie. And she said, 'Take it baby. Take it all the way. Take it all the way,'" Oprah said about talking with Maya about the movie. "She was a part of the movement, worked with Martin Luther King, understood what we were trying to do with this film."
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With the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 there has been some buzz about what will happen to Peter Parker once Andrew Garfield’s three-film contract is up with Sony. Will the studio re-cast Peter? Will Peter hand the reigns off to another Spider-Man that has been featured in the comics? And, if so, will that Spider-Man be Miles Morales?
Miles Morales donned the Spidey getup in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man series that ran from 2011 to 2013; he also happened to be the first half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man. It would make complete sense for Miles to become a part of Sony’s Spider-Man films since the character was partially inspired by the casting of The Amazing Spider-Man. When the studio was originally casting for the film, there was a big push from fans to cast Community’s Donald Glover as Peter Parker — and, as a result, a lot of backlash from fans who thought Peter Parker could never be anything other than white. But these events, as well as the election of Barack Obama, led comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso to the question: “Why does Spider-Man have to be white?” Then they created Miles Morales.
In a recent interview with Comic Book Resources, the current Spider-Man star said he’s thought a lot about the inclusion of Miles. “I don’t have an answer,” Garfield said of whether the transition would happen. “But I think it’s actually a really important move. I think it’s a really beautiful and important move.”
However, producers of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach told Indiewire that they’re not planning on straying away from Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. Of course, they also said that whoever picks up the reigns after they leave the series (whenever that may be) could have a different vision for the franchise. Plus, Arad and Tolmach argued that they wouldn’t try to transition Spider-Man from Peter to Miles because Marvel failed a similar attempt in Spider-Man 3. However, if Marvel Studios pulls off a Captain America transition from Steve Rogers to Bucky Barnes, their argument would be completely moot.
Since Sony is planning on building a whole shared universe around The Amazing-Spider Man, with Sinister Six and Venom movies already announced, it would seem ridiculous to limit the franchise to Peter Parker as the only featured webslinger. A new on-screen version of Spider-Man, especially a non-white take on the beloved character, could make the character appeal to an even wider audience.
Though it may have taken a long time for comic book heroes to diversify, it has become a reality. Now, those of us who appreciate diverse representation in the comics would like to see a similar push to diversify the cinematic universes — meaning the heroes as well as the villains.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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Ac/Dc guitarist Malcolm Young has ended days of speculation by confirming he is taking a break from the band due to ill health. The Back In Black hitmakers were thrust into the spotlight this week (beg13Apr14) when reports emerged suggesting they were planning to announce their retirement due to the failing health of one of the bandmembers.
Frontman Brian Johnson silenced rumours of an impending split by insisting the band still plans to hit the studio in May (14) to record new material, and now the group has confirmed Young will stand down to focus on his health battle.
A statement from AC/DC reads, "After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.
"In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."
No details about Young's illness have been confirmed.
Johnson has said of his colleague's health crisis, "One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much."
Ac/Dc frontman Brian Johnson has silenced rumours of an impending split by insisting the band still plans to hit the studio in May (14) to record new material.
The Back In Black hitmakers were thrust into the spotlight this week (beg13Apr14) when reports emerged suggesting they were planning to announce their retirement due to the failing health of one of the bandmembers. Johnson has now spoken out to assure fans the group still plans to honour a commitment to begin recording sessions in Canada in May (14), however, he does concede that one of the musicians is suffering from a "debilitating illness."
He tells Telegraph.co.uk, "We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver. We're going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it." He adds of the future of the band, "I wouldn't like to say anything either way about the future. I'm not ruling anything out. One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much."
Johnson has previously insisted the group planned an ambitious tour to mark their 40th anniversary in the music industry, but he admits he has no idea whether it will still go ahead: "That would be a wonderful way to say bye bye. We would love to do it. But it's all up in the air at the moment."
Speculation is growing over the future of rock legends Ac/Dc amid a swirl of rumours suggesting the band is on the verge of retirement. The Back In Black hitmakers hit headlines in their native Australia on Tuesday (14Apr14) when unconfirmed reports from Down Under pointed towards a possible split.
The rumours come just weeks after frontman Brian Johnson revealed the group has been keeping a low profile in recent months due to health problems affecting one of the bandmembers. He told Florida radio station 98.7 The Gater in February (14), "One of our boys was pretty ill, so we didn't like to say anything, and we're very private about things like this, so we didn't wanna say anything. And he's a very proud man."
However, Johnson insisted the band was poised to get back to work, hinting at a 40th anniversary tour and a new album, adding, "I think we'll be going into the studio in May... It's been 40 years of the band's existence, so I think we're gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty." Representatives for the band had failed to respond to requests for comment as WENN went to press.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is filled — and I mean jam-packed — with genre-bending, action-heavy, sportily tense and relentlessly sinuous, sky-high-concept and maniacally bonkers stuff. Polygonal mayhem that aims, and impressively so, to top the Marvel lot in ideas, deconstructing every thriller staple from government corruption to talking computers to odd couple agents gone rogue. But oddly enough, the moment in the Cap sequel that I find most arresting several weeks after seeing the film is our peaceful reunion with Steve Rogers, trotting merrily around the Washington Monument as the sun rises on our nation's capital.
The scene is shot from far overhead, a low pulse/high spirits Chris Evans reduced to a shapeless blur as he repeatedly (but politely!) laps fellow jogger and veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)... and yet it might be the closest we feel to Cap throughout the movie.
The Winter Soldier has a lot to worry about in the delivery of its content. Managing a plot as ambitious and multifaceted as its own, with themes as grand as the scope of the American mentality — as represented by Steve Rogers, raised in the good old days of gee-golly-jingoism — it doesn't always have the faculties to devote to humanizing its central troupe. Cap isn't left hollow, but his battles with the dark cloud of contemporary skepticism play more like an intriguing Socratic discussion than an emotional arc. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, a character who ran circles around her Avengers co-players in flavor, feels a bit shortchanged in that department here (in her closest thing to a starring role yet, no less).
Mackie's Falcon, a regular joe who is roped into the calamity thanks largely to his willingness to chat with a fellow runner — a rare skill, honestly — is less of a problem. He doesn't have much to do, but he does it all well enough. Dynamic though he may be, Mackie keeps things bridled as Cap's ad-hoc sidekick, playing up the along-for-the-ride shtick rather than going full (or even half) superhero. We might want more from him, knowing just how fun he can be, but it's a sating dose. The real hunger is for more in the way of Black Widow, Cap, and — perhaps most of all — the titular villain.
Still, these palpable holes pierce through a film that gets plenty right. As elegantly as Joe Johnston did the Spielberg thing back in 2011, Joe and Anthony Russo take on the ballots of post-innocence. They aren't afraid to get wild and weird, taking The Winter Soldier through valleys that feel unprecedented in superhero cinema. We're grateful for the invention here — for Robert Redford's buttoned-up Tom Clancy villain, for the directors' aggressive tunneling through a wide underworld of subterranean corruption, and especially for one scene in an army bunker that amounts to the most charmingly bats**t crazy reveal in any Marvel movie yet. We might be most grateful, though, for a new take on Nick Fury; here, the franchise gives Samuel L. Jackson his best material by a mile.
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But in the absence of definitive work done in our heroing couple, a pair rich in fibers but relegated to broad strokes and easy quips in this turn, most of it amounts to a fairly good spy thriller, not an ace-in-the-whole neo-superhero masterpiece... which, justly or otherwise, is what we've come to expect and demand from these things.
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In celebration of our appreciation for cinematic mothers, we're highlighting famous movie moms that don't deserve to be taken out to brunch. Not all of the mothers on this list inflict pain upon their own children, but most of them do. These are the mothers who surprise their fictional movie children not with a chocolate bar or a video game, but with a butcher knife to the chest. Spoiler alert: these movie moms freak us out, and they should scare you, too. (Also, major plot points are given away)
Norma Bates (Psycho and Bates Motel)
Ms. Norma Bates doesn't technically appear in Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho, as she turns out to be a figment of her tortured son Norman's imagination. However, her presence is omnipotent, and that final voiceover monologue at the end of the film is the creepiest moment in film history. Vera Farmiga brings Norma to life in Bates Motel, and the result is nothing less than disturbing.
Mrs. Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
Friday the 13th is one of the best and most successful slasher films of all time. To those a little behind on their movie history: the killer in the original film isn't Jason. (fun fact: Drew Barrymore's character didn't know this in Scream, either). Actually, the killer is Jason's mother, Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), who seeks revenge for her son's death. She may look like a sweet, old lady that you'd play bingo with, but deep inside she's a cold-blooded monster.
Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)
"No wire hangers ever!" This is what Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) demands to her daughter in Mommie Dearest, the most horrifying mother/daughter relationship ever put on screen. The film has rightfully become a cult classic since its 1981 release. Despite some of the campy dialogue and acting, Dunaway is genuinely frightening as the mentally disturbed Crawford.
Margaret White (Carrie)
No disrespect to Julianne Moore, but her rendition of mother-from-hell Margaret White doesn't hold a candle to Piper Laurie's original take on the character in Brian De Palma's horror classic Carrie. Margaret is a mentally deranged religious fanatic who abuses her daughter Carrie (Sissy Spacek) in the name of religion. If you've only seen the 2013 remake, you owe it to yourself to check out this chilling classic from 1976.
Erica Sayers (Black Swan)
In Black Swan, Erica Sayers (Barbara Herhsey) is an overprotective stage mom who might as well be a demon. The film is about sexual repression, and we get a sense that Nina's (Natalie Portman) stilted maturity stems from her mother's control. Hershey owns the role with her quiet demeanor and terrifyingly black eyes.
Not many people have seen Joon-ho Bong's art-house horror flick Mother, and they're missing out on a truly scary movie mom who will go to murderous lengths to protect her son. Hye-ja Kim is riveting in this underrated masterpiece.
Mrs. Loomis (Scream 2)
Following Mrs. Voorhees, Mrs. Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) is the second mother on the list who kills a bunch of people to avenge the death of her son. The only difference, of course, is that Mrs. Loomis' son was also a serial killer, which suggests that something went severely wrong in the Loomis household.
Grace (The Others)
The Others is a complicated film to explain, so let's just say that Nicole Kidman's character Grace goes insane, kills her children, and then plays it off like nothing ever happened when they wake up as ghosts. The audiences doesn't know this until the end, of course, which means that we've been sympathizing with a monster the whole time. On second viewing, it's easy to see how scary Grace is, and the frightening lengths she will go to whitewash her insanity.
Let us know if we've missed your favorite scary movie moms in the comments.