Former Dire Straits rocker Alan Clark has joined forces with the band's one-time tour saxophonist to launch a new group called The Straits. British keyboardist Clark joined the Money For Nothing hitmakers in 1980 and remained a key member until frontman Mark Knopfler announced the band's split in 1995, and now he has called on fellow musician Chris White, who performed on the road with Dire Straits from 1985 to 1995, to play a series of live shows with him later this year (14).
Clark reveals the idea for the mini-reunion has been two years in the making as the two musicians first discussed their plans while in Rome, Italy.
He says, "Chris and I were having breakfast beside a pool one beautiful, sunny morning when I declared we were going to form The Straits."
The duo has also recruited Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' drummer Steve Ferrone, singer Terrence Reis, bassist Mickey Feat and pianist Jamie Squire.
Clark admits he and White almost formed the band exclusively from old Dire Straits members and associates.
He adds, "We'd briefly considered using a line-up of ex Dire Straits players - and believe me, there were plenty of offers - but we decided to go our own way, to hand-pick the absolute best."
The Straits will kick off a North American tour in Michigan on 28 February (14).
Dire Straits co-founders, including frontman Mark Knopfler and bassist John Illsley, have yet to comment on the news.
Director Alexander Payne's (Election Sideways) new film opens over sprawling landscape shots of Hawaii's scenic suburbia accompanied by George Clooney's character Matt King summing up his current predicament: "Paradise can go fuck itself." The reaction unfortunately is reasonable.
We pick up with King an ancestor of Hawaiian royalty in the middle of deliberations over a plot of land handed down through his family over generations. With every uncle aunt and cosign whispering opinions into his ear King is suddenly presented with an even greater problem: taking care of his two daughters. A boating accident leaves his wife in a coma forcing Matt to take a true parenting role with his young socially-troubled daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) who was previously shipped off to boarding school. Matt awkwardly hunts for the emotional glue necessary for the mismatched bunch to become "a family " but matters are made even more complicated when Alex reveals that her mother was cheating on him before the accident. Murphy's Law is in full effect.
With The Descendants Payne continues to explore and discover the inherent humor in life's melancholic situations unfolding Matt's quest for understanding like a road movie across Hawaii's many islands. Simultaneously preparing for the end of his wife's death and searching for the identity of her lover Matt crosses paths with a number of perfectly cast side characters who act as mirrors to his best and worst qualities: his father-in-law Scott (Robert Foster) who belittles Matt for never taking care of his daughter; Hugh (Beau Bridges) an opportunistic cousin who pressures Matt to sell the land; Alexandra's dunce of a boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) who always has the wrong thing to say; and Julie (Judy Greer) the wife of the adulterer in question. Colorful yet real Matt experiences a definitive moment with each of them yet the picture never feels sporadic or episodic.
Clooney and Woodley help gel these sequences together as they observe experience and butt heads as equals. Clooney's own magnetism stands in the way of making Matt a fully dimensional character but he shines when playing off his quick-witted daughter. His reactions are heartbreaking—but it's the moments when he has to put himself out there that never quite ring true. But the script by Nat Faxon Jim Rash and Payne gives Clooney plenty of opportunities to work his magic visualizing his struggle as opposed to vomiting it out like so many of today's talky dramas.
The Descendants is a tender cinematic experience an introspective and heartwarming film unafraid to convey its story with pleasing simplicity. Clooney stands out with a solid performance but like many of Payne's films it's the eclectic ensemble and muted backdrop that give the movie its real texture. The paradise of Descendants isn't all its cracked up to be but for movie-goers it's bliss.