Prince Charles joined stars including Sir Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and Sir Elton John onstage to honour his mother, who was celebrating her 60-year reign at the musical spectacular, staged outside the royal family's London residence Buckingham Palace.
Following McCartney's show-stopping finale, Charles introduced the monarch to the audience as "Your Majesty, mummy" before paying a touching tribute to his 90-year-old dad, who was taken from Windsor Castle to King Edward VII hospital in the U.K. capital earlier in the day for a suspected bladder infection.
He told the crowd, "The only sad thing about this evening is that my father couldn't be here with us because unfortunately he was taken unwell. But ladies and gentlemen, if we shout loud enough, he might just hear us in hospital and get better."
The cameras then cut to the Queen, who looked touched as fans began a rousing chant of "Philip, Philip..."
Prince Charles also called for "three resounding cheers for Her Majesty, the Queen", who closed the third of four Diamond Jubilee celebratory days by placing the large royal crystal into pod, thus lighting the National Beacon.
A stunning firework display then lit up the sky.
As well as Lennox, McCartney and Sir Elton, the Queen and members of the royal family were treated to performances from Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones, Sir Cliff Richard, Robbie Williams, Dame Shirley Bassey and Grace Jones, while Madness performed on the roof of Buckingham Palace.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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It might have been early in the morning, but that didn't stop everyone from Dido to Moby to Evanescence's Amy Lee from showing up at the announcement of the 46th annual Grammy Award nominations this morning at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
OutKast, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams are tied for the lead with six nominations apiece. Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, Eminem, the Neptunes' Chad Hugo, Justin Timberlake, Ricky Skaggs, Evanescence, Luther Vandross and the late Warren Zevon are close behind with five noms each.
The four big categories--album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist--reflect the dominance of rap, hip-hop and R&B artists in mainstream music as well as the renewed popularity of rock music.
Up for album of the year are Missy Elliott's Under Construction, Timberlake's Justified, Evanescence's Fallen, the White Stripes' Elephant and OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
Hip-hop duo's OutKast's single "Hey Ya!" will go head-to-head for record of the year against Black Eyed Peas' "Where is the Love?," Beyoncé and Jay-Z's "Crazy in Love," Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and Coldplay's "Clocks."
For song of the year, which goes to the songwriter as opposed to the recording artist, nominees are Linda Perry for Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," Eminem and Luis Resto for Eminem's "Lose Yourself," Richard Marx and Luther Vandross for Vandross' "Dance With My Father," Avril Lavigne and the Matrix for Lavigne's "I'm With You" and the late Warren Zevon and Jorge Calderon for Zevon's "Keep Me in Your Heart."
Sean Paul, 50 Cent, Evanescence, Fountains of Wayne and Heather Headley will compete for the best new artist award.
The Grammy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be telecast on CBS from 8-11:30 p.m. (EST/PST).
Here is a partial list of nominations (a full list of nominees is posted on Grammy.com):
Album of the Year
Under Construction, Missy Elliott
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Outkast
Justified, Justin Timberlake
Elephant, The White Stripes
Record of the Year
"Crazy In Love," Beyoncé Featuring Jay-Z
"Where Is The Love?," Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake
"Lose Yourself," Eminem
"Hey Ya," Outkast
Best New Artist
Fountains Of Wayne
Song of the Year
Linda Perry for "Beautiful" (performed by Christina Aguilera)
Richard Marx and Luther Vandross for "Dance With My Father"
Avril Lavigne and The Matrix (Lauren Christy, Graham Edwards and Scott Spock) for "I'm With You"
Jorge Calderón and Warren Zevon for "Keep Me In Your Heart"
Jeff Bass, Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem) and Luis Resto for "Lose Yourself"
Best Rap Song (NEW!)
Calvin Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg), Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams for "Beautiful" (performed by Snoop Dogg Featuring Williams and Uncle Charlie Wilson)
Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z), Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams for "Excuse Me Miss" (performed by Jay-Z Featuring Williams)
Mike Elizondo, Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) and A. Young for "In Da Club" (performed by 50 Cent)
Jeff Bass, Marshall Mathers and Luis Resto for "Lose Yourself" (performed by Eminem)
Missy Elliott and Tim Mosley for "Work It" (performed by Elliott)
Best Rap Album
Missy Elliott, Under Construction
50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
Jay-Z, The Blueprint2 - The Gift & The Curse
Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Best R&B Album
Erykah Badu, Worldwide Underground
Blu Cantrell, Bittersweet
Aretha Franklin, So Damn Happy
Isley Brothers Featuring Ronald Isley aka Mr. Biggs, Body Kiss
Luther Vandross, Dance With My Father
Best Contemporary R&B Album
Ashanti, Chapter II
Beyoncé, Dangerously In Love
Mary J. Blige, Love and Life
Anthony Hamilton, Comin' From Where I'm From
R. Kelly, Chocolate Factory
Best Rock Album
Foo Fighters, One By One
matchbox twenty, More Than You Think You Are
Nickelback, The Long Road
Best Rock Song
Evanescence, "Bring Me To Life" (David Hodges, Amy Lee and Ben Moody)
Train, "Calling All Angels" (Charlie Colin, Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford and Scott Underwood)
Bruce Springsteen and Warren Zevon, "Disorder In The House" (Jorge Calderón and Warren Zevon)
The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army" (Jack White)
Nickelback, "Someday" (Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake and Ryan Vikedal)
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
The White Stripes
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Christina Aguilera, "Beautiful"
Kelly Clarkson, "Miss Independent"
Dido, "White Flag"
Avril Lavigne, "I'm With You"
Sarah McLachlan, "Fallen"
Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera, "Can't Hold Us Down"
Tony Bennett and k.d. lang for "La Vie En Rose"
Pink and William Orbit for "Feel Good Time"
Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples for "Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking"
Sting and Mary J. Blige for "Whenever I Say Your Name"
Best Pop Vocal Album
Christina Aguilera, Stripped
George Harrison, Brainwashed
Annie Lennox, Bare
Michael McDonald, Motown
Justin Timberlake, Justified
Best Pop Male Vocal Performance
George Harrison, "Any Road"
Michael McDonald, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
Sting, "Send Your Love"
Justin Timberlake, "Cry Me A River"
Warren Zevon, "Keep Me In Your Heart"
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
Ry Cooder and Manuel Galbán for "Patricia"
Dave Koz, "Honey-Dipped"
Randy Newman, "Seabiscuit"
The Brian Setzer Orchestra, "The Nutcracker Suite"
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Bette Midler Sings, Bette Midler
Rosemary Clooney Songbook, Rosemary Clooney
The A Wonderful World, Tony Bennett and k.d. lang
As Time Goes By…The Great American Songbook: Volume II, Rod Stewart
The Movie Album, Barbra Streisand
Best Spoken Word Album For Children
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Eric Idle
Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix, Jim Dale
Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks, Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren
Tell Me A Scary Story, Carl Reiner
Winnie-The-Pooh, Jim Broadbent
Best Spoken Word Album
Fear Itself, Don Cheadle
Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair And Balanced Look At The Right, Al Franken
Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, Nikki Giovanni
When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden, Bill Maher
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
Patty Loveless, On Your Way Home
Martina McBride, This One's For The Girls
Dolly Parton, I'm Gone
Shania Twain, Forever And For Always
Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
Willie Nelson and Norah Jones, Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want To Get Over You)
Willie Nelson and Toby Keith, Beer For My Horses
June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, Temptation
Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
James Taylor and Alison Krauss, How's The World Treating You
Best Country Album
Faith Hill, Cry
Lyle Lovett, My Baby Don't Tolerate
Willie Nelson and Ray Price, Run That One By Me One More Time
Willie Nelson, Live And Kickin'
Shania Twain, Up!
Compilation, Livin', Lovin', Losin' - Songs of the Louvin Brothers
Sometimes all these special events during sweeps months just get in the way. They drive a wedge between you, the viewer, and your favorite shows. But, then again, if it wasn't for the May sweeps, there'd be no season finale cliffhangers. And if there were no season finale cliffhangers … Well, we'd rather not even think about a world that bleak. Instead, let's get ready for some quality time with our favorite shows before the summer reruns start… It's season finale week! But first, some special events:
-- After months of soul-searching and hard prayer seeking a solution to ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," CBS may have just found the answer in "Jesus" (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Sunday and Wednesday). Produced by Lorenzo Minoli, who has brought a slew of Old Testament-themed movies to TNT, "Jesus" promises not only a lavish production, but also a more-modern take on the subject, focusing more on Christ's humanity. Jeremy Sisto ("The '60s") stars along with Gary Oldman as Pilate, and Jacqueline Bisset as Mary. Meanwhile, believing that there may be a chance for a weekly series here if they could just rework the ending a little, a certain CBS executive has been negotiating with Jesus in the desert somewhere for the story rights.
-- Okay, one more special event … and it's a good one. Monday night at 8 p.m. (EDT/PDT), NBC brings you "25 Years of Hits: Arista Records Anniversary Celebration". Lots of "live" (the show was taped months ago) performances from cross-generational superstars such as Carlos Santana, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sara McLachlan, Annie Lennox, Toni Braxton, and many more. Say no more? Okay then…
-- As for the season finales: Let's start with an inspired effort from "The Drew Carey Show" (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Wednesday, ABC). Hoping to draw attention to the fact that his show has never won an Emmy, Carey offers up a wheelbarrow load of the things that tend to catch the voters' attention in Very, Very, Very Special Episodes. Every cliché in the book is carted out and thoroughly spoofed. The concept alone is funny enough, as we'll see such time honored award-friendly subject matter as illiteracy, bulimia, and latchkey kids. The cast is truly exceptional, too. Just watch Ryan Stiles (also a standout performer on "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?") as he battles his inner demons.
-- Also on Wednesday, "The West Wing" (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, NBC) wraps up its first season. The series already has been renewed for the fall, so creator/writer Aaron Sorkin uses his considerable powers to leave you wanting more for next season. Highest recommendation, here. It's our favorite show (after "Smackdown!" of course).
-- Knowing where the muscle is in their still-potent Thursday line up, NBC cuts the fat for the sweeps, and serves up a solid three-hour block of "Friends," "Frasier," and "ER."
This is NBC's proverbial kitchen sink, so look for the head-to-head with Regis Philbin to be a battle for the top of the ratings heap. In the lead-off spot, is a special one-hour "Friends" (8 p.m. EDT/PDT, Thursday) brings us a serious pothole for the ongoing saga of Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler's (Matthew Perry) impending engagement as Richard (Tom Selleck) returns. It seems Richard is really in love with Monica and (even as Chandler fumbles for the engagement ring in his pocket) wants to offer her everything. That would make Chandler the one hanging from the cliff until next fall.
-- Shocking revelations and wacky misunderstandings abound (what else is new?) in an hour-long "Frasier" (9 p.m. EDT/PDT, Thursday). On the night before her wedding, Daphne (Jane Leeves) longs to confess her love for Niles (David Hyde Pierce) to someone. Unfortunately, she picks Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) as her confessor and, well, you can just imagine the Shakespearean confusion and farcical antics that follow.
-- And finally, looking to regain its No. 1 overall rating one more time, "ER" pulls out the stops to conclude its sixth season. Benton (Eriq La Salle) and Kovac (Goran Visnjic) are flown in to render medical aid in the midst of an ongoing grade school shooting incident, while Carter (Noah Wyle) confronts the staff with a shocking ultimatum. The whopping 23.6 rating garnered for the May 2 "celebrity edition" of "Millionaire" is the number to beat for May. This "ER" might just pull it off.