The reunited The Babys have ruled out a get together with co-founder Michael Corby, because his old bandmates insist he still hasn't forgiven them for kicking him out of the band. Guitarist Wally Stocker and drummer Tony Brock reformed the Everytime I Think of You group last year (13) with the blessing of former bandmates John Waite and Jonathan Cain, but they haven't heard from guitarist/keyboard player Corby - and don't expect to.
Brock tells WENN, "Corby's been very bitter because we unfortunately had to let him go a couple of years before we split up. He's never forgotten it.
"He's so bitter inside about it. He wakes up and goes to sleep bitter."
Singer Waite, who has been replaced by Johnny Bisaha in the new line-up, politely declined Brock's invite to be part of the reunion, but the drummer feels sure Cain, who left The Babys in 1980 to join Journey, is interested in coming back.
Brock adds, "When we first started talking about a reunion, I called Jonathan and he wanted to write with us in between tours with Journey. He wanted to sit in and then maybe come and work on the album but the schedules didn't work out. But he does want to do something."
The Babys' new album I'll Have Some of That is the group's first in three decades.
The reformed The Babys are hoping reports of a The Faces reunion tour are for real this time - because they want to land a support slot if the rockers hit the road again. The group, featuring Rod Stewart's longtime backing bandmates Wally Stocker and Tony Brock, have reunited without John Waite and Jonathan Cain to record its first album in three decades.
Launching the well-received I'll Have Some of That in Burbank, California on Wednesday night (25Jun14), drummer Brock told WENN he'd love to hook up with his former boss for a The Babys/The Faces tour.
He said, "I love so many of those Faces songs and we have a lot of links to them - I'm friends with (Faces drummer) Kenney Jones, and Wally and I learned a lot from Rod.
"He (Stewart) has been putting off a Faces reunion for several years, but he says he's gonna do it this time and we'd love to hit the road with them. It would be perfect. We're like two peas in a pod."
Bandmate Stocker adds, "They're a great example of a very untidy rock 'n' roll band - that was their appeal. We'd love to tour with them."
The two rock veterans certainly have some history with Faces frontman Stewart - Brock was the singer's drummer for 12 years after The Babys split in 1981. Stocker also toured with Stewart in between projects with Air Supply and Humble Pie.
Missing You singer John Waite has given his former bandmates in The Babys his blessing as they embark on a reunion on the back of new album I'll Have Some of That. Waite declined to be a part of the get together planned by founding members Wally Stocker and Tony Brock, but he wishes his old bandmates all the best.
He tells Billboard.com, "I'm glad they're playing together. I think it's great... When I left the Babys I left the Babys - for good. But I think Wally and Tony were meant to be playing together, and there's no reason why they shouldn't. I'm not even on the same page as them anymore with what I'm doing, so there's no conflict of interest, to me, at all."
And fellow former Babys star Jonathan Cain, who couldn't be a part of the comeback due to his commitments with Journey, echoes Waite's sentiments, adding, "I think it's awesome. They certainly deserve a shot at it, and there's some great music there and they are certainly a big part of the sound."
Waite and Cain have been replaced by singer-bassist John Bisaha and guitarist Joey Sykes.
I'll Have Some of That is The Babys' first album in three decades, and the release later this month (Jun14) coincides with the 40th anniversary of the group's formation in London.
Seventies rockers The Babys have reunited to record their first album in 30 years. The Isn't It Time and Midnight Rendezvous hitmakers have reformed with original lead guitarist Wally Stocker and drummer Tony Brock, and their comeback album, I'll Have Some of That, will be released on 24 June (14), while a new single, titled I See You There, is already available on iTunes.
Stocker says, "The whole premise is to keep The Babys alive and have a good time doing it."
He and Brock have been joined by new recruits John Bisaha and veteran rhythm guitarist Joey Sykes in the line-up, while keyboardist Francesco Saglietti will hit the road with the new line-up.
Brock adds, "John Bisaha is an incredible singer. When we held auditions, we had singers lined up around the block to join the band and John was head and shoulders above the rest."
Formed in London in 1974, The Babys were signed to Chrysalis Records and released five albums between 1977 and 1980. They toured with the likes of Journey, Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick and built up a loyal following.
They disbanded in December, 1980.
Former members John Waite, Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips have all given their blessing to the newest incarnation of the band.
Missing You singer Waite has found solo success, Cain is a current member of Journey and Phillips is a longtime bass player for Styx.
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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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
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.