Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul joined the anonymous celebrities who appear masked onstage with rockers Arcade Fire during the Canadian band's set at the Coachella festival in California at the weekend.
The actor has revealed he was the man behind the papier mache Pope Francis head during Sunday's (13Apr14) show after the group's manager Scott Rodger posted a picture of Paul holding the prop on Instagram.com. The Strokes star Julian Casablancas joined Arcade Fire onstage in a mask of frontman Win Butler during the band's set at Lollapalooza Chile earlier this month (Apr14).
Paul wasn't the only celebrity onstage with the band at Coachella - Blondie star Debbie Harry also joined the group. Arcade Fire will return to the desert to headline the final night of the second weekend of the festival this coming weekend (20Apr14).
British pop star Robbie Williams paid tribute to his management team at an awards ceremony on Thursday (03Apr14), insisting they saved his life. The Angels hitmaker picked up the Artists' Artist Award at the Artist and Manager Awards, held in London venue The Troxy, and used his speech to thank his team for helping him overcome his demons.
He told the audience as he collected his prize, "I'd be dead if it wasn't for my managers. I'm serious, so thanks."
Williams battled alcohol and drug abuse early in his career but claims he has been clean since the birth of his daughter in 2012.
During the ceremony, Sir Paul McCartney's representative Scott Rodger was named Manager of the Year, while Pharrell Williams was hailed as Artist of the Year.
Scott Rodger, the man behind Sir Paul McCartney's current success, was named Manager of the Year at the Artist and Manager Awards in London on Thursday night (03Apr14). Rodger went home with the top prize, which was bestowed upon him by the Music Managers Forum and the Featured Artists Coalition.
The longtime industry player was lauded for his work with artists like McCartney and rockers Arcade Fire.
Robbie Williams was also honoured with the Artists Artist Award, and was commended for his "outstanding creative output, innovative business models and his support for artist rights."
Other awards recipients included Pharrell Williams (Artist of the Year), Rudimental (Breakthrough Artist Award), and Sam Evitt and Jack Street (Breakthrough Manager Award), who co-manage British acts Disclosure and Sam Smith.
I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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Beady Eye's manager Scott Rodger has confirmed reports he has parted ways with Liam Gallagher's band after the rockers pulled out of a slot at California's upcoming Coachella Festival "for reasons out of their control". Rodger has released a statement which reads: "It has been a pleasure to have worked with them on this album campaign. They are in complete control of their future as a band with many exciting new projects on the horizon... I wish them continued success in everything they do."
Liam Gallagher's rock band Beady Eye have pulled out of a slot at California's Coachella Festival in April (14). The former Oasis star broke the bad news to fans in a post on the group's Facebook.com page on Friday (28Feb14).
He writes, "For reasons beyond our control, Beady Eye are no longer playing Coachella. I wanna apologise to people who bought tickets on the back of us being announced."
The news comes amid reports suggesting the rockers have parted ways with their manager Scott Rodger, the man who masterminded Sir Paul McCartney's career.
The 2014 Coachella festival takes place over two consecutive weekends in April (14) with headline sets from acts including Muse and Arcade Fire.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
8 Mile opened miles ahead of the competition, topping the chart with a record setting $54.5 million.
The Santa Clause 2 fell only 15 percent, placing second with $24.8 million.
The Ring continued to show great legs, down only 11 percent in third place with $16 million.
I Spy finished fourth, holding decently with $9 million.
Jackass: The Moviewas an okay fifth with $7.2 million.
Driven by 8 Mile, key films were up nearly 17 percent from last year -- $141.6 million versus $121.4 million.
THE TOP TEN
Universal and Imagine Entertainment's R rated drama 8 Mile kicked off in first place, setting a number of records with a muscular ESTIMATED $54.46 million at 2,470 theaters ($22,050 per theater), the year's fifth biggest opening.
8 Mile's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Directed by Curtis Hanson and produced by Brian Grazer, it stars Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy and Mekhi Phifer.
"It set a record for the largest opening on its playdate," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "It's Curtis Hanson's record. It's Brian Grazer's second biggest opening -- and that's only behind $55.1 million (for) Grinch. It's the fourth largest non-holiday November opening behind Harry Potter, Monsters, Inc. and Grinch. And these are all family films. It's the largest November R rated film and the second largest R rated film (opening ever, following) Hannibal at $58 million."
Who was on hand opening weekend? "Under-25 was the audience," Rocco explained. "There's no question this is a film (people) under 25 are going to embrace on opening weekend. 69 percent was under 25. That's not to say there weren't some adults that sampled it -- 31 percent was over the age of 25. We knew we would (reach the young audience) because the main reason for wanting to come see 8 Mile was Eminem. It also drew a slightly more female audience -- 53 percent of the audience was female. It was very ethnically mixed across all quadrants -- Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Other. (These are) all great signs."
The studio's exit polls showed that 86 percent of the opening weekend audience rated 8 Mile in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good).
Asked if Universal will go wider with the film, Rocco noted, "We'll see tomorrow (Monday). This is not about numbers of playdates. If there are theaters that can support opening the film and playing through Thanksgiving, I will consider it. This is not about numbers. I think the story is that it's not necessary to be in over 3,000 playdates to launch a film of this magnitude.
"I think we were very smart covering as many markets in North America as we could, not over saturating the markets and making sure these theaters were amply covered with additional prints so they had enough seats. More (theaters) is not necessarily better. We were in 2,470 playdates, but we also had over 3,900 screens. We made sure there were an ample number of seats (to accommodate audiences)."
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated comedy sequel The Santa Clause 2 slid one peg to second place in its second week with a still happy ESTIMATED $24.8 million (-15%) at 3,352 theaters (+2 theaters; $7,397 per theater). Its cume is approximately $60.1 million, heading for $100 million-plus.
Directed by Michael Lembeck, it stars Tim Allen.
The original Santa Clause in its second weekend (Nov. 18-20, 1994) was third with $17.1 million (-11%) at 2,201 theaters ($7,786 per theater). Its cume after 10 days was $40.6 million. It went on to gross $144.6 million in domestic theaters.
DreamWorks' PG-13 rated horror thriller The Ring dropped one rung to third place in its fourth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $16.0 million (-11%) at 2,927 theaters (+119 theaters; $5,490 per theater). Its cume is approximately $86.1 million, heading for $100 million-plus.
Directed by Gore Verbinski, it stars Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson and Brian Cox.
Columbia's opening of its PG-13 rated comedy I Spy fell one notch to fourth place in its second week, holding respectably with an ESTIMATED $9.0 million (-29%) at 3,182 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,828 per theater). Its cume is approximately $24.7 million.
Directed by Betty Thomas, it stars Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson.
Paramount and MTV Films' R rated comedy Jackass: The Movie was down one slot to fifth place in its third week with a less funny ESTIMATED $7.2 million (-43%) at 2,532 theaters (+2 theaters; $2,844 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.3 million.
Directed by Jeff Tremaine, it stars Johnny Knoxville.
"It's (going to get to) $60 million-plus now, maybe $65 million," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "It could get to $70 million if it hangs around. It has surprised me from Day One."
IFC Films' release of Gold Circle Films and HBO's PG rated romantic comedy blockbuster My Big Fat Greek Wedding held on to sixth place in its 30th week, still showing outstanding legs with an ESTIMATED $5.75 million (+2%) at 1,975 theaters (-2 theaters; $2,917 per theater). Its cume is approximately $192.8 million, heading for $215 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 rated romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama held on to seventh place in its seventh week with an okay ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-17%) at 2,004 theaters (-437 theaters; $1,912 per theater). Its cume is approximately $118.6 million, heading for $125 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Andy Tennant, it stars Reese Witherspoon.
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's R rated horror film Ghost Ship sank three fathoms to eighth place in its third week with a choppy ESTIMATED $3.16 million (-53%) at 2,361 theaters (-426 theaters; $1,338 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.2 million, heading for $33-35 million.
Directed by Steve Beck, it stars Julianna Margulies.
Warner Bros.' release of Quinta Communications' R rated thriller Femme Fatale from Franchise Films opened ninth with a calm ESTIMATED $2.83 million at 1,066 theaters ($2,655 per theater). Its cume after five days is approximately $3.5 million.
Directed by Brian De Palma, it stars Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.
"This is a Franchise Films (movie) distributed by us," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "The filmmakers are very pleased with the numbers and we're happy to do the service.
"The picture played very well in New York, L.A., San Francisco, Toronto and Chicago. It had trouble in the mid-section of the country. The exit polls in the big cities were good, but not as good in the small cities. It was about 60-40 male-female. It got very good reviews. It will hang on for a few weeks in the U.S. and, hopefully, maintain itself in the big cities for a while. And I think it will be a very good video."
Revolution Studios and Columbia's R rated romantic comedy drama Punch-Drunk Love, which was eighth last week, tied for tenth place in its fifth week with an unexciting ESTIMATED $2.6 million (-39%) at 1,293 theaters (+41 theaters; $2,011 per theater). Its cume is approximately $14.6 million.
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, it stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson.
Miramax's R rated drama Frida, which continued to expand in its third week, tied for tenth place with an encouraging ESTIMATED $2.57 million at 319 theaters (+272 theaters; $8,066 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.3 million.
Directed by Julie Taymor, it stars Salma Hayek.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Focus Features' PG-13 rated drama Far From Heaven to a very promising ESTIMATED $0.21 million at 6 theaters ($34,500 per theater).
Directed by Todd Haynes, it stars Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert.
"It's really huge," Focus distribution president Jack Foley said Sunday morning. "I've (looked at) the biggest (limited release) openings that have happened since August -- Punch-Drunk Love, One Hour Photo, Frida, The Good Girl, Igby Goes Down, Bowling For Columbine-- and it ranks number five among them. Those have been big openings. Punch-Drunk Love, had a $76,000 print average. One Hour Photo, was $45,000. Frida was $41,000. Good Girl was $37,000. We're sitting with a $34,500 print average. Based on how sophisticated this film is, it'd be wonderful if we can do the same business as these other films. I don't put it in the same category as Punch-Drunk Love or One Hour because (they had superstars like Adam Sandler and Robin Williams), but my God this is huge!"
Asked about expansion plans, Foley said, "We're going to be going into 13 markets next weekend. They'll be the top markets (like) Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc. The runs will be varying from limited multiples -- for instance, in San Francisco we'll be in about six theaters, where the film should be explosive -- to exclusive runs, for instance, in Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Portland. We should be on 37 or 38 screens next weekend. The reviews have been perfect because they've really delved into how wonderful a film it is and how well it's (been) made, as well as the entertainment value.
"It uses the language of film in an exciting and a sort of revitalized way. You've never seen anything like this before. It's so amazing. It's such a sophisticated movie."
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend United Artists' R rated satiric documentary Bowling For Columbine released via MGM went wider in its fourth week with a still compelling ESTIMATED $1.65 million at 222 theaters (+60 theaters; $7,432 per theater). Its cume is approximately $6.9 million.
Written, produced and directed by Michael Moore, it won the Special Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
HBO Films and Newmarket Films' PG-13 rated comedy drama Real Women Have Curves added theaters in its fourth week with a slow ESTIMATED $0.5 million (+6%) at 148 theaters (+24 theaters; $3,385 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.9 million.
Directed by Patricia Cardoso, it stars America Ferrera, Lupe Ontiveros and George Lopez.
Miramax's Comedian expanded in its fifth week with a weak ESTIMATED $0.5 million (-28%) at 244 theaters (+19 theaters; $2,032 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.8 million.
Directed by Christian Charles, it stars Jerry Seinfeld.
Artisan Entertainment's R rated comedy Rodger Dodger widened in its third week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.17 million at 34 theaters (+9 theaters; $4,853 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.4 million.
Artisan said it will expand this Friday (Nov. 15) into 16 more key markets, adding another 20 theaters.
Written and directed by Dylan Kidd, it stars Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Berkley, Jesse Eisenberg, Isabella Rossellini and Campbell Scott.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $141.65 million for the weekend, up about 16.73 percent from last year when they totaled $121.35 million.
Key films were up about 24.94 percent from the previous weekend this year when they totaled $113.37 million.
Last year, Buena Vista/Disney's second week of Monsters, Inc. was first with $45.55 million at 3,269 theaters ($13,934 per theater); and Fox's opening week of Shallow Hal was second with $22.52 million at 2,770 theaters ($8,129 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $68.1 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $79.3 million.