Country music trio Rascal Flatts have scrapped three upcoming shows to allow sick singer Gary Levox time to rest his voice. The Life is a Highway hitmakers have cancelled weekend concerts in Idaho, Washington and British Columbia in the hope that it will be enough to help the frontman bounce back.
Bassist Jay DeMarcus says, "It is incredibly difficult to make the decision to cancel shows and disappoint our loyal fans who have been so good to us over the years. The schedule of shows this past weekend, coupled with media days in New York City, have left him without a voice. We promise to return as soon as we can and give our fans the best show possible."
It's not the first time Levox has struggled with vocal problems - last month (Jul14), the band axed their concert in Oklahoma due to an illness affecting his throat, and in April (14), the singer lost his voice days before the group's big gig at the Academy of Country Music Awards, but decided to press ahead with the show by miming along to the lyrics of Rewind.
Beyonce and Jay Z's joint summer tour has grossed more than $100 million (£59 million), despite reports of poor ticket sales. The hip-hop supercouple's On the Run Tour ends its U.S. leg on Wednesday (06Aug14) in San Francisco, California, and after nearly two months on the road, the trek as been labelled a success.
Vice president of North American touring for concert promoter Live Nation, Omar Al-Joulani, tells People magazine the gigs sold at more than 90 per cent capacity, insisting all parties involved with the trek are "winning".
The concerts rake in more than $5.2 million (£3 million) a night, and fill an average of 45,000 seats per performance.
Al-Joulani adds, "These events are driven by content and demand, and being dramatic and creative and putting out content people want to see. The two of them are as about creative as you can get, and it was pretty brilliant to watch them work. The show itself is spectacular.
"It was a very successful tour, and we're pleased to have that big gross number at the end."
Beyonce and Jay Z are set to take the On the Run Tour to Paris, France for the only international dates on 12 and 13 September (14). The shows will be filmed for an upcoming special on America's HBO network.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
As the most anticipated blockbuster of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy has a ton of marks to hit. Almost immediately, it reveals its lackluster aim in a few of these departments. Director James Gunn, working with a budget that amounts to 10 times the cash allowed for his previous two features combined, shows that he has a lot to learn in bringing action scenes to life. The large-scale aerial battles neglect coherent geography; the hand-to-hand combat takes place in a virtual fog machine. When he aims to jump from one piece of his temperately constructed world to the next, the seams are bold and abject. The film’s narrative is jagged, its exposition is clunky, and its sense of rhythm seems to vanish altogether from time to time. And that score… oh, my, that score.
So with technical flaws coming out the wazoo, you’ll really have to touch the personal to figure out why and how Guardians of the Galaxy manages to be one of the most wonderful blockbuster movies in ages.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
You’ll have to think back to your earliest experiences with superheroes, science fiction, and adventure. Perhaps back to your first big screen encounter with Star Wars — for me, a trip to Flushing, Queens’ multiplex with my uninterested father (if it’s not The Sting, he’s not into it) and ecstatic pal Timothy in 1997 — the film to which Guardians owes just as much as Godzilla does to Jurassic Park, though with an attitude less pious than devilishly affectionate.
That distinction in reverence is where you’ll find your connection to Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that is just as much a tribute to the experience of watching the past half-century’s slate of great fantastical epics as it is to the features themselves. Guardians, a movie that treats itself with the same degree of cheek as it does its predecessors, celebrates everything that happens in the theater during a spectacle of its ilk. It celebrates the wisecracks we can’t help but whisper to our neighbors after a dramatic set piece, the often glossed-over character beats that showcase a scar beneath the heroism of every Skywalker and Solo (rejoice: this film is heavy on the Hans, light on the Lukes). It celebrates our curiosity about every odd shot, creature, and plot contrivance scrapped from focus in the interest of the Hero’s Journey. Guardians celebrates just how much we always hate to say how much more we’d love these movies if they went all the way bananas.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
Which, for sure, this one does. The movie bands together the strangest assortment of characters — a jackass space punk (Chris Pratt), a reformed intergalactic assassin (Zoe Saldana), a humorless (and yet the funniest of the bunch) alien menace (Dave Bautista), and a misanthropic raccoon thief (Bradley Cooper) and his kindhearted tree bodyguard (Vin Diesel) — on what amounts to a convoluted brazen rejection of Marvel’s usual A-to-B storyline: there’s a powerful orb, and about a half dozen villains, varying in villainy, who want to get their hands on it for disparate villainous reasons… any attempt to further access the mythology will render you a huddled, nauseated mess.
Throughout this technical haze, Guardians carries forth with more spirit than anything Marvel has put out to date. Its characters aren’t limited by the sincerity of their sacrosanct brethren; Pratt is encouraged to make his Peter Quill the most engaging hero a film of this scale has seen to date. Quill and his literal partners in crime are used toward the perfect end of playing expansively with every trope that we’ve seen in blockbuster past, of tackling every question and quip that has found fertile soil in the brains of three generations of captivated genre fans. And all this, quite remarkably, without expensing the movie’s earnest construction. That’s because Guardians builds its world from the ground up with the heart inherent in that fandom. The kind of heart that loves these movies, but also the exciting, active, imaginative game that is watching them.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
That’s the kind of heart you find in Guardians’ story and, better yet, its characters. They’re our people (or aliens, or trees, or raccoons). Ours for the knowing and empathizing with; the very sort of heroes we knew we would be in our own all-the-way-bananas story, were it ever possible… or allowed to happen on the big screen. Piety of the picturesque be damned, we get those kinds of heroes, that kind of story, and — most palpably — this kind of spirit in Guardians of the Galaxy. At the expense of technical perfection and narrative flow? Maybe. Is this not a flaw but a ploy to further personalize this adventure for the ultimate connection one might forge between superhero and superfan? Hard to say. But the connection is made nonetheless, and we have in James Gunn’s wonderful movie a special experience for anyone who has spent years loving this genre from afar: Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t sit us down to show us a spectacle, it invites us into one.
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Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
If you've spent any time on the Internet, watching TV or, let's face it, just ventured out of your house in the past few months, you're probably aware of a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy, which has quickly become one of the summer's most anticipated films. In fact, you've probably already got plans to go see it when it hits theaters on Friday, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have any idea what exactly you're signing up for. After all, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel's lesser-known titles, the kind that only hardcore comics nerds knew about before the studio announced plans to turn them into a blockbuster. But don't worry: you still have plenty of time to learn everything you need to know about this merry band of misfits before your Friday night showing. In fact, we've put together this handy guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy with all of the questions you might have been too nervous to ask so that you'll be able to hit the theater knowing Groot from Gamora and why, exactly, this "bunch of a-holes" have been entrusted with keeping the universe safe.
So, from what I understand, the Guardians of the Galaxy are basically just the Avengers in Space. Yes and no. They are a team of universe-saving superheroes like the Avengers, but they’re still pretty different.
Really? How? Well, for one thing, they weren’t put together by S.H.I.E.LD.; they met up in prison.
So they’re criminals. Yep. But they’re trying to do some good by saving the galaxy, so they’re not the bad guys, really.
Well, if S.H.I.E.L.D.’s not in this, how about Iron Man? No, sorry. These movies are tangentially connected to The Avengers, but none of those characters will appear in this film.
How are they connected?Remember Benicio del Toro's brief appearance at the end of Thor: The Dark World?
Vaguely.That's the connection. He has a significant role in this movie.
So does that mean Thor is in Guardians of the Galaxy?No.
How about Captain America?Dude, no.
So if we don’t have Iron Man, who is going to be the good looking, wise-cracking leader? He goes by the name of Star Lord, although he’s the only person who actually calls himself that. His real name is Peter Quill.
And who is Peter Quill? He’s a half-alien half-human who was kidnapped from earth as a child and was raised by a gang of thieves and smugglers. He’s also a pretty impressive pilot.
Who’s playing him in the movie? Chris Pratt.
Wait, we’re supposed to believe that Andy Dwyer is going to save the universe? Yeah. Isn’t it awesome?
I guess. Who else is on this team? Their names are Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon, and Groot.
Okay, let’s start with Gamora. Tell me about her. She was adopted as an orphan by Thanos and—
Wait, who’s Thanos? Thanos is the murderous super villain bent on wreaking havoc and destruction. He’s determined to get the Infinity Gauntlet which has the ability to destroy a star. He’s basically the big bad in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe right now, Avengers films included.
And he’s going to be in this? Yes, he’ll be making an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and he’ll be played by Josh Brolin. You might recognize him as the purple dude in the credits of the first Avengers movie.
Okay, keep going about Gamora.So she was adopted by Thanos raised to be his personal assassin, and became one of the most feared fighters in the universe. But eventually, she turned against Thanos and decided to try and make amends for her past.
Okay, and who’s playing Gamora? Zoe Saldana.
Even though she’s also in Avatar and Star Trek? Yep. She’s the queen of sci-fi franchises.
Who’s next? Drax the Destroyer? Yes. Drax was originally a human named Arthur Douglas, but after his whole family was killed by Ronan the Accuser, his soul was put into a different body so he could fight Thanos.
Wait, hold on. Who’s Ronan the Accuser? I thought Thanos was the bad guy. They’re both bad guys. Ronan is a Kree radical, who has agreed to help Thanos hunt down an artifact if Thanos will destroy the Xandarians – his mortal enemies – in exchange.
What is a Kree?A technologically advanced, war-loving alien race.
And what is a Xandarian?Another alien race. Not so big on the war.
Got it. So is Ronan the Accuser a big part of Guardians of the Galaxy?Yeah, he’ll be the main villain in this one. Lee Pace will be playing him.
Any other villains I should know about? Nebula, who grew up with Gamora. Unlike her adoptive sister, she is still loyal to Ronan and Thanos. She’ll be played by Karen Gillan.
Oh, is this the thing she shaved her head for? Yes. Nebula is bald, so Gillan decided to shave her head, since it would look better than putting makeup on top of a bald cap.
So, that’s it? Ronan, Thanos, and Nebula are all the villains? There’s also Djimon Honsou as Korath, an intergalactic hunter who serves Ronan, and (like we said above) Benicio del Toro, who plays The Collector: an eccentric, obsessive keeper of intergalactic rarities. If you need something, and it might be illegal to own that thing, he probably has it.
All right, all right, is that it? There are a lot of villains in this thing. Yeah.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
So back to Drax: who’s playing him in the movie? Dave Batista.
You mean Vin Diesel isn’t playing the aggressive muscular dude? No, Vin Diesel’s playing a tree.
What?! Well, he’s playing Groot, a tree-like humanoid who has the ability to regrow himself from the tiniest twig.
Well, he at least has some witty banter or something, right? Of course! Provided that witty banter consists only of the phrase, “I am Groot.”
… Okay. So, why is Groot in jail, then? He’s there thanks to his job as the muscle/personal companion of Rocket Raccoon.
Is that...? The machine-gun firing, rage spewing, back-talking, possibly homicidal raccoon? Yep. You know what's even weirder? Bradley Cooper's providing his voice.
And how did he learn to fire a gun? Rocket is originally from a planet called Halfworld, which was basically a colony for the mentally ill. All of the animals there were genetically modified to become as intelligent as humans and to be able to walk in their hind legs so they could take care of the inmates there.
So, an anthropomorphic raccoon and a tree have teamed up with a criminal, assassin, and thief in order to protect the galaxy? That’s exactly what happened.
I think I need to lie down. No, no! Stay with us, you’ve almost got it.
Fine. So why exactly did they team up? Why is the galaxy in need of their help? Basically, Peter Quill steals an orb that Ronan the Accuser is after, and so he needs the rest of the team’s help in order to evade the villain and the intergalactic manhunt that he’s started. But then they discover how powerful the orb actually is, and they are determined to protect the galaxy by keeping it from falling into the wrong hands.
Why, what’s so special about the orb? That remains to be seen.
Well, then, how do they find that the galaxy is in trouble? Do they just figure it out on their own? They’re recruited by the Nova Corps, who are the military police tasked with keeping the planet Xandar and its citizens safe.
Are those they guys...? Who call them “a-holes” in the trailer? Yeah, that’s the Nova Corps.
I like those guys. So, are those all of the characters? Yep, that’s everyone and a basic rundown of what they want. Anything else you want to know?
Yeah, what's with all the classic rock in the trailer? The songs come from Peter’s Walkman, and it’s basically the last connection he has to his life on earth. Also, it’s awesome.
Can I watch the trailer again? Of course:
And when does this movie come out? Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on Friday, August 1!
Rapper Lil Wayne is reportedly launching his own sports management company, and soccer stud Cristiano Ronaldo will be his top client. The Lollipop hitmaker is already the co-founder of his successful Young Money Entertainment record label, and he's hoping to expand his empire to the sports world.
Sources tell TMZ.com that Wayne has had his sights set on starting a sports management firm for a while, and to make the transition smooth, he has recruited his friend and Portuguese footballer Ronaldo as his first client.
Wayne and his Young Money bosses will be collaborating with company PolarisSports, which is the firm Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes works for.
Insiders reveal Wayne will handle all of Ronaldo's ventures in the U.S., including branding, marketing, and endorsement deals.
While neither Wayne nor Ronaldo have officially commented on the partnership, Ronaldo posted a photo on his Twitter.com page on Thursday (23Jul14) of himself alongside the Prime Minister of Japan and other Japanese politicians, holding up the Young Money hand gesture, which Wayne then retweeted.
If the story is true, Lil Wayne won't be the only rapper to become a sports agent - Jay Z branched out last year and helped land former New York Yankees baseball star Robinson Cano a big deal at the Seattle Mariners.
People everywhere are flocking to their big screen just to spend four minutes at a Beyoncé concert. The Queen Bey shared footage from her new HBO concert series Beyonce: X10, which gives you a peek at all of the excitement you might have missed from the Mrs Carter Show world tour:
Some of the songs that will be included in the series are Drunk in Love, Ghost/Haunted (which aired last night), Get Me Bodied/Baby Boy/Diva and Girls.
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Beyonce and Jay Z have risked the wrath of Justin Bieber's fans by flashing an image of his mugshot on a big screen during their On The Run tour. The snap, taken following his DUI arrest in Miami, Florida in January (14), features among a number of other celebrity mugshots, including late rapper Tupac Shakur, alongside the message, "Even the greatest can fall" during the duo's performance of Jay Z's track Izzo (H.O.V.A.).
It's been six years since Beyoncé married Jay Z in a super-secret wedding about which we still know very little. But if you're attending the couple's On The Run tour, you might catch some pretty epic, never-before-seen personal footage from their big day
Lucky for us, this Instagram user got a pretty good shot of the video, which shows Bey and Jay getting their matching "IV" tattoos, and also tying the knot.
That ring, though...
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Hip-hop mogul Jay Z is expanding his beverage business with the launch of a new non-alcoholic drink. The Empire State of Mind hitmaker has teamed up with former Def Jam Recordings executive Kevin Liles and his new firm Go N'Syde for the release of 40/40 - the name of the superstar's chain of sports lounges.
The iced tea and lemonade concoction has been described as an "Arnold Palmer-esque drink", referring to the thirst-quencher dedicated to the legendary American golfer, and it is being marketed at "sports-loving males".
The 40/40 drink is the second big-name collaboration for Go N'Syde bosses following the recent release of Mariah Carey's Butterfly beverage.
The bottles for both drinks feature barcodes which, when scanned using a special smartphone app, unlocks exclusive content from the musician.
Explaining the new venture, Liles tells Forbes.com, "We have great tasting beverages, but the second part of it is providing a new network for the brands or icons to communicate with their fans. I call it disrupting the consumer packaged goods industry by having your products actually talk to you."
Jay Z has also previously invested in Armadale Vodka and high end Champagne brand Armand de Brignac, aka Ace of Spades. He is also a spokesperson for D'Usse Cognac.
Beloved U.S. comedian Jay Leno has been selected to receive the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The funnyman, who stepped down as the host of The Tonight Show after 22 years in February (14), will be feted at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on 19 October (14).
Twain Prize co-founder and co-executive producer Cappy McGarr says, "Jay has always been on our list. He is the quintessential American humorist. He does it every night, and has done it for many, many years. And he truly is an equal opportunity satirist."
Joking about the accolade, Leno quips, "What an honour! I'm a big fan of Mark Twain's. In fact, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books!"
A Tale of Two Cities was actually written by Charles Dickens.
Previous recipients of the top honour include Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell and Carol Burnett, who took home last year's (13) award.