Dimension Films via Everett Collection
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For really values its volume. The movie tosses out three or four stories, twenty-odd characters, a handful of car chases, several dozen throat-slittings and skull-bludgeonings… in their return to the cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, Miller and director Robert Rodriguez seemed bent on packing in as much as they conceivably could. The unfortunate result: not quite the intricate, inviting narrative web that the men set out to create, but a straight through-line of nonstop stuff.
In the most egregious sense, too. While we remember Sin City as a relatively patient illustration of Miller’s virtue-deficient neo-noir kingdom, what we find in this year’s follow-up is a feverish race to expose the audience to every idea the directing duo has up its sleeve.
Dimension Films via Everett Collection
So, what we get instead of a fluid story is a whirlpool of events. Each chapter of the clumsily manufactured movie will set you up with a character — an out-of-place Joseph Gordon-Levitt as cocky gambler Johnny, Josh Brolin as a thickheaded do-gooder, and the ragtag team of a destitute Jessica Alba and her devoted muscle Mickey Rourke — only to watch the hero in question stumble upon plot contrivance after plot contrivance, never getting to do much all the while.
And while the style outdoes the substance in the scope A Dame to Kill For’s strong suits, Miller and Rodriguez are not exactly displaying the utmost aesthetic panache in this latest outing. Sure, certain chase scenes are kinetic — and the film might offer the most invigorating visual design of an onscreen hot tub in the history of cinema — but sloppy choreography and a world constructed without depth or sense of place leaves us feeling completely out of touch with the film’s most important character: Sin City.
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Rapper Joe Budden has denied allegations he was involved in a bust-up with an ex-girlfriend on Sunday (17Aug14). The Pump It Up hitmaker is reportedly facing a police investigation over claims he was involved in a domestic dispute with the unnamed woman in the Big Apple over the weekend (16-17Aug14).
However, Budden is adamant the claims are not true. He writes in a post on Twitter.com, "I wonder what the check (cheque) looks like when ppl (people) feed (news site) MediaTakeOut these stories (sic)" before later replying to a concerned fan, "Thx (thanks) for the prayers love... & no, they ( the claims) couldn't be further from the truth..."
Johnny Cash's daughter Tara Cash Schwoebel is set to release a book based on questions she asked her famous father about his childhood and personal life. In 1995, Schwoebel gave the Ring of Fire hitmaker a blank book entitled, "Dad, Share Your Life With Me", and requested he fill it with his favourite childhood memories.
Cash spent a year filling out the pages, and returned it to his daughter on her birthday in 1996. She has now turned his tome into a new book called Recollections by J.R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash.
In a message posted on the book's website, Schwoebel writes, "I have held this book close to my heart for all these years. With no hesitation, knowing that Dad would be proud to share these stories, I now want to share it with his fans, friends, and family to cherish, as I do. I hope you will enjoy getting to know this boy, who became my father, as much as I did. I give that boy, and that father, all the love and respect in the world."
The book also features personal family photos and Cash's own handwriting. The release will coincide with the 1 September (14) reopening of her father's boyhood home in Arkansas which has been turned into a museum.
Reality TV star Kelly Osbourne is sharing her fashion expertise with fans by launching a clothing line. Ozzy Osbourne's daughter, who is a panellist on U.S. style series Fashion Police, has created her own collection called Stories... By Kelly Osbourne.
She is launching the range on America's Home Shopping Network (HSN) in September (14) and she has also created a website where fans can share anecdotes about places where they have worn the pieces.
Osbourne says of the project, "I believe that every time you wear something, you have a story of where you wore it, whether it be good or bad. What made me realise this was when I was going through my closet and I was like, 'Oh, I wore those shoes on stage every day when I was in Chicago,' and 'I wore that dress to my friend's funeral,' and, 'Oh my gosh, I wore that skirt on a date and it still has a stain on it from where I fell off the steps because he tried to kiss me, I didn't want to kiss him and I broke my wrist. I can't get rid of that.' Like, there are all these funny emotional attachments."
The 29 year old recently had the brand's name tattooed on the side of her head.
Veteran actor Jeff Bridges is planning to add children's author to his extensive resume after teaming up with his eldest daughter for the special project. The Big Lebowski star, who has also established himself as a musician and a photographer, reveals he likes to find ways to include his kids in his professional career so he has started penning a kids' story with 33-year-old daughter Isabelle.
He tells People.com, "I try to create as many experiences as I can to hang out with my kids. When you're an adult, you gotta work. So I invented this word - plorking - a combination of playing and work...
"Isabelle, my oldest girl, we're working on a children's book together."
Bridges has also recruited his second child Jessie, who has served as his film set assistant for years, to open for his band The Abiders' new tour, while his youngest girl Hayley, 28, is helping to design the actor's new home.
He isn't the first celebrity to pen stories for kids - fellow celebrities including Jamie Lee Curtis, Julianne Moore, Jim Carrey, Jessica Lange, Ricky Martin and rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne have also tested their creative writing skills in recent years.
English actor Daniel Radcliffe helped his American co-star Jon Hamm perfect his British accent for TV series A Young Doctor's Notebook by making a recording of himself reading all of the Mad Men hunk's lines. Missouri native Hamm admits he needed to put in a lot of linguistic work to improve the bad accent he had picked up from watching beloved British comedy troupe Monty Python as a youth, and decided to recruit the young Harry Potter star and TV director Alex Hardcastle to show him how it's done.
The 43 year old explains, "I'm sure I was excoriated in the British press for my terrible British accent, but it was fun...
"He (Radcliffe) and Alex Hardcastle, who directed the first season of the show, read every one of my lines into a recorder, so I was able to at least hear how it's supposed to sound, and then sort of sound like that."
Radcliffe and Hamm play younger and older versions of the same character, a Russian doctor, at different stages of his life in A Young Doctor's Notebook, which is inspired by a collection of short stories by Russian playwright Mikhail Bulgakov and is set during the Russian Revolution.
Vinyl copies of The Beatles' seminal self-titled record has been transformed into an art exhibition in the band's hometown. New York-based artist Rutherford Chang has collected more than 1,000 well-worn copies of 1968's 'The White Album' and turned them into an art installation at the FACT centre in Liverpool, England.
Chang initially became fascinated with the way fans lovingly decorated the plain cover using methods from stickers to scribbling, and has put them on display in the style of a retro record shop.
He says of the show, "There are all kinds of things written on them and they provide an interesting snapshot of the last half century. It was an album I bought by chance as teenager, and then years later I saw a second album. That's when I realised every copy was unique. I've read breaking-up letters written by girlfriends or boyfriends. I've seen love letters and poems, drawings - you can imagine. I'm interested in the White Album as a cultural phenomenon."
Visitors to the gallery are invited to donate their own copies of the album to the exhibition. Venue representative Jen Chapman adds, "In the city that created the world's most famous band, we hope there will be lots more albums collected - and lots more personal stories about the White Album discovered."
The exhibition opens on Friday (15Aug14).
Kelly Osbourne has hinted she is planning to release a collection of stories. The Fashion Police presenter showed off her partly-shaved hairstyle in June (14) and days later she got a shock tattoo that read "stories..." on the side of her head.
She now seems to have turned the word into a book venture, writing on Instagram.com on Tuesday (12Aug14), "The story behind my latest tattoo will soon be revealed! Stay tuned to find out!"
Osbourne then uploaded a picture of what appears to be a plain book with gold trim. The cover reads, "StoriesbyKO coming soon... Stories to share..."
She has also set up a separate Instagram account for the project, suggesting a major promotional drive is due.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Movie legend Lauren Bacall has died after suffering a stroke at her home in Manhattan, New York. The 89-year-old star of classic films The Mirror Has Two Faces, How to Marry a Millionaire and Key Largo was married to two other big screen greats, Humphrey Bogart and Jason Robards, and she famously romanced Frank Sinatra. Bacall first emerged as a leading lady opposite Bogart in 1944's To Have and Have Not and enjoyed success onstage as well as on the big screen. She scored Tony Awards for her Broadway shows Applause and Woman of the Year, and Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for her role in 1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces. She received an honorary Academy Award in 2009. Her autobiography, By Myself, won a National Book Award in 1980. Born Betty Joan Perske in New York, Bacall's mother was a Romanian immigrant and her father was a New Jersey salesman. After studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, she landed a handful of small off-Broadway productions while making waves as a young model. Rumour has it that the wife of moviemaker Howard Hawks was so taken by the one-time Miss Greenwich Village's beauty when she appeared on the cover of style bible Harper's Bazaar, she suggested her husband should screen test her. That meeting led to her breakthrough as Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not, which became the first of many projects that teamed her up with Bogart. The 'Bogie-Bacall' romance is still considered one of Hollywood's greatest love stories. The stars wed in 1945 and were inseparable until the actor's death in 1957. She also appeared in Bright Leaf, opposite Gary Cooper, and teamed up with fellow big screen pin-ups Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in 1953's How to Marry a Millionaire. Her leading men also included Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis (Sex & the Single Girl), Paul Newman (Harper), John Wayne (The Shootist) and Jack Lemmon and James Garner (My Fellow Americans). Bacall's voice was used in 2012 Oscar-nominated animated movie Ernest & Celestine and she was reportedly filming crime drama Trouble Is My Business at the time of her death on Tuesday morning (12Aug14).
As the fall draws closer, it brings with it the start of Oscar season, when every studio unveils its biggest, buzziest and most dramatic films in an attempt to earn some recognition on the biggest night in Hollywood. And while every year does turn out a great deal of excellent films and incredible performances, at a certain point they all start to feel the same, with one domestic drama blending into another and period pieces all attempting to outshine each other. But there is some variety hidden amongst the Oscar bait, with some films providing original, interesting stories or creative twists on classic plots. In case you’re looking to add some variety to your fall film lineup, we’ve run down the best, most original awards bait hitting theaters this fall. Once December hits, however, it's every moviegoer for himself.
Interstellar Smack dab in the middle of Oscar season, Christopher Nolan will finally unveil his latest epic, Interstellar. Part post-apocalyptic drama, part space opera, part Hollywood blockbuster, and Phase II of the McConaissance, the film follows a group of explorers who set off in for a wormhole that will allow them to travel from one solar system to another in search of resources that can save the earth now that it’s run out of food. So, you know, just your usual low-key, easy to follow, low-stakes story. Opens: November 7
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Every year, there’s at least one Oscar baity film the centers on a relationship falling apart, but The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby puts a new spin on that old classic by creating an epic, two-part film that tells the story from both his (James McAvoy) and her (Jessica Chastain) perspectives. Since premiering at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews, we’ve been waiting impatiently for our chance to see the film. As it turns out, we’ll actually get two: a one-film version which blends both sides together will be released along with the original two-film version. Opens: September 12
The Boxtrolls Of all the films being released at the end of 2014 – war epics, biopics, highly-anticipated comebacks – one of the most exciting is an animated film about the friendly trolls who live under the sewers of a small English village. That’s because The Boxtrolls is the latest film from Laika, the stop-motion studio that has made such wonderful films as Coraline and ParaNorman. Like its predecessors, The Boxtrolls looks like an incredibly detailed, magical, funny adventure, but unlike them, we’re hoping that the studio will finally be able to get the recognition they deserve for their labors of love. And with no Disney or Pixar films to compete, they might finally have a shot. Opens: September 26
Gone Girl We know, we know: you’re probably sick of hearing about Gone Girl. But the buzz surrounding the film, its stars, the book it’s based on doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, so you might as well embrace it. Besides, it gives us yet another opportunity to study the enigma that is Ben Affleck’s career. Will he get a third Oscar for this? Will it finally make people take him seriously as an actor and filmmaker? Are we all going to stop praising him the second the first trailer for Batman V. Superman comes out? Nobody knows. Opens: October 3
Sony Pictures Releasing
Fury It wouldn’t be awards season without a World War II drama, and 2014 is no exception. However, in addition to the typical slate of inspiring biopics and domestic dramas about the home-front, Brad Pitt and David Ayer are offering Fury. It’s a small-scale – well, as small scale as a world war gets – film about the lives and missions of a single tank crew tasked with venturing behind enemy lines, and it features a cast of acclaimed, yet underappreciated actors like Logan Lerman, Jon Berenthal, and Michael Pena. Just when you thought you’d seen every single war drama that’s been made, there finally comes one that’s actually intriguing. Opens: November 14
Kill the Messenger His Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr. might have a higher-profile film opening that day, but we’re much more interested in Jeremy Renner’s Kill the Messenger. Based on the true story of Gary Webb, a reporter who uncovered the CIA’s connection to the Nicaraguan drug trade, the film centers on the manhunt that Webb became a part of after going public with his evidence. It’s the biggest, most intense role that Renner has had since The Hurt Locker, and after years of being overlooked in favor of his showier co-star, we’re excited to see him get some of the attention he deserves. Opens: October 10
Birdman Everyone love a comeback story, right? Well, how about one that’s a little more surreal? That’s what Michael Keaton is going for with his upcoming film Birdman, which takes places over the course of the several days in which washed-up actor Riggan Thompson, who made his name as superhero, attempts to mount a comeback with a play that he wrote, directed and is starring in. With Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at the helm and a cast featuring Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Edward Norton, we’d be interested in this even if it weren’t Keaton’s first big film in years. Opens: October 17
Beyond the Lights After winning over audiences everywhere with her breakthrough role in Amma Asante’s Belle, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is set to prove that she can do more than just period pieces with Beyond the Lights. Mbatha-Raw plays Noni, a Rihanna-like pop star struggling with being a puppet for her pushy stage mom and greedy record executives, who finds joy in a relationship with down-to-earth cop Kaz (Nate Parker). The story might be familiar to anyone who saw Britney Spears’ “Lucky” video, but it’s the perfect opportunity for Mbatha-Raw to really showcase her talent with a role that requires her to sing, dance, fall in love, and break our hearts. Opens: November 14