Faces rocker Ian Mclagan has dismissed Rod Stewart's plans for a band reunion with Ronnie Wood in 2015, because the keyboardist will be busy working on reforming the Small Faces. Stewart recently revealed he has been in talks with Wood to hit the stage together once the guitarist's commitments with the Rolling Stones come to an end, claiming they were "earmarking 2015".
However, it appears the two British superstars have yet to discuss the get-together with surviving bandmates McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones, as they are in the process of organising a reunion for the group which spawned Faces.
Asked about Stewart's comments during an interview with Uncut magazine, McLagan says, "Why would we f**k around with the Faces when we've got bigger fish to fry?
"It's interesting that Rod announces these things without talking to me or Kenney... (Stewart will) have to wait until 2016 because 2015 is the Small Faces' year."
McLagan, Jones and late bassist Ronnie Lane were originally members of Small Faces, but the group split in 1969 following the exit of frontman Steve Marriott. The trio recruited Stewart and Wood, who had both been playing with The Jeff Beck Group, to join the line-up and rebranded themselves Faces.
Stewart served as their frontman from 1969 until 1975, and rejoined Wood, McLagan and Jones at the Brit Awards in London in 1993, but he was subsequently replaced by former Simply Red star Mick Hucknall for comeback shows in 2010 and 2011.
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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Former Beach Boys bandmates Brian Wilson and Blondie Chaplin are set to reunite on the road. Singer/guitarist Chaplin will join the rock icon for select dates on his upcoming tour, which will also feature guest spots from Beach Boys founding members Al Jardine and David Marks.
Chaplin, who was a Beach Boy in the early 1970s, will be part of Wilson's performances in Florida, New York City, Las Vegas, Oakland and Los Angeles.
Wilson tells the Los Angeles Times, "Blondie was one of my favourite singers in the '70s. He blew my mind with Sail on Sailor, and he also sang on a song called Funky Pretty, on the Beach Boys' Holland album.
"Until two weeks ago, I hadn't seen him since 1974. It was great to see him again. He came into the studio and sang on one of my new tracks called He Come Down - he sang it great! It will be fun to have him at a few of our concerts."
Wilson is touring North America from 27 September (13) on a split bill with Jeff Beck, who also has been contributing to the Beach Boys star's new solo album.
The Good Vibrations singer and Jardine and Marks last hit the stage together last year (12) for the 50th anniversary Beach Boys reunion tour, which ended when former bandmates Mike Love and Bruce Johnston announced plans to resume touring with an alternative group.
Old pals Rod Stewart and Sir Elton John are quietly plotting a joint tour after hitting the road separately with Stevie Nicks and Billy Joel in recent years. The two friends performed together after Stewart presented Elton with his Brit Icon Award at a ceremony in London earlier this week (02Sep13) and that appears to have sparked fresh talk about hitting the road together.
Stewart says, "We did do a duet on one of my Great American Songbook albums, but really I'd love to - before we're both in wheelchairs - go out and do a tour together."
In the meantime, Stewart is preparing for a U.S. tour later this year (13) with Traffic and Humble Pie star Steve Winwood, and he recently hinted at plans to hit the road on a joint reunion tour with his old bands the Faces and Jeff Beck Group.
Rod Stewart is plotting an ambitious double reunion tour that will incorporate the hits of his former bands the Faces and the Jeff Beck Group. The rocker has held out on a full Faces reunion tour for years because the timing has never been right for him and old pal Ronnie Wood, but now he's interested in getting the band back together alongside guitar great Beck.
He tells Billboard.com, "Two of us (Stewart and Wood) are in both bands, so we could do half the show with The Faces, half with Jeff Beck."
His thinking comes as he, Beck and Wood prepare to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first Jeff Beck Group album, Truth, but he admits the double reunion is an ambitious plan because Beck is still upset with him over a failed blues album project.
Stewart adds, "Whether Jeff would want to do it, there's two chances - slim and none. When Jeff's angry at you, he stays angry for a long time. We were going to do a blues album... but we couldn't agree on a great many things. I sent him a Christmas card, or emailed him a Christmas card, the year before last and never heard anything back.
"I think there's more a chance of the Faces doing something, but that has to wait 'til we know the Stones are finished."
Stewart has always maintained he won't tour with the Faces until Wood's gig as a guitarist in the Rolling Stones is over.
Tired of waiting for his frontman, Wood drafted in former Simply Red star Mick Hucknall to front the reformed Faces on a handful of shows from 2009 to 2012. These included the band's performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame when the Faces and The Small Faces were inducted in April, 2012.
Rod Stewart's plans to record new tracks with Jeff Beck for the first time in 40 years have collapsed because they despised each other's work. The pair teamed up in 2011 to record a blues album, sparking hopes they would be releasing their first new material together since the guitarist broke up The Jeff Beck Group on the eve of the Woodstock festival in 1969.
The two rock veterans worked separately on demo tracks for the album but when it came time to merge their ideas, both loathed what the other had come up with so the collaboration was shelved.
The abandoned project also appears to have driven a wedge between the two old friends as they haven't spoken since.
Stewart tells Mojo magazine, "We actually started working on a blues album together. We went away and put some demos together and sent them to each other and I hated his and he hated mine. I emailed him to wish him a Merry Christmas, didn't get anything back. It would be electric if we got together, but it would need (famed diplomat) Hillary Clinton to bring it off."
"We did the Troubadour the other week. That was quite an experience, because I'd never played there, which was unbelievable. When I was with the Jeff Beck Group, we went straight to the Anaheim Convention Center... and when we came with the Faces, we went straight to the Forum and the Swing Auditorium up in San Bernardino. So we never played any of the small places here. I saw my daughter play the Troubadour about a year ago, and it was the first time I'd ever gone in there." Rod Stewart on playing Los Angeles' fabled Troubadour for the first time last month (Apr13).
Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
The latest movie in the Step Up franchise aims for a politicized message behind all the flashy moves but it could do with a lot less plot and a lot more dancing. In Step Up Revolution the Miami dance group "The Mob" takes to the streets (and other random locations) to perform intricately choreographed routines with their own DJ a camera guy who uploads their videos to YouTube and a graffiti artist who leaves their signature behind. It takes at least that much effort just to get hipster New Yorkers to ride the subways without any pants on once a year; it's hard to believe that The Mob could pull off their elaborate schemes without getting caught but that's the magic of movies.
The Mob represents the more diverse working class side of Miami a young multiracial group of friends who create incredible works of art that disappear before they get shut down. One of the Mob's leaders Sean (Ryan Guzman) earnestly explains to newcomer Emily (Kathryn McCormick) that the group's reason is to give a voice to the voiceless or to be happy or to dance or something. It's not really clear but they have a lot of fun and look amazing doing it.
Once Sean and his friends find out that a greedy developer plans to raze their neighborhood to make way for another South Beach-style hotel monstrosity they have a reason to rally but until then they're just trying to win a cash prize by getting clicks on YouTube. The typical Step Up twist is that Emily is the developer's daughter. Mr. Anderson (Peter Gallagher) doesn't approve of Emily's love of dancing or other frippery and he certainly wouldn't approve of her hanging out with the people causing such mayhem in the streets of Miami.
Step Up Revolution biggest misstep is trying to give the movie more of a hook than the franchise's typical Romeo and Juliet-style love story and tap into "the Zeitgeist" (I swear that's from the studio-provided press notes) of flash mobs. The film could have cut out most of the plot and characters and still have a completely intact film insofar as the point of the film is its multimedia dance routines. The sort of productions The Mob pulls off are more akin to carefully planned art installations or music videos in terms of scope; it would have been better to at least make that somehow feasible in terms of the storyline. Yes we are here for a spectacle and we surely get a spectacle but it needs to have some roots in reality.
The dance scenes are fun sexy and occasionally a little sappy but overall quite enjoyable for people who enjoy "So You Think You Can Dance" type of shows. Kathryn McCormick and Stephen "tWitch" Boss both appeared on "SYTYCD" and their costar Misha Gabriel is a classically trained ballet dancer turned pro back-up dancer for folks like Beyoncé and Michael Jackson. Guzman doesn't have a dance background but he is an MMA fighter who obviously took his training very seriously. The entire outfit is pretty damn entertaining to be honest.
As far as the 3D goes it makes most of Miami look overcast and grey. The extra zings added in to make sure we get our money's worth like sand flicking out at us or a breakdancer whose foot seems to be aiming for our face only serves to distract from the real show at hand. There is also an awful lot of ramping and generally spazzy editing tricks that look cheap. The screenplay by Amanda Brody is definitely not its strong suit.
Step Up Revolution is the cinematic equivalent of a trashy beach novel. It's embarrassing to be caught actually enjoying it and you'll forget about it almost immediately but it's a decent way to spend a summer afternoon.