Musicians Carla Bley, George Coleman and Charles Lloyd have been selected to receive America's most prestigious jazz award next year (15). Composer Bley and saxophonists Coleman and Lloyd will be made Jazz Masters and handed a $25,000 (£15,625) fellowship, while Chicago, Illinois jazz club owner Joe Segal will also be feted by officials at the National Endowment for the Arts.
The quartet will be honoured during a ceremony at New York's Lincoln Center in April (15).
This year's (14) honourees included pianist Keith Jarrett, saxophonist Anthony Braxton and bassist Richard Davis.
Motown star Gil Askey has died, aged 89. The musician, who worked with singers including Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5, passed away at his home in Melbourne, Australia on 9 April (14) after a battle with lymphoma.
Askey's son Emile confirmed the news and revealed his father was inundated with calls from his famous friends in the days before his death, saying, "He wore himself out talking to Stevie Wonder, Motown founder Berry Gordy and American Idol musical director Rickey Minor."
The star, who was born in Texas, worked as a trumpeter, composer and producer, and was credited with helping create the iconic sound of the legendary Motown records label. In the 1960s, he wrote and arranged music for the Four Tops, the Jackson 5 and Martha Reeves, and he also worked with Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Supremes, Gaye and Wonder.
He later became Ross' musical director and received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for his work on her 1972 Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues.
Throughout his glittering musical career, he also worked with Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli and jazz legend Miles Davis.
He moved to Australia in the 1980s and taught music. Askey briefly returned to the entertainment business in 2010 to work as a musical consultant on Motown's 50th Anniversary tour which featured acts including the Four Tops and the Temptations.
Klaxons star Simon Taylor-Davis is running the upcoming London Marathon to raise money for a cancer charity. The British musician will take part in the 26-mile (42-kilometre) race on 13 April (14) to boost funding for Prostate Cancer UK, an organisation which provides support for sufferers.
Taylor-Davis admits he took up the challenge after two family friends were struck down with the disease, saying, "Prostate Cancer UK is doing a fantastic job to raise awareness amongst men... It hit home when a family friend survived prostate cancer - the most common cancer in men... I'm a keen runner and know what it's like to be part of a group of guys. So I want to be part of this ever-growing movement of men that will help inspire change."
The musician had raised more than $1,956 (£1,223) as WENN went to press. Donations can be made through the star's fundraising page on Virginmoneygiving.com.
British actor Warwick Davis will star in a new travel comedy series with his family. The Harry Potter star's latest TV venture will follow him as he explores holiday destinations across Britain with his family - wife Samantha and children, Annabelle, 17 and Harrison, 11, who all have dwarfism.
The family will travel around the country in a camper van and they hope the programme will give the public an insight into living with dwarfism.
Davis' wife Samantha was reluctant at first but adds, "The more I thought about it the more I thought, 'Maybe we should'. Partly to give the kids a big adventure, and partly to make a point about what it means to be us. I think sometimes people think little people like us are restricted. I hope they watch us charging about like lunatics in our camper van and think again."
Weekend Escapes with Warwick Davis airs in the U.K. from 11 April (14). The actor has previously appeared in Ricky Gervais' travel show An Idiot Abroad.
Kurt Cobain is set to be immortalised in comic book form thanks to a tribute which will be released on the 20th anniversary of his passing. The Nirvana frontman died from a shotgun wound at his home in Seattle, Washington in April, 1994 and to commemorate the music icon's legacy, writer and artist Jayfri Hashim has created Tribute: Kurt Cobain in honour of the beloved rocker.
The book will tell the story of Cobain's life, from his days starting out as a musician to his battle with the pressures of success and fame.
Bluewater Productions publisher Darren G. Davis explains the importance of the the comic books in a statement: "The Tribute line of comic books tells the stories of people that have made a significant difference in the world while they were with us. It is a way for us to honor these people who have made a difference in the world.
"Not only is this a great way to understand the importance of his contribution to music, but it is a great tool for kids to read about him in a different medium."
Other artists featured in the Bluewater Tribute line of comic books include John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Keith Richards.
Tribute: Kurt Cobain will be published on 2 April (14).
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Rocker Joan Jett is set to make history at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards this year (14) when she becomes the first female to receive the prestigious Golden God title. The I Love Rock 'n' Roll hitmaker will follow in the footsteps of previous honourees Motorhead, KISS star Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper, who have all taken home the top prize at the Los Angeles event in recent years.
Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose will be another big winner - he will be presented with the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement accolade. Metallica took home the award at last year's (13) ceremony.
Meanwhile, Black Sabbath, Avenged Sevenfold and Korn are among the multiple nominees for the prizegiving, which honours the best in heavy metal.
Ozzy Osbourne's group and their comeback release 13 will face off against Avenged Sevenfold's Hail to the King and Korn's The Paradigm Shift for Album of the Year, while Jonathan Davis (Korn) and M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold) have been shortlisted for Best Vocalist, as have Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch).
The Best Guitarist category will be a fight between Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) Munky & Head (Korn), Synyster Gates & Zacky Vengeance (Avenged Sevenfold), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) and Zoltan Bathory & Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch), while Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Fieldy (Korn) and Johnny Christ (Avenged Sevenfold) are among the nominees for Best Bassist.
Best Live Band nods go to Lamb of God, Rob Zombie, Slayer and Motley Crue, among others, and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age will compete for Comeback of the Year.
The awards, not to be confused with Metal Hammer's Golden Gods in the U.K., will take place at Club Nokia in L.A. on 23 April (14).
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Treading water at the very surface of RoboCop, there is an idea. A dense concept, ready and willing to provide no dearth of dissection for any eager student of philosophy, psychology, political science, physics — hell, any of the Ps. To simplify the idea on hand: What separates man from machine? It's a question that is not just teased by the basic premise of José Padilha's remake of the 1987 sci-fi staple, but asked outright by many of its main characters. And then never really worried about again.
We have principal parties on both sides of the ethical quandary that would place the security of our crime-ridden cities in the hands of automatons. Samuel L. Jackson plays a spitfire Bill O'Reilly who wonders why America hasn't lined its streets with high-efficiency officer droids. Zach Grenier, as a moralistic senator, gobbles his way through an opposition to the Pro-boCop movement. We hear lecture after lecture from pundits, politicians, business moguls (a money-hungry Michael Keaton heads the nefarious OmniCorp...) and scientists (...while his top doc Gary Oldman questions the nature of his assignments while poking at patients' brains and spouting diatribes about "free will"), all working their hardest to lay thematic groundwork. Each character insists that we're watching a movie about the distinction between human and artificial intelligence. That even with an active brain, no robot can understand what it means to have a heart. But when Prof. Oldman tempers his hysterical squawking and Samuel L. Hannity rolls his closing credits, we don't see these ideas taking life.
In earnest, the struggle of rehabilitated police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) — nearly killed in the line of duty and turned thereafter into OmniCorp's prototype RoboCop — doesn't seem to enlist any of the questions that his aggravated peers have been asking. Murphy is transformed not just physically, but mentally — robbed of his decision-making ability and depleted of emotional brain chemicals — effectively losing himself in the process. But the journey we see take hold of Murphy is not one to reclaim his soul, although the movie touts it as such. It's really just one to become a better robot.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Meanwhile, RoboCop lays down its motives, and hard: Murphy's wife and son (Abbie Cornish and a puckish young John Paul Ruttan) lament the loss of Alex, condemning his dehumanization at the hands of Raymond Sellars' (Keaton) capitalistic experiments, and sobbing out some torrential pathos so you know just how deep this company is digging. Weaselly stooges (Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, and Jackie Earl Haley) line the OmniCorp roster with comical wickedness. Overseas, killer combat bots take down peaceful villages, unable to work empathetic judgment into their decision to destroy all deemed as "threats." And at the top, figures of power and money like Sellars and Pat Novak (Jackson) speak the loudest and harshest, literally justifying their agenda with a call for all naysayers to "stop whining." Clearly, RoboCop has something to say.
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And when it's devoted to its outrage, RoboCop is terrifically charming. The buzzing political world is just a tiny step closer to ridiculous than our own; the pitch meetings at OmniCorp are fun enough to provoke a ditching of all the material outside of the company walls. And one particular reference to The Wizard of Oz shows that the movie isn't above having fun with its admittedly silly premise. But it loses its magic when it steps away from goofy gimmicks and satirical monologues and heads back into the story. We don't see enough of Murphy grappling with the complicated balance between his conflicting organic and synthetic selves. In fact, we don't see enough "story" in Murphy at all. First, he's a dad and a cop. Then, he's a RoboCop. But can he also be a RoboDad? With all of its ranting and raving about the question, the film doesn't seem to concerned with actually figuring out the answer.
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Snoop Dogg's former Tha Eastsidaz bandmates Tray Deee and Goldie Loc are set to reunite 11 years after they split. Incarcerated rapper Tray Deee is set to be released from prison in March (14) and he has already booked his first public performance for April (14), when he will team up with Goldie Loc for the Krush Groove 2014 concert in Inglewood, California.
It is not yet known if Snoop Dogg will join his old pals to complete the group line-up.
Tray Deee, real name Tracy Davis, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for attempted murder in 2005 following a gang shooting in 2003, when the trio disbanded.
Other acts due to hit the stage for the Forum event include Method Man and Redman, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Too $hort.
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Kevin Costner, the man who has played roles in baseball movies like Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game and Tin Cup (Yes, golf is a sport) is now playing a different type of sports character - a front office man in Draft Day, which will be coming out in April. It's about time - though it will be interesting to see if he succeeds.
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While I'm not saying Costner is old, he will be 60 in a little over a year, and he is aging gracefully. Other actors, like Harrison Ford are doing it - Ford played Branch Rickey in 42 (then again, Ford is also appearing in The Expendables 3). Like many athletes, he is shifting from his playing days to management. It's like Crash Davis has moved into a front office position, except it's football. His character is determined to get the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, no matter what.
The ironic thing in all this is the choice of the franchise that Costner's character is in charge of: the Cleveland Browns. This has been one of the most downtrodden franchises of all time. Their fans have seen everything from Earnest Byner's Fumble to their owner Art Modell taking the franchise to Baltimore and then having to have the league award them an expansion team to be able to have football again. They have never won a Super Bowl and their team was particularly dreadful again in 2013 (in fact, they just fired their head coach after only one season in that position). So it seems almost cruel to have this larger than life character of Costner's take on the role of the team's general manager.
In fact, it's not just football that has left the city of Cleveland wanting - it's all sports. Their basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers were annual punching bags for Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the 1980s and '90s (not going to go into that whole LeBron James and The Decision thing either - that would require about 5,000 words) and the Indians have not won a World Series since '48, a time that keeps receding further and further in time's rear view mirror. They don't even have an NHL team. So the citizens have had to turn to the theater to see their teams win in Major League and Major League II.
The movie itself should be great - Ivan Reitman is directing it and the rest of the cast is strong, with Jennifer Garner, Sam Elliott, Terry Crews (of course!), Denis Leary and Frank Langella also appearing. The problem is that Browns fans would likely expect that were Costner's character to get the pick, whoever he selected would probably get hit by a bus in the very next scene.
At least Costner didn't decide to play the general manager of the Chicago Cubs.