Opera composer Seymour Barab has died at the age of 93. The Chicago, Illinois-born musician passed away in New York on 28 June (14).
He began his career as a cellist before becoming a composer, and was a founding member of the Composers String Quartet in the 1960s.
He went on to write music for texts by poets W.B. Yeats and John Dryden and author Kurt Vonnegut, before moving on to composing operas, such as Philip Marshall, A Piece of String, Passion in the Principal's Office and the satire La Pizza Con Funghi.
Barab also penned shows for children, including adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Snow White.
Rocker Joey Covington has died in a car accident in California. The 67-year-old Jefferson Airplane drummer lost control of his sedan and slammed into a wall in Palm Springs on Tuesday (04Jun13), according to a local TV report.
Covington, the only passenger, was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The star was one of the founding members of blues-rock band Hot Tuna, alongside Jefferson Airplane members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen. He rejoined them in Jefferson Airplane and played on the album Volunteers before replacing Spencer Dryden in 1970.
He also featured on the Jefferson Airplane albums Bark and Long John Silver, and co-wrote the single With Your Love.
Covington left the band in 1972 to carve out a solo career.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Socially inept Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is the only son among seven sisters who torment his insular daily life by calling him "gay boy" and making harassing telephone calls to him at work at the toilet-plunger warehouse he runs in the San Fernando Valley. Barry takes out his frustration by breaking and smashing things or randomly bursting into tears. One day he discovers a potential means of escape in an offer (and this part's based on a true story) for frequent-flyer miles through the purchase of $3 000 of Healthy Choice Pudding which Barry buys by the case eventually racking up over 1.25 million miles worth of air travel. But loneliness is the guest who doesn't leave and Barry bides his time by engaging in a phone-sex service wherein he gives away his credit card number and other information. He ends up being harassed by the woman he calls who turns out to be part of an extortion scheme organized by a dirtbag mattress salesman (Philip Seymour Hoffman). This leads to unforeseen consequences that push Barry deeper into the hair-pulling abyss--until his sister introduces him to Lena Leonard (Emily Watson) who with deceptively simple tenderness in this otherwise deceptively simple love story awakens Barry to his inner strength.
Let's get this over with right now: Adam Sandler kicks ass in this movie. It doesn't matter that he's playing varied degrees of his angry retard from Billy Madison Happy Gilmore and the rest and that here he's solidified those characters into a core of brewing indecisive rage (less the requisite heart of gold). Sandler seems to understand he's representing all the sexually inept basket cases that go through life nitpicking the fine print because they can't get laid. It's also obvious that nobody breaks things on screen like Sandler--but at least here his rage isn't just something that looked funny on paper. When he's tearing the door off the john or screaming himself almost into a stroke during a confrontation with one of his sisters one gets the sense that Sandler is getting in touch with the rage of the inner self. His fits aren't necessarily funny but they will make you laugh. It's long been speculated that Sandler has the talent to deliver the goods and he does it here with a cartoonish walk and punctuated delivery that'll suck you right into the loose wires of Barry's dilapidated nervous system. Maybe this performance won't earn him an Oscar nomination but Sandler's Barry will both give you the creeps and make you cheer him on. Refreshingly Emily Watson plays it straight this time around (as opposed to playing diseased dying or insane)--but unlike Sandler's performance any actress that looks good on a gurney could have done her role. But Watson gives a heck of a lot of warmth to a character that doesn't seem to have much of a story. Philip Seymour Hoffman as the sleazy salesman who operates the sleazy phone-sex service gets to say "shut up" a lot. This role again could have done by just about anyone but it's apparent that Hoffman has become an indispensable facet of Anderson films. So where oh where is John C. Reilly?
Boogie Nights and Magnolia gave us a director who put the cultural absurdities of David Lynch and the detailed broad strokes of Robert Altman in the soup and made us eat it with a gun to our heads. We loved it bestowing Paul Thomas Anderson with awards nominations and a fat paycheck. Punch-Drunk Love (for which Anderson won best director at Cannes 2002) exemplifies the director's knack for capturing the mind-numbing madness of the obvious. With a camera that slinks along hallways and around corners panoramic stills of the Valley's empty streets and grocery stores over-amplified sound effects and a creepy score by Jon Brion Anderson has put together a far more accessible feast than his last two outings. This is a movie you could watch just for the ingenious theatrical movement of the camera. Some of the scenes in Punch-Drunk Love--like when Barry's sister introduces him to Lena and we're barraged with crashes squelched dialogued and chaotic drumming that'll make you think you're having a seizure--are awe-inspiring. Anderson's screenplay loaded with witty dialogue and unexpected heart-stopping surprises is on par with the direction; there are a lot of choice lines especially from Sandler to put on your computer's hard drive.
Ozzy Osbourne's pink-haired, 17-year-old daughter Kelly will sing on stage for the first time at the MTV Movie Awards, The Associated Press reports. Kelly will sing her cover version of Madonna's 1986 hit "Papa Don't Preach," which she recorded with members of Incubus for The Osbourne Family Album, due out June 11. The awards show, which will be hosted by Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar, will take place Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air on MTV June 6.
Malcolm in the Middle's Jane Kaczmarek is expecting a third child with her husband, Brad Whitford. The baby is due in November. According to the AP, the couple is expected to return to their respective television shows in the fall. Whitford plays Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman on NBC's The West Wing.
The woman who claims she was raped by Celine Dion's husband, René Angelil, was released without bail from jail after she agreed to repay more than $550,000 to a Las Vegas casino, the AP reports. Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, a Pasadena, Calif., resident, was accused of signing four markers promising to pay the casino in a case in 2001.
DreamWorks Pictures is developing a fully animated, computer-generated feature based on writers Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff's original pitch, Master P: Kung Fu Panda. The story is about a gang of snow leopard bandits that come down from the highlands to invade a bamboo jungle in China, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Kevin Spacey is developing a remake of the Norwegian drama Elling, about two misfits who become friends after a two-year stint in a state home, Variety reports. The original film was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar this year. Spacey does not plan to star in the English-language remake.
Stephen Chiau, who starred in and directed the Asian blockbuster Shaolin Soccer, is planning an action/comedy for the international market. Chiau told Reuters in a recent interview that the film would be based on a story that happened in Hong Kong in the 1940s and '50s and that a script was in the works.
John Leguizamo will make his directorial debut with the HBO drama Infamous, about a young Latino boxer, Variety reports. Leguizamo will co-direct the film with Enrique Shadyac, as well as executive produce and star in the pic. Shooting begins in Gotham Aug. 5.
Actor/comedian Jamie Foxx will star as former Washington Mayor Marion Barry in the HBO biopic Livin' for the City: The Marion Barry Story. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pic will be executive produced by Chris Rock, who poked fun at Barry in his 1996 HBO stand-up special Bring the Pain.
Following the abrupt departure of longtime chief Michael Greene last month, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Grammys, is setting up a committee to find a new president, Variety reports. Jive Records West Coast chief Neil Portnow is rumored to be a frontrunner for the position.
California rockers Alien Ant Farm have cut short their European tour and canceled all shows in the United States through September following a bus crash last week in Spain in which their driver was killed, the AP reports. Frontman Dryden Mitchell suffered a broken vertebra in the accident, while guitarist Terry Corso broke his ankle.