Ringo Starr is set to receive the Lifetime of Peace and Love Award at a tribute concert in Los Angeles later this month (Jan14). The former Beatles icon will be feted by director David Lynch on 20 January (14) for his work in raising awareness about Transcendental Meditation.
The ceremony will be followed by a concert tribute featuring Joe Walsh, Ben Folds, Ben Harper and Dave Stewart.
A statement from Lynch, reads, "We want to generate the electricity of peace through music and it's a thrill to know that the super-creative, enthusiastic musicians of our world are with us to achieve this goal."
There's another tribute planned for February (14), when Lynch will present music producer Rick Rubin with the Lifetime of Harmony Award. The Dixie Chicks, Damien Rice and Jake Bugg will perform at that event.
The genesis of Universal's 47 Ronin is almost as tragic as the actual history that the movie is culling from. As the story goes, Universal saw the sprigs of talent sprouting from fresh faced director Carl Rinsch, whose previous experience was limited to just a couple of commercials and a nifty short film. The studio decided to ease the new director into feature filmmaking by cutting him what amounts to virtually a blank check, and giving him charge over a multi-national samurai fantasy epic. Almost impossibly, the film isn't a complete disaster. It's just a minor one.
47 Ronin follows the classic story of the titular team of warriors, a group of disgraced samurai who band together to seek revenge against a merciless warlord that betrayed and killed their master. But this isn't your grandfather's version of the story. 47 Ronin is an international affair, and it's covered with a veneer of Japanese mysticism and a thick coating of Hollywood lacquer, but east meets west rather uncomfortably, and it's mostly due to Keanu Reeves. Reeves' character is clearly crowbarred into the story that has no room for him, and it's plainly obvious where the seams of the story were stretched in order to patch him into the narrative. Reeves plays Kai, a half Japanese, half English orphan who is adopted by the samurai clan. His character serves no real purpose beyond being white, slicing things until they die, and playing the male lead of the most superfluous love story of the year. Rinsch simply can't make the inclusion of the character feel organic in any way, and "Kai" ends up feeling like a calculated studio move. It's a shame that the film spends so much time on Reeves when the real star is clearly Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays off the stoic samurai most believably among the rest of the cast.
It's also shame that with all the mysticism pumped into the story, there's no magic in the actual center of the film, the ronin themselves. The only personality trait a samurai is allowed to possess seems to be unerring stoicism, and between all 47 ronin, there are probably only three distinct samurai with any discernible character traits beyond an intense need to brood, and you'll probably only remember those three by the time the credits roll, only to promptly forget about them only a few hours later. Thankfully, Rinko Kikuchi's slinky and treacherous witch adds some much needed camp and personality to the mostly forgettable human characters.
And that's the issue with 47 Ronin. It's largely forgettable. When your film takes on a historical legend like the tale of the 47 ronin, a story that has been told and told again ad nauseum over the years, you really need to justify your own version. There are reels and reels of film dedicated to this story, and 47 Ronin doesn't manage to add anything significant to the canon. It promises to weld myth and history together, but does so clumsily, and while some of the action scenes are exciting, especially a particularly inspired set piece that involves the ronin noiselessly breaking into a heavily guarded fortress, the film is a bore when it's not clanking swords together.
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47 Ronin is a film with many stories. As much as it is a tale about the revenge of four dozen masterless samurai, it's also the tale of an inexperienced filmmaker swallowed up by the enormity of blockbuster filmmaking. Most of all though, It's proof that you shouldn't cram Keanu Reeves into a movie that doesn't really need Keanu Reeves. What you're left with is a dull and bloated samurai epic that has its moments, but feels largely unnecessary.
Teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. were found guilty of the crime and convicted, but a star-studded campaign and an investigation funded by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh led to the trio's release.
Now, Berg's new film West of Memphis, covering the fight to overturn the three friends' convictions, has sparked a new investigation into the murders.
At a hearing on Wednesday (24Oct12) into the findings of the film and testimony obtained by Berg, state of Arkansas officials revealed there is an ongoing investigation with respect to new affidavits that have been submitted to the court.
The affidavits, featured in the investigative documentary, contain new evidence from three eyewitnesses about the final hours of the three dead boys' lives.
Reports suggest Circuit Court Judge Victor Hill will make an official ruling about reopening the case next week (beg29Oct12) and then decide if the state prosecutor Scott Ellington will have to turn over documents related to the case, including the affidavits that were part of the criminal investigation in the film.
Berg says, "?The fact that after watching West of Memphis, the state of Arkansas is considering opening an investigation into what we uncovered in the film is a huge step in the right direction. West of Memphis is a living, breathing film and will continue to evolve, like the story, until there is total justice in this case. This story is far from over.?
Since September (12) there have been a number of free screenings of West of Memphis in Arkansas and the film will screen in Little Rock on 30 October. It will open in cinemas in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day (25Dec12).
The daytime gang came out strong tonight to serve up its 39th Emmy Awards ceremony, with nary a mention of the of the earlier murder-suicide that occurred late last night at the Beverly Hilton--where the awards were taking place. The show started off with a very lost Anthony Geary, having trouble finding the stage after a sing-songy intro between Oscar the Grouch and Anderson Cooper.
So let's get down to brass tacks and talk winners and losers, alligators, dry skin jokes (Thanks, Bethenny Frankel), and THE Susan Lucci!
Almost as a parting gift to the legacy of Regis Philbin, Live! With Regis & Kelly won several trophies in their respective categories. General Hospital was the big winner of the evening, bringing home several of the biggest trophies of the evening--including Outstanding Drama Series. But enough of us yammering on; check out the full list below of the biggest winners (winners are bolded) and the ones who shocked 'em all at the awards.
Outstanding Drama Series
All My Children (ABC)
Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young And The Restless (CBS)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Crystal Chappell, as Dr. Carly Manning Days Of Our Lives (NBC)
Debbie Morgan, as Angie Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Erika Slezak, as Viki Lord One Life To Live (ABC)
Heather Tom, as Katie Logan Spencer The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Laura Wright, as Carly Corinthos Jax General Hospital (ABC)
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Maurice Bernard, as Michael “Sonny” Cointhos, Jr. General Hospital (ABC)
Anthony Geary, as Luke Spencer General Hospital (ABC)
John McCook, as Eric Forrester The Bold And The Beautiful (CBS)
Darnell Williams, as Jesse Hubbard All My Children (ABC)
Robert S. Woods, as Bo Buchanan One Life To Live (ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bradford Anderson as Damien Spinelli (General Hospital, ABC)
Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Sean Blakemore as Shawn Butler (General Hospital, ABC)
Jonathan Jackson as Lucky Spencer (General Hospital, ABC)
Jason Thompson as Patrick Drake (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Melissa Claire Egan as Annie Chandler (All My Children, ABC)
Genie Francis as Genevieve Atkinson (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Davis (General Hospital, ABC)
Elizabeth Hendrickson as Chloe Mitchell (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Rebecca Herbst as Elizabeth Webber (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series
Eddie Alderson as Matthew Buchanan (One Life To Live, ABC)
Chad Duell as Michael Corinthos (General Hospital, ABC)
Chandler Massey as Will Horton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Nathan Parsons as Ethan Lovett (General Hospital, ABC)
Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Molly Burnett as Melanie Layton (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Shelley Hennig as Stephanie Johnson (Days of our Lives, NBC)
Christel Khalil as Lily Winters (The Young and the Restless, CBS)
Jaqueline Macinnes Wood as Steffy Forrester (The Bold and the Beautiful, CBS)
Outstanding Talk Show — Entertainment
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Syndicated)
Live With Regis And Kelly (Syndicated)
The Talk (CBS)
The View (ABC)
Outstanding Talk Show — Informative
The Dr. Oz Show
Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host
Giada De Laurentiis, Giada At Home
Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
Nate Berkus, The Nate Berkus Show
Paula Deen, Paula's Best Dishes
Sandra Lee, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee
Outstanding Culinary Program
Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction
Giada At Home
Guy's Big Bite
Outstanding Game Show Host
Ben Baily (Cash Cab, Discovery Channel)
Todd Newton (Family Game Night, The HUB)
Wayne Brady (Let's Make A Deal, CBS)
Meredith Vieira (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Syndicated)
Outstanding Talk Show Host
Anderson Cooper (Anderson, Syndicated)
Dr. Mehmet Oz (The Dr. Oz Show, Syndicated)
Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly, Syndicated)
Rachael Ray (Rachael Ray, Syndicated)
Dr. Lisa Masterson, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Andrew Ordon, Dr. Jim Sears, Dr. Travis Stork, Wendy Walsh (The Doctors, Syndicated)
Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
Cash Cab (Discovery Channel)
Let's Make A Deal (CBS)
Wheel of Fortune (Syndicated)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Syndicated)
Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program
America's Court with Judge Ross
Judge Joe Brown
Last Shot with Judge Gunn
We the People with Gloria Allred
Oustanding Morning Program
Good Morning America (ABC)
Today Show (NBC)
Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
All My Children (ABC)
Days of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Oustanding Children's Animated Program
Curious George (PBS)
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (Nickelodeon)
Peep & The Big Wide World (American Public Television)
Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon)
Sid the Science Kid (PBS)
SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series
Dakota Goyo as Josh (R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour The Series, The HUB)
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as Abby Cadaby (Sesame Street, PBS)
Kevin Clash as Elmo (Sesame Street, PBS)
Caroll Spinney as Big Bird (Sesame Street, PBS)
Lifetime Achievement Award
What did you think of this year's awards? Anyone you were surprised or happy to see recognized? Let us know in the comments!
[Image Credit: HLN]
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The filmmaker and his partner Fran Walsh have been quietly funding the West Memphis Three investigation for years after they joined celebrities like Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines among those keen to prove the men had been wrongfully convicted.
The West Memphis Three - Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Damien Echols - were jailed as teenagers for the murder of three young boys in 1993 and last year (11), they were set free after striking a plea deal with prosecutors.
They promptly staged a press conference and insisted they had spent 18 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit, but agreed to a plea deal to escape prison.
Jackson has been involved in making a documentary about the high-profile case, and reveals he stuck by the three accused because his own treatment at the hand of bullies pushed him to help those who are treated badly by society.
He says, "I was bullied and regarded as little bit of an oddball myself. And I see that happening to somebody else, so I just want to help them."
The filmmaker and his partner Fran Walsh have been quietly funding the West Memphis Three investigation for years after they joined celebrities like Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines among those keen to prove the men accused of the murder had been wrongfully convicted.
The West Memphis Three - Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Damien Echols - were set free on Friday after admitting guilt to the murders. They promptly staged a press conference and insisted they had spent 17 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit, but agreed to a plea deal to escape prison.
And Jackson and Walsh never doubted the trio's innocence and paid for an investigation to find the real killers.
Jackson's manager Ken Kamins tells EW.com, "When Peter and Fran got involved, they had to decide how to best serve the case. Damien, Jason, and Jessie had great public advocates in Eddie, Johnny (Depp), Natalie, Henry (Rollins)... and everyone else who was raising money and bringing public attention to the case. Peter and Fran, therefore, decided to put their attention into funding and spearheading DNA work, hiring forensic and other experts, plus extensive private investigations into all aspects of the case.
"Because Peter and Fran’s role required a very close relationship with the defence lawyers, in particular Damien’s team, they have always respected and understood that their role had to be of a confidential nature.
"They have worked very closely with a number of Damien’s attorneys and over the years they have become close friends with Damien and (his wife) Lorri. They have always believed that if they could get Damien free, Jason and Jessie would benefit too."
And now the men are free, Jackson and Walsh plan to keep funding the search for the real killer or killers.
Kamins adds, "This work is ongoing. Peter and Fran are heavily involved in ongoing investigations, and the release of the guys is far from the end of the story."
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.