Music's been such a huge part of President Obama's reelection bid. He went on tour with opening act Bruce Springsteen, serenaded one lucky audience at a campaign stop with an impromptu rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," earned endorsements from Bob Dylan, Dave Grohl, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and even got a lyrical assist from Jay-Z who altered his famous "99 Problems" to "I've got 99 problems but a Mitt ain't one." So it should be no surprise that Obama's victory celebration last night at Chicago's McCormick Place would feature some killer tunes.
But who knew it would become an 18,000-person dance party? Mark Ronson, half a world away in a hotel room in Dubai, even tweeted, "Seriously, who is dj'ing OBAMA HQ? incredible. Teena Marie, MAZE etc....every global news station is blastin Frankie Crocker classics," referring to the legendary New York disc jockey and Studio 54 demigod who died in 2000. Well, Crocker wasn't pulling any kind of Lazarus act last night. For maximum hip factor, the Obama campaign brought in Austin-based mixmaster Mel Cavaricci, better known in the dance music scene as DJ Mel. And he put together one helluva victory playlist. Still basking in the glow of Election Day? Recapture the moment with these 22 songs that DJ Mel played Tuesday night, a playlist that he put together with a little input from the Obama campaign itself.
President Obama's Official 2012 Victory Celebration Playlist
Al Green—“Let’s Stay Together” (Not the Obama cover, I'm afraid)
Bill Withers— “Lovely Day”
Marvin Gaye— “Got to Give It Up”
Michael Jackson—“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”
McFadden & Whitehead—“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”
The Heavy—"How You Like Me Now"
Doris Troy—"Just One Look"
Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions—"Keep on Pushing"
The Supremes—"Come See About Me" and "You Can't Hurry Love"
Contours—"Do You Love Me"
Ray Charles—"What'd I Say, Part 1"
Shalamar—"The Second Time Around"
The Four Seasons—"December 1963 (Oh What a Night)"
KC and the Sunshine Band—“Boogie Shoes”
Jean Knight—“Mr. Big Stuff”
Maze—“Before I Let Go”
Teena Marie—“Black Cool” (Marie, who died in 2010, actually wrote "Black Cool" about Obama before her death.)
The Beatles—“Twist and Shout” (played right after it was announced Obama had won the election, because nothing conveys joy like John Lennon's throat-shredding vocals on the 1963 cover)
Stevie Wonder—“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” (Obama's entrance music before his victory speech)
Bruce Springsteen—“We Take Care of Our Own” (which the especially witty Brian Williams noted at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning has been widely misinterpreted, much like Springsteen's "Born in the USA" before it, as a pat-yourself-on-the-back anthem rather than a critique of laissez-faire domestic policy)
Democrats really do know how to party, don't they?
[Photo Credit: Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images]
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Imagine if you will the story of Pinocchio in reverse: Instead of a puppet turning into a human boy the opposite occurs. Now in place of the puppet substitute a humanoid robot with flight capabilities and advanced weaponry and you get Summit Entertainment's animated sci-fi flick Astro Boy.
If the concept sounds a tad bizarre it might help to know that Astro Boy’s roots stretch back to the world of Japanese manga comics where the idea of a boy dying and being reborn as a super-powered robot isn’t considered remotely unusual. Thankfully helping to make Astro Boy’s robot Lazarus more palatable to American audiences is Freddie Highmore who lends his considerable voice talents to both the titular robot and his human forebear Toby.
Little Toby absolutely worships his father Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage) a gifted scientist famous for his innovations in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence.(Astro Boy is set in the distant somewhat dystopian future by the way.) Tenma serves as the lead science advisor for Metro City a high-tech utopia that floats high above Earth safely removed from the environmental wreckage on the surface below . He’s a busy man — so busy in fact that he doesn’t notice when his son wanders into a weapons testing area and perishes during one of his experiments.
Devastated Tenma does what any heartbroken father would do after the tragic death of his son: He extracts the memories from the boy’s DNA and uploads them into the CPU of a technologically advanced super-robot one who bears an uncanny resemblance to the deceased. Tenma soon finds however that his son’s robot doppelganger does nothing to alleviate his suffering. Consumed by regret he orders the robot boy dismantled.
But Toby 2.0 manages to avoid destruction with the help of another scientist Dr. Elefun (Bill Nighy) who takes pity on the earnest all-too-human creation and he escapes to Earth’s surface. Amid the forgotten wasteland he befriends an Oliver-esque group of orphans is re-named Astro Boy and bests a handful of other robots in a giant battle royale.
No sooner does Astro Boy triumph against the mechanized gladiators than he is summoned back to Metro City where its megalomaniacal president General Stone (Donald Sutherland) has gone completely apes**t fusing with a powerful war machine (ironically dubbed “The Peacemaker”) and carving a destructive path through the metropolis. Soon the only thing that stands in the way of Metro City’s certain annihilation is the heroic Astro Boy whose compassion for his human friends we discover is anything but artificial.
With its simple message charming story and gorgeous retro-futuristic animation Astro Boy packs more than enough firepower to overcome the awkwardness of its premise the lulls in its storyline and the overall creepiness of Nicolas Cage (both his voice and his character). Dr. Tenma is an odd cat and Cage does little to endear him to the audience to the point that when father and robot son reconcile at the end their reunion feels hollow — and more than a little weird.
Initially Astro Boy takes a little too long trying to establish the father-son and father-robot dynamics when it should be fast-forwarding to the action. When the action does get going however the movie is consistently engrossing.
The star passed away on 23 July (09) after he was hospitalised in Los Angeles with respiratory problems
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Frand began his TV career in the 1970s at NBC News but landed his first job as producer in 1982, working on Rock Hudson's series The Devlin Connection
He went on to produce a variety of shows in the 1980s and '90s, including The Twilight Zone, The Lazarus Man, Strange World, and The Young Riders
But he was most recognised for his work on the sci-fi hit Battlestar Galactica after signing on to the project in 2003. His work behind the scenes garnered him a slew of honours - he won a Peabody Award in 2005, an AFI Award in 2006 and an Emmy Award last year (08)
He picked up his second nomination for the prestigious ceremony earlier this month (Jul09) when the shortlist for the Primetime Emmy Awards were announced
Paying tribute to Frand, studio executive Todd Sharp for NBC Universal says, "Harvey was the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain, the train engineer, the orchestra conductor, the school guidance counsellor. He was adored by executive producers and production assistants, studio and network, cast and crew.
Frand is survived by his partner of 32 years, Bill Bowersock, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Merging reality and fantasy in a movie within a movie co-writer/director/star Ben Stiller lampoons the movie industry in ways it hasn’t been skewered since The Player and S.O.B. In Tropic Thunder a film crew sets out to make the biggest (and most clichéd) war movie ever. But after huge budget overruns and a tantrum from the studio head (an unrecognizable Tom Cruise) the hapless English director (Steve Coogan) decides what the film needs is a lot more realism. So he plunks his all-male cast deep down into the jungles of Southeast Asia for some on-the-spot boot camp training. What starts out as an exercise turns disastrous when they encounter REAL enemy warriors trying to do them in. The motley crew of actors include: Tugg Speedman (Stiller) a fading action hero desperate for a hit; Australian five-time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr. ) who is such a method actor he undergoes a unique skin pigmentation transformation to play his character as an African-American; and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) star of a successful farting comedy franchise called The Fatties. Also along for the shoot is intensely serious author John “Four Leaf” Tayback (Nick Nolte) whose book the movie is based on and who may have twisted the real facts for the sake of a movie sale. The bulk of the film finds them fighting for their lives without a script in sight. Stiller shoots and scores big time getting superb and hysterically funny performances from a great cast. Ben is back doing what he loves spoofing convention which in this case includes every jungle war movie from Platoon and Apocalypse Now to Rambo. Playing an actor whose series of action-hero flicks have had dwindling returns and whose last flop had him portraying a mentally impaired farm boy Stiller gets big laughs as his character tries to make a comeback. Robert Downey Jr doesn’t just deserve an award for his riotous and audacious acting he should get a medal for bravery. The star continues his great year with a hilarious turn as the ultimate method actor. He’s hilarious as he refuses to speak in anything but his ghetto accent even when the cameras aren’t rolling--exclaiming at one point “Man I don’t drop character until I’ve done the DVD commentary!” Black manages to go even further over the top than usual but his manic act is perfect for the loud and relentless tone set by Stiller. Nolte is perfect casting as a grizzled war vet and Coogan is very funny as the beleaguered director who takes things one step too far for his safety. Meanwhile newcomers Jay Baruchel Danny McBride (having a great year with this Pineapple Express and Foot Fist Way) and Brandon T. Jackson round out the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. The large cast also includes extended cameos from Matthew McConaughey as Speedman’s groveling agent Bill Hader as a film executive and a startling and terrifically funny performance by a balding hairy-chested Tom Cruise as the screaming foul mouthed studio head. Special mention also to 12 year-old Brandon Soo Hoo who is on target as the take-no-crap “leader” of the enemy camp. Ben Stiller hasn’t been behind the camera since his hilarious Zoolander but he hasn’t missed a beat in that department. He manages to make a balls-out action war film with more explosions than any movie in recent memory--obviously paying homage to such classics as Platoon--but doing it all in the service of a smart comic takeoff on the movie business he clearly knows well. Stiller’s comic canvas making fun of the whole “boot camp” mentality is impressively mounted with flawless CGI special effects evoking the kind of kick-ass war flick we need to believe this troupe is making. Multiple Oscar winner John Toll’s fine cinematography should also get well-deserved credit. With so much extreme mayhem going on keeping the comedy cooking at top levels is a daunting task Stiller pulls off with aplomb.
Seagal plays hard-edged Detroit detective Orin Boyd whose unorthodox methods to catch the bad guys generally leave him in hot water. After single-handedly saving the U.S. vice president from a terrorist attack and unfortunately blowing up too many things in the process Boyd is relegated to the dregs of all Detroit divisions - the 15th Precinct. There with the help of his no-nonsense commander (Jill Hennessy) and his naïve partner a by-the-book cop (Isaiah Washington) he discovers how truly corrupt the precinct is when several kilos of heroin and cash turn up missing. Boyd finds an unlikely ally in drug-dealing crime lord Latrell Walker (DMX) who is falsely accused and becomes the main target. The two men must team up together to expose the deep-seated conspiracy within the police department. Of course they do.
If you are a fan it's great to have uber-cool Seagal back on-screen. He took a break from his action fare over the last few years but has returned looking as buff as ever. However this time around he magnanimously shares the screen with a few young actors who take on as much - or perhaps even more - action than the big man himself. Hip-hop star DMX struts and preens with the best of them and Seagal seems almost amused having the young actor take over some of the dirty work. Good-guy cop Washington (Romeo Must Die) lends a helping hand while big guy Anthony Anderson (also in Romeo Must Die) does a nice job playing DMX's henchman. Hennessy is fairly wasted but it's refreshing to see a woman playing a tough police commander.
This isn't a warm and fuzzy film. This isn't a groundbreaking drama. This is a Steven Seagal action movie where the characters will not discover hidden secrets about themselves and become better people. If you are aware of this fact then the film doesn't disappoint. Seagal films have occasionally risen above the standard beat-'em-up blow-'em-up fare. The best example may have been the intriguing Under Siege like Die Hard on a U.S. Navy battleship where his I'm-king-of-the-world attitude wasn't as prevalent. In Exit Wounds Seagal is finally older and maybe a little wiser realizing his own limitations. The film even makes fun of itself (Seagal actually takes an anger-management class). Yet ultimately we know what this film is all about -- the fight sequences the guns the explosions - leaving room for little else.