Ed Sheeran, Fall Out Boy and the Zac Brown Band are among the artists who have recorded tracks from Elton John's iconic 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road for a new box set release. The three acts, and Miguel, Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry, John Grant, Emeli Sande and Imelda May, have each picked a song from the album for the reissue package, which will be released in March (14).
Elton's seminal breakthrough album has been remastered and will be issued on CD, vinyl and limited-edition yellow vinyl, but it's a deluxe box set that is sure to become a must-have for fans - it will include a Live at Hammersmith 1973 CD, a DVD of Bryan Forbes' 1973 film Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things, a 100-page illustrated hardback book packed with rare photos and memorabilia, and "suite" of nine, new cover versions of classic songs from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
The songs include Sheeran's cover of Candle in the Wind, Fall Out Boy's rendition of Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting and Hayes' version of the title track.
Think Film via Everett Collection
Director Terry Gilliam told ComingSoon that his next movie after The Zero Theorem is going to be his long gestating, on-again-off-again adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes' The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. But as much as we want the movie to happen, we're not going to hold our breath while we wait.
Production originally began on Gilliam's Don Quixote in 2000, with Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort attached, and while the footage was used in the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha, the actual film never came to fruition. Gilliam hopes that this time around he'll be able to actually complete the project.
"I'm going to try to do 'Don Quixote' again," Gilliam said in an interview with ComingSoon. "I think this is the seventh time. Lucky seven, maybe. We'll see if it happens. This is kind of my default position, going back to that. I actually just want to make it and get rid of it. Get it out of my life."
At this point in time (13 years later), we're just about ready to give Gilliam a standing ovation if the movie gets made at all, whether it is good or bad. The same goes for these six movies that have been in development hell for way too long:
AN ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT MOVIEWhat It Would Take to Actually Get This Made: The entire cast signing a contract saying that they'll actually do it, with a mandated deadline. Creator Mitch Hurwitz can say that "everybody seems really into it" all he wants, but it's hard work to bring a cast of their size together to work on something at the same time. Until there's some pen-on-paper action, we don't think we'll be seeing the banana-loving Bluth clan anytime soon. Oh, and we heard Tony Hale won't sign anything until he's promised unlimited juice.
GHOSTBUSTERS IIIWhat It Would Take to Actually Get This Made: Bill Murray realizing that there is no Ghostbusters without him. Dan Aykroyd has already said that Murray doesn't want to be involved, but we're still crossing our fingers. There's rumor that Emma Stone might be cast in the movie (if it's ever made), so maybe Stone can talk to Murray, Zombieland star to Zombieland star.
THE THIEF AND THE COBBLERWhat It Would Take to Actually Get This Made: Another 31 years. Would it be worth it to wait that long? Uh, yes. Especially since it's been called "the greatest animated film never made."
A WONDER WOMAN MOVIEWhat It Would Take to Actually Get This Made: Hollywood realizing that a female superhero can be a kickass lead in a movie. Come on, everyone! It's time already.
A DARK TOWER MOVIEWhat It Would Take to Actually Get This Made: The Arrested Development movie actually being completed. First thing's first, Ron Howard.
For Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra, his new HBO movie about flamboyant pop star Liberace (Michael Douglas) and live-in lover Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), was years in the making.
"For years I was thinking about it but couldn’t figure out a way in. I didn't want a traditional biopic and I couldn’t figure out what the angle was," Soderbergh tells TV reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. But the project came together once a friend told him to read Thorson's tell-all book about the relationship, Behind the Candelabra.
Portraying the couple in a realistic manner was very important to Soderbergh and screenwriter Richard LaGravenese. "We take the relationship seriously," Soderbergh says. "My feeling based on some of the research we did indicated that it was a real relationship and it was, at that point, the longest relationship Liberace had had. I was very anxious that we not make a caricature of either of the characters or the relationship. There’s no question that it’s unfortunate to see the movie through a contemporary lens and know that they weren’t able to be as open back then as people are today."
Damon, who plays Thorson, says that sensitivity came across in the script. "When you’ve made a lot of movies it's really rare to even see a script this good," he says. "It was so complex, their relationship. Richard so got this dynamic. Whether this was the actual dynamic or not, I completely believed what he had written. ... So it was fun, but we weren’t giggling about it. We took it very seriously."
That said, there were some outrageous elements Damon and Douglas encountered in portraying both men. "I’ve always been somebody who goes into the wardrobe fitting and I try to get out as fast as I can," Damon says. "I probably spent more time in the wardrobe fittings on this thing than I had in the previous 15 projects — literally days and days and days. And I really enjoyed it."
Douglas had met Liberace a few times as a child thanks to his father, but studied footage of the musician to really portray him well. "There’s a tremendous amount of clips and films that certainly give you a sense and idea [of what he was like]," Douglas explains.
Although Liberace's larger-than-life personality is often poked fun at now, executive producer Jerry Weintraub notes that Liberace's musicianship is often overlooked.
"I think that it's well known within the industry and among musicians that he’s among the best pianists of all time, but he became a great showman," Weintraub says. "I think his piano playing became secondary to [pleasing] his audience. ... He presented a spectacle every night."
Ultimately, Behind the Candelabra is very respectful, Weintraub says. "Everybody appreciated [Liberace] and appreciated his career, and I think Stephen captured that on film."
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Miguel Aguilar/Pacific Coast News]
Matt Damon warns conservative fans not to see Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas tried on his wife's underwear for Liberace research
Best Wigs Ever: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon Take Liberace
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.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
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.