Michael Jackson's longtime producing partner Quincy Jones has criticised the decision to release a new album of the late star's previously unheard material, slamming it as a purely money-making venture.
Jones, who produced Jackson's huge hit records Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad, was not involved in the making of the posthumous album Xscape, which topped the U.K. charts on Sunday (18May14) five years after the singer's death. He has now criticised the executors of Jackson's estate for allowing the album to be made, insisting the decision came down to money rather than artistry.
Jones tells Cbc.ca, "Xscape... They're trying to make money and I understand it. But it's about the money. The estate, the lawyers you know - it's about money." When asked whether it bothers him that this material has been released, Jones replies, "Yes, yep," before adding, "But it's not my business any more. It's not our business."
Michael Jackson's brother Jackie is adamant the King of Pop would have supported the hologram show at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night (18May14). The star-studded crowd at the prizegiving in Las Vegas was wowed when virtual technology was used to make it appear as if the Thriller hitmaker, who died in 2009, was performing onstage.
The stunt, titled the Michael Jackson Xperience, included a hologram of the legendary superstar singing Slave to the Rhythm, a track from the newly released posthumous album, Xscape. After witnessing the spectacle, Jackie Jackson is convinced his brother would have been thrilled by the stunt.
He tells People.com, "I've been hearing about the hologram, and people were talking about it, but to see it with my own eyes was incredible, amazing. "When he got up and started walking around - oh, my God... When he started dancing, unbelievable. It took me back. If Michael were here he would say thumbs up!"
The performance almost didn't go ahead - businessman Alki David, who claims to control the rights to the hologram technology, filed suit against Jackson's estate executors and Billboard Music Awards producers in a bid to stop the stunt. However, a Las Vegas judge dismissed the complaint on Friday (16May14).
Michael Jackson returned from beyond the grave to wow fans at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (18May14) by performing onstage in hologram form, five years after his death. Producers of the Las Vegas prizegiving used virtual technology to make it appear as if the King of Pop had been brought back to life to sing and dance his way through new track Slave to the Rhythm.
Dressed in a white and gold jacket and red pants, he began the eerie appearance seated in a throne before joining a string of dancers to show off his fancy footwork, including his signature moonwalk, by strutting across the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as he appeared to belt out the tune. The stunt, titled the Michael Jackson Xperience, left the audience in awe and earned a standing ovation from everyone in attendance.
Stars also took to their Twitter.com accounts to share their feelings about the performance, with newlywed Kelly Rowland writing, "We miss you Michael!", while actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler tweeted, "I have chills watching michael Jackson performance. Makes u (sic) realize there will never be a performer like him", and rapper Nicki Minaj commented, "Dat (sic) was mike?"
The virtual performance almost didn't happen after Jackson estate executors and Billboard Music Awards producers were slapped with legal action in an effort to put a stop to the show. Businessman Alki David, who claims to control the rights to the hologram technology, filed suit in Nevada on Thursday (16May14), insisting the Billboard gig would likely violate his patent, but his motion was dismissed on Friday (17May14) due to a lack of evidence, allowing the show to go on.
The Michael Jackson Xperience, organised to celebrate the release of his new posthumous album Xscape, beared similarities to the resurrection of Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella music festival in California, where the dead rapper appeared onstage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in hologram form. The Thriller hitmaker died in 2009.
A behind-the-scenes documentary detailing Michael Jackson's final magazine cover shoots has been acquired at the Cannes International Film Festival in France.
Michael: The Last Photo Shoots features interviews with renowned snapper Bruce Weber, who captured shots of the King of Pop in 2007 for the 25th anniversary re-release of Thriller, and celebrity photographer Matthew Rolston, who shot the late icon for African-American publication Ebony when he sat down for his first U.S. magazine interview in over a decade the same year.
The intimate film, directed by Craig J. Williams, also includes interviews with some of the singer's closest friends and stylists, and it has been picked up by bosses at Los Angeles-based Lightning Entertainment, who will shop the project to distributors in the U.S. Executive Vice President and general manager Ken DuBow says, "For fans of Michael, and there are millions around the world, this documentary gives a rare behind-the-scenes look into his life, and access to those closest to him. It's a powerful piece of work."
The documentary news emerges days after the release of the superstar's new posthumous album Xscape, which features duets with Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige. Jackson died in 2009, while he was rehearsing for his doomed This Is It comeback shows in London.
Michael Jackson's latest child molestation accuser has alleged the late King of Pop used to keep him from attending school so he would be "available" for him on tour.
James Safechuck's lawyer, Maryann Marzano, claims Jackson and her client became close when he was a pre-teen - but she alleges the friendship masked the fact that the pop star was molesting the child in private. And she tells TMZ.com the late singer would prevent the youngster, who appeared alongside Jackson in a 1987 Pepsi commercial, from attending school so he would always be with him.
She says, "If there is still any question about the predatory nature of Michael Jackson’s so-called friendships with young boys, it should be laid to rest by the indisputable facts of what Michael did to James Safechuck." The specific accusations are sealed, but Michael Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman insists the allegations are "false and scurrilous." Safechuck's allegation has been added to a lawsuit filed by dancer Wade Robson last year (13).
Robson, now 31, claims he was repeatedly molested as a child by Jackson. In February (14), he demanded administrators of Jackson's estate release the names of any others who have alleged sexual misconduct against Jackson, as well as details of any settlements involving molestation that have not yet been made public. Jackson was acquitted of child molestation following a lengthy trial that began in 2004. The singer passed away in June, 2009.
Late TV mogul Aaron Spelling once developed a Pied Piper on Hamelin-inspired film for Michael Jackson.
The Hollywood icon's widow Candy reveals she got to know the King of Pop really well while he was working with her late husband on the film's script - and she's still upset the movie never got made.
She tells WENN, "Aaron wrote lots of scripts that didn't work out. One was for Michael Jackson. Michael got George Lucas involved and all of a sudden George rewrote the whole thing and it became a whole different concept, so it didn't happen. "It was very much like the Pied Piper film that Danny Kaye starred in, where Michael was, like, the Pied Piper who charmed all these children!"
Ironically, the King of Pop fought allegations of improper relationships with his young friends throughout his life and in 2004 battled a child molestation charge. But Candy Spelling is among those who believes Jackson would never harm a child in any way: "I actually liked Michael. He was a very kind person and was a wonderful father. I was lucky enough to see some private moments of Michael with his children. I talk about it in my new book (At Last, A Memoir), but I got to see a different side to Michael Jackson from what everyone's read about."
Outkast star Andre 3000 spent six hours a day playing the guitar left-handed to perfect his portrayal of rock icon Jimi Hendrix in new movie Jimi: All Is By My Side. The Ms. Jackson singer plays the late guitar great in the mid-1960s and was determined to look the part, according to producer Danny Bramson.
He tells Billboard magazine, "The idea of anyone playing Hendrix, let alone a right-handed guitarist, was one of the greatest challenges of the project. I found a really patient teacher and put together a regimen for Andre when he came out to Los Angeles. He sat in a small studio, six hours a day.
"His guitarmanship (sic) had to carry the idea of grace and fluidity... He kept working in a rehearsal room throughout the production."
The film will feature a soundtrack of Hendrix covers, performed by Andre 3000, aka Andre Benjamin. The late rocker's estate refused to let the producers use original recordings.
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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For weeks now, the cast and crew of MTVs Teen Wolf have been warning audiences that a major character death would happen before the end of the third season. Although the show has never shied away from killing off characters — except for Jackson, who merely moved to London when Colton Haynes left the show — this one could be the last straw for fans.
In November, Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis hinted that a core character would die in the second half of the third season: “Prepare to lose someone,” he said. “We will possibly be changing our main title sequence, so not everyone’s going to make it out of this season alive.”
For those of us who are still reeling from the traumatic deaths of Erica (Gage Golightly) and Boyd (Sinqua Walls) in 3A, this was particularly harsh.
So who could it be? If Davis is telling the truth and it’s someone in the main title sequence, then it could be Scott, Allison, Stiles, Derek, or Lydia — all of whom have been on Teen Wolf since the very first episode. If Davis is lying (a highly likely possibility) the victim could be Isaac, Danny, or one of the adults: Melissa McCall, Chris Argent, or Sheriff Stilinski. Any of these would tear out our hearts.
Since Teen Wolf is character driven — they keep the show grounded in reality while their lives are inundated with the supernatural — it’s hard to imagine the series without any of these characters. Then there’s the worry that the death won’t be given its due. If Teen Wolf kills off one of the main characters and the show does a poor job of it (like Erica in 3A) that could make the death even more heartbreaking... and infuriating.
We don’t know about you, but we’re very, very wary of the third season finale.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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