Chrissie Hynde, James Blunt and Fatboy Slim have signed up to perform at a fundraiser for Sir Elton John's AIDS charity next month (Sep14). The star-studded line-up will also feature "pop-up" performances from Take That's Gary Barlow, singer/songwriter Tom Odell and tenor Alfie Boe. Elton John himself will also take to the stage during the event.
The inaugural Woodside End of Summer Party marks the 21st anniversary of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and guests will splash out $5,100 (£3,000) per ticket to exclusive gala, which is to be held in the grounds of the mansion the star shares with his husband David Furnish in Windsor, England.
Fatboy Slim will round out the evening with a DJ set in a secret nightclub.
The gala takes place on 4 September (14).
Actor John Krasinski treated co-star Anna Kendrick to a special surprise by organising an impromptu trip to Elvis Presley's Graceland estate on her birthday. The former The Office star is currently directing and co-starring in a new film called The Hollars with Kendrick, who plays her pregnant girlfriend in the drama.
When Krasinski discovered the actress turned 29 on Saturday (09Aug14), he decided to take a break from filming in Mississippi and headed to Memphis, Tennessee to Presley's former mansion.
The Pitch Perfect star took to Instagram.com on her birthday and posted a photo of herself in front of the rock 'n' roll legend's iconic home, adding the caption, "Krasinski found out it was my birthday and organized a trip to Graceland. #WorldsBestBoss #References"
Kendrick also shared a picture in front of Presley's signature white and gold jumpsuit, while she attempted to do her best lip curl impression.
While The Hollars, which also features Richard Jenkins, Margo Martindale and Josh Groban, marks the first collaboration between Kendrick and Krasinski, the actress also stars alongside his wife, Emily Blunt, in the upcoming movie musical, Into the Woods.
You might hate Michael Bay. You might hate his movies. You might hate every movie he's ever made. But in that very fact is there a paradox: in order to hate every movie Michael Bay has made, you have to have seen every movie Michael Bay has made. And you have, or at least most of them. His films' box office numbers and the unparalleled population density of their critic screenings are proof enough of that. As much as we all lament the life's work of the Los Angeles-born director (including his latest feature, Transformers: Age of Extinction) there is something about his films that draws us back repeatedly. With this in mind, we have to assume that some of them might not actually be as bad as we're inclined to let on.
Sure, some of Bay's films are obscenely empty-headed marathons of metallic friction, but among the lot are a few examples of relatively decent blockbuster production. We're not quite sure which is Bay's best (or, if you prefer, least offensive) movie, but we have some candidates. And of course, we're also up for considering his worst piece of work yet, too. Because that's more fun.
WHICH IS MICHAEL BAY'S BEST MOVIE?
Could it be...
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
Just the second film Bay ever made, the '96 picture is a pretty sturdy action epic. Performances from Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery don't hurt The Rock's cause one bit. Nor does the climactic Elton John-inspired wordplay.
...Pain & Gain?
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
The only non-Transformers film that Bay has made since picking up the franchise in 2007 is actually a pretty sharp, funny satire about the very ideas that his filmography propagates.
I know, I know... but... eh, I don't know. It's decidedly cheesy, but hits a few marks in fun and excitement.
WHICH IS MICHAEL BAY'S WORST MOVIE?
Could it be...
...Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Wholly disillusioning in its nihilistic adherence to spiritually vacant destruction, this is almost certainly the worst of the Transformers flicks and perhaps Bay's most agonizing feature to date.
Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection
Why did this happen?
...Bad Boys II?
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
I gather that most would deem it egregious hyperbole to denote Bad Boys II the very worst movie Bay has made, but I defy you to sit through this unbelievably overlong tribute to grit and machismo without wincing in agony at every half-hour mark.
Let us know what you think: are you a defender of Dark of the Moon? Do you detest The Island? Sound off below! And catch Transformers: Age of Extinction in theaters now. You know you're going to. We all are.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
Animal rights activists have marked Sir Paul McCartney's upcoming birthday on Wednesday (18Jun14) by hitting the streets of his English hometown wearing masks of his face. The Beatles legend will turn 72 this week (beg16Jun14) and to honour the longtime vegetarian, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) members handed out meat-free snacks on the streets of Liverpool on Tuesday (17Jun14).
The campaigners wore masks of McCartney's face and carried placards featuring the slogan, "Give peas a chance - try vegan", in reference to the song Give Peace a Chance by the rocker's late bandmate John Lennon.
They marched in front of the city's famous The Cavern Club, where the Fab Four played in their early years.
PETA Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi says, "We're sure Paul will be delighted that we've chosen to honour his birthday by encouraging the public to give vegetarianism a try. Whether you're six or 64 or, in Paul's case, a very young 72, going vegetarian is a great way to help animals, your health and the environment."
McCartney will spend his birthday recovering from a virus which left him hospitalised last month (May14).
Actress Annette Bening is set to make a return to the New York stage after almost 26 years. The American Beauty star has been cast as the villainous Goneril in the Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear this summer (14), opposite John Lithgow.
After years of starring in motion pictures, the project marks Bening's return to the New York theatre scene for the first time since her Tony Award-nominated role in 1988's Coastal Disturbances.
Joining Bening and Lithgow in the open-air production are Jessica Hecht and Jessica Collins. The revival runs from 22 July to 17 August (14).
A new British musical based on the early career of The Kinks has won high praise from critics, who have awarded the production top marks. Sunny Afternoon, named after the rockers' 1966 hit of the same name, opened at London's Hampstead Theatre on Thursday night (01May14) and the stage musical, which features a slew of the icons' tracks, has gone down a storm with reviewers.
The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts brands the show "a belter" and exclaims, "You really got me! ...This show is far better than a mere tribute evening, though it includes lots of Kinks hits. It gives you a strong sense of period - some terrific short hemlines on the girls - yet also well-drawn characters that evolve with the band."
Nick Hasted from TheArtsDesk.com awards the show four out of five stars and writes, "In The Kinks' 50th Anniversary year, their spirit could hardly be better revived", while The Telegraph's Charles Spencer states, "It is an irresistibly enjoyable and touching night, and anyone who loves pop music at its greatest would be mad to miss it."
Lead actors John Dagleish and George Maguire, who portray Ray Davies and his guitarist brother Dave, respectively, have also been singled out for applause, with the Evening Standard's Henry Hitchings calling Dagleish's performance "immense", while claiming Maguire gives his character "an exciting wildness".
Reports suggest Sunny Afternoon may transfer to the West End stage once its run at the Hampstead Theatre wraps on 24 May (14).
James Franco and Chris O'dowd's Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice And Men has won rave reviews from theatre critics who have hailed the show as "gripping", "flawless" and "breathtaking."
The stage adaptation of the 1937 novel, starring Franco and O'Dowd with Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester, opened at the Longacre Theatre in New York City on Wednesday night (16Apr14), and garnered stellar write-ups. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter called the production "gripping, grounded and emotionally penetrating" and hailed O'Dowd as the star of the show for his "tremendous" performance. Rooney described Franco as "not quite a natural onstage" but insisted he had "beautiful chemistry with O'Dowd."
Variety's Marilyn Stasio was full of praise for director Anna D. Shapiro and the whole cast, writing, "(Shapiro) turns in an impeccably mounted production without a single blemish. The ensemble acting is flawless. The design work is breathtaking... There's no way to overpraise the nine men and one woman (Leighton Meester, holding her own nicely...) in this ensemble who bring Steinbeck's characters to life."
Elysa Gardner of USA Today brands the show a "vivid, sensitive performance of the piece" with an "an excellent cast", while Entertainment Weekly's Thom Geier also reserved the best praise for O'Dowd, calling his performance "riveting" and adding, "The real surprise in Anna D. Shapiro's finely staged production is Chris O'Dowd... The gifted comedic actor brings a studied and skillful physicality to (the role of Lenny)... O'Dowd makes Lenny sympathetic without ever stooping to caricature."
The production marks the Broadway debut for all three of the top-lining actors.
20th Century Fox
As always, the summer movie season is loaded with sequels. New editions of Transformers, The Expendables, Planet of the Apes and X-Men litter the release schedule. Even kid's movies (Rio 2) and horror (The Purge: Anarchy) are in on the act. It can start to feel like everything is part of a franchise or based on something that we've already seen… even something like Maleficent is based on the wicked queen from Sleeping Beauty.
While it might seem like there's nothing new on the horizon, that's not quite the case. Just as there is every summer there are films that aren't follow-ups or retreads. These summer time releases are the ones that we're most looking forward to.
The Fault in Our Stars (June 6)
Based on the best-selling novel by John Green, Fault stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as a pair of teenagers who meet at a cancer support group. She's terminally ill and he's lost a leg, but they bond over their shared passions and fall in love. The book has a devoted fan base that went nuts at the release of the first trailer. It's hard not to get swept up in their excitement over the love story.
Tammy (July 2)
We know that Melissa McCarthy hasn't quite equaled her breakthrough role in Bridesmaids, but this time the actress co-wrote the script with husband Ben Falcone, and he's directing. If it doesn't work this time, it's entirely on the star. McCarthy plays a woman who just lost her job and found her husband cheating, and decides to go on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). So, like Thelma & Louise… only funnier.
A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30)
Seth MacFarlane's Western comedy marks the Family Guy creator's first foray before the camera as a leading man. As he proved with Ted, MacFarlane's humor is tailored made for the R-rated big screen. He plays a scaredy-cat farmer who takes up with Charlize Theron's mysterious woman… who happens to be hiding from her gunfighter husband (Liam Neeson). As for the title, as the trailers have shown, MacFarlane had a lot of fun coming up with interesting ways to kill people in the Old West.
Jupiter Ascending (July 18)
The latest from the Wachowski siblings stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter, a young woman that was predicted to be great when she was born but is now a custodian. That is, until Channing Tatum shows up as an alien solider that's after her. We don’t pretend to know what any of that means, but we didn't understand The Matrix before that came out either.
Sex Tape (July 25)
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz play a married couple that makes a video of their sexcapades that goes missing and they have to try to find it. All we really needed to know to be sold is that it features Diaz wearing roller skates in bed, and has Jack Black and Rob Corddry in supporting roles. Plus, there's a good chance that Segel will be naked, and that's worked out okay for him before.
Can a Song Save Your Life? (July 4)
Keira Knightley is a down-on-her-luck singer whose ex-boyfriend just got a big recording contract and who may have just been discovered by an even worse off record producer (Mark Ruffalo) in New York. Expect a lot of people singing in bars, but with Sexiest Man Alive Adam Levine among the supporting players it will at least be a really good looking music scene.
Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)
Based on the Marvel comic books, it keeps within the same universe that The Avengers inhabit (two characters seen during the tags of earlier Marvel movies — Benicio Del Toro's The Collector and cosmic bad guy Thanos — make appearances), but it's got a much more loose-limbed feel to it with Chris Pratt playing the leader of the Guardians and Zoe Saldana as a green-skinned alien assassin.
Blended (May 23)
Amazingly, it's been 10 years since the last time that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore were in a movie together. The duo play a pair of single parents who can't stand each other but — as luck would have it — end up sharing a suite at an African resort with all of the kids in tow. Sandler's never been a stickler for plots that make sense, but Barrymore has a tendency to bring out the best in the comedian.
See? Plenty of non-sequels to be excited about!
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.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com