"Bobby Womack was a huge influence on us. He was a true pioneer of soul and R&B, whose voice and songwriting touched millions. On stage, his presence was formidable. His talents put him up there with the greats. We will remember him, first and foremost, as a friend." The Rolling Stones, who recorded Womack's song It's All Over Now, share a group tribute to the late soul man following his death on Friday (27Jun14).
United Artists via Everett Collection
Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin are among the stars who have paid tribute to late movie veteran Eli Wallach.
News of Wallach's death at the age of 98 broke this week (beg22Jun14) and a number of his famous fans have spoken out to remember the character actor, who enjoyed roles in film classics such as The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Australian movie star Hugh Jackman offered his condolences in a post on Twitter.com on Wednesday (25Jun14), writing, "Rest in peace Eli Wallach. Truly one of the greats," while Baldwin retweeted a picture of himself standing next to the Hollywood veteran at a red carpet event.
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, adds, "Farewell, the amazing Eli Wallach. Features in my favourite shot in cinema when he runs round the cemetery in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly."
Actress Rose McGowan shared an early picture of Wallach on her Instagram.com page and added in a caption, "Respect. Eli Wallach. What an actor."
Ann B. Davis' former The Brady Bunch co-stars have paid tribute to the late actress, who died on Sunday (01Jun14). The 88 year old, who played beloved housekeeper Alice Nelson on the classic sitcom, passed away from a subdural haematoma after slipping and hitting her head in the bathroom at her home in Los Angeles.
After receiving news of her death, Florence Henderson, who played family matriarch Carol Brady, took to Twitter.com and shared her grief, writing, "I'm so shocked & saddened to learn my dear friend & colleague Ann B Davis died today. I spoke with her a few months ago & she was doing great."
Maureen McCormick, the show's Marcia Brady, tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I admired Ann B so much as an actor... She was one of the greats. Most of all, I admired her heart. She was a dear friend... deep, honest and true. She was one of my earliest role models, and that continues to this day. She made me a better person. How blessed I am to have had her in my life. She will be forever missed."
Eve Plumb, Jan Brady on the sitcom, told TheWrap.com that Davis was "an amazing lady", adding, "She was great to work with, and I have wonderful memories of our scenes together on The Brady Bunch." Plumb continued, "She was kind and generous to all of us on set. Although we hadn't seen each other as often as we may have wanted to in the last few years, I am sure she knew she held a very important place in my heart. My thoughts are with her family and friends."
Meanwhile, a slew of celebrities have added their own condolences, including Christina Applegate, who tweeted, "Ann B Davis. How many mornings I have spent with you. RIP", and while actress Marlee Matlin added, "I grew up wanting to be Marcia Brady but with 4 kids, I turned into Alice the Maid. RIP Ann B. Davis."
Miramax via Everett Collection
An FBI president, a stock market hooligan, a teenage con artist extraordinaire, and a troubled heroin addict, Leonardo DiCaprio has used his talents to step into a number of real life figures throughout his career, and the actor may soon take on his most controversial role yet. DiCaprio is in talks to portray Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic based on a script penned by Aaron Sorkin. Danny Boyle is also in talks to direct. The late Steve Jobs is heralded by many as a tech geek visionary, introducing products like the Apple II, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad to the masses. But for every Apple obsessive that sings his praises, Jobs has the same number of fervent detractors. The former CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc. has been accused of being selfish, stingy, and having terrible business practices. Jobs presents a interesting and multi-faceted subject that's just ripe for a truly thoughtful biographical film (sorry, Ashton) Luckily, Leo seems to be the right man for the job. We've decided to rank all of Leonardo Dicaprio's biographic films from best to worst.
Catch Me If You CanCatch Me If You Can is unquestionably one of Spielberg's greatest films. It's a jaunty cat and mouse caper with a deep heart thanks to great performances from DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.Tomatometer: 96%Box Office: $352,114,312Golden Globe Nominations:1Golden Globe Wins: 0Oscar Nominations:2Oscar Wins: 0
The Wolf of Wall StreetThe Wolf of Wall Street is a raucous and rowdy three hours that has pure debauchery streaming from every orifice. It's bawdy and gleefully offensive, but it never forgets to ask the bigger questions surrounding it's study of greed, capitalism, and the American way.Tomatometer: 77%Box Office: $389,600,694Golden Globe Nominations:2Golden Globe Wins: 1Oscar Nominations:5Oscar Wins: 0
The AviatorThe Aviator is a glitzy and richly crafted study of a madness. It's a little messy and probably won't be remembered as one of Scorsese's best films, but it's an ambitious effort from both the director and DiCaprio.Tomatometer: 87%Box Office: $213,741,459Golden Globe Nominations: 6Golden Globe Wins: 3Oscar Nominations: 11Oscar Wins: 5
The Basketball DiariesThe Basketball Diaries is like a good yet forgotten older brother to Reqiuiem for a Dream. It focuses on the pitfalls of drug addiction, and includes an impressive turn from Leonardo DiCaprio. Here, the actor is still working out some kinks in his craft, but is well on his way to becoming one of Hollywood's greats.Tomatometer: 46%Box Office: $2,424,439Golden Globe Nominations: 0Golden Globe Wins: 0Oscar Nominations: 0Oscar Wins: 0
This Boy's LifeWhile it's not exactly memorable, This Boy's Life is one of the early indicators of Leonardo DiCaprio's star power. A young DiCaprio gives a great performance, especially when cast opposite Robert DeNiro. Tomatometer: 75%Box Office: $4,104,962Golden Globe Nominations: 0Golden Globe Wins: 0Oscar Nominations: 0Oscar Wins: 0
J. EdgarLong-winded, dull, and too self important for its own good, J.Edgar marks a low point in DiCaprio's career. The actor gives his best to prop up the film, but everything around him sinks it into a messy misfire. Tomatometer: 43%Box Office: $84,606,030Golden Globe Nominations: 1Golden Globe Wins: 0Oscar Nominations: 0Oscar Wins: 0
Late singer/songwriter Hank Cochran will be posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014. Cochran, who penned hits for artists like Patsy Cline, Ray Price and Eddy Arnold, will join Ronnie Milsap and Mac Wiseman as the latest additions to the Nashville, Tennessee museum.
Wiseman, who will be inducted as part of the veterans era category, admits the recognition is a dream come true, stating, "I anticipated and hoped for it a long time. This is the biggest thing that's ever happened to me in my 70-odd years. Being in the same categories with all the greats over the years, I'm just really flattered."
Milsap will go down in history as part of the modern era inductions, while Cochran, who lost his battle with cancer in 2010, will be feted in the songwriter category at a ceremony later this year (14).
Last year's (13) inductees were Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare and the late Cowboy Jack Clement.
We’ve been watching Stephen Colbert for years now — for eight years on The Daily Show and the past nine on The Report. We’ve seen him mold the jingoistic dork who bears his name into an icon of modern satire, skewering current events and lampooning punditry five nights a week for just shy of a decade. We’ve seen Colbert degrade the English language, vie for immortality in the form of a Hungarian bridge, forward the movement against wrist violence, run for president, wrestle Jon Stewart at the 2012 Emmys, and inspire a delightful grouchiness in childhood author Maurice Sendak. We’ve seen lots of Stephen Colbert. But we really have no idea what he’s like.
But this man that we’ve yet to meet, save for rare candid interviews or pre-shtick recordings we might be lucky enough to have found on the web, seems to be the one we'll be spending the rest of our days with. Naturally, Colbert’s new residence on The Late Show, announced on Thursday via The New York Times, won’t foster this degree of caricature. As such, it’s natural for fans of the Colbert Report, even (or perhaps especially) the most diehard of the bunch, to approach the news of the comedian’s ascension to network TV with apprehension. We don’t know what he can do without the good graces of his O’Reilly-inspired alter ego. We’re not sure what a genuine Stephen Colbert interview will carry — when he’s not belittling, accosting, or deliberately misunderstanding his guests, can he still be funny?
We'll have to wait until 2015 for a proper answer to this first question, although we're comfortable with a resounding "probably." But in mourning the impending loss of The Colbert Report's main character, we have to take a look at his fellow late night players, and the game itself. In earnest, Colbert is the only one of the lot who has been working from the soils of true fiction, but the industry entails some degree of trimming and hedging. The cameras add 10 pounds of performative composure and well-rehearsed shtick, and the good ones keep their elements as vivid as Colbert has his Bill O'Reilly sendup.
So the second question is: which of these greats will show Colbert how to handle the balance of his Comedy Central icon and the South Carolinian who pronounces his last name with an audible "T"?
Gone by the wayside since Johnny Carson's retirement is the viewing audience's adherence to the "familial" in its crowning of a replacement late night king. With a long line from which to choose, we want characters. Maybe Jay Leno held good ratings thanks to his ability to play accessible and nonthreatening, but in the days of Internet criticism, professional and public alike, that translates to amorphous. There's no Jay Leno identity beyond the high-voiced bobblehead you'll find in too many stand-up comedy routines. Leno and his ilk have fallen to the new. We want the opportunity to dig through a collection of oddballs each night, satisfying whatever cravings the preceding hours have inspired.
We have that opportunity in David Letterman's crotchety cynic (who has always been, as a cultural fixture, far ahead of his time). In Jimmy Fallon's wide-eyed cherub. In Jon Stewart's put-upon nebbish. These are the characters these men have built, accessing something between relatability — face it, angrier people like Letterman and happier people like Fallon — and the special, distanced elation you get from watching a skilled actor work his comedic magic.
With so many balancing acts of varying aptitude — Chelsea Handler plays on sauciness, Jimmy Kimmel on boyish impetulance, Craig Ferguson on the residual mania of his dark past — Colbert has no shortage of professors to guide him through his early semesters in the CBS gig. But the best teacher of the lot to help Colbert tailor his character to the network form might very well be Conan O'Brien, who has managed from Late Night on to manufacture a most meticulous exaggeration of his gawky, psuedo-psychotic personality to maintain through bits, interviews, man-on-the-street routines, and even appearances in other media. It's really a shame he didn't get tenure.
It's natural to bemoan the loss of a character as important as Colbert's, or to fear that his greatness might not carry over to a new style of performance. But we have to remember that even in taking the stage as himself, performance is the most essential part of his new job. He might not bluster about as the right-wing blowhard we've come to love, but he sure as hell won't let his penchant for character craft and self-parody go untapped. He'll need it now more than ever.
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Hollywood director Martin Scorsese unveiled a blue plaque tribute in honour of British filmmaking duo Powell and Pressburger in London on Monday (17Feb14). Writers/directors/producers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, the duo responsible for iconic films such as The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death, were honoured with a permanent memorial at the site of the production company's office in Marylebone.
Scorsese, who is a big fan of the late moviemakers, was on hand to unveil the blue plaque at Dorset House, along with Powell's film editor widow Thelma Schoonmaker.
Also present at the ceremony was actor/funnyman Stephen Fry, who tweeted, "Just attended super blue plaque ceremony for Powell & Pressburger: Thelma Schoonmaker/Marty Scorsese spoke brilliantly about the 2 greats."
Scorsese previously teamed with Schoonmaker, his longterm movie editor, to launch a fundraising campaign to have 1948 film The Red Shoes restored.
The revamped version was screened by the moviemaker at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in France.
The legendary director has previously said, "The Red Shoes has come to mean so much to me over the years... Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger... (their) creative partnership is one of film history's true miracles."
Powell died in 1990, aged 84, and Pressburger passed away in 1988 at the age of 85.
It's officially the end of an era for baseball fans everywhere. New York Yankees short stop Derek Jeter announced on Wednesday that he plans to retire after the 2014 season, which means that it's only a matter of time before the 13-time All Star is inducted into the Hall of Fame and, more importantly, before someone in Hollywood starts shopping around a biopic based on the Yankee legend. After all, Jeter's considered to be the greatest player of his generation, he has more than enough name recognition to grab audiences' attention, and moviegoers generally tend to love sports movies, so clearly this idea is a home run. Or is it?
Is it possible that Jeter is too boring to be the subject of a major Hollywood biopic? All films need a conflict, and for biopics, those conflicts usually come from their subjects overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds and unbeatable obstacles in order to emerge victorious at the end. This is especially true of sports biopics, which rely on this formula to produce a film that is inspiring and uplifting. 42 was a film about Jackie Robinson overcoming institutional racism in order to become the first black player in the MLB. The Rookie had Jim Morris prove his critics wrong by starting his professional baseball career for the Tampa Bay Rays at the age of 35, an age when most players start considering retirement. Moneyball featured the manager of the Oakland As changing the way franchises put together their teams in order to turn a mediocre lineup into a winning team. Even The Sandlot featured the kids overcoming their fear of The Beast in order to rescue Smalls' stepdad's autographed ball.
By contrast, Jeter's never really had to conquer any insurmountable odds. He's overcome some terrible injuries in order to get back in the game, but none of them were career-derailing or character-defining. He may have broken plenty of records, but he hasn't really broken down any barriers during his time on the field. He became the best through hard work, dedication and talent, and while he's considered an inspiration to an entire generation of ball players, it's not really a juicy enough story to structure a film around. There have been plenty of games or seasons in which the Yankees made a major comeback, but none of them are particularly memorable events. And if Jeter hasn't overcome any major obstacles in order to become the best, where will the film get its plot?
Hollywood would even struggle to find substance for a film from Jeter's life off of the field. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he's managed to avoid any major scandals, and he's steered clear of the steroid conflicts entirely. If someone were to make a film about, say, Alex Rodriguez, they would likely choose to take a more sensational route, and focus on the doping scandals that have clouded his career. However, if they wanted to take a similar approach to Jeter's life, the best they would be able to come up with is his tabloid-friendly love life. But even though he's dated some of the biggest starlets in Hollywood, all of those relationships seem to have ended amicably, and without becoming the focus of any gossip columns.
The last time Jeter made the press for anything even remotely approaching the debauchery we associate with sports stars was 2002, when he was chastised by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for staying out too late at a birthday party. Clearly, he's no Jordan Belfort. These days, he mostly makes headlines over contract disputes or injury reports, neither of which would make for a particularly riveting entertainment experience — not even House of Cards could make negotiations seem particularly interesting, and their version at least included people throwing bricks through windows. There's no doubt that Jeter is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and he will go down in history as a Yankee legend. He's a skilled player and a capable leader, who has managed to win over millions of fans through both his talent and charisma both on and off the field, but all of that still doesn't make him interesting enough to be the subject of a biopic.
So, Hollywood, let's just let Jeter settle for being one of the greats, and we can revisit the idea of re-releasing The Sandlot in theaters. That way, everyone's a winner.
U.S. comedy veteran Sid Caesar has died at the age of 91. The TV icon's friend and collaborator Carl Reiner and biographer Eddy Friedfeld confirmed the sad news on Wednesday (12Feb14).
Caesar starred on beloved 1950s TV variety show Your Show of Shows and went on to host Caesar's Hour, and he also appeared in films like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Airport 1975, Silent Movie and Grease.
Flowers will be placed on his Walk of Fame star in Hollywood on Wednesday afternoon.
Newsman Larry King was among the first celebrities to pay tribute to Caesar on his Twitter.com page on Wednesday (12Feb14). He wrote, "Sorry to learn about the passing of Sid Caesar-a dear friend, a comic genius & an American classic. There will never be another one like him."
Whoopi Goldberg added her tribute on Twitter too, writing, "Life...doing her thing, another great has passed Sid Caesar. Funny man We honored him at the very first Comic Relief. RIP turn turn turn", while Arnold Schwarzenegger posted, "We've lost one of the greats. Sid Caesar was a fantastic comedian and entertainer. His quadlingual schtick was always a hit. We'll miss him."
The son of Jewish immigrants, Isaac Sidney Caesar began his career in the late 1940s and won his first Emmy Award in 1952 as a regular on Your Show of Shows. He was also Emmy nominated for his appearances in Mad About You and Love & War.
Caesar was also a theatre veteran and earned a Tony Award nomination for his multiple roles in 1962 Broadway musical Little Me, based on the book by Neil Simon. He later starred alongside Carol Channing and Tommy Lee Jones in a Broadway production of Four on a Garden in 1971, and also performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in the late 1980s.
He was also an accomplished saxophonist and studied the instrument at the Julliard School of Music before becoming an actor/comedian.
He was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 and received a career achievement award from the Television Critics Association in 2001. He was also voted America's Best Comedian by Motion Picture Daily's TV poll in 1951 and 1952 and won a Sylvania Award in 1958 for his work in television.
Caesar's autobiographies, Where Have I Been and Caesar's Hours, both chronicled his struggle to overcome alcoholism and drug addictions.