Slayer star Kerry King honoured his late bandmate Jeff Hanneman at the 2013 Revolver Golden Gods ceremony by calling for a "moment of noise" in tribute to the tragic rocker. Slayer star Hanneman, 49, passed away after suffering liver failure, and his death on Thursday (02May13) came just hours before the most famous faces of rock and metal gathered in Los Angeles for the annual awards show.
The event became a tribute to the lost rocker, with Anthrax playing Slayer's hit Raining Blood in his memory, while Hanneman's longtime bandmate King took to the stage to present an award and told the crowd of his pain.
King told the audience not to take part in a minute's silence for his friend, and ordered them to make as much noise as possible instead, saying, "Jeff Hanneman doesn't want a moment of silence. He was in f**king Slayer. He wants a moment of noise!"
Winners at the ceremony included Deftones, who won the Album Of The Year prize for Koi No Yokan, Black Veil Brides, who took Song of the Year for In The End, and Tenacious D (Comeback of the Year).
Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister took the Paul Gray Best Bassist trophy, and Corey Taylor was named Best Vocalist.
Taylor's band Slipknot, who won the Best Live Band prize, teamed with the frontman's other group Stone Sour to perform a Black Sabbath cover, while other performers included The Dillinger Escape Plan, Danzig, and Five Finger Death Punch, who rocked out with Rob Zombie and Judas Priest star Rob Halford.
Kids' movies may be the most difficult cinematic mountains to climb. The filmmakers must cater to two perspectives at constant odds with one another: young ones who find amusement in simplistic stories and broadly painted humor and their parents who need enough of a grounded hook emotional core and clever jokes to keep them from nodding off. Not an easy task.
To see this winning combination pulled off by a 3-D animation/live-action hybrid adaptation of a rather irritatingly sweet cartoon from the '80s…well it's both a shocking and welcome surprise. The Smurfs transcends recent property-grabs like Garfield Alvin and the Chipmunks and Marmaduke by embracing the cartooniness relishing in the fact that it can get away with anything with the help of adorable little blue people.
Smurfs takes the model employed by 2007's Enchanted kicking things off in the colorful fantasy world of Smurf Village and quickly bringing its cheery clueless characters to the terrifying metropolis of New York. After Clumsy Smurf accidentally leads the Smurf-obsessive Gargamel (Hank Azaria) to the hidden mushroom haven of his brethren the bumbling black sheep of the Smurf family finds himself and a few clan members Papa Brainy Grumpy Gutsy Smurfette at the wrong end of a Blue Moon-induced worm hole. The group (along with Gargamel and his cat) find themselves face-planted in NYC's Central Park where they meet Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) yes man to the cosmetic titan Odile. This sets the race in motion—the Smurfs enlisting the help of Patrick to find a way back home Patrick seeking the perfect ad campaign for Odile's new make-up line and Gargamel questing hungrily for a few drops of Smurf essence.
If Smurfs was simply a barrage of fart jokes and pop culture references the movie wouldn't click but by giving each of his characters something to do (seems obvious no?) director Raja Gosnell injects the film with a helpful dose of heart. Along with Clumsy's quest to be more than his name insists Harris' Patrick also has his own problems to overcome. Namely preparing to be a Papa Smurf to the kid he's about to have with his wife Grace (Glee's Jayma Mays). Harris and Mays take their roles here seriously going all out when they need to chase the adventurous Smurfs around town in one slapsticky sequence after another but they put just as much into their smaller scenes. One moment where Papa Smurf sits Patrick down for a "Dad talk" even has weight—a near impossible task for a "kids" movie.
But let's not get too sappy: the movie is funny plain and simple. Azaria makes a living bringing cartoon characters to life—he's a reason why The Simpsons has been on for more than 20 years—and his goofy Gargamel antics are inspired. A recurring gag where the evil wizard continually steps through ventilation steam grates probably read fine on paper but Azaria knows how to play big and doesn't allow any moment of physical comedy to lazily fall through the cracks. On the flip side Harris nails the straight man role and acknowledges that hanging out with Smurfs is just as bizarre as you'd imagine. Think The Brady Bunch Movie for the world of animation.
With solid kids' flicks becoming a rare occurrence Smurfs is a breath of fresh air a film that believes in its own simple message while simultaneously being self-aware of its cartoonish heritage. The movie's a smurfy good time but it takes a particularly smurfy Smurf to let go of cynical baggage and smurf it.
While working on the cult series Lost, screenwriters Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis established themselves as masters of the cliffhanger, always taking care to leave just enough questions unanswered at the end of each episode to make viewers pine for the next mind-bending installment. It’s a fine recipe for serialized television, but does it translate to film? Upon seeing their feature film debut, TRON: Legacy, I had more than a few questions in mind, some of which couldn’t wait for a sequel to be resolved. What happened to Cillian Murphy’s evil ascot-clad character? How did Kevin Flynn morph into a digital Jeff Lebowski? And what use do computer programs have for dance clubs?
Horowitz and Kitsis were gracious enough to entertain some of these (admittedly trivial) queries when I sat down with them recently for an exclusive interview:
One aspect of TRON: Legacy that surprised me was Jeff Bridges’ Zen-inflected take on the elder Kevin Flynn. I know you guys worked extensively with Jeff in the development stage. What was that process like?
Adam Horowitz: It was fantastic.
Edward Kitsis: At first it was frightening, because we came into this as huge fans of Jeff Bridges. The idea that got us the job was there’s two Jeff Bridges in this movie. That’s how much we loved him. We were like, you can’t just have one; two would be awesome. A younger version. And obviously we had the emotional ramifications of that. But he was so cool and he had so many great thoughts. I remember when we were up in Vancouver the week before we were shooting. Jeff would come and knock on our door and say, “Hey man, I just had some thoughts about this scene,” and he would sit down and we were like this is great. This is just the coolest thing. And there’s that part of you – I’m from Minnesota and I’d step back and go, “I don’t know how I got here, but this is the greatest moment of my life.”
AH: And the more we time we got to spend with him, the more it helped us write him. He would seep into what we were writing, and then he would bring stuff. He would come up with lines.
EK: There was the phrase in the movie, “We were jamming, man.” That’s just Jeff, just something he would say in a story. But then you start putting it in, because he’s just so good.
I imagine some of the more Lebowski-esque dialogue came from Jeff, right? I can’t imagine you guys wrote, “Radical, man!” in the script.
EK: Actually, it’s funny because you are right, but that is one that we did write. “Knock on the sky, listen to the sound,” that was one we wrote. But then there’s ones that he would come up with that were far better, but we just want to credit for them anyways. Why not take credit for his brilliance? He’s not around.
With its combination of visual splendor, metaphysical discourses, and The Dude, this film has the potential to be the ultimate stoner movie.
AH: God willing. [Laughs]
Did that thought occur to you guys during the writing process?
AH: Not once! [Laughs]
EK: Listen, we wrote a family film for everybody. If it is visually spectacular … hopefully it’s like when you watch Oz and it comes into color. But to be fair, people that are stoners, it doesn’t take a lot for them to get stoned and experience anything. Going to the drycleaners could be an excuse.
AH: It’s like when we were kids. We were very young when the first TRON came out. And when we saw it, we were far to young for anything like that, but the experience of seeing the movie was mind altering and opening, in terms of the possibilities, and if we can even approach a tiny bit of what that movie was able to do for us, we would be thrilled.
EK: You wanna blow people’s minds. That’s absolutely what you want to do.
How important was it for you that technological elements story, especially those involving the Grid and its evolution, have a sound theoretical basis? Did you guys ruminate over those questions a lot?
AH: I think that we took as a jumping off point the idea of Moore’s Law -- which is the way technology will advance at an incredible rate -- to give us the leeway to hypothesize what would be possible and then to allow us to say that because of that, we can fall within a realm of if not reality, possibility. And then to treat the world as its own world, with its own rules and with its own logic that dictates it, but without getting caught up in technological terms. We didn’t want things to sound fake, like we were just making up gibberish.
EK: We didn’t want to write an internet movie that would be dated in two years. To us, the world of the Grid is its own world the way that Oz is its own world and Pandora is its own world, and we wanted to honor that. But as Adam said, we do want to start with the possibilities of what technology could be.
AH: One of our first things we were thinking about when we were really digging into the script was the idea of Kevin Flynn looking at the programs in the world and seeing them having evolved and having culture and having interactions.
EK: ... having a club, having a DJ …
AH: … and so that notion, that these programs would be evolving, was a very important early point for development.
But you inevitably have to sidestep certain things for the sake of the narrative flow, right? You can’t bother to explain everything – like how the body of Garrett Hedlund’s character could be absorbed into the Grid, for example – otherwise, you just become mired in exposition, like Inception.
AH: We’ve talked for hours and hours and days and days about how it could work and what it would be based in. And Joe can speak to this even better than we can in terms of the technological basis for the reality of going into the computer. But the truth is we’re making this leap to say there is this other world, which is why we’ve always treated it as its own world. You’re going into Oz, you’re going into Pandora, you’re going into another place.
But everything has to make sense to guys, even if it doesn’t end up in the script, right?
EK: Oh yes. And by the way, Joe mapped out the Grid, so we knew when we were writing the script which way we were moving when we were moving towards. The portal is over here; we’re heading this way. There’s a map of it. As much as it is its own world and we’re making it up, there is a spine that we’re following. It is a roadmap.
What’s it like to go from a show like Lost, where story is paramount, to a film like TRON: Legacy, where – like it or not – the spectacle takes precedent, where you have to make room for things like 10-minute lightcycle battles?
EK: We approached this the way we approached a Lost episode. Lost episodes had action in them – you still had the raft launch and people running and smoke monsters grabbing you, but it all came from character. For us what was important was we knew with Joe Kosinski the visuals were going to blow people out of their mind. We had to uphold our end on the story. For us that’s what was important. We were telling a father and son story in a special world. The disc games and all of that have a purpose through character. Because to us Sam going into the Grid is finding out about his dad, someone he hasn’t seen in 20 years.
After seeing the film, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to two characters whose arcs seemed unresolved: Edward Dillinger, played by Cillian Murphy, and Tron. Murphy’s character in particular appeared as if his role may have initially been larger. Are you saving them for sequels?
AH: In storytelling, no story is never really closed. Audiences may say they want it; I don’t think they really do.
EK: We come from television, so we think about what’s the next episode. That’s just naturally how we go. I feel like … did we leave ourselves room open to tell stories that weren’t told? Probably. Hopefully. But we definitely think we completed this story.
After seeing the film in its final incarnation, have you found opportunities to expand the story that didn't occur to you before?
AH: It's this weird organic process, where in success the story really does start to tell you what it wants to be. Once you get it to certain point, it actually starts to reject ideas and accept them. It’s a weird thing to talk about it as its own entity, but it really does.
We tried very hard to build a deep mythology for the world of TRON, but we also had to tell a story that was very focused and we didn’t want it to meander all over the place. Hopefully, at the edges of the frame in the story, there is a lot going on and we’ve hopefully given us the ability to explore those stories in things like TRON: Uprising, or graphic novels or video games or whatever other platform there may be.
TRON: Legacy is now playing in theaters everywhere.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Based on the eponymous book by Bryan Burrough Public Enemies chronicles the exploits of legendary Chicago gangster John Dillinger a dashing figure whose daring bank robberies both captivated and alarmed a Depression-era America devastated by widespread financial ruin. Director Michael Mann (Ali The Insider) begins his narrative at Dillinger’s career high-point with the Indiana-born outlaw basking in his celebrity status as a Robin Hood figure.
But with Dillinger’s growing fame comes increased scrutiny from law enforcement agencies — particularly the Bureau of Investigation (the precursor to the FBI) and its ambitious chief J. Edgar Hoover. Eyeing Dillinger’s capture as an opportunity to boost his agency’s profile Hoover tasks elite agent Melvin Purvis with bringing the elusive gangster to justice.
WHO’S IN IT?
Toning down the often cartoonish mannerisms he exhibited in Sweeney Todd Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy Johnny Depp exudes low-key charm and self-assuredness as Dillinger a man clearly amused by his celebrity status but never consumed by it. Dillinger’s audacity and fearlessness extend beyond the criminal realm too as evidenced when he pursues a beguiling coat-check girl named Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard). Initially appalled by Dillinger’s aggressive advances Frechette ultimately surrenders becoming his loyal companion during his final days on the run.
As lawman Melvin Purvis Dillinger’s primary antagonist Christian Bale provides a nice foil for Depp though he ultimately isn’t allowed enough screen time to fully develop his character. Bale’s Purvis is straight-laced intrepid and doggedly persistent his efforts continually stymied by the sub-par talent and resources at his disposal. His complicated relationship with highly eccentric Bureau boss Hoover (played by a gleefully uptight Billy Crudup) begs for more development but director Mann opts instead to focus more on the doomed love affair between Dillinger and Frechette. Pity.
Fans of Mann’s action work in films like Miami Vice and Heat will revel in Public Enemies’ elaborately staged shoot-out sequences each of which is lent added intensity by cinematographer Dante Spinotti’s use of high-definition digital video cameras.
But when the bullets aren’t flying Public Enemies is only intermittently interesting. Stars Depp and Bale both excel in their respective roles but neither is allowed much room to venture beyond the tight constraints imposed by Mann who clings stubbornly — and disappointingly — to type. Much more intriguing would have been for Mann to reverse the casting with Bale playing the anti-hero and Depp as his straight-arrow pursuer. Alas the director who convinced squeeky-clean Tom Cruise to play a villain (in 2004’s Collateral) was not so ballsy this time around.
The same cautious predictable approach to casting extends to the film’s tone as well. Rather than deconstruct our culture’s romanticized vision of Dillinger as a handsome populist hero Mann adds to the gangster’s puffed-up Robin Hood image photographing Depp lovingly at every turn and filling the story with unsubtle nods to the character’s altruistic side. It’s a missed opportunity.
Mann has never been one for brevity regularly churning out films that extend well beyond two hours in length. Public Enemies is no exception clocking in at nearly two-and-a-half hours. Despite the ample running time he’s allotted to flesh out his story Mann fails to create any real attachment to his characters. For a movie with such a gifted cast appealing subject matter and riveting action sequences Public Enemies is oddly boring.
A chaotic nighttime sequence in which Purvis and his crew ambush Dillinger’s forest hideout only to become mired in a protracted and bloody gunfight ranks with the very best of Mann’s action work. If only the rest of Public Enemies were this thrilling.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Spinotii’s superb camera work demands to be seen on the big screen so slam a few Red Bulls and catch this one at the multiplex.