John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the eighth time. Mark David Chapman, 59, who shot and killed the Beatles legend outside his Dakota Building home in New York in December, 1980, has lost his bid to walk free from prison.
A three-member board denied the parole request on Friday (22Aug14), following a hearing on Wednesday.
Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Lennon's widow Yoko Ono wrote to officials when Chapman's parole application went back before the New York state's review board this week (beg18Aug14). In her letter she detailed her objections and urged the officials to keep Chapman behind bars.
He will now not be eligible for parole until 2016.
John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman is awaiting a decision over whether he will finally be freed from prison after his eighth parole case this week (beg18Aug14). Chapman was sentenced to 20-years-to-life behind bars for gunning down the Beatles legend outside his New York City home in December, 1980.
He has been eligible for parole since 2000 but has seen seven previous applications turned down due to the gravity of his offence and the ongoing public outrage over the murder.
His parole application went back before the New York state's review board this week (beg18Aug14), but Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has already written a letter to the officials laying out her objections and urging them to keep Chapman locked up.
The killer, 59, will find out his fate in the coming days, according to the New York Daily News. If he is denied parole, he will have to wait another two years for his next review.
United Artists via Everett Collection
The Beatles' influence has touched every inch of modern pop music, leaving an indelible mark on film and television... which is pretty good for four working-class mop tops from Liverpool. Director Ron Howard will be the next to immortalize the band onscreen, in a new documentary that will explore the group's early years, when they still toured their music across the globe. Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison will contribute to the feature, which will trace the band's humble beginnings at the Caven Club in Liverpool, their tours through Germany, all the way through the group's final public performance in San Francisco's Candlestick park. But before we get around to seeing Howard's tribute to the Beatles, we're inclined to look back upon some of the best musical contributions they made to movies and TV.
Bowling for ColumbineThe last half of the John Lennon-penned "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," which may or may not be about heroin, serves as the perfect soundtrack for Michael Moore's anti-gun manifesto Bowling for Columbine. It's used in a terrifying sequence that shows just how gun crazy some Americans are, and as the song ramps up, the sequence escalates to a violent and unnerving conclusion that still has us wincing all these years later.
"Baby, You're a Rich Man" in The Social NetworkWhat better way to end a biopic about one of the richest men in the universe than this cut from Magical Mystery Tour. It's so fitting, it's almost like it was made expressly to cap off David Fincher's tale of billion dollar grudges.
"You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" in HelpWe couldn't, in good faith, compile a list of the best Beatles moments in film and television without including a sequence from the Fab Four's own filmography. We chose "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" the film Help for sheer oddness of the sequence. Plus, it's just a great song in general.
"In My Life" in Little ManhattanThe best thing about the Beatles is how timeless their music is. "In My Life," a song about losing and gaining friendships through the slippage of time, is the perfect piece of music to accompany the story about a preteen losing his first love in modern day New York.
"A Little Help From My Friends" on The Wonder YearsJohn Cocker's throaty rendition of "A Little Help from My Friends" graces the title sequence of The Wonder Years, and it may be the best cover song ever recorded. It's even better than the original Beatles tune, and it just makes The Wonder Years a better show. Nowadays, we can't even look at Fred Savage without hearing Cocker's raspy croon blasting through our heads at full volume.
"Come Together" in A Bronx TaleIn a scene from Robert De Niro's directoral debut, a pair of Italian mafiosos rough up a couple of unruly bikers that stop into their bar while "Come Together" spills out of a jukebox. Thanks to the '60s aesthetic, the song is a perfect addition to the scene.
"Hey Jude" in The Royal TenenbaumsFilmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are often celebrated for their use of pop music in film, but Wes Anderson's musical touches in his work are just as poignant. His use of a beautifully orchestrated version of "Hey Jude" in 2001's The Royal Tenanbaums is a perfect example of this.
"Twist and Shout" in Ferris Bueller's Day OffWe're still not sure if Ferris Bueller is really a wizard, or if it was just the power of music, but the teen somehow brings the entirety of downtown Chicago to a grinding halt for the musical number to end all musical numbers.
Moviemaker Richard Lester has opened up about his time shooting films with The Beatles in the 1960s, branding Sir Paul McCartney too enthusiastic to act. The Superman II director helmed the Fab Four's first big screen outing in A Hard Day's Night in 1964 and he went on to work with them again the following year (65) on Help!
Now he has given his verdict on the rock stars' abilities in front of camera, praising George Harrison and Ringo Starr but suggesting McCartney was wise to stick to his music career.
Lester tells NME magazine, "(Harrison) didn't try to do too much, but always hit it right in the middle. (McCartney) was so enthusiastic he perhaps tried too hard. (Lennon) had some cutting words for me at times."
The director said there were concerns among the crew when Starr was tasked to shoot a solo scene but he was delighted when the drummer played his role perfectly.
A Hard Day's Night has been digitally restored and remixed to mark its 50th anniversary, and will be re-released on DVD and Blu-ray later this month (Jul14).
"Sean used to bully him as a kid. Once he fell asleep, so Sean wrapped him up in a carpet and locked him in a cupboard." Sean Lennon loved tormenting his childhood friend Mark Ronson, according to his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
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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Yoko Ono has penned an open letter to English rock band Elbow praising them for using her name in their song New York Morning. The track is featured on their new album The Take Off And Landing Of Everything and the lyrics read: "Oh, my giddy aunt, New York can talk, It's the modern Rome and folk are nice to Yoko."
Ono has now responded to the name drop, writing, "Dear Guy, Craig, Mark, Pete and Richard, Yes. New York has been kind to me as your song says. Thank you. For John (Lennon), he always wanted to come and live in this city, ever since he saw Bob Dylan on the famous album cover (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan). And I played the catalyst to make his dream come true.
"But in sleepless nights, I am still living in the memory of my sweet husband, who was virtually kicked out of his own country that he loved so dearly and learned to live in this bleak port city just so his woman and he could live in peace. Two sides of the coin. Life is. Have a great time in New York. We loved it. Love, Yoko."
As he was participating in a Q&A after winning an award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Jared Leto was confronted by an angry woman. She wanted to know how he, as a non-transgender person, deserved to play the role of the transgender, HIV-positive Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club that earned Leto an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Instead of going on the offense, Leto engaged her in a thought-provoking conversation about acting and, when there wasn't enough time, invited the woman backstage to continue the dialogue. There's one word for that: cool.
Leto, who rose to prominence initially as a brooding teen idol on My So Called Life, has long marched to the beat of his own drum and in the process has become one of the coolest people in Hollywood. So dedicated was the actor to playing the transgender role in Dallas Buyers Club that he showed up the first day already dressed as a woman.
Instead of playing on his good looks, Leto seems only to take roles that interest him. When he's needed to, he's dropped to skin and bones to play Rayon or a heroin addict in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, and has put on weight to play John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27. Tired of the physical toll that the extremes of changing his body to fit a role have taken, Leto has decided to stop doing it. When you're cool, you don't let the past control the future.
Besides his acting prowess, Leto has managed to put together a critically acclaimed music career with his band Thirty Seconds to Mars, which also features his brother Shannon Leto. The band has sold millions of albums and toured around the world. When acting offers conflict with his music, Leto usually picks music... because he can.
Leto doesn't just restrict his efforts to acting and music, but spreads himself around by lending his time and talents to numerous charitable organizations. The actor has been an outspoken advocate for everything from gay marriage to stopping animal cruelty. Instead of just lending his name, he frequently shows up at events and participates. Because when you're cool, you don't fake involvement, you actually become involved.
There's a good chance that Leto will be taking home an Oscar at this year's awards ceremony after already scoring wins at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. It's also a pretty safe bet that his acceptance speech will be heartfelt and honest... and there's nothing cooler than that.
John Lennon's singer son Sean teamed up with rockers The Flaming Lips to pay tribute to The Beatles with a cover of Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds during Thursday's (06Feb14) U.S. broadcast of the Late Show With David Letterman. The TV gig was part of a week-long series of performances to mark the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's first American TV gig, which took place on 9 February, 1964 at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Letterman show tapes.
Good comedians are as hard to come by as good filmmakers. To stand out in just one of those fields is relatively rare. That's why this select group of artists who have had success in both is so extraordinary. Whether it's on the silver screen (or more realistically on TVs, laptops, and mobile devices, but you get the point) or on stage, they are simply experts in the art of making people laugh. Here are some of the best comedian/filmmakers working today.
The "screaming comedian" of the 1980s is a seasoned writer/director and has created some great films in recent years including World's Greatest Dad and God Bless America. His latest feature Willow Creek, which tells the story of Bigfoot enthusiasts, is making the rounds on the festival circuit and stands to be his most successful film yet.
A champion of brutally honest, self-deprecating humor, Birbiglia established himself as a top-notch filmmaker with the release of his freshman film, the semi-autobiographical Sleepwalk with Me in 2012, which he co-wrote and co-directed.
Gervais made his bones in television but has made his way into stand-up and film, directing his first feature, The Invention of Lying, in 2009.
Chandrasekhar had already been performing for several years before the cult hit Super Troopers. He and his Broken Lizard cohorts have released a slew of hilarious films since including Beerfest and Babymakers.
Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant
Veterans of The State and Reno 911, the pair have branched out into features. The long-time writing partners co-directed 2013's Hell Baby, Garant's third feature and Lennon's first.
The former director of The State, Wain created a cult following with his star-studded directorial debut Wet Hot American Summer in 2001. He has since directed Role Models and Wanderlust, while still devoting a great deal of time to television.