Pharrell Williams used his MasterCard gig in London on Tuesday night (24Jun14) to stand up for up women's rights and demand equal pay for female workers. The superstar performed a small show for around 600 fans at the Brooklyn Bowl London venue as part of MasterCard's Priceless Gigs series, performing hits including Happy, his Robin Thicke collaboration Blurred Lines and Daft Punk's Get Lucky.
During the show, Williams made a rousing speech in support of women's rights, insisting female employees deserve to be paid as much as their male counterparts.
He told the crowd, "In America, women make 77 cents for a man's dollar. Women need to be paid as much as men... On this planet women are slighted... There are men in here who appreciate women... you have to make it change... The year 2014 is the year everything changed... We gotta start changing some policies."
Williams, who dedicated his album G I R L to empowering the opposite sex, went on to urge women to be more supportive of each other.
He added, "Women you need to support each other. It doesn't matter what clothes she wears or what car she drives, you gotta stop tearing each other down."
Fans won places at the gig through a ballot on Priceless.com/london.
Pharrell Williams hopes his new album, G I R L, helps empower women - because they need help with equality issues. The Happy hitmaker admits he's in love with all women, because every single female is special and represents something magical - but he's not sure men truly appreciate them.
He says, "Once a month they go through something that we'll never understand and yet they still come to work and they still kick a**... If women wanted to, like, cripple an economy, they just don't go to work and don't come home (and) that country's dead for that day.
"The idea that we, as a species, have travelled to the moon back in '69, we've had a space station that's been hovering around the planet for about maybe 20 years (and it) hasn't touched the earth's soil, and we have a rover on the surface of Mars and yet we're the same species that has legislation in place, where women can't do... where they're being told what they can and can't do with their bodies.
"My album is not a problem solver, it's not the resolution... I just wanted to start the debate... I just love them (women) and I love every part of them. I love the nasty parts and I love the intelligent parts.
"Every woman is different and that makes them special. It's like snowflakes; they're both super cool but none of them are the same."
Pharrell Williams launched an art exhibition inspired by his album G I R L in Paris, France on Monday (26May14). The Happy hitmaker attended an event at Galerie Perrotin to unveil the 48-piece art collection he curated with the gallery's owner Emmanuel Perrotin. All the artworks celebrate femininity, love and freedom, which are the themes of his album.
Twelve pieces were created for the collection, including a portrait of Williams dancing with his wife Helen Lasichanh.
The idea for the show began to come together in 2013, when Williams attended Perrotin's gallery opening in New York.
The owner says, "Pharrell took a few of us to listen to the first five tracks of his upcoming album G I R L... At this moment, we realised that this tribute to women was going to be a worldwide success and would represent a shift in his career. Pharrell made us feel like we were part of it. This project at the gallery in Paris is a natural continuation of this adventure."
The exhibition at Galerie Perrotin in Paris runs from Tuesday (27May14) until 25 June (14).
Pharrell Williams stunned members of the Harlem Gospel Choir on Monday (26May14) when he joined them on TV for an uplifting a capella version of his hit Happy.
Get More: Big Morning Buzz Live, Nick Lachey, Full Episodes, Reality TV Shows, Pharrell Williams, Big Morning Buzz Live
The nine-piece choir was performing a mash-up of gospel favourite Oh Happy Day and the hitmaker's tune on VH1's Big Morning Buzz when he stepped out from behind a curtain. The singers kept their composure and sang on as Pharrell clapped along.
After the performance he told host Nick Lachey, "This is an amazing gift... We're blessed." Williams is taking the morning show this week (beg26May14), performing tracks from his new album G I R L every day.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Consider the superhero movie sequel. With the millstone of the characters' origin stories removed from around the collective necks of the filmmakers, they are free to jump right into a rip-roaring premise with plenty of superhuman action bursting from the screen. Fans are eagerly awaiting X-Men: Days of Future Past for exactly that reason... we've already seen two different origin movies for the the mutants, so let's get on with the time-bending heroics.
Why, then, is it that so many superhero sequels don’t live up to their promise? More importantly, what it is about the ones that do that make them rise above the others? Let's take a look at what anyone making a superhero sequel after decade's worth of examples both good and bad.
Don't Waste Time Rehashing What We Already Know
Just trust that we saw the origin story movie. There's no need to tell us who the characters are and why they're important. Anyone that needs to know what's happening isn't the target audience anyway… and they can be brought up to speed by whatever friend dragged them along to the theater. If you really, really feel the need to catch everyone up then just do what Superman II did and stick a montage with the opening credits.
The awesome thing about being past the origin story is that we can get right into the action. Even if the new story is going to take a while to set up, don't lead off with that. Don't meander into things like Iron Man 2. Don't give us action that we don't fully understand like in Thor: The Dark World. The hero doesn't even have to be involved. Go right for the jugular like they did in X2: X-Men United, with Nightcrawler ransacking the White House, or Christopher Nolan's dual threats of setting up first the Joker in The Dark Knight and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
Find a Great Bad Guy
As Nolan showed, really any superhero sequel is going to live or die by the choice of the super-nemesis. By unleashing Heath Ledger's Joker in the second film, filmmakers didn't force audiences to wait for him while the story tried to get Bruce Wayne to the point of being Batman. Similarly, the first great superhero sequel, Superman II, did likewise by giving us Terence Stamp's awesome General Zod from the beginning to the end. Don't make them weak or sympathetic either. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 is a solid sequel, but it suffers from making us feel sorry for Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus. And, don't get us started on Arnold Schwarzenegger's depressed Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.
Just Don't Find Too Many
It sounds great… now that the superhero has been established; let's start throwing a bunch of his comic book foils at him in the movies. After all, most superheroes have a whole group of villains that they've been doing battle with for years. Only, it never works that way. Diverting attention away from one main bad guy just muddles the plot… and it's already touch-and-go whether there's enough of that anyway. Going the Spider-Man 3 route where it was Green Goblin and Sandman and Venom gets confusing and feels lazy. It doesn't mean that there can't be other bad guys around, especially when we're talking about seminal characters like Lex Luthor, we just need to have one at the center that leads us into a fitting (and ginormous) climactic battle.
Mo' Superheroes, Mo' Better
It's not an accident that The Avengers was such a smash… we like to see the costumed crowd playing together. It reminds us of the greatest part of comic books where we could imagine all of these spectacular personalities in a universe where they would sometimes collide. That's the same reason that X-Men fans screamed and shouted when fan favorites like The Beast and Gambit were slow to join the fun (if they ever got to at all) in the Bryan Singer films. It doesn't even have to be characters that are household names. The average person didn't know Black Widow before Iron Man 2 or Falcon before Captain America: The Winter Soldier… but the people that do are the ones that help create a buzz for the movie.
Even a bad sequel, can provide at least a few minutes of interest with a crossover… like The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The Marvel diehards that saw that one did so just to see Mr. Fantastic and The Thing interact with the metallic former Galactus henchman… and the fact that the movie actually made money proves the point. Whether they like the choice of Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight in Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman, you can bet that superhero fans everywhere are still going to line up to see the DC Comics' titans go at it. (And, ok, to see Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman outfit.)
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
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The Frozen soundtrack has landed a 10th week at number one on the U.S. album chart. Over 133,000 copies were sold in the past week, taking the album's tally past the two million mark.
The soundtrack, which features 2014's Best Song Oscar winner Let It Go by Idina Menzel, is now one of just 11 albums to have spent at least 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 since the new chart era began in 1991. Only four of those 11 albums have been soundtracks: Frozen, The Bodyguard, Titanic and The Lion King, which also spent 10 weeks at number one.
Pharrell Williams' G I R L rebounds seven spots to two and 5 Seconds of Summer's She Looks So Perfect EP slips to three on the new countdown.
MercyMe score the chart's highest debut at four with Welcome to the New, and rockers Black Label Society round out the new top five at five with Catacombs of the Black Vatican.
Meanwhile, on the Hot 100 singles chart, Williams scores an eighth week at number one with Happy, while John Legend's All of Me and Katy Perry's Dark Horse both claim a fourth week at numbers two and three, respectively.
Pharrell Williams is opening up about his stance on women's equality, revealing his new album G I R L is a tribute to females all over the world.
The Happy hitmaker's second studio album is already a global success just a month after its release, but Williams is eager to let fans know that this particular record isn't just about the music, but what it stands for.
In an interview with U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday (10Apr14), he explained that he had a clear vision for the G I R L album, which was to make it a tribute to women everywhere.
He said, "Instantly I knew that I wanted to give back to a demographic that had giving to me to me and my family for over 20 years and that was women. I knew it was going to be called G I R L, and put two spaces in between each letter, because I needed that word to read different in any text it would be lucky enough to be written about. I wanted that word to be bigger than anything else in that whole entire paragraph. First of all, I have a huge affinity for them, but at the same time there's a lot of inequality with women. Still to this day, it's like 73 cents to a man's dollar. What is that? The last time I heard, the only way that this entire species can come into existence is through the portal of a woman's body."
He continued, "We're a species that has had a space station floating around the earth for over 20 years, we even have a rover on the surface of Mars, how can we be the same species where we have legislators that tells women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. How is that possible? And when I say equality, I mean equality for everybody. Who are you telling who they can marry and who they can't - what is this? It's 2014."
The Frozen soundtrack has iced an eighth week at the top of the U.S. album chart. No release has spent more time at number one since Adele hit the top spot 24 times with 21 in 2011 and 2012.
The soundtrack, which features songs by the movie's stars Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, has now sold over 1.8 million copies in America.
Shakira debuted her self-titled album at two with 84,000 first-week sales, and late country legend Johnny Cash returned to the chart at three with Out Among the Stars, an album that was originally scheduled for release in 1984.
It's Cash's sixth top 10 album.
Rockers Memphis May Fire's Unconditional entered at four and Pharrell Williams' G I R L climbed back into the top five at five.
Williams also ruled the Billboard Hot 100 singles countdown for a sixth week with Happy. The feat helps the hitmaker jump ahead of Elvis Presley among male artists with the most weeks at number one in the chart's 55-year history - his four chart-toppers have kept him at number one for a combined 23 weeks; one more than Presley.
Williams now ties 50 Cent and Nelly for 10th place among men with the most weeks at number one. Usher leads all solo males with 47 weeks at the top, while Mariah Carey leads all artists with 79 - 20 more than The Beatles and 26 more than Rihanna.
Meanwhile, John Legend's All of Me stayed put at two on the new chart and Katy Perry's Dark Horse held steady at three.