Reunited new wave act New Order have signed to top British indie label Mute. The group had been a Factory Records staple since 1981, releasing nine studio albums for the label, before unveiling 2013's Lost Sirens on Warner Music, and now they are returning to their independent roots.
Announcing the new signing on Tuesday (02Sep14), Mute founder Daniel Miller says, "This is an exciting new chapter for both Mute and New Order and I feel privileged to be working with artists with such a long, creative and successful history. When the possibility of us working together first came up, I was invited to hear some of the new material and immediately had no doubts whatsoever that Mute would be the right home for New Order.
"We've already had a number of creative conversations, and I am looking towards an exciting future."
Mute's success story has included acts like Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, Plastikman and Moby.
The label's current roster includes Goldfrapp, Erasure, Plastikman, Liars, Zola Jesus and Swans.
Character actor Stephen Lee has died.
The Seinfeld and Nash Bridges star passed away on 14 August (14) after suffering a heart attack. He was 58. Lee portrayed the Big Bopper in Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba and also appeared in the movies RoboCop 2 and Burlesque, but he'll perhaps be best remembered as an inquisitive contractor hired to install kitchen cabinets in Jerry Seinfeld's apartment in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld.
Lee also played Tom Arnold in 1994 TV movie Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes. He made his debut in a 1981 episode of Hart to Hart and became a TV staple in shows like Hill Street Blues, Family Ties, Roseanne, Quantum Leap and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Producers behind the film adaptation of The Giver are donating a portion of proceeds from ticket sales to a U.S. literacy foundation. Executives at Walden Media and The Weinstein Company have announced that for every ticket sold during America's upcoming Labor Day weekend (begs29Aug-01Sep14), 50 cents (29 pence) will go towards the National Education Association's Read Across America program.
The donation, up to the amount of $250,000 (£150,844), will go towards the charity's Ticket To A Better World initiative, which will provide books to children in need in the U.S.
The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, opened earlier this month (Aug14) in the U.S., and has grossed more than $25 million (£15 million) worldwide.
The film is an adaptation of author Lois Lowry's beloved young adult novel set in a futuristic society, and has been a staple in school reading lists since its release in 1993.
Actors Mia Farrow and Dylan Mcdermott have led the tributes to their former co-star Lord Richard Attenborough, following the British movie icon's death on Sunday (24Aug14). The exact cause of death has yet to be revealed, but Attenborough had been living in a nursing home with his wife, Sheila Sim, and was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a serious fall in 2008.
McDermott, who starred alongside Attenborough in the 1994 reboot of Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street, took to Twitter.com to pay tribute to the man who played Kris Kringle, and wrote, "Rest in peace Richard Attenborough. U (sic) were the best Santa ever."
Their co-star and former child actress Mara Wilson also added, "Sir Richard Attenborough was the only Santa Claus I ever believed in. A wonderful man. Still in shock right now. May he rest in peace."
News of Attenborough's death comes almost two weeks after Wilson's Mrs. Doubtfire co-star, Robin Williams passed away after committing suicide.
Mia Farrow, who worked with Attenborough in 1964's Guns at Batasi, also added her own tribute to her friend, and wrote, "Richard Attenborough was the kindest man I have ever had the privilege of working with. A Prince. RIP 'Pa' - and thank you," as well as comedian Ricky Gervais, who added, "RIP Richard Attenborough. One of the true greats of the silver screen."
Other Twitter tributes have come from Edgar Wright, former 007 star Samantha Bond, Rob Schneider, Stephen Amell, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who noted that Attenborough's "acting in 'Brighton Rock' was brilliant, his directing of 'Gandhi' was stunning," and adding, "Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema."
Born in Cambridge, England, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and served in the Royal Air Force during World War II before pursuing an acting career.
He made his debut as a sailor in the 1942 film In Which We Serve and gained popular acclaim playing ruthless young thug Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock in 1947, eventually becoming a staple of countless British films over the next 30 years.
An accomplished stage actor, Attenborough was one of the original cast members of The Mousetrap, which went on to become the longest-running play in London's West End.
In the 1960s, he expanded his range of acting, taking on a variety of roles that exposed him to a wider audience - most notably as Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett in 1963's The Great Escape.
Hitting his stride, Attenborough won back-to-back Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actor in 1967 and 1968 - for The Sand Pebbles and Doctor Dolittle.
But he'll be most fondly remembered for his behind-the-camera skills. In the late 1950s, he formed a production company, Beaver Films, and directed his first picture, Oh! What A Lovely War, in 1969.
He later scooped the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in 1982 for his epic Gandhi, which also won him another Golden Globe Award the following year.
Other directorial credits followed - notably the 1992 biopic Chaplin, and classic 1993 movie Shadowlands - before Attenborough made a welcome return to the screen in 1993 as eccentric John Hammond in Jurassic Park.
Attenborough won a total of eight Oscars during his career. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967, and a knighthood came in 1976. In 1993, he was bestowed the honour of life peer, becoming Baron Attenborough, of Richmond upon Thames, London.
And in 2006, Attenborough and his brother David, a popular broadcaster and beloved nature expert, were awarded the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester in recognition of their services to the university.
Attenborough was also later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Drama from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and was an Honorary Fellow of Bangor University.
On Boxing Day 2004, tragedy struck Attenborough's family when his eldest daughter Jane, her daughter Lucy, and her mother-in-law, also named Jane, died in the devastating Asian tsunami.
His family is expected to make a full statement about his death on Monday (25Aug14).
Actor/rapper Will Smith reunited with his former The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Dj Jazzy Jeff on Friday (15Aug14) to perform their 1991 hit song Summertime at Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort pool party. Smith also danced along to The Sugarhill Gang's Apache (Jump On It), a staple song from the duo's popular 1990s sitcom.
Documentary filmmaker and cinema verite pioneer Robert Drew has died, aged 90. The veteran director passed away at his home in Sharon, Connecticut on Wednesday morning (30Jul14).
While the cause of his death has yet to be revealed, his son Thatcher Drew says in a statement that his dad "had been declining for some time and it was not completely unexpected".
Drew began his career as a correspondent and editor for Life Magazine and also served as a pilot during World War II. His combined experiences helped him develop his signature style of cinema verite filmmaking, a genre which features observational filming in order to capture reality, which has since become a staple in documentary filmmaking.
After founding his film company Drew Associates in the early 1960s, he created more than 100 films on social issues, politics and the arts, and is considered the "father" of cinema verite.
Drew also developed lightweight cameras, and his popular film Primary, which followed U.S. President John F. Kennedy and opponent Hubert Humphrey during the 1960 Wisconsin presidential primary, was the first film to ever use a sync-sound motion picture camera.
Over his five-decade career, he also directed such films as The Chair, Faces of November, From Two Men and a War, and Man Who Dances, for which he won an Emmy in 1968.
In addition to his numerous awards from various organisations and film festivals, six of Drew's films are archived at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and two are in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
He is survived by three children and three grandchildren. His wife Anne, who frequently collaborated with him for his films, passed away in 2012.
Gwyneth Paltrow has launched a new initiative to find the best food truck in Los Angeles. The actress is a big fan of Los Angeles' mobile catering culture, and admits she's often asked to recommend a meals of wheels service, so she has started hitting the streets with pals to chow down on global cuisine served with a plastic fork.
Posting photos of herself dining out in Venice, California on a recent Friday night on her weekly blog goop.com, Paltrow, who is famous for her love of raw food and vegan diets, writes, "Food trucks are a staple of L.A.'s cultural identity. While they may be popping up in every major city across the world, it all started in Los Angeles. More specifically, it started with the Mexican food trucks that drove to construction sites, until the concept was revolutionized by Roy Choi and his Kogi truck, where he invented a hybrid of Korean and Mexican deliciousness (think kimchi on tacos instead of salsa).
"The Kogi truck begat more foodie trucks, and now they are everywhere, roaming every neighborhood across the city. No one seemed to know which in L.A. are the best. We were asked a few times, and couldn't give a proper list of recommendations.
"So most of the goop team hit Abbot Kinney - a long boulevard in Venice - where, on the first Friday of every month, many of L.A.'s finest food trucks congregate. We asked some of our friends with the most discerning palettes to join us, and set out to make the L.A. food truck guide, hitting more than 40 trucks, and eating our way through 50+ meals in the process."
After watching the new trailer for Michael Bay's production of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Hollywood.com staff had a couple of issues. One was the tone that seemed to envelop the film, the other was the aesthetic of the turtles in question:
Julia Emmanuele, on the toneThere are quite a few jokes in this trailer, including a well-done dig at the original idea to turn the turtles into aliens. But there is much more emphasis on the action and grit of these mysterious vigilante heroes. While action was always a significant part of what made the Turtles so cool, their insane, goofy nature made them the Turtles. A certain amount of humor and suspension of disbelief is required to tell a story about pizza-eating mutant turtles who live in a sewer and use their ninja training to keep the city safe, and that humor is nowhere to be found in this trailer. It’s irreverent, sure, and Michelangelo even gets in a few wisecracks, but it’s far too action-focused to truly inhabit the spirit of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
And we haven't even gotten started on a scene that appears to hint at a dramatic death for Splinter, one which inspires the Turtles to band together and avenge their dead father. It’s a staple of the action genre, but it’s the antithesis of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’re already a team; they’re already devoted to one another and Splinter. Like all teenagers, they fight with one another, but there’s never the sense that the Turtles are anything other than a unit. Very little of that familial, brotherly dynamic is present in the trailer, other than a quick shot of them huddling up near the beginning. Instead, they seem to be setting out on their own, which goes against anything they would do, or anything Splinter would tell them to do. Besides, considering how many times Splinter has had to rescue them from certain doom, it seems unlikely that they would ever have to avenge his death in the first place.
All of these things might seem like nitpicking, but without them, the essence of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles won’t be translated into this film. These are weird, goofy guys who care about each other and their leader, and who just happen to be junk-food loving, wisecracking mutant turtles. That needs to come through in the film, or else it’s just another summer blockbuster.
Jordan Smith, on the CGIThere's something seriously up with the CGI in this latest trailer. Now that we've gotten an extended look at the Turtles in motion, the heroes in a half shell just don't look all that convincing. Not that rubber suits of old were that much better. We all knew as kids that there were actual human actors inside the blubbery green reptiles from the trio of '90s movies, but at least those versions of the Turtles felt like they were a part of the world around them.
What it boils down to is that there’s something really intangible about the new Turtles. The CGI looks off when the turtles are interacting with real things in the environment, and as our heroes mash their way through dozens of Foot ninjas, there’s a certain lack of humanity (turtality?) there. That crisp, shiny brand of CGI that works oh so well for something like Transformers, where the combatants are shiny metal robots, looks really off when applied to living, breathing, supposedly organic ninja turtles.
LucasFilm via Everett Collection
It might seem like Disney is taking some big risks with its most precious property, the Star Wars universe. Gareth Edwards — slated to direct a yet unspecified standalone character feature for the franchise — turned in an exceptional Godzilla movie, but still only has one additional directing credit to his name. Chronicle's Josh Trank, recently saddled with a similar gig, was an even more surprising choice for the studio. And now, the coup de gracie: Rian Johnson, one of the most interesting filmmakers playing the genre game these days, will take on writing and directing duties for Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX (per Deadline). It's the biggest task that Disney has yet to bestow upon any of its Star Wars folk, with sci-fi frontman J.J. Abrams only earning the one film, but perhaps the lowest risk of the bunch. If you take a look at Johnson's complete filmography, you'll see what we mean.
Johnson's debut feature — a pitch black neo-noir mystery that follows a pre-resurgence Joseph Gordon-Levitt around the underbelly of his high school community looking for the answers to a spiraling mystery. The biggest strength of Brick, beyond some dynamite performances all around (Gordon-Levitt most of all) is a script that reads practically like music. Compare Harrison Ford bemoaning George Lucas' 1977 Star Wars dialogue ("George, you can type this s**t, but you sure as hell can't say it!") with JGL singing the praises of Johnson's poetry ("Brick was a good script just to read. It was like, 'Oh my God, these words feel so good in my mouth.' A lot of movies try to set up a world with cool sets, costumes, camera work. In Brick, the world is born from the words.") and you'll see that maybe a talented wordsmith is exactly what the franchise needs.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
Johnson reteamed with Gordon-Levitt in 2012 for his first science fiction feature, and perhaps the first of his movies to earn something close to widespread recognition. Admittedly, Looper got its share of flack for "time travel problems," as any movie that plays fast and loose with the rules of such a delicate sci-fi staple is bound to. But Looper isn't a bastardization of the tradition, it's a celebration of it: of what makes it fun, interesting, a valuable storytelling device, and worth watching a movie about. Instead of being didactic to the impossible logic of timeline continuity, Johnson was devoted chiefly to the spirit of time travel. This is what we want in a Star Wars director — someone who loves that galaxy far, far away but won't let it arrest his imagination.
Johnson directed three episodes of Breaking Bad, each a memorable entry in the series' five season run. The first was "Fly" (represented above, as even those unfamiliar might have guessed), Breaking Bad's take on the small screen tradition of the bottle episode, trapping Walter White literally inside of his laboratory and figuratively inside of his decaying mind. Two years later, Johnson helmed "Fifty-One," famous primarily for the climactic scene in which Skyler attempts suicide by jumping into the family's swimming pool. And finally, "Ozymandias," the third-to-last episode of the series and top contender for most celebrated Breaking Bad episode of all.
The director exemplifies such completely different strengths in "Fly" and "Ozymandias" that you'd have to be startled upon learning they were brought to screen by the same artist. In the former, Walt's turmoil reaches out from in, poisoning him (and Jesse) slowly and steadily over the course of the 45-minute ep. "Ozymandias," on the other hand, is a deep dish of adrenaline. From minute one, things are edge-of-your-seat tense, incurring shoot-outs, killings, high speed chases, kidnappings, domestic chaos, the works.
Both sorts of dramatic expertise are needed for any good adventure piece. Johnson can handle subdued tension, internalized drama, and psychological horror. But he also knows what he's doing when it comes to action, adrenaline, and guttural excitement. If nothing else has convinced you that he's a shoe-in for a good Star Wars picture, Breaking Bad has got to do the trick.
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Beloved children's book writer Eric Hill has died, aged 86. The Brit, best known for creating the Spot The Dog series, passed away at his home in California following a brief illness.
A statement from his family reads, "Although this time of loss is a great hardship for us, we can honestly say that we take some solace in the joy he brought to so many children and families through his work. We know Spot, and therefore Eric, has had a beloved presence in so many homes and bedtime readings. And we know we share our grief with many."
Hill worked as a designer and illustrator before coming up with the iconic Spot The Dog character for his son. The first book he wrote, Where's Spot, was published in 1980 and went on to become a sensation and a children's reading staple.
The book series also spawned a spin-off TV show, which aired in both Britain and the U.S. with notable American stars including Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Haley Joel Osment providing the title character's voice.
Hill was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in Queen Elizabeth II's 2008 New Year's Honours List.