Folk legend Bob Dylan will be presented with the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year honour from former U.S. president Jimmy Carter after receiving musical tributes from Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson and Jack White. The Lay Lady Lay hitmaker will be honoured at the Recording Academy's 25th annual benefit gala dinner and concert on 6 February (15), and a host of stars have lined up to celebrate Dylan's career.
Joining Springsteen, Nelson and White will be Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tom Jones, John Mellencamp, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Beck, the Black Keys, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones and singer/songwriter John Doe.
President Carter will close out the night by personally saluting the veteran.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the MusiCares organisation, which provides financial and medical aid to musicians in need.
Previous MusiCares Person of the Year honourees include Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Bono, Tony Bennett and Carole King, who received the accolade last year (14).
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
There are a lot of people in Hollywood who are considered sci-fi icons – George Takei, Harrison Ford, Lynda Carter – but when it comes to current sci-fi and superhero blockbusters, there’s one woman who reigns above them all: Zoe Saldana. Friday’s Guardians of the Galaxy will mark her third starring role in a major sci-fi franchise, and she’s effortlessly made the jump from one iconic character to another, earning fans and rave reviews every time. But when you think Star Trek or Avatar or even Guardians of the Galaxy, her face likely isn’t the first one that pops into your head. For some reason, Saldana hasn’t quite been able to make the jump from blockbusters to international superstar.
Major superhero and sci-fi blockbusters have a history of turning unknown or underrated actors into A-list stars. Henry Cavill was just “that guy from that thing” before he became Superman. Tom Hiddleston went from a theater darling to making women everywhere scream their heads off thanks to The Avengers. Even Sam Worthington was omnipresent for a solid year or so after Avatar was released. And yet Saldana is still best known as the “blue girl from Avatar” or “the one woman in the new Star Trek films” despite having three times as many franchises under her belt. It could be argued that Cavill and Hiddleston have a background in more prestigious projects, which has helped them become more recognizable. But Saldana also has plenty of impressive films under her belt, including collaborations with directors like Steven Spielberg, Neil LaBute, and Guillame Canet. She’s even starring in a biopic about Nina Simone, which is the kind of cinematic catnip that neither the Oscars nor audiences can resist.
What, then, is keeping Saldana from enjoying the kind of fame that other franchise stars have? Do audiences have trouble recognizing her thanks to the various CGI and full-bodied makeups that have turned her blue, green, and everything in between? Is it because she’s a member of an ensemble cast in Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy, the two films where her face hasn’t been digitally altered? Is it just because she’s not playing the sullen, broody one with daddy issues?
It’s certainly not due to lack of talent, as Saldana has always given compelling, complex performances, even in her smallest roles – remember Crossroads? She was by far the best thing about that movie – and often chooses characters that are tough and complicated. Neytiri and Uhura are interesting, strong, sometimes difficult women with a great deal of depth to them. However, despite the attention all of those characters have gotten, it still pales in comparison to the fan bases that their male counterparts have received, which has likely contributed to the smaller nature of Saldana’s general fan base.
Still, it’s likely that Gamora could be the key to launching Saldana into superstardom, or, at the very least, to being more than just “the blue one.” Though both Star Trek and Avatar were incredibly successful, Marvel’s films are currently the biggest, most attention-grabbing franchises in theaters thanks to the resurgence of superhero films and the excitement surrounding them. She’s already getting more attention and press for Gamora than she did for Neytiri or Uhura, which is probably due to the fact that Gamora is a more prominent lead than the other two. Yes, Neytiri is the only Na’vi anyone can name, but Saldana herself was overshadowed by more familiar names like Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. The biggest name in the Guardians cast, by contrast, is Bradley Cooper, who is only doing voiceover work in the film.
The fact that she’s already starred in two other major franchises should also help Gamora become Saldana’s biggest role yet. She’s already familiar to causal moviegoers, even if they still can’t quite place her name. She’s also established herself as a fashion darling, which means that she’s likely to have graced the cover of many high-selling magazines, which is another important step towards helping her move onto the A-list. And since everyone loves a celebrity baby, she’s likely to get even more press over the course of the next few months, which will help keep her in the public’s consciousness.
Her upcoming film Nina could also be a major factor. Saldana’s always been able to balance action-heavy blockbusters with serious, quiet dramas, but she’s yet to properly breakthrough in the latter. A biopic of a major icon could be exactly the kind of films she needs to gain some awards attention, and all of the promotion that Oscar season entails would definitely encourage more people to pay attention to her. However, thus far, the film has been plagued by filming delays on controversy, so if the final product isn’t exceptional, it might do more harm than good.
Of course, if Guardians of the Galaxy does even half as well as some of its predecessors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it might just be enough to balance out any possible mis-steps, and ensure that Saldana finally gets the kind of attention that she deserves. After all, Scarlett Johansson can't play every female superhero out there.
Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot has been forced to pull out of Neil Young's upcoming European tour after suffering a mild stroke. Talbot's doctors expect the rocker to make a full recovery, but they have advised Talbot to exit the tour and recover at home.
Crazy Horse will be joined by Rick Rosas, who has played with Young extensively throughout the years, when the European dates kick off in Reykjavik, Iceland on 7 July (14).
Young will also have the support of backing vocalists Dorene Carter and YaDonna West from the group Mahogany Blue.
Dissatisfied fans of How I Met Your Mother are campaigning for a new ending after the finale aired in the U.S. on Monday (31Mar14). Despite earning a series-high rating of 12.9 million viewers in America, the final episode of the popular sitcom proved to be polarising for fans as a number of plot twists left viewers stunned by the show's conclusion after nine seasons.
Shortly after the finale aired, devoted fans started a petition on Change.org demanding co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas to re-write and re-shoot the episode, simply stating, "You know it's just wrong."
More than 6,725 fans from around the world had signed the plea as WENN went to press.
Actor Josh Radnor's onscreen children in How I Met Your Mother knew how the hit U.S. series would end nine years ago, after producers revealed all to them at the very start of the show. David Henrie and his TV sister Lyndsy Fonseca have been filming reaction scenes to the relationship tales told by Radnor's character Ted Mosby since 2005, when they were teens, and they continued to make non-speaking appearances in the sitcom until their brief dialogue at the very end of the series, which wrapped for good when its season nine finale aired in America on Monday (31Mar14).
Actress Cobie Smulders, who played Mosby's on/off love interest Robin Scherbatsky, reveals, "(Creators) Carter (Bays) and Craig (Thomas), are so smart. They had actually planned the ending during our pilot.
"They shot some scenes with the two children - we shot it with them when they were teenagers and now they're in their mid-20s - we shot this whole scene with them.
"It's kind of amazing that it's been nine years and it's come full-circle and they (Bays and Thomas) have been allowed to see their vision through."
But actor Henrie admits it hasn't always been easy to keep the show's ultimate plot under wraps for so long.
He tells Yahoo's The Insider, "I'm 24 now, but when I turned 21 I started going out with my buddies. Everyone was always asking me, 'Dude, who's the mum? Who's the mum?'.
"People would try and bribe me with all sorts of alcohol, but I kept silent. I didn't tell anyone. I didn't even tell my mother."
His secrecy vow paid off - the show, which also starred Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris, attracted a series-high ratings explosion with 12.9 million U.S. viewers tuning in to watch the finale.
With the biggest mystery of How I Met Your Mother solved, we've taken the past couple of months to move onto new ones: Will Barney and Robin actually get married? Will the Mother die at the end of the series? Will Billy Zabka ever find happiness? And the somewhat overlooked question that we revisit in this week's episode — who did Lily call after that big fight with Marshall?
That last one ties into the larger query of whether or not the Eriksen-Aldrins would be relocating to Italy post-series. Last we left the argument, Lily conceded that the family should stay in the U.S., but this week's turn changed gears for the couple. In a love letter of sorts to How I Met Your Mother fans, Ted dons his sleuth cap to determine who Lily called when she drove off into the night, where she went, and what she did while there. Surprisingly enough, he's pretty close.
In lieu of meeting Robin's mother, Barney high tails his groomsmen (where the hell is his brother, by the way?) to the Captain's Northampton house after Marshall concludes that he must be the one who Lily phoned. That's where the hypothesizing takes place, with Ted drawing elaborate conclusions from minuscule clues to determine the true nature of Lily's secret... well, the false nature (he thought she was hiding the fact that she'd been smoking), but it did lead to the true nature (spoilers!): she's pregnant. This reveal, plus a good swift kick in the ass from his conscience, leads Marshall to decide that the family should in fact move to Italy. And, as far as we learn from a flash forward, they do. All of them — Marshall, Lily, Marvin, Marshall's mom, Lily's dad, and their new baby daughter Daisy.
Beyond just being a moreover fun episode, the aptly named "Daisy" is in a way Carter Bays and Craig Thomas breathing life into the mile-a-minute voices of their longtime fans. How I Met Your Mother audiences are full of theories on every element of the show... something it provokes and abets with its hints, misdirects, call-backs (and -forwards), and various other teases. Even telling us who the Mother is (Cristin Milioti, in case you forgot) didn't appease viewers; we've come up with plenty of other things to wonder about this year alone.
But as we saw with Sunday night's True Detective finale, questions aren't always answered in the way that audiences might want or anticipate. Not everything is about the mystery. So we worry that after nine years, HIMYM might come to a close that leaves viewers feeling incomplete.
Right now, we're obsessing over questions like those above, perhaps at the expense of the emotional (and humorous) core of the show, as was the case with many a True Detective viewer. In the end, that show was bout Rustin Cohle and Marty Hart — two troubled men who needed one another more than they could have anticipated. This show is about plenty in that vein, but we seem to be forgetting that.
We know, we're guilty of this too. But let's not make the same mistake as we might have with True Detective. Let's step away from all these harrowing questions and hold tight to the characters. We might feel duped or misled or underwhelmed by any of the How I Met Your Mother finale's "reveals," but we can bet that Bays and Thomas have something heartfelt and substantial in store for the conclusion of Ted's journey. And hopefully happy! Milioti did say that the death-of-the-Mother theory was "crazy," after all, so there's hope.
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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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Frances Ha star Greta Gerwig has landed the lead role in How I Met Your Mother spin-off, How I Met Your Dad. The actress/writer/director is heading to the small screen in the show by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, who are also the co-creators of top-rated sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
Gerwig will play the main character Sally, who realises she has nothing in common with her husband of less than a year, and finds support from her family and close group of friends as she goes through the break-up.
Following the format of its predecessor, How I Met Your Dad will tell the tale of how Sally meets the ultimate love of her life.
The news comes as How I Met Your Mother, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, nears the end of its ninth and final season, which concludes on 31 March (14).
Seth MacFarlane: writer, director, producer, Oscars host, and now, novelist. The Family Guy creator announced that he has written a novel based on the screenplay for his upcoming film, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and will release it in March, two months before the film hits theaters in May. The book will tell the story of Albert Stark, a sheep farmer who spends most of his time attempting to avoid the overwhelming dangers that fill the wild west in order to survive, until his girlfriend leaves him, and "Albert decides to fight back—even though he can’t shoot, ride, or throw a punch. Fortunately, he teams up with a beautiful gunslinger who’s tough enough for the both of them. Unfortunately, she’s married to the biggest, meanest, most jealous badass on the frontier. Turns out Albert has just discovered a million and one ways to die in the West."
Turning the film into a novel is an unusual choice, since MacFarlane's comedic style tends to rely on rapid-fire jokes and visual gags that may be difficult for him to translate from the screen into print. Since he wrote the novelization himself, it's very likely that those jokes will have made it into the book, but the story will need to have a little bit of depth or character development in order to work properly as a novel. However, turning the film into a novel could be a good sign, as it can be taken as an indication that the film has a lot more to it than just an endless stream of jokes. There's been no indication thus far that MacFarlane has added material for the novel, which means we all might need to get excited about A Million Ways to Die in the West.
But as weird as it might seem to read a novel from the same guy who wrote Family Guy or Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West is not the strangest or most surprising film novelization out there. We've rounded up 12 of the weirdest ones, and ranked them in order of insanity. Looks like MacFarlane has a lot to live up to with this project.
12. Pretty In Pink If you've ever watched the classic 1986 film and wished that Andie had chosen her dorky, loyal best friend Duckie over rich kid Blaine at the end, we may have the perfect solution for you. The novelization of the film sticks with the original ending, and allows Duckie to live the dream of every awkward, poorly-dressed high school guy and win the girl of his dreams away from the obnoxious kid with good hair and a nice car. The downside, though, is that unlike the screenplay, it isn't written by John Hughes, which means it likely lacks some of the wit and heart that characterizes his film. But that's a small price to pay to watch the nerd emerge victorious.
11. Kazaam Remember when Shaquille O'Neal decided to try his hand at acting in the late 1990s, and the world was gifted with Kazaam? Well, it should come as no surprise to you, then, that movie executives realized that school children all across the country would buy anything with O'Neal's face on it, and churned out a novelization of the film in order to sell it at book fairs. Unlike most film novelizations, there are no significant changes or additions to the book, probably because there is very little that can be done to that script in order to make it worth reading, but that didn't stop it from flying off the shelves of every elementary school library around.
10. Great Expectations Long before he stranded Sandra Bullock in space, Alfonso Cuaron directed an adaptation of Great Expectations starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. Then, someone adapted that adaptation into a novel that is even more "loosely" based on the Dickens classic. Although both the film and the novel make a lot of interesting and strange changes in order to modernize the story, the most inexplicable decision comes from author Deborah Chiel, who changed the name of the protagonist to Johnny from Fin (itself a change from the original name, Pip.) Dickens likely turned over in his grave when this hit bookshelves.
9. Crossroads The 2002 film Crossroads was notable not for its script, acting or cinematography but simply for the fact that it was the acting debut of pop princess Britney Spears. Which makes it even more surprising that someone would turn the film into a novel, as it then loses the one thing that made it worth talking about. Sure, Spears' face is on the cover, but the only reason to see the film was to watch her attempt to transition into a film career, and then sing along every time one of her songs played on the soundtrack. The book even takes away the joy that comes with watching Dan Akyroyd act in a Britney Spears film. It's all plot and no fun.
8. The Cabin in the Woods Co-written by Joss Whedon, this 2012 film was designed as a way to "revitalize the slasher film," and featured a surprise twist that thrilled fans and critics alike. But in case you're uncomfortable with too much gore, or you just never got to catch the film in theaters, there's a novelization of the film available so that you can still talk about the film without having to watch people get decapitated. It's the best of both worlds!
7. Mortal Kombat If there's one thing that old-school video games lacked, it's a strong sense of plot and character development. Jeff Rovin has remedied that by turning the video game Mortal Kombat into a novel, although he cut out most of the fighting in favor of backstory and long explanations of how the character came to be the super-powered fighting machines that they are. Which is cool if you're a hard-core fan, but let's be real, here: the only reason anyone was interested in Mortal Kombat was the fighting. Without that, what's the point?
6. John Carter John Carter is the story of a Civil War captain who gets transported to Mars after he dies, and leads a Martian army to save the princess. With it's mix of sci-fi and action, it makes sense that movie executives would want to turn the film into a novel; what doesn't make sense, though, is why they would choose to publish it alongside A Princess of Mars, the original Edgar Rice Burroughs story that it is based on, especially when the film famously failed to live up to its source material. You would think that the last thing they would want to do is draw attention to the ways the stories differed.
5. Paradise AlleyThis is a novelization of a film that was written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, adapted by Stallone himself, which makes it worthy of this list. You can actually own a book authored by the guy who played Rocky Balboa. What a time to be alive.
4. Spaceballs For some reason, Mel Brooks seem to think that his film Spaceballs would make an excellent children's book - which is not a thought that anyone who has ever seen Spaceballs shares. However, Brooks ignored everyone else, and the novelization was published, and sold to students in elementary schools across the country through Scholastic Book catalogs and school book fairs. Of course, they made sure to edit the content down to a more child-friendly nature, but anyone who's buying a Sapceballs book is probably not a child.
3. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls Everything that makes Ace Ventura work as a film is everything that makes it fail as a novel. The humor relies so heavily on Jim Carrey's physicality and line delivery, that without the visual element, all that's left are descriptions of the weird gags that take place in the film, which isn't fun or funny for anybody who reads these.
2. The Cat in the Hat No, we didn't make a mistake. Someone actually thought it was a good idea to turn the Mike Myers film into a novel, despite the fact that there is a book that already exists that is better written and more fun to read than the movie itself. When it comes to a showdown between the original Cat in the Hat and any kind of pale imitation, Dr. Suess will always walk away the winner. There's a reason it's become a classic, and it has nothing to do with Myers.
1. Howard the Duck Nobody who has ever watched Howard the Duck has wished that the story lasted longer. Nobody. But the strangest thing about this novelization isn't the fact that it exists in the first place, but the fact that it is widely regarded to be better than its source material, and even adds extra layers of depth and humor to the characters and story that appears onscreen. That's right: Howard the Duck has hidden layers. Who'd have known?
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.