Billy Joel rocked out at his show in New York City on Friday night (21Mar14) by performing with Ac/Dc star Brian Johnson. The Piano Man star is playing regular gigs at the Big Apple's fabled Madison Square Garden venue as part of an ongoing monthly residency, and he shook up his latest sold out concert with a special guest.
Joel praised AC/DC as "maybe the best band I ever saw in my life" before introducing Johnson to the stage and bursting into a rendition of the group's classic track You Shook Me All Night Long.
The veteran singer kicked off the residency in January (14).
Everybody has a weakness. For Selena Gomez, that is apparently Justin Bieber. The former Disney star was recently spotted with Bieber in Texas after he flattered her via Twitter during the Academy Awards. It's a shame that Gomez is so adherently linked to Bieber, since she has something special that is worthy of our attention.
Presently only 21, the actress and singer spent five years building up a tween following on Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place. Like her network predecessor, Miley Cyrus, Gomez has begun working to transition into the world of grown-ups, playing a girl spiraling out of control in a kingdom of corruption in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, opposite fellow Disney alum Vanessa Hudgens. She continues to explore more adult terrain in this fall's Behaving Badly, a sex comedy.
In the short term, her baby face might limit her in some ways, but that shouldn't stand in the way of Gomez being able to secure more substantial film roles. While the movie Getaway wasn't well received, the actress held her own while playing against type as a car-jacker who holds up Ethan Hawke. Even though Wizards didn't ask the young star to do any heavy lifting, she was able to show more range than Cyrus ever did on Hannah Montana. Spring Breakers might have been nothing more than an interesting mess (James Franco in cornrows and a gold grill?), but it did show that Gomez isn't afraid of taking chances.
Musically, Gomez's first solo album garnered mixed reviews, although it did yield a Top 10 hit in "Come & Get It." Still, Gomez has showed, in her work with The Scene, that she has a wide range of influences. She could just put out bubblegum pop as any number of teen sensations has before her, but that willingness to mix things up makes her more interesting than others that have come through the Disney factory. Being as young as she is, Gomez has time to develop a unique style. At least she seems interested in being unique, which is more than can be said for many of her contemporaries.
Hanging out with Bieber, doing a stint in rehab for "exhaustion," and partying with Hudgens and Demi Lovato might make for great tabloid fodder, but Gomez has the ability to craft a diverse and long-term career as an adult, both as an actress and a singer. Hopefully her association with Bieber doesn't drag her down to the point that when she's fully realizing her talent nobody will be able to see past the sensationalism to care.
A long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic has stalled again after actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher walked away from the project, citing creative differences. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Fletcher signed on to bring the tragic Queen rocker's life story to the big screen in December (13), with Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw stepping in to replace Sacha Baron Cohen as the flamboyant frontman.
But after just three months, work on the coming-of-age movie has been put on hold again after the filmmaker clashed with producer Graham King, according to Deadline.com. The pair reportedly failed to see eye-to-eye on the direction of the project.
Ironically, Cohen also blamed "creative differences" for his departure from the biopic last summer (Jul13).
A replacement for Fletcher has yet to be announced, but producers are still hoping to start shooting this summer (13).
Surviving Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon will serve as co-producers on the highly-anticipated Mercury film, which was originally scheduled for release in 2012.
Mercury died from an AIDS-related illness in 1991.
Warner Bros. Entertainment/Getty Images
One of President Barack Obama's biggest claims to fame is his relatability, and it turns out that just like everyone else, even the leader of the free world wants to commit various acts of war against Zach Galifianakis. In the latest episode of the long-running web series Between Two Ferns with Zack Galifianakis (which you can watch at the bottom of the page), the POTUS indulges the comedian with quite the antagonistic interview, and things almost reached a red "severe" rating on the awkward meter. But seriously, we enjoyed the dynamic between Galifianakis and President Obama so much, we dreamt up alternate versions of Galifianakis movies where the two team up for some downright presidential shenanigans.
Warner Bros./Getty Images
Due Date: Barack Obama and Zach Galifianakis only have two days to make it across the country so that Obama can hand in his application for the 2008 presidential election before the deadline. So many high jinks ensue.
Warner Bros. Entertainment/Getty Images
The Hangover Part III: The night before his second inauguration, Barack Obama parties it up with Zach Galifianakis, but wakes up to next day with a missing tooth, a "Romney 2012" face tatoo, and no idea where he put those pesky nuclear launch codes. The duo only have a few hours to track down a missing Michelle Obama before the inauguration begins.
Warner Bros. Entertainment/Getty Images
The Campaign: A searingly realistic and intimate dramatic retelling of the 2012 presidential election with Barack Obama playing himself, and Zach Galifianakis playing a unbelievably convincing Mitt Romney. I smell Oscars.
Check out the terrific Between Two Ferns episode below:
Rock legends Ac/Dc will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2014 by performing 40 shows around the world, while recording their first new album in five years. Frontman Brian Johnson has revealed he and his bandmates are planning to enter a studio in Vancouver, Canada in May (14).
Calling in to Florida DJ Andy Preston's 98.7 The Gater radio show on Friday (14Feb14), Johnson told the radio personality the band has been keeping a low profile of late because one member was ill.
Johnson explained, "One of our boys was pretty ill, so we didn't like to say anything, and we're very private about things like this, so we didn't wanna say anything. And he's a very proud man. But I think we'll be going into the studio in May."
He added, "It's been 40 years of the band's existence, so I think we're gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty. I mean, honestly, our fans are just the best in the world, and we appreciate every one of them. So, like I said, we'll have to go out, even though we're getting a bit long in the tooth.
"It's been four years (since we last toured), and I'm really looking forward to it."
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
There was a time when Kevin Costner was one of the top actors in Hollywood, as well as an Academy Award winning director. Of course, that was 20 years ago, before his epic debacle Waterworld. It's been so long that it's like saying that there used to be a time when movies weren't in color or didn't have sound.
After years of flying beneath the radar, Costner could have as many as five films released in 2014 (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 3 Days to Kill, Draft Day, McFarland, and Black and White). Five! That's a lot for any actor not named Elizabeth Banks. How did it come about that an actor-director once vilified for his difficult nature and cost overruns is suddenly the hardest working guy in films?
Costner's is a tale of how to best deal with Hollywood adversity and come out mostly okay. After the fiasco that surrounded Waterworld — which comes honestly by its reputation as one of the biggest filmmaking disasters ever — Costner kept on working. Even when the post-apocalyptic The Postman tanked on a grand scale as well, the actor kept going. In fact, since his breakout role as Elliott Ness in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables in 1987, there have only been four calendar years in which Costner hasn't been on the big screen at all. Typically, it's been roles that play upon the everyman characteristics that made him so appealing in earlier films like Field of Dreams.
It's actually the most recent of those missing years, however, that probably explains the actor's current resurgence. While he didn't appear in a feature film in 2012, he did appear on television in the History Channel's well-received miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. His turn as 'Devil' Anse Hatfield won him a Golden Globe and a wave of good publicity.
After playing Superman's Earth father last year in Man of Steel, Costner's new run of roles has him playing everything from a dying Secret Service agent in 3 Days to Kill to sports related characters in Draft Day and McFarland to a man fighting for custody of his granddaughter in Black and White. It's a diverse group, yet each part harkens back to territory that Costner has covered in the past.
That, in the end, might be the true explanation for why 2014 is shaping up to be the Year of Costner. After 30 years of working steadily as an actor, Costner has found the sweet spot where he knows what kinds of roles that he can excel in and he largely works within that range. Acknowledging limitations is something that many actors are loath to do, but as Costner has demonstrated sometimes staying true to one's self leads to greater rewards… and a whole bunch of movie roles.
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.
So New Girl has had its second flashback episode (now it's time to do an Alternate Universe/what if? episode!) How did the recent "Clavado En Un Bar" stack up against last season's "Virgins?"
Well, I had high hopes when I saw the promo images of Winston's whimsical leopard-dyed hair, but his basketball story didn't quite deliver. It had trademark Winston-delusion (he called his career-ending injury a "decision"), but there's no way it could beat the story of his tryst with Mysteria.
Clavado En Un Bar: 0, Virgins: 1
Schmidt started as a candy striper (or, as Nick lovingly referred to "a 300 pound wall of peppermint bark"), but realized volunteering wasn't the way to get girls. So he began selling Christmas trees – and not long after, a Christmas tree mogul happened to die on his watch, and his last words? "You can take it with you." Together, these two experiences lead Schmidt to become the materialistic man he is today.
A charmingly Schmidt-appropriate tale, but his lube disaster with Elizabeth had more panache (and quite a bit more physical comedy).
Clavado En Un Bar: 0, Virgins: 2
Coach had less of a story: he yelled advice from the sidelines of a basketball court so well that he earned his nickname. As he sagely puts it, "Sometimes, the call comes from inside the house."
By default: Clavado En Un Bar: 1, Virgins: 2
We catch our first glimpse of Law School Nick: he transforms from Dreadlock Nick to Super Preppy Nick (preppy to the point that Schmidt compliments his scarf). Eventually, he finds himself studying at the bar – when the bartender literally falls asleep on the job, he realizes he's found his calling.
This story's got a twist, though: at the end of the episode, Nick reveals that he passed the bar exam, but became a bartender anyway. Interesting...what does this portend for Future Nick?
For that nugget of character development? Clavado En Un Bar: 2, Virgins: 2
For some reason, her first job was at an ultra-ritzy day school (complete with blazers, horses, and "an ethnic gay bully"). On her first day, she bonds with an adorably picked on kid – a sweet story, until the gang finds that said adorable child is now wanted on 53 counts of embezzlement.
That said, her awkward feminist prom date/crying tryst at the park/deflowerment-via-hot-fireman wins.
Clavado En Un Bar: 2, Virgins: 3
We already know how she became a model, but we do get a completely adorable flashback of her as "Jess' first student." Oh, and she gets a career change – looks like she's joining Nick at the bar.
Adorable children vs. Mick Jagger? Tie: Clavado En Un Bar: 2, Virgins 3
Winner: Virgins! "Clavado En Un Bar" was no slouch, though: it was one of the strongest episodes of the season (it certainly has one of the best Nick/Jess moments in recent memory) – maybe New Girl's in for a renaissance in this second half of its third season? Let's hope so!
American Hustle was a triple winner at the 71st Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood on Sunday night (12Jan14), picking up the Best Motion Picture trophy for Comedy or Drama among its haul. Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were also honoured for their roles in the acclaimed David O. Russell film.
The only other multiple film awards winner was Dallas Buyers Club, which brought Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto acting acclaim, but 12 Years a Slave was named Best Motion Picture (Drama).
Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor - Comedy or Musical), Michael Douglas (Best Actor - Mini-series or TV Movie), Bryan Cranston (Best Actor in a TV Series - Drama), and Cate Blanchett (Best Actress - Drama) were also among the night's big winners.
Meanwhile, Breaking Bad, Behind the Candelabra and comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine were double winners in the night's TV categories, claiming the Best TV Series (Drama), Best Mini-series or TV Movie and Best TV Series (Comedy), respectively.
The full list of winners is:
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini-series or TV Movie – Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge)
Best Mini-series or TV Movie – Behind the Candelabra
Best Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie – Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake)
Best Actor in a TV Series (Drama) – Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Best TV Series (Drama) – Breaking Bad
Best Original Score in a Motion Picture – Alex Ebert (All is Lost)
Best Song in a Motion Picture – Ordinary Love by U2 & Brian Burton (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Mini-series or TV Movie – Jon Voight (Ray Donovan)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) – Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama) – Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Screenplay – Spike Jonze (Her)
Best Actor in a TV Series (Comedy or Musical) – Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Best Foreign Language Film – The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Actor in a Mini-series or TV Movie – Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra)
Best Animated Film – Frozen
Best Actress in a TV Series (Comedy) – Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation)
Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Best TV Series (Comedy) – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) – Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) – American Hustle
Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) - Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) - Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Motion Picture (Drama) - 12 Years a Slave
Cecil B. DeMille Award – Woody Allen
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com