"In 1996, a friend of mine bought an album called All Eyez on Me by Tupac Shakur. I love Tupac and I learned a lot of English through rap music and hip-hop." French actor Gilles Marini learned English by listening to rap music.
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If anyone deserves a well-crafted and considerate biopic from Hollywood, it's Tupac Shakur. The rapper, whose life story has risen to the stuff of legend, is in serious need of his own film. Tupac was full of intelligence and dark charisma, and his passionate lyrics were sharp enough to cut through the thick fog of mid '90s competition as he brought a hard-edged originality to West Coast hip hop. He was a singularly interesting and multi-faceted figure, and it's almost sacrosanct that his story is depicted on film the right way. Now, director John Singleton has stepped up to the task. The filmmaker, who actually knew Shakur personally after directing him in the 1993 film Poetic Justice, is set to helm the long-awaited biopic. Singleton, who was originally linked to the project back in 2011, has inked a new deal to rewrite, produce, and direct the film. The task of bringing Tupac's story to the big screen is not one for the faint of heart, and there are several ways that such a touchy project could go seriously wrong. Since his death, Tupac has become nothing short of a mythic figure in the music world, and there's a load of pressure weighing on Singleton brining his story to the big screen just right. Here are the thing's that the director would need to focus on in order to create a great Tupac biopic.
His Early InfluencesTupac Amaru Shakur, whose name originates from a Peruvian revolutionary that fought for his freedom against Spanish rule, has an incredibly interesting childhood. While most biopics would do better to steer away from focusing on the entire life of their subjects Tupac's early life is actually quite fascinating and the story would actually flourish from spending at least a little time examining the rapper's beginnings. Tupac's parents, Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland, were both high ranking members of the Black Panther Party, and just a month before Tupac was born, his mother was acquitted of charges against the United States. Tupac's stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, spent time on the FBI's Most Wanted list, and was imprisoned for planning an armored truck robbery for the Black Liberation Army. His parents' controversial political affiliations and ideologies clearly trickled down into his music, and that influence is worth a mention, even if it's a quick one.
The MusicEven though his life outside of his lyrics almost threatened to overshadow his music, Tupac was primarily a musician when all was said and done. The man himself is a legend, but it was the music that burrowed its way into our hearts and minds. A big focus of the biopic needs to be dedicated to recreating the his music respectfully. We should get a glimpse at Tupac's creative method, and witness the genesis of his biggest hits, and most noteworthy songs. Singleton only needs to look towards 2005's Hustle and Flow to see how to really capture hip hop's creative process in a truly affecting way.
The East Coast/West Coast RivalryIt may be obvious to say, but a large portion of the film should focus on the deadly rivalry that brought Tupac's life to an end. The music feud that escalated from verbal jabs in song lyrics to real violence that spilled it's way onto the streets was hip hop's darkest hour, and should be given it's due reverence. Tupac's death, and the later death of his chief rival, The Notorious B.I.G., changed rap music and music in general forever. the complicated and intriguing story needs to be heavily examined.
ParanoiaDuring the early to mid '90s, The East Coast/West Coast rivalry racheted up a couple dozen notches after Tupac was shot by unknown assailants at Quad studios, an attack that he believed to be orchestrated by Sean "P.Diddy" Combs, Biggie, and other members of Bad Boy Records. Because of this and other events, Tupac was incredibly paranoid in the last few years of his life, and these feelings seeped their way into the lyrics of his songs like "Hit em Up" and "Hail Mary." We should see that paranoia play out on screen in Tupac's depiction.
No SugarcoatingFor all his talents, Tupac Shakur was still only human at the end of the day. He was deeply flawed man and his brushes with trouble, including constant and pervasive legal issues, an alleged sexual assault, various physical altercations, and the mysterious shooting of a six-year-old, are all a part of his legend. In order to tell a truthful tale about Tupac's life, Singleton shouldn't gloss over the more unpleasant details. It would be doing him a disservice not to highlight the messier parts of his history.
Tyra and co. are currently deep into season – sorry - “cycle” 20 of America’s Next Top Model. We’ve had plus-size, short, and - gasp! - college-educated cycles, but now Tyra’s braving the last taboo/gimmick: BOYS! There’s still time for fans of the franchise to get their teeth into beefy episodes like ‘The Guy Who Gets A Weave’ and ‘The Girl Who Is Scared Of Clowns’ and follow the boys and girls as they quest to impress the narcissistic judges. But even if shirtless studs are the only reason you’re getting into ANTM for the rest of the cycle, you’d be wise to tool up on your Tyra-isms. Here’s the cheat sheet.
The ‘boy tooch’ – and arguably the skill that will make or break the models this season. As Banks tweeted, “In the battle between the #Tooch & the #Booch... only 1 will prevail. Who will win? Only time can tell...”
Confused? Not to fear. Tyra breaks the fine art of the “Booty Tooch”, “Smoochy Tooch”, “Gucci Tooch” -- and the reviled “Hoochy Tooch” -- down here (while wearing a leotard).
Smile - with your eyez. A Top Model mainstay.
Your flaws make you awesome...but not too many, ok?
Heard this one somewhere before, right? Nope: ‘fierce’ is another one of the “crazy, insane words we thought up over the course of our 19 cycles.”
The “no-neck monster”
Maggie in Tennessee Williams’ Cat in a Hot Tin Roof describes children as "the no-neck monsters". Harvard-educated Tyra (and don’t you forget it) uses it to describe models who suck at “giving neck” in photographs.
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Sometimes, one album just isn’t enough. Although many double albums are basically ego vessels for many bands and artists, there are some cases when the double album became the most definitive album of the artist’s career.
With the second half of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience dropping at the end of the month, we take a look at 10 other double albums that still left audiences wanting more.
The Beatles: The Beatles (aka The White Album) The Fab Four’s 1968 self-titled LP was one of the band’s most ambitious projects. The album was essentially a compilation of the Beatles going solo, with the rest of the group playing backing band. The White Album marked the first time all 4 members of the band showcased their songwriting skills, and despite the drama king antics of the band behind the scenes (i.e. Ringo Starr walking out, coming back, and walking out again), the experimentation of different genres on the album set a precedent for future pop and rock acts.
Stevie Wonder: Songs In the Key of Life Perhaps one of (if not the) most influential pop/R&B albums of all time, Songs In the Key of Life was Stevie Wonder’s eighteenth studio album. The 1976 album contains literally no filler tracks, a rare feat especially for double albums, and Wonder was so focused on the songs that he would reportedly go days without eating or sleeping during recording in the studio. All his hard work paid off, and Songs In the Key of Life is a classic in the music world.
James Brown: The Payback Believe it or not, James Brown’s landmark funk double album The Payback was considered to be underwhelming by the producers of Hell Up in Harlem, a 1973 blaxploitation film that was supposed to feature Brown’s album as the soundtrack. Luckily, audiences weren’t smoking the same bad sh*t as the film producers, and the album shot up to the #1 spot on the Soul Albums chart. The album remains one of the baddest albums of music and the title track is the most sampled beat in hip hop.
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti The sixth studio album from powerhouse band Led Zeppelin was 1975’s double album Physical Graffiti. A massive critical and commercial success, Physical Graffiti is Led Zeppelin’s most larger-than-life record, featuring many of their most popular and genre-defying songs. The album was an interesting mix of new songs and songs left for dead from previous recording sessions and is arguably the most definitive Led Zeppelin album.
Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death Biggie’s second album was not only a double album, but also his last. Released in 1997, Life After Death was dropped posthumously and featured killer collabs with everyone from 112, Jay Z, and Lil Kim, to Angela Winbush, R. Kelly, and Too $hort. The album re-solidified Kool G Rap’s genre of mafioso rap and served as the perfect soundtrack to the East Coast-West Coast drama that had been unraveling for the previous few years. Biggie’s haughty lyrics and I-may-seem-calm-but-I’ll-still-knock-you-out spitting style played a massive role in influencing East Coast rap for years to come.
Pink Floyd: The Wall Pink Floyd’s eleventh studio album happens to be the best-selling concept album of all time, NBD. The Wall saw the band go for a more theatrical and dramatic sound, with the rock opera vibe of the album making way for a live-action/animated/trippy-as-hell 1982 film of the same name. Detailing the rise, fall, and demise of a rock star, The Wall was bassist Roger Waters’ most personal album to date.
Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Another double album for the ages, Elton John’s 1973 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was a mix-and-mash of various genres, from prog rock to ballads and hard rock to pop. Initially considered to be unorganized and lacking a cohesive flow, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road wound up being one of the greatest albums of John’s career. The album was not only ambitious but also influential, and John managed to smash his constant reinventions and personalities into seventeen awesome tracks.
2Pac: All Eyez on Me Hands down one of the greatest albums of the 90s, 2Pac’s 4th studio album All Eyez on Me saw the rapper change his musical style into a darker, more menacing vibe. The story behind the record reads like a bona fide gangster film: sitting in prison and completely broke, 2Pac was bailed out by Jimmy Iovine and Suge Knight, who ponied up $1.4 million in exchange for 2Pac’s soul (i.e. a contract for recording 3 albums under the Death Row label). All Eyez on Me was not only the first solo double album in hip hop history, but also 2Pac’s first album that ditched his politically-charged and socially-conscious raps in exchange for his infamous “Thug Life” mentality.
The Clash: London CallingLondon Calling wasn’t just the Clash’s third album – it totally changed the face of punk rock and still stands as one of the most influential albums of all time. Double albums allow artists to expand their boundaries, but the Clash used their first double album to blow all boundaries out of the water. Virtually each song on the 1979 record is a different genre, with the band mastering everything from punk rock, rockabilly, jazz, ska, reggae, and pop. The Clash took the “No Rules” ethos of punk rock to the limits and was one of the first punk bands to embrace venturing into different genres.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland If there’s any doubt about Jimi Hendrix being way ahead of his time, just take a listen to the Experience's third and final album, Electric Ladyland. A double album dedicated to groupies (Hendrix called them “electric ladies”), the album serves up a psychedelic platter of 100% pure Hendrix vision. Unique, futuristic, and just plain amazing, Electric Ladyland was a glimpse into the mind of Hendrix, which may as well have been outer space. Even straight-edge people can’t listen to this album without getting a contact high.
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The latest movie in the Step Up franchise aims for a politicized message behind all the flashy moves but it could do with a lot less plot and a lot more dancing. In Step Up Revolution the Miami dance group "The Mob" takes to the streets (and other random locations) to perform intricately choreographed routines with their own DJ a camera guy who uploads their videos to YouTube and a graffiti artist who leaves their signature behind. It takes at least that much effort just to get hipster New Yorkers to ride the subways without any pants on once a year; it's hard to believe that The Mob could pull off their elaborate schemes without getting caught but that's the magic of movies.
The Mob represents the more diverse working class side of Miami a young multiracial group of friends who create incredible works of art that disappear before they get shut down. One of the Mob's leaders Sean (Ryan Guzman) earnestly explains to newcomer Emily (Kathryn McCormick) that the group's reason is to give a voice to the voiceless or to be happy or to dance or something. It's not really clear but they have a lot of fun and look amazing doing it.
Once Sean and his friends find out that a greedy developer plans to raze their neighborhood to make way for another South Beach-style hotel monstrosity they have a reason to rally but until then they're just trying to win a cash prize by getting clicks on YouTube. The typical Step Up twist is that Emily is the developer's daughter. Mr. Anderson (Peter Gallagher) doesn't approve of Emily's love of dancing or other frippery and he certainly wouldn't approve of her hanging out with the people causing such mayhem in the streets of Miami.
Step Up Revolution biggest misstep is trying to give the movie more of a hook than the franchise's typical Romeo and Juliet-style love story and tap into "the Zeitgeist" (I swear that's from the studio-provided press notes) of flash mobs. The film could have cut out most of the plot and characters and still have a completely intact film insofar as the point of the film is its multimedia dance routines. The sort of productions The Mob pulls off are more akin to carefully planned art installations or music videos in terms of scope; it would have been better to at least make that somehow feasible in terms of the storyline. Yes we are here for a spectacle and we surely get a spectacle but it needs to have some roots in reality.
The dance scenes are fun sexy and occasionally a little sappy but overall quite enjoyable for people who enjoy "So You Think You Can Dance" type of shows. Kathryn McCormick and Stephen "tWitch" Boss both appeared on "SYTYCD" and their costar Misha Gabriel is a classically trained ballet dancer turned pro back-up dancer for folks like Beyoncé and Michael Jackson. Guzman doesn't have a dance background but he is an MMA fighter who obviously took his training very seriously. The entire outfit is pretty damn entertaining to be honest.
As far as the 3D goes it makes most of Miami look overcast and grey. The extra zings added in to make sure we get our money's worth like sand flicking out at us or a breakdancer whose foot seems to be aiming for our face only serves to distract from the real show at hand. There is also an awful lot of ramping and generally spazzy editing tricks that look cheap. The screenplay by Amanda Brody is definitely not its strong suit.
Step Up Revolution is the cinematic equivalent of a trashy beach novel. It's embarrassing to be caught actually enjoying it and you'll forget about it almost immediately but it's a decent way to spend a summer afternoon.
East Coaster Antoine Fuqua hopes to spread some California Love with his next project, a biopic of legendary slain rapper Tupac Shakur, says the Playlist. Though the 44-year-old filmmaker has numerous projects in development, including the action thriller Consent To Kill and the recently rumored reunion with his Tears of the Sun star Bruce Willis (that film, titled The Tomb, has been declared by Fuqua nothing more than "a conversation I've been having with Bruce"), Shakur will come first.
Fuqua told Digital Spy that "we're doing Tupac Shakur's movie next in September, that's what I've been starting up and working on now with Morgan Creek and Jim Robinson. I just got the greenlight from him and we're going in September. I've just started to prep that."
Moviegoers have become quite familiar with rappers at the multiplex over the last twenty years, both as the subject of and stars in films like Ricochet, New Jack City, Boyz N The Hood, Bad Boys, 8 Mile and Hustle and Flow. Most recently, Anthony Mackie portrayed Shakur in George Tillman's Notorious, a flavorful chronicle of the life and death of the late Christopher Wallace a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G. In that 2009 flick, local New York wordsmith Jamal Woolard channeled Wallace, shocking critics and pleasing fans of the fallen platinum-selling recording artist. Fuqua notes that he, too, may look to discover a new talent in his upcoming film.
Expect to hear more on this developing project over the summer, but in the meantime, take it back to the Summer of 1996 with one of Pac's most celebrated (and cinematic) music videos of all time, inspired by Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome:
Source: The Playlist, Digital Spy
Disney's Broadway hit Beauty and the Beast, a show seven and a half years in the running, may close up shop Wednesday if unions don't allow pay cuts, according to Variety. Disney is requesting a four-week, 25% pay cut to help the show recover from lost revenues since the September 11 attacks. Other shows, including Kiss Me, Kate, Les Miserables and The Full Monty, have already received union concessions.
The Supreme Court refused to review several cases in the entertainment industry Monday. According to Variety, a woman's appeal of a lower court's ruling which gave her $2.35 for the use of her quilts in the film How to Make an American Quilt was refused, as was C. DeLores Tucker's case, wife of the late Tupac Shakur. Tucker was suing Time and Newsweek for reporting that her sex life was injured when her husband used her name in his album "All Eyez on Me." The court said there was no proof the magazines tried to be malicious.
EMI Group Plc is expected to announce today they will license their songs to Pressplay, an online music service, according to Reuters. This move will make EMI the first to coordinate with Internet music services without taking ownership in those services.
The Others, the summer thriller starring Nicole Kidman, has now grossed $86.7 million in the U.S., at least $13 million abroad, and has maintained its position in the top five for eight consecutive weeks in the box office, according to Variety. The film's record-setting statistics may be an indication that it contains just the right amount of fright--minus graphic detail-for audiences who want entertainment, but remain hesitant due to the September 11 attacks.
The networks are ready to get back to real life issues: they are not going to avoid topics dealing with terrorism as they did the past few weeks since the attacks, according to Variety. Wolfgang Petersen, executive producer of CBS's CIA drama The Agency, expressed his sentiment: "Instead of walking away from it, we'll get into it,'' he said. "That's what (the CIA) is dealing with.''
Chef Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Avalon Cove in Disney's California Adventure theme park, closed Monday due to financial duress, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Disney plans to open another restaurant in its place with a more family-oriented feel in time for the holidays.
John Cusack is scheduled to play an artist patronized by Adolf Hitler in the upcoming film Max, according to Variety.
Madonna will be presenting this year's Turner prize at London's Tate Art Gallery on December 9, the BBC reports. The prize, which was established in 1984, awards a 20,000-pound prize to a "British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work."
Singer Chubby Checker wants a statue dedicated to him when he's inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the president of the Hall says it's "an unreasonable request," the Associated Press reports. Checker's hit "The Twist" was an American chart topper in 1960, 1962 and in 1988. "I want my flowers while I'm alive," he wrote. "I can't smell them when I'm dead."