Oscar-winning film and TV composer Ken Thorne has died, aged 90. The Brit, best known for his score on The Beatles' 1965 comedy Help!, passed away on Tuesday (08Jul14). The cause of his death had not been revealed as WENN went to press.
Thorne's wife of 42 years, Linda, tells ContraCostaTimes.com, "He was the most unusual man because both men and women adored him. His ego was never shown. He was a brilliant composer, conductor, arranger, but it never affected him at all... and he had the ability to get anybody comfortable with him."
The composer earned an Academy Award for his work on the 1966 musical film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He also received an Emmy nomination for the 1995 TV movie A Season Of Hope.
His other film credits include Superman II, Superman III, Inspector Clouseau and The Monkees' comedy Head.
Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto is taking time off from his music career after be was diagnosed with throat cancer. The world-renowned musician announced on Thursday (10Jul14) that he was given the news he has oropharyngeal cancer last month (Jun14), and has decided to cancel all his upcoming appearances and concerts to focus on his health.
Sakamoto says in a statement, "After much thought and consideration, I have decided to take time off of work in order to concentrate on treating it. I promise to return after a full recovery."
The 62 year old did not reveal the current stage of his cancer, but he has axed planned gigs in Japan later this month (Jul14), and also stepped down as one of the directors of the Sapporo International Art Festival, which is scheduled to begin next week (begs14Jul14).
With a career spanning three decades, Sakamoto has been a pioneer of the electric pop genre, and even won the Best Original Score Oscar in 1987 for Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, and has also earned trophies from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Grammys and Golden Globes for his compositions.
Nothing says “Christmas” quite like an epic story of struggle, survival and triumph over impossible odds... at the movies anyway. This holiday promises to be just as stirring and emotional thanks to Unbroken, the latest directorial venture from Angelina Jolie. Based on an incredible true story, the film charts the life of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an Olympic track star who was gunned down during World War II, stranded at sea, and kept as a prisoner of war at a Japanese internment camp until the end of the war. It’s a dark, intense and incredibly inspiring story, but unfortunately, the first full trailer only serves to highlight one of those elements.
There’s no doubt that the trailer gives plenty of attention to the darker moments of Zamperini’s experiences – the scene where soldiers line up to punch him in the face should be enough of an indication of the terrible conditions that he endured – but there’s something about the way the clip is cut together that makes Unbroken look a bit, well, cheesy. Maybe it’s the swelling violins in the background, maybe it’s the dramatic text overlay, or maybe it’s the washed-out filter that the first half of the trailer has, but the trailer gives off the impression that Unbroken is just a generic, corny tearjerker.
To an extent, we get it. It’s already difficult to cut a trailer the shows off the best aspects of the movie, teases more to come, and showcases what the film is about without completely giving away the plot. For a film like Unbroken, which is centered on someone who most moviegoers might not be familiar with and whose story is epic and wide-spanning, it’s even more challenging, as the trailer needs to outline who Louis Zamperini is, what he went through, and why we should care, while at the same attempting to make it look like an attractive, entertaining experience. But the trailer doesn’t make his story look unique; it just makes it look like another Oscar baiting film that will probably make you cry.
It’s still disappointing though, primarily because it plays down the more compelling parts of the story in favor of sweeping, emotional beats and moments of patriotism designed to appeal to the widest, most mainstream audience possible. And while it makes perfect sense that studios would want to make the trailer as inoffensive as possible in order to attract a larger audience, it keeps Unbroken from standing out amongst all of the other emotional, life-affirming dramas that will flood movie theaters around the same time. Mostly though, the cheesy trailer makes us worried that the film itself is the same kind of pandering, melodramatic Oscar bait that the winter months have become famous for. We’re not interested in seeing an interesting, complicated, moving true story simplified in order to try and win awards. We want to see a movie about Zamperini because we’re interested in his story, no matter how dark or depressing it might be at times.
Of course, trailers are never a good indication of what the final film actually looks like, but watching the teaser for Unbroken, we can’t help but hope that the story was cheesed-up for advertising purposes only. Maybe for the next trailer, the editors could try a little less violin?
Unbroken opens in theaters on Christmas day.
A live-action version of Disney animated classic Dumbo is in the works. Transformers franchise writer Ehren Kruger has been tapped to pen the script for the upcoming feature, which will introduce a family arc into the story, in addition to the original tale about a circus elephant with big ears who befriends a mouse and learns how to fly, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The original film was released in 1941 and won an Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.
This isn't the only live-action version of an animated film in the works by Disney executives - they are also developing a Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella remake.
Oscar-winning Brazilian movie Black Orpheus is heading to Broadway as a new musical. Playwright Lynn Nottage will pen the script for the stage show, which Lucky Guy's George C. Wolfe will direct.
The 1959 film, helmed by Frenchman Marcel Camus, was based on the Vinicius de Moraes play Orfeu de Conceicao, a modern adaptation of the Greek myth of poet and prophet Orpheus, who tried to bring his wife Eurydice back to life with the sound of his music.
Black Orpheus, which won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 1960 Academy Awards, helped to popularise the sound of bossa nova music thanks to a soundtrack by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa. Some of their songs will also be included in the stage musical.
A premiere date for Black Orpheus' Broadway debut has yet to be set.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Maybe it’s the massive box office success of Transformers: Age of Extinction, but it seems like when studios look at Mark Wahlberg now, all they see is money. Universal even has a specific amount in mind: six million dollars. According to The Tracking Board, the studio is looking at Wahlberg to front a reboot of the 1970s television show The Six Million Dollar Man. Different versions of the project have been in the works for years now, with everyone from Jim Carrey and Todd Phillips to Leonardo DiCaprio and Bryan Singer attached at some point. However, now that Peter Berg is now on board to produce and possibly direct the film, it seems as if Universal is finally coming close to building their perfect reboot.
Though Wahlberg has starred in numerous summer blockbusters and action films, he’s yet to front a franchise of his own (coming in at the fourth installment of Transformers doesn't really count), and The Six Million Dollar Man would be the perfect vehicle for him. Despite being a reboot of a well-known property, it’s unlike most of the other franchises currently in theaters, which allows him to stand out from all of the other robot-punching and punching robot films in theaters. Thus far, Wahlberg has had a rather diverse career, moving easily between big-budget action films, smaller indies and serious Oscar contenders, so if he were going to attach himself to multiple films at once, he’d probably want something different than what he’s already done and what everyone else is currently doing.
Wahlberg’s most recent collaboration with Berg, Lone Survivor, offered him a similar chance to blend action and spectacle with a more serious, dramatic story, which bodes well for the potential of The Six Million Dollar Man. Granted, Berg’s record with blockbusters is somewhat spotty – in addition to the excellent Lone Survior, he’s also made the disastrous Battleship – but since his best projects tend to be the ones with significant weight to them, having an actor like Wahlberg, who has made his mark on both drama and action films on board should help point things in a more positive direction.
But Wahlberg isn’t just a great choice for Austin because of his ability to handle the heavier moments; he’s also carved out a niche in Hollywood as the tough guy next door, a normal, hardworking fella who just so happens to be able to beat people up. Before he was rebuilt into a bionic hero, Austin was a regular joe, a pilot and military man who just happened to have superhuman abilities. Wahlberg’s persona makes him an ideal fit for the role, especially since the character stays relatively down-to-earth even after he becomes a hero. And since his performance in Transformers has proven that he's able to give even the flattest roles some of his trademark charm, he should have no problem making Austin a likable, entertaining hero in addition to an admirable one.
Of course, all of this is dependent on Wahlberg being able to find time in his busy schedule in order to sign on to The Six Million Dollar Man in the first place. He's already got six films lined up for release in the next two years, including Ted 2 and The Gambler, and with Transformers dominating the box office, he's likely fielding offers for all kinds of franchises right now. Still, The Six Million Dollar Man does seem poised to offer him a bit more than the other blockbusters, reboots and robot movies set to take over theaters, and it seems like Wahlberg might be exactly what this particular franchise needs to get off the ground.
Hollywood actor Denzel Washington faced regular heckling from the audience while he was performing in A Raisin In The Sun on Broadway, according to his co-star Sophie Okonedo. The British actress, who won a Tony Award last month (14) for her turn in the revival of Lorraine Hansberry's acclaimed play, starred opposite the Oscar winner during the run, and admits working with such a famous actor had its drawbacks.
Despite the serious nature of the drama, fans would yell out at Washington throughout the performance, and a kissing scene often prompted banter from the crowd.
Okonedo tells British newspaper The Guardian, "People would should out: 'Don't, Denzel!' or 'You can't treat her like that!' At one point, Denzel and I have a kiss on stage and a woman shouted out, from the gods, 'Forget her - I'm up here!'"
The drama, which also won Best Revival of a Play at the Tony Awards, closed last month (Jun14).
DreamWorks via Everett Collection
Gary Oldman fears he missed out on an Oscar nomination for The Contender because rumours suggested he was unhappy with the 2000 film's final cut.
The British star played Shelly Runyon in the political drama and many were amazed when he was not named among the Academy Award nominees, but Oldman has a theory.
He tells Playboy magazine, "I just happened to mention that there was another cut of the film that I thought was superior... (but) I'm very proud of the film. "It had the whiff of a scandal, which I'm told may have cost me an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor."
Oldman, who is considered by many one of today's best actors, has never won an Oscar, and he partly blames himself, adding, "What people don't realise is that you need to work at being a celebrity... You have to campaign. It's a whole other part of your career, and I wish I could have navigated it a bit better. I may have an Oscar now, had I (done so)."
Oscars bosses have launched a lawsuit over the sale of a gold statuette awarded to legendary art director Joseph C. Wright in the 1940s. Officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences filed documents at Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday (01Jul14) against Wright's heirs and the owners of an auction house where the Oscar was allegedly sold.
It is claimed staff at Briarbrook Auctions sold the award in June (14) for $79,200 (£46,588), breaking a ban on selling an Oscar without first offering the Academy the chance to buy it back for $10 (£5.90).
Wright, who died in 1985, won two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration in 1943 for his work on This Above All and My Gal Sal, but it is not known which of the awards is at the centre of the lawsuit.
Academy bosses are demanding more than $79,200 in damages and the right to buy the Oscar for $10.
Dustin Lance Black has paid tribute to Harvey Milk's speech writer Frank M. Robinson following his death at the age of 87. Robinson passed away on Monday (30Jun14) in San Francisco, California. No further details about his death have been released.
A noted sci-fi novelist and journalist, Robinson is best remembered for penning rousing speeches for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay candidate to be elected into office in the U.S.
The politician's story was told in 2008's Oscar-winning film Milk, starring by Sean Penn, and the movie's screenwriter Black has remembered the man who helped the gay activist speak to the masses.
In a post on his Facebook.com page, he writes, "This morning Frank M. Robinson left this world. He was Milk's speech writer, an acclaimed sci-fi author and was like a father to me. To say the earth feels made of quicksand lately makes it sound too solid. Frank, I'll miss your thunderous laughter, your protective love and your razor sharp writer's mind."
His death comes just weeks after Black lost his mother.
Robinson, who made a cameo appearance in the movie, will also be remembered for his books The Power, which was transformed for the big screen in 1968, and The Glass Inferno, which was combined with Richard Martin Stern's The Tower and adapted into 1974's The Towering Inferno starring Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.