Director Garry Marshall is reportedly developing a Broadway musical based on his Pretty Woman film. The filmmaker has teamed up with producer Paula Wagner to seek out composers, lyricists and directors to work on the production.
J.F. Lawton, who wrote the screenplay, has been tapped to pen the script for the stage show, according to the New York Post.
Pretty Woman, which starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, was released in 1990.
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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The great-granddaughter of legendary composer Richard Wagner has died at the age of 71. Iris Wagner passed away on Thursday (09Jan14) in Berlin, Germany, following a long illness.
She was the daughter of Wieland Wagner, who worked with his brother to lead the Bayreuth Festival, which was dedicated to Richard's works.
Iris sat on on the board of trustees for the Richard Wagner Foundation, which controls his estate, and also worked as a painter, photographer, filmmaker and translator.
Actress-turned-stage-director Elke Neidhardt has died, aged 72. The German-born star passed away in Sydney, Australia on Monday (25Nov13). She recently underwent an operation after the discovery of several tumours, but the cause of her death has yet to be officially confirmed, according to The Australian newspaper.
Fellow opera director Noel Staunton, says, "She had an enormous contribution to opera in Australia, and left it with some great productions. In the opera world, she was a big influence. She will be sadly missed."
During her early career, Neidhardt appeared in a number of TV and film roles, including 1972 movie Alvin Purple.
However, she is most celebrated for becoming the first theatre director to stage Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle in Australia in 2004.
She is survived by her son, Fabian.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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NCIS star Mark Harmon is to be honoured with the Richard 'Diamond' Farnsworth Award at the upcoming Stuntmen's Association annual prizegiving gala. Movie and film veteran Robert Wagner will present the actor with his latest accolade on Saturday (14Sep13).
Celebrated tenor Spas Wenkoff has died at the age of 84. The opera star passed away on Monday (12Aug13) at his home in Bad Ischl, Austria, according to representatives from the Vienna State Opera.
Born in Bulgaria in 1928, Wenkoff worked as a lawyer before embarking on a career in music.
He took part in small operettas and went on to sing in Bulgaria and in East Germany.
He found fame performing pieces by famed German composer Richard Wagner and made his international breakthrough in a 1975 production of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, taking on the male lead.
Wenkoff subsequently hit the stage with the Berlin State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Vienna State Opera, among others.
What do you get when the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Peter Parker's Uncle Ben are dumped into a landfill? Trash.
Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen have joined the cast of Working Title's upcoming film Trash, Deadline reports. Adapted by Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis from Andy Mulligan’s like-titled novel, the movie has been in pre-production since Variety reported in 2011 that Stephen Daldry would direct the contemporary thriller.
The film tells the story of three poor boys (played by newbies Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis, and Gabriel Weinstein) who are picking through a city dump when they discover a leather bag whose contents thrusts them into a dangerous world of corruption and injustice. Sheen will play Father Juilliard, a priest who helps the boys, and Mara will play Olivia, an NGO worker, alongside Wagner Moura and Selton Mello, who have also been cast in the movie.
While the movie has been in the works, Daldry produced the opening and closing ceremonies at the London 2012 Summer Olympics in addition to directing Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in 2011's Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close. The film will begin production in Rio de Janeiro in early August and is scheduled for release in May 2014.
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British actor Stephen Fry has signed up to curate a classical music festival at London's prestigious Royal Opera House. The Gosford Park star has been invited to take charge of the 2013 Deloitte Ignite festival, which will mark the bicentenaries of classical maestros Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, Fry's favourite composer.
Fry, who was in Germany this week (22May13) for a celebration of Wagner's 200th birthday, insists he feels "proud and pleased" to be introducing the genre to new audiences.
The line-up, scheduled across four weeks from 6-29 September (13), will feature actor Simon Callow portraying Wagner in a one-man production.
Theatre bosses have been forced to drastically alter their production of an opera by legendary composer Richard Wagner after its controversial Holocaust setting disturbed audience members. Chiefs at The Rheinoper opera house in Dusseldorf, Germany took action after several members of the audience became so distressed by Tannhauser's harrowing concentration camp settings they had to seek medical help.
All future productions of the opera will now go ahead without the original costumes or sets after director Burkhard Kosminski refused to tone down the most shocking scenes, which reportedly showed death in gas chambers, violent rape, beatings, and suicide by fire.
A statement released by representatives of Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the opera company behind the production, reads, "After considering all the arguments, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot justify such an extreme impact of our artistic work. With paramount concern, we note that some scenes (especially the shooting scene) were depicted very realistically causing 'psychological and physical stress' to some audience members."
The production, which opened last weekend (04May13), provoked "violent protests" on its first night, according to local newspaper reports, and was branded "tasteless and not legitimate" by the Head of Dusseldorf's Jewish community, Michael Szentei-Heise.
He told the Associated Press, "Members of the audience booed and banged the doors when they left the opera house in protest."
Pared-down concert versions of the opera will commence on Thursday (09May13).