The Stranglers rocker Jean-Jacques Burnel has taken a swipe at Sting and his bandmates in The Police, accusing them of only reuniting for money. The Message in a Bottle hitmakers split acrimoniously in the mid-1980s and a comeback looked increasingly unlikely until the trio stunned fans by announcing a worldwide reunion tour in 2007.
The gigs were a massive moneyspinner as the band sold an estimated 3.7 million tickets and grossed $358 million (£224 million), making the trek the third highest-grossing tour ever.
However, Stranglers star Burnel, who played on the same bill as the reunited band at a London show, insists they were only in it for the money.
He tells Mojo magazine, "The Police were very good musicians. They just hated each other's guts. They still do, apparently. We played Hyde Park the same day they did and it was awful. It's not very conducive to an appreciation of someone's output, when you know they're just there to top up their pension fund."
The Stranglers rocker Jean-Jacques Burnel has told of his horror after several of his neighbours were killed when severe flooding hit the South of France. The bassist lives in the region and he was stunned when heavy rains earlier this month (Feb14) caused a deluge which left many roads impassable and several local residents dead.
He tells Mojo magazine, "There have been roads blocked and a few people killed. But it's normally fantastic down here."
"Hugh (Cornwell) has become a very bitter bloke. I suspect he thought - as I did - that when he left, The Stranglers would implode. But we're playing bigger venues, and he's playing pubs. If I were in his shoes I'd be p**sed off." The Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel has no sympathy for his former bandmate.
It's a good hour into The Wolf of Wall Street, following a deep dive into Jordan Belfort's early days in the stock market game — that being the most appropriate word for it — and festive indulgence in the most carnal manifestations of human desire, that we're hit with the title card, "18 months later..." Here, it is solidified that the years we have spent inside Martin Scorsese's world of toxic capitalism have all been, up to this point, set-up. Fuel. This brief flash of text, the longest instance of silence in the cacophonous sewer system that is Belfort's story, is the first real sign that a fire is coming.
By this time, Scorsese's willful defiance of the "show, don't tell" method has introduced us to every one of the doe-eyed crook's countless vices. He has no qualms stealing from those who can't afford it, lying to those who trust him, cheating on his wife, cramming every substance known to modern science into his bloodstream, and wholeheartedly endorsing (to his adoring audience) all of the above. All the while, we bound between delight and disgust. The delight comes not so much in the material victories of Belfort and his cronies — that has the latter effect, in fact, as every antic is so vividly laced with Sodom-level depravity — but in watching them like zoo animals. In fact, The Wolf of Wall Street's principal undoing might be that it is simply too much fun.
For that, we have to thank Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio had managed terrific performances all his career, but this is one of the first in years to actually surprise us. Opening his tale as an ambitious and firm-shouldered young buck, the likes of which you'd find in any Horatio Algers novel, and devolving into the Financial District's answer to Beetlejuice, the actor exhibits corners of his performing ability that we have always dreamed we'd see. In the months leading up to DiCaprio's turn as the dastardly dandy Calvin Candie in last year's Quentin Tarantino picture Django Unchained, fans anticipated an unprecedented kookiness that never seemed to show. Turns out, DiCaprio was saving that mania for Wolf of Wall Street, in which he lambasts justice and judgment in the form of an elastic child at his most tempered and a rabid kangaroo on those nights of the especially hard partying.
And of course, there's that scene with the Quaaludes. Without giving too much away — although the experience is so visceral that all the contextual spoilers wouldn't rob the scene of its emphatic humor — DiCaprio manages a feat of physical comedy so extensive, demanding, and gutterally f**king hilarious that you'll wonder tearfully what might have been had the rising star shirked Titanic for a career in slapstick. But the surplus joys derived from this scene might, in fact, be Wolf's undoing. In a story that is meant to lather on the horrors inherent in the human's propensity for self-serving greed and gluttony, it can soften the blow when we're allowed to take a break from our disgust to spend a few moments in vivid, unabashed delight. Yes, the scene in question involves drug abuse, intoxicated driving, criminal activity, and a near-death experience. But it's so damn funny that we're kept from toppling down into what might have been the darkest crevasse of the film's story and enduring the pathos that might come with it.
The dilution of Wolf's message comes at the hand of its comedy (with no affair a bigger culprit than the one described above) and its tendency to meander. Although Scorsese works to shove the very idea of "excess" down our throats with seemingly endless scenes of Belfort and his pals harassing flight attendants and dehumanizing little people, the ad nauseum effect doesn't always hit home as powerfully as imagined, instead allowing the viewer to fizzle out from time to time through Wolf's three-hour tour. We're drowned, slowly and steadily, in Belfort's tragic pleasures while, as the "18 months later" interstitial suggests, we keep expecting to combust with them.
It's always a risky endeavor for a film or television show to indict crooked characters not through narrative penalties but through a tacit communication of their behavior or psychology as bad news. The risk comes in the form of audiences challenging artists for letting their villains get off scot-free, or even for glorifying undesirable lifestyles. Ultimately, while Belfort does get some semblance of his comeuppance, he wins in his nefarious game. The Belfort we leave at the end of our journey adheres to the tenets he spouts from the beginning, reveling in a legion of former colleagues beaming at him in collective awe and new students of his self-centric theology zealously eating up his every word in hopes of becoming the very same kind of demigod. To Scorsese, and to any an audience member willing to estrange him or herself from the bounties of wicked humor, this is just the fire we were promised. Belfort's image is ignited by the instances of theft, deceit, betrayal, substance abuse, sexual crime, and a spiralling descent into sub-human madness. But there are a few too many laughs along the way to keep the flames from reaching their full, hottest potential.
But hey, when you're complaining about a movie for being too much fun, you've got a pretty good movie on your hands.
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British classical concert event The BBC Proms will feature rap and punk stars for the first time in its 118 year history. The annual eight-week concert season, founded in 1895, celebrates the best of international classical music and opera, but BBC bosses have broadened their horizons by including a number of contemporary artists on this year's (13) bill.
Punk outfit The Stranglers will appear at the inaugural BBC Radio 6 Music Prom alongside former Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews and folk star Laura Marling.
The Stranglers guitarist Jean-Jacques Burnel says, "I think we're the first band of a certain ilk, a certain generation, to be invited. I'm hoping it reflects the fact that we're one of the most melodic bands around."
Rapper Fazer - formerly of British hip-hop band N-Dubz, and Maverick Sabre will also perform alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the newly introduced Urban Classic Prom.
The Proms will run from 12 July until 7 September (13).
Like Maggie Simpson and the baby with the unibrow, many fans of The Simpsons have long considered fans of Family Guy their mortal enemy. Speaking as an early Simpsons purist, it always felt as though the animated Fox rival is a sub-par rip-off that uses broad, lowbrow humor to appeal to the masses and lacking the brains, sharp wit, and heart of The Simpsons. Even more distressing, as the quality of The Simpsons has declined over the past few years, Family Guy — and its ubiquitous creator and future Oscar host Seth MacFarlane — seemed to only to get more popular and part of the cultural dialogue.
That's not to say MacFarlane and Family Guy haven't taken their fair share of hits from the animation community in the midst of all this. In the classic episode of South Park titled "Cartoon Wars" which skewered the fellow button-pushing comedy, Eric Cartman cried "Don't you ever compare me to Family Guy", while The Simpsons made an even louder statement by quite literally making Peter Griffin a Homer Simpson clone during a Treehouse of Horror episode. But while South Park may be standing strong on their stance about Family Guy and its writers room full of manatees, The Simpsons might be calling a truce for good.
Fox has confirmed to Hollywood.com that Family Guy's MacFarlane will voice a role on The Simpsons during the Season 25 premiere in 2013. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, who originally reported the news, The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean explained, "We wanted to come together in a bipartisan way to make Fox Sunday night rock." The episode titled "Dangers on a Train," MacFarlane will reportedly play a married man who attempts to woo Marge. (Good luck, she's already turned down the advances of bowling instructor Jacques and her obsessed high school prom date Artie Ziff!)
Though a Simpsons/Family Guy peace offering is actually nothing new (Dan Castallaneta aka Homer Simpson, once cameo'd on Family Guy), it's hard to say if the same can be said for the fans. Twitter reactions from fans have ranged from zingers ("'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane will guest star on 'The Simpsons. He'll play a guy who comes to Springfield and steals everything," wrote @MancowMuller) to discouraged sentiments. (As one EW commenter griped, "Just when I thought The Simpsons couldn't sink any lower...") It all feels a little bit like Springfield is making peace with Shelbyville but the townsfolk are all still a little too mad about that lemon tree to be nice. After all, it was ours first and you tried to take it as your own. Maybe its just remaining bitterness about a Simpsons long since past, or its MacFarlane getting a taste of his own medicine. In this case, the medicine tastes like turnip juice.
Will you watch Seth MacFarlane's appearance on The Simpsons? Or is the Family Guy creator and all things Family Guy as welcome to Simpsons fans as Lyle Lanley in North Haverbrook?
[Photo credit: Fox]
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With this year's awards season officially on the horizon, Rust and Bone has quickly become one of those can't miss films. Jacques Audiard's haunting drama opened to raves at Cannes, has already been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (the French entry is up for Best Foreign Film), and its leading lady, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard is considered a strong contender to return to the Oscars once again as a nominee. It's a must-see movie — that is, if you can handle actually seeing it.
Even Rust and Bone's breakout star Matthias Schoenaerts — who plays Ali, a broke, struggling, hot-headed single father whose life takes a turn when he begins a relationship with a double amputee named Stéphanie (Cotillard) who is coming to terms with her own horrifying accident — has felt the impact of the unflinching film. "Maybe I should watch it in three years, because I'm still too close to it," says Schoenaerts. "But when I saw it I was gripped by it, that's for sure."
Gripping is just one word to describe the film, which dares to get as emotionally raw as it does brazenly honest about violence and sex. Schoenaerts recalls the experience of shooting the film's many realistic sex scenes: "To some extent it's always a little weird, it's intimate, but at the same time you don't want to think too much about it. There's nothing to it but to do it."
Others, like Rolling Stone, have called the visually compelling drama "astonishing" and Time magazine declared it "engrossing." The praise for the film, from both critics and moviegoers alike, has touched a nerve with the 34-year-old. "That's why you do it, because you want to be part of an experience. I think cinema should try to share something profound. I don't think cinema needs to be preachy, but I think it should try to share something that is true. It's always nice when you notice that people feel it.... It's exciting to feel that people think the film should be rewarded or the performances should be rewarded so that means that people appreciate what you're doing."
Schoenaerts — who trained on a daily basis for months to bulk up as Ali, the no-holds-barred kick boxer ("I did a lot of boxing, weightlifting, eating a lot of junk to grow a belly in order to look strong but not fit, a bit unhealthy because the guy hit rock bottom and didn't have the means") — is no stranger to harrowing, albeit critically praised dramas. Before Rust and Bone, Schoenaerts, who made his debut in the Oscar-nominated Daens, starred in the brilliant, brutal 2011 feature Bullhead. "I like antiheroes," he admits. It's something I look for [in scripts], but subconsciously. I think I just don't believe in perfect people, I don't believe in heroes either. I believe people can do heroic things, but I don't believe in just heroes."
Whether or not choosing to play the troubled antihero in Rust and Bone was a subconscious decision for Schoenaerts (the son of actor Julien Schoenaerts), choosing to star in a film with Cotillard (whom he cites as "amazing" and "generous" to work with) and one directed by Audiard was not. Schoenarts says of the BAFTA Award-winning director of A Prophet, "Way before I even got involved in this project, The Beat That Skipped My Heart, Read My Lips, See How They Fall, [I watched] all of his films. To me he's one of the most exciting directors around. He's a one of a kind director. He's really an actor's director, he gives you all the freedom you want and at the same time he doesn't let you go."
Schoenarts describes Audiard's motto with his actors as simply this: "I give you everything and you give me something that changes my idea of the character and on the scene we're playing so that it becomes an organic process in that what you do influences me to have a different angle on the character and it brings the screenplay to life."
While Schoenaerts admits that Rust and Bone, which was shot in the South of France, was often times a "difficult film to make" — not only emotionally but physically (the actor says one pivotal scene on a frozen lake was shot over the course of five days, sometimes with temperatures dipping as low as fifteen below zero) — he "had so much confidence in Jacques." The actor credits the BAFTA award-winning director for finding "the right balance and from the right angle and find all the nuances... There's many ways to f**k [this story] up and he didn't."
Rust and Bone is currently playing in limited release.
[Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Modino/Sony Pictures Classics]
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If you were still holding out hope that Oscar winner Jean Dujardin would actually be appearing as the villain in every sequel conceivable (including the needs-to-actually-happen Alvin and the Chipmunks: Squeak and Ye Shall Find you'll have to hang tight a little bit longer. The in-demand actor, riding high off the success of The Artist, is now in talks to star in Martin Scorsese's next project. ("Not so fast, Taxi Driver!")
According to Variety, the French star could appear alongside Jonah Hill and, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio (it is a Scorsese flick, after all) in The Wolf of Wall Street. Based on Jordan Belfort's memoirs about his meteoric rise and fall on Wall Street, Dujardin is reportedly in talks to play Jean-Jacques Handali, a Swiss banker who helps launder illicit funds to Belfort's firm. So it looks like Dujardin will get to play that villain, after all.
The 39-year-old will next be seen in the racy comedy The Players and is attached to star in Mobius.
[Photo credit: David Edwards/DailyCeleb.com]
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie