A joke about Sir Tom Jones joining Black Sabbath has turned into an unlikely collaboration plan for the Welsh singer and Tony Iommi. The guitarist admits the April Fool's joke perpetrated by British magazine Kerrang! over two decades ago became the kernel of an idea and now he and Jones are talking about working together.
Iommi tells Classic Rock magazine, "I've met Tom a few times. We were talking one day and he said, 'Did you ever see that thing in the press about me joining you guys?' I said, 'Yes, I did,' and he said, 'It's not a bad idea, is it?'
"I like Tom, he's good. I'd actually like to do something with him. It could work."
The reformed The Babys are hoping reports of a The Faces reunion tour are for real this time - because they want to land a support slot if the rockers hit the road again. The group, featuring Rod Stewart's longtime backing bandmates Wally Stocker and Tony Brock, have reunited without John Waite and Jonathan Cain to record its first album in three decades.
Launching the well-received I'll Have Some of That in Burbank, California on Wednesday night (25Jun14), drummer Brock told WENN he'd love to hook up with his former boss for a The Babys/The Faces tour.
He said, "I love so many of those Faces songs and we have a lot of links to them - I'm friends with (Faces drummer) Kenney Jones, and Wally and I learned a lot from Rod.
"He (Stewart) has been putting off a Faces reunion for several years, but he says he's gonna do it this time and we'd love to hit the road with them. It would be perfect. We're like two peas in a pod."
Bandmate Stocker adds, "They're a great example of a very untidy rock 'n' roll band - that was their appeal. We'd love to tour with them."
The two rock veterans certainly have some history with Faces frontman Stewart - Brock was the singer's drummer for 12 years after The Babys split in 1981. Stocker also toured with Stewart in between projects with Air Supply and Humble Pie.
Australian actress Rose Byrne is set to join James Earl Jones for her Broadway debut in a revival of classic comedy You Can't Take It With You. The Bridesmaids star and Tony Award nominee Annaleigh Ashford will play sisters in the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, about a family of eccentric New Yorkers who clash with another clan over a real estate dispute.
Star Wars icon Jones was previously announced as Grandpa Vanderhof, while Kristine Nielsen and Mark Linn-Baker were also unveiled as part of the cast.
You Can't Take It With You, directed by Scott Ellis, will open for previews in August (14) at the Longacre Theatre.
Denzel Washington's A Raisin In The Sun has joined plays featuring James Franco and Bryan Cranston among the most financially successful Broadway projects this season after recouping the $4.25 million (2.7 million) it cost to stage. The show, which scooped the Best Revival award at Sunday's (08Jun14) Tonys, recouped the cash just days before the end of its run on Sunday (15Jun14).
The revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play has grossed over $1 million (GBP625,000)-a-week throughout its 14-week limited engagement at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
A Raisin in the Sun also features LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo, who also picked up a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Other plays that have recouped their investment on Broadway this season include Franco's Of Mice and Men; Cranston's All the Way, which was named Best Play at the Tonys; The Glass Menagerie, with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto; Betrayal, with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz; the Shakespeare’s Globe's Twelfth Night and Richard III double bill, and Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays.
Sir Tom Jones is set to receive the Silver Clef lifetime achievement award at a Nordoff Robbins charity event next month (Jul14). The Welsh singer will be feted at a ceremony in London on 4 July (14). Past recipients of the accolade include Barry Gibb and Tony Bennett.
Celebrated writer/poet Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86. The beloved star passed away on Wednesday morning (28May14), just days after cancelling an appearance at an upcoming tribute event due to health troubles. Angelou was due to be honoured by officials at the Major League Baseball organisation at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon on Friday (30May14), but she was too ill to attend the event in Texas.
Reports suggest she died in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday. Angelou started her career as an entertainer, touring Europe in a production of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and recording an album called Calypso Lady in 1957. She also appeared opposite James Earl Jones in an off-Broadway production of racially-charged drama The Blacks in 1961.
However, Angelou became well known for her writing work and as a vocal civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, including the acclaimed 1969 book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, about her early life and the troubles in America's Deep South, as well as essays and poetry. She also racked up a list of writing credits on TV shows and movies, blazing a trail for black female writers/directors by penning the screenplay for 1972's Georgia, Georgia, and directing 1996 film Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes. Her acting career included a turn in well-known TV mini-series Roots and an appearance in Tyler Perry's 2006 comedy Madea's Family Reunion.
Angelou worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during America's Civil Rights movement, and was honoured for her contribution to society with more than 30 honorary doctorates from universities across the U.S. She was also feted with a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her poetry book Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, a Tony Award nod for her role in 1973 play Look Away, and three Grammy Awards for spoken word albums.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton presented her with the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and current President Barack Obama handed her the country's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2011.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Few filmmakers come out of the gate swinging with an epic two-hour feature film debut that goes on to achieve huge box office success. Most of them start small with commercials, shorts, and low-budget indie flicks. And some of the most renowned filmmakers started out creating visuals for the music world, eventually working their way up to narrative features. Here are just a few movie directors who have also made great contributions to the world of music video.
This year he took home his first Oscar for Her, winning the award Best Original Screenplay. But back in the '90s he brought us the video to one of the most infectiously delightful songs ever, Fatboy Slim's "Praise You." As you can see, his sense of whimsy hasn't changed over the years.
Even if Belly wasn't the greatest cinematic achievement of all time (although, if you were a huge DMX fan back in the day, it probably was), it was exciting to see hip-hop video director extraordinaire Hype Williams create a feature film. Did it play a lot like a really long rap video at times? Yes. But that unforgettable scene with DMX watching Gummo was so amazing, it really didn't matter. Hype's love for cinema can also be seen in his "California Love" video for Tupac and Dr. Dre, which was partly inspired by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. F. Gary Gray and Antoine Fuqua are two other acclaimed directors known for making waves on the hip hop music video scene.
Michael D. Ratner
This is a name you'll want to commit to memory. Ratner's work with New York's Hot 97, the leading voice in hip-hop radio, has resulted in some brilliant, satirical videos that went viral over the last couple of years. This year he and his crew at One Big Ball pictures (gotta love that name) made their Tribeca Film Festival debut with Ratner's hilarious short film The 30 Year Old Bris. Although he's continuing his work in music (he produced the upcoming Diddy/Meek Mill video for "I Want The Love"), Ratner also has more romantic comedies in the works. We suspect that good things are bound to come from a fella who's been hanging out with everyone from Spike Lee to 50 Cent and the great Jim Jones.
The director of Scarlett Johansson's most recent feature Under the Skin is also known for having made some powerful music videos in the '90s and early '00s. He worked with artists like Jamiroquai and Massive Attack before making his directorial debut with Sexy Beast (for which Ben Kingsley received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). One of Glazer's most compelling works was the "Karma Police" video for Radiohead. Although he himself was critical of the finished product, it earned him the MTV Director of the Year award in 1997.
Fincher may be the best example of a director whose talent in music videos translated into brilliance in feature films. He went from being the director of many iconic and acclaimed videos (Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," Michael Jackson's "Who Is It," Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie") to being the Oscar-nominated director behind Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, House of Cards, and the upcoming Gone Girl.
Best known for films like Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees, Prince-Bythewood has a good collection of throwback R&B and hip-hop videos under her belt as well. This year she's returning to the big screen with the highly-anticipated Blackbird, starring Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, and Nate Parker, but it's fun to look back at her days with Fat Joe and Tony Sunshine.
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
Bryan Cranston, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris O'dowd and Stephen Fry are among the big-name TV stars nominated for top prizes at the 2014 Tony Awards. Breaking Bad star Cranston is up for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play trophy for his turn in All The Way, which is also nominated in the Best Play category at the awards, held to honour the year's best Broadway performances.
He will compete with Irish actor O'Dowd (Of Mice and Men), Brit Mark Rylance (Richard III), Tony Shalhoub (Act One), and Samuel Barnett (Twelfth Night), who are all nominated in the same category.
Samuel L. Jackson's wife LaTanya Richardson is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category for her part in A Raisin in the Sun, but she will have to fend off competition from Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons), Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), and Estelle Parsons (The Velocity of Autumn).
How I Met Your Mother star Harris leads the nominations in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his flamboyant turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, while singer Idina Menzel is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her part in If/Then.
Beloved British actor Stephen Fry scooped a nod in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play category for Twelfth Night, but his fellow Brits Daniel Radcliffe, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart were all overlooked despite giving acclaimed performances on the Great White Way.
Fry took to his Twitter.com page on Tuesday (29Apr14) to share his excitement at being nominated, writing, "Oh my goodness, apparently I've been nominated for a Tony award. I can't believe it. How rippingly thrilling."
The winners will be revealed at the 68th annual Tony Awards on 8 June (14) at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As grand as the themes of good and evil, needs and deservings, power and responsibility and such forth are, superhero movies are generally pretty straightforward in premise: hero stops villain from wreaking havoc. As off-putting as this kind of simplicity might sound, it's usually the right way to go. If you pack enough substance into your characters and adhere your plot to these linear margins, you can actually wind up saying a healthy amount (and having a lot of fun). The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets half of this formula down pat. Although Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker is still a moreover undistinguished identity, his emotional magnitude (re: his relationship with Gwen Stacy) is enough to keep him valid through the storm of lunacy that is his second feature. And it's not even that lunacy that holds him back. The problem isn't how wild his conquests are, how silly some of the action sequences feel, or how absolutely bonkers his villains turn out to be. It's all the other stuff (and yes, if you can believe it, there's a ton more going on in this movie than what I've already mentioned — that's the issue). All the plot twists, tertiary mysteries, ominous flashbacks, abject reveals, and weightlessly sinister pawns in this brooding game that, save for its fun with the baddies, takes itself way too seriously. All that stuff that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 thinks is necessary to make Peter Parker matter? It actually does just the opposite.
Peter is at his best when he's playing Tracy and Hepburn with the girlfriend he's perpetually disappointing (the eternally charming Emma Stone), or trying to win back the favor of the only remaining parental figure from whom he's rapidly slipping away (Sally Field, reminding us why she's a household name), or angling to connect with the mentally unstable engineer who just wants people to notice him (Jamie Foxx working his comic shtick with a frightening zest). We have the most fun with Peter when he's playing the simplest games, and we connect best with him on similar ground. But Peter and company, at the behest of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise's Sandman-sized aspirations, spend so much time exploring new avenues: the secrets surrounding the death and work of Richard Parker, the behind-the-curtains operations of OsCorp, the nefarious goings on in the waterside penitentiary Ravencroft.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
As a result of the grand stab at world building, there is just so much stuff that Peter has to wade through in this movie, dragging the likes of Gwen and his boyhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, mastering angst, menace, and upper-class privilege all at once) into the dark crevasses of narrative waste. With so many diversions into the emotionally vacant, deliberately joyless explorations of Parker family origin stories, secret brief cases, and underground subways — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rivals Captain America: The Winter Soldier in complexity, but forgets the necessary ingredient of fun — we barely have enough energy left when the good stuff hits.
And in truth, the good stuff isn't really good enough to sustain us through all the duller periods. Garfield and Stone do have laudable chemistry. Foxx is a hoot as Peter's maniacal new foe, especially when paired with the grimacing DeHaan. And the action, while often straying from any aesthetic authenticity, is nothing shy of neat-o. It's all passable, occasionally worthy of a hearty smile, but rarely anything you'll be definitively pleased you took the time to see.
But beyond coming up short in the micro, the film's regal downfall is its scope. With so much to do, both in accomplishing its own necessary plot points and setting up for those to come in future films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't seem to take time to make sure it's having fun with its own premise. And if it isn't having fun, we won't be either.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com