Prince helped a fan break up with his cheating girlfriend on TV while shooting an agony uncle skit during a recent appearance on pal Arsenio Hall's late-night show. The fan, Steven, explained that his girl was seeing an ex in Oregon while he was trying to make a life for himself in Los Angeles, and asked the Purple Rain singer for advice.
The superstar went one better and agreed to call the woman, called Keegan, and break-up with her himself.
Inspired by the lyrics from his own When Doves Cry hit, Prince said, "In this relationship, things are much harder than in the real world. Keegan, in this life, you're on your own. Keegan, this is what is sounds like when Steven breaks up with you."
The speechless ex finally responded, "I wanna be sad, but also if you're breaking up with me, I can't be that sad."
Keegan then cheekily asked Prince, "Also, are you perhaps available?"
The pop star chuckled and replied, "No, I'm not available."
Composers behind the scores for Academy Award-nominated movies Gravity, Her, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks and The Book Thief were given their chance to shine on Thursday (27Feb14) at the first ever Oscar Concert. Best Original Score nominees William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her), Alexandre Desplat (Philomena), Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks), Steven Price (Gravity), and John Williams (The Book Thief) were invited to take to the stage at the University of California, Los Angeles' Royce Hall, three days before Hollywood's big night, to conduct and direct their works in full.
During the special show, which was hosted by rapper/actor Common, five-time Oscar winner Williams was given a round of applause as he declared, "(Movies) wouldn't be what they are and couldn't be made without the service of a great orchestra."
The Best Original Song nominees were also performed, with Jill Scott taking on Pharrell Williams' Happy from Despicable 2, and composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez taking on Idina Menzel's vocals on Frozen's Let It Go.
The Wolf of Wall Street actress Cristin Milioti covered Karen O's The Moon Song from Her, while former The Voice contestant Matt Carmanski belted out U2's Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Each of the artists behind the nominations for Best Original Song will take to the stage at Sunday's (02Mar14) Oscars in Hollywood.
For months now, Hollywood.com has been entrenched in a heated debate. A debate that warrants more fire and enmity than anything in the spectrums of politics, religion, or professional sports. We're talking the long-gestating battle of Mara vs. Mara. And finally, we've taken to the public to express our horses in this neverending race. So whose side are you on — Team Kate or Team Rooney?
PRO KATEJulia Emmanuele
The first season of American Horror Story is probably the most insane of the three, and it often felt to me as if Ryan Murphy was just throwing out every single idea he had in an attempt to make the show as shocking and full of plot twists as humanly possible, which, for the most part, is what Kate Mara's character Hayden is there for. In theory, she exists purely to cause more conflict between Ben and Vivien, due to the fact that she’s mentally unstable and attempts to manipulate Ben into leaving his wife to help her raise the baby she’s carrying. But Kate’s performance keeps her from being a walking plot device, and she creates a character that is by turns terrifying and unpredictable, desperate, and sadly seems to genuinely believe that she and Ben have something special. She truly hopes that she can have a family with him, and even though she’s willing to accomplish that by any means necessary – including attempting to steal Vivien’s baby after both she and Hayden are dead – Kate tempers all of that instability with genuine emotion. In her last scene, where she tells Tate that Violet will never love him, it’s petty, sure, but it’s also resigned. Kate takes a character that is, like every other character on that show, there primarily for shock value, and finds the humanity in her insane plot. She gives the character depth, and makes you feel for her, even as she’s carrying out her insane plan.
Then there’s House of Cards and Zoe Barnes. Zoe’s the kind of character that audiences will either love or hate, and I’ve seen strong opinions on both sides. Personally, I’m a big fan of Zoe, and a lot of that has to do with the way that Kate plays her. She’s ambitious and cunning, willing to do whatever she needs to for her own benefit, and doesn’t care who she needs to hurt in order to advance, all of which makes her the perfect counterpart to Frank Underwood. But Kate doesn’t just make her a female version of Frank; she gives her layers and depth that help ground the ambition and drive that characterizes Zoe. There’s an episode where Frank talks about how it’s important that he and Zoe keep secrets from each other, and how they are different things to different people. Kate’s whole performance epitomizes that. You get the sense that she’s hiding something about herself from everyone – that maybe the tough, ambitious front that she puts on the whole time is just there to keep her vulnerability hidden. The best example of this is the scene where Zoe comes over to the Underwoods' house, tries on Claire’s dress and ends her affair with Frank, which reads both like a little girl playing dress-up and the start of Zoe becoming a legitimate threat. She’s imitating Claire’s earlier behavior, and she’s acting in a way that is slightly childish. But Kate also makes sure that Zoe’s resolve comes across just as clearly as her pettiness. He’s not taking her seriously, but she’s establishing herself as someone who will try to take Frank down. Kate gets all of that across in the two minutes it takes for her to try on the dress and walk around the room.
It’s a testament to all of the layers that Kate gives Zoe that the character and her performance gets more compelling with every re-watch. Look at all of Zoe’s weird, nervous tics that fade away over the course of the season, as she becomes more confident and starts taking control of the story. She starts the first season biting her nails and slouching in on herself; by the end, she’s taking the lead away from Lucas and Jeanine, both of whom are older and more experienced and holding her own against Frank. Zoe’s awkwardness, her fear, and her ruthlessness are all clear in the way that Kate carries herself and delivers every line, and all of that comes together to create a character that would likely not be nearly as compelling with another actress in the role.
ANTI KATEMichael Arbeiter
Would you still watch House of Cards if Kevin Spacey wasn't in it, and it was just Kate's character? I wouldn't. But I'd still watch Dragon Tattoo if they ousted Daniel Craig and just made it about Rooney. You would too, admit it. It'd be better.
Also, boring name.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
PRO ROONEYMichael Arbeiter
Here's the thing about Rooney Mara — there's not just one thing about Rooney Mara. To one of you, Rooney Mara might be a sociopathic code-breaker, cemented irreparably into her Girl with the Dragon Tattoo role. To another, the mile-a-minute Sorkin fixture who set an ingenious egomaniac off on his quest for digital world domination. Rooney has not had the luxury of pinning her talents and memorability to the forced familiarity of a television role. Rooney opts for movies, which, no matter how many times you tweet otherwise, is still the superior artistic medium to television. In the past five years alone, Rooney has amounted a slew of big screen roles that have identified her as a creative mystic and an on-the-rise industry figure.
We'll start with her Dragon Tattoo transformation, perhaps the role that adorned her with the degree of notability that she enjoys today. Yes, Kate's House of Cards character requires some dexterity, but the stretching required to playing her ballsy reporter Zoe barely compares to that inherent in roles like Lisbeth Salander... and that's considering the fact that both characters come from the same filmmaker: David Fincher (it should be noted that both House of Cards and Dragon Tattoo are adaptations). From the get-go, Rooney is thrust into a decidedly challenging world — her ability to glimmer with charm through the veneer of Fincher's abrasive adaptation is a testament to her uncompromising film presence.
Contrastingly, Rooney fits right into the mellifluous portrait of Spike Jonze's Her, even when introduced three quarters of the way through the movie. Playing an organic alternative to Samantha, the "ideal woman" who outgrows her romantic partner Theodore Twombly (god, I just love that name), Rooney socks her onscreen partner Joaquin Phoenix and the audience alike with a ton of earnestness, anchoring the "fantasy" of the film back to Earth but never robbing it of its sense of wonder. That's all in the performance, which keeps her shy of Hollywood's traditional platform of mysognistic villainy. Rooney understands the role and deals with it responsibly, and we're never beckoned to look away even when she's smacking us with cold, hard truths.
But Rooney is not reliant on high concept roles to let her skill set show. As the diabolical loon at the center of Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects, she balances humanity and monstrosity to an absolutely chilling degree. As the star of the haunting crime drama Ain't Them Bodies Saints, she allows for the appreciation of the full spectrum of human desperation. And even though it might be her smallest major role, Rooney's turn at the forefront of Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network is powerful, funny, caustic, endearing, frightening, and permanent enough to have us believe that it could truly spark an egomaniacal genius' plight to take over the digital world.
ANTI ROONEYJulia Emmanuele
I’ve never felt particularly invested in any of Rooney’s characters. To me, there’s never any depth there, never anything to make it seem as if there’s a character underneath the costume and the script. Her performances have always come across as relatively flat to me. She delivers her lines well, and she can look affected by the scene, but there’s never any gravity to it, never anything that makes me want to keep watching her the way I can with Kate. She’s just kind of… there, whereas Kate’s characters are fully formed, interesting people in their own right, and she finds ways to hint at the layers underneath, and a past that has shaped the way the characters approach situations now.
What do you think?
The composers of this year's (14) Oscar-nominated film scores are set to join forces for a very special concert in Los Angeles a week before the Academy Awards. In the first-ever Oscar Concert, William Butler, Owen Pallett, Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman, Steven Price and John Williams will conduct and direct their compositions at Royce Hall on 27 February (14).
Butler and Pallett are Oscar nominated for their work in Her, Desplat for Philomena, Newman for Saving Mr. Banks, Price for Gravity and Williams for The Book Thief.
The concert will also feature this year's nominated original songs, including Frozen's Let It Go, and Pharrell Williams' Happy from Despicable Me 2, which will be performed by Jill Scott.
The Oscars take place on 2 March (14).
Disney hit Frozen left its competitors out in the cold at the 41st annual Annie Awards by winning four top honours. The movie picked up Best Animated Feature at the prizegiving, which celebrates the best animated projects, at Royce Hall in Los Angeles on Saturday night (01Feb14). It beat out competition from Monsters University, A Letter to Momo, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, The Croods, and The Wind Rises.
Its three other hauls included prizes for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Best Music, Production Design, and Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production for Josh Gad.
Another big winner was The Croods, which picked up three trophies, while Monsters University, went home with two.
Steven Spielberg, Katsuhiro Otomo and Phil Tippett were all honoured with the Winsor McCay Award for longrunning dedication to animation.
Hit animated movies Monsters University and Frozen and will go head-to-head at the 41st annual Annie Awards after picking up 10 nominations each. The films will battle for the night's main prize, Best Animated Feature, alongside A Letter to Momo, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, The Croods and The Wind Rises.
The Croods, about a dysfunctional Stone Age family, also looks set for a big night - it has received nods in nine categories, as has Despicable Me 2.
Directing legend Steven Spielberg, who co-founded the DreamWorks Animation studio in 1994, will receive the Winsor McCay Award for career achievement alongside Phil Tippett, a visual effects artist who worked with the filmmaker on 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park.
The Annie Award winners will be announced in a ceremony at the University of California's Royce Hall in Los Angeles on 1 February (14).
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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Singer/songwriter Carole King has been named the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year. The You've Got a Friend hitmaker will be the guest of honour at the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy's 24th annual benefit gala, which will take place in Los Angeles on 24 January (14), two nights before the Grammy Awards.
The event will feature tribute performances from Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, James Taylor, Jason Mraz and the Dixie Chicks.
Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy, says, "Her (King) contributions as a songwriter and performer have truly changed the landscape of pop music, and her philanthropy speaks volumes about her generosity and personal passions.
"We are also grateful to the extraordinary artists who have announced their desire to be a part of what will undoubtedly be a magical and inspiring evening."
It's been a stellar year for King - the veteran star was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April (13), while she made history in May (13) when she became the first woman ever to receive the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last December (12).
The 2013 MusiCares honour, which recognises artists for their creative accomplishments as well as their charitable work, was bestowed upon Bruce Springsteen, while previous recipients include Sir Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young and Neil Diamond.
MusiCares provides financial aid and medical care to musicians who have fallen on hard times.
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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Aerosmith stars Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and R&B singer John Legend were inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame on Saturday night (22Jun13). The musicians were all honoured during a star-studded concert at the Los Angeles venue to mark the beginning of the summer concert season.
Actress Angela Basset hosted the event, and presenters included Glee star Darren Criss and funnyman Arsenio Hall, while music legend Stevie Wonder was on hand to induct Legend.
In a subsequent post on Twitter.com the Green Light hitmaker wrote, "Stevie Wonder inducted me into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame tonight. Feeling very grateful."
Veteran actor Peter Fonda inducted the Aerosmith stars, and Perry tweeted about the honour, "Thanks to the amazing Peter Fonda for our great introduction introduction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame... Thanks to all who congratulated us tonight on our induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. We couldn't have done it without you."
Jazz singer Patti Austin was also among the inductees.
The event raised money for the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the organisation's music education program for youngsters.