Music producer Rick Rubin has filed legal documents to change his name. The hip-hop mogul has begun court proceedings to alter his name from that on his birth certificate, Frederick Jay Rubin, to his professional moniker, Rick Rubin, according to TMZ.com.
Comedian Chris Rock inspired the chorus of Jay Z's 2004 hit 99 Problems, according to legendary producer Rick Rubin. The Def Jam Records co-founder has shared his memories of recording the track on its 10th anniversary as part of New York Magazine's Annual Yesteryear Issue, which features a young Jay Z on one of its multiple covers, and he reveals the idea for the hook came from the Grown Ups star.
Rubin tells New York Magazine, "Actually, Chris Rock had the idea for the chorus. It's based on an Ice-T song called 99 Problems, and he said, 'Ice-T has this song, and maybe there's a way to flip it around and do a new version of that.' And I told Jay Z the idea and he liked it.
"The Ice-T song is about, '(I) got 99 problems and a b**ch ain't one', and then it's a list of him talking about his girls and what a great pimp he is. And our idea was to use that same hook concept, and instead of it being about the girls that are not his problem, instead of being a bragging song, it's more about the problems. Like this is about the other side of that story."
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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Universal via Everett Collection
Lone Survivor isn't a film for the faint of heart. It's a film that beats you down and only lets you up for a few precious moments before the credits roll, but that emotional throttling is what helps make the film such a powerful experience.
Peter Berg's Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Red Wings, primarily focusing on a group of four Navy SEALs who are sent to the mountains of Afganistan to capture or kill a member of the Taliban. The plan goes wrong, and the team has to fight for their lives to escape the enemy-infested area. The film does a marvelous job of ratcheting up the tension before collapsing into its main action sequence, one that is as thrilling as it is unsettling. The long sequence brings forth memories of the infamous D-Day opening of Saving Private Ryan, except this film's fire-fight stretches out the violence like a medieval torture device. The langourous scene is, at times, hard to sit through. Each moment slips by in coiled tension. It's undoubtedly uncomfortable, and the film makes a point to never make the violence fun or enticing. The action isn't consequence-free, and every bullet fired carries weight, making the scenes brutal and unrelenting because of it. The film takes on the aura of a horror movie that wants you to feel every second that ticks by, and director Berg makes sure that a pressing hopelessness starts to weigh on the viewer just as it does on the soldiers.
Mark Wahlberg is plenty capable as Marcus Lutrell, a member of the SEAL unit that is sent on the mission. The supporting cast plays its parts admirably by believably infusing a diverse set of personalities and values into the soldiers, while still keeping them in tune with the same military culture that governs much of their thoughts and actions. There's a great scene where a difficult decision has to be made, and the viewer gets to see the different directions to which some of the character's moral compasses are tuned. Sometimes the right thing can mean different things to different people when the risk of death is on the table. The real standout in the cast is Ben Foster, whose SO2 Matthew Alexson swirls with barely contained fury. He is darkly intense and has electric screen presence that really starts to manifest when the bullets star flying and things become dire.
Universal via Everett Collection
For all the good will that the film builds up in its first and second act, the final third of the film hits some snags as history demands that the story take itself to a different location, sacrificing some of the tension that it has built up. In the last 30 minutes of the film, there are some odd tonal choices that don't gel with the tension brimming in the first half. A comedic scene involving a language barrier stands out in particular.
The movie makes a point to steer clear of any political judgment, and it doesn't try to lay blame for the botched mission on any one head. And while the film never outwardly states and opinion on the conflicts that America found itself embroiled in during this time period, the searing brutality depicted in the movie highlight that no one should be subjected to the pain that these men were faced with. Made abundantly clear is the soldiers' willingness to drop everything and serve their country the best way they know how. Lone Survivor tries to honor the soldier, but not glorify war.
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Lone Survivor is at its best when it makes you feel the worst. It gives soldiers their due reverence by showcasing the true terror of the battlefield, and while the film does start to sag a bit in its third act, it's still more than worth the experience in order understand the consequences of war, and its toll on the people in the trenches.
WENNWhen asked what most excited him about his new album during his hopelessly awkward live interview on ESPN, a hopelessly zoned-out Eminem replied 'nothing.' Judging by the two tracks which have been unveiled so far, his lack of enthusiasm for the record will be shared by many.For after appearing to have finally matured with 2010's introspective Recovery, the 41-year-old now disappointingly seems to have regressed back to the kind of cheap pot-shots at easy target celebrities and casual homophobia that defined his cartoonish beginnings.Whereas rap's enfant terrible could get away with such tactics on his 2000 sophomore, his 2013 official follow-up, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, arrives in an era when the likes of Kanye West and Jay-Z have upped the ante for blockbuster hip-hop and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are arguing the case for gay rights.His new single, "Rap God," therefore, sounds entirely out of place in today's landscape. Indeed, his rapid-fire delivery, apparently four words per second, may be impressive but its content is anything but, whether it's the boasts about how he'd like to "break a mother****r’s table over the back of a couple of f***ots" or the second verse's sustained riff on 'gay boys.'Of, course his legion of fans have been quick to argue that the homophobia displayed is in fact from the viewpoint of his Slim Shady persona and not Eminem himself, but such a shaky defence hardly makes all the troubling imagery suddenly seem perfectly acceptable.His previous release, "Berzerk," might not have been as overtly offensive but despite the presence of producer Rick Rubin on board, it was easily just as lazy, relying on a well-worn Billy Squier sample and playground insults towards Z-list celebs that bordered on the embarrassing. Seriously, could he have chosen any celebrity victims more obvious than Khloe Kardashian and Kevin Federline?Arguably the most depressing aspect of Eminem's early '00s revival is just how many people are falling for it. "Berzerk" peaked at No.3 on the U.S. Hot 100 while much of the music press have bizarrely been falling over itself to declare "Rap God" as some kind of return-to-form masterpiece.The Marshall Mathers 2 LP, therefore, will inevitably follow in the multi-million selling footsteps of its predecessor. But it still doesn't change the fact that Eminem currently appears to be stuck in some kind of early '00s time warp.
Summer may be winding down, but when it comes to entertainment, the year has just begun. Much like the film business, the music industry releases its big guns in the second half of the year, with some of the most anticipated albums of the year slated to be dropped in the fall. The influx of new indie and DIY artists has kept the music scene interesting, but for all you old schoolers yearning for some new music from familiar names, fall will definitely be your season.
Wu-Tang Clan: A Better Tomorrow (TBA)Although there’s no official release date as of yet, Wu-Tang Clan’s sixth studio album, A Better Tomorrow, is tentatively scheduled to be released in November. The album is a milestone, marking the group’s 20th anniversary, and will feature the late, great ODB’s vocals on a few tracks.
The Roots & Elvis Costello: Wise Up Ghost (September 17)What do you get when you put one of the greatest hip hop acts with one of the greatest rockers? Pure awesomeness, of course. The Roots’ ?uestlove first hinted to a collaborative album in January in an interview with Billboard magazine, and a release date followed soon after. As if Roots + Costello wasn’t enough, the record will also feature a guest appearance from La Marisoul, lead singer of La Santa Cecilla.
Elton John: Diving Board (September 13)In between performing at Caesar’s in Vegas, having kids, and hanging with Lady Gaga, Elton John managed to squeak out new music that will make up his 30th solo album, NBD. The album is John’s second studio album without his band members since 1979’s Victim Of Love and will feature twelve new songs and three piano interludes.
Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (November 5)Eminem’s new album is the definition of “anticipated,” since the first single (the Beastie Boys-inspired “Berserk”) has already been crowned one of the hottest singles of the year and the album is a sequel to 2000’s brilliant Marshall Mathers LP. The album is produced by Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, and is expected to debut sky-high on the charts.
Mariah Carey: The Art Of Letting Go (TBA)Speaking of Eminem, Mariah Carey’s got a new record set to drop sometime this year, as well. The album’s release has had more dates than most people have in a week, but what’s (semi)certain is that Carey’s fourteenth studio album will be released in the next few months. The last release date was July 2013, which Carey pushed back because she didn’t want to “exclude meaningful songs.” All this waiting is making for some serious expectations.
Drake: Nothing Was The Same (September 24)Drake’s third album has everyone holding onto their hats, thanks to the star-studded line-up he’s already confirmed will be making an appearance on his album. The Canadian rapper will be joined by Jay Z, Future, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, TLC, Justin Timberlake, Aiko, Big Sean, and more.
Arctic Monkeys: AM (September 10)British rockers Arctic Monkeys have made a solid career for themselves, going from the English equivalent of a bunch of frat boys to a respectable band made up of 4 talented musicians. Their fifth studio album, AM, finds the band getting some hip hop inspiration and also features an appearance from Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
Kings of Leon: Mechanical Bull (September 24)Mechanical Bull has Kings of Leon taking on a bunch of new directions at once, with lead singer Caleb Followill telling Rolling Stone that the album is influenced by everyone from Queens of the Stone Age to Sly and the Family Stone. It'll definitely be interesting to see how the new tunes from the Nashville rockers turn out.
Arcade Fire: Reflektor (October 29)After their wildly successful 2011 album, The Suburbs, Arcade Fire are finally back with their fourth studio album. The album has been getting hyped since The Suburbs was still going strong, since everyone wanted to see what the band had up their sleeve next. Arcade Fire released some teasers for the record, including a 40-second video montage of the band in the studio that dropped on September 9.
M.I.A.: Matangi (November 5)By now, just about everyone in the world knows not to mess around with M.I.A. The outspoken artist has never been one to shy away controversy, and the situation surrounding the release of her new album has been no different. After a number of delays of release dates courtesy of Interscope Records, M.I.A. threatened to leak the album herself if the label didn’t commit to a date. Interscope finally bowed down and M.I.A.’s fourth studio album will be making its way into headlines everywhere come early November.
Lady Gaga: ARTPOP (November 11)Lady Gaga’s third album is already drumming up a lot of hype, thanks to the early release of the first single of the album, “Applause,” which was mysteriously leaked immediately after Katy Perry’s new single was mysteriously leaked. Gaga’s new album is anticipated strictly for the “What the hell will she do next?” factor, not to mention that it will be interesting to see how she fares against her fellow other pop tarts.
Miley Cyrus: Bangerz (October 4)Oh, Miley. What’s not to anticipate here? From her brand new image as a twerking ambassador to her Miami Vice-inspired album cover, everything about Cyrus’ new album screams “Look at me!”, and, judging by how long it took for her VMAs performance to die down, look at her we shall. Bangerz will make or break Miley’s venture into her new image, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 (September 27)Because 1 record isn’t enough for a grandiose comeback, Justin Timberlake will be releasing the second half of The 20/20 Experience at the end of September. Timberlake is at his best when he’s making music, and The 20/20 Experience provided a bevy of hits - hopefully the sequel will do the same.
Pearl Jam: Lightning Bolt (October 14)After 2009’s Backspacer, Pearl Jam fans are anxious to hear what the legendary band has to offer next. Produced by longtime Pearl Jam ally Brendan O’Brien, Lightning Bolt will be the band’s 10th record and will draw on everything from punk rock to Pink Floyd influences.
Sting: The Last Ship (September 24)Already a singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, Sting is looking to add playwright to his resume, what with his working on a musical set to debut on Broadway sometime in 2014. The Last Ship is Sting’s eleventh studio album and is inspired from his play, which looks at the 1980s decline of the shipbuilding industry in Newcastle, England. His first album since 2003’s Sacred Love, the record will feature appearances from Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Kathryn Tickell, The Unthanks, and more.
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Hip-hop superproducer Timbaland almost missed out on the chance to work with his longtime collaborator Jay-Z on his new album after the old pals fell out. The Way I Are beatmaker features in new TV advertisements for Magna Carta Holy Grail, with the commercials depicting him in the studio with Jay-Z, Rick Rubin, Swizz Beatz and Pharrell Williams as they discuss their ideas and tracks for the project.
However, Timbaland reveals Jay-Z almost didn't invite him to take part in the hitmaking process due to a personal slight following their last collaboration on The Blueprint 3 in 2009.
The producer refuses to go into detail about the issue, but suggests all was resolved between the two friends after he apologised.
During an interview on rap mogul Sean 'Diddy' Combs' new RevoltTV network, he says, "Jay and I fell out; I missed his 40th (birthday)... It was over petty stuff. It was more personal stuff and disagreements. It was not industry-related. It was personal and I was wrong...
"It (the fall-out) was low key, nobody know about this (sic)... But when you're real friends, you will disagree and not speak and come back together and realise that you're better together than apart."
Rap icon Jay-Z has opened up about his fears of failing as a father in an emotional new video. The 99 Problems hitmaker was filmed during studio sessions for his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, and the footage has been released ahead of the record's launch on Thursday (04Jul13).
In the clip, Jay-Z is seen chatting to producer Rick Rubin about a song he wrote for Blue Ivy, his daughter with Beyonce, and admits he is terrified he won't be a good parent because of his issues with his own father.
He says, "(Blue Ivy is) something that we both created, you know, we still marvel at her. It's most obvious on the song Jay Z Blue. And it deals with (parenthood) - you know, my pop (father) left when I was young, so he didn't teach me how to be a man nor how to raise a child or treat a woman. So, of course, my karma, the two things I needed I don't have, right?
"And I have a daughter. It's the paranoia of not being a great dad."
Rap icon Jay-Z stunned fans on Sunday (16Jun13) by announcing plans to release his 12th studio album next month (Jul13). The 99 Problems hitmaker revealed that Magna Carta Holy Grail will be available to buy from 4 July (13) in a video sponsored by Samsung Galaxy which aired during the NBA finals in the U.S.
In the footage, the hip-hop star is filmed in the studio working on his latest material, with contributors Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and Rick Rubin.
Speaking of his new project, he says, "It's this duality of how do you navigate your way through this whole thing... through success, through failures, through all of this, and remain yourself."
The album is his first studio offering since 2009's The Blueprint 3, while he released collaborative record Watch the Throne with Kanye West in 2011.
Sugarland star Jennifer Nettles is branching out and recording a solo album with music mogul Rick Rubin. The new mum is taking a break from the Grammy-winning duo to work with the legendary producer on a new project, which will be released this autumn (13).
Rubin has produced songs for a number of top artists, including Jay-Z, Tom Petty, Neil Diamond and country acts Johnny Cash and The Dixie Chicks, and Nettles insists she's looking forward to heading into the studio with him: "I am absolutely thrilled and wholly proud to be working with Rick. If you ask any musician who is on their producer 'bucket list,' Rick would be on each and every one."
The news comes just two months after Nettles' bandmate Kristian Bush made his solo debut at the C2C: Country to Country Festival in London and released his first song, Love or Money, on iTunes in Europe.