Van Halen star David Lee Roth is mourning the loss of his uncle, New York nightclub boss Manny Roth, following his death this week (beg28Jul14) Roth owned Greenwich Village club Cafe Wha? which became a haven for 1960s folk stars like Bob Dylan and Mary Travers and comedians Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.
It was also the place where Animals bass player Chas Chandler first saw Jimi Hendrix and persuaded the unknown guitarist to let him manage his career.
Announcing the sad news on his website, Roth writes, "Uncle Manny has passed away. He was 95 years old. He was happy, laughing and smiling right up ’til the end. His presence already missed. His contributions with us forever."
Former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 and Van Halen's David Lee Roth have teamed up to record a new album. The heavy rocker, real name John William Lowery, landed his big break when Lee Roth hired him for his 1998 album DLR Band and now the two old friends have reunited in the studio to work on a new California Sessions project.
John 5 tells Canadian blogger Mitch Lafon, "It's 11 of the greatest songs you'll ever hear, and it's just me and Dave, and we had Gregg Bissonette play drums on it. And it's unbelievable.
"There's a song called Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar & Grill and just great, great songs. And hopefully sometime it'll see the light of day. But he's (Lee Roth) busy with Van Halen, all that stuff. But it's an incredible record.
"I would just go over to his house during the day and write this music and then he would book the studio at night. So we would go into A&M Studios... and we'd record. It sounds like just Dave from that Van Halen I or II or Women And Children First era."
And Lee Roth isn't the only rock god John 5 has been working with - he has collaborated with Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford on the 2WO project. The guitarist is also currently working with Rob Zombie.
Paramount via Everett Collection
Actor Dylan Baker has been tapped to play former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover in the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma.
The Spider-Man 2 star will portray the government official who famously wiretapped the civil rights leader's office in a failed bid to prove he was a part of the Communist party, according to Deadline.com.
Baker will join a cast that includes David Oyelowo as King, Cuba Gooding, Jr. as American civil rights lawyer Fred Gray, British actor Tom Wilkinson as former U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson and Tim Roth, who will portray controversial U.S. governor George Wallace.
Oprah Winfrey, who will play civil rights protester Annie Lee Cooper in the film, and Brad Pitt are among the producers of the project.
TV titan Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of her Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma. Winfrey is producing the film alongside Brad Pitt and now she is set to portray civil rights protester Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was denied by a sheriff.
The movie will reunite the 60 year old with her Lee Daniels' The Butler co-star David Oyelowo, who will play King, while Cuba Gooding, Jr. will star as American civil rights lawyer Fred Gray, British actor Tom Wilkinson has signed on to play former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Tim Roth will portray controversial U.S. governor George Wallace.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Actor Tim Roth has been cast as controversial U.S. governor George Wallace in the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma.
The star will play the Alabama politician who famously favoured segregation and whose policies ultimately prompted King to lead a civil rights march across the state from Selma to capital city Montgomery. Roth is no stranger to portraying historical figures - he tackled the role of Prince Rainer III in the controversial film Grace of Monaco.
He joins a cast including fellow Brits David Oyelowo as Dr. King and Tom Wilkinson, who will portray former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Oprah Winfrey is producing.
Rocker Gene Simmons once talked Eddie Van Halen out of joining Kiss by insisting the guitar great would be miserable as Ace Frehley's replacement. The bass player tells Guitar World magazine that Van Halen came close to leaving his namesake band and joining KISS in the early 1980s following a series of spats with frontman David Lee Roth.
Simmons recalls, "He was so unhappy about how he and Roth were - or weren't - getting along. He couldn't stand him. And drugs were rampant."
The guitarist invited Simmons out for dinner in New York to sound him out about the possibility of him becoming a member of KISS, but the Detroit Rock City hitmaker told Van Halen his band wasn't big enough for the both of them - and singer Paul Stanley.
Simmons says, "I told him, 'Eddie, there's not enough room. You need to be in a band where you can direct the music. You're not going to be happy in Kiss'. I talked him out of it. It didn't fit."
Instead, Vinnie Vincent, who joined the rock icons for their dinner date, signed on as KISS' new guitarist.
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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Beach Boys star Mike Love was honoured with a special prize at the 2014 ELLA Awards in California on Thursday (20Feb14), when he was handed the Ella Award by the Society of Singers. During the show, he also performed with Van Halen singer David Lee Roth. The pair belted out Beach Boys classic California Girls.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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It's a big deal when Jerry Seinfeld comes on Reddit. Apparently, Louis C.K. told him to do an AMA when they met for Seinfeld's new show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Unlike C.K., who is something of a Reddit veteran, Seinfeld did things a little differently. He answered Reddit's question from the Reddit offices, and at one point, he broke all the rules by asking a question himself: "Have you ever seen that grilled cheese truck around here? That food picture is great." Despite this hilarious break with tradition, Seinfeld was an AMA natural. Here are his best answers.
On his typically clean comedy act: "Well when I started out in comedy in the 70s, if you didn't do clean humor you weren't getting on TV, so I started doing that so I could be on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. And then when I saw what other people were doing, I just always wanted to be a little different."
On a Seinfeld episode that almost went too far:"...There was one episode where Jerry bought a handgun. And we started making it and stopped in the middle and said "this doesn't work." We did the read-through and then cancelled it. A lot of other stuff happened, but trying to make that funny ended up being no fun."
On laugh tracks: "This was something we struggled with quite often on Seinfeld. Because we had real laughs on the scenes that were shot in front of an audience, but then we would shoot other scenes that were not in front of the audience (which didn't have any laughs) and then it felt like a bit of a mismatch, so we tried to compromise and put in a subtle laugh track. I think that one of the fun things of a sitcom is feeling like you're in an audience even though you're home, watching it by yourself. I have to say I like some sitcoms with them and some without. Depends on the show."
From user BAXter BEDford: Where did the idea of, in Seinfeld, your character being a comedian for a profession, but be the straight man for your friends, come from? I always thought that juxtapositioning for the show was genius."Very good observation and analysis on your part, Baxter. You are truly exhibiting a good comedic eye. The reason I would play straight was it was funnier for the scene. And very few people have ever remarked on this, because it was a conscious choice of mine, only because I knew it would make the show better, and I didn't care who was funny as long as somebody was funny and that the show was funny. So you have hit upon one of the great secret weapons of the Seinfeld series, was that I had no issue with that."
On the Seinfeld bass line: "The composer was Jonathan Wolff, and we were trying to come up with something that would not interfere with the standup portion in the beginning of the show. We didn't know how iconic it was going to be."
His favorite Seinfeld supporting character: "Newman would be my favorite supporting character. I mean, when I got to have a real evil nemesis like Superman would have, that was a dream come true for me. There's no superhero that doesn't have an evil nemesis, and I got to have one. And I love that nobody ever asks "Why didn't you like Newman?" No one ever asks me that, and no one ever questions it. There was no reason, but it was just fun."
On his white sneaker collection: "It started with wanting to be Joe Namath of the 1969 New York jets, who at that time was one of the only football players to wear white shoes. And I wanted to be like him, so I always wore white sneakers. Also, Bill Cosby on I SPY always wore white sneakers. And they were my fashion icons."
The comedian he'd like to feature on his new show: "Great, great question. Wow. I probably would have to say Charlie Chaplin in a Duesenberg."
The best thing he gets to do on a daily basis: "That I get to do on a daily basis? Probably walk to work. I think that's about the coolest thing that there is. Or take my bike. If you can walk to work or take your bike on a daily basis, I think that's just about the coolest thing that there is. Every morning I listen to the traffic on the radio, and they talk about how they are jammed and I just laugh. I love traffic. I love traffic reports because I'm not in any of them."
The Seinfeld line he quotes most often: "The only line I quote from the show (and I'll be very impressed if anybody out there remembers this line) is "If you're one of us, you'll take a bite." I find myself saying that to my kids a lot. It's a very obscure line, but George was working at some company where they all had lunch together, and he wasn't trying the apple pie, and the boss finally says "If you're one of us, you'll take a bite." A lot of times kids won't want to try certain foods, and so I'll use that line. Sometimes I'll quote Newman in flames screaming "Oh the humanity.""
On writer's block: "Writer's block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work."
On revealing that he meditates: "I don't know if people were surprised, I would have to see all of their eyebrows to see if they go up. But meditation helps because it's the ultimate way to rest when you're working. It's just as simple as that."
What he does on a day off: "It's usually, the kids and I will go get bagels and lox on a weekend. And then we'll come home and eat them."
What he would do if he wasn't in comedy: "Die."
Read the rest of the AMA, including some of Seinfeld's lengthier answers, here.