Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
A James Brown biography would have no business playing docile. Still, when we hear the word “biopic,” we think today of the Rays and Walk the Lines that earned the attention of the Academy and public alike. We expect any musician’s story to hold the low notes, no matter how wild and kooky said musician might be — and as such might entail, in the illustration of his life, a connection that Get on Up makes quite effectively.
From the get-go, we’re enveloped in the mania that is James Brown. We’re invited into an old Mr. Brown’s fragmented brain via a particularly chaotic scene involving a shotgun and a penchant for lavatorial exclusivity. Before we can even latch onto the adult Brown in question, we’re thrust back a ways into his young adulthood, then his childhood, back again to the dawn of his career, then the peak, revisiting eras and introducing new ones with an unpredictable and consistently engaging rhythm. Not unlike his music, James Brown’s story is both irreverent and industrious, barely tiring as it carries past its second hour.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
On the contrary: the film is so adherent to its vigor that it can actually be exhausting to watch after a while. We’re asked to expend as much energy as Chadwick Boseman pumps into his evolution from a scrappy entertainer to the hardest working man in America, needing a breather around his fourth or fifth stage performance. But if you can make it through the show, you’ll be mighty impressed at Boseman’s turn as Brown.
In his embodiment of the character — of the flash, of the style, of the grit — Boseman is stellar, though beneath the elaborate linens we see find a great deal for the talented young actor to play with. Beside him is the film’s arguable standout: Nelsan Ellis, playing James Brown’s best friend, sidekick, and punching bag Bobby Byrd. More a story about the duo’s relationship than one about Brown as a star in his own right, Get on Up makes determined magic when we watch the fellas trade compassion, camaraderie, and egos.
Dressed up with visual flares, narrative transgressions, fourth wall demolition, and even a few bits of absurdist humor, Get on Up aims for the lively character that James Brown was known to offer. Even if it might pack too much to hold our attention for such a lengthy runtime — especially with most of its material wading at surface level — just about everything it has to offer is exciting, vivid, and distinctly musical.
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Pharrell Williams has pulled out of plans to join Bruno Mars on tour in Canada next week (begs21Jul14) due to scheduling issues. The Happy hitmaker has been opening for Mars on his Moonshine Jungle World Tour in recent weeks, and the pair was due to take the show to Montreal on Wednesday (23Jul14).
However, Williams has since had to cancel his appearance on the latest leg of the tour due to a "personal conflict".
Instead, Mars has recruited R&B singer Aloe Blacc, pop duo Nico & Vinz and Black Cards singer Bebe Rexha to fill in for the Canadian concerts, which will wrap up in Squamish, British Columbia on 8 August (14).
Broadway star Idina Menzel is set to perform the National Anthem at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minneapolis, Minnesota next week (begs14Jul14). Singer Aloe Blacc, Panic! At the Disco, O.A.R. and Imagine Dragons are also slated to perform sets during the All-Star Week. The big game airs in the U.S. on Tuesday (15Jul14).
American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. performed together for the first time during the U.S. talent show's star-studded season finale. The 13th season of the singing competition came to an end on Wednesday night (21May14) and to celebrate the crowning of a new winner, the trio, alongside former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson, joined forces to sing a medley, marking the first time in the show's history that all the judges took the stage to perform together.
With Connick Jr. on the piano, Urban on guitar, Jackson on bass, and Lopez providing vocals, the supergroup sang a mash-up of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors and Fleetwood Mac's Go Your Own Way. Earlier in the show, Lopez took the stage solo to perform her latest single, First Love.
The night was filled with other superstar performances, including sets from KISS, Demi Lovato, Paramore, John Legend, Jason Mraz, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, Darius Rucker, Aloe Blacc, and season 11 winner Phillip Phillips, who all shared the stage with this season's finalists.
In another Idol first, host Ryan Seacrest showed off his vocal skills by belting out Richard Marx's hit Right Here Waiting, and was joined by Marx himself for a memorable duet.
Caleb Johnson, 23, who had previously auditioned for the programme twice before, was named this year's (14) American Idol, beating 17-year-old Jena Irene to the title.
Superstar couple Beyonce and Jay Z are set for a big night at the 2014 BET Awards with four nominations apiece. The Crazy in Love hitmakers will compete against each other in the Best Collaboration category, in which Beyonce's song Drunk in Love, which features her husband, will battle Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's Holy Grail. Drake and Majid Jordan's Hold On (We're Going Home), Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams' Blurred Lines, YG's My Hitta collaboration with Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan and I Luv This by August Alsina and Trinidad Jame$ are also up for the prize.
Meanwhile, rivals Jay Z and Drake will go toe to toe in the Best Male Hip Hop Artist category, alongside Future, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, while Beyonce will battle Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna and Tamar Braxton for the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist title. Jay Z and Beyonce will also vie for the coveted Video of the Year award with the videos for Drunk in Love and Partition, respectively. Pharrell Williams' Happy, Chris Brown's Fine China and Drake's Worst Behavior are also nominated.
In the movie categories, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah Winfrey will fight for the Best Actress prize, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan are up for the Best Actor trophy. The Best Movie nominees are: 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday, Fruitvale Station, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The 2014 BET Awards will be handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on 29 June (14).
The full list of nominees are:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna, Tamar Braxton
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: August Alsina, Chris Brown, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams
Best Group A$AP Mob Daft Punk Macklemore & Ryan Lewis TGT Young Money
Best Collaboration August Alsina featuring Trinidad Jame$ - I Luv This Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Drake featuring Majid Jordan - Hold On (We're Going Home) Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharell Williams - Blurred Lines YG featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan - My Hitta
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Drake Future J. Cole Jay Z Kendrick Lamar
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Angel Haze Charli Baltimore Eve Iggy Azalea Nicki Minaj Video of the Year Beyonce - Partition Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Chris Brown - Fine China Drake - Worst Behavior Pharrell Williams - Happy
Video Director of the Year Benny Boom Chris Brown Colin Tiley Director X Hype Williams
Best New Artist Ariana Grande August Alsina Mack Wilds Rich Homie Quan ScHoolboy Q
Best Gospel Artist Donnie McClurkin Erica Campbell Hezekiah Walker Tamela Mann Tye Tribbett
Best Actress Angela Bassett Gabrielle Union Kerry Washington Lupita Nyong'o Oprah Winfrey
Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Forest Whitaker Idris Elba Kevin Hart Michael B. Jordan
YoungStars Award Gabrielle Douglas Jacob Latimore Jaden Smith KeKe Palmer Zendaya
Best Movie 12 Years a Slave The Best Man Holiday Fruitvale Station Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Lee Daniels' The Butler
Subway Sportswoman of the Year Brittney Griner Lolo Jones Serena Williams Skylar Diggins Venus Williams
Subway Sportsman of the Year Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Floyd Mayweather Jr. Kevin Durant LeBron James
Centric Award Aloe Blacc - The Man Jennifer Hudson featuring T.I. - I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" Jhene Aiko - The Worst LiV Warfield - Why Do You Lie? Wale featuring Sam Dew - LoveHate Thing
Best International Act: Africa Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Mafikizolo (South Africa) Sarkodie (Ghana) Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) Toofan (Togo)
Best International Act: UK Dizzee Rascal Ghetts Krept & Konan Laura Mvula Rita Ora Tinie Tempah
Rihanna was the toast of the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday (01May14), despite arriving late and missing out on accepting the new prizegiving's first ever trophy.
The Umbrella singer found herself stuck in rush-hour traffic and wasn't even at the Shrine Auditorium when she won the night's Hip Hop/R&B Song of the Year for Pour it Up. She arrived shortly afterwards and was present to pick up her awards for Best Fan Army, Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (Stay). Sporting a gothic look with blue lipstick, a black lace dress, jewelled crucifixes and a new Tank Girl-style hairdo, Rihanna accepted the latter trophy by thanking radio producers for playing the ballad, stating, "This record would never have been this big if it wasn't for you." And accepting her Artist of the Year honour at the end of the night, she added, "Shout out to everybody who has ever worked on my project. I know I'm a pain in the a** - but it's worth it!"
It was also a huge night for Pharrell Williams, who picked up the first-ever iHeartRadio Innovator Award. Presenter Gwen Stefani called her pal "the coolest guy ever", before a series of tributes from stars like Lady Gaga, Usher, Beyonce, Shakira, Oprah Winfrey, and Rita Ora flashed up on video screens. The man of the hour then performed a hits medley, including Blurred Lines, Get Lucky and Happy. Accepting his Innovator Award, the singer/songwriter/producer thanked his wife Helen Lasichanh and son Rocket and added, "I never dreamt in a million years that I'd be standing here as an artist... All I did was write the songs and you guys (fans) did all the heavy lifting, all the hard work, all those millions of views on YouTube... Thank you guys so much for lifting me so high."
Pitbull opened the show by performing Wild Wild Love and Timber without his duet partner Kesha, who has yet to perform for the first time following a stint in rehab earlier this year (14). The track won the couple the Best Collaboration trophy.
Performance highlights also included sets from Bastille, Ariana Grande, Shakira, Kendrick Lamar and 30 Seconds to Mars, who played City of Angels as frontman Jared Leto's accompanying short film featuring stars like Kanye West, Selena Gomez and Lindsay Lohan talking about their love of Los Angeles flashed up on video screens on either side of the stage.
But the night's talking point came when Usher showed off his Michael Jackson moves as he danced along to the King of Pop's new single Love Never Felt So Good, which debuted during the ceremony. As images of the late Thriller star appeared on video screens on the stage and throughout the audience, Usher and a gang of dancers performed the pop superstar's moon walk and other signature moves.
The iHeartRadio Music Awards telecast also featured a series of pre-taped anecdotes about L.A. from the likes of Chris Martin, John Legend, Steven Tyler, Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, Rita Ora, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Iggy Azalea. More than 60 million U.S. radio listeners voted for the awards.
The full list of prizewinners is: Hip Hop/R&B Song of the Year - Pour it Up by Rihanna Best Collaboration - Timber by Pitbull & Kesha Best Lyrics - Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus Best New Artist - Lorde Best Fan Army - Rihanna's Navy Song of the Year - Stay by Rihanna Alternative Rock Song of the Year - Demons by Imagine Dragons Young Influencer Award - Ariana Grande Instagram Award - Austin Mahone EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Song of the Year - Wake Me Up by Avicii & Aloe Blacc Country Song of the Year - Boys 'Round Here by Blake Shelton Artist of the Year - Rihanna
Reunited rap stars Outkast sealed their comeback by kicking off the 2014 Coachella music festival in California on Friday (11Apr14), but the show ended on a sour note as the set was cut short. The hip-hop stars, who have reformed after nearly a decade on hiatus, headlined the first night of the annual event and they thrilled the crowd with a hit-packed set that also included appearances from rapper Future and singer Janelle Monae.
However, the band's show was plagued with numerous technical problems, and it ended badly when the set over-ran and organisers cut the sound just as they were launching into their finale with hip-hop star Killer Mike.
The crowd began booing as Andre 3000 attempted to apologise.
The Roots star Questlove was in the crowd to watch the show and he debated the debacle in a series of posts on Twitter.com, writing, "Lessons to be learned tonight (all said in love/constructive advice) 1. Give each song a 5 min slot, i.e. if 90 mins? Plan 18 songs... More lessons 2. plan show backwards - to avoid cut-off debacles plan what absolute last song must be, work way to the top... Keep in mind its been 10 yrs (years) for Kast (Outkast) and this is show 1... Lot of mixed feelings about the show. It's gonna take time for chemistry and rhythm and tech issues to gel."
The first day of the festival also featured sets from British singer Ellie Goulding, girl group Haim, U.K. rockers Bastille, soul star Aloe Blacc and singer/songwriter Tom Odell.
Other acts due to perform across the first weekend include Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Motorhead and Arcade Fire.
U.S. singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc has scored his first solo number one in the U.K. after topping the British singles chart with The Man on Sunday (06Apr14). The hitmaker, real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, hit the top of the countdown last year (13) with his Avicii collaboration Wake Me Up, and now he has his first solo number one thanks to his homage to Elton John's first U.K. top 10 single, Your Song.
Meanwhile, John Legend finds himself a runner-up on both sides of the Atlantic - his All Of Me climbs up the chart to two as the same track stays put in second place behind Pharrell Williams' Happy in America.
Duke Dumont's I Got U rounds out the new top three.
On the U.K album chart, the Kaiser Chiefs debut at one with their fifth album Education, Education, Education & War, while last week's chart-topper, Sam Bailey's The Power Of Love falls to two and George Michael's Symphonica rounds out the top three.
"Sometimes a song just keeps having a life. There's this track now by Aloe Blacc, which is top 10 now, called The Man, that samples Your Song. I love that, for me it's such a flattering thing for an artist to do, to sample your music." Sir Elton John is overjoyed to have younger musicians cover his tracks.
Reclusive soul man D'angelo will join Aloe Blacc and Angelique Kidjo, among others, for an upcoming all-star tribute to James Brown at the Hollywood Bowl. The Brown Sugar singer has been added to the Get On Up: A James Brown Celebration in Los Angeles on 13 August (14).
The show will also feature Bettye LaVette and members of Brown's band, including Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Clyde Stubblefield and Danny Ray.
The concert will coincide with the release of Sir Mick Jagger's new James Brown biopic Get On Up, which features 42 star Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul.
Brown passed away in 2006, aged 73.