American rockers Sparks and Scottish band Franz Ferdinand are teaming up for a joint album and follow-up tour. Sibling duo Ron and Russell Mael performed two homecoming gigs in Los Angeles over the weekend (ends15Feb15), and as a special treat for the crowd at the Theater at Ace Hotel, they brought out Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos to join them on stage.
After the trio covered Sparks' When Do I Get to Sing My Way, Kapranos told the Los Angeles Times their collaboration actually started when they were both on the bill at the Coachella Music Festival in 2013.
Kapranos explained, "This all started coming together when both our bands played Coachella two years ago. We were both in San Francisco at the same time, and we started talking, you know, 'We should record a song together sometime.'
"A lot of times people say that, and nothing ever happens, but they followed up, and we started exchanging ideas, and pretty quickly we had six songs worked up and realised, 'This is going to be an album.'"
Kapranos, who added that the supergroup will be touring in Europe this summer (15) with U.S. dates to follow, admitted Sparks had been "a huge influence" in his life, adding that their 1994 album Gratuitous Sax & Violins is "is so important to me. To get to sing it with them is such an honour."
Alejandro Omes, one of the co-founders of Miami's Ultra Music Festival, has died, aged 43. Former bouncer Omes and Russell Faibisch created the now-legendary music festival, which has become one of the biggest events in the electronic dance music world, in 1999.
A statement from festival bosses reads: "The organizers of Ultra Music Festival extend their deepest condolences to the family of Alex Omes and are saddened by the news of his passing. We will continue to remember and celebrate Alex for his love, passion and contributions to the Electronic Dance Music community."
Details of Omes' passing have not been released.
Blur rocker Alex James has joined an online campaign mocking British comedian Russell Brand by using the band's hit track Parklife. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star has been targeted by thousands of social media users this week (beg03Nov14) who have been ridiculing the actor/funnyman over his outlandish revolutionary theories by bombarding him with the word 'Parklife' every time he posts on Twitter.com.
The viral campaign, which has extended across the web to others sites and media, is based on a reference to Blur's 1994 chart hit Parklife stemming from one user's tweet which reads, "Russell Brand's writing feels like someone is about to shout 'PARKLIFE!' at the end of every sentence."
Blur star James was alerted to the drive during an interview with the London Evening Standard newspaper, and he told the publication, "Really? Parklife is trending (on Twitter)? I didn't know that. I'll have to check it out... Definitely (I will jump on board). I am on Twitter so I will take a look."
He later retweeted a video meme featuring Blur's hit spliced with Brand's lengthy, jargon-filled rants.
Brand has yet to comment on the furore.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Chronicle hit unexpectedly at the dawn of 2012 (and the dawn of the superhero "movement"), impressing critics and fans as Josh Trank's feature debut. The found footage picture served both as an impressive science-fiction flick and a dutiful character piece, telling the story of three teenage boys who transform mentally and emotionally after becoming suddenly imbued with superpowers. Chronicle led Trank to land one big name picture, the developing Fantastic Four reboot, and now has earned him another: one of Disney's long list of standalone Star Wars films (Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is also handling one of these features). And if you've seen Chronicle, you know that the 29-year-old Trank is perfectly tailored for the George Lucas universe. In truth, Chronicle is pretty much a Star Wars film already...
[Warning: Major Chronicle spoilers to follow... Star Wars spoilers, too, but I feel less inclined to warn people about that]
Hero Becomes VillainAdmittedly, this is a pretty common trope throughout the vast cosmos of fiction... and human history. But Dane DeHaan's tortured introvert Andrew embarks upon a path markedly similar to that of one Anakin Skywalker. Neither one is able to contain his thirst for power once he discovers new, supernatural abilities.
The ForceAnd those abilities? They are nearly identical. George Lucas' Force and the result of contact with whatever it is the Chronicle boys happened upon in that pit are both defined primarily by large-scale telekinesis and a mastery of aerodynamics.
Flying... Through Storms!Granted, one is a meteor storm and the other is simply lightning. But the danger is the same.
Hero Is Defeated by Beloved RelativeAndrew's cousin Matt (Alex Russell) is called upon to save his town from the former's wrath; it is son Luke who managed, in the end, to defeat Darth Vader, although Emperor Palpatine's d-bag electroshock powers sure didn't help matters. Neither Matt nor Luke was particularly overjoyed at having to kill someone he once loved, but c'est la vie.
Daddy IssuesAnd how. Luke is overcome by his angst in finding out that he's got the mother of all bad fathers, and Andrew deals with an abusive dad as one of his many grievances throughout the film.
Yub NubA course-changing scene in Chronicle sees Andrew and Matt having too much fun at a high school party, one not unlike the traditional Ewok celebration at the end of Return of the Jedi.
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Much to the dismay of Trekkers everywhere, Roberto Orci will be making his directorial debut with Star Trek 3. According to Variety, Orci, who wrote and produced the first two installments of the franchise with his business partner Alex Kurtzman, has been the frontrunner for some time now, although the names of the other directors being considered haven't been revealed. Orci's name has been in contention for the job since he and Kurtzman announced their split, so the news doesn't come as too much of a surprise. He's also been working on the script with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, while J.J. Abrams will serve as producer.
Star Trek is just the latest franchise to take a chance on a new director, as studios have recently made it a habit of picking independent or first-timer directors to helm blockbusters like The Amazing Spider Man 2 or Godzilla. In fact, many of the most expensive films ever made were headed by directors making their feature film debut. Considering Star Trek Into Darkness had a budget of $185 million, it seems as if Orci will soon join the ranks of first-time directors taking on a big-budget franchise. In honor of the major challenge that Orci has ahead of him, we've rounded up the six most expensive directorial debuts and how those directors handled them. That way, Trekkies can try and manage their expectations.
Robert Stromberg, Maleficent - $180 millionWalt Disney Studios
Though fantasy fixtures like David Yates and Tim Burton were rumored to helm the Disney prequel, the studio instead handed the reins to Stromberg, an Oscar-winning production designer. We'll have to wait until the film's May 30 release in order to see how well he handled the material, but from the trailers it's clear that the director's previous experience has resulted in visually stunning movie.
Bob Peterson, Up - $175 millionWalt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
Before he took the helm for Up, Peterson was best known for providing voices for some of Pixar's most icoinc characters. However, his directorial debut blew his other projects away, earning five Academy Award nominations — including Best Picture, making it only the second animated film to be nominated in that category — a win for Best Animated Feature, and opening the Cannes Film Festival. Oh, and it grossed over $700 million at the box office.
Carl Erik Rinsch, 47 Ronin - $175 millionUniversal Pictures via Everett Collection
Loosely based on the fictional account of 47 samurai who avenged their master's death, the big budget film was entrusted to Rinsch by Universal, despite his lack of feature film experience. Unfortunately for the studio, it wasn't a gamble that paid off, as the film's release date was pushed back several times, it received largely negative reviews and it failed to break even at the box office. Hopefully Paramount won't find themselves in the same situation with Star Trek.
Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman - $170 millionUniversal Pictures via Everett Collection
Prior to Snow White and the Hunstman, Sanders had primarily directed commercials, although that didn't stop Universal from trusting him with this fantasy epic. The resulting film did well at the box office even though it received mostly mixed reviews, and was rumored to be getting a sequel, with Sanders taking the helm once again. However, both films were overshadowed by the tabloid frenzy that resulted from Sanders' affair with his leading lady, Kristen Stewart, so it doesn't look like that will be happening any time soon.
Joseph Kosinski, Tron: Legacy - $170 million Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
When Disney decided to make a sequel to Tron almost thirty years after the first film was released, they turned to Kosinski, who had become known for his work with computer generated effects in the commercials he directed. Though Tron: Legacy received mixed reviews, choosing Kosinski turned out to be a smart choice in the long run, as the film grossed over $400 million during its run in theaters.
Rich Moore, Wreck-It Ralph - $165 million Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
Before taking on Wreck-It Ralph, Moore made his name directing episodes of The Simpsons and Futurama, which made him a perfect fit for the goofy, self-referential film. It was a major hit for Disney, grossing over $400 million at the box office, winning the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Picture. Unfortunately, it lost the award to Brave, because nobody loves a Pixar movie more than the Academy.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
Few would argue that Michael B. Jordan isn't one of our most promising young actors today. At only 27, he has a filmography that any drama student would happily triple his tuition for, including career-making roles in not one but two dramas found on any recent best-of roundup worth its salt. As Vince Howard on Friday Night Lights, Jordan played a pivotal part in making the East/West Dillon switch-up work. And to gauge his impact on the other series, just say the name "Wallace" to any fans of The Wire and watch how they react.
Other career highlights so far include the innovative sci-fi flick Chronicle, a recurring role on Parenthood, the bro comedy That Awkward Moment, and a starring turn in the crushing Fruitvale Station, which had Jordan on several Oscar longshot lists last year. The powers that be are paying attention. In February, it was announced that Jordan would be playing The Human Torch in the upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four. He's also been tapped by 20th Century Fox to lead its CIA thriller Men Who Kill.
With these big budget, explosion-heavy projects in the works, we can't help but hope that Jordan's talent muscles still get their regular workout. We don't begrudge a rising star like this one his right to have some fun with green screens and stunt men and bring home those big paychecks. But ideally, the success of these studio behemoths will free Jordan up to throw in some prestige films here and there, and not adhere him to a path paved solely with action. Anyway, comic book adaptations are no place for hack actors these days — just ask the weighty cast of Avengers. And the unfortunate racially-charged reaction to his Fantastic Four casting from some corners of the Internet shows how much the world needs to see someone like Jordan in a role like this.
If he gets the blockbuster to awards caliber material balance right, Michael B. Jordan has a shot at becoming the kind of versatile movie star we rarely see these days: one we can both enjoy and admire.
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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Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand have teamed up with oddball electro-pop pioneers Sparks for a new album project. The Take Me Out hitmakers have been working with Ron and Russell Mael since meeting up in California last year (13).
Sparks keyboard player Ron Mael tells NME.com that the collaboration isn't as odd as it may seem, explaining, "You can really hear a mashing together of both bands. If there was a train crash between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, this is what the wreckage would sound like.
"Alex (Kapranos) and Russell's voices are very distinctive, so you notice the trade-off between them straight away. Both bands' styles are coming together pretty seamlessly."
Mael admits the get together has been in the planning stages for years after Kapranos expressed an interest in working with the brothers in a 2007 radio interview about Sparks.
He says, "We liked what each other does, and it became the usual thing bands say to each other of, 'We should do something together'. We kept in touch over the years, and last April we both happened to be playing in San Francisco. We struck up the same conversation, but this time we actually started working on it. It seems to be turning into something strong."
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.
American Hustle was a triple winner at the 71st Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood on Sunday night (12Jan14), picking up the Best Motion Picture trophy for Comedy or Drama among its haul. Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were also honoured for their roles in the acclaimed David O. Russell film.
The only other multiple film awards winner was Dallas Buyers Club, which brought Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto acting acclaim, but 12 Years a Slave was named Best Motion Picture (Drama).
Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor - Comedy or Musical), Michael Douglas (Best Actor - Mini-series or TV Movie), Bryan Cranston (Best Actor in a TV Series - Drama), and Cate Blanchett (Best Actress - Drama) were also among the night's big winners.
Meanwhile, Breaking Bad, Behind the Candelabra and comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine were double winners in the night's TV categories, claiming the Best TV Series (Drama), Best Mini-series or TV Movie and Best TV Series (Comedy), respectively.
The full list of winners is:
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini-series or TV Movie – Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge)
Best Mini-series or TV Movie – Behind the Candelabra
Best Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie – Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake)
Best Actor in a TV Series (Drama) – Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Best TV Series (Drama) – Breaking Bad
Best Original Score in a Motion Picture – Alex Ebert (All is Lost)
Best Song in a Motion Picture – Ordinary Love by U2 & Brian Burton (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Mini-series or TV Movie – Jon Voight (Ray Donovan)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) – Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama) – Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Screenplay – Spike Jonze (Her)
Best Actor in a TV Series (Comedy or Musical) – Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Best Foreign Language Film – The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Actor in a Mini-series or TV Movie – Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra)
Best Animated Film – Frozen
Best Actress in a TV Series (Comedy) – Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation)
Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Best TV Series (Comedy) – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) – Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) – American Hustle
Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) - Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) - Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Motion Picture (Drama) - 12 Years a Slave
Cecil B. DeMille Award – Woody Allen