Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading →
On September 6, 1967, a documentary titled Don’t Look Back opened at an old ramshackle theater in San Francisco. It was hard to imagine why this old pornographic movie theater had a line of people extending out the door and around the corner, but once you found out it was about Bob Dylan, it was no surprise at all. The September 6th release was the first large-scale screening of the film that documented Bob Dylan and company’s whirlwind 1965 European tour. Joining him on tour were the likes of artists like Joan Baez, Donovan, and Allen Ginsberg, along with the standard parade of press, crew, police, fans, and everything else that came to epitomize Rock n’ Roll in the 1960s.
Bob Dylan, in particular, was an iconic figure in his own right. He had risen to fame in the early-60’s folk scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village, developing his own songwriting skills and capturing fans around the world with songs like Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and The Times They Are A-Changin,’ his so-called early “protest era” catalogue. Continue reading →
Next week on July 21-24, the 47th Annual Comic Con International will take place at the San Diego Convention Center. This year will play host to an impressive line-up of films, both new and old. The festival features a series of discussions, forums, and film showings. This year’s special guests include Stan Lee, Christopher James Priest, J. Michael Straczynski, G. Willow Wilson, Jason Aaron, Michael Barrier, and Allen Bellman. Some of this year’s movie highlights include Labyrinth (1986), Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), Battlestar Galactica (1978), Highlander (1986), Flash Gordon (1980), Batman the Movie (1966), Top Gun (1986), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Deadpool (2016), and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). Click here to see the full schedule at the Comic Con 2016 website.
Writer/director Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan) has had a pretty solid streak since Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine both won Oscar awards. His latest project is a dramatic comedy following a young Bronx native who moves to 1930s Hollywood to follow his successful uncle, who is a Hollywood agent. Instead, he falls in love with his uncle’s secretary and upon returning to New York, becomes engulfed in the high-society night club scene in Manhattan. The film features an all-star cast, including Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland), Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsman), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher, The Big Short), and Blake Lively (The Town, The Age of Adaline). Continue reading →
Just when we thought we thought it couldn’t get any worse, along comes Walt Disney. The major film studio, which is also now behind the Star Wars franchise and all of the upcoming sequels and “origins” installments, has just announced this week that director Steven Spielberg (Lincoln, Bridge of Spies) and actor Harrison Ford (The Fugitive, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will be reuniting for yet another Indiana Jones adventure. Indiana Jones franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy (Back to the Future, Jurassic Park) and Frank Marshall (The Sixth Sensed, The Bourne Ultimatum) will also return to produce the film, which is scheduled for release on July 19th, 2019. There is no word yet as to whether or not Karen Allen (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc, Animal House) and Shia LaBeouf (Lawless, Fury) will reprise their roles of Mrs. Jones and son, nor as to who will be coming on to pen the script, but we’ll keep you posted on further updates.
With the biggest night in Hollywood quickly approaching, and all the controversy surrounding this year’s nominee selections, we thought it would be appropriate to look at some historical actors that have either boycotted the Oscar ceremonies, or blatantly returned the award to the Academy. The first incident that comes to mind is Marlon Brando‘s famous refusal to accept the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather in 1973. He completely skipped the ceremony and had a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather refuse the award on his behalf in the name of Native American rights. George C. Scott also famously boycotted the Oscars when he won for Patton, even returning the award the next day when it was presented to him after the ceremony. Although it’s never really a surprise, Woody Allen has rarely ever attended an Academy Award ceremony, even though he has won numerous times for films like Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, and Hannah and Her Sisters. Paul Newman also refused to attend the Oscar ceremony when he finally won after six previous nominations and two honorary awards. And finally, John Gieglud was also absent to accept the Supporting Actor award for Arthur in 1982, later writing that, “I really detest all that mutual congratulation baloney and the invidious comparisons which they invoke.” As for this year, director Spike Lee and acting couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith already said they would boycott the ceremony, owing to the lack of ethnic diversity amongst this year’s nominees, but they have since rescinded following the Academy’s pledge to diversify its membership by 2020. Hopefully we’ll see some drastic improvements in the upcoming years, as it’s definitely been long overdue in Hollywood. Stay tuned.
The new comedy from director Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express), Trainwreck, is now playing in theaters. Star Amy Schumer (Mostly Sex Stuff, Inside Amy Schumer) wrote the script about a commitment-scared woman who pours all her time into work until she meets a new guy and must choose between her independent lifestyle or a committed relationship. Actors Bill Hader (SuperBad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, The Gambler), and Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading, The Grand Budapest Hotel) make up the supporting cast, plus a special appearance by NBA star Lebron James. Watch the trailer here on MADE, then see it in theaters this weekend. Other new features opening this week include Mr. Holmes with Ian McKellen and comedy veteran Woody Allen’s Irrational Man. Enjoy!
This weekend, alongside Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck with Bill Hader and Woody Allen’s Irrational Man with Joaquin Phoenix, movie-goers will also be able to see a literary icon return to the big screen in the form of director Bill Condon‘s new drama Mr. Holmes. Condon (Gods and Monsters, The Fifth Estate) directs Oscar-nominee Ian McKellen (X-Men, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) in an adaptation of Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind, that finds a retired Sherlock Holmes toying over an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman and a confrontation with an angry husband. Fellow Oscar-nominee Laura Linney (The Truman Show, Mystic River) and Hiroyuki Sanada (Rush Hour 3, The Wolverine) make up the supporting cast. The trailer is available here on MADE. Enjoy the weekend line-up!
A new comedy from writing/directing duo Andrew Mogel (Yes Man, Allen Gregory) and Jarrad Paul (Liar Liar, 40 Days and 40 Nights) is opening in theaters this May 8th. Starring Jack Black (Shallow Hal, School of Rock) and James Marsden (X-Men, Zoolander), the film follows unpopular Dan Landsman (Black), who embarks on a mission from Pennsylvania to California in order to bring the most popular student from his high school graduating class (Marsden) back with him to their high school reunion in order to finally be popular. Kathryn Hahn (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, We’re The Millers), Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development, The Hangover), and Mike White (The Good Girl, Orange County) also star in the film.
Walt Disney Pictures has officially announced that Toy Story 4 is in the works and has been set for a release in 2017. The film will be directed by John Lasseter (A Bug’s Life, Cars), who also directed the original Toy Story in 1995 and Toy Story 2 in 1999, and is expected to bring back Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potatohead, and the whole gang of animated toys that set the bar for the new genre of feature-length computer-animated films. Lasseter will also produce the project and lend a hand in writing the script with co-writers Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, and Andrew Stanton. The cast has yet to be officially released but I would imagine Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will reprise the roles of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. We’ll keep an ear out for more information.