For some time now, there has been talk of an upcoming biographical drama surrounding the legendary rock band Queen, though no such film has shown up anywhere on the Hollywood film circuit. Now, however, it looks like fans will finally be able to enjoy a new biopic surrounding the events leading up to and including the band’s legendary rebirth at the Live Aid Festival in 1985. The performance was not expected to be anything special: Queen had lost a good deal of momentum by the early 1980s, and the band was just another group of performers scheduled alongside acts like Elton John, The Who, Dire Straights, Phil Collins, and Paul McCartney. But when Queen finally took the stage in-between U2 and David Bowie, the crowd had no idea they were about to witness rock-history in the making.
Lead singer Freddie Mercury, who later died of complications with AIDS, took command of the stage and delivered an awe-inspiring set that even his band mates had never imagined. Through 25 minutes, Mercury jumped from the piano, to the guitar, to front stage with his sawed-off mic-stand, leading the band through a suite of their musical catalogue that included older classics like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” to recent singles like “Hammer to Fall”. It was all backing members Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor could do to try and keep up with Mercury, whose passionate and energetic performance ignited the crowd and which is remembered as the definitive highlight of the Live Aid festival. Continue reading →
A new music documentary titled All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records is opening in theaters across the country tomorrow. The project was written by documentarian writer/producer Steven Leckart (In Deep Water, The Anti-Mascot), and was directed by Colin Hanks (Orange County, King Kong) in his first full-length feature directorial feature. Featuring interviews from music and film industry stars like Chris Cornell (Man of Steel, The Avengers), Chuck D. (American Gangster, Pineapple Express), David Geffen (Little Shop of Horrors, Beetlejuice), Dave Grohl (21 Jump Street, The Wolf of Wall Street), Elton John (The Lion King, American Hustle), Bruce Springsteen (Jerry Maguire, The Wrestler), and many more, the film chronicles the rise and fall of Tower Records. Tower Records was a worldwide record store chain founded in the early 1960s by Russ Solomon, which rose to success as one of the iconic record sales companies in the music industry, only to file for bankruptcy in 2006 with the birth of the internet, or so many have claimed. The film analyzes the true nature of the conglomerate’s downfall, and highlights its importance on the music scene during the 1960s and 70s, and even into the 80s and 90s. Several documentaries have been released in recent years regarding the steady decline of the recording industry and production of vinyl records. Most notably has, perhaps, been Dave Grohl’s directorial project called Sound City (2013), chronicling the story of the tape-based recording studio in Van Nuys, California that was finally forced to shut down with dawn of the digital age. I’m guessing All Things Must Pass will be equally matched in demonstrating the struggles of the music industry in the digital age, and should be well worth your time if you’re a fan of documentaries or late twentieth century music, so be sure to check it out!
It seems Hollywood is turning to real-life influence for a lot of movies that don’t involve comic book superheros or pot-smoking comedians. Several upcoming films based on biographical accounts have caught my eye recently, including Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, Elton John, and John Belushi! While there is only a script ready for the Mercury flick, and a pretty blatant hint from Queen that they’d like Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) to play the part, a Janis Joplin film is also in the works, and Amy Adams’ (Man of Steel) name is being tossed around to head that picture. Elton John, another big name in music, is also on the list of musicians to get a big-screen adaptation, with Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) taking on the biographical lead role. This film is supposedly going to be a musical based on John’s life but set to a fantasy backdrop, but we’ll see how that pans out.
Last on the list of biopics is the late comedian John Belushi (The Blues Brothers, Animal House). Several names have been tossed around for the lead role, including Adam Levine (Workaholics), Emile Hirsh (Into The Wild), and Joaquin Phoenix, but I honestly can’t imagine Phoenix (who did make a decent Johnny Cash) playing a character like Belushi. There is also a need to cast the real life characters of Belushi’s co-stars in both his films and the Saturday Night Live series, so the filmmakers have a big opportunity to get a really good cast together if they play their cards right, and provided they have a good script to work with. All of these movies are still in the production phases, so I have no idea when they might be coming out, but I can’t imagine them being released in too tight a sequence, so we’ll just keep our eyes open for now.
I know it sounds like this title belongs on the track listing of an Elton John or Billy Joel album, but a full length feature film focused on the life of the late Columbian drug kingpin is really in the works, and John Leguizamo is currently in the running to play the lead role. Director Brad Furman, who worked with Leguizamo in The Lincoln Lawyer, is hoping to get shooting underway for the long anticipated crimography this September, but as of now the casting is yet to be finalized. Screenwriter Matt Aldrich has a finished script (or at least a finished draft) that has been ready since 2011, but because no one had yet taken up the project the script was blacklisted in 2012. Personally I would really like to see Leguizamo take on a challenging lead role; the actor has shone through as a backbone in the movie industry for years, and has received nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild, as well as winning an Emmy very early in his career. Brad Furman’s next film, entitled Runner Runner, is set to hit theaters this Fall. If all goes well Furman could potentially be well into the production process for Pablo by the time of Runner‘s October 4th release.