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 →
For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!
*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!
The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival is once again underway in New York City. Entries in this year’s festival include films from 28 countries, which are being shown from April 19th to April 30th. The festival has already seen a fair share of controversy this year. Photographers and reporters were incensed to find some lesser known actors walking on the red carpet wearing masks of James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, and Greta Gerwig instead of the actors themselves for the premiere of the film Flames. In addition, a commercial for United Airlines, which was originally scheduled to appear at the festival, was pulled from the line up after the controversy surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off one of their flights. Despite a fair share of controversy, which has always been typical of the Hollywood scene, there have been some impressive displays at this year’s festivities. Continue reading →
There were a lot of raise-your-eyebrow commercials at this year’s Super Bowl, and sadly they were much more memorable than any of the traditional, so-called “hilarious” Super Bowl entries. The most controversial entries was the lengthy 84 Lumber commercial where mother and daughter encounter a giant concrete wall on the US border, and the American Petroleum Institutes praise-spot for Big Oil. In addition to the barrage of propagandized TV spots and beer commercials were a number of upcoming blockbuster movie trailers. Among them were those for The Fate of the Furious, Baywatch, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Transformers: The Last Knight. The most impressive movie trailer, however, came from up-and-coming director Daniel Espinosa‘s Life with Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners, Nightcrawler), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Girl on the Train), and Ryan Reynolds (Waiting, Safe House). Continue reading →
You can go anywhere in the world and still recognize those two golden arches silhouetted against a solid red background. McDonald‘s is not only a name, it’s a brand. It’s one of the most renowned brands in the history of America, and by extension, the world. Despite the fact that we live in a post-Supersize Me society, McDonald’s is still one of the most daily-visited restaurants globally. In fact, McDonald’s has been around for so long that its name and label are now simply embedded in the American conscious. This weekend, however, fans of the fast-food-fav can see how it all began. Director John Lee Hancock’s The Founder is now playing in theaters nationwide. Starring Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice, Birdman), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, 22 Jump Street), John Carroll Lynch (Gran Torino, Crazy Stupid Love), Linda Cardellini (Grandma’s Boy, Avengers: Age of Ultron), BJ Novak (The Office, Inglorious Basterds), and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, The Master), The Founder tells the tale of Ray Kroc, the passionate salesman who took the McDonald brothers’ small burger shack and turned it into the internationally known conglomerate we know today. Continue reading →
Martin Scorsese agreed to serve as producer for an official Grateful Dead documentary back in October 2014. The Dead’s 50th anniversary was coming up the following year, and filmmakers wanted to have the project ready for the celebration. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and the landmark event was ultimately celebrated with a massive 3-day concert over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago’s Soldier Field. Original members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh reunited on-stage for the event, which proved a huge success, despite the absence of Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995. Now, however, the 6-part documentary, appropriately titled Long Strange Trip from director Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, Happy Valley), is set to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before being released on Amazon Prime this May. Continue reading →
On December 1, 1983, director Brian de Palma (The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way) released his modernized version of Ben Hecht and Howard Hawks’ 1930s gangster drama, Scarface. While the original followed a charismatic Chicago mobster in the Prohibition era, de Palma’s version took the character to violent world of the 1980s drug trade in Miami, Florida. Fueled by Al Pacino‘s riveting performance and backed by an outstanding supporting cast that included Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath, Batman Returns), Steven Bauer (Raising Cain, Primal Fear), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss, The Perfect Storm) and Robert Loggia (Big, Independence Day), Scarface ushered in a new era of gangster movies far darker than Francis Coppola’s The Godfather series just a decade before. One of the primary reasons is because of de Palma’s direction. Continue reading →
The Lord of the Rings has already spawned two epic film trilogies, the first in the form of Tolkien’s classic novels, and the second an extended adaptation of his first journey in Middle Earth, The Hobbit. That’s without mentioning all of the affiliated material that takes place within his mystical world, from the original novels to the chronology of The Silmarillion, to Tolkien’s own languages that he created for the many inhabitants of Middle Earth. As well known as The Lord of the Rings is to pretty much everyone these days, very few people can tell you anything about its author, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien). That story, however, will soon come to light in the form of a new biopic surrounding Tolkien’s life, appropriately titled Middle Earth. Continue reading →
Happy Halloween! October is traditionally known for the fall season and for hosting Halloween on the last day of the month. Likewise film distributors tend to look at October as a good time to release horror and slasher films for Halloween on fight-seeking audiences across the country, and around the world. October, however, has a long history of major motion picture releases that is not strictly limited to the horror genre. Read on to see our list of impressive October releases, and enjoy your Halloween Weekend! Continue reading →
This holiday season will see another Star Wars film dominating the release schedule. Unlike last year’s Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens, whose fan anticipation was the highest since Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace in 1999, Rogue One has already been plagued by script rewrites and unscheduled reshoots. This was in part owing to the lack of direct relevance to any of the original series characters, but also to fan polls that suggested disappointment with earlier plot lines. Nevertheless, production has pushed on and the second trailer for the new film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just released this week. Rogue One is based on a story by John Knoll (Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi, Avatar) and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), which was adapted to a script by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Ultimatum, House of Cards) about the Rebel Alliance’s plan to steal the plans to the Death Star, laying the grounds for the epic trilogy that follows with Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope (1977). Director Gareth Edwards (In the Shadow of the Moon, Godzilla) helmed the project with actors Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, Casino Royale), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Jason Bourne), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines), Alan Tudyk (I Robot, Dodgeball), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniel’s The Butler). Oscar nominee James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams, The Lion King) is also returning to provide the voice of Darth Vader, whose presence in the film will likely hold the biggest intrigue for fans of the series. Check out the new trailer right here on MADE, and enjoy the weekend!