Kamis, 07 Mei 2009

Wolverine never gets off the ground

At one point during the nearly operatic X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the title character’s nemesis Sabretooth purrs to a soon-to-be-victim, “To tell you the truth, I’m a bit disappointed.” I couldn’t have said it better in regards to my own feelings about the film. After months of hype, heightened buzz due to a security breach in which the movie was leaked online, and the omnipresence of the film’s star Hugh Jackman, Origins lands with a thud rather than a splash.

Burdened by a simplistic storyline, leaden dialogue, “pithy” quips that fall flat and heavy-handed direction, the film never gains its footing nor generates an urgency that projects of this nature require.

Beginning in mid-19th century Canada, we witness the start of the sibling rivalry between James and Victor Creed, mutants who eventually become Wolverine (Jackman) and Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). Powerful beings with the ability to heal rapidly, they age slowly, allowing them to participate in every great war, until they catch the eye of Major William Stryker (Danny Huston), who recruits them for a special-ops unit consisting of other mutants. While Sabretooth thrives, sating his bloodlust on the group’s missions, Wolverine becomes disillusioned and opts out, taking up the quiet life in the wilderness of Canada.

Of course it’s never that simple. When former members of the team are found murdered and Wolverine’s wife is brutally slain, we know that he has to go on the vengeance trail to set things right. Along the way, we see why he agrees to be injected with an indestructible metal and are introduced to other mutants who will go on to have major roles in the X-Men universe.

The film’s actions sequences — especially a duel between a motorcycle-riding Wolverine and a helicopter — are well done, as are the opening credits that see him and his brother participate in a series of wars. However, there are far too many leaden scenes and the film never builds a sense of momentum. There should be more regarding the character’s motivations as well as the film’s subtext. There’s little depth to this affair and, while fans of the character’s comic book exploits will no doubt be pleased with Origins, those requiring more than just repeated scenes of slicing and dicing will be left wanting more.

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Iron Maiden: Truth or Dare with bigger hair

When Iron Maiden's tour manager asked filmmaker Scot McFayden for his influences during an informal interview to see if he could film the band's reunion tour, McFayden gave the snarling Brit a surprising answer: Truth or Dare.

"After assuring him I didn't want either Warren Beatty or nudity, he began to understand I wanted the viewer to go on a journey," says McFayden, 40, in his two-storey Toronto office, which looks more like a design firm than Canada's headquarters of heavy-metal lore. "We wanted a film that didn't only show the band live, which is awesome, but let you know who they are. That's why Madonna's film works. It shows the circus of life on tour."

Iron Maiden: Flight 666 showcases a band in their late fifties as they tour 13 countries in 45 days in a plane piloted by the group's singer. Less Anvil! The Story of Anvil and more Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, the film portrays the seasoned group - with albums such as Number of the Beast and Dance of Death to their credit - as grounded, likable schlubs.

"There's no chicks in hotel rooms, no binges, no trouble," says Sam Dunn, 35, McFayden's long-haired co-writer and director, familiar to anyone who caught Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005) or Global Metal (2008), which Dunn narrates as a wide-eyed fan. "This wasn't Some Kind of Monster [the 2004 Metallica film that prominently employed a ‘performance-enhancing coach']. Iron Maiden doesn't need therapy."

In their new picture, the filmmakers wanted to get away from Dunn's narration and let the visuals speak for themselves. With a crew of seven, the filmmakers recorded the band on- and offstage (where they could often be found playing golf), as well as the group's rabid audience. In places such as Costa Rica and India, the band ran the risk of being overshadowed by the colourful people who bring a near religious fervour to the show.

"We didn't want to do Behind the Music or reality TV," McFayden says. "We wanted to show what it feels like to be a fan."

Of course, after making three films that explored the metal genre, the friends have pretty much carved out their niche. But although they have a Fubar poster and picture of Voivod nestled on the wall of their office between their Geminis, they're looking to broaden their reach.

"I don't think you can make 15 metal films that are engaging, and that's coming from a pretty big metal fan," Dunn says.

"We're comfortable moving away from it," McFayden adds. "The question is - if the people who finance us are."

For now, the pair is hard at work on a Rush documentary and a series about the sub-genres of heavy metal for VH1. Ultimately Dunn and McFayden may wind up changing their subject matter without changing their tone: speaking to the fringes of popular culture, without making fun of its stars.

"There are a lot of people out there who love Wayne's World and Spinal Tap, but don't identify with that," McFayden says. "People want something intelligent that's also entertaining and, if you're a metal fan, it's nice every once in a while when someone isn't taking the piss."

- Iron Maiden: Flight 666 is playing tonight at Empire Theatres across Canada. See empiretheatres.com for details.

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CREED Reunion Tour Officially Announced

CREED has officially announced all four of the original band members — Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall — will reunite for a summer tour and new album. The tour, the band's first in seven years, begins August 6 in Pittsburgh.

"I wouldn't call it a reunion," Stapp tells RollingStone.com. "It's a renewing and a rebirth. I missed my boys and wanted to create music with them again. We're all thrilled to have a second chance to make a first impression."

The reconciliation began last December when Stapp reached out to CREED guitarist Mark Tremonti. They agreed to meet up at the Hard Rock Hotel in Florida before Stapp sang the national anthem at the Champs Sports Bowl. "I was nervous, but also excited because I knew Mark would bring nothing but positivity," says Stapp. "We exchanged family pictures and within 20 minutes we were jamming on acoustic guitars and talking about new songs." They soon met up with drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall, who left CREED in 2000 but is returning for the new album and tour. "At that meeting we were collectively saying, 'Hey man, I'm sorry if I hurt you or my choices did anything to cause you any pain. I have nothing but love and forgiveness for you and I hope you can forgive me.' It's all part of the process of reflection and not looking back at the six months out of 10 years that were trying."

Read more from RollingStone.com.

Tour dates:

Aug. 06 - Pittsburgh PA
Aug. 08 - Darien Lakes NY
Aug. 09 - Hershey PA
Aug. 11 - Saratoga Springs NY
Aug. 13 - Philadelphia PA
Aug. 15 - Wantagh NY
Aug. 16 - Holmdel NJ
Aug. 18 - Boston MA
Aug. 20 - Hartford, CT
Aug. 21 - Washington DC
Aug. 22 - Virginia Beach VA
Aug. 25 - Detroit MI
Aug. 26 - Cleveland OH
Aug. 28 - Cincinnati OH
Aug. 29 - Indianapolis IN
Aug. 30 - Chicago IL
Sep. 01 - Milwaukee
Sep. 02 - Columbus OH
Sep. 04 - Raleigh NC
Sep. 05 - Charlotte NC
Sep. 11 - Atlanta GA
Sep. 12 - Birmingham AL
Sep. 15 - Orlando FL
Sep. 16 - West Palm Beach FL
Sep. 18 - Lafayette LA
Sep. 19 - New Orleans LA
Sep. 20 - Bossier City LA
Sep. 22 - Dallas TX
Sep. 24 - San Antonio TX
Sep. 25 - Houston TX
Sep. 27 - Las Vegas NV
Sep. 29 - Glendale AZ
Sep. 30 - Irvine CA
Oct. 02 - Salt Lake City UT
Oct. 03 - Denver CO
Oct. 06 - Minneapolis MN
Oct. 07 - Omaha NE
Oct. 09 - Tulsa OK
Oct. 10 - Kansas City MO
Oct. 13 - St Louis MO
Oct. 14 - Nashville TN

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Rihanna Photo Leak Being Investigated By LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an internal investigation and filed a personnel complaint after a photo leaked late Thursday of a person who is apparently Rihanna, following an alleged altercation with Chris Brown on Grammy weekend.

"The unauthorized release of a domestic-violence photograph immediately generated an internal investigation," an LAPD spokesman said in statement about the photo, which appeared on TMZ. "The Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Section began receiving numerous inquiries about the release of a photograph associated with a domestic violence incident that occurred on February 8, 2009, involving entertainer Chris Brown."

Although it does not officially confirm that the woman in the photo is Rihanna, the statement continues, "The photograph appeared on an entertainment website. The photograph has the appearance of one taken during an official Domestic Violence investigation."

According to CNN, the chief investigator in the case said that the department has had tried to guard against leaks. Detective Deshon Andrews told CNN that he has been keeping the case file guarded and no copies had been made of the original photos and documents.

"The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence," the LAPD asserted in the statement. "A violation of this type is considered serious misconduct, with penalties up to and including termination."

Earlier Thursday, People magazine reported that a relative of Rihanna's, whom it did not identify, said that Brown "flew so far under everyone's radar that we just didn't think he was that [abusive] type." The relative added that the news came as a surprise because "he was always looking after her needs, making sure she was happy.

The timing of the leak is especially unfortunate, since Friday is Rihanna's 21st birthday.

"I don't want her to go back to him," the family member said. "I don't think anyone does."

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Evanescence members exit band

Two members of Evanescence have exited the band, leading to speculation about the future of the group.

According to guitarist John LeCompt he was fired from the band. He also said drummer Rocky Gray had quit.

LeCompt said: “I'm done and I'm pretty upset about it.(Singer) Amy (Lee) called and fired me today. There's absolutely no loyalty in this band.”

The guitarist said he was putting all his energy in his new band with Gray called Machina.

A posting on his blog he wrote: “Around 3:30 pm yesterday I recieved a call on my cell from Amy. This call wasn't from a friend who appreciated me but from an enemy who was prepared to hurt me and my family. Without any warning or negotiotiations for my future, I was fired for no good reason. We have not always seen eye to eye on everything, but who does?

“Our common goal was always the same. To make Evanescence the best rock band it could ever be. I have always given blood, sweat and tears to make that happen but apparently that is not enough. I have now become just another of the people fallen by the wayside on the revolving door of her life. It's funny how many of us there are now. I guess it's good for lyrical content, though. Maybe I will be among the blessed to have a song written about me, too. Maybe the song will be 'Call Me When You're Broke'.”

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Progressive Nation 2009 Announced


New York progressive metal veterans DREAM THEATER will take their PROGRESSIVE NATION tour back on the road for its second incarnation with a run through America and Canada in July/Aug 2009.

In addition to a headlining set by DREAM THEATER, this year’s package will feature the outstanding musicianship of ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA as well as two incredibly talented imports from Sweden: PAIN OF SALVATION and BEARDFISH.

PROGRESSIVE NATION was created by DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy and its successful inaugural run in 2008 also featured OPETH, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and THREE.

Portnoy once again hand-picked all of the bands for the 2009 bill based on their diversity and musicality. He comments: “This year’s lineup is so exciting for me. Every band is bringing something very unique to the package to create an incredibly well rounded musical experience. I am just as excited to be watching all the bands from the side of the stage as I am to be performing with mine in the center of it!”

Fresh on the heels of his Grammy win, Dweezil Zappa is pleased to announce his plans to join forces with Dream Theater as part of the Progressive Nation 2009 tour: "It's no secret that I started ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA with the intention to diversify and expand the audience for my father's music. I figured I'd probably have to do it one concert at a time. Playing with DREAM THEATER on the PROGRESSIVE NATION tour is a great way to accomplish that goal. Music fans who are seeking something to challenge their senses should definitely consider attending this great bill."

Portnoy adds, “It is an absolute honor for me to have ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA on board. Frank Zappa is one of my all-time biggest heroes and his music practically invented the term ‘progressive’. Dweezil is doing an amazing job carrying on the tradition of his father’s daring spirit and like his dad, has surrounded himself with a band of jaw-dropping, incredible musicians”

Sweden’s PAIN OF SALVATION will bring their unique brand of cutting-edge progressive metal to PN09. Vocalist/Guitarist Daniel Gildenlow comments: “We are truly very happy to be part of the PN09 tour, and to be back in the States again and bring all the sweat and flesh to our music and our well deserving American fans. We feel honored to have been asked.”

Gildenlow also joked, “Actually, Mike has been on our backs now for two years in what we believe to be a personal campaign, bordering on harassment, to make us come over. So when he asked us about PN09, it was a joy to finally be able to say yes. And if Mike didn't give up on us, then hopefully America hasn't either.”

Vocalist/Keyboardist Rikard Sjöblom of BEARDFISH is equally excited: "When we read on a website that Mike Portnoy had our album "Sleeping in Traffic Part 1" among his favorite releases of 2007, we just couldn't believe it and we were really happy about it! And now we once again gasp for air since we've been asked to join PROGRESSIVE NATION 2009 together with DREAM THEATER (one of the biggest bands in this genre today!), PAIN OF SALVATION (hey, fellow Swedes!!!) and ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA (being a HUGE Zappa fan myself, I think this is really cool!). Since we've only played the US once before we simply can't wait to come over and rock out!"

PROGRESSIVE NATION will be the first North American tour for DREAM THEATER in support of their newest Roadrunner Records release which is slated for a June 2009 release.

For more information, including dates to be announced soon, visit:
www.progressivenation2009.com (coming soon)

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Do you have any information about Avril Lavigne to share?

# Malaysian authorities have reversed their decision to cancel a concert by Lavigne, saying that she can perform on August 31, despite complaints her act is too sexy. (August 23, 2008)
# Insists on being the sole blonde on stage when she performs live, and so orders all her dancers to dye their hair brown.
# Is reportedly to have significant dental work because she is so self-conscious about her ponty molars. (July 2008)
# The YouTube video for Avril's single Girlfriend has reportedly earned her a staggering $1 million. Every time the video is viewed – so far over 100 million times – an advert is played and Avril receives a set fee. (July 2008)
# Scrapped another six dates of her North American tour because of acute laryngitis. (May 2008)
# Partnered with Department store chain Kohl's Corp. for a new juniors' apparel and accessories brand. (March 5, 2008)

# Ranked #24 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.
# Ranked #15 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.
# Is gearing up for a 2008 North American tour.
# Admits she enjoys stripping off when she's drunk.
# Chantal Kreviazuk, the fellow Canadian singer-songwriter who dismissed Lavigne's writing skills in an interview in the June issue of Performing Songwriter magazine, has retracted her comments after Lavigne threatened to take legal action. (July 11, 2007)
# Hits out at claims her song Girlfriend copies a 1970s track by the band the Rubinoos, insisting she wrote the song with musician Luke Gottwald - and it bears no similarity to the Rubinoos song. She also expresses feeling over what she calls a slap in the face from former friend and collaborator Chantal Kreviazuk who made comments during an interview with Performing Songwriter magazine that suggest Lavigne does not write her own material. (July 8, 2007)
# Is being sued over claims that her smash hit Girlfriend sounds suspiciously like the Rubinoos' tune, I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, a single they released in the 1970s. (July 4, 2007)
# Has bought a Tuscan-style home in the upscale Los Angeles Bel Air neighborhood for about $9.5 million. (April 10, 2007)
# Says Britney Spears shouldn’t blame the paparazzi for her recent problems because the media is such a core part of being famous – insisting the troubled singer is too weak to handle her fame. (April 3, 2007)

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