Friday, October 29, 2010

Slattery Up For Jameson In "Spider-Man"

What's Playing reports that "Mad Men" actor John Slattery is apparently first in line for the role of The Daily Bugle's gruff newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson for Marc Webb's upcoming "Spider-Man" reboot.

Sam Elliott is also apparently in contention for the role. Both Slattery and Elliott have previously worked with Marvel on other projects - namely "Iron Man 2" and "Ghost Rider" respectively.

The choices sound like the character will be a much more serious and possibly darker take on the character than J.K. Simmons' brilliant manic take on the character in the three previous Sam Raimi-directed films.

Considering how obsessed I am with "Mad Men" and Roger Sterling I pray Slattery gets the role, although Sam Elliot is a fine actor too. Either way the role of JJ should be very fitting for both of these men. But I'd love to see Slattery slide into the offices of the Daily Bugle.

Come on Rog!

New Captain America Photos and Plot Details!

The first batch of official photos from Marvel's "Captain America" have appeared in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. Sweeeeeeeeet.

As well as the new EW cover which was revealed earlier today we now have a look at the photos from inside the issue as well. The first official look of Evans in full Cap gear looks a lot more promising then the stunt pictures which recently surfaced from the set. Clearly he's been working out.
We also got our first look at the back of Stanley Tucci's head inside a 1940's era science lab, Hugo Weaving as the Nazi villain Johann Schmidt prior to becoming the disfigured Red Skull, and an alternate and equally bad ass shield.

The official synopsis is as follows:

The year is 1942, and Steve Rogers is a scrawny lad who desperately wants to fight Nazis for his country but can’t because he’s been deemed physically unfit. His fate — and his physique — is radically transformed when he signs up for Project: Rebirth, a secret military operation that turns wimps into studs using drugs and assorted sci-fi hoo-ha. There’s a love interest (Major Peggy Carter, played Haley Atwell), there’s a sidekick (Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stans), and there’s the Red Skull ( Hitler’s treacherous head of advanced weaponry, whose own plan for world domination involves a magical object known as The Tesseract.

Captain America: The First Avenger opens in 3D on July 22, 2011

Gosling, Clooney Team For "Ides of March"

First said to be in talks a month ago, Ryan Gosling is now confirmed to be starring in a political drama based on Beau Willimon's Broadway play "Farragut North" reports the trades.

The film has scored a new title, "The Ides of March", and follows a young, idealistic press spokesman (Gosling) who works for an inspiring, though unorthodox, presidential candidate (George Clooney).

During the campaign, his career is done in by more seasoned politicos who thrive on poisonous partisan politics, dirty tricks and back-stabbing. Willimon loosely based the story on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential election campaign.

Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood have also joined the cast as a rival campaign manager, a New York Times reporter, and a seductive campaign intern respectively.

George Clooney co-wrote the script with Grant Heslov and will both direct and produce the feature which he is independently financing. Shooting kicks off in February in Michigan and Ohio.

Two of my favorite actors working together? Count me in. On top of that, when Clooney writes with Heslov, as he did on "Good Night, and Good Luck", great things happen. This one has heaps of potential.

Fourth "Mission: Impossible" Gets A Title

The fourth "Mission: Impossible" movie has finally scored an official title: "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol".

According to Gulf News, the title was revealed at a press conference in Dubai where some filming has just gotten underway there on the upcoming sequel.

Asked about the title, Tom Cruise says "one of the things I always wanted for the franchise was for it not to have a number afterwards. I've never done sequels to films and I never thought of these films as sequels."

Scenes are also expected to be shot in the 828m high Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower. Other shooting on the project takes place in Moscow, Prague and Vancouver.

Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Vladimir Mashkov and Michael Nyqvist all star in the Brad Bird-directed feature which is scheduled for release next December.

Say what you will about the franchise, but when a decent filmmaker is at the helm, such as JJ Abrams or Brad Bird, good things will happen. And when you have two freakin awesome actors like Josh Holloway and Jeremy Renner to steal screen time from Tom Cruise, I think that's a winning formula. Let's hope it all adds up.

And Paula Patton is so hot.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Phoenix at the Garden

So much I could say about this show, but all that needs to be said is that Phoenix brought the effing house down, and THEN Daft Punk came out an rocked the fucking house. Amazing show.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Classic Album Review: N.W.A., "Amerikkka's Most Wanted"

When Ice Cube left N.W.A. and their label in early 1990 over some royalty disputes, everyone in the industry knew that he would probably waste little time before he started working on his own project. They were right.

Soon after the split he jumped right into the recoding studio and got to work on what would become his solo debut. While Ice Cube originally wanted Dr. Dre to produce the album, the label powers didn’t allow it, so he employed Dre's cousin Sir Jinx and Public Enemy's production team The Bomb Squad to help craft it instead.

Using notebooks full of songs he had planned to use for N.W.A, Ice Cube brought on a fierce, determined attitude to his solo debut, crafting an album that is considered to be one of the most defining hip-hop records of the '90s.

Released in May 1990, the album was filled with social and cultural commentary. The title itself was an intelligent statement by Ice Cube, alluding to the controversial television show "America's Most Wanted" in which real life crimes are reenacted.

Many, including Ice Cube felt that the show perpetuated stereotypes of African Americans and other minorities, which led him to misspell the title the of the show, making a pointed and cultural statement, equating the show to the racist group.

The album is filled with commentary like the title, including conscious and political commentary and dealing with issues such as life in the ghetto, drug addiction, racism, and poverty. He delves even deeper throughout the album, calling Arsenio Hall a sell-out, and tackling mainstream hip-hop radio for its broadcasting practices. Ice Cube gives an eye level view of life in the inner city, filled with vivid and at times frightening details and style.

The album is filled with great tracks, but in my mind "Endangered Species (Tales from the Darkside)", the title track, "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted", "Turn off the Radio", "Once Upon a Time in the Projects" and "It's a Man's World" stand out above the rest.

The title track, "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" is easily one of the best on the album. The beat is great and you can hear Ice Cube's intensity on the track as he spits "Ice Cube has got the 4-1-1/All the ol' school house fellows are crooks/So I get jealous looks / They keep thinkin did my hair grow?/Will the boys 'n' the hood have to beat down Ice Cube?/Hell no, I'll static son, you'll see it's okay/I keep my 9 anyway."

"Once Upon a Time in the Projects" might be the most illustrative track on the album. The beat has a funky, guitar string vibe which fits perfectly with the idea that the track is sort of a 'fairy tale' story about the inner city.

Ice Cube sets things perfectly as he raps: "Lookin at a fucked up black and white / her mom's bitchin cause the county check wasn't right/She had another brother that was three years old/and had a bad case of the runny nose/He asked me who I was then I had to pause/It smelled like he took a shit in his little drawers/I saw her sister that needs get her ass kicked/only thirteen and already pregnant/I grabbed the forty out the bag and took a swig."

"Turn off the Radio" is another excellent track and showcases Ice Cube's thoughts on the radio industry and how they operate. He doesn't pull any punches, calling out Arsenio Hall and proving he wasn't afraid to take on anybody, anywhere in the industry.

Coupled with the fantastic Bomb Squad production, which included tons of samples from TV and the radio, Ice Cube proves that the only important radio is the one that's playing his tracks. Ice Cube brings attention to the radio and is blunt and ironic as he raps: "Turn on the radio take a listen/What you're missing/Personally I'm sick of the ass-kissing/What I'm kicking to you won't get rotation/Nowhere in the nation/Program directors and DJ's ignored me/Cause I simply said fuck Top Forty."

"Endangered Species (Tales from the Darkside)" is my favorite track on the album and just might be the best of the bunch. The title of the track comes from the opening excerpt of the track, in which a reporter in a mock newscast talks about African American males becoming endangered.

From its content and style is may be the most politically and socially charged track on the album, which makes it also one of the most important. Throughout the track he showcases the plight of many in the country as well as the awful racial tendencies of institutions throughout the nation.

Ice Cube even plays Nostradamus a bit as he predicts that his neighborhood would eventually become a point for violence even years before the Rodney King scandal and L.A. Riots later on. You can hear how personal all this is to him as he raps the points he's trying to make: "Every cop killer goes ignored/They just send another nigga to the morgue/A point scored- they could give a fuck about us/They rather catch us with guns and white powder/If I was old, they'd probably be a friend of me/Since I'm young, they consider me the enemy/They kill ten of me to get the job correct."

Ice Cube proved on "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" that he was one of the most talented rappers in the industry at the time and also that he didn't need N.W.A. to be a success. The album is easily one of the best of the era, and the production by The Bomb Squad proved that they shouldn’t always be linked to Public Enemy, because their work on this record was phenomenal and underappreciated.

Ice Cube showed he wasn't afraid of anybody, leveling institutions and the government for their overly obvious racial biases and tendencies, as well as exposing the social issues that allowed the oppression of those living in LA to exist.

Apart from the references to Arsenio Hall (which just wreaks of early 90's) the album is timeless, angry and has more social commentary in it than I can begin to discuss. As a debut, it may be one of the best ever, and is most definitely a classic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Classic Album Review: N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton”

No matter what type of artist, musician, singer you are, the main purpose of a debut album remains the same. The idea is to make an impact in some way, whether it is on society, on the industry, with fans, critics, or both. With a debut album artists are attempting to establish a voice and show to the masses exactly why their name should be known.

Now of course some debut albums have more of an impact than others. For example, it's clear that Nas's first album "Illmatic" had a greater effect on the industry than let's say, Nappy Roots' freshman effort, but the point that I'm trying to get at, is that a debut album has a purpose and when it's done right, everyone in the industry feels it. One album that could be considered the perfect example of this is N.W.A's "Straight Outta Compton".

Released in August of 1988, the album arguably had one of the biggest impacts on the industry than any other. The album embodied the genre of gangsta rap, and launched it into mainstream popularity. One of its biggest impacts was how it helped shift focus from the East coast to the West, establishing that coast as the power player of rap in the early '90s.

While it's true that "Straight Outta Compton" was not the first gangsta-rap album released, it was a game changer for many reasons. Between the superb production from Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, which added some elements to gangsta rap that hadn't been seen before, and its realistic, harsh language and illustrative lyrics, "Straight Outta Compton" was unlike anything the industry had seen.

N.W.A. put together a listing of tracks that dwarfs most other albums in comparison. There are some legendary tracks on the album including "Express Yourself", the title track "Straight Outta Compton", "Fuck tha Police", "Gangsta Gangsta", and "Something Like That".

The three opening tracks on the album "Straight Outta Compton", "Fuck tha Police", "Gangsta Gangsta" might be one of the best one, two, three lineups of all-time. The three tracks are all made with supreme quality, but what adds to them is the fact that they are all connected by looking at the city the group comes from through many different prisms.

The title track "Straight Outta Compton" is one of the best of all-time, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The track takes a hard look at a city that is controlled by crime, and gives a realistic portrayal of what it was like in Compton for the members of the group.

From the very beginning Ice Cube shows how passionate he is as he raps with ferocity in the opening verse: "Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube/From the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes/When I'm called off, I got a sawed off/Squeeze the trigger, and bodies are hauled off/You too, boy, if ya fuck with me/The police are gonna hafta come and get me."
One thing the group does on this album so well is being political without being so obvious about it. On its face you could look at its harsh language and lyrics as just for show, but it all has underlying meaning.

This comes out clearly on the second track "Fuck Tha Police". Just the title itself was a political statement, but the track goes even further, detailing why the city is controlled by crime and who’s to blame for it. The track was extremely controversial for its language and stance on condoning violence against the police, but proved that the group wasn't afraid to take on anybody. The track at its core is about raising hell and not allowing authority to take control over everything.

The track is important because it embodied a truthful mindset of the people living in the community. The track spoke for them, the ones who had no voice, in such a harsh but frustrated way especially the verse: "To the police I'm sayin fuck you punk/Readin my rights and shit, it's all junk/Pullin out a silly club, so you stand/With a fake assed badge and a gun in your hand."
"Gangsta Gangsta" is a fantastic track as well, and illustrates the lifestyle that takes over the city due to all of the outside and institutional influences. The song conveys the dangers of living on the streets, but also the appealing side of the gangsta lifestyle.

The track has some of the most memorable lines on the entire album including Ice Cube's verse, which is one of his personal best: "Homies all standin around, just hangin/Some dope-dealin, some gang-bangin/We decide to roll and we deep/See a nigga on Dayton's and we creep/Real slow, and before you know/I had my shotgun pointed in the window/He got scared, and hit the gas/Right then, I knew I has to smoke his ass."

"Express Yourself" is my personal favorite track on the album, party because I love the beat, but mostly because of the message in the track itself. The song's lyrics center on ideas of free expression and the constraints in place by censorship. Even more so the track talks about how some artists are afraid to express themselves fully for fear of what other people might think.

That's one thing N.W.A. proved it wasn't afraid of and you can hear it as Dre raps: "I'm expressin with my full capabilities/And now I'm livin in correctional facilities/Cause some don't agree with how I do this/I get straight and meditate like a Buddhist/I'm droppin flava, my behavior is hereditary/But my technique is very necessary."

"Straight Outta Compton" took the industry by storm and even listening to it today the album still sounds refreshing and relevant, even though it's over twenty years old now (yeah, I'm surprised too). The album reached double platinum sales status, pretty mush with no airplay support and without any major tours making it a true rarity in the business.

N.W.A. was young and truly didn't give a fuck about anything except saying what they believed in and putting it on their album. While there isn't much in your face social criticism, the album itself is a social critique, which is what it has stood the test of time.

It's almost impossible to quantify what this album meant to hip-hop, but no matter how much time goes by, it remains an essential landmark, one of hip-hop's all-time greatest.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Shia LaBeouf As A Young Karl Rove?

Once "Transformers 3" wraps, Shia LaBeouf has yet to lock down any films to star in and The L.A. Times reports that the actor is keen on the comedy/drama "College Republicans" as Anonymous Content.

If he selects it, LaBeouf would play a Karl Rove, or rather the younger incarnation of the former Bush advisor as he vies for the position of chief campus conservative under the guidance of Lee Atwater, his campaign manager (and of course future Republican National Committee chairman). Wes Jones penned the script but no director is yet attached though Richard Linklater's name has emerged as a possibility.

LaBeouf has also been previously mentioned in conjunction with an adaptation of the John Grisham legal thriller "The Associate," however that project has been stuck in development for two years and has no director attached.

Loved Shia since "Even Stevens". I love that he wants to take on challenging roles, he's a solid performer, brings some great chops to any movie he's in. Although I'm not a Karl Rove fan, I'll keep an interest for my boy LaBeouf.

Damon Out But "Bourne" Lives On

With the "Bourne" film series scribe Tony Gilroy taking over the directing reigns on the upcoming fourth film, it looked like Matt Damon was unlikely to return.

Now in an interview with Hollywood Elsewhere, Gilroy succinctly clears up some of the rumors and talks about what his plans are for the franchise.

First up the film's title will be "The Bourne Legacy", but "will not use the story" from the book ghostwritten under Robert Ludlum's name by Eric van Lustbader. Gilroy adds "it's a completely original screenplay".

This is not unexpected at all as only the first half of the first film in the series, "The Bourne Identity", bared any resemblance to the original book. The subsequent films similarly used the titles only and some of Bourne's personal backstory elements.

More interestingly while Damon is out, Gilroy specifically says this is NOT a "reboot or a recast or a prequel". He adds "There will be a whole new hero, a whole new chapter...this is a stand-alone project."

A brave move. In the books and films, 'Jason Bourne' is an alias that David Webb (Damon) had adopted. It was thought that with Webb now off the grid and suspected to be dead by authorities, the Bourne name could be transferred to a new character.

Instead, Gilroy says "The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he's very much alive…We're going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas. When you see what we're going and see what we're doing it'll be pretty obvious....but Jason Bourne's actvities in the first three films is the immediate trigger."

Established fans of the series will like it as "everyone who got into [the previous films] will be rewarded for paying attention". This means there'll no doubt be plenty of references to events in the previous films, it also allows for other characters like Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) to return.

Gilroy hints that Damon could eventually return if he wants - "I'm building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy...the world we're making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne's return [down the road]."

Things change in Hollywood all the time. I think everyone knew Damon wouldn't play Bourne forever. The filmmakers are all top notch on these films, I think everything will go smoothly. Gilroy has some skills, just look at Michael Clayton.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Afflecks Work Their "Trade" For Damon

Earlier this year came reports that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were set to reunite onscreen in the 70's-set baseball player wife-swapping tale "The Trade".

At the time the pair were talking of playing the male leads with Affleck directing. Now, MTV News talked with Affleck who confirmed that the project is still going ahead, but with some role swapping off screen as well. Affleck says his brother Casey has come onboard, while his friend may replace him in the big chair.

"I don't know how it'll come together, acting and directing, but Casey and I have decided to write it together. Once the script's kind of ready, then it’s like: Who's doing what? What's the time frame? Matt, me, Casey directing? Particularly for Matt, he's had this extraordinary career where he's worked with these great directors. He's a great director who just hasn't directed a movie" says Affleck.

The story itself deals with New York Yankee teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich who disclosed in 1973 that they were trading wives.

The Family Grows

For no reason other than just to do it, The Boca Breeze has added a little companion. Go check out the new site filled with some awesome randomness like pictures, great quotes, video and whatever else comes across.

If you see anything cool send it over!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Zack Snyder Officially Set For "Superman"

Some extremely big and 'super' news on the comic book movie front.

After interviews, rumors and rampant speculation, director Zack Snyder has been selected to helm the new "Superman" film, which is being godfathered by director Christopher Nolan.

According to the trades Snyder, the director of "300" and "Watchmen", beat out names such as Ben Affleck, Darren Aronofsky, Matt Reeves, Tony Scott and Robert Zemeckis for the film.

This is huge news, and welcome news for any "Superman" fans out there. Snyder
honestly is the perfect choose for this. He is no stranger to comic book adaptations, and if
you were a fan of the orginal book "Watchmen" you had to pleased with the accuracy and
detail Snyder put into it. If he even puts half of that into this film (which he won't, he'll be
in 110 percent), Clark Kent is in good hands.

General Zod is being rumored to play the villain in the project which "The Dark Knight"
director Christopher Nolan will serve as producer on, while David Goyer is penning the
script. The project is moving quick as the studio has to be in production by next year or
risk losing select copyrights to the heirs of the character's creators.

Thankfully is official that Brandon Routh will NOT be returning as the Man of Steel.
Nothing against Routh, but if you're trying to reinvent a franchise, casting the same lead
actor just doesn't make sense, so good job Zack and Chris on that one.

This project quickly will be one of the hottest ones in Hollywood with tons of actors
clamoring to play the man with the red cape.

If I had a choice, screw going young, lets take a guy like Jon Hamm. Anyone
see "The Town" or "Mad Men" lately? The dude can freaking act and he has that
good old American machismo look that could translate into Superman pretty well.

Either way, the news is about Snyder, and he really is the perfect choice for this. Having
names like Snyder, Goyer and Nolan on one project is just too much to even fathom. This
is going to be a good one, I just know it.

And I'm more of a Batman guy.

Tony Gilroy Helming Fourth "Bourne"

The "Bourne" franchise has been one of the most consistent and successful film
franchises in recent memory. All three films have been critically acclaimed, and with
Matt Damon starring have been box office darlings as well.

While I don't think the franchise is in any trouble, things could be changing slightly with
the news that writer/director Tony Gilroy will be directing the fourth film in the series,
tentatively titled "The Bourne Legacy" according to Deadline.

Gilroy has worked on the scripts for all three previous films and is a great writer, so no
trouble there, but Damon has stated previously that he would not return to the franchise
without director Paul Greengrass at the helm.

Clearly Universal plans to continue the franchise though, with or without Damon. While
I don’t think that's a great idea, I think the franchise is a strong one, and Damon won't
be there forever. Whether they decide to cast a new lead agent, there is a lot of talent out
there they could go with, but when anyone thinks of Jason Bourne it's hard not to picture
Matt Damon at this point.

Gilroy is a solid director, I think Michael Clayton was an extremely well done film, but
with the foundation of Greengrass and possibly Damon gone, who knows how things
could go for the franchise.

As of now there is no timetable for a release, but now that they've locked in the director
I'm sure casting rumors will start to spin the wheel as you read this.

More on this project as it comes.