The block busters are upon us. Here’s a list of what we can’t miss.
7/15 Ghostbusters: Who are you gonna call this summer when after a 30 year hiatus, Ghostbusters returns to the big screen? Hoping to bring in a new audience while catering to its long-time fans, Ghostbusters is going to have some big shoes to fill in this reboot. Long after the need for the Ghostbusters, New York is once again invaded by ghoulish foes and it is up to paranormal investigators Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), a nuclear engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and a subway worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), to rid the city of these evil spirits. You are not mistake; the cast of the film is all female. With the aging original cast, Columbia Pictures has decided to make this an all female reboot. While this has left a sour taste with some of the fans, it’s fantastic to see Columbia Pictures and director Paul Feig try and tell a story with all female leads. Hopefully these progressive choice works out for th on e best. Old school fans rejoice as Ghostbusters will also include cameos from the original Ghostbusters including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts. Just remember what Egon Spengler taught us…Don’t cross the streams! RIP Harold Ramis.
7/29 Jason Bourne: Bourne is back! Both director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon return after skipping out on Jeremy Renner’s 2012 spinoff The Bourne Legacy. Picking up where 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum left off, the CIA’s most dangerous former operative is back with all of his memories and is out for revenge. Now that Jason Bourne (Damon) remembers who and what he has done in the past, he is now out for revenge against the organization that turned him into the expertly trained killer that he is. Bourne alum Julia Stiles returns as Nicky Parsons while newcomers Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, and Vincent Cassel gather to bring down Bourne after his is lured out of hiding. While it is unknown if this is the final chapter in Bourne’s outings or the attempt to restart the franchise, one this is for sure…Jason Bourne is going to kick a lot of butt this summer!
This July should be a monstrous year at the box office and what better way to start of the month by pairing director Steven Spielberg and Disney to bring Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book to life in The BFG (7/1). BFG (Big Friend Giant) girl named Sophie that encounters and befriends a kind Giant that is considered an outcast by the other giants because he refuses to eat humans. This summer marks the third chapter in the Purge series with The Purge: Election Year (7/1). As the frontrunner in the next Presidential election, Senator Charlene Roan (Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell) vowed to get rid of the Purge once and for all, which has put a target on her during what could be the very last Purge if she makes it through the night alive. Everyone knows the story of Tarzan and Jane, but what happens after Tarzan leaves the jungle behind? In The Legend of Tarzan (7/1), Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) has already left the jungle to live a civilized life in London with Jane (Margot Robbie) before being called back to his former home in the Congo to investigate the activities at a mining encampment. What happens when you are at work and you pet is at home? Universal and Illumination Entertainment, the minds behind Minions, brings The Secret Life of Pets (7/8), the story about a Max (Louis C.K.) who starts to feel neglected when his owner brings a new pet into the house. In the millennial raunchy comedy of the summer, Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Adam DeVine and Aubrey Plaza team up in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (7/8) which follows two brothers that place an ad online for wedding dates that go viral. Whom better than to play a notorious drug lord but Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. Based on a true story, The Infiltrator (7/16) follows a U.S. Customs official (Cranston) goes undercover in an attempt to take down by infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking ring. The USS Enterprise crew are back only this time to be stranded on an uncharted planet fighting a new enemy led by Idris Elba’s Krall, after being attacked by a powerful, unstoppable wave of unknown aliens in Star Trek Beyond (7/22). Five movies in and still going strong, the prehistoric gang is back and this time trying to avoid extinction in Ice Age: Collision Course (7/22). What happens when parents Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell go up against alpha moms Christina Applegate and Jada Pinkett Smith as they battle for parent supremacy at their kids’ school in Bad Moms (7/29). Genius (7/29) chronicle Max Perkins’s (Max Perkins) time as the book editor who oversaw the works of Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others. Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Guy Pearce round out the star-studded cast.
8/5 Suicide Squad: In the first follow up film to the widely criticised Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice within DC’s connected universe, Suicide Squad is making it’s big screen debut. Suicide Squad follows Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), head of a secret government agency, that assembles “Task Force X,” supervillains that are given a chance to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency as well as the honor of saving the world from an unknown threat. Making their debuts from the ink of comics to the big screen are Deadshot (Will Smith), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) , Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and Slipknot (Adam Beach). Each as expendable as the last. If I did not mention, all the members of this “Suicide Squad” also have a bomb implanted in their head, in case they decide to go rogue. Also making his DC debut, Jared Leto’s Joker is already shaping up to be the most accurately portrayal of this psychotic character. There will also be a special appearance by Batman (Ben Affleck), which Affleck widely considered one the best thing about BvS, thought his appearance could be in the form of a flashback. Warner Bros.is rolling the dice by seeing if they can strike gold just like Fox was able to with their mega successful R-rated Fox comic film Deadpool with Suicide Squad. Will hard R-rated comic films be a consistent thing of the future? Will DC bounce back in the mindshares of their fans? How will Jared Leto’s Joker compare to the Joker’s of past? All of these questions will hopefully be answered this summer when Suicide Squad hit theaters August 5th.
This August, Michael Keaton steps in the shoes of Ray Kroc, the mind behind of McDonald’s in The Founder (8/5). Kevin Spacey finds himself trapped in the body of his family’s cat as he attempts to learns to put his family before his work in Nine Lives (8/5). Woody Allen weaves the tale of a young man that falls in love and finds himself swept up in the vibrant café society after moving out to Hollywood in the 1930s in Café Society (8/12). Making their live-action debut in a modern retelling of the 1977 Disney film, Pete, a human boy and his best friend Elliot, a dragon, adventure off in Pete’s Dragon (8/12). Regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, Jack Huston has very big sandals to fill when he steps into the role of Ben-Hur (8/12). Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, and their gang are all back but this time in a R-rated animation film about the dirty truth of what happens to groceries when they get home in Sausage Party (8/12). From the team that brought the acclaimed stop-motion feature films like Coraline and ParaNorman comes Kubo and the Two Strings (8/19). Featuring a voice cast of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and George Takei, the film follows a young boy that is being haunted by an ancient spirit that sends various gods and monsters after him as part of an age-old vendetta, Kubo must find a magical suit of armor that once belonged to his father. Asa Butterfield plays a 16-year-old boy who grew up on Mars. After falling in love with a girl on Earth that he has been communicating with, he devises a way to reach her planet in The Space Between Us (8/19). Directed by Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover) and based on a true story, David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) quickly find themselves in over their heads after securing a multimillion-dollar contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons to Afghan allies as a pair of gun dealers in War Dogs (8/19). Jason Statham, a retired contract killer, is back and kicking a lot of butt around the world and ordered to make three impossible kills after his girl has been kidnapped in Mechanic: Resurrection (8/26). Director Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) is back to remind you that summer is nearly over with his latest horror film that follows a group of friends break into the house of a wealthy blind man only to find that there’s more to meet this man than they’d like to find out in Don’t Breathe (8/26).
The Glorious Corner
SLY REVIVED — (via Rolling Stone) Sly Stone, the enigmatic R&B/funk icon, will share his story in a new memoir, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), arriving Oct. 17 via Questlove’s new publishing imprint, AUWA Books.
Stone co-wrote the new book with Ben Greeman, who’s written memoirs with George Clinton, Brian Wilson, and Questlove (he helped the Roots drummer with his three other books, too). Questlove — who’s directing a documentary about Stone — will also pen a foreword for Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).
In a statement, Stone said, “For as long as I can remember folks have been asking me to tell my story. I wasn’t ready. I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It’s been a wild ride and hopefully my fans enjoy it too.”
Born Sylvester Stewart, Stone’s music career began when he was a child, singing in a gospel quartet with his siblings. In the Sixties, he worked as a radio DJ in the Bay Area, forming various soul groups, including the extremely successful Sly and the Family Stone. The group’s debut,A Whole new Thing, arrived in 1967, and that same year they released their first major hit, “Dance to the Music,” which anchored the band’s second album. Between 1967 and and 1982, Sly and the Family Stone released 10 albums, including classics like Stand! and There’s a Riot Goin; On.
But after the dissolution of the Family Stone, Stone struggled to find success as a solo artist while simultaneously battling drug addiction. Though he got sober, he receded from public life, making only sporadic appearances, like the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a performance at the 2006 Grammys. In 2011, Stone released a new solo album, I’m Back! Family and Friends; in 2016, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys.
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) is one of several books on the initial slate for Questlove’s new AUWA Books venture. (The Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint takes its name, by the way, from the bird-call noise Prince used on songs like “Baby I’m a Star” and “Eye No.”) Also on the docket: Questlove’s new book, Hip-Hop Is History, and a book from TikTok star Drew Afualo (both out in 2024).
This is major news for sure. If you’re of a certain age, Sly Stone’s music was the best. The true of story of what actually happened should be cataclysmic. The stories I’ve heard over the years encompass almost everything good and bad about the music industry. I hope the curtain is finally pulled back in this instance.
TICKET TO YOUNG — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Count Neil Young among those musicians who blame escalating ticket prices for ruining the concert industry. “It’s over. The old days are gone,” Young declared in a message posted to his Neil Young Archives website. “I get letters blaming me for $3,000.00 tickets for a benefit I am doing. That money does not go to me or the benefit. Artists have to worry about ripped off fans blaming them for Ticketmaster add-ons and scalpers.”
The acclaimed rocker’s message was accompanied by a story about the Cure and their recent battle with Ticketmaster. The ticketing giant earned the scorn of the goth rock band and their fans by adding several fees to ticket prices for the Cure’s upcoming North American tour. In some cases, these “unduly high” fees, as Robert Smith called them, resulted in the actual price of tickets nearly doubling from their face value. Ticketmaster eventually agreed to refund some of the cost.
“Concert tours are no longer fun,” Young opined, pointing to ticket fees and scalpers as the culprit. “Concert tours not what they were.”
Young’s thoughts about ticket prices are the latest in his ongoing list of gripes regarding modern touring. In December, the rocker reiterated his refusal to play at concert venues that use factory farms.
SHORT TAKES — Could Big Blue be coming back? Blockbuster for decades was the go-to spot for DVDs and video-tapes. Stay tuned …I love Keanu Reeves, but I must admit I’ve not seen any of the John Wick movies. Chapter 4 opened this past weekend with a $74 million+ score. Rather amazing in this post-covid period.
I pulled up the trailer and was terrifically impressed by the lush visuals; beautiful music and Reeves and Lance Reddick just sensational. I am thinking of a John Wick-weekend where I’ll watch all 4 … Writer/producer Terry Jastrow arrives in NY this week with his wife actress Anne Archer … Whatever happened to the Madonna biopic? You ask three different people and you get three different answers,. Check this one out from IndieWire: https://www.indiewire.com/2023/03/julia-garner-madonna-biopic-fingers-crossed-1234819696/ …
Personally, I don’t think Garner should do it. Mired in controversy already, could it really be any good? … GUESS WHO DON”T SUE: What up-and-coming metal band is using the name of a high-profile manager to score some Manhattan-gigs? They were going to work with the manager until it blew up. Simply shady if you ask me … btw: whatever happened to Wendy Stuart Kaplan? …
Friday was the last episode (for their inaugural season) of Apple TV+’s Shrinking which has just been so excellent in this its debut season. Jason Segal and Brett Goldstein have come up with the best show on streaming yet. Infectiously good and the acting turns from Segal and Harrison Ford are off the charts. The show culminated in a wedding for best-friend Brian (Michael Urie) and ended with a call-back to the show’s very first scene. Remember it? Truly a one-of-a-kind show. We loved it … I’ve heard at least 4 stories on the news this weekend about composting. Is this a hot topic now? Trending is it? … RIP Nicholas Lloyd Webber
NAMES IN THE NEWS –— Alex Salzman; Rob Petrie; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; Tyrone Biljan; Jacqueline Boyd; Bill McCuddy; Brad LeBeau; Nile Rodgers; Nancy Hunt; Steve Leeds; Terri Epstein; Brenda K. Starr; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; William Schill; Robert Funaro; Vinny Pastore; Maureen Van Zandt; Tricia Daniels; and ZIGGY!
The Glorious Corner
TODD’S AWATS — (from World Cafe) Fifty years ago, Todd Rundgren released his album A Wizard, a True Star, and it sounded like nothing else. World Cafe correspondent John Morrison says Rundgren was pushing boundaries, both in the technical creation of the music but also on a higher level. “Really, the entire approach to sound in this record is exploration of the mind, the spirit, the nature of sound itself,” Morrison says. “Like, the whole album is a trip.” In this session, Morrison takes us on a journey through Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, exploring what the album meant when it came out and how its influence continues to reverberate.
Currently he’s touring with Daryl Hall and there’s a bunch of sessions with Hall that are on Daryl’s House. The way their two voices blend is simply amazing. One of my all-time favorite albums is War Babies, from Hall & Oates in 1974. Just amazing songs and the production, courtesy of Todd, is equally compelling. Stunning!
SHORT TAKES — Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants) is essaying Morris Levy in the forthcoming play Rock & Roll Man about Alan Freed. Freed is played by Constantine Maroulis. Also coming is the movie Spinning Gold; the story of record exec-Neil Bogart. Both should be something to see … Am reading and reading nothing but rave reviews of Sunday’s Succession on HBO; the first of ten episodes which will wrap up the story. In all the reviews, the writing emerges the star. Jesse Armstrong, a genius for sure. Can’t wait. Check out Roger Friedman’s take from his Showbiz 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/03/22/succession-returns-for-finale-season-sit-down-have-a-drink-or-two-its-intense-as-ever … 79 year old Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer: “Don Simpson (Bruckheimer’s late-producing partner) used to say we’re in the transportation business: we transport you from one place to another” …
Terrific Accused episode this week, starring Jason Ritter in Jack’s Story. Jason, John Ritter’s son was just excellent; the show was just renewed by Fox … Steve Miller, out on the road, has some interesting openers for his upcoming tour: Dave Mason and Joe Bonamassa. Mason’s book (Only You Know and I Know) is out in May … Dennis Scott hosted a special invitation-only Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers event in Nashville for media, TV, radio and music industry professionals, with support from ASCAP, this past Monday.
The event featured special musical performances given by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings, who put a Chet Atkins-like spin on the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and studio vocalist Gary Janney. Here’s the cake prepared for the event … Happy Bday William Shatner ; Chaka Khan; Reese Witherspoon; and Anthony Pomes!
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For April
Spring, makes us gather as much sun as possible, but it also brings rain and it’s time to hop inside and catch your favorite performer. Here are our picks for April.
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 4/11: Apple TV+’s The Last Thing He Told Me: Jennifer Garner and Laura Dave; 4/19: Al Pacino in Conversation with David Rubenstein (In-Person); 4/30: Celebrating Balanchine: A Screening, Book Reading, Conversation and Performance with Director Connie Hochman, Heather Watts, Jennifer Homans, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, and Calvin Royal III Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of George Balanchine’s Death (In-Person)
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 4/1: Eliane Elias; 4/3: Susie Mosher & John Boswell in CASHINO; 4/17: Anita Gillette & Penny Fuller: “Sin Twisters: The Next Frontier”; 4/17: Sean McDermott & Cassidy Place; 4/21 – 22: Tony DeSare; 4/24: Karen Akers and 4/25 – 29: John Pizzarelli Album Release
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 4/1: John Lloyd Young; 4/3: Seth Rudetsky; 4/5 -15; Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro; 18- 19 Christine Andreas; 4/20-21; John Brancy and Peter Dugan; 4/22; Richard Tognetti, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra and 4/25-29 Candace Bushnell.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St.
Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 4/14: Marieann Meringolo and 4/17: The Skivvies.
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 4/ 21: Tanya Moberly and 4/28: Ricky Ritzel’s Broadway!
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 4/21 -22: Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour
The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas. 4/9: Gabrielle Stravelli
54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 4/1: Jennifer Simard: Can I Get Your Number?; 4/1: Bianca Marroquín; 4/4: LIVESTREAM | The Tom Kitt Band; 4/7, 11, 15: Linda Eder; 4/12-14: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar: All For You; 4/21-22: LIVESTREAM | Seth Sikes & Nicolas King with Billy Stritch and 4/29: Darius de Haas: Maisel and More!
The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 4/2: Melissa Errico; 4/13, 15: Sharon McKnight and 4/23: Reeve Carney
Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 1/15:
The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 4/23: Mariza
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