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Update November 2015


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Update November 28, 2015

Film Review: Chilean miners film resorts too often to formula

This photo shows Antonio Banderas as Mario Sepulveda in Alcon Entertainment’s true-life drama “The 33,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Beatrice Aguirre/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Jocelyn Noveck
Los Angeles (AP)
- Movies are forever trying to capture the essence of the human spirit, and by that measure, it’s hard to imagine there was ever a story more tailor-made for the movies than the incredible 2010 Chilean mine rescue. If the details are hazy in your mind, just go to YouTube right now and watch the first miner reach the surface in that tiny capsule they built. We dare you not to cry.
And that’s actually part of the problem with “The 33,” directed by Patricia Riggen. The real-life saga was so visceral — and so visual, unfolding as it did on live TV — that it’s tough to beat the memory. You could say that such a movie writes itself, but that’s not true — a cinematic portrayal of an event so recent needs to do something creative to move things forward, present a new angle, offer a different perspective. “The 33” is well-meaning, well-crafted and faithful to the source material, but ultimately it feels disappointingly formulaic.
We begin with a happy scene, a festive retirement party. There, we meet many of the men, including Mario Sepulveda (Antonio Banderas), the most charismatic of the bunch; he asks supervisor Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips) if he can work the next day, though it’s his day off.
In the village, we also quickly meet Dario Segovia (Juan Pablo Raba), a troubled miner with an addiction problem, and the caring older sister he neglects, the empanada-seller Maria (Juliette Binoche, in an underdrawn role that never quite seems to fit).
Alas, these hasty interchanges don’t give much meaningful insight into the characters (indeed, the script’s thin characterizations are the weak link of the film.) The next day, the men arrive at the mouth of the mine. “Is this the only way in?” asks newcomer Carlos. “The only way in, and the only way out,” replies Banderas’ Mario, doing the most with a line that’s a little too obvious.
And then the mine collapses, with frightening violence. Now we have, essentially, two dramas unfolding: Above ground, where the desperate families have set up camp, and below, where 33 men are trapped 2,300 feet down in searing heat. In the so-called “refuge,” food provisions consist of a few cans of tuna, some cookies, a bit of milk. Don Lucho informs the men that death is surely imminent. “It took 100 years for them to dig this deep,” he says. “We’re too far down.”
On the surface, primary responsibility falls to the brand-new minister of mining, Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro, whose face you know because he’s the handsomest guy in any movie he’s in). It falls to Golborne to keep the family members — particularly the feisty, insistent Maria — informed, and at one point to convince even chief engineer Andre Sougarret (Gabriel Byrne, also underused) that hope is alive.
The men are left to subsist on 100 calories per day. A bite of canned tuna turns, in the film’s most interesting scene, into a dreamlike feast for each one. This fantasy sequence is compelling but a bit jarring, too, considering the film’s otherwise straightforward tone.
The men are close to starving when the drill finally breaks through and they’re able to send up a note, in red paint, saying all 33 are alive. At this point, moviegoer, you’ll need your Kleenex.
But it will take nearly two more months — to day 69 — to get the men out. Fights erupt; egos clash. And then the first man is wedging himself into that tiny capsule. The rescuers don’t know if it’ll work.
We end with real footage of the men today, together on a beach, and it’s a moving sight. Their story will never get old. It would have been nice, though, to see it told here with a little more imagination and a little less formula.
“The 33,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “a disaster sequence and some language.” Running time: 127 minutes. Two stars out of four.
MPAA definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Adele’s ‘25’ lives up to all of its expectations

Singer Adele performs on stage in this Feb. 24, 2013 file photo. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Mesfin Fekadu
Can Adele even sing a B-level song?
Every track on her highly anticipated “25” sounds grand, from the piano tune “Remedy” to “Water Under the Bridge,” which is layered and full of echoes and sounds as if it was created just to be performed live.
And even when the singer collaborates with producers who at times sound formulaic and radio friendly, she brings them to new levels. Max Martin, who has created pop anthems for Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift, sounds unrecognizable on “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” which has Adele on guitar. Bruno Mars and his producer cohorts, Philip Lawrence and Christopher Brody Brown, work more than magic on the R&B-flavored “All I Ask,” another piano tune that immediately grabs your attention.
And that’s just it: “25” not only meets incredibly high expectations, it exceeds them.
Adele’s growth is best heard on “Million Years Ago,” a touching, soft song that is majestic and unforgettable.
“Sometimes I just feel it’s only me, who never became who they thought they’d be, I wish I could live a little more, look up to the sky, not just the floor,” she sings in her top-notch tone.
The 11-track album is not a far stretch from “21,” the singer’s best-selling 2011 album that helped her reach nearly impossible heights in contemporary music. “Love In the Dark,” written with Sia collaborator Samuel Dixon, is reminiscent of “Turning Tables” from “21”; she’s looking back on “When We Were Young,” which sounds like a pop classic; and the drum-filled “I Miss You” is eerie and moody — in a good way.
Even the top-selling single, “Hello,” continues to sound better and better after each listen.
“Hello, can you hear me?” she sings.
Yes, Adele. And we’re so glad we do.


Enya returns with ethereal style she’s made her own

Singer Enya poses for a photo in New York to promote her new album “Dark Sky Island.” (Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP)

David Bauder
New York (AP) - The Irish singer Eithne Ni Bhraonain — known to the world as Enya — has essentially created her own style of music and sold some 80 million CDs in three decades. Yet when she leaves a hotel after talking about her first new work in seven years, chances are she will walk Manhattan streets unnoticed.
It’s an enviable place to be in a celebrity-soaked world.
“As a musician, I love the fact that the success was on the music,” she said. “I always say that fame and success are two very different things. ... I had a choice — and not a lot of people have this choice — of whether to seek fame with this music or whether to stay back behind the music and let the music speak for itself. And, really, that’s what I did.”
Enya’s music re-entered the spotlight last week, with the release of “Dark Sky Island.” It debuted the same day another one-named powerhouse came out with her new album — Adele with her “25.”
The music industry will be watching to see in this era of streaming and sharing if Enya can replicate past success. Nielsen Music says she’s sold 23.8 million albums in the United States alone.
However, there is reason for added excitement: Enya fans are being teased with the possibility that the 54-year-old singer, who rarely sings in public, may actually be ready to take the stage.
“Performing is something I enjoy,” she said. “The way we put an album together is very much a performance feel. We’re trying to capture that live performance and that’s why I would know it would work on stage, and I would love to perform it.”
So why hasn’t she done so in the past?
“Time,” she said.
Making Enya’s music takes a lot of it. She sang in the family band Clannad in the 1980s until she, producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan, hit upon their signature style. A fan of producer Phil Spector and the Beach Boys, Nicky Ryan uses Enya’s voice as an instrument, piling vocal tracks on top of each other, usually on a bed of synthesizers. Often she sings in her native Gaelic and other languages, even fictional ones.
Enya often wonders if it bothers her fans not to understand what she’s singing about. “They all seem to pick up on the emotional performances of the song and seem to interpret their own emotions with the music,” she said.
She’s not fond of the term New Age, but it’s the category the Grammys have used to give her four awards.
Since the song “Orinico Flow” and album “Watermark” were hits in the late 1980s, Enya’s professional life has been consistent. She and the Ryans work as a team in an Irish studio. The music is meticulously crafted; sometimes Enya will record dozens, if not hundreds, of vocal tracks for a song, then erase them if the idea doesn’t gel. Each album takes a minimum of three years to make, with the gap before “Dark Sky Island” larger because she took time to travel.
At the first sign of success, Enya’s record company suggested a concert tour. Enya knew it would take a lot to present the music live — choirs, maybe an orchestra. Her cost-conscious company wanted something smaller, so instead she returned to the recording studio. A pattern was set and never broken.
“Once I start an album, that’s all I will focus on,” she said. “But as soon as I walk away, which was only recently, you start to think, ‘Is this the album that we finally follow with live performances?’ Because we have such a choice of songs from each album.”
She’s occasionally performed on television shows and describes the experience as “wonderful.”
Cameron Strang, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., her record label, admitted he was surprised when Enya raised the possibility of performances with the new record. “The assumption was that she wouldn’t be interested,” he said.
“We would love to see her tour,” he said. “I think that there might be some surprising moments coming for people, which we’re excited about.”


Update November 22, 2015

Film Review: A stoner who can smoke ‘em down in ‘American Ultra’

John Leguizamo (left) and Jesse Eisenberg are shown in a scene from “American Ultra.” (AP Photo/Lionsgate)

Jake Coyle
The likably awkward chemistry of Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg remains intact in “American Ultra,” a violent stoner action-comedy that’s half “Pineapple Express,” half “The Bourne Identity,” and not as good as either.
Stewart and Eisenberg, who starred together in the splendidly low-key summer comedy “Adventureland,” again come together as an appealing, mutually mop-headed tandem that matches Eisenberg’s stuttering unease with Stewart’s deadpan cool.
They play a flannel-wearing West Virginia couple, Mike and Phoebe, happy together despite Mike’s weed habit, perpetual apologizing and panic attacks from just about anything that upsets his seemingly innate inertia. Looking at a car that’s crashed into a tree, he wonders to Phoebe, placating and devoted, if he’s the tree and she’s the car.
The small-town, low-stakes drama of “American Ultra” is convincing in the beginning, thanks to the two stars. But it’s a setup.
Unbeknownst to Mike, a convenience store clerk, he’s an elite killing machine trained by the CIA, a decommissioned government experiment. Few in the movies would be a more unlikely secret agent than Eisenberg. Did the program include Michael Cera? Was Woody Allen in charge?
Switching to Langley, the film, directed by Nima Nourizadeh (“Project X”) and written by Max Landis (“Chronicle”), fills in the backstory. A petulant young agent (Topher Grace) has risen in the ranks and now wants to eliminate evidence of the experiment that gave Mike his secret talents, overseen by Connie Britton’s more sympathetic Victoria Lasseter.
To prevent her former student’s death, she sneaks to the convenience store and activates Mike with a few code words. When a handful of thugs come to kill him, Mike is astounded to find himself expertly stabbing one with a spoon. Afterward, he cowers behind a lamppost, looking at the bloody wreckage: “I have, like, a lot of anxiety about this,” he tells Phoebe.
Much mayhem ensues, surprisingly violent and cartoonish in its extremes. The small town comes entirely under siege. “American Ultra” is a stoner’s paranoia come to life. A toothless Walton Goggins joins the strong ensemble as the nuttiest of the CIA’s small army, along with John Leguizamo as a local drug dealer.
The assembled talent could use more character development and a little more wit in place of the sadistic, fun-draining comic-book action scenes that increasingly co-opts the comedy, which is too dependent on the eventually tiresome joke of Eisenberg as action hero.
But “American Ultra” has its simple genre charms, thanks significantly to its entertaining cast and leading pair. Stewart, in particular, looks like she’s punching below her weight class. As is often the case, Stewart’s the best thing in the movie. And she and Eisenberg remain lazy losers we can love, Bonnie and Clyde for a more laid-back generation.
“American Ultra,” a Lionsgate release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexual content.” Running time: 96 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


Jolie Pitt turns grief over mom’s death into ‘By the Sea’

Angelina Jolie Pitt arrives at the 2015 AFI Fest opening night premiere of “By The Sea” on Thursday, Nov. 5, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Sandy Cohen
Los Angeles (AP)
- “By the Sea” is a very personal film for Angelina Jolie Pitt — and not just because it reunites her onscreen with her husband, Brad Pitt. It’s not even because she wrote, directed, produced and stars in the film.
“By the Sea” is personal because it was inspired by the grief of losing her mother in 2007, Jolie Pitt said at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles earlier this month.
She started writing it when she was missing her mother, without knowing exactly what she was creating.
“When you write something from a blank page, it’s very hard to say, ‘This is important,’ because you don’t know: It’s your own life. It’s your own depression. It’s your own questions about your mother. Grief. Where to put your pain,” Jolie Pitt said. “For me, it was important to try to do it. And it was important to try to do it for my mother. It was important for myself. And it was wonderful to work with Brad, and for us to be able to get through it together, because we tested ourselves to see if we could do something like this together.”
“By the Sea” is a slow, quiet drama about a wealthy American couple on a French seaside retreat. Roland (Pitt) is there to write, but mostly just ends up drinking. Vanessa (Jolie Pitt) is there to relax, but ends up grumping around and popping pills. They avoid each other and their relationship is clearly strained. Their dynamic begins to change when they befriend (and secretly spy on) a newlywed couple on their honeymoon.
The camera lingers on Roland’s lean frame and Vanessa’s face and figure.
As in 2005’s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” the two stars play a married pair facing serious relationship challenges. Only this time, the actors relied on the strength of their real-life relationship to do it.
“It’s really no different than trying to get the kids to bed at night,” Pitt said. “I mean, you know, it’s a tag team, Ultimate Wrestling kind of endeavor. And here on set, again, we’re working together and solving problems and making the thing work and figuring it out. And there’s just a great collaboration. She’s just, she’s my wife.”
As for being directed by his spouse?
“She’s very decisive. She’s really intuitive,” Pitt said. “Her instincts are really good with stories. So, I really trust her when she redirects a scene.”
Jolie Pitt loved working with her husband, too.
“You’re going to have a long life ahead of you and you’ve got to shake it up and, sometimes, it’s really wonderful to test yourselves, to push each other,” she said. “I talked to (actress) Gena Rowlands. She was talking before, and how she and (director-husband) John (Cassavetes) would take the rubber band and you stretch it as far as you can. And this is a part of marriage and this is wonderful. So, that I loved. And that was what we did.”


Pattaya Music Festival going ‘international’ again in 2016

UrasinKhantaraphan
Pattaya plans to re-introduce the word “international” to its annual music festival next year, inviting 10 artists from Southeast Asian neighbors to celebrate the start of the Asean Economic Community.
A budget of 25 million baht has been set aside for the March 18-20 festival with musical acts from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam tentatively set to perform.
At a Nov. 3 planning meeting, city officials and business leaders discussed optimal locations for three stages, with the decision made to place them at the Dusit curve, Central Festival Pattaya Beach and at the mouth of Walking Street.
Authorities will make sure that there is plenty of space for food stalls, small product shops and tight security as well.
One highlight of the event will feature the Dutch Swing College Band, a band that has proved very popular in Pattaya during their previous performances. Other than that, many different styles of music will be available, including world, country, and rock music.
Once a staple of the annual music fest, international acts were dropped several years ago as the event downsized following 2011’s devastating floods and delays caused in 2012 by a royal funeral and Songkran.


Update November 14, 2015

‘Spectre’ stirs, doesn’t shake old Bond formulas

Daniel Craig is shown in a scene from the James Bond film, “Spectre.” (Jonathan Olley/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions via AP)

Jake Coyle
Los Angeles (AP)
- Where to go when 53 years of action-scene set pieces have exhausted seemingly every exotic corner of the Earth? How much globe can a globe-trotter trot?
The answer kicking off the latest James Bond film, “Spectre,” is a doozy. Beginning with the words “the dead are alive” across the screen, director Sam Mendes opens on a long shot through the Day of the Dead in Mexico City, tracking Bond (Daniel Craig), masked but unmissable in a skeleton costume, through the festive throngs. He ushers a woman (Stephanie Sigman) out of the masses and into her bed, only to disrobe into a suit, step out the window and stride down the ledge. Finally spying his real prey, explosions follow, walls collapse and the resulting chase spins into a helicopter careening over a mobbed Zocalo Square.
It’s a sequence of such startling audacity (some 1,500 extra were used) and gorgeous black-on-sepia tones that a nagging desire to hit “rewind” persists through the rest of “Spectre.” Handsome and riveting as it often is, the film never again reaches such heights.
It’s not for lack of effort. Mendes, who helmed the last entry, the smash “Skyfall,” has raised the bar on 007, pushing the budgets and the grandiosity in a bid to not just reinvent the franchise but overwhelm it with eye-popping craft.
“Spectre” is Craig’s fourth Bond movie and his muscular tenure has been defined not just by his full embodiment of the character, but his overall stewardship. His ability to attract top-notch talent, in front and behind the camera, and to imbue the spy series with a seriousness of purpose reads in every frame. His Bond may still sip martinis, but he’s stone-cold sober.
Having ushered 007 through the Eva Green highs of “Casino Royale,” the overwrought lows of “Quantum of Solace” and the climactic extravagance of “Skyfall,” ‘’Spectre” finds Craig’s Bond pursuing the videotaped orders of Judi Dench’s late M in a more traditional 007 plot. Her instructions lead him to a shadowy international criminal organization led by a longtime Bond villain, Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz).
The pursuit skirts the snowy peaks of Austria, the cloak-and-danger cobblestones of Rome and the Mediterranean maze of Tangier, with enough corresponding outfit changes to stock a runway show. Bond is operating outside of MI5, where new head Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) is overhauling the intelligence services with digital surveillance that he says will render the old-fashioned 00 program obsolete.
The surveillance reference is a mostly shallow attempt at political depth. But such self-aware conflicts between new and old now constantly bounce throughout Bond films. The mythology, fearful of showing its age, is perpetually torn down and built back up again like an ever-rebooting superhero. Every gesture (and drink order) is a winking comment on 007 traditions; even the opening recalls the New Orleans funeral march of “Live and Let Die.” When it works, it’s refreshing; when it doesn’t, it’s merely repackaging.
“Spectre,” scripted by John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, feels more like the latter. For the first time, all of Craig’s reinvention hasn’t carried Bond all that much further than where the spy always was — especially when it comes to the women that adorn “Spectre.”
First there’s Monica Belluci as the widow of the man Bond kills in Mexico City. He sleeps with her after picking her up at the funeral. She’s quickly dispatched for Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), whose family connections bring Bond closer to the elusive Oberhauser.
Seydoux, the French actress of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” gives the film a jolt, but the romance between Swann and Bond is slight and the character is little more than Bond’s usual love interest. That said, the seductive Seydoux and the sinewy Craig make an attractive pair. When they eventually arrive at a remote Sahara outpost, they could really just stay there, handsomely smoldering in the dry heat like a Hemingway couple.
What’s missing most is the steely spine of Dench. The off-kilter menace of Waltz would seem perfectly suited for “Spectre,” but his scenes pale in comparison with Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva in “Skyfall.”
Also with big shoes to fill is cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, stepping in for Roger Deakins. He surrounds the film with shadows and reflective mirrors, ably capturing Craig’s slinky stride in any locale.
“Spectre,” a Sony Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language.” Running time: 148 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


Update November 7, 2015

Film Review: ‘Sicario’ a searing, sad portrait of border drug war

Actress Emily Blunt is shown as Kate Macer in a scene from the film “Sicario.” (Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Lionsgate via AP)

Sandy Cohen
Los Angeles (AP)
- The billion-dollar drug trade along the U.S.-Mexico border is so bloody and lawless, the line between right and wrong has become impossibly blurred.
Such is the dilemma in “Sicario,” a grisly, disturbing portrait of the malignance and corruption inherent in the war on drugs.
Troubling, sad and deeply compelling, this film succeeds on every level: story, performance, music and photography. But the subject and perspective are grim.
In his debut screenplay, Taylor Sheridan (best known for his recurring role on “Sons of Anarchy”) explores the complicated legal and moral territory tread by officials on both sides of the border. A Texas native, he visited northern Mexico often as a kid and wanted to examine the anarchic violence that now reigns there. He found a rocky landscape where even the most righteous can find themselves doing wrong.
Director Denis Villeneuve skillfully brings Sheridan’s story to life, setting finely tuned performances to a cacophonous soundtrack under Roger Deakins’ masterful lens to create a searing and timely thriller.
Kate (Emily Blunt) is a by-the-books FBI agent invited to join a covert operation after discovering a house full of corpses owned by a Mexican drug cartel. On board the secret mission, she meets cocky government agent Matt (Josh Brolin) and mysterious operative Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), both of whom willingly bend the law as their needs dictate.
Told she’ll be traveling to El Paso, Texas, Kate is whisked into Juarez, Mexico, the drug cartels’ blood-spattered battleground, where headless bodies hang from bridges and gunfire rattles as background noise. She’s hoping to arrest those responsible for the murders of the people in that house, but Alejandro and Matt have bigger plans: They want the cartel kingpin, and they’re not trying to arrest him.
Complicating things further, Kate learns that Alejandro doesn’t represent the U.S. government, but works for the Colombian drug cartels, which stand to benefit from a shutdown in Mexico’s business. He is vengeful and focused, cryptic and poetic. To him, finding the cartel boss “would be like discovering a vaccine” to the addiction, death and corruption drugs cause.
Curiosity and duty obligate Kate to continue the mission, to see how deep the trouble goes. She desperately clings to her notions of justice as order unravels around her.
Blunt and Del Toro each act with their eyes, which is perfect here. Hers alternately convey interest, anxiety and determination. His half-mast glance says Alejandro has seen more than he wanted to. As the story progresses, Alejandro’s personal connection to the cartels becomes more clear, blurring the shades of gray even more.
Deakins’ breathtaking photography is all about darkness and light and the space between the two, a perfect visual expression of the story’s theme. Dust in a beam of light somehow bodes ominously. The shadow of a plane, tiny against Mexico’s vast desert, speaks to the scope of the war on drugs. At times, the audience sees through grainy security cameras and thermal-imaging goggles. After 11 nominations, let this be the film that finally brings Deakins his Oscar.
The sense of doom in “Sicario” also comes through in Johann Johannsson’s foreboding score, which goes from industrial grating to sounding like a fog horn with bad intentions.
Villeneuve has crafted a compelling, unflinching look at the deadly and complicated war on drugs sure to challenge even the most straight-edged and law-abiding viewers, showing that what’s right and wrong isn’t always so clear.
The director will take on that theme again in his next film, the sequel to “Blade Runner.” ‘’Sicario” says he’s ready.
“Sicario,” a Lionsgate release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “for strong violence, grisly images, and language.” Running time: 121 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.


Daniel Craig won’t say whether ‘Spectre’ is his 007 swansong

Daniel Craig. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

London (AP) - Is “Spectre” Daniel Craig’s Bond swansong?
We’ll have to wait and see.
The British actor makes his fourth appearance as suave secret agent 007 in the Sam Mendes-directed film, which had its world premiere in London last week.
Speculation has swirled that it will be Craig’s last film as James Bond ever since the actor told Time Out magazine that he would only make another Bond movie “for the money.”
But in answer to the rumours, Craig said that “I love making these films.”
Asked by Britain’s Press Association about returning to Bond, Craig joked: “Do I have a choice?”
Bond battles a shadowy international conspiracy in “Spectre,” which stars Oscar winner Christoph Waltz as 007’s nemesis. The film opens in Thailand on Nov 5.


DiCaprio finds joy in Macau project with De Niro, Scorsese

(From left) film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese pose for photos during a launching ceremony of the Studio City project in Macau, Tuesday, Oct. 27. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Macau (AP) - Leonardo DiCaprio says being able to work with his two cinematic father figures on a short film commissioned for the opening of a Macau casino resort was “a slice of heaven.”
He spoke in the Asian gambling mecca ahead of last week’s debut of “The Audition,” which also stars Robert De Niro and was directed by Martin Scorsese, who also attended the press briefing.
DiCaprio said that “for me the great joy was finally getting to be on set with both of these guys.”
“To be able to have scenes with Bob and being directed by Marty is a small slice of heaven for me as an actor,” DiCaprio said. He described the two as like his “fathers in the world of cinema.”
The 15-minute film’s premiere is part of the star-studded lineup to launch Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.’s Hollywood-themed Studio City resort in Macau. The casino’s ability to draw such star power attests to the rising influence of the special Chinese region, which has grown into the world’s top gambling market.
Scorsese described the film as “reality-based with some humor.” The plot has DiCaprio and De Niro invited to Macau by Scorsese to compete for the same part in a movie. Brad Pitt also appears in the film but did not attend the opening.
Scorsese has directed multiple films with DiCaprio or De Niro, but “The Audition” marks the first time the three, along with Pitt, have collaborated.
Producer Brett Ratner said he hoped that the short could be turned into a feature film.
“It’s just a teaser. We come to Macau, Marty comes here, lives at the hotel for three months, six months and we make a big event movie,” he said.


Q&A: On new album, Bocelli celebrates the music of movies

Andrea Bocelli poses for a portrait in New York, Oct. 29, 2015. (Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP)

Jocelyn Noveck
New York (AP)
- Andrea Bocelli’s new album “Cinema,” a collection of songs from movies, is the culmination of a longtime dream.
The classically inspired singer fell in love with many songs as a child that he didn’t know came from the movies.
Now he has gone back to his childhood memories and recorded some of those songs, including classics like “Moon River” and “Cheek to Cheek.” Pop star Ariana Grande also appears on the song “E piu ti penso.”
Bocelli, fresh off a performance for Pope Francis in Philadelphia and ahead of a U.S. tour in December, sat down with The Associated Press to discuss the album and more last week.
AP: Why an album of movie songs?
Bocelli: The music of the movies is a very inspired and free and beautiful music. It’s a music of freedom — like a big field where the composers can gather and run wherever they want. And, finally, it is inspired by emotion.
AP: You’ve had a real crossover career — alternating between classical and pop music. Is there a big difference in how you approach the different forms of singing?
Bocelli: I do my best in order to be a good inspiration for many people. There is a difference from the point of view of expression. Because when you sing opera you are very far from the people, you are onstage, and between you and the people there is the orchestra. So you have to launch your emotions very, very far. When you sing pop, you are singing very close — the microphone is very close to your mouth. You can whisper your emotions into the microphone.
AP: What’s your favorite movie song?
Bocelli: There are many masterpieces. I love very much for example “Moon River” (from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”) But I can’t choose, it wouldn’t be fair.
AP: You recently sang for Pope Francis in Philadelphia. What was that experience like?
Bocelli: The pope is a very special man. (Even) apart from religion, he’s a wonderful soul.
AP: Did your children inherit a love of music from you? Can it be inherited?
Bocelli: Virginia, the last (youngest) one, sings every day. All day. The other two study piano. I think you do (inherit it), but also there’s the possibility of educating people to listen to music. Because if you don’t have the possibility of listening to music, you can’t know if you love it.
AP: If you hadn’t become a singer, what career would you have chosen?
Bocelli: I studied law, and I was ready to be a lawyer in my country (Italy). Probably it is better for many clients that I changed my direction! But I was happy to study and I was a good student, I finished my studies. And everything that you learn is useful in life.


Bieber quits concert because fans won’t listen to him

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) - Canadian pop star Justin Bieber says he stopped a concert in Oslo after one song because fans got in his way as he tried to wipe up liquid on stage.
On Instagram, he wrote that he “chose to end the show as the people in the front row would not listen.” Videos posted on social media show a visibly irritated Bieber saying “Gimme a second. Guys, I am done. I am not gonna do the show.”
The 21-year-old singer removed his cap and headset as he walked off the stage at Oslo’s Chateau Neuf concert hall before some 1,000 screaming fans.
Bieber, who earlier last week quit a radio show in Spain, blamed a rough week, saying “I don’t always handle things the right way but I’m human.”
 


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Bieber quits concert because fans won’t listen to him


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