Good day from New York, where the Empire State Building was turned red last night for the midterm election results, on account of the Republicans winning the Senate. Onto things less disappointing…
* After years of build-up and months of hype, Interstellar is releasing on the big screen this weekend, and there is great excitement around that (you can join in a live Google hang-out today to see the cast talk about it). But Big Hero 6, the latest animated film from Disney, is also releasing, and while it isn’t ground-breaking like Christopher Nolan’s film is, I’ve been looking forward to seeing the not-your-average robot Baymax and his human friend Hiro in a full-length movie since the trailer released. The film had its LA premiere last night, ahead of this weekend’s opening.
* From one kind of robot to another, the Chappie trailer was posted yesterday, as promised. It’s positioned as a coming-of-age story with a difference – our protagonist is a robot, played by Sharlto Copley, who’s learning what it means to be human, thanks to his creator, played by Dev Patel, and Die Antwoord’s Yo-landi and Ninja. Mullet-haired Hugh Jackman, who wants to see the robot destroyed, is a highlight, as is the part where Chappie does the He-Man signature move that so many of us growing up with Masters of the Universe cartoons used to do. I also like that he has ears, making him a little more human-like in appearance. The film rolls out onto the big screen next March.
* Speaking of Die Antwoord…the duo also released their latest music video, which features cameos from Dita von Teese, Jack Black, Carla Delevingne, Marilyn Manson (fresh from his Beautiful People shenanigans on stage with Johnny Depp and Ninja in LA this past weekend). It’s directed by Ninja and not as hardcore as many of the other videos – which is saying a lot considering there is a lot of blood in this one. The video I’m really digging right now though, is Kendrick Lamar’s one for i. Give me dancing Mr Lamar any day!
* The fantastic Carnegie Hall Ubuntu series comes to an end this evening, with a tribute to Miriam Makeba, South Africa’s late, great singer who drew attention to the struggle in apartheid South Africa when she spoke at the UN in the ’60s. Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the event will feature Angelique Kidjo, as well as British singer Laura Mvula, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and Makeba’s back-up singers, among others, paying homage to the woman we fondly remember as Mama Africa. I wrote about the series for City Press newspaper. I’ll be forever indebted to Carnegie for providing me and other South Africans with an antidote to homesickness over the past few weeks.
* It’s heeeere! Guardians of the Galaxy earned so much pre-opening buzz and box office mojo that the filmmakers announced at Comic Con last week it would be getting a sequel, before it even screened at cinemas. The film opens in the US, and the rest of the world today, so this weekend should be spent in the Marvel Expanded Universe – with Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Groot (Vin Diesel), Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Batista).
* Lollapalooza hits Chicago this weekend. Headliners Eminem, Outkast and Arctic Monkeys will play alongside the likes of Phantogram, Bleachers, Chrvches and those South African-born rockers Kongos.
* Kendrick Lamar will present a short film inspired by his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city as part of the first Sundance NEXT Fest, which has been created to showcase budding directors and artists at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Made by The 14-minute film was made by Khalil Joseph who won acclaim for his 2012 collaboration with Flying Lotus, Until the Quiet Comes. The rapper has also, according to reports, been working on new music for a follow-up to his debut.
* Lorde has a new task ahead of her – curating the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 movie, plus coming up with a song for the lead single off the album. Should keep the 17-year-old Grammy winner busy for the next few weeks.
* And in case you missed it, the trailer for Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman will leave you excitedly awaiting the opening night of the New York Film Festival, when the movie premieres. Michael Keaton looks like he’s nailed it as a washed-up actor, who once played a superhero, trying to make his comeback through a Broadway play. The music, the imagery, the white underpants – bring on October!