Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
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This article was published 14/6/2014 (2300 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Big release: Jersey Boys (Friday)
Big picture: Their explosive stardom foreshadowed Beatlemania. Led by Frankie Valli's falsetto and Tommy DeVito's lead guitar, 1960s pop quartet the Four Seasons became overnight sensations. Their biography also become a hit Broadway musical, so a movie adaptation was inevitable. Clint Eastwood directs but thankfully doesn't sing (though I would pay good money to see him sign on for Dirty Harry: The Musical). Jersey Boys is a musical drama that takes us through the group members' personal and professional trials -- from gambling debts and Mafia threats to jealousy and romantic rivalries. But the fact the acclaimed group took their name from a hotel sign has given me a brilliant idea. Maybe my genre-bending polka-punk band will finally take off if I rename it something like Chateau Laurier, Banff Spring or Travelodge.
Forecast: As the Four Seasons sang, Big Girls Don't Cry. Neither do big-name directors. Eastwood directing a musical co-starring Christopher Walken as a mobster mixed up with the band -- how can we say no? I only hope Walken pulls a line out of his famous Saturday Night Live sketch and asks these Jersey Boys for "more cowbell." Also expect Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire) to play scene-stealer as Tommy.
Honourable mention: Think Like a Man Too. The last time a sequel spelled out the word "too" was 1990's Look Who's Talking Too. We all know how well that worked out for the careers of John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. All I can say is good luck to Regina Hall, Kevin Hart and the rest of this cast.
Big event: Rising Star (June 22, ABC/CTV, 8 p.m.)
Big picture: It's like The Gong Show, only you hold the bell. Reality television may bring out the judgmental worst in us, but now it can bring those demons out in "real time." Now you get to be the judge, jury and executioner as music hopefuls stand powerless onstage. Real-time voting on Rising Star's free app determines which contestants advance. The show is hosted by Josh Groban, while Brad Paisley, Ludacris and Kesha serve as a panel of experts. (I assume most of Kesha's advice for success will involve vodka benders, glitter baths and forgetting where you left your pants.) "I'm talking about instant gratification," Ludacris says in a promo. It might as well be the catchphrase of the Internet age. If voters are lucky enough, their faces will appear in a giant wall of screens that rises if a contestant advances. It's like the wall from Game of Thrones, only the wildlings on the other side are viewers at home.
Forecast: My prediction? Next summer will bring us Rising Star: Shark Tank, in which viewers can drop singing contestants into tanks of shark-infested water from the comfort of home.
Honourable mention: Defiance (Thursday, Showcase, 9 p.m.); True Blood (June 22, HBO, 8 p.m.). The sci-fi drama Defiance returns for Season 2. Various species of one-time alien invaders live alongside their former human foes. What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile, True Blood returns for a final season of blood, bodies and booty. With crazed vampires infected with hep V on the loose, the government abandons Bon Temps, and the townsfolk -- supernatural and human alike -- turn on one another. That doesn't mean there won't be a healthy mix of sex between fairies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires and humans. The only thing left to guess at will be the bedroom combos.
Big releases Tuesday: Jennifer Lopez (A.K.A.); Jill Barber (Fool's Gold)
Big picture: She's back. Jennifer Lopez, a.k.a. half of the former Bennifer, that reality-TV judge who used to be a singer, that singer who used to be in the movies, and, of course, Jenny from the Block. Meanwhile, ever-creative Canadian chanteuse Jill Barber delivers another timeless album. This time her husky alto is infused by the ghosts of Motown and classic country.
Forecast: Even if it is fool's gold, a new Barber album is always reason for music lovers to celebrate. Her voice will leave you spellbound, no matter what genre she is toying with. As for Lopez, I think she should start dating Ben Kingsley or Ben Barnes -- any Ben, really. A new age of Bennifer is her best trip back to the top of the charts. That said, I think I can speak for all musical historians when I say they wait in rapt anticipation to hear Lopez's new track Booty, featuring Pitbull.
Honourable mention: The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer (A Real Fine Mess); Corb Lund (Counterfeit Blues); Swollen Members (Brand New Day). A trifecta of true Canadian talent this week. The first, a Vancouver duo, is my pick for best new band name (plus their bluesy garage rock is damn fine). Also on hand, Albertan country rebel Lund sticks to his roots. Finally, hip hop's Swollen Members return with their ninth studio album. They win my award for "band name most likely conceived at a strip club."
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