Entertainment wRap: Film flops, musical protests

MANILA, Philippines – Here are some entertainment news from the week of July 22 to 28.

French actress Bernadette Lafont dies at 74

FACE OF FRENCH NEW WAVE. Bernadette Lafont passed away on July 25FACE OF FRENCH NEW WAVE. Bernadette Lafont passed away on July 25

Veteran actress Bernadette Lafont, the face of France’s New Wave cinema in the 1950s, died Thursday, July 25, in Nimes at the age of 74.

Lafont, who starred in some 120 films, was hospitalized on July 22, after falling ill.

The actress, whose career spanned more than 50 years, recently appeared in Julie Delpy’s 2011 film “Le Skylab.” She started her career with French New Wave filmmakers Francois Truffaut and Claude Chabrol and went on to work with Louis Malle, Nelly Kaplan, and Jean Eustache, among others.

Watch the trailer for “Le Skylab” here:

R.I.P.D. newest US box office flop

Supernatural film “R.I.P.D.,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, took $12.7 million, under 10% of its $130 million budget. The film earned far below what it needed to break even, much like previous big budget box office flops “Jack the Giant Slayer,” “After Earth,” and “The Lone Ranger.”

Here’s the trailer of R.I.P.D.:

“Lone Ranger and RIPD are probably the biggest disappointments as they don’t have much upside internationally,” said Jeff Bock of industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Meanwhile, the horror film “The Conjuring” scared off competition, earning $41.9 million, more than 3 times its $13 million budget.

Veteran filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had earlier warned of a “meltdown” in releasing films in movie theaters.

“There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm,” said Spielberg in June.

Bock believes, however, that this lackluster in original films will only serve to fuel sequels.

Jackson’s mother weeps in court

HEATED EXCHANGE. 'They watched him waste away,' said Katherine JacksonHEATED EXCHANGE. ‘They watched him waste away,’ said Katherine Jackson

Michael Jackson’s 83-year-old mother wept in court on Monday, July 22, after she lashed out at AEG Live promoters, accusing them of letting her son “waste away” before his death in 2009.

“They watched him waste away,” said Katherine Jackson. “They could have called me. He was asking for his father. My grandson told me that his daddy was nervous and scared.”

Jackson also accused AEG Live of pushing her son too hard durng rehearsals in Los Angeles for his comeback concert series, “This Is It,” and of negligently hiring doctor Conrad Murray to look after the pop singer.

Her weeping was cut short when AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam began grilling her about her son’s reported debt and their “family intervention” with regards to Michael’s drug abuse.

The Jackson family matriarch also rebuffed the question about how much money she wanted in damages, saying: “You can talk to my lawyers about that.”

The heated exchange had Katherine Jackson in a state of confusion. Putnam repeated several questions that Jackson, speaking in a barely audible voice, said she didn’t understand or couldn’t remember.

Sharon Stone in environmental musical

THE FUTURE WE WANT. Sharon Stone plays storyteller in a Gorbachev inspired musicalTHE FUTURE WE WANT. Sharon Stone plays storyteller in a Gorbachev inspired musical

Hollywood actress Sharon Stone and musician Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) will take part in a musical honoring Green Cross International, an environmental group founded by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The musical, “2050: The Future We Want,” will be performed at the United Nations in Geneva on September 3, marking the group’s 20th anniversary. Here, Stone will function as the storyteller, showing how to act on challenges such as climate change and poverty.

Stone and Islam will be joined by a cast of 40 youths from all over the globe, as well as a 100-member choir.

Green Cross International was founded by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to address issues regarding the environment, poverty, and armed conflict.

Organizers aim to make the show available to schools and organizations after the September 3 performance.

Creative protest in Russia and Spain

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Acclaimed violinist Gidon Kremer gathers artists to fight for human rightsTO RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Acclaimed violinist Gidon Kremer gathers artists to fight for human rights

Star violinist Gidon Kremer has invited the biggest names in classical music to perform a concert with him in Berlin to draw attention to human rights in Russia.

The concert, entitled “To Russia with Love,” will be held on October 7 at Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall.

The 66-year-old Latvian violinist told the German daily “Die Welt” he was “very concerned that more and more freedoms that we take for granted – such as freedom of speech and artistic freedom – are being curtailed in Russia.”

Kremer said the two-year jail sentence imposed on feminist punk-protest band Pussy Riot was “unjust and disproportionate.”

Kremer declined to name names, but said he could not understand the position of artists who support the regime.

“As an artist, it’s not only my right, but also my duty to show my true colors and draw attention to such problems.”

Meanwhile, in Spain, punk, hiphop, and flamenco reign as the forms of protest.

DANCING IN THE STREETS. Flamenco as protest formDANCING IN THE STREETS. Flamenco as protest form

After five years of on-and-off recession, punk rock has found an enthusiastic audience in the working class Madrid suburb of Vallecas.

Dressed in black, young fans let loose on the dance floor, before a band rampaging through “Familia y real,” its anthem against Spain’s monarchy.

“It is a very direct form of music, which deals with social issues,” says Diego, a member of the local band Oferta Especial.

“A lot of our songs are about how bad the job situation is, and the political system that we don’t believe in. We try to focus the songs on our own experiences: being unemployed, earning no money, having to pay the mortgage.”

At the hip hop end of the spectrum, June saw the release of a new album by Mala Rodriguez, the Grammy-winning princess of Spanish rap.

The album single, “La Rata,” refers to what she calls a “crisis of values” in the country.

“I have heard a lot of musicians in Spain who are politically engaged and not afraid to express their anger,” Rodriguez told AFP.

“Right know, in hard times, when things are tight, you see who is armed for the fight.”

But Beatriz G. Aranda, editor of the Spanish edition of “Rolling Stone” magazine, described these protests as “naive and individualistic.”

“The protest song has taken on pejorative connotations in Spain and that has not helped,” she said.

Chico Ocaña, an Andalusian musician, says he plans to release a new album of protest songs later this year, inspired by the flamenco.

This time, Aranda affirmed this strand of protest. “Flamenco, like rock, is a music form created by those excluded and marginalized in a capitalist society. Flamenco has been politically engaged since the beginning.” – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Bernadette Lafont, Sharon Stone photos by Featureflash, Flamenco dancing photo by Maljalen, Katherine Jackson photo by Jaguar PS, Gidon Kremer photo by Sergey Petrov all from Shutterstock