‘Jason Bourne’ in 3D is making moviegoers in China nauseous

In China, where 80 percent of movie theaters built in the last 10 years have 3D projectors, movie studios often release “exclusive,” three-dimensional adaptations of movies that won’t actually see a 3D release stateside. While that can be lucrative f…

In China, where 80 percent of movie theaters built in the last 10 years have 3D projectors, movie studios often release "exclusive," three-dimensional adaptations of movies that won't actually see a 3D release stateside. While that can be lucrative f…

Sneak A Peek At The Human Prince In ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Remake

If May’s enigmatic teaser trailer for Disney’s upcoming live-action “Beauty and the Beast” left you frustrated and dying to know more, you’re in luck.

Producer Jack Morrissey posted several images on social media Friday that give us some more insight on what the film will look like, including “concept art” for Lumiere and Cogsworth — who will be played by Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellan, respectively.

Actor Josh Gad, who plays Gaston’s sidekick LeFou, shared one image on Instagram of Gaston (Luke Evans) and a crowd at the village lodge.

Gosh it disturbs me to see you Gaston…

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on Aug 26, 2016 at 4:27pm PDT

And Twitter user @maconodom put together a side-by-side illustrating that the beast in human form, played by Dan Stevens, is pretty spot-on in terms of resemblance to the animated movie.

WOO pic.twitter.com/CKsD9zm0fB

— mac (@maconodom) August 26, 2016

We have to admit, the pics look pretty good, and the gnarled features and mournful expressions of Lumiere and Cogsworth really convey the sadness of two dudes trapped in home furnishings.

Can’t wait for another magical musical tribute to Stockholm Syndrome!

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

If May’s enigmatic teaser trailer for Disney’s upcoming live-action “Beauty and the Beast” left you frustrated and dying to know more, you’re in luck.

Producer Jack Morrissey posted several images on social media Friday that give us some more insight on what the film will look like, including “concept art” for Lumiere and Cogsworth — who will be played by Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellan, respectively.

Actor Josh Gad, who plays Gaston’s sidekick LeFou, shared one image on Instagram of Gaston (Luke Evans) and a crowd at the village lodge.

Gosh it disturbs me to see you Gaston…

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on

And Twitter user @maconodom put together a side-by-side illustrating that the beast in human form, played by Dan Stevens, is pretty spot-on in terms of resemblance to the animated movie.

We have to admit, the pics look pretty good, and the gnarled features and mournful expressions of Lumiere and Cogsworth really convey the sadness of two dudes trapped in home furnishings.

Can’t wait for another magical musical tribute to Stockholm Syndrome!

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

INTERVIEW: Tika Sumpter & Parker Sawyers Talk <i>Southside With You</i>

The new film Southside With You, now in theaters, presents a novel twist on the tried-and-true “date movie” genre by presenting a fictionalized account of the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama as imagined by writer/director Richard Tanne.

Long before entering the White House for two terms was even a blink in either of their eyes, they were two bright and vivacious up-and-comers in the Chicago legal scene, and the film’s charming tale of two people discovering they’re perfect for each would be engaging even if we didn’t know the real world history that was to unfold following the end credits.

Playing the future First Couple are actors Tika Sumpter (who also produced the film) and Parker Sawyers, and they’re easy chemistry both onscreen and off helps make Southside With You such a pleasing diversion. I had a chance to talk to the pair during their recent swing through San Francisco, and here are some excerpts of our conversation:

Tika, you’ve been involved since the inception of the project. Why this story?

Tika: For me, it was the script. It had heart. It was charming. It was smart. At first I only saw the synopsis, and I thought whoever wrote the synopsis is really smart. The perspective is really cool. And to see, we know who they are now but what was the origin of that? What could it have been? That was interesting to me. And I just thought, it was a cool leading lady role.

Someone who is complex and confident. And it wasn’t a romantic film where a woman is chasing after a guy. But she’s actually the prize. And that they’re walking in each others’ shoes and they’re seeing themselves through somebody else. I just thought there was a lot there, and I wanted to do it. So I wanted to create it and make it happen.

Parker, what’s your initial reaction to this script? Are you overwhelmed by how to portray this character or are you excited by the possibility?

Parker: My initial reaction when I got the script, I didn’t understand it. Like, I didn’t know how this would be made in 2015. I thought, I was like, “Man, they’re just talking or walking but there’s no conflict.” But then, as I dug further, and one of the greatest things about the project as an actor is that we had to find nuances in a three, four page dialogue where we’re just walking and talking. I said, “Well where’s the conflict? Where’s the turn? The give and the pull and the push?”

And then I fell more in love with it just as an exercise in acting. But as far as playing the president, or the future president, I don’t know. If you just focus on the script and focus on who they are, 28 and 25. Lawyer, law student. They have so many things going on already that that’s all I have to focus on. “Oh, I have to study to make sure my school loans are in order. I have to clean my house before my grandmother comes.” That kind of thing. “And then I got to go pick up this girl and I got to make a good impression.”

So then, yeah, then the pressure is a little off because you’re just focusing on the guy.

Obviously the Obamas exist as sort of larger than life figures. What did you learn about them that is not necessarily as well known?

Tika: I didn’t know that Michelle’s family was as close as they were. I didn’t know that she, in high school, she went to this magnet high school kind of thing. And I didn’t know that somebody told her that Princeton wasn’t for her. She modeled too. People in Chicago, everybody has that Obama or Michelle story. They’re like, “I used to see her running every morning.”

And she didn’t wear a lot of makeup and her hair was just pulled back and just the simplicity of these two people who, they didn’t know they were going to, well I don’t think, they didn’t know they were going to get to this level of things. And I don’t know if she even wanted to get to that.

And how can you even imagine that, “Oh, one day…”

Tika: That’s such a big dream. I’m sure they had big dreams but that’s like…

That’s the biggest.

Tika: You’re running in the morning in the South Side and it’s like, “Oh yeah, presidency.” You’re not really probably thinking about that. But it was the simple things about her family. I think one story in A Game of Character, that her brother wrote, is her mom and dad, here and there would smoke cigarettes together and they didn’t like that.

They were afraid of losing their parents to a cigarette, cancer or whatever. And they went and smashed up all of their cigarettes and everything like that. Just little stories like that informed me about who they were. Just family.

Parker: Yeah, for me it’s family as well, for Barack Obama. And well, the absence of a family, like a foundation, I suppose. How he moved around from Hawaii to Indonesia and back to Hawaii. Went to school at Occidental and then to Columbia and essentially was by himself. And I think he, I believe he said Columbia, you just sat inside and read books. And really just escaped.

But such a formidable person came out of that that it’s fascinating to me like just the brain that must have been, like a self-correcting, a self-acquisition, a self-psychiatrist almost. Self-therapeutic. Just sort of, “Alright, well who am I and how do I turn that into something good?”

That’s the insight that I found in a young Barack Obama which explains who he is now and explains why he can walk around so confident at 28 and talk to this girl. And so and I wanted to root his confidence and charisma in something. Not just because he’s…

Tika: Cool.

Parker: …cocky and arrogant but in college he’s like, “No, I can do this. I can do that. I can do this. I can do this. Therefore, I’m all right.” That kind of thing.

The juxtaposition I experienced was as I was driving in I’m listening to the news of the day and there’s Donald Trump saying Obama founded ISIS, and then I watch this film and it’s just lovely. And I’m like, where does this come from? What is this disconnect between these quadrants of the electorate? How is it that this one person can be seen so differently?

Parker: There, in the film especially, the absence of privilege is prevalent. It’s just right in front of you. The hole in the car. Euclid Avenue. Very nice street for her to grow up on but it’s not, I just left Martha’s Vineyard yesterday. We had a screening there. And the opulence of it is like — people vacation.

They “summer” there, as verb, growing up. And so, the absence of that and seeing these two on top of race relations back in ’89 and still to this day. You think about all that, and these people made it out. Or, not made it out, but they made it up and up and further up and further up. I think it’s inspiring.

Tika: But also the fact that they didn’t have to go back. They didn’t have to help. They went to Harvard Law. They could have just, they chose to serve the public. They chose to come back and serve the public and not just sit in these high-rises and make all this money. I mean they just recently paid off their student loans eight years ago. So it’s like, they didn’t have to do that. They didn’t have to come back.

Parker: There are some people in certain schools who almost expect to be president and expect to be senator. Or their family expects them to be. And I think Barack and Michelle, and Barack obviously became president, I think he thought that he almost had to as a duty because he probably considered himself still quite lucky. I don’t think there was a war that he had to have, like he didn’t have to dodge a draft or anything. He was probably just like, “I’ve had it pretty good.”

Parker: And I feel like they’re the disconnect, like I don’t know how you can see, or even in the film when you say we’re just basically like a threat of states. Just trying, at everybody’s core, there’s a good person. Like we just want the basic things in life. And, I just don’t see where that connection of this, he’s almost demonized now. And I think at the basis of his foundation, he really thinks people are good people.

And you see that reflected in the film, in the community organizing speech. I think for me, when I look at the presidency of Barack Obama, I look at my kids who, my oldest is nine. And so for him, he’s not “The Black President.” He’s just the president. And I love that for them, their experience moving forward forever is that’s not a thing.

That’s what my daughter said. And she, it’s funny I got the role. We live in London and I got the role. It was last year. And everybody around the neighbor was like, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” My wife’s optometrist cried. He was just so happy. He’s Indian-British.

But my daughter didn’t understand. And I had to explain to her, “Oh, well he’s president of the United States.” She says, “Yeah, I know.” “The first black president.” And she’s like, “Okay.” But I explained American history and so forth. She says “Oh, wow, good job daddy!” But to her…

Tika: It’s normal.

Parker: And then when Hillary gets in, my daughter will also see a female president.

******

Many thanks to Tika & Parker for their time. Southside With You is now playing in select theaters, and I highly recommend seeking it out. To hear the audio from this conversation, check out the latest episode of the MovieFilm Podcast at this link or via the embed below:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

The new film Southside With You, now in theaters, presents a novel twist on the tried-and-true “date movie” genre by presenting a fictionalized account of the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama as imagined by writer/director Richard Tanne.

Long before entering the White House for two terms was even a blink in either of their eyes, they were two bright and vivacious up-and-comers in the Chicago legal scene, and the film’s charming tale of two people discovering they’re perfect for each would be engaging even if we didn’t know the real world history that was to unfold following the end credits.

Playing the future First Couple are actors Tika Sumpter (who also produced the film) and Parker Sawyers, and they’re easy chemistry both onscreen and off helps make Southside With You such a pleasing diversion. I had a chance to talk to the pair during their recent swing through San Francisco, and here are some excerpts of our conversation:

Tika, you’ve been involved since the inception of the project. Why this story?

Tika: For me, it was the script. It had heart. It was charming. It was smart. At first I only saw the synopsis, and I thought whoever wrote the synopsis is really smart. The perspective is really cool. And to see, we know who they are now but what was the origin of that? What could it have been? That was interesting to me. And I just thought, it was a cool leading lady role.

Someone who is complex and confident. And it wasn’t a romantic film where a woman is chasing after a guy. But she’s actually the prize. And that they’re walking in each others’ shoes and they’re seeing themselves through somebody else. I just thought there was a lot there, and I wanted to do it. So I wanted to create it and make it happen.

Parker, what’s your initial reaction to this script? Are you overwhelmed by how to portray this character or are you excited by the possibility?

Parker: My initial reaction when I got the script, I didn’t understand it. Like, I didn’t know how this would be made in 2015. I thought, I was like, “Man, they’re just talking or walking but there’s no conflict.” But then, as I dug further, and one of the greatest things about the project as an actor is that we had to find nuances in a three, four page dialogue where we’re just walking and talking. I said, “Well where’s the conflict? Where’s the turn? The give and the pull and the push?”

And then I fell more in love with it just as an exercise in acting. But as far as playing the president, or the future president, I don’t know. If you just focus on the script and focus on who they are, 28 and 25. Lawyer, law student. They have so many things going on already that that’s all I have to focus on. “Oh, I have to study to make sure my school loans are in order. I have to clean my house before my grandmother comes.” That kind of thing. “And then I got to go pick up this girl and I got to make a good impression.”

So then, yeah, then the pressure is a little off because you’re just focusing on the guy.

Obviously the Obamas exist as sort of larger than life figures. What did you learn about them that is not necessarily as well known?

Tika: I didn’t know that Michelle’s family was as close as they were. I didn’t know that she, in high school, she went to this magnet high school kind of thing. And I didn’t know that somebody told her that Princeton wasn’t for her. She modeled too. People in Chicago, everybody has that Obama or Michelle story. They’re like, “I used to see her running every morning.”

And she didn’t wear a lot of makeup and her hair was just pulled back and just the simplicity of these two people who, they didn’t know they were going to, well I don’t think, they didn’t know they were going to get to this level of things. And I don’t know if she even wanted to get to that.

And how can you even imagine that, “Oh, one day…”

Tika: That’s such a big dream. I’m sure they had big dreams but that’s like…

That’s the biggest.

Tika: You’re running in the morning in the South Side and it’s like, “Oh yeah, presidency.” You’re not really probably thinking about that. But it was the simple things about her family. I think one story in A Game of Character, that her brother wrote, is her mom and dad, here and there would smoke cigarettes together and they didn’t like that.

They were afraid of losing their parents to a cigarette, cancer or whatever. And they went and smashed up all of their cigarettes and everything like that. Just little stories like that informed me about who they were. Just family.

Parker: Yeah, for me it’s family as well, for Barack Obama. And well, the absence of a family, like a foundation, I suppose. How he moved around from Hawaii to Indonesia and back to Hawaii. Went to school at Occidental and then to Columbia and essentially was by himself. And I think he, I believe he said Columbia, you just sat inside and read books. And really just escaped.

But such a formidable person came out of that that it’s fascinating to me like just the brain that must have been, like a self-correcting, a self-acquisition, a self-psychiatrist almost. Self-therapeutic. Just sort of, “Alright, well who am I and how do I turn that into something good?”

That’s the insight that I found in a young Barack Obama which explains who he is now and explains why he can walk around so confident at 28 and talk to this girl. And so and I wanted to root his confidence and charisma in something. Not just because he’s…

Tika: Cool.

Parker: …cocky and arrogant but in college he’s like, “No, I can do this. I can do that. I can do this. I can do this. Therefore, I’m all right.” That kind of thing.

The juxtaposition I experienced was as I was driving in I’m listening to the news of the day and there’s Donald Trump saying Obama founded ISIS, and then I watch this film and it’s just lovely. And I’m like, where does this come from? What is this disconnect between these quadrants of the electorate? How is it that this one person can be seen so differently?

Parker: There, in the film especially, the absence of privilege is prevalent. It’s just right in front of you. The hole in the car. Euclid Avenue. Very nice street for her to grow up on but it’s not, I just left Martha’s Vineyard yesterday. We had a screening there. And the opulence of it is like — people vacation.

They “summer” there, as verb, growing up. And so, the absence of that and seeing these two on top of race relations back in ’89 and still to this day. You think about all that, and these people made it out. Or, not made it out, but they made it up and up and further up and further up. I think it’s inspiring.

Tika: But also the fact that they didn’t have to go back. They didn’t have to help. They went to Harvard Law. They could have just, they chose to serve the public. They chose to come back and serve the public and not just sit in these high-rises and make all this money. I mean they just recently paid off their student loans eight years ago. So it’s like, they didn’t have to do that. They didn’t have to come back.

Parker: There are some people in certain schools who almost expect to be president and expect to be senator. Or their family expects them to be. And I think Barack and Michelle, and Barack obviously became president, I think he thought that he almost had to as a duty because he probably considered himself still quite lucky. I don’t think there was a war that he had to have, like he didn’t have to dodge a draft or anything. He was probably just like, “I’ve had it pretty good.”

Parker: And I feel like they’re the disconnect, like I don’t know how you can see, or even in the film when you say we’re just basically like a threat of states. Just trying, at everybody’s core, there’s a good person. Like we just want the basic things in life. And, I just don’t see where that connection of this, he’s almost demonized now. And I think at the basis of his foundation, he really thinks people are good people.

And you see that reflected in the film, in the community organizing speech. I think for me, when I look at the presidency of Barack Obama, I look at my kids who, my oldest is nine. And so for him, he’s not “The Black President.” He’s just the president. And I love that for them, their experience moving forward forever is that’s not a thing.

That’s what my daughter said. And she, it’s funny I got the role. We live in London and I got the role. It was last year. And everybody around the neighbor was like, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” My wife’s optometrist cried. He was just so happy. He’s Indian-British.

But my daughter didn’t understand. And I had to explain to her, “Oh, well he’s president of the United States.” She says, “Yeah, I know.” “The first black president.” And she’s like, “Okay.” But I explained American history and so forth. She says “Oh, wow, good job daddy!” But to her…

Tika: It’s normal.

Parker: And then when Hillary gets in, my daughter will also see a female president.

******

Many thanks to Tika & Parker for their time. Southside With You is now playing in select theaters, and I highly recommend seeking it out. To hear the audio from this conversation, check out the latest episode of the MovieFilm Podcast at this link or via the embed below:


— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Why We Love the Dulcimer-Playing Dad, His Pet Raccoon and That Tears for Fears Song

On Wednesday, August 24, Ted Yoder set up a dulcimer in his Goshen, Indiana backyard and turned on Facebook Live, while his wife and five of his seven kids (plus the family’s pet raccoon, Gidget) filmed him and watched from the wings. As he played a smashtastic instrumental arrangement of the 1985 Tears for Fears song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” thumbs-up icons and red hearts fluttered across news feeds around the globe.

Yoder assumed 1000 people might see his performance online. He’d had some success with posting videos – one of his biggest hits prior to this week, a 2014 cover of The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” snagged more than 96,000 views and got him Facebook verified. Even with a little blue check beside his name, Yoder had no idea his latest rock remake would get so much attention. By Thursday evening, he’d received 33,000 views on Facebook for the Tears for Fears cover; Friday morning, the count stood at 7.2 million. As I publish this today, on August 27, Yoder’s video has received 26 million views and may likely double over the weekend. To put this explosion into perspective, a fan upload of the original “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” music video by Tears for Fears has earned more than 40 million views in five years.

In a phone call Friday morning, Yoder laughed and called his video’s view count, “stinkin’ surreal.” He’d been working on “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” for about a year in his house, only performing the song once in public before deciding to stream it on Wednesday.

“I started picking out the song on the instrument after a friend suggested it to me,” Yoder told me. “That was a huge song in the 1980s, and it sounded like it was made for the dulcimer. I listened to the recording only once or twice to refresh my memory, then pulled in the melody, the bass and chord progression.”

The hammered dulcimer is a traditional favorite of the Middle East, Bavaria in Europe and across Appalachia and the Midwest in the United States, and Yoder happens to be one of America’s dulcimer champions. He lost his job as a sales rep a few days before he won the National Hammer Dulcimer Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in 2010 and credits his family for convincing him to pursue music full-time. Since then, he’s released several albums, appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, and built a YouTube channel full of impressive takes on classics – from Bach to The Beatles.

Here’s what I think made Yoder’s version of a Tears for Fears song the one to break the internet:

An element of surprise

We’ve had earbuds full of compressed digital sounds stuck so far into our heads for so long that the experience of hearing a person play an ancient acoustic instrument in his yard without the aid of a DJ, a team of six songwriters, or Taylor Swift’s (née Kanye’s) stylist in tow feels like an exotic, spiritual awakening.

An imperfect yet virtuosic performance

T-shirts, bare feet, crickets, kids, a raccoon (!), tall grass and the setting sun. No PR machinery. No expectations, just artistry. What could have made this video more inviting? Nothing.

Raw, amazing talent

While Yoder’s musicality and dexterity are mind-boggling on the mallets, his rhythmic timing and keen sense of melody are what astonish people when they see the video: this is the kind of magic that happens when a great musician meets a great song.

That damn good song

Thirty-one Junes ago, Tears for Fears took “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it’s forever burnished in our minds as a feel-good yet lyrically complex tune. Hearing the 1985 recording’s sparkling intro immediately puts us under a blue sky, on an open road, and behind the wheel with the top down (remember when Curt Smith, the band’s bassist and the song’s lead vocalist, drove an Austin-Healey 3000 in the video?). Yoder’s version paid tribute to the original’s melodic layers and textures (credited to the song’s writers, Tears for Fears frontman and guitarist Roland Orzabal, former keyboardist Ian Stanley, and producer Chris Hughes) and built upon its perfect chorus-bridge-solo-chorus climax.

A chance to fill in the blanks

Bands from the new wave era often paired upbeat sounds with dark lyrics (The Cure, The Smiths, New Order and Tears for Fears are examples; read Mad World by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein for more on this concept); “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” uses this type of light/dark juxtaposition (for an excellent analysis of the song’s dichotomies, check out a review of its recent use in the TV show, Mr. Robot). Yoder’s instrumental performance of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” gave our minds and memories room to stretch out, to reflect upon the lyrics we remember without being burdened by judging a vocal performance. We’ve been trained by celebrity TV judges to judge a voice first and ponder the music later. When Yoder’s video arrived in our news feeds without an agenda (and without singing or lyrics), we did the opposite: we reveled in the freedom to make the song our own again. And isn’t that what the joy of music is about?

“Welcome to your life … there’s no turning back.”

For more information about Ted Yoder, click here.

Tears for Fears performs at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas September 23 and 24, 2016.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

On Wednesday, August 24, Ted Yoder set up a dulcimer in his Goshen, Indiana backyard and turned on Facebook Live, while his wife and five of his seven kids (plus the family’s pet raccoon, Gidget) filmed him and watched from the wings. As he played a smashtastic instrumental arrangement of the 1985 Tears for Fears song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” thumbs-up icons and red hearts fluttered across news feeds around the globe.

Yoder assumed 1000 people might see his performance online. He’d had some success with posting videos – one of his biggest hits prior to this week, a 2014 cover of The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” snagged more than 96,000 views and got him Facebook verified. Even with a little blue check beside his name, Yoder had no idea his latest rock remake would get so much attention. By Thursday evening, he’d received 33,000 views on Facebook for the Tears for Fears cover; Friday morning, the count stood at 7.2 million. As I publish this today, on August 27, Yoder’s video has received 26 million views and may likely double over the weekend. To put this explosion into perspective, a fan upload of the original “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” music video by Tears for Fears has earned more than 40 million views in five years.

In a phone call Friday morning, Yoder laughed and called his video’s view count, “stinkin’ surreal.” He’d been working on “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” for about a year in his house, only performing the song once in public before deciding to stream it on Wednesday.

“I started picking out the song on the instrument after a friend suggested it to me,” Yoder told me. “That was a huge song in the 1980s, and it sounded like it was made for the dulcimer. I listened to the recording only once or twice to refresh my memory, then pulled in the melody, the bass and chord progression.”

The hammered dulcimer is a traditional favorite of the Middle East, Bavaria in Europe and across Appalachia and the Midwest in the United States, and Yoder happens to be one of America’s dulcimer champions. He lost his job as a sales rep a few days before he won the National Hammer Dulcimer Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in 2010 and credits his family for convincing him to pursue music full-time. Since then, he’s released several albums, appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, and built a YouTube channel full of impressive takes on classics – from Bach to The Beatles.

Here’s what I think made Yoder’s version of a Tears for Fears song the one to break the internet:

An element of surprise

We’ve had earbuds full of compressed digital sounds stuck so far into our heads for so long that the experience of hearing a person play an ancient acoustic instrument in his yard without the aid of a DJ, a team of six songwriters, or Taylor Swift’s (née Kanye’s) stylist in tow feels like an exotic, spiritual awakening.

An imperfect yet virtuosic performance

T-shirts, bare feet, crickets, kids, a raccoon (!), tall grass and the setting sun. No PR machinery. No expectations, just artistry. What could have made this video more inviting? Nothing.

Raw, amazing talent

While Yoder’s musicality and dexterity are mind-boggling on the mallets, his rhythmic timing and keen sense of melody are what astonish people when they see the video: this is the kind of magic that happens when a great musician meets a great song.

That damn good song

Thirty-one Junes ago, Tears for Fears took “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it’s forever burnished in our minds as a feel-good yet lyrically complex tune. Hearing the 1985 recording’s sparkling intro immediately puts us under a blue sky, on an open road, and behind the wheel with the top down (remember when Curt Smith, the band’s bassist and the song’s lead vocalist, drove an Austin-Healey 3000 in the video?). Yoder’s version paid tribute to the original’s melodic layers and textures (credited to the song’s writers, Tears for Fears frontman and guitarist Roland Orzabal, former keyboardist Ian Stanley, and producer Chris Hughes) and built upon its perfect chorus-bridge-solo-chorus climax.

A chance to fill in the blanks

Bands from the new wave era often paired upbeat sounds with dark lyrics (The Cure, The Smiths, New Order and Tears for Fears are examples; read Mad World by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein for more on this concept); “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” uses this type of light/dark juxtaposition (for an excellent analysis of the song’s dichotomies, check out a review of its recent use in the TV show, Mr. Robot). Yoder’s instrumental performance of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” gave our minds and memories room to stretch out, to reflect upon the lyrics we remember without being burdened by judging a vocal performance. We’ve been trained by celebrity TV judges to judge a voice first and ponder the music later. When Yoder’s video arrived in our news feeds without an agenda (and without singing or lyrics), we did the opposite: we reveled in the freedom to make the song our own again. And isn’t that what the joy of music is about?

“Welcome to your life … there’s no turning back.”

For more information about Ted Yoder, click here.

Tears for Fears performs at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas September 23 and 24, 2016.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Stephen Colbert Breaks Down Exactly Why Gandalf Doesn’t Do Weddings

Stephen Colbert channeled his inner Sauron to explain exactly why Gandalf doesn’t officiate weddings.

The Late Show” host and “Lord of the Rings” superfan broke it down after it emerged English actor Sir Ian McKellen, who played the character in the movie trilogy, turned down an offer to wed Napster founder Sean Parker and his now-wife, Alexandra Lenas, at their Tolkien-esque nuptials in 2013.  

“Damn right, Gandalf doesn’t have time to marry you, Sean Parker!” Colbert began by saying on Friday.

In case you didn’t catch all that. #LSSC pic.twitter.com/RIJf6s7etY

— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) August 27, 2016

“He is the servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame or Anor,” he continued, before ramping up the rhetoric.

“He killed the mother truckin’ Balrog, after chasing the ancient immortal demon through the tunnels of Khazad Dum until they climbed to the peak of Zirakzigil where he smote the demon’s ruin on the mountain side.”

So now we know. 

Check it out in the clip above.

Colbert has form in showing off his immense LOTR knowledge, as evident in this clip from early August ― when he answered audience questions on the topic to great effect:

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=55a7b9f1e4b0c5f0322c6d87,55ad0c96e4b0d2ded39f6c73,5736158ae4b077d4d6f2fe56

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Stephen Colbert channeled his inner Sauron to explain exactly why Gandalf doesn’t officiate weddings.

The Late Show” host and “Lord of the Rings” superfan broke it down after it emerged English actor Sir Ian McKellen, who played the character in the movie trilogy, turned down an offer to wed Napster founder Sean Parker and his now-wife, Alexandra Lenas, at their Tolkien-esque nuptials in 2013.  

“Damn right, Gandalf doesn’t have time to marry you, Sean Parker!” Colbert began by saying on Friday.

“He is the servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame or Anor,” he continued, before ramping up the rhetoric.

“He killed the mother truckin’ Balrog, after chasing the ancient immortal demon through the tunnels of Khazad Dum until they climbed to the peak of Zirakzigil where he smote the demon’s ruin on the mountain side.”

So now we know. 

Check it out in the clip above.

Colbert has form in showing off his immense LOTR knowledge, as evident in this clip from early August ― when he answered audience questions on the topic to great effect:

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=55a7b9f1e4b0c5f0322c6d87,55ad0c96e4b0d2ded39f6c73,5736158ae4b077d4d6f2fe56

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Adds Joseph Fiennes, Will Be B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Picture it: It’s 2017, and you’re settling down for a quiet evening at home with a bottle of red. All you need is the perfect miniseries to immerse yourself in, something with topical themes, gripping narratives, and top-of-the-line acting.

Fortunately, the streaming service Hulu will have just the thing: A spanking-new, 10-episode adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s seminal dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Today, Hulu announced that the upcoming show will feature Joseph Fiennes (you may remember him as freaking William Shakespeare) as Commander Fred Waterford. Fiennes will be a baddy foil to the luminous Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from “Mad Men”), who, it was reported in April, will portray the novel’s heroine, Offred. Samira Wiley, known for her role as Poussey on “Orange Is the New Black,” has signed on to play Moira, Offred’s friend and fellow handmaiden.

For those who somehow skipped Atwood’s feminist classic in high school English class, as well as in any college survey courses covering contemporary fiction, dystopian fiction, science fiction, feminist literature and/or novels by women, here’s a little rundown of what to expect:

The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a future society set in North America. A theocratic Christian group has staged a takeover and formed a dictatorship, called the Republic of Gilead, where the United States once existed. The government systematically and gradually strips away the rights of women, ultimately seeking to return the society to an Old-Testament-based social order in which women are entirely subjugated to men. Some women serve as domestic drudges, others as prostitutes, and others as wives ― the highest status available, but still a very limiting one.

Offred, the protagonist, is separated from her husband and placed with a high-ranking member of the Gilead leadership, the Commander, as a handmaid. This class of women are offered to men whose wives are unable to bear them children; while the Commander’s wife is still very much present in the household, Offred is forced to act as a sexual and reproductive surrogate for her so that the Commander can produce heirs. 

But Offred’s spunk and her memory of the joy found in a freely chosen, loving partnership urge her to keep resisting, and to keep seeking true connection and freedom.

No spoilers here, but the book is a wild ride, and the series promises to be as well.

We can’t wait to see how “The Handmaid’s Tale” adaptation turns out, especially since Atwood herself is a consulting producer. Plus, who wants to see these two butt heads? We do.

Something tells us Peggy Offred isn’t going down without a fight. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Picture it: It’s 2017, and you’re settling down for a quiet evening at home with a bottle of red. All you need is the perfect miniseries to immerse yourself in, something with topical themes, gripping narratives, and top-of-the-line acting.

Fortunately, the streaming service Hulu will have just the thing: A spanking-new, 10-episode adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s seminal dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Today, Hulu announced that the upcoming show will feature Joseph Fiennes (you may remember him as freaking William Shakespeare) as Commander Fred Waterford. Fiennes will be a baddy foil to the luminous Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from “Mad Men”), who, it was reported in April, will portray the novel’s heroine, Offred. Samira Wiley, known for her role as Poussey on “Orange Is the New Black,” has signed on to play Moira, Offred’s friend and fellow handmaiden.

For those who somehow skipped Atwood’s feminist classic in high school English class, as well as in any college survey courses covering contemporary fiction, dystopian fiction, science fiction, feminist literature and/or novels by women, here’s a little rundown of what to expect:

The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a future society set in North America. A theocratic Christian group has staged a takeover and formed a dictatorship, called the Republic of Gilead, where the United States once existed. The government systematically and gradually strips away the rights of women, ultimately seeking to return the society to an Old-Testament-based social order in which women are entirely subjugated to men. Some women serve as domestic drudges, others as prostitutes, and others as wives ― the highest status available, but still a very limiting one.

Offred, the protagonist, is separated from her husband and placed with a high-ranking member of the Gilead leadership, the Commander, as a handmaid. This class of women are offered to men whose wives are unable to bear them children; while the Commander’s wife is still very much present in the household, Offred is forced to act as a sexual and reproductive surrogate for her so that the Commander can produce heirs. 

But Offred’s spunk and her memory of the joy found in a freely chosen, loving partnership urge her to keep resisting, and to keep seeking true connection and freedom.

No spoilers here, but the book is a wild ride, and the series promises to be as well.

We can’t wait to see how “The Handmaid’s Tale” adaptation turns out, especially since Atwood herself is a consulting producer. Plus, who wants to see these two butt heads? We do.

Something tells us Peggy Offred isn’t going down without a fight. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Bonnie Raitt Just Keeps Getting Better

Only so long you can keep this charade
Before they wake up and see they’ve been played
Too many people with their livin’ at stake
Ain’t gonna take it.
The comin’ round is going through
The comin’ round is going through.

It’s not often a single stanza …

Only so long you can keep this charade
Before they wake up and see they’ve been played
Too many people with their livin’ at stake
Ain’t gonna take it.
The comin’ round is going through
The comin’ round is going through.

It’s not often a single stanza can sum up a whole political system. But those words from Bonnie Raitt ring truer every day as this pathetic “selection” season lurches ever deeper into astounding ugliness.

As evidenced by her new album, Dig in Deep, and her current concert tour, the opposite is true of Ms. Raitt, whose astonishing talent and endless heart just keep growing.

By way of disclosure, I’ve had the privilege of working with Bonnie on nuclear and other issues since 1978.

At the end of July I had the good fortune to see her perform at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. She is on a long tour now, and if you get the chance to catch one of her shows, don’t pass it up.

Having watched her perform for nigh on 40 years, through 10 Grammys, 20 albums and countless concerts, I continue to be amazed by the level of professionalism, heart and freshness she brings to the halls. There is never a dull moment in her shows, never a lag or a lapse. She is humble, conscientious and committed to her audiences. She laughs, she banters, she is on top of things.

You say it’s workin’, it’s tricklin’ down
Yeah, there’s a trick, cause the jobs ain’t around

That’s from her most recent album, which is a treasure. It’s distinguished most notably by the number of songs she’s written herself.

“The Comin’ Round Is Goin’ Through,” quoted here, is her political piece. Raised a Quaker, Bonnie is committed to nonviolent solutions to poverty, racism and ecological destruction. Our work over the years has largely centered on helping to end nuclear power. She was a headliner and board member in our legendary 1979 “No Nukes” concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York, and continues to support the movement for a green-powered future to which so many of us are still committed.

If You Need Somebody is a subtle, savvy ode (and come-on) to a good friend falling in love with the wrong person. “Unintended Consequence of Love” is a bid to win back a lost partner. What You’re Doin’ to Me is a celebration of an affair on the right track.

“And The Ones We Couldn’t Be” is a devastatingly beautiful ballad to a love gone definitively wrong for immutable reasons traceable only to fate or nature. At its core the song acknowledges the reality that sometimes, no matter how strong the attraction, there are those who just don’t belong together:

It’s hard to say now who left first
It used to seem so clear
You and I were tangled from the start
Somehow the scales just fell away
And I’m left standing here
Blown open in the hole that was my part.

As she writes more songs, Bonnie’s mastery of the language has deepened and grown. They are interesting, subtle, worth reading on their own.

She choreographs her concerts the same way. This is a woman whose father was a legendary Broadway and film star, and who’s performed with the likes of Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Ruth Brown, Mick Jagger, Jackson Browne, CSN and innumerable other masters of musical universe.

So you go to her shows for some blues, some gospel, some rock, some ballad, some folk, some politics, some Broadway … wherever her soul, timing and humor take you. “If I do one more sad song,” she said after singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me at the Greek” … “I’ll have to shoot myself.”

John Prine’s masterpiece “Angel from Montgomery” is always there, along with her very comfortable, well-oiled team of Ricky Fatarr, George Marinelli, Mike Finnigan and Hutch Hutchinson. She told the Greek that Hutch has been with her “longer than Jesus walked the Earth.”

Finnigan played alongside Jimi Hendrix and rocked the hall with a killer rendition of B.B. King’s Don’t Answer the Door that reeked of raunch and history.

With an independent record label of her own (Redwing Records) and a core management/label team run by former Greenpeace mainstay Kathy Kane, Bonnie still hosts information tabling by movement organizations at every concert (coordinated by Tom Campbell’s legendary Guacamole Fund). Fundraising on tour supports non-profit organizations working toward a safe and sustainable energy future, environmental protection, blues/music education, social justice and human rights.

“I can’t believe at 66 I’m still doing this,” she gratefully told her hometown crowd.

Let’s hope for 66 more.

Harvey Wasserman helped co-found the grassroots No Nukes movement and edits www.nukefree.org, which is supported by Bonnie, Jackson and Graham Nash. He wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth and America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History, due out soon.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.