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Michael Jackson Dies at Age 50

It is the passing of a pop music icon. Michael Jackson died Thrsday at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. The exact circumstances of his passing are not yet clear. This tragedy brought an end to his life just as he was making preparations for a concert comeback.

Michael Jackson’s career in music began as part of an act called the Jackson 5 with four of his brothers. At the age of 11 he became a pop superstar as the Jackson 5 released four consecutive #1 hit singles. The group’s fortunes would decline in the 1970’s, but just as he was turning 21 Michael Jackson returned to the pop music spotlight with the landmark Off the Wall album in 1979.

Off the Wall was followed by 1982’s landmark Thriller, the bestselling album of all time. It included an unprecedented seven top 10 pop singles. The album sold 28 million copies in the US alone. Success continued throughout the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s. 1987’s Bad included five #1 pop singles, and 1991’s Dangerous spent over two years on the album chart.

An inevitable decline began in the early 1990’s and was unfortunately accompanied by sometimes bizarre tabloid headlines and personal appearances. Michael Jackson’s final studio album, 2001’s Invincible, was a commercial failure by his lofty standards. It only sold two million copies and included no #1 hit singles. An announcement in March 2009 of a new series of concerts to begin in London in July created ticket buying hysteria among fans selling out enormous numbers of tickets in just hours.

Unfortunately, those concerts will never take place. However, Michael Jackson has left us with a catalog of groundbreaking pop music that will excite and influence pop music fans and musicians for generations to come.

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Michael Jackson’s amazing career as a pop star includes the bestselling album of all time, four albums that debuted at #1 on the album chart and four albums that included four or more top 10 pop singles. Read all of the details in the Michael Jackson Discography.

Album cover courtesy Epic


June 27, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Frontotemporal dementia: neurotransmitter and clinical symptoms with focus on therapeutic targets

Frontotemporal dementia is more frequently diagnosed because of revised diagnostic procedures. Due to the lack of pharmacological trials it is a disease that is difficult to manage in the way of evidence based medicine. Deficits in serotonergic and dopaminergic signal-transmission are well known. The cholinergic system does not seem to be affected. Case reports and clinical trials show a benefit by using antidepressants, neuroleptics and mood stabilizers. Nevertheless only paroxetine, trazodone and rivastigmine are tested by double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. While paroxetine shows inconsistent data, trazodone improves behavioural symptoms. Patients report a treatment-emergent adverse effect including fatigue, dizziness and hypotension. Rivastigmine leads to a significant decrease in the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Score. Finally, we present a two-cases-report that shows improve of disease symptoms under treatment with repetitive transcranial magnet stimulation.

June 27, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Acupuncture May Ease Chronic Back Pain Study Shows Acupuncture Trumps Standard Care for Back Pain Relief

See full size image

 The ancient technique of acupuncture helps relieve chronic back pain better than standard care such as medications or physical therapy, according to a new study.

Even more surprising, all three acupuncture techniques tested — including a “sham” technique with toothpicks and no skin puncturing — worked better than the usual care given for the problem.

“Acupuncture-like treatments had a positive effect overall on people’s chronic back pain,” says study researcher Dan Cherkin, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle. “It didn’t matter if you inserted the needle or superficially poked [the skin].”

That finding, Cherkin says, leads to more speculation about how the centuries-old technique actually works.

The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Cherkin and colleagues assigned 638 men and women with chronic low back pain who had never before had acupuncture to one of four groups:

•         Individualized acupuncture group. Patients received acupuncture treatment based on a customized prescription for acupuncture points.

•         Standardized acupuncture group. Patients received an acupuncture treatment considered effective by experts for chronic low back pain.

•         Simulated acupuncture group. Patients received a treatment that mimics needle acupuncture but used a toothpick in a needle guide tube without penetrating the skin.

•         Usual care group. Patients continued whatever they were doing, such as taking pain medicine or undergoing physical therapy.

Acupuncture treatments were given two times a week for three weeks, then once a week for four weeks. The researchers measured back pain-related problems and dysfunction at eight weeks, a half year, and one year after the treatments.

Participants in the trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health, were told only that the researchers were comparing three different methods of stimulating acupuncture points.

Acupuncture vs. ‘Usual Care’

“The individualized acupuncture did not provide any benefit over the standardized acupuncture,” Cherkin tells WebMD. “The simulated acupuncture, which did stimulate the standardized points, also had the same effect. All three did better than usual care.”

Those who got any of the acupuncture treatments were more likely than those getting usual care to have a “meaningful” improvement in the dysfunction scale, which reflects the ability to engage in activities of daily living. Overall, 60% of the acupuncture-treated patients, but just 39% of the usual-care group patients, had meaningful improvements in dysfunction, the researchers found.

That translated to those in the acupuncture group being able to do more daily activities, such as going to social functions or performing household tasks, Cherkin tells WebMD.

After a year, those in the acupuncture groups were also more likely than the usual-care group to continue to have improvement in dysfunction, with up to 65% of the acupuncture-treated patients but just 50% of the usual-care patients still reporting improvements. But the improvement waned over time.

Acupuncture vs. ‘Usual Care’ continued…

The finding that the simulated acupuncture was as good as needle acupuncture is puzzling, Cherkin admits. “What we can say is, it is not essential to achieve a benefit to insert the needle through the skin,” he says.

Why this is so is not known, he says. “One possibility is there is a physiological chain of events that occurs when you insert a needle or just stimulate the skin superficially. They may or may not be the same.”

Another possibility, he says, is “believing you are getting a treatment that will help your back pain” helps it.

And, he adds, not all participants benefited from the acupuncture, whatever the form. Still, he says, “acupuncture is a reasonable option” for those with low back pain. Americans spend at least $37 billion a year for medical care for back pain, Cherkin notes in his report.

‘Acupuncture Can Help’

“Although this study has shed some light [on back pain treatment], it is also confusing, I think,” says Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of spine surgery at the University of California David Geffen School of Medicine and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

“For the most part, acupuncture is very safe,” says Shamie, who has recommended it to his patients with chronic back pain. However, he adds, “this paper has confused the issue even further as to how acupuncture works.” Even so, he says, “what it does show is acupuncture can help patients.”

The good results with the “toothpick” acupuncture may very well be a placebo effect, Shamie says. “Even going and talking to your doctor could have a strong, positive effect on your health,” he says. “When people have chronic illness, they want to feel that someone cares for them, and that basically unloads the mind of the burden of disease.”

His caveat: “Chronic back pain should be evaluated by your physician or a specialist,” he says, to rule out any serious underlying medical problems.

June 27, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

HIV/AIDS Update – Safety Concerns Prompt Label Changes and Medication Guide requirement for Testoste

The Food and Drug Administration is requiring manufacturers of two prescription topical testosterone gel products, AndroGel 1% and Testim 1%, to include a boxed warning on the products’ labels after receiving reports of adverse effects in children who were inadvertently exposed to testosterone through contact with a person being treated with these productsSee full size image(secondary exposure).

The gels are approved for use in men who either no longer produce testosterone or produce it in very low amounts, and are often used by men living with HIV who have below normal testosterone levels.

Although the Precautions in the current labels instruct users to wash their hands after using the product and to cover the treated skin with clothing, FDA has received reports of secondary exposure to testosterone in children ranging in age from nine months to five years. In most of the cases, users of these products failed to follow appropriate use instructions, resulting in direct contact between treated skin and the child.

Adverse events reported in these children included inappropriate enlargement of the genitalia (penis or clitoris), premature development of pubic hair, advanced bone age, increased libido, and aggressive behavior.  In most cases, the signs and symptoms regressed when the child no longer was exposed to the product. In some cases, however, enlarged genitalia did not fully return to age-appropriate size and bone age remained modestly greater than the child’s chronological age. In some cases, invasive diagnostic procedures were required.

Signs of inappropriate virilization (development of male secondary sexual characteristics) in children and the possibility of secondary testosterone exposure should be brought to a health care provider’s attention.

The required label changes will provide additional information about the risk of secondary exposure and the steps that should be taken to reduce this risk. The FDA also is requiring that the manufacturers of these products develop a Medication Guide as part of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy to ensure that the benefits of these products continue to outweigh their potential risks.

The FDA recommends the following precautions be taken to minimize the potential for secondary exposure:

  • Adults who use testosterone gels should wash their hands with soap and warm water after every application;
  • Adults should cover the application site with clothing once the gel has dried;
  • Adults should wash the application site thoroughly with soap and warm water prior to any situation where skin-to-skin contact with another person is anticipated;
  • Children and women should avoid contact with testosterone application sites on the skin of men who use these products; and
  • Adults should note that use of any similar, but unapproved, products from the marketplace –including the Internet– that can result in the same serious adverse effects should be avoided.

Health care professionals and consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems with the use of these gels to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program:

AndroGel 1% is manufactured by Marietta, Ga.-based Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Testim 1% is made by Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Malvern, Pa.

Richard Klein
Office of Special Health Issues
Food and Drug Administration

Kimberly Struble
Division of Antiviral Drug Products
Food and Drug Administration

June 27, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Will Ferrell Talks About ‘Land of the Lost’

Land of the LostWill Ferrell, Anna Friel, and Danny McBride in ‘Land of the Lost.’

© Universal Pictures

Jun 1 2009

Will Ferrell was a huge fan of the 1970s TV series Land of the Lost and so it was a natural fit for him to step into the shoes of Rick Marshall, the ‘leader’ of a trio who get hurled through a space-time vortex and wind up in a weird world full of dinosaurs, Sleestaks, and bizarre ape creatures. And now that he’s finished the big screen adaptation, Ferrell wouldn’t even mind visiting the Land of the Lost again. “I would love to,” said Ferrell when asked about the possibility of doing a sequel at the film’s LA press day. ” You never know, but I love working with Brad [Silberling] and this cast. It was so fun to actually work with a small cast. I’ve done ensemble films for so long, it was just so nice… Yeah, given the opportunity it would be fun.”Director Silberling (Lemony Snicket’s) allowed his actors – Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel, and Jorma Taccone – plenty of opportunity to put their own spin on scenes, encouraging improv and letting the cameras roll as Ferrell and company came up with alternate lines. “I’ve known Brad in passing for a long time, in fact I did this movie The Suburbans with Amy Brenneman, his wife, a long time ago, and it was really fun to get to know him on a professional level and get to work with him,” said Ferrell. “I’ve been a fan of his work and when we were meeting with potential directors, he immediately set himself above everyone in a way, just because he was like, ‘You know, whether you hire me or not you should use these two stages on the Universal (lot) because they are the biggest.’ He had so much knowledge about how to shoot this film, and he was so willing to… ‘If I don’t get the job, that’s fine, but here are the things you should probably do to make sure you do it the right way.’ We were so impressed by just how he had the whole thing laid out, because we were kind of looking at maybe some more comedy guys who didn’t necessarily have a handle on a movie of this scope. And in the end I think we made the best decision, because Brad obviously was okay with anything we wanted to throw in comedically. He’s got, I think, a better sense of humor than he gets credit for, for the types of movies he’s done, so it was a great marriage actually. Plus, he was able to attract someone like Dion Beebe and Bo Welch to do the production, so he put together this team of amazing people that I think another director might not have been able to do.”

Check out an episode of TV’s Land of the Lost now and ‘campy’ is probably the first word that’ll spring to mind. Ferrell says they didn’t want to make the effects in the film deliberately bad to match the source material, but there were a few things he knew they didn’t want to change in the transition from the small screen to the big screen. “We knew the Sleestaks would be slow. We would maintain that, but for the most part the decision was made early on to make the effects part be updated and a cool thing as opposed to a kitschy thing.”

But they did alter the dynamic between the three main characters. In the show, Ferrell’s character is accompanied into the lost world by his two children. In the film, the kids have been replaced by two adults (played by McBride and Friel). “For whatever reason we just thought it would give us a better platform for the comedy, instead of having my character saddled with these two kids,” explained Ferrell. “It just seemed like it was more opportunity to have – Will, the character that Danny brought to life, and to have like a little bit of a potential of a love interest, and that sort of thing, we thought we’d mix it up.”

And having the film focus on three adults changed how the Chaka character, the strange monkey thing played by Jorma Taccone, interacted with these lost humans. Chaka grabs Holly’s breast in the film, something that would never have happened in the old TV series. “That was always in the script that he was kind of quickly figured out that, ‘Oh, is this the way you communicate with women, by grabbing their breasts?’ He’s kind of sly and a little touchy feel-ly. No, we just thought from the TV show, not that it’s really a reference for the majority of the audience probably, but we just thought that would be a funny place for Chaka to go,” said Ferrell. “But then Jorma did such a great job. When I first meet him and he steals my wallet, he kind of came up with a lot of like – just started touching me everywhere he could. He was kind of adding all that too, and it was really funny to play off of. Like Rick thinking, ‘Oh, he’s just saying hello,’ and not really knowing what is this guy doing. So, yeah, some of that was added by Jorma.”

An added bonus of switching the characters to adults was being able to work with Danny McBride. Ferrell’s production company snatched up McBride’s The Foot Fist Way and launched McBride’s career. Now the two are friends and have worked together on the HBO series Eastbound and Down which McBride writes, produces, and stars in. “It definitely made it so much more comfortable for sure,” said Ferrell of working with McBride on Eastbound prior to taking on Land of the Lost. “I think we had already had the talks with them as producers about Eastbound before Land of the Lost, before Danny got cast, so that was already, oddly enough, in the works. And yeah, obviously having spent three, four months together, it made it great just to show up in North Carolina and we got to play around. Danny, Jody [Hill] and Ben [Best] and the crew they had were just a bunch of funny, smart guys. It was great to go down there and see them because they employed a lot of the guys they’d worked with at the School of the Arts in North Carolina, so a lot of their crew and everyone else, it was a real family affair. And I think it shows in the series.”

Land of the Lost is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and for language including a drug reference, and Ferrell admits the younger audience won’t get some of the jokes. “We obviously didn’t want it to be kind of a Disney film. In a way, we wanted the humor to be cool and kind of pushing that PG-13, or fulfilling that PG-13 thing. But kids are pretty sophisticated. I’m going to say I think this movie’s appropriate for six years and above.”

Will Ferrell in Land of the LostWill Ferrell in ‘Land of the Lost.’

© Universal Pictures

Other Projects Keeping Will Ferrell Busy

In support of Land of the Lost Ferrell filmed an episode of Man vs Wild, which turned out to be a truly wild experience. “Yeah, it was crazy. It was fun but it was one of those things that I knew I would be out there going, ‘Why did I do this?’ mixed with at the same time I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t say no to it. We were 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle in like northern Sweden, just in the middle of nowhere, making snow shoes out of birch branches and eating reindeer eyeballs and things like that. So it was pretty intense.””It was 48 hours – they scaled it back for me because he’s usually out there an entire week, or five days,” explained Ferrell. “But they made it really safe for me. They made sure that, I think, I had a few more of the creature comforts that I don’t think he gets such as warm clothes. ‘Come over here and you can warm your hands,’ like a base camp, things like that.”

So who wins – man or the wild? “Wild kicks man’s ass, and then man gets up courageous at the end,” laughed Ferrell.

Also in the works is a Sherlock Holmes project with Sacha Baron Cohen (Bruno). “We’re trying to develop this. We’ve got a script written by Etan Cohen and I just met with Sacha three weeks ago and we’re talking about it some more,” revealed Ferrell.

Their Sherlock Holmes film will be a comedy and totally different from the spin Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law put on their Warner Bros Pictures film. “Oh yeah, yeah, definitely, yeah. It’s just a question of the Robert Downey Jr. one that they’ve just shot which I think will come out during Christmas or something like that,” said Ferrell. “I think everyone just wants to see [what happens]. Well, that one’s probably going to be a hit franchise, and whether that is something you want to go up against, would it just inform the audience to allow for us to do a comedy version, or would it feel like, ‘Oh, we’re just trying to copy them,’ even though I think we wrote our script before they did, or something like that. I don’t know. Yeah, we’re thinking about it.”

There’s also the possibility of an Anchorman 2 movie still floating around out there. “I was told we were and now I’ve heard it’s too hard to get everyone together, so hopefully Adam [McKay] is going to be able to talk to all the guys individually and see if there’s a time and place that were can figure out how to do this,” explained Ferrell. “The legacy of that movie just kept building and building and we just kind of got excited about [it]. And then last year we did this funny or die comedy tour where I would enter every college I went to and interview either the head football coach or the president of the school as Ron Burgundy. And Adam and I got such a kick out of it, it was so much fun that we were like, ‘Maybe we should revisit this.’ And then [Steve] Carell said, ‘I’m totally up for it,’ so it seems like… It’s hard, sequels, comedies that have really seemed to have found a foothold in the consciousness are hard to kind of [make into sequels]. But I think we would use that as a challenge to try to make it as the craziest sequel you’ve ever seen. Just, you know, live by the sword, die by the sword kind of feel, and see what happens.”

June 27, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Top 10 Father’s Day Rock Songs

Rock songs about dads come in many different forms. Depending on the relationship between the artist and his father, some tunes are emotional and affectionate, while others are bitter and cathartic. But there are also songs that use the father-son dynamic to examine larger issues, such as mortality or war. No matter the sentiment, these 10 tracks touch the heart while articulating the complicated bond between a father and a son.

Green Day – “Wake Me Up When September Ends”

green day american idiotPhoto courtesy Reprise.
The overblown lovers-separated-by-war video for this hit off American Idiot may have obscured the fact, but “Wake Me Up When September Ends” is actually about Billie Joe Armstrong’s still-lingering grief over the death of his father during his childhood. Armstrong provides few details, but the vulnerability and intensity of his vocals suggest that the memory remains a raw wound, no matter how many years have passed.

Glasvegas – “Daddy’s Gone”

glasvegasPhoto courtesy Columbia.
A sad, angry tale sung from the perspective of an abandoned son to his distant father, “Daddy’s Gone” certainly isn’t a cheery Father’s Day tale. Glasvegas frontman James Allan seems to be talking to a ghost, remembering happy childhood moments that quickly gave way to feelings of betrayal when his dad left him behind. His only hope for revenge is to swear that he’ll grow up to be a better person than his old man ever was. 

Jane’s Addiction – “Had a Dad”

nothing's shocking jane's addictionPhoto courtesy Warner Bros.
Jane’s Addiction’s “Had a Dad” is a furiously rocking song about a father who’s abandoned his family. (“Had a dad/Big and strong/Turned around/Found my daddy gone,” Perry Farrell sings in the opening verse.) Interesting Tidbit: Eric Avery, the band’s bassist, was inspired to write the lyrics after learning that the man he thought was his dad wasn’t his biological father.

Black Stone Cherry – “Things My Father Said”

Black Stone Cherry - 'Folklore and Superstition'Photo courtesy Roadrunner.
Black Stone Cherry’s “Things My Father Said” may be hopelessly sappy, but this ballad is also terribly affecting. Aided by piano, guitars and strings, singer Chris Robertson thanks his father for the guidance and wisdom that he passed along to him. What makes the song even more poignant is that his father has long since died, giving “Things My Father Said” an added moral about the importance of telling those in our life how much we love them while we still can. 

Wilco – “On and On and On”

wilco sky blue skyPhoto courtesy Nonesuch.
Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy wrote “On and On and On” for his father after the death of Tweedy’s mom. Rather than being a song about his relationship with his dad, this Sky Blue Sky track tries to offer comfort to his grieving father, suggesting that the pain will eventually subside and that the three of them will always be together, even if death separates them. 

Alice in Chains – “Rooster”

alice in chains dirtPhoto courtesy Columbia.
This Alice in Chains antiwar song came from a personal place – guitarist Jerry Cantrell wrote it for his father who served in Vietnam. Sung by Layne Staley, “Rooster” is a first-person account of a soldier’s experience as he wanders the jungle trying to stay alive, wondering about his wife and child at home. Though a love letter of sorts to his dad, Cantrell’s song also confronts the difficulty of serving faithfully in a war that you don’t believe in. 

Everclear – “Father of Mine”

everclear so much for the afterglowPhoto courtesy Capitol/EMI.
Art Alexakis is a very autobiographical songwriter, drawing from his childhood and marriage (and later divorce) in his songs. “Father of Mine” remains one of Everclear’s most personal tunes – it’s a very bittersweet tale that finds Alexakis talking to his dad who ran out on him as a child. The song’s pop-rock crunch is so engaging that you might not even notice the anger buried beneath the melody. “My daddy gave me a name/Then he walked away,” Alexakis sings as part-confession, part-diatribe. 

U2 – “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own”

u2 how to dismantle an atomic bomb sometimes you can't make it on your ownPhoto courtesy Interscope.
The death of Bono’s father to cancer in 2001 had a noticeable impact on his lyrics, but never more clearly than on “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own.” Here, U2’s frontman addresses his dad, telling him that he doesn’t have to always stubbornly insist that he’s fine when it’s clear that he’s dying. In addition, the song charts Bono’s realization of how much he’s becoming like his old man, whom he never felt like he really knew: “It’s you when I look in the mirror,” he admits, “and it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone.” 

Filter – “Take a Picture”

filter take a picturePhoto courtesy Warner Bros.
Filter’s Richard Patrick wrote this song after an embarrassing drunken altercation on an airplane. As he mentioned in an interview, as he was being hauled away, he thought, “Oh my god, what is my dad gonna think of this s**t?” And hence we now have “Take a Picture,” one of the band’s biggest hits that addresses Patrick’s shame at disgracing his father. The song has a happy ending, though – Patrick eventually quit the bottle and got sober. 


Pearl Jam – “Alive”

pearl jam ten alivePhoto courtesy Epic.
The song that is arguably Pearl Jam’s most famous is also one of the most complicated father-son tracks in rock history. In “Alive,” the main character discovers that his dad really isn’t his dad – he finds this out from his mom, who is starting to have sexual feelings for him because he looks so much like his old man. Thus begins a battle between anger, confusion and disgust within the main character as he tries to sort out questions of self-identity while mourning a dead father he didn’t know he had. 

June 19, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Twilight Dominates the MTV Movie Awards

Seriously, did anyone think any film other Twilight would wind up on top at the MTV Movie Awards? The 2009 MTV Movie Awards was a total Twilight lovefest as Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Cam Gigandet, and Catherine Hardwicke all went home winners.

Other than the Twilight wins, the rest of the night was a real mishmash of things that worked and things that fell flat. Samberg’s opening skit was just okay (Hugh Jackman’s Oscar number is still the best opening bit for a 2009 award show). Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) flew in on white wings with his butt exposed and landed face down in Eminem’s lap, prompting the rapper and his bodyguards to leave the auditorium amid a string of curse words that, of course, were bleeped. It was a confusing bit not executed real well, and the star-studded audience seemed unsure whether it was safe to laugh at the strange spectacle. Yes, it was that kind of a night. And the Winner’s Are…

  • 2009 MTV Movie Awards Photo Gallery
  • The First Trailer for New Moon
  • All About Twilight: Review, Exclusive Interviews and Photos
  • And Some New Moon Stuff
  • Box Office Report – May 29-31

    Monday June 1, 2009
    I don’t think anyone doubted Up would rule the box office for the last weekend in May. Pixar has an impressive track record and that combined with overwhelmingly positive reviews made Up the leading contender to take the top spot over its opening weekend. Now, some considered the story of an old man tying balloons to his house and floating away to South America a more difficult sell than past Pixar releases. But riding high on good reviews and following an extensive pre-release advertising blitz, Up pulled in the third highest opening numbers for a Pixar release. Only The Incredibles ($70.5 million) and Finding Nemo ($70.3 million) had better opening weekends.

    Top 10 Films for the Holiday Weekend Ending May 31
    1) Up – $68,108,790
    2) Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – $24,353,868
    3) Terminator Salvation – $16,433,365,
    4) Drag Me to Hell – $15,825,480
    5) Star Trek – $12,613,727
    6) Angels and Demons – $11,353,340
    7) Dance Flick – $4,743,636
    8) X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $3,873,377
    9) Ghosts of Girlfriends Past – $1,911,401
    10) Obsessed – $657,001

  • June 5, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis Talk About ‘The Hangover’

    Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms  The HangoverZach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms in ‘The Hangover.’

    © Warner Bros Pictures

    Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms (The Office) star as friends of the groom-to-be, Doug (played by Justin Bartha), who take the nearly married man to Vegas for one last wild night before he says ‘I do’ in Warner Bros Pictures’ The Hangover. Zach Galifianakis co-stars as Doug’s future brother-in-law, a guy who has some serious personality issues, in the R-rated comedy directed by Todd Phillips (Old School).Together in, appropriately enough, Las Vegas for the film’s press junket, Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis talked about why they were right for their roles. “I guess my character, Stu, is kind of a Nervous Nelly, rule follower of the group,” said Helms. “I can’t imagine why Todd thought I would be right for that part other than the fact that I’ve known Todd for sometime and I’m kind of a Nervous Nelly rule follower person in real life. So maybe that had something to do with it…”

    “I play a character, Alan, who’s a well intentioned moron who is kind of trapped in adolescence,” offered Galifianakis. “He wants friends but can’t get any really, can’t get adult friends.”

    That explanation prompted Cooper to ask, “Did you think that you could play it?” To which Galifianakis replied, “No, I didn’t think that I could play it. The reason, it’s easy to play. When a role seems fun it’s easy to play. It kind of comes organically.”

    And Cooper had this to say about his character, Phil, a married English teacher: “He’s kind of the guy whose bark is a lot bigger than his bite. He talks a big game, going to Vegas and that he’s going to get crazy, and he loves sort of reliving whatever it is that he doesn’t live in his home life. It’s like a lot of fathers who talk a big game, but really they love their family and they’re actually good guys. He’s sort of the problem solver. There’s nothing that he can’t solve and tries to hold it together even when there’s nothing to hold together.”

    Cooper doesn’t think he’s a lot like Phil in real life and he wasn’t completely sure this was a part he was meant to play. “I just sort of trusted Todd [Phillips] because I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can pull this off.’ But then about two weeks into it, I started to get comfortable and I realized that I was figuring it out. But I’m glad that he thought I should do it because I probably wouldn’t have thought that I could do it.”

    Playing buddies onscreen came fairly easy for Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis. Even though they didn’t get to rehearse prior to shooting The Hangover, they quickly fell into a rhythm. “Zach and I knew each other reasonably well,” said Helms. “We were acquaintances beforehand. Zach and Bradley were also acquaintances. I had met Bradley once before at a party where he offended me.”

    “I was actually nervous. I was like, ‘Oh, I love you on 30 Rock,” laughed Cooper.

    “It was very cool, obviously. I had really not done anything more though than shake Bradley’s hand. But we met up in Todd’s office a few weeks before production and went over stuff and immediately were laughing and having fun together. Then the table read was really exciting because it went great and everyone just inhabited their roles quickly,” explained Helms. “The roles were pretty similar to our dynamic. The dynamic of the three guys in the movie kind of, in maybe a more grounded way, reflects our friendship.”


    What Happens in Vegas

    When the guys wake up after a hard night of drinking and whatnot, Ed Helms’ character is missing one of his teeth and there’s a burning chair, a chicken, a tiger, and a baby in their hotel suite. And Doug, the groom, is mysteriously missing. Some of the aforementioned items are ultimately explained, however some are just left dangling, leaving the audience to speculate as to where they came from.And speaking of animals, that chicken was interesting to work with but the tiger was a bit scary, according to the trio of actors who had to deal with her on the set. “That tiger was not drugged,” said Cooper. “It was very much around and it was terrifying. Katie her name was, a terrifying tiger. ”

    Helms added, “Here’s the thing, that tiger had no idea what its name was. The trainers were like, ‘Katie! Katie! Katie!’ It was just doing whatever it wanted to do.”

    In addition to sharing the screen with a tiger, a chicken, and Mike Tyson, Galifianakis had to appear in a jockstrap in The Hangover, something the actor says he really didn’t want to do. “They wanted tighty-whities and I said, ‘I’ve seen that a thousand times in movies. Why don’t we do a jockstrap?'”

    Something else Galifianakis didn’t want to do involved a disturbing scene with an adorable baby in which he makes it look like the little guy is doing something he shouldn’t be doing in public. “I didn’t want to do that either. Can I tell you that I came up with it, but I didn’t want to do it. All of it I came up with but I didn’t want to do it. It’s funny privately, but in front of an American audience it’s embarrassing. I’m going to walk around airports and people are going to go, ‘Hey, you’re the guy who wears a jockstrap and jerks off babies.'”


    Hangover 2 is a Possibility

    Warner Bros would like to see more of The Hangover gang, and the studio has already greenlit a sequel based on this film’s pre-release buzz. If they go ahead and do The Hangover 2, Cooper thinks there’s a lot of different ways they could take the story. “I think there’s endless possibility, actually, on what you can do. It’s a great hook. The movie has a great hook, so you can take it anywhere. “”Yeah, and I can jerk off a panda,” joked Galifianakis.

    Helms said, “I think the only way to heighten this movie would be take it to the next level. I think everyone is thinking the same thing – a space station. We’re all astronauts and we get high on moon juice and we forget what happens to Doug and it turns out that he’s floating into a black hole somewhere and we have to fight aliens to get him back.”

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    The Hangover hits theaters on June 5, 2009.

    June 5, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment