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Episodes like this are why I can't give up on "Sons of Anarchy."
"Andare Pescare" (translated from Italian it's "to go fishing") is as consistent, satisfying, and simply well done an episode of "Sons" as we've seen in a long time. If the balance of tough guy action and emotional character interactions was always this finely tuned, "Sons" would be a threat to the best dramas on TV.
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme has been tapped by the Cinema Audio Society for special recognition this year. The helmer of such films as "The Silence of the Lambs," "Philadelphia" and "The Manchurian Candidate" remake will receive the organization's Filmmaker Award at the 49th annual celebration.
Beyond the smallish circle of UK-based critics and industry folk, yesterday's British Independent Film Awards didn't attract much attention -- which is hardly surprising, given what a quiet year it's been for British film. Heavily-nominated titles like "Berberian Sound Studio" and "Sightseers," excellent as they are, aren't of much interest to awards-watchers with an eye only on Oscar possibilities -- of which the BIFA list presented very few.
Crossover nominee "The Imposter" is certainly one to watch in the documentary Oscar race, especially given the new voting system's emphasis on higher-profile theatrical releases. But the nominee we seem likeliest to hear more of in major categories through the rest of season is also the one that took BIFA observers most by surprise: John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
After last week's episode of "American Horror Story," Chloe Sevigny left an indelible mark for viewers as Shelley, the latest unlucky victim of Dr. Arden (James Cromwell). The actress spoke to journalists in a conference call about what's next for her persecuted character (think "transformation" in the worst possible sense), another character who may be meeting a dark end, and why she doesn't think "American Horror Story" is a guilty pleasure.
We guess it wasn’t so civil after all. After one celebrated full-length album and two Grammy Awards, The Civil Wars have announced the cancellation of their current tour because of “irreconcilable differences.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, Joy Williams and Paul White wrote: “We sincerely apologize for the canceling of all of our tour dates. It is something we deeply regret. However, due to internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition we are unable to continue as a touring entity at this time. We thank each and every one of you for your amazing love & support. Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013.”
Additionally, they offer to refund anyone’s non-refundable charges incurred with the cancellation, including service charges and travel reservations. The pair were in the middle of a European tour with dates in Australia and New Zealand to come in 2013.
The last line about new music is a nice idea to hang one’s hopes on, although it’s hard to imagine that they could overcome whatever “internal discord and irreconcilable differences” they have that are intense enough to make them quit in the middle of a tour. But bands have certainly reunited after far more acrimonious situations.
White and Williams met in Nashville in 2008 and began writing together. They released an EP, produced by Charlie Peacock, that featured title track “Poison & Wine.” The song was featured on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2009.
The Civil Wars released their first and only full-length set, “Barton Hollow,” in February 2011. The plaudits came fast and furiously as the duo was nominated for CMT Awards, Americana Music Awards, CMA Awards and for two Grammys for best folk album and best country dup/group performance. The group won both Grammys.
The Civil Wars were also featured on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack on the tune “Safe & Sound” with Taylor Swift. The soundtrack’s producer T Bone Burnett more recently used one of their songs, “If I Didn’t Know Better” to close the first episode.
It’s election day, but today is special for another reason. As Madonna fans/obsessives know, today marks the 30th anniversary of the Material Girl’s first appearance on a Billboard chart
Billboard chart editor, No. 1 Madonna fan and all-around good egg Keith Caulfield put together a great primer on Madge’s chart history starting with her Nov. 6, 1982 debut on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play Songs chart at No. 40 with “Everybody.”
Since then, she amassed some amazing stats, including 156 No. 1s culled from her appearances on all of Billboard’s charts. Madonna has logged 56 Hot 100 hits, 38 of which have gone Top 10.
For fun, I compiled my own Top 10 list of Madonna songs culled from her 38 Top 10 hits. See if you agree and post your top 10 in the comments section below.
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10. “Hung Up” (2005) The perfect blend of Madonna and Abba (the song samples “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight).” Two of the biggest artists in the pop pantheon coming together for this twirling dance hit. What could be better?
9. “Cherish” (1989): A return to the light-hearted dance pop of Madonna’s very early years. It’s a skip-down-the-street kind of song. This is what pure joy sounds like.
8. “Material Girl” (1985) Madonna poked fun at her image perfectly with this peppy ode to all things materialistic. The video turned a catchy song into an iconic one. Plus, her delivery is delightful.
7. “Ray Of Light” (1998) Simply groundbreaking at the time as it helped usher electronic music into the mainstream. If you weren’t into the dance scene, you’d never heard anything like this before coming out of your speakers. It’s also worn very well.
6. “Open Your Heart” (1986) Again, not a great vocal performance from Madonna, but she strikes a convincing vulnerability as she pleads for a little consideration. Yes, it sounds dated, but in the best possible way in that you remember where you were when you first heard it.
5. “Don’t Tell Me” (2000): A great change of pace for Madonna, this country-tinged track, written by Joe Henry, combines a classic country feel with a dance production by Mirwais. Throw in the lack of effects on Madonna’s voice and the occasional silence pauses and it shouldn’t work, but it does. Brilliantly.
4. “Secret” (1994): She’s not really comfortable in that low range, but there’s a wonderful aura around this mysterious, hypnotic long song. This one’s all about the slinky, sultry production more than Madonna’s vocal performance.
3. “Express Yourself” (1989)” One of the greatest female empowerment pop anthems, despite the fact that she’s chained up in the video. But as she explained at the time, she’s the one doing the restraining, so it’s still empowering.
2. “Like a Prayer” (1989): Everything about this single is perfect: Madonna’s delivery, the production, the shifts in tempos and instrumentation throughout. One of the best records ever made. The choir: perfection.
1. “Borderline” (1984): It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Madonna still had a sweet innocence that was soon left in the dust, but here it’s present and delightful. Besides, who hasn’t had a love who deliciously makes them feel like they’re going to lose their mind?
Which songs make your top 10?
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 156: 'Witness,' 'Wedding Band,' 'The Walking Dead,' 'Homeland' & more
A hurricane can postpone the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, but Sandy couldn't stop it forever. After I spent the last week either powerless or as a nomad in the wilds of Connecticut, I was finally able to return home last night. In fact, the podcast was supposed to be finished yesterday, but midway through recording it, I got the call that our power was back on, and had to hastily pack up the family truckster for the drive home to Jersey, so we're technically reviewing HBO's excellent "Witness" a day late. That's what On Demand and HBO multiplex channels are for. In addition, Dan and I review TBS' "Wedding Band," discuss NBC's mid-season schedule, the "Up All Night" format change, how we feel about "Nahville" and "Last Resort" these days, and the latest episodes of "The Walking Dead" and "Homeland."
J Cole, whose 2011 debut, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” bowed at No. 1, will release his sophomore set, “Born Sinner,” on Jan. 28, 2013.
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So far, one of my favorite strange digressions of Steven Spielberg's career has been his collaboration with Tony Kushner. I love it because it is so very unlikely, and because both of the films that have resulted from this creative conversation are so unlike the rest of Spielberg's work.
Kushner blew me away with "Angels In America" when it first opened on stage, and I think he's got a very specific, very beautiful voice as a writer. "Munich" is a film that I like more as I return to it, and I think Spielberg's sentimental streak has found a perfect antidote in the frank and observational voice of Kushner's words. While I'm not a fan of biopics in general, I was curious to see what these two would make of Abraham Lincoln as a subject. It's about a big a canvass as there is in terms of American characters. He has passed the point of icon and become a mythic figure at this point, and so making a film about him requires a point of view, a reason beneath the history, and Kushner and Spielberg found a pretty tremendous way into the film.
Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” doesn’t come out for two weeks, but today she tweeted fans a hand-written track listing.
And yes, the album includes the tune “Nobody’s Business” featuring Chris Brown. Can’t wait to hear the lyrics on that one. God bless her, she knows she’s just ratcheting up the hype at this point and that we’ll all get our panties in a twist about her collaborating with him again following their partnership on “Birthday Cake” and “Turn Up The Music.”
She reteams with Eminem on a track called “Numb,” which would be awesome if it’s a sequel to “Love The Way You Lie.” Other guests include Future on “Loveeeeeee Song” and Mikky Ekko on “Stay.”
The album contains 14 tracks, plus a bonus track called “Half Of Me.” First single, “Diamonds,” has already hit No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Songs chart.
As we previously reported, a few different versions of “Unapologetic” will be released including a limited edition box set for $250 that includes a diamond bracelet and exclusive photos.