We are becoming our computers. Our information becomes us. And nature will destroy us in retort.
That's what I'll take away from the partially animated music video to Boys Noize's "Ich R U," which I've now watched no fewer than 13 times. It's culled from the electronica act's third album "Out of the Black," which was released on Tuesday (Oct. 16).
The track is the more "put-together" of theirs, but that doesn't mean its not reflective of the whole set. It bangs and bruises with the rest.
Robert Patrick's resume is littered with military titles.
He's been sergeants and majors and commanders. He's also played an astounding variety of colonels, from "NCIS" to "Chuck" to "The Unit."
It was on "The Unit" that Patrick worked with Shawn Ryan, the man behind his latest military role, Master Chief Joseph Prosser on "Last Resort."
In one respect, Prosser is probably a villain on "Last Resort," in the sense that the Chief of Boat has developed an adversarial relationship with our ostensible hero, Andre Braugher's Captain Marcus Chaplin.
But "heroes" and "villains" aren't so clearly delineated on the Thursday night drama and in an interview last week, Patrick made it clear that Prosser is merely following his loyalties to the United States of America in the face of what he views as Marcus Chaplin's treason. Of course, don't expect things on "Last Resort" to be that simple, whether Prosser is about to foment revolt against Chaplin, or whether his loyalties are about to change.
In my conversation with Patrick, we discussed his reunion with Ryan, his new friend Andre Braugher and the very personal stake he has in his collection of military roles.
When London taxi driver Alan Billis discovered he was dying of lung cancer, he may not have seemed like an obvious candidate for a pharaoh's farewell. But thanks to some enterprising scientists searching for one lucky person to donate his or her body for an old-school wrap-up using all of the techniques practiced by the ancient Egyptians, Billis, who died at 61, will be sticking around -- as a mummy -- for a very long time. Also sticking around is his widow, Jan, who took some time to phone me from the U.K. to talk about the U.S. version of the show detailing her husband's preservation, "Curiosity: I Was Mummified" (Sun. Oct. 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET). She reveals she never asked her husband why he did it and also talks about how many times she's watched the show that focuses on her husband's body being covered in honey, soaked in salt water, then put in an oven at a slow bake. She also shows she has a very good sense of humor -- without telling one mummy joke.
Every hit song begins with a writer or group of writers sitting in a room staring at a keyboard, holding a guitar, staring at a blank computer screen or a pad of paper.
The story of how a song comes together, much less becomes an enduring hit heard by millions, always seems like some kind of magical miracle. Earlier this week, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles held its annual Songwriters in the Round evening in conjunction with the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Top songwriters told the stories behind some of the biggest hits. This week’s writers included Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Dixie Chicks, Adele), Greg Kurstin (Kelly Clarkson, Pink), Evan Bogart (Beyonce, Rihanna) and Rodney Jerkins (Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Beyonce).
Below are five secrets they reveals about some of your favorite songs.
Beyonce initially hated Destiny Child’s mega-hit “Say My Name”
Producer/songwriter Rodney Jerkins was in London in the late ‘90s, clubbing with the Spice Girls. It was in a club that he first heard 2-step, a jittery electronic dance style. “I wanted to bring 2-step to the States,” Jerkins said and his first session back just happened to be with Destiny’s Child. He played them “Say My Name,” which featured a prominent 2-step. “Beyonce said, ‘What is this garbage?’ I said, ‘Trust me.’ They sang it, but they weren’t happy.” When it came time to do the final mix, Jerkins “humbled” himself and stripped out all the music and built the song from the ground up again from an a capella vocal track with the trio rapping the beat that was taken out.
Adele obsessed over Wanda Jackson before writing “Someone Like You” At Dan Wilson’s first writing session with Adele after they were “blind dated” by produced Rick Rubin, “she had four lines for two songs. Two lines turned into ‘Rumour Has It’ and two into ‘Someone Like You’,” he recalls. “But for the first hour, she played me Wanda Jackson videos on YouTube.” He admits the move was brilliant in that it broke the ice and helped them “wipe the etch-a-sketch clean” in terms of their expectations.
Pink originally wrote “Throw In the towel” instead of “Blow me one last kiss”
Greg Kurstin wrote and recorded “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” in one day. Kurstin brought some tracks he’d created into the session. Pink quickly wrote the melody for the verse and Kurstin wrote the melody for the chorus. “She’s so fast. She’s an amazing lyric writer,” he says. But something wasn’t quite sitting right with them on the lyrics. Pink originally had penned “Let’s throw in the towel” and Kurstin felt it didn’t work. Next thing he knew, she’d switched it to “Blow me one last kiss” and a top 10 song was born.
Michael Jackson’s ‘Rock My World’ started as a dream
When Rodney Jerkins was 19 and coming off having worked with Mary J. Blige and Brandy and Monica, he had a very vivid dream that he would work with Michael Jackson as he slept on his mother’s couch in New Jersey. He dreamed of walking up to a structure with lots of glass and seeing Jackson in a red shirt waving to him. He woke up the next morning, the phone rang and it was legendary songwriter Carole Bayer Sager “asking if I wanted to write for Michael Jackson,” Jerkins said. “She said, I don’t don’t know when it will be.’ I said, ‘I’m going to come [to L.A.] tomorrow so when it’s time, I’m ready’.” As he approached their meeting point, he looked up and there was Jackson, looking out a window in a red shirt, exactly as he had appeared in Jerkins’ dream.
Beyonce’s “Halo” was inspired by Ray LaMontagne’s “Shelter”
Evan Bogart, who was still working as a booking agent at the time, was writing with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who was home nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon which has caused him to cancel his band's tour. Bogart was enamored with Ray LaMontage’s song “Shelter” and wanted to write a song that conveyed that same feeling. “Three hours later, we had the song done and four hours later, we had the word that she was going to cut it,” Bogart says. The song they submitted had no bridge, to even though Beyonce has agreed to cut it, they went back later and added a bridge that was Bogart’s tribute to LaMontagne. Don’t recognize it in the final version of “Halo?” For good reason: “When Beyonce recorded it, she ripped it out and replaced it,” Bogart said with a laugh.
It’s a candy-colored world in Carly Rae Jepsen’s lyric video for current single, “This Kiss.”
The decidedly low tech clip features the lyrics about a potential cheating kiss pop up against bright pop art backgrounds full of geometric shapes and polka dots. And drawn lips and perky hearts. There are no images of Jepsen anywhere.
The Academy has taken another big step toward establishing its long-in-the-making motion picture museum right in the heart of Los Angeles. The organization announced today that it has reached its initial goal of $100 million toward a $250 capital campaign to fund the project, which will be housed within the former Wilshire May Company building on the southwest corner of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's campus on Wilshire Blvd.
Concurrently, the Academy also unveiled its vision for the museum, which is designed by architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali and set to open in 2016. The non-profit enterprise "will be a landmark that both our industry and our city can be immensely proud of," Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said via press release, and indeed, it's a bold and unique undertaking that comes at a crucial time for the preservation of film and continued cinema history education.
Nicki Minaj has never looked better in a video than she does in "The Boys." Cassie, who is stunning, bares most of her, ehm, assets for the clip. The girls strut besides and inside of cars, immobile for the sake of the traditional girls-with-cars trope in hip-hop videos.
The "The Boys" of hip-hop, much of Minaj's new video will ring familiar, albeit in furious colors of magenta, aggressive greens, volcanic reds and the rapper's favorite color pink -- conveniently coordinated with their bikinis. Barbie and her hook-singing guest literally stop traffic with their look, and where else would they be headed but the salon? The leading ladies also flirt with each other throughout, Minaj even simulating going down on her comely friend.
On its face (pun intended), "The Boys" pretty much follows all the rules for a proper male gaze. Except for the part where Minaj sets a barber shop on fire, killing its inhabitants.
If you don't listen closely to the lyrics (which is somewhat impossible to do, considering the crystal-clearness of that refrain), this track takes solid aim at the boys of hip-hop, how they expect their "love" to be hand-delivered as a commodity: "They want to touch it, taste it, see it, pet it, bone it, own it." Here, Cassie and Minaj even put a bow on it.
Minaj's "revenge" to that notion is carried out in her sentencing, letting loose of her flame-thrower. She and its creators also try to mix up the genders, by putting Cassie in a suit without a shirt on underneath, for instance, or Nicki rocking denim in a princess-styled two-piece. Minaj's attack on the barber shop actually seems methodical, pre-planned, less as an actual violent act and more of a warning, that if this is how "the boys" carry on, they're gonna get burned.
Unfortunately, though, the glossiness of this package will override any social commentary it actually brings to the table. As is evident already through Minaj's Twitter response and retweets, fans are arriving on the other side, naturally, responding "OMG bikini " and the ilk. It's disappointing, after how punk, rude and awesome the single was when it first dropped. Minaj is giving it to "the boys"... by giving them what they want, with only a whiff of danger.
But, hey, at least it's still better than "Starships."
"The Boys" is the new single off of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, The Re-Up," a confusingly titled repackaging of confoundingly titled "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," due on Nov. 19.
Other formidable contenders include 'Life of Pi' and 'The Impossible'
Posted in In Contention By
Gerard Kennedy Thursday, Oct 18, 2012 1:09 PM
Every year, it seems as though summer blockbusters try to outdo each other in the realm of visual effects. The rise of 3D has made visual effects even more of a selling point for many films, with two of the last three winners in this category (“Hugo” and “Avatar”) employing such technology.
The Academy Award for Best Visual Effects awards up to four of the hundreds of individuals who create the these elements. More than any other category, being a blockbuster that has made a lot of money helps immensely (though largely that's because blockbusters that make a lot of money tend to be effects-heavy). That said, being a Best Picture nominee certainly helps. And, as I pointed out last year, it helps even more at the win stage.
Until a few years ago, there were only three nominees in this category, chosen from a pre-announced list of seven finalists. This practice was changed effective 2009, and now there are 10 pre-announced finalists, from which five nominees are chosen.
The Weeknd is preparing the commercial release of "Trilogy," a collection of his three (you guessed right!) mixtapes all in one spot, with added tunes. "Wicked Games" is the next video to premiere from the set, and the Weeknd's Abel Tesfaye couldn't be more excited. See, it's funny, 'cause he couldn't look more bored in the black-and-white clip, as he gets a lapdance from a shadow, and a peep show from a model.
"You bring your body, baby, I can bring you fame," he sings, skipping the whole "charm" schtick. "Let me motherf*ckin' love you."
The awards season is "officially" under way today as the first awards show of the season has announced its list of nominees. The Gotham Independent Film Awards are typically good for establishing certain independent films in the race early on, films that hope to maintain a profile throughout the season as the bigger titles do battle. Beneficiaries of Gotham recognition have included "Beginners," "The Tree of Life," "The Descendants," "Winter's Bone," "Black Swan," "The Kids Are All Right," "The Hurt Locker" and "A Serious Man" in recent years.
The 22nd annual slate could prove helpful to a film like Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," which picked up two nominations including Best Feature, as the film looks to turn summer release goodwill into a Best Picture Oscar nomination. (It landed on DVD/Blu-ray yesterday, which also helps.) Richard Linklater's "Bernie," meanwhile, also nominated for Best Feature, can ride an early wave like this and perhaps more voters will put in the screener and give it a look. This after Millennium Entertainment brought Linklater and star Jack Black to New York and Los Angeles for a few soirées to get the engine humming.
When Cinemax decided to follow big brother HBO into the scripted drama business, it kept things safe and simple with "Strike Back." It was a continuation of a pre-existing show from the U.K. (albeit one where most of the cast and producers were replaced for the Cinemax version), a mix of sex and violence that fit perfectly with what people subscribe to the channel for, and its ambitions are small and easily attainable.
"Strike Back" has turned out to be a real pleasure, and now Cinemax has aimed higher with its second drama, "Hunted" (it premieres Friday night at 10).It's a wholly original series, and while there's still action and nudity, the storytelling is far more complex. The training wheels are off now, and the result is a show that wobbles far more frequently than its predecessor, but one that can get into a groove that demonstrates the value of risk-taking.
There may still be a question mark over how well "The Master" goes over with the Academy, but there's little doubt that Joaquin Phoenix is primed for a nomination (at least) for his blazing performance in it. When he gets it, however, it'll be without any help from the actor himself, who has made it quite clear he has no interest in the whole ritual of awards season whatsoever. His interview with Elvis Mitchell touches on many interesting areas, but here are his thoughts on the Oscar-chasing business: "I think it's total, utter bullshit, and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe in it... Pitting people against each other . . . It's the stupidest thing in the whole world. It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when 'Walk the Line' was going through all the awards stuff and all that. I never want to have that experience again." Guess he won't be coming to the ceremony, then. [Interview]