I've been high on Ben Affleck's "Argo" since way back at Telluride over a month ago. It is, I feel, the current Best Picture frontrunner. We've sussed out its zeitgeist potential, talked to Affleck, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston and pretty much covered all bases on the way to release, which is finally here. So if you make it out to see the film this weekend (and you should), hustle on back here and tell us what you thought. It's time for a wider audience to chime in. And feel free to rate the film via the tool above.
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Welcome to the weekend, those en route to Austin. Or wish they were in Austin. This weekend marks the 11th Austin City Limits music festival, in Zilker Park in the Texas capitol.
Below, I outline ACL, for those on their way and those who missed out.
When does it run?
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-14.
Is it sold out?
Big time. All regular weekend and one-day passes are sold out, and have been since May 22. But you can get schmancy VIP passes at $1,050 each and Platinum Passes at $3,600. About 50,000 people go.
What time does it start every day? Is it worth going early?
Around 11:15 a.m. And yes, there's some great acts like Caveman, Asleep at the Wheel, the Deep Dark Woods, Alt-J and the Kopecky Family Band that play super-early in the day?
Wait, the who, who and who? Just tell me who the big acts are.
The headliners are the Black Keys (8:15 on Friday), AVICII (8:15 on Friday), Jack White (8 on Saturday), Neil Young and Crazy Horse (also 8 on Saturday) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (8:15 on Sunday).
What makes ACL different from the other music festivals?
ACL is basically in downtown Austin, a notoriously awesome party town. It is not in the middle of a desert or field somewhere, like Coachella and Bonnaroo are. It's on par with Lollapalooza, the Chicago-based fest that is also run by C3, the fest producers who are actually based here. So, in a way, this is their home territory, which shows in the familiarity with the vendors and the lay of the land.
ACL is also heavily rock-based, as is reflected in its headliners. It skews a little older in its programming, a little safer, but the upshot is early end-times, so that you're not wasted at tired at 1 a.m.. Instead, you're wasted and tired at 10 p.m. They have night programming at local clubs with some of the same bands that you missed during the day so that you, too, can get a lay of the land.
How about the park itself, how's the weather? Texas is hot, I hear.
Yeah, it is hot. It's also gonna rain a little bit this weekend.
WHAT, BUT I THOUGHT IT'S TEXAS.
It's rained the last couple of years, too. Just be glad, it keeps the temperature down.
What else are the perks?
Man, get this: NO SMOKING. Now, I know you're trying to quit...
It's hard man.
I know buddy. But there's no smoking, so all patrons including kids can breathe your BO safely. It's one of the biggest no-smoking fests in the country.
What about parking?
There's no parking at the fest. Bike, walk or take a shuttle there.
Again, It's really close to downtown. Not gonna say this makes things simpler, but organizers are centered around sustainability, "green" festival-going and recycling and hug the earth stuff.
What are you doing there all weekend?
I'll be taking photos, interviewing artists, reviewing the big shows and pulling out artists-to-watch. Stay tuned.
I can't go. Is there some way I can watch stuff?
Something to make you smile on a Friday afternoon: Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, Paul Rudd, Jeff Probst, Paul Scheer and more coming together for "The Greatest Event in Television History," which turns out to be a multi-million dollar remake of the opening credits to "Simon & Simon." Scheer wrote it, Scott co-directed it, and as with so many of these Adult Swim and Funny or Die projects, it's clear everyone was having a lot of fun doing it.
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I make myself an Old Spanish...
With a stacked -- and rather rewarding -- slate of films on my plate yesterday, I didn't get to see Harvey Weinstein's keynote speech at the London Film Festival. But no matter: Screen helpfully provides a transcript. It would appear that preservation and piracy were the two chief issues on his mind: he laid into Hollywood film execs for their limited knowledge of their film heritage ("I began to wonder if any of them had even heard of John Ford") and celebrated the French for their hard line on illegal content-sharing, which he claims has bolstered the local film industry, allowing them to finance such grown-up hits as -- and here come two wholly impartial examples -- "The Artist" and "The Intouchables." [Screen Daily]
It was fascinating to watch the way the Internet behaved in the months leading up to the release of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus." I feel like I was one of the few people who wasn't convinced from day one that the film would reinvent science-fiction and cure the common cold all in one fell swoop, because the near-rabid reactions to every photo and every tiny tidbit of information was sort of terrifyingly intense.
Now Scott's gearing up for another run of fanboy mania, and I'm curious to see if anyone learned anything from the experience they had with "Prometheus," or if they're going to be just as rabid and just as pre-convinced of greatness when it comes to the "Blade Runner" sequel that he's developing right now.
Here's why I think no one learned a single thing. Scott gave a short interview to Metro in the UK, and it has been picked up everywhere today and people seem to think that it's as good as a release date for the "Blade Runner" sequel. Let's look at what he actually said about the film, which was already announced as being in development:
"It's not a rumor - it's happening. With Harrison Ford? I don't know yet. Is he too old? Well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don't know how long he can live. [laughs] And that's all I'm going to say at this stage."
Wow. First, there's nothing new there. We already knew he was attached. He said it was a sequel during the "Prometheus" theatrical press. And he's still convinced that Harrison Ford was a replicant in the original, which automatically makes me pray that something happens to derail this film before he makes it and ruins another legacy.
So, for those of you who may have forgotten and the rest of you who have tried to blot out the unhappy memory of it, when last we saw poor Elena (Nina Dobrev) she was fixing to turn into a vampire. While you'd think hanging out with vampires, especially ones as hot as Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Peter Wesley) would make the whole vampire thing look pretty appealing, Elena does not want to be a vampire. I don't even think she'd wear the plastic fangs for Halloween or read the "Twilight" books; that's how much she doesn't want to be a vampire.
BEVERLY HILLS - It's been a busy year so far for Bryan Cranston. Two films he shot long ago were finally released ("Red Tails" and "John Carter") and he appeared in three big summer releases ("Madagascar 3," "Rock of Ages" and "Total Recall"). Oh, and he just happened to land his fourth Emmy nomination for best actor in recognition for his stellar work as the iconic Walter White in "Breaking Bad." Plus, "Bad" aired eight of its last sixteen episodes to continued critical acclaim (which sort of makes up for the duds "Rock of Ages" and "Total Recall"). In September, he received another gift, Ben Affleck's "Argo."
It's part one of the finale, and Melissa is soooo displeased that she's stuck with three boys in this last battle for Fashion Week. She's going to kick their asses! Okay then! I will say, though, that I'm also displeased. It's not that the guys aren't talented -- it's just that women do tend to understand some basic ideas, such as the one about women not wanting to look like houses, or wear outfits with big, enhanced hip cushions (Christopher? Take a note on that one), or generally look monstrous. Unless they're Lady Gaga, in which case it's a thing.
If "Beauty and the Beast" isn't the worst new show of the fall (and it probably is, and Fienberg definitely thinks it is), it's certainly the silliest. It's the kind of show that justifies every horrible stereotype and joke about Hollywood executives. Of course the CW would do a version of "Beauty and the Beast" (specifically, remaking the '80s Ron Perlman/Linda Hamilton CBS series) in which the "beast" is an incredible hunk who just happens to have a scar on his face. The CW's target demo doesn't want to watch ugly people. Duh.
The producers have tried to spin it as Jay Ryan being beastly in less superficial ways: He has a temper! He's damaged from his time in the military and this weird experiment! Lana Lang just can't resist him, even though he's bad for her! But it's all just goofy, Ryan is wooden, Kristin Kreuk is hilariously miscast as a tough New York cop, and after about five minutes of laughing at the absurdity of it all, I found "Beauty and the Beast" committing the worst TV sin of all: it was boring.
For those of you who watched tonight, what did you think? One and done, or time to set the DVR season pass?
Usher’s new video for "Numb" opens with a real footage scene, he’s on stage in Berlin at the O2 Arena in January with sweat pouring down his face. He walked off the stage after two songs, leaving the audience tremendously disappointed.
From there, we hear Usher in voiceover where he talks about feeling like a failure as he stands on stage, seemingly paralyzed with fright and doubt and unable to perform.
[More after the jump...]