The producers of "Toddlers & Tiaras" and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" are bringing us another series bubbling over with tarted up little girls and mean moms, and HitFix is bringing you an exclusive clip right here, right now. "Cheer Perfection" (premiering Wed. Dec. 19 at 10:00 p.m.) follows tiny cheerleaders as they compete for a shot at a big, national competition. Or something. Since a one-off episode aired to 1.1 million viewers in July, we're betting this show will follow in the footsteps of its can't-look-away, ratings-snaring predecessors.
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It's that time of year, and we will indeed have plenty of lists for you here on HitFix. Greg Ellwood ran his ten favorite films of 2012 yesterday, we're working on a collective "worst of" list, and I've got at least three end of the year articles coming in the days ahead. For now, though, it's time for the big one, the main list, the top ten.
I love that our amazing video team (Michiel Thomas and James Jhun don't get nearly enough credit for all the outstanding work they do for us each and every day, and at this time of the year in particular, they are working around the clock to get everything ready) puts these together as video pieces for us. It's a great way to take one last fond look at the ten films that defined 2012 for me, the movies that most directly spoke to my experience, my tastes.
There are films on this list that I have had heated arguments about this year, movies that have polarized viewers in some cases. As always, the rules for an appearance on this list are simple: it has to be a new movie that I saw in 2012. Some of these were festival films, some of them had massive wide releases, and all of them made an impression on me. If they haven't played your area yet, please don't get upset about it and yell at me. Just consider it a heads up, something to keep an eye out for in the near future.
A quick review of last night's "Happy Endings" coming up just as soon as I explain "Tremé" to you...
Ivan & Alyosha have partnered with a couple auspicious sources this fall, first with the Missing Pieces and Dualtone labels, and next with "Rebel Jesus."
The first, aforementioned joint venture marks them as labelmates with Immaculate Noise favorites Shovels & Rope and recent Grammy nominees The Lumineers. The band will now be releasing its full-length debut, "All the Times We Had," on Feb. 26, led by the single "Running for Cover."
Rootsy "Rebel Jesus," on the other hand, is a highlight for a different reason: the season. This holiday-inspired Jackson Browne cover is yet another firm sample of the band's refined vocals and ageless pop affinities, plus a perfectly level-headed excuse to bust out the jingle bells. As implied by its title, this "heathen and a pagan" have more than garland and red-nosed reindeer on their minds as the the rip into the mildest guitar solo of all time.
The live performance was filmed at Seattle studio Avast!, where "All the Times We Had" was recorded. It was also mixed by Jesse Lauter, who did the same duties last year for The Low Anthem. So there's that.
After Christmas cheer, look forward to this solid album.
The first film I watched this year was a documentary called "These Amazing Shadows," a look at the work being done by the National Film Registry, and a celebration of the impulse behind the creation of the annual list.
For those of you not familiar with it already, each year, the Registry picks films that are "works of enduring importance to American culture, that reflect who we are as a people and as a nation." This year, anything released between 1897 and 1999 was eligible, and with this year's choices, the registry now stands at 600 titles. That's since it was created in 1989, and as with every year, the list of titles chosen includes some obvious choices, some eccentric choices, and some films you probably have never heard of, making for a typically heady mix.
I love that they've included "The Matrix," which will probably end up being one of the most influential films released since I started writing about movies. It seems with each passing year to cast a larger and larger shadow over pop culture, and I'm wondering if the Wachowskis will ever be able to equal the impact that movie made on audiences and filmmakers alike.
Here's the full list of new films added to the Registry, as well as the explanation sent out as part of today's press release, followed by my own thoughts on each title in italics.
As I mentioned last week, compared to Cannes and Venice, the Berlin Film Festival tends to look like something of a weak sister when it comes to securing major auteur titles. Their festival curtain-raisers, meanwhile, tend to be on the low-key side: while a good film, this year's opener, "Farewell, My Queen," wasn't exactly an event, while "True Grit" was old news by the time it kicked off the 2011 edition.
Both those traditions have been broken in grand style by this morning's doozy of an announcement. The official festival email slyly mentioned only "Opening Film" in the subject line: upon opening it, I had to blink a few times before believing that, yes, Wong Kar-wai's long, long delayed "The Grandmaster" will indeed be kicking off the Berlinale with its international premiere on February 7. (It's an international rather than a world premiere because it's scheduled for release in China the month before.)
Though the film itself can't seem to catch much of a break in the awards race -- those omissions from Oscar's VFX and makeup shortlists still sting -- "The Impossible" star Naomi Watts keeps gathering momentum. After neatly scoring SAG, Globe and BFCA nods last week, the actress now has her own vocal Academy advocate (her Julia Roberts, if you will) in the form of Reese Witherspoon. A public fan letter to Watts from Witherspoon, who is not a close personal friend, compares her performance to those of Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice" and Sally Field in "Norma Rae" (both Oscar winners, as it happens) and declares "The Impossible" "one of the best films I have ever seen in my entire life." Witherspoon is not the "Impossible" team's first celebrity cheerleader: Angelina Jolie hosted a screening last month. Is this the tip of the iceberg in terms of actors' branch support? [EW]
I reviewed "Paul Williams Still Alive" when I was the Toronto Film Festival in 2011, and I think of the film as a 2011 release because of that. Technically, though, it's eligible for awards this year, and one of the ones they're aiming for is an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
Much of what you hear in the film comes from his long and remarkable career, and for many people, the film serves to connect dots they may not have known were connected at all. The Carpenters, the Muppets, commercial work… so many of his songs have sunk into our collective cultural subconscious that we know them more than we know him.
When I spoke to Williams during the Toronto Film Festival, it was one of those interviews that could have gone on another two hours, and I wouldn't have even begun to run out of things to talk to him about. I feel bad that we never made it to the subject of "Still Alive," the original song he wrote for the documentary, and I'm glad to see that the company behind the film is working hard to get it out there.
We’re here at the end of the road for this cycle of “The Voice”. NBC looked into it, but it couldn’t find a way to extend the season any further. (Lord knows the one-hour repeat hour before the finale proper demonstrates how badly this network is milking this franchise.) But that’s all for the best, as the outcome tonight looks pretty much preordained. I went on record saying this last night, but I’ll once again reiterate that it’s Cassadee Pope’s contest to lose at this point. Assuming they stagger the eliminations, we should have Pope and Terry McDermott standing alone in the final moments before the champion is crowned.