I promised two podcasts this weekend, and sure enough, we've got two podcasts this weekend.
We don't do a ton of game coverage on the site, primarily because there just isn't enough time for us to do every single thing we'd like at this point. There are moments where film and games are starting to overlap though, and when you've got a guy like James Gunn writing a game that looks as strange and as stylish as "Lollipop Chainsaw," that seems like a good moment to sit down for a conversation about that cross-over in disciplines and how things are starting to get very blurry for people in this business.
Of course, "sitting down together" can be a figure of speech when you're trying to schedule an interview in the middle of an event like E3. I wasn't at the convention center, and on the day I was set to talk to James, I had a company meeting in Century City. At the end of it, the rest of team HitFix took off, and I turned on the recorder, took the call on my cell phone, and did my best to record the ensuing conversation.
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I promised two podcasts this weekend, and sure enough, we've got two podcasts this weekend.
You've got not one but two episodes of the podcast due to you, and so you'll get one today and one tomorrow.
This first one was recorded not long after I walked in the door from the Cannes Film Festival this year, and one of the last films I saw there was Mark Wheatley's "Sightseers." Wheatley was the director of "Kill List," which many critics embraced, and which helped cement my opinion of Wheatley as a fascinating director who is willing to take big creative risks as he builds his films. His new one is a comedy, something I wouldn't have expected from "Down Terrace" or "Kill List," and he has a great feel for the material.
I sat down with Wheatley about two hours after I saw the film, and we had a great, quick conversation about his work and where he's headed. That interview is included here, and in addition, we chat about a whole bunch of trailers that were released while I was away. Which ones convince Scott to go to the theater and which ones look like home video rentals? Even I am surprised by his answers on a fairly consistent basis.
It sounds like Lady Gaga may be close to completing her next album, as she already has solid plans for promotion on her calendar.
"Exciting news little monsters! I've played my new record for my label and will be announcing my new Album Title in September!" she Tweeted earlier today (June 8).
Hey, maybe Gaga doesn't even know what the name is yet. But that's not the point. If she is this adamant about being ready to move on to promoting her third album, then she's ready to have her fans move on as well.
Which is a good thing. "Born This Way" didn't have the legs on it that Interscope had hoped, nor the critical acclaim. While Gaga's popularity has obviously grown since its release last May -- and her live shows and strong media personality are good reasons why -- 2012 is the time to leave that set behind, not 2013.
The news resembles the move she made with the lead-up to "Born This Way." She announced the name of the album during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV VMAs, which also are in September. She unveiled the album release date on New Year's Day this year, as well as the title track single. Then it was five solid months of album promotion in the lead-up to the May 23 release. So we now know that her label likes at least seven months of lead-up.
Mother Monster is currently on her Born This Way Ball tour overseas, with stops in Europe and Australia through the summer. However, she has yet to announce the North American leg. With news that the promotional process for her as-yet-untitled has started even now, technically, it may be that she'll modify her show to include new songs or visual motifs for her U.S. audience.
No word if the songs she played for label execs were the finalized versions, but it's good to know they've given the OK on the tunes themselves.
One of the things I've seen people commenting on after catching "Prometheus" theatrically last night and this morning is the unusual promotional clip for "Life Of Pi" that 20th Century Fox has attached to all 3D prints of the film.
More than anything, what I'm reading is confusion. I haven't seen how the clips are formatted, but evidently it's just a scene from the film, played without any real introduction. It's an unusual tactic for the studio to pursue, but "Life Of Pi" is the sort of film that's going to require Fox to try some unorthodox measures to convince audiences that they've got something special planned for them.
According to quotes from Tom Rothman in the New York Times, the decision to handle the clips this way resulted from the response they got when they screened footage for exhibitors during CinemaCon this spring. The response there was certainly positive, and it even led to some Oscar talk among those who love to kick off the awards season about nine months too early.
Last night, I got home from a long day of running around, and I decided to throw on something from the stack of Blu-rays while I worked. I ended up settling on "Lethal Weapon 2," and as I watched the film, I was also checking e-mail and seeing what was going on in the world of film. That's when I stumbled across the news that production designer Michael Riva had passed away. At first, I thought it was a coincidence that I was watching a film Riva had worked on when I got the news, but when you look at his filmography, the odds seem somewhat stacked, because this is one of those guys who worked on everything.
His final film will end up being "Django Unchained," and creating a pre-Civil War south as filtered through the sensibilities of Quentin Tarantino sounds like one of those jobs that would be a dream for a production designer. He's also still got "The Amazing Spider-Man" coming out, and I'm curious to see how he's remagined the world that Sam Raimi established on the first three films… especially since Riva was the production designer on "Spider-Man 3." You could also make the case that as the designer of "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2," he set a template for the larger Marvel Movie universe that other people will be following for many years to come.
Frank Ocean is finally ready to drop his Def Jam studio set, and fans have to only wait a month and a week to hear it.
With a teaser trailer posted to his blog, Ocean teased "Channel Orange," due on July 17. The video features a slow, sweeping shot of a ritzy car, its passengers (if any) unclear. However, the song playing over seems to indicate all sorts of sexy happening, with his love interest "workin' at the Pyramid." Is Ocean lusting for a stripper named Cleopatra?
"Channel Orange" comes on the heels of "nostalgia, ULTRA," the mixtape he dropped last year that yielded buzz songs like "Novacane." This year, after a messy release history, "Thinkin Bout You" was dubbed to be the leading single from the new album (it was originally written for Bridget Kelly, who also released her version).
Ocean, who is also part of hip-hop collective Odd Future, has been signed to Def Jam for much longer than a year. He'd mentioned in interviews last year he wasn't considered a priority at the label until after Odd Future had blown up on everybody's radar after the South By Southwest Music conference; it seems he finally got on the dance card.
However, it is a little strange that Def Jam is announcing this so close to the release date. "Thinkin' About You" seems to be the only possible new inclusion in the tracklist, though it's up in the air if they'll be borrowing any "nostalgia, ULTRA" songs. He could certainly use more exposure to hip-hop/R&B audiences, which he'll get during his tour in July and part of August -- but he's spending some of August and beyond opening for Coldplay, and who knows what the feedback from that will be.
You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video. Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.
For many genre fans, today must feel like Christmas. After all, the frenzy that has accompanied every stage of production for Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" is probably the most enthusiasm I've seen to one of his films pre-release in quite a while. That's not the only new film in theaters this weekend, depending on where you live, but it's certainly the highest profile title. If you decide to sit out opening weekend, there's plenty to discuss on the streaming and home video fronts.
IN THEATERS TODAY
My initial review for the film is up already, and I'm going to take the unusual measure of writing a second post-release piece that I'll post Monday, replete with spoilers, so we can dig in and really discuss what we think of the film. For now, even if I have some issues with the film, I can't imagine telling another film fan not to check it out theatrically. I'm going to the Rave, a giant IMAX 3D screen, for my second viewing, and if nothing else, I look forward to feeling like I'm going to fall through the frame into the amazing world that Ridley Scott and his team have built for us with this movie.
I was out of town for all the LA "Prometheus" press screenings, so I'll be heading out to the theater in a few to catch it myself with the masses. I actually had hoped to hit the midnight screening last night but it sold out. For now, though, I'm sure plenty of you will have something to say on the matter as Ridley Scott's film has been one of the most anticipated of the year. When you get around to it, head on back here with those thoughts and soon enough, I'll dive into the conversation with you. Also, feel free to rank the film via the tool above. (UPDATE: Okay, I'm back. Incredibly disappointing.)