It is fitting that Bradley Cooper plays a writer in his new film "The Words."
To be more specific, he plays a frustrated writer, a man whose attempts to break into the world of publishing are met with indifference until he stumbles across a long-lost manuscript, known to nobody, and decides to claim it as his own. He ends up winning acclaim for the piece and falling into a life that he doesn't earn, even as the real author of the piece stumbles across his own words, finally in print after having disappeared for almost a half-century.
It's a really nice performance by Cooper, but these days, he's not pretending to be a writer. He's doing it. He's working on adapting the Dan Simmons novel "Hyperion" into a film, something that's been frustrating filmmakers for a while now.
When I sat down with Cooper and Brian Klugman, one of the writer/directors of the movie, I didn't intend to bring up the project, but it seemed like a natural progression in the conversation, and I was curious to see what he had to say about the state of the script right now.
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It is fitting that Bradley Cooper plays a writer in his new film "The Words."
Trailer for trailers and press releases for trailers. What a world. Though I guess Disney's big brou-ha-ha around the trailer for Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" is a little more understandable given the robust pomp and circumstance they're bringing to its debut.
According to a press release this afternoon, plans have been set to -- stay with me -- launch a Google+ Hangout (for those who didn't abandon the social networking attempt two days in) and premiere the trailer there on September 13. A live conversation with Spielberg and "Lincoln" star Joseph Gordon-Levitt will also be featured. The event will also be broadcast on the ABC SuperSign in the heart of New York's Times Square, and somewhere in there, my head just exploded.
Fans interested in participating are asked to upload a short video to their own YouTube channel with the #LincolnHangout tag explaining who they are, why they are interested in the film and what they would like to ask Spielberg and Gordon-Levitt about the film. And oh, here's the website: www.lincolnhangout.com.
The prince of every pre-teen girls' dreams combines with the pop princess of summer jams: Justin Bieber's Schoolboy Records signee Carly Rae Jepsen will have her label boss on "Beautiful," a new Jason Mraz-style jam from her next solo effort "Kiss."
A minute-and-a-half snippet of "Beautiful has been "leaked" to varying degrees ahead of "Kiss'" Sept. 18 drop date, and it features shared vocals from the pop stars.
Biebs, in the track, extols the virtues of friendship and modesty: that his beauty is beautiful because "you don't know how beautiful you are."
Considering the girth of El Bieberino's fame, don't pass this buy as a top 40 radio single contender. The full-length song will likely drop in the coming days.
The title was laid bare as Jepsen Tweeted the "track list" for her album, which resembles the word-art doodlings of a freshman in Algebra II class. Jepsen is 26 years old.
Anyway, Bieber's own "Believe" is still in in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, and Jepsen's hit "Call Me Maybe" is still in the top 5 of the Hot 100. Both are in heavy rotation and out to help the climb.
Speaking of climb, as the video to "Gangnam Style" by South Korean artist Psy leaps past the 100 million view mark on YouTube, Bieber's manager Scooter Braun has decided nothing good and pure and perfect can last and has actually signed the rapper/vocalist for an American deal. I insinuate "ruin" because it's less fun when a crazy conflagration like that LMFAO-loving song and viral video have the Bieber name attached to it. If Schoolboy, Interscope and their ilk try to recreate the organic, crowd-built success of YouTube hits like "Gangnam," it's going carry a phony air. That horse trot is jumping the shark.
Anyway, here it is for 102 millionth time, for those who haven't checked it. My favorite part is when he's screaming over the yoga girl's ass.
Pretty much the moment Richard Linklater cut to the extreme close-up of Michelle, the character played by Milla Jovovich in the wonderful "Dazed & Confused," as she rolled a joint, I was smitten. Smote. However you want to say it. Same thing happened when she held up that ID to the security guard and insisted that her name was "LeeeeelooDallasMoooolteeeepass." It's absurd how adorable she is as the divine being in Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element," and she gives one of those performances that is so dedicated that even if you don't like it, you have to marvel at it. Throw in the album she recorded in her teens full of personal, lyrical doodles, and I never really stood a chance.
I am fascinated by the way Screen Gems has essentially been handed over to two married couples at this point. I recently chatted with Kate Beckinsale about working with her husband, Len Wiseman, in the "Total Recall" remake, and Jovovich has a similar set-up with her husband, Paul W.S. Anderson. They seem like a pretty self-contained unit, happy to keep cranking out these increasingly strange and oddball zombie epics, and she seems like she loves the fans whenever I see her talking about these movies or showing up on a Comic-Con panel. I may not like these films very much (and I'll have a review of the new one for you on Friday), but I like her enthusiasm, and I like that she's found a niche where she seems really happy.
Martin de Thurah's work with Feist already had me boo-hooing (and singing praises), and now he has me scratching my head.
The Danish director tackled St. Vincent and David Byrne's first collaborative single "Who," which has the legendary Talking Heads frontman showing his latest compadre how to bust a move in the streets.
After he hits her with his car.
Or was she already in the road?
The "fault" lies with the listener, who toils with the song's question "Who is this man?" as Byrne shimmies in his jacket and Annie Clark makes for a beautiful victim/victimizer.
"Who" is off of Byrne and St. Vincent's collaborative full-length album "Love This Giant," which promises many of the little angles and big instrumentation as this song. It's out on Sept. 11.
Hal David, one of the best lyricists of the 20th century, died on Sept. 1. Other than John Lennon and Paul McCartney, David and his songwriting partner Burt Bacharach were the preeminent purveyors of pop song craft in the ‘60s.
Bacharach’s melodies were often complicated, but David’s lyrics never were and therein rests their beauty. His words were simple, but never obvious: The line “one less egg to fry” in “One Less Bell To Answer” spoke volumes about despair and loneliness. He expressed vulnerabilities that would have sounded hyperbolic coming from a less-skilled pen, but from him, sounded like truths: When Herb Alpert sang, “Say you’re in love, in love with this guy, If not, I’ll just die,” in “This Guy’s In Love With You,” who didn’t believe that he would perish into thin air without her love?
There was also a specificity to David’s lyrics. They were spare and direct. Think about “I Say A Little Prayer,” one of his best from start to finish (which is why I left it out of the selections below): The protagonist very deliberately is putting on her make-up, combing her hair, running for the bus... the actions are mundane and serve as a contrast to the drama of the thought of not being together with her beloved forever and ever. In “A House Is Not A Home,” he doesn’t just yearn for her to return, he needs for her to still be in love with him as well. He knew heartbreak didn’t need a lot of explanation, it needed precision.
Even the lyrics that seem dated now, like “Wishin’ & Hopin’s” “Wash your hair just for him,” capture a moment and thought in time. Though there are hundreds to choose from, below are what I consider to be 10 of David’s finest lyrics.
"Foolish pride, that's all that I have left/So let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me/When you said goodbye"— “Walk On By”
"One less bell to answer/One less egg to fry/One less man to pick up after/I should be happy/But all I do is cry" —”One Less Bell To Answer”
"I need your love/I want your love/Say you're in love, in love/With this guy/If not I'll just die" —-”This Guy’s in Love With You”
"The moment I wake up/Before I put on my makeup/I say a little prayer for you” — “I Say A Little Prayer”
"Anyone who had a heart would take me in his arms and love me too/Why won’t you?”—”Anyone Who Had a Heart”
“Darling, have a heart/Don’t let one mistake keep us apart/I’m not meant to live along/Turn this house into a home/When I climb the stair and turn the key/Oh, please be there still in love with me.” —”A House Is Not A Home”
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love/It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of"— “What the World Needs Now”
"On the day that you were born the angels got together/And decided to create a dream come true" —”Close To You”
“And if the way I hold you/Can’t compare to his caress/No words of consolation/Will make me miss you less”— “Make It Easy On Yourself”
"What do you get when you fall in love? You only get lies and pain and sorry/ So for at least until tomorrow/I’ll never fall in love again" —”I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.”
It’s been 10 years since an album of all new Matchbox Twenty material, although the pop-rock band’s legion of hits remains in such heavy rotation on many adult contemporary stations that their absence hasn’t been felt. Also, a greatest hits package with six new songs and two solo albums from lead singer Rob helped fill the void.
Having said that, “North,” out today, feels like a welcome return from an old friend who has kept all of the qualities that made you like him in the first place, but picked up some new tricks to keep things from getting stale. Matchbox Twenty’s strength has always been its strong grasp of the basic pop dynamic where catchy choruses are bookended by verses that propel a story and mood. Early hits like “Push,” “3AM,” “Bent” and “If You’re Gone” all carried a certain darkness with the lyrics, no matter how bright the melody.
The band’s writing dynamic shifted for “North,” and it’s a move that suits them well: Instead of writing everything primarily himself, the gifted Thomas shared the wealth with his bandmates and collaborations rule the day. That allows for more textures and nuances to the songs, such as on “English Town,” which starts out delicately before exploding into a swirl of guitars.
So it goes on much of the album: the band isn’t breaking its mold, so much as flexing some muscles in a way they haven’t before: On “Put Your Hands Up,” a dance-flavored track whose lively beat defies the dark lyrics, MB20 veers into Cobra Starship or Fall Out Boy territory. On first single “She’s So Mean,” which deserved a much better shot from radio than it received, handclaps bolster a power pop tune about a girl that just gets the better of every man who’s drawn into her web.
When Matchbox Twenty first hit in 1996, the members were in their early 20s. Now, more than 15 years later, they’ve grown up, gotten married, and had families. There’s a maturity to some of the material that couldn’t have occurred until they got some more life under their belt. The gem on the album, the understated “I Will,” beautifully reflects how time passes at a startlingly rate of speed: “Tonight looking back on all this life, it’s funny how the time goes by and how, sometimes, it slides away,” Thomas sings, as half of a couple who will figure out life’s foibles together, filling in each other’s gaps. The simple arrangement adds to the song’s beauty. Current single “Overjoyed” uncynically looks at love in a fresh, inviting way, well aware that the chance for true happiness doesn’t come along every day. Conversely, “Like Sugar” addresses a temptation that comes on like the sweetest, most addictive, yet toxic, substance.
Not every song is a winner: “How Long” starts of nimbly, but loses its way; “Radio” sounds like the band is pandering for airplay, but there are far more plusses on “North” than negatives from a band that continues to move in the right direction.
The Black Keys are popular enough to headline arenas now, but core members Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney know that their crunchy blues rock is best appreciated in a too-hot, too-crowded dive bar.
The duo's latest video, for the single "Little Black Submarines," attempts to capture that sort of live rawness.
Nashville's tiny Springwater Supper Club is the setting for the blistering song, with a few dozen onlookers witnessing the performance by one of the best live acts in the current rock landscape.
Watch the video here:
Originally slated to be a video combining live footage with a narrative, the Keys instead opted for a simple, straightforward performance video. For the live portion, a small number of local fans were allowed into the tiny bar, and the scheduled performance of one song eventually grew into an impromptu complete set.
"We all just sort of kind of mutually agreed that it should probably just be the performance and not any of the other extra stuff," Auerbach told told Rolling Stone. “Luckily we had live footage so we turned it into a live video. We just sort of said 'You know, it was fun kind of performing here at a small club with the fans. Why don't we just have it be that?'"
It also gives some screen time to the Black Keys' expanded live lineup.
What do you think of the video? Grade it at the top of the story.
I think I'm over the whole "so ridiculous it's fun" thing.
Either that, or I'm waiting until someone actually creates something that genuinely looks like fun before I say that again. Today, the trailer for "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" finally arrives online and I can't help but feel like I'm looking at a parody of a "cool" movie trailer.
Jeremy Renner is so decidedly modern and he and Gemma Arterton appear to have so little chemistry that I'm feeling like even before you get to the film's ridiculous premise, the movie is already hobbled. Sure, it's hard to judge the end result from a trailer, but part of me feels like I'm looking at the new version of "The Brothers Grimm," and if Terry Gilliam failed to make that premise work, I'm not sure Tommy Wirkola (whose "Dead Snow" was fun) is the man for the job.
One of the things I'll be doing at the Toronto Film Festival this year is catching up with "Looper," the Rian Johnson film I first saw last year in a rough state. I'm excited to see the finished movie and to sit down with the cast for some interviews.
Today, though, came a firm reminder that my vacation is over. As much as I've loved having time off with my kids as I recharged the battery for what is going to be a very busy month ahead, I was aware that the flurry of work was going to begin the moment I returned. Sure enough, there was a knock on the door this morning and a guy who looked suspiciously like a young Bruce Willis was standing there. He handed me an envelope and said, "You've got a mission. Get to it."
Oddly, he hopped on what looked like a NY bike messenger's bike and took off down my driveway, leaving me to head back inside and look to see what it was he'd brought me and what explanation there was for his actions.
"NCIS" returns for its tenth season in just a few weeks (Tues. Sept. 25, 8:00 p.m.), but the premiere promises to be worth the wait. In last season's finale, Dr. Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) went into hiding, Ducky (David McCallum) had an apparent heart attack, and a bomb tore apart NCIS headquarters. That explosive ending killed Jonathan Cole (Scott Wolf), while Ziva (Cote de Pablo) and Tony (Michael Weatherly) were trapped in an elevator. While I was only able to talk to de Pablo for a few minutes at the CBS TCA party, I (very quickly) asked her about what's ahead for Ziva and Tony, a pair who've sparked even from the acrimonious beginning of their relationship. Here's what the Chilean-born actress had to say. Very quickly.
After he posted a photo of himself wearing a Santa hat in the studio, there was little doubt that Scotty McCreery was working on a holiday album, although his label declined to reveal any further details.
Now we know “Christmas With Scotty McCreery” will arrive Oct. 16. The stocking stuffer from the “American Idol” winner contains two new songs in addition to a platter-ful of standards, such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells, “Let It Snow,” “The Christmas Song,” “O Holy Night,” and “The First Noel.”
The new tracks are “Christmas In Heaven” and “Christmas Is Coming Around.” Of the latter, McCreery says, “That’s just a great story about Christmas time and really just lifting people’s spirits. Times may be tough, but during Christmas, it needs to be a happy time.”
McCreery, who just started his freshman year at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, will make Christmas calls to 100 random fans who purchase the album via his website, www.ScottyMcCreery.com.
Fellow country star Blake Shelton will also release a holiday this season.