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I want to meet Chris Morgan.
Perfect world, we could sit down over the refreshment of our choice and we could talk about Conan. Specifically, we could talk about "Conan The Barbarian," the 1982 film that Universal released, directed by John Milius and written by Milius and Oliver Stone. That film was one of the things that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a viable movie star. Before that, he was known for a few quirky appearances in film like "Stay Hungry," his charismatic appearance in "Pumping Iron," and his bodybuilding triumphs. But "Conan The Barbarian" changed things for him, and its reputation has grown over time.
I've loved the film since opening weekend, and I love running into a hardcore fan of the film. You know you've found a kindred soul when you can ask, "What is good in life?" and someone answers without hesitation, "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women." And based on the story that Deadline reported earlier this afternoon, Chris Morgan may be one of those people.
With the November 1 eligibility due date looming around the corner, it's time to really dig in on the Best Animated Feature Film category. Currently there are 16 titles assumed eligible for the award, which has been dished out at the annual Oscars for 11 years now. And that 12-year history has shown an interesting progression for the category.
The rise of GKIDS in the indie sector has shaken this race up a bit as of late, seemingly giving animators the artistic alternatives that they don't always get out of the commercial lot. The dirty little secret about the animated feature category is that it was, long before the Best Picture category's facelift, the first real step the Academy made toward allowing space for commercial films and therefore providing general audiences a better sense of accessibility to the annual Oscarcast.
But over time the category has naturally evolved, all the way up until just last year, when the studios were up against it as Pixar was shut out after winning the award four years in a row, two indie titles faced off against two traditional animation house films (from the same studio, in fact) and the win went to an in-house gem that came from a non-animator filmmaker who made his name in live action.
Though I had initially thought Elena's transition into vampiredom would be pretty easy -- she knows the right people, for crying out loud -- I'm beginning to have my doubts. The girl who spent so much time in previous seasons either being depressed or guilty or suffering over some fresh nightmare now has a new lease on life (or unlife, I guess) and it's not going so well. Vampires feel everything more strongly than mere mortals do -- and it was only a matter of time before all the big, bad feelings Elena was supressing came bubbling to the surface like black goo in the LaBrea Tar Pits. This week, Elena gets to do battle with her anger, which she was too nice to get out of her system back when it could have been neatly handled with a visit to the local gun rage or a good jog. No, now Elena has bloodlust and a taste for murder to deal with, and it's just a whole lot messier.
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I get a chicken parm and watch "Blade Runner"...
A review of tonight's "Last Resort" coming up just as soon as they have rodeos in France...
It's been a strange day in the "X-Men" movie universe.
Obviously, fandom is freaking out over Matthew Vaughn leaving "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," and I plan to take a deeper look at the post-Rothman world of Fox superhero movies in the days ahead. For now, though, I'm fascinated by a comment that Empire ran today as part of their exclusive visit to the set of "The Wolverine," James Mangold's take on the mutant that has been played since 2000 by Hugh Jackman.
At this point, I would not be shocked to learn that people are confused by the timelines and continuities of the "X-Men" series. After all, there's the trilogy of films based on the Bryan Singer take on the characters, there's the "Wolverine" solo film, and there's last year's "X-Men: First Class," which appeared to overtly contradict several things in the already established movies. I'm not sure I quite understand how they're supposed to connect on a story level if we're meant to accept that they all take place in one movie universe.
I have to say this is looking a little bit more like "Die Hard" now.
I still think it's just plain weird to have built a franchise around John McClane, but I get the reason that most fans want more of something they like. McClane's great in the first film for two totally different reasons. First, he's great because he's a normal person who has to figure out how to stay alive and save his wife against armed, organized overwhelming odds, and that resourcefulness and fortitude make him heroic. Second, he's great because he knows exactly how to mouth off in a way that makes Hans Gruber mental, and that is just plain fun to watch.
That sense of "wrong place, wrong time" is a big part of that first film, and it's one of the things that makes McClane a real hero. He's not doing a specific job he's being paid to do. He just ended up in a position to be the one person who can disrupt this thing that's happening, and so he does it. The idea of him being trapped inside the building with the thieves was definitely one of the things that was most vigorously imitated by others, enough that you could pitch a movie as "'Die Hard' in a fill-in-the-blank" game of "Mad Libs" for years afterwards, but I don't think the contained space is what people who go see "Die Hard" sequels want.
M83's video for "Steve McQueen" deals with a lot of the same themes the lyrics to the song do: there's something hopeful and mysterious springing forth from us, at times, when the secret unlocking of our greatest desires feel, for once, within reach.
The clip thusly features a kid, a wrangler of magic around some unknown plot involving his toy animals and an unorthodox use of the garden sprinkler. It's colorful and unknowable, with animations from Spike Jonze collabo Sylvain Derosne, under the direction of Derosne and Balthazar Auxietre.
It came about as part of a video contest (in partnership with Genero.tv), with the directors describing their depiction of the “power of childhood, an eagerness for life, and the kind of paradoxical energy you have when you grow up.”
I'm confused by it, but I like it.
"Steve McQueen" is the next single from M83's "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" from last year. It will be out with multiple remixes starting on Nov. 27. M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez is also releasing a 12" for Record Store Day's Black Friday edition, with four remixes of that track, on Nov. 23.
As you know, Taylor Swift’s new album, “Red,” which came out Monday, is on target to sell more than 1 million copies in its first week of release. Should it do so (it sold 500,000 copies in its first day), Swift will become the first female artist in Nielsen SoundScan’s 21-year history to have two albums sell more than a million copies in one week. Her third album, 2010’s “Speak Now,” also achieved that feat.
Swift and her label Big Machine have waged a campaign that did everything possible to ensure her success. Here’s what other artists and labels could learn from the marketing and promotion of “Red.”
1. Share with your fans... but not too much. Swift debuted a portion of a new song every Monday on “Good Morning America” for the five weeks prior to “Red’s” release and then fans could buy the song the next day on iTunes. But none of these songs were available on streaming services.
2. Sex doesn’t always sell. To Swift’s credit, she has enough clout to not make every video look like she just stepped out of a Maxim photo shoot. Though she shows plenty of leg, she is the most-clothed woman to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone in years, other than Adele. Usually, a woman has to be in some state of nudity or lingerie (with smartly placed hands, etc) to be on the cover. She has stayed true to her image and her own comfort level and her fans respond to that authenticity.
3.Even if you’re a superstar, you still have to put in the promo time. Swift is working it this week, appearing on “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “Letterman,” etc.. The only folks stumping harder than her this week are Obama and Romney
4. Not only did Big Machine decide not to allow streaming on Spotify and the other services upon “Red’s” release, the label only allowed iTunes to sell the album digitally the first week of release, according to Billboard. That’s because Big Machine has no control over how iTunes rivals Amazon or Google Play may price the album download and were afraid that the retailers may sell it for less than $3.49 as a loss leader. After Amazon sold Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” for 99 cents, Billboard changed its rules and will no longer count such deeply discounted album sales in their SoundScan figures for the first several weeks of an album’s release.
5. Most importantly, make an album that’s worth every cut. While I’m not in love with every song on “Red,” it is clear that every song got her total attention. There is no filler. She can easily go five singles deep here, but even the album cuts were crafted with great love and care.
Journey to 'The Hobbit' set for Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman and the spectre of 48 frames per second
WELLINGTON, NZ – It’s our second day on the set of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and we’ve finally gotten a chance to chat with the man steering the ship of the massive undertaking, Peter Jackson. But it was never supposed to be the New Zealand filmmaker’s job.