Latest Blog Posts

<p>Wiz Khalifa</p>

Wiz Khalifa

Credit: Atlantic

Watch: Wiz Khalifa's 'Work Hard, Play Hard' video takes the mantra literally

Rapper grabs construction workers to ballerinas to the ball

Wiz Khalifa's single "Work Hard, Play Hard" has its music video companion, and it features the rappers' mantra taken quite literally, with ballers, hard laborers and even ballerinas setting to work, then landing at his pad to play.

The track -- culled ahead of Wiz' Aug. 28 drop of album "O.N.I.F.C." -- could use a good remix. And frankly I'd take that third verse and set it on all sorts of fire due to criminal laziness. But the refrains sticks well, his matter-of-fact yopfills in the them nicely and it could crossover into all sorts of playlists.

Look out, Springsteen. Maybe Wiz is the new populism spokesdude.

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Bruce Springsteen's new clip for 'Rocky Ground'

Stark depiction matches song's message

Bruce Springsteen has had a strange relationship with videos. As someone who came into prominence before the MTV era, he’s always seemed to be a bit uneasy in clips and a little embarrassed to be there at all. Plus, as he is very well aware, no video is going to capture the magic that is the Boss as much as a live performance.

For  “Rocky Ground,” the second single from “Wrecking Ball,” he stays with the black and white motif he used for the album’s first single/clip, “We Take Care of Our Own”: black and white, stark images unified to tell a story rather than any kind of linear narrative.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Beth Ditto in Gossip's &quot;Move in the Right Direction&quot;</p>

Beth Ditto in Gossip's "Move in the Right Direction"

Watch: Gossip 'Moves' back in time for 'Right Direction' video

Bad '90s hair for another cut from 'A Joyful Noise'

I love Beth Ditto and Gossip, but why did the band warp back to the 1990s No Doubt Hey Day to shoot their music video for "Move in the Right Direction?" What happened to the usually impeccable wardrobe? Why do the gay men look so sad and Ditto so happy? What's with the watered down flop-side-Donna-Summer?

Skip this particular green screen method in the future, it does no favors.

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<p>Redd Kross' &quot;Researching the Blues&quot;</p>

Redd Kross' "Researching the Blues"

Credit: Merge

Listen: Redd Kross' 'Blues' from first album in 15 years

Title track from Merge may take you back

Redd Kross haven't put out a new album in 15 years, but their return this year is marked with the "Blues."

"Researching the Blues" is the title track from the rock act's forthcoming Merge album, due on Aug. 7. Jeff McDonald is still sounding snotty as hell, bold in front of the matchy-matchy rhythm section. He wrote the record while brother Steven produced.

The lineup is rounded out by Roy McDonald (The Muffs) and a reunion with lead guitarist Robert Hecker, who played with the band through 1991.

Eddie Kurdziel replaced Hecker for 1993's "Phaseshifter," but died in 1999, after which the early-wave L.A. punk group went on indefinite hiatus, post-"Show World." Redd Kross has been performing in varying lineups for the last five years, but haven't released new music until now.

Check the group's website for tour dates.

What do you think of the song?


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<p>Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in new banner art for &quot;The Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises.&quot;</p>

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in new banner art for "The Dark Knight Rises."

Credit: Warner Bros.

New 'The Dark Knight Rises' banner art and a sly Set Visit tease

What secrets lie in the city of three rivers?

Once upon a time, an intrepid band of reporters journeyed to where the three rivers meet, a quaint city once called Fort Du Quense and then Fort Pitt, before finally adopting the legendary moniker…Pittsburgh. We were on a pilgrimage to the Steel City to visit the set of one of the most anticipated films of the decade, Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises."  Little did we know that our embargoed journey would have 10-20,000 witnesses and major coverage from every available reporter from the local Pittsburgh media.  Yes, in this age of smartphones and YouTube it's hard to keep anything secret about a major movie that isn't being filmed inside a sound stage secret, but shoot it in Western Pennsylvania?  You might as well have invited TMZ to broadcast 24/7.  But, I digress…

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<p>Nicole Kidman in &quot;The Paperboy.&quot;</p>

Nicole Kidman in "The Paperboy."

Credit: Lionsgate

Review: 'The Paperboy' straddles the line between trash and treat

Lee Daniels's bonkers follow-up to 'Precious' aims for camp-classic status

CANNES - Here are a few things you should know about "The Paperboy," the humid, lurid and exuberantly ludicrous new thriller from Lee "Precious" Daniels -- that is, if the swarm of dumbfounded Twitter chatter about the film hasn't informed you already. It features Nicole Kidman bitch-fighting a group of sunbathers for the privilege of urinating on Zac Efron's jellyfish sting, triumphing with the immediately immortal line, "If anybody's gonna piss on him, it's gonna be me!" It features Zac Efron dancing in the rain clad in nothing but a pair of tighty-whiteys rapidly losing their opacity. It features a close-up of Nicole Kidman's panty-covered crotch, as she publicly masturbates in front of three other men during a prison visit. It features Macy Gray as a weary, sass-talking Southern maid, her omniscient narration musing idly on the inappropriateness of a Kidman/Efron sex scene. Another sex scene, meanwhile, is punctuated with cutaways to alligators and grazing hogs.

By this point -- and make no mistake, I've scarcely skimmed through my notes here -- you've either made a mental note to be doing charity work in Eritrea when the film hits theaters, or you're already on the advance-booking hotline. On either score, you should probably trust your instincts. Critics can argue back and forth as to the level of knowingness at play here, but “The Paperboy” is a film built on its distended absurdities and polyester styling – certainly more than Pete Dexter’s cracking, tonally far slinkier, source novel, which comes in for some brutal renovation here, presumably more at Daniels’ hand than his own. (Both are credited as co-writers.)

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<p>Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith on last night's &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith on last night's "American Idol"

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry on new 'Music From Another Dimension'

Listen to new single, 'Legendary Child'

Aerosmith has a pretty good track record with songs in Bruce Willis movies. Remember a little hit called “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” from 1998’s “Armageddon?” The song gave the band its first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

They are reuniting with Willis for “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” which will feature Aerosmith’s “Legendary Chid,” both within the movie and as the end title. They band debuted the crunchy rocker (embedded below) on Wednesday night’s  “American Idol” finale with little fanfare and no announcement about its tie in with the movie. Undoubtedly, this was because the same day the group was officially set to announce the news, Paramount said it was  pushing the movie’s opening from June 29 to  March 29, 2013 in order to convert the film to 3D.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>We'll be traveling back to &quot;Deadwood&quot;&nbsp;season 2 this summer.</p>

We'll be traveling back to "Deadwood" season 2 this summer.

Credit: HBO

Are you ready for the summer? (2012 edition)

Our summer rewind will take us into season 2 of 'Deadwood'

As I mentioned in yesterday's review of "Men at Work," the broadcast network TV season officially ended last night at 11 p.m. Though there are still a handful of spring shows with episodes yet to air (for my interests, primarily the Sunday shows on AMC and HBO), we're mostly moving into a whole new wave of programming, with the return of old favorites ("Breaking Bad" on July 15), the debut of intriguing newcomers (Sorkin's "The Newsroom" on June 24), and also lots of shows I'm less inclined to cover weekly (a lot of the USA and TNT stuff).

As always in summer, we'll figure it out as we go beyond the obvious weekly candidates. And, as I've been doing in the summer going back to the old blog, we're going to revisit a classic show on DVD. (In addition to the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" season 1 rewatch Dan and I will be doing for the podcast.) This year's choice seemed obvious: following up last summer's "Deadwood" season 1 reviews with a look back at season 2 of the David Milch Western.

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<p>Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund in &quot;On The Road.&quot;</p>

Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund in "On The Road."

Credit: IFC/Sundance Selects

Review: 'On the Road' sticks to the map

Long-delayed Jack Kerouac adaptation isn't quite worth the wait

CANNES - "The only people that interest me are the mad ones," mumbles Sam Riley's Sal Paradise on more than one occasion in "On the Road" -- directly lifting, of course, one of the most quoted lines from Jack Kerouac's insistently quotable novel of the same title. A one-time manifesto of sorts for independent living that railed against authority, capitalism and good old-fashioned punctuation in equal measure, the book has, for its pains, been appointed the bible for shiftless college students the world over, most of whom would claim to share Paradise's (and, by extension, Kerouac's) disdain for the the functional, the rational, the balanced. 

It's hard not to wonder, then, what Paradise and Kerouac would have made of Walter Salles's assiduous, attractive and somewhat airless adaptation of "On the Road," none of the virtues of which -- its methodical loyalty to the material, its meticulous visual construction, even its strategic demographic tailoring -- come from the repertoire of the mad. Salles and his "Motorcycle Diaries" screenwriter Jose Rivera have fashioned a distinctly unspontaneous film from a text about going where the road takes you, a paean to madness that never once loses its mind.

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<p>Denis Lavant gives the performance of a lifetime... or several lifetimes, to be exact... in the triumphant 'Holy Motors,' which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.</p>

Denis Lavant gives the performance of a lifetime... or several lifetimes, to be exact... in the triumphant 'Holy Motors,' which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Credit: CNC

Review: 'Holy Motors' is dizzying, visionary, and one-of-a-kind

Our review of the best film at this year's Cannes Film Festival

CANNES - The last time I saw the name "Leos Carax" onscreen was as part of the anthology film "Tokyo!", where he was one of three directors including Bong Joon-ho and Michel Gondry.  His segment, "Merde," was surreal and silly, and his star, Denis Lavant, gave a unique performance as the title character, a strange sewer-dwelling beast.  The images from that stuck with me the same way images from Carax's earlier film "Lovers On The Bridge" stuck with me, and I've been hoping for the last four years for Carax to get back to making features.

"Holy Motors" was more than worth the wait.

It is rare for me to see a film that I enjoy so deeply and that I feel like I have just begun to understand, but "Holy Motors" is a huge meal, a rich and playful picture that packs so much into its two-hour running time that once I finally staggered out of the Salle Debussy last night, I felt drunk.  I was dizzy from everything that Carax had thrown at me, but I was also feeling that light-headed wooziness that comes in the first flush of love.  It is a film that speaks to me on the same intuitive level as something like "Enter The Void" or "El Topo" or "Eraserhead," and while I can't claim to have fully digested it yet, I can say with confidence that it's my favorite film I've seen so far at Cannes and so far in 2012.  It is a film I'll see many times in the future, and I look forward to exploring every corner of this kingdom of dreams that Carax has created.

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<p>Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and Ryan Seacrest of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 11 Finale - The winner is...

Would Phillip Phillips or Jessica Sanchez be our new Idol?

When it comes to predicting "American Idol" winners early, I have a mixed track record. 

I underestimated both Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze dramatically, but I also knew after last season's Top 24 performances that Scotty McCreery was going to be unbeatable. 

This season, back in January, I fought with clunky Park City wireless to recap the "Idol" premiere the night before the start of the Sundance Film Festival. You can check out my recap here and you can scan all the way to the bottom to see my reaction to Phillip Phillips. I didn't make any similarly hyperbolic statements in any subsequent audition recaps, so I had a hunch. But I also didn't want to believe that "Idol" would prove to be that excruciatingly predictable, so when it came time to lock in my winner for HitFix's "Idol" Fantasy Game, I settled on Jessica Sanchez the week the game began.

No matter who wins on tonight's (May 23) "American Idol" Season 11 finale, it won't be an underdog. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise. Phil-Phil has the familiar "Idol"-winning profile. Jessica has the familiar diva vocals. Either result will make total sense.

But naturally, it's gonna take us 127 minutes (according to FOX) to get there. 

Click through for the full, exhaustive live-blog. And join the conversation as we approach our results.

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The song remains the same on Billboard Hot 100 as Gotye lands sixth week at No. 1

The song remains the same on Billboard Hot 100 as Gotye lands sixth week at No. 1

Static chart sees little to no movement from last week

Somebody That I Used To Know” continues its residency at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as the Gotye tune, featuring Kimbra, logs its sixth week in the top spot.

The tune holds off a charge from Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”  which rises two spots to No. 2, leapfrogging over Maroon 5’s “Payphone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa (2-3) and Fun.’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae (3-4).

It’s a week of small moves on the chart. There are no new entries in the Top 10 and no title moves more than two spots one way or the other. Rounding out the top 5, Nicki Minaj’s “Starships”  rises 6-5.

The bottom half of the top 10 proves even more static. Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia flip flops with “Starships” to lands at No 6, then the song remains the same for the next four slots as last week: One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”  is No. 7, The Want’s “Glad You Came” is No. 8, Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” is No. 9 and Train’s “Drive By” is No. 10.?

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