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Shirley MacLaine's been famous as long as I've been aware of movies and movie stars, and she has been part of more classics than I can list here today.
She's one of those people who works infrequently enough that when you get a call asking if you want to interview them, you say yes no matter what the film is. You say yes because you have no idea how many more opportunities there will be to speak to them and tell them how much their work has meant to you.
Thankfully, "Bernie" is more than just an opportunity for me to sit down with a great movie star. My review will be up later, but it's safe to say I'm wildly enthusiastic about it, and I think both MacLaine and her co-star, Jack Black, give great performances in the movie. Much of what they do is bouncing off of one another, so it makes perfect sense that they put the two of them together for the interview.
Who is Neill Cumpston?
That question was asked of me frequently during my time at Ain't It Cool News, and over the years, I've heard other people answer that question with a fair degree of authority, accusing people of secretly writing Cumpston's reviews for AICN. Peter Travers once claimed to know the "truth" about Neill. But those people are crazy. The entire time, I repeatedly explained that I met Neill standing in line at a test screening, and Neill is simply Neill. He is a far more vocal example of a certain section of fandom than I am, and I love his pure enthusiasm. I was happy to publish him not because he is famous, but because he is Neill. If you don't know his work, check out his "Grindhouse" review. Or his "Return Of The King" review. Or his "Batman Begins" piece. He is a work of art.
He's also completely insane, of course. The way he connects the dots in his writing delights me from a purely anthropological point of view, and his use of profanity is Pulitzer-worthy. Make no mistake… a Neill Cumpston review is flat-out filthy at times, but always for a purpose.
The auteur: David Cronenberg (Canadian, 69 years old)
The talent: At this stage in his career, we don't expect an undistinguished cast from a Cronenberg film, and true to form, this one is packed to the rafters with interesting names -- though not ones you'd necessarily expect on one bill. Juliette Binoche (returning to Cannes for the first time since winning Best Actress two years ago), Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Mathieu Amalric and Jay Baruchel are all on board -- as, more improbably, is Somalian rapper K'Naan. (On a side note, this is the director's first feature in 10 years not to star Viggo Mortensen.)
The big attraction, however, is some guy called Robert Pattinson in the lead. It's perhaps the poppiest casting coup of Cronenberg's career, and the best chance yet for the talented British heartthrob to win some admirers beyond the fiercely devoted "Twilight" faithful.
After repeated viewings of Foster the People’s video for “Houdini,” we’re not sure if the trio is making a fun video or a much deeper commentary on life in the pop music machine... either way, it works.
The boys are playing live when a lighting rig crashes down on them to disastrous effect putting their concert that night in jeopardy. But never fear, a league of scientists and masterminds put the band back together again, fixing all their wiring and moving parts (leaving the question as to whether they were real to begin with or always a creation). The team of scientists resurrecting them even turns the group into a boy band with dance moves straight out of N’Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” video. Mystery men in green suits (who, like a green screen in filming won't be visible to those watching) manipulate their every move.
[More after the jump...]
It isn't easy to sing the music of Queen. It's not enough to be a talented singer. Remember when the mentors from "The Voice" did that awful Queen medley last season? Exactly. All four of them could sing, but being able to sing isn't the same as being able to sing a song specifically tailored for the voice of Freddie Mercury.
I'd say that all six of our remaining "American Idol" contestants can sing. But none of them have a Freddie Mercury-style voice. In fact, the guy who seemed most likely to be able to sing a Queen song, albeit with Coldplay-style affectations, was Colton Dixon and America sent him home last Thursday.
Sorry about that, Colton. But what you did to "September" wasn't kind.
Anyway, Wednesday's (April 25) "Idol" will feature one Queen song apiece, plus one seemingly random selection from the bottomless "Idol" catalogue.
Let's see how things go...
Just a heads-up about both a TV-related event I'll be involved in tomorrow night, as well as how that'll affect the blog for the next few days.
Tomorrow night, I'll be in LA to moderate a "Boardwalk Empire" panel featuring Terence Winter and a good chunk of the season 2 cast: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Gretchen Mol, Vincent Piazza and all the Michaels: Pitt, Shannon, Stuhlbarg and Kenneth Williams. It's for members of the TV Academy as part of the show's Emmy campaign, but it will also be streamed live on Emmys.com and Emmys.tv, from around 7:30 to 9 p.m. Pacific. It's rare to have this many castmembers from the show together (even the first press tour session was, I believe, just Winter, Buscemi and Macdonald), so we'll be talking about a lot of stuff from both seasons, and not just the Nucky/Jimmy events from the end of season 2.
Because of my travel schedule, I'm not going to have time to do episode write-ups of anything on Wednesday or Thursday I haven't already seen in advance. So I'll have "Community" and "Parks and Rec" going up tomorrow, but
"Suburgatory" (and the other ABC comedies) "Don't Trust the (Broccoli) in Apt. 23," "Awake," and the "30 Rock" live show are all going to be skipped. (Someone on Twitter reminded me the other ABC sitcoms are repeats tonight.) I may come back to the "30 Rock" episode several days late, but given my feelings about the first live show, it may not be worth anyone's time to wait.
What do Hiam Abbass, Andrea Arnold, Emmanuelle Devos, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor, Alexander Payne and Raoul Peck have in common? Okay, no prizes for this one -- you've already seen the headline.
This year's Cannes Film Festival competition jury, who will serve under previously announced jury president Nanni Moretti, is a typically motley crew, sufficiently diverse to stump any pundits trying to handicap the Palme d'Or race in terms of what the people voting might be looking for.
It's hard to imagine what cinematic common ground off-the-wall French fashion designer Gaultier might find with stern Haitian filmmaker and political activist Peck, for example, or where the sensibilities of the jury's two British members, jaunty Hollywood star McGregor and tough-minded realist director Arnold, may collide. Therein lies the fun.
Ken Burns is one of the world’s most well known and respected documentarians, but his films rarely make an appearance in cinemas. He has made an indelible name for himself with his meditative and expansive PBS studies, which tackle broad cultural phenomena ranging from “Baseball” to “The Civil War.”
But Burns feels that there is “a sense of urgency” attached to his latest endeavor, “The Central Park Five,” which warrants a theatrical release. And a tidy (for Burns) two-hour run time makes it possible.
The film, which premieres at next month's Cannes Film Festival where the hope is to secure a distributor, is the result of a joint familial effort between Burns, his daughter, Sarah Burns and her husband, David McMahon. It follows the story of the infamous “Central Park Five,” the five young men who were convicted of brutally beating and raping a Central Park jogger in 1989 only to have their convictions overturned after several years served.
Zac Brown Band will bow its new studio album and newest band member on July 10.
“Uncaged,” the group’s third major label set, features the addition of percussionist Daniel de los Reyes. Brown told the AP that the ZBB, which is already quite the collective, was inspired to add the percussionist to “create a new kind of pulse within the band.” De los Reyes previously played with Earth, Wind & Fire and Jennifer Lopez. No word yet on who will produce the set.
The band’s last album was 2010’s “You Get What You Give" on Southern Ground/Atlantic.
We’re not sure how they’re finding time to record since ZBB is on tour now through the rest of the summer behind its biggest, most expansive production so far. “We always want to exceed everyone’s expectations,” Brown told Hitfix when we talked to him at the Academy of Country Music Awards a few weeks ago. “We want them to come in expecting one thing and get way more than that.” The tour includes ZBB’s Southern Ground label mates Sonia Leigh and Blackberry Smoke.
Brown is also hands-on in getting Camp Southern Ground off the ground. A pet project of Brown's ever since he was a camp counselor when he was 14, the Camp, based in Fayetteville, Ga., will be "a state-of-the-art camp where kids can come—mainstream, underprivileged, and kids with developmental disorders," the father of four says. "It's a big project, a big undertaking. It's coming together so far and I believe it will the rest of the way, but we need help." Folks can make donations to the camp, which plans to open in 2014, at www.campsouthernground.org.
Gotye, who has been backpedaling after criticizing “Glee’s” cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know,” stays at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song this week, but he fends off a heavy challenge from Maroon 5.
The group’s “Payphone” zooms onto the chart at No. 3, propelled by digital sales of 493,000. That’s the most sold by any group (not solo artist) in one week, according to Billboard. The previous group high was 465,000 for Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow,” according to Billboard. (The best week total for all acts remains Flo Rida’s “Right Round” with 636,000). While digital sales are the main driver in Maroon 5’s success, “Payphone” gets a strong start at radio as well, entering at No. 36 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart. The No. 3 entry is the group’s best Hot 100 start.
In the rest of the top 5, fun.’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae remains at No. 2, while Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” gains a spot, moving No. 4-5. The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” falls from No. 3-5.
“Payphone” is the only new entry in the Top 10 (Train’s “Drive By” just misses by climbing from No. 13 to No. 11). Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia stays at No. 6. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” rises one spot to No. 7. Three other titles slide, but remain in the top 10: One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” slips from No. 4 to No. 8; Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” drops two to No. 9 and Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” weakens, falling one spot to No. 10.
Who's your favorite dirt bag?
The MTV Movie Awards, the cable channel's safely irreverent annual toast to the big screen, unveiled several new categories for this year's show, including Best On-Screen Transformation, Best Gut-Wrenching Performance and Best On-Screen Dirt Bag (as opposed to off-screen dirt bag?).
They join perennial favorites such as Movie of the Year, Best Fight and Best Kiss.
On the music side, Fun., the spritely rockers behind the smash hit "We Are Young" were the first of the show's performers to be revealed (and expect a guest appearance from Janelle Monae). The band will perform during a salute to the greatest party films of all time.
Because of its timing (the summer, as opposed to the end of the year), the MTV Movie Awards will allow the final "Harry Potter" film to compete with "The Hunger Games," and will also potentially honor such seemingly-distant films as "The Help."
“The Movie Awards will be a re-imagined celebration of the most popular films and performances from the past year,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. “This year, we’ve overhauled categories and added a Breakthrough Performance award that will be chosen by some of the best directors in the world. We’re also making music a more central experience to the overall show creative, and are thrilled to announce fun. – a band that has already imprinted a new anthem on a generation – as our first musical moment.”
The complete MTV Movie Awards categories:
Movie of the Year
Best Female Performance
Best Male Performance
Best Comedic Performance
Best On-Screen Transformation*
Best Gut-Wrenching Performance*
Best On-Screen Dirt Bag*
* = new category
The 21st Annual MTV Movie Awards will air live Sunday, June 3rd at 9 pm ET/PT.