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Your heart has to melt for Quentin Tarantino. The guy is nothing if not protective and supportive of his crews, many key members loyal to him over the years.
Back in 2010, he was dealt a blow when long-time editor Sally Menke tragically died amid hot summer temperatures while hiking in Runyon Canyon, and today, the production designer of his hotly anticipated western "Django Unchained," J. Michael Riva, has reportedly died at the age of 63, according to Variety.
Tarantino has worked with designer David Wasco for the majority of his career and Riva was a bit of a departure for "Django." But judging by the look of the film in the trailer, which just hit the net yesterday, the collaboration is a fruitful one. Filming has been taking place at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio up in Newhall, California, north of Los Angeles, and is currently on-going in New Orleans.
I apologize for leaving my Cannes coverage somewhat unfinished. General fatigue combined with the post-festival distractions of Paris to put all film-related thoughts on the back burner for a week -- which frankly, with films as gnawingly variegated as "Holy Motors" or the only superficially tidy "Amour," can only aid an eventual review. All will be discussed eventually; the films, sadly, are many months away yet.
I did, however, want to start my Cannes catch-up work with a personal viewing highlight about which I've received more questions from readers, Twitter followers and the odd colleague than any of the festival's big winners -- perhaps as a result of my placing it one slot ahead of Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or winner in Indiewire's critics' survey of the best of the fest. Invited to name the best five films across all strands of the festival, I didn't stray too far from consensus: alongside "Amour," films like "Holy Motors," "No" and "Rust and Bone" were hardly short of champions. What, then, was "Ernest and Celestine" doing among them?
The Killers' new album is titled "Battle Born," and every good battle needs an army. So the Las Vegas troupe recruited a number of high-power producers including Steve Lillywhite, Damian Taylor, Brendan O’Brien, and previous collaborator Stuart Price, who helped smack the sound on the band's 2008 hit "Human."
"Battle Born," the Killers' fourth full-length will drop some time this fall, and is the follow-up to 2008's "Day & Age." Since that release, frontman Brandon Flowers went off to make a solo album, and judging from the trailer the band dropped today, the group is heading further still into synthy territory, as it's done increasingly.
In an interview with NME, drummer Ronnie Vanucci said the title fits the band's state of mind during the recording process. "It's living up to its title. This is our difficult fourth record."
Rock band Gaslight Anthem's new single "45" took some time to grow on me. It reminds me of a lot of material from their last album, and any band should feel pressure to justify the filler phrase "Heee-eeey." However, The chorus is killing me. I'm improving on my air-drumming and I find myself doing a lot of pointing, especially on the "see you on the flip side" part.
The music video for "45" features Gaslight Anthem fans reacting about the same, pushing up against the barricades at a show in the troupe's home state of New Jersey. Interspersed are shots of Asbury Park and other sites around the band's stomping grounds.
As previously reported, "45" is culled from "Handwritten," due on July 21. The band have already set many tour dates, below.
Here are the Gaslight Anthem's tour dates:
06/08 – Nickelsdorf, AT @ Nova Rock
06/09 – Munster, DE @ Vainstream Rockfest
06/11 – London, UK @ Koko’s
06/13 – Keil, DE @ Max
06/14 – Hultsfred, SE @ Hultsfred Festival
06/15 – Arhus, DK @ Northside Festival
06/16 – Oslo, NO @ Norwegian Wood
06/17 – Seinajoki, FI @ Provinssirock
06/23 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Orion Music + More
07/05 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
07/07 – Portland, OR @ Hawthrone Theater
07/08 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
07/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fineline
07/12 – Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
07/13 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
07/14 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bunbury Music Festival
07/16 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
07/18 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
07/19 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
07/20 – Washington, DC @ U Street
07/22 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
07/24 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
08/05 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/16-17 – Kiewit, BE @ Pukkelpop
08/18 – Ludinghausen, DE @ Area 4
08/19 – Leipzig, DE @ Highfield Festival
08/24 – Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
08/26 – Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
09/11 – Quebec City, QC @ Agora #
09/12 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre #
09/13 – Ottawa, ON @ CE Centre #
09/15 – Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest #
09/16 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom #
09/17 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Deltaplex #
09/20 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center #
09/21 – Pensacola Beach, FL @ DeLuna Fest
09/22 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion #
09/24 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium #
09/25 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium #
09/28 – Tempe, AZ @ Tempe Beach Park #
09/29 – Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center #
10/01 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Cafe #
10/02 – Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Theatre #
10/04 – Victoria, BC @ Save On Foods Memorial Centre #
10/ 06 – Calgary, AB @ Stampede Park BMO Centre #
10/07 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Expo Centre #
* = w/ Soundgarden
# = w/ Rise Against and Hot Water Music
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Rewatch (00:49:30 - 01:03:45)
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
We promised a two-podcast week for the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, and we delivered, dammit. With "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" out of the way, we had plenty of time for reviewing, awards discussion, letter answering and our discussion of a "Buffy" episode that was a step down from the pilot.
Organizers of the San Diego Comic-Con have slowly but surely been coming to the reality that many TV show panels are as much in demand from convention-goers as movie panels — if not moreso — and over the last few years, the Convention Center's biggest room, Hall H, has started hosting TV events on Sundays after the movie studios have skipped town. So when Warner Bros. released its Comic-Con plans (the first TV studio to do so this year), it was no surprise to see "Fringe" get a promotion from Ballroom 20 to a Sunday slot in Hall H. But the bigger deal involves "The Big Bang Theory," which will also be in Hall H, but on Friday — which is typically prime movie studio time.
As other studios and networks announce their own Con plans, it'll be interesting to see if "Big Bang" is an anomaly, or if other TV shows that generally have to turn many, many people away from Ballroom 20 — say, "Game of Thrones" and "True Blood" — also get the big room on an earlier day.
After the jump, a list of the pilots Warner Bros. will be screening in Ballroom 20 on Wednesday, July 11, and then days, room numbers and tentative guests for the various Warner Bros. panels:
One of the films you'll soon see I'm pretty high on for the upcoming awards season is Ben Affleck's "Argo." I don't know what it is but I just find myself rooting for Affleck to really succeed behind the camera. Guys like him, Bennett Miller, George Clooney, Tom McCarthy, Scott Cooper, Billy Ray, Sean Penn, they trade in a sort of stripped-down, frill-free cinema that nevertheless never sacrifices thematic potency for subtle strokes.
It's interesting to note, then, that a number of those filmmakers are either current or former actors themselves. Affleck did his time building a movie star image that eventually became fodder for gossip column inches, and he also made his share of dubious role choices. But he was surely always learning from those experiences. He is still, after all, an Oscar winner for one of the richest screenplays of the late-1990s.
Showtime's "Homeland," HBO's "Game of Thrones" and AMC's "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" were among the shows getting the most love in the nominations for the 2012 Television Critics Association Awards.
I'm back to live-blogging "So You Think You Can Dance."
I contemplated live-blogging last week's Los Angeles audition episode, but then I realized that live-blogging a two-hour episode in London keeps you up until after 3 a.m. and that just wasn't happening. But I watched the episode when I returned and there were actually a lot of terrific dancers showcased. It was, in fact, a far better structured episode than the premiere from two weeks ago.
How will this week's episode from Atlanta come out?
Let's see... After the break...
8:02 p.m. ET. We've got Debbie Allen as our guest judge. I wish they could just take Jesse Tyler Ferguson around on more auditions. He was really improved on last week's episode. He's definitely better and Toasty Oreos and he's also better than Adam Shankman who, fortunately, was probably in post-production on "Rock of Ages" when they did auditions. Lil C remains my favorite guest judge.