Around this time of year, music news is dominated by South By Southwest, Coachella and Record Store Day news, all of which help drive the visibility of participating artists. For acts like Arcade Fire, Metallica, the Black Keys and Feist, today is just one of those days, for the RSD retail holiday on April 21. Merge Records and Warner Bros. have announced their current crop of exclusive, deluxe and rare releases.
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Last week, the news broke that Jason Segel was not one of the writers hired to develop a sequel to "The Muppets."
True, it was his frequent collaborator Nicholas Stoller who was hired, but just the notion that Segel might not be a driving force on a sequel seemed to upset some people. I thought it was probably not as big a deal as it was made out to be, and I said so, but I thought it would make sense to talk directly to Segel about it.
So on Saturday, one of the two press days I was at was for "Jeff, Who Lives At Home," the marvelous new comedy from Jay and Mark Duplass, and one of the interviews I had scheduled was Jason Segel. Why not kick things off by asking him to directly address the situation?
"I did what I set out to do." That's really all the answer he needs to give, and I think it's important to note just how happy he is with the film and what a miracle the film is at all. There were many points during development when it easily could have died, and there were most likely points where Segel must have felt worn down by it. Even after they filmed it, when they were in post and I spoke to him about it on the set of "The Five-Year Engagement," he was cautiously optimistic, thinking that they'd done something he liked but still unsure what was going to happen with people accepting what they'd done.
Think Bruce Springsteen likes how things are going? Here are a few lines from his new album, “Wrecking Ball,” out March 6.
*“I got a Smith & Wesson 38/I got a hellfire burning and I got me a date”
*“Gambling man rolls the dice/working man pays the price/It’s still fat and easy up on banker’s hill”
*“If I had me a gun, I’d find the bastards and shoot ‘em on sight”
*“Send the robber barons straight to hell”
*“The bottom’s dropping out/Where you once had faith, there’s only doubt”
He’s mad as hell about America, our America, his America, and his anger fills every crevice of “Wrecking Ball,” his 17th studio album. (Stream it live here or listen at the bottom of the page.)
So, we're entering the battle rounds, which should be exciting and possibly traumatizing. I'll admit, I think some of the judges threw in some stinkers just to make their job of eliminating half their roster a little easier (it's the only way to explain the tuneless Shields brothers), but there's no denying some strong talents are going to get punted.
While "The Godfather" is busy celebrating its 40th anniversary this year (and got a re-release courtesy of Cinemark Theatres), another American celluloid treasure will be turning 70 and getting it's own fresh look on screens later this month.
Michael Curtiz's undeniable classic, "Casablanca," premiered in November of 1942 before being released into theaters in early 1943. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart, who lost to Paul Lukas in "Watch on the Rhine"), Best Supporting Actor (Claude Rains, who lost to Charles Coburn in "The More the Merrier"), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (lost to "The Song of Bernadette"), Best Film Editing (lost to "Air Force") and Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (lost to "The Song of Bernadette").
Big K.R.I.T. has released a new mixtape, “4evaNaDay,” in advance of a slew of activity coming for the rapper. Out today, tt includes the single “Boobie Miles,” which is actually names after a player from "Friday Night Lights." We swear. Or it's an amazing coincidence. You can download the 17-track mixtape for free here.
Big K.R.I.T. , who was part of HitFix's Hip-Hop's New Class gallery, will celebrate the release of the “4evaNaDay” on March 8 at New York’s Highline Ballroom, to be followed by his appearance at SXSW in Austin on March 15.
[More after the jump...]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
I don't think the new "Men In Black III" trailer looks any worse than many big anonymous blockbusters, but I'll be honest… word on this one has been troubling so far, and this new trailer doesn't really assuage those fears.
I've heard some remarkable figures tossed around as the final budget for this film, while I'm also hearing it runs under 90 minutes. I'd love to know if this is the new winner for "most expensive film per minute," but I'm guessing we'll never really get an official figure on how much it's going to cost Sony to get it into theaters. What I'm curious about is who the audience is. Sure, the first two films were blockbusters, but the second one was not particularly well-liked, and I haven't sensed any real anticipation from anyone I've spoken with.
It's Monday, which means you get a brand-new, hour-plus edition of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, with a lot of time spent on FOX comedies, plus HBO's McCain/Palin movie "Game Change"(*), some mail, and even a bit on the Grantland "Wire" March Madness bracket.
(*) Traditionally, my blog has had a pretty staunch No Politics rule, which I implemented after everyone on the old blog melted down and couldn't behave during the run-up to the presidential election that "Game Change" depicts. There's obviously no way to discuss "Game Change" (which I'll also have a written review of later in the week) without politics entering into it on some level, so I'm going to trust you all and hope that everyone manages to be more civil this time around. And, if not, I'll simply shut down comments on this post (and/or the written review, depending on where the bad behavior is). You can disagree with each other without attacking each other — or, for that matter, politicians with whom you don't agree — and if you can't do that, discussion shuts down. Period.
Is Pink headed back into the studio? If her hair color is any indication, she’s suiting up-- or dying up-- in prep for making her sixth studio album.
There is no need for a "21 Jump Street" movie.
You could say that about much of what Hollywood makes these days, but I remember when the original TV show was on the air, and "21 Jump Street" was, at best, a sort of goofy early attempt by Fox to define itself as a network. It was most notable for being a launch pad for Johnny Depp, and I would argue that no one has spent the time since it went off the air mourning and praying for a resurrection.
What makes the new feature film version of the show, written by Michael Bacall and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, such a wonderful surprise is that it both overtly acknowledges how frequently awful it is for Hollywood to trade on shameless pre-packaged nostalgia while turning the original into something new with a voice all its own. The story was co-written by Bacall and Jonah Hill, and it acknowledges the absurdity of its own premise even as it leans full-tilt into that absurdity, making it work.
South by Southwest Film Festival is not afraid to put me to work.
And, frankly, there are few festivals I would bend over backwards more aggressively to help. I have come to really love SXSW over the last five years or so, and I think the work that Janet Pierson and her amazing team of programmers and publicists have done to really focus and emphasize the identity of the fest has paid off handsomely.
This year, you'll probably see my face if you're attending lots of midnight screenings, and as I announced a week or two ago, I'll be moderating a panel on the bizarre new sitcom "Holliston" that will be appearing on FEARNet. We've held off on the last big announcement until now, though, and honestly, if there's any one thing I'm most excited about doing at the fest this year, this is it.
On Sunday, March 11, I'm going to moderating a live-chat with Joss Whedon and Drew Godard, the big-brained lunatics behind "Cabin In The Woods." I can't publish my review of this one until it premieres at the fest, but suffice it to say, I am a fan. I think it's smart and fun and, more than anything, makes a great case for why we all need a little red meat in our cinematic diet. I am excited for people to get a look at the film, but more than that, I'm thrilled that I'm going to get to serve as the moderator for what I hope should be a freewheeling dialogue between these guys and the audience.