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<p>The Band Perry</p>

The Band Perry

Credit: AP Photo

HitFix Interview: The Band Perry at Grammy rehearsal on Nicki Minaj and more

The best new artist nominees discuss what made their parents cry

It’s been quite the year for The Band Perry, who are up for Best New Artist on Sunday night at the 54th annual Grammy Awards. Over the last 12 months, the group has scored two No. 1 country hits, and seen the trio’s breakthrough hit, “If I Die Young” sweep last fall’s Country Music Assn. Awards.

The brother/sister act, composed of Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry, have dreamt of coming to the Grammys their whole lives and now find themselves sitting on the second row Sunday night. “We’re not leaving until we meet Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen,” said Kimberly on Friday, right after the band’s rehearsal with Glen Campbell.

“It’s so surreal. We just keep having pinch me moments,” said Perry of performing with Campbell, who is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys this year. “He’s such a dear soul. He loves his music he loves his guitar.”

Even since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease earlier this year, Campbell has continued to perform, sometimes with more agility and focus than others, but Perry says  she and her brothers Reid and Neil are prepared for whatever happens on stage. “It’s kind of like if one of use needs to jump in” during a song. They will be joined by Blake Shelton on Sunday.

Though the Perry siblings weren’t born for Campbell’s heyday, their parents were and are huge Campbell fans who raised their kids on his music.  When asked how their parents reacted to seeing their kids play with Campbell, Kimberly said that at the first rehearsal, she didn’t know where her parents had gone. “They were in the hallway, bawling their eyes out. They were watching one of their heroes and their kids play together.” 

The band, who flew right out from rehearsal for Friday and Saturday night shows with Brad Paisley, were unsure of their chances to win Best New Artist. “We don’t have our hopes up yet,” Neil said. “It’s a lot of great artists.”

Plus, having scoped out the seating situation, Kimberly wondered if it was significant that Nicki Minaj’s seat was closer to the stage than hers. The Band Perry is up against Minaj, Skrillex, Bon Iver and J. Cole.  Regardless, she knew she would have a good time. “I’m sitting beside Jay-Z!,” she exclaimed. “We love him.”

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<p>Moments after this picture was taken, Woody Harrelson ingested my soul directly through his eyes.&nbsp; But other than that, he was really nice.</p>

Moments after this picture was taken, Woody Harrelson ingested my soul directly through his eyes.  But other than that, he was really nice.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Woody Harrelson loves playing bad cop in his new film 'Rampart'

We sit down to discuss bad behavior and a great performance

I read a piece this week in which a writer railed on Woody Harrelson for what sounded like a fairly terrible interview.

This is right on the heels of a fairly disastrous appearance that Harrelson made at Reddit.  Taken as a one-two punch, it was not the most flattering week of press for Harrelson overall, and it would be easy to assume he's a bad interview in general.

The thing is, I think it's sort of an unfair pile-on.  The Reddit thing was a case of Woody simply not being ready for a truly unfiltered encounter with The Internet in all its glory, and then the VICE writer walked into a room where the interview subject had just been roughed up a bit, and then seemed to misread the entire thing.  That interview is awful, but I don't think that's Harrelson's fault.

Interviews are weird anyway.  Just the idea that you're going to have this forced conversation and try to create something that feels like actual intimacy in a set time period on a set subject… it's an illusion.  A successful interview is like a two-person magic trick, where you make it look like you're actually having a relaxed normal conversation about something, and it takes both ends to make an interview work.

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<p>Damon Albarn at Glastonbury in 2010</p>

Damon Albarn at Glastonbury in 2010

Credit: AP Photo

Damon Albarn digest: Gorillaz track with James Murphy, supergroup with Flea, new Blur

Blur playing the Brits this month, LCD Soundsystem's frontman steps out for shoes

As per usual, songwriter and megamind Damon Albarn is busy. He's got work with three different projects: Gorillaz featuring LCD Soundsystem's former frontman, a new supergroup with Flea and, if we're lucky, a new Blur album.

His cartoon band has been tapped for Converse's next Three Artists. One Song project, featuring one-half of Outkast -- Andre 3000 -- and recent LCD Soundsystem retiree James Murphy. "DoYaThing" will be a free download through the shoe company's website starting Feb. 23, and Gorillaz will be taking to the stage to celebrate with a show on Feb. 15 at the 100 Club in London. The band's resident artist and co-founder Jamie Hewlett will have his hands all over a new Converse design for the company's Spring 2012 collection.

Gorillaz released "Singles Collection: 2001-2011" in November. Murphy put an end to that pesky Soundsystem last year and promoted the finale show documentary "Shut Up and Play the Hits" at Sundance this January. Andre showed up on tracks like Beyonce's "Party" last year and is threatening a long-awaited solo album for this year.

Meanwhile, Albarn has joined forces with Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and The Good, The Bad And The Queen drummer Tony Allen for a new rock act Rocketjuice And The Moon, and the crew will drop their first, self-titled album on March 26.

R&B singer Erykah Badu, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, Ghanian rapper M. anifest and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble will all feature. Recording began out of Albarn's London studio in 2008. Rocketjuice And The Moon first played live in October, so keep your eyes peeled for more live shows, once Flea's finally had his chance to hit the road with that other band.

And -- this isn't from the Gorillaz' mouth -- but Blur may be about ready for some more action in 2012. Graham Coxon told the Daily Record "there will definitely be another Blur album." The band is rehearsing soon for their performance at this month's Brit Awards (Feb. 21) and plan to get started on some new material.

"2009 was an amazing healing experience for us. We were really swept away with it and got a lot out of our systems," he said. "Eventually, even if things aren’t around the corner, Blur will do more recordings together. We all love each other and still like making music so that’s not a bad start."

Coxon's on top of a new solo record "A+E." Blur reunited in 2009 for a series of shows in the U.K. They last released "Think Tank" in 2003.

Albarn worked on collaborative effort DRC Music last year, pumped out an opera and apparently totally loves to work, always.

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<p>Gary Oldman in &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.&quot;</p>

Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

Credit: Focus Features

Predicting Sunday's BAFTA Awards

Will 'The Artist' continue its sweep, or will the Brits stick up for 'Tinker?'

Simply by virtue of being the last televised precursor stop en route to the Academy Awards, the BAFTA Awards attract far more eyeballs, and provoke far more speculation, than they would at any other point in the calendar -- as an Oscar bellwether, they're somehow as encouraging to win as they are irrelevant to lose.

On the occasions that they anticipate sharp left-turns in the Oscar race -- Marion Cotillard and Tilda Swinton's wins in 2007, Roman Polanski's out-of-nowhere triumph in 2002 -- people look back and credit the Brits for their influence. On the occasions they go off on their own, often parochial, tangent -- Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan's wins in 2009, for example -- people shrug their shoulders and say, "What did you expect? It's the BAFTAs." 

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<p>Brett McKenzie talks about being an Oscar nominee for his song &quot;Man or Muppet&quot;&nbsp;from &quot;The Muppets.&quot;</p>

Brett McKenzie talks about being an Oscar nominee for his song "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets."

Oscar nominee Bret McKenzie jokes Miss Piggy might pull a 'Kanye' if Sergio Mendes wins best original song

Plus: Flight of the Conchords Touring news

In many ways, Bret McKenzie is a lucky man.  There aren't many Oscar nominees who can say they have a 50/50 chance of winning an Academy Award.  Sure, for many years there only three nominees in the visual effects category and there can also just be three in the animated feature field, but the songwriter of "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" only has one other contender to worry about this year.  McKenzie, who is best known as one half of comedy music group Flight of the Conchords, will face off against Sergio Mendes, Carinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett's "Real in Rio" from the animated adventure "Rio."

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<p>Ray Park as Darth&nbsp;Maul in &quot;Star&nbsp;Wars:&nbsp;Episode I&nbsp;-&nbsp;The Phantom&nbsp;Menace&quot;</p>

Ray Park as Darth Maul in "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

That time 'The Matrix' ate 'The Phantom Menace' and George Lucas' lunch at the Oscars

The Wachowski brothers' cyberpunk-inspired opus swept 'Star Wars' back in 1999

I wasn't much of an Oscar-watcher in 1999. I was naive enough to think, surely, "The Insider" would be a big winner that year. "Three Kings" would definitely get a few nominations. "Magnolia" would HAVE to be a Best Picture nominee. None of that happened, of course.

I never liked "Star Wars." Still don't. Not one single entry in the franchise. Look, fans, I respect your obsession, admiration and commitment. But they don't work for me. So when I lined up for "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" on May 19, a high school senior soon to enter film school (and let me tell you, what a year to be a film school student), I wasn't too pumped or anything. I had a number of friends who were, surely, but even they -- some of them on their third and fourth viewing of the DAY -- were beginning to cool on it a bit when I finally got there to see it that afternoon.

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<p>Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds co-star in Charlie Kaufman's 'Deep&nbsp;Focus,' about a young actor who somehow slips out of focus, leading him on an existential journey of discovery.&nbsp; Oh, no, wait, this is a still from the action movie 'Safe House.'&nbsp; My bad.</p>

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds co-star in Charlie Kaufman's 'Deep Focus,' about a young actor who somehow slips out of focus, leading him on an existential journey of discovery.  Oh, no, wait, this is a still from the action movie 'Safe House.'  My bad.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Denzel and Ryan Reynolds almost bring anemic 'Safe House' to life

Exciting filmmaking can't quite shock the script to life

You will not be surprised by "Safe House."

It is pretty much exactly what it looks like.  It's an action exercise with two fairly dynamic leads, both of them taking visible delight in putting the other through their paces.  It is a solid big studio debut for Swedish director Daniel Espinosa, and whatever merit the film has is due largely to his aggressive aesthetic choices.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA operative looking to make his name inside the agency.  He's pulling a first posting punishment of sorts, working in a South African safehouse, tending this anonymous space every day and waiting for action that never comes.  It's been a year, and he's seen no one.  He's done nothing.  He is convinced that he's fallen off the edge of the earth, and any calls he makes to his one DC contact, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), seem to be getting him nowhere.

Then trouble walks in his door in the form of Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a former agent-gone-rogue who has been at the top of everyone's wish list for the better part of a decade.  He's been picked up and he's on his way out of town for debriefing, and Weston doesn't have to do a thing to help.  There's an entire team of badasses led by Daniel Kiefer (Robert Patrick) tasked with getting some information out of Frost by tuning him up, and all they need from Weston is for him to get out of the way while they work.

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"The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky"

 "The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky"

Credit: Discovery Channel

Watch: 'The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky' as alternative Valentine's weekend programming

Bypass drippy rom-coms and take a more serious turn

Not everyone wants to celebrate Valentine's Day weekend, and especially not with fluffy rom-coms. Instead, consider something completely different -- a closer look at a tragic chapter in recent history. "The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky" (Sun. Feb. 12 at 9 pm. on Discovery). The show pulls from hundreds of hours of audio recordings to tell the story of 9/11 through the voices of air traffic controllers, military commanders and even those on the hijacked planes. 

No, it won't be as cute and cuddly as some lightweight romance, but singletons might just feel a little less sorry for themselves about not getting a box of chocolates from a special someone after watching this. 

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Watch Bruce Springsteen's bleak video for 'We Take Care Of Our Own'

Watch Bruce Springsteen's bleak video for 'We Take Care Of Our Own'

The clip primes the pump for the live shows

In case folks haven’t gotten the message from the lyric video or just from listening to Bruce Springsteen's new song, “We Take Care Of Our Own,” the song’s video, released today, drives the point home.

It’s a stark affair shot in black and white to heighten the feeling of bleakness and isolation.  None of the band E Street Band appears in the clip, instead images of Springsteen playing in an abandoned house and on a roof top are interspersed with shots of everyday folks, walking the streets, seemingly downtrodden, as the lyrics appeal on the screen.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ryan Gosling blows some dude's face off in &quot;Drive&quot;</p>

Ryan Gosling blows some dude's face off in "Drive"

Credit: FilmDistrict

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Sound Editing

'Drive,' 'Dragon Tattoo,' 'Hugo,' 'Transformers' and 'War Horse' square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

As Guy intimated in his Oscar Guide to Best Sound Mixing, the sound categories really were interesting and all over the place this year. In the sound editing field, we have just two of the nine Best Picture nominees represented, one surprise show (for some) for a Cannes hit that was expected to pop up elsewhere, a franchise entry that deserves more love than it'll get and a tip of the hat to a Best Picture snubee that actually showed up in both sound fields.

Typically, voters pick their "favorite" movie of the nominees in these areas. That is, unless a palatable secondary option is available that makes its case for recognition of its aural qualities. I expect this year's situation to be more reflective of the latter.

The nominees are…

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 81 -- Lunch with the nominees, breaking down animated shorts, BAFTA preview

Oscar Talk: Ep. 81 -- Lunch with the nominees, breaking down animated shorts, BAFTA preview

Also: What happened to Shailene Woodley's Oscar bid?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

We're getting close. Oh so close. The Oscars, if you can believe it, are just over two weeks away. We have a few more ceremonies on the horizon, but with ballots in hand for another week, it's a few more times into the breach. So, let's see what's on the docket today...

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<p>&quot;Hanna&quot; composers The Chemical Brothers, nominated for Breakout Composer of the Year</p>

"Hanna" composers The Chemical Brothers, nominated for Breakout Composer of the Year

Credit: AP Photo/Jonathan Short

John Williams, Michael Giacchino, Chemical Brothers nominated by film music critics

Spielberg's maestro clocks seven nods

I'd like to humbly make a (self-serving) request of the International Film Music Critics Association. Bump your announcement up by a couple of weeks. Granted, you don't speak for composers, so your annual announcement of the best in film music doesn't necessarily indicate anything. But in a category with precious little in the way of precursor suggestion, every little bit helps.

This year's list of nominees was predictably dominated, however, by John Williams, who landed seven nominations across the various categories for his two Oscar-nominated scores: "The Adventures of Tintin" and "War Horse." Not too far back with five nods was "The Artist" composer Ludovic Bource.

Third was Michael Giacchino, who landed a nomination each for "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" and "Super 8" and was singled out in the Film Composer of the Year category as well. And Howard Shore had a decent showing for "Hugo," popping up twice.

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