OWN has announced that it will be launching a new series, 'America's Money Class with Suze Orman' on Jan. 9. (9:00 p.m. ET). In the six-episode "class," Orman will be answering financial questions and giving viewers tools and tips on how to survive this sluggish economy. To sweeten the deal, viewers will also get a chance to win up to $50,000 when they take her final exam during the last episode.
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Indie rock crew and Immaculate Noise favorite Sleigh Bells have a band name that could jingle, but they'd rather issue a "Reign of Terror" for the holidays.
The New York duo are prepared to release their sophomore set, on the heels of their excellent 2010 debut "Treats," on Feb. 14 through Mom + Pop (who we've mentioned this week as being totally on fire).
"Terror" has a terrific teaser in advance, posted below. I feel like I'm about to go to a football game now.
It was produced by band guitarist Derek Miller and co-written by Miller and singer/wild-woman Alexis Krauss, who figures prominently into the video.
The giveaways keep on truckin' today as we have two DVDs of Gore Verbinski's "Rango" to dish out. I think we'll do something similar to the last contest. With an expanded field of Best Picture nominees, the odds are slightly better for animated films to make it into contention. While Pixar has had the stranglehold on that kind of consideration the last two years, this year, they clearly do not. And some might consider "Rango" the heir apparent to Best Picture potential in the medium.
So, if you agree, give me 100 words or less telling me why you think it deserves a fair shake and should play with the big boys in the Best Picture field.
Deadline is noon on Friday. Now... Go!
"Cowboys and Aliens comes out on disc this week, so I thought I'd dig out a previously unpublished video interview I did with director Jon Favreau.
The movie didn't do as well as he and the rest of the cast would have liked, but still, it was an interesting experiment in genre mixing, and an all out love letter to westerns on Favreau's part.
Although I wouldn't consider myself a rabid fan of all his movies, I have come to appreciate the man for the obvious passion and love for his craft. He shows an obvious interest in every part of the filmmaking process, and can get into the nitty gritty of all the little technicalities of a production. Sadly, this is a rare trait among the directors that I've met.
I really enjoyed talking to him over the course of the "Cowboys and Aliens" production, and I think you can tell from this interview.
The Afghan Whigs will play their first show in 13 years when the Greg Dulli-led band reunites for All Tomorrow’s Parties “I’ll Be Your Mirror” festival at London’s Alexandra Palace on May 27.
The revered Cincinnati band are taking the slot that had been held by Guided By Voices, who cancelled because they broke up and have cancelled all 2012 (and we presume beyond that) bookings.
Other performers during the May 25-27 festival, curated by Mogwai and ATP, include Slayer, Sleep, Mudhoney, Yuck, the Melvins, and a reunited Codeine. Newly added are The Archers of Loaf and Chavez, who reformed last year.
The "Mission: Impossible" franchise is a strange one.
For one thing, I think people often misuse the word "franchise." Just because they make a few sequels to a movie, that doesn't automatically qualify that thing as a franchise. I think of that more as a description of a film property (or book property or game property… whatever sort of IP you want to substitute) that features a basic idea or premise that can be endlessly refigured to fit new casts, new creative teams, and new storytelling styles, with little real regard for continuity. "Mission: Impossible," from the moment it first aired as a television show, has offered up a near-perfect franchise engine, a premise so simple, so feather-light, that you can do anything with it, and as long as you strike those same few notes, it's recognizably "Mission: Impossible."
Over the weekend, I rewatched the first three "Mission: Impossible" films on Blu-ray. I've always been fond of the first one, and looking at it now, it's one of those early CGI-era movies that reaches for some groundbreaking stuff in how action is staged and shot that doesn't totally work on a technical level, but that deserves respect for pushing the envelope as much as it did. More than that, though, it's a fun piece of pop culture subversion that was designed to acknowledge the old school, then annihilate the old school, then introduce Tom Cruise as the new school. Brian De Palma made each set piece feel like he was having fun, and it was big and complex and sleek and absolutely proved that it would work on the big screen.
The second film is so bad that it feels like someone who was very angry at John Woo decided to make a MAD-magazine-style parody of John Woo films and then release it with his name attached as director. Awful.
I'll finally get around to running down the Best Original Song category in tomorrow's Tech Support column, but how about one last contender spotlight?
Madonna's "W.E." has took a critical thrashing when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September. Having finally caught the film last night, I'm sorry to report that the pans were on point. What a delirious mess of a film. A Vogue photo shoot brought to life. Which, it should be noted, the film is indeed gorgeous. The costume design, production design and cinematography would all find room on my ballot, I bet.
I had heard there was an original song for the film from the Material Girl herself, but didn't really think about it until I noted the FYC section of the screener packaging. Indeed, "Masterpiece" -- which leaked recently and is expected to also be on Madonna's next album -- is being pitched for awards.
The tribute announcements keep coming for the upcoming Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Today the fest announced the recipient of this year's Cinema Vanguard Award, given in tandem for the first time this year, to "The Artist" stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.
The honor is given annually "in recognition of an actor who has forged his/her own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film." I guess that sums up what Dujardin and Bejo did with the film, but it's unique amid the flurry of recent recipients: Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Stanley Tucci, Peter Sarsgaard, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ryan Gosling.
Anyway, festival director Roger Durling made his case in the press release: "In an age of sight and sound spectacle, there is great risk in a silent film. Jean and Bérénice's acting is an amazing pas des deux both physically and emotionally - recalling classic Hollywood pairings like Hepburn and Tracy, and of course indelibly Ginger and Fred."
Spend a yultide by the fireside with Damien Jurado, who's pumped out a piano- and horn-laden version of "Christmas Time Is Here." The Vince Guaraldi original -- popularized via "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- has a melancholy slowness that Jurado's falsetto capitalizes upon, warms up with the Aki Kurose Middle School Academy Glee Club and prepares your brain waves for a long winter's nap.
It's hot as hell in here. No, really, Gary Oldman has set the thermostat so high that it feels less like a room at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons than a fire-heated Transylvanian castle on a snow-blown mountainside.
"The first thing I do when I get into a hotel room is crank it up to about 80," he says jokingly through that recognizable twangy British accent to a publicist as she makes her way out of the room. Or is it recognizable? Oldman is a classic character actor, a "that guy" for film-goers the world over. So maybe it is. But his career never took hold in a leading man capacity, so he lingers on the pages of recent film history. Maybe it was the dust-up behind the scenes over the perspective of Rod Lurie's "The Contender" in 2000 that held him back at a time when his career was set to take off. Maybe that's an overstatement.
He looks remarkably young. At 53, he's taken on roles as of late that have played up older, wiser traits, but they've clearly shielded some vitality. His latest, Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," is a prime example, Oldman saddling up to the role that Alec Guiness first fleshed out on the screen via British television mini-series. Now he's being asked by young press types who aren't likely aware of Guiness outside of "Star Wars" whether he was familiar with that project before taking the role.