It’s safe to say that lack of confidence will not ever be an issue with little Willow Smith, the spawn of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Really, what other 11-year old has the cojones to start her video in the same style as the legendary opening credits from “Star Wars?”
The Hype Williams-directed “Fireball” featuring, of course, Nicki Minaj, debuted on B.E.T.’s “”106th and Park” on Wednesday. Smith continues on in her Rihanna mini-me mode in her spoken/sung delivery, although this song, to keep it in “Star Wars” parlance, is from a galaxy far far away from “Whip My Hair” and a far better one at that. (Musically, however, the song features the same military beat as "Run The World (Girls)" from Beyonce).
I've got some great coverage of "The Five-Year Engagement" coming for you in early 2012, and I am really looking forward to the film. Now, thanks to what I feel is a strong first trailer, you can get a look at what I've been waiting to talk about for a while now.
Jason Segel's got to be feeling good these days about the reception to "The Muppets," which he co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller. This, though, is much closer to "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," their first film together, and it's a film that was Stoller's passion project just as much as the Muppets represented a personal passion for Segel. I spent a day in San Francisco watching them work, right at the end of the shoot, and you'll see a glimpse of the scene I was there for, the actual proposal that kicks off the movie. I saw a ton of footage from the film as well, and even in rough form, there were some great moments I saw.
Here, though, we've finally got our first polished look at material from the film, and I think this trailer does a lovely job of selling both the underlying idea about a young couple who experience a string of delays that prevent them from actually having their wedding, and I think it sells the tone as well as some of the more outrageous humor that punctuates their journey.
It was back in March this year that we warned you of the imminent return of Spiritualized. This March, in 2012, the Jason Pierce-fronted band will make its presence known again. The English rock act has announced its new album "Sweet Heart Sweet Light," to drop some time in that thawing month.
The band performed at the Other Voices festival in Ireland last weekend, the set streamed for audiences who couldn't make it. Leftover are two new songs, now available via The Guardian: "So Long Pretty Things" and "Hey Jane."On the latter, I closed my eyes and heard Brendan Benson. On the former, I hear a little soul between the pure rock-pop, mostly with a chorus I can remember.
On neither did I hear a good mix, particularly with those backing vocals. I look forward to the actual song releases.
“When you make a record, it has to be the single most important thing in your world. This time around, I wanted to do something that encompassed all I love in rock ‘n’ roll music. It’s got everything from Brötzmann and Berry right through to Dennis and Brian Wilson," said Pierce, aka J. Spaceman in a release. "I’m obsessed with music and the way you put it together and I don’t believe there are any rules.”
Yeah, OK, but are you actually going to shoot me in a rocket to space with this one again, maaaaan? That's what Spiritualized's "Songs in A&E" partially did for me in 2008.
Fat Possum (Andrew Bird's former roost) will be putting out "Swee Heart Sweet Light": That label already had a pair of amazing releases this year, with Yuck's self-titled set and A.A. Bondy's "Believer." On top of that, I've finally spent some time with Unknown Mortal Orchestra during my top 10 pursuits this month, and can recommend "Bicycle." Lucky for all of us, the high-octane music video for that track dropped today. If Spiritualized doesn't pysch-rock us proper, UMO most certainly will.
It’s a very familiar picture by now. For the sixth week in a row, Rihanna’s “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris tops the Billboard Hot 100 and leaves LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” in the runner-up slot for the fifth week.
That means “Sexy” has been a bridesmaid for the longest time frame since Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” got stuck at No. 2 for seven weeks in 2009-2010, according to Billboard.
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.
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.
Thanks everyone who participated in the "Super 8" contest on Monday. The winners were "ASCHU" and "GRUBI," so if you're reading, drop me a line so I can get you your prizes.
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.
"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 Producers Guild of America continues to stick by its antiquated practice of honoring television roughly seven months behind the curve, announcing its stale TV nominations on Wednesday (December 7) morning.
What to know why this is posted in my blog, rather than as a news story? Because in a news story, I'd be hesitant to express confusion at the PGA for the seemingly absurd decision to exist in a time warp for the TV awards and only the TV awards. At least in a blog post, I can register confusion.
[This year's Producers Guild nominees, plus the official PGA explanation for the eligibility window, after the break...]
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.