Okay, this is not Oscar related. At all. In the slightest. Though maybe it should be. I'm in the tank for "Beavis and Butt-Head." Always have been. Always will be. So you can bet I'll be parked in front of the tube tonight when MTV finally brings the dummy duo back for a new wave of original programming. I've been stoked ever since the announcement was made. And the material that has been released so far, well, it has me in the aisles. And I'll probably even check out the new show that will follow, "Good Vibes." It's nice that the network is at least testing the waters of stuff that isn't wall-to-wall reality programming. With that in mind, Kimberly Potts offers up 14 great Beavis and Butt-Head moments to welcome them back. [The Box]
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On Jimmy Cliff's last album, "Black Magic" in 2004, the legendary performer was inspired by sounds outside of his genre, through dance, electronica and punk. This time, punk comes to him, on his turf.
Late next month, the reggae legend is releasing his first new tracks in seven years, the "Sacred Fire EP," produced by Tim Armstrong. The Rancid frontman is also helming Cliff's next, as-yet-untitled full-length, due in 2012.
The digital version of five-track "Sacred Fire" will by out on Nov. 29, while a six-track 12" vinyl version will be out on Nov. 25, as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday indie retailer promotion.
Preceding the release is a free download (well, for the price of your email address) of leading single "Ship Is Sailing"; the sunny, only slightly frail track is a perfect segue into the year's coldest months, and it bodes well for some exciting covers. These include a take on longtime Cliff admirer Bob Dylan's adopted activist anthem "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and The Clash's classic "Guns of Brixton," which was heavily influenced by reggae music and continues to be associated with the race riots and police activity in Britain during the early '80s.
It could also serve as a nod to The Clash's Joe Strummer, who collaborated with the Jamaican star on his 2002 set "Fantastic Plastic People." Strummer died later that year. And The Clash has an undeniable influece on Rancid, whose last album was released in 2009. Cliff covers that band's former hit "Ruby Soho" on "Sacred Fire EP," as well. It's a mutual appreciation society, eh?
"I knew vaguely about Tim through working with Joe Strummer and wanted to bring something fresh to the marketplace. Us coming from such different musical poles brought a great energy to the songs. I wanted to create something with a fresh sound - that's why we decided to test the waters," said the 63-year-old activist/singer/actor in a statement.
Sacred Fire EP Special Edition 12-Inch Vinyl - Out 11/25 for Record Store Day
1. Guns of Brixton
2. World Upside Down
3. Ruby Soho
4. Ship Is Sailing
5. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
6. Brixton Version
Sacred Fire EP CD/Digital - Out 11/29
1. Guns of Brixton
2. Ruby Soho
3. Ship is Sailing
4. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
5. Brixton Version
So, today is the final day of the London Film Festival -- as well as the final day of Sandra Hebron's long-running tenure as the festival's artistic director. (She'll be missed, but having met her feisty replacement, former Sydney fest director Clare Stewart, on a couple of occasions, I'm not at all nervous about the LFF's future.) The mammoth 16-day affair draws to a close tonight with the UK premiere of Terence Davies's "The Deep Blue Sea," which I saw last month and will review soon -- after the critical hiding dealt out to already-forgotten opener "360," this second Rachel Weisz starrer will end proceedings on a much higher note.
I'll be at the lavish-looking closing party tonight, though the more exclusive ticket -- one I didn't have -- was to last night's festival awards ceremony, where four competitive prizes were presented, as well as BFI Fellowships for David Cronenberg and Ralph Fiennes. The biggest news of the night, however, was the festival's still-young Best Film award going for the first time to a British production -- Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin."
As regular readers will know, I couldn't be more on board with this choice: I was stunned by Ramsay's daring adaptation of the Lionel Shriver bestseller in Cannes, and thought it easily the best of the nine films shortlisted for the LFF prize. Among the films it beat: "The Artist," "Shame" and "The Descendants."
Tomorrow night at 8, NBC premieres the fifth and final season of "Chuck." Think for a minute about how ridiculous that is - or, if you're a fan of the show (which I've been from the start), how awesome that is.
As we open this next episode of America’s Next Top Model, we see what Bianca looks like without her mommy bodyguard sister best friend, Bre, who was eliminated last week.
“I don’t have a clique,” says Bianca. Yes, honey, but you do have an agency, so why aren’t you delivering better photos?
One of the pleasures of the new film "Puss In Boots" is the almost preposterous amount of sexual tension that builds between the lead character Puss (Antonio Banderas) and his partner in crime Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).
And don't worry if you're a parent. This isn't something overt that your kids are going to have to ask you uncomfortable questions about, but it's impossible to miss. Banderas and Hayek seem to have an indecent amount of fun together, and it's one of the most infectiously silly things about the film.
Sitting down with the two of them together, that same chemistry is totally evident. Ever since they worked together in "Desperado," they've had a very special onscreen relationship, and the filmmakers behind "Puss In Boots" took full advantage of that. When I joined them during the press day for the film, we talked about how director Chris Miller made a very unusual choice as far as the recording process was concerned, and what benefits there were to that decision.
I know I said last week I was getting out of the "American Horror Story" business, but I happened to watch tonight's episode on a screener. And while it's still not a show I remotely like, I did feel like "Halloween, Part 1" at least addressed some of the concerns I had with the show, toning down the bat-crazy, everything and the kitchen sink approach Murphy and Falchuk had taken in the first three episodes, actually turned Addie into a character instead of a creepy symbol, and generally did good work with the non-Harmon characters.
Tim Minear wrote next week's episode, so I'll at least be back for that, and maybe I'll keep these talkback posts going for the rest of the season. Since many of you have been enjoying the show a whole lot more than me, what did you think of this one? An improvement, or moving away from what you'd been enjoying?
Have at it.
The Cinema Eye Honors, the premier documentary-only awards ceremony on the circuit, announced their 2011 nominations tonight in a new fashion that I think more such shindigs could follows -- as the prelude to a party in a busy London bar, with free drinks and a Guilty Pleasures DJ on hand afterwards. It sure beats dragging yourself out of bed at 5am for the Oscars, no? Anyway, I was on hand to receive the news directly -- cheering too loudly when my favorites popped up in the nominee list (as they did with pleasing frequency) and savoring the forgotten joys of Charles & Eddie singles. Nice work all round.
As for the nominees, they perhaps offer a few pointers as to the films you should be looking out for in the documentary Oscar race -- though we all know how wilfully the Academy can sometimes ignore the obvious in this category. Four films are tied for the lead with four nominations apiece: no surprise that Asif Kapadia's UK box-office smash "Senna" ( which I glowingly reviewed here) and "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James's critics' darling "The Interrupters" are among them.
Earlier today, I interviewed "Happy Endings" producers David Caspe and Jonathan Groff about the creative evolution of the show, and talked a bit about tonight's very funny Halloween episode (and, specifically, my love of Max and Penny's costume). A few thoughts on the episode coming up just as soon as I go to my weird gay turkey party...
For a nice girl from Wisconsin, Kristin Bauer certainly knows how to play a bad, bad girl. On "True Blood," she's made her bloody mark as Pam the lesbian vampire and now she takes on the role of Mistress of All Evil Maleficent, the baddie from Sleeping Beauty, in ABC's "Once Upon A Time" (Sun. Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.). HitFix talked to Bauer briefly about her guest shot on the new series, her adventures in green screen and why she's got a thing for great costumes.
Though Bauer isn't sure how her name got tossed into the ring to play Maleficent, she says, "I only imagine it was like they wanted somebody playing evil, and I'm on a short list of playing evil. But it did come up very fast. I was on the road working on other stuff, so I didn't know much about it. I just knew the scene, put on the costume and they put me in front of a green screen."
Thursday night, Lifetime will air the season finale of "Project Runway," and this trip to Bryant Park will be no less fraught with tension than usual. But who will win and who will be auf'ed? It's anyone's guess (if evil, Aztec kitsch-inspired Gwetchen can trump Mondo as we saw last season, any injustice is possible), but hey, you can't blame me for trying.
Odds: 99 to 1
The fact that Kimberly is still in the running is something of a shock. With only one win (and two top three showings) to her credit, she's mostly made a name for herself as "the chick who makes great pants." This would be wonderful if we were watching "Project Seamstress," but that's not the case, no matter how fabulous those chiffon stilt walker trousers were. The collection we saw a smattering of last week suggests that the questionable taste we saw at the very beginning of the show (but hoped had been vanquished) has reared its head again. An aggressively tacky bubble-butt skirt, garish colors (did she go shopping with Josh M.?) and poor styling made even some sharp, well-tailored items look cheap. Her desire to introduce us to a Brooklyn girl who has become gentrified but not lost her street attitude? J. Lo already has a collection, Kim, and it's at Kohl's, not Bryant Park.
Odds: 49 to 1
I'll be the first to admit it: my personal dislike for Josh M. and the catty, pouty behavior he's demonstrated on the show undoubtedly plays a role in his low ranking. Still, I think his persistent (and unfounded) belief in his own tacky taste level will be his undoing. Though he has two wins (and four top three showings) for the season, he also has turned up in the bottom three twice. More importantly, most of the outfits which curried the praise of the judges were ones that he either tossed together at the last minute (the orange shift he clearly copied from Bert) or were stripped of his usual garishness due to the parameters of the challenge (that basic black dress he designed for a client). More than anyone else this season, Josh M. seems to have lucked into the winner's circle over and over again, like some delusional show pony who doesn't realize he's only succeeding because the frontrunner broke a leg.
Josh M.'s tendency to rip off design elements in the workroom revealed a designer lacking both confidence (despite his superior attitude) and vision, and the fact that he showed Tim a collection that was a neon bright nightmare (and made Tim look as close to politely vomiting into his coat pocket as I've ever seen him) suggests that the judges' requests for less rather than more ultimately went, at least to some degree, unheeded. Though the limited array of designs that walked the runway last week weren't his worst, I still saw plenty of crayon-colored crap on his hanging rack. Though it might appeal to Michael or Heidi, I suspect Nina would rather give the winning prize money to a homeless guy wearing a black trashbag as a fashion statement than let Josh M. take the win.
Odds: 2 to 1
Oh, Anya. Just a week ago, I would have put her as the obvious front runner. How could she not win "Project Runway"? The judges love her (three wins, three top three showings and just one bottom three result), the fans love her (last I checked the fan favorite results, she had a whopping 50 percent of the vote) and she made outfits that were both fashion-forward and (gasp!) wearable. But then, the unthinkable happened. The laid-back island beauty queen lost confidence.
Truth told, The poorly-sewn mustard-colored gown she sent down the runway should have been enough to get her sent home, especially as it was paired with an unimpressive bathing suit. Anya's attempt to dress up her clothes with bangles and other fashion flotsam just compounded the problem. Anya made not just a misstep, but a serious, game changing one.
And yet... I'm still rooting for her, and clearly the judges are as well (what else accounts for a final four instead of a final three?). I'm hoping that the rest of the designs on her hanging rack are more impressive than what we've seen thus far, and knowing Anya she just may be selling herself short. I think there's a place in fashion for modern silhouettes with an island attitude, and if Anya can rediscover her mojo in time for Bryant Park, she still has a solid shot at winning. More than any of the other finalists, she had an innate sense of what worked, what flattered and what constituted fashion. Still, that mojo rediscovery is a big, big if.
Odds: 1 to 2
Maybe it was the white, jeweled jacket (though it was a little too Michael Jackson-y for my taste, it was certainly a hit with Heidi), maybe it was the fact his pieces (though horribly put together for last week's runway) all looked expensive and well-made, but Viktor may just be the man to beat on Thursday -- if he can get his styling right.
Like Josh M., he still needs to remember less is more on the runway, but he's been a slow and steady contender thus far (he's had two wins, three top three showings and two bottom three results). No one can argue that he has exceptional tailoring skills, and unlike Anya, he can make a jacket like nobody's business. Though I don't think his instincts are as dead-on as Anya's usually are, he does make beautiful clothes, he has vision, and he's definitely creative enough for Josh M. to know a good thing (and want to rip him off mercilessly). Plus, you have to give him points for entertainment value -- "Oh my Lord of the Rings" may just be the catch phrase of the season.
Who do you think will be the first eliminated? Who do you think will win? And whose clothes do you think consumers would actually buy?