In the parlance of today's pop culture, Team Hathaway. Totally.
Anne Hathaway is what the studio system used to produce routinely. She's got good comedy chops, she's absolutely got dramatic chops, she's physically substantial enough to pull off action, and she's been unafraid of nudity since day one. She has a strong female appeal, and she's anchored some big hits like "The Princess Diaries" and "The Devil Wears Prada," movies that play right down the middle to the romantic comedy market. She's also made a lot of unpredictable choices, and she's taken risks, and she's pushed herself onscreen. She gets to go further than a lot of the classic-era movie stars did. I have no doubt she would have been doing big studio musicals and comedies and dramatic Oscar bait routinely in the '40s or the '50s, but she's got a brittle thing about her, something that she likes to play, that makes her interesting, unafraid to be disliked.
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In the parlance of today's pop culture, Team Hathaway. Totally.
I already offered up my review of BBC America's "The Hour," along with an interview with creator Abi Morgan. We'll see how the episode-by-episode reviews for this will work over the rest of the 6-episode run, but for now, I'm just going to say that the premiere was definitely the weakest of the 4 I've seen, but still interesting for the work by Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and Dominic West.
Keeping in mind that the No Spoilers policy around here includes anything that has yet to air in the US - meaning discussion of the later episodes that have already aired in the UK is off-limits and will be deleted - what did everybody else think of the premiere?
Amongst the chaos that was the San Diego Comic Con this year, I got the opportunity to sit down with a few of the cast members of "Fright Night," including Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Best known for his role in "Superbad," It's fair to say that Mintz-plasse has a promising career ahead of him as he is a talented character actor. He is the no-brainer choice to play Ed, ("Evil Ed" in the original) Charley Brewster's extremely geeky best friend.
I’m not much for prognostication, as a general rule. But even if I were a long-term “Big Brother” viewer, I would have ceased long ago trying to figure out who is the favorite to win this season. Trying to apply things like “logical reasoning” to what’s gone down this year is a sure fire way to drive oneself crazy. The best way to think about anything that happens is to assume that the person making the latest bizarre decision just got hit in the head with a shovel by Julie Chen. If you go off of that premise, then everything else falls into place.
When last I dropped in on the show here at Monkeys as Critics, Kalia was HoH, Brendon was out of the house, and Lawon had only just come up with what certainly has to be considered one of the worst strategic moves in reality television history. Daniele managed to win HoH at a critical time in the game…only to put up two relative floaters instead of purging the field of fellow veteran competitors. My best guess at to why she did it?? Brendon is in fact a Dementor. It makes sense, in that every time I look at him I worry that I will never, ever feel happiness again.
Guess that means the next hour will be sour, if you’ll indulge a brief moment of recap poetry. Only one way to find out…
Jason Segel isn't just starring in "The Muppets" (set for release Nov. 23). He's also a co-writer, having written the script with his "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" partner Nick Stoller. While "The Muppets" isn't likely to have nude scenes and wild cards like Russell Brand, putting the script together was a logistical nightmare, according to Segel. "It was oddly a lot more complicated than I thought," Segel said in an interview during the CBS after-party during the TCAs. "All of a sudden, you realize when you write a scene like, 'The Muppets run away from the building,' the set has to be elevated and there's puppeteers operating all four limbs. It's as creative as you want it to be in your brain."
U2 did it for "Where the Streets Have No Name." The Beatles promoted a whole album with it. Now, Red Hot Chili Peppers have taken their turn in a tradition of performing songs on a rooftop for a partly unsuspecting audience.
The official music video for "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" features the rock troupe on a roof, a crowd building below them on the streets of Venice, Calif. The short show took place in the early evening on July 30, just two weeks ago; it was cut and directed by Mark Klasfeld.
Flea thankfully wears pants and a wild hair color. I love a man in tails, too, which Anthony Kiedis sports for a while before shedding in favor of a frequently bare chest. The facial hair, while hip, is still a little creepy.
The music to the clip is the album/studio version, not of the actual live performance. This is all in promotion of RHCP's next "I'm With You," due Aug. 30. The group is plotting a live concert event for 450 movie theaters on the day of release, footage broadcast live from their gig in Cologne, Germany.
In my review of "Conan The Barbarian," I wrote about how glad I am that Momoa ended up playing the part. I got e-mail from several of you who seemed irritated this morning that I would say anything good about anyone besides Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role, and it frustrates me. You won't find many people who love the 1982 John Milius film more than I do, but I can feel that way and still think that the character described in the stories isn't the character in that film. I've always felt that there's another interpretation possible.
For me, the moment that comes closest to capturing the mood of Howard's stories as I always read them isn't even from a "Conan" movie. It's from "Brotherhood Of The Wolf," late in the film, when Mark Dacascos is raining bloody vengeance down on people. He's not a giant muscle-man, but that's not really what I think of when it comes to "Conan." Yes, he's powerful, but he's also a thief, someone capable of grace and stealth. He's excellent with a sword, fast and agile.
Katy Perry has done it. After keeping us all in suspense for a few weeks, Perry has tied Michael Jackson as the only artist to score five No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 from one album.
That’s right: After hanging out at No. 2 for a few weeks, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” ascends to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, pushing LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” out of the top spot. A big assist goes to Missy Elliott, who appears on the remix of the Perry tune that helped give it a final push.
Perry’s five chart toppers come from “Teenage Dream.” Spanning 14 months, they are “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.,” and, now, “Last Friday Night.”
Jackson’s "Bad" in 1987-88 let loose "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (with Siedah Garrett), “Bad,” "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man in the Mirror,” and, "Dirty Diana." It took the King of Pop a little over nine months to achieve that feat.
Now the only question is what will be the sixth single released from Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that will either help her claim the record all for herself or go down in history as the one that stopped her march. Rolling Stone predicted it would be the strutting “Peacock.” It probably has to be an upbeat tune to work its way to the top of the rhythmic-leaning pop chart, but I like the wistful “Not Like The Movies.”
Daniel Radcliffe will end up behind the camera at some point. Count on it.
I think there's a reason many people who start their area in film as a child actor eventually move into producing and directing. Radcliffe has grown up with other people calling the shots, and after a while, if you're a creative person, you're drawn to telling your own stories. If he's even remotely interested in filmmaking, he's had plenty of time to learn his craft by watching the directors of the "Harry Potter" series. Obviously, I don't know for sure he will make movies, but if I was a betting man, I'd put a few dollars down on the possibility.
In addition, there's the idea that he's spent his whole professional life playing one character. Sure, he's done other work on stage, and to great success, but his film persona is defined entirely at this point by The Boy Who Lived. If he's going to have a career moving forward, the choices he makes have to be somewhat calculated, at least in the big studio movie realm.
The Toronto International Film Festival is known as part of the early September kick-off of awards season, but it also serves as one of the busiest and more commercial acquisition markets in the world. Some of the noteworthy pictures to be picked up out of Toronto over the past few years include Oscar winners "Crash" and "The Hurt Locker," "Insidious," "Everything Must Go," "Submarine," "Thank You For Smoking" and ( ). While there are numerous awards season titles screening at the festival next month, TIFF also has some major premieres that could soon find their way to your local multiplex. One romantic comedy that seems like true commercial fodder is "Hysteria."
Starring Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal (throwing out a Victorian Brit accent), Jonathan Pryce and don't look now Rupert Everett, the indie appears to be a cheeky look at the origins of the modern, um, electric "stimulator" for women. The festival posted a production created trailer for the film and while the cut of the preview has pacing issues the film looks like it could easily be sold as a commercial art house hit (or as the Brits would say, "It's cheeky!"). Take a sneak peek yourself
A more serious and moody drama recently added to the Festival's line up is "Think of Me." Written and directed by Bryan Wizemann, the picture stars Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under") as a single mother struggling to get by in Las Vegas. Facing pressure to give up her child, Ambrose's character must decide how far she'll go to survive and keep her tough life intact. The film immediately conjures up allegories to 2006's "Sherrybaby," but Wizemann appears to be using the Vegas backdrop to make this seemingly familiar tale stand on its own. "Think of Me" may be more appropriate for Sundance, but it's non-commercial feel will be welcome north of the border.
"Union Square," on the other hand, looks like a potential Sundance pitch that didn't make the cut. Featuring Tammy Blanchard and Mira Sorvino as estranged sisters (one's class, the other is crass), the drama was written and directed by Nancy Savoca who is best known for 1991's acclaimed indie "Dogfight" with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. We're not so convinced Savoca has returned to those heights with "Union Square," but we're hoping to be proved wrong. Check out the trailer below and judge for yourself.
For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news, follow Gregory Ellwood @HitFixGregory.
The bad news just keeps coming for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." On Monday, Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband Russell was found dead in a friend's apartment, an apparent suicide. Now comes word that Bravo, in light of the tragedy, may not only stop filming of season 2 (which debuts Sept. 5) but cancel the season altogether.
If British singer/songwriter Nick Lowe hadn’t made it as a musician, he could have had a great career as a raconteur. His gift for telling a witty story was on grand display Tuesday night, Aug. 16, as the 200-seat Grammy Museum in Los Angeles hosted “An Evening With Nick Lowe.”
I interviewed Lowe in New York when I was at Billboard for his 1995 album, “The Impossible Bird.” I remember it well and it remains one of my favorite times with an artist. It was a cold January evening, the night of the Super Bowl. We were the only two people who seemingly didn’t care about the game. He was staying at the now gone Mayflower Hotel on the edge of Central Park. We sat in the hotel bar, the Conservatory, for hours, while the game played on a TV screen behind us, neither one of us paying any attention.
He regaled me with stories, the vast majority of which never made my article simply because there were so many witty and charming tales to choose from. There was something endearingly humble about Lowe. I asked him how many people he thought bought the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” because Curtis Stigers’ cover of Lowe’s “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love And Understanding’ was on it. Without missing a beat, he told me “I’m 110% sure that none did. I’ve had a lot of people come up at shows with my records to sign from all over the world...and not one person has shoved a copy of ‘The Bodyguard’ under my nose and asked me to sign it.”
Last night, Lowe, one of modern music’s finest purveyors of power pop, discussed his early days with British pub-rock pioneers Brinsley Schwarz, producing the likes of Elvis Costello, being Johnny Cash’s son-in-law, and his new album, “The Old Magic,” out Sept. 13 on Yep Roc. It follows his critically acclaimed 2007 set, “At My Age.”
He performed two songs from the forthcoming set — the wry “A Sensitive Man,” and the achingly sad “I Read A Lot,” as well as a crowd-pleasing rendition of his biggest—and only— U.S. Top 40 hit, “Cruel To Be Kind.”
Below are highlights from the evening.
On his surprising earliest influence: Tennessee Ernie Ford. “In that era, everyone had six records. My Mom had Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, ‘South Pacific.’” Plus, two Tennessee Ernie Ford albums. “One of them was ‘This Lusty Land’...He sounded like he was from another planet.”
On songwriting: After joining Brinsley Schwarz at a time “when anyone who could string together a few chords could get a deal.” Though it was still an era where acts often relied on outside songwriters, Lowe says, “I figured out if you want to have any longtime career you have to write your own songs.” He learned to write by copying his favorite songwriter. Then he'd copy his second favorite songwriter. “You drop in a little of the first one,” he says. Then you copy your third favorite songwriter and drop in elements of the first and the second, and before you know it, you’ve created your own “stew.” “I remember the day I had my first original [song idea]. I was astonished. It’s a song I still do to this day: ‘What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love And Understanding’.” He paused and then clarified, “A little bit was pinched from ‘Jesus Was a Crossmaker’ by Judee Sill.”
On producing Elvis Costello: “Elvis brought a tape into Stiff [Records, where Lowe was staff producer] I wasn’t that attracted at the start. I thought there were too many words, too many chords,” Lowe recalled. “When I started producing him, I was El Jefe: ‘This has got to go! You can make three songs out of this one!’ That didn’t last very long. It was terrific.” When asked what he brought to Costello as his producer, Lowe said, “I really can’t remember doing anything. He had a fabulous group, The Attractions. They were volatile. I spent a lot of time trying to mend fences. That’s what I enjoyed.” He added that when producing became “a science, I went off it. I’m not a knob twiddler.”
On his “brief career as a pop star”: “Cruel To Be Kind” hit No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and in the U.K. in 1979, where Lowe also had a No. 7 record in “I Love The Sound Of Broken Glass,” and for a period of three to four years, Lowe enjoyed the spoils of fame, including “gorgeous Italian birds who wanted to go out with me simply because I was on the telly.” But by the time his 15 minutes of fame wound down, he was ready. “I was very ill. I was pretty much an alcoholic and all the other clap-trap.”
On his father-in-law Johnny Cash: Lowe was married to Cash’s step-daughter, Carlene Carter, for 11 years. “Johnny Cash said, ‘Nick, all you gotta do is be yourself.’ I was like, ‘Who the hell wants to see that?’ But it’s true...He was a lovely bloke. He was kind of uncool, which made me love him even more...he was kind. I thought he was the most charismatic man in world until I met Solomon Burke.”
On Rockpile’s underwhelming ambition: Despite the critical acclaim heaped upon Rockpile, the rockabilly/power pop band he formed with Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams in the late ‘70s, Lowe says the band never took itself too seriously or had great desire to be stars. “We were our own worst enemies. We couldn’t hack it. We liked being the opening act. As [the headliners] were taking the stage, we’d be off to the Arapahoe Inn by the airport with third division groupies.”
On showing a little respect, please: “Elton John, Cher, Barry Manilow: you have to take your hat off to these people. It’s extremely hard to keep a career going [that long] and to stay healthy. Most people have two hits and it’s back to the biscuit factory."