PARK CITY - Four features into his career, any words along the lines of “look out for Jim Mickle” are beginning to feel somewhat redundant – we’re looking, and he keeps showing up, nailing one nifty little genre film after another. To describe him as “going places” is to imply that there’s somewhere else he needs to be: Hollywood, perhaps, where his jacknife formal discipline and rowdy sense of humor would enliven any number of multiplex entertainments.
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On one end of things, tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" was a clearinghouse for unanswered questions about Barney, and Robin, and about Ted and the Mother's future children, as well as an opportunity for random stealth quoting of "Knuffle Bunny" when Barney went past Jabba the Hutt drunk. On the other end, it dealt with the current crisis in Marshall and Lily's marriage by revisiting their biggest schism of the whole series.
What did everybody think of it? Were you amused by all the Barney revelations? Did you enjoy the 2017 scenes? Do you think the show is being fair about the issues, past and present, in the Eriksen marriage? And how 'bout those names?
Have at it.
PARK CITY - Michael C. Hall is no stranger to the Sundance Film Festival (he was in Park City only last year for "Kill Your Darlings"), but representing a film as the leading man is a new experience for the TV star, best known for his Emmy-nominated roles in "Six Feet Under" and, of course, "Dexter." With the latter show having finished its long run last year, however, Hall is free to switch things up a bit.
The 56th annual Grammy Awards will air this Sunday (26). Starting today, we’ll predict the winners in the four major categories —album of the year, song and record of the year, and best new artist. On Friday, we’ll throw in predictions for a number of other categories.
Let’s start with Record of the Year:
“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
“Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons
“Locked Out of Heaven,” Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I.
People, understandably, get confused between this category and song of the year, especially because they often include some of the same songs. Record of the year goes to the artist, producer, engineer and mixer. Song of the year goes to the composer of the tune. So think of this as an award for everything that happens to the song after it is written: the voice that goes on it, the instrumentation, the arrangement, the production, the recording, the engineering and the mixing.
While I think leaving Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” out is a major omission, all five of these songs sound great: “Get Lucky” takes Chic’s ‘70s disco sound and updates it, “Radioactive” combines rock and a little touch of dubstep in a very interesting way. Lorde’s “Royals” has deceptively simple production with loops and Lorde’s voice up front. “Locked Out of Heaven” is busy, but in all the right ways that Mars excels at, and “Blurred Lines,” despite its somewhat controversial lyric, strikes the perfect tone between pop and R&B.
Given that Imagine Dragons and Lorde didn’t get best new artist nods, which they definitely deserved, I don’t think either can win this. I also think the voters won’t be able to separate “Blurred Lines’” production with the controversy, so I’m eliminating it. That means it’s between “Get Lucky” and “Locked Out Of Heaven.” It’s close, but I’m going with “Get Lucky.”
Should Win: “Get Lucky”
Will Win: “Get Lucky”
Who do you want to win Record of the Year?
PARK CITY - The easy joke is to call this film "the best Iranian vampire film I've ever seen," but that's reductive and unfair to this gorgeous, sad, haunting accomplishment by writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour.
Why do we make so many movies about monsters? What do they tell us about ourselves? At this point, if someone's making a film about a vampire, they have to be doing something else at the same time or there's no point. Amirpour draws on the traditions of the genre, but by setting her story in Bad City, an Iranian town on the edge of an oil field, she is also telling us about the dreams and frustrations and fears of being a woman in this society, powerless by definition, empowered by this fantasy. The Girl (Sheila Vand) rarely speaks, but we know what she wants and how she feels based on who she makes victims and who she spares.
Fans of "Let The Right One In" may get a similar vibe from some scenes in this movie, but The Girl is no child, nor is Arash (Arash Marandi), a gardener struggling with his feelings about his junkie father Hossein (Marshall Manesh). Hossein keeps buying heroin long past his ability to pay for it, leaving Arash to pick up his mess and deal with Saeed (Dominic Rains), a drug dealing pimp who proves that every society has its own variation on the Guido. One night, Saeed makes the mistake of inviting The Girl into his home, taking her silence as a sort of cowed obedience. Once she feeds on him, she leaves, and when Arash arrives a few moments later, he realizes that he has an opportunity. He takes Saeed's briefcase full of drugs and money and sets himself up as the new Saeed, dealing drugs to anyone except his father, who is trapped in their apartment, grappling with withdrawal.
I remember a few years ago, one of the more surprising Oscar nominees for both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing was Edward Zwick's "Blood Diamond." It made sense in hindsight. Not only was it great work from respected artists, but Zwick has always had an ear for quality sound work; four of his films have been recognized with Oscar nominations by the branch. So he's a nice choice for this year's Filmmaker Award at the 50th annual Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards.
Lance Bass has been way too busy planning his escapade into space, dancing with pseudo-stars, writing his autobiography, planning his wedding, participating in the blink-if-you-miss-it ‘N Sync MTV Video Music Awards reunion, and executive producing documentaries to make new solo music, but after a 12-year hiatus, he’s back.
His new song, “Walking on Air” —not to be confused with the Katy Perry tune —is a collaboration with DJ/producer Anise K, featuring Snoop Dogg. I’m now convinced I could get Snoop Dogg to be on my single if I asked him. The song got a little coming out party at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, where it was featuring in the opening segment, according to E! News.
Bass told E! that he’d been looking for material for two years and Anise K’s track resonated with him. Listen to "Walking On Air" here.
Well, maybe should have kept looking... or waited until he had more time. While he is listed as the artists on the cover art here, he’s basically a guest on Anise K’s record. He does get his own verse.... maybe it was the line about being a “satellite” that drew in the future astronaut.
And as for Snoop Dogg, he comes in at the beginning and then drops a totally tepid verse on the totally tepid, unremarkable song.
“Walking On Air” is way too grounded for its own good. A slightly different version, featuring Ian Thomas, came out in Belgium a few months ago. That version is below.
Beyonce and Jay Z are headed for the Grammy stage.
Just as Justin Timberlake got a big performance platform on last year’s Grammys, despite not being eligible for any statues, it looks like Beyonce will get the boost this year for her December surprise, "Beyonce."
She and husband, Jay Z, were listed as performers in a commercial that aired Sunday night for the Jan. 26 Grammys.
They join Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Metallica, Pink, Katy Perry, Keith Urban and a slew of other artists who have already been announced as performers on the awards ceremony.
No word yet on if the pair is performing together, perhaps on “Drunk On Love,” or separately. Jay Z has nine nominations, including for best rap album.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that Beyonce would appear, breaking the news before Sunday night’s commercial. The same LA Times piece also said that Madonna will join one of the night’s nominees in a performance, but that has yet to be confirmed by the Grammys.
Will you be watching the Grammys on Sunday night?
Ken Burns to tackle "Country Music"; PBS to examine "Earth"
PBS announced that a Burns country music documentary will air in 2018, while "Earth — A New Wild" will be shown in 2015. PBS also announced special programming to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June. PLUS: PBS won't stop airing "Downton Abbey" in January.
HBO and Showtime subscribers are on the decline as Netflix rises
A new study has found that households with premium TV channels fell 6%, though it's not clear if they are fleeing for Netflix.
Fred Armisen and Patton Oswalt are traveling with "Modern Family" to Las Vegas
Armisen will play one-half of a gay couple who have fun with Mitch and Cam, while Oswalt will play a magician.
Amazon remaking "Barbarella"
The Jane Fonda film is set to get a web TV remake.
Watch the 1st episode of HBO's "Looking"
HBO has posted the first episode on YouTube.
"An American Education" adds Buzz from "Home Alone" and Jackie Chiles from "Seinfeld"
Devin Ratray and Phil Morris will play a teacher and the principal in the remake of the UK's "Bad Education."
Kate Gosseln's twins open their mouths on "The View"
Did Kate force them to talk after last week's "Today" debacle?
New "SNL" cast member Sasheer Zamata is a "Girls" tour guide
Watch a bit she filmed before joining "SNL."
Alexander Payne's vision for "Nebraska" was always in black and white. Going way back to prep on 2004's "Sideways," he told his director of photography, Phedon Papamichael, that he had this little road trip movie he was keen to do free of color, which of course was appealing to Papamichael. Nearly a decade later they finally set out to make the movie, but they had a bit of a roadblock.
PARK CITY - One of the more intriguing aspects of the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival is just how unconventional it has been. Dramedies and films with slight sci-fi elements have been a mainstay of the festival's premier category, but straight comedies, zombies and supernatural horror? Well, that's something very new to the mix. One picture that mixes serious drama and supernatural elements in this year's dramatic competition premiered Sunday night, "Jamie Marks is Dead."