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Think you've had a bad year? Well, you aren't alone. Some of Hollywood's biggest names have experienced 12 months of creative frustration they would prefer to completely forget. We've picked 10 of the most disheartening, but there is some good news around the corner for these famous faces. A number of these favorites are on track to completely turn things around in 2014. The others? Let's just remember 12 months is a long time in the entertainment bubble and anything can happen.
Sequels are, despite their omnipresence in Hollywood, actually fairly difficult to get right, and within that broad statement, I would say that horror sequels are even harder to get right, while comedy sequels may be the hardest to pull off with any degree of success.
Why is that? What makes it so hard to go back to the well? After all, if you hire the same people, shouldn't you get the same results? If you hire Adam McKay to direct again and you've got Judd Apatow producing, and you've got the same whole cast in place, shouldn't you get the exact same thing?
That's sort of the challenge. With comedy, I feel like so much of the success of something comes from surprise. A big part of what makes me laugh is when someone has some unexpected way of expressing an idea or reacting to something we all recognize, and one of the reasons I feel like Adam McKay is perfectly built to actually make good comedy sequels is because even when he's playing with familiar characters, his brain is just plain wired different than most people. The way he approaches anything, any line of dialogue, is grounded in the unexpected.
Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.
Within my top 10, there's only one new artist. Inside my top 30, there's about 10.
Electronic music had a huge year with the return of Daft Punk, but also with new artist Disclosure, Jon Hopkins' career masterpiece "Immunity, and efforts from others like Boards of Canada, Juana Molina, Baths and Fuck Buttons.
You don't see a lot of rock in the top tiers of the Grammy nominations for 2014, and as loathe as I am to say it, I gotta say I feel almost (almost) the same way. I've loved the work that MBV, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Portugal. The Man, Bill Callahan and left of center acts like Parquet Courts and Fidlar have done. Queens of the Stone Age and Red Fang are the most rock 'n' roll of these. Beyond that, I didn't feel like I heard enough, maybe, or we had brain space only for massive pop acts like Beyonce (loved), Lady Gaga (disliked), Britney Spears (promptly forgot) and Katy Perry (great singles, exhausting album).
I'm seeing a lot of outlets put "Yeezus" in their top spots, and while I agree its an aggressive, intoxicating album, I put it far lower on my list (than, say, my 2010 No. 1, "My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy) because it's almost challenging me to give extra points for being honest. Jason Isbell takes that prize, with raw and powerful "Southeastern." Nick Cave gets in there with his twisted, sexual sneering. Danny Brown (my 2011 N. 7) got weirder, at No. 4 this year with "Old."
I'm not a Drake girl, though I think that "Nothing Was the Same" was his best-contructed album. So long as we're talking new-era R&B, I could take Blood Orange dancing all night. Good year for the veteran ladies -- for Neko Case, India.Arie, Laura Marling, Tegan & Sara and new spins (for me, at least) out of Sarah Jarosz, Savages, Feathers and more.
Dancing, architecture. Let's listen to music, shall we?
The Academy caught me off guard yesterday when it announced the nine finalists for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar -- I'm used to that news landing in January, and hadn't even thought to serve up any shortlist speculation or predictions. Which is just as well, since after a few years of sussing out most of their choices in advance, I'd probably have been far wide of the mark this time round. Already, three of the films I was predicting in the sidebar as eventual nominees -- Chilean crowdpleaser "Gloria," Canadian charmer "Gabrielle" and Saudi Arabian milestone "Wadjda" -- failed to make the cut.
"SNL" finally releases Jimmy Fallon-Justin Timberlake promos
"Yeah, this is happening!....It's going to be a f*cking blast." PLUS: Fallon brought a Go Pro to "SNL" meeting, Kristen Wiig's "SNL" cameo two weeks ago wasn't planned, Taran Killam says of the Christmas show, "I can 100-percent guarantee that it will be the greatest episode of all time, ever," and play the "SNL" Fallon/Timberlake Drinking Game.
Tax credits lure an ABC sitcom pilot to shoot in Britain
"Galavent" will be the 2nd network show to film in the UK under new TV production tax credits, after Fox's "24: Live Another Day."
Watch the new "Justified" trailer
Here's a preview of Season 5, premiering Jan. 7.
Could "Duck Dynasty" move to another network?
A&E has the option for at least one more season, so moving networks would be tricky. But here are three other ways this controversy could end. PLUS: A&E warned Phil Robertson about speaking out too much, Walmart sells out of "Duck" merchandise, and A&E didn't want to disrespect gay employees by not suspending Robertson.
HBO orders "Claws," a nail salon dramedy from Rashida Jones
"Claws" will follow the "strange, dangerous women" who work at a Florida nail salon.
100 new TV shows, specials, events are launching in early 2014
Get ready for an onslaught of new TV programming over the next eight to 12 weeks.
David Tennant is taking American accent lessons over Skype to prep for Fox's "Broadchurch" remake
"I will be doing an American accent yes," Tennant says of preparing for "Gracepoint." "I will start working on it this afternoon actually and am getting help from a voice coach over Skype from America. That's how they do it."
"Nurse Jackie's" fake car accident prompts 7 people to call 911
The Wednesday incident in Staten Island is the latest TV shoot to freak out residents in and around New York City.
"24: Live Another Day" casts an alum from "The Wire"
Gbenga Akinnagbe will play a CIA field operative on the Fox event series.
Watch Jeanne Tripplehorn sing a Rolling Stone cover with Eddie Vedder -- as Julie Andrews
Earlier this week, the "Criminal Minds" star explained to Jimmy Kimmel how she came up with that rare talent.
Will Arnett is dating a producer he met on "Up All Night"
Us Weekly reports Arnett is following up his romance with Katie Lee with Erin David, who was an executive producer on the canceled NBC comedy.
Andre Braugher is getting a "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" husband from "Parks and Rec"
Marc Evan Jackson, who played "Parks and Recreation's" no-nonsense lawyer Trevor Nelsson, will play Captain Holt's significant other.
"The Vikings" returns Feb. 27
History says Season 2 "brings crises of faith, of power, of relationships."
"Real Housewives of Orange County" adds 2 more
Former Miss Kentucky USA Lizzie Rovsek and Shannon Beador are joining the cast for Season 9.
It's a "Battlestar Galactica" reunion
Michael Trucco tweeted a pic of him and "Killer Women" co-star Tricia Helfer, along with Katee Sackhoff.
What is a TV show "diversify staff writer"?
It's the diversity hire, as Beejoli Shah explains: "Most every writing room has one—an entry level, non-white staff writer, explicitly hired due to their race."
MTV's "Undressed": Read an oral history
The 1999-2002 series' alums include Max Greenfield, Taran Killam, Adam Brody, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff, Marc Blucas, J. August Richards, Jason Ritter, Katie Aselton and Brandon Routh.
Adam Goldberg joins Jim Gaffigan's CBS comedy pilot
He'll play Gaffigan's best friend in the autobiographical project.
The Best TV Title Sequences of 2013
From "The Goldbergs" to "The Americans."
"The Good Wife" is bringing back Carrie Preston -- with a bear
The CBS drama plans to top her last entrance, on a treadmill desk.
HBO releases a 2nd "Looking" trailer
Take another look at the upcoming gay-themed comedy.
"Downton Abbey's" Hugh Bonneville is unrecognizable in PBS' "Mr. Stink"
Bonneville plays a vagrant character in a charming holiday fable airing Sunday.
Watch a preview of "Lost Girl" Season 4
The Syfy series returns Jan. 13.
Beyonce’s self-titled set will spend a second week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week with sales of up to 280,000 copes.
Holiday sales continue to kick in as seven of the top 10 titles could surpass the 100,000 mark. Garth Brooks’ Wal-Mart only box set, “Blame It All On My Roots,” will hold at No. 2, moving up to 210,000 units.
One Direction’s former No. 1, “Midnight Memories,” is at No. 3 (175,000), followed by a pair of holiday titles: Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” at No. 4 (140,000) and The Robertsons’ “Duck the Halls” at No. 5 (135,000).
Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” is at No 6 (120,000) and Katy Perry’s “Prism” at No. 7 (100,000).
Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” and Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” are tied for No. 8 (75,000), while “Now 48” and Michael Buble’s “Christmas” are too close to call for No. 10 with both pegged to sell around 70,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double.
The entire notion of the Singularity is fascinating, and I am doubly intrigued by the fears that the idea seems to instill in people. I think the idea of being able to leave your body behind and live "forever" in a digital form is an amazing notion, but for some reason, whenever Hollywood deals with a major technological jump forward, they almost always do it in a horror film first.
While I'm not sure I'd call "Transcendence" a horror film, it certainly looks like they're playing the notion of digital life as a terrifying prospect. The film is about a famous scientist of some sort, like a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs, who is working on a process that will allow people to upload their consciousness when he is attacked and killed by someone looking to derail his research. In an effort to save his life, his wife uses his new process on him, and as his body dies, he makes the jump to a purely digital form.
At which point he appears to go crazy and try to take over the world.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Film editor Thelma Schoonmaker has been with Martin Scorsese since the beginning. Their collaboration, which extends over 19 feature films, a handful of shorts and even a Michael Jackson music video, has made for some of the richest, purest, most alive American cinema in history, and "The Wolf of Wall Street," opening next week, is just another notch on that belt.
I recently sat down with Schoonmaker to discuss all of that and more, and I don't mind saying, I couldn't help but gush. Anyone with a passion for cinema, I imagine, will fight the urge to bow at the feet of a woman like this, who has been such a consistent force behind some of the most indelible film imagery of our time.
Schoonmaker has been nominated for six Oscars for her collaborations with Scorsese, having won for "Raging Bull," "The Aviator" and "The Departed." Meeting him changed her life, as meeting her surely changed his. And that certainly came across in our hour-long conversation, which you can read through below. It's another long one, so settle in, or bookmark it and enjoy it over the holiday.