A couple of our readers have been getting shirty with us over the inclusion of Peter Jackson's latest "Hobbit" chapter in our Oscar contenders galleries, and it's true that nobody is expecting anyone but the below-the-line artists of "The Desolation of Smaug" to feature much in the awards race. But here's at least one gong the Oscar-winning New Zealander will be taking home this season: the Vanguard Award from the Producers' Guild of America.
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Romantic woes continue to plague Justin Bieber. On “All Bad,” the steady slow drum beat and atmospheric production reinforce the fact that Bieber’s upset and ready to defend his reputation.
“I ain’t all bad,” he sings/whispers over and over as he proclaims that he’s trying to be your best friend, even though he knows he’s not perfect. “Want to be everything I oughta be to you/and be the same thing jealous of you/that’s what they do.” He and his girl would be OK, if she’d just understand he’s not like the others.
It’s an interesting change of pace from some of the other songs we’ve heard during Bieber’s “Manic Monday” series, but we have yet to hear anything that grabs us into warranting repeated listenings. However, it’s clear with these songs that the album is the arc of a relationship and not one that has a happy ending...if the frowny emotion didn’t let you in on that.
NBC may not use the "Murder, She Wrote" title for its reboot
Potentially good news for Angela Lansbury: NBC hasn't decided whether to use the "Murder" name. Additionally, Octavia Spencer won't be playing Jessica Fletcher. According to Deadline, NBC determined that only Angela Lansbury could play that character.
"Killing Kennedy" gets ratings for Nat Geo, edging out "Killing Lincoln"
About 3.4 million watched the Nat Geo movie starring Rob Lowe, the highest-rated program in Nat Geo history, which had slightly more viewers than the "Killing Lincoln" film that aired in February.
Bravo partners with Spotify
Music supervisors on Bravo shows will begin creating special playlists as part of Spotify's first TV partnership.
Cinemax acquires Robert Kirkman's comic "Outcast"
"The Walking Dead" honcho's potential new series follows a man who's been possessed since childhood.
"Human Giant" duo film a live TV special aboard a giant glass bus
Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel are turning their live show "Crash Test" -- created by Aziz Ansari -- into a TV special.
"The View" has a Medal of Honor recipient as guest co-host for Veteran's Day
"I've got to touch you. There are no words," Barbara Walters said to Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the first living U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war.
Stephen Moyer to direct "True Blood's" final season premiere
This will be Moyer's 3rd time behind the camera.
Watch the aftermath of Sacha Baron Cohen's old lady prank
BBC America has posted the full clip from the Brittania Awards.
"Cagney & Lacey" star Paul Mantee dies
Mantee, 82, played Det. Al Corassa from 1983 to 1985.
It’s old school Mariah Carey on her new single, “The Art of Letting Go,” even to the point of the song opening to the sound of a needle dropping on a vinyl.
The string-laden ballad, which Carey calls “such a personal record to me,” recalls ‘60s soul with its slow build and deliberate laid-out lyrics as Mimi takes someone to task, someone who is now nothing more than a “liability.” “I wrote the lyrics so that anyone and everyone could relate to them and hopefully release anything that they need to let go of that’s holding them back or bringing them down,” Carey wrote on her Facebook page.
The confessional song reads like a journey entry, and let the guessing game begin on whom it is about. But private thoughts don’t always make for great public statements. As heartfelt as her sentiment may be, it’s a tremendously clunky one, as exemplified by these lyrics:
“Your audacity is too much to be believed soooooooooooo go to Mimi on your contacts, press delete/Letting go ain’t easy/ oh it’s just exceedingly hurtful/because someone you used to know is flinging your world around.”
Although we have to admit, the line about how to press delete is as campy and fierce as it is clumsy.
The Rodney Jerkins production builds into a nice girl group-like bridge and a really strong ending by Carey, but by then you’ve either bought in or you’ve tuned out to the lugubrious tune.
The good news for Carey fans is that her vocals sound bold, powerful and clear and a Carey who is eager to tell someone to crawl back under that rock after hurting her is usually a Carey worth listening to. Sadly, this one falls short.
“The Art of Letting Go” is the title track, or was the title track, to Carey’s 14th studio album, which was supposed to come out this summer, but was yanked to give her more time to work on it. It was originally slated for last year, but after first single “Triumphant (Get ‘Em)” didn’t build much excitement (except for some remixes) and “Beautiful” featuring Miguel peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it deserved to go higher), the project keeps getting retooled.
Parents TV Council applauds MTV for censoring Miley Cyrus smoking a joint
Last night MTV made a responsible decision and they executed it perfectly," says the conservative watchdog. "It is unclear whether MTV's actions suggest stricter content guidelines for its TV-14 programming, or whether this is just an example of the old saying that 'even a broken clock is right twice each day.' We certainly hope it is the former."
Report: Arsenio Hall's ratings are sinking
After a strong start, Arsenio Hall's new talk show is in a "downward spiral," according to Fox News.
Lena Dunham interviews her pal Mindy Kaling
A teen girls' website got the "Girls" honcho to sit down with her "Mindy Kaling" project friend. Among the questions asked are "Do you feel guilty?" and "What do you think is the power of TV, and why do you love it?"
"Mom" will have a "very special episode"
Allison Janney says her character will relapse in next week's episode: "We go pretty deep and raw and have some moments you don't usually see in a half-hour sitcom," she says, which she adds is unusual for a Chuck Lorre sitcom.
Howard Stern grills "Sons of Anarchy's" Kurt Sutter (and Katey Sagal)
Sutter talked to the shock jock about his distaste for the Emmys, how a "really f*cked up 'West Wing' spec (script) where I was having kids being killed" got him a job on "The Shield" and Charlie Hunnam's "50 Shades of Grey" hubbub during the hour-long chat. His wife, Katey Sagal, also makes a cameo, describing how they ended up a couple.
"Homeland" writers may have been right about not getting rid of Brody
Without Damian Lewis' character, the Showtime drama hasn't been the same this season. PLUS: Saul is giving the show back its pulse, some things didn't make sense last night, and Damian Lewis grows a Movember mustache.
MTV teams with Major League Baseball for a baseball-themed show
Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz and Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutcheon will produce the MTV2 series will showcase MLB players off the field.
"The Walking Dead's" ratings are big -- really big
The AMC drama's 18-49 demo audience -- the ratings that really matter -- are bigger than "Sunday Night Football" and "The Big Bang Theory." It doubles "Scandal's" demo ratings. PLUS: What happened to The Governor?
ABC's Sunday dramas see ratings decline
"Betrayal" was down a whopping 20%, while "Revenge" tied a series low.
Rachel Griffiths will play Australia's 1st female prime minister in an Aussie TV movie
She'll play Julia Gillard, who left office in June after leading Australia for three years.
Another judge show is on the way
Byron Allen is delivering his 5th judge show: "Justice With Judge Mablean."
Watch PBS' Jimi Hendrix documentary online
The "American Masters" film is available on the web for a limited time.
"The Office's" Dwight and Angela went on a date this weekend
To a "fancy restaurant."
Lady Gaga performed a number of tracks from “Artpop” at her Artrave album release event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard early Monday morning.
Her hip problems are clearly past her as Momma Monster danced and gyrated through a series of songs from "Artpop," out today.
Earlier in the evening, Lady Gaga introduced a flying dress, but the excitement from her fans was clearly for the mini-concert. Check out the footage of Lady Gaga performing/lipsyncing the title track, “Artpop” in a black and white dress/flotation device.
Among the tunes she performed from the album were a very spirited “MANiCURE,” “Applause,” “Do What U Want” (with an absent R. Kelly on backing track), “Dope," and "Gypsy," which she dedicated to "a very special person...a true hero, Jeff Koon," the artist who designed the cover of "Artpop," and who is clearly Lady Gaga's new muse.
China demands ABC "face its mistakes" over "Jimmy Kimmel Live" skit
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was asked about the "kill everyone in China" controversy, and said: "ABC should face its mistake head on, and respond with a sincere attitude to the reasonable demands by Chinese in America, and prevent a similar incident from occurring again." PLUS: Protesters demonstrated outside ABC affiliates nationwide on Saturday.
Angela Lansbury: "It's a mistake" to recycle "Murder, She Wrote" title for reboot
"I think it's a mistake to call it 'Murder, She Wrote,'" says the 88-year-old Lansbury, though she notes that "they have access to it and it's their right."
USA disappointed in "Modern Family"
The cable channel paid big bucks for the ABC comedy's reruns in hopes of attracting young viewers. Instead, USA is down 9% in the same timeslots in the key 18-49 demo from last year.
David Cross to guest on "Community"
His appearance will be a part of a follow-up to the classic Dungeons & Dragons episode.
Anthony Jeselnik says "The Jeselnik Offensive" has been canceled
The Comedy Central show won't return for a 3rd season, says Jeselnik. Though Comedy Central hasn't confirmed the news.
"GMA's" Amy Robach to undergo a double mastectomy after on-air mammogram
Robach said she was reluctant to undergo the mammogram last month on the ABC News show.
Encore is changing to appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, Baby Boomers
Starting next month, Encore Drama will become Encore Black.
HBO teases "Looking"
Is this the gay version of "Girls"?
A quick review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I stop selling those gnomes on the Internet...
James Blunt is having the last laugh. His new album, “Moon Landing,” which came out Nov. 5 in America, debuted at No. 2 in the U.K. and first single, “Bonfire Heart” is burning up the chart in a number of countries, including Germany where it’s his first No. 1 single.
The album reflects a change of pace for the British singer songwriter and represents the truest side of himself he’s shown since his breakthrough smash “You’re Beautiful,” from 2005’s “Back to Bedlam,” which catapulted him into superstardom, and inspired a level of vitriol among his detractors that seemed far out of proportion.
“‘You’re Beautiful’ stripped me of my indie roots and put me in a dirty, dirty place called mainstream,” he says, only half joking (Indeed, many reviews for “Back To Bedlam” are glowing, comparing Blunt to Elliott Smith and Badly Drawn Boy, but as soon as “You’re Beautiful” became massive, the backlash started).
Blunt adds that he has loved and is grateful for all that came after, but it took until “Moon Landing,” his fourth studio set, to settle down enough to strip away the veneer he’d built up since then and write from a place of honesty
With “Moon Landing,” written largely in Los Angeles, he and “Back To Bedlam” producer Tom Rockroth went back to the beginning. “It was important to go back to him without my band, to go back to a place before that audience was there,” Blunt says. He admits on his last two albums, 2007’s “All The Lost Souls” and 2010’s “Some Kind of Trouble,” “I was writing songs for an audience, not the words I needed to say; I didn’t want to be as open because I didn’t want to put myself through that again.”
But he found he yearned to express that side of himself and he thinks that reclaimed genuineness is what people are responding too. “I’m not hiding behind anything,” he says. “Before, I think I was feeling [defensive] when [I] was asked in an interview, ‘Are you romantic,’ and not in a positive way, it means you’re not macho. And I’d say, ‘No, I’m not. I’m a soldier’,” says the Kosovo army veteran.
Still, he has his limits when it comes to expressing himself too much. He and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder wrote “Bonfire Heart,” a song about falling deeply and passionately in love. But coming out and telling Tedder directly that was the thinking behind the song was a bit too much. “I never normally say ‘this is what I’m going through’ because I’m a man and that would feel very uncomfortable to me’,” he laughs. Instead, he went on tour with OneRepublic and on the tour bus, he and Tedder would write, inspired by the gentle, steady feel of the wheels turning beneath them. “We spar off each other with lyrics. That’s unusual for me. We’d make a racket, we’d make a noise.”
For the most part, “Moon Landing’s” songs tackle such universally shared emotions as love and longing, “I write about what is it to be a very simple human being; what we feel en masse,” he says. “I don’t write songs about how incredible or how different I am, which many songs do. I write about what it’s like to be normal. That definitely comes out of having been in the army and traveling around and meeting people.”
In fact, the experience of writing “Moon Landing” has made him acutely aware of artists who aren’t showing their true selves. “I’m on the charts with artists who surround themselves with expensive cars, expensive jewelry, girls... that’s just kind of bullshit,” he says. “They’ve constructed an image, smoke and mirrors. They want the audience to think that they are big and strong and powerful, but they’ve surrounded themselves with bodyguards who are much bigger and stronger.” When asked if he had any artists specifically in mind, he said, “I’m definitely not naming names.”
One artist he’s not wary of naming by name is Whitney Houston. The song “Miss America,” was written about her and her tragic downfall.
“We never met and in many ways I’m glad we didn’t,” he says. “In the same way that an audience member looks at a singer and thinks they know him, we go online and buy magazines to see them at their best and their worst. It’s about her incredible voice and talent and it’s the same story as Amy Winehouse and Princess Diana and and Michael Jackson and, maybe in the future, Justin Bieber. It’s how much we enjoy speculating on their downfall a bit too much.”
Ever since “You’re Beautiful,” Blunt has had plenty of critics who have wished for his downfall. And lately, he found a new way to silence them: poke fun at himself on Twitter.
For the last few years, his label had encouraged him to engage with his fans more via Twitter, but he just couldn’t fathom tweeting what he’d had for breakfast or some other minutiae.
A few months ago, however, he decided that instead of interacting with his fans, he’d find the people tweeting the most hideous things about him and he’d answer them. But instead of talking trash back, he’s let his sense of humor shine through. Below are a few examples.
Try singing it. RT @AltySi: I cannot put into words how much I hate James Blunt— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) November 11, 2013
Don't panic, Emma. It's just a glitch in the Matrix. RT @emmaogilvie_: Do people actually like James Blunt again? Like seriously?— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) November 5, 2013
I never liked the sound of my own voice. Till it made me rich. @SamanthaMika: Does anyone else HATE james blunt's voice? I can't stand it.— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) November 1, 2013
“The first two I did, I thought they were amusing and self deprecating. My label called me and said, ‘Don’t do any more of that. It’s not cool,’ he recalls with a laugh. “And I thought, ‘What the f**k am I going to do?’”
What he did was ignore his label and he continued not only replying to the negative commenters but seeking them out. And it’s clear it’s done more to change the perception of Blunt as an uber-sensitive, keening male singer than anything Atlantic Records could have ever planned. The label, once eager to silence his replies now includes a link to a Buzzfeed article about his tweeting.
“I suppose because of marketing, I’ve come across as earnest,” he says. “When the truth is, I take myself less seriously than anyone I know.” With Twitter, he appreciates the fact that there’s no filter. “It could have gone all wrong because what I’m doing is I’m going online and searching my name. I’m running tweet deck and all [my fans] are doing is saying ‘retweet me,’ and I’m looking for the ones saying mean things. I find myself completely avoiding the ones I should be engaging with, but I really enjoy engaging my detractors....the people who sit in the comfort and security and shadows of their bedrooms. It’s just great fun.”
Plus, as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows, he is never mean spirited in his replies, even to people who say horrible things to him. “It some ways, I’m saying, ‘jump on the stage with me and say that out loud’,” he says. “And I try my best to not be rude or horrid, only to myself, which is easy.”
George Clooney, Kathryn Bigelow, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sacha Baron Cohen were all honored at last night's Britannia Awards, an annual shindig held by BAFTA's Los Angeles outpost to foster Anglo-American industry relations -- or, you know, to throw what is reputedly always a pretty good party. Scott Feinberg gives a comprehensive rundown of the event, where the likes of Julia Roberts, Judd Apatow and Chiwetel Ejiofor were also on hand to present. Receiving his award from his recent co-star, Cumberbatch offered this pointed soundbite: "Chiwetel, it feels bizarre that I'm standing here getting the British Artist of the Year Award after watching your performance in '12 Years a Slave.'" [Hollywood Reporter]
My favorite kind of parody is the sort that simultaneously functions as both a comedy and a good example of the thing it's parodying. It's a much harder thing to pull off than a straight-up spoof, but it's more satisfying in the moment, and long-term. It's been a while since I got a belly laugh from "Galaxy Quest" (a "Star Trek" lampoon that was also the best "Star Trek" movie since "Wrath of Khan") for instance, but I still get chills at the moment where Alan Rickman has to say his character's stupid catchphrase and mean it. More than 25 years after I first saw "The Princess Bride," Vizzini's monologue about a land war in Asia still makes me chuckle, but the greatest pleasure comes from hearing Mandy Patinkin say with the deepest sincerity, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
I'm not going to put "The Wrong Mans," a British comic thriller that Hulu is premiering today (two episodes are up now, the other four will debut over the next four Mondays, and Hulu Plus subscribers can watch them all now), on the level of those films. But the thriller part of it as just as much fun as the comic part.