I saved this one for last.
After all, you don't often witness chemisty as immediate and as just plain weird as whatever's going on between Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. In "Pacific Rim," Charlie Day stars as a scientist who has devoted his life to the study of the kaiju, the giant monsters that have been pouring out of a hole at the bottom of the ocean. I love Day's work in the film, and I think they made some sensational choices in terms of his look. I love that he's got tattoo sleeves that are all kaiju that have fallen in battle. His character is trying to contribute something to the war efforts that is totally different from what the Jaeger pilots do, but just as valuable.
It's because of his efforts that he comes into contact with Hannibal Chau, played by Ron Perlman, who is such a brother to the film's director at this point that Perlman could probably get away with changing his last name to Del Toro. Chau runs the black market for kaiju organs and anything else they can salvage when these giant monsters fall. Even thought Day is playing a kaiju expert working for the military, he still have no choice but to reach out to Chau. There is something he needs that only Chau can provide, and from the moment they meet, there is this great tense mood of near-violence between them.
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I saved this one for last.
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One of the things that surprised me after I took my sons to see "Pacific Rim" is how certain details landed for them.
For example, there's a moment in the film where Charlie Hunnam's character, Raleigh, is trying to make a point to Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), and he grabs his arm. Elba turns around, surprised that anyone would consider grabbing his arm a good idea, and says something to Hunnam. The line he says has become a permanent part of Allen's vocabulary, and it was an immediate thing. He cackled in the theater, and I've heard him quote the line about twenty times now in different situations.
When I asked him why the line entertained him so much, he told me, "Because, daddy, he's awesome."
Watch Ciara’s videos, and you get some sort of sense who the singer is. Though she’s been making albums since 2004, the newly minted Epic artist has started becoming her own for diggable and stylish clips. She’s a ferociously adept dancer; her fashion and facial expressions say so much more than her words do. And on her self-titled effort, Ciara has a lot of words that don’t mean very much.
HBO to air a documentary on gay marriage fight
Two filmmakers had behind-the-scenes access to the legal time fighting against California's Prop. 8.
Another job for Ryan Seacrest: NBC game show host
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Wayne Brady returning to "HIMYM"
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Being a repo professional is stressful, but being an airplane repo professional has to be far worse. Once a plane has been taken into possession, getting it back on the ground in one piece is by no means a given. Add to that the usual problems faced by repo pros (gun-toting owners and cops) and this is not a job for the weak. Watch these two clips from "Airplane Repo" (debuting Thurs. July 11 at 10:00 p.m.). In the first, one unlucky repo guy discovers the plane he's just climbed into is possibly more trouble than it's worth. In the second, repo pros talk about the troubles they've faced -- and arrests are by no means the worst.
We're right in the middle of the blockbuster movie season. Some think it's been a lackluster summer slate. I haven't had major expectations for much of anything so I guess I'm okay with merely being satisfied so far, but with Guillermo del Toro's massive-scale "Pacific Rim" hitting theaters this coming weekend, it seems now would be a nice opportunity to look at the race for Best Visual Effects.
Between "Gravity" and his directorial effort "The Monuments Men," George Clooney -- who, lest we forget, shared the Best Picture Oscar for "Argo" a few months back -- has what may be another busy awards season lying ahead of him. Even if his on-paper prospects don't pan out, however, he'll be accepting at least one award before the year is out, as BAFTA's Los Angeles division has named him the recipient of their Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
It isn't often that I watch "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and think, hmm, that's a conundrum. Most of the time, it's pretty clear what the right decision would be for these women as they just do the exact opposite. Heard an ugly rumor? Blast it from the rooftops! Wish you hadn't invited someone to your party? Uninvite them or embarrass them publicly! Having an argument? Throw wine at the other person! Your kid doesn't want you to date the jerk you've been seeing? Do it anyway and whine about how much you sacrifice! Part of the fun, when and if there is fun, is watching these women run higgleldy-piggledy into the car wreck.
Naked "Project Runway" billboard banned in L.A.
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NBC will hand out free chairs made of cardboard at Comic-Con
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"Californication" bringing back Rob Lowe
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Fred Armisen starring in a Queens of the Stone Age infomercial
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"Sharknado" will be preceded by 7 Syfy shark-themed movies
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On “Don’t Look Down,” Skylar Grey’s extremely long-awaited Interscope debut, out today, the singer/songwriter has catchy beats aplenty and often has something poignant to say. The two don’t always intersect, but when they do, they are powerful.
Grey has been a fixture in the music industry for nearly 10 years, ever since she signed a publishing deal with Universal as a songwriter at 18. She released an album under her real name, Holly Brook, which tanked, and she has spent the last several years retrenching and working on her songwriting. She approached producer Alex Da Kid and the two wrote Eminem/Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” together. The pair also co-wrote Dr. Dre and Eminem’s “I Need a Doctor,” on which she is the featured artist. She floated a few singles two years ago that didn’t hit (and aren’t on the album) before focusing on “Don’t Look Down,” which Eminem executive produced.
One thing that’s clear from the first track is you don’t want to make Grey see red. Her voice may be fairly tame, but her threats are not. On album opener, “Back From The Dead,” she tells of reuniting with an ex-lover, who skipped out on her. Against a rat-a-tat persistent beat provided by Blink-182’s Travis Barker, she objects to his return just when she seems to be getting her life back together. “I’m so confused, I don’t know what to feel/should I throw my arms around you or kill you for real,” she sings, and she sounds like she means it. Big Sean plays counterpoint as the lover trying to worm his way back in.
Those death threats become real on “Final Warning,” a tune that plays out like part 2 to “Love The Way You Lie,” (she wrote it at the same time). The track opens with a steady synth beat with Grey’s voice recalling Dido’s sometimes flat delivery, but as the song progresses, it becomes clear that she will no longer put up with his abuse: “Go into the kitchen, coming back with a knife because I’ve had enough this time...if someone’s going to get hurt, it’s not going to be me.” The sound of a domestic battle plays in the background until it ends with the gunshot. Does the fact that she’s the one pulling the trigger make it OK since it seems to be an act of self defense?
After this rather dark opening couplet, Grey runs through a gamut of experiences and styles: from dealing with an unexpected pregnancy on the aptly titled “Shit, Man!” (with a rap from Angel Haze) to “White Suburban,” a jazzy, piano closer about her “first time” and the sadness she feels when her former paramour looks at her with indifferent “disregard.” She veers from playful to deadly serious thematically, from Alanis Morissette on “Pulse” (listen and see if it doesn’t remind you of “You Oughta Know”) to sounding like Sheryl Crow backed by a beat machine on “Religion.”
There’s much to like about the album, especially the thoughtfulness that went into some of the lyrics, and Grey’s voice, while fairly standard, has a certain charm. However, there are times when there’s such a disparity between the strength of the beats vs. the strength of the lyrics that miles separate them, no more so than on “C’mon Let Me Ride,” the first single that came out in December featuring Eminem. The beats are ridiculously infectious and even though the song is meant to be lightheaded, tongue-in-cheek and full of sexual innuendo, the lyrics are so inane: “I’m not like the sluts in this town/They make me blah in my mouth,” it’s hard to get through it without grimacing (the song peaked at No. 33). Other times, the beats dominate a track so much, such as on “Glow On the Dark,” that they overwhelm the uplifting message and her voice.
“Don’t Look Down” sounds like Grey made the album she wanted to: one that shows her many different sides: lover, fighter, muse... but your appreciation for it will depend upon your tolerance for the often misplaced reliance on beats.