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"Inside Amy Schumer"

 "Inside Amy Schumer"

Credit: Comedy Central

Review: Does 'Inside Amy Schumer' deliver the goods?

The stand-up star delivers a mash-up of stand-up and sketch comedy

The latest trend in comedy has been focused on women behaving (or talking about behaving) badly. They pooped in the sink in "Bridesmaids" (don't tell me that's a spoiler at this point), they have awkward sex on "Girls," they curse and get drunk and high and screw around. Somethings the cursing and drinking and screwing around is supposed to pass as fascinating insight into the female psyche. Sometimes it's supposed to be funny. But piggishness in either men or women isn't inherently funny.

While pundits argue about whether lowbrow distaff humor delivers a bad message to young women (who are probably too busy plopping drunk photos of themselves on Instagram for future would-be employers to find) or shows that women are breaking into previously unattainable arenas by acting like dirty old men, the argument at the heart of it all is very simple: are they funny?

Thank God Amy Schumer is funny. Really funny.

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<p>Emmanuelle Riva in &quot;Hiroshima, Mon Amour,&quot; 53 years before her first Oscar nod.</p>

Emmanuelle Riva in "Hiroshima, Mon Amour," 53 years before her first Oscar nod.

Credit: The Criterion Collection

'Vertigo,' 'The Last Emperor' (in 3D) and Emmanuelle Riva get a fresh look at Cannes

Cannes Classics, now in its tenth year, focuses on film heritage and restoration

"Looking forward" is the phrase we use most often when discussing the Cannes Film Festival, given that it showcases many of the year's most anticipated specialty films -- many of which stoke that anticipation by taking their sweet time to land in theaters. But looking backward is also a significant part of the festival... or it has been, at least, since the Cannes Classics strand was introduced to the Official Selection in 2004.

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<p>Os Mutantes</p>

Os Mutantes

Interview: Os Mutantes founder Sérgio Dias on 'Fool Metal Jack' and American politics

Songwriter talks about the Las Vegas strip and forgetting the lyrics

 

AUSTIN -- Os Mutantes have mutated, literally, over the course of their long history. This week marks another morphing, with the release of the Brazilian band's "Fool Metal Jack," which features founder Sérgio Dias and company performing the most English-speaking songs of any of their studio albums.
 
The psychedelia and Tropicália roots stemming from Os Mutantes' formation in 1966 are still there, but the personnel of the band -- even since reuniting in 2006 -- has changed. The political voice has become stronger, if not just more matured. The bobbing buoyancy has more and more hints of melancholy. After decades of influencing artists like Nirvana, David Byrne, Jimi Hendrix and Beck, Os Mutantes (Dias at least) has allowed in new influencers to the group's music, collaborating with Tom Zé, Of Montreal, Devendra Banhart and others.
 
I sat down with Dias, 61, over the weekend at the loud and buzzing Austin Psych Fest, where the band helped headline. We talked about "Fool Metal Jack" -- out today (April 30) -- American politics, changing band members, Paris and forgetting lyrics.
 
This new album has the most English language songs of anything you guys have ever done. Was there a conscious choice there, that you wanted to do something that was distinctly English speaking? And why?
I’m living here. I’m living in Las Vegas. Basically been seeing so much of the U.S. and all, the way that this is affecting the United States and myself and that’s basically what I’m talking about in the album. The first song “The Dream Is Gone” is about foreclosures. And then “Fool Metal Jack” is about you see those kids born in the Plains, dress up in the military full clothing and they have pimples and they have no idea what it is really war. And it’s been so many of them and so far nobody understands it yet. And so I made myself the “Fool Metal Jack” so I’m dying there. So it’s very graphic. And "Ganjaman" is about us and the political situation here, like Thomas Jefferson is coming from the dead for a new revolution. 
 
I wonder what the Fathers of the nation would think of what is happening now. Kennedy died in ‘63 and I remember in Brazil we had like a three days of national mourning. That was impressive for a foreign leader. And so I always wonder now, what would happen if something happened, if we would still have the same kind of feedback? The U.S.A. is the front of the line of the world now so there’s a lot of responsibility. How do you present yourself? How do you manage to be a leader?
 
So it’s very important not to forget how to be like the common people, common normal people because this is a place where there’s so much beauty and because of “by the people, for the people,” and all this. But now there’s so [many] things happening. Knowing Brazil, for example, our coup d’état, but now I see the Patriot Act, for example, that takes your guys’ rights. U.S.A. is a place where you normally get a yes as an answer. In Brazil you normally get a no, whatever you want to do is no. Even after the coup d’état died, or in ‘86, there’s a lot of remains of it, which is basically the worst is corruption. Very, very bad there.
 
There’s been such a political change even since you guys got back together in 2006. That is seven years of massive political change. There are so many outright political songs on this because it is overtly American, not just English-speaking.
 
The Bush Era was a disaster for this country I think. It was very bad. I don’t know if it’s healthy just to go for revenge. How can I say – practical. And America’s a very practical country. As a leader, you have sometimes to understand or try to understand the rest of the universe that you’re being leaders. With the Bush’s was, was so hard. I don’t understand how you guys didn’t rise up with the war stuff first, because the thing was weird.
 
Some people did. And that’s part of the atmosphere here: you’d think it would make a difference.
 
I know what it is to be in fear all the time, in Brazil for example. Even though we would be defiant, I don’t think that’s a good thing for America. You guys have to throw this fear away because it doesn’t make any sense. Because of what it is for me to be an American. So many movements came from you -- the freedom thing, [civil] rights, the women liberation, resistance to Vietnam and all this, which was fantastic. You guys were very active because of your own freedom.
 
Talk about musically how you have changed between now and your last album four years ago.
 
Well, it’s a totally different this album from the others. I don’t know because I don’t think of it when I’m writing. It just writes and that’s how I let the music come.
 
What lessons did you learn? What challenge did you take from on your last album that you felt like you applied to this one? 
 
I learned that I should always be faithful to my own music – always. Whatever what – no matter what. A lot of people try to influence this album saying that we should go to this direction, to other direction or whatever. And I just stood there and I said, “No, no, no.”
 
It’s been like this, in the past I had people saying, “Why don’t you make a song like the Bee Gees” or something like that. That would be the same as, “Why don’t you make something like Kurt Cobain or whatever.“ It doesn’t make any sense to us, you know. 
 
You’ve collaborated with a lot of new artists and a lot of artists have cited you as an influence on their music. Is there any musical artists today that inspire you?
 
Anoushka Shankar. She just did an album called “Traveling.” And what she did is she mixed the Indian music and the mastering of it with the flamenco thing. And that was a wow because they’re close, but they’re so distant. I mean, and you see like her playing on a sitar what Paco de Lucia would be playing on an acoustic guitar. It is extremely inspiring
 
Have there been many artist that you’ve wanted to collaborate with, that you have plans to collaborate with?
 
I want to collaborate with the guys in the subways in Paris, you know. Because it’s outrageously good. I saw this guy, he was an accordion player. Outrageous. And there were some guys at the bridge just playing flutes. And just – they’re magical. Very magical.
 
You’ve got a new album out this week. Do you get nervous with the release of new music now, even 50 years on?
 
I’m scared to death because I’m awful with lyrics and I’m scared sh*tless, pardon my French, because I know I’m gonna f*ck up.
 
Do you have any tricks that you do when you think you’re about to forget them?
 
No, it’s like a disaster always. For example, “Balada del Loco.” My God, I always mix up, always, always. The only way is just laughing of it because I gave up. 
 
With the personnel that you have with the band now – and it’s changed so much. What is the strength of this current incarnation, this current personnel? 
 
I think it’s basically to be able to portrait the original things when we were kids --which is to be a kid and be young and restless, like that soap opera. And be able to be totally free, you know. They can do whatever they want. Whatever whoever wants to do, they do it. And that’s the fun of it.
 
So what made you move to Las Vegas?
 
I went there for the Grammy because we were nominated and I never stepped on my own in Vegas. I know America top to bottom but, I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble, I don’t do anything. So I had that stereotype idea of Vegas. So but when I went there and I saw the mountains, you could feel the spirit of the Indians and all the stuff. It was amazing. It blew my mind. And you go like 30 miles there you have Lake Mead. Then you go 30 miles up and you’re in the snow at Mount Charleston. And you’re so close to L.A. So close to everything. And it’s a no-traffic place which is fantastic. And you can drive intelligent. The people is warm. The people is nice. I mean, Las Vegas is the most tropical place I ever seen in my life. If you go to the strip, that’s total nonsense, which is all is what Tropicália  is all about.

What factor does age play into your music? Do you ponder and work lyrics around the idea of aging at all?
 
Not at all. I don’t feel aged at all. I feel basically the same as I was. Of course, the body has different ideas, you know. You have like pain in your back or whatever. But I don’t know, I feel the same. It’s very good. It’s great to look back and so I look forward because my life so far has been such a magical thing. It’s been so good. I can only thank. I’ve been very lucky.
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<p>Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz on &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz on "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Review: 'The Mindy Project' - 'Triathlon'

Mindy ponders a religious conversion, Danny tries to avoid his ex and the doctors compete with the midwives

A review of tonight's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as we spend eternity together playing doubles tennis with Abe Lincoln and Tupac...

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<p>&quot;New Girl&quot;&nbsp;offers another college flashback with Nick (Jake Johnson)&nbsp;and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).</p>

"New Girl" offers another college flashback with Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Virgins'

The gang competes to see whose first time was the most humiliating

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I freak you toward the bed...

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<p>John Williams is the chocolate to the peanut butter of 'Star Wars'</p>

John Williams is the chocolate to the peanut butter of 'Star Wars'

Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne

JJ Abrams suggests John Williams will score 'Star Wars Episode VII'

Also featured this week in 'Duh' magazine: water is wet

There are times you want to shake things up and try something new, and there are times you want to be part of a tradition and do things a certain way, and finding the balance between those two impulses are a big part of successfully remaking any franchise film or figuring out how to add new chapters to something that is already in progress.

For example, I'm looking forward to hearing what Hans Zimmer does with the score for "Man Of Steel." The hint we got of it in the most recent trailer for the film was enough to make me think he managed to do something that is genuinely different, somehow setting aside the huge iconic influence of the John Williams "Superman" score. That's not easy to do. I think Michael Giacchino managed to craft a great score for "Star Trek" in 2009, and watching the sequel I was struck anew by just how great and memorable his theme really is. It's not often I walk out of a new film these days with a score stuck in head, instantly evocative, impossible to shake.

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<p>Kenny Chesney's &quot;Life on a Rock&quot;</p>

Kenny Chesney's "Life on a Rock"

Album Review: Kenny Chesney's 'Life on A Rock'

Genial, easy-going album hits just the right notes

Kenny Chesney has always had one foot planted as surely  in the Caribbean as in Nashville. On “Life On A Rock,” out today, he’s steeped in that casual, relaxed feel that the island sand and surf bring.

Instead of party anthems (he’s given us plenty of those already), the songs on “Life On A Rock” sound like they came about during those hours in the day that lend themselves to quiet reflection, whether they be at sunrise or sundown, or “It’s That Time Of Day,” as Chesney sings. The songs on “Life On a Rock” are about what happens between life’s big moments.

The album opens with first single, “Pirate Flag,” a chugging, derivative tune that sounds  a little too much like Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"about trading the city life for life on a boat and an island. It’s the one and only remotely rocking song on the pleasing 10-tune set.

The other nine tunes are just like the island’s inhabitants: these songs are in no hurry to get anywhere and are more than willing to go with the flow. Watches and schedules are for losers when you’re living in paradise.

The album is, for the most part, quiet and reflective in a way that Chesney has often hinted at on certain songs on past albums, but has never devoted a full album to such thoughts.  They aren’t always deep thoughts, to be sure, but the songs on “Life On A Rock” are so thoroughly laid back and  easy going that you’ll feel your blood pressure drop just by listening to them. However, that’s not to stay they ramble. It’s quite the opposite. Most of the tracks here feel concise, many of them bolstered by beautiful guitar work. “Lindy” offers a portrait of everyone’s favorite beach bum, who’s never leaving the Island. Willie Nelson joins Chesney on the lilting “Coconut Tree,” a song about being “high in a coconut tree.” Take it however you want to, folks.  The Wailers join in on reggae tune “Spread The Love.” The autobiographical "When I See This Bar" has a Mellencamp, rootsy feel.

the album ends with “Happy On The Hey Now (A Song for Kristi),” a lovely, spare goodbye to a departed friend who loved dancing on the bow of the boat. It’s a moving elegy that anyone who has lost a loved one, even landlubbers, can appreciate. The same stands for the rest of the album.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Heli.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Heli."

Credit: Le Pacte

Cannes Check 2013: Amat Escalante's 'Heli'

Continuing our cheat sheet for the Cannes Competition

(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Amat Escalante with "Heli.") 

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<p>&quot;Lucky Guy&quot;</p>

"Lucky Guy"

Credit: AP Photo

Tom Hanks lands a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut in 'Lucky Guy'

'Kinky Boots' and 'Golden Boy' led the way with musicals and plays respectively

I kind of feel like I can't let a year lived in New York go without some commentary on the Tony Awards, which we rarely really get into around here. Alas, looking across the nominees, I see I've missed a great many of the top players so far. But I'll get to them. At least I have a bit of a cheat sheet now.

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<p>Woody Allen and his cast on the set of &quot;Midnight in&nbsp;Paris&quot;</p>

Woody Allen and his cast on the set of "Midnight in Paris"

Credit: Sony Classics

Woody Allen heads back to France with Colin Firth and Emma Stone

Will he find fertile ground as he did with 'Midnight in Paris?'

The last time Woody Allen went to France, the result wasn't too bad. 2011's "Midnight in Paris" scored a number of Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and even a surprise bid for Best Production Design (formerly Best Art Direction). Allen himself won his third writing Oscar to date, and his fourth overall, for penning the script, beating out stiff competition from Best Picture winner "The Artist."

Well it seems he's heading back for his next film, which will go into production this year. There is no title, naturally, as of yet, but the film will star Colin Firth and Emma Stone, the latter a natural fit and a rather obvious choice, given Allen's penchant for scooping up popular young ingenues for his films. He will once again be collaborating with cinematographer Darius Kondji, production designer Anne Seibel and costume designer Sonia Grande on the film, all of whom worked with him on "Midnight."

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<p>Tony Stark gets us started on&nbsp;Friday</p>

Tony Stark gets us started on Friday

Credit: Marvel Studios

What summer 2013 movie are you most looking forward to seeing?

We've wrapped up our preview and the season gets underway this weekend

So "Iron Man 3" launches the summer movie season this Friday. Drew flipped for the movie. I...wasn't so enthused. I loved the Shane Black flourishes and I admire the film's balls for doing what it does with the Mandarin character (no spoilers). I like the idea of boiling it down to more of a Tony Stark film than an Iron Man film. I enjoyed myself. But I had issues with the central villain (Guy Pearce), I felt like the self-containment missed an opportunity to push the overarching story forward and I thought it danced unsuccessfully with fallout from "The Avengers." (I am, though, very glad to see the film brought such a huge economic boost to North Carolina.)

Call me mixed, I guess. But that's my one-off. Nevertheless, it's a great film to kick off the season, even if it ranked way down at #20 on HitFix's big countdown. When I look at that list of 25 movies, though, I have to say, it makes me feel really proud to be a part of the site as we've been the last nearly two years. The variety is superb, a wonderful cross-section of the team's taste and sensibilities. It's just the right mixture of blockbuster and counter-programming fare and I think it's a great primer for the season ahead.

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<p>Iggy and the Stooges</p>

Iggy and the Stooges

Credit: David Raccuglia

Exclusive: The Stooges' producer James Williamson on Iggy Pop's new album

The Stooges were 'completely unsuccessful'

When guitarist James Williamson left Iggy and the Stooges in the mid-70s, he never thought he’d reunite with charismatic front man Iggy Pop and drummer Scott Asheton, but following bassist/guitarist Ron Asheton’s death in 2009, Iggy called Williamson and asked him to rejoin the band. “They were fresh out of Stooges,” Williamson grimly jokes.

Post-Stooges, Williamson, who called Iggy “Ig,” had become an electrical engineer and was Sony’s VP of Technology Standards. Though he initially declined the offer, he eventually said yes and has been touring with the Stooges again since the fall of 2009.

Williamson produced Iggy & The Stooges’  “Ready To Die,” out today, which reunites the same line-up (minus Ron Asheton, of course, and with Mike Watt on bass), as Iggy and the Stooges’ 1973 proto-punk masterpiece, the  David Bowie-mixed “Raw Power.”

Williamson talked to HitFix about recording with the band for the first time in decades, what it takes to produce Iggy Pop, and what it’s like to be on stage with the band.

Is there any way you could have imagined that you would be making a new Stooges record in 2013?


No, no idea.I had given up on The Stooges by the time we broke up [in] ’75. Ig and I did a demo album [in 1977] called “Kill City” after the band broke up.  I produced “New Values” for him a couple of years later and, after all that, when I gave up the music business, I just considered the whole thing to be completely unsuccessful. You know nobody liked us, nobody wanted to buy our records and nobody wanted us to play for them, so it was like,  “Well, OK, what should I do when I grow up?”

Was Ron Asheton’s death the catalyst for getting back together? How long had it been since you and Iggy had spoken?

After “New Values,” he did an album called “Soldier” [in 1980] and I produced about a third of that record. Then we had a huge falling out over a set of issues as people frequently do making albums and that was it. We didn’t talk for at least 20-25 years after that and, mostly at that point, it was just kind of like publishing issues and things where  you needed to touch base with the other person, but we weren’t chatting or anything like that. It was kind of a little bit out-of-the-blue kind of thing. I think both of us were very careful about the relationship going forward because neither one of us has another 25 years to go without talking to each other, so we won’t pick any fights.

Were you surprised when he called you?


The first thing he did was inform me about Ronnie’s death. I’d heard that through another channel so I wasn’t surprised by that, but it was nice of him to give me the courtesy of the call. Then kind of from there, we continued to have some on-and off-talks and part of it was the idea would I consider playing again? We had long discussions about that. I really hadn’t in my wildest dreams thought I would do that, even if asked and so at first it just didn’t feel right, but the longer I thought about it, it kind of was one of those things where they were fresh out of Stooges, so it was like I was the last guy walking and I think Ig knew that I could do it. It was just a matter of giving me a chance to do it.

What’s the key to producing Iggy Pop?


(laughs)  That’s a trade secret. No, you just gotta be patient and Iggy is actually a pro, in a way. I mean, he’s made a lot of albums, he knows what works for him and what doesn’t work for him and I guess I learned in “Soldier” to try to be a little more flexible with him and to basically let him be the boss of his vocals. I’m very respectful of his ideas about his vocals. That said, I also want to make sure we got the best sound we could out of him so I put what I consider to be the best vocal mic around; it’s a Brauner VM1, So I made sure we used that on almost everything and the rest was up to him. He stepped up and did his vocals.

You write the music for this album and then Iggy puts on the lyrics. Is that the same way you've always written?

Yeah, it is. I don’t know what it is between us that makes this all work but it’s always been that way and so I’ve often said that  it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for me to be in another band because the thing is that I write kind of crazy music and there’s almost nobody that I know of who can make sense out of it as far as the song goes, but that particular individual can. 

What did you think when you heard “DDs," a lecherous salute to breasts?


(laughs)  I tell you, what can you say about that? That’s the, I don’t know, the primeval core of every teenage boy, right?  Talk about striking a chord. I mean, it’s a song that everybody can either object to or rally behind. We’re wondering if there’s a certain type of movie or maybe in a Playtex ad where this could wind up.

Iggy’s talking about the poor economy on “Job” or the lack of gun control or the ghosts in the band on “The Departed,” and then in comes this song.

It’s true, it’s true. You hit on the thing that I like the most about the lyrics on the album: Basically he’s critiquing social issues on this album and that’s kind of what we were doing on “Raw Power.”  “Search and Destroy” is all about the Vietnam War, so here we are again in 2013 and he’s got gun control, immigration, he’s involved in all sorts of topical issues.

What did you think when The Stooges reunited in 2003 without you?


There’s lots of little side stories to all this and one of the big ones is that when Ig and I reformed the Stooges after breaking up in 1971, we hadn’t intended to reform the Stooges at all. We went over to London and we were going to start a new band, but we couldn’t find anyone over there that we liked to play with, so we called the Asheton Brothers, so we moved Ronnie over to bass.

David Bowie, who mixed “Raw Power,”  was mad that you brought them over, right?

I think not Bowie so much, but Bowie’s management [which had begun managing Iggy]  always had the view of Iggy being the pop star so they were pissed even for him to bring me over there. When we multiplied it by bringing the Asheton brothers over, they didn’t think that was going to work.

But the point of the story is, they moved Ronnie to bass and he never really got over that, he never really liked it. He always wanted to be the guitar player. So you asked about 2003. I was just thinking, that is fantastic because not only do these guys get to play again, but Ronnie gets to play guitar again, so that’s what he always wanted to do. He was vindicated by all that as well.

You joined the band again in 2009. What is it like for you to be on stage with Iggy again?


Ah, it’s fun. It’s always been unpredictable. This is not an act. We’re kind of improvising on the run. We have a set that we do, of course, and the musicians are playing the numbers, but he’ll basically do anything to get over with the audience. I think there’s probably no other man or human alive that can even imagine doing some of the things that he’ll do. Being up there with him is really cool, but you gotta pay attention because first of all everything’s going fast and furious. If you lose concentration you’re screwed. Secondly he throws those mike stands all over the place and so occasionally, you might need to get out of the way pretty quick. I’ve actually been hit by one once, but luckily it was deflected off my guitar.

It must be really gratifying to see how “Raw Power” is now considered a classic. Everyone from Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain to The Smiths’ Johnny Marr embraced it as a seminal proto-punk album.

It’s been amazing. I usually joke that we always thought it was going to be a really successful album and it was... it just took a really long time (laughs). It’s a huge vindication for all of us. Finally getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a lot of people snicker at that, but we don’t. It’s industry recognition, which is something we never had, so coming back around and actually doing this new album, you know, it just feels like we kind of have come full circle and now we’re kind of doing victory laps at this age, but we’re still doing stuff that we like and it still sounds like us.

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