Welcome back to CulturePop! If you listened to us in the first weeks, you'll notice some of our sound is much better and some is not. Unfortunately, I've discovered that my line-in on my Mac isn't working and have to find a time to drag it in for repairs. We also had a little Skype slogginess, but that being said, we're getting there and we hope you'll tune in. Here's the rundown for our seventh podcast:
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Round about the time we were all waiting breathlessly for "The Tree of Life" to finally land, the idea of a Terrence Malick film bowing simultaneously in theaters and on VOD and iTunes would have seemed pretty far-fetched. But the journey for his follow-up, "To the Wonder," has been different from the off.
Unveiled at Venice without a US distributor, the esoteric love story garnered enough damning reviews to scare off bigger distributors like Fox Searchlight (who had nurtured "Tree"), and was left waiting for some time before finding a home with niche outfit Magnolia Pictures. They were in no hurry to release it, either, wisely skipping the pressures of the 2012 awards season and waiting until the spring -- allowing the UK to be the first territory to release the film, last month. Meanwhile, critical reception for the film has warmed up somewhat since its chilly festival debut, with further champions joining the early defenders.
Sony Pictures Classics has Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight" primed for a May 24 release. Michael Barker and Tom Bernard picked the film up out of Sundance, reuniting them with the filmmaker they brought to the fore over 20 years ago with "Slacker" via Orion Classics.
It's official: FX is spinning itself off into a new channel called FXX, which will launch in September with four pre-existing FX series: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "The League," "Legit," and "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell."
On the one hand, Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series has given TV producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss a rich world, juicy storylines, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of amazing characters. It's hard to believe, for instance, watching the new season — it begins on Sunday night at 9 — that Gwendoline Christie's amazonian Brienne of Tarth hasn't been around since day one, so indelible has she become. Again and again, Benioff and Weiss seem to find the perfect actor for each role, this year adding, among others, Dame Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Redwyne (sort of the Dowager Countess from “Downton Abbey” if she were a wartime consiglieri) and Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder (pragmatic king of the wild people who live north of the show’s fictional kingdom of Westeros).
FX has renewed "Justified" for a fifth season, to debut in January 2014.
The renewal was announced at FX's upfront presentations for advertisers this morning in New York.
"It remains one of the most consistently excellent shows on TV," said FX president John Landgraf.
"Justified" remains one of FX's most successful series, but the network has always taken its time with announcing renewals, particularly for older shows where the contracts become more complicated with each passing year. There was never a doubt "Justified" would be back; it was just a question of when the announcement would be.
The fourth season finale airs this Tuesday night at 10.
With this week's 'Wolverine' and 'Iron Man 3' trailers, has our spoiler culture reached an event horizon?
I think I've reached my saturation point.
I know that sounds weird considering who I am and what I've published over the years, but it's true. And if I'm reaching my breaking point, I can't imagine what it feels like for people who just want to go see movies, have a reasonably unspoiled experience, and enjoy the things they see.
I published something earlier this week about the spoiler that was not so subtly hidden in the six-second sneak that James Mangold released for the trailer for "The Wolverine," and frankly everything about this sentence makes my nose bleed. I think this whole trailer for the trailer thing is gross, and it speaks to this artificial sense of frenzy that studios try to create. While I know plenty of people who want to see "The Wolverine," I don't know a single fan who felt so crazed about it that they needed to see six seconds of footage one day, twenty seconds the day after that, and then two different trailers today. In the span of three days, I've gone from having seen nothing from the film to being totally sick of the film, and it's got nothing to do with the film. It's all about suddenly feeling like it's everywhere, and I'm seeing things I'd rather not see out of context. As my friend Damon said on Twitter…
@houx If it's 6 seconds, then twenty, then two minutes, mathematically we should see the film Thursday and all of the footage shot by Friday.
Obviously, the rest of this article is going to deal in things that you might not want to know about movies that are not in theaters yet. Maybe. I'm giving you the general warning now to cover anything I might discuss below, because I am hyper-aware these days of how much it means to people to have the choice about what they do or don't learn before they sit down in a theater.
I kept having to correct myself when writing about "Moonrise Kingdom" last year, as my brain repeatedly leapt to the assumption that it was a Fox Searchlight property -- instead of Focus Features, for which the whimsical youth romance was their biggest prestige triumph of 2012. There was a reason for the error: Searchlight had handled both Anderson's previous features, "The Darjeeling Limited" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox," and "Moonrise" played very much like something in their wheelhouse.
Anyway, I needn't make the same error with Anderson's next film, "The Grand Budapest Hotel." It was announced today that Searchlight have renewed their relationship with the writer-director, and have picked up "Hotel" with an eye to releasing it either in 2014 or late this year.
While the media and cinephiles alike fixate on the films being officially premiered at Cannes, for many others, the festival is all about the market -- a separate insiders' sphere which nonetheless plays a huge role in determining what we're going to see in the months and years to come.
A film can be a hot property at the Cannes market before it even visibly exists, and one yet-to-be-shot title that'll be vying for buyers' attention on the Croisette this year is "Rosewater," the directorial debut of "Daily Show" anchor (and erstwhile Oscar host) Jon Stewart.
It's Motown Night on "American Idol," a theme that usually means a lot of of Stevie Wonder, since "American Idol" contestants don't know much by way of Motown, just like they don't know many songs by the Beatles.
Click through for all of the excitement...
After holding at No. 2 for five weeks, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz returns to the No. 1 spot, trading places with Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.”
“Shake” ends its five-week run at the top after entering at No. 1 on the strength of YouTube views of the novelty song.
At No. 3 is Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z, up one slot, as the tune swaps places with Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Though it falls back a spot, “When I Was Your Man” retains the Airplay Gainer award for the seventh straight week, tying it with three other tracks for the longest run. Rihanna’s “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko stays at No. 5.
Rounding out the top 10, Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” featuring Nate Ruess continues its upward climb, leaping 9-6 on the Hot 100. Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” falls 6-7, and Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment” featuring Christina Aguilera moves into the top 10, soaring 11-8. Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” featuring Drake and Future rises 10-9 and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” slides 7-10.