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Justin Bieber will score his fifth No. 1 album next week with “Believe Acoustic.” The album, which includes stripped-down versions of the songs from 2012’s “Believe,” will sell up to 215,000, making it the biggest sales week for a January debut since Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” sold 481,000 in 2010, according to Hits Daily Double.
Bieber’s title is one of four new albums bowing in the Billboard 200 top 10. Andrea Bocelli’s “Passione” comes in at No. 2 with sales of up to 90,000 while twins Tegan & Sara’s “Heartthrob” will move up to 45,000 album, for the sisters’ best opening frame yet.
Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and this week’s No. 1 album, Gary Allan’s “Set You Free” are locked in a dead heat for No. 4, with both targeted to sell between 35,000 and 40,000.
Charlie Wilson’s “Love, Charlie” is the fourth debuting album this week. It will launch at No. 6 most likely, although “Love, Charlie,” the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack and The Lumineers’ self-titled album are all poised to sell in the 30,000-35,000 range, making the No. 6-8 spots too close to call.
Taylor Swift’s “Red” and the “2013 Grammy Nominees” album are also tied for No. 9 with three days left of sales to calculate. Both are slated to move between 23,000 and 26,000 copies.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
I suppose it's a bit of a surprise that the George Lucas-produced "Red Tails" beat out some stiff Oscar competition in Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Robert Zemeckis's "Flight," so there it is. But the wealth was spread, as Benh Zeitlin, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington all received prizes. In fact, Washington won three awards on the night, taking Best Actress in a Drama Series ("Scandal") and the President's Award for public service in addition to her supporting prize for "Django." Check out the full list of motion picture winners below, and as always, keep track of the season via The Circuit.
As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Best Country Duo/Group Performance Nominees:
"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" – Eli Young Band
"Pontoon" – Little Big Town
"Safe & Sound" – Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars
"On The Outskirts Of Town" – The Time Jumpers
"I Just Come Here For The Music" – Don Williams featuring Alison Krauss
WHO’S MISSING: This is one of the categories that got created in 2012 when the Grammys shrunk the number of awards from 109 to 78. It blends the previously separate categories of best country performance by a duo or group with vocal, best country collaboration with vocals and best country instrumental performance. In other words, ongoing groups are contending with one-off performances. Because of the consolidation, worthy acts like Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry got left by the wayside.
THE PLAYERS: Despite the acts I mentioned above, country music is dominated by solo acts right now. Of Billboard’s Top 50 country songs for 2012, only 11 were by duos or groups. Here’s where the Grammy Awards veer radically from country-only awards like the Country Music Awards or the Academy of Country Music Awards: the Grammys look at artists like The Time Jumpers or Don Williams/Alison Krauss, who seldom get airplay and are on the fringe of current country and plop them down alongside the hottest names.
THE ODDS: If only the Nashville community voted on this award it would go to Little Big Town for “Pontoon,” the coed quartet’s first No. 1 single after years of toiling away. However, if interlopers are voting, they could sway the vote to Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars (The Civil Wars won last year). Then again, it’s a foolish person who bets against Alison Krauss: she has won more Grammys than any other female, even more than Barbra Streisand. Since this is only the second year in the category, it’s hard to spot any trend.
THE WINNER: Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound”
Mark Millar has obviously discovered the trick to cloning human beings, and he's used himself as a test subject. Sure, I can't prove that, but it's really the only possible explanation for his omnipresence right now.
He's got new comic titles dropping constantly, he edits CLiNT magazine, he curates the annual Kapow! event, and now he's also employed by 20th Century Fox, who brought him in to help create a cohesive world for their Marvel properties. That last job is the one I'm most curious about, because Millar is, by his very nature, a deconstructionist. Much of his work has been about pulling these icons apart and reassembling them in new ways.
As Fox gets ready to make "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," it feels like this is a make or break moment for their franchise. I like most of the movies that have been made about the X-Men so far, but I think they're in a weird position right now. Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men: First Class" essentially rebooted the film universe, and in doing so, made several choices that ignored the continuity of the Singer films and Ratner's "Last Stand," while also doing a few things that tied directly into the Singer films.
The Fray’s Joe King is ready to step out solo with a new pop-oriented project, with a radio-ready single and an album in the wings. The Colorado-based songwriter will be releasing new music under the simple name KING and aims to release an EP of fresh material by April.
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
The shortlisting and ensuing "bakeoff" that results in the Oscar nominees for Best Visual Effects is a notably imperfect process -- all the more so when the Academy compressed its voting calendar by a couple of weeks. David S. Cohen looks into this year's race, and finds that "The Hobbit" made the Academy's 10-film shortlist despite the fact that most of the VFX committee hadn't seen it by November 28, the day they met to draw up the list. Chairman Craig Barron describes the sight-unseen inclusion as a no-brainer, but other members were less happy: "One interest is concerned with having an awards process that is conducted as promptly as possible, and that of course has to vie with the interest that is mainly preoccupied with ensuring the process maintains its integrity," says Jonathan Erland. "It's self-evident that there's a problem." What do you think? [Variety]
If you've never seen Matteo Garrone's film, "Gommorah," you really should.
It's a Mafia movie, but not the way we've come to think of them over the years. Garrone made a film that captured a very organic, very lived-in ecosystem that is run by thugs and punks. "Gomorrah" plays like a refutation of every single movie every made that's made the criminals look good. The closest comparison I can make is "City Of God," the film that opened my eyes to how the favelas work and how society has reconfigured itself, leaving this lawless space to its own devices. The unobtrusive documentary-styled style he employed only added to the feeling of authenticity.
That was 2008, and since then Garrone's been radio silent. I saw his new film "Reality" at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and I liked it quite a bit. I called it the story of Job as told in the age of reality TV. His star, Aniello Arena, gives a remarkable performance as Luciano, an Italian guy whose dreams of appearing on Italy's "Big Brother" seem to vanishing a little more every day, and it's killing him. He's the family member who is always clowning around, cracking jokes, making his daughter laugh on her wedding day, He's a good and decent man with a small but respectable fish market, and he supplements that income with tiny scams on the side. He is a happy man, but all those jokes he cracks hide an ambition that eventually becomes fixated on this stupid TV show.
A review of last night's "The Office" double-feature coming up just as soon as I redact my resume...
Boy, I'm tired of "Tax Shelter Theater."
I know the landscape has changed in the last decade for independent financing, and I know it continues to change. It is a scary time to be making movies, if only because so many things seem to be evolving as we speak, and one of the things that feels most like a holdover from the '80s and '90s is this certain kind of low-budget picture that exists as part of a deal with a distributor, a pipeline of garbage that somehow lands big-name actors while rarely, if ever, cranking out anything worth watching. There are certain producers who show up on movies and as soon as I see their name, I automatically assume I'm about to see an indifferent piece of junk, and certain company names that set off the same warning bells. What gets me most about these movies is that they don't have to be so bad. It's financing that exists simply to service a deal, so why couldn't that money be used to attach those same big names to genuinely worthwhile and adventurous fare? You can't tell me that a movie as generic and paint-by-numbers as "Stand Up Guys" is the best that can be done with these resources. You just can't.