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PARK CITY - The Sundance Film Festival will push on through the weekend but for me it concluded today. It was a longer stretch than last year for me but I still don't put in half the time some of the other folks do. I mean, 40 films in 10 days just isn't my cup of tea. The 13 I managed in seven days is more my speed, thanks. And it was a good cross-section of early looks. My first post of capsule thoughts on this and that is here, in addition to the single write-ups I did on personal favorites "Mud," "Before Midnight," "Fruitvale" and "Running from Crazy." And here are some closing considerations on more...
PARK CITY, UTAH -- Even as he started making albums in his late teens, Andrew Bird wanted to be a film composer. His earliest efforts with Bowl of Fire were organized and released as a film, his stage sets are arranged like a 35 mm frame. He made his first complete score with "Norman" in 2011, but is still in search of fresh filmmakers with whom he can collaborate.
"People I would love to work with already have their 'guy.' Like, David Lynch or Werner Herzog or Jim Jarmusch. I'm looking for a young version of those. Like Carter Burwell with the Coen Brothers -- he was just part of their world, just another creative mind in their group and he just happened to fill their minds with music. He was there from the start," Bird said during our interview at Sundance.
For 2013, Bird is proactively filling the shoes of a composer by making his own A/V project -- though it's not a movie (yet). The Chicago-bred musician is lining up an outlet and funding for a live-action children's television program, called "Professor Socks' TV Show." It was only a couple of days ago at Largo in L.A. that Bird bowed its theme song; for a father of a 2-year-old, the timing was right, to make kid-friendly music and to star in his own project.
Bird said he's been watching a lot of Sesame Street and has been inspired by Jim Henson's shows. He looked at "Professor Socks" as a "good excuse to play the old jug band stuff, the old hot jazz stuff" -- think Emmett Otter. Bird, coincidentally, contributed a track to 2011's "The Muppets" "I'm thinking of all the friends I can bring into the process... trying to sneak in to the kids' thing through adults. It might be more of a cult, weird kind of musical."
The idea is also prompted, in part, by socks. The violinist, guitarist, singer and pro-whistler performs most of his shows without shoes on, thus Bird has always boasted an immaculate array of socks. "I haven't had to buy my own socks for a long time," he said.
Bird will play a "confused professor who's out to lunch on most scientific facts. He's very confused," he said. He's helped in part by assistants like a librarian and a foxy companion... rather, an animatronic fox (rhymes with socks, got it?). There's a magic dresser with magic socks and sliding across the floor in said socks transports him to other "vocational" worlds, "from as mundane as how they make bubble gum to the ballet."
Check out part one of two of my interview with Bird above, for more details on his film scoring and socks.
The teasing has begun.
There are not nearly enough Brad Bird films in the world. I just went and counted, and it's still way less than 1000, a situation I find completely unacceptable. As long as I've been writing about movies online, I've been writing about Brad Bird movies. I would still call the coverage I did on "The Iron Giant" some of the best stuff I've ever published, and it's been a real pleasure catching up with him on "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." In addition to have a remarkable story sense and a great knack for comic timing, Bird just plain loves movies, and that love informs pretty much every scene of everything he's ever made as a director.
Knowing there is a new Brad Bird film in development has me anxious enough. I want to know everything, but I don't want to know anything. I would love to see the whole thing right this second, but I'm terrified that I'll ruin it for myself as I cover it between now and whenever it finally comes out. For the most part, Bird's been playing mum, and even as people have been clamoring for him as one of the best possible director choices Disney could make regarding the new "Star Wars" movies, he's been hard at work on "1952," a film that Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen are currently writing for Bird to direct.
Waah-waah. I'm still so disappointed that Kristen nobly fell on her sword, and I think a few of the chefs who have souls and aren't Sheldon (who is, rightfully, pretty happy) are feeling a little sad about her exit. Stefan say that he would have thrown Josie under the bus like it's no tomorrow, but he thinks she'll be back via "Last Chance Kitchen." I think he's right.
So the promos (and the beginning of the show) promise that things are going to get ugly on this episode of "American Idol" as the tensions between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj reach the boiling point. I'm sure Dan Fienberg would much rather be recapping this than watching movies at Sundance (and he'll be back next week, don't worry), but we can still have fun, right?
As recently as two weeks ago, FOX president Kevin Reilly said there was nothing that could be done in-season to fix the flagging fortunes of his Tuesday comedy lineup, and that "we've just gotta play through" from then until May.
But several more weeks of ratings data for the night in general changed that opinion, as today FOX announced that "Ben and Kate" is being pulled from the schedule immediately, and that the four-sitcom bloc will be going away by March, with "Hell's Kitchen" leading into survivors "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project."
When it comes to Australian actress Alice Englert, it feels a bit like we’re watching a star being born in fast-forward, and not necessarily in the right order. The 18-year-old daughter of Jane Campion – though she’ll make it on her own name and merits, thank you very much – came to critics’ attention at Toronto last year, with her cool turn as a precocious seductress in Sally Potter’s “Ginger and Rosa.” The performance nabbed her a British Independent Film Award, though despite an Oscar-qualifying run, US audiences will only see it in mid-March. By that time, she’ll have already made her mainstream mark as the heroine of Warner’s all-star adaptation of teen-lit phenomenon “Beautiful Creatures.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis bargain hunt their way to No. 1 as “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz tops the Billboard Hot 100.
But that’s not the only big story on the chart this week: Justin Timberlake’s first new single in six years, “Suit & Tie,” somersaults 84-4. It’s his 12th Hot 100 Top 10 as a solo or featured artist and his first since her appeared on Ciara’a “Love Sex Magic” in 2009, according to Billboard.
“Thrift Shop,” which ends Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” six-week run at No. 1,” attains its pole position through strong digital sales (it solds 431,000 downloads last week compared with “Suit & Tie’s” 315,000), as well as heavy streaming. In fact, the song set a streaming record, garnering 1.68 million streams last week, topping the previous record-holder Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Airplay is still building for “Thrift,” which rises to No. 14 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart.
Mars’ “Locked” slips to No. 3, while The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” holds at No. 3. Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” falls 4-5, despite gaining airplay. The song is No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart this week.
Will.i.am and Britney Spears’ “Scream & Shout” remains at No. 6, while Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” featuring John Martin stays at No. 7.
Rihanna’s “Diamonds” slips 5-8, Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj slides 8-9 and Phillip Phillips’ “Home” dips 9-10.
When I was at the "Star Trek Into Darkness" press day at the end of last year, I noticed something that I mentioned in the article, a passing reference to "April" on some of the production design artwork.
Keep in mind this was the same day we first learned the official name of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in the film, "John Harrison." This seemed to confuse people who have been reading every single word about the sequel that has been printed online. After all, Bob Orci said at one point that the villain in the new movie is a character who appears in canon, which is one reason why many people made the jump to assuming that it was Khan or maybe Gary Mitchell.
Mitchell had to be ruled out early, though, because he made an appearance in the IDW comic tie-in to the Abrams film, and Orci and Kurtman have both said that the comic series is meant to be taken as part of the continuity of the film series. If that's true, then maybe the half-baked theory I posted after seeing that mention of April isn't that half-baked after all.