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I've offered up my defense of Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers," a hypnotic depiction of the disenchantment of youth and a state-of-mind film that gets more right than it doesn't. Pity, though, that there are those seemingly willing to make an opinion without diving into the film. But I guess from the outside, I can understand why this one smells a certain way to a certain type.
"It's a rather potent study of 'spring break' as a state of mind, the desperate race for greener pastures that grows like a fungus in small town America," I wrote of the film on Thursday before planting a flag for James Franco's awards hopes. But whether this one finds that kind of rhythm at the end of the year or not (likely not), I'm happy with considering it one of the year's best films so far. But I want to know what everyone else thinks, because I anticipate even more varied reactions as it makes its way to the public. So when and if you get the chance to see the film this weekend or when it expands wider next week, give us your thoughts in the comments section, and feel free to vote in the poll below.
Despite the lows of late, I'm a big Jim Carrey fan. So I'll probably go see "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" at some point this week, even if the reviews are pretty dreadful. "The good things in the film are more frustrating because the film never finds a way to tie it all together, thematically or tonally, " HitFix's Drew McWeeny wrote in his review. "That would have been a magic trick worth applauding if they had."
I imagine a fair amount of the readership is going to give it a whirl this weekend, so as always, we have a space for you to tell us what you thought. Is it a nice dose of comedy abracadabra or a total con? Rifle off your take in the comments section, and feel free to vote in our poll below.
Joining some of the stars of "American Horror Story: Asylum" at PaleyFest in Beverly Hills, Ryan Murphy gave the audience a tantalizing hint of what's to come in season three. "I can't tell you what it's about," he admitted, before revealing the new title: "Coven." "It's a really cool idea we've been talking about for a couple of years," he added.
He also revealed that the show, which has been heavily reliant on sound stages in the first two seasons, will be hitting the road this time around, shooting in New Orleans and "a couple of different cities."
It’s a battle of the veterans on the Billboard 200 next week as Bon Jovi and David Bowie duke it out for the top spot. They are far from the only entries in the top 10: potentially six new titles come on the chart.
With two days left in the chart week, Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” is slightly ahead of David Bowie’s first new album in 10 years, “The Next Day,” for No. 1. “Now” will sell up to 90,000, while it looks like “Next” will top out around 80,000.
Also looking good for Top 10 debuts are Christian Contemporary group Passion’s “Let The Future Begin” coming in at No. 5, Eric Clapton’s covers album, “Old Sock” (and the first on his own label, Bushbranch,” entering at No. 6, Dave Grohl’s “Sound City Soundtrack” at No. 7, and boy R&B group Mindless Behavior’s “All Around The World” at No. 8.
Rounding out the Top 10 will be this week’s No. 1 set, Luke Bryan’s “Spring Break: Here To Party,” at No. 3, Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” at No. 4, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 9 and Jimi Hendrix’s “People, Hell and Angels” at No. 10, according to Hits Daily Double.
When veteran producer Richard D. Zanuck passed away last year at the age of 77, Hollywood lost a long-serving mover and shaker. In a career spanning over half a decade, he headed 20th Century-Fox in the 1960s (greenlighting "The Sound of Music," among others), shepherded Steven Spielberg's first features to the screen (including "Jaws," for which Zanuck received his first Oscar nod), won the Oscar for "Driving Miss Daisy," produced the Academy Awards himself and collaborated with directors including Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Lumet and William Friedkin.
“Who the hell are the Strokes?” The New York band tries to answer that question posed in their video for the spiky, upbeat “All The Time.”
[More after the jump...]
With "The 20/20 Experience," Justin Timberlake has made a work that is a complete anathema in Pop World 2013: an album that is meant to be listened to from start to finish.
As a whole, “The 20/20 Experience,” out March 19, is a deeply retro effort that pays homage to Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Frank Sinatra in both music and sentiment. However, Timberlake and producer Timbaland don’t get stuck in the past and, as much as the album is influenced by musical icons of yore, it is determined to look to the future as well.
If Timberlake is feeling the hot breath of newer, fresher artists like Bruno Mars —his most obvious heir apparent— or Frank Ocean breathing down his neck, he doesn’t show it. Quite the opposite: Timberlake infuses “The 20/20 Experience” with a disarming, radiant confidence that occasionally surpasses the material. He’s a one-man charm offensive and an electrifying performer, as his most recent stint on “Saturday Night Live” showed.
At its best, “The 20/20 Experience” feels like its own invention: an exploration into what it means to take the traditional confines of pop and then see how far those boundaries can be pushed. It’s not a new idea for Timberlake: on 2006’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” he and Timbaland set about deconstructing pop, only to construct a new monster, filled with shape-shifting songs and musical interludes. To keep with that theme, at its worst, “The 20/20 Experience” feel like sets of unfinished lab experiments stretched far too thin. Every one of the 10 tunes here creeps up to or surpasses the seven-minute mark, often to their own detriment.
The album opens with “Pusher Love Girl,” a sultry, slinky stunner that finds Timberlake breaking out his clarion clear falsetto early. Over hand claps and horns, he pays homage to the female that means more to him than any drug. She’s his “hydroponic jelly bean.” Is there anyone else on God’s green earth that could pull off calling someone that? Like many of the songs on “20/20,” about five minutes in, “Pusher Love Girl” morphs into a swirling interlude as he chants, “I’m just a junkie, a junkie for your love.”
Other highlights include first single, the mood-setting, Jay-Z-starring “Suit & Tie"; and the delicious “Strawberry Bubblegum,” a Prince-inspired pop confection laced with plenty of innuendo. He’ll be your blueberry lollipop, baby, and he’s going to love you till “we make it pop." Current single, “Mirrors," is a pop marvel, and, as he’s shown by his television performances with his band, JT and the Tennessee Kids, it only gets better as it is performed live. The gorgeous melody features layer upon layer of Timberlake’s vocals stacked upon each other until it feels like they can reach the heavens.
“Mirrors,” and possibly every song on here, is an ode to Timberlake’s wife, Jessica Biel. The album is a veritable love letter to her, but an honest one: one that combines carnal urges with the fears and tribulations of what it means to be a man in a serious, committed relationship. On the soulful slow jam “Spaceship Coupe,” he’s ready to get his groove on in their “space lover cocoon” as they trip the galactic light fantastic. On the horn-drenched, old-style “That Girl,” introduced by an emcee as if he and his band are playing in a club in the ‘60s, Timberlake sells every note of devotion. The album closes with the underwater, dreamy, sound-effect laden kaleidoscope of “Blue Ocean Floor,” which sounds like something from Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange.” The song is a druggy, slo-mo, strange slice.
While there are some gems on “The 20/20 Experience,” the listeners’ reactions will depend largely on how big a journey they are willing to take. Too often, Timberlake--and Timbaland-- forego any semblance of a hook or a catchy chorus (in fact there’s nary one to be found on the album) for experimental sonic landscapes. They confuse repetition with creating an actual song. On “Let the Groove Get In,” which will make an incredible dance remix, the African and Latin rhythms enchant and captivate, but they never go anywhere or actually do anything.
It’s a trippy record and a daring one, but very few of the songs deserve the over-extended treatment they receive. Most of the tunes would have greatly benefitted from some trimming, even if that meant delivering a 40-minute album instead of a 70-minute one.
The consistent thread is, of course, Timberlake’s self-assured vocals. Whether he’s singing in falsetto or in a lower register or rapping or vocalizing non-sensical words, his delivery sounds never less than inspired. In a way that few contemporary artists have, Timberlake has a clear command of what works for him and he’s a thrilling vocalist. But in hindsight, “The 20/20 Experience” could have used a little more focus.
AUSTIN -- The Christmas film "When Angels Sing" boasts Willie Nelson as Santa Claus; Lyle Lovett as a holiday-happy neighbor to Harry Connick, Jr.'s Scrooge, due to his unhappy Christmas past; and Kris Kristofferson as his dad, and his heart if full of the season's joy.
So, of course, the soundtrack is X-mas excellence.
The film -- shot in Austin and premiered at South By Southwest -- is as family-friendly as they come, with Connick's usual charm and easiness oozing from in between the green and red trim. The trademark seems to be Hallmark, though the film has yet to get picked up. The music won't hurt its chances: Family singalongs, a stumble into a church, caroling and a gander through Austin's hot spots (including Salt Lick, nom) provide ample opportunities for originals and Christmas classics.
Lovett has an extended acoustic jam with Kat Edmonson and Nelson gets a solo on "Amazing Grace." Connick refrains from singing in the film until a duet with Nelson on the closing credits. I especially loved the cameos from the Trishas and from Dale Watson, who give this film a particular Austin glaze that could help sell music, if not the film itself.
"Kris and Harry are great," Nelson told me of his co-stars and collaborators before the premiere. "I like good writers, good singers and good people. They don’t get any better than those guys."
A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as this blog spins off into one about Myles McNutt...