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For the first time ever, the finale of "Top Chef" will take place in front of a live audience. Suddenly, "Top Chef" looks a lot like "Iron Chef." Not that that's a bad thing. I'm just happy that we have two women in the finals, which is so encouraging, and yes, well-deserved. I'm both Team Kristen and Team Brooke, though. I wish they could both win.
A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I hire you and your socks...
If you've paid any attention to the film industry the last few weeks, or maybe at least noticed green icons all over Facebook and Twitter, you're well aware of the on-going state of frustration within the visual effects community. HitFix's Drew McWeeny laid out a very compelling and considered piece this week examining why the industry playing chicken with these guys is a bad, bad idea, and the reportage on the "fragile underpinnings" of all of this really stems back to a David Cohen piece in Variety two weeks ago. In so many words, we're approaching a watershed moment.
With that in mind, Visual Effects Society Executive Director Eric Roth has issued an open letter and a "call to action," imploring government and, certainly, industry attention be paid to this post-production sector. "The amazing irony," he writes, "is that while 47 of the top 50 films of all time are visual effects driven and billions of dollars of profits are generated yearly, the actual people who create the work are becoming an endangered species in California."
Read the letter in its entirety below.
Last week was a mixed bag on "American Idol."
On Wednesday, a group of 10 women, led by Angela Martin and Amber Holcomb, really shined. There were only a couple truly bad performances and I could have justified sending six or seven singers through.
On Thursday, a group of 10 men, led by nobody in particular, laid a huge egg. I wouldn't have let more than two or three of them advance.
Another group of 10 women will be hitting the Las Vegas stage on Wednesday (February 27) and while we've seen indications that a few of them are talented... Who knows?
Wanna host the 2014 Oscars?
Just a day after this year's controversial host Seth MacFarlane said there was "no way" he would do the gig again, "30 Rock" mastermind Tina Fey has expressed a similar disinterest in hosting next year's Academy Awards.
Just a few weeks ago, Fey and co-host Amy Poehler received rave reviews for emceeing the Golden Globes, but it appears that an Oscar-centric encore isn't in store.
You didn't think you had heard the last of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhané Wallis, I hope. The youngest Best Actress nominee of all time was shrewdly announced on Oscar Sunday as the lead in the Will Smith-produced, Will Gluck-directed adaptation of the musical "Annie," and today a release date has been announced: Christmas 2014.
I'm a huge fan of Ramin Bahrani. Films like "Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop" and "Goodbye, Solo," to me, announced a vital new voice in American independent filmmaking. And when Guy caught and liked "At Any Price" at the Venice Film Festival last year, I was excited to catch it myself at the Telluride Film Festival just a few days later. There was something fetching there, but I couldn't quite saddle up to it. I've nevertheless been looking forward to giving it another look sooner or later, and the film's April 26 release date (opposite another bold American indie voice, Jeff Nichols and "Mud"), will provide a great opportunity to do just that. In the meantime, though, Collider has premiered the first poster for the Sony Pictures Classics release. Check it out below.
Green Day will soon be playing arenas again, but first they're hitting smaller venues: The pop-punk band has announced their first SXSW appearance plus a handful of club shows.
The trio (plus, y'know, their tour backers and crew) will hit ACL Live on March 15, at the end of the same week Green Day docs "Cuatro!" and "Broadway Idiot" premiere during the film component to South By Southwest.
The band is playing three warm-ups in Texas/the Southwest at smaller spots, you can see all scheduled tour dates below.
Green Day had previously canceled their 2012/2013 tour dates due to frontman Bille Joe Armstrong's stint to rehab. Don't doubt that will play a significant part at least in the discussions around "Cuatro!" which chronicles the making-of the band's trilogy albums from 2012.
Meanwhile, another rowdy crew will be invading the Texas capitol: Tenacious D will be on-hand to support web comedy series "Ghost Ghirls," which is centered on "the comedic antics of two young female ghostbusters, played by Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci--a pair of investigators attempting to solve the mysteries behind paranormal phenomena. At the same time, they attempt to convince their clients, some other-worldly visitors and themselves, that they are legit."
The D's Jack Black makes a cameo in the 12-episode, scripted show, which is headed to Yahoo! Screen. There is a watch party scheduled at SXSW on March 13, with Black and Tenacious D cohort Kyle Gass scheduled to comedy-rock.
And speaking of comedy, recently the fest unveiled the comedy lineup, with stand-up, sketch and improv superstars. Fred Armisen, Scott Aukerman, W. Kamau Bell, Michael Cera, Brett Gelman, Chris Gethard, Tim & Eric, Emily Heller, Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane, Ken Marino, Marc Maron, Eugene Mirman, Eddie Pepitone, Sarah Silverman, Jenny Slate, Aisha Tyler, Reggie Watts and many, many more performers are on tap for the fest, which runs over the film, interactive and music dates, March 8-16. However, most headlining comedy events will run over March 9-12.
Here are all of Green Day's currently scheduled tour dates:
It's James Wan's world this year, guys.
"The Conjuring" is first up for him, and it's become a major piece of the puzzle for Warner Bros this summer. They have been testing the film to phenomenal results for a while now, and when I say phenomenal, I mean it. The film tells one of the many stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the parapsychologist married couple who became well-known thanks in part to the Amityville Horror case. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star in the film, and word is they're both great in it. I hear it's scary, that it satisfies as a story, and that people really love the cast. I'm excited to see Farmiga and Wilson's takes on these iconic characters.
Not that there's a frame of them in the trailer.
I love that this entire trailer seems to be taken from one sequence or one section of the film, and that the emphasis here is on Lili Taylor. What's clear is that Wan has started casting the ever-lovin' crap out of his movies now, and that he's become one of the most consistent guys out there in terms of crafting a certain kind of haunted house thrill ride experience. I think anyone who enjoyed "Insidious" is going to be surprised in a very pleasant way by what he's up to with the sequel, and with that hitting theaters not long after "The Conjuring," I think the sequel could explode in a way the first film didn't.
Congratulations to wordsmith, songwriter and damned fine live performer Sam Amidon, who has signed to Nonesuch records. The label will be releasing "Bright Sunny South" on May 14.
The set was produced by Amidon, Doveman (aka Thomas Bartlett) and industry mainstay Jerry Boys, and features Amidon on guitar, fiddle, banjo and piano for his folk- and American roots-based tunes. Bartlett, Shahzad Ismaily, Chris Vatalaro and jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler also perform.
Check out the first song to arrive from "South," "My Old Friend," and just let instrumental arrival after verse one just lift this one up.