This article first appeared in part at InContention.com on May 24, 2011. It seemed like a good time to re-purpose it for new readers here at HitFix with the release of "To the Wonder" on the horizon.
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Richard Linklater's "The School of Rock" was one of the best films of 2003. That opinion seemed odd to many at the time -- it's one of the handful of latter year declarations I've made that just didn't go down easily for some -- but I stand by it. It's a brilliant screenplay with a top notch movie star performance and it's a thematically resonant piece of work.
Apparently legendary musical theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber is of a similar mind, as he's snatched up the stage rights to the 2003 comedy. The news apparently came via CBC radio as Webber said he was very excited to tackle the project.
Slowly but surely, the trailers for this year's (probable) Cannes selections are trickling in: we had "The Bling Ring" recently, "Only God Forgives" last week, "The Past" over the weekend and "Behind the Candelabra" yesterday. Today's Cannes taster isn't quite as eagerly anticipated, but it's for a film that is very likely to be in Competition: Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino's "La Grande Bellazza."
Avril Lavigne’s new single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up” may reference Radiohead in its first line, but the act it most recalls is Ke$ha. The sing-songy track, built around a big, kick-drum stomp, sounds like a cross between the “Tik-Tok” singer and the arena hands-in-the-air, acoustic-guitar-strumming, simple-minded tunes crafted by Nickelback’s leader, Chad Kroeger, who just happens to be a co-writer on the song and Lavigne’s fiance. Throw in a little dose of "Girlfriend's" attitude and call it a day.
With lines like “we’ll be running down the street yelling kiss my HEY/We’ll be like, 'yeah, whatever,' we’re still living like that,” the song is an aptly-titled salute to staying forever young (so much so that one cover of the single features Lavigne holding a teddy bear).
Lavigne has always had an annoyingly mannered delivery, but it reaches new heights on “Growing Up,” “boom” sounds like “bim,” and when she sings, “This is who we are,” you’ll swear you fell into a vat of Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R.”
[More after the jump...]
A review of last night's "Bates Motel" coming up just as soon as I think you're pretty like an old woman...
While this is technically a piece of the multi-part reunion for this season of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," this mish-mash is half clip job, half reunion and mostly a mess. Jumping from past to present, battle to battle and from silly to unspeakably sad, this one is sure to hurt your head. And even though this is the "Secrets Revealed" episode, there weren't so many secrets. But there are a few takeaways from this episode, and none of them revolve around Alexia learning to drive. So you can fast forward through that insanely boring segment. You're welcome.
LAS VEGAS - For the past four years, the Academy of Country Music has taken advantage of having a flotilla of country artists in Las Vegas for the annual ACM Awards to tape a special the following night that airs several weeks later.
To quote "The Curse": "???????????????????????????"
The most frequent question I heard from those of you who stopped me at WonderCon or who sent me e-mails in the days after the event was "Why didn't Warner Bros. show new 'Man Of Steel' footage during the panel?"
Obviously, Warner Bros. marketing doesn't run their decision-making by me for approval, so I can't answer that question conclusively. I can, however, guess based on the reactions I've heard from people who have seen Zack Snyder's Superman movie, and it seems to me that Warner Bros. didn't bring new footage to screen because, frankly, they don't have to.
The most dangerous thing to do with a giant blockbuster in today's media landscape is to jam it down the throat of the audience to the point where they learn to hate the film before they ever lay eyes on it. Sometimes, it's the only option that the studio has, and when they know a movie doesn't work, that's when they kick into overdrive. When a movie has a pre-release awareness as automatic as a new Superman movie and they feel like the film completely works, that's when they get to lay back a bit and let the actual anticipation of the audience do the work for them.
The MTV Movie Awards are coming up this weekend (April 14), and the slate of nominees wasn't as terrible as it has been in recent years, so it might actually be a fun watch. Last year I went back in time for a retrospective on the inaugural edition from 1992, and I plan to go back to the 1993 awards in an upcoming piece. In the meantime, here's something different.
Sony Pictures held an event today in Hollywood to introduce new footage from Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium," the first film from the acclaimed science-fiction director since his breakthrough debut, "District 9." Ralph Garman moderated the event, which featured in-theater appearances by Blomkamp, actor Sharlto Copley, and producer Simon Kinberg. The star of the film, Matt Damon, is in Germany right now shooting the movie "Monuments Men," and so he was patched in via satellite from a theater in Berlin. The new trailer, which arrives online tomorrow, was the first thing shown, and then there was a ten-minute reel prepared specifically for the event. At the end of the footage, Garman asked Damon what he thought of what he saw. Damon waited for the satellite delay, then answered, "Well, we're in Berlin watching it, so I have to say that I'm impressed. My German was flawless."
It's fitting that the event was staged on an international scale, since the movie was an international affair. The film is a very immediate science-fiction metaphor that deals with the real-world divisions between the haves and the have-nots right now, and in order to create a stark difference between the perfect world of the Elysium space station and the left-behind slum that is the Earth, Blomkamp shot the Earth footage in Mexico City, and everything on Elysium in Vancouver. He did his best two treat the two parts of the production as totally independent units, and it pays off in the visual contrast we saw even in the ten minutes of footage they showed us.
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 176: 'Mad Men,' 'Da Vinci's Demons,' 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Veep & more
I had to rush out on the end of today's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, and yet we still wound up talking for over 90 minutes, thanks to a dense "Mad Men" premiere, a pair of notable finales and three premieres. And we didn't even talk at all about Roger Ebert, which was a giant failure on our parts, and something we can hopefully rectify in next week's podcast — though it's not clear what day that will be published on, depending on Dan's travel schedule. The lineup:
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.