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So, I've had a very "Top Chef" kind of week. First I got to interview season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio (and eat very tasty sandwiches from his ink.sack restaurant), and now I'm watching the final three (well, final three before the winner of "Last Chance Kitchen" is dumped back into the mix) duking it out for the title of season ten winner. I won't lie -- I'm rooting for Brooke, though I wouldn't complain too much if Sheldon or Kristen (via "Last Chance") took the prize. The only chef I would be a little sad to see win is, honestly, Josh. He seems like a nice guy, but his reliance on bacon and breakfast just makes me wonder if he has the breadth of skills to make him a worthy winner.
It feels to me like Bryan Singer is desperately trying to put together a version of "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" that will erase any lingering bad feelings about what has happened to the "X-Men" franchise since he jumped ship to run off and make "Superman Returns."
If that's true, then hiring Peter Dinklage to play a key role in the film is a major step in the right direction.
Right now, there's no word on who he's playing, but that's the great thing about a guy like Dinklage. No matter who you've hired him to play, you know you're going to get something interesting out of him. It's been really exciting watching him blow up as a nerd icon in the last few years thanks to "Game Of Thrones," because he's one of those guys who has been highly respected by film fans for years, even if there are times where he's felt like a well-kept secret.
Now what I'm most curious about is how Singer's going to juggle what sounds like a positively massive cast of characters. He's had fun announcing new additions to the cast on Twitter, and he seems positively giddy about returning to the franchise he kickstarted. Our own Dan Fienberg was in London over the weekend to discuss "Jack The Giant Killer" with Singer and his cast, and he talked to the director and Nicholas Hoult about the sequel, and we'll have that up for you soon.
A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I talk to your eighth grade science teacher...
I'll repeat this again for "American Idol" producers: I appreciate the need for occasional formula innovation, so you didn't do anything wrong by splitting Hollywood Week up into separate segments for Men and Women.
Just don't do it again, OK? Consider this a failure, but don't be bothered or disturbed. Dust yourself off and figure out an another twist for next year.
Because... I'm done with Hollywood. I did it last week. There were solos. There was Group Night and people whined and cried. And then there were more solos and the judges made their decisions. I took that journey. It wasn't entirely satisfying, because the men don't seem all that great this year and there were no women, but I went through that arc. Now I'm ready for what comes next. I'm not especially interested in deja vu sans man-parts.
But... Here we go!
The music video for the Weeknd's "Twenty Eight" is the next in a long series of clips that feature women dancing for the R&B singer, under the auspices that romances are apparitions that just happen to the Weeknd, and not relationships in which he plays an active part.
And again, the passivity of being either behind or in front of the camera: either way, he's not a participant. Truly, to be a sexual partner of the Weeknd, one must keep it on the "down low" as he suggests (though, do not mistake "secret" for "subtlety." This clip is all but subtle.). Lesson being that he's not exactly Loverman of the Year, but boy can he sing, right?
Fashion week in New York can transpire now. The hottest accessory of the season is topless, melancholy women.
"Twenty Eight" is part of "Trilogy," the re-released collection of mixtapes dropped late last year. The Weeknd said on Twitter that he's already hard at work for a new album in 2013.
I'll keep this brief.
Even taken at face value as a stand-alone film, unconnected to a franchise, "A Good Day To Die Hard" just plain doesn't work. Reverse-engineered to try to duplicate some of the key pleasures of the original film, now 25 years old, the film breaks the cardinal rule of action movies: it's boring. Worse than boring. It's one of those films where every time they explain more exposition, I found myself more and more disconnected. The basic idea here is that John McClane has to get closer to his estranged son, and he flies to Russia to help him when he learns that John Jr. (Jai Courtney) is in prison. Mayhem happens, and male bonding follows in its wake. Those bare bones could work, but first, I'd have to care about John Jr. as a character, and since the script never seems to figure out who this guy is, there's nothing to him onscreen. Courtney seems to carry himself well enough, but there's almost nothing here for him to actually play.
Bruce Willis isn't on autopilot here. I think he's genuinely still interested in playing McClane and making him human-scale and playing the ridiculousness of the situation with a wry observational wit, and all of that is fine. But what made the first "Die Hard" great, and what's been missing in almost all of the sequels, was the sense that there was a game being played here that McClane doesn't fully grasp at first. The really wonderful thing about the first film wasn't just the "trapped in an office building" conceit, but the way the film slowly unpacked its surprises. Every supporting character had a purpose, played some part, fit into the larger overall picture.
It’s a mighty static week on the Billboard Hot 100 with the top six titles remaining in place, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some action bubbling under.
To recap: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz holds at No. 1 for the fourth week.
The next five places also stay the same: former No. 1 “Locked Out Of Heaven,” from Bruno Mars is No. 2, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears’ “Scream & Shout” is No. 3, the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” is No. 4, Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is No. 5 and Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” featuring John Martin is No. 6.
Maroon 5’s “Daylight” shines through galloping 14-7, following the band’s performance of the song (with Alicia Keys) on the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards to mark the group’s seventh No. 10 hit.
Similarly Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z also sees a nice post-Grammy bounce, rising 13-8. The song debuted at No. 84, then soared to No. 4, then dropped to No. 13 for the past two weeks.
Although he didn’t perform the song on the Grammys, Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” leaps 22-9, giving Mars two songs in the top 10. Think radio doesn’t love him? He’s the first male artist to have top songs in the top 10 as a lead act since, well, himself, when he did so with “Grenade” and “Just The Way You Are” in December 2010, according to Billboard.
The Grammy-absent Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj fall 7-10 with “Beauty and a Beat.”
Though the Grammy bounce has already registered for a number of songs, next week is when the chart will reflect the full impact of the Grammy Awards.
If the new Strokes song "One Way Trigger" didn't remind you much of the garage-snarl of the band's past, then the much safer, rock-friendly single "All the Time" may scratch that itch.
The track was farmed to radio today, and will be a free download on Feb. 19 to those who pre-order The Strokes' new album "Comedown Machine," which will be out on March 26.
Not sure how much traction they'll get with this, since it doesn't seem to have much bite, even compared to 2011's "Angles" single "Under Cover of Darkness." And while I love Albert Hammond, Jr.'s hand at a solo, this one made me forget I was listening to a song; I went and made a sandwich.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.