Latest Blog Posts

<p>Sharlto Copley gets to play a bad guy in 'Elysium,' and he's already onboard to make 'Chappie' with director Neill Blomkamp this fall.</p>

Sharlto Copley gets to play a bad guy in 'Elysium,' and he's already onboard to make 'Chappie' with director Neill Blomkamp this fall.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Sharlto Copley and Die Antwoord sign up to star in Neill Blomkamp's 'Chappie'

The story of a 'ridiculous robot' starts shooting in the fall

I love watching a long-term artistic collaboration come into focus. When Neill Blomkamp released "District 9," one thing that was obvious was that Blomkamp and his star Sharlto Copley had a great chemistry, and that they were both equally important to the way that film worked.

A few weeks ago, when I went to the special event for "Elysium," both Copley and Blomkamp were present and they were talking about how they adjusted their method of collaboration for this new film. What was evident was the kinship they feel and the connection they have. They have that thing you need in a constant collaborator, that ability to not only know what the other guy is thinking but to throw things at him that he might not expect. There is a trust that is inherent to the way they communicate, and as a result, I hope they continue making films together for as long as they're both interested.

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<p>Joey &amp; Meghan of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Joey & Meghan of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Joey & Meghan talk 'The Amazing Race'

Team YouTube discusses being disliked by the competition
YouTube stars Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena seemed to be having a lot of fun on "The Amazing Race," so it's a little bit sad to hear the newly eliminated duo discussing their disappointment that the other teams seemed to dislike them on the Race.
 
It wasn't all of the other teams, of course. Joey & Meghan made an early alliance with John & Jessica and Roller Derby Moms Mona & Beth, targeting Hockey Brothers Bates & Anthony, the team they felt [correctly, so far] was the biggest threat. That, of course, left them feeling targeted by Bates & Anthony, but also by the other teams aligned with the friendly pro athletes.
 
"[I]t really just seemed like people on the Race didn't like us, genuinely, just really didn't want us there and it made us kinda feel a little crappy," Meghan says now. 'It kinda reminded me of high school when I used to get picked on, so I was just like, "What is this feeling? I am grown up. This shouldn't be happening.'"
 
Awww.
 
Team YouTube discusses that Race dynamic, as well as their other highlights and lowlights in this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview.
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Gwyneth Paltrow seemed energized by what they had her do in Shane Black's 'Iron Man 3'</p>

Gwyneth Paltrow seemed energized by what they had her do in Shane Black's 'Iron Man 3'

Credit: HitFix

Gwyneth Paltrow talks about putting Pepper in harm's way for 'Iron Man 3'

Plus she talks about Shane Black and his contributions to the series

One of the ways I feel like I'm disconnected from the way a lot of people digest pop culture is the way I tune out celebrity gossip almost completely. When I hear someone say that they "hate" a celebrity, I wonder what gets them to that point. There are no celebrities who matter enough in my world for me to hate any of them, and certainly not because of the way they live.

Case in point: when I think of Gwyneth Paltrow, I think of her onscreen work. I think of the first time I saw her in the largely unseen gem "Flesh and Bone," where she was captivating and carnal and impressive. Over the years, I've liked much of her work, and she's made her fair share of films that did nothing for me. Through it all, it never occurred to me to hate her.

Is it because she's married to a rock star and because she runs a lifestyle blog? Because I've never visited it, and I'm not even sure what it's called, and I certainly don't think there's any chance anyone's going to force me to read it any time soon. And who cares who she's married to? I think the reason many people love gossip is because it gives them something to compare their own life to, and when they see someone living better than them, it gives them a specific target for their anger.

Is it because she was just picked as "The Most Beautiful Woman Alive" by People magazine? Because that's another thing that seems very silly to be upset by. It's not like she demanded that they run the headline, like when M. Night Shyamalan insisted they call him "The New Hitchcock" in a story. I doubt she campaigned for it at all. She's got a big new high-profile film coming out, so it makes sense that they'd pick her.

When we sat down, all I knew was that I wanted to talk about the way her role in "Iron Man 3" has evolved. I think I accidentally offended her a bit when I asked her how it was to step into the energy between Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black, because she made a point of explaining that Shane was the newcomer, and that he was the one joining their family. That's totally true, of course. She's been part of the Marvel Universe since "Iron Man," and now that her contract is up, it's time to reflect on the experiences she's had so far and decide if she's going to stay involved moving forward. The things they have her do in this film definitely shook up the sense of sameness that can set in after playing a part four or five times, and she sounded like it was a good experience.

Will we see more of Pepper and Tony? I'd bet on it. Right now, these people have a real sense of ownership over the characters they've established on film, and I think money is only one small part of the decisions they'll be making about the future.

And if you seriously feel like you need to say terrible personal things about Paltrow, do it elsewhere. I would rather have a conversation about her work than about any weird baggage you've picked up because you spend too much time reading about her personal life. Everyone I've ever known who worked with her has great things to say about how she is on a set and what she brings to the table in a collaboration, and those are the things that matter here.

"Iron Man 3" will blow the back wall out of your local theater starting Friday.

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"Inside Amy Schumer"

 "Inside Amy Schumer"

Credit: Comedy Central

Review: Does 'Inside Amy Schumer' deliver the goods?

The stand-up star delivers a mash-up of stand-up and sketch comedy

The latest trend in comedy has been focused on women behaving (or talking about behaving) badly. They pooped in the sink in "Bridesmaids" (don't tell me that's a spoiler at this point), they have awkward sex on "Girls," they curse and get drunk and high and screw around. Somethings the cursing and drinking and screwing around is supposed to pass as fascinating insight into the female psyche. Sometimes it's supposed to be funny. But piggishness in either men or women isn't inherently funny.

While pundits argue about whether lowbrow distaff humor delivers a bad message to young women (who are probably too busy plopping drunk photos of themselves on Instagram for future would-be employers to find) or shows that women are breaking into previously unattainable arenas by acting like dirty old men, the argument at the heart of it all is very simple: are they funny?

Thank God Amy Schumer is funny. Really funny.

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<p>Emmanuelle Riva in &quot;Hiroshima, Mon Amour,&quot; 53 years before her first Oscar nod.</p>

Emmanuelle Riva in "Hiroshima, Mon Amour," 53 years before her first Oscar nod.

Credit: The Criterion Collection

'Vertigo,' 'The Last Emperor' (in 3D) and Emmanuelle Riva get a fresh look at Cannes

Cannes Classics, now in its tenth year, focuses on film heritage and restoration

"Looking forward" is the phrase we use most often when discussing the Cannes Film Festival, given that it showcases many of the year's most anticipated specialty films -- many of which stoke that anticipation by taking their sweet time to land in theaters. But looking backward is also a significant part of the festival... or it has been, at least, since the Cannes Classics strand was introduced to the Official Selection in 2004.

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<p>Os Mutantes</p>

Os Mutantes

Interview: Os Mutantes founder Sérgio Dias on 'Fool Metal Jack' and American politics

Songwriter talks about the Las Vegas strip and forgetting the lyrics

 

AUSTIN -- Os Mutantes have mutated, literally, over the course of their long history. This week marks another morphing, with the release of the Brazilian band's "Fool Metal Jack," which features founder Sérgio Dias and company performing the most English-speaking songs of any of their studio albums.
 
The psychedelia and Tropicália roots stemming from Os Mutantes' formation in 1966 are still there, but the personnel of the band -- even since reuniting in 2006 -- has changed. The political voice has become stronger, if not just more matured. The bobbing buoyancy has more and more hints of melancholy. After decades of influencing artists like Nirvana, David Byrne, Jimi Hendrix and Beck, Os Mutantes (Dias at least) has allowed in new influencers to the group's music, collaborating with Tom Zé, Of Montreal, Devendra Banhart and others.
 
I sat down with Dias, 61, over the weekend at the loud and buzzing Austin Psych Fest, where the band helped headline. We talked about "Fool Metal Jack" -- out today (April 30) -- American politics, changing band members, Paris and forgetting lyrics.
 
This new album has the most English language songs of anything you guys have ever done. Was there a conscious choice there, that you wanted to do something that was distinctly English speaking? And why?
I’m living here. I’m living in Las Vegas. Basically been seeing so much of the U.S. and all, the way that this is affecting the United States and myself and that’s basically what I’m talking about in the album. The first song “The Dream Is Gone” is about foreclosures. And then “Fool Metal Jack” is about you see those kids born in the Plains, dress up in the military full clothing and they have pimples and they have no idea what it is really war. And it’s been so many of them and so far nobody understands it yet. And so I made myself the “Fool Metal Jack” so I’m dying there. So it’s very graphic. And "Ganjaman" is about us and the political situation here, like Thomas Jefferson is coming from the dead for a new revolution. 
 
I wonder what the Fathers of the nation would think of what is happening now. Kennedy died in ‘63 and I remember in Brazil we had like a three days of national mourning. That was impressive for a foreign leader. And so I always wonder now, what would happen if something happened, if we would still have the same kind of feedback? The U.S.A. is the front of the line of the world now so there’s a lot of responsibility. How do you present yourself? How do you manage to be a leader?
 
So it’s very important not to forget how to be like the common people, common normal people because this is a place where there’s so much beauty and because of “by the people, for the people,” and all this. But now there’s so [many] things happening. Knowing Brazil, for example, our coup d’état, but now I see the Patriot Act, for example, that takes your guys’ rights. U.S.A. is a place where you normally get a yes as an answer. In Brazil you normally get a no, whatever you want to do is no. Even after the coup d’état died, or in ‘86, there’s a lot of remains of it, which is basically the worst is corruption. Very, very bad there.
 
There’s been such a political change even since you guys got back together in 2006. That is seven years of massive political change. There are so many outright political songs on this because it is overtly American, not just English-speaking.
 
The Bush Era was a disaster for this country I think. It was very bad. I don’t know if it’s healthy just to go for revenge. How can I say – practical. And America’s a very practical country. As a leader, you have sometimes to understand or try to understand the rest of the universe that you’re being leaders. With the Bush’s was, was so hard. I don’t understand how you guys didn’t rise up with the war stuff first, because the thing was weird.
 
Some people did. And that’s part of the atmosphere here: you’d think it would make a difference.
 
I know what it is to be in fear all the time, in Brazil for example. Even though we would be defiant, I don’t think that’s a good thing for America. You guys have to throw this fear away because it doesn’t make any sense. Because of what it is for me to be an American. So many movements came from you -- the freedom thing, [civil] rights, the women liberation, resistance to Vietnam and all this, which was fantastic. You guys were very active because of your own freedom.
 
Talk about musically how you have changed between now and your last album four years ago.
 
Well, it’s a totally different this album from the others. I don’t know because I don’t think of it when I’m writing. It just writes and that’s how I let the music come.
 
What lessons did you learn? What challenge did you take from on your last album that you felt like you applied to this one? 
 
I learned that I should always be faithful to my own music – always. Whatever what – no matter what. A lot of people try to influence this album saying that we should go to this direction, to other direction or whatever. And I just stood there and I said, “No, no, no.”
 
It’s been like this, in the past I had people saying, “Why don’t you make a song like the Bee Gees” or something like that. That would be the same as, “Why don’t you make something like Kurt Cobain or whatever.“ It doesn’t make any sense to us, you know. 
 
You’ve collaborated with a lot of new artists and a lot of artists have cited you as an influence on their music. Is there any musical artists today that inspire you?
 
Anoushka Shankar. She just did an album called “Traveling.” And what she did is she mixed the Indian music and the mastering of it with the flamenco thing. And that was a wow because they’re close, but they’re so distant. I mean, and you see like her playing on a sitar what Paco de Lucia would be playing on an acoustic guitar. It is extremely inspiring
 
Have there been many artist that you’ve wanted to collaborate with, that you have plans to collaborate with?
 
I want to collaborate with the guys in the subways in Paris, you know. Because it’s outrageously good. I saw this guy, he was an accordion player. Outrageous. And there were some guys at the bridge just playing flutes. And just – they’re magical. Very magical.
 
You’ve got a new album out this week. Do you get nervous with the release of new music now, even 50 years on?
 
I’m scared to death because I’m awful with lyrics and I’m scared sh*tless, pardon my French, because I know I’m gonna f*ck up.
 
Do you have any tricks that you do when you think you’re about to forget them?
 
No, it’s like a disaster always. For example, “Balada del Loco.” My God, I always mix up, always, always. The only way is just laughing of it because I gave up. 
 
With the personnel that you have with the band now – and it’s changed so much. What is the strength of this current incarnation, this current personnel? 
 
I think it’s basically to be able to portrait the original things when we were kids --which is to be a kid and be young and restless, like that soap opera. And be able to be totally free, you know. They can do whatever they want. Whatever whoever wants to do, they do it. And that’s the fun of it.
 
So what made you move to Las Vegas?
 
I went there for the Grammy because we were nominated and I never stepped on my own in Vegas. I know America top to bottom but, I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble, I don’t do anything. So I had that stereotype idea of Vegas. So but when I went there and I saw the mountains, you could feel the spirit of the Indians and all the stuff. It was amazing. It blew my mind. And you go like 30 miles there you have Lake Mead. Then you go 30 miles up and you’re in the snow at Mount Charleston. And you’re so close to L.A. So close to everything. And it’s a no-traffic place which is fantastic. And you can drive intelligent. The people is warm. The people is nice. I mean, Las Vegas is the most tropical place I ever seen in my life. If you go to the strip, that’s total nonsense, which is all is what Tropicália  is all about.

What factor does age play into your music? Do you ponder and work lyrics around the idea of aging at all?
 
Not at all. I don’t feel aged at all. I feel basically the same as I was. Of course, the body has different ideas, you know. You have like pain in your back or whatever. But I don’t know, I feel the same. It’s very good. It’s great to look back and so I look forward because my life so far has been such a magical thing. It’s been so good. I can only thank. I’ve been very lucky.
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<p>Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz on &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz on "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Review: 'The Mindy Project' - 'Triathlon'

Mindy ponders a religious conversion, Danny tries to avoid his ex and the doctors compete with the midwives

A review of tonight's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as we spend eternity together playing doubles tennis with Abe Lincoln and Tupac...

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<p>&quot;New Girl&quot;&nbsp;offers another college flashback with Nick (Jake Johnson)&nbsp;and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).</p>

"New Girl" offers another college flashback with Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Virgins'

The gang competes to see whose first time was the most humiliating

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I freak you toward the bed...

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<p>John Williams is the chocolate to the peanut butter of 'Star Wars'</p>

John Williams is the chocolate to the peanut butter of 'Star Wars'

Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne

JJ Abrams suggests John Williams will score 'Star Wars Episode VII'

Also featured this week in 'Duh' magazine: water is wet

There are times you want to shake things up and try something new, and there are times you want to be part of a tradition and do things a certain way, and finding the balance between those two impulses are a big part of successfully remaking any franchise film or figuring out how to add new chapters to something that is already in progress.

For example, I'm looking forward to hearing what Hans Zimmer does with the score for "Man Of Steel." The hint we got of it in the most recent trailer for the film was enough to make me think he managed to do something that is genuinely different, somehow setting aside the huge iconic influence of the John Williams "Superman" score. That's not easy to do. I think Michael Giacchino managed to craft a great score for "Star Trek" in 2009, and watching the sequel I was struck anew by just how great and memorable his theme really is. It's not often I walk out of a new film these days with a score stuck in head, instantly evocative, impossible to shake.

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<p>Kenny Chesney's &quot;Life on a Rock&quot;</p>

Kenny Chesney's "Life on a Rock"

Album Review: Kenny Chesney's 'Life on A Rock'

Genial, easy-going album hits just the right notes

Kenny Chesney has always had one foot planted as surely  in the Caribbean as in Nashville. On “Life On A Rock,” out today, he’s steeped in that casual, relaxed feel that the island sand and surf bring.

Instead of party anthems (he’s given us plenty of those already), the songs on “Life On A Rock” sound like they came about during those hours in the day that lend themselves to quiet reflection, whether they be at sunrise or sundown, or “It’s That Time Of Day,” as Chesney sings. The songs on “Life On a Rock” are about what happens between life’s big moments.

The album opens with first single, “Pirate Flag,” a chugging, derivative tune that sounds  a little too much like Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"about trading the city life for life on a boat and an island. It’s the one and only remotely rocking song on the pleasing 10-tune set.

The other nine tunes are just like the island’s inhabitants: these songs are in no hurry to get anywhere and are more than willing to go with the flow. Watches and schedules are for losers when you’re living in paradise.

The album is, for the most part, quiet and reflective in a way that Chesney has often hinted at on certain songs on past albums, but has never devoted a full album to such thoughts.  They aren’t always deep thoughts, to be sure, but the songs on “Life On A Rock” are so thoroughly laid back and  easy going that you’ll feel your blood pressure drop just by listening to them. However, that’s not to stay they ramble. It’s quite the opposite. Most of the tracks here feel concise, many of them bolstered by beautiful guitar work. “Lindy” offers a portrait of everyone’s favorite beach bum, who’s never leaving the Island. Willie Nelson joins Chesney on the lilting “Coconut Tree,” a song about being “high in a coconut tree.” Take it however you want to, folks.  The Wailers join in on reggae tune “Spread The Love.” The autobiographical "When I See This Bar" has a Mellencamp, rootsy feel.

the album ends with “Happy On The Hey Now (A Song for Kristi),” a lovely, spare goodbye to a departed friend who loved dancing on the bow of the boat. It’s a moving elegy that anyone who has lost a loved one, even landlubbers, can appreciate. The same stands for the rest of the album.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Heli.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Heli."

Credit: Le Pacte

Cannes Check 2013: Amat Escalante's 'Heli'

Continuing our cheat sheet for the Cannes Competition

(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Amat Escalante with "Heli.") 

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<p>&quot;Lucky Guy&quot;</p>

"Lucky Guy"

Credit: AP Photo

Tom Hanks lands a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut in 'Lucky Guy'

'Kinky Boots' and 'Golden Boy' led the way with musicals and plays respectively

I kind of feel like I can't let a year lived in New York go without some commentary on the Tony Awards, which we rarely really get into around here. Alas, looking across the nominees, I see I've missed a great many of the top players so far. But I'll get to them. At least I have a bit of a cheat sheet now.

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