Let’s face it, “Saturday Night Live” fans: 2013 hasn’t been kind to the show. We’ve had three not-really-that-good-at-all shows thus far, with the pieces never really coming together to produce a solid, nevermind stand-out, episode. Will Christoph Waltz be the unlikely savior? I say “unlikely” not because he isn’t talented, but because I’m sure there are a lot of people tuning in tonight. Those reading this recap will probably know of his recent roles in “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained”, but the average viewer more familiar with the oeuvre of last week’s host Justin Bieber? Hard to say.
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Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
When Ang Lee first read Yann Martel' "Life of Pi" he didn't think it was a movie let alone a global blockbuster. Speaking to the Oscar-winning director of such classics as "The Ice Storm," "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" back in November 2012 before "Pi" hit theaters Lee was, as always, incredibly honest about his creative process.
I saw fewer Competition films than usual at this year's Berlin Film Festival, having drawn much of my viewing schedule around other sections of the vast programme -- after all, with almost 200 feature films jostling for your attention, you simply have to accept that you're going to end up missing a lot of worthwhile stuff. And so it is that I must make the admission that no Berlinale journalist ever wants to make: I haven't seen the winner of the Golden Bear.
I had a feeling that missing Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer's film "Child's Pose," about a wealthy, fiercely driven mother playing the system to wrangle her adult son out of a murder charge, was going to haunt me one way or another -- one of the few Competition films to generate across-the-board critical approval, it seemed at the very least a strong Best Actress contender for Romanian veteran Luminita Gheorghiu. I'd missed the screening to catch up with another Competition buzz title, "Gloria" -- which, as it turned out, won Best Actress instead -- and never found a suitable gap in my diary for the Romanian film. Festival scheduling is like Jenga that way.
Film music composer Thomas Newman landed his 11th Oscar nomination to date last month, for his original contributions to "Skyfall." It's the latest in a long line of Academy mentions both in the song and score categories for two decades for him, but despite the strong showing, he has yet to wrangle one of the trophies for himself.
Last weekend he won his second BAFTA Award to date (on just three nominations from the group throughout his career). And, along with "Skyfall" colleague Roger Deakins, he is putting a little bit of pressure on the presumed frontrunners in his category.
A handful of those Oscar nominations along the way have come for Sam Mendes films, including the director's latest. Mendes likes to showcase Newman's work in his films, being very detailed with his sound mixers about how he wants it to shine, and that was a particular note on "Skyfall." This was, after all, the new chapter of a franchise that has music woven into the fabric of its very identity.
(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)
Best Original Screenplay is perhaps my favorite of all Oscar categories, and I know I'm not alone in that. So often it has been a sanctuary for adventurous, important and, yes, original films that are just a little too fresh to triumph in the top categories: it's thanks to this award, after all, that the likes of "Pulp Fiction," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Chinatown," "Talk to Her," "The Red Balloon" and, of course, "Citizen Kane" all get to call themselves Oscar winners.
While for the last three years, the category has housed the eventual Best PIcture winner, Best Original Screenplay is back on outsider duty this year. While the adapted category will be breathlessly scrutinized for Best Picture signals, none of the frontrunners here are likely to triumph in the top race. It's still an equally competitive category -- and, despite many pundits' odd assertions that it was a "thin" field, was far more contested than its counterpart at the nominations stage, where at least two slots remained consistently in flux between an array of mainstream and independent outliers.
The nominees are...
Talk about a Grammy bump... Mumford & Son’s “Babel,” which was crowned album of the year during Feb. 10’s Grammy Awards, soars back to the top of the charts next week with estimated sales of 150,000-160,000 copies.
The effects were felt by the band immediately following the Grammy broadcast as the album rose from 7-4 on the Billboard 200 this week and then back to No. 1 next week.
A number of other Grammy participants also see increases. The “2013 Grammy Nominees” CD threatens to hit the 100,000 mark as it likely rises to No. 2, according to Hits Daily Double.
Bruno Mars, who performed “Locked Out Of Heaven,” sees his album, “Unorthodox Jukebox” climb back to No. 3, while Taylor Swift, who opened the show, sees “Red” sell up to 75,000, and move up to No. 4 after falling out of the Top 10 this week.
This week’s No. 1 album, Josh Groban’s “All That Echoes,” probably falls to No. 5, although it and “Now 45” are both on target to sell between 60,000-70,000, so it could be No. 6.
Andrea Bocelli’s “Passione” looks good for No. 7, although fun.’s “Some Nights” may snag that spot, leaving “Passione” to fall to No. 8. Pink’s “The Truth About Love” looks good for No. 9, while the Lumineers, who also performed on the show, will see its self-titled album hold steady at No. 10.
As I wrote in my review of his debut album, Phillip Phillips has more than a few things in common with Mumford & Sons -- which is to say, his song "Gone, Gone, Gone" should soon be a certifiable hit, or someone's not doing their job.
"Babel" took home the Grammy for Album of the Year earlier this week, and the charm of that album is in its universality and earnestness, rife with gang vocals, rockets into the four-on-the-floor with the choruses, rolling acoustics whether on guitars or banjos... Phillips' "Gone" arrives with perfect timing, as its video presents goosebumps-inducing home footage of families who are not yours, effecting in the same way military-themed commercials for phones or chocolate or Wal-Mart hit that sentimental spot.
Phillips takes his viewer on a stroll at sunset, on your way to a bonfire. Super-8 and scratchy frames blow through his promises of being there when you're down, laying next to you and helping you up and stuff. It's generic and it's generically uplifting.
Ladies, keep track of your drink, keep your purse zipped up and help to prevent a prevalent crime: Usher wants to steal your heart, by kidnapping you from the dance floor.
The singing superstar has reteamed with recent Grammy nominee Diplo -- who is half of the reason why "Climax" is so climactic -- and released "Go Missin'," which appears suggestively as a way to stick it your man if he's done you wrong.
Usher's voice sails comfortably in that saucy range, but it's the big booming bass that makes this track as foreboding (and forbidden!) as it is. Clicks and hisses and what sounds like an alarm warns ye who ventures to the club solo: Usher wants to take care of you, falsetto ("oh!") style.
"Go Missin'" arrived in the twilight of Valentine's Day, so even if you didn't have a sweetheart to celebrate with yesterday, an abduction may be in order*.
What do you think of this suggestive electronica-meets-R&B jam?
*Not really, do not abduct girls, its rude and against the law
Tyler, the Creator is hard at work on his next solo album, "Wolf," and released two new songs and one long video in promoting it.
Below is the clip for smack-talker "Domo 23" as well as bedtime story (no, not the kid kind) "Bimmer," both of which prominently feature the Odd Future rapper. OFWGKTA cohorts like Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean and manager Christian Clancy also make cameos as well in the Mexican slash Sumo wrestling clip.
Check out the video, check it again, and look at my list of the best 10 moments from the video.
"Wolf" is due on April 2nd through the Odd Future record label.
:06 The lip mumbling, pre-ring interview with Domo
:28 A penis banner
:52 Zombie hipster girl arm candies + malaise
1:20: "I ate one roach and I made a lot of money."
2:09 After hell-raising for the last couple of years and raising ire from rape jokes, "fag" jokes and general race-baiting, Tyler looks the listener square in the face and says "no homo." The same reference Chris Brown used in his long, academic considerations of Odd Future's Frank Ocean coming out of the closet. "Too soon?" Blam.
2:19 Who hasn't thought of smoking a joint in-ring?
2:40 Those triplets. My God.
3:23 Ref gets down
4:06 "I'm the king of the world" Titanic riff in slow-motion.
4:28 Thanks to our Creator: a the song comparing a lady-lover to a car sticks to a strict 1-minute marker.
Bonus: Frank Ocean singing all over "Bimmer."
Thanks for all the spit, guys.