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Alicia Keys just scheduled her 2013 tour dates, but this month is marked up with her other, new gig, as executive producer and score composer for Sundance film "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete."
Directed by George Tillman, Jr., the drama is led by two "incredibly" young, fresh actors, in addition to some names that will sound familiar to fans of Keys' music and contemporaries: Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson.
In a cast with other "grown-ups" like Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright, the two singing stars will be stretching out their acting muscles yet again. Keys said "Jennifer Hudson is outstanding" in her role as a heroin-addicted mom from the projects in New York. You can learn more about that transformation in HitFix's interview with Hudson here.
Keys is open to collaborating with those two former "AI" stars on future recording projects. As for the music in "Mister and Pete," she described it as "pulled back" compared to what's on recent albums like "Girl on Fire."
PARK CITY - Sundance is well under way and on opening day, acquisitions had already been announced.
PARK CITY - Probably a half-hour into "Escape From Tomorrow," I turned to William Goss, another critic who was at the screening with me, and whispered, "How does this exist?"
Perhaps the most unusual thing I've ever seen at a film festival, "Escape From Tomorrow" is a slow descent into madness, told from the perspective of a father who finds out that he has lost his job on the final morning of a family vacation. As he spends the day with his family, trying to make them happy, his grip on reality seems to come gradually unhinged, leading to… well, I'm not sure I could describe what it leads to even if it weren't a spoiler. Shot in black-and-white, the film has a strange disassociated vibe to the storytelling, and writer/director Randy Moore has a very clear authorial voice. It is not an understatement to say that it is one of the most unsettling things I've experienced in a theater in quite a while, and part of that is because, even now, even after seeing the Q&A with Moore, even after talking it over with Goss while we ate dinner, even after going over it in my head, I still don't fully understand what I just saw.
All I know is Walt Disney's lawyers are probably climbing onto helicopters and planning a raid on Park City right now.
“It’s not about fate…it’s about changing fate. It’s about hope. And protecting our children.” September, to Walter Bishop
PARK CITY - As a movie pitch "Austenland" seems like a no-brainer. A devoted and sadly single Jane Austen fan (appropriately named Jane and played by Keri Russell) decides to spend her life savings to visit Austenland, an immersive vacation resort which promise her a personal Mr. Darcy experience. Of course, nothing goes as planned, but our heroine still finds love where she wouldn't have expected it. Throw in some quirky British characters trying to pull off the 19th Century in the 21st Century and you have numerous comedic opportunities. Based on the novel by Shannon Hale and co-produced by Stephenie Meyer, Jerusha Hess' "Austenland" should quickly evoke a bidding war that will make the numerous studios regret passing on the first time around.
PARK CITY - So far, Sundance has managed to get me ruminating on my own personal career of chemical misadventures, purely by coincidence. Last night's film, "Crystal Fairy & The Magic Cactus and 2012," had me thinking about what it is that draws us to the extreme experiences, the personal tests that we sometimes impose on ourselves out of a drive to see if we are strong enough to handle them, and this morning's movie, "Newlyweeds," left me reflecting on the way certain relationships in my own life were defined by what substance I had in common with someone.
Shaka King's debut feature, "Newlyweeds" examines the dynamic between Lyle (Amari Cheatom) and Nina (Trae Harris), a young couple who have a mutual love of smoking marijuana. Lyle works as a repo man for a rent-to-own company, and Nina gives museum tours, and the two of them are full of dreams and seem perfectly matched as the film begins. There are many things to like about the way the film unfolds, and for about an hour of the running time, it seems like it works well. Cheatom and Harris do a nice job of playing the couple, and Tone Trank also displays real charisma as Jackie, who is Lyle's partner at work. For a while, there's an aimless quality to the film that works in its favor. We see how Lyle and Jackie have to find ways to get into the apartments where they're supposed to repossess things, and we see how the weed manages to both bring Lyle and Nina closer together at times while also introducing real problems into their relationship. It's great to have someone to smoke with at the end of a day when you're relaxing, someone who is on the same wavelength as you are, but when that person ends up smoking an entire eighth while you're at work and they're unwilling or unable to replace it, the strain it causes is very particular and not really like a normal relationship issue.
Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” has taken up residency at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and now he’s going for club domination.
Check out this dubstep remix of the tune by M Machine. The trio’s version is on “Jukebox,” an album featuring remixes of tunes from Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox.” The remix set comes out Tuesday (21), according to Rolling Stone. Listen to it here.
How do you like it? It adds a nice dimension to the song, but being a pop baby myself, i still prefer the original. This version takes out some of the giddiness out and eliminates Mars’ infectious “Woah, woah, woahs,” but it has a great peppy section around 2:40. Plus, it has "beep beeps." Still, I give the advantage to Mars.
M Machine’s new EP, “Metropolis Pt. Two,” drops Feb. 19 on Skrillex’s label, OWSLA.
Kevin Williamson has forgotten more about horror than I'll ever learn. His scripts for both the big screen ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") and small ("Dawson's Creek") are overflowing with a love of popular culture and horror stories in particular. His movie debut, 1996's "Scream," breathed new life into a thoroughly played-out genre by making a slasher movie where all the characters were aware they were in a slasher movie, and of the rules that govern such a story.
His new FOX drama "The Following" (it debuts Monday night at 9) is informed by Williamson's devotion to another kind of horror story: tales of charismatic, omniscient serial killers, particularly as popularized by "Silence of the Lambs" and the other Hannibal Lecter films. But here, the tone is deadly serious throughout. It's a series riddled with clichés, but without anyone to point them out along the way.
Let’s see if I have this right: a woman is basically an object that you order just like a drink. in the new video for DJ Khaled’s “Bitches & Bottles (Let’s Get It Started)” featuring T.I., Lil Wayne, and Future, they are ordering “bitches and bottles” and if they — the girls, not the bottles— aren’t pretty they’ll send them back (yeah, because these dudes are so hot).
[More after the jump...]
PARK CITY - Sometimes things dovetail nicely and come full circle. As a University of North Carolina School of the Arts alumnus, I'm always interested to see how my former classmates and fellow Fighting Pickles are finding their way in the film industry, and a quick glance at this year's Sundance line-up revealed that, across a number of disciplines, the Winston-Salem-based school's afterglow is in full force. It seemed a story was worth pursuing. So I pursued it.