Latest Blog Posts

<p>Richie Sambora</p>

Richie Sambora

Credit: Press Here

Exclusive: Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora on Wednesday's superstar Sandy benefit

Listen to his charity single for the Red Cross

Richie Sambora may be in one of the most successful rock and roll bands of all time, but the Bon Jovi guitarist says he’s just a geeky music fan like the rest of us, especially when it comes to being in the presence of some of his music heroes.

Such will be the case tomorrow night when Bon Jovi joins such acts as The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and The Who for the 12-12-12 Concert to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Skylar Grey in &quot;C'Mon Let Me Ride&quot;</p>

Skylar Grey in "C'Mon Let Me Ride"

Watch: Eminem co-stars in Skylar Grey's crazy 'C'Mon Let Me Ride' video

The songwriter takes a trip to the trailer park

Last we visited Skylar Grey's single "C'Mon Let Me Ride" featuring Eminem, a few things were established: the song is catchy, Slim Shady is a nerd, it's a satire on overtly sexualized pop music and Skylar Grey can play the part exceedingly well.

With the release of the music video to "C'Mon Let Me Ride," the songwriter takes the cynical message even further, with the pair dropping by a trailer park and wreaking hell on its inhabitants, women and men. Grey -- rocking cutoffs and a flannel so hard -- inexplicably pines away for a cowboy who can't be bothered to notice her as he's too busy ogling beauty pageant contestants in a magazine. Those airbrushed airheads come alive and Grey then takes them for a ride (get it?), luring them into clap-jawed evil tanning beds and giving them bunk plastic surgery. The fools are then further goggled by hillbillies from their lawn chairs.

That leaves Grey alone with her cowboy, and they seductively wash her bicycle like it's a car, water everywhere, hands gripping the stems. It's about this time that you notice, even more than before, the lyrics "I'm a sellout for you..."

Read Full Post
<p>Adele</p>

Adele

Credit: AP Photo/Jonathan Short

Adele's 'Skyfall,' Florence + the Machine's 'Breath of Life' among 75 original songs up for Oscar

And no 'Holy Motors' -- Booooo!

The Academy has announced that a whopping 75 tunes are in play for the Best Original Song Oscar this year, and among them were tracks by Adele, Florence + the Machine and The Arcade Fire. I imagine that makes the Oscarcast's producers very happy, that top ticket acts are in play, but they have to be nominated first, folks. So don't go carving out a spot in the show's rundown for these numbers just yet.

Also in play are other popular artists like Keith Urban, Karen O and Katy Perry. I'm personally hopeful that Ennio Morricone's beautiful track "Ancora Qui" gets into the category, and I have a hunch it might. But what a bummer that "Who We Were" from "Holy Motors" didn't make the cut. I have no idea why. Also, the Weinsteins' push for Willie Nelson's "Midnight Run" from "Lawless" bore no fruit, I see. Though The Bootleggers and Emmylou Harris's "Cosmonaut" did.

Check out the full list of qualifying contenders below. We'll have the Best Original Song Contenders page updated in due time. For now, what do you expect will be nominated from the category?

Read Full Post
<p>Donna Summer in 2009</p>

Donna Summer in 2009

Credit: AP Photo

Donna Summer, Rush, Public Enemy are in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2013

Who has to come back again next year?

Rush fans rejoice! The power trio is one of six acts who will be inducted into the  Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 2013.

The rockers, whose fans had rallied around their cause for years, will be joined by Heart, Randy Newman, Public Enemy and Donna Summer and Albert King, both of whom will be inducted posthumously.

Upon hearing of the honor, Rush’s Geddy Lee said the victory was really for the fans, who were second only to the KISS Army, in marshaling the troops to get their band inducted. “It was a cause they championed,” Lee told Rolling Stone. “I’m very relieved for them and we share this honor with them, for sure.” He also noted how happy his mom was about the news.

Newman, in his own inimitable way, expressed joy that he will be inducted, god willing, before he dies. “I’m really glad it happened when I was still around to see it.”

Heart’s Ann Wilson, who, along with Joan Jett, should have gotten in years ago,  commented to Rolling Stone, “Some people have an idea of what the shape of rock & roll is supposed to look like... We’re not really it.” My guess is that shape would be a penis.

Public Enemy becomes the fourth hip-hop act to join the hall, alongside Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys.

Among the acts on the ballot this year who did not get elected are N.W.A., Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, Procol Harum, Chic, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Marvelettes, and the Meters.

Did the Hall get it right this year?  In my mind, that’s a resounding yes. Here’s my proof: I am notoriously horrible in making predictions, but I managed to get all five inductees correct this year in this piece earlier this year. The only one I missed was Albert King because I thought only five would go in. 

This year marked the first time the public could vote for the inductees, although their voice was small: the combined public vote counted for one of the 600 ballots.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater on April 18 and will be broadcast on HBO on May. 18.

Whom do you feel should be on next year’s list?  Will Chic finally get in on its eighth nomination? Does Rush’s entry pave the way for the long list of prog rockers who are still not in? Hall & Oates? Todd Rungren? And, yes, KISS?

Read Full Post
<p>Anyone else get the feeling Johnny Depp and the horse are going to steal the show?</p>

Anyone else get the feeling Johnny Depp and the horse are going to steal the show?

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp go big with a new 'Lone Ranger' trailer

Can they make lightning strike again with a new franchise?

One of the reasons I really like "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is because the film's existence is such a cheerful, celebratory end zone dance by Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, two men who were in desperate need of at least a solid triple at the box-office.

It's hard to remember at this point a time in which Johnny Depp was thought to be box-office poison.  It's true, though.  He had a long and fascinating string of good choices that did nothing to help make him a movie star.  They made him a better actor, and I think his natural talent has mainly to do with the way he would approach his roles.  He made big decisions, risky decisions about voices and make-up and physical traits.  In "Cry-Baby," "Edward Scissorhands," "Benny and Joon," "Ed Wood," "Dead Man," "Fear And Loathing," and more, he did really good work.  The films just weren't hits, though, and it was starting to look like he'd used up his 23 chances.  Tim Burton seemed to be the one collaborator who he could turn to for even a glancing chance at commercial relevance.  I don't think that is the goal of someone's career, but it is a requirement if you're going to keep getting the opportunity to star in interesting and exciting films.

Read Full Post
<p>Andy Samberg is going to brave the always hard to win over crowd at the Independent Spirit Awards tent as this year's host.</p>

Andy Samberg is going to brave the always hard to win over crowd at the Independent Spirit Awards tent as this year's host.

Andy Samberg picks up the Independent Spirit Awards host baton

Another 'SNL' vet gets an emcee gig

Could 2013 provide the world with the best trio, er, quartet of awards show hosts ever?  "Family Guy" and "Ted" wunderkind Seth McFarlane is on board for the grand daddy, the Oscars; "SNL" vets and BFF's Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are making NBC and the Golden Globes must see TV again; and now Film Independent has announced that the usually funny and creative Andy Samberg will top line the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards.  It's signalling a new generation of emcees (for the moment) and at worst should pique casual award show viewers interest.  Granted, the Spirits are broadcast at 10 PM on a Saturday night on low rated IFC, but for those of us in the audience it should be fun.

Read Full Post
<p>Green Day's &quot;&iexcl;Tre!&quot;</p>

Green Day's "¡Tre!"

Album Review: Green Day's 'Tre!' ends the party on a solid note

Last in trilogy marches to a bittersweet conclusion

After releasing two albums of raw and ready rock since September, the party’s over, or at least on its last legs, on “Tre!,” the third in Green Day’s trilogy, out today.

The exhilaration on “Uno!,” released in September, and “Dos!,” out last month,  has been replaced with a certain weariness, but the dozen tunes here still have plenty of bite. Performed at a much slower, less hyper speed than the songs on the first two sets, “Tre!” provides some food for thought for those who have stayed too long too often, while also serving an an excellent showcase for Billie Joe Armstrong’s often plaintive vocals.

Opening with country-tinged waltz “Brutal Love,” most of the songs on “Tre!” come with a tinge of regret whether it’s over a lost love on the horn-laced “Missing You” or a lost childhood (at any age) on the pulsing “X-Kid.”

The band’s familiar quick-tempo-ed bounce returns on the power poppy “Sex, Drugs and Violence,” which is doubly likable for the line:  “Well, I don’t want to be an imbecile, but Jesus made me that way.”

The most interesting cut is the six-minute “Dirty Rotten Bastards,” which is about four songs in one. The tune, which would have sounded right at home on “21st Century Breakdown,” opens with a sing-songy militant bounce before progressing to some serious guitar shredding bolstered by Tre Cool’s relentless drumming,  then shifting into a melodic mid-tempo lament to “all God’s losers,” before majestically bending into a slower section.

The album closes with a piano ballad, “The Forgotten,” which sounds like Green Day crossed with Oasis, and will be familiar with "Twight" fans for its inclusion on the soundtrack for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2."  Green Day doesn't do happy particularly well, but they've got pissed off, bittersweet, and disenchanted down.

The three albums work as a piece, but also stand confidently on their own individually. Of the three, “Tre” will appeal to Green Day fans who like their music a little more contemplative than mindless.

Read Full Post
<p>I&nbsp;have to say, I'm not really sure about the all-fire version of the costume they designed for Superman in Zack Snyder's 'Man Of Steel'</p>

I have to say, I'm not really sure about the all-fire version of the costume they designed for Superman in Zack Snyder's 'Man Of Steel'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

New 'Man Of Steel' trailer reveals a sadder but stronger Superman

Could Zack Snyder successfully redefine the character?

Wow.

That is, of course, the exact word that Warner Bros. wants to hear in response to their new trailer for "Man Of Steel," and while I guess I thought we'd be seeing more action, what with Zack Snyder describing the trailer as "crazy" a few weeks ago.

What we see here instead explains a lot about the approach that the film is taking, and it uses much of the footage we saw at last year's Comic-Con, but with new footage as well.  There's an early beat where we see Clark fleeing from a classroom, upset, and Ma Kent (Diane Lane) has to talk him down, asking him to focus on her voice like it's an island.  Is this where he first gets his super-hearing and he is suddenly overwhelmed by voices around the world?  We also see that he is haunted by an early incident in his life where he saves a bus full of kids from drowning, and that he seems to be running from who he is.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Lincoln&quot;&nbsp;broke the nominations record previously held by &quot;Black&nbsp;Swan.&quot;</p>

"Lincoln" broke the nominations record previously held by "Black Swan."

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

'Lincoln' leads nominations for the 18th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards

And the BFCA adds a slew of new categories this year, but why?

Not that this is something to be particularly proud of, but the Broadcast Film Critics Association has done its annual duty of distilling the Oscar race to what we think it is now (now, NOW!). There's nothing of passionate note in its overall picks, nothing of unique flavor. But as I have explained in the past, that's the result of a vaster group than these other, smaller 20- and 30-member critics groups. A bigger spread tends to yield consensus and, well, boring choices across the board.

The Academy can sometimes offer more refined selections throughout its many categories, focused on the work of peers, knowledgeable in it, even. But here you'll find what seems like auto-pilot selections, some of them even traceable to various publicity campaigns around this or that contender (nice work in the Best Song category, "Act of Valor" pushers). I don't claim them, though I certainly voted in them (full disclosure: I am a member). I don't see my identity here. Indeed, I don't see much of an identity at all.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Django Unchained&quot;</p>

"Django Unchained"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Django Unchained' lands eight St. Louis film critics nods

'Moonrise Kingdom' also picked up quite a few

As we wait for the BFCA news to drop, the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association has tossed its hat into the ring with a list of nominations as well. It's nice to see that Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" registered so well, landing eight nominations. Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" was also a favorite from the group, as well as fellow indie "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Check out the full list below and, well, you know -- The Circuit.

Read Full Post
<p>Helena Bonham Carter at last week's &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables&quot; premiere in London.&nbsp;</p>

Helena Bonham Carter at last week's "Les Misérables" premiere in London. 

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Helena Bonham Carter to be honored by the London Film Critics' Circle

The actress will receive the Dilys Powell Award for contribution to British cinema

I'm the first to admit that I don't tend to take great interest in press releases announcing the umpteenth honorary award winner of the season -- while frequently deserved and hard-earned, such honors can seem like unspecific garnish beside their tangier competitive counterparts.

Still, having now served for two years on the awards committee of the London Film Critics' Circle, I'm well aware of the extensive consultation and organization that goes into such seemingly simple awards. As we tried to decide on a recipient for next year's Dilys Powell Award -- recognizing outstanding contribution to British cinema -- a lengthy list of candidates was considered and debated over several meetings and countless emails, until one outstanding name was roundly agreed upon: Helena Bonham Carter.

Read Full Post
<p>Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in &quot;Take This Waltz&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in "Take This Waltz"

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

'Silver Linings Playbook' and 'Take This Waltz' stand out in Detroit Film Critics Society nods

'Argo' and 'The Impossible' also favorites

The Detroit Film Critics Society has announced its list of nominees, and they refreshingly go their own way in a number of areas. "Silver Linings Playbook" led the way with seven nominations and Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" was a favorite, too. Other unique picks include Bill Murray in the Best Actor line-up for "Hyde Park on Hudson" and Greta Gerwig in Best Actress for "Damsels in Distress." Check out the full list below and remember to keep track of the season via The Circuit.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME