Latest Blog Posts

<p>Carly Rae Jepsen's &quot;Call Me Maybe&quot;</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"

Grammy Awards 2013: Handicapping Song of the Year

Carly Rae Jepsen takes on Miguel and Kelly Clarkson

As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at one of the big four general awards: the coveted Song of the Year.

Song of the Year nominees:

"The A Team" Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
"Call Me Maybe" Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
"We Are Young" Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)


WHO’S MISSING: Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” is an obvious omission here, as are record of the year nominees Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

THE PLAYERS: Song of the year goes to the songwriter, so it’s helpful to think of the tunes in demo form, stripped of nothing but a voice and maybe a guitar or piano.  Quite frankly, this isn’t that strong a slate. While “Call Me Maybe” certainly captured a pop culture moment, so did “Gangnam Style”: That doesn’t make something a great song. Miguel’s “Adorn” has dominated the R&B charts, staying at No. 1 for 20 weeks, but that won’t necessarily sway the vote since this category is open to the entire 12,000-voting panel. People really like Kelly Clarkson, but more for her voice than for the song “Stronger.” Ed Sheeran is developing into a really great songwriter, but his material with Taylor Swift and One Direction is more interesting than “The A Team.”

THE ODDS:
This is a race between “Call Me Maybe,” for its iconic status, and “We Are Young,” which is the far more interesting song.

THE WINNER: “We Are Young,” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)

Previous Predictions:

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Best Rock Song
Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best New Artist

 

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Timberlake at the 2013 SAG&nbsp;Awards.</p>

Justin Timberlake at the 2013 SAG Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Justin Timberlake reveals details on his new documentary and album

Why is it called 'The 20/20 Experience?'

Like seemingly every musician breathing today,  Justin Timberlake is making a documentary.  And we’ve already seen some it.

It turns out that the video snippet he dropped Jan. 10 announcing that he was “ready” to make more music is a portion from the forthcoming documentary.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelor' recap: It's time for a relay race as the ladies fight for Sean

Tierra lets her freak flag fly yet again

Oh, my. This episode is SO crazy! How crazy? The craziness could not be contained in just one night! Too much crazy! Thus, we'll see part two of the craziness tomorrow! Crazy, crazy, crazy! Oh, and it seems someone gets injured. Again. I'm beginning to feel as if "The Bachelor" is a little too hung up on driving ratings by telling us someone went to the hospital or her lips turned blue or Sean got worried about whether or not they would survive the week. I mean, from here it's a pretty short step to trying to get someone injured with uneven bungee cords or paintball guns loaded with real ammunition "by accident" or a running of the bulls in Pamplona while wearing ankle weights and blindfolds. 

Read Full Post
Your Academy Awards nominee class of 2013

Your Academy Awards nominee class of 2013

The gang's almost all here

A plethora of famous faces attended the Academy's annual Oscar luncheon this afternoon in Beverly Hills and that means yet another annual "class of" nominees photograph. This year's group shot finds Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis in the center of the image right in front of the Oscar statue (and also right next to best actor nominee Bradley Cooper). Can you find your favorite nominee in the crowd and, more importantly, who's missing?

For a larger version of the photo click here.

Read Full Post
Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and more shine at 2013 Oscar nominees luncheon
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and more shine at 2013 Oscar nominees luncheon

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain and Bradley Cooper also hit the red carpet

The Beverly Hilton Hotel was awash in A-list stars on Monday afternoon for the official 2013 Oscar nominees luncheon, with first-time nominees including Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Miserables") and 9-year-old "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhane Wallis rubbing shoulders with awards-season vets like Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") and Amy Adams ("The Master") for a day filled with hobnobbing and perhaps more than a few forced smiles (something "Lincoln" nominee Tommy Lee Jones clearly can't be bothered with).

Check out all the star-studded pics in the gallery below.

The 85th Annual Academy Awards airs on Feb. 24 with host Seth MacFarlane.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Tina Fey's newest film, 'Admission,' is about to open even as she celebrates the conclusion of '30 Rock' and looks ahead to future projects like 'The Nest'</p>

Tina Fey's newest film, 'Admission,' is about to open even as she celebrates the conclusion of '30 Rock' and looks ahead to future projects like 'The Nest'

Credit: Focus Features

Tina Fey may 'Nest' with the director of 'Pitch Perfect' for Universal

Paula Pell's script sounds like a perfect fit for Fey

Tina Fey is going to be a busy, busy woman now that "30 Rock" is finished.  I get this feeling like the entire industry has been waiting for her to conclude the series so they can all get busy making her stinking rich.  She is pretty much universally loved by the people making decisions in this industry, and she's as valuable behind the camera as in front of it.

I'm out the door in a few minutes to go see "Admission," and I'm curious to see how she is in it, although I think it's just one of what I'm sure will be many Tina Fey movies in the next few years as Hollywood tries to figure out what works best for her at the box office.  The pairing of her with Paul Rudd is almost like doing a movie on training wheels.  Of course they'll be charming and funny together, whether there's anything more to the movie or not.  Those two seem perfectly paired in terms of comic sensibility.

I like the idea of her starring in something written by Paula Pell, who was a producer on "This Is 40" and who served as one of Judd Apatow's on-set sounding boards for new material as they were working.  Pell has a very wry and active presence on Twitter these days, and she's known Fey since the "Saturday Night Live" days, so there's a comfort level there already.  Pell just set up her script for "The Nest" with Fey's company Little Stranger Inc. to produce at Universal, and Jason Moore, who directed "Pitch Perfect," is currently negotiating to make this as his next film.

Read Full Post
Review: Jim James 'Regions of Light and Sound of God'

Review: Jim James 'Regions of Light and Sound of God'

My Morning Jacket frontman's funky solo step outside of arena-sized jams

In his work with Monsters of Folk and on all the varietal Yim Yames tracks, its easy to hear that Jim James has a "small music" streak in him when he's not fronting arena jammers My Morning Jacket.

And make no mistake: there are what I'd call "jams" still on "Regions of Light and Sound of God," with keen, rolling guitar lines and long instrumental sections. This solo set contains more hooks and melodic pop ideas tucked in the back pocket of James' jeans, flourishing with the help of horns and sampled drums. Pushed to the front is James' delicate alto, as opposed to his full-throated tenor, dreamily looping through left-of-center world rock like "All Is Forgiven" and time-travel funks like awesome opener "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)."

At times he channels George Harrison to cool, wallpapery, new-age effect. The close-eyed groove of "Dear One" and acoustic hybrid "A New Life" feel amicably retro, in its lyrics of "babes" and "stardust" and "daily every minute your possession of my mind / ticking synchronicty of time." Other times, he's chopped up his pop-folk motifs and re-assembled them into a similar sonic magic that the Dirty Projectors have (here's looking at you "Of The Mother Again"). Conceptually, it's "inspired by life and the novel in woodcuts 'God's Man' by Lynd Ward." Sonically, it's an earful.

"Regions of Light and Sound of God" is progress for James, with nuanced and progressive performances all over its, well, regions. Not every song will captivate the listener, but maybe that's the secret to relaxing and enjoying  James' little mists and mystics.

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel&nbsp;Craig in &quot;Skyfall&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Music - Original Score

'Anna Karenina,' 'Argo,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Lincoln' and 'Skyfall' square off

(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 Score, are you ever predictable. This year’s nominees are not diverse in terms of being films not cited in other categories – Best Picture nominees took three of the spots, while the other two contenders are from films that have nine nominations between them. Also predictably, only one first-time nominee is in the mix. Diversity was nonetheless made up for in the nationalities of the composers (four countries represented) and the locales of the nominated films – the nominees are set on three different continents and the movies’ themes resulted in Russian, Indian and Persian influences, among others, on the music.

To most of us watching this race, there were four very predictable nominees and all came through. The fifth spot was always up in the air so there were no shocking omissions. That said, I think three titles could reasonably considered “snubbed”: “Cloud Atlas” and “The Master” both received notable precursor attention. It’s also somewhat odd that “Beasts of the Southern Wild”’s great score by Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer couldn’t score even with the film’s four big nominations. The branch kept up its tradition of only nominating one new composer.

The nominees are…

Read Full Post
<p>Matthew McConaughey in &quot;Mud&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey in "Mud"

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Jeff Nichols' 'Mud' with Matthew McConaughey gets a poster

Film is set for April 26 release

If I wasn't clear enough at Sundance, I'm a huge fan of Jeff Nichols' "Mud." I can't wait to see it again and I have no doubt it will linger in my top 10 list until the end of the year. Roadside Attractions has begun its roll-out of the film, which is set for an April 26 release, first with a trailer in advance of the North American premiere at Sundance and now with a sweet poster that puts the film's star, Matthew McConaughey, front and center. Check out my interview with McConaughey from Park City here and get a load of the full poster (which debuted at Entertainment Weekly) below.

Read Full Post
Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 168

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 168

Dan and Alan talk Super Bowl, 'Monday Mornings,' 'Community,' 'Smash' and more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! 
 
I hope your post-Super Bowl hangovers have passed, because it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
In this week's podcast, we talk extensively about the Super Bowl, including the commercials, the halftime show and the blackout. We talk about Monday's premiere of the TNT's "Monday Mornings," as well as the variably successful returns of NBC's "Smash" and "Community" and AMC's "The Walking Dead."
 
And we dedicate much more time to the "30 Rock" finale, including answering a handful of Listener Mail queries. 
 
Here's the breakdown:
Super Bowl XLVII (00:00:55 - 23:20)
"Monday Mornings" (00:23:20 - 00:35:10)
"Smash" (00:35:10 - 00:46:40)
"Community" (00:46:40 - 00:56:15)
"The Walking Dead" (00:56:20 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - Kareem's Thoughts on "Girls" (01:03:30 - 01:09:45)
"30 Rock" finale (01:09:45 - 01:37:10)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Read Full Post

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 168: 'Community,' 'Smash,' 'The Walking Dead' & more

Dan and Alan also review Super Bowl ads, TNT's 'Monday Mornings' and revisit the '30 Rock' finale

The

Another long Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week, as Dan and I discuss various Super Bowl-related entertainment (or the lack thereof), the revamped returns of "Smash" And "Community," discuss TNT's "Monday Mornings," check in on the return of "The Walking Dead," and spend even more time extolling the virtues of "30 Rock." Oh, and we get to discuss Kareem Abdul-Jabar, TV critic. Always fun. The lineup: 

Super Bowl XLVII (00:00:55 - 23:20)
"Monday Mornings" (00:23:20 - 00:35:10)
"Smash" (00:35:10 - 00:46:40)
"Community" (00:46:40 - 00:56:15)
"The Walking Dead" (00:56:20 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - Kareem's Thoughts on "Girls" (01:03:30 - 01:09:45)
"30 Rock" finale (01:09:45 - 01:37:10)
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Read Full Post
<p>Tim Burton on the set of &quot;Frankenweenie&quot;</p>

Tim Burton on the set of "Frankenweenie"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tim Burton on Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion and the personal touch of 'Frankenweenie'

The Oscar nominee discusses coming back to the property that got him fired

The last time Tim Burton made the awards press rounds, he was a nominee for 2005's "Corpse Bride." Interestingly enough, after a few decades in the live action trenches carving out his own identity and aesthetic on the screen, it's been only in the animation arena that Oscar has taken notice. He's back again this year as a nominee for his most personal film in some time, "Frankenweenie."

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME