Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night! Also live from New York? Me! I’m here working on some upcoming projects, but I’m still reporting for duty (albeit with frigid fingers) here in the City That Never Sleeps. On deck tonight: host Adam “Moves Like Jagger” Levine and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Levine was a semi-controversial choice as host in some circles, but if Bruno Mars taught us anything this year, it’s that someone used to performing in front of live audiences often is a great choice to host “SNL”. Levine’s musical persona is fairly cocky, so let’s see how much he pokes fun at himself tonight. My expectations aren’t terrifically on that front, but who knows? (My expectations for at least two of the three other coaches from “The Voice” to appear tonight? Exponentially higher.)
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1. Beyonce: She gets more attention than President Obama for allegedly lip-syncing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at his second Inauguration. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are already plotting ways to get the attention back for the Super Bowl.
2. Justin Timberlake: The original Justin dresses up in a “Suit & Tie” and the world welcomes him back. The first single from his new album “The 20/20 Experience.” sets a record at pop radio and soars 84-4 on the Billboard Hot 100. He’s bringing sexy back. Can he bring the record industry back too?
3. Coachella: The line-up for the 2013 festival includes such veteran acts as a reunited Stone Roses, Blur and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. That Coachella! And here’s to all the darling hipsters who think the Indio, Calif. festival is so cutting edge.
4. Justin Bieber: The Prince of Pop, as his label is trying to label him, is truly the King of Twitter. This week he surpassed Lady Gaga as the most-followed person on Twitter with more than 33.33 million followers. Think about what that says about us...
5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The rapping duo takes “Thrift Shop” to No. 1 for their first Billboard Hot 100 hit. We have a hunch they won’t have to bargain hunting anymore.
6. Adele: The British superstar confirms that she will perform her James Bond theme, “Skyfall,” at the Academy Awards. If her acceptance speech is half as amusing as speech at the Golden Globes, just let her talk, forget about her singing.
7. The Flaming Lips: We know it’s a sign of the times, but it feels like they went a little overboard by writing “Sun Blows Up Today” specifically for a Hyundai ad that will air during the Super Bowl. Now if it were for the Kia Hamsters, that would be a totally different thing.
8.Madonna: With final 2012 figures finally in, Madge’s “MDNA” tour tallies a staggering gross of $305,158,363. The outing registers at No. 10 on Billboard’s list of all time top tours. Who needs record sales when you have ticket sales like that?
9. A$AP Rocky: He scores his first No. 1 album with “Long.Live.A$AP.” He’s talented, for sure, but is it okay that his biz partner’s nickname, A$AP Yams, makes us giggle every time?
10. WNSH: New York City finally gets a country radio station again for the first time since 1996. NYC was already the No. 1 market for country album sales in the U.S. Imagine what will happen now?
With host Joseph Gordon-Levitt on hand, the 2013 Sundance Film Festival announced the jury and audience awards for this year's festival. "Fruitvale" won both the prestigious U.S. dramatic jury grand prize and U.S dramatic audience award. "Blood Brother" duplicated that feat in the U.S. documentary category. Other notable winners included "The Spectacular Now's" Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley winning a special jury prize for acting and honors for "Inequality for All," "Cutie and the Boxer," "Afternoon Delight" and "A River Changes Course."
A complete list of this year's winners below.
SANTA BARBARA - As "Argo" star and director Ben Affleck took the stage of the Arlington Theatre last night to begin a two-hour Modern Master Award fete at the 28th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival, he settled into that on-going self-effacing tone immediately. "Ben Affleck, career retrospective," he said. "That could go one of two ways."
Indeed, the usual reminder reel of accomplishments that kicked off the evening was set to the Foo Fighters' "Walk," with lyrics ringing a note of redemption: "I think I lost my way," "getting good at starting over," "learning to walk again," "I believe I've waited long enough, where do I begin."
And maybe that angle is slightly played out to some at this point. How much can you really feel for a millionaire who cashed in early on and wants to be taken seriously as a craftsman now? That's a point of view for the cynical, though.
Affleck, who talked with moderator Leonard Maltin about getting the acting bug early and relishing the responsibility and commitment of the job, said he was pulled aside once and given a speech of encouragement by an acting mentor that has stuck with him and gave him a leg up into the early stages of his career. Lately, as he's looked to transition from tabloid beefcake to respected filmmaker, another vote of confidence wouldn't be misplaced. And that's what he's been getting every step of the way this season -- well, from everyone save the Academy's directors branch.
The Lumineers will see a nice bump in their sales following the “Ho Hey” group’s Jan. 19 appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” but it won’t be enough for them to knock Gary Allan out of the top spot.
The longtime country singer scores his first No. 1 Billboard 200 album next week with “Set You Free.” The title is set to sell up to 100,000, handily giving it the lead over The Lumineers’ self-titled set, which will sell up to 60,000.
The soundtrack to “Pitch Perfect” continues to soar following the comedy’s release on DVD. It will be at No. 3 with up to 45,000 copies sold, according to Hits Daily Double.
In addition to Allan, the only new entry in the Top 10 will likely be the ?“2013 Grammy Nominees” album at No. 5 with sales of up to 40,000. However, that title, this week’s No. 1, A$AP Rocky’s “Long.Live.A$AP”; the “Grammy Nominees,” Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and Kidz Bop 23” are all in a tight race for the No. 4 spot with each targeted to sell between 35,000-40,000, so it’s too close to call the No. 4-7 spots.
Taylor Swift’s “Red” and the “Les Miserables” soundtrack are also locked in a tie for No. 8 with both aiming for between 30,000-35,000 copies. Coming in at No. 10 will likely be Mumford & Sons’ “Babel.”
Last year, one of the most interesting parts of the Marvel panel at the San Diego Comic-Con was the presentation of the test footage for Edgar Wright's long-developing "Ant-Man" movie.
It was surprisingly rough, but I think it speaks to Marvel's enthusiasm for the project that they would decide to show it anyway. As a proof-of-concept, it's incredibly effective. Basically, it's just Ant-Man running down a hallway and then knocking out a couple of goons with guns. What makes it feel so fresh is the way Ant-Man alters his own size during the run and the fight. Devin Faraci described it as "size fu" after we all saw that Comic-Con panel, and that's a perfect way to sum up what it is that Wright seems to be doing. He and Joe Cornish have been working on a script for the film for a while now, in-between other projects, and it looks like they've decided where "Ant-Man" fits into the larger picture.
Kevin Feige spoke to MTV Splash Page about Phase Three, which is going to be the batch of films made after "The Avengers 2" arrives in theaters in 2015. They set a November 6, 2015 release date for the film in October last year, and Feige set the record straight on how "Ant-Man" fits into things. It sounds like they're going to really start to stretch and try new things once they've got "The Avengers 2" in theaters, which Feige says is coming together well right now.
The nominations for the César Awards -- the French film industry's answer to the Oscars -- were announced this morning, and most of the top contenders were easily seen coming: Oscar hopeful "Amour" received nine nominations, as did historical drama "Farewell My Queen," while "Rust and Bone" and "Holy Motors" scored eight apiece. The field leader, however, may come as a surprise to non-French observers: actress-director Noemie Lvovsky's time-travel comedy "Camille Rewinds," still little seen outside its home country, racked up a massive 13 nods.
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Premiering at Sundance, "Very Good Girls" stars Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olson, and with the girls' coming-of-age tale along with the female director's debut, Lewis set out to have a "strong female voice" to her songs -- even if she didn't spend much time singing on the largely instrumental tracks. Lewis wrangled in some backup singers and took cues from legendary soundtracks like "Harold & Maude" and some newer composers to dive in.
"I think of 'There Will Be Blood' and Trent Reznor's works when I think of these song-based scores," she told me in Park City. "Using old ideas, they speak to a certain generation."
As for new solo material -- since Rilo Kiley has broken up -- Lewis says she's halfway through recording a new album, and is "forming the concept as we speak right now. I love collaborating, so there's a whole cast of characters that I've toured with, played with in the past. It's a village effort."
Lewis' last solo album, "Acid Tongue," dropped via Warner Bros. in 2008, boasting of contributors like Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward (of She & Him), Chris Robinson, boyfriend and songwriter Johnathan Rice and Elvis Costello. She also released a duo album Jenny And Johnny with Rice in 2010, "I'm Having Fun Now."
Lewis also strongly hinted that she's joining "old friends" the Postal Service for tour in 2013. She said that it had been "10 years since we've played a show," and that she'll be needing to dust off her synthesizer for the stint. As previously reported, synth-pop crew the Postal Service (DNTEL and Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard) have reconvened for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April, and are planning on skedding further tour dates for those who can't make the double-weekend event. Jenny Lewis sang on their sole album "Give Up."
"I'm very excited," she said of the mysterious reunion.
I reviewed Tommy Wirkola's "Dead Snow" at Sundance back in 2009, and I was not a fan. As I said in that piece, "'Dead Snow' takes a really great monster to build a film around - Nazi zombies - and somehow adds up to total mediocrity in execution." Well, looks like Wirkola is two for two now. When you're making a film called "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," you can approach it as a horror film first, or you can approach it as a dark comedy, or you could perhaps approach it as a really boring action movie that flubs both the horror and the comedy.
Guess which approach Wirkola opted for.
The script by Wirkola and Dante Harper opens with a very dark rendition of the classic Hansel and Gretel story, and right away, it feels like they're rushing to get through that moment instead of taking the time to tell it. I think it's actually sort of clever to start with that fairy tale, let us really see what that witch is like, and then once the kids deal with her and save themselves, jump forward to see that they've taken this on as their life's work. I can see how that premise could work. It just doesn't work here, in this film.
Every time a new reality TV show or special hits the air, someone claims that the genre has scraped bottom. Rarely do I agree -- until now. Really, "Plastic Wives," a one-hour special airing this Sunday (Jan. 27 at 10:00 p.m. ET, TLC) has a little something for everyone... to hate.