MIAMI - As thrilling as it is to be in the thick of the action at such superfests as Cannes or Sundance, I may well enjoy the smaller, less flashy film festival circuit even more -- as well as affording you a chance to catch up on previous festival hits you may have missed, the more off-the-beaten-track, locally-flavored programming often yields gems you'd never find otherwise. (And I won't lie: with less stress around covering this or that major auteur premiere comes more time to take in some local color. Hey, even cinephiles like seeing the off-screen world on occasion.)
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Bruno Mars lands his first No. 1 album next week with a huge assist from Amazon. “Unorthodox Jukebox” reaches the summit in its 12th week on the chart in large part assisted by a promotion with the online retailer that offered the album for $1.99 on Tuesday.
Billboard no longer allows sales from deeply discounted albums to count in the album’s first four weeks of release (following Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”), but after that, a lower price point counts. Therefore, chartwatchers will see Mars’ “Jukebox” swap places with Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” which likely falls to No. 2.
However, with a few days before the chart closes, “Babel” is neck and neck with three other titles, including two debuts, all of which are targeted to sell between 35,000-40,000.
Predictions are that after “Babel,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “The Heist” will leap from No. 16 to No. 3. Then comes Hillsong United’s “Zion” at No. 4 Not familiar with Hillsong United? It is the choir affiliated with Australian Pentacostal Hillsong Church. Coming in at No. 5 will likely be “Amok,” the debut release from Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace.”
Former No. 1 “All That Echoes” from Josh Groban slips to No. 6, but like the earlier titles, it’s too early in the chart week to call, as “Echoes,” “Now 45” and “Billboard #1s: 70s” are all slated to sell between 27,000-30,000 copies to name the No. 6-8 spots.
Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” and The Lumineers’ self-titled set are also in a dead heat for No. 9 and No. 10, which each poised to sell between 25,000-28,000.
Check out new music from this week and next, from Ivan Alyosha, Brooke Waggoner, the Cave Singers, the Mavericks, Autechre, Mount Moriah, Woodpigeon, Madeleine Peyroux and more.
So, fast on the heels of Sybil and Matthew's exit, another character is leaving the hallowed halls of "Downton Abbey." Of course, don't click through unless you're prepared for yes, a spoiler. So, remember, here's your SPOILER ALERT!
Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready has formed a new group with former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and ex-Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin.
The unnamed band is working on a set that will incorporate a revolving number of vocalists, among them Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman.
McCready and Martin, who were in the mid-90s’ side-project Mad Season, began writing with McKagan, and “we took some of those old Mad Season demos from that [unreleased] second ‘Disinformation’ record,” McCready tells Billboard. “We’re talking to Jaz...and I’ve been trying to find some singer to work on some of that stuff.” McCready plans to release the project on his own Hockeytalkter Records.
Mad Season’s 1995 album, “Above,” which also featured the late Layne Staley, will be reissued on April 2 with a new participation from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and new lyrics from former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan.
Additionally, McCready is prepping to go back into the studio with Pearl Jam.
We mentioned a few weeks ago that Sony Classics has lined up release dates for its summer slate, consisting of Richard Linklater's Sundance hit "Before Midnight," Woody Allen's latest, "Blue Jasmine," and Pedro Almodóvar's "I'm So Excited." The latter in particular looks to be a wild romp akin to the director's earlier work.
We might expect to see the film, which hits theaters on June 28, at the Cannes Film Festival. Almodóvar's last film, "The Skin I Live In," premiered on the Croisette and news of his latest emanated from the fest in 2012.
A new trailer has been released, courtesy of Total Film. Take a look below.
While two-thirds of this year's Best Picture Oscar nominees grossed over $100 million, there are still those who think blockbuster cinema is shortchanged by the Academy -- franchise films, in particular, struggle to get much respect beyond the technical categories, however well-executed. We can argue back and forth about the rights and wrongs of that, but for more populist-minded viewers, the Jameson Empire Awards should come as a relief.
I try not to pay too much attention to the reactions of others before I write a review, but sometimes it's hard to avoid. I saw Devin Faraci refer to the film as "an atrocity" on Twitter, and I saw Harry Knowles argue that Devin's the wrong audience and that it's a kid's film so Devin's reaction isn't fair. I've seen more reactions as negative as Devin's, and something I read actually compared the film to "The Princess Bride," which strikes me as something akin to blasphemy.
I was surprised by the vehemence of Devin's reaction, but equally disappointed that Harry seems to dismiss some very real issues with the film by simply excusing it as a kid's film. I think the frustrations I have stem from seeing things in the movie that suggest they could have pulled this one off. I think they got more right than wrong, but it's unable to come together as a cohesive experience, and I'd love to know how the choices were made that ultimately make it feel like it missed the target.