Can't wait another minute for the third season of "Downton Abbey"? Really, the first episode airs Sun. Jan. 6, so it's quite unrefined to get that keyed up. Consider drinking some tea or something. Luckily, knowing how high strung we Americans are (not so high strung they couldn't hold off on broadcasting the season here more than three months behind its U.K. air dates, but whatev), the powers-that-be have posted ten minutes of the first episode on Facebook. As you might have guessed, the place is buzzing about the long-awaited nuptials of Matthew and Mary, but that doesn't mean there isn't drama and an ominous sense of foreboding.
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Every season there is a movie or performance that is a head scratcher when it comes to why it does or doesn't appeal to the Academy. Films and portrayals that will be long remembered after a number of other nominated works are getting their share of the best picture spotlight now. Immediate examples that come to mind include "Do the Right Thing" (one of the greatest films of the '80s), "The Ice Storm" (ditto for the '90s), "The Dark Knight" (for the '00s) and, oh yeah, Stanley Kubrick's "2001" (of all time). And as for overlooked actors, last year found both Ryan Gosling ("Drive") and Michael Fassbender ("Shame") of the list of Academy omissions gone wrong. With the advent of the 10 nomination option for best picture, however, you would think that overlooking great movies would be a rare occurrence. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I give you my own best picture of the year, "The Impossible."
Pulp gave you what you really wanted on Christmas Day. The British rockers released a new song, "After You," a collaboration with former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy at midnight on Dec. 25 this week.
It's not a stretch to say the tune may remind you of Franz Ferdinand -- Pulp were influential in that Scottish band's output, and the rhythm section now has a modern spin on the classic Pulp sound. "After You," in fact, is an old Pulp demo, re-done as of last month with Murphy's thumbprint very obviously on the beat.
The band and Murphy combined just this fall for the S.S. Coachella, the music festival's foray into a floating event via cruise. According to Pitchfork, the decade-old song never had a finished version until everybody hit the studio in November.
The last time I spoke with director Tom Hooper feels like centuries ago. That's because it came the afternoon after his film "The King's Speech" screened for audiences at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival, before that film would go on to the Toronto festival and explode into the season as an unassuming heartwarmer destined for Oscar gold. It was the calm before the storm, and Hooper thinks back on it now with a hint of longing in his voice.
Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” stays locked into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as the tune logs a third week at No. 1.
The song is also No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart, as well as the Digital and On-Demand Songs charts, making it the first song to top all four charts, according to Billboard. The On-Demand Songs chart bowed in March.
“Locked” is Mars’ fourth No. 1 tune on Radio Songs chart, tying him with Sean Paul and T.I. for fifth place for males on the chart. The male leader is Usher with seven chart toppers in the chart’s 22-year history. The men have a far way to go to catch up with Mariah Carey, who has 11 No. 1s on the Radio Songs chart.
Back on the Hot 100, former No. 1, “Diamonds” by Rihanna, holds at No. 2, while the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” remains at No. 3.
Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” soars 10-4 and Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj climbs 7-5, marking Bieber’s third Top 5 hit.
Rounding out the Top 10, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” falls 4-6, Maroon 5’s “One More Night” slips 5-7, Flo Rida’s “I Cry” 6-8 and Phillip Phillip’s “Home” 8-9.
There’s good news for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz as the rappers’ independently released single rises 13-10 to be the only new entry in the Top 10.
Heart fans who have seen the Wilson sisters in concert know that Ann Wilson can wail Led Zeppelin tunes like no one since, well, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, so it’s no surprise that the group brought the house down at the annual Kennedy Center Honors, which aired last night on CBS.
What is surprising is that the ladies’ version moved Plant, who was watching in the balcony with band members John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, to tears time and time again at the Washington, D.C. event, which was taped last month. Or maybe he was just in awe of her ability to hit every single note with astonishing power. Or maybe seeing late LZ drummer John Bonham’s son Jason Bonham behind the drums also proved emotional.
The Wilson sisters weren’t the only ones paying tribute to whom Jack Black called “the greatest rock n’ roll band.” The Foo Fighters performed “Rock and Roll” —with Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals— and Lenny Kravitz played “Whole Lotta Love.” Watch those performances here and here. As you know, the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Jones are in Them Crooked Vultures together. Turns out President Obama knows the words to "Whol Lotta Love."
The annual event honored Led Zeppelin, as well as Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova and David Letterman.
We’re quite sure Washington, D.C.’s collective ears are still ringing.
The live-sung approach of "Les Misérables" may have yielded glowing reviews for the likes of Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, but less vocally gifted stars -- principally Russell Crowe -- have taken some flak. Back in the golden age of the Hollywood musical, his musical numbers might well have been dubbed, as Audrey Hepburn's were in "My Fair Lady" or Natalie Wood's in "West Side Story." Inkoo Kang wonders why we can't go back to that system: "The tendency toward multi-hyphenation is also a treat for celebrity gawkers, who get a glimpse behind the curtain, or at least feel like they are doing so, by watching stars in a rawer, less accomplished form." Personally, I don't mind an imperfect vocal when it's part and parcel of the performance and character: the very narrative of "Chicago," for example, benefits from Renee Zellweger being a more awkward performer than legions of Broadway Roxie Harts. You? [Salon]
Over the past month, Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has firmly entrenched itself as a surefire Oscar contender. Since it opened to outstanding reviews and box office earlier in the year, numerous commentators have lauded it for its portrayal of how Canadian diplomats, American spies and Hollywood big shots worked together to rescue six Americans from Iran in 1980. It has also been praised for its gripping suspense and aesthetic.
Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto was responsible in significant part for that aesthetic – a look he is the first to admit was also the result of a team. I recently spoke to the Oscar nominee (“Brokeback Mountain”) about his part in creating the film.
What are the worst Best Picture winners of all time? Though the answers may overlap, it's a question that's not entirely the same as, "What are the worst films ever to win Best Picture?" Several titles on the Academy's ultimate honor roll are artistically lacking, though that doesn't necessarily make them terrible winners. Accepting as most of us do that the Academy is rarely, if ever, going to agree with us on the year's single greatest film, we begin to value alternative virtues in Oscar champs: durability, universality, pop-cultural standing, provocation, reach.
(I had scheduled this review to go up yesterday, but held back in the interests of not being a total Christmas Day Scrooge. Keep sharing your reactions.)
"Do you hear the people sing?" blusters the famous closing chorus of stage blockbuster "Les Misérables," and rarely in musical theater has a question been more rhetorical. The line is an imperative, a war cry, sounding not only the purposeful social discontent firing the 1832 June Rebellion, but a proactive admonishment to the show's critics.
Lady Gaga fans rejoice: Mamma Monster is making a film just for you with her favorite photographer at the helm.
On Christmas, she tweeted, “Merry Christmas little monsters! Terry Richardson @Terry_World is making a #LadyGagaMOVIE documenting my life, the creation of ARTPOP + you!”
She later thanked fans for being “so patient waiting for my new album,” which still has no release date. And then sent a tweet to Richardson: “I love you @Terry_World thank you for believing in me and my fans, I have looked up to you and your work for so long, its a dream come true! Lady Gaga recently tweeted that she has written more than 50 songs for the new album.
Maybe the documentary will include more footage of her doing a striptease and cavorting with two other women in a bath tub.
As for any other clue as to how Lady Gaga spent her holiday (other than on Twitter), she later tweeted, “I'm listening to @MariahCarey 's christmas album dancing in my room with my weed xmas sweater. all i need now is my box wine #bestdayever