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NEW YORK -- Almost a decade ago, Richard Linklater and Jack Black first crossed professional paths. Black had been a fan of the sometimes-studio-usually-indie director going back another decade, all the way to Linklater's debut, "Slacker," but never really thought of him when he and buddy/screenwriter Mike White were developing "School of Rock." Producer Scott Rudin offered the outside-the-box suggestion of Linklater and the rest was history.
Earlier this year, Linklater and Black clocked in their second collaboration, the dark comedy/true story "Bernie," which just recently made its way to DVD and Blu-ray. Ostensibly, they're out on the circuit now to promote the home video release, but with it comes a fair amount of rejuvenated awards buzz. The film was critically acclaimed when it hit theaters in April and many called Black's performance as a small town Texas mortician who murdered an elderly woman (in a story where that premise doesn't begin to scratch the surface) his best to date. And now, after an intimate soirée down town the night before, they're sitting with me having lunch, more than happy to breathe more life into it.
Christina Aguilera is taking the name of her new album, “Lotus,” literally. As the just-released cover image shows, Aguilera springs forth naked, covered only by lots of hair extensions and subtle lighting, from a pink lotus flower.
The lotus flower has lots of symbolic meanings, including emerging from a dark period into the light or strength, since the flower’s underwater stalk is so strong. Aguilera referenced the strength in a previous statement about the album title: The lotus represents “an unbreakable flower that survives under the hardest conditions and still thrives”....Like our little lotus flower, Christina.
Fashion photographer Enrique Badulescu shot the cover and the accompanying album artwork.
"Lotus" comes out Nov. 13.
What do you think of the album cover?
BEVERLY HILLS - After triumphant screenings at Telluride and Toronto, Warner Bros. held the official Los Angeles premiere for Ben Affleck's "Argo" at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater Thursday night and it had to be characterized as a rousing success.
I can think of no better way to kick off Global James Bond Day than with the first official clip from "Skyfall."
The buzz on this film is building now, and it makes sense. We are, after all, only a month out from the release. I've talked to at least one person who saw a rough cut of the film, and their reaction to it was unbridled enthusiasm. It sounds like Sam Mendes didn't just make a good Bond film, but actually nailed the idea that this has to serve as a celebration of the 50 years that Bond has been a presence in the world of international cinema. That's a huge legacy to try to encapsulate in a single film, but the word I'm hearing is that he did it, and that fans of the series are going to be positively flattened by the movie.
I find it amazing that there are still people who seem unhappy about Daniel Craig playing James Bond. He's about as perfect for the role as anyone I could imagine, and I think the choices he makes in the role are exciting. It's important to me that on some level Bond has to be scary. That's the biggest problem I have with Roger Moore as I rematch the movies right now. I just don't think he's intimidating at all, and one of the things that defines James Bond is his license to kill. Craig's Bond has proven himself capable of killing pretty much anyone he gets his hands on, and there's something kind of glorious about what a cultured ape he is.
Last season on "Once Upon A Time," we learned that the dreaded curse of the evil queen/Regina (Lana Parrilla) had finally been broken. So, of course we eagerly awaited last week's premiere, when Regina would get her comeuppance, right? Not exactly. Regina slips off the hook, and a wraith drags Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Snow White/Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) into post-curse fairytale land -- where Mulan (Jamie Chung) is none too pleased to see either of them. I spoke to Morrison about what's next for unlucky Emma, the "final battle" ahead, and why she won't be getting into a corset anytime soon.
It’s a good week to be in Mumford & Sons. In addition to scoring the year’s best-selling opening sales week with “Babel,” the group has landed another coup: Six songs from “Babel” are on the current Billboard Hot 100 chart, making M&S the first band to land a sextet of songs on the chart simultaneously since the Beatles 48 years ago.
The band's Ben Lovett has jokingly referred to M&S as "a poor man's version of the Beatles," after portraying a Beatles cover band on "Saturday Night Live." Now they’re linked in a way he could have never imagined.
In addition to first single “I Will Wait,” which is No. 57, also in the Hot 100 are “Babel,” (No. 60), "Lover's Eyes" (No. 85), "Whispers in the Dark" (No. 86), "Holland Road" (No. 92) and "Ghosts That We Knew" (No. 94), according to Billboard.
The Beatles achieved the feat with songs from “A Hard Day’s Night” the week of Sept. 19, 1974. However, Mumford & Sons has quite a long way to to go surpass the Beatles record, set in April 1964, when the group has a staggering 14 songs concurrently on the Hot 100.
NEW YORK -- It was either serendipity or programming genius that the first NYFF press screening of David Chase's "Not Fade Away" was held today on the 50th anniversary of a seminal moment in the history of rock and roll: the release of the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do." The fab four's burst onto the scene is in fact one of the moments depicted in Chase's directorial debut that sends its protagonists on a journey of self-discovery and artistic awakening.
It's an era Chase captures with joy and passion in a film both funny and, at times, profound. Indeed, the theme of the film, Chase said in a post-screening press conference, is the conflict between security and freedom. "Human beings are always in that conflict of, 'I want to be part of something, I want to be babied, I want to be taken care of' and 'I also want to tell everybody to go fuck yourself and I'm free and I want to do what I want and I'm just my own person," he said. "That's one of the things that launched the movie in my mind."
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.
This week the New York Film Festival rages on and the Academy made a pretty significant announcement, among other bits and bobs that bubble up. So let's see what's on the docket today...
I'll be honest with you: sometimes we put up these posts as a formality. In this case, however, I couldn't be more curious to know what you make of Lee Daniels' deranged, divisive and rather delicious adaptation of Pete Dexter's bayou thriller, a crispy-coated trash pastiche that is at once knowing and brazenly heedless, and features outstanding performances from Nicole Kidman (who career we celebrated in Top 10 form this week) and Macy Gray. It received a critical drubbing at Cannes, where I was one of its few defenders, but is unsurprisingly gaining in stature after being marked in some quarters as a future cult item: Roger Ebert is a fan, while A.O. Scott calls a "hot mess," and means it as a compliment. Go see where you land, then rate the film and share your thoughts in the comments.
"30 Rock" is back for its final season, and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I spend a full hour with Gary Sinise's band...
The American Film Institute announced this morning that Oscar-winning all-rounder Mel Brooks will receive the institution's Life Achievement Award next June, at a gala tribute event to be aired on TNT. The 86 year-old actor-writer-director-producer was actually honored by the Academy at the earliest opportunity, winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his 1968 debut feature "The Producers," before 1970s streak of genre-pastiche comedies including "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," "High Anxiety" and "Silent Movie." AFI chairman Howard Stringer says, "Mel Brooks is America's long-reigning king of comedy... a master of an art form that rarely gets the respect it deserves." [LA Times]