Last year, the Academy crossed the pond to celebrate the career of Vanessa Redgrave with an intimate tribute evening in London; this year, it's two-time Oscar winner Pedro Almodóvar's turn, with the British capital again hosting on December 13. Not to be confused with an honorary award, it's a more casual and cosy form of back-patting -- and this one is set to include appearances from such colleagues and admirers as Stephen Frears, Alberto Iglesias and Jean-Paul Gaultier, as well as a Q&A with Almodóvar himself. The AMPAS press release cites "the breadth of his artistic explorations, his passionate engagement with the human heart, and a worldview often articulated by powerful female leads." The news underlines that Almodóvar is plainly the Academy's Euro auteur of choice, having already accomplished the all-too-rare feat of winning both a general-field Oscar (Original Screenplay for "Talk to Her") and the foreign-language award (for "All About My Mother"). [AMPAS]
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Kurt Sutter really wrecked the curve for "Sons of Anarchy" season finales with last season's disastrous "To Be, Act 2." So anything would probably have been an improvement over that. But there was still a chance that "J'ai Obtenu Cette" (French for Opie's final words, "I got this") would go completely off the rails after what's been a solid enough (not great, not awful) season.
It didn't go off the rails. But it also didn't do much to really change the repetitive game we've been watching for five seasons now.
Rightly or wrongly, the term 'Holocaust film' is often greeted with cynicism in Oscar-watching circles, where the Academy's perennial recognition of cinema centered on that period of history as something of a running joke.
It's not entirely a fair one, of course. 70-odd years on, the atrocities of Nazi Germany remain so vast, so politically and socially pervasive, that one can hardly blame filmmakers for continually seeking new angles within it – it's a story that will never be completely told.
The Academy's appreciation of the subject's enduring artistic relevance covers such films as “Schindler's List,” “The Pianist” and “The Reader,” but it's in the Best Foreign Language Film category where it reveals itself most consistently. The number of Holocaust-themed films nominated in the category over the years, up to and including last year's “In Darkness,” has led some more jaded pundits to dismiss any such submission as awards bait of sorts. However, if Cate Shortland's superb new film “Lore” – Australia's Oscar submission, though wholly German-set and spoken – follows in their footsteps, it won't be because it comfily ticks any boxes.
It’s only one part of the overall voting process, but if iTunes results are any indication of larger trends, then the results tonight will be perfunctory rather than truly surprising. Last night I predicted that the audience watching “The Voice” wouldn’t vote for a classic rock singer into the Final Four. But there sits Terry McDermott at Number Two on the charts, so I vastly underestimated American’s hunger for Foreigner. Cassadee Pope had an even stronger overall showing, placing both of her songs inside the Top 10. Nicholas David’s cover of “Over The Rainbow” also made it into the coveted Top 10, as did Trevin Hunte with “And I Am Telling You I am Not Going”. Only Melanie Martinez and Amanda Brown failed to crack the all-important threshold. Brown’s showing was expected, but Martinez has been surprisingly strong on the charts over the last three weeks, which is why I picked McDermott over her to leave tonight.
At this point, Buke & Gase's "General Dome" has been available to stream for 15 days. It's been in my browser tabs for 14 of those. I've listened to it daily and I still don't quite have the words to describe it.
This urgently-timed piece of noise combines about 10 layers of rhythmic sound, with Arone Dyer sharp, pining report dotting throughout. "Takes one to know one," she says accusingly, shortly before a operatic bridge diverges into this false climax and murky cipher. I don't know what to do with it beyond keeping it on hand while I do all things internet, and maybe that's the point.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have released the first song from their new album "Push the Sky Away," along with a slew of tour dates for 2013. It's a good weekd for Nick Cave fans.
"We No Who U R" has a title straight out of a ransom note, but the song itself is a sorrowful batch of natural images, filtered through a blues structure and dotted with flute. Just like 'im, ain't it? The trudging beat may not be the best intro for the notice into Cave's work, but for longtime listeners, it's a strong indication of the spare sounds to come.
As I noted last week, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' current incarnation is essentially Grinderman (sans Mick Harvey), with two longtime Bad Seeds members added in. That six-piece crew has committed to a dozen or so tour dates starting in March, with Sharon Van Etten opening. Looks like a great big "Sorry West Coast" to me. Also looks like we can expect a playdate at SXSW. Tickets for announced shows go up tomorrow (Dec. 5).
Today, A$AP Rocky released the video for his single "F**ckin' Problems," off of "LongLiveA$AP." It coincides with the announcement that the album is now due on Jan. 15.
Here are five points for clarification:
1) "F**ckin' Problems" does not refer to having difficulties fornicating. It's about problems that are more difficult than others, first and foremost, plus needing to have sex so much and ample reserve of game girls that such a lifestyle becomes an issue. Suspiciously, f*cking b*tches helps to solve said problems. SO DEEP.
Don’t mess with Kimberly Perry. As the video shows for “Better Dig Two,” The Band Perry’s new murder ballad, she takes “til death do us part” literally. The clip debuted on CMT.com today.
[More after the jump...]
A year ago, Benh Zeitlin and Ben Lewin had never met, but both men were on the verge of traveling on a similar journey. The two filmmakers found their films "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Zeitlin) and "The Surrogate" (Lewin, and later re-titled "The Sessions") accepted into the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Six weeks later, both emerged from the annual indie film showcase with critical accolades and a new home under the wise eyes of noted mini-major Fox Searchlight. Fast forward 11 months and "Beasts" is a projected best picture nominee and "The Sessions" could find stars John Hawkes and Helen Hunt nominated in the best actor and best supporting actress race respectively.
Nearly a full year later, Joe Carnahan's "The Grey" is still, to me, one of 2012's best films. There was talk last year of it being released in time for awards consideration, but it didn't happen. And when the January bow happened this year, there was discussion of bringing it back around for consideration by year's end. It looks like that will happen, in some small way.
Open Road Films has announced that the film will be given an exclusive two-week engagement at Laemmle theaters in both Santa Monica and Encino starting this Friday, December 7. Guild and Academy members will be given free entrance to the showings by presenting their membership cards, so obviously the goal is to get them out of the house to see the film on the big screen rather than risk it being lost in the never-ending stack of screeners that accumulates this time of year.
Finally, a word directly from Thom Yorke on the future of his Atoms For Peace supercrew: the band has confirmed a new released date, some artwork and a tracklist for album "AMOK."
The full-length debut will be out via XL on Feb. 26, a month after initially reported, with the personnel as expected, featuring Radiohead frontman Yorke, longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, Mauro Refosco and Flea. The set is only nine tracks long, which is actually unsurprising, considering Radiohead's last effort "The King of Limbs" was only eight.
Stanley Donwood, who has also worked with Yorke & Co. for stretches, is also behind artwork for the album. You can see the cover below.
Atoms For Peace have promised to post new material on their website soon; Yorke said in his statement that Atoms For Peace may play shows next year, and that the project is "ongoing."
"Atoms is a ongoing and open ended project, where it leads i know not for certain... which is what is nice about it."
If this trailer for “Sound City” doesn’t simultaneously make your pulse race and make you tear up a little, then you might want to go ahead and crawl back into bed and contemplate if your heart is three sizes too small.
As previously reported, the Dave Grohl-directed documentary, which will have its grand coming out party at Sundance in January, lovingly details the Van Nuys, Calif’s studios rise—it’s where Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was recorded along with several other classics— as well as its fall when it failed to keep up with the digital times.
[More after the jump...]