Even after nine albums, Aimee Mann seems to always find a way to keep things fresh. She’s roared through concept albums, Christmas songs and soundtrack work; her last two albums “@#%&*! Smilers” and last week’s drop of “Charmer” have been decidedly pop-driven efforts, this new one with even more sonic layers and even a James Mercer duet.
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A review of the "Louie" season finale coming up just as soon as I throw some crayons into the skillet...
"The Mentalist" will be kicking off its fifth season with new episodes Sunday, Sept. 30 at 10:00 p.m., but that's not all that's new. It's a new night for the series, which will be up against stiff competition from NBC's Sunday night football and ABC's "666 Park Avenue." Star Robin Tunney isn't scared of no programming changes… oh, wait, maybe she is. I spoke to the actress at the TCA press tour and she discussed how she really feels about the new night, what she sees happening this season, and her feelings about Jane and Lisbon opening "the locked box."
The New York Film Festival kicks off its golden-anniversary edition tonight with the world premiere of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" -- Kris will be on hand to offer his thoughts. In the meantime, A.O. Scott shares his notes on the films he's seen from the lineup, including "Pi," which he describes as "a lavish reminder that film nowadays is sometimes not film at all, but rather a rapidly evolving digital art form." He also notes that it's an unusually large-scale choice of opener for an arthouse-dominated fest that kicked off with an Alain Resnais film three years ago. Have they sold out? Scott discusses. [New York Times]
The early critical narrative about Showtime's "Homeland" was "Okay, this is a great pilot, but how do they make it work as a series?" Then it was, "Okay, it's great so far, but they're going to screw it up in the end, right?" By the end of the season, it was — mostly — "Well, that was a terrific finish, but what do they do for an encore?"
I think the "Paranormal Activity" series is fun. Not great. Not important. Not a redefining series of genre films. But fun. 2007's "Paranormal Activity" did not pick up a distributor right away, and it didn't hit theaters until September 2009, with Paramount treating it almost as an experiment. It caught fire and it quickly became evident that the studio was going to want a follow-up. Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the original, stepped into a more supervisory position, and as he started branching out with projects like "The River" and the still-unreleased "Area 51," he helped other people build out the mythology that he started.
Tod Williams directed the sequel, and Michael R. Perry and Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst all contributed to the script. It expanded the world a bit and started to try to make sense of what happened to Katie (Katie Featherston) and Michah (Micah Sloat) in the first film. It carefully built the big set pieces so it leaned on the exact same sort of scares that the first film did, but with a baby right there in the middle of things. The film ended with an upsetting cliffhanger of sorts with Katie making off with young Hunter (William Juan Pietro), and part three went back in time to the '80s to show Katie and her sister Kristi as kids, bringing in co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to work with with Christopher Landon, who returned as the sole writer this time. I think the last fifteen minutes or so of "Paranormal Activity 3" is the scariest sustained sequence in any of the movies, and I thought it set up a really interesting broader canvass for the films. When I saw that Joost and Schulman were coming back to direct the fourth film, I thought the movie was in great hands, and I was excited to see what they came up with.
I love Ian Brennan's vision for "Glee."
"Makeover," which "Glee" co-creator Brennan wrote and Eric Stoltz directed, wasn't a Very Special episode like last week's "Britney 2.0." There was no musical icon to celebrate or serious social issue to tackle. There was a special guest star in Sarah Jessica Parker, but Brennan knows how to write to that having previously penned Gwyneth Paltrow's debut episode "The Substitute" and Ricky Martin's "The Spanish Teacher."
More importantly, Brennan knows how to keep "Glee" light on its feet. "Makeover" was both the most relaxed and best episode we've seen so far in Season 4. We're still making progress.
Can you believe Ven is gone? I know; it's a huge relief. Anyway, the designers feel the same way, and not just because they were so sick of that fan/flower trick they wanted to yank their own teeth to distract themselves from the searing pain of seeing it over and over and OVER again. But Ven's timely exit has left them a little shaken -- and focused on getting to Lincoln Center. Christopher, however, is feeling confident, having won three challenges. I think Christopher may be getting a little smug, really.
I posted my review of CBS' "Elementary" yesterday. Now it's your turn. For those who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Was it too easy to compare it to either "Sherlock" or "The Mentalist" (or any other CBS procedural) to enjoy, or were Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu interesting enough to make it work? If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, did this feel like a fair take on the character? Did you figure out where the story was going before Holmes and Dr. Watson did? And will you watch again?
Have at it.
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I lecture you on consistent font use...
Fixating as we do on the seasonal ins and outs of the Oscar process, it’s easy to forget that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a purpose beyond handing out gold stars to the industry’s great and good. As an organization dedicated both to the development and preservation of the medium, they have fostered a wealth of films and archive materials that have scant relationship to the Academy Awards. Little wonder they warmed so to the film-preservation paean that was “Hugo” last year.
Still, when their archiving obligations overlap with celebration of the awards that made them famous, it’s an irresistible promotional opportunity for AMPAS. Hence the launch of their Oscar’s Most Wanted movement, which seeks to complete their library of every single film, short or feature-length, that was once graced with the golden man’s touch.
Band of Horses will contend that the move from an indie to the major label system definitely works in some artists’ favor. It did for them. Since moving on from esteemed Sub Pop to a partnered drop with Fat Possum and Columbia, now squarely on Columbia, the rock troupe has seen a lot more sales action even without a big radio presence. Just this week, they earned their second-best charting and sales tally for new “Mirage Rock,” landing at No. 13 yesterday.