The all-stars are back! The all-stars are back! But before we got to exactly which all-stars will be joining out top ten dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance," we have an opening tribute to Gene Kelly. I get the concept; we have a smattering of costumes from his most famous roles, a dollop of his most famous steps, but it all feels a little disjointed and hard to watch to me -- and I love Gene Kelly. It's not an auspicious start to the episode, but let's hope things improve from here. Our guest judge tonight is Benjamin Millepied, who is the founder of the L.A. Dance Project. And guess what? There's going to be a performance from L.A. Dance Project tonight!
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Mike Birbiglia has gotten a surprising amount of mileage out of telling the story of his early days in stand-up comedy and the sleep disorder that forced him to take stock of his life. First, it was material for his act. Then he did an episode of NPR's "This American Life" based on that material. Then he developed it into a book. Now, based on that book and all the other previous versions, he's finally turned it into a movie. He stars in the film, he wrote the script with his brother Joe, "This American Life" producer Ira Glass, and his co-director Seth Barrish, and the result is intensely personal, a laser-accurate look at the self-imposed pressures of a life in show business.
When I first heard Birbiglia was making a film version of the story, I assumed it was going to be a documentary of sorts. It isn't, though. Instead, it's a slightly fictionalized version of the events he lived through, and while much of it is funny, I think it's ultimately a small-scale character drama, well-observed, and Birbiglia reveals himself as more than "just" a comic presence.
I do not envy Adam Berg.
Many first-time feature directors are cutting their teeth on found footage films or remakes these days, simply because that's so much of what is being produced. It's a tough spot to be in.
On the one hand, you get a guaranteed greenlight, and you know the studio is going to promote the movie because it's an investment for them. These remakes are about extending the copyright on something. They're about keeping intellectual property in circulation. They are expensive marketing campaigns to sell the original in a super-deluxe home video edition. They are business, pure and simple, and as such, you know the studio is going to put a certain amount of muscle into making sure people see the movie.
But on the other hand, you are competing with another film before you ever roll a frame of film. You've got this original film out there, and audiences have whatever relationship they have with that film. If they love it, they might hold that against you. If they hate it, they might never give your film a chance. The percentage of great remakes to uninspired remakes is daunting, to say the least, and I think when you tackle a title that has a devoted fanbase, you're really daring fate.
You had me at "Kat Dennings."
The absurdly plush actress was one of the comic highlights of the first "Thor," so it was great news to hear that she's coming back for the sequel. I know there were many people who thought for sure that the sequel would lose some of the key cast of the original just because they had trouble imagining Natalie Portman doing a comic book movie sequel.
Sounds like everyone's onboard for "Thor: The Dark World," a title I like a lot. In general, I love how the Marvel sequels seem to be using subtitles instead of numbers. It also sounds like they're taking existing storylines from the comics and tweaking or expanding them so they fit into the continuity established by the movies. Great idea. It gets fans excited because they know generally where things are headed, but there's enough invention going on that everyone's got surprises in store for them.
If you wonder what the guys in Kings Of Leon have been up to beyond marrying models and bearing children, the new side project Smoke & Jackal may be some indication.
KoL bassist Jared Followill has combined with Nick Brown, the frontman for Ohio rockers Mona, and made an EP called "EP1" under the Smoke & Jackal moniker. That set will be out Oct. 16 via RCA, and preceding is a new track "No Tell."
Katy Perry’s video for “Wide Awake” has been out for a minute, but now you can go behind the scenes of the MTV Video Music Award-nominated clip.
[More after the jump...]
Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider has joined the Silversun Pickups in telling the Republican presidential ticket to back off.
Snider issued a statement today after it came to his attention that Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, Rep. Paul Ryan, is using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” during campaign stops.
“I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan's use of my song "Were Not Gonna Take It" as recorded by my band Twisted Sister,” Snider said in a statement released to Talking Points Memo campaign reporter Benjy Sarlin. “There is almost nothing on which I agree with Paul Ryan, except perhaps the use of the P90X.”
That’s more than the Silversun Pickups had in common with Romney. Last week, the LA-based alternative group issued a cease-and-desist letter to Romney’s campaign after it used their song, “Panic Switch.” A Romney campaign spokesperson responded that “Panic Switch” was “not a song we would have played intentionally.”
It looks like a happy ending is in the cards for Don Coscarelli's adaptation of "John Dies At The End," which is great news for fans of the director or the book or just plain weird movies.
"John Dies At The End," or "JDATE" for short, has been on my mind the last few days as I've been reading "This Book Is Full Of Spiders," the sequel to the novel by David Wong that inspired Coscarelli's film in the first place. Having seen the movie, it's hard not to picture the cast of that film going through the rather insane paces of the sequel, and I'd love for this film to eventually do well enough that Coscarelli gets the chance to do the follow-up.
Since its premiere at Sundance this year, Coscarelli's been fine-tuning the film, and it's gone through some fine edits as well as some work on the effects to bring the last act of the film to life. Now Magnolia/Magnet has stepped up to distribute the film, which is great news because one way or another, you'll have access to the film.
Justin Bieber is coming to Springfield. The teen idol will appear as himself on an episode of “The Simpsons” that airs in 2013.
Bieber tweeted about that he did a voice over for the show, declaring it “swaggy.” Then “The Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean gave more details to Entertainment Weekly: “He tries to get into a talent show that Bart is playing piano in and they won’t admit him,” Jean said. “Draw your own conclusions.” Hmmmm. Who will have the bigger crush on him? Lisa or Milhouse?
The episode is called “The Fabulous Faker Boy,” which might give us more of a hint about the plot. Among the other famous names who will appear as voice guests on the 24th season of the animated show are Natalie Portman, Steve Carrell, Zooey Deschanel, Anne Hathaway, and Edward Norton, according to EW. The new season premieres Sept. 30.
"Side By Side" is interesting because it is a snapshot of a moment, an attempt to capture an argument mid-stream, one that will be resolved at some point soon but which is, right now, one of the primary conversations happening about the state of our industry.
Virtually all of the student filmmaking work I did was on video. We were lucky enough at my high school to have a non-linear editing suite, but these were the days of VHS to VHS, and it was still crude compared to the editing firepower available to anyone with a laptop these days. At that point, video was not in competition with film for the business of movie making. It just wasn't an option. The best-looking film shot on video was still shot on video. It was something even the least sophisticated viewer could see right away.
These days, digital projection and digital filmmaking are so technically sophisticated that the entire conversation has had to change. The question is no longer "does video look as good as film?" because we've realized that isn't the point. Video still has a number of signatures that make it different from film, but instead of being limitations now, they are just differences, and the best artists working in movies today are hotly divided over which tools to use, what to use them for, and what it means for the art as a whole.
It may still be gloriously summery -- where I am, at least -- but I'm feeling an intangible autumnal chill this week, as the upcoming prestige-movie season, and all the awards talk that comes with it, looms ever larger. Venice kicks off the fall festival circuit in exactly one week's time, I'm attending screenings with embargoes signed in blood, and every day seems to bring another new poster, trailer, clip or press release for a film with the O-word on its mind. (Yesterday's announcement of the Golden Globes voting schedule just about had me burying my head under the couch cushions, begging for another few months of sun.)
Today, then, marks the first move in the marketing campaign for "Lincoln" -- a sober monochrome one-sheet that quite clearly establishes, in case you thought otherwise, that Steven Spielberg's presidential biopic (and sight-unseen Oscar threat) won't be reframing Honest Abe's life story as a romantic comedy. It's not a terribly inspired poster, though I suppose it carries the requisite gravitas -- between the shot of Daniel Day-Lewis's artfully made-up profile and the grainily etched black and white of the imagery, it recalls nothing so much as a weathered penny coin in its iconography. That's surely no accident.
Taylor Swift lands her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with style this week as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” rockets from No. 72 to the top spot.
Swift had previously peaked at No. 2 twice before. "Never" got plenty of airplay, but it was digital downloads that really fueled the blast to the top: “Never” sold 623,000 copies, making it the highest selling sales week ever for a female artist. (The overall No. 1 belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round” with 636,000 in 2009).
Speaking of, Flo Rida’s “Whistle” slips to No. 2 after one week at the top, according to Billboard. Swift’s ascent pushes every song in the top 5 down a notch: Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” goes 2-3, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” 3-4 and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” 4-5.
In the bottom half of the Top 10, fun.’s second top 10, “Some Nights” rises 8-6 and Maroon 5’s “Payphone” falls out of the top 5 for the first time in its 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, dropping 5-7. But there’s good news as well for the Adam Levine-led group as “One More Night,” the follow-up to “Payphone” makes it arrival into the Top 10, jumping 15-9.
“Night” is one of two new entries in the Top 10: Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean moves up four notches to No. 8.
David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring Sia closes out to Top 10 dropping from 7 to 10.