Over the past week I've been asked by a number of peers why I'm not at this year's 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Besides the fact HitFix is being more than adequately covered by Drew McWeeny and Guy Lodge, there are a number of reasons from personal to professional. Moreover, when this year's field was announced I wasn't that disappointed in what I might be missing. A number of films such as "On the Road" and "Lawless" look like they are favors to filmmakers (the former already confirming that after it's positive, but mediocre reviews). "Moonrise Kingdom" will soon screen in Los Angeles. I'm a huge fan of Lee Daniels' "Precious," but "The Paperboy" looks like it could be a mess (fingers crossed it isn't). The love by cinefiles for David Cronenberg is understandable, but I personally don't worship at the altar and "Cosmopolis" looks like a greatest hits package to me. And as much as I appreciate Michael Haneke (back at Cannes with "Amour") and Jacques Audiard (following 'The Prophet" with "Rust & Bone"), their new films will likely screen at Telluride and/or Toronto just a few months from now. That being said, there are two films I'm very curious about.
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So maybe now Taylor Swift can sing with Tim McGraw instead of singing about him.
The two became label mates today, when Big Machine announced that McGraw would be joining its roster after 20 years on Curb. One of Swift’s first hits was “Tim McGraw.”
No word on when McGraw’s first album for Big Machine will come out. Up first will be his stadium tour with pal Kenny Chesney this summer. “The Brothers of the Sun” tour kicks off June 2 in Tampa.
McGraw, who Nielsen BDS named artist of the decade in 2010, is in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart right now with his last single from Curb, “Better Than I Used To Be,” which is bulleted at No. 7, and with his and Chesney’s duet, “Feel Like A Rock Star,” which is bulleted at No. 11.
Big Machine Label Group has had luck signing artists who have left other labels to its various imprints, including Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride and Reba McEntire.
As the endless drip of information about Justin Bieber’s new album “Believe” surfaces, today we get the track listing. Interestingly, his duet with Taylor Swift looks like it didn’t make the final cut. The two wrote a few songs together for the set, Bieber told UK’s CapitalFM last month. “We worked together on a couple of things so we're just figuring out what we can use," he told the British radio broadcaster.
There are three bonus tracks on the deluxe physical package, but none of them have Swift’s name attached. From the track listing below, the guests are Ludacris, Bieber’s former partner on breakthrough hit, “Baby”; Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, and Drake. The album comes out June 19.
Track Listing for deluxe version of "Believe"
1. “All Around The World” featuring Ludacris
3. “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean
4. “Catching Feelings”
5. “Take You”
6. “Right Here” featuring Drake
8. “Die In Your Arms”
9. “Thought Of You”
10. “Beauty And A Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj
11. “One Love”
12. “Be Alright”
BONUS DELUXE TRACKS:
14. “Out Of Town Girl”
15.“She Don’t Like The Lights”
A few days removed from seeing Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and the Cannes brouhaha that came with its opening night premiere last week, I have to say, I'm looking forward to seeing it again. It's just so charming in all the ways Anderson's previous films are meant to be, but, for me, aren't quite.
"The Royal Tenenbaums" is so far his most successful film financially and critically, but after giving it another look recently, I found I liked it even less than I did back in 2001 (which already wasn't much). I'd put "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" on that lower tier as well. Both films are just overwhelmingly affected and don't strike the balance his better works do.
I'm mostly okay with "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "The Darjeeling Limited." The former is a fun romp and the latter has a lot of soul. But "Rushmore" and "Bottle Rocket" have always been tops for me, because the emotion just feels much more authentic. "Moonrise Kingdom" can count itself in that territory, I feel.
We've known for a while that the final season of "Breaking Bad" would be made up of 16 episodes, but we didn't know exactly when it would debut, or how AMC would arrange the episodes to maximize their remaining installments of the Emmy-winning drama.
Now we do, as the cable channel announced today that the final season will premiere on Sunday, July 15 at 10 p.m., and that the plan is to air 8 episodes this summer and then the remaining 8 episodes in the summer of 2013.
(As to why they don't just refer to this as two short seasons: it's a contractual issue. Same reason the final 21 episodes of "The Sopranos," which also aired over two years, are considered the show's sixth "season.")
AMC also announced the two shows that will be paired "Breaking Bad" this summer. Starting July 15 at 11 p.m. will be a new unscripted series, "Small Town Security," about a family-owned security company in a small town in Georgia. And starting August 12 at 9 p.m. will be season 2 of "Hell on Wheels." (Which reminds me I still have 2 or 3 episodes of that first season to catch up on.)
And in the meantime, here's Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul on the set of the final season:
“American Idol” season 10 contestant Haley Reinhart thrilled fans with her jazzy, smoky vocals. On her new album, “Listen Up,” out Tuesday, May 22, she recalls sultry vocalists such as Amy Winehouse and Dusty Springfield, both of whom she considers major influences: “I come from a lot of ‘60s, ‘70s classic stuff and that’s definitely the sound I want to have,” she tells Hitfix in this video interview taped at her management company’s office in West Hollywood.
But it was another influence, Britney Spears, that inspired the 21-year old's performance in her video for first single “Free,” during which she gets a boy all hot and bothered at a diner. “I grew up with my generation looking at people like Britney Spears. She oozed sex appeal so effortlessly.”
As the video shows, Reinhart has acting chops and she admits she has some aspirations in that area: “I’d love to make it a big part of my career...there’s already opportunities coming up.”
Motion City Soundtrack's new song "Timelines" may be one of their most personal songs, according to Justin Pierre.
Its refrain "It's not a matter of time, it's just a matter of timing" came from the frontman's father, a concept he then filled in with some very intimate experiences, from growing up stuttering to discovering sex and flunking college classes. It's a little dark at times, thematically, but thankfully there's that soaring chorus and harmonies, upbeat keyboards and a fast beat.
It's fair to say The Weinstein Company is pretty high on the value of Cannes this year. And tonight will be all about their upcoming films as they pull the old "let's show some footage, stir the interest pot and steal a little bit of thunder" trick.
The Weinsteins came to the fest with two heavily anticipated films already in tow (John Hillcoat's "Lawless" and Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly"). But they've maintained a muscular presence in the market as well, acquiring light touches in Christian Vincent's "Haute Cuisine" and Wayne Blair's "The Sapphires," as well as political angles on Muammar Gaddafi ("The Oath of Tobruk") and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden ("Code Name Geronimo").
They grabbed market title "Quartet" in advance of the fest, which could pop up as an Oscar play from first-time director Dustin Hoffman, while there is speculation that James Gray's "Low Life" starring Joaquin Phoenix could come off the table and into their pocket soon enough, too. And speaking of Phoenix, he's front and center in the new trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," one of three films the company will be teasing at tonight's shindig.
You have to feel for any film appearing under The Weintein Company's banner at this year's Cannes Film Festival. After last year, when The House That Harvey Built picked up "The Artist" -- and, in doing so, made the wisest long-term purchase of the festival -- everything else they touch is going to be scrutinized for similar potential to Michel Hazanavicius's improbable Oscar sensation.
Saturday, then, was a big day for the company, as they presented two of their Cannes babies to the world. But while their widely publicized, star-studded Competition entry "Lawless" made a respectable debut, reaping much critical goodwill if few outright raves, it was a far lower-profile, more recent acquisition, premiering safely out of competition, that set the Croisette whispering. That film would be "The Sapphires": a modest, good-natured musical comedy from Down Under, spinning the semi-true tale of an all-Aboriginal, Supremes-style girl group and their adventures entertaining US troops in Vietnam.
CANNES - In a few moments, I'll be leaving my apartment to go to a special cocktail party that the Weinstein Company is throwing to debut footage from several of their new films. However, I don't even have to put my pants on to get my first look at Paul Thomas Anderson's highly-anticipated "The Master," since the film's first teaser trailer just appeared online.
I spotted it when Megan Ellison, one of the film's producers, tweeted a link to the film's official site, and all that they have there right now is the trailer. I've watched it twice, and the first thing I take away from it is that I'm thrilled Joaquin Phoenix is back on his game. I wasn't crazy about his Tony Clifton phase, and I think he is a very interesting actor. He's totally different than his brother River was, but they do share an ability to lay themselves emotionally bare if they get hold of the right material. It's exciting to see Phoenix in a film that looks like it may be something very special.
CANNES - Dario Argento made his directorial debut the same year I was born. He has literally been making horror films as long as I've been alive, and his first nine horror features are arguably one of the best runs any filmmaker in the genre has ever had. I consider "Suspiria" to be one of the towering accomplishments in all of horror, a true nightmare that makes almost no literal sense but that manages to wrap the viewer in a perverse and pervasive sense of dream. His influence can be felt in hundreds, if not thousands of films at this point, and it would be impossible to overstate how good he can be when he is at his best.
"Dracula 3D" is pretty much the direct opposite of his best.
My first and perhaps most fundamental issue with the film is that Bram Stoker's novel has been adapted so many times and in so many ways that any new adaptation really should find something to add to the conversation. Why else would you want to make a Dracula film? The character has been portrayed in any number of settings, and there have been adaptations both faithful and almost completely reinvented. The bare bones of the Stoker novel have been so thoroughly stripped of meat at this point that it seems almost pointless to return to it as source material. Still, the right filmmaker and the right cast could make it seem fresh, and the right take on things could convince me that I'm wrong about the property. It's certainly happened before.
Yes, even though I'm at a film festival, I still feel compelled to weigh in on the first trailer for "Skyfall," the new James Bond film.
As a lifelong fan of the series, one of the things I find most interesting is watching the way the aesthetics of Bond have shifted over the years to reflect wherever mainstream film has gone. You can look at a Bond film and get a sense of what was going on culturally at the time it was made. They are reflections of their moments, time capsules with a body count.
Hiring Sam Mendes for this 50th anniversary edition of the series was an interesting choice because of how different James Bond is than anything he's shot before, but just based on this teaser trailer, I'd say it looks like that gamble has paid off handsomely. This is a gorgeous introduction to the new film, and I love the word association opening. Daniel Craig's Bond is wound tighter than any previous incarnation, and that's one of the reasons I love him in the role. HIs Bond takes full advantage of that license to kill, and not just so he can make a pithy joke and move on. He is a cultured ape, a brute who just happens to look good in a tux, and he is dangerous.