The other big release mid-week is Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin." By now, I think I've made it clear that I'm an enthusiastic fan of the experience this movie is. I went so far as to include it on my top 10 list, after all. But there are certainly detractors, and I imagine our readership is full of plenty opinions from both sides. So now that the film has made its way to domestic theaters, it's time to solicit those opinions. If/when you get around to the film, come on back here and give us your take on The Beard's latest.
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Psst, want crack? Hash? At least you can learn all about both on 'Drugs, Inc.' when its second season returns on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. on Nat Geo (a second episode airs at 9 p.m.). The show will offer firsthand testimonies from drug producers, traffickers, dealers, users, doctors and cops and look into the worlds of well-known substances (crack, hashish, hallucinogens and Ecstacy) as well as 21st century additions to the illicit drug trade like Oxycontin and Ketamine (an animal tranquilizer).
Here's a look at harvester “Diego” operating a clandestine cocaine kitchen where he produces high-grade cocaine for trafficking to Europe and America -- and uses toxic chemicals which will later be dumped into the Amazon River.
Wow. It's the start of the "X Factor" finale. It seems like only 20 or 30 years ago that we started hearing all of the hype about "X Factor" traveling across the Atlantic and like only three or four years ago that FOX premiered the first audition episodes and now it's down to three.
Tomorrow night, FOX and Simon Cowell are going to give a $5 million recording contract to one of three artists who haven't a chance on God's Green Earth of justifying a deal that big based on any empirical standards. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that Chris Rene, Burrito Josh or Melanie Amaro could possibly sell as many albums as Scotty McCreery, but will any of them sell as many albums as "The Voice" winner Javier Colon? Because go check out his sales figures. Or check out the sales figures for Dia Frampton.
FINALE PERFORMANCES! After the break...
That's right. My Morning Jacket played Madison Square Garden. Not just in your dreams.
And on Dec. 14, Jim James brought a little Bing Crosby with him. The lead singer performed a slow, cokey version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Check it below, and see the band's cover of Gil Scott-Heron (RIP) while you're at it.
Sondre Lerche didn't cover a Christmas carol, per se, but his gift to the world this 2011 holiday season is a cover of Beyonce. The pop-loving crooner does a take of "Countdown," which is by no coincidence made a lot of critics' top singles lists this year, and made the top of the musicians'.
"This year, it’s officially a tradition: for the third time my annual Christmas gift to you is my humble solo acoustic version of someone else’s song; my favorite of the year, no less," Lerche told Stereogum. "That being said, the trick is to get passed the novelty-factor and just sing a beautiful song at the best of your abilities. Obviously, a significant part of this song’s appeal and ecstatic energy comes from the dizzying vocal performance and the mind-blowingly cool production work — elements and talents useless to even attempt replicating (especially not in my father in-law’s basement). But as long as there’s a song underneath, there’s a way.
Lerche's previous Christmas covers were Animal Collective’s “Bluish” and Owen Pallett’s “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt.” But now... who wants black diamonds under the tree?
If you missed Game's "The R.E.D." album release in August, that's OK: the set's release date was bumped almost a dozen times. However, if you missed the rapper's collaboration with Tyler the Creator, here's another chance.
The two play a couple of nutter-butter's locked up in the ugliest insane asylum this side of "Session 9," with the pair punting gibes back-and-forth through the glass. The Odd Future member dangles a cat and gives us his best crazy eye as he returns to his seemingly endless well of making fun of Bruno Mars and gay-baiting, this time linking homosexuals to Log Cabin (Republicans) and the original definition of "faggot." Still, while Game continues to hold his guns up for Chris Brown and throws Rihanna in front of a train with his rhymes, at least Tyler brings thunder about that highlighter hair.
There's also the LeBron James diss, with a hilarious "he lost" at the end of his verse. Game takes up that baller and runs with him in the last, as he's about to get punctures with a needle containing that gravy you're about to eat at Christmas. But fanboys beware: watch your blood pressure rise as Game makes this statement, "Mad that DC comics overlooked me / Cause Captain America's straight pussy." Marvel-ous.
How do you like this crazy creepy clip for Christmas? Bummed Lil Wayne couldn't come to the party?
Actor Ben Kingsley first got his taste of collaboration with filmmaker Martin Scorsese in 2010 on the thriller "Shutter Island." It was a long time coming, but for Kingsley, who says he always appreciated Scorsese's work as a filmmaker, it was a unique characteristic of the director's process that really spoke to the actor.
"I haven’t quite realized until working with him that he films male vulnerability in a very special and gifted way," Kingsley says over tea at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. "He actually directs like a lover more than a tyrant, with tenderness rather than insistence. He’s a perfectionist, but he gets it through extraordinary virile tenderness as a man. And he can guide an actor through vulnerability superbly well."
In "Shutter Island," Kingsley starred as a psychiatrist desperately, it turns out, trying to guide a patient (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) out of the twisted, fragmented shards of his own mind. His vulnerability in that film was his unconditional love for his patient, but in "Hugo," his latest collaboration with Scorsese, it comes from a different place of personal anguish.
Yesterday's unveiling of the trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" was greeted with feverish enthusiasm not just by the legions of "Lord of the Rings" and Peter Jackson fanboys (and girls), but by the equally excitable clan of Oscar pundits too.
That's hardly surprising: as Kris wrote yesterday, when one is talking about the follow-up (or, shall we say, prequel) to a blockbuster trilogy that amassed 17 Academy Awards and 30 nominations, it's fair to guess the new film will at least be in the conversation next year. Particularly when most of the original creative team is involved: production designer Grant Major has been replaced with Dan Hennah, while Ann Maskrey fills in for Ngila Dickson on costumes, but otherwise, we're partying like it's 2003 here.
True to form, I haven't watched the trailer, but my own blind prognosis for the new film's awards performance has little to do with how good it turns out to be: there was such an aura of finality to the 2003 Oscar race's crowning of "The Return of the King," a sense of dues paid and collective achievement recognized, that I'd be surprised if the Academy feels obliged to go there again, outside the likely slew of technical citations.
Do you remember way back in September when "Bridesmaids" star Melissa McCarthy stunned TV fans with her Emmy win in the best actress in a comedy series category? At the time the scuttlebutt was whether the industry love for McCarthy's breakout role in one of the biggest hits of the summer count translate into a legitimate Oscar campaign for best supporting actress. Oh, how times have changed.
After all the behind-the-scenes drama on embargoes and what not, David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" finally opens nationwide today and you'll be able to see it and gauge for yourself. If you heard last week's podcast, you heard pretty much all I have to say on the matter, but in brief, I find it to be Fincher's least compelling film to date, a waste of resources on a property that wasn't enlivened or elevated at all by the presence of all the talent involved. I do, however, believe that Rooney Mara's performance is something special. But enough about what I think, what do you think? Tell us here when/if you get around to the film this week.
The Utah Film Critics Association has chosen "Drive" as the Best Picture of the year. The film also won Best Supporting Actor for Albert Brooks and Best Cinematography. The group handed two awards to Jonathan Levine's "50/50," Best Actor for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Best Original Screenplay. Check out the full list of winners below.
With travel and near-terminal laptop trouble consuming the last two days for me, I was late getting to Indiewire's 2011 critics' poll, the most comprehensive collective of its type, and one in which Kris and I both participated. The results are unsurprising, but no less gratifying for it -- I'm particularly pleased to see "Margaret" scoring in the Top 10, while Anna Paquin, Jeannie Berlin and Kenneth Lonergan's screenplay all place in the top three of their respective fields. Additionally, they collected some observations from participants about the year in film: I muse on the British auteur revival, Mike D'Angelo celebrates the Team Margaret hashtag phenomenon and Richard Brody tackles the distribution racket. Fun reading all round. [Indiewire]