CANNES - I say it every year: trying to predict the Cannes Film Festival awards is a fool's errand. Unlike, say, the Oscars, you aren't making educated guesses about a large, consistent body of voters with plenty of precedent and precursor information to go on. The Cannes jury is tiny, highly idiosyncratic and changes every year; you're effectively trying to read the minds of nine individuals with no voting track record. Who knows whether Nicole Kidman harbors a quiet passion for Mexican new wave cinema, or if Steven Spielberg is an unlikely Jim Jarmusch devotee? Perhaps not even them, until they see the films in question.
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With the thirty-eighth season of “Saturday Night Live” in the books, it’s time to look back at the highlights as well as lowlights of the season that was. These represent not just the best/worst sketches, but also moments/trends throughout the season. This should help present a better picture of the show as it recharges its batteries over the summer months. Today, we’ll be looking at the ten worst things about this season. Next week, we’ll look at the ten best.
Check out our picks for the ten worst here:
1.Zach Sobiech: 18-year old Sobiech died this week of cancer, but his legacy has already begun as his video viral sensation, “Clouds,” lands atop the iTunes singles chart and is poised to come onto the Billboard Hot 100 next week. Better yet: All proceeds go to the cancer research fund started in his name. How soon before the movie about his inspirational life is made?
2. Daft Punk: The French duo makes helmets fashionable as its first album in eight years, “Random Access Memories,” is poised to top 300,000 in the U.S. alone in its first week, as well as top the charts in countries around the world. “Get Lucky” indeed.
3. Blake Shelton: “The Voice” coach is the first Oklahoma artist to organize a benefit for victims of the horrific tornado that destroyed Moore, Ok. last week, while Toby Keith put his boots down in his hometown hours after the disaster. Kudos also to fellow Okie Carrie Underwood, who donated $1 million to the Red Cross.
4. “American Idol”: In an effort to stave off sinking ratings, the talent contest is contemplating bringing back past finalists, such as Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson as judges. Say what you will about the idea and the show, but it’s the only vocal competition that has actually produced winners whose names we remember.
5. Robin Thicke: He’s had some kind of resurrection as “Blurred Lines” hits no. 1 on iTunes and sales soar 204% Maybe every video should have naked women... well, the 2% that don’t already.
6. Pharrell: Sure he produces, but his career as a performer is going just fine: He’s the featured artist on Daft Punk’s first top 10, “Get Lucky,” he’s featured on Robin Thicke’s comeback single, “Blurred Lines,” and “Happy,” his tune from “Despicable Me 2,” will be a major summer jam.
7. Paris Hilton: She signs to Cash Money. Can’t wait for the duet with Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Wayne.
8. Labrinth: He’s going to be the next big thing as his son with Emile Sande, “Beneath Your Beautiful,” prepares to blow up here as it already has abroad. Get ready...
9. Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio: The two become the latest judges to sign on to Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor.” We’ll see if they fare better than Britney Spears. If you haven’t been asked to be part of a talent show judging panel yet, raise your hand. No? No one?
10. Ray Manzarek: The Doors’ keyboardist always managed to light our fire, lead our Spanish caravan, be a rider in a storm, steer our crystal ship, until he died this week. The End.
One of the best things about "Orphan Black" (and there are many, many good things about this savvy little series) is how meticulous the writers and producers have been about all the little details. As so many of you have commented, when there is a mistake on this show, it's like spotting a Scaly-sided Merganser hanging out by the public pool. It happens, but not all that often, and it really goes to show how carefully constructed this show is. Granted, it has to be. If it wasn't, do you really think any of us would be this excited about clones, a subject that could easily be pure '70s retro kitsch?
CANNES - With screenings having wrapped here at the Cannes Film Festival, all eyes are on tomorrow's big awards. I'll preview those in the morning, but in the meantime, we received the first Competition bellwether in the form of the FIPRESCI Critics' prize, which went to Abdellatif Kechiche's three-hour lesbian romantic drama "Blue is the Warmest Color" -- currently the bookies' favorite for the Palme d'Or.
James Gunn's "Guardians Of The Galaxy" promises to be one of the strangest of the Marvel movies so far, and that excites me.
Drew Pearce, who collaborated with Shane Black on the "Iron Man 3" script, was almost hired to work on the final polish for this film, but it looks like Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely will be doing the final polish on the script that Nicole Perlman and Chris McCoy wrote instead.
Quick side note… is Perlman the first female writer on a Marvel movie?
In a lot of ways, Marvel is treating "Guardians" as the beachhead for a new chapter of the universe, and they're seeding the film with archetypes that have worked well for them. Chris Pratt is onboard as Star-Lord, who is also known as Peter Quill, and they're looking to him to be the Robert Downey Jr. of this franchise. Fast, funny, able to play emotional while still getting big laughs.
CANNES - Spend a few days at a major film festival and it won't take long to run into someone who has an opinion on a movie. With the end of the 66th Cannes Film Festival drawing near, it's intriguing to look at some of the films that have generated a lot of buzz over the past week and a half.
Are people still talking about films from the beginning of the festival? Well, in the case of"Great Gatsby," "Jeune & Jolie" and "Bling Ring" they've almost been forgotten. "Jimmy P"? This year's consensus whipping boy (and for obvious reasons). "Only Lovers Left Alive"? The latest polarizing title that seems split down the middle. There haven't been a lot of god awful movies at this Cannes, but opinions certainly vary.
With that in mind, here are 10 other films everyone's been talking about and my quick opinions on each.
When I saw Alex Gibney's new documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" at Sundance, I was bowled over. My instant reaction was mostly admiration for Gibney, who has become "a beast at his craft," as my first blush Tweet noted. The film, opening in limited release this weekend, is a towering study of one of the most enigmatic figures of our time, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and it will surely be seen as the definitive documentary of the organization, which trades in leaked classified information that has had an impact on everything from the Arab Spring to perceptions of National Security here at home.
CANNES - A Jim Jarmusch vampire movie? Sure, why not? Much of "Only Lovers Left Alive" seems to have been made in this spontaneous, scarcely thought-through spirit, which is responsible for what is both most appealing and most enervating about it. It's a designer doodle of a dream, like much of Jarmusch's work, though it's clear some effort has gone into making it appear this cast-off. If the "Twilight" series has taught us anything, it's that vampires are natural poseurs, which creates a stronger creative bond between Stephenie Meyer and the bequiffed crown prince of American indie cinema then you might have expected.
Not surprisingly, Scott Weiland is none too pleased that his former Stone Temple Pilots band mates replaced him with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington at a performance at the KROQ’s 21st annual Weenie Roast multi-artist concert in Irvine, Calif. last weekend.
But if he’s mad, the remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots are really angry. They filed a lawsuit on Friday in Los Angeles, demanding that Weiland stop using the name Stone Temple Pilots or, more dramatically, sing STP songs.
The lawsuit alleges that Weiland communicated with his former bandmates only through intermediaries and was chronically late. His alleged ongoing substance abuse issues caused the band financial harm, according to the Associated Press (h/t Billboard). Furthermore, the suit claims that Weiland has strong-armed radio not to play “Out of Time,” the new single with Bennington as singer.
Weiland’s Facebook statement doesn’t address the lawsuit directly, but stresses that the remaining members also have no right to use the name. Below is his statement in full.
“A letter to my fans,
Like everybody else out there, I read about my band, Stone Temple Pilots, and their recent performance this past weekend with a new singer. To tell you the truth, it took me by surprise. And it hurt.
But the band that played last weekend was not Stone Temple Pilots and it was wrong of them to present themselves as that. First of all they don’t have the legal right to call themselves STP because I’m still a member of the band. And more importantly, they don’t have the ethical right to call themselves Stone Temple Pilots because it’s misleading and dishonest to the millions of fans that have followed us for so many years.
When I tour on my own, it’s never as Stone Temple Pilots. It’s as Scott Weiland. The fans deserve to know what they’re getting. Like any band that’s stood the test of time and made music for more than two decades, STP had a special alchemy – the four of us together were greater than any one of us apart. So if my former bandmates want to tour with a new singer, that’s their prerogative.
I don’t give a fuck what they call themselves, but it’s not Stone Temple Pilots. ?And so I say to you, our fans, I’ll see you out there on the road this summer where I’m touring as ‘Scott Weiland’ with my band The Wildabouts. But don’t give up on STP. I know I haven’t.”
Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” will debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 by a wide margin next week. How wide, you ask? The title by the French duo is poised to sell up to 325,000 copies, more than four times The National’s “Trouble Will Find Me,” which is slated to come in at No. 2. Wide enough for you?
Half the Top 10 will be new titles. Joining Daft Punk and The National will be Darius Rucker’s “True Believers” and Thirty Seconds To Mars’ “Love Lust Faith + Dreams.” Going into the weekend, they are both predicted to sell between 60,000-65,000, making it too close to call for who will come in at No. 3 and who will settle for No. 4, according to Hits Daily Double. The other debut belongs to French Montana, who will see his “Excuse My French” come in at either No. 7 or 8 (right now, it’s in a dead heat with this week’s No. 1 title, Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” for the No. 7 spot.
Rounding out the top 10, “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack continues to be a top seller and will likely be at No. 5. George Strait’s “Love Is Everything” is at No. 6, Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” at No. 9 and Lady Antebellum’s “Golden” at No. 10.
Jaden Smith and his dad (or is he his best bud) Will Smith spent a good minute pretending they weren't about to do something zany on the Graham Norton's BBC show.
Then they got crazy, bopped around the stage with Jazzy Jeff and covered Smith's own "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" theme song. Then Alfonso Ribeiro -- aka Carlton -- shows up, and does the Carlton. It was the most delightful quasi-train-wreck of my 13-year-old ideals, and I couldn't stop watching.
Will Smith has apparently been in the studio with Kanye West recently. As previously reported, Smith said, “I’ve been messing around with Kanye. We were in the studio a couple of times... I might get the bug. I’m not going to do it unless I get truly inspired, but ‘Ye’s been pushing me a little bit.”