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One of the ways I feel like I'm disconnected from the way a lot of people digest pop culture is the way I tune out celebrity gossip almost completely. When I hear someone say that they "hate" a celebrity, I wonder what gets them to that point. There are no celebrities who matter enough in my world for me to hate any of them, and certainly not because of the way they live.
Case in point: when I think of Gwyneth Paltrow, I think of her onscreen work. I think of the first time I saw her in the largely unseen gem "Flesh and Bone," where she was captivating and carnal and impressive. Over the years, I've liked much of her work, and she's made her fair share of films that did nothing for me. Through it all, it never occurred to me to hate her.
Is it because she's married to a rock star and because she runs a lifestyle blog? Because I've never visited it, and I'm not even sure what it's called, and I certainly don't think there's any chance anyone's going to force me to read it any time soon. And who cares who she's married to? I think the reason many people love gossip is because it gives them something to compare their own life to, and when they see someone living better than them, it gives them a specific target for their anger.
Is it because she was just picked as "The Most Beautiful Woman Alive" by People magazine? Because that's another thing that seems very silly to be upset by. It's not like she demanded that they run the headline, like when M. Night Shyamalan insisted they call him "The New Hitchcock" in a story. I doubt she campaigned for it at all. She's got a big new high-profile film coming out, so it makes sense that they'd pick her.
When we sat down, all I knew was that I wanted to talk about the way her role in "Iron Man 3" has evolved. I think I accidentally offended her a bit when I asked her how it was to step into the energy between Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black, because she made a point of explaining that Shane was the newcomer, and that he was the one joining their family. That's totally true, of course. She's been part of the Marvel Universe since "Iron Man," and now that her contract is up, it's time to reflect on the experiences she's had so far and decide if she's going to stay involved moving forward. The things they have her do in this film definitely shook up the sense of sameness that can set in after playing a part four or five times, and she sounded like it was a good experience.
Will we see more of Pepper and Tony? I'd bet on it. Right now, these people have a real sense of ownership over the characters they've established on film, and I think money is only one small part of the decisions they'll be making about the future.
And if you seriously feel like you need to say terrible personal things about Paltrow, do it elsewhere. I would rather have a conversation about her work than about any weird baggage you've picked up because you spend too much time reading about her personal life. Everyone I've ever known who worked with her has great things to say about how she is on a set and what she brings to the table in a collaboration, and those are the things that matter here.
"Iron Man 3" will blow the back wall out of your local theater starting Friday.
The latest trend in comedy has been focused on women behaving (or talking about behaving) badly. They pooped in the sink in "Bridesmaids" (don't tell me that's a spoiler at this point), they have awkward sex on "Girls," they curse and get drunk and high and screw around. Somethings the cursing and drinking and screwing around is supposed to pass as fascinating insight into the female psyche. Sometimes it's supposed to be funny. But piggishness in either men or women isn't inherently funny.
While pundits argue about whether lowbrow distaff humor delivers a bad message to young women (who are probably too busy plopping drunk photos of themselves on Instagram for future would-be employers to find) or shows that women are breaking into previously unattainable arenas by acting like dirty old men, the argument at the heart of it all is very simple: are they funny?
Thank God Amy Schumer is funny. Really funny.
"Looking forward" is the phrase we use most often when discussing the Cannes Film Festival, given that it showcases many of the year's most anticipated specialty films -- many of which stoke that anticipation by taking their sweet time to land in theaters. But looking backward is also a significant part of the festival... or it has been, at least, since the Cannes Classics strand was introduced to the Official Selection in 2004.
Listen to "Fool Metal Jack" in full here.
A review of tonight's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as we spend eternity together playing doubles tennis with Abe Lincoln and Tupac...
A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I freak you toward the bed...
There are times you want to shake things up and try something new, and there are times you want to be part of a tradition and do things a certain way, and finding the balance between those two impulses are a big part of successfully remaking any franchise film or figuring out how to add new chapters to something that is already in progress.
For example, I'm looking forward to hearing what Hans Zimmer does with the score for "Man Of Steel." The hint we got of it in the most recent trailer for the film was enough to make me think he managed to do something that is genuinely different, somehow setting aside the huge iconic influence of the John Williams "Superman" score. That's not easy to do. I think Michael Giacchino managed to craft a great score for "Star Trek" in 2009, and watching the sequel I was struck anew by just how great and memorable his theme really is. It's not often I walk out of a new film these days with a score stuck in head, instantly evocative, impossible to shake.
Kenny Chesney has always had one foot planted as surely in the Caribbean as in Nashville. On “Life On A Rock,” out today, he’s steeped in that casual, relaxed feel that the island sand and surf bring.
Instead of party anthems (he’s given us plenty of those already), the songs on “Life On A Rock” sound like they came about during those hours in the day that lend themselves to quiet reflection, whether they be at sunrise or sundown, or “It’s That Time Of Day,” as Chesney sings. The songs on “Life On a Rock” are about what happens between life’s big moments.
The album opens with first single, “Pirate Flag,” a chugging, derivative tune that sounds a little too much like Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"about trading the city life for life on a boat and an island. It’s the one and only remotely rocking song on the pleasing 10-tune set.
The other nine tunes are just like the island’s inhabitants: these songs are in no hurry to get anywhere and are more than willing to go with the flow. Watches and schedules are for losers when you’re living in paradise.
The album is, for the most part, quiet and reflective in a way that Chesney has often hinted at on certain songs on past albums, but has never devoted a full album to such thoughts. They aren’t always deep thoughts, to be sure, but the songs on “Life On A Rock” are so thoroughly laid back and easy going that you’ll feel your blood pressure drop just by listening to them. However, that’s not to stay they ramble. It’s quite the opposite. Most of the tracks here feel concise, many of them bolstered by beautiful guitar work. “Lindy” offers a portrait of everyone’s favorite beach bum, who’s never leaving the Island. Willie Nelson joins Chesney on the lilting “Coconut Tree,” a song about being “high in a coconut tree.” Take it however you want to, folks. The Wailers join in on reggae tune “Spread The Love.” The autobiographical "When I See This Bar" has a Mellencamp, rootsy feel.
the album ends with “Happy On The Hey Now (A Song for Kristi),” a lovely, spare goodbye to a departed friend who loved dancing on the bow of the boat. It’s a moving elegy that anyone who has lost a loved one, even landlubbers, can appreciate. The same stands for the rest of the album.
(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Amat Escalante with "Heli.")
I kind of feel like I can't let a year lived in New York go without some commentary on the Tony Awards, which we rarely really get into around here. Alas, looking across the nominees, I see I've missed a great many of the top players so far. But I'll get to them. At least I have a bit of a cheat sheet now.
The last time Woody Allen went to France, the result wasn't too bad. 2011's "Midnight in Paris" scored a number of Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and even a surprise bid for Best Production Design (formerly Best Art Direction). Allen himself won his third writing Oscar to date, and his fourth overall, for penning the script, beating out stiff competition from Best Picture winner "The Artist."
Well it seems he's heading back for his next film, which will go into production this year. There is no title, naturally, as of yet, but the film will star Colin Firth and Emma Stone, the latter a natural fit and a rather obvious choice, given Allen's penchant for scooping up popular young ingenues for his films. He will once again be collaborating with cinematographer Darius Kondji, production designer Anne Seibel and costume designer Sonia Grande on the film, all of whom worked with him on "Midnight."