You know how last week "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" didn't have even a smidgen of fighting, and it was kind of like watching Wonder Woman without her magic lasso or John Travolta without his hairpiece? Well, never fear. Everything's back to normal, which means the women are screaming hysterically at one another, not everyone's making sense, and a very expensive dinner is completely ruined in the process. Yay.
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Henry Selick is a ronin, a masterless samurai in a particularly difficult part of the filmmaking landscape, and any time he finds someone willing to pay for him to make one of his movies, I'm thrilled.
Being a career animator is not an easy life to choose, and I can't imagine anyone doing it for any reason other than a deep abiding love for the medium. Selick has conjured up some real magic in the films he's made and he certainly does great work with the various collaborators who have been part of his movies so far. Not every filmmaker can lay claim to one great movie, and I'd argue that Selick has made two so far. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is just gorgeous, as beautiful an example of stop motion animation as I've ever seen. "Coraline" is an eerie, sublime accomplishment, both technically and creatively, and is easily the finest example yet of Neil Gaiman's work brought to life.
I have a feeling you're going to see a lot of announcements about actors joining the cast of the upcoming sequel to "Anchorman," and when we see the final film, many of those people will end up playing one or two scenes at most. It's going to be a positively ridiculous cast, and that's because the original film has become a huge favorite for pretty much anyone working in film comedy right now. This is going to be a case where anyone Adam McKay wants, he's going to get.
Christina Applegate was the one who broke the news on Twitter, which is starting to become one of the most reliable sources of breaking casting information when people like Bryan Singer can't wait to share something. In this case, I can imagine Appelgate's got to be happy to be adding some funny female energy to what is already a very large roster of very funny dudes. Kristen Wiig will be onboard playing the wife of Brick Tamland, Steve Carrell's character from the first film. Carrell is just one of the returning characters, of course. Will Ferrell is back as Ron Burgundy, Paul Rudd will be Brian Fantana once more, David Koechner will return as Champ Kind, and Applegate is going to reprise her role as Veronica Corningstone. Just typing the character names again makes me happy. I was an early fan of the script, and I was thrilled when it was not only made, but when it turned out to be as consistently funny as it was. It seemed like it was such a gamble for the first film to get made that it's sort of amazing to be writing news stories about a sequel now.
As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at one of the big four general awards: the coveted Song of the Year.
Song of the Year nominees:
"The A Team" Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
"Call Me Maybe" Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
"We Are Young" Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)
WHO’S MISSING: Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” is an obvious omission here, as are record of the year nominees Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
THE PLAYERS: Song of the year goes to the songwriter, so it’s helpful to think of the tunes in demo form, stripped of nothing but a voice and maybe a guitar or piano. Quite frankly, this isn’t that strong a slate. While “Call Me Maybe” certainly captured a pop culture moment, so did “Gangnam Style”: That doesn’t make something a great song. Miguel’s “Adorn” has dominated the R&B charts, staying at No. 1 for 20 weeks, but that won’t necessarily sway the vote since this category is open to the entire 12,000-voting panel. People really like Kelly Clarkson, but more for her voice than for the song “Stronger.” Ed Sheeran is developing into a really great songwriter, but his material with Taylor Swift and One Direction is more interesting than “The A Team.”
THE ODDS: This is a race between “Call Me Maybe,” for its iconic status, and “We Are Young,” which is the far more interesting song.
THE WINNER: “We Are Young,” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)
Like seemingly every musician breathing today, Justin Timberlake is making a documentary. And we’ve already seen some it.
It turns out that the video snippet he dropped Jan. 10 announcing that he was “ready” to make more music is a portion from the forthcoming documentary.
[More after the jump...]
Oh, my. This episode is SO crazy! How crazy? The craziness could not be contained in just one night! Too much crazy! Thus, we'll see part two of the craziness tomorrow! Crazy, crazy, crazy! Oh, and it seems someone gets injured. Again. I'm beginning to feel as if "The Bachelor" is a little too hung up on driving ratings by telling us someone went to the hospital or her lips turned blue or Sean got worried about whether or not they would survive the week. I mean, from here it's a pretty short step to trying to get someone injured with uneven bungee cords or paintball guns loaded with real ammunition "by accident" or a running of the bulls in Pamplona while wearing ankle weights and blindfolds.
A plethora of famous faces attended the Academy's annual Oscar luncheon this afternoon in Beverly Hills and that means yet another annual "class of" nominees photograph. This year's group shot finds Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis in the center of the image right in front of the Oscar statue (and also right next to best actor nominee Bradley Cooper). Can you find your favorite nominee in the crowd and, more importantly, who's missing?
The Beverly Hilton Hotel was awash in A-list stars on Monday afternoon for the official 2013 Oscar nominees luncheon, with first-time nominees including Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Miserables") and 9-year-old "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhane Wallis rubbing shoulders with awards-season vets like Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") and Amy Adams ("The Master") for a day filled with hobnobbing and perhaps more than a few forced smiles (something "Lincoln" nominee Tommy Lee Jones clearly can't be bothered with).
Check out all the star-studded pics in the gallery below.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards airs on Feb. 24 with host Seth MacFarlane.
Tina Fey is going to be a busy, busy woman now that "30 Rock" is finished. I get this feeling like the entire industry has been waiting for her to conclude the series so they can all get busy making her stinking rich. She is pretty much universally loved by the people making decisions in this industry, and she's as valuable behind the camera as in front of it.
I'm out the door in a few minutes to go see "Admission," and I'm curious to see how she is in it, although I think it's just one of what I'm sure will be many Tina Fey movies in the next few years as Hollywood tries to figure out what works best for her at the box office. The pairing of her with Paul Rudd is almost like doing a movie on training wheels. Of course they'll be charming and funny together, whether there's anything more to the movie or not. Those two seem perfectly paired in terms of comic sensibility.
I like the idea of her starring in something written by Paula Pell, who was a producer on "This Is 40" and who served as one of Judd Apatow's on-set sounding boards for new material as they were working. Pell has a very wry and active presence on Twitter these days, and she's known Fey since the "Saturday Night Live" days, so there's a comfort level there already. Pell just set up her script for "The Nest" with Fey's company Little Stranger Inc. to produce at Universal, and Jason Moore, who directed "Pitch Perfect," is currently negotiating to make this as his next film.
And make no mistake: there are what I'd call "jams" still on "Regions of Light and Sound of God," with keen, rolling guitar lines and long instrumental sections. This solo set contains more hooks and melodic pop ideas tucked in the back pocket of James' jeans, flourishing with the help of horns and sampled drums. Pushed to the front is James' delicate alto, as opposed to his full-throated tenor, dreamily looping through left-of-center world rock like "All Is Forgiven" and time-travel funks like awesome opener "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)."
At times he channels George Harrison to cool, wallpapery, new-age effect. The close-eyed groove of "Dear One" and acoustic hybrid "A New Life" feel amicably retro, in its lyrics of "babes" and "stardust" and "daily every minute your possession of my mind / ticking synchronicty of time." Other times, he's chopped up his pop-folk motifs and re-assembled them into a similar sonic magic that the Dirty Projectors have (here's looking at you "Of The Mother Again"). Conceptually, it's "inspired by life and the novel in woodcuts 'God's Man' by Lynd Ward." Sonically, it's an earful.
"Regions of Light and Sound of God" is progress for James, with nuanced and progressive performances all over its, well, regions. Not every song will captivate the listener, but maybe that's the secret to relaxing and enjoying James' little mists and mystics.
(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)
Best Original Score, are you ever predictable. This year’s nominees are not diverse in terms of being films not cited in other categories – Best Picture nominees took three of the spots, while the other two contenders are from films that have nine nominations between them. Also predictably, only one first-time nominee is in the mix. Diversity was nonetheless made up for in the nationalities of the composers (four countries represented) and the locales of the nominated films – the nominees are set on three different continents and the movies’ themes resulted in Russian, Indian and Persian influences, among others, on the music.
To most of us watching this race, there were four very predictable nominees and all came through. The fifth spot was always up in the air so there were no shocking omissions. That said, I think three titles could reasonably considered “snubbed”: “Cloud Atlas” and “The Master” both received notable precursor attention. It’s also somewhat odd that “Beasts of the Southern Wild”’s great score by Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer couldn’t score even with the film’s four big nominations. The branch kept up its tradition of only nominating one new composer.
The nominees are…