If you've been paying attention to HitFix's on-going 2013 Summer Movie Preview Countdown, you know what the site's staff is eagerly anticipating as we turn the corner into blockbuster season. High concept entertainment like the comic book stylings of "Iron Man 3," "Man of Steel" and "The Wolverine" have already been mentioned, as well as other genre fare, from westerns ("The Lone Ranger") to horror ("The Conjuring"), comedy ("The World's End") to sci-fi ("Star Trek Into Darkness"). How will the top five turn out next week? We'll know soon enough, but in the meantime, we've cooked up a list of under-the-radar goodies to check out in between all the big budget fun.
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The White House Correspondents' Dinner has always been an occasion where the President of the United States can poke fun at himself, the press and Washington. The POTUS then usually endures some good ribbing from that night's comedic headliner. This year, President Obama had a little more fun than usual.
1. George Jones: One of the greatest singers who ever lived, who recorded one of the greatest songs of all time, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” takes The Grand Tour to the sky.
2. Neil Diamond: After “Sweet Caroline” sales soar following his appearance at a Boston Red Sox game, Diamond donates all the royalties to the One Fund Boston. Good times never felt so good.
3. Fall Out Boy: Following a five-year hiatus, Fall Out Boy returns with “Save Rock & Roll,” which bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Why stop with just saving rock and roll?
4. Will.I.Am: He accidentally steals a song for his new album, “#willpower.” Oops.
5. Psy: “Gentleman” soars into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, making the S. Korean rapper a two-hit wonder.
6. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The rap pair becomes the first group since The Blackeyed Peas to score the No. 2 and No. 3 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Think how high they could go if they had lady lumps.
7. Justin Bieber: His road woes continue as Swedish police find pot and a stun gun on his tour bus. It sounds like someone needs a time out.
8. Amy Winehouse: As word of her new documentary comes out, her father declares in no uncertain terms that he is not a fan of Beyonce and Andre 3000’s cover of “Back To Black.” Did you really expect him to be?
9. Michael Buble: As Mother’s Day approaches, buyers come out in droves around the globe to purchase the crooner’s latest, “To Be Loved.” Just think how it would sell if Warner Bros. had packaged it with a pair of mom jeans?
10. Record Store Day: The annual event drove vinyl sales to a historic high of a combined 244,000 copies, the highest one-week tally since SoundScan starting counting sales in 1991. If we can add three more zeros then we’ll be talking sales to get excited about.
As we come to the close of another season of “Saturday Night Live,” it’s time to think ahead to what changes will happen in the show’s cast when it returns for its thirty-ninth season this Fall. While Lorne Michaels traditionally likes to draw nationally unknown talent from the nation’s top improv troupes, is it time for him to think about drawing from a better-known pool of talent? After all, there is precedent for this in the show’s history, even if Michaels himself wasn’t involved in bringing in cast members such as Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal.
Looking at already-known actors might seem counterintuitive, and logistically implausible. But let’s imagine that a full season commitment wouldn’t be necessary. Imagine if intermittent stints on the show were allowed, providing a constantly rotating pool of talent that would not only provide comedic depth and breadth for the show, but also make each installment unique unto itself? Let’s look at some names that might fit the bill, looking at the likelihood they would be good full-time participants or simply part-time players.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
Chasing the American Dream is a theme so pervasive in US cinema – and often beyond – that it scarcely seems like a theme at all: it's the principle upon which much Hollywood storytelling is built, after all. But few filmmakers have done as much in recent years to redefine and recontextualize the Dream as Ramin Bahrani. North Carolina-born, but of Iranian heritage, Bahrani has a distinct personal perspective on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that has colored all his work to date: the late Roger Ebert, one of his earliest and most loyal champions, has repeatedly described him as the best American director of his generation.
Fans are showing plenty of love to Michael Buble’s “To Be Loved” as the crooner’s latest album will handily top the Billboard 200 next week with sales between 150,000-170,000. That tally is close to double the amount for Fantasia’s “Side Effects Of You,” which will come in at No. 2 with up to 95,000 copies.
They are joined in the Top 10 by two other likely debuts: Phoenix’s “Bankrupt” at No. 4 (45,000-50,000) and Rob Zombie’s “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor,” at No. 8 (27,000-32,000).
Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” remains in the top 3 at No. 3, while this week’s No. 1, Fall Out Boy’s “Save Rock And Roll” falls to No. 5.
Kid Cudi’s “Indicud” likely falls 2-6, while Blake Shelton’s “Based On A True Story” will be at No. 7, according to Hits Daily Double.
Rounding out the Top 10 will be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Heist” at No 9 and Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not A Human Being II” at No. 10.
Ramin Bahrani's robust farmland drama "At Any Price" has been splitting the critics since its premiere at last year's Venice Film Festival, where it was greeted with scattered boos: some admire its command of old-fashioned melodrama, while others find it gauche and contrived. It's an unfamiliar position for Bahrani, who received pretty universal adoration for his microbudget features "Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop" and "Goodbye Solo" -- the late Roger Ebert, in particular, was a vocal proponent of his work.
Yesterday, Kris posted the "teaser" for the teaser of David Gordon Green's Sundance hit "Prince Avalanche." Today, we get the actual teaser, which is still doubtless a slip of a thing compared to whatever trailers hit in the near future. Movie marketing -- even for the little guys -- sure is a peek-a-boo process these days.
Anyway, the one-minute tease is charming enough, understandably selling the film on its loopy comedy rather than its affecting undertow of mourning for an endangered American spirit. The film's certainly funny enough not to bewilder audiences seeking another "Pineapple Express," but it represents a more considered integration of Green's earlier indie melancholy and recent broader comic instincts than the trailer lets on.
Competition reality television can be a cruel mistress. The moments when you behave like a perfectly decent person end up on the cutting room floor while the one time you snarl at a competitor who richly deserves it, they put it on a loop. But this season of "Project Runway" had to be one of the nicest in recent memory. It was low on villains, high on little acts of kindness, and featured some pretty damn good clothing to boot. But maybe I feel that way because the competitor for whom I was rooting, Michelle Lesniak Franklin, took home top honors. Whoot!
For my money, one of the most unexpected but exciting developments in the Marvel universe is the upcoming TV series, "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.", especially since Joss Whedon's the man in charge. There are very few people working in the field today who know how to build a television season for maximum impact the way Whedon does, and when he assembles a group of writers and actors, he has a knack for building amazing teams.
Today, an alleged spoiler went up online about the "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, and specifically the fate of Agent Phil Coulson, played in "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "The Avengers," and even the "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated show by Clark Gregg. His death was a major turning point for The Avengers as a team, and it helped unite them against Loki and the invading aliens. /Film seems pretty confident that their report is correct, and it certainly makes a logical sort of sense.