Watch: P.T. Anderson's music video for Fiona Apple's 'Hot Knife'

Watch: P.T. Anderson's music video for Fiona Apple's 'Hot Knife'

HitFix
B+
Readers
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Paul Thomas Anderson works with the songwriter again on closer track

Honestly, "Hot Knife" was my least favorite cut from Fiona Apple's last album "The Idler Wheel..." -- though that whole set was my favorite from 2012. But Apple has reunited with director Paul Thomas Anderson for her latest music video, and now I like the song a little bit more than I did.

All the vocal parts and the kettledrum were filmed individually and then laid out like a round, which is essentially all the minimalist track is. Footage of Apple's gorgeous (lip-synced) delivery unwinds in black and white and an area of sepia and color tones. I like how, in her main melody clips, you can't see her hands, for some reason. It's kind of mesmerizing.

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Watch Kelly Rowland's emotional 'Dirty Laundry' music video

Watch Kelly Rowland's emotional 'Dirty Laundry' music video

HitFix
A-
Readers
B+
Destiny's Child singer labors in a watery metaphor

Hey, if you weren't moved by Kelly Rowland's "Dirty Laundry" as a song by itself, maybe watch the video and give it another try.

The former Destiny's Child singer features in a dark reliving (and darker laundry cycle) of her worser years with an abusive ex. As previously reported, "Dirty Laundry" name-checks her "sister" Beyonce, who was "killin' it" while Rowland suffered the crimes and bouts of self-doubt.

I think its especially beautiful when the water flies slow-motion across the screen, up against shots of tears rolling easily down the singer's cheeks, like NBD. There can be a tendency in emotional, personal music videos to wear negative energy like a garish accessory, but Rowland presents her struggles plainly and beautifully here.

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Interview with 'Metallica' movie director Nimrod Antal and producer Charlotte Huggins
Credit: HitFix

Interview with 'Metallica' movie director Nimrod Antal and producer Charlotte Huggins

Film features 14 songs, Dane DeHaan's life on the line and 3D

SAN DIEGO - "Metallica: Through the Never" director Nimrod Antal and producer Charlotte Huggins were on hand at San Diego Comic-Con -- where they presented a new trailer for the film -- to attempt to tell us what the hell is going on in their film.

The concert documentary meets feature film as Dane DeHaan stars as a silent roadie for the band, representing the metal band's fans and its crew who are "willing to die for the band," Antal said in his interview with HitFix.

"There's something about the fan energy that's within the movie that exists also at Comic-Con," Huggins explained about how the band inspires a die-hard fandom.

Antal feels that listeners will be whipped into a frenzy over the 14-song set-list, which he calls a "greatest hits" approach. Metallica came into the project -- which shot last August -- with a specific set list in mind and worked with the "Predators" director to formulate a plot and structure around those songs. Songs like "Battery," "The Memory Remains," "Nothing Else Matters," "Master of Puppets" and "Enter Sandman" will be included. And it sounds sort of like a concept album in movie form, or a very long music video with 14 songs in it.

"Tonally and within the film structure -- with the atmosphere of the film -- there were certainly certain songs that played well into our hands. We stayed rel faithful to the band's set-list and tried to form a narrative we could weave into the concert," Antal said. "The band's persona, their energy and certainly the love they have for what they do, those made their way into the film. I'm very proud of it."

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Watch: The real version of Kanye West's 'Black Skinhead' video is finally up

Watch: The real version of Kanye West's 'Black Skinhead' video is finally up

Spoiler: He's zonin'

A couple of weeks ago, an early version of Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" video was temporarily posted to the 'net, from what looked like a staging site of Def Jam.

West was miffed. That version of the video, he Tweeted, was not the final cut.

Today, the real, finished version of "Black Skinhead" went up on West's site, and is now dubbed "Blkkk Skkkn Head." And it looks pretty much the same, but has interactive capabilities.

Movements are a little more fluid from the Sim version of the rapper/producer, and at its large size its more detailed. A collaboration with Nick Knight, It's still a video tech experiment that only sort of works for the dynamic nature of this buzzy, angry tune. However, viewers of "Black Skinhead" can work within Instagram to "edit" the piece, plus a handle allows the user to slow down the track and vid to a creepy effect.

"Black Skinhead" is the track that was finally shipped to radio after West's latest "Yeezus" went up for sale. West up to that point had touted his effort to be one that succeeded on the charts without having a traditional radio single. However, as we previously reported, the "Yeezus" didn't do very well sales-wise after debuting at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

What do you think of the black and white video?

 

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Watch: Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat get funny talking 'The To-Do List'
Credit: HitFix

Watch: Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat get funny talking 'The To-Do List'

Interview 'touches' on boners, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and drinking for breakfast

SAN DIEGO - "The To-Do List" linked up with HitFix for a party at Comic-Con this year, but before we could put our party pants on, the film's stars Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat and I needed to hack our way through the 1990s.

The flick centers on Plaza's enterprising high-schooler Brandy Klark, whose sexual experiences become goals on a to-do list in much the same way she'd study for a test. Shawkat plays one of her best friends Fiona, and they are featured in all manner of 1993: from Caboodles to Gin Blossoms and -- God help us -- overalls (on men and women).

I know for this writer it brought back some pretty keen memories of the age and the era.

"I remember going like, 'Oh shit we're playing teenagers.' After we shot the first day I was like, I really need to check in with playing an actual teenager and not just a precocious know-it-all," Shawkat said in our interview. "So i kinda hung out with teens... got stoned with them. Y'know just for research..."

The two actresses dropped a couple of names and music notes from the '90s like New Kids on the Block and Devon Sawa and "90210." But "The To-Do List" was actually originally titled "The Handjob," so the actresses felt there was some other prep work and research to do.

"We all gave each other handjobs, to get into the characters," Plaza said.

"We introduced ourselves while two hand simultaneously..." said Shawkat.

"The director forced us to it."

Mm-hm.

We talked about the occurrence of the female orgasm on film especially since titles like "American Pie" and "40-Year-Old Virgin" had their own first-timers theme (but with men). Plaza described what it was like to act out her O-face in front of the "To-Do" crew.

"Breathing is a private thing. You don't want a bunch of grown crew members watching you breath heavily," Plaza explained.

"And they were not shy about their boners. They were popping up all over the place."

"'I can't even get to my mark there's so many boners.'"

Boop! Check out the rest of our discussion of Kriss Kross, oral sex with Donald Glover, getting drunk at breakfast and all other manner of plain-speaking the word "penis."

"The To-Do List" heads to theaters on July 26.

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<p>Cliff Martinez</p>

Cliff Martinez

Credit: HitFix

Exclusive: Composer Cliff Martinez scoring French action-thriller 'Mea Culpa'

Composer is also behind the wheel of a Corvette commercial score

AUSTIN - Cliff Martinez has had a busy 2013 thus far. The successful stateside bow of "Spring Breakers" and the wide release of "Only God Forgives" this month seems to be part of a larger career surge for the composer. During an interview promoting his (current) film with "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn, Martinez revealed some more of his future work, which includes penning music for forthcoming feature "Mea Culpa."

"I'm about to do a French film called 'Mea Culpa.' It's an action-thriller," Martinez said, likening it to a mix of  "Die Hard" and "Taken." It will be his third French movie, though he said, "I've never done anything like it."

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, "Mea Culpa" is directed by Fred Cavaye ("Anything For Her," "Point Blank") and stars Vincent Lindon, Gilles Lellouche and Nadine Labaki. It is set for release in early 2014, and was picked up by Fox International just ahead of Cannes this May.

Martinez said he and Cavaye bonded over a mutual disdain of traditional action movie scores.

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<p>Nicolas Winding Refn and Cliff Martinez</p>

Nicolas Winding Refn and Cliff Martinez

Credit: HitFix

'Only God Forgives' director Nicolas Refn-Winding's next projects: An ad and a horror

Cliff Martinez also 'driving' a Grey Goose ad

AUSTIN - Composer Cliff Martinez and director Nicolas Winding Refn have one of the hottest non-romantic relationships in Hollywood, yielding spectacular results from their two recent feature collaborations, on "Drive" and "Only God Forgives." Their next endeavors together may make the bond even stronger.

Speaking to HitFix during press time for "Only God Forgives" -- out later this week -- Refn and Martinez revealed that they've worked on a Grey Goose commercial together. And Refn has a horror film among his "irons in the fire."

"Monogamy has its advantages. There's a creative telepathy. There are things he doesn't have to tell me, and I know his likes and dislikes, and as you work with someone repeatedly as we have, you're ale to go a little deeper each time," Martinez said. "And now we're doing a vodka commercial together."

"Oh, yeah, I sold out," Refn said after some chiding."I discovered I could go on making the films I want to make and make a good living by making commercials," having completed some fashion spots for houses like Gucci.

"I don't do things for money unless it's a lot of money," Martinez said as he smiled.

"But you like vodka," Refn said.

"I do like vodka. There's a concentration of short form of commercials..."

"They're home movies, small movies."

"He shoots a mean commercial," Martinez said, pointing to cohort. "This vodka commercial is every bit as stunning as film. I like that everything you have to say is in 30-60 seconds. It tells a big story in small amount of time."

The two didn't say when to expect the Grey Goose spot, but Refn went on to discuss what else he has planned after promoting "Only God Forgives." He briefly mentioned his "Barbarella" remake, but seemed even more eager to discuss a visual he's had in mind, for female-centric horror film.

"I like women a lot. I like to shoot women a lot..." A moment's pause. "Visually."

"I would like to do a horror movie. Men are less, women are more. I like women and I'd like to do something with sex, but not having it -- sex. Women all tied up in high heels. And that excites me, I think."

I asked the pair what exactly the horror premise would be. Refn shrugged in slow motion. I asked, at least, what color would the heels be. Another long pause.

"Nine inches." Martinez said. Refn laughed and nodded.

"I just thought it could be fun to do a horror movie and with just do women in it. I think I've done a lot with violent men. I loved working with [Kristin Scott Thomas]. I loved Carey [Mulligan] in 'Drive.'"

Is it about violent women?

"The whole idea of 'Only God Forgives' is to make a movie that takes place inside the womb of a woman. That's the mystery of life. And i wanted to make a movie of what it would be like living there [in the womb] and trying to survive," Refn said. "I'm still in the womb, and I would like to be born out of it and into the world of only women."

Martinez interjects with a little creative telepathy. "Maybe it can be a sequel. 'Only Drive Forgives.'"

"Only God Forgives" is out on Friday.

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Watch: The band Death talks 'A Band Called Death' and re-birth

Watch: The band Death talks 'A Band Called Death' and re-birth

What did the proto-punk band think of the punk era?

AUSTIN - God bless the internet, for once, really, because four years ago, the popularity of the band Death bubbled up in online music communities. For a band that sounded punk before the punk era, in the early and mid-'70s, it's kind of amazing that, today, they can hit the road with those same songs plus release new music and give Death a re-birth.

The music model today isn't always forgiving to its old rolls, particularly to bands that never released under a major label, never toured, never caught on radio and frankly didn't have an audience until stacks divers of this century had their hands on the "Politicians in My Eyes" b/w "Keep on Knocking" 7" single and converted it to digital. This rare story of three African-American brothers making "hard-driving Detroit rock 'n' roll" music in a time that young black men in Detroit were better known for Motown is captured in the new film "A Band Called Death," released this month via Drafthouse.

Founders Dannis and Bobby Hackney, along with adoptive Death member Bobbie Duncan, sat down with HitFix earlier this month. After four years of recounting their incredible story of resurgence, they had their talking points down, and exuded a positive, generally good-news vibe, whether it was about their late brother and spirit-guide-of-sorts David Hackney ("David is right here with us.") the role of race ("In some situations we were too black, in some situations we weren't black enough... rejection was all over the place.").

I was most curious about what they thought of the punk era: Death broke up in 1977, with no following or opportunity to play big markets like New York or London. Yet then along came "the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith... me and Dennis nudged each other," Bobby said in our interview, "and [said] this used to remind us of some of the stuff we did in Detroit."

Watch the full interview above for what else they had to say on "claim to fame," their plans for a Drafthouse release of new songs and what helpful thing Smokie Robinson had to say.

Read HitFix's review of "A Band Called Death" here.

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<p>Britney Spears </p>

Britney Spears

Watch: Britney Spears and her kids star with Smurfs in 'Oh La La' video

Mom, what's an 'oh la la?'

"Mom, what's an 'oh la la?'"

"It's a fun activity, or fun activity partner."

"So when you tell me and Jayden to 'Come with me and be my oh la la,' you mean you want a play-date?"

"Yup. Absolutely."

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<p>Ciara's &quot;Ciara&quot;</p>

Ciara's "Ciara"

Credit: Epic

Review: Ciara's new album 'Ciara'

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
Is 'I'm Out' and 'Body Party' the best the singer can offer?

Watch Ciara’s videos, and you get some sort of sense who the singer is. Though she’s been making albums since 2004, the newly minted Epic artist has started becoming her own for diggable and stylish clips. She’s a ferociously adept dancer; her fashion and facial expressions say so much more than her words do. And on her self-titled effort, Ciara has a lot of words that don’t mean very much.

It was smartly indicative that “Ciara” kicks this off with biting and fun “I’m Out”: Nicki Minaj is in top form, the production and arrangement will set all your stuff on fire and dance around it and the core kiss-off is darkly celebratory. But Ciara doesn’t have first verse. She’s basically doing two versions of a hook, one of which sounds like the updated version of “Luck Be a Lady.” There’s a lot of flash-bang and you exit having only a hint of what the rest of the album is on, and what she’s about.
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