<p>Dave Grohl from &quot;Sound City&quot;</p>

Dave Grohl from "Sound City"

Credit: Roswell Films

Sundance Review: Dave Grohl's 'Sound City' is a fun, shaky rock doc

Jaw-dropping performances and a mangled argument for reel-to-reel

Dave Grohl set out to tell the story of his recording console, sold to him from the now-defunct Sound City recording studio in California. What he filmed was a lot more than that, and he ended up with too much to say.

"Sound City" marks the Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana member's directorial debut, and Grohl seemingly fell into the claptrap that most documentary filmmakers face when they tackle a topic they love.

The doc begins with a road story, of Nirvana touring their way to this unofficial, unseemly rock hall of fame. It went on to tell of the studio's origins and its founders; then the technology of the Neve console and Sound City's drum room. From there, the script was strangled by a series of anecdotes and side tangents, polished moments and lingering interviews. It's as though the story were laid out in bullet points with only the thinnest segues. Like, Fleetwood Mac formed here, something something then Jimmy Iovine and Tom Petty, something something then the girls that worked at the studio, a brief on punk rock in the early 80s, Neil Young's car, the development of Rick Springfield by the studio manager, the advent of the CD age, something something now here's the new songs section...

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<p>Stevie Nicks at Sundance</p>

Stevie Nicks at Sundance

Credit: HitFix

Stevie Nicks on 'Sound City' and Fleetwood Mac: 'It's like the Volturi is coming for me'

Watch the video interview for the 'rock star' at Dave Grohl's movie premiere

PARK CITY - Stevie Nicks' storied career started, in part, out of the Sound City recording studio in California, which makes it a fine reason for her to co-star in Dave Grohl's Sundance documentary "Sound City." But the Fleetwood Mac singer and solo artist isn't entirely comfortable in front of the camera -- at least, that's not where she feels at home.

"I don't love being filmed and I don't love all the stuff that you have to think about instead of thinking about your music, I don't love the whole vanity thing. It bugs me," she told me, donning enormous sunglasses and fabulous fur on the red carpet at the "Sound City" premiere this weekend. "I never want to be a movie star… but [being] the Rock Star's O.K. because you don't have to do that that much. You really just have to work on your music and that's really where my heart is. But this is very much fun."

She's been showing up on film for "Sound City" and in the making-of film for her latest album "In Your Dreams," which is still baking. Then there's the re-reunion tour with Fleetwood Mac this year.

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<p>From &quot;Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer&quot;</p>

From "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer"

'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer': Freed band member tackles Q&A at Sundance

Don't hold your breath for a Pussy Riot album

PARK CITY, UTAH -- "A Punk Prayer" from Russian band Pussy Riot has been in circulation for months as a rallying cry for feminism and political protest in Russia and worldwide. "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," the documentary on the phenomenon, only bowed last night at the Sundance Film Festival.

Katia Samutsevich, Nadia Tolokonikovoy and Maria "Macha" Alyokhina were arrested in March 2012 for their feral punk performance in a church, a musical plea to remove Vladimir Putin from power. Under charges of hooliganism, they were put in prison, though just this fall, Samutsevich's sentence was suspended, though the other two arrested women are carrying out their terms. Two other Pussy Riot members escaped from the incident and have thumbed their noses at Russian authorities from hiding.

This seemingly small strife made waves in the music community in America and elsewhere, as a cry for equality and freedom of expression. Acts like Madonna (in a big way) and Bjork made public stances against Pussy Riot's imprisonment, and came out in support of a lenient sentencing, if not having the charges dropped altogether.

Only three days ago, a judge refused Alyokhina's request to postpone her sentence, so the two remain in a criminal facility. But things have freed up for Samutsevich, who answered Sundance audiences' questions via Skype from Russia after the documentary debuted.

Co-director Maxim Pozdorovkin translated her answers to burning questions from fans and newswatchers:

While she was in prison, did she know about the global awareness the band's imprisonment was raising?

We did know that there was some sort of global awareness going on and we heard about it and as it got bigger and bigger, and with Madonna's performance and all these other things, we felt like there were other things coming our way.

Was there any resentment felt from the other two women who remained imprisoned, after Katia's sentence was suspended?

There wasn't really any feelings. And even til the 10th, we were all certain we were going into a penal colony together. As I remembered it, they were all very happy for me. I went to visit them the day after I got out, so I don't think there's hard feelings.

Are you afraid, or is the band afraid of any dangerous backlash?

No, I don't fear any specific backlash from the religious community because part of that was a mass campaign against them... and that was just mostly words and threats. In terms of the government response, [I] think that we're probably on several black lists and some extremism lists, and it may be in the future when we continue to do performances, we may have [charges pressed against us] for smaller things, smaller actions.

Does Katia have any hope that the other two girls' sentences will also be suspended?

There's hope and not all legal means have been used up, so they will continue to fighting so that all opportunities will be used up.

Have they ever released an album officially, and do they have plans to?

No, we reject commercialism of any sort, and we have no plans to release anything commercial... we will never commodify our art.

Right now in Russia, how much is still going on in regards to Pussy Riot?

Most of the battle is to get Nadia and Macha out of jail. The punk prayer was deemed extremist and  ordered removed from the internet, so now they're repealing those decisions... it's a tough situation because of the repressive means that were used before, there's less of a drive than there was before for people on the streets.

There were two other people in the band that weren't arrested. What happened with them?

They're fine, they're in Russia (laughter).

What do the people of Russia think of Pussy Riot?

If you take just the average opinion, it tends to be overall negative of [us]. a\And part of the reason for this is because of the way the performance was presented it was considered almost exclusively as a religious act of hooliganism. So that's what most people tend to believe. Whereas the feminist and political aspect of our performance has been largely ignored and this points to the larger problem of cultural education that people don't understand it as a piece of art.

Watch: 'Don Jon's Addiction' helmer Joseph Gordon-Levitt says rom-coms are porn
Credit: HitFix

Watch: 'Don Jon's Addiction' helmer Joseph Gordon-Levitt says rom-coms are porn

Julianne Moore mum on her character, but likes the sexy, 'intense' material

PARK CITY, UTAH - "Don Jon's Addiction" is just one of several films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival with  firmly sexual scenarios at its center; it joins other films like "Lovelace," "Interior. Leather Bar" and "Kink" in the lineup. But as writer, director and star of "Don Jon's," Joseph Gordon-Levitt told HitFix he had a larger picture in mind, beyond his character's addiction to porn.

"I wanted to tell a story about love... people objectifying each other," he said of his film.

"Don Jon's" boasts other talent like love interest Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore, who wished to remain mum on the topic of her character on the red carpet.  But Gordon-Levitt further explains the idea of objectification, and how it turns into a comedy. "My character watches a lot of porn. Scarlett's character watches a lot of romantic Hollywood movies. I think all that stuff is hilarious."

Because to the "Looper" actor, rom-coms  are porn in a way, too.

Moore said the script was "beautifully written," even for subject matter that's "pretty intense,"

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<p>Dave Grohl</p>

Dave Grohl

Credit: HitFix

Stalk talk with Dave Grohl: Nobody said 'no' to Sundance's 'Sound City' - Watch

'Hey, I'm Dave...'

PARK CITY, UTAH -- Nobody says no to Dave Grohl. At least, that was the case when the Foo Fighters frontman started tracking down talking talent for his directorial debut "Sound City," which centers around the California rock studio of the same name.

Grohl corralled artists like Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor and others for sit-down interviews, but also for jam sessions on new originals that would eventually make the soundtrack to "Sound City." To make his dream list, he asked the former Sound City principals to give him a list of who all has laid down tracks in their ugly yet esteemed walls.

"They were like, 'Are you f*cking kidding?'," which fulfills the "too many to name" quandary. But once he had his top talent in mind, it was time for some cold calls.

"Like, 'Hey, I'm Dave, I'm making a movie. And everybody said yes."

Watch the video above, for what spurred Grohl's purchase of Sound City's recording console and its importance to his former band Nirvana's legacy.

"Sound City" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival yesterday (Jan. 18).

Alicia Keys talks scoring Sundance pic 'Mister and Pete' and maybe playing Lena Horn
Credit: HitFix

Alicia Keys talks scoring Sundance pic 'Mister and Pete' and maybe playing Lena Horn

Could her film cohorts Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson show up on future tracks?

Alicia Keys just scheduled her 2013 tour dates, but this month is marked up with her other, new gig, as executive producer and score composer for Sundance film "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete."

Directed by George Tillman, Jr., the drama is led by two "incredibly" young, fresh actors, in addition to some names that will sound familiar to fans of Keys' music and contemporaries: Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson.

In a cast with other "grown-ups" like Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright, the two singing stars will be stretching out their acting muscles yet again. Keys said "Jennifer Hudson is outstanding" in her role as a heroin-addicted mom from the projects in New York. You can learn more about that transformation in HitFix's interview with Hudson here.

Keys is open to collaborating with those two former "AI" stars on future recording projects. As for the music in "Mister and Pete," she described it as "pulled back" compared to what's on recent albums like "Girl on Fire."

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Watch: Jennifer Hudson talks Sundance's 'Mister and Pete,' Grammys and Alicia Keys collab
Credit: HitFix

Watch: Jennifer Hudson talks Sundance's 'Mister and Pete,' Grammys and Alicia Keys collab

Tattoos and heroin addiction: This Oscar-award winner steps into new skin

When you think tattoos and heroin addiction, the name Jennifer Hudson comes to mind, right? 1_vm0lhv06

Fans of the Oscar-winning singer and actress have never seen her in such a state, but they will in "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," a film that has harder edges than its cutely rhyming title implies. Hudson plays a wayward mother to a child on the cusp of his teenaged years in New York.

"I've never had a drink before, I've never been drunk, unsober, in my entire life… I would never get a tattoo! It could not have been the furthest thing from myself," she told me on the "Mister and Pete" red carpet last night (Jan. 17).

The film's directed by George Tillman, Jr. ("Notorious," "Barber Shop") who has an affinity for casting and working with musicians as actors in his films. So it's little surprise that Hudson has some musical co-workers, including Jordin Sparks and the executive producer of the film, Alicia Keys.

Keys also wrote the score to "Mister and Pete," so is there any room for Hudson's Grammy Award-winning vocals in the film? And is the door open on a collaboration with Keys in the future.

"God no," she said in accordance with the former. As for the latter, there's a hint of things to come...

Hudson also saw a lot of high action at the Grammy Awards last year, as she was tapped in to sing a tribute to Whitney Houston only a day after the singer died at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Thankfully, Hudson said, she'll be watching the ceremony "from my couch" this year.

Watch the full video for all the good news on Hudson and "Mister and Pete."

 

<p>Metallica's James Hetfield</p>

Metallica's James Hetfield

Credit: AP Photo

Metallica documentary-drama 'Through the Never' due in August

Dane DeHaan starring in concert-led 3D feature, with a 're-opening' of Picturehouse

Metallica's 3D film will not only be a documentary, but part-drama as well. Dane DeHaan ("Lawless," "Chronicle") will be co-starring beside the metal band in "Metallica Through the Never," due August 9,  as "a young band crew member who is sent out on an urgent mission while the band is playing a rousing live set in front of a sold-out crowd and unexpectedly finds his world turned completely upside down."

As previously reported, Nimród Antal ("Kontroll") is at the helm of the film, which is named for one of the legendary crew's songs (below). The concert footage was shot in August at a Metallica show in Vancouver, and it will get released via Picturehouse, the movie distributor that has described the "Never" release as a "re-opening" of its doors.

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<p>Jaden Smith is alone... Jaden Smith is <em>utterly</em> alone...</p>

Jaden Smith is alone... Jaden Smith is utterly alone...

Will Smith's kids Jaden and Willow tap into teenaged pain on 'Kite': Listen

Drake and Rihanna, together again!

Willow and Jaden Smith are 12- and 14-years-olds, both the progeny of Will Smith. And they are "lost," according to their new track together "Kite."

Their ages are worth reiterating, shedding light on the elementary nature of each's rhymes, but also on the times: it's true that the Weeknd and Frank Ocean blew up in 2012, and in 2013, these Smiths -- as is their nature -- are imitating them.

Willow's no stranger to working her way around her girlish range like Rihanna, with previous output like "21st Century Girl." She put on her blackest eyeshade for another release "Sugar and Spice," out last week, which had her emoting over a sample from Radiohead's dour "Codex"; I did my best to ignore it (partly due to the further infantilization of women by a 12-year-old who couldn't possibly comprehend such an infliction particularly on her generation, but I digress) but "Sugar" was indicative of the sour...

Because at the top comes Jaden, with Drake as an overt influence, as he rhymes about his obvious teenaged sorrows of having every privilege and still feeling unhappy. "I am a poet, I do not explain..." he says in the middle of a 32-bar exploration of "-ain." Pain, being the most prevalent.

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Watch: Santigold's 'Girls' video for 'Girls' features girls, but no Lena Dunham

Watch: Santigold's 'Girls' video for 'Girls' features girls, but no Lena Dunham

And that's OK... now dance

Lena Dunham's show "Girls" took home gobs of Golden Globes Awards last night, but today is Santigold's "Girls" triumph.

As previously reported, the songwriter contributed the song "Girls" to the "Girls" TV show soundtrack. And it's fun. It evidently is fun to other girls as well. The video companion features women and girls of all ages lip-syncing to the track, bouncing and bounding in their natural habitats. No exposed booties or eye-popping costumery; no glamorous lens tricks or luxury cars or slathered-on makeup. We're so used to artifice, it's refreshing to just see females having a good time to a song after their own heart.

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