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- 06/13/13--20:12: _Hannibal Season Fin...
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- 06/13/13--20:18: _The Laughable Hypoc...
- 06/13/13--20:21: _Miracle Of Miracles...
- 06/13/13--20:26: _Lady Gaga's father ...
- 06/13/13--20:26: _The Walking Dead Se...
- 06/13/13--20:29: _Justin Bieber Visit...
- 06/13/13--20:47: _VM Secondary Cast C...
- 06/13/13--20:58: _Dianna Agron Goes B...
- 06/13/13--20:58: _1D promo for new fr...
- 06/13/13--21:08: _Kylie Minogue – Coo...
- 06/13/13--21:14: _Song of the Summer ...
- 06/13/13--21:15: _The Narcissistic Po...
- 06/13/13--21:22: _"Portlandia" Renewe...
- 06/13/13--21:22: _'Parker Lewis Can't...
- 06/13/13--21:23: _Tegan and Sara, Pur...
- 06/13/13--22:16: _RiRi Hearts MAC Lau...
- 06/15/13--09:06: _Natalie Portman wan...
- 06/15/13--09:06: _Friday Box Office: ...
- 06/15/13--09:17: _'Only God Forgives'...
- 06/13/13--20:12: Hannibal Season Finale "Savoureux" promo
- 06/13/13--20:17: BET To Air New Reality Show Hip Hop Sisters
- 06/13/13--20:26: The Walking Dead Season 3 - Walker / Zombie Kill Count
- 06/13/13--20:29: Justin Bieber Visits Disneyland (And almost meets me!)
- 06/13/13--20:47: VM Secondary Cast Confirmed (Some ONTD Favorites)
- 06/13/13--20:58: Dianna Agron Goes Back to Blonde & Gets Pulled Over
- 06/13/13--20:58: 1D promo for new fragrance 'Our Moment'
- 06/13/13--21:08: Kylie Minogue – Cooking Up Hits With Timbaland?
- 06/13/13--21:14: Song of the Summer post
- 06/13/13--21:22: "Portlandia" Renewed For Seasons 4 & 5
- 06/13/13--21:23: Tegan and Sara, Purity Ring, Metric Nominated for 2013 Polaris Prize
- 06/13/13--22:16: RiRi Hearts MAC Launch Date
- 06/15/13--09:06: Natalie Portman wanted for high school drama 'Dare Me'
- 06/15/13--09:06: Friday Box Office: 'Man Of Steel' Grosses Super $56 Million
i can't deal
Is BET getting enough credit for their positive programming? I don’t think they are…
In the past, they’ve been accused of not representing black women right because of all the booty shaking videos with half naked chicks, however, over the last couple of years they’ve been cleaning up their act. They’ve introduced a ton of new family-friendly scripted shows while ditching reality TV altogether. [Even though their competitors like VH1 were capitalizing big time off of that area.]
This summer, they’re jumping back into the reality TV/docuseries realm, with four unscripted shows, including Hip Hop Sisters. On the show Lil Mama pairs up with legends like her mentor MC Lyte, The Lady of Rage, Yo Yo, Smooth, and Monie Love as they try to jump back into the rap game and go toe-to-toe with hip hop’s new generation of artists.
HIP HOP SISTERS is a docudrama following the relaunch of six female rappers’ careers. MC Lyte, The Lady of Rage, Yo Yo, Smooth, Monie Love and Lil Mama join forces and declare themselves the Hip Hop Sisters. Their goal is to reclaim their titles as the Queens of Hip Hop — as they manage their drama-filled personal careers and lives and search for the next great female MC.
I have a feeling this will be a huge shade fest and The Lady of Rage is a queen.
At the opening of a new media center at USC Wednesday, the men responsible for six of the 20 highest-grossing movies of all time (eight, adjusted for inflation) issued a stern warning to Hollywood about the scourge of their industry: blockbuster movies. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who have directed and/or produced Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones movies, Transformers movies, E.T., Jurassic Park, and Jaws, are concerned — very concerned — that it’s getting more and more difficult these days to make “really interesting, deeply personal” movies, because Hollywood would rather invest in big event movies with the potential to turn giant profits. Can you imagine such a thing?
“You’re at the point right now where a studio would rather invest $250 million in one film for a real shot at the brass ring,” Spielberg said at the panel, “than make a whole bunch of really interesting, deeply personal — and even maybe historical — projects that may get lost in the shuffle because there’s only 24 hours.” He predicts dire consequences: “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even half a dozen of these mega-budgeted movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm again.”
Spielberg bemoaned the shifts that have already occurred, between the long runs of his early-‘80s heyday (“If it was a hit, it was a year long. Raiders was in theaters for a year. E.T. was in a theater for a year and four months… That was an amazing situation back then”) and the tiny window that now exists between theatrical and home viewing. “There’s going to be eventually day and date with movies,” Spielberg warned (and there already is, for many indie releases), “and eventually there’s going to be a price variance. You’re going to have to pay $25 to see the next Iron Man. And you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln.”
On this point, Lucas piped up: “I think eventually the Lincolns are going to go away and they’re going to be on television.” To which Spielberg responded, “And mine almost was! This close. Ask HBO — this close!”
Let’s make one thing clear before getting to the crux of the matter: at this point in his career, Spielberg should be able to basically make whatever movie he wants. Lincoln was a thoughtful, character-driven, intelligent picture, the kind studios should make more of, and the fact that he was basically only able to get it made because (as The Atlantic notes) he has his own infrastructure is sad. That’s a problem. Spielberg should, in 2013, get some leeway — and he’s making legitimate points about the way Hollywood’s constant state of grabbing for the next giant tentpole has squeezed out mid-level flicks. Everything either costs $250 million or $1 million; it’s the moviemaking equivalent of the disappearing middle class.
What’s infuriating about this little diatribe is that it’s coming from the two men who are, it could be argued, more personally responsible than anyone for the current state of the business. The last great era of studio backing for “really interesting, deeply personal” movies was the 1970s, when the majors were funding the likes of The Godfather, Chinatown, The Conversation, Five Easy Pieces, A Clockwork Orange, All the President’s Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Nashville, and even Lucas’s own American Graffiti. And the overwhelming, record-breaking success of two movies brought that era to an end: Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and George Lucas’s Star Wars. Their films, with their giant grosses and something-for-everyone style, ended up putting their ‘70s contemporaries like Robert Altman, Hal Ashby, William Friedkin, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese all but out of business.“Star Wars swept all the chips off the table,” Friedkin told Peter Biskind, in his invaluable book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. “What happened with Star Wars was like when McDonald’s got a foothold, the taste for good food just disappeared. Now we’re in a period of devolution. Everything has gone backward toward a big sucking hole.”
Even if you don’t share Friedkin’s dim view of their work and what it has wrought (and it should be noted that these men have made good, even great, movies), there’s no denying that the current reach for the “brass ring” of Avatar and Avengers-sized grosses is a direct result of the ways in which Jaws and Star Wars changed the business. If the monster got out of these two Dr. Frankensteins’ control, it doesn’t mean that they’re blameless for its creation, so the idea of two billionaire purveyors of the blockbuster mentality whining about the pervasiveness of the blockbuster mentality looks, sounds, and smells like what it is: bullshit. The most telling comment of the day came from Lucas: “We’re talking Lincoln and Red Tails — we barely got them into theaters. You’re talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can’t get their movie into a theater.” So there you have it. When Altman and Ashby and Friedkin couldn’t get their movies into a theater because of Spielberg and Lucas, no problem. But now that the chickens have come home to roost, these guys have noticed the sky is falling.
The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons is to play a gay rights activist in a new film.
In Glee creator Ryan Murphy’s HBO film The Normal Heart, the actor famed for playing the socially awkward Sheldon Cooper will star alongside many A-list stars.
The film will take place during the HIV crisis in New York City in early 1980s.
Parsons will play Tommy Boatwright, a gay activist, the role that he played in the 2011 Broadway revival of the Tony-winning Larry Krammer play.
The cast includes Julia Roberts as a paraplegic physician who treats several of the earlier victims of the disease.
Mark Ruffalo will play a gay man who witnesses the disease begin to take the lives of many in his community, and Matt Bomer who plays a reporter in the film who becomes the lover of Ruffalo's character.
Last year, Parsons became one of the biggest stars in the US to come out in the quietest way possible.
Speaking to the New York Times about acting in the Broadway version of The Normal Heart, the journalist wrote: ‘[The play] resonated with him on a few levels: Mr Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship.’
The Normal Heart production is scheduled to last over the summer with a premiere scheduled for 2014.
After having his NYC restaurant's health inspection score downgraded from an A to a B Joe Germanotta took to twitter to tell his side of the story.
Justin Bieber really did take his latest date to the stars and back.
The 19-year-old pop star was spotted sitting side-by-side with a mystery girl on the roller coaster at Space Mountain in California's Disneyland resort on Sunday night.
With a Boston Bruins NHL cap sitting backwards on his head and a casual grey hooded jacket, Bieber seemed unfazed on the a space-themed indoor steel ride, as his adventure partner laughed in glee - or fear - next to him.
Dressed in a casual red hooded top from the Victoria's Secret collegiate collection and her curly hair flying wildy, Justin's special friend seemed enamoured by her famous sidekick.
After a few loops on the ride, they appeared to shut out everything going on around them and chat closely in an intimate way, with Justin leaning in to get closer to his pretty pal.
Rather than being a romantic night out for two, however, the thrill-seeking couple were joined by 30 of Bieber's closest friends.
The crew took over the kid-friendly theme park on the busy summer evening when the Baby singer arrived with his massive entourage of friends and burly bodyguards.
Eye witnesses say they walked in like they owned the place - what would Mickey Mouse think of that? - and headed straight to California Adventure, followed by the more junior-themed Cars Land.
Clearly not yet getting enough of an adrenalin boost, the group then went for a death-defying elevator ride on the 183-foot Tower of Terror, with its terrifying sudden plummet to earth.
Upon arrival at Disneyland, which is the adjacent theme park, the Biebs pulled his diva card and closed the roller coaster at Space Mountain down so that they didn't have to stand in line and then rode the fast ride a number of times in a row.
Security guards at the world famous resort strictly kept fans away so that no sneaky cell phone photos were taken of the fun-loving group, and huge minder Hugo Hesny sat behind the singer to keep a close watch throughout the 180-loops.
With thousands of visitors and no doubt throngs of teenage fans in the park, Justin used underground tunnels and backstage areas to avoid being bothered while he moved between rides.
I tried to take two pictures without being obvious but they came out as blurry dark blobs. NO ONE else noticed, but it was only us and a mom/child in the walk way of his group (by the Grizzly River Run and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail). I didn't want to actually bother him since neither of us are fans of his so we didn't say anything. The group was smaller than 30 people, probably 12 of them and it was mostly guys. He was joking around with one of the guys and didn't seem as annoying as he does in the media.
When I had my phone out, one of the guys looked back at me a few times so I got scared. When we Googled it later, I found out his bodyguard supposedly beat up somebody for taking a pic of him the day before or whatever - thank god I didn't talk to him or snap a pic with flash! The group turned at the Grand Californian Hotel and my friend and I went the opposite way toward the exit out to Disneyland. We had planned to ride Space Mountain before it closed but the ride had a freakishly long line once we got there and people were saying it was broken (but apparently shut down by Biebz) so we went on Star Tours instead.
The confirmed cast continues to grow, and this evening, I’m pleased to announce not one, not two, but three more characters who will be joining us as we return to Neptune:
Kevin Sheridan - chronic ne’er-do-well Sean Friedrich
Jonathan Chesner- as aspiring horticulturist Corny
Brandon Hillock - as the long-suffering Deputy Sacks
My apologies for putting the pictures together without the right proportions. I was doing it with a toddler on my lap and no mouse. LoL
Kylie Minogue has receipts for days. The Australian pop deity is a global phenomenon – landing more than 30 top 10 hits in the UK, not to mention hitting the number one spot in her homeland a record 10 times. Now she firmly has her sights set on the American market.
Since signing to Roc Nation in February, the skirt-dropping diva has wasted no time networking with Jay-Z‘s clique, hitting the studio with heavyweights like Pharrell and now, according to The New York Times, with Timbaland.
In the article, Bee Shapiro writes: “She has been spending time in Los Angeles, recording tracks with the Roc Nation producers Timbaland and Pharrell Williams.”
We already knew about Pharrell but Timba too? The man behind JT and Beyonce‘s new music? Kylie is not playing!
This isn’t the first time the “Slow” singer has tried to conquer the States. In 2003 she went for a more American sound on the criminally underrated Body Language.
It didn’t really work out because Minogue was too busy being a bonafide superstar in other countries to promote it properly.
Kylie with Timbaland, Britney with Orbit... is it producer musical chairs for pop queens this year??
Chart Juice: Robin Thicke Scores Third No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell jumps to No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs this week, dislodging Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring Ray Dalton, from the penthouse after a seven week stay. ("Blurred" is up one slot, while "Can't" falls to No. 2.)
Thicke’s upbeat track achieved the No. 1 coup in part by posting a new sales high of 315,000 downloads (up 38% according to Nielsen SoundScan) and by improving 65% in streams to 3.4 million, which is also good enough for a No. 1 ranking on R&B Streaming Songs.
“Blurred” is Thicke’s third to lead Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, following “Lost Without You” (11 weeks, 2007) and “Sex Therapy” (2 weeks, 2010), and fourth overall for both T.I. & Pharrell.
Mariah Carey’s “#Beautiful,” featuring Miguel, skips 5-3 in its sixth week on the list, pushing down Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, 3-4. “Shop” has sold 6.5 million downloads since its September 15 release and leads all digital tracks for the year with 3.7 million hits in 2013.
Wale’s “Bad” reaches a new peak as it rises 9-5 thanks primarily to a newly released remix (June 3) featuring Rihanna. The title shifts 71,000 downloads (up 199%), with the version incorporating Rihanna’s vocals accounting for 67% of that sum (48,000). Even with the availability of a star-aided remix, the original “Bad,” with Tiara Thomas, holds fairly steady with 23,000 downloads sold (down 3%). Both versions will be featured on Wale’s album "The Gifted," which is now available for pre-order ahead of its June 25 due date.
While “Bad” leapfrogs J. Cole’s “Power Trip,” featuring Miguel, which stays put at No. 6 on the list, Cole gets the upper hand on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop (viewable on billboard.biz) replacing Wale at No. 1. The 2-1 move marks the North Carolina’s emcee’s first No. 1 hit at the format after the Missy Elliott-assisted “Nobody’s Perfect” stalled at No. 2 last year.
Closing out the top 10 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs are 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa’s “We Own It (Fast & Furious)” falling 4-7, Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” dipping 7-8, Emeli Sande’s “Next to Me” (8-9) also dropping one spot and Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” featuring Jay-Z holding tight at No. 10.
Over on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” picks up a ninth week at No. 1 (27,000 copies, down 14%) marking the longest run at the top since Drake’s “Take Care” posted 12 weeks in 2011-12. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” steps 3-2 with 22,000 copies (up 1%) while Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not a Human Being II” jumps back into the top five (6-3) with 11,000 (down 10%).
French Montana’s “Excuse My French” holds tight at No. 4 with 11,000 as well, despite a 38% decline and The-Dream’s “IV Play” tumbles 2-5 in its second week with 9,000 copies, a 60% drop, to round out the top five.
Further down the list, Broadway makes a rare appearance as the original Broadway cast recording of "Motown: The Musical" debuts at No. 15 with 4,000 copies. The critically-acclaimed show, and subsequent recording, features over 50 Hitsville classics helping to tell Berry Gordy's story of the label¹s early days. Two of the show's stars, Charl Brown and Valisia LeKae, received 2013 Tony Award nominations for their portrayals of Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross, respectively.
Danish duo Quadron makes its U.S. debut as “Avalanche” opens at No. 16 with 4,000 copies. The pair began generating buzz in 2009 with its Motown-inspired "Slippin," featured on their self-titled first album as well as “The Kids are All Right” soundtrack. Most recently, Quadron's vocalist Coco O. contributed a song to "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack, "Where the Wind Blows.""Avalanche's" lead single "Hey Love" has been viewed 520,000 times on YouTube.
The Summer Song Of 2013: Will Daft Punk 'Get Lucky'?
… Or will it be Florida Georgia Line's crossover "Cruise"? Robin Thicke? Icona Pop? Let the race begin
Barring a sudden run of bad luck this summer, radio programmers think Daft Punk will claim the 2013 Song of the Summer title. But predictions also include remixed country-to-pop crossover "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line; retro-flavored hits from Bruno Mars and Robin Thicke; and the week one summer song leader Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Icona Pop and others.
Handicapping each year's Song of the Summer has become a shared experience, a throwback to the days when radio overall and top 40 in particular held immense sway over pop culture. The eventual choice of the summer song always says something about not only public taste, but the climate at radio. We reached out to a cross-section of radio programmers and readers of Billboard Top 40 Update's "Ross On Radio" column to help handicap the 2013 Song of the Summer.
Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" is clear proof of climate change. During a previous dance music boom between the mid-'90s and early '00s, the act's "Around the World" and "One More Time" struggled for radio acceptance. "Get Lucky" came out in April to immediate major-market airplay and has just cracked the top 10 at mainstream top 40 radio. The duo's "Random Access Memories" spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 while posting the year's second best sales week when it entered atop the chart two weeks ago.
Daft Punk is the obvious candidate to WBZZ (100.7 Star FM) Pittsburgh assistant PD/music director Scott Alexander and WFLZ Tampa, Fla., PD Tommy Chuck. There's also international support from John Simon, operations director of the United Kingdom's Real Radio/Smooth Radio group, Icelandic programmer Rúnar Róbertsson and Sander Schrik of the Netherlands' OOG Radio.
"If the song of the summer isn't 'Get Lucky,' we're doing it wrong," says Leslie Scott, brand coordinator of classic rock KMTT (the Mountain) Seattle. "A dance song about sex with a hook that won't quit? It's a no-brainer."
While "Get Lucky" reflects the current excitement about Electronic Dance Music, the longer incubation period for hit records means that the Song of the Summer candidate isn't always exactly "the sound of now." Kid Rock's 2008 contender "All Summer Long" was a nine-month-old album cut, but required relatively little set-up after becoming a single. Now, marketing plans are often more elaborate. Last year's winner, "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen was already a hit before Memorial Day and had been building in Canada since the previous fall. And Daft Punk's main competitor began its journey at country radio last summer.
That song, Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," now featuring Nelly, was second in reader mentions. Kid Kelly, who's been playing the song on SiriusXM's Hits 1 for months, actually calls for PDs to play the original country hit. "If programmers have the sack to play it, they'd see it's a smash," he writes. Others chiming in for the song include Premiere Networks' Tom Garrett and KHTT Tulsa, Okla., PD Jet Black.
Similarly, Icona Pop's "I Love It," featuring Charli XCX , needed more than a year to travel from the music blogs to the European charts to U.S. synchs to Summer Song of 2013 contention. The Washington Post's Chris Richards actually tipped "I Love It" as a left-field candidate for the Summer Song of 2012, but it didn't begin its long march to the top 10 here until a "Girls" episode in January. For that reason, it's hard to associate "I Love It" with this summer, but it certainly has the right feel and still sounds like little else on the radio. It gets the vote of ERG Music VP of programming Mike Setlock. This week, "I Love It" is still growing 4-3 on the Pop Songs chart.
A lot of the summer song candidates are also "the sound of then" in other ways. "Get Lucky" is a throwback not only to late '70s disco, but to international late '90s hits like Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You." And two of its other competitors have a decidedly retro feel as well.
WWCK Flint, Mich., PD Jerry Noble--who was known for his early support of Kid Rock's "All Summer Long"--made Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" his Summer Song of 2013 prediction weeks ago. Before Memorial Day, Noble expressed concern that ""It could be a bit too 'dirty' for some pop guys," he allows. "Blurred Lines" this week moves 6-1 on the Hot 100 and lands at No. 3 on the premiere Songs of the Summer ranking.
Thicke's main competitor in the battle of the grown-and-sexy R&B jams is Bruno Mars'"Treasure," with mentions from WBZZ's Alexander, OOG's Schrik, and Robbins Entertainment A&R director Matt D'Arduini. Mariah Carey's "#Beautiful," featuring Miguel, sounds more like the summer of 1963 than any new song actually commissioned for the movie "Dirty Dancing." It was the choice of Rawlco Saskatchewan PD Chris Myers, but seems to have lost momentum in recent weeks after an initial Clear Channel radio push.
Rihanna's "Right Now" is a calculated party jam in the tradition of previous summer hits like Black Eyed Peas'"I Gotta Feeling," Pitbull's "Give Me Everything," and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." Rihanna was a regular summer song contender until her release schedule changed several years ago. "Right Now" got some initial airplay earlier this year, then was throttled back by PDs until summer, not unlike Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)."
Imagine Dragons'"Radioactive," which has been scaling the Alternative list for 38 weeks, gets a nod from WEEM Pendleton, Ind., GM Jered Petrey. Because of the length of time that it still takes rock hits to cross at top 40 these days, the obvious summer-flavored song on the group's Night Visions album, "On Top of the World," will likely stay there, at least until next summer. Meanwhile, reader Jennifer Durr says that she thought Capital Cities'"Safe and Sound""would be the summer jam of 2011," when it first surfaced on YouTube, "then 2012."
"Ross On Radio" readers made their predictions in mid-May. Since then, we've seen fast-growing new releases from Miley Cyrus, also going the summer party anthem route with "We Can't Stop" and Austin Mahone, on his way to first-all-ages-hit status with "What About Love." Zedd's "Clarity," featuring Foxes, is more of a pure-EDM competitor than "Get Lucky." In recent weeks, it has continued to build along the lines of label-mate Elle Goulding's "Lights." Maroon 5 had two summer 2012 hits with "Payphone" and "One More Night." This year, the band's "Overexposed" album is still going with "Love Somebody."
Finally, there's the possibility that one song may be a societal reflection of summer 2013, not just a musical one. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis'"Can't Hold Us" will almost certainly remain a radio staple throughout the summer, taking the first week of Billboard's Summer Song tally. But "Same Love," the same-sex equality ballad that has already sold 678,000 downloads (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and become a worldwide pop hit, is already building at top 40, meaning it will almost certainly be the soundtrack when the U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality comes down this month. That makes it the current equivalent of Janis Ian's "Society's Child," the summer 1967 hit that was on the radio when the Supreme Court ratified interracial marriage.
TL;DR Daft Punk wins the summer. But you should discuss your choices in the comments! What will be YOUR song of the summer?
Forget having the same rights as men, earning as much money as men, and having as much control over our bodies as men. Those were all boring feminist projects that we haven’t needed to worry about since that magical moment in the ‘70s when Gloria Steinem clicked her dowdily shod heels together three times and chanted, “There’s no political aim like equality.”
Once all that was solved, along came postfeminism to tell us what we wanted next. Since all gender-based inequality had been tidily eradicated, we could finally want the two things men so famously want: sex and success. In fact, as Sex and the City articulated, we were actually supposed to want to have sex like men: no expectations, no commitments, no emotions. Just pure physical pleasure. Get it, girl.
Of course, Carrie Bradshaw and her gal pals didn’t succeed at eliminating all emotion from their romantic lives; in the end (and, yes, the movies count), Sex and the City packed in just as many tears and wedding dresses and grand gestures as any of the Hollywood romantic comedies to which it was supposed to be an antidote. Conventional wisdom holds that it passed its torch on to Girls, an idea that makes perfect sense as long as you believe that any clique of four single white women in New York City is basically the same. But if you’re more interested in themes than casting practices, the ideological heir to SATC isn’t Lena Dunham’s show, with its neurotic, self-aware characters and painfully unfulfilling bedroom scenes; it’s Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, two films that take its postfeminist premise to a tantalizing extreme.
Spring Breakers, a neon-tinted tale of college girls who rob a diner to finance the Florida vacation of their MTV-molded dreams, takes enough time off from ogling its ex-Disney cast to make a subtle (and, I’ve argued, slyly conservative) argument that television and hip hop have turned millennials into a self-obsessed, amoral generation. Based on a true story, The Bling Ring dramatizes the downfall of a group of Southern California high schoolers who spent nearly a year breaking into and burglarizing celebrities’ homes. A perfect storm of boldface names – the thiefs’ targets included Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, and Lindsay Lohan, and Bling Ring member Alexis Neiers was filming the E! reality series Pretty Wild at the time of her arrest – and celebrity-culture hysteria, the saga dominated tabloid headlines for months in late 2009. The parallels between these two stories of teenage girls whose obsession with pop culture drives them to crime are obvious, but the films have more in common than shared subject matter: they identify a new archetype.
Despite major tonal differences — The Bling Ring attempts to understand young women and their relationship to celebrity culture, while Spring Breakers settles for exoticizing and drooling over them — both movies paint the teen girl of 2013 as a consummately liberated creature. A drastic departure from the insecure, anorexic mean girl and the secretly beautiful nerd in dire need of a makeover who we’ve seen over and over in film and on TV, she’s as arrogant as any guy on the football team. Sure, she has sex “like a man,” not only seeking pure physical gratification, but also living without fear of sexual violence. In one Spring Breakers scene, Rachel Korine’s Cotty flips the power balance on a potential aggressor, telling him, “You’re never going to get this… because you’re a little bitch.” Taissa Farmiga’s character in The Bling Ring appears at her boyfriend’s bedroom window one night brandishing a freshly stolen gun and ready for a romp. But for this mythical new-model teen girl, sexual agency isn’t even the point. It’s tangential to her lust for money, power, fame, and the elusive nexus of those desires, which Nick Prugo (the sole male member of the Bling Ring’s inner circle) identified to Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales as “the lifestyle that we all sort of want.”
In fact, The Bling Ring’s fictional version of Prugo, Israel Broussard’s Marc, is the only self-conscious character in the film, tormented by the fear that he’s not as attractive as his peers. Marc’s introspective nature and anxieties about his appearance make him a sharp contrast to Katie Chang’s fearlessly acquisitive Rebecca (based on real-life Bling ringleader Rachel Lee) and Neiers’ surrogate, Nicki (Emma Watson). “I want to lead a huge charity organization. I want to lead a country for all I know,” Watson’s blithely self-assured character tells the press at one point, repeating a Neiers quote from Sales’ 2010 article, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” on which The Bling Ring is primarily based.
Physically safe and autonomous in ways that teenage girls haven’t historically been, socially and financially secure to the point of boredom, and endowed with limitless self-esteem, Korine’s and Coppola’s heroines have vaulted all the way to the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Actualization is what they’re after. It’s no coincidence that Nicki and her mom are practitioners of The Secret, or that the Spring Breakers crew approaches armed robbery like a video game to be won. These girls aren’t stealing celebrities’ red-carpet outfits and shooting up gangsters’ parties to fill some hole in their lives; they’re doing it to fulfill their destiny.
The question is, to what extent are these narcissistic postfeminist millennial supergirls an accurate reflection of a new breed of young women? Have we truly made so much progress that teenage girls no longer have to worry about the problems that plagued their mothers, and even older sisters – eating disorders, date rape, bullying, depression?
It’s easy to dismiss Korine’s characters as middle-aged male wish fulfillment, bikini-clad but so confident and in control that you don’t even have to feel guilty for objectifying them. At the very least, they were created by a filmmaker who’s out of touch enough with youth culture to comment on MTV Beach House in 2013.
Less sensational but more haunting are the girls of The Bling Ring, in that their story is based on real events, with much of Coppola’s dialogue pulled straight from Sales’ interviews. But what doesn’t make it into the movie is the block of terrifying statistics about girls in the Bling Ring’s cohort that Sales includes in her recently published, movie tie-in book. One in ten has an eating disorder, she informs us; teenage girls attempt suicide three times more often that teenage boys. And speaking of Sales, it shouldn’t escape notice that Nick Prugo and Alexis Neiers were the only two out of six Bling Ring defendants she was able to interview for her Vanity Fair piece. If Prugo benefitted from portraying himself as an insecure hanger-on, just following Rachel Lee’s lead, Neiers was building the ditzily hyper-ambitious brand that had already won her a reality show. In drawing heavily on Sales’ profile, Coppola is also reproducing the characters that Prugo and Neiers created for themselves and their friends. Like the Spring Breakers clique, they’re as much a fantasy as the idea that we live in a world that doesn’t need feminism anymore.
The fact these girls aren’t more representative of their peers should take nothing away from The Bling Ring’s nuanced examination of wealth, boredom, and celebrity culture – three topics on which Sofia Coppola has long been cinema’s most perceptive observer. To her credit, Coppola isn’t a moralist; some viewers swore off her forever when, in her 2006 biopic, she attempted to understand rather than condemn Marie Antoinette. It’s not the filmmaker I’m worried about – it’s the critics who will lazily use the recent explosion of “teen girls gone wild” films (there’s also Violet & Daisy, about a pair of adolescent female assassins) to convince us that the current generation represents some kind of postfeminist dream, or nightmare. Don’t believe them.
IFC has renewed its hit original comedy series Portlandia for fourth and fifth seasons. Each season will feature 10 half-hour episodes, to premiere in early 2014 and early 2015, respectively. The Emmy® nominated, Peabody and WGA Award-winning series is created and written by Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), stars of the show, and Jonathan Krisel, the show’s director. Portlandia is executive produced by Lorne Michaels and produced by Broadway Video.
“Portlandia has celebrated sustainable local agriculture, underemployment, avian crafting, gender politics, intense bicycle messengers and so much more,” said Jennifer Caserta, president and general manager of IFC. “We can now celebrate two more seasons.”
The first three seasons of Portlandia expanded the boundaries of gentle satire and social commentary. From the feminist shopkeepers Toni and Candace to the overly eco-conscious couple Peter and Nance, Armisen and Brownstein transform into a collection of charmingly earnest characters who make up Portlandia, the quirky, free-range world created as an affectionate love letter to Portland, OR.
In addition to its regular inhabitants, Portlandia has been home to an impressive list of guest stars, including Kyle MacLachlan (Desperate Housewives, Twin Peaks), Chloë Sevigny (American Horror Story), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Kumail Nanjiani (Franklin & Bash), Roseanne Barr (Roseanne), Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), tennis champion Martina Navratilova, and George Wendt (Cheers), among many others.
Corin "Corky" Nemec -- star of the '90s sitcom "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" -- is suing the filmmakers he claims are responsible for the boating accident that mangled his leg, insisting it's THEIR fault he suffered permanent injuries ... and now he's out for payback.
The accident occurred in January in Belize Nemec was riding on board a boat to the set of B-horror movie "Rise of the Dinosaurs" ... when the vessel slammed violently into a submerged barge.
Nemec told us the crash sent him flying into the side of the boat and as a result, he broke his femur in 3 places, lost TONS of blood, and needed emergency surgery to keep him alive.
Now Nemec has filed a lawsuit, claiming the filmmakers were negligent in hiring an operator who drove the boat recklessly. And to make matters worse, Nemec claims the filmmakers weren't even carrying required worker's comp insurance.
The suit says the accident left Nemec with permanent injuries ... and that six months later, he's still being treated. He's suing for unspecified damages, exceeding $25,000.
Besnard Lakes, Godspeed You! Black Emperor also on long list
The Polaris Music Prize today announced their long list of nominees for the 2013 award, including Tegan and Sara's Heartthrob, Purity Ring's Shrines and Metric's Synthetica. Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, the Besnard Lakes' Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO and New Pornographers leader AC Newman's solo album Shut Down the Streets are also among the 40 artists nominated for the prestigious Canadian prize.
"This year's long list is all over the map, but in the best possible way," Steve Jordan, Polaris founder and executive director, said in a statement.
Every year, the Polaris Prize honors the Canadian Album of the Year by giving the winning artist a $30,000 award. The decision is made by a panel of 200 journalists who focus solely on merit; sales and genre are not taken into consideration.
"A lot of our jury expressed that this was the most difficult Polaris ballot they've ever submitted. The results of this careful and passionate deliberation will make for some truly engaging listening for music lovers," said Jordan.
The short list will be announced on July 16th in Toronto and the Polaris Gala will be held on September 23rd. For the full list of 2013 Polaris Awards nominees, visit the official website.
Canadian music post? :D
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Natalie Portman may not have been seen on the big screen since "Thor" in 2011, but she's got a slate of projects on the way. Of course, there's the double dose of Terrence Malick projects waiting in the wings, and later this year "Thor: The Dark World," while she's currently shooting the troubled western "Jane Got A Gun." It's a diverse array of stuff, so what's next? How about something described as "Heathers" meets "Fight Club"?
Deadline reports that Portman is being courted for an adaptation of Megan Abbott's novel "Dare Me." The film centers on the heirarchy of a high school cheerleading squad, led by the commanding Beth, who finds her influence usurped with the arrival of a new coach. It's a dark tale, and we're not sure quite sure what role Portman is being offered, but probably a safe bet that it's the new coach. But maybe those of you who have read the book can clue us in if there's another significant role? Here's the Amazon synopsis:
Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy's best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they're seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls -- until the young new coach arrives.
Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach's golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as "top girl" -- both with the team and with Addy herself.
Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death -- and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.
"The Vow" director Michael Sucsy is attached to direct, but no word yet on where this might fall in his schedule, as he has a handful of developing projects.
Fearless box office prediction: I think Man Of Steel *may* gross over $100 million this weekend. In all seriousness, Exhibitor Relations is reporting that the Zack Snyder directed and Chris Nolan-produced Superman adventure Man Of Steel earned a massive $44 million over its first Friday along with $12 million via those Wal-Mart screenings on Thursday evening, giving the film a $56 million cume going into its second official day of play. Some pundits will count the Wal-Mart showings as separate Thursday grosses, but I have always merely tagged such advance-night screenings onto the Friday number (because up until somewhat recently, it was just a few million bucks to worry about, not these full-court events), hence the asterisk in the headline. If you’re talking just Friday, then yeah, it’s a mere $44 million. Either way, Man Of Steel now has the second-biggest opening day for a non-sequel, behind the $67 million Friday of The Hunger Games last year. It’s a bigger opening day than Iron Man ($38 million), Spider-Man ($39 million), and Alice In Wonderland ($41 million), although one can adjust for inflation and 3D/IMAX bumps accordingly.
It also has, including the Thursday figures an opening day bigger than all previous DC Comics opening weekends in history save the last two Batman pictures (The Dark Knight‘s $158 million debut and The Dark Knight Rises‘s $160 million debut). It bests the $52.5 million Fri-Sun debut of Superman Returns (which of course grossed $83 million over Wed-Sun in July 2006), and the opening weekends of Watchmen ($55 million in March 2009), Green Lantern ($53 million this weekend in 2011), Batman Forever ($52.8 million – a record 18 years ago this weekend), Batman Begins ($48m Fri-Sun/$72m Wed-Sun this weekend in 2005), Batman Returns ($47.7m – a record 21 years ago this weekend), and Batman & Robin ($43m this weekend in 1997). The only question now is playing around with multipliers to predict just how big the opening weekend will be, to the extent that it matters at this point. Multipliers, weekend-to-total multipliers, will surely matter over the long run, as next weekend will determine whether Man Of Steel is a quick-kill blockbuster or one for the record books beyond opening weekend. But for now, Warner Bros. has little to do other than celebrate and count their money.
Worst case scenario, a Harry Potter/Twilight/Dark Knight Rises multiplier of around 2.0x gives Man of Steel $116 million, or about what the opening five days of Superman Returns would be adjusted for inflation and 3D/IMAX bump. A 2.35x weekend multiplier, ala The Dark Knight, off that $58 million first “day” gives the film $136 million for its first 3.25 days. A 2.5x multiplier, ala the Marvel Comics films (and Green Lantern, natch), gives the picture $145 million for the weekend. Anything higher than that, which is frankly unlikely with that massive first day, starts to flirt with the record books for a non-sequel. Besting The Hunger Games‘s $153 million debut means a mere 2.66x weekend multiplier, which isn’t entirely impossible. Either way, the June opening weekend record ($110 million for Toy Story 3 on this weekend in 2010) is toast. Here’s a fun stat: If it can get to $135 million by Sunday, it will have out-grossed the first Superman (released in 1978 of course) and every single other DC Comics adaptation that isn’t a Batman film.
So yeah, Warner Bros. has a massive hit on its hands, with the $175-$225 million (depending on who you ask) likely matched by domestic grosses alone by the end of next weekend. I’ll go into more details tomorrow, including the overseas numbers (also huge) and the somewhat charmed nature of this mid-June weekend, which used to be the debut weekend of choice for Warner Bros’ big summer tent-poles when I was a kid. Of course, when I was a kid, a $40 million weekend was something earth-shattering, so these $50 million single days as a matter of habit are making me feel a bit old. Anyway, if you’ve seen Man Of Steel, feel free to share your thoughts below. Spoilers are fine, but spoiler comments without a ‘spoiler warning’ will be deleted or at least edited. See you tomorrow.
Julian, a respected figure in the criminal underworld of Bangkok, runs a Thai boxing club and smuggling ring with his brother Billy. Billy is suddenly murdered and their crime lord matriarch, Crystal arrives from London to bring back the body. When Jenna forces Julian to settle the score with his brother’s killers, Julian finds himself in the ultimate showdown.
Here’s a new theatrical trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn‘s second collaboration with Ryan Gosling, Only God Forgives. The movie premiered at Cannes last month to decidedly mixed reactions. There were some of the famous Cannes boos (hey, some really great movies get booed at Cannes) and also some big fans of the movie’s extra-sylized action and nearly mute protagonist. (That would be Gosling.)