Gary Clark Jr. @ Antone’s New Year’s

I’m ashamed of my fandom of Gary Clark Jr. Not because he’s a trite performer or he’s expendable in any way; he’s not. He’s bringing back blues to Austin, which has largely been dominated, at least in youthful circles, by indie rock.

I’m ashamed because I could’ve been seeing him at Antone’s years ago, instead of my first experience seeing him there last July. But before he’d exploded in popularity, before he joined Clapton and Doyle Bramhall II and B.B. King on stage at the 2011 Crossroads Festival in Chicago; he was playing Antone’s every Tuesday. And I never went.

Think if you were in my shoes: an enlightened gigging musician friend, tells you this guy “Gary Clark Jr.” is playing, he’s really good. Sounds like he’s a reject from Asleep at the Wheel right?

But luckily, I eventually discovered him, and I’ve been happier ever since. So, if you’re not busy on New Year’s Eve. Please, I beg you, head on down to see what he’s all about. Clapton called him the savior of the blues, if that means anything.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer

The trailer for Christopher Nolan’s final installment of his ‘Batman’ trilogy is finally here.

And I’m a bit confused.

The trailer starts on a sober note, with a boy singing the national anthem at a Gotham Rogues football game — side note: they were typically the Knights in D.C. lore. Michael Caine’s voice comes through in a pained meter. Some plot elements involving Gary Oldman’s (brilliant) Commissioner Gordon are revealed. And then all hell breaks loose in a calculated build that unearths Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle, or Catwoman.

It’s definitely not as subtle a trailer as Nolan’s previous ‘The Dark Knight.’ It’s got ambitious CGI shots, a whole fustercluck of mayhem and madness in Gotham City, so we know that Nolan’s not going to pull any  punches with this one; he’s swinging for the fences.

But what caught my eye about this trailer was the development of Tom Hardy’s Bane, Batman’s baddie in this installment. Nolan and screenwriter David S. Goyer stayed pretty close to the characters typical origins. Compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker, Bane is pretty young in the comic book lexicon — about as old as me — which isn’t saying much.

Despite 1997′s ‘Batman & Robin,’ Bane’s never been addressed on film. And even in that 2 hour eyesore, he uttered only a few lines, most of which were “BANE!” In comic lore, Bane’s a rarity, an evil, conniving tactician and brutish juggernaut. I’m glad that the film will take that approach — both a intellectual and physical counterpart to Christian Bale’s Batman, the bane of his existence, if you will; hence the name.

The trailer was satisfying, if not confusing. Hathaway looked (almost) as good as Julie Newmar’s classic Catwoman from the 60′s TV serial, and it even featured a shot of Pittsburg Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.

Sure, there’s some confusion. But that’s what a trailer’s meant to do — make you want to see the movie. Despite the fact that I’m definitely already going to see it, I don’t have an overarching sense of where it’s going. On the other hand, there are some beautiful shots that look completely riveting and I’m excited to see how those pieces fit in. Bane looked good. It’s difficult to make what was originally a Lucha Libre mask right. I’m excited to see what Hardy and the rest have come up with.

Charles Barkley to host SNL

As Barkley would say, I think it’s turr-a-bull that he hasn’t been hosting more often. The former Houston Rocket and hall of fame basketball player turned analyst has hosted three times. A surprisingly high number considering their hosts tend to be actors, comedians, and the like.

But for some reason the folks over at SNL love the big man. I have to admit, he’s hilarious in his own way; but, at least to me, the laughs come from his ridiculous, self-aggrandizing charisma, rather than comedic timing.

Perhaps a quote from the Round Mound of Rebound, or Sir Charles if you like, can explain his return to the show best:

I can be bought. If they paid me enough, I’d work for the Klan.

Barkley’s book “I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It,” is one of the funniest thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. To this day, it’s the only book my brother’s ever finished. Sad as that is, it’s pretty funny that Chuck caught the attention of the SNL’ers. We’ll see if the old addage, “Third time’s the charm,” holds up for Barkley as a host.

Kim Jong Il Should have had a twitter

I don’t ever celebrate death. I don’t think anybody should. But contextually, Kim Jong Il’s death could benefit the North Korean people in the long run. So, for that I’m excited. What am I even more excited about? Simon LeBon’s thoughts on the whole ordeal.

I stumbled upon this article and couldn’t help but read it. I find it fascinating that this was picked up in a pitch meeting. It chronicles the tweets of Grizzly Bear, Lily Allen, Simon LeBon of Duran Duran fame, and Jared Leto, who apparently still makes music.

I understand that Twitter serves a greater good, like any internet technology. But, sorry Le Bon, please keep your snide remarks to yourself.

via NME

Amazon moves to movies

amazon-movie-studio

Big, behemoth movie studios aren’t becoming a thing of the past, but they’re getting some competition.

Netflix recently announced a move to produce original content to stream directly into homes. And now Amazon Studios has announced three projects. While they have the option to stream, like Netflix, it’s unclear whether they’ll be making it onto the little screen in your home, or the big screen in your multiplex.

It seems though, however, that the projects are taking a decidedly sci-fi turn.  One involves a woman who finally conceives after a long battle with infertility only to discover that her child is the first of an alien race that will (I’m guessing) enslave the whole world.

The other, ‘Original Soldiers,’ follows exploits of a few of the only human soldiers left on Earth that are forced to save their droid replacements.

‘Touching Blue’ follows a detective with the power to track anybody by touching their belongings. To me, it sounds like a mix of ‘The Ghost Whisperer’ and ‘Cold Case Files.’ I’m not a fan of either.

But while I may disagree with the script choices, I love the process Amazon went to to get them. They essentially put out a call for submissions from anybody with a computer and a kernel of an idea — pouring over 6,000 scripts and finally whittling it down to three.

‘Twilight Zone’ on Netflix

I rarely use the word obsession.

So I won’t. ‘The Twilight Zone’ on Netflix is my current addiction. It’s even stemmed my preceding addiction to cigarettes. Sure the intro with Rod Serling puffing away at a Chesterfield might make me think about running out for a smoke, but then the music kicks on and I’m sucked into ‘The Twilight Zone.’ A dimension of time and space.

I’ve watched probably close to 5 episodes a day, which is more I can say for any other Netflix Instant fling that I’ve had before. Sure the writing’s a bit predictable at times. As Jerry Seinfeld put it, “I watched a ‘Twilight Zone’ the other day…You know the one where the guy wakes up and he’s different from everybody else.”

And that quote might be true, but the writing’s something you just don’t find these days. I sincerely suggest you check it out for the nostalgia alone. The pig people episode still terrifies me. But there are still touching, deeply dark episodes like the one pictured above: “The Changing of the Guard.” A professor, forced into retirement, goes to school one last time to kill himself, only to find ghosts of his former students visiting him and urging him not to. While it’s not a deeply complex plot, Donald Pleasance is in top form.

 

 

‘Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie’ trailer

WARNING: this is a red-band trailer. It’s uncensored, and uncomfortable.

‘Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’ has a lengthy title, sure. But the irritating lengths (and depths) to which show creators Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have gone to are particularly astounding. Sure, they’ve made some funny bits and some amazing, and random, stars: Will Ferrell, Tony Danza, Ted Danson, Jeff Goldblum, and John C. Reilly, who’s a regular on the show and even had his own spin-off show with his recurring character Dr. Steve Brule.

The show features cringeworthy moments and quick, awkward editing that’s never flattering. Their comedy’s off-beat, but more importantly, unapologetic. After one episode, a scant 15 minutes, you can’t help but feel you a little uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how it would feel after a whole feature length.

Romney Rock

Did you know that Mitt Romney listens to music?

Me, either. If I were to wager a guess, I’d expect his choices to be in the vein of The Carpenters, Leif Garrett, maybe some Sonny & Cher if he’s feeling zany. Not the case.

Romney adopted the Kid Rock song “Born Free” as his campaign song yesterday. Yes, Kid Rock. And the artist in question is totally fine with that writing on his blog:

He and anyone else who wants to use my song do not need my permission. I said he could use it and I would say the same for any other candidate. I have to have a little faith that every candidate feels like he or she can help this country. Without faith, we got nothing. I make music to have it be heard. Merry Christmas folks! Rock on.

I guess I’m glad to see Kid Rock getting some exposure; not out of any fandom, but it just always seemed like he was the kid in high school that, despite his seemingly rough exterior, went home and questioned his self-worth while watching re-runs of “The Facts of Life.”

This is, without a doubt, the strangest combination of characters I’ve seen in a very long time. But I was sad to see that K.R. — we’re pretty close — didn’t throw in an endorsement as well. Typically, I vote for whoever Kid does. I guess he’s probably a Newt guy.

Via Death&Taxes

 

Batman movie uses crowdsourcing for score.

Guess what?

You can be in Christopher Nolan’s next Batman film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’

No, not as an extra or a Gotham police officer or Catwoman. But the films (super)composer Hans Zimmer has taken to the interwebs to solicit, and capitalize upon, some fan support for the score.

If you want, you can head over to the UJam site that Warner Bros. has set up for the score. All you have to do is listen to the recording, then record your own. Disclaimer: it’s not English, I think it’s Latin, but I’m not sure; AND it’s incredibly awkward, so don’t do it in public or you be branded a seditionist.

From what I’ve read, Zimmer’s put a lot of work into this score. These chants will obviously play a big role in the score. But it’s the thematic connection that got me. The crux of this story — and I’m not ruining anything— is that Gotham City finally reaching its boiling point, that the rampant crime plaguing the city has overtaken it, and that the population rises against authorities with the help of Batman’s baddie, Bane.

But the score also revealed something in the teaser trailer released this summer. When analyzed in an audio software, the chant’s soundwaves produced a phrase (pictured above) that read “The Fire Rises,” complete with a hash tag for all you tweeters out there. Well done, Zimmer. Well done.

Tom Cruise maybe Paid for Crowd at Premiere

Tom Cruise arrived at the Mumbai airport arrived tired, but surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans. The problem is, they were allegedly paid.

Reports claim the actor paid a talent agency, who then paid about 200 people about $3 and lunch to show up to the airport and cheering Cruise as he arrived for the premiere of his next movie, ‘Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol.’

It’s an apparently common practice, but Cruise and Viacom, the distributor of the movie, are both denying it. Either way, the movie doesn’t look like it’ll draw a huge crowd, in India or here. As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But, hey, at least Cruise got something for free out of this: publicity. Sure, it’s not great, but the movie’ll self-destruct in five seconds anyway.