Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Lecrae, Tamela Mann and Tobymac will battle it out for Artist of the Year at the 44th annual Dove Awards in Tennessee in October (13). The nominations for the Christian music awards were announced on Wednesday (21Aug13).
Steven Curtis Chapman was among the major nominees, picking up nods for Christmas Album of the Year for JOY and Bluegrass Album of the Year for Deep Roots, while country music veterans the Oak Ridge Boys landed nominations in the Bluegrass Song of the Year, Country Song of the Year and Country Album of the Year categories.
The winners of all 42 awards will be announced at a ceremony which will take place at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville on 15 October (13).
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
NBC's Fashion Star reality competition hit the glitzy TV runway on March 13, but is the series going to be hot for Spring?
When Project Runway lost its familiar faces and replaced them with the fully capable, yet unexciting crew - judges Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman, mentor and Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles and host and model Angela Lindvall - many viewers realized the dream was over. The series still packs some of its initial punch, but it's lost its bravado and its heart all at once. That void leaves room for some other lucky, fashion forward show to take its place. Unfortunately for NBC's latest hat in the reality competition ring, that void is still wide open. Fashion Star is flashy and exciting, but its cheap approach and surplus of moving parts keep it from making the cut.
That realization is not to say that the idea of Fashion Star wasn't worth exploring. Runway spends a great deal of time talking about "wearability" of new designs, yet recent episodes find contestants whipping up costumes for Nicki Minaj and the Broadway equivalent of a Cruella DeVil-Regina George hybrid.
Fashion Star takes the wearability concept to heart, making it the focus and driving factor of the show. Designers preview their fashions on the runway while Top 40 music bumps under the plexi-glass floor. Once mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos give the newbies their two cents, the designs go to the highest bidder. Buyers from H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy's sit in their throne-like sky boxes and throw numbers at the designs they like - those without offers face elimination.
This process, while intriguing in its offer to take the lid off of the ever-booming fashion industry, serves to cheapen and degrade the art as a whole. Instead of contestants aiming to wow the judges and mentors with their creativity, they're trying to find something that will fit comfortably on the shelves of some of the most ubiquitous clothing store chains out there.
Fashion Star loses the personal element of the designs on Project Runway and then takes it a step further: all the winning designs are made available in mass quantities at the stores whose buyers won the bidding process. This seems to be working out for Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M, whose websites have already sold of their chosen designs - even one mini-skirt that's retailing for a whopping $350. The retail element is an interesting one, but the effect is that the designs are boiled down to mass-appeal simplicity and frankly, it's just not a joy to watch.
But we're not alone. Fashion experts took to Twitter to express their disappointment, too. Marie Claire site director Abby Gardner called the show "a HOT mess" and Us Weekly's executive editor, Lara Cohen replied, "i would say that fashion star is the forever 21 version of project runway, but that's not fair to f21."
But it wasn't just the run of the mill "fashions" that were under attack. The format of the show itself was on trial. Host Elle MacPherson took to the stage in the first few minutes with models clad in her line of intimate apparel and Phantom of The Opera masks, practically screaming "Hey, TV viewers, this is sexy, so please don't turn it off! (Also, please go buy Elle's underwear.)" The stage looked like was pulled from a Bratz Doll commercial, but considering the unimaginative and shiny elements of many of the designs, it's fairly fitting. Still, Vulture's The Fug Girls weren't going to let that go. They tweeted during the show, "#FashionStar clearly spent more on music & Nicole Richie's headbands than it did on anything else. -H" Yes, NBC. They're calling your new baby "cheap."
With all the grievances against the new reality competition, it's a wonder folks like Simpson, Richie and especially Varvatos would throw their lot in with it. But if the already hopping design sales are any indication, America clearly knows something we don't.
Damnit Eric Idle! Why do you have to keep being the one holdout on all of these terrific opportunities for Monty Python reunions? Don't you understand peer pressure? Don't you value conformity?
To stress the idea of Idle as the holdout as the focal point of this story is to overlook the glorious news that it really is: there is a tentative reunion of all living, non-Idle Pythons (that's Terry Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin) for a partially animated film Absolutely Anything, directed by Jones. Also, Robin Williams plays a talking dog. Those are the wonderful factors to which the greater attention should be paid. But somehow, I can't get past this "Eric Idle really doesn't want to hang out anymore" thing.
The group's developing film adaptation of late Python Graham Chapman's memoir, A Liar's Autobiography, is also still notable for its Idle holdout. However, in both cases, the group is reportedly trying to bring Idle in. Come on, Eric. We need you. The world needs you.
Absolutely Anything sounds like a very funny, very silly, very Pythony movie. The story surrounds a group of aliens, to be voiced by the Pythons, who bestow unto a single human man complete, unwavering superhuman powers. The power to do "absolutely anything." And they do this just to see what he'll make of it. Also, Robin Williams plays a talking dog.
As good a bit of news this is with Idle or without, it would be perfect if he were on board. The living members of the group have not all been involved in one project since The Meaning of Life, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking these long years sans Python a tragedy. Absolutely Anything wouldn't just be a fun reunion. It'd be a sign of things to come. Hope for the future. The belief that we as human citizens can attain the unmitigated joy our world once knew. Things can be like they were. Things can be better. Things can be perfect. It's up to you to make them perfect, Mr. Idle. Don't let us down.
Also, Robin Williams plays a talking dog.
Happy, happy...joy, joy! That lovable animated cat Stimpy and his Chihuahua friend Ren are making a comeback on TNN. The cable network bought the rights to all 52 episodes that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1995 and will be restoring deleted footage to some of the originals, TV Guide reports. Series creator John Kricfalusi is also reportedly on board to create brand-new episodes for the gross-out cartoon, to be aired next year.
That's Dr. Schwarzenegger to you. Taking a break from filming Terminator 3, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger received an honorary doctorate degree Sunday from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. The degree, a Doctor of Humane Letters, recognizes Schwarzenegger and his work with the Special Olympics and the Inner-City Games Foundation.
The two men accused of blackmailing Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe were cleared of their charges Monday. Judge John Williams of the Coffs Harbor District Court in Australia ordered the jury to acquit the men because the prosecution failed to prove they demanded money from Crowe in return for destroying an incriminating video of Crowe in a brawl outside a bar.
And the Hollywood Walk of Fame grows. Director Martin Scorsese, Etta James, Kevin Bacon, Susan Sarandon and Kermit the Frog will be getting their own Walk of Fame stars next year.
Actor/director Forest Whitaker will be taking the reins of the supernatural thriller Selling Time. The story centers on a man who gets the chance to relive the worst day of his life with some unexpected consequences. Whitaker, whose acting credits include Panic Room, The Crying Game and the The Color of Money, has directed Hope Floats starring Sandra Bullock and Waiting to Exhale with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett.
Donald Trump as the beauty pageant king inked a $50 million deal with NBC to broadcast three beauty pageants, including Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA. NBC replaces CBS, which sold its 50 percent stake in the Miss Universe Organization back to Trump, according to Variety.
The World Wrestling Entertainment's two signature primetime shows, Raw Is War and Smackdown, have lost a majority of male teenage audiences in what Variety has dubbed a "teen exodus." According to Nielsen numbers, Smackdown has lost 35 percent of its 12-to-17-year-old males compared with the same period last year, while Raw Is War shows a desertion rate in males 12 to 17 of 19 percent year to year.
The British Army said Sunday it is withdrawing a recruitment video that featured two Oasis songs, "Wonderwall" and "Hello," because it never had the group's permission to use the tracks, The Associated Press reports. The video, which depicted soldiers conducting exercises in Kenya to songs from Oasis' 1995 best-selling album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, was being shown in schools and shopping malls. A Defense Ministry official told the AP the regiment did not realize it needed permission to use the songs.