I don’t really have much to say about this video, other than it’s Swedish House Mafia so I love it. If it makes you want to dance, then it’s done its job.
I don’t really have much to say about this video, other than it’s Swedish House Mafia so I love it. If it makes you want to dance, then it’s done its job.
Today is the 43rd birthday of Thomas Bangalter, who is rumored to be one of the robots better known as Daft Punk. For that reason, I selected Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself To Dance as today’s music video of the day!
One of my fondest memories of 2014 was watching the Grammy Awards that year. The only reason that I watched was so I could see Daft Punk win every award they were nominated for. Every time they were mentioned, the camers would cut to the robots sitting in the audience. Every time they won, Pharrell Williams would end up on stage, saying, “The Robots would like to thank…”
I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed that awards ceremony!
Have you heard of Conner4Real?
If you haven’t, you’re probably just old or else you don’t keep up with what’s happening in the world of popular music. His real name is Conner Friel and he used to be a member of the Style Boyz. Of course, the Style Boyz eventually broke up. Kid Brain became a farmer. Kid Contact became a DJ. And Kid Conner — well, he became Conner4Real and he became a bigger star as a solo artist than he ever was as a Style Boy. His debut album, Thriller, Also, broke records.
But the follow-up, Connquest … well, Connquest wasn’t quite as acclaimed. In fact, it was hated by just about everyone. This is despite featuring classic songs like:
Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)
and Equal Rights (featuring P!nk).
Fortunately, when Conner4Real was facing his greatest existential crisis, a film crew was present to record his struggle. For those of us who were fascinated by the career of Conner4Real, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a chance to see how Conner dealt with everything from his terminally ill pet turtle to the elaborate marriage proposal ceremony that led to Seal being attacked by wild wolves. We would have gotten to see Conner and his manager defeat a swarm of mutant bees but, unfortunately, that happened right after the only time that Conner’s manager asked the film crew to stop filming.
Oh well, these things happen.
So, as you should have guessed from all that, Popstar is not a serious film. It’s a mockumentary, with the emphasis on mock. It was also one of the funniest films of 2016, a spot-on parody of the silliness and pretensions of fame. Conner is a combination of Justin Bieber and Macklemore at their shallowest, a well-meaning but thoroughly empty-headed singer. In fact, if Conner was played by anyone other than Andy Samberg, he would be so annoying that the film would run the risk of being unwatchable.
But fortunately, Conner is played by Andy Samberg. It’s hard to think of anyone who plays dumb with quite the same panache as Andy Samberg does. There are plenty of lines in Popstar that shouldn’t work but they do, specifically because they’re being delivered by Samberg. He brings just the right amount of sweetly sincere stupidity to the role. Almost despite yourself, you find yourself hoping that things will work out for Conner and the other Style Boyz. Conner may not deserve to be as big a star as he is but it was obviously going to happen to some idiot so why not a sincere one?
Samberg is not the only funny person in Popstar. The movie is full of funny people, from Sarah Silverman to Bill Hader to the always underrated Tim Meadows. It’s also full of celebrity cameos and I have to admit that I usually tend to cringe when I see too many people playing themselves. But in Popstar, it works. One need only rewatch something like Zoolander 2 to see how well Popstar pulls off its celebrity cameos.
Sadly, as funny as Popstar was, it was also one of the biggest bombs of 2016. (The trailer, it must be said, did not do the film justice.) However, I expect that it will soon develop a strong cult following. In a few years, we’ll get a sequel. It probably won’t be as as good.
Oh well. These things happen.
The Producer’s Guild of America, who are traditionally one of the most reliable of the Oscar precursors, announced their ten nominees for the best film of 2016 earlier today!
Not on the list: Martin Scorsese’s Silence. Last year, at this time, Silence was the most anticipated of the potential Oscar nominees. Now, 12 months later, whatever momentum that Silence had seems to have fizzled.
You know what film was on the list?
Somehow, Deadpool has emerged as a legitimate Oscar contender. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be nominated, of course. Last year, a lot of people made the mistake of getting excited when both Carol and Straight Outta Compton showed up among the Producers Guild’s nominations.
Here’s what we have to remember — every years, the PGA nominates 10 films. However, the Academy never nominates a full slate of 10 films. While the best picture nominees probably will all have received a PGA nomination, that doesn’t mean that every PGA nominee is going to be nominated for best picture.
Still, Deadpool is coming on strong with the guilds. It has some support among the industry.
A best picture nomination for Deadpool? Normally, I’d laugh that off. Then again, at one time, I also laughed off the idea that Mad Max: Fury Road would get a nomination, despite the fact that I thought Mad Max was one of the best films of 2015.
In the end, anything can happen. That’s one reason why Oscar watchers like me are always a little disappointed when the Oscar nominations are announced and the precursor season ends. During the precursor season, anything is possible.
Anyway, here are the PGA nominations:
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Producers: Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, Aaron Ryder, David Linde
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner
Producers: Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington, Todd Black
Producers: Bill Mechanic, David Permut
Producers: Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn
Producers: Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin & Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, Theodore Melfi
Producers: Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
Producers: Emile Sherman & Iain Canning, Angie Fielder
Producers: Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck, Kevin Walsh
Producers: Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner & Jeremy Kleiner
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Producer: Lindsey Collins
Producers: Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight
Producer: Osnat Shurer
Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy
Producer: Clark Spencer
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
* The PGA previously announced the nominations in this category on November 22, 2016. The list below has been updated to include eligible producers.
Producer: Gabrielle Tana
Producers: Stacey Reiss, Otto Bell
Producers: Julie Goldman, Roger Ross Williams
Producers: Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow
Producers: Keith Maitland, Susan Thomson, Megan Gilbride
One would think The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would be a hit right out of the ballpark. You have a follow up to the highly successful film & one of Marvel’s flagship characters and tons of back story the movie can work with. It’s filmed right in New York – I saw part of the setup at Times Square myself. Perhaps I caught the film at a bad time, or my mindset wasn’t proper, but I had a tough time feeling anything for the film. Perhaps because this is a sequel to a film that rebooted another movie that was only a decade old. Maybe the time has come for Disney/Marvel to knock on Sony’s door and tell them they want their baby back. My only regret is that I didn’t get this review out soon enough to save people from spending money on this. I should have done more.
With Great Power really does come Great Responsibility.
The film picks up some time after the end of the first film and does manage to handle a few story related elements well. Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Transformers, Star Trek), along with two other writers created a script that connected to the first film. The audience is given some closure when it comes to Peter Parker’s parents and the secrets they were guarding. For long time comic fans, they’ll get a Spider-Man that cracks tons of jokes while taking down the bad guys.
Okay, let’s focus on the good before the bad.
It’s Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s chemistry that keep the moments between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy real. You can tell there’s a good connection between them in any scene they share. You might as well be watching a reality series based on their relationship, really. Additionally, Garfield continues to give Spider-Man all the razor sharp wit he deserves, feeling very much like the comics. Credit also goes out to Sally Field as Aunt May. For a character that is usually in the background, her scenes were the memorable ones – the ones that I’d start a conversation with “Hey, you remember that part when…” Even Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborne was pretty good for the most part, I suppose.
I can’t complain about the way it was shot or the effects that were used. Spider-Man’s swinging is pretty on point, and the in air acrobatics are as cool as they’ve ever were. Some scenes tend to move a little slow – particularly the Gwen / Peter ones – but it helps to establish where they’re going. It’s more or less a necessary evil.
And that’s about it. I don’t really have much else to say on the good elements to this movie. It’s a shame really, because making movies aren’t easy with restrained budgets and producers breathing down your neck to get the product in the theatre.
Now the Bad:
Let’s start with Electro. While I thought the Electro powers were great and all, I had a problem with the reason behind his existence. It’s almost a page taken out of Batman Forever – literally, that was the first movie that came to mind on watching Oscorp technician Max Dillion’s (Jamie Foxx) Spider-Man fandom blossom into jealousy and then hatred. Foxx does what he can with it, and I’ll admit that once he has that Electro-suit on, it’s kind of cool. The argument could be made that because the character meets his hero and is then shunned by him, this causes him to become a villain – as evidenced by the schizophrenia-like voices that accompany Electro’s theme (“He lied to me, They hate me, they’re using me, He’s dead to me.”) during his fights. My reasoning here is that if the character was a fan of Spider-Man, having witnessed him stop all these crimes, wouldn’t it make sense for Spider-Man to try to stop you if you’re inadvertently disturbing the peace? It’s not even like Dillon had a beef with any of the Oscorp workers who may have mistreated him here. I had a serious disconnect with Electro as a character with justifiable motives for his actions. Granted, this is coming from someone who isn’t as familiar with Electro as many who’ve read the comics. It’s altogether possible that he is working within the comic’s defined role, and if that’s the case, many may find it refreshing. It just seemed a little off to me.
DeHaan has similar issues. As Harry Osborn, he’s great. As the Goblin (you’ve been looking at the posters, it’s not exactly a spoiler), I found myself feeling like the only reason he was there was to push a story arc. Imagine someone watching a fight and then suddenly running in and saying “Aha, now you face me!” It was just about the same setup here. The collective theme of the movie seems to be..”You know what? Let’s hate Spider-Man, because we can. We’ll figure out a detailed, legitimate reason later.”
On Paul Giamatti, I would dare to call his appearance a cameo, but it feels tacked on. I thought it would we better to never mention him at all marketing wise and then surprise audiences with where he goes. That’s all I really have to say about him in this.
One other thing was a standout – the music. The music, though a great change from Horner’s Rocketeer sounding score, almost overpowers the film. I was a little shocked to find out that Hans Zimmer worked on it (Along with friends Johnny Marr and Pharrell Williams), but some of the tracks felt phoned in. If you asked me who did the music before showing me the credits, I would have sworn it was maybe Henry Jackman, or maybe Tyler Bates. That isn’t to say that either of them are bad composers, by the way.
Let me put it this way: You could have switched this score out with the one from Despicable Me and I don’t think anyone would have known the difference. I almost put my hands in my face on hearing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” in the middle of a track. Zimmer might as well have just went with his “Point of No Return” score here.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was so-so for me. I don’t see myself trying to ever see it again, but depending on what you’re looking for, you may get a different experience from it. I’m hoping that Sony just shelves the Webhead for a while.
Continuing my series on the best of 2013, here are ten of my favorite songs from 2013. Now, I’m not necessarily saying that these were the best songs of 2013. Some of them aren’t. But these are ten songs that, in the future, will define 2013 for me personally. Again, these are my picks and my picks only. So, if you think my taste in music sucks (and, admittedly, quite a few people do), direct your scorn at me and not at anyone else who writes for the Shattered Lens.
I’ve occasionally been asked what my criteria for a good song us. Honestly, the main things I look for in a song is 1) can I dance to it, 2) can I write to it, and 3) can I get all into singing it while I’m stuck in traffic or in the shower?
Anyway, at the risk of revealing just how much of a dork I truly am, here are ten of my favorite songs of 2013.
10) A Low and Swelling Sound Gradually Swelling (composed by Shane Carruth)
This atmospheric instrumental piece comes from the soundtrack of the best film of 2013, Upstream Color. This is great writing music.
9) Giorgio By Moroder (performed by Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder)
From Random Access Memories.
8) Saturday (performed by Rebecca Black and Dave Days)
I make no apologies. Much like Friday, this is a fun song to sing when you’re driving to and from work. Plus, I think the video’s clever.
7) Brave (performed by Sara Bareilles)
I have to admit that I loved this song more before it started showing up in Nokia Lumia commercials.
6) Feel This Moment (performed by Pitbull, feat. Christina Aguilera)
5) Haunted (performed by ROB)
This is from the Maniac soundtrack. Much like the Carruth song, this is great writing music.
4) Work Bitch (performed by Britney Spears)
Not a day goes by that I don’t find an excuse to say, “You gotta work, bitch.”
3) A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) (performed by Fergie, feat. Q-Tip and Goon Rock)
From The Great Gatsby soundtrack.
2) Just Give Me A Reason (performed by Pink and Nate Ruess)
1) Lose Yourself to Dance (performed by Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams)
What else needs to be said?
Finally, here are two honorable mentions. These are two songs that helped define 2013 for me but, for various reasons, could not be included in my top ten.
First off, Alison Gold’s Chinese Food is technically a terrible song but it’s so terrible that it becomes oddly fascinating. Thanks to the presence of Patrice Wilson, the video is probably one of the most unintentionally creepy music videos ever made.
(I should admit that I happen to love Chinese food myself and therefore, this song is one that I’ve sung a lot over the past few years.)
The second honorable mention is a far better song than Chinese Food: Icona Pop’s I Love It. I Love It was released in 2012 but it’s the song that I listened to nonstop last year.. So, even if it was released a year earlier, I Love It is still my favorite song of 2013.
Tomorrow, I will continue my look back at 2013 with 10 good things that I saw on television last year.
Other Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2013: