Michael Keaton talks Birdman, Nicholson, CMU with Kimmel

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Film-Michael-KeatonJack Nicholson said it all after watching “Birdman” with Michael Keaton and a couple of others.

“Masterful, Keats,” he told him and “Thanks for making this movie because now I don’t have to.”

Keaton, who does a pretty good imitation of Nicholson’s voice, told a few stories on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” about their days filming “Batman” (Jack typically was out till 3:30 a.m. so wouldn’t arrive till 9:30 or 10, and was able to snooze in the makeup chair as he was transformed into The Joker).

The Pittsburgh native also challenged Kimmel to a spelling bee and name-dropped CMU but joked that he never could have been admitted to the prestigious school even if he had given it millions of dollars. He will become a visiting scholar for the Entertainment Technology Center. “I am getting a pipe and a tweed jacket and developing a drinking problem,” he quipped. 

The actor’s appearance opened with the TV host’s observation that Keaton, a Pittsburgh native, had won nine honors for “Birdman” and is in contention for eight more. “May I have one of your trophies?” Kimmel joked.

When the late-night host mentioned Keaton’s (surely) surefire Oscar nomination, the actor stopped him with, “Please, please, please, please” but acknowledged it was “ridiculously flattering.”

But Keaton is the front-runner and should be invited to the party, at the very least. I wouldn’t be surprised if he walks away with the gold. He's earned it. 

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Pittsburgh's Chris Jamison finishes third on 'The Voice,' but what's the deal with that Craig Wayne Boyd interview?

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

Well, that was super-awkward.

It's not unusual for media types to get tangled up in the post-show interview area at big events. But when WPXI hired Los Angeles -based Stephanie Stanton to get a quote or two from Chris Jamison, a Ross man who'd just finished third on NBC's 'The Voice,' it got more than it bargained for.

jessiejInstead of Jamison, she was approached by coach Blake Shelton and the show's host, Carson Daly. Next came winner Craig Wayne Boyd, who gave her a little hug.

In an understandably good mood, the three men settled in around Stanton for an interview. Clearly taken aback, she let them say a few words before cutting in to say, to the effect, "uh guys, we only really care about the Pittsburgh singer, and look, here's a video of him from last night."

No surprise, when the live cameras returned to the red carpet, the three men had hightailed it out of frame.

Still, it was a big night for Jamison. He sang a couple of numbers, including "Masterpiece," with Jessie J, it was revealed he'd been given a new Nissan automobile, and given the connections he's made through the show, appears to be light years ahead in his career than this time six months ago.

As coach Pharrell Williams noted on Tuesday night's show, "The Voice" is a platform to go out and "conquer the world."


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"The Interview" NYC premiere scrapped, Carmike won't play film

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


the-interview-DF-03612 rgb

Variety has just reported that the New York premiere of "The Interview" has been canceled. That came on the heels of word that Carmike Cinemas had scrapped plans to show the movie. 

The news came hours after hackers’ threats that evoked 9/11 and seemed to target theaters playing the comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. It stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, who canceled their media appearances for today and tomorrow.

Sony still plans to release the movie, the trade publication reported, but told distributors they could pull it from their Christmas Day openings. It’s too early to know if other chains will follow Carmike’s example.

Christmas, after all, is one of the busiest, most lucrative movie seasons of the year. Today’s news isn’t just about patrons who might be leery of seeing “The Interview” but of going to any theater to see a movie.

The Department of Homeland Security said earlier today there was “no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters” but said it was still analyzing messages from the hackers calling themselves Guardians of peace. However, the Associated Press reports that law enforcement in New York and Los Angeles are addressing measures to ramp up security.


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Oscars narrow hair and makeup contenders, announce music fields

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Seven films, including “Foxcatcher,” remain in contention for the makeup and hairstyling Oscar:
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
“Foxcatcher” (above, Steve Carell as John du Pont)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Theory of Everything”
On Jan. 10, 2015, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films.  Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.
Late last week, the Academy announced the 79 songs from eligible movies released in 2014 in contention for original song at the 87th Oscars. They are: 
“It’s On Again” from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
“Opportunity” from “Annie”
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
“Big Eyes” from “Big Eyes”
“Immortals” from “Big Hero 6”
“The Apology Song” from “The Book of Life”
“I Love You Too Much” from “The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls Song” from “The Boxtrolls”
“Quattro Sabatino” from “The Boxtrolls”
“Ryan’s Song” from “Boyhood”
“Split The Difference” from “Boyhood”
“No Fate Awaits Me” from “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them”
“Brave Souls” from “Dolphin Tale 2”
“You Got Me” from “Dolphin Tale 2”
“All Our Endless Love” from “Endless Love”
“Let Me In” from “The Fault in Our Stars”
“Not About Angels” from “The Fault in Our Stars”
“Until The End” from “Garnet’s Gold”
“It Just Takes A Moment” from “Girl on a Bicycle”
“Last Stop Paris” from “Girl on a Bicycle”
“Ordinary Human” from “The Giver”
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell...I’ll Be Me”
“Find A Way” from “The Good Lie”
“Color The World” from “The Hero of Color City”
“The Last Goodbye” from “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Chariots” from “The Hornet’s Nest”
“Follow Me” from “The Hornet’s Nest”
“Something To Shoot For” from “Hot Guys with Guns”
“For The Dancing And The Dreaming” from “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Afreen” from “The Hundred-Foot Journey”
“Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1”
“Heart Like Yours” from “If I Stay”
“I Never Wanted To Go” from “If I Stay”
“Mind” from “If I Stay”
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
“Call Me When You Find Yourself” from “Life Inside Out”
“Coming Back To You” from “Life of an Actress The Musical”
“The Life Of An Actress” from “Life of an Actress The Musical”
“Sister Rust” from “Lucy”
“You Fooled Me” from “Merchants of Doubt”
“Million Dollar Dream” from “Million Dollar Arm”
“Spreading The Word/Makhna” from “Million Dollar Arm”
“We Could Be Kings” from “Million Dollar Arm”
“A Million Ways To Die” from “A Million Ways to Die in the West”
“Way Back When” from “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”
“America For Me” from “A Most Violent Year”
“I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo In Malibu)” from “Muppets Most Wanted”
“Something So Right” from “Muppets Most Wanted”
“We’re Doing A Sequel” from “Muppets Most Wanted”
“Mercy Is” from “Noah”
“Seeds” from “Occupy the Farm”
“Grant My Freedom” from “The One I Wrote for You”
“The One I Wrote For You” from “The One I Wrote for You”
“Hal” from “Only Lovers Left Alive”
“Shine” from “Paddington”
“Still I Fly” from “Planes: Fire & Rescue”
“Batucada Familia” from “Rio 2”
“Beautiful Creatures” from “Rio 2”
“Poisonous Love” from “Rio 2”
“What Is Love” from “Rio 2”
“Over Your Shoulder” from “Rudderless”
“Sing Along” from “Rudderless”
“Stay With You” from “Rudderless”
“Everyone Hides” from “St. Vincent”
“Why Why Why” from “St. Vincent”
“Glory” from “Selma”
“The Morning” from “A Small Section of the World”
“Special” from “Special”
“Gimme Some” from “#Stuck”
“The Only Thing” from “Third Person”
“Battle Cry” from “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
“Miracles” from “Unbroken”
“Summer Nights” from “Under the Electric Sky”
“We Will Not Go” from “Virunga”
“Heavenly Father” from “Wish I Was Here”
“So Now What” from “Wish I Was Here”
“Long Braid” from “Work Weather Wife”
“Moon” from “Work Weather Wife”
During the nominations process, all voting members of the Music Branch will receive a reminder list of works submitted in the category and a DVD copy of the song clips. 
 Members will be asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements in the category.  The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award. 
A maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film.
To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film.  A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits.
The Academy also announced that 114 scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures released in 2014 are in contention for nominations in the original score category. The eligible scores along with their composers are listed below, in alphabetical order by film title:
“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs,” Vivek Maddala, composer
“Anita,” Lili Haydn, composer
“Annabelle,” Joseph Bishara, composer
“At Middleton,” Arturo Sandoval, composer
“Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?,” Elia Cmiral, composer
“Bears,” George Fenton, composer
“Belle,” Rachel Portman, composer
“Big Eyes,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Big Hero 6,” Henry Jackman, composer
“The Book of Life,” Gustavo Santaolalla and Tim Davies, composers
“The Boxtrolls,” Dario Marianelli, composer
“Brick Mansions,” Trevor Morris, composer
“Cake,” Christophe Beck, composer
“Calvary,” Patrick Cassidy, composer
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Henry Jackman, composer
“The Case against 8,” Blake Neely, composer
“Cheatin’,” Nicole Renaud, composer
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” Son Lux, composer
“Divergent,” Tom Holkenborg, composer
“Dolphin Tale 2,” Rachel Portman, composer
“Dracula Untold,” Ramin Djawadi, composer
“Draft Day,” John Debney, composer
“The Drop,” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, composers
“Earth to Echo,” Joseph Trapanese, composer
“Edge of Tomorrow,” Christophe Beck, composer
“Endless Love,” Christophe Beck and Jake Monaco, composers
“The Equalizer,” Harry Gregson-Williams, composer
“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” Alberto Iglesias, composer
“The Fault in Our Stars,” Mike Mogis, composer
“Finding Vivian Maier,” J. Ralph, composer
“Fury,” Steven Price, composer
“Garnet’s Gold,” J. Ralph, composer
“Girl on a Bicycle,” Craig Richey, composer
“The Giver,” Marco Beltrami, composer
“Godzilla,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Gone Girl,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, composers
“The Good Lie,” Martin Léon, composer
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“The Great Flood,” Bill Frisell, composer
“Hercules,” Fernando Velázquez, composer
“The Hero of Color City,” Zoë Poledouris-Roché and Angel Roché, Jr., composers
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Howard Shore, composer
“The Homesman,” Marco Beltrami, composer
“Horrible Bosses 2,” Christopher Lennertz, composer
“How to Train Your Dragon 2,” John Powell, composer
“The Hundred-Foot Journey,” A.R. Rahman, composer
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1,” James Newton Howard, composer
“I Origins,” Will Bates and Phil Mossman, composers
“The Imitation Game,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Inherent Vice,” Jonny Greenwood, composer
“Interstellar,” Hans Zimmer, composer
“The Interview,” Henry Jackman, composer
“Into the Storm,” Brian Tyler, composer
“Jal,” Sonu Nigam and Bickram Ghosh, composers
“The Judge,” Thomas Newman, composer
“Kill the Messenger,” Nathan Johnson, composer
“Kochadaiiyaan,” A.R. Rahman, composer
“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” Toby Chu, composer
“The Lego Movie,” Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
“The Liberator,” Gustavo Dudamel, composer
“Life Itself,” Joshua Abrams, composer
“Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed,” Pat Metheny, composer
“Lucy,” Eric Serra, composer
“Maleficent,” James Newton Howard, composer
“The Maze Runner,” John Paesano, composer
“Merchants of Doubt,” Mark Adler, composer
“Million Dollar Arm,” A.R. Rahman, composer
“A Million Ways to Die in the West,” Joel McNeely, composer
“Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” Danny Elfman, composer
“Mr. Turner,” Gary Yershon, composer
“The Monuments Men,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“A Most Violent Year,” Alex Ebert, composer
“My Old Lady,” Mark Orton, composer
“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” Alan Silvestri, composer
“Nightcrawler,” James Newton Howard, composer
“No God, No Master,” Nuno Malo, composer
“Noah,” Clint Mansell, composer
“Non-Stop,” John Ottman, composer
“The One I Love,” Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, composers
“Ouija,” Anton Sanko, composer
“Paddington,” Nick Urata, composer
“Penguins of Madagascar,” Lorne Balfe, composer
“Pompeii,” Clinton Shorter, composer
“The Purge: Anarchy,” Nathan Whitehead, composer
“The Railway Man,” David Hirschfelder, composer
“Red Army,” Christophe Beck and Leo Birenberg, composers
“Ride Along,” Christopher Lennertz, composer
“Rocks in My Pockets,” Kristian Sensini, composer
“Rosewater,” Howard Shore, composer
“St. Vincent,” Theodore Shapiro, composer
“The Salt of the Earth,” Laurent Petitgand, composer
“Selma,” Jason Moran, composer
“The Signal,” Nima Fakhrara, composer
“Snowpiercer,” Marco Beltrami, composer
“Song of the Sea,” Bruno Coulais, composer
“Still Alice,” Ilan Eshkeri, composer
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,” Joe Hisaishi, composer
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Brian Tyler, composer
“That Awkward Moment,” David Torn, composer
“The Theory of Everything,” Jóhann Jóhannsson, composer
“This Is Where I Leave You,” Michael Giacchino, composer
“300: Rise of an Empire,” Tom Holkenborg, composer
“Tracks,” Garth Stevenson, composer
“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Steve Jablonsky, composer
“22 Jump Street,” Mark Mothersbaugh, composer
“Unbroken,” Alexandre Desplat, composer
“Under the Skin,” Mica Levi, composer
“Virunga,” Patrick Jonsson, composer
“Visitors,” Philip Glass, composer
“A Walk among the Tombstones,” Carlos Rafael Rivera, composer
“Walking with the Enemy,” Timothy Williams, composer
“Wild Tales,” Gustavo Santaolalla, composer
“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” John Ottman, composer
A reminder list of works submitted in the Original Score category will be made available with a nominations ballot to all members of the Music Branch, who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements.  The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award.
To be eligible, the original score must be a substantial body of music that serves as original dramatic underscoring, and must be written specifically for the motion picture by the submitting composer.  
Scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs, or assembled from the music of more than one composer shall not be eligible.
The 87th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
The Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


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The Sicks: Pure Pittsburgh punk!

Written by Scott Mervis on .


sicksThe debut single from The Sicks — “Pretty Plastic”/“Dose” — is one of the year’s most authentic-sounding punk rock releases, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise given the pedigree.

The members of the Pittsburgh quintet have roots that go back decades, including stints in such heavy-hitters as The Bats, Crow Flies, Aus Rotten, Caustic Christ, Direct Action and Kim Phuc.

The band, which formed two years ago, couldn’t have happened without Kim Phuc splitting, freeing up, for one, roaring frontman Rob Henry.

As veteran punk guitarist Sam Matthews explains, “Rob and I were hanging out a lot together, listening to records and stuff, and at some point realized we’ve known each for years and we’ve never played music together. So, we thought, oh, we should start a band and we’ll just — purity of punk — play all the instruments. Rob doesn’t even play instruments, but I figured I’ll just throw instruments in his hand and we’ll create something.’ That led to us, saying, ‘Oh, we’ll start a band.’ ”

They assembled some of the guys who hang out and talk/argue music at Mind Cure Records on Saturday nights. Joining them in this punk-rock supergroup are guitarist Eric Good and Corey Lyons (both of Caustic Christ and Aus Rotten; Corey also played in Kim Phuc) and drummer Mark Miller (Crow Flies), who has since been replaced by Nick von Krusenstjerna.

“The concept Eric and I had about this is we wanted to be a band that has verses, choruses, middle parts and guitar solos, because it seems like a lot of stuff we’re hearing is people pretty much doing the Nirvana thing: you know, play quiet, play loud, same riff over and over,” Matthews says. “We wanted to go back to what punk was about, to us: sing-along choruses, good riffs, that kind of stuff.”

The guitarist says The Sicks don’t neatly fit into a punk category, and that might be true, but the shorthand here is that “Pretty Plastic” is pure blast of Pistols and “Dose” has the darker shadow of Joy Division.

“We called that ‘Joy Division’ at first until Rob came up with words for it,” Matthews says. “The way we describe ourselves, which started as a joke, but I think it’s really true: proto-punk/punk-rock/post-punk rock, because we’re really just a rock band in a way.”

The Sicks have become the go-to punk band to open for the likes of Negative Approach, Subhumans and Mike Watt, and now the single comes out on Austin-based Fair Warning Records, with a release show Saturday at Gooski’s.

Prepare for the Sicks to be a quick adrenalin jolt. They rage for 20 minutes and Matthews gauges the intensity by “the pile of dead microphones on the floor in the front of the stage.”

The Sicks play Gooski’s, 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill, at 10 p.m. Saturday with Gotobeds and Blood Pressure. 412-681-1658.


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