For all of you haters out there griping about how MTV doesn’t play music videos anymore, here’s something to calm the waters. Check out MTV’s new website — their new online catalog that finally opens up MTV’s massive music video archive.


While has always been a source for the latest music videos, offers up a more in-depth library, including over 16,000 videos, “Unplugged” performances and exclusive MTV concert footage. And if a video you’re looking for isn’t there yet, check back regularly as more and more vids are added daily.


Footloose Remake On The Fast Track

After watching Zac Efron and director Kenny Ortega deliver a $42 million opening weekend for “High School Musical 3,” Paramount Pictures has fast-tracked “Footloose,” hoping to get the film ready for Efron and Ortega to start production next spring.


The studio has brought on “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” director Peter Sollett to rewrite the Jon Hartmere script and hired Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to join Dylan Sellers as producer.


Unlike “HSM3,” “Footloose” will aim for an older teen and adult demo. Efron is just about set in a deal that will pay him a mid-seven-figure salary and give him script approval.

Zadan and Meron are established producers of musicals “Chicago” and “Hairspray,” the latter of which was Efron’s first feature. Zadan also was a producer of the original 1984 “Footloose.” They join Sellers, who has put two years of work into the musical with Ortega.

While Sollett rewrites the Hartmere script, the studio is working on new songs that will complement some of the memorable original tunes. Though the Herb Ross-directed film wasn’t a musical, screenwriter Dean Pitchford wrote lyrics for songs that included the Kenny Loggins title song as well as “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise” and “Holding Out for a Hero.” At least some of those tunes are expected to be in the new movie.


“Footloose” spawned one of the biggest-selling soundtracks of its era and made a star of Kevin Bacon. (From Variety)


First Look At Angels and Demons

Religious expert and scientist: Tom Hanks stars with Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer in Angels & Demons, due May 15.

Intelligently designed: Filmmakers had hoped to shoot Angels at the Vatican and inside Roman churches. But Brown’s Angels, which includes the murder of two cardinals, was quickly shut down by the church. “This movie was strangely harder to shoot than Da Vinci Code, even though there’s less controversy,” says producer Brian Grazer. Exteriors were shot quickly in Rome, and elaborate sets were built to replicate the Vatican and other churches at Los Angeles studios.

Faith under fire: Ewan McGregor plays Carlo Ventresca, the faithful servant to the church during the papal conclave in Vatican City. Grazer says the movie examines the conflict between science and God, particularly when faith is tested by violence. “This is the hardest movie Ron (Howard) has ever shot,” Grazer says. “Not only because of being exiled from the Vatican, but it’s darker subject matter.”

Digging deeper: Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks, left), Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), Chartrand (Thure Lindhart) and Carlo Ventrasca (Ewan McGregor) examine clues in Angels. Grazer describes their earlier film, The Da Vinci Code, as “a puzzle movie. It wasn’t a contemporary movie. It was a little static. This one is more dynamic. It’s an action movie.”  (Images and Text Reprinted from USA Today)

Time Magazine Interviews Chip Kidd

As a book jacket designer for respected U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Chip Kidd has worked with authors from Cormac McCarthy to Michael Crichton to Haruki Murakami. He is also a twice-published novelist, graphic designer, and comics fanatic – hence Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan. Kidd talked to TIME about his superhero obsession, why books will never die, and the almighty power of Oprah Winfrey.


So, you’re pretty much obsessed with Batman, huh?

Yes, though I like to think in a healthy way.


Why him above all other superheroes?

I really liked the design of Batman. I liked the concept. There’s a lot more you can do with Batman than most other superheroes. Like Superman. Superman’s basically an omnipotent god. Batman is the flip side of that, which is a lot easier for people to relate to.


What’s the story behind this crazy Batman/Japanese comic book you’re putting out?

I’ve published several books on the lore and the toys and the this and the that of Batman. When the Batman TV show came out in 1966, it was a global hit. But Japan was the only country in the world that contacted DC Comics and said, “We want to license the right to write and draw our own Batman and Robin stories.” These stories appeared for exactly a year, from April ’66 to May ’67. And they kind of came and went. They were never collected, never translated. They just appeared and then vanished.


How was it different than the American version? I noticed one comic where Batman was fighting a man who could change into a praying mantis, a drill bit, a pterodactyl…

They took it back to the ’40s, where there wasn’t any deep psychological exploration, just a slam-bang fun thing. There’s this one villain called Lord Death Man, and his ability is basically to die. But much more importantly, he comes back to life and starts to haunt Batman’s dreams. All kinds of wonderful weird things happen that don’t get explained.


I’ve seen pictures of your place and you have tons of collectibles. What the oddest one you have?

There’s a water gun from England, which is a figural water gun of Batman basically bent over…I don’t know how far you want me to go with this.


No, keep going.

I was amazed that this thing got made. It’s legit, too, not a knockoff. His arms are behind his back. The water comes out of his mouth and the trigger of the gun is basically…what you think it would be. The plug you pull out and put more water in is, well, the other end.


Which Batman incarnation have you enjoyed more, the campy ’60s one or the grim, “I want to commit suicide if I have to watch half an hour more of this” Dark Knight from this past summer?

There are aspects of all the various incarnations that I like. The animator Bruce Timm, I think, got it best. He was the art director and designer for Batman: The Animated Series. The opening credits are the single best Batman movie that anybody has ever made. It’s about 45 seconds and there’s no dialogue or words on the screen. It’s brilliantly done and looks like a 1930’s German Expressionist movie.


Aside from ones you’ve worked on, what are some of your recent favorite book jackets?

The cover for James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. Since all that’s happened with that book, the cover is the only aspect of it that has emerged with its dignity intact. The cover works regardless of whether it’s a novel or a memoir or what have you.


Do you still work on as many book jackets as you used to?

I still have a steady stream of book cover work. I’m grateful for it. Viva le book! I often get asked, “Is the book dead?” It hasn’t happened yet. It’s different than music. Music was always meant to be pure sound-it started out as pure sound and now it’s pure sound again. But books started out as things. Words on paper began as words on paper. The paperback book is the best technology to deliver that information to you.


Do covers sell books?

I wouldn’t buy a book simply because I like the cover. I would pick it up. The jacket can call your attention to it. But in that sense, Oprah Winfrey is worth all the jackets in the world. A jacket is basically trying to do what she does all on her own. (Reprinted from



Christopher Nolan Talks Batman

The LA Times spoke with Christopher Nolan regarding Batman, The Dark Knight, The Joker and a bunch of other stuff fans have been talking about for way too long now. Here’s a peak at some of the interview:  


Watching “The Dark Knight,” it’s very easy to imagine the Joker returning to Gotham, the way his fate remains unresolved. When you were writing the film, did you anticipate that the Joker would be back in the third film?  


No, really and in truth, I only deal with one film at a time. I find myself sort of protesting this issue a lot. We’ve never attempted to save anything for a sequel or set up anything for a sequel. That seems improbable to some people because, particularly with “Batman Begins,” the film ended with a particular hook (with Jim Gordon showing Batman a Joker playing card announcing the arrival of a new villain in town). But for me that was just about the excitement of people leaving the theater with the sense that now we have the character up and running. I wanted people to walk away with that sense in their head. You know, that he’s become the Batman in the movie. That’s why we had the title come up at the end, because it was “Batman Begins,” and it was all very specific to that.   Then I got excited about seeing where that character would go. It was planned in advance, but it followed in that way. But we tried our hardest to really do everything in this movie that we would want to see the Joker do and to get that in the fabric of the story as much as possible. We wanted the Joker’s final taunt to Batman to be that they are locked in an ongoing struggle because of Batman’s rules. There’s a paradox there. Batman won’t kill. And the Joker is not interested in completely defeating Batman because he’s fascinated by him and he enjoys sparring with him. It’s trapped both of them. That was really the meaning of it. Of course what happened is Heath created the most extraordinary character that you would love to see 10 movies about. That’s the bittersweet thing. It was incredible characterization. It is a bittersweet thing for all of us.    


Read more HERE.  (Reprinted from LatinoReview)


Last Night We Saw An Early Screening Of Pixar’s “Up”


Last night my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to watch an early screening of “Up”, Pixar’s 10th animated film which is scheduled for release on May 29th, 2009.  We had no idea what movie we were going to watch until we entered the theater and were giddy to find out it was “Up” as we are avid fans of animated movies. We were lucky to be one of the first audiences in the world to see the film which combined a bittersweet coming of age story with an unexpected friendship. The rough-cut version of the film that was presented to us was mixed with storyboard, rough and finished animation.  The movie plot was completely original but somewhat dark with many adult themes (aging, loss, separation and unfinished promises).  Both my wife and I welled up at a few scenes and there is a memorable montage that depicts a couple’s life together that is so poignant, even the toughest critic will be moved. There are still some very funny moments but this picture really stands on its own and is difficult to compare to its Pixar predecessors.

The cantankerous hero of “Up” is named Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) who spends his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seemed to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. The audience is along for a thrilling ride and journey with the unlikely pair of Carl and Russell as they encounter wild South American terrain, an unexpected villain and unusual jungle creatures.

The film was directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.) and co-directed by Bob Peterson (Finding Nemo) who also wrote the screenplay. “Up” featured the voices of Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger and Jordan Nagai.

After the movie, we were part of a 20 person focus group that provided commentary on our likes and dislikes, highlights and low points.  It will be interesting to see if any of our input will alter the finished product.

I would definitely recommend this movie to family and friends as the animation that we saw was top notch.  We generally cared for the major characters and found the story to be unique although a little morose compared to other Pixar fare.  It was refreshing to see an action hero in his 70’s.  If your grandparents have never seen a Pixar movie, this is the one to bring them to as long as they remember their tissues.  Kids will love the Russell character and the fun animals in the film.  Although not my favorite Pixar film (my favorites were Finding Nemo and The Incredibles) it is far better than many animated or even live action movies in the theater currently.

Musicians Chime In For NBC Jingle

You may not know that the notes to NBC’s famous chimes are G, E, and C, but chances are you’d recognize the Peacock jingle in an instant. With that in mind, executives at the network decided to have some fun with their famous chimes and launched a national campaign calling for a 21st century reinvention of the 75-year-old television staple. To help drive the point home, NBC solicited some of its stars, including The Office‘s Jenna Fischer and Heroes Masi Oka, as well as a handful of music luminaries who filmed individual eight-second spots entirely of their own creation.

The music-themed promos were shot in Los Angeles last week, featuring T.I., B.B. King, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, The B-52’s, country star Clint Black, and the always eccentric Flaming Lips, who let sit in on their two-hour shoot atop downtown L.A.’s now vacant Park Plaza Hotel for this exclusive video. Naturally, the band’s noise-assault interpretation of the chimes was out there to begin with, but what really blew our mind was frontman Wayne Coyne’s tricked-out double-neck guitar, which, as a jab at rhythm-game obsessed kids, featured a twist on the Guitar Hero plastic axe. Watch for the NBC promos to start airing around Thanksgiving.

Obama HOPE Poster Parodies

Artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic Obama HOPE image we’ve seen so much during the current presidential campaign, writes:

“Check out this link to a plethora of parodies of my Obama HOPE poster. I’m very happy that the HOPE poster has become such a point of reference. One parody that is not included is something I consider a high point in my career for pop culture recognition. Mad Magazine’s new cover is a spoof of my Obama image. I loved Mad as a kid. I think Mad’s satire heightened my understanding of irony and hypocrisy. I’m very excited to be a part of Mad’s history.”


Make Your Own Muppet

This may very well be one of the best holiday gifts ever!  

Ever want to see yourself in Muppet form? FAO Schwartz is offering the chance to do just that with their Muppet Whatnot Workshop. For a mere $90 you can design your own muppet, to be delivered to your doorstep in just a few weeks.   Check it out HERE.

Neil Gaiman Talks About Coraline And More

In 1989, Neil Gaiman created a little comic book called The Sandman, and, along with esteemed colleagues like Watchmen‘s Alan Moore, slowly and inadvertently created a pop culture phenomenon that still has fans snapping up his graphic novels almost twenty years later. Since then, Gaiman has put his pen to work in an astounding number of media, from more graphic novels, to children’s books, fiction, TV, and film. Though Neil is currently on tour promoting his new book The Graveyard Book, which he is doing by reading a chapter per location and posting the footage in its entirety on his website, he squeezed some time into his schedule to talk to about the big-screen adaptation of his novel Coraline. The film, which comes out in February 2009, is a stop-motion, stereoscopic three-dimensional extravaganza adapted and directed by The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ Henry Selick.  Read more of the interview HERE.

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