Monthly Archives: January 2012

John Grisham’s ‘The Partner’ Coming to Theaters

For those who don’t know or can’t remember, novelist John Grisham was the Stephenie Meyer of the 1990’s. Everything he wrote got published, and everything he published became a movie, regardless of its quality. Great work if you can get it.

The 2000’s haven’t been as kind to Grisham as they have been to Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, et al. (Then again, what decade isn’t kind to Stephen King?) Maybe Grisham’s creative well dried up, or maybe people simply moved on from the “legal thriller” that was/is his raison d’être. Not enough wizards/werewolves/religious conspiracies, we gather. Anyway, it therefore comes as somewhat surprising news that New Regency and director John Lee Hancock (“The Rookie,” “The Blind Side”) have now seen fit to bring Grisham’s 2005 best-seller “The Partner” to the big screen.
“The Partner,” one of the latest in Grisham’s fabled “The [Noun]” series—which also includes “The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief,” “The Client,” “The Chamber,” “The Rainmaker,” “The Runaway Jury,” and, er, not “A Time to Kill”—is about a lawyer who fakes his own death in order to embezzle $60 million.

McCartney Writing Music For Video Game

Paul McCartney is hoping to reach a new generation of fans by writing music for a video game.

The Beatles legend tells German newspaper Die Zeit that he jumped at the chance to compose tracks for the project. He says, “It’s a fascinating market. A new computer game sells so much better than a new CD these days. Young people will hear my music for the first time in a game.”

It’s not McCartney’s first foray into the world of gaming. He and his former band mate Ringo Starr came together to launch “The Beatles: Rock Band” game in 2010.


Madonna Makes a Bid for All Our Luvin’

In addition to her Oscar-nominated directorial “W.E.” hitting theaters  Feb. 3, the Material Girl has several other treats in store for fans over the next week, all of which will lead up to her Feb. 5 Super Bowl halftime performance.

Mainly, our ears will finally be privvy to her lead MDNA single, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” which will be made available on iTunes on Friday. Added bonus: that’s the same day the song’s video premieres in full.

Ahead of that, a preview of the video for Madonna’s Nicki Minaj-and-M.I.A.-featuring single will air during Thursday night’s episode of “American Idol.”

A news release issued today notes that “Give Me All Your Luvin'” was co-written by Madonna, Martin Solveig, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. (talk about “M” DNA!), and the single was co-produced by Solveig and Madonna. Here’s hoping it goes on to join the legion of Madge’s best-known jams, and doesn’t become one of those that time has forgot.

Meanwhile, speaking of Madonna’s 12th studio album “MDNA,” it finally has a release date: March 26. The news release notes that iTunes will offer an exclusive global pre-order of an 18-track Deluxe Edition of “MDNA,” including one exclusive remix from Madonna’s new album. The bonus remix will be available from Friday, Feb. 3 through Monday, Feb. 6.

Producers on the LP include Solveig, William Orbit, The Demolition Crew, Marco “Benny” Benassi and Alessandro “Alle” Benassi, Hardy “Indiigo” Muanza, Michael Malih and, of course, Madonna. We’re just happy to see Orbit and M back in the saddle together again, since they previously crafted some of her best work to date.



Parton Rejected Presley Cover After Royalties Demand

Country icon Dolly Parton refused to let Elvis Presley record her hit song “I Will Always Love You” because she didn’t want to give up the publishing rights to the track.

Parton reveals that Presley was a big fan of her 1970s tune and was set to head into the studio to lay down his vocals when his formidable manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker, demanded Parton surrender her entitlement to the single’s royalties.

But Parton knew the financial sacrifice was too much just to have one of her tracks covered by Presley. She told Anderson Cooper recently on his talk show, “Anderson,” “Elvis was gonna record that song, he had it ready and ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker says, ‘We have to have the publishing, or we won’t record anything.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that!’ He wanted half the publishing [rights]! … It wasn’t Elvis’ fault, it was Colonel Parker.”

Parton admits she “cried about it” after rejecting the deal, but she struck gold in 1992 when Whitney Houston’s version of the track topped charts around the world. She adds, “Then when Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs … with that!”



Celebrity Tributes Pour in for Etta James

Beyoncé, rap mogul Russell Simmons, rocker Nathan Followill, actress Jessica Alba and hip-hop star ?uestlove are among the celebrities who have paid tribute to soul icon Etta James following her death last Friday. The music veteran passed away at a hospital in Riverside, Calif., after suffering complications from leukemia. She was 73.

As news of her tragic death broke, a host of stars turned to the Internet in remembrance of the legendary singer. Followill, who was among the first to tweet about James, wrote, “RIP Etta James. One of the greatest voices of all time. Thanks for the many romantic moments your music created.”

Beyoncé, who played James in the movie “Cadillac Records” and sang James’ famous hit “At Last” at President Obama’s inaugural ball, posted a message on her website: “This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime.”

Simmons simply posted, “RIP Etta James,” while ?uestlove wrote, “rip to Etta James. i will hold the torch high for The Roots name in your honor.”

Motley Crue rocker Nikki Sixx wrote, “RIP Etta James. Your music soothed and ignited passion in so many of us,” and rapper MC Hammer wrote, “When she sang she had the Gift to become ‘The Song’, the pain, the love, the Glory. RIP Etta James.”

Alba tweeted, “RIP EttaJames u r a legend and 1 of my all time favs -thank you for giving us all the gift of song -what a voice!” R&B star Kelly Rowland wrote, “CLASSIC. ONE OF A KIND. PURE SOUL. ETTA JAMES! Thank You for gracing us with your incredible talent & presence!”

British pop star Jessie J posted, “Just been told the legend that is Etta James has passed. Thank you for your voice your dedication to us and your gift. Your voice is timeless and will forever live on. I will always look to you for inspiration. R.I.P”

Meanwhile, former “Cheers” star Kirstie Alley remembered James by tweeting lyrics from her classic song “At Last” as other tributes poured in from actors Mia Farrow, Jamie Bell, Denise Richards and Emmy Rossum, singer Estelle, country star Chely Wright and Paramore’s Hayley Williams.



Steven Tyler Screeches the National Anthem

Here’s the big question, of course: Would “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler have gotten through to the next round? Judging by the audience reaction that could be heard during his performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” before Sunday’s AFC Championship game — were those really boos for the Aerosmith legend? — maybe not…

Tyler’s rendition was off-key in places, screechy in most others and he messed up a lyric — it’s “the bombs bursting in air,” not “as bomb bursting in air.” Though he does get rock star fashion points for the festive scarf he was sporting to support his team (the AFC champion New England Patriots).


Golden Globes 2012 Winners’ List

The 2012 Golden Globe Awards took over Hollywood on Sunday evening (January 15) with Ricky Gervais once again at the helm and all of Tinseltown in his joke-slinging sights. A much more staid affair than last year’s show – save for some of the host’s zingers and Seth Rogen’s reference to his “male appendage” — the ceremony capped a long week of statuette-accepting and speech-giving ahead of next month’s Oscars.

“The Artist” further solidified its spot at the front of the awards-season pack with three wins (including Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical) and “The Descendants” (Best Motion Picture — Drama and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama) showed that it could play the spoiler come Oscar night. The TV side was a more mixed affair, with no show dominating and high-profile wins going to newcomer “Homeland” (Best Television Series – Drama) and “Modern Family” (Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical).

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Madonna Addresses Gaga Copycat Controversy

 Madonna has finally weighed in on claims that Lady Gaga’s hit song “Born This Way” ripped off her song “Express Yourself,” saying she thought the similarities were “interesting.”

In early 2011, Gaga came under fire following the release of “Born This Way” when critics and fans pointed out the melody was almost identical to the Material Girl’s 1989 classic. Gaga claimed she had received Madonna’s “complete support” for “Born This Way,” and now Madonna has finally voiced her opinion on the tune in several interviews while out promoting the release of her movie, “W.E.”

“I thought, ‘What a wonderful way to redo my song,'” she told Newsweek for a profile set to run on Jan. 30. “I mean, I recognized the chord changes. I thought it was … interesting.” And in an interview with ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden on “Nightline” last Thursday night, the singer was asked if she thought Gaga was “copying” her. Madonna said she thought Gaga was “a very talented artist” and said she admired her songwriting.” I certainly think she references me a lot in her work. And sometimes I think it’s amusing and flattering and well done,” she told McFadden. “There’s a lot of ways to look at it. I can’t really be annoyed by it … because, obviously, I’ve influenced her.”

Madonna also discussed Gaga in an interview for “The Graham Norton Show” which aired on BBC Friday. “When I first saw her [Gaga] I was really impressed by her and she was cool. She did remind me of me back in the day,” she said. “I do think she is very talented.”