Music

Cyrus Ill, Postpones U.S. Tour, Resumes in August

A rep for Cyrus says the singer suffered from a sinus infection last week during her "Bangerz" tour and had "an extreme allergic reaction" to the antibiotic cephalexin. Her U.S. tour will resume on August 1

(NEW YORK) — Miley Cyrus is postponing her U.S. tour while she recovers from an allergic reaction to antibiotics, but will resume her performances in August.

Cyrus’ representative tells The Associated Press on Friday that the singer will resume the U.S. tour Aug. 1 in Uniondale, N.Y. The new dates will include seven rescheduled shows and two additional stops.

The European leg of the tour is still scheduled to kick off May 2 in Amsterdam.

Cyrus’ rep says the singer suffered from a sinus infection last week during her “Bangerz” tour and had “an extreme allergic reaction” to the antibiotic cephalexin on Tuesday. Cyrus canceled several shows this week as a result.

Existing tickets for the 21-year-old singer’s U.S. tour will be honored at the new date.

Music

Prince Reaches Agreement With Music Label

The BRIT Awards 2014 - Show
Prince at The BRIT Awards 2014, Feb. 19, 2014 in London. Matt Kent—WireImage/Getty Images

Warner Bros. announced Friday it had reached an agreement with the pop icon, who was signed to the label from 1978 to the mid-1990s, during which time he released key projects like "Purple Rain," ''1999" and ''Diamonds and Pearls"

(NEW YORK) — Prince now owns the rights to the music he recorded on Warner Bros. Records after years of disputes and battles with the record label.

Warner Bros. announced Friday it had reached an agreement with the pop icon, who was signed to the label from 1978 to the mid-1990s, during which time he released key projects like “Purple Rain,” ”1999,” ”Diamonds and Pearls” and “Around the World in a Day.”

Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Prince’s new partnership will include the release of “previously unheard material” from his nearly two-decade tenure on the label. A 30th-anniversary edition of “Purple Rain” will be released this summer.

Prince, 55, said in a statement that he’s “pleased with the results of the negotiations” and looks “forward to a fruitful working relationship.”

The agreement comes years after Prince’s relationship with Warner Bros. soured as he failed to gain possession of the music he recorded for the label. He changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and wrote the word “slave” on his cheek. He also vowed to rerecord the 17 albums he released on the label and sell them on his own.

After Warner, Prince began releasing music in 1996 over the Internet, but didn’t match his previous successes. He struck deals with Arista Records and Columbia Records, where he saw a comeback with the Grammy-winning “Musicology” in 2004.

The singer has also released many albums through his own label, NPG Records, following his split with Warner.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also said he’s working on new music apart from Warner Bros. Prince has recently been performing with the all-female trio 3RDEYEGIRL.

movies

REVIEW: Turturro’s the Stud, Woody Allen His Pimp in Fading Gigolo

Millennium Entertainment

Two unhandsome stars strike a strange kinship in a sad comedy that asks, "What does a woman want?" and answers: A man like John Turturro

His manhood stirs rapture in the most experienced and beautiful women. Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone), a luscious dermatologist, calls him “top shelf — hard to reach. That’s what makes you so good.” Selima (Sofia Vergara), a goddess in spiked heels, coos, “You look good … My kind of man.” Avigal, a gorgeous young widow (Vanessa Paradis) who literally weeps with joy at his touch, says, “You bring magic to the lonely.” Even his old friend Murray (Woody Allen) admiringly detects “a different quality. A certain kind of sex appeal. … You’re disgusting in a very positive way.” And the actor who embodies this earthy dreamboat, this irresistible magnet of sexuality, is: John Turturro.

In a three-decades-plus career of more than 70 feature films, including four by the Coen brothers and nine by Spike Lee, the dour-faced Turturro has played crazies and losers, manics and mopers, but not a lot of romantic leads. So he wrote one for himself — Fioravante, a flower-shop employee turned soulful stud — and directed it. Fading Gigolo, a slow, soft comedy, harbors many internal contradictions that, I want to believe, it is aware of and means to have fun with. Even the title misleads: Fioravante may be aging (Turturro is 57) but his sex life is flourishing. And he gets paid for it: usually $1,000, of which Murray, his manager, takes 40%. He often gets a $500 tip; Murray skims 40% from that too.

(FIND: The Turturro-Coen Miller’s Crossing on the all-TIME Top 100 Movies list)

That Woody Allen, whose controversial family relations often make tabloid fodder, should play a pimp (to Turturro’s self-described “ho”) is just one element of Fading Gigolo that has annoyed many critics. Another is the vanity-production aspect. And a third is the movie’s view of the ladies who love Fioravante. They come in only two varieties: voracious sexpots and demure damsels. Dr. Parker employs Fioravante as a paid lover in order to take revenge on her husband; at the moment of climax she screams, “F— you, Claude!” And Selima, as she sways before her silent stranger, says, “A woman is meant to be looked at. Or else she’ll just fade away.” I thought only men thought that about women; it’s a presumption that has excused many a sidelong glance and full-frontal ogle.

The movie comes dangerously close to validating that cranky Italian proverb: “Every woman is a whore except my mother, who’s a saint.” The widow Avigal, played by Paradis in solemn Marion Cotillard mode, is the movie’s pure mother; she’s had six kids by a domineering man she didn’t love, and Fioravante learns to treat her gently, like a cherished daughter. (Liev Schreiber, as a suspicious cop on the neighborhood watch, hangs around to catch Avigal on the rebound.) Selima and Dr. Parker are the wealthy wantons, somehow needing the gigolo’s favors for all their obvious attractions to other men. “Do you have any idea what goes on inside a woman’s head?” Selima asks Fioravante, who replies, “If I did, I wouldn’t be here.” Turturro may have little more idea than Fioravante does, or Freud did. But he knows what Fading Gigolo should think: that women want to be loved by men. That ignorance cues the movie’s concept of heterosexual bliss.

(READ: Corliss on Turturro’s Romance & Cigarettes)

Sexual politics aside, if they ever are, Fading Gigolo has a wistful tone, and a love of outlandish romance played sotto voce, that connect it less to its star than to its costar. It’s a Turturro take on a Woody Allen film, with jazz, pop and European standards on the sound track and tourist-bus shots of Central Park and Williamsburg (the heavily Hasidic section of Brooklyn where the story is set). Allen has effectively given his approval of the project by appearing in it — just the fourth time in a half-century movie career that he’s taken a credited role in a live-action feature that he did not write. And he plays, more or less, himself.

By which I mean he plays the neurotic, sports- and women-obsessed intellectual from so many Woody Allen movies. When Fioravante asks Murray if he’s on drugs, he says, “Apart from my Zoloft, no.” He mourns against modernity by observing that “Nowadays only rare people buy rare books.” He shows his nerdy lecher side by calling Vergara “a miracle of physics. I don’t know what keeps her up.” He plays baseball with a rainbow coalition of kids (not Mia’s), evoking the name of Kevin Youkilis, one of the few Jewish players in the Major Leagues — once with the Red Sox, now in Japan. As his last line, Murray paraphrases the last line of Casablanca, a movie Allen was so obsessed with that he wrote a modern gloss on it in Play It Again, Sam.

(READ: Woody Allen’s world of movie women)

What’s curious is that, speaking someone else’s words, Allen gives his most relaxed, agreeable performance in ages, in a picture with an autumnal burnish and a gentle melancholy. (Maybe Turturro should write the next few Woody Allen films.) Turturro, aware that he is no Pitt, Clooney or DiCaprio, plays Fioravante as strong, quiet, serious — an attentive listener to the sounds of his clients’ hearts and loins. The three female roles may not fit any advanced conception of womanhood, but the actresses slip into them snugly and give every indication of enjoying themselves. If they hated their characters, well, that’s great acting.

Having gone madly ambitious in his delightful urban musical Romance & Cigarettes (2005), the writer-director works on a small scale here — tinier than one of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tartigrades on Cosmos. So to recommend Fading Gigolo would be too grand a gesture. But if the movie shows up at your home, as Fioravante does when visiting his clients, you might invite it in.

Music

14 Music Festivals to Check Out In 2014

David Guetta at Exit Festival Courtesy Exit Festival

From Poland to Portland, here are 14 festivals to visit this year

It’s Christmastime for music fans.

No, not because there’s a new Michael Jackson album coming or because Miley Cyrus is on tour, but because music festival season is upon us. That means for the price of a ticket to, say, Lollapalooza, fans can see Eminem, Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys, Pixies, Nine Inch Nails, Outkast, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Calvin Harris and Foster the People — all in one place. It’s well worth the investment for a devoted music fan, which is why Coachella, Bumbershoot, All Tomorrow’s Parties and Governor’s Ball have all become mandatory stops for music enthusiasts. Even Hanson is getting in on the festivities, kicking off The Hop Jam (and selling their Mmmhops beer) in their home state of Oklahoma and Merge Records is marking their 25th anniversary with a festival of their own — Merge 25 Fest.

For those looking for even more bang for their buck, international festivals allow travelers to combine global tourism with incredible music, like at the World DJ Festival held on May 4-5 in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi, South Korea; or Gothenberg, Sweden’s Way Out West Festival; or Melt! Festival, which brings Le1f, Little Dragon, Jagwar Ma, Haim and Chromeo to Germany’s famed iron city. For those looking to travel within the United States, there’s Georgia’s electro-fest TomorrowWorld, San Francisco’s Outside Lands, which bills itself as a “gourmet music festival,” or Kentucky’s Forecastle Festival, which combines a killer lineup with all the sites of Louisville.

In short, whatever or wherever your musical interest lie, there’s probably a festival that fits the bill.

Here are 14 festivals to check out in 2014:

Moogfest 2014 (moogfest.com)

When: April 23-27
Where: Asheville, NC

2014 Lineup Highlights: Kraftwerk 3-D, CHIC Featuring Nile Rodgers, Laurie Anderson, Pet Shop Boys, M.I.A., Flying Lotus, Giorgio Moroder, Dillon Francis, Q-Tip, LE1f, Dan Deacon, YACHT.

This innovative festival was founded in 2004 by Dr. Robert Moog, the creator of the famous synthesizer company Moog Music. What started as a gathering for Moog enthusiasts has expanded to include a slate of speakers on topics like the crossover between music and technology, as well as a line up of musicians showing that interaction in action. This year’s festival is titled “The Synthesis of Technology, Music, and Art” and includes speakers like The Simpsons writer David X Cohen, synthesizer trailblazer Don Buchla, and musician Dan Deacon — as well as a star-studded musical lineup.

Moogfest 2011 - Day 2
Wayne Coyne performs with The Flaming Lips during Moogfest 2011 at the Animoog Playground on October 29, 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina. David Gordon Oppenheimer—Getty Images

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage (nojazzfest.com)

When: April 25-27 and May 1-4

Where: New Orleans, LA

2014 Lineup Highlights: Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Arcade Fire, Christina Aguilera, Phish, Robin Thicke, John Fogerty, Lyle Lovett, Santana, the Avett Brothers, Charlie Wilson

To celebrate its 45th year, Jazz Fest is showcasing the best that Louisiana has to offer in culture, crafts and Southern cooking and — of course — jazz and gospel music, along with a packed roster of imported talent. The 2014 headliners are a mix of contemporary and veteran rock, pop and R&B stars, including Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, Eric Clapton, Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend — a melange suitable for old hands and festival newcomers alike.

Sasquatch! (sasquatchfestival.com)

When: May 23-25

Where: The Gorge, Quincy, WA

2014 Lineup Highlights: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, M.I.A., Kid Cudi, Die Antwoord, Neko Case, Haim, Major Lazer, Chance the Rapper, Phantogram

Set deep in the Columbia River Gorge, Sasquatch! has attracted music fans around the world to far-off Quincy, Wa., with its spot-on line-up of up-and-comers and headlining acts. While the homegrown Northwest festival was supposed to expand to a second weekend this year (like Coachella), low ticket sales forced the fest to stick with their traditional one weekend format. The diverse lineup of indie all-stars, fan favorites and comic geniuses should still have music fans flocking to the fest — at least for the chance to see Queens of the Stone Age play in the famously beautiful Gorge amphitheater.

2014 Sasquatch! Music Festival Launch Party Presented By Washington Healthplanfinder
St. Lucia performs on stage at the Neptune Theatre for the Sasquatch! Music Festival on February 3, 2014 in Seattle, Wa. Mat Hayward—Getty Images

Sled Island Music and Arts Festival (sledisland.com)

When: June 18-22

Where: Calgary, Alberta

2014 Lineup Highlights: Spiritualized, Bob Mould, Neko Case, Rhye, Killer Mike, Chelsea Wolfe, Rocket from the Crypt, St. Vincent, Touché Amore.

After the 2013 festival was cancelled due to massive floods that ravaged Alberta, the festival is coming back stronger than ever with a killer line-up curated by Kathleen Hanna, the musician behind Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin. Their new slogan says it all: Nobody rains on our parade.

Secret Solstice Festival (secretsolstice.is)

When: June 20-22

Where: Reykjavik, Iceland

2014 Lineup Highlights: Massive Attack, Woodkid, Mum, Skream, Droog, Waze and Odyssey, Oculus

There’s a lot of time to kill when the sun shines for nearly 24-hours a day like it does in Iceland during the summer solstice. To help wile away the hours, there’s now Secret Solstice, a brand-new Icelandic music festival that features over a hundred established and up-and-coming artists of both the homegrown and international variety, covering a wide array of genres. Check out sets by Massive Attack, ScHoolboy Q, Woodkid, and Múm; then take a dip in geothermal pools heated by a volcano as the sun shines down for three days straight.

Hangout Music Fest (hangoutmusicfest.com)

When: May 16-18

Where: Gulf Shores, Ala.

2014 Lineup Highlights: The Black Keys, The Killers, Jack Johnson, Queens of the Stone Age, Pretty Lights

Aside from Talladega, the allure of Alabama has eluded many people. Then five years ago, Hangout Music Festival was founded. Now over 35,000 concertgoers a year head to the beaches of Gulf Shores, near the Florida border, for three days of incredible music, Southern hospitality and, yes, hanging out. This year the Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast, Queens of the Stone Age, Modest Mouse and the Flaming Lips will all be making their way to the beach, along with 70+ rappers, DJs and folk bands scheduled to perform. With the addition of swimming pools and an on-site wedding chapel, things should get extra-lively.

Bonnaroo (bonnaroo.com)

When: June 12-15

Where: Manchester, TN

2014 Lineup Highlights: Elton John, Kanye West, Lionel Richie, Lauryn Hill, Skrillex, Frank Ocean, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, The Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Arctic Monkeys

Located in Manchester, TN, which is 60 miles from Nashville and 40 from Chattanooga, Bonnaroo isn’t the easiest festival to get to. To reward those intrepid enough to brave the journey, the festival offers a chance to see musical magic happen. Whether it’s Daryl Hall and Chromeo teaming up, Questlove jamming with Led Zeppelin or the Beastie Boys playing their last live show ever, Bonnaroo packs some major moments into the weekend-long festival. This year has Kanye West, Elton John and Jack West, and the chance of seeing those men collaborate onstage makes the price of admission — and the trip —well worth the money.

2013 Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival - Day 4
Matt Berninger and The National perform as part of Day 4 of the Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival on June 16, 2013 in Manchester, Tn. Tim Mosenfelder—Getty Images

Glastonbury (glastonburyfestivals.co.uk)

When: June 25-29

Where: Glastonbury, UK

2014 Lineup Highlights: Arcade Fire, Dolly Parton, Kasabian, Pixies, Jack White, Lily Allen, Disclosure, Elbow, The Black Keys, Robert Plant, Blondie, Massive Attack, M.I.A and Skrillex , The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Warpaint

If you were to only go to one music festival in your lifetime, it should be Glastonbury. The festival has been going strong since the 1970s and somehow manages to keep making music history, year after year, whether it’s Paul McCartney singing “Blackbird” with the crowd, Pulp blaring “Common People” or Moby covering Radiohead’s “Creep.” However, if you want to go, you needed to act months ago — tickets for this year’s 135,000-capacity event sold out in October in just 1 hour and 27 minutes. Additional tickets may become available, though, and if the rumors are true and Radiohead is the still-unannounced third headliner, fans may want to consider buying a plane ticket.

Summerfest (summerfest.com)

When: June 25-29 and July 1-6

Where: Milwaukee, WI

2014 Lineup Highlights: Usher, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Dave Matthews Band, Outkast, New Order, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Motley Crue, Zac Brown Band, Fall Out Boy, Paramore and Gary Clark Jr.

It only make sense that Wisconsin — the land of the publicly-owned Green Bay Packers — would host a festival geared entirely towards its community’s interests, tastes and pocketbooks. While many festivals claim to have something for everyone, Summerfest lives up to the statement. From Bruno Mars to Lady Gaga to Motley Crue, to Brad Paisley and Fall Out Boy, the 11-day festival’s line-up is a jawdropper and so is the price with early bird tickets going for the a mere $16 — basically, the price of a beer at other festivals. Power to the people never sounded so good.

EXIT Festival (exitfest.org)

When: July 10 – 14, 2014

Where: Novi Sad, Serbia

2014 Lineup Highlights: Skrillex, Koven, Damon Albarn, Rudimental, Disclosure, The Afghan Whigs, Pretty Lights

When people talk about Exit Festival, they usually mention the setting first, and for good reason: The festival takes place inside Servia’s Petrovaradin Fortress — its 18 or so stages, bars and silent discos are connected by 17th century cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels all built on the hills overlooking the Danube river. But the picturesque, surreal setting isn’t the only reason that EXIT has back-to-back wins as ‘Best Major European Festival’: the accolade is thanks to the well-curated lineup, friendly vibe and the ability to fit in some sight-seeing before the night’s shows get underway. Music as the fest typically runs from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., meaning EXIT is not for the fainthearted or early-to-bed types.

Osheaga Music Festival (osheaga.com)

When: August 1 – 3

Where: Montreal, Canada

2014 Lineup Highlights: OutKast, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, Lorde, the Replacements, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Modest Mouse, J. Cole, Awolnation, Lykke Li, Childish Gambino, Chromeo, Chvrches, Band of Horses, Haim, Pusha T, Tiga

Since it was founded in 2006, Osheaga has quietly become one of the best music festivals in North America, but most people like to keep that secret to themselves lest the festival’s magic get spoiled. Each year the lineup reads like a who’s who of indie rock favorites, and this year is no exception, with Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, the Replacements, Danny Brown and the omnipresent OutKast. The festival is adding an extra stage this year to showcase emerging artists — and with Osheaga’s knack for finding talent, expect it to be well worth checking out.

Pickathon (pickathon.com)

When: August 1-3

Where: Happy Valley, Ore.

2014 Lineup Highlights: Blind Pilot, X, Warpaint, Angel Olsen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Jonathan Richman, Foxygen, Mac DeMarco, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett , Mikal Cronin, Ages and Ages

If you’re looking for something different, something to do with the entire family or have already seen OutKast four times, head to Happy Valley, Oregon for the annual Pickathon. The festival brings an impressive roster of indie talent to Pendarvis Farm for a relatively intimate (it’s capped at 3,500 people) event. The festival offers a more family-friendly vibe, including an entire schedule of events for kids, and food trucks that rival any food festival (or festival food) options, although you should pack your own dishes; Pickathon has a unique eco-friendly approach that virtually eliminates waste. This is Oregon, after all.

Pickathon 2013
Alex Fischel, Dan Boeckner, Britt Daniel of Divine Fits perform on the Mountain View Stage at the Pickathon Festival, Happy Valley, Or, on August 4, 2013. Anthony Pidgeon—Redferns/Getty Images

OFF Festival (off-festival.pl)

When: August 2 – 4

Where: Katowice, Poland

2014 Lineup Highlights: Belle and Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel, F–k Buttons, Holden (LIVE), Jesus and Mary Chain, The Notwist, Gary Wilson, Dean Wareham

Outside of Poland, most people would be hard-pressed to cough up the name of a Polish band or artist; rectify that situation with a trip to Poland’s Three Lake Valley outside Katowice for OFF Festival. The festival brings together the cream of the domestic musical crop (Kaseciarz, Normal Echo, Eugeniusz Rudnik and Wild Books are all on the schedule) as well as a diverse international musical roster, pulling from shoegaze, hardcore punk, and psychedelia to play for an enthusiastic crowd. This is a music festival for true music fans.

Øya (oyafestivalen.com)

When: August 5-9

Where: Oslo, Norway

2014 Lineup Highlights: OutKast, Queens of the Stone Age, Royksopp and Robyn, Darkside, Slowdive, Janelle Monae, Mayhem, Little Dragon, Blood Orange, Angel Olsen, The Julie Ruin, Neutral Milk Hotel, The National.

This impeccably-curated festival takes over Oslo’s Medieval Park each August and transforms it from Nordic ruins to a music-lover’s paradise that would make Valhalla jealous. The festival’s stages are filled with an eclectic mix of new musicians, local Scandinavian talent and some of the best musical acts in the world, all playing in a beautiful setting close to downtown Oslo. People looking to combine tourism with music would be hard pressed to find a better festival.

The Black Keys perform at the Oya music
The Black Keys perform at the Oya music festival in Oslo, on August 10, 2012. Kyrre Lien—AFP/Getty Images

MORE: SXSW 2014: 17 Bands To Watch, Even if You Don’t Go to the Music Festival

MORE: 33 Of Your Favorite Bands Recreated With LEGOS

 

movies

Seven A.I. Movies That Are Better Than Transcendence

Joaquin Phoenix talking to his iOS girlfriend Samantha in Her.
Joaquin Phoenix talking to his iOS girlfriend Samantha in Her. Warner Bros. Picture

The notion of artificial intelligence, whether on computer screens or in robot form, has long fascinated the makers of science-fiction movies. From an extensive, impressive list, we choose some of our favorites

Johnny Depp dies and is reborn as a computer brain in Transcendence, the latest science-fiction thriller about artificial intelligence. Smart machines that may serve or dominate mankind are as old as Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel Erewhon, or Karel Capek’s 1920 play R.U.R. — and as recent as this week’s episode of The Simpsons, in which Dr. Frink revives the dead Homer as a chatty screensaver. They have also inhabited some of the finest SF movies, including Dark Star, Star Wars, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Alien, Blade Runner, The Terminator and RoboCop. The list is inspiring and nearly endless.

(READ: Corliss’s review of Transcendence)

Here are seven of our favorites, spanning seven decades and the spectrum of man’s feelings — fearful, wondrous — about the smartest machines man has created.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, 1951. Directed by Robert Wise. Screenplay by Edmund H. North, from the story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates.

The first known alien visitor to Earth, in the first A-budget science-fiction film from a major Hollywood studio, is a Christ figure — Michael Rennie’s Klaatu — whose spaceship lands in Washington, D.C.’s President’s Park. Accompanied by his giant robot Gort, Klaatu has come in peace, but the Cold War U.S. will have none of that: a soldier shoots him. Escaping from the military hospital where he is confined, he assumes the earthly name “Mr. Carpenter,” befriends a nice widow (Patricia Neal) and, during a global shutdown of electrical power — the half hour the Earth stands still — tells her that, if he’s apprehended, she must sneak onto the spaceship and give Gort this message: “Klaatu barada nikto.”

Cannily fusing flying-saucer paranoia with the Christian parable of the Second Coming, The Day the Earth Stood Still establishes Gort and his kind as servants instead of uncontrollable rebels. The movie also sends a plethora of mixed messages, such as: Don’t trust your government; trust an alien with elegant bone structure and a posh English accent. At the end, Klaatu leaves Earth with one last message: All nations must live in peace. But if the military belligerence of Earth’s nations extends into outer space, then robots like Gort will destroy our planet. “The decision rests with you.” In other words, try to be as peaceful as we, your superiors, are — or we’ll kill you.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, 1968. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Written by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick.

What’s happening at the beginning? What goes on at the end? Not many science fiction films encourage the audience to ask those questions, as 2001 did. An essay on man’s destiny, the film was for some of its late-’60s viewers a light show, a head trip, needing no earthbound explanations. But still, wouldn’t it be nice to know the explicit meaning of the Monolith, that gigantic slab that revved evolution into fast-forward? In a making-of doc on the 2007 reissue of the film, Clarke explained: “The Monolith was essentially a teaching machine. In fact, our original idea was to have something with a transparent screen on which images would appear, which would teach the apes how to fight each other, how to maybe even make fire.” So the apes would get a celestial visit from the first computer on Earth. “But that was much too naive an idea,” Clarke added. “So eventually we just bypassed it with a device which we didn’t explain — they just touched it, and things happened to their brains, and they were transformed.”

2001 remains a wonder today, in part because its technological wizards achieved their effects not through CGI magic but in the camera. (For the floating-pen effect, they stuck the pen to a plate of glass and moved the plate slowly in front of the camera; the actress playing the flight attendant then pulled the pen off the glass.) So this was a handmade movie about computers — especially the soothing, neurotic HAL 9000, voiced by Douglas Rain. HAL masks insolence with apologies: When astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) orders the computer to “Open the pod bay doors,” HAL replies, “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.” HAL can do that, and he/it isn’t sorry; the lives of Bowman and his partner Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) are only incidental to the mission, which will abort if HAL is disconnected. The machine ends on a terser note: “Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.” It’s the Shut Down command we have all seen on our computers — and which, spookily, I am seeing right now. No kidding. Is HAL, or his kin 13 years after 2001, monitoring my writing?

DEMON SEED, 1977. Directed by Donald Cammell. Screenplay by Robert Jaffe and Roger O. Hirson, from the novel by Dean R. Koontz.

Can a computer rape a human? Proteus IV, the supercomputer that mad-genius scientist Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) has invented and installed in his home, has eyes and more for Alex’s wife Susan (Julie Christie). A brain with no body, Proteus needs to reproduce: “So that I may be complete. My intelligence alive in human flesh, touching the universe, feeling it. … I, Proteus, possess the wisdom and ignorance of all men, but I can’t feel the sun on my face. My child will have that privilege.” Gross, but alright, how protean is Proteus? How does a machine inseminate a woman? By assuming the physical form of a giant Rubik’s Cube, in a sequence packed with psychedelic imagery.

Aside from trying to propagate its species, Proteus also dispenses its own binary wisdom. “Death is a gentleman,” it intones in the eerie metallic voice supplied by Robert (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) Vaughn. “He makes good losers of us all. I understand death. Men have always taken it too seriously. Life is more terrifying and more mysterious.” Cammell, who codirected the infamous Mick Jagger film Performance, met the gentleman Death far too early. Despondent when producers recut his movie Wide Side, he killed himself with a bullet through the head.

WARGAMES, 1983. Directed by John Badham. Written by Laurence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes.

“Shall we play a game?” asks the deadpan computer of nerd genius David Lightman (Matthew Broderick, back when he was 20 and totally adorable). Showing off a little for his girlfriend Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), David responds, “Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?” Bad idea, since the computer he’s hacked into, called Joshua, holds an Air Force system known as W.O.P.R. — the War Operations Plan Response — and if David keeps playing there’ll be a whopper of worldwide annihilation. With the entire military-industrial complex flummoxed, a wayward child must lead them. In an urgent new strategy, David must get Joshua to accept that “the only winning game is not to play.”

One of the first movies whose “action scenes” consisted mainly of furious typing, WarGames anticipated the toxic mischief that the next generation of hackers could wreak on the titans of Wall Street, Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley. It also paved the way for antiestablishment hackers like Edward Snowden, who unleashed the power of a few key-punches on an NSA computer.

A.I., 2001. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, from the story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss.

For his first sci-fi project since 2001, Kubrick had planned, as Spielberg said, “to take a step beyond the sentient relationship that HAL 9000 has with Bowman and Poole, and tell a kind of future fairy tale about artificial intelligence.” In the remote future, the brains at Cybertronics Manufacturing assemble the perfect child — “always loving, never ill, never changing” — and find a potentially ideal couple to adopt him, or try him out, like a prototype car. But we know the danger of answered prayers. Real life is messy; love can break your heart. Even the heart of a “mecha” like David (Hayley Joel Osment). He will be abandoned by his adoptive mother and, like a cyber-Pinocchio, venture into a brutal world before he can find a saving human touch.

Kubrick had spent parts of two decades on the project, and shortly before his death in 1999 he handed it to Spielberg, saying, “This story is closer to your sensibilities than my own.” On David’s travels through not-at-all-Wonderland, stocked with visual references to Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange, he finds a pal, almost a scoutmaster, in the “love mecha” Joe (Jude Law). In the A.I. world, robots are made to give pleasure and, in David’s case, offer joy. Gigolo Joe is a sex machine, David a love machine. Their pairing is as odd and beguiling as that of the cool Kubrick and the puppy-warm Spielberg, which produced, in A.I., a work of artificial emotions and genuine cinematic intelligence.

MOON, 2009. Written and directed by Duncan Jones.

By 2026, Earth scientists have discovered a way to solve the planet’s energy crisis: harvest an element called helium-3 from the Moon. Apparently this vast effort requires only one human: Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who’s nearing the end of a three-year contract working alone in a station on the lunar surface. His solitary anxiety escalates to horror when he discovers someone else in the station: another Sam Bell. Yikes, there’s a clone on board. Or could the clone be our Sam?

Jones is the son of David Bowie, whose song “Space Oddity” (“Ground Control to Major Tom…”) might be the inspiration for this sleek minimalist thriller. But Jones had long been fascinated by the evolving identity of man in the cyber-era; in 1995, as a philosophy major at the College of Wooster, he wrote a thesis entitled How to Kill Your Computer Friend: An Investigation of the Mind/Body Problem and How It Relates to the Hypothetical Creation of a Thinking Machine. Sam’s chatty computer pal is named Gerty, which comes equipped with a metallic arm, as in the arcade claw games, three expressions (smiley-face, frowny-face and deadpan) and the would-be soothing voice of Kevin Spacey. Like Socrates or a rabbi or a shrink, Gerty answers questions with questions. (Sam, agitated: “Am I a f—in’ clone?” Gerty, trying to deflect the issue: “Are you hungry?”) Unlike HAL-9000, though, this computer is not totally the slave of his programmers. It might even aid Sam as he rises from impotence into insurrection.

HER. Written and directed by Spike Jonze.

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) has a job writing love letters for people who lack his expressive gifts and swooning melancholy. A man who signs a man who signs his work with Xs and Os needs a woman made of zeroes and ones: his operating system. “It’s not just an operating system,” he says of Samantha OS. “It’s a conscience.” And it’s not an it; she is her. Among Samantha’s movie predecessors, HAL 9000 was the computer as whiny tyrant; the digitized movie star in Andrew Niccol’s S1m0ne was the invention of a desperate producer. This is science-fiction OS 2.0: the app assistant as dream girl. (Jonze says he conceived his film long before Apple came out with Siri.) They fall in love; they have cyber- and surrogate sex. And never mind that this is a liaison that could end if Theodore drops his smart phone in a full bathtub.

I know someone — I’m married to her — who thinks the movie is a social parable, a modern horror story about men who fall in love with their computers to the exclusion of old-fashioned human contact. Artfully dodging that accusation, I’d call her a movie romance that is laugh-and-cry and warm all over, totally sweet and utterly serious. Or, if you will, utterly Siri-ous. Unlike Transcendence, which eventually takes the neo-Luddite view of computers as monsters and those who create them as borderline nuts, her embraces the present we depend on, the future we hope will assist and enrich us. And if it purrs like Johansson’s Samantha, who wouldn’t embrace such an “IT” girl?

movies

Days After Shooting, ‘Virunga’ Debuts at Tribeca

(NEW YORK) — Days after the director of Africa’s oldest national park was shot by gunmen, a documentary about those who protect Virunga National Park from armed poachers and encroaching oil interests premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The debut Thursday night of “Virunga,” named after the eastern Congo park, followed the shooting Tuesday of Emmanuel de Merode, the chief warden of Virunga. He is in serious but stable condition after being attacked by three gunmen while driving through the park.

De Merode, a Belgian royal, appears extensively in the documentary, which provides a striking portrait of the violence surrounding the majestic park and its dauntless defenders.

Directed by British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel, “Virunga” depicts the desperate struggle by de Merode and the park rangers to protect the park and its wildlife from armed militias, rebels and an oil company.

“It’s obviously very tragic what’s happened, but a lot of people have taken interest in this. It’s helped to magnify things,” said von Einsiedel, who has been in frequent contact with De Merode while he recovers from gunshot wounds to his abdomen.

“Emmanuel is very conscious of that, too. He’s like, ‘I’m getting better. Now let’s go make a lot of noise about what’s happening,’” von Einsiedel said.

The Congolese government has authorized oil exploration in the park by London-based SOCO, following the discovery of oil in 2010. The World Wildlife Fund has protested the legality of that decision. Virunga is a World Heritage site listed by UNESCO as “in danger.”

The park is best known as home to about a quarter of the world’s estimated 800 remaining mountain gorillas. It’s the only place on Earth were one can see all three African great apes. The park includes the snowcapped Rwenzoria mountains, seven volcanoes, a lake and plains filled with wildlife.

“This is a British company operating illegally in a World Heritage site,” said von Einsiedel. “There’s like .05 percent of the world’s surface is a World Heritage site. If we can’t protect those, what does it say for the Great Barrier Reef, for Yellowstone, for Yosemite?”

In meetings filmed with hidden cameras, “Virunga” shows local SOCO supporters attempting to bribe park workers to circumvent de Merode, arguing that “he’s the one hindering the process.”

French freelance journalist Melanie Gouby captures a French SOCO operations manager saying the best solution is to “recolonize these countries.” Another encounter shows a security contractor for SOCO paying out a bribe.

In an interview hours before the film premiered at Tribeca, von Einsiedel was plainly nervous that SOCO could interfere with the release of the film.

“They are an incredibly powerful company,” he said. “We stand by our journalism on this film. We are small filmmakers; they are a billion dollar oil company. On a personal level, that concerns us. Of course, we’re much more concerned about what they’re doing in the region.”

SOCO has condemned the attack on de Merode.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday called for Congolese authorities to “take immediate steps to ensure a safe environment for those seeking to uphold the law, protect the park and peacefully express their views.”

“It makes it real for all of us how high the stakes are and how much people are taking risks to defend that park,” said Gouby, a former reporter for The Associated Press.

Park spokeswoman Joanna Natasegara said Wednesday that more than 140 rangers have been killed on the job in the past 10 years. “Virunga” is dedicated to them.

The documentary includes combat footage with heavy shelling when a rebel group overruns the villages near the park. Yet de Merode mostly lives in nothing more protective than a tent. While making the film, von Einsiedel lived a few tents down from the warden. “You don’t really have a choice, to be honest,” said von Einsiedel, laughing.

The film will hope to pick up a distribution deal at Tribeca, but that’s a smaller goal for “Virunga.”

“Right now, it’s about making noise and sharing this story with the world and exposing what’s happening there,” von Einsidel said. “It’s a campaign film. It’s part of a much bigger campaign.”

celebrities

Bill Clinton Jokes with Actor Kevin Spacey at Benefit Concert

Kevin Spacey, Trudie Styler, Sting
Actor Kevin Spacey, Trudie Styler and Sting perform together during the finale at the 25th Anniversary Rainforest Fund benefit concert at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in New York. Evan Agostini—Invision/AP

(NEW YORK) — Near the end of the first half of Thursday’s 25th Anniversary Rain Forest benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, chairwoman Trudie Styler introduced a man who recently learned he was going to be a grandfather, and out came former President Bill Clinton.

After Clinton praised the Rain Forest Foundation, he thanked Sting, Styler and others for their efforts for the organization. Then he acknowledged Kevin Spacey.

“I know Kevin Spacey made fun of me earlier,” he told the crowd.

Clinton was referring to Spacey doing an imitation of him praising his Netflix series, “House of Cards,” where the actor plays the president of the United States.

Spacey walked out onstage and greeted Clinton.

The former president told the actor that he always wanted to be in his line of work.

But then he quipped to hearty laughs: “Now, damn it, you’re in mine.”

Clinton continued poking fun at Spacey.

“I was always accused of getting away with murder, but Spacey actually does it in 15 minutes,” Clinton said, referring to a scene in the first episode of the second season.

Earlier in the day, Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, announced that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child later this year.

As for the benefit concert, the exception often became the rule with performers leaving their comfort zone to entertain the audience.

The show opened with Sting and Spacey sitting at a bar performing a duet of Cole Porter’s “Well Did You Evah (What a Swell Party This Is),” backed by a huge orchestra. They eventually were joined by James Taylor, who entered the stage wearing a lampshade on his head.

At the end of the number, Sting welcomed everyone and introduced Spacey as President Underwood, his “House of Cards” character.

After opera singer Renee Fleming did her first selection early in the show, she requested a partner to accompany her on an excerpt from “Don Giovanni,” and out came Sting. After accompanying her seamlessly in Italian, Spacey walked out with a giant daffodil in his mouth and joined in.

Actor Oscar Isaac of “Inside Llewyn Davis” performed a solo acoustic version of Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks.” And Sting’s oldest son, Joe, covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Some stayed in their comfort zone.

Taylor performed his signature hit, “Fire and Rain,” and later covered the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You.)”

Paul Simon did a couple of his own songs, including “Graceland” and “The Boxer,” and Dionne Warwick covered some of the Burt Bacharach tunes she helped make famous, including “Walk on By.” Stephen Stills brought the crowd to its feet several times with raucous versions of “For What It’s Worth” and the finale for the nearly three-hour show, “Love the One You’re With,” where he was joined by all of the evening’s performers.

The Rain Forest Foundation Fund is dedicated to preserving rain forests around the world by defending the rights of indigenous people living in and around them. It was founded in 1989 by Sting, Styler and Jean-Pierre Dutilleux.

In her speech, Styler spoke of the global importance of protecting rain forests around the world, and said that she and Sting no longer mind being described as “Tree-hugging tantric yogis.”

Television

VIDEO: Lindsay Lohan Confirms Her Sex List is Real

The singer's rumored list of conquests was accurate after all

+ READ ARTICLE

On Watch What Happens Live, Lindsay Lohan confirmed that a list of her alleged sexual partners was written by her — but said writing it was part of completing rehab.

“That’s a really personal thing, and that’s… it’s really unfortunate,” Lohan said.

Lohan said that someone must have photographed her list while she was moving during her OWN show, but In Touch Weekly has a different story of how they obtained the list.

Watch the video above for more.

Music

REVIEW: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Harmonize Well as The Both

The Both
SuperEgo Records

The two join forces — and it works


This post is in partnership with Consequence of Sound, an online music publication devoted to the ever growing and always thriving worldwide music scene.

It’s odd to think that this far into their individual careers Ted Leo and Aimee Mann have put out an album that might gain them some more mainstream recognition. While both artists have some renown – Mann particularly, who has found some moderately successful chart positions as well as Grammy and Oscar noms to her name — they’ve stayed at the same level for quite some time, garnering steady fan bases and considerable praise in the music press. They don’t have mobs of beliebers or little monsters swarming their concerts, but they don’t have a whole lot of people who despise them either. Even their detractors have viewed their work with polite dismissal as opposed to polarized hate. “I appreciate what Ted Leo’s trying to do. He’s just a bit too wordy.” Or “Aimee Mann’s got a nice voice. I just wish her songs weren’t so sad.” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea. In other words, as artists, they’re universally respected.

With The Both, however, the respect of on-the-fence listeners might blossom into full-blown fandom. That’s not to say it’s the best album from either performer (the low-pressure nature of their collaboration makes for equally low stakes), but it’s definitely the most digestible. Politics are eschewed in favor of romantic and platonic relationships (I’m looking at you, Leo) in a way that’s addressed to the other person rather than looking inward (cough, Mann, cough, cough). Chalk up this maximized accessibility to each musician’s penchant for hooks (duh) and the simple act of working together. The caffeinated Leo adds some jolt to Mann’s melancholy, his higher-end harmonies infusing the slow and saddish “You Can’t Help Me Now” with a sliver of hope.

Likewise, Mann’s introspection inspires him to dial back his punk verbosity on tracks like “Volunteers of America” and, most notably, “Milwaukee”. Full of pep and Mann’s fuzzy, very Pharmacists-esque bass, the band’s first single finds Leo simplifying his language and the duo relying on concrete images instead of archaic wordplay. As ear-perking as it was in the past to hear terms like “hansom” and “ossify,” they’re no match for an opening line about a statue of The Fonz.

Despite Leo and Mann rubbing off on each other, they both retain their individual personalities. Leo still fires off great solos on several tracks, even on the mid-tempo “The Prisoner”; he just doesn’t go on for as long. And for Mann, “Hummingbird” still manages to be genuinely elegiac, a mournful companion piece to her 2001 gem “The Gold Finch and the Red Oak Tree”. Both songs center around autumnal plucking, both have their eyes glued to the sunset, and both involve birds.

But wait, “The Gold Finch and the Red Oak Tree” is by Ted Leo, not Aimee Mann. Huh. Maybe Leo’s always had a more somber side to him. And come to think of it, Mann’s gotten pretty damn upbeat in the past, even as early as I’m with Stupid. And let’s not forget, she did play bass and sing in ‘Til Tuesday. Maybe they’ve each stretched themselves further than people have given them credit for in the past. With The Both, they just stretch themselves more frequently.

Essential Tracks: “Milwaukee”, “You Can’t Help Me Now”, and “Hummingbird”

More from Consequence of Sound: Prince to Reissue Purple Rain for 30th Anniversary

More from Consequence of Sound: Ted Leo and Aimee Mann: On Being the Both

Music

Ellie Goulding Is Over Writing About Relationships

2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Day 1
Elle Goulding performs onstage during day 1 of the 2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 11, 2014 in Indio, California. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

The pop star tells TIME why she's tired of penning songs about romance

The crowd cheered wildly as Ellie Goulding walked on to the Main Stage at the Coachella Valley Music Festival last weekend to deliver a highly anticipated performance under the hot sun of the California desert. Dressed in a risqué bondage-inspired outfit and flanked by three back-up singers, a full band and (fittingly) flashing lights, Goulding belted out her signature electropop hits: “Burn,” “Anything Could Happen” and “I Need Your Love,” among others.

The 27-year-old British musician has developed a colossal following over the past four years, thanks to her ability to pair vulnerable lyrics about love and heartbreak with infectious electropop beats. Since the release of her debut album “Lights” in 2010, she’s become a muse for electronic music producers like Calvin Harris, Zedd and Skrillex (who she dated).

Her Coachella performance – which had a distinctly different vibe from her lower-key set at the festival in 2011 – showcased Goulding’s transformation from alternative-leaning folktronica singer to bona fide pop star; as Goulding has evolved sonically, so have her performance style and fashion sense. Now, the “Burn” singer says she’s ready for more experimentation when it comes to the kinds of songs she writes — and that means fewer songs about romance.

“I think for my next album, I will be writing about different things. I’m kind of over writing about relationships,” she told TIME before taking the stage at Coachella. “That kind of narrows it down a lot, because most people do write about those.”

Goulding says her lyrics come from a deeply personal place; all the songs she wrote for her last LP, Halcyon, felt tied together emotionally. “People always ask me why I didn’t just make a new album with the songs I put on the extended version of Halcyon,” she explained. “But I’m always very keen to start an album when it feels right, in a certain time of my life, so that the album is reflective of that, rather than just being a bunch of random songs.”

Many of the songs on Halcyon, Goulding’s second album, were inspired by a break up she was going through at the time. The title track “was about convincing myself that everything was going to be alright,” she said. Goulding cited “My Blood” as another favorite on the album, explaining that it was “an accompaniment to me because that song was about someone taking so much from me emotionally that I had nothing left.”

Goulding hasn’t begun working on her next album yet, but she said that she expects she’ll start picking up inspiration for the project when she takes a break after her tour ends in September.

Will fans take to her non-romantic material as well as they have to her love songs? To borrow from the singer’s own work, anything could happen. But if Goulding’s past success is any indication, it seems likely they will.

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