Harry Connick Jr. On American Idol’s Longevity: “It’s The Best Of Its Kind”

Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr. is a crooner, jazz man, actor, and as seen from his previous work on American Idol, a candid and hands on mentor.

With Jennifer Lopez returning to the fold and Keith Urban back for another go round, American Idol is expected to regain its mojo.

The continued tension between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey turned off many American Idol enthusiasts, and last season’s finale drew an all time low 14.3 million. But the chemistry should dramatically improve this season.

“Just to be able to have a dialogue of music and entertainment and business is so stimulating to me,” said Connick during Monday’s TCA panels. “I just love it. And American Idol – it’s the best of its kind. The reason it has the track record that it does is because of the formula and the people that are involved this year.”

“The way they presented the opportunity to me of being a judge  – I was just so happy that it worked out because we are really having a good time. And there’s some great talent this year.

In the audio featured below, Harry Connick Jr. talks about the importance of having a musical education and he also gives his thoughts on having “passion” for one’s craft.

American Idol has its season premiere Wednesday on FOX at 8 pm et/pt.

 

‘Salem’ Sets Series Witching Hour For April Debut

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for WGN America

With the glut of television series and films bandied about during this month’s Television Critics Association Tour, it’s hard not to look at new projects with an over critical eye. Salem, however, is definitely on my radar thanks to its intriguing trailer and the talented roster behind the project (Janet Montgomery and Shane West headline the show).  The 17th century set series is WGN America’s first original drama, so as far as expectations go, co-creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon are definitely shouldering a huge load.

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Composer Alan Silvestri Connects With Chattanooga International Film Music Fest

Alan Silvestri, one of cinema’s most prolific composers, will serve as a special guest for the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera at the 2014 Chattanooga International Film Music Festival. The fest, which runs February 28 through March 2, offers a weekend of seminars with George S. Clinton (the fest’s artistic director) and Sundance Film Music Program director Peter Golub.

The fest will feature a screening of Back to the Future, and Silvestri will be on hand to talk about composing the Robert Zemeckis directed feature (Silvestri scored the entire BTF trilogy). “Hooray for Hollywood,” one of the concerts featured in the fest, will offer up Clinton’s Austin Powers suite as well as Silvestri’s Back to the Future suite. 

“The first orchestra I ever heard was the Chattanooga Symphony,” said Clinton, whose credits include the Emmy winning Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and Tooth Fairy. “To be back in my hometown as an adult, collaborating with this wonderful orchestra, performing my music – well it doesn’t get much better than that.”

During his career, Silvestri has composed over 80 scores, with Forrest Gump, The Avengers, and most recently Red 2 as just a sampling of his resume (his score from Contact is a personal favorite.

Registration is currently open, and for more info, check out the following the fest’s official site.

 

CES 2014 Gets Haptic With A “Sinister” PC Device

Sinister (Tivitas Interactive)

PC enthusiasts who need a new feel to their gaming will probably check out Tivitas Interactive’s Sinister haptic gaming device at CES 2014. The item, powered by ViviTouch technology, offers players a solid gamepad experience coupled with the pinpoint accuracy of a mouse. That’s a pretty tall order, but kudos if it can balance the joys, along with the individual comforts of both PC and console gaming.

Developed by Tivitas Interactive, the device is also promising “fully-customizable, adjustable ergonomic support” and “true analog movement.” Since my wrists and hands are pretty much shot from years of typing and gaming, anything which attaches itself to the word “ergonomic” is a friend of mine.

As for the controls, they look like something Tron would don during a night out on the grid, so that’s kind of awesome.

You can check out Sinister today (January 7) at the Wynn Hotel Lafite Ballroom from 6 pm – 9 pm. For added info, check out www.tivitas.com.

The Counselor Receives Extended Cut Treatment On Blu-Ray

THE COUNSELOR

The Counselor was one of last year’s most debated films, as some viewed Ridley Scott’s epic tale of moral destruction as a masterpiece. The narrative’s detractors complained that it was filled with too much talk and, in the end, much ado about nothing. The movie gets its Blu-ray combo pack and DVD release on February 11.

If you haven’t checked out the film, The Counselor centers on a charismatic yet slithery lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who seems to have the perfect life. With a beautiful girlfriend (Penelope Cruz) by his side and a rich lifestyle under his thumb, the “counselor” decides he needs to make even more money and enters a drug deal with a colleague (Javier Bardem). Cameron Diaz also stars as a manipulator who’s only concerned with the bottom line, with Brad Pitt chiming in as a middle man who tries to steer the counselor on the right road.

The Unrated version of The Counselor clocks in at 138 minutes, and considering the theatrical version runs at a healthy 117 minutes, it’s a release which should appeal to the film’s devotees (the original press release had the unrated cut coming in at 220 minutes, but it was corrected later in the day). If you don’t want to check out all the special features and all that unrated goodness (or if you don’t have the funds), the barebones DVD is also available.

The Counselor

As for the Blu-ray features, they include:

  • Unrated Extended Cut
  • Theatrical Situation
  • The featurette “Truth of the Situation” (over 60 mins. of footage)
  • Virals

Trailer Dreams: ‘Gloria’ Is A Fiftysomething’s Journey Into Love

We live in an age populated by comic book heroes and four quadrant based projects, so thank the cinematic heavens for foreign films, indies and auteurs. One reason Gloria is on my to-watch list is Paulina Garcia’s well received performance as the titular character. Garcia won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The narrative centers on a fiftysomething woman who finds fulfillment, and what one assumes is ensuing heartbreak, after having an affair with a divorcee named Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez). Now that her kids are grown up and have children of their own, Gloria is looking for a bit of companionship herself, hence her love of social dance clubs in Santiago, Chile.

Directed by Sebastián Lelio, Gloria hits New York and Los Angeles theaters on January 24, and will be released in further cities the following weeks.

Check out the trailer, and tell us what you think!

Vanessa Hudgens Finds Creative “Shelter” With Upcoming Drama

Gimme Shelter (Roadside Attractions)

January is usually a month that’s littered with horrible movies. However, one film I’m eagerly anticipating is Gimme Shelter, a project which continues Vanessa Hudgens’ inspired choice of work. In the past several years, the High School Musical star has turned in solid work in Sucker Punch, Spring Breakers, and The Frozen Ground (I still haven’t checked out Machete Kills).

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