Posts By Jonathan Durbin

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Nirvana Biopic News: Courtney Love’s Casting Call

scarlett.jpgThe rumor’s out that alt-rock lightning rod/David LaChapelle muse Courtney Love has begun casting for a 2009 film based on Heavier Than Heaven, a biography of her husband, Mr. Pisces Iscariot himself, Kurt Cobain. According to reports, Love has asked Woody Allen mainstay Scarlett Johansson to play herself. She’s also reportedly lined up Ryan Gosling to play Cobain. No word on whether or not she’s asked Keanu Reeves to play Krist Novoselic, Animal from the Muppets to play Dave Grohl, Will Ferrell to play Mark Lanegan, Anthony Bourdain to play Chris Cornell, Adam Duritz to play Buzz Osbourne, Karen O to play Kathleen Hanna, Kathleen Hanna to play Kat Bjelland, or Thurston Moore to play Eric Erlandson, but stay tuned and we’ll let you know as soon as the news breaks.

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Radiohead’s Happy New Year

Radiohead: What eminently likeable rapscallions they are.

In addition to snookering the entire record industry by releasing their latest collection, In Rainbows, on their own, without the mitigation of label distribution and/or marketing (really makes you wonder whether Seinfeld needed to torture everyone with that Bee Movie campaign, doesn’t it?), the experimental British post-rockers topped Billboard’s album charts this past week. The amount of records sold was negligible — they didn’t even break 130,000 — but still, for a band that basically gave away its new album for free online, that’s not half bad. Because Radiohead loves you, they’ve released videos of them performing songs off their new album. Watch “Jigsaw” (above), “Unravel,” “Reckoner” and “Bodysnatcher” here now. The lo-fi charm is undeniable. Just try to deny it, and we’ll send 10 rabid Radiohead fans to your house now to explain why you’re wrong. They’ll do it, too. Trust us.

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Kung Fu Candidates

Kung Fu Candidates: Hillary Clinton vs. Mike Huckabee.

Election fever’s got most of the media in a tizzy, and we’re no exception. Now we can take out our anxieties in a new online game, where players can choose a politician (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani or John McCain) and fight, Mortal Kombat style, for total domination. The fun lies in each character’s special power. Mitt Romney, for instance, can turn into the Terminator. Hillary Clinton can produce a ghostly version of her husband, who attacks her foes with punches to the face. And they say American youth isn’t interested in politics! Shows them!

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American Idol Returns, But Former Contestants Can’t Catch a Break

mcphee.jpgSeason 7 of American Idol premieres next Wednesday and Thursday on Fox, but evidence in the press suggests that contestants might not have as long a shelf-life as Kelly Clarkson’s career would have you believe. Case in point? Katharine McPhee has split from RCA records, joining her fellow castmates Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard in being without label representation. Wikipedia notes that there are rumors of her courting another major label (or vice-versa), but there’s no word on any of that yet. Still, she’s in markedly better shape than down-and-out former Idol contestant Jessica Sierra, who’s on VH1′s new show, premiering tonight, Celebrity Rehab. Couple all that with Sanjaya exhaustion, and we’re beginning to wonder: Has the Idol phenomenon lost its luster? Maybe it’s just us, but we’re kind of wishing pop music would go back to its much less democratic state, with nepotism and Berry Gordy in charge.

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Critics’ Choice Awards Behind the Scenes

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If you’re going to stand on a red carpet, you’d best bring a stool. At the Critics’ Choice Awards last night in Los Angeles, the entryway was packed with news agencies and paparazzi – everyone from the networks and domestic entertainment press to foreign reporters, like those from Canal Plus. (On the northern side of cultural reportage, Ben Mulroney, the host of Canadian Idol and the son of a former prime minister, cut the most impressive figure.) Everyone was jostling for position, and when the celebrities came down the carpet, it was difficult to see, much less talk, for fear of all the flying elbows and tossed camera equipment. When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie arrived, the flashbulbs looked like a lightning storm, to borrow a phrase from intrepid VH1 host Aamer Haleem. One grizzled red carpet vet hunched over his microphone and said grimly, “This is paradise.” But for many, it was.

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Critics’ Choice Awards: Memorable Quotes

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Everyone tends to let their hair down after a couple of drinks, and celebrities are no exception. At the Critics’ Choice Awards, the champagne loosened tongues, providing the evening with color commentary that, in the case of Leslie Mann, sometimes turned blue. We caught the famous folk talking candidly on the red carpet, onstage, back stage and in the post-show party. Whether it was the news about the Golden Globes’ impending cancellation or a fervor from just being surrounded by their peers, the actors and actresses in attendance had plenty to say. They might have been vying to see who could be the most charismatic — even if Javier Bardem had that quality pretty much locked — but none were sweeter than Nikki Blonsky.

“I thought of Bush.” — Javier Bardem‘s witty response to host D.L. Hughley‘s question about how he channeled such murderous horror into Anton Chigurh, the ruthless killer in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men

“You can say f*cking on VH1, right?” — Leslie Mann onstage, at once proving just how contagious her husband Judd Apatow’s brand of humor really is, while simultaneously lending credibility to the idea of Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen hooking up.

“Who else have you gone down on tonight?” — Casey Affleck querying our Red Carpet hostess Carrie Keagan after she kneeled down to help him tie his shoe

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Critics’ Choice: 1 Hour to Arrivals

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Is there any gala decoration fancier than an ice sculpture? We think not. That’s the height of swank, but then, this is the 13th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Celebrities should start arriving on the red carpet in an hour, and so, as the pre-show tension mounts, we took a spin around the venue to check out the happenings. Our broadcast starts at 8 p.m. (5 p.m. PST), and we’ll have all the live red carpet coverage on-air, but be sure to check back online for all our live blog coverage. More photos after the jump.

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Critics’ Choice: 2 Hours and Counting

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There are less than three hours left to go before the 13th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards kick off with pre-show red carpet festivities, and the Santa Monica Civic Center is electric. Between press, talent and crew checking in, there are more badges here than in a small country’s DMV. Everyone’s busy: the crew’s busy arranging and re-arranging tables, providing pronunciation cues for presenters, not to mention running through the show; the press is mingling; and the hosts (D.L. Hughley, Ross Matthews, Carrie Keagan, Sam Rubin) are wandering from the main room to back stage — and back again. Pictured above are members of the crew making sure the red carpet doesn’t blow away. (It’s windy here today, no lie.) For more photographs from behind the scenes, check what’s happening after the jump.

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Johnny Depp’s Worth His Weight in Stubs

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According to a recent survey, Johnny Depp was the No. 1 income-generator for movie theaters in 2007. That’s the second year in a row in the top spot for Depp, who starred in the third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise over the summer, and garnered himself a nomination for Best Actor at this Monday’s Critics’ Choice Awards. Also nominated were Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises). Tune in to VH1 Monday night at 8 p.m. (EST) to catch the winners live at the 13th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. From red carpet to post-show wrap-up, we’ve got you covered — whether Sweeney Todd takes home the award or not.

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Apatow Addresses Walk Hard Backlash

It’s been quite the year for funnyman Judd Apatow. He’s the guy responsible for Knocked Up, Superbad and now Walk Hard, not to mention Seth Rogen, the popularity of Canadians in media, and probably had his hand in the mortgage crisis and Ahmadinejad’s performance at Columbia University, too! (We kid, we kid.) Anyhow, in the video above, he addresses the inevitable Apatow-backlash in a meta viral video that’s all about how pandering and silly viral videos are. The levels! It stars Apatow and some of his regulars: Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Craig Robinson. It’s amazing. Also, in a perfectly twist-y sponsorship treat, it features Rock Band. In case you don’t know, Rock Band is like the fun version of Guitar Hero. (Dear Rock Band: checks are payable to VH1 Digital.) Enjoy!