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Great news, everyone!!

Pearl Jam Finally Reveal If They’re Making A New Album

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was recently interviewed on The Powell Movement, and he revealed that Pearl Jam are indeed hard at work on a new album, their first since 2013’s Lightning Bolt. Alternative Nation transcribed his comments.

“We’ve sort of been in writing mode here in Seattle the last couple of months. A typical day is getting together with anywhere from one to four of the guys and making music.”

He also discussed dealing with newfound fame with Pearl Jam in the early 90’s.

“The challenge for me was, I grew up in a small town, everybody knew each other, but everybody sort of left everybody alone. There wasn’t a ton of energy around how people interact in a small town. Immediately you go to a big city, and I wanted that energy, but then when the energy comes with non anonymity, it’s a weird thing.

It’s far worse now, now the average kid doesn’t have anonymity, because if he screws up, somebody’s got an iPhone on it, and all of a sudden it’s up on somebody’s Instagram account, and it’s forever. So in some ways, what I was going through in 1992 with the band and all of that is not that different than what a kid is dealing with.

It’s just the way technology has changed. I had a hard time with it, I think I always felt like I could sort of ride my bike around town and I could lurk around and do my thing, and nobodoy would bug me. I ended up going out to Montana to visit some friends, and there was something about that whole world where it seemed like there was less expectation on me.”

He mentioned that he fell in love with Montana, and he now lives there 3-6 months per year. He said if he didn’t have Pearl Jam obligations, he would live there permanently.

“I would probably be there full time if the band wasn’t going.”

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Vinyl sales are up? Really?!?

People Paid for Music in 2017: Streaming Subscriptions and Vinyl Sales Rise

The numbers have arrived, and as it turns out, the music industry had a good year in 2017. Paid subscription streams rose 54 percent over last year and made up 80 percent of all streams in 2017, according to a new report on U.S. music consumption by data tracker BuzzAngle Music. Audio streams reached an overall record high of 376.9 billion, which is up 50% over 2016’s numbers. It was a good year for vinyl sales, too, which were up 20% over sales in 2016. Vinyl accounted for 10% of all physical album sales (which is up from 8% last year).

Downloads, however, are down once again. The daily average of 1.67 billion streams per day dwarves the number of song downloads for the entire year (563.7 million). Only two songs had more than two million downloads total (compared to five songs that surpassed that total in 2016 and 16 songs in 2015). Overall album and song sales continued to decline, as well, by 14.6% and 23.2% respectively.

It was a huge year for Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito.” It was the most streamed song of the year and became the first to cross the one billion streams mark. Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” followed with 979.3 million streams overall. Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” was the most audio-streamed song of the year—a tally that excludes video streams—with over 555.2 million plays. Drake and Future were, respectively, the two most streamed artists of 2017.

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ was the top album of the year overall with 2,645,600 total project consumption units. Taylor Swift’s Reputation led in pure album sales with 1,899,772 sold. November 10, the day Reputation was released, was the biggest day for album sales in 2017. Sixteen songs were streamed more than 500 million times in 2017 (compared to six in 2016 and two in 2015).

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Today is a great day in music history!!

HOW ONE AMAZING NIGHT LED TO BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S ‘NEBRASKA’

Following the massive success of 1980’s double album The River, many expected Bruce Springsteen to follow up his first No. 1 album with another set of radio-friendly rock songs. Instead, the songwriter released Nebraska, a stark acoustic record that was mostly recorded in one session, on Jan. 3, 1982.

Ironically, the recording of Nebraska began as an exercise in then-new technology. For years, Springsteen had recorded demos into a boom box. But he decided to invest in a Teac Tascam 144 four-track cassette recorder so that he could add an extra guitar or percussion to give the E Street Band a better idea of what he wanted.

Mike Batlan, his then-guitar tech, set up the portable studio in Springsteen’s bedroom in Colts Neck, N.J. on the morning of Jan. 3 and went to work. In a marathon session that took them deep into the night, Springsteen recorded guitar-and-vocal tracks for 15 songs, with overdubs on a few. Two others, “My Father’s House” and “The Big Payback,” were recorded a few months later.

But when the band tried to record Spingsteen’s new material, only four of the songs – “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Pink Cadillac,” “Downbound Train” and “Child Bride,” which was later rewritten as “Working on the Highway” – translated to a full-band arrangement. Three of those wound up on Born in the U.S.A. two years later, while “Pink Cadillac” was the b-side of “Dancing in the Dark.”

The problem was that the songs continued the dark themes found on the second disc of The River, like “Stolen Car” and “Wreck on the Highway.” While the songs weren’t necessarily autobiographical, the demons haunting the characters reflected Springsteen’s own desperation and isolation – even as he was becoming a big star – that stemmed largely from his troubled relationship with his father. The characters were lost and adrift, and the raw, ghostly sound of the demos worked better than the E Street Band’s bar-band rock.

Five of the songs – “Atlantic City,” “Highway Patrolman,” “Johnny 99,” “State Trooper” and the title track – deal with characters who have turned to a life of crime. It didn’t make sense to put a heavy back beat to, say, “My Father’s House,” or a soul-inflected Clarence Clemons sax solo on “Used Cars.” Springsteen’s harmonica did the trick.

Unable to get the sound he wanted from the band, Springsteen asked engineer Toby Scott if there was any way to put out the cassette of the demos. Scott was able to do his magic, and Nebraska was released, to minimal hype, on Sept. 30, 1982.

To this day, the “Electric Nebraska” sessions, outside of those four songs, have not been released either officially or on bootleg. But Springsteen has since figured out how to rock out on half of the Nebraska material. “Atlantic City,” “Mansion on the Hill,” “Johnny 99,” “Open All Night” and “Reason to Believe” have all been somewhat regularly performed by the full band on various tours.

Meanwhile, Springsteen has revisited this period’s stripped-down approach on two other albums; 1995’s The Ghost of Tom Joad, and Devils & Dust from a decade later. Neither of them, however, have the consistency and power of what was recorded in a New Jersey bedroom on that January day in 1982.

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Just make great movies, with great actors, and we’ll all be happy.

Will James Bond Continue To Be A Handsome White Dude After Daniel Craig Leaves?

The times are a changin’ for the James Bond franchise. Eon Productions is still looking for a director to succeed Sam Mendes and oversee James Bond 25, as well as figure out if the movie will remain at Sony Pictures or be released by a different studio. Once James Bond 25 is out of the way, it will be the end of an era, as it will mark Daniel Craig’s last time playing 007. It will be a long time until we learn who Craig’s Bond replacement will be, but Eon producer Barbara Broccoli hasn’t ruled out that the next person to play the spy who’s fond of drinking shaken, not stirred, martinis won’t be the traditional white man. When asked if the next James Bond could be a woman and/or person of colour, Broccoli responded:

“These films tend to reflect the times so we always try to push the envelope a little bit. Anything is possible.”

While this is by no means confirmation that the next time we see James Bond, it will be a woman or person of color portraying the spy, Barbara Broccoli’s comment to Daily Mail reveal that the option, among others, hasn’t been ruled out. For over 50 years, James Bond has been played by a white man, and while each have ranged in age and occasionally had different hair color, there haven’t been many major visual differences between these incarnations. Given the loose continuity between each “generation” of James Bond movies, the franchise could certainly “relaunch” with a different kind of actor donning the tuxedo, much like how 2006’s Casino Royale was a reboot that introduced Daniel Craig as a Bond who was just beginning his career as a 007 agent. This doesn’t work quite as seamlessly as Time Lords regenerating on Doctor Who, but it’s a creative direction that’s at least on the table.

For now, though, Eon Productions is working on making sure that Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond ends with a bang. After months of rumors and speculation, Craig finally confirmed that he would play Bond for a fifth time. Neil Purvis and Robert Wade returned to pen the script, and last August, it was reported that Denis Villeneuve, David Mackenzie and Yann Demange were the frontrunners for the directing gig, though Villeneuve has since taken himself out of the running due to already being committed to the Dune reboot. So far Craig is the only actor confirmed to appear in James Bond 25, but it was rumored last September that Léa Seydoux might briefly reprise her role as Dr. Madeleine Swann, who debuted in Spectre.

James Bond 25 will be released in theaters on November 8, 2019, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on that movie, as well as what’s in store for 007 after that. Don’t forget to also browse through our 2018 premiere guide to see what’s being screened over the next 12 months.

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Good luck to them!!

300 Hollywood A-listers launch campaign against sexual harassment

More than 300 female actors, directors, screenwriters and other entertainment industry players launched a new campaign Monday to battle sexual harassment in workplaces across the U.S. and to fight for gender equality.

The campaign, organized by a group calling itself Time’s Up, includes a $13-million (US) fund to provide legal and communications support to victims of workplace sexual harassment, particularly in more vulnerable jobs such as in the service sector, agriculture and manufacturing.

Among the donors to the fund, according to a statement from Time’s Up, are Hollywood actresses Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon, as well as producers Shonda Rhimes and J.J. Abrams, talent agencies Creative Artists and William Morris Endeavor, and filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s foundation.

“The magnitude of the past few months highlights the fact that sexual harassment against women in the workplace is endemic and touches every industry,” Tina Tchen, a U.S. lawyer who will co-lead the Time’s Up legal fund, said in a statement. “This is the first of many concrete actions we will take.”

An open letter published by the movement acknowledges that the high profile of the U.S. media and entertainment industry has given many of its talents a prominent platform to bring forward revelations of sexual assault and harassment against dozens of men in positions of power. But “farmworker women and countless individuals employed in other industries have not been afforded” these platforms, the group says — which is in part why it decided to raise money for its legal fund.

“We particularly want to lift up the voices, power and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation,” the open letter says.

The letter was published as a full-page ad in the New York Times and the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion.

Time’s Up is also campaigning for more women in positions of power and for pay equity, and is supporting the push for women to wear black, in solidarity with those who have been sexually harassed, at Sunday’s Golden Globes awards gala.

The movement came together in the wake of a series of high-profile sexual misconduct allegations that have emerged across the U.S. and around the world — largely against men in the media and entertainment industries — following the scandal around disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The revelations have underscored what observers say is the pervasive nature of gender-based harassment, violence and discrimination in workplaces.

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I hope to see some new releases, and maybe STAR WARS again this week. It was a busy December.

Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Holds Off ‘Jumanji’ on New Year’s Weekend

In a battle of box office heavyweights, Luke Skywalker just managed to hold off Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the world rang in another year.

Disney and LucasFilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” retained first place for the four-day New Year’s holiday weekend despite steep competition from Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” “Last Jedi” picked up an estimated $68.4 million, bringing its domestic haul to $533.1 million.

Don’t weep for “Jumanji,” however. The fantasy reboot, which finds Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart transported into a video game world, has outperformed expectations, picking up a lordly $66.5 million over the holiday weekend. It now has a hefty $185.7 million domestic gross and should continue to draw crowds in 2018. The “Jumanji” sequel has also done well internationally, racking up $350 million worldwide, and has provided a much-needed hit for a studio that has struggled to keep pace with the Disney’s and Warner Bros.’s of the world. It also scored with “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” a reboot of its wall-crawler franchise, and “Baby Driver,” but failed to turn “The Dark Tower” into a viable movie property.

Sony claims that “Jumanji” has a $90 million budget. Those veracity of those alleged production costs have raised eyebrows around town given the film’s Hawaii location and starry cast, but regardless of creative accounting and aggressive spinning, the result is impressive. A sequel seems preordained.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” closed 2017 as the year’s highest-grossing release and the seventh highest-grossing domestic movie of all time with $517.1 million. It will bypass its fellow franchisee “Rogue One” at some point on New Year’s Day to take the seventh spot on the stateside charts and has already blown past the $1 billion mark globally. The film carries a $200 million price tag, and has generated controversy for a series of creative decisions by director and writer Rian Johnson that have, depending on your perspective, either infused new energy into decades-old series or deviated dangerously from the Jedi canon.

It’s been a dismal year for the domestic box office, which ends 2017 with $11.12 billion in sales, down 2.3% from last year’s $11.38 billion and off slightly from 2015’s $11.14 billion, according to comScore. After a bruising summer, when revenues plummeted more than 6% in the wake of costly flops such as “The Mummy” and “Transformer: The Last Knight,” the gap did narrow. Fall and winter hits such as “It,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Coco,” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” helped make up the difference. The industry was also aided by record ticket prices. Empirically, fewer people made it to the multiplexes. Attendance is expected to hit a 27-year low when official numbers are tallied.

Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 3” took third place on the stateside charts, grossing $22.7 million for the four-day period and pushing its domestic total to just under $70 million. The a Cappella comedy carries a $45 million production budget and has been billed as the final installment in the franchise.

Hugh Jackman’s musical drama “The Greatest Showman” is finishing a close fourth with $20.7 million. The Fox-Chernin Entertainment production chronicles the rise of circus impresario P.T. Barnum. It got a boost from the holidays, and showed the biggest gain in the top 10 movies from the Christmas Eve weekend with an impressive 73% surge. The domestic total should hit $54.3 million through Monday. It’s a pricey movie, though. All that singing and dancing didn’t come cheap and “The Greatest Showman” cost $84 million to make.

Fox’s second weekend of “Ferdinand” rounded out the top five with $14.6 million, giving the animated comedy $56.8 million domestically.

Not every film was feeling the holiday spirit. Paramount’s “Downsizing” is a costly bomb. The comedy about a man (Matt Damon) who shrinks to the size of thimble in order to live in a materialistic utopia collapsed at the box office, eking out $6.1 million over the long weekend. Its total stands at $18.5 million — a paltry result given its $65 million budget. It also prolongs a box office losing streak for Damon. The actor also struck out with “Suburbicon” and “The Great Wall,” both of which opened during and flopped in 2017.

Warner Bros. and Alcon’s comedy “Father Figures” was another casualty of the Christmas crunch. The story of two twin brothers (Ed Helms and Owen Wilson) on a quest to find their biological father netted $5.1 million over the four-day weekend. Its total tops out at $14.1 million, making it unlikely that it will recoup its $25 million production budget as well its marketing costs.

And Sony’s “All the Money in the World” struggled to appeal to older audiences. The drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III attracted lots of attention for the filmmakers’ last minute decision to re-cast a key role played by disgraced actor Kevin Spacey. The breakneck reshoots took place in a matter of weeks, with Christopher Plummer assuming the Spacey part as parsimonious billionaire J. Paul Getty, and added $10 million to the film’s $40 million budget. Alas, audiences failed to show up. The movie grossed $7.5 million over the holiday weekend, bringing its domestic total to $14.7 million.

Foreign audiences picked up the slack as domestic attendance sputtered in 2017. The global box office is projected to hit $40 billion for the first time in history, propelled by the return of China. Total ticket sales in the Middle Kingdom grew by 22.3%, ending the year with $8.6 billion in revenues. That, at least, gives a beleaguered movie business some cause for celebration.

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She’s not wrong.

Jodie Foster Says Studios Are ‘Ruining’ Movies With Big-Budget Superhero Blockbusters

Jodie Foster takes aim at big-budget studio movies, telling Radio Times magazine that they could spell doom for Hollywood in the way they shape the expectations of American audiences.

“Going to the movies has become like a theme park,” she told the magazine, according to the Telegraph. “Studios making bad content in order to appeal to the masses and shareholders is like fracking — you get the best return right now but you wreck the earth.”

“It’s ruining the viewing habits of the American population and then ultimately the rest of the world,” Foster continued. “I don’t want to make $200 million movies about superheroes.”

Foster made it clear that if she were to direct a superhero movie, it would have to be one with a compelling story and character at its core. Rather than doing a brainless action film, it would have to be about a character with a “really complex psychology.”

The Oscar-winning actress has shifted her focus to directing in recent years, most recently taking on an episode of the Netflix sci-fi anthology “Black Mirror.” In the interview, Foster described a “lack of respect” for directors in Hollywood that accepts only the “untouchable” likes of Steven Spielberg or Clint Eastwood.

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Loved that STAR WARS movie! THE LAST JEDI was amazing!!

Hollywood has another huge year thanks to ‘Star Wars’

The ­“Star Wars” force is on track to hoist North American box office receipts above $11 billion for the third year in a row.

That’s if the final six days of 2017 come close to matching the $408 million in ticket sales generated over the same period last year, according to comScore.

The total gross of $11.1 billion forecast by comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian would make 2017 Hollywood’s third-best year ever — 2.5 percent below 2016’s record $11.38 billion and 0.3 percent behind 2015’s $11.13 billion.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” contributed $408 million to the 2016 total after its Dec. 16 opening, while “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” jolted Hollywood’s 2015 take by $652 million after a Dec. 18 release.

This year’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which opened on Dec. 15, has already added $400 million alone to exhibitor coffers and is expected to deliver $100 million more.

The strong finish will save the industry from a disastrous summer, when receipts fell below $4 billion for the first time in 11 years.

Experts blamed the summer doldrums on franchise fatigue, noting that Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” were ­in their fifth iterations.

Hollywood was ­pleasantly surprised by an 11 percent uptick in the fall’s box office. ­“It” from Warners Bros. led the turnaround by generating a worldwide gross of $700 million on a budget of $35 million.

This holiday season, which Box Office Mojo defines as the first Friday in November through New Year’s weekend, already boasts five $100 million-plus openers — “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League,” “Coco” and “Wonder,” in addition to “The Last Jedi.”

Two more are almost certain to join this exalted club: “Daddy’s Home 2” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” each with receipts in excess of $99 million and counting.

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Love this!! RIP MCA

BEASTIE BOYS INSPIRE CHARACTER SLOWEN-LO’S NAME IN NEW MOVIE ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’

The Beastie Boys inspired the name of a character in the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie with one of their hit records from 1986. Entertainment Weekly says that a tall alien character named Slowen-Lo featured in the film is named after the Beastie Boys’ “Slow and Low” track off of the collective’s debut album, Licensed to Ill. Slowen-Lo is voiced by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the new movie, which released to theatres on December 15th.

This isn’t the first time that the Star Wars franchise has made a reference to the iconic rap group. The Force Awakens also featured a Beastie Boys easter egg with another alien character and resistance pilot, Ello Asty, who was inspired by their Hello Nasty album title.

JJ Abrams, the director of the new Star Wars films, has not been shy about his love for the Beastie Boys and hip-hop culture. This is yet another way for the late MCA’s legacy to live on following his tragic passing in 2012.

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Rest In Peace Johnny Bower.

Maple Leafs to Host Celebration of Life To Honour Johnny Bower

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the club will host a Celebration of Life event honouring Johnny Bower on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. at Air Canada Centre.

The details for this event are as follows:

The Celebration of Life will be open to the public with doors opening at 2 p.m. The Gate 1 entrance of Air Canada Centre will be the only point of entry for the event. Seating will be available in the arena stands of Air Canada Centre, on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating on the arena floor will be reserved for the family and special guests by invitation. Members of the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and MLSE organization will be in attendance along with Toronto Maple Leaf alumni and guests from the National Hockey League.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital or to the Mississauga Humane Society would be appreciated. Online condolences may be made at www.glenoaks.ca.

More details surrounding the Celebration of Life will be provided as they become available.