Electric Daisy Carnival in NYC!

February 29, 2012

Great news for all you EDM lovers. The Electric Daisy Carnival is finally coming to New York City on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20!

Last year, EDC stopped by Las Vegas for a three-day weekend and totaled an estimated 230,000 people in attendance. Featuring some of the biggest names in electronic music including Tiesto, The Crystal Method, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, David Guetta, and Bassnectar, the Electric Daisy Carnival has made quite a name for itself. Combining non-stop dance music with rides, games, and an array of visual effects, fans of the club scene are very excited about the event taking New York City by storm.

This is an 18+ event. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 2 at 3 p.m. EST. Details about the location of the festival are TBD.

Movie Review: The Help

February 28, 2012

The Help (2011)
146 minutes
Rated PG-13
Directed by Tate Taylor
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain

Grade:  B+

Based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a powerful story about racial discrimination in the South during the 1960’s. Specifically targeting a few maids in Jackson, Mississippi, we are thrown into the lifestyle and appalling mistreatment of African American women by the upper class women. What really brings the story to life is the talented ensemble cast: Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Stone.

The film revolves around Skeeter (Stone), a young journalist who takes a job at the Jackson Journal writing a cleaning column even though she knows nothing about the subject. But she’s ambitious and will go to any lengths to bring her idea to reality, to write a book in the perspective of the help. Her decision certainly turns a lot of heads and causes friction among her selective circle, but she understands she’s doing something very significant and throughout her interviews, she learns more than she ever had expected.

The two maids who agree to help Skeeter at first are Aibileen (Davis) and Minny (Spencer). Though they have volumes to discuss, including their personal lives, raising other people’s children and their stance on using a separate bathroom, the publisher informs Skeeter than she needs more. Because of the risky proposition Skeeter doesn’t get any more voices for her book, that is until a tragedy strikes the African American community.

The Help, at times, feel too much like a preaching melodrama, but mostly the story is solid with rich characters and real world conflicts. Driven by the great performances of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, it’s impossible not to feel for their characters. With the entire film focused mainly on women, it’s a refreshing aspect that is rare in Hollywood.

Despite a few hiccups along the way, the 2+ hours of The Help breezes by. It definitely has its tear-jerking moments towards the end so have some tissues handy. Other than that, The Help expands on the message of the novel, giving it the air to breathe and the legs to run.

Movies: A Year in Review (2011)

February 26, 2012

When 2011 began, it was highly discussed as the “year of sequels,” since it was reported to contain 27 sequels, the most in any calendar year. Of these sequels, there were movies we all looked forward to (The Muppets, Sherlock Holmes), movies that we didn’t want but expected there to be a sequel (The Hangover Part 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) and those movie franchises that just won’t go away no matter what (Scream 4, Fast Five, Final Destination 5). But what started as a year of continuing stories shifted gears as the months were ripped from the calendar. Eventually at the year’s end, 2011 will be known for a year of nostalgia.

There have been a number of films that explored the theme of nostalgia this year, the first being Rango. For those who have seen the film, you can sense how the creators of the animated feature plucked the styles from classic films such as Blazing Saddles, The Shakiest Gun in the West, Star Wars, and Apocalypse Now. It was a unique way to pay tribute to such classics with a quirky and unorthodox animated film. This is why Rango is one of my favorite films of the year and to no surprise, is nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Continuing with the theme of nostalgia, no other film hits it right on the head as much as Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Warning, there are spoilers ahead. While the film dealt with the beauty of Paris and sort of plays out like a travel brochure to the world-famous city, Woody Allen shoves a hefty dose of nostalgia in the film as Owen Wilson finds himself unhappy in his current life and wishing he was living in the 1920’s. To his surprise, at the strike of midnight his dream comes true and he finds himself drinking with Ernest Hemingway and sharing a discussion with Pablo Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He falls in love with Adriana, but soon realizes he prefers the time period to the present when Adriana confesses she prefers the 1890’s. It’s a wonderful and clever tale with the fantasy of living in a different time period to escape the present.

Another film that was heavy on nostalgic style was Nicholas Refn’s Drive, starring Ryan Gosling. Everything about this film screams “nostalgia” from the pink font of the title to the synth-heavy soundtrack. It’s also a tribute to car films such as Bullitt (1968). Other noted inspirations from Drive include The Day of the Locust, To Live and Die in L.A., Point Blank, and The Driver. Once you’ve seen Drive, you might mistaken it for a film from the 70’s.

There was a film I was anticipating since the announcement that it was being released: The Muppets. But what could they possibly have a movie about? It’s been 12 long years since the last Muppets film, but Jason Segel wisely exploited that and used it in the very self-aware, nostalgic film. While the film was full of typical Muppets fun, the one who really enjoyed it were the adults who remembered The Muppets Show. The film had dozens of clips from the show and even dealt with the story-line that the Muppets had to have a reunion to save their Muppet Theater. Let me just say one thing, there is nothing like hearing “Rainbow Connection.” It brings a tear to my eye every-time.

Martin Scorsese announced his first film to be filmed in 3-D, Hugo, and you can count on the legendary filmmaker to deliver a knock-out punch. Hugo wasn’t just an entertaining, PG-rated film about a boy in search for the right parts to fix an automaton so he could receive a message from his diseased father. It was also about the history of movies and the preservation of film. It was certainly a treat to see some of the earliest art-forms of film-making explored during the second half of Hugo. For those who aren’t familiar with this, the way Hugo dives into the process of films from the past is marvelous. There is certainly a magic that surrounds the entire film, and brilliant how Scorsese uses a new technology of 3-D to pay homage to the creation of imaginative film-making.

Finally, the last film I want to point out with an nostalgic influence is The Artist. This film with French actors and director, is a silent, black and white film that feels like it was shot from the 1930’s. It’s quite a bold move to release a film like this, with story-telling techniques that have become obsolete for so long. It’s also a wonder how it’s so damn good. The movie deals with the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality, in contrary to what is being portrayed by releasing a b&w, silent film in 2011. But that’s the beauty in it all.

Another aspect about 2011 that stood out at the end of the year was the continuation of the rise of women in the movie industry. Two films epitomized how women have turned the corner and can compete with the male-dominated world: Bridesmaids and The Help. Both films feature great female ensemble casts, both have been critically acclaimed and have grossed impressive amounts of money. Bridesmaids shows how women can be as sleazy and funny as any group of men in a raunchy comedy. Comparisons to The Hangover were inevitable because of the insane success of both films, but in my opinion Bridesmaids was the stronger film.

As for The Help, this movie really surprised me in a good way. Boasting a very talented cast of Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain, The Help went on to win the SAG award for Best Ensemble. Without a doubt this was one of the most powerful films of the year, and can you believe there were barely any men involved. Who would’ve thought?

When 2011 was winding down, I was slightly disappointed at the fact that the year didn’t have that one movie that really “wowed” me. Last year, movies like Inception and The Social Network were two films that I will remember for the rest of my life. 2009 provided the best war movie (The Hurt Locker) in probably the past few decades, along with the biggest movie of all-time, Avatar. So what did 2011 have to offer? While I loved films like The Descendants and Drive, I’m unsure if they have the staying-power to really put 2011 on the charts of a fantastic year of film.

Well my question was answered when I finally made my way to watch A Separation. This foreign film is nominated for Best Foreign Language film, representing Iran, and blows every American film out of the water in 2011. Layered with conflict, realistic characters, and an unfamiliar setting, A Separation was a masterpiece that I could watch every single week for the next few years. Writer/director Asghar Farhadi has created one of the best family dramas that I have every watched. Blessed with such talented actors, especially Leila Hatami and Peyman Moaadi, the film jumped off the screen and made you question every problem that you have encountered in your own life. When that is accomplished, it just proves that these pieces of art are more than just a movie.

For a detailed analysis of the films broken down by each month, keep reading:

Now let’s turn the calendar back to January of 2011. Like every January, Oscar-worthy films clutter the theaters as acclaimed movies receive a wider release just in time for The Academy Awards. But there’s nothing like the releases of mindless films to counter the realistic, artsy, patience-testing films. In 2011, these films included The Green Hornet, The Dilemma, No Strings Attached, The Mechanic, and The Rite. And now you understand why I don’t look forward to films, typically until March.

February wasn’t much better. The disappointing part about the releases in February was the lack of a solid Valentine’s Day-style romantic comedy. I’m not saying I’m a fan of those chick-flick/rom-coms, but it helps when the romantic-comedy is at least watchable. This year we had Just Go With It starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. I’m happy to report that I have yet to watch that film, but I’m sure there were a few people who enjoyed it. Other than that, February held notable releases of The Roommate, I Am Number Four, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. It’s safe to say that I will never watch any of those films.

March is when movies start to pick up, and 2011 was no different. The first weekend of March showcased, in my opinion, the best animated feature of the year – Rango. It also had The Adjustment Bureau, the better-than-average sci-fi thriller starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Other notable releases in March include Limitless, Paul, and Sucker Punch.

April combined some highly entertaining films with some complete failures, making it a very uneven month for movies. Starting strong, we had the underrated horror film, Insidious, and the very good sci-fi thriller, Source Code. But then there were some stinkers, like the unfunny Your Highness, the unimpressive Water for Elephants, and the unnecessary sequels of Scream 4 and Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil. The big story of April was the incredible Fast Five, which opened to $86 million domestically and finished with a worldwide gross of about $626 million. Impressive indeed.

May unofficially begins the summer blockbuster movie season. Thor opened things up with a mediocre showing and then more sequels flooded the movie screens with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover Part II, and Kung Fu Panda 2. But there was one bright spot through May and that was the phenomenon that was Bridesmaids. There was a lot of question marks surrounding this film, but the R-rated, raunchy comedy with an all-female cast stepped up to the plate and hit a home run.

June banged out a blockbuster film week-after-week with X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, Cars 2, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. As you can see and probably experienced, most of these films were all flash and no essence (except the surprisingly good X-Men prequel). In addition to that, Terrance Malick’s The Tree of Life hit the theaters in America and left the majority of of viewers scratching their heads. This was the most abstract film I’ve seen since 2001: A Space Odyssey.

With July, there was more of the same nonsense, the month had the most anticipated film of the year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Finally, after eight movies, the Harry Potter franchise concluded in epic fashion. Clearly, the buzz around Harry Potter overpowered the rest of the films in May, such as Horrible Bosses, Zookeeper, Captain America, Friends with Benefits, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.

In August, we had two very good films and a handful of awful ones. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help both went on to receive critical acclaim and make a lot of money. But the rest of the month’s films failed to do so: Final Destination 5, The Change-Up, 30 Minutes or Less, Fright Night, Colombiana, The Debt, and Our Idiot Brother.

September is usually the month that preludes to awards season, which means more movies of higher quality are released. Warrior started the ball rolling with a very engaging and emotional sports film with two brothers who find themselves in a championship MMA match. The following weekend released Drive, a throw-back film, thick on style and violence starring Ryan Gosling. The end of September had the release of Moneyball, the baseball movie that had to do with a lot more than just baseball.

While September was very strong, October took a step back with the quality of films released. The opening weekend had The Ides of March and Real Steel, both solid films for completely different audiences. The rest of the month were mainly of the horror genre such as The Thing and Paranormal Activity 3. Oh, and once again Johnny Depp starred in a bad film (The Rum Diary).

In November, awards season was in full throttle. The releases of J. Edgar, The Descendants, Hugo, and The Artist were all in the same month, and there’s no coincidence that these films will collect a fair share of Oscar nominations. Also in November, there were the releases of Jack and Jill (in contention for the worst film of the year), Happy Feet Two, Immortals, and Tower Heist.

And finally we have December. Like the other months, this had some gems and some awful films. The good: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Young Adult, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The bad: New Year’s Eve, The Sitter, Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked, The Darkest Hour.

Overall, despite plenty of naysayers, 2011 was a very good year in movies. And even though the year was cluttered with nostalgic films, that didn’t mean films didn’t make any progress. If anything, 2011 kept pressing on that there are new and exciting things to come in the movie industry, but at the same time you cannot forget the history of how we got to where we are now.

Predictions: 84th Annual Academy Awards

February 25, 2012

The Oscars are tomorrow and therefore my final predictions are listed below. Feel free to win your Oscar pools by stealing my picks.

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Prediction: The Artist

The Artist has too much momentum to stop. Winners of the DGA, PGA, and the BAFTA, it has won the majority of major awards on the road to the Oscars. Even though it has one of the lowest grosses of the nine nominees, the year of nostalgia in the eyes of The Academy will award The Artist. If there is another movie that could play the upset role, it would be The Help, but don’t count on it.

Best Actor

  • Demián Bichir for A Better Life
  • George Clooney for The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin for The Artist
  • Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt for Moneyball

Prediction: Jean Dujardin

While all of the actors nominated deserve this award, the momentum of The Artist will benefit Jean Dujardin. Did he have the best performance of the year? That’s debatable, but nonetheless this will be one of the three major awards The Artist will walk away with by the end of the night.

Best Actress

  • Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis for The Help
  • Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn

Prediction: Viola Davis

The match-up is Meryl Streep against Viola Davis, and I believe Davis deserves the Oscar and will win. Her leading performance in The Help was exceptional and arguably the best performance of any actor in 2011. Can she breeze past the legend of Meryl Streep? We’ll find out soon enough.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill for Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte for Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer for Beginners
  • Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Prediction: Christopher Plummer

For some reason, Albert Brooks wasn’t nominated in this category. Therefore, this is all Christopher Plummer. His performance as a elderly man who comes out of the closet in the indie-gem, Beginners, was a delight to watch.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Bérénice Bejo for The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain for The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer for The Help

Prediction: Octavia Spencer

While Berenice Bejo could steal another one here for The Artist, expect Octavia Spencer of The Help to continue their dominance in the acting awards. Boasting the strongest ensemble cast of the year, it’s only fitting that Davis and Spencer win their respected categories.

Best Director

  •  Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
  • Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
  • Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life
  • Alexander Payne for The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese for Hugo

Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius

Winning the DGA is a great indicator that Michel Hazanavicius is going to win this award on Oscar night. While Martin Scorcese has a chance to upset the big favorite, I’m sticking with my gut that The Artist is going to lead the night with the most Oscars, this being one of them.

Original Screenplay

  • The Artist: Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
  • Margin Call: J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen
  • A Separation: Asghar Farhadi

Prediction: The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius

This one is down to Midnight in Paris or The Artist. There is a chance that The Artist will sweep, meaning not only will they win the major awards, but the secondary awards as well. While Midnight in Paris won the WGA, I have a feeling that the Woody Allen film will be shut out and Michel Hazanavicius will leave the Oscars with a few trophies in his hands.

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Descendants: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
  • Hugo: John Logan
  • The Ides of March: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan

Prediction: The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

While Tinker Tailor might have the strongest screenplay of this category, The Descendants will be the film to win this award. As one of the best films of the year, The Academy usually awards great films with at least one Oscar, and this will be the one for The Descendants.

Best Animated Feature

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico & Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

Prediction: Rango

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Bullhead (Belgium)
  • Footnote (Israel)
  • In Darkness (Poland)
  • Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
  • A Separation (Iran)

Prediction: A Separation

Best Cinematography

  • The Artist: Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo: Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life: Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse: Janusz Kaminski

Prediction: The Tree of Life

Best Editing

  • The Artist: Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants: Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
  • Hugo: Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball: Christopher Tellefsen

Prediction: The Artist

Best Art Direction

  • The Artist: Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
  • Hugo: Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Midnight in Paris: Anne Seibel, Hélène Dubreuil
  • War Horse: Rick Carter, Lee Sandales

Prediction: Hugo

Best Costume Design

  • Anonymous: Lisy Christl
  • The Artist: Mark Bridges
  • Hugo: Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre: Michael O’Connor
  • W.E.: Arianne Phillips

Prediction: The Artist

Best Makeup

  • Albert Nobbs: Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson, Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady: Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland

Prediction: The Iron Lady

Best Original Score

  • The Adventures of Tintin: John Williams
  • The Artist: Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo: Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse: John Williams

Prediction: The Artist

Best Original Song

  • The Muppets: Bret McKenzie(“Man or Muppet”)
  • Rio: Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett(“Real in Rio”)

Prediction: The Muppets, “Man or Muppet”

Best Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Bo Persson
  • Hugo: Tom Fleischman, John Midgley
  • Moneyball: Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse: Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson

Prediction: Hugo

Best Sound Editing

  • Drive: Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Ren Klyce
  • Hugo: Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse: Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom

Prediction: Hugo

Best Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson
  • Hugo: Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning
  • Real Steel: Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, John Frazier

Prediction: Hugo

Movie Review: A Separation (2011)

February 22, 2012

A Separation (2011)
123 minutes
Rated PG-13
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Peyman Maadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

Grade: A

There are many different aspects that make a great film, but no matter what great film it is, they all have a story that is worth telling. A Separation is a great film and writer/director Asqhar Farhadi has quite the story to tell. It’s one that you might not be able to relate to, but one that is undeniably powerful and emotional.

The film takes place in Tehran, Iran and begins with Nader and Simin speaking in front of a judge to resolve their file for divorce. The married couple of fourteen years has an eleven-year-old daughter, Termeh, and they both truly love her. It seems that the family agreed to move abroad (to an unnamed country) to provide Termeh with a better future, but Nader isn’t willing to move at the moment because of his elderly father with Alzheimer’s. This, alone, is a dilemma that has the ability to tear a family apart, but as the movie progresses you understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Though the judge doesn’t grant the divorce, Simin moves in with her parents leaving Nader and Termeh to live alone with Nader’s father. Without Simin home during the day, Nader hires someone to look after his father while he is at work and Termeh attends school. This person is Razieh, a very religious, pregnant woman who lives far away and travels with her very young daughter. From day one, Razieh realizes that the job is too strenuous and pays too little to continue, but she carries on because her and her jobless husband needs the money.

This is just the set-up of the film. The film really starts rolling when one afternoon Nader returns home from picking Termeh up from school to the sight of his father motionless on the floor, his arm tied to the bed and the bedroom door locked. After Nader revives his father, Razieh and her daughter return to the home where Nader accuses her of neglect and theft before firing her. When Razieh is reluctant to leave his home, Nader pushes her out and causes her to stumble down a half-flight of stairs. Later on it is discovered that Razieh had a miscarriage.

The beauty of this movie lies within the characters and the situation, which takes a while for the audience to understand. When dealing with a world that one is unfamiliar with, it’s easy to pass judgment quickly without much thought, but all the characters in A Separation deserve your time and patience. Everyone has a motive for their words and actions and everyone has tough decisions to make. With such a different process of the law and the devotion some apply themselves to religion, I constantly reminded myself of their hardships compared to those in the States.

The arrangements of the Iranian legal system is up-front in the film, playing a big part of how the characters interact with each other. It delivers the problem that the law of any country presents: crimes are never just black-and-white but human feelings are ignored nonetheless. Tying religion into this already difficult process, who does the law believe? If you swear on the Quran then you must be telling the truth, unless you’re a moderate Muslim and don’t mind sinning. Is that the same way as if we were to swear an oath or swear on the Bible?

There are dozens of pieces in play in this drama that makes The Descendants seem like a four-piece jigsaw puzzle. There is the legal process that the two families are involved with, the mystery of what really happened against what is said that happened, but at the core there is a family trying to defy all odds and stay together. It is obvious that both Simin and Nader love their daughter, but both have different ways of showing it. Asking yourself who is right and who is wrong will get you no where if you’re looking for a logical conclusion. The films plays like an observation of the human condition and how modern-day Iran is like any place else, not full of deserts and camel-back riders that might come to mind. At the heart of everything is the lengths that you put yourself through to preserve the things you love. Whether it’s right or wrong, well that becomes irrelevant.

LIVE BLOG: The 54th Annual Grammy Awards

February 12, 2012

The moment has finally come. The biggest night celebrating the past year in music has arrived. I will be live blogging the entire night. There will be plenty of performances and probably some surprises on the way. Here we go…

8:00 – Bruce Springsteen opens up the Grammy’s with “We Take Care of Our Own.” This is just making me more excited for when I see Bruce in New Jersey in a few months.

8:07 – Host LL Cool J gets things rolling with a prayer and a video of Whitney Houston. She really did have such an amazing and powerful voice.

8:11 – Bruno Mars hits the stage. Nominated for six Grammy awards tonight including Record, Album, and Song of the Year. Can’t say that I’m a fan of Bruno Mars, but his performance has enough energy to entertain the audience at the beginning of this telecast.

8:22 – Do Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars have the same hair stylist?

8:24 – Best Pop Solo Performance goes to “Someone Like You” by Adele. Can you feel an Adele sweep tonight, because I surely do. I cannot wait for her performance.

8:28 – Chris Brown’s performance consists of a house-music beat, auto-tuned vocals and dancing on different sized boxes. I was kind of rooting for someone to slip and fall off their podium.

8:35 – Best Rap Performance goes to “Otis” by Kanye West and Jay-Z. Can’t say that I’m surprised.

8:37 – Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson sings their duet hit. Why doesn’t Kelly Clarkson just make the transition to Country music already?

8:41 – Aldean had some mic problems, but it’s not like you could hear him over Clarkson’s voice anyway.

8:43 – For those who don’t know, Skrillex has already won 3 Grammy Awards, including Best Dance Recording, Best Dance Album, and Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. Way to go Sonny!

8:51 – The Foo Fighters give an energetic performance, but I still consider them highly overrated. I would prefer seeing Andrew WK over Foo Fighters any day.

8:54 – How come Skrillex isn’t performing at the Grammy’s? Has a DJ every performed before?

8:55 – Pit Bull is stupid.

9:02 – Rihanna puts on a dance number during her “We Found Love” hit and then she and Chris Martin of Coldplay sing a duet. The performance ends with Coldplay’s hit “Paradise.” There are a lot of haters, but I don’t mind Rihanna. She is, after all, a singles machine.

9:13 – Best Rock Performance goes to “Walk” by The Foo Fighters. It would’ve been nice to see Mumford & Sons or The Decemberists win, but it is what it is.

9:25 – Maroon 5 and Foster the People perform songs by The Beach Boys, and then the group comes out and performs “Good Vibrations.” Such classics. I will always love The Beach Boys.

9:32 – Another legendary act performs, Paul McCartney.

9:36 – Best R&B Album goes to Chris Brown for “F.A.M.E.”

9:40 – Best line of the night, “I want to thank all of the bands who opened up for us,” John Paul White.

9:44 – Maybe one day, Taylor Swift will write a song that has nothing to do with high school. She’s 22 for goodness sake, get over it already.

9:50 – Song of the Year goes to Adele & Paul Epworth”Rolling in the Deep.” Very deserving.

9:53 – Katy Perry with an explosive performance. Began singing “E.T” then after a planned technical difficulty, goes into “Part of Me.” Perry is an outstanding performer and she definitely showcased her talent on the telecast tonight.

9:58 – Best Country Album goes to “We Own the Night” by Lady Antebellum. If there was anyone that had the upset vote, it was Lady A over Taylor Swift.

10:05 – What an incredible performance by the artist of the year, Adele. Having her voice back is a great thing for the music industry. She is without a doubt an extremely rare talent.

10:17 – The Band Perry and Blake Shelton pay tribute to Glen Campbell, then the legend himself takes the stage and sings “Rhinestone Cowboy.” I don’t know what was better, this or The Beach Boys performance. Both were amazing!

10:31 – Carrie Underwood and Tony Bennett sing “It Had To Be You.”

10:33 – Best New Artist goes to Bon Iver! Really happy about this result.

10:46 – The In Memoriam section concludes with an emotional Jennifer Hudson singing “I Will Always Love You.”

10:55 – David Guetta and Deadmau5 performing on the Grammy’s. Skrillex should’ve been up there with them!

11:07 – I have no idea what I’m watching right now. Nicki Minaj is weird.

11:10 – Record of the Year goes to Adele for “Rolling in the Deep.” One more for the sweep!

11:20 – Album of the Year goes to Adele’s “21.” Well deserved.

11:22 – That concludes the Grammy’s telecast. It was a long program, but overall it was a solid three and a half hours of performances and awards. The best includes Adele’s voice and winning all of her awards. The worst was Nicki Minaj.

Previewing the 54th Annual Grammy Awards

February 10, 2012

This Sunday is the Grammy Awards, so get out your dancing shoes and get ready for the musical-TV event of the year. Leading the full night of performers is Adele, returning for the first time since undergoing throat surgery. Her impact on this year’s Grammy awards is great because of her six nominations including all the major awards. Also, The Beach Boys will be making a comeback appearance on the telecast.

I’m personally looking forward to the performances by Bruce Springsteen, Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton, and Tony Bennett with Carrie Underwood. Other performers include Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Taylor Swift.

As for the awards, here are some predictions:

Record of the Year: I don’t see how this award goes to anyone else but Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” It was the number one song of the year and launched Adele into complete stardom.

Album of the Year: Again, Adele should be taking home this award with the outstanding “21” album. She’s up against some other heavy-weights such as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Rihanna’s “Loud,” but this night will be Adele’s to shine.

Song of the Year: It’s tough for me to pick anyone but Adele, but if she’s going to lose one of the main three awards, it’ll probably be this category. In that case, I’ll pick “All of the Lights” written by Kanye West and company.

Best New Artist: Here’s a tricky category with plenty of talent. I would expect Bon Iver to win this award, but other newcomers The Band Perry and Nicki Minaj could easily snag the trophy as well. And wouldn’t we all be surprised if J. Cole or Skrillex wins.

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