Saturday, April 23, 2022

Around the Tubes: April 23, 2022


I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting.  This post includes blurbs on Curb Your EnthusiasmVictoria's Secret: Angels and Demons, The Circus, Elton John, Florence + the Machine, Of Monsters and Men, Glass Animals, Eddie Vedder, Marcus King, The Survivor, The Chiand Fellow Travelers.

- HBO’s iconic comedic series, from writer/producer/comedian Larry David, will have you laughing in your seats as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season on DVD June 14, 2022. Life will be prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good as you binge on all 10 episodes from the outrageous eleventh season. Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season will retail for $19.99 SRP ($24.99 in Canada) and will also be available to own on Digital via purchase from all major digital retailers. All seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm are now available for streaming on HBO Max.  Starring Larry David as an over-the-top version of himself, the iconic Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm offers a tongue-in-cheek depiction of the writer/producer/comedian’s fictionalized life. With Jeff Garlin (as manager Jeff Greene), Susie Essman (as Jeff’s wife Susie), Cheryl Hines (as Larry’s ex-wife Cheryl), JB Smoove (as Leon), and Richard Lewis and Ted Danson (as themselves), all reprising their roles alongside a rotating cast of familiar faces, including Vince Vaughn (as Freddy Funkhouser) and Tracey Ullman (as Irma Kostroski), Season 11 finds Larry once again seeking and dispensing his own peculiar brand of social justice.

The Emmy® nominated series THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SHOW ON EARTH wraps up the first half of its seventh season this Sunday in the Sunshine State, where Governor Ron DeSantis is making Florida the central battlefield in a fight over cultural issues that has nationwide implications for this fall's elections and beyond.  Hosts John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon fan out across Florida, covering the fallout from a spate of new, controversial laws, driven by the governor, that include what opponents call the "Don't Say Gay" law and legislation restricting access to abortion. Meanwhile, the Governor and state Republicans escalate their fight with Disney over its opposition to a new law, enacting legislation to strip the company of a special longstanding tax privilege.  For a preview, go to:

Hulu's Original docu-series "Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons" premieres on Thursday, July 14th.  Investigated with journalistic rigor, Matt Tyrnauer directs this searing and provocative exposé of the Victoria’s Secret brand as well as their then CEO, the larger-than-life, enigmatic billionaire, Les Wexner. Truth is not what it seems; as the underworld of fashion, the billionaire class, and Jeffrey Epstein are revealed to all be inextricably intertwined with the fall of this legendary brand.

UMe today announces the 50th-anniversary reissue of Elton John’s Madman Across The Water. Available to pre-order now on stunning 3-CD and 1 Blu-ray Super Deluxe Box Set, 4-LP, 1-LP Limited Edition colored vinyl, and 2-CD formats, the album will be released on June 10. Pre-order here.  Spawning the hits “Tiny Dancer” and “Levon,” Madman Across The Water was Elton’s fourth studio album, released only two years after his debut. Recorded in 1971, it was a foundation stone of what was to become a dazzlingly prolific decade for the global-icon-in-waiting. Madman Across The Water was largely written after Elton had made his initial foray to America, offering the opportunity for lyricist Bernie Taupin to witness first-hand the landscapes and people he’d only seen on a screen or on the page. Recorded at Trident Studios in Central London in February and August 1971, it was the first album where all five players of Elton’s fabled band lineup (Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnstone, and Ray Cooper) were featured. The album also featured Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who plays Hammond organ on three songs.  A newly unveiled Piano Demo of “Tiny Dancer,” taken from the archives and previously unheard, will be available to stream in full later today Here. Watch a preview of the track now Here. Recorded at Dick James Studios in central London in Spring 1971, it is an intimate performance of the song with Elton alone at the piano as a guide for the band later to follow.

Florence + the Machine unveil a new single, “Free,” today with a video starring acclaimed actor Bill Nighy as Florence’s anxiety and directed by Autumn de Wilde—listen and watch here. The track is the latest from Florence’s forthcoming fifth LP Dance Fever, out May 13.  Florence has shared three songs from Dance Fever thus far—“My Love (plus remixes from co-producer Dave Bayley of Glass Animals and Meduza), “King” and “Heaven is Here”—all of which arrived alongside videos by the acclaimed director de Wilde featuring choreography by Ryan Heffington.

Gearing up for another momentous chapter, multiplatinum Icelandic collective Of Monsters and Men unveil a new single entitled “This Happiness” today. Listen to “This Happiness” HERE and watch the official video HERE.  The song sets the stage for the group’s forthcoming EP out June 10th and its accompanying documentary – both titled TÍU (meaning ten in Icelandic).  The documentary, directed by their friend Dean DeBlois (Heima, Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon), follows the band on a trip around their homeland of Iceland. When their Fever Dream world tour was cut short due to the pandemic, they instead intimately performed their new songs in special locations around Iceland that are meaningful to the five of them, much like they had on their very first tour 10 years earlier. No big venues, big festivals or big audiences…just the five of them as it was at the beginning.

The critically acclaimed, record breaking BRIT and GRAMMY Award-nominated global sensations Glass Animals today releases “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)” with acclaimed songwriter and artist Albert Hammond Jr.. The original version, released last year, is the first new music from the British four-piece since the colossal global impact of “Heat Waves.” The official video, directed by Drew Kirsch (Taylor Swift, Shakira), captures the power of dance in the post-lockdown world, and now guitarist of legendary rock band The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr., puts his own spin on the song, written by Dave Bayley about letting off steam after being in a pressure cooker for two years. The Oxford band has since become global hitmakers and record breakers, with “Heat Waves” peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for five weeks, the longest-leading #1 song by a British group in over 25 years, since Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” in 1997 – and its reign is now among the top 10 longest ever for #1 songs by British groups, including The Beatles (see full list below). Producer and frontman Dave Bayley also joined Denzel Curry on stage at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last weekend for a surprise performance of “Tokyo Drifting,” and becomes the producer of the moment, co-writing, producing, and remixing Florence + The Machine’s latest single “My Love,” described as “Nick Cave at the Club”.  LISTEN TO “I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE)” WITH ALBERT HAMMOND JR. HERE

Pearl Jam’s own Eddie Vedder has teamed up with NASA to interview the crew aboard the International Space Station in celebration of Earth Day 2022. The compelling interview released today touches on climate change and what the astronauts had to say about having a front-row seat to our changing planet.  Watch Eddie Vedder’s Interview HERE.   The interview is the second collaboration with NASA teams as he worked with them on his “Invincible” music video inspired by their Artemis I Moon mission in support of his recent chart topping album EarthlingWatch the “Invincible” music video here!

Marcus King today announced the release of Young Blood, his new solo album, produced by Dan Auerbach and released August 26 on Rick Rubin’s American Records/Republic Records. Pre-order available here:  All hail to Marcus King. The 26-year-old Grammy nominated innovative songwriter and phenomenal performer. Soon to become rock royalty with the release of Young Blood, a timeless concoction of swaggering rock and supersonic soul, drawing on his most stadium sized rock influences. He soon embarked on a world tour with headline dates across the U.S and Europe and festivals including Stagecoach. For more information please visit:

On April 27, 2022, in honor of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and in conjunction with the premiere of The Survivor film on HBO, Reboot and USC Shoah Foundation will host a conversation about the film with director Barry Levinson, lead actor Ben Foster, who stars as Holocaust survivor Harry Haft, and producer Matti Leshem.  Levinson’s The Survivor tells the true story of Jewish boxer Harry Haft, who, in order to evade murder in Auschwitz, must test the limits of his moral and physical strength to survive a gladiatorial boxing spectacle staged between prisoners for the amusement of his captors. Levinson delivers a portrait of a man haunted by his survival. An examination of one man’s journey from unspeakable horrors to freedom, forgiveness and redemption, The Survivor debuts Wednesday, April 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

SHOWTIME has announced that the highly anticipated fifth season of its hit drama series THE CHI will return with its first new episode on Friday, June 24th, available on streaming and on demand for all SHOWTIME subscribers before making its on-air debut on Sunday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Each new episode of the fifth season will be available on Fridays on streaming and on demand. Season four ended as one of the network’s most-streamed series ever, averaging 4.2 million weekly viewers. THE CHI, from 20th Television (HOMELAND)is currently in production on 10 episodes in Chicago.  “We’re so honored to be in our fifth season and grateful to the fans that show up for us and make sure people know about THE CHI,” said series creator and executive producer Lena Waithe. “We appreciate the fans so much and hope everyone enjoys this upcoming season. Lots of love.”

SHOWTIME announced today that Emmy nominee and Critics Choice Award winner Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart, The Boys in the Band) will star in the limited series FELLOW TRAVELERS, which he will executive produce with Oscar nominee Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) and Robbie Rogers (All American, My Policeman)Daniel Minahan (Halston, American Crime Story: Versace) will executive produce and direct the first two episodes. Co-produced by Fremantle with SHOWTIME, FELLOW TRAVELERS will go into production this July in Toronto. The announcement was made today by Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, Presidents of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc.  Based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, FELLOW TRAVELERS is an epic love story and political thriller, chronicling the volatile romance of two very different men who meet in the shadow of McCarthy-era Washington. Bomer will play handsome, charismatic Hawkins Fuller, who maintains a financially rewarding, behind-the scenes career in politics. Hawkins avoids emotional entanglements – until he meets Tim Laughlin, a young man brimming with idealism and religious faith. They begin a romance just as Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn declare war on “subversives and sexual deviants,” initiating one of the darkest periods in 20th-century American history. Over the course of four decades, Hawk and Tim cross paths through the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s, the drug-fueled disco hedonism of the 1970s and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, while facing obstacles in the world and in themselves. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Previewing The Man Who Fell to Earth

We see shows move from time to time, mostly because of cancelations and other places willing to continue it. But I do not remember a time when two shows got traded like professional sports players.  But that happened in the case of Halo and The Man Who Fell to Earth.  Okay, it was less of a trade and more like a cooperate overlord ordering a more high profile project to attack subscribers to their newly rebranded streaming serves and was nice to send back a different IP back in return.


Halo premiered last on Paramount+ to a mixed bag; it was met with a resounding meh by critics and the loudest voices on the internet but it was the most watched premiere in the history of the streamer.   Now it is time for the other half of the trade, The Man Who Fell to Earth to premiere and it is, well, not any worse than Halo, but I am not sure if it is much better.


The show is based on a 1963 Walter Tevis book of the same name that has already has been turned into a movie starring David Bowie released in 1976 (full disclosure notice: I have not read the book or read the movie; though I thought I had seen a remake, but it turns out that I was thinking of the similarly titled movie with a similar premise, The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves).  Bill Nighly plays Thomas Jerome Newton; the same character as Bowie, but it not the main character of the new show.  The Man Who Fell to Earth does honor David Bowie by naming each episode in the first season after one his songs.


The show does follow a new man who falls to Earth decades after the original played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.  He can spit gold, has four stomachs, and will vomit copious amounts of water if exposed to even small doses of radiation.  He quickly finds Naomie Harris a brilliant scientist who now works cleaning up stuff to support her daughter and sick father to reluctant help him.


Watching Ejiofor try to be human, it is hard not to think of Alan Tudyk on Resident Alien, another extraterrestrial who is not great at talking like a normal person and is unable to pick up on the most obvious social.  Though, to be fair, Tudyk did get a head start by watching months of Law and Order reruns before interacting with anyone else.  This show does tease that Ejiofor will eventually learn to act more human with an opening scene where he is doing his best tech billionaire speech.  But the first couple episodes are just Ejiofor being the most extreme case of fish out of water.


The show does pick up with the introduction of the Flood siblings (Rob Delaney and Sonya Cassidy) in the third episode.  They are the contentious heirs of a tech company that has ties to Newton.  Jimmi Simpson also shows up as a CIA agent who is on the hunt for both aliens.  While The Man Who Fell to Earth does have the slight edge in the trade for Halo, at the end of the day, this feels like a lackluster trade of a fifth starter for a catcher between two teams barely in the playoff hunt.


The Man Who Fell to Earth airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Previewing Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain


Showtime continues its HIP HOP 50 series, devoting two years leading up to the 50th anniversary of the musical genre with two documentaries near and to my heart over the next two week.  Back in 1991, Cypress Hill released their debut album and the very next month, the Geto Boys released their seminal album with the controversial cover, We Can’t Be Stopped.  Premiering on 4/20 (obviously) is Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain.  Later this year is the premiere of Bushwick Bill: Geto Boy (date TBD).


Insane in the Brain comes from photographer and director Estevan Oriol, who was the group’s personal videographer who filmed plenty of footage that has gone unseen until now.  It follows the group from being one of the first to mix Latin music with hip-hop to being the first rap group to play the Reading Festival.  The doc features a firsthand account and archival footage of everyone in the group as well as new interviews from Ice-T, Chuck D, Fred Durst, and, of course, Cheech and Chong.  But maybe the most noteworthy statement in the doc comes from Ruffhouse Records founder Chris Schwartz who absurdly claims, “For all intents and purposes, Philly is the birth place of gangsta rap.”  What?  I am not sure about that.

Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain premieres tomorrow at 8:00 on Showtime.