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The Priority Report: 1/30 to 2/6

By Jeannine Stanley

jeannine@nobomagazine.com

Looking for something to help fill in your entertainment calendar? Learn what to follow in television, film, music, and books with this week’s edition of The Priority Report.

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Film

Drive on DVD January 31, 2012

Ryan Gosling in anything is amazing.  His performances in 2011’s Crazy Stupid Love and Ides of March has turned him from a good actor with a hot body to a bona-fide movie star, sneaking up on the George Clooney/Brad Pitt throne.  This movie is different. Gosling’s character is simply referred to as “driver”, playing a stuntman in Hollywood by day and a getaway driver by night. The film also stars Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks, and is certainly one of the most overlooked films of 2011.

The Grey now in theaters

Don’t get me wrong. Liam Neeson is a wonderful actor, however, his last dozen films have nearly all been in some remote destination, knocking out some villain to save someone either being trafficked or stolen or in some sort of far-fetched danger. This is another one of those situations, and this time the villans are wolves that Neeson and his band of oil drillers have to fend off following a plane crash.

The Woman in Black in theatres Friday, February 3, 2012

For many, this will be the first grown-up role for the “boy who lived”. Danielle Radcliffe of Harry Potter and Broadway fame stars in this classic scary haunted house story. Even the movie poster is creepy with an old-fashioned poster of some children and eerily scratched out eyes.  We know Radcliffe can act, basically growing up on camera, but the question is can he successfully transition to a more adult presence?

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Television

The Voice on Sunday, February 5 on NBC following the Super Bowl

The judges on this show, especially in season one, seemed a lot more well-rounded than it’s bully big brother American Idol.  You have a R&B, a Pop/Rock, Country, and Top 40 mentors, and these people are all fairly current (unlike Paula Abdul, who god bless her, hasn’t done anything in the last decade except develop a failed Bratz movie and some horrible reality TV). Aguilara takes the big voices, Ceelo takes the square pegs looking for round holes, Blake Sheldon grabs the country fans and crooners, and Adam Levine seems to fight all of them, but there have been some really great talents.  The “singoff” at the end is a great twist as well, I can’t wait to see what season brings.

Saturday Night Live on Saturday, February 4 on NBC

Channing Tatum hosts.  Anything else is arbitrary.  Please let him go shirtless for the whole 90 minutes, honestly we don’t even need a musical guest.  But considering the musical guest is Bon Iver, Tatum can absolutely he can just hang out in the corner of the screen during the music segments.

Smash debuts Sunday, February 6 at 10PM

With the amazing exception of Glee and reality-competitions, music as content for television hasn’t had a great deal of success.  It’s hard to weave musical numbers into a plot that’s not going to sectionals for singing every week.  Smash seems to be different in that sense, the singing is interwoven into the story, and characters aren’t simply breaking into song while walking down the street.  Among the big name stars are Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, and “introducing” Katharine McPhee, met by millions on a previous season of  American Idol. Smash has a lot of promise, and the story of Marilyn Monroe is a constantly fascinating one, especially with this year’s resurgence following the success of My Week With Marilyn. It seems that NBC has a lot riding on the show, and it could, in fact be a huge smash. Or it simply may crash and burn like so many other musical-television hybrids and previously hyped shows from the peacock network.

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Music

Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die

Dreamy, ethereal and other-worldly, Del Rey is often compared to Nancy Sinatra, and sites her influences as Kurt Cobain, Britney Spears and Elvis.  She performed on SNL earlier this month to some mediocre reviews, but after listening to her haunting single “Video Games”, I’m not sure SNL was a great place for her to debut.  Hopefully the album will live up to the single’s hype.

Bruce Springsteen’s We Take Care of Our Own

If you’re a fan, you clearly have already shelled out a few hundred dollars to see the tour coming to an arena near you.  This is Springsteen’s first single in 5 years, and its all the Americana, glory-days bravado we’ve come to know and love from Jersey’s finest.

Knew You Were Waiting: The Best of Aretha Franklin, 1980-1998

She’s the queen of soul, and what else could you possibly say about her?  This is the first compilation album she’s released, and some of her greatest songs are on here (Freeway of Love, Sisters are Doing it For Themselves, and every other great song from the catalog of 1980’s romantic comedies).  Go out and buy this album, pop it in your car, and sing along.  You know all the words, don’t even try to pretend you don’t!

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