Even though James Cameron's "Avatar" — which finally opens today at theaters nationwide — has a killer lead cast in Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Giovanni Ribisi, the real stars of the film are the computer-generated alien race known as the Na'vi. They're a stunning feat of technological advancement, fully realized and incredibly animated.
Also: They're really, really blue. So blue that we've had Eiffel 65's "Blue" stuck in our heads for most of the lead-up to the film's release. Considering that is unacceptable in most cultures, we decided to dig deep into the MTV archives to find out what the best "Blue" songs were.
As it turned out, there are some absolute gems. Who could forget Debbie Gibson's "Out of the Blue" or the White Stripes "Blue Orchid?" We treated ourselves to Brand New Sin's "Black and Blue" as well as Galaxie 500's "Blue Thunder." There was even a bit of seasonal magic added, as we came across Tom Keifer's "Blue Christmas."
So enjoy this "Avatar"-inspired "Blue" video playlist, which also features some killer cuts from Mewithoutyou, Orgy and the Birthday Massacre. But like any great list, it begins with Jay-Z, whose "Blue Magic" (from the rapper's soundtrack to "American Gangster") is as smooth as blue gets.
After years of hype and hundreds of millions of dollars spent, "Avatar" has finally hit theaters. The early buzz has been excellent, which bodes well for James Cameron's futuristic sci-fi allegory that takes place on a distant planet called Pandora. The film stars Sam Worthington as a paraplegic marine who goes on a special mission to the planet and finds his loyalties divided between science and the military.
But when you get right down to it, the story of "Avatar" is hardly the point. Cameron spent gobs of money on the look and effects of the film, most notably the blue, dreadlocked alien race called the Na'vi. When you include the intense battle sequences and the 3-D visuals, it adds up to one of the most jaw-dropping effects-based spectacles in cinema history.
"Avatar" is one of those ground-breaking moments, an event where the technology takes a giant leap forward and the game changes forever. (It's certainly not the first time Cameron has done this, as his "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" paved the way for morphing effects and "The Abyss" also turned the corner on effects in movies.) While they work on a smaller scale, there have been a number of music videos that have similarly made great leaps forward with their visual effects. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" helped videos make the transition from simple commercials into genuine art, while clips like A-ha's "Take on Me" and Tool's "Sober" similarly pushed the envelope.
So in honor of the incredible technological achievement that is "Avatar," take a spin through our video playlist of top-shelf effects-based videos, which also includes clips from Foo Fighters, Korn, the White Stripes, Outkast and Beck. Kick things off with Madonna's surrealistic, unnerving "Bedtime Story."
The first teaser for the upcoming rock and roll biopic "The Runaways" debuted this morning on MTV's Hollywood Crush blog. The hotly-anticipated movie (which hits cinemas in March) tells the story of the Runaways, the all-girl punk band who broke out huge at the end of the '70s and made stars out of band members Joan Jett and Lita Ford. The flick is directed by music video mastermind Floria Sigismondi (Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People," the White Stripes' "Blue Orchid") and stars Kristen Stewart as Jett, Scout Taylor-Compton ("Halloween") as Ford and Dakota Fanning as singer Cherie Currie.
We've seen plenty of photos of Stewart with her hair and clothes looking like Jett's, but the teaser trailer provides the first real footage of Stewart in context. Based on the scenes shown in the clip, it looks like Stewart has Jett nailed perfectly. The guitarist has worked directly with the actress in preparation for the role, and Stewart has managed to pin down a lot of Jett's particular looks and expressions. Just take a look at the key frame below, where Jett is simultaneously seductive, mysterious and dangerous.
2010 could be a gigantic year for Stewart, who will not only star in "The Runaways" but will of course also lead "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in the summer. "The Runaways" should also help to elevate the profile of the band, as well as the profiles of Jett and Ford. Between the three entities, they've churned out some impressive hits, including "Cherry Bomb" (which is featured in the teaser trailer), "I Hate Myself for Loving You," "Bad Reputation" and "Kiss Me Deadly."
"I had very little [time] with Miley, but I was astounded by her height. Did you know that she's tall? She's like a Viking. I had no idea! She's a beautiful young lady and very self-possessed. I literally was not in the scene with her. I was in the scene, but we were not [onscreen] together. But she was lovely and on time and prompt and professional, very sweet. She worked two hours and she was in and out."
-"Did You Hear About the Morgans?" star Sarah Jessica Parker on "Sex and the City 2" co-star Miley Cyrus, who was apparently much taller than Parker initially thought. Cyrus makes a cameo in the sequel to the highly-successful film adaptation of the hit HBO series, which hits theaters in 2010. While discussing her new film — a relationship/fish-out-of-water comedy starring Hugh Grant and herself — Parker talked a bit about "Sex and the City 2" without giving away too much about the top-secret flick. For example, she could neither confirm nor deny the presence of actor John Corbett in the film, who played Aiden in the TV series. She did, however, confirm that Jennifer Hudson is not in fact in the film. For her part, Cyrus is listed as 5-foot-4 and Parker anywhere from 5-foot-1 to 5-foot-4, but either Parker is shorter than everybody thinks or Cyrus has secretly been stretching herself out for a career in the WNBA.
Oscar-bait movie season is in full effect this weekend, as the films premiering at your local cinema are meant to make you think, tug at the heartstrings and educate you on important issues. Today sees the release of "The Lovely Bones" (which, as it turns out, is not a movie devoted to the work of Emily Deschanel), Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" (which is not about the relationship between Emmy Rossum and Adam Duritz) and "Invictus," a Clint Eastwood-directed flick about Nelson Mandela's quest to get the South African rugby team to win the Rugby World Cup in 1995.
"Invictus" is an interesting movie, mainly because it shows rugby on movie screens, which is not often represented on film. And combined with current box office chart-topper "The Blind Side," it's a great period for sports movies. And where there are sports movies, there are also sports-based music videos. The link between sports and music has never been stronger, and artists are always borrowing sports-based stories and images for their music videos. For example: Ashlee Simpson went through actual boxing training for her clip for "Invisible," which also borrows elements from boxing flick "Million Dollar Baby" (another Eastwood production). Master P's "Make Em Say Ugh" takes place at the most raucous high school basketball game of all time, while R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" uses cartoon hoops footage from "Space Jam." Diddy plays golfer "Puffy Woods" in the video for Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money, Mo Problems" and Ice Cube drops by for a playground game of hoops in the clip for "It Was a Good Day" (he even brags that he got a triple-double).
Check out the video playlist below, featuring clips from Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Aaron Carter and others. You can kick things off with Drake's "Best I Ever Had," wherein the rapper plays a basketball coach who may be in over his head.
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" just hit DVD this week, but the cast is already pressing forward on the series' finale "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," an epic end that will be split across two films. "Deathly Hallows" is a profoundly intense story that will call for a tremendous performance from the able Daniel Radcliffe in the title role. But he's not doing it alone — in fact, Radcliffe told MTV News that he quite often uses music to prepare himself for particularly intense moments.
"I often come back to things like Radiohead and Hope of the States and things like that for those harder scenes," Radcliffe said. "I don't know what else I've been listening to ... Godspeed You Black Emperor! I've been listening to them loads, which kind of does get you to a place of deep fear and sadness and anger, which is helpful sometimes."
Radcliffe spinning Kid A would make perfect sense, as that album is heavy with paranoia and the burden of an inevitable future, two things Potter is constantly forced to carry around his neck. And Godspeed You Black Emperor! is a brilliant choice just for the reasons Radcliffe mentions. The album he mentions in the video below is excellent, but may we suggest he invest in a copy of Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven?
Knowing what Radcliffe likes, what sort of albums would you suggest to the "Harry Potter" star? Leave your suggestions in the comments. For what it's worth, he would probably be a big fan of the National (Boxer is best for melancholy scenes) and the self-titled album from the Big Pink (which combines romance and claustrophobia pretty exquisitely.)
Though the awards for this year's best cultural achievements won't be handed out until the calendar turns over, this week has built up a bunch of buzz for statuettes. The Grammy Awards announced their nominations on Wednesday night, and though there are a few strange moments on that list, it has kept everybody excited for the work of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Meanwhile, today sees the release of "Up in the Air," the new film directed by Jason Reitman ("Juno," "Thank You for Smoking") and starring George Clooney. The film — which centers around the life of a frequently-flying consultant who is brought in to lay people off — is already scoring a bunch of awards and is an early contender for a bevy of Oscars.
In order to properly prepare yourself for the funny, melancholy movie (which also stars Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride and Zach Galifianakis), we present the "Up in the Air" video playlist, featuring some of the best songs about flying and airports that pop music has to offer. Ben Folds offers up the sad-eyed "Landed," Jim Jones reminds everybody that "We Fly High," Gary Allen enjoys "Watching Airplanes" and the Red Hot Chili Peppers call music their "Aeroplane."
Check out the playlist below, which also features entries from Hilary Duff, Stone Temple Pilots, Maxwell, Chingy, Young Dro and Cobra Starship. But first, kick things off with what is perhaps the best airplane-related music videos of all time: Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly," featuring a guest appearance by the guys in Tenacious D.
By Eric Ditzian
Chris Rock has never been known as a guy who keeps his opinions to himself. On Monday night on the red carpet at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York, group of reporters decided to ask the comedian's opinion about Tiger Woods' single-SUV crash into a fire hydrant and tree outside his Florida home (which, because of Woods' silence over the matter, has spiraled into a mess of rumor and speculation involving Woods, his wife Elin and a woman named Rachel Uchitel with whom the golfer supposedly had an affair).
Rock's expletive-filled reply (which was directed at the media and not at Woods) shined a harsh light on the blurry line between journalism and gossip.
"I don't have advice for anybody," he declared. "Nope. He got in a car accident. What the f---? You guys are the news. You're supposed to report the news. A guy crashed his car. You're making up s---. So are you reporting the news or are you making the news?"
Rock went on to stay there was no PR situation to be "handled" because the man simply got into a car accident. Readers, do yourself a favor and click on the video, because no printed quotes can capture the hilarity and savagery of Rock's truth-speaking delivery.
Just before heading inside for the ceremony, he added, "If I crashed my car on my f---ing property, it's a private matter!"
"We were told before we went that our Brazilian fans might be more enthusiastic than normal. One day Kristen [Stewart] and I, we were doing interviews on the second floor, and all of a sudden our security guards rush in and lock the doors all around us. And they come up to us and they're very calm and they go, 'Two thousand girls just rushed the hotel lobby. They got past hotel security, and somehow they know you're up in this room and they're on their way up right now.' That's the only time I have ever felt in danger. They started shaking the doors."
-"New Moon" star Taylor Lautner, whose shirtless appeal as Jacob Black extends far beyond Forks, Washington and onto other continents. Lautner appeared last night on "The Tonight Show" and had plenty of funny stories to tell host Conan O'Brien. For instance, he talked about how he managed to develop the skill to catch grapes in his mouth (he credits co-star Stewart), which he also demonstrated for O'Brien and his studio audience. The star also joked about his constant shirtlessness in "New Moon." "There is a scene where [Kristen Stewart] gets a cut, and there's only one way to handle a serious cut like this, and its just to rip [my shirt] off!" he laughed. "A fan actually asked me in London, 'If you could give Jacob any advice, what would it be?' And I said, 'If somebody gets cut, you don't need to take your shirt off.'" But all that shirt-doffing clearly worked for audiences, as "New Moon" took in over $142 million during its premiere weekend — good enough for the third-biggest opening of all time.
Even though there was big money moved around at a Michael Jackson auction and plenty of people are buzzing about last night's American Music Awards, the weekend was really about one story. "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" stormed into theaters just after midnight last Thursday (November 19) and racked up massive numbers care of some devoted fans, who nursed the film to the third biggest film opening of all time (though still falling $18 million short of the impressive tally brought in by "The Dark Knight" last year). There's no doubt that the "New Moon" stars are everywhere, from our talk shows to our meals at Burger King to our local Volvo dealer.
In fact, there are plenty of places where "New Moon" characters have shown up that you might have missed. For instance, when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed "Empire State of Mind" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, everybody remembers Lil Mama crashing the stage and posing alongside the two stars. But did you notice that Caius (played by Jamie Campbell Bower) also got in on the action? Take a look.
MTV News' resident photo expert Sohyung Kang has combed through the archives and unearthed a number of revelatory shots that show the "New Moon" characters dropping into the most unlikely of scenarios. Which of the "New Moon" crew was spotted cruising around with Kristin Cavallari? Which character did a sexy dance at the Teen Choice Awards? Which one snuck into an episode of "Glee"? Which one infiltrated one of Michael Jackson's most famous album covers? Click here to see all of your favorite "New Moon" characters — including Bella, Edward, Jacob, Jasper, Rosalie and Esme — sneaking into all corners of pop culture!