Get In It

Mark your calendars.

Sync your Blackberries.

And come experience what the folks over at
HotInHollywood.TV and I have been planning for the past three months.

I'm Big in Europe



...kind of.

The marvelous Michael Medico of HotInHollywood.TV, that other site for which I proudly contribute, has become the Hollywood correspondent for Dublin's 98fm (think Star98.7 in L.A. or WPLJ in New York). During its Morning Crew Show, he'll be reporting from L.A. and delivering delicious pop-culture juice for those laddies across the Atlantic.

And, via Michael, some of those reports will be coming from moi, or rather, The First Echo itself.

It's about time I get an international audience.

Hotness Squared



Ever wonder what France's answer to Justin Timberlake would sound like? Wonder no more. Meet Matt Pokora: Imagine more tattoos and abs to go along with the sick beats and hot dance movies. Timbaland (shocker) produced his first single, "She's Dangerous," off his new album, MP3 (sadly, it's only released in Europe - come on, America!). The ridiculously hot track also features Tim's brother, Sebastian, and sounds like the distant cousin of "The Way I Are" if it were mashed up with JT's "My Love." In simple terms: Hotness squared. Listen here and do what you can to get yourself a copy:



And while you're at it, check out his sizzling live performance at the NRJ Awards, France's version of the Grammys:



Next, lay your ears on "My Cool," courtesy of the Swedish Kanye West, Adam Tensta. Hardcore 80s electronica-synth meets hip-hop in Adam's latest single to drop from his debut, It's a Tensta Thing. It's times like these when you wish those Apple geeks would just develop an iTunes International to let everyone across the world purchase songs from different countries. Can't our music just get along? Check out Adam's vid in the meantime:



It's only a matter of time before underground clubs across LA and the rest of the country will start spinning these awesome imports. Get on the train...now.

For more info and goodies:
M. Pokora on MySpace
Adam Tensta on MySpace

Trailer Park: Volume 2



Our first trailer this week is for Doomsday from director Neil Marshall, the guy responsible for 2006's The Descent, during which I nearly browned my trousers. Here, he seems to lean more towards the popcorny side: Plague wipes out civilization. Survivors turn into mohawk-sportin' mutants. And a hot chick with a British accent leads a team into the danger zone in an attempt to save the little humanity that exists in the world. Looks better than Resident Evil. Feels a little like Escape from New York with a dash of Mad Max thrown in:



For those of you not into apocalyptic slaughter and mayhem, there's Baby Mama. Funny girl Tina Fey is a single 37-year-old woman who can't conceive, so she hires clueless surrogate mom Amy Poehler to bring her a child instead. Looks to be this year's more estrogen-friendly Knocked Up. And we're just tickled pink...or blue. Oh, and two words: Bathroom. Sink.



Doomsday opens March 14.
Baby Mama opens April 25.

Restart: Winter '08



Because I just love keeping y'all in the proverbial loop, allow me to share with you my soundtrack to the early days of '08 (the first in a series of seasonal compilations). They are the hits, the surprises and the overall awesome tunage you need to download in order to help you get through these dog days of winter.

Ahem...

1. "Livin' a Lie" by The Dream featuring Rihanna
2. "Feedback" by Janet Jackson
3. "Crushcrushcrush" by Paramore



4. "How Many Words" by Blake Lewis
5. "Tap That (Remix) by Megan McCauley
6. "Good Morning" by Kanye West
7. "Pocketful of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield



8. "Say (All I Need)" by OneRepublic
9. "Break the Ice" by Britney Spears
10. "B Boy Baby" Mutya Buena featuring Amy Winehouse



11. "Scream" by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson & Nicole Scherzinger
12. "Let's Dance (Radio Mix)" by Hi-Tack
13. "Work That" by Mary J. Blige
14. "Amazing (Thin White Duke Edit)" by Seal
15. "Shadow of the Day" by Linkin Park



16. "What Hurts the Most (Radio Mix)" by Cascada
17. "Everything But Mine" by Backstreet Boys
18. "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus
19. "Rehab" by Rihanna
20. "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)" by Ashlee Simpson
21. "Not Like That" by Ashley Tisdale



Now, go off and hit "Shuffle." You can thank me later.

H.P.M.

What Alanis Doesn't Want You to See



Earlier I had posted the new video for A.M.'s first single from her upcoming spring album.

And while revisiting one of my favorite artists of all-time, I came across these now-hilarious music videos from 1991 (probably for Canada's eyes only), way before the girl swallowed that jagged little pill.

God bless YouTube.

Video #1: "Too Hot" - In my favorite one of the bunch, Alanis channels Paula Abdul, does the Walking Man and throws her hands in the air and waves 'em around like she just don't care.



Video #2: "Walk Away" - Unfortunately, this ain't no Kelly Clarkson cover. A fresh-faced Matt LeBlanc is the object of Alanis's affection, and the two make puppy eyes during what appears to be a lost single from the Beverly Hills 90210 soundtrack.



Video #3: "Feel Your Love" - Like a Rhythm Nation audition reject, A.M. struts with the suited-up and the shirtless (quick, is that the muscleboy from C&C Music Factory?), and wants her beau to "give it to me like I like to give it to you."

Underneath



What do you get when you have a glammed-up First Echo favorite, Alanis Morissette, and a bunch of senior citizens jumping into a pool in the middle of the night?

The video for the first single, "Underneath," from her upcoming album, Flavors of Entanglement.

Excited barely describes how we feel to see our gal put out new material after her viral hit version of "My Humps" two years ago.



After completing her humanitarian visit to the cyclone-ravaged islands of Fiji (how awesome is she?), Alanis has also joined Matchbox Twenty on the EXILE IN AMERICA tour, which kicks off on January 25 in Hollywood, Florida.

2008 Film Forecast

Calendars ready? The First Echo provides you with a flick for nearly every week of the year. *Obviously, release dates are subject to change.

Jan. 18 - Cloverfield: NYC gets a monster makeover.
Jan. 18 - 27 Dresses: Katherine Heigl and lots of wardrobe changes.
Feb. 8 - Fool's Gold: Matthew and Kate go treasure hunting.
Feb. 15 - Jumper: Hayden Christensen can teleport!
Feb. 15 - Step Up 2 the Streets: Channing Tatum 4-ever.
Feb. 15 - The Spiderwick Chronicles: umpteenth kid-lit fantasy comes to life.
Feb. 29 - Semi-Pro: Will Ferrell slam dunks.
Feb. 29 - Bonneville: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Joan Allen go on a road trip.
March 14 - Horton Hears a Who: Dr. Seuss in CGI.
March 28 - 21: college kids con Vegas.
April 4 - Nim's Island: Jodie Foster's kid-friendly version of Romancing the Stone.
April 4 - Leatherheads: When Clooney met Zellwegger.
April 11 - Prom Night: PG-13 bloodshed.
April 18 - Baby Mama: Tina Fey + Amy Poeller, nuf said.
April 18 - Kiss the Bride: in this case, what the groom doesn't want to do (look for my cameo).
April 25 - Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: the doobie duo gets down and dirty.
May 2 - Iron Man: Rob Downey Jr. gets a metallic makeover.
May 9 - Speed Racer: fast cars, psychedelic sets.
May 16 - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: the Brit pack is back.
May 22 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Guy wears fedora and goes on adventure.
May 30 - Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Raunchy Summer Comedy #1.
May 30 - Sex and the City: Carrie & Co. reunite.
June 11 - Tropic Thunder: the one where Owen Wilson dropped out of filming.
June 13 - The Incredible Hulk: forget the Ang Lee version.
June 13 - The Happening: Mark Wahlberg vs. aliens, Shyamalan-style.
June 20 - The Love Guru: Mike Myers + Jessica Alba.
June 20 - Get Smart: Steve Carrell + Anne Hathaway.
June 27 - Wall-E: the Disney-Pixar tradition continues.
June 27 - Wanted: Angelina trains James McAvoy to be a superspy.
July 2 - Hancock: Will Smith as a slacker superhero.
July 11 - Hellboy II: The Golden Army: at least it's not a Golden Shower.
July 18 - The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger plays a clown.
July 18 - Mamma Mia: Meryl Streep sings.
July 25 - X-Files 2: Mulder and Scully learn more truths.
Aug. 1 - The Mummy: Curse of the Dragon Emperor: overdue threequel.
Aug. 1 - He's Just Not That Into You: Jennifer Aniston learns why her marriage failed.
Aug. 8 - The Pineapple Express: Raunchy Summer Comedy #2.
Aug. 8 - Eagle Eye: Shia LeBeouf suspenser; Disturbia, take two.
Oct. 8 - Valkyrie: Tom Cruise fights Nazis.
Oct. 24 - Trick 'r Treat - death by candy corn.
Nov. 7 - James Bond 22: Daniel Craig dons another tux.
Nov. 21 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: more hell breaks loose at Hogwarts.
Nov. 26 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Brad Pitt ages backwards.
Dec. 19 - Revolutionary Road: Leo and Kate reunite.
Dec. 19 - Yes Man: Jim Carrey back in the slapstick saddle.
Dec. 25 - Bedtime Stories: Adam Sandler reads a magical book.
Dec. 25 - Star Trek XI: J.J. Abrams's origin story.

By the Numbers



The new year ain't so happy in Hollywood.

The WGA strike continues in full force, and here's a breakdown of what's gone down after the first week of 2008:

62 = the number of scripted television shows that have been completely shut down, a loss of $160 million per week for the Los Angeles economy.

1,000 = the number of Warner Bros. employees who were given pinkslips after returning from their holiday break.

43% = the full capacity of my DVR, the lowest it's been since my favorite dramas have stopped producing new episodes.

4 = the number of boxed sets of TV shows I recently acquired on DVD to keep me company during this cold and lonely TV season (if you must know, they're seasons one of Dexter, Picket Fences and Strangers with Candy and season three of Lost - hey, I need the refresher before season four begins).

Trailer Park: Volume 1

In this new year, one of my resolutions is to bring you more poptastic updates on movies, TV and music. To kick things off, here is the first in a series of notable vids I like to call Trailer Park. First up, 21:



Jim Sturgess, the Beatles-singin' Brit who stole hearts in last fall's Across the Universe dons an American accent and goes up against Kevin Spacey and Lawrence Fishburne in this spring's 21, a heist flick from popcorn helmer Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, Monster-in-Law). Sturgess plays an MIT student with a knack for numbers who gets recruited to play some dirty games in - where else - Sin City. Call it Ocean's Eleven: The College Years.

Oh, and Kate Bosworth is in it too.

Check out the nifty trailer (opens March 28, my birthday weekend):



Then, there's April's Prom Night. With the trend of remaking 70s horror movies finally dying down, why not move on to the next decade? The Jamie Lee Curtis slasher flick from 1980 gets a PG-13 redo (cringe) starring Brittany Snow as one of the unfortunate teens who gets trapped in a luxury hotel with one pissed-off party pooper:



If that Cyndi Lauper cover weren't blasphemous enough...

Ten More Days

Needless to say, I am more excited than a puppy in a room filled with fire hydrants.


Ruffled Pages


My mother has a bookcase filled with novels ranging from the very British mysteries of Agatha Christie to the plot-thin paperbacks of the Harlequin Romance series. While staying in New York over the holiday break I played the Good Son and offered to move the monstrosity out of her bedroom and into the hallway where it had originally been (it had been moved in the summer of 2004 to make room for my father's wheelchair after his stroke). Now that my dad is up-and-at-'em, the piece of furniture was long overdue for a return to its regular spot in the apartment.

The majority of my mom's literary picks came from the minds of Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Reinhart and Robert Ludlum. As I shouted out titles of books to see if she could remember the plots to them, my mother described how she went through different book phases throughout the years.

Phase #1: The Historical Epic (somewhere in the late 70s, before she met my father).

Phase #2: The International Spy Thriller (during those Reaganomic 80s and probably the 70s, long after her heart was crushed to see Sean Connery retire from the James Bond films).

Phase #3: The British Murder Mystery (maintained throughout all three decades of her avid readership).

Phase #4: The Trashy Romance (probably when she was glued to her TV set watching Luke marry Laura on General Hospital).

We both had a good laugh while we breezed through some of the fluff. I got a kick out of the elaborate cover art of these sweeping love stories. I would love to meet the people who get paid to sketch collages of ripped torsos, lacy dresses and grand backdrops and write up tempting taglines to accompany it all. Move over, Shoebox Greetings. I now know who to turn to for creating my annual Christmas cards for the fam.

Lily Cigar - She was robbed of her innocence to become the legendary lady of love - a fiery saga of illicit passion and scandalous intrigue.

The Black Swan - Their forbidden passion was born in one moment...Their love flames beyond time.

The Flame and the Flower - In an age of great tumoil, the breathtaking romance of Heather Simmons and Captain Brandon Birmingham spans oceans and continents! Their stormy saga reaches the limits of human passion as we follow Heather's tumultuous journey from poverty..to her kidnapping at a squalid London dockside...to the splendor of Harthaven, the Carolina plantation where Brandon finally probes the depths of Heather's full womanhood!

Strong Poison - The incomparable Lord Peter Wimsey loses his heart and falls head-over-heels into murder...

Perusing the covers of these novels - some classic, some downright embarrassing - while reorganizing this personal library, I realized that I am indeed my mother's son. Bookwormdom had always run through my veins. If you were to step inside my old bedroom (now my father's office/den), in one corner you'd find a similar bookcase bursting at the slabs with multitudes of paperbacks and hardcovers. My authors of choice in the early-to-mid-90s were R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and Dean Koontz. I collected every teen horror series ever published from 1989 to 1999. I frequently visited Fear Street. I got Goosebumps. I attended Terror Academy and later dormed at Nightmare Hall. I entered the Extreme Zone and became Fearless (the latter, a daring and brilliant series about a girl born without the fear gene, was eventually developed into a failed WB pilot starring Rachael Leigh Cook and Ian Somerhalder).

My mother wishes to box all of them up to clear space in the room, but I feel oddly proud to keep them on display, perhaps as a reminder of who I was over a decade ago. Yes, some are definitely not worth rereading (Desperate Pursuit - Someone is stalking Samantha - it's a deadly lesson in love), while others are worthy enough to be brought out of hiding for the sole purpose of kitschy nostalgia.

Currently framed and on display in my bathroom is a signed letter I received from R.L. Stine in the summer of 1992. It was in response to a letter I had written in which I expressed my admiration for his ability to write a novel every month and how I wished to follow in his footsteps. Later in life, my idols would change. In high school I strived to be the next Aaron Spelling, and in college, the next David E. Kelley. Nowadays, for those of you who may not know (um, have we met?), I continue to worship the ground J.J. Abrams walks on (by the way, he's never returned my e-mails).

At this rate, someone new should be poised to claim the pedestal, but I have yet to find that successor. I think it will take a while to find someone worthy enough and awe-inspiring to bestow that honor. For now, I'll just carry on with my trivial obsessions, my personal commentaries, my random musings.

It's all going in my memoirs anyway.

H.P.M.

Messy New Year



If you haven't heard/read/seen by now, Britney Spears is now being held under psychiatric evaluation after a holding one of her sons hostage last night during an ugly custody scuffle. Police, paramedics and (of course) paparazzi were all over it last night as she was brought to Cedar Sinai. It's been reported that she needs to remain hospitalized for 2 weeks (a suicide watch may be involved).

Damn.

If you live in Los Angeles, you probably heard the helicopters flying around town trying to catch a glimpse of the latest in this yuk-tacular epic tragedy.