The Grand Budapest Hotel, in theaters today, has garnered extremely positive reviews from critics, with Andrew O'Hehir at Salon calling it his "most serious, most tragic" work yet. But are audiences reading too much into Anderson's films?
In a new Q&A for Interview, Lorraine Cwelich asks Anderson about the "loss of innocence" theme that seems to span across his films. His response is a bit disheartening:
Usually I don't think about these movies thematically. I like to just think about making an experience for somebody... I don't really want to put my own thoughts about it out there, and I don't want to define or interpret the story, because I want it to have enough abstraction or be unconscious, like life. [Interview]
If you're planning on seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel this weekend, perhaps focus your attention more on the beauty of Anderson's production and less on reading too much into the story.
Later in the interview, Cwelich also asks Anderson what he would have done if he weren't a filmmaker, and Anderson says that at one point, he "wanted to be an architect." In his mind, though, that's not inconsistent with his current role — he's the architect, so to speak, behind the whimsical spectacles that define his films. Meghan DeMaria
As soon as next week, Apple will launch a new music-streaming service, directly challenging Spotify, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing music industry executives. Apple still has to finalize licensing deals with the three biggest record companies, but those negotiations are expected to be wrapped up before Apple's worldwide developers' conference next week, where the new service will likely be formally unveiled.
Unlike Spotify, Apple isn't expected to offer a free, ad-supported version of its on-demand streaming; instead, monthly subscriptions will reportedly cost $10. However, Apple will add some human DJs to its free, ad-supported radio streaming service, which competes with Pandora.
Apple is taking a risk by making a big play for on-demand streaming, both because Spotify is so entrenched, with about 85 percent market share (the same percentage of the music-download market Apple controls), but also because streaming could eat into Apple's lucrative iTunes Store business. But music-streaming is gaining steam while downloads are stagnating. (Apple will keep its recently purchased Beats Music service separate for now.)
And "while it is late to the game," note The Journal's Ethan Smith and Daisuke Wakabayashi, "Apple can aggressively push its hundreds of millions of iTunes customers — most with credit cards already registered with the company — to embrace a subscription model on the same devices where they listen to downloaded songs and albums." Read more about Apple's new big thing at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber
Despite all the Sturm und Drang about the NSA's bulk telephone metadata collection authority expiring Sunday night, "it doesn't really seem like the country has crumbled into chaotic violence-based terror-ocracy," Jon Stewart said on Monday's Daily Show. In fact, he noted, as far as we know, that hoovering up of phone records hasn't prevented any terrorist attacks, including the few that have hit the U.S. since the NSA started its surveillance vacuum.
Stewart didn't exactly dance on the Patriot Act's grave, but he did question the need for the NSA program, the use of the phrase "lone wolf," Sen. John McCain's comedic judgment, and Sen. Rand Paul's request for a "money bomb" tied to his blocking of NSA surveillance. And, since the NSA is no longer keeping tabs, Stewart felt free to prank-call his old friend John Oliver. Correspondent Jordan Klepper, meanwhile, lamented the NSA's waning powers, but for his own reasons. Watch below, but be warned, some of the language is mildly NSWF. Peter Weber
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West are expecting their second child — "which means this will be the second time Kim has participated in any kind of real labor," Jimmy Kimmel joked on Monday night's Kimmel Live. But what everyone really wants to know is what the Wests will name their new child, after giving their daughter the novelty name North. Kimmel offered to help, picking a name through a special game of bingo. You've probably thought of some of the dozen names Kimmel's staff selected for the game (Mid, Wicked Witch Of The), but there are some random entries, and they are all funnier because Guillermo is reading them. Watch below — and Batman fans, hope that Guillermo got this one right. Peter Weber
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) thinks the USA Freedom Act is better than the Patriot Act, but he's still voting against it, he told Seth Meyers on Tuesday's Late Night. There are better, most constitutional ways to combat terrorism, the 2016 Democratic presidential contender said. "We can't go around telling people we're a free country when either the government or the corporate world knows every damn thing about you — that's not really freedom."
Then Meyers started pitching softballs. Sanders looked a little nervous when Meyers started bringing up an essay Sanders published in 1972 that touches on rape and fantasy, but relaxed when Meyers turned it into a question about 50 Shades of Grey. "I think I could make a good president, but I write fiction pretty poorly," Sanders said. Also, that folk album he talked-sang on in the 1980s wasn't a great idea, he said, when Meyers broached the subject. "I almost feel like you should say, 'Vote for me or I'll put out another album'," Meyers quipped. There are probably worse campaign slogans. Listen to Sanders orate about liberty (and sing) below. Peter Weber
The Transportation Security Administration's poor track record with airport security, highlighted in a report on Monday, did not go unnoticed by the TSA's parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson replaced the TSA's acting administrator, Melvin Carraway, with its acting deputy director, Mark Hatfield, until a permanent replacement is installed — President Obama nominated Coast Guard Vice Adm. Pete Neffenger in April, but the Senate hasn't confirmed him. Carraway was reassigned to another post at DHS.
Johnson said that the numbers reported from the classified DHS inspector general's report — TSA agents failed to detect fake bombs and other weapons in 67 of 70 covert tests — "never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security." He announced several steps meant to improve airport security, including new screening procedures, training for all TSA officers and especially supervisors, and re-evaluating current screening systems. Undercover, randomly timed security tests will continue.
Despite the bad report, "TSA screened a record number of passengers at airports in the United States," Johnson said, and "seized a record number of prohibited items." Still, he added, he is taking the reports findings "very seriously." Peter Weber
If you're a fan of The Cardigans' angelic cover of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," or of English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, Jimmy Fallon has a bit for you. "That's right, pop music's cherub-faced troubadour sings 25 of the darkest, most skull-crushing songs ever written," Fallon, in character, said in a faux late-night commercial on Monday's Tonight Show. And Sheeran was on hand to provide a taste of a few of those songs.
He kept up a straight face, mostly, through Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" and Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff," but he cracked up a bit during his track from the bonus album, Ed Sheeran Sings Hardcore Rap, probably because it's even funnier, and more improbable, hearing Ed Sheeran sing Ty Dolla $ign than Iron Maiden. Watch below. Peter Weber
Late Monday, a chartered cruise ship carrying 458 passengers and crew up China's Yangtze River capsized in a storm, and as of Tuesday morning, only between 10 and 20 have been rescued, according to Chinese media. Rescue efforts were hampered at first by strong wind and rains, and then darkness. But by daylight Tuesday, hundreds of police officers, military personnel, and divers were on hand for the rescue and recovery operation.
According to the English language version of Chinese state news site Xinhua, the captain and chief engineer were among those rescued, and "both claimed the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone." Search crews reported hearing noises from within the upturned boat 12 hours after it capsized, China's CCTV reports, and are trying to determine if the sounds are coming from people trapped inside. The four-deck boat, built in 1994, sank in a part of the river about 50 feet deep. For more information, watch the Reuters report below. Peter Weber