Conor Oberst on Letterman: “Hundreds of Ways”

Conor Oberst Letterman

This week, singer-songwriter Conor Oberst appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and performed “Hundreds of Ways.” The 34-year-old Oberst is backed up by the roots rock band Dawes on the catchy song with a bit of a country influence (even mentioning “Bakersfield”). The lyrics recount a vague personal journey, reminding the listener that life is not fair while presenting a more uplifting conclusion about getting through the day in the chorus. Check it out.

But there are hundreds of ways
To get through the days;
There are hundreds of ways,
Now you just find one.

“Hundreds of Ways” is from Upside Down Mountain (2014), a solo album that Spin Magazine listed as one of the best CDs of the year so far. To listen to a recent full concert by Oberst and Dawes, head over to NPR, which has the audio for his July 27, 2014 performance with Dawes at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island.

What do you think of “Hundreds of Ways”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    New Teaser Trailer for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

    It looks like viewers should expect a war in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014). Warner Brothers Pictures has released a new teaser trailer for the final Hobbit film.  In the trailer, Thorin (Richard Armitage) asks his colleagues but he might as well be asking us, “Will you follow me one last time?”

    If the song sounds familiar, we first heard hobbit Pippin (Billy Boyd) singing it in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits theaters on December 17, 2014.

    Are you excited about another trip to Middle Earth?  Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Ryan Adams Performs “Stay With Me” From Upcoming Album

    Ryan Adams Gimme

    Recently on Tuesday, July 22, singer-songwriter Ryan Adams performed the song “Stay With Me” at State Theatre in Portland, Maine. The song will appear on his forthcoming self-titled album, Ryan Adams. Check out his playful performance in the video below.

    Ryan Adams will be the fourteenth studio album from Adams, whose last CD Ashes & Fire came out in October 2011. The three-year layoff is a relatively long one for Adams, who is generally known for producing a lot of material. Adams recently explained to Rolling Stone that he stopped recording for awhile because of Ménière’s disease, an inner ear disorder. Fortunately, therapy from a hypnotherapist and some medical marijuana helped get Adams back in the studio.

    As you can tell from “Stay With Me,” the new album features powerful rockers with a different sound than his previous album, which I liked a lot. Adams already released the song “Gimme Something Good” from the new album as a 7-inch single, and it became the number one seller on Amazon.

    I am reserving my judgment on the new music until I hear the whole album, but I am happy to see Adams making music again. The label Pax-Am releases the whole album Ryan Adams on September 9.

    What do you think of the new music from Ryan Adams? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Trailer for Season 5 of “The Walking Dead”

    Attendees at Comic-Con International in San Diego got a sneak peak at the upcoming season of AMC’s TV series The Walking Dead. Now, through the wonders of the Internet, you get to see it too. Of course, if you are a fan and prefer not to know anything about the upcoming season, feel free to skip it. But since I have to wait almost three more months until October 12 for the season to start, I could not wait. Check it out.



    Who is your favorite character on “The Walking Dead”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (Short Review)

    Dawn Apes In 2011, Director Rupert Wyatt rebooted the Planet of the Apes franchise with the excellent Rise of the Planet of the Apes, featuring wonderful performances by James Franco, Andy Serkis, and John Lithgow. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Franco and Lithgow are gone, and the movie suffers a bit from their absence. But the new film, directed by Matt Reeves, is full of action and Serkis again is outstanding as the leader of the apes, Caesar.

    Most critics and fans like the action-packed Dawn, and I did too, although I do not think it matched the first in the new series. The film picks up ten years after Rise, when most humans have died from a virus. Some of the remaining humans struggle to survive, while the apes, still led by Caesar, work to build their own civilization. Not surprisingly, the two groups come in contact. Both the humans and the apes have individuals who want war and individuals who want peace. The film builds to a dramatic and action-filled conclusion that I will not ruin here. In light of current debates about violence among countries, the film also is a gentle reminder about how difficult it is to protect a fragile peace.

    Serkis gives an excellent emotional performance in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Judy Greer does a great job as Caesar’s wife, Cornelia, whose name is likely a reference to the original series (making me wonder if their son “Blue Eyes” — played by Nick Thurston — has the real name of Cornelius?). This time around, the human characters are less interesting, although Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Keri Russell do a good job with the roles they have.

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    is a dark movie in more than one way. Besides the storyline, the action takes place on cloudy days and at night. While the CGI effects were fantastic, because 3D glasses make movies even darker and I was not blown away by the 3D effects, I would have preferred to see the film in regular 2D so I would not have had to squint to make out the action in the dark. But I will leave it to you to determine how important 3D is to you.

    Finally, the original movie franchise began by landing Charlton Heston in the middle of the established ape world (as the Tim Burton reboot similarly did with Mark Wahlberg) and then later films took us back to the origin stories. But this new franchise opts for more of a chronological version in the way the films are being produced, starting at the beginning of the timeline. Thus, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was comparable to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) of the original series, while the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is comparable to Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), which was the last one made in the original series and is generally seen as the weakest. Thus, considering the new very good movie is a reinterpretation of the weakest of the original franchise, I am especially looking forward to seeing how this new franchise develops with future movies. For a look at how the movies fit into a timeline, check out the io9 website.

    Conclusion? Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an action-packed sequel and a worthy continuation of the story that began in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. If you liked the first film, you will want to see this sequel. If you have not yet seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you can still start with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes without being lost, but you might want to watch the superior first film first.

    What did you think of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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