Birdy flew to fame with stripped-down, piano-backed interpretations of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love" and Ed Sheeran's "The A Team." But the barely 18-year-old Hampshire singer proves she can do more than parrot on "Fire Within," 13 tracks that showcase her sophisticated vocals and mature songwriting. No stranger to blockbuster soundtracks ("The Hunger Games," "Brave"), Birdy contributed three new tracks to "The Fault in Our Stars" soundtrack. Birdy told me about her first professional milestone, "Fire Within," making covers her own, taking on America, and … Read more
"Edge of Tomorrow" director Doug Liman wanted to make a great popcorn flick -- a film that's exciting, terrifying, and funny, everything audiences want in a summer blockbuster. But for the movie to outlast the season, he knew from experience ("The Bourne Identity" series and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith") that it would need strong, relatable characters. So he relied on powerful actors Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, whose characters, Major William Cage and Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski, must count on each other to save the world from alien invasion. I chatted with … Read more
If you're an Apple fan, this week was all about WWDC and its coming attractions for OS X and iOS 8. But also this week, an Englishman urged Americans to fight for Net neutrality, Reset the Net protested for privacy, Google debuted End-to-End for Gmail, and another OpenSSL bug surfaced. Read on for our rundown, and to get the latest reviews from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.WWDC
Apple announced no new hardware at its developers conference -- the show was all software, with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 center stage. Visit our … Read more
For two hours on Monday, Apple presented new products, and we tech journalists and Mac heads have spent the rest of the week obsessively breaking down the pros, cons, and question marks. This year's WWDC was all about software, chiefly OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 and better integration between the two. Both will be out in the fall. In the meantime, pore over the specs and screenshots with us. (And for this week's non-Apple-related news, visit our software week in review.)Mac OS X Yosemite
OS X is getting a fresh look, taking design cues from iOS, … Read more
Taryn Manning has been in films and on television since 1994, often in supporting roles opposite bigger names like Britney Spears in "Crossroads," Eminem in "8 Mile," Terrence Howard in "Hustle & Flow," and Charlie Hunnam on "Sons of Anarchy." The role of Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett on Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black" might have been just another ancillary entry on Manning's IMDb page, except the actress has been a scene stealer as the antagonistic drug addict turned born-again Christian. Now an official series regular, Manning … Read more
For Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch, playing hockey offers a great escape, and so does playing a diverse range of characters. Kitsch is best known for his roles in "Friday Night Lights," "Savages," "John Carter," and "Battleship." In his new film, "The Grand Seduction," he plays urbane Dr. Paul Lewis, a reluctant suburbanite won over by the townsfolk of a small fishing village, who want to land a lucrative business contract.
The role of Dr. Paul Lewis, an eccentric doctor with a penchant for cricket, is not your typical action hero … Read more
On June 5, Internet freedom fighters want you to stand up for your privacy and pledge to Reset the Net.
The campaign opposes mass government surveillance like the NSA's. Reset the Net wants sites and mobile apps to commit to using SSL, and encourages individuals to sign the pledge and download a collection of privacy tools and tips. Groups ranging from the EFF to Reddit have pledged support.
Fight for the Future is behind the campaign, the same organization that kicked off protests against the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect-IP Act (PIPA) in 2012, bills that many … Read more
When Needtobreathe recorded its latest album, "Rivers in the Wasteland," the Southern rock band grappled with which direction to take after the departure of drummer Joe Stillwell. The band members, suffering inner tensions and the pressures of fame, felt the need to make bare-bones, from-the-heart songs to satisfy their collective soul and re-energize. The 10-time Dove-winning band chose wisely: The album landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Album and Rock Albums charts, and No. 3 on the Billboard 200. I chatted with Needtobreathe guitarist and backing vocalist Bo Rinheart about the new album and tour, getting … Read more
Smash Mouth, the alternative rock band best known for such hits as 1997's "Walkin' on the Sun" and 1999's "All Star," celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, Smash Mouth will release a greatest hits package and a live album, featuring tour performances from earlier this year. The band hits the road again in June for the Under the Sun Tour, a '90s flashback outing that also featuring Blues Traveler, Uncle Kracker, and Sugar Ray.
Any special surprises for fans on tour? We're going to do something special. Me and … Read more
Pixar's award-winning, in-house rendering software, RenderMan, will be free starting in August. All you have to do is sign up. The Emeryville studio has announced that it will offer the $500 rendering software for free, provided it is used for noncommercial purposes. The animation giant has also stated that the "free non-commercial RenderMan is exactly the same as the commercial version." This is pretty awesome news for aspiring digital artists.