By: G. H. Harding

Bryan Cranston

CRANSTON IS LEX? -- Is Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston getting ready to play Lex Luthor in the Man of Steel sequel? A book web site the other day declared that he’s been in talks for the role.

There’s no clarification from the powers-that-be, but having Cranston in the role would bring a certain gravitas to a role that’s always been somewhat difficult to cast. Gene Hackman as the character in the Christopher Reeve movies was cute, but not the right type of serious deviate Luthor is. 

Nor, was Kevin Spacey in the subsequent re-boot movie Superman Returns (2006). There is one certain thing: that after the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, it would certainly re-store some semblance of order to the whole project which has brought worldwide attention to the subject.

As Deadline Hollywood so succinctly put it, on the casting of Affleck, “I do not share the alarm expressed by just about all 300+ Deadline commenter's who've condemned the move and feel it’s awful for Affleck, Warner Bros, and humanity as a whole.” For me, I like Affleck, always have and feel he'll be rather brilliant.

KICK-ASS 2 MUSIC RELEASED: --- Sony Music just released the Kick-Ass 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack; featuring new music by Jessie J, James Flannigan, DJ Fresh, and, Lemon. 

The first Kick-Ass film became an irreverent global hit when it was released in 2010 – and Kick-Ass 2 follows in its footsteps, with the music to match, thanks to a pop compilation that sparkles from start to finish.

The 14 tracks make the music as eventful as the film, with several completely new numbers: “Yeah Yeah” by James Flannigan is an instrumental track with a driving beat that sets the pace right from the start. Flannigan is known as the voice of the British pop-rock band The Stiff Dylans, who came to fame in 2008 with their hit "Ultraviolet" from the film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. “Motherquake” by DJ Fresh is another new track, first released on this compilation. The dubstep and drum-and-bass musician Fresh, who had a number-one hit in the British charts Louder (with singer Sian Evans), here adds contrast to the heavy rock tracks in a quirky number with high-inspiring vocals. A further new track is “Pussydrop," catchy pop to dance to, spiced up with hints of hip hop, by the rising star Lemon.

The star of the soundtrack and an absolute highlight is “Hero” by Jessie J, with the punchy sound and powerful, acrobatic vocals that her fans love. The singer who has been described as “girl power personified” has produced another song full of vigor here – yet another brand-song on this memorable soundtrack.

There is much more to enjoy on this soundtrack. Danko Jones’ urgent, hoarse vocals in “Dance” from We Sweat Blood, nominated as Best Rock Album in the 2004 Juno Awards, is delivered with all the energy that this band is known for. The instrumental track “Korobeiniki” by Ozma, a rock interpretation of traditional Russian music, adds a touch of originality.

The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Hanni El Khatib pitches in with “Nobody Move,” with heavy guitar riffs, followed by Union J’s exuberant love song “Carry You.” “Euphoria,” a song full of pleading and yearning by the Scottish indie rockers Glasvegas, is taken from their second album, Euphoric Heartbreak. 

Last but not least, "A Minha Menina" was the single that got the British band The Bees widely noticed following the release of their debut album Sunshine Hit Me. A totally enjoyable package.

Jimmy Buffet Blows Up --- Jimmy Buffet’s new album, Songs From St. Somewhere, is projected to go top five in its debut week. The projection comes from Hits Daily Double who says that the album will sell around 60,000 units to come in at number 4. The set will be outsold by the latest from Luke Bryan (projected 159,000 in sales), John Mayer (145,500) and TGT (70,000). Behind Buffet is the debut of Earl Sweatshirt (48,500).

For Buffet, it’s a return to form after a disappointing start for his 2009 album, Buffet Hotel which only made it to 17. His four previous albums had all gone top ten.

I remember years ago (and, I do mean years ago), Profile Records’ Cory Robbins told me about this artist he wanted to sign, Jimmy Buffet. I wasn't a fan yet, but years after that I visited the singer’s Margaretville restaurant and Las Vegas and listened to hours of his music (and, watched his terrific videos) while I had a pretty awesome meal. I left a fan. His recent appearance on NBC’s The Today Show was marvelous. He performs in shorts and bare feet …. I mean, does it get any better than that.

CLOSING NOTES --- Remember when we questioned a few columns back about when that Micky Dolenz/Live At B. B. Kings CD would be released? It was recorded last October. Well, turns out, it is out – but, only available on Dolenz’s eBay page. A copy is en route and we'll tell you all about it…  The Rides are on 429 Records; turns out we referenced the wrong record company. Still haven't gotten a review copy yet. They're the same label that released that terrific Boz Scaggs album, Memphis, earlier this year …New album coming from David Crosby? According to his savvy press-rep Michael Jensen, “Soon … but nothing really to talk about yet.” … Beach Boy-Brian Wilson joins, of all people, Jeff Beck, on an 18-city tour that starts September 27 in Hollywood, Florida. Strange? Definitely, but should be one of the more interesting musical pairings of the year … The other night The Grayson Rogers Band won Best Band, Best Country Band and Best Lead Male Vocalist (Josh Grayson) in the 2013 SPOT awards. Congrats … 61-year old Harry Hamlin is up for an Emmy as his star-turning role of ad-man Jim Cutler, in AMC’s Mad Men. We've loved Hamlin for years and this is certainly a great moment for him; we'll be watching The Emmy Awards on September 22 … And, we hear Tiffany may appear at an upcoming New York Magazine party at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room.