Tom Cruise Minimized in New 'Valkyrie' Trailer | Katie Couric's Must-see TV | CD Sales So Low, It's Almost Over

Cruise Minimized in New 'Valkyrie' Trailer

The new "Valkyrie" trailer is up on YouTube. And guess what? There’s a lot less Tom Cruise in it, and even better: the trailer now starts with Cruise looking like Lawrence of Arabia in the desert right before a big explosion knocks him out.

This was from the big war scene that was filmed this summer in California. Historically incorrect, it shows why Cruise’s character, Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg, spends the rest of the film wearing an eye patch and fumbling with a lame arm.

Now prominent in the "Valkyrie" promotion is this scene, as well as a sequence showing the bomb that’s supposed to kill Hitler. Of course, what the trailer doesn’t tell you is that the plot failed when the bomb explosion was blocked by a table. Hitler had his would-be assassins executed the next day.

On her Web site yesterday Nikki Finke posted a memo from Sandro Bellini of MGM Digital Marketing. In the memo, Bellini describes the test scores for the trailer among online movie fan sites. While 80 percent said the trailer looked exciting, Bellini noted:

"While the majority of buzz about the lack of German accents is neutral, the topic is fueling discussion among online audiences. Critics contend that their absence creates a 'lack of cohesiveness' while supporters believe that their inclusion would make the film appear 'cheesy.' There were also numerous users sharing mixed opinions on the topic, stating that while the lack of accents is 'distracting' and anticipate it will 'take some getting used to,' the trailer 'looks amazing' and they intend on seeing the film upon its release."

The rest of Bellini’s report was available on the Mammoth Advertising Web site, which Finke linked to, at deadlinehollywood.com. But the link to the Mammoth/MGM memo is unavailable now. Surprise! How fascist of them!

Katie Couric's Must-See TV

If you’re not watching Katie Couric these days, you’re missing everything.

Katie’s interviews with Sarah Palin are becoming the stuff of legend. "Saturday Night Live" sent her up this past weekend, hilariously.

And the clips just keep on coming.

In this exchange from Sept. 30, Couric tries to pin Palin down on a simple, un-political subject. What does she read, Couric wonders, to help her form opinions?

Palin could have said anything, but the Republican vice presidential nominee doesn’t have an answer at the ready. She appears very flustered.

Here it is. The video is available on CBS’s Web site.

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Katie’s getting to do the thing she does best: interviews. She’s listening, and letting Palin — and everyone else who comes her way lately — talk and talk and talk.

So maybe reconsider all that gossip about Couric leaving CBS News after the elections, and heading off to be Larry King’s much-needed replacement at CNN. Something tells me she’s not giving up the anchor chair ceded to her by Dan Rather so fast.

CD Sales So Low, It’s Almost Over

Just under 700,000 CDs were sold last week in the top 10, according to hitsdailydouble.com.

This means, as you might suspect, that the major record companies would be totally out of business if it weren’t for downloads and catalog sales.

The biggest selling CD was Metallica’s latest, with 129,000.

The No. 50 CD was by comic Mitch Hedberg. It sold 9,000 copies.

The biggest new release this week is Jennifer Hudson’s debut on J/Arista.

Otherwise, the field is like a desert. It’s dry as dust.

You could blame the record companies for not doing much to promote their acts. They don’t, true. But in all fairness, where are they going to promote them other than on radio? And radio, which is largely owned by Clear Channel, refuses to play anything other than a few tracks from major artists. There’s no way in.

In New York, there is literally nothing to listen to on the radio. The big rock station, Q104.3, simply plays classic rock. Forget the rest of it.

The big pop station, Z100, long ago closed the door to anything other than mindless commercial pop. They were very excited to play Britney Spears’ awful new single this week. It doesn’t matter that the single is so bad that it hasn’t cracked the station’s own top 20 list or its Top 20 on demand. No one wants it, but Z100 is pushing, pushing, pushing.

Stations like Z100 have spent almost two decades force-feeding unimportant junk like this on their teen listeners. It all started with the boy bands like NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, all their derivatives, plus Britney and her ilk and sampled, unimaginative hip-hop and rap. It gave three generations of kids (five-year cycles) a cultural void as a result.

Most kids today are more interested in sampling catalogs from the Beatles to Santana or old soul than the stuff they find on top 40. Congratulations, radio! If anything’s to blame for this situation, it’s you.