Latest Blog Posts

Top 10 TV Shows of 2012 from The Fien Print

Top 10 TV Shows of 2012 from The Fien Print

Sports docs, meth cooks, ad men and more top Dan Fienberg's list
Assuming you're even a semi-regular reader/listener, my Top 10 TV Shows of 2012 list probably isn't a mystery to you at this point.
My Top 10 list was part of HitFix's First Annual Critics' Poll and then Sepinwall & I went over both of our Top 10 lists in our Best of 2012 Podcast on Wednesday.
So you know my Top 10 and you've heard me discuss it, but you've never heard me do voiceover for my Top 10 list over the terrifically edited clips courtesy of our ace HitFix video team!
As I said on the podcast, No. 1-8 was pretty solid. I knew the eight shows that were guaranteed placement in my Top 10. The last two slots? Well, that's a bit more slippery. I'm absolutely happy with No. 9 and No. 10, because they're two of my favorite shows, but if No. 11-15 from my Second 10 had taken those slots? That would have been fine, too. In fact, the shows in my Second 10 are pretty near-great themselves and I'll post that list next week, probably. Hell, the shows in my "Honorable Mention" field that'll accompany my Second 10 are very good as well. 
I say this every year and it's always true: If anybody tries saying, "There's nothing good on TV" or "TV is crap" or "All there is on TV is bad reality," they're morons. I don't know if the top tier of scripted television is as good as the "Golden Age" folks like to talk about, but in terms of sheer volume of reasonable quality? I'm not sure things have ever been better.
A case-in-point would be my No. 3 show. Not only did it not make a single other Top 10 in the HitFix Critics' Poll, but I'd wager that 85 percent of my colleagues never watched a second of it and at least 40 percent of them didn't know it existed. And it's GREAT.
So give my Top 10 video a watch. I'm not listing the shows here in text form, but I'll do that when I post my Second 10, plus it's available on the site elsewhere. This post is for the video.
Read Full Post
<p>Rebel Wilson in a preview for the 2013 MTV Movie Awards.</p>

Rebel Wilson in a preview for the 2013 MTV Movie Awards.

Rebel Wilson is the host of the 2013 MTV Movie Awards

Teaser announcements airs during 'Jersey Shore' finale

It's almost Christmas, so it's obviously time to reveal the host for the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, right? Well, maybe not, but with "Jersey Shore" airing its final episode Thursday night MTV decided to use the larger than usual audience to promote next April's annual pseudo-awards event.  The bigger surprise was that the network made the inspired choice to tap Aussie Rebel Wilson as next year's host.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot; winner Denise</p>

"Survivor: Philippines" winner Denise

Credit: CBS

Interview: Denise Stapley discusses her 'Survivor: Philippines' win

The Sole Survivor talks about her path to the 'Survivor' million
We've reached the end of the "Survivor: Philippines" exit interview road, which means we've reached the peak.
In the past three days, you've read my interview with popular 4th place finisher Malcolm Freberg, as well as the conversations with Mike Skupin and Lisa Whelchel, who made it to the Finals, but received only one vote apiece. 
That brings us to the million dollar winner, Denise Stapley. Calm, analytical, tough Denise, who made an alliance with Malcolm on Day One and chose exactly the right moment to separate from that alliance and stand on her own, received six of eight Jury votes to comfortably take the title of Sole Survivor. 
A sex therapist from Iowa, Denise was strong in challenges and masterfully read the competition in her confessional segments. And if she was sometimes just a wee bit too blunt when it came to taking down lesser players -- Sorry, Abi -- it made her look decisive compared to the wishy-washy Tandang duo she faced at the Jury.
In her exit interview, Denise discusses that Jury, including the harsh reactions from Malcolm and Jonathan Penner (who both voted for her anyway).  She also talks about the "Survivor" advantage that came from her profession, as well as the difficult journey from a struggling early tribe to victory.
Click through for the final "Survivor: Philippines" exit interview...

Read Full Post
<p>Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell face off in 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,' which looks like a truly silly comedy about Vegas magicians battling for supremacy.</p>

Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell face off in 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,' which looks like a truly silly comedy about Vegas magicians battling for supremacy.

Credit: Warner Bros

Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell go to war with magic in 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' trailer

One of 2013's broadest comedies kicks off its campaign

I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a very good year for Jim Carrey fans.

I may not love everything Carrey's ever done, but I remain convinced that he is one of the wildest, most exciting talents working in film right now.  When he connects with a project, the results are intoxicating, and if everything I've seen and read turns out to be correct, both "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" and "Kick-Ass 2" are going to turn out to be great examples of what he can do with the right script.

Don Scardino, the director of this film, started as an actor in the '60s, eventually jumping behind the camera for some of the same soaps he acted on, and over the years, he's worked on shows like "The Days and Nights Of Molly Dodd," "Homicide: Life On The Street," "Sports Night," "The West Wing," "Law & Order," and "30 Rock," now ending up at the helm of what looks like one of the highest-profile studio comedies of next year.  After all, you've got Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, and Carrey, all sending up the extremes of Vegas magic.

Read Full Post
"Jersey Shore"

 "Jersey Shore"

Credit: MTV

'Jersey Shore' ends it all with some decidedly icky 'Icing on the Cake'

A gross prank infuriates Mike 'The Situation' and a plastic duck has to die

The time has come to say good-bye to Vinny, Pauly D, Sammi "Sweetheart," Mike "The Situation," Ronnie, Jenni "JWOWW," Nicole "Snooki" and Deena… except for spin-off shows, cameo appearances on sitcoms, future reunion shows and God knows what else. While the "Jersey Shore" cast doesn't seem to be fading into the background anytime soon, there was still a poignancy to the final episode. And, yes, some infantile pranks and pointless fighting and the death of a defenseless duck phone, but poignancy nonetheless.

Read Full Post
<p>David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike co-star with Tom Cruise in the pulpy action thriller 'Jack&nbsp;Reacher'</p>

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike co-star with Tom Cruise in the pulpy action thriller 'Jack Reacher'

Credit: HitFix

Christopher McQuarrie and his cast talk about bringing 'Jack Reacher' to life

Will Lee Child's fans accept a radical revamp of the pulp hero?

When you're doing interviews for "Jack Reacher" and Jack Reacher isn't part of those interviews, it's a little weird.

In this case, though, Tom Cruise is the one playing Jack Reacher, and Tom Cruise does the press Tom Cruise chooses to do.  That's David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon, not a whole parade of junket press on a Sunday in New York.

Instead, we sit down with David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, both charming professionals who play key roles in the film, and we sit down with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who is responsible for adapting one of the biggest names in current publishing and trying to turn it into a viable film franchise, and those conversations are what I'm going to share with you today.

To be honest, though, I think sitting down with McQuarrie was more than worth attending the press day.  He's charted a very difficult path as a working screenwriter in the years since "The Usual Suspects" came out, and this is probably not where he expected to end up.  It's certainly not what I would have predicted for him even five years ago, but it seems like he's in the middle of a career reinvention, and Tom Cruise appears to be a key part of that puzzle for him.

Read Full Post
"Project Runway All Stars"

 "Project Runway All Stars"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway: All Stars' recap: 'Flapper Fashion Face-Off'

It's back to the 1920s for a head-to-head challenge

We're down to the final six, and as usual, that means excitement coupled with a sense of loss, probably like "The Hunger Games" but without the post traumatic stress disorder. Before the challenge begins, Ivy mourns Casanova. He may be gone, but she is determined to try harder. She's not just doing it for her, she's doing it for Casanova! He's not dead, Ivy. Geez. 

Read Full Post
<p>Jessica Chastain in &quot;Zero Dark Thirty.&quot;</p>

Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: Bigelow conquers talk and action in unflinching 'Zero Dark Thirty'

The film opened in limited release yesterday

Kathryn Bigelow deserves credit for many, many things about her tremendous military thriller "The Hurt Locker," but she'd be the first -- and probably the gladdest -- to admit that the simple fact of her gender isn't one of them. That didn't stop multiple media commentators from sanctifying her as some kind of poster girl for "anything you can do, I can do better"-style feminism in Hollywood, as if a woman could only direct a stone-cold action picture as a reproach to the men who handle most such fare, and not merely because it's what she's good at -- and has been good at for over 20 years.  

Bigelow bore this unsolicited symbolic weight with patient, if seemingly weary, grace all the way to the Oscar podium, offering multiple polite statements to the effect that she's not so much a "woman filmmaker" as a woman who makes films, and refusing the Academy's unspoken invitation to turn her history-making Oscar acceptance speech into a self-aggrandizing soapbox stand.

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;X Factor&quot; Season 2 Top 3</p>

The "X Factor" Season 2 Top 3

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 2 Finale - The Winner Is...

Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens and Fifth Harmony spend two hours waiting on results

From now on, whenever a reality show features a contrivance that clearly hoses one contestant and gives a big boost to others, I'm going to refer to it Rimesing, in honor of "The X Factor" taking co-favorite Carly Rose Sonenclar and forcing her to perform with the desiccated remains of LeAnn Rimes on Wednesday's finale. LeAnn Rimes was so disconnected from reality and so musically dreadful that she dragged an amazingly young singer down with her and made Tate Stevens the prohibitive favorite going into Thursday's finale. And Fifth Harmony now seems like the plausible spoiler. And poor Carly Rose Sonenclar will always wonder if she could have won if she hadn't been Rimesed.

Or maybe I'm about to be surprised?

Click through for two full hours of live-blogging before we get to results...

Read Full Post
<p>Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, and Craig Robinson all survive the end of the world together in 'This Is The End,' a demented comedy coming next summer.</p>

Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, and Craig Robinson all survive the end of the world together in 'This Is The End,' a demented comedy coming next summer.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Seth Rogen and James Franco present a sneak peek at apocalypse comedy 'This Is The End'

As red-band as a red-band trailer gets just in time for the end of days

Well, there should be little doubt in your mind by the end of the special red-band preview of "This Is The End" as to whether or not you'll be seeing it.

I spoke about this with Seth Rogen briefly the other night at the "This Is 40" premiere, and it sounds like he and his creative partner Evan Goldberg are very happy with where they are on the film.  They're either just finishing the score or still working on it, and they're set for their summer release.  I visited the set earlier this year, and I'll just say that this is one of the most aggressively insane premises I've seen in a while, and the footage they showed us plus the work we saw live has me convinced they're making a one of a kind oddity.

The film takes place during the end of the world, and part of the mystery of the film deals with the nature of that incident.  Is it a Biblical Apocalypse?  A Mayan prophecy? An asteroid?  Monsters from space?  Lovecraftian beasties? 

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Rise of the Guardians&quot;</p>

"Rise of the Guardians"

Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Black Film Critics Circle springs for 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'The Intouchables,' 'Rise of the Guardians'

Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain steam roll right along

The Black Film Critics Circle has jumped on the "Zero Dark Thirty" bandwagon, handing the film Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress honors. "Django Unchained" and "Lincoln" each won a pair of awards, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) for the former, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Ensemble for the former. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.

Read Full Post
Watch: The Backstreet Boys and The Roots celebrate 'Christmas' on 'Fallon'

Watch: The Backstreet Boys and The Roots celebrate 'Christmas' on 'Fallon'

The quintet breaks out new holiday tune in first performance on the show

The Backstreet Boys have a present they want to give to you tonight, girl.

The perpetually perky quintet appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” Wednesday day night, performing their new holiday song “It’s Christmas Time Again,” backed by The Roots.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post