Latest Blog Posts

<p>Phillip Phillips</p>

Phillip Phillips

Stroll through time with Phillip Phillips in his new 'Gone, Gone, Gone' video

Should-be hit will ring Mumfords fans' bells

As I wrote in my review of his debut album, Phillip Phillips has more than a few things in common with Mumford & Sons -- which is to say, his song "Gone, Gone, Gone" should soon be a certifiable hit, or someone's not doing their job.

"Babel" took home the Grammy for Album of the Year earlier this week, and the charm of that album is in its universality and earnestness, rife with gang vocals, rockets into the four-on-the-floor with the choruses, rolling acoustics whether on guitars or banjos... Phillips' "Gone" arrives with perfect timing, as its video presents goosebumps-inducing home footage of families who are not yours, effecting in the same way military-themed commercials for phones or chocolate or Wal-Mart hit that sentimental spot.

Phillips takes his viewer on a stroll at sunset, on your way to a bonfire. Super-8 and scratchy frames blow through his promises of being there when you're down, laying next to you and helping you up and stuff. It's generic and it's generically uplifting.

Read Full Post


Listen: Usher and Diplo combine again for 'Go Missin''

From the makers of 'Climax': An abduction love story

Ladies, keep track of your drink, keep your purse zipped up and help to prevent a prevalent crime: Usher wants to steal your heart, by kidnapping you from the dance floor.

The singing superstar has reteamed with recent Grammy nominee Diplo -- who is half of the reason why "Climax" is so climactic -- and released "Go Missin'," which appears suggestively as a way to stick it your man if he's done you wrong.

Usher's voice sails comfortably in that saucy range, but it's the big booming bass that makes this track as foreboding (and forbidden!) as it is. Clicks and hisses and what sounds like an alarm warns ye who ventures to the club solo: Usher wants to take care of you, falsetto ("oh!") style.

"Go Missin'" arrived in the twilight of Valentine's Day, so even if you didn't have a sweetheart to celebrate with yesterday, an abduction may be in order*.

What do you think of this suggestive electronica-meets-R&B jam?

*Not really, do not abduct girls, its rude and against the law

Read Full Post
<p>Tyler, The Creator</p>

Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, the Creator's new video 'Domo 23': The 10 Best Moments

'Bimmer' also gets a bedtime debut, plus a Frank Ocean sighting

Tyler, the Creator is hard at work on his next solo album, "Wolf," and released two new songs and one long video in promoting it.

Below is the clip for smack-talker "Domo 23" as well as bedtime story (no, not the kid kind) "Bimmer," both of which prominently feature the Odd Future rapper. OFWGKTA cohorts like Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean and manager Christian Clancy also make cameos as well in the Mexican slash Sumo wrestling clip.

Check out the video, check it again, and look at my list of the best 10 moments from the video.

"Wolf" is due on April 2nd through the Odd Future record label.

:06 The lip mumbling, pre-ring interview with Domo

:28 A penis banner

:52 Zombie hipster girl arm candies + malaise

1:20: "I ate one roach and I made a lot of money."

2:09 After hell-raising for the last couple of years and raising ire from rape jokes, "fag" jokes and general race-baiting, Tyler looks the listener square in the face and says "no homo." The same reference Chris Brown used in his long, academic considerations of Odd Future's Frank Ocean coming out of the closet. "Too soon?" Blam.

2:19 Who hasn't thought of smoking a joint in-ring?

2:40 Those triplets. My God.

3:23 Ref gets down

4:06 "I'm the king of the world" Titanic riff in slow-motion.

4:28 Thanks to our Creator: a the song comparing a lady-lover to a car sticks to a strict 1-minute marker.

Bonus: Frank Ocean singing all over "Bimmer."

Thanks for all the spit, guys.

Read Full Post
<p>It's so weird... at first glance, I thought this was a photo of me, but then I realized my hair isn't that long.</p>

It's so weird... at first glance, I thought this was a photo of me, but then I realized my hair isn't that long.

Credit: Lionsgate

Jason Momoa may be Marvel's Drax The Destroyer for 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'

This cast just keeps getting weirder, and we wouldn't have it any other way

It looks like we're going to end up hearing the rest of the key casting for James Gunn's "Guardians Of The Galaxy" in the next few weeks.  Gunn just relocated to London, where he'll be through most of this year, and they're looking to kick off the shoot in April.

That means they're doing everything they can right now to build that ensemble just right, and if they end up hiring Jason Momoa as Drax The Destroyer, that sounds like a nice step in the right direction.

Drax, who did not originate in the "Guardians" series, is directly tied to to Thanos, the character introduced in the very end of "The Avengers," and I'm guessing they'll try to maintain some of that in the film.  Drax began life as a human character, Arthur Douglas, and it is only after Thanos kills his family and leaves him brutally wounded that Douglas managed to transfer his soul into a new body.  That's Drax, and in his earliest incarnations, he was a powerful figure with super strength, the ability to fly, and magic power lasers he shoots from his hands.

With those powers, he had only one job: find and kill Thanos.

Read Full Post
Oscar Talk: Ep. 106 -- BAFTA and Scripter recap, WGA preview and more shorts

Oscar Talk: Ep. 106 -- BAFTA and Scripter recap, WGA preview and more shorts

Plus: How stellar is that slate of documentary feature nominees?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

Read Full Post
<p>Quvenzhane Wallis in &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild.&quot;</p>

Quvenzhane Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay

'Argo,' 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Lincoln' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

After three straight years of original screenplay-based films ruling the roost, the Best Picture race this year resumes its relationship with the Best Adapted Screenplay category, as the three arguable frontrunners for the top prize are locked in closer combat here. As it stands, the presentation of this award will be a key moment, potentially telling us a lot about how the rest of the evening is going to go. If “Argo” wins, you can probably ease into your seat; if it’s something else, we might still have a race.

The Academy wasn’t given a surfeit of options in this category, especially with such prestige adaptations as “Anna Karenina” and “On the Road” proving to be either fast faders or non-starters. The field they ended up with, then, was an obvious one, comprising five of the six adaptations in the Best Picture race. (The sixth, the sung-through “Les Miserables,” was never going to feature for its writing.) It’s a shame that the widely beloved WGA nominee “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” couldn’t make the cut, but with one higher-profile, Guild-ineligible indie favorite lying in wait as a replacement, these were always the likeliest five.

The nominees are...

Read Full Post
<p>Tony Kushner</p>

Tony Kushner

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Roundup: Kushner goes to bat for the competition

Also: Ephron to receive WGA tribute, and why Hollywood needs to be stricter

We begin today's roundup with a happy confluence of Oscar contenders. It's hardly surprising that a writer as intelligent and politically conscientious as Tony Kushner would be swift to stand up for a fellow artist's freedom of expression -- but it's still heartening, amid the heat of the Oscar contest, to see the nominated "Lincoln" scribe making a small but significant gesture of support for rival Best Picture contender "Zero Dark Thirty." Kushner is one of 28 signatories, alongside the heavyweight likes of Alan Dershowitz, on a letter sent to all US Senators, protesting the statements made against the film by Senators John McCain, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin. "History demonstrates, in particular the 1950s McCarthy period, that government officials should not employ their official status and power to attempt to censor, alter or pressure artists to change their expressions, believes, presentations of facts or political viewpoints," the letter says. [The Carpetbagger]

Read Full Post
<p>John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer in &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer in "The Office."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'The Office' - 'Moving On'

Andy's reign of terror continues, while Pam meets a potential new boss who reminds her of the old one

A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I hose you down...

Read Full Post
"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'The Ultimate Hard and Soft'

It's flowers and hardware for this week's unconventional challenge

Oh, boy! It's an unconventional challenge! I'm really hoping we get some crazy, creative stuff this week, because this season needs a boost. Sort of like how Dream Team needs a boost. Or therapy. Or a mediator. Seriously, I don't think I can stand to see the designers on this team take another drubbing, because it's only a matter of time before someone starts cutting themselves to deal with the pain. These are creative types, "Project Runway." They're sensitive. Be nice. 

Tim invites the designers into the workroom, which is stuffed full of noxious Glade candles. Please stop making Tim pimp for brands, "Project Runway." He's better than this, even if the show is not.

Read Full Post
<p>Judy Davis and River Phoenix in &quot;Dark Blood.&quot;</p>

Judy Davis and River Phoenix in "Dark Blood."

Credit: Berlin Film Festival

Review: River Phoenix's final film 'Dark Blood' is an unfinished oddity

George Sluizer salvages his abandoned 1993 thriller, and it's an intriguing relic

BERLIN - I toyed with not giving one of our customary letter grades to "Dark Blood," a new film from 80-year-old Dutch veteran George Sluizer that isn't new at all. (It's 19 years old, as it happens, which isn't too far off the age River Phoenix, the incandescent young actor so abruptly taken from the living in 1993, was when he filmed it.) It's only three-quarters of a movie, after all.

Phoenix, it seems unduly difficult to imagine, would be 42 were he with us today; the film, meanwhile, would be languishing on obscure DVD (or even VHS) shelves, a rarely discussed representative of a lurid strain of steamy, quasi-mystical genre cinema that had a Hollywood moment in the early-to-mid 1990s. Instead, it got its first major unveiling today at the Berlin Film Festival, nearly four months after its official, less grandiose, world premiere at the Netherlands Film Fest. Were he with us today, its star would likely took a little worse for her. The film, on the other hand, might look a little better -- it'd be finished, at the very least.

Read Full Post
"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries" 

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'Down the Rabbit Hole'

Let's just say this isn't exactly a happy Valentine's Day-themed episode

I wanted to start off this recap by wishing everyone a happy VD, as in Valentine's Day, but having seen tonight's episode, that seems horribly inappropriate. I might as well bring cookies to a funeral or hand out flowers at gastric bypass. This is not exactly a warm and fuzzy episode, even though sparks do fly between Caroline and Tyler. But I'm not even sure that's a good thing, at least in tonight's context.

Unraveling this episode takes some doing, as quite a bit happens and the intrigue surrounding the hunt for Silas has more layers than your standard Awesome Blossom. 

Read Full Post
<p>Emmanuelle Riva, Michael Haneke (center)&nbsp;and Jean-Louis Trintignant on the set of &quot;Amour&quot;</p>

Emmanuelle Riva, Michael Haneke (center) and Jean-Louis Trintignant on the set of "Amour"

Credit: Sony Classics

A Valentine's Day conversation with 'Amour' writer/director Michael Haneke

Accessible though it may be, his latest is no compromise

Every time Michael Haneke has an idea for a film, there's always a different catalyst that makes him sit down and write it. It might be an image that comes to him, or a newspaper clipping that will stir his creativity. "The motivation has to be something that already interests you enough to want to think about it and reflect on it," he says, calling from Madrid where he's preparing a new opera. "Then you start collecting material and observations until you feel you have enough to start trying to order the material, structure. And that ordering and structuring is the longest, most difficult process."

Other times, like in the case of something like "Amour" and star Jean-Louis Trintignant, it might be a specific actor for whom he wishes to write a part. But his latest film, which has landed five Oscar nominations including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Haneke, had darker and more meditative beginnings than just that. He had an aunt once who asked him to help her pass away and he was forced to look on as a loved one suffered. And yet, "Amour" is a love story, with all the deeply considered complications of love and a life lived with another. It's fitting, then, that we're speaking on Valentine's Day.

Read Full Post