Latest Blog Posts

<p>Get ready to have your face punched in by the giant robots of 'Pacific Rim'</p>

Get ready to have your face punched in by the giant robots of 'Pacific Rim'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

First 'Pacific Rim' trailer promises monsters and mayhem on an epic scale

Guillermo Del Toro's dream project finally gives you a sneak peek

One of the things that has rekindled my love of the anticipatory period before a film is released is having kids in the house who go absolutely bananas at every new glimpse they get of the things they are interested in the most. My boys are giant monster fanatics, and they adore robots of all types, so from the very first moment I described "Pacific Rim" to them as "a movie about a war between giant robots and giant monsters," they have been positively rabid to see anything from it.

This is one of those movies that seems like it should already exist. It is hard to believe there has never been a real big-budget treatment of this sort of material.  True, it would have been difficult to pull off with any degree of photo-realism before now, but it still seems surprising that it has taken this long for Hollywood to realize that there will most likely be an audience for two hours of robots that do kung-fu laying a beating on giant monsters that breathe fire.  Actually, there's a wide range of things that both the Jaegers (the official name for the giant robots) and the Kaiju (the official name for the monsters) are capable of, and we'll see quite a few examples of both in the film.

Read Full Post
<p>The Knife</p>

The Knife

Credit: Mute

The Knife releases teaser trailer to new album 'Shaking the Habitual'

Watch the 'Welcome to the Punch' trailer featuring Fever Ray

A friend and I were talking yesterday about how we couldn't wait for more material from Karin Dreijer Andersson, frontwoman for The Knife and Fever Ray, in consideration that Fever Ray's "The Wolf" soundtracks the first trailer to "Welcome to the Punch."

Today, it's announced that The Knife have a new album coming out in the spring. So basically what I'm saying is we're responsible for the news. You're welcome.

"Shaking the Habitual" will be out in the Spring via Mute. Swedish troupe The Knife -- which is Karin and brother Olof Dreijer -- put out an opera "Tomorrow, In a Year" in 2010 but earned initial critical acclaim with their 2006 set "Silent Shout." Andersson also put out a solo album under the name Fever Ray in 2009.

Read Full Post
<p>Judd Apatow and Graham Parker on the set of Universal Pictures' &quot;This Is 40.&quot;</p>

Judd Apatow and Graham Parker on the set of Universal Pictures' "This Is 40."

Credit: AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Suzanne Hanover

Graham Parker & The Rumour thrill at 'This is 40' soundtrack release party

Judd Apatow and Paul Rudd look on as Ryan Adams and Lindsey Buckingham also play

LOS ANGELES—In Judd Apatow’s  “This is 40,” Paul Rudd plays a music executive trying to bring back British singer/songwriter Graham Parker. At last night’s sold-out show at the Roxy here, Parker proved he needs no help.

Playing his first show with his original band, The Rumour, at the venue in more than 30 years, Parker headlined the “This Is 40” soundtrack release party. Fittingly enough, Apatow opened the evening, announcing, “This is a ridiculously good show,” before sitting beside Rudd for the rest of the evening.  He was right. Also appearing on the bill were Ryan Adams and Lindsey Buckingham, both of whom have songs on the movie’s soundtrack.

Adams took the stage first for a three-song set, opening with the lovely “Shining Through The Dark,” a live version of which appears on the soundtrack. The prolific songwriter sat on a low stool for his set, making all but the crown of his head invisible for  the standing audience.  No idea how he looked, but he sounded lovely as he also ran through “Lucky Now” and “Everybody Knows,” accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar.

In a nod to Buckingham (and to Parker's band, no doubt), Adams joked “I was going to play [Fleetwood Mac's] ‘Rumours’ front to back. I was going to play it on a Casio keyboard and dress up as a vampire.”

If Adams' short opener was lovely, Buckingham, introduced by the soundtrack’s producer Jon Brion,  reached transcendence in his remarkable four-sing set. Giving a short bow to the audience before strapping on an electric guitar, Buckingham was fully engaged from the first note. He skipped his two songs on the “This Is 40” soundtrack —”Sick Of You” and “She Acts Like You— and instead played an extended, incendiary “Shut Us Down,” which appeared on Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown” soundtrack. The sound man took a second to catch up, but by the time Buckingham eased into a menacing, sensual “Go Insane,” his guitar playing was crystal clear. That’s a good thing because there are few guitarists who can play with his precision, speed and melodicism. He gets more sound out of a guitar than most musicians do from a full band. A slowed-down, time-shifting, hypnotic “Never Going Back Again” followed before he wrapped with “Big Love.” He remarked on how when he originally wrote the song in 1987, the line “Looking out for love”  hinted at a sense of alienation. Now he sees the song as “a meditation on the power of change.”

The evening belonged to Graham Parker & The Rumour, who played a wide-ranging 22-song set that spanned the title track from his 1976 debut album, “Howlin’ Wind” through this year’s “Three Chords Good.”

He parted with The Rumour in 1980, not reuniting until last year when they began recording “Three Chords Good.”  All five of the original members are on tour with him: guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, bassist Andrew Bodnar, keyboardist Bob Andrews, and drummer Steve Goulding. Though it took them a few minutes to seeming get into the groove, by “Get Started, Start a Fire” (from 1988’s “The Mona Lisa’s Sister”), the band was locked into a solid groove.

Though he slightly preceded them, Parker’s music recalls his fellow angry young man/British pre-punk colleagues Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, as well as U.S. singer/songwriter John Hiatt. His literate lyrics wrapped around guitar-driven, often ska-inflected, soulful melodies, and, while embraced by critics, he never had the breakthrough in the U.S. that many anticipated for him given his songs’ infectious nature.

Now 62, his once-legendary performances are still spirited, especially when he strips off the guitar and engages with the audience, as he did on the spiky “Nobody Hurts You” and the classic “Protection,” leaning over the audience and shading his eyes on the lyric, “You wanna hide?”

His most engaging tunes remain those that embrace a rollicking twanginess, including “Hotel Chambermaid” and “What Do You Like,” which he recorded with the Punch Bros. for “This Is 40.” He also performed the atmospheric 1977 track, “Watch The Moon Come Down,” another song Apatow snagged for the soundtrack.

It was hard to tell who was having more fun: Parker or the audience, as the crowd’s loud applause brought him back for two  encores. He concluded the evening with his bounciest track, “Soul Shoes” and his sparkling cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” which he’s been performing for decades not.

Read Full Post
Watch: Dirty Projectors' 'Offspring Are Blank' kicks off trio of videos this week

Watch: Dirty Projectors' 'Offspring Are Blank' kicks off trio of videos this week

Band headed to Carnegie, because that is rock 'n' roll

Dirty Projectors' song "Offspring Are Blank" sounds like two different songs put together, so it's appropriate that its music video looks the part.

DP's frontman David Longstreth directed the clip, which features him walking through a field of garbage and dug-up dirt and then rocking out in its original backdrop of picturesque, steep, lush hills. He dons a tox-suit with a three-piece underneath. Dude works hard and plays hard here in dystopia.

"Offspring Are Blank" are the first of three videos debuting this week from Dirty Projectors' 2012 "Swing Lo Magellan": "The Socialites" and "Swing Lo Magellan" will debut tomorrow and Friday. They're all part of the shoot that resulted in short film "Hi Custodian." Watch that trippy trip below, too.

Read Full Post
Georgina Chapman

 Georgina Chapman

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' judge Georgina Chapman talks dumped contestants and crazy designs

The pregnant Marchesa designer says she'd wear a dress from the Christmas junk challenge


As one of the judges on "Project Runway All Stars," Marchesa founder Georgina Chapman gets a chance to encourage and (sometimes) humble aspiring designers. Pregnant with her second child, she probably also appreciates the opportunity to sit down for a few hours. During a conference call with journalists, Chapman (who is married to "Project Runway" executive producer Harvey Weinstein) discussed why she decided to take on the show, why she's a fan, and why she signed up for her own special, "Project Runway Spotlight: Marchesa" (airs Thurs. Dec. 20 at 10:00 p.m.)

Read Full Post
<p>Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis co-star in &quot;GI&nbsp;Joe:&nbsp;Retaliation'</p>

Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis co-star in "GI Joe: Retaliation'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

New 'GI Joe: Retaliation' trailer destroys London and resurrects Channing Tatum

Paramount's been fine-tuning this one, and the new trailer seems confident

The new trailer for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is full of CGI mayhem, ninjas on mountaintops, and Bruce Willis, The Rock, and Channing Tatum all ladling on the macho.  It looks like every 13-year-old kid's dream version of an action movie, ridiculous but impossible not to watch.

One of the things that impresses me about the ninja mountain battle footage you see here is that I was on the set where they shot those scenes, and it couldn't have been any more fake.  The stuff here looks great, and I think Jon Chu could turn out to be an inspired choice for this one.  I know it's been a difficult film in terms of production set-backs, second-guessing, and release date shuffle, but in the end, all that matters is whether or not the film is any fun, and it looks like it is.

There's a part of me that always feels bad saying something looks like fun when it's got the sort of wholesale destruction that this film appears to have.  If they really destroy London the way they show it here, then it's starting to look like Hollywood has some anger issues about London that they're working out, between this and the "Star Trek Into Darkness" poster.

Read Full Post
"Snooki & JWOWW"

 "Snooki & JWOWW"

Credit: MTV

Watch: 'Snooki & JWOWW' season 2 trailer shows baby bump and post-partum partying

New mom Snooki admits her relationship 'will never be easy'

Could there be anything sweeter than watching a new mom cuddle with her newborn? How about said new mom noting that her kid farts a lot? Then slapping on the make-up to hit the clubs? That's a little more in step with season 2 of "Snooki & JWOWW" (debuting Tues. Jan. 8 at 10:00 p.m.).

Read Full Post
<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP Photo

Bruno Mars locks Rihanna out of the Billboard Hot 100 top spot

Mars sets an impressive record in the process

The same week Bruno Mars releases “Unorthodox Jukebox,” the first single from his sophomore set ascends to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Locked Out Of Heaven” rises one spot to end Rihanna’s “Diamonds” after three weeks at No. 1.

The song is Mars’ fourth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in a 34-month span, giving him the record for the fastest accumulation of a quartet of No. 1s  by any male artist in 48 years. You have to go back to Bobby Vinton, who scored the same trick in 30 months, starting in 1962 with “Roses Are Red (My Love)?”  Mars’ four charttoppers are  B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ On You,” which featured Mars, and then three songs as lead artist: “Just The Way You Are,” “Grenade” and, now, “Locked.”

“Diamonds” drops to No. 2 (although it spends its 10th week at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Ke$ha’s “Die Young” stays are No. 3. The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” rises one to No. 4, trading places with Maroon 5’s “One More Night,” which drops to No. 5.

Rounding out the top 10, Flo Rida’s “Cry” climbs 8-6, Phillip Phillips’ “Home” hangs out at No. 7 again, fun.’s “Some Nights” falls two places to No. 8, while  Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” stays at No. 10.

The one new entry in the Top 10 comes at No. 9 with Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj.  The track marks Minaj’s ninth Hot 100 Top 10, which ties her with Missy Elliott for the most Top 10 tunes by a female rapper.

As far as Will.I.Am's tune with Britney Spears, "Scream & Shout?" After bowing at No. 12 last week, the song already starts its decline, dropping to No. 13.

Read Full Post
"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'Bachelor' Sean Lowe promises 'drama and a little cattiness' this season

The latest chick magnet says his heart is 'definitely mended' since Emily

During the last installment of "The Bachelorette," earnest Texas Sean Lowe seemed like a shoo-in to win the girl. His down home attitude, wholesome good looks and family focus seemed just right for single mom Emily Maynard. Alas, he got his heart handed back to him and now he returns to the ultimate group date as the newest star of "The Bachelor" on Mon. Jan. 7 at 8:00 p.m. In a conference call with journalists, Lowe talked about taking a second shot at love on national television, the drawbacks of a house full of estrogen, and why he doesn't care if he sees another rose again for as long as he lives. 

Read Full Post
<p>Andy Serkis is one of those guys who always seems thrilled to discuss the work he's doing, which makes sense because it's amazing.</p>

Andy Serkis is one of those guys who always seems thrilled to discuss the work he's doing, which makes sense because it's amazing.

Credit: HitFix

Andy Serkis on slipping back into Gollum's digital skin for 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

Plus we talk about his new career as a director

Andy Serkis is one of those guys whose influence on the industry is just starting to be fully understood, and I have a feeling we've got a lot of great work from him still to come.

Part of what will make Serkis so significant in any future conversations about performance capture is timing.  He happened to be the guy who had the right skill set at the right moment, just as the technology started to come of age.  But part of it is because he has embraced this moment with a joy and with a sense of invention and adventure, and it seems like other actors are having that experience, too, but that Serkis really is the pioneer.

It's great that he returned to Gollum because it serves as a very stark comparison between the state-of-the-art at opposite ends of a decade, and while you may not see a major leap forward from year to year, if you lay "The Two Towers" Gollum and the "Hobbit" Gollum side-by-side, it's a night and day experience.  More and more of the subtle work that Serkis does is making its way into these characters now, and what was one inspiration is now direct manipulation.

Read Full Post
Watch: Cat Power makes fun of stage break-downs in Funny or Die sketch

Watch: Cat Power makes fun of stage break-downs in Funny or Die sketch

The ABCs were never so woeful

Cat Power has previously been known for her epic (and sometimes understated) stage break-downs from earlier in her career. These days, she's causing conversation about the health care anxieties for musicians, the cost of touring and what it is to be an indie mainstay... but she's not having trouble on stage much anymore.

No matter, I'm glad to see Chan Marshall being able to make fun of herself and precious, precious stage-fright in a new skit from Funny or Die, in which she's charged to entertain 2nd-graders during music period.

"Hand-dancing" may be my new favorite term, if not a very solid euphemism for basically anything. "This lady makes me sad," reveals one clever child. And I'm loving the cropped hair, too.

Cat Power has made it on to multiple outlets' year-end lists for her latest album "Sun." She's postponed her remaining 2012 tour dates but has a few on hand for 2013.

Read Full Post
SAG Awards nominations winners and losers: Nicole Kidman, 'Homeland,' 'Amour'

SAG Awards nominations winners and losers: Nicole Kidman, 'Homeland,' 'Amour'

Plus: 'Django Unchained,' 'Silver Linings Playbook,' Lindsay Lohan and more

Awards season giveth and awards season taketh away. The Screen Actor's Guild Awards have their faults, but they traditionally are an indicator of future success or failure at the Academy Awards or even Emmy Awards.  Taking that into account, Daniel Fienberg and I have compiled a list of winners and losers following the announcement of the 2013 SAG Awards announcements this morning.  You can wax on our observations in the story gallery embedded in this post.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.

Read Full Post