Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jessy Schram and Jay Hernandez in &quot;Last Resort.&quot;</p>

Jessy Schram and Jay Hernandez in "Last Resort."

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Last Resort' - 'Cinderella Liberty'

A crisis disrupts a visit from the crew's family, and James flashes back to what started this mess

A quick review of tonight's "Last Resort" coming up just as soon as the pen is mightier than the sword...

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<p>Carly Rose Sonenclar of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Carly Rose Sonenclar of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Top 6 Results - Two eliminations plus Ke$ha performs

Last year's winner, Melanie Amaro, also drops by

We're getting closer to the end on "The X Factor." Tonight? We eliminate two more singers and cut down to what the show is calling The Semifinals. 

We'll also enjoy performances by Melanie Amaro and Ke$ha. Or we'll try to enjoy them. 

Click through for the full results live-blog!

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<p>&quot;Argo&quot; will receive the Ensemble Performance Award at the Palm Springs fest.</p>

"Argo" will receive the Ensemble Performance Award at the Palm Springs fest.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Palm Springs fest to honor 'Argo' ensemble and Sally Field

Could Ben Affleck's thriller regain its autumn buzz?

The Palm Springs Film Festival, which takes place next month, has been gradually spilling their list of honorees over the last few weeks, with Naomi Watts, Helen Hunt and Robert Zemeckis all booked in to be celebrated for their achievements this year. Though I was only yesterday discussing the individual value of smaller awards, naming Zemeckis their Director of the Year is about as far as the festival strays from the Oscar conversation with their picks -- every year, the timing of Palm Springs makes it a handy stop on the campaign trail for awards hopefuls.

That'll certainly be the case for the festival's latest two selections: "Argo" will receive the Ensemble Performance Award, while Sally Field, currently riding high in the Best Supporting Actress race for "Lincoln," is to be honored with a Career Achievement Award. Both will be presented at the festival's awards ceremony on January 5 -- days before the Oscar nominations are announced, presumably with good news for Field and "Argo" alike.

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun tells Grammys 'U blew it'

Braun vents over Bieber's Grammys nomination shut out

Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, practically lives on Twitter, so it should come as no surprise that he took to the social medium to declare his extreme displeasure at Bieber’s shut-out in yesterday’s Grammy nominations.

Though he graciously told “all those nominated... you do deserve it,” he pled the case for Bieber’s inclusion... albeit, obviously too late.

“Grammy board u blew it on this one,” he tweeted. (Board? Really? It’s the Grammy voters who select the nominees, not the board. That’s beside the point here, though Braun should know that's how it works).  “This time there won’t be any wise words, no excuses, I just plain disagree. The kid deserved it.”

He never mentions Bieber by name, but continues, “The hardest thing to do is transition, keep the train moving. The kid delivered. Huge successful album, sold out tour, and won people over.”

And continued. “...this time he deserved to be recognized and I don’t really have any kind nice positive things to say about a decision I don’t agree with.”

As we previously reported yesterday after One Direction found itself in a similar boat, The Grammys have never really figured out how to deal with teen idols.

At least, unlike 1D, Bieber did get a best new artist nomination last year.

Braun does go on to end on a positive note by praising Carly Rae Jepsen, who records for his label and who received two nominations, but he can’t quite let it go with her either, noting “thought u deserved a best new artist nom.”  We totally agree on that one.

Oddly, he does not mention his other clients, The Wanted, who were, like Bieber, shut out.

By the end of his myriad tweets, he was already looking on the bright side and vowing to use the perceived adversity to his advantage, quoting, of all folks, David Brinkley: “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

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<p>James Gandolfini, Edie Falco and Robert Iler in &quot;The Sopranos&quot; final scene.</p>

James Gandolfini, Edie Falco and Robert Iler in "The Sopranos" final scene.

Credit: HBO

Don't stop believing in even more 'The Revolution Was Televised' link-blogging

A 'Sopranos' excerpt, a public radio interview and a Deadspin chat highlight recent coverage

My improvised publicity blitz continues for "The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever," and here are the latest links, including one that I suspect will prompt more discussion here. (You can find all the review and interview links at AlanSepinwall.com, along with a FAQ, a list of links to all my online writing about the shows in the book, purchasing links to all the different formats, and more.)

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<p>Daniel Craig in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Roundup: Bond rules Britannia

Also: The Grammys' movie music picks, and 'Lincoln''s date with the Senate

It may currently be sitting at #6 in the US box-office chart for 2012, but impressive as that is, "Skyfall" is a phenomenon on a different scale across the pond. In its sixth week of release in the UK, James Bond's latest outing has surpassed "Avatar" to become the highest-grossing film in British box-office history with a total of nearly $152 million. (Yes, we are a smaller country.) As well as being the best possible golden-anniversary gift for the franchise, it's also likely to be labelled a major victory for comparatively old-school, adult-oriented commercial cinema that doesn't even boast 3D premiums to jack up the numbers. The question from an awards standpoint now is whether BAFTA will dare ignore it in the top categories. Daniel Craig got nominated in 2006, so could  007 be in line for its first Best Film nod? [The Independent

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<p>I heard there's an entire sequence in the new film where Kirk intentionally gets his big hands so he can box Benedict Cumberbatch.&nbsp; Okay, no, I didn't, but admit it... that would be awesome.</p>

I heard there's an entire sequence in the new film where Kirk intentionally gets his big hands so he can box Benedict Cumberbatch.  Okay, no, I didn't, but admit it... that would be awesome.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Star Trek Into Darkness' teaser gives a first look at the sequel

Lots of big images for a very short glimpse

It seems like the release of the blockbuster trailers has now become a two-stage process, because it generates twice the conversation on sites like ours and twice the opportunities for people to become aware of the upcoming film.

Tonight, Paramount is releasing an "announcement video" to tell you that on December 17th, there will be a teaser trailer for the film.  That's exactly five months before the opening of the film, and seems like a perfect date to kick things off.

At least we're finally seeing footage.  This coming week, I'll see the nine-minute presentation that will be in front of "The Hobbit," and I'm also doing some other press event stuff that should answer a whole lot of the questions I have about what this film will cover and who Benedict Cumberbatch plays and all sorts of things.  But for now, this 60 seconds of "Star Trek Into Darkness" will be heavily scrutinized and discussed and debated, and Paramount will indeed get to dominate the conversation on Thursday even without putting out the full trailer.

UPDATE:  I'm putting a short piece at the end of this based on the Japanese language version of the trailer which is also available today, and for those of you who are spoiler-adverse, please be warned.  I don't know anything about the new film for sure, but there's an image there that is pretty hard to miss, and it's worth a little bit of discussion.

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<p>Multiple nominee Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.</p>

Multiple nominee Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Did the Grammys get it right with this year's nominations?

Substance won out over style

Did the Grammys get it right this year? The nominations for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced tonight and, as is the annual sport, the dissecting has begun.

By and large, the answer is yes, they did get it right.  There are always critics who  want the Grammys to be edgier and to take more risks, but when the lead nominees include exciting developing talents like fun., Frank Ocean, and Miguel, roots-loving rockers The Black Keys and Mumford & Sons, and hip-hop leading lights Kanye West and Jay Z, it’s hard to mount much of a protest.

A few observations:

*The Grammy voters are loving acts that embrace acoustic traditions and a folksy sensibility. Whether represented by Alabama Shakes and the Lumineers’ nods for best new artist or the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons’ multiple nominations, they fulfill the Grammy’s need for authenticity and a respect for the music that came before it. 

*For the first time in several years, there is little overlap between the nominees for record of the year and song of the year:  In some years the lists have been largely identical, but this year only fun.’s “We Are Young”  and Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” is on both. We’re not sure the voters really understand the difference since Carly Rae Jepsen’s should clearly be up for record of the year instead of song of the year. 

*Women were locked out of the album of the year categories in a year when there were several strong contenders, including Florence & The Machine’s “Ceremonials,” past Grammy fave Norah Jones’ “Little Broken Hearts,” and Fiona Apple’s “The Idler Wheel....” (see more in our Winners and Losers photo gallery).

*Fun. and Frank Ocean are the new standard bearers. Fun represents just the sort of pop that the Grammy voters love: it’s wildly commercial, but it’s also smart, fun, well crafted and well presented, and it appeals to alternative fans as much as popsters. Frank Ocean is a voice that demands to be heard. “Channel Orange”  is filled with songs that are achingly vulnerable.

*The Grammy voters went for perceived substance over flash: How else do you explain the exclusion of Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction from the best new artist category?

*In what world does Beyonce’s “Love On Top” count as a best traditional R&B performance instead of best R&B performance? Such a move once again shows how labels are eager to shoe horn an artist into a category where he/she stands the best chance of winning, not the category that necessarily best represents the work.  On the same note, it may be time to wave goodbye to the best traditional pop vocal album when two of the three (!!) nominations are for Christmas albums. Maybe Beyonce can squeeze in there somehow...

*Once again, the Grammy voters embrace a much broader range of country artists than the CMA or ACM voters ever would.  Grammy voters love to take non-commercial acts like the Time Jumpers or great Don Williams and give them nods.  They are wildly out of step with the much more commercial leaning country awards shows, but that might not be a bad thing.

What do you think of this year’s nominations?

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot; Top 6</p>

The "Survivor: Philippines" Top 6

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Shot Into Smithereens'

Family members come to visit and God is invoked for assistance
Pre-credit sequence. I miss Penner. Dangrayne -- Now we know the origin of that name -- returns to camp in the aftermath. Abi says it's clear to her now that Skupin, Blair Warner, Malcolm and Denise have a Top 4 alliance. Yes, Abi. It's "clear" to you because Jonathan Penner told you EXACTLY THAT. You're not Sherlock Holmes. Abi does, however, begin feeding Carter's insecurities about not being part of that alliance and reminds him of the Imaginary Immunity Idol she "found" last week. Blair Warner thinks Penner is correct about the quality of Malcolm's game, so she knows that going to the end with Malcolm and Denise might be a mistake. However, if we know anything about Blair Warner, it's that she likes to be true to her word. Also, she's not good at this game.
 
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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Pike Place Pickle'

A gross elimination challenge results in a no-win situation

Another day, another challenge awaiting our chefs, and poor Stefan is worried. It's his birthday, and during his season there was a birthday curse -- chefs seemed to go home on their birthdays or immediately thereafter. Happy birthday, losers! I want to tell Stefan he shouldn't be so negative. He makes great food! He has his own restaurant! There's no way that could happen, right? Sorry, didn't mean to laugh right then. Something in my eye. Or throat. Whatever. Really, this season the chefs seem to be performing at a particularly high level (if the judges can be believed), and maybe Stefan should prepare to pack his bags. Anything could happen, curse or no curse.  

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<p>One Direction</p>

One Direction

Credit: AP Photo

What's behind the One Direction snub by the Grammys?

Why was the boy band left out of the best new artist category?

Hear that sound? It’s the wailing of millions of tween and teenage girls, howling in righteous indignation that One Direction did not get a nod for best new artist tonight when the Grammy nominations were handed out.

To be sure, the Recording Academy’s relationship with boy bands has, to quote Katy Perry, run “hot and then cold.”  Some years, they’ve favored acts like Backstreet Boys, who were nominated for best new artist in 1999 or Boys II Men in 1992, but they ignored N’Sync and New Kids On The Block in the same category.

One Direction seemed like a sure bet... and a deserving one at that. Not only had their first album, “Up All Night” come in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making the group the first British band to ever bow at No. 1 with its debut album, the group played before tens of thousands of screaming girls every night. And they actually sound good. Though relatively sterile, their songs on catchy and well made. Not only were they locked out of best new artist, they were locked out of every pop category.

In a year when the best new artist nominees included Alabama Shakes and the Lumineers, it’s clear that the voters were looking for a grass-roots authenticity that One Direction does not have. It could also have hurt them that they were put together by Simon Cowell after the members individually auditioned on “The X Factor” in the U.K.

However, how do you explain Hunter Hayes’ nomination? Easy: He counts for the teen vote, and the country contingent coalesced behind him to push him. Plus, his win as best new artist at the Country Music Awards last month gave him a certain credibility among voters.

My vote would have gone to One Direction over Hayes, despite my fondness for his hit, “Wanted.”  Is nominating them any different than nominating Justin Bieber last year?

Though it’s very small consolation (and just more salt on the wound) to One Direction fans, had their beloved British boys gotten a nomination, there was no way they would have won. Despite nominations for the above mentioned—plus Hanson and Jonas Bros. in years past—for the last 20 years, the Grammys have largely awarded best new artist to an act that has a much wider and more respected  (sorry) base than teen girls, instead handing the award to artists with a little more perceived gravitas, such as Amy Winehouse, Adele, Zac Brown Band, Esperanza Spalding and Bon Iver. In fact, the Beatles were the closest thing to a boy band to win a best new artist Grammy. And that was in 1965. Whether the Grammys are still trying to make sure the Milli Vanilli fiasco never happens again or they just feel that boy bands aren't worthy, the result is the same.

So wipe your eyes, my One Direction fans. While we’re sure you’re wearing out your thumbs tweeting about the horrible miscarriage of justice done to 1D, just know they are in very good company and they will need your love all the more to see them through the dark days ahead.

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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' recap: 'Unholy Night'

'Deadwood''s Ian McShane appears as a very bad Santa

Entertainment has a long and storied history of nasty Christmas tales. There's "Bad Santa," piles of slasher movies devoted to the season (I stopped counting at ten), and I personally think the Little Matchstick Girl is all kinds of twisted. Now "American Horror Story" is adding its two cents to this dispiriting niche, and after watching this Very Special Christmas Episode I'm about ready to lock myself inside my home until we're safely into February.

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