Latest Blog Posts

<p>Tommy&nbsp;Lee Jones in &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Lincoln' win big with Boston Online Film Critics Association

And a consideration of how much is too much

Last night the winners of the first-ever Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards landed via press release, and I left it for a moment. I'm weighing the pros and cons of posting every single one of these things this year because it begins to be a giant, unvetted clutter of opinion. Who are these folks and why did they decide to form their own group rather than let the Boston Society of Film Critics speak for the area and/or push for membership therein?

I imagine the latter has happened -- I don't know these guys and I'm not passing judgment -- and all politics are local. And I don't say this next thing by way of insult to them (or even as a comparative statement because it's not), but if a bunch of people with Live Journals in Los Angeles up and decide there needs to be an LA Online group, do we just pass their picks along with the rest? Is the job just providing safe passage or should some curation be in order? I don't know, but find the Boston online crowd's winners below, in any case.

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<p>&quot;Searching for Sugar Man&quot;</p>

"Searching for Sugar Man"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'Searching for Sugar Man' tops 2012 IDA Awards

A big feather in the Oscar frontrunner's cap

Perceived Oscar frontrunner "Searching for Sugar Man" took top honors at the International Documentary Association Awards this evening. The portrait of long-"lost" recording artist Rodriguez also won Best Music. "How to Survive a Plague" director David France won an award for emerging talent while last year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short, "Saving Face," won in the shorts category. Check out a full list of winners below.

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<p>Carter's torch is snuffed on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Carter's torch is snuffed on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Carter Williams talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

The latest booted contestant discusses playing with heart versus head
We've reached a "Survivor" Final 5 full of big personalities, including likable perpetual target Malcolm, analytical Denise, conscience-driven former child star Lisa, accident-prone returning favorite Skupin and hissable villain Abi.
 
And then there was Carter Williams. To be polite, we'll call Carter "enigmatic." On one hand virtually incapable of stringing together enough sentences for talking head segments and rarely at the center of strategic negotiations, Carter began to emerge as a threat in recent weeks due to his strong challenge play and his apparent friendship with all remaining contestants.
 
On Wednesday (December 5) night's "Survivor: Philippines," the rest of the Top 5 decided that Carter was such a threat that getting rid of him was worth spending additional days in the wilderness with Abi. This came despite Carter's attempts to convince his competition that they should want to go to the end against the best players, not Abi.
 
In his exit interview, Carter discusses his regrets in the game, his decision to lay back and not take a leadership role and his hypothetical path to victory had he remained in the game.
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Taylor Swift's 'Red' is poised to return to the top of the Billboard 200

Only two titles debut in the Top 10 as holiday slow down continues

Taylor Swift’s “Red” returns to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after a several-week hiatus.

The set by the superstar is set to sell between 155,000 and 165,000 copies, giving it a good lead over Wiz Khalifa’s “O.N.I.F.C.,” which will likely debut at No. 2 if the rapper can hold off a charge from Rod Stewart’s “Merry Christmas Baby.” Both are projected to move between 135,000 and 145,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.

In addition to Khalifa, the only other debut in the Top 10 will come from Ke$ha, whose “Warrior” will likely bow at No. 6 with sales of up to 90,000 copies.

Holiday titles continue to dominate the Top 10: Michael Buble’s “Christmas” is No. 4,  Blake Shelton’s “Cheers, It’s Christmas” is No. 7 and Lady Antebellum’s “On This Winter’s Night” is No. 8.

As far as the rest of the Top 10, One Direction’s “Take Me Home” will be at No. 5, this week’s No. 1, Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire,” will slide to No. 9 and “American Idol’s” Phillip Phillips’ “Word From The Side Of The Moon” is No. 10.

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<p>Melissa George in &quot;Hunted.&quot;</p>

Melissa George in "Hunted."

Credit: Cinemax

'Hunted' creator Frank Spotnitz on the series finale and the future of Sam Hunter

'Hunted' won't continue, but the character will
Cinemax just aired what is technically the “Hunted” series finale, as the BBC declined to renew the series, which they were producing in partnership with the American cable channel.
 
But though the series, and some of its characters, may be done with, Cinemax and “Hunted” creator Frank Spotnitz intend to move forward with the character of Sam Hunter, the private spy played by Melissa George, and certain aspects of her origin story that were introduced over these eight episodes. I emailed Spotnitz a few questions about the finale, and about what the new show (whatever it’s called) might include.
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Anna Torv of "Fringe".

Anna Torv of "Fringe".

Credit: FOX

'Fringe' Recap - 'The Human Kind'

The final five 'Fringe' Fridays kicks off with the end of one arc and the start of another.

There are times in which shows inadvertently demonstrate their own shortcomings onscreen. And there are other times in which those shortcomings are in fact part of the show’s design, meant to highlight intentional faults in order to reveal truths. For most of tonight’s “Fringe”, I worried the former was the case on display in “The Human Kind”. But by the final scene, those worries were dissipated. That doesn’t mean the episode as a whole worked. But tonight served to close off the second act of this final season and reset things for the final overall act of the series. Meet the new Peter. Same as the old Peter. And with all his hair intact, to boot.

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<p>Liev Schreiber is &quot;Ray Donovan.&quot;</p>

Liev Schreiber is "Ray Donovan."

Credit: Showtime

Showtime presents first look at 'Ray Donovan' & 'Masters of Sex'

Liev Schreiber, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan coming to the pay cable channel with new 2013 dramas

With "Boardwalk Empire," "Tremé" and "The Walking Dead" all done for 2012, the Sunday night cable drama field is all Showtime's for the next few weeks. The pay cable channel will try to take advantage of that by using Sunday's episodes of "Dexter" and "Homeland" to run a first-look trailer (which is already available online; see below) for its two new 2013 drama offerings: "Masters of Sex" and "Ray Donovan."

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<p>Nicki Minaj at the Grammys last year</p>

Nicki Minaj at the Grammys last year

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj Grammy snub controversies: Dispute won't die

Scooter Braun clarifies he wasn't 'mad'; Minaj's manager calls bull; Dave Grohl has a laugh

On Wednesday, the nominees for Grammy's 81 categories were announced, but fan favorites Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj weren't among the hundreds of names. Those two artists have been mum on the social networks since then (so far), but their managers are having none of it (so far).

Biebs' manager Scooter Braun, as previously reported, had some choice words for the Recording Academy the day following the announcements. "U blew it." But rather than being angry about the no-nods, Braun told Billboard he was just "voicing my opinion," man.

"I wasn't mad, just voicing my opinion," Braun said. "I saw a lot of chatter online and made a comment. I don't think there was anything wrong with any other nomination. I just felt Justin deserved to be acknowledged."

He further articulated why he was totally not mad.

"If he was 35, he'd be nominated in numerous categories... When you are so much younger than your industry peers, you tend to be overlooked," he said. "If you want to see me mad, read my Jets tweets -- read what I have to say about my favorite football team."

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj's co-manager and Lil Wayne's manager Cortez Bryant called Nicki's snub some straight-up "bullsh*t." 

 

Minaj has been mum on Twitter since Dec. 5, last promoting her new lip color for a popular cosmetics maker, and Bieber has spent the rest of this week not being mad and workin in the studio on a follow-up to his popular set "Believe." Both artists have garnered nominations in the past, so better luck next year.

But maybe Dave Grohl -- of all people -- has the last word. He guest-hosted "Chelsea Lately" last night and provided a little commentary.

"I like him, too. I think that if I were 18 or 19 years old and had $100 million, I would look exactly like that," Grohl, who is gorgeous, said. He did, however, submit that Bieber's concert presentations would suffer were he to sing live all the time, otherwise it'd sound like the heavy breathing of a dying man. Perhaps a 35-year-old?

All this being said, I hope this doesn't become a trend. Snubs are the regular, and while Bieber and MInaj have put time into helping the Grammys as an institution, it's voters have spoken. And they'd rather have a hack in the Best Dance Recording category than they would put Bieber in a pop category.

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<p>Biggie Smalls</p>

Biggie Smalls

Credit: AP Photo

Notorious B.I.G.'s autopsy report reveals details of 1997 shooting

Rapper was shot four times

Fifteen years after his death, the Notorious B.I.G.’s autopsy report reveals that he was struck by four bullets, with the final shot delivering the fatal blow. TMZ published the never-before-released report today.

The rapper was murdered March 9, 1997 as he sat in an SUV, as he left a party at Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles held after the Soul Train Awards.  The murder has not been solved, with a number of different theories circulating, including that Death Row Records’ Suge Knight ordered the hit to avenge the death of Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in 1996.

The autopsy report revealed that Biggie Smalls, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was first hit in the forearm, then in the back with the shot exiting his left shoulder, on his outer thigh with the bullet leaving through his inner thigh, and then with a fourth bullet that entered through his right hip and hit several vital organs before stopping in his left shoulder.

Wallace was rushed to the nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and was pronounced dead less than an hour after the shooting occurred.

A number of posthumous releases by Wallace solidified his reputation as one of the top rappers, and in 2006, MTV ranked him at No. 3 in “The Greatest MCs of All Time.”

In 2009,  Fox Searchlight released “Notorious,” a biopic about Wallace’s life.

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<p>Paul Williams, profiled so memorably in 'Paul Williams Still Alive' this year, is collaborating with Guilermo Del Toro, who we will now refer to from now on as 'The Happiest Mexican On Earth'</p>

Paul Williams, profiled so memorably in 'Paul Williams Still Alive' this year, is collaborating with Guilermo Del Toro, who we will now refer to from now on as 'The Happiest Mexican On Earth'

Credit: Abramorama Films

Guillermo Del Toro and Paul Williams join forces for a 'Pan's Labyrinth' musical

I may die of joy just from typing that headline

It does not remotely surprise me that Guillermo Del Toro is finally working with Paul Williams.

The idea of turning "Pan's Labyrinth" into a stage musical is intriguing.  It's a lush dark fantasy world, and I would imagine it gives the production team some great opportunities to build a gorgeous world on the stage.  It also deals with sweeping emotional arcs, and when you're creating a musical, I think the bigger the emotions, the better the piece.

Gustavo Santoallala is the composer of, among other scores, "The Motorcycle Diaries," one of my personal favorite scores of the last ten years.  I've played that soundtrack hundreds and hundreds of times while working, and I think he's got a very fresh and interesting musical voice.  His music with Williams writing lyrics sounds to me like an incredible marriage of talent.  Williams, of course, is known for his work with the Carpenters, his songs for "The Muppet Movie," and the absolutely incredible score for Brian De Palma's "Phantom Of The Paradise."

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Jessica Lange in "American Horror Story"

 Jessica Lange in "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

Jessica Lange says with 'American Horror Story' she has 'nothing left to lose'

The Oscar winner admits this season is 'darker than anyone anticipated'

As the tortured (and sometimes torturous) Sister Jude on "American Horror Story," Jessica Lange has had to grapple with a Nazi, a serial killer and the devil herself this season. But as tough as it's been, it looks like things are only going to get worse -- and not better. Lange talked to journalists in a conference call about what's up for her character, whether or not she'll be back for season three, and why she never knows what's next for her character -- and that's just fine. 

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"Duck Dynasty"

 "Duck Dynasty"

Credit: A&E

'Duck Dynasty' hits network record with a whopping 6.5 million viewers

The show about a family who makes duck calls scores big with a season finale
"Duck Dynasty" was a ratings juggernaut Wednesday night, when the show's one-hour season finale became the network’s most-watched telecast of all time among all key demos, including total viewers, adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. Whoever said a series about a family who makes duck calls and has some very unsexy menfolk rocking ZZ Top facial hair couldn't be a hit?
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