Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jessica Chastain in &quot;Zero&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Thirty&quot;</p>

Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Is Jessica Chastain poised to steal Oscar from Best Actress frontrunner Jennifer Lawrence?

'Zero Dark Thirty' star takes on the kind of female role Hollywood lacks

Remember last year when Jessica Chastain was everywhere? It wasn't by design. After being discovered by Al Pacino some years ago during an audition, the actress made her way into the business. She was cast by Pacino (who she called her "acting godfather" at last year's Palm Springs awards gala) in "Wilde Salome" and landed roles in a slew of other films that all just happened to drop at once. So 2011 became her big coming the tune of an Oscar nomination for her work in "The Help" and various precursor wins for her performances in that film, "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life"

Well, she arguably deserved to win the Oscar over her "Help" co-star Octavia Spencer last year, but we all figured we'd see her again. A talent like this doesn't just fade away. But who knew it would bubble up again so soon? While Sony has been busy keeping a lid on most of the details of Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," right down to the specificity of the role Chastain would play in the film, the Best Actress race has been slowly congealing into a big bid for Chastain's fellow young ingenue Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook." But I'm betting that's all about to change.

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"Dancing with the Stars"

"Dancing with the Stars" 

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Two couples go - and not the ones you might expect

Paula Abdul shows us her dreams are mostly old MTV videos

It's the double elimination all the remaining celebrities fear -- no one wants to go home this far into the competition. To get so close to the mirror ball and fall short of the mark? Heartbreaking. Though I would tell said celebrities, hey, it's a mirror ball. I don't even think you'd get much money for pawning it. So, you know, have some fun. Enjoy the fact you probably dropped a dress size or two without trying. It's all good.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Grave of the Fireflies.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Grave of the Fireflies."

Credit: GKIDS

GKIDS extends its Studio Ghibli alliance to 'Grave of the Fireflies'

The 1988 classic will be re-released for its 25th anniversary in 2013

I briefly mentioned last week how GKIDS are swiftly establishing themselves as the first name in arthouse animation -- in large part thanks to their recent haul of three Oscar nominations in three years. (Their first-ever acquisition, "The Secret of Kells," got the nod in 2009, while "Chico and Rita" and "A Cat in Paris" both cracked the 2011 lineup.)

Arguably an even bigger coup for their reputation as an animation house, however, has been the pact they formed last year with Studio Ghibli, the Japanese giant whose films were previously distributed Stateside by Disney. Not only will GKIDS be releasing Ghibli's latest film "From Up on Poppy Hill" -- one of their four Oscar hopefuls this year -- in US theaters next March, but they've also secured the theatrical rights to 14 titles from the Ghibli library, many of them directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Those include 2002 Oscar winner "Spirited Away," 2005 nominee "Howl's Moving Castle" and enduring children's favorite "My Neighbour Totoro."

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Trevin Hunte

Trevin Hunte performs on "The Voice".

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Tuesday - Top 10 Results

Which two did America eliminate?


After a stellar episode last night, it’s time for America to send two more contestants off of “The Voice”. Last night, I predicted Sylvia Yacoub and Cody Belew would go home, but it’s really a toss-up at this point. Even if the journey to this point has been overcrowded and sometimes confusing, it’s hard to argue with the talent on display at this point in the show. I worry that this means the next cycle will yield teams of 24, but let’s worry about that in 2013. For now, let’s get through tonight’s padded results episode.
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<p>T.I.'s &quot;Trouble Man&quot;</p>

T.I.'s "Trouble Man"

Credit: Grand Hustle/Atlantic

T.I.'s 'Trouble Man' has a cover and a tracklist: Album's existence confirmed

R. Kelly, CeeLo, Pink, Lil Wayne and more made the set cut

Looks like Frank Ocean wasn't the only artist inspired by Quentin Tarantino's work. T.I.'s "Trouble Man" finally has an official cover and is a nod at gambling, war, gun violence and -- of course -- the movies.

And like many movies, "Trouble Man" has a firm release date now: Dec. 18 has stayed put for at least a month, so now Atlantic and Grand Hustle can have a Christmas party. With that, the tracklist has been unveiled and is bursting with guest talent, particularly with some pop majors. Labelmate CeeLo Green is on there, with Pink, R. Kelly, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill and others.

The Lil Wayne single "Ball" is already out there, with a video. "Wonderful Life" with Akon may be a curiousity, considering Akon's general absence; "Guns and Roses," I pray, will be a tribute to Guns 'N Roses with Pink singing her best Axl impression.

It will be wonder what Atlantic will bow as the next single, considering "Ball" entered and promptly left the Hot 100 at No. 50 earlier this month and it's stalled at hip-hop airplay. There seems to be a split of what could be great street tracks and collabs with A$AP Rocky... or then there's pop. T.I. doesn't have the sizzle that he did a couple years ago, when he first mentioned "Trouble Man." Is it in trouble?

Here is the tracklist for "Trouble Man":

1. The Introduction
2. G Season featuring Meek Mill
3. Trap Back Jumpin
4. Wildside featuring A$AP Rocky
5. Ball featuring Lil Wayne
6. Sorry featuring André 3000
7. Can You Learn featuring R. Kelly
8. Go Get It
9. Guns and Roses featuring P!nk
10. The Way We Ride
11. Cruisin’
12. Addresses
13. Hello featuring CeeLo Green
14. Who Want Some
15. Wonderful Life featuring Akon
16. Hallelujah

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Hugh Laurie
Credit: AP Photo

Hugh Laurie in negotiations to star in "Crossbones" for NBC

He'll be able to keep his Brit accent to play Blackbeard the pirate
Apparently playing medicine's favorite bad boy drug addict can open the door to a gig as one of the most famous rebels in history. is reporting NBC is in negotiations with former "House" star Hugh Laurie to star in a new action-adventure series, "Crossbones." The project comes from "Luther"creator Neil Cross and feature producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. This time around, Laurie won't have to fake the accent, as he'll be playing the English pirate Blackbeard.
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<p>James Bond (Daniel Craig)&nbsp;in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

James Bond (Daniel Craig) in "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony/MGM/EON

Movie Review: James Bond battles his obsolescence in 'Skyfall'

One of the best Bond movies ever, but could it have been more than that?

As you know, this blog is largely TV-focused, but every now and then I get to leave the mancave and see a movie at roughly the same time as the rest of the adult world. I saw "Skyfall" over the weekend, and though HitFix's movie team has done a terrific job covering the film, I have a few specific thoughts on the movie (spoiler-filled, just like my TV episode reviews, so don't click if you haven't seen it yet), coming up just as soon as I'm expecting an exploding pen...

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<p>Starz has canceled &quot;Boss,&quot;&nbsp;starring Kelsey Grammer.</p>

Starz has canceled "Boss," starring Kelsey Grammer.

Credit: Starz

Starz cancels Kelsey Grammer's 'Boss'

Drama about the mayor of Chicago won't continue past season 2

"Boss" is out of a job.

Starz announced today that it would not be ordering a third season of the drama starring Kelsey Grammer as the corrupt, ailing mayor of Chicago.

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<p>Alfred Hitchcock at the 40th annual Academy&nbsp;Awards after being presented with the Thalberg Award by Robert Wise</p>

Alfred Hitchcock at the 40th annual Academy Awards after being presented with the Thalberg Award by Robert Wise

Credit: AMPAS

On Alfred Hitchcock's ups and downs at the Oscars

From 'Foreign Correspondent' to 'The Birds' and everything in between

With HBO's "The Girl" hitting the small screen recently and Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" due in theaters this week, and with Universal's big boxed set of most of Alfred Hitchcock's great works on shelves, it seems that most identifiable of rotund maestros of the cinema is en vogue. But what has always been fascinating about "Hitch" for Oscar watchers is that, despite his legendary status -- "the premiere image-maker of the 20th century," as author Mark Cousins called him -- the man never won a competitive Oscar.

It really does seem like Oscar's big miss. Stanley Kubrick is a big deal -- my favorite filmmaker -- but there's something really strange about a guy like Hitchcock, who certainly never dallied in inaccessible realms, having never received his due. Sure, a mid-career work won Best Picture, and he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy in 1968, but Best Director eluded him throughout. As did the DGA prize, in fact (though the guild saw fit to bestow lifetime achievement recognition the very same year he received the Thalberg).

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<p>Anthony Hopkins in &quot;Hitchcock.&quot;</p>

Anthony Hopkins in "Hitchcock."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Roundup: Hopkins says 'f--- off' to Oscar schmoozing

Also: THR's Actress Roundtable, and 'The Hobbit' faces a PETA problem

It's been 15 years since Anthony Hopkins was last in the Oscar hunt, and even with Best Actor buzz brewing around his performance in "Hitchcock," he's in no hurry to get back on the campaign trail. Though he's not as impolite as Joaquin Phoenix recently was about the institution itself, he doesn't mince words when speaking about the "disgusting" process of industry glad-handing in pursuit of a nomination: "Kissing the backside of the authorities that can make or break it... It makes me want to throw up, it really does. It's sick-making. I've seen it so many times. I saw it fairly recently, last year. Some great producer-mogul and everyone kisses this guy's backside. I think, 'What are they doing? Don't they have any self respect?' I wanted to say, 'Fuck off.'" [Huffington Post]   

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: 'Don't Sing for Your Supper'

Yolanda may be a great hostess, but Taylor's not impressed

Just so you know, Yolanda Foster throws fabulous dinner parties. Yes, her husband tells some guests they're not talented enough to engage in the after-dinner sing-along, but that's mostly because it's all about him telling stories of his youth and all the famous people he's worked with. But really, they should shut up simply because they're in the presence of greatness. If he wants to tell stories about Boz Scaggs, they'd better listen! Even if they don't know who Boz Scaggs is! But I'm getting ahead of myself. A few other things happen, thank God, because just watching the Foster's fabulous dinner party makes me want to throw something at the screen after a few minutes. Maybe I would feel  more patient if I'd been given a tempura avocado roll. Just a thought.

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<p>Suraj Sharma shares most of his screen time with the remarkable Richard Parker in Ang Lee's adaptation of 'Life Of&nbsp;Pi'</p>

Suraj Sharma shares most of his screen time with the remarkable Richard Parker in Ang Lee's adaptation of 'Life Of Pi'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Ang Lee's ambitious 'Life Of Pi' dazzles and frustrates in equal measure

Can ten minutes unravel an entire film?

I have been an ardent supporter of Ang Lee's work over the years, and if nothing else, "Life Of Pi" demonstrates just how much control he maintains over his craft, both technically and artistically.  In 1997, when most people were arguing over whether "Titanic" or "LA Confidential" was the best film of the year, I was of the opinion that the sadly-underseen "The Ice Storm" was better than either of them.  When his "Hulk" came out, I loved it precisely because it was such a left-of-center take on the material, and there are images from the film that are still among the most beautiful in any superhero film so far.  And when I posted my article about the 50 Best Films of the last decade, "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" landed right on top of my list.  It is safe to say I am a fan of his work.

I am not, however, a fan of "Life Of Pi."

I believe that David Magee's screenplay is the best possible adaptation of Yann Martel's novel, but the problems I have begin with the book, and they've been carried over to the movie, completely intact and just as problematic.  This is one of the most striking cases I've ever seen of the craftsmanship of a film being at total odds with the text itself.  I love how the film tells the story, but I don't like the story.  It is almost purely metaphorical, and for much of the running time, it is an overwhelming visceral experience.  Lee's use of 3D in the film is remarkable, and as a theatrical experience, it's hard to argue with the impact.  But it is also hard to argue that the film isn't also frustrating and flawed on a fundamental level, one that bothers me far more than the visuals dazzle me.

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