Latest Blog Posts

<p>Christoph Waltz as he appears in &quot;Django Unchained.&quot;</p>

Christoph Waltz as he appears in "Django Unchained."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Christoph Waltz elevated to the Best Actor race for 'Django Unchained'

He'll compete with co-star Jamie Foxx for a spot in a crowded race

The Best Actor field is already sufficiently crowded -- with a couple of nominees seemingly glued in place -- that you wouldn't envy any newcomer to the race. Yet The Weinstein Company, which is hardly short of a serious contender in the category, is reportedly sufficiently high on Christoph Waltz in the still-unseen "Django Unchained" to campaign him in the lead category.

Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil quotes an unspecified "insider" as saying Waltz's performance as a dentist-cum-bounty-hunter, who joins Jamie Foxx's title character in a rescue mission, "towers over the whole movie." That's the kind of claim many had assumed would be made for Leonardo DiCaprio's villainous supporting turn. Is Waltz really the film's MVP -- just as he was, to Oscar-winning effect, in Quentin Tarantino's last effort -- or is he being elevated to declutter DiCaprio's Best Supporting Actor campaign?  

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<p>Ke$ha in &quot;Die Young&quot;</p>

Ke$ha in "Die Young"

Watch: Ke$ha is the leader of a sex compound in 'Die Young'

Britney should be in there somewhere...

Ke$ha channels a number of pop divas in her music video for "Die Young," but none so closely as "Slave 4 U"-era Britney Spears. Sex and death have always been bedfellows, but the arcing, aching, sumptuous, dirty eventualities of a video like this seem to be nodding at that youthful peak era, where something so ridiculously indulgent and over-the-top proved to be the norm and nasty.

However, the chasm between the fun-bop of the song and the So Serious nature of the debauched clip that can't quite bridge. Ke$ha's mug flashes in tasteful black-and-white, then in early-'90s neon and in the leathery sepia tones of her semi-religious desert sex compound (a girl can dream); she's carried in as a idolatrous prop (a la Gaga), contorting in tribal furs (Shakira), introducing anarchy to a place of religious worship (Madonna) in a sea of triagles (Geometry 101). All together, this video and the Ke$ha brand hasn't a clue what it is, beyond blipping animal rule into a big pile of gropers till the world ends...

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<p>Emmy Rossum of &quot;Beautiful Creatures&quot;</p>

Emmy Rossum of "Beautiful Creatures"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Emmy Rossum is 'the sexy bad girl' on the set of 'Beautiful Creatures'

'Shameless' star discusses the new look for Dark Caster Ridley
COVINGTON, LOUISIANA - It's early May in Covington, Louisiana with the heat and humidity to prove it, but in Gatlin, South Carolina it's shortly after Halloween. 
 
Pumpkins still perch on the stoops in a neighborhood that required very little set decoration to embody the more-Southern-than-Southern fictional town at the heart of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's "Beautiful Creatures," a bestselling Young Adult Fantasy novel getting the big screen treatment courtesy of Warner Brothers and Oscar nominated writer-director Richard LaGravenese.
 
In the book, the first installment of the "Caster Chronicles" series, Gatlin is an imagined stand-in for any Dixie town lorded over by the Daughters of the Confederacy, in which the ghosts of the Civil War hover atop the architecture like spectral Spanish moss. There's more than enough literal Spanish moss to go around in Covington and other than the South Carolina license plates on any car that might accidentally or purposefully make it into a shot, the city -- statistically a piece of the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area, but a long drive from New Orleans on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway -- might as well be playing itself, minus the newfound infestation of witches and other supernatural creatures. 
 
The only real signs of state affiliation are on the backs of the individual crew members, whose t-shirts boast work on productions like "Treme" and "Bad Lieutenant" or offer support for the Saints and embattled coach Sean Payton.
 
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<p>Viola Davis,&nbsp;Alden Ehrenreich and&nbsp;Richard LaGravenese on the set of &quot;Beautiful Creatures&quot;</p>

Viola Davis, Alden Ehrenreich and Richard LaGravenese on the set of "Beautiful Creatures"

Credit: Warner Brothers

'Beautiful Creatures' Set Vist: Celebrating Christmas with Emma Thompson and the cast

Zoey Deutch and Thomas Mann also discuss their witchy new teen romance
COVINGTON, LOUISIANA - Richard LaGravenese is experiencing seasonal confusion on the set of "Beautiful Creatures."
 
The reality is that it's May in this small city an hour's ride (if your driver is more prone to telling stories about his time in the Marines or complaining about the corrupting influence of movies on kids than paying attention to directions) from New Orleans. 
 
But time is passing very differently in fictional Gatlin, South Carolina.
 
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<p>Fiona Apple</p>

Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple, Avett Bros., Norah Jones and more on 'This is 40' soundtrack

And, of course, Graham Parker

The previously announced Fiona Apple will be joined by Ryan Adams, Norah Jones, the Avett Brothers, and, of course,  Graham Parker, on the soundtrack for Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40.”

While tracks from some of the artists, including Paul Simon, the Avetts, and Loudon Wainwright, have been released before, the cuts from Jones, Apple, Parker (who plays heavily into the plot), Lindsey Buckingham, Wilco, and Adams are all original.  Jon Brion composed the score and produced several of the new cuts, including Apple’s “Dull Tool.” The soundtrack comes out Dec. 11.

Read Drew McWeeny's review of "This is 40" here.

The track listing for "Music From The Motion Picture This Is 40" is as follows:
 
1.   I'm Your Angel – Yoko Ono  
2.   Always Judging – Norah Jones 
3.   What Do You Like? – Graham Parker with Punch Brothers
4.   Sick Of You – Lindsey Buckingham 
5.   Rewrite – Paul Simon  
6.   Shining Through The Dark (Live) – Ryan Adams  
7.   Lunch Box Odd Sox – Paul McCartney
8.   Brother & Sister – Lindsey Buckingham Featuring Norah Jones  
9.   Theme 1 (Debbie & Oliver) – Jon Brion   
10. Watch The Moon Come Down – Graham Parker & The Rumour 
11. Days That We Die – Loudon Wainwright 
12. She Acts Like You – Lindsey Buckingham 
13. Dull Tool – Fiona Apple
14. Lucky Now (Live) – Ryan Adams 
15. I Got You – Wilco
16. Live & Die – The Avett Brothers 

Bonus track (digital only):
17. Protection (Live) – Graham Parker & The Rumour




 

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<p>Ben Affleck in &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck in "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tech Support: 'Argo,' 'Les Mis' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' feature in the race for Best Film Editing

Other contenders include 'Life of Pi,' 'Skyfall' and 'Flight'

“CUT!”

This word is iconic in popular culture as something the director shouts to end the shooting of a scene. It even featured prominently in last year’s Best Picture winner.

But it's the film editors who truly "cut" our films down to what we actually see on screen. Deciding what leave in, what to leave out, how to convey the narrative and how to establish pace are just a few of the editor’s extraordinarily important roles.

The work of many other crafts artists, to say nothing of the actors, is finished when the shoot is done. Others, such as the composer, only begin when the shoot is over. The film editor, on the other hand, is there throughout, working with the director until the film is just right.

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<p>Dalia (Carly Chaikin)&nbsp;becomes a magician's assistant on &quot;Suburgatory.&quot;</p>

Dalia (Carly Chaikin) becomes a magician's assistant on "Suburgatory."

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Suburgatory' - 'Foam Finger'

An unexpected reference to another show highlights an uneven episode

A review of last night's "Suburgatory" coming up just as soon as the kugel is a gateway kugel...

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<p>&quot;Kon-Tiki&quot; is Norway's foreign Oscar submission.</p>

"Kon-Tiki" is Norway's foreign Oscar submission.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: The Weinsteins nab another Oscar prospect in 'Kon-Tiki'

Also: The sound of 'Flight,' and the movies that made 'Argo'

From sketchy beginnings, The Weinstein Company has grown into a major Oscar player, ruling even the documentary race last year -- but one category they have yet to score in, unlike back in their Miramax days, is Best Foreign Language Film. This year, they're looking to change that with French crossover smash "The Intouchables," but they've also just extended their stake in the race by nabbing Norway's submission, "Kon-Tiki." I'll be seeing it myself soon, but even when its selection was announced, I figured this factual tale of explorer Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 expedition from South America to Polynesia on a wooden raft -- the most expensive film in Norwegian history -- would be something that could appeal to the Academy. The Weinsteins' attachment now confirms it as one to watch. True-life of Pi, anyone? [Variety]  

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<p>You have to go see 'Miami Connection' in the theater, or Y.K. Kim will cry, and you don't want to make Y.K. Kim cry... DO&nbsp;YOU!?</p>

You have to go see 'Miami Connection' in the theater, or Y.K. Kim will cry, and you don't want to make Y.K. Kim cry... DO YOU!?

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: Is the Drafthouse release of 'Miami Connection' a case of 'so bad it's good'?

We look at their theatrical run of a long-lost martial arts oddity

If you genuinely enjoy the experience of watching a movie, is that the same thing as watching it ironically or making fun of it?

That's a question that's worth asking as Drafthouse Films prepares for a theatrical release of the 1987 film "Miami Connection."  The movie has languished in obscurity for years now, ever since its split-second release, and was just recently rediscovered by the programming team at the Alamo Drafthouse, who played a print as part of their Weird Wednesday screening series.  For those unfamiliar with how that works, the Alamo is in the business of building up a print archive, having even started a non-profit foundation to do so, and they are constantly buying prints of movies, many of which they've never heard of at all.  They use their late-night screening series to look at the prints and see if there are any unsung gems in there, and when they showed the first reel of "Miami Connection," they flipped for it.  They ended up making a deal with the filmmakers to give the movie new theatrical life, and this year's Fantastic Fest was the film's official coming out party.

To that end, they went all out to present the movie right on the festival's opening Friday night as the big prime-time event.  If the audience wanted to just treat the entire night as one big roast, I'm sure they could have, but I would argue that the reason to enjoy a movie like "Miami Connection" is not as simple as "laugh at the terrible movie."  There's a reason "The Room" became a sensation and other terrible films do not.  There's a reason Zack Carlson and Lars Nielsen are fanatical about "Miami Connection" and Dragon Sound and not a dozen other silly action movies they've screened.  And ultimately, I think that reason is sincerity.

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'The Ultimate Chef Test'

The season premiere is chock full of seemingly simple challenges

It's season 10 of "Top Chef," and we're off to Seattle! Wait, we're not off to Seattle yet. This season we have a twist. Instead of the epic Alamo cook-off of last season, this time the chefs are broken up into groups and sent to work as slave labor at one of the restaurants owned by either Emeril LaGasse, Hugh Acheson, Tom Colicchio or our new judge, Wolfgang Puck. The celebrity chefs will then decide who goes through to compete on the show, and who doesn't. I like this change, as it gives each judge a chance to put at least some of the potential competitors to a test they deem most important, even if that means some people get to just skate by making a damn salad.

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<p>Jonathan Penner of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Jonathan Penner of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Dead Man Walking'

A straight-forward episode goes pear-shaped, leading to a wacky Tribal Council
Pre-credit sequence. Hell hath no fury like a Penner scorned. Jonathan is perplexed and frustrated with Jeff Kent and Man-Dana. Penner doesn't like secrets and he doesn't like betrayal. Denise is at least straight-forward and honest with Penner about writing his name, while Jeff Kent talks in widening circles without saying anything. Jeff Kent remains determined to target Penner in the future, though he also knows he's given up some power and authority. Skupin tells Penner not to quit and that there are cracks in the main alliance and urges his fellow returning player to wait for those cracks to grow. "I have no alliances. I have no allegiances. I don't care. Everybody's equal. They are all ready to die," Penner announces. Damn. If Penner were a '90s rapper, he'd be talking about his glock and making lewd statements about the sex he had with all of their significant others. He's gangsta!
 
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"Nashville"

 "Nashville"

Credit: ABC

'Nashville' recap: 'Move It on Over'

Rayna and Deacon are truly going solo, but Scarlett is still stuck
I’m hoping that after last week, “Nashville” might lower the suds quotient and delve into some much needed character development. While Juliette showed promise of becoming more than a caricature, everyone else was busily backsliding like Juliette’s mom on a bender. Rayna seemed stuck in perpetually offended mode, while Teddy emerged as an all-too-predictable cad. The love triangle between Scarlett, Gunnar and Avery was enticing in a CW network show way, but when a relatively light B plot is the most compelling part of a show, that doesn't bode well.
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