Latest Blog Posts

<p>Nicki Minaj and Cassie are like ooooo</p>

Nicki Minaj and Cassie are like ooooo

Watch: Nicki Minaj and Cassie bring loud sounds and colors to 'The Boys' video

The single hits back at hip-hop dudes: what does the clip bring to the table?

Nicki Minaj has never looked better in a video than she does in "The Boys." Cassie, who is stunning, bares most of her, ehm, assets for the clip. The girls strut besides and inside of cars, immobile for the sake of the traditional girls-with-cars trope in hip-hop videos.

The "The Boys" of hip-hop, much of Minaj's new video will ring familiar, albeit in furious colors of magenta, aggressive greens, volcanic reds and the rapper's favorite color pink -- conveniently coordinated with their bikinis. Barbie and her hook-singing guest literally stop traffic with their look, and where else would they be headed but the salon? The leading ladies also flirt with each other throughout, Minaj even simulating going down on her comely friend.

On its face (pun intended), "The Boys" pretty much follows all the rules for a proper male gaze. Except for the part where Minaj sets a barber shop on fire, killing its inhabitants.

If you don't listen closely to the lyrics (which is somewhat impossible to do, considering the crystal-clearness of that refrain), this track takes solid aim at the boys of hip-hop, how they expect their "love" to be hand-delivered as a commodity: "They want to touch it, taste it, see it, pet it, bone it, own it." Here, Cassie and Minaj even put a bow on it.

Minaj's "revenge" to that notion is carried out in her sentencing, letting loose of her flame-thrower. She and its creators also try to mix up the genders, by putting Cassie in a suit without a shirt on underneath, for instance, or Nicki rocking denim in a princess-styled two-piece. Minaj's attack on the barber shop actually seems methodical, pre-planned, less as an actual violent act and more of a warning, that if this is how "the boys" carry on, they're gonna get burned. 

Unfortunately, though, the glossiness of this package will override any social commentary it actually brings to the table. As is evident already through Minaj's Twitter response and retweets, fans are arriving on the other side, naturally, responding "OMG bikini " and the ilk. It's disappointing, after how punk, rude and awesome the single was when it first dropped. Minaj is giving it to "the boys"... by giving them what they want, with only a whiff of danger.

But, hey, at least it's still better than "Starships."

"The Boys" is the new single off of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, The Re-Up," a confusingly titled repackaging of confoundingly titled "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," due on Nov. 19.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The Avengers&quot; is the box office champ by some margin in the category this year.</p>

"The Avengers" is the box office champ by some margin in the category this year.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tech Support: 'Avengers,' 'Dark Knight Rises' and 'The Hobbit' lead Best Visual Effects race

Other formidable contenders include 'Life of Pi' and 'The Impossible'

Every year, it seems as though summer blockbusters try to outdo each other in the realm of visual effects. The rise of 3D has made visual effects even more of a selling point for many films, with two of the last three winners in this category (“Hugo” and “Avatar”) employing such technology.

The Academy Award for Best Visual Effects awards up to four of the hundreds of individuals who create the these elements. More than any other category, being a blockbuster that has made a lot of money helps immensely (though largely that's because blockbusters that make a lot of money tend to be effects-heavy). That said, being a Best Picture nominee certainly helps. And, as I pointed out last year, it helps even more at the win stage.

Until a few years ago, there were only three nominees in this category, chosen from a pre-announced list of seven finalists. This practice was changed effective 2009, and now there are 10 pre-announced finalists, from which five nominees are chosen.

Read Full Post
<p>The Weeknd's friend</p>

The Weeknd's friend

Watch: The Weeknd brings his pain in 'Wicked Games' video

Off of the R&B singer's 'Trilogy,' a collection of mixtapes

Good tune, so-so lyrics.

The Weeknd is preparing the commercial release of "Trilogy," a collection of his three (you guessed right!) mixtapes all in one spot, with added tunes. "Wicked Games" is the next video to premiere from the set, and the Weeknd's Abel Tesfaye couldn't be more excited. See, it's funny, 'cause he couldn't look more bored in the black-and-white clip, as he gets a lapdance from a shadow, and a peep show from a model.

"You bring your body, baby, I can bring you fame," he sings, skipping the whole "charm" schtick. "Let me motherf*ckin' love you."

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Moonrise Kingdom&quot;&nbsp;gets an early start as it hopes to hang on throughout the season.</p>

"Moonrise Kingdom" gets an early start as it hopes to hang on throughout the season.

Credit: Focus Features

'Bernie,' 'Beasts' and 'Moonrise' get a boost from 2012 Gotham nominations

'The Master' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' also recognized

The awards season is "officially" under way today as the first awards show of the season has announced its list of nominees. The Gotham Independent Film Awards are typically good for establishing certain independent films in the race early on, films that hope to maintain a profile throughout the season as the bigger titles do battle. Beneficiaries of Gotham recognition have included "Beginners," "The Tree of Life," "The Descendants," "Winter's Bone," "Black Swan," "The Kids Are All Right," "The Hurt Locker" and "A Serious Man" in recent years.

The 22nd annual slate could prove helpful to a film like Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," which picked up two nominations including Best Feature, as the film looks to turn summer release goodwill into a Best Picture Oscar nomination. (It landed on DVD/Blu-ray yesterday, which also helps.) Richard Linklater's "Bernie," meanwhile, also nominated for Best Feature, can ride an early wave like this and perhaps more voters will put in the screener and give it a look. This after Millennium Entertainment brought Linklater and star Jack Black to New York and Los Angeles for a few soirées to get the engine humming.

Read Full Post
<p>Melissa George's spy has to improvise in &quot;Hunted.&quot;</p>

Melissa George's spy has to improvise in "Hunted."

Credit: Cinemax

Review: Cinemax gets more complicated with spy drama 'Hunted'

Melissa George plays a private spy looking for revenge
When Cinemax decided to follow big brother HBO into the scripted drama business, it kept things safe and simple with "Strike Back." It was a continuation of a pre-existing show from the U.K. (albeit one where most of the cast and producers were replaced for the Cinemax version), a mix of sex and violence that fit perfectly with what people subscribe to the channel for, and its ambitions are small and easily attainable.
"Strike Back" has turned out to be a real pleasure, and now Cinemax has aimed higher with its second drama, "Hunted" (it premieres Friday night at 10).It's a wholly original series, and while there's still action and nudity, the storytelling is far more complex. The training wheels are off now, and the result is a show that wobbles far more frequently than its predecessor, but one that can get into a groove that demonstrates the value of risk-taking.
Read Full Post
<p>Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;The Master.&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Phoenix on why awards season is 'bullshit'

Also: R.I.P. Koji Wakamatsu, and Mendes talks Bond

There may still be a question mark over how well "The Master" goes over with the Academy, but there's little doubt that Joaquin Phoenix is primed for a nomination (at least) for his blazing performance in it. When he gets it, however, it'll be without any help from the actor himself, who has made it quite clear he has no interest in the whole ritual of awards season whatsoever. His interview with Elvis Mitchell touches on many interesting areas, but here are his thoughts on the Oscar-chasing business: "I think it's total, utter bullshit, and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe in it... Pitting people against each other . . . It's the stupidest thing in the whole world. It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when 'Walk the Line' was going through all the awards stuff and all that. I never want to have that experience again." Guess he won't be coming to the ceremony, then. [Interview

Read Full Post
<p>Helen Hunt talks about &quot;The Sessions.&quot;</p>

Helen Hunt talks about "The Sessions."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Helen Hunt on the thrill of sex without shame in 'The Sessions'

If there's one movie she could leave behind it might be this one

BEVERLY HILLS - Helen Hunt may be incredibly nervous on the inside, but she projected an unexpected regal confidence during our short interview for her work in "The Sessions" last week. Obviously, playing a real life character is always daunting.  Playing a real life person who was a sexual surrogate to a disabled poet hoping to have his first sexual experience in his late 30's is something else.

Read Full Post
<p>The stars of FOX's &quot;New Girl&quot;</p>

The stars of FOX's "New Girl"

Credit: FOX

Baseball delay pushes 'X Factor,' 'New Girl' in FOX scheduling pile-up

Wednesday's truncated talent show episode shifts to next Tuesday
Mother Nature is a devious programming executive.
A simple rain delay in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series caused a pile-up that confused many viewers and will be rippling through FOX's schedule for weeks. 
With the game between the Giants and Cardinals on hold, but the chance of resumption hanging in the balance, FOX scrambled to fill programming on Wednesday, airing a smorgasbord of offerings including the pilot for "Ben and Kate," roughly an hour of the previously scheduled episode of "The X Factor" and a chunk of last week's "The Mindy Project."
When it became clear that the baseball game would return, FOX abruptly pulled the episode of "X Factor" half-way through the key episode meant to reveal the season's Top 16. This portion of "X Factor" aired on the East Coast and also, due to a technical issue, aired on the West Coast as a simulcast (in Pacific Time, FOX just aired last Wednesday's episode). 
FOX will now air the entirety of Wednesday's scheduled "X Factor" next Tuesday (the Thursday episode had already been preempted for baseball). In order to make way for two hours of "X Factor," FOX has now pulled the new episodes of "Raising Hope," "Ben and Kate," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" for a later date. "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" were already preempted this week due to the second Presidential Debate.
If you're keeping score at home, the Cardinals beat the Giants 3-1.
Read Full Post


Credit: ABC

'Nashville' recap: Juliette's claws are out but Rayna isn't giving up yet

The race for mayor is heating up, but Rayna could be the weak link

Yes, sometimes it sucks to be the Queen of Country, at least when you're Rayna James (Connie Britton). Even her own kids freak out at the prospect of seeing Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) shooting a video outside their car. Rayna has no choice but to bang down the door locks, but that isn't going to keep Juliette out of her life for long. Juliette, of course, has her heart set on being taken seriously as an artiste, and that means stealing away Rayna's righthand man, Deacon Clayborne (Charles Esten). While Juliette is clearly a pouty little brat through most of this episode, when she looks at Deacon and whispers, "I think something about you makes me want to grow up," I wonder if she just might be tougher for Rayna to run off than I'd hoped.

Read Full Post
"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

Recap: 'American Horror Story' serves a mash-up of horror's greatest hits

Jessica Lange rips into another character with a dark past

Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about the whole Murphy/Falchuk oeuvre. Loved "Glee" for a while before losing interest, thought "Nip/Tuck" became too silly, can't stand "The New Normal." But I've got to say, one thing these guys pulled off that will always impress me is the game-changing idea of rebooting "American Horror Story" (second season premiere Wed. Oct. 17 at 10 p.m.) at the end of its first season. It's a move that could only happen on cable (or maybe the Internet, if you want to include Web series), but there are plenty of shows I wish had made the same decision. If this is ultimately the only lasting impact (and I hope it's lasting) the show has on the television landscape, I'll gladly call it an epic win. Whether or not the reboot is a success on its own terms, of course, remains to be seen. 

Read Full Post
<p>Malcolm and Denise of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Malcolm and Denise of "Survivor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Got My Swag Back'

Would Jeff Kent be outed? Would a player be removed? Drama!
Pre-credit sequence. So. Tired. Of. Team Formerly Russell. This has been four straight eliminations, including the man who gave the tribe his name. It's only Malcolm and Denise now. "I thought this might happen on Day 39," says a lonely Malcolm. He doesn't know what's coming next, though Denise suggests they may be split up and sent to opposite tribes. "Everyone loves an underdog," Malcolm predicts, suggesting we'd be wise not to count them out. Sorry, man. I'm kinda counting you out and hoping for a Merge or Shuffle or some other Game Event I can pointlessly capitalize.
Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Yes, right over there is the bed we're going to use. I have terrible, terrible plans for you. There is, after all, a reason they call it a 'rogering'.&quot;</p>

"Yes, right over there is the bed we're going to use. I have terrible, terrible plans for you. There is, after all, a reason they call it a 'rogering'."

Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Video/MGM/UA

James Bond Declassified: File #11 - 'Moonraker' leaves the world of reality behind

One of the low points in the series gets almost everything wrong

FILE #11: "Moonraker"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

Directed by Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay by Christopher Wood
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and William P. Cartlidge and Michael G. Wilson


James Bond / Roger Moore
Dr. Holly Goodhead / Lois Chiles
Hugo Drax / Michael Lonsdale
Jaws / Richard Kiel
Corrine Dufour / Corinne Clery
Sir Frederick Gray / Geoffrey Keen
Chang / Toshiro Suga
Manuela / Emily Bolton
Dolly / Blanche Ravalec
Col. Scott / Mike Marshall
M / Bernard Lee
Q / Desmond Llewelyn
Miss Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell


I get such a particular emotional surge seeing the Space Shuttle piggybacked on a plane.  The recent flybys here in LA were major events in my household, the slow drive across LA was reason enough to leave the house at a preposterously early hour on a Sunday morning, and if you get me started talking about the space program, it's hard to get me to shut up.  It is one of my favorite things, so imagine how space-crazy "Star Wars" fan me reacted when the sequel to "The Spy Who Loved Me" opened with the theft of the Space Shuttle, which hadn't actually launched yet.  Pretty much the perfect set-up for a Bond film for me, right?

Nine year old me would say yes.  Forty-two year old me, who just rewatched the movie, would not concur.

Read Full Post