Latest Blog Posts

<p>Steven&nbsp;Spielberg on &quot;60 Minutes&quot;</p>

Steven Spielberg on "60 Minutes"

Credit: CBS

Spielberg talks 'Lincoln' on '60 Minutes': 'He was a father of a nation in need of repair.'

The director discusses his latest as a personal endeavor

"Lincoln" director Steven Spielberg was featured tonight on CBS' "60 Minutes" tonight, and the segment pretty much put the guy on the couch, digging into his family life and history in order to find a defining thread connecting all of his legendary films.

The thing they settle on is a portfolio about the outsider, with Spielberg noting everything from his long-time denial of his Judaism to a 15-year time of estrangement from a father he finally reconciled with nearly 20 years ago. They also get his parents to sit down and discuss the impact Spielberg's early life has had on him and the impressions left, etc., but keep coming back to a sense of shattered ties ultimately informing a lot of his work over the years, right up to and including his latest.

"I saw a paternal father figure, someone who was stubbornly committed to his ideals," he said of Abraham Lincoln, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film. "He was living with two agendas, both of which had to do with healing: to abolish slavery/end the war, but he also had his personal life, and I think there's darkness there."

Read Full Post
<p>Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in &quot;Rust &amp; Bone.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in "Rust & Bone." 

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'Rust and Bone' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' take top honors at BFI London Film Festival

Alex Gibney's 'Mea Maxima Culpa' takes the documentary prize

LONDON - I mentioned last week that Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone," five months after a more divided Cannes reception, seemed to be playing well at the BFI London Film Festival. With civilians and critics alike, it was perhaps the title I heard most often in conversations about what festival titles had stood out, or indeed which ones they planned to see -- egged on, perhaps, by the ubiquitous billboards for the film plastered around the British capital. Meanwhile, it earned extra, inadvertent media exposure as the site of the festival's most tabloid-friendly incident: at its gala premiere, two patrons were ejected from the cinema for getting more than a little frisky during the film. Adjust the inevitable "thrust" and "boner" puns to taste.

More officially, however, its status as the film of the festival was sealed at last night's festival awards ceremony, where a jury led by David Hare handed it the Star of London for Best Film over 11 other shortlisted titles. London has become a happy hunting ground for Audiard: in 2009, his film "A Prophet" took the inaugural Star, a prize that has since been handed to "How I Ended This Summer," "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and now "Rust & Bone." Four years in, and they have yet to make a dud choice.

Read Full Post
<p>Dawson of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Dawson of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Sarah Dawson talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Dawson talks Jeff Kent secret-keeping and Jeff Probst kissing
I'm not sure I realized until seconds before it was time for her exit interview that "Dawson" was actually "Survivor: Philippines" contestant Sarah Dawson's last name. 
 
I did, however, know two things for sure about Dawson:
 
1) She was the only player so far this season able to identify future baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Kent in the wilderness, but she was voted off on Wednesday's (October 17) episode without ever revealing that information.
 
2) She had a bit of a crush on "Survivor" host Jeff Probst and when she was voted out, rather than using that last moment as a chance to spread the truth about Jeff Kent, she used it to give Probst a huge hug and kiss on the cheek.
 
Both of those facts, plus her announcement that if Jeff Kent wins he owes her a number of gifts including a pink gun, came up in my exit interview with Dawson, a conversation that proves that she could have been one of the most amusing, quotable players of the season, if only she'd been given any screentime.
 
Click through for the full interview.
 
Read Full Post
<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Bruno Mars

Would being host and musical guest work out for Bruno Mars?
There are times when you can reasonably guess the quality of an episode of “Saturday Night Live” by the host. It doesn’t yield a particularly reliable prediction of what unfolds, but it’s a fairly good rule of thumb all the same. Christina Applegate hosting? One could reasonably assume a solid show. Daniel Craig? One could reasonably assume a shaky show. Neither assumption directly related to the result, but expectations were raised or lowered accordingly ahead of time. But with a host like Bruno Mars? All bets are off. It could be the best show of the season thus far. Or the worst. Or somewhere in the middle. Anything is possible, which is both thrilling and terrifying. Mars’ musical chops are known. His comedic chops? Far more unproven. But hey, Eli Manning was also unproven, and he led one of last season’s strongest episodes. So let’s err on the side of optimism until proven otherwise.
 
As always, I’ll be rating the sketches in real time. As always, you’ll be doing a Google search to discover where I live so you can bring the pitchforks to my place of residence rather than the comments section. Why mess with success?
 
Read Full Post
<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Beyonce, Adele and Justin Bieber top this week's Music Power Rankings

Some vets make the list as well

1. Beyonce: Bey snags the Super Bowl halftime show. Not on the possible guest list: M.I.A. or her middle finger.

2. Microsoft Music Service: Once more with feeling. Microsoft will launch its own internet music service next week starting with XBox and then spreading to Window 8. Let’s hope it works out better for them than Zune.

3. Justin Bieber:
His video for “Beauty and a Beat,” featuring Nicki Minaj, got 10.6 million views in its first 24 hours on Vevo, setting a new record. Congratulations are due, but as he’ll eventually learn that careers are measured in years, not days... (or, see below, decades)

4. The Rolling Stones:
They make it official and announce four dates in November  to celebrate the 50th: The two London dates sell out in seven minutes. Hey, it’s only rock and roll but we stil like it.

5. Adele:
She’s making other folks rich. Rumor has it her U.K. indie label’s profits soared to $67 million in 2011, primarily on the back of “21.”

6. Taylor Swift:
As the Oct. 22 release of “Red” approaches, the only question is how much more than 1 million  will it sell in its first week?

7. Bruce Springsteen:
  Like Superman, The Boss swoops into to Ohio and Iowa to rally for Obama.  Working On a Dream 2.0.

8. Lady Gaga:
She puts Die Antwoord in their place after they nastily kill her off in a video. Apparently their ire comes from her asking them to open for her. What an insult! They too edgy and hip to open for her, but they’ll sure use her to get publicity. #growup #youstilldonthaveahit

9. Barbra Streisand: It’s a good time to be Babs: She’s on a sold-out tour and with “Release Me,” debuting at No. 7, she is the only act to land more than one album on the Billboard 200 in every decade since the ‘60s. Her closest competition? The Rolling Stones (see No. 4)

10. Jason Aldean:
The country superstar joins the elite ranks of artists who can play stadiums. His stadium tour includes a July date at Fenway Park, making him the first country artist to ever play the Red Sox' home field.



 

Read Full Post
<p>Toby Jones of &quot;The Girl&quot;</p>

Toby Jones of "The Girl"

Credit: HBO

TV Review: HBO's 'The Girl' demonizes Hitchcock

Telefilm makes Hitchcock nasty, but not interesting
Alfred Hitchcock was a larger-than-life figure who trafficked on his image. His famous silhouette was iconic and his visage and rotund form were familiar to smarter-than-thou audiences who eagerly awaited his regular cameos.
 
And when he died, I'm sure Alfred Hitchcock's spirit -- go with me here -- was able to float around in some other plane of existence confident that he had been both unique and, more importantly, unreproducible. Nature generated just one Alfred Hitchcock and the only man gifted enough at cinematic sleight of hand to create another was... Alfred Hitchcock. 
 
We live in a glorious age of movie magic. You can put Brad Pitt's face on a baby. You can erase wrinkles and make Jeff Bridges young again. You can create armies of zombies, with their flesh rotting off. And if you bury a reputable actor under enough latex, you can finally recreate Alfred Hitchcock in a way that calls attention to prosthetic craft without insulting the intelligence of the audience.
 
And with that, the floodgates have opened this fall, with a pair of biopics intending not to tell Hitch's life story, but merely to capture the auteur in one particular moment of his career, directing one of his most famous movies and dealing with one of his most famous blondes. Most remarkably of all, neither of them stars Andy Serkis in a mo-cap suit.
 
It's fairly easy to sense the objectives for each project, merely by looking at their titles and the profile of their stars. I haven't seen it, but all indications are that "Hitchcock," featuring Anthony Hopkins under pounds of makeup, will be straight-up hagiography. And I have seen it and I can verify that HBO's "The Girl," featuring Toby Jones under pounds of makeup, is straight-up iconoclasm. 
 
It's great that technical proficiency has allowed us the leeway to make these Hitchcock biopics, but as fictional chaos theory expert Dr. Ian Malcolm would be sure to remind us, just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should*. The Season of Hitchcock kicks off on Saturday (October 20) night with "The Girl," a rather superficial portrait of the artist as an icky man that makes its point within 10 minutes and then runs on fumes for an extra 90. 
 
Because of stars Jones and Sienna Miller, there are reasons to watch "The Girl," but the one-dimensional approach defeats any chance that any serious film fan will revise their opinions on much of anything.
 
[More after the break...]
 
Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The Walking Dead&quot;</p>

"The Walking Dead"

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'Walking Dead' producers Greg Nicotero and Gale Anne Hurd talk Season 3

Makeup whiz and 'Terminator' producer discuss zombie protocol
Last week, AMC's "The Walking Dead," premiered its third season to rather mind-boggling numbers.
 
The "Walking Dead" premiere drew 10.9 million viewers, including 7.3 million viewers among adults 18-49, shattering basic cable records. 
 
Before that launch, I ran my interviews with Glen Mazzara & Robert Kirkman and also with new breakout star Danai Gurira. 
 
I've still got my chat with David Morrissey saved for a later date, so up next? A lengthy interview with "Walking Dead" producers Gale Anne Hurd and Greg Nicotero. 
 
My conversation with Kirkman and Mazzara focused, for logical reasons, on Season 3 story points. This interview is more about nuts-and-bolts and logistics, the bigger picture of bringing "The Walking Dead" to TV. 
 
Nicotero and Hurd discuss this season's new prison set, the show's ongoing ability to push the edge of the gore envelope without network interference, zombie extra protocol and Nicotero's increasingly active directing profile on the show.
 
Click through for the full conversation. [Be warned that there are some spoilers from the premiere.]
 
Read Full Post
"The Amazing Race"

 "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Reality TV Roundup: 'Project Runway' and 'Real Housewives' seasons wrap and more

It's been a busy week, so get your news about 'Survivor,' 'The Voice' and more here, now

 Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 
Read Full Post
<p>Dana of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Dana of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Dana Lambert talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Departed contestant discusses her medical evacuation
In a season dedicated to offering redemption for three of the most famously medically evacuated players in "Survivor" history, it almost would have been an affront to the show's Gods not to offer up at least one new sacrifice.
 
Unfortunately for Dana Lambert, she ended up being that sacrifice.
 
The 32-year-old North Carolina cosmetologist saw her "Survivor" journey come to a premature end on Wednesday's (October 17) episode when dehydration got the best of her. "Survivor" host Jeff Probst would be (and was) quick to note that the medic gave Dana a chance to stay in the game another 12 hours, an opportunity she declined, meaning that she removed herself from the competition.
 
In the first of two exit interviews this week, Dana explains that she had been battling increasing discomfort and, eventually, crippling pain since the beginning of the season. She also discusses many of the other things that viewers didn't get to see from her Kalabaw tribe, including her fire-starting skills and her ties with Jeff Kent. 
 
Click through for the full interview. And check back tomorrow night for the week's second "Survivor" exit interview.
 
Read Full Post
<p>Jason Aldean</p>

Jason Aldean

Credit: Eric Reed/AP

Jason Aldean's 'Night Train' pulls into No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Where will Mumford & Sons' 'Babel' fall?

Country superstar Jason Aldean will have a big bow next week with his fifth studio album, “Night Train.” The set will top the Billboard 200 with sales of up to 420,000, making it the second-highest debut of the year behind Mumford & Sons’ 600,000 copies for “Babel.” That album, which has spent three weeks at No. 1, drops to No. 2.

“Night Train” will be one of four debut next week: Brandy’s comeback album, “Two Eleven” will likely bow at No. 3 with sales of up to 70,000 (read my interview with Brandy here). Scotty McCreery’s holiday album, “Christmas With Scotty McCreery” is headed for a No .4 start, while Jamey Johnson’s “Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran” comes in at No. 5, according to Hits Daily Double. 

Filling out the rest of the Top 10 are Pink’s “The Truth About Love” is No. 5, moving up to 35,000 copies. Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream”  and Little Big Town’s “Tornado” are in a dead heat for No. 7, which both projected to sell between 21,000 and 24,000.

Adele’s “21” continues its run near the top of the charts, selling up to 22,000, which is enough to land at No. 9. Kiss’s “Monster,” which bowed this week at No. 3, will drop to No. 10.

 

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

Melissa George in "Hunted."

Credit: Cinemax

'Hunted' - 'Mort'

What did everybody think of the new Cinemax drama?

Okay, I've already posted my review of Cinemax's "Hunted," as well as an interview with creator Frank Spotnitz. Now it's your turn. For those of you watched tonight — or who saw the premiere a couple of weeks ago on the BBC — what did you think? Did you like Melissa George in full Sydney Bristow mode? Were you happy to see Mr. Eko, Stannis Baratheon, Balon Greyjoy and various other notable British actors together in the same show? Were the interlocking flashbacks too much for you in this episode? Are you interested in the mission Sam goes on? Were you also troubled by Sam leaving the window shade up in front of her secret conspiracy compartment, even if Spotnitz insists (as he did to me in a deleted part of that interview) that no one can see the conspiracy wall from the street?  And will you watch again? 

I won't be doing weekly write-ups, but will come back after the finale airs with some thoughts. For now, have at it. And if you've seen multiple episodes in the UK, please confine your specific comments to the premiere episode.

Read Full Post
<p>The cast of &quot;Private Practice&quot;</p>

The cast of "Private Practice"

Credit: ABC

Shonda Rhimes confirms the end of ABC's 'Private Practice'

Kate Walsh drama will end after 13-episode sixth season
Shonda Rhimes confirmed on Friday (October 19) afternoon that "Private Practice" will come to an end after its current 13-episode sixth season.
 
The end of "Private Practice" isn't exactly a surprise since star Kate Walsh's departure after 13 episodes was already set, but there had been hope from fans that the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff might continue despite drawing underwhelming ratings in its new-ish Tuesday 10 p.m. home.
 
The show's creator made the formal announcement on Friday via Twitter and her Shondaland.com website.
 
She writes:
 
"I'm sad to say that Private Practice's run will end after episode 613 this season. There was a lot of discussion and debate but, in the end, the guys at the network and the studio and I all decided that Private Practice was reaching its finish line. Creatively, we are all extremely proud of the show and especially proud of this season -- which you will all soon discover is a creative renaissance. I can't wait for you to see it.

It's heartbreaking to end. Truly. I feel so lucky to write for these characters and tell these stories and I truly feel this show has taught me so much as a writer. And there's a family here, of crew and cast, people who have bonded over these past five and a half seasons. It's rare for a show to go for more than 100 episodes and we are incredibly proud to have been such a show. And we're grateful to all of you for spending time with us for an hour every week for the last 6 years. It's meant the world.

Thank you."
 
"Private Practice" launched out of a 2007 "Grey's Anatomy" backdoor pilot and aired its first episode in September of that year. The drama, which also starred Paul Adelstein, Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman and, until this season, Tim Daly, aired its 100th episode earlier this fall.
 
Depending on ABC's programming rotation, the "Private Practice" finale will likely air in late January or early February.
Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME