Latest Blog Posts

<p>Suraj Sharma in &quot;Life of Pi.&quot;</p>

Suraj Sharma in "Life of Pi."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Life of Pi' tops with Las Vegas Film Critics

'Looper' picks up another screenplay award.

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society announced their picks yesterday, and clearly liked "Life of Pi" a lot more than most of their peers thus far: Ang Lee's effects-heavy spectacular took six awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and a Youth In Film citation for Suraj Sharma. They're the first group to celebrate the film, though they went a little more by-the-book for their acting picks. Further down, I'm liking the "Prometheus" call for Production Design. Check out the full list of winners after the jump, and catch up with the season thus far at The Circuit.  

Read Full Post
Paul McCartney and Nirvana members play new song from 'Sound City' documentary

Paul McCartney and Nirvana members play new song from 'Sound City' documentary

'Cut Me Some Slack' will be featured on 'Real to Reel' soundtrack

In what was the worst-kept secret on 12-12-12, Paul McCartney did indeed take the stage with the surviving members of Nirvana for the Sandy charity concert. However, fans of the Beatles star or of Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic may not recognize the song they played together.

The track is called "Cut Me Some Slack," and was apparently created during a collaboration for Grohl's forthcoming documentary "Sound City." It's definitely a mix of penchant McCartney melody, a heavy rhythm section( just like the Foos frontman likes it) and a heavy dose of that grunge music the kids are always talking about.

Immediately following the rather impressive performance from the quartet, the "Sound City" Twitter account and website released a short clip of audio from the recording, made in California studio after which the film is named. You can hear it below.

Read Full Post
<p>Marion Cotillard at the 2012 Gotham Awards last month in New York.</p>

Marion Cotillard at the 2012 Gotham Awards last month in New York.

Credit: AP Photo/Andy Kropa

Marion Cotillard says SAG Awards nomination for 'Rust and Bone' is 'more than 'joy'

A quick chat with 'The Dark Knight Rises' star

She's won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and two Cesars, but Marion Cotillard still sounded genuinely excited about landing her fourth Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination.  The "Rust and Bone" star phoned from Paris to have a quick chat about her SAG honor, a strong indicator she'll be walking the red carpet at the Dolby Theater this February.

Read Full Post
<p>Jaymes and James of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jaymes and James of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Jaymes & James talk 'The Amazing Race'

The Chippendales discuss their run from near-elimination to second place
It wasn't a direct path that Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis took to "Amazing Race" success to into the hearts of fans.
In the first Leg, the two Chippendales performers seemed to embody every himbo stereotype we wanted to pre-judge them with. Mental gaffes caused them to very nearly get eliminated in that initial episode, as they survived only by virtue of being marginally faster than a middle-aged couple.
But then, a funny thing happened. Jaymes & James began to grow on viewers. Their high spirits were infectious and Jaymes was good for two or three quotable lines per week, sometimes more. And as we got to know them, it became even easier to like them. Jaymes was competing to assist his father, currently battling cancer -- head over to -- while James just wanted to win a car for his mother. All together now: Awww.
By the time James overcame a seemingly excruciating ankle injury to limp through a Russian dancing challenge, the Chippendales were the team most fans seemed to be rooting for. 
Jaymes & James came up just short on their "Amazing Race" journey, finishing second, but I'm assuming we haven't seen the last of them and I'm guessing we probably haven't seen the last of them on "The Amazing Race."
In their exit interview, Jaymes & James talked about changing viewer attitudes towards their current profession, how nearly leaving after one Leg reshaped their attitudes and their goals going forward. Oh and Jaymes says his new single, not a direct follow-up to "Vampire," is coming out before the end of the year.
Click through for the full interview.
Read Full Post
<p>Michael Skupin of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Michael Skupin of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Gouge My Eyes Out'

In the season's penultimate episode alliances are shifting
Pre-Credit sequence. Anybody remember who went home last week? Anybody? OK. Fine. It was Carter. Man-Dana? That other guy who was out there who isn't there anymore? Nevermind. It's back to DangRayne for the Final 5. "Thanks for keeping me, guys," Abi tells everybody, as if an active choice had been made to validate her very existence. "I am over the moon," she tells us, before the editors cut to the moon to show what Abi is not, in fact, over. Abi's unsure if anybody buys her Fantasy Immunity Idol, but she's planning to keep fantasizing. "This game isn't fair," says Blair Warner, who has now fully embraced her "I'd rather go to the end with somebody I can beat" revised ethos. This ethos is concerning Malcolm, who knows that if Blair Warner's head is in the game, she's dangerous going forward. Foreshadowing?
Read Full Post
"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Even the Famous Come Home'

The chetestants must cook for celebs and an Olive Garden fan

After last week's debacle, during which Tom actually took back the $10,000 prize because all of the food was so consistently lousy, I'm hoping the chefs can turn it around this week. If not, I predict food poisoning, intestinal distress and tears. 

For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs gather around Padma and a little old lady Dallas John thinks might be "Martha Stewart's mother." Alas, she's not. She's Marilyn Hagerty, the food writer for the Grand Forks Herald. She's been writing about middle-American restaurants in her area for 30 years! She recently wrote about the Olive Garden in her fair city, and it went viral (read her review here). She didn't even know what viral meant! Wow!

Read Full Post
<p>Christoph Waltz in &quot;Django Unchained.&quot;</p>

Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Long Shot: Categorically speaking

The leading-supporting divide is blurrier than ever in this year's Oscar race

“Category fraud.” It's a phrase that means precisely nothing to anybody who doesn't scrutinize the Oscars with all the methodical dedication of a veteran trainspotter – but within that self-selecting circle, it's an issue that seems to prompt more heated opinions by the year.

Implying veritably criminal levels of bad faith, it's a strangely emphatic term for a practice that frequently occurs in the grayest of areas, amid such intangibles as narrative, perspective and character. The Oscar campaigning game has seen many dirty tricks and cynical strategies pass undetected over the years, but woe betide the supporting hopeful whose role is seen as a little too large for his targeted trophy, or the uppity ensemble player with ideas above his station – awards geeks do not easily forget such infractions.

Read Full Post
<p>There are few people who I&nbsp;enjoy talking to more than Ian McKellen, and few actors I&nbsp;enjoy watching more.</p>

There are few people who I enjoy talking to more than Ian McKellen, and few actors I enjoy watching more.

Credit: HitFix

Ian McKellen says the one-two punch of Gandalf and Magneto was 'timing'

Also learn which version of Gandalf the actor prefers playing

Ian McKellen probably never expected the odd turn that his career has taken over the last fifteen years, but he seems to have embraced it with grace and gusto.

I'm sure if you'd told him before all of this that he would end up beloved by an audience of fantasy-loving comic-book-reading genre fans all over the world, he would have dismissed the idea as silly.  Even when he appeared in "Gods and Monsters," the sensational James Whale biopic by Bill Condon, he probably never expected the particular way that his audience would expand.

Now here we are, sitting down with him to discuss his return to Middle Earth, and I love that he sees a distinct difference between playing Gandalf the White and Gandalf the Grey.  Like McKellen, I prefer Gandalf the Grey, and one of the nicest things about "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is getting my favorite version of my favorite wizard back in action.  He brings such warmth and humor to the part that it was sad to see him changed into more of an action hero on the final film.

Read Full Post
<p>Emblem 3 of &quot;X Factor&quot;</p>

Emblem 3 of "X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Final 4 - Performances

Emblem 3, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens and Fifth Harmony perform

It's Final 4 time on "The X Factor."

But really, if we're being honest, it's time for the Top 2 -- Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens haven't let anybody else in since voting began -- and then Emblem 3 and then, somewhere in the distance, Fifth Harmony. The stratification in this "X Factor" season was established early and other than the occasional minor blip -- Vino Alan's elimination was no more or less random than how high he'd be polling previously -- nothing has changed. It was a fantastic idea for "X Factor" to reveal vote ranking, but it was also a horrible idea. Everybody wants to believe that voting on these shows is fluid and that one great performance can turn somebody from an underdog to a star, but that probably isn't the case at all. 

So what difference could Wednesday's show possibly make? Do we really think that Tate and Carly Rose can be displaced in the finale? 

Let's see how the performances go...

Read Full Post
<p>Get ready to have your face punched in by the giant robots of 'Pacific Rim'</p>

Get ready to have your face punched in by the giant robots of 'Pacific Rim'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

First 'Pacific Rim' trailer promises monsters and mayhem on an epic scale

Guillermo Del Toro's dream project finally gives you a sneak peek

One of the things that has rekindled my love of the anticipatory period before a film is released is having kids in the house who go absolutely bananas at every new glimpse they get of the things they are interested in the most. My boys are giant monster fanatics, and they adore robots of all types, so from the very first moment I described "Pacific Rim" to them as "a movie about a war between giant robots and giant monsters," they have been positively rabid to see anything from it.

This is one of those movies that seems like it should already exist. It is hard to believe there has never been a real big-budget treatment of this sort of material.  True, it would have been difficult to pull off with any degree of photo-realism before now, but it still seems surprising that it has taken this long for Hollywood to realize that there will most likely be an audience for two hours of robots that do kung-fu laying a beating on giant monsters that breathe fire.  Actually, there's a wide range of things that both the Jaegers (the official name for the giant robots) and the Kaiju (the official name for the monsters) are capable of, and we'll see quite a few examples of both in the film.

Read Full Post
<p>The Knife</p>

The Knife

Credit: Mute

The Knife releases teaser trailer to new album 'Shaking the Habitual'

Watch the 'Welcome to the Punch' trailer featuring Fever Ray

A friend and I were talking yesterday about how we couldn't wait for more material from Karin Dreijer Andersson, frontwoman for The Knife and Fever Ray, in consideration that Fever Ray's "The Wolf" soundtracks the first trailer to "Welcome to the Punch."

Today, it's announced that The Knife have a new album coming out in the spring. So basically what I'm saying is we're responsible for the news. You're welcome.

"Shaking the Habitual" will be out in the Spring via Mute. Swedish troupe The Knife -- which is Karin and brother Olof Dreijer -- put out an opera "Tomorrow, In a Year" in 2010 but earned initial critical acclaim with their 2006 set "Silent Shout." Andersson also put out a solo album under the name Fever Ray in 2009.

Read Full Post
<p>Judd Apatow and Graham Parker on the set of Universal Pictures' &quot;This Is 40.&quot;</p>

Judd Apatow and Graham Parker on the set of Universal Pictures' "This Is 40."

Credit: AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Suzanne Hanover

Graham Parker & The Rumour thrill at 'This is 40' soundtrack release party

Judd Apatow and Paul Rudd look on as Ryan Adams and Lindsey Buckingham also play

LOS ANGELES—In Judd Apatow’s  “This is 40,” Paul Rudd plays a music executive trying to bring back British singer/songwriter Graham Parker. At last night’s sold-out show at the Roxy here, Parker proved he needs no help.

Playing his first show with his original band, The Rumour, at the venue in more than 30 years, Parker headlined the “This Is 40” soundtrack release party. Fittingly enough, Apatow opened the evening, announcing, “This is a ridiculously good show,” before sitting beside Rudd for the rest of the evening.  He was right. Also appearing on the bill were Ryan Adams and Lindsey Buckingham, both of whom have songs on the movie’s soundtrack.

Adams took the stage first for a three-song set, opening with the lovely “Shining Through The Dark,” a live version of which appears on the soundtrack. The prolific songwriter sat on a low stool for his set, making all but the crown of his head invisible for  the standing audience.  No idea how he looked, but he sounded lovely as he also ran through “Lucky Now” and “Everybody Knows,” accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar.

In a nod to Buckingham (and to Parker's band, no doubt), Adams joked “I was going to play [Fleetwood Mac's] ‘Rumours’ front to back. I was going to play it on a Casio keyboard and dress up as a vampire.”

If Adams' short opener was lovely, Buckingham, introduced by the soundtrack’s producer Jon Brion,  reached transcendence in his remarkable four-sing set. Giving a short bow to the audience before strapping on an electric guitar, Buckingham was fully engaged from the first note. He skipped his two songs on the “This Is 40” soundtrack —”Sick Of You” and “She Acts Like You— and instead played an extended, incendiary “Shut Us Down,” which appeared on Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown” soundtrack. The sound man took a second to catch up, but by the time Buckingham eased into a menacing, sensual “Go Insane,” his guitar playing was crystal clear. That’s a good thing because there are few guitarists who can play with his precision, speed and melodicism. He gets more sound out of a guitar than most musicians do from a full band. A slowed-down, time-shifting, hypnotic “Never Going Back Again” followed before he wrapped with “Big Love.” He remarked on how when he originally wrote the song in 1987, the line “Looking out for love”  hinted at a sense of alienation. Now he sees the song as “a meditation on the power of change.”

The evening belonged to Graham Parker & The Rumour, who played a wide-ranging 22-song set that spanned the title track from his 1976 debut album, “Howlin’ Wind” through this year’s “Three Chords Good.”

He parted with The Rumour in 1980, not reuniting until last year when they began recording “Three Chords Good.”  All five of the original members are on tour with him: guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, bassist Andrew Bodnar, keyboardist Bob Andrews, and drummer Steve Goulding. Though it took them a few minutes to seeming get into the groove, by “Get Started, Start a Fire” (from 1988’s “The Mona Lisa’s Sister”), the band was locked into a solid groove.

Though he slightly preceded them, Parker’s music recalls his fellow angry young man/British pre-punk colleagues Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, as well as U.S. singer/songwriter John Hiatt. His literate lyrics wrapped around guitar-driven, often ska-inflected, soulful melodies, and, while embraced by critics, he never had the breakthrough in the U.S. that many anticipated for him given his songs’ infectious nature.

Now 62, his once-legendary performances are still spirited, especially when he strips off the guitar and engages with the audience, as he did on the spiky “Nobody Hurts You” and the classic “Protection,” leaning over the audience and shading his eyes on the lyric, “You wanna hide?”

His most engaging tunes remain those that embrace a rollicking twanginess, including “Hotel Chambermaid” and “What Do You Like,” which he recorded with the Punch Bros. for “This Is 40.” He also performed the atmospheric 1977 track, “Watch The Moon Come Down,” another song Apatow snagged for the soundtrack.

It was hard to tell who was having more fun: Parker or the audience, as the crowd’s loud applause brought him back for two  encores. He concluded the evening with his bounciest track, “Soul Shoes” and his sparkling cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” which he’s been performing for decades not.

Read Full Post