Latest Blog Posts

<p>Richard Ayoade, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill blow some stuff up in 'The Watch'</p>

Richard Ayoade, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill blow some stuff up in 'The Watch'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Stiller, Hill, and Vaughn earn real laughs in 'The Watch' but the film falls short

A good cast goes a long way in uneven science-fiction comedy

There is a particular type of comedy film that seems to be best represented by "Ghostbusters," the special-effect high-concept comedy.  And aside from "Ghostbusters," there are very few of these films which manage to find the perfect balance between the various elements at work in them.  Even Ivan Reitman tried to do it again with "Evolution" and fell short, so it seems like a tough challenge to take on for any filmmaker.

Even so, Akiva Schaffer's new movie "The Watch" makes a valiant run at it, and for a little while, the film coasts on the charms of the central quartet of actors who come together around Evan (Ben Stiller), a Costco manager who has an unnerving amount of community spirit.  When he founds a neighborhood watch group to help solve the murder of a security guard at his store, he ends up with three eccentric new friends.  Bob is a perfect Vince Vaughn role, a sweetheart of a guy who has a strained relationship with his teenage daughter because of his overprotective nature.  Franklin (Jonah Hill) is a way-too-intense twenty-something who tried to become a cop but was rejected.  Finally, there's Jamarcus, played by Richard Ayoade, best known to American audiences from his role in "The IT Crowd."  Together, they spend a fair amount of the film screwing around and bonding over nonsense.  They are a joke to everyone else in the neighborhood, and for a while, the film just sort of ambles along, shaggy and silly and fun.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Rise of the Planet of the Apes&quot;</p>

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Apes,' 'Harry Potter,' 'Ghost Protocol' and 'Dragon Tattoo' win at the Saturn Awards

'Super 8' takes Best Director

The 38th annual Saturn Awards, recognizing achievement in genre filmmaking, were held this evening. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, " "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" won across the organization's three Best Film categories. "Super 8" also picked up a pair of statues, including Best Director. Check out the full set of winners below and look back on all the action of the film awards season at The Circuit.

Read Full Post
"Project Runway"

"Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'Candy Couture'

It's a candy challenge -- but some designs are downright distasteful

Time for the unconventional challenge! And possibly some drama. And some crying. But that's only if we believe the promo from last week, though I don't think all of that cray-cray will be coming at us right away. Still, I'd welcome some tears and hysteria, only because the unconventional challenge is so often miserable. We've gotten some miraculous outfits out of this one (I recall a pretty stunning plastic cup dress a while back), but mostly it's just torture -- for the designers as well as us. But let the week of stiff, weird, unwearable designs begin!

Read Full Post
<p>Parker Posey and Louis C.K. in &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Parker Posey and Louis C.K. in "Louie."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Louie' - 'Daddy's Girlfriend, Part 2'

It's a Parker Posey tour de force, as Louie's date doesn't go remotely as planned

A review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I pine for North Dakota...

Read Full Post
William Katt... errrrr... "Frank" of "Big Brother"
William Katt... errrrr... "Frank" of "Big Brother"
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Which hamster went home?

Who was Frank able to boot at the end of his HoH reign?

We're only two weeks into the "Big Brother" season, but thanks to the pre-game elimination of Jodi, Willie's borderline insanity and Kara's run-of-the-mill ousting, we're already three players down. If 21st Century William Katt Frank is able to complete his Head of Household reign by booting either Danielle or JoJo, we're going to have four players out in two weeks.

Does anybody else sense a "shocking" twist coming? Perhaps the shocking twist that we've all foreseen since the premiere?

Read Full Post
Watch: Pink goes arty for new video for 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)'
Credit: RCA

Watch: Pink goes arty for new video for 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)'

Love is tough business even in a beautiful setting

There’s no shortage of guys in Pink’s world. Finding quality ones can be a bit problematic though. In the video for “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” she goes through a few bad boys before finding the right one.

The Dave Meyers-directed clip opens like a French movie from the ‘50s.  Shot entirely in black and white, except for the red wine and an exploding heart at the end, the clip takes an arthouse approach to a song that is anything but arty. It’s an interesting contrast.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Heartless Bastards</p>

Heartless Bastards

Credit: Partisan

Song Of The Day: Heartless Bastards' summer fun 'Only For You' vid

Swim with all your pearls on

Heartless Bastards have a funny name when you consider how damn happy their childish "Only For You" music video is.

The track and the visuals are perfect comfort for those stuck in cubicle hell and conference calls. Why don't you just grab a bottle of wine and jump in a pool with all your clothes on?

Furthermore, it's confirmation that those who have bred curly-haired children are blessed for a lifetime: you're staring down an eternity of candy commercials and music videos where joy is aim.

It was shot in Dripping Springs, Texas and was helmed by Brad Beesley (Flaming Lips' "Fearless Freaks") and Louisiana Kreutz.

"Only For You" is off of Heartless Bastards' "Arrow," out via Partisan earlier this year.

Read Full Post
<p>Metallica&nbsp;</p>

Metallica 

Credit: AP Photo

Austin City Limits looks to expand to two weekends and other festival news

Set your 2013 for Lollapalooza and Metallica's Orion festival

 It looks like the Austin City Limits festival could follow Coachella’s lead and expand into two weekends as early as next year.

According to a report in the Austin American Statesman, ACL producer C3 is talking to the city of Austin about the expansion and is holding dates — Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13— for the 2013 edition that allow for the expansion. There’s report does not address whether ACL would attempt to have the same acts for both weekend, as Coachella did this year in its first year over two weekends, or will have different artists, in the style of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

This year’s ACL festival will be held at Zilker Park Oct. 12-14 and includes headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White and The Black Keys among its 130 acts.

C3, which produces Lollapalooza with Perry Farrell and William Morris Endeavor, has also announced the dates for the 2013 edition of Lollapalooza--before the 2012 festival even takes off.  Lollapalooza 2013 will take place Aug. 2-4 at Chicago’s Grant Park.

As you know, Coachella has already announced it 2013 dates: April 12-14 and April 19-21.

It’s all about C3 today because it looks like the other major festival the company produces, Metallica’s Orion Festival, will return for a second year next year after its inaugural run in June.  In a conference call for Outside Lands, which Metallica is headlining, drummer Lars Ulrich said that plans are already starting for Orion 2013. “We had a great experience in New Jersey and as we look to 2013, we’re definitely looking to keep it in New Jersey or to keep it on the East Coast,” according to Spin.
]
I talked to Ulrich about Orion right before the event took place for an article about the proliferation of artist-run festivals. Read the piece here.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Rihanna's &quot;Talk That Talk&quot;</p>

Rihanna's "Talk That Talk"

Credit: Def Jam

Early Grammy predictions for Album of the Year and Best New Artist

Who did I leave out? Frank Ocean makes both lists

When the Emmy nominations were handed down last Thursday, it started me thinking about the Grammy Awards. The year-long eligibility period doesn’t end  for another two months—until Sept. 30— but there are a number of fine titles already out that are serious contenders for album of the year.

Looking ahead, here are the top 10 albums released so far that could be in the running. I’m not including any sets coming out between now and the cut-off, but September is already stacked with some major names, including Bob Dylan, Pink, Mumford & Sons, Ne-Yo, Green Day, and Dave Matthews Band, who clearly could be contenders.

These are in alphabetical order by artist instead of by any kind of rank and are my educated guess based on Grammy watching, not necessarily my wish list. In recent years, the album of the year contenders have by and large dovetailed with the year’s top pop sellers and we’ve seen a move towards nominating titles by younger pop acts (The artists whose works were nominated for Grammy album of the year this year were all 25 and under other than the Foo Fighters). However, there’s still the likely nod to a veteran act whom the voters feel may not have previously gotten his or her due or for whom they hold great fondness. Additionally, there are occasional left field choices that no one can predict.

Fiona Apple, “The Idler Wheel...”:
Apple’s first set in several years was greeted in many quarters with devoted fanboy and fangirl praise and then it seems to have fallen out the larger collective mind fairly quickly. However, she has the kind of tortured artistry that Grammy voters like to reward.

Dr. John, “Locked Down”:
A critical rave, the album nicely blends  a heritage artist like Dr. John with a current hitmaker/tastemaker, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who pulls a delightful deftness out of Dr. John a.k.a. Mac Rebennack. Auerbach’s presence helped expose Dr. John to an audience whose parents may not have even been born when he scored his one and only Top 10 hit, “Right Place Wrong Time” in 1973.

Norah Jones, “Little Broken Hearts”:
Like a number of artists singled out in this list,  Jones took some adventurous turns with “Hearts,” pairing with Danger Mouse for a stunningly dark album full of gorgeous sonic and lyrical explorations.

Frank Ocean, “Channel Orange”
: Released to universally strong reviews, “Channel Orange” is an exceptionally intimate, interesting R&B album that appeals to a wide audience. Plus, Ocean’s story is a compelling one that complements, instead of overshadows, the music. If he can keep momentum going, he’s the closest thing to a sure bet for a nomination.

Bonnie Raitt, “Slipstream”:
Grammy favorite Raitt’s first album in seven years showcases her seemingly effortless guitar work as well as her always touching, raspy vocals. Every year, the Grammys look to honor veteran artist and she could fall into that slot, although even suggesting that she’s in any way a token nominee denigrates her great work on “Slipstream.”

Lionel Richie, “Tuskegee”:
It’s the feel-good story of the year. Richie is beloved and the album is the top-selling release of 2012 after One Direction’s “Up All Night.” Richie has a tremendous cross-section of Grammy voters that he could draw upon her: R&B and pop contingencies, the country crowd, and veterans. Then again, the album could fall through all the cracks. What will be really interesting is to see if “Tuskegee” gets a best country album nod.

Rihanna, “Talk That Talk”: The Grammys showed Ri-Ri love this year for “Loud” by providing the artist her first album-of-the-year nomination. “Talk” isn’t as strong as “Loud” and it’s hard to imagine an album-of-the-year winner with a song like “Birthday Cake” on it, but the strength of “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been” could propel it.

Bruce Springsteen, “Wrecking Ball”: As he did with “The Rising," The Boss taps into these troubled times and crafts an album full of what we need to hear, even if we don’t want to. Plus, the strength of a number of cuts, including “Rocky Ground,” “Jack of All Trades,” and “We Take Care of Our Own” are undeniable, even if the album as a whole is not consistently great.

Usher, “Looking 4 Myself”: Seven studio albums in, Usher released a tour de force that displayed a new maturity, without sacrificing his famous playful or sexy sides. He fearlessly incorporated other styles in a way that never felt forced or contrived, but instead seemed to be a natural evolution.

Jack White, “Blunderbuss”: Even if you’re not a huge fan of the music, his sincere, loving embrace of so many American music forms through his various projects makes it impossible not to be a fan of the person. Luckily, with his first solo project, White crafted an intriguing album that recalls an earlier, analog era filled with surprising pockets of sound around each corner. 

Best New Artist

I'll go into this more fully in a future posting, but the best new artist category has some clear frontrunners this year. Here are my best guesses for who will get a nod.

Alabama Shakes
.fun
Gotye
Carly Rae Jepsen
Frank Ocean

*UPDATE: BIllboard's Keith Caulfield just questioned how I could leave One Direction off this list. I can't. I don't think they'll win, but they absolutely should be one of the finalists for best new artist and I should have included them.

Who did I leave out? Which artist and albums are you rooting for?

Read Full Post
Watch: J.H. Wyman and Lance Reddick discuss the final season of 'Fringe'

Watch: J.H. Wyman and Lance Reddick discuss the final season of 'Fringe'

Which plotlines does the showrunner say definitely won't return?
SAN DIEGO - These are the last of my Comic-Con 2012 interviews from the "Fringe" press room.
 
You may already have noticed them on our video page, but I'm nesting them in this story, because I think they're both very good interviews.
 
Above, you'll see my conversation with solo showrunner J.H. Wyman. We have a good chat about how the show might have ended if FOX had asked them to do a 13-episode closer after Season 3 instead of after Season 4. I also like the part at the end where he discusses the plotlines that he knows the show won't be returning to in these last episodes. He didn't quite understand my question about harkening back to the pilot as they approach the finale, but that's OK. I think that some shows grow organically out of their pilots, while other shows just outgrow their pilots and move on. "Fringe" is in the latter category.
 
And below, you'll see my interview with Lance Reddick, in which he discusses his Comic-Con emotions and the specific kinds of roles he'll be looking for after "Fringe." He also talks a bit about what the final season will mean for his schedule, makeup-wise.
 
If you've missed them, you can also check out my Comic-Con interviews with Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv and John Noble.
 
"Fringe" will return to FOX on Friday, September 27, 2012.
Read Full Post
<p>Madonna</p>

Madonna

Credit: Ap Photo

Quick! Madonna's live concert starts streaming at 4:15 EDT/1:15 PDT today

Beam her into your home live from Paris

Quick. Head to your computers. In less than an hour, Madonna’s concert from Paris’ Olympia Theater will stream live via http://www.youtube.com/lovelivetv. We just got confirmation it is the full show  in an intimate club setting.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
"General Hospital" panel at press tour 2012

"General Hospital" panel at press tour 2012

Credit: ABC

Press Tour 2012: 'General Hospital' panel talks about surviving 'death row'

The forecast for soaps isn't great, but the stars remain hopeful

Things are looking, if not rosy, at least stable at ABC's daytime sudser "General Hospital" as the show enters it's 50th year. It's a nice change, according to star Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer). "I think we were all pretty emotional to get 24 [Emmy] nominations when we were so shaky a year ago… We've been living on death row."

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME