Latest Blog Posts

<p>Looking at this image, it's obvious that 'Looper' is a quiet romantic drama about Bruce Willis living an uneventful life with his wife in China, and absolutely nothing goes wrong to ruin that. Ahem.</p>

Looking at this image, it's obvious that 'Looper' is a quiet romantic drama about Bruce Willis living an uneventful life with his wife in China, and absolutely nothing goes wrong to ruin that. Ahem.

Credit: Tri-Star Pictures

A phone call from Bruce Willis covers 'Looper,' '12 Monkeys,' and even 'Death Becomes Her'

An unexpected pleasure turns out to be one of highlights of the week

I get the feeling no one wrangles Bruce Willis.

Most of the time when a publicist wants to organize an interview, everything is rigorously scheduled.  I've had several phone interviews this week, and in every case, there has been a flurry of e-mails and phone calls ahead of time to pin things down, including in almost every case a pre-call call just to make sure I'm really where I'm supposed to be and the conversation is really going to happen.

I got an e-mail from Sony asking if I'd be interested in talking to Bruce Willis about "Looper," and the answer to any query about whether or not you want to talk to Bruce Willis is, of course, "yes."  I sent back my affirmation and then waited for a follow-up.

A full day and a half later, my phone rang, and I answered, right in the middle of trying to talk my kids into putting on pants.  It was post-school, and they have recently decided on an all-underwear policy when they're relaxing after school, something I'm trying to discourage.  In the middle of a debate that largely consisted of me saying things like, "I don't know why! You just need pants!", I picked up the phone, distracted and not expecting anyone in particular.

"Hi.  Is this Drew?"

"Yes."

"Hi, Drew.  This is Bruce Willis."

Read Full Post
Winona Ryder

 Winona Ryder

Credit: HitFix

Watch: 'Frankenweenie''s Winona Ryder talks about a comeback

'The Iceman' star says of Hollywood, 'if you have three years, you're lucky'
It seemed as if Winona Ryder, a two-time Oscar nominee (1993's "The Age of Innocence" and 1994's "Little Women") had turned her back on Hollywood -- that is, until a star turn in 2010's "Black Swan." This year her old partner in crime, Tim Burton (who cast her in "Beetlejuice") has lured her back to the big screen yet again for the animated "Frankenweenie." It's not hard to figure out how Burton did it -- as Ryder herself admitted, she owes him one. 
Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;X Factor&quot; judges welcome contestants to Boot Camp</p>

The "X Factor" judges welcome contestants to Boot Camp

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Wednesday - Boot Camp #1

We're done with auditions... On to the madness of boot camp

Farewell, "X Factor" auditions. We had some fun with you, but it's finally time to move on to something else. Anything else.

It's time for Boot Camp, which would be a lot like Hollywood Week on "American Idol," except that it's in Miami and, therefore, is completely different.

Wednesday's (October 3) episode is only an hour because of the debate, so let's get down to the business of singing!

Read Full Post
<p>Golden Globe Best Picture nominee &quot;Burlesque&quot; -- a rare anti-consensus precursor pick.</p>

Golden Globe Best Picture nominee "Burlesque" -- a rare anti-consensus precursor pick.

Credit: Screen Gems

The Long Shot: Free to be... you and me

Why other awards should welcome the Academy's calendar shift

When the Academy announced a fortnight ago that they were pulling next year's Oscar nominations announcement a full five days forward from the initially scheduled date, you'd have been forgiven for thinking -- from the howls of anguished confusion, rippled with the odd delighted cackle, across the Oscar blogosphere -- that they'd instead ruled all non-3D features ineligible for awards, or at least appointed James Franco the ceremony's solo host.

Some pundits' sense of disorientation was guilelessly geeky: We'll now know the Oscar slate for Best Film Editing before we do the Eddie nominees? Sacre bleu! Others, however, responded in a more conspiracy-minded fashion, sensing in the shift an open hostility to subordinate awards-season events. The rather specious explanation offered by the Academy for the move was that it was to allow voters more time to see the nominated films -- that it simultaneously allows them less time to see the far larger pool of films hunting for nominations was left tactfully unsaid.

Read Full Post
<p>Jason Aldean</p>

Jason Aldean

Credit: AP Photo

What politicians could learn from Jason Aldean and Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl

Swift explanations strike the perfect tone

In the last few days, the music world has had two episodes—one personal with Jason Aldean and one professional with the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl—that were dealt with directly and swiftly. As we head into the first presidential debate tonight, it seems to me that our politicians could learn a lot from how these issues were handled.  In both cases, the artists acknowledged how important their voters, I mean fans, were to them and addressed the issues with clarity and, above all, honesty.

We’ll take the thornier one first. As Hitfix readers know, we don’t traffic in gossip, so we stayed away from reporting about country superstar Jason Aldean’s “run-in” with a woman at a bar in Los Angeles. But as you’ve probably seen by now,  bright and early Sunday morning, photos of Aldean and former “American Idol” contestant Brittany Kerr appeared on TMZ. To use a beloved tabloid term, the two appeared to be “canoodling” just slightly more innocently than the level of the Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders. There were plenty of photos to incriminate Aldean, a married man, for acting inappropriately.

Within hours of the photos first surfacing, Aldean, who has a new album coming out Oct. 16, responded via Twitter and his FB page:

“I wanted to talk to you directly, so you were hearing the truth from me and not just reading allegations made about my personal life on gossip websites. The truth is that I screwed up. I had too much to drink, let the party get out of hand and acted inappropriately at a bar,” Aldean wrote. “I left alone, caught the bus to our next show, and that’s the end of the story. I ultimately ended up embarrassing my family and myself. I’m not perfect, and I’m sorry for disappointing you guys. I really appreciate being able to work through this privately with my family and for all your continued support.”

Here’s what Aldean did right:


*He tweeted the message instead of having it sent through his publicist, which, even though she undoubtedly held his hand in the process, gave it the feel that he was speaking directly to his fans, which is very important to country music fans who value the direct connect with artists.

*He owned up to his mistake without assigning blame to the photographers or Kerr or anyone else. He doesn’t say his actions were misinterpreted, nor does he feel any need to over explain. He takes responsibility and does not pass the buck.

*He stopped any potential rumors over whether their dalliance continued after he left the bar by stressing he left alone, etc... (of course, now he has a big old bullseye on his back and heaven help him if it comes out this was more than an isolated incident or there is more to this particular story).

*He apologizes without groveling to his fans,  many of whom, according to message boards, seem all to willing to give him a pass and brand Kerr as a “slut” and “homewrecker.”  He also mentions his family, but doesn’t apologize to them publicly as Stewart did to Rob Pattinson in her heartfelt, but cringeworthy, statement.

On Saturday, while playing the Global Citizen Festival in New York with his band the Foo Fighters,  Grohl struck terror in the heart of the band’s fans when he announced from the stage that the band had no shows planned after this and “I don’t know when we’re gonna do it again.”  Grohl said something similar when playing a U.K. festival this summer, but it didn’t set off the same panic.

Tuesday, aware that many fans wanted some clarification, Grohl’s publicist sent out a letter from him, which we originally ran yesterday.

Hey everyone...
 
    Dave here. Just wanted to write and thank you all again from the bottom of my heart for another incredible year. (Our 18th, to be exact!) We truly never could have done any of this without you...
 
    Never in my wildest dreams did I think Foo Fighters would make it this far. I never thought we COULD make it this far, to be honest. There were times when I didn't think the band would survive. There were times when I wanted to give up. But... I can't give up this band. And I never will. Because it's not just a band to me. It's my life. It's my family. It's my world.
 
    Yes... I was serious. I'm not sure when the Foo Fighters are going to play again. It feels strange to say that, but it's a good thing for all of us to go away for a while. It's one of the reasons we're still here. Make sense? I never want to NOT be in this band. So, sometimes it's good to just... put it back in the garage for a while...
 
    But, no gold watches or vacations just yet... I'll be focusing all of my energy on finishing up my Sound City documentary film and album for worldwide release in the very near future. A year in the making, it could be the biggest, most important project I've ever worked on. Get ready... it's coming.
 
Me, Taylor, Nate, Pat, Chris, and Rami... I'm sure we'll all see you out there... somewhere...
 
   Thank you, thank you, thank you...
 
   Dave

 

Here’s what Grohl did right:

*He thanks his fans in a way that is genuine...repeatedly.

*He assures the fans that this is a hiatus, not an end. He doesn’t have much more to say than he did on Saturday, other than to say that the Foo Fighters are “my life.” It’s nice to hear that a band means as much to the artist as it does to the fans. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way.

*He reassures, but doesn’t make any promises he can’t keep. Fans are no closer to knowing when they will get new music, if ever, from the Foo Fighters.  There’s ambiguity and the fans have to live with that, but there’s also not the feeling that he’s leaving something left unsaid.

*Fans know where to find him. During the hiatus, he’ll be working hard on the documentary. He’s not disappearing.

Both of these statements could pass factcheck.org’s honest test.

As far as the latest dust-up between “American Idol” judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, we’ll leave that one to Nigel Lythgoe to figure out.


 

Read Full Post
<p>I&nbsp;cannot begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to Jason Statham's southern accent in 'Parker'</p>

I cannot begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to Jason Statham's southern accent in 'Parker'

Credit: FilmDistrict

Watch: Jason Statham follows in the footsteps of Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson in 'Parker'

Could the glib crime caper turn out to be Jennifer Lopez's sweet spot?

Richard Stark wrote 24 novels about Parker, and yet we've got no less than three film versions of the first book now, including Taylor Hackford's "Parker," where Jason Statham will step into the shoes once filled by both Lee Marvin ("Point Blank") and Mel Gibson ("Payback") in previous adaptations.

At some point, I'd love to hear the story of why this one particular novel keeps getting adapted while the rest of the series, which contains some truly remarkable books, has yet to really be mined as source material.  Sure, Godard adapted one of the books loosely as "Made In USA" in the '60s, and there was another French film called "Mise a Sac" that used "The Score" as source material, also in the '60s.  Jim Brown played a renamed version of Parker in "The Split," and Robert Duvall played a renamed Parker in "The Outfit".  But we're talking about 24 books, and just a handful of movies.  That's crazy.

Read Full Post
<p>Rob and Sheila of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Rob and Sheila of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Rob & Sheila talk 'The Amazing Race'

It was so close, yet so far for the lumberjack and his bride-to-be
Fifteen seconds.
 
Fans of "The Amazing Race" never got much of a chance to know competitive lumberjack champion Rob Scheer and bride-to-be Sheila Castle.
 
Fifteen seconds. 
 
That was all that separated Rob & Sheila from a potentially longer tenure on the Race. 
 
Rob & Sheila successfully weathered a pair of Roadblocks, but the task of finding a lady with an abacus on Shanghai's Bund proved frustrating. Still, they had the clue and nearly made it to Phil Keoghan in next-to-last position, only to get run down from behind by Chippendales Dancers Jaymes & James. 
 
Fifteen seconds. 
 
In the season's first "Amazing Race" exit interview, Rob and Sheila discuss the disappointment of their brief time on the show, why finding a lady with  an abacus was so hard and what frog fallopian tubes taste like.
 
Click through...
 
Read Full Post
<p>Halle Berry does terrible things in one of the segments from the new comedy anthology film 'Movie 43'</p>

Halle Berry does terrible things in one of the segments from the new comedy anthology film 'Movie 43'

Credit: Relativity Media

Watch: 'Movie 43' features an all-star cast and seems determined to offend

A very not-safe-for-work trailer finally gives us our first look at the anthology comedy

I'm still not sure what to make of the title, but the trailer for "Movie 43" makes it look very slick and wildly offensive, and I'll admit that much of what I saw made me laugh.

The very, very, very red band trailer for the movie showed up today on the Comedy Central website, and just looking at the trailer, you can tell this has been kicking around for a while. It filmed in 2010 and is the work of a whole group of directors.  Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk and Brett Ratner all contributed to the picture, which was written by Steve Baker, Will Carlough, Patrik Forsberg, Matt Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, and Jeremy Sosenko. 

Read Full Post
<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Credit: AP Photo

Does Maroon 5's 'One More Night' hold off Psy's 'Gangnam Style' one more week?

It's a close race on the Billboard Hot 100

Maroon 5’s “One More Night” squeaks by Psy’s surging “Gangnam Style” to spend its third week atop the Billboard Hot 100.

In the closest race for the top spot since February, “One More Night” grabs the crown because of its radio play and streaming, although “Gangnam Style” outsold “One More Night” by almost 100,000 digital downloads. The Hot 100 combines airplay, streaming, and digital sales.

That’s not the only excitement on the chart: Taylor Swift’s “Begin Again,” the second track she’s released from her forthcoming album, “Red,” blasts onto the Hot 100 at No. 7, making it the highest debut by a female since Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” entered the chart at No. 1 in March, according to Billboard.  The first single from “Red,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” spent three weeks at No. 1.

Otherwise, things remain fairly static on the Top 10. Fun.’s “Some Nights” remains at No. 3, Swift’s “Never” at No. 4 and Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” at No. 5.

Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean rises 7-6. Flo Rida’s “Whistle” drops 6-8, Alex Clare’s “Too Close” holds at No. 9 and Owl City/Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time” falls 8-10.

Outside the Top 10, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” enters at No. 13, while Rihanna’s “Diamond’s” starts its chart run at No. 16.

Read Full Post
<p>Richard Linklater (left), Scott Rudin (center)&nbsp;and Jack Black (right) on the set of &quot;School of Rock&quot;</p>

Richard Linklater (left), Scott Rudin (center) and Jack Black (right) on the set of "School of Rock"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Jack Black and Richard Linklater on the 'arranged marriage' of 'School of Rock'

And are we ready for 'School of Jazz?'

Yesterday I sat down with "Bernie" star Jack Black and director Richard Linklater to talk about their latest collaboration, which was critically acclaimed upon release but, as early releases tend to do, faded a bit as the season's big efforts took hold. But Millennium Entertainment is trying to stir a little consideration where it can, bringing the two to New York for a SoHo Apple Store conversation on Monday followed by a late-night soiree at Merc Bar downtown.

"Bernie" marks the second collaboration for Black and Linklater after 2003's "School of Rock." But, despite the fact that, as noted yesterday, Black really responded to Linklater's work as an independent filmmaker, he didn't really think of him for the film (which was written by his friend Mike White, who also stars). It was, in fact, the "stroke of brilliance" from a well-known producer that put the project together with the filmmaker, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Read Full Post
<p>Denzel&nbsp;Washington in &quot;Flight&quot;</p>

Denzel Washington in "Flight"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Exclusive: Denzel Washington takes 'Flight' in the poster for Robert Zemeckis's latest

The film will close out the New York Film Festival next week

Is Robert Zemeckis's return to live-action filmmaking a triumph? Is Denzel Washington a new, formidable contender in the ever-competitive Best Actor race? Did the New York Film Festival go out with a bang? Those are all questions that will be answered when the 50th annual fest comes to a close on October 14 with the gala presentation of Zemeckis's "Flight."

Read Full Post
<p>Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp have the Herculean task of making Westerns cool to young audiences in next summer's 'The Lone Ranger'</p>

Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp have the Herculean task of making Westerns cool to young audiences in next summer's 'The Lone Ranger'

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Watch: Johnny Depp gets serious for action-heavy 'Lone Ranger' trailer

Can Disney make Westerns as cool as they made pirate films?

Hi-yo, Silver, indeed.

Disney is betting big on "The Lone Ranger" for next summer, and based on the first trailer that just premiered on "The Tonight Show" when Armie Hammer appeared last night, they're sparing no expense in an effort to make this work.

Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp made Disney a mountain of cash, something like three billion dollars over the course of three films together.  I wonder how much longer Verbinski is going to make this sort of film, this scale of film.  I think he's got a real voice as a filmmaker, and I want to see him try his hand at the esoteric, the small, the personal.

That's not to say this is purely going to be an empty experience, though. I like the opening narration in the trailer, someone talking about the change that the railroad is going to bring to the west.  I like that Verbinski is building this lush, opulent world and contrasting it with what looks like fairly classic Western movie imagery.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME