Latest Blog Posts

<p>Ray Romano, seen here on &quot;Men of a Certain Age,&quot;&nbsp;will be doing a guest arc on &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Ray Romano, seen here on "Men of a Certain Age," will be doing a guest arc on "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

Ray Romano to do 'Parenthood' guest arc

Can the sitcom star woo Lauren Graham away from Jason Ritter?

I was in the middle of writing a paragraph for an upcoming story about how "Parenthood" requires versatile actors to bridge the gap between its dramatic moments and its comic ones, and was citing Lauren Graham as an example of a castmember who exemplifies that versatility. And as I was writing it, news broke that she's about to get a chance to work opposite another actor who can work both silly and dark.

Ray Romano will do a guest arc in the NBC drama's upcoming fourth season, playing a photographer who befriends Graham's Sarah Braverman and complicates her relationship with Jason Ritter's Mark Cyr. When the third season ended, Sarah had accepted Mark's marriage proposal, but things in real life were more ambiguous because Ritter was starring in a medical drama pilot for "Parenthood" producer Jason Katims. That show wasn't picked up, but Sarah can apparently never have smooth sailing in her love life. (And often winds up next to men who aren't close to her in age: Romano's 10 years older, and Ritter 13 years younger.)

Romano is, of course, best known for starring in "Everybody Loves Raymond," but through two seasons of TNT's brilliant-but-canceled "Men of a Certain Age," he got to demonstrate some impressive (and, to many viewers, surprising) dramatic chops playing a self-destructive gambling addict, while still deftly handling any jokes thrown his way. I'm not sure I need more Sarah romantic drama, but I love the idea of Romano being part of a show like "Parenthood" for a while.

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<p>Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop in &quot;Bunheads.&quot;</p>

Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop in "Bunheads."

Credit: ABC Family

Review: 'Bunheads' - 'For Fanny'

Fanny plans a memorial, the girls play hooky, and Michelle finds a reason to stay

A review of last night's "Bunheads" coming up just as soon as I have a coupon to hire the Intrepid...

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<p>&quot;The Newsroom&quot;&nbsp;creator Aaron Sorkin.</p>

"The Newsroom" creator Aaron Sorkin.

Credit: HBO

'The Newsroom' creator Aaron Sorkin on Keith Olbermann and his return to TV

Why does the 'West Wing' vet want to tell stories set in the real world this time?

Aaron Sorkin loves television.

Though his career began as a playwright, though he has had a lot of success in writing for movies (including an Oscar for "The Social Network," a nominated script for "Moneyball" and an upcoming job writing a Steve Jobs biography), he keeps coming back to television — to write both for and about it.
 
His first series was the ABC dramedy "Sports Night," about a fictional rival to ESPN, the lives of the staff and what went into putting together a broadcast every night. His biggest TV hit, "The West Wing," wasn't about television — was, in fact, designed to show you the moments in between the moments that political junkies see on television — but his follow-up series, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," went back to the "Sports Night" model as it depicted life behind the scenes of a long-running sketch comedy show.
 
"Studio 60" suffered from a variety of problems and was gone after only a season, but Sorkin is once again revisiting his favorite medium and favorite subject matter with "The Newsroom," a new HBO drama that debuts on Sunday at 10 p.m.
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<p>Daniel Craig in &quot;Casino Royale,&quot; costumed by Lindy Hemming.</p>

Daniel Craig in "Casino Royale," costumed by Lindy Hemming.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tech Support: Lindy Hemming on dressing Bond... and Bane

The Oscar-winning costume designer is curating a London exhibition of 007 threads

Lindy Hemming -- who surely has the best name ever for a costume designer -- may have won an Oscar over 12 years ago for the fussy Victorian finery of Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy," but the Welsh-born veteran's reputation these days rests on decidedly more modern-day gear. It may not be as Academy-friendly a niche, but Hemming has become something of an expert in the art of dressing the action hero -- or even, in one very famous case, the superhero.

Hemming is the woman who saw James Bond through two contemporary redesigns: boarding the franchise with Pierce Brosnan on 1995's "GoldenEye," she also clothed the character's rougher reincarnation as Daniel Craig in 2006's "Casino Royale." She's also responsible for Lara Croft's painted-on silver bodysuits in the "Tomb Raider" films, and did wardrobe duty on one of "Harry Potter" films.

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<p>Philip Seymour Hoffman is front and center in the second trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'</p>

Philip Seymour Hoffman is front and center in the second trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Master' gets a second trailer and a better look at Philip Seymour Hoffman

Paul Thomas Anderson's new film is running the year's most interesting campaign

Okay, now I fully believe that Paul Thomas Anderson is a sadist.

How else do you explain his decision to start dropping these tantalizing clues about his new film "The Master" when we've still got months and months until we actually see the thing?

"Why all the skulking and sneaking?"

When I was at Cannes, the first teaser was released, and that night, I went to the presentation that the Weinstein Company held, where they showed us a much longer trailer.  I transcribed that entire footage reel in the article I published that night, and this new trailer features some of that material as well as footage that wasn't part of it at all.  This new stuff makes a really strong case for this as something special, and I find myself excited because of how much it looks like it fits with Anderson's other films, about unconventional groups that form around charismatic centers, about these charming monsters.  And if that's what Hoffman's playing, that sounds like it's going to fit him like a glove.

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Watch: 'Brave' star Kelly Macdonald discusses her plucky Pixar heroine

Watch: 'Brave' star Kelly Macdonald discusses her plucky Pixar heroine

Is her 'Boardwalk Empire' character beginning to emulate Merida?
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Leave aside the prospect of Oscars or overflowing box office coffers. Pixar's latest feature, "Brave," will have fulfilled its destiny if children across the United States begin to inject Scottish accents into their playground adventures.
 
Sure to be leading that charge will be destiny-defying red-headed firebrand Merida, who is the first female focal protagonist in a Pixar film. An ace archer, Merida resists her mother's entreaties that she tame her unruly hair, set aside her beloved bow and accept responsibility, adulthood and marriage.
 
Much of Merida's spirit comes from her determined eyes and a fiery mane that took Pixar years to develop, but it would be hard to undersell the value of the vocal contribution from Glasgow-born Kelly Macdonald, who wins audience adoration with every exasperated grunt, spunky exclamation and crisply delivered zinger. 
 
In live action form, Macdonald has been embodying feisty heroines dating back to 1996's "Trainspotting" and following through features like "Gosford Park" and superb TV work like "State of Play," an Emmy-winning turn in "The Girl in the Cafe" and her current Emmy nominated role on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."
 
And, in person, Macdonald is every bit as feisty. 
 
At Disney and Pixar's junket for "Brave" in Edinburgh, Scotland, I sat down with Macdonald and we discussed Merida's place among Pixar protagonists, what aspects of Teenage Kelly made it into Merida's voice and whether, in the upcoming third season of "Boardwalk Empire," Margaret Schroeder finally gets to become a little Merida. 
 
As the stand-up introduction to this interview indicates, I've got a lot of "Brave" interviews coming over the next few days. After Macdonald, I'll have interviews with co-star Kevin McKidd, Pixar chief John Lasseter, and director Mark Andrews & producer Katherine Sarafian. And, you got a snippet of this in the intro, I'll probably be posting a really embarrassing video of my attempts to master archery, Merida style. 
 
"Brave" opens on Friday, June 22.
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<p>George Lazenby only made one film as James Bond, but maybe he would have hung around longer if it didn't look like such abject misery to be on that set.</p>

George Lazenby only made one film as James Bond, but maybe he would have hung around longer if it didn't look like such abject misery to be on that set.

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

James Bond Declassified: File #6 - 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' changes everything

Would this have been the best Bond ever with Connery playing the part?

JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
FILE #6: "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"


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 Peter Hunt
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum
Produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli

CHARACTERS / CAST

James Bond / George Lazenby
Countess Tracy di Vicenzo / Diana Rigg
Ernst Stavro Blofeld / Telly Savalas
Marc-Ange Draco / Gabriele Ferzetti
Irma Bunt / Ilse Steppat
Sir Hilary Bray / George Baker
Grunther / Yuri Borienko
Shaun Campbell / Bernard Horsfall
M / Bernard Lee
Q / Desmond Llewellyn
Miss Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Ruby / Angela Scoular

CREDITS SEQUENCE

Full Orchestra Sting.  The familiar "DAH-DAH, dah! DAH-DAH, dah! DAH DAH DAH DAH!"

HARRY SALTZMAN and ALBERT R. BROCCOLI Present

Then the rest of the theme kicks in, swinging and a little bit tweaked, like it's being played on a Moog harpsichord.  Lazenby walks in and the gun barrel follows, taking his time, and when he turns suddenly to fire, he drops to one knee.  It's him making that moment his with a new move.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 135

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 135

Dan and Alan talk 'Newsroom,' plus finales for 'Girls' and 'The Killing'

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. It's time for a slightly late-day installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Sepinwall realized that we hadn't watched "Wilfred," which FX is previewing this Thursday, before it moves to its regular time period the following week, so we plowed through some screeners to set up some less-than-thrilling "Wilfred" discussion.
 
Fortunately, things were much more engaged for our review of Aaron Sorkin's "Newsroom," as well as the finales of "Girls" and "The Killing."
 
And without further ado... Allison Williams eating cake.
 
Here's today's breakdown:
"Wilfred" (00:01:00 - 00:11:10)
"The Newsroom" (00:11:15 - 00:35:20)
"Veep" finale (00:35:25 - 00:43:00)
"Girls" finale (00:43:00 - 00:57:15)
"Killing" finale (00:57:15 - 01:19:50)
"Buffy" (01:20:10 - 01:30:35)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 135: 'The Newsroom,' 'Wilfred,' 'The Killing' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 135: 'The Newsroom,' 'Wilfred,' 'The Killing' & more

Dan and Alan also break down the finales of 'Girls' and 'Veep,' and talk more about 'Buffy'

The

Lots of finale talk on this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as we break down the recent conclusions of "The Killing," "Girls" (and here's a link to the Allison Williams .gif we discuss during that segment) and "Veep," but before that we have to check in on "Wilfred" season 2, and also spend quite a while discussing our concerns about Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom."  Also, after a few weeks of duds, we get another good "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode to discuss.

The line-up: 

"Wilfred" (00:01:00 - 00:11:10)
"The Newsroom" (00:11:15 - 00:35:20)
"Veep" finale (00:35:25 - 00:43:00)
"Girls" finale (00:43:00 - 00:57:15)
"Killing" finale (00:57:15 - 01:19:50)
"Buffy" (01:20:10 - 01:30:35)
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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Album Review: Will you 'Believe' in Justin Bieber's new album?
Credit: Island Records

Album Review: Will you 'Believe' in Justin Bieber's new album?

Is he still a boy, not yet a man, on new set?

Justin Bieber finds himself at an important, but tricky, intersection with his new studio album, “Believe,” out June 19. Now 18, can Bieber transition from his teen idol status to an artist that transcends that nearly  unbreachable hurdle?

It’s unclear on the mixed-bag “Believe,” a 16-track collection that takes a certain scatter shot, cut-and-paste musical approach. It’s like that saying about the weather: if you don’t like it, stick around for five minutes and it will change:  If you don’t like it when Bieber delves into electroclash as he does on “All Around the World,” then wait a few minutes and he’ll be imitating his retro soul musical heroes on the Motown-inspired “Die In Your Arms” or taking the listener to church on the title track. “Believe” is an album for those with short-attention-spans, i.e., anyone under 21. In fact, it would be fascinating to see if his fans can even digest the whole set in one sitting. Probably not.

Bieber is in the dream business: he wants to love you and support you and remind you that you’d be nothing “if your heart didn’t dream/if you didn’t believe.” R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” has nothing on Bieber’s positivity. And that’s not meant as a bad thing. In a craven world, Bieber remains overtly non-cynical.

Pivoting around themes that strike a direct bulls-eye into the heart of his tween/teen female fanbase—almost every song is based on love and infatuation, Bieber continues to have A-List rappers on speed dial, all of whom seem only too happy to pair with the Biebs. On this album alone, Ludacris, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Big Sean show up, but they add nothing other than their name value.

Instead, “Believe” is about showcasing Bieber as a singer. He positively croons on sweet, gentle, mid-tempo R&B ballad “Catching Feelings.”

 There’s the obvious comparison to be made with the other Justin— Timberlake—who, himself, extremely successfully transitioned from pop star to highly respected artist before pretty much abandoning music to focus on acting and other endeavors. Bieber, while no slouch, doesn’t have Timberlake’s vocal talent but he surpasses Timberlake in the vital ambition department. For anyone who follows Bieber on Twitter, being Bieber is a 24/7 job. No artist has ever tried so hard to stay in constant touch with his millions of fans and let them know how much he appreciates them.

There’s some delicacy here that Bieber dances through beautifully, to his credit. He may have come of age, but many of his fans are much younger, and he wisely knows that indulging in the raunch that even artists only a few years older, like Rihanna, routinely turn to is a one-way trip to Nowheresville at this stage. To that end, the album is G-rated from start to finish, without ever seeming Disney-fied. That is a noteworthy feat in and of itself. Even on “One Love,” in which he declares he wants to “lie down beside you,” he pledges fidelity.

Bieber’s greatest assets are his likability, his musical curiosity and his almost preternatural ability to balance being a regular teen with the pressures and responsibilities that come with being a multi-million dollar enterprise. The only time Bieber ever addresses such conflicts is on closing track “Maria,” a direct response to the woman who accused Bieber of fathering her child last year. The thumper, which sounds like a companion to his hero Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” or “Dirty Diana,” is one of the most interesting musically on the album in part because it’s clear that the incident, understandably, really riled Bieber. There’s a bite to the song that no other material on “Believe” possesses.

For all his rampant popularity (his upcoming tour was a quick sell out) radio has been a little fickle with Bieber. He has yet to score a No. 1 single (contrast that with Rihanna, who has 22 top 10 hits). “Boyfriend” made some headway, but only with a with his label mightily pushing that rock uphill. “Believe” seems to acknowledge that gap between his massive fan base and radio play by containing tunes that would fit right in with current radio playlists, but doesn’t pander to them.

Bieber’s voice is now recognizable, but the problem with “Believe” is too many of the songs sound generic, as if they come from the same music factory pumping out every song on the radio today, except for “Somebody That I Used To Know” or “We Are Young.”  Every tune is catchy, but not particularly memorable. There’s nothing on here that comes close to the earworm-ability of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen (who is now signed to Bieber’s manager’s label).  Bieber is great at selling sincerity, emotion and inspiration. Now he just needs to work on getting some great hooks.

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<p>Cat Power's &quot;Sun&quot;</p>

Cat Power's "Sun"

Credit: Matador

Listen: Cat Power returns with 'Ruin' from her first new album in six years

A travel song, post-break-up

The wait for a new Cat Power record was, in part, due to a relationship and a break-up, but fans' first taste of Chan Marshall's next "Sun" is more about travel than anything.

"Ruin" bops along to the sounds of the various countries to which Marshall's travel -- not the native styles of music, mind you, but the actual names of the countries. Can't say I'm wild about the silly over-pronunciations of said countries, like Meh-heeko and Great Breht-ahn, but it's a driving, cool-eyed song with a undeniable refrain.

Cat Power played all the instruments on "Sun," and produced it herself too. Which is always impressive. She and her mixer  kinda pulls the whole thing on "Ruin" back a bit much (around the 2:15 mark) but damn if she didn't do a nice job driving the whole jangly, piano-rocking thing.

"Sun," as previously reported, arrives on Sept. 4 via Matador. It's the follow-up to 2008's covers set "Jukebox" and the first set of originals since 2006's "The Greatest." Marshall explained to the Stool Pigeon recently that the wait was because she was working hard at making her relationship with her boyfriend -- now ex-boyfriend and actor Giovanni Ribisi -- work. But a woman who changes her hair changes her life: after years of also dabbling on the record, she split, three days later cut her hair mad short, and then went to France to finish this album.

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<p>They can remake the 'Twilight' films if they want, but they'll never top the sheer comedy genius that this image suggests.</p>

They can remake the 'Twilight' films if they want, but they'll never top the sheer comedy genius that this image suggests.

Credit: Lionsgate/Summit

Lionsgate says they don't plan to remake 'Twilight,' but is this a sign of the future?

Franchise filmmaking hasn't reached its lowest point yet, but it could soon

Here's how you know "Twilight" is a giant pop culture phenomenon:  even the denial of a story about the series becomes a headline across the entire Internet.

Bloody-Disgusting ran a story over the weekend saying that Lionsgate has begun having internal conversations about the idea of rebooting "Twilight."  Considering they haven't even released "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II" yet, it seems premature to start having these conversations, but that would suggest that there is some sense of logic or rational behavior that drives the decision-making process in Hollywood.  Lionsgate has denied the report, of course, but it makes sense.

Here's the cold hard truth.  "Twilight" is giant business, and one of the reasons Summit was such an attractive purchase for Lionsgate this past January is because they own the "Twilight" franchise.  While Open Road Films certainly hopes to have a success on the same scale with their upcoming adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer novel "The Host," my guess is that lightning will not be striking twice.  With nothing else to sell, Meyer has pretty much reached the end of her commercial lifespan unless she finds a new way to exploit Edward, Bella, Jacob and the rest.

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