Latest Blog Posts

<p>Zac Efron in &quot;At Any Price.&quot;</p>

Zac Efron in "At Any Price."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Review: Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron defeat the dream in smart, muscular 'At Any Price'

Boos greeted Ramin Bahrani's unsubtle but gutsy film at first Venice screening

VENICE - "God, that was a lot of America," I heard an Italian critic remark to his companion as they slouched out of "At Any Price" at the Venice Film Festival earlier this evening. His tone did not convey great delight at this perceived abundance; perhaps he was among the few but unignorable critics heard lustily booing as the credits rolled on Bahrani's classically involving and unexpectedly robust drama of heartland morality spread thin amid the cornfields of Southern Iowa .

He wasn't wrong, however. America is an almost punitively dominant presence in "At Any Price": we're treated to a complete rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," sung in an assortment of isolated, unlovely voices, midway through the film, while the Red, White and Blue itself is a pronounced presence in many a composition, furling and flapping above characters' heads like a veritable reproach.

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<p>Clint Eastwood</p>

Clint Eastwood

Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Clint Eastwood to serve as 'mystery guest speaker' for Republican National Convention

What could it mean for his Oscar season hopes?

It had been rumored that the "mystery guest speaker" at the on-going Republican National Convention (which I've avoided like the plague, save for the inevitable Twitter eruptions over this or that nonsensical speech) would be Clint Eastwood. And today, CNN confirmed it.

My question is: why now?

Yeah, Eastwood backed Romney publicly earlier this month, just like he bumped his head and came out for Sarah Palin in 2008. He's long been considered more libertarian than conservative, though. And I've always liked that his work as a director has never seemed agenda-driven (even if I don't like a number of the films). Indeed, sometimes the art would paint a fuzzier portrait of the artist's political leanings. But I guess in the world of "mystery guest speakers" for such a thing, he makes sense.

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Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Academy changes original song rules again

Plus: Best Art Direction becomes Best Production Design

They just keep going back and forth on this. It really is time to let the category die its deserved death, but in any case, I'll just let the press release convey the news:

"The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has approved additional rules for the 85th Academy Awards. The most significant changes affect the Original Song category, in which there will now be five nominees.

"During the nominations process, all voting members of the Music Branch will receive a Reminder List of works submitted in the category and a DVD copy of the song clips. Members will be asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements in the category. The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award.

"Additionally, upon the recommendation from the Designers Branch (formerly the Art Directors Branch), the Art Direction award will be known as the Production Design award.

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One Direction sets November 13 release date for 'Take Me Home'
Credit: Columbia Records

One Direction sets November 13 release date for 'Take Me Home'

Check out the cover art

One Direction gave fans the big news that the British boy band would have a new album out in November, less than eight months after the release of “Up All Night.”

Now we have more details to share: “Take Me Home” will come out Nov. 13. For the project, the band worked with a number of collaborators from “Up All Night,” including Ed Sheeran and McFly’s Tom Fletcher. New partners include Dr. Luke, Shellback and Toby Gad.

First single, “Live While We’re Young,” will premiere on radio on Sept. 24 and will be available for purchase on Oct. 1.

We haven’t heard any music, but you have to admit, the cover art is adorable and very swoon-worthy if you’re a 13-year old girl.

The official cover art for One Direction's Take Me Home

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Watch: 2 Chainz and Kanye West bite into a 'Birthday Cake' in new video

Watch: 2 Chainz and Kanye West bite into a 'Birthday Cake' in new video

Miles and miles of booty await you

It would seem inconceivable, but “Birthday Cake” by 2 Chainz featuring Kanye West makes Sir Mix-a-Lot’s video for “Baby Got Back,” which similarly focuses on a woman’s behind, look tasteful.

[More after the jump...]

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Brandy works it on cover art for new album, 'Two Eleven'

Brandy works it on cover art for new album, 'Two Eleven'

Is she auditioning for '50 Shades of Grey?'

Brandy, you’re a fine girl. And it certainly shows in the artwork for your new album, “Two Eleven,” released today.

The standard and deluxe covers feature the same image of Brandy, who looks like a leather-clad glamazon with mile-long legs, a very toned belly, a ponytail that could serve as a whip, and an expression that tells us she is means all business.

The album includes “Put It Down”featuring Chris Brown, as well as new single, “Wildest Dreams. Among her collaborators on the album are TImbaland, Sean Garrett, Breyon Prescott, Danja, Jim Jonsin and Frank Ocean

“Two Eleven” comes out Ten Sixteen  (Oct 16). The album, by the way, takes its name from Brandy's birthday, Feb. 11.
Standard version:


Deluxe version:



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<p>Dave Eggers's artwork for the 39th annual Telluride Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Dave Eggers's artwork for the 39th annual Telluride Film Festival

Credit: Telluride Film Festival

'Frances Ha,' 'Hyde Park on Hudson' and more set for 39th Telluride Film Festival

Marion Cotillard, Roger Corman and Mads Mikkelsen will get tributes

MONTROSE, Colo. - I've just landed at the airport and gotten a look at the fresh-off-the-presses release announcing the line-up for the 39th annual Telluride Film Festival. As I await the shuttle into Telluride for my fourth-straight SHOW, and as many of my Los Angeles brethren board the charter flight into Montrose here, let's dig in and see what's in store.

As is custom, Telluride withholds its line-up until the day before the festival really kicks off, but in the weeks leading up to the fest, people are talking and titles start to trickle out. A number of films have been expected presentations for a while now. Some respect the festival's wishes and keep mum about it online. Others don't.

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We Built This: Dave Matthews Band's fans create video for 'Mercy'

We Built This: Dave Matthews Band's fans create video for 'Mercy'

How many fans sent in images?

What happens when you ask fans to collaborate on your new video by sending in photos and videos? You get a patchwork of images and a huge headache if you’re the editor. You also get a lot of people who came up with the exact same idea to visualize the song.

Dave Matthews Band’s video for “Mercy” may be the biggest crowd-sourced clip ever made. According to the clip, 14,334 fans contributed footage. The editor managed to find all 438 who drew hearts for the word “love,” and group many of the lipsyncers together.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>William Friedkin, seen here on the set of his latest movie 'Killer Joe,' has taken to Twitter like a duck to water.</p>

William Friedkin, seen here on the set of his latest movie 'Killer Joe,' has taken to Twitter like a duck to water.

Credit: LD Entertainment

The Vacation Read: Do filmmakers and social media make a good mix?

As studios begin to use social media to market movies, we look at one major change

Have you ever spoken to a filmmaker via Twitter?

When I was a kid, it was unthinkable to have unfettered access to someone who made a movie I loved.  If there had been a Twitter account for George Lucas, I shudder to think what kind of lunacy I'd have indulged.  These days, you see all sorts of filmmakers signing up for social media outlets that allow the public to speak directly to them in a way that is truly unprecedented.  There was one evening in particular recently where we all sort of simultaneously realized Billy Friedkin had signed up for Twitter, and it turned into a three or four hour free-for-all with people bombarding him with questions about everything from "Cruising" to "The Guardian" to "The Exorcist" to "Jade," and he answered everything with grace and charm.  It was amazing.

It also may have been contractually obligated.

Until I interviewed Derick Martini recently about his film "Hick" as part of the Motion/Captured Podcast, I had no idea companies were now including a social media clause as part of the standard filmmaker's contract.  When he told me, it blew my mind.  It seems counter-intuitive to me, since forcing someone to interact with the public rarely ends well.  Still, we are in a new age of how media works and how audiences interact with the media they consume, and so I guess things are going to evolve no matter what.

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"So You Think You Can Dance"

 "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: The top 8 perform and 2 more go home

'Modern Family' star Jesse Tyler Ferguson returns to judge

We're down to the top eight (the finale is just three weeks away) and it's getting harder and harder to see some of these dancers go. But go they must. The good news? With the herd having been thinned, we get to see a little more about each dancer -- and a little more dancing, too. Best news? Superfan Jesse Tyler Ferguson of "Modern Family" is back at the judges' table, and he's both funny AND a good judge. Good times!

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2012 MTV Video Music Awards Predictions

2012 MTV Video Music Awards Predictions

Who will take home a Moonman this year - and who should?

The winners of the MTV Video Music Awards always take a back seat to the stage antics and performances at the annual show, but there are a number of notable entries in this year’s contenders.

Drake and Rihanna lead the pack with five nominations each; Katy Perry has four, while Coldplay, M.I.A. and Watch The Throne (Jay-Z and Kanye West) have three nods each.

Though all eyes will be on Chris Brown and Drake to see if they have an on-air altercation over Rihanna, there will also be performances from Frank Ocean, Rihanna, Pink, Green Day, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, and One Direction.

Winners are selected by the fans, who can vote as many times as they’d like during the eligibility period, so our predictions took that into account.

This year’s VMAs, hosted by Kevin Hart, will air live Sept. 6 on MTV.

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"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Can Dan get himself off the block?

With two POVs and flip-flopping alliances, anything is possible

So, as we head into yet another labyrinthine maze of backstabbing and trash talking, the game stands at Dan and Danielle perched precariously on the block, with Dan being Frank's main target. This should be pretty cut and dried, right? I mean, the whole game can't be turned upside down in a matter of days, can it? Like, Dan should just pack his stuff and look for his hair gel. Or not. This season seems to be a lot twistier than any other in recent memory, and alliances come together and crumble in the space of a single episode. Heck, we've had alliances on top of secret alliances, which is making "Big Brother" feel a little like a low I.Q. Roman play. Et tu, Dan?

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