Latest Blog Posts

<p>Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker in &quot;Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23.&quot;</p>

Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker in "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23' & 'Suburgatory'

The Alicia Silverstone arc is dragging down 'Suburgatory,' while June and Chloe make jam

It's morning round-up time, with quick thoughts on last night's "Suburgatory" and "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" coming up just as soon as I box weave you a noose...

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<p>Micheal Ealy and Warren Kole in &quot;Common Law.&quot;</p>

Micheal Ealy and Warren Kole in "Common Law."

Credit: USA

Review: USA's 'Common Law' clings too tightly to formula

Police partners go to couples counseling in a tedious new drama
With USA's original dramas, it's all about formula: sticking to USA's own formula while tweaking everyone else's. There are certain elements you know to expect from show to show — attractive duos or trios who banter well with each other, mysteries to be solved (even if they're of the medical variety), pretty locations (their much-discussed "blue skies" approach) — while at the same time expecting them to mess with a format that's familiar from other networks. So "Burn Notice" is a private eye show where the detectives is a former spy, "Royal Pains" is a hospital drama where the doctor makes house calls to the extremely wealthy and "White Collar" is a cop drama where one of the cops is actually a crook. It's not about giving you something new, but about giving you something familiar in slightly fancier packaging than you're used to. And it's worked very, very well for USA over the years.
 
But the USA formula has become so familiar at this point that when you combine it with one of the more formulaic ideas in filmed history — buddy cops who bicker constantly even as they close every case — you get something as flat and tedious as "Common Law" (which debuts tomorrow night at 10).
 
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<p>One day, he will be 94 years old, and my bet is he will still be directing Johnny Depp at that point.</p>

One day, he will be 94 years old, and my bet is he will still be directing Johnny Depp at that point.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Tim Burton describes his approach to updating 'Dark Shadows'

Look at him... of course he was a fan of 'Dark Shadows' as a kid

What else is there to say about Tim Burton?

At this point, he's been working the same sort of thematic and visual material for thirty years now.  And how old am I?  Old enough to think of Burton as "relatively recent" in terms of working directors.

It's easy to reduce Burton's work to his stylistic signatures and his incredibly familiar color palette.  When you see a Tim Burton movie, you know you're watching a Tim Burton film.  You may hate the film you're watching, and I've certainly felt that way several times in his career, but you still have to acknowledge that he's found a way to indulge his interests and cast his favorite people and just plain make his stamp, no matter how impersonal or corporate the movie is.

I wonder sometimes what would have happened if he hadn't made "Batman" in 1989.  He was shooting the film through much of my freshman year of college, and I was following the film's progress from a distance.  I was convinced he was going to turn out to be an inspired choice, a choice that would update "Batman" for a whole generation of viewers.

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<p>Art &amp; JJ of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Art & JJ of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Art & J.J. talk 'The Amazing Race'

The second place border agents discuss their Race journey
Art Velez and J.J. Carrell won three Legs on this season of "The Amazing Race," coming in second behind Dave & Rachel's record-breaking eight Leg wins. Fittingly, Art & J.J. also found themselves coming in second for the season.
 
However, when it came to stirring up trouble, nobody could top the two Border Patrol Agents. 
 
They fought with Rachel & Brendon over Team Big Brother's tendency to follow, rather than figuring things out for themselves.
 
They fought with Nary & Jamie, after the federal agents attempted to pass themselves off as teachers.
 
And they fought with Dave & Rachel about a fairly trivial promise involving U-Turns. 
 
In the end, none of those confrontations had any bearing on the Race, which came down to Art's difficulties making it down a hill on a traditional Hawaiian tribal sled, a Roadblock that saw the border agents go through the emotional roller coaster of thinking they were done, realizing they were in first and watching their newly-discovered lead vanish in a matter of seconds.
 
Art & J.J. discussed that roller coaster, their fighting spirit and more in their exit interview earlier this week.
 
Click through for the full conversation...
 
 
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<p>Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are just going to have to embrace the inevitable and make every movie together from now on.&nbsp; Don't fight it, you crazy kids.</p>

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are just going to have to embrace the inevitable and make every movie together from now on.  Don't fight it, you crazy kids.

Credit: Warner Bros.

First 'Gangster Squad' trailer makes great use of an all-star cast

Could Ruben Fleischer's look at LA corruption actually be... fun?

When you release the first trailer for a film, it says a lot about what that movie's meant to be, and sometimes, it's not really what you expect.

From the moment Warner Bros. started putting together "Gangster Squad," which was still called "Tales From The Gangster Squad" at that point, it seemed like it would fit neatly into a tradition of "LA Confidential" and "Mulholland Falls," movies about the history of the police in Los Angeles using real life as a jumping-off point.

And while today's trailer does indeed seem to confirm that, what I found surprising was the tone of the trailer.  I guess I should have put it together when they hired Ruben Fleischer to direct the film.  So far, he's had a sense of fun to what he does, a down-the-middle popcorn sensibility.  That's not an insult, either, just an observation.  He makes movies for the audience, and it looks like "Gangster Squad" is going to be far more focused on the fun than on the hunt for awards.

Fine by me.

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<p>A scene from Wednesday's &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>

A scene from Wednesday's "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'It's Human Nature'

Kim plots and everybody talks about Kim for an hour
Pre-credit sequence. Poor Kat. So sad. So absent. Tikiano returns to camp under a full moon. Everybody's still shaking their heads at how blindsided Kat was. Muscular Mark Twain, however, has other things on his mind. "If I were the girls, I would have voted me out before Kat. That would have been the smartest thing they could do," MMT says, hinting that he has a subplot that would allow him to sneak into the Top Three. He begins the plotting by going and asking Kim if she's OK with taking him to the Top Four, suggesting that she should plan on going with Alicia and Christina to the end and that he'll get the jury to vote for her. "The biggest threat is Chelsea," MMT says. "And she's my friend," Kim says. "If I have to send Chelsea home, that'll be my worst night here," she says. Alicia wanders over and Muscular Mark Twain tells her that if she makes the Top Three, he'll hype the Jury up for HER. "I've been doing this in segments," MMT explains. 
 

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<p>Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost may finally make their follow-up to 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Shaun Of The Dead.' And there was much rejoicing.</p>

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost may finally make their follow-up to 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Shaun Of The Dead.' And there was much rejoicing.

Credit: AP Photo/Marion Curtis, Focus Features

New details emerge for Wright, Pegg, Frost reunion movie 'World's End'

The most information we've heard so far makes it sound like a winner

We finally know what Edgar Wright's "The World's End" is about.

It's funny, because even knowing Edgar casually and having spoken with him any number of times since the first mention of what will now be the conclusion of 'the Cornetto trilogy," I've never had any desire to push him for information on the film.

After all, I figure we're not going to get endless collaborations between Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost, so I look at it as a very special thing when they do get together to work.  "Shaun Of The Dead" was this great out-of-left-field lightning bolt moment, "Hot Fuzz" was all anticipation, and so for "The World's End," I've done my best to just sit back and relax and wait to see what it is when the time is finally right.

Evidently, that's today.

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<p>Stunning, smart, and centered, Michelle Pfeiffer's been defining class in Hollywood for almost 30 years now. Doesn't seem possible.</p>

Stunning, smart, and centered, Michelle Pfeiffer's been defining class in Hollywood for almost 30 years now. Doesn't seem possible.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Michelle Pfeiffer talks about finding the tone for 'Dark Shadows'

A Hollywood icon talks about reuniting with Tim Burton

The first time I ever saw Michelle Pfeiffer on a film set, it was when she was shooting "Batman Returns."  It's fitting that we'd finally sit down for a formal interview for her first work with Tim Burton since then, as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the head of the Collins family, desperately clinging to whatever faded glory and dignity they once had.

I was running late to the press day thanks to traffic, and I was getting phone calls from Anne, the Warner publicist, letting me know that I was going to be the last person sitting down with Pfeiffer for the day.  When I finally got to the SLS, I jumped out of the car, ran outside, and within 30 seconds of arriving, I was sitting across from Pfeiffer, which is enough to fluster even someone who had time to prepare.

Pfeiffer has managed to stake out her own place in Hollywood for thirty years or so now, and I admire the way she makes choices and the way she's established room for her role as a mother and a wife as well.  It's so easy to get pulled into the idea that you have to keep working, that you have to treat every film as part of a career, but when I got to spend some time on the set of "Stardust," she ended up being remarkably approachable and easy to talk to.  It was clear that she works when she's interested in something, and not just to work.

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Watch: Five questions from Maroon 5's new 'Payphone' video
Credit: A&M/Octone Records

Watch: Five questions from Maroon 5's new 'Payphone' video

The heat gets to be too much for Adam Levine

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine finds himself inadvertently on the wrong side of the law in the ambitious, yet headscratching, video for “Payphone" featuring Wiz Khalifa. The clip debuted on E! News tonight.

The video opens with a scene straight out of “Falling Down”: Levine is bruised, battered, and shirtless, but he, somehow, still has a quarter to use the phone. We jump back in time to earlier in the day to a suited Levine as a bank desk jockey who can’t get the attention of his dreamy co-worker.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Tom Gabel</p>

Tom Gabel

Against Me! singer is transgender: Five questions I have

Gay marriage, the gender scale and rock 'n' roll

The news that Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace is making the medical transition from being a man to becoming a woman coincidentally coincides with week chock-filled with news on gay marriage.

Formerly known as Tom Gabel, Laura Jane Grace let the public know of her new chose name this week. She is not attracted to men, and will remain married to her wife, with whom she's had a daughter. She's made seven albums with Against Me!, and the public assumed she'd made them as a man.

I bring up gay marriage to highlight a cultural touchstone, that our country still strongly delineates the rights of people with differing sexual orientation. There are a minority of people who believe that people aren't "born" gay, and there certainly are opponents to the idea that gender dysphoria even exists.

Today, I thought about what this means for music. As many have rightfully pointed out, this is not the first transgender musician on the planet. Electronic Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos in the '70s. Throbbing Gristle fronter and performance artist Genesis P-Orridge became "pandrogynous" with his former wife, his other half and artistic partner Lady Jaye, an opera of a life captured in 2011 documentary in "The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye." Life of Agony singer Keith Caputo became Mina Caputo last year.

Of any, though, Grace's band is easily the most recognized groups of those who are known to yield a transgendered frontman/frontwoman. Against Me! has put a record in the top 50, and a song on the radio -- notably "I Was a Teenage Anarchist," a tune that nods at the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." title and perhaps some of its spirit. The helped helm Warped Tour in years past.

In movies, actors generally act out a role, and then they finish it and become "who they are" again. In music, fans' expectations are that artists are who they say they are, that their songs and art reflect in some way a life depiction more accurate than mere liner notes. That's why the argument for "authenticity" is still intact, no matter how exaggerated the personality.

Those who were fans or secular listeners of Against Me! were in shock today at the announcement, as evidenced by Twitter, message boards and other media. But none can argue Grace's authenticity, the truth of oneself.

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 4</p>

The "American Idol" Top 4

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 4 Performances - California Dreamin' & Songs You Wish You Wrote

Jessica, Joshua, Hollie and Phillip take on another two themes

Final 4 madness, baby!

It's another multi-theme episode, with Jessica, Joshua, Hollie and Phillip singing songs from the meaningless themes of California Dreamin' and Songs You Wish You Wrote. Please note that I got the specific phrasing of the second theme from the song spoilers bandleader Ray Chew tweets each week. You don't need to explain to me that it's a faulty use of the conditional tense and that it should probably be Songs You Wish You'd Written. Or something. [Seacrest did a better job of articulating the second theme than Ray Chew's list did.]

Anyway, let's not spend too much time worrying about grammar. Instead, can't we ponder what strange things are happening in the official "Idol" Top 4 photo? Why is it all about Hollie Cavanagh? And why is she holding Jessica Sanchez's hand? These are things that keep me up at night...

Anyway, let's get down to recapping...

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<p>A scene from Yousry Nasrallah's 'After the Battle.'</p>

A scene from Yousry Nasrallah's 'After the Battle.'

Credit: MK2 Productions

Cannes Check: Yousry Nasrallah's 'After the Battle'

Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews

The director: Yousry Nasrallah (Egyptian, 59 years old) 

The talent: I admit defeat. After scouring the internet for details of the cast and crew of this one, all I can tell you is that it stars Nahed El Sebaï (one of the lead actresses from Egyptian feminist drama "678," which netted a number of prizes on the smaller festival circuit last year), Bassem Samra (a longstanding collaborator of Nasrallah, acclaimed for his turn in his laureled 1999 film "El Medina") and Menna Shalabi (whose 12-year filmography contains, I confess, no titles I recognize). I can't even locate a screenplay credit for the film: Nasrallah has written much of his past work, though past collaborators in this regard have included Claire Denis.

The pitch: Though his films have never really crossed over on the international arthouse circuit, Nasrallah has been a quiet contributor to the revival and conscientization of North African cinema since the 1980s, working under Egypt's leading filmmaker, the late Youssef Chahine, as an assistant director in his earlier years.

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