Latest Blog Posts

<p>Anthony Hopkins, seen here at a charity event in Vegas this February, will play the oldest man alive for Darren Aronofsky in his upcoming film 'Noah'</p>

Anthony Hopkins, seen here at a charity event in Vegas this February, will play the oldest man alive for Darren Aronofsky in his upcoming film 'Noah'

Credit: AP Photo/Las Vegas News Service, Brian Jones

Anthony Hopkins will play the 900-year-old Methusaleh for Aronofsky in 'Noah'

How does he fit into the director's radical rethink of the Bible story?

I don't care how many Bible stories or translations you've read, and I don't care how many films based on those stories you've seen.  You have never seen anything like what Darren Aronofsky has planned for "Noah."

Sure, the basic broad strokes of the story are pretty evident.  Noah (Russell Crowe) hears the voice of God warning him that the world cannot be allowed to survive in the corrupted, ruined form Noah sees around him.  It is a violent, freaky, scary world that Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel have created.  I'm particularly excited to see how Aronofsky brings to life the Watchers, eleven-foot-tall fallen angels with six arms and no wings.  They have a major presence in the script, and they're fascinating.  Early on, when Noah needs to go see his grandfather, he has to move through the homeland of the Watchers, something that is not easy to do.

Noah's grandfather is the 900 year old Methuselah, and word today is that Anthony Hopkins is joining the cast to play the role.  He's only got three scenes in the film in the script I read, but they're all crucial, and they are beautifully written.  It's a good role, and I can't wait to see what sort of make-up they put on him to make him look like he's been alive and walking the earth since the days of Adam and Eve.

Read Full Post
<p>Carly Rae Jepsen</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen

'Call Me Maybe's' Carly Rae Jepsen definitely checks into the '90210'

Singer will perform on the show's season premiere

Carly Rae Jepsen is relocating to Beverly Hills...temporarily, at least. The Canadian singer, whose “Call Me Maybe” is one of the biggest songs of the year, will appear on the season premiere of “90210” on Oct. 8.

The night time soap opera played “Call Me Maybe” in last season’s finale. No word yet on what song Jepsen will sing but we’re going to go ahead and guess it will be whatever her label decides to push as the next single. Her debut album will come out this fall on  on 604 Records/Schoolboy Records/Interscope.  She will also tour as Justin Bieber’s opening act on his forthcoming outing.

We know this about Jepsen’s performance: “90210’s” executive producers Patti Carr and Lara Olsen say she will sing in a scene as the headliner for Adrianna’s (Jessica Lowndes) Las Vegas premiere. But this being “90210” and all, that special moment for Adrianna is interrupted when she gets bad news about Dixon (Tristan Wilds).

“Call Me Maybe” remains No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fourth week in a row.

Read Full Post
<p>D'Angelo</p>

D'Angelo

Credit: AP Photo

Mary J. Blige and D'Angelo plan summer 'Liberation' tour

R&B superstars hit the road in August

D’Angelo’s triumphant return continues. After stealing the BET Awards with his first televised appearance in 12 years a few weeks ago and wowing the audience at the Essence Music Fest in New Orleans this past weekend, the R&B superstar will tour with Mary J. Blige later this summer. D’Angelo stepped back on stage for the first time in a dozen years in the U.S. when he made a surprise appearance at Bonnaroo with the Roots.

Blige told Rolling Stone, “I felt like it would be refreshing and fun for people to see him and Mary J. Blige on the road together.” 

The Liberation tour opens Aug. 18 in Virginia Beach. Only four of the planned 20 dates have been announced, according to Billboard.

Aug. 18 Virgina Beach, VA (Farm Bureau Live) ?Aug. 19 Wantagh, NY (Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach) ?Aug. 21 Boston, MA (Bank of America Pavilion) ?Aug. 23 Holmdel, NJ (PNC Bank Arts Center)


 

Read Full Post
<p>Adam Lambert</p>

Adam Lambert

Seven reasons Adam Lambert would make a great 'American Idol' judge

Four reasons he would not

The rumor mill is churning overtime with reports that Adam Lambert, “American Idol’s” season 8 runner-up, is in the running to become a judge on the reality talent competition.

E! News first reported that talks were going on, but then Lambert implied in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that the discussions had not started. However, as he said, “If ‘Idol’ wants to talk to me about judging, I’d be more than flattered to have that conversation.”

While it looks like Jennifer Lopez will opt not to return after two years of judging, E! News predicts that both Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler could be gone as well, leaving room for three new judges. We’re sure the producers would never do this, but in some ways, we think it would be awesome if the whole panel was composed of past contestants. Can you imagine Adam Lambert, Fantasia and Melinda Doolittle all judging?

Let’s pull back from that little high-drama scenario and focus on Lambert. Here are the top seven reasons why we think he’d make an excellent judge:

1. He’s a great singer.  This is a singing competition, after all, and that notion seems to get  a little lost some years.

2. This is stating the obvious, but Lambert knows the game from the inside. Yes, the judges will all be different from when he competed, but the basics don’t change and the general concept remains the same.

3. He’s entertaining and has a razor-sharp wit that amuses, but isn’t mean-spirited.

4. He’s kind, but not annoyingly so. Some judges (yes, Tyler and Lopez, we mean you) don’t levy a lot of criticism or don’t seem to have much advice to give a contestant for fear of hurting his or  feelings. While Lambert won’t be intentionally cruel, he’ll land somewhere kinder than Simon Cowell, but not as soft as Lopez and not as crazy as Paula Abdul.

5. He’s out there in the real world now. His music heyday wasn’t 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. He’s competing in today’s marketing place so who better to judge the current crop of talent and assess where they fit in to today’s space?

6: He knows from different. To give “American Idol” credit, the judges through the past decade have grown better at embracing talent that falls outside of the narrow confines of Top 40 radio, such as Casey Abrams in season 10. Lambert seems like he would continue that.

7. It would be really fun to see him perform with the contestants and give them advice. In that regard, if he doesn’t work out as a judge, he should be a mentor, like Jimmy Iovine.

And now a few reasons why it might not work.

1. Though the perspective of a former contestant can be great on one hand, on the other, it could be a little too inside baseball. Viewers are pretty savvy, but they are the ones ultimately deciding who stays and goes and an insider’s view could be too limited given the wide appeal the winner must have. 

2.  Is he mainstream enough?  One of the reasons Lambert lost to the much blander Kris Allen is that he pushed the envelope and may have made some people uncomfortable.  At its heart, “American Idol” remains a family show.

3. Speaking of, not everyone has forgotten about Lambert’s American Music Awards performance when he pushed another man’s face in his crotch. Hopefully, we’ve reach a time where no one has a problem with his sexual preference (or at least we’re getting closer), but some folks may have a concern about his lewdness.

4. While Lambert has had success, he hasn't become a runaway star, especially at radio, that a number of his fellow former contestants have become.  His current album, the tremendous "Trespassing," has been well reviewed and debuted at No. 1, but has not spawned major radio hits.Should he focus on his own career instead of trying to build others? 

E! further reports that among the other names Idol's producers are tossing around as potential judges aer Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Fergie, Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am.

Whom would you like see become a judge? Is Lambert a good choice? 

 

Read Full Post
<p>Hugh Jackman is set to return to the role that made him famous when 'The Wolverine' starts production in Australia and Japan later this year.</p>

Hugh Jackman is set to return to the role that made him famous when 'The Wolverine' starts production in Australia and Japan later this year.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

James Mangold adds Japanese names to 'The Wolverine' cast

As the character prepares to head to Japan, the cast comes into focus

If you were starting to believe that "The Wolverine" was never actually going to happen, that would be understandable. 

After all, when Darren Aronofsky left the film, it seemed to drop off the radar.  Sure, we've heard that James Mangold is now attached to direct, and we've heard vague rumbles from Hugh Jackman over the last year or so, but it's been a fairly quiet development process for a while now.

Today, four names were added to the film's cast, and it appears to confirm not only the creative direction the film is headed but that the film is indeed gearing up now for production and release in 2013.  For longtime fans of the character, some of the characters names of the new cast members may seem familiar, and it definitely seems like they're taking the Japan-based run of stories by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller and using them as the basis of the script that they plan to shoot in Japan and Australia later this year.

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

 "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: 'The Sniff Test'

Teresa plays nice (sorta), Melissa has high hopes and Joe Gorga wants you to know he isn't gay

Man, you cannot turn your back on Teresa for one week. Not because she'd stab you between your shoulder blades (which, actually, I wouldn't rule out), but because her loyalties flip flop faster than a politician's during an election year. This week, Jacqueline and Caroline are out, Melissa (yes, Melissa, her much-loathed sister-in-law) and Kathy are in. Well, let's just say Kathy has a toe in the water. Unlike Melissa, she is wary of Teresa and her tabloid-ready outbursts, so she's proceeding with caution. Melissa, though, is hopeful. Things might actually be better! Teresa and her brother Joe might actually get along for ten minutes! They're all going to go to Napa and have a blast! Oh, Melissa. 

Read Full Post
<p>Chloe Sevigny of &quot;Hit and Miss&quot;</p>

Chloe Sevigny of "Hit and Miss"

Credit: DirecTV

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 137

Dan and Alan talk 'Perception,' 'Hit and Miss' and more...

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
Did you miss us last week?
 
After taking a 4th of July breather, The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is back for the first of two podcasts this week. 
 
If you're waiting for "Breaking Bad" and "Political Animals," we're going to be discussing those two, plus Comic-Con, in our Third Annual Comic-Con Roadtrip Podcast. 
 
In this podcast, we talk about TNT's "Perception," DirecTV's airing of "Hit & Miss," plus two episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," one of which is awesome and the other of which kinda sucks. And we answered a little mail.
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Perception" (00:02:00 - 00:14:45)
"Hit & Miss" (00:14:45 - 00:27:25)
Listener Mail - Reviewing shows (00:28:00 - 00:33:15)
Listener Mail - Writerly tics (00:33:20 - 00:39:49)
Listener Mail - Why "Cheers" still looks good (00:39:50 - 00:48:00)
Two "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episodes (00:48:15 - 01:12:50)

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.

Read Full Post
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 137: 'Perception,' 'Hit & Miss,' listener mail & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 137: 'Perception,' 'Hit & Miss,' listener mail & more

Dan and Alan also answer reader questions about 'The Newsroom' and 'Cheers'

The

Time for the first of two installments this week for the  Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as Dan and I talk about TNT's "Perception" and the American premiere of "Hit & Miss," as well as checking in on a highlight and lowlight of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" season 1, and dipping into the mailbag to talk Aaron Sorkin and "Cheers." We'll be back on Wednesday or Thursday with another one of our wildly popular road trip podcasts, this time to discuss "Breaking Bad," USA's "Political Animals," and more.

The line-up: 

"Perception" (00:02:00 - 00:14:45)
"Hit & Miss" (00:14:45 - 00:27:25)
Listener Mail - Reviewing shows (00:28:00 - 00:33:15)
Listener Mail - Writerly tics (00:33:20 - 00:39:49)
Listener Mail - Why "Cheers" still looks good (00:39:50 - 00:48:00)
Two "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episodes (00:48:15 - 01:12:50)
 
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.
Read Full Post
<p>Beyonce's poem to Frank Ocean</p>

Beyonce's poem to Frank Ocean

Credit: beyonce.com

Beyonce, Jay-Z support Frank Ocean in open letters; R&B singer drops 'Sweet Life'

Outpouring of support from rising R&B star's 'outed' sexuality

After R&B crooner Frank Ocean came out as gay last week, there has been an outpouring of support fromt he urban music community, including some from another R&B pop star, Beyonce.

Bey posted an open letter -- OK, more of an open picture -- on her website to Frank Ocean with handwritten encouragements over his photo. Check the note below.

""Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave. Be poetic. Be open. Be free. Be yourself. Be in love. Be happy. Be inspiration.," she wrote on Saturday.

Queen B's husband Jay-Z also wrote a note of support on his Life + Times website under the post "Thank You, Frank Ocean."

"Your relieving yourself of your 'secret' is as much about wanting to honestly connect as it is about exhibition. We are all made better by your decision to share publicly," the rapper wrote.

Another singer, Anthony Hamilton told GlobalGrind in an interview, "[Ocean's] creative, doesn't matter if it's his album or whatever album he puts his talent to, it'll be OK. I think he's creative enough and clever enough to go with what's needed - to adjust to whatever the climate is in the music business."

Read Full Post
<p>Steve Buscemi and the rest of the &quot;Boardwalk Empire&quot;&nbsp;gang will be back in September.</p>

Steve Buscemi and the rest of the "Boardwalk Empire" gang will be back in September.

Credit: HBO

HBO announces 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Treme' season premiere dates

Both dramas to return in September

HBO has announced September premiere dates for the third seasons of "Boardwalk Empire" and "Treme."

"Boardwalk Empire" has aired on Sundays in the fall throughout its run, and that pattern will hold when the third season begins on Sunday, September 16 at 9 p.m. The major addition to the cast will be character actor Bobby Cannavale.

"Treme," meanwhile, aired both of its first two seasons in the spring, but HBO decided to shift it to fall this time around. It will debut on Sunday, September 23 at 10 p.m.

(Note that "Boardwalk" debuts a week before the Emmys and 8 days before the start of the network TV season, while "Treme" will premiere opposite the Emmy telecast.)

While "Boardwalk" has been a ratings success for HBO and seems likely to stick around for quite a while, "Treme" may or may not be entering its final season. Creator David Simon has pitched HBO on plans for a fourth season to conclude the series, but no decision has been made yet.

Read Full Post
<p>Cover art for the &quot;Margaret&quot; DVD/Blu-ray</p>

Cover art for the "Margaret" DVD/Blu-ray

Credit: Fox Home Entertainment

Lonergan's extended 'Margaret' is an even richer experience

How do you improve the year's best movie?

Two versions of Kenneth Lonergan's "Margaret" finally reach a large audience tomorrow as the film makes its way to DVD/Blu-ray. Included will be the theatrical cut of the film and an extended (not "director's") cut.

Speaking last week with Eric Kohn at indieWIRE (which will be hosting a special New York screening of the extended cut tonight), Lonergan said, "It was nice to have the liberty to explore and go into depth in certain areas I felt were interesting to touch on and suggest in the theatrical release…it's unusual to have the chance to do both of your ideas for a project instead of picking just one."

Indeed, the extended version was a way for Lonergan to explore his ideas for the film outside of the constraints of a 150-minute time limit he agreed upon with the studio. It doesn't turn the film into a new experience per se, but I feel like it injects more patience into the overall design and structure of the narrative. And to me, it's a better movie.

Read Full Post
<p>Ernest Borgnine in his Oscar-winning role as &quot;Marty.&quot;</p>

Ernest Borgnine in his Oscar-winning role as "Marty."

Credit: United Artists

On Ernest Borgnine's conflicted awards history

He won an Oscar for 'Marty,' so why does 'Brokeback Mountain' feature in his obits?

It was Walter Matthau who explained to Ellen Burstyn, upon handing her the Best Actress Oscar she hadn't been present to accept days earlier, that the chief difference the award would make to her career was this: "When you die, the newspaper obituaries will say, 'The Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn died today.'"

It's a famous quip, one that is proven true virtually every time a former Oscar-winner -- or even a nominee -- dies, even when their celebrity is such that a puny golden statuette hardly seems their most culturally significant achievement. In the case of a character actor like Ernest Borgnine, who passed away over the weekend at the decidedly ripe age of 95, that single Academy Award win is an essential elevating prefix: "Marty," the modest 1955 character study for which he won, may not be the most widely seen work of his career, but the Best Actor Oscar it reaped remains a validating distinction for the kind of valuable anti-star on whom obituarists don't always spend too much column space.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME