Latest Blog Posts

<p>Matthew Perry in &quot;Go On.&quot;</p>

Matthew Perry in "Go On."

Credit: NBC

Review: Matthew Perry deals with grief in NBC's 'Go On'

Does 'Friends' alum's new sitcom represent change in NBC strategy, or more of the same?

With NBC's comedy brand, there is the past, the present, and the hoped-for future.

Read Full Post
<p>Rachel Weisz makes a rare foray into a pure action movie with 'The Bourne Legacy'</p>

Rachel Weisz makes a rare foray into a pure action movie with 'The Bourne Legacy'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Rachel Weisz brings the brains and the beauty to 'The Bourne Legacy'

What if even your good guys in a film aren't that good?

Rachel Weisz was my second interview of the day at the recent press event for "The Bourne Legacy," right after I talked to Jeremy Renner, and when we walked in, she spotted my seven-year-old son Toshi, who was with me.

She said hello to him, and he smiled, more shy than normal.  I told her that he was probably just recovering from how excited he was to meet Renner.  Toshi was even wearing his "Avengers" t-shirt.

She nodded.  "Of course," she said.  "He's a superhero, after all.  I can't compete with that.  I'm just a weird lady in a leather dress."

Toshi might not understand the appeal of Weisz, but I was certainly pleased to sit down and chat with her again.  The last time I saw her was in Montreal on the set of "The Fountain," and that encounter was a brief one because of how emotionally demanding that shoot was for both her and Hugh Jackman.

Read Full Post
<p>Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep turn to Steve Carrell when their marriage flounders after 30 years in the smart and well-observed 'Hope Springs'</p>

Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep turn to Steve Carrell when their marriage flounders after 30 years in the smart and well-observed 'Hope Springs'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Review: Moving and mature 'Hope Springs' features Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones at their best

A smart and subtle studio movie for adults in the summer? How'd that happen?

I would love to know how "Hope Springs" got made.

Sure, David Frankel's had a few hits now.  "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Marley & Me" were both down-the-middle studio hits, but his last film, "The Big Year," barely got a release.  It's a shame, too.  It's not a great film, but it's a nice, gentle character piece that featured a restrained, charming performance by Jack Black and strong work by Steve Martin.  Hard film to sell, though, no matter how it all plays in context, because it's not really loaded with the sorts of moments studios count on to help cut a comedy trailer.  "Hope Springs" is even more restrained and quiet than "The Big Year," and it's the best overall film Frankel's made yet.

It helps that Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep are both masters of their craft, and they both are at their absolute best here.  Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones) have been married for 31 years, and they've reached a place of quiet stalemate, each day exactly the same.  They barely talk, they sleep in separate rooms, and it's been years since they were intimate.  As the film starts, Kay finally finds the voice to tell Arnold that she's unhappy, and Streep is excellent at playing a woman who is lonely within her marriage but too afraid of shaking things up to find her voice.  Streep plays Kay as this bundle of tension, small eruptions of emotion occasionally flashing across her face before she manages to get them under control again.  Watching the way Arnold moves through their shared life, it's easy to understand how she gave up communication little by little.  He's basically a statue, a ghost who blows through for a few minutes in the morning and then passes out in front of televised golf in the evening.

Read Full Post
<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus of &quot;Veep&quot;</p>

Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Veep"

Credit: Bill Gray/HBO

Interview: Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks Emmys, 'Veep' and the new Nicole Holofcener film

What does tying Lucille Ball for an Emmy milestone mean to her?
Last month, Julia Louis-Dreyfus picked up her 13th career Emmy nomination as a comedy lead actress, tying Lucille Ball for most nods within the category. 
When it comes to select company, it's tough to top Lucille Ball, though it should be noted that Ball picked up all of her nominations for playing characters named "Lucy," doing variations within one of the most iconic personas in TV history. In contrast, Louis-Dreyfus picked up seven nominations (and a win) for playing Elaine on "Seinfeld," five nominations (and a win) for playing the title role in "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and she's now got her first nod for playing Vice President Selina Meyer on HBO's "Veep." That's three very different roles on three very different shows on three different networks.
Louis-Dreyfus is also a a producer on "Veep," which means she'll theoretically be part of the team honored for the show's Outstanding Comedy Series recognition, her first nomination in that capacity. 
Last week, in the heart of TCA press tour, I was able to catch up with Louis-Dreyfus to talk about her Emmy nomination and Emmy night rituals, her new experience shifting to cable, her favorite "Veep" obscenity and her first lead role in a feature film in a long, long time.
Click through for the full Q&A...
Read Full Post
"The Glee Project"

"The Glee Project"

Credit: Oxygen

'The Glee Project' recap: 'Actability'

Two kids will get the boot in preparation for next week's season finale

Tonight's theme is actability. I always thought this was a legal term, but hey, whatever works to get the kids fired up about shooting a video under conditions that would most likely result in union negotiations if this wasn't a cheap reality TV show.

Read Full Post
<p>Would Joss Whedon be interested in making Jessica Jones the center of an ABC/Marvel TV show?</p>

Would Joss Whedon be interested in making Jessica Jones the center of an ABC/Marvel TV show?

Credit: Marvel Comics

Which Marvel characters should be in a Joss Whedon-developed TV series?

Would the mind behind Buffy be well-suited for Jessica Jones? Luke Cage? She-Hulk?

The sexier announcement from Disney CEO Bob Iger was that Joss Whedon will write and direct "Avengers 2," but as a fan of both Marvel Comics and Whedon's television work, I'm actually more excited that he'll be involved in developing a live-action series for Marvel Television to air on ABC.

Read Full Post
<p>Clint Eastwood in &quot;Trouble with the Curve&quot;</p>

Clint Eastwood in "Trouble with the Curve"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Trouble with the Curve' trailer adds Clint Eastwood to the Best Actor race

He wasn't finished acting after all...

So it turns out Clint Eastwood was just kidding when he indicated that "Gran Torino" would be his final on-screen work. A solid Best Actor push from Warner Bros. that year didn't yield pay dirt, but it got the conversation chugging that the studio is sure to use again this year: He may have four Oscars, but he's never won for acting.

With that in mind, "Trouble with the Curve," from director Robert Lorenz (a homegrown Eastwood guy who's worked with the icon for years), could be a means to that end. The new trailer -- serendipitously launched on the 20th anniversary of "Unforgiven" -- plays it light but "meaningful" with its tease of an aging baseball scout (Eastwood) and his relationship with his daughter (Amy Adams) on a road trip.

Will this be the one? We'll have to see. The film isn't set for the fall festival circuit, though as I recently indicated, it could turn up at Telluride with a tribute for the actor to kick-start the campaign. It's set for a September 21 release, just three weeks after the Venice/Telluride/Toronto corridor closes and just before NYFF (which, on its 50th anniversary, is looking at a thin field to choose from for openers and centerpiece screenings).

Read Full Post
<p>Animated Gotye in &quot;Save Me&quot;</p>

Animated Gotye in "Save Me"

Watch: Gotye's new video for 'Save Me'

We all could use a little help

Gotye’s new video for “Save Me”  addresses the connections that make us human, or at least help make us feel that way.

In the animated clip, a crudely drawn creature doesn’t come to life until he fully connects with another creature. As the wide-eyed creature assembles amid a snowy backdrop, Gotye, who doesn’t appear in the clip, sings about never being good enough and the disappointments of a lonely life.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Mumford &amp; Sons' &quot;Babel&quot;</p>

Mumford & Sons' "Babel"

Credit: Glassnote

Listen: Mumford & Sons promise 'I Will Wait' in first new, official song from 'Babel'

The epitome of what fans love about Mumford & Sons

Lying heavy in your lover's arms. Four-on-the-floor kick drum. Multi-part harmonies. Rolling banjo and vocal break-down.

Mumford & Sons songs may be predictable, but they are distinctly reliable. "I Will Wait" is the first official recording to arrive from the British roots-based group's forthcoming album "Babel," and it undeniably Mumfordian. And it will tickle the band's fans to death.

Marcus Mumford's lyrics contain a romanticism and fatalism that's become rarer in the current rock mainstream, which made the successes of "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man" all the more surprising when they hit. He's got a handle on the body's strongest muscle -- the heart, gutter-minds: for all the songs on "Sigh No More," nearly all of them have the word "heart" in it. And if it's not "heart," it's "hand." And if it's not either of those, it's "arm." Sometimes it's any two. Look it up.

Read Full Post
<p>Tim McGraw and Faith Hill</p>

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

Credit: AP Photo

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw set for limited engagement in Las Vegas

Slate of 40 shows begins in December

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw join Garth Brooks, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Celine Dion  as the latest artists with Las Vegas residencies.

The married country superstars will start a limited engagement that will span 10 weekends between Dec. 7 and the end of April 2013 at The Venetian. They will perform four shows each weekend. Tickets, which go on sale to their fan clubs Aug. 8 and to the general public Aug. 13, span from $95.50 to $295.50, including all fees.

In a press conference attended by Hitfix and held at the 1,815-seat Venetian Theater, the site of where they will perform, Hill and McGraw stressed that the Soul2Soul show will be unlike anything their fans have seen from them before and very different from the three previous editions of the Soul2Soul outings that last sold out arenas in 2006.

“The Soul2Soul tours that we’ve done have been some of the most memorable experiences for all of us and we’ve really had an amazing time together,” Hill said. “This feels like it’s one of those moments in time. We’re going to create an amazing show and have a great time and then it will be gone...We’ll certainly give the fans what they want, but this affords us the opportunity to be creative in a way that we haven’t been before.”

McGraw, who is on a stadium tour with Kenny Chesney this summer,  said that the show will be more integrated than past Soul2Soul concerts for the multiple Grammy winners. “This show is all about us together,” he said. “We’re in the process of building the show now. The production will be very cutting this intimate setting, there are things we can do that you can’t do in a different show in a different place each night.”

The couple, who married in 1996, displayed an easy-going chemistry together during the announcement. Hill, dressed in a short black dress, asked reporters to tell her if she needed to sit differently to avoid revealing too much leg. “It’s not that kind of show,” she quipped. McGraw quickly replied, “There’s plenty of those in Vegas.”

Hill noted that the Venetian offered the pair a way to play the shows that didn’t disrupt their children’s school schedules. “This was an opportunity we’d never considered,” she said. “The Venetian is so gracious in working around out schedule. That’s the only way I’ll do anything with three daughters.”

Hill added that she has finished her new album for Warner Bros., her first studio album since 2005’s “Fireflies.” No release date has been set. McGraw is recording his first album for Big Machine Records after leaving Curb Records.

Fellow country star Shania Twain is also slated to start a residency in Las Vegas in December at Caesars Palace.

Read Full Post
<p>Marvin Hamlisch with one of his most loyal collaborators, Barbra Streisand.</p>

Marvin Hamlisch with one of his most loyal collaborators, Barbra Streisand.

Credit: AP Photo/Alex J. Berliner

Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch passes away aged 68

'The Way We Were' and 'The Sting' among his most memorable credits

With the Academy recently seeming to do everything within its powers to extinguish the Best Original Song award, the passing of Marvin Hamlisch strikes an especially poignant note. The New York-born composer -- who died yesterday, following a brief illness, at the age of 68 -- was the kind of talent that category was created to recognize, capable of condensing a film's entire thematic and atmospheric undercurrent into a single, inescapable three-minute theme.

It's an art that might seem antiquated and even a little banal to contemporary audiences, as high-end film scoring grows ever less romantic and more esoteric, with pre-existing songs woven organically into scenes, if at all -- the legacy of such modernist filmmakers as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. But the songs themselves haven't faded: everyone can hum at least a few bars of Hamlisch's title tune for "The Way We Were," even if they haven't seen the film. Ditto "Nobody Does It Better," one of the most epic and steel-plated of all James Bond themes, even if "The Spy Who Loved Me" isn't among the franchise's most-treasured entries. In Hamlisch's prime, great movie songs could still separate from, and often exceed, their source.

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Waits' &quot;Hell Broke Luce&quot; is terrifying (and one of the songwriter's greatest achievements)</p>

Tom Waits' "Hell Broke Luce" is terrifying (and one of the songwriter's greatest achievements)

Watch: Tom Waits joins the ranks in outstanding 'War Broke Luce' video

One of the songwriter's greatest songs is miserable: And what does misery love?

Tom Waits doesn't use the term "f*ck" lightly.

In fact, in the more than 250 released studio recordings from the songwriter, you'll find nary a mention, with exception to "Hell Broke Luce," from Waits' recent "Bad As Me."

It's unsettling to hear him say the word with emphasis -- and twice! -- but then again, "Luce" is an unsettling track. For this military cadence, Waits adoptive persona is a sour band of soldiers, lobbing dark humor and complaints from the frontline, as young kids would reflect on the "good homes" they left behind before they enlisted.

With the mention of Kevlar, meth, Humvees and suicide bombs, Waits effectively pairs the familiar "left right left" marching chant with vernacular and specific terrors of today's wars in the Middle East. And yet, the lost limbs, scorched skin, body bags and general laid waste are depressingly evergreen. With a "boom" he makes his thesis, that the horrors overseas follow soldiers home to America.

"Well I was over here, America, to vote / I left my arm in my coat / My mom she died and never wrote," he chants. Take the title of the song, with Luce as a character: "Now I’m home / and I’m blind / And I’m broke / What is next?"

"Hell Broke Luce" is a terrifying song. It's supposed to be, and it's also one of Waits' greatest achievements, new or not. It's a painful and political anti-war song for and within the fighting ranks, for after the war is "finished."

Read Full Post