Latest Blog Posts

<p>Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in &quot;The Impossible.&quot;</p>

Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in "The Impossible."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Roundup: 'The Impossible' does just about that in Spain

Also: Stop-motion versus CGI, and Dustin Hoffman 'breaks through'

With the greatest of respect to a beautiful country, Spain's box office doesn't usually rate much of a mention -- but it seem worth mentioning when it addresses at least one question mark hovering over one of this year's Oscar hopefuls. Juan Antonio Bayona's tsunami drama "The Impossible" didn't get quite the level of buzz some expected out of Toronto: many reviews were strong, but others took issue with the filmmakers' decision to turn the true-life story of a Spanish family, the Belons, into one about a fictional British brood, allowing for more Hollywood-friendly casting. As it turns out, Spanish audiences couldn't care less: the film has been a domestic smash, shattering local records with its opening four-day gross. Will it connect with audiences Stateside in a tough holiday release slot? [Variety

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"The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: The final part of 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' reunion

Andy Cohen declares this last installment is 'all out war'

It's the final installment of the three-part "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reunion, and I'm really looking forward to this long, ugly rehashing of the season being wrapped up for good. I mean, this isn't the "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" trilogy; this is a bunch of women screaming at each other for hours and hours on end. Given that the blood feud that started the reunion has shown no signs of being resolved, I guess this means another hour of insults. Yay, insults. But Andy Cohen declares that this episode will be "all out war," which makes me wonder what the previous two hours were -- war-ish? Skirmishes? What? 

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<p>On &quot;Trem&eacute;,&quot;&nbsp;Albert (Clarke Peters)&nbsp;and his Indians strut their stuff.</p>

On "Tremé," Albert (Clarke Peters) and his Indians strut their stuff.

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Tremé' - 'The Greatest Love'

The locals try something new, and Albert has a showdown at Indian practice

A quick review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I sacrifice a sock to the music gods...

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<p>Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Homeland' - 'State of Independence'

It's a long, dark night for Carrie, Brody and Jessica

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I forget my jack...

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<p>Gary and Will of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Gary and Will of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'There's No Crying in Baseball'

Pedicabs and trains cause more trouble than challenges
I want to get into this week's recap, but first I have a proposal for the producers of "The Amazing Race": From here on out, whether in this season or in any subsequent season, any contestant who yells at a service employee in a Third World country and tells them either that they just lost them the Race or that they just lost them a million dollars, should be automatically eliminated on the spot. 
 
If you are yelling at a pedicab driver in Indonesia, where the median income is $3800 a year, and verbally abusing him for costing you a million dollars, you're pretty much a horrible person and you pretty much represent the worst America has to offer in the global community.
 
This rule needn't only apply in Third World countries. Anywhere you yell at a service employee for costing you a million dollars, unless you're in a cab driven by Donald Trump or you were denied a plane ticket by Mark Cuban, it's best to save your whining for somebody else.
 
Who's with me on this one?
 
And now, on to the recap, after the break...
 
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<p>Danai Gurira as Michonne in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Danai Gurira as Michonne in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Season premiere review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'Seed'

Rick and the group seek shelter in an abandoned prison

"The Walking Dead" is back for a new season. I reviewed the beginning of the season on Thursday, and I have a few specific thoughts on the season premiere coming up just as soon as I eat an owl...

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<p>Van Alden (Michael Shannon)&nbsp;and Sigrid (<span class="st">Christiane Seidel)&nbsp;in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</span></p>

Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and Sigrid (Christiane Seidel) in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'You'd Be Surprised'

Van Alden and Gyp receive visitors and Nucky tries to play producer

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I get you some Passover vodka...

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<p>Daniel Craig in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: Bond takes it personally in high-shine 'Skyfall'

Javier Bardem and Roger Deakins are the stars of the series' 23rd entry

In case the marketing spiel has somehow escaped you, James Bond is 50 years old this year. Well, maybe a bit older – he wasn’t exactly a newborn in “Dr. No” – or a bit younger, if you choose to take only 44-year-old Daniel Craig’s salt-and-pepper-stubbled visage into account. Either way, he’s not young anymore, and boy, does “Skyfall” ever want you to know that.

“Brave new world,” 007 mutters grumpily, after his first encounter with a whizzy new Q (Ben Whishaw) who scarcely needs to shave yet. “Old dog, new tricks,” twinkles Naomie Harris’s sexy MI6 underling, her tone vaguely patronizing, as if teaching an elderly uncle how to send an email. 

As such platitudes suggest, clever quippery is not one of the many strengths of Bond’s 23rd feature outing. They aren’t even accurate: the perma-dapper spy isn’t learning any new tricks, but rediscovering ones fallen into disuse, like scuffed Oxfords polished to a high shine. The same goes for “Skyfall,” which endearingly stresses fashionably analog traditionalism at every turn: Bond’s gadgets are restricted to a gun and a radio, the beloved, Connery-era Aston Martin makes a reappearance, while for the bulk of the action, far-flung locales are curbed in favour of the Land of Hope and Glory. (In Britain’s banner year of Jubilee and Olympic celebration, that can’t be an accident.) Another old-school touch, Adele’s Bassey-aping title ballad, is pretty splendid, but they may as well have gone with a big-band cover of “Everything Old Is New Again.”

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"Long Island Medium"

 "Long Island Medium:

Credit: TLC

HitFix Exclusive: Watch the 'Long Island Medium' call up the unborn

She talks to a woman's dead friend - and finds someone else, too

It turns out that you don't even have to be born to qualify as one of the undead popping up on the radar of Theresa Caputo, the star of "Long Island Medium" (Sundays, 9 p.m.)  In this exclusive clip, Caputo finds a woman's best friend, Brian, on the other side. Brian, who died in a motorcycle accident almost eight years prior, sends his regards -- and also lets the medium know that he's taking care of the woman's unborn child. Good to know that you can put your dead friends to work as babysitters, at least in the after life. 

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<p>Danai Gurira of &quot;The Walking Dead&quot;</p>

Danai Gurira of "The Walking Dead"

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'Walking Dead' star Danai Gurira discusses becoming Michonne

New co-star chats about secrecy and swordwork
To "Walking Dead" fans versed solely in the hit AMC drama, she's merely the katana-wielding stranger introduced saving Laurie Holden's Andrea in the second season finale.
 
To fans of the comic series, though, she's Michonne, one of the franchise's most beloved characters. 
 
Played by Danai Gurira, Michonne will be a key part of the third "Walking Dead" season, which premieres on Sunday (October 14) night. But don't worry. This interview spoils very little about Michonne. Instead, Gurira and I discussed her extensive physical training for the role, as well as the challenges of coming to regular television after cutting her teeth in theater and independent films like "The Visitor."
 
We also talked about our shared background in Grinnell, Iowa where both of our fathers were on the faculty at the same time more than 30 years ago. I left that part out of the transcript. Apologies. There's still plenty here.
 
Click through for the full interview... And for more pre-premiere "Walking Dead" coverage, check out my interview with producers Robert Kirkman & Glen Mazzara.
 
 
 
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<p>Denzel&nbsp;Washington in &quot;Flight&quot;</p>

Denzel Washington in "Flight"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Zemeckis's 'Flight' features Denzel Washington at his best in a powerful character study

The two-time Oscar winner gives a complex performance in the NYFF closer

NEW YORK -- The modest similarities between Robert Zemeckis's last live action film, 2000's "Cast Away," and his latest, "Flight," are interesting. Both begin with a plane crash that changes a man's life, a man who goes on a journey of finding himself and restarting his life anew. Both are films about rebirth. One chooses a tale of a company guy stranded on a desert island to convey the theme. The other chooses that of a pilot caught up in a malfeasance nightmare.

Each commits to film one of the most harrowing plane crashes ever seen*, but while Tom Hanks's time-obsessed protagonist in "Cast Away" learns to take his time through life, Denzel Washington's addiction-afflicted hero in "Flight" learns to admit his problem to the one person he's still fooling: himself.

And that's what the film is about. It may have elements of action filmmaking and courtroom drama, but it is, ultimately, a character study about the sickness of addiction. It captures the embarrassment, the denial, the rage and, crucially, the chronic fallibility that comes with it. The screenplay, from writer John Gatins, pulses with an authenticity that suggests personal experience, but married to a narrative that all but asks whether impairment might have sparked the inspiration to save a hundred lives in a bold way, it becomes something more complex.

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<p>Christina Applegate prepares to host &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Christina Applegate prepares to host "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Christina Applegate and Passion Pit

Could 'SNL' bounce back after a weak episode?
The good news? There’s little place for “Saturday Night Live” to go but up after last week’s Daniel Craig-hosted debacle. The fault lay not with Craig but the way the show used him. Rather than using his stoic persona to comic ends, the show bent over backwards to portray him as a wacky guy. It didn’t work, and the show (as well as its audience) suffered as a result. Hopefully, “SNL” has more of an idea what to do with tonight’s host, Christina Applegate. A gifted comic actress, Applegate last hosted the show in 1993 during the middle of her run on “Married…With Children”. Since then, she’s dealt with a dead babysitter, Ron Burgundy’s jazz flute, and countless other fictional conundrums. Along for the ride with her tonight is musical guest Passion Pit.
 
As always, I’ll be grading each sketch in real time. As always, you shouldn’t worry too much about the grades. As always, most of you will violently overreact. It’s just a thing that happens round these parts each Saturday night. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
 
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