Latest Blog Posts

<p>Malin Akerman and Tom Cruise in &quot;Rock of Ages.&quot;</p>

Malin Akerman and Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages."

Credit: New Line Cinema

Tell us what you thought of 'Rock of Ages'

The hair-metal musical hits theaters today

It didn't take great clairvoyant powers to predict that the critical majority would have their knives out for "Rock of Ages," an unapologetically synthetic karaoke musical that, with its "Glee"-generation take on 1980s excess, is surely the year's most uncool blockbuster. (Hitfix's Drew McWeeny didn't see the funny side; nor did David Poland, regular champion of the genre, who claimed he was "not exaggerating" in naming it the worst movie musical in 30 years.) Oh, well. I'm happy to be in the minority on this one, having already sung the praises of both the movie and Tom Cruise's magnetic, self-reflexive performance in it. (Golden Globe nod, here we come.) Any of you planning to make up your own mind this weekend? Report back if you do, and rank it using the button above.

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<p>Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in James Gray's untitled new feature.</p>

Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in James Gray's untitled new feature.

Credit: Liberation/The Weinstein Company

Weinsteins pick up James Gray's latest for 2013 release

Formerly titled 'Low Life,' film stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix

On Monday, when we launched our Oscar predictions for 2012, Kris was keen to stress how fluid the field is, how few things are set in stone. "Which of these could fall off the 2012 map and take a seat until next year?" he asked. Days later, the first of these dropouts -- not that it was ever promised to us this year in the first place -- has come to light, and the Contenders charts have already required tweaking.

But it's good news. The latest feature from unhurried New York auteur James Gray -- a starry, evidently lush period piece that's currently untitled, but was once dubbed "Low Life" -- has been acquired by The Weinstein Company for a 2013 release, and Deadline's Mike Fleming claims that the distributor has "big plans" for the film next year.

That puts a major question mark on speculation about the film cropping up in this year's autumn festivals; Gray's work, for whatever reason, has a greater following in France than anywhere else, so Cannes 2013 (where his last three features premiered in Competition) seems the natural place for the Weinsteins to unveil this one, which only recently completed shooting.

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<p>Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif) and Johnny (Sean Bridgers) in &quot;Deadwood.&quot;</p>

Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif) and Johnny (Sean Bridgers) in "Deadwood."

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 4: 'Requiem for a Gleet' (Veterans edition)

Al's health worsens while Wolcott's power base strengthens

We're into week 2 of our summer trip back through David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood." As always with this project, we're going to have two parallel discussions going at once: identical reviews, but one where the comments section is just for people who are new to the series and don't want to be spoiled on anything past the events of the episode being discussed, and one for people who know "Deadwood" backwards and forwards, and want to be able to discuss it all at once. This is the veteran-friendly version; click here for the newbie-safe one.

A review of episode 4, "Requiem for a Gleet," coming up just as soon as I have a Nubian genie at my disposal...

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<p>Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif)&nbsp;and Johnny (Sean Bridgers)&nbsp;in &quot;Deadwood.&quot;</p>

Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif) and Johnny (Sean Bridgers) in "Deadwood."

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 4: 'Requieum for a Gleet' (Newbies edition)

Al's health worsens while Wolcott's power base strengthens

We're into week 2 of our summer trip back through David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood." As always with this project, we're going to have two parallel discussions going at once: identical reviews, but one where the comments section is just for people who are new to the series and don't want to be spoiled on anything past the events of the episode being discussed, and one for people who know "Deadwood" backwards and forwards, and want to be able to discuss it all at once. This is the newbie-safe version; click here for the veteran-friendly one.

A review of episode 4, "Requiem for a Gleet," coming up just as soon as I have a Nubian genie at my disposal...

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<p>Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

If I had an Emmy ballot 2012: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

The women of 'Suburgatory,' 'Big Bang Theory,' 'Cougar Town' and more

Okay, it's part 2 of our look at the Emmy nominations process for 2012. As always, Fienberg and I are going to approach things in two ways. I'll pretend that I have an Emmy ballot and make my picks for the six actors or shows I would put on my ballot, while Dan will rank the potential nominees from most likely to least. And, as always, we are working off of the actual Emmy ballot, so we can't consider people who didn't submit themselves, nor can we reassign anyone to a more suitable or easier category.

Yesterday, we looked at the comedy supporting actors, so now it's time to make our picks for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. (Click here for Dan's predictions.)

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<p>Joe Cornish, seen here in the middle on the set of 'Attack The Block,' is now set to bring Neal Stephenson's classic 'Snow Crash' to the screen</p>

Joe Cornish, seen here in the middle on the set of 'Attack The Block,' is now set to bring Neal Stephenson's classic 'Snow Crash' to the screen

Credit: Screen Gems/Film4/Studio Canal

'Attack The Block' director Joe Cornish set to bring sci-fi classic 'Snow Crash' to life

Could this and 'Ender's Game' kick off a new age of sci-fi adaptations?

You can't see me right now, but it's safe to assume I'm doing backflips of pure joy.

Neal Stephenson's breakthrough novel was "Snow Crash," a pre-Internet book that seems positively prescient when you look at it now.  It's a rousing adventure story about Hiro Protagonist, part pizza guy, part hacker, part samurai, who gets pulled into the mystery of a computer virus called Snow Crash that threatens to destroy the proto-internet that is the main setting of the novel.  It's a truly great book, and there have been attempts to turn it into a film before, with Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall attached to produce it at one point for Disney.

Now it looks like Joe Cornish, whose breakthrough film was last year's "Attack The Block," is set to write and direct the film, with Kennedy/Marshall once again attached, and the film this time set to be produced by Paramount.

This is exciting news.  "Snow Crash" is a great piece of original science-fiction, and I would love for studios to stop demanding everything be a prequel or a requel or a sequel or a reboot or a whateverthehell that's already been made.  As I watch the cast come together on Jose Padilla's "Robocop," I am impressed by the actors he's brought together, and I like Padilla, and I remain deeply, deeply unconvinced that we need a remake of an already perfect movie. 

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<p>Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen in &quot;Burn Notice.&quot;</p>

Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen in "Burn Notice."

Credit: USA

Season premiere review: 'Burn Notice' - 'Scorched Earth'

What did everybody think of Michael Westen and friends' return?

When "Burn Noticewrapped up its previous season back in December, I wrote that while I still enjoyed the show as a summer diversion, it had been telling the same kinds of stories for so long that I'd run out of new things to say about it, and had lot some emotional investment along the way. So unless this new season presents an unexpected masterpiece at some point, I'm going to be watching but not writing.

But since I got to see the season premiere in advance, I wanted to at least take the temperature of the room on where the show is right now. Many of you agreed with me on last season's finale — not that the show had gone awry, but that we'd seen it all before, many times. Did the seven months away rekindle your passion for Michael, Sam and Fi, or are you still feeling the same ennui I am? How did you feel about the way the Anson and Fiona stories played out in the premiere? Do you buy that Michael would be this reckless for the sake of Fi? Were you happy to see the return of an old face? How did you feel about the introductory narration finally including Jesse? 

Have at it, folks. Again, barring something special, I'll be back around mid-season finale time.

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<p>Lynn Shelton and Mark Duplass may have been punchy from exhaustion by the time we sat down with them at Sundance, but it still turned out to be a great conversation.</p>

Lynn Shelton and Mark Duplass may have been punchy from exhaustion by the time we sat down with them at Sundance, but it still turned out to be a great conversation.

Credit: HitFix

'Your Sister's Sister' star Mark Duplass and director Lynn Shelton on building a great movie relationship

A particularly genial sit-down with the creative team behind the great new film

When I sat down with Mark Duplass and Lynn Shelton to discuss their film "Your Sister's Sister" at Sundance this year, I was well aware of just how tight time was for everyone.  I was working to juggle interviews and screenings, and Duplass was there representing two movies of his own and supporting his wife, Katie Aselton, who was there with her film "Black Rock."  He was so stretched thin that I saw him napping in a chair between interviews.

Even so, once we all sat down together, our allotted interview time ended up stretching a bit because the conversation was going well.  I've gotten to know Mark and his brother Jay on a professional basis over the last few years, and I think it's been a genuine pleasure watching them develop their voice from film to film, expanding their audience while maintaining their own sensibilities.

I saw Shelton's "Humpday" at Sundance a few years ago, and I admired the way it navigated a potentially gross joke to create something smart and heartfelt and funny.  I was excited for "Your Sister's Sister," but unprepared for what a jump Shelton seemed to make from one film to the next.

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<p>Tom Cruise in &quot;Rock of Ages.&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages."

Credit: New Line Cinema

Why 'Rock of Ages' reveals Tom Cruise as one of the last real movie stars

The actor wickedly plays himself by way of Frank T.J. Mackey

This isn't going to be a review of "Rock of Ages." That's partly because I already wrote one in short form for Time Out and the film doesn't much benefit from extended analysis, and partly because I'd only end up repeating much of Andrew O'Hehir's bang-on piece for Salon, which rightly celebrates Adam Shankman's gleefully (with emphasis on the 'glee') silly hair-metal musical for the very ersatz quality for which many other critics are punishing it. As if hair metal was ever about authenticity in the first place. Suffice to say the film aims no higher than it can hit, and as two hours of quippy, gaudily decorated Hollywood karaoke, it hits pretty squarely. I more or less loved it.

More interesting than the film, however, and more worthy of considered conversation, is Tom Cruise's fascinating central performance in it -- a turn that earns the "central" tag despite its essentially supporting status, and not just because it reduces kewpie-doll leads Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta to sparkly wallpaper whenever he deigns to show up. (You can practically feel the film cowering as he makes his dimly lit entrance. We're trembling ourselves.) 

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<p>&nbsp;Glen Campbell</p>

 Glen Campbell

Watch: Josh Homme helps Glen Campbell say goodbye in 'A Better Place' video

The Queens of the Stone Age singer plays a bartender in farewell clip

Queens of the Stone Age singer/guitarist Josh Homme helps pay tribute to Glen Campbell in the legend’s farewell video, “A Better Place.”

The song, featured on Campbell’s final album, last year’s excellent “Ghost on the Canvas” (and my album of the year), addresses his Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis on the song, singing “Some days I’m so confused, Lord/My past gets in the way/I need the ones I love, Lord/More and more each day.” The album also includes contributions from Jakob Dylan and Paul Westerberg.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Green Day unveils album cover for '¡Uno!'

Watch: Green Day unveils album cover for '¡Uno!'

First album in trilogy comes out in September

As you know, Green Day plans to drop three albums between September and January. Today, we got the cover art for “Uno,”  the first release in the trilogy.

The below trailer doesn’t give away much, but at least we get to hear a little music, which is more than we got to hear in this other teaser when the trio talked about the trio of sets and run down their past album titles.  Green Day has also announced that one of its few 2012 live dates will be at New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience in October.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen

Here's that 'Call Me Maybe' and 'Walking on Broken Glass' mash-up you wanted

Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij puts Carly Rae Jepsen's and Annie Lennox together

I don't need any more "Call Me Maybe" covers. But a mash-up with Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass?" Definitely.

Carly Rae Jepsen's No. 1 smash summer hit has been successfully melded with Lennox's 1992 hit by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, and posted on his Tumblr as "Call Me on Broken Glass."

"This one is strictly for the lulz," Batmanglij posted. And here I thought it was for a Grammy.

Jepsen's track has also been mashed-up with other big pop tracks with equally sunny dispositions, like Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life."

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