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<p>Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams in &quot;Take This Waltz.&quot;</p>

Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams in "Take This Waltz."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

The Long Shot: Searching for sleepers in the Oscar guessing game

What's this year's little engine that could?

After three peaceful months in which the "O" word was among the furthest things from my mind -- even at Cannes, where unusually few films sparked such speculation -- the distant-but-not-invisible threat of the 2012 awards season entered my consciousness in a number of ways this week.

First, before a screening of the emphatically not Oscar-bound "Rock of Ages" (hey, I don't mean that as a slight), my usual no-trailers policy was involuntarily broken as Warners subjected me to gorgeous glimpses of "The Great Gatsby" and "The Dark Knight Rises"... and as much as the moviegoer in me got excited, I'd be lying if I said my mind didn't wander to their intriguingly uncertain awards prospects. The next day, I had only myself to blame to raising the subject. After seeing Sarah Polley's wonderful "Take This Waltz," due for US release later this month, I foolhardily tweeted that it feels like a viable Oscar play for Michelle Williams -- only to wish I hadn't said anything as numerous followers replied with their skepticism.

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<p>Matchbox Twenty</p>

Matchbox Twenty

Credit: Atlantic

Listen: Matchbox Twenty's new single 'She's So Mean' hits a pop bullseye

Hits the spot

The members of Matchbox 20 has always been lovers of power pop, but their music didn’t always reflect that bent. Too often, they tried to exist in both pop and rock simultaneously. While they’ve certainly been successful, sometimes they sounded a bit unfocused.

However, with new single “She’s So Mean,”  MB20 has shot an arrow straight at a power pop target and hit a bullseye. With its handclap intro and catchy guitar refrain, “She’s So Mean” is an ear worm waiting to invade your brain and not let go for the rest of the year. The song is redolent of ‘70s power pop—that territory that Fountains of Wayne has mined so successfully— yet it never sounds overly retro. Listen to it here.

The production is deceptively simple, but each drumbeat, every little yelp by Rob Thomas, only makes the song more seductive. Plus, hasn’t everyone had the one person who you can’t let go no matter what he or she does? “Every now and then she makes you a little bit crazy/she’ll insert a knife in your back and then she’s calling you baby.” Who’s the crazy one?

It’s been 10 years since Matchbox 20 has put out an album of all new material (2007’s “Exile on Mainstream” combined old and new tunes) and it seems like the time away has done them good. The Matt Serletic-produced song, the first single from “North,” sounds deliberate in the band’s  commitment to pop. There’s no line straddling, no trying to be something they aren’t.

“North” comes out in September.

 

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Kathy Wakile and Melissa Gorga on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Kathy Wakile and Melissa Gorga on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Credit: Andrei Jackamets/Bravo

'Real Housewives of New Jersey' recap: 'True Love, True Lies'

A gay wedding and an In Touch article cause Teresa to lose more support

It's the wedding day for Caroline's brother Jamie and his partner Rich. But the first topic of business is Teresa's interview with In Touch Weekly. Jacqueline reads it in her hotel room and is shocked by what Teresa says about Caroline: that Caroline is one of several women (including Melissa and Kathy) who have bullied Teresa over her family's money troubles.

Caroline has her own copy and is less than thrilled. Actually she feels insulted by being "accused of bullying by a bully," adding that Teresa is insulting the only people who were actually there for her when she needed them.

Jacqueline knows that Teresa makes money by talking to tabloids, so she worries Teresa isn't being completely honest in order to make her story more interesting to publish. Jacqueline leaves the magazine out in her room, in the hopes Teresa will see it when she drops by.

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<p>Don (Jon Hamm) finds himself alone at a bar in the &quot;Mad Men&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Don (Jon Hamm) finds himself alone at a bar in the "Mad Men" season finale.

Credit: AMC

Season finale review: 'Mad Men' - 'The Phantom'

Megan needs a job, Pete needs a friend and Don makes a decision

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" season finale coming up just as soon as I'm president of the Howdy Doody Circus Army...

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<p>Lena Dunham and Allison Williams in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Lena Dunham and Allison Williams in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'Leave Me Alone'

Hannah and Marnie have a big fight, and Jessa gets a pep talk

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I work at a consumptive women's hospital...

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<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus in &quot;Veep.&quot;</p>

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Veep."

Credit: HBO

Season finale review: 'Veep' - 'Tears'

Selina tries crying to boost her dire approval ratings

A quick review of the "Veep" season finale — or, really, the first season as a whole — coming up just as soon as I choke you with some Spanx...

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<p>Tonys host Neil Patrick Harris</p>

Tonys host Neil Patrick Harris

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Live-blogging the 2012 Tony Awards

Neil Patrick Harris hosts theater's biggest night, once again
I only had one theatre-ready night in New York City this year, so I had to make that time count, Tonys-wise. My buddy and I tried to get tickets to "Once," but we there weren't any unobstructed seats, so we ended up picking "Seminar" over several other viable plays. I figured Alan Rickman would at least be good for a Tony nod, right?
 
Wrong. 
 
That's how I find myself live-blogging a Tony Awards telecast that will honor only plays and musicals that I haven't seen. My bad for not going with "Porgy & Bess" that night. 
 
Then again, if the Tony telecast were only for people who had seen the shows in question, literally nobody would watch the show, as opposed to the figurative nobody the Nielsen numbers will reveal tomorrow.
 
It's OK. I like the Tonys and I like when Neil Patrick Harris hosts things, so follow along with my live-blog...
 
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<p>We're heading back to LV-223 for another look at 'Prometheus' as we dig deep into the film's themes, plot points, and the questions we still have.</p>

We're heading back to LV-223 for another look at 'Prometheus' as we dig deep into the film's themes, plot points, and the questions we still have.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Prometheus' Second look: Digging deep into spoilers and questions

The year's most beautiful movie is also the most frustrating, but why?

The moment I posted my review for "Prometheus," I knew we would have to run a second piece that asked more questions about the film and that tried to offer a deeper analysis of it.  

Greg Ellwood also followed up with me, asking if we were going to do a piece about the unanswered questions.  The thing is, the questions that people are talking about when they discuss this film range from the easily answered to fundamental confusion about the nature of the story being told.  I don't have any special inside knowledge, but at this point, I've read enough from the people who made the film and from other people who have watched it that I have questions, I have comments, and I have observations and frustrations.  All in all, I have mixed feelings about "Prometheus," and it drives me sort of crazy as a result.

Any time you watch something a second time, it's going to be a different experience, especially when it's something that arrives with the sort of expectations and hype that "Prometheus" had.  I'd honestly seen as little as possible before seeing the film.  After the first one or two trailers, I checked out.  I haven't seen the last five or six trailers or the TV spots, so I didn't have every image in the movie already in my head by the time I walked in the door.

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<p>Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in &quot;Moonrise Kingdom&quot;</p>

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in "Moonrise Kingdom"

Credit: Focus Features

Tell us what you thought of 'Moonrise Kingdom'

The film expanded considerably this weekend

Someone noted recently that we didn't put up a call for reactions to Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom." It's been moving steadily through a very limited release for a few weeks (and breaking box office records previously held by "Brokeback Mountain" in the process -- both are Focus Features films), but this weekend it tacked on 80 screens. So maybe more of you will have a chance to check it out now. Personally speaking, as someone not in the Anderson wheelhouse at all, I quite liked it. So head on back here whenever you get around to it and let us know your take. And if you've already seen it, join in! Also, feel free to rank the film above.

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Watch: Ridley Scott talks 'Prometheus,' 'Blade Runner 2' and Hollywood's commercial realities

Watch: Ridley Scott talks 'Prometheus,' 'Blade Runner 2' and Hollywood's commercial realities

This interview contains spoilers if you haven't seen 'Prometheus'
LONDON - [WARNING: The last answer in this interview contains a pretty major spoiler. If you've seen "Prometheus, watch all the way through. If you haven't, stop watching when you get to the question about "Prometheus" sequels.]
 
When Ridley Scott spoiled the last scene of "Prometheus" in our video conversation in London last week, I knew I wouldn't be able to run the interview in the days leading up to the release of his not-quite-"Alien"-prequel.
 
That was a disappointment, because it was an enlightening conversation with the "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down" director.
 
Now, since "Prometheus" has completed a strong $50 million opening, I feel like enough people have seen the movie that the interview can go up, keeping in mind that my last question, discussing the way "Prometheus" largely functions as a set-up for a sequel, leads to Scott's spoiling the end of this movie.
 
[Repeated spoiler warnings are probably sufficient, right?]
 
In the interview, Scott addresses the obligatory "Prequel or not-a-prequel?" questions, but he also gives an interestingly pragmatic answer for how he came to be directing "Prometheus" -- Carl Erik Rinsch was originally attached, but the studio balked -- and the advantages he sees in returning to his sci-fi landmarks -- first "Alien," with "Blade Runner" next -- decades after they were born.
 
This is the last of the interviews I did at the London junket for "Prometheus." Check out my conversation with screenwriter Damon Lindelof and interviews with Logan Marshall-Green,  Charlize Theron & Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace & Michael Fassbender.
 
"Prometheus" is now in theaters.

 

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<p>James Gunn is the writer of the new game 'Lollipop Chainsaw,' and this week's episode includes an interview with him about exactly what that process entails.</p>

James Gunn is the writer of the new game 'Lollipop Chainsaw,' and this week's episode includes an interview with him about exactly what that process entails.

Credit: Kadokawa Games/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Listen: James Gunn joins the podcast to discuss 'Lollipop Chainsaw'

Plus the single worst Ray Bradbury tribute you'll ever hear

I promised two podcasts this weekend, and sure enough, we've got two podcasts this weekend.

We don't do a ton of game coverage on the site, primarily because there just isn't enough time for us to do every single thing we'd like at this point.  There are moments where film and games are starting to overlap though, and when you've got a guy like James Gunn writing a game that looks as strange and as stylish as "Lollipop Chainsaw," that seems like a good moment to sit down for a conversation about that cross-over in disciplines and how things are starting to get very blurry for people in this business.

Of course, "sitting down together" can be a figure of speech when you're trying to schedule an interview in the middle of an event like E3.  I wasn't at the convention center, and on the day I was set to talk to James, I had a company meeting in Century City.  At the end of it, the rest of team HitFix took off, and I turned on the recorder, took the call on my cell phone, and did my best to record the ensuing conversation.

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<p>Chris Meloni of &quot;True Blood&quot;</p>

Chris Meloni of "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

TV Review: 'True Blood' makes an anemic Season 5 return

Too many characters, too many plotlines and minimal intrigue mar the HBO vampire dramedy
It's probably appropriate that "True Blood" makes me say and do and write stupid, out-of-character things. 
 
Like last summer, when I reviewed the fourth season premiere, I briefly convinced myself that it was totally OK that "True Blood" was a glib, bloody, utterly soulless enterprise, because Alan Ball didn't aspire to make a series of substance. I even took the blame upon myself and wrote, "I am at fault for wanting 'True Blood' to be more than it is."
 
I wrote those words, but it wasn't true. "True Blood" is at fault for not even being a good version of what it aspires to be, which is doubly bad, because what it aspires to be is so low-brow and trashy. And by failing to be effectively and deliciously low-brow and trashy, "True Blood" has had the odd effect of activating an inner puritanical streak that I didn't know I possessed. 
 
Last season, during the sixth or seventh lackluster sex scene between Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman, I actually found myself thinking, "Geez, maybe it's time for Anna Paquin to put on some clothing."
 
Those thoughts are not in character. Why would I ever think that? Why would Alan Ball want to make me think such awful thoughts?
 
Early in Season 5, during a sequence in which a newly born vampire zips around a house at accelerated speed, upending lamps and knocking over furniture, I actually found myself musing, "Geez. It's going to take a long time to clean up this mess." 
 
I'm not Martha Stewart. I'm not an especially neat person. And no matter how much of a mess is made on-screen in "True Blood," nobody is ever going to force me to restore order. And yet, in lieu of providing material for my enjoyment, Alan Ball triggered my vicarious OCD tendencies. 
 
Put a different way, what "True Blood" has managed to do, after four-plus seasons, is deaden my appetite for chaos and haphazard anarchy. 
 
A show about the most primal and basic of human desires has battered my poor, defenseless Id into submission.
 
If you hated the fourth season of "True Blood," with its overacting witches, neutered Erics and less-than-engaging Shifters, I'm here to provide the saddest of warnings: It doesn't get better.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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