Latest Blog Posts

<p>Meryl&nbsp;Streep in &quot;Hope Springs&quot;</p>

Meryl Streep in "Hope Springs"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

The Long Shot: The drawbacks of being a wallflower

Why everyman stories get short shrift with the Academy

On Monday, a colleague pointed out to me that the next Academy Awards were, to the day, five months away. Strangely, he said it in the panicked tone of someone on whom Christmas has too swiftly crept up, whereas all I could think of was how dauntingly far away it sounded. Five months is a long time to parse the possibility of a third consecutive Best Picture from the Weinstein stable, to debate Philip Seymour Hoffman’s category placement, and for Jeff Wells to denigrate Daniel Day-Lewis’s Abe Lincoln accent; this weekly column, meanwhile, will have mulled over more than enough unseen variables before the season is out. Welcome.

Read Full Post
<p>Sophie Simmons auditions for &quot;The X Factor.&quot; Oh and her parents are Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed.</p>

Sophie Simmons auditions for "The X Factor." Oh and her parents are Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Wednesday - Auditions #5

Some day, 'The Voice' and 'X Factor' will move beyond auditions

"X Factor" time!

Sorry I couldn't do my normal Eastern Time live-blog of the auditions, but I was fasting and atoning for me sins.

But now it's time for an evening of recapping, so let's get back to "X Factor" auditions, which seem to be lasting forever, just like the auditions on "The Voice." Between the two shows, we're up to 12 singing audition episodes and the 2012-2013 season is three nights old.

That's crazy.

More after the break...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The Neighbors.&quot;</p>

"The Neighbors."

Credit: ABC

Series premiere review: 'The Neighbors' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new ABC comedy?

"The Neighbors" is one of this fall's new shows I didn't have the time (or heart) to review, though Fienberg and I discussed it at length on Monday's podcast. But I'm curious what those of you who tuned in tonight thought. Did the "aliens name themselves after famous athletes" running gag get old, or is "Dick Butkus" just inherently, eternally hilarious? Did you love the way the communication device's name has "poop" in it? Did you prefer the alien characters, the humans, or neither? And will you watch again, especially once it moves to 8:30? 

Have at it.

Read Full Post
Watch: Ellie Goulding's 'I Know You Care' video with a dying Dakota Fanning

Watch: Ellie Goulding's 'I Know You Care' video with a dying Dakota Fanning

Stirring footage from film 'Now Is Good' propels story line

Bring the hankies. Ellie Goulding’s new video for “I Know You Care” pulls on your heartstrings as Dakota Fanning stars as a terminally ill young woman.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Could &quot;Frankenweenie&quot; take the Oscar for Disney?</p>

Could "Frankenweenie" take the Oscar for Disney?

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: The Mouse House looks to reclaim the animation crown

Also: Designing 'Anna Karenina,' and early Oscar blogger meltdowns

Apologies for the very late roundup today: I've been having substantial technical problems. We kick off with a look at an Oscar category that few pundits claim to have a bead on: the Best Animated Feature category. In the second consecutive year that Pixar doesn't have it all wrapped up, Glenn Whipp surveys a highly flexible field, and wonders if venerable parent company Disney couldn't reclaim its dominance of the medium and score a trio of nods: with Tim Burton's well-received "Frankenweenie" (the one to beat, from where I'm standing) and "Wreck-It Ralph" bracketing Pixar's generally liked-but-not-loved "Brave." Wouldn't it be fun to have a race in this category for a change? [LA Times]

Read Full Post
<p>Kelly Clarkson</p>

Kelly Clarkson

Credit: AP Photo

Kelly Clarkson, Jason Aldean and Dierks Bentley set to perform on CMA Awards

Little Big Town also confirmed for Nov. 1 country awards show

Kelly Clarkson, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Little Big Town are the first performers confirmed to appear on the 46th Annual CMA Awards, which will air Nov. 1 on ABC.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host for the fifth time, as the show airs live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. ET.

All of the announced performers will be vying for trophies come Nov. 1, including Aldean and Bentley, both of whom are up for three awards.


Read Full Post
<p>Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller in &quot;Elementary.&quot;</p>

Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller in "Elementary."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'Elementary' makes Sherlock Holmes a part of the CBS brand

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu play well together as 21st century Holmes and Watson
From the moment CBS ordered "Elementary," a new Sherlock Holmes series set in the present, fans of the character have indignantly pointed out that there's already an ongoing Sherlock Holmes series set in the present: the BBC's award-winning "Sherlock," which airs in America on PBS. And "Sherlock" producer hasn't helped the new show by explaining that before CBS ordered "Elementary," the network first approached him about remaking "Sherlock."
Read Full Post
<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Credit: AP Photo

Maroon 5's 'One More Night' holds one more week on the Billboard Hot 100

The songs fends off a hard-charging 'Gangnam Style'

Maroon 5’s “One More Night” gets one more week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, but will have to hold off a charge from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” if it wants to make it three.

“One More Night” gains in radio play, streaming strength and single sales—the three components that factor into the Hot 100 stats— but  “Gangnam Style” is nipping at its heels. In fact, “Gangnam Style” sold more digital downloads this week than “One More Night” and  radio stations are galloping to add the novelty song by the South Korean rapper.

Fun.’s” Some Nights” stays at No. 3, while Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” falls 2-4. Pink, who celebrates her first No. 1 album today with “The Truth About Love” stays at No. 5 on The Hot 100 with “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).”

Flo Rida’s “Whistle” blows 4-6, while Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean also drops 6-7. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time” climbs one spot to No. 8, swapping places with Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” falls 7-10.

This week’s highest debut belongs to "The Voice" judge Christina Aguilera, whose “Your Body” bows at No. 34.

Next week, look for high debuts from Swift’s new single, “Begin Again,”  as well as Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

Read Full Post


Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Rihanna's new single, 'Diamonds'

Does it sparkle or is it a lump of coal?

Katy Perry has her “Firework,” Nicki Minaj has her “Starships” and now Rihanna has her “Diamonds.”

On her sparkly new Stargate-produced single, she revels in the love she’s found and how together, she and her man, “are beautiful like diamonds in the sky" as they see "eye to eye." It may be her most optimistic single since "Umbrella." 

At this point, Rihanna has become a hit factory, predictably churning out an album every fall, from which a handful of singles tumble out.  There’s a consistently there that is admirable, but more so, she and her phalanx of producers have kept up a level of quality and diversity.

“Diamonds” is bolstered by a military beat that builds and the refrain “Shine bright like a diamond,” that Rihanna robotically sings between the choruses. There’s no rapping, only Rihanna singing against the drum beat. Her voice remains limited, but effectively expresses the hope that she feels  in the relationship. Toward the end, her delivery of the refrain breaks free to soar over the other elements in the song, effectively ending the song on an upbeat note.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Daisy Betts and Andre Braugher in &quot;Last Resort.&quot;</p>

Daisy Betts and Andre Braugher in "Last Resort."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Last Resort' is the fall's best new drama

Andre Braugher plus Shawn Ryan plus nukes equals thrills
In the first episode of ABC's exciting new drama series "Last Resort," Navy submarine captain Marcus Chaplin refuses a sketchy order to nuke Pakistan, evades an attack by his own countryman, and takes over an island in French Polynesia, threatening America and the rest of the world with his boat's nuclear arsenal if they don't leave him alone.
Read Full Post
<p>Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Opie (Ryan Hurst) in a scene from last night's &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Opie (Ryan Hurst) in a scene from last night's "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Laying Pipe'

Pope makes an unforgiving demand of Jax in a pivotal episode

I'm out of the weekly "Sons of Anarchy" reviewing game, and you can read Geoff Berkshire's longer, thoughtful take on last night's episode right here. But I did say I would check in from time to time, and one event in last night's episode made this one of those times. A few very spoiler-y thoughts coming up just as soon as I bring in a specialist from out of town...

Read Full Post
(from left) "Anna Karenina," "The Master" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" join the hunt for Best Picture.
(from left) "Anna Karenina," "The Master" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" join the hunt for Best Picture.
Credit: Focus Features/The Weinstein Company/Warner Bros. Pictures

Best Picture 2013: Potential nominees from 'Amour' to 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Surveying the field as the 2012-2013 Oscar season commences

The Oscar season is just warming up as the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals have gotten us started. The New York and London film fests around the corner will keep things humming and in the meantime, a survey of the field is in order. This year's crop of possibilities is as diverse as ever, genre and foreign film making their voices heard, while animation is curiously absent. Presidential biopics are represented, as are political thrillers. Comedy, as ever, barely shows up, while Hollywood gets a unique spotlight the year after industry nostalgia owned the season. There's something for western fans, comic book fans and literary fans, so click through to check out our cross-section of the players, from "A(mour)" to "Z(ero" Dark Thirty). And of course, keep track of the ups and downs of the category all season at In Contention's Best Picture Contenders page.

Read Full Post