Latest Blog Posts

<p>Rihanna's &quot;Diamonds&quot; single cover</p>

Rihanna's "Diamonds" single cover

Credit: Def Jam

Mark your calendar for Rihanna's new single, 'Diamonds'

Her perpetual music machine never stops

Rihanna will release her new single, “Diamonds,” on Wednesday at 8 a.m. EDT.

The song is the first single from her seventh studio album, which will come out before the end of 2012.

Rihanna’s dominance at pop radio is due, in part, to her continuous outpouring of music. Most pop artists take some time off between album cycles: not Rihanna. This new album will make her fourth consecutive album released in the fourth quarter since 2009.  The only year she has not released a new album since her 2005 debut was in 2008. Even country artists don't keep up that pace. It used to be that you could set your clock to country to your favorite country artist: they released a new album every year. In part, that was because their fans expected it, but it was also because they tended not to write much of their own material.  A producer would help select the cuts, hire the studio musicians, etc. and the artist would spend a few days or weeks (max) in the studio. However, as country artists started writing more of their own material, they too have spread out their release cycle to every 18-to-24 months.

Not only is Rihanna prolific, but her label tends to release at least four singles from each set. Her six available albums have yielded 30 Hot 100 charting songs. She’s logged 11 No. 1s and a total of 20 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Given the speed of her output, it’s no surprise that she reached that number faster than any other solo artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Only the Beatles landed 20 top 10 singles faster than Rihanna.

“Diamonds” is also the name of Rihanna’s previously announced world tour, which kicks off in Buffalo, N.Y. on March 8.

Read Full Post
Fantastic Fest photos: 'Miami Connection's Dragon Sound reunion, karaoke, costumes

Fantastic Fest photos: 'Miami Connection's Dragon Sound reunion, karaoke, costumes

The sound of a band with only two songs

AUSTIN -- Not very many people have seen "Miami Connection," but it basically represents why people come to Fantastic Fest every year. The B-movie -- picked up by Drafthouse films for a 25th anniversary re-release -- is a clunky, hilarious and surprisingly moving film by the end. In it is an inexplicably successful band Dragon Sound, led by the film's writer, director and lead actor Y.K. Kim. This band plays only two songs, and they both are melodically alike, and one is called "Against the Ninja." This gives you some idea what you're up, er, against: the looks, feels and sounds of 1987, through the film filter of a man and his martial arts.

"Miami Connection" didn't exactly blossom in its own time, but was heralded by audiences here at the 2012 festival, an appreciation completed by Dragon Sound's electric drum-laden reunion, complete with a fist-pumping "TAE KWON DO!" chant and a little help from the Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest staff. And, yes, those t-shirts are on sale.

Other weekend highlights included a Monsters' Ball costume contest, seeded in Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie!" premiere earlier in the evening on Thursday.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;The Mindy Project&quot;&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;&quot;Ben and Kate.&quot;</p>

"The Mindy Project" & "Ben and Kate."

Credit: FOX

Review: FOX's 'The Mindy Project' & 'Ben and Kate' show comic promise

These are the best new comedies of the fall season
On last week's phenomenal episode of FX's "Louie," director David Lynch played a veteran talk show producer training Louie for a shot at succeeding David Letterman. At one point, Lynch needs proof that Louie is actually funny, and demands that Louie make him laugh on the count of 3. Louie flinches once, then twice, and Lynch warns him that the next countdown will be the last, and Louie wins a reprieve by bursting into a string of falsetto nonsense that in no way resembles his actual comic style, but pleases Lynch. It's not until later in the episode that Louie finally relaxes and gets the confidence to be as funny on-camera as he knows he can be.
Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;star Damian Lewis was one of the night's more surprising Emmy winners.</p>

"Homeland" star Damian Lewis was one of the night's more surprising Emmy winners.

Credit: AP

Emmys 2012: 'Homeland' and 'Modern Family' dominate

It was a night of unexpected drama winners and repeaters everywhere else
I always say that the easiest way to win an Emmy is to have already won an Emmy, and the 2012 Emmy Awards seemed to be going out of their way to prove me right. Twenty-five awards were handed out over the three-hour ceremony, and only eight of them went to people or shows that hadn't won an Emmy before. The first seven in a row went to past winners, and eight of the first nine.
Read Full Post
<p>David Chang and Janette (Kim Dickens)&nbsp;in the &quot;Trem&eacute;&quot;&nbsp;season premiere.</p>

David Chang and Janette (Kim Dickens) in the "Tremé" season premiere.

Credit: HBO

Season premiere review: 'Tremé' - 'Knock With Me - Rock With Me'

The more things change, the more they don't

"Tremé" is back for its third season (and has been renewed for a fourth). I reviewed the season as a whole earlier this week, and in it noted that I'm only going to do brief write-ups of each episode until the finale, mainly providing you folks with a forum to discuss the show, because I've found over time it doesn't lend itself incredibly well to chapter-by-chapter dissections, especially when I've read to the end before you've opened the book. But I have a few specific thoughts on the season premiere coming up just as soon as I get a hairstyle that's, like, not a hairstyle...

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'Spaghetti & Coffee'

Nucky goes to New York, Chalky teaches his daughter a lesson, and Gyp buys some gas

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I am face to face with paradox...

Read Full Post
<p>Jimmy Kimmel</p>

Jimmy Kimmel

Credit: ABC

2012 Emmy Awards Live-Blog

Join HitFix as we chatter through Sunday's Emmys telecast

It's Emmy night, kids! 

How pumped are we?

I've already watched two-plus hours of Red Carpet coverage.

And Sepinwall and I have already made our predictions.

But enough prelude... Let's get to the main event, hosted by Mr. Jimothy Kimmel.

Come say "Hi"! I'll try to join the comments at the commercial breaks if anybody is chatting...

Read Full Post
<p>Billie Joe Armstrong performs with&nbsp;Green Day at the iHeartRadio festival over the weekend. The singer launched into a tirade near the end of the band's set and stormed offstage, but not before smashing a guitar on the way out.</p>

Billie Joe Armstrong performs with Green Day at the iHeartRadio festival over the weekend. The singer launched into a tirade near the end of the band's set and stormed offstage, but not before smashing a guitar on the way out.

Credit: Eric Reed/Invision/AP

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong enters rehab after Las Vegas outburst

Watch: Frontman freaks out at Clear Channel's iHeartRadio Festival

Following his outburst at Clear Channel’s IHeartRadio conference in Las Vegas Friday night, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has entered rehab.

“Billie Joe is seeking treatment for substance abuse,” the band announce in a statement on its website today. “We would like everyone to know that our set was not cut short by Clear Channel and to apologize to those we offended at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas.  We regretfully must postpone some of our upcoming promotional appearances.”

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Holy cow, Emma Watson is pretty.</p>

Holy cow, Emma Watson is pretty.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Emma Watson and Stephen Chbosky charm while discussing 'Perks Of Being A Wallflower'

One of the new film's stars and the writer/director sit together for a talk about their movie

It wasn't really possible to predict while the "Harry Potter" film series was in full swing, but now that I've seen "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower," I'm prepared to call it.  Emma Watson is going to have a long and successful career as an actor if that's what she chooses to pursue.  She may not be the star of this film, but when she's onscreen, she's incandescent, and she does such delicate character work in scene after scene that I think it's apparent she has more than just Hermione to offer audiences.

Adapting a novel to the screen can be very tricky, especially when it's something very personal.  Stephen Chbosky may have written the much-loved novel, but that doesn't automatically mean he's the right guy to direct the movie.  Thankfully, he turns out to be quite a director, and the result is a movie that I think people are going to fall madly in love with.  It's much smarter than the average teen film, and it does a remarkable job of evoking a specific time and place.

One of Chbosky's biggest weapons in terms of making the film is his casting.  Logan Lerman, Mae Whitman, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Nicholas Braun, Melanie Lynskey, Paul Rudd… all of them do really strong and memorable work.  It's a testament to Chbosky's touch as a filmmaker, too.  Many of these characters are outside the comfort zone of the actors, and they all rise to the challenge.

Read Full Post
<p>Radha Mitchell of &quot;Red Widow&quot;</p>

Radha Mitchell of "Red Widow"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Red Widow'

Radha Mitchell stands out in a pilot better suited for cable

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"Red Widow" (ABC) [Midseason]
The Pitch: "It's a semi-cinematic, female-driven thriller that probably belongs on cable in the vein of 'Missing' so when it's cancelled, we can claim it was a miniseries and gun for Emmy nominations in that way." Alternatively: "It's 'Scoundrels' only not funny. Wait. 'Scoundrels' wasn't funny either."
Quick Response: It's strange. I'm interested in "Red Widow," but my problem with it as a series is that the official ABC description of the series *begins* with a key event that happens more than two-thirds of the way into the pilot, an event that won't surprise anybody given the name of the show, but which is still drawn out and drawn out and drawn out so much that by the time the pilot ends, you're not unengaged, but you also don't have a clue what the series is. ABC has a long description of what happens as the show progresses with Radha Mitchell's eventually eponymous Marta -- Woman goes toe-to-toe with the mob after her husband is murdered -- which is probably because they've seen the Dutch series "Penoza" [which has me shaking my fist at the sky and yelling "MENDOZA!!!"], but what's here gives viewers very little to latch onto as an ongoing show. Just as people who watched "Missing" did so because Ashley Judd was a strong and compelling leading lady (and because the European settings were pretty), the key draw to "Red Widow" is going to be Radha Mitchell, who I've always felt was hampered as a movie actress by only getting Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts' leftovers. If you look over her resume, though, Mitchell has often been a solid leading lady and I think a good TV vehicle is a tremendous career improvement for her. [Don't get me started on my ongoing theory that there are only 10 actresses (possibly fewer) whose careers wouldn't be better off if they stopped making awful movies and committed to a good TV show.]  Whether "Red Widow" proves to be that vehicle, Mitchell keeps the pilot watchable at all times and she's got some fine character actors working around her, including Lee Tergesen and Rade Serbedzija. Pilot director Mark Pellington lays the atmosphere on thick and "Red Widow" looks fantastic, but what Pellington can't do is obscure the reality that Melissa Rosenberg has written a pilot script that either should be 15 or 20 minutes longer (and therefore probably on cable) or a script that could have been condensed easily into the opening 15 minutes of an alternative network pilot that actually got to the point with more directness. I just don't see how this story, told in this specific and deliberate way, can possibly succeed on ABC, either creatively or on ratings terms. To me, it feels like best case scenario, "Red Widow" fails on ABC, but is released as a very satisfying DVD set. Yay?
Desire To Watch Again: Because the first episode is entirely table-setting, I have a strong desire to see what the second episode of "Red Widow" will be, because presumably that'll be more illustrative of the ongoing series as a whole. Maybe. I'm not sure I endorse this is a method of pilot-making: Delivering a pilot exactly good enough to make viewers skeptically curious, rather than delivering something good enough for unqualified optimism. Really, this is the pilot you send to series after "Missing" is a hit. I mean, she's a butt-kicking woman who still says things like "I will protect my children at any cost." This isn't a pilot you send to series after "Missing" failed. Oh well. I'm sure they know what they're doing at ABC. [Disclaimer: Dan is not sure of any such thing, even if ABC is doing a bunch of encouraging things as well.]


Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Cult'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Next Caller'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Following'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Family Tools'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Infamous'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's '1600 Penn'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Zero Hour'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries


Read Full Post
<p>Jason Sudeikis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt prepare for &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Jason Sudeikis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt prepare for "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mumford & Sons

Would the 'Looper' and 'Dark Knight Rises' star sing and dance again?

After a sturdy if semi-unremarkable season opener, “Saturday Night Live” returns with its second episode of the year with host Joseph Gordon-Levitt, back for his second time hosting the show. Will the star of “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Looper” reference his “3rd Rock From The Sun” days at some point in tonight’s broadcast? Will former “(500) Days of Summer” co-star Zooey Deschanel appear alongside him onstage to help promote the Tuesday return of “New Girl”? And most importantly: will we see five separate sketches based on the film “Premium Rush”, or only four?

Read Full Post
Can Michael Peña break through with 'End of Watch'?

Can Michael Peña break through with 'End of Watch'?

Veteran supporting actor has paid his dues

Like many moviegoers across the country this weekend, you may have bought a ticket for David Ayer's new drama "End of Watch" instead of the more hyped offerings such as "Trouble with the Curve" or "House at the End of the Street."  And guess what?  You made the right choice.  One of the better reviewed movies recently, "Watch" follows the working relationship and off the clock friendship between two LAPD officers played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.  Gyllenhaal is already being positioned as a contender in the very, very competitive best actor race, but the film's best chances at awards recognition may just be with Mr. Pena in the supporting category.*

*And yes, I clearly realize you could make the argument Pena should also be in the lead field, but SAG and Oscar should buy the supporting claim (maybe).

Read Full Post