Latest Blog Posts

<p>Fran Kranz as Marty in &quot;Cabin in the Woods&quot;</p>

Fran Kranz as Marty in "Cabin in the Woods"

Credit: Lionsgate

Interview: 'Cabin in the Woods' star Fran Kranz talks endless delays and 3D

'Dollhouse' actor talks reuniting with Joss Whedon: Can the film be spoiled?

PHILADELPHIA -- Like anybody involved in a horror film, “Cabin in the Woods” star Fran Kranz doesn’t want any of his movie’s secrets spoiled before it goes wide to theaters on Friday. In a way, though, it’d be impossible to fully spoil the twists and turns of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s thriller, which is as much a love letter to past cinema as it is a fulfilling way to reinvent it. 

At a HitFix-hosted early fan screening last night in Philly, Kranz was on hand to talk about his “Cabin” character Marty, the endless delays in release and how a film of such abundant in a post-internet, rumor-mongering era can still find success.
 
“I have a lot of faith that the movie can’t be completely ruined. There’s no one twist or one spoiler. Maybe it is important… to make a film like this so full and so dense. Even if I tried, it’d just end up sounding insane,” Kranz said. “We have a lot of layers of defense."
 
Read Full Post
<p>Sarah Chalke shows off her Zubaz on &quot;Cougar Town.&quot;</p>

Sarah Chalke shows off her Zubaz on "Cougar Town."

Credit: ABC

'Cougar Town' - 'You Can Still Change Your Mind': Thank you, Simon

Not a lot of laughs, but with this crew, does that matter as much?

A quick review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I can control my gag reflex...

Read Full Post
Shannen Doherty

Shannen Doherty says you better watch 'Shannen Says'

Credit: Chris Ragazzo/WE tv

Review: 'Shannen Says' reveals the determined side of Shannen Doherty

The '90210' 'bad girl' plans her third marriage, this time on camera

Shannen Doherty doesn't have a great track record in reality TV.

She spent one season as the host of SyFy Channel's hidden camera show "Scare Tactics" (back when it was still called Sci Fi Channel). Fronted Oxygen's "Breaking Up With Shannen Doherty," which lasted a single season. And was the first celebrity eliminated on the tenth season of "Dancing with the Stars."

(She's also been mocked for participating in a series of ads for online college EducationConnection.com, even though her goal is to get a degree as a tribute to her late father.)

But she's not giving up just yet. Doherty's latest reality project is the WE tv docu-series "Shannen Says," charting a seven week rush to the alter with photographer fiancé Kurt Iswarienko. It's her most personal and revealing reality effort yet, and Doherty's personality seems suited to the medium. This one just might work.

Read Full Post
<p>Lily Tomlin made a great season even better when she showed up as Tammy Powers on this year's 'Eastbound and Down'</p>

Lily Tomlin made a great season even better when she showed up as Tammy Powers on this year's 'Eastbound and Down'

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Eastbound & Down' wraps up season three with triumph and tragedy

Can Kenny Powers be redeemed, and should he be?

After the events of the last few weeks, I'm wrestling with the knowledge that "Eastbound and Down" may well be finished forever next Sunday night.

If you haven't seen the show this season, then this post probably isn't for you.  There's no way to talk about what's happened and what might happen on Sunday without spoiling things, and this has been a season full of major moments.  What's strange is how completely it felt like they wrapped things up in the penultimate episode this past week.  It was such a triumphant note to reach for Kenny Powers that I feel like they're setting him up, and for the first time in the series, I actually am invested in seeing Kenny succeed.  He's never going to be a great person, but at this moment in the series, he's as close as he's ever going to get, and I wish there was a pause button I could hit to keep him from screwing it up.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Lady Gaga</p>

 Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga sets summer European dates: Will the U.S. be next?

Already announced Asian leg starts later this month

Is Lady Gaga bringing her show back to the U.S. It’s too soon to tell, but she unspooled some new European dates today that give her little monsters hope that she’ll keep adding dates and working her way around the globe.

Momma Monster took to Twitter to unveil 21 dates on the Born This Way Ball tour, opening in Sofia, Bulgaria on Aug. 14 and concluding on Oct. 6 in Barcelona. It’s a healthy mix of arena and stadium dates. There are also no consecutive nights listed, meaning she is either holding dates for possible multiples in some cities or will fill in some more cities soon or needs to rest between dates. We’re guessing there will be some dates filled in. For example, there are no dates between a Sept. 17  Amsterdam show and and Sept. 22 Paris show. The list of European dates are here.

Reunited British glam band The Darkness got the call to open the European dates. They wrote on their website that they were “honoured to announce their addition to the bill,” (originally reported by MTV).

The newly-announced shows are on top of Lady Gaga's Asian and Australian tour that kicks off later this month on April 27 in Seoul and concludes July 8 in Perth, Australia. For a complete list of those dates, go here.
 

Read Full Post
<p>Dreama Walker and Krysten Ritter in &quot;Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23.&quot;</p>

Dreama Walker and Krysten Ritter in "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23'

Odd couple comedy has appealing center, but needs some work
ABC's new "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" (tomorrow night at 9:30) feels familiar in many strange ways. It's an odd-couple comedy, in which Dreama Walker's sunny June is paired with Krysten Ritter as the wicked title character Chloe, but odd couples in comedy is a tradition that long, long precedes even "The Odd Couple" itself. What's strange is how many incredibly specific ways it invokes some past comedies.
Read Full Post
Watch: Justin Bieber unleashes another teaser for 'Boyfriend' video

Watch: Justin Bieber unleashes another teaser for 'Boyfriend' video

What's up with those rings?

If the other two teasers weren’t enough, we know from teaser No. 3 that Justin Bieber’s video for “Boyfriend” is likely to be some big, lavish mini-movie.

In this 14-second clip, we see Bieber, looking slightly menacing (or as menacing as he can) and dragging knuckle rings, diamond encrusted and looking like tiger’s teeth (or claws), across a woman’s cheek.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Cung Le puts a bad guy on an all-foot diet in 'Dragon Eyes,' one of the films playing this year's ActionFest</p>

Cung Le puts a bad guy on an all-foot diet in 'Dragon Eyes,' one of the films playing this year's ActionFest

Credit: ActionFest 2012

ActionFest 2012 finalizes its line-up and guests

We might not be there in person, but we'll be there in spirit

Every year, there are choices I make about what I do or don't attend, about which trips I do or don't take, and it is inevitable that every year, I have regrets that are part  of that process.  Unfortunately, this year, it appears that ActionFest is going to end up as a regret for me, because when it happens in Asheville, North Carolina, over the upcoming weekend, I'll be here in Los Angeles instead.

I was at the first ActionFest, but I haven't been able to make it back since, and that's a real shame.  They're working to establish this festival's identity, and each year, I get the feeling that it's coming into focus a little more.  Festival director Colin Geddes, the maniac behind Toronto's Midnight Madness selections every year, has been working hard to turn ActionFest into a genuine destination, packed with guests and with a line-up of films that should leave Asheville audiences bruised and bloodied in the best possible way.

I know I'm going to be sending my parents, who live in Asheville, a list of movies they should try and catch while they're playing, and I hope the festival does well this year so that I can attend it again next year.  If you're anywhere near Asheville, let me recommend that you give it a try, because it seems like they've really gone over the top to try to put something special together this year.

Read Full Post
<p>The moustache Hanks was rocking in 'Road To Perdition' is probably the closest he's come to how he'll look when he plays Walt Disney</p>

The moustache Hanks was rocking in 'Road To Perdition' is probably the closest he's come to how he'll look when he plays Walt Disney

Credit: Dreamworks

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson team for real-life backstory to 'Mary Poppins'

Hanks is set to play Walt Disney in the story behind one of his best films

I love "Mary Poppins."

Later this year, we're going to be tackling the film as part of Film Nerd 2.0, and I look forward to sharing it with the kids for the first time.  When they're a little older, I'll introduce them to the books by P.L. Travers, which I think are wonderful in their own right, although very different.

Presumably at some point after that, I'll share the film "Saving Mr. Banks" with them and we can talk about the way the two Mary Poppins that they'll know, from the films and the books, are very different characters in important ways, and how it's a case of Hollywood making the film they wanted to make, despite the author's wishes.  I would not want the P.L Travers approved "Mary Poppins" if it meant I couldn't also have the Julie Andrews version.

I say that as someone who was raised with that film as part of their vocabulary, though, and I would imagine I might have felt different if I was the author.  The film "Saving Mr. Banks" is set to tell the story of how Walt Disney personally spent 14 years trying to get Travers to give him the rights so he could make the film, and according to Variety, both Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are onboard as Disney and Travers.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Alabama Shakes</p>

 Alabama Shakes

Credit: AP Photo

Album Review: Is Alabama Shakes' 'Boys & Girls' worth the hype?

Rock quartet conjures up ghosts of the greats on full-length debut

Critics have been falling all over themselves to praise Alabama Shakes for the past several months: Paste named the act its best new band of 2011, they were a must-see show at SXSW, and already have a big U.K. following.

Before the inevitable backlash begins, we suggest you grab a copy of “Boys & Girls,” the quartet’s debut album out today, April 10 (it follows last fall's 4-song EP) and find out what all the fuss is about.

The album’s rush of music —11 songs delivered in around 38 minutes —swirls around lead singer Brittany Howard’s bluesy, nuanced vocals. When she sings “Bless my heart/bless my soul/didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old,” in opening track “Hold On,” instead of sounding pretentious and overly precious, she sounds like an old soul for whom a real world  22 is her weary heart’s equivalent of  92. On “You Ain’t Alone” she conjures up Otis Redding’s ghost in a shivering, memorable performance.

Howard is the primary reason tastemakers have fallen all over themselves to praise this group from Athens, Ala. (as opposed to that other southern musical hotbed of yore, Athens, Ga.), but not the only one: the band’s appeal is that Alabama Shakes are so clearly the antidote to what is dominating pop music these days. There are no plastic princesses in pink or blue hair here (though The Shakes’ music is so friendly, they’d probably be welcome to grab a tambourine and join in). Plus, “B&G’s” rootsy naturalism sounds as if it were created in a vacuum, not only without any concessions to current radio trends, but without even any knowledge of them.

Instead, ghosts of the aforementioned Redding, Solomon Burke, Janis Joplin and even Amy Winehouse haunt their music and Howard’s vocal style.  Just listen to the soulful “I Found You” or, more significantly, “Rise To the Sun” and try not to imagine Winehouse singing the organ-drenched tunes.

Without sounding deliberately retro or from a specific era, Alabama Shakes’ big drums, echo-y guitars and striking keyboards recalls a time when pre-recorded loops were nonexistent and when synthesizers weren’t many producers’ instrument of choice.

In that way, Alabama Shakes—which also includes guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson— are more akin to Jack White and the White Stripes than any other current outfit (in fact, White released a live 7”  from the band on his Third Man Records).  They share his same often ramshackle, often shambolic sound that sounds unschooled, but then closer listens reveal that it is deliberate in its primitiveness. In fact, the music grows more precise as the record rolls on, as keys, drums and guitars all slyly start to move in the same direction instead of seemingly battling each other as they do on some of the early tracks.  Listen to the spooky, delicate “Goin’ To The Party” and how the guitar and drum dance around each other.

While it’s clear the best way to see Alabama Shakes is live—they will be opening for Jack White in May—”Boys & Girls” is a very fair representation of what to expect. Alabama Shakes’ music may be too looselimbed and raw for folks who like their music with a little more spit and polish, but fans of acts like Jack White and the Black Keys will eat this stuff up with a spoon.

Read Full Post
In Contention, Academy Awards, Kodak, Dolby

The (formerly) Kodak Theater at Hollywood and Highland.

Credit: AP Photo/Ric Francis

Dolby may pick up where Kodak left off

The theatre at Hollywood & Highland has a suitor

Earlier this year we reported on the Eastman Kodak company’s plans to have its name removed from the theater at the Hollywood & Highland complex where the Academy Awards have been held since 2002 as a part of their filing for federal bankruptcy.

CIM group (the company that owns the Hollywood & Highland mall where the theater is located) has been seeking a new sponsor for the theater while simultaneously renegotiating their deal with the AMPAS. The Academy, meanwhile, has indicated that it may move the Oscarcast to another location once its lease is up in 2013. The Nokia Theater LA LIVE in downtown Los Angeles (a venue which would provide double the capacity of the current theater) had indicated plans to bid for the show, but most have assumed the Academy wasn't likely to pick up stakes.

Read Full Post
<p>When reached for reaction to news of the &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;renewal, all Hodor had to say was &quot;Hodor!&quot;</p>

When reached for reaction to news of the "Game of Thrones" renewal, all Hodor had to say was "Hodor!"

Credit: HBO

HBO renews 'Game of Thrones' for season 3

New season will deal with at least part of "A Storm of Swords."

HBO has had a pretty consistent pattern, especially with its dramas, of renewing shows the Tuesday after their premieres. So once we knew last week that "Game of Thrones" had returned to a series-high 3.9 million viewers (6.3 million if you count people who watched repeats later in the evening), every TV reporter in the country began waiting for the renewal press release to come in.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME