Latest Blog Posts

<p>John&nbsp;Hawkes in &quot;The Sessions&quot;</p>

John Hawkes in "The Sessions"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

John Hawkes steals the heart in 'The Sessions'

Plus: Check out the Oscar-winning 1996 doc 'Breathing Lessons' and the new poster

One of the first screenings I caught here in New York this week was Ben Lewin's "The Sessions," which I saw yesterday. The film debuted at Sundance (where it was called "The Surrogate") to much acclaim and became an instant contender for Best Actor (John Hawkes) and Best Actress (Helen Hunt). William H. Macy's supporting performance could also be a player.

It's a very emotional film, ultimately, even if it gets there with a lighter touch. Much of that has to do with Hawkes's fantastic performance, carving an endearing portrait of real-life polio sufferer Mark O'Brien. O'Brien was a Berkeley poet and journalist who spent the majority of his waking hours in an iron lung and, toward the end of his life, wanted to know the pleasure of being with a woman. But the film ends up being about way more than the physical joy of sex, navigating a path of spirituality and humanity toward that most important of life's offerings: intimate human connection.

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<p>Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

New 'Homeland' trailer promises we'll be watching you

Showtime drama teases Sept. 30 return with a Police cover

I'm embedding the new Showtime trailer for "Homeland" season 2 (which premieres on Sunday, September 30) for a couple of reasons: 

1)I'm very excited to have the show (one of last year's best) back, and I imagine seeing glimpses of Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin and friends should pump up your excitement level as well.

2)I love the choice of song: Scala & Kolacny Brothers covering The Police's "Every Breath You Take," a song that has been weirdly turned into a ballad of undying love in recent years (even Sting stopped fighting this particular battle a long time ago and will perform it as such) when it was written as a tale of obsessive stalking. The original interpretation fits "Homeland" perfectly, not just because of the show's extensive use of surveillance, but because of how that in turn fueled the unsettling affair between Carrie and Brody.


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<p>Alma (Molly Parker)&nbsp;and Ellsworth (Jim Beaver)&nbsp;have their nuptials in the &quot;Deadwood&quot;&nbsp;season 2 finale.</p>

Alma (Molly Parker) and Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) have their nuptials in the "Deadwood" season 2 finale.

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 12: 'Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To'

George Hearst finally arrives on Alma and Ellsworth's wedding day

We've come to the end of our summer rewatch of the second season of David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood." I'm no longer posting duplicate versions of these reviews for newcomers and veterans, since all the newbies have to do to avoid being spoiled on the third season is to skip the comments.

A review of the season finale, "Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To," coming up just as soon as the bison can spare me...

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"Project Runway"

"Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'It's My Way on the Runway'

It's a work wear challenge, but will the designers work one another over?

Well, hopefully everything is going to balance out now that the major bailing is over on "Project Runway." Remain calm, designers! Ah, we start off with the usual bitching and bonding. Raul LOVES Christopher. He's made a connection with him. A connection he hasn't had in a long time. Do I hear showmance? What is this, "The Bachelor"?

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<p>Louis C.K. and F. Murray Abraham in &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Louis C.K. and F. Murray Abraham in "Louie."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Louie' - 'Dad'

F. Murray Abraham returns to order Louie to visit his father

A review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I get a credenza in Geneva...

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<p>Mary Steenburgen, Dorian Brown and Elijah Wood in &quot;Wilfred.&quot;</p>

Mary Steenburgen, Dorian Brown and Elijah Wood in "Wilfred."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Wilfred' - 'Service'

Wilfred's mother returns, and Kristen gives birth

I last reviewed "Wilfred" after the season's third episode, though I also wrote up a brief synopsis of the Comic-Con panel I moderated. My plan was to swoop back in to write up a post about the episode screened at that panel, but I lost track of the airing schedule as episodes piled up on my DVR during press tour and the catch-up period that took place after.

But I've now seen all but one of the episodes that have aired since early July, and I have some thoughts on the season as a whole and tonight's episode coming up just as soon as we go to an organic fruit stand I believe is built on an energy vortex...

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"Big Brother"

"Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Will Wil go -- or will Joe?

Fan favorite Jeff returns to weigh in on the season

Well, Frank (who is just too crazy good at these competitions -- take that, Comp Queen Janelle) controlled the house with both HOH and POV status, so Wil and Joe remain on the block. Yes, Frank could have tried to throw Dan under the bus, but Boogie prevailed. The alliances of the Silent Six and the Quack Pack are still in effect. Although I almost want Ian out just so I never have to hear Quack Pack used in a sentence again, although I suspect some fast food joint is already planning to use it for a chicken sandwich combo.

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Watch: T.I. shows off his rich and poor lives in 'Go Get It'

When you're rich, girls don't have to eat with you

That T.I. "Trouble Man" album may just never come out. I think Warner's waiting for something to hit, and very little is; the rapper's "Go Get It" is no exception.

Released today, the video and track featuring the "sophisticated convict" extolling his own riches since bouncing from the clink more than a year ago. This sticks with the general formula of bad bitches with thick asses, the piece he has tucked away in his car, the dope that he is almost assuredly not smoking and the Molly he is certainly not dropping (remember what happened the last relapse, T.I. & Tiny?).

The video could have taking a more interesting tack, putting his rags and riches parallel lives side-by-side. T.I. got a second chance after jail to correct the course, went back to jail, and now here's the third chance. The empty-pocketed side of the clip contains all the small pleasures of Atlanta living without "millions stacked to the ceilings." But it's got its weird, small-time, lonely problems.

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<p>Soundgarden's Chris Cornell</p>

Soundgarden's Chris Cornell

Soundgarden sets November release date for first new album since 1996

Not to worry: Kim Thayil declares the band 'still a little wierd'

On Nov. 13,  Soundgarden will release its first new album of new material since 1996’s “Down On the Upside.”

The band’s guitarist, Kim Thayil, told Rolling Stone (according to Blabbermouth) that the new music “re-establishes that we still rock, we’re still heavy, and we’re still a little weird.” Titles on the album include “Blood On The Valley Floor,” and “A Thousand Days Before.” 

Lead singer Chris Cornell told NME earlier this year that the album “picked up where we left off.” He added, “There's a lot of different feels on the album. We're a band where every single member contributes music so that makes it very diverse. It's a very rich album with a lot of different moods to it."

The band’s first studio recording in 15 years, “Live To Rise,” was featured in “The Avengers” this Spring and topped Billboard’s Active Rock chart.

Since reuniting in 2010, the band has played a number of gigs, including London’s Hard Rock Calling in July.

Maybe Billy Corgan will now have to eat his words: he recently condemned acts like Soundgarden, who play their old songs, if they won’t admit they’re in it for the money. “They’re just out for one more round at the till,” he recently said in a press conference before a gig in the Philippines.


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<p>The 50th annual&nbsp;New York&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

The 50th annual New York Film Festival

Credit: Film Society of Lincoln Center

'Amour,' 'Hyde Park on Hudson' and more set for 2012 NY fest

The 50th annual slate has been revealed

Okay, so, I said it yesterday, but to reiterate: a busy week for NYFF. Robert Zemeckis's "Flight," Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" and David Chase's "Not Fade Away" have been tapped for big world premieres, and today, the full line-up has been unveiled by Film Society of Lincoln Center.

As usual, there are some Cannes carry-overs, chief among them Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning "Amour." Also in the mix are Christian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills," Leos Carax's "Holy Motors" and Pablo Larrain's "No," among others.

Continuing along the fall festival circuit will be Brian De Palma's "Passion" (already set for Toronto/Venice and a potential Telluride play, too), Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" (set for Toronto) and Olivier Assayas' "Something in the Air" (Venice). And there is another world premiere noted: Allan Berliner's "First Cousin Once Removed."

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Credit: Fox

Ryan Murphy tweets a peek at 'Glee' season four

The new trailer shows Sue's baby and Rachel's run-in with... Kate Hudson?

Ryan Murphy tweeted, "So exciting... Season Four, here we come!" along with a link to a promo for "Glee" on Wednesday, giving fans of the show a chance to see exactly what's new and different this year. The answer is, of course, almost everything. Sue (Jane Lynch) has had her baby, and she's working with Will (Matthew Morrison) to keep New Directions on track. Kurt (Chris Colfer) brings "The Glee Project"'s Alex Newell to the choir room, and Rachel (Lea Michele) faces off with her NYADA instructor Kate Hudson. But watch for yourself -- and remember to set your DVRs for "Glee"'s return on Thurs. Sept. 13, 9:00 p.m. on Fox. 

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<p>Mike Epps, Derek Luke &amp; Omari Hardwick</p>

Mike Epps, Derek Luke & Omari Hardwick

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Derek Luke reveals the inspiration for his character in 'Sparkle'

Why did Luke, Omari Hardwick and Mike Epps delay our interview?

Hitfix’s interview with the men of “Sparkle” got off to a late start. That’s because Mike Epps, Derek Luke and Omari Hardwick heard their female co-stars, Jordin Sparks, Tiki Sumpter, and Carmen Ejogo, were right down the hall at the Four Seasons and Luke and Hardwick wanted to run down,  say hello and dispense some hugs.

Our interview opens with my asking about what it was like on the set of Whitney Houston's last film since I’ve never had a junket stopped so the stars could go say hi to their co-stars.

“Sometimes when you finish a movie, you just kindly [feel will you] excuse yourself from the rest of my life’,” jokes Luke, adding that was definitely not the case on “Sparkle.” “This is...a continued friendship.”

Hardwick plays Levi, a guy who can’t really catch a break but who never loses his dignity because of the choices Hardwick made after he read the script. “I just brought what I thought my character would be better represented as, and that would be to play him honorable, to be elegant,” he says.

Epps plays Satin, a comedian who behaves very badly, in the comic’s darkest performance yet. “One of the advantages that I had was that they made it a comedian,” he says. (In the 1976 original movie, “Sparkle” is a gangster). “Now I’ve got a whole different take on what Satin is. Satin is insecure, he’s funny, he’s in a way, selfish... he wants everyone to accept him, he wants to be loved, and somewhere in his childhood he got hurt.”

Conversely, Luke’s character, artist manager Stix, seems emotionally healthy, whole and totally supportive of Sparks’ character, Sparkle. Such a role could be less than dynamic, but Luke kept him interesting, in part, because of whom he felt he was emulating: his father. “It was the same relationship between him and my mom as Stix had with Sparkle....knowing my dad, I was sort of trying to assume who he was.”

“Sparkle” opens Friday, Aug. 17. Check out our interview with the ladies here.

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