Latest Blog Posts

<p>Kris Kristoffersen in &quot;Heaven's Gate.&quot;</p>

Kris Kristoffersen in "Heaven's Gate."

Credit: United Artists

Venice honors Michael Cimino as 'Heaven's Gate' gets another close-up

The festival will premiere a restoration of the director's ill-fated 1980 film

For a film that a lot of critics continue to believe is a disaster of momentous proportions, Michael Cimino's epic flop "Heaven's Gate" has received an awful lot of second chances. The vast period western is one of Hollywood's most enduring cautionary tales: made on the back of Cimino's Oscar triumph with "The Deer Hunter," it fell prey to the director's hubris as it ran catastrophically behind schedule and over budget, ruining United Artists as it grossed not one-twentieth of its then-massive $44 million budget.

Critics may have piled onto the already woebegone film, both in its 219-minute premiere edit (still a feat of restraint compared to the five-and-a-half-hour edit Cimino originally had in mind) and the studio-shredded 149-minute version prepared for general theatrical release, but the rehabilitation has been steady and dedicated over the years. Originally unveiled in Competition at Cannes, it's since been given other illustrious platforms from to recoup its credibility.

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Review: 'The Expendables 2' pumps up the mayhem and delivers real thrills
Credit: Lionsgate

Review: 'The Expendables 2' pumps up the mayhem and delivers real thrills

Second time's the charm for this series

I was no fan of "The Expendables."

In general, I feel like my generation has been made stupid by nostalgia.  We hold on to any terrible piece of crap from our childhoods simply because we recognize it from our childhoods.  I am often startled by the things that people profess love for, and the only explanation for much of it is because recognition has replaced any sort of demand for quality.  With "The Expendables," people seemed willing to excuse a truly awful, uninteresting action nothing simply because of the cast, and I just couldn't hang with it.

I'm also not exactly the biggest Simon West fan in the world.  Just seeing the difference between the scripts for "Tomb Raider" and the film that West eventually released was enough to make me skeptical of his taste as a filmmaker.  I find myself uninspired by his work.  I think he's a competent shooter, and if that's all you need from a director, he's your guy.

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"Hotel Hell"

"Hotel Hell"

Credit: Fox

Gordon Ramsay talks about scratchy towels and being an 'unselfish' boss

The 'Hotel Hell' makeover king says hotel owners are worse than restaurateurs

Gordon Ramsay takes on the task of berating and shaking up clueless hotel owners on "Hotel Hell" tonight (two night season premiere Mon. Aug. 13 at 8:00 p.m. PT, Tues. Aug. 14 at 8:00 p.m. PT; regular series time will be Mondays at 8:00 p.m.) Ramsay will travel to San Diego, California; Couer d’Alene, Idaho; Cambridge, New York; Milford, Pennsylvania; and Winter, Vermont to fix the bad, the bedbug-ridden and the downright stinky. In a conference call with journalists, Ramsay talked about what he likes (comfortable rooms), what he doesn't (scratchy towels) and why we all need to complain more.

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<p>The &quot;Sparkle&quot; ladies: Tika Sumpter, <span class="il">Jordin</span> Sparks and Carmen Ejogo</p>

The "Sparkle" ladies: Tika Sumpter, Jordin Sparks and Carmen Ejogo

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Jordin Sparks and her 'Sparkle' co-stars reveal their top Whitney Houston memories

What did Houston say to Sparks that made her cry?

In “Sparkle,” Tika Sumpter, Jordin Sparks, and Carmen Ejogo play sisters— and daughters of Whitney Houston’s character. The trio embarks on a musical journey during which their sibling bond deepens and they each find out some truths about each other.

Sumpter, Sparks, and Ejogo found that playing sisters came easily to them, especially as they bonded during the recording of the cast album. “You know that it’s real when somebody can deal with your attitude or not,” Sumpter joked. “When somebody’s like ‘What is wrong with you’. You’re like, ‘Look, this is how I feel right now,’ and they accept you.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Christina Aguilera</p>

Christina Aguilera

Credit: AP Photo

What Christina Aguilera really thinks about Britney Spears joining her as a talent show coach

Plus, other nuggets about Season 3 of 'The Voice'

Christina Aguilera had welcoming words to the talent reality show world for her fellow former Mousketeer Britney Spears.

At a press conference for “The Voice” Sunday at producer Mark Burnett’s Malibu mansion,  Aguilera, who is a judge alongside Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Cee Lo Green, was asked how she felt about Spears joining “The X Factor,” since the pop queens‘ careers have somewhat paralleled each other and they have known each other since they were tweens.

“I came up with Britney. [We were in the] Mickey Mouse Club. We were very close, and our paths have always crossed and, interestingly, they will continue to cross,” Aguilera said. “I welcome her to this family of fun and entertainment and finding new talent as well....I don’t know what [advice] she’s going to offer specifically, but I know she’s a pro...I think she’s going to give great advice.”’

Without being asked specifically about fellow diva Mariah Carey, who is joining the judges panel for “American Idol,”  she said in general, “I welcome these very talented women. In this business, especially in my genre of pop.. women [get] compared to each other and it’s women against women and this and that and I’m not down for that at this point in my life. I have no patience for it. C’mon, the more the merrier.”

The biggest change for Season 3 of “The Voice,” which debuts in September, is the addition of The Steal. “We go from blind auditions to the battles, this year, there’s much more at stake,” Burnett said. “When [the coaches] have their battles and select one person to stay with them and one person to leave, the other coach can buzz in and steal that person that coach has sent home.”

Each coach can steal up to two contestants from other teams. Each team will leave the Battle Round with 10 contestants. That number will drop to five in the Knock Out Round.

Levine admitted that if a dropped contestant is not picked by another coach during the Battle Round, it is adding insult to injury.  “It’s pretty debilitating getting let go and then, essentially, it’s three other people not necessarily wanting to keep you,” he said. “That’s just like getting kicked in the balls and punched in the face at the same time.”

With “The Voice” expanding to two cycles per year, Burnett acknowledged that it will be tough to keep the coaches, all of whom have very active careers. Adding that the initial coaches have their “chairs for life,” Burnett said the producers will never replace one of the existing judges permanently, but the judges may rotate out for a season to tour or fulfill other career duties, and then come back. While Green, who pushed back his Las Vegas residency to film Season 3 said he “hoped” he’d be back for Season 4 this spring, none of the other judges committed on whether they planned to return, but Aguilera hinted that there may be a point when she takes a sabbatical.

“For me, personally, we’re not speaking about anybody going or leaving or the details of that, I just know that I can only be so great as a coach if I keep on re-inspiring myself by going out, making albums... and gaining new stories and experiences on the road so that I can share with my team and bring it back.”

Aguilera mentioned that she is getting ready to drop “Your Body,” the first single from her forthcoming album. According to Pop Crush, she will debut the song on “The Voice.”

As if to illustrate the point, Levine left this morning for a three-week South America tour with his band Maroon 5, but will be back in time for the start of Season 3’s live shows.


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<p>David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch in &quot;Grimm.&quot;</p>

David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch in "Grimm."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC's 'Grimm' returns, improved, for season 2

Deeper mythology and a more balanced ensemble highlight the growth curve

In today's podcast, Fienberg and I revisited NBC's "Grimm," which begins its second season tonight at 10. (NBC is airing a episodes on Mondays for the next few weeks in the hopes of hanging onto their Olympic audience for as long as possible.)

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<p>Ang Lee's &quot;Life of Pi.&quot;</p>

Ang Lee's "Life of Pi."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Ang Lee's 'Life of Pi' will open the 50th New York Film Festival

Awards potential will be on display Sept. 28

After a slew of major premieres were announced for both the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival last month, critics and media have been wondering what high profile release was left for the coveted opening night of the New York Film Festival.  Additionally, as its the 50th edition of NYFF, the Film Society of Lincoln Center would not want a second rate picture opening the celebrated festival.  Happily, 20th Century Fox and Ang Lee have come to the rescue.

The Film Society announced today that Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's popular novel "Life of Pi" will open the festival on Sept. 28.  The Fox release is currently scheduled to open nationwide on Nov. 21.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 144

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 144

Dan and Alan talk 'Grimm,' 'Copper,' 'Boss,' 'Strike Back' and more


Happy Monday, Boys and Girls!
In this week's busy installment of The Firewall & Iceberg podcast, we discuss the returns of "Grimm," "Boss" and "Strike Back," plus the premiere of BBC America's "Copper." We also get to "Breaking Bad."
In the podcast, I forgot to apologize to Terrell Owens for my inaccurate memories of his last season in the NFL, which was more statistically respectable than I remembered. Then again, the last time y'all insisted I needed to apologize to an NFL wide receiver it was Kenny Britt, when I had the nerve to doubt his reliability as an NFL No. 1 wide receiver. I stand by that ongoing skepticism, which isn't based on Britt's talent, so much as his difficulties staying healthy and his inability to stay unarrested.
But anyway... Back to this week's podcast... If you have questions for us, next week would be a good week to ask, since we're definitely gonna have time for Listener Mail...
Today's breakdown:
"Grimm" (00:00:50 - 00:14:20)
"Boss" (00:14:25 - 00:26:05)
"Strike Back" (00:26:05 - 00:35:20)
"Copper" (00:35:20 - 00:50:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:50:25 - 01:10:00)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 144: 'Grimm,' 'Boss,' 'Strike Back' & 'Copper'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 144: 'Grimm,' 'Boss,' 'Strike Back' & 'Copper'

Dan and Alan also discuss a thrilling 'Breaking Bad'


It's a busy Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as Dan and I talk about the returns of "Grimm," "Boss" and "Strike Back," the debut of BBC America's "Copper," and get into the teeth of a tense "Breaking Bad" episode.

The line-up: 

"Grimm" (00:00:50 - 00:14:20)
"Boss" (00:14:25 - 00:26:05)
"Strike Back" (00:26:05 - 00:35:20)
"Copper" (00:35:20 - 00:50:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:50:25 - 01:10:00)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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"Dancing with the Stars"

"Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

"Dancing with the Stars: All Stars" announces the star/pro pairings

Look for fan favorites Cheryl, Maksim, Kym and Chelsie

“Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” is gearing up for a big debut (Mon. Sept. 24, 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC), so fans will be pleased to see their favorite pros returning to the show along with the all-star celebs. Here are the star-studded pairings:

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<p>Axl Rose</p>

Axl Rose

Guns N' Roses have an appetite for a Las Vegas residency starting Oct. 31

Where can you catch Axl and the other guys in Sin City?

Following in the footsteps of Santana and Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses will take up residency at The Joint, the 4000-seat venue at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The Axl Rose-led group will play 12 shows between Oct. 31 and Nov. 24 in the cleverly titled “Appetite For Democracy” outing (Get it? The music spans from “Appetite for Destruction” to “Chinese Democracy.” Plus, it’s election year).

 A little editorial note: So this is  basically a glorified run of dates at one venue smaller than what they usually play. Just like “exclusive” has seen its meaning totally diluted over the years, “residency” is now being used whenever an artist plays in Vegas for more than a few nights. We yearn for the days when “residency” still meant that the artist play, leave, and then come back and play some more, leave, come back, rinse and repeat, for a period of two years or so, like Elton or Celine at Caesars or Garth Brooks at The Wynn.

Anyway, we digress. Guns N’ Rose, which, in addition to Rose, is now guitarists DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal; bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.

The outfit tried a trial run over New Year’s Eve when it played two shows at The Joint and clearly is now coming back for Halloween and the run up to Thanksgiving.

Tickets go on sale Aug. 17 and start at $45.


      Wednesday, Oct. 31
         Friday, Nov. 2
      Saturday, Nov. 3
         Wednesday, Nov. 7
         Friday, Nov. 9
        Saturday, Nov. 10
        Wednesday, Nov. 14
       Saturday, Nov. 17
        Sunday, Nov. 18
         Wednesday, Nov. 21
         Friday, Nov. 23
         Saturday, Nov. 24

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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Watch: 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' goes extreme couponing

The family could be perfect for both hoarding and couponing shows

It's the ultimate smash-up: The latest episode of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (Wed. 10 p.m. on TLC) features elements of both "Extreme Couponing" and "Hoarding: Buried Alive" as the family clears shelves of processed foods. We see TLC crossovers ahead! Though it's their way of saving money for Honey Boo Boo's pageant expenses, it certainly isn't helping their diet plans any. Watch the grocery store fun below.

What do you think of Honey Boo Boo's family? 

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