Latest Blog Posts

<p>&nbsp;Perry Farrell</p>

 Perry Farrell

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Interview: Perry Farrell takes you behind the scenes at Lollapalooza

What does it take to put on the Aug. 3-5 festival?

Perry Farrell is nothing if not ambitious. The Jane’s Addiction frontman’s mission for Lollapalooza, which he co-created in 1991, is nothing less than “trying to get the greatest musicians on the earth into Chicago” for the three-day music festival, which kicks off this Friday, Aug. 3 at Grant Park.

This year’s lineup is certainly a colorful attempt at that feat with headliners including Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Keys, Black Sabbath, and Jack White.

They are joined by nearly 130 other acts who span the musical spectrum. Farrell started the event as a traveling festival 21 years ago. After two brief hiatuses, it returned as a stationary festival in Chicago in 2005 and has grown into one of the premier summer music events.  Over the years, as the headliners have fallen into place, he says, “my ambition is a little different these days...What I’m trying to do is break the greatest young artists in the world. I cast that net pretty far out there.”

As Lollapalooza has  expanded to after-parties throughout Chicago, that has given Farrell greater leeway “to let people in who may have promise that aren’t great [yet] to people who have really developed their craft.”

He and his partners, booking agency William Morris Endeavor and concert presenter C3, have weekly conference calls to discuss potential performers. “I get to open up [WME’s]  portfolio and look them over, but we are absolutely not limited to them,” Farrell says, adding that the debates over whom to book for Lollapalooza “can get very heated at times and it can really spin your brain.”

As a musician, the rise in the number of multi-act festivals has been great for artists who can “can get paid good money to get in front of a good audience 10-20 times bigger than you’d normally play to,” Farrell says, but when he puts on his festival organizer hat, it’s a different story. “The other festivals are looking to outbid you, so it drives up the cost of the artist, so you have to be really careful because now you’re talking about a dozen or more groups that are operating on inflated fees,” he says. “It’s becoming a lot like pro sports.”

Finding the right talent is just one part of the equation to pulling off a successful event. Farrell worries as much about what happens off stage as on: “You want to make the accommodations for the patrons great and have their experience be great,” he says. In fact, he sees attending a festival las a vital part of growing up for kids now, a rite of passage just like getting their driver’s license. And he wants Lollapalooza to be the festival that every kid remembers as his or her first.

For the full Lollapalooza line up, go here.

Read Full Post
<p>The infamous 100 meter final from the 1988 Seoul Olympics.</p>

The infamous 100 meter final from the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Toronto Film Festival docs focus on Ben Johnson, Snoop Dogg and Thirty Seconds to Mars

Plus: Sony Pictures brings 'Hotel Transylvania' north for the kiddies

The Toronto International Film Festival announced additional selections to this year's edition of the festival including a large number of documentaries and some intriguing vanguard titles.

Among the doc highlights, Daniel Gordon's "9.79*" revisits the 100 meter final from the 1988 Seoul Olympics which is notorious for Ben Johnson's anabolic steroid scandal. "Artifact" chronicles Thirty Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto's long legal battle against EMI.  "As if Were Catching a Cobra" captures the insurgent movements among Arab artists in Egypt and Syria. Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sara Burns' "The Central Park Five" comes to Toronto after screening at Cannes in May. Recent Sony Pictures Classics acquisition "The Gatekeepers" takes an in-depth look at Israel's secret service agency and screens for the firs time after its debut at Jerusalem International Film Festival. Matthew Cooke uses interviews with subjects such as 50 Cent, Eminem, David Simon and "Freeway" Rick Ross to chronicle the war on drugs in "How to Make Money Selling Drugs."  "Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp" examines the life of the cult cultural icon. Alex Gibney tackles the power of the Catholic Church in "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." Janet Tobias' "No Place on Earth" discovers that five Jewish families spent over a year and a half in Ukraine's caves to escape the Nazis during WWII. Snoop Dogg allegedly finds spirituality in "Reincarnated." Another look at Roman Polanski in Marina Zenovich's "Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out"  Jamie Kastner brings disco back in what the festival describes as a "hilarious new package" in "The Secret Disco Revolution." "Shepard & Dark" looks at the friendship of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark through years of written correspondence. "Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky" recounts the rise and fall of the infamous Canadian entertainment mogul. Participant Media and Dan Setton looks at the continuing struggle of the Palestinian state.  "Storm Surfers 3D" follows two best friends in their quest to find the biggest and most dangerous waves in the world.

Among the intriguing Vanguard titles, Rodney Ascher's "Room 237" makes a stop on the festival circuit in Toronto as does Michel Gondry's "The We and the I" and Luis Prieto's English language remake of Nicolas Winding Refn's "Pusher."

TIFF is also continuing its family friendly selections, known as TIFF Kids.  This year's movies include the world premiere of "Hotel Transylvania," "Finding Nemo 3D," French-language animated Cannes selection "Ernest & Célestine" and the live-action "Igor & the Cranes' Journey."

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Nov. 6-16.  Look for complete coverage from Venice, Toronto and Telluride from HitFix's editorial team.

Read Full Post
"Project Runway"

"Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

Watch: A peek at 'Project Runway''s Emmy challenge

The designers have their work cut out for them with difficult clients

If you want a taste of what's ahead on this Thursday's "Project Runway," here's a clip that promises drama a-plenty. As you may have heard, the designers get what seems like a straight-forward (and glamorous) challenge -- but soon discover it's not so obvious or easy when they learn who they'll be dressing. I expect our remaining designers will be put to a test that's actually (gasp!) somewhat relevant to their futures, as dressing up difficult people is, at least for any big name designer who dresses a celebrity, is just part of the job.

Read Full Post
<p>Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell are only three of the 'Seven Psychopaths,' but Walken's so crazy he should count twice, right?</p>

Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, and Sam Rockwell are only three of the 'Seven Psychopaths,' but Walken's so crazy he should count twice, right?

Credit: CBS Films

Toronto announces Midnight Madness line-up including 'Seven Psychopaths'

Two 3D movies, Rob Zombie, and Barry Levinson? What a year

I was already excited for Toronto.  The Midnight Madness selection this year just pushes that excitement into a low-grade sustained mania that is going to make August seem very, very slow no matter what.

With this morning's announcement of the Midnight Madness line-up, I now have a pretty good picture of my September firmly in place.  Even the film I've already seen from the line-up has gone through a serious post-production process since the Sundance premiere, and I'm excited to see how "John Dies At The End" has come together.

It's a very diverse schedule this year, and I remain impressed with the breadth of what Colin Geddes programs each year.  He's determined to give audiences a wild ten-day ride that they can't predict, and looking at this year's slate, I'm guessing it will be another amazing experience.  In today's press release, Geddes said, "Audiences clamouring for this highly anticipated lineup can expect wild rides and crazy adventures into the most chimerical and wicked worlds imaginable.”

He went on to add, “Expect everything from outrageous horror comedies to mock-doc eco- apocalypse thrillers, featuring trans-dimensional bugs, lewd Catholic priests, meat monsters and dog-napping psychopaths that will animate the Ryerson Theatre when the clock chimes 12.”

Read Full Post
The Avett Brothers release 'The Carpenter' track listing and artwork

The Avett Brothers release 'The Carpenter' track listing and artwork

What have they got to say about Paul Newman?

The Avett Brothers’ new album, “The Carpenter,” has song titles sure to intrigue fans. The North Carolina group released the track listing for the Sept. 11, Rick Rubin-produced album, as well as the cover artwork. 

With songs like “Paul Newman Vs. the Demons”  and “Down With The Shine, “ it sounds like they have some more interesting stories to tell. The band has already revealed a few songs from their sixth studio album, including first single, "Live And Die," embedded below.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 141

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 141

Dan and Alan talk more TCA Press Tour, TCA Awards 'Breaking Bad' and more


Happy Tuesday, Boys and Girls!
It's time for the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
This week's installment was recorded in two chunk. The Sunday chunk includes coverage of the Television Critics Association press tour days since our last podcast (including our discussion of the TCA Awards), as well as conversation about the penultimate Season One episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." The second chunk is all about this week's "Breaking Bad."
There's a lot to cover!
Here's the breakdown:
TCA Press Tour (00:02:05 - 00:42:15)
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and a little mail (00:42:15 - 00:58:50)
"Breaking Bad" (00:59:15 - 01:26:45)

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.

Read Full Post
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 141: Press tour & 'Breaking Bad'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 141: Press tour & 'Breaking Bad'

Dan and Alan also near the end of their 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' rewatch


Happy Tuesday, folks, and time for our second press tour-themed Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. Dan and I recorded the bulk of it on Sunday afternoon, but wanted to wait to post it until Dan had seen "Breaking Bad" and we could find a time in our schedules to discuss it. As I head home on Thursday, this will be our last (largely) in-person podcast for quite a while, so we hope you enjoy the different kind of bickering that happens when we're in the same room.

The line-up: 

TCA Press Tour (00:02:05 - 00:42:15)
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and a little mail (00:42:15 - 00:58:50)
"Breaking Bad" (00:59:15 - 01:26:45)
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.
Read Full Post
Watch: Nicki Minaj shakes her tailfeather in 'Pound The Alarm' video

Watch: Nicki Minaj shakes her tailfeather in 'Pound The Alarm' video

She's proves you can go home again in new music clip

Nicki Minaj is certainly doing her part for tourism for her native Trinidad and Tobago.  In her video for “Pound the Alarm,” it’s carnival 24 hours a day  in Port of Spain as Minaj and a bevy of beauties in feathered headdress and bejeweled bikinis  fill the streets.

When the scenery isn’t of the local lovelies and their various body parts, it’s on Trinidad’s natural beauty, including the miles of beaches.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring on &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring on "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Giancarlo Esposito talks 'Breaking Bad,' 'Revolution' and Emmys

On Gus Fring, playing villains, and his new NBC series
The seven days beginning on September 17 will be among the biggest in the career of character actor Giancarlo Esposito. On that night at 10 p.m., NBC debuts its new sci-fi series "Revolution," set in a near future where electricity has ceased to exist, in which Esposito plays Captain Tom Neville, enforcer for a dictatorship that's taken over a large chunk of what used to be America. On Sunday the 23rd, Esposito will attend the Emmys, where he's nominated for the first time ever (and the last for this role) as "Breaking Bad" drug kingpin Gus Fring.
I sat down with Esposito at press tour last week to discuss the learning process for the new character, saying goodbye to what he describes as "the favorite character of my life," the difficulties he's had in his career as a biracial actor, and a lot more.
Read Full Post
<p>Someone's having a good year, but then again, when you're Matthew McConaughey, I think you're probably always having a good year.</p>

Someone's having a good year, but then again, when you're Matthew McConaughey, I think you're probably always having a good year.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Matthew McConaughey makes psychosis seem charming in 'Killer Joe'

An actor reinvents himself midstream, and we talk to him about why hes doing it

At the end of our interview, I had a chance to talk to Matthew McConaughey for a few moments with the camera off, and I told him how I tend to judge his movies first and foremost on the inclusion of a whole-hearted "Alright, alright, alright."  When I hear that, I know I'm in for something special, and hearing it in "Magic Mike" earlier this summer almost made me applaud in the theater.

"I only use it when I feel it's appropriate," he said.  "Sometimes I only manage to work in an 'alright,' and I have to be content with that.  But going back to 'Dazed and Confused,' that has always been something that feels right for certain characters, and I do… I like to break it out."

He must be walking around the house repeating it over and over and over this year, then, because McConaughey is having one of the very best years he's ever had as an actor.  His work in Richard Linklater's "Bernie" earlier this year not only reunited him with a director he loves, but it also gave him a great eccentric supporting role to play. 

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Sherak, just about to announce his last slate of Oscar nominees in January</p>

Tom Sherak, just about to announce his last slate of Oscar nominees in January

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Tom Sherak bids the Academy farewell

A new president will be voted in Tuesday

Tomorrow night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will vote through a new president as Tom Sherak takes his leave after three years on the perch. The presumed favorite for the spot is producer Howard "Hawk" Koch, though Phil Alden Robinson and Gale Anne Hurd are strong possibilities, too. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, here is Sherak's farewell to the membership:

Dear Academy Members,

I am writing to you as I approach the end of my final term as president of our Academy – a position that I have been honored to hold for three years.

I remember how excited I was when I wrote to you back in 2009, as I neared the end of my first 100 days in office. Now I am humbled – humbled by what we have accomplished, by all that we represent, and by everything that we are.

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony on Friday.&nbsp;</p>

A scene from Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony on Friday. 

Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Memo to Oscar: Get Danny Boyle to direct your show

After his epic Olympic ceremony, the Oscars would be a breeze for the Brit

So, what did you watch this weekend? I'm betting that, for many of you, it wasn't anything in the cinema. By and large, US and UK distributors (and I expect many others besides) steered clear of the dark Olympic shadow, knowing that the biggest release of the week may have come from a major filmmaker, but it certainly wasn't a movie. Given the scale of the occasion, Danny Boyle's opening ceremony for the London 2012 Games would have been deemed appointment viewing even if he'd done little more than plonk One Direction on a stage to mime for three hours. 

As it was, he did rather a lot more than that. So much more that viewing parties around the world -- a greater total audience, one presumes, than has been enjoyed by all Boyle's feature films combined -- were left open-mouthed: some with bewilderment, some with delight, many more of us with both. Eschewing the kind of regimented, choreographed float-spectacle that is par for the course at such events -- and was mastered pretty much to the point of unimprovability by Zhang Yimou at the 2008 Bejing Olympics -- Boyle took a more avant-garde approach, wittily crafting an extravaganza that celebrated difficulty, damage and imperfection in place of the standard Olympic virtues of serenity and supremacy.

Read Full Post