Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jake Johnson and Martin Starr on &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jake Johnson and Martin Starr on "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Fancyman, Part 2': I get older, they stay the same age!

Dermot Mulroney sticks around, and Martin Starr advises Nick

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I dress up as your Aunt Frida at a seder...

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<p>Joel Kinnaman of &quot;The Killing&quot;</p>
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Joel Kinnaman of "The Killing"

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'Killing' star Joel Kinnaman explains what drew him to 'RoboCop'

How will his RoboCop be different from Peter Weller's version?
I sat down with Joel Kinnaman on Monday (March 26) afternoon to discuss the Swedish actor's second season playing Stephen Holder, recovering addict and aspiring Seattle homicide detective on AMC's "The Killing."
 
When last we spotted the jittery, enigmatic Holder, he seemed to be heading into some morally questionable territory in what proved to be a wildly polarizing Season 1 finale. Things only get more complicated for Holder in Sunday's (April 1) "Killing" premiere and much of my conversation with Kinnaman relates to that two-hour episode, so the full Q&A will post after the episode has aired.
 
While most of the interview focuses on "The Killing," I'm only human and, towards the end, I inquired about how Kinnaman, well-respected, but still largely an unknown to mainstream American audiences, came to land the lead role in Jose Padilha's upcoming reboot/remake of Paul Verhoven's sci-fi landmark "RoboCop."
 
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<p>The Shins, &quot;Port of Morrow&quot;</p>

The Shins, "Port of Morrow"

Review: The Shins' new album 'Port of Morrow'

What can be left to say about James Mercer?

The Shins’ “Port of Morrow” runs into the same problems that albums like those from the New Pornographers or of Montreal do. There is a calculation and formula to great pop songwriting, and its expert writers sometimes struggle to distinguish each song as an individual work. There’s only small windows of spontaneous possibilities, like the predictable pinch-hits of Nels Cline when a Wilco song gets lost.

With this set, there is no new argument you could lodge against Mercer as a songwriter that you couldn’t before: if you’re a fan, you won’t find any reason to be dissuaded. It’s his backers that have changed. Between this and 2007’s “Wincing the Night Away,” Mercer recruited an all-new, experienced band, and he reteamed with Broken Bells cohort Danger Mouse for production. But still, at the center, is Mercer’s simple melodies, verbosity and that talk-timbre voice. Mercer didn’t re-invent the wheel, it’s just housed somewhere else.
 
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Will 'Boyfriend' make Justin Bieber a radio star?
Credit: Island

Will 'Boyfriend' make Justin Bieber a radio star?

Could he have his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100?

Despite Justin Bieber’s phenomenal success, he has not been a Top 40 radio star. However all that could change with “Boyfriend.”

His sultry new single, which has been No. 1 on iTunes since its release at midnight March 26, is also earning rave reviews at radio. A Top 40 program director we talked to last week was positively buzzing about the song, noting it was Bieber’s strongest single yet.

If you look at Bieber’s Billboard Hot 100 stats, he’s only reached the Top 10 with two of the 21 songs he’s charted on the Hot 100 over the last three years. His peak came two years ago when “Baby” reached No. 5. His only other Top 10 tune is “Never Say Never,”  which reached No. 8.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach on &quot;The Colbert Report,&quot; defending &quot;selling-out&quot;</p>

The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach on "The Colbert Report," defending "selling-out"

The Black Keys take a crack at Spotify: What's the beef?

Does Patrick Carney have a point?

The Black Keys have been a vocal opponent of Spotify before. Only this time they've called an important music/media tech guy and "assh*le." Oh gosh!

Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney clarified the band's stance to Grand Rapids, Mich. radio station WGRD this week, indicating that the streaming service's royalties scheme doesn't have enough of a payout for the band to make all releases available.

"The idea of a streaming service, like Netflix for music, I’m totally not against it. It’s just we won’t put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense," he said. "Trust me, Dan and I like to make money. If it was fair to the artist we would be involved in it... I imagine if Spotify becomes something that people are willing to pay for, then I’m sure iTunes will just create their own service, and they’re actually fair to artists.”

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<p>DJ Khaled</p>

DJ Khaled

Listen: DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne 'Take It To The Head'

Khaled has friends in high places on salute to getting messed up

It takes a village of rappers to convey the message “Now we’re gonna get f***ed up/no excuses/no apologies” on “Take It To The Head,” the thumping first single from DJ Khaled’s forthcoming album, “Kiss the Ring.”

Khaled is joined by Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne on the Runners’-produced, mid-tempo track. Brown does the melodic heavy lifting here, while the others mainly chime in with raps that are NSFW listening. Warning: lots of uses of the N word here. Lil Wayne appeared on DJ Khaled’s 2011 hit “I’m On One,” which also featured Drake.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ted (Jason Segel)&nbsp;and Violet (Emily Blunt) do not take the easy road, to say the least, in the new romantic comedy 'The Five-Year Engagement'</p>

Ted (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) do not take the easy road, to say the least, in the new romantic comedy 'The Five-Year Engagement'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Set Visit: Jason Segel and David Paymer play father and son in 'The Five-Year Engagement' part one

Plus learn why Brian Posehn's role in the film got bigger during the shoot

It's July 7th, 2011, and I'm standing on a traffic island on a busy street in San Francisco, watching Jason Segel serve food from a catering truck to Da'Vone McDonald while his dad, David Paymer, looks on with approval.  It's surprisingly cold outside, and this is just the start of what promises to be a very long day on-set.

There aren't many filmmakers who I can say I've visited on the set of every single one of their feature films, but "The Five-Year Engagement" is the third feature that Nicholas Stoller has directed, and it's the third time I've joined him on-set to watch him work and see what he's up to.

Like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," this film is a close collaboration between Stoller and Jason Segel, who co-wrote the film with him.  And, of course, Rodney Rothman is right there with Stoller again, producing and serving as a sort of comic sounding board for Stoller on the set.  Watching these three guys work together, you get a sense that these are people who are incredibly comfortable as a team, and who have developed a shorthand that serves them well at this point.

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<p>Smashing Pumpkins</p>

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins finally put a date to 'Oceania,' team with EMI

Is Billy Corgan's long-gestating project going to be fully realized? Why it matters

Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins seem finally ready to release their long-gestating album-in-an-album project, "Oceania," due June 19. And with the announcement, comes other indications of sea change.

The album is an incorporated part of Corgan's 44-song concept project "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope," which initially intended to thrwart the traditional album release schedule and promotional thinking. Corgan and Co. -- drummer Mike Byrne, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and guitarist Jeff Schroeder -- have released 10 official "Kaleidyscope" tracks, practically as they were being created, in a work-in-progress effort to bring singular attention to each song in consideration of the whole, which is a conceptual "Fool's Journey" through Tarot cards. The first eight tracks were packed into two different EPs, both released in 2010. The last "Kaleidyscope" song was released in May 2011.

So up until the news today, fans have been left to wonder what happened to that "journey" in the last 10 months, with talk of "Oceania," but not a specific idea of how it fit into the Kaleidyscopic vision, particularly since the band has been dropping tracks almost exclusively on their own.

"Oceania," as has been revealed, will be released through Corgan's own Martha's Music publishing with distribution and support from EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution.

"The Smashing Pumpkins created Oceania as an album experience, and it is intended for the process of the release to follow a path of inclusion, so that best efforts are made for all the fans hear it at the same time as press or radio. We were excited to find partners in EMI Label Services that were equally passionate about the plan for the album release as well as being huge fans of the Pumpkins," says Peter Katsis in a statement.

Now just who the hell is Peter Katsis?

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<p>Coldplay rocks Lollapalooza '11</p>

Coldplay rocks Lollapalooza '11

Credit: AP Photo

Lollapalooza tickets go on sale; line up announcement coming

When will we know who's playing the Aug. 3-5 fest?

Did you get your tickets yet? Lollapalooza three-day passes went on sale today for the Aug. 3-5 festival in Chicago's Grant Park.

A limited number of Early Bird passes priced at $200 have already sold out.  Once that unspecified number was gone, the price bumped up to $230. No single-day passes are available yet.  Prices include service fees.
As usual, the tickets went on sale with no word on who is playing the festival. The line-up won’t be released until April 11.

The rumor mill is running rampant about who is playing, of course. In February, a Tweeter going by @lollaleaks tweeted that the headliners would include Metallica, Beyonce and Sonic Youth-- each of which could pretty much be shot down, which is exactly what Lollapalooza organizer Perry Farrell did. Then @Lollaleaks announced the whole thing was a hoax. Forbes ran an interesting piece on @Lollaleaks a few days ago and how his little joke escalated that's worth a look.

Last year’s headliners were Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse and My Morning Jacket

 

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<p>Mykelti Williamson of &quot;Justified&quot;</p>
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Mykelti Williamson of "Justified"

Credit: FX

HitFix Interview: Mykelti Williamson talks 'Justified'

Butchery, bad teeth and 'Boomtown' talks with Mr. Ellstin Limehouse
Apparently, Mykelti Williamson knows a few things about butchery. 
 
For the "Justified" co-star, that's not a threat. It just happens that he knows how to take apart a side of beef or a pig.
 
For Williamson's "Justified" character, however, culinary dexterity and the threat of violence have gone hand-in-hand this season.
 
Ellstin Limehouse is a butcher, BBQ master and unlicensed banker. He's also the seemingly avuncular protector of Noble's Holler and as we've already seen this season, it's a responsibility he takes very seriously, with very little tolerance for encroachment.
 
"Justified" has offered Williamson one of his best roles in years and it's probably no coincidence that the FX drama has been a reunion with writer-producer Graham Yost and fellow actor Neal McDonough, partners-in-crime from NBC's short-lived drama "Boomtown." 
 
In a recent conversation, Williamson told me that Limehouse just wants to be left alone, but we only have three episodes remaining this season to see what extremes he's willing to go to in order to keep his holler safe. 
 
Click through for the full interview, which covers the "Boomtown" reunion, Limehouse's peculiar fashion sense and orthodontia and what scares this scary character...
 
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<p>Madonna finally embraces Twitter. What will @LadyGaga think?</p>

Madonna finally embraces Twitter. What will @LadyGaga think?

Credit: Interscope

15 fun things we learned about Madonna from her Twitter: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and 'Kill Bill 3'

Will she keep tweeting? Are she and Deadmau5 friends again?

Madonna, whose new album, "MDNA," came out today, took to Twitter to chat directly with her fans. The hour-long Q&A  revealed some interesting minutiae about Madge and she used it to put to rest her burgeoning fight with Deadmau5.

Read our album review here

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<p>&quot;Bethenny Ever After&quot;</p>
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"Bethenny Ever After"

Credit: Bravo

Is Bethenny Frankel a 'Real' housewife worth watching?

'Bethenny Ever After' veers from crass consumerism to shockingly raw moments

Last year I found myself hooked into "Bethenny Ever After" (Mon. 10 p.m. on Bravo) despite myself. Yes, former "Real Housewives of New York" star Bethenny Frankel can be crass, loud and annoying, but mostly she had a self-deprecating sense of humor that made scripted scenes almost tolerable and displays of conspicuous consumption a little less irritating. In some ways, she was the neurotic Manhattan version of Mary Tyler Moore 2.0 -- married with a kid in the big city, she was going to make it after all. 

But I was prepared to sit out this season. Last year Frankel sold her Skinnygirl cocktail brand for a reported $120 million, ended up on the cover of Forbes, and jumped from simply well-to-do to filthy rich. While kudos to her, part of Frankel's appeal had been her status as a scrapper -- an ambitious woman who, unlike most other "real" housewives, had to fight for whatever shred of the D-list pie fell into her lap. 
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