Latest Blog Posts

<p>Sam Riley in &quot;On the Road&quot;</p>

Sam Riley in "On the Road"

Credit: IFC/Sundance Selects

Cannes Check: Walter Salles's 'On the Road'

Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews

The director: Walter Salles (Brazilian, 56 years old)

The talent: As if the long-awaited adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Beat classic wasn't going to attract enough eyeballs already on the Croisette, it comes packed to the gills with star names: Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst (who, of course, is the festival's reigning Best Actress), Steve Buscemi, "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard and, most excitingly to the red-carpet hordes, Kristen Stewart, whose prominent role here should hopefully remind "Twilight" sceptics of the form she's displayed in such smaller projects as "Adventureland" and "The Runaways." 

Against all this star-wattage, the film's co-leads, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund, are comparatively low-profile -- probably a cunning choice for two roles where decades of casting speculation (and any number of megastars attached over the years) has amped up the pressure on whoever plays them. Both men come with points to prove. "TRON: Legacy" was supposed to do more for American hunk Hedlund's brand than it eventually did. Meanwhile, the wiry, offbeat Riley made a startling breakthrough five years ago in "Control," but hasn't consolidated it since -- we'll put his badly misjudged turn in the badly misjudged "Brighton Rock" behind us.

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<p>Beck, voiced by Elijah Wood, appears to be the lead character in Disney XD's new 'TRON:&nbsp;Uprising,' an animated spinoff from the live-action franchise</p>

Beck, voiced by Elijah Wood, appears to be the lead character in Disney XD's new 'TRON: Uprising,' an animated spinoff from the live-action franchise

Credit: Disney XD

Watch the entire pilot for Disney's 'TRON: Uprising' now

For fans, is this a welcome addition or a needless redundancy?

Sorry if you don't live in the US, because this one's region-gated, I believe.

I'm not a big fan of the "TRON" mythology. I tried. I like the original film for what it represents, an adventurous move on the part of Disney, and I like the ambition of the sequel. I like the effort. I like the attempt. I just don't think either film is very good, ultimately. They look cool. They seem to offer up a pretty amazing potential. But so far, dramatically, I'm not feeling it. I don't connect to the goofy earnest nature of the original, and I really don't understand the second one's choices.

Having said that, I think that fandom is all about opening yourself up to something, and the only way to really fully enjoy something is to embrace the story being told or the world. Because I can't really get my head around the reality "TRON" tries to create, I can't go where they want to go story-wise.  There are plenty of you out there who do like it and buy into it and dig what they've set up that I'm curious if you enjoy new versions or expansions of that.

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<p>January Jones in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

January Jones in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'Dark Shadows'

Betty, Don and Roger each chart a selfish course

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I have my lawyer tell your lawyer what time dinner is...

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<p>Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

'Girls' - 'Hard Being Easy': The unsmoteable

Hannah's plan backfires and Marnie tries to win back Charlie

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I have a suing app on my iPhone...

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: One World&quot; Top 5</p>

The "Survivor: One World" Top 5

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' Finale - The winner is...

Who came out of the first all-female Top 5 and won the million dollars?
Ladies Night. No pre-credit sequence this week. Instead, we get the obligatory clip package that tries to make the case that Christina in some way deserved a place in the Final Five and that she's an "underdog," not a "darned-lucky coaster." Anyway, it's Night 36 at Tikiano. Muscular Mark Twain is gone. Only women remain. Kim wants to reflect on how far they've come since those rough first days. "I got rid of Tarzan," Alicia cackles, still convinced this is all about her, thinking that Kim and Christina will stick with her. They're all "May the best Woman win." The next morning, Kim and Sabrina collect tree-mail. Sabrina wants Alicia out, but Kim makes the argument that the only person who can beat both of them with the Jury is Chelsea. "It depends on what we're honoring," Noble Sabrina says, stunned at Kim's hypothetical betrayal. Sabrina understands that if Chelsea wins Immunity, she's the next most-likable person and therefore the next most-likely to go next. Alicia also is rooting for Chelsea to suck. 
 
Full recap of Sunday's (May 13) "Survivor: One World" after the break...
 
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<p>Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

'Game of Thrones' - 'A Man Without Honor': Horse and hound

Jaime has a plan, Theon hunts for the Stark Boys and Jon Snow gets led astray

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I meet a literate stonemason...

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<p>A scene from Carlos Reygadas's &quot;Post Tenebras Lux.&quot;</p>

A scene from Carlos Reygadas's "Post Tenebras Lux."

Credit: NoDreamsCinema

Cannes Check: Carlos Reygadas's 'Post Tenebras Lux'

Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews

The director: Carlos Reygadas (Mexican, 40 years old)

The talent: As usual with writer-director Reygadas, non-professional actors are the order of the day here -- performance doesn't tend to be a driving factor in his filmmaking, and here, human figures appears more assimilated into the mix than ever before. More important to note is that cinematographer Alexis Zabe, who conjured such astonishing imagery in Reygadas's previous film "Silent Light," is back on board here -- as is that film's editor, Natalia Lopez. More so than most auteurs in Competition, however, Reygadas is overwhelmingly the dominant presence in his work.

The pitch: Reygadas's fourth feature is being talked up as his most non-narrative effort yet -- which, considering the fluid structures of his previous works, is saying something. The title is Latin for "light after darkness," which suggests a certain continuity with "Silent Light" -- certainly, to judge from the many luscious stills floating around online, we're in similarly painterly, ethereal atmospheric territory to his last film.

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<p>Matthew Perry is returning to NBC with &quot;Go On,&quot; but not to Thursday nights.</p>

Matthew Perry is returning to NBC with "Go On," but not to Thursday nights.

Credit: NBC

NBC's 2012-13 schedule: 'The Voice' and football trump Thursday nostalgia

Peacock focuses on early part of the week rather than home of its '80s & '90s triumphs

For more than 20 years, NBC owned Thursday nights. No matter what else was ailing the Peacock, the network could count on an orderly transfer of power from "The Cosby Show" to "Cheers," from "Seinfeld" to "Friends," from "L.A. Law" to "ER."

Now, Thursdays are just one more problem in an ever-mounting pile of them, with the network consistently coming in fourth on a night it used to dominate, and many weeks finishing in a dead heat with Univision — which may explain why the night is an afterthought in the fall schedule that NBC entertainment president Robert Greenblatt announced on Sunday afternoon.

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<p>Usher and Will Ferrell of &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Usher and Will Ferrell of "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Will Ferrell and Usher

Which old friends would join the 'SNL' veteran?
We’re here near the end of another season of “Saturday Night Live.” Can you feel the warm breeze, hear the sounds of birds, and fear the prospects of months of reruns? Me too! Tonight’s host is no stranger to the show. Will Ferrell will probably go down as one of the show’s all-time best players, and seeing him back in Studio 8H should make for some fun sketch comedy. While a lot of his characters were famous as part of a pair, he also had plenty of solo characters that will undoubtedly make an appearance tonight. (Also probably making appearances? Some of those old cast mates with whom he created so many memorable moments.) Along for the ride is musical guest Usher. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! OK! (Sorry, he probably won’t perform that tonight.)
 
My hopes are high for this one. Let’s get to it!
 
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<p>Michael Mann (far left), Steven Waddington and Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of &quot;The Last of the Mohicans&quot;</p>

Michael Mann (far left), Steven Waddington and Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of "The Last of the Mohicans"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Michael Mann looks back on 'The Last of the Mohicans' 20 years later

American Cinemateque theatrically premieres the director's 'definitive' cut to mark the occasion

Michael Mann's 1992 colonial epic "The Last of the Mohicans" will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, if you can believe it. The film -- an adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's novel -- has remained a highly regarded effort in the director's filmography, which mostly consists of modern urban yarns concerned with the law and order imposed by man.

But it's the law and order of nature -- as it gives way to the impositions of occupiers -- that largely governs the tone and atmosphere of his fourth feature. The film is unique in Mann's canon for its period trappings, but of a piece with his penchant for deep emotional currents that announce themselves only in the nuance of performance.

Indeed, it is still the film's sweeping romance, its epic sadness, its viscous sense of honor that resonates emotionally to this day.

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<p>Aladeen does this so often it's practically a tic at this point.</p>

Aladeen does this so often it's practically a tic at this point.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'The Dictator' marks a significant shift in style for Sacha Baron Cohen

With no real-life victims, this is a different kind of comedy for Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen has spent the last few weeks in constant salesman mode, appearing on talk shows and in public as Admiral General Aladeen, the main character in his new film "The Dictator," and while this is standard operating procedure for Cohen when he's got a film coming out, it may be a miscalculation this time.  I think "The Dictator" is funny, frequently very funny, but it's a very different film than "Borat" or "Bruno," and this whole living-in-character thing may be sending the wrong message to audiences.

As I observed in my early report on the film from CinemaCon in Las Vegas
, it's important to note that this is a scripted comedy where everyone in the film is in on the joke.  This is a far more standard comedy than Cohen's earlier films, and it's an important jump for Cohen to make as a performer.  I'm on the record as a fan of both "Borat" and "Bruno," and I think they're remarkable as examples of performance art.  Those movies have victims, though, and that's something you just have to accept if you're going to watch them.  Cohen created these characters that he would then drop into reality to see what happened when people bounced off of them, and much of the point was to draw people out, to expose their feelings about foreigners or gays or to explore racial tensions.  They are impressive and even dangerous at times, and they felt necessary when they were made.

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Zooey Deschanel and Loretta Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry
Zooey Deschanel and Loretta Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry
Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Thoughts on 'New Girl' star Zooey Deschanel and 'Coal Miner's Daughter'

The life story of Loretta Lynn comes back to life

Actress Zooey Deschanel is slated to bring the life story of 80-year-old country music icon Loretta Lynn to Broadway in a stage version of “Coal Miner’s Daughter." Lynn herself made the announcement at a Grand Ole Opry country classics show on Thursday night. In typical sweet-natured, country-girl style, the Hall of Famer announced Deschanel thusly:

“There’s a little girl back stage that’s gonna do the play ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ on Broadway and I think she can sing herself to death.”

After the announcement the pair did a duet of the play’s title song, a performance which was reminiscent of the introduction Lynn gave to Sissy Spacek when she was tapped to play the role in the 1980 Academy Award-winning film. (Spacek herself took home the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.)

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