Latest Blog Posts

<p>Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' - 'The Ghost of Harrenhal': Three deadly wishes

Plans change rapidly as season 2 reaches its mid-point

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I'm able to kill people with my mind...

Read Full Post
<p>Amrita Acharia of &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Amrita Acharia of "Game of Thrones"

Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

HitFix Interview: Amrita Acharia talks 'Game of Thrones'

Daenerys' handmaiden Irri talks Dothraki, off-screen romance and more
Amrita Acharia's Twitter profile describes her as a "Ukrainian-Nepalese actress with a dash of Norwegian-ness sprinkled on top," while her IMDB profile boasts of her aptitude with a slew of languages.
 
Of course, TV audiences know Acharia primarily for a fictional nationality and for her proficiency in a language that never existed.
 
On HBO's "Game of Thrones," Acharia plays Irri, Dothraki handmaiden to Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen. Irri has generally been paired with Roxanne McKee's Doreah. While Doreah has been largely entrusted with coaching Dany on carnal arts, Irri has taught Dany about Dothraki culture and the Dothraki language.
 
In scenes that we weren't privy to, Irri also was apparently carrying on a love affair with a Dothraki bloodrider named Rakharo, which left her mighty unhappy a couple weeks back when Rakharo's horse returned from a scouting mission with his head, but without the rest of his body.
 
As Acharia's Twitter followers know, she was in Los Angeles last week and I sat down with the young actress to discuss her language skills, her appreciation of the Dothraki mentality and her early dreams of being a vampire.
 
Click through for the full interview [No real spoilers, unless you're way behind and even then, nothing really.]...

Read Full Post
<p>Beyonce</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Beyonce

Credit: AP

Tupac Shakur leads Music Power Rankings for the second week

Beyonce, Maroon5 and Carrie Underwood also make the list

1) Tupac Shakur:  His virtual appearance at Coachella leads to a very real boost in sales as his “Greatest Hits” reenters the Billboard 200 for the first time in 12 years. The title landed at No. 129, with a 571% sales gain over last week.  His track “Hail Mary” saw a 1,530% increase to 13,000 downloads.

2) Beyonce: People names her the World’s Most Beautiful Woman. Blue Ivy coos, “I already knew that.”

3) Record Store Day: The fifth annual event, held April 21, helped indie record stores’ sales soar 26% last week. Guess what? Indie stores are open year round.

4) Ryan Seacrest
:  He will be with us forever and always--or at least through 2014:  He signed a $15 million deal to keep him hosting “American Idol” for two more years.

5) Carrie Underwood: The former “American Idol” champ leads all artists with five nominations for the 2012 CMT Music Awards. Her legs receive 10 nods.

6) Michael Rapino:
The Live Nation head made $11.9 million last year. He can afford to pay the service charge on concert tickets, but what about the rest of us...

7) The Beach Boys:
They kick off their 50th anniversary tour in landlocked Tucson. What? Kokomo was booked?

8) Maroon5: The exposure from “The Voice” continues to pay off for lead singer/coach Adam Levine as the group scores its biggest first week debut ever on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Payphone.” They wanted to call home to share the news, but couldn’t find a working payphone.

9) Death Grips:
They brought in the tastemakers with 2010’s “Exmilitary.”  Now the Sacramento-based industrial hip hop outfit (for lack of a better description) gets ready to grab the rest of the world by the throat with its new Epic Records debut, “The Money Store.”

10) Coachella: The alternative music festival in the desert successfully expands to two weekends with a pair of sellouts and raves all around. As  Mae West said, “too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”

Read Full Post
<p>Julie Andrews was a ray of sunshine in her big-screen debut, the timeless Disney classic 'Mary Poppins'</p>

Julie Andrews was a ray of sunshine in her big-screen debut, the timeless Disney classic 'Mary Poppins'

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Film Nerd 2.0: 'Mary Poppins' thrills the kids and destroys Dad

A perfect example of a film that plays different for kids and adults

"Mary Poppins" is not the film I thought it was.

Growing up, I saw the film many times, and I always enjoyed it.  It's hard not to enjoy the film.  A passion project for Walt Disney, it was lavished with every bit of tender loving care he could muster, and director Robert Stevenson did a wonderful job of creating this eccentric, artificial version of London and filling it with strange and memorable characters.  I loved the songs by the Sherman Brothers, and I thought Mary Poppins herself was, as she says, practically perfect in every way.

Seeing this as a kid, I thought it was a film about two kids who are so bad that they can't keep a nanny, until they finally get a magical nanny, and she turns them into good kids.  It's not a film I spent a lot of time watching over the last quarter-century, despite my affection for it, so my misunderstanding of the film became sort of ossified and like many films, my opinions and attitudes about it were shaped at a time when I had a very different perspective on most things than I do now.

In particular, I was not a parent the last time I saw the movie.

Read Full Post
<p>Brad Pitt in &quot;Killing Them Softly.&quot;</p>

Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Cannes Check: Andrew Dominik's 'Killing Them Softly'

Continuing our preview series on the Cannes competition

With apologies for yesterday's non-delivery.

The director: Andrew Dominik (Australian, 44 years old)

The talent: Ever heard of a guy called Brad Pitt? He's going places, I tell you. The star has, of course, worked with Dominik before. In 2007, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" won Pitt the Best Actor prize at Venice and effectively started a new, more studious chapter in his career: two leading Oscar nominations and the career peak of 2011 later, it'll be interesting to see what this reunion brings for him. (As he did on "Jesse James," Pitt also takes a producer credit here.) The supporting cast, meanwhile, could hardly be tastier, blending trustily weathered character actors like Sam Shepard, Richard Jenkins and James Gandolfini, more ragged, unpredictable talents like Ray Liotta, Garret Dillahunt, a bristly relative newcomer in Scoot McNairy ("Monsters") and, most excitingly of all, Dominik's compatriot Ben Mendelsohn, who recently killed in "Animal Kingdom." Not a lot of room for the ladies here, mind.

Read Full Post
<p>Jon Hamm and Tracy Morgan in a scene from the live &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;episode.</p>

Jon Hamm and Tracy Morgan in a scene from the live "30 Rock" episode.

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'Live From Studio 6H': With a lot of help from our friends

Paul McCartney, Jon Hamm, Amy Poehler, Donald Glover and more stopped by for a much-improved live episode

A quick review of Thursday night's "30 Rock" live show coming up just as soon as I go viral and take medicine for it...

Read Full Post
<p>Troy of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Troy of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Troy Robertson talks 'Survivor: One World'

Will Troyzan give credit to the women who voted him out?
At least Troy Robertson didn't exit "Survivor: One World" without a fight.
 
This week, the man they called "Troyzan" was finally taken out by the female cabal led by Kim & Chelsea, but only after he survived one Tribal Council with a Hidden Immunity Idol (leading to Jay's departure) and captured a must-in Immunity Challenge the following episode (leading to Leif's dismissal).
 
And before being sent on his way on Wednesday's (April 25) episode, Troy made one last desperate plea to upset the Tikiano apple cart, working aggressively to stoke insecurity with Alicia, Kat and Christina, the three weak links in the dominant alliance. 
 
It didn't work.
 
In our exit interview, I worked hard to try to get Troy to give Kim & Chelsea a little credit for running the game (we got there eventually) and to discuss several of the key decisions that left him with insufficient numbers after the Merge. We also discussed why he'd return to play the game for free.
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
 
Read Full Post
<p>The cover of Jack White's &quot;Blunderbuss&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

The cover of Jack White's "Blunderbuss"

Jack White 'Blunderbusses' his way to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week

It took a solo record to get him there

Going solo apparently suits Jack White well. The former White Stripe and Raconteur is poised to score his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 next week with his first solo album, “Blunderbuss.”

That means Lionel Richie’s two-week run at No. 1 with “Tuskegee” ends, but Richie only slips to No. 3, with Adele’s “21” rising 3-2, according to Hits Daily Double.

White is one of four likely new titles in the top 10: Country singer Lee Brice’s “Hard 2 Love”  is in a dead heat for No. 6, vying with Jason Mraz’s  “Love is a Four-Letter Word” and fellow country artist Kip Moore’s “Up All Night.” With two days left until the chart closes, they are all slated to sell between 35,000-40,000. The last new entry will be The Wanted’s self-titled EP at No. 10.

For those aware of album titles, Moore’s entry means that there will be two albums in the Top 10 next week with the same title: Moore’s set and One Direction’s “Up All Night,” which will probably be No. 4. 

Rounding out the top 10, Nicki Minaj’s former No. 1, “ Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” will be at No. 5 and Gotye’s “Making Mirrors” at No. 9.

Read Full Post
<p>John Noble of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

John Noble of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'Worlds Apart'

The show will get a fifth season, but will it be losing a major component in the process?
“Fringe” fans can breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing tonight wasn’t the antepenultimate episode of the series. Instead, “Worlds Apart” served as a stepping stone to the two-part season finale, which will appease both those that simply want more “Fringe” and those who hope the final season can correct some of the missteps from this year. While last week’s “Letters of Transit” felt like a show confident in its ability to pay off the speculative fiction inherent in its premise way down the line, “Worlds” felt like a show starting to tie off some loose ends before heading into the sunset. That’s not me assigning any particular psychology into the writers’ room, but it’s striking to see how different both episodes seemed to approach the long-term stability of the show’s future.
 
Read Full Post
<p>Shirley MacLaine and Jack Black make an unlikely but compelling couple in Richard Linklater's new film 'Bernie,' opening in limited release today.</p>

Shirley MacLaine and Jack Black make an unlikely but compelling couple in Richard Linklater's new film 'Bernie,' opening in limited release today.

Credit: Millennium Entertainment

The Weekend Watch: 'Bernie,' 'The Inkeepers,' and McKee's 'Woman'

It's a big weekend for small movies

You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

Does the summer movie season really start next week?  Wow.  This year is flying by, and I guess it feels like it really just raced up on us this year.  Still, there's plenty of good stuff to see in theaters this weekend, so it's not like you have to wait.  Besides, it's good to get in a few more small titles before the onslaught of wanna-be blockbusters begins.

We've also got a few winners you should check out at home, whether you like your movies streaming or on DVD or Blu-ray, and I hope at least one thing off this list ends up as part of your weekend.

Read Full Post
<p>Tony Bennett in &quot;The Zen of Bennett&quot;</p>

Tony Bennett in "The Zen of Bennett"

Credit: Dion Beebe

Tony Bennett talks Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and ‘Zen’

Review: Tribeca Film Festival debut of 'Zen' is as much about age as it is entertainment

Most of Tony Bennett’s family, Lady Gaga’s parents, Amy Winehouse’s parents and even Harry Belafonte were on hand for the premiere of “The Zen of Bennett” on Monday night, making a one-show-only bow at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was a temperate all-ages event, but it's fine if it wasn't too flashy: “Conceived, created, and produced by his son,” the documentary was what Danny Bennett described as a “love letter” to his 85-year-old father. 

The 84-minute portrait covers the period during which Bennett collaborated with more than a dozen popular artists for his “Duets II” album, his most commercially successful full-length studio album in his 70 years performing. While it tries to encompass a lot of personal history – like his dad’s origins in Podàrgoni, Italy, or his front-lines experience with death in the service during WWII – most of Bennett’s “Zen” unfolds like an archival, of-the-moment record of Bennett, Octogenarian. 
 
The singer recounts little stories told to him by Duke Ellington or zingers from Fred Astaire, as he shrewdly negotiates tempos with the band and amps up his other passion and pasttime, painting. His “I remember…” moments were balanced out with the minor trifles of the modern music business: like an older family relative, Bennett would repeat himself in order to get a joke about his tie to land. He shows cranky impatience when Andrea Boccelli keeps him waiting and when Michael Buble vocally steps on his toes. He'd always wanted to record duets with Louis Armstrong but never got to.
 
In one scene, Bennett haggles with Danny and his other handlers when he felt slighted by perpetual mid-careerist John Mayer, who made some comment about his mother’s admiration for the multi-generational star. But even before moment unfolded, I couldn’t but help to think to myself, “Man, my dad’s gonna love this movie.”
 
Read Full Post
<p>Emily Blunt and Jason Segel discuss the time they spent together making 'The Five-Year Engagement'</p>

Emily Blunt and Jason Segel discuss the time they spent together making 'The Five-Year Engagement'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Jason Segel and Emily Blunt share 'Engagement' stories

Plus we talk about a moment on set that defined their relationship

It is unusual to actually learn something about a performer on a set visit, but I had a moment of pure clarity when I went to San Francisco to watch some of the production of "The Five-Year Engagement."

It was at the very end of the schedule, but it was for the first scene in the film.  We spent most of the night on top of a building right by the water, watching Jason Segel propose to Emily Blunt repeatedly, and as I watched them shoot the scene, it was interesting to see how the dynamic between them played out.

In the first master shot, Segel was playing the comedy in the moment.  It was a very funny version of the scene, and Blunt played it the same way.  When Stoller moved in for close-ups, though, he shot Blunt's first, and she played the real emotion of the moment.  It was still funny, but there was also something else going on underneath, something real and sweet.  When the crew reversed the set-up for Segel's close-up, he adjusted his performance, playing it as real as Blunt did, turning up the emotion.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME