Latest Blog Posts

Willie on "Big Brother"

Willie on "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Violence breaks out and one hamster goes home

One contestant melts down and pays the price

Let's see. What's happened lately in the Big Brother house? Um, Willie betrayed Frank, Britney went all kinds of paranoid, Kara went home, Frank’s became the new HOH, the Coaches' Competition promises all kinds of crazy -- oh my goodness, I am just breathless. Those hamsters seem to just be flopped on couches all day, but really, a lot is going on. Once it's been edited down, of course. This week promises even more drama, and we get the first violent outburst of the season. Whoot?

Read Full Post
<p>Brendan Coyle</p>

Brendan Coyle

Credit: PBS

Interview: Brendan Coyle talks 'Downton Abbey' Season 3

What's next for the imprisoned Bates and more
BEVERLY HILLS - "You have excellent taste," Brendan Coyle tells me as we conclude our interview overlooking the pool at the Beverly Hilton. 
The words sound familiar, coming from an actor who has become best known Stateside for playing emotionally tortured, physically hobbled, pathologically noble and expertly obsequious Mr. Bates on PBS' "Downton Abbey." 
Of course, in this case, Coyle's words come with a wink, because I've just realized that he was one of the stars of the West End production of "The Weir," which I saw and loved in London shortly after its 1997 premiere. At the time, I didn't know Coyle or his co-star Michelle Fairley, now of HBO's "Game of Thrones." Now, 14-plus years later, I've taken the opportunity for a retroactive compliment for what happens to be a favorite project for Coyle as well.
Actually, other than his consummate politeness, Coyle seems very little like Mr. Bates. He dresses nattily, walks without a limp and -- and this will seem almost unfathomable for "Downton Abbey" fans -- he frequently smiles.
I got very few spoilers out of Coyle in our brief chat. 
I know that Mr. Bates will spend some/much of Season Three in prison. But I don't know how much, exactly. 
I also know that he knows what happened with Vera, the horrible late Mrs. Bates, but I don't know what he knows.
Click through for the full conversation...
Read Full Post
<p>One Direction</p>

One Direction

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Music Power Rankings: One Direction tops Pink, No Doubt and Frank Ocean

Bruce Springsteen and The Who also make the list

1. One Direction: “Up All Night” surpasses Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” to become the top-selling album released in 2012. We finally have proof:  “Up All Night” trumps “All Night Long.”

2) Pink: Not only does her new single, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” blast into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, Cher cuts two of her tracks. Pink is the new black.

3) Frank Ocean: One month ago, very few people knew who he was. This week he has the No. 2 album in the land and he has spoken his truth about his former same-sex relationship with little backlash. The truth shall set you free--and help you sell records.

4 )The Who:
Remaining members reunite for a North American tour to recreate “Quadrophenia.” Anyone under 25 asks, “Who are you? Ooh hoo, ooh hoo.”

5) Bruce Springsteen:
Has anyone ever gotten more mileage of getting the plug pulled on one of their shows? Or handled it with such good humor?

6) Universal Music Group: Opposition to its purchase of EMI continues to erode in the U.K. and will only have to jump through a few more hoops in the U.S.  Once that deal is done, the questions will start on how long before Sony or Universal makes a play for Warner Bros...

7) Richard Branson: Everyone’s favorite entrepreneur makes moves to buy back Virgin Music, the label he started 40 years ago, from EMI. Fun factoid: the label’s first release was Mike Oldfield’s massive success, “Tubular Bells.”

8) The Grammy Awards: It looks like the “A Death In the Family” short film works.  On the surface, the short doc was about putting on a show 24 hours after Whitney Houston’s death, but it also doubled as a pitch for Emmy voters, who took the bait. This year’s telecast received six Emmy nominations, the most the show has received and garnered the coveted Outstanding Special Class Programs nod they so badly wanted.

9) Coachella: The alternative music festival launches its own sea cruise. From landlocked to seaworthy. Hipsters declare they are already over the cruise before it even pulls away from dock.

10) No Doubt: Orange County’s finest returns after 10 years with a ska-influenced pop slice that will no doubt have its fans wanting to jump up with joy instead of “Settle Down.”

Read Full Post
<p>The Season 2 cast of &quot;Downton Abbey&quot;</p>

The Season 2 cast of "Downton Abbey"

Credit: PBS

Press Tour 2012 Live-Blog: PBS' 'Downton Abbey'

Julian Fellowes and stars tease Season 3 for the Emmy favorite

"Downton Abbey" was already a moderate-sized phenomenon last July when we got our Season 2-previewing Television Critics Association press tour panel last summer. That was a big deal, but it's nothing compared to the build-up for Saturday's (July 21) TCA panel, which is the centerpiece of PBS' weekend, with a panel, an associated buffet dinner and a subsequent reception. 

I already had a 10-minute sit-down with Brendan "Mr. Bates!" Coyle earlier this afternoon and I'll post that soon.

But here's the live-blog from the panel, which features creator Julian Fellowes, as well as many of the show's stars.

Read Full Post
<p>You'll believe a man can... fish?</p>

You'll believe a man can... fish?

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

'Man Of Steel' kicks off its campaign with an oddly muted first teaser trailer

You'll believe a very, very tiny man can fly

I'll say this much for the initial teaser trailer for Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man Of Steel"… they made a big choice, and they went with it.  I'm just not sure that choice was the right one in terms of reintroducing this iconic character to mainstream audiences.

One thing this campaign appears to be selling is reverence, and while I certainly appreciate that Zack Snyder is careful to play into the classic notions of what a character looks like and does when he adapts something, I think reverence is exactly what did not work about "Superman Returns."  That movie was so busy tiptoeing around the fondness people have for Richard Donner's original film that it felt like it had no pulse at all.  If this movie's going to work, it's going to have to have a life of its own.

It's also a dangerous first trailer because it is distinctly possible audiences won't know what they're looking at.  The distinctive "S" logo shows up at the end of the trailer, sure, but to tease your giant-budget reboot of the single most important superhero character you own with a trailer that spends most of its time showing a bearded dude working on a fishing boat and a little boy running around the yard of his house seems a little odd.

Read Full Post


Credit: John Shearer/AP

Nas raps his way to No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200

What happens to Zac Brown Band and Frank Ocean?

Rapper Nas will handily come in at No. 1 next week on the Billboard 200 with the aptly titled “Life Is Good” slated to sell close to 135,000 copies.

The title will easily trump this week’s charttopper, Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged,” which will drop to No 2 with still robust sales of 80,000.

“Life is Good” is one of three new albums debuting in the Top 10, according to Hits Daily Double. It will be joined by the latest edition of “Kidz Bop Kids,” which will likely bow at No. 3, and the score to “The Dark Knight Rises” at No. 9.

Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” moves from a digital-only release to  a digital and physical title. It will likely only drop two places to No. 4 with sales of 45,000.

Teen dreams One Direction will be No. 5 (with “Up All Night”), while Justin Bieber keeps “Believe” in the Top 10 at No 6. “Up All Night” surpassed Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” last week to become the top-selling album released in 2012.

Adele’s “21” logs its 3 millionth week in the top 10, as “21”  will likely be at No. 7 (although it and Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” are too close to call for the No. 7 and No. 8 spots. Chris Brown’s former No. 1, “Fortune,” hangs in at No. 10.


Read Full Post
"So You Think You Can Dance"

Eliminated "So You Think You Can Dance" dancers Daniel Baker and Alexa Anderson

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' ex-contestants weigh in on show's new format

Janae French, Nick Bloxsom-Carter and David Searle talk pros and cons

While fans have mixed feelings about the new one-night format of "So You Think You Can Dance," in which performances are married with eliminations at the end of the show, they're not alone. The dancers on the show also see pros and cons to the revised program -- and they don't list "fewer dumb commercials to sit through" as one of the benefits. Though squishing the show down to just one night a week was a move by Fox intended to save a long-running show that's showing its age in the ratings, the down side is that viewers (who vote on the outcome) spend less time getting to know the top 20 performers. In a conference call with reporters, the first three dancers dumped from the top 20 -- Janae French, Nick Bloxsom-Carter and David Searle (Alexa Anderson, who was also eliminated, did not participate)-- talked about what does and doesn't work for them.

Read Full Post
<p>Misty water-colored Lana</p>

Misty water-colored Lana

Watch: Lana Del Rey's cruel summer in new video 'Summertime Sadness'

There's no cure for her summertime blues

Lana Del Rey’s videos tend to be as ethereal as she is. The latest, “Summertime Sadness,” relies on the same film technique as some of her past efforts. There’s no linear storyline, instead there’s flickering, grainy footage that looks like it’s out of ‘60s home movies  and is cut to create a feeling more than a narrative.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post


Credit: RCA

Pink picks some very special guests for new album, 'The Truth About Love'

She also reveals what type of music she avoids

Pink will have some very special guests on her new album, “The Truth About Love,” out Sept.18.

British singer Lily Allen will appear on the album, as will Pink’s 13-month old daughter Willow, who plays bass and bells on two tunes. Bass? Really?

In an interview with Carson Daly on Los Angeles radio station 97.1, Pink said she wrote about 40 songs for the album, ultimately whittling the number down to 13, her lucky number. Interesting, random Pink factoid: “I had my first kiss on Friday the 13th in a graveyard,” she told Daly.

Pink revealed no details about her song with Allen, but hinted there may be more pairings: “For the last 14 years, everyone has said no [to collaborations]. But this album, everyone said yes! And I think that’s because people think I’ve softened. I think people maybe think I bite!”

She, like many folks, is loving first single “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).” She told Daly she’s loved it from the start and when she hears the break-up song: “I just instantly want to rip my clothes off and dance and drink and just blow off steam.”  Despite that, she says the album does not capitalize on the latest dance trends.


Read Full Post
Oscar Talk: Ep. 86 -- 'The Dark Knight Rises' is here, but is it a player? (SPOILERS)

Oscar Talk: Ep. 86 -- 'The Dark Knight Rises' is here, but is it a player? (SPOILERS)

Also: MVPs from the year's first half and looking ahead to fall fests

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

Two years ago we brought the podcast back for a special edition around the release of Christopher Nolan's "Inception," a highly anticipated movie. Well, here we are again, with "The Dark Knight Rises" hitting theaters and fans and fanatics alike eager to get a look. So it seemed a good time to pop our head back up. Let's see what's on the docket...

Read Full Post
Listen: Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre combine for less-than-regal '3 Kings'
Credit: Def Jam

Listen: Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre combine for less-than-regal '3 Kings'

Opportunistic wasted opportunity

A title like "3 Kings" with a combo Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre certainly sounds ambitious. But if this was to be a royal coalition, they should have called in some reinforcements -- or at least for a livelier beat.

Dr. Dre spends his spin on hocking his now-famous headphones instead of delivering of some intrepid new rhymes. Nobody expects "Detox" anymore. But for those rare verses he throws down the pipe, he should rest on laurels that consist more than weed, his headphone company and the Compton memories from a decade before.

Rick Ross takes his turn shilling -- lest we forget -- the Maybach Music name, the name that survives despite the fact that actual Maybach vehicles will be discontinued after 2013, making service a struggle. And speaking of servicing, Ross concedes he may not be a billionaire yet, but proposes, still "come and suck a d*ck for a millionaire," a come-hither as comical as when a similar sentiment was expressed in "The Big Lebowski."

It's kind of refreshing, then, when Jay-Z steps up to bat, not because he knocks his verse out, but he trips and laughs at himself in a real free style, even to check that the tape's still rolling after a boast about getting grills and shopping at TJ Maxx.

Read Full Post
<p>Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Yvette Nicole Brown from &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Yvette Nicole Brown from "Community."

Watch: 'Community' stars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie & Yvette Nicole Brown at Comic-Con, Part 2

How did they become the tightest-knit, silliest cast on television?

Time for part 2 of my Comic-Con chat with "Community" co-stars Joel Mchale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Yvette Nicole Brown. Part 1 was the more serious end of things, as the actors talked about the show's continued survival, their feelings about Dan Harmon's exit, their relationship with the fans, etc.

In part 2, things get a bit sillier (albeit not to the furry level of last year's McHale/Brown/Rash extravaganza) as they discussed exactly how they came to be such a tightly-knit group — right before the cameras rolled, Jacobs and Brie were loudly dueting on Flight of the Conchords' "Jenny" "Debra" by Beck — whether the cast or the study group is emotionally closer and (for a surprisingly long period of time) what the heck is up with Chevy Chase's feet.

Enjoy. The new season of "Community" debuts Friday, October 19 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. 

Read Full Post