Latest Blog Posts

<p>Abed (Danny Pudi)&nbsp;and Annie (Alison Brie)&nbsp;spend a &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;afternoon in the Dreamatorium.</p>

Abed (Danny Pudi) and Annie (Alison Brie) spend a "Community" afternoon in the Dreamatorium.

Credit: AP Photo/NBC

'Community' - 'Virtual Systems Analysis': I have a Dreamatorium

Annie and Abed spend an afternoon together in an experimental episode

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I cry during "About a Boy: The Soundtrack"...

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<p>Levon Helm in 2010</p>

Levon Helm in 2010

Credit: AP Photo

Levon Helm: Listen to the late legend

Check out some clips of the songwriter and consumate working musician

The thing I've heard most this week when talking about the imminent passing of Levon Helm is that the lifelong musician was still playing shows even a few short weeks before he was hospitalized in New York. As he battled his last against cancer, the Midnight Rambler was still rambling in Woodstock, N.Y., as a host, a part of the whole in addition to being a centerpiece.

You could say similar things about The Band, whose communal strength in the '60s in '70s was in its individuals, and the group's ability to be its own centerpiece or to play well with others. Backing Bob Dylan or -- in its earliest incarnation, Ronnie Hawkins -- the Band stepped out with brilliant "Music from Pink House" and went on to define, reform and inform roots-based rock music of the era from within the band and through those they worked with outside of it. Despite the loss in gravitational pull that brought Helm and other Band members together with Robbie Robertson, the group's legacy was firm by time they broke up in 1976.

That bust confirmed at least a couple of things: one, it put "The Last Waltz" firmly into the living curricula of any music lover and, two, it was a proven moment that Helm would continue to be a lasting, working musician, solo or in a group.

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<p>Joshua Ledet of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Joshua Ledet of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 7 Results - Down to Six?

LMFAO and Kris Allen perform before this week's elimination

The Judges' Save is off the table, so we know that somebody's going home on Thursday night.

Smart money says that Elise Testone is doomed. One could also make an easy argument for Hollie Cavanagh's ouster. But that's why the play the games on the field, to use the sports cliche. Will America throw a curveball for the second straight week?

And, for the record, I'm using a picture of Joshua Ledet not because I'm completely confident he's safe or because I loved his rendition of my favorite song ever, but because that's a fantastic red jacket and it deserves a few more minutes of recognition. 

Click through for the full live-blog...

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<p>Daniel Craig takes aim on an end-of-the-year release for the 50th anniversary James Bond film 'Skyfall'</p>

Daniel Craig takes aim on an end-of-the-year release for the 50th anniversary James Bond film 'Skyfall'

Credit: Sony/EON

Bond Bits: '007 Legends,' new 'Skyfall' video and Fleming goes e-book

Short version: it's a great time to be a James Bond fan

I'm going to have the next "James Bond Declassified" for you tomorrow, covering "Thunderball," and in the meantime, I thought there were enough bits and pieces of James Bond news bouncing around out there that it was worth rounding them up in one place.

First and foremost, have you been reading Greg Ellwood's reports from the set of "Skyfall"?  He just went to London, and it sounds like it was a great trip to Pinewood to see what Daniel Craig and crew are up to.  If you'd like to get as close as possible to a set visit without leaving your house, there's a new video blog up featuring Sam Mendes and the Shanghai setting for some of the new film.

This seems to be the most active any James Bond film campaign has ever been in terms of offering up looks at the making of the film while they're still working.  It's even unusual for a big film to allow people to write about a set visit a week after they were there.  Normally those things are held for months.  It signals a sort of confidence on the part of EON and Sony that the public is hungry for the return of Daniel Craig, and I think it's also due in part to this being the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first Bond film, "Dr. No."

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Watch: Ziggy and Robbie Marley talk about new Bob Marley doc, 'Marley'

Watch: Ziggy and Robbie Marley talk about new Bob Marley doc, 'Marley'

What part affected them the most; why Ziggy told his sister not to see it

More than 30 years after his death, Bob Marley remains one of the most loved and influential musicians in the world.

“Marley,” a new documentary by filmmaker Kevin MacDonald (“The Last King of Scotland,” chronicles the reggae superstar’s exceedingly humble roots in Jamaica through his rise to global icon and his untimely death at only 36 in 1981.

The movie opens in theaters tomorrow (4/20), but will also stream on Bob Marley's Facebook page. Proceeds from the Facebook sales will go to Save The Children.

MacDonald focuses not only on Marley’s music, but his lifestyle (he fathered 11 children with seven women), and the influence he had throughout the world, primarily the third world, as a symbol of peace, love, and equality.  The film also examines how Marley was savvy enough, at a very young age, to realize how politicians tried to exploit his popularity for their own gain, as well as the assassination attempt on his life two nights before his free concert in Jamaica.

Marley’s son, Ziggy, served as one of the film’s executive producers. After false starts by both Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme, Ziggy says he felt MacDonald captured the right  “emotional” beats of Marley’s life. “We met with Kevin and whenI saw the first cut, we knew this decision was a good decision... it had emotional impact. I like that...I’ve never seen anything with my father that has emotional impact before.”

Both Ziggy and Robbie share in their interview with Hitfix  that the doc footage covering the end stages of their father’s life, while he battled cancer in Germany, was, understandably, the hardest to watch (Both were very young when Marley died: Ziggy was 12, Robbie was 9). In fact, they advised their sister, Cedella, who is very outspoken in the movie about how difficult it was to share her father with the rest of the world, not to see the movie.


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<p>Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis in &quot;Beasts of the Southern&nbsp;Wild&quot;</p>

Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' director to be honored by San Francisco fest

Cannes's lone Sundance holdover gets an early kudo in the Bay Area

After catching Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" at Sundance, I kept finding that the film was sticking with me. I wasn't particularly enchanted while actually watching it, for some reason, probably because soaking up the richness of the voice and the uniqueness of the world was at the fore, but as I drifted away from it, it kept calling me back. I'm eager to see it again and I'm happy Fox Searchlight continued down a path of un-Searchlight-like acquisitions by picking it up in Park City.

The film was the only Sundance holdover announced as part of the 2012 Cannes film festival line-up this morning, following in the footsteps of films like "Precious," "Blue Valentine," "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Take Shelter" before it. It's a natural pick and I'll be curious to see how European festival audiences take to it. Could it signal even louder a potential awards trajectory? Maybe, maybe not. The truth is I don't know how much of a chance a film like that could have in awards season, but it will certainly be a healthy contender with programs like the Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards, and potentially plenty of love on the critics awards circuit. (Surely young Quvenzhané Wallis will get her share of debut performance love.)

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<p>Levon Helm on the set of &quot;The Right Stuff&quot;</p>

Levon Helm on the set of "The Right Stuff"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Remembering Levon Helm in 'The Right Stuff'

The musician and actor's unfortunate passing sparks an old memory

I didn't know until I got an AP brief yesterday that musician and actor Levon Helm was so on the ropes in his 16-year battle with throat cancer. Today, the inevitable announcement: Helm has left us. He was 71.

Of course, most know Helm from his tenure as the drummer/sometime vocalist of The Band (immortalized forever by Martin Scorsese's documentary of their swan song performance, "The Last Waltz"). But Helm also had a steady-enough acting career, beginning in 1980 with a significant part in Michael Apted's "Coal Miner's Daughter."

Indeed, when I think of Helm, it's rarely "The Weight" or "Up on Cripple Creek" that leaps to mind. It's actually his work opposite Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager's right-hand man, pilot Jack Ridley, in Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff" that registers first.

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Credit: Roadrunner Records

Listen: Rush takes off on new single, 'Headlong Flight'

New album, tour coming as well for venerated rock trio

Rock titans Rush return with “Clockwork Angels,” the band's first studio album in five years, on June 12.

First single, “Headlong Flight” landed at rock radio today (19). The full song, embedded below,  is more than 7 minutes long. As the title suggests, the protagonist longs to take flight. Neil Peart’s drumming sounds as amazing as always:  it anchors the shifting tempos and moods, as Alex Lifeson’s guitar work soars above it all.  Geddy Lee’s vocals are strong, but they don’t stand out as his most potent, especially since they are fairly down in the mix (until near the end). It’s an opus that floats along without a hint of a chorus, but is compelling as different elements come into play. Plus, given there’s a mechanical voiceover that comes in around 4:15, it seems as if there’s a narrative here that will become clearer as we hear more of the album.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Vampire Weekend</p>

Vampire Weekend

Credit: XL

Listen: Interpol and Vampire Weekend members releasing solo albums

System of a Down and Das Racist too, plus: One of the Ramones resurrected

Sometimes you gotta go it alone. That's what members of Interpol, Vampire Weekend, System of a Down and Das Racist are saying this week. And wouldn't you know it? Joey Ramone, were he alive, would agree. Or at least, that's what BMG would have you believe.

The record label will be releasing the Ramones frontman's long-gestating second posthumous solo album "...Ya Know?" on May 22, with its 15 tracks featuring collaborations from " Joan Jett, Little Steven Van Zandt, former Ramones drummer Richie Ramone, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Dennis Diken of the Smithereens, Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and members of the Ramones' punk-era contemporaries The Dictators."

"Joey Ramone was one of the key figures in a musical revolution whose impact is still being felt today. We are honored that Joey's brother Mickey and his estate have entrusted this album to BMG," BMG exec Jason Hradil. "The album represents the very best of the recordings Ramone left behind and assembled by his brother Mickey Leigh, manager Dave Frey and trusted producer Ed Stasium."

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<p>Anything&nbsp;I write about this photo is going to get me in trouble with my wife.&nbsp; Suffice it to say, I&nbsp;await 'Sin City:&nbsp;A Dame To Kill For' eagerly.</p>

Anything I write about this photo is going to get me in trouble with my wife.  Suffice it to say, I await 'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' eagerly.

Credit: Dimension/Troublemaker

Robert Rodriguez confirms Rourke and Rosario returning for 'Sin City 2'

Good thing, since we can't imagine Marv without the Mick

I guess some of this feels inevitable, but if a decade-plus of covering this industry has taught me anything, it is that common sense rarely rules the day.  Just because Robert Rodriguez is finally making a sequel to "Sin City," we shouldn't just assume that he's going to have the same cast back… should we?

When Rodriguez spoke with MTV News this week, he said that Mickey Rourke has agreed to return as Marv, the role that helped kickstart his successful comeback.  That's good news, because if anyone on this planet looks like they stepped out of a comic book, it's Mickey Freakin' Rourke.  And it sounds like Rosario Dawson is also coming back to play Gail, one of the most visually striking characters the already-visually-striking Dawson has ever played.

In 2007, there were rumors that Angelina Jolie was set to star in the film, but it sounds like Rodriguez threw some cold water on those rumors.  The process never really got that far, and right now, Jolie's not involved at all.

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<p>Carrie Underwood</p>

Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Six things we learned from Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' sampler

Hear snippets of the May 1 album now

Carrie Underwood’s new album, “Blown Away,” doesn’t come out for almost two more weeks, but a 7-minute sampler of snippets from  the “American Idol” winner’s fourth studio album has surfaced on and they're very revealing. Click on the link to hear.

We’ll review the album when we get to hear the whole thing in full, but here are five things we can glean from the sampling. Mark Bright produced the set.

1) She’s dealing with a few demons from her past. In the dramatic title cut, she sings “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house.”  Like Martina McBride, she does drama well.

2) Underwood only grows more and more confident in her vocal abilities. After “Idol,” she didn’t quite seem to know how to harness her talents, but she’s only gotten stronger and stronger with each album in terms of knowing when to belt, when to hold back, and feeling sure about her choices.

3) She’s wasn't done with the cheating songs after "Before He Cheats."  On “Two Black Cadillacs,”  her man has been caught fooling around and there’s going to be hell to pay.

4) Though first single, “Good Girl” is a raucous affair, it sounds like the album is a strong mix of ballads and uptempo tunes, plus she straddles the line between pop and country (listen to how many fiddles and banjos are in this sampler alone). Sounds like there’s a lot of depth on “Blown Away.”

5) Even though Underwood has said that the time isn’t right for her and hubby, hockey player Mike Fisher,  to  have kids yet, she’s ready to sing about it. “Forever Changed” includes a verse about “blooming” from within when pregnant.

6) She wants to make us cry again. We've barely dried our tears from "Temporary Home," but even the little bit of "Good In Goodbye" was enough to make us sniffle a little.

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<p>&quot;Oh thank GOD, I'm so hungry...&quot;</p>
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"Oh thank GOD, I'm so hungry..."

Watch: R. Kelly suggests how to re-populate the world in 'Share My Love'

I know it's hard to believe, but...

I know conceptually, the music video for R. Kelly's "Share My Love" will be difficult to comprehend, but bear with me.

Girls with big boobs and small waists are romanced by Kelly in his mansion and then join the R&B singer at a party that is also mostly populated by girls with big boobs and small waists and they all dance for and with him. There is a brand name liquor product placement. Kells looks satisfied with all his achievements, he makes love to the soft edges of the '70s, the end.

Hell, at least I liked the song.

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