Latest Blog Posts

<p>Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna are on the lookout for seafaring aliens in Peter Berg's &quot;Battleship.&quot;</p>

Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna are on the lookout for seafaring aliens in Peter Berg's "Battleship."

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: ‘Battleship’ sinks as an unintentional homage to Michael Bay’s golden age

Lots of questions but how many actually get answered?

 LONDON – There is a moment about two-thirds of the way through Peter Berg’s new action opus “Battleship” where the young, goofy scientist you’ve seen in plenty other movies remarks to another character “Who talks like that?” It’s meant to be a “isn’t this awesome!” wink from Berg and his screenwriters, but instead is an exclamation point to remind the audience just how retro this brew of bad dialogue and familiar action set pieces really is.

Opening across the globe this week before debuting in the U.S. on May 18, “Battleship” is supposed to be a big screen adaptation of the old Hasbro board game where two players plot to sink each others' battleships. Instead, it stakes its claim as possibly the first unintentional Michael Bay homage flick. It’s as though screenwriters Erich and John Hoeber (“Red”) and Berg (“Friday Night Lights,” “Hancock”) were feeling melancholy for the pre-“Transformers” Bay when clichéd pumped up B-movies such as “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon” graced the silver screen. If that description gives you immediate pause, it should.
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<p>Will they recast Clive Owen's character but have him narrate in voice-over?&nbsp; That's one way to handle the challenges of 'A Dame To Kill&nbsp;For'</p>

Will they recast Clive Owen's character but have him narrate in voice-over?  That's one way to handle the challenges of 'A Dame To Kill For'

Credit: Dimension/Troublemaker

Rodriguez and Miller return to 'Sin City' with 'A Dame to Kill For'

Film finally set to begin production in Austin this summer

When Robert Rodriguez appeared at Comic-Con this summer, he made several major announcements, but did so to a room that had largely emptied out at the start of his presentation.  Part of that was the fact that Rodriguez did not reveal ahead of time what projects he might discuss, and the other part was that people simply don't believe half of the announcements he makes at this point.

In particular, I saw profound skepticism from people when I wrote up the panel and mentioned that Rodriguez said he was close to moving forward on a "Sin City" sequel.  In August, we ran the news that William Monahan was going to be doing the final rewrite on the film, and once again, there was widespread skepticism.

Well, looks like that last draft paid off, because "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" is finally gearing up for production, with an announcement today from Rodriguez's new company, Quick Draw Productions, financial partner AR Films, and Dimension, who will distribute.  Even though today's press release says that "details of the film's story have been kept tightly under wraps," we did get some clues from Rodriguez at Comic-Con.

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<p>&nbsp;One Direction</p>

 One Direction

Credit: AP Photo

Why One Direction is brilliant to set 2013 tour dates

Do you know where you'll be summer 2013?

Talk about striking while the iron is hot. One Direction is the leading the charge in the new boy band craze we find ourselves in. Tickets to their shows are selling so fast that they have very smartly, 14 months in advance, announced a summer 2013 tour.

The group opened for fellow boy band Big Time Rush this spring, but very quickly overtook BTR in popularity. First album, “Up All Night” bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 a few weeks ago, the first album by a British band to ever come in in the top spot, and the group’s first headlining U.S. tour, which starts later this Spring, sold out in minutes.

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<p>M. Ward's &quot;A Wasteland Companion&quot;</p>

M. Ward's "A Wasteland Companion"

Credit: Merge

Review: M. Ward's 'A Wasteland Companion'

She & Him collaborator back with a packed tin of old friends

The types of songs that M. Ward performs haven’t changed much particularly over these last three solo efforts, but it’s the airs or atmospheres over each that morph. 

The title “A Wasteland Companion” conjures the images of coarse terrain in even lonelier territory, but his companions on here are abundant, bringing their gifts into his blues-structured thumpers, the AM Pop, power pop, chalky folk, Sunday afternoon ballads and spiritual odes, none of which go over the 4-minute mark. The songwriter’s frequent collaborator and Monsters of Folk cohort Mike Mogis is back, as are characters like early supporter Howe Gelb and touring staple Mike Coykendall. Zooey Deschanel – one half of the She & Him equation – provides harmonies on some of the most pop-oriented tunes (natch), her contributions obviously serving fanbases of both her band and those who have come to love Ward after their inception.
While those fatter, cleaner pop songs can be more whimsical, even glamorous (!!), I’m ultimately more interested in the darker environs of Ward’s murkier tunes. This could be summarized, in part, by lyrics from "There's a Key": "I'm conquering the ocean one wave at the time… taking on the deep, deep blue.”
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<p>&nbsp;Adam Lambert</p>

 Adam Lambert

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Adam Lambert's new single, 'Never Close Our Eyes'

Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke write and produce for the 'American Idol' runner-up

Adam Lambert gets it right on “Never Close Our Eyes,” the second single from “Trespassing.” Listen to it here.

The mid-tempo love song, written and produced by Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke, has a grand, anthemic feel and is much stronger than first single, “Better Than I Know Myself.” The electro-pop feel sounds a little dated (even though we know it’s all the rage right now and it is part of Lambert’s sound), but we’d love to hear a remix that doesn’t have that. Having said that, this version is only a very short leap to some undoubtedly great dance remixes of the song (especially after the bridge). Plus, the cold ending is very compelling.

Thematically, the song takes the same approach as Aerosmith’s massive “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” in that Lambert doesn’t want to waste any time with his loved one by sleeping. That’s time they could be spending together living life.

A different version of this song emerged a few weeks ago. We like this one better, especially the opening that focuses on how strong Lambert’s voice is.

“Trespassing” comes out May 15.

What do you think of “Never Close Our Eyes?”


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<p>Tim Roth at Milan Fashion Week earlier this year.</p>

Tim Roth at Milan Fashion Week earlier this year.

Credit: AP Photo/Giuseppe Aresu

Tim Roth to head Un Certain Regard jury at Cannes Film Festival

Oscar-nominated actor follows in footsteps of Claire Denis and Emir Kusturica

Most regard the Un Certain Regard strand at the Cannes Film Festival as a kind of B-league to the Competition, populated with smaller films and names that aren't quite ready for primetime. In truth, however, the section's selections of late have established that there's very little to distinguish Un Certain Regard from the Competition on the grounds of quality: with major Competition alumni like Gus van Sant, Jean-Luc Godard and Bruno Dumont having accepted UCR berths in recent years, the increasing sense of the strand is one of mere spillover.

Consider this list of films to have played in Un Certain Regard over the last few years: "Dogtooth," "Blue Valentine," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Miss Bala," "Mother," "Wendy and Lucy," "Precious," "A Scanner Darkly," "Elena," "Police, Adjective," "Father of My Children," "Tuesday After Christmas," "Heartbeats," "Oslo, 31 August" and so on. I wouldn't consider any of them second-class works, even if most of them don't come from the kind of brand-name auteurs (Haneke, Almodovar, von Trier) that are granted automatic entry into the Competition whatever the quality of their latest film. But they amount to a formidable bunch to have missed if you monitor Cannes with your eye on the Competition alone.

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<p>Even Troy and Abed can't quite believe &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;won Hulu's Best in Show contest.</p>

Even Troy and Abed can't quite believe "Community" won Hulu's Best in Show contest.

Credit: NBC

'Community' wins Hulu's Best in Show 2012

Human Beings edge out zombies in final battle with 'The Walking Dead'

We have a winner in Hulu's Best in Show contest for 2012, and it's... "Community." The Human Beings of Greendale eked out a victory over the zombies of "The Walking Dead" in the final round of the fan contest.

With "Chuck" no longer in contention (or existence), I assumed "Community" would steamroll its way through the whole contest, but credit to Glen Mazzara and the many "Walking Dead" fans who kept on campaigning and voting for their show in this and every previous round. Even with most of the "Community" cast repeatedly tweeting to their fans to vote, it was still a 51-49 margin.

I don't think these results will factor into NBC's renewal decision, as they know by now how crazy passionate the "Community" audience is — and also how small it is. If it comes back, it'll be for other reasons, just as it was a coincidence that "Chuck" got to come back for one final season after winning last year. But I'd still be happy to see that coincidence repeat itself.

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<p>Jane Levy and Parker Young in &quot;Suburgatory.&quot;</p>

Jane Levy and Parker Young in "Suburgatory."

Credit: ABC

'Suburgatory' - 'Down Time': Let's go to the mattresses

Lisa and Malik date, Dallas and Dalia cope with depression, and Tessa eats some butter

A review of last night's "Suburgatory" coming up just as soon as I wear a belt made of staples that go into my skin...

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<p>The TCM Prime Time host says he'd personally lean toward &quot;Cover Girl&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Funny&nbsp;Face&quot;&nbsp;for the must-sees of this year's fest.</p>

The TCM Prime Time host says he'd personally lean toward "Cover Girl" and "Funny Face" for the must-sees of this year's fest.

Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew

Interview: Robert Osborne on the 2012 TCM classic film fest and last year's 'disappointing' Oscar season

The Turner Classics host is primed for a third year of classic cinema in Hollywood

Before Turner Classic Movies embarked on a Hollywood-set film festival aimed at presenting classic films on the big screen in 2010, film historian and TCM Prime Time host Robert Osborne tried his hand at a similar program on the east coast. He happily lent his name to the Robert Osborne Classic Film Festival in Athens, Georgia, a partnership with the University of Georgia, for six years before the economy forced the program to be shuttered.

"It told me kind of how audiences would respond to certain things, and how to present them," he says, calling from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, ground zero for this year's third annual TCM fest. "And we started out with enthusiastic audiences and to full houses. So it really showed me that there was an audience out there that would have a great time when word-of-mouth got around. More than anything it kind of convinced me that it was not something that just because people could see these movies for free at home that they wouldn't be really excited about coming from all over the world to see classic films on a big screen in Hollywood."

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

Lena Dunham in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Review: HBO's 'Girls' brilliantly channels Lena Dunham's comic voice

A smart, hilarious look at the lives of four New York friends
Our first impression of Hannah Horvath, the heroine of HBO's new comedy "Girls" (Sunday at 10:30 p.m.), isn't an incredibly positive one. We first see her as she's shoveling pasta into her mouth with the gusto of someone who eats more than she should, but also doesn't eat this well except when her parents are picking up the check. And as her parents tell her that, two years after graduating college, they're going to stop subsidizing her life as a would-be writer in Brooklyn, Hannah grows hilariously indignant, telling them "I could be a drug addict! Do you realize how lucky you are?" before announcing that she won't have time to see them again on her trip because "I am busy — trying to become who I am!"
Your average television show cares very much about making a good first impression. It wants you to like its main characters, to show you why they're awesome before it even allows for the tiniest possibility that they might have flaws you'll learn to accept because you've already come to love them. But "Girls" is not your average television show — it may, in fact, be the best new HBO comedy since "Curb Your Enthusiasm" — and it takes the exact opposite approach. It introduces you to Hannah and her friends by focusing on how annoying, selfish, myopic and clumsy they can be, and then it makes you love them in spite of all that.
It's a trick not many veteran TV show creators could pull off, but 25-year-old Lena Dunham does it on her first time out.
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<p>Last time George Clooney went to space in 'Solaris,' things got a wee bit wackadoo, so here's hoping 'Gravity' is a very different sort of ride</p>

Last time George Clooney went to space in 'Solaris,' things got a wee bit wackadoo, so here's hoping 'Gravity' is a very different sort of ride

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Cuaron's 'Gravity' may send Clooney and Bullock on cutting-edge adventure

Recent comments suggest this film is going to be a technical marvel

All I need to know about "Gravity" to be excited about seeing it later this year is that it's the latest film from director Alfonso Cuaron.

However, based on details that emerged online today, my interest level has skyrocketed, and it sounds like something very special is in store for us when the film does finally arrive in theaters.  It also sounds like next year I should do my best to attend the 5D | FLUX conference at USC, where Chris deFaria spoke about "Gravity" and confirmed some of the things I've been hearing about the film since it began production last year.

The screenplay, by Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron, and Rodrigo Garcia, deals with how a team tries to survive when a missile is fired at a satellite while they're all at the International Space Station, and the explosion creates a chain reaction of debris moving at 30,000 kph, threatening their ability to ever make their way back to Earth.  On the title page, the film is described as "a space suspense in 3D," and it sounds like technology was on their mind from the moment they started work on the film.

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<p>Unfortunately, it looks like the real legacy of Mel Gibson's career is going to be courtroom appearances and accusations of raging anti-Semitism</p>

Unfortunately, it looks like the real legacy of Mel Gibson's career is going to be courtroom appearances and accusations of raging anti-Semitism

Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, Pool

The Bigger Picture: Does Eszterhas versus Mel Gibson benefit anyone?

People love to look at car wrecks, but should they?

When you write about entertainment all day every day, you tend to get caught up in minutiae, and it leads to editorial decisions I would call questionable.  When you're writing breathless headlines about Pez dispensers, you may be working too hard to find relevance in the irrelevant.  Getting hung up on the micro often prevents us from focusing on the macro, but I'd like to take the opportunity to take a step back from time to time to examine 'The Bigger Picture.'

Short version:  don't expect Warner Bros. to produce Mel Gibson's film about the Maccabees any time soon.

When Mel Gibson first announced his intentions to make a film telling the story of the Jewish rebel army that existed around 160 BC, it seemed like it fit well into the larger arc of his career and his fascination with doing films set in a historically violent era featuring the characters speaking in accurate-to-the-age-and-region languages, something that has been a big part of his directing career.  It also sounded like it was going to be a hugely controversial project for reasons that would be obvious to anyone aware of Gibson's ongoing tabloid troubles.

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