Latest Blog Posts

Davy Jones of the Monkees

Davy Jones of the Monkees

Credit: AP Photo/Mark Cornelison

Watch: Davy Jones' last song was about... meatloaf?

The late Monkees singer croons about mystery meat with Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits

Some people think of the '70s rocker when they hear the word, but meatloaf (or Meatloaf or, yes, "Meatloaf") may also go down in pop music history as the last song the late Monkees singer Davy Jones recorded. For an episode of the Disney Channel animated series "Phineas and Ferb," Jones and Herman's Hermits singer Peter Noone paid tribute to the joys of the traditional family dinner fare (watch the video below). Is it a catchy tune befitting the Monkees' self-aware sense of humor, or is it just a song about meat, eggs and breadcrumbs? You be the judge.

This isn't Jones' only collaboration with Noone, however. They also co-starred in an episode of "My Two Dads" and, according to Noone's website, were "good mates." And now, they are forever bonded. Kind of like, well, meatloaf.

Read Full Post
<p>From Paul Van Dyk's &quot;Verano&quot; (Dr. Spaceman?)</p>
<br />

From Paul Van Dyk's "Verano" (Dr. Spaceman?)


Watch Paul Van Dyk's very expensive sci-fi album trailer and music video

Veteran dance DJ and producer is back with new effort in April, first in 5 years

In Paul Van Dyk's world, if we are the last humans to survive a nuclear fallout or hostile interaction with mysterious, floating outer-spacemen, or our own science-fiction-driven evolution, then he wants it to be a dance-heavy affair.

Who knows, maybe somebody's dancing underneath that protective spacesuit in the "Verano" music video, but the veteran producer and DJ hints at a much larger scale narrative with his new album "Evolution." The trailer for the new album -- his first in five years -- is only a minute long, but some of the designs and animation is so beautiful, I wouldn't doubt that he and his handlers have many, many more videos to debut in conjunction with this release. I mean, why pay that much money for just one clip?

"Evolution" is PVD's sixth album and the follow-up to 2007's "In Between," though of course this productive German DJ (he is primarily a producer, after all) has been extremely active with the years in between, including collaboration discs, singles and installments from his VONYC Sessions compilations.

Read Full Post
"GCB"

"GCB"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Kristin Chenoweth talks 'GCB,' God, and why it's good to be bad

Watch a clip from the Emmy and Tony winner's new show

Kristin Chenoweth may only be 4'11, but the Oklahoma native (as well as Emmy and Tony winner) serves up a Texas-sized serving of mean as Carlene on the new series "GCB" (premieres Sun. March 4 at 10 p.m. on ABC). I talked to Chenoweth, who was battling a nasty cold, about why it's more fun to play the bad girl, how she's making sure the show never trods on her own Christian beliefs and why she isn't playing a standard villain. 

Read Full Post
<p>Johnny Marr</p>

Johnny Marr

Credit: AP Photo

Johnny Marr's Smiths reunion joke shocks U.K.'s corridors of power

Former Deputy Prime Minister wants legendary band to re-form

File under: "Big Mouth Strikes Again" or "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore."

Last week, when ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr joked about the band following through on a long-hoped-for reunion in exchange for a new U.K. government, most folks just laughed it off, but some seemed to have taken it to heart.

While picking up an award for Best Reissue at the NME Awards in England, Marr cracked, "We won't be reforming this week. Maybe if the government stepped down. If this government stepped down, I'll reform the band. How's that? That's a fair trade, isn't it? I think the country would be better off, don't you? I'll do it if the coalition steps down."

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Labour MP John Prescott took Marr's jest to the next level, indicating that he'll throw his weight behind a coup of the current Coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Prescott, apparently a fan, tweeted, "Hello Johnny. Just to say we'll work really hard on that reunion! #pleasepleaseletmegetwhatiwant" and, later, "Please reform #cosheavenknowsweremiserablenow."

Marr has made plenty of great post-Smiths music with The The, Electronic, The Cribs and Modest Mouse, but has had to endure reunion questions ever since his flagship band split in the late '80s.

Despite Marr's facetious claim, getting Smiths frontman Morrissey interested would prove to be an even bigger challenge than provoking a revolution. Moz has made it clear time and again that he's not interested in re-living The Smiths' glory days, despite rumored offers of big paydays from Coachella and other like-minded music festivals.

Read Full Post
<p>Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Regine Chassagne</p>

Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Regine Chassagne

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Arcade Fire's 'Hunger Games' song

'Abraham's Daughter' will march you off to war -- in the closing credits

Militant, female empowered -- those may be words to describe "The Hunger Games," and Arcade Fire's contribution to its soundtrack. "Abraham's Daughter" will be played over the end credits to the forthcoming blockbuster film, an appropriate march from your seat to the doors.

Regine Chassagne leads this one, instead of Win Butler, as she reports for duty as the fictional daughter of Father Abraham (who, you may remember, had many sons). She lightly sings on the left-right-left of the beat, a narrative that sounds almost anti-violence, a retort to the Biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac on the mount. Its an ominous anthem that insinuates that lead Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) will have more work to do in the film's sequel.

"Our whole approach was to get into the world and try to create something that serves the story and the film,” Butler told EW. ”There’s something in the story of Abraham and Isaac that I think resonates with the themes in the film, like sacrificing children. So we made a weird, alternate-universe version of that, where it’s as if Abraham had a daughter — kind of a metaphor for Katniss."

Read Full Post
<p>What is good in life?&nbsp; Being part of the Alamo Drafhouse special Summer of '82 screening series and presenting our very own screening of 'Conan The Barbarian,' that's what.</p>

What is good in life?  Being part of the Alamo Drafhouse special Summer of '82 screening series and presenting our very own screening of 'Conan The Barbarian,' that's what.

Credit: Universal Home Video

The Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating the Summer of 1982 as only they can

Find out which screening we're hosting and what you'll see

In many ways, the Summer of 1982 is the reason I am a film critic today.

After all, that was the summer I learned conclusively that I do not always agree with the herd, either critically or commercially, and there were films that were important to me that year, films I believed with my whole heart were great films, that came out and tanked completely.  At the time, I felt like I was out there on my own regarding these movies, and it was only later, after time had passed, that people came around and the films began to grow in reputation.  I believe that time has ultimately sided with me on these films, and now "Blade Runner" and "The Thing" are considered classics of their genre, but at the time of release, these were not movies that garnered any easy acclaim.

Five years ago, I was still working for Ain't It Cool News, and I decided I wanted to run a series of articles on the site celebrating the 25th anniversary of what I consider the greatest single genre year of my life.  I recruited some of the other writers from the site and asked them to write about the movies that mattered to them that year.  Nordling's piece about "E.T" won him a piece of handwritten fan mail from none other than Steven Spielberg.  Harry wrote up "Tron," one of his favorite movies.  My writing partner Scott Swan put together a look back at "Creepshow."  We covered "Poltergeist," "Porky's," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "The Last American Virgin," "The Secret Of Nimh," "The Dark Crystal" and more.  It was one of those series that made me enormously proud, and I still think of it as a high watermark for the site.

Read Full Post
<p>Leslie Bibb confronts her rivals (Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Marisol Nichols and Jennifer Aspen)&nbsp;in &quot;GCB.&quot;</p>

Leslie Bibb confronts her rivals (Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Marisol Nichols and Jennifer Aspen) in "GCB."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'GCB' a shrill, unfunny soap opera

A 'Desperate Housewives' wannabe set deep in the heart of Texas
There are shows you watched once upon a time and still think back on fondly, there are shows you spent years watching and now wonder what on earth you were thinking, and then there are shows where you can't always be sure whether they were good or you just convinced yourself they were.
 
"Desperate Housewives" falls into the latter category for me. It debuted in the fall of the 2004-5 TV season, an all-time great year in network TV that also gave us "Lost," "House," "The Office," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Veronica Mars," among others. And it was an enormous hit right out of the gate, and I was swept up in both the hype and its place in this great freshman class, even though I generally have little use for soap operas. But I also think that, at least in that first season, "Desperate Housewives" aspired to be more than that, and often succeeded. It was commenting on and satirizing the various soap clichés even as it was cheerfully racing through all of them, and at times it managed to invest its suburban satire with real humanity.
 
Or maybe I'm just remembering it more fondly because "Desperate Housewives" is coming to the end of its final season — and, more importantly, because ABC is using these final "Housewives" episodes to launch "GCB" (Sunday at 10 p.m.), a new soap that wants so badly be this decade's "Desperate Housewives," but that plays more like a bad parody of it.
Read Full Post
<p>Robert Shaw plays the uber-creepy Red Grant in 'From Russia With Love,' one of the very best films in the entire James Bond series</p>

Robert Shaw plays the uber-creepy Red Grant in 'From Russia With Love,' one of the very best films in the entire James Bond series

Credit: MGM/UA

James Bond Declassified: File #2 - 'From Russia With Love' is still one of the best

How did they get so much so right their second time out?

JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #2: "From Russia With Love"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

This edition of this column is dedicated to my father, who took me to see "The Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977, igniting my own lifelong relationship with the character.  He was an old-school fan, a Fleming fan, a Connery fan, and if I got any particular part of my fanboy DNA from him, it's Eastwood and it's Bond.  Bond has been shared language for most of my life, and the same is true of my friendship with Scott Swan, who has been my Bond buddy since "The Living Daylights."  

When you've had those Bond-nerd conversations, when you've talked about theme songs and title sequences and Bond girls and which bad guys are the best and all the things you talk about as Bond fans… that's a very specific thing that's shared.  And like Batman, I notice that all Bond fans have their own Bond that they like, and I don't just mean the actors that played the character.  Each fan has what they consider "the" version in their head, the perfect definition of who Bond is, of what elements they want and like, and how the films should play.  

Read Full Post
<p>John Carter prepares for an incoming horde of Tharks in Andrew Stanton's epic pulp sci-fi adventure 'John Carter,' opening next week</p>

John Carter prepares for an incoming horde of Tharks in Andrew Stanton's epic pulp sci-fi adventure 'John Carter,' opening next week

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Review: 'John Carter' does pulp science-fiction right and on a grand scale

Andrew Stanton's live-action debut is giddy epic fun

It still seems surreal to me that there really is a mega-budget bigscreen live-action film based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories about Barsoom and John Carter, since as long as I've been paying attention to Hollywood, and even well before that, there has always been a John Carter movie in some stage of development.

The good news is that Andrew Stanton, one of the cornerstones of Pixar and the director of both "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E," has made a nimble jump to live-action, and much of his movie is imbued with a wild, thrilling pulp energy and a genuine sense of wonder.  It is a charming science-fiction adventure that makes no apologies for what it is.  This is the sort of film where there is talk of Jeddaks and Tharks and Barsoom and you're supposed to just pick it up and understand, and where we accept that Mars doesn't look a thing like modern science tells us it does because that's the conceit.  It will be interesting to see who gets hung up on the difference between reality and this film's conception of Mars, because there's nothing about this that plays as "real," but there is such a strong sense of voice that I think Stanton sells the reality beautifully.

Read Full Post
<p>Focus Features celebrates its 10th year in 2012.</p>

Focus Features celebrates its 10th year in 2012.

Credit: Focus Features

Universal Pictures and Focus Features celebrate anniversaries in 2012

Uni floats celebratory Blu-rays while Focus offers a look back at performances

It looks like 2012 is going to be a big year for studio anniversaries. We've already talked about Paramount's centennial celebration, which was rung in with a classy screening of 1927 inaugural Best Picture winner "Wings" at the Academy in January, as well as a new iPad app putting the studio's classic output on a pedestal.

Also celebrating this year are Universal Pictures (getting 100 spankings like Paramount) and subsidiary Focus Features (marking its tenth year). Like Paramount, Universal has unveiled a new logo trailer for its films (see below) and started a stream of restoration Blu-ray releases that makes the mouth water. (Drew McWeeny is all over it.)

Focus, meanwhile, has released a tribute package of great performances in the company's films over the years, including those from Oscar winners Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener"), Sean Penn ("Milk") and Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") and Oscar nominees Julianne Moore ("Far From Heaven"), Heath Ledger ("Brokeback Mountain") and Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises").

Read Full Post
<p>A rare glimpse of red in the green world of &quot;Awake.&quot;</p>

A rare glimpse of red in the green world of "Awake."

Credit: NBC

'Awake' - 'Pilot': Seeing red and seeing green

What did everybody think of NBC's new cop drama?

reviewed NBC's "Awake" yesterday, and since the pilot has been available online and On Demand for a couple of weeks, many of you have already offered your thoughts on it. But since I figure at least some of you still watch TV on TV, and on a more traditional schedule, here's one last opportunity to discuss the first episode. Did you find the shifts between worlds easy to follow? Did you prefer one world (or partner, shrink or family member) to the other? Given the subject matter, did it feel too depressing? And do you plan to watch more?

Read Full Post
<p>James Cagney's 'The Public Enemy' is one of the films that was part of The Berwick Discovery, an amazing batch of pre-Code movie posters that are about to go up for auction.</p>

James Cagney's 'The Public Enemy' is one of the films that was part of The Berwick Discovery, an amazing batch of pre-Code movie posters that are about to go up for auction.

Credit: Heritage Vintage Movie Poster Auctions

One Thing I Love Today: The Berwick Discovery brings rare pre-Code posters to auction

A look into the past through an amazing cache of film art

"The Berwick Discovery" sounds like the Dan Brown book, but it's actually a very cool new find that would make me even happier if I had stupid amounts of money laying around waiting for me to spend it on pre-Code movie posters.

On March 23, Heritage Vintage Movie Poster Auctions will evidently be putting around 30 very rare movie posters on the block, all part of the same incredible find last fall.  I didn't hear about it then, but reading the details now, I'm blown away and, more than anything, it reminds me how much I love the evolution of the movie poster and how random and strange and occasionally wonderful the world of the hardcore collector can be.

When I was writing "Cigarette Burns" with Scott Swan, we talked to print collectors and memorabilia collectors and we collected way more stories than we could use.  One of the things that seemed to run in common between all of them though is that the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the accidental discovery is a big part of what compels them.  If you could just go to the store and buy a pristine 35MM print of "Suspiria," it wouldn't be special, but when Quentin Tarantino tracked down a gorgeous IB Technicolor and screened it at the original Drafthouse and Tim League cranked the soundtrack so loud it made my fillings shake, part of what was magical about that night was knowing how rare that experience is.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME