Latest Blog Posts

<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus in &quot;Veep.&quot;</p>

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Veep."

Credit: HBO

Season finale review: 'Veep' - 'Tears'

Selina tries crying to boost her dire approval ratings

A quick review of the "Veep" season finale — or, really, the first season as a whole — coming up just as soon as I choke you with some Spanx...

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<p>Tonys host Neil Patrick Harris</p>

Tonys host Neil Patrick Harris

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Live-blogging the 2012 Tony Awards

Neil Patrick Harris hosts theater's biggest night, once again
I only had one theatre-ready night in New York City this year, so I had to make that time count, Tonys-wise. My buddy and I tried to get tickets to "Once," but we there weren't any unobstructed seats, so we ended up picking "Seminar" over several other viable plays. I figured Alan Rickman would at least be good for a Tony nod, right?
 
Wrong. 
 
That's how I find myself live-blogging a Tony Awards telecast that will honor only plays and musicals that I haven't seen. My bad for not going with "Porgy & Bess" that night. 
 
Then again, if the Tony telecast were only for people who had seen the shows in question, literally nobody would watch the show, as opposed to the figurative nobody the Nielsen numbers will reveal tomorrow.
 
It's OK. I like the Tonys and I like when Neil Patrick Harris hosts things, so follow along with my live-blog...
 
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<p>We're heading back to LV-223 for another look at 'Prometheus' as we dig deep into the film's themes, plot points, and the questions we still have.</p>

We're heading back to LV-223 for another look at 'Prometheus' as we dig deep into the film's themes, plot points, and the questions we still have.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Prometheus' Second look: Digging deep into spoilers and questions

The year's most beautiful movie is also the most frustrating, but why?

The moment I posted my review for "Prometheus," I knew we would have to run a second piece that asked more questions about the film and that tried to offer a deeper analysis of it.  

Greg Ellwood also followed up with me, asking if we were going to do a piece about the unanswered questions.  The thing is, the questions that people are talking about when they discuss this film range from the easily answered to fundamental confusion about the nature of the story being told.  I don't have any special inside knowledge, but at this point, I've read enough from the people who made the film and from other people who have watched it that I have questions, I have comments, and I have observations and frustrations.  All in all, I have mixed feelings about "Prometheus," and it drives me sort of crazy as a result.

Any time you watch something a second time, it's going to be a different experience, especially when it's something that arrives with the sort of expectations and hype that "Prometheus" had.  I'd honestly seen as little as possible before seeing the film.  After the first one or two trailers, I checked out.  I haven't seen the last five or six trailers or the TV spots, so I didn't have every image in the movie already in my head by the time I walked in the door.

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<p>Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in &quot;Moonrise Kingdom&quot;</p>

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in "Moonrise Kingdom"

Credit: Focus Features

Tell us what you thought of 'Moonrise Kingdom'

The film expanded considerably this weekend

Someone noted recently that we didn't put up a call for reactions to Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom." It's been moving steadily through a very limited release for a few weeks (and breaking box office records previously held by "Brokeback Mountain" in the process -- both are Focus Features films), but this weekend it tacked on 80 screens. So maybe more of you will have a chance to check it out now. Personally speaking, as someone not in the Anderson wheelhouse at all, I quite liked it. So head on back here whenever you get around to it and let us know your take. And if you've already seen it, join in! Also, feel free to rank the film above.

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Watch: Ridley Scott talks 'Prometheus,' 'Blade Runner 2' and Hollywood's commercial realities

Watch: Ridley Scott talks 'Prometheus,' 'Blade Runner 2' and Hollywood's commercial realities

This interview contains spoilers if you haven't seen 'Prometheus'
LONDON - [WARNING: The last answer in this interview contains a pretty major spoiler. If you've seen "Prometheus, watch all the way through. If you haven't, stop watching when you get to the question about "Prometheus" sequels.]
 
When Ridley Scott spoiled the last scene of "Prometheus" in our video conversation in London last week, I knew I wouldn't be able to run the interview in the days leading up to the release of his not-quite-"Alien"-prequel.
 
That was a disappointment, because it was an enlightening conversation with the "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down" director.
 
Now, since "Prometheus" has completed a strong $50 million opening, I feel like enough people have seen the movie that the interview can go up, keeping in mind that my last question, discussing the way "Prometheus" largely functions as a set-up for a sequel, leads to Scott's spoiling the end of this movie.
 
[Repeated spoiler warnings are probably sufficient, right?]
 
In the interview, Scott addresses the obligatory "Prequel or not-a-prequel?" questions, but he also gives an interestingly pragmatic answer for how he came to be directing "Prometheus" -- Carl Erik Rinsch was originally attached, but the studio balked -- and the advantages he sees in returning to his sci-fi landmarks -- first "Alien," with "Blade Runner" next -- decades after they were born.
 
This is the last of the interviews I did at the London junket for "Prometheus." Check out my conversation with screenwriter Damon Lindelof and interviews with Logan Marshall-Green,  Charlize Theron & Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace & Michael Fassbender.
 
"Prometheus" is now in theaters.

 

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<p>James Gunn is the writer of the new game 'Lollipop Chainsaw,' and this week's episode includes an interview with him about exactly what that process entails.</p>

James Gunn is the writer of the new game 'Lollipop Chainsaw,' and this week's episode includes an interview with him about exactly what that process entails.

Credit: Kadokawa Games/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Listen: James Gunn joins the podcast to discuss 'Lollipop Chainsaw'

Plus the single worst Ray Bradbury tribute you'll ever hear

I promised two podcasts this weekend, and sure enough, we've got two podcasts this weekend.

We don't do a ton of game coverage on the site, primarily because there just isn't enough time for us to do every single thing we'd like at this point.  There are moments where film and games are starting to overlap though, and when you've got a guy like James Gunn writing a game that looks as strange and as stylish as "Lollipop Chainsaw," that seems like a good moment to sit down for a conversation about that cross-over in disciplines and how things are starting to get very blurry for people in this business.

Of course, "sitting down together" can be a figure of speech when you're trying to schedule an interview in the middle of an event like E3.  I wasn't at the convention center, and on the day I was set to talk to James, I had a company meeting in Century City.  At the end of it, the rest of team HitFix took off, and I turned on the recorder, took the call on my cell phone, and did my best to record the ensuing conversation.

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<p>Chris Meloni of &quot;True Blood&quot;</p>

Chris Meloni of "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

TV Review: 'True Blood' makes an anemic Season 5 return

Too many characters, too many plotlines and minimal intrigue mar the HBO vampire dramedy
It's probably appropriate that "True Blood" makes me say and do and write stupid, out-of-character things. 
 
Like last summer, when I reviewed the fourth season premiere, I briefly convinced myself that it was totally OK that "True Blood" was a glib, bloody, utterly soulless enterprise, because Alan Ball didn't aspire to make a series of substance. I even took the blame upon myself and wrote, "I am at fault for wanting 'True Blood' to be more than it is."
 
I wrote those words, but it wasn't true. "True Blood" is at fault for not even being a good version of what it aspires to be, which is doubly bad, because what it aspires to be is so low-brow and trashy. And by failing to be effectively and deliciously low-brow and trashy, "True Blood" has had the odd effect of activating an inner puritanical streak that I didn't know I possessed. 
 
Last season, during the sixth or seventh lackluster sex scene between Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman, I actually found myself thinking, "Geez, maybe it's time for Anna Paquin to put on some clothing."
 
Those thoughts are not in character. Why would I ever think that? Why would Alan Ball want to make me think such awful thoughts?
 
Early in Season 5, during a sequence in which a newly born vampire zips around a house at accelerated speed, upending lamps and knocking over furniture, I actually found myself musing, "Geez. It's going to take a long time to clean up this mess." 
 
I'm not Martha Stewart. I'm not an especially neat person. And no matter how much of a mess is made on-screen in "True Blood," nobody is ever going to force me to restore order. And yet, in lieu of providing material for my enjoyment, Alan Ball triggered my vicarious OCD tendencies. 
 
Put a different way, what "True Blood" has managed to do, after four-plus seasons, is deaden my appetite for chaos and haphazard anarchy. 
 
A show about the most primal and basic of human desires has battered my poor, defenseless Id into submission.
 
If you hated the fourth season of "True Blood," with its overacting witches, neutered Erics and less-than-engaging Shifters, I'm here to provide the saddest of warnings: It doesn't get better.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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<p>Kelly Bishop and Sutton Foster in &quot;Bunheads.&quot;</p>

Kelly Bishop and Sutton Foster in "Bunheads."

Credit: ABC Family

Review: ABC Family's 'Bunheads' a return to form for Amy Sherman-Palladino

'Gilmore Girls' creator teams former Tony winners Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop in new dramedy
"Gilmore Girls" and "The West Wing" debuted a year apart from one another, and they've always been linked in my mind: Two shows with machine gun banter, two shows that at their best deftly balanced laughs and heartache, two shows with creators — Amy Sherman-Palladino for "Gilmore Girls," Aaron Sorkin for "West Wing" — whose voices were unmistakable from anyone else's on television.
 
Those two are also linked in my mind because both series continued without their creators — and were never the same without them — and because their follow-up series (Sherman-Palladino's leaden "The Return of Jezebel James" and Sorkin's self-important "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") featured their styles applied to either formats (the traditional sitcom style of "Jezebel James") or subjects (topical sketch comedy for "Studio 60") for which they were ill-suited.
 
And now Sherman-Palladino and Sorkin are linked yet again because both are returning to television this month with new shows where the mission statement seems to be "Here is this thing everybody loved once upon a time, wrapped in a slightly different package."
 
For Sorkin, it's "The Newsroom," a more serious spin on "Sports Night" that we'll talk about closer to its June 24 premiere. For Sherman-Palladino, it's "Bunheads," a new dramedy that premieres Monday night at 9 on ABC Family. If it's not exactly "Gilmore Girls 2: Acoustic Boogaloo," it's close enough to be reassuring — and, on occasion, distracting.
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<p>A romantic moment from the dark comedy 'Sightseers,' directed by Ben Wheatley and presented at this year's Cannes Film Festival</p>

A romantic moment from the dark comedy 'Sightseers,' directed by Ben Wheatley and presented at this year's Cannes Film Festival

Credit: IFC Films

Listen: Ben Wheatley discusses 'Sightseers' in Cannes edition of the podcast

One of two podcasts for this weekend, this one with the director of 'Kill List'

You've got not one but two episodes of the podcast due to you, and so you'll get one today and one tomorrow.

This first one was recorded not long after I walked in the door from the Cannes Film Festival this year, and one of the last films I saw there was Mark Wheatley's "Sightseers."  Wheatley was the director of "Kill List," which many critics embraced, and which helped cement my opinion of Wheatley as a fascinating director who is willing to take big creative risks as he builds his films.  His new one is a comedy, something I wouldn't have expected from "Down Terrace" or "Kill List," and he has a great feel for the material.

I sat down with Wheatley about two hours after I saw the film, and we had a great, quick conversation about his work and where he's headed.  That interview is included here, and in addition, we chat about a whole bunch of trailers that were released while I was away.  Which ones convince Scott to go to the theater and which ones look like home video rentals?  Even I am surprised by his answers on a fairly consistent basis.

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<p>Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts of IFC's &quot;Comedy Bang! Bang!&quot;</p>

Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts of IFC's "Comedy Bang! Bang!"

Credit: IFC

Interview: Reggie Watts flexes new muscles on 'Comedy Bang! Bang!'

He's Scott Aukerman's bandleader/sidekick and much more
Yesterday, I posted an interview with Scott Aukerman from February on the set of IFC's "Comedy Bang! Bang!"
 
If you read the interview, you know that originally, Aukerman's "Comedy Bang! Bang!" bandleader and sidekick Reggie Watts was going to be a part of the conversation, but he got pulled away just as I was about to direct my first question in his direction. [Disclosure: Watts' title may be "bandleader," but he's the band, so he's not really leading anybody else.]
 
Fortunately, even though Watts is a huge part of the "Comedy Bang! Bang!" team, performing in skits in addition to generating his unique brand of musical accompaniment, he made sure to carve out some time to return to the green room to chat with me. 
 
If you aren't familiar with Watts' music or his comedy or his musical comedy or his comedic musicality, I suggest you wander around YouTube and check out some clips. He's like Andy Kaufman if Andy Kaufman had a giant afro, a bushy beard, a penchant for suspenders and tons of musical talent. 
 
Most of this interview concentrates on Watts' work on "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and his previous attempts to find a proper small screen vehicle. In the actual interview, we talked a bit about his musical career, but HitFix's Katie Hasty had a lengthy subsequent interview with Watts that covers that material much better than I did.
 
Click through for the full Q&A. 
 
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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

The Lady Gaga Third Album Hype Machine starts in September... if not sooner

Mother Monster to announce her next set's title

It sounds like Lady Gaga may be close to completing her next album, as she already has solid plans for promotion on her calendar.

"Exciting news little monsters! I've played my new record for my label and will be announcing my new Album Title in September!" she Tweeted earlier today (June 8).

Hey, maybe Gaga doesn't even know what the name is yet. But that's not the point. If she is this adamant about being ready to move on to promoting her third album, then she's ready to have her fans move on as well.

Which is a good thing. "Born This Way" didn't have the legs on it that Interscope had hoped, nor the critical acclaim. While Gaga's popularity has obviously grown since its release last May -- and her live shows and strong media personality are good reasons why -- 2012 is the time to leave that set behind, not 2013.

The news resembles the move she made with the lead-up to "Born This Way." She announced the name of the album during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV VMAs, which also are in September. She unveiled the album release date on New Year's Day this year, as well as the title track single. Then it was five solid months of album promotion in the lead-up to the May 23 release. So we now know that her label likes at least seven months of lead-up.

Mother Monster is currently on her Born This Way Ball tour overseas, with stops in Europe and Australia through the summer. However, she has yet to announce the North American leg. With news that the promotional process for her as-yet-untitled has started even now, technically, it may be that she'll modify her show to include new songs or visual motifs for her U.S. audience.

No word if the songs she played for label execs were the finalized versions, but it's good to know they've given the OK on the tunes themselves.

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<p>A boy, a tiger, and three dimensions are all part of 20th Century Fox's big holiday season plans for Ang Lee's adaptation of 'Life Of Pi'</p>

A boy, a tiger, and three dimensions are all part of 20th Century Fox's big holiday season plans for Ang Lee's adaptation of 'Life Of Pi'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Fox kicks off unusual campaign for Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi' in 3D

An unusual movie inspires an unusual campaign, but will it work?

One of the things I've seen people commenting on after catching "Prometheus" theatrically last night and this morning is the unusual promotional clip for "Life Of Pi" that 20th Century Fox has attached to all 3D prints of the film.

More than anything, what I'm reading is confusion.  I haven't seen how the clips are formatted, but evidently it's just a scene from the film, played without any real introduction.  It's an unusual tactic for the studio to pursue, but "Life Of Pi" is the sort of film that's going to require Fox to try some unorthodox measures to convince audiences that they've got something special planned for them.

According to quotes from Tom Rothman in the New York Times, the decision to handle the clips this way resulted from the response they got when they screened footage for exhibitors during CinemaCon this spring.  The response there was certainly positive, and it even led to some Oscar talk among those who love to kick off the awards season about nine months too early.

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