Latest Blog Posts

<p>John Mayer </p>

John Mayer

Credit: Columba Records

Can John Mayer make it two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200?

Some unusual suspects show up in the top 10

John Mayer’s “Born and Raised” is likely to remain at No. 1 for a second week on the Billboard 200, although it drops significantly in sales.

Mayer’s third No. 1 album will fall roughly 150,000 in sales down to between 70,000-75,000 copies, but that’s enough to top Adele’s “21,” which will hold at No. 2 with  around 60,000 units.

Read Full Post
<p>Olga Kurylenko as Vera in &quot;Magic City.&quot;</p>

Olga Kurylenko as Vera in "Magic City."

Credit: Starz

Season finale review: 'Magic City' - 'Time and Tide'

The noose tightens around Ike, while the Butcher takes a peek

A quick review of the "Magic City" season finale coming up just as soon as I fight a flashbulb with a flashbulb...

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in &quot;Snow White and the Huntsman&quot;</p>

Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in "Snow White and the Huntsman"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

The new spin on the fairytale hits theaters today

I've been out of town for about a week and a half so I've missed the screenings for "Show White and the Huntsman," which opens today. A friend at Fox told me some time ago that Charlize Theron gives "one of the great Al Pacino performances of the 1990s," which is hilarious to me. Alas, I don't have an opinion yet. We talked to costume designer Colleen Atwood about her work on the film, though, and even dedicated a list to her greatest work. No surprise that the design elements seem to be getting most, if not all, of the praise, but we'd love to hear what you think. So give us your thoughts in the comments section below if/when you get around to seeing the film.

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Spartacus,&quot;&nbsp;screening at The Last 70mm Film Festival this summer</p>

A scene from "Spartacus," screening at The Last 70mm Film Festival this summer

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Spend the summer with the Academy

Two summer screening series mark increasing outreach for AMPAS

We would probably be a bit remiss around these parts if we didn't bring up two summer screening series the Academy is launching this year: "Oscars Outdoors" and "The Last 70mm Film Festival."

The former was initiated at the organizations new outdoor facility in Hollywood with an exclusive screening of "Field of Dreams" on May 19. Highlights of the upcoming schedule, which kicks off June 15 with an already-sold-out screening of "Casablanca," include "The Goonies," "Shane," "The Dark Crystal," "North by Northwest" and "Back to the Future." The idea is to screen classic and contemporary adult gems on Fridays and family-friendly fare on Saturdays.

Meanwhile, a press release issued today promoting the latter program asserted that "as theaters increasingly move towards digital projection, there has never been a better time to celebrate these vibrant, clear 70mm prints." That program kicks off on July 9 with a screening of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Fringe&quot;</p>

"Fringe"

Credit: FOX

DVR Gridlock 2012-13: Friday Nights

With 'Community' and 'Fringe' and 'Nikita' is Friday cool again?
[This week, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned.]
 
FRIDAY NIGHTS
 
Read Full Post
<p>Michael Fassbender's work as David 8 is one of the very best things about Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'</p>

Michael Fassbender's work as David 8 is one of the very best things about Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' reaches for greatness but comes up short

Startling images can't salvage a frustrating screenplay

At this point, the "Alien" series has managed to survive well past any expiration date I would have imagined possible.  The framework of the series has been bent and twisted and reshaped to accommodate several different styles and voices.  There is nothing about the series that I still consider sacred or off-limits, no single definition of what makes an "Alien" film.  For each new filmmaker, the series seems like a blank slate, a box of toys they can play with any way they choose.

While I haven't been a big fan of many of Ridley Scott's latest films, the idea of him finally returning to this world that he defined in the first place was an exciting one, and I've been intensely curious about "Prometheus" since the film was first announced.  I'll admit that the constant game of "is it a prequel or isn't it?" has worn on me, though, eroding much of my enthusiasm simply because I hate it when people play coy about things.  I'd rather hear nothing at all about a film than spend a year hearing the same cryptically worded quote over and over, especially since it has seemed transparently obvious since we first started seeing stills and footage that this is definitely connected directly to the first film in the series.

Read Full Post
<p>Christina Ricci and Robert Pattinson star in 'Bel Ami,' which arrives on streaming video services today</p>

Christina Ricci and Robert Pattinson star in 'Bel Ami,' which arrives on streaming video services today

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Weekend Watch: Horrifying 'Loved Ones,' Pattinson's 'Bel Ami,' and Beatles on Blu

Blue Meanies, psycho girls, and more of this week's best bets

You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

It's hard to believe that this is really summer.  "The Avengers" pulled all the oxygen out of the room, so the rest of the month has just felt like a typical spring, a warm-up for the main event.  That's starting to change this weekend, though, and even so, it's the smaller films hitting theater screens that I'm most intrigued by.

IN THEATERS TODAY

"The Loved Ones"

It's taken quite a while for this film to make it into theaters, but this weekend, Sean Byrne's unnerving high school horror film about Lola, the most disturbingly spoiled teenage girl in film history, and her own special version of the senior prom will finally make it to theaters in special midnight bookings.  Paramount has been good about selling horror films the last few years, and when they manage to turn an unflushable turd like "The Devil Inside" into a hit, they deserve some credit.  I wish "The Loved Ones" was opening wider, but if you like horror that pulls no punches, this one's worth the effort to track it down and check it out.

Read Full Post
<p>Lil Wayne</p>

Lil Wayne

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Lil Wayne collabs with Big Sean and Chris Brown for new tracks

Two very different radio jams, one as a Young Money/G.O.O.D. Music mash-up

Lil Wayne may have recent conflict with Kanye West's G.O.O.D. camp -- specifically Pusha T -- but that hasn't kept him from releasing what has been suggested is the first song to arrive from his "I Am Not a Human Being 2" album.

"My Homies Still" features G.O.O.D. Music's Big Sean, from whom Weezy borrows heavily for the hook and even some of the rap's generally sunny outlook; he injects "Go stupid" from Sean's 2011 hit "Dance (A$$)" while he and his collaborator weave around girls, skating and a mix of both good and bad one-liners.

I can't stand how it opens. I grow to love it as it ends. Their voices are good together. Too bad their respective labels aren't.

Pusha T lobbed a little beef Lil Wayne's lil buddy Drake's and Young Money's way with his "Exodus 23:1," with veiled talk of "n*ggas" signing other "n*ggas" and "Contract all f*cked / Explain up I guess that means you all f*cked up." This was a little more than a week ago, after which Weezy Tweeted "F*ck pusha t and anybody that love em." About a day later, he dropped Pusha diss track "Goulish." (It wasn't... great.. They can't all be zingers, but you can actually give a response some time, Wayne.)

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Madonna onstage in Israel</p>

 Madonna onstage in Israel

Credit: AP Photo

What critics are saying about Madonna's opening night, plus the set list

Were they thumbs up or thumbs down?

Madonna’s “MDNA” tour opened last night at Tel Aviv’s Ramat Gan stadium and from all reports, the two-hour performance was quite the extravaganza.

She also used the setting to deliver a call for peace, telling the audience mid-set:  “I chose to start my world tour in Israel for a very specific and important reason. As you know, the Middle East and all the conflicts that occur here and that have been occurring for thousands of years…They have to stop…You can’t be a fan of mine and not want peace in the world, OK?”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Shirley Halperin called the concert “pure spectacle...complete with eight wardrobe changes (including a Gaultier-designed update of her iconic cone bra), 22 dancers (including one Rocco Ritchie), a gospel choir and two slackline walkers.”

Halperin gave Madonna high marks for her vocals, “which, like her physique, were also in tip-top shape,” but criticized Madge for resorting to the trick of featuring only snippets of some of her biggest hits, while right songs from “MDNA” were performed in full.  She also questioned the often violent images, including Madonna toting an AK47, in contrast with her calls for peace.

Similarly, the Jerusalem Post noted the show’s violence: “Amidst her opening acts was a particularly violent number, Gang Bang, in which she shot a man as she sat under a large cross and sang, “Bang, bang, shot you dead.” Blood appeared to splatter on a separate screen on stage.”

Perez Hilton’s hyperbolic, breathless review  called Give Ma All You Luvin a high point. “ There was a flying marching band! Literally! Her dancers were suspended high above and bangin' the drums! It was sick! The energy during this two-song segment was OUT OF THIS WORLD! It was definitely the climax of the show and a moment that could not be topped.”

Though he had a few problems with some of the song selection and pacing, overall, he concluded “nobody puts on a show quite like Madonna! No one even comes close!”

ABC News reported that the show was not sold out (although other sources said the 32,000-seat stadium was full, and that in addition to Rocco, Madonna’s oldest daughter Lourdes was also one of the dancers.

As we previously reported, the show also includes a mash-up of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and Lady Gaga sound-a-like “Born This Way.”

Check out our photo gallery of opening night here.

Below is the setlist from opening night, according to Madonnalicious:

First Act:
“Girl Gone Wild”
“Revolver”
“Gang Bang”
“Papa Don’t Preach”
“Hung Up”
“I Don’t Give A”
“Best Friend/Heartbeat”
(Interlude)

Second Act:
“Express Yourself” (Ft. “Born This Way”)
“Give Me All Your Luvin’”
“Turn Up the Radio”
“Open Your Heart”
“Masterpiece”
“Justify My Love”
(Interlude)

Third Act:
“Vogue”
“Candy Shop”“Erotica / Human Nature”
“Like a Virgin”
“Nobody Knows Me”
(Interlude)

Fourth Act:
“I’m Addicted”
“I’m a Sinner”
“Like a Prayer”
“Celebration”




 

Read Full Post
Michael Mann all smiles at last year's Venice International Film Festival in support of daughter Ami Canaan Mann's "Texas Killing Fields"
Michael Mann all smiles at last year's Venice International Film Festival in support of daughter Ami Canaan Mann's "Texas Killing Fields"
Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Michael Mann to chair 69th Venice festival jury

Festivities kick off on August 29

Michael Mann hasn't been in the director's seat since 2009's "Public Enemies," save for his involvement in HBO's short-lived series "Luck." He's a guy with a stack of potential projects lined up, but it seems he'll take a little bit of a break from the fray to head up the jury of the 69th annual Venice Film Festival later this year.

Newly installed artistic director Alberto Barbera made the recommendation to the fest's board of governors, chaired by Paolo Baratta, and they jumped at the opportunity. It will be the first time Mann has ever chaired a jury, interestingly enough. What of this year's eventual line-up will spark for the man behind such modern classics as "The Last of the Mohicans," "Heat" and "The Insider?" Better yet, what can we expect to see at the fest?

Earlier this week Barbera dropped a few clues as to what we might see at the Lido this year. In remarks to Italian journalists, as reported by Eric Lyman at The Hollywood Reporter, Barbera mentioned Brian De Palma ("Passion"), Terrence Malick ("To the Wonder") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master") as possibilities, as well as Italian talents Silvio Soldini ("The Commander and the Stork"), Marco Bellocchio ("Dormant Beauty") and Gabriele Salvatores ("Siberian Education").

Read Full Post
<p>In the &quot;Deadwood&quot;&nbsp;season 2 premiere, Bullock (Timothy Olyphant)&nbsp;is tended to by his wife Martha (Anna Gunn).</p>

In the "Deadwood" season 2 premiere, Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) is tended to by his wife Martha (Anna Gunn).

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 1 & 2: 'A Lie Agreed Upon' (Newbies edition)

Seth and Al come to blows, and trouble arrives on the morning stagecoach

Well here we are again, folks, going back to "Deadwood" to revisit season 2 of David Milch's epic revisionist Western. Just as we did last summer (and as I did for the three seasons of "The Wire" I reviewed after the fact), we're going to have two parallel discussions going at once: identical reviews, but one where the comments section is just for people who are new to the series and don't want to be spoiled on anything past the events of the episode being discussed, and one for people who know "Deadwood" backwards and forwards, and want to be able to discuss it all at once. This is the newbie-safe version; click here for the veteran-friendly one.

Though future reviews will be done one episode at a time, we're opening up with a combined review of the season's first two hours, "A Lie Agreed Upon" parts 1 & 2, coming up just as soon as I would settle for a vigorous hand-holding...

Read Full Post
<p>In the &quot;Deadwood&quot;&nbsp;season 2 premiere, Bullock (Timothy Olyphant)&nbsp;is tended to by his wife Martha (Anna Gunn).</p>
<br />

In the "Deadwood" season 2 premiere, Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) is tended to by his wife Martha (Anna Gunn).


Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 2, Episode 1 & 2: 'A Lie Agreed Upon' (Veterans edition)

Seth and Al come to blows, and trouble arrives on the morning stagecoach

Well here we are again, folks, going back to "Deadwood" to revisit season 2 of David Milch's epic revisionist Western. Just as we did last summer (and as I did for the three seasons of "The Wire" I reviewed after the fact), we're going to have two parallel discussions going at once: identical reviews, but one where the comments section is just for people who are new to the series and don't want to be spoiled on anything past the events of the episode being discussed, and one for people who know "Deadwood" backwards and forwards, and want to be able to discuss it all at once. This is the veteran-friendly version; click here for the newbie-safe one.

Though future reviews will be done one episode at a time, we're opening up with a combined review of the season's first two hours, "A Lie Agreed Upon" parts 1 & 2, coming up just as soon as I would settle for a vigorous hand-holding...

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME