Latest Blog Posts

<p>Paul Brannigan in &quot;The Angels' Share.&quot;</p>

Paul Brannigan in "The Angels' Share."

Credit: Entertainment One

Cannes Check: Ken Loach's 'The Angels' Share'

Continuing our preview series on the Cannes competition

The director: Ken Loach (British, 75 years old)

The talent: As is often the case with Loach films, the cast is a jumble of fresh faces and old hands from British film and television. Making his screen debut in the lead is 24 year-old Scotsman Paul Brannigan, whom we'll also see later this year in Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin." Heading up the support is veteran English comic actor Roger Allam (recently seen in "The Iron Lady" and "Tamara Drewe"), who previously worked with Loach on 2006's "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." Other Loach associates on board include bulldog-faced character actor John Henshaw (for many the standout of 2009's "Looking for Eric") and young Glaswegian William Ruane ("Sweet Sixteen," "Tickets," "Barley"). 

On script duty, of course, is Paul Laverty, who has written all but one of Loach's narrative films since 1996's "Carla's Song," winning the Best Screenplay award at Cannes in 2002 for "Sweet Sixteen." Loach's regular producer Rebecca O'Brien is also on board. Below the line, the presence of Robbie Ryan, whose work for Andrea Arnold (most dazzlingly on "Wuthering Heights") has made him one of the most exciting cinematographers in the business, adds interest. Still, given that Loach's two most recent, rather pedestrian-looking features were shot by Barry Ackroyd and Chris Menges, respectively, don't get your hopes up for a visual feast.

Read Full Post
<p>Sherri Shepherd and the rest of the &quot;Queen of Jordan&quot;&nbsp;gang took over &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;again.</p>

Sherri Shepherd and the rest of the "Queen of Jordan" gang took over "30 Rock" again.

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'Queen of Jordan 2': Rude!

The show returns to parodying Bravo's 'Real Housewives' franchise

A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I pick up Yakov Smirnoff from the airport...

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Hemsworth (left)&nbsp;and Chris Evans in &quot;The Avengers&quot;</p>

Chris Hemsworth (left) and Chris Evans in "The Avengers"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Avengers'

The film opens this weekend

The summer is here at the multiplex as Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" hits theaters this weekend. Midnight screenings are already letting out so it's time to hear what the public has to say (the US public, anyway, as it's already chugging along in 39 other countries). Did Marvel pull off the ambitious team-up? I'd say so. Drew certainly loved it. So what say you? Offer up your thoughts in the comments section below. (Oh, and the music video for Soundgarden's original song for the film dropped yesterday if you're interested.)

Read Full Post
<p>The Brittens get to know Emma on &quot;Awake.&quot;</p>

The Brittens get to know Emma on "Awake."

Credit: NBC

'Awake' - 'Slack Water': Moving day

Mike and Hannah get to know Rex's baby mama

A review of tonight's "Awake" coming up just as soon as we have my desk bronzed...

Read Full Post
<p>Tegan and Sara</p>

Tegan and Sara

Credit: Lindsey Byrnes

Interview: New Tegan and Sara album to be ‘more radio-friendly'

Duo works with three different pop producers for new set, tentatively due this fall

Tegan Quin’s mind is on Bruce Springsteen and Katy Perry. 

“We want to reach as many people as possible. We’re always balancing how to take what we do on our own at home and put it out around the world and make it reach people,” said Quin of her duo with her twin sister Sara. “What about Bruce Springsteen, or Arcade Fire? They reach so many people. I spent the whole last year exploring a lot of popular music, and – you know – so many people listen to Katy Perry. There must be something that goes into reaching 20 million people.”
Maybe they’re not up to 20 million worldwide concert attendees or album sales, but Tegan and Sara have done pretty good on their own, even without records featuring Snoop Dogg or 40 years of history under their belts. Their 2009 album “Sainthood” made it to No. 21 on The Billboard 200, their best sales and charting period yet. Their strength is, in part, their fiercely loyal fan-base and the reliable nature of word-of-mouth. The other part is their recognizable voices, and their like-minded take on pop music, love songs, breakup anthems and good old-fashioned stage banter.
Read Full Post
<p>On &quot;Parks and Recreation,&quot;&nbsp;Burt Macklin, FBI&nbsp;rides again.</p>

On "Parks and Recreation," Burt Macklin, FBI rides again.

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Bus Tour': The mad pie-man

Things get frantic in the campaign's final hours

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I spray paint nipples on the Lincoln Memorial...

Read Full Post
<p>Rin Takanashi in &quot;Like Someone in Love.&quot;</p>

Rin Takanashi in "Like Someone in Love."

Credit: Euro Space/MK2 Productions

Cannes Check: Abbas Kiarostami's 'Like Someone in Love'

Continuing our preview series on the Cannes competition

The director: Abbas Kiarostami (Iranian, 71 years old)

The talent: Kiarostami may have chosen a major international star to headline his foray into non-Iranian cinema two years ago, but for his second, he's taking the opposite tack. Rin Takanishi, his 23 year-old lead actress, is a relative newcomer, schooled mostly in Japanese television; her older co-star, Tadashi Okuno, may have a screen CV that dates back to the 1960s, but it's even briefer than Takanishi's. The most recognizable name here is Ryo Kase, whom you may remember from "Letters from Iwo Jima" and that godawful kamikaze-ghost role in last year's "Restless." Kiarostami sought Japanese talent below the line too: cinematographer Katsumi Yanagijima is best-known for his work on Takeshi Kitano's films, as well as "Battle Royale." Kiarostami, as is his wont, wrote the original screenplay; he also produced alongside Frenchman Nathanael Karmitz, who also shpherded "Certified Copy" to the screen.

Read Full Post
Watch: Justin Bieber's video for 'Boyfriend'
Credit: Island Records

Watch: Justin Bieber's video for 'Boyfriend'

Cars, girls and gold shoes

After teasing us with four 15-second promos, Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” video finally had its full premiere tonight.

It’s an ode to women and cars as Bieber throws a party on a concrete lot.  In a vintage car, he drives up and a crowd of fantastically beautiful and scantily clad girls show up, as well as some old-school hip-hop dancers.  He canoodles with his chosen pretty,  but not enough to make real-lie girlfriend Selena Gomez jealous.

We were a little confused in that the video seems to have two openings. There’s the whispered opening with much of the footage we’ve seen: the Michael Jackson-like image of Bieber silhouetted against the full moon and the speaker bouncing to the bass beat, as he whispers in a woman’s ear as two girls watch the action on their iPhone, but then that video abruptly ends and cuts to a new start of the song with opening credit and the whispering begins all over again with Bieber in a car headed to a party, where he connects with the woman whose ear he whispering sweet nothings into in the opening.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Chang (Ken Jeong)&nbsp;and his army on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Chang (Ken Jeong) and his army on "Community."

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Course Listing Unavailable': I predict a riot

The study group goes through the stages of grief, while Chang plots martial law

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I'm Ted Danson at Whoopi Goldberg's roast...

Read Full Post
<p>Jessica Sanchez of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Jessica Sanchez of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 5 Results - Down to the Final 4

Anything can happen for Jessica, Phillip, Hollie, Skylar and Joshua

Your guess is as good as mine here. 

After a Wednesday night of mixed-bag performances from the Top 5, I really can't make a prediction that I feel comfortable with. 

Phillip Phillips has been the presumptive favorite for months, but will a poor second performance and Ryan Seacrest's reveal of his girlfriend take a bite out of his voting totals?

Will Jessica Sanchez be punished for botching Tina Turner? Will Hollie Cavanagh's growth be ignored after a pair of solid, but unremarkable performances? 

We'll see! I'm using a picture of Jessica not because I'm assuming she's safe, but because it's a pretty picture. 

Click through to find out if I'm going to need to pick a new pic...

Read Full Post
Watch: Bruce Springsteen sings 'The Weight' as homage to The Band's Levon Helm

Watch: Bruce Springsteen sings 'The Weight' as homage to The Band's Levon Helm

Do you like it better than the Black Keys/John Fogerty version?

Since Levon Helm’s death April 19, various artists have been paying tribute to the Band’s drummer, whom many consider the greatest singing drummer in rock. As rocker Dave Edmunds once said: “Drummers shouldn’t sing unless they’re Levon Helm.”

At the second weekend of Coachella, John Fogerty joined The Black Keys for a bluesy, spirited version of “The Weight” on April 20.

Last night at Newark's Prudential Center, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band also performed a lovely version of “The Weight.” As Springsteen concert attendees know, he’ll often take requests from fans’ signs and this apparently was one such request. However, given the quality of the version, and the horn arrangements and backing vocals, it is incredible to think that they had never played the song before and were working it up on the spot. Plus, kudos to whomever handles Springsteen’s teleprompter because that roadie got the lyrics cued up pretty darn quick.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Santigold's &quot;Master of My Make-Believe&quot;</p>
<br />

Santigold's "Master of My Make-Believe"

Credit: Atlantic/Downtown

Album review: Santigold 'Master of My Make-Believe'

Sophomore set from singer benefits from a variety of producers and masks

Santigold’s second set “Master of My Make-Believe” is varied, entertaining, produced well and feels firm, very final. The artist herself is unfortunately still lumped into this gob of musicians that began making their mark about six years ago, known for their vaguely or overtly “ethnic sounds,” from M.I.A. and her frequent collaborator Diplo, to the African beats of Yeasayer to dub- and Middle Eastern-borrowing Gwen Stefani. 

It’s more than half a decade on, and Santi White has still thwarted any traditional classification. “Make-Believe” moves easily between pop and dance to hip-hop and experimental rock. You can thank her collection of producers like Q-Tip, Diplo or Dave Sitek for the variety, but still the segues between songs indicate very much that its track order and choice deck-helmers were in the plan all along.
Read Full Post