Latest Blog Posts

<p>One of the real-life Navy SEALs who star in 'Act Of Valor,'and snce I assume he owns that gun for real, he's a tremendous actor with a promising future on the bigscreen.&nbsp; Now please stop pointing that at me.</p>

One of the real-life Navy SEALs who star in 'Act Of Valor,'and snce I assume he owns that gun for real, he's a tremendous actor with a promising future on the bigscreen.  Now please stop pointing that at me.

Credit: Relativity Media

Review: 'Act Of Valor' combines real-life Navy SEALs and old-fashioned Z-movie nonsense

Disturbing military pageant is improbable but oddly detailed in its mayhem

"Act of Valor" is a spectacular action epic that is built around a cast of people who could probably kill me.  So… A+.  See it twice.









Okay, I hope the real-life Navy SEALs who star in "Act Of Valor" just check that opening paragraph, because truth be told, I think "Act Of Valor" is the action movie equivalent of those Christian-market movies like "Fireproof" that come out, make a "surprising" amount of money, and then vanish again.  Insufferably earnest, it is a stunt more than anything, one hell of a high-concept hook but not much of a movie. 

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<p>Kat of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Kat of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'Total Dysfunction'

The Women tire of Colton and have new problems of their own
Pre-credit sequence. The Women return to camp after skating through Tribal Council without voting anybody off. Mike greets them by making it clear that he kept their fire going in their absence. Kat isn't impressed by his generosity, plus she's also terrified by bugs. Before bed, Christina takes Alicia aside and tries to set things right. To the camera, Alicia claims that Tribal Council went exactly the way she planned. After Christina vents and Alicia ignores, they shake hands. They hug. You'd think Alicia wants Christina out next, but you'd be kinda wrong. "Nina looks like a bag of rocks and I don't even know what that analogy means," Alicia teases. Interesting. And confusing.
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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'Fire and Ice'

The final three duke it out in another Vancouver challenge

We're down to the final three, and at this point I can only root for one chef: Paul. I have my reasons. One, he seems to be a very talented chef (hey, we can't taste the food, but judging by the comments he's gotten and his ingredients, I've been impressed). Two, he's really shown the most creativity in his dishes thus far. While he does use a lot of Asian influences, he seems able to look well beyond them and construct dishes that are truly modern (Sarah, on the other hand, has only recently seemed interested in cooking anything but straight Italian food). And three, he's not a mean girl. So, go Paul!

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<p>Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock in &quot;Extremely Loud &amp; Incredibly Close.&quot;</p>

Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Long Shot: Don't go to bed angry

Feeling strangely fine ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards

With four days to go until the Academy Awards, we've reached the point in the season -- indeed, given the season's inordinate length and predictability, we've been there for some time -- where everything that's potentially exciting or commendable about this year's awards can be turned against the institution behind them by sufficiently ill-tempered critics and observers.

Isn't it kind of cool that the Best Picture winner is almost certain to be a silent, black-and-white comedy with no household names involved, and the first Oscar champ in the category from outside the US or UK? Oh, I'm sorry, it isn't: assorted corners of the blogosphere have ruled that "The Artist" is disposable, middlebrow fluff, that the Academy is caving to the cynical philistinism of Harvey Weinstein, that voters are out of touch and un-American to boot. (Oh yeah, and Jean Dujardin is bloody Roberto Benigni all over again -- because all Europeans are the same, right?)

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Watch: The Doors' John Densmore grills Skrillex on 'Re:Generation'

Watch: The Doors' John Densmore grills Skrillex on 'Re:Generation'

Plus, The Crystal Method's Ken Jordan shares his favorite new DJs

Call John Densmore a skeptic.  Newly-minted Grammy winner Skrillex  had his work cut out for him when he paired with the Doors, including drummer Densmore, to create a new song based on “Riders on the Storm” in “Re:Generation,” a new documentary that links well-known DJs, such as the Crystal Method, DJ Premier and Mark Ronson, with artists in other genres.

The film, which plays in theaters Feb. 23 before finding a TV and then DVD home, chronicles the musical journey that all the musicians travel when they step out of their comfort zones.

[More after the jump...]

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UPDATED: Academy spokesperson claims Sacha Baron Cohen NOT banned from Oscars
Credit: Paramount Pictures

UPDATED: Academy spokesperson claims Sacha Baron Cohen NOT banned from Oscars

AMPAS still doesn't feel a 'Dictator' publicity stunt is 'appropriate'

UPDATE [8:43 PM EST]: An Academy spokesperson has told The Hollywood Reporter that Cohen has in fact not been banned from the 2012 Oscar ceremony, but that they also do not welcome a publicity stunt to promote the comedian's upcoming film "The Dictator". "We haven't banned him," the spokesperson told THR after the story first broke on Deadline. "We're just waiting to hear what he's going to do." That said: "We don't think [a publicity stunt is] appropriate...But his tickets haven't been pulled. We're waiting to hear back." Based on that statement, it sounds like the threat of being banned still looms, however.

ORIGINAL STORY: Sacha Baron Cohen has been banned from attending this year's Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, due to the organization's fears that the comedian will cause a scene on the red carpet by showing up as his character from the upcoming comedy "The Dictator".

According to Deadline, it appears the only way Cohen will be given entry is if AMPAS is assured there will be no funny business at the ceremony, which is taking place in Los Angeles this Sunday.
The hubbub arose after a proposal was floated to the Academy regarding the actor's plans to walk the press line in the guise of Admiral General Aladeen, the fictional Middle East despot he portrays in the new film, which was directed by "Borat" and "Bruno" director Larry Charles.
Despite Cohen's banning, the resulting imbroglio is a definite win for the actor and distributor Paramount, who clearly realized the planned stunt would generate free publicity whether "Aladeen" was cleared to walk the red carpet or not.
Cohen is one of the stars of Martin Scorsese's "Hugo", which is up for 11 awards on Sunday including Best Picture. He is also a member of the Academy.
This isn't the first time Cohen has butted heads with the organization. In 2007 the the Academy asked him to be a presenter, but the comedian declined the offer when the organization turned down his request to appear on-stage as the title character from his 2006 smash hit "Borat".
One possibility is that AMPAS felt the gag would be inappropriate in light of the horrifying spate of violence currently taking place in Syria, where thousands of dissidents have been killed in a brutal crackdown by the country's tryannical president Bashar al Assad.
What do you think of Cohen's Oscar banning? Is the Academy doing the right thing, or do they need to lighten up? Sound off in the comments below!
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<p>FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's &quot;Idol,&quot; so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.</p>
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FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's "Idol," so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Final Judgment, Part 1 - Live-Blog

The contestants perform one last time and the judges deliberate

Is everybody ready for tonight's 12-hour "American Idol"?

Oh, I kid. It's only six hours.

I kid again!

Wednesday's (Feb. 22) "American Idol" is only TWO hours.

See? It doesn't sound so bad anymore, does it? 

You're welcome.

On to the recap, after the break...

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<p>&quot;A&nbsp;Separation&quot;&nbsp;won awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Film Not in the English Language.</p>

"A Separation" won awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Film Not in the English Language.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

International Cinephile Society awards 'A Separation,' 'The Tree of Life'

'Margaret' walks away with two acting honors

The International Cinephile Society may be the last of innumerable critics' groups to announce their top film achievements of 2011 before the Oscars finally call a moratorium on the practice -- but in a season that has long since fallen prey to fatigue, this fresh, imaginative list of winners couldn't come as a more welcome pick-me-up. As a voting member of the ICS, I'm pleased to say I'm as surprised as anyone by some of the results, which stray far from the Oscar pack and include a handful of unique choices.

I'm pretty sure, for example, that this is the first group to hand their Best Actor prize to British newcomer Tom Cullen for "Weekend" -- my own first choice in the category. And if the London Critics' Circle pre-empted the ICS by choosing Anna Paquin as Best Actress, this is certainly the first mention for Paquin's onscreen mom in "Margaret," J. Smith-Cameron, in the Best Supporting Actress category. Kenneth Lonergan's beleaguered little film just keeps chugging along -- who knows what could have happened had it received more critical and studio support upon its September release?

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<p>Jamie Hewlett's interpretation of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000</p>

Jamie Hewlett's interpretation of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000

Listen: Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 combine for 'DoYaThing'

LCD Soundsystem's frontman meets the boing-boing of Outkast

The combination of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 sounds exactly like what you'd think it'd sound like: boing-boing, beep beep, bounce bounce.

This funky collaboration was created in the name of Converse, for their Three Artists, One Song series. It bowed on BBC radio today and will be available through the company's website tomorrow.

The track is another good origin of the query: Why isn't Andre 3000 rapping on everything ever in the whole world ever? Murphy might as well have been filing his nails or cleaning the bathroom when he wrote the mindless refrain "You want to do it, but you don't know what you're doing, baby," but that doesn't mean I won't remember it.

And Albarn sounds thankfully better here than he did at the Brits last night with Blur. Haters: hating. Keep your eyes peeled for the music video.

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"The X Factor"

 "The X Factor"

Credit: Fox

Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid talk 'X Factor' rumors about Britney, Whitney

Cowell explains why he's committed to the 'Jennifer Hudson save'

Wondering who will replace Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones on "The X Factor"? Well, despite rumors that Britney Spears, LeAnn Rimes or Janet Jackson might be stepping in, Simon Cowell and fellow judge L.A. Reid are staying mum about the top candidates. "This happened last year," Cowell told reporters in a conference call. "There's loads of speculation, some true, some not true. It's true to say a lot more people are interested. We're waiting to see who contacts us... which is a good place to be in." According to Cowell, possible replacements are still up in the air. "We will be meeting with people over the next few weeks, mainly to explain that this is a big commitment with the mentoring."

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<p>Preparations underway for this year's Oscarcast at the theatre formally known as the Kodak</p>

Preparations underway for this year's Oscarcast at the theatre formally known as the Kodak

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

In advance of Sunday's Oscars, the Kodak Theatre officially loses its name

And is it maybe time to start considering other venues anyway?

You might recall the story a couple of weeks back about the Kodak Theater potentially undergoing a moniker change, as Kodak, amid financial reorganization, wanted out of its deal with the Hollywood & Highland complex where the annual Oscars are held. In a nutshell, the company no longer afford the hefty yearly price tag of maintaining the naming rights to the facility.

Well, it looks like that change is already in effect. Over at The Odds, Steve Pond's sharp eyes caught this bit of language in a press release announcing Meryl Streep as one of this year's Oscarcast presenters: "Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, from the Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live by the ABC Television Network." Hollywood & Highland. Not Kodak. Most of us probably just slid that email on over to the trash, but good on Pond for catching it and ringing up the Academy to confirm.

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<p>Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.&nbsp; I want to see that.</p>

Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.  I want to see that.

Credit: Drafthouse Films

One Thing I Love Today: Exclusive new Mondo poster for Belgian Oscar-nominee 'Bullhead'

A Polish-inspired piece of art for the powerful limited release impresses

I love movie posters.

I know that seems sort of obvious, but if going to the movies is my church (and I think it is), then great movie posters are a sort of article of faith for me, objects that connect me to that thing I love.  One of the reasons I wanted to work at a movie theater when I was a teenager was so that I could have access to the movie posters, and I amassed an absurdly large collection of them, taking home everything that interested me and wallpapering my bedroom to the point where there were posters on top of posters on top of posters, a visual assault of movie-related imagery that I loved waking up to every morning.

Watching the evolution of movie posters over the last 20 years has been sort of disheartening.  Movie advertising in general has become very slick and calculated, and it all looks generally the same.  You see trends where one trailer does something and 50 trailers do the exact same thing because it worked.  You see posters that look like they took an intern 30 minutes to create in Photoshop.  You see an indifference to the idea of movie posters as art, and they are disposable as a result.

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