Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jim Rash as Dean Pelton in &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Jim Rash as Dean Pelton in "Community."

Credit: NBC

Why I miss 'Community': Because Jim Rash won an Oscar

A salute to the show's game-for-anything award winner

We're two weeks away from "Community" returning to NBC's airwaves — and fans attending Saturday night's PaleyFest panel in LA (or watching the feed in New York) will be able to see a new episode even earlier than that(*) — but I pledged to keep these posts about why I miss the show going until it returned, and so I gladly shall.

Read Full Post
<p>Heejun Han of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Heejun Han of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Results - The Top 13 is Chosen

Which 10 singers did America put through? And who did the judges select?

It's Results Night on "American Idol."

Over the next TWO hours, we're going to find out which Semifinalists received America's seal of approval and which three singers will be rescued by the judges.

For the purposes of this live-blog, I've decided that Heejun Han is making the Top 13. I don't know if it's gonna be via America's vote or via the judges, but if Heejun doesn't make it, I'm gonna be both sad and surprised.  But still, I'm using his picture as a guess. It doesn't spoil anything, at least not anything I know about.

Anyway, click through and follow along. Last year's equivalent of this show was actually a really good, jam-packed two hours. Hopefully this year's won't be bad either...

Read Full Post
<p>The Once-ler (Ed Helms) tries to protect himself from the anger of The Lorax (Danny DeVito) in the new animated adaptation of 'The Lorax'</p>

The Once-ler (Ed Helms) tries to protect himself from the anger of The Lorax (Danny DeVito) in the new animated adaptation of 'The Lorax'

Credit: Universal/Illumination

Review: Dr. Seuss adaptation 'The Lorax' aims high and makes it partway there

Illumination Entertainment makes some interesting missteps in their new film

It is an unenviable task to adapt the work of Dr. Seuss from page to screen, and for the most part, I think his work has resisted full-length feature adaptation with a vengeance.

I mean, when you look at a film like "Cat In The Hat," it's hard to imagine that the source material is any good at all.  It's a coarse, gross, vulgar fart joke of a movie, and it should have, by any conventional wisdom, killed the idea of making Dr. Seuss movies.  But "Horton Hears A Who" seemed to be a major course correction, and their expansion of the world that Seuss created felt like a fairly organic way to approach his work.

With "The Lorax," Illumination Entertainment has done a solid job of trying to preserve the most important parts of the book and its themes, and there is a lot of it that honors Seuss.  I think kids will enjoy this film, and my own kids, who have been raised as Seuss-faithful as possible, liked the way the story expanded to fill out a feature running time.  I had more issues with the new material, and I think adults will be less likely to just accept the film as a whole.

Read Full Post
<p>Paul Dano and Olivia Thirlby end up entangled in the grim family drama 'Being Flynn'</p>

Paul Dano and Olivia Thirlby end up entangled in the grim family drama 'Being Flynn'

Credit: Focus Features

Review: De Niro and Dano in 'Being Flynn' paint a turbulent picture of a creative life

Paul Weitz adapts an acclaimed memoir to fascinating effect

You know, you should never count the Weitz brothers out.

Both Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz made their names early.  "American Pie" put Paul on the map as a director, and they seemed to indicate that their careers were headed to a more personal and heartfelt place with 2002's lovely "About A Boy," which they co-directed.  Since then, they've both had some pretty big creative misfires, although no one could accuse them of being anything less than ambitious.  I may not like "The Golden Compass" as a movie, but I can see what drew Chris Weitz to it, and I respect the effort.  For Paul, the nadir of his film work so far would have to be the one-two punch of "Cirque du Freak" and "Little Fockers," both movies that felt corporate and calculated.

Last year, Chris made the piercing "A Better Life," featuring an amazing performance by Demian Bichir, and it felt to me like he had roared back to life as a filmmaker, besting whatever his own high-water mark was so far.  While I don't think Paul's new film, "Being Flynn," reaches the same beautiful heights as "A Better Life," it strikes me as authentically observed and deeply felt, and a huge step in the right direction for him as a filmmaker.

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Frankenweenie&quot;</p>

A scene from "Frankenweenie"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Trailers for 'The Avengers' and 'Frankenweenie' make for a nice antidote to awards season

March and April, meanwhile, look a little dicey

Now that the Oscar dust has settled and the early-year dumping ground has come to a close, studios are beginning to float materials for their (hopeful) moneymakers out there. Two trailers have dropped this week, for "The Avengers" (opening May 4) and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" (which doesn't hit until October).

On the former, I have to say, I'm on board. I have a built-in sense of caution when it comes to Joss Whedon, though, and I have to admit, as much as I don't mind seeing her face in, well, anything, Scarlet Johansson seems incredibly pointless to that enterprise. Nevertheless, my fingers are crossed Marvel pulls this off.

Robert Downey Jr. called it the real "most ambitious film" of the Hollywood system at Comic-Con two years back (amid similar talk surrounding "Avatar" at the time). Marrying these properties together, getting it to come off without an ego hitch, it's daunting. And there are money shots in the trailer that have me stoked. It should be an awesome way to kick off the summer movie season.

Read Full Post
<p>I'm going to guess this is exactly how Tim Burton actually saw some of the kids he grew up with, and not an exaggeration at all.</p>

I'm going to guess this is exactly how Tim Burton actually saw some of the kids he grew up with, and not an exaggeration at all.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Watch: Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie' trailer feels like a master class in the director's themes

His latest stop-motion film feels like a summation of everything he does

I like this trailer a lot.

When Tim Burton first announced plans to take his 1984 short film and turn it into a stop-motion animated feature film, I sort of dismissed it as a weird late-career indulgence and haven't thought much about it since.  After all, once a director makes a billion dollars for a studio with one movie, he's in a position to get any random weird-ass dream off the ground as a movie, and it felt like the sort of thing where Disney was just allowing him to do it as a thank you for the Scrooge McDuck style vaults full of money they were swimming in thanks to "Alice In Wonderland."

But looking at this trailer, it strikes me that if George Lucas would have just been honest with himself and remade 1977's "A New Hope" instead of endlessly tinkering with the original film and giving it weird digital face lifts, my guess is the outrage would have been more pronounced at the beginning, but it eventually would have settled down because they would exist as different movies.

Read Full Post
<p>Sound mixers Tom&nbsp;Fleischman (left)&nbsp;and John&nbsp;Midgley backstage at the 84th annual Academy Awards</p>

Sound mixers Tom Fleischman (left) and John Midgley backstage at the 84th annual Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

AMPAS to break the soundtrack barrier

Oscar-winning sound mixers will demonstrate their craft

One of the things that always seems to be nebulous to new film enthusiasts and, in particular, new Oscar watchers is the difference between sound editing and sound mixing. We've certainly made it a point to explain it over the years via the two categories' separate Tech Support entries each season, but for those in the LA area, here's your opportunity for a thorough crash course, AMPAS-style.

The Academy has just announced its "40 Years of Sound for Film" event set to take place on Tuesday, March 6 at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood. Fresh off his Oscar win for "Hugo," sound mixer Tom Fleischman will be on hand along withlegendary three-time Oscar-winning mixer Chris Newman ("Amadeus," "The English Patient," "The Exorcist") to "explore the intricacies of building a motion picture soundtrack using clips from 'Hugo,' 'The Silence of the Lambs' and 'The French Connection,'" according to the press release.

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

Lil Wayne

Credit: AP Photo

Lil Wayne and Limp Bizkit collaborative single due next week

Cash Money's latest signee combines rock and rap, just like Weezy likes it

Limp Bizkit love rap-rock, and Lil Wayne loves rock-rap, so it only makes sense that they combine. Sort of.

YMCMB head Bryan "Birdman" Williams told Billboard that the two acts will combine for a brand new single, "Ready to Go," due out some time next week.

"It'll be a great way to let the world know that [the band] is a part of us," said Birdman. "It's rock, but it's hip-hop-rock. I think we got that hip-hop-rock swagger."

Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst and Weezy hashed out the track during the week following the Grammy Awards to bang out the song. The Cash Money artists will all appear together in a music video, shooting soon.

The Limp Bizkit/Cash Money signing announcement sent a shock (confusion?) wave through music news world last week, considering that the band is YMCMB's first straightforwardly rock signing. Birdman said the label is working to expand into other musical territory beside hip-hop.

The other element to the signing is that Limp Bizkit's last album hasn't sold all that strongly: "Gold Cobra" has only moved 69,000 copies since it was released last June. The band's last top 10 album was "Results May Vary," released eight years ago. This isn't exactly Limp Bizkit's peak commercial era. Perhaps the label and Durst are readying a second act for the band?

Birdman said that a new Limp Bizkit would be out by year's end, but that this particular collaboration would just be a one-off.

What the hell is going on here.

Read Full Post
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" netted nominations for Best Fantasy Film and Best Direction, among others.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" netted nominations for Best Fantasy Film and Best Direction, among others.
Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

'Harry Potter' and 'Hugo' lead Saturn nominations with 10 each

Art house fare from ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene' to 'Take Shelter' also present

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films has announced the nominees for this year’s Saturn Awards and they are fairly across the map. There is a strong showing for the usual genre suspects with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” receiving 10 nominations, “Super 8” (fittingly) eight, “Captain America: The First Avenger” seven and “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” six each.

But Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” seemed to be held in high favor. The film received 10 nominations, matching "Harry Potter," but the director is also set to receive The George Pal Memorial Award for his “brilliant ode to the triumphant spirit of early cinema" in the film.

“This was a phenomenal year for genre films and TV series, which broadened the horizons of storytelling and technology, bringing audiences new ways to dream,” said Academy President Robert Holguin. “Every one of the nominated films represents a major contribution to science fiction, fantasy and horror and Martin Scorsese truly exemplified what is best about films and filmmaking.”

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: AP Photo

Happy 18th Birthday Justin Bieber! He gives fans a present: a new single

How can you help make his birthday a record-setting one?

Baby, baby, baby: Justin Bieber turns 18 today and like any kid who comes of legal age, he’s celebrating by... appearing on “Ellen.” But it turns out pretty sweet: his manager Scooter Braun presents him with a Fisker Karmer, a sporty looking environmental friendly car.

Then Megan Mullally sings a special rendition of “Fever” for Bieber and rubs up against him in a way that was probably illegal in several states until today when he came of age. Again, just what every 18-year old wants: to be serenaded and pawed by a woman older than his mom...

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Dave and Cherie of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Dave and Cherie of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Dave & Cherie talk 'The Amazing Race'

The married clowns talk math, science and other Race challenges
I've interviewed many funny actors and writers and directors over the years.
Until this week, I'm pretty sure I'd never interviewed an actual clown, much less two clowns at once.
"Amazing Race" contestants and married clowns Dave and Cherie Gregg have raised the bar for all clown interviews to come, by greeting me on the phone with an overture of horns and also closing our conversation with a honking crescendo.
On "The Amazing Race," unfortunately, Dave & Cherie failed to raise the bar. They were eliminated in the season's second episode after a bus accident delayed their pack of contestants and then after Dave struggled with a long division challenge in the cattle yards of Buenos Aires.
In our exit interview, Dave & Cherie discussed the mathematical struggles and high emotions of "The Amazing Race," as well as what it means to be an Ambassador of Laughter.
Click through for the full interview... 
Read Full Post
<p>Colin Hanks and Zachary Knighton in &quot;Happy Endings.&quot;</p>

Colin Hanks and Zachary Knighton in "Happy Endings."

Credit: ABC

'Happy Endings' - 'Cocktails & Dreams': Dirty nights and cleansing days

The gang starts fantasizing about Dave in a season highlight

A quick review of last night's "Happy Endings" coming up just as soon as I move into a converted brewery that's still a working brewery...

Read Full Post