Latest Blog Posts

<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Credit: AP Photo

Pulp adds more dates to U.S. jaunt in April

Where else is the reunited British band playing besides Coachella?

In addition to its previously announced show at Coachella, Pulp will play two other date while in the U.S. for the Indio, Calif. festival.

The Jarvis Cocker-led British outfit will also appear at  New York’s Radio City Music Hall on April 11 and San Francisco’s  The Warfield on April 17. Its Coachella appears are April 13 and April 20.Similarly, Radiohead recently announced additional dates around its Coachella set.

In addition to Cocker, the band includes all the original members, including drummer Nick Banks, keyboardist Candida Doyle, bassist Steve Mackey, violinist/guitarist Russell Senior and guitarist Mark Webber.

So do you think the inevitable full-on U.S. tour and album will follow? Pulp came off a nine-year hiatus to play festivals in Europe and Australia last summer, but these U.S. dates mark the first time the group has performed in the U.S. since June 1998 in support of their “This Is Hardcore” album.

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda

Read Full Post
<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj pushes back 'Roman Reloaded' to when?

Plus, watch new video 'Stupid Hoe'

“Roman Reloaded,” Nicki Minaj’s follow-up to “Pink Friday” will have to wait just a little to unload: the album has been pushed back from Feb. 14 to April 3.

Minaj tweeted the news herself. She gave no reason for the delay, but added “But have no fear. Tons of surprises before then.” She later added “The initials for a song ur gna love on the album: COAC” and then “And the new one I’m wrkng on rt now.”  So maybe she’s just adding more ammo.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Will Tomas Alfredson's &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy&quot;&nbsp;spin BAFTA crossover and goodwill into multiple Oscar nominations tomorrow?</p>

Will Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" spin BAFTA crossover and goodwill into multiple Oscar nominations tomorrow?

Credit: Focus Features

Off the Carpet: Pencils down

Declaring final predictions in all categories

How many Best Picture nominees will there be? We don't know. Which of the 10 or 11 films in clear contention for a nomination will get squeezed out? We don't know. How will the tweaks to the Best Picture balloting procedure change the situation over all? We don't know.

The Best Picture category is an odd bird this year. Most probably have the same seven or eight films predicted, but there are a lot of variables flying around in the math of it all that could shift things in an unexpected direction. The Academy got its wish: the mystery is back.

Then there are other elements, like how the final stretch has changed the landscape. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," for instance, is a film that ended up on the lips of numerous voters in the last days of balloting. The BAFTA nominees, which share some crossover membership with AMPAS, indicated strength for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" that could carry over, which was expected, but then inserted the added interest of "Drive" being a contender in areas we might not have anticipated.

Read Full Post
<p>Spike Lee at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere of &quot;Red Hook Summer'</p>

Spike Lee at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere of "Red Hook Summer'

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Sundance: Wrapping up with Spike Lee, Stephen Frears and too many parties

Goodbye, Park City

PARK CITY - The wind-down on my Sundance experience began yesterday morning as I spent most of the day preparing predictions and whatnot for tomorrow's big nominations announcement. On one hand, it's been nice to be here in order to lay off the obsessive Oscar considerations. On the other, it's been difficult to focus on the work at hand here in Park City and see enough movies.

Last night I saw a chunk of Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" before feeling a bit under the weather suddenly and having to bail. What I saw I liked but I got the sense it was a bit bloated as things went along. Indeed, I heard from more than a few later that the film could use some tightening, but regardless, from what I did see, it was actually a refreshing piece. It's Lee back in truly personal territory for the first time in a while, and that passion plays out in the filmmaking and that trademark sense of confidence. I can't wait to see the whole thing.

Read Full Post
<p>(from left) John C. Reilly, Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski, and Kate Winslet at the Paris premiere of "Carnage"</p>

(from left) John C. Reilly, Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski, and Kate Winslet at the Paris premiere of "Carnage"

Credit: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Does ‘Carnage’ confuse instinct with immaturity?

A sense of disconnect comes to light in an interview with playwright Yasmina Reza

The notion of man releasing his thinly held guise of civility to reveal the beast within has long been a theme in literature, the stage and screen. The limitations of our societal norms have been explored in stories ranging from “Tarzan” to “The Lord of the Flies” to “Heart of Darkness.” Or, as an example of a tale that illustrates the consequences of clinging too dearly to arbitrarily established rules: “The Age of Innocence.”

To varying degrees all tales ask their protagonists to stretch beyond the boundaries of their self-imposed mental constructs, or the restrictions that have been created for them by the outside world. If they do so with noble intent, or for the sake of a purely held passion (one that is, at least metaphorically, divinely ordained) they become a hero: a Luke Skywalker, William Wallace or yes, even a Rudy. If they succumb to avarice and greed, however, they are tainted and perhaps irredeemably lost.

Read Full Post
<p>I'm the only one of Gold Derby's 31 pundits predicting a nod for Brad Pitt in &quot;The Tree of Life.&quot;</p>

I'm the only one of Gold Derby's 31 pundits predicting a nod for Brad Pitt in "The Tree of Life."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: 'Twas the night before Oscar noms

Also: Spike Lee's Sundance protest, and the craftwork of 'Drive'

You want Oscar predictions? You got 'em. I posted mine last night, and Kris and Gerard's will arrive today, but if that's still not enough for you, Tom O'Neil has gathered the guesswork of 31 pundits (yours truly included) across 14 categories -- more than enough to make you second-guess yourself many times over. With this vast chart of predictions, it's most interesting to seek out the wild-card picks: I'm somewhat alarmed to see I'm the only one stumping for Brad Pitt in Supporting Actor, while you might be surprised to see a few mentions of Charlize Theron in the Best Actress rundown. As for Best Picture, I'm not alone in my "Tinker, Tailor" hunch, while others are plumping for "Bridesmaids" -- and there's no consensus whatsoever on how many nominees there even will be. Browse away. [Gold Derby]

Read Full Post
<p>James Murphy</p>

James Murphy

Credit: HitFix

Watch: LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy talks 'Shut Up and Play the Hits'

The dance band frontman opens new chapter, eyes DFA and new collaborators

PARK CITY - James Murphy wants a new job in music. Or rather, "to figure out how to make it my job without making it my job in the same way."

It's been about nine months since the LCD Soundsystem frontman waved goodbye to fans from the stage at Madison Square Garden and during those weeks he's busily helped build the film "Shut Up and Play the Hits" around LCD's final hours, the days before after the band had officially called it quits.

And now the movie has bowed, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, another job done.

When I spoke to Murphy at the film premiere last night (Jan. 22), he seemed calm, if not plainly wary of the fact that every fan (and journalist) wants to know what he's up to next.

"I had fun and I want to be able to do things that I wouldn’t have been able to do before in the band. And ['Shut Up...'] is one of the things that I wanted to do that I couldn’t do before," he said. Beyond this, he said, he doesn't know.

Collaboration wouldn't be out of the question, since its been central to his career with LCD and beyond. He had help from Arcade Fire and Reggie Watts at the finale. Aside from starring in "Shut Up...," he also plays a role in another Sundance pick "The Comedy," directed by Rick Alverson and starring Tim Heidecker along with half a dozen musicians and comedians like Richard Swift, Heidecker's other half Eric Wareheim and Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Murphy plans to continue working with the roster at DFA Records, the label he helped to co-found. He's obviously got plenty of old and new friends who could help out on whatever it is he wants to do. But with his unsurety comes some skepticism and even healthy cynicism.

Read Full Post
<p>William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on &quot;Shameless.&quot;</p>

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on "Shameless."

Credit: Showtime

'Shameless' - 'I'll Light A Candle For You Every Day': Finders keepers?

Did Frank and Fiona both go too far last night?

A quick review of last night's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I misspell my name on a loan application...

Read Full Post
<p>Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski in their earliest days on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' vs. the Retrospective Interview, Part 1

Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz talk about the show's origins and that truncated first season
"Chuck" ends its improbable 5-season run with back-to-back episodes this Friday at 8 & 9 p.m. on NBC. This will be, by my count, at least the sixth different time that creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz have had to conclude the series, but where all the previous finales were followed by unexpected renewals or extensions, this one's the absolute, no doubt about it finish.
 
When I was in California earlier this month for press tour, I went over to the Warner Bros. lot to interview Fedak and Schwartz (and then just Fedak after a certain point, since Schwartz has responsibilities to a bunch of shows at the moment) and look back over the life of one of my favorite series. It's a very long interview — the transcript is about 16,000 words — so I'm breaking it up into five parts, roughly covering one season each day. (Though as you'll see, we bounce back and forth in time a lot.) Today, we're covering the show's origins through the abrupt end of the first season when the writers strike shut down production.
 
So buckle up, and let's head back to those very early days when Schwartz was still running "The O.C.," Yvonne Strahovski's last name was still spelled Strzechowski, and the fan community believed Adam Baldwin would always be the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne. (Some still believe this, by the way, and that's okay.)
Read Full Post
<p>Alex Reeder is about to learn the hard way that some footage should never be found in the terrifying anthology film 'V/H/S'</p>

Alex Reeder is about to learn the hard way that some footage should never be found in the terrifying anthology film 'V/H/S'

Credit: Bloody Disgusting/The Collective

Review: Terrifying anthology 'V/H/S' creates new ghost stories for the video age

What could have easily been a failed experiment delivers massively at midnight debut

Anthology movies are incredibly difficult to pull off, and when you add "anthology film" to "found footage," a genre buzzword that is starting to wear out its welcome thanks to countless awful examples, it sounded to me like "V/H/S" was about as big a risk as anything playing here this week.

Hats off, then, to the entire team of filmmakers who collaborated on what I would honestly call one of the scariest movies I've seen in recent memory.  And unlike many anthology films, "V/H/S" works as a cohesive piece, which is even more surprising because at the Q&A tonight, it was apparent that the filmmakers did not compare notes on their individual segments.  What works first and foremost is the aesthetic of the film.  One of the things that drove me crazy about "The Pact" the other night is just how threadbare most of the ideas were.  We live in a world full of technology and marvels that horror films almost seem to resist acknowledging.  How many horror films have you seen that treat cell phones as little more than an inconvenience to be explained away?  How many horror films rely on tropes that have been around since before you were born?  While I love the genre, I often get frustrated at how few new ideas there are in horror, and how slow filmmakers often are to even try innovation.

Read Full Post
<p>Victoria Justice and Dylan O'Brien of &quot;The First Time&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Victoria Justice and Dylan O'Brien of "The First Time"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: Jonathan Kasdan's 'The First Time'

Britt Robertson and Dylan O'Brien star in an appealing coming-of-age film
It's easy to pitch "The First Time" in terms that aren't going to make it sound appetizing to most of the snooty film fans up in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival.
 
Jonathan Kasdan's coming-of-age dramedy features a cast led by stars of "The Secret Circle," MTV's "Teen Wolf" and "Victorious" and plays more like a 90-minute episode of "Dawson's Creek" than like the John Hughes classics that inspired The WB drama.
 
There's something very "TV" about "The First Time," which sounds like it ought to be pejorative, but really isn't. It just happens that when you have a writer-director who cut his teeth working for the small screen and you bring in an ensemble of actors who honed their craft on the small screen, the result is sometimes a little more polished than what you might get from an art school grad making the leap from short films and working with a cast of unknowns he or she started using back in college.
 
"The First Time" doesn't look or feel like a Sundance competition entry, but if you overlook it due to that television pedigree, you'll miss out on an effectively sweet, frequently clever offering buoyed by an attractive group of stars who aren't really newcomers, but will seem like newcomers to most festival audiences. 
 
Click through for my full review of "The First Time"...
 
Read Full Post
<p>Chris Crocker of &quot;Me @ The Zoo&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Chris Crocker of "Me @ The Zoo"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Me @ The Zoo' exposes Chris Crocker

When you gaze long into the YouTube abyss, the YouTube abyss gazes into you
We credit Socrates with the observation that the unexamined life is not worth living, but for an entire generation, that's no longer particularly apt. For thousands or millions of people accustomed to posting their every thought on Twitter, their every photographed moment on Facebook and their every vocalizable emotion on YouTube, the truth is that the unexposed life is not worth living. Leave the examination for other people.
 
Why be self-aware, when you can make other people aware of you?
 
Introspection is so pre-2005, when a YouTube co-founder posted a video of himself at the zoo. 
 
Extrospection is the new introspection. 
 
Few people better illustrate the evolving nature of celebrity and the blurring between fame and notoriety better than Chris Crocker. Best known as The "Leave Britney Alone!" Guy, Crocker's YouTube videos have been viewed hundreds of millions of times, but among those viewers, the ratio of hate-to-love or annoyance-to-appreciation likely tips to the negative.
 
Sometimes flamboyant and shrill, but occasionally exhibiting the flair of a natural improv comedian, Crocker has milked his Internet persona well beyond any logical lifespan, seemingly never breaking character.
 
Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch's "Me @ The Zoo," playing in the US Documentary competition at Sundance, emphasizes either Crocker's dedication to the "Chris Crocker" persona, or confirms that the what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature of Crocker's performance art. While biographic details and psychological motivations are implied, "Me @ The Zoo" is enlightening precisely for how unenlightening it is. The documentary doesn't get inside the Chris Crocker phenomenon so much as it becomes another facet of the phenomenon.
 
Of course, the bottom line with any film focusing on this sort of cult of personality is whether or not it will play to viewers who exist outside of the cult. Crocker's fans will probably appreciate the additional context and some people on the fence will admire Crocker's confidence and his commitment to this long-running bit, but if you don't care for Chris Crocker, "Me @ The Zoo" is an awful lot of Chris Crocker. While it's never uninteresting, "Me @ The Zoo" often feels like a feature film based around the most annoying sketch character in "Saturday Night Live" history. It's not quite "Superstar," but it's not "Wayne's World" either.
 
Full review after the break...
 
Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME