Latest Blog Posts

<p>Shailene Woodley and George&nbsp;Clooney in&nbsp;&quot;The Descendants&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley and George Clooney in "The Descendants"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: Did you hear 'The Descendants' is an underdog all of a sudden?

Also: AMPAS promises to look at original song process and Hollywood and Highland pushes back against Kodak

When I'm asked, I'm honest. And I've been asked about "The Descendants" plenty in the last few weeks, whether the Jean Dujardin SAG win is a harbinger, whether the film still has any gas left in the Best Picture tank after that post-Globes feeling of ecstasy, etc. And my line is this: Forget Best Picture. Stick with Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay before you lose those, too. In a recent piece, Brooks Barnes gets it wrong vis a vis what makes an Oscar underdog (both "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby" were less that than alternatives at a time when the Academy really did want to go a different way), but he nevertheless props Fox Searchlight's big "underdog" push up. Look (and I really do believe this): it was never going to win Best Picture. Focus. [New York Times]

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<p>Mary Steenburgen and Alec Baldwin on &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Mary Steenburgen and Alec Baldwin on "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'Hey, Baby, What's Wrong?': I need tungsten to live! Tungsten!

On Valentine's Day, Liz and Criss go to Ikea, Jack and Avery's mother bond and Pete helps Jenna

A review of last night's hour-long "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as Mickey Rourke tests his catapult on me...

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<p>Robert Kirkman surrounded by his zombie pals from &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Robert Kirkman surrounded by his zombie pals from "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'The Walking Dead' producers Robert Kirkman and Glen Mazzara

After peaceful first half, season two will close with things 'at a full boil' on the farm
"The Walking Dead" returns from a brief mid-season hiatus on Sunday night at 9 on AMC. Ratings-wise, the post-apocalyptic zombie drama remains an enormous hit for AMC, with its viewership actually increasing after the already successful first season. Creatively, though, there have been some bumps, with most of the season's first half taking place during a relatively idyllic — or, as some viewers have put it, dull — stretch on a rural farm that's been largely untouched by the zombie plague.
On top of that, there was the abrupt departure of showrunner Frank Darabont midway through the season, which left his number two man, "The Shield" alum Glen Mazzara, in charge of things. I spoke with Mazzara and Robert Kirkman — who created "The Walking Dead" comic book and has been a writer on the TV series from the beginning — about where things stand for Rick Grimes and friends as we head into the home stretch, about some of the complaints about the relative peace of Herschel's farm, the timing of Darabont's exit and more.
Also, one word of warning for those who have watched the show but not read the comics: at one point in the interview, Kirkman brings up a character who died early in the comic but is still alive on the show, and one who suffered the opposite fate in the transition from page to screen. I've generally discouraged discussion of events in the comic that have yet to happen on the show, but in this case it's a situation where if it does eventually happen on the show, the context will have to be very different, so I left it in the transcript. If you don't want to know, don't click through.
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<p>This was just one of the ways I&nbsp;considered solving my problem tonight.</p>

This was just one of the ways I considered solving my problem tonight.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

An open letter to the worst human being to ever sit in a theater

A screening of 'This Means War' raises a question about how much is too much

I considered my options carefully.

My first impulse, one which I wrestled with for about a half-hour, was to use my elbow to strike you once in the throat, as hard as possible, hoping that if I were to crush your windpipe completely, it would silence you.

Obviously, there are drawbacks to that approach, not the least of which would be the assault charge.  I'd hate to have to deal with bail just because I went to see a review screening of "This Means War," so I restrained myself.

But I want you to know… it was not easy.

Let's back up a bit.  I'd like to try to have an actual dialogue here, and that probably isn't going to happen if I start by describing imagined violence against your person.  It's not my fault, though.  It really isn't.  You need to take some responsibility because your conduct tonight was so above and beyond horrible that I can't believe you are allowed out in public without a leash, a handler, strong medication, or some combination of the three.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'Dangerous Liaisons'

It seems like a lovely evening - until Esther reveals her secret plan to Elena

Initially, this episode seems like it could be a light, frothy fantasy, a welcome respite from some of the dark drama of previous episodes. With pretty much everyone in town invited to Esther's elegant ball, it seems that life in Mystic Falls is finally going to become downright civilized. Klaus and his siblings are now defanged, the Salvatores don't have to worry about getting killed, and it seems pretty certain that Klaus isn't going to be creating any more hybrids from Elena's blood supply as long as his mom is on watch. But this is "The Vampire Diaries," so we'd best not get too attached to this happy scenario. With every promising twist we can always predict one thing -- more trouble ahead.

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<p>A&nbsp;scene from&nbsp;&quot;Farewell, My Queen&quot;</p>

A scene from "Farewell, My Queen"

Credit: GMT Productions

Berlinale Diary: ‘Farewell, My Queen,’ ‘The Delay’

Fest opens with Diane Kruger in lavish but tart take on the Marie Antoinette story

BERLIN - Just one full day into the 2012 Berlinale, I’m struck by how many faces I recognize as I traipse across the snow-dusted triangle of the festival center at Potsdamer Platz: crimson-blazered festival stewards who all seem to man exactly the same stations they did last year; international critics in the press room whom I identify instantly by their hair, glasses or oddly colored overcoat, but couldn’t possibly name; even the slickly sullen barista at the one decent coffee source over the road.

Nothing and nobody appears to have moved in the space of a year in this city, making today feel less like the opening day of a major international film festival than a comfily unfazed resumption of business. “You’ve been here before,” the politely unenthused assistant said to me as she handed me my shiny new pass and no-nonsense black lanyard. “You know where to go.”

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'Fashion Face Off'

The designers are up against one another - and one feels really ripped off

Anthony has been auf'ed, so I suspect the workroom is going to be a little less fun this week. I guess it could be argued that another goofy challenge could be good for some laughs, but mostly those are just worthy of an eye roll (pick a muse! And make them strip in Central Park!). But even if the runway lacks for fun, I do foresee tension, backbiting and cattiness. How fashion-forward! 

Angela addresses the designers with a bunch of bags. Yes, this is about the most useful Angela will ever be -- as a decorative coathook. Each designer picks a bag, and inside they find a season printed on a luggage tag. Their challenge? To create a sportswear look for a weekend getaway. But wait, it's four seasons and eight designers. It's a fashion face-off!

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<p>Clay Aiken in a promotional photo for &quot;The Celebrity Apprentice&quot;.</p>

Clay Aiken in a promotional photo for "The Celebrity Apprentice".

Credit: NBC

Clay Aiken sets release for 'Steadfast' to coincide with 'Celebrity Apprentice'

Set includes tracks from 'Tried and True' and new tunes

Eager to capitalize on Clay Aiken’s upcoming appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice,” Decca will release “Steadfast” from the former “American Idol” contestant on March 29.

“Steadfast” is a rehashing of 2010’s “Tried and True,” a set which featured Aiken interpreting such pop standards as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “Misty,” and “Suspicious Minds.”

In addition to many of those tracks, “Steadfast” includes a new original track, first single “Bring Back My Love,” as well as versions of “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” and “Who’s Sorry Now.”

Aiken’s stint on “Apprentice” begins Feb. 19, alongside such other “celebrities” as Aubrey O’Day, George Takei, Teresa Guidice, Debbie Gibson and Penn Teller.


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Bruce Springsteen names Clarence Clemons' replacement(s)
Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Bruce Springsteen names Clarence Clemons' replacement(s)

It turns out it does take an army to replace the Big Man

Three days before Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band take the stage for the Feb. 12 Grammy Awards, the Boss has announced the expanded line-up for the band, and, most importantly, how they will deal with the loss of saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

It turns out it takes an army to replace (and we use that term loosely) the Big Man. As many fans had suspected, Springsteen will use a full horn section:  trombonist Clark Gayton, trumpeters Curt Ramm and Barry Danielian, and, in a nice touch, sax duties will be handed by Eddie Manion and Clemons’ nephew Jake. As fans know, Gayton, Ramm and Manion have all played with Springsteen in years past.

Singers Cindy Mizelle and Curtis King, both of whom have toured with the band before, will join the rest of the E Street Band: pianist Roy Bittan, guitarist Nils Lofgren, vocalist Patti Scialfa, bassist Garry Tallent, guitarist Steven Van Zandt, drummer Max Weinberg, violin/vocalist Soozie Tyrell and keyboardist Charlie Giordano (who replaced Danny Federici after his 2008 passing).

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<p>Howard Shore received his first non-&quot;Lord of the Rings&quot;&nbsp;Oscar nomination for his work on &quot;Hugo.&quot;</p>

Howard Shore received his first non-"Lord of the Rings" Oscar nomination for his work on "Hugo."

Credit: AP Photo/Joe Tabacca

Tech Support Interview: Howard Shore lends aural depth to the visual palette of ‘Hugo’

The Oscar-nominated composer details his approach

It’s a rare thing for Martin Scorsese to use a score as expansive and elaborate as Howard Shore’s Oscar-nominated one for “Hugo.” Indeed, Philip Glass's booming and full composition for “Kundun” 14 years ago represents the last score from one of Scorsese’s films to be nominated for an Academy Award.

“We worked very differently on this film than we had previously,” Shore says, calling from his studio in New Zealand where he is currently writing the “brand new and shiny” compositions for Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit.”

Shore won two Academy Awards for his scores on Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings" franchise, as well as Best Original Song for the series' final installment. His work on the trilogy was an immense undertaking which was eventually adapted into “'The Lord of the Rings' Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra and Chorus."

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<p>&quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;co-stars Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash participated in the most fun interview I've ever done.</p>

"Community" co-stars Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash participated in the most fun interview I've ever done.

Credit: HitFix

Why I miss 'Community': Because Jim Rash is furry

Even without scripts, this is one of the quickest, funniest casts on television

Another week has gone by without any news of when or where "Community" will return to NBC's schedule, which means it's time once again for an example of why I miss this show so much and would like it back on the air, ASAP.

For the first time in this series, I'm not going with a clip from the show itself. Instead, I'm embedding the full interview I did with Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash at Comic-Con last summer. It's nearly 20 minutes long — in other words, practically as long as a "Community" episode itself — and among the more satisfying, entertaining experiences of my professional life.

Also, it mentions furries.

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<p>&quot;American Idol&quot; hopefuls await news on Thursday's episode</p>
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"American Idol" hopefuls await news on Thursday's episode

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Hollywood Week, Part 2 - Live-Blog

Did Symone Black survive? And what drama did Group Day bring?

When we left "American Idol," 16-year-old Symone Black had just performed "Sitting On The Dock of the Bay," bantered briefly with the judges and then toppled off the stage, much to the horror of all involved.

Of course, if you only set your DVR to record "American Idol" and didn't set it to record "Mobbed," you missed the swan-dive and you also missed the cliffhanger. Instead, you spent a full hour waiting for a contestant to pass out and you got... nothing. 

But don't worry. I suspect that we're going to get a full replay as Thursday (Feb. 9) night's "American Idol" begins...

Click through...

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