Latest Blog Posts

<p>Danny Pudi as Evil Abed on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>
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Danny Pudi as Evil Abed on "Community."


Credit: NBC

Why I'll miss 'Community': Because we are about to enter the darkest timeline

The show leaves NBC's schedule for a while after tonight, so let's get evil!

Okay, tonight's the night, "Community" fans. NBC is about to rerun the last episode of the show that's currently scheduled to air on the network. While we know the remaining 12 episodes are going to air sometime, somewhere(*), for the moment, "Community" disappears from our televisions. 

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<p>Melanie Laurent and Ewan McGregor in &quot;Beginners.&quot;</p>

Melanie Laurent and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners."

Credit: Focus Features

'Beginners' nominated for Cinema Eye Heterodox Award

Award honors use of documentary aspects in fiction filmmaking

The Cinema Eye Honors are perhaps the most discerning and well-rounded of all documentary awards, so it figures that they'd be no less idiosyncratic when it comes to narrative cinema. This is where their Heterodox Award, now in its second year, comes in, and it's one of the more unusual categories on the awards beat, recognizing "narrative film[s] that imaginatively incorporate nonfiction strategies, content and/or modes of production... illuminat[ing] the formal possibilities of nonfiction filmmaking while raising provocative questions about on-going documentary orthodoxy and the perceived boundaries between narrative and nonfiction filmmaking. " Whew.

Obviously, it's not every film that fulfils that brief, making for an idiosyncratic list of nominees -- the highest-profile of which is "Beginners," Mike Mills's autobiographical indie about late-blooming romance and self-realization. The bulk of the film's awards recognition thus far has centered more on Christopher Plummer's Oscar-bound performance than Mills's own rather singular achievement, so it's nice to see the writer-director-designer honored specifically for his hybrid qualities as an artist, acknowledging the personal history he brought to the project.

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<p>When you're competing with something as iconic as 'Akira,' it seems like it's real hard to win.</p>

When you're competing with something as iconic as 'Akira,' it seems like it's real hard to win.

Credit: IMAGE

Warner Bros. pumps the brakes on 'Akira' weeks before starting production

Budget and script issues rumored to be behind big case of studio nerves

At this point, I think Warner Bros. should ask themselves if there's any figure at which they truly believe audiences are clamoring to see a mostly-white live-action version of "Akira" made for a profoundly compromised budget.

I'm not sure there's any price tag that the film works at, frankly, because I'm still not sure who they think they're making the movie for.  This has been a long development process, and I've read a number of different drafts of this as it's been winding its way through the studio system.  It feels like every writer who's worked on it has tried hard to craft something that honors the spirit of what "Akira" is about, but little by little, most of the world-building, most of the rich detail that would make this something unusual or special, has been squeezed out, and what's left doesn't really work as "Akira," and it doesn't feel like it works as something new, either.

Ruairi Robinson almost made the film, and Albert Hughes almost made it as well.  It looked like Jaume Collet-Serra was going to be the guy to finally get it across the finish line, and the film was announcing cast members, looking like a full-speed-ahead green light…

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<p>Thom Yorke</p>

Thom Yorke

Listen: Thom Yorke made some music for a fashion label

Rag & Bone got 'Stuck Together' with the Radiohead frontman

Don't expect that ooncha ooncha music as models walk down the runway to this soundtrack: Thom Yorke gave license to the Rag & Bone fashion company for a couple previously unreleased tracks.

"Stuck Together" and "Twist" are all electronica based, heavy on the bips and beeps (and moans).

Here's the catch: these guys have been around for a while, since September's New York Fashion Week. It's just that they made their way online just this week, thanks to @disco_naivete.

Heady. Pretty.

Radiohead's on tour this winter/spring.

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<p>Jack White</p>

Jack White

Jack White and Tom Jones join forces for new single

New Third Man Records set features a cover of a Howlin' Wolf song

There are some artists who seem to just get hipper as they get older and Jack White seems to connect with each one of them.

First it was Loretta Lynn and then Wanda Jackson. Now, White has linked with Tom Jones, whom we were just raving about in our list of top concerts of 2011.

White recently told Mojo (via twentyfourbit) that the latest 45  from his label, Third Man Records, will be Jones performing “Jezebel”and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil (Is Going On).”  White told the British magazine, “He impressed the shit out of everybody.”  The single comes out March 5.

The recording would seem to be part of Third Man Records’ Blue Series, which may also include re-issues (in conjunction with Document Records) of some of the blues masters who influenced White, including Blind Willie McTell and Charley Patton.

Next up for White: he'll appear on The History Channel's "American Pickers" on Monday, Jan. 9., as the show visits Third Man Records in Nashville. Apparently, there's a little bargaining going on as White tries to barter the phone booth used in a Dead Weather video for, as a press release states, "one of the most memorable treasures ever to appear on the show."

In other Jones news, he will be one of the four coaches when the U.K. launches its own version of "The Voice" this Spring. The knighted Welshman will join Jessie J, The Script frontman Danny O'Donoghue and Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am.
 

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<p>Benedict Cumberbatch of &quot;Sherlock&quot;</p>
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Benedict Cumberbatch of "Sherlock"

Credit: PBS

Press Tour Shocker: Benedict Cumberbatch says nothing about 'Star Trek' role

'Sherlock' star says he's 'over the moon' about his casting
PASADENA - When news broke on Wednesday (January 4) afternoon that "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch had landed a key, but entirely undisclosed, role in J.J. Abrams' upcoming "Star Trek" dozens of TV critics had the same thought: Sweet! We'll get no scoops whatsoever when Benedict Cumberbatch appears at the Television Critics Association press tour via satellite to promote the second season of his Arthur Conan Doyle series.
 
And we were correct!
 
Cumberbatch only received a question-and-a-half about his "Star Trek" casting, but his answers didn't even rise to the level of cryptic or evasive. 
 
So what did the "War Horse" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" scene stealer actually have to say about his highest profile film to date? 
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Bret McKenzie tries to wrangle Animal on &quot;The Muppets.&quot;</p>

Bret McKenzie tries to wrangle Animal on "The Muppets."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tech Support Interview: Bret McKenzie on his 'Muppety' additions to 'The Muppets'

The 'Flight of the Conchords' star/songwriter is on the verge of Oscar glory

Bret McKenzie is not a fan of musicals. He doesn’t cruise down the motorways of his hometown in Wellington belting the plaintiff cry of "Les Miserables" - “2-4-6-0-1111111” (Jean Valjean that is). Or at least that’s what he would have us believe and claimed when I spoke to him from his home in New Zealand this week. I remain convinced that he has a “Best of Barbara” tucked away in the nether regions of his vehicle.

In any event, McKenzie’s (alleged) lack of interest in musical theater is somewhat ironic given that he has made his name as one half of the folk comedy duo "Flight of the Conchords" (his other half being Jemaine Clement), and that he is in all likelihood about to receive one, if not two, Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song. (And it's a shame that, according to Academy rules, the film can't receive three.)

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<p>Judy Greer was nominated for her role in &quot;The&nbsp;Descendants.&quot;</p>

Judy Greer was nominated for her role in "The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Descendants' leads with Denver critics nods

Judy Greer finds some love with a Best Supporting Actress mention

The Denver Film Critics Society has announced its list of nominees this year, and "The Descendants" was the vote-leader. The film even scored two nominations in the Best Supporting Actress category, as Judy Greer joined Shailene Woodley for the fun. Check out the full list of nominees below.

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<p>Dave Grohl</p>

Dave Grohl

Credit: AP Photo

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl joins the Ratt Pack

Grohl teams with Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini for new track

There’s no telling whom Dave Grohl will team up with next. The Foo Fighters leader is now headed into the studio with Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini.

Ratt lead singer Pearcy tweeted today: “Warren and I are doing a song for a project with @foofightersDave. We’ll let him tell you about when he’s ready kidz. Not for a RATT record.” Don't bother looking for an update from Grohl's Twitter page: the last tweet is from 2009.

The Foos are still mining tracks from their excellent Grammy-nominated 2011 album “Wasting Light,” which made my list of top 10 albums of 2011.  Pearcy’s latest solo album, “Sucker Punch,” will come out later this year. Ratt’s last album, “Infestation,” was released in 2010, but Pearcy also tweeted today that he is set to demo songs for a new Ratt record next week

 

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<p>Bjork</p>

Bjork

Bjork bringing 'Biophelia' brainchild to Big Apple

Songwriter's cross-platform concept album gets 10 dates of a New York premiere

For the first time since launching her album concept, Bjork is bringing her "Biophelia" concert presentation to the United States.

The Icelandic singer-songwriter will be performing "Biophelia" to its "original specifications" for six nights at the New York Hall of Science, then for four nights at New York's Beacon Theater. The Hall of Science allows for the vision of "audio-visual shows in an intimate setting with no audience member more than a few yards from the stage," though all 10 concerts will be performed in the round, in conjunction with The Creator's Project.

As previously reported, the ten songs on "Biophelia" featured 10 corresponding apps for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, thus the A/V components that will be used during the shows. Too, the live performances boast the bonkers musical instrumentation that helped in making "Biophelia," including "four 10-foot pendulum-harps" and "a MIDI-controlled pipe organ celeste re-fitted with bronze gamelan bars." Personally, I'm just happy to see Bjork with free space to roam.

What I'm also eager to see is its execution. The fact that you had to "experience" the album with an electronic device that I simply don't own is prohibitive, though many of the video elements were posted online after release. The cost of a ticket to a Bjork show may cost just as much as an iPad, true, but this at least amps more on that original idea, so that all may partake.

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<p>Sandra Bullock is slowly becoming &quot;Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's&quot;&nbsp;best shot at landing an Oscar nomination.</p>

Sandra Bullock is slowly becoming "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's" best shot at landing an Oscar nomination.

Credit: Warner Bros.

2012 WGA Awards nominations: 'War Horse' and 'Extremely Loud' take an Oscar hit

When you're eligible in this ineligible mix you need the nod

As In Contention's Kris Tapley so eloquently warned us last month, there were many fine screenplays this year that wouldn't be eligible for the 2012 WGA Awards.  Guild awards are a wonderful honor from your peers, but they're also a union honor and if you don't play by the rules you can't get rewarded.  So it goes.

Therefore, it's not too surprising to find a number of unexpected nominees among the field announced by the WGA today.  What's more perplexing is some of the notable omissions ("The Ides of March," "War Horse"), inclusions ("Dragon Tattoo") and one outright rejection by the industry's writers ("Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close").   While guild awards typically signal how their respective Academy branches should vote in regards to nominees and winners, that's not going to be the case this year with so many ineligible contenders.  With that in mind, let's review the adapted and original fields.

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: AP Photo

10 things we learned from Kanye West's latest Twitter rant

What the heck is 'DONDA?' What about 'The Jetsons?' Will he and Spike Jonze start a school?

The all-caps may be gone, but Kanye West's propensity to over-share has been revealed again in the hip-hop star's latest Twitter rant.

The first missives from the younger half of Watch the Throne were launched into orbit yesterday afternoon, with the intended result to "clarify a few things." Further into the evening, he sent his thoughts through a stream of consciousness by starting with Leonardo di Vinci quote, and ending with words from George Bernard Shaw. Clarity became somewhat opaque during the voyage. Or, as he wrote: "This is just a train of thought .. but figure it's better to read than trained thoughts." Perhaps West is still working out the kinks of a few of his own philosophical quoatations.

Below is the best interpretation of the top 10 "things" that West informed his friends and fans on Twitter:

1.  He is starting a new venture called DONDA, named after his late mother. "DONDA is a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas... DONDA will be comprised of over 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford..."

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