Latest Blog Posts

<p>&quot;The Walking Dead&quot;&nbsp;has risen to the final rung of Hulu's Best in Show competition.</p>

"The Walking Dead" has risen to the final rung of Hulu's Best in Show competition.

Credit: AMC

Hulu's Best in Show final round: 'Community' vs. 'The Walking Dead'

Can a quirky cult comedy defeat a great big zombie hit?

Okay, it's finals time for Hulu's Best in Show, and it's come down to "Community" vs. "The Walking Dead." Two shows with incredibly rabid fans. Two shows where the showrunners have been very present in the world of social media (though at the moment Dan Harmon's attentions may be otherwise occupied.) One's a cult comedy that's still barely hanging on at its current network, while the other is by far the biggest hit in its channel's history.

Like I said in my Hulu blurb, I pegged "Community" as last year's favorite before "Chuck" took it out, and I pegged it as this year's favorite as well. But Glen Mazzara and "The Walking Dead" fans have been pretty relentless over the last month (in the extremely early going, "TWD" is way ahead in the votes), and neither outcome would surprise me.

So go vote if you want, and we'll be back next week to see if the zombie show could take out the comedy that once did a zombie episode.

Read Full Post
<p>Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Olga Kurylenko in &quot;Magic City.&quot;</p>

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Olga Kurylenko in "Magic City."

Credit: Starz

Review: Starz's 'Magic City' looks pretty but sounds clichéd

Late '50s period drama has impressive production design, shaky characters and stories
As a technical achievement, Starz's "Magic City" is terribly impressive. Set in and around a Miami resort hotel in 1959, the drama has the same eye for period detail of "Mad Men," but on a far bigger scale. The sets are huge and lavish, the scenes bustling with extras all decked out in their '50s finest. And the visual splendor extends beyond the sets and costumes. There's a scene in the series' premiere episode(*) where hotel owner Ike Evans visits the home of his gangster business partner Ben Diamond that practically looks like it was filmed in Technicolor. In a later episode, Ike retreats from the debauchery on Ben's party boat in a shot that looks like he's just caught the last boat out of Hell.
(*) The "official" premiere is Friday night at 10, but Starz already aired the first episode last week after the Spartacus finale, and the first three episodes are already available online.
So, yes, "Magic City" is gorgeous to look at. Creator Mitch Glazer grew up in Miami Beach during this period, where his father was an electrical engineer for a hotel like Ike's Miramar Playa, and he's recreated the era beautifully.
As a narrative achievement, though, "Magic City" is a mess, filled with paper-thin characters and clichéd dialogue and storylines. If not for the appealing lead performance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Ike, large stretches of the series would be unwatchable, even with all the lovely visuals.
Read Full Post
<p>Madonna, friends and crew from her upcoming tour celebrate MDNA hitting no. 1 on the U.S. album charts today.</p>

Madonna, friends and crew from her upcoming tour celebrate MDNA hitting no. 1 on the U.S. album charts today.

Credit: Madonna

20 fascinating things we learned about Madonna from her second Tweet chat

Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie check in

Last week, Madonna took to Twitter for the first time to answer fans’ questions. She must have liked it because Wednesday night she was back as a way to thank fans for propelling “MDNA”  to the top of the Billboard charts. The Twit-chat started a little late because she was at rehearsals for her tour, which starts May 29 in Tel Aviv. Turns out she’s just like the rest of us when it comes to resisting the temptations of Easter candy, but unlike the rest of us, she has lots and lots of celebrity friends who turned in for this session. And, though she’s probably teasing, she swears she loves hanging on Twitter with her fans. “I want to live in Twitterverse with you. Let’s be Girls Gone Wild’ together.”

We posted 15 things we learned about Madonna from her last rounds of tweets.
Now we present round two.

*Since Easter is Sunday, we’ll start with her favorite Easter candy: It’s Cadbury Creme Eggs. “Don’t get me started, they are so good,” she tweeted.

1. She is “gagging” to host “Saturday Night Live.” As you recall, she’s been the musical guess before and appeared in skits, including a very memorable episode of “Coffee Talk” with Barbra Streisand, but she got very exciting at the prospect: “FOR SURE,” she replied. “I’m gagging to do it. I’m obsessed with Kristen Wiig and @AndySamberg. I wasnt to do a skit with Kristen and [Madonna’s daughter] Lola.” She better hurry. Rumors are rife that this may be Wiig and Samberg’s last seasons.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Chelsea of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Chelsea of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'Just Annihilate Them'

One power player decides it's time to shake up the game
Pre-credit sequence. It's Day 21 in Tikiano. Troyzan and Jay are commiserating about losing Jonas, while also reaffirming that they made the right decision to cast off their Male bonds to align with Chelsea, Kim, Kat and Sabrina. "I just hope we didn't make a mistake," Troyzan says. "They could easily hook up and they could do damage. I don't want to be overpowered by these girls," Jay adds. Both men agree that a woman has to go next. Nobody's even make an effort to keep the foreshadowing subtle, are they? Welcome to "Survivor: One World: Post-Colton Edition."
Read Full Post
<p>The courtyard from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' gets repurposed in the most unusual way in a new video from installation artist Jeff Desom.</p>

The courtyard from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' gets repurposed in the most unusual way in a new video from installation artist Jeff Desom.

Credit: Universal Home Video/Jeff Desom

One Thing I Love Today: A dazzling time-lapse ode to Hitchcock's 'Rear Window'

An art instillation illuminates one of the greatest thrillers of all time

I've seen this pop up in several places over the last few days, and it was actually one of my followers on Twitter who first referred me to it, so I can't claim any special curatorship over this.  Even so, I am fascinated by this, and it's worth some discussion.

There are any number of ways people express their fandom and their admiration of things online, and for the most part, it's about telling other fans how much they love something and it's about reaching out to those fans to try to create some sort of community.  On rare occasion, though, people come up with a way to make you take a step back from a work of art that you know well and see it in a new way.

That's exactly what Jeff Desom's done to one of my very favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, and watching this repeatedly, I'm really impressed by just how this one works.  Desome basically exploded the film into individual pieces, then reassembled in such a way that you can look at the entire film at the same time, a remarkable way of stepping into the movie.

Read Full Post
<p>Elisha Cuthbert and Zachary Knighton in the &quot;Happy Endings&quot; season finale.</p>

Elisha Cuthbert and Zachary Knighton in the "Happy Endings" season finale.

Credit: ABC

Season finale review: 'Happy Endings'

Tuxedos, Madonna impersonators and Brian Austin Green highlight the season-ender

And so we've come to the second season finale of "Happy Endings," a comedy that's pleasantly evolved from one I had no use for to one of my current favorites. A review of the episode coming up just as soon as I become the first black sheriff on Mars...

Read Full Post
<p>Amanda Peet in &quot;Bent.&quot;</p>

Amanda Peet in "Bent."

Credit: NBC

Season finale review: 'Bent' - 'Mom/Tile Date'

The comedy comes and goes very quickly; was it worth it?

A quick review of the "Bent" season finale — which is almost certainly going to be its series finale — coming up just as soon as I eat a tin of lasagna...

Read Full Post
<p>Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair in &quot;Best Friends Forever.&quot;</p>

Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair in "Best Friends Forever."

Credit: NBC

'Best Friends Forever' - 'Pilot': Girl friend vs. boyfriend?

What did everybody think of NBC's new sitcom?

I make an effort to review as many new sitcoms and dramas as I can, especially the stuff on the networks, but I can't always see everything, and then there are other times where I simply have nothing to say. NBC's "Best Friends Forever" fits the latter category. I didn't think it was good. I didn't think it was bad. I thought it was... there. It's a premise pilot, and also one that had to be reshot a good amount when ABC renewed "Happy Endings" and Adam Pally was no longer available to play Lennon Parham's boyfriend (and was replaced by fellow UCB alum and Pally lookalike Luka Jones), so it's really hard to get a sense of the style, humor, etc. that Parham and Jessica St. Clair aim to bring on a regular basis. I'll try to check it out again in a week or two, but tonight, I got nothing.

If anybody watched it, what did you think? Will you be back for it next week? 

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 8</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

The "American Idol" Top 8

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 8 Performances - It's '80s Night

'Idol' uncorks eight solo performances and four duets in a packed show

Welcome to another largely inappropriate theme night for "American Idol." 

DeAndre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavangh, Skylar Laine and Joshua Ledet don't remember much of the '90s, so expecting '80s Night to generate another four or five standing ovations is probably folly.

Also, we have the failure of "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" to blame for a show featuring four duets as filler to pad out the full two hours.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy... '80s Night.

Read Full Post
<p>Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, and Eugene Levy are all important to the overall success of the new comedy 'American Reunion'</p>

Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, and Eugene Levy are all important to the overall success of the new comedy 'American Reunion'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'American Reunion' offers predictable laughs and familiar faces

One of the most unexpected franchises of today bows out with a bit of grace

The "American Pie" films are an unlikely franchise, and I'm surprised to actually see us reach this place with it 13 years down the road, a moment when "American Reunion" actually earns some emotional resonance because of the real passage of time it signifies.

The first film in the series was a charming little teen sex comedy, distinguished by an eager puppy-dog glee about how dirty it was.  It was to "Porky's" what "Scream" was to "Halloween," an introduction to one of the mainstay genres of the '80s, dressed up and freshly scrubbed.  The young cast was appealing, well-chosen, and they embraced the material whole-heartedly.  In addition, the adult cast like Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy were such exceptionally smart and funny performers that they helped set a tone that the younger cast absolutely embraced.

Read Full Post
<p>Kris Allen</p>

Kris Allen

Credit: 19/RCA

Watch: Kris Allen's 'The Vision of Love' video inspires

Even the smallest steps make a difference, according to the 'American Idol'

Doing the right thing can be scary, but in Kris Allen’s video for “The Vision of Love,” show that a few seconds of courage can make all the difference.

The song, the debut single from the “American Idol’ winner’s second album, “Thank You Camellia,”  out May 22, is about standing up for those less fortunate, even when fear takes over. That theme plays itself out in two scenario’s in the video. In the first, a high schooler is bullied  and one of the cool kids looks on doing nothing (both the kid being bullied and the onlooker have on hoodies with the hood up... probably shot too early to be a Trayvon Martin statement, but maybe not).  In the second case, a girl, with a black eye, who yearns to be told she’s beautiful (in cliched, typical fashion, the addition of eye glasses signify her “homeliness.” Please...), but feels too scared to join a group of girls talking.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in &quot;Sparkle&quot;</p>

Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in "Sparkle"

Credit: Sony

Q&A: Jordin Sparks on Whitney Houston, R. Kelly and taking lead in 'Sparkle'

The 'American Idol' star's thought on the remake, before superstar Houston passed away

DETROIT -- There is a lot of pressure on Jordin Sparks, according to Jordin Sparks. Back when I visited the set of the “Sparkle” remake in early November last year, the singer spoke on the nail-biting audition process and gaining the film’s title role. It’s her first film, period, let alone her first lead character in a movie, and the “American Idol” star expressed some first-timer jitters.

But since then, the public slant on the film has changed. It’s longtime executive producer and one of its principal actresses, Whitney Houston, died in February, resetting it with tone of finality, a “could we have seen this coming?” and anticipation to see what becomes of it when it finally hits theaters in August. The pressure continues to rise.
In her interview with just a handful of us journalists this winter, Sparks only had the highest of praises for the singer-superstar, who was then still alive and shining off the final two weeks of shooting “Sparkle.” Houston plays Sparkle’s mom, Emma Williams, a former singer with her own past.
“[Houston] has millions upon millions of fans and I think they’re going to be very happy to see how she is in this movie. As well as the people who doubt that she’ll be able to do it -- I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised as well,” she said during her Q&A.
Below is a complete interview from November with Sparks, who talked about the new and old songs of the 1976 redux, her own connection to the character of Sparkle Williams and acting on Broadway, her thoughts on R. Kelly’s contributions and on what Whitney Houston was like on set.
Read Full Post