Latest Blog Posts

<p>Sacha Baron Cohen and Blackie in &quot;Hugo&quot;</p>

Sacha Baron Cohen and Blackie in "Hugo"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

As Oscar season goes to the dogs, Martin Scorsese stumps for Blackie

It's come to this

Two weekends back I was told that a famous director at the Golden Globes observed the parading of "The Artist," uh, "star" Uggie on the stage yet again to get the easy laughs and "awws" from the audience as the film won the Best Picture - Comedy/Musical award. "Why does Harvey keep dragging this f***ing dog around," he quipped. "There's a dog in our movie, too. Our dog could EAT that dog."

With a recent tongue-in-cheek op-ed in the pages of the Los Angeles Times bearing his name, I suppose it's okay to reveal now that, indeed, the director in question was Martin Scorsese. The article is meant as a cute stumping call for Blackie, the Doberman "star" of Scorsese's Best Picture nominee "Hugo" in the wake of the canine being snubbed in the nominations for the first annual Golden Collar Awards, but it's absolutely brilliant for the way it takes the piss out of Oscar season oh so succinctly.

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<p>Jack White</p>

Jack White

Credit: Third Man Records

Listen: Jack White announces debut solo album with a 'Love Interruption'

Third Man Records founder and former White Stripes leader is headed out alone

I'm almost surprised it's taken this long, but Jack White has finally prepared his solo debut. "Blunderbuss" will be the former White Stripes leader's first album under his own name, out on April 24, and from his description of it, it's will be all Jack White, all the time, and maybe on all instruments.

"I've put off making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colors on my own canvas," he said in a statement.

To kick things off right, the Nashville-based songwriter's released the track "Love Interruption," streaming now on his newly launched website. He's joined by a female vocalist -- or treated his own vocals to a shot of estrogen -- but for the rest of it, it's a pretty stripped-down, burning bluesy song. There's no low end, and an acoustic guitar joined by a keyboard are the only accompaniment besides. I like it, it's catchy, but perhaps I expected something more bombastic?

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<p>A scene from &quot;A&nbsp;Morning Stroll&quot;</p>

A scene from "A Morning Stroll"

Credit: ShortsHD/Magnolia Pictures

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Short Film (Animated)

'Dimanche (Sunday),' 'Fantastic Flying Books,' 'La Luna,' 'A Morning Stroll' and 'Wild Life' square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

US audiences will once again get a chance to see the Oscar-nominated shorts this year as Shorts International (via ShortsHD) and Magnolia Pictures will be launching its popular program for the seventh-straight year. The nominees for animation, live action and documentaries (included for just the second year) will hit 200 theaters across the country for a limited time on February 10.

This year's crop of contenders in the animated field is a bit thin compared to years past, I feel. There's a great diversity of craft, which is always nice -- and typical, as the branch generally does a good job of representing a solid cross-section. However, I just wasn't as taken with as many of the nominees as I usually am. Nevertheless, personally speaking, one entry really stands out above the rest and could be the winner. Though, of course, we know what assuming can do for us in this category. It's always a fresh race and this year might be no different.

The nominees are…

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<p>Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in &quot;The Surrogate,&quot; a big winner at Sundance this weekend.</p>

Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in "The Surrogate," a big winner at Sundance this weekend.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: Sundance tames the 'Beasts'

Also: Jean Dujardin sings, and the 'post-macho world' of 'The Descendants'

I always find Sundance coverage rather difficult to follow from a distance -- critics there seem to talk much more about what they're seeing next than what they just saw, leaving me more aware of titles than actual movies. Still, two films generated enough buzz to permeate my consciousness, and as it happens they both emerged as prizewinners on the weekend: the rapturously reviewed "Beasts of the Southern Wild" took the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic features, while "The Surrogate," an acclaimed performance vehicle for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, took both an Audience Award and a Jury Prize for its cast. Both have been acquired by Fox Searchlight, and some are already whispering the O-word. I just can't go there, but I'm glad we're allowed to like Hunt again. Greg Ellwood has the full list of winners. [Awards Campaign]

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<p>Alan Cumming as Eli Gold in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Alan Cumming as Eli Gold in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

'The Good Wife' - 'Another Ham Sandwich': Baiting the hook

Will and Alicia face the grand jury, while Eli tries to outmaneuver Stacie Hall

A quick review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as my assistant validates your parking...

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<p>Gina Rodriguez as &quot;Filly Brown&quot;</p>

Gina Rodriguez as "Filly Brown"

Sundance Review: Emotional ‘Filly Brown’ could be stronger

Gina Rodriguez is a natural star: is this her ‘Behind the Music?’

No doubt, Gina Rodriguez is a star in the making. The rising actress spent months getting down a flow -- a hip-hop flow -- for her starring role in Sundance flick “Filly Brown.” In the title role, the Latina MC is trying to “make it” with the help of a local hip-hop podcast, her ever-loving crew and by spitting her own nasally L.A. fire. As Majo Tonorio, the Real Girl behind Filly, she’s plagued with the stuff of VH1’s “Behind the Music”: A fiercely imploring and manipulative mother Maria who’s serving jail time on drug charges (Jenni Rivera); a naïve and bratty teenaged sister Lupe (Chrissie Fit); a hard-working dad Jose barely making ends meet at a construction job (Lou Diamond Phillips).

Filly Brown aspires to stardom for more than just the starry-eyed reasons. She needs the money, to help her mother out of jail – or is it money to just get her out of trouble? Through the Great Green Struggle, Filly discovers that she’s becoming more and more like her mom, for better and for worse.
 
It’s a good flip on the script, where we’re used to seeing male protagonists try to live up to their fathers’ expectations. But in this case, the beautiful Latina lead is trying to carve her own when it seems everybody – her family, her friends, her boyfriend and her “handlers” – have their own reasons for why they want Filly Brown to succeed in the entertainment biz.
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<p>Chris Lowelll, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney and Viola Davis celebrate their best ensemble win in the press room of the 2012 SAG&nbsp;Awards.</p>

Chris Lowelll, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney and Viola Davis celebrate their best ensemble win in the press room of the 2012 SAG Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris PIzzello

Analysis: 'The Help' dominates the 2012 SAG Awards as 'The Artist' gets ready for Oscar

Will there be any surprises at this year's Academy Awards?

Three nominations and three wins at the 2012 SAG Awards for "The Help."  You simply can't argue that the industry's actors don't adore "The Help" after it beat "The Artist," "The Descendants" and "Bridesmaids" in one of the more competitive best ensemble races in years Sunday night.  Moreover, Meryl Streep delivered her best nominated performance in over a decade and "The Help's" Viola Davis still prevailed eliciting an emotional standing ovation from the audience. Add the picture's one expected win, Octavia Spencer in the best supporting actress category, and the conventional wisdom would suggest "The Help's" triple play has sent shock waves across the Oscar landscape.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'South Africa: Just Like Home'

All hell breaks loose when Marlo and Sheree get into it over a party invite

Oh my Lord of the Rings, I think I may have just seen the most ridiculous fight, well, at least during this season of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." The bar for cray-cray is pretty high on this show, but the battle that breaks out in this episode just has to be top ten if nothing else. The only thing that could have made it more insane would have been dwarf tossing or a Jell-O wrestling match, and since the battle continues into next week's episode, I can't even rule that out. 

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<p>Octavia Spencer holds aloft her SAG&nbsp;Award for Best Supporting Actress.</p>

Octavia Spencer holds aloft her SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

'The Help' wins big at the SAG Awards

Honors for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble mark a stellar night for the film

The 18th annual Screen Actors Guild went down tonight and added, well, nothing to the conversation. Okay, maybe a little something. But before getting to the Best Actor surprise of the evening...

I had thought maybe -- just maybe -- Melissa McCarthy and all that TV love (though not enough love to yield a separate nod for "Mike & Molly") could provide an interesting Johnny Depp moment for her and her "Bridesmaids" performance. It wasn't to be.

Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer kicked off the evening with largely expected wins in the supporting actor and supporting actress categories for "Beginners" and "The Help," respectively. Most expect that they've sewn up their Oscar glory, but I think in the case of the former, the presence of Max Von Sydow in Best Picture nominee "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" makes things a bit more interesting than that, but for the most part, I do agree that the course is (and really has been) set.

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<p>Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Kevin Dunn and Jason Gedrick in &quot;Luck.&quot;</p>

Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Kevin Dunn and Jason Gedrick in "Luck."

Credit: HBO

'Luck' - 'Pilot': My best day ever so far, by Jerry

What did everybody think of HBO's new horseracing drama?

"Luckhad its official debut tonight, but of course it was an episode that HBO had already aired as a sneak preview back in December, and which I wrote about at the time. Since then, I've seen all 9 first season episodes — and, as you can see in my review, I really liked them — and also talked a bit about the show with David Milch and Michael Mann.

So on the subject of the first episode, I think I'm all written out at this point. I'll be doing more extensive weekly write-ups for the remaining 8 — and, yes, I'm aware that HBO Go will be carrying the second episode immediately, but we're not going to discuss it until after it airs on HBO itself next Sunday — but for now I just want to get the discussion rolling, both for those of you seeing the show for the first time and any of you who may have watched it again after seeing it in December. The gist of the discussion back then was that only the real horseracing fans could follow everything about the Pick Six and certain other matters; if you watched it a second time, was it easier to make sense of all that? How did everyone feel about so much of the pilot being devoted not to Dustin Hoffman or Nick Nolte, but the four railbirds led by Jason Gedrick and Kevin Dunn? How did you react to what happened to that one horse in the day's final race? And how much did anyone understand (on first or second viewing) from John Ortiz as paranoid, hustling trainer Turo Escalante?

(For those who still feel confused, Vulture's Q&A might help.)

Have at it, and I'll be doing the full-length episode review thing starting a week from tonight.

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<p>Sofia Vergara and a slack-jawed publicist on the Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet.</p>
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Sofia Vergara and a slack-jawed publicist on the Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet.

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2012 Live-Blog

Will 'The Artist' be able to continue its domination at The Saggies?
I'm always of two minds regarding the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
 
On one hand, they reliably do stupid things like not having "supporting" categories for TV, ignoring "Homeland" completely and nominating "The Artist" -- essentially a two-hander -- for an "ensemble" acting award (while leaving Uggie out of the ensemble list).
 
On the other hand, they're a major (allegedly) award ceremony that only runs two hours (and always finishes on time) and when the winners say "I'd like to thank my fellow actors," it can't help but sound more sincere than "I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press."
 
Click through for my full live-blog of the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award.
 
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Madonna's 'Give Me All Your Luvin'video to preview on 'American Idol'
Credit: Live Nation/Interscope

Madonna's 'Give Me All Your Luvin'video to preview on 'American Idol'

Release date for 'MDNA' set

It’s a big week for Madonna. In addition to playing the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb.5, she’ll preview the video for first single, “Give Me All Your Luvin” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. on “American Idol” on Feb. 2. The full video will be debut on Madonna’s You Tube Channel Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. EST.

“Give Me All Your Luvin” is the first single from “MDNA,” which comes out March 26, according to a release posted on Madonna’s website Sunday. Madonna, Martin Solveig, Minaj and M.I.A. are the track’s co-writers and Solveig and Madonna are the co-producers.

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