Latest Blog Posts

<p>Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

Interview: 'Mad Men' co-star Vincent Kartheiser

How has Pete changed since 1960? And why didn't anyone join him in pranking Jon Hamm?

I published my spoiler-free review of the "Mad Men" season premiere yesterday. Earlier this week, I got a chance to interview creator Matthew Weiner and co-star John Slattery about the events of the premiere, and those interviews should run sometime Monday morning. But I decided that, given the appetite for "Mad Men" info after 17 long months between episodes, I should conduct at least one interview in a way that it could be safely published before the premiere. And our lucky winner was Vincent Kartheiser, aka Pete Campbell (of the Dyckman-Campbells).

After the jump, Kartheiser and I talk about Pete's evolution from corporate weasel to unsung hero of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, about how Pete feels these days about Peggy, and also about how the rest of the cast hung him out to dry when Jon Hamm directed an episode this season. Enjoy, and I'll see you all here on Sunday night to discuss the premiere.

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Album Review: Madonna finds beauty in the beat on 'MDNA'
Credit: Interscope Records

Album Review: Madonna finds beauty in the beat on 'MDNA'

Can the Material Girl still shock and surprise?

For all her success, there’s always seemed to be something remote about Madonna, as if she’s behind glass. So it comes as a bit of a shock at first that tucked within “MDNA’s” often sterile beats, she shows the most emotion that we’ve heard from her. Talk about confessions on a dancefloor...

Madonna’s 12th studio album, out March 26,  touches on two of her favorite go-tos: religion and dance, but she’s added scorned spouse to the mix.  “MDNA” is triptych into her psyche and there’s a lot going on in that platinum head of hers, most of it set to throbbing beats per minute.

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<p>Disney fans may know the film 'The Emperor's New Groove,' but not all of them know the story behind the film, detailed in the long-unavailable documentary 'The Sweatbox'</p>

Disney fans may know the film 'The Emperor's New Groove,' but not all of them know the story behind the film, detailed in the long-unavailable documentary 'The Sweatbox'

Credit: Walt Disney Company

One Thing I Love Today: Disney behind-the-scenes documentary 'The Sweatbox' shows up online

It may not last long, so watch it while you can

I would assume that for some people, the kick that comes from seeing "The Sweatbox" is because they know Walt Disney Pictures really doesn't want you to see the film.

I'm excited to see it show up online today because I think it offers a rare honest look at a development process that is anything but easy.  So often, even when you see what is called a "detailed" making-of film, what you're seeing has been sanitized to show you the triumphs of filmmaking without dwelling on the defeats.

That's nonsense, though, and it does a disservice to the people who work on these movies.  You have to be willing to get things wrong in service of eventually getting them right, and that means you have to be willing to make mistakes and try some bad ideas and, in general, screw things up.  That's really the only way to get to the great stuff, no matter how talented a team you're dealing with.

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<p>Rachel Weisz in &quot;The Deep Blue Sea.&quot;</p>

Rachel Weisz in "The Deep Blue Sea."

Credit: Music Box Films

An early FYC plea for Rachel Weisz

The Oscar winner gives the performance of her career in 'The Deep Blue Sea'

First off, apologies for the slow business around here this week. As some of you may know, Kris is on leave, occupied with the small matter of his wedding on Saturday. And while I'm supposed to be keeping things on track in his absence, I've been hit by a mystery illness this week that hasn't done much for my posting efficiency. Unfortunate timing on my part, but things are looking up -- do bear with me.

One item I've been meaning to write that got unduly waylaid this week is a review of Terence Davies' "The Deep Blue Sea," which I saw at the London Film Festival last October and has been waltzing in and out of my mind ever since. It finally lands in US theaters tomorrow, and while I'm still hoping to finish an appraisal of the film as a whole -- which, as you'd expect from as rigorously mannered a stylist as Davies, is as fascinating in the ways it doesn't quite coalesce as in the instances it quite gloriously does -- I'd like to pre-empt that discussion with an unqualified endorsement of its standout feature: the astonishing lead performance of Rachel Weisz.

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<p>Rex (Dylan Minnette)&nbsp;gets into a fight on &quot;Awake.&quot;</p>

Rex (Dylan Minnette) gets into a fight on "Awake."

Credit: NBC

'Awake' - 'Kate Is Enough': Don't tell mom the babysitter's red

NBC airs an episode out of order, but it mostly works anyway

A review of tonight's "Awake" coming up just as soon as I make you a paper airplane...

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<p>Michael Costello, Austin Scarlett and Mondo Guerra battle it out for to<em> finally </em>win &quot;Project Runway.&quot;&nbsp; </p>

Michael Costello, Austin Scarlett and Mondo Guerra battle it out for to finally win "Project Runway." 

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway All Stars' - Season Finale, pt. 2

Will Mondo finally win it all?

With regular "Project Runway" queen Liane Bonin Starr going on hiatus, I'm lucky enough to step in for the show's big finish (although look for a surprise below).  And after a season that was more entertaining than many might have expected (especially considering that host Angela Lindval turned out to be a cold meanie), the final three designers could provide a runway finale for the ages.

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<p>David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in &quot;Touch.&quot;</p>
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David Mazouz and Kiefer Sutherland in "Touch."


Credit: FOX

'Touch' - '1+1=3': Peanuts, popcorn and claptrap

What did everybody think of the return of the FOX drama?

Since FOX is treating tonight's episode of "Touch" as the show's official premiere, we might as well continue my tradition of doing talkback posts for new shows. I posted my review of the new episodes — including tonight's, which I found to be pretty dire — yesterday. Now it's your turn. For those who liked the pilot, did this feel like a step down? For those who didn't see the first episode, could you make heads or tails of this? Was anyone glad to see the giggly Japanese girls recur? Were the "24" fans sated by the Jack Bauer/Mike Novick reunion? And how many people intend to tune in next week?

Have at it.

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<p>Joel McHale has a little something for the ladies (and Dean Pelton)&nbsp;on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Joel McHale has a little something for the ladies (and Dean Pelton) on "Community."

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Contemporary Impressionists': Jeff SMASH!!!

The study group bands together to help Abed, and Jeff gets overconfident

A review of tonight's "Community" — and some thoughts on last week's surprisingly high ratings — coming up just as soon as you make me feel hatred of Renee Zellweger...

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<p>Colton Dixon of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Colton Dixon of "American Idol"

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 10 Results - Down to 9

Haley Reinhart performs and America's decision is announced

Colton Dixon isn't going home tonight. That's why he's featured in the photo accompanying this recap of Thursday's (March 22) "American Idol."

I'd be hesitant to predict who *will* be going home, but America isn't about to vote off the guy who did an ultra-commercial version of Billy Joel's biggest hit on Billy Joel Night. I'm also reasonably sure Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips aren't going home, but it's important to have some photographic variety, doncha know!

Click through for the full recap of Thursday's results show, which will also feature a performance by my "Idol" favorite from last season, Ms. Haley Reinhart. Meow!

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<p>John Legend</p>

John Legend

Credit: AP Photo

John Legend returns to studio for work on first album since 2010's 'Wake Up!'

New set will be out in September, says singer

John Legend is in London working on his new album, his first since 2010's 'Wake Up!," his collection with The Roots. His last solo album of new material was 2008's "Evolver." 

Wednesday the soulful singer tweeted that he was headed to London. “Working on the album. Should be done in the next couple of months and out in Sept.”

He wasted no time getting to work. Thursday afternoon, producer Paul Epworth, best known for his work with Adele, tweeted, “Back in the studio with Mr. @johnlegend making weird and tripped out psychedelic soul music.”

In response to a fan’s question about the album, Legend replied “the vocals on this album will be my best yet.”

While fans wait for new music from Legend, they can enjoy his song, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” featuring Ludacris,  which is featured in the movie, “Think Like A Man.” The film opens April 20.

 

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<p>Robert Pattinson is front and center for the teaser trailer to 'Cosmopolis'</p>

Robert Pattinson is front and center for the teaser trailer to 'Cosmopolis'

Credit: Canal +

Watch: Robert Pattinson makes strong impression in trailer for Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis'

Could this be DeLillo done right? And what will 'Twilight' fans think?

This makes me happy on so many levels.

I may not write about him as frequently as some of my other favorite filmmakers, but David Cronenberg is very near the top of the list of working directors whose work is important to me.  He's got one of the great voices in movies, and I look forward to each new film he makes.  I didn't particularly like "A Dangerous Method," but the rare one-off from him doesn't make me any less fond of the vast majority of his body of work.

When they announced that he was adapting Don DeLillo's "Cosmopolis" into a film, it was exciting because the author's voice is so distinct and strong that watching Cronenberg insert his own perspective into that material seemed like an exciting creative cocktail.  So far, DeLillo's work has pretty heartily resisted film adaptation, but there was a time where I would have said the same about William S. Burroughs and J.G. Ballard, and Cronenberg did pretty well by both of those guys.

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<p>Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt in &quot;Friends with Kids.&quot;</p>

Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt in "Friends with Kids."

Movie Review: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm are all 'Friends with Kids'

The gang from 'Bridesmaids' and Ben Wyatt team up for Westfeldt's strong directorial debut

I don't see movies in the theater much anymore, but ever since I heard about "Friends with Kids" — the directorial debut of "Kissing Jessica Stein" writer/star Jennifer Westfeldt, also starring Adam Scott from "Parks and Recreation" and a good chunk of the "Bridesmaids" cast (Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Chris O'Dowd and some guy named Jon Hamm who apparently has a TV show returning this weekend) — I made a mental note to get a sitter and take my wife to see it. We had some childcare mishaps over the weekend, which felt appropriate to the movie's subject, but finally got to slip out to see it last night, and I really enjoyed it.

The short version, for those who haven't seen it yet — and then, after the jump, some thoughts on specific things in the film for those who have — is that Westfeldt and Scott play best friends who've never been interested in each other romantically, and who start to feel their other friends slipping away and turning into different people when they marry off and have children. Interested in having kids, but terrified of what they see as the toxic effect it has on marriages, they decide to game the system by having a baby together as platonic friends, splitting the childcare responsibilities 50/50 while still having plenty of time to date other people and (more importantly) sleep. It's raunchy at times (though not nearly as much as "Bridesmaids"), dramatic at others, and ultimately a traditional romantic comedy that's just well-executed with a lot of indie moviemaking values. Scott is particularly excellent in it, but everyone's good (Westfeldt even gets a human performance out of Megan Fox in a supporting role as one of Scott's girlfriends), and it was well worth the babysitter for me.

And now onto some specifics about the film (including the ending) so those of us who've seen it can discuss, coming up just as soon as I play the kid card and the Brooklyn card...

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