Latest Blog Posts

<p>Max Greenfield and Zooey Deschanel on &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Max Greenfield and Zooey Deschanel on "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

The Morning Round-Up: 'New Girl' & 'Raising Hope'

Jess throws Schmidt a party, while the Chances pull an educational caper

A good night last night for both "New Girl" and "Raising Hope," with reviews coming up just as soon as I get smart by watching NBC comedies...

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<p>Courtney Ford and Dax Shepard on &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>
<br />

Courtney Ford and Dax Shepard on "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'It Is What It Is': Seller's remorse

Everybody has trouble giving something up

A quick review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I pretend not to be bored in exchange for ice cream...

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<p>This is just what happened when Channing Tatum accidentally sat in Gina Carano's chair on the set of 'Haywire,' so imagine how much pain she inflicts in the actual movie.</p>

This is just what happened when Channing Tatum accidentally sat in Gina Carano's chair on the set of 'Haywire,' so imagine how much pain she inflicts in the actual movie.

Credit: Relativity Media

Review: 'Haywire' is bone-breaking, genre-bending fun

Steven Soderbergh and MMA Gina Carano make sweet music together

The last time Steven Soderbergh and Lem Dobbs collaborated, the result was "The Limey," one of my favorite of Soderbergh's films overall.  It's a tough-minded, broken-hearted little revenge thriller, and Terrence Stamp is awesome in it.  It's got style to spare, and it's really lean.  Gets in, gets it done, and then gets out.

When I first heard about "Haywire" and heard that the film was created specifically to showcase Gina Carano, a well-regarded MMA fighter in real life, I admit that I sort of wrote the film off immediately as "lesser" Soderbergh.  The last film he made where he built a film around a real-life personality was "The Girlfriend Experience," an only slightly successful movie that is more experiment than experience, so I admit my hopes were not especially high.

I would argue that part of why "Haywire" works so well is because Lem Dobbs is the screenwriter, and he approached this with a wicked pulp spy movie sensibility that pays off in a film that works first as a spy film, second as an action film, and then also as a drama.  It's genuinely well-written.  It's clever.  And while there's plenty of room in the film for Carano to snap into her own skill-set and start beating holy hell out of anyone within arm's reach, which she does in spectacular fashion several times, those moments are character punctuation.  There's not a single unmotivated or gratuitous action beat in the film.

In other words, forget what your calendar tells you.  "Haywire" is no mere January movie.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Wings&quot;</p>

A scene from "Wings"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Paramount unveils newly restored 'Wings' at the Academy

AMPAS president Tom Sherak, Paramount CEO Brad Grey and the family of William A. Wellman toast the first-ever Best Picture winner's 85th anniversary

It was a nice change of pace interlude this evening, even if it was ultimately awards related in some way.

"War Horse" may be the World War I film currently in cinemas stirring awards talk throughout the season, and "The Artist" might be the black and white silent film leading the charge in this year's Best Picture race, but for two evenings at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, William A. Wellman is stealing some of Steven Spielberg and Michel Hazanavicius' spotlight.

Wellman's silent, black and white, 1927 Best Picture-winning WWI epic "Wings" has been fully restored in a partnership between Paramount Pictures (this year celebrating its 100th anniversary), the Academy's Film Archive and Technicolor. It was unveiled this evening at the Academy in the first of two screenings this week as part of the studio's centenary and the film's (as well as the Academy's) 85th anniversary in advance of a January 24 Blu-ray release.

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<p>Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) confronts Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins)&nbsp;in the &quot;Justified&quot;&nbsp;season 3 premiere.</p>

Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) confronts Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) in the "Justified" season 3 premiere.

Credit: FX

'Justified' - 'The Gunfighter': The quick and the dead

A hobbled Raylan chases a trigger-happy killer, and Neal McDonough arrives in Kentucky
"Justified" is back for its third season. I reviewed the first four episodes in general this morning, and I have some specific thoughts on the season premiere, coming up just as soon as I name my son Jiffypop...
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<p>Michael Cudlitz and Lucy Liu in &quot;Southland.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Michael Cudlitz and Lucy Liu in "Southland." 

Credit: TNT

'Southland' - 'Wednesday': Change partners

Cooper and Sherman adjust to new colleagues, and Lucy Liu guest stars

The TNT version of "Southland" has grown on me slowly over time, I think. The budget cuts have forced John Wells and company to streamline the cast, and it seems the focus is now much more on how the different partnerships operate, and on LAPD culture in general, which is where the show excels. (Back when there were so many detectives floating around, the show seemed to feel compelled to spend more time on generic murder cases, when the magic was just watching the cops ride around in their cars kibbitzing.) 

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<p>Could Wim Wenders's &quot;Pina&quot; snag nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film and Documentary races?</p>

Could Wim Wenders's "Pina" snag nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film and Documentary races?

Credit: Sundance Selects

Predicting the foreign-language Oscar shortlist

List of nine contenders due to be announced tomorrow

Tomorrow brings the first major cull in what is almost annually the most exasperating of Oscar races, Best Foreign Language Film. As has become the new custom, a shortlist of nine titles will be announced in the morning -- six of them voted on by the collected members of the foreign-language branch, with a further three added by a select committee to rectify the larger group's blind spots.

It is never confirmed which are which, though it can be rather easy to tell: there were no prizes last year for guessing that Greece's critically adored but thematically dangerous "Dogtooth" was a minority pick rescued by the committee to add cred to the Academy's roster. It's an imperfect system, but still preferable to the previous one, which regularly raised howls of critical anguish as such films as "City of God" and "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" failed even to crack the pre-nomination shortlist.

The committee itself can be pretty wily in their choices -- eyebrows were raised when they failed to rescue favorites like "Gomorrah" and "Of Gods and Men" recently -- and still can't do anything about the Academy's final (and dependably milquetoast) choice of winner, but they're pushing more adventurous titles into the conversation, and for that, one can hardly be ungrateful.

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<p>Lea Michele of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Lea Michele of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Yes/No'

A tale of two proposals marks the start of a new year at McKinley High
Honestly, “Glee.”
Look, you and me need to have a little sitdown. Just the pair of us. No need to bring in anyone else. After all, this episode was nominally about the trials and tribulations of various romantic pairings new and old tonight, even if it ended up being about the powers of synchronized swimming to overcome the fearmongering of ginger fascists. (In that respect, “Yes/No” was pretty much a straight-up rip off of Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.”) Regardless, we need to have a chat. You can sit there and listen and nod and keep a running monologue inside your head that sounds like Helen Mirren if you like. I won’t hold it against you.
Here’s the thing: You need to stop.
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<p>The Georgia critics gave Juliette Binoche her first US award of the season for &quot;Certified Copy.&quot;</p>

The Georgia critics gave Juliette Binoche her first US award of the season for "Certified Copy."

Credit: IFC Films

Georgia critics opt for 'Tree of Life,' Binoche and (twice) Pitt

6 wins for Malick's film, Pitt takes lead and supporting awards

The Georgia Film Critics' Association distinguished themselves from the back last week with a fresh and considered list of nominees -- and their winners, announced earlier today, are no less intriguing. I can't think of another critics' group on the circuit that has fallen quite so hard for "The Tree of Life": Terrence Malick's intimate epic took six awards, including Best Picture and Director, as well as both supporting prizes for Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt. (It wasn't Pitt's only win from the Peach State -- he also took Best Actor for "Moneyball.")

Meanwhile, they forever earned my affection by becoming the first critics 'group to hand Best Actress to Juliette Binoche for "Certified Copy," which also won Best Foreign Language Film. In the relentless grind of paint-by-numbers precursors, even the smallest victories are sweet. Also, it's about bloody time "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" won an ensemble award. Good work, guys. Full list of winners after the jump. 

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Listen: Katy Perry's sad, acoustic version of 'The One That Got Away'
Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Katy Perry's sad, acoustic version of 'The One That Got Away'

Plus, Perry gets her own version of 'The Sims'

In Katy Perry’s continued bid to propel “The One That Got Away” to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, she has released another version of the song.

The new version, produced by Jon Brion, is an acoustic, stripped down version that focuses on the sadness of the lost love. Brion’s nimble, light touch keeps the song from getting too dragged down in the sorrow.  The track is for sale on iTunes for 99 cents.

That means fans can buy the original version, the remix featuring B.o.B., and now this edition (there are also some pretty nifty dance remixes of the song out there). Purchase of any of the three counts toward her chart position, which is a combination of sales and radio play. The song is No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, after peaking, so far, at No. 3.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ryan Adams in &quot;Chains of Love&quot;</p>

Ryan Adams in "Chains of Love"

Watch: Ryan Adams plays it cool in 'Chains of Love'

Fireworks in the daylight, rocker in the field

In the new music video for "Chains of Love," Ryan Adams and his backing band cause fireworks to shoot into a sunny day sky, due to the power of their rocking. But, naw, the amiable track is one of the easiest-going songs on "Ashes & Fire," the singer-songwriter's latest album.

There's all sorts of subtle color and cheeky detachment to said pyrotechnics. Ain't nothing wrong with rockers rocking on rooftops and in fields, just makes a good argument for a little nap.

"Ashes & Fire was released in 2011; Adams is touring soon in support, dates below.

Here are Ryan Adams' tour dates:

1/24 Bethesda MD @ Strathmore
1/25 Cleveland OH @ Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square
1/27 Ann Arbor MI @ Ann Arbor Folk Fest - Hill Auditorium
1/28 Cincinnati OH @ Taft Theatre
1/30 Louisville KY @ The Louisville Palace
1/31 St. Louis MO @ Peabody Opera House
2/1 Kansas City MO @ Music Hall
2/3 Denver CO @ Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
2/17 Los Angeles CA @ Walt Disney Concert Hall
2/18 Los Angeles CA @ Walt Disney Concert Hall
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<p>Bon Iver's Justin Vernon</p>

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon

Listen: Bon Iver and The Chieftains on 'Down in the Willow Garden'

Has a murder ballad ever sounded so lovely?

Bon Iver and the Chieftains make death sound beautiful on their remake of the traditional murder ballad “Down In the Willow Garden.”

The song, which appears on the Chieftains’ 50th anniversary album, “Voice of Ages,” spins a tale of a man about to be hanged for poisoning, stabbing and then dumping his lover’s body in the river. It’s been recorded by everyone from Charlie Monroe to the Everly Brothers to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and now it’s the Grammy-nominated  Bon Iver’s turn. His take is haunting and mournful, as a murder ballad should be. It is also unexpectedly lovely, expecially because of the Chieftains’ instrumentation. It's streaming at Pitchfork.

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