Latest Blog Posts

<p>Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in "Justified."

Credit: FX

Review: FX's 'Justified' loads up on bad guys for season 3

Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson join Raylan Givens' rogues gallery
Last season, FX's "Justified" introduced an instant classic villain in Margo Martindale's Mags Bennett, a hillbilly crime lord whose folksy maternal warmth masked a ruthless, indomitable mind. Mags made the show's second season a creative triumph, but she also left some enormous shoes to fill. And with the show's third season, which debuts tonight at 10, "Justified" producer Graham Yost has reasonably decided that the only way to replace Mags is by going with quantity over quality.
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<p>Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling in &quot;Drive.&quot;&nbsp; The film landed four BAFTA Film&nbsp;Awards nominations.</p>

Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling in "Drive."  The film landed four BAFTA Film Awards nominations.

Credit: FilmDistrict

10 surprises from the 2012 BAFTA Film Awards nominations

The Brits love 'Drive,' 'The Help' and 'Bridesmaids'

If there is any yearly awards event that usually reflects this writer's cinematic leanings it would be the BAFTA Film Awards.  In fact, the U.K.'s version of the Academy Awards has had a special place in my heart since they awarded Sigourney Weaver for a best supporting actress honor for the "Ice Storm" in 1998 after the U.S. Academy didn't even nominate her (sigh).  This year's 2012 BAFTA nominations delivered lots of love for "The Artist," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "The Descendants" and "My Week with Marilyn" as expected, but there were some major surprises as well. Considering there is significant overlap between BAFTA and Academy membership (enough that studio consultants take the nods very seriously), today's nominations may be a sign of some intriguing surprises when the Oscar nods are announced seven days from now.  Let's review, shall we?

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<p>Local favourite &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy&quot; received 11 BAFTA nominations.</p>

Local favourite "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" received 11 BAFTA nominations.

Credit: Focus Features

'The Artist' and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' lead BAFTA nominations

'Hugo' snubbed as 'Drive' cracks Best Film lineup

As ever with their nominations announcement, BAFTA giveth, and BAFTA taketh away. Excited to see "Drive" up for Best Film and Best Director? Sure, but in return we have to accept Jim Broadbent nominated, ahead of Albert Brooks, for a career-worst performance in "The Iron Lady," which also somehow copped a Best Original Screenplay nod. (Despite this showing, the film mercifully didn't crack their Best British Film lineup.)

Glad to see a strong showing at last for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?" Yes, but the flipside of that is zero nominations for "The Tree of Life" -- no, not even a cinematography nod for Emmanuel Lubezki. Even when trying to anticipate the Oscar race, BAFTA remain a law unto themselves -- which can be as exasperating as it is occasionally rewarding.

The frontrunners, of course, could have been spotted from space. Oscar favorite "The Artist" naturally leads the way with 12 nominations -- the (mostly) silent film scored even in the Best Sound category -- while British loyalty netted an impressive 11 nods for domestic hit "Tinker, Tailor." The two will fight it out for the top award, though with the latter primed for the consolation prize of Best British Film, I think we know how this is going to go.

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<p>&nbsp;Meryl Streep celebrates her win for best actress - drama backstage at the 2012 Golden Globes.</p>

 Meryl Streep celebrates her win for best actress - drama backstage at the 2012 Golden Globes.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Analysis: Meryl Streep the biggest winner after 2012 Golden Globe Awards

How close will the Oscar best actress race get?

When the 69th Golden Globes began Sunday night, this pundit wasn't at a viewing party at the Beverly Hilton.  He wasn't live-blogging the show from the comfort of home (less than two miles from the Hilton) either.  Instead, and no disrespect to the never met a cologne they didn't like Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but Awards Campaign was in the middle of a championship final at a Las Vegas basketball tourney that was a tad more pressing (we all need lives people).  And while the LA United pulled out an impressive win in over time (booyah), "The Iron Lady's" Meryl Streep found herself pulling away with an equally impressive win for best actress drama.

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<p>Sally&nbsp;Field at the 57th annual&nbsp;Academy&nbsp;Awards</p>

Sally Field at the 57th annual Academy Awards

Credit: ABC

They want you to like them

Actors reflect on their own vanity and the inevitable insanity of awards season

With the Golden Globes a memory and the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations on January 24 just on the horizon, perhaps it's time to take a bit of the piss out of awards season. The validity of certain awards shows and organizations aside, it is an incredible professional accomplishment to be included in the hunt at all. It speaks to a level of success that most only dream of in a profoundly competitive industry. At the same time, perspective is often in order.

I have worked in entertainment for my entire adult life and have as great a passion for film today as I did in the throes of dreamy youth. No one’s feeding babies here, however. Even in an arena as large as the one the artists under discussion here dwell in, it’s important to have at least some measure of humor and ability to self-deprecate to season the inevitable neurosis that comes with working in a creative field

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Night of A Thousand Surprises'

It's total chaos at Lisa's opening of Sur


Oh joy, it's time for Lisa's big opening of Sur. After months of demo work, painting and polishing, what better way to show off this lovely new space than a private party? Yeah, and the gods laughed hard at that one. Let's just say that if Pandora's wedding is even half as eventful, she might want to think about scrapping the whole thing and getting hitched at a drive-thru wedding chapel in Vegas. I'm fairly sure we will never see a gray hair on Lisa's head, but this evening would have turned most people's hair pure white. 

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'The Bachelor' gets a late arrival - and the girls freak out

When one of Brad's rejects arrives, all hell breaks loose - and one girl faints

It's off to San Francisco for the final 16 girls, which is sure to end in either a nervous breakdown in the City by the Bay or, possibly, someone jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Given how cray-cray this season has been thus far, I just can't rule it out.

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<p>Sarah Jones and Sam Neill in &quot;Alcatraz.&quot;</p>

Sarah Jones and Sam Neill in "Alcatraz."

Credit: FOX

'Alcatraz' - 'Pilot/Ernest Cobb': We have to go back!

What did everybody think of FOX's new J.J. Abrams drama?

I posted my review of FOX's "Alcatraz" this morning. Now it's your turn. On the J.J. Abrams continuum (whether or not you want to include non-sci-fi stuff like "Felicity" and/or stuff he was only tangentially involved in like "Six Degrees" and "What About Brian?"), where does this rank? Were you engaged by the two cases investigated by the team? Happy to see Jorge Garcia playing such a Hurley-esque character? Is Sarah Jones a compelling lead? Did the final moment of the second episode excite you or make you shrug? 

Have at it. As I said in the review, I imagine I'll check back later in the season to see if it's gotten any less formulaic.

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<p>Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig may have been all smiles at this press event in November, but in 'Skyfall,' the two will be pitted against each other.</p>

Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig may have been all smiles at this press event in November, but in 'Skyfall,' the two will be pitted against each other.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

'Skyfall' gets an official synopsis on the day James Bond turns 50

We begin a year-long look back at the biggest action series of all time

Fifty years ago today, Terence Young stood on a set in Jamaica and rolled film for the very first time on a feature film about Ian Fleming's creation, James Bond.  It was the scene where Bond arrives at the Kingston airport and tries to avoid being photographed.  It was a significant day at the end of a long search for the right man to play the part and even though Ian Fleming wasn't convinced at first, Sean Connery not only turned out to be a nascent movie star, but he made Bond an icon that endures even now.

Fifty years later, EON Productions and Sony are in production on the latest film in the series, with Daniel Craig playing Bond for the third time.  And today, Sony Pictures released a terse but interesting summary of what we can expect when "Skyfall" opens later in the year.

I've been a Bond fan since my first exposure to the character.  I was seven years old when my dad took me to see "The Spy Who Loved Me" in the theater, and it was love at first sight.  Sure, part of the kick was the idea that my dad was taking me to see a "grown-up" movie with him, just the two of us.  And part of it was because I could tell how important the character was to him.  Mostly, though, the whole thing was just so damn cool.

After all, he had a car that turned into a submarine.  When you're seven, that's the most insanely mind-blowing idea possible.

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<p>Could home support push &quot;My Week With Marilyn&quot; into BAFTA's Best Film category?</p>

Could home support push "My Week With Marilyn" into BAFTA's Best Film category?

Credit: The Weinstein Company

BAFTA nominations on the way

British Academy's picks to land at 11.40 PST

I'm not bothering to predict the BAFTA nominations this year because 1) the longlists largely take the guesswork out of that for us; 2) no voting group that thinks "Midnight in Paris" had better visual effects than "The Tree of Life" deserves too much of our time and attention; and 3) I mean, seriously. But anyway, they're a few hours away -- a breakfast-time announcement for the Brits, a pre-midnight one for Hollywood -- and if you have any last-minute thoughts, hopes or projections about the British Academy's selections, here's the place for them.

One thing we can be certain of: after struggling to gain traction on the US precursor circuit, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which jointly led the longlists with 16 mentions, will finally receive a warm embrace here. The combination of literary cache, old-and-new-school British acting elite and spectacular box-office should set it up as the chief BAFTA rival to all-purpose frontrunner "The Artist," which can also expect a bucketload of nominations.

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<p>Craig Finn</p>

Craig Finn

Credit: Jeremy Balderson

Interview: Craig Finn's 'intimate' on solo album as Hold Steady starts new set

Listen: 'Clear Heart Full Eyes' title inspired by 'Friday Night Lights' -- game on?

“Going solo” can be a pretty loaded term. Sometimes it points to loneliness, or alienation. Sometimes it’s a breaking-free, an inner-wildness. For Craig Finn, the tendency is simply one of being “alone and separate,” a “highway” individualism. 

“In a touring band like [the Hold Steady], there’s two types of people. There’s the kind who spends all their time around people. And then I’m the guy walking on the side of the highway in my down time, with people yelling out of their cars at me.”
The Hold Steady singer endeavored to write his solo debut “Clear Heart Full Eyes” in a similar, confrontational and unfussy way.
When his band finished yet another touring hike in 2010, he found himself at the young end of 2011 wanting to “entertain myself,” using what he described as his own “limited” guitar talents and “build up a song form a simple thing. And that’s what I had -- a very simple thing,” he told me in our recent interview.
He wrote the songs at hoome in Brooklyn and took them down to Texas, to work with Spoon producer Mike McCarthy.
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<p>Jeff Tweedy</p>

Jeff Tweedy

Wilco takes a year off from Solid Sound Festival, vows 2013 return

Band cites launch of new label and touring for hiatus

Wilco will return with its Solid Sound Festival in 2013 after taking this year off.

The group announced the hiatus on its website, but added that the band will play a summer concert to benefit MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass.

Solid Sound Festival 3 will take place June 21-23, 2013 at MASS MoCa.

Wilco introduced the Solid Sound Festival in 2010, with the first event featuring the band as well as such acts as Mavis Staples, The Autumn Defense , The Nels Cline Singers and Kristen Schaal.

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