Latest Blog Posts

<p>Kenan Thompson and Jimmy Fallon in a 'War Horse' sketch on 'Saturday Night Live' on Dec. 18, 2011.</p>

Kenan Thompson and Jimmy Fallon in a 'War Horse' sketch on 'Saturday Night Live' on Dec. 18, 2011.

Credit: NBC

'SNL' takes on 'War Horse' and misses out

Perhaps they should have waited to see the movie?

After you watch this bizarre parody of "War Horse" from last night's "Saturday Night Live," a few observations.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Michael Buble and Jimmy Fallon</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

 Michael Buble and Jimmy Fallon

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Jimmy Fallon and Michael Buble

Surprise guests join an 'SNL' veteran to close 2011 on a high note
So putting my cards on the table up front: I didn’t particularly care for Jimmy Fallon during his run on “Saturday Night Live.” I thought his impressions were great, and his energy was always on point. But there was a sloppiness to his work that always irked me. Either he was busy butchering the English language on “Weekend Update” or overtly trying to make Horatio Sanz break on live television. Still, his late night show has turned around my impression of him entirely, and he’s truly grown into his own as a confident comic performer during his tenure in Conan O’Brien’s old slot. Will he excel tonight in his old stomping grounds, or will he revert to his previous ways? Will musical guest Michael Bublé stick to simply signing, or will Christmas come early and give us all “Hamm and Bublé II: Electric Pork-a-loo?”
Only one way to find out: onto tonight’s recap!
Read Full Post
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>


Credit: Peter Kramer

Music Power Rankings: We look back at 2011 with Adele, Lady Gaga and Steve Jobs

A change is gonna come and this past year proved it

In this special edition of Music Power Rankings, we look back at 2011 and highlight our top 10 stories and events. What strikes us as we ponder our choices in the Top 10 is that any way you look at it, this was a watershed year for the music industry in that the old, traditional way of business continues to morph into something new and those who can’t shift with the times or continue to cling to the old way of doing things will fall by the wayside. There’s understandable ongoing concern about how to monetize many of the new ways that music is consumed, but it felt like a little of the joy came back this year after a long, bleak period.

This is the last issue of MPR for a few weeks. We’ll be back in January. Happy Holidays!

1) Adele:
She is the biggest success story of the year...of the last several years, actually. Her sophomore album, “21,” has never fallen out of the Billboard 200’s Top 10 and has sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. She is on virtually every critics’ best-of-2012 list, and more importantly, she is not some producer’s puppet. She is proof that immense talent can appeal to the masses and the tastemakers alike. When she says she hurts from love’s scars, you believe her 100% and ache along with her.

2) Album sales rebound:
Or at least they don’t drop. For the first time since 2004, album sales have increased over the previous year. There’s no way they’re ever going back to the pre-2000 high and the industry still feels like it’s in free-fall, but for the first time, it feels like maybe we’ve hit the bottom and, through various new business models and strategies, can go forward. (Final figures aren’t in, but through Sept. 31, sales were up 3.3% over 2010, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Ernie, Cindy and Phil Keoghan of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Ernie, Cindy and Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Reality TV Roundup: 'Amazing Race' gets a winner, 'Survivor' goes with God and some 'Real Housewives' prepare to fight

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch "The X Factor," "Survivor," "Top Chef," "Project Accessory" or "America's Next Top Model," the latest elimination for each show is revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.

Read Full Post
<p>'The Smurfs" has been disqualified from Best Animated Feature Film contention.</p>

'The Smurfs" has been disqualified from Best Animated Feature Film contention.

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Smurfs' animated feature DQ raises questions about vague regulations

And does genre play into subjective consideration?

The reality is that barring a massive LSD dose in the greater Los Angeles water supply, "The Smurfs” was unlikely to become one of the five animated films nominated for an Academy Award this year. However, the film’s disqualification does point to an interesting question: What does qualify as an animated film in today’s cinematic landscape?

Three of the qualifying submissions -- "The Adventures of Tintin," "Mars Needs Moms" and "Happy Feet Two" -- employed performance capture technology. The method is interesting to think about when one considers that “Avatar” was submitted and nominated as a live-action film. The industry at large seems, as yet, unsure of performance-capture’s place in the grander scheme. The AMPAS rule on it feels almost deliberately vague. It states that, “motion capture by itself is not an animation technique.” That doesn't clarify when or why it is. According to the Academy, “an animated feature film is defined as a motion picture with a running time of more than 40 minutes, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique.”

Read Full Post
<p>Guy Ritchie rocks a sweater as we discuss his work bringing London back to life in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'</p>

Guy Ritchie rocks a sweater as we discuss his work bringing London back to life in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Guy Ritchie on the luxuries of a big-budget London for 'Sherlock Holmes 2'

A casual chat with the filmmaker about world-building

It's not often that I double-dip with interviews for one movie, but that's exactly what happened this past week with Guy Ritchie for his new film, "Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows."

Earlier in the week, I ran our podcast interview, which was about twenty solid minutes with the director talking about a number of different aspects of making the film, including working with Robert Downey Jr., a demanding collaborator by all accounts, and how they handled Moriarty.  But one of the things we didn't have a chance to talk about it is actually one of the things that interests me most in the film.

I think it's safe to say I've been preoccupied with London most of my life.  I fell in love with English pop culture young, and one of the great pleasures of my professional life has been the way I've been able to repeatedly visit London and tour various corners of it, including some of the soundstages and studios where many of my favorite films were made.

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Cruise in &quot;Mission:&nbsp;Impossible - Ghost Protocol&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'

The film hits theaters this weekend

Brad Bird's "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" was the last 2011 film I screened, and it was a nice, fun excursion amid the usual Oscar season glut. See it in IMAX if you can, particularly for the Burj Khalifa, which played havoc on my vertigo. There's also a nice addendum in the form of a prologue for "The Dark Knight Rises," which I'll be checking out when I go see the film again closer to the holidays. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film, so when/if you see it, head on back here and let us know.

Read Full Post
<p>Edna of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Edna of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Edna Ma talks 'Survivor: South Pacific'

The latest 'Survivor' castoff discusses Upolu's lack of end-game strategy
The run of bitter Savaii "Survivor: South Pacific" exit interviews is finally over.
After a month of speaking to castaways still grumbling about John Cochran and his game-changing flip-flop, it's finally time to change gears and talk to the members of the now-cannibalizing (not literally, but in a voting sense) Upolu tribe.
Up first is Edna Ma, the 35-year-old anesthesiologist who found herself in sixth place on the Upolu totem pole and was voted out two weeks ago. On this week's episode, the diminutive Edna faced off against Ozzy in a Redemption Island Duel built around the completion of consecutive puzzles. 
Although it was a challenge that seemed to give Edna a fighting chance against the physically stronger Ozzy, it ended up being the latest in a string of Duel victories for the All-Star. 
In her exit interview, Edna discusses the Duel, her frustrations with her fellow castaways and the first night piece of bad luck that doomed her. We barely mentioned Cochran at all.
Click through...
Read Full Post
<p>Michael Buble's Christmas album. Again.</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Michael Buble's Christmas album. Again.

Will Michael Buble's 'Christmas' continue its Billboard 200 reign next week?

Who else surges as holidays sales kick into high gear?

Michael Buble must have been very nice this year as Santa continues filling his stocking with presents. Next week, it may be with as many as 460,000 of them. That’s the number of copies of Buble’s holiday album, “Christmas,” he is expected to sell. That number could propel the title over the 2 million mark in two months.

As Christmas approaches, superstar titles surge and move back up the chart: there are no debuts in the Top 10: it looks like Anthony Hamilton’s superb “Back To Love” will be the highest new entry at No. 14, according to Hits Daily Double.

Read Full Post
<p>Ellie (Sarah Lancaster)&nbsp;and Awesome (Ryan McPartlin)&nbsp;have a memorable night out on &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>

Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) have a memorable night out on "Chuck."

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Curse': Spy game

Ellie and Awesome's pretend spy adventure turns very real

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as the CIA brings me wine...

Read Full Post
<p>Charlize Theron in &quot;Young Adult.&quot;</p>

Charlize Theron in "Young Adult."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Young Adult'

Jason Reitman's latest goes into wide release today

Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" goes into wide release today, and I'm interested to know what our readers make of it -- it's a piece that takes some bold tonal risks in asking its audience to accompany a tragically deluded, cripplingly spiteful character, and some will be more willing to take the journey than others. Certainly, awards voters have been regarding it warily: it failed to show up in yesterday's Globe nominees for Best Comedy or Musical, while top-form star Charlize Theron was blanked by SAG the day before. No matter. I appreciated the film's prickly eccentricities, and certainly think it's one of the most daring major studio releases of 2011; Kris was even more impressed. But what about you? Share your thoughts in the comments.  

Read Full Post
"Dance Moms"

"Dance Moms"

Starr Raving's Top Ten Reality TV Shows of 2011

There was gold among the garbage, believe it or not

Given how crowded and wide-ranging the field of reality television is, picking a top ten that makes any sense at all is no easy task. In a category that technically includes everything from educational programming to "The Amazing Race" to "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," it's not just comparing apples to oranges -- it's comparing apples to mangos to, say, potato chips.

It seemed to me we all know about the big guns in this category -- "TAR" is reliably entertaining, "Survivor" has a surprising amount of juice for an aging series and, if you like talent competitions, "American Idol" managed to reboot fairly well post-Simon Cowell. But these shows make up a narrow, high profile segment of the market.

Equally high profile, but more problematic, are the so-bad-they're-good entries in the field. Like a great, greasy hamburger or a particularly gooey dessert, shows like "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" or "Jersey Shore" can be highly addictive, entertaining and guilt inducing. I've included one on my list, but only one (they aren't Pringles, after all). These shows may be great fun, but I couldn't bring myself to include too many on my list. That doesn't mean I'm not watching them, but even I have limits.

What has always interested me more are the hidden gems lurking in the depths of basic cable. There's nothing I love more than stumbling across a great, weird, little-known show and adding it to my DVR (at least until it's canceled). So consider this my Top Ten Shows You Haven't Been Watching or Top Ten Shows You Haven't Heard of. Maybe a favorite of yours will be on here, but I'm hoping not.

Read Full Post