Latest Blog Posts

<p>Michael Shannon in Jeff Nichol's acclaimed Sundance drama &quot;Take Shelter.&quot;</p>

Michael Shannon in Jeff Nichol's acclaimed Sundance drama "Take Shelter."

Credit: Sony Classics

Michael Shannon on audiences needing 'guts' to see 'Take Shelter' and 'Boardwalk Empire's' season finale

How did an Oscar nominee shoe-in at Sundance become a borderline contender?

As you'd expect for the first week of December, it's pretty chilly in Vancouver, B.C. these days.  But, Michael Shannon, who is north of the border shooting Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel," took a few minutes on Thursday to warm up and chat about his acclaimed performance in "Take Shelter."

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Teamsters and the manufacturers of the Oscar statuette stalemate
Credit: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Teamsters and the manufacturers of the Oscar statuette stalemate

Contract negotiations halt and the union goes public

As the race for Oscar continues to heat up the teamsters who manufacture and deliver the physical statues are coming into conflict with R.S. Owens & Company, the producers of the Oscar and Emmy statuettes.  According to The Huffington Post, contract negotiations between Owens and its workers have come to a halt and the union is now reaching out to Hollywood to back them up in their dispute. In a release on Tuesday the employees revealed that the company had frozen wages for three years beginning in 2007 and plans to renew the policy for the next three years, leaving them without the benefit of a pay increase for nearly a decade.

The union further alleges that Owens intends to cut vacation and bereavement benefits and increase health care costs. Though production continues, there is the ever present possibility of a strike, which could theoretically affect the February 26 awards show. Teamsters Local 743 plans to seek Federal mediation as a part of its negotiations strategy.

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<p>Our first look at 'the man in the mask' came as part of an amazing sequence screened tonight at a special IMAX presentation for 'The Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises'</p>

Our first look at 'the man in the mask' came as part of an amazing sequence screened tonight at a special IMAX presentation for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Bane rules as 'Dark Knight Rises' prologue unveiled in special IMAX presentation

Our introduction to 'the man in the mask' raises more questions than it answers

Bane seems like a bad, bad man.

That is, of course, the point of the prologue from "The Dark Knight Rises," which was screened tonight at Universal Citywalk's IMAX screen with Christopher Nolan in attendance to set it up for us.

When "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" opens on December 16 in a limited run for a week before it goes wider on the 21st, any of the screens that are playing the large-scale film format IMAX will also be playing this special "Dark Knight Rises" footage, which will not be released online.  Let me urge you to make sure you attend one of those screenings, and not just for the "Dark Knight" stuff.  I think I was fairly effusive the other day in my review of "M:I - GP," and part of what impressed me was the way Bird used the IMAX format in the scenes that were shot that way.  Now, seeing what Nolan's done with the IMAX cameras, I think the double-feature makes the best case yet for what a smart filmmaker can accomplish in terms of immersion without ever once using the term "3D."

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"Project Accessory"

 "Project Accessory"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Accessory' - 'Fall for Kenneth'

The designers must make clutches for Kenneth Cole, but will he want to sell any of them?

The final six should be thrilled to be, well, the final six, but the mood at the communal department is, to say the least, subdued. Adrian feels discouraged from his poor showing last week. How can he be Adrian and make the judges happy? Diego suggests he shouldn't be so Adrian. Ouch.

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

Charlize Theron in "Young Adult."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Young Adult' is a smart, sour anatomy of a bitch

Charlize Theron keeps the ugliness inside in her best work since 'Monster'

There’s a single line—make that a single word—in the opening reel of “Young Adult” delivered with such pointed lack of empathy as to immediate wipe clean any cosier expectations we might have had of a second collaboration between director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody. Staring disconnectedly into her glass while on a blind date with a seemingly decent chap wittering on about his experience of teaching in South East Asia, Charlize Theron’s divorced, 37 year-old youth fiction novelist Mavis Gary screws up her face and spits out the question, “Why?”

The guy doesn’t acknowledge the question; indeed, it doesn’t break his flow for a second. But after Theron’s drolly apathetic tone gets the required laugh from the viewer, her sourly confused expression seals the moment as more than a snarky throwaway: this isn’t just a woman who disdains people who help others, it’s one who sincerely doesn’t comprehend them. A kind of high-functioning autism invisible beneath her snippy intelligence and immaculate lipstick, Mavis’s misanthropy makes in her mind a gigantic ‘why’ of all human relationships, though she’s sufficiently self-possessed enough not to care about the answers. We never see the face of her hapless date in that early exchange; in a sense, one doubts she does either.

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<p>Leslie (Amy Poehler)&nbsp;enjoys Christmas on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Leslie (Amy Poehler) enjoys Christmas on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Citizen Knope': Crazy on PCP

Leslie has too much time on her hands in a fantastic Christmas episode

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I resign in disgrace...

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<p>Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown)&nbsp;is full of holiday glee on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is full of holiday glee on "Community."

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Regional Holiday Music': Filled with glee

The show heads into hiatus with a hilarious, song-filled Christmas 'Glee' parody

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I pander to your demographic's well-documented historical vanity...

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<p>'Stephen King? Never heard of him. All I know is PIRANHA&nbsp;3D is awesome.'</p>

'Stephen King? Never heard of him. All I know is PIRANHA 3D is awesome.'

Credit: AP Photo/Jim Cole

Joe Hill and Alexandre Aja team up for 'Horns'

'Piranha 3D' director will bring Hill's novel to bigscreen life

Joe Hill is a tremendous writer.

It's funny… I know why he chose to write as Joe Hill and not use his dad's last name, and I think he's more than proven that he has his own voice and his own talent and he doesn't need to play off of who he is to get published or build a fan base.  He deserves every reader he's got, and more.

Even so, i was with Devin Faraci this summer at Comic-Con, and as we were walking through downtown San Diego to get somewhere and pick up passes to something, we walked by Joe Hill at one point, and it was sort of stunning how much he looked like his dad in the late '70s or early '80s.  I'm not sure how anyone who was ever face to face with him would have had any question about his relationship to Stephen King, because it's downright spooky.

Recently, Fox TV flirted with an adaptation of his comic series "Locke & Key," and I'd love to get a look at the pilot episode that Mark Romanek directed.  That didn't get picked up, though, and the film version of "Heart-Shaped Box" hasn't been able to get off the ground, either.  His most recent novel was "Horns," a disturbing piece about a guy who wakes up one morning with actual devil horns starting to grow out of his head and no memory of how or why.  It is a visceral, emotional ride and a big step forward for him as a novelist, even though his first few books were also very strong.  Although there's quite a bit of the book that deals with the inner journey of the main character, I suspect it will translate well to film and could be a very smart mainstream horror movie for grown-ups.

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<p>Melanie Amaro of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Melanie Amaro of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Down to the Final 4

Which 'X Factor' act did American and the judges send home?

I've crowned Melanie Amaro as my "Probably Not Going To Be Eliminated" recap picture of the night. I feel somewhat confident in that. But after last week's shocking Drew/Astro eliminations? Anything truly can happen...

Click through for the results...

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<p>It looks like Jonah Hill and the young cast of 'The Sitter' just sat through a screening of 'The Sitter'</p>

It looks like Jonah Hill and the young cast of 'The Sitter' just sat through a screening of 'The Sitter'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Jonah Hill's woefully unfunny 'The Sitter' deserves to be fired

It's rare that this many people I like this much make something I like so little

While I would never claim that "The Sitter" was the worst film I saw in 2011, I think it is the film that most bitterly disappointed me this year.  I've written at length about the work of Jonah Hill, as well as director David Gordon Green, and I consider the production company Rough House to be one of the most interesting working in comedy today.  Perhaps because of the regard I have for their collective work, I am baffled by how completely I disliked "The Sitter," and I find myself unable to work up the spleen that normally goes into a really strongly negative review.  More than anything, I just feel deflated by the whole thing.

More than anything, I'm puzzled by the movie.  Keep in mind, I liked the last two comedies that David Gordon Green directed, "Your Highness" and "Pineapple Express."  I am willing to acknowledge that "Your Highness" is deranged, one of the strangest mainstream films I've ever seen, but I like that it has such a strong sense of itself and it's so willing to try anything.  If you're part of the 99.9% of all audiences who seemed to despise "Your Highness" completely, then I would advise you don't even attempt to see "The Sitter," because it doesn't even have the ragged, whacked out personality that made that film interesting.

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"Project Accessory"

 "Project Accessory"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Why can't 'Project Runway' get a decent spin-off?

The hit series has tried with models and accessories, but why do these shows fall short?

Tonight we'll be treated to another episode of "Project Accessory," which is likely being met by a tepid sigh of not-quite-anticipation by those who bother to tune in. Admittedly, Lifetime has done its level best to copy every element of "Project Runway" to ensure the spin-off's success. The judges, the challenges and even the hostess are eerily similar to the original hit. So why doesn't it work better than it does?

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<p>Peter Berg, commanding his fleet</p>

Peter Berg, commanding his fleet

Credit: Universal

Edit bay visit: Peter Berg goes big with 'Battleship'

The director answers questions about his biggest movie to date

On a breezy afternoon in Santa Monica last June Universal pictures invited HitFix and handful of journalists to visit the edit bay of next summer's tent pole movie "Battleship" to see the films' progress and talk to director Peter Berg. 

Many of us remember the game 'Battleship' as two rattling plastic clamshell cases that you could carry around like little laptops and set up anywhere for instant naval battle. Some even remember an electronic talking version (lucky jerks), but the gameplay in both was basically the same: you tried to sink your opponents fleet of ships by blindly calling out coordinates on their grid, and hoping you hit one of their ships before they hit yours.
 
So how do you turn a guessing game that can essentially be played with two pencils and a couple sheets of graph paper into a major motion picture? Well you make it a battle between a fleet of Navy ships and a fleet of alien ships, of course. Due to convenient plotting, neither fleet can see the other on their radar. Do they shoot giant plastic pegs at each other? The short answer is "Yes."
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