Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jax (Charlie Hunnam)&nbsp;and Kozik (Kenny Johnson)&nbsp;plan an attack on &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Kozik (Kenny Johnson) plan an attack on "Sons of Anarchy." 

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Call of Duty': Blown up real good

Explosions, revelations and a face from the past highlight a 90-minute episode

A review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as I have a French bulldog named Ramon...

Read Full Post
<p>George Clooney in &quot;Syriana&quot; and the role that brought him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor</p>
<br />

George Clooney in "Syriana" and the role that brought him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Lists: Top 10 George Clooney performances

'The Ides of March' and 'The Descendants' give us an excuse to dissect the actor's best work

George Clooney has had yet another busy year. His circuit kicked off back in August at the Venice Film Festival where his fourth directorial effort, "The Ides of March," saw its world premiere on opening night. Then it was off to the Telluride Film Festival later that week for a tribute and another world premiere, this time of Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," which features Clooney in a leading role that many think will bring him an Oscar for Best Actor.

It's not unlike the path he carved in 2005, which saw his critically acclaimed "Good Night, and Good Luck." and Stephen Gaghan's "Syriana" find room in the awards conversation (the latter ultimately bringing him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor).

But while Clooney's million-dollar smile splashes across magazine covers in moments like these and his magnetic charm wins over whatever group of people the studio might put in front of him, it's worth taking note of the considerable talent that has brought him to a place where this kind of ubiquity is more refreshing than annoying.

Read Full Post
<p>Naya Rivera takes center stage on Wednesday night's &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Naya Rivera takes center stage on Wednesday night's "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Mash Off'

How five great minutes signal everything wrong with the show
Twitter went and had a collective aneurism during the final five minutes of tonight’s “Glee.” No one could seemingly process what they just witnessed. Here’s my insta-theory as to why that was the case: the last five minutes were solidly crafted, emotionally crippling minutes of television that pulled every layer of crap off the show and demonstrated its powerful, beating heart. It would be like going to see The Wiggles perform in concert, only to have them end the show with a crushing version of “Tears in Heaven.” I mean, how could a normal brain process such a shock to the system?
 
“Glee” really isn’t interested in the types of musical combinations on display in tonight’s episode. “Mash Off” may have been the title, but “Smash Up” would be a more accurate one to describe what the show attempts on a weekly basis. Over on FX, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are simply taking this approach to its logical extreme with “American Horror Story.” But honestly, swap out Rory for Gimp Suit Guy and see if anything makes less sense than half of what goes on in a typical hour of this show…
 
…and yet, Lord, those final five minutes were perfect. When the show deals with the complicated issue of teenage sexuality, it should be at its weakest. And yet, it finds discipline in the thorniest of issues, ostensibly because everything else is window dressing to this central issue. This wouldn’t be a problem, if “Glee” were just about Kurt and Santana with the other breeders along for the ride. I’d watch the hell out of that show, because at least then I’d be watching a program that had emotional investments in its character’s arcs. Contrast the Adele mash up with the Hall & Oates mash up, and you have everything right and wrong with the show in a nutshell. The latter was played for out-of-context laughs. The former went for the jugular and slit your damn throat…
 
…and yet, Lord, those first fifty-five minutes were BRUTAL. It ping-ponged between the Puck/Shelby/Quinn debacle, the Congressional race, the student council contest, the chasm between Rachel/Kurt, and the link between dodgeball and stoning. While I admire those final five minutes, which featured the backlash of Sue’s dirty campaign on Santana’s innocent head, no time spent on this plotline has made a lick of sense. Sue can operate in her own world of weird within the walls of McKinley High and largely get away with it: she’s a big fish in a small pond. But extrapolating that to a state-wide election that views her antics as thought-provoking stretches things too far. It doesn’t help things that Will is apparently Burt’s campaign manager now. What? Does Will map out Burt’s strategy each week by writing “PATRIOTISM” on a white board? I have such a headache…
 
…and yet, I didn’t need aspirin watching Santana connect deeply with “Someone Like You.” Adele is so ubiquitous a presence on the radio right now that it’s hard to feel there’s anything intimate about her music. Last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” poked fun about the way in which her music seemingly makes everyone cry, but it’s almost as if we’ve collectively decided Adele is the pathway towards crocodile tears. Thus, emotional response to her music is almost Pavlovian at this point, rather than truly earned. Still, what Nya Rivera did in her half of the mash up was revelatory, combining with the show’s arrangement of the song to truly make the song feel fresh again. Until now, Season 1’s “Somebody to Love” might have been my favorite performance in the show’s history. But this made a strong case to dethrone the champ, even if it involved Troubletones that seemingly multiply like Gremlins between each scene…
 
….and yet, there I go again, dwelling on the simple things that “Glee” refuses to do in order to produce an episode that at least pretends to fit together as a cohesive whole. Were I to give the show any type of benefit of the doubt, I’d throw together a defense of the show as a modern-day example of Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre. Brecht said of this style that it should primarily avoid a staple of most theatre, “the engendering of illusion." Brecht came up with this approach as a revolt against naturalism in theatre, which he felt produced complacency in the audience. Epic theatre was confrontational, alienating, and called attention to its artifice in order to wake the audience up from its stupor in order to convey the importance of what was being presented. Brecht went so far as to tell a director of one of his plays that, “Each scene, and each section within a scene, must be perfected and played as rigorously and with as much discipline as if it were a short play, complete in itself.” That’s freakin’ “Glee” in a nutshell, people, with its rigorous resistance to any form of connective tissue between one scene and the next, constantly calling attention to its existence as a pre-produced product being beamed through your television…
 
…and yet, the most powerful moments in the show push past that and work their way into our hearts all the same. Quinn calling Shelby a “cash whore” was the show at its worst, but Puck’s horny yet earnest pleas to be part of Beth’s life worked. While Quinn’s actions seemed intended to shock, Puck’s actions seemed like those of a clumsy man- child tiptoeing towards maturity. Santana’s riff on Finn’s weight smacked both of body dysmorphic disorder and grand larceny (since she lifted the monologue wholesale from Sue, seemingly), but it all stems from a defense mechanism surrounding her sexuality. Finn’s retort seems like an attack to her, but it functions from his perspective like a wake-up call. “Glee” gets really focused when it feels like doing so, and manages to produce complex emotions from unlikely sources as a result…
 
…and yet, it’s clear that the show only does so when it’s interested in the character in question. The show has handled Rachel reasonably well this season, making her naked ambition something it admonishes as much as adores. But her dropping out of the student council race marks the second time already this season she’s stepped aside in order to make way for someone who may or may not have earned the slot she vacated. In the case of “West Side Story,” the issue is admittedly more complicated. While in real life the competition between Lea Michele and Amber Riley would be a landslide, in “Glee” world they represent equally strong yet wildly different performing styles. But her decision to cede the student council race to Kurt bespeaks not friendship but straight up condescension. Now, Lord knows “Glee” would show us as much of the student council race as it would the rehearsals for the school musical, but still, “Mash Off” packed in pretty much the entire race into one episode. It introduced some jock into the mix, told us Brittany hates tornadoes (but loves Topless Tuesdays), and that Kurt ran the only honest campaign. Had the Hummels’ attempts at running a clean campaign been the focus of the hour, with both led into temptation to appeal to their darker sides, maybe this would have been a worthy plot. But it was thrown in because the show couldn’t wait to unburden itself from another long-running storyline. And rather than have Kurt madder than ever at Rachel for another selfish move that insulted him, the two are once again besties on the potential way to NYC in the Fall…
 
…and yet, should I care? Other than briefly worrying about Kurt’s health when he first appeared wearing a hat that wouldn’t have been out of place on Campbell Scott’s head in “Dying Young,” I didn’t feel anything for Kurt this episode. Last week’s episode ended on what should have been a monumental moment for him with Blaine. And yet neither that pair nor Rachel/Finn seemed to acknowledge it happened. Maybe that’s a bold statement meant to convey that life after sex simply moves on, but I’m chalking this up to what I’ll subsequently call Epic (Fail) Theatre henceforth. I didn’t need the four spooning all episode to make the point, but all Blaine did this hour was get passed over by Finn for a solo after using a mic stand as a phallic symbol in “Hot for Teacher.” The only character I currently care about is Santana, because that’s the only character the show currently cares about. Everyone else is an iTunes delivery system, and little else…
 
…and yet, I’ll keep watching, because what happened in those five minutes happen enough in the course of “Glee” that even if this weren’t my gig to cover each week here at HitFix, I keep hoping those that produce the show actually watch their own episodes occasionally and see how freakin’ good this show could be if they stopped trying to be epic and started trying to be intimate. I want them to see Mike Chang dancing alone. I want them to see Santana’s naked emotion in tonight’s finale. I want them to fulfill the promise inherent in this show’s premise. And until this show goes off the air, I’ll be waiting for them to fufill it.
 
What did you think of “Mash Off”? Did those final five minutes floor you or bore you? Is the show burning through story too quickly or is story something that doesn’t concern you? Will Sue’s contrition last or will the congressional storyline continue? Sound off below!
 
Read Full Post
Caterina Scorsone on "Private Practice"

 Caterina Scorsone on "Private Practice"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Caterina Scorsone talks about Amelia's 'Private Practice' meltdown

She talks about her character's long, slow spiral into addiction

Caterina Scorsone, 30, plays neurosurgeon Amelia Shepherd on "Private Practice," but her character isn't worrying about neuroblastomas and brain tumors too much these days. Amelia (the kid sister of "Grey's Anatomy" Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd) has had her struggles with addiction in the past, but she officially fell off the wagon in recent episodes. She quit her job, wrote prescriptions for herself and threw herself into a drug-fueled affair with a handsome stranger named Ryan. On Thurs. Nov. 17, "Practice" will air a two-hour special episode focused on an intervention for Amelia. I spoke to Scorsone about her character's dramatic arc, what we can expect to come and why Amelia finally snapped.

Read Full Post
"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' cuts the last couple before the finals

One couple says farewell while the Muppets and Cobra Starship perform

 It's time to narrow the field to the final three. I think these episodes are really more about selling brand names and iTunes downloads than eliminating a couple (which takes all of about thirty seconds), but hey, who said commercials have to stay in the commercials? In a world of DVRs, you have to get creative. Bring on that AT&T Spotlight Performance!

Read Full Post
<p>Robin Williams plays two roles again in the new family sequel 'Happy Feet Two' opening this weekend</p>

Robin Williams plays two roles again in the new family sequel 'Happy Feet Two' opening this weekend

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Robin Williams gets serious about his crazy work in 'Happy Feet Two'

A legendary funny man plays it straight to discuss the new George Miller sequel

Robin Williams is an institution.

I'm sure that's not something an actor wants to hear, particularly one who still pushes himself out of his comfort zone so regularly this far into a career, but it's true.  He really is a living legend, and the pleasure at this point comes from watching the choices he makes.

In "Happy Feet Two," he once again plays two roles, and they're very different in attitude.  He's Ramon, the lovesick penguin who is still on the hunt for a mate, and he also plays Loveless, who appears this time as the most ardent cheerleader for Sven, a false prophet who shows up promising to save the penguins and teach them to fly.

It's hard to believe, but this may be the first formal interview I've done with Williams.  I've met him before, and we had a great and funny encounter a few years back when we ran into each other at Meltdown Comics, which Williams told me is one of his favorite places anywhere.  He's always been very genuine when I've run into him, and in this case, I was showing up about halfway through his second day of press for the film, and everyone I talked to was raving about how he was so on fire in their interview, doing impressions and voices and jokes.

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Fassbender and Nicole Beharie in a scene from &quot;Shame&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender and Nicole Beharie in a scene from "Shame"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Is NC-17 an antiquated rating?

Should the MPAA be empowered to make parenting decisions?

This year’s dark horse Oscar contender “Shame” has caused some people to question the purpose and validity of the NC-17 rating. It was no surprise when the MPAA slapped the film with the potentially restrictive scarlet letter as a result of frequent nudity and explicit (depressing) sex. Of course the emotional nature (or lack thereof) of the intercourse depicted is not listed as an official cause for the rating, but it is likely that it played a role (consciously or not) in the association’s decision.

It's easy enough to name a multitude of R-rated films that treat the human body with little to no dignity (topless water skiing was a fun addition to 2009’s “Friday the 13th” – topless water skiing), and though no one is surprised by the decision, “Shame’s” NC-17 does raise questions about the ratings system.

“I mean, it’s sex,” director Steve McQueen said at a recent press conference for the film. “I think it’s what most of the people in this room have done, if not all of us have done. I mean I’ve never held a gun in my hand in my life. So, it’s this whole weird thing where what we do in our daily lives should be censored. It’s very odd. And things that we have no idea of, or have no capability of doing, should be viewed on the masses.”

Read Full Post
"RuPaul's Drag Race"

 "RuPaul's Drag Race"

Credit: ABC

Watch: The first trailer for 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

Get a look at the fabulous contestants we'll see more of on season four

Now, we're not really sure why "RuPaul's Drag Race" is using a take on the Dharma Initiative's logo, but does it matter? In this first look at season four, RuPaul is making dragbots! 

Read Full Post
<p>Lily Collins is certainly fetching as Snow White, but Tarsem's 'Mirror, Mirror' looks like a little bit of a nightmare</p>

Lily Collins is certainly fetching as Snow White, but Tarsem's 'Mirror, Mirror' looks like a little bit of a nightmare

Credit: Relativity Media

Watch: Julia Roberts anchors the unintentional nightmare of the 'Mirror, Mirror' trailer

Now that we've seen glimpses of both Snow Whites, who's the fairest?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest trailer of them all?

Fair question to ask now with the release of Relativity Media's first peek at their comic fantasy "Mirror Mirror," which finds itself in direct conflict with the recently-released first trailer for "Snow White and the Huntsman," a far more sober-minded take on fairy-tale reality.

Today's trailer is interesting, especially in light of the idea that distributor Relativity Media is dealing with the morning-after fallout from the release of "Immortals," their big Greek mythology-as-modern-action-movie that was also directed by Tarsem Singh, who Relativity has bet big on.  The idea that they had him direct another fantasy so quickly, even before "Immortals" was in theaters, suggests that Relativity really liked what they saw.  I wasn't able to make it to "Immortals" before it came out, and it's been a crazy few days since then, so I have no idea how the film came together.  I know the overall critical reaction hasn't been particularly kind, and I've certainly had both great ("The Fall") and not-so-great ("The Cell") reactions to Tarsem's previous films, so I can see how a movie by him might be divisive.

Read Full Post
<p>Zachary Quinto and Penn Badgely in &quot;Margin Call.&quot;</p>

Zachary Quinto and Penn Badgely in "Margin Call."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Contender Countdown: Can 'Margin Call' crash the Oscar party?

Plus: A rundown of the best picture, director and screenplay races

"Frozen River," "The Messenger," "The Savages," "In Bruges," "Dirty Pretty Things," "You Can Count on Me," "Winter's Bone," "In the Loop," "City of God," "The Sweet Hereafter."  All examples of smaller and/or independent films over the past 15 years or so that found a way to sneak past the big boys into the Oscar party.  There are a number of potential candidates to join that list this year, but the big surprise among them may be "Margin Call."

Read Full Post
Watch: 'American Idols' Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams duet on 'Cold Outside'
Credit: AP Photo

Watch: 'American Idols' Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams duet on 'Cold Outside'

Watch them warm up on their jazzy take on the wintry classic

Former “American Idols” Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams are in a frisky, holiday mood as thy duet on the wintertime classic “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”  It’s a sweet, jazzy video that we think the Gap should immediately appropriate for its Christmas campaign.

The video comes a day after fellow season 10 finalist Paul McDonald released his duet with his wife, “Twilight” actress Nikki Reed on a sweet, country-flavored tune called “Now That I Found You.”

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Download for free: The Fray's new video for 'Heartbeat'

Download for free: The Fray's new video for 'Heartbeat'

Who brought the marshmallows for the s'mores?

The Fray’s Isaac Slade may want to “kiss your scars tonight” as he sings in the group’s new single, “Heartbeat,” but he also wants you to download the video for free.

The video for the track, which is soaring up Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs chart and this week is sandwiched between, oddly enough, Nickelback and LMFAO, premiered today on iTunes.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME