Latest Blog Posts

<p>Woody Harrelson in &quot;Rampart.&quot;</p>

Woody Harrelson in "Rampart."

Credit: Millennium Entertainment

'Rampart' campaign ramps up with qualifying release next week

Woody Harrelson vehicle to have one-week run ahead of January opening

I'm finally seeing Oren Moverman's police drama "Rampart" tomorrow evening, so for now, I'm taking it on Kris' word that Woody Harrelson's lead performance in the fall festival baby is a dark horse to be reckoned with in the Best Actor race. Kris has opined that Harrelson's turn as a volatile cop in 1990s LA is the high-water mark of the two-time Oscar nominee's career, but has voiced concern that his under-the-radar vehicle (distributed by budget outfit Millennium Pictures), may have landed too late in the race to get him in the circle, despite critical support.

"Why not hold it until Sundance next year?" was the question Kris and Anne brought up in last week's edition of Oscar Talk, something one asks every year of several indies that impatiently decide to debut in the cold crush of awards season. Still, Millennium are opting for the best of both worlds: they're releasing the film in late January 2012, when it'll have slightly more commercial breathing room, but holding a one-week, one-screen release next week so as to qualify it for Oscar consideration this year.

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<p>Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep in &quot;The Iron Lady.&quot;</p>

Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Early reviews for 'The Iron Lady' cool on film, hot on Streep

British broadsheets first to the punch on Margaret Thatcher biopic

I can't remember the last time a major prestige release was reviewed by newspaper critics before either the trades or the bloggers got their paws on it -- it's an almost romantically old-school approach, but that's exactly how the first critical word on "The Iron Lady" has leaked out. Perhaps studio masterminds figured UK print critics might be more invested in a biopic of Britain's most contentious politician, though they've covered their bases by allowing both liberal bastion The Guardian and right-wing rag the Daily Mail at it simultaneously, with the conservative-leaning Telegraph somewhere in the middle.

Considering their different audiences, it's striking how similarly the Guardian and Telegraph reviews, by Xan Brooks and David Gritten respectively, read in many respects. Both are lukewarm on the film itself, Brooks a little more harshly so: the film is "often silly and suspect," he says, after accusing the filmmakers of printing the legend and dodging the grim social consequences of its subject's conservative policies, thereby giving us "Thatcher without Thatcherism."

The Telegraph is obviously less concerned about this, dismissing the film's "whistle-stop tour" of Thatcher's career, but commending it for an even-handed approach -- though he predicts US Republicans "will drool over it."

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<p>Bob Costas was tremendous in interviewing former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.</p>

Bob Costas was tremendous in interviewing former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.

Credit: NBC

NBC's Bob Costas destroys Penn State's Jerry Sandusky in interview

Costas goes into full prosecutorial mode with alleged child rapist

For the last two weeks, I've been unable to look away from the real-life horror story that is the child rape scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, and the cover-up allegedly perpetrated by legendary head coach Joe Paterno and various members of the administration (most of whom have been fired or put on leave). As a parent - hell, as a human - it's absolutely disgusting, and yet I keep reading every story, keep watching every clip, in the desperate but futile hope that it will eventually be revealed that someone, anyone, actually tried to do the right thing in this mess.

(If you've managed to stay away from this story, more power to you, and feel free to skip the rest. I just can't stop.)

Whatever Paterno and the administrators did or didn't do, Sandusky is the alleged monster at the middle of this, and I got queasy at the thought of NBC giving him a primetime venue in the form of a telephone interview with Bob Costas on last night's "Rock Center with Brian Williams." Yet, as with everything about this story, I couldn't look away. I had seen Costas go into interviews before where he so clearly felt he was on the side of the angels that he didn't do the proper prep work - like a 2001 HBO interview with Vince McMahon where McMahon ran circles around an under-researched Costas - and I worried that Sandusky and his lawyer might actually get over on Costas.

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<p>Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in &quot;The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Too much anal rape for Oscar?

Why 'Dragon Tattoo' isn't for the Academy, and why 'The Iron Lady' isn't for Maggie

After avoiding it scrupulously for months, as is my custom, I was finally faced with the trailer for David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" when I paid good money to see "Immortals" last night. (More on that later.) Though the film looks as dourly impressive as I'd expect, any number of reasons why it doesn't look like a major Oscar play ran through my head: too cool, too hot, too genre, too done. One I didn't think of was "too much anal rape," but Fincher himself offers that as a strike against its Academy Award chances in this chat with EW. He's willing to campaign, but the overall impression you get is of a man who really doesn't give a shit. And cheers for that. [Entertainment Weekly

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Tempest in a Tea Party'

Taylor and Lisa fight, but Taylor's in for a shock when the wives turn on her

This week promises to be a humdinger (at least that's what the promos have promised), as it looks like Taylor and Lisa are going to duke it out. I'm already inclined to think that Lisa will be the one to come out the winner, as she has that British reserve and tends not to get flustered about anything, and Taylor may be insane and in need of basic, life-sustaining nutrients. Still, no matter what happens, it should be interesting. Let's just hope Giggy doesn't get thrown into the middle of it. I think that little puffball might have a dark side.

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<p>Robin (Cobie Smulders)&nbsp;tries to talk to Kevin (Kal Penn)&nbsp;on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Robin (Cobie Smulders) tries to talk to Kevin (Kal Penn) on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Tick, Tick, Tick': A three-hour tour?

Barney and Robin try to confess their sins, while Ted and Marshall eat a band sandwich

A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as my ability to grow facial hair correlates with my ability to be a good father...

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<p>Meryl Streep and Vanessa Redgrave at the Academy's salute to Redgrave in London on Sunday night.</p>

Meryl Streep and Vanessa Redgrave at the Academy's salute to Redgrave in London on Sunday night.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

An evening with Vanessa Redgrave and the Academy

Meryl Streep and Ralph Fiennes lead the cheers at starry AMPAS tribute

LONDON - There was no shortage of stirring testaments from industry luminaries at last night’s vastly entertaining Academy salute to British acting titan Vanessa Redgrave at London’s Curzon Soho cinema, yet the moment that stopped my heart came long after the audience had filed out of the auditorium following the nearly three-hour presentation.

Nipping out to the foyer to catch some air, I was met with the sight of Redgrave herself, imperiously elegant in a pale gray dressmaker’s coat, purposefully raiding the ground floor café to find a chair for a rather special guest – legendary 98-year-old cinematographer Douglas Slocombe.

Returning with a stool, she eased the blind, crutch-dependent but still pin-sharp veteran of Ealing comedies and Indiana Jones films alike into his seat, crouching beside him and murmuring affectionately into his ear as we all waited for his car to arrive. Watching these two very different warhorses of British cinema sharing such an intimately mundane moment, 34 years after they worked together on “Julia,” was as moving a reflection of a passing cinematic generation as any of the night’s more formal AMPAS tributes.

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' heads into the semi-finals

One dancer suffers an injury that may lead to elimination

It's the semi-finals of "Dancing with the Stars" and for whatever reason we're still stuck with Rob Kardashian, whose only reason for clinging to the bottom of the D-list is.... well, there isn't really a reason, other than one of his sisters made a sex tape, his mother is a marketing machine and lo and behold, the Kardashians are famous for no discernible talent or skills. In any case, his dancing seems to be progressing so we may get yet another week of Rob, but it's anyone's game at this point. Or, at least we can hope. There's some dancing and some talking to kick off the show, but pretty soon we're right in the thick of it, as our competitors have three (yes, three) dances to get through tonight. 

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<p>A scene from Monday's &quot;Terra Nova&quot;</p>
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A scene from Monday's "Terra Nova"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Terra Nova' - 'Proof'

A weak central story weighs down some decent material on the periphery
A few weeks ago, I wrote that “Terra Nova” took place in the least interesting time possible in the show’s timeline. Tonight’s episode “Proof” reinforced that. No, tonight’s episode wasn’t about a genius female mathematician who may or may not have inherited her father’s capacity for both equations and madness. It was about a whole lot of separate plot strands unspooling at once, but only one really registered as something potentially interesting. More than over, I wish this show had been “Cast Away with Dinosaurs,” set in the time when Taylor had to fend for himself as the sole member of the first pilgrimage. Too arty for television? More than likely. But it sure would have been a compelling ratings disaster all the same.
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<p>George Clooney and Alexander Payne talk &quot;The Descendants&quot;</p>

George Clooney and Alexander Payne talk "The Descendants"

George Clooney and Alexander Payne talk shooting on 'The Descendants' and praise 'The Wire'

Film icons talk 'shooting film and beating up actors' on TV

To be honest, I'm normally not a fan of studio created features or interviews edited by them, but after watching this conversation between George Clooney and Alexander Payne the chance to exclusively premiere it was just too hard to turn down.  

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<p>Rob Marshall on the set of &quot;Nine.&quot;</p>

Rob Marshall on the set of "Nine."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Cinema Audio Society to honor Rob Marshall

Guild gives their Filmmaker Award to Oscar-nominated 'Chicago' director

What do Quentin Tarantino, Gil Cates, Taylor Hackford, Henry Selick and now Rob Marshall have in common? Not a lot, to be honest. But they have all won the annual Filmmaker Award from the Cinema Audio Society, the guild that gives out its own sound awards in February.

I'm not sure whether or not the CAS determines recipients of this award based on their specific contribution to the art of sound in cinema, or simply who they like and who's available, but Marshall's work certainly has as much sound as anyone else's, and has been kindly treated by this fraternity: both "Chicago" and "Memoirs of a Geisha" landed CAS nominations (the former actually won the sound mixing Oscar). Moreover, if "Nine" failed to follow in their footsteps, musicals are still the genre that industry types most automatically connect with the notion of excellence in this particular craft.

Plus, he directed the last "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, and those are nothing if not noisy. I bet no one thought he'd be winning an award in the year he turned to that franchise, so good on the CAS for proving us all wrong. Anyway, congratulations to Marshall. Edited press release after the jump.

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<p>Evan Glodell is the star of 'Bellflower,' as well as the writer/director, and he sent in a list of his favorite post-apocalyptic films</p>

Evan Glodell is the star of 'Bellflower,' as well as the writer/director, and he sent in a list of his favorite post-apocalyptic films

Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Exclusive: Evan Glodell, star of 'Bellflower,' picks his five favorite post-apocalypse films

The writer/director of one of the year's best films picks some surprising titles

I'm a big fan of "Bellflower."

I think that's been pretty clear since January when I ranted and raved and ran both a pair of interviews and a review during the festival.

Now it's finally arriving on home video this week, and the Blu-ray is flat out gorgeous.  It's also got the DVD inside, and it's a handsomely packaged release by Oscilloscope Laboratories.  In honor of the release at home, I'm going to be running some lists this week that were put together by the cast of the film, in which they name their favorite post-apocalyptic films.

First up, fittingly, is Evan Glodell, who wrote and directed the film, and he also stars in it.  He's a real talent, and an interesting guy overall, and yet when he sat down this weekend to record the podcast, he confessed that he has some strange blind spots in terms of what he has or hasn't seen.

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