Latest Blog Posts

<p>Eloise Mumford in &quot;The River.&quot;</p>

Eloise Mumford in "The River."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'The River' & 'Southland'

Lena looks for her father, and Tang has her worst day ever

It's morning round-up time, with brief thoughts on last night's "The River" and "Southland" coming up just as soon as I get the cops to shut my bar mitzvah down...

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<p>In the &quot;Parenthood&quot;&nbsp;finale, Jasmine (Joy Bryant)&nbsp;and Crosby (Dax Shepard)&nbsp;have a wedding.</p>

In the "Parenthood" finale, Jasmine (Joy Bryant) and Crosby (Dax Shepard) have a wedding.

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'My Brother's Wedding': Happily ever after?

A great but messy show struggles to make things neat in a potential series finale

A review of tonight's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I ask you a serious question about expiration dates...

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<p>You didn't think I was gonna use yet another photo of &quot;The Artist&quot; did you? &nbsp;<em>Again?&nbsp; </em>No, it's time to move on. Next frontrunner out of the gate: &quot;The Dark Knight Rises&quot;&nbsp;on July 20.</p>

You didn't think I was gonna use yet another photo of "The Artist" did you?  Again?  No, it's time to move on. Next frontrunner out of the gate: "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Lessons learned from the 2011-2012 Awards Season

Marty is the new Clint, go early or go home, polaraizing films polaraize and more

Before we take a long view of the lessons of this past awards season, it's time to do some housekeeping. A little shindig called the Academy Awards were Sunday and some pretty statues were given out.  I'd made some predictions a few days before and -- like many pundits -- I got my share right and wrong.

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<p>There is nothing about this photo that I don't love.&nbsp; Wherever you are tonight, Cap'n Video, I raise a beer to you.</p>

There is nothing about this photo that I don't love.  Wherever you are tonight, Cap'n Video, I raise a beer to you.

Credit: Primitive Entertainment

One Thing I Love Today: 'Beauty Day' looks back at Cap'n Video, the original Jackass

A simple documentary about a simple lunatic makes for good times

Good documentaries have a very simple and direct appeal.  We engage because we are watching something true, and often, something we had no idea about.  I have always been drawn more towards documentaries about people or places than issues, because I find people endlessly interesting, and documentaries capture us in all our freaky glory.

In the case of "Beauty Day," a Canadian documentary that is arriving on video in that country this week, I was hooked immediately by the the story of Ralph Zavadil, who made a name for himself as a local cable access celebrity in Ontario decades ago.  As "Cap'n Video," Zavadil was willing to do anything for a laugh, putting himself in harm's way over and over again before one stunt ended the laughter.

Or… did it?  Because the stunt that broke his neck was also the first stunt of his I ever saw, without knowing who it was or what the circumstances were.  I didn't realize it was from a show or that this was a guy who did this on a regular basis.  I was introduced to Zavadil via the magic of YouTube and a friend who sent me a video in an e-mail with the header "OMG THIS IS THE STUPIDEST PERSON ALIVE EXCEPT HE MIGHT BE DEAD NOW!!"

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<p>Neal McDonough as Robert Quarles in &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Neal McDonough as Robert Quarles in "Justified."

Credit: FX

'Justified' - 'The Man Behind the Curtain': Eviction notice

Quarles and Raylan circle each other as the season reaches its mid-point

A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I swallow a peanut the wrong way...

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Placing the odds on the new 'Dancing with the Stars' cast

There's old stars, new names and weird choices in the running - but who has the best shot?

This morning the twelve new celebrity hoofers joining the latest season of "Dancing with the Stars" were announced, and while it was a good looking crew, this season lacked the Olympic/pro athlete ringers we've gotten used to in some (but not all) previous seasons. Still, that's no good reason not to place some bets for (or against) who will make it to the winner's circle. Not that you should take these odds to Vegas. Although really, do you want to be the sucker trying to put down money on a reality TV dancing show? 

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<p>The &quot;Cougar Town&quot;&nbsp;gang keep their helmets on.</p>
<br />

The "Cougar Town" gang keep their helmets on.


Credit: ABC

'Cougar Town' - 'Lover's Touch': Crash test dummy

Helmets and hard balls are the order of the day

A review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I call my body "The Truth" unironically...

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<p>The lovely young ladies from 'Project X' are somehow, even after five weeks of the most deranged party you can imagine, smiling.</p>

The lovely young ladies from 'Project X' are somehow, even after five weeks of the most deranged party you can imagine, smiling.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: The young stars of 'Project X' talk about surviving a five-week party

A glimpse inside the mayhem of this unusual production

The three friends who kick off the avalanche of bad behavior in "Project X" are played by J.D. Brown, Oliver Copper, and Thomas Mann, and the three of them together sat down to talk to us about the wild ride that was the production of the film.

In addition, I sat down with the lovely young ladies who represent the angel and devil on the shoulders of Thomas, the main character in the film.  Kirby Bliss Blanton plays Kirby, the girl who has been friends with Thomas for years.  He thinks of her as "one of the guys," which is a convenient way of keeping his shameless crush on her at bay.  And Alexis Knapp plays Alexis, the rich bitch bad girl who decides that she's going to give Thomas the best birthday present a teenage boy can ask for.

As you can see, they're playing with pretty familiar teen movie archetypes here, and in our conversations, it feels like all the young actors are aware of what they're playing, and aware of the tradition that these roles fall into.

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<p>Phillip Phillips of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Phillip Phillips of "American Idol"

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Semifinals - The Top 13 Men Perform

Who bombed? Who soared? Who got the extra slot?

Let's get down to performing! 

I've been doing live-blogs all through the seemingly endless audition and Hollywood phases of the season. I've never tried live-blogging a performance episode. So I'll give it a try tonight and it'll either work or it won't. Probably that means that I'll be updating the blog after each performance. So semi-live-blogging? 

Anyway... Let's see how this goes! Follow along and chime in with your own opinions on each performance...

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<p>Zac Efron is the main character in 'The Lorax,' adapted from the beloved book by Dr. Seuss, and he is even named after the author's real-life name, Ted Geisel</p>

Zac Efron is the main character in 'The Lorax,' adapted from the beloved book by Dr. Seuss, and he is even named after the author's real-life name, Ted Geisel

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Rob Riggle and Zac Efron give voice to good and bad guys in 'The Lorax'

Two very different stars discuss bringing their animated characters to life

Zac Efron and Rob Riggle are an odd couple, and in "The Lorax," they go head to head in a  battle for the environment of Thneedville.

I'm sure most teenage girls, faced with the choice between Efron and Riggle, would find themselves hard-pressed to make the call.  I mean, sure, Efron's so pretty he makes 20-year-old Rob Lowe look like the Elephant Man, but what teenage girl doesn't dream of a hilariously sarcastic slab of 42-year-old Kentucky ham?

I kid because I think Riggle is awesome, and a near-total cartoon character in person.  What I find most interesting about his role in "The Lorax" is how completely opposite his character in the film is from him physically.  They couldn't have designed a more different character for him to play if they'd tried.  Riggle fills a room with his booming voice and his carved-from-beef physicality.  He's a big guy.  His character in "The Lorax," however, is about as tiny as can be, with a weird creepy haircut and a classic case of little-man syndrome.

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Listen: Norah Jones wants you out of her head and heart on 'Happy Pills'

Listen: Norah Jones wants you out of her head and heart on 'Happy Pills'

First single from Danger Mouse-produced 'Little Broken Hearts' bounces along

Norah Jones wants you to just leave her alone. On her new tune, “Happy Pills,” she’s anything but when her ex comes around.

The mid-tempo tune has a bounce to it, even though lyrically it’s a fairly sad state of affairs.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Sufjan Stevens</p>

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens teams with Anticon label mates Serengeti and Son Lux

Trio will release 'Beak & Claw' EP as s/s/s

Enigmatic indie rock icon Sufjan Stevens has a history of doing the unexpected, whether it's planning (somewhat jokingly) to release an album dedicated to each of the fifty states (he's done two so far), recording multiple Christmas tunes, or composing a multimedia extravaganza celebrating the history of New York's BQE. Now the Detroit native is teaming with experimentalist Son Lux and rapper Serengeti (both on the revered underground hip hop label Anticon) for the new group s/s/s.

They'll release their debut EP, "Beak & Claw" on March 20.

The four-song release will include guest appearances by My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden on "If This Is Real" and Anticon fixture Doseone (Subtle, cLOUDDEAD, Themselves) on the likely hilarious "Octomom."

Stevens, mostly known for the hushed, folk-inflected orchestral pop found on "Illinois" and "Seven Swans," has always had an ear for the experimental, and his last full-length, "The Age of Adz," delved deep into dark, electronic territory.

Stevens and Serengeti previously teamed on a Buck 65 remix of Steven's "You Are the Blood" (which was a cover of a Castanets tune).

Here's the track listing for the "Beak & Claw" EP:

1. Museum Day
2. Beyond Any Doubt
3. If This Is Real
4. Octomom

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