Latest Blog Posts

<p>Johnny Depp and Vincent Price in "Edward Scissorhands"</p>

Johnny Depp and Vincent Price in "Edward Scissorhands"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Oscar's big miss: 'Edward Scissorhands'

A look at one of the Academy's most glaring snubs

Who doesn’t love watching a great fairy tale on screen? But how often do new ones arise that make us think “Wow, that’s something new,” while also being deep, funny, engaging and gorgeous to watch?

1990’s “Edward Scissorhands” manages to do all these things. While it landed only one Oscar nomination (for Best Makeup), it manages to show the very best of filmmaking in innumerable ways and ranks among my favorite films of all-time.

First, we have the story, already alluded to. Capturing the themes of loneliness, innocence, growing up, family, self-doubt, doomed romance and the ironies of life, Tim Burton’s story hits on multiple human themes to which we all relate. It also managed to do this within heavy genre. Fairy tales have never been Oscar’s cup of tea, but they make for a great narrative. Of course, they have also been done to death, so coming up with a story that is old-fashioned yet completely modern and remarkably original while true to the genre is a feat that deserves special recognition.

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<p>Kylie Minogue</p>

Kylie Minogue

Credit: AP Photo

Kylie Minogue promises 'something different' on new album

As she continues her 25th anniversary celebration, she looks to 2013

As Kylie Minogue continues to enjoy celebrating her 25th anniversary year (yes, it’s been a quarter of a century since the Aussie icon released “Locomotion), she’s already looking ahead to her next album. And she promises it will be “something different.”

{13300278166710} Poised to come out in 2013, the next album will be her first since 2010’s “Aphrodite.”  She plans to work with a number of producers, Minogue told Metro at a K25 party at London’s Abbey Road Studios. “I have started on the new music already,” she said. On recording at the vaunted studio, she said, “I thought, ‘How much difference can a studio make?’ but it is a beautiful studio. The sound is just gorgeous—you know you are on hallowed ground.”

So far she’s keeping the producers’ names under wraps.

Up next for Minogue?  She heads to Sydney to continue the celebrations with a concert.

 

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<p>The-Dream</p>

The-Dream

Watch: The-Dream surrounds himself with lovely ladies in 'Roc' video

Plus, he preps for a club tour and talks Rihanna/Chris Brown remix

It’s a credit to the The-Dream’s sweetly smooth vocals that he can deliver lines like “Good loving, the grinding, the bumping, oh yeah, make that bed shake, that next day body ache.... I’m going to get behind it and I’m gonna make that thing shake,” as if he’s the reading Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s lots of little, not-so-subtle clues that this is about sex, if we haven’t gotten the hint that “roc” is a substitute for another one-syllable word— like white icing being spread on a girl’s face;  another lovely lady carries around a tray of cherry tomatoes and pops some in her mouth.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Can &quot;Rise of the Planet of the Apes&quot;&nbsp;hold off &quot;Hugo&quot;&nbsp;in the one category it seemed promised at the start of the season?</p>

Can "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" hold off "Hugo" in the one category it seemed promised at the start of the season?

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tech Support: Final predictions and analysis for 2011, from 'Hugo' to...'Hugo'

Will Martin Scorsese's film dominate the craft categories?

I’m scared. Why, you may ask? First, I’m wondering where on earth this year went. It seems like yesterday when Tech Support was beginning the 2011-2012 season. Next week’s wrap-up column will be the last of the season as the Oscars are given out Sunday night!

Second, however, I am scared because I am truly not confident in my predictions in the crafts categories this year. Only four – Art Direction, Makeup and the music categories – have me certain. Beyond that, things are quite open. I fear I may embarrass myself. That said, this does make things more exciting than is the case in the “major” categories!

So now, on to a final analysis!

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Watch: Pretty Lights and LeAnn Rimes learn lessons on 'Re:Generation'

Watch: Pretty Lights and LeAnn Rimes learn lessons on 'Re:Generation'

DJ works with Ralph Stanley and lives to tell the tale

Pretty Lights, aka Derek Smith, has his hands full with country legend Dr. Ralph Stanley in “Re:Generation.” The documentary, which plays in theaters for one day only, Feb. 23, before finding its TV home, pairs current DJs, such as Mark Ronson, Skrillex and Smith with artists in different genres. They then create an entirely new recording from the ground up.

Smith comes the farthest in the film musically: when he first finds out that he will be working in the country genre, he can’t disguise his contempt for the music, even though he barely knows anything about it. By the end, he’s found much to admire.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jim O'Heir as Gary &quot;Jerry&quot;&nbsp;Gergich on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Jim O'Heir as Gary "Jerry" Gergich on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: 'Parks and Recreation' presents the best and (mostly) worst of Jerry

The parks department's whipping boy keeps going and going and going

Outside of some of the kids from "The Wire," I can think of few characters in primetime in recent years who have suffered as consistently and profoundly as Jerry Gergich on "Parks and Recreation." For starters, "Jerry" isn't even really his name (it's Gary), but no one cared enough to learn it properly. Nothing he does is good enough for his co-workers, and no one quite appreciates his many awesome traits, including a healthy and loving marriage, a fine artistic talent, and, as the doctor in the clip below explains, a tremendous anatomical gift.

Tonight's episode celebrates Jerry's 16th birthday — sort of. As Leslie explains early in tonight's episode, "Sweet Sixteen," Jerry was born on Leap Day, so his birthday technically only falls every 4 years. (This also makes Jerry significantly older than actor Jim O'Heir, but he's a good sport about so much, so why not this?) So to celebrate this milestone birthday, NBC has put together another one of its "Parks and Rec" character highlight reels, which is exclusive to HitFix for the next few hours.

Enjoy the malapropisms, the stumbles, the pants splitting, and all the other misfortunes that befall poor Gary/Jerry over and over and over again, and my "Sweet Sixteen" review will be up at 9 Eastern.

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<p>Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is determined to take control of her fate in the new animated film 'Brave'</p>

Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is determined to take control of her fate in the new animated film 'Brave'

Credit: Walt Disney Company/Pixar

Watch: Pixar releases 2 1/2 minutes of new fairy tale 'Brave' as new trailer

You can see their new lead character, Merida, take control of her own fate

Disney has now released a two-and-a-half minute trailer for this summer's "Brave," and it's basically a trimmed-down version of one of the movie's key moments which was shown to the press last year at the D23 Expo.

It's a smart moment to use for many reasons.  FIrst, it's a great example of visual storytelling, and in a few quick moments, we learn a lot about the characters, the situation that Merida (Kelly MacDonald) finds herself in, and how she and her parents are at odds over her future.

In addition, it's a lovely example of how quickly Pixar can sketch character.  I feel like even though this is just two-and-a-half minutes long, we get a sense of all three of the suitors who are trying to win Merida's hand in marriage, and we get some sense of the dynamics between all of them.

Finally, I love the animation itself.  In particular, there's a moment in this scene when Merida is about to fire the last of her three arrows, and the physics of that arrow are so accurate, so well-done, that it reminds me just how far Pixar is ahead of most of their competition.

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<p>Meryl Streep and Viola Davis at the 2008 Academy Awards, where both actresses were nominated for "Doubt."</p>

Meryl Streep and Viola Davis at the 2008 Academy Awards, where both actresses were nominated for "Doubt."

Credit: AMPAS/Darren Decker

Round-up: On the Viola-Meryl pact

Also: 'Drive''s lone Oscar nominee, and predicting by mathematics

Later today, I'll be serving up our Oscar Guide in the Best Actress category -- but if you want an appetizer for that subject, Andrew O'Hehir has written a good piece on the sincere, season-long show of mutual appreciation between the category's frontrunners, Viola Davis and Meryl Streep. ("This is your year," Streep apparently said to Davis at the New York critics' awards.) He gets a few things wrong (like saying that Davis wasn't a surefire nominee last month, when she's plainly been the frontrunner since August), and I'm not sure the title "how Viola Davis took Meryl Streep's Oscar" hits the right note, but O'Hehir's insights into Davis's canny but not cynical self-campaigning, as well as the value of her relationship with Streep, are pointed and sensible amid a chorus of more hysterical commentary about the race. [Salon

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<p>Allie Grant and Maestro Harrell on &quot;Suburgatory.&quot;</p>

Allie Grant and Maestro Harrell on "Suburgatory."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'The Middle,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern Family' & 'Happy Endings' reviews

A good night for ABC's Wednesday comedies

Morning round-up time, and we're going to hit ABC's Wednesday comedy line-up in order, with quick reviews of "The Middle," "Suburgatory," "Modern Family" and "Happy Endings" all coming up just as soon as I start an organic lesbian catering venture...

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<p>One of the real-life Navy SEALs who star in 'Act Of Valor,'and snce I assume he owns that gun for real, he's a tremendous actor with a promising future on the bigscreen.&nbsp; Now please stop pointing that at me.</p>

One of the real-life Navy SEALs who star in 'Act Of Valor,'and snce I assume he owns that gun for real, he's a tremendous actor with a promising future on the bigscreen.  Now please stop pointing that at me.

Credit: Relativity Media

Review: 'Act Of Valor' combines real-life Navy SEALs and old-fashioned Z-movie nonsense

Disturbing military pageant is improbable but oddly detailed in its mayhem

"Act of Valor" is a spectacular action epic that is built around a cast of people who could probably kill me.  So… A+.  See it twice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Okay, I hope the real-life Navy SEALs who star in "Act Of Valor" just check that opening paragraph, because truth be told, I think "Act Of Valor" is the action movie equivalent of those Christian-market movies like "Fireproof" that come out, make a "surprising" amount of money, and then vanish again.  Insufferably earnest, it is a stunt more than anything, one hell of a high-concept hook but not much of a movie. 

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<p>Kat of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Kat of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'Total Dysfunction'

The Women tire of Colton and have new problems of their own
Pre-credit sequence. The Women return to camp after skating through Tribal Council without voting anybody off. Mike greets them by making it clear that he kept their fire going in their absence. Kat isn't impressed by his generosity, plus she's also terrified by bugs. Before bed, Christina takes Alicia aside and tries to set things right. To the camera, Alicia claims that Tribal Council went exactly the way she planned. After Christina vents and Alicia ignores, they shake hands. They hug. You'd think Alicia wants Christina out next, but you'd be kinda wrong. "Nina looks like a bag of rocks and I don't even know what that analogy means," Alicia teases. Interesting. And confusing.
 
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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'Fire and Ice'

The final three duke it out in another Vancouver challenge

We're down to the final three, and at this point I can only root for one chef: Paul. I have my reasons. One, he seems to be a very talented chef (hey, we can't taste the food, but judging by the comments he's gotten and his ingredients, I've been impressed). Two, he's really shown the most creativity in his dishes thus far. While he does use a lot of Asian influences, he seems able to look well beyond them and construct dishes that are truly modern (Sarah, on the other hand, has only recently seemed interested in cooking anything but straight Italian food). And three, he's not a mean girl. So, go Paul!

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