Latest Blog Posts

<p>Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Disaster Averted': Slap schtick

The gang survives Hurricane Irene and Barney turns to the slap bet to get out of the duckie tie bet

A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I get up and say I'm going to star in a YouTube video...

Read Full Post
<p>Andy Serkis as Caesar in &quot;Rise of the Planet of the Apes.&quot;</p>

Andy Serkis as Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Credit: 20th Century-Fox

Fox campaigns for Serkis, reignites mo-cap debate

Studio CEO calls 'Apes' turn 'one of the great emotional performances ever'

It seems longer ago than August that the movie-blog fraternity was getting worked up about Andy Serkis's digitally-enabled performance in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," with many getting prematurely irate about the awards attention he would inevitably not receive.

I wrote my two cents about it then, arguing that, skilful as his work is, "much of the critical praise for Serkis’s Caesar hinges on a undeniable expressiveness that has nonetheless been enhanced beyond the actor’s own means." Whether that qualifies for acting awards or not is in the eye of the beholder.

For my part, I don't find the perfectly nifty finished performance interesting enough to merit consideration, so it's a moot point. Personally, I find Serkis's second motion-capture creation of 2011 -- the sozzled Scottish seadog Captain Haddock in "The Adventures of Tintin" -- the more rewarding turn, and I wouldn't throw statuettes at that one either. I appreciate I may be in a minority here.

Read Full Post
<p>I&nbsp;like the rabbit trying to sneak into the NC-17 movie, because we all know what rabbits love to do, don't we?</p>

I like the rabbit trying to sneak into the NC-17 movie, because we all know what rabbits love to do, don't we?

Credit: MPAA

Have 43 years of MPAA ratings really helped parents at all?

As Fox Searchlight prepares to test the NC-17 waters again, we look back

During my vacation, I was poking around Twitter late one night and talking to Sasha Stone, owner and operator of Awards Daily.  We were talking about Fox Searchlight's upcoming release of "Shame" and the NC-17 that the film was awarded.

She mentioned the full-frontal nudity by Carey Mulligan in an early scene in the film and how she was convinced that was one of the reasons for the most restrictive rating, and I told her I was fairly sure that was not the case.  Our conversation was blunt, with frank terminology used as a sort of shorthand, and one of my Twitter followers told me that a woman next to him on the train was actively offended by the terminology we were using.  That made me laugh because (A) the woman was reading his Twitter feed and (B) adults who get worked up over words they don't like are funny.

While it's easy to let a conversation about the functional insanity that defines what is or isn't appropriate for a sixteen-year-old versus a seventeen-year-old lapse into open silliness, it's a real conversation that is worth having.  During my vacation, the ratings system that is regulated by the MPAA had its 43rd anniversary, and it seems to me this is a good moment to reflect on whether or not it's doing the job it was created to do, what alternatives exist, and what the Internet means to ratings in general.

Read Full Post
<p>Jason Segal and Amy Adams with The Muppets</p>

Jason Segal and Amy Adams with The Muppets

Listen: Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Feist sing a 'Happy Song' for 'The Muppets'

Mmm, smells like Flight of the Conchords... plus Joanna Newsom

Need a pick-me-up after the new "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" soundtrack? How about a "Happy Song" with the Muppets?

"The Muppets" 2011 movie principals Jason Segal and Amy Adams help to lead "Life's a Happy Song." The title may make you urp, as may some of the lyrical content, but it may be more digestible considering who wrote it. Bret McKenzie, one half of "New Zealand's second most popular guitar-based, digi-bongo, a cappella, rap-funk-comedy folk duo" Flight of the Conchords, is serving as music supervisor on the film. Blame him for this interestingly gummy original track for the film, due in theaters on Nov. 23. Keep your ears open: Feist and Mickey Rooney also pull a cameo on the track.

There's also Joanna Newsom's nice little take on the famous puppets' theme song.

Read Full Post
<p>Laura Dern and Mike White of &quot;Enlightened&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Laura Dern and Mike White of "Enlightened"

Credit: HBO

HitFix Interview: Mike White talks 'Enlightened' and more

'Freaks & Geeks,' 'Pasadena,' 'The Amazing Race' and the state of network TV also come up
There's a lot of Mike White that goes into HBO's "Enlightened."
 
The "School of Rock" and "Chuck & Buck" scribe co-created "Enlightened" with series star Laura Dern and he wrote all 10 first season episodes. White has also been a regular director on the series and he plays Tyler, one of the variably desperate Data Processing denizens who find themselves working with Dern's Amy Jellicoe following her breakdown and subsequent in-progress recovery. 
 
"Enlightened" hasn't been a hit for HBO, but it has attracted a passionate pocket of fans and critical supporters, though even its devotees have a wildly varied reactions to an ostensible comedy that seems to strike every viewer in a different way.
 
In a wide-ranging interview, White talks about making viewers uncomfortable, his working relationship with HBO, past TV projects like "Freaks & Geeks" and "Pasadena" and the two-time "Amazing Race" veteran also talks about why Non-Elimination Legs are better at the beginning of the Race than at the end. [Like I said, it's far-reaching.]
 
Click through...
 
Read Full Post
<p>Pink</p>

Pink

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Pink gets all warm and fuzzy for 'Happy Feet Two' track

Could the pop singer be in it for a Golden Globe?

Pink conjures up her inner Judd with “Bridge of Light,”  a power ballad from “Happy Feet Two.” The theme song is all about how “only love can build a bridge of light” that has the same kind of inspirational, “you’re not alone” feel of the Judds’ hit “Love Can Build A Bridge” or basically any Celine Dion song.

We don’t know where the song fits into the movie, but it’s worth remembering that Prince snagged a Golden Globe in 2007 for his tune, “Song of the Heart,” for the original “Happy Feet.” Plus, Pink covered Rufus’s “Tell Me Something Good” for that first movie.  

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Gina Carano in a scene from "Haywire"
Gina Carano in a scene from "Haywire"
Credit: Relativity Media

Gina Carano is the art house answer to Steven Seagal in Soderbergh’s 'Haywire'

The film saw its world premiere last night at this year's AFI Fest

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm happy to introduce a new writer and a much-needed female voice to the In Contention team: Roth Cornet. And what better way to bring her into the fold than a report from last night's AFI Fest premiere of Gina Carano actioner "Haywire" from director Steven Soderbergh?

Steven Soderbergh premiered his new MMA spy-thriller “Haywire” at the AFI (not so) secret screening Sunday night at the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The director was in attendance along with Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and the film’s inspiration and star Gina Carano for a post-screening discussion moderated by “The Insider”’s Joel McHale.

As a filmmaker, Soderbergh is known to make idiosyncratic choices. Though many of his films contain a similar visual style and tone, he is ultimately only predictable in his unpredictability. Over the past several decades he has released art house favorites, glossy popcorn chompers, earnest awards efforts and occasionally, some combination of the three.

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained'

Fur flies between NeNe and Sheree in the season premiere

If you take the time to watch the season premiere of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," you may initially be lured into believing that wealth and fame has finally (and I mean finally) refined our fair ladies. Life seems to be a series of breezy, pleasant tasks, like moving into a fabulous new house or paying cash for a brand-new car. But rest assured -- these women are still crazier than bloodthirsty bedbugs and have lost none of their appetite for fighting and shrieking in public places, purses swinging back and forth as they hysterically flap their arms in indignation. Ah, some things never change!

Read Full Post
Review: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' soundtrack is heaven and hell
Credit: Atlantic/Summit/Chop Shop

Review: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' soundtrack is heaven and hell

Sap and strength for Bella and Edward's wedding music

The soundtrack to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” follows a similar template from series music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. Conscious of its audience and of the romance and melodrama of Bella Swan and her fans’ vampiric love affair, the sets have alternated between mania and depression, bliss and melancholia, or, as “Part 1” contributor Aqualung sings, “between heaven and hell.”

This 15-track collection furthers that dichotomy, even in its missteps and variance on that love-sick theme. To those who know Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s narrative propulsion in the forthcoming film, these polarizations can be easily heard in the warm ache of Christina Perri’s voice on “A Thousand Years.” There’s a half dozen songs here that’ll whet the rabid whistles of viewers eager for the wedding ceremony, and of Edward and Bella’s longed-for love-making.

And then there’s Bruno Mars And Theophilus London. The former’s screaming bawler “It Will Rain” smacks of studio or label interference, a big-name draw from the Atlantic crew among a sea of comparatively tiny ones (apologies, recent Warner Bros. convert and labelmate Iron & Wine). And while fresh Warner Bros. signee London’s urban/electronic sound is among the most lively of the bunch, it sticks out like a sore protagonist.

The upshots are tracks like Joy Formidable’s energetic rock opener “Endtapes” and Twilight actress and singer Mia Measto’s soothing “Llovera.” The Belle Brigade is still unconvincing as a scorned-woman blues outfit but it’s countered by a hard-working stomper Noisettes; as “Part 1” looks to capitalize on the other “F” word – feminine – it’s nice to have tracks like these to compliment the emotional sap of the soft middle section of the album (Cider Sky, Iron & Wine, Imperial Mammoth, Aqualung... damn, where are the Weepies?), a situationally befitting roar instead of a whimper from our constantly imperiled Bella.

There’s also the closer from score composer Carter Burwell: getting the full context on these songs, but especially this brilliant mood-making bit, will be a welcome sound to Twi-Hards.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" is out Nov. 8. The film drops on Nov. 15.

Read Full Post
<p>This promo image was released Friday as part of Ubisoft Montreal's announcement of 'Rainbow 6:&nbsp;Patriots'</p>

This promo image was released Friday as part of Ubisoft Montreal's announcement of 'Rainbow 6: Patriots'

Credit: Ubisoft Montreal

New trailer for 'Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Patriots' promises intense game experience

Do games offer a new form of moral-question-as-entertainment?

I have a feeling the video game industry is about to post some of their biggest success stories yet, with "Modern Warfare" and "Skyrim" launching this week and with a new "Assassin's Creed" just around the corner, hot on the heels of the launch of "Arkham City."  The money being made by some of these A-list titles is incredible, and in some cases, Hollywood's got to feel a little jealous of the action.

As these experiences get slicker, it's apparent that they're not competing directly with Hollywood as narratives, but instead are offering something much more visceral in the idea of the interactive experience.  When I think back on my favorite gaming memories from the last decade or so, it's no longer like the game memories I have from when I was a kid.  Today, there's an eerie virtual reality quality to high end videogames that I think starts to get a little scary in terms of the kinds of release people are being offered.  I remember great gaming moments as actual experiences, with a tactile quality that is very different than the passive act of watching a movie.

On Friday, Ubisoft made an unusual move this week out of fear of piracy.  They were told that they could expect a leak of a certain sizzle reel, and they decided to take the initiative to release the footage instead, as well as a major press release announcing "Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Patriots," in which your military team is pitted against American fundamentalist terrorists.

Read Full Post
<p>Brett Ratner at the premiere of &quot;J. Edgar&quot;&nbsp;Thursday night in Hollywood.</p>

Brett Ratner at the premiere of "J. Edgar" Thursday night in Hollywood.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Brett Ratner uses a gay slur and Hollywood just shakes its head in despair

Update: Academy stands by its man and GLAAD chimes in

Update: GLAAD has not sent out an official response yet to Ratner's comments, but here are their initial comments from a blog post this afternoon.

"This apology is a good start, but we're working with Ratner's people for more action, to clearly send a message to Hollywood that the anti-gay slurs used by bullies and bigots have no place in the world of entertainment, or anywhere else."

A GLAAD rep tells HitFix they hope to have a response later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

More telling, Academy president Tom Sherak tells Deadline he's standing by Ratner, for now.  Sherak is quoted saying, "His remarks were inappropriate.  He said it best in his apology, that his comments were dumb and insensitive. When you think of our community, it went against all the beliefs of the creative community we represent. He knew it was wrong and he issued that response as quickly as any human being ever has. The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again. He apologized and we will move forward. How do I know this? I’ve known this man for a very long time. He has many friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart. If it didn’t believe it, I would do something about it. This is about integrity and honoring the Academy Awards, but we all make mistakes and I believe he didn’t mean it.”

More on this story as news breaks. 

Original post: 1:24 PM PST

Just when you thought Brett Ratner might make it through co-producing the Academy Awards without causing controversy or embarrassing himself (let alone the Academy), big Brett opens his big mouth and something idiotic comes out.

Read Full Post
<p>Paramore's Hayley Williams</p>

Paramore's Hayley Williams

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Will you warm up to new Paramore song 'Hello Cold World?'

The second of three Paramore Singles Club tunes drops

Is Hayley Williams having a quarterlife crisis a little early? On new single “Hello Cold World” she humorously sings, “22 is like the worst idea that I have ever had/it’s too much pain/too much freedom.”  Luckily for the Paramore singer, she’s only got a few more weeks before she turns 23.

The existential angst seems to be only temporary on the track, which is the second of three offerings coming from Paramore Singles Club. Otherwise, the extremely energetic track,—like Blink-182 energetic—embraces making the best of what’s ahead, even when it looks awfully dark on the horizon.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME