Latest Blog Posts

<p>Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock in &quot;Extremely Loud &amp; Incredibly Close.&quot;</p>

Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Long Shot: Don't go to bed angry

Feeling strangely fine ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards

With four days to go until the Academy Awards, we've reached the point in the season -- indeed, given the season's inordinate length and predictability, we've been there for some time -- where everything that's potentially exciting or commendable about this year's awards can be turned against the institution behind them by sufficiently ill-tempered critics and observers.

Isn't it kind of cool that the Best Picture winner is almost certain to be a silent, black-and-white comedy with no household names involved, and the first Oscar champ in the category from outside the US or UK? Oh, I'm sorry, it isn't: assorted corners of the blogosphere have ruled that "The Artist" is disposable, middlebrow fluff, that the Academy is caving to the cynical philistinism of Harvey Weinstein, that voters are out of touch and un-American to boot. (Oh yeah, and Jean Dujardin is bloody Roberto Benigni all over again -- because all Europeans are the same, right?)

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Watch: The Doors' John Densmore grills Skrillex on 'Re:Generation'

Watch: The Doors' John Densmore grills Skrillex on 'Re:Generation'

Plus, The Crystal Method's Ken Jordan shares his favorite new DJs

Call John Densmore a skeptic.  Newly-minted Grammy winner Skrillex  had his work cut out for him when he paired with the Doors, including drummer Densmore, to create a new song based on “Riders on the Storm” in “Re:Generation,” a new documentary that links well-known DJs, such as the Crystal Method, DJ Premier and Mark Ronson, with artists in other genres.

The film, which plays in theaters Feb. 23 before finding a TV and then DVD home, chronicles the musical journey that all the musicians travel when they step out of their comfort zones.

[More after the jump...]

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UPDATED: Academy spokesperson claims Sacha Baron Cohen NOT banned from Oscars
Credit: Paramount Pictures

UPDATED: Academy spokesperson claims Sacha Baron Cohen NOT banned from Oscars

AMPAS still doesn't feel a 'Dictator' publicity stunt is 'appropriate'

UPDATE [8:43 PM EST]: An Academy spokesperson has told The Hollywood Reporter that Cohen has in fact not been banned from the 2012 Oscar ceremony, but that they also do not welcome a publicity stunt to promote the comedian's upcoming film "The Dictator". "We haven't banned him," the spokesperson told THR after the story first broke on Deadline. "We're just waiting to hear what he's going to do." That said: "We don't think [a publicity stunt is] appropriate...But his tickets haven't been pulled. We're waiting to hear back." Based on that statement, it sounds like the threat of being banned still looms, however.

ORIGINAL STORY: Sacha Baron Cohen has been banned from attending this year's Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, due to the organization's fears that the comedian will cause a scene on the red carpet by showing up as his character from the upcoming comedy "The Dictator".

According to Deadline, it appears the only way Cohen will be given entry is if AMPAS is assured there will be no funny business at the ceremony, which is taking place in Los Angeles this Sunday.
The hubbub arose after a proposal was floated to the Academy regarding the actor's plans to walk the press line in the guise of Admiral General Aladeen, the fictional Middle East despot he portrays in the new film, which was directed by "Borat" and "Bruno" director Larry Charles.
Despite Cohen's banning, the resulting imbroglio is a definite win for the actor and distributor Paramount, who clearly realized the planned stunt would generate free publicity whether "Aladeen" was cleared to walk the red carpet or not.
Cohen is one of the stars of Martin Scorsese's "Hugo", which is up for 11 awards on Sunday including Best Picture. He is also a member of the Academy.
This isn't the first time Cohen has butted heads with the organization. In 2007 the the Academy asked him to be a presenter, but the comedian declined the offer when the organization turned down his request to appear on-stage as the title character from his 2006 smash hit "Borat".
One possibility is that AMPAS felt the gag would be inappropriate in light of the horrifying spate of violence currently taking place in Syria, where thousands of dissidents have been killed in a brutal crackdown by the country's tryannical president Bashar al Assad.
What do you think of Cohen's Oscar banning? Is the Academy doing the right thing, or do they need to lighten up? Sound off in the comments below!
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<p>FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's &quot;Idol,&quot; so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.</p>
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FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's "Idol," so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Final Judgment, Part 1 - Live-Blog

The contestants perform one last time and the judges deliberate

Is everybody ready for tonight's 12-hour "American Idol"?

Oh, I kid. It's only six hours.

I kid again!

Wednesday's (Feb. 22) "American Idol" is only TWO hours.

See? It doesn't sound so bad anymore, does it? 

You're welcome.

On to the recap, after the break...

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<p>&quot;A&nbsp;Separation&quot;&nbsp;won awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Film Not in the English Language.</p>

"A Separation" won awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Film Not in the English Language.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

International Cinephile Society awards 'A Separation,' 'The Tree of Life'

'Margaret' walks away with two acting honors

The International Cinephile Society may be the last of innumerable critics' groups to announce their top film achievements of 2011 before the Oscars finally call a moratorium on the practice -- but in a season that has long since fallen prey to fatigue, this fresh, imaginative list of winners couldn't come as a more welcome pick-me-up. As a voting member of the ICS, I'm pleased to say I'm as surprised as anyone by some of the results, which stray far from the Oscar pack and include a handful of unique choices.

I'm pretty sure, for example, that this is the first group to hand their Best Actor prize to British newcomer Tom Cullen for "Weekend" -- my own first choice in the category. And if the London Critics' Circle pre-empted the ICS by choosing Anna Paquin as Best Actress, this is certainly the first mention for Paquin's onscreen mom in "Margaret," J. Smith-Cameron, in the Best Supporting Actress category. Kenneth Lonergan's beleaguered little film just keeps chugging along -- who knows what could have happened had it received more critical and studio support upon its September release?

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<p>Jamie Hewlett's interpretation of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000</p>

Jamie Hewlett's interpretation of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000

Listen: Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 combine for 'DoYaThing'

LCD Soundsystem's frontman meets the boing-boing of Outkast

The combination of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 sounds exactly like what you'd think it'd sound like: boing-boing, beep beep, bounce bounce.

This funky collaboration was created in the name of Converse, for their Three Artists, One Song series. It bowed on BBC radio today and will be available through the company's website tomorrow.

The track is another good origin of the query: Why isn't Andre 3000 rapping on everything ever in the whole world ever? Murphy might as well have been filing his nails or cleaning the bathroom when he wrote the mindless refrain "You want to do it, but you don't know what you're doing, baby," but that doesn't mean I won't remember it.

And Albarn sounds thankfully better here than he did at the Brits last night with Blur. Haters: hating. Keep your eyes peeled for the music video.

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"The X Factor"

 "The X Factor"

Credit: Fox

Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid talk 'X Factor' rumors about Britney, Whitney

Cowell explains why he's committed to the 'Jennifer Hudson save'

Wondering who will replace Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones on "The X Factor"? Well, despite rumors that Britney Spears, LeAnn Rimes or Janet Jackson might be stepping in, Simon Cowell and fellow judge L.A. Reid are staying mum about the top candidates. "This happened last year," Cowell told reporters in a conference call. "There's loads of speculation, some true, some not true. It's true to say a lot more people are interested. We're waiting to see who contacts us... which is a good place to be in." According to Cowell, possible replacements are still up in the air. "We will be meeting with people over the next few weeks, mainly to explain that this is a big commitment with the mentoring."

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<p>Preparations underway for this year's Oscarcast at the theatre formally known as the Kodak</p>

Preparations underway for this year's Oscarcast at the theatre formally known as the Kodak

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

In advance of Sunday's Oscars, the Kodak Theatre officially loses its name

And is it maybe time to start considering other venues anyway?

You might recall the story a couple of weeks back about the Kodak Theater potentially undergoing a moniker change, as Kodak, amid financial reorganization, wanted out of its deal with the Hollywood & Highland complex where the annual Oscars are held. In a nutshell, the company no longer afford the hefty yearly price tag of maintaining the naming rights to the facility.

Well, it looks like that change is already in effect. Over at The Odds, Steve Pond's sharp eyes caught this bit of language in a press release announcing Meryl Streep as one of this year's Oscarcast presenters: "Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, from the Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live by the ABC Television Network." Hollywood & Highland. Not Kodak. Most of us probably just slid that email on over to the trash, but good on Pond for catching it and ringing up the Academy to confirm.

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<p>Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.&nbsp; I want to see that.</p>

Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.  I want to see that.

Credit: Drafthouse Films

One Thing I Love Today: Exclusive new Mondo poster for Belgian Oscar-nominee 'Bullhead'

A Polish-inspired piece of art for the powerful limited release impresses

I love movie posters.

I know that seems sort of obvious, but if going to the movies is my church (and I think it is), then great movie posters are a sort of article of faith for me, objects that connect me to that thing I love.  One of the reasons I wanted to work at a movie theater when I was a teenager was so that I could have access to the movie posters, and I amassed an absurdly large collection of them, taking home everything that interested me and wallpapering my bedroom to the point where there were posters on top of posters on top of posters, a visual assault of movie-related imagery that I loved waking up to every morning.

Watching the evolution of movie posters over the last 20 years has been sort of disheartening.  Movie advertising in general has become very slick and calculated, and it all looks generally the same.  You see trends where one trailer does something and 50 trailers do the exact same thing because it worked.  You see posters that look like they took an intern 30 minutes to create in Photoshop.  You see an indifference to the idea of movie posters as art, and they are disposable as a result.

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<p>&quot;There's no place like home...&quot;</p>

"There's no place like home..."

Credit: Profiles in History/Lou Bustamante

Leonardo DiCaprio helps 'Wizard of Oz' slippers find their way home to the Academy

Steven Spielberg and Terry Semel aided in effort to bring ruby slippers to museum

There's no place like home...even for a pair of shoes.

With Leonardo DiCaprio and some other "angel donors" leading the way, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has acquired Judy Garland's legendary ruby slippers from 1939's "The Wizard of Oz" -- possibly the most famous footwear in film history -- for the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Major donations came from Steven Spielberg and former Warner Bros. and Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, and other donors.

"The ruby slippers occupy an extraordinary place in the hearts of movie audiences the world over," said Disney's Bob Iger, who acts as chair of the Academy's capital campaign. "This is a transformative acquisition for our collection."

"Leo's passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history," added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. "It's a wonderful gift to the Academy museum project, and a perfect representation of the work we do year-round to preserve and share our film heritage."

Although there are four pairs of ruby slippers known to exist, these slippers (known as the "Witch's Shoes") are in the most pristine condition, and are believed to be the very slippers that Garland wore on set for the famous scene in which Dorothy clicks her heels together three times and repeats the immortal words "There's no place like home" in order to return to Kansas.

After the film wrapped, the various pairs of slippers were put into storage at MGM's Culver City lot for over thirty years. MGM costumer Kent Warner stumbled upon several pairs while preparing for a studio auction in 1970. One pair was sold at said auction and was eventually donated to the Smithsonian, while Warner kept the finest pair – the "Witch's Shoes" – until he sold them in 1981. Seven years later, another collector bought them, allowing them to be displayed in public at the National Portrait Gallery and the Library of Congress.

Now (or, more accurately, in a few years) fans will have chance to see the famous footwear when the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens. It will be located inside the historic May Company building at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave., currently known as LACMA West.


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All of Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

All of Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Adele, Whitney Houston and Nicki Minaj also see surges

Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” takes her where “The One That Got Away” could not: to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Not only does “Part of Me” hit No. 1, the song debuts in the top spot, making it the 20th song in the 53-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to start its chart life at the top. The last song to do so was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”  almost exactly a year ago. Both songs received their coming out at the Grammy Awards.

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Credit: Justin Broadbent

Can Metric's new album 'Synthetica' set new records for the band?

Rock band's last 'Fantasies' wrote a new page on independent releases

Metric's last album, 2009's "Fantasies," quietly sold millions of album worldwide, and those profits -- more than any other album in the Canadian band's history -- went largely and directly into their pocket. In fact, they grossed more for themselves from its sale than all their other their other records combined.

That's because the band went the independent route when it came to releasing "Fantasies" outside of their home country; their own label Metric Music International got distribution from indie groups like PIAS. The acclaim they earned for songs like "Help I'm Alive" helped propel them onto film soundtracks and movie works like "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World." They were also among the bands to prove that an artist without a traditional label deal can make it into the top 20 of U.S. rock radio's spin lists: songs like "Help," "Gimme Sympathy" and "Gold Guns Girls" all made it into regular rotation in 2009 and 2010.

"Fantasies" topped out at No. 76 on the Billboard 200, but also managed to tap into success on the web: right around the time Spotify picked up, the band put "Fantasies" up for $.99 and found new fans and buyers quickly that way. They also utilized TopSpin's innovations to maximum capacities, with all downloads, data and word-of-mouth going straight to the band, and not to their label. They let their pool of fans, then, remix their tracks for a revamped "Fantasies" release, which dropped last year, which gave the album longer legs.

And undoubtedly, Metric will be using all that data and cash to go even wider this year, as they prepare to drop their brand new album "Synthetica" on June 12. This time, the album will go out via MMI in conjunction with Mom + Pop, who (as I previously mentioned) is on freaking fire (Andrew Bird, Sleigh Bells, Ingrid Michaelson). This deal will give them the added benefit of distro indie RED, and, undoubtedly, since the band was doing just fine on their own thankyouverymuch, you can imagine that striking any deal will be on their terms as far as profit share is concerned.

"Synthetica" was produced by Metric's guitarist Jimmy Shaw, partly out of Shaw's Toronto-based Giant Studio (co-owned by gnarly genius Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979) and partly out of the legendary Electric Lady studios in New York. The band started work on "Synthetica" the day after they shined off their Fantasies tour in November 2010.

Frontwoman Emily Haines says that the title was inspired by the "skin jobs" out of "Blade Runner."

"If you imagine a nightmarishly fake version of me as a pop star, that's her," she says.  "And this record was about me saying, I'm going to give more to the music than ever, but there's no way I'm going to turn into someone like that."

Tour dates are to be announced.

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