Latest Blog Posts

<p>Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in &quot;The Killing.&quot;</p>

Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in "The Killing."

Credit: AMC

Lumps of coal: The worst TV I watched in 2011

Flimsy mysteries, bad comedies and terrible endings
I've written a lot of words praising the best TV had to offer in 2011. Now comes the dark side: the worst things I watched.
 
Read Full Post
Jessica Chastain was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and will also receive a special award for her breakout year.
Jessica Chastain was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and will also receive a special award for her breakout year.
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Tree of Life' leads with 7 nods from Online Film Critics Society

'Drive' and 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' also favorites

One holiday down, one to go. And in the lull, we can probably expect more precursor awards announcements, no doubt.

Today, the Online Film Critics Society has declared nominations (or maybe I missed them pre-Christmas, I don't know). And I guess it's only fitting that, given the group, it's the slate most in-line with my own views of the film year so far.

"The Tree of Life" led the way with seven nominations, but "Drive" wasn't far behind with six. "We Need to Talk About Kevin," meanwhile, had a decent showing, grabbing mentions for Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. And both of Werner Herzog's documentaries made it into that field (where "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" has for some reason been the dominant one of the two -- probably because that's the one most people have seen).

Read Full Post
<p>Anna Paquin in &quot;Margaret&quot;</p>

Anna Paquin in "Margaret"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: Score one for #teammargaret

Also: Changing the 'Dragon Tattoo' ending and Max von Sydow on 'Extremely Loud'

It's been a nice end-of-year push from #teammargaret on behalf of a number of critics, no doubt feeling empowered by their position (and perhaps allowing their opinion of Kenneth Lonergan's film to inflate a bit in the wake of perceived lack of support from the studio -- which is itself a stretch of the truth). And it looks like victory, as according to Esquire critic Mike D'Angelo, screeners have been sent to the Academy for the group's consideration. Perhaps all the fuss that has been kicked up over this one will force members to satisfy their curiosity and put the film in the player. And who knows? Maybe we'll get a surprise or two from the writers or actors branches. At least the possibility is alive, now. [Twitter]

Read Full Post
<p>Holly Earl and Matt Smith in the latest &quot;Doctor Who&quot;&nbsp;Christmas special.</p>

Holly Earl and Matt Smith in the latest "Doctor Who" Christmas special.

Credit: BBC

'Doctor Who' - 'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe': Screaming trees

The Doctor helps a World War II family in the annual Christmas special

The annual "Doctor Who" Christmas special premiered last night, and I have a very quick review of it coming up just as soon as I can't tell weapons from wool...

Read Full Post
<p>Yes, we've got opinions of more entertainment options than what's playing at your local multiplex.</p>

Yes, we've got opinions of more entertainment options than what's playing at your local multiplex.

Award Campaign's Best of 2011: TV, Music and Movies

Fassbender, 'Game of Thrones,' '30 Rock,' Adele and...Britney

I already ranked my top 10 films of the year last week, but taking a page from In Contention's own Kris Tapley I've decided to post my own picks in some of the major award season categories. Just for fun, I've also included some of my "best of the year" picks for TV and music as well. Granted, music is the most subjective these days, so if it makes you feel better consider my Top Singles of 2011 a "favorites" list.

And again, thanks to Mr. Tapley for letting me poach his idea.

Comments are included where it was deemed necessary.

Read Full Post
<p>A&nbsp;scene from Steven&nbsp;Spielberg's &quot;War Horse&quot;</p>

A scene from Steven Spielberg's "War Horse"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'War Horse'

The film hits theaters today

The road for "War Horse" to the screen has been an interesting one this season. Highly anticipated, the film screened for public before most press via pop-up showings in the heartland. When critics finally did get a look, reactions seemed to fly in all directions. I had my say, the film being of a piece with a year that has me kind of in the middle on so much. We talked to the film's famed cinematographer and have interviews with other elements of the cast and crew to come, but for now, you can finally give us your thoughts on the film as it hits theaters nationwide. If/when you make it out to a screening this holiday weekend, come back and give us your take.

 

Read Full Post
"Survivor"

 "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Reality TV Roundup: 'Survivor' and 'X Factor' pick winners, 'Real Housewives' pick fights

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch "The X Factor," "Survivor," "Top Chef," "Project Accessory" or "America's Next Top Model," the latest elimination for each show is revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

Read Full Post
<p>Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin of &quot;Shameless&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin of "Shameless"

Credit: Showtime

The Fien Print's TV Second 10 of 2011

Which shows just missed the cut for our critic's Top 10?
In case you've forgotten, here was my list of TV's Top 10 for 2011.
 
1) "Friday Night Lights"
2) "Breaking Bad"
3) "Downton Abbey"
4) "Parks & Recreation"
5) "Game of Thrones"
6) "Louie"
7) "Justified"
8) "Homeland"
9) "The Vampire Diaries"
10) "The Hour"
 
 
As I said when I posted my Top 10, after the Top 9, there were myriad shows that could have rounded out my list. 
 
Click through for my Second 10. As promised, after keeping my Top 10 to a sacred and unembellished 10, my Second 10 is full of cheats, including one thematic tie, one production block and one limited segment of a year that was otherwise kinda dismal.
 
Read Full Post
<p>What are all of these people looking at?&nbsp; Chances are, better movies than they appeared in during 2011.</p>

What are all of these people looking at?  Chances are, better movies than they appeared in during 2011.

Credit: Warner/A View Askew/Disney

Watch: Gay-baiting crazies and floundering franchises all part of the 10 Worst Films Of 2011

Some well-liked voices hit sour notes this year

Just as 2011 delivered some delirious highs, there were also some moments of jaw-dropping wrong-headedness, movies that aimed high and failed completely, and ineptitude on a level that is almost infuriating.  If we're passionate enough to pick the ten films that did everything right, you can bet we're passionate enough to pick the ten that got it all wrong.

I considered titles like "Jack and Jill," but the Happy Madison stuff is such a uniform sort of terrible that I find it hard to work up the energy to truly hate them.  I may think the "Twilight" films are terrible, but "Breaking Dawn" is so well-made that even if I don't like the text, I can respect the wrapping paper they've put it in.

No, to make this list, a film had to really spectacularly fumble it all, and if you throw in some truly nasty subtext, you've got a winning combination.  I dislike every single one of these films in an active and engaged way, and I have no interest in ever sitting through any of them again.  The great part about the end of the year is that you can put awful movies like this in your rearview mirror and move on.

But not without one more kick to the ribs...

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Michael Buble</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

 Michael Buble

Who will have the No. 1 album over the holiday? Michael Buble or Adele?

Who will be the only artist to debut in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 next week?

As seems only fitting, Michael Buble’s “Christmas” album looks like a sure shot to continue to be No. 1 over the  holidays as the No. 1 stocking stuffer is projected to sell up to 450,000 to top next week’s Billboard 200.

That means that his album of seasonal standards now pushes past Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to be the second best-selling album of all of 2011 after Adele’s “21.” That’s some handsome feat, considering the album didn’t come out until Oct. 15 (compared with Adele’s February release and Lady Gaga’s May street date).

Read Full Post
<p>Jeremy Irvine in &quot;War Horse.&quot;</p>

Jeremy Irvine in "War Horse."

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Round-up: 'Tis the season to be... snarky?

Also: Craig on switching from Bond to Blomkvist, and 'Moneyball' tech talk

One more sleep until Christmas, a day when the usual social restrictions on kitsch, sentimentality and sugar of all forms are lifted, as we all revel in shiny objects, soft lighting and Frank Capra movies. Not coincidentally, it's also the day Steven Spielberg's unabashedly saccharine "War Horse" is opening -- but many displeased critics aren't affording it the customary seasonal leeway, taking the film to task for its chocolate-box styling and blatant emotional manipulation. But is it the film that's too cynical, or the critics? Taking into account other schmaltzy recent releases, including "We Bought a Zoo" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Sasha Stone ponders the challenges of selling sentimentality in the 21st century. [Awards Daily]   

Read Full Post
Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist' leads with 9 Alliance of Women Journalists nominations

'The Help' and 'Shame' also do quite well

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists have released their nominations which heavily favor Oscar frontrunners such as “The Artist” and the “The Help” but also honors some lesser served films, such as “Shame” and oddly enough “Melancholia” (which was selected as having The Worst Female Images In A Movie by the Women Film Critics Circle earlier this week). Though I agree with the large majority of their selections, I also find myself feeling as though several of the categories undercut rather than support the overall goals.

I know Actress Most In Need Of A New Agent is meant to be in good fun, but it feels petty and out of sync with the tone of the nominations. Movie You Wanted To Love But Couldn’t is a bit muddied. “Drive,” “Sucker Punch” and ”Young Adult” do not belong in the same category as far as I’m concerned. More to the point, is the criteria that you wanted to love it but when you saw it you realized it was a well intentioned but overstretched, convoluted mess of a thing taken on by someone without the emotional maturity to handle the cinematic endeavor ("Sucker Punch"); or that you wanted to love it but it just isn’t your cup of tea?

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME