Latest Blog Posts

Download for free: The Fray's new video for 'Heartbeat'

Download for free: The Fray's new video for 'Heartbeat'

Who brought the marshmallows for the s'mores?

The Fray’s Isaac Slade may want to “kiss your scars tonight” as he sings in the group’s new single, “Heartbeat,” but he also wants you to download the video for free.

The video for the track, which is soaring up Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs chart and this week is sandwiched between, oddly enough, Nickelback and LMFAO, premiered today on iTunes.

Read Full Post
Foo Fighters and Joan Jett to recreate blazing 'Bad Reputation' tonight on 'Letterman'
Credit: AP Photo

Foo Fighters and Joan Jett to recreate blazing 'Bad Reputation' tonight on 'Letterman'

Watch the video from their MSG performance last week

They are very few people on this planet cooler than Dave Grohl, but one who definitely fits the bill is Joan Jett, whose coolness is off the meter.

As fans of both acts know, Jett joined the Foo Fighters a few days ago at New York's Madison Square Garden for a blazing version of Jett’s punk classic, “Bad Reputation.” It’s fun to watch Pat Smear and Grohl bouncing around, obviously having the time of their lives, as Jett tears the roof off MSG.  Grohl, who notes it's the first time they've performed together, appropriately introduces her as “the baddest motherfucker I know”  and calls it the "greatest fucking night of the tour." I'm convinced that if you look up "true believer" in the rock and roll dictionary, there would be a picture of Jett, who wrote this song with her longtime manager Kenny Laguna, Ritchie Cordell and Marty Joe Kupersmith more than (gasp) 30 years ago.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Maria Bello in &quot;Prime Suspect.&quot;</p>

Maria Bello in "Prime Suspect."

Credit: NBC

Requiem for a dead cop show: Why I'll miss 'Prime Suspect'

Maria Bello drama got much better, but won't be around much longer

The cold, hard truth of the TV business is that most new shows fail, and fail relatively quickly. But the kinds of early failures can vary.

First and foremost, you have your shows that deserved to fail, and conveniently did so. This season, for instance, the only people mourning the ends of "The Playboy Club" and "How to Be a Gentlemen" are the ones who worked on them (and maybe not even all of them). Bad idea and/or execution, and no one's going to miss it.

On the opposite end of the extreme you have those shows that spring into the world fully-formed, but that for one reason or another don't click with audiences. That kind of failure stings for the small group of people who watched, but at least they have a perfect collection of episodes to watch again and again on video. (My "Freaks and Geeks" DVDs and "Terriers" downloads say hi.)

In between you have all the shows that weren't terrible, but weren't instantly great, either. Maybe there's unrealized potential, maybe parts of it work and others don't, but it never really clicked and the people involved would probably be better served doing something else. ABC's "Mr. Sunshine" (yay) comes to mind.

And then there are the shows that are just starting to work out the bugs and become really, genuinely good when the plug gets pulled. "Journeyman" was one of those a few seasons back, where it took off creatively shortly before cancellation. And "Prime Suspect" -which isn't on NBC's mid-season schedule and is essentially a dead show walking - looks like another one of those. It became great, but only after almost everyone stopped paying attention.

Read Full Post
<p>Miss Piggy is the center of a romantic triangle in 'The Muppet Saga,' the latest parody campaign on behalf of Disney's Thanksgiving release of 'The Muppets'</p>

Miss Piggy is the center of a romantic triangle in 'The Muppet Saga,' the latest parody campaign on behalf of Disney's Thanksgiving release of 'The Muppets'

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

See Kermit and Piggy as star-crossed lovers in 'The Muppet Saga' posters

But who's the Jacob to Kermit's Edward?

I can't help myself.  I'm Muppet Mad at this point.

You'll see for yourself in a very few days, and when you do, I'm willing to bet that if you've ever loved The Muppets, you'll find yourself utterly defenseless when the film comes out.

For example, there's the music.  There are a few classic callbacks, including a freakshow casino jingle version of the "Rainbow Connection" that is sort of amazing, and it's nice to hear those old faves again.  The new material, though, is just as strong, which is a really welcome thing.  This is fun movie music, smart and funny and sweet, and even something as potentially terrible as Chris Cooper rapping in character as an evil billionaire named Tex Richman works on repeat listens.

But what the Muppets ultimately gets right is the characters, and recognizing what made them icons in the first place.  And they are.  They really are.  Anyone underestimating the deeply-seeded love that many people have for these characters hasn't seen it close up.  Jason Segel just recently signed up for Twitter, and in the first day or so of having his account, he told the story of a guy in his 40s who had a breakdown during an interview with Kermit in Mexico City, and the guy just started to hug Kermit while crying and mumbling in Spanish, and everyone except Jason got weirded out.  

Read Full Post
<p>Drake's &quot;Take Care&quot;</p>

Drake's "Take Care"

Review: Drake's 'Take Care' better now than 'Later'

Can Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder, more help this sophomore set?

In trying to parse just what bothers me about Drake, I can’t help but compare him to Kanye West, particularly the success of last year’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” While hip-hop still rages at hip-pop, here’s a whole load of so-called emo rap, both with the self-inflicted trappings of conflicted princes/kings; both with so much about feelings; both with artists expressing doubt and cosmic reflections through some singing, a lot of rhymes and a bevy of guest spots.

As I’ve written before, there’s something about October’s Very Own that feels spectacularly unearned. I think the heaviest weight of last year’s “Thank Me Later” was shouldered by guest talent and the endless hype from the Young Money movers. Drake’s abilities as a singer have grown somewhat on this new album, and that goes further to say that I think Drizzy is working harder than ever. But his rhymes, and his editing process, still have a ways to go, before his invitees aren’t always threatening to upstage him.
Take for instance “Make Me Proud” with Nicki Minaj. It takes song No. 10 into the 18-song monster (“Monster”?) for Drake to even threaten having some fun; this, after he waffles between the hair-smoothing bravado of “Over My Dead Body” and half-lamenting his “overconfidence” and rappers copping his “soap opera” style in “Headlines.” He swims in big, beautiful bloat of “Crew Love” featuring The Weeknd, “Take Care” with Rihanna and early arrival/fan favorite “Marvin’s Room” with Kendrick Lamar: these three make up a triple-punch to the tear ducts, but you can’t help to notice some vocal inferiority compared to the Bajan pop star and the rising co-Canadian Weeknd.
Read Full Post


Listen: Sigur Rós's Jónsi and Cameron Crowe's 'Gathering Stories' from 'Zoo'

Sparkling magical tune is one of two the Icelandic artist wrote for the Oscar contender

Though Jónsi's music, both as part of Sigur Rós and on his beautiful solo album,"Go,"  have luscious cinematic elements, his work on Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought A Zoo” marks the first time the Icelandic artist has composed music specifically for a theatrical release.

In addition to scoring the film, Jónsi also wrote two new songs for the movie, including “Gathering Stories,” which he co-wrote with Crowe. While “Zoo” is the first collaboration between the two, Crowe licensed three Sigur Rós tunes for 2001‘s “Vanilla Sky.” “Gathering Stories” premiered on NPR today. Hear it here.

Read Full Post
<p>Charlize Theron is not impressed by you.</p>

Charlize Theron is not impressed by you.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Exclusive: Charlize Theron has an attitude in the poster for 'Young Adult'

"She's hoping to score so I can't see her letting him go."

Marketing Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" has been a bit of a unique task for the director and Paramount Pictures. After all, a Reitman/Diablo Cody collaboration immediately conjures expectations of "Juno" (which, again, isn't as light and frothy as it has been considered over the years).

First came the teaser poster for the film, which was a riff on a young adult fiction book cover featuring a passed-out Charlize Theron, bottle in hand (and, I only noticed a few weeks back, a curiously phallic pillow draped across her back -- am I alone on that?). Then came the trailer, David Bowie's "Queen Bitch" bumping on the soundtrack and a bit of a broader shot that played coy with the film's darkest comedy elements.

Now we get the official one-sheet for the film, which has Theron and her attitude front and center and falls somewhere in between the two stabs at boiling the film down for a general audience.

Read Full Post
<p>Woody Harrelson in &quot;Rampart.&quot;</p>

Woody Harrelson in "Rampart."

Credit: Millennium Entertainment

'Rampart' campaign ramps up with qualifying release next week

Woody Harrelson vehicle to have one-week run ahead of January opening

I'm finally seeing Oren Moverman's police drama "Rampart" tomorrow evening, so for now, I'm taking it on Kris' word that Woody Harrelson's lead performance in the fall festival baby is a dark horse to be reckoned with in the Best Actor race. Kris has opined that Harrelson's turn as a volatile cop in 1990s LA is the high-water mark of the two-time Oscar nominee's career, but has voiced concern that his under-the-radar vehicle (distributed by budget outfit Millennium Pictures), may have landed too late in the race to get him in the circle, despite critical support.

"Why not hold it until Sundance next year?" was the question Kris and Anne brought up in last week's edition of Oscar Talk, something one asks every year of several indies that impatiently decide to debut in the cold crush of awards season. Still, Millennium are opting for the best of both worlds: they're releasing the film in late January 2012, when it'll have slightly more commercial breathing room, but holding a one-week, one-screen release next week so as to qualify it for Oscar consideration this year.

Read Full Post
<p>Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep in &quot;The Iron Lady.&quot;</p>

Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Early reviews for 'The Iron Lady' cool on film, hot on Streep

British broadsheets first to the punch on Margaret Thatcher biopic

I can't remember the last time a major prestige release was reviewed by newspaper critics before either the trades or the bloggers got their paws on it -- it's an almost romantically old-school approach, but that's exactly how the first critical word on "The Iron Lady" has leaked out. Perhaps studio masterminds figured UK print critics might be more invested in a biopic of Britain's most contentious politician, though they've covered their bases by allowing both liberal bastion The Guardian and right-wing rag the Daily Mail at it simultaneously, with the conservative-leaning Telegraph somewhere in the middle.

Considering their different audiences, it's striking how similarly the Guardian and Telegraph reviews, by Xan Brooks and David Gritten respectively, read in many respects. Both are lukewarm on the film itself, Brooks a little more harshly so: the film is "often silly and suspect," he says, after accusing the filmmakers of printing the legend and dodging the grim social consequences of its subject's conservative policies, thereby giving us "Thatcher without Thatcherism."

The Telegraph is obviously less concerned about this, dismissing the film's "whistle-stop tour" of Thatcher's career, but commending it for an even-handed approach -- though he predicts US Republicans "will drool over it."

Read Full Post
<p>Bob Costas was tremendous in interviewing former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.</p>

Bob Costas was tremendous in interviewing former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.

Credit: NBC

NBC's Bob Costas destroys Penn State's Jerry Sandusky in interview

Costas goes into full prosecutorial mode with alleged child rapist

For the last two weeks, I've been unable to look away from the real-life horror story that is the child rape scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, and the cover-up allegedly perpetrated by legendary head coach Joe Paterno and various members of the administration (most of whom have been fired or put on leave). As a parent - hell, as a human - it's absolutely disgusting, and yet I keep reading every story, keep watching every clip, in the desperate but futile hope that it will eventually be revealed that someone, anyone, actually tried to do the right thing in this mess.

(If you've managed to stay away from this story, more power to you, and feel free to skip the rest. I just can't stop.)

Whatever Paterno and the administrators did or didn't do, Sandusky is the alleged monster at the middle of this, and I got queasy at the thought of NBC giving him a primetime venue in the form of a telephone interview with Bob Costas on last night's "Rock Center with Brian Williams." Yet, as with everything about this story, I couldn't look away. I had seen Costas go into interviews before where he so clearly felt he was on the side of the angels that he didn't do the proper prep work - like a 2001 HBO interview with Vince McMahon where McMahon ran circles around an under-researched Costas - and I worried that Sandusky and his lawyer might actually get over on Costas.

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in &quot;The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Too much anal rape for Oscar?

Why 'Dragon Tattoo' isn't for the Academy, and why 'The Iron Lady' isn't for Maggie

After avoiding it scrupulously for months, as is my custom, I was finally faced with the trailer for David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" when I paid good money to see "Immortals" last night. (More on that later.) Though the film looks as dourly impressive as I'd expect, any number of reasons why it doesn't look like a major Oscar play ran through my head: too cool, too hot, too genre, too done. One I didn't think of was "too much anal rape," but Fincher himself offers that as a strike against its Academy Award chances in this chat with EW. He's willing to campaign, but the overall impression you get is of a man who really doesn't give a shit. And cheers for that. [Entertainment Weekly

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Tempest in a Tea Party'

Taylor and Lisa fight, but Taylor's in for a shock when the wives turn on her

This week promises to be a humdinger (at least that's what the promos have promised), as it looks like Taylor and Lisa are going to duke it out. I'm already inclined to think that Lisa will be the one to come out the winner, as she has that British reserve and tends not to get flustered about anything, and Taylor may be insane and in need of basic, life-sustaining nutrients. Still, no matter what happens, it should be interesting. Let's just hope Giggy doesn't get thrown into the middle of it. I think that little puffball might have a dark side.

Read Full Post