Latest Blog Posts

<p>A&nbsp;scene from &quot;Eyes without a Face&quot;</p>

A scene from "Eyes without a Face"

Credit: Lopert Pictures Corporation

Almodóvar's film selections for AFI Fest revealed

Curated screenings include works from Jean-Pierre Melville and Georges Franju

A few weeks back it was announced that "The Skin I Live In" director Pedro Almodóvar had been tapped by AFI Fest to serve as Guest Artistic Director. It's been an eclectic couple of years for the position, as David Lynch served in the position's inaugural year.

The festival just sent out a release announcing Almodóvar's selected classic horror films and thrillers to be screened in a sidebar program. They include Jean-Pierre Melville's "Le Cercle Rouge," Georges Franju's "Eyes without a Face," Edmund Goulding's "Nightmare Alley" and Robert Siodmak's "The Killers."

The quartet joins Almodovar's own "Law of Desire," which was previously announced as a Gala screening and "An Evening with Pedro Almodovar" set for November 7.

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<p>Mazzy Star</p>

Mazzy Star

Listen: Mazzy Star to 'Lay Down' new album in lieu of fresh single

Hope Sandoval and David Roback release new music for the first time in a decade

Last year at the U.S. edition of All Tomorrow's Parties, Hope Sandoval sent me straight off to Dreamland, in many good ways. The light-dappled eddies of her butter-smooth voice shot me straight back to 1994, to Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You," just a couple years before the Cowboy Junkies charmed the world with the same sound on their cover of the Velvets' "Sweet Jane." It was a cool period where ladies sounded like women, somewhat of a predecessor to artists like Neko Case, Beach House and Liz Phair, at least to these ears.

Mazzy Star -- the winning combination of Sandoval and David Roback -- hasn't released a new album since 1996. They split that year and then around the turn of the century, they went on a brief reunion tour, during which they played unreleased and new songs. Since then, both have sworn that they'd eventually put something out, including that time in 2009 Sandoval swore a new album was coming, even if the release date was a little bit hazy.

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef''s Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi talk Texas

The new season will be bigger than ever - and one eliminated chef could return
"Top Chef" returns (Wed. Nov. 2 at 10 p.m.), and this season promises to be bigger than ever -- literally. Boasting a record 29 chefs (though all but 16 will be eliminated in the first episode), the show will travel across the entire state of Texas, touching down in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio for challenges. To further spice things up, this supersized "Top Chef" will be tossing in a new webisode feature, which will allow eliminated chefs to seek redemption. In a phone conference call, host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio discussed the changes to the show and revealed the answer to a truly mystifying secret -- how they stay in (reasonably good) shape.
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<p>Trent Reznor</p>

Trent Reznor

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Nine Inch Nails, The Killers, Depeche Mode, more cover U2 for 'Achtung'

How does Trent Reznor sound on his band's take of 'Zoo Station' for 'AHK-toong?'

The U2 covers keep marching in, "Baby." Nine Inch Nails, The Killers, the Fray, Snow Patrol, Depeche Mode and more have now revealed their takes on songs from U2's "Achtung Baby," compiled into Q Magazine's covers tribute "AHK-toong BAY-bi."

Trent Reznor and his midnight merry men get a little squirrely with the end of "Zoo Station" as Brandon Flowers' dramatic voice flares all over the Killers' cover of "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)." Depeche Mode's "So Cruel" is predictably dark.

"AHK-toong BAY-bi" came out today, packaged with Q Magazine latest. The publication also honored U2 for some damn thing last night at its annual awards show.

"Achtung Baby" gets its own schmancy reissue on Oct. 31. I've already fawned.

Last week, we posted U2 covers from Jack White, Damien Rice and Garbage; below, ah hell, I've just posted as much of the covers set as I can. What's your favorite?

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<p>A scene from &quot;Watership Down.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Watership Down."

Credit: AVCO Embassy Pictures

The Lists: Top 10 scary PG-rated films

With Halloween around the corner, we revisit some less explicit horrors

We're a little under a week away from Halloween, an occasion for which it's practically de rigueur for movie blogs like ours to assemble lists of the greatest horror films of all time. Except we've already done that, and there seems little point in going there again -- though I do encourage you to check out our Top 20 if you're shopping around for some classic scares.

Casting around for alternate Halloween-themed ideas for this week's list, then, it occurred to me that several of the films that scared me most rigid as a child -- surely the demographic for whom Pumpkin-and-Candy Day remains most relevant -- are ones that wouldn't crack most conventional horror-film lists, or in some cases, conventional definitions of what a horror film even is. Others that do, meanwhile, do so without many of the grim tools many classic horror films use to reach their audience, opting instead for less explicit routes of skin-crawling.

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<p>AMC&nbsp;has ordered a third season of &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

AMC has ordered a third season of "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

AMC renews 'The Walking Dead' for season 3

Renewal an obvious call for zombie apocalypse hit

In a move I would dub a no-brainer even if the show didn't involve zombies, AMC has renewed "The Walking Dead" for a third season.

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<p>The original poster for Nicholas Winding Refn's &quot;Drive&quot;</p>

The original poster for Nicholas Winding Refn's "Drive"

Credit: FilmDistrict

A 'Drive' poster that makes sense

Sometimes you have to show them how it's done

Sorry for the MIA. I've been back east all weekend and opted out of an Off the Carpet column this week because there's just so little worth discussing. We're in that pre-November lull of the season, after all. But one thing I wanted to address upon returning was a new, privately-designed one-sheet for "Drive" that absolutely nails the film.

The marketing for Nicolas Winding Refn's film, which was distributed domestically by FilmDistrict, never seemed to wrap its head around the film's atmosphere. Adopting the hot pink retro lettering of the film's title sequence and slapping a hunky Ryan Gosling, shirt unbuttoned, staring into infinity, I guess they were looking to grab a female audience that wasn't going to show up on their own. The film did well enough against its budget, but when you figure in marketing (a number that goes up and down depending on the source), it wasn't a huge win. But they'll tell you they're happy with it.

Regardless, that's not my point. The materials, from that one-sheet, to the out-of-context scene-grab outdoor campaign people in major metro areas saw, it just didn't represent the cool of the film. Nor did it properly contextualize that cool, in my humble opinion.

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<p>One of a number of signs in Warwickshire meant to protest Roland Emmerich's new film &quot;Anonymous&quot;</p>

One of a number of signs in Warwickshire meant to protest Roland Emmerich's new film "Anonymous"

Credit: Press Association

Oscarweb Round-up: Protesting 'Anonymous'

Also: Brett Ratner talks the Oscars and Eddie Murphy and the Hobbits assemble 10 years on

I'm not quite sure I get this. Maybe it could be considered savvy by the marketing standards like those overly praised for another film further down in this week's round-up, but the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is protesting "Anonymous" by striking through the actor's name on signs all over Warwickshire. Here's hoping it has the effect they're aiming for, and not the opposite. But boy is it getting nasty out there for this film. People have their claws out. There's something so sacred about Shakespeare that the gall of a project like this is irking a great many. Just take a look at the op-ed sections this week. "Dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria!" [BBC]

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<p>&quot;Puss in Boots&quot;</p>
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"Puss in Boots"

Credit: Dreamworks

Review: 'Puss In Boots' offers genuine thrills and laughs for young and old alike

A strong standalone film that works despite its 'Shrek' connections

By now, you are probably pretty sure of how you feel regarding the "Shrek" franchise.  I think it has been a lovely example of the law of diminishing returns as they've milked it way past the point of dry.  I forget the name of the last movie, and I'm so uninterested in it that I don't even feel the urge to look it up.  It struck me as a lazy cash-grab, and as a result, when I walked in to see "Puss In Boots," it was with dread more than anything.

Thankfully, "Puss In Boots" is not a "Shrek" film.  At all.

It's so disconnected from the series that I have no idea where it takes place in the timeline of the "Shrek" series.  Before? After?  Doesn't matter.  "Puss In Boots" stands on its own, and it's better for doing so.  It is a very silly film, a big adventure movie, and surprisingly effective.  It's not easy to spin off a popular supporting character into his own movie, and yet this feels completely natural.  It helps that Antonio Banderas seems to fully understand the ludicrous nature of the film, and his performance is nuanced and hilarious, a charming riff on his own bigscreen image.

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<p>Rachel Bilson and Cress Williams in &quot;Hart of Dixie.&quot;</p>

Rachel Bilson and Cress Williams in "Hart of Dixie."

Credit: CW

The Morning Round-Up: 'Hart of Dixie' and 'Pan Am'

Where do these two female-centric freshman dramas stand in late October?

Once again, in the interest of covering more shows that I don't always have time or interest to write full-length reviews on, from time to time I'm going to do a morning round-up post like this featuring brief thoughts on multiple shows. In this case, we're going to discuss a pair of freshman dramas with female leads - "Hart of Dixie" and "Pan Am" - coming up just as soon as I get my navel pierced...

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'The Opposite of Relaxation'

Adrienne invites everyone to the most stressful spa day ever

I'm thinking that Bravo might need to change the name of the show, at least for a little while, to "The Endless Catfight of Brandi and Kyle" or "Kyle and Kim: Mean Ass Sistas," as we're now onto episode three of the nasty battle between Brandi and Kyle and Kim that fully blossomed during Game Night. As much as I love a good, old-fashioned catfight, this is getting a little ridiculous. At the very least, let's find some new material, girls. Maybe Kyle needs to come up with some LeAnn Rimes jokes or something. 

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' goes to Broadway

One pro loses his cool with the judges while one star doesn't shine

It's Broadway week, but what I'm really excited about is the news that Paul Reubens (PeeWee Herman) is itching to do "DWTS." Apparently he's friends with David Arquette, and has been in the audience cheering him on. I don't know if he'd be any good, but you know he'd have to do at least one dance to "Tequilla," which would be great no matter how bad it was. 

Before we get to the dancing, we're treated to a production number from "Sister Act." Now, nothing against "Sister Act," and I'm sure "DWTS" was happy to get any Broadway show on the stage for Broadway night, but this is about as good of a fit for a dancing show as an Amish wagon race. You can't even tell if these women have feet or are just being pushed around on shopping carts. 
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