Latest Blog Posts

<p>Melanie Amaro of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Melanie Amaro of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Down to the Final 4

Which 'X Factor' act did American and the judges send home?

I've crowned Melanie Amaro as my "Probably Not Going To Be Eliminated" recap picture of the night. I feel somewhat confident in that. But after last week's shocking Drew/Astro eliminations? Anything truly can happen...

Click through for the results...

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<p>It looks like Jonah Hill and the young cast of 'The Sitter' just sat through a screening of 'The Sitter'</p>

It looks like Jonah Hill and the young cast of 'The Sitter' just sat through a screening of 'The Sitter'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Jonah Hill's woefully unfunny 'The Sitter' deserves to be fired

It's rare that this many people I like this much make something I like so little

While I would never claim that "The Sitter" was the worst film I saw in 2011, I think it is the film that most bitterly disappointed me this year.  I've written at length about the work of Jonah Hill, as well as director David Gordon Green, and I consider the production company Rough House to be one of the most interesting working in comedy today.  Perhaps because of the regard I have for their collective work, I am baffled by how completely I disliked "The Sitter," and I find myself unable to work up the spleen that normally goes into a really strongly negative review.  More than anything, I just feel deflated by the whole thing.

More than anything, I'm puzzled by the movie.  Keep in mind, I liked the last two comedies that David Gordon Green directed, "Your Highness" and "Pineapple Express."  I am willing to acknowledge that "Your Highness" is deranged, one of the strangest mainstream films I've ever seen, but I like that it has such a strong sense of itself and it's so willing to try anything.  If you're part of the 99.9% of all audiences who seemed to despise "Your Highness" completely, then I would advise you don't even attempt to see "The Sitter," because it doesn't even have the ragged, whacked out personality that made that film interesting.

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"Project Accessory"

 "Project Accessory"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Why can't 'Project Runway' get a decent spin-off?

The hit series has tried with models and accessories, but why do these shows fall short?

Tonight we'll be treated to another episode of "Project Accessory," which is likely being met by a tepid sigh of not-quite-anticipation by those who bother to tune in. Admittedly, Lifetime has done its level best to copy every element of "Project Runway" to ensure the spin-off's success. The judges, the challenges and even the hostess are eerily similar to the original hit. So why doesn't it work better than it does?

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<p>Peter Berg, commanding his fleet</p>

Peter Berg, commanding his fleet

Credit: Universal

Edit bay visit: Peter Berg goes big with 'Battleship'

The director answers questions about his biggest movie to date

On a breezy afternoon in Santa Monica last June Universal pictures invited HitFix and handful of journalists to visit the edit bay of next summer's tent pole movie "Battleship" to see the films' progress and talk to director Peter Berg. 

Many of us remember the game 'Battleship' as two rattling plastic clamshell cases that you could carry around like little laptops and set up anywhere for instant naval battle. Some even remember an electronic talking version (lucky jerks), but the gameplay in both was basically the same: you tried to sink your opponents fleet of ships by blindly calling out coordinates on their grid, and hoping you hit one of their ships before they hit yours.
So how do you turn a guessing game that can essentially be played with two pencils and a couple sheets of graph paper into a major motion picture? Well you make it a battle between a fleet of Navy ships and a fleet of alien ships, of course. Due to convenient plotting, neither fleet can see the other on their radar. Do they shoot giant plastic pegs at each other? The short answer is "Yes."
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<p>&quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;&nbsp;creator Kurt Sutter, in character as Big Otto.</p>
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"Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, in character as Big Otto.

Credit: FX

Interview: 'Sons of Anarchy' creator Kurt Sutter post-mortems season 4

On surprise plot twists, last-second reprieves and other highs and lows of the season
"Sons of Anarchy" wrapped up its 4th season on Tuesday night, and I figured my review would be the last I'd have to say on the subject for a while. But the show's creator, Kurt Sutter, changed his mind about doing a season-ending interview with me, and we spoke for a little under an hour this afternoon about various developments and criticisms from throughout the season. Here's the Q&A; please note that Kurt talks vaguely about ways in which a few stories will carry over into the next season, and that we also talk about a story arc from the last few seasons of "The Shield," so read at your own risk:
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<p>Frontman Eddie Vedder performs with Pearl Jam in Sao Paulo, Brazil last month.</p>

Frontman Eddie Vedder performs with Pearl Jam in Sao Paulo, Brazil last month.

Credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner

Pearl Jam sets European tour dates, including Isle of Wight Festival

Is a U.S. tour next?

Pearl Jam will kick off a series of European headlining gigs  on June 20 and include a show at the Isle of Wight Festival in the U.K. on June 23.

The headliners for Isle of Wight this year are the top of vintage American rock acts with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers playing June 22 and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing June 24.

Pearl Jam, who celebrated their 20th anniversary all year long this year, including with the fine documentary “Pearl Jam 20,” will spend three weeks touring Europe. No word on a new U.S. tour yet.

Los Angeles punk band X, who has toured with the band before, will serve as the opener. For a fun interview with X’s Exene Cervenka about touring with Eddie Vedder and the boys, as well as some other illuminated comments, go here

Pearl Jam's European tour dates:

June 20: Manchester, U.K. (MEN Arena) ?
June 23: Isle of Wright, U.K. (Isle of Wight Festival) ?
June 26: Amsterdam, Netherlands (Ziggo Dome) ?
June 29: Werchter, Belgium (Rockwerchter Festival)
July 4: Berlin, Germany (O2 Arena)
July 7: Stockholm, Sweden (Ericsson Globe Arena) ?
July 9: Oslo, Norway (Spektrum) ?
July 10: Copenhagen, Denmark (Forum)


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Download Tim McGraw's jangly 'Christmas All Over the World' for free
Credit: StyleSonic Records

Download Tim McGraw's jangly 'Christmas All Over the World' for free

Plus, new holiday treats from Lyle Lovett

Tim McGraw got his Christmas present early when a judge decided that he could, indeed, get released from his record contract from Curb Records, with whom he has been feuding for years now.

So now, he’s spreading his joy with his fans via this free download of “Christmas All Over the World,” a rocking, twangy little tune written by Daniel Tashian and Troy Verges. The Beatlesque backing vocals and Glen Campbell-style guitar playing are a nice touch. And McGraw sounds great. It is available for free via AOL on Dec. 8 and then, starting Dec. 9, through Hear it here.

McGraw, who embarks on a stadium tour with buddy Kenny Chesney next summer, released the song on his StyleSonic Records. He’ll have a new album out next year-- although it’s unclear if it will come out via StyleSonic or if he’s looking for another major label deal. 

Fellow soon-to-be-ex-Curb artist Lyle Lovett also just released a Christmas EP, “Songs for the Season.” Produced by Lovett and Nathaniel Kunkel, the online release features the Vince Guaraldi/ “Peanuts” classic “Christmastime is Here,” as well as “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” a duet with Kat Edmonson,” and a few other treats.  On other Lovett news, the four-time Grammy winner will release his last set for Curb on Feb. 28. Appropriately enough, the album is titled "Release Me," 

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Will you read 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' star Taylor Armstrong's book?

Her memoir of abuse is already getting mixed reactions

When Taylor Armstrong gave a teary-eyed plug for her new book on "Watch What Happens: Live" after this Monday's episode of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," I didn't give it much thought. Reality stars pump out fluffy, catty, ghost-written tomes at the same rate Michelle Duggar pops out babies, and this seemed to be just another unimpressive addition to the genre. 

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<p>Jay Z</p>
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Jay Z

Credit: Charlies Sykes/AP

Jay-Z set to headline Carnegie Hall's first hip-hop series

The two shows will benefit education in New York

Jay Z will be headline two shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Feb. 6-7.  The two concerts are benefits for the United Way and Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation (Carter is Jay Z’s real name).

“It’s every artists dream to play a venue as legendary as Carnegie Hall,” said Jay Z in a statement. “The fact that I can use the arts and my talent to benefit the education of the next generation of artist, entrepreneurs and great thinkers makes for a legendary night. I’m proud to be a part of the continuing work of United Way of New York City and expanding the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.”

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<p>Octavia Spencer is in line for an Oscar nomination for her performance in &quot;The Help.&quot;</p>

Octavia Spencer is in line for an Oscar nomination for her performance in "The Help."

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Octavia Spencer to receive Breakthrough Award at Palm Springs

'The Help' co-star's Supporting Actress campaign gets an extra boost

It's never too late to be recognized as a "breakthrough performer," apparently. 15 years after making her first big-screen appearance in "A Time to Kill," 39 year-old actress Octavia Spencer -- the chief source of comic relief in the ensemble of "The Help" -- has been honored with the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs festival.

Like most of the awards dished out at Palm Springs and Santa Barbara next month, this honor acts chiefly as an Oscar nomination forecast: previous winners of the prize include Felicity Huffman, Jennifer Hudson, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Carey Mulligan. (Hard luck, Mariah Carey and Freida Pinto.) Not that one needs  any such minor bellwethers to predict Spencer's nomination, which has been set in stone since "The Help" opened in August: the question is whether she can win in a field that still has no clear frontrunner.

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<p>An Elton&nbsp;gnome from &quot;Gnomeo &amp;&nbsp;Juliet.&quot;&nbsp;Yes, an Elton&nbsp;gnome.</p>

An Elton gnome from "Gnomeo & Juliet." Yes, an Elton gnome.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tech Support: Chris Cornell, Elton John, Madonna and 'The Muppets' throw down for Best Original Song

Other contenders include tunes from 'Captain America' and 'Footloose'

Tech Support inadvertently took a week off as I never did get around to writing up the Best Original Song category. No worries. Nothing has happened of note in the field all year long, really, and the contenders have pretty much laid themselves bare, for the most part.

Naturally there will be some other considerations when the official list of qualifying tunes is revealed soon enough. That announcement dropped on December 15 last year, so I imagine within the week we'll know what's in the running.

For now, though, it's time to run a comb through what we're aware of and see what makes sense as formidable in the field. There are a number of tracks worth considering, so as we close up shop on Tech Support's category analysis this season, let's see what they are.

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<p>The cover of &quot;Clint&nbsp;Eastwood:&nbsp;35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros.&quot;</p>

The cover of "Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros."

Credit: Warner Home Video

Oscarweb Round-up: 35 years of Eastwood at Warner Bros.

Also: George Méliès turns 150 and Asa Butterfield talks Scorsese film school

Remember that exchange on "Entourage" a few years back? Something about Clint Eastwood being set up at Warner Bros. for decades. "We give him $90 million to make movies now," the studio head said. To which Turtle quipped, "I heard he uses 60 and pockets 30. That's why he only does one take." Like so much of the show, it was inside baseball, but it cracked me up. Anyway, the point being, Eastwood has been a fixture on that lot seemingly since the dawn of time. Every once in a while he's ventured out and done a film with another studio, but home base is Warner Bros. So it makes sense for a handsome boxed set of his work there to hit the market. Enter "Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros.," which would make a great Christmas gift for the Eastwood fanatic in your family. It has everything from "Where Eagles Dare" to "Invictus." [Amazon]

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