Latest Blog Posts

<p>Leonardo DiCaprio is the star of two movies that are now scheduled to go head-to-head on Christmas Day 2012.</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio is the star of two movies that are now scheduled to go head-to-head on Christmas Day 2012.

Credit: AP Photo/Phil Klein

Leonardo DiCaprio vs Leonardo DiCaprio in a battle of release dates

'Gatsby' and 'Django' will go head to head now on Christmas 2012

One of the strangest scheduling moments on the film calendar this year happens in December, where we get not one but two new films from director Steven Spielberg in the space of a week.  Considering he hasn't had a new film in theaters in the last three years, that seems like a strange traffic jam to end up on the books.

Still, "The Adventures Of Tintin" and "War Horse" are very different movies, and I don't see much cross-over in audiences.  I think one is aimed at families and young viewers and its an adventure movie, and the other definitely skews older, a sprawling emotion war story.  They play to different strengths that Spielberg has as a director, and I think there's room for both of them to be successful without cannibalizing each other.

Next Christmas, though, an even more bizarre head-to-head match-up is on the books, and I can't imagine it actually plays out the way it looks on paper right now, because one of the studios involved will have to blink and figure out a new date.  We can't really be getting two new Leonardo DiCaprio movies on the same day, can we?

Read Full Post
<p>Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin in &quot;Like Crazy.&quot;</p>

Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin in "Like Crazy."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Like Crazy' keeps too level a head

Pretty, wispy indie romance doesn't match the Sundance hype

LONDON - When you stop to think about it, “like crazy” is a curiously cautious modifier to weld to any expression of devotion, placing as it does the safe distance of simile between love and madness, where many would describe those two states as sequential. If only on a semantic level, loving someone like crazy isn’t quite the same as being crazy in love; it’s less reckless, more self-aware, less… well, crazy.

I very much doubt this was on writer-director Drake Doremus’s mind, nor should it have been, when he titled his Sundance-laurelled romantic drama “Like Crazy.” But the distinction seems apt for a film whose two young, geographically separated protagonists seemingly spend several years acting out a love story, as opposed to actually living one.

As winsome college students Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) find their romance repeatedly arrested by real life—native Londoner Anna’s US visa expires, forcing protracted across-the-pond negotiations that culminate in a premature marriage—distance swiftly becomes its defining characteristic. As the relationship itself takes a backseat to its reparation, the harried lovers must consistently chase and recreate their initial feelings for each other.

Read Full Post
"Dance Moms"

 "Dance Moms"

Credit: TLC

Are reality TV shows like 'Dance Moms' destroying kids? Pt. 1

Why some shows could be bad for all kids - and not just those on TV

 Casually spinning through the TV dial, it's easy to find reality programming featuring the younger set; shows ranging from "Toddlers & Tiaras," "Dance Moms," "19 Kids and Counting" and even competition shows like "The X Factor" and "America's Got Talent" puts kids in the spotlight. But as children become more of a fixture in the reality TV landscape (and, as in "Toddlers" and "Dance," their presence in the spotlight becomes more squirm-inducing), the question of what impact reality television will have on them into adulthood becomes more pressing. "'The Truman Show' anticipated something none of us knew was coming," says Dr. Ramani Durvasula, professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles and licensed clinical psychologist. "It's not normal for kids to see their lives played out on a public stage. It's a completely artificial way to live."

Read Full Post


Watch: David Guetta's video for 'Without You' featuring Usher spans the globe

His music has the power to bust concrete

That’s some powerful bass David Guetta has got going on. In the video for “Without You” featuring Usher, his music has the ability to not only make people dance, but to literally shift continents and bring them —and therefore, humanity—together.

The video of the Billboard Top 10 hit includes footage of Guetta doing his thing around the globe, including the U.S., Africa, and Thailand. His thing, in concert, appears to be spinning his records and raising his arms, waving his fingers and looking upward euphorically while the crowd goes crazy.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
"Long Island Medium"

 "Long Island Medium" 

Credit: TLC

Why the psychic hijinks of the 'Long Island Medium' could be hard to resist

Skeptics may still scoff, but the show cleverly bypasses some trickier elements

I've always considered myself a skeptic. I've written about con artistry, I know the basics of sleight of hand, and I'm all too familiar with the tricks so-called psychics use to read minds and "conjure" the dead. I've always figured that, if Houdini's spirit never returned to deliver that secret, agreed-upon phrase to his widow during one of her many seance attempts, it was probably a pretty good indication the master magician had been right about psychics and mediums all along -- they were no more magical than, well, magicians. 

Read Full Post
<p>Tony Bennett</p>

Tony Bennett

Credit: AP Photo

5 Things We Love About Tony Bennett and Faith Hill’s video for 'The Way You Look Tonight'

Tony Bennett has been rolling out clips from his “Duets II” set and today’s treat is the 85-year old warbling through “The Way You Look Tonight” with the long-absent Faith Hill. This video is much more stylized than the previous ones we’ve gotten from his sessions with Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse (and certainly more restrained than Bennett and Gaga). It replicates the recording session, but it’s  on a larger, beautifully lit stage. Five things jumped out at us that made us love the feel and sound of the video.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>The&nbsp;Brat Pack from John&nbsp;Hughes's &quot;The Breakfast Club&quot;</p>

The Brat Pack from John Hughes's "The Breakfast Club"

Credit: Universal Pictures

LACMA's live read of 'The Breakfast Club,' directed by 'Young Adult' helmer Jason Reitman

Patton Oswalt first of 'surprise' cast to be announced

I'm really bummed I'll be out of town next Thursday, October 20, because the live read of John Hughes's "The Breakfast Club" script, directed by Jason Reitman as a part of Film Independent's LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) film series. Reitman is serving as the first guest artist for the inaugural program.

Reitman announced via Twitter that Patton Oswalt will read the part of Brian Johnson, portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall in Hughes's 1985 original film. The rest of the "surprise cast" will be unveiled by Reitman throughout the week. I'm privy to a few of them, but I'll say no more. It promises to be a very Reitman-esque event, I'll just put it that way.

"The Breakfast Club" is easily one of my favorite films of all time. I've always been drawn to its insight and melodrama with equal measure. I used to own a ratty VHS copy of the film and I'd watch it a couple of times a month. I still consider it to be something of a minor masterpiece. Relive the magic with the trailer below.

Read Full Post
<p>Michael&nbsp;Douglas walks the red carpet in Santa Barbara with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones just before accepting the 2011 Kirk Douglas Award.</p>

Michael Douglas walks the red carpet in Santa Barbara with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones just before accepting the 2011 Kirk Douglas Award.

Credit: AP Photo/Phil Klein

Michael Douglas honored with Santa Barbara Film Festival's Kirk Douglas Award

Festival director Roger Durling calls the moment the 'highlight' of his tenure

SANTA BARBARA - It was a lovely evening on the beach last night as the Biltmore Four Seasons of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Film Festival played host to an evening in honor of actor Michael Douglas. Douglas was on hand for the sixth annual presentation of the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film.

"In my opinion, this event tonight is the pinnacle of the Santa Barbara Film Festival's 27 years," festival director Roger Durling said before introducing Kirk Douglas to present the award. "It's definitely the highlight of my tenure."

The elder Douglas gave a truly wonderful speech, sharp as a tack, funny, charming, just wonderful. "I was walking down Sunset Boulevard and a young lady ran up to me all out of breath," he recalled. "She was beautiful. She looked up to me with lovely eyes. I reached back to grab a pen to give her an autograph and she looked up to me and said, 'Michael Douglas's father!'"

Read Full Post
Oscar Talk: Ep 65 -- 'My Week with Marilyn' and 'Hugo' premiere at New York fest

Oscar Talk: Ep 65 -- 'My Week with Marilyn' and 'Hugo' premiere at New York fest

Also: Carey Mulligan's Oscar chances and selling 'The Artist' to audiences

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

Anne is back from the New York Film Festival today, where she saw a handful of films, including two key premieres. That dominates the bulk of today's podcast so let's take a look at what's on the docket today...

Read Full Post
<p>Elizabeth Olsen in &quot;Martha Marcy May&nbsp;Marlene&quot;</p>

Elizabeth Olsen in "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: 'Martha Marcy' media blitz

Also: Variety honors John Lasseter and Magnolia circles '360'

Boy is there nothing out there. It's quiet. Really quiet. Today's round-up was a scraping the barrel kind of thing. Yikes. The media blitz for "Martha Marcy May Marlene" is really picking up steam, though, as the film is set for release next week. I'll be chatting with some of the talent today and look forward to it. It's still one of the most accomplished films of the year, with a stellar performance from Elizabeth Olsen -- one of the great screen debuts. Steven Zeitchik recently sat down with the ingenue. [Los Angeles Times]

Let's see what else is going on in the Oscarweb today...

Read Full Post
<p>Mose (Mike Schur)&nbsp;made a triumphant return to &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Mose (Mike Schur) made a triumphant return to "The Office."

Credit: NBC

'The Office' - 'Garden Party': The host with the most

A beloved recurring character returns, but is Andy carrying enough of the comic load as the new boss?

A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I tell you about the Goat Package...

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Michael Fassbender and Nicole Beharie in &quot;Shame.&quot;</p>

 Michael Fassbender and Nicole Beharie in "Shame."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

First trailer for 'Shame' nails the tone

Can Fassbender creep into the Best Actor race?

If you've not yet heard of Steve McQueen's "Shame," chances are you've been asleep through the entire fall festival season. The "Hunger" director's sophomore feature was the talk of Venice, where it won a no-brainer Best Actor award for Michael Fassbender, and maintained that buzz through Toronto -- where the sexually explicit moral drama was rather adventurously picked up by Fox Searchlight. If any studio can get Fassbender's startling performance into the Oscar race, Searchlight can -- the challenge lies in getting conservative actors' branch voters to watch this severe, presumably NC-17-rated film. (If you ask me, Carey Mulligan deserves equal attention for a career-high turn.) As you know from my Venice review, and Kris' Telluride reaction, we're both fully on board.

"Shame" has its homeland premiere tonight at the BFI London Film Festival; to coincide with that, The Guardian just unveiled the first trailer, which gives a pretty accurate impression of the film's overwhelming sensory qualities. Check it out after the jump.

Read Full Post