Latest Blog Posts

<p>Gillian (Gretchen Mol)&nbsp;and Jimmy (Michael Pitt)&nbsp;on &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Gillian (Gretchen Mol) and Jimmy (Michael Pitt) on "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire': I want my mommy!

Jimmy flashes back to his college days in season 2's horrifying, riveting penultimate chapter

A review of last night's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I don't like the way you loom...

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<p>Mr. Thistleton of &quot;Prep &amp; Landing: Naughty vs. Nice&quot;</p>
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Mr. Thistleton of "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Chris Parnell talks 'Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice' and 'Suburgatory'

'SNL' veteran talks animation, holiday favorites and reuniting with Ana Gasteyer
You've all heard the song: Santa Claus, he who is coming to town, is making a list and checking it twice and you may also have heard that he's able to ascertain the difference between people who are naughty and people who are nice.
 
But what if Santa Claus no longer had a reliable system for differentiating between good children and bad children?
 
That's the timeless conundrum explored in ABC and Disney's "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice," sequel to 2009's "Prep & Landing," which won four Emmys, including Outstanding Animated Program.
 
The new special features many of the characters from the original, but also introduces a slew of new characters, including Mr. Thistleton, creator of the vast database that enables Santa to find out who's naughty and also who's nice.
 
Voicing Mr. Thistleton is "Saturday Night Live," "Archer" and '30 Rock" veteran Chris Parnell, who's rapidly becoming an ABC favorite with "Naughty vs. Nice" and a recurring role on the network's freshman comedy "Suburgatory."
 
Click through for my conversation with Parnell, who talks about holiday classics, Disney magic and reuniting with Ana Gasteyer...
 
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<p>Newcomer Jeremy Irvine at the world premiere of &quot;War Horse&quot;&nbsp;Sunday night at Lincoln Center in New York City.</p>

Newcomer Jeremy Irvine at the world premiere of "War Horse" Sunday night at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

New York's finest step out for Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' premiere

Epic debuts only yards away from Tony winning Broadway play

NEW YORK - The world premiere of Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" took place Sunday night at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center and a slew of notable New Yorkers came out to screen the potential best picture player. Besides Spielberg himself, other industry faces included Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross, Joel Coen, Stephen Daldry (who has his own awards season player waiting in the wings), best actress contender Elizabeth Olsen, "Shame" director Steve McQueen, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Brian Cox, Billy Connolly, Ed Westwick, Stephen Lang, Eriq La Salle, Phylicia Rashad and um, Kathie Lee Gifford among others.

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<p>Cullen (Anson Mount)&nbsp;and Elam (Common) put up their dukes in &quot;Hell on Wheels.&quot;</p>

Cullen (Anson Mount) and Elam (Common) put up their dukes in "Hell on Wheels."

Credit: AMC

'Hell on Wheels' - 'Bread and Circuses': Fight night

Cullen and Elam square off in the ring, and Doc tries to make a deal

Tonight's "Hell on Wheels" was the last of the episodes AMC sent out to critics before the season began, and while I assume I'll be getting a new batch soon, we'll have to play it by ear in terms of how/if I cover it in the coming weeks. (The show is going to be helped by the fact that so many other cable dramas have wrapped or are about to wrap their seasons; within a couple of weeks, it'll be the only one still going for a little bit.)

In terms of "Bread and Circuses," it wisely focused on the uneasy alliance between Cullen and Elam, letting them work out some of their differences in the boxing ring (and letting Anson Mount and Common show off some very sculpted torsos for the 1860s), and it gave me just enough of the Swede to compensate for time spent on the show's less interesting areas (the cliched/fetishized Native American characters, Doc Durant trying to get the maps from Lilly).

What's everybody thinking at this point? By the fifth episode, I imagine the show has shed all the viewers who have decided by now that they just don't like it, so for those of you who are sticking with it, what's the appeal for you?

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<p>Carrie (Claire Danes)&nbsp;and Brody (Damian Lewis)&nbsp;on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis) on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' - 'Representative Brody': My funny Valentine

Carrie tries to turn an asset, while Brody gets an offer

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as this isn't my first polka...

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Whine Bar'

Phaedra gives Kandi an apology cake, but Joyce is the one holding a grudge

Although I keep thinking Kim is going to squeeze out a kid any episode now, as she not only seems desperate to get the baby out but I've grown tired of watching her flopped on her bed like a dying largemouth bass groaning and demanding fizzy water, it is not to be this week. Instead, we're treated to more Cynthia drama. With Cynthia, it's not really drama as much as it is passive-aggressive repression and bad decision making, but sometimes that can be more interesting than Sheree trying to yank out some girl's weave, so that's just fine. 

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<p>Jeremy and Sandy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Jeremy and Sandy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'We Are Charlie Chaplin'

Wire-walking, shoe-making, costume-wearing and a shocking conclusion
Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron" is set in a 2081 in which all Americans have been mandated equal by virtue of a series of Constitutional amendments. The truly exceptional are equipped with handicaps, while the mediocre are sometimes elevated to positions far above their natural abilities, all in the name of this equality.
 
The world of "Harrison Bergeron" has nothing to do with the world of CBS' "The Amazing Race" and the results of Sunday (December 4) night's "Amazing Race" really weren't analogous to anything in "Harrison Bergeron." 
 
And yet, "Harrison Bergeron" came to my mind immediately as Sunday's "Amazing Race" episode ended and I looked at the last line of my notes, which read "Sometimes it sucks to be better than everybody else." 
 
That was my takeaway from Sunday's episode, though clearly there are better takeaways like, "You can only get away with being careless and not-so-bright for so long on a Race that occasionally rewards attention-to-detail," but that theme was ultimately less relevant than the first.
 
Sunday's episode was about the triumph of entirely accidental teamwork and the results came through a circumstance I'm pretty sure we've never seen before on "The Amazing Race."
 
Click through for a discussion of Sunday's episode...
 
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<p>Best Actress winner Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan in &quot;Tyrannosaur,&quot; which took top honors at the BIFA Awards.</p>

Best Actress winner Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan in "Tyrannosaur," which took top honors at the BIFA Awards.

Credit: Strand Releasing

'Tyrannosaur' wins top prize as British Independent Film Awards spread the love

Acting awards for Michael Fassbender, Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave

It may be deemed the British film most likely to register at the Oscars and BAFTAs, but UK box-office sleeper "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" had to take a back seat to the little guys at tonight's British Independent Film Awards in London. Instead, it was Paddy Considine's hard-hitting directorial debut "Tyrannosaur" that surprisingly emerged as the night's big winner, taking three awards including Best British Independent Film.

Considine's debut is a vastly impressive and assured one, striking its emotional notes hard and serving as a vehicle for some startling performances -- the most haunting of which, Olivia Colman's grievously abused middle-class samaritan, was a richly deserving winner of the Best Actress award. (Tilda Swinton's run of luck this week, which saw her triumph at the National Board of Review and the European Film Awards, came to an end here.)

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<p>Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed show their tree strength in a scene from &quot;The Twilight Saga:&nbsp;Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1.&quot;</p>

Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed show their tree strength in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Box Office: 'Breaking Dawn' fights off the 'Muppets' to stay no. 1

'Shame' has a spectacular limited debut

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" pulled off a rare feat this year retaining the top spot at the box office for a third straight weekend.  With $16.9 million and $247.5 million to date domestic and over $550 million worldwide, the fourth installment of Stephenie Meyers' vampire saga has given Summit Entertainment an early if not expected Christmas present.  The picture also is a rare three-weekend topper this calendar year joining "The Help" (four weekends) and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (three) in that regard.

Before Friday many industry observers thought Disney's "The Muppets" could use strong word of mouth to overtake "Breaking Dawn" for the top spot.  Not only did that not occur, the Jason Segel passion project didn't even come close with just another $11.2 million and a troubling 62% drop. With just $56.4 million so far its unlikely the "Muppets" will hit the $100 million mark.

"Hugo," which upped its theater count to 1,840 locations this weekend, grossed $7.6 million.  The National Board of Review winner for best picture pulled has now grossed $25.1 million to date. Paramount Pictures and GK Films will continue to hope awards season recognition can fuel Martin Scorsese's latest critical wonder.

Another film showing true word of mouth appears to be "Arthur Christmas."  The Sony Animation and Aardman collaboration dropped only 39% for another $7.5 million and $25.2 million so far.  The Santa Claus themed animated comedy will still need international to make up most of its $100 million plus budget, but the hold is certainly a nice silver lining for the filmmakers.

Rounding out the top five was "Happy Feet Two" with $6 million and $51.7 million to date. Warner Bros. can take solace that "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" looks like it will have a monster opening in two weeks.

"Shame" debuted in 10 theaters with a spectacular $361,181 or $36,118 per screen.  It's even more impressive when taking the film's NC-17 rating into account.  Fox Searchlight will hope that continued critical acclaim and awards season attention fuels interest in Steve McQueen's breakout.

Another impressive limited player is "The Artist."  After winning the NYFCC award for best picture, The Weinstein Company release didn't drop after adding 2 screens for another $205,580 and a $34,263 per screen. 

"The Descendants" continued its strong limited run as well jumping to 574 theaters and another $5.2 million.  Searchlight's premier best picture player has now grossed an impressive $18 million to date.

Next weekend's wide releases include "New Year's Eve" and "The Sitter."

Box office actuals are released on Monday.

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<p>&quot;Saturday Night Live&quot; host Steve Buscemi</p>
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"Saturday Night Live" host Steve Buscemi

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Steve Buscemi and The Black Keys

Could the 'Boardwalk Empire' bring the 'SNL' funny?
After a one-week hiatus, “Saturday Night Live” is back for the first of three consecutive episodes to end 2011. Kicking things off tonight: Steve Buscemi and The Black Keys. Given Buscemi’s cinematic track record, I wonder if Adam Sandler might pop by tonight. After all, Buscemi seems to appear in nearly every Sandler big-screen jam. Will Sandler appear tonight? Unlikely, but color me curious all the same. Also, color me curious if “SNL” will attempt any “Boardwalk Empire”-related sketches tonight. Bill Hader as Richard Harrow? Sign me up for THAT, please.
 
Guess we’ll have to break down each sketch as they air to find out. Onto the recap!
 
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<p>Skrillex</p>
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Skrillex

Credit: AP Photo/Big Beat/Atlantic, Bruno Postigo

Music Power Rankings: Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Skrillex and Pauly D make the list

We've got Tim and Tricky too

1) Michael Buble: Its only a few days into December, but he’s already looking like the winner of the Holiday sales derby. “Christmas” tops the Billboard 200 by the slimmest margin over Nickelback and it looks like it is there to stay until after Santa returns to the North Pole. Susan Boyle has just scratched him off her Christmas present list.

2) Skrillex: People are still saying “Who?” But at least now it’s following by “Who is that dude who got five Grammy nominations?” #thatsmrskrillextoyou

3) Bon Iver: Justin Vernon-led outfit surprisingly grabs song, record and best new artist nominations from the Grammys. I still have no idea what “Holocene” means.

4) Kanye West: He tops all Grammy nominees with seven nods, though we still believe he was robbed when it comes to no album of the year nomination and we’re pretty sure he does too.

5) Britney Spears: She turned 30 Dec. 2. Given that there were some plenty dark days there over the last few years where reaching that milestone was in no way guaranteed, we tip our hat to the pop princess.

6) Nicki Minaj: As if she weren’t plastic enough, the “Super Bass” artist gets her own Barbie Doll from Mattel. Of course, she refers to her fans as her Barbz and/or Barbies, but have the fine folks at Mattel actually listened her lyrics? They’re enough to make Ken blush. Then again, it’s all for charity, so no complaints here.

7) Tim McGraw: A judge rules in the country superstar’s effort to finally free himself from his contract with Curb Records. Curb’s response? They immediately issue a new single from McGraw....How soon before we see an eighth compilation of McGraw’s music from the label?

8) Tricky Stewart: Rumor has it that Epic Records is getting ready to name the uber-producer head of A&R. Will that take him off the market for any non-Epic act like Dr. Luke’s deal with Sony.

9) Elvis Costello: We don’t actually agree with his recommending that fans “steal” his forthcoming boxed set, but we love the fact that he’s steering them toward buying the new Louis Armstrong box set. Satchmo’s heirs say thanks.

10) Pauly D: The “Jersey Shore” dude signs a deal with 50 Cent’s G-Note and has toured with Britney Spears.  There may be a luckier SOB on the face of the earth, but I don’t know who it is...


 

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Reality TV Roundup: Some 'Real Housewives' get nasty, 'Survivor' ousts a fave and it's a double X on 'The X Factor'

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. 

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