Latest Blog Posts

<p>Kelly Stables, Donald Faison,&nbsp;Kristen Johnston, David Alan Basche and Wayne Knight in &quot;The Exes.&quot;</p>

Kelly Stables, Donald Faison, Kristen Johnston, David Alan Basche and Wayne Knight in "The Exes."

Credit: TV Land

Review: TV Land's 'The Exes'

Donald Faison, Kristen Johnston and company go for deliberately retro laughs

In one of the few laugh-out-loud lines in TV Land's new sitcom "The Exes" (tonight at 10:30), we meet Eden, the pint-sized, sexpot assistant to divorce lawyer Holly. Eden is played by Kelly Stables, whom the Internet Movie Database very generously lists at 5' tall, and one of Holly's clients suggests that Eden "looks like someone threw a hot chick in the dryer."

"The Exes," like most of TV Land's inventory of deliberately retro comedies (starting with "Hot in Cleveland"), feels very much like someone threw a good sitcom in the dryer. It looks and sounds like the kind of genuine oldiest-but-goodies that rerun on TV Land and Nick at Nite – and has a cast filled with actors who appeared on those kinds of shows – but everything is smaller, including the laughter.
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<p>Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher in &quot;The Iron Lady.&quot;</p>

Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Streep defends subjective politics of 'Iron Lady'

Fresh off her NYFCC win, star insists her film is 'not a biopic'

Unlike my esteemed colleague, I must admit I was pretty thrilled with the outcome of yesterday's New York Film Critics' Circle Awards -- within the bracket of likely Oscar contenders, they picked the most formally adventurous and openly lovable option for their top prize, recognizing that it's principally its director's achievement to boot. Awards for supporting performances, foreign language film and cinematography were all as well-deserved as they were predictable, and if Brad Pitt's Best Actor prize came as a surprise, it's good see a major star rewarded for raising his game in worthy projects.

The one major award I was less than pleased with, you probably won't be surprised to hear, was Meryl Streep's Best Actress prize for "The Iron Lady" -- her fifth win with the Gotham crowd. The performance, I suppose, is accomplished enough (though far from the most inspired or affecting work in the category this year), but it's surrounded by a film so muddled and misguided as to steer even its expert star into the wrong tonal territory on occasion.

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<p>Viola Davis in &quot;The&nbsp;Help&quot;</p>

Viola Davis in "The Help"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Santa Barbara fest to honor Viola Davis as 'Outstanding Performer of the Year'

The actress's turn in 'The Help' gets another significant awards season boost

The tribute announcements for the upcoming Santa Barbara International Film Festival have started coming in, and the first is a shot across the bow for anyone thinking Viola Davis's performance in "The Help" is waning as a contender int he face of recently revealed, excellent portrayals by Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron and Michelle Williams.

Davis will be honored with the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Friday, January 27, right at the start of the festival. The tribute will celebrate her performance in Tate Taylor's film and will be an opportunity to celebrate the career of an actress who has been on the verge of exploding onto the scene as a leading lady for some time.

"It's hard to imagine another performance this year that pierces your heart the way Viola does as Abileen," SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said via press release.

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<p>Michael Fassbender discusses his work in &quot;Shame&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;A&nbsp;Dangerous Method.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender discusses his work in "Shame" and "A Dangerous Method."

Michael Fassbender on facing fear in 'Shame' and 'A Dangerous Method'

An epic interview in only 6 minutes

If two actors have dominated the cinematic media hype machine this year it's clearly been Jessica Chastain and Michael Fassbender.  

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<p>Zooey Deschanel</p>
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Zooey Deschanel

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Interview: Zooey Deschanel on the next 'She & Him' album and a certain cuddly bear

Why the 'New Girl' already is hard at work on the next record

She & Him, the quirky pop pairing of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, may have just released “A Very She & Him Christmas,” but Deschanel already has the duo’s next album in mind.

“I’m writing right now,” Deschanel tells HitFix. “It’s funny how the records shape themselves in that I’ll write a bunch of songs and we’ll cherry pick them and the album ends up having its own personality, but I don’t think thematically as far as ‘This record’s going to have this theme.’ I write to get stuff out and then it ends up having its own identity once it’s out in the world.”  She didn’t volunteer if any of the songs she’s written so far addressed her recent split from her husband, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

Between her shooting schedule for her Fox sitcom “New Girl,” her promotional duties for the “Christmas” album (the pair’s performance on Monday night’s “The Tonight Show “ is embedded below), and other projects, Deschanel jokes that she “never” sleeps. And when she does have downtime, she craves the solitude that writing brings.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jay-Z and Kanye West</p>

Jay-Z and Kanye West

Watch: Kanye West and Jay-Z meet the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

'Stronger,' 'Niggas in Paris,' some confusion on angels

You know what's awkward? Calling your deceased mom your "super-angel" and then having to rap for super-model Angels. Those capital-A Angels were those of the Victoria's Secret variety, and that rapper is Kanye West, who told viewers at the annual "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" on CBS that he was to perform "Stronger" at the 2007 show, but then his mom passed.


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<p>'John&nbsp;Carter' is ready to ride as Taylor Kitsch appears on 'Good Morning America' to premiere the new trailer for the long-awaited space opera</p>

'John Carter' is ready to ride as Taylor Kitsch appears on 'Good Morning America' to premiere the new trailer for the long-awaited space opera

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The film comes into focus as 'John Carter' gets a new trailer and poster

While the ads still aren't compelling, it definitely looks ambitious

It's no fun when a campaign simply isn't working for me.

Especially when the film in question comes from a director I'm very intrigued by, features a cast that has real potential, and is based on a property I've loved since childhood.  "John Carter" should be a film that has me on the hook from day one, a film I can't wait to see.  At this point in the campaign, with the film coming out in March, I should be frothing at the mouth, ready to go, dying to see how the whole thing comes together.

I'm curious, certainly, but this week's launch of the new poster and the new trailer have left me just as cautious as I've been each step of the way so far.  I think I just don't get the hook of this campaign, and that's totally removed from what I know about the film or the original Edgar Rice Burroughs books about a Civil War veteran who ends up embroiled in a new conflict on Mars or the various behind-the-scenes goings-on for this one.  Just looking at the trailers and the posters, I'm interested in a "there are aliens and spaceships so I'll be there" sort of way, but not in a specific "you've got me" sort of way yet.  Carter himself is so bland in these materials that it seems odd to have the film be named after him when he's the least dynamic thing we're seeing in the materials.

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<p>Jean Dujardin in &quot;The Artist.&quot;</p>

Jean Dujardin in "The Artist."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Lists: Top 10 films about the movie business

With 'The Artist,' 'Hugo' and 'My Week With Marilyn' all on screens, we round up the best films celebrating their own medium

Vanity-based industry that it is, it’s hardly surprising that Hollywood should deem itself an endlessly fascinating subject for its own movies. Even from relatively early days, filmmakers have found great satisfaction, perhaps even release, in either documenting or representing the creative, financial and personal trials of their profession on screen – anticipating a movie-mad audience keen to know what goes on behind the camera, in the service of entertainment.

It’s a subject that has made for a number of landmark films both about Hollywood and other hubs of filmmaking, ranging from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “Adaptation” to Truffaut’s “Day for Night.” Clearly, it’s not an area of interest that appears to be dwindling, given its presence in a number of current high-profile releases. “Hugo” and “My Week With Marilyn” are over-the-shoulder valentines to auteur innovation and white-hot star power, respectively; meanwhile, major Oscar hopeful “The Artist,” yesterday named the year’s best film by the New York Film Critics Circle, celebrates an entire medium previously laid to rest.

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<p>Devon Sproule</p>

Devon Sproule

EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day video premiere: Devon Sproule's 'The Unmarked Animals'

Check out this outstanding track from 'I Love You, Go Easy'

Devon Sproule's album "I Love You, Go Easy" is one of those wordy-word albums. The singer-songwriter's unusual but transfixing voice has a lot to report, her lyrical stanzas dense against currents of a jazz horns, or pedal steel, or emotional piano lines.

That is to say, though, there's a lot to hear, but not too much. The sheer amount of narrative is dispersed seemingly among genres. iTunes indicates this is a country album. The opener's soft pop would say otherwise. The single "Now's the Time" sounds like Ben Kweller fronting the Flying Burrito Brothers, while the title track is an "easy" jazz tune.

Then there's "The Unmarked Animals," which divides its time between lounge rock and playful disco, with a slick guitar freak-out, congas, "the curvy stuff."

Below is the exclusive premiere of that song's music video, mysterious and glittery with some sustained eye contact. It's a little something that goes hand-in-hand with this wordsmith, who was raised on a commune and, seemingly, on a steady diet of country-rock: she never sounds miserable. There's a little glint in her eye.

"I Love You, Go Easy" really is among one of my favorite full-length albums this year; Sproule (rhymes with coal) isn't on tour currently in the U.S., but try to catch her and her expert team on the road at a later date.

Devon Sproule - Unmarked Animals from Anti/Type on Vimeo.



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<p>Patton&nbsp;Oswalt in &quot;Young Adult&quot;</p>

Patton Oswalt in "Young Adult"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Oswalt stealin' spotlights

Also: How the NYFCC vote broke down and calling Spielberg on hypocrisy

Remember when I noted Patton Oswalt's bringing down the house at the Los Angeles pop-up screening of Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" at the New Beverly? "If he really puts in the work, he can easily find himself in that mix," I wrote at the time. This is a guy built for the circuit, because he's sharp, witty, outspoken but never puts his foot in his mouth and is just too lovable to be held accountable even if he did let a gaffe slip. That gregarious train kept rolling at the Gotham Awards this weekend, where Oswalt was, by all accounts, the star of the show. It helps, of course, that his performance in the film is entirely worthy and a real surprise, even for those of us who knew he had it in him. [Carpetbagger]

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<p>Max (Max Burkholder)&nbsp;wanders the streets of Oakland in &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Max (Max Burkholder) wanders the streets of Oakland in "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'Missing': The Max on the bus goes round and round

Kristina goes back to work, Max goes missing, and Crosby likes Dr. Joe

A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I like a jean jacket on a baby...

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<p>Winston (Lamorne Morris)&nbsp;and Jess (Zooey Deschanel)&nbsp;work with some high school kids on &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) work with some high school kids on "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Bells': The thrill of the fight

The guys step to the forefront in one of the strongest episodes so far

A review of last night's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I have a $40,000 bar mitzvah...

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