Latest Blog Posts

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in "All the President's Men"
Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in "All the President's Men"
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

George Clooney lists 100 of his favorite films

'All the President's Men' cracks politically-minded star's top five

George Clooney is the rare kind of star whose magnetism is such that people might actually care what his favorite films are -- I rather like the idea of devout fans frantically updating their Netflix queues in response to this list he's shared with Parade magazine. (Their infomercial-like instructions: "See the films George Clooney loves!"

He's certainly been generous with his advice. Rather than reeling a couple of titles off the top of his head, he's recommended 100; before you go assuming these are his 100 all-time favorites, however, bear in mind that he's limited to focus to films made between 1964 and 1976, the period he believes to be the most exciting in film history.

His taste, rather like his filmmaking, is admirably classical if not terribly radical: most of the expected canon titles are present and correct, while guiltier pleaures seem largely to have been filtered out. Somewhat annoyingly, Parade have presented the list as a 100-panel slideshow; if you have the time to wade through it all, knock yourself out here.

Read Full Post
<p>Kurt Russell</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Kurt Russell

Credit: Dan Steinberg/AP

Kurt Russell may replace Kevin Costner in Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

'Death Proof' vet joining Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx in western

As if I hadn't just had an exhausting but amazing month-long orgy of film, as if I wasn't sitting here in the airport, ready to fly home, spent and worn out by how great it's all been, there just had to be one story breaking today that I couldn't resist writing up before I hop on the plane.

Why?  Because it makes me ridiculously happy, that's why.

In a recent podcast, Scott and I lamented the idea that Kevin Costner was dropping out of his proposed role in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming "Django Unchained," and I really am sad he's not doing it.  I think it would be a nice fit.

However, if Costner dropping out means that Kurt Russell is going to play the part, then sign me up twice.  That's awesome.  I love Russell in "Death Proof," and I think he is, in general, under-utilized by filmmakers.  The role he's stepping in to play is a nasty one, a guy who works for Leonardo DiCaprio, onboard to play the main bad guy in the film.  Samuel L. Jackson's got a great role in the film already, as does Christoph Waltz, and Jamie Foxx is onboard as the lead in the film.

For those who don't know what the film's about, it's a big sprawling Western, but set in the South of the Reconstruction Era, where Foxx plays a freed slave who teams up with a German bounty hunter to learn his trade and track down his wife, sold away from him.  DiCaprio is a slave plantation owner who pits his slaves in gladiator-style battles, and Russell will play the guy in charge of training the slaves to fight for the games.

We're only about a month away from the film starting production, and I'm thrilled to think that we're a year away from a new Tarantino film, especially one with a cast this strong.

The Weinstein Company will release "Django Unchained" in theaters Christmas Day, 2012.

Read Full Post
<p>(from left)&nbsp;Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph&nbsp;Waltz and Kate Winslet in Roman Polanski's &quot;Carnage&quot;</p>

(from left) Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet in Roman Polanski's "Carnage"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Polanski's aptly titled 'Carnage' makes for dicey translation to the screen

Kate Winslet stands out by not standing out in histrionic cast

Ever since Roman Polanski's adaptation of Yasmina Reza's play "God of Carnage" announced its cast, I admit I've been a bit wary. The play, which I saw on Broadway in 2009, was rousing and wonderful, specifically because it was handled by a pitch-perfect cast -- Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden --  that served the medium well. And I think that group would have served the film just as well, properly drilling things down to the more intimate medium of cinema.

Oddly, though, the quartet assembled for Polanski's stab -- Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster -- by and large swings for the fences and plays to the non-existent rafters far too often for the story to settle in on celluloid. Obviously that's plenty owed to the direction of the material, which is a bit cumbersome elsewhere, too, book-ending the tightened quarrel at the center of the story with a superfluous depiction of the inciting incident. Meanwhile, while the tactic of closing things in and embracing the staginess of the tale actually works for material like this, having the actors perform it in such broad gestures really begins to eat away at and borderline lampoon what made the original work so cutting.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's &quot;The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo&quot;</p>

 Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

David Fincher: Lisbeth Salander is 'refuse'

Director discusses his concept for 'Dragon Tattoo' heroine

I'm still not exactly sure how much I should be looking forward to David Fincher's remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Having effortfully avoided all trailers so far, I have only the on-paper facts to go on -- and as much as the names involved push the film comfortably into must-see-and-soon status, I still wonder whether a truly great film can be made from a novel as limited in scope and bitter in aftertaste as Stieg Larsson's admittedly propulsive bestseller.

The lumbering Swedish original certainly didn't come close for me, and I at least feel secure in expecting a more cinematically stimulating interpretation of the material from Fincher. What I'm really hoping for, however, is a performance from the hitherto promising Rooney Mara that makes good on the reams of rhetoric we've been fed since the book's publication about Lisbeth Salander being a definitively conflicted 21st-century heroine. Noomi Rapace's widely praised performance in the Swedish films sold me on Salander's athleticism and severity, but for me, overegged the character's self-repression to the point of mere posing.

However, in an interview with Empire magazine, Fincher drops some intriguing hints about his vision for the character that suggests Salander's inner life has been amply thought through in the new film. Click through to read what he has to say.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;(Zachary Levi)&nbsp;and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski)&nbsp;will now be back on Oct. 28, rather than the 21st.</p>

"Chuck" (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) will now be back on Oct. 28, rather than the 21st.

Credit: NBC

NBC moves 'Chuck,' 'Grimm' premiere dates back a week

Spy dramedy's final season and fairy tale procedural's first to both premiere Oct. 28

Remember how yesterday - while reporting news of Stan Lee's guest appearance - I reminded you folks that the fifth and final season of "Chuckwould be debuting on Friday, Oct. 21? Well, adjust your viewing calendars by a week, as NBC has pushed the premiere for both "Chuck" and the fairy tale-themed cop drama "Grimmback one week, so both will debut on Oct. 28 at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively.

Given what a mess some of NBC's other nights have been, I had started to wonder if perhaps the network might deploy "Chuck" - which has a small but relatively consistent audience - on a different night (Wednesday, maybe?) to stop the bleeding there. Instead, they're still set to be on Fridays, with the move apparently being made to make it easier to promote the "Grimm" premiere closer to Halloween. (All four of NBC's Thursday comedies will be airing Halloween-themed episodes the night before.) 

So Chuck, Sarah, Casey, Morgan and company will still be back - just a few days later than originally planned.

Read Full Post
"Private Practice"

 "Private Practice"

Credit: ABC

'Private Practice' fakes us out in the season premiere- clever or just sneaky?

It's soapy drama, but when is it just too much to take?

I'll admit that "Private Practice" (along with its companion piece "Grey's Anatomy") is one of my guilty pleasures. A prime time sudser about narcissistic doctors who Care Too Much and should all be brought up on malpractice charges in every episode, the storylines frequently veer into too crazy/ridiculous/annoying to be believed territory (a crazy patient splits open Violet and steals her unborn baby! Charlotte discovers her rapist is a patient at her hospital!). But with a committed cast and characters who, when not saving the world, are busily bedding one another, it's just good, soapy fun. But last night the show tested my patience, and for once the usual soap opera tropes aren't working for me.

Read Full Post
<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Britney Spears talks about her upcoming TV concert special

What does 'Jersey Shore's' Pauly D have to say about touring with Brit Brit

It takes a lot to put together a Britney Spears’ tour, y’all. You can get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes with this snippet from her forthcoming concert special, “Britney Spears Live: The Femme Fatale Tour,” which airs on Epix Nov. 12. 

Her show designers talk about using Spears’ acting skills as part of the backdrop to developing the little vignettes featured in each song.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Michael&nbsp;Shannon fears for the future in &quot;Take Shelter&quot;</p>

Michael Shannon fears for the future in "Take Shelter"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Tell us what you thought of 'Take Shelter'

The Sundance stand-out finally hits theaters today

Ever since I caught "Take Shelter" in advance of the fall festival season, I can't really stop thinking about it. It's easily one of the most powerful, lingering works of the year for me, across the board. Michael Shannon's performance -- it's no secret -- gets top marks from me so far. I spoke to him earlier this week about his work on the film. His co-star, Jessica Chastain, is also quite wonderful in the film and this could actually be her best bet for a nomination. And, of course, Jeff Nichols' vision is so drilled down and vibrantly realized. Okay, enough from me. The film hits theaters today, so I'd love to hear your thoughts. Cut loose with them in the comments section here if/when you get around to seeing the film.

Read Full Post
<p>T-Pain</p>

T-Pain

Watch: T-Pain takes the long way home in '5 O'Clock' video

Lily Allen is missing, but Wiz Khalifa shows up

Like Adele’s new video for “Someone Like You,” the new video for T-Pain,” “5 O’Clock” featuring Lily Allen and Wiz Khalifa shows the artist meandering through the streets of a beautiful European city. For Adele, the locale is Paris. For T-Pain, it’s Amsterday. That’s where any similarities end.

T-Pain’s tune, which is built around the dreamy, adult lullaby-like sample from Allen’s 2009 tune "Who'd Have Known,"  features the autotuned rapper strolled through the Amsterdam streets, including the famed Red Light District, which is proving to be a distraction, as his lady waits and waits.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Trey Parker (far left) and Matt Stone (far right) make J-Lo and Paltrow proud with their 2000 homage...with a little Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds for added effect.</p>

Trey Parker (far left) and Matt Stone (far right) make J-Lo and Paltrow proud with their 2000 homage...with a little Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds for added effect.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone tripped acid at the Oscars in 2000

Imagine if they won and had to accept in those dresses?

One of the cooler Oscar nominations of recent memory was the Best Original Song recognition Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman received for the ditty "Blame Canada" from 1999's "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut." And one of the more eye-popping moments of an Oscar telecast was when Parker and Matt Stone showed up to the ceremony in March of 2000 decked out in dresses similar to those worn by Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow at previous Oscar ceremonies.

While visiting David Letterman back in March, the duo copped to "Sheening" at the Oscars that year, in reference to bad boy Charlie Sheen, who was very much in the news for his shenanigans at the time of their Late Night appearance. "We were just Sheening our heads off," Parker said at the time. No explanation of the drug of choice, though given the association, many thought they were coked out of their minds. Well, they wanted to set the record straight when they appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" last night.

Settle down, everyone. They weren't using cocaine that night. They were just flying high on a little acid, okay? Click through to see the section of the interview where they discuss the trippy night.

Read Full Post
Oscar Talk: Ep. 63 -- Digging into the supporting categories

Oscar Talk: Ep. 63 -- Digging into the supporting categories

Also: Urging you to see '50/50' and 'Take Shelter' and discussing the box office of films like 'Drive,' 'Warrior' and 'Moneyball'

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.

With the early fall tests behind us, we stand on the precipice of October. The New York film fest is just around the corner with London fest not far behind. We're very much off to the races, but also very much in our bubble right now, seeing a number of films that Academy members and even industry sorts haven't gotten around to yet. So that's the echo chamber for you. A few more weeks of that and finally the few voices will turn into a more rousing chorus. Now, let's see what's on the docket today...

Read Full Post
<p>Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left)&nbsp;and Seth&nbsp;Rogen in a scene from &quot;50/50&quot;</p>

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) and Seth Rogen in a scene from "50/50"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Tell us what you thought of '50/50'

The 'cancer comedy' hits theaters today

Today sees an interesting pair of releases, both of the highest quality, both indie productions with integrity, both well worth your money. Let's start by gauging reaction to "50/50," Jonathan Levine's follow-up to "The Wackness" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, based on the true story of young screenwriter Will Reiser's struggle with a sudden cancer diagnosis. I've been singing the film's praises for about a month now. Yesterday you heard from Gordon-Levitt about the attempt to draw out the honesty of the piece. But now it's your turn to tell us what you thought. So if you happen to make it out to the theater this weekend to see it, rifle off your thoughts in the comments section here.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME