Latest Blog Posts

<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
<p>&quot;Citizen&nbsp;Kane&quot; celebrates its 70th anniversary on DVD and Blu-ray</p>

"Citizen Kane" celebrates its 70th anniversary on DVD and Blu-ray

Credit: Warner Home Video

Oscarweb Round-up: Rosebud 70 years later

Also: Dishing Best Supporting Actress and more out of this weekend's 'Extremely Loud' test screening

Linked in today's round-up is LA Times critic Kenneth Turan's DVD/Blu-ray pick of "Citizen Kane," which received the 70th anniversary treatment from Warner Home Video earlier this month. It got me thinking that I should finally put it in and give it a look, since the monolithic box set has just sat there on my shelf since I bought it a few days back. I haven't dug all the way in yet, but I put it in last night to give it a gander and boy is it gorgeous. Gregg Toland's photography here has long deserved the HD treatment. While the structure of the film always gets the lion's share of the "groundbreaking" praise, what he did behind the camera was certainly no less revolutionary. I tend to watch it around this time of year, Halloween or into the fall. There's something about the crisp bite of the air outside as those "News on the March" notes strike up that is just, I don't know, settling. Anyway, let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...

Read Full Post
<p>Maria Bello in &quot;Prime Suspect.&quot;</p>

Maria Bello in "Prime Suspect."

Credit: NBC

'Prime Suspect' - 'Carnivorous Sheep': A changed man?

Episode two tones down the pilot's rampant sexism

A quick review of last night's "Prime Suspect" coming up just as soon as I choose the clown fish...

Read Full Post
<p>Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Review: Claire Danes and Damian Lewis riveting in Showtime's 'Homeland'

Terrorism thriller is easily the fall's best new series

They seem too good to be true at first, the two leads of Showtime's "Homeland," the best new show of the fall season. One is Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a tough, smart, dedicated CIA agent who can only be held back by her by-the-book superiors. The other is Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a Marine sniper who went missing in Iraq 8 years ago and was long presumed dead, only to be discovered alive and (relatively) well during a special forces raid on his captors' base.

The two could be poster girl and boy for the War on Terror, but almost immediately "Homeland" (it debuts Sunday night at 10) begins showing cracks in the facade.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Whitney&quot;&nbsp;(Whitney Cummings)&nbsp;and Alex (Chris D'Elia)&nbsp;have a strange encounter in the lobby.</p>

"Whitney" (Whitney Cummings) and Alex (Chris D'Elia) have a strange encounter in the lobby.

Credit: NBC

'Whitney' - 'First Date': Crazy game

Things get worse rather than better with the second episode

A quick review of last night's "Whitney" coming up just as soon as I wear my dressy Crocs...

Read Full Post
<p>Andy (Ed Helms)&nbsp;has a new incentive plan for &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Andy (Ed Helms) has a new incentive plan for "The Office."

Credit: NBC

'The Office' - 'The Incentive': Tattoo you

How long can the show get away with turning Andy into Michael Scott 2.0?

A quick review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I scat about the good part...

Read Full Post
<p>Seth Rogen was in good spirits and for good reason when we spoke about '50/50' in Toronto this year</p>

Seth Rogen was in good spirits and for good reason when we spoke about '50/50' in Toronto this year

Credit: HitFix

Interview: Seth Rogen talks about the near miss that inspired '50/50'

Plus we discuss his work in the wonderful 'Take This Waltz'

Seth Rogen sort of knocked me on my ass at Toronto this year.

I'm used to enjoying his work.  I've liked him quite a bit ever since "Freaks and Geeks," and I still remember meeting him at the "Anchorman" premiere and really gushing about how much I liked his work on that show, and how I hoped I'd see him in more stuff soon.

So that happened.  Cut to now, with him having achieved the status at this point of being Seth Freakin' Rogen.  He's big money now.  He's made it happen.  He is an unlikely movie star simply because of what a cool, normal, regular guy he is.  He's bright, he's sharp, but he's normal.  He's got this instant accessibility, like he's someone you went to school with or knew from camp or something.  He's made quite a career as America's Smoking Buddy, and watching him start to really expand the range of what he plays and add new notes to the material he picks is gratifying.  The best parts of "Freaks and Geeks" had nothing to do with comedy.  That show reached deep, and even at that point, Seth did some things that I still think are bold and real and not for laughs.

Read Full Post
"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: CW

Recap: 'Vampire Diaries' - 'The End of the Affair'

It's a flashback into the roaring '20s - and a forgotten love rediscovered

 The times I enjoy most on "Vampire Diaries" are the times when the metaphor of otherness and addiction is most explicit. And even though it's a secondary storyline in this episode, that's definitely the case with Caroline's reprogramming at her dad's hands. But we'll get to that in a minute. A LOT happens in this episode, and just when we thought Klaus was out of tricks, the quest for hybrids gets a lot more complicated.

Read Full Post
<p>Annie (Alison Brie)&nbsp;has an idea on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Annie (Alison Brie) has an idea on "Community."

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Geography of Global Conflict': Rage against the machine

Alan and Todd VanDerWerff talk about the difference between "normal" and "abnormal" episodes

A quick review of tonight's "Community" - followed by an anything-but-quick discussion between me and Todd VanDerWerff about the current state of the series - coming up just as soon as I have a multi-cultural evil twin...

Read Full Post
"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway" 

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'Sew 70s'

Things go horribly wrong when one designer loses her money

"Project Runway" has thinned the herd, but I have to say that I have yet to see a really amazing outfit saunter down the runway as yet -- and at this point in the season, that's quite a disappointment. I've loved almost everything that Anya has done, don't get me wrong, but I'm still holding out for a show stopper. Of course, I may have missed something major while shielding my eyes from whatever Josh M. has put before the judges, so that might be the problem. There is, of course, the other issue that no designer can get past -- the abundance of ridiculous challenges. Let's hope tonight is a little more straightforward so we can see what these designers can really do when they're not busy dressing hairy band guys or making dresses for women they haven't met yet. 

Read Full Post
<p>Holly Conrad and her remarkable 'Mass Effect 2' costumes are a highlight in Morgan Spurlock's new documentary 'Comic-Con Episode IV:&nbsp;A Fan's Journey'</p>

Holly Conrad and her remarkable 'Mass Effect 2' costumes are a highlight in Morgan Spurlock's new documentary 'Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Journey'

Credit: Mutant Enemy/Thomas Tull/Warrior Poets

Review: Spurlock's 'Comic-Con' doc succeeds most when focused on the fans

Celebrity talking heads weight down an even-handed look at fandom

I went to the San Diego Comic-Con for the first time about twelve years ago, but I've been going to smaller conventions my entire life.  Fandom has changed so much since I first fell in love with it that I find myself feeling a little disconnected from the modern face of Comic-Con.  I like fans when I meet them one on one, but I find that I'm less and less in love with the larger community called fandom.

I think I understand why, too, but it was something that only really started to come into focus when I was at Comic-Con this year and then again when I saw the new Morgan Spurlock film "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Journey" at Toronto this year.  Tonight, it is the closing night film at Fantastic Fest 2011, and it seems appropriate since this is one of the first films where my friend and former employer Harry Knowles is an executive producer as well as an on-screen presence, and sure enough, I saw him show up in fine style tonight, ready to enjoy the hometown screening of the film.

There is quite a bit about the film that I like, and there are a few big things about it that I don't like at all.  I think what the film does at its best is explain what it is that draws people to San Diego each year.  There are five distinct stories being told in the film.  My favorite deals with Holly Conrad, an aspiring costume designer who wants to enter the Masquerade with her friends playing a team from "Mass Effect 2."  She's enormously talented, and the work she does in the film is professional quality.  Spurlock follows her from her home to the Con and through the entire process of preparing on-site and rehearsing and dealing with tech issues and stage fright, and it's a lovely portrait of the way fandom and professional aspiration can sometimes synch up.

Read Full Post
<p>Ron (Nick Offerman)&nbsp;faces his past on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Ron (Nick Offerman) faces his past on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Ron and Tammys': If you have diabeetus...

Ron faces off against two ex-wives and his mom in a riotous episode

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I make toilet wine in the federal prison in Terre Haute...

Read Full Post