Latest Blog Posts

<p>Leona Lewis</p>

Leona Lewis

Listen: Leona Lewis 'Collides' with new dance-pop single

Is this song a ripoff?

There's already a fight over who Leona Lewis' "Collide" belongs to, but I'm not sure why it's worth the fuss.

In what is one of the more boring vocal lines to be headed to a top 40 radio station near you, "Collide" features Lewis' best vanilla voice on vanilla lines like “I’ll pick you up when you’re down / Be there when no one’s around." The only way this ear-ingested sleeping pill succeeds is in bucking the cookie-cutter pop recipe of quiet-loud-quiet-loud-bridge-breakdown-loud. She busts out at the end, but I don't feel moved: instead I feel like she shouting that it's the part where I'm supposed to be moved. There's a difference.

For one -- as Idolator also points out -- it's stupid-similar to Alexis Jordan's "Happiness" (probably because it was written by the same person: Autumn Rowe). And Ministry of Sound is claiming that it's also spot-on for Avicii's "Penguin." These are all below. And they are all a testament to larger industry and creative problems. 

Tired now? Me too.

Lewis' third album will drop this November.

[Jump...]

Leona Lewis - Collide (BBC Radio 1 Premiere) by josepvinaixa

Read Full Post
<p>Evan Sneider is the star of the unsettling and unusual 'Girlfriend'</p>

Evan Sneider is the star of the unsettling and unusual 'Girlfriend'

Credit: Wayne/Lauren Film Company

Review: 'Girlfriend' tells uneasy story of love and kindness with unlikely star

Justin Lerner's debut feature hinges on a very special lead performance

It's not often that I can honestly say that a movie strikes me as completely original, but that is true of Justin Lerner's new film "Girlfriend," opening today in New York.  It's the sort of film I have trouble even assigning a genre as I watch it, and I strongly encourage you to get out and support this tiny indie right now while you can, and maybe we'll see this one get a wider release, which it absolutely deserves.

I'm curious what the order of events was for this one.  The lead in the movie, Evan Sneider, is a young man with Down's Syndrome, and I'm curious if the role was written for them or if they went out and found Evan after writing the script.  It's one of those cases where the film wouldn't exist without Evan, and I'm not sure this is the sort of thing you could even put together if you didn't know you had the exact right person to play the part.  Sneider's work in the film is accomplished and moving and, again, original.  I'm so used to the ingrained idea that any time you see someone with Down's in a key role in a film, they'll be portrayed a certain way, that when you see something like this that throws rules out the window, it's enough to make the experience deeply unsetting.

Read Full Post
Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf took a trip back to World War II on tonight's "Leverage."
Aldis Hodge and Beth Riesgraf took a trip back to World War II on tonight's "Leverage."
Credit: TNT

'Leverage' travels back to WWII for 'The Van Gogh Job'

A fun flashback episode and showcase for Aldis Hodge

I write about a lot of TV shows, but there are many more that I watch but don't write about, either due to lack of time, bulk viewing (I tended to marathon "The Good Wife" a lot in season 1, for instance) or simply because there's just not enough meat there to justify episode-by-episode analysis. ("Burn Notice" is a show that I think has slipped into that territory, even though I still enjoy it.)

One of those often-watched, rarely-reviewed shows is "Leverage," and for once I'm a bit ahead of the game, having seen a screener of Sunday night's episode, titled "The Van Gogh Job." It's a notable episode for a few reasons.

Read Full Post
<p>Lenny Kravitz </p>

Lenny Kravitz

Watch: Lenny Kravitz as you've never seen him in new video for 'Stand'

He lets his freak flag fly in '70s game show spoof

We’ve already declared our love for Lenny Kravitz’s new single, the crunchy, infectious pop delight, “Stand.” And now he’s made a Foo Fighters-worthy video to go along with it. And that is high praise indeed.

The song has a ‘70s vibe to it, so it makes perfect sense that the Paul Hunter-directed clip sets the Wayback Machine to a spoof of “Let’s Make A Deal”--the original with Monty Hall, not the current lame version with Wayne Brady.

Kravitz plays obnoxious host Bart Billingsworth as well as bad, hair-flipping Prince clone, Desmond Richie.  As deal after deal goes south for the contestants, drummer Bubba Washington, also played by Kravitz, pulls back the curtain (literally) on the corruption.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Lots of scary chemical barrels abound on the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;Super Lab set.</p>

Lots of scary chemical barrels abound on the "Breaking Bad" Super Lab set.

'Breaking Bad': Picture perfect

Your humble writer turns photographer on the AMC drama's set

"Breaking Bad" preview week is almost at an end. As mentioned ad nauseum already, I went to the show's set in Albuquerque a few months ago to conduct some interviews, and also got an opportunity to tour the show's set and snap some pictures along the way. We have a whole gallery of them up, so go look and enjoy, and I can't wait to talk about the premiere with y'all on Sunday night.

Read Full Post
<p>Blink-182</p>

Blink-182

Listen: Blink-182's first single in six years, 'Up All Night'

Is there trouble in Blinkville?

Our boys are growing up. A dozen years ago, a  Blink-182 song called “Up At Night” would have undoubtedly been about sneaking out and staying awake until dawn’s early light by partying and carrying on.

The trio’s first single in six years will have you asking, “what’s their age again?,” because Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker are definitely living in the adult world on “Up All Night.”

Instead of regaling in frat-boy hijinks of yore, which, quite frankly, just seem pathetic after 25, what’s keeping our boys up all night are the pains and struggles of every day life. “All these demons, they keep me up all night,” the band sings in the crunchy, new tune, which debuted this morning on Los Angeles’ rock outlet KROQ.

The song is instantly identifiable as Blink, though it has a kind of cool, heavy Rush vibe that wasn’t always so apparent in their earlier hits. The cascading, dense, ominous intro lets us know that we’re not in for another party anthem. Leave that to LMFAO.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Evans straps on some red, white, and blue in 'Captain America:&nbsp;The First Avenger'</p>

Chris Evans straps on some red, white, and blue in 'Captain America: The First Avenger'

Credit: Paramount/Marvel Studios

Exclusive new 'Captain America' poster, plus how to win passes to see it early

Paramount's ready to wrap up 2011's summer of superheroes

I'm seeing it this weekend, and here's how you know I'm genuinely excited:  I hate traffic in Los Angeles worse than I hate anything, and I am driving into Carmageddon not once, but TWICE this weekend in order to both see the film and talk to the cast and the director.  There are not many movies coming out this summer that could get me to do that.

If you're going to be in San Diego for Comic-Con and you want to see "Captain America: The First Avenger" on Thursday, there's a 10:00 AM screening at the Horton Plaza Theater, and it's going to be complete with special guests and special surprises.  It is worth making the effort for this one.  We've got 30 pairs of tickets to give away, and I wish you luck.  I'll just say this... the people who saw it tonight who I talked to sounded happy about what they saw.  I'm avoiding any more footage or scenes or spoilers at this point because I just want to see the movie and see it all put together.

And if it weren't enough for us to hand out 30 pairs of tickets for you, we have something else as well, a brand-new poster for the film that brings together almost all of the film's major characters, with an imposing and decidedly evil Red Skull looking down at everything.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;star Bryan Cranston.</p>

"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston.

Interview: 'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston

How much monster is there inside Walter White?

Here's the second of my video interviews from when I visited the "Breaking Badset a few months ago, this time with star Bryan Cranston. (Previously, I posted my Aaron Paul interview and my review of the new season, which is fantastic.) 

Cranston and I had a nice little chat about the ins and outs of Walter White, starting off with me bouncing my interpretation of the character off him and Cranston politely disagreeing. It's a good conversation, but as I said with the Paul interview, my cinematography left something to be desired. (I tried to hire Michael Slovis, but he was outside my budget.) So if the shaky-cam bothers you, by all means just listen while opening a second browser window to look at pictures of dogs using computers.

Read Full Post
<p>Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) breaks into a funeral parlor in one of the all-time great &quot;Friday Night Lights&quot;&nbsp;moments.</p>

Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) breaks into a funeral parlor in one of the all-time great "Friday Night Lights" moments.

Credit: NBC/DirecTV

'Friday Night Lights': A look back at its greatness and its greatest moments

A drama that felt so real that it hurt more when it didn't

(Note: This article was originally published in February, when the "Friday Night Lights" finale was about to air on DirecTV. That finale will re-air, in a 90-minute timeslot, tonight at 8 on NBC.)

In the second season premiere of "Friday Night Lights," one of the show's high school characters killed a man who had just tried to rape the girl he liked. Then he and that girl conspired to hide the body and cover up the crime.

This upset people, on a level I haven't often seen even for the biggest of shark jumps. (Heck, even I flipped out about it.) How on Earth, the consensus seemed to be, could a show this good do something this stupid? How dare they ruin this show with this silliness?

That the anger and disbelief over this storyline were so intense is, in an odd way, a testament to the brilliance of the four seasons of "Friday Night Lights" that didn't involve murder and Mexican threesomes and weird age-inappropriate affairs and a meth dealer obsessed with ferrets. People were so furious and dismayed because the show to that point (and almost as soon as that season was put to rest) had been so great - and, more importantly, because it had felt so real.

Read Full Post
<p>Joan Rivers and Louis C.K. on &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Joan Rivers and Louis C.K. on "Louie."

Credit: FX

'Louie' - 'Joan': Funny lady

Louie gets a lesson in comedy from Joan Rivers

A quick review of tonight's "Louie" - multiple Emmy-nominated "Louie," no less - coming up just as soon as I want to go to the aquarium...

Read Full Post
<p>The women of 'Big Brother 13'</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

The women of 'Big Brother 13'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - The First Eviction

Who would be sent packing and crying into Julie Chen's arms?

It's been a busy first week for our "Big Brother" hamsters. Rachel put Porsche and Keith up for Eviction. The Regulators were born. Evel Dick went off into the Diary Room and never returned. Everybody in the house conspired independently to throw the Power of Veto, working at hilarious cross-purposes. And, in a daring challenge, the new contestants competed to see if they could accumulate 100 IQ points between them! [The last thing didn't happen. I just wanted to imply that they aren't particularly clever.]

Click through for a minute-by-minute report from Thursday (July 14) night's "Big Brother" elimination episode...

Read Full Post
<p>Anne Hathaway and James Franco in a bit that bombed from the 83rd Academy Awards.</p>

Anne Hathaway and James Franco in a bit that bombed from the 83rd Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Critically lambasted 83rd Annual Academy Awards lands 10 Emmy nominations

James Franco and Anne Hathaway are not recognized

Ah, aren't friends grand?  After receiving some of the most critical and harsh reviews for an Oscar telecast since the infamous 1989 "Rob Lowe and Snow White" Academy Awards (61st for those playing at home), it's now time to see how the big show fared in Emmy nominations.  As the grand daddy of awards shows, the Oscars usually always finds itself with a slew of nods - some deserved, some not.

Outstanding Special Class Programs (best award show basically)

Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries Or Movie

Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Special (Don Mischer)

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety, Music, Or Comedy Special

Outstanding Music Direction

Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming

Outstanding Short-Form Picture Editing

Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media (Oscar Digital Experience on ABC.com)

Now, to be frank, 10 nods sort of an outrageous number for this telecast.  There were 12 nominations for the 2010 show, 10 for the critically acclaimed 2009 show, nine nods for the 2008 edition and nine nods in 2007.  No one would argue the 2007, 2008 and 2009 shows weren't better, but somehow last year's misfire equaled or surpassed them.

While it's somewhat shocking it landed a special class nod considering the only other nominees were the Tonys, Grammys and Golden Globes (um, really?) it appears that category is now a given.  The diss for Oscar from its TV counterpart is a lack of writing and hosting nominations.  Even when people don't think the show is that funny (such as the year before with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin), the show is usually assured at least a writing nod.  Not this year.  And while it's not a given, many hosts have found themselves getting Emmy recognition including Steve Martin (2001), Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres and of course, Billy Crystal.  Anne Hathaway and James Franco join fine company, however, as Hugh Jackman, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin and David Letterman didn't land nods either.

The directing nod for Don Mischer isn't a shock either, even if the show seemed messy at times. Highly respected among his peers, Mischer has won 13 Emmy Awards and produced the 2009 and 2010 Emmy telecasts.  Of course, he also co-produced the 83rd Academy Awards, but it appears reputation won out over the results this time around.  Personally, we're rooting for the Grammy Awards to take home this year's major trophies.  How about you?

The 63rd Emmy Awards will be handed out on Sept. 18.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME