Latest Blog Posts

<p>A scene from &quot;Transformers:&nbsp;Dark of the Moon&quot;</p>

A scene from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tech Support: 'War Horse,' 'Transformers' in the, uh, mix for Best Sound Mixing

And could we see, of all things, 'The Artist' pop up?

When dialogue was originally introduced into films, Charlie Chaplin considered it a fad that wouldn’t last. Alas, we now know how wrong that was. But sound can not only enrich a film by its addition of dialogue. The use of sound can build mood and tell the story in ways that would not be possible if our films remained silent.

Formerly called simply "Best Sound," the category of Best Sound Mixing awards the individuals who: 1) mix together dialogue, music, sound effects and everything else we hear in the soundscape of a film (up to three re-recording mixers) and 2) capture the sound as it is being filmed (the production sound mixer). This distinguishes the category from Best Sound Editing, which awards the creation and integration of artificially created sounds.

The category has an affinity for blockbusters and war films. That said, musicals frequently show up here, too. Moreover, Best Picture contenders can surprisingly get caught up in a sweep (“The King’s Speech”’s nomination last year is a good example).

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<p>Eddie&nbsp;Murphy in &quot;Eddie Murphy:&nbsp;Raw&quot;</p>

Eddie Murphy in "Eddie Murphy: Raw"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Murphygate

Also: Clooney would be shocked by 'Descendants' snub and Wasikowska hits the circuit

This has been the week from hell. But at least we're on the down-slope of it. And yesterday's quickly developing flurry of news has left plenty of pieces across the web in its wake. And to think, I was considering skipping Oscar Talk this week due to travel plans. Today's round-up is packed with stuff about that news, so strap in. And to kick things off, Nathaniel Rogers was actually at a lunch for "Martha Marcy May Marlene" in New York when the news hit. (There was a similar one here in Los Angeles but I had to skip it when the news started flying.) Rogers was seated with a trio of Academy members, so, naturally, he asked their thoughts on the situation. [Film Experience]

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Hannah Simone and Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."
Hannah Simone and Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."
Credit: FOX

The Morning Round-Up: 'New Girl,' 'Raising Hope,' 'Terra Nova' & 'The Good Wife'

Romantic tension, blackouts and cupcakes, oh my!

With all of ABC's comedies pre-empted last night by the CMA Awards, this seems a good time to catch up briefly on some other shows it took me a while to clear off the DVR. Quick reviews of, in order, "New Girl," "Raising Hope," "Terra Nova" and "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I laugh in the face of thousands of years of samurai culture...

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<p>New &quot;The Office&quot;&nbsp;bosses Ed Helms and James Spader haven't been bringing the funny.</p>

New "The Office" bosses Ed Helms and James Spader haven't been bringing the funny.

Credit: NBC

Review: 'The Office' struggles to find its center post-Steve Carell

Ed Helms, James Spader not bringing enough laughs to the comedy's new incarnation

When Steve Carell announced that last season would be his last with "The Office," he presented that show's producers with both a horrible dilemma and a tremendous opportunity.

For so many years, Carell was "The Office," and it was easy to understand the sentiment from those who insisted the show should end when he left, even as it was clear that struggling NBC wouldn't cancel one of its few remaining hits.

At the same time, here was an aging sitcom, which like so many before it had begun repeating itself, which had arguably exhausted most of the comic potential of the Michael Scott character. There was no rule that said the office couldn't have a new boss, someone very different from Michael, who might give this great comedy a chance to reinvent itself in the way that "Cheers" did when Kirstie Alley succeeded Shelley Long, or that "M*A*S*H" managed to do with each of its cast changes.

We've now seen six episodes of the first post-Carell season (plus a handful of episodes last spring where the producers and characters were trying to figure out who would run the branch without Michael), and unfortunately it's hard to argue so far with the people who wanted the show to end with Michael's departure.

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<p>Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood were one of the highlights of this year's CMA Awards.</p>

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood were one of the highlights of this year's CMA Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The best and worst, worst, worst of the 2011 CMA Awards

We review the highlights and the many lowlights

Is it still 2011? The 45th annual CMA Awards just wrapped and as they showed shots from the opening musical numbers over the closing credits, they seemed so long ago that I’d forgotten they’d taken place.

Before I unleash here, let’s get it straight that I love country music. I grew up in the south, went to college in Nashville and started my career there, so these criticisms aren’t coming from some left coaster who has an elite disdain and instant dismissiveness for the genre so prevalent in people  in Los Angeles and New York. Plus, I have greatly enjoyed the CMA Awards in years past.

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<p>Hugh Laurie talks &quot;Arthur Christmas.&quot;</p>

Hugh Laurie talks "Arthur Christmas."

Hugh Laurie didn't imagine he would be so 'buff' in fantastic 'Arthur Christmas'

'House' star talks about his role in new Aardman animated film

Hugh Laurie is no stranger to voice over work.  Whether it's "Monsters vs. Aliens," "Stuart Little" or numerous other appearances, Laurie's vocal talents has served him well.  Now, just in time for the holidays, the "House" star can be heard in Aardman Animation and Sony Picture Animation's clever and charming new feature "Arthur Christmas."

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<p>Ms.&nbsp;Piggy would like you to think really hard about this.</p>

Ms. Piggy would like you to think really hard about this.

One last 'Muppets' nudge... from Miss Piggy

The @MuppetOscars campaign should at least warrant a mention on the show

Alright, so we all had our fun. With the news that Brian Grazer is coming on board to "save" the Oscars, one gets the feeling that the Academy is ready to just move along, swiftly. So I'm not betting on the most creative Oscarcast. Do your best and get the hell out of this year. That kind of thing.

So, no room to pay for and mobilize The Muppets to have a key role in things, no matter if all you really need is a chair with a hole in it. But earlier today, the @MuppetOscars Twitter account shot up by 6,000 followers (going from 700+ in the morning to over 6,700 as of 9pm PT), with "Muppets" trending at one point. The Facebook page blew up with "likes" and messages; 10,000 followers there. Members of the international audience even chimed in: "I'd actually watch it... at 4am!" Fan art. Etc.

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<p>Whitney of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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Whitney of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: South Pacific' - 'Cut Throat'

Everybody picks on Cochran and two castaways head to Redemption
Pre-credit sequence. We pick right up after Tribal Council on a mighty awkward walk back to Te Tuna, particularly for Cochran, who gets pulled aside by Ozzy. Cochran tries explaining that he just didn't want his fate determined by a stone, which Ozzy doesn't particularly buy. Ozzy seems pretty chill to me, but Saintly Brandon comes over to protect Cochran from the The Bad Man. "We're not gangsters over here, man," Ozzy tells Brandon, before turning to Cochran and reminding him that "I put my ass on the line for you, directly and personally." This isn't exactly true, but Ozzy's pretending to believe it's true. "You just stabbed me in the back so hard," Ozzy concludes, calling Cochran a "wiener." Jim much more blunt, telling Cochran that he is "A poor excuse for a man," advising him to never talk to him again. Whitney's also displeased, telling Cochran and she and Keith saved him three times. "You've got a lot to learn, buddy. You disgust me," Whitney says. Ouch. Cochran's new alliance welcomes him around the fire, but he's unsure of his position. And then we let Jimbo and Whitney swear a bit more about how much they hate Cochran. This is gonna be an obnoxious episode, isn't it?
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<p>The &quot;America's Next Top Model&quot; models go to Greece</p>
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The "America's Next Top Model" models go to Greece

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Nikos Papadopoulos'

The models head to Greece and an underwear shoot causes controversy

Now that Alexandria has been eliminated, It’s time to get out of the country before she exacts her revenge. So where will we be headed? As we learned last episode, it’s gonna be Greece, but before we can reach for the spanakopita (assuming any of these girls really eat) we have to meet with Andre Leon Talley! He arrives in his straw Chinese boatman hat with two plate-breaking waiters to announce the new overseas trip.

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'The Heat Is On'

The 'on the bubble' chefs get their last chance to nab a chef's jacket
This is the final episode dedicated to whittling down the massive number of chefs with whom we started in the "Top Chef" quest to get down to a more reasonable count of 16, so, again, don't get used to anyone. But I will say that, if the looks of the food we're seeing is any indication (and I know, it can look good and taste like a bath towel), the level of cooking this season is pretty extraordinary. I'm not even hungry watching the show and I'm drooling a little. Given that it seems like every other competitor is a James Beard nominee or an executive chef for so-and-so famous guy, all I can think is 1) I wish I could crash one of these dinners and 2) I'm pretty sure Padma (who says she gains about 15 pounds each season) will be investing in even more maxidresses than usual. We're gonna see some really, really good eats. 
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<p>Carey Mulligan in a scene from &quot;Shame&quot;</p>

Carey Mulligan in a scene from "Shame"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Interview: Carey Mulligan redefines the ingénue with ‘Shame’ and ‘Drive’

The actress looks to stretch herself in the wake of 'An Education'

Carey Mulligan found herself propelled onto the world stage after she was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the sharp, witty and painfully young Jenny Mellor in 2009s “An Education.” Though doors began to open for the actress, she was disappointed to discover that most of them led to rooms of similar shapes and sizes. “A lot of people just wanted me to sort of do what I had already done,” she recalls. “Films that reminded me of that part weren't films that I was interested in.”

If there is such a thing as a safe and secure course in the development of an ingénue’s career anymore, then Mulligan has chosen not to follow that trajectory. The actress took one leading, and several supporting roles (the most high-profile of which was in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”) after “An Education” and then stopped working for a year.

When she returned it was in pursuit of projects that would move her beyond the limited scope of the classical leading lady and/or give her the opportunity to work with filmmakers that she found compelling. She began with director Nicolas Winding Refn’s urban fable/meditation on violence, “Drive.”

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Watch: Bruno Mars' new video for 'It Will Rain'
Credit: Elektra Records

Watch: Bruno Mars' new video for 'It Will Rain'

Do 'Twilight's' Bella and Edward make an appearance?

We know Bruno Mars is smooth and all, but we do not remotely see him as the kind of guy who would screen one of the “Twilight” movies while making seksi time with his lady, but film placements make us all do crazy things as we see in the video for “It Will Rain,” which premiered on MTV today.

Mars is the big pop name on “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” soundtrack (read our review here). “It Will Rain” has the dated feel of a song from the ‘80s, perhaps because of the drum track. It sounds more appropriate for “Against All Odds,” although we’re pretty sure Phil Collins is not about to let his song be stripped out of that monster. (The song also has a few chord changes that remind of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses,” but maybe that’s just me).

[More after the jump...]

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