Latest Blog Posts

<p>Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's &quot;J. Edgar&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Clint Eastwood says Hoover's sexuality open 'for interpretation' in 'J. Edgar'

Plus: New images of the Leonardo DiCaprio drama

The fall movie season is less than a month away and with the shorter days and chillier nights Hollywood enters it's "serious" season.  The prestige picture extravaganza will begin with the triple threat of festivals in less than three weeks, Venice, Telluride and Toronto.  However, there are a few films currently skipping those early showcases in hopes of awards season glory later one.  One is the increasingly curious biopic "J. Edgar."

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<p>Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald co-star in Craig Brewer's remake of 'Footloose'</p>

Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald co-star in Craig Brewer's remake of 'Footloose'

Credit: Paramount

Watch: New 'Footloose' trailer promises big drama, bigger dancing

Craig Brewer's new take on the '80s classic is looking better and better

When I posted my piece the other day about "Footloose," I referred to the film as a musical, and Craig Brewer actually showed up in our comments section to clarify that this is not a film where people burst into song.  By that strict definition, it's not a musical, it's a dance film.

But music is obviously a huge part of the movie, both in design and in the way it'll be sold, and the new trailer that arrived online today is cut to a very spare reworking of the original Kenny Loggins theme for the first film, and it's a really effective look at what Brewer's put together.

One of the things that makes me think this is going to be more than just an empty cash grab is listening to Brewer talk about the subtext that made him want to remake the film in the first place.  We live in a reactionary time, and I think it's clear to anyone who lived through 9/11 and the way things changed afterward that all it takes is a push, and America is ready to overreact, especially when it's in the name of "the children."

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<p>Too hot for sweaters in Vegas </p>

Too hot for sweaters in Vegas

Watch: Anton Yelchin and David Tennant talk vampires in new clips from 'Fright Night'

Looks like 'Dr. Who' has a drinking problem

With "Final Destination 5" opening today and "Fright Night" next week, horror-comedy fans are really getting a double dose of a genre that's been sorely neglected of late.

Sure, we've seen it here and there when Raimi threw us a bone with "Drag Me To Hell" and of course there's "Scream 4" sequel. But in general, Wes Craven's stuff has been funny for the wrong reasons lately, so that doesn't count.

Witness these four clips from next week's 3D remake of "Fright Night." The original is a shinning example of campy 80's horror-comedy innocence. It's now been updated for our more brutal century by director Craig Gillespie.

Click through to see the how the characters have changed in the new version.

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<p>Feist</p>

Feist

Listen: Feist releses first single from new album 'Metals'

'How Come You Never Go There' goes there with electric guitar, slow rock

Feist's new album 'Metals' is out the block with something a little softer than the album title implies.

"How Come You Never Go There" may sound grammatically incorrect, but this love song in context connects through its small, slow beat, Feist's typical stacked vocals and a second verse that will just kill you.

What I love about Leslie Feist is that all of her vocal takes sound like they were recorded with her lips just so up against the hood of the mic, like she was somewhere dark and intimate for even the fleshiest of full-band encounters. It sounds sexy because it is. This is one of those sexy songs, despite the evident loneliness.

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<p>Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto</p>

Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto

New Coldplay album, 'Mylo Xyloto' drops Oct. 25

When is second single, 'Paradise' out?

Can it possibly be a good thing when the title of a new album needs a pronunciation guide?  We’ve known it was coming this fall, but now we have a drop date for Coldplay’s fifth studio album: “Mylo Xyloto” will come out Oct. 25 in the U.S. (Oct. 24 in the rest of the world). Makes you yearn for the days of “X &Y,” doesn’t it?

“Mylo Xyloto” (pronounced my-lo zyletoe), out on Capitol Records, is the British group’s first since 2008’s Grammy-winning “Vida La Vida.”  The album, available in digital, CD, and vinyl formats (including a 180-gram vinyl edition and a Pop-Up Album version with a hardback book), was produced by Markus Davs, Daniel Green and Rik Simpson. Plus, Brian Eno is credited with “enoxification and additional composition.” Yeah, it’s a made-up wordl, but we love that Eno is so well-known for his dense, atmospheric production style that we kind of know exactly what “enoxification” sounds like.

The CD features “reversible” color art, meaning 50% of the CDS will be packaged with the full color artwork for the cover, while the other 50% will come with the CD booklet flipped  with  a die-cut sheet featuring the silver initials “M X” over the color image.

Much more importantly, the second single, “Paradise,” comes out Sept. 12, and follows “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”

Coldplay continues its tour of major festivals with the Austin (Texas) City Limits Festival, Sept. 16. Here is my colleague Katie Hasty’s stellar review of Coldplay’s headlining Lollapalooza show last week.


 

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<p>Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery</p>

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

Credit: AP Photo

Mark your calendars: 'American Idol's' Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina set release dates

When will their Mercury album debuts hit the streets?

Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, who seem to be a package deal, will put out their debut albums one week apart.

McCreery, “American Idol’s” season 10 winner, gets to go first.  “Clear As Day” will come out Oct. 4 on 19/Mercury Nashville. Alaina, “AI” season 10 runner-up will come one week later, Oct. 10, with “Wildflower.”

The teenage pair, who are on tour with “American Idol” now, have been sneaking into studios throughout the country to record.

“We’ve been working hard on this album not only in Nashville, but in studios across the country because I’ve been on the Idol tour,” 17-year-old McCreery said in a statement.  “We’re putting what I believe are the best songs we could find on it and I really hope everyone likes it. The whole experience has been amazing!  I love working with my album producer, Mark Bright, and have gotten to work with some of the best musicians in Nashville!”

McCreery, the youngest male to win “American Idol,” is already having some success with first single, “I Love You This Big,” which is in the top 20 of Billboard Country Songs.  He says the country album blends modern and traditional sounds. “It’s a good mixture. You can hear some of the influences that I grew up with, like Hank Williams, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard, but it still has a contemporary twist and feel that keeps it up to date.”

Similarly, and not surprisingly, 16-year old Alaina feels her album has something for everyone too. It’s a mixture of all different songs, so I hope it will appeal to all different kinds of people. There are fast songs for people who like up-tempos that you can dance to, and there are also tearjerkers for people who like slower ballads.  I tried to get songs that are all a little different so that we could bring a fresh feel to each and every song.”

Bryon Gallimore, best known for his work with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Lee Ann Womack, produced “Wildflower.”

While we wait, enjoy McCreery's video for "I Love You This Big" and Alaina's music clip for "Like My Mother Does." 

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<p>The JFK&nbsp;assassination is one of the most famous moments in 20th Century American history, and the subject of Stephen King's new book which Jonathan Demme will adapt as a movie.</p>

The JFK assassination is one of the most famous moments in 20th Century American history, and the subject of Stephen King's new book which Jonathan Demme will adapt as a movie.

Credit: LIFE Images

Jonathan Demme will save JFK for film version of Stephen King's '11/22/63'

The second big King announcement this week is promising

It appears to be a big week at the Stephen King compound.

We put up the story last night about David Yates and Steve Kloves working together again on a new multi-film adaptation of "The Stand," and now it looks like another King property has been snapped up by a very promising filmmaker.  This time, it's an unpublished piece of work, and it's one of the few filmmakers to ever earn the Best Picture Oscar with what can only be described as a horror film.

Promising, eh?

Jonathan Demme is set to write, direct, and produce the film adaptation of "11/22/63," which doesn't hit shelves until November 8 of this year.  I'm not surprised that it sold, or that it's a boomer director who will be making the film.  At this point, I've accepted the fact that there is an entire generation of filmmakers who will continue to push the cultural supremacy of the '60s on us until every last one of them has died.  And with this particular project, King basically laid out the greatest bait imaginable for that generation, a high-concept exercise in wish fulfillment that sounds like it was almost scientifically targeted to get turned into a movie.

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<p>'Glee: The 3D Concert Movie'</p>
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'Glee: The 3D Concert Movie'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Movie Review: 'Glee: The 3D Concert Movie'

Brisk concert film has more highlights and fewer lowlights than most 'Glee' episodes

"Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" runs roughly twice the length of your average episode of "Glee."

It features a couple dozen songs, performed by the show's 14 main high school characters.

It also has three main narrative threads featuring characters -- real people, actually -- we've never seen before. 

Plumes of smoke gush from all parts of a vast stage.

Stroboscopic lighting effects make epileptics one disenfranchised group not welcomed into the "Glee" big tent.

There are interviews with countless "Glee" fans and confusing backstage conversations with the stars, who sometimes seem to be in character, but sometimes don't. 

And it's still the least cluttered installment of "Glee" in nearly two years.

Emmy and Golden Globe wins aside, "Glee" has become a storytelling nightmare, a perpetually overextended hodge-podge of inconsistent characters, tonally jarring mean-spiritedness and thematic dissonance. For every masterfully choreographed production number or cheeky mash-up, viewers have to suffer through whole segments of emotionally manipulative tripe or, even worse, segments starring Matthew Morrison. A streamlined, effective episode of "Glee" has become as rare as an episode of "True Blood" without toplessness (male or female).

Directed by "Fame" veteran Kevin Tancharoen, "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" isn't really great cinema and it plays more as a straight-up, hastily tossed-together money-grab than an opportunity to welcome fans who couldn't make it to the show's recent concert tour, but I still came away oddly pleased. This is a version of "Glee" stripped of most of what annoys me about FOX's "Glee."

There's no Mr. Schuester rapping and dancing and concocting random theme weeks and generally doing absolutely nothing to prepare the glee club for regionals/states/nationals. [And, as a result, there's no woefully integrated Mr. Schuester romance featuring Terri or Emma or anybody else.]

There's no Sue Sylvester, earning big laughs, but also making every single episode only about her and her alleged audacity. 

There are no love triangles of any kind, so you don't need to pretend that Cory Monteith has chemistry with either Lea Michele or Dianna Agron, much less pretend you're invested in which way his libido leads him.

Mostly, "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" is just pretty young people singing, with a very clear-eyed, uncluttered empowerment message behind it. For the uninitiated, this will feel more like an Up With People showcase or a terrifyingly engaged cult rally, but I found this to be a "Glee" that was mostly far preferable to the real thing.

[More after the break...]

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<p>Kanye West and Jay-Z in 'Otis'</p>

Kanye West and Jay-Z in 'Otis'

Watch: Kanye West, Jay-Z bust up a car with Spike Jonze in 'Otis' video

Sort of like 'Bellflower,' without all the paramount heartache

Hey Eminem, are you paying attention? Y'know how you forgot to smile, or, like Ebenezer, how to even loff?

Let Kanye West and Jay-Z remind you how. The hip-hop superstar duo -- who are attempting to go under the name The Throne right now -- have released the first official video from their new album "Watch the Throne." And "Otis," like the song, is a blast, literally and figuratively.

The pair paired up with acclaimed director Spike Jonze for some flames, a chopped and screwed Maybach and a quartet of panty-flashing girls just wanting to have fun. Hov lip-syncs the track's inspiration Otis Redding, Ye pretends to rap like his cohort and they goof on each other in a giant parking lot. It's sort of like "Bellflower" (HAVE YOU SEEN IT YET) only without the paramount heartache and subsequent death-courting rampage.

The narrative is non-existent, but it's a cute clip overall. It's nice to get away from the dark hues and booty shorts and on to what everybody really wants: something beautifully expensive torn to bits with electric saws and blow-torches. I'd love to see its equivalent done to their other brand name drops.

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<p>Rachel of 'Big Brother'</p>
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Rachel of 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - The Fifth Eviction and The Twist

Would Lawon or Rachel get sent home? And who would America vote back?

With Liane using the HitFix Family Slingbox for the "So You Think You Can Dance" finale, I'm recapping "Big Brother" on Pacific time this week. So far, I've managed to avoid finding out who the hamsters evicted this week and I've also avoided the identity of the departed hamster America wanted to give the chance to return to the game, though half of my Twitter feed was blessing America and half was cursing this great nation of ours.

So click through for the minute-by-minute slog to this week's vote...

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Runway' and Heidi Klum get high on stilts

It's a circus-themed challenge, but the real craziness is in the workroom

So, this week's challenge looks... well, really wrong-headed. Heidi addresses the designers while wearing stilts. She then informs them that they must create an outfit for a stilt walker. But that's not the REAL challenge. Our diva-ish designers must also work in teams of two. Oh, the fun never starts!

If you're wondering why I think the challenge looks wrong-headed, my reasoning is this: the judges are CONSTANTLY harping about how they don't want to see costume on the runway. But this week, they're dressing women wearing stilts. Are you really supposed to make a refined, sophisticated dress for someone wearing stilts? Why not make gowns for clowns? At least it rhymes. I'm just saying, if the judges want real clothes that real women can wear, here's a hint: most women do not wear STILTS.

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<p>Ayrton Senna was one of the greats in Formula One history, and the new documentary 'Senna' looks at his life and his too-short career</p>

Ayrton Senna was one of the greats in Formula One history, and the new documentary 'Senna' looks at his life and his too-short career

Credit: Producers Distribution Agency

Review: 'Senna' is riveting, emotional celebration of great Formula One racer

Intense and well-researched, this is one of the year's best documentaries

The ESPN series "30 For 30" has produced some remarkable films, so I know that ESPN is a force to be reckoned with in terms of documentary production.  Seeing their logo on the front of this one, along with Universal and Working Title, I figured on something slick, an advertisement for Formula One racing from the perspective of one of the sport's legends.  Instead, it is an acutely felt and emotional movie, an exceptional personal portrait of one of the guys who defined the sport during one of its key turning points.  It is also a sad reminder of just what the stakes are for these guys each and every time they get behind the wheel.

There are different schools of documentary filmmaking, and the two docs I'm reviewing today are both examples of the type that is built from existing footage.  In this case, director Asif Kapadia is working as a sort of filter, the one who went through mountains of footage from over the years, gradually picking and choosing the bits and pieces that offer up the narrative he's trying to tell.  You've got to have an editor's instincts to be good at this, and Kapadia has a knack for cutting dramatic scenes out of this footage, finding the small human details that really tell the story, avoiding narration and simply letting people tell their own story.  Working with writer Manish Pandey, he has managed to paint a riveting portrait of one driven man and the course of his career without simply making it a greatest hits collection.

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