Latest Blog Posts

<p>Tyrese seems reluctant to admit that this is most likely the last 'Transformers' film with this cast and with Michael Bay directing</p>

Tyrese seems reluctant to admit that this is most likely the last 'Transformers' film with this cast and with Michael Bay directing

Credit: HitFix

Watch: John Malkovich, Tyrese, and Josh Duhamel talk 'Transformers 3'

The military, the muscle, and the Malk all are represented in our last batch of interviews

Here's an odd trio of interviews, but that sort of sums up the casting of "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" perfectly.  Michael Bay has repeatedly spoken in interviews about how much he loves the films of the Coen Brothers, and looking at his cast here, which includes John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and John Turturro, it certainly seems like he at least loves the same actors they do.

But Bay makes crazy-ass action movies, so he needs guys like Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson as well, and one of the things that makes a movie like this so surreal is the way you've got such wildly different actors going head-to-head with giant robots kicking the crap out of each other to tie the whole thing together.

I find John Malkovich fascinating.  Here's a classically trained stage actor who has become a pop culture icon thanks to Spike Jones, Charlie Kaufman, and his own innate oddity.  He is urbane, charming, and if you want to talk about the craft of acting, he will absolutely meet you halfway.  It helps that my first question to him as we were sitting down was about his new clothing line, Technobohemian, an example of which he was wearing at the press day.

Read Full Post


Credit: AP Photo

My favorite albums of 2011 so far: Adele, Foo Fighters and a few surprises

Who has taken up musical residence in our head and who hasn't (Lady Gaga)

With the first half of 2011 officially in our rear view mirror as of yesterday, here’s a look at the albums released in the previous six months that were my favorites. Are they the “best?” Who’s to say. All I'll say is they’re the ones I’ve found myself repeatedly drawn to this year.

Adele, “21”:  Really, what more is there to be said. Just give her the Grammy for album of the year already. Soaring vocals and searing lyrics even if the whole album was just “Rolling in the Deep” over and over again it would get our vote.

The Decemberists, “The King is Dead.” 
After laying it on thick with the excellent “Hazards of Love,” Colin Meloy and friends dialed it back. Less ambition is not always a bad thing, especially when it results in something so catchy as “Down by the Water.”

Foo Fighters, “Wasting Light”:
Fifteen years in, the Foos score their first No. 1 album and they’re just as fierce, focused and passionate as the day they began. Rock with heart and soul and just the right amount of thrashy abandon.

The Head and The Heart, “The Head and the Heart”:
Originally self-released, this Seattle band's debut was  picked up for wider distribution this April by Sub Pop. It’s lovely, lilting pop that just skirts preciousness. “You’re already home once you feel love.”

The Low Anthem, “Smart Flesh”: Atmospheric folk rock that haunts and hypnotizes through the quartet’s fearless use of whatever instrument is nearby. There are at least two dozen played on this set, including some you’re never heard of.

Pitbull, “Planet Pit”:
The party album of the year for the song “Pause” alone. Don’t bring your head,  just your feet. If you don’t want to dance to it, it’s the workout album of the year too.

Paul Simon, “So Beautiful or So What”:
One of America’s greatest songwriters roars back with his best album in ages. Who else (except perhaps Randy Newman) could go from the biting commentary of “The Afterlife” to the sheer vulnerability of “Love and Hard Times.”

Eddie Vedder, “Ukulele Songs”: Sometimes albums are meant to whisper, not scream and yet they have just as much impact. Vedder’s gruff voice nestled against the inherently sweet ukulele is all you need to bring down your blood pressure and breathe.

What are your favorites so far? 


Read Full Post
Watch: Beyonce reveals how she created '4' and what terrifies her

Watch: Beyonce reveals how she created '4' and what terrifies her

Short documentary chronicles her struggles and growth

Want to see what it’s like to live in Beyonce’s rarified air? Take 20 minutes and watch “Year of 4,” a mini-documentary about the time Bey took off and saw the world without having to perform. The doc is airing in its entirety on MTV.

If nothing else, you’ll see her without any make-up and definitely more emotionally revealing than we usually see her. Of course, if she had cameras rolling during her whole year off, I don’t know how much of a break she really got. As she points out, she have been performing for a very long time and you get the sense that this is the first time, especially since she split with her father as her manager, that she has really been aware of her own power. She also reveals some behind-the-scenes at the creation of "4," including the difficulty it took choreographing the video for "Run the World (Girls)" and the extraordinary measures she took to get the dancing right.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post


Listen: Radiohead streams two new 'King' remixes, announces second round

12" series has round one 'out the box'

Radiohead are now streaming the first two remixes from their "King of Limbs" 12" series, and have announced round two.

As previously reported, Caribou and Jacques Greene had at "Little by Little" and "Lotus Flower," respectively, and the British group has posted both on its website for stream. Check them out below. 

The tracks become available digitally and on vinyl on Tuesday (July 5).

And on to the next one: Nathan Fake is doing his own spin on "Morning Mr. Magpie" and Mark Pritchard is providing two remixes of "Bloom," one under his own name and one under his moniker Harmonic 313.

Fake is a spinner from Reading, leaning more in the ambient-techno direction. Pritchard put out some killer mixes with Tom Middleton (Global Communication) and under the name Reload in the '90s, signed to Warp and has been incorporating a little hip-hop and a little latin into his house-loving beats since.

It looks like these 'mixes will be available on or around July 14, which -- for those playing at home -- is really soon.


Read Full Post
<p>Sharon Gless and Jeffrey Donovan on &quot;Burn Notice.&quot;</p>

Sharon Gless and Jeffrey Donovan on "Burn Notice."

Credit: USA

'Burn Notice' - 'Bloodlines': Like father, like son

Family secrets come to the surface when Michael's mom helps on a case

A quick review of last night's "Burn Notice" coming up just as soon as you steal my watch...

Read Full Post
<p>Wendell Pierce as &quot;Treme&quot;&nbsp;trombonist Antoine Batiste.</p>

Wendell Pierce as "Treme" trombonist Antoine Batiste.

Credit: HBO/Paul Schiraldi

Review: 'Treme' closing out terrific second season

More plot, less lecturing have made for big improvement in the New Orleans drama

Sunday night's 90-minute "Treme" season 2 finale (10 p.m., HBO) is the series in a microcosm. There are times where it seems much longer than necessary for the stories that it's telling, but many more where the sense of atmosphere and joy is so great that the length becomes irrelevant. And every now and then, there's a moment that's incredibly powerful precisely because of the show's loose pace, which can seem relaxed to the point of catatonia if you're not invested.

Read Full Post
<p>Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James in &quot;Terriers,&quot;&nbsp;which should be nominated for an Emmy but likely won't be.</p>

Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James in "Terriers," which should be nominated for an Emmy but likely won't be.

Credit: FX

If I had an Emmy ballot 2011: Outstanding Drama Series

Celebrating 'Mad Men,' 'Terriers' and more

As I mentioned last time, the deadline to submit Emmy ballots came at the end of last week. Still, that's not going to stop Fienberg and I from finishing out our whole nomination prognostication thing, since any overlap between our suggestions and the actual Emmy nominations (which will be announced on July 14) would have to be considered purely coincidental, anyway.

We're down to our final two categories, staring with Outstanding Drama Series, and we're continuing to approach it two ways, with me as the optimist and Dan as the pragmatist. So while Dan has published his usual exhaustive photo gallery of potential nominees (starting with the most likely and moving on down to longshots he wishes had a shot), I'm going to pretend that I was given an actual ballot to fill out in this category, and narrow it down to the six shows I'd most like to see make the cut.

Read Full Post
<p>Keith Gordon, seen here on the set of John Carpenter's 'Christine,' learned how to direct from guys like Carpenter and Brian De Palma, so do not argue with him.</p>

Keith Gordon, seen here on the set of John Carpenter's 'Christine,' learned how to direct from guys like Carpenter and Brian De Palma, so do not argue with him.

Credit: SPHE

Christopher Nolan set to produce supernatural thriller for director Keith Gordon

Could this be the start of a second wind for Gordon's career?

I've been busy most of today, so I'm just now getting to this story, but it's had me smiling since I first saw it this morning.

I am a big fan of Keith Gordon's work as a filmmaker, but I often feel like that's a lonely position to take.  He hasn't directed a ton of films, and the ones he's made were never really box-office hits or cultural sensations.

He's probably better known from his days as an actor in films like "Christine" or "Back To School" or "Dressed To Kill," where he was always incredibly effective at combining a keen intelligence with a withering sense of social grace.  Watch the way he changes from pre-car Arnie to post-car Arnie sometime in "Christine," and you'll appreciate just how good Gordon could be at times.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Louie&quot;&nbsp;(Louis CK)&nbsp;on the first of two dates in tonight's episode.</p>

"Louie" (Louis CK) on the first of two dates in tonight's episode.

Credit: FX

'Louie' - 'Bummer/Blueberries': Two girls and a guy

Neither of Louie's dates goes as planned

A review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I go down the road of buying your Vagitine...

Read Full Post
<p>Ryan (Elijah Wood)&nbsp;and Wilfred (Jason Gann)&nbsp;take a trip to the dentist.</p>

Ryan (Elijah Wood) and Wilfred (Jason Gann) take a trip to the dentist.

Credit: FX

'Wilfred' - 'Trust': Let my love open the door

Wilfred seeks revenge after Ryan betrays his trust

A quick review of "Wilfred" episode 2 coming up just as soon as Bob Barker is the puppetmaster...

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts co-star as teacher and student in the gentle community college comedy 'Larry Crowne'</p>

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts co-star as teacher and student in the gentle community college comedy 'Larry Crowne'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Tom Hanks delivers lovely look at late life lessons in 'Larry Crowne'

Gentle film about the left turns life throws at us is loaded with charm

I'm fairly sure when you look up the word "amiable" in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of Tom Hanks next to it.

That's been the big secret to his enduring appeal, but it also works against him at times.  Hanks has never been a guy to embrace edge or cynicism onscreen, and we live in an age where those things are valued.  His work as an actor has always been distinguished by a certain approachability, an open quality that is best exemplified by the ongoing popularity of his work in "Forrest Gump."  That role could easily have been grating or insulting, but even for someone like me who doesn't really like the film, it's obvious that the reason it connected with people is because of Hanks.  He made Forrest into an almost blinding force of decency.

As a writer/director, you can see that even more clearly.  His first film, "That Thing You Do," is a deeply charming ode to that moment in life where you figure out what it is you want to contribute to the world and you start making choices about how you're going to do that.  There's a scene in that movie that I consider pretty much perfect, about as good as filmmaking can be at communicating an experience.  It's when the kids first hear their song playing on the radio, and they all rush to be together so they can hear it, and the excitement just keeps bubbling up out of them as they realize that people are listening to their work, that something they made is actually out there now.  I remember the night Scott Swan and I got our first professional reviews for a stage-production here in Los Angeles.  We knew that Variety and the LA Times and Dramalogue were all going to publish their reviews the same day, so we started driving around in the middle of the night, looking for whatever newsstand would get their deliveries first.  Finally, we found one at Ventura and Van Nuys that had the truck parked at the curb, still unloading the various papers and magazines, and as we read each positive review, we started wigging out, amazed that people had not only seen our work but enjoyed it.  That feeling was perfectly captured by the scene in "That Thing You Do," and it convinced me that Hanks isn't just an actor playing director.  He can communicate real emotion, and he's capable of creating characters and moments that matter.

Read Full Post
Ryan and Ricky on "So You Think You Can Dance"

Ryan and Ricky on "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

Recap: Another couple gets the boot on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

The elimination isn't easy -- or obvious

Well, it’s that time again – elimination night. I think there are some candidates for execution, but, as usual, there’s no guessing who the American public will fall in love with. So let’s not waste any time guessing, as the truth is about to be revealed. Eventually. In about 55 minutes, more or less. On (and on and on) with the show.

Read Full Post