Latest Blog Posts

<p>&quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

"The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Season finale review: 'The Good Wife' - 'A Weird Year'

A technical glitch at Lockhart Gardner causes opportunity and friction at Florrick Agos

A quick review of "The Good Wife" season finale — and thoughts on season 5 as a whole — coming up just as soon as I quit and go live in New Zealand...

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<p>Jennifer Lopez performed at the Billboard Music Awards</p>

Jennifer Lopez performed at the Billboard Music Awards

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

TV Ratings: Billboard Music Awards crushes CBS' 'Good Wife,' 'Race' finales on Sunday

FOX takes third as NBC's 'Coldplay: Ghost Stories' fizzles

Fast National ratings for Sunday, May 18, 2014.

CBS' season finales for "The Amazing Race: All-Stars," "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist" proved to be no competition for ABC's Billboard Music Awards telecast on Sunday night.

Each of CBS' finales got small audience bumps, but "Good Wife" and "Amazing Race" were both flat in the key demo, with only "The Mentalist" rising. Meanwhile, it was the most watched Billboard Music Awards telecast in 13 years.

The CBS finales weren't the only programming unable to compete with ABC's awards telecast. While FOX's "Family Guy" was Sunday's top scripted show among young viewers, that finale dipped week-to-week as did "Cosmos." And nothing NBC programmed was able to draw even a minimal audience, with "American Dream Builders" and a "Coldplay: Ghost Stories" special coming in impressively low.

On to the numbers...

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'Godfather" D.P. Gordon Willis, Hollywood's Prince of Darkness, dies at 82
Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

'Godfather" D.P. Gordon Willis, Hollywood's Prince of Darkness, dies at 82

One of our titans has fallen

One of the most joyous sequences in American film is the opening of Woody Allen's "Manhattan." As Allen's character Isaac speaks in voice-over, Gershwin's remarkable "Rhapsody In Blue" plays.

"Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. No, make that… he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Mm. No. Let me start this over."

Don't bother, Woody. You got it right the first time, and to provide that black-and-white counterpoint to the soaring sounds of Gershwin, cinematographer Gordon Willis shot some of the greatest images of New York City ever burned onto celluloid. Black-and-white felt like a perfect form of expression for Willis, who was referred to by many filmmakers as "The Prince Of Darkness," and "Manhattan" is not just Woody Allen's best looking film… it may be one of the best looking films of all time.

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<p>Julianne Mooer and Robert Pattinson during the Cannes press conference for &quot;Map to the Stars.&quot;</p>

Julianne Mooer and Robert Pattinson during the Cannes press conference for "Map to the Stars."

Credit: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Sex in cars and Kardashians highlight 'Maps to the Stars' Cannes press conference

Cronenberg says 'all my movies are funny'

CANNES - When you have Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack and David Cronenberg on a panel for thirty minutes you expect a lively and intelligent conversation.  Maybe it was the mixed reviews for Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" or maybe it was just the always dicey prospects of the international press corps but, sadly, this was one press conference that was sort of a dud.

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<p>Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in &quot;Foxcatcher.&quot;</p>

Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in "Foxcatcher."

Credit: Sony Classics

Review: Tatum, Ruffalo and Carell excel in evocative and unsettling 'Foxcatcher'

Bennett Miller's moody third feature delivers on its long-held promise

CANNES - The will to win has rarely seemed more self-defeating than it does in "Foxcatcher,” a sinuous, methodical true-crime drama in which the moral and psychological rot sets in long before any crime is committed. Just as Bennett Miller’s first two features, “Capote” and “Moneyball,” were portraits of coolly driven individuals possessed by their own passion projects, so is this remarkable film -- a study of sociopathic billionaire John du Pont’s quest to annex as much of America’s wrestling empire as money and ego could buy. But whether Miller’s previous films culminated, however tortuously, in creation -- of a landmark book, a formula that changes the future of baseball -- aspiration here results only in lives literally and spiritually destroyed.

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'The Good Wife' creators already have Season 6 mapped out

“The Good Wife” creators already have Season 6 mapped out
Everything that happened in the season finale will be paid off next year. PLUS: “The Good Wife” and "SVU" shard a lot in common this season.

"Breaking Bad" earns Netflix a UK BAFTA TV award for best international series
“Breaking Bad” is only shown on the streaming service in Britain, not on regular TV.

“Game of Thrones” Aidan Gillen tells of Littlefinger’s intentions for Sansa
Gillen considers Littlefinger having a mentor relationship with Sansa Stark. PLUS: How the moon door was created, and why Sansa deserves to rule in the end.

Which “Game of Thrones” character was inspired by “Breaking Bad’s” Gus Fring?
It’s Tycho Nestoris, played by “Sherlock” co-creator Mark Gatiss. PLUS: Jesse Pinkman meets Sansa Stark.

Watch the final “True Blood” final season trailer
“The past has caught up with the present.”

Michael Jackson hologram steals the show at Billboard Music Awards
Watch the computer-generated Jackson’s performance. PLUS: Miley Cyrus had to be bleeped.

Watch the “SNL” Andy Samberg video that was cut from the season finale
Samberg appeared in a “Testicules” ad. PLUS: “SNL” season finale was down from last year.

Mark Ballas was seriously injured during “Dancing” rehearsal
Says a “Dancing” spokesperson: "His shoulder popped out during a lift and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated and released. It's unclear whether or not he'll be able to perform on Monday's show."

See what a young John Oliver looked like
Check out his big glasses.

“Orphan Black’s” shocking scene, explained
Was that part of the script?

John Stamos defends ‘90s “Dumb TV” in a Facebook posting
The “Full House” alum responded to a Huffington Post opinion piece, saying: "if you’re lucky enough to have kids - maybe you should have them watch re-runs of Breaking Bad- see how that turns out.”

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Michael Jackson

Why can't we let Michael Jackson rest in peace? Thoughts on the Jacko-gram

A few thoughts on life after death

How long before we let Michael Jackson rest in peace? Not until the last bit of money has been made from his corpse, apparently.

Commerce dictates that as long as there is any demand for Jackson, in any form, that the estate continues to keep him in the public eye.

That’s what I thought as I watched a hologram of Jackson “perform” “Slave To The Rhythm,” a previously unreleased song “contemporized” for his new album “Xscape,” on the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.

Yes, there was at first an undeniable thrill to seeing Jackson, even if it was a hologram, dance across the floor again in those moves that we all grew up with, that we know by heart (performed by a "Dangerous"-era Jackson before his looks totally got scary). It's just human nature to yearn for what we miss. There was also awe at the technology that made the very lifelike hologram possible (it seems like tremendous advances have been made even since the Tupac hologram appeared at Coachella two years ago).

But then a certain creepiness set in. With every close up, it was clear that, of course, it was not really Michael Jackson. It was a Michael Jackson created in a laboratory and, like a clone, as close as it seemed to the real thing, it was, in actuality, very far from it. No soul, no heart.

As the Jacko-gram danced with real flesh and blood dancers, the disparity became even greater, but it almost feels like it’s too late to put the hologram back in the bottle.

How long before the Jackson estate and Sony announce that  the Jacko-gram is going on tour? Or that the Jacko-gram is being added into Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson salute, “Immortal?”  Or, heaven forbid, appearing in a commecial outing some product?  We can almost write the script—it will be done under the guise of introducing Jackson to a younger audience and to those who weren't ever able to see him live. (Guess what? You still won't be seeing him life!)  As the technology advances to make holograms more lifelike, the demand for them will grow, just as our nostalgia does with each year following Jackson’s 2009 passing.

Friday night, a friend asked if I thought it was exploitative for Epic to release “Xscape.” He brought up this piece by Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, who expressed his dismay over the album and that, although he loved Jackson, he wouldn’t be buying “Xscape.” In fact, his love for Jackson was exactly why he couldn’t support the new effort because there was no way of knowing if Jackson would have approved of his unfinished work being released, not only in this manner, but released at all.

He has a point. The eight songs on “Xscape” were written as far back as 30 years ago, and for whatever reason, Jackson decided not to put them on the album, leaving all of them unfinished. That means at some point, Jackson chose to focus on other material that he felt was better and more appropriate for his current project at the time. The versions that we hear on “Xscape” aren’t his vision for the songs, they are someone else’s guess at how Jackson would have completed the song.

To be sure, there have been other cases where previously unreleased material by a deceased artist has come out— again, Tupac comes to mind here. But for someone who was as much of a perfectionist as Jackson, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that maybe these songs were put aside for a reason and maybe they should have been left that way, despite whatever enjoyment we may get from hearing them unearthed. Plus, Jackson left enough great material behind for his legacy to be ensured.

Hayes went so far as to alter his will so that after he dies, his half-finished material will not be released (he writes this with total humility and in no way is ever comparing himself to Jackson).
Are we at the point where every artist with any commercial value needs to decide how his/her image/music can be used after death…and somehow figure out a way to include technologies that we can’t even dream of yet?

The answer is yes, especially when there’s money to be made. The Jackson Family’s failed suit against AEG, even though there may have been some validity, felt more like a money grab than a case of true wrongful death.

So five years after his death, as Jackson’s “Xscape” most likely bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Jacko-gram ignites endless possibilities, I can’t help but think that Jackson is spinning in his grave, wishing that for all the work he had his lawyers do for him, he'd asked them to address this issue.

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<p>Elisabeth Moss, Jon Hamm and Vincent Kartheiser in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

Elisabeth Moss, Jon Hamm and Vincent Kartheiser in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'The Strategy'

Pete and Megan fly in from LA, Bob Benson returns, and Don and Peggy pull an all-nighter

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I park my white horse outside...

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Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert perform 'Something Bad': Watch

Is the new duet any good?

The idea of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, two of country’s most dynamic artists, performing a duet at the Billboard Music Awards had such promise.

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<p>Sophie Turner in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Sophie Turner in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'Mockingbird'

Tyrion looks for a champion, Sansa builds a snowcastle and Brienne gets a clue

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I'm not interesting enough to be offensive...

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<p>Jessica Chastain at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival</p>

Jessica Chastain at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

Credit: HitFix

Jessica Chastain talks 'Eleanor Rigby' and the unexpected emotion of 'Interstellar'

Also: Why she sees the multiple cuts of 'Rigby' as a good thing

CANNES - Ned Benson's "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" seems to have been well-received in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival after debuting in two parts in Toronto last year. With that reception has come a lot of favorable ink for actress Jessica Chastain. Perhaps it's for those reasons and more (like, um, relaxing in the south of France) that the actress was as cheerful as ever when Greg Ellwood sat down with her to discuss her performance in the film earlier this week.

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"Silicon Valley"

"Silicon Valley"

Credit: HBO

'Silicon Valley' recap: Pied Piper has a disruption at TechCrunch Disrupt

The company's big unveiling is thrown way off course

This week on "Silicon Valley" Richard and his motley Pied Piper clan edged closer to the inevitable face-off with Gavin Belson and his rip-off product Nucleus. While some of the humor was pointed, much was the usual sitcom stuff -- jealous husbands, a running out of toiler paper mishap, misinterpreted information, taking shots at the resident punching bag -- though the end result was a mostly palatable mishmash, depending on how you feel about one straight guy teasing another about being "gay" for his code. 

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