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<p>Elijah Wood plays a pianist who is threatened during the most important concert of his life in &#39;Grand Piano&#39;</p>

Elijah Wood plays a pianist who is threatened during the most important concert of his life in 'Grand Piano'

Credit: Magnet Releasing

Review: Elijah Wood plays rough in the fiendishly fun thriller 'Grand Piano'

Now this is how you do a ticking clock thriller right

If you saw Eugenio Mira's earlier film "Agnosia," then you may have already noticed his fondness for Brian De Palma. Anyone making thrillers who holds De Palma as part of the pantheon is already on my short list of people I like, but when you see how well Mira pulls it all together for "Grand Piano," it's obvious that he's graduated to a different level with this film.

I think it's very fair to compare this to "Non-Stop," which I reviewed earlier today, since both of them are thrillers that take place over a compressed period of time in a fairly restrictive setting with a ticking clock. For both filmmakers, the exercise is the same. Can you keep the film somewhat plausible while ratcheting up the tension and convincing us that things could unfold like this? In the case of "Grand Piano," the answer is a resounding yes, and I was delighted by just how playful and fun this is.

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<p>This is not the Brains tribe.</p>

This is not the Brains tribe.

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Cagayan' Premiere - 'Hot Girl With a Grudge'

Would Brains, Beauty or Brawn be the first tribe to meltdown?

Pre-credit sequence. The division of tribes has been made by the quality the players most rely upon in life, whatever that means. The Brains Tribe has an average IQ of 130 which is, honestly, not all that impressive. I mean, they're smart, but they're not GEENA DAVIS smart. Spencer tied for first in the World Open Chess Championship and says he's both diabolical and a genius. If you say so! David is the President of the Marlins, which means that if there's a challenge that requires salary dumping, he's going to be hard to top. Kass is a lawyer who boasts about being undefeated, which is the kind of thing John Grisham characters boast about, that and smart older secretaries who have forgotten more law than most of us will ever know. On to the Beauty Tribe, whose beauty can't be measured numerically. But Morgan was an NFL cheerleader and she's sure she can get what she wants from guys. Jeremiah has a thick accent. Jefra was second place in Miss Kentucky three years in a row, which suggests at least three people who should be on "Survivor" instead. The Brawn Tribe includes Cliff Robinson, who is one of the 50 leading scorers in NBA history. Also in Brawn are Tony and Sarah, both police officers, though only Sarah says she likes punching people in the face. Brainy Tasha declares herself "super-smart," which is something no super-smart person would ever say. And Alexis is pretty, but she's also a student. Why do I feel like she isn't pretty enough to be classified only for her beauty or smart enough to be classified only for her Brains? 

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<p>Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in &quot;The Americans.&quot;</p>

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in "The Americans."

Credit: FX

Season premiere review: 'The Americans' - 'Comrades'

Elizabeth returns to action as season 2 opens in explosive fashion

"The Americans" is back for a second season. I reviewed the start of season 2 yesterday, and I have thoughts on the premiere coming up just as soon as I change the world with a hug...

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Documentary Feature - '20 Feet from Stardom' lightens up a dark bunch

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Documentary Feature - '20 Feet from Stardom' lightens up a dark bunch

With everyone voting, popularity will reign more than ever

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Documentary Short - Survivors of different stripes dominate the race

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Documentary Short - Survivors of different stripes dominate the race

As usual, this is one of the hardest categories to call

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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<p>Rihanna</p>

Rihanna

Credit: AP Photo

Rihanna's next album will be companion piece to animated film, 'Home'

She gets in bed with DreamWorks Animation for next project

Is Rihanna making a play for an Oscar? Rihanna is trading in her R-rated anthems for family fare. Her next album will be a companion piece to DreamWorks Animation’s cartoon, “Home.”

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Maksim Chmerkovskiy is returning to 'Dancing with the Stars'

Maksim Chmerkovskiy is returning to “Dancing with the Stars”
After two seasons off, Maksim will be back on the dance floor just in time to reunite with new co-host Erin Andrews, according to TMZ website TooFab.


“Smallville’s” Michael Rosenbaum will play a ‘60s astronaut on NBC’s “Mission Control”
He’ll co-star on the “Anchorman”-esque workplace comedy from Will Ferrell revolving around the 1960s space race.

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Jay Leno crashes Arsenio Hall’s show, tells him he’s renewed for a 2nd season

Jay Leno crashes Arsenio Hall’s show, tells him he’s renewed for a 2nd season
In breaking the news to Arsenio, Leno gave him a kiss on the cheek. This was Leno’s first TV appearance in 20 days, when he signed off from “The Tonight Show."


Michelle Trachtenberg joins CBS’ “Save the Date”
The "Buffy" alum will play Maggie Lawson’s sister in the comedy about a woman (Lawson) who books a wedding venue before meeting her fiance.


NBC doesn’t run ads before Jimmy Fallon’s YouTube clips, which are posted as they air on East Coast
In fact, West Coasters can watch Fallon’s “Tonight Show” clips three hours early. That’s because NBC sees the posting of videos to YouTube — and the posting of them early — as promotional opportunities for “The Tonight Show.”

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 13</p>

The "American Idol" Top 13

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 - Top 13 Performances

It looks like lots of contemporary songs for our hopefuls

It's our first performance night for the Top 13 Finalists on Season 13 of "American Idol."

Lucky 13/13!

Follow along for all of the fun with the seven remaining girls and six remaining boys as they sing for Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban.

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Kerry Washington, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts

Kerry Washington, Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts will be attending the 2014 Oscars -- but what will they wear?

Credit: AP Photo

What we wish the stars would wear at the 2014 Oscars

Here are our picks for Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and more

We're sure everyone attending the 2014 Oscars will look great. Unless they don't. Despite stylists, friends, sharp-eyed spawn, agents, managers and a host of other eyeballs, celebrities still sometimes pick the weirdest possible dress (sorry, J-Law).

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'American Idol' Season 13 Finalists - The Girls talk to HitFix

'American Idol' Season 13 Finalists - The Girls talk to HitFix

Interviews with MK, Kristen, Malaya, Majesty, Jessica, Jena and Emily

If you've checked out my earlier post, you've already seen my interviews with the six guys in the "American Idol" Top 13.

After the judges gave two of their Wild Card slots to women, though, the girls took a 7-to-6 advantage going into the Top 13, meaning that that all-female alliance should be able to Pagong the men.

Wait. Wrong Wednesday reality show. 

Sorry. 

Anyway, last Thursday, I caught up with all of the Season 13 "Idol" finalists. Click through for interviews with the seven remaining women.

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<p>ABC&#39;s &quot;Mixology&quot;</p>

ABC's "Mixology"

Credit: ABC

TV Review: ABC's 'Mixology' is a toxic brew

ABC thinks this will work after 'Modern Family.' ABC is wrong.

Never begin a relationship with a lie. 

That's not wisdom I got from watching ABC's new sitcom "Mixology," which actually preaches quite the opposite. "Mixology" strongly advocates that the best way to get laid involves some level of performativity or outright lying.

So maybe it's appropriate, actually, that "Mixology" begins literally every episode with a lie.

"This is the story of 10 strangers, one night and all the ridiculous things we do to find love," declares the opening voiceover to "Mixology."

My ass.

"Mixology" is as much about people on a quest for love as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is about an archeologist on a quest for snakes. 

When you get down to it, "Mixology" is about 10 hateful people looking for sex, irrespective of the lack of chemistry between either the characters or the actors. Set across one night, "Mixology" is desperately invested in making you care whether or not sex will happen, but desperately uninvested in giving you any reason to care who it will happen between or why it will happen. "Mixology," thanks to its structure and its deadbeat assortment of characters, is about sex as horrifying and almost nihilistic inevitability.  

I've watched six episodes of "Mixology" and if it were a better show, you would think it might be attempting to subvert the pervasive practice of shipping among certain TV fans. Part of what makes certain shows popular is  audience members doing everything within their limited power to bring certain characters together, even if the rules of the show don't seem to be built around bringing those characters together. "Mixology," if it were actually intentionally subversive, might intentionally be functioning the opposite way.

Viewer: "But I don't WANT [Boring Man] and [Bitchy Girl] to get together."

"Mixology": "Tough. If they don't have sex at the end of 13 episodes, a nuclear bomb will be detonated in Valencia."

See, that's how you produce stakes in a show that has a ticking clock.

Will Jack Bauer save the West Coast from the rogue Secretary of State piloting a helicopter weighed down by Axe body spray canisters filled with herpes? I'll watch 24 hours of TV to make sure that doesn't happen.

Will 10 singles who probably tripped into a vat of Axe body spray, and may or may not be carrying herpes, get laid before the end of 13 episodes?  Somehow, I just can't bring myself to care. 

Maybe if "Mixology" were actually about characters finding love, rather than inevitably unsatisfactory -- a lot of booze is consumed -- humping, I could get behind that. "Romantic comedy" isn't my favorite genre, but when executed properly, I can often find enthusiasm. But romantic comedy is hard, because it really helps if you wish happiness, as opposed to misery, on at least one of the characters. 

No such luck here. 

So don't start with a lie. Nobody in "Mixology" could care less about love.

Now let's get down to an actual review, eh? I mean, I know that whenever I really, really hate something, y'all have to check it out, so you might as well know what you're checking out.

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