Latest Blog Posts

<p>On &quot;True Detective,&quot;&nbsp;Maggie (Michelle Monaghan)&nbsp;enjoys a night out with Marty and Rust.</p>

On "True Detective," Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) enjoys a night out with Marty and Rust.

Credit: HBO

Review: 'True Detective' - 'The Locked Room'

Cohle and Hart try to double date, and Cohle makes a beer can man

A review of tonight's "True Detective" coming up just as soon as I cut up this beer can...

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Katy Perry, Madonna, Taylor Swift

 Katy Perry, Madonna and Taylor Swift rock the red carpet at the 2014 Grammy Awards -- but what do you think of the results?

Credit: AP Photo

Grammy 2014 red carpet grades: Taylor, Katy, Madonna, Pink, more

What you think of what Macklemore and Ryan Lewis wore?

The Grammy Awards are a time for big risks on the red carpet. After all, we don't expect our rock stars to look like pageant queens, so a little edge is definitely welcome. This year, some people took big risks (or at least risks for them) and the result is a mixed bag. See what Taylor Swift, Madonna, Katy Perry, Pink, Ryan Lewis and Macklemore and a host of other stars wore for music's big night. 

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<p>Madonna</p>

Madonna

Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

2014 Grammy Awards Live-Blog

Join us for 3.5 hours of music celebrating itself

HitFix's awesome and well-informed music team is covering the Grammy Awards from the red carpet and backstage. 

That leaves me to cover the telecast itself, which is a challenge for three reasons:

1) I mostly know new music from who makes guest appearances on "American Idol" or "The X Factor."

2) CBS sucks and doesn't broadcast the Grammys live across the country, unlike the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and even the SAG Awards.

3)The Grammys are *scheduled* for 3.5 hours. Oy. 

So please join the conversation below, because if folks don't stick with this recap, I'm gonna commit Boy Named Sue-icide.

Yup. That's the kind of up-to-date commentary you can expect from this live-blog.

So read, or else I'll have to commit suicIdes of March. This blog is your vehicle, baby! It'll take you anywhere you wanna go. Click through...

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<p>Beyonce has her ring on it and is gonna open the Grammys with hubby Jay-Z.</p>

Beyonce has her ring on it and is gonna open the Grammys with hubby Jay-Z.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Beyonce and Jay Z will open Grammys, Madonna joining Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Watch Queen Latifah marry more than 30 couples during 'Same Love'

We’re only a few hours away from the Grammy Awards broadcast. Around 70 categories are handed out in the pre-telecast, which has just started. You can watch that on grammy.com if you are so inclined.

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<p>&quot;The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz&quot;</p>

"The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz"

Credit: Sundance

Review: 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz' is a harrowing cyber-thriller

Brian Knappenberger's Sundance doc generates sadness and anger
There is a perception that on the list of liberal enclaves, the Sundance Film Festival ranks only slightly below a poetry reading in San Francisco and Communist Party fundraiser in Boston.
 
There's probably some truth to that. 
 
However, hell hath no fury like a Sundance documentary director disappointed and the unfulfilled potential of President Obama has been a running theme over the past couple years. No amount of Fox News Obama condemnation could ever match the sense of betrayal illustrated in Rick Rowley's "Dirty Wars." Michelle Obama hasn't been immune either, as the First Lady's difficulties taking a hard line with food mass-producers is depicted as a major letdown in "Fed Up." Half of the World Docs seem to wish their central dilemma were receiving more or less attention from the Obama Administration.
 
With the possible exception of "Mitt," you'd be hard-pressed to find a Sundance documentary that wants to claim things would be better had the election results gone differently, but a consistent running undercurrent of recent Sundances is, "President Obama. Dude. You were supposed to be better than this."
 
When it comes to eroded idealism, it's hard to get more damning than Brian Knappenberger's "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz," which begins with news talking heads declaring that the title cyber-activist was "killed by the government" and spends the next 100 minutes confidently underlining that point. No, President Obama isn't really blamed for Aaron Swartz's death, at least not directly, but when it comes to the overzealous prosecution of the Reddit co-founder, there's little doubt that the message is, once again, "We expected better."
 
Actually, I should change the punctuation there. It has to be "We expected better!" because Knappenberger's doc, playing in the US Documentary Competition at Sundance, is all about exclamatory mood. For maybe 30 minutes, you go "Wow, look at this brilliant young man!" Then for maybe 40 minutes you go, "Wow, I'm so angry about what was done to this brilliant young man" and then for the last 30 minutes, you go, "Boy, it's so sad what happened to that brilliant young man!" Of course, all of that exclamation can sometimes be exhausting and Knappenberger maybe underlines some of his points a little aggressively, but he really wants to make sure you feel the outrage of Swartz's tragically brief life. 
 
And I did.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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<p>Alfonso Cuaron (left)&nbsp;holds the 2014 DGA prize alongside presenter Ben&nbsp;Affleck.</p>

Alfonso Cuaron (left) holds the 2014 DGA prize alongside presenter Ben Affleck.

Credit: AP Photo

Alfonso Cuarón wins DGA prize for 'Gravity,' is Oscar next?

Soderbergh surprised with Robert B. Aldrich Award presentation

Surely coming as a surprise to precious few, "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuarón has just won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) prize for theatrical motion pictures. He beat out fellow Oscar nominees Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave"), Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street") and David O. Russell ("American Hustle"), as well as "Captain Phillips" helmer Paul Greengrass to land his first such honor from the guild.

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NEAR....FAR...WHEREVER YOU ARE, LEO....

NEAR....FAR...WHEREVER YOU ARE, LEO....

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Jonah Hill And Bastille

Is third time the charm for the Oscar-nominated actor
Fresh off his second Oscar nomination, this time for his work in “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” Jonah Hill arrives at “Saturday Night Live” to host for the third time. For someone with such a charismatic comedic personality, his previous two appearances have been strangely muted affairs, with only the recurring Benihana-set sketch making any lasting splash. (Given Benihana’s place in “Wolf,” that either means we won’t see the sketch at all or Leonardo DiCaprio will be the chef in it tonight. Anything’s possible!) But that says more about the writing for those particular episodes than anything Hill himself has brought to the table. There’s been roughly a 50% cast turnover since Hill last hosted in March 2012, so there are plenty of new comedic combinations possible.
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<p>Miles Teller in <span class="st">Damien Chazelle's &quot;Whiplash.&quot;<br />
</span></p>

Miles Teller in Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash."

'Whiplash,' 'Rich Hill' and 'The Case Against 8' lead 2014 Sundance Film Festival winners

Who gets the big boost out on closing night?

The competition juries and audiences have spoken from Park City. "Whiplash" earned two key awards Saturday night, the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize and the U.S. dramatic audience award. These were impressive wins for director Damien Chazelle and distributor Sony Pictures Classics, who acquired the drama during the festival. Featuring impressive performances by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, the film focuses on a young music student (Teller) who is willing to go above and beyond to make it into a competitive jazz band at one of New York City's most prestigious music schools. It's the rare opening night film to take home the festival's top prize.

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Best and Worst of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: 'Cold in July,' Roger Ebert, 'Boyhood'

Best and Worst of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: 'Cold in July,' Roger Ebert, 'Boyhood'

Plus: 'Young Ones,' 'Infinitely Polar Bear' and the terrible 'Low Down'

PARK CITY - It certainly won't go down as one of the greatest editions of the Sundance Film Festival, but reports of it being a bad or weak festival are completely off base.  There were few highs, few terrible lows (although some).  Instead, there were many good, very good, but not great films.  The festival experimented with mixing up the genres in the dramatic competition and for some longtime media it might have been off putting. Well, if they attended the public screenings they would have found audiences more engaged than usual. It was an experiment for the programmers and gave high profile debuts for movies such as "Life as Beth," "Dear White People" and "Cold in July."  Those are flicks that could have been relegated to the Midnight or NEXT sections in the past.  That's a win in our book.

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<p>&quot;The Overnighters&quot;</p>

"The Overnighters"

Credit: Sundance

Review: 'The Overnighters' is a frontier tale for 2014

Jesse Moss' Sundance doc received some of the Fest's best reviews
[Preamble: I saw "The Overnighters" before touching down in Park City last Sunday, which meant I saw it kinda in a vacuum. When I got to the Festival, I wasn't hugely surprised that "The Overnighters" was the doc I was hearing the most buzz about. At that point, I'd written the intro to the review, the part that precedes the page break. I never finished the review, because Sundance is all about starting reviews that I never finish. It's fun! Anyway, I'm expecting "The Overnighters" to be a big winner at Saturday night's closing awards ceremony, so I'm taking one last stab at the review.]
 
Jesse Moss' "The Overnighters," featured in the US Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, plays at times like a modern frontier Western. 
 
Like HBO's classic "Deadwood" or AMC's much-admired [by the people who pop up in online comments whenever its renewed] "Hell on Wheels" or Discovery's decent new miniseries "Klondike," it's the story of a migration of desperate men, many of them criminals and reprobates, seeking riches in the unspoiled wilderness. Like most Westerns, there seem to be fortunes to be made, but the brass ring remains just out of reach for most settlers. Like many a Western, there are clashes with the natives, who feel like they're being disenfranchised by the scruffy, dirty, dangerous men pushing in on their land. And, like more than a few Westerns, there's a wacky priest at the heart of the story, trying to save souls in the influx of sinners. 
 
I may be overselling "The Overnighters" with that description. Moss' film is slightly at war with itself, trying to tell two stories, not necessarily arcing either story satisfactorily and then relying on what's presented as a somewhat strange twist in the final act to tie the whole thing up in a bow that either makes the whole movie feel too neat or too messy, depending on how you view it. [A couple critics I've talked to have said that they don't think Moss is trying to use the twist to tie things up or explain them. I think that in terms of authorial intent, they're right. However, I know how the story presented on the screen arcs. Causation is implied, even if it's not intended.]
 
And the more I think back on "The Overnighters," the less I buy the "twist," the less the twist satisfies the arc of the story and the more I wish that Moss could have better focused on one of his two stories. But I still wanted to use the frontier Western analogy, because I'm sure it's part of what Moss is going for and, even if it doesn't always work, it's still a big part of what keeps "The Overnighters" watchable, probably endlessly discussable and, in the end, tantalizing.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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<p>Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick and Jude Swanberg in &quot;Happy Christmas.&quot;</p>

Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick and Jude Swanberg in "Happy Christmas."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Review: Melanie Lynskey and Anna Kendrick delight in warm, authentic 'Happy Christmas'

The latest from prolific writer-director-star Joe Swanberg might be his best

PARK CITY - Some small movies are bigger than others, and few contemporary filmmakers' careers are better suited to that sliding scale than Joe Swanberg, the self-sufficient indie all-rounder who has quietly reeled off 16 feature films since 2005. Until recently, they've been uniformly scrappy in scope and construction, with some more considered than others: the personal, plainly self-reflexive relationship studies (2008's Greta Gerwig-starring "Nights and Weekends" was a standout) rather than the quick-sketch genre exercises.

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<p>Lady Gaga at MusiCares</p>

Lady Gaga at MusiCares

Credit: AP Photo

MusiCares Red Carpet with Lady Gaga, Miguel, Carole King and more

Yoko Ono, Tom Hanks and others honor Person Of The Year honoree

From Lady Gaga to Yoko Ono, the stars turned out to help honor Carole King at Friday (24) night’s MusiCares Person of the Year gala.

The annual  event, put on by The Recording Academy two nights before the Grammy Awards, benefits MusiCare’s Emergency Financial Assistance and Addiction Recovery programs.

Among the artists and celebrities spotted on the red carpet were Sara Bareilles, Ozzy and Sharon Osborne, James Taylor, Ben Folds, Miguel, Aeromith’s Steven Tyler, LeAnn Rimes, Kacey Musgraves, Jackson Browne, Jason Mraz, and, of course, evening’s honoree, Carole King. The event also drew from the political world, with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz  in attendance, as well as  Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

 

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