Latest Blog Posts

Tea Leoni is 'Madam Secretary'


Tea Leoni is "Madam Secretary"
She'll play the U.S. Secretary of State in the CBS drama pilot from "Joan of Arcadia" creator Barbara Hall and Morgan Freeman.


Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn will be back for more "Flowers in the Attic"

They'll reprise their roles in the Lifetime sequel, but the kids are expected to be recast since it takes place 10 years later.


"ER's" Goran Visnjic joins "Extant" as Halle Berry's husband
He'll be a series regular on the CBS drama.


Billy Bob Thornton is poised to join the "Entourage" movie
He's in talks to play a billionaire cowboy who invests in the Dracula film starring Vincent Chase.


CW orders "Jane the Virgin"

"Jane the Virgin" is based on the Venezuelan telenovela "Juana La Virgen" about a young Latina woman who is suddenly pregnant.


"Orange is the New Black" casts Lori Petty
The "Point Break" star will guest in Season 2.


"Workaholics" stars "audition" for "Game of Thrones"
Check out the audition reel they made for Conan.

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<p>Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in &quot;The Calvary.&quot;</p>

Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in "The Calvary."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Did Oscar return to the Sundance Film Festival this year?

Did the 2015 season sprout in Park City?

Did you know that over the past seven years, six films that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars? Or, that last year "Beasts of the Southern Wild's" Benh Zeitlin became only the third Sundance helmer after Peter Cattaneo ("The Fully Monty") and Lee Daniels ("Precious") to earn a Best Director nod? Were you aware of the impressive number of nominated actors whose performances first played Park City, including Melissa Leo ("Frozen River"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone"), Mo'Nique ("Precious"), Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow"), Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Laura Linney ("The Savages")?

Sure, there have been some off years, but in general, Sundance has been a major player in the awards season ever since "Little Miss Sunshine" shook the annual indie conclave in 2006. And its influence appeared to be on the upswing. Emphasis on "appeared."

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Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Performances
Credit: AP Photo

Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Performances

Who belongs in the Halftime Hall of Fame?

Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will take the field at  halftime during Super Bowl XLVIII this Sunday, Feb. 2, as the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks.

When it comes to the long list of Super Bowl entertainers, Mars is definitely punching above his weight: most acts, such as Bruce Springsteen, The Who, U2, or Prince, had far more than two albums under their belts before they took that halftime stage. What Mars has going for him, however, is an already strong list of hits and he has already proven to be a nimble, engaging live performer..

As far as ratings, if he wants to claim the top spot, he'll have to top Madonna's 2012 appearance, which drew 114 million, according to Nielsen. Beyonce's 2013 stint is in second place. 

Oh, and if you're going to be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., it looks like the weather is going to be a decent 44 degrees at kick off.

Here's a look at whom the editors at Hitfix believe deserve a spot in the Super Bowl Halftime Hall of Fame:

 

 

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: Alexandra Wyman/Invision for Universal Music Group/AP Images

Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' rides into the winner's circle as top song in the land

What other song with 'horse' in the title has reached No. 1?

Katy Perry snags her ninth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as “Dark Horse,” featuring Juicy J, trots into the top spot, rising 2-1.

This marks the third consecutive No. 1 by a makeshift co-ed duo, following Eminem and Rhianna with “The Monster,” and Pitbull & Ke$ha, which Perry and Juicy J push aside.  “Timber” falls 1-2, while “The Monster” stays at No. 5.

Perry’s feat puts her in a tie with five other artists for 10th place for most No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 (The Beatles are No. 1 with 20, followed by Mariah Carey with 18).

“Dark Horse” is Perry’s second No. 1 from “Prism,” following “Roar.” We’ll see if she can match the five No. 1s she scored from “Teenage Dream.” That achievement tied Michael Jackson’s “Bad” for the Most No. 1s from a single album.

Billboard supplied the following fun fact: “Dark Horse” is only the second song to reach No. 1 with “horse” in the title. Can you think of the other one? I’ll post it at the end of this piece.

OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” remains at No. 3, while A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something” stays at No. 4.

Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” featuring 2 Chainz, is the only new entry into the top 10, soaring 15-6, giving Derulo his fourth Top 10 and first since 2010.

Passenger’s “Let Her Go”  falls 6-7 (though it may get a boost from its usage in Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial), Lorde’s “Team” hangs out at No. 8, followed by “Royals, which slides 7-9. Bastille’s “Pompeii” is at No. 10 for a second week.

*The other song to go to No. 1 with "horse" in the title? America's "A Horse With No Name" in 1972. Did you get it right? 

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Bruce Springsteen pays moving tribute to 'hero' Pete Seeger in concert

Who will fill Seeger's shoes?

Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to Pete Seeger during his concert in Cape Town last night.

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<p>Spike Jonze on the set of &quot;Her.&quot;</p>

Spike Jonze on the set of "Her."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Get closer to 'Her' with new behind-the-scenes featurette

A nice insight into Spike Jonze's unique creatiuve process

"Gravity" may still be my favourite of the Best Picture nominees by a long chalk, but there's no film I'm happier to see in the mix than "Her" -- Spike Jonze's wistful 21st-century love story was perceived by many as being a little too cool for the Academy, but its healthy haul of five nominations suggests its bittersweet charms may not be quite as socially or generationally specific as you might think. Meanwhile, I'm glad voters also noticed what an immaculately crafted piece it is: those nominations for Best Production Design and Original Score are among my favorites of this year's field.

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A snowstorm has turned Atlanta into 'The Walking Dead'


A snowstorm has turned Atlanta into "The Walking Dead"
The city looks as barren as the AMC series, thanks to a few inches of snow.


Peyton Manning was "devastated" when "The Sopranos" ended -- he's now addicted to "Boardwalk Empire"

"I'm a ‘Sopranos' guy," the Denver Broncos QB said at this morning's Super Bowl press conference. He adds: "When 'Boardwalk' came out, that was a big deal for me... I wish it were a little longer. I'm having a hard time getting through the postseason without it. I don't think the ('Boardwalk') season is long enough. I've been struggling without Nucky and the guys."


Mark Wahlberg will host the Kids' Choice Awards

The 42-year-old "Lone Survivor" star will lead this year's ceremony airing on March 29.


Judge orders Nicollette Sheridan to get a new "Desperate Housewives" trial

Sheridan's lawsuit is getting new life.


South Africa is getting a 24-hour Oscar Pistorius murder trial channel
A cable provider is going all out in its coverage of the former Olympian.


Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" has been watched by more than 25 million

Jerry's reaction: "it's gotten completely out of hand."


Sean Hayes didn't get to film his "Will & Grace" reunion with Megan Mullally

Mulally's guest spot on "Sean Saves the World" was on the verge of being shot when NBC opted to shut down production.


Budweiser's Super Bowl ad will feature a puppy kissing a horse
Watch a preview of the heart-melting ad.


CBS shows will stay on Amazon
CBS has signed a deal to keep shows like "The Good Wife" and "Star Trek" on Amazon's streaming service.

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<p>Charlotte Gainsbourg in &quot;Nymphomaniac: Volume Two.&quot;</p>

Charlotte Gainsbourg in "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

New trailer for 'Nymphomaniac: Volume Two' offers more of the exciting same

No nudity in this one, but plenty of Talking Heads

[UPDATE: Unfortunately, this video has been removed at the distributor's request.]

You can't stop what's, er, coming. As I made clear in my review last week, the first part of Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" was one of my highlights of the Sundance Film Festival, delivering all the brazen daring, operatic beauty and discomfiting hilarity any von Trier fan could want. Having not seen the entire beast like some of my colleagues, Volume Two is now top of my Most Anticipated list, and this new international trailer promises more of the same -- in the best possible way.

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<p>Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in &quot;12 Years a Slave.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' tops UK Regional Critics' vote

Public vote 'Philomena' the year's best British film

A reader asked me the other day if the UK has county-divided critics' awards to match the multitude of local US groups. The answer is no -- the nation isn't quite big enough for such madness -- but while the London Critics' Circle (which hands out its awards on Sunday) remains the highest-profile British critics' award, other UK critics and bloggers have banded together to form the UK Regional Critics' Awards, also known as the Richard Attenborough Awards. Despite the "regional" remit, their awards were presented in London last night, and also included a number of public-voted categories. No big surprises, and more good news for "12 Years a Slave"; check out the list after the jump, and keep up with the season at The Circuit.

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ABC orders Henry Winkler's 'The Winklers,' from the creator of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'


ABC orders Henry Winkler's "The Winklers," from the creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond"
The "Happy Days" alum is expected to star in a comedy pilot based on his real-life relationship with his son-in-law. Winkler's son, Max, will serve as executive producer, along with "Raymond's" Phil Rosenthal and "New Girl's" Jake Johnson.

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<p>Sullivan Stapleton of &quot;300: Rise of an Empire&quot;</p>

Sullivan Stapleton of "300: Rise of an Empire"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green get fierce on the '300: Rise of an Empire' set

'Strike Back' and 'Casino Royale' stars discuss their historical epic
SOFIA, BULGARIA. I've learned few things from my years of movie and TV set visits, but one thing I know for certain: Never dine at an all-you-can-eat buffet with the Greek army.
 
It's early September 2012 at the Nu Boyana film studio on the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria and the Greek army is massing upon a repast of stewed steak, heavily sauced meatballs and unadorned, flaky white fish. 
 
There are also potatoes, rolls and platters of deserts, but looking at the soldiers flanking me on all sides, I have my doubts that any carbohydrates are being consumed in the meal room for "300: Rise of an Empire."
 
Craft service tends to be the great equalizer on a movie set, bringing together the burly Teamsters, wiry technicians and all but the highest echelon of stars, but on the "300: Rise of an Empire" set, there are some people out to make a point and that point involves more sit-ups and push-ups than I can wrap my mind around. 
 
Apparently there was a very recent truce called on the set, because buff Greeks and buff Persians are dining side-by-side. All are covered with dirt and dramatically oozing wounds and many have backs marked with loud red whip-lashes. Humility plays no role in this feast, as the warriors chow down in outfits that would make an Olympic diver blush. Oddly, there's a gender divide when it comes to modesty as a stunning woman at the soda station fills her cup dressed in a small, tightly cinched bathrobe. 
 
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<p>Eva Green of &quot;300: Rise of an Empire&quot;</p>

Eva Green of "300: Rise of an Empire"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Set Visit: '300: Rise of an Empire' filmmakers hope to build on '300'

Director Noam Murro and producers talk from the movie's Bulgarian set
SOFIA, BULGARIA. "Show no mercy and give no quarter!" bellows Eva Green, as she strides confidently out of a ship's state room, through a sea of masked men. Wearing a badass, fringed leather tunic with metallic highlights in front and spikes poking out of her back, she paces towards the camera once, twice, three times.
 
"Today, the last Greek ships will be destroyed," she announces over and over again. That first line remains the same with every reading, but Green keeps varying the second line, barking the order in different directions, varying the clarity and the emphasis. 
 
After each take, Green returns to her character's state room. Director Noam Murro isn't making refinements to Green's performance, though. The Persian queen Artemisia is assertive, loud and sexy and she's not the problem. The problem appears to be the obscured men referred to as proto-samurais. They're clad in heavy, layered armor and they're wearing matching versions of what seems to be a more bellicose version of the famed masks of Melpomene, the muse of tragedy. The masks, which come in several complicated pieces, are bedecked with threatening metal dreadlocks, so we may be comparing them to samurai, but a better antecedent might be The Predator. 
 
It's hard in here for a proto-samurai. To begin with, they have to be giving expressive performances, even though their faces are completely covered and they're almost entirely immobile. They can't remove the masks wearing their gloves and they can't remove their gloves without the help of assistants. So between shots, some of the proto-samurai remain in full costume, while others get help from scurrying assistants so that they can get water or scratch an itch. 
 
It probably won't be the case when "300: Rise of an Empire" is released, but on this September day in 2012 at Sofia, Bulgaria's Nu Boyana Studios, the proto-samurai are the stars of the movie. 
 
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