Latest Blog Posts

<p>Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall struggle mightily to make &#39;Transcendence&#39; work, but there&#39;s no saving a film this deeply dopey.</p>

Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall struggle mightily to make 'Transcendence' work, but there's no saving a film this deeply dopey.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Johnny Depp looks bored by the silly science-fiction ideas of 'Transcendence'

Consider this the anti-'Her'

Jack Paglen is the sole credited writer of "Transcendence," the new science-fiction film starring Johnny Depp, and if he really is the man responsible for the script, then it scares me to learn that he's been hired to write the big-screen "Battlestar Galactica" reboot.

One of the truths of science-fiction is that anytime we as a culture try to get our heads around a jump forward in technology, one of the ways we do that is by imagining the very worst case scenario, so it should come as no surprise that as we discuss ideas about The Singularity and trans-humanism, "Transcendence" arrives to serve as this decade's "Lawnmower Man," a deeply stupid movie that uses smart ideas as a springboard but without any real sense of what they're talking about. Wally Pfister, best known until now as the cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's big films, makes his directorial debut here, and as dumb as Paglen's script is, Pfister seems to have no feeling whatsoever for the staging of sequences or for any sort of dramatic narrative momentum. Make no mistake… "Transcendence" is a stiff, but one that is produced with enough polish that it almost successfully disguises its true nature.

Read Full Post
<p>Billy Bob Thornton goes driving at night on &quot;Fargo.&quot;</p>

Billy Bob Thornton goes driving at night on "Fargo."

Credit: FX

Series premiere review: 'Fargo' - 'The Crocodile's Dilemma'

Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman take a trip to Coen brothers country

I reviewed FX's "Fargo" in advance this morning, and I have a few specific thoughts on the premiere coming up just as soon as I get more familiar with the ham...

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of New York City"

"The Real Housewives of New York City"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of New York City': Did the Singer Stinger ruin the party?

Heather can't forgive Aviva, but will she warm to Ramona and Sonja?

Hey, who knew that a trip to South Africa can transform you into a lovable peacemaker? Okay, maybe not lovable, but Ramona swears that her vacation (the one she can't stop mentioning, just so everyone and their dog knows she went to SOUTH AFRICA) has turned her into a gentler, kinder, better person. Apparently being a better person, by her definition, means bullying other people into playing nice with someone they hate, then flaking out on them as punishment for not being as Zen and forgiving as she is. Excuse me, I think I have to lie down. The layers upon layers of hypocrisy are just making my head hurt. 

Read Full Post
<p>Actually seeing Patton Oswalt in the Marvel universe feels like there&#39;s been a tear in reality... a totally awesome tear.</p>

Actually seeing Patton Oswalt in the Marvel universe feels like there's been a tear in reality... a totally awesome tear.

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' are on the run after last week's meltdown

And it looks like Patton Oswalt's ready to help

I tuned in just in time this week to catch Ward's act of betrayal again, followed by the HYDRA symbol instead of the SHIELD one. I'm less convinced now than last week that Ward is faking anything. Those three bullets he put in Hand at close range would seem to be fairly inarguable, and as more back-story was revealed over the course of the episode, it seems like Ward has been garbage since frame one.

That's cool. That's the version of the story I hope they're telling. If he turns out to just be faking everything, it's going to really irritate me. Right now, Ward suddenly got a personality, and he's suddenly an interesting character with some actual dimension to him. If they try to wrap everything up this year by just making him a good guy again, it's going to feel like it's just not playing fair anymore. There are only so many times you can have characters switch sides and only so far you can push them when they're working undercover before it becomes ridiculous. They're in a very interesting place for the story and the characters right now, and I'm hoping they push forward without trying to eventually roll everything back to the status quo.

More than anything, what last week's episode reminded me of was the Super Bowl episode of "Alias" where they blew up SD6, the covert agency that Sydney Bristow worked for. It was a great move, but it also started the show down a creative path that it never quite recovered from, and I think it may have been a mistake in hindsight. If you're going to blow up the premise of your show, you'd better have a great plan in place for how to build from there.

Read Full Post

MTV Movie Awards viewership drops by 1 million viewers with Conan O’Brien

MTV Movie Awards viewership drops by 1 million viewers with Conan O’Brien
This year’s awards, however, did beat “Game of Thrones” in number of Twitter impressions.


Chelsea Handler’s manager: She’s not headed to network TV, she didn’t mean to post a pic of CBS papers
“When Chelsea posted the picture she didn't notice the magazine and it was not a conscious attempt to say she was meeting with CBS,” Handler’s manager, Irving Azoff, tells The Wrap. “And I don't envision her on any broadcast network.” PLUS: Handler shouldn’t have campaigned so openly.


“All That” turns 20
Here’s ranking all the original cast members of the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show, including No. 8 Nick Cannon, No. 5 Amanda Bynes, No. 4 Kenan Thompson and No. 2. Kel Mitchell.


“Roswell” is having a 15th-anniversary reunion
The Austin Television Festival’s panel will, so far, include Shiri Appleby, “Revenge’s” Nick Wechsler, “Parenthood’s” Jason Katims and Brendan Fehr.


Here are TV’s most satisfying death scenes
Besides the ones on “Game of Thrones."


“Awkward” is back for senior year
The MTV series’ new showrunners are promising a Season 4 "fraught with tension and drama.”


“Pawn Stars’” Chumlee is now skinny
The History channel reality star dropped 75 pounds in the last year.


Behind the scenes of “The Simpsons’” Sylvain Chomet couch gag
The "Triplets of Belleville” director talks about his “Simpsons” animation process.


“Murphy Brown” creator couldn’t imagine doing a series finale in today’s Twitter world
Diane English thinks it’s harder for today’s TV showrunners to stick with their gut. In 1998, when “Murphy Brown” ended, "there was no social media,” she says. "People were barely on the Internet. So I had no input from fans at all. Zero. I mean, it was really what was gonna satisfy us? What did the network want? Did we want the same thing? What about the cast? What about Candice? These were the voices, not the outside world. Now, God, I don’t know how you do a series finale when everybody’s weighing in on Twitter."


“Passions” stars: Where are they now?
Catch up with the stars of the NBC/DirecTV soap, including Natalie Zea, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Justin Hartley.


Aziz Ansari starring in web series “Food Club”
Ansari is joined by Eric Wareheim from “Tim & Eric” and “Human Giant’s” Jason Woliner as they sample food throughout L.A.


21-year-old “Southern Charm” star welcomes a baby with her 50-year-old co-star
Kathryn Dennis was shown on the Bravo reality show testing negative for pregnancy.


Study: TV-obsessed watching kids have trouble sleeping
The more children watch television, the more likely they are to suffer sleep problems, according to new research in the journal Pediatrics.


Tina Fey: “iCarly” series finale moved me to tears
Fey and her fellow “30 Rock” showrunner Robert Carlock recalled watching all sorts of finales before finishing the NBC sitcom.


“Girls” is back to work
Season 4 began filming today.


PBS’ “Pioneers of Television” returns with “Standup to Sitcom”
The problem with this PBS series, says Brian Lowry is that it "suffers from its pigheaded refusal to incorporate voices beyond the actual stars it features, providing a once-over-lightly account that could easily be enriched by incorporating a few behind-the-scenes and third-party voices."


“New Girl” is suffering from “Make Something Happen” syndrome
Many recent story lines, says Marc Hirsh, "spring out of, or follow a track built on, nothing beyond a desire on the part of the show to Make Something Happen. It happened with Jess and Sam. Winston and Shelby. Winston and Daisy. Just Winston in general, really.”


Why "Breaking Bad's" Vince Gilligan abandoned a “Wild Bunch” bloodbath ending
Gilligan considered killing everybody off, but realized: "Just because an ending is dramatic or perhaps overly dramatic does not ensure that it will be satisfying.” PLUS: Canadian cafe puts Walter White in the bathroom.


Watch the “Game of Thrones” cast react to Sunday’s episode
A new video includes Arya (Maisie Williams’) reaction. PLUS: Green Day meets “Game of Thrones,” and how book readers solved the mystery.


Mindy Lahiri from “The Mindy Project” is “batsh*t crazy”
“'Crazy' is a word that gets tossed around too often in conversations about women’s emotions and how well they control them,” says Jillian Mapes. "I don’t use it lightly, but here we go: Mindy Lahiri is batsh*t crazy. If the show’s demographic were comprised of more straight men, I would worry that the character is offering up a damaging portrayal of the modern career woman. I suspect Kaling thinks of her TV counterpart as 'crazy in a fun way,' like the friend who gets too drunk at brunch and snags the waiter’s number. The thing is, 'crazy in a fun way' requires self-confidence — something Lahiri lacks at every juncture, except when being constantly undercut by her male coworkers.” PLUS: Max Greenfield on his “Mindy” cameo, and Mindy Kaling talks to Conan about her fantasies of hunks while exercising.


ABC releases a “Scandal” visual party checklist
A new promo urges Gladiators to “break Twitter.” PLUS: Ranking all the ways “Scandal” hid Kerry Washington’s baby bump, and Scott Foley promises a “divisive” season finale.


“SNL’s” Cecily Strong becomes a rabbit
Watch what happens when she loses a bet over an NBA game.


Amazon picks up “Defiance”
The Syfy’s 1st season is now available for streaming.


Presenting the weirdest TV merchandise
From the “Yo Bitch!” “Breaking Bad” fathead to the “Girls” burnout hoodie.


Unlike “Seinfeld,” Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” isn’t relatable at all
The web series seems more suited to the comfortably rich.


Ken Burns’ “The Address” is really a documentary about learning disabilities
The film about students with learning disabilities learning the Gettysburg Address is unlike any documentary Burns has made before.


FX’s “Fargo” does everything a TV show should do when it’s based on a movie
“It makes you recall how much you loved it the first time around while advancing a new tale in the same snow-blown, upper-Midwestern milieu,” says Hank Stuever. PLUS: It’s easy to lose yourself in this FX remake, a dubious idea turns out to be shockingly great, it will remind you what’s great about the movie, it establishes itself as its own wonderful thing, “Fargo" is missing the spark of originality that would make it great, Billy Bob Thornton never had time to doubt the project, and Martin Freeman would’ve normally rejected a project like this.

Read Full Post
<p>Based on this image, I&#39;m pretty sure the border is completely safe thanks to Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the upcoming film &#39;Border Guards&#39;</p>

Based on this image, I'm pretty sure the border is completely safe thanks to Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the upcoming film 'Border Guards'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly teaming up on immigration comedy 'Border Guards'

There's a great writer in the mix as well, so we're excited

What an odd bit of synchronicity. For the last week, I've had "Step Brothers" sitting on the shelf by the TV in my office and I've been considering watching it again. Finally, as I started getting ready to write a few pieces this afternoon, I threw the film in and hit play. As the first scene started to play, I went back to my e-mail and found a heads-up from Greg Ellwood about a story that just broke regarding the third collaboration between Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly.

It's safe to say that I am a fan of the combination of McKay and Ferrell. I feel like they have such a great voice when they create characters, and one of the things I like most is seeing how they incorporate other comedy voices into what they do in each new project. For example, in "The Other Guys," it was really smart making Will Ferrell the straight man and giving Mark Wahlberg the main role as the explosive lunatic, and Eva Medes in the same film looked like she was having the time of her life playing one of the strangest characters of her career. In "Talladega Nights," John C. Reilly made a fantastic sidekick to Ferrell's character, which made it even more fun to watch them go after each other in "Step Brothers."

Read Full Post
Danielle Campbell

Danielle Campbell

Credit: The CW

Interview: 'The Originals'' Danielle Campbell talks life, death and Marcel

The on-screen witch was discovered in a hair salon

As Davina on "The Originals" (airing Tues. at 8:00 p.m. on the CW), Danielle Campbell embodies the ultimate teen witch, plagued by the elders who are still angry at her for messing up the Harvest (but really, who wants to allow themselves to be sacrificed on the off chance of resurrection?) and other mean-spirited witches at her coven. In tonight's episode, Davina's fellow witches decide to mess up the Feast of the Blessings, through which members of the New Orleans community offer the witches gifts in return for blessings, to teach Davina a lesson. Man, she can't catch a break, can she?

Luckily, Campbell said that the show's roller coaster ride for Davina has only been a good thing for her -- even when that's mean finding out her character has been killed off (if only temporarily). I talked to Campbell about what's ahead, her other favorite character, and how she got discovered (in a hair salon -- yes, it happens). 

Read Full Post
<p>Ricky Gervais is so happy to be returning to the role of David Brent that he&#39;s dancing.</p>

Ricky Gervais is so happy to be returning to the role of David Brent that he's dancing.

Credit: BBC Home Video

Ricky Gervais will play David Brent again for a new mock-documentary project

Nobody makes me cringe more, and I can't wait

Last year, David Brent started popping up again for the first time in a while, and there were rumors of a larger possible project happening. I am always happy to see Ricky Gervais working, and he seems very happy about the way his latest series "Derek" has been received. It would be dishonest to say that I'm anything less than thrilled to hear, though, that Gervais is making a big return to playing the part that put him on the map in the first place.

This year, Gervais will be performing a number of gigs in character as David Brent, and the performances will be filmed as part of a "documentary" about Brent's pursuit of his dreams of being a pop star. "It's going to be tragic," Gervais told MTV in the UK. "It's not going to be what he thinks it is."

The last decade or so, we've seen a tsunami of the comedy of the uncomfortable, so much so that it's become very hard to get a cringe out of me at this point. It's easy to lose sight of just how much of a lightning bolt "The Office" was when it initially hit, and just how amazing Gervais was at walking that fine line between sympathetic and simply pathetic. His version of Brent was always in love with the idea of being an acclaimed entertainer, and it makes perfect sense that he would still be pursuing that dream now.

Read Full Post
Real Estate

Zombie skateboarders, Thai food and more in Real Estate's 'Crime' video

Funny or Die's parody works because it's not far off the mark

Some parodies work because they are just the slightest exaggeration with how it seems to work in real life. Such is the case with Real Estate’s “Crime” video, which debuted on Funny or Die.

Read Full Post

Maya Rudolph’s NBC variety special will air May 19, featuring ex-'SNL'-ers and Kristen Bell

Maya Rudolph’s NBC variety special will air May 19, featuring ex-“SNL”-ers and Kristen Bell
"The Maya Rudolph Show” from Lorne Michaels will reunite Rudolph with former “Saturday Night Live” castmates Andy Samberg, Chris Parnell and Fred Armisen. It will also include Sean Hayes and Craig Robinson, plus Janelle Monáe as a musical guest. If the one-off special is successful, it could become a regular series.


Andy Cohen will refrain from alcohol when Lindsay Lohan visits “Watch What Happens Live”
According to TMZ, it’s not clear if there will even be a bartender for Thursday’s show.


“Soul Train” is coming to Broadway
The producer of “Rock of Ages” has acquired the rights for a musical based on the famous dance show.


Alec Baldwin reacts to Tracy Morgan’s worries about him
"Look who wants to be my life coach?” Baldwin tweeted of his former “30 Rock” co-star.


“Portlandia” taps Queens of the Stone Age's frontman to play Carrie Brownstein’s gay brother
Josh Homme will appear with his “boyfriend,” played by Nick Swardson.

Read Full Post
<p>When you think of &#39;Friday the 13th,&#39; this is most likely the image that comes to mind, but is Paramount considering a major shake-up for the next film?</p>

When you think of 'Friday the 13th,' this is most likely the image that comes to mind, but is Paramount considering a major shake-up for the next film?

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Friday the 13th' found footage reboot picks up a 'V/H/S' director

Good pick for filmmaker, but we're still worried

It's taken a surprisingly long time for Paramount to officially hire a director for the next film in the ridiculously long-running "Friday the 13th" series.

"V/H/S" is going to end up being one of those things where people are constantly looking back at it as a pivotal moment for the directors of the various segments in both of the films. Already this year, we've seen one feature film from the guys billed as Radio Silence, and while I missed "Devil's Due," it seemed like it had some fans. I thought their segment in "V/H/S" was enormous fun, and I also really liked the first segment, in which a bunch of guys who seem like the prototypical bros decide to videotape a night in a motel room with a girl they're all going to take turns with.

The director of that segment, David Bruckner, is Paramount's pick now to once again bring Jason Voorhees to life. Considering the approach that Paramount is reportedly taking to the new film, which we detailed in an article back in November, Bruckner makes perfect sense. As we said, this is being designed as a found footage movie, and it's an approach that Paramount's Adam Goodman has been pushing heavily while they were trying to find writers and now that they're bringing on a director.

Read Full Post
"Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman with Friends"

"Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman with Friends"

Credit: Adult Swim

Exclusive clip: Things get weird on 'Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman'

The new Adult Swim show isn't your average dinner party

You want to freak out your friends? Take a page from an exclusive clip from "Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends" (premiering Thurs. April 24 at midnight ET/PT on Adult Swim). While Gelman ("Eagleheart") seems to just be inviting his fancy Hollywood pals over for a night of chit-chat, things take a turn for the weird. The really weird. What better way to introduce the next course than sobbing on the floor?

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME