Latest Blog Posts

<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor in &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Solomon Northup wins his first award of the year for '12 Years a Slave' at USC Scripter Awards

Read John Ridley's acceptance speech on his and the author's behalf

The USC Scripter Awards are one of my favorite events of the film awards season. Yes, they are unique in that they recognize the authors of both screenplays and source material, and can often present a unique slate of honorees, but it's also a lovely personal excursion when I can make it, as the echoes of my days toiling away on various papers and thesis efforts in the halls of the Doheny Library make it an annual homecoming for me.

This year's 26th annual ceremony made for a wonderful evening as not only was the master himself, "Chinatown" screenwriter Robert Towne, in the house to receive the Literary Achievement Award, but Solomon Northup himself was able to land his own prize this season due to the unique nature of the proceedings. John Ridley shared the award with the late Northup as "12 Years a Slave" beat out fellow adaptations "Captain Phillips," "Philomena," "The Spectacular Now" and "What Maisie Knew."

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<p>&quot;The Great Gatsby&quot;</p>

"The Great Gatsby"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Gravity,' 'Her,' 'The Great Gatsby' win Art Directors Guild Awards

All three are in contention for the Production Design Oscar

Oscar-pool betters looking for tips in the Best Production Design race shouldn't be too reliant on the Art Directors Guild Awards: in their 17 years of existence, the Academy has agreed with one of their selections on 10 occasions. Last year, they did not -- while the ADG plumped for "Anna Karenina," "Life of Pi" and "Skyfall,"  the Academy surprised most pundits by picking "Lincoln" instead.

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<p>Forest Whitaker in &quot;Two Men in Town.&quot;</p>

Forest Whitaker in "Two Men in Town."

Credit: Berlin Film Festival

Review: Forest Whitaker hits a dead end in dry desert thriller 'Two Men in Town'

Rachid Bouchareb can't get back on track in his latest American-set feature

BERLIN - Just as no book should be judged by its cover, no film should be judged by its title -- though that doesn't stop us from occasionally doing so anyway. It's fair to say that any expectations set up by the title "Two Men in Town" are met by French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb's drab, western-infused thriller: it features at least two men, it's set in something more or less resembling a town, and it's sufficiently listless to make you believe no one could be bothered to think up something more flavorful. "Two Magnificent Men in Town." "Two Men in [Insert Town Name Here]." I'm just spitballing.

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Ben McKenzie to play Commissioner Gordon on Fox's Batman prequel


Ben McKenzie to play Commissioner Gordon on Fox's Batman prequel
"Gotham" has cast the former "Southland:" star as Commissioner James Gordon.


Ronda Rousey joins "Entourage" movie
"Entourage" creator Doug Ellin confirmed the UFC fighter will be part of the movie, bout wouldn't say in what capacity.


Rita Moreno to co-star in Amy Poehler's NBC comedy pilot
In "Old Soul," Natasha Lyonne has a business caring for the elderly. One of her clients will be played by the legendary actress.

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<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP Photo

Bruno Mars sees huge bounce on next week's album chart

Will 'Now 49' topple 'Frozen from the top spot?

Bruno Mars sees a huge Super Bowl bounce as his two albums both rebound back into the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 next week.

Mars’ sophomore set, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” leaps to No. 3 (70,000), while his 2010 debut, “Doo Wops & Hooligans” climbs back onto the chart at No. 10 (27,000).

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<p>Robert Redford at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Robert Redford at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo

Robert Redford tribute provides an emotional grace note at Santa Barbara festival

An evening not nearly long enough ended with a touching ode

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Friday night ended up providing one of the most emotional moments I've seen in all my years of attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It came at the end of a very long evening saluting the career of actor Robert Redford, one that wasn't even long enough, actually, as the timeline had to top out at "Ordinary People" lest the celebration spill over far too much. And it was a grace note representative of the heart of this festival.

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<p>The Sochi Olympics opening</p>

The Sochi Olympics opening

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Sochi Opening Ceremony draws a huge Friday number for NBC

'Enlisted' and 'Raising Hope' both lose viewers against the juggernaut
Fast National ratings for Friday, February 7, 2014.
 
NBC may have been airing the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics hours after the rest of the world saw the pageantry and staggered based on time zones, but American viewers appear to have accepted it. The Olympics kick-off, which after a strongly rated "bonus" night of coverage, comfortably swept past the limited competition on Friday night.
 
The only real network competition against the Olympics on Friday was FOX's "Enlisted"/"Raising Hope" block and while Sochi took a reasonably large bite out of the comedies overall, "Enlisted" was only down by 0.1 in the key demo and "Raising Hope" was flat.
 
On to the numbers...
 
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NBC defends editing out anti-discrimination statement from its Sochi Opening Ceremony broadcast


NBC defends editing out anti-discrimination statement from its Sochi Opening Ceremony broadcast
NBC removed a big chunk of IOC president Thomas Bach's message on tolerance from last night's broadcast, but The Peacock insists "his message got across very clearly."


NBC also cut Sochi's giant giant bear mascot, Olympic torch in space and Russian cops singing "Get Lucky"
The Peacock chose to dump out several of the Opening Ceremonies features that were popular on social media all day. PLUS: The Olympic oaths were also removed from the NBC broadcast.


NBC Sochi Opening Ceremony coverage down 8% from Vancouver
The 2010 Winter Olympics was, of course, shown live through most of the United States.


NBC seemed to cut back on the annoying Opening Ceremony narration
Was there actually less Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira? Or was this Opening ceremony elevated by New Yorker editor and Russia expert David Remnick? PLUS: The Opening ceremony was "majestic, grandiose and quite humorless."


Jimmy Fallon says goodbye to "Late Night" with The Muppets
They performed "The Weight" together, before Fallon walked down the hall to his new "Tonight Show" studios. PLUS: Fallon has his best ratings since his debut week, celebs offer "Tonight Show" advice, and Fallon reflects on his 12:37 years.

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<p>Zoe Kazan isn't sure exactly who she is in the sweet and charming 'The Pretty One'</p>

Zoe Kazan isn't sure exactly who she is in the sweet and charming 'The Pretty One'

Credit: Dada Films

Review: Zoe Kazan gives a radiant dual performance in uber-charming 'The Pretty One'

Jenee LaMarque's film is both wise and very clever

What draws us to certain actors?

Audiences and actors have a relationship that is hard to describe or dissect. When we watch someone over the span of years or even decades, we grow to have certain feelings about them, certain memories of them, and who we are at the various stages of their career plays into the way we feel when we think of them. There are actors who we see almost as our surrogates because we run parallel to them in terms of age and development. There are actors we see as father figures or even grandfather figures, who embody a certain something during the years we develop. There are actors we feel protective of, actors we despise, actors we look forward to seeing, actors whose work feels like a secret told only to us. One of the strangest parts of that relationship is that much of what we're responding to is actually due to the writers and the directors and the cinematographers and stunt doubles and editors and make-up artists and production designers and costumers, and the actor is simply a part of this impression that builds up over time. In some ways, they are a minority stakeholder in the thing that we respond to, but still, we hang those feelings on them.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Captain Phillips&quot;</p>

A scene from "Captain Phillips"

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Captain Phillips' and 'American Hustle' win industry editing honors

'Frozen' and '20 Feet from Stardom' also walk away with hardware

Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" hasn't missed a beat since that pair of surprise Oscar misses in the Best Director and Best Actor categories a few weeks back. The film pulled out a Best Adapted Screenplay WGA win last weekend and Friday night it routed fellow Best Picture nominees "Gravity," "Her" and "12 Years a Slave" to win the ACE Eddie Award for dramatic feature film editing. "American Hustle," meanwhile, bested "Nebraska" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" to claim the comedy/musical prize.

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<p>Christopher Rouse winning the Best Film&nbsp;Editing Oscar for &quot;The&nbsp;Bourne&nbsp;Ultimatum&quot;&nbsp;in 2008. Could we see a similar sight on March 2?</p>

Christopher Rouse winning the Best Film Editing Oscar for "The Bourne Ultimatum" in 2008. Could we see a similar sight on March 2?

Credit: AP Photo

Film editor Christopher Rouse on Paul Greengrass, Oscar nominations and 'Captain Phillips'

'It’s the richest and best creative relationship I’ve ever had.'

Filmmaker/editor relationships may not have the iconic status of relationships between directors and certain actors or producers or even cinematographers, but there are exceptions to this. For instance, no one has been as integral to Martin Scorsese's career as Thelma Schoonmaker. Much of Steven Spielberg's work has been shaped by the great Michael Kahn.

Usually these sorts of collaborations are marked by something special at the core of the relationship, and over the past decade, a similar one has begun to blossom in this light: Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse. Rouse has worked on nearly all of Greengrass' films, dating back to 2004's "The Bourne Supremacy," and even though their collaborations number just five, to think of one artist without the other is now a bit difficult.

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<p>Woody Allen in 2011.</p>

Woody Allen in 2011.

Credit: AP Photo

Woody Allen speaks out and it appears he's had enough

Will this end anytime soon?

To say this awards season has not gone as expected is something of an understatement. No one could have anticipated that perhaps the closest best picture race this century would be overshadowed by twenty one year-old allegations surrounding Woody Allen and his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow.  After almost two decades of silence, a series of tweets during the Golden Globes from Mia Farrow, Dylan's adoptive mother, and her brother, Ronan Farrow, has snowballed into a dramatic series of statements that has once again dragged these unproven allegations into something of a public spectacle.

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