Latest Blog Posts



Credit: A24

Roundup: Why an Oscar for James Franco is no laughing matter

Also: The expansion of the Academy, and the best hair in 'American Hustle'

Since James Franco started popping up on critics' awards lists -- most notably with that tied LAFCA win -- for his off-the-wall performance in "Spring Breakers," I've noticed a lot of readers dismissing him as a "joke" contender. (Isn't that the inside-the-box thinking for which we usually chastise voters?) But while A24 has been appropriately playful with their campaign, it's no joke to them, nor to Franco himself. He talks to Mark Olsen: "Honestly, I don't know why people say, 'Really? Is this a real campaign?' I'm an Academy voter. I've been nominated for an Oscar. I'm more proud of this performance than anything that I've done ... I've been working in this industry for 16 years. I know when I'm a part of something that's cutting edge. I want to go out and say yeah … consider it."  [LA Times]

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Jeff Probst and the &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot; Immunity Necklace</p>

 Jeff Probst and the "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" Immunity Necklace

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' Finale - 'It's My Night'

Who won the 27th installment of 'Survivor'?
Pre-credit sequence. "Another tough vote," Tyson says as Kasama returns to camp. Ciera is, once again, apologizing for playing the game and all that. She is, however, hopeful that Redemption Island will bring an alliance-mate back into the game. It could hardly not. "My best shot is going to be with Monica and Gervase," Tyson says, explaining that he may have to use the Immunity Idol to keep Monica in line. Tyson offers her the Idol and tells her that she can either use it or take it home to her kids. She doesn't take it, but Tyson says he'll send it to her. Monica has a plan. "If the guys really do think I'm their lapdog, fine. But I'm not going to be manipulated by Tyson and Gervase," Monica says, noting that whoever comes back from Redemption will give her two choices at the Final 3. This is gonna be a big Monica episode, I sense.
Read Full Post
<p>Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

'Masters of Sex' creator Michelle Ashford talks season 1

Does the show favor Johnson over Masters? And what will season 2 look like?
Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” just concluded a debut season so strong that I ranked it the fifth-best show overall of 2013. I reviewed the season finale here, and I talked to the show’s creator, Michelle Ashford, about the finale, about what liberties she’s comfortable taking with the real story of Masters and Johnson, about how she intends to handle the story’s big span of time when there’s no way her series will last as long as the partnership, and more, all coming up just as soon as I tell you babies grow on trees…
Read Full Post
<p>Caitlin FitzGerald and Michael Sheen in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Caitlin FitzGerald and Michael Sheen in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

Season finale review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Manhigh'

Bill makes his presentation, Margaret confronts her husband and Ethan goes to California

Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” just concluded a debut season so strong that I ranked it the fifth-best show overall of 2013. I interviewed creator Michelle Ashford here, and I have a review of the finale coming up just as soon as I can spot a statistically average masturbator from a mile away...

Read Full Post
<p>Damian Lewis as Brody in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis as Brody in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Season finale review: 'Homeland' - 'The Star'

Carrie tries to get Brody out of Iran

A review of tonight's "Homeland" season finale coming up just as soon as you explain a Baby Bjorn to me...

Read Full Post
"Once Upon A Time"

 "Once Upon A Time"  

Credit: ABC

'Once Upon A Time' recap: Can the curse be broken?

It's Storybrooke against Peter Pan in the midseason finale

Because this is "Once Upon A TIme," I don't know if I accept any character as really and truly dead, um, ever. I don't accept any plot twist as irreversible, either. But dammit, "OUAT" has me worried with this midseason finale. Logically, I understand there was a need for the show to make some big moves. I suspect, given the ending, those big moves won't be as permanent or lasting as earlier scenes led us to believe. But still, I think Kitsis and Horowitz have decided to shake the toy box to mix things up, and I can only hope (Hope! Hey, the theme of the episode!) it portends a fresh storyline -- one we richly deserve after the claustrophobic Neverland. 

Read Full Post
<p>Melissa Leo as Toni in &quot;Trem&eacute;.&quot;</p>

Melissa Leo as Toni in "Tremé."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Treme' - 'Dippermouth Blues'

Albert gets sicker, while Antoine gives fake trombone lessons to a movie star

A quick review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I teach you the "Ghostbusters" theme...

Read Full Post
<p>Alfonso Cuar&oacute;n directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on the set of &quot;Gravity.&quot;</p>

Alfonso Cuarón directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on the set of "Gravity."

Credit: Warner Bros.

'12 Years a Slave' tops with San Francisco critics, but 'Gravity' wins four

And James Franco picks up another critics award

Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" was a big favorite with the San Francisco Film Critics Circle this year, picking up four awards from the group including Best Director. But it was "12 Years a Slave" that the group named Best Picture of the year. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cate Blanchet took top acting honors, while James Franco nabbed his second prize of the critics circuit. "American Hustle" won two awards, for Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Best Original Screenplay. Check out the nominees here, the full list of winners below and the rest of the season's craziness at The Circuit.

Read Full Post
<p>Peter O'Toole at the 2002 Academy Awards.</p>

Peter O'Toole at the 2002 Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

On the curious nobility of Peter O'Toole's unlucky Oscar history

The late Irish actor holds the record for most nominations without winning
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride – my foot!” said Peter O’Toole, somewhat mischievously, as he accepted his Honorary Oscar from Meryl Streep at the 2002 Academy Awards. “I have my very own Oscar now to be with me until death us do part.”

 It was a speech of twinkly good grace from the Irish actor, then 70 years old – seasoned enough, in other words, to know that an Oscar is nice and all, but not so important that it can’t be left behind at the pearly gates. But it was also delivered with a kind of good-humored resignation. O’Toole may have been several years off retirement – and there was one more near-brush with victory still in his future -- but he seemed to know he’d never win a competitive Oscar. More to the point, he seemed to know there was nothing more to be gained from winning one, if indeed there ever had been. O’Toole’s charm, on screen and off, so often lay in being the guy just outside the inner circle.

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

Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'12 Years a Slave' wins four from Houston film critics

The steamroll through the regional critics awards continues

Also handing out awards today was the Houston Film Critics Society. The group also went with "12 Years a Slave," bringing the film's Best Picture tally up to seven, for those keeping score at home. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sandra Bullock picked up top acting honors, while Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o maintained their impressive dominance in the supporting ranks. Check out the nominees here and the full list of winners below. And, again, keep track at The Circuit.

Read Full Post
<p>Sandra Bullock in &quot;Gravity&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

Credit: Warner Bros.

'12 Years a Slave' wins big with Kansas City film critics

Sandra Bullock picks up some Best Actress steam

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle has tapped Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" as the year's best, falling in line with a number of regional critics as of late. The film dominated the group's choices, also picking up wins for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. The group added a little more intrigue in the Best Actress field, though, by giving "Gravity" star Sandra Bullock her second critics award of the day (following Houston earlier this afternoon). Check out the full list of winners below, and as always, be sure to keep track of the season via The Circuit.

Read Full Post

John Goodman joined on 'SNL' by Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone

John Goodman joined on "SNL" by Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone
The trio played the "Three Wise Guys" gossiping about Jesus Christ while on camels in Bethlehem.

Read Full Post