Latest Blog Posts

<p>Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;Her.&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "Her."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: The fashion-forward futurism of 'Her'

Also: On the early critics' award blitz, and a bit of Sundance fakery

Among the many things I liked about yesterday's NBR champ "Her" is the sleek, subtle futurism of its design elements -- Casey Storm's costumes, in particular, are among my favorites of the year, and while I wouldn't expect the Academy to spring for them, I really hope the Guild takes notice of Storm's cleverly evolved silhouettes and punchy color palette. After all, it's the only film this year to inspire a range from a high-end fashion house: with Spike Jonze's collaboration, Opening Ceremony is introducing the technology-minded line this month. Says Storm of his designs: “The idea was to create a world that looks a lot like the world we live in, but just different enough to tell you that you are not 100 percent in the present.” [New York Times]

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<p>If Baloo doesn't sing, then I'm not interested.</p>

If Baloo doesn't sing, then I'm not interested.

Credit: Walt Disney Feature Animation

Why are Disney and Warner gearing up to go to war over 'The Jungle Book'?

Is this really the best way for anyone to be making movies?

So now we're down to watching studios fight over public domain properties that have been filmed repeatedly already?

Really?

I'm not sure I see the appeal of one new film version of "The Jungle Book," much less two, but at least I understand why Disney is making theirs. It's part of their new "You Already Love This, But Now It Has Real People!" franchise along with "Maleficent" and the still-shooting "Cinderella," and it keeps Jon Favreau in the Disney family, which is something that seems to be important to them. I'm happy for Justin Marks, who has been writing some big projects for the last few years and now seems to finally be seeing one of them come to fruition. I'm sure it'll be a big slick Disney movie, and I certainly hope it's good. They've already got a release date selected, with the film set to hit theaters October 9, 2015.

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<p>Hayden of &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Hayden of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' - 'Rustle Feathers'

Tribal Council madness and a vocabulary lesson ensue
Pre-credit sequence. I'd completely forgotten that Caleb was voted out last week. At Kasama, it's Night 30 and Hayden has, once again, been blindsided by what happened in the last Tribal Council. He is, once again, very gracious about his cluelessness. But Hayden has a play in his pocket. To everybody around the fire, he announces, "I hope everybody here likes second place, because if Tyson goes to the end, he's winning," Hayden says. "Pure poetry," Tyson mutters. Hilariously, and with a big smile, Gervase explodes and announces that Tyson wouldn't be anywhere without him, but Hayden tells Gervase that he's just playing for second. "I've gotta do something, dude," Hayden tells the suddenly irked Tyson, who admits that he wishes he hadn't wasted his Idol. Tyson secures a fireside promise from his alliance that Hayden is out next.
 
Sour apples for Caleb. It's time for yet another Redemption Island Duel, pitting Tina, Laura and Caleb, who says he only has kind feelings for Katie and Hayden. Caleb whines that in the South, a man's word means something, but in Utah and Philly, it doesn't mean as much. Oh, cram it, Caleb. On to... CREDITS!
 
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<p>Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams in &quot;American Hustle.&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams in "American Hustle."

Credit: Sony Pictures

The Long Shot: The critics' award conundrum

Overthinking these early precursors does no one any favors

Following the awards race for a living can have depressingly season-warping effects: Christmas shoppers line the streets of London, my local grocer is flogging fir trees on the pavement, and yet it only really felt like December to me when people started arguing about the New York Film Critics' Circle awards on Twitter. The arguments varied -- some were over the worthiness of the Circle's actual selections, others over their impact on the Oscar race going forward, still others about the apparent racial implications of voting for Jennifer Lawrence. (I wish I was making that last one up.) Ah yes, 'tis the season. Isn't it lovely?

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"American Horror Story: Coven"

 "American Horror Story: Coven"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story: Coven': Can Fiona survive 'The Sacred Taking'?

Who is the greater threat to the witches - Marie Laveau or one another?

Geez, talk about bad luck. The witches of Salem only had to worry about a bunch of mean-spirited Puritans, but Fiona and her coven are up against so much more. Let's see, there's Joan Ramsey next door, Marie Laveau, Hank, oh, and one another. Really, Hank doesn't have to work very hard to take down witches, as I'm sure that if he waits long enough they'll just pick each other off like so many limping quail during hunting season. I'm assuming they'll get it together, but I have to wonder if they'll see the advantage in working together just as Marie is moving in to rip out their hearts in some kind of gory voodoo ritual. 

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Real sports news forces ESPN to scrap Ron Burgundy's 'SportsCenter' stunt


Real sports news forces ESPN to scrap Ron Burgundy's "SportsCenter" stunt
The "Anchorman" star was set to co-host Thursday's 6 pm ET "SportsCenter" -- until a Florida attorney scheduled a press conference four hours earlier in the Florida State QB Jameis Winston sexual assault investigation. PLUS: Ron Burgundy will be on NBC Sports Network for 4 hours Thursday.


Russell Simmons teams with John Singleton for HBO's "Club Life: Miami"
The duo are developing a drama on the South Beach scene, through the eyes of a reformed criminal.


History channel developing a "Jamestown" colonial miniseries
The 1607-set miniseries will explore the first permanent English settlement in America.


Viewers are watching more TV than ever, thanks to Video on Demand
Live TV viewing may be down, but VOD viewing is up.


See Matthew Perry & Courteney Cox together again, on the "Cougar Town" set
It's been nearly 10 years since they got married on "Friends."


"SNL" newbie Noël Wells was named after Christmas
Wells was born two days before Christmas in 1986. PLUS: Vanessa Bayer on "SNL" sleeping habits.


"True Blood's" Joe Manganiello recalls when he was a homeless alcoholic
"My life was ruined," Manganiello says of his drinking problem, which ended 11 years go.


Look at Juan Pablo's "Bachelor" bachelorettes
The show has posted their images and profiles on Facebook.


Northern Ireland to use "Game of Thrones" in new tourism campaign

Says Northern Ireland's tourism minister: "In order to attract new and repeat visitors, Tourism Ireland will be seeking to capitalize on the huge popularity of 'Game of Thrones.'"


Will "Glee" screw up Heather Morris' return?

Ryan Murphy hasn't always done right by Brittany S. Pierce.


"Arrow" is like a live-action motion comic
As tonight's episode introduces The Flash, it's time to praise the look, feel and direction of the CW series -- which puts other action shows to shame.


"Ferris Bueller's" Alan Ruck joins USA's "Novice"
He'll play Shane Coffey's dad in the series about a guy who moves back home and joins a Korean crime syndicate.


"The Real World's" San Francisco house used to be a ballroom
See images from the former concert venue the Avalon Ballroom.


Check out new "Sherlock" pics

Here's your first glimpse of Season 3.


Happy 40th birthday, Tyra Banks!
The "America's Next Top Model" star enters her 40s today.


Go on a tour of the real "Alpha House"
Three Democratic U.S. senators gave CNN a tour of what they call the "Omega House."


"Kirstie" isn't great, but it's perfect for TV Land

Kirstie Alley's new comedy is moldy, but the acting is quite professional and gets the job done.  PLUS: It is neither good nor terrible.


"Mob City" desperately wants to be noir
Frank Darabont's 1947-set TNT miniseries delivers on his intent to pay tribute to film noir. "The problem," says Tim Goodman, "is that once the audience knows something like 'Mob City' is going to be a slavish devotion to the genre, then the clichés of noir end up being the defining feature and not so much the story. And that seems like a lost opportunity." PLUS: "Mob City" is "an almost exuberant rifling of noir staples," it's a satisfying trip back in time, Frank Darabont talks about his obsession with noir, and Jon Bernthal on playing an LAPD detective.

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<p>Why is it starting to feel like this is what we can expect from Warner's 'Man Of Steel' sequel?</p>

Why is it starting to feel like this is what we can expect from Warner's 'Man Of Steel' sequel?

Credit: DC Comics

We take a closer look at Warner's ongoing DC 'problem' and offer one possible solution

Of course you want a 'Justice League' movie, but this isn't how you get there

On one level, everything seems to be moving along well right now with development on "Man Of Steel 2." After all, they just announced today that Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in the film, and in the new issue of Playboy, there's an interview with Ben Affleck conducted by Mike Fleming. The approach that they're taking to the new Batman in Zack Snyder's "Man Of Steel" sequel comes up.

Say what you will about Affleck, but one of the biggest reasons he's been able to rebuild his career the way he has is because he seems genuinely self-aware. Watch him again in "Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back" and you see a guy who has already identified exactly what's wrong with his career and what he doesn't want to do or be moving forward.

People seem positively delighted to pull out his 2006 quote about never playing a superhero again when they mention his casting in the "Man Of Steel" sequel, but that seems like it means people don't know there is an evolution in the way human beings feel or think over time. And that's ridiculous. Of course people change. Of course their attitudes evolve. And with actors, it frequently just boils down to the material that they're presented, which, surprise surprise, appears to be the case this time as well.

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<p>On &quot;Arrow,&quot;&nbsp;Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin)&nbsp;meet.</p>

On "Arrow," Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) meet.

Credit: CW

Talkback: 'Arrow' - 'The Scientist'

What did everybody think of the introduction of Grant Gustin as Barry Allen?

Yesterday morning, I posted some thoughts on "Arrow," which has really turned into a solid superhero show, and which has been such a success for the CW that it's being used to try to launch another DC hero show. We got the first taste of that tonight with the introduction of Grant Gustin as (very) young police scientist Barry Allen, whom you nerds might know as the Flash. Ordinarily, I'd be all Get Off My Lawn about Barry being played by such a CW-appropriate actor — especially since the most famous version of Green Arrow himself is a middle-aged guy who does not have Stephen Amell's physique — but I liked Gustin, and the writers' take on the character, just as I've come to like Amell as a studlier Oliver Queen.

While I've been enjoying "Arrow," it's not the kind of show I'd have enough to say about weekly, but this seems a good opportunity to check in with the audience to see how you felt about what was designed as a big episode (albeit only the beginning of this particular arc), about the continuation of last week's cliffhanger, etc. What did everybody else think of "The Scientist"?

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Golden Globes 2014 Contenders: Who is a lock for a nod and who's not?

Golden Globes 2014 Contenders: Who is a lock for a nod and who's not?

Everyone's favorite Foreign Press Association is back

As Amy Poehler succinctly noted last January, it's once again time for the Golden Globes. The one night a year where the beautiful people of film rub shoulders with the rat-faced people of television (we kid).  Of course, that also means some of Hollywood's biggest names need to socialize with the dreaded Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) in order to get that Golden Globes boost.  While the Globes mean little in terms of actual Oscar nominations or final wins, they have been a big help at the box office. And, when it all comes down to it, that's what really matters most in awards season: money.

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"Doctor Who"

 "Doctor Who"

Credit: BBC America

See the first images from the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special

It's almost time to say goodbye to the 11th Doctor

In advance of the "Doctor Who" Christmas special, BBC America is giving all of us stateside an early gift -- first images from "The Time of the Doctor" (airing Wed. Dec. 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET). Prepare to say goodbye to the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). Time to make wallpaper, people!

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<p>Jeff Gutt of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Jeff Gutt of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - Top 6 Performances

The remaining singers do a diva song and a stripped down number

How was last week's Big Band Night?

I have zero clue. I said I was skipping the show and skip it I did. I know that Josh Levi and Lillie McCloud went home. And while I'm surprised that Carlito Olivero is still around, I'm not shocked. And I'm not shocked by any of the other results, really. 

Tonight's show is apparently two performances apiece, with one coming from a favorite diva and the other a stripped down performance. That means one more chance for Alex & Sierra to do "Falling Slowly." This has to happen at some point, right?

Click through for my full live-blog!

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First Look: Anne Hathaway, Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks lead Sundance 2014 films
Credit: Sundance.org

First Look: Anne Hathaway, Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks lead Sundance 2014 films

Zoe Saldana, Dane DeHaan, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader also featured in lineup

The lineup for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival has been revealed, and it's among the starriest in recent memory. Take a look at new images from some of the films unspooling at the Park City event, featuring such Hollywood names as Anne Hathaway, Aaron Paul, Christina Hendricks, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Lena Dunham, and Dane DeHaan.

Check out the photos here:

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