Latest Blog Posts

<p>You and me both, sister.</p>

You and me both, sister.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Brace yourself, because 'Alice In Wonderland 2' is no longer just a threat

Everyone involved is better than this, but that's not stopping them

It's strange knowing that someone already got me a birthday present for the year 2016, and it's even stranger knowing that it's going to be horrible.

"Alice In Wonderland" earned over a billion dollars worldwide, and since Congress passed the famous 2005 Mandatory Sequel Act, that means Disney is legally obligated to make a follow-up. Mia Wasikowska returns as Alice and Johnny Depp will once again play Johnny Depp In A Crazy Hat, with James Bobin taking over as director for Tim Burton.

First question: will they demonstrate the utter lack of imagination necessary to actually call the film "Alice In Wonderland 2" or will they call it "Through The Looking Glass"?

Second question: thanks to the weird choices made with the script for the first film, wasn't that technically "Alice In Wonderland 2" already?

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Julia Roberts in a rare moment of calm in "August: Osage County."
Julia Roberts in a rare moment of calm in "August: Osage County."
Credit: The Weinstein Company

As Palm Springs honors Julia Roberts, why she's the MVP in 'August: Osage County'

The Oscar winner will receive the Spotlight Award, but she shouldn't need it

I caught up with "August: Osage County" last night and found it, as colleagues had led me to expect, something of a mixed bag. Even with the playwright himself on adaptation duty, Tracy Letts' exhausting but enjoyably spiky Pulitzer Prize-winning play is diminished in its translation to the screen: compressing the material to two-thirds of its luxurious three-hour runtime reveals a number of its strains and superficialities, with the newly short shrift given to certain characters (notably Misty Upham's Johnna) affecting its cumulative emotional impact.

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<p>Yes, that's a chimp.</p>

Yes, that's a chimp.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Exclusive: Chaos ensues in new poster for 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Dark comedy set for release on Christmas Day

David O. Russell's "American Hustle" is set to finally start screening this weekend and one can only imagine Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" won't be too far behind. The film has finally been screened internally at Paramount and is slowly making its way out into the light of day. Will it be an Oscar player? With four of Scorsese's last five features having made the cut, it's certainly fair to speculate along those lines.

But this will be a different breed. Set to compete in the comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes, "Wolf" will be a dark comedy and something of an antidote to the more somber pieces prevalent in this year's Oscar race. That tone is readily apparent in a new poster Paramount has provided us with to premiere this afternoon. Just look at the chaos going on below. This should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Wait! There's ACTUALLY a monkey! (OK, it's a chimp.)

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Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Beyonce's gorgeous 'God Made You Beautiful'

A mother's love wrapped in a sweeping melody

Still no word on when a new album from Beyonce will arrive after a number of individual songs released over the past year, but on Monday, fans will get the full-length version of “God Made You Beautiful,” a stately ballad about Beyonce and Jay Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy.

We’ll give a full review when we have more than the 1.40 here, but from what we’ve heard, it is gorgeous. Opening with a chorus of voices as if they’re descending from the heavens, the song goes into a slow jam as Beyonce rhapsodizes about how her baby “brought me back to life/you bring me back to life.”

Every new mom feels this way, but not every one can express it in music. Of course, Blue Ivy's dad, Jay Z, beat mom to the punch with " Glory,"  featuring Blue Ivy, which came out shortly after their tot was born.

The song will be offered as a free download to those purchasing Beyonce’s HBO documentary, “Life is But A Dream,” which comes out on DV on Nov. 25.

We’ll come back with the full song then.  In the meantime, what do you think? 

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Oprah & Diablo Cody team for a 'Moody Bitches' comedy on HBO

Oprah & Diablo Cody team for a "Moody Bitches" comedy on HBO

Based on the book "Moody Bitches" by Dr. Julie Holland, the HBO comedy project will "expose the truth about the drugs you're taking, the sex you're not having, the sleep you're missing and what's really making you crazy."

Syfy sets January premiere dates for "Being Human," "Face Off," "Lost Girl" "Helix"

Also, Laura Vandervoort in "Bitten" is premiering next month.

ABC announces 3 "Bachelor" specials for "Juan-uary"

The specials will "Countdown to Juan Pablo," go "Behind the Scenes" and tell "Bachelor Love Stories."

Fox interested in bringing "The X Factor" back, despite bad ratings
Simon Cowell's reality show is still considered viable by Fox.

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<p>Charlotte Gainsbourg is completely clothed in the rest of this shot, of course.</p>

Charlotte Gainsbourg is completely clothed in the rest of this shot, of course.

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Don't say you weren't warned: 'Nymphomaniac' debuts highly NSFW trailer

Sex and whips and vagina close-ups, oh my

"Oh Lars, that was intense." Those were the words famously muttered by a mortified Kirsten Dunst after his infamous 2011 Cannes press conference, though I imagine many will say something similar after viewing the trailer the Danish provocateur dropped today for "Nymphomaniac." And the bomb-like implications of the verb "dropped" are fully applicable here: a brief but direct close-up of a plucked vagina sets the tone for a two-minute taster that was plainly calculated to generate maximum chatter about the all-star sex epic, and is already doing its job admirably.

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<p>Kate Mara in Broken Bells' &quot;After the Disco&quot;</p>

Kate Mara in Broken Bells' "After the Disco"

Credit: PopFilms/Columbia/The Creators Project

Kate Mara on ‘House of Cards’ Season 2: ‘Never a boring moment’

Actress talks Broken Bells, Miley Cyrus, ‘Transcendence,’ ‘Captive’ and the color pink

In our interview this week, Kate Mara described the second season of “House of Cards” and her character in it, Zoe Barnes, as never having a dull moment. The same can probably be said of her professional life right now, as she promotes the two-part mini film “After the Disco” for Broken Bells, currently shoots “Captive” in Mexico City with David Oyelowo and will soon see the result of her turn in “Transcendence” with Johnny Depp. Mara also said that “House of Cards” finished shooting about a month ago, and the second season with drop – all at once, again – “relatively soon."

Despite the space-based theme of “After the Disco,” Mara seems pretty grounded, happy and humbled by her work lately. Below, we discuss acting with Anton Yelchin, jamming to Miley Cyrus and Cliff Martinez, “Transcendence,” technology and the color pink.
HitFix: Your spacesuit for “After the Disco” was pretty great. Did you get to keep it?
Kate Mara: I didn’t get to keep it, but what are they going to do with it, yknow? It was made specifically for my 5’2” body. It’d be a cool Halloween costume.
Is pink your color?
I hate pink, I just sometimes end up wearing it. [Broken Bells] wanted to use an image from the album cover – a lady in this outfit. It’s awesome for the video.

What made you say yes to this project?
There was no spoken conversation, it was an email I got from my agent just saying, “Do you want to do this music video with Anton Yelchin?” and I was like “Yes, I love Anton Yelchin,” and then I thought, “Oh wait, maybe I should listen to the song first…” I’ve always wanted to work with [Yelchin], and I watched [director Jacob Gentry’s] video that he did previous to this with Christina Hendricks, which I thought it was so unique. Broken Bells’ music is so cinematic, so I thought it was a no-brainer.
Were you pretty up-to-date on their music when you said yes, with Broken Bells, or the Shins or Gnarls Barkley or anything?
I’m one of those people who loves a lot of songs but I don’t know who sings any of them.
You must’ve loved the fact that you didn’t have any dialogue.
Yeah on the first day it was just me and Anton in Malibu. [Gentry] sent me the lookbook for it, gave me the storyline and that was it. It was very improvisational, and yet it was Jacob talking to us while we were shooting.
I loved the experience. I think not having dialogue, it’s a very different challenge and yet trying to get people to understand what you’re going through.
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Oscar Talk: AFI Fest, 'Out of the Furnace,' 'Lone Survivor' and preparing for the critics awards

Oscar Talk: AFI Fest, 'Out of the Furnace,' 'Lone Survivor' and preparing for the critics awards

Will the precursor awards matter more than usual in this crowded season?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is broadcast in special installments throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

On the docket today…

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<p>Thursday's &quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

Thursday's "The Big Bang Theory"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' rises for CBS Thursday, while NBC comedies crater

'The Vampire Diaries' thumps 'Parks and Rec'
Fast National ratings for Thursday, November 21, 2013.
CBS cruised to Thursday night victories in all measures with yet another huge night for "The Big Bang Theory" through to "Elementary," which pushed ahead of "Scandal" overall, continuing their recent back-and-forth.
"Big Bang Theory," "The Millers," "The Crazy Ones" and "Elementary" all posted gains.
There were few other notables on Thursday though all of NBC's comedies took a drop, drawing under 3 million viewers and dipping to a 1.0 rating or lower among adults 18-49. [NBC's comedies only drew over 3 million in last week's Fast Nationals due to football and both "Sean Saves The World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show" are slightly up from last week's Finals in total viewers.]
At least in Fast Nationals, "The Vampire Diaries" even beat NBC overall (and crushed both NBC and ABC in the key demo), while The CW also got a possible series high for "Reign," though the network had the NFL preemption in Atlanta, so the numbers will surely lower at least slightly, even though the Falcons stink and Atlanta residents surely know it. 
FOX had the NFL preemption in New Orleans, which probably accounts for week-to-week bumps for "The X Factor" and "Glee." 
On to the numbers...
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50 years ago today: 'SNL's' Don Pardo announced on NBC that John F. Kennedy has been shot

50 years ago today: "SNL's" Don Pardo announced on NBC that John F. Kennedy has been shot
The longtime "Saturday Night Live" announcer, now 95, recalled his role in the Nov. 22, 1963 news coverage in an interview in 1998. PLUS: How the Big 3 networks announced the news.

Bill Paxton watched JFK speak hours before the assassination
The former "Big Love" star, pictured here as an 8-year-old boy on his father's shoulders, saw Kennedy speak outside the Hotel Texas in Ft. Worth on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963.

Lena Dunham releases "a teaser of our teaser" for "Girls" Season 3
The official teaser will be shown on HBO on Sunday. PLUS: Allison Williams giggles when Kelly Ripa takes a tumble on the red carpet. UPDATE: HBO releases the "Girls" Season 3 trailer.

Jimmy Kimmel gets more celebs to read mean tweets, including Larry David and Amy Poehler

The 5th version of "Celebrity Mean Tweets" also includes Nick Offerman and Sharon Stone.

Elisabeth Rohm joins Starz's "Power"
The "Law & Order" alum will co-star in the NYC nightclub owner drama.

Noah Bean joins "12 Monkeys"

The Syfy pilot will reunite Bean with fellow "Nikita" star Aaron Stanford.

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<p>A moment from the new video</p>

A moment from the new video

Credit: Universal Island Records

Listen: U2's new song, 'Ordinary Love'

Track is featured in 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

U2 has released its first new song in four years:  “Ordinary Love” is from the soundtrack for “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.”

The tune, which the band released Thursday on its Facebook page, is instantly recognizable due to Bono’s vocals, but unlike so much of U2’s material, it’s keyboard driven. In fact, The Edge’s guitar work isn’t really prominent until around the 2:30 mark.

Thematically, the song covers familiar terrain for U2: love, respect, community —all of which are certainly shared by Mandela.

Bono’s the only band member whose face is scene in the lyric video and that’s only very briefly. There’s no movie footage, though a paintings of Mandela crop up occasionally.

It’s a good song, but it doesn’t have U2’s trademark anthemic feel.

“Ordinary Love” will be released as a 10” on Record Store Day, Nov. 29, with a new version of “Breathe,” a song originally released on U2’s 2009 album, “No Line On the Horizon.”

U2’s new album is tentatively slated to come out in April, as previously reported. The majority of the set was produced and mixed by Danger Mouse.

Post by U2.
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<p>All the Doctors of &quot;Doctor Who,&quot;&nbsp;from William Hartnell on the left to Matt Smith on the right.</p>

All the Doctors of "Doctor Who," from William Hartnell on the left to Matt Smith on the right.

Credit: BBC

Review: Kids show 'Doctor Who' grows to the old age of 50

How the revival of the classic sci-fi series kept what always worked while adding more oomph

"The entire point of 'Doctor Who,'" as the series' current showrunner Steven Moffat once told me, "is to frighten children." 50 years ago this weekend (a very special episode debuts Saturday at 2:50 p.m. on BBC America, at the same time it's airing around the world), the series debuted on the BBC in the hopes that a mysterious time traveler called the Doctor — and, later, pepper pot-shaped aliens called the Daleks, unstoppable steel Cybermen, lizard people and more — would excite the youth of the UK.

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