Latest Blog Posts

<p>Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were heartbreaking in the lovely 'Dogfight,' but it's even more painful when we consider what else Phoenix might have accomplished.</p>

Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were heartbreaking in the lovely 'Dogfight,' but it's even more painful when we consider what else Phoenix might have accomplished.

Credit: Warner Bros.

What if River Phoenix had lived?

We examine a scenario we desperately wish was true

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

There's a question I've turned over in my head a thousand times, and while there are music fans who I'm sure have very strong feelings about the tragic deaths of artists whose work was cut short, as a film fan and as someone who got hooked on movies in the '70s, who came of age in the '80s, and who moved to Hollywood just as the '90s kicked off, there is one question that looms largest for me, one that I feel strongly about as my first pick. If we're trying to imagine a world we wish had happened, this is question number one for me…

What if River Phoenix had lived?

WHEN WAS IT?

The night of October 31, 1993 still seems unreal to me, especially the way the news spread that River Phoenix had collapsed on the sidewalk outside the Viper Room. Living in LA, that conjured such a specific image, and it seemed offensive to think of someone as gifted as Phoenix suddenly simply not being there anymore. As a fan of his work, I was excited by each new film, knowing full well that we were still just seeing the start of what he could do. He managed to be casually great in a series of films, and I felt like we were seeing the warm-up to a huge adult career. And then... suddenly... gone.

Read Full Post
Adrien Brody

 Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody, Kristen Connolly to turn a trick in 'Houdini'

Miniseries will chronicle magician's rise to fame
As a longtime magic freak (and a biopic sceptic), I was conversely thrilled and unnerved about the latest announcement of yet another biopic (but this one about a magician!) being added to the pantheon. HISTORY announced today that the network has green-lit production of a new four-hour scripted miniseries, "Houdini." The series is slated to start filming this fall with Oscar winner Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") in the title role. Kristen Connolly ("House of Cards," "The Cabin in the Woods") will play Houdini's wife, Bess. The story will trace the arc of Houdini’s life from desperate poverty to worldwide fame. 
Read Full Post

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 197

Dan and Alan talk 'Breaking Bad,' 'Alias,' 'Felicity' and answer lots of mail

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! Live from a spectacularly echo-y corridor of the new HitFix offices in Beverly Hills (and the normally echo-y conference room of Alan's office), it's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast!
 
With nothing to review this week, we answered mail for a half-hour. Thanks for the mail! We also had a ton to say about this week's "Breaking Bad" episode and then we dedicated a half-hour to our Summer Pilot Rewatch J.J. Abrams double-bill of "Felicity" and "Alias." So it's a long podcast, even if we had nothing to talk about.
 
Our next Pilot Rewatch? "Miami Vice." [The link is to S.1 and you should watch the two-part opener.]
 
Here's today's breakdown:
Listener Mail: Hamm/Cranston Swap (00:01:45 - 00:07:50)
Listener Mail: Gilligan/Weiner Follow-ups (00:08:00 - 00:15:05)
Listener Mail: OnDemand (00:15:10 - 00:20:40)
Listener Mail: ABC Segmenting (00:20:45 - 00:27:45)
Listener Mail: Podcast Show Selection (00:27:55 - 00:34:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:34:00 - 01:07:15)
Summer Pilot ReWatch: "Felicity"/"Alias" (01:07:30 - 01:38:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

 

 

Read Full Post
<p>It's exciting to think that audiences will get a chance to see 'Escape From Tomorrow' after all.</p>

It's exciting to think that audiences will get a chance to see 'Escape From Tomorrow' after all.

Credit: Cinetic Media/PDA

The shot-at-Disney Sundance sensation 'Escape From Tomorrow' will be released theatrically

Will the re-edited film pack the same punch?

By far, the most welcome surprise this year in terms of news is the word today that "Escape From Tomorrow" will be getting a theatrical release in October.

I'm going to be reaching out to the filmmakers to talk to them about the lengthy process they've gone through since Sundance as they've worked to get this film released in some form, and I give huge credit to Cinetic Media for never giving up.

The story broke today courtesy of Steven Zeitchik at The LA Times, and it looks like it's going to be handled through PDA, which is the distribution arm of Cinetic, which was the company handling sales for the film when it showed up at Sundance this year. I was at the film's first public screening, and fifteen minutes into it, I was already convinced that the film would never play a movie theater in commercial release. It just didn't seem like there was any way Disney would ever allow it to happen.

Read Full Post

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 197: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Alias,' 'Felicity' & more

Dan and Alan also answer your mail

The

On last week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, we asked you for lots of reader mail questions, and you rose to the occasion, giving us many more good questions than we had time for, even in one of our longer shows to date — and the first one with Dan recording from the new HitFix offices in LA. Hopefully, we'll get some of the acoustic issues there licked, and soon. In the meantime, we answered lots of mail, discussed last night's "Breaking Bad" and did a J.J. Abrams pilot re-watch double bill with "Felicity" & "Alias."  (Up next, either next week or the week after: "Miami Vice," and watch both parts of "Brother's Keeper," please.) 

The rundown:

Listener Mail: Hamm/Cranston Swap (00:01:45 - 00:07:50)
Listener Mail: Gilligan/Weiner Follow-ups (00:08:00 - 00:15:05)
Listener Mail: OnDemand (00:15:10 - 00:20:40)
Listener Mail: ABC Segmenting (00:20:45 - 00:27:45)
Listener Mail: Podcast Show Selection (00:27:55 - 00:34:00)
"Breaking Bad" (00:34:00 - 01:07:15)
Summer Pilot ReWatch: "Felicity"/"Alias" (01:07:30 - 01:38:20)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Read Full Post

'Rizzoli & Isles' halts production after Lee Thompson Young's death


"Rizzoli & Isles" halts production after Lee Thompson Young's death

The TNT show released a statement saying: "Everyone at 'Rizzoli & Isles' is devastated by the news of the passing of Lee Thompson Young. We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man. He was truly a member of our family."


History channel greenlights a 4-hour miniseries starring Adrien Brody
The Oscar winner will begin filming "Houdini" this fall.


Kris Jenner's talk show lands guest Kanye West
The father of her granddaughter taped an hour-long interview on Monday.


"Breaking Bad" fans call 911 over cable outage

Cablevision customers in Southern Connecticut inundated the police department after cable went out last night.


"Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" sons reenact "Weird Science"

Check out the video RJ Mitte and Marten Holden Weiner (son of Matthew) made for Funny or Die with Alessandra Ambrosio.


CBS settles lawsuit over ABC's "The Glass House"
CBS had sued claiming "The Glass House" was a ripoff of "Big Brother."


Poll of Louisiana voters says "Duck Dynasty" star should not run for Congress
Only 26% of residents surveyed said Willie Robertson should run for office, something he vowed not to do last week.


Watch the "Grey's Anatomy" blooper reel

Bloopers for Season 9.

Read Full Post
<p>Jay Leno</p>

Jay Leno

Credit: NBC

What if NBC hadn't given the 10 p.m. hour to Jay Leno?

What would have happened to Conan O'Brien? Or Damian Lewis?
This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?
 
In 2004, NBC announced a plan for the orderly transition of "Tonight Show" power between Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien for 2009. Everybody seemed happy. But there were two catches: The first? Jay Leno didn't actually want to leave and Jay Leno was still ruling his time period and making NBC lots of money. So Jeff Zucker came up with a brilliant idea: Five nights a week of "The Jay Leno Show" airing at 10 p.m. Leaving out the irrelevance of Saturdays, NBC has 18 hours of primetime and they decided to give five of 'em to Jay Leno. The theory was that original episodes of "The Jay Leno Show" might not beat originals on ABC or CBS, but they would do OK and then perform even better against inevitable repeats. It did not work out that way. After nearly 18 million people tuned in for the premiere, the numbers dwindled rapidly and, by winter, the audience was under 5 million. With Conan O'Brien struggling on "The Tonight Show," NBC had to pull the plug on "The Jay Leno Show," send Jay back to 11:35 and, refusing a demotion to 12:05, Conan O'Brien left the network. Rarely has a network worked so hard to bottom out. But...
 
 
What if NBC hadn't given the 10 p.m. hour to Jay Leno?
Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Glory,&quot; for which Donald O. Mitchell won his only Oscar.</p>

A scene from "Glory," for which Donald O. Mitchell won his only Oscar.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Motion Picture Editors' Guild honors Oscar-winning sound mixer Donald O. Mitchell

Veteran's screen credits range from 'Top Gun' to 'Terms of Endearment'

The Motion Picture Editors' Guild -- a body that covers not just editors, but other post-production professionals too -- will present veteran sound re-recording mixer Donald O. Mitchell with its Fellowship and Service Award on October 5 in Los Angeles. The award acknowledges not just the recipient's screen work but their spirit of collaboration and peer support within the industry.

Read Full Post
<p>I'd ask this guy, but I don't think he'd be able to answer.</p>

I'd ask this guy, but I don't think he'd be able to answer.

Credit: Bad Robot

Mysterious new trailer for 'The Stranger' from producer JJ Abrams appears online

Looks like another mystery box has been giftwrapped for us

Okay, I give up. What is "The Stranger"?

First, I'm not even sure it's right to be using that as a title. It is the name of the mysterious YouTube clip that went live today, but it's not necessarily the title of whatever is being advertised. If this is indeed an advertisement.

I congratulate Bad Robot on pulling this one off completely. No matter what gets uncovered about this project and when, they managed to pull off the reveal without any leaks at all, something that is not easy to do. This short piece, just over a minute long, is very odd. Images of a man washing up on a beach, his hands bound by rope. A low, gravely voice speaks in voice-over as we see the person struggle to their feet.

And then at the very end, the money shot, which is the unsettling image at the top of this story.

Read Full Post
<p>The Foo Fighters</p>

The Foo Fighters

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Foo Fighters done writing new album, head back to studio in early 2014

Dave Grohl reveals why he won't listen to Nirvana's 'In Utero'

The next album from the Foo Fighters is already written and fans can expect to hear it in 2014.

After telling Hitfix at South X Southwest in March that the new set was in the “very earliest stages,” head Foo Dave Grohl told London radio station XM a few days ago that progress has definitely been made: "We have been in our studio writing and in the past few weeks we've written an album, and we are going to make this album in a way that no one's ever done before and we're pretty excited about it," he's quoted as saying. "It's a little ways off — it's not ready to happen right now, but I think next year is going to be a really big year for the Foo Fighters without question." 

It’s hard to imagine that there’s a new way to make an album: the Foos have recorded live, analog, digital, in a garage, in a home studio, in a professional studio... how many other options are there?

In case you needed further confirmation, Foo guitarist Chris Shiflett told Rolling Stone over the weekend, before a Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants show in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the band is already playing together again. “”We actually just started making a new Foo Fighters record within the last few weeks,” he said. “We’ve started rehearsing...we’re going to start recording the new Foo Fighters record at the beginning of next year.”

All this news comes a year after Grohl said the Foo Fighters wouldn’t play again for a “long time,” but maybe he means there will be no tour behind the next album or maybe, thankfully, “long time” means something different to Grohl than to the rest of us. He completely dodges the rumor of some small Foo Fighter gigs in the U.K. next year in the XM interview.

Regardless, even Shiflett is surprised the band is coming back together so soon. “I knew we weren’t done,” he says about Grohl’s “long time” comments, “but I just thought it’d be a little longer. But whatever —it’s good. It’s good getting back to work.”  The album will be the group's first since 2011's "Wasting Light."

In the XM interview, Grohl also talks about the release of 20th anniversary, 70-track deluxe re-release of Nirvana’s “In Utero," out Sept. 24. “It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by,” he says, admitting that so much of the past two decades feels like a “blur.” He's most excited for fans to hear some improv tunes in Brazil.  "Whenever I hear that, it really reminds me what it was like to be in Nirvana," he says. "I don't like listening to In 'Utero,'" he says with a bittersweet laugh. "It's too real. We hit record and we managed to honestly capture the emotional state of the band and it was a weird time for us. It was dark. It was kind of a little too real. It's the most honest recording I've ever made in my entire life." He calls it "heartbreaking" that they aren't making music anymore, following Cobain's 1994 death.

He also jokes about taking his kids to Nirvana’s exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project. “They really couldn’t care,” he laughed.

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Timberlake's &quot;Mirrors&quot;</p>

Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors"

Credit: RCA Records

Countdown to MTV's Video Music Awards: Best Male Video

Will it be Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke?

As MTV’s 2013 Video Music Awards approach, we’ll countdown to the Aug. 25 ceremony, which airs live at 9 p.m. ET from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the nominations with six each, closely followed by Bruno Mars, Pink, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Among the artists performing on the show are Lady Gaga, who will open the awards; Timberlake, Mars, and Cyrus.

We’ll look at a different category each day leading up to Aug. 25.

BEST MALE VIDEO

Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, "Blurred Lines"
Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
Ed Sheeran, "Lego House"
Kendrick Lamar, "Swimming Pools"

The Contenders: JT’s “Mirrors” is an epic production that spawns the story of a couple’s tumultuous  life together before evolving into an artsy dance number. Like “Mirrors,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” takes an artsy approach to the story of his drunk father and Lamar’s relationship with alcohol. Robin Thicke’s clip features nearly naked women, which would make it the instant frontrunner, but there’s been enough backlash that it may suffer among female voters. Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” is a fuzzy club performance with ‘70s gauzy effects. Ed Sheeran’s video for “Lego House” is sweet, lowkey, and slighty creepy, but it doesn’t really compare with the others, unless you’re a huge Sheeran fan. In that case, the scenes of stalker Rupert Grint impersonating Sheehan as he walks through town in his red hoodie straight onto stage (and into the arms of awaiting security) will have you rooting for the British songwriter. Timberlake’s video is the most elaborate and artistic of the bunch, but the second half could also strike some as pretentious. When in doubt, go for the boobies, especially since the award is fan voted, and the fact that “Blurred Lines” is not just the song of the summer, it’s the song of 2013.

Who Should Win:
“Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake
Who Will Win: “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke

Who are you rooting for? 

Read Full Post
<p>Last year's WGA documentary winner, &quot;Searching or Sugar Man.&quot;</p>

Last year's WGA documentary winner, "Searching or Sugar Man."

Credit: Sony Classics

WGA gets stricter on documentary eligibility

New rules impose same eligibility criteria on documentary and narrative films

File this under "eligibility rules I didn't know weren't already in place." Any seasoned-awards watcher knows that Writers' Guild of America Awards for Best Original and Adapted Screenplay are inconsistent with other precursor honors in the category because of their highly exclusive eligibility criteria, which dictate that only films written by Guild signatories can be considered. It's a rule that annually disqualifies many of the leading contenders in the race: earlier this year, "Django Unchained" (which, of course, ueventually won the Academy Award) headed a list of barred titles that also included Oscar nominees "Amour" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME