Latest Blog Posts

Valerie Harper's brain cancer is 'pretty close to remission'

Valerie Harper's terminal brain cancer is "pretty close to remission"
"It defies the odds," says Harper's neuro-oncologist.

TLC to air a "My Five Wives" special
The "Sister Wives" channel is presenting a new, progressive polygamist family.

"Breaking Bad" Mexican restaurant sees surge in business
Fans of the AMC series have been requesting tableside guacamole at Garduno's.

Aziz Ansari's 3rd standup special will premiere on Netflix
The first premiered on Comedy Central and the second was offered a $5 download. His 3rd special will be Netflix's biggest standup special to date.

Paz de la Huerta wants to return to "Boardwalk Empire"
"I'm still close with the producers. Terry (exec producer Terence Winter) always says it's possible for me to come back," she says.

Check out Tatiana Maslany on the set of "Parks and Rec"

"Rescue Me's" Andrea Roth headed to DirecTV
She's joined the cast of "Rogue."

Jamie Lynn Sigler becomes a mom
The former "Sopranos" star welcomed a boy on Wednesday.

Ex-"Bachelorette" DeAnna Pappas is pregnant
She and her husband have been trying for a baby for the past year.

Read Full Post
<p>If it's possible for movies to change the world, I&nbsp;think you could make a strong case that 'It's A Wonderful Life' has done a pretty job of it in the 70 or so years since its release.</p>

If it's possible for movies to change the world, I think you could make a strong case that 'It's A Wonderful Life' has done a pretty job of it in the 70 or so years since its release.

Credit: Public domain

Big Question: Can movies change the world for the better?

People love to blame movies for the world's ills, so is the opposite true as well?

As you read this, I am in the final days of a week-long globe-trotting vacation with my family. Toshi and Allen and I will be hang-gliding off George Washington's nose all day.

While we enjoy that, I'd like to share the fourth of five special vacation articles, where I've reached out to a wide array of people I know to answer a different question every day. I sent out the fire questions as part of one big e-mail last week, and I asked people to send me as many of the five responses as they felt like. Some people did one, some people did a few, and several people answered all five.

I would love to hear your responses to these questions as well. When I get back to Los Angeles next weekend, I'm excited to dig in and read all the answers you guys leave, and I hope you end up enjoying this week's articles in the meantime.

Read Full Post
<p>Bruce Dern and&nbsp;Will Forte in &quot;Nebraska&quot;</p>

Bruce Dern and Will Forte in "Nebraska"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Telluride: Bruce Dern shines as, yes, a leading man in Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska'

A longtime character actors gets a much-deserved moment in the spotlight

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Nearly half a century ago, Marilyn Monroe confided in a young Bruce Dern an opinion of the actor passed to her by Actors Studio founder Elia Kazan, or "Gadge" as they all knew him. "He's not going to be a leading man," the famed director said, "because he'll be into his 60s before anyone knows what he's capable of."

The reasoning went that Dern was destined to be a character actor. He didn't subscribe to his buddy Jack Nicholson's ribbing "it's just acting, asshole" sentiment, but rather he preferred to inhabit a character, to be a character. He bought into Lee Strasberg's method acting approach, and indeed, went on to have a lengthy career as a dependable fixture in any number of films. But he's always been "third cowboy from the right," as Dern has put it, and with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," which is set for a North American premiere later today at the Telluride Film Festival, he finally had an opportunity to embrace a leading man character for all it was worth.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Why Don't You Play in Hell?&quot;</p>

"Why Don't You Play in Hell?"

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: Sion Sono's 'Why Don't You Play in Hell?' offers carnage in the name of cinema

Aspiring midnight movie is suitably manic but lacks real feeling

VENICE -Some films are born midnight movies, some achieve midnight-movie status, and others have midnight-movie status thrust upon them. It’s the third route that is by far the least reliable or enduring: there’s nothing so antithetical to notion of cult cinema as the idea that it can be calculated and declared (or worse still, self-declared) out loud. From its ungainly, eccentric title downwards, Sion Sono’s manic postmodern bloodbath “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” falls squarely in that category, weird and woolly and sporadically amusing as it may be.

Read Full Post
<p>Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson in &quot;Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' producers talk Coulson, Joss & more

How involved will Joss be? How many comic book characters will appear?
No new show this fall comes with more hype than “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” It’s a spin-off of the global blockbuster “The Avengers.” It’s the first big push into TV for the current incarnation of Marvel. And it’s co-created by a fellow named Joss Whedon, whose prior TV shows — “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly” in particular — have made him like unto a god among certain segments of TV fandom.
Joss will not, however, be the primary showrunner on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” When asked back at press tour how involved he’ll be, Whedon candidly said, "As much as an executive producer can while he's also making a movie ("The Avengers: Age of Ultron")." The day-to-day work will fall to other producers, including TV vet (and former “Angel” producer) Jeffrey Bell, Whedon’s brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen, both of whom worked with Joss on “Dollhouse” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”
Read Full Post
<p>Mia Wasikowska in &quot;Tracks.&quot;</p>

Mia Wasikowska in "Tracks."

Credit: See Saw Films

Review: Mia Wasikowska blazes a subdued trail in lovely, earthy 'Tracks'

John Curran's return to Australia kicks off the Competition on a high note

VENICE - Packing films, as one would sardines, into the snug, air-locked space of even the biggest festival always uncovers unforeseen parallels and commonalities, making happy bedfellows of works that otherwise wouldn’t have much to say to each other. With John Curran’s wonderful Australian adventure “Tracks” having just christened the Competition 24 hours after Alfonso Cuaron’s mindboggling space thriller “Gravity” opened the fest, it seems we have this year’s first pair of Lido buddies: two days in, Venice 2013 is the festival of women fighting the elements.

That’s a glib reading, of course, and one that does a disservice to both films’ subtleties, some of them also shared. With the Outback desert a pretty indomitable (not to mention indomitably pretty) presence from the outset, “Tracks” seems a woman-versus-land story only until it emerges that the land is a reflection of the woman herself.

Read Full Post
<p>Paul McCartney</p>

Paul McCartney

Listen: Paul McCartney's jaunty, new track, 'New'

Superstar's next album, 'New,' arrives Oct. 15

Paul McCartney dropped a new tune, “New,” today that, to the joy of Beatles’ fans, sounds delightfully old.

Produced by Mark Ronson, “New” is a sweet pop slice that slides in at under 3 minutes. “All my life, I never knew what I could be, what I could do, then we were new,” McCartney sings on the jangly, jaunty, horn-laden tune that sounds like it could be a “Revolver” outtake. There’s a glorious Beach Boy-like vocalization that fades out at the end that adds to the track's innocent charm.

McCartney’s 16th solo album, also titled “New,” will come out Oct. 15 in the U.S. and will be his first album of all new material in six years. His last set, 2012’s “Kisses On The Bottom,” was composed of standards, with a few new tracks.

In addition to Ronson, McCartney worked with Adele producer Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, and George Martin’s son, Giles, according to Rolling Stone.  The album will be 12 songs.

Read Full Post
<p>Demi&aacute;n Bichir and Diane Kruger in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Demián Bichir and Diane Kruger in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

Review: 'The Bridge' - 'Vendetta'

Sonya identifies a new prime suspect... who just happens to be a dead man

A quick review of tonight's "The Bridge" coming up just as soon as I cheer for pants...

Read Full Post
"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Will Amanda get back doored?

Is Elissa ready to make a big move, or will McCranda rule again?

It's weeks like this one when I wish I had Time Warner cable. Without a way to watch CBS, I would be spared the sheer frustration of "Big Brother" when monsters embed themselves in the house like nasty, vindictive termites. I guess I could be sanguine about episodes like this one, and remind myself that sometimes bad behavior gets rewarded and even crappy people can have good luck. But that doesn't make me want to toss my remote control into traffic any less. 

Read Full Post

Lisa Kudrow joins 'Scandal'

Lisa Kudrow joins "Scandal"
The former "Friends" star will recur next season, but details of her character are being kept under wraps.

Judge search could delay "Idol's" production

Harry Connick Jr. is the likely choice for the 3rd job, but The Hollywood Reporter said Fox doesn't really want him. Meanwhile, Dr. Luke is begging Sony to let him judge, even offering half of his $12 million proposed salary.

Kris Jenner's show: Not canceled?

Us Weekly, citing a source, claims Fox likes her talk show.

Kyle Chandler would rather not do a "Friday Nights Lights" movie

"I like the ending of the show as much as I like the whole thing in the sense that it was just done so classy, it was just done so well," he says.

Bill Hader would be interested in a Stefon sitcom
"A Stefon sitcom would actually be pretty great," the "SNL" said after Larry King suggested it.

Here's your 1st look at Ziva's "NCIS" goodbye
Is it a happy ending?

Read Full Post
Richard Nixon and Miley Cyrus

 Richard Nixon and Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: CulturePop No. 25 - Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Laura Michalchyshyn

We talk with another Emmy nominee, then dish on the VMAs

This may be the longest, most jam-packed edition of CulturePop yet, and Melinda and I would like to think there's a little something for everyone here. First up, we talk to Laura Michalchyshyn, Robert Redford's producing partner and an Emmy nominee for their project, "All the President's Men Revisited," a documentary exploring the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon  We talked about Watergate, Ben Stein's on-camera tears and why all need to be good citizens. Then, we switched gears and Melinda and I talked about pop culture. As much as we've loved talking to Emmy nominees this month, we simply couldn't ignore Miley Cyrus, could we? Thus, we give you our very first supersized CulturePop! Here's the rundown:

1:30 Laura Michalchyshyn talks to us about the focus of the documentary and how it came together

4:15 We discuss what the recent release of more Watergate tapes meant to the doc.

5:55 Laura tells us about talking to the players in the Watergate scandal.

7:00 Laura explains how the doc is a celebration of long form journalism.

7:45 We talk about Robert Redford's influence.

8:40 Have we learned from Watergate? Does what's happening today with Wikileaks mean we're repeating history?

9:00 Laura reveals who declined the invitation to be interviewed (not a shocker).

12:05 Laura shares a Nixon Library anecdote.

12:55 We discuss the moment when Ben Stein breaks down crying in the documentary.

14:15 Extra credit materials on!

15:55 We talk about Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden through the lens of Watergate. 

19:00 Have things changed since Watergate? Yes and no. 

22:00 Being a good citizen -- and why we need to be.

25:10 Watergate as the greatest detective story ever

29:00 The Big 4 meeting -- and how it became a part of the film.

31:00 Her next project (which you may have already seen). 

34:05 After signing off with Laura, we get down to business. Time to talk about Miley Cyrus!

35:20 I know, foam finger was in the original video, but still gross. 

39:00 Is Lady Gaga over? No, but we agree she made a misstep. 

42:30 We discuss "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" and why Teresa and Joe's problems may be too much.

47:15 Melinda brings up Paula Deen, and I think neither of us really cares if she comes back to TV or not. 

Read Full Post

Paul Giamatti signs on to play a detective in FX pilot 'Hoke'

Paul Giamatti signs on to play a detective in FX pilot "Hoke"

The comedic drama will have Giamatti playing a "hardboiled and possibly insane" homicide detective in 1985 Miami. It is based on Charles Willeford’s series of novels.

Read Full Post