Latest Blog Posts

<p>Cate Blanchett, Woody Allen and Alec Baldwin on the set of &quot;Blue Jasmine.&quot;</p>

Cate Blanchett, Woody Allen and Alec Baldwin on the set of "Blue Jasmine."

Credit: Sony Classics

Roundup: Woody Allen's valentine to casting directors

Also: David O. Russell honored at AFI Fest, and critics' blind spot with docs

Since the Academy created a casting directors' branch earlier this year, there's been a growing debate over whether or not a new Oscar category should be created for them. One person clearly in the "pro" camp is Woody Allen, who has written an open letter in praise of their work -- and, in particular, that of his longtime collaborator Juliet Taylor, whom he credits with introducing him to the work of such actors as Dianne Wiest, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Clarkson. (Wait, he worked with Clarkson in 2009 - bit slow on the uptake there, Woody!)  "Because my films are not special effects films and are about human beings, proper casting is absolutely essential," he writes. "I owe a big part of the success of my films to this scrupulous casting process which I must say if left to my own devices would never have happened." [Hollywood Reporter]

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"Grey's Anatomy"
"Grey's Anatomy"
Credit: ABC

'Grey's Anatomy' recap: Was the Halloween episode a 'Thriller'?

Meredith and Christina face their biggest scare

This week's episode of "Grey's Anatomy" had a little bit of everything, like one of those appetizers of many different fried things. Most of it tasted pretty good, but there wasn't a lot of substance once we cleaned the plate. There was some scary stuff, a little bit of neurotic rambling, a soupçon of self-pitying crying and a drab of genuine sentiment. What it added up to was an enjoyable Halloween episode, if not a memorable one. Also notable was the absence of hot sex. Something had to be cut to make room for the maggots, after all.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Who will die at the 'Monster's Ball'?

We discover what Nadia's really up to

It seems that the Silas-Tessa-Katherine storyline is going to be wrapped up soonish (though really, who am I kidding? There's always time for twists!). Thus, we're getting a healthy dose of the new Big Bad -- Dr. Maxfield -- in tonight's episode. I have to say, Dr. Maxfield seems like one hell of a cold-hearted snake. I know Elena is just trying to do the right thing by snooping into the death of her roommate-for-a-minute Megan, but I can't help but think that when Dr. Maxfield suggested she skip town, it might have been a helpful suggestion. It could save her from an awful fate like, oh, being strapped to a gurney and deprived of blood. Poor Jesse -- I mean, 62547. 

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<p>Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's &quot;The Wolf of Wall Street.&quot;</p>

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Contender Countdown: Oscar race gets a taste of 'Wolf of Wall Street'

Are there just two potential party crashers left?

Another week, another contender officially enters the fray for Best Picture. Last week, "Saving Mr. Banks" took its expected place among the top five contenders. This week, Martin Scorsese returns to the Oscar game for the fifth time this century with "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Think about that fact just one more time.  Are we really surprised Marty's back in the game?

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'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' stars dress as the Kardashians for Halloween


"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" stars dress as the Kardashians for Halloween
See eight-year-old Honey Boo Boo dressed up as Kris Jenner. PLUS: Jenny McCarthy dresses as Miley Cyrus' tongue, "Orphan Black" celebrates Halloween with fake storylines, Jimmy Kimmel has kids sing about Halloween candy, "PTI" guys dress as Tiger Woods and Lindsay Vonn, and Barbara Walters is Katy Perry.


Dick Wolf is sending 2 "SVU" detectives to his new cop show "Chicago PD"
Ice-T and Kelli Giddish will guest on the "Chicago Fire" spinoff.


Connie Britton is trying to find a way to get back on "American Horror Story"
When asked by Rolling Stone is she'll return, Britton said: "I hope so. I've actually have been talking to them this season, because they're down in New Orleans and I'm in Nashville. I've said, 'Okay, let's see if we can try to figure this out.'"


Barney Stinson's "HIMYM" cheerleader effect theory is real, psychologists find
A new study has confirmed Barney's theory that people look more attractive when they're in groups.


Conan O'Brien's 20th anniversary blooper reel was marred by another blooper

Watch what happens when Conan's staff blundered 20 Years of Bloopers. PLUS: Watch 1999 Conan hit on Jeri Ryan, Julianna Margulies, Gina Gershon and Famke Janssen.


An NBC News subsidiary may pay kidnap victim Hannah Anderson to make a doc about her ordeal
The potential deal is already raising ethical questions.


What "Parks and Rec" can learn from "Grey's Anatomy" about female friendship
The Leslie and Ann friendship is too one-sided, while the Cristina/Meredith friendship benefits from their shared ups and downs. PLUS: Aziz Ansari talks to Charlie Rose,


Discovery is going to Alaska for "Kodiak"
The four-part docuseries will chronicle the families living in dangerous Kodiak Island.


Mom who dressed her kids in "Breaking Bad" costumes says she got an apology from Aaron Paul
The mom, who wants to remain anonymous, faced a slew of criticism after Paul posted her Instagram pic of her kids dressed as Walter and Jesse on his account. She says: "The boys have never been exposed to 'Breaking Bad.'" PLUS: Check out a Walter White pumpkin and a Heisenberg mural.


Should Olivia Pope have a "Scandal" pregnancy?
Here are some pros and cons -- Pro: You'd have babydaddy drama. Con: Because that's what Tony Goldwyn wants. PLUS: Lisa Kudrow on her "Scandal" future, Darby Stanchfield on "Gladiating" while romancing David, take a "Scandal" trailer park tour, and why Olivia should dump Fitz once and for all.


Boston Red Sox World Series MVP David Ortiz is going on Letterman
He'll be on Monday's "Late Show."


"Glee's" Naya Rivera appeared on Arsenio's talk show at age 4
Rivera is returning to the Arsenio Hall show after 22 years. She first appeared to promote her 1991 sitcom "The Royal Family."


Kim Kardashian sues YouTube co-founder for posting her proposal online
Kardashian alleges that Chad Hurley crashed the proposal and shot footage to promote his new internet venture.


"The Glades" alum Matt Passmore headed to USA
The Aussie actor will play an investment banker whose wife is seeing a male escort.


David Arquette reveals Courteney Cox and her "Cougar Town" co-star broke up
In a drunken phone call to Howard Stern, Arquette revealed that Cox is no longer seeing Brian Van Holt -- who, incidentally, once dated Howard Stern's wife, Beth.


Daytime talk show "The Real" picked up for fall 2014

The talk show starring Tamera Mowry-Housley, Loni Love, Tamar Braxton, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mai will also air on BET.


Physicists try to explain "Doctor Who's" spacetime

Read their paper, titled: "Traversable Achronal Retrograde Domains In Spacetime."


Watch a preview of James Cameron's Showtime climate change doc, with Matt Damon and Jessica Alba
"Years of Living Dangerously" also features Ian Somerhalder and Michael C. Hall.


Melissa Joan Hart: "Sabrina's" Salem the Cat turned me off of felines
"Being around that Salem cat too much … the set was covered in cat food," she says. "So yeah, I can't do cats anymore."


"Game of Thrones" star Jack Gleeson: Why I'm no longer a Pittsburgh Steelers fan
The actor, who plays, King Joffrey, lost interest in the Steelers after following them in 2009 and 2010.


Check out "The Big Bang Theory"-inspired art gallery
Artists are showcasing their favorite "Big Bang" moments.


French sensation "The Returned" kicks off tonight with "smart horror"
The eight-episodes Sundance Channel series is more upsetting than "The Walking Dead."

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<p>'What do you mean you can't find 2016 on the map?&nbsp;We can't just land in 2015 because you feel like it, Chewie! WHAT&nbsp;ABOUT&nbsp;THE&nbsp;SCRIPT?!'</p>

'What do you mean you can't find 2016 on the map? We can't just land in 2015 because you feel like it, Chewie! WHAT ABOUT THE SCRIPT?!'

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Disney and Lucasfilm clash as 'Star Wars' maintains hyperspeed course for 2015 release

Watch: McWeeny and Ellwood talk film's delay

At some point soon, JJ Abrams may need to reach out to the world of "Star Wars" fandom just to calm them down, because the official silence is starting to get very, very noisy indeed.

Today's article in "The Hollywood Reporter" will no doubt whip "Star Wars" fans into a frenzy as they worry about what they will or won't see in theaters in 2015, and we decided to chat about it a bit as well.

Disney didn't buy the "Star Wars" franchise so they could tenderly soothe the nerves of worried fans. They bought it because they are a merchandise driven company, and "Star Wars" remains giant business even in the down periods between movies. Adding a new film to the mix sends the toy business into overdrive, and I suspect Disney is already building the vault where they plan to keep all the money that Bob Iger will swim in, Scrooge McDuck-style, after hours.

While I think fans have every right to worry, I also think we've reached a point where there is very little that any "Star Wars" fan has to say that hasn't already been said a thousand times, and all the hand-wringing ultimately doesn't help anything. People who are determined to hate JJ Abrams already have their minds made up, and I doubt anything's going to make them feel better. I get tired of all the conspiracy speak about Damon Lindelof and Kurtzman and Orci, though, and I wish fans had a way of stepping outside themselves to hear their own shrill arguments sometimes.

Greg Ellwood and I discussed what this could mean and what to take away from today's news in the video you'll see embedded here. I think Kennedy is a very strong producer overall, and I suspect she will continue to push for the best possible film, and perhaps the mix of her strengths and the things that Abrams does well will end up resulting in a movie that will restore faith rather than reconfirming the lack of it.

We'll see, and it sounds like we'll see in 2015, come hell or high water.

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<p>Loki and Thor are forced to find some way to trust each other if they're going to save Asgard and the rest of the Nine Realms in 'Thor:&nbsp;The Dark World'</p>

Loki and Thor are forced to find some way to trust each other if they're going to save Asgard and the rest of the Nine Realms in 'Thor: The Dark World'

Credit: Marvel Studios

Review: 'Thor The Dark World' expands the universe even while suffering some sequel issues

Phase Two still feels mighty, but Marvel's machine creaks and groans a bit

Which one is harder, issue number one or issue number two of a comic book?

In a first issue, you have to explain a premise. You have to set up a world. You have to convince people to come back for a second issue. There's a lot of things that have to work, or there's no reason for anyone to keep reading. WIth a second issue, it seems like some of that pressure would be off, but I feel like it might be the opposite. In many cases, it feels like the pressure of finding the right second story to tell is difficult because every option is open and there is no template for what a second issue has to be.

Marvel struggled with "Iron Man 2," easily the weakest of the Phase One films they released. I think there are plenty of things to enjoy in "Iron Man 2," but I also think it's a structural mess, and in many ways, it feels like little more than a bridge between other films. This time around, the script by Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely aims to tell an epic story that introduces more of the Nine Realms than just Midgard (aka Earth) and Asgard, and there are many things that the film gets right. In particular, I like the way they mash up the science-fiction and fantasy elements in a way that would probably make Jack Kirby tap-dance if he'd lived to see it.

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<p>David Bowie</p>

David Bowie

Guess how much David Bowie's creepy new video for "Love Is Lost" cost?

He has all that stuff just lying around?

It’s hard to tell which is more astonishing: that David Bowie made the video for  “Love is Lost” for less than your average dinner for two at McDonalds or that he has all of these creepy things lying around. Actually, it's definitely the former.

The clip, which premiered at Monday night’s Mercury Prize ceremony in London, works perfectly as a spooky Halloween treat. It features close-ups of Bowie’s face run through various filters, as well as the legend wearing a Bowie mask with blood on it, and other eerie images. It’s all accompanied by hand claps (which fits in with the fact that it’s the “Hello Steve Reich Mix” by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy.) There are also shots of Bowie obsessively washing his hands, which he does with a menacing intensity.

Let’s face it, Bowie doesn’t have to do much to be mesmerizing, but this one seems to have a particularly can’t-look-away factor, especially as he laments over and over “What have you done?” looking tortured.  The final shot of the empty bathroom with the faucet still running is especially chilling. It’s truly a case of your mind coming up with much more terrifying thoughts than if the video had shown specifics.
Bowie, along with his assistant and a buddy, made the video last weekend in his Manhattan office, according to a release. They grabbed some puppets from his archive (wouldn’t you love to go through that?) and shot away.  The cost was $12.99 for a thumbdrive.

The James Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” is one of several new studio tracks featured on “The Next Day Extra,” which comes out Nov. 5 and is a companion to Bowie’s sure-to-be Grammy contender, “The Next Day.” 

In addition to the the “Hello Steve Reich Mix,” “The Next Day Extra” includes the original 14-song album, a 10-track companion with five new songs and two remixes and a DVD featuring four videos from “The Next Day.”

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Lady Gaga to host "SNL" for the 1st time, followed by Josh Hutcherson


Lady Gaga to host "SNL" for the 1st time, followed by Josh Hutcherson
Lady Gaga will host and be the musical guest on Nov. 16. She previously was a musical guest in 2009 and 2011. The following week, "The Hunger Games" star Hutcherson hosts with musical guest HAIM.

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<p>A scene from &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

A scene from "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Tech Support: The production designers go it alone this year

As the costumers form their own branch, how will that affect the race?

For the second year of "Best Production Design" (the category previously known as Best Art Direction), we have a slightly different system of choosing the nominees. That's because the costume designers have split off from the designers branch to form their own branch. It'll be interesting to see how this long overdue development affects the race in both categories.

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<p>There is no shampoo on Earth strong enough to stop Satan.</p>

There is no shampoo on Earth strong enough to stop Satan.

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Want two tickets to see the 1979 lunatic horror film 'The Visitor' in LA?

Drafthouse Films unleashes a whole lot of crazy in theaters this weekend

Do you want to win tickets to see "The Visitor" in Los Angeles this weekend at CineFamily?

Before you answer that question, let me tell you a little bit about "The Visitor," which you may not be familiar with yet. I wouldn't blame you. It's a 1979 film that is fairly hard to describe. Well, actually, I would say it looks like an Italian guy fell in love with both "Close Encounters" and "The Omen" and couldn't decide which one he wanted to rip off, so he ripped off both of them and then sprinkled in some genuine all-his-own low-budget insanity that is only enhanced by the idea that he got recognizable American movie stars for many of the key adult roles. What makes it hard to fully describe is the weird way all of those obvious influences come together. It's a deeply strange film, and that makes it a perfect fit for Drafthouse Films.

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<p>Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet in&nbsp;&quot;Labor Day&quot;</p>

Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet in "Labor Day"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

A very different Jason Reitman on display in the trailer for 'Labor Day'

The film is set for release this Christmas

The reactions to Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" ever since it dropped at Telluride have been interesting, stretching from adulation and tears to outright seething hatred. It's a very different film for the director, representing a mature departure from his prior work. "The edge that has defined Reitman's work has been set aside while a more refined, lived-in aesthetic has taken hold," I wrote out of the Colorado festival.

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