Latest Blog Posts

<p>Seth Green and Peter Riegert in &quot;Dads.&quot;</p>

Seth Green and Peter Riegert in "Dads."

Credit: FOX

Series premiere talkback: 'Dads'

What did everybody think of the new FOX sitcom from Seth MacFarlane and friends?

Still recovering from my appendectomy (a lot of what's being published on the blog this week was written well in advance), which meant I wasn't able to do a full review of FOX's "Dads" in advance of tonight's premiere. I'll say that while the Seth MacFarlane brand of humor can translate into live action at times ("Ted"), for the most part there are things that Peter Griffin or Quagmire can get away with saying that Peter Riegert or Martin Mull can't without seeming really really nasty. And by putting MacFarlane humor into a multi-cam sitcom format, you get the studio audience hooting and cheering their approval whenever one of the dads says something inappropriate, which undercuts the producers' arguments that they are not necessarily endorsing these things.

The whole thing's such a mess that FOX wound up running one of the stranger "pay no attention to the critics" ads I've ever seen (which Fienberg wrote about at length yesterday) to deal with the harsh advance buzz. Now the thing's aired, so what did you all think? Did it live up/down to all the negative commentary? Did it seem not worth the fuss? Will you watch again?

Read Full Post
<p>The Black Widow and Nightwing clean up pretty well, all things considered.</p>

The Black Widow and Nightwing clean up pretty well, all things considered.

Credit: HitFix

Gordon-Levitt and Johansson on the difference between superhero franchises and indie films

Is the process really any different for actors in the end?

There are certain faces that seemed to be ubiquitous at film festivals this year, and when one of those belongs to Scarlett Johansson, you will not catch me complaining about the situation.

I saw "Don Jon" at SXSW this year, and it is an uncommonly perceptive directorial debut by Joseph Gordon Levitt. He stars in the film which he also wrote, but it is the way he nails certain observations about the way everyone has their own fantasy they depend on to get them through that impressed me most. It is a very observant point that I would expect from an older writer.

In addition to making a number of smaller films this year that feed certain artistic needs for each of them, JGL and ScarJo both have experience now being part of these giant megafranchise superhero films that are the bread and butter of the Hollywood system at the moment. While Christopher Nolan's final Batman film was more divisive than the first two, I think one of the things that seemed to really speak to people was the work that Joseph Gordon Levitt did as a Gotham City police officer who didn't need a mask and a cave and a limitless arsenal to stand up and do what he believed was right. He was a moral compass in the film in a way I found really surprising, and I think he helped ground that last film.

Read Full Post
"My Big Fat Revenge"

 "My Big Fat Revenge"

Credit: Oxygen

Watch: Lacey Schwimmer to wreak 'Big Fat Revenge'

The 'Dancing with the Stars' pro joins in on a woman's plot

If you're into revenge and weight loss PLUS you'd like to see a cameo from a "Dancing with the Stars" pro, then do we have a clip for you! On tonight's episode of "My Big Fat Revenge" (Oxygen, Tues. at 9:00 p.m.), Lacey Schwimmer joins in with the plot to make a bully cry. Enjoy!

Read Full Post
<p>AVICCI - 'True'</p>

AVICCI - 'True'

Album Review: Avicii's new album, 'True,' expands far beyond EDM's borders

He keeps the beats, but veers into bluegrass, folk and more on debut

On Avicii’s first full-length album, “True,” out today, he seems determined to show that while he may be best known as an EDM producer and DJ, trying to pigeonhole him into any one category will only prove foolish.

Following the success of such tracks as “Levels” and “Silhouettes,” Avicii vaulted to a new mainstream level with the success of “Wake Me Up,” the first single from “True.” In the U.S., the single, featuring soul singer/rapper Aloe Blacc on vocals and Incubus’s Mike Einziger on acoustic guitar, has climbed into the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, while it has gone No. 1 in 22 other countries. The song, which combines an acoustic guitar, folky melody with Blacc’s striking vocals, and Avicii’s beats sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does... beautifully.

But that’s only the beginning of Avicii’s experimentation into the country realm. On “Hey Brother,” Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss and Union Station and “O Brother, Where Art Thou’ fame, provides the high lonesome voice on the bluegrass tune. It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Avicii will have the bluegrass EDM field all to himself, but he pulls it off.

With album closer “Heart Upon My Sleeve,” he drafts alternative rock band Imagine Dragons' lead singer Dan Reynolds for an emotional ending. And that’s what separates Avicii from many of his colleagues: he wants to make you move —every song here has a BPM of between 120 and 135—but he also wants to make you feel something and he’s brought in vocalists who can do the heavy lifting vocally.

Even though he’s only 24, Avicii has a confidence that go a far way to convincing us that he’s not just blindly feeling his way, he has absolute conviction in his choices.  How else to explain his writing “Addicted To You” with Mac Davis. Yes, that Mac Davis from “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” fame and writer of Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto.” They pair for the mid-tempo tune of obsessive love, delivered with just the right amount of anguish by Audra Mae. 

“Addicted To You” isn’t the only look back: on the shape-shifting “Liar Liar,” featuring Blondfire and Einziger, it sure sounds like Avicii employs a Farfisa, straight out of ?uestion Mark & The Mysterians’ “96 Tears.”
Many of the tracks are pure dance (or dance pop, like new single, the thumping “You Make Me,” featuring Salem Al Fakir on vocals), and Avicii has those down cold. Particularly striking is “Lay Me Down,” which features “American Idol’s” Adam Lambert’s searing powerhouse vocal on a funky track co-written by Chic’s Nile Rodgers. It’s is a dance and pop smash (and maybe because of Rodgers’ influence the intro may remind you of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” before it explodes into its own creation).

For purists, “True” may be too adventurous for their tastes —as Avicii found out after he got major push back from some fans following his debut of many of these songs at Miami’s Ultra Festival in March—but for the rest of us, Avicii has created an album that invites all of us to join in, even if we never step foot in a club.

Read Full Post
<p>Pearl Jam - 'Sirens'</p>

Pearl Jam - 'Sirens'

UPDATED: Watch the video for Pearl Jam's emotional, gorgeous new single, 'Sirens'

Eddie Vedder had never sounded so lovely

After the punk blast of “Mind Your Manners,” the first single from Pearl Jam’s upcoming album, “Lightning Bolt,” the Seattle group comes back with a gentle, very melodic ballad, “Sirens.”

With an acoustic guitar and piano base, the song unfolds at a leisurely pace. Eddie Vedder is such an intense singer that when he lays back behind the groove a little bit here, it’s such a pleasure to hear him hold back, while sacrificing nothing emotionally.  And, make no mistake,  there’s a lot of emotion in “Sirens,” as he sings about the possibility of losing the woman he loves to another man or to his "going away." If that happens, it's vital that she know he always loved her, as he stirringly sings, "When I see your face, the fear goes away.”

Pearl Jam has no shortage of lovely ballads and this one has the same graceful beauty as "Backspacer's"  "Just Breathe," but there’s something melodically about “Sirens,” especially with the layered harmonies and Vedder’s vocal performance here, that will grab you by the throat before you realize it.  Plus, there’s a lived-in feel to the lyrics and an emotional acceptance that I’m not sure Vedder could have pulled off before he got into his 40s. “It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead,” he sings.

If “Mind Your Manners” and “Sirens” are any indication, “Lightning Bolt," which comes out Oct. 15, is going to be a hell of an album.

What do you think of "Sirens?"

UPDATED: Pearl Jam released a performance video for "Sirens" today, as well as made the song available on iTunes.


Read Full Post
<p>'Midway the journey of this life, I became lost in a dark forest and had to use a giant bladed weapon to cut some generic ghost-demon-thingies in half'</p>

'Midway the journey of this life, I became lost in a dark forest and had to use a giant bladed weapon to cut some generic ghost-demon-thingies in half'

Credit: Electronic Arts

Fede Alvarez nears a deal to direct film based on 'Dante's Inferno' video game

Is the 'Evil Dead' director already losing momentum?

If we need a reminder about the place that video games hold in pop culture right now, just look at last night's midnight launch of "Grand Theft Auto V," which was just as big a moment as any of this summer's movie launches. The big titles remain big, and there is a fierce brand loyalty among gamers that has yet to be truly tested by Hollywood. They keep trying, but they keep getting it wrong, and I suspect there's plenty more of that in the future.

A perfect example would be the news today that Fede Alvarez, who directed this spring's "Evil Dead," is in talks now to sign on as the director of "Dante's Inferno." The game, released by Electronic Arts, is a shameless mash-up of "Devil May Cry" and "God Of War," and executed with all the subtlety of a fart in a microphone. Trust me… no one aside from the people who stand to make money off of it is asking for a movie version of "Dante's Inferno." The idea that there was a bidding war for the film rights, and the idea that Universal considers themselves the winners of that bidding war… baffling.

Read Full Post
The statue of Paddington Bear in London's Paddington train station.
The statue of Paddington Bear in London's Paddington train station.
Credit: Guy Lodge

Producer David Heyman on the contemporary relevance of 'Paddington'

'It's about an immigrant trying to find a home.'

It may or may not come as a surprise to you that one of my most eagerly anticipated titles of 2014 is "Paddington," a British family film that begins shooting at the end of this month. Chances are some American readers are unfamiliar with the antics of Paddington Bear, the accident-prone hero of British author Michael Bond's best-selling series of children's books, but he was a rather significant part of my childhood.

Read Full Post
<p>Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in &quot;Blue is the Warmest Color.&quot;</p>

Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in "Blue is the Warmest Color."

Credit: Sundance Selects

French distributor on why 'Blue is the Warmest Color' doesn't need foreign Oscar

"No one cares about this category," says Wild Bunch

Every year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race brings its share of sore points, and the sorest at this early stage is France's inability to enter Palme d'Or winner "Blue is the Warmest Color" into the race -- an eligibility issue that ultimately resulted in the country selecting lower-profile period biopic "Renoir" to represent them. It's not exactly an unusual situation -- plenty of festival hits aren't released in time to compete in that year's foreign Oscar race. ("Renoir," after all, premiered in Cannes last year.)

Read Full Post

Jay Leno begins losing key staff

Jay Leno begins losing key staff

Two "Tonight Show" staffers have fled to "Chelsea Lately."

Fox developing a male strip club drama from Jennifer Garner

Garner will produce "The Whole Shebang," about a newly single soccer mom who inherits a rundown male strip club.

"Mad Men's" split final season: A way to avoid Emmy competition with "Breaking Bad"?

The first batch of seven episodes will compete against the current "Breaking Bad" episodes at next year's Emmys, but the final batch of seven episodes won't have "Breaking Bad" competition.

NBC caught photoshopping the Golden Gate Bridge

"Football Night in America" has the famous bridge with three towers, when it only has two.

Can "Breaking Bad's" Baby Holly win an Emmy?

The baby's line from this week's episode was unscripted.

"American Horror Story" releases a snake teaser

Check out "Coven's" "Slither."

"Prison Break's" Robert Knepper visits NBC's "The Blacklist"

He'll play an FBI target.

Check out the Turkish version of "The O.C."

The Fox series has been recreated for TV in Turkey.

Syfy to air Canadian female werewolf drama "Bitten"
The drama focuses on the only female werewolf in existence.

"The Queen Latifah Show" has a solid debut

Numbers were double "Bethenny's' and close to "Arsenio."

"Under the Dome" boss defends the season finale
When will the big answers actually be answered?

Brad Garrett to guest on "The Crazy Ones"

This will be his first appearance with Robin Williams on screen.

"Community" brings back LeVar Burton

Burton tweeted pics of his return to Greendale.

Read Full Post
<p>Anna Faris and Bill Hader return to the roles they played in the first 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs' for the very silly sequel.</p>

Anna Faris and Bill Hader return to the roles they played in the first 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs' for the very silly sequel.

Credit: HitFix

Bill Hader and Anna Faris get silly discussing their return for 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2'

It's safe to call the pair of them 'animated' in this interview

The first "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" was a delightful surprise. I have since made note of the fact that I should never underestimate Chris Miller and Phil Lord, a mistake I've made enough times now to identify it as a mistake. Those guys are busy with "The LEGO Movie" these days, and they're gearing up on "22 Jump Street" as well, and if you saw last night's premiere of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," they directed that as well.

That didn't leave a lot of time for them to make a sequel to the movie that pretty much launched them as feature directors, so Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn stepped up to direct the sequel, which is more ambitious on a story level, as well as much, much stranger. Considering what a margin for failure there was on the first film, I found myself wondering if they could pull off a sequel. When I sat down to talk to Bill Hader and Anna Faris, it was a huge relief to be able to have enjoyed the sequel as much as I did. It's a different movie, but it builds on the pleasures of the first movie in very smart and enormously silly ways.

Read Full Post
<p>Against so many &quot;Modern Family&quot;&nbsp;men, does &quot;Girls&quot;&nbsp;co-star Adam Driver have a shot?</p>

Against so many "Modern Family" men, does "Girls" co-star Adam Driver have a shot?

Credit: HBO

Emmys 2013 Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actor for Comedy/Drama

Can Jonathan Banks beat co-star Aaron Paul? And which 'Modern Family' man will be feted this year?

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 8 Eastern on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host. From now until Sunday (sometimes multiple times a day), Dan Fienberg and I will be making our usual picks for the major categories — for both what should win and what will (and keep in mind that Dan is much better historically at predictions than I am).

Next up, we're dealing with the comedy and drama supporting actor categories. The former is dominated as usual by "Modern Family" men, albeit not quite as dominated as the last few years, while the latter features four former Emmy winners (albeit only two of them for their current roles).

Read Full Post

'Mad Men's' final season will be split in half -- 7 episodes in 2014, 7 in 2015

"Mad Men's" final season will be split in half -- 7 episodes in 2014, 7 in 2015
AMC is giving its first signature drama the "Breaking Bad" treatment, airing the final season over the next two springs.

Rosie O'Donnell joins Jennifer Lopez's "The Fosters"

She'll guest on three episodes of the ABC Family series as a foster care mentor.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" will close down Hollywood Blvd for Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake
McCartney will sit down with Kimmel and perform on Monday, followed the next night by Timberlake.

MTV renews "Ridiculousness" and "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory"
They'll be back for a 4th and 6th season, respectively.

Read Full Post