Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jesse Eisenberg in &quot;Night Moves.&quot;</p>

Jesse Eisenberg in "Night Moves."

Credit: Maybach Film Productions

Venice awards preview: What will win, and what should

Miyazaki or Tsai? Dench or Johansson? What to expect from tomorrow's prizes

VENICE - We're almost at the finish line. 11 days have passed, 20 Competition films have been screened, and tomorrow evening we'll find out what this year's eclectic jury, led by Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, believes is the best of them. And if it's harder than usual to call this year -- and it's usually pretty damn hard -- that's because the only point of consensus among those remaining on the Lido is that this year's Competition slate hasn't been one of the festival's finest.

Read Full Post
<p>David O'Hara and Idris Elba in &quot;Luther.&quot;</p>

David O'Hara and Idris Elba in "Luther."

Credit: BBC

Talkback: 'Luther' season 3

What did everybody think of the Idris Elba cop drama's third season?

I reviewed season 3 of "Luther" earlier in the week, and promised I'd put up a second post to allow for full discussion once the entire season had aired in America. Well, it's all done, so let the spoilers fly, ladies and gentlemen. How'd you feel about the portrayal of either of our two killers? Given the limited use of Ruth Wilson, did you feel this was the right limited use of her? Did you feel any sympathy for the internal affairs investigators, or were they clearly strawmen for Luther to knock down? Did you agree with me that the vigilante story was a missed opportunity to actually discuss Luther's ethics? Did you invest at all in the romance with Sienna Guillory's Mary, or did that just feel like an acknowledgment that Idris Elba's a sex symbol and should be used as such? And how did you feel about what happened to Justin?

Have at it. What did everybody else think?

Read Full Post
<p>Rhona Mitra in &quot;Strike Back.&quot;</p>

Rhona Mitra in "Strike Back."

Credit: Cinemax

Review: A memorable 'Strike Back' hurts both the heroes and villains

The mission proves costly for both sides

Earlier in the week, Cinemax announced that they'd finally be airing the original British-only season of "Strike Back" under the title "Strike Back: Origins." Tonight's episode of the Winchester/Stapleton version of the show, meanwhile, was notable for a few reasons, and I have some quick thoughts coming up just as soon as I call you Braveheart...

Read Full Post

'The X Factor' will finally shift its focus from the judges to the singers


"The X Factor" will finally shift its focus from the judges to the singers
As Simon Cowell says, "The whole purpose of making the show is to find a star."


Screech booted out of "Celebrity Big Brother"
Watch Dustin Diamond's best bits from the house.


Gregg German joins Alicia Silverstone on Lifetime's "HR"

The "Ally McBeal" alum will play her boss.


Thorough research is key to making "Breaking Bad" so riveting
The AMC series has at its disposal an "army of consultants" -- experts in chemistry, the DEA, hazardous waste disposal and cancer. PLUS: Writers considered burning down the house, what if Walt Jr. had an Instagram account?, 21-year-old RJ Mitte was 14 when he began filming, what Betsy Brandt stole from the set, and cast members talk about their most challenging scenes.


"Scandal" costume designer: We're influencing fashion designers

Olivia Pope's gloves have become all the rage.


"SNL's" Da Bears make a comeback for an Aaron Rodgers commercial
Check out Robert Smigel and George Wendt's ad for State Farm.


Paul Scheer explains the "genius" of Arsenio Hall
"I feel like he's the closest we have to a Johnny Carson," says "The League" star.


"Suits": An appreciation
The USA legal drama has, says Maureen Ryan, what's often missing from TV dramas these days: "characters who, generally speaking, enjoy their lives and derive pleasure from their accomplishments."


"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will try to pull off the "hardest trick in television"
Can it combine Marvel's male audience with ABC's female-centric viewership?


Women on Lifetime: Why do they have the same kinds of careers?
Here are eight cliche careers, from nannies with ulterior motives to dirty teachers.


What if "It's Always Sunny" had a "Cheers"-style opening?
Check out the opening credits done in the style of the classic NBC sitcom.


Enough with TV's Canadian-shot "ambiguous cities"!
Shows like "Orphan Black" refuse to offer a clue of what country they are set in.


How will "Grey's Anatomy" survive Sandra Oh's exit?

After all, Cristina Yang has been the backbone for the series.


"Boardwalk Empire" returns as good as ever but still indulgent
As Hank Stuever notes, "We have to take the good things about 'Boardwalk Empire' (the acting, the authenticity in its exquisite details and most of the writing) along with the bad (the repetitiveness, the plodding)." PLUS: "Boardwalk" is "Wire"-like in being a novel for TV, Season 4 is bloodier than ever, meet the new cast members, and how an Englishman transforms into Al Capone.


NFL teams reimagined as a "Game of Thrones" houses
Check out siglis for all 32 teams.


Dr. Seuss meets "The Walking Dead"
Presenting "The Seussing Dead." PLUS: Watch the latest "Walking Dead" teaser.


PBS' "Last Tango in Halifax" tells of a late-life romance
The British drama, debuting Sunday, was so acclaimed it won the best drama award at the British version of the Emmys.

Read Full Post

Cynthia Nixon joins 'Hannibal'


Cynthia Nixon joins "Hannibal"
The "Sex and the City" alum will recur next season as an FBI internal affairs investigator.


CW is the latest network interested in a "Wizard of Oz"-inspired drama
"Heroes" creator Tim Kring is in talks for the revisionist "Dorothy Must Die." CBS and NBC are also developing "Oz"-related projects.


High school teacher suspended for appearing in racy Jay Leno sketch
Steve Endemano was sitting in "The Tonight Show" audience when he agreed to appear semi-naked in "sizzle reel" video.


Comedy Central's "Community" promo makes fun of the show's lack of promotion
"Holy crap, we're being advertised!"


CBS celebrates teachers with "Teach"
Tonight's two-hour special takes a look at four exceptional public-school teachers.

Read Full Post
"Secret Sex Lives: Swingers"

 "Secret Sex Lives: Swingers"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Watch: 'Secret Sex Lives: Swingers' goes to an Atlanta swingers' party

Partners get swapped in this all-new four-part series

If you've found yourself wondering if you know any swingers, Discovery Fit & Health is here to tell you that you probably do -- at least if you live in Atlanta. In the new four-part series "Secret Sex Lives: Swingers" (premieres Sat. Sept. 7 at 10:00 p.m.), the show follows five nice Southern couples with jobs and friends and homes that do not appear to be mangy strip clubs who just happen to enjoy screwing around with other people.

Read Full Post
Listen: Coldplay's 'Atlas' from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
Credit: Lionsgate Entertainment

Listen: Coldplay's 'Atlas' from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Classic Coldplay meets Katniss Everdeen

Atlas,”  Coldplay’s new song for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” finally surfaced today after a two-week delay. 

While instantly recognizably Coldplay, with Chris Martin’s  delicate piano playing at the forefront, it’s also much less bombastic than some typical Coldplay fare. Instead, it’s quietly dramatic, as Martin vows “I’ll carry your world” with a growing intensity. There’s something lovely and haunting about it, though it doesn’t immediately grab hold like “Safe & Sound” from Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars from the first “Hunger Games” installment did.

Coldplay  wrote the track, the band’s first new song in nearly two years, specifically for the movie. Coldplay recorded the song, produced by the band, Daniel Green and Rik Sampson, in its London studio, Beehive between April and July.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens Nov. 22 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson.
 

Read Full Post

Neil Patrick Harris won't open the Emmys with a big opening number


Neil Patrick Harris won't open the Emmys with a big opening number
Harris wants this year's ceremony to be "classy and smart," but there won't be an opening number. "The last thing I want is to compete with the Tony Awards, which I had such a blast doing — so no, I'll be doing something different for sure," he says. "But I think that’s what’s fun, trying to come up with new ideas."


Eminem teams with ABC's "Saturday Night Football"
Eminem's "Berzerk" will be the featured song of the season, plus the two are collaborating on a college football-themed music video for the weekly broadcast.


"Burn Notice" creator wants to do a spinoff
"I would love to do it," says Matt Nix, who's working on a medical drama pilot for USA. "The door has been left open intentionally, but nobody's asked me to write a script. If the opportunity ever arose to do something like that I’d be thrilled."


History channel's H2 channel to show 9/11's "Relics From The Wreckage"
The special will highlight five relics that will be featured in the 9/11 museum.


"The Following" books "True Blood's" Carrie Preston
She'll guest as James Purefoy's groupie.


Piper Perabo gets engaged

The "Covert Affairs" star is set to wed director-producer Stephen Kay.

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl are both outstanding as racing rivals Hunt and Lauda in Ron Howard's new film 'Rush'</p>

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl are both outstanding as racing rivals Hunt and Lauda in Ron Howard's new film 'Rush'

Credit: Universal Studios

Review: Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl both shine in Ron Howard's dynamic racing drama 'Rush'

A true-life sports movie dazzles thanks to the director's energy and a great cast

TORONTO - Ron Howard must be one of the most successful directors to have ever made as many giant films as he has without developing his own signature directorial style, and while one could level that against him as a criticism, I think in some ways, it's the key to his success. He is rarely the star of his movies the way someone like Scorsese is. Instead, Howard seems to reinvent the way he tells a story based entirely on which story he's telling, and in the case of "Rush," that strategy pays off to remarkable effect.

Peter Morgan's script is inelegantly structured, particularly in the first half hour, and at first it feels like they're not sure what story they're telling. Gradually, though, the film settles into a rhythm, and things snap into focus. Once they do, Howard's filmmaking seems to get more and more confident, and by the end of the film, I was shocked to realize just how invested I was in the story of James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), especially considering how little I care about the world of Formula 1 racing.

Read Full Post
Katy Perry

 Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: CulturePop No. 26 - Alec Baldwin, 'Dads,' Katy Perry, 'True Blood'

Melinda suggests a certain someone will one day land in rehab

After a long run of Emmy nominees on the show, Melinda and I decided to, you know, talk to one another. It was a little awkward at first, since we'd kind of forgotten what to do (I'm kidding!), but in the end we managed to plow through some hot topics we're sure you'll appreciate. Also, listen for "The Fox." We planned on talking about it (partly because I can't get the damn thing out of my head), but didn't have time. If you want to to catch the latest really weird, awesomely bad earworm, the video is below. Consider yourselves warned. Here's the rundown! 

Read Full Post
<p>Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks in&nbsp;&quot;Captain&nbsp;Phillips&quot;</p>

Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks in "Captain Phillips"

Credit: Sony Pictures

A newcomer nearly steals 'Captain Phillips' from Best Actor slam dunk Tom Hanks

The story of the movie might just be a surprising supporting performance

Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" is plainly one of the best films of the year. It's the best work the director has offered to date and it features a detailed, ultimately emotional performance from Tom Hanks that is sure to draw kudos. But the big surprise is that Hanks might not even give the best performance of the film.

Read Full Post
<p>Scarlett Johansson at the &quot;world premiere&quot; of &quot;Under the Skin&quot; in Venice earlier this week.</p>

Scarlett Johansson at the "world premiere" of "Under the Skin" in Venice earlier this week.

Credit: AP Photo

Venice seeks to take action against Telluride's sneak previews

The venerable Euro fest doesn't take kindly to having its world premieres pinched

VENICE - For several years now, the Venice Film Festival has overlapped with not one but two rival North American fests. The "Toronto effect" has been felt since the two festivals started sharing a few days of September calendar space: the exodus of journalists from the Lido in the last couple of days is all too noticeable, though Venice organizers have to accept it, obligingly front-loading their schedule with their highest-profile premieres to as to allow sufficient room for the first wave of buzz and publicity (not to mention reasonable travel time for talent) before the next one at Toronto.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME