Latest Blog Posts

<p>Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard in &quot;The East&quot;</p>

Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard in "The East"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Tell us what you thought of 'The East'

Zal Batmanglij's 'Sound of My Voice' follow-up hits theaters today

I'm very, very curious to see what Zal Batmanglij does with his career. He clearly has the chops to build interesting thrillers and that talent is very much on display in "The East," which, as I've noted recently, I've been interested in seeing again since catching it at the Sundance Film Festival a few months back.

The film hit theaters today via Fox Searchlight Pictures and could do some nice business amid the usual blockbuster summer fare. It stars multi-hyphenate Brit Marling as well as Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård. It's possible we'll be talking about it later in the year when the Independent Spirit Awards announce nominations. "Sound of My Voice" found some love there. For now, though, we're curious to hear your thoughts on the film, so when/if you see it this weekend, let us know in the comments section and feel free to vote in our poll, too.

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: AP Photo

Is this the final Kanye West 'Yeezus' cover art?

And what's with the rumors that he's re-recording the album?

Is Kanye West reshuffling the songs on his “Yeezus” two week before the album is slated to come out?

The rumor du jour, according to several different reports, is that West is still in the studio doing everything from putting “finishing touches” on the songs to adding new tunes.

The scuttlebutt seems to have started with the New York Post, which reports that the mixed reaction to “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead,” which West debuted on “Saturday Night Live” a few weeks ago, sent him scurrying back into the studio to record "some consumer-friendly singles."  Combine that with the fact that “Yeezus” is not available for pre-order anymore, and the interwebs are going crazy.   The studio set, West’s sixth, was available for pre-order on iTunes, but the link was taken down a few days ago.

Then, of course, there’s been the whole juicy scandal over the “Yeezus” artwork. West’s baby mama, Kim Kardashian tweeted about the release day and posted a photo of an alleged album cover two weeks ago. Then this week came another potential cover, this one a painting of West hanging on a cross. He certainly has a martyr complex and the label’s refusal to confirm or deny the news only fueled the fire.

But this afternoon, MTV News reported that the album cover will be as generic and stripped down —and old school —as can be: It’s a photograph of a CD ( yes, that’s how people playing album before downloads, kids), in a jewel case with a piece of red duct tape that has “Yeezus” written in Sharpie.

Yeezus promo


We’ve asked the label about the re-recording rumors, but having heard back.

Quite honestly, if he is still messing with the album, he’s going to have trouble getting CDs pressed in time to meet the June 18 deadline, so unless he’s going for a digital release first, despite the album cover, we doubt he’s doing anything too serious.

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<p>Hey&nbsp;Guillermo,&nbsp;Travis and WB:&nbsp;This one's free.</p>

Hey Guillermo, Travis and WB: This one's free.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Design your own 'Pacific Rim' Jaeger

I just wasted 15 minutes. Now it's your turn.

Little marketing hooks like this are always fun for the geek in us all. Sometimes they're a stretch, sometimes you can get lost toying with this and that. Confession: I totally "Frankenweenie"-fied my cat last year.

Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim" is still six weeks away and it feels like an eternity. At least we'll have "Man of Steel" to tide us over in the interim but, especially after the most recent trailer hit, I've been dying for some awesome Jaeger/Kaiju brawling. In the meantime, though, at least we can settle in and design our own monster sluggers. Yes, Warner Bros. has an application that allows you to build and name your own Jaeger.

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"Healing in the Heartland"

 "Healing in the Heartland"

Credit: NBC

Listen: CulturePop No. 15 'Now You See Me,' Rob Lowe, Miranda Lambert

We talk about "Behind the Candelabra" and more

Welcome to CulturePop! This week was full o' weird ass crap, so Melinda and I had a field day. "Behind the Candelabra," people! So much to discuss, and that's just Rob Lowe's eyes. In any case, here's the rundown. 

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Budget cuts force 'Suburgatory' to axe Rex Lee and Alan Tudyk

Budget cuts force "Suburgatory" to axe Rex Lee and Alan Tudyk

As part of its last-minute renewal, "Suburgatory's" license fee was cut, which means the cast has to be reduced.

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<p>Ethan&nbsp;Hawke and Julie Delpy in &quot;Before Midnight&quot;</p>

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight"

Credit: Sony Classics

Win a 'Before Midnight' poster signed by Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

One lucky reader is going to make me really jealous

Heads up, fans of Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy. This is right up your alley. And boy is it awesome.

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Ashley Madekwe OK with her 'Revenge' exit, hopes to go out in a 'blaze of glory'

Ashley Madekwe OK with her "Revenge" exit, hopes to go out in a "blaze of glory"

"My preference is that Ashley Davenport dies in a blaze of glory," she tweeted. "Preferable whilst wearing Valentino couture....Or Chanel. I'm not fussy."

"Arrested Development" wanted an Ellen DeGeneres cameo
Portia de Rossi says her wife was asked to be part of the Netflix season, but it didn't work out. "I would want her to play herself," she says.

Check out Lifetime's Anna Nicole Smith
Agnes Bruckner stars in the original movie "Anna Nicole," airing June 29.

See the "Falling Skies" naked Season 3 poster
"Battle Them or Become Them."

"Mad Men's" final Season 6 episode titles revealed

This Sunday's episode is called "A Tale of Two Cities." PLUS: Which games do "Mad Men" stars play on set?, and the kookiest theories.

Why "Game of Thrones" is better as a TV show
The HBO series, at times, exceeds the books.

Claim: Sarah Michelle Gellar is so awful on "The Crazy Ones" it could kill her career

Even Kelly Clarkson, who cameos in the pilot, proves to be a better comedic actress than Gellar, according to Lisa de Moraes, who says Gellar is "brittle and awful in this." She adds: "'The Crazy Ones' could be her career killer...."

Don't give Amy's Baking Company a reality show!
Why the "Kitchen Nightmares" stars shouldn't be rewarded for their bad behavior.

Erin Andrews was an emotional wreck at L.A. Kings games
The Fox Sports star is dating the Kings' Jarret Stoll.

Watch "SNL's" Kate McKinnon on her new web series
She's starring in "I Expect You to Die" from Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video.

Ex-"House of Payne" star joining "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Two-time Miss Puerto Rico will reportedly be part of next season's cast.

Justine Bateman has been blogging about her life as a 47-year-old UCLA freshman

The former "Family Ties" star is taking courses in computer science.

"Workaholics" star Adam DeVine offers tips on "shaving your junk"
"If you've never shaved your junk before, you need to block off two hours of your time, because it's going to get serious," he says. "There's going to be some heavy lifting down there, but don't be afraid."

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<p>Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington</p>

Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington

Credit: AP Photo

Stone Temple Pilots and Chester Bennington plan more music

Reconfigured group headed 'back in the studio'

Scott Weiland’s head may explode. Chester Bennington and Stone Temple Pilots plan to “hammer out some more music.”

The Linkin Park frontman told Rolling Stone,  “Next week we’re going back in the studio.” Bennington first fronted STP a few weeks ago at KROQ’s Weenie Roast. They played again Thursday night at the MAP/MusicCares Fund Benefit.

The reconfigured group already released its first single, “Out Of Time,” and most songs will likely follow in the same way.  “Everything we’re doing is on our own, so we’re just taking it one track at a time,” says Bennington, who remains in Linkin Park as well. “We would love to sit down and hammer out a record, but the reality is we’re gonna make music, we’re gonna make a lot of it, and we’re gonna be in a position to release a single at a time, go out and really give people music the way they want to get it.”  STP has not signed with a label.

STP filed suit last week against former lead singer Scott Weiland, demanding that he stop using the name Stone Temple Pilots and even stop singing STP songs. Weiland has not countersued yet, but threatened legal action in his on-line response.


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<p>&quot;After Earth&quot;</p>

"After Earth"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'After Earth'

Will Smith and son Jaden (oh, and M. Night) get jiggy with it this weekend

I'm pretty slow on the uptake this summer with a ton of movies I still need to see, and one of them is M. Night Shyamalan's "After Earth." What's that, you say? You didn't know this was an M. Night joint? You'd be forgiven for missing that nugget, since advertising for the film has curiously kept his name low key if not outright out of the picture (it's nowhere to be found above the title on the poster and the trailers certainly didn't play it up). As for why, I'll leave that to you to decide.

The film, like clockwork, is taking a critical beating. But it has a few forgivers, like our own Drew McWeeny, noting that it was "lovely to see something that is sincere, thematically focused, and that ultimately works in a way I didn't expect." Then again, maybe it's just a Scientology indoctrination film. I'll see for myself eventually, but it would appear Shyamalan is a filmmaker with a lot of ground to cover if he's going to be back where he was a decade ago. For now, though, if you've seen the film (which stars Will Smith and son Jaden) or if you get around to it this weekend, head on back here with your thoughts and feel free to vote in the poll below.

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Judy Greer signs on for an FX comedy pilot

Judy Greer signs on for an FX comedy pilot

The "Archer" and "Arrested Development" star is set to play Nat Faxon's wife as they deal with their marriage struggles in the bedroom.

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<p>Heath&nbsp;Ledger in &quot;The&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Knight&quot;</p>

Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight"

Credit: Warner Bros.

A look inside Oscar winner Heath Ledger's Joker diary from 'The Dark Knight'

Precious hints at the actor's process on an iconic performance

I still remember the moment I found out Heath Ledger was dead. I was driving up the 10 freeway in Los Angeles on the way home and a Variety colleague called. "Did you hear about Heath Ledger?" "No." I'm thinking maybe there's some awesome news about the then upcoming film "The Dark Knight." "Dude, he died."

Crushing. We were robbed of an incredible talent that day. But one of the other things we we robbed of was the chance to really dissect and investigate Ledger's choices for his soon-to-be Oscar-winning role as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," as well as the opportunity to always go back and reflect with the actor as he, and we, spun away from its epic impact over the years. The mystery left as a result is singular and fascinating, serving only to elevate the performance in some ways, but I always felt a pang of sadness that we could never dig into the work with the artist.

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"Sex: How It Works"

 "Sex: How It Works"

Credit: NatGeo

'Sex: How It Works' to explore dysfunction, arousal and more

The two-hour NatGeo special is set to air in June

National Geographic Channel leaves the snickering behind (though we probably won't) and dives into the science behind arousal, orgasms, partner preference and sexual dysfunctions with "Sex: How It Works," a two-hour special premiering Tues. June 18 at 8:00 p.m. The show weaves together real-life case studies, the latest technology and cutting-edge computer graphics to explore the topic. 

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