Latest Blog Posts

<p>Reese Witherspoon at this year's Academy Awards.</p>

Reese Witherspoon at this year's Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Reese Witherspoon to reunite with director James Mangold for 'Three Little Words'

He directed her to an Oscar in 'Walk the Line,' so can he get her back on form?

Her recent run-ins with the law may be mildly tarnishing her name at the moment, but the question of what's up with Reese Witherspoon has been on my mind for several years now -- and it has nothing to do with any offscreen activities. Rather, the decline of Witherspoon as a vital screen actress -- all while she's held onto her stardom with impressive ease -- has been far more troubling to witness than any standard-issue TMZ fodder.

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Watch Tom Waits perform with the Rolling Stones in L.A.
Credit: AP Photo

Watch Tom Waits perform with the Rolling Stones in L.A.

First among the classic rock band's tour dates features very special guests

As I'm on the self-assigned Tom Waits beat in perpetuity, here is Waits singing "Little Red Rooster" with the Rolling Stones last night (May 5) during the classic rockers' show in L.A.

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<p>Taylor Swift in &quot;Highway Don't Care&quot;</p>

Taylor Swift in "Highway Don't Care"

Taylor Swift co-stars in Tim McGraw's 'Highway Don't Care' music video: Watch

Keith Urban shows up, too, for another Car Crash Music Video

"Highway Don't Care" by Tim McGraw and featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban features all three country stars in its music video, which also brings home the message: don't futz with your cell phone in your car, folks. Otherwise, Vanderbilt Medical is going to have to scrape you up from the highway, and the highway don't care.

This marks yet another addition to the Car Crash Music Video genre: "Highway Don't Care" hops in next to others like Coldplay's "The Scientist," Trey Songz' "Heart Attack," Metallica's "Frantic," Nickelback's "Someday," Katy Perry's "One That Got Away" and Adele's "Chasing Pavements," some with better storytelling and "twists" (an apparent feature of Car Crash Videos) than others.

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<p>Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in &quot;Only Lovers Left Alive.&quot;</p>

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in "Only Lovers Left Alive."

Credit: Recorded Picture Company

Cannes Check 2013: Jim Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive'

Continuing our cheat sheet for the Cannes Competition

(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Jim Jarmusch's late entry, "Only Lovers Left Alive.")

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<p>Lauryn Hill walks to court in Newark, N.J. today (May 6)</p>

Lauryn Hill walks to court in Newark, N.J. today (May 6)

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Lauryn Hill's new song 'Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)'

Released in order to avoid jail or penalty from Sony

Man, there is nothing like an artist who reluctantly releases new music.

As previously reported, the Grammy Award-winning MC and singer Hill signed a new record deal with Sony in order to get an advance of cash that helped to get her out of her tax debt to the government. The punishment for tax evasion could have equaled out to jail time. The punishment for failing to deliver goods to her new record label? Who knows, maybe even harsher, like a purposely ill-fated collaboration with Ke$ha?

Regardless, Hill has completed step one of her deal with the major music company by dropping a new song "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)." Compulsory, as in required by law, or coersion. That's what's giving you that warm feeling in your belly, right next to that bitter pill.

The song appeared on Hill's Tumblr this weekend (nothing says "fanfare" like posting on a weekend), making it her first new release in more than a decade. She noted that the song was "rushed" out the door, though she stands by its message:

Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… but the message is still there. In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!

The resulting song is about "unhealthy paradigms." More simply: Hill is pissed about everything, and guns are blazing in every direction, including the hypocrites, the greedy, the ignorant, the oppressors, the patriarchy, the "neurotic toxic society."

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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Redneckognize! 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' is coming baaaaack

The TLC show is set to return on July 17

The 7 year-old everyone loves to hate (or love, or a little of both) is back with all new episodes of TLC’s series "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" on Wed. July 17 at 9:00 p.m. Averaging 2.3 million viewers last fall, the controversial show returns with the latest from the proudly farting, burping and mud diving family. 

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<p>Jason Gann as &quot;Wilfred.&quot;</p>

Jason Gann as "Wilfred."

Credit: FX

FX's 'Wilfred' to return in June, alone

With no 'Louie' til 2014, man-meets-dog comedy will fly solo on Thursday nights

For the last two summers, "Wilfred" has been one half of a fascinating, dark comedy pairing on Thursday nights on FX, leading in to "Louie." But with Louis CK deciding to keep his series off the air for all of 2013, "Wilfred" will have to go it alone this summer.

FX announced today that "Wilfred" will return for its third season on Thursday, June 20 at 10. For the first two weeks of the season, we'll get back-to-back original episodes at 10 and 10:30, followed by a week off for the Fourth of July, followed by the show shifting to a once a week schedule Thursdays at 10.

When I spoke with FX executives in January, they suggested they might have a new comedy ready in time to pair with "Wilfred," but FX says it's not likely at this point that anything new will be airing at 10:30 later in the summer. (It may be that the launching of the comedy-centric FXX spin-off channel made this a lower priority than it was at the start of the year.)

The new season will bring back the full cast, plus recurring guests Chris Klein, Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam, along with some new guest stars like Gina Gershon, Angela Kinsey and Lance Reddick. This will be the show's first season without David Zuckerman as showrunner, as he took a step back to let writer/producers Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne take the job.

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Mariah Carey's new single with Miguel is 'Beautiful': Listen

Mariah Carey's new single with Miguel is 'Beautiful': Listen

Is this the single Mariah Carey needed?

Mariah Carey and Miguel just released new song "Beautiful" together, and the single may be just what the singing superstar and "American Idol" judge needed.

Miguel: He didn't need this. Miguel's good, thanks, still feeling fresh and cool after the success of "Kaleidoscope Dream" last year and is about to set out on the Set The World On Fire Tour with Alicia Keys.

Carey, on the other hand, struggled to get any traction at all with her 2012 song "Triumphant (Get 'Em)." It didn't have her voice, nor her "voice," as guests Meek Mill and Rick Ross took the verses. Subsequent remixes -- including the superior retro dance drop -- diluted the initial impact and Carey couldn't seem to gain any long-term favor.

And her "The Great and Powerful Oz" credits song "Almost Home" thudded all the same. It was as though the vocal lines were a placeholder, and she delivered just the same as any recruit could for the same schlocky, plodding ballad.

Here, it's a pop song, and sweetly so, as Carey flaunts her heart-warming ability to blend with Miguel's creamy tenor in a duet and take the spotlight with gusto when it's her turn. It's a sparkling reminder of what she does, and what she does best.

The keyboards' countermelody reminds me of OneRepublic's "Feel Again" while summer-fun beat is sanded down to muffled low-end to clear space for Carey and Miguel's ageless voices to have their day in the sun. Carey applies her trademark high octave in unison in her first solo phrase, and there's a brightness as her voice combines with his. It's like she was smiling -- or told to smile -- when she hit the mic. It works, and may become a pleasant addition into the 2013 summer jam rotation, if it works out.

This, after a week of ugly press: Carey and her "AI" co-judge Nicki Minaj have been fighting on the show, with Minaj allowing the drama to spill over into her own press time, her Twitter account and, subsequently, onto the pages of the tabloids. Carey, smartly, has been largely silent but still: bad feelings abound. "AI" is currently struggling through its worst ratings in its 16 season history, and is it any surprise?

So forget about that: cue up "#Beautiful," which is cutely credited "Starring Mariah Carey and Miguel." What do you think?

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"Revenge"

 "Revenge"

Credit: ABC

'Revenge': Did you think 'Engagement' was silly or a perfect set-up?

Next week's season finale could be a hit or a massive miss

In this penultimate episode to next week's supersized finale, it seems that the Initiative's latest plan to create fear and chaos is afoot with a city-wide blackout. I just wish the rest of the episode made as much sense as this gutsy move. While some characters seemed to be reciting dialogue from previous episodes (Victoria still doesn't want Daniel to marry Emily? Le sigh), others seemed to be rushing to ridiculous conclusions. 

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<p>Leonardo&nbsp;DiCaprio in &quot;The&nbsp;Great Gatsby&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Great Gatsby"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Will 'The Great Gatsby' find any room in a new Oscar season?

The film, which charms on its own terms, was rescheduled last year

Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" is hitting theaters this week in advance of opening the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15. If you'll recall, the film was all set to open last December amid the awards season glut as part of an already packed Warner Bros. slate. But it was shuffled on to a summer 2013 release to allow more time for post-production and, surely, to have a fighting chance at making some money.

I saw the film a few weeks back and, even as a Luhrmann fan, I was prepared for the worst. Why? A mixture of advance buzz, a trailer indicative of a film that could fall on either side of the line and even that rescheduling scenario, which is the kind of thing that rarely spells much more than trouble. After struggling for about a half hour to get into the film (Luhrmann's usual largesse really takes some getting used to when married with 1920s New York), it settled in and a simple fact took hold: it takes a lot to ruin a story this great. F. Scott Fitzgerald keeps it on an even enough keel, I think.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Grigris.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Grigris."

Credit: Pili Films

Cannes Check 2013: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's 'Grigris'

Continuing our cheat sheet for the Cannes Competition

(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun with "Grisgris.")

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<p>Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are together again and HOLY&nbsp;CRAP&nbsp;THAT DUDE'S&nbsp;EYES&nbsp;ARE&nbsp;GLOWING!</p>

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are together again and HOLY CRAP THAT DUDE'S EYES ARE GLOWING!

Credit: Universal Pictures

New teaser poster for Pegg and Frost in 'World's End' finally reveals... something?

This might be the last moment we have questions as the campaign kicks in

Okay, there's Simon Pegg. And next to him, that's Nick Frost. Good. Great. That's exactly what I want. And there's Edgar Wright's name, and a meteor in the sky, and… people… lots of people… with glowing blue eyes.

I now know about 100% more about "The World's End" than I did five minutes ago, and Tuesday, when the trailer for the film arrives online, I suspect we're in for a glut of new information and a much better sense of what we're getting from the film.

Evidently, Edgar screened the trailer the other night for people at the CapeTown Film Festival in Los Angeles, and swore everyone there to secrecy. It's been pretty successful, all things considered, too, because I haven't seen anyone overtly giving anything away. I'm very excited that we're this close to the release. It's a long ride that these three guys have been on from the first time I saw their work to now, and they've all had such great success in that time that it feels like a real treat to see them come back together on their terms to make this film, which feels like a big deal, and round out something that started as such a off-the-radar personal little independent thing.

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