Latest Blog Posts

<p>Lorraine Warren was proud to appear at WonderCon to discuss 'The Conjuring'</p>

Lorraine Warren was proud to appear at WonderCon to discuss 'The Conjuring'

Credit: HitFix

Lorraine Warren speaks to the true story behind this summer's 'The Conjuring'

Want to see who Vera Farmiga plays in the movie?

Whether or not I believe Lorraine Warren is not the point.

This past weekend, I moderated a panel at WonderCon that previewed both "Pacific Rim" and "The Conjuring," and when I first spoke to Warner Bros. about doing that, they mention that there was a chance Lorraine Warren would be part of the panel. Growing up in the '70s, I was aware of her name because of her involvement with the investigation around "The Amityville Horror," and I remember hearing her name-checked as a partial inspiration for the Beatrice Straight character in "Poltergeist" as well.

Last year, I saw a documentary called "My Amityville Horror" that looks at the adult life of Daniel Lutz, the youngest kid from the family that was the focus of the famous story. He's grown up with people always knowing that about him, and it's obviously left a very deep mark on who he is as a man. Lutz struck me as a clenched fist, a guy who is angry and sad and frustrated and unable to fix himself, and part of the issues that define his life deal with the way people perceive him.

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<p>Kree Harrison from Wednesday night's &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Kree Harrison from Wednesday night's "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 7: Results - Plus Carrie Underwood and Casey James

Will Lazaro Arbos go home or will the judges use the Save?

It seems like a good night for a Judges' Save, doesn't it? 

I could be wrong, but I've got a feeling.

Otherwise, it's going to be a full hour just to watch Casey James [Remember him?] and bid farewell to Lazaro Arbos, which would almost be anti-climactic, wouldn't it? 

Click through for the full "Idol" Thursday (April 4) adventure...

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<p>Roger Ebert receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame</p>

Roger Ebert receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Roger Ebert on my favorite movies

Reading through his thoughts on my personal top 10

I always found that my taste tended to line up quite a bit with Roger Ebert's, particularly when it came to our favorite movies of all time. His list of 10 best ever overlapped with mine in three instances, while other films he loved -- such as "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" -- were certainly among those I held sacred.

With the unfortunate news of his passing this afternoon, I thought I'd go back and read his thoughts on the films that popped up on my list, which I published for the first time last May. Many of them were a part of his "Great Films" series and soaking up his insight seemed like the best way to remember him today. Check out blurbs on each, linked to his respective pieces, below.

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<p>An Academy gathering.</p>

An Academy gathering.

Credit: AP Photo/Frank Wiese

More details on Academy's unusual May membership meeting

Focus will be on what AMPAS does 'the other 364 days of the year'

When the news landed two days ago that a meeting of the entire AMPAS membership had been scheduled in May, with "the future of the Academy" as its theme, Kris speculated that it likely wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. "One should not expect major issues like the number of Best Picture nominees or the Academy's calendar to be on the table in any significant way," he reminded us. "Those decisions are left to the elected Board of Governors."

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<p>Cee-Lo rocks the crowd at Coachella 2011.</p>

Cee-Lo rocks the crowd at Coachella 2011.

Credit: AP Photo

Coachella/Stagecoach promoters reach deal to stay in Indio through 2030

Goldenvoice's pact allows for two more festivals at Empire Polo Grounds

After threatening to pull out of Indio last year over raised fees, Coachella promoters Golden Voice have now agreed to a deal with the California city that could keep both Coachella and its sister festival Stagecoach on Indio’s Empire Polo Grounds through 2030.

As part of the deal, according to the Los Angeles Times, AEG subsidiary Golden Voice will more than double the city’s share of per-ticket revenue starting next year, when it will leap from $2.33 per ticket to $5.01 per ticket.

Goldenvoice’s proposal, which was unanimously accepted by Indio’s Planning Commission, includes the plan to expand the current three weekends of festivals (two Coachella and one for Stagecoach) to five if Goldenvoice wishes to. If they are added, the two additional festivals would happen in the fall.

Coachella has been held on the Empire Polo Grounds since it started in 1999. It expanded to two weekends last year. Stagecoach rolled into town in 2007.

The three festivals brought in $89.1 million in 2012 to the local economy according to the Direct Management Group,

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<p>Roger Ebert, seen here with his wife Chaz in 2010, was an inspiration both professionally and personally.</p>

Roger Ebert, seen here with his wife Chaz in 2010, was an inspiration both professionally and personally.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

My weekend in Champaign-Urbana with Roger Ebert

I look back at the moment I realized I could write criticism for a living

Was it really eleven years ago?

I don't spend much time on jealousy when it comes to the world of film-related events because I am aware that I have been blessed with dozens of amazing experiences that other people would want to have. There's one particular experience that I have kept as a personal memory until now, and I feel like if there's ever going to be a "right" moment to share it, this is it.

I'm sure you'll read many pieces today about Roger Ebert and what he meant to film criticism. I know that he was one of the first two people who helped me understand that films were more than just stories but actual art worth engaging on a deeper level. I first saw "Sneak Previews," his old-school PBS show, when I was seven, and I remember watching clips from John Carpenter's "Halloween" as Gene and Roger discussed the film and being positively terrified just at that glimpse of Michael Myers. While Roger and Gene remained part of my critical diet as I grew more and more interested in film, they were not the only critics I listened to or liked, and as time passed and their show continued to change, it became less essential to me as a viewer. Part of that was because I started to realize how often I disagreed with the two of them, and at a certain point in my younger life, I thought you were supposed to read critics you agreed with, a belief I thankfully no longer hold.

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<p>The late, great, Roger Ebert.</p>

The late, great, Roger Ebert.

Credit: AP

The balcony is closed: Roger Ebert, 1942-2013

The late, great movie critic was an enormous influence on film, and criticism, and also a great human being

Cliches are generally born of a truth that gets repeated over and over until everyone tires of it. A cliche you will be reading and hearing a lot today — and that is true in every case, including mine — is that Roger Ebert, who died today at 70 after a long battle with cancer, was the direct inspiration for people to get into the criticism game.

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<p>Roger Ebert</p>

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert mattered

The legendary film critic leaves an invaluable legacy

Legendary Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert stepped away from his perch but two days ago. Calling it a "leave of presence," he wrote that he was taking time away from the usual to work on a number of projects, and also noted a recurrence of the cancer that he had already fought off once (which silenced his voice in speech, but certainly not in print). It was as if it was the job that was keeping him here, the work at hand. And so today comes the news: Roger Ebert is dead.

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"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"

 "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"

Credit: NBC

Listen: CulturePop Podcast No. 8 - Leno vs. Fallon, 'Buckwild,' Justin Timberlake and more

We talk about whether reality TV needs to cast more responsibly

We're back at it again for CulturePop, and this week there was a lot to talk about -- some of which happened right before our podcast. How exciting is that? Here's the line-up of the many things we discussed:

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<p>A scene from &quot;The Great Gatsby.&quot;</p>

A scene from "The Great Gatsby."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan up the glamour in latest 'Great Gatsby' trailer

Trailer also features new cuts from Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey and Florence Welch

I was already eager to see Baz Luhrmann's take on "The Great Gatsby" when it was scheduled for a December release last year, so at this point my impatience could hardly be greater. As a die-hard Baz Luhrmann defender -- yes, I liked "Australia" -- I remain more curious about this 3D spectacle than any other summer release, which is not to say I'm necessarily expecting an unqualified success.

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'Great Gatsby' soundtrack tracklist: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Sia, Florence + The Machine

'Great Gatsby' soundtrack tracklist: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Sia, Florence + The Machine

Watch the trailer featuring 'Back to Black' cover and new Lana Del Rey

Baz Luhrmann's forthcoming "Great Gatsby" film adaptation will boast some of the A-list-iest of A-lister actors, and the same goes for its soundtrack. Jay-Z was roped in as executive producer and supervisor on the film's soundtrack, so as you can imagine, he showed up, his wife Beyonce showed up and new songs from big names like Florence + The Machine made the cut.

A new trailer for the film dropped this morning, and it includes Beyonce and Andre 3000 previously confirmed cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black"; a fresh track from Lana Del Rey called "Young and Beautiful"; and Florence's new "Over the Love." "Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful," she sings. (Ugh, Lana.)

Bryan Ferry and his Orchestra show up twice, including for one take on Bey and Hov's "Crazy in Love" with Immaculate Noise favorite Emeli Sande taking the lead.

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<p>Rihanna on her 777 Tour</p>

Rihanna on her 777 Tour

Watch: 5 things you don't see in the 'Rihanna 777' teaser for her May 6 TV special

Where's the streaking Australian journalist?

Rihanna gives fans a very short (17 seconds’ worth) teaser of what to expect from her upcoming “Rihanna 777” tour TV special, which airs on Fox on May 6.

The show chronicles her November promotional tour for "Unapologetic,"  during which she performed seven shows in seven countries in seven days, and was, indeed, very unapologetic for keeping folks waiting for hours time and time again.

[More after the jump...]

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