Latest Blog Posts

<p>Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz on &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz on "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Review: 'The Mindy Project' - 'Triathlon'

Mindy ponders a religious conversion, Danny tries to avoid his ex and the doctors compete with the midwives

A review of tonight's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as we spend eternity together playing doubles tennis with Abe Lincoln and Tupac...

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<p>&quot;New Girl&quot;&nbsp;offers another college flashback with Nick (Jake Johnson)&nbsp;and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).</p>

"New Girl" offers another college flashback with Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Virgins'

The gang competes to see whose first time was the most humiliating

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I freak you toward the bed...

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<p>John Williams is the chocolate to the peanut butter of 'Star Wars'</p>

John Williams is the chocolate to the peanut butter of 'Star Wars'

Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne

JJ Abrams suggests John Williams will score 'Star Wars Episode VII'

Also featured this week in 'Duh' magazine: water is wet

There are times you want to shake things up and try something new, and there are times you want to be part of a tradition and do things a certain way, and finding the balance between those two impulses are a big part of successfully remaking any franchise film or figuring out how to add new chapters to something that is already in progress.

For example, I'm looking forward to hearing what Hans Zimmer does with the score for "Man Of Steel." The hint we got of it in the most recent trailer for the film was enough to make me think he managed to do something that is genuinely different, somehow setting aside the huge iconic influence of the John Williams "Superman" score. That's not easy to do. I think Michael Giacchino managed to craft a great score for "Star Trek" in 2009, and watching the sequel I was struck anew by just how great and memorable his theme really is. It's not often I walk out of a new film these days with a score stuck in head, instantly evocative, impossible to shake.

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<p>Kenny Chesney's &quot;Life on a Rock&quot;</p>

Kenny Chesney's "Life on a Rock"

Album Review: Kenny Chesney's 'Life on A Rock'

Genial, easy-going album hits just the right notes

Kenny Chesney has always had one foot planted as surely  in the Caribbean as in Nashville. On “Life On A Rock,” out today, he’s steeped in that casual, relaxed feel that the island sand and surf bring.

Instead of party anthems (he’s given us plenty of those already), the songs on “Life On A Rock” sound like they came about during those hours in the day that lend themselves to quiet reflection, whether they be at sunrise or sundown, or “It’s That Time Of Day,” as Chesney sings. The songs on “Life On a Rock” are about what happens between life’s big moments.

The album opens with first single, “Pirate Flag,” a chugging, derivative tune that sounds  a little too much like Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"about trading the city life for life on a boat and an island. It’s the one and only remotely rocking song on the pleasing 10-tune set.

The other nine tunes are just like the island’s inhabitants: these songs are in no hurry to get anywhere and are more than willing to go with the flow. Watches and schedules are for losers when you’re living in paradise.

The album is, for the most part, quiet and reflective in a way that Chesney has often hinted at on certain songs on past albums, but has never devoted a full album to such thoughts.  They aren’t always deep thoughts, to be sure, but the songs on “Life On A Rock” are so thoroughly laid back and  easy going that you’ll feel your blood pressure drop just by listening to them. However, that’s not to stay they ramble. It’s quite the opposite. Most of the tracks here feel concise, many of them bolstered by beautiful guitar work. “Lindy” offers a portrait of everyone’s favorite beach bum, who’s never leaving the Island. Willie Nelson joins Chesney on the lilting “Coconut Tree,” a song about being “high in a coconut tree.” Take it however you want to, folks.  The Wailers join in on reggae tune “Spread The Love.” The autobiographical "When I See This Bar" has a Mellencamp, rootsy feel.

the album ends with “Happy On The Hey Now (A Song for Kristi),” a lovely, spare goodbye to a departed friend who loved dancing on the bow of the boat. It’s a moving elegy that anyone who has lost a loved one, even landlubbers, can appreciate. The same stands for the rest of the album.

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

A scene from "Heli."

Credit: Le Pacte

Cannes Check 2013: Amat Escalante's 'Heli'

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, Amat Escalante with "Heli.") 

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<p>&quot;Lucky Guy&quot;</p>

"Lucky Guy"

Credit: AP Photo

Tom Hanks lands a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut in 'Lucky Guy'

'Kinky Boots' and 'Golden Boy' led the way with musicals and plays respectively

I kind of feel like I can't let a year lived in New York go without some commentary on the Tony Awards, which we rarely really get into around here. Alas, looking across the nominees, I see I've missed a great many of the top players so far. But I'll get to them. At least I have a bit of a cheat sheet now.

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<p>Woody Allen and his cast on the set of &quot;Midnight in&nbsp;Paris&quot;</p>

Woody Allen and his cast on the set of "Midnight in Paris"

Credit: Sony Classics

Woody Allen heads back to France with Colin Firth and Emma Stone

Will he find fertile ground as he did with 'Midnight in Paris?'

The last time Woody Allen went to France, the result wasn't too bad. 2011's "Midnight in Paris" scored a number of Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and even a surprise bid for Best Production Design (formerly Best Art Direction). Allen himself won his third writing Oscar to date, and his fourth overall, for penning the script, beating out stiff competition from Best Picture winner "The Artist."

Well it seems he's heading back for his next film, which will go into production this year. There is no title, naturally, as of yet, but the film will star Colin Firth and Emma Stone, the latter a natural fit and a rather obvious choice, given Allen's penchant for scooping up popular young ingenues for his films. He will once again be collaborating with cinematographer Darius Kondji, production designer Anne Seibel and costume designer Sonia Grande on the film, all of whom worked with him on "Midnight."

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<p>Tony Stark gets us started on&nbsp;Friday</p>

Tony Stark gets us started on Friday

Credit: Marvel Studios

What summer 2013 movie are you most looking forward to seeing?

We've wrapped up our preview and the season gets underway this weekend

So "Iron Man 3" launches the summer movie season this Friday. Drew flipped for the movie. I...wasn't so enthused. I loved the Shane Black flourishes and I admire the film's balls for doing what it does with the Mandarin character (no spoilers). I like the idea of boiling it down to more of a Tony Stark film than an Iron Man film. I enjoyed myself. But I had issues with the central villain (Guy Pearce), I felt like the self-containment missed an opportunity to push the overarching story forward and I thought it danced unsuccessfully with fallout from "The Avengers." (I am, though, very glad to see the film brought such a huge economic boost to North Carolina.)

Call me mixed, I guess. But that's my one-off. Nevertheless, it's a great film to kick off the season, even if it ranked way down at #20 on HitFix's big countdown. When I look at that list of 25 movies, though, I have to say, it makes me feel really proud to be a part of the site as we've been the last nearly two years. The variety is superb, a wonderful cross-section of the team's taste and sensibilities. It's just the right mixture of blockbuster and counter-programming fare and I think it's a great primer for the season ahead.

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<p>Iggy and the Stooges</p>

Iggy and the Stooges

Credit: David Raccuglia

Exclusive: The Stooges' producer James Williamson on Iggy Pop's new album

The Stooges were 'completely unsuccessful'

When guitarist James Williamson left Iggy and the Stooges in the mid-70s, he never thought he’d reunite with charismatic front man Iggy Pop and drummer Scott Asheton, but following bassist/guitarist Ron Asheton’s death in 2009, Iggy called Williamson and asked him to rejoin the band. “They were fresh out of Stooges,” Williamson grimly jokes.

Post-Stooges, Williamson, who called Iggy “Ig,” had become an electrical engineer and was Sony’s VP of Technology Standards. Though he initially declined the offer, he eventually said yes and has been touring with the Stooges again since the fall of 2009.

Williamson produced Iggy & The Stooges’  “Ready To Die,” out today, which reunites the same line-up (minus Ron Asheton, of course, and with Mike Watt on bass), as Iggy and the Stooges’ 1973 proto-punk masterpiece, the  David Bowie-mixed “Raw Power.”

Williamson talked to HitFix about recording with the band for the first time in decades, what it takes to produce Iggy Pop, and what it’s like to be on stage with the band.

Is there any way you could have imagined that you would be making a new Stooges record in 2013?


No, no idea.I had given up on The Stooges by the time we broke up [in] ’75. Ig and I did a demo album [in 1977] called “Kill City” after the band broke up.  I produced “New Values” for him a couple of years later and, after all that, when I gave up the music business, I just considered the whole thing to be completely unsuccessful. You know nobody liked us, nobody wanted to buy our records and nobody wanted us to play for them, so it was like,  “Well, OK, what should I do when I grow up?”

Was Ron Asheton’s death the catalyst for getting back together? How long had it been since you and Iggy had spoken?

After “New Values,” he did an album called “Soldier” [in 1980] and I produced about a third of that record. Then we had a huge falling out over a set of issues as people frequently do making albums and that was it. We didn’t talk for at least 20-25 years after that and, mostly at that point, it was just kind of like publishing issues and things where  you needed to touch base with the other person, but we weren’t chatting or anything like that. It was kind of a little bit out-of-the-blue kind of thing. I think both of us were very careful about the relationship going forward because neither one of us has another 25 years to go without talking to each other, so we won’t pick any fights.

Were you surprised when he called you?


The first thing he did was inform me about Ronnie’s death. I’d heard that through another channel so I wasn’t surprised by that, but it was nice of him to give me the courtesy of the call. Then kind of from there, we continued to have some on-and off-talks and part of it was the idea would I consider playing again? We had long discussions about that. I really hadn’t in my wildest dreams thought I would do that, even if asked and so at first it just didn’t feel right, but the longer I thought about it, it kind of was one of those things where they were fresh out of Stooges, so it was like I was the last guy walking and I think Ig knew that I could do it. It was just a matter of giving me a chance to do it.

What’s the key to producing Iggy Pop?


(laughs)  That’s a trade secret. No, you just gotta be patient and Iggy is actually a pro, in a way. I mean, he’s made a lot of albums, he knows what works for him and what doesn’t work for him and I guess I learned in “Soldier” to try to be a little more flexible with him and to basically let him be the boss of his vocals. I’m very respectful of his ideas about his vocals. That said, I also want to make sure we got the best sound we could out of him so I put what I consider to be the best vocal mic around; it’s a Brauner VM1, So I made sure we used that on almost everything and the rest was up to him. He stepped up and did his vocals.

You write the music for this album and then Iggy puts on the lyrics. Is that the same way you've always written?

Yeah, it is. I don’t know what it is between us that makes this all work but it’s always been that way and so I’ve often said that  it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for me to be in another band because the thing is that I write kind of crazy music and there’s almost nobody that I know of who can make sense out of it as far as the song goes, but that particular individual can. 

What did you think when you heard “DDs," a lecherous salute to breasts?


(laughs)  I tell you, what can you say about that? That’s the, I don’t know, the primeval core of every teenage boy, right?  Talk about striking a chord. I mean, it’s a song that everybody can either object to or rally behind. We’re wondering if there’s a certain type of movie or maybe in a Playtex ad where this could wind up.

Iggy’s talking about the poor economy on “Job” or the lack of gun control or the ghosts in the band on “The Departed,” and then in comes this song.

It’s true, it’s true. You hit on the thing that I like the most about the lyrics on the album: Basically he’s critiquing social issues on this album and that’s kind of what we were doing on “Raw Power.”  “Search and Destroy” is all about the Vietnam War, so here we are again in 2013 and he’s got gun control, immigration, he’s involved in all sorts of topical issues.

What did you think when The Stooges reunited in 2003 without you?


There’s lots of little side stories to all this and one of the big ones is that when Ig and I reformed the Stooges after breaking up in 1971, we hadn’t intended to reform the Stooges at all. We went over to London and we were going to start a new band, but we couldn’t find anyone over there that we liked to play with, so we called the Asheton Brothers, so we moved Ronnie over to bass.

David Bowie, who mixed “Raw Power,”  was mad that you brought them over, right?

I think not Bowie so much, but Bowie’s management [which had begun managing Iggy]  always had the view of Iggy being the pop star so they were pissed even for him to bring me over there. When we multiplied it by bringing the Asheton brothers over, they didn’t think that was going to work.

But the point of the story is, they moved Ronnie to bass and he never really got over that, he never really liked it. He always wanted to be the guitar player. So you asked about 2003. I was just thinking, that is fantastic because not only do these guys get to play again, but Ronnie gets to play guitar again, so that’s what he always wanted to do. He was vindicated by all that as well.

You joined the band again in 2009. What is it like for you to be on stage with Iggy again?


Ah, it’s fun. It’s always been unpredictable. This is not an act. We’re kind of improvising on the run. We have a set that we do, of course, and the musicians are playing the numbers, but he’ll basically do anything to get over with the audience. I think there’s probably no other man or human alive that can even imagine doing some of the things that he’ll do. Being up there with him is really cool, but you gotta pay attention because first of all everything’s going fast and furious. If you lose concentration you’re screwed. Secondly he throws those mike stands all over the place and so occasionally, you might need to get out of the way pretty quick. I’ve actually been hit by one once, but luckily it was deflected off my guitar.

It must be really gratifying to see how “Raw Power” is now considered a classic. Everyone from Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain to The Smiths’ Johnny Marr embraced it as a seminal proto-punk album.

It’s been amazing. I usually joke that we always thought it was going to be a really successful album and it was... it just took a really long time (laughs). It’s a huge vindication for all of us. Finally getting into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a lot of people snicker at that, but we don’t. It’s industry recognition, which is something we never had, so coming back around and actually doing this new album, you know, it just feels like we kind of have come full circle and now we’re kind of doing victory laps at this age, but we’re still doing stuff that we like and it still sounds like us.

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

 "The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Orange County': Are you Team Alexis or Tamra?

Things get ugly at Tamra's dinner party, and Vicki is asked to pick sides

In theory, everyone attended Tamra's dinner party to celebrate the opening of her gym and watch a psychic clear the place of bad spirits. But man alive, the only really bad spirits in the place were the girls themselves, who could only stop screaming at one another long enough to misinterpret what everyone else was saying. 

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"America's Got Talent"

 "America's Got Talent"

Credit: NBC

Hanging out under the radar at 'America's Got Talent'

Heidi Klum and Mel B make a mark as tough but fair judges

Last week, a friend of mine called me with an offer. She had "line jumper" passes to watch a daytime filming of "America's Got Talent" and wanted to know if I'd like to join her. How could I not? It was a chance to see new judges Mel B (Scary Spice) and Heidi Klum in action. The auditions were being held at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, where there's hardly a bad seat in the house. There would be comedians, dancers, singers and God only knows who else, ready to be booed or applauded as necessary.

More importantly, I've been to lots of television tapings, but in a professional capacity. I'd been herded by publicists, stuck in press rooms, and tasked with chasing after talent (and, in the case of covering "American Idol" years ago, the moms and dads of said talent). The experience of being an audience member was one I hadn't had, not in a true sense, for years. So why not?

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<p>On &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother,&quot;&nbsp;Barney goes gambling during his bachelor party.</p>

On "How I Met Your Mother," Barney goes gambling during his bachelor party.

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'The Bro Mitzvah'

The gang invites the wrong Karate Kid to Barney's bachelor party

A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I talk about my night with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young...

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