Latest Blog Posts

The Architects talk 'Border Wars' album and comic book... and crowdfunding

The Architects talk 'Border Wars' album and comic book... and crowdfunding

When is it not OK to crowd-fund using Kickstarter or Indigogo?

Releasing an album in what's considered a traditional rock album cycle sometimes doesn't make sense. For the teeming numbers of lost or forgotten rock records -- decent, independently-released ones -- it doesn't work at all. Some projects are too special to fall into the 2-3 year, 2-tour support, single-video-radio-album-wash-repeat. Under the folkloric, ambiguous wisdom of "spend money to make money," there will expenditures without enough knowledge from the fans' part to see revenue at the end.

Kansas City band The Architects have created a "high-concept" soundtrack album and accompanying five-episode comic book "Border Wars," and found it high time they experimented with crowd-funding. After five studio album releases and high-visibility stints with My Chemical Romance, Flogging Molly and the Warped Tour, the Architects culled the opinions of their own fans to develop an Indiegogo model and self-sustaining execution that seemed realistic (and wouldn't make their base wretch).

"Doing more creative work more often makes a lot of sense to me with respect to sustainability," frontman Brandon Phillips told me in our email interview. "That way you are entering into an ongoing conversation with your fans or supporters instead of showing up for a booty call once a year."

This week, "Border Wars" reached its kick-off $10,000 goal. Interested parties can still preorder a hard copy of the comic and album... for half a day more. Below, Phillips gives his opinion on comics, on when it's NOT OK to crowd-fund and on where Justin Bieber's records are actually being made.

Read Full Post


Credit: ABC

'Scandal' recap: Fitz burns a bridge on 'A Woman Scorned'

Mellie doesn't blink, but what does this mean for the presidency?

I'll admit that "Scandal" often loses me when it becomes a love letter to screwing around with a married man (I know there are many impassioned supporters of Fitzlivia, but just because he's POTUS doesn't make it okay). When they are "on" in their on-again-off-again Olivia and Fitz share many tortured, passionate moments, and the dialogue, while earnestly delivered, starts to sound like it's been ripped from a bad romance novel. But sometimes, I don't mind so much.

Read Full Post
"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' reunion: Is Michelle a mean girl or is Daniel a pain?

On the reunion show, old tensions flare after a nice season
I stand by my belief that the 11th season was the nicest ever on "Project Runway." I'm not so sure about the reunion. Though hostess Zanna Roberts Rassi tried to keep everything mostly on the positive side, handing out hugs and compliments, I'm not so sure the designers were quite as lovey-dovey as she wanted them to be.
The first inkling of a deep-seated division came when Kate made a point of apologizing to Amanda for lumping her in with Layana and Michelle as one of the "mean girls" on the show. Even after Zani gave her an opening to retract the whole mean girls indictment, Kate made it very clear that she only feels bad for saying that about Amanda. The other two? Not so much.
Read Full Post
<p>Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in &quot;The Immigrant.&quot;</p>

Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in "The Immigrant."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Cannes Check 2013: James Gray's 'The Immigrant'

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, James Gray with "The Immigrant.")

Read Full Post
<p>Dwight (Rainn Wilson)&nbsp;celebrates on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Dwight (Rainn Wilson) celebrates on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'The Office' - 'Livin' the Dream'

Andy quits, Dwight gets an offer, Jim stays close to home and Angela hits rock bottom

A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I stop thrusting at you...

Read Full Post
<p>Get ready for lots of this awesomeness.</p>

Get ready for lots of this awesomeness.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Check out this massive 'Pacific Rim' banner

Go big or go extinct is right...

If you followed along with our summer movie countdown over the last few weeks, you saw that Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim" was #1 on the list. It beat out stiff competition from the likes of "Iron Man 3," "Man of Steel" and "Star Trek Into Darkness," and that's no easy feat given that those are all films derived from intellectual properties with built-in fan bases. "Pacific Rim" is brand new, thought up out of clear blue sky from the mind of screenwriter Travis Beacham. That it was made at all is already a huge win. That excitement is at such a fever pitch is gravy.

My hunch is that the freshness of the concept could hold it back a bit at the box office, though. That's just how these things work. It's part of the "formula" that goes into the Hollywood machine that, ergo, cranks out familiar cookie-cutter product year in and year out. But of course I hope my hunch is wrong, and come what may, nothing will top "Pacific Rim" for sheer scale this year, of that you can be sure.

So it's understandable, then, that Warner Bros. would cook up a bit of promotion that attempts to match that scale. Indeed, the tagline of the film is "Go big or go extinct," and a new banner promotion embodies that spirit, to say the least. I mean…does this thing exist outside of a JPEG? Can you put it on a wall? It's HUGE! If I was Beacham I'd have a room in my house dedicated to just wrapping this thing around all four walls. It's a dazzling piece of promo art to whet the appetite as we await the film's release.

Read Full Post
<p>On &quot;American Idol,&quot;&nbsp;who went home:&nbsp;Amber or Kree?</p>

On "American Idol," who went home: Amber or Kree?

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 4, take two: Results

With the Save out of the way, who got eliminated, and who qualified for a hometown visit?

It's time for another "American Idol" pinch-hit "recap" by me (Dan will be back next week), and I use the quote marks because while there are many things I would do for my friend Dan Fienberg, I will not sit through an "American Idol" results show. But if you want to know who went home — and discuss who has the best chance to win of the remaining three — click right on through, and I'll step out of the way as quickly as possible...

So as I blindly predicted last night, Amber Holcomb remained in the bottom two again (this time with Kree replacing Candice beside her), and went home when last week's votes and this week's were combined. Based solely on Wednesday night's performances, that seemed the correct result. Based on the season as a whole, though, do you feel Amber should have gone before Kree, Angie and Candice? And if you had to put money on one of the remaining three to become the show's first female winner since Jordin Sparks, who would it be?

Apologies for the intrusion. Dan is returning very soon — promise.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Iron&nbsp;Man 3&quot;</p>

"Iron Man 3"

Credit: Marvel Studios

Tell us what you thought of 'Iron Man 3'

Tony Stark is back for more this weekend

I'm struggling with using the "Iron Man Three" title, I just noticed. That's how it's written in the film's credits, but is that going to take hold? I'm also curious why the choice. Anyway, way off on a tangent here, so let's get down to brass tacks. Marvel's latest hits US theaters today after already crossing $300 million worldwide. It is likely to dominate the summer box office with ease (I'm betting "Man of Steel" won't touch these numbers and "Pacific Rim" will probably struggle more than people are willing to admit). The reviews are in and they're mostly positive.

We've had tons of coverage here at HitFix, most of it over at Drew McWeeny's Motion/Captured blog. He loved the movie. I was more reserved. We can all agree it's a great way to kick-start the season. If you want something a little more low key, I recommend "The Iceman," starring upcoming Superman baddie Michael Shannon. But if it's octane and high concept you're after, this is your best bet -- though ironically enough, it's not a movie built on set pieces so much as character. (Our picks for Robert Downey Jr.'s best characterizations can be found here.) In any case, when you get around to seeing the film, head on back here with your thoughts. And feel free to vote in the poll below.

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from the &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

A scene from the "Parks and Recreation" season finale.

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' co-creator: 'Fairly confident' about renewal

How did Leslie's new job make the season more political? How did they decide on the secret pregnancy?

"Parks and Recreation" just concluded its fifth season. I reviewed the finale here, and I emailed co-creator Mike Schur a bunch of questions about the finale, season 5 as a whole, the stories he laid the groundwork for in season 6 — which he feels "fairly confident" will happen — and a lot more, coming up just as soon as I convince the school board that napkins are a vegetable...

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;star Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope.</p>

"Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope.

Credit: NBC

Season finale review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Are You Better Off?'

Leslie's city council victory lap doesn't go as planned, and Bert Macklin comes out of retirement

"Parks and Recreation" just concluded its fifth season. I interviewed Mike Schur about the year, and have a review of the finale coming up just as soon as we lose the weight of 100 pregnant manatees...

Read Full Post
"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'Vampire Diaries' recap: Is Bad Elena banished in 'She's Come Undone'?

Katherine strikes an unexpected deal for the tombstone

Before the episode began, I was wondering if we'd be seeing much of Silas, or if his nasty theatrics would be stuck on a back burner until we're a little closer to the season finale on May 16. The good news is that this week, we had a little less of Silas, so that's a relief. The bad news? We had just enough of him to do some damage. Between him and Bad Elena, it was a pretty stressful week for the good people (and vampires) of Mystic Falls. And, you know, us. 

Read Full Post
Watch a very very NSFW Flaming Lips video for 'You Lust'

Watch a very very NSFW Flaming Lips video for 'You Lust'

Not sexy, not anything: Wayne Coyne's junk

Wayne Coyne has fixations, and Flaming Lips co-member Steven Drodz says as much.

"Something must have happened to [Coyne] when he was eight or nine that completely zapped his brain. Wayne goes through phases of working with different types of imagery. In 1989, it was Jesus Christ and God. But the vaginas never really go away," he told Vice, which premiered the extremely not-safe-for-work video to "You Lust" today.

As we've noted before, there's a baffling amount of nudity in the Lips' output these days, with "lust"-death connections all over buzz-killing album "The Terror." "You Lust" is its crown jewel, with a clock time of around 13 minutes. This video is only about four. Guess Coyne and his guest can't have wires connected to their own jewels for too long.

"The nudity in the video isn’t glamorous or sexy. It’s very stark and disturbing. I think that’s a bold move. There are some shots when you go, “That’s an interesting angle to shoot a flaccid penis from...” But Wayne isn’t shy about being naked," he said, shortly before a minor launch into women's pubic hair grooming habits.

I'm not anti-nudity. Sexual violence is worth talking about. But as some short-form art, it feels yet incomplete, more of an exploitative portrait in the theme of lust.

All I'm trying to say is don't try this at home.

Read Full Post