Chuck Hagel weathered quite the storm from his fellow Republicans during his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense. But part of the debate strewn about in those eight hours pertained to something very much at the fore of discussion in this year's documentary feature race.
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I'm not quite sure why this has to be a two-night, very special event, but here we are again with "The Bachelor." I'm trying to sort out what could possibly justify a two-part episode. Could it be that ABC just shoved two episodes of this series into one week and tried to sugar coat it as "very special"? Of course not! So maybe the other girls actually eat Tierra in a frenzy, driven to cannibalistic insanity by this overly dramatic, man-hogging manipulator. Hey, these girls are getting angry, so I can't rule it out.
A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I read a book about a Native American princess who controls invisible forest animals...
I posted my review of the new season of "Smash" this morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the changes made by Josh Safran and company? If you were a fan last spring, did you enjoy these tweaks? If you were just hate-watching by the end, was this an improvement? (And do you want the show to improve?) Were you happy to have Jennifer Hudson around for a bit? Did you think her duet with Katharine McPhee did a good job of showcasing both "Idol" alums? Do you like the new musical, and did you find Jimmy charming or just a complete jerk?
I imagine there will be some rubbernecking for tonight, even among those of you who didn't like the show last season. Was there enough here to make you want to stick around?
Have at it.
For an actor who hasn't courted much publicity in recent years, Robert De Niro suddenly appears to be everywhere at once. Yesterday, in addition to attending the Academy's official nominees luncheon, he showed up at Grauman's Chinese Theater to have his hands and footprints cast in the ceremonial cement of many a Hollywood legend. That evening, meanwhile, the American Cinematheque kicked off a three-day restrospective of De Niro's work with a screening of his current nomination vehicle, "Silver Linings Playbook" -- followed by a Q&A with the actor, introduced by Harvey Weinstein himself.
A review of tonight's "The Mindy Project" coming up just as soon as I contest a jaywalking ticket...
A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I panic moonwalk away from you...
I'm not sure this is exactly breaking news so much as it's a confirmation of what they've been saying since the Disney deal was originally announced.
Yes… they are making stand-alone films in the "Star Wars" universe. Yes, they will feature characters you already know. Yes, Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan are working on them. All of this has been reported already.
This is what we have to look forward to for the next few years. We're going to end up breathlessly reporting the same few things over and over in an absence of new information, just because each and every mention of "Star Wars" is a bonanza of SEO magic. And why not? "Star Wars" fans are out there frantically searching for new information. We've probably run ten or twelve stories about the series since the Disney deal was announced, and I've got a podcast going up sometime today with a ton of "Star Wars" conversation at the center of it.
As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Best Urban Contemporary Album nominees:
“Fortune,” Chris Brown
“Kaleidoscope Dream,” Miguel
“Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
WHO’S MISSING: Lots of folks. Usher's“Looking 4 Myself,” for one. At this point, you may be asking yourself why are there only three nominees? According to Recording Academy rules, a category must receive at least 40 entries for five recordings to receive nominations. If the category receives between 25-39, then only three recordings receive nominations. Maybe the labels applying were as confused about the difference between Best Urban Contemporary Album, a new category this year, and Best R&B Album as I am. For example, Anthony Hamilton’s “Back to Love” and R. Kelly’s “Write Me Back” are up for Best R&B Album. To complicate matters, Chris Brown won Best R&B Album two years ago. According to the description, Best Urban Contemporary Album goes to a work that “includes more contemporary elements of R&B” and may also elements of other musical forms.
THE PLAYERS: In case you missed it, two of the nominees, Chris Brown and Frank Ocean got in a little dust-up at a Los Angeles recording studio last week, so this has now turned into a bit of a grudge match. Brown, who last won in 2011 for “F.A.M.E.,” didn’t have as much success with “Fortune,” whereas Miguel’s single, “Adorn,” from “Kaleidoscope Dreams,” has spent 20 weeks atop Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
THE ODDS: In a just world, this is a race between Miguel and Ocean’s albums, both of which are far superior to Brown’s “Fortune.” Both “Kaleidoscope Dream” and “Channel Orange” are career-making albums and creative tours de force, but Ocean has the greater awareness across multiple genres.
THE WINNER: “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
Bruno Mars keeps it simple for the video for current single, “When I Was Your Man.”
The gorgeous ballad is a highlight on Mars’ former chart-topping sophomore album, “ Unorthodox Jukebox.”
[More after the jump...]
Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, the Postal Service, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will headline this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival.
The alternative music festival takes place at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash., May 24-27.
The line-up also includes Sigur Ros, The xx, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Imagine Dragons, Grimes, Built to Spill and Alt-J, among others.
An internet pre-sale starts Feb. 6, with tickets going on sale to the general public on Feb. 9. Four-day passes are $337.50 and includes camping and parking.
For more information, go here.
In other festival news, Phoenix will headline Maryland's Sweetlife Festival, which takes place May 11 at the Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia. Other acts on the bill include Kendrick Lamar, Passion Pit, Solange and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)
There is a key change in the way the Best Animated and Live Action Shorts, as well as the Best Documentary Feature categories will be decided. Members will receive screeners of all nominees and the voting will be opened up to the entire membership, and the honor system will be used, as it is with every other category, as to members actually seeing the films in play and voting accordingly. No more showing up at special screenings and proving you saw them by signing in, at least with these categories.
This could be huge in a category like Best Animated Short, where big studio productions often lose out to smaller, more artful fare because those voting are usually animators very interested in the product. This is why it's been a while since Pixar has won here, for instance, and this year, it'll be all the more crucial, because three of the nominees are involved with big companies.
The nominees are…