Latest Blog Posts

Christoph Waltz is Jesus H. Christ in 'SNL' spoof 'Djesus Uncrossed'

Christoph Waltz is Jesus H. Christ in 'SNL' spoof 'Djesus Uncrossed'

A.O. scott says 'It's a less violent version of 'Passion of the Christ''

The race for best supporting actor is still up in the air, but one nominee was doing his best Saturday night to demonstrate his versatility to moviegoers and any academy members up past their bed timees watching "SNL." "Django Unchained's" Christoph Waltz was pretty fantastic in his inaugural hosting gig and one of the show's most memorable bits found Waltz spoofing his two most memorable movies to date, "Django" and his Oscar-winning "Inglourious Basterds."  The skit, which was shot in pseduo Tarantino style, has Waltz playing none other than Jesus H. Christ (the H is silent) in - you guessed it - "Jesus Uncrossed." For more on Waltz's "SNL" hosting performance check out Ryan McGee's blow by blow recap.

And if you haven't seen Taran Killam's Brad Pitt impression, well, enjoy the embedded video below...


Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables&quot;</p>

A scene from "Les Misérables"

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Les Misérables,' 'Brave,' 'Homeland' sound right to Cinema Audio Society

Is it clear sailing to a Best Sound Mixing Oscar for the musical?

Tom Hooper's musical adaptation "Les Misérables" picked up its first industry award win of the season (save the SAG prize to Anne Hathaway) tonight. It won the prize for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for live action motion pictures at the 49th annual Cinema Audio Society Awards. Production mixer Simon Hayes, re-recording mixers Andy Nelson and Mark Peterson, scoring mixer Jonathan Allen, ADR mixer Robert Edwards and foley mixer Pete Smith all shared in the prize, though it's just Hayes, Nelson and Paterson who are included in the film's Oscar nomination for Best Sound Mixing.

Which, speaking of the golden guy, this Best Picture-nominated musical would appear to have the prize all but sewn up now. After winning Best Sound at last weekend's BAFTA Awards and now this, the writing is just on the wall. I had a really good feeling about "Skyfall" at the Oscars, and it could still surprise in both sound categories there, honestly, but the fact is the Academy at large springs for a musical when there's one available: "Chicago," "Ray," "Dreamgirls," etc. And a Best Picture-nominated musical is all the more tempting.

Read Full Post
<p>Adele</p>

Adele

Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

Music Power Rankings: Mumford & Sons, Adele and Justin Timberlake top the list

Why does Ted Nugent make the tally?

1. Mumford & Sons: The British quartet accomplishes something the likes of  Bruce Springsteen, the Beach Boys and R.E.M. have never done by winning the Grammy for album of the year. In doing so, “Babel” towers over all over albums next week on the Billboard 200.

2. Adele: She doesn’t even have to put out new music to win a Grammy... or any award. We just want her to promise she’ll attend and give a hilariously candid acceptance speech.

3. Justin Timberlake:
After a six year absence, he and Jay-Z will tour stadiums this summer. That’s a lot of sexy.

4. The 55th annual Grammy Awards:
The show couldn’t top last year’s numbers, but still managed to score the second highest ratings in 20 years. Better yet: no one had to die for it to happen.

5. Harlem Shake: "Gangnam Style" meet the "Harlem Shake."  The king is dead, long live the king.

6. Eric Church: The Academy of Country Music Awards voters show their religion: Eric Church tops all artists with seven nominations.

7. Beyonce: With help from such high-powered friends as Oprah, her “Life Is But A Dream” HBO documentary, directed by her, gets a rousing premiere.

8. Lady Gaga
: One of touring’s most powerful new acts of the last decade has to cancel 21 dates in order to have hip surgery. Maybe she should change her name to Lady Dowager  (seriously, speedy recovery, LG).

9. Justin Bieber:
His fans unleash their wrath on Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney after he says the Biebs doesn’t deserve a Grammy. Some of them even spelled "drop dead” correctly.

10. Ted Nugent: He attended the State of the Union address and doesn’t turn to stone in the presence of a man he’s called “evil.” What a pity.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

"Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Argo,' 'Silver Linings,' 'Brave' and 'Breaking Bad' win ACE Eddie Awards

Affleck's film surges while Pixar prepares its sneak attack

It's been reiterated for months now that "Argo" and "Silver Linings Playbook" are the two films that are well-liked across the board in the Academy and the industry at large. Well, tonight, both films have triumphed at the America Cinema Editors's ACE Eddie Awards in the dramatic and comedic categories.

Read Full Post
Christoph Waltz and Fred Armisen on "Saturday Night Live"

Christoph Waltz and Fred Armisen on "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Christoph Waltz and Alabama Shakes

How will the "Django Unchained" star fare in Studio 8H?

Let’s face it, “Saturday Night Live” fans: 2013 hasn’t been kind to the show. We’ve had three not-really-that-good-at-all shows thus far, with the pieces never really coming together to produce a solid, nevermind stand-out, episode. Will Christoph Waltz be the unlikely savior? I say “unlikely” not because he isn’t talented, but because I’m sure there are a lot of people tuning in tonight. Those reading this recap will probably know of his recent roles in “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained”, but the average viewer more familiar with the oeuvre of last week’s host Justin Bieber? Hard to say.

 
Then again, the idea of choosing a host based on skill rather than fame is one I applaud. In every major role in an American film (yes, even including “The Green Hornet”), Waltz has brought a comedic edge to his intense performances. For him to end up a great host wouldn’t surprise me in the least, just as it wouldn’t surprise me to see musical guests Alabama Shakes tear the roof off of Studio 8H when they perform tonight. The law of averages states we’re in for a good show tonight. Then again, maybe “SNL” will just troll me and have Waltz play a character named “Ryan” in the latest installment of “The Californians”.
 
Read Full Post
'Beautiful Creatures' director Richard LaGravenese talks male protagonists, magic and sequels

'Beautiful Creatures' director Richard LaGravenese talks male protagonists, magic and sequels

The 'Fisher King' scribe's latest directing effort is now in theaters
An Oscar nominee for writing "The Fisher King," Richard LaGravenese has cultivated an ongoing reputation as a go-to source for cultivated adaptations of that the uncultivated might call "chick-lit," ranging from "The Horse Whisperer" to "The Bridges of Madison County" to "Water for Elephants." [We would never put LaGravenese in a "chick lit" corner, since "Beloved" and "The Little Princess" are clearly much more than that.]
 
With the new teen supernatural romance "Beautiful Creatures," LaGravenese is working with material which might -- again, this would only be a gross generalization -- be thought to skew more toward female viewers, but Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel stands out in the genre because not only does it have a male protagonist (Alden Ehrenreich's Ethan), but the story is told from his point of view.
 
In our conversation a couple weeks back, LaGravenese talked about the difference that comes from a male hero and, in specific, a mortal male hero. LaGravenese, who wrote and directed "Beautiful Creatures," also discusses his approach to the magical subject matter, which involved keeping even the most unreal of elements somewhat grounded.
 
Based on the early box office for "Beautiful Creatures," a sequel doesn't immediately seem to be in the offing, but LaGravenese sounded eager to stick with the franchise for potential adaptations of Garcia and Stohl's later novels.
 
Check out the full interview above...
 
You can also check out my interviews with "Beautiful Creatures" co-stars Jeremy IronsViola Davis and Emmy Rossum and stars Alice Englert & Alden Ehrenreich.
 
"Beautiful Creatures" is now in theaters.
Read Full Post
"Survivor"

 "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Reality TV Roundup: The latest on 'Survivor,' 'Real Housewives' and more

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

Read Full Post
<p>Ang Lee accepting a BAFTA honor for one of his colleagues at the 2013 BAFTA&nbsp;Awards.</p>

Ang Lee accepting a BAFTA honor for one of his colleagues at the 2013 BAFTA Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Ang Lee's remarkable journey with 'Life of Pi' is coming ashore Oscar Sunday

Still the most underreported success story of the season

When Ang Lee first read Yann Martel' "Life of Pi" he didn't think it was a movie let alone a global blockbuster.  Speaking to the Oscar-winning director of such classics as "The Ice Storm," "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" back in November 2012 before "Pi" hit theaters Lee was, as always, incredibly honest about his creative process.

Read Full Post
<p>Chilean actress Paulina Garcia is the Best Actress favorite for &quot;Gloria.&quot;</p>

Chilean actress Paulina Garcia is the Best Actress favorite for "Gloria."

Credit: Funny Balloons

Romania's 'Child's Pose' takes Golden Bear at Berlin, David Gordon Green gets Best Director

Danis Tanovic takes Grand Jury Prize, 'Gloria' star Paulina Garcia is Best Actress

I saw fewer Competition films than usual at this year's Berlin Film Festival, having drawn much of my viewing schedule around other sections of the vast programme -- after all, with almost 200 feature films jostling for your attention, you simply have to accept that you're going to end up missing a lot of worthwhile stuff. And so it is that I must make the admission that no Berlinale journalist ever wants to make: I haven't seen the winner of the Golden Bear.

I had a feeling that missing Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer's film "Child's Pose," about a wealthy, fiercely driven mother playing the system to wrangle her adult son out of a murder charge, was going to haunt me one way or another -- one of the few Competition films to generate across-the-board critical approval, it seemed at the very least a strong Best Actress contender for Romanian veteran Luminita Gheorghiu. I'd missed the screening to catch up with another Competition buzz title, "Gloria" -- which, as it turned out, won Best Actress instead -- and never found a suitable gap in my diary for the Romanian film. Festival scheduling is like Jenga that way. 

Read Full Post
<p>Thomas Newman at the BAFTA&nbsp;Awards last weekend</p>

Thomas Newman at the BAFTA Awards last weekend

Credit: Jonathan Short/Invision/AP

Tech Support: Thomas Newman on 'Skyfall' and the everyday challenges of a film composer

Could the film be a double winner for music on Oscar night?

Film music composer Thomas Newman landed his 11th Oscar nomination to date last month, for his original contributions to "Skyfall." It's the latest in a long line of Academy mentions both in the song and score categories for two decades for him, but despite the strong showing, he has yet to wrangle one of the trophies for himself.

Last weekend he won his second BAFTA Award to date (on just three nominations from the group throughout his career). And, along with "Skyfall" colleague Roger Deakins, he is putting a little bit of pressure on the presumed frontrunners in his category.

A handful of those Oscar nominations along the way have come for Sam Mendes films, including the director's latest. Mendes likes to showcase Newman's work in his films, being very detailed with his sound mixers about how he wants it to shine, and that was a particular note on "Skyfall." This was, after all, the new chapter of a franchise that has music woven into the fabric of its very identity.

Read Full Post
<p>Kelly Reilly and Denzel Washington in &quot;Flight.&quot;</p>

Kelly Reilly and Denzel Washington in "Flight."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Writing - Original Screenplay

'Amour,' 'Django Unchained,' 'Flight,' 'Moonrise Kingdom' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' square off

(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.)

Best Original Screenplay is perhaps my favorite of all Oscar categories, and I know I'm not alone in that. So often it has been a sanctuary for adventurous, important and, yes, original films that are just a little too fresh to triumph in the top categories: it's thanks to this award, after all, that the likes of "Pulp Fiction," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Chinatown," "Talk to Her," "The Red Balloon" and, of course, "Citizen Kane" all get to call themselves Oscar winners.

While for the last three years, the category has housed the eventual Best PIcture winner, Best Original Screenplay is back on outsider duty this year. While the adapted category will be breathlessly scrutinized for Best Picture signals, none of the frontrunners here are likely to triumph in the top race. It's still an equally competitive category -- and, despite many pundits' odd assertions that it was a "thin" field, was far more contested than its counterpart at the nominations stage, where at least two slots remained consistently in flux between an array of mainstream and independent outliers.

The nominees are...

Read Full Post
<p>Francesca's torch is snuffed</p>

Francesca's torch is snuffed

Credit: CBS

Interview: Francesca Hogi talks 'Survivor: Caramoan'

What's it like being the first 'Survivor' contestant voted off first twice?
Baseball fans treasure Johnny Vander Meer's two consecutive no-hitters as one of the sport's great records. It's unbreakable. And what makes it unbreakable is that not only has no pitcher in major league history even come dangerously close to equalling the feat, but after you tie it, you'd then have to go another nine innings without giving up a hit to break the record. You could pitch two no-hitters, retire 26 batters to start the next game and give up a single and you'd still only have tied Vander Meer's record. Unbreakable.
 
In a way, Francesca Hogi is the Johnny Vander Meer of "Survivor." She's played twice and she's been eliminated first twice, an achievement she has exclusive claim to. Even if "Survivor" were to do the periodically discussed season made up only of first-out contestants (or at least one Tribe only of first-out contestants), that would just raise the possibility of somebody tying her. That person would then have to get brought back a third time and, let's face it, the contestants eliminated first on "Survivor" are only occasionally memorable. 
 
To her credit, Francesca was memorable when she went head-to-head with Phillip Sheppard on "Survivor: Redemption Island" and that interaction was memorable enough that "Survivor" wanted her back alongside Phillip on "Survivor: Caramoan," a second "Fans vs. Favorites" season.
 
The results were, for Francesca, oddly similar. Francesca's team of Favorites won their first challenge in Wednesday's (Feb. 13) premiere, but lost the first Immunity. Initially, Francesca seemed to be in a stable early alliance and made repeated comments to the camera insisting she wouldn't be voted out first again, vowing to even eat a rock if that's the way things went. 
 
Instead, it was Andrea worrying that Francesca's loyalties might be divided and joining forces to work with Phillip to vote her out first again. 
 
And that's how I found myself talking to the Johnny Vander Meer of "Survivor" this week... In her exit interview, Francesca discusses her [relative] satisfaction with her two one-and-done performances, her ongoing perception of Phillip and what she vows to eat if she returns to play a third time.
 
Click through...
 
Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME