Latest Blog Posts

<p>Alexander Skarsg&aring;rd and Ellen Page at the Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Alexander Skarsgård and Ellen Page at the Sundance Film Festival.

Watch: Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård on 'The East' and the indie-blockbuster balance

The thriller recently had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY - Ahead of its premiere last Sunday, Zal Batmanglij's second feature "The East" -- which I reviewed earlier this morning -- was one of the most curiously awaited titles of this year's Sundance fest, not least because his first collaboration with writer-producer-star Brit Marling, "Sound of My Voice," made such a splash in Park City two years ago.

With their reputations thus established, the pair could command some bigger names for their follow-up -- among them, "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgård and Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page. Both have key roles to play in this topical thriller on the theme of corporate terrorism, in which an intelligence agent (Marling) infiltrates The East, a mysterious group of left-wing anarchists bent on punishing corrupt corporations for their social and environmental misdeeds.

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Robin Strasser

Robin Strasser

Credit: ABC

'One Life to Live' and 'All My Children' get one more life to live - online

Debbi Morgan, Robin Strasser and Erika Slezak will be returning to the revived shows

If we know anything, it's that you can never count out a long-running soap. After a previous deal to revive the canceled soaps "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" fell apart, now The Online Network has announced it has closed deals with the following talent to revive both shows. More deals are expected to come through in the following weeks, and soap fans can rest assured that at least some of their favorite actors -- and characters -- will be retuning to a screen (yes, a computer screen) near them. Below is a list of some of the writers and stars who will be continuing the story.

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<p>Vampire Weekend</p>

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend's new album will come out May 7

Band goes for a more 'organic' sound

Vampire Weekend will release its next album May 7.

The group posted the words “Vampire Weekend LP3 COMPLETE” over Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River on its website. The image alternates with a shot of the quartet on a bridge with the dates May 6/7 (May 6 will be the ex-U.S. release date). It’s the band’s first album since 2010’s “Contra.”  The group had confirmed a new album would appear in 2013, but now we have an actual release date.

It took almost two years of writing and recording to complete the still-untitled set, Vampire Weekend singer/guitarist Ezra Koenig told Rolling Stone.   “Sometimes we thought we were done, but it’s always very apparent when you’re not.”

He and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij wrote the set, which includes “Unbelievers,”  a tune the group played on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last October, as well as a rockabilly-oriented track called “Diane Young" and another called "Obvious Bicycle."

The album has a more organic sound, according to Koenig. “Things that we might have found boring in the past, we’ve started to find more fresh. This record has more piano and acoustic guitar and organ,” he told the magazine.

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<p>Krysten Ritter in &quot;Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23,&quot;&nbsp;which ABC&nbsp;has pulled from the schedule. </p>

Krysten Ritter in "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23," which ABC has pulled from the schedule.

Credit: ABC

ABC pulls 'Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23,' will double-run 'Happy Endings'

One Tuesday comedy lives a little longer, while the other goes away

Well, ABC has figured out a way to air all the remaining episodes of "Happy Endings" before "Dancing with the Stars" returns in March — it just comes at the expense of the network's other Tuesday comedy, "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23," which has been pulled off the schedule, effective immediately.

Both shows are pre-empted tonight by the premiere of ABC's new cooking competition show "The Taste," but starting next week, we'll get "Happy Endings" at both 9 and 9:30 each Tuesday until "Dancing" is back.

The return of "Dancing" — and the decision to back away from a planned four-comedy Tuesday bloc that was announced last spring — left ABC with more inventory of both shows than the network was going to be able to air. For a few weeks, the solution was to air additional episodes on Sunday nights (the "Happy Endings" producers talked to me about that back at press tour), but the ratings were so low that the Sunday airings were dropped. I'm told that all the remaining "Happy Endings" episodes should air by the time "Dancing" is on the air again, while there will be eight episodes of "Don't Trust the Birkenstock" in limbo. (As "Don't Trust the Bugle" co-star James Van Der Beek bluntly put it on Twitter, "We've basically been canceled.")

I won't mourn the loss of "Don't Trust the Biplane," but that's also because every time I tuned in this season, it seemed to be a leftover episode from last spring (Liza Lapira tended to be the giveaway), which meant I got very little exposure to whether the show did or didn't improve in season 2. But given its ratings, there was no way it was going to return next season, anyway. The question is whether this represents a significant sign of hope for "Happy Endings," or just Paul Lee playing favorites between the fanbases of two different doomed comedies. At a minimum, it's not bad news that Lee picked "Happy Endings" to stay on the air for the next couple of months.

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<p>Lady Antebellum</p>

Lady Antebellum

Listen: Lady Antebellum's new single, 'Downtown'

What do you think of the change of pace?

Lady Antebellum is upping the sassy level on “Downtown,” the group’s first single from its forthcoming fourth studio album.

The song, written by Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby,  features Hillary Scott on lead. It's  a twangy, Americana, rootsy tune with a fun bluesy guitar lead that has more in common with Bonnie Raitt than Taylor Swift. It's a spare, airy production. Listen to it in full here.

Scott wants her boy to treat her right and take her downtown instead of acting like, well, a jerk.

“I’m only counting on your cancellation when I should be counting on you at my door,” she complains. And I’m pretty sure “downtown” has a few different interpretations here if you want to take it that way. It’s a little change of pace for Lady A.

The group will debut the track on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Jan. 28, one night before it tapes an episode of CMT’s “Crossroads” with Stevie Nicks. The trio will also perform the tune on CBS’s “The Talk” on Feb. 6.

No word on a release date on the new album yet, but it looks like Lady A is not slowing down at all during Scott's pregnancy other than cancelling a few dates right around the time she's due in late spring/early summer.

What do you think of the breezy "Downtown?"

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"The Taste"

 "The Taste"

Credit: ABC

'The Taste''s Anthony Bourdain talks fish confusion and bad table manners

The famous chef says

When "The Taste" premieres with a two-hour episode tonight (Tues. 8:00 p.m. on ABC), the new cooking contest promises to put 16 competitors of varying skill levels -- from professional chefs to home cooks -- to the ultimate taste test. Each must create a perfect bite for food icons and judge/mentors Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludovic Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey. To make it a little tougher on the judges, the taste test is truly blind -- they don't get to see the chef or learn anything about him or her before they must decide whether or not they want that chef to be part of their team. Then, at the end of each episode, they must judge the competitors' dishes blind to determine who's getting sent home. You know, like "The Voice," but with food. 

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<p>Jay and Mark Duplass return to &quot;The Mindy Project&quot;&nbsp;tonight.</p>

Jay and Mark Duplass return to "The Mindy Project" tonight.

Credit: FOX

Mark and Jay Duplass on 'The Mindy Project,' 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Safety Not Guaranteed' & more

What's it like when two filmmaking brothers play brothers on camera?

Mark Duplass likes to work — and the more job titles, the better. In 2012 alone, he appeared in four movies, doubled as a producer on one of them ("Safety Not Guaranteed"), did his usual 13 episodes as Pete on FX's "The League," and wrote and directed "The Do-Deca Pentathlon," his latest filmmaking collaboration with brother Jay Duplass. (Their previous films include "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" and "Cyrus," among others.) And tonight at 9:30, the brothers Duplass make their latest on-camera appearance on FOX's "The Mindy Project" as Brendan and Duncan, a pair of midwives who are competing with Mindy's obstetrics practice.

I spoke with the brothers back in December (shortly before the release of "Zero Dark Thirty," in which Mark is part of a massive TV Character Actors On Parade supporting ensemble) about how they hooked up with Mindy Kaling, what it's like to play brothers on screen, and whether Mark prefers one of his many showbiz identities to the others.

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Listen: Paramore's propulsive new single 'Now'

Listen: Paramore's propulsive new single 'Now'

See cover art for 'Paramore' and the track listing

Paramore’s Hayley Williams channels Gwen Stefani and Amy Lee on the propulsive single, “Now,” the group’s first single from its forthcoming self-titled album, out April 9.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lake Bell of &quot;In a World&quot;</p>

Lake Bell of "In a World"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'In a World...' is a promising directing debut for Lake Bell

TV veteran also wrote, produced and stars in the voice-over comedy
Although she's worked steadily and bounced freely between comedy and drama, Hollywood has occasionally struggled to figure out how to properly use Lake Bell.
Fortunately for Lake Bell, there is a writer-director with the good sense to get the most out of Lake Bell. That writer-director's name? Lake Bell, of course.
The "Surface" and "Childrens Hospital" star is making her feature debut as a writer-producer-director-star with the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition entry "In a World..." And the results are encouraging. While Bell definitely shows some first-timer growing pains behind the camera, she's got a snappy ear for dialogue, a smart eye for casting and she's given Lake Bell what may be her best part ever.
As a fully realized film, "In a World..." is clever and sweet and while it may not linger permanently in my mind, it has me genuinely intrigued by Bell's potential as a multi-hyphenate. 
More after the break...
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<p>Josh Radnor and Ashley Benson in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Josh Radnor and Ashley Benson in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Ring Up'

Ted dates a much younger woman, Robin turns invisible and Lily loves Marshall's new accessory

A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as a flash mob breaks out in front of a group of Korean American food trucks in Williamsburg...

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<p>Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard in &quot;The East.&quot;</p>

Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard in "The East."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Review: Brit Marling tackles the eco-terrorists (and the Hollywood thriller) in 'The East'

Slick, involving film is the multiplex-friendly face of Sundance indies

PARK CITY - "Why is it that self-righteousness always goes hand-in-hand with resistance movements?" So asks Brit Marling's prematurely jaded intelligence agent in her investigation of a particularly precocious band of eco-terrorists in "The East," a slick, involving, somewhat uneven independent thriller that marks the writer-producer-star's second promising collaboration with director Zal Batmanglij.

Funny enough in itself, the question encapsulates much of what works in this high-concept, higher-gloss bid for mainstream attention from the team behind "Sound of My Voice": incorporating and accommodating a range of views, the politics are elastic in what threatens from a distance to be a dry, earnest slab of liberal issue-mongering. Perhaps chiefly a study of noble causes pursued by less-than-noble means -- and questioning how wide that chasm between , "The East" follows Batmanglij's previous film in portraying the infiltration of a cult-like underground organization with an undefined depth of influence.

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<p>I don't want to ruin the surprise, but walking and talking might play a small part in Richard Linklater's new film 'Before Midnight'.</p>

I don't want to ruin the surprise, but walking and talking might play a small part in Richard Linklater's new film 'Before Midnight'.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: Richard Linklater's 'Before Midnight' once again showcases Hawke and Delpy

Is this threequel better than the first two films?

PARK CITY - I called my wife tonight when I got out of the theater where I saw "Before Midnight," the new film by Richard Linklater that follows up his first two movies about Jesse and Celine, because that seemed like the most urgent thing in the world at that particular moment.

I was 25 years old when "Before Sunrise" came out.  I was living with a woman, on my way to married, working as a screenwriter and making a living with my writing for the first time ever, and when I saw the film, it hit me dead center.  I was blown away by the gentle, clever, romantic voice of the movie.  Ethan Hawke is practically the default avatar for white dudes my age, an '80s survivor that has grown up interesting and seemingly intact, and Julie Delpy… well, come on.  I grew up in love with European cinema.  I certainly had my "OMG French girls" phase, and Delpy looks like the walking embodiment of it. 

What really seemed dazzling to me was the way the script by Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan did one of the things I find most difficult in writing:  they carefully crafted something that felt utterly spontaneous.  At the end of that film, I don't remember thinking, "Okay, now I want a sequel."  I just loved it as a standalone thing, and it went into my regular rotation of films I adored.

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