Latest Blog Posts

<p>Jack (Alec Baldwin)&nbsp;enjoys a moment of happiness in the &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;series finale.</p>

Jack (Alec Baldwin) enjoys a moment of happiness in the "30 Rock" series finale.

Credit: NBC

Series finale review: '30 Rock' - 'Hogcock!/Last Lunch'

Jack chases his happiness, and Liz has to put on one last episode of 'TGS'

Well, "30 Rock" is over. Which is the worst. I paid tribute to the series as a whole last night, and I have a review of the series finale coming up just as soon as I deposit $70 in my bank account...

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<p>Halie Hilburn and Oscar on &quot;American Idol&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Halie Hilburn and Oscar on "American Idol" 

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Final Auditions

We're off to Hollywood next week on 'Idol'

One of the great things about missing the first two weeks of "American Idol" audition recapping is that I'm not even vaguely burnt out on "Idol" auditions even thought they're reaching their end on Thursday (January 31) night.

Excellent!

I'm not actually sure where tonight's auditions are emanating from, so this is gonna be a big mystery. 

Sit back and enjoy the auditioning action...

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Grammy Awards 2013: Handicapping Best Rock Song

Can Springsteen beat the Black Keys and Jack White for his fifth trophy?

As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at Best Rock Song.

Best Rock Song Nominees:
Jack White - "Freedom at 21"
Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait"
The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy"
Muse - "Madness"
Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care of Our Own"


THE PLAYERS: When I think of songs from Jack White’s “Blunderbuss,” “Freedom at 21” doesn’t immediately come to mind as the first choice for the rock song category, but this is how it works: in an effort to get as many nominations as possible, labels submit different songs for different categories because a song can’t be nominated in different genres. For example, the same song can’t be up for best rock song and best R&B song. The exceptions are record and song of the year in the general category.  Anyway, I’m not sure why the Grammy voters went with “Freedom At 21” instead of “16 Saltines” or “Love Interruption,” as there aren’t other song categories for those.

THE ODDS: Even though he’s never won an album of the year Grammy, Springsteen has dominated the rock categories, including winning best rock song four times since the category was added in 1992. White also won previously for the White Stripes‘  “Seven Nation Army.”  The Black Keys were nominated in 2011 for “Tighten Up,” the same year Mumford & Sons lost for “Little Lion Man.”  M&S was also nominated last year in this category for “The Cave.” Muse was also up in 2011 for “Resistance” (Interestingly, the band won best rock album that year, but lost best rock song). So you have a lot of vets in this category, but the odds are in Springsteen’s favor, given the Grammy’s older votership, the topical nature of the song, and the fact that he opened last year’s show with the song and is this year’s MusiCares Person of the Year recipient.

THE WINNER:
Bruce Springsteen, “We Take Care of Our Own.”

PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS:

Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Performance
Best New Artist

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"New Girl"

"New Girl"

Credit: Fox

'New Girl' creator Liz Meriwether talks about life after Nick and Jess' big moment

Despite fireworks, the pair are 'definitely not ready to be a couple'

“New Girl” fans knew it had to happen sooner or later, but this week Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) finally kissed. But what happens now that the friend barrier has been crossed? Show creator Liz Meriwether talked to journalists in a conference call yesterday to discuss the future of the new “Ross and Rachel” and why Nick and Jess, despite the kiss, “are definitely not ready to be a couple.”

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<p>Giant co-leader Fumm from &quot;Jack the Giant Slayer&quot;</p>

Giant co-leader Fumm from "Jack the Giant Slayer"

'Jack the Giant Slayer' set visit: Bryan Singer's first 3-D adventure

Where does the 'modern' come in on a classic fairytale?

In some of the new poster images from “Jack the Giant Slayer,” one sees tiny hairs jutting from the points of the giants’ noses, with schmutz furling out between bone-gnawing gnarls of teeth. These aren’t cartoons, but finely-rendered characters, each different, at least one with two heads, all hovering between 22- and 32-feet high when they’re screen ready. And there are hundreds of them, according to “Giant Slayer” director Bryan Singer.

“In ‘X-Men: First Class,’ our average shot cost like 25,30 grand,” Singer said on the fairy tale set, in lush and diverse pastures outside of London. “A movie like this they’re like 80 thousand dollars.
 
Singer produced “First Class” but passed up directing it in order to apply himself to this redux on an old tale. It’s without irony that the decision was due to filmmaking magnitude.
 
Before “Alice in Wonderland” or “Snow White and the Hunstman,” or “Red Riding Hood,” “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Puss in Boots,” Singer “wanted to see a fairy tale brought to life on a full grand scale.  What if a beanstalk grew miles high in the sky? What if giants were real?” he said, breaking from the allergens of a naturally misty forest clearing. He donned three pairs of glasses around his neck: sunglass, 3-D glasses and eyeglasses.
 
“I wanted to see that a fairy tale done on a large, large budget film. As a big fantasy film, this was a way to take a simple, the simplest fairy tale, and embellish it and kind of make an original fairy tale.”
 
--
 
During my visit to the set in summer of 2011, onlookers couldn’t see giants' little nose hairs and dirty fingernails. The film was called “Jack the Giant Killer” back then, and was originally slated to arrive in the summer last year. Due to the corporate shuffle, the March 2013 date gave at least more cooking time to these fantastical giants.
 
But on a sound stage, just around the turrets of a newly erected castle, there was a much smaller story being told. Jack (boyish Nicholas Hoult) and Princess Isabelle arrange themselves in a hutch of a scene: after the giants have descended from their sky-bound land to attack the humans, the two teens hide inside a fur-lined cloak as they peak out at the perpetrators. It feels just like a kid would hunkered under the sink or behind mom’s dry cleaning for a game of hide-and-seek. It is probably the smallest thing about “Giant Slayer.”
 
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<p>Kate Mara and Kevin Spacey in &quot;House of Cards.&quot;</p>

Kate Mara and Kevin Spacey in "House of Cards."

Credit: Netflix

Review: Kevin Spacey a force in Netflix's 'House of Cards'

Will David Fincher-directed political drama reinvent the way we watch television?
Francis Underwood, the politician central character of the new Netflix original drama “House of Cards,” is fond of the colorful metaphor. As House Majority Whip, he explains, “my job is to clear the pipes and keep the sludge moving.” And when he tells his chief of staff about a complicated plan to take down a rival, he adds, “That's how you devour a whale... one bite at a time.”
 
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<p>Ewan McGregor as Elmont in &quot;Jack the Giant Slayer&quot;</p>

Ewan McGregor as Elmont in "Jack the Giant Slayer"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Jack the Giant Slayer': Ewan McGregor talks pastries, princesses and pre-vis

Q&A with a military dandy

The retelling of a classic fairytale – one as famous and re-trod as Jack and the Beanstalk – is that it can get an update or a flourish with each redux. Or in the case of “Jack the Giant Slayer,” a stylistic twist. Ewan McGregor is a representative sample of the notion, in part, because: just look at that hair-do.

It’s not that the physical evolution of the star from “Trainspotting,” “Moulin Rouge” and “The Impossible” into Top Dog in the King’s guard in the “Giant” movie is all that revolutionary. McGregor’s character Elmont’s cowlick is a mile-high and his battle armor is form-fitting and slick, a dandy by all standards. Even as slipped from the idyllic set of “Jack the Giant Slayer” to discuss his role with a group of us journalists, he strode into the room with a swagger.
 
From where did a fashionable, horse-riding pretty boy military presence grow from the original “Beanstalk” story? The answer is from director Bryan Singer’s want for style, as evident from his “X-Men” movies, and his esteemed filmmaking army spinning humor out of this yarn (because what’s a dimple-chinned macho man without his funny faults?).
 
McGregor, lead Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Bill Nighy, Ian McShane and other able-bodied vets round out this reimagining, with the “imagining” playing a central role to their performances: as CGI creations with the help of motion-capture, the unseen, malevolent forces, were built-out in post-production, thus the actors worked their wares without them in place.
 
Below, McGregor talks about that process, and what it takes to become a pastry, and exactly what he thinks of pre-vis (hint: not a fan).
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<p>&nbsp;Miley Cyrus</p>

 Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

Miley Cyrus signs with RCA Records

Move reunites her with 'Party In the USA' producer, Dr. Luke

Miley Cyrus has officially left her Disney days behind. The former “Hannah Montana” star has signed with RCA Records for her fourth studio album, according to Billboard.  The album will come out later this year.

The move will reunite her with Dr. Luke, who produced her 2009’s mega hit, “Party In the USA.”

Cyrus, whose last album, 2010’s “Can’t Be Tamed,” came out on Disney’s Hollywood Records imprint,
told Billboard in September that she was collaborating with Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy,  and production duo Da Internz, who have worked with both Rihanna and Big Sean. “I wanna make a sick record,” she told Billboard. “I’ve been in so many sessions and just kind of bunkering down and working really hard and perfecting everything.”

It’s a little heard to imagine, but Cyrus told Huffington Post that the album features her country roots, but “a lot of the beats are produced hip-hop beats.”She has also said she is working with Tyler, The Creator on a track.
 

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<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper and Robert De Niro in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support: Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers on finding the rhythms of 'Silver Linings'

The editors achieved the rare feat of being nominated for a comedy

To say that comedies find difficulty being nominated for Best Film Editing would be quite the understatement. So the nomination of Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers for David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is a testament to the esteem in which their colleagues hold them and their film.

The editing of "Silver Linings Playbook" is not as showy as some of the work from the duo's fellow nominees, such as “Argo" or "Zero Dark Thirty,” but they never felt the need to be excessively flashy with their craft. “The first obligation is to tell the story,” Cassidy says. “We have to just to go with the material and tell the story as [director] David [O. Russell] has conceived it.”

But there were still challenges. In particular, Cassidy notes the difficulty in balancing the comic and serious tones of the film. Even so, they knew what they were getting into. “The bipolar shifting back and forth was in the script," he says. "That part of the road map was very clearly articulated by David before we got involved.”

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<p>&quot;Paperman&quot;</p>

"Paperman"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is 'Paperman' Disney's best in years?

Also: How the 'Argo' campaign nailed it, and can 'Zero Dark Thirty' bounce back?

In what could be a rather smart campaign move in a tight race for Best Animated Short, Disney have decided to make their charming black-and-white romance "Paperman" -- previously shown in theaters ahead of "Wreck-It Ralph" -- available for all to view online for three weeks, starting today. Film critic Tim Robey, however, doesn't believe the film even needs such an advantage, claiming "the race looks pretty much over" -- on merit alone. "Paperman is the best thing Disney have done in years," he writes. "There are only seven minutes of it, but they’re perfect ... It may, in its modest way, point towards a new frontier in animation, where computer-generated visuals are brought face to face with old-style hand-drawing, because it uses both at once." I'm not entirely sure I agree, and I suspect underdog power will prevail in the Oscar race, but it's a popular point of view. [The Telegraph]  

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Sneak Peek: Academy's new collection of golden age B-movie posters

Sneak Peek: Academy's new collection of golden age B-movie posters

Examples of a future exhibition at AMPAS' planned museum?

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a major gift of 1,088 of posters from the golden age of Hollywood.  These pieces of art were donated by Dwight Cleveland, a Chicago real estate developer.  According to the Academy, Cleveland has amassed one of the largest and most historically significant collections of movie posters in the world.  His gift includes posters of westerns, war films, musicals, biblical tales, and social problem films.

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<p>Bradley Cooper in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Long Shot: Lifting the cloud on 'Silver Linings'

In praise of the 'lighter' option in this year's Best Picture race

An accidental blessing it may be -- and one that has only come into effect since the Academy moved its calendar forward a few years ago -- but situating the Sundance Film Festival in the middle of Oscar season is a blessing nonetheless. A week of conversation about freshly unveiled, critically malleable films is a necessary tonic at a stage when the same small selection of Academy-approved contenders has been discussed, debated and designated for anything from two months to an entire year.

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