Latest Blog Posts

<p>Tim McGraw</p>

Tim McGraw

Credit: Donn Jones/AP

Josh Groban and Tim McGraw lead next week's Billboard 200

Grammy Awards could bring about some changes on Sunday

Sunday night’s Grammy Awards could throw next week’s Billboard 200 album chart into disarray should a surprise winner emerge, but with two days to go until the chart week ends, Josh Groban’s “All That Echoes” looks like a lock for No. 1 with sales of up to 145,000. Read Hitfix’s interview with Groban here.

The baritone leads the four new titles in next week’s Top 10: coming in at No. 2 will likely be Tim McGraw with “Two Lanes of Freedom,” his first album on Big Machine after switching from Curb Records. The set, which will top Billboard’s Country Album chart next week, will sell up to 105,000 copies. “Now That’s What I Call Music 45” looks good for No. 45 with 90,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.

Christian contemporary act Red’s fourth album, “Release The Panic” looks good for No. 10. The Nashville-based group’s previous album, “Until We Have Faces” bowed at No. 2.

No. 4 will likely belong to Grammy album of the year nominee “Babel” from Mumford & Sons. Though most of the Grammy winners won’t see big jumps until the chart after this, if “Babel” wins several Grammys, expect it to possibly move higher than No. 4. Similarly, best new artist nominee The Lumineers could also see its self-titled set climb higher than No. 5, as it is now projected to land.

This week’s No. 1, “Believe Acoustic” from Justin Bieber, likely falls to No. 6. Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and Taylor Swift’s “Red” are in tie for No. 7, with each targeted to sell 40,000-45,000 copies.

 

Read Full Post
A scene from "Paradise: Hope."
A scene from "Paradise: Hope."
Credit: Strand Releasing

Review: 'Paradise: Hope' concludes a provocative trilogy on a humane note

Earlier chapters played Cannes and Venice, but Berlin gets the best of the three

BERLIN - Funny, disquieting and featuring more sexual humiliation and self-flagellation than any project with which James Franco is currently connected, Ulrich Seidl's newly completed "Paradise" trilogy has recently bombarded the European festival circuit -- in a manner unmatched since Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" films hit the Venice-Berlin-Cannes route, almost 20 years ago, in the space of just nine months. Less than a year after pitiless sex-tourism study "Paradise: Love" jolted Cannes and religious fundamentalism parable "Paradise: Faith" took a major Venice prize, the youth-focused "Paradise: Hope" has seen out the Austrian auteur's unsettling vision with a premiere closer to home at the Berlinale.

Read Full Post
<p>Joe Swanberg may have traded punches with Devin Faraci at last year's Fantastic Fest, but should filmmakers really attack critics for what they do?</p>

Joe Swanberg may have traded punches with Devin Faraci at last year's Fantastic Fest, but should filmmakers really attack critics for what they do?

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Is it ever appropriate for a filmmaker to fight back after a bad review?

A drive-by attack on Facebook has us wondering about the new rules of engagement

Is it cool for a filmmaker to fight back?

I know there are film critics who genuinely enjoy writing bad reviews.  Hell, I've met film critics (and music critics and TV critics and book critics) who seem to live for that moment when they get to roll something over, find the soft spot, and tear the stomach out completely.  The taste of blood is the thing that keeps them going, the thing that really turns them on as a writer.

I would not say I enjoy writing a bad review.  I certainly don't walk into films looking to hate them.  I will say that when a film is particularly hard to sit through, there is a satisfaction that comes from drawing a little blood in return, and some films seem to have such naked contempt for the audience that I don't mind returning some of the same to them.  And while there is something about the relationship between critics and filmmakers that has to be contentious, just by its nature, should it ever reach the point where Joe Swanberg or Uwe Boll are climbing into a boxing ring eager to actually hurt a critic because of something that was written?

At the end of this year's Sundance Film Festival, I was asked (along with all the other critics who were there as part of our team this year) to contribute both my favorite and my least favorite titles from the fest for a gallery that we publish each year.  At the time I submitted it, I had not written a formal review yet for Calvin Lee Reeder's "The Rambler," one of the midnight titles, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was my least favorite film from the fest this year, and I included it in the two picks that I sent.  I still planned to write a review, and when it got added to the line-up for SXSW Midnighter, I made short mention of it.  I certainly didn't take a big pointed shot at it.  I think it's better to explain yourself fully when you really didn't like something, especially when it's something personal like the work of Reeder so far.  Like it or dislike it, I can appreciate that there is something very specific he's trying to do.

Read Full Post
<p>Mumford &amp; Sons</p>

Mumford & Sons

Credit: Glassnote

Grammy Awards 2013: Handicapping Album of the Year

Will Mumford & Sons, fun. or Frank Ocean take the big prize?

As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at the biggest award of them all, Album of the Year.

Album of the Year nominees
“El Camino,”  The Black Keys
“Some Nights,” fun.
“Babel,” Mumford & Sons
“Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
“Blunderbuss,” Jack White


WHO’S MISSING:
Oh, how about anyone with a two X chromosomes? Though women made some of the most interesting albums of the year, artists like Fiona Apple, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson and Pink were ignored in this category (Don’t worry, Taylor Swift’s “Red” come out too late for eligibility this year; it was be a 2014 contender)

THE PLAYERS: Grammy voters usually include at least one veteran or heritage (read: geezer) act in this category, whether it be Neil Young, Steely Dan or Tony Bennett. Not this year. This year, the Grammys were current and accurate, picking the best of today’s crop of hit makers.

THE ODDS:
The chances of Jack White or  The Black Keys pulling an Arcade Fire-like upset that occurred in 2011 are slight (Fun fact: Arcade Fire is the only act to have its only Grammy--so far-- be album of the year).  Frank Ocean put out the most critically acclaimed album of 2012, but fun. and Mumford & Sons had greater mainstream success and sales, which will count since all members can vote in this category. Ocean’s “Channel Orange” feels like the most “important” record and that may make it a close race, but it may not have enough wind beneath its wings to lift it over “Babel.” Regardless of who wins, “Channel Orange” will be the record people will be calling a landmark album 20 years from now.

THE WINNER:
“Babel,” Mumford & Sons

Previous predictions:

Best Dance Recording
Record of the Year
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Song of the Year
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Best Rock Song
Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best New Artist

 

Read Full Post
Ben Affleck's first Oscar
Credit: AP Photo/Susan Sterner

Ben Affleck's first Oscar

Looking back at the 'Argo' director's Academy Award-winning 'Good Will Hunting'

If indeed "Argo" beats the odds and the history and the stats and manages to take the Best Picture Oscar in a few weeks, Ben Affleck, in lieu of recognition as a director, will be able to take the stage at the Dolby Theatre and hold an Academy Award aloft as producer. But as we all know, it wouldn't be his first time clutching the little golden guy. That moment came on March 23, 1998.

Read Full Post
<p>Christina Applegate on &quot;Up All Night.&quot;</p>

Christina Applegate on "Up All Night."

Credit: NBC

Christina Applegate quits 'Up All Night'

How many revamps can one sitcom endure?

Christina Applegate has quit "Up All Night," which means it's time once again to keep track of all the many, many, many changes that have been made since NBC debuted the sitcom a season and a half ago:

Read Full Post
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Watch: 'Honey Boo Boo' hits the ice for 'A Very Boo Christmas'

Alana learns to ice skate, sort of

It's time for yet another holiday-themed special from Mama and the family, and in this preview from "A Very Boo Christmas" (airing Sun. Feb. 10 at 8:00 p.m.) it's time for ice-skating. Of course, a wholesome outing such as this can't set the tone for the whole show, which includes farting, jokes about the extra-thumbed baby, and Alana asking to get her ears pierced. For better or for worse, it seems the family hasn't let fame change them (much). 

Watch a clip from "A Very Boo Christmas." 

Read Full Post
<p>Charlize Theron in 'Snow White and the&nbsp;Huntsman&quot;</p>

Charlize Theron in 'Snow White and the Huntsman"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Visual Effects

'The Avengers,' 'The Hobbit,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Prometheus' and 'Snow White and the Huntsman' 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.)

I can’t say the nominees in the Best Visual Effects category this year are unusual. We have three summer blockbusters, one Christmas blockbuster and one gorgeous 3D Best Picture contender. Two films could perhaps be considered “snubbed,” though.

“Cloud Atlas” being left off became more and more predictable as we got closer and closer to the nominees – this divisive bomb just wasn’t that loved in Hollywood. “The Dark Knight Rises,” however, is a surprising omission. It joins “Insomnia” and “Following” as rare Christopher Nolan films to be shut out of Oscar nominations. As far as the race for the win is concerned, this ranks right up with Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress as being a done deal.

The nominees are…

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Django Unchained&quot;</p>

"Django Unchained"

Credit: Gallery1988/AMPAS

The Academy teams with Gallery1988 for Best Picture print exhibition

Which one is your favorite?

The Academy has teamed up with Gallery1988 in Los Angeles to present a new Oscar-centric exhibition, "For Your Consideration," featuring originally designed artwork for each of the nine Best Picture nominees this year.

Read Full Post
<p>Dawes</p>

Dawes

Credit: Dawestheband.com

Listen: Dawes flies high with new single, 'From A Window Seat'

First single from new album, 'Stories Don't End' has hypnotic appeal

“When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,”  Dawes lead singer Taylor Goldsmith sings on the Southern California band’s bouncy “From A Window Seat,” the first single from the Jacquire King-produced “Stories Don’t End,” out April 9.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Listen: Fitz & The Tantrums release dance-happy 'Out of My League'

Listen: Fitz & The Tantrums release dance-happy 'Out of My League'

A different kind of retro

Fitz & The Tantrums earned a reputation for being a bit of a '70s soul-funk revival band as they grew in popularity in 2011 and 2012. For the recordings -- and for 2013 -- it looks like the sextet is bringing back a little of the '80s.

"Out of My League" is the first single from Fitz & The Tantrums' new album "More Than Just a Dream," and you can hear it below. The set will be out on May 7.

Read Full Post
Oscar Talk: Ep. 105 -- Affleck wins another and the nominees do lunch

Oscar Talk: Ep. 105 -- Affleck wins another and the nominees do lunch

Also: Digging into the visual effects and animated categories

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME