Latest Blog Posts

<p>Deborah Mailman (far left) and her &quot;Sapphires&quot; co-stars Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens.</p>

Deborah Mailman (far left) and her "Sapphires" co-stars Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Wayne Blair and Deborah Mailman on taking 'The Sapphires' from stage to screen

The film's director and lead actress both have a long history with the project

When translating a hit stage production to the screen, it seems only right to retain at least some of the talent that made it a success in the first place – and not merely as a good-luck token. That’s a logic that frequently escapes Hollywood, as any number of Broadway ensembles replaced wholesale by bigger names can tell you.

When it came to Tony Briggs’s popular 2005 production “The Sapphires,” however, two cast members remained on board when the Australian musical comedy was translated to the big screen, though neither one in quite the same capacity. But while actress Deborah Mailman simply switched to a different role, Wayne Blair’s reassignment was rather more dramatic: he was selected to direct the film as his debut feature. In contrast to yesterday’s interviewee Chris O’Dowd, who read the script and hopped on board one month before shooting, Blair and Mailman each brought seven years of physical and emotional investment to this heartwarming, fact-based story of a female Aborginal soul quartet chasing the big time against the turmoil of the Vietnam war.

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<p>Sigur Ros</p>

Sigur Ros

Credit: XL

Sigur Ros announce new album 'Kveikur': Watch a loud, wild new video

'Brennisteinn' sounds like a welcome warning

Sigur Ros' last album was a little more abstract than most of their output, so maybe the Icelandic band has decided to re-incorporate some rock structure to their dream-like forms. Enter "Brennisteinn," a new song and music video from the band's forthcoming album "Kveikur." The thing is a monster. It's a very weird, exciting, morphing jam, but it's also louder than what fans may be used to -- of course, until it segues into Jonsi's floating bridge.

"Floating bridge" may be one of the topographical features on the planet the video's set on; the splashes of yellow and dripping silvers are strewn throughout the black-and-white landscape. Far out. The video was helmed by Andrew Huang, who -- and this may not surprise you -- recently directed videos for Bjork, for her "Biophilia" project.

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<p>You want to fix your franchise?&nbsp;Just add The Rock.</p>

You want to fix your franchise? Just add The Rock.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki make 'GI Joe: Retaliation' serious fun

Jon Chu's obvious fandom makes this one feel especially sincere

I had fun with "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra," and I don't remotely feel bad about it. Stephen Sommers isn't a great overall storyteller, but when it comes to ridiculous action movies that seem giddy on their own invention, Sommers has done it right more often than wrong. I think "Van Helsing" is so bad and such a frustrating botch of a decent high concept that is almost erased any goodwill he'd ever built up as a director, but "G.I. Joe" felt like a nice rebound.

When I praised the film, I made the very clear distinction that I liked the energy with which he told the story and the reality that the movie created. I thought Channing Tatum was miscast in the lead, and when I recently rewatched the film, I feel like it's pretty clear that Tatum hadn't really relaxed into his own talents as a performer yet. I felt like the film had a pretty clear shot at kickstarting a series, and while I enjoyed it, I think Sommers didn't care about doing "G.I. Joe" the way the fans would want to see, but instead used "G.I. Joe" as an excuse to make a Stephen Sommers movie that just happened to use a sort of sci-fi military premise that fit the title.

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<p>Michael Cudlitz and Anthony Ruvivar in &quot;Southland.&quot;</p>

Michael Cudlitz and Anthony Ruvivar in "Southland."

Credit: TNT

Review: 'Southland' - 'Bleed Out'

Checking in on the great TNT cop drama midway through its fifth season

"Southland" is one of the best dramas on television. It's also, unfortunately, a show where I tend to get to each episode very late, for one reason or another, which is why I haven't weighed in on any episodes from this fifth (and, unfortunately, possibly final) season. But I managed to see this week's episode only a day late, and I wanted to offer some thoughts on the season in general, coming up just as soon as I tell you I've read about the Marquis de Sade...

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<p>The official poster of Cannes 2013.</p>

The official poster of Cannes 2013.

Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are the faces of this year's Cannes fest

The festival's official 2013 poster features a vintage shot of the loved-up couple

It seems further, as we're still shaking off the fatigue of the 2012 awards season, but the Cannes Film Festival is less than two months away. Slowly, this year's edition of the world's most prestigious film fest is starting to take shape: we have Steven Spielberg installed as the Competition jury president, and we know that Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" will kick off proceedings on the Croisette -- though not before it opens Stateside.

The full festival lineup usual only drops around mid-April: look out for my Top 10 gallery on Monday of the film's we're most eagerly hoping will be there. In the meantime, however, the festival unveiled this year's official festival poster -- and it's the most gorgeous one in many a year.

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<p>Gerard Butler is in prime 'Die Hard' mode in the exceptionally silly 'Olympus Has Fallen'</p>

Gerard Butler is in prime 'Die Hard' mode in the exceptionally silly 'Olympus Has Fallen'

Credit: Millennium Films

Review: 'Olympus Has Fallen' is silly and shamelessly jingoistic fun

Should we be comfortable with this sort of cartoon villainization?

At least someone still knows how to make "Die Hard" movies.

There is very little about "Olympus Has Fallen" that I would consider fresh or surprising, but Antoine Fuqua does a nice job of creating a certain degree of tension that he manages to sustain for most of the film's running time, and as an action movie, it is satisfying. I am startled by a few major technical issues with the film, but for the most part, I enjoyed it as I watched.

On the other hand, if I take a step back and view it through any sort of political filter, it's kind of horrifying. And considering where we are right now in our relationship with North Korea, the film feels ill-timed at best, downright inflammatory at worst. Last year's terrible "Red Dawn" remake was too chuckleheaded to be taken seriously by anyone. "Olympus" follows a pretty familiar shape, and the extended opening sequence serves to set up Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), a Secret Service agent who is basically a surrogate member of the First Family. When we meet him, he's in the boxing ring, sparring with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), who is wrapping up a family trip to Camp David so he can head out to a major fundraising event, his wife Margaret (Ashley Judd) and his son Connor (Finley Jacobsen) in tow. On the icy road as they head into town, there is a terrible car accident, and Banning makes a choice that ends with him being transferred permanently off the President's detail.

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Credit: ABC

'Scandal': Are Olivia and Fitz really ruined?

Olivia is paying the price for betrayal, but has she forgiven herself?

I wish Olivia Pope wasn't just a TV character just so I could get some time management pointers from her. She somehow runs a hefty chunk of Washington D.C., manages a staff of gladiators, squeezes in an on-again-off-again affair with the President, takes all of her phone calls while walking quickly from one place to another (that must be her cardio) and always looks fabulous. I feel tired just looking at her, don't you?

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'Because the Night'

Damon and Elena head to New York, but there's trouble brewing back home

Anyone else worried about Silas? Anyone? Just checking. It seems as if everyone on the show has gotten distracted with other stuff, so I'm guessing he'll be on the front burner this week. Unless, say, Elena eats the wrong person or Caroline finds a working cell phone number for Tyler. Of course, these are valid distractions, but, ahem, Silas? You know, the one who wants to bring back all the dead supernatural beings? It would be sort of like "Torchwood" times 200. I'd totally watch that, mind you, but that would not be a good thing for our beloved vampires. 


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<p>On &quot;Community,&quot;&nbsp;Jeff (Joel McHale)&nbsp;and Pierce (Chevy Chase)&nbsp;enjoy a day at the barber.</p>

On "Community," Jeff (Joel McHale) and Pierce (Chevy Chase) enjoy a day at the barber.

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Community' - 'Economics of Marine Biology'

Dean Pelton wants a rich slacker to attend Greendale, while Jeff spends a day with Pierce

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I go to Dubai with that sheik I meet at Trader Joe's...

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<p>Janelle Arthur of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Janelle Arthur of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 9: Results

Who will follow Curtis out the 'Idol' door? Or is another surprise in store?

Welcome to "American Idol" Thursday, also known as "That thing you can watch the last five minutes of after surfing through the four NCAA Tournament Games currently on TV."

After Wednesday night's show, I'm curious who America will have rejected, but I'm also curious about what's happening in the NCAA Tournament games, so click through and witness the glories of my split attention span!

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Song Of The Day: Feathers' 'Land of the Innocent'

Song Of The Day: Feathers' 'Land of the Innocent'

Band opened for Depeche Mode

If you were one of the thousands of excited people to see Depeche Mode at South By Southwest this year, then you probably also saw Feathers. The Austin electro-pop band had the honor of opening up for the veteran crew, and don't doubt they had a good time doing it.

Band leader Anastasia Dimou sat down with me before SXSW began, to talk about what's so inspiring about the festival, and what it was like to shoot the video for "Land of the Innocent," featured in the interview above.

Feathers also features Courtney Voss of Missions, keyboardist Kathleen Carmichael and drummer Jordan Johns from Sound Team on top of alternating members Destiny Montague (Shock Cinema/Midnight Masses) and Alex Gehring (Ringo Deathstarr). The group's debut album, "If All Now Here," will be out on April 15. Another video, "Soft," is featured below, should you want more (and you should).

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Watch: Dido talks new album, motherhood, and Kendrick Lamar

Watch: Dido talks new album, motherhood, and Kendrick Lamar

Is she the 'Girl Who Got Away?'

Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong, better known as Dido, returns with a new album on March 26, her first since 2008’s “Safe Trip Home.”

The British singer/songwriter, whose feathery, lilting vocals have highlighted such hits as “White Flag” and “Thank You” (widely known for its use in Eminem's "Stan") recorded much of “Girl Who Got Away” while pregnant with her son, Stanley, who was born in 2011.

Like most new moms, she’s seeing the world differently these days. “Having a child just changes everything in the most amazing way and there’s just a freshness to life and I see everything through his eyes and it just sort of blows away anything,” she says. “Suddenly the whole world is technicolor again and it feels like starting again in the best way.”

Because she recorded the album leisurely, she says she didn’t feel the sort of pressure she’s had on past albums. “I made this album sort of over a period of time and each track was made in its own time,” she says. “It wasn’t like we were in a studio having to sort of do a bunch of stuff. It was a track here, a track there, and I came to LA and I worked with a few people and it just meant that the album naturally built up. By the time we came to putting it all together at the end of last year, I know it was already there, the pressure was off.”

One of the people on the new album is Kendrick Lamar, with whom she recorded the gorgeous “Let Us Move On.” “I wrote the track with Jeff Bhasker and that was just a really, fun day. I’d always wanted to work with him,” she says. “[The song] needed a rap on it, you could just feel on it, it needed an extra story. I loved what I’d heard of Kendrick’s  voice, so I sent it to him and he sent back this amazing rap and it was just to hear his voice, it was like, ‘Oh, this is great, I love this!’” She and the Lamar still have yet to meet.

In addition to Bhasker and Lamar, she work with a number of other top producers and songwriters, including Greg Kurstin, Rick Nowels, her brother Rollo Armstrong, and Brian Eno.

In the embedded video, the Londoner also talks about why she finds Southern California so inspirational and how her Oscar nomination for “If I Rise” affected her.


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