Latest Blog Posts

<p>J. Cole</p>

J. Cole

J Cole sets release date for second set, 'Born Sinner'

Guests include Melanie Fiona

J Cole, whose 2011 debut, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” bowed at No. 1, will release his sophomore set, “Born Sinner,” on Jan. 28, 2013.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Spielberg's 'Lincoln' has a haunted quality that I found engaging, and a burnished faded photo look that is very striking.</p>

Spielberg's 'Lincoln' has a haunted quality that I found engaging, and a burnished faded photo look that is very striking.

Credit: Dreamworks/20th Century Fox

Review: Spielberg and Kushner craft an important and emotional 'Lincoln'

Daniel Day-Lewis finds the soul of the icon in a great lead performance

So far, one of my favorite strange digressions of Steven Spielberg's career has been his collaboration with Tony Kushner.  I love it because it is so very unlikely, and because both of the films that have resulted from this creative conversation are so unlike the rest of Spielberg's work. 

Kushner blew me away with "Angels In America" when it first opened on stage, and I think he's got a very specific, very beautiful voice as a writer.  "Munich" is a film that I like more as I return to it, and I think Spielberg's sentimental streak has found a perfect antidote in the frank and observational voice of Kushner's words.  While I'm not a fan of biopics in general, I was curious to see what these two would make of Abraham Lincoln as a subject.  It's about a big a canvass as there is in terms of American characters.  He has passed the point of icon and become a mythic figure at this point, and so making a film about him requires a point of view, a reason beneath the history, and Kushner and Spielberg found a pretty tremendous way into the film.

Read Full Post


Credit: AP Photo

Rihanna's 'Unapologetic' tracklist features Eminem and Chris Brown

Who else is on the Nov. 19 release?

Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” doesn’t come out for two weeks, but today she tweeted fans a hand-written track listing.

And yes, the album includes the tune “Nobody’s Business” featuring Chris Brown. Can’t wait to hear the lyrics on that one. God bless her, she knows she’s just ratcheting up the hype at this point and that we’ll all get our panties in a twist about her collaborating with him again following their partnership on “Birthday Cake” and “Turn Up The Music.”

She reteams with Eminem on a track called “Numb,” which would be awesome if it’s a sequel to “Love The Way You Lie.” Other guests include Future on “Loveeeeeee Song” and Mikky Ekko on “Stay.”

The album contains 14 tracks, plus a bonus track called “Half Of Me.” First single, “Diamonds,” has already hit No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Songs chart.

As we previously reported, a few different versions of “Unapologetic” will be released including a limited edition box set for $250 that includes a diamond bracelet and exclusive photos.

Tracklist for Unapologetic


Read Full Post
<p>Kid Cudi</p>

Kid Cudi

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Kid Cudi and King Chip need to smoke in 'Just What I Am'

Lead single from Cudder's third rap album

"Just What I Am" is the lead single from Kid Cudi's new hip-hop album. And just what is Kid Cudi about?

"F*ck yes, I'm so odd... I need to smoke," he raps, with co-partier King Chip on the track. From there, it's all red solo cups, pretty firls and puffs, as the guest rapper (formerly Chip tha Ripper) rolls regular smoke-blowing and Cudi brings something a little more real.

Any way you toke it, it's an easy song to listen to, and a good sample of what might be off of "Indicud," which follows Cudder's rap-rock record WZRD. The new set will be out some time in 2013 via Universal/G.O.O.D. Kanye's imprint also feature Cudi on a some "Cruel Summer" tracks as it was released last month.

Kid Cudi's last rap album was 2010's "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager."

Read Full Post
'Skyfall' star Javier Bardem explains his hesitation to face off against James Bond

'Skyfall' star Javier Bardem explains his hesitation to face off against James Bond

Oscar winner also notes how Silva and Anton Chigurh are different
NEW YORK CITY - It's no surprise that Javier Bardem, an Oscar winner for crafting one of the past decade's most memorable villains, has been able to return to the dark side with such success in "Skyfall."
As Silva, James Bond's newest deadly adversary, Bardem creates such an indelible impression that he towers over a movie he doesn't enter until roughly an hour in.
I sat down with the "No Country For Old Men" star in New York City last month and he admitted his early misgivings about taking on the "Skyfall" role.
"When I feel that I'm really attracted to some material, then I start to feel insecure," admits Bardem, who credits director Sam Mendes with convincing him to sign on.
Bardem also discusses the key difference between Anton Chigurh and his new character.
"In 'No Country For Old Men' it was an iconic, symbolic idea of fate -- bad fate, horrible fate and violence. There was no humanity behind that. In this case, it's a human being. It's a person," he explains.
In the interview, Bardem also touches on Silva's distinctive look and the important of making sure that in addition to being terrified, he's also quite funny.
"Skyfall" opens domestically on Friday, November 9. You can also check out my interviews with Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench.
Read Full Post
<p>This is what Harrison Ford said to me when I asked him if he was serious about playing Han Solo again.</p>

This is what Harrison Ford said to me when I asked him if he was serious about playing Han Solo again.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm

Signs of interest from Harrison Ford send 'Star Wars' fandom into hyperspace

Will we see Han Solo again? It's a safe bet, but maybe too safe.

We're going to see Luke Skywalker again… right?

I'm not sure how old you were in 1999, but for those of us who were first generation "Star Wars" kids, there has never been anything like it in terms of hype.  The crazy part is that a good 50% of the hype had nothing to do with the studio and everything to do with our own expectations and a powerful sense of nostalgia.  By the time "The Phantom Menace" opened, I'm convinced that even the single greatest movie ever made would have been a disappointment simply because of the weight of expectation.

One thing that made it hard to accept the prequels as real "Star Wars" films was the lack of familiar faces.  Sure, the characters were related to other characters or they were younger versions, but for the most part, you're talking about a brand-new cast, and one of the basic mandates of a sequel is giving the audience more of the thing they've already enjoyed.  As a result, there is a chance that all of that crushing, vocal "Phantom Menace" frenzy is just going to look like a warm-up to the deafening buzz as we build to the release of a true sequel to the original trilogy, complete with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and, yes, Han Solo.

Read Full Post
<p>Barney (Neil Patrick Harris)&nbsp;gets to know the local dog population on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) gets to know the local dog population on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'The Autumn of Break-Ups'

Victoria gives Ted an ultimatum, Barney gets a canine wingman, and Nick needs a catchphrase

Before we get to the reviewing, a bit of housekeeping — as in, my house finally got power, heat, cable, etc. last night, which meant we could return from our post-Sandy exile to the lovely, well-powered streets of West Hartford. There will be a podcast sometime later today (Dan and I were interrupted yesterday by the news that I could return home), and hopefully everything else will return to schedule (give or take a Nor'easter later in the week).

And now a few thoughts on last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I channel my inner goddess...

Read Full Post
Reese Witherspoon in "Election."
Reese Witherspoon in "Election."
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Roundup: Hollywood's stake in the election

Also: Budweiser wants out of 'Flight,' and the many film faces of Lincoln

Well, given what's going on out there, it'd seem inappropriate to lead with news of some minor precursor award announcement or random pre-release bumf for "The Hobbit" -- it's Election Day, and that weighs as heavily on Hollywood's mind as anyone else's. Variety Ted Johnson breaks down the implications for the film and entertainment industry of an Obama or a Romney victory, which could have a significant impact on issues ranging from piracy to censorship to same-sex marriage, and also examines the California propositions, some of them with starry cheerleaders, pertinent to showbiz folk. Good luck, America. Do the right thing. [Variety

Read Full Post
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: 'Down and Left Out in Beverly Hills'

Yolanda is in, but Adrienne's out

The ladies who lunch in L.A. are back, and the good news is that I see no sign of the pricetag-dropping Dana. Instead, we get a new housewife, Yolanda, who is married to songwriter David Foster, is also the ex-wife of Lisa's pal Mohammed, and (if you go by the promos) can throw down with the best of them. Not that we see any sign of that in this episode. No, we have to wait a bit for the women of Beverly Hills to sharpen their claws. Their manicurists are, like, totally booked in advance, people. Where did you think we were, Atlanta? Pfft!

Read Full Post
<p>Jeff Probst snuffs RC's torch on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Jeff Probst snuffs RC's torch on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Roberta 'RC' Saint-Amour talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

RC offers her suggestion on why Abi hated her so much
Apologies for the slow posting of this week's "Survivor: Philippines" exit interview with Roberta Saint-Amour. She's New York-based and as of Monday morning, she still didn't have power after Hurricane Sandy, so I'm grateful she was able to make the time.
And you can be forgiven if you don't have a clue who "Roberta Saint-Amour" is. Just as Dawson turned out to be "Sarah Dawson," Roberta Saint-Amour is the not-so-secret identity for the "Survivor" contestant we've come to know as RC in recent weeks.
RC became the first member of the undefeated Tandang tribe to be sent home when, on last Wednesday's episode, Jeff Kent decided it was more important to try to vote Jonathan Penner out of the game than to sick with the alliance that took him to the Merge.
Yeah. We still don't get it either. 
It was fitting that Jeff Kent's voting decision doomed RC, since he was driven by anti-returning player rage, while RC had been left with only a returning player, Mike Skupin, as an ally after Pete conspired to dupe Abi into turning Tandang against her in the early days.
Yeah. We still don't get that either.
In her exit interview, RC discusses her relationship with Abi, Pete's pro-chaos strategy and why she wasn't worried about aligning with a returning player.
Click through for the full interview...
Read Full Post
<p>Michaela Paige of &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Michaela Paige of "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Monday - The Live Playoffs, Part 1

The three-day Election Week run of 'The Voice' begins
Our long, national, pre-taped nightmare is over, America. “The Voice” has finally moved onto the live episodes, which they are dubbing “Playoffs” for reasons that probably made sense at once point in a marketing meeting. Each team now has 5 contestants, with only 12 of the current 20 making it through this week. I assume that means each team will be reduced to three participants through a combination of coaches’ picks, audience votes, iTunes downloads, and some calculations Nate Silver dreamed up the other night after listening to some Maroon 5. 
With the Knockout Rounds over, I’m returning to a running diary for the three (yes, three) episodes this week. Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, and Blake Shelton will no longer have the power of post-production editing at their disposal to come off sane in their analysis tonight. Then again, in some cases, not even careful film splicing could help their decisions make any sense at all. But the thing that concerns me the most? The overblown production values that usually start creeping in around this time of the season. The show is called “The Voice”, and not “Lots of Cirque du Soleil Dudes Running Around In Dry Ice”, for a reason.
Onto the recap!
Read Full Post
"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's mutant hybrid dancing, people!

A dance marathon also gives the couples another chance to score

So, because there will be no results show tomorrow night (there's this thing called an election you may have heard about -- and if you were going to vote for anything, it probably shouldn't be "Dancing with the Stars"), Tom Bergeron has to inform us that this will be a VERY IMPORTANT EPISODE nevertheless. "Once dance's DNA will get torn apart and fused with that of another!" he says in an ominous tone, which makes me feel as if there's actually going to be some screaming and surgical procedures and it's going to feel more like "American Horror Story" than "Dancing with the Stars." But the good news is that this Frankendance thing looks a lot better than Tom leads us to expect, at least when it's done by the show dance troupe. Maybe it will be more terrifying when celebrities attempt it. 

Read Full Post